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Will Jacinda Ardern meet her promise to transform?

Written By: - Date published: 6:53 am, September 4th, 2020 - 62 comments
Categories: election 2017, election 2020, greens, jacinda ardern, john key, labour, nz first, political parties, Politics, poverty, tax, winston peters - Tags: , , , ,

Jacinda Ardern’s second term in office will be more challenging than her first, even accounting for such crises as the Christchurch massacre and Covid 19.

In 2017, when Labour was languishing in the points and her taking on Labour’s leadership just weeks before the election, she had nothing to lose.

As we know, the miracle happened, but Labour was profoundly unready to govern. In its first 100 days it rolled out the Families Package but policy to address the underlying cause of inequality was lacking.

It also had the handbrake of coalition partners, mainly NZ First, which was instrumental in blocking or diluting any radical change, most importantly, the Tax Working Group’s main recommendation of a capital gains tax to make our tax system fairer.

This election will be far different. Polls consistently show Labour has very chance of governing with just the Greens, or outright. No handbrake, no excuses for being unready.

This has to be a scary moment.

Covid and Christchurch have proved Ardern is made of stern stuff, but having the freedom of total parliamentary control is another challenge altogether.

In her rhetoric, Ardern consistently claims her government will be two things – it will deal with climate change as her generation’s “nuclear-free moment” and it will be “transformation”.

On climate change, she and the Green Party have successfully set up a structure via the Zero Carbon Act and the Climate Commission to tackle this issue, even getting partial buy-in from National. But three years have elapsed and the goal of zero net emissions by 2050 is not much closer. So this coming term the hard yards of implementation need to be done.

This challenge will be eased by not having NZ First dragging the chain, but it remains continental in size, made more difficult in an economy beaten down by Covid and now debt-ridden.

Transformation will be equally scary and challenging.

What Ardern means by transformational is open to interpretation but in the context in which she has said it, it is hard to interpret it as meaning anything other than reducing inequality and poverty. In 2017 she set a prime goal of bringing all children out of poverty within six years. Half that time to reach the target has expired.

It is hard to see how, from the progressive side of the political spectrum, you can address inequality without tackling, if not unwinding the underlying structures of neoliberalism that have produced such inequality.

Nine years of Labour governance under Helen Clark did not attempt this. She mitigated neoliberalism by making the tax system slightly more progressive, repealing the hated Contracts Act and introducing the redistributive Working for Families package. But she left the underlying blocks of neoliberalism largely intact – an unfair, regressive tax system, capital gains left untaxed, deregulated labour, electricity and finance markets largely intact, a central bank based on monetarism, government finances restricted by debt ceilings and largely open slather foreign investment.

During his nine years in office John Key undid many of Clark’s mitigations and added his own neoliberal touches.

In 2017, when Winston Peters chose which party to side with, he cited the extremes to which capitalism had reached under the influence of neoliberals as his reason for choosing Labour.

“That experiment – of unbridled, irrational neoliberalism – has transformed what was once one of the most egalitarian societies in the world, into a case-study of acute inequity,” Peters said in a speech shortly after.

Even one of neoliberalism’s prime exponents, former Prime Minister Jim Bolger, whose first Finance Minister, Ruth Richardson, unwound much of the welfare state with her 1990 Mother of All Budgets, has freely admitted neoliberalism has “absolutely failed”.

“They have failed to produce economic growth and what growth there has been has gone to the few at the top,” Bolger noted.

Equality researcher and writer Max Rashbrooke documented this in a recent Guardian article. He cited Statistics NZ’s 2017/18 Household Economic Survey showing the 1 percent hold $140 billion of assets in trusts with a median value of $6.2 million per trust, while another $127 billion is held by the next 5 percent.

In all, the top 10 percent of Kiwis own 59 percent of all assets and the poorest half own just 2 percent. And a major point he makes is that most of the gains from those assets are legally untaxed because they derive from capital appreciation.

He cites IRD research showing half of the Rich List of Kiwis owning over $50 million declare income of less than $70,000. The bulk of their income comes from selling off assets, such as shares, that have appreciated hugely in value, but legally attract no tax.

This well documented and astounding wealth disparity is a major challenge to Aotearoa’s identity as a fair and equal society, Rashbrooke says.

Labour’s Tax Working Group’s main recommendation for redressing what it called an unbalanced and unfair tax system which underpins our newfound inequality, was for a capital gains tax. But Ardern boxed herself into a corner when she succumbed to Peters’ blackmail and not only rejected the recommendation, but ruled out a CGT while she remains leader.

CGT has been her Achilles heel. In 2017 she initially got into trouble via her “captain’s call” not to rule it out pre-election, then she u-turned and ruled it out until the TWG had deliberated. Her decision to permanently rule it out was due to fear of National using tax to spook the electorate in this election.

But something must be done if Ardern is to successfully address poverty. A fairer tax system is today even more pressing, having spent our way through the thick end of $60 billion to address the Covid crisis. That means little or no discretionary spending in many budgets to come.

“As a nation, New Zealand simply will not get through this crisis in one piece if it fails to answer the urgent need for an immediate and massive redistribution of wealth from those whose financial position is reasonably secure to those whose position is not,” says left wing commentator Chris Trotter.

The Green Party has come up with a well-thought, comprehensive poverty policy that would be funded by a wealth tax of 1 percent on individuals with net assets over $1 million, and 2 percent for those with assets over $2 million. It is neat, in that it would also operate as a de facto inheritance tax for asset-rich-cash-poor individuals who want to defer payment, and it also captures most trusts by treating them as individuals.

However, Rashbrooke says Ardern is “distinctly lukewarm” on the wealth tax and he reckons she has little appetite for redistribution, by which I assume he means higher income tax brackets.

Labour, still shy of spooking the electorate over tax, has been very quiet on tax policy and is likely to remain so ahead of the vote.

But, with a huge chunk of discretionary spending, not just for this term, but for the next generation at least, already allocated, the question is, how will Ardern fund her poverty-alleviation program?

Reports are in for working groups on welfare, education and health and, assuming those reports will not be rejected as the TWG report has been, they will result in substantive changes to our society.

But such measures and others such as decolonising the justice system, fall well short of societal transformation in the way that Micky Savage or even David Lange, with the introduction of neoliberalism, revolutionised our society.

Ardern looks poised to have the same opportunity they had and history will judge how well she seizes it.

(Simon Louisson worked as a journalist for Reuters, the New Zealand Press Association, and The Wall Street Journal among media organisations. He also worked two stints for the Green Party as a media and political adviser).

62 comments on “Will Jacinda Ardern meet her promise to transform? ”

  1. PsyclingLeft.Always 1

    Of course the nat Fear Mongers will be absolutely on this. Remember sir Key "communism by stealth" ?

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=3571934

    And of course the rich are…

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/380550/the-rich-are-getting-richer-the-poor-are-getting-poorer-new-research

    There is always this….all the flow on effects…lead to a Cost. Why arent these Costs factored in? A country still has to pay for the collateral damage the Inequality brings…

    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Economic_inequality#Effects_of_economic_inequality

  2. Stuart Munro 2

    Although NZ's wealthy have made out like bandits from the want of a CGT, it may not be the best immediate political solution.

    A Tobin tax of some description is more difficult to sledge in the press.

    • dv 2.1

      Yes and a financial transaction tax on all bank transfers (Like credit card charges at 2%)

      Zero tax up to 20k, say 50% over 200k

      And a UBI

    • mikesh 2.2

      Yes. Getting rid of the regressive GST and substituting a transaction tax would be a move in the right direction. Such a tax would catch large financial transactions, which GST misses.

      Mind you, I'm not sure how the average man in the street would regard, say, a 1% tax being added to his mortgage payments.

  3. Frankly, anything less than 'transformational' is selling out our grandchildren.

    If Labour gains a majority or goes into coalition with the Greens, then I for one hope they take this country by the collar and gives it a good shake. With a mandate for change, they could re-direct this country in even more profound ways than Michael Joseph did after 1935.

    Here's hoping.

  4. Pat 4

    The degree to which Labour feel the need to be transformational will be determined by the level of electoral support for the likes of the Greens…..and as weve seen 6% is not very transformational at all.

  5. Wayne 5

    Presumably Labour will have some sort of manifesto, or at least a list of election promises.

    I would be surprised if they were very specific, more in the nature of goals and objectives.

    However, they won't be allowed to get away with that completely. On some things Labour will have to be specific. For instance taxes.

    Being elected into government doesn't give a political party an unfettered mandate to do as it pleases, to only satisfy its own activists. They will have been elected (or in this case, re-elected) based on what they have done in the past, and on what they have promised to do.

    Both Labour (1999 to 2008) and National (2008 to 2017) essentially governed on the mandate they had been given in successive elections. They did not go, in any significant way, beyond the election commitments they had made. And on that basis, both were elected into government for three terms, and in National's case was the largest party on the fourth election.

    I appreciate Covid is an event bigger than the GFC, but we have now had it for 7 months and have a general understanding of its economic and social impact. Political parties are able to factor Covid into their 2020 election commitments.

    There seems to be a desire on The Standard, that political parties (or at least Labour) should no longer be bound by electoral commitments, that Labour, if re-elected, will simply have carte blanche. Perhaps even going further, that they could do radical things, even if it was against their specific election promises.

    Governments doing this in the 1980's and early 1990's is how we got MMP. New Zealanders wanted to reign in such unfettered exercises of power. Now The Standard (or at least some of the authors) seems to be advocating going back to that style of government.

    All I can say, is I hope senior politicians, irrespective of which party they are in, resist that siren call. That they will in fact govern according to the mandate given to them by electors. That mandate is best measured by the campaign commitments that parties make during the election.

    • PsyclingLeft.Always 5.1

      I was going to TLDR, but persevered. Was this Boomspeak? Neolib justify? or Nat-ification? : )

      I'm just going by…

      "There seems to be a desire on The Standard, that political parties (or at least Labour) should no longer be bound by electoral commitments, that Labour, if re-elected, will simply have carte blanche. Perhaps even going further, that they could do radical things, even if it was against their specific election promises."

      • Wayne 5.1.1

        Basically it is a view that political parties should essentially govern according to their mandate. That is, they govern according to what they promised to do during the election campaign, at least to the best extent they can.

        If that is Boomspeak, Neolib justify, Or Natification, so be it.

        To me it is the essence of democratic accountability.

        • PsyclingLeft.Always 5.1.1.1

          Yea but SPECIFICALLY…you stated

          "There seems to be a desire on The Standard, that political parties (or at least Labour) should no longer be bound by electoral commitments, that Labour, if re-elected, will simply have carte blanche. Perhaps even going further, that they could do radical things, even if it was against their specific election promises."

          Must be your blue tinted specs?

        • Stuart Munro 5.1.1.2

          Better than 80% of NZers opposed asset sales, and you knew that perfectly well, but still pursued the policy, because your party is, above all else, the party of corruption.

        • McFlock 5.1.1.3

          There is that view, and I support it.

          But I think imprecise goals (as long as they're not weasel words) are a better indicator than numbers. Numbers change according to circumstance, honest effort towards the goals is what counts.

          But then there are also outright lies – the one shortly before I went to university was Lockwood smith's signed pledge to end the student loan scheme in 1990. Outright fraud on the electorate.

    • mauī 5.2

      Being elected into government doesn't give a political party an unfettered mandate to do as it pleases, …

      That didn't stop the last National Government… State Asset Sales, Sky City Convention centre, TPPA, and plenty more…

      • Wayne 5.2.1

        Maui

        All of which were the subject of specific campaign commitments

        • mauī 5.2.1.1

          Ok, I will admit they may have campaigned on these issues. However, they did soldier on with these divisive policies while ignoring increasing public opposition.

          They were a Government that did as it pleases, the current Gov on the other hand would at least seek some sort of compromise in the same situation.

    • lprent 5.3

      Both Labour (1999 to 2008) and National (2008 to 2017) essentially governed on the mandate they had been given in successive elections. They did not go, in any significant way, beyond the election commitments they had made.

      But isn't that exactly what Jacinda did? If you actually read the post you'll have noted the link to a RNZ interview on the 12th September 2017 (the election was on the 23rd)

      Labour leader Jacinda Ardern says neoliberalism has failed and New Zealand has always been served well by interventionist government.

      The opposition leader, outlining her economic ideology to RNZ in a lengthy interview, was asked if she agreed with former Prime Minister Jim Bolger's assessment of neoliberalism in New Zealand: that it had failed.

      As I recall, this was largely reflected in the Labour election policy statements for the 2017 election. I haven't seen an actual manifesto since the 1980s except from the minor parties.

      Presumably Labour will have some sort of manifesto, or at least a list of election promises.

      I would be surprised if they were very specific, more in the nature of goals and objectives.

      And presumably National will get around to producing their comprehensive manifesto and list of election promises any month now – the ones that are costed.

      Unlike this pile of fantasy crap about a second harbour crossing in Auckland. It somehow fails to mention that in the last decade, while Auckland's population went up by 25% or more and cars be even more, that the traffic volumes on the bridge actually declined relative to population. The number of people transported over the bridge increased – on mass transit. Via the Northern Busway.

      So this bit of idiotic bullshit justifying the massive car spend is fatuous and irrelevant.

      Population and travel demand growth is forecast to increase by around 22% (an additional 40,000 vehicles per day) by 2041.

      There is one reason to replace the Harbour Bridge – maintenance issues of age. For anything else mass transit would be a more effective solution. And I haven't seen any engineering report to show that there is a maintenance problem. The big problem with a second harbour crossing is simply about how to put the approaches in. There simply isn't room and it will be a nightmare to do it now anywhere close to the city centre.

      So as far as I can see a 20 year replacement process for the Harbour bridge still hasn't started. We just need to kick more cars off and let more mass transit on.

      But I'd agree that there is a reason to put in the commuter rail to the North Shore. But so far I haven't seen any costing or feasibility study on a pure rail tunnel under the harbour. And I suspect that option will be really bad economically compared to just taking it over a bridge and approach on the upper harbour.

      But I believe that November is the target date for costed policies for National – right? Because when you look at National's current policies they are all of this ilk – useless slogans with no intelligence or understanding of the issues.

      Political parties should please give me intents and a rationale behind them. Or policies that have been costed. Just making up unfeasible waffle like National does really doesn't count for much.

    • The trouble is, Wayne, that BAU is just not acceptable any more.

      You may not have noticed but there is

      * a pandemic raging worldwide

      * an economic crisis engulfing the world

      * a climate crisis threatening to make the world uninhabitable for humans.

      BAU just doesn't cut the mustard these days.

      • Wayne 5.4.1

        Tony,

        If Labour campaigns on a specific transformational platform, and they win, then they have a mandate to implement it.

    • Gabby 5.5

      Didn't the gnatsies ignore a referendum and sell a bunch of stuff?

    • Draco T Bastard 5.6

      Governments doing this in the 1980's and early 1990's is how we got MMP. New Zealanders wanted to reign in such unfettered exercises of power. Now The Standard (or at least some of the authors) seems to be advocating going back to that style of government.

      And I'm pretty sure that National's and their funders support for Supplementary Member voting systems in their attempt to get rid of MMP was showing just how much they wanted to go back to that system.

      All I can say, is I hope senior politicians, irrespective of which party they are in, resist that siren call.

      That siren call is the electorate calling out for change from the failed system that government have put in place over the last four decades against the electorates will.

  6. Ad 6

    Jesus Simon. Holding Ardern to "transformation" in 2020 is as dumb as holding Gordon Coates to 1928 campaign promises in 1930, or Parker to Mayoral promises he made in 2008.

    Cataclysms got in the way, and what is left is operating the machine of government with all you have.

    We are going into a new Depression.

    Robertson is holding this ship together in the highest seas since 1930.

    Transformation? This is survival government.

  7. Jum 7

    In a time of great need, Ardern can make new and reformed decisions.

  8. Sabine 8

    nope they will not.

    And that is the crux of the matter. And yeah, we have a pandemic that started 5 month ago and already in March we knew that the kinder gentler bullshit was just that bullshit.

    The increase in benefits of 25NZD and the double heating payment had nothing to do with the need of people to have more money and the heating allowance had nothing to do with the energy costs of people, but came about because Covid. That alone should tell us alot. Without Covid non of it would have happened.

    the unemployment benefits were to little three years ago, and are still to little. regular benefits still have people decide weather to eat to their hunger or weather to pay a bill because both don't work. Rent increases add to stress, cause now its back to the kinder gentler Winz Drone who can't be bothered (after all he/she gets paid no matter how much their 'clients' suffer, maybe even get a bonus if they make them suffer ) to ask for an increase in the Accomodation benefit.

    Here maybe have a read on that and ask yourself really if hope is the right tool to deal with the inaction of the government.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/300097143/winter-energy-payment-to-end-their-income-is-going-to-fall-off-a-cliff

    The chair of the government's own Welfare Expert Advisory Group, Cindy Kiro, said the welfare system simply wasn't working.

    "I don't think there can be any doubt that when people are willing to sacrifice their dignity by waiting in a queue for hours and hours, there's something wrong."

    She said while boosting the winter energy payment was not the complete answer, it was a start.

    "Whatever justification you want to use people to pay people who desperately need more money, more money is fine by me – you can call it a Covid wage extension, you can call it a Covid hardship extension – you can call it a 'summer' winter payment – I don't care what you call it."

    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said there were no plans to keep the money going – but it wasn't the only boost beneficiaries had received as part of the government's $5 billion families package.

    in bold the line of the government who tried a little, decided it was good enough and now can't be bothered doing more – unless the moment they realize that they are gonna loose their coveted spots as biggest beige suits on top.

    The best the poor in this country can hope for are a few morsels that fall of Grant Robertsons (current holder of the purse – but the same would happen under a National holder of the purse cause they all don’t care) dinner table, and they have to say thanks sir, may i have another to give satisfaction.

    • garibaldi 8.1

      I believe you are correct Sabine.

      Labour is so wedded to neoliberalism that it is incapable of being progressive. Jacinda may/may not have tendencies that way in her nature, but the Party ……hopeless. They are just a bunch of third wayers. Their only good point is that they are preferable to National.

      • greywarshark 8.1.1

        This from Sabine unfortunately hits the nail (I fear).

        in bold the line of the government who tried a little, decided it was good enough and now can't be bothered doing more – unless the moment they realize that they are gonna loose their coveted spots as biggest beige suits on top.

        And garibaldi fears they are still wedded to The Third Way. I am sure that there are some separations pending, even divorces. There are signs, keep up positives to those providing good governance. I think perhaps emails to all the others with simple why questions about what they aren't doing, with one practical step they could take which would show that they are actually alive! Don't tell them you are disappointed but set them a task that meets one need in their portfolio. Just saying.

        This is a summary of the 'Third Way ' in Wikipedia for your eddification:
        The Third Way is a political philosophy and political position akin to centrism that attempts to reconcile right-wing and left-wing politics by advocating a varying synthesis of centre-right and centrist economic platforms with some centre-left social policies.

        I'll see if I can find it explained in common language!… Can't but this is interesting and to me, contradictory.

        https://www.tutor2u.net/politics/reference/third-way-socialism
        The "third way" is a middle-ground alternative route to socialism and free-market capitalism.

        The third way is a political and theoretical perspective that seeks to modify left-wing ideas towards the economic and political realities of globalisation. This centre-left way of thinking advocates a balance between rights and responsibilities and a combination of social justice alongside market-oriented economics.
        As a practical illustration of this mindset, the welfare state should provide a ‘hand up not a hand out.’ There is also a strong emphasis upon stakeholding (where businesses have a responsibility to various groups rather than just ‘fat-cats’ at the very top).

        In ideological terms, the third way is closely related to the concept of communitarianism which emphasises the interest of communities and societies over those of the individual and seeks to reinvigorate social democracy.

        However I did find this sardonic view in this BBC information piece.
        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/458626.stm
        One supporter writing to The Independent claimed it was a form of benevolent pragmatism – a philosophy that asked of each policy – is it good, does it work? For this reason he argued it was hated by the old left and the new right – the new right because they never did anything that was good and the old left because they never did anything that worked.

  9. KJT 9

    @Wayne.

    Labour went into the last election promising "Transformational" change. Is that not a mandate?

    Even more so are polls showing 80% support for change rather than going back to where we were.

    Not that National ever paid much attention to democracy. After being elected in the 90's on the admittedly vague promise to reverse Labours "reforms" they doubled down on them. Not to mention continued asset thefts, sorry, sales, after a clear majority opposed it.

    • Morepork 9.1

      " Labour went into the last election promising "Transformational" change. Is that not a mandate? "

      Not when they received only 37% of the vote and the incumbents received 45%.

      • lprent 9.1.1

        Hello ignorant idiotic fool.

        The votes that count are those that allow the formation of a voting majority in Parliament on confidence and supply.

        The ‘incumbents’ received less than 50% of the seats in parliament. The Maori party and Peter Dunne departed parliament because of insufficient public support or old age.

        The Labour and NZ First were able to form a government with the confidence and supply agreement with the Greens because NZ First and the Greens disagreed with less with Labours programme than they disagreed with Nationals incumbent actions – which all three parties and the majority of voters disagreed with.

        Perhaps you should educate yourself about our parliament rather than self-pleasing your genitals to invent spurious, irrelevant, and mistaken lies..

        • Morepork 9.1.1.1

          I quoted the the specific comment I was replying to, which referred to a mandate, not about the formation of the government. Labour did NOT get a mandate from the last election. They formed a government with the suport of NZF, who have infact acted as a self styled 'handbrake' on labour's reforming policies.

  10. RedLogix 10

    Our entire political spectrum has repeatedly fallen short of dealing with the problem of gross relative poverty (or inequality as it's often also called). We have made huge progress in solving the absolute poverty problem in that starvation, famine and absolute deprivation do not by and large stalk our streets, and for this we should be very thankful,

    One trivial solution to the inequality problem is of course to render everyone absolutely poor and arrive at relative equality this way. Which is more or less where we started from 10,000 years ago, so I think we can set this one aside. No-one is for poverty.

    Every other attempt at solving the problem grapples with the problem that in the material domain, all people are innately different, and that differences in outcome inevitably accrue over time. As soon as you add actual prosperity to the human economy, some people will get more of it than others, and the more prosperous the system the large the inequality tends to become. This isn't necessarily due to greed or avarice; it's largely a property of the system.

    The conservative answer to this problem is to point to the individuals piled up at the bottom of the system and with some justification say that many have made poor choices and their unfortunate condition is something they could change if they made the effort to do so.

    The liberal answer to the problem is to point to the system and with some justification say that it tends to have too many constraints and restrictions on the individual by it's collective nature and that we could change everything if we freed people up from these in order they might fully express their true capacity.

    The socialist answer to the problem is to point to the system and with some justification say that the gross differences in outcomes is due to unfair structural oppression and privilege that condemns entire classes of people to perpetually inhabit the bottom rung of the ladder.

    And each political class has proposed various solutions aligning with their pre-suppositions, some more workable than others. (The more extreme versions usually turning out to be dismal failures but that's a tangent to my argument here.)

    Stepping back from this brief, and necessarily low resolution overview, it's fair to argue that neither the conservative, the liberal nor the socialist approach to inequality has fully embraced the true nature of the problem. At best we have muddled along toward compromise arrangements; progressive taxation, aggressively maximising equality of opportunity and the provision of collective physical and social infrastructure services that are equally accessible to all (health, education, security etc). These certainly ameliorate the inequality problem, but no-one pretends they represent a final satisfactory answer.

    And therein lies the question few people stop to ask. What exactly is the nature of the problem we are trying to solve here? And what would success like like? Not knowing our destination means we will almost certainly lose our way.

    Another part of the inequality paradox is that our very conception of a just solution to it, is rooted in the spiritual idea of all humans being of equal worth and dignity, while the material fact on the ground is that we are not all equivalent. This observation suggests that all attempts to solve a problem that has an essential moral root is probably not going to be well served by attempted solutions that ignore this. We tend to measure inequality by material numeric measure like wealth distribution, but this may mislead us into thinking that if we just change wealth distributions (the material outcomes) then all will be good, when in truth the root cause has remained untouched.

    The socialist left has always felt that conservatives and liberals don't care about inequality, when in truth they do, but not in ways we easily recognise. Certainly it can be held that the socialist value system places the problem at the centre of our political mores. And it's the broad failure of the left to convincingly grapple with this issue that has led to tragic missteps over time, like the workhouse culture of the Victorians, the marxist catastrophies of the 20th century and the failed neo-liberal dream of the 80's.

    Paradoxically as our societies have escaped poverty and become wealthy beyond the wildest dreams of our ancestors, the question of how best to distribute this largess has stepped urgently into the foreground. And it turns out I suggest, to be a far more difficult challenge than any of us have suspected.

    • RedLogix 10.1

      And for KJT's benefit this comment, that fully embraces and expands on the legitimate role of socialism, was posted before his "Reds under the Bed" post.

      As Ad says, no-one here is complaining about socialism. Except when it goes too far into marxism.

    • Descendant Of Smith 10.2

      I have to disagree – capitalism and capitalists in general do not desire to have wealth distributed. This was evident in NZ in the 1800's where Maori were deliberately and consciously paid 1/10th of the wage of an English worker for cutting down timber. This was well known and documented at the time. It was evident in New Zealand when increased profits gained by lowering workers wages were redistributed to themselves through ever increasing salaries – the easiest way to transfer the increase in capital value of a business to your own pocket. It was evident in New Zealand when the winebox enquiry occurred. It was evident in New Zealand when the papers were released around tax havens. It was evident in New Zealand when changes were made to remove the tax on selling properties and to offset interest against personal income to reduce the personal tax you could pay.

      These are all conscious decisions made to increase capitalists personal wealth and capitalists have been very successful in doing so. The fact that some capitalists might might like it to be more fair/liberal simply reflects the inability of their own to mitigate the negative aspects of these changes. Even in my first example there were capitalists who were concerned about the exploitation. They were ineffective in preventing it though.

      • RedLogix 10.2.1

        You really have completely and utterly missed my point. I'm not arguing that liberal capitalist are at heart secret socialists with a re-distributionist's conscience … not at all. Holding to them to that standard will always be a disappointment.

        This was evident in NZ in the 1800's where Maori were deliberately and consciously paid 1/10th of the wage of an English worker for cutting down timber.

        A liberal might look at this example and argue that employing Maori, even at the very low levels of pay they were willing to work for (because otherwise in the conditions that prevailed in the 1800's they might have zero income), was better than not employing them at all. And that over time the pay levels would equalise as the two labour groups competed freely in the market, and eventually their inequality would reduce. Which, whether you like this argument or not, you have to accept was more or less what happened.

        It's not that liberals don't care about inequality, but they perceive it and the solutions to it quite differently to socialists.

        And of course my comment above really has a much wider point than this.

    • mikesh 10.3

      While we can never eliminate the lack of "equivalence" with regard to human beings, we can endeavour to eliminate unfairness in the tax system.

  11. Tiger Mountain 11

    Good points raised by Simon, though he rather beats around the bush like other gentle critics of Labour’s non transformational ways. The structural and legislative underpinnings of Neo Liberalism need to be retired for good. No politics follower deserves the left tag if they do not acknowledge the evidence that leads to that conclusion.

    If Labour does not make any monumental errors in the next six weeks, and Covid does not go wild, then they are on track to be in Govt with no NZ First involved to drop floaters in the pool. So major change will indeed be possible, and, essential given the collapse of international tourism and migration associated education.

    One practical example; WINZ/MSD needs radical reform so that sanctions/stand downs/abatements are removed and benefits individualised as per the “Tier 2 Covid newbies” payments, where partners can keep working. The effect will be to create a seamless movement from say seasonal, intermittent, and gig work to welfare payments, and back again, without sadism and moral judgement. Ultimately a Basic Income administered by IRD would sort it for most. With a new Social Security Agency created to cater for special needs citizens i.e. home carers, disabled, sickness, ACC recipients etc.–basically just to bloody well pay these people liveable amounts without submitting them to inquisitions.

    It will take wide community organisation and direct action of various forms to shake the Labour Caucus on this. And a good Green vote would help too! Get Labour re-elected and then hold them to account and demand change is the way forward. A National/ACT/Conspiracy rats and mice Govt. would just create such negative political space that it must be avoided at all costs. Labour needs to toughen up right now with the public service Nat Toadies and leakers, sackings are required to set the example.

    • Kay 11.1

      One practical example; WINZ/MSD needs radical reform so that sanctions/stand downs/abatements are removed and benefits individualised as per the “Tier 2 Covid newbies” payments, where partners can keep working. The effect will be to create a seamless movement from say seasonal, intermittent, and gig work to welfare payments, and back again, without sadism and moral judgement. Ultimately a Basic Income administered by IRD would sort it for most. With a new Social Security Agency created to cater for special needs citizens i.e. home carers, disabled, sickness, ACC recipients etc.–basically just to bloody well pay these people liveable amounts without submitting them to inquisitions.

      This. Except it's TOO sensible and reasonable, and more importantly, fair. It also involves giving home carers, the sick and disabled more money and you have to remember there is still a large group of the public (and politicians of course, Labour included) ideologically opposed to increasing benefits for ANYONE, even those they tokenly consider 'deserving'. It would involve forcing a major mind switch which just isn't likely, so well ingrained is the indoctrination.

      • PsyclingLeft.Always 11.1.1

        Not forgetting having Bene's to Bash is always eminently useful for the neolibs. A (mostly) subdued grouping that just "exists". ….

        For all their railing…the nats would never rock this boat too much….might stir them up enough. for action…

        Biggest thing I observed during the Covid Lockdown…was how a ReSet NZ could be possible. People just seemed to be different. Friendlier…What could be. An actual Sustainable NZ.

        • greywarshark 11.1.1.1

          What needs to happen as far as tax is concerned is to remove the discouragement to work hard so you can improve your life. The lying of neolib system manipulators ensure that people not involved at the survival/lower income end of society's ladder don't understand its malevolent plan of using poverty as a spur to the precariat. Neolib culture holds out the goal of working hard, being self-sufficient so that needing welfare is a sign of degeneracy, laziness etc etc.

          Then wages are held to an artificial inflation level specially designed for the working class without housing security, the jobs and skills are demolished by new machinery and methods as in the Industrial Revolution, the newly unemployed broken-hearted and confused are objects of derision by those with certainty of employment at the office level; it is a disgrace to have this situation in the 21st century after all the education and economic experience of the past.

          So let's face up; neolib is nasty and false and acts to downgrade the human condition. Get it out of our heads and lives.

          Let people follow their natural bent to work and better themselves – if they want to work harder and longer, set good health limits but let them retain their rewards of wages or advantage for that work. Remove the fucking secondary tax, and reduce the GST to 10% on everything except food and water. Then 5% to the government general fund and 5% to fund infrastructure, provide services for the the area, the businesses where the money is spent, so they can invest it usefully.

          No GST on any food, cooked food, restaurant food, no worries; just stop trying to divide food into categories and whether it is tourists or locals – just let restaurants, takeaways, cafes, alone. Keep taxing booze though, and sugar, they are too tempting for us and we tend to excess on them, unhealthily.

          • roblogic 11.1.1.1.1

            when housing stops inflating faster than the median wage we might be getting somewhere. every government since 84 has allowed the disgraceful behaviour of the FIRE sector to rampage unchecked, and the real economy to be colonised by banskters and their thieving ways

          • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1.1.2

            Remove the fucking secondary tax,

            Repeat after me:

            There is no secondary tax.

            There is no secondary tax.

            There is no secondary tax.

            The secondary tax is a left over from when we didn't have computers. It achieved two things:

            1. It caught the higher tax rate that people ought to have been paying due to the higher income
            2. It encouraged people to actually fill in their damn tax return

            Once people did the latter the secondary tax would disappear in a puff of maths and the people who paid it would get a tax refund.

            Now, if we used our computers efficiently the amount that some one needed to pay could be accurately calculated on a week by week basis and that includes companies as well and thus could remove the need for Provisional Tax. Unfortunately, we have far too many people absolutely terrified of the government using computers efficiently and will come back with the bollocks of the government watching their every move.

            Its really amazing how much people have believed the crooks over the last few decades.

            Oh, and get rid of GST – another tool put in place by the crooks.

            • greywarshark 11.1.1.1.2.1

              Oh thanks DTB. You seem heated about the secondary tax reference – it is not real then. Glad to have got you warmed up on a cold winters day.

              But perhaps people don't want government looking over their shoulder and noting every week whether they have made a bob or two. I'm simple-minded I know. I think you are one who wants to drop cash and go plastic.

              And about secondary tax rate. If working longer so you could earn more money is a good thing – why should someone on a low wage go up to higher wage bracket for working longer. The differential in incomes worked out on an hourly rate, can be so high that it is daylight robbery to tax someone on the hours worked over 40.

              • Draco T Bastard

                You seem heated about the secondary tax reference – it is not real then.

                Its a misunderstanding that's been pissing me off for decades.

                But perhaps people don't want government looking over their shoulder and noting every week whether they have made a bob or two.

                The government does that every week for taxes. The only way to avoid it is by becoming a criminal.

                If working longer so you could earn more money is a good thing – why should someone on a low wage go up to higher wage bracket for working longer.

                Then don't work so long that you'll be taking work off of others.

                Yes, a large part of the reason for high unemployment is because we have so many working 50+ hours.

                Perhaps what we really need, instead of whinging about taxes, is better pay rates and less theft by the rich.

                • mikesh

                  "If working longer so you could earn more money is a good thing – why should someone on a low wage go up to higher wage bracket for working longer."

                  So you are, in effect, advocating a flat tax rate.

  12. Dennis Frank 12

    Now that she's been voted runner-up top global thinker, she may think twice. Let's hope she rethinks her support of the neoliberal doctrine.

    Jacinda Ardern voted second on list of world’s top thinkers

    https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/03-09-2020/jacinda-ardern-voted-second-on-list-of-worlds-top-thinkers/

    Ad makes a good point re necessity of crisis management, yet the crisis can only be solved if Labour transitions from talking progressive to actually being progressive. They may not realise it, but even Labour folk can walk & chew gum simultaneously.

    Since the crisis is global, someone must spell out the solution and start providing it. This is an opportunity for crowd-sourcing wisdom and co-design. The solution will be a package deal, so the task initially requires identification of all the essential components of the package.

    We can expect the smarter politicians to have a few clues, while other clues will come from experts. However, those two groups are afflicted by a mindset of adherence to the status quo. That leaves lateral thinkers as the group most likely to be the leading edge of the solution-finding process.

  13. Tricledrown 13

    Wayne your little fairy stories are pure BS.

    No govt meets its its promises no tax increases .

    GST increased a tax on the poor.

    Key said he was going to wipe out the P addiction its boomed exponentially.

    Key was going to grow the economy it barely grew wages and buying power.Immigration was the only policy that created a paltry growth at the cost of lower wages and worse housing situation.

    Housing was a complete disaster National now regretting selling off 6,000 state houses .

    When Judith Collins was housing spokesperson she promised cheap houses in the hobsonville development none were built developers didn't want to sell them below market value.

    Policing National cut police numbers by 800.

    Road policing was cut by even more while the road toll went up to as the number of miles driven on roads doubled.

    Education and Health spending were cut by the sinking lid policy.

    All to give a few dollars in tax cuts cynically 6 months out from elections ,bribes for the swing voter.

  14. greywarshark 14

    From Simon's great post. Picking out some concerns to think about and I have added links so we can be more informed by the wise opinions, facts and thoughts of writers who know what they are talking about, and reflect, update their information and shift in their opinions accordingly.

    In her rhetoric, Ardern consistently claims her government will be two things – it will deal with climate change as her generation’s “nuclear-free moment” and it will be “transformation”.

    These words are open to interpretation. Roger Douglas and hoods and Treasury set out to be transformational. They bloody well succeeded in just about every area of NZ life, the s…ts. So be careful fellow citizens, that we are all singing from the same hymnbook.

    What Ardern means by transformational is open to interpretation but in the context in which she has said it, it is hard to interpret it as meaning anything other than reducing inequality and poverty. In 2017 she set a prime goal of bringing all children out of poverty within six years. Half that time to reach the target has expired.

    It is hard to see how, from the progressive side of the political spectrum, you can address inequality without tackling, if not unwinding the underlying structures of neoliberalism that have produced such inequality.

    Nine years of Labour governance under Helen Clark did not attempt this….

    I heard yesterday a ringing slogan from PM Jacinda about wanting NZ to be the best country in the world to bring up children, or similar. I cringed, dear God I cried, people who keep the figures and note our decline have been begging for some stable positive change for decades. The known condition of NZs low standards for a large needy proportion of people is such that sentiments like that bring on reactions of cynicism, not hope.

    “As a nation, New Zealand simply will not get through this crisis in one piece if it fails to answer the urgent need for an immediate and massive redistribution of wealth from those whose financial position is reasonably secure to those whose position is not,” says left wing commentator Chris Trotter.

    The Green Party has come up with a well-thought, comprehensive poverty policy that would be funded by a wealth tax of 1 percent on individuals with net assets over $1 million, and 2 percent for those with assets over $2 million. It is neat, in that it would also operate as a de facto inheritance tax for asset-rich-cash-poor individuals who want to defer payment, and it also captures most trusts by treating them as individuals.

    However, Rashbrooke says Ardern is “distinctly lukewarm” on the wealth tax and he reckons she has little appetite for redistribution, by which I assume he means higher income tax brackets.

    It's time to bite the bullet; PM Jacinda has strong white teeth, and I believe that she has the intelligence, the political nous, and the mixture of hopeful youth and experienced maturity to take on the task. It is a tipping point in our history, and this one term of government is all she needs to make history. And for those Labour acolytes who want to manage through, BAU, they are not the men for this Gallipoli. They would be prepared to fight for some other country and lose their lives. But in the battle here and now they hope to survive personally unscathed at the expense of losing our country to the invasion of rentier capitalism, and "brutal, callous" and overbearing management of the vast majority of citizens.

    Those words were in stuff today uttered by a school principal who witnessed the execution of his school against all reason, figures, stats and despite its dedication and success with its low-income students. He said he was sorry for Hekia Parata, who he said did not understand what she was doing. That is almost Jesus-like, a resignation at the irretrievable loss of all that the people wanted, all that they had achieved together. That attitude will be echoed throughout the land if we are not active to prevent the attrition of NZ by the Right. https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/122485286/munted-it-was-quite-simple-it-was-good-versus-evil

    But another consideration is the fight to get the functionaries of government back on the side of the citizens. The attitude that neolib has embedded in them is that we are just a rabble and they are allotted the task of coping with us, and are regarded as successful if they can tick the boxes on their targets which are set by management which has likely come from the business class, with inflated egos that match their inflated salaries and perks. We are back to reference to 1st-2nd century Juvenal who posited the point "Who will guard the guards themselves?". We the citizens are either despised or indulged, we are losing/lost agency; is this democracy or an oligarchy or….? Sixteen different approaches to government are here, can we tweak ours? http://infographicfacts.com/16-government-types/

    Simon himself wrote about the problem of civil servants not being civil any more, and deciding who they serve. (I remember an old USA joke about a space rocket under development – 'They call it Civil Servant. It won't work and they can't fire it.)
    Sep./2017 Simon Louisson: An inside view of the politicisation of the public service https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/96522159/simon-louisson-an-inside-view-of-the-politicisation-of-the-public-service

    And Chris Trotter has thought about this also, and I put the link again for those who didn't see it before. https://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com/2017/05/our-path-to-future-is-blocked-by-past.html
    …The simple answer is: The Past. A government elected on the strength of public misgivings about rampant homelessness and the lack of affordable housing; out-of-control immigration; and a despoiled natural environment; will be presented with thirty-year-old government machinery designed specifically to make effective state intervention as difficult as possible.

    Any attempt to deploy this machinery in pursuit of social and economic objectives for which it was not designed is highly likely to end in failure – and, quite possibly, disaster. Arrayed against a government in which only a handful of ministers possess Cabinet experience will be a bristling phalanx of public servants, National Party appointees, corporate and special interest lobbyists and public relations firms – all of whom have a vested interest in preserving the status quo.

    Other interesting and relevant posts Chris Trotter wrote in 2017. This one's caption for the image has a great quote by Dr Beaglehole:
    Dr J.C. Beaglehole, writing in 1961, recorded with considerable disdain: “The naïve, the almost childish brutality, with which the chiefs of the National Party fell upon power may seem quite surprising, until one remembers how famished for power they were, and with what an innocency of experience they faced the world about them ….. [Their] insensitiveness to administrative delicacies was quite appalling.” https://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com/2017/05/insensitiveness-to-administrative.html

    And the term 'cargo cult' was applied to simple Pacific Islanders who were descended on with all sorts of elaborate machinery in WW2. They were amazed and attracted by this stuff, they wanted more. Isn't that the NZ story, willing to do anything to get more, more goodies, more materialism. https://bowalleyroad.blogspot.com/2017/05/will-tpp-spell-nationals-doom.html

  15. McFlock 15

    Losing winnie would be a two-edged sword. On the one hand, NZ1 has held the government back (cameras on fishing boats come to mind).

    On the other hand, it leaves nobody to blame for inaction. And as long as the Greens are at the table, happily it means the Greens can drag Labour forward.

  16. Corey Humm 16

    The winter energy payment ends two weeks before the election. That's $40 and $60 being lost to the most vulnerable people in this country whose bills are up. Labour have created a two tier welfare system. Alot of people who voted labour in 2017 for the first time ,are going to be absolutely buggered. I reckon they'll stay home.

    Family packages don't help disabled people , people who are unwell , unemployed people on their own and the employment market isn't going to help the people on welfare prior to covid when so many who were working news jobs.

    Criminal negligence from Labour and its going to cost them at least a couple % of people who won't vote green they'll just stay home. Make that payment permanent

    • greywarshark 16.1

      Yes too many stop gaps. But NZ likes to wait for people to fall over rather than fix a possibly risky situation. We only have x money left over for the mass of the population once we have looked after our new aristocrats and their heartfelt needs. They are wealth creators you know, they amass it, they build a big dwelling and they wallpaper their rooms with the wealth, to keep it close and safe.

    • Barfly 16.2

      Yea I will be sad to see the $40.96 per week energy payment go 🙁

      But the 9 years of national government only gave fear ,harassment and panic attacks.

      I do not have the memory of a goldfish…and hopefully others do not as well

  17. mosa 17

    " Will Jacinda Ardern meet her promise to transform "

    Politicians break promises !

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Party Like It’s 1989: Bait and Switch is a Bad Look, Mr Hipkins
    At the 2017 election, the New Zealand Labour Party promised a Fees Free Policy for tertiary students. Basically, it would make the first year of university education free in 2018, with a second year in 2021, and a third in 2024. It also promised to restore Post-Graduate access to the ...
    6 days ago
  • Will the tropics eventually become uninhabitable?
    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 What is the impact of temperature increases in the tropics? ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • A first-hand look: What it’s like to live in a 2020 California wildfire evacuation zone
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Daisy Simmons It felt like 100 degrees in my in-laws’ Grass Valley, California, kitchen, but at least the lights were on and for the moment we were safely “distanced” from the Jones Fire. We’d just finished dessert, after pizza and a movie ...
    7 days ago
  • COVID-19 is not the only infectious disease New Zealand wants to eliminate, and genome sequencing is...
    Nigel French, Massey University Genome sequencing — the mapping of the genetic sequences of an organism — has helped track the spread of COVID-19 cases in Auckland, but it also plays an important role in the control of other infectious diseases in New Zealand. One example is Mycoplasma bovis, a ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • A flaw in our electoral transparency regime
    A key part of our electoral funding regime is a requirement for some transparency around donations, on the basis that if we can find out who has bought our politicians (typically after we have voted for them) then everything is alright. There are a lot of problems with that regime ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Don’t Steal This Book
    On “In Defense of Looting” Matt Taibibi takes an entertaining look at this generation of woke activists and how they compare with Abbie Hoffman the iconic anti-Vietnam war counter-culture figure of the 1960s On Thursday, August 27th, the same day Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican nomination, National Public Radio ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Carbon prices must rise
    When Parliament introduced the Emissions Trading Scheme, it was worried that carbon prices might get too high. So it introduced a "fixed price option", allowing polluters to pay the government $25 in the place of surrendering credits. The result was predictable: after we were thrown out of international carbon markets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Disclosure
    The government will finally be requiring large New Zealand companies to disclose their climate change risks: New Zealand finance companies will be made to report on climate change risk, Climate Change Minister James Shaw has announced. The policy will force around 200 large financial organisations in New Zealand to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Tackling the hard issues – trust and relationships
    By Claire Grant, Genomics Aotearoa Communications Manager Community consultation is becoming an increasingly important aspect of research programmes in New Zealand, and with that comes the art of relationship building. Engagement between scientists and user-groups is certainly nothing new. But as stakeholder involvement becomes more of a requirement for science, ...
    SciBlogsBy Genomics Aotearoa
    1 week ago
  • Equality Network – September Newsletter
    Read the Equality Network newsletter here ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • The Left’s Lost Allies.
    Rebels In A Wrong Cause: The truly frightening thing about Jami-Lee Ross’s and Billy Te Kahika’s success in persuading thousands of New Zealanders that Covid-19 is just another trick, just another way of stealing away their power, is realising just how many of them once marched at the Left’s side. ...
    1 week ago
  • Legal Beagle: Low-Hanging Fruit
    In a couple of months, the 53rd Parliament will meet in Wellington, and approximately 120 MPs will be sworn in, many of them for the first time.They will all have political goals, some aligning with their party platforms, some not, some complex, and some simple, but they will gain one ...
    1 week ago
  • Closing the Gap thinks that Labour’s proposal to raise the top tax rate is great but………
    Media Statement For Immediate Release 10th September 2020 The income and wealth inequality lobby group, “Closing the Gap” thinks the Labour proposal a great start says Peter Malcolm, a spokesperson for the group. But they need to be aware of what many of the rich do and of what do ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: No nonsense
    ACT is pushing a "no-nonsense climate change plan". What does it involve? Repealing the Zero Carbon Act and Emissions Trading Scheme, reversing the fossil-fuel exploration ban, and allowing mining on conservation land. In other words, repealing any policy which might actually reduce emissions. Which is the very definition of nonsensical. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • My Climate Story: Coming full Circle
    This blog post is a follow up to my recap of Al Gore's Climate Reality Leadership Training I recently participated in. One of the exercises we were asked to complete was to write about our respective "Climate Story". This is a slightly updated version to the one I had submitted during ...
    1 week ago
  • A bill to criminalise wage theft
    Wage theft is a problem in New Zealand, with a widespread practice of forcing employees to work without pay, and regular cases of underpayment and exploitation. One reason why its such a widespread problem is impunity: rather than a crime, wage theft is merely a tort, dealt with by the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Liam Hehir: What the voting age debate tells us about our disconnected political media
    New Zealand’s media and online politics often reflect the values of liberal and progressive agendas. According to Liam Hehir, the current proposals to lower the voting age to 16 years – which the media overwhelming supports – is indicative of a wider mismatch with society, which is not good for ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Why Pay Taxes?
    My wife and I, through a combination of good luck and good management, have managed to retire in comfortable circumstances. We celebrate our good fortune by making relatively small but regular donations to a range of good causes – to rescue services like the rescue helicopters, St John’s Ambulance and ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Now everyone’s a statistician. Here’s what armchair COVID experts are getting wrong
    Jacques Raubenheimer, University of Sydney If we don’t analyse statistics for a living, it’s easy to be taken in by misinformation about COVID-19 statistics on social media, especially if we don’t have the right context. For instance, we may cherry pick statistics supporting our viewpoint and ignore statistics showing we ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • More timid bullshit from Labour
    Over the weekend, Labour released its welfare policy: an increase in benefit abatement thresholds. And that's it. Faced with clear evidence of ongoing hardship among beneficiaries and a call from its on Welfare Expert Advisory Group to raise core benefits by between 12 percent and 47 percent, Labour's response is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Police Kill as Part of their Social Function
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (Bogota; 09/11/2020) The murder of Javier Ordoñez in the neighbourhood of Villa Luz in Bogotá, Colombia at the hands of two policemen brings to the fore the issue of police violence and its function in society. First of all we should be clear that we are ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #37
    Story of the Week... La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS...  Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... Story of the Week... Humans exploiting and destroying nature on unprecedented scale – report Animal populations have plunged an average of 68% ...
    1 week ago
  • The 2019 measles epidemic in Samoa
    Gabrielle Po-Ching In November 1918, the cargo and passenger ship Talune travelled to Apia, Samoa from Auckland, carrying a number of passengers who had pneumonic influenza. From these passengers stemmed the biggest pandemic Samoa had ever seen. With around 8,500 deaths, over 20% of the country’s population at the ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Shifting all Isolation/Quarantine Facilities to a Single Air Force Base: The Need for a Critical Ana...
    Prof Nick Wilson*, Prof Michael Baker In this blog the arguments for and against shifting all COVID-19 related isolation/quarantine facilities to a single air force base at Ōhakea are considered. The main advantage would be a reduction in the risk of border control failures, which can potentially involve outbreaks ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • The difference between Green and Labour: a tale of two Finance Ministers
    So the Greens co-leader James Shaw recently made a mistake. In his role as Associate Finance Minister approving funding for “shovel-ready” projects, he fought hard for a private “Green school” to get funding to expand their buildings and, therefore, their student capacity. There are many problems with what he did: ...
    Cut your hairBy calebmorgan
    1 week ago
  • Bryce Edwards: Political Roundup – The missing election policy on free dental visits
    Over the last three years there have been growing calls for the government to provide dental services under the health system – universal free dental care. This is because at the moment there’s an anomaly in which teeth are regarded as different from the rest of the body which means ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #37
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Sep 6, 2020 through Sat, Sep 12, 2020 Editor's Choice With California ablaze, Newsom blasts Trump administration for failing to fight climate change Trinity River Conservation Camp crew members drown ...
    1 week ago
  • Letter to the Editor
    Dear Sir, As we head into the run up to the upcoming election I feel it is my duty to draw your attention to the lack of fun we are currently forced to ensure by the Adern regime. In their efforts to keep the nation’s essential workers, health compromised people, ...
    My ThinksBy boonman
    1 week ago
  • Participating in Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training
    It finally happened: about 13 years after first watching Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” (AIT) in 2007 when it became available in Germany, I recently completed the Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training! Participating in this particular training had been on my to-do list for quite some time but it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Dysfunctional Design
    Windows 95 is famous for requiring the shutting down the system by clicking ‘start, like stopping your car by turning the ignition key on. Why are so many interfaces so user-unfriendly? The Covid app to register your entering premises can be so clumsy. Sometimes I have signed in, sat down ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • Josh Van Veen: Can we trust the polls?
    Is the 2020 election result really the foregone conclusion that the polls and commentators are suggesting? Josh Van Veen suggests otherwise, pointing to some of the shortcomings of opinion polling, which could ready some politicians to say “bugger the pollsters” on election night.   In November 1993, opinion polls foretold ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    2 weeks ago
  • The UK wants climate action
    Back in 2019, six select committees of the UK Parliament established a Citizen's Assembly to investigate how to respond to climate change. The Assembly's deliberations were forced online by the pandemic, but it has finally reported back, and overwhelmingly supports strong action: Taxes that increase as people fly further ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • In the US, the End of Days.
    I am feeling a bit impish today and so for no particular reason I thought I would share this thought, which I first posted over on twitter: “Hurricanes, wildfires, floods, heatwaves, street protests, armed vigilante militias, a lethal pandemic and a corrupt authoritarian using the federal government for partisan and ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Government too slow in deploying military to assist with Covid-19 response, former defence minister ...
    Wayne Mapp (Photo: Tsmith.nz via Wikimedia) A former Minister of Defence says the government was too slow to involve the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) in New Zealand’s response to Covid-19. But Wayne Mapp, a National MP from 1996-2011 who served as Minister of Defence for three ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    2 weeks ago
  • Underwhelming
    Transport is our second biggest polluter after agriculture, making up 17% of our national emissions. Cars and trucks emit 15 million tons of CO2 every year. So, if we're serious about tackling climate change, we need to eliminate this entirely. Public transport and better urban design will be a key ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Five things we know about COVID-19, and five we don’t
    Five things we’ve learnt 1. We know where the virus ultimately came from We know that the virus originally came from bats, and most probably a species of horseshoe bat in South East Asia. However, the spike protein in SARS-CoV-2, which allows the virus to attach to cells and infect ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    2 weeks ago
  • Stewardship land is conservation land
    The Greens' greatest disappointment while in government this term has been the failure to implement a ban on mining on conservation land. Promised by Jacinda Ardern immediately after gaining power, it had long been assumed that the problem was NZ First (who have a long history of environmental vandalism). But ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The price of Green co-operation just went up
    If they get into Parliament, everyone expects the Greens to form a coalition with Labour. But James Shaw has said that that might not be the case, and that they might instead choose to sit on the cross-benches: The Greens are prepared to forego a coalition or confidence and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Eligibility expanded for COVID-19 leave support
    The expanded scheme will cover: People who have COVID-19 like symptoms and meet the Ministry of Health’s criteria, and need to self-isolate while awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test. People who are directed to self-isolate by a Medical Officer of Health or their delegate or on advice of their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Seasonal work visa available to more people
    The Government is putting in place a range of immigration policy changes to help fill labour shortages in key industries while ensuring New Zealanders, who have lost jobs due to COVID-19, have the chance to find new employment. “Two key sectors we are moving to help are horticulture and wine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • More border exceptions for critical roles
    The Government has established class exceptions for border entry for a limited number of veterinarians, deep sea fishing crew, as well as agricultural and horticultural machinery operators. “Tight border restrictions remain the backbone of the Government’s border strategy to protect New Zealand against COVID-19 and ensure New Zealand citizens and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Crown will not appeal Dodds v Southern Response decision
    The Crown will not appeal the Court of Appeal decision in the Dodds v Southern Response case, Grant Robertson announced today. “Southern Response will be paying the damages awarded by the Court to Mr and Mrs Dodds shortly. The Crown was already meeting their legal costs for this appeal. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Crucial PGF investments for Northland
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing nearly $30 million in a diverse range of projects that will create immediate and long-term jobs and lift economic and social outcomes for Northland and its people. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones made the announcement today in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • $27million investment in global vaccine facility
    The Coalition Government has committed to invest $27 million in COVID-19 vaccine development through the global COVAX Facility, Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The COVAX Facility is a key part of our COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy to obtain safe and effective vaccines. It allows us to invest in a high-quality, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government backing Māori landowners
    The Government will provide up to $1.69 million through the One Billion Trees programme to Māori landowners to make their whenua more productive through the planting of forests, both native and exotic, and improve economic and environmental outcomes, Forestry Minister Shane Jones has announced. “Around 1.5 million ha of land ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New tools to make nature more accessible
    People planning to head outdoors now have a resource that lets them know how accessible an area is for people with varying levels of mobility, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. The Halberg Foundation, Sensibel, and the Department of Conservation (DOC) have launched Accessibel, a new tool which helps ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • PGF makes Māori history more accessible
    One of the most significant battle sites of the 1860s Land Wars will receive $2.96 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to improve the site and help tell the New Zealand story to visitors, Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. Nanaia Mahuta ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Making it official: The journey of te reo Māori | Kia whakapūmautia: Ngā piki me ngā heke o te r...
    The journey towards recognising Māori as an official language and taonga has been captured as a web series and launched today during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, announced Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “Te reo Māori is a living language, and understanding its significance, and pathways to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Better-than-forecast GDP reflects decision to protect New Zealand
    Today’s better-than-forecast GDP figures show the expected impact of the decision to act quickly to protect New Zealanders from the global COVID-19 pandemic. GDP fell 12.2% in the June quarter from March, reflecting decisions to close New Zealand’s borders and enter Alert Level 4. “This result was better than the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Boost for COVID-19 related Pacific education needs
    The Government is investing $39.7 Million over four years to support the educational needs of Pacific learners and families in the regions hardest hit by COVID-19, with Auckland getting an immediate boost, Associate Minister of Education Jenny Salesa says.   “Like all New Zealanders Pacific families want learners to do well ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More resources for kiwi conservation
    New Zealand’s goal of 100,000 kiwi by 2030 is being helped by an extra $19.7 million in funding to accelerate iwi and community efforts to protect kiwi, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced. “$19.7 million of Jobs for Nature funding is being invested in kiwi conservation activities including increased predator ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Improving access to affordable electricity
    Ensuring New Zealanders can get the best deal on their electricity takes a step in the right direction today with the South Island launch of the EnergyMate pilot run by the Electricity Retailers’ Association, says Minister of Energy and Resources, Dr Megan Woods. EnergyMate is an industry-led programme providing coaching ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government achieves 50 percent women on state boards
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter announced today that the Government has reached its target of 50 percent on women on state sector board and committees – setting a new record level of women on state sector boards. “This Government is committed to having more women in leadership roles - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Record transport investment to help economic recovery and save lives
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford released today the final Government Policy Statement on land transport (GPS) 2021 which outlines the planned $48 billion investment in services and infrastructure over the next decade. “The final GPS supports our Government’s five-point plan for economic recovery by confirming our record investments in transport infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Advancing clean energy technology
    Three ambitious and cutting-edge research programmes that will lift New Zealand’s advanced energy technology research capability over seven years, have been supported by Government today, says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. The projects will each receive a share of $40.7 million investment from the Strategic Science Investment Fund. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major milestone reached in Pike River Re-entry
    The critical area for forensic examination known as Pit Bottom in Stone has been reached in what is a major milestone for the Pike River re-entry project, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little announced. “The infrastructure located in Pit Bottom in Stone is of very significant interest in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Economic recovery guides Govt response to retirement income policy review
    The Government is working on how New Zealand’s retirement income policies and settings can best support Kiwis in light of the COVID-19 economic recovery, with the help of the Retirement Commissioner’s latest review, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said. “The Retirement Commissioner’s three-yearly review into New Zealand’s retirement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Iwi community hub opens in Murupara
    A new digital hub and development centre in Murupara will be instrumental in growing the region’s productivity, said Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau at the official opening of two community initiatives today. “I’m pleased to be here celebrating a significant milestone for two projects set to make a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • PREFU shows economy doing better than forecast
    PREFU shows economy doing better than forecast Unemployment to peak at 7.8%, down from 9.8% forecast in the Budget Year-to-June accounts show tax revenue, debt and OBEGAL better than forecast Global forecast downgraded as COVID-19 second waves and uncertainty grows Balanced plan to support critical public services, manage debt and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Spruce-up for Ōtaki community facilities
    The Kāpiti Coast town of Ōtaki will receive $1.4 million in Government funding for two projects providing scores of jobs for locals while improving community facilities, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The Māoriland Charitable Trust will receive a $900,000 Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) grant to upgrade the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • PGF funding for Jobs for Nature programme
    The Provincial Growth Fund will provide $11.88 million to fund fencing and waterway projects nationwide that will improve the environment and create jobs in their communities, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. “These projects will create more than 100 jobs nationwide with work starting within the next couple ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Procurement to promote jobs, Māori and Pasifika businesses and sustainability
    As part of the COVID-19 recovery, the Government has strengthened its procurement rules to ensure its annual $42 billion spend creates more jobs, uses more sustainable construction practices and results in better outcomes for Māori and Pasifika, Government Ministers announced today.   Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford says the $42 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Timaru’s Theatre Royal to be upgraded and new heritage facility built
    The Government is supporting a major upgrade of Timaru’s iconic Theatre Royal and the construction of a new connected Heritage Facility museum and exhibition space with $11.6 million from the Government’s Infrastructure Fund, Jacinda Ardern announced today. “We heard the call from the community and the council. The Theatre Royal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • District Court judge appointed
    Chrissy Montague (formerly Armstrong), barrister of Auckland has been appointed as a District Court Judge with Family Court jurisdiction to be based in Wellington, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Ms Montague commenced practice in Auckland in 1987 and went into general practice dealing with Wills, Estates, Trusts, Conveyancing, Relationship Property ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Approval given to Commercial Film and Video Production Proposal
      A Proposal to provide for the development and operation of commercial film and video production facilities in areas of Christchurch has been given the go ahead. Hon Poto Williams, Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, has approved the Proposal, which was prepared and submitted by Regenerate Christchurch. Minister Williams ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting a thriving wānanga sector to benefit Māori learners
    As part of the Government’s focus on building closer partnerships with Māori and enhancing the quality of, and access to, Māori medium education, a payment of $8 million will be made to Te Wānanga o Raukawa in partial recognition of its Waitangi Tribunal claim (WAI 2698), Associate Education Minister Kelvin ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Jobs for Nature boosts efforts to restore Kaimai-Mamaku
    The Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage has announced a $19 million investment over four years in an important forest restoration project involving a partnership between the Department of Conservation, iwi/hapū, the Bay of Plenty and Waikato Regional Councils, community conservation groups and organisations such as Forest and Bird across the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand first in the world to require climate risk reporting
    New Zealand will be the first country in the world to require the financial sector to report on climate risks, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. The changes build on the huge progress this Government has made to tackle the climate crisis. “Today is another step on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Economic data highlights impact of Auckland moving out of Level 3
    Economic activity across the Auckland region and the country bounced back to levels experienced under Alert Level 1 following Auckland’s move out of Alert Level 3, analysis in the Treasury’s latest Weekly Economic Update shows. The analysis of economic data since Auckland’s move out of Level 3 shows: Auckland card ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM statement on Cabinet COVID-19 Alert Level review
    Takiri mai te ata, ka ao, ka ao, ka awatea, tihei mauriora! Tātou katoa ngā iwi o Aotearoa, tēnā koutou! Tēnā tātou e whakanuia ana i te wiki nei, te wiki o te reo Māori Greeting to you all from Otepoti, Dunedin.  This week is the Māori Language week and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More mental wellbeing services for young people in regions
    More mental health and addiction services are available for young New Zealanders in Rotorua and Taupō, Wairarapa, South Canterbury, Dunedin and Southland from next month, Health Minister Chris Hipkins and Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter say. “The Government is serious about making sure New Zealanders struggling with mental health ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government joins forces with Central Otago communities to clean up waterways
    The Manuherekia catchment in Central Otago is the third exemplar catchment to be targeted as part of the Government’s plan to clean up waterways by supporting community-led programmes.   Environment Minister David Parker said the Manuherekia catchment is vitally important to the people of Central Otago.  “The Manuherekia rises in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government confirms new Dunedin Hospital design
    The Government has agreed on a preferred design for the new Dunedin Hospital featuring two separate buildings, and has provided funding for the next stages of work.   Minister of Health Chris Hipkins says Cabinet has approved in principle the detailed business case for the new hospital, giving people in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Join the one in a million reo Māori moment
    New Zealanders across the country are set to mark history as part of the Māori Language Week commemorations led by Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori this year.  Māori Development Minister, Nanaia Mahuta says the initiative will mark history for all the right reasons including making te reo Māori ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Education initiatives add to momentum of Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 2020
    More than 1000 teachers, support staff and school leaders have graduated from a programme designed to grow their capability to use te reo Māori in their teaching practice, as part of the Government’s plan to integrate te reo Māori into education, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Being trialled ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • The Toloa Tertiary Scholarships for 2021 aims to increase Pacific participation in STEM
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, says the Toloa Tertiary Scholarships which aims to encourage more Pacific student numbers participating and pursuing STEM-related studies in 2021, are now open. “These tertiary scholarships are administrated by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP), and are part of MPP’s overall Toloa ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Financial support for timber industry
    Four Bay of Plenty timber businesses will receive investments totalling nearly $22 million through the Provincial Growth Fund to boost the local economy and create jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. Rotorua-based sawmill Red Stag Wood Solutions will receive a $15 million loan to develop an engineered ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand seeks answers to the Gulf Livestock 1 tragedy
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced that New Zealand is exploring the viability of working with partners to conduct a search for the black box on the Gulf Livestock 1. “We know how much it would mean to the families of those on the ship to understand more about ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago