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Tax hike but why no display ban?

Written By: - Date published: 10:10 am, April 29th, 2010 - 48 comments
Categories: health, tax - Tags:

I’m not against rising the excise on tobacco but everyone knows that if this government was serious about reducing the harm from tobacco this isn’t the best way to go about it.

Addicts have what an economist would call ‘inelastic’ demand for tobacco, it doesn’t go down much with price. A 10% increase in price causes just a 4% decrease in consumption according to one study. So bumping up the price 30% might decrease use by 12% but it does that by taking a whole lot more money out of the, mostly poor, tobacco using population.

It would be better to use proven methods of decreasing use that don’t involve taking more money off the poor. One is banning cigarette displays. It is well known that these displays have a strong effect in encouraging young people to start smoking and that the best way to reduce tobacco harm is for people not to start smoking in the first place.

But banning these displays is something that National, for its weird ideological reasons, won’t consider. Associate Health Minister with responsibility for tobacco harm reduction, Tariana Turia, once considered getting rid of the displays a priority. But she’s too busy reprinting her business cards with ‘Minister for Whanau Ora (don’t ask what it is)’ to worry about stuff like Maori dying of lung cancer any more.

I also don’t get why National had to take Parliament into Urgency (in fact, Extraordinary Urgency) once again.

If they had their act together, they could have easily passed the tax increase in a single day without the cost of going into Urgency. It looks like this was another product of National’s haphazard, last minute decision-making and poor House management (remember the other day when they wasted half an hour of their law-passing time on a debate on Steven Joyce’s academic record?).

So, yeah, sure out up the excise, but why not do more effective things that don’t hurt the poor? And why can’t National get its act together in the House?

48 comments on “Tax hike but why no display ban?”

  1. Tigger 1

    National MPs have certainly seen the light here. Back in 2003 they were defending smoker’s rights to the hilt!
    http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Debates/Debates/1/0/1/47HansD_20031015_00001320-Smoke-free-Environments-Amendment-Bill-Referral.htm

    Simon Power even quoted this on behalf of one smoker – “I work 60 to 70 hours a week on farms as a labourer, a shearer, a docker, a manager, etc. When I have finished my work at the day’s end and I want to go and have a beer and a cigarette at the ‘Chelty’, no politically correct member of Parliament from Rotorua is going to tell me whether or not I can stand in my local tavern and have a cigarette, after a long week’s work.’

    • Ianmac 1.1

      Well done Tigger. As Jim Anderton said in Parliament yesterday in regard to rise in tax for tobacco but not for alcohol, ” I can’t use the word beginning with H… but I can say Double Standards!” (Perhaps its National Double Standards?)

  2. Pascal's bookie 2

    One point. Say smoking rates drop by half. How big is the hole in the revenue from lost excise taxes?

    I think there is a problem with the taxes going into the consolidated fund. Any substantial drop in collection needs to be made up somewhere else. That would account for certain government actions, and non actions.

  3. You are a disgrace marty g.

    Tariana pushed this through but don’t let the facts get in the way of your diatribe against the maori party and tariana personally –

    “But she’s too busy reprinting her business cards with ‘Minister for Whanau Ora (don’t ask what it is)’ to worry about stuff like Maori dying of lung cancer any more.”

    That line is actually sick and wrong and filled with hate and envy.

    • Bright Red 3.1

      and where is the ban on tobacco displays? that’s the disgrace.

      • marty mars 3.1.1

        be patient BR and celebrate the victories as they occur instead of always finding the negative – where the maori party and it’s members are concerned anyway

        labour voted for this increase didn’t they? – don’t be so mean spirited.

        • Bright Red 3.1.1.1

          “be patient”, jesus, you sound like a Key apologist making excuses for higher unemployment, lower wages, and higher crime.

          ‘just wait, just keep on waiting’. We’ll be waiting till the crack of doom before you are willing to admit that Maori are going backwards under National.

          Even then you’ll make excuses for the Maori Party being part of that government.

          Tell me, with crime up, more Maori in jail than ever, unemployment of Maori doubled, and wages falling you consider that National has delivered for Maori?

          • Tigger 3.1.1.1.1

            I don’t think this is a victory to be celebrated. It’s another damn flag – looks good but in the end it isn’t going to solve anything.

          • marty mars 3.1.1.1.2

            you’re a broken record and a b-side at that

            Can you not see any positives for maori from this? What about for other people who live in this country? It’s all bad? maybe it is in your mind but that is simply because labour didn’t do it – but they did vote for it BR – so what does that mean for your tight little worldview?

            • Bright Red 3.1.1.1.2.1

              marty. Are you honestly defending a government that has increased Maori unemployment, cut wages, and seen crime increase while locking up a record number of Maori?

              or do you prefer not to address that?

              • i prefer to address the issues that i want to address in the way that i want to address them rather than be told what I should do and how i should do it.

                I am not defending anything but I am saying that increasing this tax is positive for maori and everyone else, and i am saying it was good to see most parties vote for it, and i am saying that i hope we can do more including getting rid of display ads for tobacco.

                Are you honestly saying that you think the negative statistics that accure to maori across a wide range of measures is due to the gnat led government?

              • Bright Red

                I’m saying that these statistics have worsened under the National/Maori Government and you support that government.

                You don’t like National (you call them “gnats”) because you’re a sensible leftie and you know they are bad for Maori. Yet you seem determined to turn a blind eye to the fact that things are getting worse for Maori under a government that the Maori Party is part of.

            • The Voice of Reason 3.1.1.1.2.2

              This is not a success, Marty, it’s a whopping great fail. Putting the price up will have a temporary effect, as it has in the past, but then the addicts will simply adapt their budgets to cover the expense. And as a result, an even higher percentage of working class family budgets will go on tobacco.

              If Turia gave a stiuff about Maori, she would have worked to ban advertising as well, as part of the path toward banning tobacco altogether. The prime reason National support this change is because it’s no change at all and their supporters in the tobacco industry will not be negatively affected.

              Labour appear to have supported it because even a temporary drop in consumption is welcome, but they at least wanted to limit the peddling of fags in dairies and they did their best to convince Turia to put some guts into the legislation. But she was never going to rock the boat by advocating that obvious practical step.

              All in all, another pipe dream from the deluded right wing leadership of the Maori party.

              • Tigger

                Concur TVOR – most alarmingly I found myself agreeing with Roger Douglas on this vote. It’s just a boot into the poor as it stands. Could have been a great law. Instead it’s just some pretty ribbons to go along with a flag and a Declaration.

              • Armchair Critic

                “And as a result, an even higher percentage of working class family budgets will go on tobacco.”
                Only if you take it at face value. Actually a higher percentage of working class family budgets will go as tax, to the government. This looks like a tax grab, without even the decency of directing the extra tax to programs that reduce smoking, help people quit etc.

            • bahandhumbug 3.1.1.1.2.3

              Well done govt, well done Tariana, pish posh to all the naysayers.

              http://www.nzdoctor.co.nz/quit

  4. gobsmacked 4

    Marty’s comment about Turia and lung cancer is offensive and false.

    It’s so dispiriting when the Standard’s writers take a legitimate issue and then undermine the argument, by adding gratuitous insults. It happens too often on here, and it really doesn’t help the left’s cause.

    Seriously guys, get some judgement. The little voice that says: “Good idea? Bad idea? Let’s think for a moment …”

    It’s really not hard. Do you genuinely believe Turia doesn’t care about Maori (including her own family) dying? Honestly?

    Of course you don’t. So why say it?

    • Tigger 4.1

      The point about advertising/displays is valid though. I doubt very much whether this law will affect smoking to a significant degree. My dad died from lung cancer. No matter how high the price of cigarettes got, he would have found a way to smoke. Turia might think she’s riding a righteous white horse here but I too question whether she wants to solve a problem or merely score a run on the board.

  5. big bruv 5

    I mostly agree with what Marty has to say on this, however, the real concern is how Labour have missed the boat once again.

    The very people you guys pretend to represent are the ones who are going to be most disadvantaged by this tax increase.

    Now I know that Goff cannot be seen to be supporting smoking but the issue he should be attacking the gutless PM on is that this is nothing more than another tax hike, a tax hike from smile and wave Key who campaigned on “a series of ongoing tax cuts”.

    Of course if Goff really had balls he would also be attacking this for what it really is, namely, another sop to the Apartheid party and a way of funding the racist whanau ora programme.

  6. Bill 6

    Why not announce a date on which tobacco sales will cease and allow addicts to register on the premise that they will have their tobacco supplied by the government for free or cheaply for either the rest of their lives or until they quit?

    That wipes out smoking in a generation or so and doesn’t encourage a black market in the interim.

    • CnrJoe 6.1

      As long as its not Port Royal ffs Bill

    • Rex Widerstrom 6.2

      Nationalise the cigarette industry?!

      Not a bad idea. I’d still charge the smokers reasonable amounts though, but it’d go into a fenced-off fund which would cover (or at least partly cover) the ridiculously high cost of their end-of-life care and patches, gum, hypnosis (or whatever works) for those who want to quit.

      But it is time we stopped mincing about and made tobacco illegal for anyone who isn’t a user at present.

      • mcflock 6.2.1

        Well, as a tobacco user I’d like a credit for the pensions that I’m statistically not going to use.

        Indeed, if the govt actually encouraged smoking the superfund would not be needed. But then actually doing the math makes it look unfair to “other” a minority group with bullshit.

        • Rex Widerstrom 6.2.1.1

          Okay, but you have to guarantee to turn up your toes by a certain date, otherwise the Tobacco Users Eradication Sqaud will be round to… you know… help you meet you obligations 😀

          As for your second suggestion, if they’re going to encourage smoking so as to reduce the pressure on superannuation then as a lifelong non smoker I do indeed object. I will expect equal subsidisation of my life-shortening vices… though I bet I can use up my quota of Pinot Noir and loose women quicker than you can get through your state-subsidised rollies 😛

          • Strathen 6.2.1.1.1

            The previous tax take on ciggies was estimated at $1.125 billion. The cost per year if every smoker required hospitalisation for smoking related illnesses is approximately $250 million.

            There’s already a huge surplus, combine that with the majority of smokers not living past 70, there’s a massive economic benefit for NZ.

            This increase will take the tax take up to approx $1.45 billion. As it’s done in increments, it will have a minor effect on the smoking numbers. We will still have 20% of the adult population smoking.

            As armchair critic said above, it’s a tax grab. Approx it’ll pay for the $250 mill we borrow per week, for 1 week per year. Now all we need is another 51 of these types of tax grabs and we will no longer have to cut public service spending.

          • mcflock 6.2.1.1.2

            Not talking about not paying you in your old age.

            Just suggesting that if you cared about your burden on the state, you’d smoke and take your chances with the rest of us 🙂

      • Rich 6.2.2

        I think there are many gang members who would agree with you. Think of the profits from 1.5mln regular buyers of illegal tobacco.

  7. Ianmac 7

    I think that the last time the question of shops cigarette displays came up, the lobby group reckoned that it would hurt businesses especially the corner dairy. Wouldn’t that be an indication that removing adverts/displays would have an effect?

  8. The Voice of Reason 8

    I don’t suppose there is any link between busting those home grow shops and this tax increase is there? Are we heading to the point where baccy is more profitable for crims than dope?

    • big bruv 8.1

      Voice

      “Are we heading to the point where baccy is more profitable for crims than dope?”

      I suspect that we are, when I lived in the north east of Scotland it was common for each and every town to have its very own black market supplier, at that stage a packet of 20 cost around five pounds, what these guys did was hire a van, cross the channel (to Belgium usually) and load up with as much booze and fags as they could fit in the van.

      Obviously they kept a low profile and were not easy to find but once they trusted you they would sell you a carton of cigs per week for anywhere between 25 and 30 pounds, hardly any smokers that I know purchased them from a retail outlet.

      Some of them were previously cannabis dealers, however the more the UK govt increased the duty on cigs the more they looked into becoming black market suppliers of cigs, they worked out that the profit margins on cigs were almost the same as on cannabis and they have almost zero chance of ever going to prison if caught.

      • insider 8.1.1

        I don’t think we’ll get large scale illegal imports. Product is too bulky, it’s hard to access from overseas in quantity, has low relative value meaning the cost/benefit of imports is low compared to the risk of losses if consignments are intercepted, and it is competing against widely available legal supplies.

  9. Name 9

    Geoffrey Palmer commenting on his (the Law Commission’s) review of Alcohol laws said on Morning Report yesterday that of all its recommendations, hiking the price of alcohol would have the biggest effect on reducing consumption – and of course increasing the duty on alcohol was the first thing the Govt. rejected doing.

    I’ve no doubt the same would apply to tobacco – I don’t give a damn as I don’t smoke – and here the Govt. went into extreme urgency to wallop the price up to reduce consumption.

    No doubt there is fecund ground here for all kinds of conspiracy theorising. To me it’s just a Govt. that has no idea beyond taking the easiest course from moment to moment like piss down a wall.

    • Bright Red 9.1

      the tricky thing is that tobacco is addictive. That means that putting up the price doesn’t have such a big effect as it might on other things.

  10. mcflock 10

    National are back to their old tricks: back in the 1990s when they went into coalition with Winston he wanted free doctors for kids. ISTR the caost was $300M. Where oh where to get the funds? A tobacco tax hike that raised revenue $300M.

    It was only Labour/Alliance that brought in free addiction treatment. National just hiked the price up that addicts had to pay.

  11. Rex Widerstrom 11

    Meanwhile Australia has hiked the tax of cigarettes by 25 percent.

    The Australian government reckons that will cut tobacco consumption by six percent and the number of smokers by two or three percent.

    But they’re going further and introducing a law to “prohibit logos, brand imagery, colours, and promotional text other than brand and product names in standard colour, position, font style and size”.

    Meanwhile the tobacco companies have castigated the move as being *cough*… bad for health::

    “If the tobacco products are available in the same easy-to-copy plain packaging, it makes it much easier for counterfeiters to increase the volume of illicit trade in Australia,” she said.

    “That illicit product may not have the health warnings on it, it won’t be subject to ingredients reporting.”

    Well hell yes. Because all that’s in the cigarettes on sale now is pure tobacco, right?

    • Lanthanide 11.1

      I guess these tobacco companies have never seen the exceptionally high quality counterfeiting that goes on around the world, where you can only tell that a counterfeit gucci bag isn’t a gucci bag because the colour of the stitching is just slightly off.

      Yes, having plain packaging will make it easier for new entrants into the market, but the problem is not from small outfits that can only manage to mimic basic packaging, but the massive organisations that already copy the ‘complex’ packaging.

      Several months ago there was a chinese company shutdown for counterfeiting Cisco products I believe. They had several buildings, their own factory and 37 staff doing customer services for their products.

      • Rich 11.1.1

        Half the time the company contracted to manufacture for Cisco or whoever just makes an extra few thousand units and sells them on the grey market.

        That sort of thing is losing China a lot of business, though.

  12. insider 12

    Regarding urgency, this was an increase in excise tax. Excise is usually paid by the importer or manufacturer upon import or exit of the product from a bonded storage, it’s not directly levied on the consumer price.

    So the aim of urgency was probably not to prevent consumers stocking up, but to prevent the tobacco companies emptying their warehouses and potentially getting a windfall gain by putting up prices on large amounts of old stock. The price for the stuff already in shops should not be affected by the tax changes.

    • Bright Red 12.1

      If that’s the reason, The Nats have given a year’s warning for the next round and two year’s warning for the round after that.

      • insider 12.1.1

        Good question. Maybe it’s just a tradeoff issue that they can control the potential gain one time but it’s not worth bothering about over time. They often give warning on fuel and alcohol too. Logistics prevents too much gaming.

    • Rich 12.2

      Urgency (especially extraordinary, don’t even bother to debate it, urgency) should be reserved for genuine crises, like wars, natural disasters and economic crises where law must really be changed urgently.

      I have no desire for cheap fags, but the government could have proposed this measure any time in the last year and a half. They could have put it in the last Budget. That way it could have gone through democratic process in the usual way and still be in force today.

      Do the Maori Party realise that if Key wanted, he could pass a law in this way abolishing the Maori seats? Rodney would be right behind it, and that gives them a majority.

  13. The hike in tobacco excise is simply a revenue grab. There is nothing redeeming about it. It is unlikely to achieve its aim of significantly reducing smoking. Why does it suck?

    1. Excise is a regressive tax (impacts more heavily on the poor)

    2. Tobacco (read nicotine) for a majority of smokers is not a rational choice (the substitution effect therefore is not relevant, most smokers will adjust their budgets accordingly, leaving low income families with less disposable income.

    3. The government is taking advantage of drug addicts (when it should be helping them break their addiction – can you imagine a government legalising prescription metamphetamine for addicts and having a tax on it?)

    4. The government becomes further dependent on tobacco excise revenue (however, I do not suggest lowering cigarette excise. Simple annual increases to keep up with inflation should be sufficient.)

    5. Black-market tobacco is becoming increasingly common (feeding gang livelihoods)

    This from a life-long non-smoker.

  14. Quoth the Raven 14

    Great article on anti-smoking puritans and harm reduction

    At a time when governments were giving free syringes to heroin and free condoms to children, the ‘quit-or-die’ approach to tobacco raised ethical questions, and was only possible by an almost evangelical faith in the smokefree world to come. Total abstinence had previously been seen as a pipe-dream, but as the anti-smoking movement gathered pace in the 1970s, activists and governments came to believe it was possible within a generation. This was in-keeping with earlier reform movements, which invariably set their eyes on prohibition sooner or later. Just as the American temperance movement set out with a message of moderation and ended with complete prohibition, so the Anti-Cigarette League of the early 20th century went from a campaign that solely targeted ‘coffin nails’ to fighting cigars, pipes and chewing tobacco (which were the ‘less hazardous’ alternatives of its day). The Anti-Cigarette League’s absolutist slogan ‘A Smokeless America by 1925′ bears an uncanny resemblance to the Surgeon General’s equally ambitious of 1986: ‘A Smoke-Free America by 2000 AD’. Both serve as reminders that bringing about total abstinence is easier said than done.

    Four decades later, the ‘quit or die’ approach survives. Its political legacy can be seen in Britain’s ban on Skoal Bandits in the 1980s and Australia and Canada’s recent ban on e-cigarettes. It can be seen in Finland’s pledge to ban any safer tobacco product that might appear in the future. It can be seen in the ban on snus that is enforced in every EU country bar Sweden. Its impact on the health of populations, however, can only be seen by comparing Sweden’s significantly lower smoking rate and lung cancer rate to its EU neighbours.

    In summary, modern anti-smoking activists oppose tobacco harm reduction because, like earlier reformers, they tend to be idealists. Even those who set out as pragmatists are liable to becoming more zealous once they become emerged in a worthy cause. Few activist groups of any hue avoid ‘mission creep’ for long. For the anti-smoking movement, the allure of prohibition – the only logical conclusion to its cause – could not be long resisted. To the anti-tobacco campaigner, the appearance of new tobacco products, even if demonstrably safer, innately feels like a step backwards. Their prohibition, on the other hand, feels perfectly natural and, since most alternative nicotine devices are niche products with relatively few users, they can be nipped in the bud with minimal resistance.

    • NickS 14.1

      Interesting piece, thanks, and yeah, making safer tobacco products available to smokers really should be part of dealing with the health issues of smoking, especially when there’s clear advantage to do so.

      Also, I don’t really mind so much people smoking as long as I, and other non-smokers don’t have to breath it in, and as far as the health issues go, I’m okay with the public costs being added onto the price of tobacco products.

  15. SPC 15

    Oh simply end public sale – and have Pharmac buy the smokes off the suppliers and distribute them through chemists (in plain cartons) on a prescription tagged to a ration card. That ends advertising here.

    Only those (over 18) registered as addicts in 2010 ever being able to obtain and continue to use these ration cards.

    • NickS 15.1

      That would be a great one for National to put through, since it’s instant political suicide.

      • SPC 15.1.1

        Not if Labour supported it as they did the price increase – despite it being a regressive tax that falls on the poor (generally so).

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    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security released their annual report today, and I've been busy reading through it. In amongst the usual review of what they've been doing all year, there's a few interesting bits. For example, a discussion on "agency retention and disposal of information", which points out that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A referendum on bigotry
    The End of Life Choice Bill passed its third reading last night, 69 - 51. Thanks to a compromise with NZ First - which looks to have been necessary on the final numbers - the commencement of the bill will be subject to a referendum. Given the ugliness of the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Political parties and GMOs: we all need to move on
    Recently more than 150 post-graduate students and young scientists presented an open letter to the Green Party via The Spinoff, encouraging them to reconsider their position on genetic modification. Their target is tackling climate change issues.[1] Can any party continue to be dismissive about genetic modification (GM) contributing to ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    5 days ago
  • Class, Identity Politics and Transgender Ideology
    by Deirdre O’Neill Under Thatcher and then Blair and continuing up until our contemporary moment, the working class has seen its culture slowly and progressively destroyed. The change from an industrial society to a service society produced a marked shift in focus from the working class as the backbone of ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Irony
    Since 2013, the Australian government has detained refugees without trial in Pacific gulags, where they are abused, tortured, and driven to suicide. The policy is not just an abuse of human rights and possible crime against humanity; it has also had a corrosive effect on the states Australia uses as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • An age of protest.
    It seems fair to say that we currently live in a problematic political moment in world history. Democracies are in decline and dictatorships are on the rise. Primordial, sectarian and post-modern divisions have re-emerged, are on the rise or have been accentuated by political evolutions of the moment such as ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Another captured agency
    Last month, Greenpeace head Russel Norman surrendered his speaking slot at an EPA conference to student climate activist Sorcha Carr, who told the EPA exactly what she thought of them. It was a bold move, which confronted both regulators and polluters (or, as the EPA calls them, "stakeholders") with the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • NZ First’s dodgy loans
    The core principle supposedly underlying New Zealand's electoral finance regime is transparency: parties can accept large donations from rich people wanting to buy policy, but only if they tell the public they've been bought. Most parties abide by this, so we know that TOP was wholly-owned by Gareth Morgan, and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day: The choice on End of Life Choice
    Today is a Member's Day, probably the second-to-last one of the year, and its a big one, with the Third Reading of David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill. last Member's Day it was reported back from committee, after MPs voted narrowly to make it subject to a (rules TBA) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • How growth in population and consumption drives planetary change
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz The growth of the human population over the last 70 ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • The disappearing Women …
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In her excellent oral submission to the Abortion reform select committee on 31st October on behalf of Otago University’s Department of Public Health, historian and public health researcher Hera Cook stated: “We would ask that the committee not use the term ‘pregnant persons’ and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • “A Passage to India”: enduring art in changing times
    by Don Franks In 1957, E M Forster wrote, of his greatest work: “The India described in ‘A Passage to India’ no longer exists either politically or socially. Change had begun even at the time the book was published ( 1924) and during the following quarter of a century it ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Contemptuous
    The Referendums Framework Bill was due back from select committee today. But there's no report on it. Instead, the bill has been bounced back to the House under Standing order 29593) because the Committee didn't bother to produce one. They probably tried. But given the membership of the committee (which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Zero Carbon: It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law
    Two years into New Zealand’s Labour-led government, the long-delayed Zero Carbon Bill became law on 7 November. Passed essentially unanimously, the lengthy public debates and political manoeuvring faded away until the final passage was even anticlimactic: Flipping through the @nzstuff @DomPost I was starting to wonder if I’d dreamt ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: What happens next?
    Now the Zero Carbon Bill is law, what's next? Obviously, the ETS changes currently before select committee are going to be the next battleground. But we're also going to get a good idea of where we're going, and if the progress the Zero Carbon Act promises is good enough, during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate change will fuel bush fires
    Grant Pearce The effects of the current Australian bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland (and also again in California) are devastating and far-reaching. To date, the fires have resulted in several lives being lost and many homes and properties destroyed. Here in New Zealand, the impacts have been only ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Participation rates
    A passing comment in a post the other day about the labour force participation rates of older people prompted me to pull down the fuller data and see what we could see about various participation rates over the decades since the HLFS began in 1986.   As it happens, the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Reddell
    1 week ago
  • Not So Much “OK Boomer” As “OK Ruling Class”.
    Distract And Divert: The rise of what we have come to call “Identity Politics” represents the ideological manifestation of the ruling class’s objective need to destroy class politics, and of the middle-class’s subjective need to justify their participation in the process.THE RELIEF of the ruling class can only be imagined. ...
    1 week ago
  • Asking for it …
    "I saw a newspaper picture,From the political campaignA woman was kissing a child,Who was obviously in pain.She spills with compassion,As that young child'sFace in her hands she gripsCan you imagine all that greed and avariceComing down on that child's lips?" ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand’s Poor Pandemic Preparedness According to the Global Health Security Index
    Dr Matt Boyd, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson The Global Health Security Index which considers pandemic threats has just been published. Unfortunately, NZ scores approximately half marks (54/100), coming in 35th in the world rankings – far behind Australia. This poor result suggests that the NZ Government needs to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Thank Winston
    The Zero Carbon Act is inadequate, with a weak methane target designed to give farmers a free ride. But it turns out it could have been worse: Climate Change Minister James Shaw was so desperate to get National on board, he wanted to gut that target, and leave it in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Illicit markets and Bali Booze
    The Herald reprints an Australian story on a couple of tragic deaths in Bali from drinking cocktails that had methanol in them.  The story argues that methanol is likely the result of home distillation. But what the young tourists were experiencing was far from a hangover. They’d consumed a toxic cocktail ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    1 week ago
  • This is not what armed police are for
    Last month, the police announced a trial of specialist roaming armed units, which would drive round (poor, brown) areas in armoured SUVs, armed to the teeth. When they announced the trial, they told us it was about having armed police "ready to attend major incidents at any time if needed". ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Spain’s failed electoral gamble
    Spain went to the polls today in the second elections this year, after the Socialists (who had come to power in a confidence vote, then gone to the polls in April) rejected the offer of a coalition with the left-wing PoDemos, and instead decided to gamble n a better outcome ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The astroturf party
    National has finally rolled out its "BlueGreen" astroturf party, fronted by an array of former nats and people who were dumped by the Greens for not being Green enough. Its initial pitch is described by Stuff as "very business-friendly", and its priorities are what you'd expect: conservation, predator-free funding, a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How to cheat at university
    A couple of days ago I attended (and spoke at) the University of Waikato’s “LearnFest” event. There were lots of talks and sessions on very diverse aspects of teaching, mostly at tertiary level. One was by Myra Williamson from Te Piringa Faculty of Law here at Waikato, on Contract Cheating ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    1 week ago
  • How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury
    There will be a transit of Mercury – the planet Mercury will pass across the face of the Sun – taking place at sunrise in New Zealand on Tuesday, 12th November. It was by observing such an event 250 years ago that James Cook and his scientist colleagues were able ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Georgina Beyer: We need to be able to talk without being offended
    Since becoming the world’s first openly transexual mayor and member of parliament, Georgina Beyer has been recognised as a trailblazer for trans rights. Daphna Whitmore talks with her about where she sees the current trans movement We start out talking about legislation the government put on hold that would have ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
    If FFNZ really put their faith in “Top Medical Journals” they would now be amending their billboards to recognise new research results. Image from FFNZ but updated to agree with the latest research. ...
    1 week ago
  • Chosen To Rule? What Sort Of Christian Is Chris Luxon?
    National Messiah? Chris Luxon identifies himself as an evangelical Christian. If he is genuine in this self-characterisation, then he will take every opportunity his public office provides to proselytise on behalf of his faith. He will also feel obliged to bear witness against beliefs and practices he believes to be ...
    1 week ago
  • War of the worms
    I'm going to make a Reckless Prediction™ that the Tories have 'topped out' in the 'poll of polls' / Britain Elects multipoll tracker at about 38%, and in the next week we will start to see Labour creep up on them.In fact, we might just be seeing the start of ...
    1 week ago
  • Marvelly shows us how to be a feminist without feminism
    by The Council of Disobedient Women Lizzie Marvelly: “I may have missed this… has @afterellen gone all terf-y? Or am I reading something incorrectly? “ https://twitter.com/LizzieMarvelly/status/1191840059105742849 After Ellen is a lesbian website that is unashamedly pro-lesbian, as you’d expect. So why is Ms Marvelly so bothered about lesbians having their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Out of the past – Tories to revive racist laws from the 16th century
    Did you know there once was a time when it was illegal to be a gypsy (aka Romani) in Britain?That was between 1530, when the Egyptians Act was passed, and 1856, when it was repealed.Amongst other things, the act forbade the entry of 'Egyptians' into England, ordered those already there ...
    1 week ago
  • 1000 of these now
    Some days I sit and think, “what will I write…?” What do you say when you get to 1000 posts? Maybe you just start where you are, diverge to where this all began, then offer a collection of reader’s favourite posts, and a few of your own? (And throw in ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Has Shane Jones Just Saved NZ First?
    Counter-Puncher: The “activists” and “radicals” (his own words) from the Indian community who took such strong exception to Shane Jones’ remarks about Immigration NZ’s treatment of arranged marriages, may end up bitterly regretting their intervention. Jones is not the sort of person who turns the other cheek to his critics.SHANE ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: As predicted
    Yesterday, when National voted for the Zero Carbon Bill, I predicted they'd gut it the moment they regained power, just as they had done to the ETS. And indeed, they have explicitly promised to do exactly that within their first hundred days in office. What would their amendments do? Abandon ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Let this never be forgot
    In the spirit of Remember, remember the fifth of November, let's keep this in mind FOREVER.
    Oh dear. Extraordinary interview on PM with Andrew Bridgen and @EvanHD just now. Bridgen was defending Jacob Rees Mogg’s Grenfell comments. Evan asked him if JRM had meant to say he would have left ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Too Late To Change Capitalism’s Flightpath?
    Collision Course? In conditions of ideological white-out, the international bankers’ “Woop-Woop! Pull Up!” warning may have come too late to save global capitalism.WHAT DOES IT MEAN when international bankers are more willing to embrace radical solutions than our politicians and their electors? At both the International Monetary Fund and the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Whooping cough vaccine works well despite its imperfections
    Pertussis (whooping cough) is a conundrum. It is a disease that was described hundreds of years ago and the bacteria that causes it (Bordetella pertussis) isolated in 1906. We have had vaccines for about 80 years but this disease is defiant in the face of human immunity. I wanted to ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Passed
    The Zero Carbon Bill has just passed its third reading, uanimously. In the end, National supported it - but we all know they'll turn around and gut it the moment they regain power. Meanwhile, I guess ACT's David Seymour didn't even bother to show up. I am on record as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Retailing of vaping products – New NZ Research
    Dr Lindsay Robertson, Dr Jerram Bateman, Professor Janet Hoek Members of the public health community hold divergent views on how access to vaping products or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) products should be arranged. Some believe ENDS should be as widely available as smoked tobacco and argue for liberal ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Justice for Bomber
    When the Police were trying to cover up for the National Party over Dirty Politics, they went all-in with their abuses of power. They illegally search Nicky Hager's house, violating his journalistic privilege and invading his privacy. They unlawfully acquired Hager's bank records. They did the same to left-wing blogger ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Britain’s climate tyranny was unlawful
    Last month, in response to a wave of protests by Extinction Rebellion, the British government purported to ban their protests from the whole of London. It was a significant interference with the freedoms of expression and assembly, and another sign of the country's decline into tyranny. But now, a court ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • More crime from the spies
    Last year, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security reported on significant problems with the intelligence warrant system. While they were unwilling to declare any warrant "irregular" (meaning unlawful) due to the recent law change, they were also not willing to give the system a clean bill of health. Now, they've ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Vaccination, compulsion, and paternalism for the lower orders
    The National Party has come out in support of encouraging greater vaccination uptake. But it sure isn’t the way I’d do it. National’s suggested docking the benefits of those on benefit whose kids aren’t keeping up with their vaccinations. Some in National have suggested extending that to payments under Working ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    2 weeks ago
  • Global Protests Rage On: But Slogans Are Not Plans.
    Feeding The Flames: It is simply not enough to demand an end to “corruption”, or “inequality”, or the overbearing influence of the authorities in Beijing. These are just “lowest common denominator” demands: the sort of slogans that pull people onto the streets. They are not a plan.WHERE’S THE PLAN? Across ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 11,000 employed under Labour
    The labour market statistics have been released, and unemployment has risen to 4.2%. There are 115,000 unemployed - 11,000 fewer than when Labour took office. In that time the minimum wage has gone up by $2 an hour, which shows that the right's fears about increases causing unemployment are simply ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Boycott this democratic fraud
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has called for submissions on Andrew Little's tyrannical Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill. Normally I encourage participation in the democratic process. I am not doing so in this case. Instead, I encourage all of you to boycott this submissions process, and to post ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Why Mars is cold despite an atmosphere of mostly carbon dioxide
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz If tiny concentrations of carbon dioxide can hold enough heat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Ban private jets
    Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and within it, one of the fastest sources is elite travel: billionaires flitting around the world in their private jets, spewing excessive pollution into the atmosphere just so they can avoid mixing with us dirty peasants. But in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Untold Suffering
    That's what we face if we don't stop climate change, according to a warning from 11,000 scientists:The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society, according to a stark warning from more than 11,000 scientists. “We declare clearly and unequivocally ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The left and violent misogyny
    by Phil Duncan Here’s just a few of the kind of threats issued day in and day out against gender-critical women – feminists, marxists, etc – overwhelmingly by MEN (albeit men identifying as women). “Kill all Terfs”. “Shoot a Terf today”. “All terfs deserve to be shot in the head”. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and the iPhone
    This is the third of the synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016). The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Unlike the humble cup of coffee and t-shirt that we looked at in ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

  • Wayne Brown hits back at critics: Ports of Auckland has to move
    The chairman of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy (UNISCS) working group, Wayne Brown, has hit back at critics of his group’s recommendations to relocate the Ports of Auckland cargo operations to Whangarei’s deepwater port of Northport. The working group's recommendation to close Auckland waterfront to all but cruise ...
    22 hours ago
  • Week That Was: Supporting our schools
    We're setting our young people up for success, investing in education around the country.  ...
    1 day ago
  • Kiwis to have their say on End of Life Choice
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First backs the public to decide on the End of Life Choice Bill via a referendum at the 2020 General Election. The Bill, with New Zealand First’s referendum provision incorporated, passed its final reading in Parliament this evening. New Zealand First Spokesperson for ...
    5 days ago
  • Addressing miscarriages of justice
    Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Justice New Zealand First is proud that a key Coalition Agreement commitment which will provide for a more transparent and effective criminal justice system has been realised. Legislation to establish the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body focused on identifying and responding to possible miscarriages of ...
    6 days ago
  • Week That Was: Historic action on climate change
    "Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy... I hope that means that future generations will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history." - Jacinda Ardern, Third Reading of the Zero Carbon Bill ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tax-free deployments for Kiwi troops
    Darroch Ball, New Zealand First List MP A Member’s bill has been proposed that would provide income tax exemptions for all New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel while on operational deployment overseas. The Income Tax (Exemption for Salary or Wages of NZDF Members on Active Deployment) Amendment Bill proposed by New Zealand First ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A balanced Zero Carbon Bill passed
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader New Zealand First is proud to have brought common sense to the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, which passed its final reading in Parliament today. Party Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters says months of hard work went into negotiating a balanced ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Paramedics’ status to be recognised
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First has listened to calls to recognise paramedics as registered health professionals under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (the Act). Today, the Coalition Government announced plans for paramedics to be registered as health practitioners under the Act, and the establishment of a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: 2,000 teachers in two years
    We began the week by commemorating the New Zealand Wars and celebrating a major increase in the number of teachers. Then, we were busy supporting offenders into work and getting our rail back on track after years of underinvestment. And that's just the start! ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Winning an election one conversation at a time
    In October I was sworn in as the Mayor of Lower Hutt. It’s the privilege of my life to serve Hutt people as their Mayor. There is something really special to be able to serve the community where I was raised, and where I live.   ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Closer cooperation with Korean horse racing industry
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Racing Racing Minister Winston Peters met with Korea Racing Authority Chairperson Nak Soon Kim in Seoul today to discuss closer cooperation between the New Zealand and Korean horse racing industries. As part of the visit to the Seoul Racecourse, Mr Peters witnessed ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Otago to lead digital creativity
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10 million to establish Otago as the centre of New Zealand’s creative digital industry over the next ten years, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “The initiative will bring us closer to the vision of ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Young Otago students encouraged to take on forestry careers
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)’s skills and employment programme will help young Otago people into long-term forestry careers, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Te Ara Mahi will invest $63,000 in the 2020 school year to support eight 17 and 18 ...
    3 weeks ago
  • PGF backing Dunedin’s waterfront ambitions
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will support local plans to revitalise and stimulate economic development opportunities in Otago, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The four Regional Economic Development Ministers have approved an in-principle investment of $19.9 million towards the region’s ...
    3 weeks ago

  • New housing part of support for Kaumātua
    The Government is building special housing to accommodate one of Aotearoa’s greatest taonga- our kaumātua, says the Minister for Māori Development, Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Speaking at a National Kaumātua Service Providers Conference in Rotorua today, the Minister reinforced the importance kaumātua play in maintaining and passing on mātauranga Māori, knowledge, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Forestry helps prisoners into jobs
    Eleven men from a pilot forestry training programme for prisoners in Northland now have full time jobs or job offers upon release, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis and Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced today. The ‘release to work’ programme was a collaboration between Te Uru Rākau and the Department of Corrections, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Reform of public service a step closer
    Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins today introduced into Parliament a Bill that will make it easier for the public service to tackle the biggest challenges facing Governments. The Bill represents the most significant change in the public service in 30 years. The State Sector Act 1988 will be repealed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Donations scheme to relieve pressure on families
    The families of more than 416,000 students will be better off next year as their schools have signed up to the Government’s donations scheme, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. The scheme will see almost $62.5 million in additional Government funding go to schools nationwide next year. “I’m really pleased ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Further support for Samoan measles outbreak
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced further support as the Government of Samoa responds to a serious measles outbreak. “New Zealand will deploy a further 18 vaccination nurses, bringing the total to 30 working in Samoa over the next four weeks,” Mr Peters said. “A New Zealand Medical Assistance ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Speech to the Child Poverty Action Group 2019 Summit
      Fa’atalofa atu, malo e lelei, Kia ora koutou katoa Thank you to the Child Poverty Action Group for asking me to be here today to provide an update on some of the things that have been happening across my the social development portfolio.  Can I firstly acknowledge the vast ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Annual Conference
    ***Please check against delivery*** Good morning everyone. It is a pleasure to be with you this morning to open this year’s New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Conference and AGM. Firstly, thank you Dr Alan Jackson, NZTR Chair for your introduction. And let us acknowledge also: The NZTR Board; Dean McKenzie, Chair ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Fairer rules for tenants and landlords
    The Government has delivered on its promise to the over one million New Zealanders who now rent to make it fairer and more secure, Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Kris Faafoi has announced today. Both renters and landlords will benefit from the suite of practical changes to the Residential ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Two decades of marine protection celebrated at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako in Tairawhiti
    A marine conservation milestone - the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve - is being celebrated today at a community event in Tairāwhiti/East Coast attended by the Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “The creation of this marine reserve in November 1999 was a game ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Food industry asked to step up fight against obesity
         The Government is asking the food industry to step up work to tackle obesity including reducing sugar, fat and salt in their products, better information for consumers, and tighter restrictions on advertising to children. Health Minister David Clark and Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor have responded to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Modern emergency care for Queenstown area
    ew, modern emergency department and outpatient facilities at Queenstown’s Lakes District Hospital mean better emergency care for the growing tourist mecca’s visitors and locals, says Health Minister David Clark. Today Dr Clark officially opened the hospital’s redeveloped Emergency Department and Outpatient facilities. The new facilities include: •    An extended Emergency Department ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Contraception important for New Zealanders
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter says today’s release of sexual and reproductive health data reinforces the significance of the Government’s commitment to providing free or very low-cost contraception. The Ministry of Health today published statistics from the Ministry of Health’s 2014/15 Health Survey. “It is important people can make ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ medical staff and measles vaccines going to Samoa
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced that at the request of the Samoan Government, New Zealand will be providing further support to Samoa as it faces a worsening measles outbreak. “In response to a request from the people of Samoa, New Zealand is providing 3000 measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Disability Action Plan 2019 – 2023
    “The new Disability Action Plan 2019–2023 moves us towards the inclusive and accessible New Zealand that this government has committed to,” Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni announced today.  “The Action Plan was designed by disabled people, their family and supporters, the disability sector and government agencies. It will ensure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Joint Statement – Third Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting
    Third Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting 14 November 2019 Joint Statement 1. Defence Ministers Ron Mark and Dr Ng Eng Hen today conducted their third annual Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Singapore. 2. Building on the Enhanced Partnership signed between both countries in May this year, this annual meeting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Sexual Violence Legislation Bill has its first reading
    A Bill to improve the court system’s response to sexual violence has passed its first reading in Parliament today. Justice Minister Andrew Little says the Sexual Violence Legislation Bill will reduce the trauma sexual violence complainants experience in court, while maintaining defendants’ fundamental rights and making sure the trial process ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Streamlined business invoicing a step closer
    Streamlined payment practices are a step closer for Kiwi businesses with the formal launch of New Zealand’s e-Invoicing framework. Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says the government has now established the structure to enable automated and direct data exchange between the accounting systems of buyers and sellers. “The move to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More frontline biosecurity officers protecting NZ
    Another 51 quarantine officers and four new biosecurity detector dog teams will help protect New Zealand from invasive pests and diseases this summer, says Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor. “The Government is delivering on its commitment to strengthen New Zealand’s biosecurity system and support our valuable primary sector “New Zealand’s flora, fauna ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • NZ space economy worth $1.69 billion
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