What to do about poverty (and a suggestion to the media)

Written By: - Date published: 10:25 am, January 16th, 2016 - 40 comments
Categories: class war, journalism, poverty - Tags: , , , , ,

An excellent piece on poverty by Lizzie Marvelly in The Herald this morning:

The only debate is what to do about child poverty

Kiwi children are suffering right now. Believe it.

In a country where an unacceptable number of children live below the much-debated poverty line, we are becoming accustomed to hearing the lives of Kiwi kids and their families being thrown around as political hot potatoes.

While we can argue about poverty, its definition, origins, and how it is conceptualised until we’re blue in the face, such meaningless politicking does nothing to show people the reality of poverty. It certainly does nothing to feed the thousands of children who are going hungry.

Blaming parents living in poverty does absolutely nothing to put food into the tummies of hungry kids.

The idea that people living in poverty are somehow to blame for their fate is attractive if one wants to absolve oneself from any sense of responsibility, but it is a notion that I find deeply sad. When did we become so hardened and self-centred that we began to believe that those poorer than us deserve their suffering? When did we become so divorced from our own communities that we stopped caring about the families around us?

There are so many things we could do to make the lives of Kiwi kids better: feeding kids in school, bringing back a means-tested child benefit like the one scrapped in the “mother of all budgets”, requiring a warrant of fitness for rental properties to prevent children growing up in cold, damp, leaky houses, and simply helping out in our neighbourhoods.

The first step, however, is for us to look out into our communities and really see other people, to realise that even in the most privileged areas, poverty is just five minutes down the road. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s real.

Thank you Lizzie Marvelly. The headline to that piece poses a question – what to do about child poverty? In fact we already know the answer, and the answer is simple:

Giving cash to the poor is the best way to fix poverty

“Unconditional Cash Transfers work better than almost anyone would have expected. They dent the stereotype of poor people as inherently feckless and ignorant”.

This is the conclusion reached by The Economist in a feature on giving cash to the poor. It neatly summarises the evidence regarding what works best to improve the lives of the poor and strikes at the heart of the prejudices we hold about those in poverty.

The only time in recent years New Zealand reduced child poverty was when we gave cash to some poor via Working for Families. The fact is that everyone would be better off if we just gave poor parents the money. …

Giving poor people money alleviates poverty. Amazing! So let’s raise taxes on the rich and get on with it.


Footnote (I’m an academic, I love footnotes!) on a suggestion to the media. Almost everything you publish is a piece in isolation. There is a better way.

Take The Herald for example. You publish Marvelly’s piece on poverty today, just a week after (re)publishing Whyte’s excerable nonsense. If you had any kind of overview / foundation of established fact / ongoing context on the topic of poverty you wouldn’t be publishing such wildly inconsistent pieces (the Whyte article would have been rejected as the nonsense that it was).

Take climate change as another example, no responsible media should be publishing denier nonsense these days.

Now you (the responsible media) might say that you’re offering a range of opinions. But when some opinions are clearly and provably nonsense that excuse is just an abdication of responsibility. It’s laziness, clickbait, and harmful.

I guess I’m asking for context and sanity checking in the media. Fact-based narrative instead of isolated and inconsistent snippets. Harder work, but much better for everyone.

40 comments on “What to do about poverty (and a suggestion to the media)”

  1. weka 1

    Good punchy post r0b.

    Re the footnote, does this mean the standard will no longer be publishing comments that are AGW denialist or poverty denialist? I hope so (although I appreciate the work involved may not make that possible).

  2. Wayne 2

    This item by Anthony Robins seems more like a request for Herald censorship than having a contest of ideas. It seems that you would prefer that arguments and positions you don’t like not to be published.

    On climate change, while i accept that it is happening and is manmade, there does seems to be a genuine scientific debate about the rate of change. Surely a legitimate matter for the media to report.

    Whyte’s piece was clearly an headed as an opinion piece, and not from a regular Herald columnist. His basic idea, on the best way to measure poverty, is clearly not nonsense. There is a genuine debate about whether poverty should be measured on whether a child is deprived of things that we see as essential in New Zealand, or whether a percentage of average incomes will in essence give the same answer.

    If you disagree with his theme so strongly, submit your own item to the Herald.

    More broadly modern media in all its forms allows any views to be aired. Or should these debates be confined to new Media, and that old media be tightly regulated. Just writing that sentence shows the impossibility of that. I for instance subscribe to The Spectator. There would not be one view expressed in The Spectator that you would agree with.

    So what? That is what free speech means.

    • Paul 2.1

      You wouldn’t expect to see an article in the Herald saying the Earth was flat.
      Similarly climate change.
      There is a scientific consensus on both.

    • Bill 2.2

      More broadly modern media in all its forms allows any views to be aired.

      Sure Wayne. Apart from a list of tightly typed exceptions as long as one of those ‘twice as long’ toilet rolls, we’ve generally had the freedom to say and broadcast whatever we want. But the speaker on Hyde Corner and the Fleet Street editor (to use old reference points) don’t have quite the same broadcasting power and penetration into ‘the market’ of ideas.

    • weka 2.3

      There is a genuine debate about whether poverty should be measured on whether a child is deprived of things that we see as essential in New Zealand, or whether a percentage of average incomes will in essence give the same answer.

      Really? Can you link to some examples? Because what I see more often is people debating how to measure child poverty as a way of not taking action on child poverty. They’re not putting up proposals on how to alleviate poverty for the people that are already deprived, they’re just taking up space and debate time with carefully worded distractions that are underneath good old fashioned denial.

      btw, framing r0b’s post as being about his personal likes and dislikes is both patronising and missing the point. There comes a point where there is no need to debate eg on whether Climate Change is real. Worse, allowing equal space and time to denialists actively prevents us from taking the urgent actions needed to attend to the crisis. Kind of like being in WW2 Britain and arguing over whether the Germans are really that bad. It’s idiotic. I’ll happily take the risk of undermining theoretical concerns over freedom of expression if it means we actually do something about AGW and child poverty.

    • Stever 2.4

      Whataboutery, Wayne.

      Back to the topic…what do you suggest we do about poverty?

      • Manuka AOR 2.4.1

        “what do you suggest we do about poverty?”

        ..and about homelessness in NZ (preferably before winter arrives): http://www.3news.co.nz/opinion/opinion-homelessness-in-new-zealand-2015070118#axzz3xMeTWuia

      • Stuart Munro 2.4.2

        What does National do about anything?

        Pretend it doesn’t exist.

        The best of them are pathetic wastes of space.

        • Wayne 2.4.2.1

          Stuart
          You seem to have forgotten that benefits for families with children are increasing $25 per week. Now of course there can be an argument that this is not enough. But given it was the first increase in benefits above the cost of living since 1991, it can hardly be said to be nothing.

          I presume Labour will promise, as its major initiative, to build many more state houses so that most families dependent on benefits and also those on low incomes will have access to a state house. Say an increase in the Housing NZ stock from around 60,000 houses to say 100,000.

          • Kay 2.4.2.1.1

            Wayne
            Remind us again exactly how many of those families will even get the full $25, and how many will find them selves worse off after all the rebate penalties?

            Oh that’s right, reality doesn’t fit your agenda does it.

            • Descendant Of Sssmith 2.4.2.1.1.1

              According to the MSD data tables here:

              https://www.msd.govt.nz/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/statistics/benefit/

              there are 287,000 people on benefit and 63,560 getting Special Benefit or Temporary Additional Support.

              So about 22% of people get the additional assistance – or 78% don’t.

              Now it’s hard to know how many sole parents there are. The figures show 67,887 on sole parent benefit but there are plenty of others on Job Seeker (remember those with children over 14 are on this benefit now as well I think are those who have another child while on benefit).

              What this data strongly shows is the by far the majority of sole parents will get the $25.00 per week without any impact on TAS/SPB simply because they don’t get the payments.

              I’m no friend of National or Labour in their treatment of those on benefit – but I’m no fun of excessive scare-mongering either.

              The work my family does in various parts of the disability sector often means having to spend otherwise valuable time cleaning up after this scaremongering – and recently this has included clarity around this aspect.

              Things like you have to spend all your money to get a benefit, you can stay three nights, you can’t get a benefit if you don’t have an address are other banes of community myth as well.

              It’s not hard to get this data and to try and be factual yourself. MSD could do much better at explaining as well.

              If someone has time to look at it more closely that might be useful. I pointed out some months ago that from my memory of the work I did years ago on Special Benefit that TAS might or might not be affected based on the maximums that could be paid. That’s where it gets more complicated and really would need some actual numbers.

              Even if more sole parents get TAS though than the average of 22% across the whole benefit population it’s not I imagine anywhere near 50%.

              It seems in the absence of any better data to think that most people will get the full $25.00.

          • Descendant Of Sssmith 2.4.2.1.2

            What makes you think Labour believe in State Housing – or the 8 hour working day, 40 hour working week, universality of family support, reversing tax cuts, state ownership of infrastructure, the right to strike, a decent minimum wage or anything that would move things substantially to the left.

            Yeah I know that’s you point but it’s still hilarious that National are increasing some benefits while Labour – even now – still are not.

            Remember Helen Clark’s era put the $20-00 per week back onto NZS in a cynical vote catching move.

            It was cheaper to put it back on benefits – there was far fewer people on benefit than NZS then – and it’s even more the case now, and NZS was already significantly higher than benefit rates.

            If Labour wanted a decent policy I would suggest removing the age discrimination (that was supposed to be removed by the year 2000 but government gave themselves extensions/exemptions) and make all benefits the same rate as the equivalent NZS rates.

            • Wayne 2.4.2.1.2.1

              Descendant of Smith,

              I put in the additional material about Labour and State housing because I believe that is what they will promise at the next election. It would be consistent with all their recent statements on inequality and poverty.

              In fact I think National should also commit to more State housing, say an increase in the stock of 5,000 houses per year. That would be a good counterpart to the upcoming increase of $25 in the benefit, which I understand virtually every benefit dependent family with children will get.

              As for increasing all benefits to the NZS level, that has got to be a big cost, and would pretty much mean no difference between working for low pay and being on a benefit. In my view that is not a good message to send. National firmly believes that there should be a difference, and I have understood, based on what they have done in government, Labour to also believes there should be a gap between the two. But not the Greens.

              Such a policy would really lead to a debate on whether a universal basic income, as promoted by Gareth Morgan among others, would be a better approach. I suspect that will be a debate only for the Left, since I cannot imagine National (or NZF for that matter) would subscribe to such a policy.

              One of the arguments for a UBI is that it will allow struggling young artists to explore their creativity, without having to worry about getting a job. That proposition alone would probably kill the idea for most people on the right.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                So why don’t you push it to everyone you meet, Dr. Mapp: After all, the objective is to kill the idea rather than assessing it on its merits.

                Can you explain a bit about how the Law Commission regards conflicts of interest when it comes to preconceived positions?

              • Descendant Of Sssmith

                Minimum wage is $590.00 per week, single NZS rate living alone is $421.76.

                I’d happily take a pay increase of $170.00 per week any day.

                Also paying the 287,00 people on benefit more is a vastly different proposition from paying all working age people (3,638,000 of them) a UBI.

                If a single person on NZS needs that much money to live how is it cheaper for a single 40 year old to live?

                Besides the minimum wage is too low anyway. The good news of course is that if you increased benefits to NZS rates their would be more money circulating in local economies and hence more money to pay higher wages.

              • Descendant Of Sssmith

                “In fact I think National should also commit to more State housing, say an increase in the stock of 5,000 houses per year. ”

                Cool I look forward to your public condemnation of the reducing state housing stock by National and maybe even the pillaging of the rental income to make the books look better instead of being used to build more stock and upgrade and maintain existing stock.

          • Stuart Munro 2.4.2.1.3

            Oh really? But that’s some time in the future Wayne, and judging by your colleagues’ performance it will never amount to anything.

            It’s just another castle in Spain like the $3 Billion a year in 2030.

            I remember a promise of 170 000 jobs, and surpluses – but all I see is debt poverty misery and stagnation. And lies Wayne. The kind of lies an alcoholic who drank the rent money tells.

          • Korero Pono 2.4.2.1.4

            The $25 you claim is absolute nonsense…when those who need the extra cash the most realise that the TAS assistance they currently receive will reduce by exactly the same amount. Furthermore it was National who reduced benefits significantly (as much as $50 per week for some families), the $25 does not make up for that disaster.

            Labour may well promise to build houses (god someone has to do it), meanwhile National will sit in a back room somewhere deciding how they can sell them off. Moreover, the spin is already starting about the ‘types’ of families who will benefit if Labour do decide to build…is that designed to make those who may otherwise vote National feel a little jealous?

    • Manuka AOR 2.5

      “That is what free speech means.”

      Just ask John Campbell, eh.

    • Anne 2.6

      More broadly modern media in all its forms allows any views to be aired.

      All views are allowed to be aired? Fine on the face of it. Most reasonable people will go along with that.

      But what if some of those views being aired are dangerously wrong and based on ignorance and stupidity? What if such views are promulgated by a minority of ideologically driven crazies – eg. the American Tea Party? Should they be given the same amount of attention and media integrity as a conclusion based on a majority of scientific and/or knowledgeable evidence? No, they should not.

      Yet that is exactly what has happened over Global Warming/ Climate Change. For way too long the “Flat Earthers” were given equal attention as the 97% of scientists who have been trying to warn the world for decades about the catastrophic consequences of doing nothing about man-made climate change. As a result of that stupidity we are decades behind taking sufficient positive measures to combat the problem. Many scientists believe it’s now too late so… who to blame? Greedy governments and stupid people/media who listened to the naysayers and pseudo scientists.

      So, it stands to reason that not all views should be given equal treatment. Especially if the future well being of the planet is in jeopardy. And of course, the denial of poverty in NZ is another excellent example.

    • Stuart Munro 2.7

      Whatever your opinion might be Wayne (and it’s bound to be pretty stupid) facts are sacred. Whyte was too lazy to even refresh his prejudices with New Zealand examples, and supporting details are conspicuously absent from practically everything you assert. I guess lawyers and truth don’t have much time for each other.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.7.1

        supporting details are conspicuously absent from practically everything you assert…

        Dr. Mapp is very sensitive on this subject. He displays considerable bias to the extent that speculation of a conflict of interest in his public role is inevitable.

        It’s all very well having a personal viewpoint, but are we really expected to believe that a personal viewpoint so devoid of facts is appropriate in a Law Commissioner? The last time I raised this issue Dr. Mapp boycotted The Standard for a while. I had hoped for a more robust defence, and perhaps he hasn’t got one. I wonder if he’d consider lifting his game.

      • greywarshark 2.7.2

        Just as rigid and fundamentalist religious can always find something in their holy books to back up their current train of thought, so can economists. Dig out a few lines from Adam Smith (without the countervailing arguments or concerns about possible negative outcomes) and shout them as a slogan, microchip them in all economic students.

        Find something similar in Ricardo, and sew them together till they appear seamless and then announce it as The Way. Not many people out of the billions affected have read all of Adam Smith (I haven’t but have the CDs, I’m waiting for the film). So how can they fight powerful, tantalising words with similarly effective countervailing words.
        (David Ricardo – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
        David Ricardo (18 April 1772 – 11 September 1823) was a British political economist. He was one of the most influential of the classical economists, …)

        The lines that I like again, from A Fish Called Wanda, apply to many RW who visit here to give us their arcane opinions and analysis. Sheep or apes?

        Wanda: [after Otto breaks in on Wanda and Archie in Archie’s flat and hangs him out the window]
        I was dealing with something delicate, Otto. I’m setting up a guy who’s incredibly important to us, who’s going to tell me where the loot is and if they’re going to come and arrest you. And you come loping in like Rambo without a jockstrap and you dangle him out a fifth-floor window. Now, was that smart? Was it shrewd? Was it good tactics? Or was it stupid?

        Otto West: Don’t call me stupid.
        Wanda: Oh, right! To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people! I’ve known sheep that could outwit you. I’ve worn dresses with higher IQs. But you think you’re an intellectual, don’t you, ape?

        Otto West: Apes don’t read philosophy.
        Wanda: Yes they do, Otto. They just don’t understand it. Now let me correct you on a couple of things, OK? Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not “Every man for himself.” And the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up.

  3. Bill 3

    So, rather than recycling money back to people who have been impoverished by the market economy, why not just dispense with market economy?

    As a start – a first wee step down that road – what chance that those not in poverty acknowledge the fact that for money to have concentrated around them in any way, its presence must have been diluted around another?

    Even acknowledging that a reasonably well off person maybe did work extremely hard and even possibly made personal sacrifices above the norm (however you’d measure that) – does that mean they deserve a reward that has a direct negative impact on another’s well-being?

  4. savenz 4

    Who still reads the Herald?

    Some herald marketeer probably noticed that their readership is falling and since they have fired most of their journalists they decided to put in a ‘opinion’ piece just to keep the idea they are not an all out propaganda machine for the Natz and Act.

    Also these opinion pieces mean they (probably) don’t have to pay for the content and can keep their few current journos on their zero hours type contracts! win win.

  5. Ross 5

    “you wouldn’t be publishing such wildly inconsistent pieces”

    But with the current piece we can see why Whyte’s diatribe is garbage. Different views are important although they need to be well argued with some factual evidence. That didn’t happen with Whyte whose views haven’t changed in 10 years and probably never will.

  6. red-blooded 6

    I tend to agree. How can there be a rounded public discussion if only some viewpoints are heard? Whyte is an arrogant, dismissive creep, and he really only had one thing to say (“If you’re not starving on the street you’re not poor (oh, and if you’re starving in a garage, or in your car, or in a damp, over-crowded rental, then it’s probably your fault”) ) but public debate isn’t a bad thing. Our media can seem unbalanced in terms of the voices and viewpoints that get heard, but I know that right wingers believe the same thing. I just think we’ve got to be ready to step up and challenge anything misleading or skewed, and to offer an alternative narrative. Good on Lizzie Marvelly for putting her experience out there. Of course, it would have been even better if there was some exploration of how to fix the multiple problems (apart from private charity, which is lovely but which is an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff rather than an earth-moving machine to level out the cliff somewhat).

  7. righty right 7

    there is no poverty in new Zealand. john key is relaxed so there is nothing wrong if there was poverty john key would know

  8. Manuka AOR 8

    “This item by Anthony Robins seems more like a request for Herald censorship than having a contest of ideas.”

    This comment is disingenuous to the point of being trollish, for which reason I was reluctant to reply to it directly. However some other comments are responding as if there is some substance in it, which is rubbish. Nothing in what A.R. wrote suggested censorship, and to spin it as such is, in my opinion, mischievous.

    The state of journalism and the media in NZ now as we enter 2016 is disastrous. Again, this is my opinion, but I believe it is echoed by many across the board. Ref, http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/nz-politics-daily-2015-mediapocalypse-de-183378

    • r0b 8.1

      Thanks MAOR – I wasn’t going to bother replying to Wayne, but I appreciate that you did.

      Wayne is of course the author of one of the most inflammatory and racist press releases to ever blight NZ, so his standards when it comes to responsible media are pretty much rock bottom.

    • OneTrack 8.2

      “Take climate change as another example, no responsible media should be publishing denier nonsense these days.”

      That statement there is explicitly promoting censorship of “unapproved” speech.

      • Manuka AOR 8.2.1

        Put it back into the context in which it is written and what do we read: “I guess I’m asking for context and sanity checking in the media.”

        When taken out of context and presented as if complete, isolated items can seem to show just about the opposite of their original intention.

        Again, “I guess I’m asking for context and sanity checking in the media.”

      • Puddleglum 8.2.2

        No it isn’t.

        To explicitly promote censorship the suggestion would need to be made that an appropriate authority ban or forbid something from being printed/broadcast/spoken, etc..

        What this comment does is argue that media should be responsible in what they publish. In your opinion, should it no longer be allowed to make such arguments in public?

        That is, are you (implicitly) suggesting that Anthony Robins’ rights to free speech should be forcibly curtailed?

  9. Kelly-Ned 9

    Whilst I agree that we currently lack decent journalism in NZ, I am reluctant to move towards putting censorship of any kind into the hands of those same journalists!

    • Manuka AOR 9.1

      You are arguing to a strawman, or perhaps a straw dead cat, which was brought in and thrown on the table by a commenter. See how people are now talking about the straw dead cat and not to either of the topics in the post.

      • Kelly-Ned 9.1.1

        Good point.
        It is of concern that govt economic policy strips our country of employment opportunity by moving employment off shore, then blames the people for not being employed and being dependent.
        In the 70’s we were all told at school that a time would come when people would work less and have much more time for recreation. This seems to have only become the case for the very rich, whilst I look around me and see more people working multiple jobs for less wages. Also less job security, many not even able to get full time employment.
        I have long maintained that economic decisions produce economic outcomes, yet this govt ignores the economic causes and then expects the education system to some how magically create employment opportunities for graduates because they are qualified.
        It is the tail trying to shake the dog.
        Economic policy creates employment (or business) opportunity – not education. Education follows economic opportunity, not the other way around.

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    4 days ago
  • Massey University triggered to rebrand
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In a press release today Massey University announced it has decided to rebrand and reorientate after struggling to be a University for grown-ups. For some time the University has wanted to be a safe play space for wee-woke-misogynists who have been really badly triggered ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Swinson backing calls for a second referendum (again)
    After a brief dalliance with 'hard Revoke' it looks like the Lib Dems are changing ground on on Brexit, with leader Jo Swinson reverting to calling for a second referendum on Johnson's deal.The party has tabled an amendment to the Queen’s speech requesting that any deal brought back from Brussels ...
    5 days ago
  • An odious bill
    The government has decided that someone has done Something Bad. But despite their belief, there seems to be no evidence that they have actually broken the law. So the government's solution is to pass a retrospective law allowing them to be punished anyway, on a lower standard of proof. If ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • National is now the party of climate arson
    So, Judith Collins has done a Facebook rant about climate change, peddling the same shit National has been shovelling for the past twenty years: the impacts are overstated, there's no need to do anything about it, and its too hard anyway (oh, and its so unfair that people who peddle ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The environmental footprint of electric versus fossil car
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz There is a lot of discussion on the benefits of ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • “Manifest” by Andrew Bird – A Song For The Times.
    I came across this song quite by accident. If it isn't one of Greta Thunberg's favourites - it should be.Video courtesy of YouTube.This post is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    5 days ago
  • Passing the buck
    Last month, NZDF's shoddy coverup of what it knew about civilian casualties in Operation Burnham began to fall apart, with the revelation that a report on the matter, which NZDF claimed not to have, had been sitting in an NZDF safe for the past nine years. Yesterday, the man responsible ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • India a major player in Earth observation satellites
    While many imagine that countries like the USA and Europe dominate space activities, in fact India is now a major player on this stage. It launches satellites for its own purposes and also commercially, and has constellations orbiting our planet and returning data of vital importance to that nation in ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    6 days ago
  • The rot at the top (2).
    Thanks to a report from the Acting Inspector General of Intelligence and Security following a complaint by Nicky Hager, we have come to find out that the SIS illegally spied on Mr. Hager on behalf of the NZDF after publication of Hager’s 2011 book, Other People’s Wars. The NZDF justified ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Common misconceptions about “Global Warming”
    COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING MYTH 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate. FACT: The HadCRUT3 surface temperature index, produced by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, shows warming to 1878, cooling to 1911, ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    6 days ago
  • A climate of tyranny
    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    6 days ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    6 days ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    6 days ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    1 week ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    1 week ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    A Statement on Abortion Law Reform by the Council of Disobedient Women   On the eve of bringing an end to antiquated, anti-women abortion laws Green MP Jan Logie intends to write women out of the Bill. With a stroke of the pen, the woke are aiming for total erasure ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Is this study legit? 5 questions to ask when reading news stories of medical research
    Hassan Vally, La Trobe University Who doesn’t want to know if drinking that second or third cup of coffee a day will improve your memory, or if sleeping too much increases your risk of a heart attack? We’re invested in staying healthy and many of us are interested in reading ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    1 week ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
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    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter
    https://mailchi.mp/7d9133add053/closing-the-gap-october-2019-newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
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    2 weeks ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
    Hon Minister Poto Williams Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration   MEDIA STATEMENT       Tuesday 15 October 2019 Feedback sought – Hagley Oval The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal about Hagley Oval. The proposal was developed by Regenerate Christchurch ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
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