What to do with Treasury

Written By: - Date published: 2:28 pm, December 5th, 2008 - 38 comments
Categories: community democracy, economy, Environment, national/act government, public services, workers' rights - Tags:

It’s good to see Treasury’s extreme right-wing prescription for New Zealand has not been wholly embraced by the National Party – and it’s easy to see why. While Bill English (a former Treasury wonk himself) no doubt agrees with the policy ideas and direction outlined by Treasury, he has the disadvantage of being accountable to the public again in a few years’ time. Treasury, on the other hand, does not. Perhaps it’s time that changed.

The Treasury has long been a stalking-horse for the neoliberal project in New Zealand, in fact the Treasury was instrumental in kicking it off in the 1980s and 90s. Since then, regardless of who has been in government, their advice has been to further the neoliberal project of slashing workers’ rights, cutting taxes for the rich and underfunding our public services.

This time is no different. In the latest briefing, Treasury is suggesting a massive wealth transfer from the poor to the rich by increasing GST and cutting the top tax rate to 30%.

They want to amend the RMA to undermine community democracy by “trading off broad participation versus speed and certainty” and ruin the environment by changing “the balance between environmental protection and economic growth”.

They also want to, among other things, roll back workplace health and safety, take away your holidays, bring back discrimination against young workers and make it easier for your boss to sack you unfairly.

Reading the briefing it becomes apparent there’s little or no evidence provided to back up these policy prescriptions and nothing in the way of balance. It’s just the same old ideological crap they’ve been peddling since the days of Roger Douglas.

This raises an interesting question. When it becomes apparent that Treasury is to the Right of even the National Party and seemingly incapable of offering balanced advice, what’s the point of having it around? This question is even more relevant for a future centre-left government.

Perhaps it’s time to take a leaf out of Treasury’s books and apply to them the same standards they apply to others. I propose the next Labour-led government opens Treasury up to competition from the private sector. This will surely improve outcomes and lead to more balanced and less politicised advice.

Treasury will still exist, of course, but the government would tender out its advice to the private sector. According to Treasury’s own prescriptions, the level of service should improve and the quality of advice should rise significantly. Plus, the introduction of market pressures should put downward pressure on the bloated public sector wage packets of Treasury staffers.

The discipline of market forces can be wonderful thing. Treasury might like to try it.

38 comments on “What to do with Treasury”

  1. IrishBill 1

    Perhaps we could dispense with them altogether and just employ one person to change the date on the briefings every year.

  2. Rich 2

    Rather than maintaining a monoculture, a future Labour government could require treasury to employ a board of economists from a range of different schools of thought, a bit like the UK’s MPC.

  3. Tane 3

    Well, that would be the sensible option. I still quite like the idea of getting Brian Easton, Roger Kerr and Jane Kelsey into a three-way fist fight until only one of them is left standing. The winner gets to write the brief to the incoming government.

  4. IrishBill 4

    My money’s on Jane.

  5. Tane 5

    I dunno, Roger Kerr strikes me as the kind of guy who’s taken a few blows to the head, and yet he’s still standing.

  6. ghostwhowalks 6

    Didnt Kerr take a few kicks to the goolies from Deborah Coddington as well.

    The mans a cybor !

  7. Tim Ellis 7

    Tane wrote:

    I propose the next Labour-led government opens Treasury up to competition from the private sector. This will surely improve outcomes and lead to more balanced and less politicised advice.

    An interesting idea, and I don’t have a problem with governments purchasing policy advice. I’m not sure that there are many private sector organisations with the capability to provide detailed analysis and policy advice. But I don’t see how it will provide “less politicised” advice. If Treasury knows it will lose work if it advises the Government something the Government does not want to hear, then that does not make the environment politicised. Likewise, if private consultants simply tell Government Ministers what they want to hear, then that does not lead to less politicised advice, either.

    I appreciate much of your post was written in jest, but it simply isn’t true that Treasury has some neo-liberal agenda. Their position is to provide policy options to the Government of the day and follow the current government’s policy prescription. It’s up to the Government to set the policy parameters and get analysis from the Treasury on the consequences of different policy options.

    As for particular prescriptions that the Treasury might recommend, I don’t see how that’s relevant. It’s a political decision as to which options are followed, and those decisions rest completely with the Minister of Finance. Bill English doesn’t come on television and say: “We are introducing a capital gains tax, irrespective of how the public feel, because the Treasury recommends it.”

    The Treasury is in the luxurious position of being able to recommend appropriate policy prescriptions on economic efficiency, irrespective of the political consequences of following those decisions. That’s how it should be.

  8. Tane 8

    Tim, good to see you recognise it was written largely in jest. But when you look at the briefings over the years it’s clear they’re from a very narrow and very particular ideological position.

    I realise it’s up to the Minister to decide on the value of the advice, as English sensibly has here, but my question is more around the value of the advice. If I were Minister of Finance in a centre-left government I’d find the latest briefing absolutely useless. I think Treasury is in serious need of reform to bring in a wider range of viewpoints.

  9. tsmithfield 9

    I’m interested in why you consider raising GST a transfer of riches to the wealthy.

    Surely higher GST means the wealthy pay more tax since they buy more things.

  10. gingercrush 10

    I think he was pointing to Treasury advice for personal tax cuts to be more in line with business taxes.

  11. Tane 11

    tsmithfield – GST is a regressive tax. Everyone pays more, but the poor pay a higher proportion of their income on GST than the wealthy so it hits them hardest.

    Meanwhile the rich are more than compensated through a cut to the top tax rate, while those on low-middle incomes get nothing.

  12. Stephen 12

    seemingly incapable of offering balanced advice

    Tim wrote a good post, but I would also ask: what on earth is “balanced advice”? Why not the best advice? As Tim said, they work in the sphere of economic outcomes (perhaps only GDP); I think it’s pretty likely that these prescriptions would make the ‘economy’ better, without necessarily increasing social welfare. Making actual decisions is for the politicians – the ones with ‘values’.

  13. Tim Ellis 13

    Tane said:

    But when you look at the briefings over the years it’s clear they’re from a very narrow and very particular ideological position.

    It’s the position of “what is best for the economy”. That isn’t the be-all and end-all of ministerial decision-making. The RMA is a classic case in point. It is a balance between economic and environmental interests. It’s Treasury’s role to advise what the economic trade-offs are. There are plenty of officials from other departments who are qualified to advise on the environmental imperatives. From those respective arguments, Ministers can make sensible decisions based on a range of policy advice.

    If I were Minister of Finance in a centre-left government I’d find the latest briefing absolutely useless. I think Treasury is in serious need of reform to bring in a wider range of viewpoints.

    Obviously I disagree. Treasury is already big enough as it is. I think Treasury’s advice in this area should be restricted to advising on economic efficiency. The MSD is perfectly capable of advising on welfare issues; the Ministry of Health is surely capable of coming up with good arguments for various public health initiatives, to name a few. Everything’s a balancing act. I don’t think anybody in Government really believes that Treasury’s briefing to the incoming government is going to be the only advice that a government receives on policy issues.

  14. We can outsource to our mates at Crosby/Textor, John has them on speed-dial.

    How about a Treasury focus group?

  15. Greg 15

    The reason treasury is so neo liberal is because it employs economists. Now most economists are very right wing (saying they’re not is akin to saying most scientists don’t believe in climate change). The beauty of treasury is that its not politicised so it can say what it wants with no political consequences.

    To look at the validility of arguments you have to first look where the incentives lie. For political parties the strong incentive is to win votes (to say what the public want to hear) – thats why National’s gone so leftish. Treasury’s sole incentive is to improve New Zealand – that way they get more respect and probably a higher pay packet. If you put the content aside, which group would you trust more?

  16. Tane 16

    Why not the best advice?

    It’s the position of “what is best for the economy’

    Because there is no simple ‘best’ answer. Economics is not a science and there are hugely diverging schools of thought on what works best. Furthermore, economic opinion is heavily reliant on value judgements, as is this Treasury report.

    When all opinion from Treasury is from an extreme neoliberal viewpoint I think there’s room for some balance.

  17. ghostwhowalks 17

    Isnt increasing GST in the present situation beyond reasonable economic advice , its so barmy as to defy belief.

    The UK for instance has cut GST.

    As for the rest of their forecasts, seem to be out of wack with actual results as well. yet still they are pumped out using the same spreadsheets that havent been updated in 20 years or so

    Then again if no one follows their advice they cant be shown to wrong….

  18. Stephen 18

    Because there is no simple ‘best’ answer. Economics is not a science and there are hugely diverging schools of thought on what works best. Furthermore, economic opinion is heavily reliant on value judgements, as is this Treasury report.

    When all opinion from Treasury is from an extreme neoliberal viewpoint I think there’s room for some balance.

    Well the advice in question is from an ‘incoming briefing paper’ or whatever, and I suppose the mandate for those is a question of economic efficiency – perhaps that is the ‘school’?.

    On the need for balance – the politicians with ‘X’ values can surely now ask Treasury to take those values into account in order to produce a new paper, couldn’t they?

  19. Tane 19

    The school is neoliberalism, it’s a particular way of doing things – deregulate, deregulate, deregulate – and it’s based on the value judgements inherent in the ideology. It’s certainly not the last word, or the only word, on economic efficiency.

    Respected economists, from New Zealanders like Peter Conway and Brian Easton, right through to Nobel winner Joseph Stiglitz, would beg to differ from Treasury’s analysis. The right-wing economist’s trick is to make you think he’s objective and simply interested in ‘efficiency’.

  20. burt 20

    Tane

    Might be interesting to do a graph of economic growth vs treasury advice followed analysis. As you describe how useless the last few years of treasury briefings have been to govt, while I contemplate how NZ slipped quietly into recession over the last few years I wonder if Treasury are the ones who got it wrong?

  21. Tane 21

    The NZ economy grew faster under Labour than it did under National, so if you’re implying National listens to Treasury more than Labour and were right in doing so then you might want to re-consider your argument.

  22. burt 22

    Tane

    I’m happy with my position, because what I’m saying is you talk about how treasure advice over the last few years has been useless. Over the last few years our economy has stalled well in advance of the current global credit crisis. NZ growth has been slowing for some time. We are now in our third quarter of recession, something that makes us quite special in OECD terms. Dr. Cullen was well know for his ‘ideological burp’ comments about treasury.

    If you want to do a fair comparison, look at National’s last term prior to 1999 and Labour’s term that has just ended. It’s the fairest way to examine their relative policy impacts on growth. Labour inherited a strong economy in 1999, not so for National in 1990 or 2008.

  23. sweeetdisorder 23

    Tane

    “The NZ economy grew faster under Labour than it did under National….”

    Weak answer, you can not compare two governments under 2 different economic periods. Its comparing apples and oranges. You get a better idea comparing different counties under the same economic period (although not ideal) we see NZ slipping from 19th to 22nd place from 1999-2008 in the OECD GDP per capita.

  24. Tane 24

    sd – I know, I’m mocking burt’s simplistic attempt at an argument.

    Speaking of simplistic, I’d have thought you’d know better than to quote OECD numbers without context – such as the EU subsidies to laggard European economies that have pushed them up the table.

  25. sweeetdisorder 25

    Tane

    I said it was not ideal. But it is one measure of a countries strength against others in the same period. We should have done better. We didn’t. When developing countries were creating a sizable middle class, then goods such as dairy should have propelled NZ up the OECD scale many times why did we go down?
    ,
    Surely the EU subsidies vrs our outstanding dairy exports would have canceled each other out? Fact is we went down. Dress it up however you want.

  26. Tim Ellis 26

    GWW wrote:

    Isnt increasing GST in the present situation beyond reasonable economic advice , its so barmy as to defy belief.

    It wouldn’t happen in the present economic situation. I’m not an economist or a tax specialist, but the general idea is that when the economy is growing, you want to encourage saving by discouraging consumption, and encourage production by reducing personal and corporate tax.

    The problem with income tax is that you need to have very high and quite steeply progressive taxes to raise large amounts of revenue. Increasing GST by 5% would raise about $4.1 billion a year. You could lower all personal income tax threshholds by 5%, compensating all income earners for the increased GST, for about the same amount. The consequence would be far greater incentives to earn more, and lesser incentive to spend that money.

    As I say you wouldn’t do that in times of recession when you actually want people to dip into their pockets and spend more in the economy, but it seems to make perfect sense to me in the long-run.

  27. Gustavo Trellis 27

    Tim has it – the problem is people look at these things and assuming they will all be rolled out at once. Lowering tax brackets and freeing up some money now will work, and perhaps upping GST at some time in the future would be ideal. I’d be happy with a less aggressive tax structure in times of recession and a more aggressive ones to captalise on the good times for infrastructure investment. But then again, I’m not treasury, am I?

    Anyway, the point is not to just arbitrarily up GST without offsetting it pretty heavily for lower income earners, because it’s fairly well established that GST is regressive.

  28. Draco T Bastard 28

    TE wrote:

    I appreciate much of your post was written in jest, but it simply isn’t true that Treasury has some neo-liberal agenda.

    They’ve been trained in modern economics which has largely gone the way of Monetarism. They may not have any specific politicization but their training has taken care of that. They’re right-wing Neo-liberals and there’s almost nothing that can be done about it.

    SD wrote:

    …then goods such as dairy should have propelled NZ up the OECD scale many times why did we go down?

    At a guess I’d say it was because so few people directly benefited from the massive rises in the price of dairy and thus that increased return wasn’t adequately spread out through the economy.

  29. haha – that initial post was really well done. I need add nothing more, lest it taketh away from the original.

  30. gingercrush 30

    Eh it simply isn’t true that diary returns don’t benefit New Zealand. If anything the great economy we had for several years was a direct result of very good returns in dairying and agriculture. Those dairy returns go to the farmer who then spends in small provincial towns and cities, those workers in retail etc also spend it while the owners invest back in New Zealand via property and goods and services as well as investing in the sharemarket and companies. In otherwords the great economy New Zealand enjoyed for several years under a Labour-led government was due to consumer spending, exports and the housing boom not to mention proper investment in infrastructure again.

    First, the dollar hit a big low think 39 cents US. This combined with strong commodity prices saw great export returns. Secondly, increased immigration saw a number of people moving to New Zealand. High immigration and great returns on exports saw that money flow elsewhere in New Zealand. This saw consumer spending increase. Interest rates which were historically low and increased spending capacity saw investment in housing via people buying second homes etc. This also meant constant house price movements which made people feel they had more money than they actually did. Thus lead to high consumer spending. What it also saw was investment in building. Both houses and commercial buildings. Immigrants needed homes and people felt richer, thus house prices rose considerably. Investment in infrastructure by the government, immigration, the housing boom, consumer spending and great export returns saw unemployment fall to the lowest they’ve been since the 1970s. This meant more people had the capacity to spend money. Thus even more consumer spending.

    Therefore, farmers particularly dairy farmers felt much richer and they spent money or invested back into their farms meaning more spending. Immigration and consumer spending saw a big housing boom eventually leading to real investment in the stockmarket. Hence, why what was once in the late 2000s eventually made it way past 3000 and almost the mid 3000s.

    Labour was smart to not bring major changes to the country as we saw in the 80s and 90s thus there was a certain stability that allowed the economy to grow and prosper at a longer period than it should have. The only problem is the economy in many ways grew in a way not sustainable. Growing an economy via immigration (which has since ceased and has seen immigration fall while high emigration is also taking place), government investment, consumer spending and of course the housing boom is dangerous. Consumer spending is done via debt while housing prices remain only high for so long. Too much government investment can be dangerous and when you have unemployment at 3% eventually when things cool down you’re going to see that rise again. Not to mention the economy being on a high and increasing commodity prices saw many consumer items rise sharply while earning capacity stayed relatively slow.

    Eventually, there comes a time when we feel poor. That was already set in motion a year and half ago as the housing market cooled, the dollar was high, oil prices rose, several financial companies flopped, earning capacity is low etc etc. We were likely in for a slow period but then international money troubles means the low is lasting longer and is even more damaging.

    Thus DAIRYING was I believe a direct cause for great economic growth. Dairying combined with consumer spending, immigration, high export returns, investment in property, housing boom, investment in the stockmarket, government stability saw our economy rose as each of those things slowed so did our economy.

    The bad news is international forces made the down bit even downer. The good news is that those same forces that saw our economy be on a high are coming into play again.

    Eventually New Zealand’s low dollar, low interest rates and increased immigration along with recovery in commodity prices will see the return of a housing boom leading to lower employment and sharp increases in consumer spending. If we’re smart we’ll invest in more businesses which we didn’t do last time. We’re still far too reliant on consumer spending and housing booms for a larger economy. what we really need is the capacity to grow what we export outside of farming and tourism. We do that and our economy will be far stronger and we will see real rise in terms of where we are on the OCED.

    The greatest gift Labour gave us was their insistence to not do major reforms to our economy. The best thing we can ask for in a National-led government is stability. If National can run a stable government, eventually we will see a healthy economy again and strong growth.

  31. Draco T Bastard 31

    Eh it simply isn’t true that diary returns don’t benefit New Zealand.

    I didn’t say that it didn’t benefit NZ – I said that the direct returns were too narrow. $1m going to one person won’t benefit the economy as much as that same $1m going to 1000 people. You’ll get more velocity and need a wider range of services allowing for more businesses to grow.

    what we really need is the capacity to grow what we export outside of farming and tourism.

    This I agree with but NACT won’t do anything to bring it about – they will continue to over support farming instead.

  32. George 32

    Both in the standard today –

    “It’s good to see Treasury’s extreme right-wing prescription for New Zealand has not been wholly embraced by the National Party – and it’s easy to see why. While Bill English (a former Treasury wonk himself) no doubt agrees with the policy ideas and direction outlined by Treasury’- ‘what to do with Treasury’ Tane, December 5th 2008

    “Treasury’s briefing to Bill English as the new Minister of Finance must’ve pissed him off big time. Aside from the expected ideological burp (already covered in depth by No Right Turn) it reads like a long list of Labour achievements and calls on National is reign in its irresponsible promises.’ – Treasury – Labour left us in good shape- eddie, December 5th 2008

    while i appreciate the fact there are two different authors, can someone please claim the credit for being right?

  33. george. they cover two different aspects of the briefing – the first is treasury’s recommendations, the second treasury’s assessment of the position labour left us in

    captcha: ‘time sunshine’, i agree captcha, see youse later

  34. burt 34

    Tane

    sd – I know, I’m mocking burt’s simplistic attempt at an argument.

    More like mocking your own ability to think about what you are saying before you say it.

    According to you Treasury advice is useless… not following it has landed us in a recession… Yes it’s a pretty simple argument, pity you didn’t think of it before you forgot that Treasury is not the policy division of the current govt. Tim Ellis did spell it out pretty clearly.

  35. Ari 35

    Tim: I could get behind a GST increase to discourage spending if we use the 5% overall tax reduction to steepen the tax curve a bit, rather than relieve the top bracket- preferably by making the annual amount you’d earn on the minimum wage tax-free. We would also have to increase welfare payments to compensate for the increased spending tax, which I doubt would be popular, so you may actually end up with the impression that taxes are being increased from such a redistribution.

    According to you Treasury advice is useless not following it has landed us in a recession Yes it’s a pretty simple argument, pity you didn’t think of it before you forgot that Treasury is not the policy division of the current govt. Tim Ellis did spell it out pretty clearly.

    Firstly, he didn’t say Treasury advice was objectively useless, he said it is highly economically liberal (you can probably read that as “neoliberal”, if you like) and this bias can make some of Treasury’s less tailored advice (such as the post-election briefings) more annoying than helpful for left-wing governments. I think it’s a fair criticism that Treasury is not doing well enough in tailoring its advice to specific governments, especially as they’ve shot right of National this time.

    Secondly, prove that this recession resulted from not following treasury’s advice. That’s a very bold claim and it requires appropriate evidence, which I doubt you’ll find- because it so happens that there is a global credit crisis going on that is a far simpler explanation for our current, comparatively minor economic issues.

  36. burt 36

    Ari

    Tane said: “If I were Minister of Finance in a centre-left government I’d find the latest briefing absolutely useless.”

    So you are right, Tane didn’t say it was objectively useless, he said it’s absolutely useless.

    I think what Tane is not seeing, and it’s bloody obvious really, is that the longer the current govt deviates from the broad policy recommendations of Treasury the more Treasury advice will move against current govt policy.

    It’s a bit like trying to drive a car with a bent bent back wheels in a straight line, the further it travels the more ‘off track’ it gets and the more you need to haul on the steering wheel to try and correct it from running off the road.

    If we had an determined right wing govt for 9 years I wouldn’t be surprised to see quite strongly left wing policies coming from Treasury. We need to remember that Treasury act in the best interest of the country rather than the best interests of the current party governing. Treasury don’t really care if their recommended policies will win votes, they just care about projected economic outcomes.

  37. burt 37

    Ari

    Secondly, prove that this recession resulted from not following treasury’s advice.

    You are right, it’s probably impossible to prove. However our slide down the OECD ratings (which has not only just happened suddenly with the global crisis) is probably sufficient evidence to suggest to any reasonable person that NZ has been heading in the wrong direction. Well the wrong direction according to Treasury, it’s possible Tane thinks a slowing economy and falling GDP per capita is a good thing.

  38. burt 38

    Ari

    We would also have to increase welfare payments to compensate for the increased spending tax, which I doubt would be popular…

    That really is the crux of the issue. As far as Treasury is concerned, ‘popular’ is a marketing problem for the current govt. Govt deciding economic policy on what is popular is when we get allegations of ideological burps from Treasury.

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    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 ...
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
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    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    6 days ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
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    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    6 days ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
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    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
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    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days 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
    7 days ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter
    https://mailchi.mp/7d9133add053/closing-the-gap-october-2019-newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    7 days ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days 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
    7 days ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
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    7 days ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
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    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No-one cares about local government
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “Surplus” again
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
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    1 week ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
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    1 week ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
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    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
    by Nick Rogers The debate around the meaning of sex and gender made an appearance at this year’s British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Women’s Place UK – an organisation that questions the demand that biological males who self-identify as woman should have access to women’s spaces, to all-women shortlists, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Rebelling in Wellington
    Yesterday I went down to Wellington to participate in the Extinction Rebellion protest. Its part of the latest global wave of XR actions, with actions happening all over the world. Some of those protests are massively disruptive: in Canada, XR is blocking major bridges, stopping people from getting to work. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘The Workshop’ – Report: Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform: A Guide to Strategies that ...
    The Workshop is a charitable trust for public good. The Workshop undertake research to find ways of communicating that will build support for the solutions that work to solve complex social and environmental problems. See their Report on Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform below. ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Exclusive language
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    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • April 2018 – Submission to the NZ Govt Tax Working Group
    You can read our submission HERE ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • 2018 – Submission to the NZ Government Tax Working Group
    Read our submission here ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Guardian: Poll shows DISASTER for Corbyn and the End of Times
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    1 week ago
  • How prostitution became the world’s most modern profession
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Clever legal fellow on Scottish challenge to Brexit
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    2 weeks ago
  • An Open Letter From Closed Minds.
    Ivory Folly? The University of Auckland’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stuart McCutcheon, upheld the right of the radical nationalist group, Action Zealandia to exercise their freedom of speech – not matter how distasteful that speech might be. A wiser community of students and scholars would have nodded their agreement and moved on. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Extinction Rebellion members want to “eat babies”
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    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    2 weeks ago
  • The government needs to tell people about the OIA
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Join the rebellion
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Jermey Corbyn, I don’t like GNU (sorry)
    So, the latest ruminations on the gnews from Westminster (Again, sorry; I'll stop making that pun right now).  This follows on from, and likely repeats bits of, my last post, on the suggestion that a Government of National Unity (GNU) should be set up and then oversee a referendum before ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • About time
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Legal Beagle: Vexation, or Something Too Long for Twitter
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    2 weeks ago
  • Zealandia’s Lost Boys.
    Appealing To The Past: Action Zealandia, like so many of the organisations springing up on the far-Right, across what they call the “Anglosphere”, is born out of the profound confusion over what a man is supposed to be in the twenty-first century and, more importantly, what he is supposed to do.THE STATUE OF ...
    2 weeks ago
  • British trade union and political activists defend women’s right to speak, organise
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    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Turning their back on justice
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours 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
    18 hours 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
    18 hours 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
    19 hours 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
    19 hours ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours 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
    23 hours 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
    2 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
    The construction sector is being freed up to allow more homes to be built more quickly as the Government cuts through some of the red tape of the Building Act.  “Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Further details of Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit to New Zealand
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed further details on the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to New Zealand next month. Their Royal Highnesses will visit New Zealand from 17-23 November – their third joint visit to New Zealand and first in four years. They arrive in Auckland ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • O’Connor in Thailand to push for RCEP deal
    Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, heads to Thailand today to attend the final Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting, as negotiations enter their final stages. “The RCEP Agreement would anchor New Zealand in a regional agreement that covers 16 countries, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Young Pacific people can access earning and learning opportunities in Hawke’s Bay, Otago and South...
    Pacific young people living in the Hawke’s Bay, Southland and Otago regions will have access to support services that have proved successful in helping young people find new earning and learning opportunities. “Tupu Aotearoa is about changing Pacific young peoples’ lives. Our young people are talented, they are smart, they ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Protecting wellbeing – ACC HQSC Trauma Forum
    Introduction As the Minister for ACC I thank you all for the work that you do supporting New Zealanders in their literally most vulnerable moments. From those who hold people’s lives in their hands, to the people who research technique, technology and trends, your work is highly valued. A special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • NZ economy in good shape – notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch
    Notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch – Wednesday 9 October 2019 Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • World Mental Health Day a reminder of the importance of mental health work
    Minister of Health Dr David Clark and Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare say this year’s World Mental Health Day theme is a reminder of why the Government’s work on mental health is so important. “This year the World Federation for Mental Health has made suicide prevention the main theme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Cultural Ministers Meeting
    Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni will represent the government at Australia’s Meeting of Cultural Ministers in Adelaide this week. “This year’s meeting is special because New Zealand is expected to become an International Member of the Meeting of Cultural Ministers at this Australian forum,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “The meeting is an opportunity to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • 608 claims resolved by GCCRS in first year
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  • Joint Cooperation Statement on Climate Change between the Netherlands and New Zealand
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  • Government putting right Holidays Act underpayment in Health
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  • Ministers approve application to expand Waihi mine
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