A couple more links to stories from or relating to the Labour conference. Gordon Campbell of Scoop has done a piece on KiwiAssure;

In other words, there has never been a more pressing need for the likes of a KiwiAssure to be available to New Zealand householders and businesses. Like Kiwibank, it will be successful, and for the same reasons. Besides the direct benefits it would bring to its customers, a Kiwi-owned insurance company would also help to staunch the flow of profits offshore, a chronic condition that is doing damage to the current account.

Possibly the strongest argument for the government to set up and run an insurance company is the vehement claims from the insurance industry that isn’t needed; if their claims that the market was intensely competitive already were true, then why are they so threatened by the idea of a state-run player coming in? Surely the ultra-competitive insurance market would just force the small KiwiAssure out? Their whining would suggest that they do actually have something to worry about.

If you’d had been following the conference via the hate-filled cartoons of Al Nisbet, you might have thought that the only thing that happened all weekend was some sort of ritual castration and flogging of men by the gay disabled Pasifika sector. Funnily enough, that’s not what really happened. There is no “man ban”. There is a proactive attempt to ensure that more women are elected MPs, which will use the flexibility of the list system to make that happen. Rachel Boyack and Stephen Judd have blogged about this in detail at Public Address; I’ve had a number of frustrating conversations with the media on twitter about it already and I think I might just go rock myself to sleep in the corner soon. It’s not that hard. It’s not a ban. We just want to get more women into parliament. They aren’t “taking” positions from men. It’s nothing more than an attempt to address the systemic misogyny that is all-too-apparent in New Zealand today.

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