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An Opportunity Missed? A Failure to Listen? And Whose Advice was Privileged?

Written By: - Date published: 9:31 am, April 21st, 2018 - 26 comments
Categories: liberalism, Parliament, Politics, Social issues, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: ,

First published by Re-Imagining Social Work in Aotearoa New Zealand (RSW Collective) April 20

Tena Koutou Katoa,

The Social and Community Services Select Committee report published on 13 April 2018, is an example of an opportunity missed in regard to protecting the public and enhancing the professionalism of social work.  It is also an example of the Committee failing to listen to the majority of submitters, whilst at the same time raising questions about whose advice was privileged and why?

The opportunity missed is a scope of practice model of registration. A scope of practice would have set the boundaries of what is social work practice and what it is not. It would have made it clear where the boundaries are for social workers and how we differ from other professions and groups in the social services. It also would provide the starting point for specialist scopes of practice to be developed for fields of practice such as, child protection, youth justice, heath social work, mental health social work, kaimahi ora and pacific social work practice. Empowering the Social Workers Registration Board to define the scope of social work practice would also set a precedent for the wider the social services workforce, which is diverse and includes counsellors, youth workers, support workers, community workers, social entrepreneurs and others. It could also further the workforce development of the social services sector, because it would provide a model for other groups, such as youth work, counselling and support work to define their scope of practice. This is important because the social services and social development sector is likely to become a key field of work in the future, as the nature of work changes through automation. A scope of practice-based registration of social workers provides a policy framework that starts to plan for these changes. It also mirrors that used in the Health professions covered by the Health Practitioners Competency Assurance Act 2003. Notably the health sector is a major employer of social workers and there is a clear role for social workers across health in address the social determinants of health.

The Select Committee report indicates both a failure to listen and a failure to give the scope of practice due consideration. This is particularly evident in the timeframe of the early release of the report on 13 April, when it is due back on 30 April and the National party members’ minority opinion concerning “the restricted timeframe not giving the committee sufficient time to fully consider the submitters issues.” It is also apparent in the comment on page 7 where the report states, “Some of us consider that scopes of practice should have been explored further.”

Further evidence of the Committee’s failure to listen is that they seem to confuse professional social work with unregulated support work and general helping when talking about workforce planning on pages 7 -8 and express an interest in advancing the workforce development for non-regulated social support workers.

The select committee report is also reflective of a Government knows best discourse, by following the advice of the Ministry of Social Development in its report dated 4 April 2018 over the majority evidence of the submitters and the advice of the Social Workers Registration Board, the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers, The Social Services Providers Aotearoa, and the Tangata Whenua Association of Social Workers. The Ministry of Social Development’s advice is flawed and fails to acknowledge the work done by the SWRB already in regard to establishing a scope of practice (see: http://swrb.govt.nz/download/when-an-annual-practising-certificate-is-required/).

The conclusion that I am left with is the bureaucrats have once again gained control of the social work profession and want to manage social work and social workers under a neoliberal managerialist ideology.

Going forward the challenge that social workers face should the Bill pass in its current form is to claim our professional identity, hold ourselves to be social workers and be a member professional body such as the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Worker and/or the Tangata Whenua Association of Social Workers. In other words we take ownership of clauses b and c in Section 6AAB which state:

A person is practising as a social worker for the purposes of this Act (and practises and willing to practise as a social worker have corresponding meanings) if that person—

(b) in undertaking any work for gain or reward, holds himself or herself out to be a social worker:

(c) holds a position, in a voluntary capacity or as a member of any body or organisation, that is described using the words “social worker” or “social work”

Kia Kaha,

Kieran.

For further information please see the following.

Social Workers Registration Legislation Bill- Submissions and advice

Social Workers Registration Legislation Bill – Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW)

Social Workers Registration Legislation Bill – Ministry of Social Development Departmental Report 2018 04 09

Social Workers Registration Legislation Bill – Social Service Providers Aotearoa

Social Workers Registration Legislation Bill – Social Workers Registration Board

Social Workers Registration Legislation Bill – Social Workers Registration Board Supp 1

Social Workers Registration Legislation Bill – Social Workers Registration Board scope of practice

Social Workers Registration Legislation Bill – Tangata Whenua Social Workers Association supp 1

26 comments on “An Opportunity Missed? A Failure to Listen? And Whose Advice was Privileged?”

  1. Rosemary McDonald 1

    Thanks for bringing this to the attention of those of us concerned that this new government is going to be business as usual.

    So… submitters contributions largely sidelined in favour of the Ministry narrative?

    Bodes very ill for Health issues.

    • Bill 1.1

      At first blush, it all looks very bad.

      This bit kind of stopped me in my tracks.

      However, we were advised that defining “social work” in a scope of practice would be difficult,…

      So if there is no definition of what a social worker is, or of what work social workers do, does that mean that I, unqualified, can be employed to do social work?

      And what would that mean for wage levels, retaining skills and knowledge in the profession, and for people who need very knowledgeable and expert help/advice?

      • tracey 1.1.1

        And there must be a definition because they have a registration process.

        This is a crucial area and lies at the heart of many of the solutions to what fails our vulnerable.

        I will add that as someone who worked in Tertiary teaching youth workers and social workers, the Social Work lecturers can be very disdainful of anyone NOT a qualified social worker.

        Collaboration is key across the entire sector

      • Smellpir 1.1.2

        Yes Bill, you’ve got it in one! Imagine translating this into nursing and we abandoned the professional process for training and demarcating scope of practice for nurses? How many days would pass before budget-stretched Health Boards began rapidly re-defining health assistant jobs and carving out massive salary savings?

        • Descendant Of Sssmith 1.1.2.1

          Or alternatively maybe the health assistants who run around all night in the mental health units doing the work nurses get paid to do, while the nurses read, knit, sleep might get a pay increase.

          Not likely but let’s not pretend that the underpaid health assistants don’t already do quite a bit of nurses work currently and the nurses like it that way.

      • koreropono 1.1.3

        Not only is the answer yes, anyone can be employed to do what were traditionally social work roles, this has been happening for many years! This piece of legislation was supposed to stop that from happening.

        After working in the social service sector for years, and as a qualified social worker, with all the trappings that come with that qualification, student loan, registration, Annual Practicing Certificate and regular supervision, competency assessments and accountability with serious consequences if I stuff up etc etc, I find myself competing with unqualified individuals. These quasi social workers are without qualifications, some wiling to accept less than minimum wage – at times I would be competing with former truck drivers, people made redundant from factory work and who have no clue what they are doing (but arrogantly think that speaking a few words of te reo Maori or wanting to help people is good enough qualification). Organisations are openly manipulating data to feign outcomes (I’ve seen this happen and heard of incidents of qualified staff contracts being fraudulently used to gain contracts or pass audits). This piece of legislation would have and should have stopped these practices from happening, this legislation would have protected and given clients some assurance that the people working with them are qualified to do the work and are accountable for that work.

        I could probably go on and on but I think this probably deserves a whole new post on its own!

  2. AsleepWhileWalking 2

    What a cluster fuck.

  3. Incognito 5

    I confess that I struggle with the content and implications of all that is raised in this Post. That said, how much might be due to an ideological struggle and dynamics (internal politics) in the Select Committee and how much is due to incompetence.

    • Tracey 5.1

      And how much is due to the Social Work Profession Overseers. Have a read of link above to Gareth Hughes, who is SC Chair. Opportunity to ask him ore questions I am sure.

      • Incognito 5.1.1

        I can’t see a response as such. I assume I have to be on FB?

        Edit: just seen your comment @ 7.2, thank you.

  4. Smellpir 6

    This is a total smack in the gob for everyone who has worked so hard for so many yearst to get the previous government to recognise the professional needs and underpinning of the Social Work profession. Getting Tolley et al. to agree to the original version of this legislation was a huge victory for quiet achievers in the social work policy space who worked their guts out to get a good outcome from a sceptical government.

    Then to have a Labour government gut the legislation in the final stages of select committee is absolutely astonishing. Kieran O’Donaghue is playing his critique with a straight bat – and trying to make sense of the indefensible in order to counter it… However, this just looks like a simple attempt by folks at MSD to find any way possible to save money on big social service contracts – exactly the kind of thing we expect from the other side, not from Labour!

    Huge own goal. Luckily they’ve got two more readings to correct this massive error of judgement.

    • veutoviper 6.1

      I can see exactly where you and Kieran are coming from after the research I have done today – see 7 below. I can fully understand your anger.

      I don’t believe that you can say that the Labour Government has gutted the legislation as such, however, as from what I have found so far, IMHO it seems to be an inexperienced Select Committee rushing things before the majority of them have fully got to grips with the history etc of this very important issue and thus the contents of the submissions. And also possibly being ‘captured’ by some MSD ‘folks’ as you say who are finding it hard to change their spots – and attitudes.

      The make-up of the new Select Committee is also 9 members, four of whom are National MPs, with the other five made up of 3 Labour, 1 Green and 1 NZF.

      I suspect that there will be a lot of changes – maybe even before the report goes back into the House …

    • tracey 6.2

      Have you visited my link to Gareth Hughes’ response to this comment by Kieran,

  5. veutoviper 7

    Like others here I was nonplussed by the Select Committee report. So I have done some research this morning on background etc to this Bill and the situation that now exists.

    I see that Tracey has already put up the list of Select Committee members which was where I also started. The make-up of the Committee is apparently very different to that of the Social Services Committee under the previous National Government but I know it takes some time to find the details of former Select Committee membership and I don’t have time at present.

    I then looked at the origins of the Bill itself and in brief these are:

    – Introduced by Anne Tolley as Minister of Social Development on 9 August 2017.

    – First Readiing was held on 17 August 2017 – the last sitting day of the previous Government before dissolution for the general election.’ Referred to the Social Services Committee but with no dates for submissions or reports. (This was normal as pointed out by the Speaker in the opening few paras of the First Reading transcript – link below.)

    – Presumably in the first stages/meetings of the new Social Services & Community Select Committee (eg 29 Nov 2017, 5 Dec 2017) the due dates of 31 Jan 2018 for submissions and 30 April 2018 for the SC report were decided. (Nothing immediately obvious for decisions on these dates from the list of matters discussed to date by the SC – and too many reports for me to check in my limited time today.)

    The actual transcript of the 17 August 2017 First Reading of the Bill provides excellent background to the long and complicated history behind this Bill which seems to go right back to 2003 and the 2003 Act.

    I recommend reading this transcript for this background, and the positions etc of the different parties and their involvement over the years – and also of the various related professional organisations and on the ground interested parties.
    For example, while this Bill was drafted by the National Government, earlier government and members’ bills had been floated previously under the former Labour government.

    It also indicates that the new Select Committee probably has very few members with this long background if you compare who spoke in this first reading from a position of knowledge and the membership of the new Select Committee. Surprisingly Darroch Ball of NZF may possibly be the only carry over from the previous Select Committee.

    https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/combined/HansDeb_20170817_20170817_32

    Following the formation of the new government Carmel Sepuloni has become sponsor of the Bill in place of Anne Tolley. Here is the base Parliament webpage for the Bill itself.

    https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_74844/social-workers-registration-legislation-bill

    My impressions just on the above, are that this Bill is now being rushed too fast after many years of failure to get it off the ground. Not trying to apportion blame etc but a very new Committee trying to make an impression before they have the experience to do justice to this very important subject?

    Addendum – the transcript also gives a good summary of who can call themselves a social worker at present (anyone?); and the tertiary education required etc to become registered etc thus covering some of the questions raised in comments above.

    • Smellpir 7.1

      Thanks VtV, that is a really helpful primer on the long road that we’ve travelled down on this one. I’m very encouraged that you think this is ‘cockup’ not ‘conspiracy’ by a hasty and unfamiliar select committee (not my area of expertise) because that increases the chances of a reversal in the next stage of the process.

      Surely the govt members of the select committee will be finely tuned to the huge gasp of horror that rippled around senior social work leaders and educators when the implications of the changes were being discussed over morning tea on Thursday.
      We aren’t exactly hardened and cynical lobbyists like the Taranaki gas riggers welfare society, rather the kind of core constituency that they should be able to rely on for wholesale support of new social policy intiatives….

      • veutoviper 7.1.1

        Long public service experience in areas working with Parliament. Doing some more work to see what experience each current member has had on the Select Committee and who was on the former Committee under the Nat govt but have to stop now. BUT I doubt that the Minister Carmel Sepuloni is going to be impressed with the current report – she has long experience in this issue as indicated in her first reading speech. Hence my feeling that the Committee might be sent back to do a bit more work… Maybe that is why it was released early on 13 April and not held to 30 April – the deadline. To get reaction and then amend. Must go for now.

    • tracey 7.2

      This is what Hughes wrote after I asked him his reaction to Kieran’s statement

      “Thanks for getting in touch. We did hear a lot on this point and I did raise it but it was outside the original bill’s scope which was just for title protection. In our committee report we note the Social Workers Registration Board will consider it and the Minister has also said she’ll consider it going forward as well. The bill is an improvement on the status quo and while many wanted scopes of practise included there are other ways to achieve it. Cheers “

      • Rosemary McDonald 7.2.1

        Thanks for that Tracey. Don’t do fb so unable to see reply.

      • veutoviper 7.2.2

        Thanks Tracey

        I did see Hughes’ response to you and was a little concerned that Hughes has said that the scope of the original bill was just for title protection. The Bill states its purpose as:

        The bill is an omnibus bill which mainly seeks to amend the Social Workers Registration Act 2003. Part 2 of the bill would also amend the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004, and make consequential amendments to the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994.

        The bill aims to increase the professionalism of the social work profession and protect the public from harm by:
        • making the registration system compulsory for all social workers
        • protecting the use of the title “social worker”
        • ensuring that social workers are competent and fit to practise
        • providing an appropriate complaints and disciplinary process.

        The bill would require all social workers to be registered within 2 years after the bill is enacted.

        At present, section 13 of the Social Workers Registration Act provides a pathway to registration for social workers with sufficient experience but without a recognised social work qualification. The bill would remove that pathway 5 years after its enactment. The bill would allow for people who are likely to meet the criteria in section 13 to remain in the social work profession while their application for registration based on previous experience is considered. At the end of the 5-year period, people who are registered under section 13 based on previous experience would be treated as having been registered under section 12 of the Act (Criteria for full registration).

        The bill would also amend existing provisions to improve the Act’s effectiveness and transparency. They include:
        • amending the composition of the Social Workers Registration Board
        • replacing the existing 5-yearly competence assessments with processes that allow for continuous professional development for practising social workers
        • requiring vetting by the Police as part of the Board’s assessment of whether a person is a fit and proper person to practise as a social worker
        • requiring social workers’ employers to report to the Board any reasonable belief that a social worker is not competent, has engaged in serious misconduct, or is unable to perform their functions due to a mental or physical condition
        • requiring social workers to report to the Board any reasonable belief that another social worker is unable to perform their functions due to a mental or physical condition
        • aligning the complaints and disciplinary processes with similar regulatory regimes
        • expanding the situations where the Board can suspend a social worker’s registration or impose conditions
        • setting out the principles that the Board should use when setting any required educational qualifications and professional development.

        The bill would also amend the Criminal Records (Clean Slate) Act 2004 to ensure that criminal convictions could not be concealed from the Police vetting for considering whether a person was a fit and proper person.

        In other words, a lot more than just title protection.

        As Tolley, Sepuloni and Darroch Ball pointed out in the First Reading, the Bill has been a long time coming – and goes right back to 2003 when the original Social Workers Registration Act came into force. A number of attempts have been made over the years including Member’s Bills by Sepuloni and Ball to resolve issues including title protection, mandatory registration AND scope of practice getting nowhere to date.

        As Ball discussed very clearly in his speech, detailed submissions were made to the former Social Services Committee Inquiry in 2016 on the scope of practice/definition of social work which appear to have been ignored in the original draft of the Bill filed last August. Ball’s speech actually explains very clearly imho why a scope of practice is needed – it’s the Why title protection (and to a lesser degree, mandatory registration) is needed. Well worth reading as it gets to the core of the problem IMHO.

        Further detailed submissions were made this year on the need for a scope of practice, which again seem to have been brushed off.

        So this round “title protection” and mandatory registration only?

        What – another 20 years for scope of practice?

        I can fully understand the anger and frustration out there.

        As you will see from the work I have done on looking at Select Committee make up etc, I am concerned that this will be seen as incompetence by the current Govt and the current govt team on the Committee (including the Chair), with Nats able to play the card that they wanted better consideration and a longer time to do so, etc, etc.

        However, there are also things that Sepuloni said in her first reading speech that on re-reading I get the impression that she is not necessarily going to support scope of practice. I am relooking at this but may have to take back my remarks that she may not be happy with the report.

        I actually feel sorry for Hughes as new to the Committee and the subject, and his first go at being a Chair. The timeline was also set before he came onto the Committee to replace Jan Logie at the end of Jan 2018.

    • greywarshark 7.3

      This from the facebook reply by Gareth Hughes attempts to be short and concise but leaves the feeling of the Select Committee giving it a once over lightly, it provides some improvement mentality.

      …The bill is an improvement on the status quo and while many wanted scopes of practise included there are other ways to achieve it. Cheers

      When the effort to get formalities spelled out is realised, not regarding the work as someone else’s problem that can be thrust at anyone on two, or may be four legs, this is something with which we cannot put up.

      And can it be that a dog could become a social worker, now I think about numbers of legs. They can be well trained and indispensable to their owners and friends. Guidelines are surely needed to show respect for the training, the skills, the experience and wisdom required by people and there should be a professional ladder for all which carries pay rises with it.

      • tracey 7.3.1

        It is FB and in fairness he was responding bloody quickly to a stranger (me) on Facebook.

        We might not like his reply but to have such a prompt response from a politician is rare.

  6. veutoviper 9

    Further to discussion at 6 and 7 above re the Social Services and Community Select Committee which has examined this Social Workers Registration Legislation Bill, I have had a very close look at the members of the Select Committee and their experience – and the imbalance in this regard between the 5 government members and the 4 National members.

    This is not criticism of the rather inexperienced (L/NZF/G) government team compared to the National team – rather it is a problem that may be encountered in many other instances in coming months re Select Committees as pointed out below. See the three paras starting with “In summary, the Committee members …”.

    I have also included details about the make up of previous Social Services Committees under the National government as a Who’s Who of current MPs who have had previous experience in this area.

    This detail is probably of little interest to lots of people here, but having done the research, I thought it might be of use to those like Smellpir, Amy, Kieran and koreropono and others who are directly involved to target with their concerns a wider range of MPs in Parliament who have had some experience in this area. Feel free to use this info as you wish etc.
    ——————-

    The current Social Services & Community Select Committee is made up of nine Members:

    4 National MPs – Alfred Ngaro, Judith Collins, Louise Upston and Maureen Pugh
    3 Labour – Kris Faafoi, Priyance Radhakrishnan and Greg O’Connor
    1 Green – Gareth Hughes
    1 NZF – Darroch Ball.

    Since the new Committee was formed in November 2017 under the new Government, there have been three changes to its membership.

    In November 2017, the Green Party member appointed to the Committee and as Chairperson was Jan Logie, who had had considerable experience on previous Social Services Committees as a member from 21/12/2011 – 14/08/2014 and 21/10/2014 – 22/08/2017.

    On 31 January 2018, Gareth Hughes replaced Jan Logie as the Green Party member and Chairperson. He had had no previous experience on this Select Committee (SC) or on other SCs dealing with social/community issues, but this is not an unusual practice.

    In November 2017, the four National Party members appointed to the Committee were Alfred Ngaro, Michael Woodhouse, Louise Upston and Simeon Brown. With Simon Bridges becoming National Party Leader, Woodhouse and Brown were replaced by Judith Collins and Maureen Pugh on 21 March 2018.

    In terms of previous membership on this Committee and its predecessors, the only one of the five Labour/NZF/Green Government Committee Members with previous experience is Darroch Ball, a member for three years 2014 -2017.

    Two of the three Labour members (Radhakrishnan and O’Connor) were new to Parliament in 2017, while Faafoi has considerable SC experience but none in this area. As noted above, Gareth Hughes had no previous experience.

    OTOH, the four member National team on the Committee is a pretty heavy team with three members (Collins, Ngaro and Pugh having had considerable experience on previous Social Services SCs (and three (Collins, Ngaro and Upston) as Ministers in the previous Government.

    Collins was on previous Committees as a Member 15/10/2002 – 21/05/2003 and 4/11/2003 -13/08/2004, and as Deputy Chair 9/11/2005 – 3/10/2008. This covered the period when the original Social Workers Registration Act was considered and passed into law in April 2003.

    Ngaro was a Member of the Committee 21/1/2011 – 29/01/2014 and then Deputy Chair for three years 29/01/2014 – 14/08/2014 and again 22/10/2014 – 7/02/2017.

    Louise Upston, while no previous experience on this Committee had considerable previous SC experience on a wide range of other Select Committees and range of areas as a Minister or Associate Minister.

    Pugh, who entered Parliament as a List member on 21/12/2015, was also a Member 16/03/2016 – 8/2/2017, and also had other Select Committee experience over 2016 and 2017.

    In summary, the only Committee members with experience on previous incarnations of this SC are: Darroch Ball (NZF); and for National – Collins, Ngaro and Pugh.

    So a considerable imbalance in previous experience in this area between the five Government members and the four National Party/Opposition members.

    However, please note that this imbalance in experience is not exceptional or unexpected and it exists in many of the new Select Committees under the new Government. This results from National’s nine years in Government and their large number of former Ministers as well as 56 MPs available for Select Committee roles; and the lack of similar experience on the part of Labour, NZF and the Greens after the same period in Opposition or sitting on the cross benches.

    This means that the more experienced MPs in Labour, NZF and GP are really stretched in covering Ministerial duties and Select Committees etc, whereas the National Party has a great number of experienced MPs including former Ministers twiddling their thumbs and able to create mischief if they choose on Select Committees as a prime tool to do so.
    ——————–

    In contrast to the current situation, the membership of the previous Social Services Committee remained very consistent over the 2014 -2017 National Government. As at August 2017, when this Social Workers Registration Bill was first read in Parliament before referral to the Select Committee, the Committee comprised the following:
    Joanne Hayes (Chairperson) Feb – Aug 2017 only. (Alfred Ngaro had been Chair from 22/10/2014 – 4/02/2017, and previously a member 2011 – 2014 and Deputy Chair Jan – 0ct 2014)

    Darroch Ball
    Hon Jacqui Dean
    Jan Logie (Logie had also been on the previous 2011 – 2014 Committee)
    Jono Naylor
    Hekia Parata (Parata and Matt Doocey switched several times 2014 – 2017)
    Parmjeet Parmar
    Carmel Sepuloni
    Stuart Smith
    Phil Twyford

    Of the speakers in the First Reading of the Social Workers Registration Bill, the following had had experience on this Select Committee over time:

    Ann Tolley (N) 2001-2002, 2005-2007
    Carmel Sepuloni (L) 2010-2011, 2014-2017
    Joanne Hayes (N) Chair 8/2/2017-22/8/2017 only
    Louisa Wall (L) 2013 – 2015
    Stuart Smith (N) 2014 – 2017 incl Deputy Chair May – Aug 2017
    Jan Logie (G) 2011 – 2017
    Darroch Ball (NZF) 2014 – 2017
    Parmjeet Parmar (N) 2014 – 2017
    Marama Davison (G) – None
    Ian McElvie (N) – None
    Peeni Henare (L) – None
    Nuk Korako (N) – None

    • Smellpir 9.1

      Thanks VtV, I really appreciate the support you are showing and the care you have put into helping us strategize a step forward. You are really showing how The Standard can still work to help us understand and respond to political situations.

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    . . April 4: Day 10 of living in lock-down… I wake up to a fine Saturday morning which normally would be like an early Christmas. But it’s Day 10 of Level 4 Lock Down. What  will my fellow New Zealanders be doing on a day like this – staying ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • Redline reaching out to more writers & readers
    Some time during the night we went over the 850,000 views mark. We might have had our millionth view by the end of this year – certainly by early next year. Most of the people involved in Redline spent years and years producing various small left-wing papers and selling them ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • Keir Starmer elected
    Comfortably, in the very first round, with an impressive 56% of the votes.I wonder, did members of the Shadow Cabinet start tweeting their resignations during Starmer's victory speech, or is that only a trick the right pull?It is odd how all the talk of how the next leader "needs to ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: Michael Baker and the Big House
    One of the key voices in this extraordinary time in which we live is that of University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker. Philip Matthews did an an excellent job this weekend of capturing the way he became the man for this moment in a profile for The Press.But one ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand Gives up on Trying to Save Daylight
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the nation today about the decline in daylight New Zealand has been experiencing over the previous few months. She said “As many of you will notice, our attempts to stem the dwindling of the daylight over the last few months have been completely ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    2 days ago
  • A bulletin from Greece
    Redline received this article from the KOE a Marxist party in Greece Our friends in the KOE describe here the mounting crisis in Greece and tensions on the Turkish border. As desperate people flee from their homelands which have been ruined after decades of imperialist wars and interventions the people ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
    As the first week of Level Four lockdown unfolded, mounting questions grew as to just what was (and was not) allowed under its “rules”. Partly these were driven by some apparently contradictory messages from different authority figures and explanations carried in the media. Partly they reflected a somewhat sketchy legal basis ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    2 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    4 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “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
    4 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
    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”.
    Resuming Normal Service: The Republican Party's nominee for in 1920, Warren Harding, promised the American people: “not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration”. If she wishes to remain our prime minister, then Jacinda Ardern will offer New Zealanders the same.HOW EDUCATED AMERICA snickered when the ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
    No Free Society Without A Free And Functioning News Media: If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating Covid-19, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders simply because it improves their bottom line.I’M ...
    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.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    5 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
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    5 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
    5 days ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 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
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 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 ...
    6 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
    6 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 ...
    6 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
    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
    6 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
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    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
    9 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
    4 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
    5 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
    7 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
    7 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, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    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 ...
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    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 ...
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    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. ...
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    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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    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, ...
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    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 ...
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    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. ...
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    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 ...
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    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 ...
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    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 ...
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    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 ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
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    2 weeks ago