Why no punishment for Westpac?

Written By: - Date published: 8:26 am, October 13th, 2009 - 79 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, crime - Tags:

You would have seen that Westpac was found to have undertaken the largest theft of tax money in New Zealand history. From 1998 to 2002, they hid $586 million in tax due to our government. Add about 6% interest a year and the total they owe us is $961 million.

My problem is that the judgment at present would only see us get back that the tax they owe plus that relatively low amount of interest. Oh and court costs. Where’s the punishment for an intentional plan to rip us off for as much as possible?

This was no accident, it was an intentional crime against all of us, against our country. The bastards even calculated how much tax they would need to pay to deflect IRD from uncovering the theft of all the rest. And what have we done? We’ve said ‘ohh, you cheeky beggars! You nearly got away with it there, now give us the money back and run along you wee scamps’.

IRD can charge penalty tax on top of the money due thanks to this judgment and it had better. Otherwise Westpac will have faced no consequence for its theft. In fact, as things stand it has probably made millions by investing that money at a higher interest rate than IRD is charging it.

In reality, the business should be seized by the government. Westpac undertook the most expensive criminal action in New Zealand history, I don’t see how we can’t consider it a criminal organisation and its assets, therefore to be forfeit. Westpac’s owners don’t deserve the right to own the business with which they tried to rip us off. We should take the bank’s business over and run it ourselves, combine it with Kiwibank.

bankersIf you or I stole a fraction of this amount from the government we would be locked up and rightly so. But we don’t live in a world where justice applies to business. All Westpac has got is an order to give back what it stole and not do it again, pretty please.

At the very least, the Government should stop banking with Westpac. Transfer over to Kiwibank instead. It’s bad enough that we allow New Zealand’s biggest criminal organisation to continue operating, but our government certainly shouldn’t be their customer.

79 comments on “Why no punishment for Westpac?”

  1. It’s long been known you can rob a bank with a note at the counter and get years in prison, but robbing others by clerical means, or by selling public assets to your mates, is a path to wealth, power and success.

    Proof once again that the jails only hold the stupid criminals. The smart ones are too often – much later – found to be captains of industry or among those running the country.

  2. The Voice of Reason 2

    Woody Guthrie got it right in his song about bank robber Pretty Boy Floyd:

    “Yes, as through this world I’ve wandered
    I’ve seen lots of funny men;
    Some will rob you with a six-gun,
    And some with a fountain pen.

    And as through your life you travel,
    Yes, as through your life you roam,
    You won’t never see an outlaw
    Drive a family from their home.”

    Westpac and all the other banks operate by the golden rule: He who has the gold, makes the rules.

    • Well quoted ‘Voice’. Westpac, a division of Finance Capital robbed without raising a sweat, apart from the odd nervous executive perhaps. Just bits and bytes quietly transferring from here to there around the clock until half a billion was missing.

      This will not be dealt with as a criminal case in any shape or form:
      1) Lack of Public interest. Too many people buy the ‘Matrix’ view of the world, uninteresed in doing any structrual political analysis of how our society operates.
      2) Why stop at one syndrome. If a significant actor (Westpac) got seriously pinged how long could the rest of ’em remain unpursued for similar behaviour?

  3. BLiP 3

    Westpac’s biggest customer is the New Zealand Government – surely the least we could do is take our account somewhere else.

  4. Gosman 4

    How to destroy NZ as an investment destination.

    Step 1 – Demonise the foreign owned finacial institutions.

    Step 2 – Nationalise any that have any tax and/or legal issues (i.e. all of them).

    • felix 4.1

      No, you mean “how to destroy NZ as a destination for white collar criminals to fleece the population”.

    • Marty G 4.2

      Gosman is a criminal lover. People who steal from us should be rewarded in Gosman’s book.

    • BLiP 4.3

      How to destroy New Zealand

      1. Appoint a foreign exchange dealer as Prime Minister

      2. Do nothing as foreign banks (i.e., all of them) strip the tax base

      • travellerev 4.3.1

        Actually BLiP,

        He was not just a foreign exchange dealer.

        He oversaw the development of the Derivatives products now destroying our economy for Merrill Lynch.

        It was his department for bonds and derivatives that sold the crap to pension funds world wide and he was hand picked by the Federal Reserve of New York just after the Glass Steagall act was repealed (Keeping the commercial banks and the speculative predator banks separate paving the way for the subprime crisis)

        “Sir” (according to Holmes) Johnny boy together with his peer mate Lord Aschroft and the other banking scum are having a field day ripping the world off for one last time.

    • Zepher 4.4

      Sorry Gosman. Demonising a foreign owned financial institution and making one accountable are two different things.

  5. vidiot 5

    So Marty – you want them to have bigger fines ?

    I guess you aren’t a customer of WBC – because that’s who will be footing the bill (via increased bank fees).

    At the end of the day, it will be the NZ customer base of WBC that will foot the bill.

  6. IRD can charge penalty tax on top of the money due thanks to this judgment and it had better.

    That punishes the wrong people: the shareholders. Instead, we need to directly punish the accountants and managers who made, executed and confirmed the decision to engage in criminal behaviour.

    If I stole a TV, I’d go to jail. Surely we can do the same for the creeps in suits who took us for half a billion dollars?

    • Marty G 6.1

      The shareholders appoint the men in suits and paid them to steal from us. I agree though that the individuals who approved this scheme should be punished too.

    • Daveo 6.2

      Marty’s right. Shareholding isn’t a free ride. Along with the right to own shares and profit from them comes the responsibility to hold company directors and managers to account.

      Think of it as an incentive for shareholders to make sure management behaves. Likewise, it’s an incentive for management not to engage in criminal behaviour that could scare away their investors.

    • If I stole a TV, I’d go to jail. Surely we can do the same for the creeps in suits who took us for half a billion dollars?

      If you stole a TV, you’d also get a trial. And a jury, and a right to silence. And a presumption of innocence which has to be rebutted by a prosecutor beyond all reasonable doubt.

      Call me once the “creeps in suits” have benefited from the same.

      Also, if you stole a TV, you wouldn’t go to jail.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.4

      The shareholders are just as much in the wrong because they allowed the directors et al to run the scam.

  7. Gosman 7

    Who do you think has been mainly funding the gap between NZer’s spending and saving, especially over the past 18 months?

  8. Jared 8

    Theft would imply that the tax isn’t being paid. As with any IRD decision, this is standard practice afaik and is usually how tax legislation is interpreted.

  9. Gosman 9

    If you had actually investigated the case a little more rather than just rely on superficial headline’s you will have seen that Westpac had asked the IRD to give it’s opinions on a similar tax stuctured investment product and got a green light. It looks like the IRD have changed it’s opinion of them subsequent to this decision.

    Radio New Zealand National did an indepth piece on this on the Business news section on Morning report on Friday last week I believe.

    • BLiP 9.1

      You’re so full of shit I’m sure there’s a six foot fountain of feaces popping up out the top of your head.

      Judge Harrison said: “Westpac’s challenge to the (IRD) Commissioner’s reassessments must fail. The bank has failed to discharge its onus of proving that the Commissioner erred, either in fact or law. It may count itself fortunate that he did not, on his hypothetical reconstruction, disallow the bank’s claim for exempt income.’

      Do your own fucking research!

      • Gosman 9.1.1

        Did you listen to the Radio NZ National piece on this BLiP or are you just going to cheery pick quotes that suit your agenda?

        • BLiP 9.1.1.1

          Each and every one of the fundamental transactions involved in the tax “minimisation” scam required separate IRD approval. Yet,

          [158] Westpac entered into a tenth structured finance transaction. The counterparty was First Data Corporation. Its elements were materially identical to the other nine transactions. In chronological terms it was the second in the series after Koch. Westpac applied to the Commissioner on 28 May 1999, after entering into both Koch and First Data, for a binding ruling that the statutory tax avoidance provisions would not apply to negate or vary its proposed tax treatment of First Data. The bank never sought binding rulings for Koch or the other eight transactions.

          I suggest you read the judgement before you make even more of a twat of yourself by repeating the disingenuous PR spin designed to minimise Westpac’s disgrace.

    • snoozer 9.2

      Gosman was or was not Westpac found to have not paid tax that it ought to have paid?

      It doesn’t matter if they claimed they had an excuse, that excuse did ot hold water with the court.

      In fact, the court found Westpac had intentionally paid what it thought would be just enough tax to hide the swindle.

      • Jared 9.2.1

        Thats a very pessimistic view of the whole situation. If you understood how case law was developed and how tax legislative interpretations are derived you would find that these sorts of decisions are on the whole, fairly common. Not typically for sums these big, but tax law is regularly argued in this format.

        • BLiP 9.2.1.1

          So the fact that the New Zealand tax base is short (at least) $2 Billion is a good thing because . . .

          • Jared 9.2.1.1.1

            The line has to be drawn somewhere doesn’t it? This is one of the ways the line is drawn. In the same way legislation is interpreted as case law, tax law is given an official interpretation through case law as well as through guidance issued from the IRD.

  10. willaspish 10

    If the lack of a true penalty in this case means that Westpac has actually made a ‘net profit’ from this theft, (having successfully invested the sum stolen) then, assuming it is managers’/directors’ duty to increase profits for shareholders, it kind of turns out it is the duty of all banks to undertake similar thefts. There really needs to be a sensible disincentive to steal from the tax-payer but this decision shows there isn’t.

  11. Gosman 11

    Has anyone actually worked in a bank here or are you all just basing your opinions on some stereotyped cartoon image of the greedy overseas banker out to screw the average Kiwi?

    Kiwibank’s profit’s are currently being squeezed because they are having a hard time raising funds whereas the Aussie owned banks have been using their parent companies for this purpose.

    All Banks, including Kiwibank, look to maximise profits. This includes trying to minimise Tax. That stated all Banks in N.Z. are also careful that they keep within the regulatory and legal framework. They are run and managed by NZer’s on the whole afterall.

    Essentially our financial system is benefiting greatly from this relationship at this point in time and this technical breech of the Tax rules does not mean the overseas Banks are engaging in deliberate illegal activity.

    • snoozer 11.1

      “Has anyone here actually worked in a P lab here or are you all just basing your opinions on some stereotyped cartoon image of the greedy p dealers out to screw the average Kiwi?”

      I’ve worked at a bank.

      Westpac didn’t just try to ‘minimise’ its tax – it sought to evade tax. That left you and me to pick up the tax burden instead. But you keep on apologising for them.

      • Gosman 11.1.1

        They, (along with a number of other financial institutions), sought advice that a certain investment instrument they set up complied with NZ tax laws. The IRD has now decided that it isn’t. These things are hugely complicated and do not mean someone is out to deliberately evade tax.

        Rod Oram is about to appear on Nine to Noon on Radio New Zealand National after the news at 11 am today. I suggest people here listen to this and then comment afterwards.

        • felix 11.1.1.1

          Well Oram doesn’t agree with you. Neither did the Judge. Who else are you going to hold up as a credible voice?

          • Pascal's bookie 11.1.1.1.1

            “Why would a Wookiee, an eight-foot tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of two-foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! But more important, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this case? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense! Look at me. I’m a lawyer defending a major record company, and I’m talkin’ about Chewbacca! Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense! None of this makes sense! And so you have to remember, when you’re in that jury room deliberatin’ and conjugatin’ the Emancipation Proclamation, [approaches and softens] does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense! If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests.”

            • Killinginthenameof 11.1.1.1.1.1

              “Gosman
              All Banks, including Kiwibank, look to maximise profits”

              Are you saying it is ok for me to steal stuff as long as it is for the purpose of filling my pockets with cash?

            • Gosman 11.1.1.1.1.2

              “container loads of cash shipped direct to Australia”

              With that statement you have shown your complete ignorance of how the financial system works BLiP.

              No wonder you’re arguing for additional sanctions.

            • BLiP 11.1.1.1.1.3

              Oh, that’s right – the fuckers just press a button now.

          • Gosman 11.1.1.1.2

            Ummmm……Rod Oram never stated that. In fact he stated that the banks deserve some sympathy because they were attempting to follow some rather vague new rules.

            There is no hint there is anything criminal going on here and is just business as usual. Essentially it is what happens when you try and use your tax system to encourage certain behavious – you have unintended consequences.

            • BLiP 11.1.1.1.2.1

              Gosman-to-English Dictionary

              Unintended consequences – container loads of cash shipped direct to Australia.

      • Gosman 11.1.2

        So what did you do in the bank snoozer?

        • snoozer 11.1.2.1

          BNZ and like the rest of the Aussie banks the bosses were just crims in suits.

          Are you suggesting I’m lying?

      • BLiP 11.1.3

        Gosman-To-English Dictionary

        stereotyped cartoon image – Reality

        minimise tax – Steal money

        run and managed by NZer’s on the whole – Bullshit

        technical breech – orchestrated litany of lies

    • It is not a stereotype cartoon GM.

      They are greedy overseas banks trying to rip us off. And not just us.

  12. Tom Semmens 12

    “…or are you all just basing your opinions on some stereotyped cartoon image of the greedy overseas banker out to screw the average Kiwi?…”

    Put it this way, if the following were the employment ID numbers of Westpac’s senior leadership team, I wouldn’t be the least surprised:

    167-671 – CEO
    761-176 – Sales
    716-167 – Legal
    617-716 – Head of HR
    671-167 – CFO
    671-761 – Head of Marketing

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beagle_Boys

  13. felix 13

    Have you worked in a bank, Gosman?

    You do remind me of a certain lowly bank auditor.

  14. Jim McDonald 14

    “Three weeks ago I saw a banker on his knees, offering reparation for the damage he had done. Unfortunately, this was not in the City of London, but in 14th-century Italy, depicted in a Giotto fresco. …”

    Read: Dante’s Inferno is no more of a fantasy than the fairytales the bankers told us (Ruth Sunderland, Observer, 4 Oct 09) at http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/oct/04/banking-reform-cresc-ruth-sunderland

  15. Why no punishment for Westpac?

    I suppose the simple answer – that they haven’t been convicted of a crime – is too simplistic to suffice. Because it really shouldn’t be.

    This was a civil tax case. If you want a punishment, then institute criminal proceedings. Prove to a jury they someone’s committed a crime and then we can have a proper debate over the appropriate punishment. Because at the moment you’re kinda coming off as even more reactionary than David Garrett – not only “hang ’em high” but do it before they’re convicted and even before they’re charged.

    • snoozer 15.1

      Graeme Edgeler, staunch defender of the wealthy’s right to rip the rest of us off.

      IRD can claim penalty tax and so they should.

      And, yup, criminal charges should be laid too. I’d like to see any jury in this land fail to convict a company that tried to rip us off by a billion dollars.

      • Jared 15.1.1

        The IRD should only claim penalty tax when a tax bill is overdue and not when it is being contested in proceedings like these. If the banks fail to pay as a result of the judgement being issued against them, then they should be issued with an amended tax bill that includes penalty tax, but until then, it shouldn’t apply.

      • I’m a human rights lawyer. If I’m prepared to argue for the human rights of vicious criminals, I think it’s only consistent that I argue for the human rights of tax cheats.

        The position I’m arguing against here isn’t that criminal charges should be laid, it’s that punishment should be meted out before criminal charges are laid, let alone proved.

        Detention without trial is bad enough, but punishment without trial is just so outrageous an idea I’m surprised anyone here even contemplates it.

        • snoozer 15.1.2.1

          no-one’s saying ‘don’t have due process’, Graeme. We’re just saying what we would like the outcome to be.

          • Graeme Edgeler 15.1.2.1.1

            The question to which I was responding is the title of this thread: “Why no punishment for Westpac?”. The question wasn’t “why no criminal charges for Westpac?”.

            The post continues:

            “You would have seen that Westpac was found to have undertaken the largest theft of tax money in New Zealand history.

            In reality, the business should be seized by the government. Westpac undertook the most expensive criminal action in New Zealand history, I don’t see how we can’t consider it a criminal organisation and its assets, therefore to be forfeit.

            You may not have been arguing for punishment without trial, but someone was.

            • snoozer 15.1.2.1.1.1

              um, where does the post say ‘don’t have due process’?

              If some is arrested on a heinous crime and I say ‘lock ’em up for life’, I’m not saying ‘do it without a trial’

            • Graeme Edgeler 15.1.2.1.1.2

              Right here:

              In reality, the business should be seized by the government. Westpac undertook the most expensive criminal action in New Zealand history, I don’t see how we can’t consider it a criminal organisation and its assets, therefore to be forfeit. Westpac’s owners don’t deserve the right to own the business with which they tried to rip us off.

              I’d re-iterate … the question asked in the title itself was “Why no punishment for Westpac?”

              In your example, the equivalent question is “Why hasn’t this person been locked up for life?”

              The answer to that is blindingly obvious.

  16. Brickley Paiste 16

    Graeme is right, everyone. You can’t just Gitmotise people because they’re baddies. It was a civil tax case. The Commissioner won. Hooray.

    Were IRD/SFO prosecutions considered? Could they have been? How? I do not know.

    “Instead, we need to directly punish the accountants and managers who made, executed and confirmed the decision to engage in criminal behaviour.”

    And the lawyers. They always get away with everything.

    • Gosman 16.1

      “Instead, we need to directly punish the accountants and managers who made, executed and confirmed the decision to engage in criminal behaviour.’

      Who actually stated this – you Brickley Paiste?

      As Rod Oram pointed out on Radio NZ National you can have some sympathy for the Banks here because they were attempting to play with the rules. The rules were too vague and ambiguous though.

      There is no evidence that anyone was engaging in any deliberate criminal behaviour. Tax avoidance yes, Tax evasion no. Hence the reason why what people are discussing here in regard to nationalisation is a gross overeaction (but understandable given who is making them).

      • felix 16.1.1

        Gosman,

        Earlier today you were accusing others of cherry-picking quotes.

        You then advised us to hear what Oram would have to say about the matter.

        And now you’ve twice repeated the only quote from Oram’s interview which could in any way be construed to support your position.

        The rest of the interview was spent refuting more or less everything you’ve written here today.

        You are aware, aren’t you, that the interview is archived online? And that we can all hear it for ourselves?

        For those who missed it, here it is in streaming format and also as a downloadable mp3.

        • Gosman 16.1.1.1

          Ummmm…..felix

          Rod Oram’s position is that the banks were probably engaged in a certain amount of Tax avoidance. This they have been pulled up on and will likely have to pay back once the various court cases have wond their way through the system. He stated that you can have a certain amount of sympathy for the banks as they were trying to use a new rule which was ambiguous and obscure.

          This is distinct from the banks deliverately evading tax. This is criminally illegal as opposed to just breaching the Tax rules. There is no indication that the Banks have acted in a criminal manner.

          Do you have a different take on what he had to say?

          • felix 16.1.1.1.1

            Again, you’ve cherry-picked the only sympathetic quote from the interview. You are dishonestly misrepresenting what was said.

            I’ve posted the links so everyone can hear for themselves what Oram had to say and judge the credibility of your representations for themselves.

            I’ve no interest in discussing it with you as I have no faith in your honest intentions, having read everything you’ve posted today.

          • snoozer 16.1.1.1.2

            the court heard evidence that Westpac sought advice on how to pay as little tax as possible without drawing IRD’s attention. They said they were paying 15% when really they were only paying 6%.

            It was no accident Gosman.

            • Gosman 16.1.1.1.2.1

              The IRD isn’t claiming this is Tax evasion just Tax avoidance. One is a criminal act with severe penalties the other is a technical offence.

              The argument here by most commentators seems to be that the Banks should be held criminally liable. As there is little evidence anything criminal took place this would be a waste of time and resources as well as destoying N.Z reputation as an investment destination.

              You want to see where that leads you, try Zimbabwe.

        • felix 16.1.1.2

          oops.

          here it is

  17. BLiP 17

    Gosman-To-English Dictionary

    Sympathy for the banks – Symphony for the devil.

  18. toad 18

    Don’t you mean Gosman-To-English Diptonary, BLiP?

    Oh, by the way, it’s not theft, apparently. It’s a “contingent liability“, apparently.

    Much like Melissa Lee’s. Just that it is about 10,000 times bigger.

    Oh, and the definition of “contingent liability” from the Gosman-To-English Diptonary: “funds that do not have to be repaid unless you get caught”

  19. Herodotus 19

    Of all the issues that have been raised over the last few days, this one should be pushed more than any other. When I am late paying GST, Tax etc watch the penalties and cost of interest esculate. This has been decided as Tax avoidance where is the consistency from the IRD?
    Also have we NZ put measures inplace to guarantee the banks deposits. Nice to see that this is a take,take and take relationship!
    Toad like your meaning of “contigent liability” was not what I had learnt of as the meaning, but yours has more realism than the textbooks.

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    Would You Buy A Used Propaganda Video From This Man? Bridges and the National Party’s strategists have discovered that the ideas and attitudes considered acceptable by today’s editors and journalists are no longer enforceable. The rise and rise of the Internet and the social media platforms it spawned means that ...
    4 days ago
  • Asking for food
    There is plenty of evidence of the way the business mentality has permeated every level of society since the recrudescence of market liberalism 35 years ago. You only need to think of how citizens in need of help from their government, their state, their country, are now routinely described as ...
    Opposable ThumbBy Unknown
    4 days ago
  • Forty years of change in the jobs Kiwi do and the places they call home
    John MacCormick Over the last 40 years, New Zealanders – and people in other countries – have experienced big changes in the jobs they do and where they live and work. These changes include: a decline in manufacturing jobs an increase in jobs in ‘information-intensive’ industries (which are better paid ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    4 days ago
  • Protecting Fresh Waterways in Aotearoa/NZ: The Strong Public Health Case
    Nick Wilson, Leah Grout, Mereana Wilson, Anja Mizdrak, Phil Shoemack, Michael Baker Protecting waterways has the benefits of: (1) protecting water from hazardous microbes; (2) minimising cancer risk and other problems from nitrates in water; (3) avoiding algal blooms that are hazardous to health; (4) protecting mahinga kai uses (cultural ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • Massey University triggered to rebrand
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In a press release today Massey University announced it has decided to rebrand and reorientate after struggling to be a University for grown-ups. For some time the University has wanted to be a safe play space for wee-woke-misogynists who have been really badly triggered ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Swinson backing calls for a second referendum (again)
    After a brief dalliance with 'hard Revoke' it looks like the Lib Dems are changing ground on on Brexit, with leader Jo Swinson reverting to calling for a second referendum on Johnson's deal.The party has tabled an amendment to the Queen’s speech requesting that any deal brought back from Brussels ...
    5 days ago
  • An odious bill
    The government has decided that someone has done Something Bad. But despite their belief, there seems to be no evidence that they have actually broken the law. So the government's solution is to pass a retrospective law allowing them to be punished anyway, on a lower standard of proof. If ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • National is now the party of climate arson
    So, Judith Collins has done a Facebook rant about climate change, peddling the same shit National has been shovelling for the past twenty years: the impacts are overstated, there's no need to do anything about it, and its too hard anyway (oh, and its so unfair that people who peddle ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The environmental footprint of electric versus fossil car
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz There is a lot of discussion on the benefits of ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • “Manifest” by Andrew Bird – A Song For The Times.
    I came across this song quite by accident. If it isn't one of Greta Thunberg's favourites - it should be.Video courtesy of YouTube.This post is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    5 days ago
  • Passing the buck
    Last month, NZDF's shoddy coverup of what it knew about civilian casualties in Operation Burnham began to fall apart, with the revelation that a report on the matter, which NZDF claimed not to have, had been sitting in an NZDF safe for the past nine years. Yesterday, the man responsible ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • India a major player in Earth observation satellites
    While many imagine that countries like the USA and Europe dominate space activities, in fact India is now a major player on this stage. It launches satellites for its own purposes and also commercially, and has constellations orbiting our planet and returning data of vital importance to that nation in ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    6 days ago
  • The rot at the top (2).
    Thanks to a report from the Acting Inspector General of Intelligence and Security following a complaint by Nicky Hager, we have come to find out that the SIS illegally spied on Mr. Hager on behalf of the NZDF after publication of Hager’s 2011 book, Other People’s Wars. The NZDF justified ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Common misconceptions about “Global Warming”
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    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    6 days ago
  • A climate of tyranny
    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    6 days ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    6 days ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
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    6 days ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Local bodies
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    1 week ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    1 week ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Is this study legit? 5 questions to ask when reading news stories of medical research
    Hassan Vally, La Trobe University Who doesn’t want to know if drinking that second or third cup of coffee a day will improve your memory, or if sleeping too much increases your risk of a heart attack? We’re invested in staying healthy and many of us are interested in reading ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    1 week ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
      “There can be no such thing as kaupapa Māori political parties or politics in Aotearoa” (Willie Jackson, Labour Party (2017). Māori TV, General/List Election Special) I begin with that claim because at the time, I was confounded at first that it fell out of Willie Jackson’s mouth, and then ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
    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 Why do people still think climate change isn’t real? David ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter
    https://mailchi.mp/7d9133add053/closing-the-gap-october-2019-newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
    The Zero Carbon Bill is due back from select committee in two weeks, and will likely pass its final stages in November. So naturally, farmers are planning a hate-march against it. But they're not just demanding lower methane targets so they can keep on destroying the planet; they're also demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    2 weeks ago

  • Pacific Peoples Minister to attend Our Ocean Conference in Norway
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, heads to Oslo today to represent New Zealand at the sixth Our Ocean Conference, which is being hosted by the Norwegian Government from the 23-24 October. “The Our Ocean Conference mobilises real action on issues like marine plastic pollution and the impacts of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Government announces 27 percent increase in Trades Academy places
    Two secondary-school initiatives are being expanded as part of the Government’s plan to see more young New Zealanders take up a trade to help close the skills gap.   This includes the largest single increase in Trades Academy places in recent years. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
    Hon Minister Poto Williams Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration   MEDIA STATEMENT       Tuesday 15 October 2019 Feedback sought – Hagley Oval The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal about Hagley Oval. The proposal was developed by Regenerate Christchurch ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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