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20% of Schools Break the Law!

Written By: - Date published: 4:03 pm, July 31st, 2011 - 61 comments
Categories: education - Tags: ,

Reposted from bsprout* at  Local Bodies blog. 

I have already expressed my concern that this government’s focus on numeracy and literacy, above all else, will have negative consequences on our children’s learning. The Ministry have just revealed that around 20% of schools have refused to set targets against the Standards and therefore rejecting a legislated requirement. These school communities (boards and staff) have felt so strongly about the negative aspects of the standards that they have broken the law to protect the children in their care. Considering that the Minister of Education has threatened to withhold resources or replace boards with statutory managers, their stands haven’t been taken lightly. One can only imagine how many schools have difficulty with the Standards but aren’t prepared to break the law. A number of surveys have indicated at least 75% of principals and schools have major concerns.

It will be difficult for the Minister to continue to claim that this is just political action initiated by education unions when whole school communities are taking action and the New Zealand Education Institute has mainly focussed on finding professional solutions. The Institute even attempted to engage with the Minister’s NS Sector Advisory Group only to find that there was no ability to address the flaws in the standards, its sole function was to facilitate implementation.

With such overwhelming opposition the Minister needs to start engaging with the profession and actually start responding to concerns in a professional way. The cracks are now too wide to cover up and reading the odd supporting letter in Parliament is not going hide the reality.

* And no, it is not the sprout

 

61 comments on “20% of Schools Break the Law!”

  1. Hilary 1

    Those schools, their principals and their boards are so brave for taking this stand for education and are setting a great example to the children and their communities of standing up for principles. School boards are not comprised of radicals but of ordinary parents concerned about teaching and learning.

    • richard 1.1

      I agree Hillary – they are brave, and there are lots of other BOT’s out there that are equally abhorred by Nat Standards but, for a wide range of reasons, have not been quite as brave. Basically lots of us are just doing the bare minimum required for Nat Standards, then backing our staff and principals to do real, meaningful teaching.
      This is a huge issue and I will be gutted if it is not a major election issue.
      P.S. My prediction: Tolley dumped after election but Nat Standards remain. Face of Nat Standards removed, issue quietens, policy remains (assuming NACT re-elected). Just like they did with Ruth Richardson in 1993.

  2. Ed 2

    Does that 20% of schools include private schools? Since the requirement apparently does not apply to them, if this idea is so good, how many such schools have picked it up?

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      +1
      good question

    • Anne 2.2

      I have never understood why Labour and the Greens have not made more of the fact that the private schools are not included in the National Standards. It’s common knowledge that most National Party MPs send their kids (and grand-kids) to private schools. They’re happy to impose these so-called standards on the public school system, but golly, gosh no… we’re not having our own kids subjected to it!

      Not only does it smack of hypocrisy, but it shows that the whole National Standard thing is nothing more than an exercise in political philandering of gullible members of the general public.

      Given that private schools are now heavily subsidised by the state coffers why are they exempt?

      • Colonial Viper 2.2.1

        Given that private schools are now heavily subsidised by the state coffers why are they exempt?

        Because they want kids who go to private schools to receive an education not merely training in reading and arithmetic.

        • Anne 2.2.1.1

          And that’s because their own kids go to private schools!

          • Mac1 2.2.1.1.1

            Hard as it is to defend the Nats on where they send their kids, ( BTW, I do believe we should try to keep politician’s families as much out of the debate as we can- they are not to blame for their parents!), there is a good reason why pollies might send their kids away from their electorate schools, and that is to do with the flak that the kids might get because of their parents. I know that was true in my instance purely as a candidate and the local Nat MP’s kid did get a hard time, I know for certain. Another Labour MP I know sent his children away for the same reason.

            That being the case, it is still arguable that private schools might offer other reasons more to do with social cachet, status, connections or even religion. I’m not convinced that National Standards are not applied to private schools because Govt MPs send their kids there.

            I would rather ask why such a Good Thing is not required of the private schools, since all parents do want the Best For Their Kids.

            I think CV @ 2.2.1 is right on the money. Whether private schools deliver better than state schools in that regard, I am not so certain.

      • Mac1 2.2.2

        “Given that private schools are now heavily subsidised by the state coffers why are they exempt?”

        Maybe if they were required to enforce National Standards, they might Break the Law themselves? I understand, in all seriousness now, that some Catholic prelate was severely critical of NS? Would Catholic schools, for example, have worn a Ministry directive, or disobeyed?

  3. Dan1 3

    The agenda has always been to demonise the teacher associations. That parents and BOTs have agreed that national standards are questionable is a complication. However, if you wish to see where the NACTS are going, check out what Ms Rhee did in Washington, and when she lost her job there, what she is doing in Wisconsin.
    Anyone with an interest in education who votes for the NACT crew are turkeys voting for Christmas!

  4. Todd 4

    Yep.Teaching children that as long as you believe its right just go ahead and break the law.Sounds smart to me.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      thanks goodness we have schools which aren’t willing to let an incompetent Minister and her lackey Ministery push through shitty backward standards.

      And for those 20% of schools, another 20% would have seriously considered doing the same.

    • mik e 4.2

      When National were in opposition they barked on consistently about teachers needing less paper work so they could spend more time teaching in front of children . The reverse has happened now teachers have even less time especially to spend on extra curricular activities which keep kids engaged and out of trouble .Typical Nats this program is to pick up those not achieving teachers already no who aren,t achieving and why so all the Nats are doing is making the Problem worse!

    • Georgy 4.3

      I think, Todd, the point is the value placed on professionalism and integrity. National standards are flawed, they are not actually national standards at all, they are not researched based, and the league table consequence doesn’t bear thinking about. The National Standards National Testing process is clearly being shown to be not only ineffective but also new research coming out that shows they are probably having the opposite effect.

    • Purplescottie 4.4

      If I believe the law is wrong and I am prepared to accept the consequences of breaking it, then it is not only smart, it is brave and right, and about standing up for my principles.

  5. tc 5

    And you see very little of ayatolley in the media, for good reasons as she’s a barking loon. Again if the media were interested in doing their job this would get plenty of inches/airtime as would plenty of other incompetent NACT ministers, makes great coverage and sells your content…..not here though…nice work if you can get it.

  6. Regardless of whether they agree with National Standards – I’m personally still dubious about their value but haven’t looked closely past all the hubris and politicking – schools should carry out government policy. Unless of course they want to be privately funded (or bulk funded?) so they can set their own agendas.

    • Dan1 6.1

      Pete, if the standards are so important, why do private schools not have to do them??!!

      • Pete George 6.1.1

        Because they are private schools. Government departments should carry out Government policy, that’s a fairly basic principle of our public service and political system.

        If political parties encourage schools to not carry out Government policy then that smacks of another example of rules and conventions only matter when convenient.

        If Labour get into Government and scrap National Standards I’d expect all schools to stop using them as directed. It’s a fairly simple principle.

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1

          Here’s another fairly simple principle: don’t expect people to do things which compromise their children and the education system, especially when you have never bothered to discuss the issues with them in good faith.

        • Dan1 6.1.1.2

          If the standards are so robust and an absolute requirement for state schools, why are they not essential for every young New Zealander? Why is it that if you have the money to pay for private education, you can get an elitist label but not have to do what other NZers do?
          Further, teachers have a responsibility to point out the failings of a proposed system.

        • Georgy 6.1.1.3

          The govt policy you refer to Pete George, is seriously flawed – if doctors were told how to operate by some group of people in Wellington and the govt made it policy, would doctors be happy to simply comply??? the govt dept concerned with National Standards should have clearly researched and fully consulted, especially with the professionals. A positive approach would have got the educ sector onside.

        • Ianupnorth 6.1.1.4

          As stated to you on a previous thread – do doctors follow best practice as determined by research, or, if Ryall says do something that I say and do not follow what the evidence states, who will be held to account when a patient dies?
          Same goes for teachers and principals – they know the research, they see the flaws and they are making a stand for those in their care – end of story.

        • mik e 6.1.1.5

          That sounds like Nazism PG. Its just nationals agenda to brake all unions even when the policy is BS. if they really wanted to help under achievement at schools by the 20% of children they would put the money directly into those areas the teachers already know the answers it has to be a community approach to these families keeping them in stable cheap housing having a coordinated holistic approach to welfare like Canterbury universities social sciences trial program which has been working successfully for 10years .instead ayatolley is just making teaching more difficult by loading them up with more BS paper work ie detention for naughty unions.

          • Georgy 6.1.1.5.1

            Interestingly enough, the Literacy professional development project delivered by Learning Media showed significant gains in student learning outcomes – from a .6 effect and better – research carried out by Auckland University clearly showed this. If this project was delivered in all schools………

      • Craig Glen Eden 6.1.2

        The National Standards are not getting the support from parents as the standards are not delivering the result/ideals that the rhetoric promised. This is a classic case of be careful what you wish for. Many parents and I include some of my family in this thought the rhetoric was great what could possibly be wrong with having National standards they said. Well now they have them they have realized that their children are not reaching the so called standards and far from having easy to read reports, my wife has to explain to them why their children are not meeting the standards and what the report is reporting on. Now they think the standards are stupid and meaningless because they can see their 6 year old is not half a 12 year old.

        Sadly I think its going to take longer for many Kiwis to wake up to Keys little awe shucks routine but when their kids leave the country for the brighter future Key promised they will have only themselves to blame.

  7. D13 7

    And let alone are the standard from different schools through the country the same?

  8. Georgy 8

    The National Standards promulgated by this government are deeply flawed and the pedagogical practice that will develop around them will be extremely harmful to our current world class curriculum and to children’s learning outcomes.

  9. If National Standards aren’t bad enough the newly appointed Ministry of Education CEO is a British import and a “Free Schools” advocate.

    http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.com/2011/07/moe-appointment-may-challenge-quality.html

  10. ianmac from Turkey 10

    Thank goodness you folk are keepıng the attentıon focussed on thıs travesty. It ıs the fırst tıme ever that polıtıcıans have enforced a process on schools (or hospıtals), and largely as a polıtıcal stunt. Damn them all. Polıtıcıans should stıck to what they do best; ummm…….ahh….
    (Jolly very hot here! Wıll never pray for a long hot summer agaın!)
    Cheers.

  11. seeker 11

    @Dan1 7.04.pm
    “Pete, if the standards are so important, why do private schools not have to do them??!!”
    @Pete G. 7.08pm.
    “Because they are private schools. Government departments should carry out Government policy,…”

    Private schools were given $35,000,000 as soon as this nact government got in I believe. Does this not make them a government department and therefore should be required to carry out government policy??

  12. SHG 12

    Personally I think the principals and boards of every one of the 20% schools should be fired.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      Yeah go on, you Righties love a bit of top down authoritarian rule.

    • lprent 12.2

      Yeah well your talk is obviously pretty cheap. The problem is that I have yet to find a teacher or even a school board member who thinks that Nationals standards are workable. I’m sure that there must be one or two. I’ll also bet that they are probably people who haven’t actually taught in the target areas for years.

      If the government was stupid enough to do follow your testosterone induced insanity, then they’d have problems finding enough statutory managers or replacement principals (because what teacher would be fool enough to step up into such a lose-lose position). And that is before you find most of the other schools that are currently paying lip service to the stupid legislation decide to drop the facade. After all being forced to add extra work on top of a constrained budget simply to satisfy some politicians ego doesn’t strike me as good or responsible government.

      Quite simply no-one knows what this idiotic policy is meant to achieve beyond some trite phrases in Nationals policies last election. The incompetent that National has at the head of education clearly doesn’t. You certainly don’t seem to have any idea either.

      • SHG 12.2.1

        Citizens vote in govts; govts make laws; public servants apply the laws. That’s the way it works. If you’re a public servant and you don’t like the law you’re applying, get a different job. Put your money where your mouth is and run for office to improve the law.

        • Colonial Viper 12.2.1.1

          Real world not working to your exacting standards? Gee life is tough. You better give Tolley a tutorial on “How to Win Friends and Influence People” before she screws up worse.

        • lprent 12.2.1.2

          So you would have covened the Nuremberg trials to try public servants for not implementing the final deathcamp orders of the German government without enough enthusiasm?

          Ok I had to Godwin this for effect.

          The point is that we don’t employ or pay people to be mindless automations. We hire them for their expertise and to exercise judgement in their field. The mindless public servant obeying orders defense went out of the window in international law in 1945 and in numerous war crimes trial since then – but apparently lives on in residual authoritarians like yourself.

          Tolley is making policy in an area where her greatest level of expertise is that she had teachers for parents. She came up with a stupid implementation of a daft political policy, and did so ignoring advice from almost everyone with any expertise. Rather than testing the idea in test studies and pilot programmes, she is tryng to mplement in one fell swoop.

          If she got it wrong (as appears likely) then she damages the education of a generation of kids by shifting the focus of their education into producing the Nationals standards reports diverting scarce educational resources on the way through.

          Now I can see how you’d be screaming in a bunker at the unwillingness of civil servants to do his will and just get out there and shoot people. But I find that having the school boards who know their school and teachers who work in it telling Tolley that she is silly is quite hopeful.

          After all, we the public, pay them to look after the interests of the kids in their care. We do not pay them to be mindless minions of someone who clearly does not understand the issues that have been raised about her stupid policies.

    • Ianupnorth 12.3

      Then SHG you are a complete fool!

    • richard 12.4

      Bring it on SHG. I bet 90% of boards would resign en masse in support. Now THAT would be an election game changer.

  13. Gosman 13

    Would lefties be so pleased if say 20 percent of people decided to not pay a Capital Gains tax if the Labour Party was elected in November?

    National Standards was an explicit policy at the time of the 2008 election. Hence refusing to implement it is anti-democratic in my view.

    • felix 13.1

      Thought you righties believed no-one with a good accountant was going to pay it. 😉

      When did National Standards become a left/right issue though? It’s professionals vs bureaucrats. If anything, a real right-winger would get behind the professionals and fight against the creeping nanny state.

      • Gosman 13.1.1

        I like National Standards. I like to know how my children are perfroming against children of a similar age. So do many other parents. Hence why the National Party made it an explict election promise in 2008.

        Do you think Governments should follow through on election promises felix?

        • felix 13.1.1.1

          That doesn’t make it a left/right issue, that makes it a “Gosman likes” issue. How is it “left/right” as indicated in your first comment?

          “Do you think Governments should follow through on election promises felix?”

          You mean do I think they should pick and choose which ones they follow through? ‘Cos they definitely ain’t following through on the ones that won them the election.

          • Gosman 13.1.1.1.1

            So what ones are they not following through with?

            • felix 13.1.1.1.1.1

              That’d be a bloodly long list, Gos, but a few of the greatest hits: North of $50 a week, not raising GST, not gutting the public service, not fucking with Kiwisaver.

        • Craig Glen Eden 13.1.1.2

          Well National Standards dont do that Gosman what the shit are you talking about? from the ministries website

          “National Standards are a tool to help teachers and schools understand the expected levels of achievement at stage/year-appropriate levels, know how to measure the achievement of each student in relation to the expectations, and to improve teaching and learning for better student learning and progress in all areas of the curriculum”

          So given they dont do what you think you must be ripped!Standards have been invented much like points on a ruler and are not a comparison between your child and others either in the class room or Nationally. They mean nothing they tell you nothing but Gosman likes them good on ya.

          • Gosman 13.1.1.2.1

            Prior to the introduction of National standards children were meassured against a range of measures of academic progress however it was often a confused mess. I know of numerous parents who just wanted a relatively plain English explanation of where my child stood in terms of level of achievements compared to where other children his age should be. Why is this something that you disagree with?

            • Ianupnorth 13.1.1.2.1.1

              Gosman, are you a complete muppet?
              Teachers, in the main, are graduates; as part of that preparation they study educational theory and learn what works and what doesn’t. As professionals, using a specific body of knowledge to inform their practice, they are expected to use what works and reject what doesn’t!
              National standards have been proven not to improve educational attainment; for example in the UK the curriculum was largely forgotten because teachers HAD to achieve passes in certain subjects and only delivered to achieve those passes – if you was a stagnant, uncreative pool of school leavers who lack critical skills and vision (maybe you do?) then go ahead and have standards, but the real skills within kids will be lost forever.
              In much the same way doctors, nurses, dentists, etc are expected to follow evidence based practice – if Tony Ryall told docs to practice according to what he said would you be happy for that to happen.
              Lots of people disagree with it because it will impact negatively on childrens education – I know, my kids went through them in the UK!

              • Craig Glen Eden

                “Gosman, are you a complete muppet?”

                Please please can I answer this I know I know the answer and I can even answer in plain english so the likes of Gosman parents can understand just were he ranks!

                Ok I will sit down now, how come CV gets to answer all the fun questions?.

            • Georgy 13.1.1.2.1.2

              Gosman: “Prior to the introduction of National standards children were meassured against a range of measures of academic progress however it was often a confused mess.”

              This of course is a trite meaningless argument that cannot be substantiated in any way. Obviously you have absolutely no idea about what goes on in a school – simplistic idealogy seems to appeal to you more that basic common sense

        • mik e 13.1.1.3

          Gosman I thought you would have had your kids at a private school you must be a very low paid Nat reseacher party hack then.This is the only promise National have kept isn,t it.This is supposed to fix the problem of 20% of children not getting an adequate education,you need some NATIONAL standards of your own.It was not meant to help those already achieving.In reality you are showing the real purpose of Tollys folly!

    • lprent 13.2

      National Standards was an explicit policy..

      No it wasn’t. It was a few bullet points and a couple of paragraphs of waffle. There was nothing in there to say that this travesty was what National intended. There wasn’t sufficient for anyone to make up their mind on if it was a good or bad idea. If you think that was an explicit policy then I’d say that you probably qualify as one of those fools who doesn’t read contracts as well in case they see something there that they don’t understand.

      Now normally that lack of detail isn’t too much of a problem (even if it isn’t really that advisable for the reasons that we are now seeing).. What happens after the election is that the ministers take advice about how to make their policy workable from experts in the field. You can see that amongst almost all of the ministers in this government. I may not think that the direction that they are heading is particularly good, but they have taken worked around many of the pitfalls.

      Unfortunately in this case we have a minister who appears to only listen to her navel – and her navel appears to have very stupid fluff in it. So she has a crap policy that even Hattie (who she says was the inspiration for it – thinks will not work). It doesn’t matter if there were bullet points for the strategy, if the implementation won’t work.

      Incidentally, the only other ministers who showed this type of bullheaded stupidity were Brownlee and Hide. Both have now been effectively sidelined – because blatant incompetence is not good for governance. They really need to do the same thing with Tolley so someone can get in there and figure out how to make Nationals standards workable (or even better discarded)

  14. Gosman-“National Standards was an explicit policy at the time of the 2008 election. Hence refusing to implement it is anti-democratic in my view.”

    National may think they have a mandate to introduce National Standards but does that give them a mandate to introduce flawed ones?

    http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.com/2011/05/mandate-for-stupidity.html

  15. Cagey H 15

    “Gosman, are you a complete muppet?” (Gold!). Answer: Probably – most have someone’s hand inside them…..without which they are simply an empty sock.

  16. JS 16

    Remember also that national standards legislation was rushed through all its stages under urgency in less than 24 hours – hardly a democratic process. No select committee process to alert to the obvious flaws.

    • SHG 16.1

      Maybe if Labour wasn’t filibustering the VSM bill the passage of laws wouldn’t require urgency. Just a thought.

      • felix 16.1.1

        A thought? Literally I suppose, but not a relevant or coherent one.

        National have been abusing urgency throughout their term. Labour’s filibuster is relatively recent.

        Try again.

  17. Georgy 17

    One failed policy amongst many

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    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    4 days ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    4 days ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    5 days ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    5 days ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    5 days ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    6 days ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    6 days ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    7 days ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    7 days ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    1 week ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
    The coronavirus pandemic has of course had a major impact on individual lives and on societies as a whole. But, long after the crisis has passed (assuming it does), we will begin to realise that its real and lasting significance lies in the lessons it has taught us, if only ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
    COVID-19 has plunged Aotearoa New Zealand (indeed, the world) into territory that, while maybe not totally unprecedented, certainly hasn’t been seen during the lifetimes of most of us here today. Our borders are closed to non-citizens, we’re being told not to gather in groups of more than 500 outside/100 inside, ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been urging you to prepare yourself, your family, business, and community for Covid-19. Now it’s time for real action.  Yesterday the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced another 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing our total to date to 52. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020 Editor's Pick Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts   Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed ...
    1 week ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
    by Cultural Worker Late March 2020 amidst the virus. With gigs crashing and burning all around it was without much hope that I called a long standing rest home booking: “ Hi, I’m supposed to be entertaining at your place this afternoon – is it still on?” “”If you don’t ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
    Whenever people demand real change from their politicians, we're told that "politics is the art of the possible". The implication is that change isn't possible, so we'd better just get used to the sucky status quo. But now that there's a pandemic, a lot of things we were previously told ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Only Way Through This Crisis Is Together.
    Together: In leading New Zealand through the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Prime Minister could do a lot worse than allow herself to be guided by the spirit of collective sacrifice and co-operation that animated the New Zealanders of 80 years ago. Most Kiwis alive today have had no opportunity to prove their ...
    2 weeks ago
  • GFC vs Covid-19
    It is said that generals fight the last war. In the case of the early stages of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) they had learned from the Great Depression of the 1930s and they fought intelligently and successfully. Later their advice would be ignored in favour of the Austerians who ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • Nobody Left Behind.
    Solidarity Forever: All over the world, the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has exposed the fragility of the walls we erect around ourselves and our loved ones. It has shattered our illusions of autonomy and revealed to us how utterly dependent we all are on other human-beings. Finally, we see ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rebuilding a truly “Democratic” counter, or a “moderate Republican” bolt-hol...
    Looking across the various arguments for/against the leading candidates to take the Democratic Nomination, you might honestly be very hard pressed to tell. There are a number of things that have now started happening since Amy Klobuchar and “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg both threw the towel in and immediately (and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion law reform a win for women
    by Daphna Whitmore Abortion is no longer in the Crimes Act in New Zealand. The law reform passed yesterday and now abortion is a medical matter between a woman and her doctor. Many women’s groups and progressive people have campaigned for reform for decades. The women’s liberation movement and some ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • How to spot bogus science stories and read the news like a scientist
    Doug Specht, University of Westminster and Julio Gimenez, University of Westminster When fake news, misreporting and alternative facts are everywhere, reading the news can be a challenge. Not only is there plenty of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other scientific topics floating around social media, you also ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus
    Michael Baker, University of Otago and Nick Wilson, University of Otago With some of the toughest border restrictions and a newly-announced NZ$500 million boost to health services, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand is also fortunate in ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Parliament and the pandemic II
    As expected, the government has introduced a sessional order to allow Parliament to operate during the pandemic. You can read it on the Order Paper here, but the short version is that questions and motions can be filed electronicly, select committees can work remotely, and the the Business Committee can ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • When a virus goes viral: pros and cons to the coronavirus spread on social media
    Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology; Daniel Angus, Queensland University of Technology; Timothy Graham, Queensland University of Technology, and Tobias R. Keller, Queensland University of Technology News and views about coronavirus has spread via social media in a way that no health emergency has done before. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • How to survive 14 days of self-isolation
    So you’ve recently returned from overseas, come into contact with someone who tested positive, got a bit of a dry cough yourself or perhaps just want to self isolate for 14 days to avoid other people who might have COVID-19. Here are a few tips and tricks to help get ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion Legislation Bill passes third reading
    Some fave speeches:     ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    2 weeks ago
  • Why Leadership Matters – More Than Anything.
    Our Good Fortune: Precisely because she has never been an ideologue (she calls herself a “pragmatic idealist”) Jacinda Ardern has a political nimbleness and spontaneity which, when infused with her exceptional emotional intelligence, produces spectacular demonstrations of leadership. Jacinda's empathic political personality contrasts sharply with the less-than-sunny ways of her ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #11, 2020
    2 weeks ago

  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
    The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks.   “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to make sure businesses can work together in ways that will allow them to provide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
    The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
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  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
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  • PM Address – Covid-19 Update
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  • NZ and Singapore commit to keeping supply and trade links open, including on essential goods and med...
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  • Joint Ministerial Statement by Singapore and New Zealand -Covid-19 situation
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  • Transit between Australia and New Zealand
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  • $100 million to redeploy workers
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  • More support for wood processing
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