The surplus lie

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, May 14th, 2015 - 68 comments
Categories: bill english, budget 2015, economy, john key, national - Tags: , ,

(Originally posted at Boots Theory)

Andrew Little delivered his pre-Budget speech in Wellington yesterday, and the pullquote everyone’s talking about was some seriously no-nonsense stuff:

…[National’s] promise was clear. Their good economic stewardship would see us in surplus.

And now they’ve abandoned their promise.

National’s talk now is about how achieving surplus was an “artificial target” and that getting a surplus is “like landing a 747 on the head of a pin.” A lot of effort has gone into glossing over the broken promise. But I see it for what it is – one of the biggest political deceptions in a lifetime.

You can quibble the semantics, of course – is it not really a lie if Treasury figures predicted we’d be in surplus? Or is it still a lie because Treasury’s predictions are often laughably optimistic and wrong (when National is in power, anyway)? But come on, whose word can we rely on regarding the Budget if not Treasury’s?

The room to quibble is what makes it a lie.

Balancing a government budget is nothing like balancing a chequebook, and not just because ordinary citizens can’t print their own money at will. There are so many moving parts, so many tricks, so many points which can be manipulated ever so slightly

That’s why it was ridiculous for Bill English to say even a $1 surplus would count as “significant“. When you’re managing nearly $100 billion in revenue and spending, there’s infinite room to tinker. You can make all kinds of assumptions about how much tax will be collected. And we’ve seen the tinkering: the delay in lowering ACC levies. The interest-free “loan” to the NZTA which conveniently counts as an asset, not spending. The assumed cuts to EQC’s insurance liabilities.

The lie isn’t really about whether-we-achieve-surplus or whether-we-don’t. The lie is everything that National’s constant promises of surplus implies: that a surplus is objectively good; that a surplus proves their superior economic management abilities (but a deficit is all Labour’s fault; they had nine long years to deliver surpluses for Bill English); that a surplus proves things are back on track, the economy is doing fine, things can’t be that bad – so obviously inequality’s a myth, there’s no housing bubble, Christchurch is hunky-dory, we don’t need state houses or workers’ rights or any of that rubbish, and if you’re very, very good you’ll get jam tax cuts tomorrow.

A surplus proves National are right about everything.

That’s the lie we’ve been sold, time and time again, by this government. And given the harm it has done and is doing to the New Zealanders who can’t afford a first home, much less an investment property, who can’t find secure employment or buy the kids a new pair of winter shoes, who are living in cars and queuing for foodbanks at 3am – I don’t think it’s too strong to call it one of the biggest political deceptions of our lifetime.

68 comments on “The surplus lie”

  1. Enough is Enough 1

    You are correct that the lie is everything that National’s constant promises of surplus implies.

    You can always spot a simpleton. He is the one who assesses the success of a government by saying a surplus means good, a deficit means bad.

    When an economy is struggling, tax take falls so it is absolutely necessary to run a deficit to maintain the same level of expenditure. That is the correct thing to do. The government can borrow cheap cash so that the wider economy does not suffer as much as it otherwise would.

    Likewise when the economy is firing it is the correct to run a large surplus so as to take money out of the system and not over cook the economy.

    The Nats don’t quite get that though. The fucking idiots cut taxes for the rich at the depth of the GFC.

    • Colonial Rawshark 1.1

      The NATs have access to monetary and economic expertise as good if not better than Labour does. The difference is that the NATs are gutsy and unrepentant at using that expertise to benefit their core constituencies.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1

        The NATs have access to monetary and economic expertise as good if not better than Labour does.

        To be honest, I don’t think that’s true. What they have is access to better and better funded PR to promote their ideology of enriching the already rich.

        • Liberal Realist 1.1.1.1

          +1. Nailed it.

          You did leave out #DirtyPolitics but I guess that could be considered ‘PR’, I bet that’s how the Nats would think.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      The government can borrow cheap cash so that the wider economy does not suffer as much as it otherwise would.

      Even better, the government can create money and doesn’t have to borrow at all.

      Likewise when the economy is firing it is the correct to run a large surplus so as to take money out of the system and not over cook the economy.

      And taking money out of the system is what taxes are for.

      The Nats don’t quite get that though. The fucking idiots cut taxes for the rich at the depth of the GFC.

      The Nats don’t get economics and the flow of money and resources at all.

  2. Colonial Rawshark 2

    The second biggest NZ political deception of a lifetime is Labour claiming that our country cannot afford to keep the retirement age at 65. Money is created electronically by keystrokes by the Reserve Bank. How can we run out of money to pay super at 65?

    [Stephanie: this is really off topic. Please take any discussion about the superannuation age to Open Mike.]

    • Murray Simmonds 2.1

      “The Lie” – about achieving a surplus – or not as the case may be – was never really about good economic management. It was all about setting up an economic framework within which National policy could be unquestionably implemented. Policy like welfare cuts – “-because thats whats needed to achieve a surplus.”

      Policy like ignoring underpriveliged schoolkids while promoting charter schools and other forms of privatisation “-because thats whats needed to achieve a surplus.”

      The bullshit frmework of ‘the need to achieve a surplus’ was set up to provide a framework within which the Gnats could push the neoliberal agenda – there’s nothing more than that to it.

    • Colonial Rawshark 2.2

      The lie is everything that National’s constant promises of surplus implies: that a surplus is objectively good; that a surplus proves their superior economic management abilities

      My comment is that Labour pushes the same narrative for themselves. It is about politicians lying through their teeth about the nation’s future fiscal state, and Labour telling the public that we need to cut back on Super to avoid future deficits because of the goodness and importance of surpluses.

      This is a very close parallel to your post.

      • Kiwiri 2.2.1

        Interesting.

        A general question here.

        Where do issues about the retirement age and superannuation sit in the scheme of thinking about the Labour’s Future of Work Commission? Push out the retirement age further, introduce means-testing, make changes to superannuation arrangements, etc etc?

        Not sure who I am directing this to, perhaps it is a rhetorical question, but I will ponder on that. I hope the more knowledgeable and sharper ones here will be able to put forward some really good ideas that are consistent with the Labour Party’s democratic socialist principles.

  3. Puckish Rogue 3

    “I don’t think it’s too strong to call it one of the biggest political deceptions of our lifetime.”

    – Well it’d be behind Rogernomics and Helen Clarks election rort possibly even Ruth Richardsons MOABs

    • Crashcart 3.1

      Can’t disagree with those. Although I would add in John Key saying they wouldn’t increase GST or that ACC was financially in trouble and then last budget saying they couldn’t lower ACC levies.

    • Tracey 3.2

      “one of…”

    • b waghorn 3.3

      The hardcase thing I’ve noticed about you little key lovers is that none of you are saying keys surplus promise isn’t a deception you are only arguing about how dig a deception it is . so at what level do you sycophants say I’ve had enough of creepykeys lies.

  4. dukeofurl 4

    remember the ‘chewing gum’ tax cut from labour. – around 2005 ?

    national laughed that it was such a ‘small amount’ and there didnt have ‘any certainity’ when it would occur.

    Who’s laughing now ?

    • Rob 4.1

      Well actually it was Winston Peters that brought the name “chewing gum” budget, he even brought in a pack of gum into question time to prove the point.

  5. SHG 5

    I don’t think it’s too strong to call it one of the biggest political deceptions of our lifetime

    Am I the only person who thinks that sounds batshit crazy?

    WMDs in Iraq, Ukraine independence, Indonesia in East Timor, Iran Contra, Chilean junta… NZ failing to achieve a budget surplus. Yep, right up there.

    • Yeah, nice diversion. Meanwhile, here in NZ …

      • SHG 5.1.1

        Pointing out that the the parent article’s conclusion is – what’s the word I’m looking for? oh yeah, INSANE – is hardly a diversion.

        • te reo putake 5.1.1.1

          The fact that you don’t understand the conclusion doesn’t make you insane, SHG. It just makes you look sad.

        • adam 5.1.1.2

          Does not context mean anything to you SHG?

          Cherry picking any piece out of context, and you can make it look bat shit crazy. Just look at the Herald on almost a daily bases.

          So your point is SHG? Because if you look at in broad strokes – sure, and cheery picking it – definitely – but within context – your point is?

        • Colonial Rawshark 5.1.1.3

          Agree with you SHG – the deceit around the surplus (and what a surplus means) is major: but first world book keeping problems are nothing on the scale of some of the other issues you have mentioned.

          • Clemgeopin 5.1.1.3.1

            It is still a major deception to fool the people continually for seven years.
            You are sounding like a mouth piece of key, English or of some right wing outfit in the constant opposition you are showing against Labour and Little.

            • SHG 5.1.1.3.1.1

              So say English is failing to deliver on his predictions as a Finance Minister. Say that the National govt is breaking pre-election promises. Great. Then everyone can have a debate over whether or not it happened, if it did whether it was controllable or not, whatever.

              Saying “one of the biggest political deceptions of our lifetime” just makes normal sane people turn off. It makes them go “ok, crazy Labour is crazy, come back when you’ve calmed down”.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Saying “one of the biggest political deceptions of our lifetime” just makes normal sane people turn off. It makes them go “ok, crazy Labour is crazy, come back when you’ve calmed down”.

                I guess the lefty Thorndon Bubble set sincerely thinks that it really is one of the biggest political deceptions of our lifetime.

          • Peter Richards 5.1.1.3.2

            And this comes from the man who thinks money grows on keystrokes.

    • Matthew Hooton 5.2

      It is certainly desperate.

      Lange and Prebble promising to “save rail”
      Cargill saying there was an $89m surplus in 1990 when there as a $4b deficit.
      Bolger saying surtax would go – “no ifs, no buts, no maybes”

      Just to name three.

      The PREFU said a small surplus was forecast, and that was signed off by the Treasury Secretary. It has turned out to be a small deficit, largely because of lower than expected inflation. That can be attacked as deeply embarrassingly for the govt, but it really isn’t a lie, and certainly not one of the worst political deceptions in a lifetime.

      The Fiscal Reaponsobility Act, now part of the Public Finance Act, means there really haven’t been any massive election lies since the numerous broken promises of 1990.

  6. esoteric pineapples 6

    “I don’t think it’s too strong to call it one of the biggest political deceptions of our lifetime” – in normal (past) circumstances it would be but this government has provided so many examples of big political deceptions …….

  7. Clemgeopin 7

    The lie is not so much that they are unable to produce any surplus for the last 7 years, but their bull shit each year that they have a ‘Rock Star Economy’ and lies they have been peddling each year and during the election campaign last year that they are on track to produce surplus until reversing the position just a few weeks before each budget.

    What Bill English is good at is DDD : Doube Dipping from Dipton.
    and
    What Key is good at is being bad for pony tails. TPPP : The Parnell Pony-Tail Puller.

    Good economic managers? Yeah, right! The buggers need a half hour economic management refresher course with Michael Cullen over some weekend after they have finished their usual dishing of their weekly does of spins, smiles and lies.

  8. “I don’t think it’s too strong to call it one of the biggest political deceptions of our lifetime”

    deserves a special egg-beater-award..

    (and as just one example -i wd pick/cite the clark labour govts’ ignoring/demonising/neglecting of the poorest – for nine long years..(and them a labour govt..(!)..and lab ’14 no better..eh..?..)..

    ..as making that accounting exercise unworthy of mention..

    ..and yeah..rogernomics..’nuff said..?..)

    and that little spent 75% of his speech over-acting his head off/vigorously weilding the beater..

    only shows how out of touch he/labour is with what really concerns most people..

    ..another example of the beltway having its’ head too far up its’
    own arse..

    • in fact it is redolent of the mindless point-scoring that comprises so much of questiontime in parliament..

      ..they do seem to gloat/shriek over the most trivial matters..

      ..and is largely both incomprehensible and irrelevant to most of us mug-punters..

      ..the big-questions..?..what really concerns us..?..not so much..eh..?..

  9. Stuart Munro 9

    I’m not sure I’d want to call it a lie as such, Bill English’s inability to construct a surplus seems to stem from fundamental incapacity rather than clever deception – I guess his wife balances his cheque book for him too. But certainly the myth that National has anything other than freakishly incompetent and corrupt economic management is overdue for an overhaul.

  10. Molly 10

    ” the delay in lowering ACC levies….”
    Being associated with a few people who have been fighting for ACC support over the last few years, we need to reframe the ACC issue.

    Instead of demanding a reduction in levies, we need to be advocating for a return of full service levels to those who have to use ACC.

    This delay is deliberate – soon both progressives and conservatives will be howling for a reduction of levies, and when it takes place – ACC will be effectively gutted and of no use to NZ.

    Private health insurance anyone?

  11. ropata 11

    The lies that sicken me the most were Key’s solemn promises to the disaster stricken communities of Westport and Canterbury in 2011. The government has done sweet FA to help the actual people most affected preferring to give handouts to big business instead

  12. Paul Campbell 12

    What a silly metaphor – of course a surplus can be everything > $0, it’s an enourmous range – half of infinity – the correct quote should be “like landing a 747 on the other side of a pin.” – unless the true goal was to break even, rather than start paying down all the debt National has built up over the past 2 and a bit terms, it should be pretty easy to tell ifr you have a surplus or no

    • felix 12.1

      Yes exactly, it’s utter insanity.

      And he says these things in rooms FULL of journalists, and not one of them blinks.

  13. Nic the NZer 13

    The constant carping on about government surplus is counter productive for the left. If by some miracle the next government is a left wing one, then in order to implement their program it will be necessary for the new government to run an extended (if not perpetual) period of government deficits. In reality this is not a problem, just as its not a problem for the current government to post deficits until the economy is doing much better in general (or even indefinitely). Having got in on the back of criticizing the current governments failure to post a surplus, that is going to look bloody foolish.

    Any government with left wing programs will need to expand substantially government spending and the deficit as a result. Stop carping on about the surplus and start explaining to people that the surplus is a purely political point scoring exercise, which is having substantial negative impacts on the country (e.g inability to deal with the housing bubble, inability to fund public sector programs such as education, health and public transport, inability to raise employment, inability to fund councils properly, over funding of ACC, sell offs of state assets leading to an inability to subsidize poorer users of those programs who need them).

    • Stuart Munro 13.1

      The inability to produce the promised surplus seven years in a row is a convenient example of the Key junta’s manifest unfitness to govern.

      • Colonial Rawshark 13.1.1

        Seriously? Key and English could produce a surplus tomorrow. Increase GST, a regressive tax, to 17.5%. Freeze hospital and education budgets. Drop 5% of all beneficiaries off the rolls. Cut back another year of the student allowance.

        There you go, you have your much vaunted surplus. Happy now?

        • Kiwiri 13.1.1.1

          Nic the NZer and Colonial Rawshark:

          +1,000,000

          Thanks

        • Stuart Munro 13.1.1.2

          By no means. Could have would have should have didn’t and probably never will. They deserve to be punished for their surplus lie at every opportunity.

          • Colonial Rawshark 13.1.1.2.1

            NZers don’t care about the “surplus lie.” Only the Thorndon Bubble does.

            And I think looking at what has been going on in the UK, Greece and Spain, a lot of Kiwis understand that forcing a surplus on a country means forcing austerity on a country.

            It’s concerning that the Labour Party prioritises government running a surplus as a good thing because it signals a fundamental economic misunderstanding. Government needs to run a deficit unless it wants to force the private sector into deficit.

    • Bill 13.2

      Wholeheartedly agree Nic the NZer.

      A surplus built on the backs of the poor isn’t something that anyone should be supportive of.

      Paint. Corner. Door. I think that Labour and sections of the left might want to consider where they’re going with this.

    • REdBaronCV 13.3

      The other way to balance a budget is to take a larger chunk of tax out of the well off, offshore interests, resource interests etc. No govt disaster there.

      • Colonial Rawshark 13.3.1

        Yes, but electorally we’d need to be in a place where a political party was willing to tax harder higher incomes, financial assets, financial transactions and the capital value of multi-million dollar commercial and residential property.

        Is there any political party in NZ willing to do that? Nope, in fact its not even on the agenda anywhere.

        • RedBaronCV 13.3.1.1

          I don’t know that I would put it too overtly on any agenda maybe something like “working people need their share ” “not offshore interests”

  14. Liberal Realist 14

    ” I don’t think it’s too strong to call it one of the biggest political deceptions of our lifetime.”

    How about Key promising to resign if the GCSB was found to be undertaking mass surveillance of New Zealanders? ‘Full take’, ‘mass collection’, what ever Key wants to call it, in the Pacific most certainly would have included Kiwi’s living and working in these countries. Therefor Key broke (another) promise & continued the ongoing deception.

    If Key’s statements around this time were not deception, what is? IMO this is/was much bigger than the repeated surplus lie.

  15. Bill 15

    NZ wants a surplus? Okay, whatever.

    Why though, is all the debate about creating a surplus allowed to smother any talk of the stuff mentioned in the last paragraph of the post?

    Do we really want a surplus if it’s to come at the cost of kids and their parents living in fcking penury? How about, as a society, we concentrate on equality and fairness and to hell with notions of surplus until those things are achieved….at which point it’ll be relatively painless to produce a surplus?

    It’s not the promise of a surplus that’s the lie to my mind, so much as the elevation of its attainment above, and at the cost of, so much that should be considered to be just basic social decency.

    High time for New Zealand to demand a change in priorities methinks.

  16. srylands 16

    Dicks

  17. Reddelusion 17

    How about Helen Clark speed gate, painter gate pledge card, how about roger Douglas, how about biribing students to win an election, how about middle class welfare working for families that we can’t now ween ourselves off, how about voters don’t lie, how about bleeding hypocrites

  18. Red delusion 18

    Exactly grant, this site try’s to pretend otherwise with holier than though attitude

    • Crashcart 18.1

      “This site” has many contributors and if you had taken the time to read the responses to the original post many people on “this site” think the statement made by Little was too much Hyperbole.

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    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    5 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    6 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    7 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    7 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    1 week ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    1 week ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago

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