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The right’s lack of diversity

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, August 12th, 2014 - 46 comments
Categories: act, conservative party, election 2014, national, nz first, united future - Tags:

(Posted earlier today at Boots Theory)

In my previous post where I talked about the diversity of policy on the left as a strength I said:

A lot of people are still stuck in a First Past the Post mode of thinking, where we have two major parties, they rule the roost, and the “minor” parties are mere annoyances who will fall in line with National or Labour as appropriate.

My point was that this isn’t the case now that we’ve got proportional representation. At least, it’s not the case for the left – but it is still kind of true on the right. There’s one big party who have the lion’s share of the vote, and a smattering of odd little parties at the kids’ table fighting for scraps and key electorates.

It’s one of the reasons National continues to poll so highly. If you’re a rightwing voter, you don’t have any other viable options. ACT under Jamie Whyte had a brief flutter at being a straight-up (if wordy and academic) “classical liberal” kind of party, but promptly descended into a race-baiting law-and-order farce again.

United Future’s day as the moderate, centrist, “common sense” party is well past its use-by, and not even the revival of the worm is going to deliver them more than one seat (and even that could be in question if a thoroughly unscientific Campbell Live poll is anything to go by).

The Conservatives are making the election campaign interesting (threatening to sue The Nation for not including Colin Craig in a debate levels of interesting), but they’re not a right-wing party so much as a collection of reactionary extremists who think not being able to whip your children is the worst crime against civil liberties of the past century.

And the Māori Party are very determined that they’re not a rightwing party, they’re just focused on getting a seat at the table.

There’s undoubtedly a lot of “centrist” or moderate voters who are supporting National too, largely on the back of John Key’s inexplicable, yet undeniably present, appeal. We can debate exactly how much of their support is truly rightwing compared to “middle New Zealand” in comments. The point is that if you are a fiscal conservative, who else are you going to vote for?

You’d think it would be inevitable that another rightwing party would be formed in this situation. There have to be rightwingers who take a different view to the National Party’s standard lines, who don’t like how (comparatively) moderate they’ve been in government. You can see from Jami-Lee Ross’ quickly-sunk strikebusting bill that there are enough peoplewithin National who want them to take a harder line.

I think they want power more. So they’re sticking with what has been a winning formula for the past two terms: an outwardly-united behemoth with a friendly leader. But there’s the trap.

ACT are becoming more and more of a sideshow with every passing day. Dunne’s grip on Ōhāriu is slipping. The Conservatives could end up wasting 3 or 4% of the party vote. And National could very well end up being the biggest party in Parliament with no viable partners, abandoned by Key the minute it’s clear they won’t be in government and with nothing to do for three years but tear themselves apart in the inevitable Joyce/Collins cage match for the leadership.

Should be fun to watch!

46 comments on “The right’s lack of diversity”

  1. Tracey 1

    even when you look at epsom, they are nolonger ACT voters but for the deal. You can see that from the party votes there.

  2. Gosman 2

    Let me get this straight. You are criticising the right because it isn’t as splintered as the left. Is that correct?

    • john 2.2

      It looks very much like a desperate attempt to make being popular sound like a bad thing.

      • Also nope.

        Since you’re both having trouble with your comprehension, this post is not actually “criticising the right” – except by way of noting that the current situation is a very precarious one for them. Without a viable range of parties competing for the rightwing vote, the right is totally reliant on National continuing to be popular with a large chunk of centrist/moderate/whatever-you-want-to-call-them voters. And unfortunately for you, John Key isn’t going to be around forever.

        The TLDR of my TLDR: the current situation of National having huge support with itsy-bitsy lone MPs backing it up is not sustainable under MMP. Too bad for them.

        • john 2.2.1.1

          NZ First and Maori Party could quite easily support National.

          Both have previously.

          • Stephanie Rodgers 2.2.1.1.1

            Oh my god, I had no idea! 🙄

            Yes, on current polling and iPredict stocks, NZ First will hold the balance of power, and if the Maori Party are returned to Parliament they are likely to support whoever forms a government. But Winston is a temperamental beast and the fact the right may have to rely on him to form a government proves my entire point.

            • john 2.2.1.1.1.1

              So Greens and Labour will be relying on who?

              Someone more reliable than NZ First and Maori Party?

              • Lanthanide

                I’ll make this simple for you.

                If NZFirst is the balance of power, then either side would need him in order to form a government. That’s what it means.

                Now that we’ve gotten the obvious out of the way, lets talk about the future.

                In the future, the left have at least 2 credible parties, Labour and The Greens. If someone doesn’t like Labour so much, but still wants to vote left, they can vote Green. And vice versa. We are also seeing the rise of IMP, who are polling higher than the combined party votes of ACT and United Future.

                Now, in the future, if someone doesn’t want to vote National (say they can’t stand Joyce as leader), but still wants to vote right, they vote for…? Hint: you can’t say NZFirst or MP, because they might support the left to form a government.

            • Tracey 2.2.1.1.1.2

              he is so stuck in his assumption you are saying something horrid about his beloved right that he hasnt actually imputed the correct meaning to your words

              • It’s a post on the Standard! It says something about National! They must be attacking National! Quick, deploy the “well Labour and the Greens are just as bad” manoeuvre!

  3. karol 3

    As I said in my post on the Kumeu debate, there was quite a bit of controlling, disciplinary focus from the right parties – especially wanting to control people/society on protection of property rights, crimes against property, low rates, etc. They present a face of (faux) freedom, while practicing various means of controlling those who disagree with them.

    One of the more interesting questions from the public last night was to the conservative party. The policy adviser (a guy with a South African accent), spoke in support of binding referendums. The question asked, was something like: how would the Conservative Party respond to a binding referendum on legalising recreational drugs, given that polls show about 60% of people in favour of supporting legalisation.

    The guy responding saying they were for democratically enabling the majority to decide – then he said something about it being important to frame the questions ‘correctly”. Given the “anti-smacking” referendum question was so poorly worded, it could not easily be translated into law, it seemed to me that they are into manipulating and controlling the will of the people though the wording of referendum questions. So, under the guise of participant democracy, they are all for controlling the population.

    eg, the policy guy also talked about the will of the people to have children growing up with two parents (I think he specified a mother and a father) – he reckoned this would be supported by a referendum.

    Of course, democracy is also about supporting the voices and well being of the minorities – especially those with least power.

  4. Alan Wells 4

    yes there will be a new alternative right wing party option after the election – the one formed by the right wing faction of the current labour caucus, all of whom will gladly walk away from the shambolic train wreck that labour has become since the unions/Cunliffe/Matt dragged the party backwards by 30 years.
    Labour will implode.
    Happy days

    • That’s certainly an interesting perspective. I advise you to engage seriously on this topic or it might look like you’re trolling.

    • Jenny Kirk 4.2

      I guess Alan Wells you were not at the Labour campaign launch on Sunday – where a huge crowd
      (1200 they say) were buoyant and positive and not looking at all like a train wreck. In fact, it was the most upbeat Lbour event seen for years.

    • tricledrown 4.3

      Shane Jones has already left Alan Winston will be the next to join the gravy train

    • Murray Olsen 4.4

      Do you see this happening if Labour loses? Why would they start a new party rather than just joining NAct? I can’t see that this would add any diversity to the right at all.

      The Labour Party hasn’t recovered from being knocked back 100 years by Douglas and co. Sometimes I think Cunliffe wants to get back to the fire in the belly and the social conscience that was seen in the first Labour government. Other times I have no idea what he’s doing.

      You seem serious to me, but wrong. Speaking for myself, I like people turning up who can express and defend their ideas. Mostly we seem to get right wing underbridge dwellers who cut and paste rubbish from some other blog, or repeat Key’s lies. Anyway, I’m keen to see your answers.

  5. Alan Wells 5

    I am serious and I am not a troll, that is the first comment I have ever made on any political blog.

  6. Bob 6

    “There’s undoubtedly a lot of “centrist” or moderate voters who are supporting National too, largely on the back of John Key’s inexplicable, yet undeniably present, appeal. We can debate exactly how much of their support is truly rightwing compared to “middle New Zealand” in comments. The point is that if you are a fiscal conservative, who else are you going to vote for?”
    Bang on Stephanie, the only reason I moved to voting National is because Key moved them slightly left.
    Previously my only option was really NZ First as National and ACT were too far right of centre (under Brash, Shipley, Bolger) for me, and Labour/Greens were too far left (although Helen Clark almost got my vote). Key gave National a social concience that wasn’t there previously (I understand that line isn’t going to go down well on this site, but name any previous National leader that would have brought in breakfast in shools for example).
    The Conservatives have tried filling that same space with some success (~2.65% of the vote at the last election without much publicity), but Colin Craig, while a very honest man, is an idiot.
    IMO National will collapse once Key finally leaves, then you will see the likes of Labour, NZ First, the Conservatives and ACT rise again as they pick up the scraps, in the mean time it’s going to be an interesting election.

    • Clemgeopin 6.1

      “but name any previous National leader that would have brought in breakfast in shools for example’

      I am almost certain (but not absolutely) that the ‘breakfast in schools’ was brought about during the last Labour government’s period, if not in all, but at least in low decile/rural schools, along with fruits in schools. Can anyone who is or was in education confirm this please?

      • Bob 6.1.1

        “I am almost certain (but not absolutely) that the ‘breakfast in schools’ was brought about during the last Labour government’s period”
        Nope, it just sounds like something that Labour would have brought in if they hadn’t gone away from their roots http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/schools/8726019/Free-brekkie-for-low-decile-school-kids
        At this stage Labour were still talking about policies like ‘no need to be Working For Families, we’ll just give you tax breaks anyway’ or whatever the policy was called. It is good to see them moving back away from encouraging welfare dependency and back into properly targetted policy with their latest Health Policy though (the ‘not working for families’ policy made it a disincentive for people with only low level education/work experience to move into work as the would end up with less money for their family).

    • Murray Olsen 6.2

      Key also worsened the economic and social conditions that made breakfasts in schools necessary.
      In my adult life, I think both Bolger and Muldoon had more of a social conscience than Key. Key wants to look good and be accepted. I don’t think he does much at all for decent motives.

  7. lurgee 7

    Key’s appeal is mostly a negative phenomenon. It stems largely from Labour’s lack thereof. If Labour would actually consistently show passion, policy and unity, they’d take this corrupt and ineffectual government to the cleaners. But they strive heroically to make National look good, and – alas! – succeed!

    • Gosman 7.1

      I’d suggest this is more wishful thinking on your part than it reflecting reality. A large number of New Zealanders are quite happy with a moderate right of center government and have been for much of the past 60 odd years. They aren’t waiting for Labour to get its act together to flock back to them. On that front though what apects of the previous Clark led government do you think caused Labour to lose ‘it’?

      • lurgee 7.1.1

        I agree with you, up to at point, that people want competent, stable government first, and aren’t too worried about the political flavour, as long as it isn’t too sweet or sour. I think you misread the main point I was trying to make,however.

        There are about 25% die-hard Labour voters. About the same for National (I might be tempted to go a bit higher but, you know, 2002 …).

        There’s about 25% spread out among other parties. Interestingly, the majority of this belongs to the Greens and New Zealand First – the former, at least, a reasonable partner for Labour (the latter should be burned in Hell).

        And the remaining 25% is the contestable swing vote. National have been far better at colonising it than Labour, in recent years. Right now, they’ve got a lockdown on almost all of it. So they will ‘win’ the election and probably form the government.

        But they havn’t exactly covered themselves in glory this term. They could be taken down by a Labour Party / leftwing alliance that had a bit more vision and fire about it. Not necessarily preaching shoot-the-rich stuff, but just one that seemed to have a consistent message, good ideas, wanted to be in government for the right reasons and wasn’t interested in tearing itself into ever smaller pieces.

  8. tricledrown 8

    Insider news Winston Peters has already done a deal with National for his Retirement Fund golden handshake just like Shane Jones Peters has done a secret deal to go with National after the election!

    • Puckish Rogue 8.1

      So Winnie goes with National (which lets face it is NZFirsts natural partner) and promptly retires thereby letting Ron Mark take over and build NZFirst into a viable long term National support party

      Maybe…

      • Tracey 8.1.1

        newsflash

        Former national party minister, winston peters, natural partner is the national party.

        • Clemgeopin 8.1.1.1

          [Stephanie: No, I thought about it and I’m not happy to have racist jokes about Chinese accents on this thread, even if they’re meant to be making some kind of political point.]

    • Populuxe1 8.2

      Total bullshit. Bombast Bradbury’s brain-farts do not count as “insider news”.

      • tricledrown 8.2.1

        Populaxitive this doesn’t come from those sources .
        Why then hasn’t Key done a deal with the Conservatives wasting 2to3% of the Tory vote!
        Why has Bainimarama Winston’s best mate been aloud into the country!
        McCully the same person that put Shane Jones package together!
        McCully has put a much bigger package together for Winston’s swansong!
        In the last few days in parliament Brownlee was chatting with Winston after 20 years at each others throats!

        • Populuxe1 8.2.1.1

          Key hasn’t done a deal with the Conservatives because they are insane. Key is always thinking of his own image and Craig simply doesn’t fit with Brand Key.
          Bainimarama is allowed back in because he announced the end of Public Emergency Regulations in 2010 and Fiji has full democratic elections this year under the new constitution. The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group voted to change Fiji’s full suspension from the Commonwealth of Nations to a suspension from the councils of the Commonwealth, allowing them to participate in a number of Commonwealth activities. He’s out of the dog box.
          Screaming “McCully McCully” doesn’t actually make any of this real outside your own febrile imagination, and in case you haven’t noticed, the political class do actually talk to each other over partisan lines all the time outside debates and sound bites.

          • lurgee 8.2.1.1.1

            It is more likely Peters will go with National than Labour, however. Politically and strategically, it makes sense for him. And National can offer him more baubles.

  9. Alan Wells 9

    Not sour grapes and not wishful thinking, just how I see it.
    I think national will form the next government, Dc, Harre, Hone etc will form a new hard left movement which in future elections will attract maybe 18-20% of the electorate, greens continue to attract maybe 12-13%, giving the left bloc 33% ish.
    That leaves the moderate left/centre/ right with 65% of the electorate.

    I base this on what appear to be untenable differences between the hard left and moderate left within labour – how can they continue to co-exist post election??????

    • Te Reo Putake 9.1

      How can they survive? Same way we have for nearly a century. We don’t mind debate and different ideas in the NZLP. They strengthen us, actually.

      Righto, must dash … fortune finds me in Palmy where the next PM is speaking shortly at a public meeting. Good times!

    • I don’t see even a very moderate National Party (which has its own hard-right elements clamouring for attention) holding 65% of the vote on its own. Nor a long-lasting “hard left” movement involving David Cunliffe, who may be comparatively left compared to some others in the caucus but is only an extremist if you agree with his statement from back in September:

      But let me say this: if putting a warm dry home around every Kiwi child and making sure that their tummies are fed and that they have shoes on their feet is suddenly far left, well, you know, go right ahead with the tag.

      Elite media fear Cunliffe, which is actually a really good sign: Vol 1

  10. tricledrown 10

    Yeah right alan New Zealand has been a right leaning govt sinc the 1950’s where is that support coming from as even the MSM has said overseas equivalent parties such as IMP burn brightly for a short time and then get swallowed up after2 to 3years max ie alliance united future,Act, Winston’s last stand party once Winston has gone that will be NZ First so he is going to the highest bidder just like Shane Jones

  11. Ad 11

    Since 1945 National have always had three terms in power, at least, before being replaced. Their constituent supporters are from a few of New Zealand’s “tribes”, including:

    • That rapidly shrinking Balclutha tribe of super-stable Readers Digest sorts
    • The Haute-bouregoisie Remuera tribe for whom lineage to wealth defines intergenerational political interests
    • The Linton Base Tribe authority-deferent Royalists, military, Police, high church Anglicans, religious conservatives
    • The aspirant Campbells Bay tribe running from immigrant contamination and towards bi-annual real estate calibrations
    • That loyally bought bunch of mass-murderers the dry-stock and dairy farmers, and all who service them

    Despite gradual mutations, those interest bases are not going to go away fast, and that 30-35% of regular voters will rarely if ever shift their allegiance. We have seen it once with Bill English only with Helen on serious second term roll.

    Labour’s “tribes” however are mutating fast.
    – Demographics within the Otara tribe of Samoan, Tongan, and Indian subcontinent communities are fast altering as ties to cultural authority structures weaken. Helen held them because she captured their markets through League, performing arts, and immigration.
    – The Mt Eden class of wealthy urban liberals are weakening reasonably fast; academia’s liberal arts domains have long lost their societal clout, old media empires are atomising and in some parts in terminal decline, and elite arts rely now too much on sponsorship patronage to be a properly oppositional force any more
    – Unions are in permanent membership decline

    Labour’s strategy is baldly to force people to think largely with their financial interests, their costs of living, appealing to the 80% who have not done well since the Richardson et al. It’s a muffled Marxist strategy.

    Key’s magic is pretty much the same as Holyoake’s: the televisual smile of confidence and calm that transcends tribe and replaces it with a sense that New Zealand has a gradual confidence in its own progress. There are still eggs and omlettes, sure, but we have made it and we only need to operate existing structures and economic settings. We don’t need to address the content of our nation, our settings and levers, our cities, or our communities much at all.

    There’s a learning for the progressives here. New Zealanders are suckers for charisma. A nationwide march on parliament and a couple of C-grade players and Hey Presto there’s the Maori Party. A playful multimillionaire reeking of success and chutzpah, and rock and roll here’s the new playa. Anyone notice all the Indians worshipping at the feet of Bainimarama a couple of nights ago?Labour’s apparent Indian base so easily swayed? Assume the mantle of authority and every one-eyed man becomes Bishop, tropical island dictator, or King. And largely we adore them.

    Confoundingly, the Greens’ backing from the Raglan tribe of outsiders and urban neo-hippies show that clean moralistic political virtue will not ever be a breakthrough. They are grinding to 10%, but without a charismatic leader they struggle with anything higher.

    Labour will advance when Cunliffe unleashes pure political charism. Fast bon mots to camera. Cheeky rebuttals and put-downs to radio. Zingy opinion pieces – as well as the staged set-pieces. That takes time for him to trust his own leadership capacity. The real lived skin of it.

    Sure, time the progressive end doesn’t have right now (note again they’ve never stopped a National third term). But we can now see every televisual performance that Cunliffe has more ease and flow, slowly reaching towards his owen version of charm (without the Old Man and The Sea overweening storytelling ego of say Sir Bob Harvey – the Nat’s favourite leftie).

    Greens will advance when they get a leader that could do the same.

    Stephanie is of course right about those other smaller parties. They are separately in parliament with a voting base smaller than the size of Gore. They are simply fucked.

    But every one of us knows that when political charisma aligns with perfect messaging, tribal lines are obliterated. Elias Canetti’s Crowds and Power beats Das Capital when it comes to gaining democratic power, every time. That alignment doesn’t happen in New Zealand too often. Even multiple national crises have failed to dent the current lot much.

    It’s still possible that Labour’s caucus will be too impatient to let Cunliffe assume that skin, that easy mantle of true leadership from which powerful charism radiates. Clinton. Kennedy. Blair’s first term. But Cunliffe already makes Key look like a fake, Norman look like the boy who always asks for too much, Peters look like Bela Lugosi, and Harawira look like a grunty thug found with someone’s stash.

    This deep into the campaign, and with most parties’ major announcements banked, it’s not your tribe, it’s not primarily policy, it’s now the person, the leader, who rises, continues to rise, and takes power’s crown from the other.

  12. Glenn 12

    I agree Tracy. Muldoon would be dismayed at the Twerps in power at the moment.

  13. Neoleftie 13

    I tend to agree with Alan wells, the left wing and right wing of labour dislike each other and if labour find itself in a position that it is on coalition with the greens and IM then this might cause a few right winger labour mp to rethink their employment. I say good riddance to a few neo lib centralist of the labour caucus and long may the rising tide of red real labour rise…

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    Redline received this article from the KOE a Marxist party in Greece Our friends in the KOE describe here the mounting crisis in Greece and tensions on the Turkish border. As desperate people flee from their homelands which have been ruined after decades of imperialist wars and interventions the people ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
    As the first week of Level Four lockdown unfolded, mounting questions grew as to just what was (and was not) allowed under its “rules”. Partly these were driven by some apparently contradictory messages from different authority figures and explanations carried in the media. Partly they reflected a somewhat sketchy legal basis ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    5 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

    Prospect Magazine alerted me to this particularly apt quote. It is a much more evocative quote than Hemingway’s “gradually then suddenly” which is also doing ...

    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    5 days ago
  • Maybe axing Clark would be unfair. But what about any of this is fair?
    Yesterday was the day the consequences of the lockdown suddenly got very real for many. Firms have been closing and laying people off since the outset of the quarantine but this has mostly been happening out of the public eye. The mass closure of a number of iconic New Zealand ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    5 days ago
  • Might a ‘Coasean’ social contract mitigate overall societal harm from COVID-19?
    Brian Williamson1, Prof Nick Wilson2 (1Economic consultant, UK; 2University of Otago Wellington) In this blog, we outline how a win-win social contract could be forged to address the major dimensions of response to the COVID-19 pandemic when using a mitigation strategy: the particular need to protect older people from high ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
    Resuming Normal Service: The Republican Party's nominee for in 1920, Warren Harding, promised the American people: “not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration”. If she wishes to remain our prime minister, then Jacinda Ardern will offer New Zealanders the same.HOW EDUCATED AMERICA snickered when the ...
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
    No Free Society Without A Free And Functioning News Media: If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating Covid-19, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders simply because it improves their bottom line.I’M ...
    5 days ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Lockdown day 8
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    5 days ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    5 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    5 days ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    5 days ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    6 days ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    6 days ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    6 days ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing or ...
    7 days ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    7 days ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    7 days ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    7 days ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    1 week ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    1 week ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    1 week ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    1 week ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    1 week ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    1 week ago

  • Work to repurpose PGF funds begins
    The Provincial Development Unit is working through applications and projects to see where Provincial Growth Fund money can be repurposed for initiatives deemed more critical to fighting the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “We need to be throwing everything we have at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • A million workers supported by Govt wage subsidy
    The Government’s wage subsidy to protect jobs and keep workers and businesses connected during the lockdown has now supported over a million New Zealanders, with $6.6 billion already paid out. “We’re supporting businesses to pay wages, and stay connected with their workers so that we are all in a better ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Government helps Pacific communities fight COVID
    The Government is stepping up efforts to help protect New Zealand’s Pacific communities in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet has agreed that $17 million will be allocated to support a COVID-19 Pacific Response Package, which will: Support Pacific health and disability services facing increased demand; Ramp up public health messaging ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark
    “Yesterday evening the Health Minister advised me of his trip to a beach during the lockdown and offered his resignation,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses.  “But right now, my priority is our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Statement from David Clark
    Last night as part of my preparation for the Epidemic Response Committee, I provided the Prime Minister with a complete picture of my activity outside my home during Alert Level 4.  That included the fact that on the first weekend of the Alert Level 4 lockdown I drove my family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • COVID-19 mental health support begins
    A range of support is being rolled out across New Zealand to help people look after their mental health during COVID-19 Health Minister David Clark said this morning. “COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives and many of us will be feeling some level of distress or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
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