$110,000 trough to research why Maori women are thought inferior

Where there is a trough there is someone wanting to swill about in it.

The way early settlers documented Māori women is disturbing and has had a damaging impact on how wahine are viewed today, an emerging health researcher says.

Ngahuia Murphy has received $110,000 from the Health Research Council to complete her PhD studies into Māori beliefs of the womb or whare tangata.

“I am looking at some of the pre-colonial ceremonies and ritual knowledge traditions around the whare tangata and I’m going to be tracing those ceremonial practices into the context of today.”

In order to complete her masters Ngahuia Murphy read texts from colonial ethnographers, who studied Māori in the early days.

“What they have written about Māori women and particularly Māori women’s reproductive body is that it is a source of inferiority in our culture, which completely contradicts our cultural paradigms about the significance of the whare tangata as the house of humanity.”   Read more »

Health Troughers blinded by plain packaging

It’s the beginning of the year and the troughers are back at it, moaning about wanting more action on Maori smoking.

It seems my good friend and exposed serial trougher Shane Kawenata Bradbrook is back out of his box, complaining about the Government not doing enough.

Shane Kawenata Bradbrook is well known to this blog, after being exposed for spending up large on the taxpayer with little observable results. After a Ministry of Health investigation into his Te Reo Marama rort, his overseas jaunts came to a spectacular end when their $250,000 annual funding was axed.

Now it seems he’s back, this time under a new guise of Te Ao Hurihuri. Let’s see how that works out for him.

One thing Shane Kawenata Bradbrook won’t be keen on Maori hearing or reading is a blog post titled ‘The Relentless Failure of Plain Packaging’.   Read more »

Trougher thinks we need more taxes


Over the weekend The Nation ran a story by Torben Akel about whether we needed more taxes to live longer.

While most would say ‘Yeah Right’, sadly there’s one person out there who seems to spend all day arguing the need for more taxes to save us from ourselves.

To regular readers the name of Nick Wilson will be familiar. He’s an old trougher from Otago University’s Department of Troughers in Wellington. The last time he was in the media he was banging on about his ‘new’ research looking at google street view images of smokefree signs on hospital doors.

Nick Wilson was also slammed by the Taxpayers’ Union for claiming a salt tax would reap $450 million. Wilson didn’t seem fazed by the research that showed a salt tax would result in a 2,500% increase in the price of salt for Kiwi consumers.    Read more »


A bigger trough?

Richard Harman at Politik reveals that our MPs, mainly the opposition ones to be fair, are wanting a much bigger trough.

The Parliamentary Appropriations Commission is calling for an $8 million increase in spending on staff and facilities and MPs and political parties in Parliament.

Appropriations to MPs have not been increased since 2007 and there has been widespread complaints, particularly from the Opposition parties, that they are increasingly unable to afford the research and staff assistance they need to do their job.

The Commission chaired by accountant, Grant Taylor and comprising a former National Minister, John Carter and a former Labour Minister, Rick Barker, has also made a radical proposal for MP’s electorate offices.

It is proposing that these be owned by the parliamentary Services Commission and allocated to MPs.

It is a recommendation unlikely to be received well by many MPs.

Read more »


REVEALED: The millionaire Legal Aid lawyers?

SIX FIRMS of solicitors were paid more than $1 million each in taxpayer-funded legal aid in a year while 20 others each raked in more than $500,000, startling new figures reveal.

In a graphic illustration of the legal aid gravy train, the Ministry of Justice figures show total payments to legal aid providers in the year to 30 June 2015 were up 4.5 per cent on the previous year to $130.216 million, from $124.58 million paid in the previous year.

Payments made in the latest year were just behind the total payments in the year to 30 June 2013 ($130.259 million) and a long way behind the total payments made in the year to 30 June 2012, when they totalled $148.3 million.

The payments – which are GST exclusive – include the fees of listed providers, including those claimed on behalf of other listed providers, and disbursements for general office costs, travel costs, and special disbursements, which include fees for agents, expert witnesses, forensic tests, interpreters and special reports, such as medical or valuation reports.

During the year to 30 June 2015, payments were made to 1224 listed providers – down slightly from the 1240 in the previous year. This meant the average payment per provider was $106,385.58, compared with $100,467.92 the previous year.

The median payment (received by the middle provider) was $68,147.22. Six providers received payments totaling over $1 million, and 20 received payments totaling between $500,000 and $1 million.

There were 793 providers – 65 per cent of the total – who received payments of less than $100,000, and 345 of these (28 per cent of all providers who received a payment) received payments of less than $30,000.

The highest payment was to Wellington firm Cooper Legal who received a staggering $1.373 million for the year to June.   Read more »


Jane Kelsey scores $600k of government money to research opposition to our trade and economic policies

Jane Kelsey must be blessed. She has scored $600,000 of taxpayer money to study “Transcending embedded neoliberalism in international economic regulation: options and strategies”.


The government is paying her to research opposition to our trade and economic policies?


Note the word “international” in the title. You can do a lot of “international” air travel for $600k, and not in cattle class.

Perhaps the Taxpayers’ Union should get an academic onboard and then ask for $600,000 for research on international sugar taxes?

This is just an outrageous amount of money so this shrieking harpy can mount protests all over the country and get things massively wrong.   Read more »

Lancet golden obesity troughers

Boyd Swinbun - Golden Obesity Trougher

Boyd Swinburn – Golden Obesity Trougher

Speaking of the University of Auckland troughers, well known anti-sugar activist and Trougher of the Year Professor Boyd Swinburn has a new gig – co-chair of the Lancet Commission on Obesity.

But it gets even better. Lo and behold somehow cat-hater and North Korean fan Gareth Morgan has also managed to become one of the 22 Commissioners as well.

With the obesity racket becoming bigger than Ben Hur, there’s no stopping them now expanding their remit to solving other problems of the world, especially when you consider this comment from Boyd Swinburn;

“Obesity is likely to share common determinants and solutions with other major emergent problems that the world is facing, such as climate change and inequities,” he says.

So Boyd Swinburn is tackling climate change now as well?   Read more »

Ex MP Knapp has been successfully scamming Parliamentary Services

Once in the trough MPs find it hard to leave it.

The Speaker is investigating whether former MP Garry Knapp is eligible for a perk for international travel that he has claimed for almost three decades – but it appears Mr Knapp was eligible for it when he left Parliament in 1987.

The rebates for international travel are currently only available for ex-MPs who served for three or more terms of Parliament and were elected before 1999.

Mr Knapp was an MP from 1980 to 1987 – two and a part terms.    Read more »

Karl du Fresne slams Otago troughers

The more I read the work of Karl du Fresne the more he reinforces the view he’s a good bloke and says it how it is.

In his piece published today ‘The rise of the moral crusaders of academia’ he reinforces the view that Otago University is fast becoming the home of the nanny state idealists.

He says:

“But I have to accept that my romantic view of Otago is hopelessly outdated.

Because far from being a place associated with useful, functional things like stoves, houses and trousers, Otago has ironically become a name synonymous with the 21st century phenomenon of academic busybody-ism.

Unlike the business enterprises of those early entrepreneurs, this is not a field of activity intended to ease people’s lives or make a raw, young country more liveable.

On the contrary, it sets out to frighten and discomfort New Zealanders with an almost constant campaign of shrill hectoring and haranguing.

Then he hits at the heart of the shrill makers.   Read more »

Anti-Sugar troughers want to ban the use of professional athletes


4,018 words and not one mention of exercise.

In a paper with the tainted titled ‘Young adults: beloved by food and drink marketers and forgotten by public health?’ you only had to read the names of a couple of the authors to know where they were heading.

One is Becky Freeman, previously the director of taxpayer funded ASH New Zealand another is NZ’s academic trougher and pro tax lobbyist Stefanie Vandevijvere.

What is becoming abundantly clear with the release of yet another academic moan about obesity, is that the only solution these troughers are lobbying for are bans and restrictions.

So, to save you from reading the whole paper, here’s some excerpts showing how these academic activists really want to control your life:

unnamed-4   Read more »