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“A new union to fight for the future of work”

Written By: - Date published: 5:00 pm, August 10th, 2015 - 48 comments
Categories: Unions, workers' rights - Tags: ,

The two largest Labour Party affiliated unions are going to merge. From the EPMU website:

Members of two of the biggest private sector unions in New Zealand have voted in favour of a merger.

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union, with over 30,000 members, and the Service and Food Workers Union, with over 20,000 members, will become the second largest union in the country, after the PSA.

“This is a huge step forward for all working New Zealanders,” says Bill Newson, national secretary of the EPMU. “A strong union movement is the foundation for good wages, skills recognition, and decent working conditions.

“Too many Kiwis aren’t in a union and don’t see how they can get a better deal at work. We want to reach those workers and help them make a difference through collective bargaining.”

“The nature of work is changing and workers have to stand together against exploitative trends like stagnant wages, zero-hour contracts, down-skilling and insecure work.

“By combining the strength and resources of two unions, our members will be able to fight for a fair share of the profits of their labour.”

The new union will be formally launched, with a new name and brand, on 7 October in Wellington.

“90% of private sector workers have no realistic right to collective bargaining, and are being held back by repressive laws and the casualisation of the workforce,” says John Ryall, national secretary of the SFWU.

“The new union will be a force for change. It will be a diverse, active organisation, fighting for industrial gains and progressive causes and making a real difference in Kiwis’ lives.

“Together, we will campaign for the living wage, for strong health and safety laws, and for the rights of every worker to be treated with dignity and respect.”

48 comments on ““A new union to fight for the future of work””

  1. adam 1

    There is Power inthe Union

    Would you have freedom from wage slavery, D G
    Then come, join* the Grand Industrial band; *(join in the) A7 D //
    Would you from misery and hunger be free,
    Come on!* Do your share, lend a hand**
    *(Then come!) **(like a man)

    There is pow’r, there is pow’r, in a band of working folk* D – G D
    When they stand hand in hand, *(men) A7 – D –
    That’s a pow’r, that’s a pow’r that must rule in every land D – G D
    One Industrial Union Grand. A7 – – D

    Would you have mansions of gold in the sky,
    And live in a shack, way in the back?
    Would you have wings up in heaven to fly?
    And starve here with rags on your back?

    If you’ve had “nuff” of these corp’rate demands* *(the “blood of the lamb”)
    Then join in the grand Industrial band;
    If, for a change, you would have eggs and ham,
    Come on!* Do your share, lend a hand** *(Then come!) **(like a man)

    If you like sluggers to beat on* your head, *(off)
    Then don’t organize, all unions despise.
    If you want nothing before you are dead,
    Shake hands with your boss and look wise.

    Come all you* workers, from every land, *(ye)
    Come join in the Grand Industrial band;
    Then we our share of this earth shall demand.
    Come on! Do your share, lend a hand* *(like a man)

    Joe Hill, 1913, 5th Edition IWW Songbook
    * original lyrics in brackets) (also, see below)

    Noam Chomsky was asked in the May/June 1995 issue of Mother Jones magazine. “What is community?” His response:

    “Community is PR bullshit designed in the thirties by the corporations when they became terrified by the collapse of their society brought on by the Wagner Act and the labor movement. They developed new techniques to control the population and inculcate the concept of living together in harmony; all Americans, all working together: the sober working man, the hard working executive, the housewife. And ‘Them’ – the outsiders trying to disrupt. Community is a bit of a joke. Only labor has succeeded. That’s why business hates unions. Only they can create real community and democracy

    From the little red Song book. http://littleredsongbook.blogspot.co.nz/

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Would you have freedom from wage slavery, D G
      Then come, join* the Grand Industrial band; *(join in the) A7 D //
      Would you from misery and hunger be free,
      Come on!* Do your share, lend a hand**
      *(Then come!) **(like a man)

      Today’s unions aren’t advocating freedom from wage slavery though. Moving towards freedom from wage slavery would always have meant unions in their current form becoming less and less relevant as workers began to own the means of production, and entire businesses, for themselves, co-operatively and democratically.

      Today we are stuck in a model of wage slavery. Where the worker is paid by the boss, is at the beck and call of the boss, and all the worker’s output, creativity and productivity is owned by the boss.

      As the song says – would you have freedom from wage slavery?

      • AmaKiwi 1.1.1

        CV, I tend to agree.

        I have ideas about two different solutions, but have little experience of either.

        1. Cooperatives. The workers own the company.

        2. Mandated union representatives on company board of directors.

        I heard about this from the owner of a medium size German company (1,000 to 1,500 employees). He said German law requires a certain proportion of union representatives on “HIS” company’s board. He hated it, which I took as a positive sign.

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1

          This US site “democracy at work” has a lot of good ideas

          http://www.democracyatwork.info/splash?splash=1

          The Marxian economist Richard Wolff has been a driving force behind the concept

        • miravox 1.1.1.2

          “Mandated union representatives on company board of directors”

          Austria and Germany have very similar legislated workplace representation. In Austria, it’s Works Council representatives that have board level representation, not the Trade Unions reps. A minor, but important distinction with trade union membership being voluntary but works council membership not.

          Re hating it – I’m aware that even anglo-country lefties at management level sometimes get impatient with the power that management decisions are debated with workers, but have to quietly wait for consensus to come about. It’s quite a different management culture in employment relations. Hard to see how managers in German and Austrian-based companies could find a valid reason for objecting to it though.

          A bit of info is here

          The Chamber of Labour also has an active role in the legislative process, which is crucial to the overall system of worker representation.

          As an aside, I read somewhere (and I can’t find the link again) that Austria has the Marshall Plan to thank for worker representation on company boards. It was either implemented (or re-instigated) after the war due to frustration with the secrecy inherent in the Chamber system of business. Imagine an American project implementing a model like that these days.

    • Bill 1.2

      Hell Adam, you and I both know there is power in the union and we both ascribe to the OBU concept. But when unions are merging in reaction to years of anti-union legislation, well… OBU, it ain’t.

      • weka 1.2.1

        Yeah, I’m wondering why this merger of the unions is a good thing. Can anyone explain? (it doesn’t actually say in the quote).

        • Atiawa 1.2.1.1

          Unionism isn’t growing. A merger of the countries two largest private sector unions will allow a continued union organising presence in cities and large towns. Small unions do not have the resources required to be effective i.e dedicated legal, campaigns, H&S, comm’s & research teams and membership support ( up to date IT systems, 0800 assistance ) and strategies and resources for growth.
          Lastly, but by no means less – for survival.

      • adam 1.2.2

        I agree totally Bill.

        I had an ironic moment.

  2. Rodel 2

    A private sector union of 50,000 members. We need this to combat the key problem in NZ. Congratulations EPMU and SWFU.

    • Atiawa 2.1

      The EPMU had over 50,000 members in 2005. Don’t rely upon the union movement to combat this government’s obsession with market forces.
      Unions will need 500,000 members to have any chance of affecting change.

  3. Neil 3

    Makes me think of this great song from “The Strawbs” that says it all.

    Part Of The Union.

    Now I’m a union man
    Amazed at what I am
    I say what I think, that the company stinks
    Yes I’m a union man

    When we meet in the local hall
    I’ll be voting with them all
    With a hell of a shout, it’s “Out brothers, out!”
    And the rise of the factory’s fall

    Oh, you don’t get me, I’m part of the union
    You don’t get me, I’m part of the union
    You don’t get me, I’m part of the union
    Until the day I die, until the day I die

    As a union man I’m wise
    To the lies of the company spies
    And I don’t get fooled by the factory rules
    ‘Cause I always read between the lines

    And I always get my way
    If I strike for higher pay
    When I show my card to the Scotland Yard
    And this is what I say

    Oh, oh, you don’t get me, I’m part of the union
    You don’t get me, I’m part of the union
    You don’t get me, I’m part of the union
    Until the day I die, until the day I die

    Before the union did appear
    My life was half as clear
    Now I’ve got the power to the working hour
    And every other day of the year

    So though I’m a working man
    I can ruin the government’s plan
    And though I’m not hard, the sight of my card
    Makes me some kind of superman

    Oh, oh, oh, you don’t get me, I’m part of the union
    You don’t get me, I’m part of the union
    You don’t get me, I’m part of the union
    Until the day I die, until the day I die

    You don’t get me, I’m part of the union
    You don’t get me, I’m part of the union
    You don’t get me, I’m part of the union
    Until the day I die, until the day I die

  4. Ad 4

    Bittersweet, but all power to them.

    I hope, after a change of government, the unions rise again.

    • BM 4.1

      Why would they?

      • Ad 4.1.1

        Whether or not they would, they should. Because my experience of NZ’s EPMU is that they are good people, trying to protect other people who are being deliberately hurt.

      • mickysavage 4.1.2

        Labour will no doubt run a fair process, listen to all views and try to create a system that all parties can live with.

        On the other hand National does not give a fuck about working class aspirations, wants to fuck over the unions as far as it is politically possible and will confuse and distort the debate so that this can occur.

        So the tide comes in a certain amount, rushes out, comes back in a certain amount, rushes out …

        • AmaKiwi 4.1.2.1

          Micky, did you see my note above 1.1.1

          If a Labour government passed a law requiring union representation on company boards of directors, I think that would be nearly impossible for a future Tory government to undo.

          I want structural changes that are not easily reversed.

          That’s Key’s strategy. He’s ripped the country to pieces and some of it will never be able to be returned to its previous condition no matter how many decades the Left is in power.

          • mickysavage 4.1.2.1.1

            Hi AK.

            Union representation on the board would help. As long as they were accountable to the workers.

            The basic problem is the flow of wealth from the poor and working class to the rich. Worker representation will help but the causes are tax changes, attacks on beneficiaries, changes to union laws, corporate advertising …

            • Colonial Viper 4.1.2.1.1.1

              the power of board of directors representation is the prevention of off shoring and contracting out of core work, at the highest levels of decision making. Also preventing restructuring and any other steps aimed solely at destroying workers incomes and conditions.

              Imagine full worker representation on the Fisher & Paykel board – the decision to shift plants to Mexico would not have been taken in the way it was.

              Boards can also greatly limit executive pay levels.

          • millsy 4.1.2.1.2

            “That’s Key’s strategy. He’s ripped the country to pieces and some of it will never be able to be returned to its previous condition no matter how many decades the Left is in power.”

            That is the strategy going back to 1984. Key is only the latest. Case in point: You will never get the Ministry of Works back, nor the education boards.

            • Puckish Rogue 4.1.2.1.2.1

              Have you ever worked with any guys from the old Ministry of Works?

              • millsy

                They may have been a bit slow, but we got some half decent stuff out of them.

                The government did an audit of all the schools in this country, and found the schools that were built by the old MOW were more earthquake resistant than more recent designs.

                • Puckish Rogue

                  Well I have and the stories they told me (whether it was true or not I can’t say) makes me glad we don’t have the MoW now

                  Of course a MoW with a different set of guidelines would be a another story

              • Colonial Viper

                Have you ever worked with any guys from the old Ministry of Works?

                They built the infrastructure which powers the country. Your point?

                • Puckish Rogue

                  My point being that you throw enough people at a project and you can build anything but the individuals involved (and admitidly its not a big sample) told me about how there more people employed then was really needed so unless there was change involved, ie if its a three person you use three people not six or seven, then i wouldn’t support it at all and I’m glad its gone

                • Liberty

                  “They built the infrastructure which powers the country. Your point?”
                  Dream on
                  They built a polish ship yard. Fortunately Bob Jones help remove Muldoon in 1984.
                  For a couple of years prosperity. Until Lange lost his nerve. Had a cup of tea.
                  The country once again headed for the socialist cesspit. Nearly saved by Richardson.
                  Then a line up of useless pinkos Bolger,Peters,Clark and Cullen.
                  How bad was that.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    “They built a Polish ship yard”

                    Poland was one of the most advanced, wealthiest Eastern European nations of its day.

                    Ruth Richardson, Roger Douglas et al whom you admire, destroyed far more value than they created.

                    You probably didn’t notice that because all you cared about was a few percent of Kiwis getting rich off the demolition.

                    • liberty

                      “Ruth Richardson, Roger Douglas et al whom you admire, destroyed far more value than they created.”

                      It is true I admire Ruth, Along with Bill English. Simply the best finance ministers NZ has had.
                      I didn’t say anything about Douglas. That was because he was a useless tit.
                      Sure he rightfully stopped the farming subsidies. That was easy picking.
                      What about the bloated public service. Trimmed the odd corner but didn’t have the balls
                      To get rid of TV1, TV2 and radio NZ.etc etc. Then State broadcasting is the bastion socialism In NZ.

      • Atiawa 4.1.3

        Why would they?

        A change of government will most certainly involve the Labour party. Who’s best interests does Labour purport to represent? Workers.
        How did the Labour party come about in this country? Through workers, via their unions, demanding a political voice.
        Who is the leader of the Labour party? A previous National secretary of the countries largest private sector union.
        What has that leader said about alleviating poverty? People need good job’s & wages.
        Who can enable those good wages for workers are secured? Unions.

  5. joe90 5

    Some Dickie.

  6. millsy 6

    People like to talk about how bugger all people join a union these days, but they forget that more people are member of a union than any other voluntary organisation (ie Lions, Jaycees, Rotarians, Ponsonby RFC, etc).

    And it is a common fact, that union members get better pay and conditions than any other worker, and that saves the government money, through less need for government handouts, ie WFF, Accomodation Supplement, etc

  7. Atiawa 7

    So. A new union will be launched in October representing private sector employees in a variety of industries – manufacturing, engineering energy, aged care, food,aviation,hospitality and more.
    It won’t be called the EPMU or the SFWU.

    What is your choice of name or acronym for this merged union??

    Mine is UNITED.

    • A bit close to Unite, doncha reckon? Solidarity? Engage (keeps the EPMU/EU ‘E’ at the front). Kia Kaha? Te Kite? Together? Strike!?

      • Atiawa 7.1.1

        My preference would be Unite. Maybe do a deal with McCarten.
        Not sure about your suggestions – the Solidarity union – nah. The Together union -no thanks. The Strike union – doubt it. Kia Kaha union – not really.
        The Workers Voice union, maybe?

        • lprent 7.1.1.1

          McCarten is pretty full time being Andrew Little’s chief of staff?

          • Atiawa 7.1.1.1.1

            There’s bound to be influence still. Lets face it this merger is as much to do with the future of unionism as it is about anything else and the future isn’t too rosie if we don’t change the government.

      • Tiger Mountain 7.1.2

        TUFA–The Union For All

        Though really there need only be two unions in NZ–the PSA and UNITE, all private sector unions including FIRST, EPMU/SFWU etc could eventually ‘unite’ under that name

        with precarious, agency, contract and unpaid work (internships, jail and NCEA points trade off for work) there is a definite need for a coherent attempt at organising these people too

  8. upnorth 8

    Some interesting questions and thoughts
    1. Head office will need to be streamlined so I guess restructuring will happen
    2. Will numbers go up – all business models show while top line sales may increase the operating costs are generally reduced to improve bottom-lines therefore membership will in theory decrease but subscriptions increase.
    3. annoyed members – some members will resign because they like old way and not everyone can be serviced – how will the new union deal with that?
    4. Why merge – no logical explanation has been put forward yet?
    5. Striking maybe a tool to get change but those processes are still in place so can see any upside there.
    6. New name – much will debated then spent – as a member can I ask how much has been put aside for re-branding?
    7. Donation to the Labour party will now come under higher scrutiny from the public – how will this be managed?
    8. Will the vote for the leadership be diluted?

    My prediction will be that membership will fall back to 40,000 and there wont be an increase – there will be a leadership struggle around the board table and members will suffer

    However not to be all doom and gloom – there is n opportunity for a stronger voice in the regions – this is where it will benefit the most. However I suggest only 30% of the membership are in the regions so not sure if the ivory tower will deliver.

    Now here is something exciting – why doesnt the new union decide to have its new office in lets say Opotiki – would that not be a boost the regions and back up the issue of the day.

    • Atiawa 8.1

      Sorry upnorth but I don’t see anything interesting with your thoughts and questions.
      I would imagine some economies of scale, such as savings in having one office rather than two. Better deals for vehicle purchase or lease arrangements. A single membership support centre.
      The key to success will be to have a membership growth strategy that connects with communities and perhaps away from the workplace – covert initially, without a boss adding his/her beak into workers business. Oh, and a change of government with worker friendly industrial laws as a priority.
      Nowadays something like 500,000 workers rely upon the government lifting the minimum wage to get a pay increase.
      As for Opotiki. Mohammad went to the mountain, and the mountain isn’t in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

  9. Henry Filth 9

    Given the way that the Western world is evolving, I rather think that if you want to see the future of work, you have a look at Kerala (India).

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    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    3 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    4 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    4 days ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    4 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    4 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    5 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    5 days ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    6 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    6 days ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    6 days ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    7 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    7 days ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago

  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    6 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
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
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  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
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