What really matters this election – poverty

Written By: - Date published: 11:50 am, September 30th, 2023 - 38 comments
Categories: child abuse, child welfare, crime, Economy, labour, national, poverty, prisons, same old national, Social issues - Tags:

This week National’s cruel beneficiary bashing inclinations came to the fore.

It announced a three strike styled sanction regime on beneficiaries who break new rules.

Possible repercussions include money management by the use of electronic cards and benefit reductions.

To add to this National is changing the way that benefits are calculated.  One of the things that Labour has done is to index benefits to average wage increases.

Previously benefits, apart from superannuation were indexed to the rate of inflation.  As society changes and gets more complex this means that beneficiaries gradually become worse off.

National chose to not upset a core part of its voter base, superannuants, by not applying the change to them.

But to all other beneficiaries it has decided to undo one policy that the Children’s Commissioner urged the Government to adopt, and it is a policy that has made a significant contribution to the 77,000 fewer kids living in poverty that this Government has achieved.

The savings over four years is in the vicinity of $2 billion.  National’s proposed restoration of interest deductibility for landlords will, according to its estimates cost about the same.  Fancy taking money off the poorest of us to give more money to landlords.

If you want to get an appreciation how cruel and heartless National’s announcements are can I urge you to read this piece by John Campbell.

He mentions Professor Richie Poulton who has been the director of the Dunedin Longitudinal Study since 2000 and who was asked about what was the most important thing for a happy and healthy life.

From Campbell’s article:

I asked Professor Poulton whether the study has shown if there’s one thing in childhood, perhaps above all others, that steepens the climb to a healthy and happy adult life?

“Poverty,” he said.

“What was most important about that original finding,” Richie Poulton told me, “was that you can’t really undo what happens during childhood. So the experience of intense or regular poverty is long lasting.”

Anyone familiar with Richie Poulton knows his capacity to describe the science of Dunedin’s longitudinal study in terms that are richly human. But on that August afternoon, he was making it political, too.

“This is where my research enters the personal fray,” he said. “This election is not going to be focused on children in poverty, because we’re bored of that. We’re tired of that. We’re sick of that. We’ve tried that, haven’t we? Have we tried that?

Yet, what do we need to address really importantly, really importantly? he asked, as if out beyond the waves now, looking back to a fading shore. And he answered his own question with a single word. “Poverty.”

Campbell then draws a link between crime and poverty that is that strong and that clear that it is appalling that National do not get it.

In December 2016, Richie Poulton and the Dunedin Study put out a media release headlined: CHILDHOOD DISADVANTAGE STRONGLY PREDICTS COSTLY ADULT LIFE-COURSE OUTCOMES. (The caps were theirs, but they feel appropriate.)

The study has been responsible for so many pieces of work – so many other studies. But this one feels so important, now.

The findings from the Dunedin study’s data had been published in Nature Human Behaviour.

Read this. Please.

“We integrated multiple nationwide administrative databases and electronic medical records with the four-decade-long Dunedin birth cohort study to test child-to-adult prediction in a different way, using a population-segmentation approach. A segment comprising 22% of the cohort accounted for 36% of the cohort’s injury insurance claims; 40% of excess obese kilograms; 54% of cigarettes smoked; 57% of hospital nights; 66% of welfare benefits; 77% of fatherless child-rearing; 78% of prescription fills; and 81% of criminal convictions.”

Twenty-two percent of the cohort – 81 percent of criminal convictions.

And if experiencing “intense or regular poverty” in childhood increases likelihood of criminality later in life, we may actually have achieved the remarkable perversity of having economic policies that create the disadvantage we then spend election campaigns arguing over how best to punish the consequences of.

I can speak with quite a unique perspective.  I have been a lawyer for young offenders out west since the 1980s.  I am at the stage now where I fairly regularly act for the children of earlier clients.  I have the dubious distinction of having acted for a number of ram raiders.  I know these kids and I know their parents.  I have read the reports on them and I have discussed with them what has happened and why it happened.

There are a number of contributions to what has caused them to act in the way they have but poverty is the overwhelming common feature.  It has badly affected their parents and their ability to be parents.  It badly affects the kids themselves.  Through inadequate housing and income it affects their education, their health, their confidence and their view of their place in the world.

Campbell and Poulton are right.  If you want to do something about crime do something about poverty.

National’s move, to make beneficiaries poorer and at the same time to increase funding for prisons is logical but callous.  It does not need to be this way.  If you want to avoid the dystopian future offered by National then vote to keep them out.

And I understand that progressives are disappointed with Labour for not having done enough.  But 77,000 fewer kids in poverty is something to celebrate not belittle.

And in a multitude of areas Labour has worked to improve the plight of those affected by poverty, especially the poor.

There are a whole lot of kids out there whose futures are riding on this election.  Vote wisely.

38 comments on “What really matters this election – poverty ”

  1. bwaghorn 1

    National punishing kids for the sins of their parents, parents who probably suffered the same punishment in their youth.

  2. ianmac 2

    This sums it all up so well: From above

    And if experiencing “intense or regular poverty” in childhood increases likelihood of criminality later in life, we may actually have achieved the remarkable perversity of having economic policies that create the disadvantage we then spend election campaigns arguing over how best to punish the consequences of.

    • Roy Cartland 2.1

      It's much cheaper to prevent poverty and crime than it is to deal with it. Cheaper for society (or community) that is, but it doesn't create 'value' for any shareholders. You can't make money off it.

      • Colin 2.1.1

        Actually, with increased privatisation, making a profit from increased crime and poverty would probably be a thing – a government paid for thing which means a government guaranteed profit.

        It'd be just like the private suppliers that WINZ used to 'teach' people how to look for work. They didn't actually teach people anything or help them in any way but they did get paid quite well.

    • Tony Veitch 2.2

      I'm not a bible reader, but I recall, I think, from my much earlier days, something about the sins of the fathers being revisited on the children and the children's children.

      Which old testament philosophy would sit well with an evangelical fundamentalist like Luxon and so many of his party!

  3. Barfly 3

    The evil of Ruth Richardson's actions – still continuing to deliver societal blight decades later.

  4. PsyclingLeft.Always 4

    This week National’s cruel beneficiary bashing inclinations came to the fore.

    They describe this as "love" ? !

    National says traffic light policy for beneficiaries driven by 'love'

    And Nat Louise..Upston with some fkn reckon !

    Its social development spokesperson Louise Upston told Checkpoint on Tuesday the sanctions could be "effective in encouraging movement from benefits to work".

    She said one employer had told her a person showed up for an interview in their pyjamas.

    "Their view was that person was not actively or seriously seeking a job with their business," she told host Lisa Owen.

    She would not reveal who the employer was, and acknowledged she had not independently verified their story.


    The Nats..so called "love", kinda puts me in mind of the bully thugs who have love..and hate, tatted on their fist knuckles.

    If those Nat creeps (and ACT, who will be even more vicious)..gain power…the "love" flurry punches will be followed by the hate knockout.

    Cmon Left…we must stop them !

    • Barfly 4.1

      "National says traffic light policy for beneficiaries driven by 'love' "

      Heh – driven by the National Party's love of sadism IMO.

  5. When Christopher Luxon said infamously, "We don't want bottom feeders", a picture of a Feudal Lord came to mind.

    The Lord sitting at his table along with his chief cohorts "above the salt. "

    The selected others "below the salt".

    The so called "bottom feeders" taking the thrown scraps with no salt from the straw covered ground. The despised get "the trickle down".

    Now National's budget says the rich can let their dogs in to take some of the scraps in the straw first. Wow!!! just bloody wow.!!!

    We have to vote to beat their destructive plans. Come on the Left, otherwise this will create another desperate generation.

  6. SPC 6

    The deliberate choice to make both beneficiaries and workers poorer

    1.Beneficiaries. $2B savings, so they can count.

    2.MW workers to be made poorer, increases zero or lower than CPI increases – ACT wants the MW frozen for 3 years and National wants to increase them minimally.

    3.No FPA or industry awards that would raise the wages of those bottom half of workers (those below the median) offered a risible $10 a week tax cut – IETC adjustment).

    4.Even those above the median wage – who get $25 a week in tax cuts – $15 + the IETC would note that it is less than the rent increases they face each year and the $25 is all it is for the entire 3 years. And those who own are facing large rates and water cost increases in Auckland (because they are at their borrowing cap and cannot offload their water asset debts unless Three Waters goes ahead)

    Everyone renting would do better to have just one Green Party policy applied – a 3% pa rent increase cap delivers more benefit than the tax cuts over the 3 years.

    With the MW increases and FPA industry award policy of Labour alone, there is more to be realised by the government continuing for another 3 years.

    If the electorate votes otherwise, we will have to face a certain reality, some people vote their racism and their class to hold others down beneath them, And these are not well off wealthy privileged people.

    Things left undone

    Windfall profits tax – who benefits from larger margins on food price rises and mortgage rate increases … (obviously those who own shares in companies based in Oz)

    Borrow and make better the National Party policy of a stamp duty on houses worth over $2m, but have it at 5% (the Oz rate at this level of value) and apply it to domestic buyers – and continue the ban on foreigners.

    Announcing that the government will look at restoring an estate tax – at over $2-4M.

    24/36 OECD nations have one of these (it's nearly as popular as a common sense in a modern democracy as the 35 who have a CGT – we have the bright line test up to 10 years).

    It's time for Hipkins to chip in and demonstrate he can lead a progressive government – the polls indicate that part of the loss in support is a concern that Labour has lost its egalitarian vision. Once this happens it becomes a class contest and sometimes the middle class wants to just cut the burden and look out for themselves (and they do get played by fears about the underclass and Maouri being favoured by Labour). This on top of the post pandemic stress to release and the cost of living roadblock in the way is leading people to risk self harm of a NACT government because of the assurances of grifters who sense an opportunity to further their privilege. They prey on people when they are weak …

  7. That_guy 7

    So tax me, Chippy. Tax me and end child poverty. Until you do I’m voting Green.

    90 % Wonderful article from JC and I hope it resonates. There’s a bit in there that is yet more evidence that certain issues won’t be available for serious discussion this election cycle or until the lawsuits start and/or people actually listen to women, but whatever. I’ll take it at this stage, because the rest is excellent.

  8. barry 8

    National have costed the saving of $2Billion on benefits, but they haven't accounted for the increase in numbers on benefits due to their austerity measures.

    6% reduction in public service spend results in the loss of thousands of jobs directly and many more indirectly. Plus the PS is not being able to do the jobs the jobs they currently do, put costs onto other people which reduces the amount they can spend. Austerity is a big drag on the economy, and it takes years for the economy to recover. Austerity takes a small recession and turns it into a large, long lasting one.

    The total spend on benefits would be greater under National than it would be under Labour.

    • mickysavage 8.2

      Their calculation of increased incarceration costs was based on changes they clearly intend to make to sentencing laws. My take is that the benefit cuts by themselves will cost a huge amount.

      As Bill English said, prisons are a moral and fiscal failure. Shame his view no longer carrys any weight in National.

  9. Ad 9

    +1000 Mickey and hats off to your professional defences of the criminalised poor.

    Not enough of you in this world.

    The campaign fight is always worth it.

  10. Hunter Thompson II 10

    Recently I watched a Youtube doco about homelessness in Vancouver, BC.

    Pretty depressing stuff, as many of the people in the downtown tent city were wasted on drugs. It seems fentanyl is the main narcotic used. Violent crime had also increased markedly.

    I don't think that the drug has arrived here to any extent, although it surfaced among Wairarapa drug users last year (they thought they were given meth).

    The effects will be dire if fentanyl becomes common; it is many times more powerful than heroin. One reformed heroin addict reckoned it would be impossible to kick a fentanyl habit.

    • Tricledrown 10.1

      It's here and doctors are over prescribing it. But nothing like the scale US doctors were pushed by big pharma many of these corporate criminals were nothing more than a drug cartel exploiting their massive power to avoid jail time and bankruptcy having all their assets seized and locked up for the murder of 100's of thousands of preventable deaths of everyday law abiding citizens getting hooked on Fentanyl.

    • newsense 10.2

      Kid died at a festival because of it iirc? Very nasty potent mess of a drug.

  11. Johnr 11

    Mickey, I've followed you for some time, and I value your thoughts. You talk good shit, keep on keeping on.

  12. Tricledrown 12

    The community spirit of NZ has been ground down by a selfish pursuit lifestyle where inanimate objects have become more important than our fellow human beings!

  13. newsense 13

    Well said Mickey!

    When asked about the evidence for his policy working Luxon said ‘I think it does.’ Yesterday more than 60% of kiwis polled said it mattered if National could pay for their tax policy.

    When they see a tax policy that is made up, so much punishment of the poor and ACT stealing our summer, among many other bizarre cuts Kiwis will take another look left and many will decide to stand with good kiwis like yourself.

    Please get out volunteering for a party on the left, take a friend, get out the vote- get everyone enrolled and make sure they vote…It’s not over yet.

  14. Wei 14

    In the end poverty is eliminated by heaving a flourishing and growing economy.

    Yep, change the taxation regime so that the rich pay their fair share. But in the end that constraints on national wealth is national output.

    Yet many on the left hate farmers, are against oil and gas exploration, are lukewarm about the international student market, tourism etc. In the end the most important determinant of a country's wealth is how much we money we can bring in through the front door, like any other business. That is where our priorities should lie.

    And in the end that wealth does trickle down, not as much as many would like but it does trickle down somewhat at least. Afterall we all benefit from living in what is still a first world country.

    • Barfly 14.1

      "Yet many on the left hate farmers"

      I disagree and would say that many on the left hate the polluters not the farmers.

      "are against oil and gas exploration"

      My understanding is that to avoid absolutely catastrophic climate change the world can't afford to extract all the aleady known reserves of gas and oil let alone identify more of it to destroy ourselves with.

      "are lukewarm about the international student market"

      I am against corrupting our immigration legislation to give profit to private 'education' providers who supply garbage courses to exploit the desperate 'customers' who come to New Zealand to work for money as supermarket shelf stackers et cetera.

      "And in the end that wealth does trickle down"

      I have read that the "bottom" 50 % of New Zealanders collectively own 2% of the wealth of the country. So I consider that claim to be utter bullshit.

    • Mike the Lefty 14.2
      1. There is no war on farmers – this is just National Party hyperbole
      1. The most important determinant of a country's wealth is how the wealth is distributed.
      2. Wealth does not trickle down, this is pure fantasy dreamed up by the rich to justify their wealth.

      If your priorities are what you say they are, then "pied piper" Seymour is the bloke you should be following, and don't blame anyone else when you find he has led you dancing and singing into the depths.

    • roblogic 14.3

      In the end the most important determinant of a country's wealth is how much we money we can bring in through the front door, like any other business. That is where our priorities should lie.

      This tired old line is a false analogy.. Sounds reasonable. But it's quite inaccurate, both fiscally and morally. Our wealth is much greater than a singular small minded number like GDP. The wealth of a nation is in its people, its values, and its natural ecosystems.

      What kind of business can print money, set laws, run an army, or imprison people? Much different from the constraints on the average business.

      (Yes some multinationals like BlackRock have this sort of power – which is quite dangerous to democracy IMO)

      Not to mention the fact that Labour governments have a better economic record than National – look it up. Spending into the economy stimulates growth. Austerity and cuts take us backwards

      An economy is a complex beast, it is sad that the right wing relies on false analogies & silly metaphors. However Kate Raworth's 'Doughnut Economics' model is one of the more thoughtful and accessible introductions to broader systems thinking than the small minded (chicago school) economists

      National voters seem to think we can’t afford to fix poverty – that is a filthy lie and an immoral choice to punish vulnerable people for their misfotunes.

    • roblogic 14.4

      It would be nice if you could provide evidence for some of your outlandish claims about the economy, the government's supposed hatred of farmers, and trickle down theory.

      As it stands your comment is just baseless RW propaganda

    • Colin 14.5
      1. A country is not a business and thus doesn't actually need foreign income
      2. The massive amount of pollution in our waterways is proof that the countries farms have gone beyond the lands ability to support them
      3. The decreasing fish stocks are proof that fishing is beyond what the seas can support
      4. The several hundred people that die early deaths due to pollution in Auckland alone is proof that we're burning hydro-carbons beyond the ability of the atmosphere to support it

      Significant evidence shows that we, as a country, are living beyond our means and its all driven by the profit motive.

      And I don't have any issue with looking for oil and gas exploration – I just don't think that it should be burnt once its been brought up which kinda puts a damper on selling it.

      • pat 14.5.1
        1. A country is not a business and thus doesn't actually need foreign income.

        It does if it wants access to the trading system that underpins international transactions…..probably what the overwhelming majority of kiwis desire as we dont produce hardly any of the products we desire/need….therein lies the problem.

      • Belladonna 14.5.2

        A country is not a business and thus doesn't actually need foreign income

        While this may be arguably true in theory, it fails the practical test immediately.

        NZ imports virtually all of the infrastructure, and the tools to build the infrastructure, which keep us as a first world country, rather than emulating Venezuela.

        Do you really think that you (and everyone in your family/community) can do without things like: medical drugs, medical technology, communications infrastructure, computer chips (both high end, and basic), batteries, even mechanical spare parts.

        While it might be possible to manufacture some of what we import – it would be neither quick to transition, nor cost-effective. And many components are simply not possible to source from within NZ (Lithium for batteries, for example)

        All of those imports, require a level of exports to pay for them. And, no, the countries which supply them aren't going to take kumbaya in exchange.

        • Colin

          While it might be possible to manufacture some of what we import – it would be neither quick to transition, nor cost-effective. And many components are simply not possible to source from within NZ (Lithium for batteries, for example)

          1. It most definitely is possible to make everything that we import using locally sourced resources. As far as I can make out, it would actually be more sustainable.
          2. Some 500 tonnes of lithium is washed down the Waikato every year from geothermal power generation. And, of course, we do have a lot of sea water within our borders as well.
          3. The pricing system is there to ensure that resources aren't wasted and that a country lives within its means (this is actually the main reason for a floating exchange rate) and yet, as I said, there's a lot of evidence to show that we're living beyond ours mostly in pollution and declining resources brought about by our present import/export model.

          Instead of continuing to do what we were doing in the 19th century we need to look to the future and shifting to a sustainable economy.

          • pat

            Which ignores the major resource we dont possess…the time/energy/labour/expertise to convert those scarce physical resources into useful/desired products at the required scale

          • Belladonna

            I think you are confusing what is available in trace amounts, with what is able to be commercially extracted. Lithium is only one example. Cobalt, rare elements (needed for chip manufacture amongst other uses), the list goes on. NZ certainly doesn't have extractable quantities of most elements.

            And the willingness of New Zealanders to tolerate mass factories. Given the NIMBY reactions to on-shore wind farms – what do you think the reaction would be to a massive increase in mining or manufacture?

            Perhaps you could kick in with which imported products 'we' should do without?

            Easy ones are things like clothes and shoes – which are certainly possible to manufacture here. Though we might have to be satisfied with wool and leather, rather than cotton and plastic-derivatives. Have you considered that the cost would put new clothes and shoes out of the reach of many Kiwis? And that we'd be going right back to the protectionist days of the mid-20th century (tariffs on imports, captive market for NZ companies).

            But, much more difficult to do without computer chips (which NZ doesn't have a hope in hell of manufacturing), and drugs. Most people are not willing to let family members die, in order to follow a philosophical self-sufficiency pathway.

            Try spending a day or so, looking at everything that you and your family use – and figure out how you would replace it – from resources only available in NZ.

  15. Mike the Lefty 15

    National seeks to keep its REAL agenda hidden from the voting public by basking in its default populism of being tough on crime, tough on gangs, tough on benefit fraud, etc. with the quiet nodding approval of the corporate lunches wealthy rural townie brigade, otherwise known as the "squeezed middle class".

    National's (with the enthusiastic support of ACT) real agenda is to stick it to the poor and the disadvantaged. Examples are reinstating the odious 90-day job dismissal act, reinstating the rights of landlords to be feudal squires, allowing loan sharks to once again make money off the vulnerable.

    And the most impressive policy of all: National will REDUCE the cost of living!

    Who wouldn't vote for a party that promises to REDUCE the cost of living?

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    The fear and loathing among legacy journalists is astonishing Graham Adams writes – No one is going to die wondering how some of the nation’s most influential journalists personally view the new National-led government. It has become abundantly clear within a few days of the coalition agreements ...
    Point of OrderBy gadams1000
    2 days ago
  • Top 10 news links for Wednesday, Nov 29
    TL;DR: Here’s my pick of top 10 news links elsewhere for Wednesday November 29, including:The early return of interest deductibility for landlords could see rebates paid on previous taxes and the cost increase to $3 billion from National’s initial estimate of $2.1 billion, CTU Economist Craig Renney estimated here last ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • Smokefree Fallout and a High Profile Resignation.
    The day after being sworn in the new cabinet met yesterday, to enjoy their honeymoon phase. You remember, that period after a new government takes power where the country, and the media, are optimistic about them, because they haven’t had a chance to stuff anything about yet.Sadly the nuptials complete ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 days ago
  • As Cabinet revs up, building plans go on hold
    Wellington Council hoardings proclaim its preparations for population growth, but around the country councils are putting things on hold in the absence of clear funding pathways for infrastructure, and despite exploding migrant numbers. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Cabinet meets in earnest today to consider the new Government’s 100-day ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • National takes over infrastructure
    Though New Zealand First may have had ambitions to run the infrastructure portfolios, National would seem to have ended up firmly in control of them.  POLITIK has obtained a private memo to members of Infrastructure NZ yesterday, which shows that the peak organisation for infrastructure sees  National MPs Chris ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    2 days ago
  • At a glance – Evidence for global 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 ...
    3 days ago
  • Who’s Driving The Right-Wing Bus?
    Who’s At The Wheel? The electorate’s message, as aggregated in the polling booths on 14 October, turned out to be a conservative political agenda stronger than anything New Zealand has seen in five decades. In 1975, Bill Rowling was run over by just one bus, with Rob Muldoon at the wheel. In ...
    3 days ago
  • Sanity break
    Cheers to reader Deane for this quote from Breakfast TV today:Chloe Swarbrick to Brook van Velden re the coalition agreement: “... an unhinged grab-bag of hot takes from your drunk uncle at Christmas”Cheers also to actual Prime Minister of a country Christopher Luxon for dorking up his swearing-in vows.But that's enough ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    3 days ago
  • Sanity break
    Cheers to reader Deane for this quote from Breakfast TV today:Chloe Swarbrick to Brook van Velden re the coalition agreement: “... an unhinged grab-bag of hot takes from your drunk uncle at Christmas”Cheers also to actual Prime Minister of a country Christopher Luxon for dorking up his swearing-in vows.But that's enough ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    3 days ago
  • National’s murderous smoking policy
    One of the big underlying problems in our political system is the prevalence of short-term thinking, most usually seen in the periodic massive infrastructure failures at a local government level caused by them skimping on maintenance to Keep Rates Low. But the new government has given us a new example, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • NZ has a chance to rise again as our new government gets spending under control
    New Zealand has  a chance  to  rise  again. Under the  previous  government, the  number of New Zealanders below the poverty line was increasing  year by year. The Luxon-led government  must reverse that trend – and set about stabilising  the  pillars  of the economy. After the  mismanagement  of the outgoing government created   huge ...
    Point of OrderBy tutere44
    3 days ago
  • KARL DU FRESNE: Media and the new government
    Two articles by Karl du Fresne bring media coverage of the new government into considerations.  He writes –    Tuesday, November 28, 2023 The left-wing media needed a line of attack, and they found one The left-wing media pack wasted no time identifying the new government’s weakest point. Seething over ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    3 days ago
  • PHILIP CRUMP:  Team of rivals – a CEO approach to government leadership
    The work begins Philip Crump wrote this article ahead of the new government being sworn in yesterday – Later today the new National-led coalition government will be sworn in, and the hard work begins. At the core of government will be three men – each a leader ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    3 days ago
  • Black Friday
    As everyone who watches television or is on the mailing list for any of our major stores will confirm, “Black Friday” has become the longest running commercial extravaganza and celebration in our history. Although its origins are obscure (presumably dreamt up by American salesmen a few years ago), it has ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    3 days ago
  • In Defense of the Media.
    Yesterday the Ministers in the next government were sworn in by our Governor General. A day of tradition and ceremony, of decorum and respect. Usually.But yesterday Winston Peters, the incoming Deputy Prime Minister, and Foreign Minister, of our nation used it, as he did with the signing of the coalition ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • Top 10 news links at 10 am for Tuesday, Nov 28
    Nicola Willis’ first move was ‘spilling the tea’ on what she called the ‘sobering’ state of the nation’s books, but she had better be able to back that up in the HYEFU. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Here’s my pick of top 10 news links elsewhere at 10 am ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • PT use up but fare increases coming
    Yesterday Auckland Transport were celebrating, as the most recent Sunday was the busiest Sunday they’ve ever had. That’s a great outcome and I’m sure the ...
    3 days ago
  • The very opposite of social investment
    Nicola Willis (in blue) at the signing of the coalition agreement, before being sworn in as both Finance Minister and Social Investment Minister. National’s plan to unwind anti-smoking measures will benefit her in the first role, but how does it stack up from a social investment viewpoint? Photo: Lynn Grieveson ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Giving Tuesday
    For the first time "in history" we decided to jump on the "Giving Tuesday" bandwagon in order to make you aware of the options you have to contribute to our work! Projects supported by Skeptical Science Inc. Skeptical Science Skeptical Science is an all-volunteer organization but ...
    4 days ago
  • Let's open the books with Nicotine Willis
    Let’s say it’s 1984,and there's a dreary little nation at the bottom of the Pacific whose name rhymes with New Zealand,and they've just had an election.Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, will you look at the state of these books we’ve opened,cries the incoming government, will you look at all this mountain ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: Stopping oil
    National is promising to bring back offshore oil and gas drilling. Naturally, the Greens have organised a petition campaign to try and stop them. You should sign it - every little bit helps, and as the struggle over mining conservation land showed, even National can be deterred if enough people ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Don’t accept Human Rights Commission reading of data on Treaty partnership – read the survey fin...
    Wellington is braced for a “massive impact’ from the new government’s cutting public service jobs, The Post somewhat grimly reported today. Expectations of an economic and social jolt are based on the National-Act coalition agreement to cut public service numbers in each government agency in a cost-trimming exercise  “informed by” head ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    4 days ago
  • The stupidest of stupid reasons
    One of the threats in the National - ACT - NZ First coalition agreements was to extend the term of Parliament to four years, reducing our opportunities to throw a bad government out. The justification? Apparently, the government thinks "elections are expensive". This is the stupidest of stupid reasons for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A website bereft of buzz
    Buzz from the Beehive The new government was being  sworn in, at time of writing , and when Point of Order checked the Beehive website for the latest ministerial statements and re-visit some of the old ones we drew a blank. We found ….  Nowt. Nothing. Zilch. Not a ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    4 days ago
  • MICHAEL BASSETT: A new Ministry – at last
    Michael Bassett writes – Like most people, I was getting heartily sick of all the time being wasted over the coalition negotiations. During the first three weeks Winston grinned like a Cheshire cat, certain he’d be needed; Chris Luxon wasted time in lifting the phone to Winston ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • Luxon's Breakfast.
    The Prime Minister elect had his silver fern badge on. He wore it to remind viewers he was supporting New Zealand, that was his team. Despite the fact it made him look like a concierge, or a welcomer in a Koru lounge. Anna Burns-Francis, the Breakfast presenter, asked if he ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • LINDSAY MITCHELL:  Oranga Tamariki faces major upheaval under coalition agreement
     Lindsay Mitchell writes – A hugely significant gain for ACT is somewhat camouflaged by legislative jargon. Under the heading ‘Oranga Tamariki’ ACT’s coalition agreement contains the following item:   Remove Section 7AA from the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 According to Oranga Tamariki:     “Section ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • BRIAN EASTON:  Peters as Minister
    A previous column looked at Winston Peters biographically. This one takes a closer look at his record as a minister, especially his policy record. Brian Easton writes – 1990-1991: Minister of Māori Affairs. Few remember Ka Awatea as a major document on the future of Māori policy; there is ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • Cathrine Dyer's guide to watching COP 28 from the bottom of a warming planet
    Is COP28 largely smoke and mirrors and a plan so cunning, you could pin a tail on it and call it a weasel? Photo: Getty ImagesTL;DR: COP28 kicks off on November 30 and up for negotiation are issues like the role of fossil fuels in the energy transition, contributions to ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Top 10 news links at 10 am for Monday, Nov 27
    PM Elect Christopher Luxon was challenged this morning on whether he would sack Adrian Orr and Andrew Coster.TL;DR: Here’s my pick of top 10 news links elsewhere at 10 am on Monday November 27, including:Signs councils are putting planning and capital spending on hold, given a lack of clear guidance ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the new government’s policies of yesteryear
    This column expands on a Werewolf column published by Scoop on Friday Routinely, Winston Peters is described as the kingmaker who gets to decide when the centre right or the centre-left has a turn at running this country. He also plays a less heralded but equally important role as the ...
    4 days ago
  • The New Government’s Agreements
    Last Friday, almost six weeks after election day, National finally came to an agreement with ACT and NZ First to form a government. They also released the agreements between each party and looking through them, here are the things I thought were the most interesting (and often concerning) from the. ...
    4 days ago
  • How many smokers will die to fund the tax cuts?
    Maori and Pasifika smoking rates are already over twice the ‘all adult’ rate. Now the revenue that generates will be used to fund National’s tax cuts. Photo: Getty ImagesTL;DR: The devil is always in the detail and it emerged over the weekend from the guts of the policy agreements National ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • How the culture will change in the Beehive
    Perhaps the biggest change that will come to the Beehive as the new government settles in will be a fundamental culture change. The era of endless consultation will be over. This looks like a government that knows what it wants to do, and that means it knows what outcomes ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • No More Winnie Blues.
    So what do you think of the coalition’s decision to cancel Smokefree measures intended to stop young people, including an over representation of Māori, from taking up smoking? Enabling them to use the tax revenue to give other people a tax cut?David Cormack summed it up well:It seems not only ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • 2023 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #47
    A chronological listing of news and opinion articles posted on the Skeptical Science  Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Nov 19, 2023 thru Sat, Nov 25, 2023.  Story of the Week World stands on frontline of disaster at Cop28, says UN climate chief  Exclusive: Simon Stiell says leaders must ‘stop ...
    5 days ago
  • Some of it is mad, some of it is bad and some of it is clearly the work of people who are dangerous ...
    On announcement morning my mate texted:Typical of this cut-price, fake-deal government to announce itself on Black Friday.What a deal. We lose Kim Hill, we gain an empty, jargonising prime minister, a belligerent conspiracist, and a heartless Ayn Rand fanboy. One door closes, another gets slammed repeatedly in your face.It seems pretty ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • “Revolution” is the threat as the Māori Party smarts at coalition government’s Treaty directi...
    Buzz from the Beehive Having found no fresh announcements on the government’s official website, Point of Order turned today to Scoop’s Latest Parliament Headlines  for its buzz. This provided us with evidence that the Māori Party has been soured by the the coalition agreement announced yesterday by the new PM. “Soured” ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    6 days ago
  • The Good, the Bad, and the even Worse.
    Yesterday the trio that will lead our country unveiled their vision for New Zealand.Seymour looking surprisingly statesmanlike, refusing to rise to barbs about his previous comments on Winston Peters. Almost as if they had just been slapstick for the crowd.Winston was mostly focussed on settling scores with the media, making ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • When it Comes to Palestine – Free Speech is Under Threat
    Hi,Thanks for getting amongst Mister Organ on digital — thanks to you, we hit the #1 doc spot on iTunes this week. This response goes a long way to helping us break even.I feel good about that. Other things — not so much.New Zealand finally has a new government, and ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • Thank you Captain Luxon. Was that a landing, or were we shot down?
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past week’s editions.Also in More Than A FeildingFriday The unboxing And so this is Friday and what have we gone and done to ourselves?In the same way that a Christmas present can look lovely under the ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • Cans of Worms.
    “And there’ll be no shortage of ‘events’ to test Luxon’s political skills. David Seymour wants a referendum on the Treaty. Winston wants a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Labour’s handling of the Covid crisis. Talk about cans of worms!”LAURIE AND LES were very fond of their local. It was nothing ...
    6 days ago
  • Disinformation campaigns are undermining democracy. Here’s how we can fight back
    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. Misinformation is debated everywhere and has justifiably sparked concerns. It can polarise the public, reduce health-protective behaviours such as mask wearing and vaccination, and erode trust in science. Much of misinformation is spread not ...
    6 days ago
  • Peters as Minister
    A previous column looked at Winston Peters biographically. This one takes a closer look at his record as a minister, especially his policy record.1990-1991: Minister of Māori Affairs. Few remember Ka Awatea as a major document on the future of Māori policy; there is not even an entry in Wikipedia. ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    7 days ago
  • The New Government: 2023 Edition
    So New Zealand has a brand-spanking new right-wing government. Not just any new government either. A formal majority coalition, of the sort last seen in 1996-1998 (our governmental arrangements for the past quarter of a century have been varying flavours of minority coalition or single-party minority, with great emphasis ...
    7 days ago
  • The unboxing
    And so this is Friday and what have we gone and done to ourselves?In the same way that a Christmas present can look lovely under the tree with its gold ribbon but can turn out to be nothing more than a big box holding a voucher for socks, so it ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    7 days ago
  • A cruel, vicious, nasty government
    So, after weeks of negotiations, we finally have a government, with a three-party cabinet and a time-sharing deputy PM arrangement. Newsroom's Marc Daalder has put the various coalition documents online, and I've been reading through them. A few things stand out: Luxon doesn't want to do any work, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Hurrah – we have a new government (National, ACT and New Zealand First commit “to deliver for al...
    Buzz from the Beehive Sorry, there has been  no fresh news on the government’s official website since the caretaker trade minister’s press statement about the European Parliament vote on the NZ-EU Free Trade Agreement. But the capital is abuzz with news – and media comment is quickly flowing – after ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    7 days ago
  • Christopher Luxon – NZ PM #42.
    Nothing says strong and stable like having your government announcement delayed by a day because one of your deputies wants to remind everyone, but mostly you, who wears the trousers. It was all a bit embarrassing yesterday with the parties descending on Wellington before pulling out of proceedings. There are ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Coalition Government details policies & ministers
    Winston Peters will be Deputy PM for the first half of the Coalition Government’s three-year term, with David Seymour being Deputy PM for the second half. Photo montage by Lynn Grieveson for The KākāTL;DR: PM-Elect Christopher Luxon has announced the formation of a joint National-ACT-NZ First coalition Government with a ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • “Old Coat” by Peter, Paul & Mary.
     THERE ARE SOME SONGS that seem to come from a place that is at once in and out of the world. Written by men and women who, for a brief moment, are granted access to that strange, collective compendium of human experience that comes from, and belongs to, all the ...
    1 week ago
  • Weekly Roundup 23-November-2023
    It’s Friday again! Maybe today we’ll finally have a government again. Roll into the weekend with some of the articles that caught our attention this week. And as always, feel free to add your links and observations in the comments. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday Matt ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    1 week ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: New Zealand’s strategy for COP28 in Dubai
    The COP28 countdown is on. Over 100 world leaders are expected to attend this year’s UN Climate Change Conference in in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which starts next Thursday. Among the VIPs confirmed for the Dubai summit are the UK’s Rishi Sunak and Brazil’s Lula da Silva – along ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    1 week ago

  • New Zealand welcomes European Parliament vote on the NZ-EU Free Trade Agreement
    A significant milestone in ratifying the NZ-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was reached last night, with 524 of the 705 member European Parliament voting in favour to approve the agreement. “I’m delighted to hear of the successful vote to approve the NZ-EU FTA in the European Parliament overnight. This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further humanitarian support for Gaza, the West Bank and Israel
    The Government is contributing a further $5 million to support the response to urgent humanitarian needs in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel, bringing New Zealand’s total contribution to the humanitarian response so far to $10 million. “New Zealand is deeply saddened by the loss of civilian life and the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago

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