web analytics

Written By: - Date published: 5:56 pm, January 12th, 2016 - 15 comments
Categories: film, internet, Media, music - Tags: , , ,

“My entire career, I’ve only really worked with the same subject matter. The trousers may change, but the actual words and subjects I’ve always chosen to write with are things to do with isolation, abandonment, fear and anxiety, all of the high points of one’s life.”

Well, that quote’s as a good a starting point, and finishing point, as we could hope for from David Bowie. I heard Blackstar for the first time on Sunday evening. I was looking forward to getting the vinyl copy in a couple of days. Now, while I’m still looking forward to have the physical object in my hands, it won’t be the same without the physical presence of its maker on this planet. Jarvis Cocker said it best:

“Obviously it’s a sad day that he’s died, but the fact that he managed to stay in control of that image and make another artistic statement when he was obviously ill and knew that he was dying, I think that’s incredible and it makes me feel quite happy that he stayed creative right to the end of his life. I think that can only be inspirational.”

He was always inspirational. Bowie was a driven person. He killed off Ziggy at the Hammersmith Odeon without telling his band he was going to do it. Indeed he fired the Spiders a few months later, equally brutally, the moment they no longer fitted his planned new musical direction. He repeated that formula to the very end, dropping the players who had been with him for nearly twenty years and with whom he last played live and who also made 2013’s The Next Day. Instead, for this album, he hired a relatively unknown band he saw in a New York bar.

So, maybe he wasn’t a good employer in a lot of ways, but the musicians he worked with have remained intensely loyal to him. And he saved Iggy, Lou Reed and the band Mott the Hoople, when they were all at at their lowest ebb, though he couldn’t save his equally troubled brother Terry. Bowie was all about the personal, not the political.

So, as it’s fair to say he wasn’t a political person, there isn’t going to be much Marxist analysis of his motivations in this review. The nearest he came to a political statement was a brief, coke driven flirtation with the symbolism of the blackshirts that ended with an unfortunate press photograph that made a wave to fans at Victoria Station look like a Nazi salute. If he ever voted, I haven’t a clue who for. This won’t be that kind of review.

Now that we know what Bowie knew as he was making this album, it takes on new meaning. Some of the lyrical ambiguity is lost, but it’s replaced with joy that someone could face death and defy death and redefine death as art. For me, Blackstar isn’t just the last Bowie album, it’s the final David Jones record. Now that we know he knew he was dying, the ambiguity fades to become honesty.

Much has been made in the last few hours of the meaning of the words of the seven songs, but I also take a lot from the aural clues. There are hints and nods to previous songs and previous collaborators. There are guitar frills that could be Mick Ronson or Robert Fripp, bass lines that could be Gail Ann Dorsey. There’s drumming that could be a machine … but isn’t, and percussion that should be human … and isn’t. And boy, there is a lot of saxaphone; Bowie’s first instrument as a youth.

While it’s clearly jazz drenched, it’s not really a jazz record, anymore than Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks was a jazz record. It’s informed and coloured by a kind of music that generally doesn’t use words. But this isn’t Bowie wearing a mask or taking on a new persona. There’s no time for vanity or pretence on a death bed. This is essentially an anti-pop work, a rejection of the music that made him famous. And it’s great.

The opening track, Blackstar, sets the tone. Atmospheric, even elegiac in places, the lyrics, according to the album’s saxophonist Donny McCaslin are about ISIS. Certainly, there are repeated references to the ‘day of execution’. However, there is something more personal and knowing in these lines:

         ‘Something happened on the day he died
          Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
          Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried’

Those lyrics could have come from Memory of a Free Festival, 40 years ago.

The structure of the track Blackstar is also similar to his seventies songs Width of a Circle or Candidate, with distinctly different thematic parts. But it’s a delicate piece, rather than a rocker. It’s unsettling, but memorable.

Bowie then borrows a title from a 400 year old play (Tis a Pity She’s a Whore) and appears to be referring to the centenary of the First World War in some of the lyrics (That was patrol, this is the war). This is the nearest thing to a rock song on Blackstar, ending with a wailing sax that could have been from his obsession with the Philly sound on Young Americans.

The second single, Lazarus, is also soaked in jazz tinged sax and contains the line that we now know was Bowie winking at us:

          ‘Look up here, I’m in heaven’.

The weirdest lyrics come in Girl Loves Me. Bowie uses Polari to make a couple of couplets that might be straight from Clockwork Orange or his own Suffragette City:

         ‘Cheena so sound, so titty up this Malchick, say Party up moodge, ninety vellocet round on Tuesday

         Real bad dizzy snatch making all the homies mad, Thursday Popo blind to the polly in the hole by Friday.’

Droogie, don’t crash here.

The album progresses through various themes, quoting alienation (‘English evergreens’) and death (‘I’m dying too’). There’s contempt for the greedy in Dollar Days ( ‘Push their backs against the grain / and fool them all again and again). That may well be about the record industry itself, a business model Bowie recognised early was going to be dealt to in the digital age.

Blackstar finishes with the glorious I Can’t Give Everything Away, which is the most lyrically direct track:

‘Seeing more and feeling less, saying no but meaning yes, this is all I ever meant, that’s the message that I sent.’

I Can’t Give Everything Away could easily have come from the Berlin trilogy. Indeed, it’s the album Low that this entire work most reminds me of. That’s no bad thing.

Blackstar is a wonderfully different album, the striking work of a man with nothing to lose and so much to offer. With so little time left, how could he give it all away?

So, should you buy Blackstar? Well, yeah, of course you should. If for no other reason to bookend your own love of Ziggy, or the Thin White Duke, or Thomas Jerome Newton. Or, indeed, David Robert Jones.

Whichever character first turned you on to Bowie, whichever song first sent shivers up your spine, you owe it to Bowie to get Blackstar, his last gift to you, his last wilful and testament.

You will be surprised, you will be challenged, but you won’t be disappointed.

And, please, buy the vinyl. You’ll get a digital download for free with it, but this album, this prettiest (black)star, deserves to have a tangible presence in your life. You’ll feel better for holding in your hands even if you never put the needle to the groove.

 

‘Hey babe, your hair’s alright
Hey babe, let’s go out tonight
You like me, and I like it all
We like dancing and we look divine
You love bands when they’re playing hard
You want more and you want it fast
They put you down, they say I’m wrong
You tacky thing, you put them on’

 

 

 

twitter.com/tereoputake

tereoputake@gmail.com

https://tereoputake.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

15 comments on “★”

  1. Rae 1

    Goodbye intensely interesting man.

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    had not bought a David Bowie record since the Berlin trilogy but for some reason and the recent “Elsewhere” site Graham Reid review, I acquired “Blackstar” yesterday morning, talk about great timing…

    I’m used to all sorts from Eno to Scott Walker in addition to my old rockers so appreciate this for the good stuff it is, and not overlong, play loud

  3. Ad 3

    Lovely review TRP.

    Of course it’s my age but I think of Freddy Mercury today. Freddy and a Spanish opera singer belted out the theme Barcelona to the Okympic opening, ending with a fiery arrow shot in a high arc to light a great wide bowl of flame. Somehow, otherwise vacuous and histrionic gestures held ideals about striving, singular direction, glory. Something anyway. Freddy was self-willed to burn and expire in the heavens like an exploding comet.

    To die, Bowie didn’t need such a high pitch. He’s aiming straight for the sun anyway.

    Perhaps Girl Loves Me simply recounts a week of mental deterioration, slipping time, stabilising a mind with a mantra about love. There’s only confusion left, convulsions, half-sentences, snatches of returning coherence. ‘Where the fuck did Monday go?’, well, same to you David.

    Blackstar the single’s video goes straight to its Thanatic heart, shutting in eyes with blindfolds. It ruminates on what may remains of humans when rediscovered In some future end-time. He pulls in the Christian crucifixion, eclipse and all, and holds up a book with a black star on the front. It’s no assertion of faith. It reminds me of the film Melancholia, where earth is swallowed and crushed. Blackstar as a single works best as a highly narrated short film, his last one to us.

    The end sequence – a death ceremony – could have been enacted by Neanderthals, neo primitives, or any of us remaining a hundred thousand years from now and holding your relatives’ skull.

    It’s not maudlin, suicidal, or raging-against-death, but it does invite it’s full sacral force.

    I’m glad he went out epic. His own death as artwork is very tight, very tidy.

    I find that way of thinking inspiring, and a great test. Probably not my place to intertwine it all so tightly, but he tells me to live like you make magic before death. He took his music and flew it straight into the sun. Tonight, that example is our single candle; tonight:
    “We can be heroes
    Just for one day”

  4. Ad 4

    Lovely writing and a very personal review.

    Of course it’s my age, but when I think of Bowie today I think of Freddy Mercury. Freddy and a Spanish opera singer belted out Barcelona to the opening of that Olympics, ending with a fiery arrow shot in a high arc to light a great wide bowl of flame. Such otherwise vacuous and histrionic symbols held just for that moment alone our projected ideals about striving, determination, and glory. Freddy was the kind of being who was always going to fire and explode comet-like in the sky.

    Bowie didn’t need that pitch. In this album he knows he’s helping us watch him fly straight into the sun.

    Girl Loves Me seems to recount a mental deterioration; slipping time, stabilizing the mind with a matra about love. There’s largely only confusion left, convulsions, half-sentences, snatches of recurring coherence. He asks ‘where the fuck did Monday go?’ Well, same to you David.

    The video to the single Blackstar goes straight for the thanatic heart, shutting out the eyes with blindfolds. It ruminates on what might be the remainder of humans when discovered in some future end-time. He pulls in Christian crucifixion imagery, complete with eclipse, but holds up a book with a black star on the front like it explains nothing. Somehow it reminds me of the movie Melancholia, where our earth is swallowed and crushed by another rogue world. Blackstar as a single works best as a short and highly narrated film – and it’s as thinly veiled an autobiography as anything inside Faces in the Water.

    The end sequence of the video – a death ceremony – could have been enacted by Neanderthals, neo-primitives, or any of us remaining a hundred thousand years from now, holding our relatives’ skull. Good and creepy.

    It’s good music that asks you to thinking about death without being maudlin, suicidal, or raging against it, and to engage it in its full sacral force.

    I’m glad he went out epic. It’s pretty daring, pretty conscious, to unify one’s own art and death and the timing of both into a single work.

    I find that way of thinking challenging and inspiring, and a great test. Definitely not my place to intertwine life and art like this. I won’t be driving straight into the black sun like this.

    But tonight, that example is our single candle;

    “We can be heroes,
    Just for one day.”

  5. Kevin 5

    Your best post TRP.

    Thank you.

    • Thanks, Kevin. It was pretty heartfelt. Bowie has been part of my life since I was a pre-teen. I found Burroughs, Lou Reed, Jean Genet etc through him at a very impressionable age. Made me the person I am today, to a large extent.

      • Tiger Mountain 5.1.1

        while not quite the same influence for me TRP, if you were the type to go against the kiwi herd in the 70s, David Bowie certainly assisted, a take on his look could be obtained at Vulcan Lane, Akld. hair stylists as I found out with my last official haircut in ’74, instant celebrity of a type I was not particularly seeking!

        his accumulated cultural impact is certainly immense

  6. Roflcopter 6

    Great review, and bang on the money…

    I remember back in 1970(ish), when I was a wee nipper, my mum and dad playing Bowie and telling me that his music was way ahead of its time… it was, and Blackstar is another work of art.

    I must admit that I didn’t really enjoy Bowie during the late 80’s, it sort of went pretty commercial for my liking…. but then again, that was Bowie during his career; able to transcend many music disciplines and to appeal to varied tastes.

    I heard Blackstar and Lazarus prior to the album release, and was totally hooked, but hearing them again now we know he passed, these songs take on whole new personas… basically he scribed his own epitaphs.

    He will be sadly missed.

    Thanks again for the great review.

  7. tinfoilhat 7

    Lovely review TRP.

    Great way to start the day.

  8. esoteric pineapples 8

    “He killed off Ziggy at the Hammersmith Odeon without telling his band he was going to do it. Indeed he fired the Spiders a few months later, equally brutally, the moment they no longer fitted his planned new musical direction.”

    Amazingly enough, there are still people who haven’t gotten over this, judging by comments I read on the Uncut magazine website a few months ago when Morrissey was praising lead guitarist Mick Ronson at the expense of Carlos Almodovar. They still think Ronson was hard done by and couldn’t understand that Bowie needed to follow his own artistic direction. Bowie would eventually have been trapped in a glam rock ghetto if he had been a lesser artist.

    I love Mick Ronson’s guitar and find it surprising that when he finally did a solo album Slaughter on Tenth Avenue in the mid-seventies, it didn’t have virtually any of the guitar sound that he had with The Spiders.

    Haven’t seen many mentions of Young Americans from people remembering Bowie with his death which I find interesting. It was hugely significant as a change in direction at the time and its key songs still get plenty of play time on the radio but after all these years, I decided a few months ago that it is not an album I really like listening to much.

    • David H 8.1

      I think Slaughter on tenth Avenue was some of Mick Ronsons best work especially the Love me Tender opening track.

      The Bowie song that still sends shivers down my spine, 40 odd years later is Rock N Roll Suicide it’s the final track on the Ziggy Stardust Album and is just so poignent.

      • It’s a stonking album, David and I still play it regularly. I understand Ronson was OK with Bowie moving on, though the other two were well miffed. The biography Starman, by Paul Trynka claims that they went on strike when they found out new pianist Mike Garson was on four times their weekly wage. Bowies manager, Tony de Fries, apparently told them they were very very replaceable. Ronson intervened and got it sorted, but the writing was on the wall.

        And esoteric p, I agree about Young Americans (and the David Live album from the same period). I was gutted because I was expexcting another Diamond Dogs, But, hey, the man knew what he was doing,

  9. Joe Jones 9

    We won’t see his like again. Thanks for the review

  10. Just one quick addendum to the post’s section about how he treated his musicians. A friend works in aged care in London. One the people she looks after is David Bowie’s aunt. On each of his aunt’s birthdays and at Xmas, a big box of goodies arrives from New York from a Mr Jones. I know it’s probably a PA or similar that organises it, but I thought it showed that he was loyal and perhaps even sentimental in some ways.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • New Zealand First calls for tahr cull halt
    Mark Patterson MP, Spokesperson for Primary Industry New Zealand First is supporting calls by hunters and the New Zealand Tahr Foundation (NZTF) to halt a large scale cull of Himalayan Tahr by the Department of Conservation in National Parks. The calls are supported by a 40,000 strong petition and the ...
    1 day ago
  • Response to Spin-off allegations
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand First leader Winston Peters today scoffed at suggestions that a team of six political operatives have been dispatched to New Zealand to assist his campaign. ‘As President Ronald Reagan once said, ‘there they go again.’ ‘The clickbait journos can’t ...
    1 day ago
  • Jenny Marcroft MP to represent New Zealand First in Auckland Central
    New Zealand First is pleased to announce Jenny Marcroft as the party’s election 2020 candidate for the Auckland Central electorate. Jenny spent years working in Auckland Central, having spent a vast proportion of her broadcasting career there. She says she, "knows the place and knows the people." Ms Marcroft says ...
    2 days ago
  • Creating jobs and cleaning up our rivers
    New Zealanders deserve healthy rivers and lakes that are safe to swim in - but they have been getting worse for decades. That's why, with our latest announcement, we're investing in projects that will help clean up our rivers and lakes and restore them to health, within a generation. ...
    3 days ago
  • Jacinda Ardern: 2020 Labour Congress Speech
    Jacinda Ardern's speech to the 2020 Labour Party Congress. ...
    3 days ago
  • Kelvin Davis: 2020 Labour Congress Speech
    Kelvin Davis' speech to the 2020 Labour Party Congress. ...
    3 days ago
  • Week That Was: Another week of major progress
    This week we moved into the second half of 2020 - and our Government delivered another week of big changes and major progress for New Zealanders. Read below for a wrap of the key things moments from the week - from extending paid parental leave, to making major investments in ...
    5 days ago
  • Green Party opposes RMA fast-track bill that cut corners on environmental safeguards and public cons...
    The Green Party has opposed the COVID-19 Recovery Fast-track Consenting Bill which shortcuts normal consenting processes under the Resource Management Act (RMA), reduces public participation and narrows environmental considerations. ...
    6 days ago
  • Site of new freight hub revealed
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister of Regional Economic Development A regional freight hub for the lower North Island will be built just northeast of Palmerston North, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The Government is investing $40 million through the Provincial Growth Fund to designate and buy land and design ...
    6 days ago
  • Greens call for Guaranteed Minimum Income to alleviate skyrocketing debt with MSD
    Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson is calling for the introduction of a Guaranteed Minimum Income to lift hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty and prevent more families entering into further debt with the Ministry of Social Development.  ...
    6 days ago
  • Winston Peters: Facts matter when taxpayer money is on the line
    There has been renewed focus on New Zealand First acting as a handbrake on the Government after our decision to not support Auckland light rail. We are a handbrake for bad ideas, that is true, but our track record since 2017 has seen New Zealand First constructively also serve as an ...
    6 days ago
  • Bill raising minimum residency requirement for NZ Super passes first reading
    Mark Patterson MP, New Zealand First List MP New Zealand First’s Fair Residency for Superannuation Bill passed its First Reading in Parliament today. The Bill makes a significant change to NZ Super by raising the minimum residency requirement from 10 to 20 years, after age 20. “Currently, a migrant of ...
    6 days ago
  • Harsher penalties for assaults on first responders one step closer
    Darroch Ball MP, Spokesperson for Law and Order A New Zealand First member’s bill in the name of Darroch Ball introducing a six-month minimum prison sentence for assaults on first responders has passed its second reading in Parliament. The new offence of "injuring a first responder or corrections officer with ...
    1 week ago
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission delivers Coalition promise
    Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Deputy Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand First welcomes the launch of the new Criminal Cases Review Commission, gifted with the name from Waikato-Tainui - Te Kāhui Tātari Ture, announced in Hamilton today by Justice Minister Andrew Little. “New Zealand First has long believed in and ...
    1 week ago
  • Greens welcome huge new investment in sustainable projects
    The Green Party is celebrating over $800m in new funding for green projects, which will get people into jobs while solving New Zealand’s long-term challenges. ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand First demands answers from Meridian Energy
    Mark Patterson MP, Spokesperson for Primary Industries New Zealand First is appalled that Meridian seems to have been unnecessarily spilling water from its dams to drive up its profits."While New Zealanders have been coming together in some of our darkest hours, we don’t expect power gentailers to waste water and ...
    1 week ago
  • Getting New Zealand moving again: June 2020
    We wrapped up the first half of 2020 with a busy month, taking additional steps to support New Zealanders as we continue with our economic recovery. We rolled out targeted packages to support key industries like tourism and construction, helped create jobs in the environmental and agriculture sectors, and set ...
    1 week ago
  • Māori union leader appointed to Infrastructure Commission board
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Infrastructure Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has welcomed the appointment of Maurice Davis and his deep infrastructure and construction experience to the board of the Infrastructure Commission. Mr Davis (Ngāti Maniapoto), is the seventh and final appointment to the board led by former Reserve Bank Governor ...
    1 week ago
  • Click-bait journalism at its worst
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand’s click bait journalism is taking a turn for the worse, with yet another example of sensationalist, wilful-misrepresentation of the facts. “New Zealand First has worked constructively with its Coalition partner on hundreds of pieces of legislation and policy, and ...
    1 week ago
  • Green Party proposes transformational Poverty Action Plan
    The Green Party is today unveiling its Poverty Action Plan, which includes a Guaranteed Minimum Income to ensure people have enough to live with dignity.     ...
    1 week ago
  • PGF accelerates Rotorua projects
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development The Rotorua Museum redevelopment and Whakarewarewa and Tokorangi Forest projects will be accelerated thanks to a $2.09 million Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) boost, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: Getting people into jobs
    This week, we rolled out the next steps of our recovery plan, with new infrastructure investment, extra support for tourism operators, and a new programme to get Kiwis into agriculture careers. The global economic consequences of COVID-19 will continue to be a challenge, but we have a detailed plan to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Coalition commitment establishing Mental Health Commission delivered
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First welcomes the passage of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill through its final reading in Parliament today fulfilling a coalition agreement commitment. “This is an important step in saving the lives of New Zealanders and delivers a key coalition commitment ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Whakatāne gets a $2.5m ‘turbo boost’
    Whakatāne has been given a $2.5 million boost to speed up previously funded projects and create more than 450 jobs in the next decade. Of those, the equivalent of 160 full-time jobs could be delivered in the next six weeks. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is in town to make ...
    2 weeks ago
  • $2.5m PGF funding to speed up economic recovery in Whakatāne
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $2.5 million to accelerate three infrastructure projects in Whakatāne, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. “This package is about ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Shane Jones calls out those holding drought-stricken Auckland ‘to ransom’ over water
    Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones is throwing his weight behind a bid by the Auckland Council to fast-track the more than doubling of the city's water allowance from the Waikato River. And he's coming out strongly against anyone who plans on getting in the way of this campaign. "It is my ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another Green win as climate change considerations inserted into the RMA
    The Green Party is thrilled to see changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) that mean consents for large projects can be declined if they will have significant climate change implications that are inconsistent with the Zero Carbon Act and Aotearoa New Zealand’s Paris Agreement obligations.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Navy vessel Aotearoa to arrive in New Zealand
    Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence The Royal New Zealand Navy’s new ship, Aotearoa, set sail for New Zealand on 10 June from the Republic of Korea, and is due to arrive in Auckland tomorrow, announced Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “Aotearoa is the Royal New Zealand Navy’s new fleet ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Racing Industry Bill passes third reading
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Racing Racing Minister Winston Peters has today welcomed the Racing Industry Bill passing its third reading, creating the legislative framework for revitalising the racing industry while limiting the need for future government intervention. “For too long our domestic racing industry has ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party seek amendment to ensure all prisoners can vote
    The Green Party has today put forward an amendment to the Electoral (Registration of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill to ensure all people in prisons can vote in general elections. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party welcomes new approach to delivering light rail
    The Green Party welcomes the decision to not proceed with Public Public Investment (PPI) delivery of Auckland’s light rail project and to instead run the process through the public service. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First welcomes PGF investment in Wairarapa Water
    Hon Ron Mark, New Zealand First List MP based in the Wairarapa New Zealand First List MP Hon Ron Mark welcomes the announcement of Provincial Growth Funding investment of $1.4 million to help secure the Wairarapa’s water supply. The funding boost will allow the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First MP Mark Patterson selected as candidate for Taieri
    New Zealand First list MP Mark Patterson has been selected to represent the party in the newly formed Taieri electorate at the upcoming election. Mr Patterson, his wife Jude and two daughters farm sheep and beef at Lawrence and Waitahuna. He previously stood in the Clutha-Southland electorate however boundary changes ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ground-breaking on NZ Post depot
    Hon Shane Jones, Associate Minister for State Owned Enterprises A new ‘super depot’ to be built for NZ Post in Wellington will create around 350 jobs during construction, Associate Minister for State Owned Enterprises Shane Jones says. Shane Jones today attended a ground-breaking and blessing ceremony for the parcel-processing depot ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: Putting our economic plan into action
    Our strong economic management prior to COVID-19 - with surpluses, low debt and near-record-low unemployment - put us in a good position to weather the impact of the virus and start to rebuild our economy much earlier than many other countries. Now we're putting our plan to recover and rebuild ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fleeing drivers hit new record-high yet again
    Darroch Ball MP, New Zealand First Spokesperson for Law and Order Recently released Police fleeing driver statistics have shown yet another increase in incidents with another record-high in the latest quarter. “This new quarterly record-high is the latest in a string of record-high numbers since 2014.  The data shows incidents ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fletcher Tabuteau selected as candidate for Rotorua
    New Zealand First MP Fletcher Tabuteau is pleased to be confirmed today as the party’s candidate for the Rotorua electorate. Speaking at the Rotorua AGM for New Zealand First, Mr Tabuteau said this is an election that is incredibly important for the people of Rotorua. “The founding principles of New ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Greens call for Government office to address Rainbow issues following Human Rights Commission report
    The Human Rights Commission’s PRISM report on the issues impacting people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) provides an excellent programme of work for future governments to follow, say the Greens. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters continues push for trans-Tasman travel as military take control of operations
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said the trans-Tasman bubble had not been jeopardised after a border botch-up resulted in New Zealand having two active cases of COVID-19. On Friday, Mr Peters told RNZ's Morning Report he had heard from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison that borders for trans-Tasman travel would open by ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters on the Government’s Covid-19 border blunder
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said today he was pleased the army was now running the quarantine and isolation process - up until now it has been the Ministry of Health. Peters told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking that the army knew how to introduce and follow protocols and instil discipline. ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Community-led solutions to prevent family violence
    The Government’s three prevention frameworks to reduce family violence in Aotearoa were launched this week by Associate Minister for Social Development Poto Williams.   The frameworks were developed in partnership with communities around New Zealand, and build on the work the Government has already begun with its new family violence prevention ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Govt confirms investment in better radiology and surgical services for Hawke’s Bay
    The Government is pleased to confirm funding for improvements to radiology and surgical services at Hawke's Bay DHB, Health Minister Chris Hipkins says.     "The Minister of Finance the Hon Grant Robertson and former Health Minister Dr David Clark approved funding for Hawke's Bay DHB’s redevelopment of their radiology facilities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Specialist alcohol and drug addiction services strengthened across New Zealand
    •    New funding for four beds at Napier’s Springhill Residential Addiction Centre •    A new managed withdrawal home and community service, and peer support before and after residential care at Tairāwhiti DHB  •    A co-ordinated network of withdrawal management services throughout the South Island •    Peer support in Rotorua and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Coastal Shipping Webinar
    Introduction, seafarers and POAL Good morning everyone, I am delighted to be online with you all today. Before I begin, I have to acknowledge that COVID-19 has disrupted the maritime sector on an unprecedented scale. The work of seafarers and the maritime industry is keeping many economies around the world ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Support for resilient rail connection to the West Coast
    A $13 million investment from Government will create jobs and improve the resilience of the rail connection between Christchurch and the West Coast, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones and Regional Economic Development Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau say. The funding comes from the tagged contingency set aside in Budget 2020 for infrastructure projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Major investment in safe drinking water
    The Government is investing $761 million to assist local government upgrade under-pressure water services across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  The announcement was made at the site of the water bore that was found to be the source of the fatal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options
    Recognised Seasonal Employers and migrant seasonal workers stranded in New Zealand will be able to continue working and supporting themselves with more flexible hours and roles, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. The time-limited visa changes are: Stranded RSE workers will be able to work part-time (a minimum of 15 hours ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Relief for temporary migrants, employers and New Zealanders who need work
    The Government is making immediate short-term changes to visa settings to support temporary migrants already onshore in New Zealand and their employers, while also ensuring New Zealanders needing work are prioritised, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. We are: Extending temporary work visas due to expire by the end of 2020 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Freshwater commissioners and fast-track consenting convenor appointed
    Professor Peter Skelton CNZM has been appointed as Chief Freshwater Commissioner and Alternate Environment Court Judge Craig James Thompson as Deputy Chief Freshwater Commissioner for the newly established Freshwater Planning Process (FPP). Environment Minister David Parker today also announced the appointment of Chief Environment Court Judge Laurie Newhook as the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
    Auckland Queen’s Counsel Neil Campbell has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Campbell graduated with a BCom and LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 1992. He spent two years with Bell Gully Buddle Weir in Auckland before travelling to the United ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Feedback sought – Commercial Film and Video Production Facilities
    The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to better enable the development and operation of commercial film and video facilities in Christchurch. The Proposal, developed by Regenerate Christchurch in response to a request from Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Govt launches bold primary sector plan to boost economic recovery
    The Government has launched a bold plan to boost primary sector export earnings by $44 billion over the next decade, while protecting the environment and growing jobs. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today released Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential, a 10-year roadmap to unlock greater value ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Wellbeing of whanau at heart of new hub
    A new approach to prevent family harm that encourages greater collaboration across government and community groups is being celebrated at the opening of a new facility in Auckland. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today opened the Multi-Disciplinary Family Harm Prevention Hub Te Taanga Manawa in Lambie Road in Manukau. The facility ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Report on Auckland Port Relocation
    The Government has released a major new report on the options for relocating the Port of Auckland’s freight operations while deferring any decision on the issue. “That decision needs to be informed by policy analysis that is still to be completed. As a result it will be up to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Dual place names for Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula features
    The history of Rāpaki is being restored through the inclusion of te reo in thirteen official place names on Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula and around Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō, the Minister for Land Information, Eugenie Sage, announced today.   “I am pleased to approve the proposals from Te Hapū o Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government and Air New Zealand agree to manage incoming bookings
    Bookings for seats on Air New Zealand flights into New Zealand will be managed in the short term to ensure the Government is able to safely place New Zealanders arriving home into a managed isolation or quarantine facility, says Housing Minister Megan Woods.  “Last week Air Commodore Darryn Webb and I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • $80 million for sport recovery at all levels
    Grant Robertson has today announced the first major release of funding from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package announced at Budget 2020.  “Today we’re setting out how $80 million will be invested, with $54 million of that over the 2020/2021 financial year for organisations from community level through to elite ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Keeping ACC levies steady until 2022
    The Government is maintaining current levy rates for the next 2 years, as part of a set of changes to help ease the financial pressures of COVID-19 providing certainty for businesses and New Zealanders, ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “New Zealanders and businesses are facing unprecedented financial pressures as a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Extended loan scheme keeps business afloat
    Small businesses are getting greater certainty about access to finance with an extension to the interest-free cashflow loan scheme to the end of the year. The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme has already been extended once, to 24 July. Revenue and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says it will be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New investment creates over 2000 jobs to clean up waterways
    A package of 23 projects across the country will clean up waterways and deliver over 2000 jobs Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Environment Minister David Parker announced today. The $162 million dollar package will see 22 water clean-up projects put forward by local councils receiving $62 million and the Kaipara ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
    Tena koutou katoa  Nga tangata whenua o tenei rohe o Pōneke, tena koutou Nau mai, haere mai ki te hui a tau mo te roopu reipa Ko tatou!  Ko to tatou mana!  Ko to tatou kaupapa kei te kokiri whakamua  Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa   Welcome. I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • PGF top-up for QE Health in Rotorua
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $1.5 million to ensure QE Health in Rotorua can proceed with its world class health service and save 75 existing jobs, Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. The PGF funding announced today is in addition to the $8 million ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Building a more sustainable construction sector
    A new programme, which sets a firm course for the Building and Construction sector to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, has been announced by the Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa. “A significant amount of New Zealand’s carbon emissions come from the building and construction sector.  If we’re serious ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • PGF funds tourism boost in Northland
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing more than $7.5 million in Northland ventures to combat the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment is going to the Northern Adventure Experience and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Four new projects announced as part of the biggest ever national school rebuild programme
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins today announced significant funding for Auckland’s Northcote College as part of the first wave of a new nationwide school redevelopment programme to upgrade schools over the next 10 years. The $48.5 million project brings the total investment in Northcote College to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19: Support to improve student attendance and wellbeing
    The Government has opened an urgent response fund to support schools and early learning services to get children and young people back on track after the Covid-19 lockdown. “While we are seeing improvements in attendance under Alert Level 1 Ministry of Education data shows that attendance rates in our schools ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Fast-track consenting law boosts jobs and economic recovery
    The law to boost the economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19 by speeding up resource consenting on selected projects has passed its second and third readings in the House today. “Accelerating nationwide projects and activities by government, iwi and the private sector will help deliver faster economic recovery and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Whanganui Port gets PGF boost
    Five port-related projects in Whanganui will receive a $26.75 million Provincial Growth Fund investment to support local economic recovery and create new opportunities for growth, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is a significant investment that will support the redevelopment of the Whanganui Port, a project governed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More support for Sarjeant Gallery
    Whanganui’s Sarjeant Gallery will receive an investment of up to $12 million administered by the Provincial Growth Fund to support its redevelopment, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. The project is included in a $3 billion infrastructure pipeline announced by Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Shane Jones yesterday. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding for training and upskilling
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing nearly $2.5 million into three Te Ara Mahi programmes to support Manawatū-Whanganui jobseekers and employees to quickly train and upskill, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “Up to 154 local people will be supported into employment within the first year by these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Statement from the Minister of Health Dr David Clark
      This morning I have formally tendered my resignation as Minister of Health, which was accepted by the Prime Minister. Serving as Minister of Health has been an absolute privilege – particularly through these extraordinary last few months. It’s no secret that Health is a challenging portfolio. I have given ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Scholarship placements for agricultural emissions scientists doubles
    Scholarships for 57 early-career agricultural emissions scientists from 20 developing countries is another example of New Zealand’s international leadership in primary sector sustainability, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. Mr O’Connor, announcing the scholarships today, says hundreds of applications were received for this fourth round of the CLIFF-GRADS programme (Climate, Food ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding for Foxton regeneration
    A project to help rejuvenate the Horowhenua town of Foxton will receive a Provincial Growth Fund investment of $3.86 million, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This funding for the Foxton Regeneration project will be used to make the well-known holiday town even more attractive for visitors and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Plan to improve protection of moa bones
    Moa bones and other sub-fossil remains of extinct species are set to have improved protection with proposals to prevent the trade in extinct species announced the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today. “We have lost too many of our native species, but these lost species, such as moa, remain an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Free lunches served up to thousands of school children in the South Island
    The Government’s free and healthy school lunches programme moves south for the first time creating jobs for around 30 people in Otago and Southland. “Eighteen schools with 3000 students are joining the programme – 11 have already begun serving lunches, and seven are preparing to start during Term 3. This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Screen Sector recovery package protects jobs, boosts investment
    Thousands of Kiwi jobs and investment in New Zealand productions will be protected through a screen sector support package announced today by Associate Minister for Arts Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Economic Development Phil Twyford and Minister for Broadcasting Kris Faafoi. The package also includes investment in broadcasting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New fund to help save local events and jobs
    The Government has established a new $10 million fund for the domestic events sector to help save jobs and protect incomes as it recovers from the impacts of COVID-19, Minister of Economic Development Phil Twyford announced today. This funding from Budget 2020 follows talks with the event sector designed to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Bill to improve fuel market competition
    The Government has taken another step in its commitment to making sure New Zealanders get a fairer deal at the petrol pump with the introduction of legislation to improve competition in the retail fuel market, says Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods. “The fuel market study that this Government ordered ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand joins global facility for pre-purchase of COVID-19 Vaccine
    New Zealand has joined a global initiative that aims to enable all countries to access a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. The COVAX Facility was recently launched by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The Alliance includes the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Right to legal representation in Family Court restored today
    From today new legislation takes effect to both restore the right to legal representation at the start of a Care of Children (CoCA) dispute in the Family Court, and allow parties to those proceedings to access legal aid where eligible. During a visit to the Family Court in Auckland today, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago