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A Disastrous Culture

Written By: - Date published: 8:37 pm, September 9th, 2010 - 31 comments
Categories: Politics - Tags:

If troops in Christchurch were being asked to drive water tankers, or were involved in searching tumbled down buildings, or in distributing some form of aid, or running temporary repairs on roads, or temporarily shoring up shaky structures, or any other form of humanitarian assistance then their presence would be understandable.

But they were deployed to enforce a curfew. A curfew!? Where exactly was the breakdown in civil order that justified such a move? And at what point was it decided that earthquake survivors constituted a threat to civil order and were to be treated as an enemy?

And why is nobody questioning this casual usurping of civil authority?

Further, if it was so crucial that the CBD be shut down for safety reasons, then why did the exclusion not extend to absolutely everyone at all times? Why were property and business owners allowed in? That indicates that the danger was considered to be somewhat less than unquestionably life threatening, no?

Which all leads me to suspect that some petty minded and somewhat inadequate civic leaders (egged on by media types?) have got all carried away with themselves.

Real disasters have looters. Real disasters have troops. They know this because they have been told that these things are present in real disasters… like Haiti or New Orleans.

And so led by preconceived notions we get the missing bits manufactured for us. First we get the looters. And then the troops. And… viola! We have a real disaster. And political leaders get to be humbly prideful ‘big men’ stepping up to ‘take charge’ of a real disaster rather than a mere catastrophe.

And the media dutifully runs to these self appointed figureheads and reinforces a culture of abeyance to them. Which I have a real problem with. Because on the building front, I want to be informed by a structural engineer, not a politician. On infrastructure, I want to be informed by a civil engineer, not a politician. On the health front, I want to be informed by a medical professional, not a politician.

Nobody needs information delivered in a ‘Chinese whispers’ environment. The politicians are not experts and are in no position to answer searching or intelligent questions that specialists could. They are not in charge. Not in any meaningful sense of the word. And their developing role as sole mouthpiece and figurehead only contributes to reducing a real catastrophe to a tawdry and disastrous soap opera of hype and sensationalism slowly unfolding beneath the real (though not banner) headline news of the day; the politicians’ media acumen and how that might serve them going forward.

Bill

31 comments on “A Disastrous Culture”

    • Bill 1.1

      Thankyou.

      Was kind of bunkering down for scolding cauldrons of opprobrium, but hey, just goes to show.

      • the sprout 1.1.1

        the great thing about this site is that it helps to break the spirals of silence

        i agree with your points – points you’ll never hear the msm raise. the use of the military was completely overblown, contrived and counter-productive.

        one other point. rather than have ministers come down here to stand around and gawp, why don’t their PR minders get them on the end of a spade to help get rid of the grey ectoplasm everywhere?

        • Tigger 1.1.1.1

          Excellent piece Bill.

          I thought Key looked like a tourist and not a leader while wandering around the ruins. I hope at least some others realize this thing was PRed to the hilt.

  1. The use of the Civil Defence Emergency Act to convict in a single day a person who was found within the cordon, merely for being in the cordon, is really interesting. I’m not saying that it’s necessarily an abuse of power but it’s interesting that the State retains that kind of power for emergency situations.

    • Bill 2.1

      I missed the instance you’re referring to. Somebody was actually convicted within 24 hours for being picked up within the cordon? Or are you talking theoretically?

      See, here’s my problem.

      The situation in Ch/ch is an emergency on all sorts of levels. But it’s not an emergency for the state or civil society insofar as the perceived legitimacy of the state or civil society is being threatened by any spontaneous and infectious iconoclastic tendencies gripping the general population or any suchlike.

      And so the ‘drama queen’ parties or individuals behind the curfew pantomime should be unearthed and brought to boot and then given it (outsized, steel toe capped, public and all) in no uncertain terms.

      How dare they suggest that people who have just lost their homes, their jobs, their peace of mind constitute a threat requiring extraordinary legal measures being invoked whose only purpose is to contain and control an unruly populace?

  2. RedLogix 3

    While I understand your sentiments Bill, I wonder if you haven’t forgotten the brutal old truth that crisis like this bring out both the best and the worst in people. While we would each hope for the best, the state stands prepared on our behalf to deal with the worst.

    On the other hand yes, it’s remarkable how close under the surface the good old authoritarian impulse is.

  3. Dave Guerin 4

    I thought the rationale for having troops overnight was to help the cops get some sleep after doing long hours. I don’t think the army came out till Monday night when the cops were getting stretched.

    • smhead 4.1

      Shut up guerin, all pigs are bastards and they should work 1000 hours in a row. shame on you for saying they need rest it just shows you are a fascist who wants martial law.

  4. RascallyRabbit 5

    Forgive my ignorance but weren’t the troops brought in to man the cordon because the police obviously had a big job and were complaining of staff fatigue?

    I don’t believe there were any more sinister motives behind it – wasn’t it simply to allow more police to be freed up for more important work?

    However I stand to be corrected…

    • Bill 5.1

      New Zealand army enforces Christchurch curfew
      Monday, 6 September 2010 19:42

      A state of emergency has been extended in Christchurch following Saturday’s earthquake with troops enforcing a no-go zone amid reports of looting.
      (my emphasis)

      Army personnel have no more enforcement rights than you or I in normal civil society (as I understand it) unless the ground rules are changed to give them powers they don’t normally have.

      If the rules weren’t changed, then you or I or anyone could have manned the cordons and advised people of their risk to life and limb in the CBD.

      • mcflock 5.1.1

        yep – and in Dunedin this year I think a couple of folk got done for obstruction when they breached a cordon that was being staffed by Community Patrol volunteers.

        But in a larger scale situation having a reliable and disciplined group of people who are capable of following instructions would be useful, and rare. Just don’t give ’em guns.

        • Bill 5.1.1.1

          Nah McFlock. I think you miss the point.

          You and me and ‘the others’ ( whoever they might be?) We’re not the enemy. We don’t need a policing presence when an informative presence would suffice, y’know?

          • jcuknz 5.1.1.1.1

            I disagree because there are so many around insisting on their RIGHTS as opposed to being responsible persons and using common sense …. it is good that we still have a few troops around to help spell the police. I’m tempted to comment that idiot lefties are always crying foul over what is sensible organization of resources in this situation …but of course I am a right-winger … yeah right.
            edit —I suspect the word curfew was dreamed up by the media that you are harping on.

          • mcflock 5.1.1.1.2

            you might not. I might not. But some do, and the problem is how you ensure the cops get enough rest in high-threat times, and who you get to help them.

            I would much rather 200 soldiers coming in with clear, centrally coordinated directions and a history of consistent training and assessment, as opposed to 5 local rugby clubs “pitching in”. I’ve seen rugby clubs attempt security work – it wasn’t pretty.

  5. ZB 6

    Police are civic peace enforcers not cordon guards. Police need to protect the public
    from themselves, business people eager to get their belongings may in fact get
    trapped and die in an after shock. Criminals likewise. Its seems fair to have
    those trained to set up and man cordons, the army to do the job. Let the students
    shine clearing the properties of pensioners.

    Certainly the rightwing media seem quite capable of spinning the disaster
    as a victory for the right, when in fact its a victory for taxes being invested
    and insurance built up to cover communties in a disaster. The Earthquake
    shows why we need good regulation, both day to day but also for disasters.

  6. Descendant Of Smith 7

    Civil defense people that I know take their role seriously and don’t invoke powers lightly.

    In some respects you got what you are asking for – you want an engineer to tell you engineering stuff therefore you would want a civil defense person to make the civil defense decision to invoke their civil defense powers.

    They are the people who are the experts. The powers to close off roads and areas remains with civil defense and applies to both day and night time.

    Once the powers are invoked however, by declaring an emergency, as I understand it then local authorities can impose night-time curfews to prevent looting.

    It’s a preventative measure so you don’t need to already have had looters and it’s not a civil unrest issue. Civil unrest comes under different legislation.

    So there’s two quite different issues – ones a safety measure and the other is preventative.

    I’m quite comfortable with the first and slightly less comfortable with the second as it may not need to have been invoked. I guess it comes down to how much you trust your fellow citizens or how much you want to give people an assurance that their premises, goods, stock, possessions are safe overnight or a confluence of both.

    As to the use of the Army I’m always cautious about the state using the army (Sleeping
    Dogs anyone?) but given a choice between paying the Army to give everyone a break and paying private security firms I know which I would choose.

    I’m far more concerned about the new powers the police have been given by this government that by using the army in this instance.

    • Descendant Of Smith 7.1

      Here’s the report of the arrest and conviction of someone lurking:

      Lurker

      Now this I’m more uncomfortable with as it wasn’t like he was caught with anything in his hands.

      However this was the judicial system at work i.e. the police for prosecuting and the judge for convicting and the defense lawyer for being stupid – to quote:

      “In his favour, he did not have any similar offending in his past, she said.”

    • Bill 7.2

      “In some respects you got what you are asking for – you want an engineer to tell you engineering stuff therefore you would want a civil defense person to make the civil defense decision to invoke their civil defense powers.”

      Erm. No. In the first situation, information is being imparted. In the second situation, power is being asserted. Two completely different things. Jeez.

      • Descendant Of Smith 7.2.1

        Yeah but much of your post is themed around keeping the politicians out of it and letting the experts play their role.

        You also confuse the post by suggesting that these powers are invoked as a result of a breakdown in civil order when no such thing has occurred and those powers are quite different and have not been invoked.

        I agree with the general theme of your post and anyone in civil defense would welcome scrutiny of the decision to declare an emergency “unleashing” the powers you seem so set against.. They take their jobs very seriously and only exercise those powers with much thought and reluctance.

  7. Puddleglum 8

    I think the more interesting aspect of your post, Bill, is not about the army (my anti-spam word, oddly enough) but the point that we have these notional ‘leaders’ who speak to us and for us.

    We take it for granted but it is odd when you think about it. Why on earth do we need ‘figureheads’ to tell us what we’re experiencing, how we’re responding, etc.? In a crisis do we revert to childhood and look for Mum and Dad to say things are OK to make us feel secure? Maybe we do – perhaps especially if we feel isolated from those around us.

    You’re right Bill. It’s very peculiar this notion of ‘showing leadership’. It assumes that we are so incapable of providing each other with sufficient reassurance and support that we need to see or hear someone on the tv or radio looking and sounding serious to confirm that everything will be ok.

    The reality for most of us was that it was our neighbours, family and friends who helped us to understand what was happening, how to respond and who provided the meaning and support that we needed when we needed it. That’s why people were contacting and talking to each other so much. I bet the average number of contacts in those first few hours was strikingly high. We actually don’t need leadership to get us through this. We can do it ourselves.

    Parker et al. may have fronted to the rest of New Zealand but I know who I looked to to get through this and it wasn’t Parker, Key or any other politician, frankly.

    There is, of course the need for various people to help with coordination of responses and recovery. But that’s not the same thing.

    It really is weird, this view that ‘our leaders’ matter in these situations. They don’t. In fact, it’s almost the quintessential situation in which leaders don’t matter because no matter how omnipotent and omnipresent they may want to appear they can’t directly help each person during the hours that help is needed. (Their decisions do matter, I guess, but only because of their ‘place holding’ powers – not because of the people they are.). Their words might matter to some people – but why?

    • Bill 8.1

      “In fact, it’s almost the quintessential situation in which leaders don’t matter because no matter how omnipotent and omnipresent they may want to appear they can’t directly help each person during the hours that help is needed.”

      And there be the rub.

      You know that they were and will continue to be utterly irrelevant to your situation. But the illusion must be maintained, for the rest of us not directly affected, that they are somehow relevant and important in the face of all this important stuff.

      So’s the Pope.

      • pollywog 8.1.1

        Did y’all see Key visiting the damaged church out at Hororata, and the female vicar refer to God as SHE, on the telly the other night ?

        I’d say God might have been a bit miffed at that, especially if the vicar made a habit of it, and the earthquake damage is like having a quiet word in her ear expressing HIS displeasure 🙂

        but yeah, t’was just another photo op for ‘smile and wave’ to turn up smile and wave at…zzzZZZzzz

      • mcflock 8.1.2

        I dunno – the ability (or failure) to immediately fund and mobilise recovery, damage assessment and rebuilding resources is pretty direct.

        Frankly, I’d rather the experts and administrators having daily/half daily meetings with the politicians to get cheques authorised and fill them in on progress and resources required, then spend the rest of their time actually working on the problem.

        The politicians can be talking heads all they want – engineers should be engineering, not dealing with idiot questions from idiot journos.

        • Puddleglum 8.1.2.1

          “The politicians can be talking heads all they want – engineers should be engineering, not dealing with idiot questions from idiot journos.”

          Various experts are routinely interviewed in media – listen to Morning Report just about any weekday – and I’m not sure it interferes terribly with the work that groups of experts perform.

          When there’s a major storm front coming, should we interview a local mayor to see what the weather is likely to be?

          It’s interesting that, with this earthquake, what many people have suddenly become interested in is the ins and outs of geoscience (geonet website, etc.). What Mark Quigley (University geologist) says in an interview spreads rapidly and becomes folk wisdom. That’s where the ‘reassurance’ is coming from, not Bob Parker.

          This is what people have been talking about in Christchurch – passing on to each other what they’ve heard about the likely occurrence of aftershocks and another ‘big one’, how best to protect your house or building, how best to respond, who you contact to get your chimney taken down, etc.. I haven’t heard much animated discussion of how politicians are presenting things – the odd passing comment, the occasional partisan letter to the editor, at best.

          They’re a sideshow. Though I expect that as the immediacy of the threat recedes we’ll start to see eulogies to our politicians’ wisdom, calm and general greatness as the media start to write our history for us.

          • mcflock 8.1.2.1.1

            Yes, by and large politicians are a sideshow. Like most media reports.

            But they are not completely functionless – it is, after all, a democracy, even during emergency powers. A competent politician would be able to sufficiently answer the big basic questions with up to date information. I would much prefer that the experts who are still have stuff to do all the time (rather than monitoring data at regular periods) not be taken off the job to answer the same or dumber questions from journos that they answered in the morning briefing with the people who sign their cheques.

        • mcflock 8.1.2.2

          although I saw Tolley on nightline touring (guided by the principal) a damaged school with a posse of photographers.

          Mayor? Yep.
          PM? okay, for a bit.
          Housing minister with reconstruction plan? Missing.
          Education minister pointing out the bleeding obvious with a dozen people inside a structurally damaged building that is located in an area of current seismic activity? Too much, too dumb.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      There is, of course the need for various people to help with coordination of responses and recovery. But that’s not the same thing.

      Administration. Unfortunately the administrators have all the information and try to prevent us from getting it so as to keep power over us. If we had the information then we would know what needed doing and would be able to do it. We’d probably still need administrators but we would no longer be held in thrall.

  8. g-sus 9

    We’ve had to chase away looters twice this week from neighbours houses… they’re pretty bold and with so many empty houses it must be tempting for those who crave more shit in their lives…

    From what I could see the army spent most of their time redirecting or escorting tourists to their hotels – obviously the danger was not that extreme.

    Most people however have simply done as they’ve been told to and stayed away. That’s a nation of sheep for you.

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    Before The Birth: Israel’s most fervent supporters set their clocks ticking in Biblical times. They cite the kingdoms of David and Solomon as proof that, in the words of the Exodus movie’s theme-song: “This land is mine.” The majority of Israel’s backers, however, start their clocks in 1933 – the year Adolf ...
    7 days ago
  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2019: Korero phase
    In an unreliable, strange and confusing world, Public Address is proud to present a measure of comfort and stability by annually asking everyone what words or phrases sum up the year that's been – and then giving some of them consumer goods as prizes for being clever or simply lucky.Well, ...
    1 week ago
  • Generalist to specialist
    Both my parents are pretty handy – and they seem to have the right tools for most jobs in the garage and they know how to fix practically anything. A similar story could be told about their generation’s experience in the workforce – being a generalist was not unusual and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • A “coincidence”
    When it was revealed that NZ First had tried to enrich itself from public office via the Provoncial Growth Fund, the Prime Minister assured us that everything was OK as Shane Jones, the Minister responsible for the fund, had recused himself. Except it seems that that recusal came very late ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, and probably the last one of the year. After the marathon of the End of Life Choice Act, most of the bills up for debate today are uncontentious. First up is the second reading of Chlöe Swarbrick's Election Access Fund Bill. This will be followed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Worse than I thought
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has reported back on the government's odious and tyrannical control orders bill. As expected, the fraudulent select committee process has made no significant changes (partly because they couldn't agree, but mostly because it was a stitch-up from the start, with no intention of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The cannabis bill and the referendum
    Yesterday, the government released its draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which will be put to a non-binding referendum at the next election. I'm not a drug policy expert, but Russell Brown is, and he thinks its pretty good. And pretty obviously, it will be a massive improvement on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far
    As you're probably aware, the draft bill outlining the proposed legal cannabis regime to be put to a referendum late next year was published yesterday, and has already attracted a flurry of comment. It's notable that a good deal of the comment is about proposals that aren't actually new.A minimum ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Alignment
    One of the big problems in New Zealand climate change policy is the government working at cross-purposes with itself. It wants to reduce fossil fuel use, but encourages oil and gas exploration. It wants to reduce transport emissions, but then builds enormous new roads. The problem could be avoided if ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How climate change will affect food production and security
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz According to the United Nations, food shortages are a threat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • More bad faith
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Banning foreign money from our elections
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Reforming the Education Acts
    The government introduced the Education and Training Bill to Parliament yesterday. Its a massive bill, which replaces both existing Education Acts, as well as various other bits of legislation (including some which are still proceeding through the House). I'll leave the serious analysis to teachers and people who actually know ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Bite-sized learning
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • “Not The Labour Party We Once Knew.”
    All Smiles Now: Claire Szabo is taking up her presidential role after serving as the CEO of Habitat For Humanity. Which is absolutely perfect! After KiwiBuild was so comprehensively mismanaged by Phil Twyford, the party has not only elected a new president from a thoroughly respectable not-for-profit, but one who ...
    1 week ago
  • Marxist versus liberal methodology on transgender ideology/identity politics
    While much of the NZ left has transitioned to postmodern and identity politics in relation to transgender ideology, there are some very good articles about that deploy Marxist methodology in relation to this subject.  The one below is from the British marxist group Counterfire and appeared on their site here ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Book review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: How to get there
    Writing in Stuff, Joel MacManus looks at what we need to do to meet the Zero Carbon Act's targets. The core of it:1. Convert 85 per cent of vehicles on the road to electric. 2. Eliminate fossil fuels from all industrial heating up to 300 degrees Celsius. 3. Double our ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • anti-vaxxers in a measles epidemic: so many ways to be untruthful
    “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa over the past twenty-four hours. “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    1 week ago
  • Is Youth Vaping a Problem in New Zealand?
    Professors Janet Hoek and Richard Edwards, Emeritus Professor Phil Gendall, Jude Ball, Dr Judith McCool, Anaru Waa, Dr Becky Freeman Recent media reports have presented conflicting evidence on youth vaping in NZ. While some NZ school principals report concerns about increasing vaping on school grounds and confiscating vapes, ASH Year ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • In pursuit of “Freedom and Democracy”: Forever Wars in “America’s backyard”.
    “America the Beautiful!”, staunch defender of democracy, freedom and… a whole lot of despotic tyrants that play nice with what is called “the Washington Consensus.” America is indeed capable of immense good, but like any Nation, and most assuredly any aspirant to the mantle of Empire, great, immense evil. All ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • November ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: The beginner’s guide to blogging I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Whodunnit? Finding the mystery 1080 testing lab
    1080 is used to control pests in NZ. Its use is contested by a noisy few. A new report claims high levels of 1080 in rats washed up on a beach. Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa (F&F) won’t name the laboratory that did their testing. It has sparked a hunt ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    2 weeks ago
  • Authoritarian Friends, Democratic Enemies.
    What Kind Of Empire? The thing for Kiwis to decide is what kind of empire they want to belong to. The kind that, while offering its own citizens democratic rights, demands absolute obedience from its “friends”? Or, the kind that, while authoritarian at home, takes a relaxed attitude to the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Boris Johnson Goes Down
    It hasn't been a good week for the Conservatives, pollwise.  All major recent polls are showing their lead shrinking.Comparing each pollster's current (between 29/11 and 22/11) and previous most recent poll.Com Res - Conservative lead down 3 points.You Gov - Conservative lead down 1 point.Kantar - Conservative lead down 4 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Interesting
    Within quick succession, Countdown maths wizard and twitterer Rachel Riley, alleged comedian David Baddiel and prominent lawyer Andrew Julius have all expressed very similar opinions / ideas:
    These #3billboards are going round London today, organised by ex-Labour people, horrified by what their party has become. Their principles haven’t changed, they’re ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Damn the Polls
    So, there have been a bunch of bad polls out for Labour, and even the Leftie's friend, Survation, have recently given the Conservatives a rip-snorting 11% lead.  You Gov's much vaunted MRP poll - which pretty much nailed the result in 2015 - is currently predicting a comfortable majority for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Europe declares an emergency
    The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to declare a climate emergency:The European parliament has declared a global “climate and environmental emergency” as it urged all EU countries to commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The vote came as scientists warned that the world may have already crossed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Bi-Partisan Commitment To X-ing “P”.
    Pure Fear: Worse than Heroin, this drug’s addictive power was terrifying. People under its influence didn’t drift off to Elysium. Nor did it persuade inadequate individuals that they could conquer the world. No, this drug – pure crystal methamphetamine, “P” for short – unlocked the gates of Hell itself. It ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Advice about measles: when ignorance is definitely not a virtue
    As the rate of measles infection, and of deaths, continues to climb in Samoa, antivaccination activists infectious disease proponents seem intent on doubling down on their claims about vaccination. (Check pretty much any news-media FB post about measles & you’ll see exactly what I mean.) Unfortunately, some of them have ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Samoa’s devastating measles epidemic – why and how bad?
    Samoa are experiencing a devastating measles epidemic. It is possible that 2-3% of the population will ultimately be infected by the time it is over. Hopefully the mass immunisation campaign currently under way can mitigate some of this, for many it is too late. The first question many people ask ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • “It’s basic rights we are defending”: the Meghan Murphy interview
    Meghan Murphy is a Canadian writer and journalist She runs the Feminist Current website which she founded in 2012.  She was a keynote speaker for the Feminism2020 conference in Wellington this month. When Massey University cancelled the original venue booking Feminism2020 was hosted in Parliament by MP David Seymour. Meghan ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • A week of protests in Colombia
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh Colombia has lived through one week of protests against the economic measures taken by president Duque. What looked like a protest that would fizzle out after its first day on November 21st is still going strong. Part of the reason for the continuance ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Anti-neutrinos–When you are your own opposite
    Around a million billion pass through you each second, almost all originating from our sun, but few of them are likely to interact with you enroute. I was reading in a physics magazine earlier in the week about the nature of neutrinos. These are extremely numerous elementary particles, but only ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • Exoplanets, life, and the danger of a single study
    By Pallab Ghosh There’s value in covering new research advances, even when the underlying science is unsettled. But there are also risks. The recent announcement that scientists discovered water on the planet K2-18b, 110 light years away, prompted a media swoon. News stories, including a piece written by me, billed ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The Intersex Continuum
    I wrote this review a couple of years ago when I was still in the process of getting my head around the politics of transgenderism, and specifically the claim that intersex conditions lend support to the notion that sex is ‘socially constructed’. Since writing this review I have come across ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Leaving us with the bill
    Two weeks ago, Malaysian-owned oil company Tamarind declared it was insolvent and went into administration after a failed offshore drilling campaign. Tamarind apparently specialises in buying oil fields at the end of their life and trying to squeeze out the last few drops of pollution. But part of their scam ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Surgical mesh restorative justice report received
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter has received the report back from a surgical mesh restorative justice process undertaken by Victoria University. The process heard stories, either in person or online submission, from more than 600 people affected by surgical mesh. “The report made for heart-breaking and confronting reading,” says ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    28 mins ago
  • The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai a milestone for drinking water safety
    The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai , introduced to Parliament today, is a milestone for drinking water safety in New Zealand and will help improve environmental outcomes for urban waterways, rivers and lakes.  “This is a breakthrough for New Zealanders in terms of providing safe drinking water throughout ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Speech to new direction for criminal justice reform announcement
    Kia ora koutouE ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā matā wakaTēnā koutou katoaHaere ngā, moe maiKoutou ma ngā Rangatira Ko Anaru ahauKo au te Minita mo ngā TureHe Honore tino nui kei roto I ahau No reira tena koutou katoa Today, we are releasing two reports that are the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • New direction for criminal justice reform
    The Government is looking to turn around the long-term challenges of criminal justice by taking a new approach to break the cycle of offending to ensure there are fewer victims of crime. Justice Minister Andrew Little released two reports today, Turuki! Turuki! from Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • New law sets up $300m Venture Capital Fund
    New Zealand firms expanding beyond the start-up phase are set for more support after today’s passage of the Venture Capital Fund Bill, Associate Finance Minister David Parker said. The Bill, which establishes a $300 million Venture Capital Fund, puts in place a key initiative of the Wellbeing Budget’s economic package. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • New Zealand’s National Statement to COP25
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, e ngā rau rangatira mā. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Señora Presidenta, Excellencies, Delegates. International action A common thread that runs through the Paris Agreement is the commitment we have made to each other to do what we can to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • $12 billion in extra infrastructure investment
    The Government is lifting capital investment to the highest level in more than 20 years as it takes the next step to future-proof New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced $12 billion of new investment, with $8 billion for specific capital projects and $4 billion to be added to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Strong economy, careful spending gives $12bn of surpluses
    The Government is forecast to run $12 billion worth of surpluses across the four years to 2023/24 as the economy continues to grow. The surpluses will help fund day-to-day capital requirements each year. These include fixing leaky hospitals, building new classrooms to cover population growth and take pressure off class ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Priorities for 2020 Wellbeing Budget outlined
    Budget 2020 will continue the Coalition Government’s focus on tackling the long-term challenges facing New Zealand while also investing to future-proof the economy. When the Government took office in 2017 it was left with crumbling infrastructure, severe underinvestment in public services, degraded rivers and lakes, a housing crisis and rising ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Minister welcomes data-rich coastline mapping tool
    The Minister responsible for the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 (te Takutai Moana Act 2011), Andrew Little has welcomed the launch of an online geospatial tool that provides data-rich, dynamic coastline maps that will significantly boost research and evidence-gathering under the Act. Te Kete Kōrero a Te ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Chief Victims Advisor reappointed for a further two years
    The Chief Victims Advisor to Government Dr Kim McGregor, QSO, has been reappointed in her role for a further two years. Dr McGregor has held the role since it was established in November 2015. She provides independent advice to government on how to improve the criminal justice system for victims. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand tsunami monitoring and detection system to be established
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare have today announced the deployment of a network of DART (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami) buoys. “New Zealand and the Pacific region are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. It is vital we have adequate warning systems in place,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • DART Buoys Announcement
    DART Buoys Announcement Aotea Wharf, 9.30am 11 December 2019   Acknowledgements Acknowledgements to Minister for Civil Defence Hon Peeni Henare also here today. White Island It is with regret that this event shadows the tragic natural disaster two days ago. The volcanic eruptions on White Island have claimed 5 lives, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Final steps for racing industry reform
    Racing Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the first reading of the Racing Industry Bill in parliament today. This is the second of two Bills that have been introduced this year to revitalise New Zealand’s racing industry. “Our domestic racing industry has been in serious decline.  The Government is committed to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Funding to promote New Zealand Sign Language initiatives
    Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni, is pleased to announce that $291,321 is to be awarded to national and local community initiatives to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). “New Zealand is one of the few countries  in the world where Sign Language is an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • How New Zealand defines and recognises veterans
    Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has announced today the Coalition Government’s initial response to work completed by the independent statutory body, the Veterans’ Advisory Board. “When Professor Ron Paterson completed his review of the Veterans’ Support Act in 2018, he made a number of recommendations, including one which I referred ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government to fund lion’s share of Ohakea water scheme
    The Government will fund the bulk of the cost of a rural water supply for the Ohakea community affected by PFAS contamination, Environment Minister David Parker announced today at a meeting of local residents. This new water scheme will provide a reliable and clean source of drinking water to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Prime Minister statement on White Island eruption
    I have had the opportunity to be briefed on the details of the volcanic eruption of Whakaari/White Island, off the coast of Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty.  The eruption happened at 2.11pm today.  It continues to be an evolving situation.  We know that there were a number of tourists ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt funds $100k for weather-hit communities
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare have today confirmed initial Government support of $100,000 for communities affected by the severe weather that swept across the South Island and lower North Island over the weekend. The contribution will be made to Mayoral relief funds across the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Death of NZ High Commissioner to Cook Islands
    New Zealand's High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, Tessa Temata, died in Palmerston North over the weekend, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today. Ms Temata, 52, had recently returned to New Zealand for medical treatment. "On behalf of the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, we extend ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Wellington rail upgrade full steam ahead
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced construction is underway on Wellington commuter rail upgrades which will mean more frequent services and fewer breakdowns. The upgrades include converting the Trentham to Upper Hutt single track section to a double track, with a new signalling system, upgraded stations and level crossings, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Defence Climate Change Implementation Plan released
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark and Minister for Climate Change James Shaw have announced the release of a Defence Climate Change Implementation Work Plan, titled Responding to the Climate Crisis: An Implementation Plan.  The plan sets out a series of recommendations based on the 2018 New Zealand Defence Assessment, The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt releases funding to support South Canterbury
    A medium-scale adverse event has been declared for the South Canterbury district, which will see up to $50,000 in funding made available to support farming communities which have been significantly affected by recent heavy rain and flooding in the area, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “Two weeks of solid rain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech at launch of Rethinking Plastics Report
    Thank you Professor Juliet Gerrard and your team for the comprehensive and extremely helpful report and recommendations. Thank you too to all the stakeholders and interested parties who have contributed ideas and thinking to it. “Making best practice, standard practice” is a great framework for change and the action plan ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt pledges next steps on plastic waste
    The Government will phase out more single-use plastics following the success of its single-use plastic bag ban earlier this year and the release today of a pivotal report for dealing with waste. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed the Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealandreport, released by her Chief Science Advisor ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • International student enrolments grow in universities and the regions
    International education continues to thrive as the Government focuses on quality over quantity, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. The tuition revenue from international education increased to $1.16 billion last year with the average tuition fee per student increasing by $960. The total number of international students enrolled in New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech to Government Economics Network 2019 Conference
    I want to talk about one of the most pressing issues in our national life: the housing crisis and the poor performance of our cities. The argument I want to make to you is that generations of urban land use policy have lacked a decent grounding in economics. The consequences ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • DHB leadership renewed and strengthened
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says new appointments to DHBs represent a significant changing of the guard, with 13 new chairs including four Māori chairs. Today 76 appointments have been announced to complement elected board members, as well as eight elected members appointed as either chair or deputy chair.  Four ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Tabuteau to advance New Zealand’s trade and political interests with European partners
    Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Fletcher Tabuteau, is travelling to Germany, Poland, Austria, and Spain next week to bolster New Zealand’s political and trade relationships in Europe. While in Spain, Mr Tabuteau will represent New Zealand at the 14th Asia-Europe (ASEM) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Madrid. “New Zealand strongly supports ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Kris Faafoi
    “I’ve spoken to Minister Faafoi, who has apologised for his poor handling of this issue,” Jacinda Ardern said. “I have confidence in Kris as a hardworking and effective Minister, but this should have been dealt with in a much clearer manner, and I’ve made my views on that very clear ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Tonga-New Zealand Joint Ministerial Forum
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters met with Tongan Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa in Wellington today. The pair signed a Statement of Partnership setting out joint priorities for cooperation out to 2023.  “We welcomed Prime Minister Tu'i'onetoa on his first visit to New Zealand as Prime Minister. Tonga ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Shooting in Kurow
    The Minister of Police Stuart Nash says his sympathies are with the family of a man who died after being shot by Police in Kurow. “Initial reports are that Police were called by a family member to help the man who was threatening to harm himself,” Mr Nash says. “However ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers funding boost for ethnic communities
    Ethnic communities will be able to plan and deliver more community initiatives thanks to an increase in Government funding, Minister for Ethnic Communities Hon Jenny Salesa said today. “Ensuring Aotearoa New Zealand is a place we can all be proud to call home has been a key priority of our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt supports Southland farmers in sustainability
    Healthier waterways, better productivity and farmer wellbeing are front and centre in a new project involving more than 1000 Southland farmers and growers. Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor today announced that the Thriving Southland Change and Innovation Project is the first region-wide extension programme supported by the $229 million Sustainable ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Flood of support for Top of the South catchment
    Work to look after nature and restore freshwater quality in Te Hoiere/Pelorus River catchment is getting a significant boost, thanks to new Government funding support Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage announced in Canvastown today. “Every New Zealander should be able to swim in their local river without getting sick, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Eight Queen’s Counsel appointed under new criterion
    Eight Queen’s Counsel have been appointed under a process that includes the new criterion of a commitment to improving access to justice, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. “The new criterion was included this year. It emphasises that excellence and leadership in the profession can be seen through a wider, community ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Major expansion for Wellington’s Onslow College
    Onslow College in Wellington will get 20 new classrooms for more than 400 students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. The much-needed investment will relieve growth pressure the school has been experiencing for some time. Seven existing classrooms which have deteriorated over time will also be replaced, bringing the total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Talented young Kiwis awarded PM’s Scholarships to Asia and Latin America
    More than 250 young New Zealanders will add international experience to their education, thanks to the latest Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia (PMSA) and Latin America (PMSLA), Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This round of scholarships supports 252 recent graduates or current students to undertake study, research or internships ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government to improve competitiveness and transparency in the retail fuel market
    Consumers will benefit from a more competitive, transparent retail fuel market as a result of changes the Government will be making in response to the findings of the Commerce Commission’s study of the fuel sector. “We accept the Commission’s findings and, as the Prime Minister has said, we’re ready to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More cancer medicines for more people
    Five new cancer medicines have now been funded this year, meaning thousands of people have more treatment options PHARMAC has today announced that it has approved two new medicines for funding – fulvestrant for breast cancer and olaparib for ovarian cancer. This follows earlier decisions on advanced lung cancer treatment alectinib, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago