Which Deficit?

Written By: - Date published: 4:08 pm, April 12th, 2015 - 64 comments
Categories: Economy - Tags:

So, the much-touted and long-awaited government surplus looks unlikely to arrive this year. Is that a surprise? No. Does it matter? Not much.

The only reason for sparing much time on the failure to eliminate the government deficit is that it relates to a target that the government itself identified as the crucial test of its ability to manage the economy. In doing so, it exploited the confusion in most people’s minds – and that includes the minds of many media commentators – as to what deficit we are really talking about.

Just a few days ago, in reporting the probability that the government would remain in deficit, Radio NZ news described it as “the country’s deficit” as though the two deficits were the same thing. Sadly, the government deficit, about which so much fuss is made, is only a minor factor in an economy which continues to remain in substantial deficit in its total operations.

Far from running the economy in a prudent fashion, the government presides over a New Zealand economy that continues to chalk up foreign payments deficits, year after year. We continue, in other words, to go on spending well beyond our means. We fill the gap by selling assets to foreigners and by borrowing at high interest rates to overseas lenders – a classic instance of a rake’s progress that makes a day of reckoning eventually inevitable.

That foreign payments deficit is about to get a lot worse, as the overvalued dollar (about which so much jingoistic celebration was enjoyed) makes it more and more difficult for us to pay our way. Those cheaper Aussie holidays today are bought at the cost of Kiwi jobs and living standards tomorrow.

So, let us be clear about the deficit we are talking about – the country’s deficit, the one that matters, the one that is getting worse all the time, or the government’s deficit, that simply defines how much the government takes in tax revenue from the rest of the economy by comparison with how much it spends.

Is there are any link between the two? Yes – the priority given by the government to its own deficit has almost certainly made the country’s deficit worse. This is because, in a recession, which by definition arises when people (that is, households and corporations) are earning and spending and investing less, the slow-down can only deepen if the other major sector – the government – also cuts its spending.

Our recession was longer and deeper than it should have been, in other words, because the government gave priority to balancing its own books, and ignored what was happening to the whole economy. An economy that went backwards for several years was even less able than usual to pay its way in the world when the world economy began to improve.

But surely, many will say, it must be a good thing for the government to tighten its belt when the economy slows down? That would be true if the government were a business, but running an economy is not the same as running a private business. The paradox is that the government’s preoccupation with its own finances has meant a more sluggish economy and reduced tax revenue so that it becomes more and more difficult for the government to balance its books.

This is the lesson taught by both history and recent experience. It is a lesson that has now been painfully learnt all over again by the world’s central banks, some of which – the European Central Bank, in particular – wasted six or seven year insisting on austerity as the proper response to recession. The people who paid the price for that mistake were Europe’s poor and unemployed; we were saved from worse only because our Australian-owned banks remained relatively stable and because our main export markets in Australia and China remained until recently reasonably buoyant.

If the government’s finances are only a small part of the picture, why have they attracted so much attention? It is worth noting in passing that, while the Labour government of 1999-2008 recorded a surplus in eight of its nine years, the current government has now chalked up six successive deficits. So why focus on this particular factor?

The answer is that focusing on the government deficit has been driven by political rather economic considerations. It has served the government very well as the justification for policies that come straight from the neo-liberal handbook. We can be sure that the next round of cuts in the level of public services will be misleadingly explained as “necessary to eliminate the deficit”.

In the end, in any case, facts cannot be denied. As any accountant will tell you, borrowings and lendings must, as a matter of accounting identities, match each other. Our perennial foreign payments deficit – what we need the rest of the world to lend to us – must be matched by the borrowings our economy makes in total. If the focus is entirely on achieving a government surplus, that makes it inevitable that the private sector (households and corporations) must borrow even more.

The truth is that, by looking only at the government deficit and ignoring the country’s deficit, we create an unbalanced and broken-backed economy that will survive only as long as overseas peddlers of “hot money” are willing to go on lending to us.

Bryan Gould

12 April 2015

 

 

 

64 comments on “Which Deficit?”

  1. Colonial Rawshark 1

    Bryan Gould gets it. This analysis revolves around sectorial money balances. A government gets into “surplus” by taking more from the private sector – companies and households – than it spends back into the nation. Voila – the mysterious and much-sought after “surplus” is created.

    If you think that Government surpluses are a good thing, then you better think that forcing NZ’s private sector (households and businesses) into deficit is also a good thing. Because the two go together hand in glove in an environment where we are in constant deficit as a country overall to the foreign sector.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      If you think that Government surpluses are a good thing, then you better think that forcing NZ’s private sector (households and businesses) into deficit is also a good thing.

      The few people who get rich from these destructive policies think it’s a great idea as they get to buy up a nations assets that it’s spent decades building on the cheap.

      • Colonial Rawshark 1.1.1

        Exactly. They cloak their narrow self interest in theoretical goobledegook trying to make out that these policies are in the general interest. Recent history has shown us that nothing could be further from the truth.

    • DH 1.2

      I don’t think you’re on the right track with this argument, you seem to be saying there’s a see-saw effect between private & public sector borrowing. That doesn’t add up for me. Most private sector debt is for capital purchases, ie housing, whereas the present Govt debt is largely to fund operating expenses.

      If the Govt were to pull more tax revenue out of the private sector, and reduce its own deficit & borrowing, that should reduce private sector debt because people would have less disposable income to pay off their loans.

  2. Pat 2

    “….The people who paid the price for that mistake were Europe’s poor and unemployed; we were saved from worse only because our Australian-owned banks remained relatively stable and because our main export markets in Australia and China remained until recently reasonably buoyant.”
    …..and dont forget the huge influx of reinsurance dollars these past 4 years and the economic activity associated with the Christchurch “rebuild”…..an economic stimulus forced on this cut mad administration by circumstance.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    Far from running the economy in a prudent fashion, the government presides over a New Zealand economy that continues to chalk up foreign payments deficits, year after year. We continue, in other words, to go on spending well beyond our means.

    And, boy, do the RWNJs really hate it when you point that out and that the NZ$ should be reflective of those accumulated deficits as the present economic free-trade theory calls for.

    The truth is that, by looking only at the government deficit and ignoring the country’s deficit, we create an unbalanced and broken-backed economy that will survive only as long as overseas peddlers of “hot money” are willing to go on lending to us.

    And there’s a hell of a lot of those as the large nations of the world engage in massive amounts of Quantitative Easing.

    • David H 3.1

      NZ is being run like a business. And ALL the valuables are being sold off, and the loose money and spoils are shared around the management. So the Business goes broke and the big wigs piss off overseas with all our money.

      Yep just like a badly run business.

  4. Incognito 4

    I believe that this is one of the “deficits” Brain Gould was referring to:

    http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/economic_indicators/balance_of_payments/BalanceOfPayments_HOTPDec14qtr.aspx

  5. fisiani 5

    I believe that Bill English knows more about economics than Bryan Gould

    • Paul 5.1

      Really…

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      I believe that you’re a sycophantic idiot who hasn’t got a clue at all. You certainly don’t know anything about economics or reality.

    • KB 5.3

      You’re a dreamer!
      Unfortunately for New Zealand there’s room for dancing upstairs with regards to English .
      You’ve clearly bought the bullshit !

    • Macro 5.4

      You really are in fine form today fisi! I spilt my coffee on that one. lol

      Tell me Fisi have you been to the ‘Temple of the Hidden Hand’ today? – tell me you are a true believer.

    • les 5.5

      Bill English knows how to run deficits,that much we do know.

      • Weepus beard 5.5.1

        He knows about promoting tobacco lobbyists to parliament too. And he knows about ripping the taxpayer off with housing fraud. He’s a 10 kid farmer, not an economist.

    • In Vino 5.6

      I would have more confidence in Fisiani’s assessment if Bill English did not persistently speak like a plodding, semi-literate mutton-brain. He could not even work out what was fair to claim for his accommodation.

      • McFlock 5.6.1

        Mistaking a slow rural drawl for stupidity is a common mistake, and one that has resulted in many a surprise comeuppance.

        And, like his mismanagement of the economy, I suspect he could indeed work out what was a fair claim for accommodation, and also knew how much in addition to that he could rort and get away with scot-free.

        I reckon English fancies himself in the running for being the next PM when key gets knifed post-sabin revelations. He might well be able to sneak in between the other cabinet ministers whose incompetence has been a bit more obvious. He only needs it for a few months to do a Mike Moore and get a conservative sinecure to sit in for the remainder of his career.

        Basically, “placeholder pm” is about as high as he’ll get, career-wise.

    • b waghorn 5.7

      He might know more about it but it doesn’t mean he’s got it right ,
      When ever I see English on TV and this goes back to the run up to the election I see a man who ether knows he’s failed or has been over ridden and is just seeing his time out .

    • emergency mike 5.8

      “I believe that Bill English knows more about economics than Bryan Gould”

      Well this fizzy assurance certainly trumps any word thingies from Gould. Why dispute points rationally when you can just disagree on faith? Despite the fact that everything this govt has ever touched has turned to shit. They did crush that wrong car pretty good though.

    • Andrea 5.9

      fisiani: Your faith does you credit but it won’t get you credit…

      Mr English may know a little more – yet it is clearly insufficient for the purpose of restoring enough belief in his fellow New Zealanders to get their hands out of their pockets, clutching money, to expand enterprise and paid employment in this country.

    • logie97 5.10

      … Bryan Gould, the Rhodes Scholar and former deputy leader of the British Labour Party? Remind us what English’s pedigree is again Fisiani.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.10.1

        He’s from a farm in Southland, got raised by a private school in Wellington and has rorted the NZ taxpayers.

      • David H 5.10.2

        “He completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Otago University, followed by a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in English Literature at Victoria University in Wellington”

        http://www.billenglish.co.nz/pages/about.html

        And he’s in charge of the country’s finances. More like Key tells him what to do And Key is even less skilled.

        He later studied accounting at the University of Canterbury, from which he graduated with a degree in commerce in 1983,

        https://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1375215/John-Key

        All i can think of after looking that up is FFS incompetents everywhere.

    • Is that you Bill ?

  6. Brian Smith 6

    @fisianus- I believe that you believe anything that Bill English (or John Key) says. Moron!

  7. Lanthanide 7

    My only real question is – what is this supposed day of reckoning going to look like?

    Imagine a future which is business as usual, say the current conditions carry on more or less for 50 years. Will the day of reckoning come in those 50 years, and what will it look like?

    Now, lets face reality, where the world is likely to face oil shortages within 5 years and almost certainly within 10. Then throw in climate change and associated food shortages for good measure. Lets not even include a pandemic.

    Is our bad balance of payments history going to come back to haunt us in such a future? I’m not sure that it will.

    • Weepus beard 7.1

      And I’m not sure what you are talking about.

      Are you saying western civilised structure is going to collapse in the next 10 years and all government debt will be wiped?

      • Lanthanide 7.1.1

        It’s going to look very different in 10 years, but probably not collapsed completely.

        I suspect that pretty much all countries will be in recession / downwards spiral, so historical accounting won’t mean a lot.

        • Sacha 7.1.1.1

          When the global economy collapses, historic genuine willingness and ability to repay debt will count for an awful lot. Joyce, Key and English’s con game will be over. Good luck paying for those oil imports with a smile and a golf handicap.

          • Lanthanide 7.1.1.1.1

            Oil won’t be traded on the open market, instead trades will be done between countries.

            New Zealand grows more food than it needs to eat…

        • b waghorn 7.1.1.2

          Please excuse my financial illiteracy but what would happen if a govt just decided to cancel there foreign dedt obligations

  8. Weepus beard 8

    The enduring image I have of Bill English is the televised message he gave explaining to the nation that he’d just paid some hick-town SCF investors 700 million of our money in the dead of the night.

    That was a dark day in our history.

  9. Herodotus 9

    http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/statistics/key_graphs/current_account/
    One day NZ will face the consequence of these continual current account deficits.
    Over the last few years the consequence of the cross rate on the nz$ Or interest rates has been reported from the position of winners losers. Such reporting is so short term. In the end 99.9% of kiwis will be losers.
    IMO very few realise what we face, perhaps it is better to be oblivious to it 🙂

  10. Reddelusion 10

    Bryan Gould is a lawyer I had a 33pc chance of guessing that with Bryan been an ex labour mp ( he could have been a teacher or a trade union offical) thus he has no claim to been and expert on economics over bill English. Bryan played a part in some pretty average labour governments in the uk in regard to economic performance thus hardly and oracle on these matters. Bill English in turn is an accountant so he can count ( unlike much of labour) and has led nz though the gfc and chc earthquake, achieved one of the highest growth rates in the oecd, with falling unemployment. I know who I would back and thankfully so did the nz electorates

  11. Nic the NZer 11

    While Brian Gould’s analysis of the government deficit is quite correct, concern about the current account deficit should largely be understood on the same basis.

    The fact that NZ records a current account deficit means that (in excess of our exports on the reverse basis) some overseas enterprise has traded their goods and services for NZ$ and retained those $ saved overseas. It provides no particular concern, or threat to NZ, that people overseas might be willing to trade their produce for our NZ$ and then hold onto them. At some point they might want to use them to buy goods and services from NZ, which will reduce the trade deficit, or might lead to a trade surplus.

    It should also be noted that the ‘borrowing’ NZ does from overseas is simply the by product of the fact people are holding funds overseas. This is like how the bank borrows funds off someone when they deposit them.

  12. Stuart Munro 12

    A seventh consecutive deficit is important because it demonstrates Bill English’s gross incompetence unequivocally.

    Six consecutive deficits apparently might be mistaken for bad luck – but seven is a confirmed statistical trend.

    English will NEVER get the books back to black – not even by the bizarrely selective criteria he pretends are meaningful.

    • Nic the NZer 12.1

      I am afraid English and co are far, far too bright for you. The goal of getting the books back in the black is, as Brian Gould says, entirely a political point scoring game it doesn’t have significant consequences for the country in and of itself. Never the less they managed to have this as the only economic game in town, so they can justify all kinds of cuts to the public sector, and sales of assets to bolster government books all in the name of political point scoring contest. And you just keep on asking and demanding it, where’s the surplus you promised, keep on going we want to see the surplus promised, it’s pathetic.

      • Stuart Munro 12.1.1

        Compliments already 🙂 – no, neo-con’s capacity for self delusion seems to be practically infinite – and it is important to remind them and less educated readers that they are not achieving their supposed goals.

        Yes, I want English to produce his promised surplus, but more importantly, journalists need to start asking him “If you’re such an economic rockstar, where the f**k is this surplus you’ve been promising?”

        Until they do Bill gets a free pass with the media. Seems he gets a free pass with you too…

        • b waghorn 12.1.1.1

          Key was on tv1 this morning burbling some shit about how realistically we only missed surplus by $5 if you compare it to Aussie s debt problems and it was all caused by labours unfunded programme’s any way.

          • Stuart Munro 12.1.1.1.1

            Yeah – he lies too easily – and economics actually is fairly important. His government has done nothing sensible, and the world economy is stalled in spite of massive middle eastern subsidies in the form of cheap oil and extra low interest rates. The next big piece of world economic news will be bad because no-one is generating healthy real growth – limits upside potential. If a real crisis develops NZ’s foreign lenders will be gone faster than you can say knife.

            • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1.1.1.1

              The next big piece of world economic news will be bad because no-one is generating healthy real growth

              That might be because a) there’s no such thing and b) we’ve hit physical limits to growth.

              • Stuart Munro

                I can’t agree – there will always be growth in some sectors as it is an expression of change.

                Under Key we’ve had growth in bankruptcy and corruption for example.

                Real measures to improve local economic performance, and a move away from non-contributing sectors like finance, gambling, and real estate would result in growth. We have abundant underemployment in New Zealand even a 1-2% improvement in that area would dwarf Bill English’s much touted air-guitar act.

                There is always a way to improve.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  IMO, the problem is partially, or even mostly, the use of the word ‘growth’. It has the implication of getting bigger and so growth in the economy is measured measured as GDP getting bigger and making more of the same is seen as good.

                  What we really need to do is development, where we, as productivity increases, produce different stuff.

        • Nic the NZer 12.1.1.2

          “Yes, I want English to produce his promised surplus”

          The cutting of government spending in an attempt to achieve surplus is a major causal factor in many of the economic problems NZ faces. These include but are not limited to,
          * Low levels of funding for public sector programs (education, health care, public transport infrastructure).
          * Income inequality (and low paying jobs, with poor rewards).
          * High levels of personal indebtedness (and of course low levels of personal savings, including retirement savings).
          * High levels of unemployment.
          * High house prices.
          Why on earth do you still want him to contribute to these problems?

          “and it is important to remind them and less educated readers that they are not achieving their supposed goals.”

          No, its important to explain to the less educated readers that their goals are destructive, on their own terms.

          “Seems he gets a free pass with you too…”

          Yep, accusing the finance minister of causing harm to the economy in order to engage in political point scoring, that’s obviously what we call a free pass.

          • Stuart Munro 12.1.1.2.1

            My object is not point scoring but removal.

            We’ve seen he doesn’t have a clue. A seven year record of non-performance is something the public can understand. Was Cullen a better finance minister? I’m inclined to think that he was, and that running surpluses did not invalidate his performance.

        • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1.3

          Want to know what would be a better question Blinglish and Key? Where’s the 170, 000 jobs that they promised?

  13. ropata 13

    Thank goodness we have luminaries like fisiani and re-delusional to provide informed academic critiques. :eyeroll:
    We need better tr0lls

  14. tricledrown 14

    Fishy and Blue Looney Double Dipper has had the luck of the Irish with record prices for Dairy a CH CH rebuild causing an immigration boom.
    Dairy prices are falling rapidly the property bubble is going to burst .
    Then double dipstick will be exposed.

  15. MrSmith 15

    Very good Brian.

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    4 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    4 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    4 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    4 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    5 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    6 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago

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