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All aboard KiwiRail

Written By: - Date published: 12:10 pm, July 1st, 2008 - 40 comments
Categories: economy, Environment, labour - Tags:

Today marks the launch of KiwiRail. It’s great to have rail back in Kiwi hands, after a decade of asset-stripping. Now comes the task of building up the network so it can provide cheap and clean transport. Businesses are keen to take more freight off the road in the face of skyrocketing fuel prices and long-distance car travel is also getting out of reach for many; KiwiRail will provide an alternative.

For me, the Labour-led Governments’ biggest achievements have been in work rights (ERA, record low unemployment and minimum wage up 9 times in 8 years etc), tackling child poverty (Working for Families, doctors’ fees, 20Free etc) and in building the infrastructure for a sustainable, fair society the Cullen Fund, Kiwibank, Kiwisaver, and, now, KiwiRail. This kind of visionary work is something we only ever see from a leftwing government.

Meanwhile, National has shown how out of touch it is (with economics, the environment, and public opinion) with its pathetic Crosby/Textor line about Cullen buying a ‘train set’.

All the polls and all the conversations I’ve had show that Kiwis recognise that a well-run train service should be the backbone of our transport network. They know this will happen now the trains are back in public ownership.

40 comments on “All aboard KiwiRail”

  1. Billy 1

    All the polls and all the conversations I’ve had show that Kiwis recognise that a well-run train service should be the backbone of our transport network. They know this will happen now the trains are back in public ownership.

    Why will it happen when the trains are in public ownership? That is certainly not what happened the last time the governemnt owned it.

  2. Billy, well it was much better than it is now, and it could have been done much better if it had been run as a commericial organisation, rather than also being used for job creation.

    Fact is, NZRail was a well-run SOE when it was privitised and asset-stripped. It could be something great by now but a decade of private ownership has redcued it to a shadow of its former self. Now, we can rebuild and do better than before.

    I’m going to write to Bolger and suggest that wee Kiwi soft-toy as official mascot

  3. insider 3

    Yes same old faces on the gravy train again…

    Wonder how much we spent coming up ith that highly original name?

    Wonder also if we’ll find out how much we actually paid for it?

    creepy capcha all Economy

  4. Liam Rutherford 4

    I agree what a smart purchase. It really does show a government that is switched on. The rail service in New Zealand has been a joke since it was sold. This has been a prime example of what can happen if we let the market control what happens.

    I also love the irony of Jim Bolger Kiwirail, i wish him all the best.

    This is going to be great for shifting trucks off the road, and in the future could provide a sensible and cost effective mode of public transport.

  5. Billy 5

    How’s that investment in Air NZ going?

  6. Patrick 6

    Well, given that we still have a national airline, I’d say it’s going pretty well thanks Billy.

  7. gobsmacked 7

    Liam, yes, the irony is wonderful.

    John Key: “The 1990’s don’t matter, old news, never happened, move on, I wasn’t here, ignore the old faces behind me, National are Fresh and New”, etc.

    Jim Bolger: “Hello, everyone, remember me?”

    JK: “Oh, crap …”

  8. Well, Billy, the public has recieved over a quarter of a billion dollars in dividends since the purchase, allowing the govt to buy things that otherwise would have had to be paid for out of tax and, more importantly, we still have an NZ based airline, meaning that we still have flights to smaller regional centres – flights that a less profitable than other routes and would have been the first to be cut if AirNZ had been absorbed into Singapore Airlines.

    Oh and I believe there’s a paper profit on the shares currently too (and it was much bigger before oil rpices took off) but who cares if we’ve got a paper profit of $5 million of $500 million? They’re not up for sale so the value at any one time is only notional.

  9. Lew 9

    The other thing we have is a competitive domestic airline market. You think Pacific Blue would have launched their $39 flight promotion if they’d been the only credible player in town? Think again.

    L

  10. mike 10

    Will nanny sell pies on the trains or just healthy choices with pie’s once a month if the public behave?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominionpost/4602703a23918.html

  11. mike – what does the pie possess in the sentence you’ve written?

    Also, is not selling obesity causing foods the worst thing you can think of that the Government has done in 9 years? And does that really outweigh:

    “work rights (ERA, record low unemployment and minimum wage up 9 times in 8 years etc), tackling child poverty (Working for Families, doctors’ fees, 20Free etc) and in building the infrastructure for a sustainable, fair society the Cullen Fund, Kiwibank, Kiwisaver, and, now, KiwiRail.” and all the rest?

  12. Tane 12

    “pie’s”???

    Sounds like mike could’a done with a bit more learnin’ and a little less pie eatin’ at school.

  13. Steve:”All the polls” so the reccommendation to buy back the trains was made by the governments PR consultants not treasury ?

    [no, the polls after the decision to buy back. And the two aren’t mutually exclusive anyway. Clutching Bryan, clutching. SP]

  14. mike 14

    “Kiwibank, Kiwisaver, and, now, KiwiRail”

    Man I can’t wait for National to change the tacky names of these next year – it makes me cringe. One of Labours many consultants must have advised them that the Kiwi brand is a winner.

  15. bill brown 15

    What do you suggest:

    overseas-capitalist-asset-stripperbank, overseas-capitalist-asset-strippersaver and overseas-capitalist-asset-stripperrail?

  16. gobsmacked 16

    As every third word that John Key uses is “Kiwi”, I wouldn’t get your hopes up, Mike.

    HardWorkingKiwiRail? KiwiFamilySaver? KiwiMumsAndDadsBank?

  17. lprent 17

    Steve:

    …more importantly, we still have an NZ based airline, meaning that we still have flights to smaller regional centres – flights that a less profitable than other routes and would have been the first to be cut if AirNZ had been absorbed into Singapore Airlines.

    More importantly we have a locally based air-freight business. I couldn’t give a damn about passenger traffic, but that air-freight is critical for a number of key export businesses. Some of those are very dependent on having air-freight available at quite specific times.

    Looking at how air-freight lacks continuity elsewhere in the free market, I’m damn glad that the government decided this was strategic. The economic value of the business to NZ business and economy goes far beyond its share price or dividends.

  18. andy 18

    Man I can’t wait for National to change the tacky names of these next year – it makes me cringe. One of Labours many consultants must have advised them that the Kiwi brand is a winner.

    Is that a crosby/textor NZ sucks line?

    Nationalism may be cheesy (oops!) but positivity about your country regardless is quite a nice trait.

  19. Steve: “For me, the Labour-led Governments’ biggest achievements have been….(Working for Families, doctors’ fees, 20Free etc)”

    Yes, all very well, but at the cost of 8 years of declining productivity.

    “The Outcomes of Income Transfers by Australian economist Mark Harrison, estimated that a transfer worth an extra dollar to low-income households could result in an efficiency cost (a loss of national income) at least as high as $2.30 because incentives for productive activity are blunted. Income redistribution is justified to help the genuinely needy, but it inevitably comes at a cost to growth and the risk of welfare dependency.”

    Hmm, s0 we spend $2.30 to get a dollar back. KiwiRail is beginning to look like a bargain.

  20. Steve: “a well-run train service should be the backbone of our transport network.”

    Now I know this quote is for passenger rail services not freight but it is interesting all the same:

    “government transit spending per passenger mile is nearly $0.95, while all government spending on roadways is less than $0.04. Some bias. Transit spending is 25 times highway spending. This does not consider the fact that roads carry a large share of the nation’s freight. Transit carries none.”

  21. Felix 21

    Does anyone even bother to read Bryan Spondre’s comments anymore?

    [lprent: I did because I was interested in a link on productivity. Oh well meaningless charts]

  22. lprent 22

    Bryan:
    How about getting your productivity charts relevant to a useful debate.

    Firstly the detailed graph only shows 6 years not 8 years.

    Secondly the data is so badly sourced as to be unusable. The first question I wanted to know was did it include the whole of the potential working population. Because any productivity measurements just looking at the in-work population are ludicrous as they don’t look at the whole economy. The stated source for these graphs was “Statistics NZ”. That is crap – what figures? Which tables? It could be the change in productivity for people with mental handicaps for all that I know.

    Thirdly. I regard this as another example of how to lie with numbers.

    It is something you frequently bring up with Steve. I think I’m going to pay more attention to these numbers you bring up.

    If you don’t have sources on these charts then they’re really just pissing in the wind for all of the use they are for your side of the argument.

  23. Matthew Pilott 23

    I still read them Bryan’s comments! There’s even the odd one I agree with. Not so here though…

    Bryan, those figures don’t really mean anything for relative cost of transport. Firstly, there’s no source so I can’t tell if it’s even in NZ, I suspect they’re american.

    Second, there’s a comment that says ‘transit carries none’ (transit being an odd (US?) term for public transport) in regards to freight. Is this trying to imply there’s one set of rails for freight trains and another for passenger trains? Or a poorly constructed comment?

    Lastly, you make your all-too-common mistake of looking at something from a market-only perspective, and since the market is an abject failure to internalise its problems, it’s not a useful measure.

    Not a very useful criticism of mass-transit!

  24. Rob 24

    Well Michael Cullen has got his Train set back that labour agreed to sell with National when National was last in Government for 900 million what a bargain not!!
    But wait there’s more he had to rush through an SOP paper today because he forgot all about the poor workers superannuation funds being protected. However not one comment from a union official imagine the Hue and cry if it was National doing this. All it illustrates is that Cullen isn’t capable of doing commercial agreements and the New Zealand Public should never have had to pay so much for so little.

  25. Pita 25

    “How?s that investment in Air NZ going?”

    Good question, the Government owns 82% of Air New Zealand which it purchased at $890 million and whose revised profit forecast still shows a profit of $200 million before tax.

    Kiwirail cost one billion, and will cost much more with no forseeable profit…great comparison, great investment!

  26. Draco TB 26

    Now I know this quote…

    Yes, I can see how a quote about somewhere in the USA applies here…

    /sarcasm

    The economic value of the business to NZ business and economy goes far beyond its share price or dividends.

    This is true of almost all of the SoEs sold. All they needed was a little restructuring and they would have been good either running at break even or at a profit. Hell, Telecom was running at a significant profit in 1985 ($272m) even with all the bad decisions that were being made.

  27. Phil 27

    BB,

    “stripperbank” “strippersaver” “stripperrail”

    I’m so there!

  28. coge 28

    Steve, you claim NZ rail was a well run SOE.
    How can that be when at one stage it was losing 1m a day on average? The facts were, at the time it HAD to be sold.

  29. Matthew:”and since the market is an abject failure to internalise its problems”

    What does this phrase mean ? Why is the market an abject failure to internalise it’s problems ?

    lprent: The Labour Government points to the income redistribution of WFF as a major achievement. My concern is that this has done nothing to increase the wealth generating capacity of the country and simply gives the highly skilled more reason to leave ( as the migration numbers indicate they are).

    To quote Treasury “New Zealand ranks 22nd among the 30 OECD nations
    in terms of labour productivity and this matches the ranking on GDP per
    capita, despite having the fifth highest utilisation of labour in the OECD.”

    “New Zealand’s annual labour productivity growth (5-year moving average)
    slowed from almost 2% in 2003 to around 1% in 2006, the lowest among
    this group of comparators.”

    So as SP is always reminding us unemployment has dropped significantly however all these extra employed people aren’t producing particularly well.

  30. insider 30

    HC said owning rail was a crucial to reducing New Zealand’s carbon footprint.

    The billion or so paid for rail would have funded our kyoto liability.

    So I wonder exactly how much carbon buying rail will save and how much that works out to per tonne? I suspect it will be far more than the $15-$50 per tonne cost of carbon being used in most calculations.

    Sounds like biofuels where consumers will pay more than $100m in additional fuel costs to save something like $17m in carbon.

  31. insider: “HC said owning rail was a crucial to reducing New Zealand’s carbon footprint.”

    Presumably to reduce our carbon foot print using rail means:

    a) completing electrification of the rail network
    b) building additional electrical generation to supply the rail ( or perhaps putting the alum. smelter out of business with the ETS)
    c) subsidising the rail network to the point where it is cheaper than diesel powered trucking ( or restricting trucking via legislation)

  32. Paul Williams 32

    I travel most days by train to and from work. I also tend to take my daugther to childcare by train too. Sydney’s network is significant, not as big as London’s but still pretty wide. There’s been quite a few problems of late, including fatal derailments, however trains still provide transport for a significant number of the city’s workers. I was impressed, when last in Akl, with the Akl network. It’s clearly not large enough and needs double tracking but it’s got to be the way to go. I hope NZ can soon boast a rail system suitable to the population’s need and it’s pretty obvious that wasn’t going to happen under the previous arrangements.

    Re Bolger. I have to say I was anything but a fan during his tenure as PM but he’s clearly become one of NZ leading statemen since.

  33. Will the engines and carriages be painted Liarbour red with the air brushed photo of Miss Clark appearing on each of them?

    Toot toot Helen.

    [lprent: I’ve popped a few of the more irritating misspellings into the moderation stack. I’m tired of reading people bitching about them. Looks like you found one.]

  34. insider 34

    Yes Bryan perhaps back to the old 40mile trucking rule of the 60s/70s?

    More the point, where are the cost/benefit analyses of the ability of rail to deliver such reductions in co2?

  35. lprent 35

    Bryan:

    My concern is that this has done nothing to increase the wealth generating capacity of the country and simply gives the highly skilled more reason to leave ( as the migration numbers indicate they are).

    The migration I’m not really concerned about. It is something that I’ve seen quite a few times before and including the chicken little reactions. Specifically it always happens when aussie has their cyclic mining boom.

    You have to understand that I really don’t give a shit about short-term transient things except where they do impact what I’m interested in. I’m interested in long-term trends. The reason I picked on your productivity figures was because you were saying that the delta was down. What I was interested in was if that was across the whole population, ie including beneficiaries, pensioners, etc.

    The biggest hassle we have is how to get a diminishing workforce to pay for a larger pensioner population over the next 30 years. That is the artefact of the muldoon years. Immigration is unlikely to be able to sustain it long term because the rate of growth in world population is diminishing as affluence levels rise worldwide.

    If the current people in the workforce were paying for the shortfall in their superannuation then they should increase taxes and increase payments into the ‘Cullen’ fund massively.

    An alternate route is to increase local birth rates. The best way to to attack the economic costs of having children – ie WFF.

    However people in NZ seem more intent on having a taxcut and to cut things that alleviate their liabilities. That is effectively trying to shift their debt on to future generations – exactly the same way that Muldoon did. The standard right argument is that increased productivity released from taxcuts would take care of the future liability. But that is irresponsible because a few minutes calculation shows the risk levels involved are incredibly high that you don’t get any productivity increases.

    Besides when you’re looking at how to pay for liabilities you act conservatively, and work how to pay it from known income. If you get a productivity gain then you count it into profit. To do anything else is to go bust as often as an entrepreneur.

    Anyway, I’ve meandered, so I’m heading off for food.

  36. lprent: “The biggest hassle we have is how to get a diminishing workforce to pay for a larger pensioner population over the next 30 years.”

    Agreed and I can see how WFF reduces the financial barrier to reproduction. The wealthier members of society (who probably have fewer children because of the time investment required to earn more) are paying the poorer to breed as an assurance policy for their old age.

    I am less convinced that the increase in migration to Australia is just cyclical. Migration to Australia is linked to Australia having a GDP growth advantage over New Zealand. The RBNZ is forecasting that Australia will have a GDP growth advantage over New Zealand for several more years therefore we are unlikely ( as SP has suggested) to have seen the peak of migration to Australia.

    Furthermore in the May 2008 year 63% of migrants to Australia were between the ages of 15-44. If we don’t do something to improve productivity and growth we are danger of becoming a breeding ground for Australian workers.

  37. Lipper 37

    The Train Set purchase is not only ill-advised, but the price paid is

    a very long way above normal commercial consideration.

    So the Government admits it has paid a premium.

    My question (s) is simple?

    Why did they have to buy it for so much money?

    What is the EBITDA ratio?

    Not like Toll could have taken it with them. The best thing that can

    happen to any railways in the World, is for them to have their tracks

    removed, and levelled for a heavy duty road surface. That way trucks,

    and other heavy units can fully utilise all the land taken up in the infrastructure properly.

    Rather than have a train every 10 minutes, just imagine how much more efficient the countrys logistic would be?

  38. Swampy 38

    What we know about this deal is that it carries a significant load of political baggage along with it. On the same day as the Government announced KiwiRail, they rushed out a secretive announcement of an immediate rise in Road User Charges for trucking firms.

    This follows a predictable pattern which goes something like this:

    1. Labour sees an opportunity for their Government to dominate or control a sector of the marketplace.
    2. Labour sets about, by whatever means possible, getting to that position. (Re)nationalise, bureacratise, whatever.
    3. Cue ritual flogging of private sector providers in that sector.
    4. Having weakened the competition, State control is assured.

    In this case, a multi step approach. Toll could have operated the rail tracks themselves. But the government buys those back giving them a means to back Toll into a corner. As long as the Government was unreasonable about the Track Access Charge they could always force Toll to come to the sale table. Then they buy back Toll and call it Kiwi Rail, a name loaded with political symbolism. Now they have the means to flog the private trucking firms. Why else would you raise the price of RUCs on the same day except to pay for the political largesse that is writ large all over this deal?

    This pattern has been followed heaps of times in all major areas where the Labour Government wants to run some part of the economy or market themselves. Telecommunications, electricity, health, education, you name it. This is an underhand road to communism. Would you accept it if it was spelt out like that? That is why I am waiting for the change of government at the election when Labour loses. Because no matter how much spin or hype can be generated, Labour has managed only to cement up a few thousand votes of the Rail Union employees and their families which will make virtually no difference to their abysmal poll ratings. And so it should be if we want to live in a free country where people recognise that the price of that freedom is small government which does not meddle and interfere unreasonably in the marketplace or seek to nationalise it all into the State.

  39. gobsmacked 39

    Those who see the bigger picture take a different view – a New Zealand to be proud of, as seen from the UK:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jul/03/newzealand.transport

    (insert famous Robert Burns quotation here)

  40. Swampy 40

    “Steve Pierson
    July 1, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Billy, well it was much better than it is now, and it could have been done much better if it had been run as a commericial organisation, rather than also being used for job creation.

    Fact is, NZRail was a well-run SOE when it was privitised and asset-stripped. It could be something great by now but a decade of private ownership has redcued it to a shadow of its former self. Now, we can rebuild and do better than before.”

    ================================================================

    Fact is, it was not commercial for the same reason it is not going to be commercial now. Labour wants the rail network to be restored to a freight monopoly dominance position again. They haven’t actually stated such a policy yet, but it is in line with their trend in other sectors where they are gradually moving in that direction.

    If Labour were by some total statistical aberration to win the next election, I would expect to see moves to renationalise Contact Energy and Telecom happening in the next term. Labour has already got Telecom on the ropes using the LLU and caused a big loss of value to the business.

    The SOE model is really a smokescreen because it was originally intended to get these businesses ready for privatisation. They are not really that independent at all as long as they remain in government ownership. There have been some changes already to the SOE model and there will be more to bring them more under the control of the relevant Minister.

    NZRail was not a well run SOE. It could not make a commercial profit, even after a billion dollars of debt was written off.

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    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

    Prospect Magazine alerted me to this particularly apt quote. It is a much more evocative quote than Hemingway’s “gradually then suddenly” which is also doing ...

    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    3 days ago
  • Maybe axing Clark would be unfair. But what about any of this is fair?
    Yesterday was the day the consequences of the lockdown suddenly got very real for many. Firms have been closing and laying people off since the outset of the quarantine but this has mostly been happening out of the public eye. The mass closure of a number of iconic New Zealand ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    3 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
    3 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
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    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
    4 days ago
  • Outsiders.
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    4 days ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    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
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    4 days ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    4 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    5 days ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    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
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing or ...
    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 ...
    5 days ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    5 days ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    5 days ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    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
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    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 ...
    6 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
    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
    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
    2 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
    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
    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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    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
    6 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
    7 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
    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
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  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
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