What is that word that starts with “C” and ends with “orruption”?

Written By: - Date published: 11:11 am, May 26th, 2024 - 46 comments
Categories: act, bill english, corruption, david seymour, national, nz first, Politics, same old national, Shane Jones - Tags:

The past fortnight has seen a number of breaking stories each of which raises concerns about the motivations and goals of this Government. It makes you wonder whether the pursuit of self interest is an embedded feature as opposed to a bug.

Each story of itself should be the subject of intense review. And at least with some of them I suspect that they will continue to unravel as more details emerge.

First up National’s New Plymouth MP David MacLeod managed to *forget* $178,000 in donations. He must have misunderstood the part of the return that says that donations include “any money, goods or services that are donated to a candidate, or a person on the candidate’s behalf, for use in the candidate’s campaign for election”. His defence, that he thought that donations only applied to those received during the campaign year should not normally have legs although he did manage not to include a $10,000 donation that had been made during that period. A defence of gross incompetence may work and avoid a finding that he engaged in a corrupt practice. This is a story however that will continue to be subject to scrutiny and I am pretty sure there will be a police investigation.

There are three burning questions. MacLeod said that he only spent $22,826.51 on campaign expenses. What did he spend the remaining $184,835.49 on? And if he gave the money to Head Office will they file an amended return of donations? And did he give a heads up about the Fast Track Projects Bill to Phil Brown, someone whose donation was originally hidden from view and someone who has a significant interest in Trans-Tasman Resources, an entity that withdrew its application for approval to mine the Taranaki seabed and which is on the list of entities that have been invited to submit a fast track approval application.

A hidden significant donation from someone with interests in a company seeking fast track approval to do something they have previously failed to get consent for do not engender confidence that our system is free from undue influence.

Then there was the appointment of an Act MP with significant links to big pharma to a special role involving Pharmac. David Fisher at the Herald has reported (premium link) that Act MP Todd Stephenson has been appointed to a special role representing Pharmac’s new government minister who is David Seymour.

He has significant investments in pharmaceutical and biotech companies according to the recently released Parliamentary Pecuniary Register.

The issue was subject to some robust debate in Parliament this week. From Hansard:

Hon Carmel Sepuloni: Will he maintain the standards that New Zealanders expect of their Government and stand down Mr Stephenson from his role, or is he unwilling to challenge David Seymour’s exploitation of a loophole which allows a pharmaceutical industry plant to assist the Minister responsible for Pharmac?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: No, I think there is a—

Hon Peeni Henare: Well, he’s not here for the arts! [Laughter]

SPEAKER: All right. OK, that’s enough—we’ll hear the answer in silence.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: There is an answer to that questioner, which is that we reject the premises on which the question is based. But let’s go further here. That questioner now made an allegation and without any evidence, any proof, in this House, and is defaming someone without any care for her responsibility.

Big Pharma hates Pharmac. Someone with such clear interests and links should not be allowed near Pharmac.

Then there was the unusual circumstances relating to National allocating $24 million to Gumboot Friday. From Radio New Zealand:

The chairperson of I Am Hope, which has received millions in government funding, donated thousands to the National Party ahead of the last two general elections.

On Wednesday, the coalition government pledged $24 million over four years to the charity’s initiative, Gumboot Friday.

National committed to the funding boost as part of its coalition agreement with New Zealand First.

Public records show the chairperson of I Am Hope, Naomi Ballantyne, donated thousands to the National Party in recent years.

In 2020, she donated $20,600 to National’s campaign. Ahead of last year’s election, she made three separate payments totalling $6,840.

Ballantyne only became chair of the charity earlier this year, months after the coalition agreement had been signed.

The funding is not contestible and what will be cut to pay it remains unclear. The Government’s justification, that every dollar invested returns $5.70 comes from Impact Lab, a company co-founded and chaired by ex-PM Bill English.

And to add to the sense of unease it was disclosed that Bill English’s fee of $500,000 for his report to be used to gut Kainga Ora would be paid for out of funds set aside for the provision of transitional housing places.

Get that? Funds set aside for temporary accommodation for individuals and whānau who don’t have anywhere to live and urgently need a place to stay is being used to reduce social housing.

Because it does not matter how angry Chris Bishop gets. The Government’s proposal for 1,500 new social houses represents a cut on what has happened previously.

And no review of dodgy behaviour would be complete without a reference to Shane Jones.

Last week it was reported that Jones had an undeclared dinner with Barry Bragg who is the deputy chair of the coal mining company Stevenson Group. Bragg subsequently wrote asking that the Te Kuha coal project be included in the list of projects seeking listing in the fast track legislation.

Jones claimed that the dinner was not included in his ministerial diary because it was very much a last-minute thing.

It then transpired that there were two other attendees, Bathurst Resources chief executive Richard Tacon and Federation Mining vice president Simon Delander. Bathurst is New Zealand’s biggest coal miner, and Federation Mining is developing the Snowy River gold mine near Ikamatua, on the West Coast. Bathurst funded an independent candidate for the West Coast at the last election and his presence appears to have caused Damian O’Connor to lose the seat.

Jones claimed that the whole incident was a cock up. He would have been more correct in saying that it involved multiple cock ups and a failure to disclose that there were three attendees when he was first rumbled. This presumes that there was no element of deception involved which on the face of it appears to be unlikely.

Former Broadcasting Minister Clare Curran was hounded out of Cabinet because of two undisclosed meetings with Radio NZ’s head of content Carol Hirschfeld and entrepreneur Derek Handley.

The stakes with Jones involving huge projects that could cause extreme environmental devastation are much higher.

There is a quickly developing stench about this Government. Hidden donations, uncontested funding for organisations led by a donor, reports prepared by a former National MP to justify this funding and the gutting of social housing, and hidden dinners involving a potential decision making Minister and heads of organisations that are then invited to submit fast track applications.

And the defence offered is essentially this is a series of cock ups.

Maybe the Government is well intentioned but incompetent. Or maybe its role is to represent its sponsors. And it is not skilled enough to hide what is increasingly clear.

46 comments on “What is that word that starts with “C” and ends with “orruption”? ”

  1. KJT 1

    There was a meme going around that US politicians wear their sponser logos on their jackets, like race car drivers.

    It should be compulsory for right wing MP's.

  2. PsyclingLeft.Always 2

    Maybe the Government is well intentioned but incompetent. Or maybe its role is to represent its sponsors. And it is not skilled enough to hide what is increasingly clear.

    Well could be that you are being very charitable : ) !

    Another take (which I think you are with already ) is, plainly speaking : They don't give a flying fuck about other views, consequences, ramifications…..etc,etc, et al.

    Profit, before People (encompassing Environment) shall be the beginning, and end .

    Lets Fight back !

  3. AB 3

    I'm tempted to say it's astonishing how these stories are disappeared from the media so quickly, while every transgression (often minor ones involving stupid personal conduct) by leftish politicians is dragged out for weeks until a scalp is obtained. But it's not astonishing, it's entirely expected. NACT represents the highly profitable (for some) alignment of state and private power – and it has many cheerleaders..

    • ianmac 3.1

      Yes AB. Baffling how so little is posted on MSM. Where are those opinionated "journalists" who were so ready over the last few years to blow up the perception of bad stuff from the previous Government? Just one of the items listed by Micky should have provided enough copy for a week or two.

    • joe90 3.2

      stories are disappeared from the media

      Nothing's forever…

      We found that 25% of all the pages we collected from 2013 through 2023 were no longer accessible as of October 2023. This figure is the sum of two different types of broken pages: 16% of pages are individually inaccessible but come from an otherwise functional root-level domain; the other 9% are inaccessible because their entire root domain is no longer functional.

      Not surprisingly, the older snapshots in our collection had the largest share of inaccessible links. Of the pages collected from the 2013 snapshot, 38% were no longer accessible in 2023. But even for pages collected in the 2021 snapshot, about one-in-five were no longer accessible just two years later.

      https://www.pewresearch.org/data-labs/2024/05/17/when-online-content-disappears/

    • Anne 3.3

      I'm tempted to say it's astonishing how these stories are disappeared from the media so quickly…

      In some cases they don't even make it into news bulletins, or they appear as brief items devoid of detail so the audience is no wiser.

      One of the main culprits is TV1 news. From my perspective their reportage on controversial political issues is appalling. There are often no Labour responses present [yet the responses exist because I pick them up online] so the one eyed review remains unchallenged. It has happened so often that I am starting to suspect it is a deliberate strategy.

      I wonder sometimes whether this corrupt govt. is holding a metaphorical axe to their heads as a warning they might end up like Newshub if they don't play ball.

  4. Adrian 4

    My concern or suspicion is a biggie. How is it that after years, likely more than a decade on a VPs salary of soap ( very fitting ) selling, say $350/ $500k US, Luxon appears to have NO identifiable US assets declared

    It beggars belief that at a time in the US post GFC when substantial houses among just one of many asset groups going cheap, that the property owning loving PM did not scoop up a few.

    Is he hiding something ? Or has he just forgotten ?

    • Belladonna 4.1

      I seriously doubt that the US IRS would be missing this.
      Much more likely that he decided that having to be involved with the US tax system was a bridge too far in terms of ROI – and invested his money elsewhere.
      It would be hard to be a loser in the NZ property market over the last 15 years.

      • bwaghorn 4.1.1

        It would be hard to be a loser in the NZ property market over the last 15 years.

        Unless you're a low income renter.

  5. Adrian 5

    In reply to Bella, I’m just suggesting somebody a lot more clever than I should start looking for the money. Houses were much much cheaper in the US than here and so were a bargain in those days and very few here even guessed at how our property market would go stratospheric and he hasn’t shown a terribly high capacity for intelligence so far so clairvoyance must be expecting too much of him. But it didn’t need even be houses and I’m assuming he didn’t expect to be coming back here anytime soon so it’s invested somewhere and just like Hitlers gold the money must be somewhere. Remember seriously arrogant sociopaths never expect to be caught .

    • Belladonna 5.1

      So you simultaneously believe that he doesn't have high intelligence – and that he is managing to outwit the US IRS (not to mention the NZ IRD, and the parliamentary register of interests). That's a fair degree of cognitive whiplash, you have going on.

      I don't hold an opinion one way or the other, over whether he *previously* owned US houses. But I'm pretty darn certain that if he did, he divested himself of them, before taking up NZ politics (and probably when he returned to NZ – no one wants to deal with the IRS if they don't have to)

      I think that any MP by now understands that you list all of your assets in the register – given the spectacular career implosions resulting from failure to do so.

      The seriously arrogant sociopaths would include Michael Wood, in your definition, then.

  6. Ad 6

    Can't wait for the Select Committee hearings.

  7. Mike the Lefty 7

    I think it all comes down to ideology.

    In New Zealand, it has got to the point where people EXPECT that the right wing parties are corrupt to some degree so it has become normalized.

    After all, right wing ideology is all about material gain, making money – preferably lots of it and at someone else's expense.

    So what better way to make a bit more mula than to practice a bit of corruption on the side, nothing too drastic or obvious for the most part – we aren't Indonesia or Russia, you know. It goes hand-in-hand with dirty politics.

    Steven Joyce said it himself some years ago when accused of practicing dirty politics " business as usual".

    It is business as usual to the political right to indulge in a bit of nefarious money grubbing on the side. They have done it so long that they no longer think of it as corruption, that's just an invention of the left.

    But when someone from the left gets similarly caught out, all hell breaks loose. A double standard here – we think of corruption on the right as business as usual but the end of life as we know it when it happens on the left. The left are expected to behave impeccably at all times – especially the Greens.

    Perhaps we should forgive the NACTZ – they can't help it, its in their blood. (sarcasm).

    • alwyn 7.1

      ""people EXPECT that the right wing parties

      And how do you come to this conclusion? I imagine that your evidence is something like "All my friends agree with me. Personally I would favour the view, from the evidence of our last Government, that all left wingers are idiots. I can't prove it of course but neither can you about your wild proposition.

      • Mike the Lefty 7.1.1

        Just based on a long life and experience with all kinds of politicians from the early 70s.

        If you are talking about idiots in politics that is a completely different question with probably a completely different answer.

  8. Obtrectator 8

    Corruption is everywhere, all the time. It's a sad fact that, provided there are enough people benefiting from it, it never really gets rooted out. Now and then someone overdoes it and tries to take too much out of the pot. They are then ruthlessly dealt with, the process accompanied by much wringing of hands and pious exclamations of horror, so that the system can be seen to be purifying itself (but then it carries on as before). If it can be a lefty who cops it, so much the better, but "they" will happily sacrifice one of their own if they're seen as dispensable and another scapegoat is considered necessary.

  9. Ad 9

    There's a fudgy liberal line between "engagement" and "co-deciding", both of which deliberately influence government decisions.

    Ardern could and should have saved Curran and chose to let her swing. It was pathetic to watch.

    All government departments and their ministers do it. All of them.

    The right do the same but bring cash as well. Which is fine if declared.

    IMHO it's only a problem when not declared.

    • "In my opinion it (big money) is not a problem until it is not declared."

      Which is fine Ad, until only the rich can participate in the narrow type of purchased Democracy.

      Maori have lost funding for their customary rights cases, which are costly, as the hoops are many and the Court time expensive.

      Sadly, biased Ministers approve or remove the funding according to their agenda.

      There are many ways to corrupt the system and slow justice is no justice, and sea bed mining beckons doesn't it Shane?

      We need Government Funding of Elections, and no funds from Lobbyists.

      • Ad 9.1.1

        Alternatively we need parties that can work in common interest with business, because that's what keeps us employed.

        There is no way our tax dollars should be funding political parties by state taxation. Parties we oppose would benefit from money we earn.

        • Funny Ad how "Business expects different rights to all others", yet tries to say they are democratic. They are part of the greed cycle, and use their purchasing power to buy influence. Excess banking supermarket and landlord profits causing sway.

          Your point about employment. We have just seen the biggest employer being forced to shed 4500* workers, with huge downstream effects on associated employment and tax take, to the point Niccola Willis is crying poor while exacerbating the position.

          We taxpayers supply money to do many other things for equity, why not for political parties, and eliminate the huge weight of the lobby money on the scales?

          Then perhaps we would get more "working together", rather than garnering money and influence from abroad. (Atlas anyone?)

        • mac1 9.1.1.2

          Speaking philosophically, there is a role for parties that we might individually oppose in our system. Their role is to keep their opposition honest with their questioning and their challenges. Even the party I prefer (which was hijacked back in FPP days.)

          I would feel unhappy with even my preferred party being in unchallenged power, as the unprincipled would move in to first share and then take over power within that party.

          That was what FPP was like. Two big parties that were coalitions where people who did not share some basic ideals came in and took power.

          Just look at where politicians went, after MMP came in, having left their 'original' party- the so-called 'waka-jumpers'.

          At least where they went, and some are in politics still, means they and their policies and beliefs are more apparent and able to be opposed.

          Who are these policians now? Shane Jones, Winston Peters. Who were former waka jumping MPs- Anderton, Ross, Douglas, Quigley. Dunne, Shirley, and others.

          Under MMP at least we can see where the current craziness comes from in this latest coalition.

          Ad, you also say that parties need to be able to work in common interest with 'business'.

          However, business is not a single entity with common ideals. My father was a Labour supporting, small business man, a corner grocer, whose living was usurped by large corporations- there was a huge difference in practice, morality, and social benefit between the two versions of 'business.'

          "Common interest' is your key word, and mine also, but what they are and how they are served is way under threat now.

          It's why we need strong parties now, with large memberships, that might keep the politicians and their policies in line with our common interest, rather than be susceptible to corruption, sociopaths and crazies……

        • Incognito 9.1.1.3

          I’m assuming that the comment wasn’t 100% serious.

          Anyway, political parties already receive state (public) funding.

          The Independent Electoral Review Panel devoted a good 60 pages (a whole Chapter) to Political Finance in its report. https://www.justice.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Publications/Independent-Electoral-Review-Final-Report-November-2023.pdf

          In summary, the Panel recommended a tweaking of the current mix of private and state funding. Specifically, it recommended on pg. 357/358:

          R75. Increasing state funding by:

          1. providing registered political parties with per-vote funding on a sliding scale
          2. providing registered political parties with base funding of $15,000 per year
          3. providing tax credits for people who make donations of up to $1,000 per year
          4. establishing a new fund – Te Pūtea Whakangāwari Kōrero ā-Tiriti / Treaty Facilitation Fund – to facilitate political party and candidate engagement with Māori communities
          5. expanding the purpose of the Election Access Fund to include applications by political parties to meet accessibility needs in their campaigns
          6. establishing an independent fiscal institution to provide costings of registered political party policies at their request.
          • Ad 9.1.1.3.1

            Honestly they should get nothing. Not one $.

            I don't mind paying for election staff and machinery and vote advertising about where to vote, but for the rest of it – including those recommendations except maybe (e) – they should be funded by donors.

            The rest is just fingers on the scale.

            • ghostwhowalksnz 9.1.1.3.1.1

              Thats myopic. Just means that National ACT and NZ first will wallow in corporate money ( they already do) and Labour Greens and TPM will get peanuts.

              Even MPs support staff essentially work on their MPs profile in media and community events.

              Ministers have an office full of people to push their party and ministers agenda- they cant 'campaign' but its still soft campaigning which is far more effective anyway

              • Belladonna

                Even MPs support staff essentially work on their MPs profile in media and community events.

                Even though this is strictly forbidden? IIRC, that was one of Sharma's complaints, that his staff were tasked to work on party business, rather than the electorate work they should have been doing.

        • SPC 9.1.1.4

          Even the USA has a measure to limit the power of money – matching funds.

  10. SPC 10

    Some would say it is based on

    The Invisible Doctrine: The Secret History of Neoliberalism (& How It Came to Control Your Life) by George Monbiot.

    A war of society as something people are part of as equals,

    • SPC 10.1

      A classic of the kind.

      A Bill re-introducing 90-day no-cause terminations for periodic tenancies has passed its first reading this week.

      Bishop said: "There are going to be scumbag landlords out there, fully appreciate that. And they should have the law thrown at them.

      Words not backed by anything the government is doing.

      "I think it is a pro-landlord and a pro-tenant policy. I think it will lead to more landlords entering the market and ultimately that's a good thing for tenants," Bishop said.

      Increasing the share of property owned by landlords does not mean security of affordable tenure.

      But officials weren't so sure.

      One paper prepared by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development said that, "while the benefit to landlords is clear, the degree to which this option will improve rental supply is uncertain".

      "This option will also significantly reduce tenants' actual and perceived security of tenure."

      Obviously, but such advisors may not last long under this government though.

      But Sue Harrison, president of the New Zealand Property Investors Federation, said good tenants shouldn't need to worry.

      "[Landlords] are not going to get rid of good tenants. There is no way that's what's going to happen. It is going to be the people who is causing them serious stress and issues."

      They can do that with fault. No fault evictions can occur to anyone whenever a landlord wants to test the market for how much of an increase in rent they can get.

      The legislation also reduces the notice period landlords and tenants must give when ending periodic tenancies

      Of course it does.

      https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2024/05/concern-government-policy-will-make-renting-more-insecure.html

      • Mike the Lefty 10.1.1

        This bill is National's payment for massive support and donations by landlords' groups for the previous election.

  11. John 11

    Great to see we now have a Government that does things.

    [A troll never changes its spots, i.e., you haven’t learned anything from your last foray in the sin bin. I stand by my 100-day plan for you, bye-bye – Incognito]

  12. John 12

    No things that are good for all New Zealanders.

  13. Reality 13

    John, "things that are good for all New Zealanders"? What is "good" about David Seymour saying "good" when commenting on all the public sector job losses? People who have mortgages, rent to pay, children to care for. That is to quote just one aspect of this government's Thatcherism. Such cold, inhuman lack of concern by this government for the effect on people's lives with their policies. While landlords are going to get billions, Bill English $500,000 for a report. Luxon wanting $56,000 to live in his own apartment because he is "entitled to his entitlements". The mind truly boggles.

  14. tWig 14

    Where's traveller when you want a right-wing think tank POV from them? Noticeably quiet at this post.

  15. thinker 15

    Good article, but it misses and important point…

    …we are only into May of the first year of office.

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    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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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 ...
    3 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 ...
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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 ...
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    1 week ago
  • Putin would be proud of them
    A Prime Minister directs his public service to inquire into the actions of the opposition political party which is his harshest critic. Something from Orban's Hungary, or Putin's Russia? No, its happening right here in Aotearoa: Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced the Public Service Commission will launch an ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths
    This is a repost from a Yale Climate Connections article by SueEllen Campbell published on June 3, 2024. The articles listed can help you tell fact from fiction when it comes to solar and wind energy. Some statements you hear about solar and wind energy are just plain false. ...
    1 week ago
  • Juggernaut
    Politics were going on all around us yesterday, and we barely noticed, rolling along canal paths, eating baguettes. It wasn’t until my mate got to the headlines last night that we learned there had been a dismayingly strong far right result in the EU elections and Macron had called a ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Numbers Game.
    Respect Existence, Or Expect Resistance? There may well have been 50,000 pairs of feet “Marching For Nature” down Auckland’s Queen Street on Saturday afternoon, but the figure that impresses the Coalition Government is the 1,450,000 pairs of Auckland feet that were somewhere else.IN THE ERA OF DRONES and Artificial Intelligence, ...
    1 week ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on post-colonial blowback.
    Selwyn Manning and I discuss varieties of post colonial blowback and the implications its has for the rise of the Global South. Counties discussed include Palestine/Israel, France/New Caledonia, England/India, apartheid/post-apartheid South Africa and post-colonial New Zealand. It is a bit … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Policy by panic
    Back in March, Ombudsman Peter Boshier resigned when he hit the statutory retirement age of 72, leaving the country in the awkward (and legally questionable) position of having him continue as a temporay appointee. It apparently took the entire political system by surprise - as evinced by Labour's dick move ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • PSA: NZ's Richest Company, Zuru, Sucks
    Hi,Today the New Zealand press is breathlessly reporting that the owners of toy company Zuru are officially New Zealand’s wealthiest people: Mat and Nick Mowbray worth an estimated $20 billion between them.While the New Zealand press loses its shit celebrating this Kiwi success story, this is a Webworm reminder that ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 10
    TL;DR: The six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty in the past day to 8:36 pm on Monday, June 10 were:20,000 protested against the Fast-track approval bill on Saturday in Auckland, but PM Christopher Luxon says ‘sorry, but not sorry’ about the need for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week 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
    4 hours 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
    4 hours 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
    6 hours 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
    13 hours 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
    21 hours 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
    22 hours 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
    24 hours 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    3 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days ago
  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
    The coalition Government is boosting funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide more help to farmers and growers under pressure, Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson announced today. “A strong and thriving agricultural sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy and one of the ways to support it is to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Latest data shows size of public service decreasing
    Spending on contractors and consultants continues to fall and the size of the Public Service workforce has started to decrease after years of growth, according to the latest data released today by the Public Service Commission. Workforce data for the quarter from 31 December 23 to 31 March 24 shows ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Speech to the Law Association
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