What does the Taxpayer’s Union have against Callaghan Innovation?

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, October 5th, 2018 - 57 comments
Categories: Media, national, same old national - Tags: ,

There was an interesting interview involving Taxpayers’ Union head Jordan Williams yesterday morning aired on Radio New Zealand.

His appearance was a defence of the use of fake names when making OIA requests.  Why The Taxpayer’s Union could not get real private persons to ask the questions on its behalf was not explained.  At least when real people ask questions there should be an obligation to reply.  But if the names are fictitious then you have to question everything else that the “union” says.

Radio New Zealand summarised the interview in this way:

A right-wing lobby group has defended its use of false names when lodging Official Information Act requests, saying the practice is necessary and in the public interest.

Executive director of the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union, Jordan Williams, told Morning Report the number of information requests using the practice was “certainly under 40” and that these had only been lodged after it became clear the organisation was being stonewalled by government agencies.

He said revelations of the practice were embarrassing, but also a poor reflection on the level of transparency shown by some agencies his group had put under scrutiny.

The NZ Herald uncovered evidence showing people seeking information did not actually exist and that numerous email addresses from its purported members were directly linked to the group’s head office.

One single Taxpayers’ Union email address was linked to nine fake identities who filed OIAs seeking information, including details later used by the lobby group to seek disseminate stories in the media.

Mr Williams claimed his organisation made requests to Callaghan Innovation using ghost names because an insider at the science research institute revealed to them the group’s requests were being treated differently to others.

Callaghan Innovation received a total of 58 OIA requests last year, of which 35 were from the Taxpayers’ Union or people associated with the lobby group.

He claimed that TU Official Information Act requests were being deliberately held up by Callaghan Innovation.  But it made me wonder why they would do this.

The Taxpayers’ Union’s concentration on Callaghan Innovation is interesting.  It is not as if the organisation is a socialist front.  The Chief Executive is Vic Crone, the right’s Auckland Mayoral candidate last election.

And the board is hardly a seething mess of left wingers.  Sure the current chair is former Labour Minister Pete Hodgson.  But he was only appointed in January of this year.  Well after the problems started.

And other board members were all National appointments.  Deputy chair Robin Hapi was appointed in January 2013.  Al Monro was appointed in July 2015.  Frances Valintine, Kate McGrath and Simon Botherway were appointed in March 2016.  And Stefan Korn and George Gong were appointed in September 2017 by Paul Goldsmith, interestingly during the election campaign period.

So the Taxpayers’ Union along with its eight employees’ preoccupation with Callaghan Institute is somewhat surprising.  Unless it is evidence of the conservative civil war in Auckland that seems to have been going on for a while.  Maybe the supporters of the John Palino Mayoral campaign, at least until he supported Maori representation, are really annoyed that Crone bet their man.

57 comments on “What does the Taxpayer’s Union have against Callaghan Innovation? ”

  1. Dukeofurl 1

    isnt CI a bit of a slush fund for ‘digital entrepreneurs’ ?
    From memory it used to the the Industrial Research division of DSIR, and after corporatisation became IRL.
    making stuff is hived off to China now seen as old world and its rah rah digital

  2. Sacha 2

    Callaghan represents state intervention in the sacred market that does not always benefit the ‘right’ players. Naturally the private schoolboys of the Taxpayers Onion hate it.

  3. Andre 3

    I’ve had a few experiences around the process of getting grants from Callaghan Innovation and similar predecessor organisations.

    They have all turned into exercises in generating massive amounts of paperwork nobody actually looks at for real content, just that it superficially ticks the boxes, for the purpose of giving away taxpayer money to companies that are already doing very well, thank you, so that those companies do things they should do for themselves without encouragement (and usually already are).

    So I support the idea of squinty cynical eyes being turned on Callaghan Innovation looking for bloat and waste. But jeez, the Taxpayers Onion? That bunch of fuckwits is more likely to give CI an undeserved aura of victimhood and probity than they are likely to show up the very real flaws in the model.

    • Chuck 3.1

      I agree with you, Andre on your experiences with Callaghan Innovation.

      Callaghan Innovation in the business circles I frequent is not held in high regard, to say the least. The model needs to change.

      Good on the Tax Payers Union peeling back the layers.

      • Dukeofurl 3.1.1

        It is changing.
        Labour is moving to R&D tax credits instead of cash grants of $250 mill per year.

        What layers were the Non Tax payers Union peeling back? That relatively trifling sums were spent hospitality ?
        The splurge in TU interest only seems to be after the election not before

      • Andre 3.1.2

        But the Taxpayers Onion haven’t successfully peeled back the layers.

        Because of the individuals involved in the Taxpayers Onion and the methods they have chosen to use, the discussion has immediately devolved into a pigsty wrestling match about those individuals and methods, rather than being a serious discussion about what CI is doing now, what it should be doing, and how it should be doing it. So CI is escaping the scrutiny it really needs.

    • patricia bremner 3.2

      Sounds about right Andre

    • Jay 3.3

      Thanks, sums up my experience with them too. They didn’t do the slightest thing to help a struggling inventor of my acquaintance with a fantastic invention he had. It was just endless bureaucracy and little hope of anything in the way of actual cash. Unless that is they’re spending it on themselves.

      I think they might have been big backers of the Martin jetpack but I could be wrong. That project of course has now (quite predictably) fallen over

  4. SaveNZ 4

    Maybe Taxpayers union’s problem is that the fund, funds innovation and they want NZ to go back to feudal times and see innovation as a threat…

    Headed by a women as well, maybe it’s too much equality for Jordan Williams…

    • Dukeofurl 4.1

      There were never really interested in the real background

      “Last week the Taxpayers’ Union revealed the government’s science funding agency Callaghan Innovation spent more than $300,000 in a year on entertaining clients and staff. ”

      $300k is not a lot of money in this context. Maybe it shouldnt be so much but its not exactly earth shattering news.

      It may be a bit strange that the outfit doling out the money is giving the applicants the 5 star treatment, but thats NZ !

  5. Pete 5

    RNZ described the Taxpayers’ Union as a ‘right wing lobby group.”

    What the union has is a battle for relevance. It has the desire to create disquiet and unrest. It takes the mantra ‘fomenting happy mischief’ further by dressing its soldier in a suit and tie, having him photographed in front of big buildings after a press release has been sent out hoping for a quiet news day so it is published nation-wide.

    The latest thing with Callaghan is meant to suggest that without a National Government things are rotten in the state. Just adding to the general impression they want to create.

    Jordan Williams and David Farrar trying to create an impression of rottenness? Fancy that. No suits needed.

    • Sacha 5.1

      Farrar does seem to like that pig suit though.

      • NZJester 5.1.1

        It is amazing how those on the right will use others intellectual property without paying for it. I guess the defense is it is Porky Pig-esque.

        • Sacha 5.1.1.1

          Be great if someone approached the copyright owner about the rip-off. Can’t see Warner Bros turning the other cheek, unless maybe it was a sly side-bar to their agreement with the last govt.

    • ianmac 5.2

      The IOAs were back before the last election weren’t they?

  6. ianmac 6

    Interview this morning on RNZ. Pete Hodgson reckons that the response to Taxpayers Union was 100% on time and legal. The requests from the Taxpayers Union cost Callaghans $103,000+.
    The Ombudsman also interviewed, is going to have an enquiry into the actions of Callaghan and the TU to make sure that the process is transparent.

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018665498/ombudsman-mulls-inquiry-after-callaghan-reveals-oia-requests
    https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018665501/oia-requests-cost-callaghan-innovation-103k

    • Muttonbird 6.1

      Yes. Serial, vexatious, and obsessive OIA requesters (even going as far as using fake names and stealing names from real people) actually cost the government and government funded organisations more than they are purporting to try and save.

      How ironic.

      • Bearded Git 6.1.1

        Excellent point Mr./Ms. Muttonbird

      • greywarshark 6.1.2

        Muttonbird @ 6.1
        What disgraceful behaviour against our government by a supposed ‘concerned’ citizen group. Traitors to the country they profess to love; they love to lay waste to it instead. Despicable and dangerous, they are just a different form of bad hacker – their way is to hack at our roots. They are like vandals who bore and pour poison into trees or spray crop-killing poisons.

        This is clandestine war against the NZ people as a whole, to satisfy their own group of twisted and insatiably materialistic people.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 6.2

      !!That’s an average of just under $3000 per request.

    • Dennis Frank 6.3

      That’s interesting. Can Callaghan recover that cost ($103K) of the Taxpayer’s Union harassment campaign from TU? Or does the OIA prevent a crown entity from doing so? If it does, is there another legal way for the govt to prevent such ideological lobby groups imposing excessive operational costs on Callaghan?

      Someone ought to put a stop to this behaviour, that’s for sure. Aotearoa needs entrepreneurs, and those operating in a public capacity using science to enhance our common good ought not to be handicapped by Jordan Dickhead & co.

      • Chuck 6.3.1

        “If it does, is there another legal way for the govt to prevent such ideological lobby groups imposing excessive operational costs on Callaghan?”

        Not unless you want to open Pandora’s box. Start banning based on ideological and before you know it the politicians of the day will run riot.

        • Muttonbird 6.3.1.1

          I’d say there’s a case to discourage obsessive OIA requests and, as in the case of the Taxdodgers’ Union fraudulent practice, to discourage identity theft and identity invention.

          I really do think you have to be a real real person in order to ask a question.

          Law change coming up to stop these ratbags doing it again.

          • Dukeofurl 6.3.1.1.1

            There is a process in OIA where you have to confirm that you are a NZ resident . Its only used when it may be an overseas persons asking for OI.

            Just make it apply when you think catfishing is occurring.

            And its clear when on obscure entity gets a whole lot of requests from people who are asking same things.

      • veutoviper 6.3.2

        The ability to charge for OIA requests requring a lot of work/time have been in place since the OI Act came into force in 1982- and can be applied by any organisation (including govt depts, crown entities etc) to which the Official Information Act applies.

        https://www.justice.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Publications/1982-Official-Information-Act-charging-guidelines.pdf

        This PDF doc, although dated 2002, seems to be still the current applicable guidelines.

        https://www.justice.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Publications/1982-Official-Information-Act-charging-guidelines.pdf

        I assume there could be problems trying to charge retrospectively, but CI and others could perhaps start charging TU for most future OIA requests.

        • Dennis Frank 6.3.2.1

          Thanks. TU ought to be punished for trying to game the system so blatantly. Applying the user-pays principle would be the bare minimum to satisfy me. If there’s a ministerial responsibility oversight that applies, I’d also expect the minister to trial a prosecution for the harassment. Parasitic extraction of govt funds by this indirect method ought not to be possible.

          • veutoviper 6.3.2.1.1

            From the inteview on RNZ on Morning Report today (link at 6 above), the Chief Ombudsman, Peter Boshier, is ‘on the case’ and is looking at investigating both CI and TU in relation to these OIAs .

            This is essentially his area of responsibility for oversight and investigation, independent of Ministers etc. So lets wait and see what he decides and the results of any investigations. I have the highest respect for Boshier and was very pleased when he was appointed to his current role.

        • alwyn 6.3.2.2

          Do you really want people using the OIA to be charged at the discretion of the Department, or the Minister.
          Imagine the Minister’s Office.
          Will this embarrass our Government? Yes. Charge them a million dollars.
          Will it embarrass the previous Government? Yes. Expedite it and do it for nothing.
          And don’t tell me it would never happen. They would all do it.

          • veutoviper 6.3.2.2.1

            Where did I say what I wanted? I simply pointed out that the OI Act provides for charges to be able to be levied and here are the current guidelines for such charges.

            The reality is that there is already the ability for a Dept or any other organisation which is subject to the Official Information Act to charge for information provided under an OIA under certain conditions – and at that organisation’s discretion.

            This has been the case since the Act came into place in 1982 – that is for the last 36 years.

            Yes, charges have been levied in fulfilling time consuming and expensive OIAs but have they been doing what you suggest could happen?

            If they had been doing what you suggest, I am sure that we would all have heard about it in the last 36 years.

            Is the whole system due for major review and overhaul? Yes.

            But the last government played the OIA system to their advantage by basically ignoring it and also refusing to instigate a major review and overhaul.

            I suspect that we will see this happen in the not too distant future. TU’s actions that we are all discussing at the moment may well be the trigger for the long overdue review – and I personally think Boshier is the right person to lead it.

            • alwyn 6.3.2.2.1.1

              “Where did I say what I wanted?”
              Well you did finish the comment with
              “CI and others could perhaps start charging TU for most future OIA requests.”
              I took that to be something you were recommending.

              “But the last government played the OIA system to their advantage”.
              I’m sorry but that is simply using the excuse “But they did it too” .

              I simply don’t agree that a Government, or a Department should have the “discretion” to charge or not. If they haven’t been doing so we have been lucky. I don’t want them, any of them and regardless of who forms the Government, having that option.

              When you consider all the money that Governments waste then whatever the OIA costs is simply the rounding error in the budgets.

              • veutoviper

                There is a big difference in the English language between “could’ and “should”. Perhaps you have got by in a long life without noticing the difference. It would explain a lot.

                But to end on a positive note. IIRC, I don’t recall you ‘mansplaining’ …

                • alwyn

                  IIRC
                  As the Urban Dictionary defines it.
                  “IIRC – If I Recall Correctly. Especially common to be used when trying to cover up a vague guess, or when you are truly befuddled and trying to recall a fact of some sort.”
                  Are you really “truly befuddled”?
                  I thought better of you. Shame really.

  7. Michelle 7

    Looks more like the Callaghan appointments made by goldsmith are the right wing lobby group

    • Dukeofurl 7.1

      It seems even worse the announcement was made on national.org.nz

      https://www.national.org.nz/new_callaghan_innovation_board_appointments

      I thought they had beehive.govt.nz for routine ministerial messages of this type.

      This doesnt seem to be so routine. ?

      • veutoviper 7.1.1

        I suggest that you check your facts before making incorrect and misleading claims just to suit your narrative, regardless of which party you are talking about.

        These appointments were announced on the beehive.govt.nz website the same day – probably before the National Party website release.

        https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/new-callaghan-innovation-board-appointments

        It is not at all unusual for the same release to then be used on other websites. The same announcement appeared on Scoop that day and probably lots of other websites.

        http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1709/S00117/new-callaghan-innovation-board-appointments.htm

        Callaghan Innovations also released the following on Scoop five minutes after the above NZ Government release:

        http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1709/S00313/callaghan-innovation-welcomes-new-board-members.htm

      • Dukeofurl 7.1.2

        The Cabinet manual indicate’s a 3 month ‘deferred’ decision making period before elections.

        Yet these 2 positions were announced 12 days before election. Its not as though they didnt know 6 months ago that 2 board positions were needed, and Im sure the board could continue a few short until a new minister can confirm proposed appointees OR NOT.
        https://www.dpmc.govt.nz/sites/default/files/2017-06/cabinet-manual-2017.pdf

        • veutoviper 7.1.2.1

          There is usually a big time difference of months between the “decision making” date of such appointments and the “announcement” date. This is to allow everyone to get their ducks in a row such as sort out starting dates, candidates/appointees getting their affairs in order re current employment, resignations etc etc.

          The actual formal Cabinet ‘decisions’ on these appointments probably would have been made well before the three month period pre-election. The announcements are then just a formality – not a decision. There also may well have been behind the scenes confidential checking with other Political Leaders on their views on the appointees. This often happens, believe it or not.

          • Dukeofurl 7.1.2.1.1

            I dont think national did much ‘checking with labour’ on appointments. famously the new Speaker to replace Lockwood Smith breached convention by not checking with labour before hand . Key just announced Carter s name and that was it.
            https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10862155

            • veutoviper 7.1.2.1.1.1

              They did. I know they did through my work. Not necessarily all proposed appointments but certainly many.

              I am not talking about appointments such as Speakers of the House which are subject to a completely different process and rules (eg Standing Orders etc) to those for appointments to Boards etc such as that of CI which are subject to any relevant legislation establishing the organisation and completely different procedures and rules such as Cabinet Manual etc.

  8. Williams made claims and they need to be scrutinised. Most of the imo ‘fictions’ he said can be easily proved or disproved. He was slippery as an eel in butter on a muddy bank. But he can be fact checked to confirm his truthfulness.

    • adam 8.1

      That’s a very good idea, you should do it marty mars. As I less than confident, that anyone else will do it. The only person who might is Frank Macskasy.

      I know we butt heads marty mars, but I have no doubt you could rip williams a new one by doing this. And quite frankly if there was a slippery eel who needs their lies exposed, it’s williams.

  9. Bearded Git 9

    I loved weasel Farrar on on The Panel the other day saying (something like) “this is not illegal and its totally normal practice and its all the fault of Callaghan anyway”.

    Cue Tui advert.

    Nobody should forget Farrar and Williams’ involvement in Dirty Politics.

    Jim Mora threw Bomber Bradbury off The Panel for left-wing bias; when is he going to do the same to Farrar/Williams? (They tell lies as well)

  10. UncookedSelachimorpha 10

    I have some direct experience of Callaghan grants. Amounted to welfare for a very well-off corporate, majority owned by foreign billionaires. To do work they needed to do anyway, and could easily afford to do.

    Brighter Future!

    • Andre 10.1

      “…majority owned by foreign billionaires…”

      I had the niggling feeling there was something I was leaving out in my rant about CI upthread.

      I’d be really interested to hear from anyone whose experience at the coalface working through getting the grants had a more positive experience than yours and mine. No, I don’t mean the very wealthy owners whose pockets were gratuitously given a bit more padding.

    • patricia bremner 10.2

      Oh, corpoorate help, organised by Key??

  11. Draco T Bastard 11

    So the Taxpayers’ Union along with its eight employees’ preoccupation with Callaghan Institute is somewhat surprising.

    It’s fairly obvious. The RWNJs of the Taxpayers Union believes the lies put out over the last few decades that governments can’t pick winners despite all the evidence (The Entrepreneurial State) that governments do far better at picking winners than the private sector. We wouldn’t have computers at all if the US federal government hadn’t picked and funded the winning research that produced them.

    Basically, what they’re trying to do is to prove that Callaghan Innovation is a waste of money. Their problem is that they’re actions are based entirely upon a false ideology.

    I’m pretty sure that the National hierarchy actually understand the importance of state funded research – they just haven’t told the Taxpayers’ Union or their members and still spout the delusional ideology to the public.

  12. Philj 12

    The murder of the DSIR by crony idealogues is beginning to be realised. Scientific integrity and discovery has gone..

  13. Interesting that the head of the Taxdodgers Onion is this sort of character…

    Why does Jordan Williams expose himself to so much loathing …
    http://www.thepaepae.com/why-does-jordan-williams-expose-himself-to-so…/37233/

    Dirty Politics – The Pantograph Punch
    pantograph-punch.com/post/dirty-politics

    Therefore,… perhaps he / they need to be… ‘scrutinized’ a little more closely… much like his mentors were and came up short in the balance.

    Oh ,.. and a really naff picture of Farrar?

    http://www.thepaepae.com/wp-uploads/2014/10/Farrar-Seville.jpg

  14. outofbed 14

    If you request a OIA from the LTA, they look up to see if you are a Green Activist and then the black markers come out

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    This is a guest post by Vivian Naylor, who is the Barrier Free Advisor and Educator at CCS Disability Action, Northern Region, the largest disability support and advocacy organisation in Aotearoa New Zealand. She also advises on AT’s Public Transport and Capital Projects Accessibility Groups. Vivian has been advocating and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    4 days ago
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane
    So kiss me and smile for meTell me that you'll wait for meHold me like you'll never let me go'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet planeDon't know when I'll be back againOh babe, I hate to go“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Tuesday, June 18
    The election promises of ‘better economic management’ are now ringing hollow, as NZ appears to be falling into a deeper recession, while other economies are turning the corner. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The economy and the housing market are slumping back into a deep recession this winter, contrasting ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Scrutiny week off to rocky start
    Parliament’s new “Scrutiny” process, which is supposed to allow Select Committees to interrogate Ministers and officials in much more depth, has got off to a rocky start. Yesterday was the first day of “Scrutiny Week” which is supposed to see the Government grilled on how it spends taxpayers’ money and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • The choice could not be more stark’: How Trump and Biden compare on climate change
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Barbara Grady Illustration by Samantha Harrington. Photo credits: Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, European Space Agency. In an empty wind-swept field in Richmond, California, next to the county landfill, a company called RavenSr has plotted out land and won ...
    4 days ago
  • Differentiating between democracy and republic
    Although NZ readers may not be that interested in the subject and in lieu of US Fathers Day missives (not celebrated in NZ), I thought I would lay out some brief thoughts on a political subject being debated in the … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 17
    TL;DR: Chris Bishop talks up the use of value capture, congestion charging, PPPs, water meters, tolling and rebating GST on building materials to councils to ramp up infrastructure investment in the absence of the Government simply borrowing more to provide the capital.Meanwhile, Christopher Luxon wants to double the number of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • You do have the power to change things
    When I was invited to come aboard and help with Greater Auckland a few months ago (thanks to Patrick!), it was suggested it might be a good idea to write some sort of autobiographical post by way of an introduction. This post isn’t quite that – although I’m sure I’lll ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    5 days ago
  • Turning Away – Who Cares If We Don't?
    On the turning awayFrom the pale and downtroddenAnd the words they say which we won't understandDon't accept that, what's happeningIs just a case of other's sufferingOr you'll find that you're joining inThe turning awayToday’s guest kōrero is from Author Catherine Lea. So without further ado, over to Catherine…I’m so honoured ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Dissecting Tickled
    Hi,Tickled was one of the craziest things that ever happened to me (and I feel like a lot of crazy things have happened to me).So ahead of the Webworm popup and Tickled screening in New Zealand on July 13, I thought I’d write about how we made that film and ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand Webworm Popup + Tickled!
    Hi,I’m doing a Webworm merch popup followed by a Tickled screening in Auckland, New Zealand on July 13th — and I’d love you to come. I got the urge to do this while writing this Webworm piece breaking down how we made Tickled, and talking to all the people who ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • What China wants from NZ business
    One simple statistic said it all: China Premier Li Qiang asked Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell what percentage of the company’s overall sales were made in China. “Thirty per cent,” said Hurrell. In other words, New Zealand’s largest company is more or less dependent on the Chinese market. But Hurrell is ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Review: The Worm Ouroboros, by E.R. Eddison (1922)
    One occasionally runs into the question of what J.R.R. Tolkien would have thought of George R.R. Martin. For years, I had a go-to online answer: we could use a stand-in. Tolkien’s thoughts on E.R. Eddison – that he appreciated the invented world, but thought the invented names were silly, and ...
    5 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24
    A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 9, 2024 thru Sat, June 15, 2024. Story of the week A glance at this week's inventory of what experts tell us is extreme weather mayhem juiced by ...
    5 days ago
  • Sunday Morning Chat
    After a busy week it’s a good day to relax. Clear blues skies here in Tamaki Makaurau, very peaceful but for my dogs sleeping heavily. In the absence of a full newsletter I thought I’d send out a brief update and share a couple of posts that popped up in ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • The Book of Henry
    Now in the land of Angus beef and the mighty ABsWhere the steaks were juicy and the rivers did run foulIt would often be said,This meal is terrible,andNo, for real this is legit the worst thing I've ever eatenBut this was an thing said only to others at the table,not ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • Fact Brief – Is ocean acidification from human activities enough to impact marine ecosystems?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from the Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is ocean acidification from human ...
    6 days ago
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
    She's not a girl who misses muchDo do do do do do, oh yeahShe's well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet handLike a lizard on a window paneI wouldn’t associate ACT with warmth, other than a certain fabled, notoriously hot, destination where surely they’re heading and many would like them ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Still doing a good 20
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    7 days ago
  • Coalition of the Unwilling?
    What does Budget 2024 tell us about the current government? Muddle on?Coalition governments are not new. About 50 percent of the time since the first MMP election, there has been a minority government, usually with allied parties holding ministerial portfolios outside cabinets. For 10 percent of the time there was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
    Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based ...
    1 week ago
  • All good, still
    1. On what subject is Paul Henry even remotely worth giving the time of day?a. The state of our nationb. The state of the ACT partyc. How to freak out potential buyers of your gin palace by baking the remains of your deceased parent into its fittings2. Now that New ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • The looting is the point
    Last time National was in power, they looted the state, privatising public assets and signing hugely wasteful public-private partnership (PPP) contracts which saw foreign consortiums provide substandard infrastructure while gouging us for profits. You only have to look at the ongoing fiasco of Transmission Gully to see how it was ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Illusion of Power: How Local Government Bureaucrats Overawe Democratically-Elected Councillors..
    The Democratic Façade Of Local Government: Our district and city councillors are democratically elected to govern their communities on one very strict condition – that they never, ever, under any circumstances, attempt to do so.A DISINTEGRATION OF LOYALTIES on the Wellington City Council has left Mayor Tory Whanau without a ...
    1 week ago
  • Lowlights & Bright Spots
    I can feel the lowlights coming over meI can feel the lowlights, from the state I’m inI can see the light now even thought it’s dimA little glow on the horizonAnother week of lowlights from our government, with the odd bright spot and a glow on the horizon. The light ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Weekly Roundup 14-June-2024
    Another week, another roundup of things that caught our eye on our favourite topics of transport, housing and how to make cities a little bit greater. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday, Connor wrote about Kāinga Ora’s role as an urban development agency Tuesday’s guest post by ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    1 week ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 14
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s moves this week to take farming out of the ETS and encourage more mining and oil and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Climate policy axed in broad daylight, while taxpayer liabilities grow in the dark
    In 2019, Shane Jones addressed the “50 Shades of Green” protest at Parliament: Now he is part of a government giving those farmers a pass on becoming part of the ETS, as well as threatening to lock in offshore oil exploration and mining for decades. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Here’s the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Rage Bait!
    Hi,Today’s newsletter is all about how easy it is to get sucked into “rage bait” online, and how easy it is to get played.But first I wanted to share something that elicited the exact opposite of rage in me — something that made me feel incredibly proud, whilst also making ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Friday, June 14
    Seymour said lower speed limits “drained the joy from life as people were forced to follow rules they knew made no sense.” File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Friday, June 14 were:The National/ACT/NZ First ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Friendly but frank talks with China Premier
    It sounded like the best word to describe yesterday’s talks between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and his heavyweight delegation of Ministers and officials and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and New Zealand Ministers and officials was “frank.” But it was the kind of frankness that friends can indulge in. It ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #24 2024
    Open access notables Wildfire smoke impacts lake ecosystems, Farruggia et al., Global Change Biology: We introduce the concept of the lake smoke-day, or the number of days any given lake is exposed to smoke in any given fire season, and quantify the total lake smoke-day exposure in North America from 2019 ...
    1 week ago
  • Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Mathias Elle on UnsplashIt’s that new day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for our chat about the week’s news with special guests:5.00 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: China’s message to New Zealand – don’t put it all at risk
    Don’t put it all at risk. That’s likely to be the take-home message for New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in his meetings with Li Qiang, the Chinese Premier. Li’s visit to Wellington this week is the highest-ranking visit by a Chinese official since 2017. The trip down under – ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    1 week ago
  • The Real Thing
    I know the feelingIt is the real thingThe essence of the soulThe perfect momentThat golden momentI know you feel it tooI know the feelingIt is the real thingYou can't refuse the embraceNo?Sometimes we face the things we most dislike. A phobia or fear that must be confronted so it doesn’t ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on how moderates empower the political right
    Struth, what a week. Having made sure the rural sector won’t have to pay any time soon for its pollution, PM Christopher Luxon yesterday chose Fieldays 2024 to launch a parliamentary inquiry into rural banking services, to see how the banks have been treating farmers faced with high interest rates. ...
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Thursday, June 13
    In April, 17,656 people left Aotearoa-NZ to live overseas, averaging 588 a day, with just over half of those likely to have gone to Australia. Photo: Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Thursday, June 13 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Our guide to having your say on the draft RLTP 2024
    Auckland’s draft Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) 2024 is open for feedback – and you only have until Monday 17 June to submit. Do it! Join the thousands of Aucklanders who are speaking up for wise strategic investment that will dig us out of traffic and give us easy and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    1 week ago
  • The China puzzle
    Chinese Premier Li Qiang arrives in Wellington today for a three-day visit to the country. The visit will take place amid uncertainty about the future of the New Zealand-China relationship. Li hosted a formal welcome and then lunch for then-Prime Minister Chris Hipkins in Beijing a year ago. The pair ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Fossil fuels are shredding our democracy
    This is a re-post of an article from the Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler published on June 3, 2024. I have an oped in the New York Times (gift link) about this. For a long time, a common refrain about the energy transition was that renewable energy needed to become ...
    1 week ago
  • Life at 20 kilometres an hour
    We are still in France, getting from A to B.Possibly for only another week, though; Switzerland and Germany are looming now. On we pedal, towards Budapest, at about 20 km per hour.What are are mostly doing is inhaling a country, loving its ways and its food. Rolling, talking, quietly thinking. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Hipkins is still useless
    The big problem with the last Labour government was that they were chickenshits who did nothing with the absolute majority we had given them. They governed as if they were scared of their own shadows, afraid of making decisions lest it upset someone - usually someone who would never have ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Exercising with the IDF.
    This morning I did something I seldom do, I looked at the Twitter newsfeed. Normally I take the approach of something that I’m not sure is an American urban legend, or genuinely something kids do over there. The infamous bag of dog poo on the front porch, set it on ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Helm Hammerhand Anime: First Pictures and an Old English ‘Hera’
    We have some news on the upcoming War of the Rohirrim anime. It will apparently be two and a half hours in length, with Peter Jackson as Executive Producer, and Helm’s daughter Hera will be the main character. Also, pictures: The bloke in the middle picture is Freca’s ...
    1 week ago
  • Farmers get free pass on climate AND get subsidies
    The cows will keep burping and farting and climate change will keep accelerating - but farmers can stop worrying about being included in the ETS. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Wednesday, June 12 were:The ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Six ideas to secure Te Huia’s Future
    This is a guest post by our friend Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which features “musings about public transport and other cool stuff in Aotearoa/ New Zealand and around the globe.” With Te Huia now having funding secure through to 2026, now is ...
    Greater AucklandBy Darren Davis
    1 week ago
  • The methane waka sinks
    In some ways, there may be less than meets the eye to the Government announcement yesterday that the He Waka Eke Noa proposal for farmers to pay for greenhouse gas emissions has been scrapped. The spectre of farmers still having to pay at some point in the future remains. That, ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • At a glance – Does positive feedback necessarily mean runaway warming?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Farmers get what they wanted – for now
    Since entering office, National has unravelled practically every climate policy, leaving us with no effective way of reducing emissions or meeting our emissions budgets beyond magical thinking around the ETS. And today they've announced another step: removing agriculture entirely. At present, following the complete failure of he waka eka noa, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Presumed Innocent?
    The blue billionaireDistraction no interactionOr movement outside these glazed over eyesThe new great divideFew fight the tide to be glorifiedBut will he be satisfied?Can we accept this without zoom?The elephant in the roomNot much happens in politics on a Monday. Bugger all in fact. Although yesterday Christopher Luxon found he ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on our doomed love affair with oil and gas
    What if New Zealand threw a fossil fuel party, and nobody came? On the weekend, Resources Minister Shane Jones sent out the invitations and strung up the balloons, but will anyone really want to invest big time in resuming oil and gas exploration in our corner of the planet? Yes, ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    1 week ago
  • Building better housing insights
    This is a guest post by Meredith Dale, senior urban designer and strategist at The Urban Advisory. There’s a saying that goes something like: ‘what you measure is what you value’. An RNZ article last week claimed that Auckland was ‘hurting’ because of a more affordable supply of homes, particularly townhouses ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    2 weeks ago

  • Reserve Bank chair reappointed
    Professor Neil Quigley has been reappointed as Chair of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Board for a further term of two years, until 30 June 2026.  “Professor Quigley has played a key role in establishing the new Board after the commencement of the new RBNZ Act on 1 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • School attendance increases
    School attendance data released today shows an increase in the number of students regularly attending school to 61.7 per cent in term one. This compares to 59.5 per cent in term one last year and 53.6 per cent in term four. “It is encouraging to see more children getting to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Record investment in public transport services
    The Government has announced a record 41 per cent increase in indicative funding for public transport services and operations, and confirmed the rollout of the National Ticketing Solution (NTS) that will enable contactless debit and credit card payments starting this year in Auckland, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“This Government is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy
    GDP figures for the March quarter reinforce the importance of restoring fiscal discipline to public spending and driving more economic growth, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  Data released today by Stats NZ shows GDP has risen 0.2 per cent for the quarter to March.   “While today’s data is technically in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Women continue to make up over 50 per cent on public sector boards
    Women’s representation on public sector boards and committees has reached 50 per cent or above for the fourth consecutive year, with women holding 53.9 per cent of public sector board roles, Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston says. “This is a fantastic achievement, but the work is not done. To ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government supporting Māori business success
    The Coalition Government is supporting Māori to boost development and the Māori economy through investment in projects that benefit the regions, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka say. “As the Regional Development Minister, I am focused on supporting Māori to succeed. The Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Better solutions for earthquake-prone buildings
    Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk has announced that the review into better managing the risks of earthquake-prone buildings has commenced. “The terms of reference published today demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring we get the balance right between public safety and costs to building owners,” Mr Penk says.  “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has just finished a successful three-day visit to Japan, where he strengthened political relationships and boosted business links. Mr Luxon’s visit culminated in a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio followed by a state dinner. “It was important for me to meet Prime Minister Kishida in person ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
    The Department of Internal Affairs [Department] is making a significant upgrade to their Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “The Department will incorporate the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
    A vaccine to prevent an infectious disease that costs New Zealand cattle farmers more than $190 million each year could radically improve the health of our cows and boost on-farm productivity, Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard says. The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project that aims to develop ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Government House in Wellington today.  “I was pleased to welcome Premier Li to Wellington for his first official visit, which marks 10 years since New Zealand and China established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Luxon says. “The Premier and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government and business tackling gender pay gap
    The coalition Government is taking action to reduce the gender pay gap in New Zealand through the development of a voluntary calculation tool. “Gender pay gaps have impacted women for decades, which is why we need to continue to drive change in New Zealand,” Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
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