Entries in politics (128)


Helen expects my kids to pay her super

Whale Oil has posted a clip showing Helen Clark is glad the rest of us have kids --- so they can pay her superannuation!

Remember, as David pointed out earlier this year, the MPs Register of Interests indicates she is a millionaire with 5 homes amongst her assets.


Muldoon is chuckling from his grave

Muldoon is chuckling from his grave

Has [Cullen] snookered National? "Budgets don't win elections," he told the media lockup. He's right. When Sir Robert Muldoon said he had "spent the lot" in 1972, he nevertheless went out in a landslide.


Tumeke! ranking improves to #68

my Tumeke! NZ political and news blog ranking has improved since February from #76 to #68 for March/April


NZ Political Bloggers and Readers Surveys

Andrew Cushen is conducting two surveys as part of his Thesis toward a Master of Arts in Political Studies at the University of Auckland.

The first is of New Zealand Political Bloggers.

The second is of New Zealand Political Blog Readers.

I encourage you to follow the links to complete one or both surveys if you are a Kiwi political blogger and/or a reader of NZ political blogs.

Hopefully Andrew's surveys and thesis provide useful insights into the NZ Political Blogosphere.


Environment also Worse Off with Labour

not only are the poor worse off with Labour, but so is the environment:

1. Carbon emissions increased 14%
2. NZ placed 38th out of 43 for growth in emissions
3. The proportion of energy produced from renewable sources has dropped from 72% to 66%
4. Coal generated power has increased from 4% to 12%
5. 75% of all new production has been thermal
6. The first deforestation since 1952
7. 40,000 hectares of forests destroyed in the last four years
8. The Marine Reserves Bill has been stalled since 2001
9. Funding for pest control has been cut
10. No national policy statement produced, as promised, on biodiversity
hat tip David Farrar


Why Poverty Should be Defined Absolutely, not Relatively

Poverty statistics for New Zealand are currently causing a lot of debate, particularly in regard to whether Labour's policies since being in government have improved life for our most vulnerable. Earlier this week I highlighted three reports that say they haven't, at least in part.

An unfortunate and unhelpful technique is to define poverty relatively --- I am poor because someone else is rich.

Whereas, I suggest that poverty should be defined absolutely --- I am poor because I don't have enough to live on.

Update following feedback from Vaughan in the comments. If we are going to discuss lifting people out of poverty, and I am certainly doing that in other social justice posts here at GavinKnight.com and by contributing at Just Comment, then we need to be clear who is in poverty and what it is. You have to be able to define a problem to be able to solve it. "I am poor because I don't have enough to live on" is a fundamentally different problem from "I am poor because someone else is rich". I am very interested in discussing our response to the former. I am not interested in discussing the latter, which to me seems to be driven by petty and lazy jealousy.

Let's look at the left-hand side of the table below:

  • our sample of 10 people have individual incomes of $1, $2, etc thru $10
  • let's define poverty relatively, say as having an income less than the average (= $5.50)
  • let's also define poverty absolutely, with the minimum income required to live on as say $5.50 (same as the average)
  • under both definitions 5 of the 10 people are living in poverty
Now let's look at the right-hand side of the table below:
  • let's increase the income of the poorest person from $1 to $100
  • this increases the average income to $15.40
  • if we continue to define poverty relatively, as having an income less than the average, then the other 9 people are now all living in poverty (which is ridiculous)
  • but if we continue to define poverty absolutely, with the minimum income required to live on remaining at $5.50, then only 4 people are now living in poverty (we increased the income of 1 of the 5 to above what is required to live on)
I argue that this demonstrates that poverty should be defined abolutely. I have clearly shown what happens when you increase the income of the poorest person above what is required to live on.

I recognise that my numbers are a bit extreme. The minimum income required to live on is probably too high. And the increase in income is probably unrealistically large. But that doesn't don't defeat my logic.

I also recognise that my analysis requires an assumption that increasing the income of the poorest person doesn't increase the cost of living for all. This would happen, at least in part, if the increased income were a business cost that was passed on to consumers via price increases. So for this example, we have to assume the additional income comes from outside our sample. For example, our person who has gone from poor to rich has invented a new technology which they are now selling around the world to generate their increased income.

What do you think?


please, Poneke, don't go

please don't go Poneke, your writing has been too good

Blogging has been fun. I have really enjoyed writing this blog. But writing a blog, given my occupation and family circumstances, is hard to juggle with work and family commitments. Election year makes it especially so. I am genuinely non-partisan, but the New Zealand blogsosphere is so partisan that to continue blogging would, I fear, eventually cause some other bloggers to accuse me of being partisan. Therefore, it’s time to stop, at least for now.


The Reason For High Fuel Cost In NZ

hat tip Whale Oil

I’ve found the reason at last as to why our fuel prices are going through the roof and it has nothing at all to do with the fallacy that is Peak oil. It is geography, plain and simple.

The Oil Rigs & Wells are in Taranaki

The Refinery Is In Whangarei

The Tank Farms Are In Auckland

& The DipSticks Are In Wellington

although, I should add, not all Wellingtonians are Dipsticks!


Wasn't Helen Clark Deputy PM in 1990?

Helen Clark was Deputy Prime Minister in 1990, so why is her government trying to further smoke screen its attempt to run away from disgraced former senior public servant Mary-Anne Thompson?


The Poor are Getting Poorer Under Labour

Jordan Carter, Labour candidate, has written another post attempting to wax lyrical about his and Labour's supposed heart for the poor.

The trouble is, the Child Poverty Action Group report (0.4mb pdf) Jordan references, and the government's own MSD 2006 report, and The Salvation Army's "State of the Nation" Report (3.6mb pdf) released earlier this year all highlight that NZ's social statistics have gone backwards for the poor under Labour's watch.

CPAG: "Despite the better economy and significant increase in paid employment, between 2000 and 2004 the proportion of all children in severe and significant hardship increased by a third, to 26 percent. In 2004, there were about 185,000 children in benefit families in some degree of hardship, with 150,000 of them in significant or severe hardship. While official data is yet to be produced for 2007, this report concludes that little has changed for this group of children who have been 'left behind'."

MSD: between 2000 and 2004 ... the proportion living in conditions categorised as "severe hardship" rose from 5% to 8% ... the proportion of children in "severe hardship" rose from 7.9% to 14.1% ... the proportion of Maori in "severe hardship" rose from 7.5% to 16.9% ... the proportion of Pacific Peoples in "severe hardship" rose from 15.2% to 27.3% ... the proportion of those on low incomes (in the bottom third of the income distribution) in "severe hardship" increased from 10.1% to 16.9% ... the proportion of those on income-tested benefits in "severe hardship" increased from 16.7% to 26.1%

SA: "The social outcomes which we as New Zealanders have achieved over the past five years are somewhat mixed and in some areas quite disappointing. More of our children appear to be at risk of harm, more of our young people are engaged in petty crime, there is more violent crime and more people in our jails. None of these trends can be seen as progress. While more New Zealanders are working than ever before and many New Zealanders have benefited from the recent housing market boom, our incomes have risen only modestly, we are chronically indebted and home ownership rates have fallen. This is mixed progress at best."

Whilst I have some disagreement with CPAG's and MSD's methodologies, in that they partially define 'poor' relatively rather than absolutely, my point remains valid --- Labour's policies are not actually helping New Zealand's most vulnerable citizens.

In other words, Labour has lots to say about how good their policies supposedly are for the poor --- but the actual real world effect of their policies is that the poor are getting poorer.

Disclaimer: I am a life long local church member of The Salvation Army.

PS, check out the comments thread on this post as there's some interesting debate there


Container for Classroom, but $216m for Prison

In another insight into Labour's relative priorities, they are prepared to spend $216m to rebuild Mt Eden Prison (long overdue by the way), but force a class of 9 years olds to be taught in a shipping container.

Image courtesy The Press.

Update. 4.11pm. The principal and some of the students bailed up the Prime Minister when she was out photo-op-ing. How did she respond? Silence.


Cullen gets his train set, but who cares about the poor

Michael Cullen has used your money and mine to buy his train set. Goodbye billions. The $665 million is only the beginning.

It is kind of ironic, and the comparison is very illustrative of Labour's priorities, that this occurred in the same week as even left wing commentators like No Right Turn are using the government's own reports to highlight how Labour is failing the poor:

  • the proportion living in conditions categorised as "severe hardship" rose from 5% to 8%
  • the proportion of children in "severe hardship" rose from 7.9% to 14.1%
  • the proportion of Maori in "severe hardship" rose from 7.5% to 16.9%
  • the proportion of Pacific Peoples in "severe hardship" rose from 15.2% to 27.3%
  • the proportion of those on low incomes (in the bottom third of the income distribution) in "severe hardship" increased from 10.1% to 16.9%; and
  • the proportion of those on income-tested benefits in "severe hardship" increased from 16.7% to 26.1%
This align's with The Salvation Army's more recent report, issued earlier this year, which also highlights the failure of government policy to improve New Zealand's social statistics.


Olympic Flame on Mt Everest Seems Wrong

there's something just not quite right about the Chinese taking the Olympic flame to the top of Mt Everest

firstly, mountaineering is not a sport, or Sir Edmund Hillary would have been New Zealand's sportsman of the 20th century

secondly, there's China's oppression of it's own people --- particularly the Tibetans (remembering that the Chinese side of Everest is in Tibet) --- which is making the whole Olympic Flame tour a farce as people use it as an opportunity to (quite legitimately in my opinion) protest against the Chinese human rights record

although Mt Everest sits in Nepal and Tibet (China) it has long been accepted to be a special area, akin to Antarctica and certainly not a political symbol --- today's events seem to undermine this

image courtesy Stuff


head in the sand


Hypocrisy? or Stupidity?


Cullen buys a train set, Key takes us into the 21st century


pensioners to travel free off-peak

my father's looking forward to his free rides on public transport, but still wants to dump Winston! (not that he's ever been a supporter, to my knowledge)

that said, this seems like good public policy to me - will help the retired with their budgets, and with staying active in the community


about GavinKnight.com

I have been blogging here at GavinKnight.com since January 2007. I changed my blogging strategy at the beginning of 2008 and now target at least one substantive article per month per main topic. Previously my goal was to average at least one post per day, with at least one post per week per main topic.

I write here on four main topics: Politics, Christianity, Technology and Effectiveness; with a particular focus on New Zealand. Occasionally I also write on other topics, and from to time on family activities.

You can subscribe to receive GavinKnight.com articles by RSS or Email by following the links in the top right hand corner. Or you can simply visit me here on the web. I am also a frequent commenter on Twitter, and you can find all of my online activities at FriendFeed.

Most GavinKnight.com articles are tagged by topic. You can read just the posts for a particular topic via the tag cloud in the right hand column - which shows tags I have used at least 5 times. I have also provided an RSS feed and a daily Email subscription option for each main topic in the top right hand corner which you can use if you are interested in just one topic.

I have a growing interest in Effectiveness, particularly as represented by the David Allen's "Getting Things Done". These align with 'Effectuate'; a word I came across a couple years ago which neatly expresses my favoured approach to life - "to bring about, to effect". I am interested in this from a number of perspectives: personal effectiveness, team effectiveness and organisational effectiveness.

Professionally I part-own and lead the JD Edwards application services provided by Jireh Consulting Services. JDE is an Oracle Applications product. I am also a project manager through Jireh Consulting Services, and use this as an opportunity to express and develop my interest in effectiveness. I am also a business and personal leadership skills trainer and coach through Top Performers, and use this as an opportunity to express and develop my interest in developing people. You can connect with me professionally through LinkedIn.

Prior to moving into business consulting in 2000 I spent the 1990s as a chartered accountant for entrepreneurs, with an increasing focus on systems accounting.

My interest in writing about technology is more in terms of personal technology. I'm a bit of a geek when it comes to gadgets, and making them work. I'm also quite intrigued by Web 2.0, social media and new media.

I have been very happily married to Jill since 1990. We have a teenage daughter (Andrea) and a 'tweenage' son (Joel). We have a lot of fun enjoying each other, our extended family (most of whom live in Wellington), our church, our friends, our home, our city Wellington (where I have always lived) and travel - particularly around our country New Zealand.

We have been active members of our local church The Salvation Army Johnsonville since being part of the group which started it in the mid 1990s. I have served on our church leadership team since inception (apart from a medically induced sabbatical year in the late 1990s), and Jill is a Kid's Church leader. Previously we had been active at the SA Wellington South in Newtown where the Knight family has a long association, and my parents still go. Although I had been attending since birth, my faith didn't become personal until my late teens.

My interest in politics grows out of my interest in current affairs and the wider world, and is heavily influenced by my christian faith. I score centre (-0.12) and mildly libertarian (-2.05) on the Political Compass (take the test on Facebook). I generally feel more 'right' than 'left', so was a little surprised by that - but I probably came out more towards the centre due to my christianity induced feeling of responsibility for others, particularly the vulnerable. I am not currently a member of a political party.

I particularly enjoy the challenge of writing. Knowing that someone could be reading what I write helps crystallise my thoughts into something more coherent. I hope my writing is also useful to you, and perhaps entices you to think more deeply about the topics on which I write.

Update History:
Tue-17-Feb-09: edited to reflect the change in my blogging strategy
Sat-22-Nov-08: general tidy up
Sat-1-Nov-08: updated to reflect move to self-employment through Jireh Consulting Services and Top Performers
Sun-13-Jul-08: udited commentary on Effectuate to clarify it aligns with the Getting Things Done ideas of David Allen


what is Colin Espiner suggesting?

what is Colin Espiner suggesting? does he know something?

"In the end, though, perhaps it’s better if we never know. Journalists have a right to protect their sources, and little would be gained from outing the source now - unless, of course, it was someone in the Labour Party. If that were ever to prove to be the case it would provoke a major political storm."


Labour planning to evade electoral law

Labour is planning to evade electoral law ... report at NZ Herald ... commentary at Kiwiblog

note, this was a 'private session' ... when other parties have private meetings Labour and their lackies accuse them of conspiracy

which words come to mind (again)? - deceit, hypocrisy ...

update 11:20am - Russell Brown at Public Address says it's "cock-up versus conspiracy [theory] again" and quite clearly implies he thinks it is the former

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