Scoop Election 08: edited by Gordon Campbell


Gordon Campbell's blog updates are now published at Werewolf.co.nz.

Gordon Campbell on yesterday’s quest for zero net carbon emissions

December 19th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

ardern-shaw-coverSome would querulously ask, zero net carbon emissions by 2050 – while others would say, why not? Yesterday, it did seem fitting that PM Jacinda Ardern and Greens leader James Shaw should end the political year by jointly announcing a climate change target that encapsulated the sky-high ambitions of the new government, and the rather less romantic bureaucratic mechanisms needed to make them happen. There are people who get excited by words like “interim committee” “consultation” “ transitioning” and “accountability.” James Shaw is one of those people. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on why a ‘hard Brexit’ has hit a brick wall

December 18th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

theresamay1It has been a grimly fascinating week for Brexit train (wreck) spotters. The latest British polls now give the Remainers a ten point lead over those still wishing to leave the European Union, and the a segment of the Tory caucus seems increasingly inclined to resist the Brexit hardliners who lead their party. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on Defence spending, Alabama, & Dolly Parton

December 14th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

frigate-image-coverThe spending lavished on Defence projects to meet the risks that could maybe, possibly, theoretically face New Zealand in future is breath-taking, given how successive governments have been reluctant to spend even a fraction of those amounts on the nation’s actual social needs. That’s why it has been so depressing to see the Ardern government gearing up to pay for another blow-out in the cost of upgrading our ageing fleet of frigates, even though these clunkers are due for replacement entirely – at further massive cost – within ten years. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on vulnerable kids and fresh RNZ funding

December 13th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

vulnerable-children-coverWhat’s in a word? Often a lot, in politics. In fact, the decision to remove the word ‘vulnerable’ from the Ministry for Vulnerable Children could well mark a whole shift in approach to the care of children in need. And I’m hedging with the ‘could well’ only because the Ardern government hasn’t yet spelled out whether the name change it has announced will also involve a rejection of the controversial use of Big Data to try and predict those children deemed to be at highest risk of inter-generational reliance on welfare support.

That faith in predictive analytics was the rationale behind National’s initial decision to change the name from the Child, Youth and Family Service, to the Ministry of Vulnerable Children. That name change wasn’t so much about a focus on children ‘vulnerable’ to getting sick, or ‘vulnerable’ because they were badly housed, or ‘vulnerable’ because they were likely to lack opportunities in life compared to households on higher incomes. To National, they were called ‘vulnerable’ because they were deemed liable to become a big bad drain on the welfare budget as they grew older. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on vulnerable kids and fresh RNZ funding

December 13th, 2017

Column – Gordon Campbell

W hat’s in a word? Often a lot, in politics. In fact, the decision to remove the word ‘vulnerable’ from the Ministry for Vulnerable Children could well mark a whole shift in approach to the care of children in need. And I’m hedging with the … Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on the politics of scaring voters back into line

December 11th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

fear-politics-coverFear has always been a useful mobilising tool in politics… yet in 2017, bogeymen of all shapes and sizes seem to have fallen on hard times. For years, the National party had painted itself as being the only reliable defensive bastion against the terrifying prospect of a centre-left government (the Greens! the Greens!)… Yet here we are nearly two months down the track, and James Shaw has not proven himself to be the Anti-Christ. In fact, the polls suggest that the public seems to quite like the new government, its Prime Minister, and its proposed plan of action. Somehow, even though a Labour/Greens/NZ First government is in power, the sun is still rising and setting, on time.

Elsewhere, other inflated threats have been successfully deflated in 2017, also without much in the way of noticeable fallout. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on how the drinking water crisis has been a failure of political leadership

December 7th, 2017

tap-waterIt is almost possible to feel sorry for the Health Ministry in their terrible, no good, very bad week in which they got hit with

(a) a damning report on the country’s unsafe drinking water and the Ministry’s weak to non-existent role in enforcing our water safety standards

(b) an equally damning report on the Ministry’s own internal culture

(c) the resignation of the Ministry’s chief executive

and

(d) the appointment of an independent (and expensively remunerated, at the rate of $518–$818 per day, each) five member committee to advise the new Health Minister David Clark, thus bypassing the Ministry’s own advisory role until such time as it can get its house in order.

Sure, you can choose to blame it all on the bureaucrats. Yet these calamities – and the drinking water crisis in particular – seem like an inevitable outcome of the failures in political leadership by previous Health Ministers Tony Ryall and Jonathan Coleman – who after all, inherited a new and entirely fit-for-purpose set of water safety standards devised in 2007, but who did next to nothing to ensure they were being met. The buck surely, stops at the Minister’s office. (That’s why they get paid the big bucks.) It’s not meant to stop at the door of the Health Ministry’s top official. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on saying ‘work for the dole,’ nicely

December 5th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

shane-jonesAs New Zealand First learned the hard way from its two previous periods in government, small parties in MMP coalitions get blamed for the unpopular stuff done by their senior partner in power, but no one remembers the good stuff the junior player brought to the table. NZF has been part of government twice, and got kicked out of Parliament entirely both times, afterwards. With that history in mind, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has made it clear that he’s going to be saying really, really loudly what he and Winston and the rest of the NZF crew are doing. Just so we’ll know for sure who did what.

For that reason… New Zealand First isn’t going to use namby pamby words like ‘work scheme’ or ‘job creation programme’. Jones is saying WORK FOR THE DOLE, as if he means business. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on the right wing’s fetish for tax cuts

December 4th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

trump-imageSo the Trump tax bill has passed in the Senate, which means that the US nominal corporate tax rate is now on track to be cut from 35% to 20%. No doubt… there will be calls from our own business sector to drink the same Kool-Aid, and pass a corporate tax cut of our own. Such calls should be resisted. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on journalism, Peters and Ghahraman

November 30th, 2017

First published on Werewolf

peters-media-coverSo how is journalism faring these days in its Fourth Estate role of (a) speaking truth to power, and (b) keeping its independent distance from those it seeks to monitor… you know, for the public good? Not so great. Of late, the relationship with power has often looked a lot more like one of active co-dependence, and never more so than in the current case involving Winston Peters. Already the press guardians and Bigfoots have expressed outrage at the fishing expedition that Peters has mounted, in his attempts to identify and punish the leakers of his superannuation over-payment details. Not accidentally, the news of that Peters overpayment came out at the very point in the electoral cycle when it could do the most electoral damage to New Zealand First. Read the rest of this entry »