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A tale of Two Universities

Written By: - Date published: 8:50 am, September 26th, 2016 - 47 comments
Categories: Unions, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

Tertiary Education Union TEU
Tertiary Education Union (TEU) members at the University of Auckland went on a one hour strike on September 22nd at midday. As a first strike action we wanted to send a clear, largely symbolic message, to the university’s leadership that we are unwilling to accept a bargaining process that has not progressed at all with respect to compensation for our members. This has been a persistent tack when it comes to bargaining: over the last several years, our employer has disengaged further and further from any discussions around wages.

The university claims they are in no position to discuss salaries until budgets for 2017 are finalised, in October or November. That of course means that any “offer” of a salary increase would not subject to further negotiations: the budget will have been finalised, after all. However, many of our members manage budgets as part of our work. We know there has already been a salary model disseminated through various finance and budgeting systems for a few months. Those of us applying for external grants from agencies like the Marsden Fund have also given guidance about what sorts of salary increments to expect for the next several years. In other words, the university wants set salaries rather than negotiate them.

What is interesting, however, is that we have purposefully made claims around compensation that distinctly disadvantage many of our members. In fact, we have not asked for any percentage salary increase this year. Instead we have proposed fairness be the guiding principle.

Our claims around compensation seek to address the stark inequity between the wages and working conditions of academic staff and our professional staff colleagues. We have proposed:

1. Elimination of wages in the collective that do not constitute a living wage for persons living in Auckland
2. Elimination of a flawed performance-based compensation review process
3. A process for developing a progression system for professional staff
4. A flat $2,500 increase in salary for all members

Academic staff—for the most part—already have #1-3 above. We get an annual salary increase (usually to midpoint), then we apply for promotion. Professional staff are hired at a salary for their role and stay there, unless they find a new role—at the University of Auckland or elsewhere. There are also no academic salaries in our collective below a living wage; a few persist for professional staff salary scales. Associate Professors and Professors can be granted merit-based salary increases, but these are our most respected and empowered members, who are adept at advocating for themselves have indicated such to us. Less than 10 per cent of our professional staff members get a performance-based salary increase in any given year; perhaps 30 per cent get a small one-off bonus in a given year. The combination of no salary progression, rare performance-based salary increases, and infrequent bonuses has led to wage stagnation—in New Zealand’s most expensive metropolitan area.

Our flat salary increase proposal is designed to disrupt a trend where academic salaries and professional staff salaries drift farther and farther apart. It would mean staff on lower wages will see their wages increase more quickly; those of us already well compensated will still see increases. We are also advocating for a formal review process to determine the extent to which professional staff compensation here is market competitive, fair, and affords opportunities for growth and advancement—exactly what our academic members already have.

When added together, the conditions of employment for professional staff at our university are poor —and getting worse. That matters to us—deeply. We work together, as a team, and professional staff contributions to the research, teaching and service enterprises of the university are as important as academic ones.

Currently in New Zealand union members can strike, but their employer can suspend workers during a strike and dock their pay for the period of any strike. For a one hour, lunchtime action you would perhaps assume that the work required to collate data about who participated, their wages and the proportional amount to reduce them, would be more trouble than it is worth.

You would be wrong: that is precisely what the University of Auckland is doing. Since mid-week a flurry of spreadsheets has been circulated to identify which TEU members would be participating in the job action. Yesterday and today managers have been rolling up these data back to HR.

Most importantly, the churlish tone of the communication from our Director of Human Resources has catalyzed our members. Members who were unable to participate in the strike have asked for their wages to be reduced in solidarity regardless. Others have offered to contribute to our branch committee an equivalent amount to support our bargaining campaign. We have received hundreds of messages of support indicating a well of frustration with both the substance and tone of university communication regarding this week’s strike.

The University of Auckland relies on the good will of its staff to operate. That is not an overstatement: nearly every single one of us—TEU members and not—work a great deal of overtime, some as much as an extra 40 hours a week. For academics this involves conducting and disseminating research, teaching courses, supervising research students, managing laboratories and research centres, and a broad range of service work. A remarkable number of us never take our full four weeks of annual leave. If we are sick on a teaching day we–rightly or wrongly—front up regardless. We work into the night to get feedback to students, colleagues and collaborators.

No one works at a university to become a millionaire. We don’t expect applause, or prizes. But we do expect respect, professionalism, and tact. Threatening to deduct one hour of our wages for this week’s strike action is petty and insulting—and inspiring. Fairer pay and fairer working conditions for all our TEU members at the University of Auckland are principals our members are willing to fight for.

John P Egan, University of Auckland

47 comments on “A tale of Two Universities”

  1. James 1

    “Currently in New Zealand union members can strike, but their employer can suspend workers during a strike and dock their pay for the period of any strike. For a one hour, lunchtime action you would perhaps assume that the work required to collate data about who participated, their wages and the proportional amount to reduce them, would be more trouble than it is worth.”

    So it’s ok for you to use your rights – but you don’t like it when the employer (who pays your wages) uses their rights ???

    • Sanctary 1.1

      No workplace can run effectively without goodwill and good faith between management and staff. I guess if the bosses insist on their rights, the staff can start insisting on only doing their regular hours. We’ll see who squeals first.

      • RedLogix 1.1.1

        Exactly. Almost all salaried staff these days work far more hours than they are supposed to do, but most employers like to pretend it doesn’t happen.

        Nah a move like this from the University is a deliberate, calculated undermining of good faith. It’s exactly the kind of bullshit that pisses people off and they must know it. So what is their agenda?

      • James 1.1.2

        I agree with this also.

    • Nick Warner 1.2

      The point is that for a one hour lunchtime (when staff aren’t working anyway) strike, the employer is being very petty in exercising their right. It clearly costs them more to take that action than the strike cost them. It displays the University’s lack of good faith intentions when it comes to dealing with its staff.

      • framu 1.2.1

        “It clearly costs them more to take that action than the strike cost them”

        thats only if its a paid lunch break of course

    • John P Egan 1.3

      If you worked hundreds of hours of unpaid overtime over many years, had an employer unwilling to substantively negotiate during collective bargaining, and they then dinged you for one hour of a strike…you would think that’s acceptable?

      Sometimes it’s not a question of il/legal…

    • Bruce 1.4

      James, I think you are missing the point. Given that this symbolic strike does not harm the university with regard to actual work accomplished, a less belligerent tack by the employer would be wise in my opinion. Why not exercise discretion? It is not that anyone has argued that they do not have a “right” to do this, though many reasonably question how much an hour deduction is actual worth given that many of us put in well over 40 hours per week. And this extra time is not confined to the teaching term, it occurs virtually all year around.

  2. James 2

    “1. Elimination of wages in the collective that do not constitute a living wage for persons living in Auckland”

    So what is a living wage for someone in Auckland ??

    • Craig H 2.1

      $19.80 per hour, although to be honest, $22-$23 is probably more like it for Auckland.

      • James 2.1.1

        So you dont know either? Has an Auckland wage being published ? How much are they exactly asking for?

        • John P Egan 2.1.1.1

          You are adept at typing…try typing into Google. http://www.livingwage.org.nz/what_is_the_living_wage

          • James 2.1.1.1.1

            I know you were in a hurry to try and put in a smart reply. But try reading the question?

            They don’t ask for the living wage – they ask for a living wage for Auckland ? Is this different or qualified.

            Now take time. Read question and try to answer if you are capable.

            • Craig H 2.1.1.1.1.1

              To actually answer your question, the living wage is the same in all areas – there is no separate wage for Auckland.

        • Craig H 2.1.1.2

          The Living Wage movement has a website which explains that the Living Wage is currently $19.80 per hour as given, which is based on a family of 2 adults, 2 children, with the 2 adults working 60 hours per week between them (typically 40 for one and 20 for the other).

          However, I have provided budgets here (on other topics) which show that it’s a struggle in Auckland even at that wage, hence my comment that $22 – $23 per hour is probably more accurate in Auckland.

          • Groundhog 2.1.1.2.1

            Would the payment of a living wage to the family in your example coincide with the end of any benefits such as WFF?

            • Craig H 2.1.1.2.1.1

              The WFF, Accommodation Supplement and Childcare Subsidies are built into the calculations of $19.80 per hour and are required to make it work – this qualifies for $6136 WFF + $1144 Accommodation Supplement (in Auckland) = $7,280 + $4/hr childcare for each child. Being paid the Living Wage would reduce the amount of WFF paid, however, by 22.5c per $1, and would result in a reduction of Accommodation Supplement as well.

              For a wage which is not eligible for any of these subsidies, they would have to be paid $28.67/hr (current WFF threshold for 2 children divided by 60 hours/week).

  3. Richard Rawshark 3

    James everyone in NZ that works for a living is underpaid. Instead of picking an argument how about you go back to reducing one of your staff to tears, i’m sure they are all useless and not worth the pittance you probably pay them.

    Or are you underpaid but happy about it.

    • James 3.1

      Really? Everyone in NZ who works for a living us underpaid?

      So you are saying everyone on over 150k pa is underpaid also?

      Im not an employer. But I work for a living and Im pretty happy with my lot. Heck – if I dont like it – I can always get a job elsewhere.

      • RedLogix 3.1.1

        When you look at the table IRD recently published it was clear that while very, very few New Zealanders earn more than $150k, roughly half of have a taxable income less than $45k.

        Trust me mate, that’s underpaid.

        • Groundhog 3.1.1.1

          By whose standard? Under what circumstances?

          • RedLogix 3.1.1.1.1

            Oh fair enough. I see your standards are much lower than mine.

            • Groundhog 3.1.1.1.1.1

              It was a simple question. Claiming a particular remuneration is ‘underpaid’ is meaningless without some context. I’d also be interested in where you got the figure from. For example the full time median income in 2014 was $51,000. A person earning that with a family will also be entitled to substantial assistance from the government, so context really does matter.

      • Richard Rawshark 3.1.2

        what sort of dickhead uses those over 150k..bullshit argument. what a cock james, you very well know what I mean your just an a-hole, fuck off.

        • James 3.1.2.1

          “James everyone in NZ that works for a living is underpad”

          Thats a quote for you – Im just showing that your comment is, well, inaccurate and stupid.

          Your next reply even more so. Calm down – you will have a stroke the way you are going off.

          • framu 3.1.2.1.1

            its more that your being pedantic for effect

            or you truly didnt get the gist of the comment of course, you choose

      • Macro 3.1.3

        “I can always get a job elsewhere.”

        Lucky You!

  4. Michelle 4

    The government cant have it both ways if they want experienced hard working dedicated tertiary staff that are good at there job then they need to pay them accordingly just like they do when they employ CEOs to head companies and state agencies , and other top public servants positions these people cannot do there jobs without good support staff.

    • dukeofurl 4.1

      Joyce at the top is squeezing the Universities and Polytechs with their funding, all the while dishing out free money to corporates plus a $24k fridge at MBIE

  5. Vic 5

    Most of this is about the psychological contract in the ‘caring’ sectors – health, education, social work, policing … We do it because we care, not for the money, and put in our blood sweat and tears to build a better world for all of us. In return, we expect the employer to respect that and pay colleagues a living wage. We’re not greedy but we are socially motivated – EVERYONE should get a fair go. Right now a small minority are having a wonderful time, but most are just keeping their heads above water, and some are getting seriously rogered – child poverty, 3rd world diseases, overcrowding, McJobs … It’s just not right. Let’s sort it out – starting with the people in one’s own organisation that are hurting.

    • The New Student 5.1

      Well put Vic. A clear and simple call to action.

      • James 5.1.1

        ” we expect the employer to respect that and pay colleagues a living wage”

        Why expect that the employer pays a ‘living wage’ when you sign a contract to work for a different amount?

        You are in effect saying you negotiate a wage then expect to be paid more (this is assuming that you earn less than the living wage at the moment).

        Its a nice wish – but a lot of business cannot afford to do so. Simple as that.

        Hell there is a commenter on here [removed so they dont get abused] who the other day said that they owned a business and didn’t pay his/her staff a living wage – even tho’ they wanted to – simply because the economics do not allow for it.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.1

          With the greatest respect to Sabine, small business owners are not notorious for deep insights into macro-economics. However, when we compare what happens on Earth with the ‘sky-is-falling’ rhetoric that infests any minimum wage rise, we discover that these fears are simply not borne out by events.

          Tentatively, the simple reason appears to be that more money in the pockets of low-income workers and families – and therefore spent in the economy – offsets the greater costs of employing them.

          Example: minimum wage goes up higher than the rate of inflation every year between 1999 and 2008. Unemployment by 2007 was at its lowest point since the 1970s.

          Oops, you just failed the reality check.

          • John P Egan 5.1.1.1.1

            The University of Auckland can certainly afford to pay all its staff a living wage. #itsnotadairy

  6. talkie_toaster 6

    I wholeheartedly agree with this article. There is a stark difference between what the university says about staff (“collegial working environment! Staff are our lifeblood! Blah blah blah!) and what they do. It was so very, very difficult to get the University put me on an appropriate pay scale, even when the same university is rating me as outstanding in their own (dreadful) performance review system. And I’m in a “hot” area… again, according to the university. I was constantly seeing jobs in Australia that I could walk into and literally double my real income.

    I dealt with the situation by simply leaving. I suspect that will happen more and more. University workers are skilled people. They have options.

    Unfortunately, the end result is a university that simply will not be able to attract decent researchers. We talk, and reputations stick.

    • Nic the NZer 6.1

      So true of what i hear about universities these days. Unfortunately some parts of the payroll appear to be getting very healthy pay increases so the meanness towards some does not lower the cost of education over all.

      The gradual migration of good staff and researchers out of NZ universities will see the standard of tertiary education fall. However if no universities are competing on retaining good teaching staff then there will hardly be any challenge to the hollowing out of these institutions leaving only the expensive beurochratic shell.

  7. lprent 7

    I tend to hear a bit about this because my partner is a TEU member at Auckland Uni.
    But I’m writing as someone who only works in the private sector and observes AU at second or third hand. Offhand it is hard to think of a major employer in Auckland with quite such awful employer practices.

    I have been urging her to get the fuck out of working at Auckland Uni for most of the last decade because they are (in my opinion) crappy employers. I suspect the main reason that she doesn’t is because of Stockholm syndrome and a lack of awareness of what an adequate employer should be.

    While I don’t tend to socialize much with people at AU or talk to my partner about it much. I do tend to notice the same traits among the others I’ve run across who work or have worked there in the last decade. While some of the same employment traits are present in people working at other unis (because of what I do, I get to meet a few for work), in my view they really don’t seem to have the shape of Auckland Universities current rather disturbing employment practices.

    Basically AU make Talleys look a lot more honest because at least the arseholes there tend to be upfront about being arseholes. The current boss at Auckland University seems to use outright lying (see quote below) to induce the kind of futile hope that was so characteristic of the early concentration camp model. This pissant and costly docking of pay appears to be the petty minding characteristic of the man.

    As the post says

    The university claims they are in no position to discuss salaries until budgets for 2017 are finalised, in October or November. That of course means that any “offer” of a salary increase would not subject to further negotiations: the budget will have been finalised, after all. […] In other words, the university wants set salaries rather than negotiate them.

    And it isn’t like they are generous with any salary either. As near as I can figure out the seem to use about a quarter of the annual cost of living rise for Auckland as their benchmark, and even that appears to have been falling over the years and as the housing costs keep rising.

    There also doesn’t appear to be much of a career path for most of their employees, and many of them appear to be locked into extremely tenuous contract positions with little warning if they are getting renewed. About the only characteristic “career path” appears to have been to demand ever increasing hours of unpaid work to simply get through the workloads far beyond what anyone in the private sector would allow.

    Which is fine if you want to eventually lose your staff or to work them into the ground. The apparent view from the university admin appears to be that they can always sucker more students into working for their positions.

    Auckland Uni is in my view, almost the epitome of an intolerable bad faith employer, and it really does appear to be the reputation that the VC there has been seeking.

    I simply wouldn’t think about working there, and I’d advise anyone else not to as well. If you are daft enough to want to work in an educational institution then almost any other educational institution around would be better.

    Hopefully one day my partner will make the jump away… I’ve been holding out for it.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 7.1

      LP – “The current boss at Auckland University seems to use outright lying (see quote below) to induce the kind of futile hope that was so characteristic of the early concentration camp model.”

      This comment recalled to mind the sad humour in the title of an excellent colleague’s retirement seminar about 10 years ago: “Massey University – from Holiday Camp to Gulag”. The best efforts of public-minded scholars notwithstanding, NZ Universities have moved swiftly on from the Gulag to a Hunger Games model. Remains a comparatively good sector to work in, but a shadow of its former self.

      The current Vice-Chancellors at both Auckland and Victoria are ex-Massey academics; sickening how the Victoria VC is actively trying to undermine union membership – a traitor to the idea of universities.

      Anti-union job ads at Vic.

    • Macro 7.2

      It would appear that this poor renumeration and conditions of employment in academia is not just a NZ problem. My cousin in the States has recently retired from Ohio State University and relates a similar situation.

    • Lyn 7.3

      In defense of my so-called’Stockholm Syndrome’ I, like many, many staff at UoA care deeply about the institution, its stated values and the role it takes in the community. That doesn’t mean it’s not a sh*tty employer, but back in the day it used to be a community, with hearts and brains and mediaeval antecedents, one I still feel loyal to. It doesn’t take a very hard look to see that the entire tertiary sector is imploding at the moment with constant restructuring across most universities and polytechs – and that’s worldwide, not just in New Zealand. This is a systemic problem – I can’t easily jump ship. Where would I jump to? And who would I be leaving behind if I did?

  8. simbit 8

    I like universities but we don’t half have too many.

    • We have about as many as Australia does, per capita. I guess it’s possible that Australia also has too many, but “too many” is a pretty vague term.

  9. At Massey the TEU got the same collective agreement covering academic and general staff, and annual increments for all. If they didn’t get that for UoA, it does suggest the UoA management is particularly cunty.

  10. Pablo 10

    There is more to this than a one hour strike and pay-docking. Here is something I wrote about the circumstances surrounding the strike, including a support letter I wrote to the TEU membership list: http://www.kiwipolitico.com/2016/09/confronting-academic-taylorists/

  11. talkie_toaster 11

    I just wanted to share this article from that bastion of hippies, freaks and left-wing loonies, the Harvard Business Review:

    https://hbr.org/2016/09/excess-management-is-costing-the-us-3-trillion-per-year

    “More people are working in big, bureaucratic organizations than ever before. Yet there’s compelling evidence that bureaucracy creates a significant drag on productivity and organizational resilience and innovation. By our reckoning, the cost of excess bureaucracy in the U.S. economy amounts to more than $3 trillion in lost economic output, or about 17% of GDP.”

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    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    4 days ago
  • Might a ‘Coasean’ social contract mitigate overall societal harm from COVID-19?
    Brian Williamson1, Prof Nick Wilson2 (1Economic consultant, UK; 2University of Otago Wellington) In this blog, we outline how a win-win social contract could be forged to address the major dimensions of response to the COVID-19 pandemic when using a mitigation strategy: the particular need to protect older people from high ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    4 days ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
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    4 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
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    4 days ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Lockdown day 8
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    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    4 days ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    4 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    4 days ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
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  • Outsiders.
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    4 days ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
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    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    4 days ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
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    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    5 days ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    5 days ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
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    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
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    5 days ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    6 days ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
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    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • A Government System That Works
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    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    6 days ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
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    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    6 days ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
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    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    6 days ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • Saving lives
    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
    6 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
    6 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 ...
    7 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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, ...
    1 week ago
  • Rāhui day 3
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    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week ago

  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    5 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 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 ...
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    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    7 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, ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
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