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Andrew Little: Promises to Pike families must be kept

Written By: - Date published: 11:57 am, November 20th, 2016 - 81 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, disaster, Environment, health and safety, john key, national, national/act government, Politics, same old national, slippery, Unions, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

andrew-little-miners-hall

From the Labour Party website.

Six years on from the Pike River disaster, the memory of that day still burns strong, and the families still wait for the Government to make good on its promises. They are still waiting for justice.

Mining communities are special. The work creates a tight bond – your life depends on the person next to you. That spirit of solidarity flows through the whole community. When I was head of the EPMU, the miners were always some of our staunchest members. They stand beside each other no matter what. When tragedy struck, it hit everyone hard.

The grief of the families, friends, and workmates, and the way the whole community rallied around them is still vivid. In that Kiwi way, we all did what we could, no matter how little it may have been. We all understood we needed to help those left behind, get the bodies out, and find out what went wrong so that it would never happen again.

John Key stood in front of those families and said “we’re committed to getting the boys out, and nothing’s going to change that. So, when people try and tell you we’re not… they’re playing with your emotions.” That was during an election campaign, though. The families are still waiting.

Now, Mr Key denies ever making that promise. Now, the government wants to seal the mine forever. Just this week, Mr Key sent Nick Smith to threaten the Pike families with arrest if they try to stop Solid Energy entombing their loved ones.

The Government claims it’s not safe to enter the drift and try to get any bodies in there out. That’s not true. Experts, both local and international, say the mine is now stable. We can get those men out, and secure evidence regarding the cause of the explosion. It can be done.

The National Government just wants to wash its hands of the whole thing, and move on. They don’t seem to care no-one has ever faced court for those 29 deaths, or that the families have never got the bodies back to bury.

That’s not the way Kiwis do things. We do right by people. We ensure that, when there is wrongdoing, there is justice. We keep our promises.

I’m standing with the Pike families in opposing the mine being sealed. It’s time a proper effort is made to bring their men home. They’ve waited long enough.

81 comments on “Andrew Little: Promises to Pike families must be kept”

  1. Garibaldi 1

    Great move. This will have resonance. Well done Andrew Little.

  2. Olwyn 2

    This is something about which Andrew Little is straightforwardly and unambiguously right. No ifs, no buts. The sad thing is that what he is saying needs to be said.

  3. Incognito 3

    Very well said. Now, let’s hope & see whether this will get the attention it deserves in and by MSM; so far, nada …

    • Red 3.1

      Very unlikely it is old news, people , media have moved on, not that they don’t have sympathy for the families but you can’t keep looking back

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1

        Another right winger with a serious empathy deficit and a side order of weasel. The government is trying to go back on its promises today.

        • Red 3.1.1.1

          Thanks little man

          • Clump_AKA Sam 3.1.1.1.1

            The rule is, in an emegancy, park up all vehicals and proceed on foot to the nearest refuge chamber, and surface crew will move heaven and earth to get to you, that keeps the mining community going.

      • Incognito 3.1.2

        Sealing the mine entrance with 20 meters of concrete is “old news”? You don’t say!

        • Red 3.1.2.1

          With out judging any one I suggest most people turn off now when pike river comes up. There is huge competition for disaster news be global or local, time unfortunately dilutes relevance

          • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.2.1.1

            Your weltanschauung is showing.

            The relevance to the families has not changed, therefore the relevance to anyone who empathises with them has not changed.

            This has nothing to do with news cycles.

          • Incognito 3.1.2.1.2

            If you have photos of your lost loved one(s) on the wall, on your bedside, I don’t think you’d make such a statement.

            For me personally it is highly relevant that this Government is honest and open with its citizens AKA us and that it keeps the promises it makes.

            Is that not relevant to you also?

      • Except it’s “overdue news,” where a long period of inaction has made feelings high. This is actually precisely the sort of thing that makes good copy, so if it doesn’t show up, then it’s really more about providing cover for the government.

        I lost count of the news stories I saw about people’s homes not being fixed after the canterbury earthquake. This is the exact same type of story.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    The National Government just wants to wash its hands of the whole thing, and move on. They don’t seem to care no-one has ever faced court for those 29 deaths, or that the families have never got the bodies back to bury.

    I wonder what National are afraid of finding in there?

    It’s not the monetary cost that stopping them from doing it.
    It can’t be the electoral cost either.
    It’s not the will and temper of the people wiling to go in and get them.

    Who or what are National protecting?

    • Cinny 4.1

      Strongly agree with your points Draco.

      And kudos Alpha Andy aka the future PM, you really genuinely care about the people, that is very obvious. Thank you for caring and standing up for and with the Pike Families.

      If MSN fails to spread the word, I’ll make sure I do.

      ” Just this week, Mr Key sent Nick Smith to threaten the Pike families with arrest if they try to stop Solid Energy entombing their loved ones.”

    • Red 4.2

      thier afraid of more people getting killed Draco, it’s not that difficult unless you are a conspiracy nut bar

      • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.1

        Didn’t seem to bother them when they were letting the company get away with manslaughter.

        Right wingers: happy to pretend they respect life only once workers are dead.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.2.2

        No, that’s not it. If they were concerned about that then we probably would have seen serious work on improving working conditions.

      • And you think someone couldn’t have told the Prime Minister that when he made his promise in the first place?

        It’s not unreasonable to not go in to get the bodies because it’s too dangerous. What is unreasonable is to promise you’ll do it then change your mind because it’s too dangerous. That suggests you don’t know what you’re doing.

  5. james 5

    National say they have evidence that its not safe to re-enter.

    Lets just assume that this is true – even if others have different conclusions from other parties.

    IF they allowed people to go in, and there was another tragic accident – and even more people lost their lives – if the people who allowed them to go in – despite having been given evidence that it was unsafe – how would you react to that?

    Should they be held accountable for the additional deaths?

    • mauī 5.1

      Where’s the evidence? I haven’t seen any so far.

      We were led to believe it was safe at the beginning, yet that turned out to be blatantly false. Why would you assume anything from these turkeys now.

      • James 5.1.1

        As I said let’s assume it’s true that he has evidence – as he has said he has – my question still stands.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1

          As I said let’s assume it’s true that he has evidence

          No, lets not. Doing that just encourages the lying that we’ve seen so consistently from this government.

          He needs to show the evidence.

        • Incognito 5.1.1.2

          The answer to your question is No.

          Let’s see the evidence that John Key is evidently privy to but, for some reason, the families of the deceased miners are not. Why not?

          You’re distracting.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2

      Drop the pretence that you care one jot about workers’ lives.

      • Clump_AKA Sam 5.2.1

        The formula for reentry is ventilate stoop for 1 hour before entry and maintain ventilation. Check for unexploded ordnance, wash everything down with water, declear work site safe for reentry.

        If New Zealand can’t do that then it’s got no fucken business mining.

      • s y d 5.2.2

        It’s not workers lives, rather liability of directors….

      • James 5.2.3

        Would I send someone into something if I had evidence provided to me – hell no.

        That’s not pretending – that is my position 100%

        Now how about trying to answer the question as opposed to trying to divert.

        • infused 5.2.3.1

          they can’t/won’t.

          It’s a big conspiracy.

          Little is jumping on it, because frankly, it’s all he’s got. Pity no ones listening.

          • Clump_AKA Sam 5.2.3.1.1

            Do you relies that it’s impossible to engineer a 100% safe mine? If you can’t clear the refuge chambers at Pike river then all underground mines in NZ has to shut down until proper procedure is sorted

        • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2.3.2

          Your first sentence is munted.

          Time and time again National Party legislation sends people to work where they get injured and killed – on the farms, in the forests, on the chain.

          You do not give a shit about them while they’re alive.

        • Cinny 5.2.3.3

          There is a big difference between the mine and the drift.
          I’d like to see the evidence that it is unsafe to go into the drift, as well as know the background of the people providing the info. Smith claims it’s unsafe to go into the mine, the families only want to go into the drift.

          Sucks that there is such a lack of trust, but that’s how it is towards the outgoing PM, due to his track record and that of his party.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.3

      Should they be held accountable for the additional deaths?

      That would depend on if they’re actually following best practice guidelines or not don’t you think?

      The directors of Pike River weren’t.

      • Red 5.3.1

        I suggest they are, the danger is to high to execute a safe entry according to thier experts and risk analysis , again end of story unless you are a conspiracy nut bar

        • Draco T Bastard 5.3.1.1

          the danger is to high to execute a safe entry according to thier experts and risk analysis

          Well, actually, it’s according to their lies.

          Unless you have their evidence and risk assessment report.

    • JAMES

      The problem is , quite bluntly , … that the narrative you are trying to defend , – as is RED- is shot through with hypocrisy from the beginning.

      We , the posters, the bloggers , untold news articles and even the Royal Commission on Pike River have demonstrated to you time and time again that a) Management was clearly at fault at not creating a ‘ culture of health and safety ‘ despite repeated warnings of dangerous levels of methane , and that all along the way there have been experienced mining officials that have stated the mine was safe to enter contradicting Keys so – called ‘ expert advice’ that he is leaning on now to abscond from responsibility .

      Here is an excerpt from the Royal Commission demonstrating the fallacy of your statement from the Royal Commission itself. I took the liberty to put in capitals certain portions to highlight motives and meanings.

      {‘The new owner of the mine, Solid Energy New Zealand Ltd, has agreed that it will take all reasonable steps to recover
      the bodies provided this ‘can be achieved safely, is technically feasible AND IS FINANCIALLY CREDIBLE
      Any recovery will
      hinge on a resumption of commercial mining operations.
      The mine is sealed and its atmosphere is inert. Solid Energy is ensuring the safety of the mine, including physical
      security, monitoring of the underground atmosphere, checking of seals and contingency planning.
      New Zealand HAS A POOR SAFETY RECORD compared with other advanced countries. The government has set
      up an independent ministerial task force to determine if New Zealand’s health and safety system is fit for purpose. The
      task force will no doubt examine on a broader scale some of the matters that the commission has considered.’}

      …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

      And for trolls such as RED who are always ready with their ruthless mentality to use and manipulate a trajic situation to blame the Labour party, the reds, the lefts and the owner of the cornershop dairy- anyone but their dear National party ,… here is a historical list from the Royal Commission itself demonstrating that the old tactic of this current National govt of blaming Labour in this instance is a fallacy.

      { A failure to learn
      New Zealand’s health and safety record is inferior to that of other comparable countries. The rate of workplace
      fatalities is higher than in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, worse than the OECD average and has remained
      static in recent years.
      New Zealand also has a history of underground coal mine tragedies including:
      1879 Kaitangata mine 34 deaths
      1896 Brunner mine 65 deaths
      1914 Huntly, Ralph’s colliery 43 deaths
      1939 Huntly, Glen Afton No. 1 mine 11 deaths
      1967 Strongman mine 19 deaths
      Lessons from the past, learnt at the cost of lives, have not been retained.}

      …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

      Another excerpt from the Royal Commission on Pike River :

      Governance by the board
      The Pike board of directors was required to set the strategic direction of the company and delegate its
      implementation to management. The directors then had to ensure that appropriate systems were in place,
      including risk management, internal reporting and legal compliance systems, and also monitor the performance of
      management. A two-man health, safety and environment committee was to lead this process and report to the board.
      It could commission external reports and audits.
      The board received a monthly report containing a health and safety section. Although this was helpful, it did not cover
      the hazards relevant to a catastrophic event such as an explosion. The board did not assess critical design and health
      and safety issues, including, for example, the location of the main fan underground at pit bottom. An insurance risk
      survey received in July 2010 identified serious concerns about the hazards posed by hydro mining, windblast and a
      gas explosion, and urged the need for a comprehensive risk assessment of the mining operation. Neither the board
      nor its committee saw the report.
      The mine manager attended a board meeting four days before the explosion and told the directors that gas
      management was ‘more a nuisance and daily operational consideration than a significant problem or barrier to
      operations’.4
      The board was not well placed to assess this assurance.
      The board did not verify that effective systems were in place and that risk management was effective. Nor did it
      properly hold management to account, but instead assumed that managers would draw the board’s attention to
      any major operational problems. The board did not provide effective health and safety leadership and protect the
      workforce from harm. It was distracted by the financial and production pressures that confronted the company.
      …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

      Some have tried to place the blame squarely on the workers , however ,…

      {The workforce
      Pike recognised the need for good training programmes, given the inexperience and diversity of much of its
      workforce. Miners received comprehensive induction training and continuing training was introduced in 2010 but
      deferred as the push for production gathered momentum. Numerous contractors were engaged on a long-term
      basis. Contractor health and safety management was less effective. The induction and underground supervision of
      the smaller contractors in particular was lax. This was recognised and was about to be addressed when the explosion
      intervened.
      Underground, difficulties arose because of a shortage of underviewers and deputies, a high ratio of inexperienced
      to experienced miners and the presence of overseas miners unused to New Zealand mining conditions. A serious
      problem was the workers’ practice of bypassing safety devices on mining machinery so work could continue
      regardless of the presence of methane. This was reckless behaviour. There were also reports of other conduct and
      incidents caused by inexperience, inadequate training and failures to follow procedures.}

      When one views the Commissions conclusions on who has the ultimate responsibility it states this :

      { Production before safety

      10. Coal production is, of course, the core objective of a mining company. But this imperative remains subject to an
      employer’s statutory obligation ‘to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees’.7
      The commission
      considers that the way in which hydro mining began at Pike indicates a culture that put production before safety. }

      {12. In addition, Pike had no previous experience in hydro mining, and used a largely inexperienced workforce and a
      co-ordinator who was neither qualified nor confident in the role. The Pike board approved a hydro-mining bonus
      payable to workers if a production target was met by a defined date, after which the bonus reduced progressively
      each week. These factors, in combination, compel the commission to conclude that, in September 2010 as hydro
      mining began, the pressure for production overrode safety concerns.}

      {Was health and safety management taken seriously?

      17. As Pike’s health and safety manager told the commission, his brief from the company was to develop a world-class
      health and safety management system. Much time and effort was devoted to putting in place what was seen as a
      best practice system. Documents were drawn up, systems were prescribed and training programmes established.
      18. But, as discussed in the chapters on health and safety management and the critical mine systems, commitment
      from others was lacking. The board and executive management did not lead the process. Most documents
      remained in draft, and many were not followed anyway. Systems were set up, but were not used as intended. Safety
      information was not well monitored, and internal and external review of the system was very limited.
      19. Ultimately, the worth of a system depends on whether health and safety is taken seriously by everyone throughout
      an organisation; that it is accorded the attention that the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 demands.
      Problems in relation to risk assessment, incident investigation, information evaluation and reporting, among others,
      indicate to the commission that health and safety management was not taken seriously enough at Pike.}

      {Conclusions

      33. The commission considers that as at November 2010, the emphasis placed on short-term coal production so seriously
      weakened Pike’s safety culture that signs of the risk of an explosion either went unnoticed or were not heeded.}

      …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

      I would invite any right wing trolls to read the Royal Comission into Pike River themselves before they offer such bold and erroneous apologetic statements for their National partys stance in order to justify the lie that the mine cannot be entered or that safety standards were not the result of of a negligent management in the first place.

      There are vast resources to be found in the Royal Commission itself in establishing the ultimate responsibility for the disaster – , and there are many qualified mining officials from overseas and also locally who state unequivocally that Pike River is now safe to enter to conduct not only a forensic search as to the true causes of the disaster but also to recover the remains of its former workers.

      • Red 5.4.1

        Despite your rambling Nick Smith disagrees with your summation and the evidence he has is that the mine is unsafe to enter, end of story, safety first and ire on the side of caution

        • Clump_AKA Sam 5.4.1.1

          What experience do you have in underground mining?

          • Red 5.4.1.1.1

            None but I am sure nick smiths experts do, likewise his lawyers in regard to potential liability if anything went wrong

            • Clump_AKA Sam 5.4.1.1.1.1

              You’re supposed to have liability insurance so I don’t know why you mentioned that. What you’ve written here and other places on this web board has nothing to do with mining or the industry. For a better informed discussion I strongly suggest you go to this link (http://www.worksafe.govt.nz/worksafe/news/in-focus/pike-river/mining-regulations) read up a bit especially the 1999 regulations. The guides all been written out so any labour can come off the street, mine successfully and go home.

              • Red

                You can’t insure for liability under new OSH act, likewise there is criminal liability, yawn

                • Clump_AKA Sam

                  Now your talking about personal cover. I was talking about cover if you cause injury to others. Read through the link again

        • WILD KATIPO 5.4.1.2

          RED ,

          And ,…. that’s the same incompetent Nick Smith who was once busy running around screwing up on housing ???… when he couldn’t even get that right ????!!! … ( oh wait,… perhaps we can look to Paula Bennett and her $5000 to get out of Auckland free card- then another $1000 to come back and do it all again just for fun ) … and your ACTUALLY saying you would BELIEVE an incompetent lackey like that ?!!?

          Seriously ,… your inane comments are laughable if only in the manner you even try to call excerpts from the Royal Commission of inquiry ‘ RAMBLINGS’.

          Sonny , … your a joke.

          • Red 5.4.1.2.1

            One unrelated thing plus another unrelated thing must then predicate your arguement, great logic their, again I have no problem with your point if you are a conspiracy theorist, moon landing, twin towers, Chem trails and all that

    • Whispering Kate 5.5

      James – The PM is good for being a smart mouth with “show us the money” – well he should come clean and “show us the evidence about it being unsafe – who are these professionals/departments who gave him the evidence that it would be unsafe, then maybe we wouldn’t despise him for his lying and callousness which he is, oh so expert at dishing out.

      Like others on this blog site I believe he is covering up evidence at this crime site which is despicable.

      • Red 5.5.1

        Thus we are back to my original point conspiracy theories

        • WILD KATIPO 5.5.1.1

          L0L!…

          Soooo ,…. here is a right winger who not only believes the Royal Commission of inquiry into Pike River is ‘ RAMBLINGS ‘ ,… he is now a supreme mining expert who feels qualified to refute experienced and qualified mining officials from New Zealand , Australia and other overseas nations who have stated continuously that Pike River can be entered …. and then calls the findings of all those experts ‘ conspiracy theory’s ‘ .

          Perhaps the money issue for this Govt has something more to do with the motives rather than any issues of integrity and keeping a promise ,… you know the old story – ‘ wait until the whole thing blows over ‘ while directing the media to move on, downplay it , reduce and marginalize until the issue is only directly related to the individuals concerned.

          Meanwhile,… trolls like RED can sit behind their computers and post stupid, inane one liner remarks and feed off the process – just like a hookworm does in its parasitic life-cycle.

          And will the contractors who are paid to carry out this blocking of the evidence be subsidized by this Govt also?

          One would think the Govt has done a feasibility plan and concluded that its far cheaper to pay for a few square metres of concrete and rock ballast to make a wall than to actually do the right thing and recover the victims remains and risk potentially finding evidence that would incriminate those at fault – and embellish the findings of the Royal Commissions original findings even further about culpability and poor health and safety under this Government. .

          • Macro 5.5.1.1.1

            He’s the “rent a crowd” idiot for the day. The rest have been fired for incompetence. Red should be careful as he’s likely to be down the road too.

            We need better trolls.

            • Rosemary McDonald 5.5.1.1.1.1

              “He’s the “rent a crowd” idiot for the day. The rest have been fired for incompetence. Red should be careful as he’s likely to be down the road too.

              We need better trolls.”

              Thank you Macro!!!

              As soon as Red used the term ‘ramblings’ in relation to the excerpts from the Pike River Commission of Inquiry you should have realised WILD KATIPO you were not engaging with a person comfortable with reading more than three consecutive sentences.

              Don’t cast your pearls….

        • Whispering Kate 5.5.1.2

          Red you remind me of Shirley Valentine ‘you just talk shit” – don’t presume that I am a conspiracy theorist , you haven’t a clue who I am or what I believe – keep your rubbish comments to yourself please.

          • Macro 5.5.1.2.1

            Red spouts enough rubbish in one comment to fill a landfill.

          • Red 5.5.1.2.2

            Free world to presume what you want and vice versa there is a lot of presumption going on this blog, I am just presuming such presumptions are conspiracy theories or kDS , chill don’t take it personally 😀

        • Cinny 5.5.1.3

          RED, a conspiracy theorist is nothing more than a derogatory title used to dismiss a critical thinker.

          And if you dismiss a conspiracy theory without honestly researching it, that’s because it interferes with your comfort zone and your outlook on politics Red.

          Conspiracy theory is a convenient label for you to use Red when you have run out of argument and refuse to research any more information, even new information provided to you. It’s easier to switch off and give something a label than deal with reality.

          Are you enjoying basking in the attention you are getting Red? i betcha are.

          • ropata 5.5.1.3.1

            It’s not a conspiracy theory when there are 29 miners lying underground. It is the textbook example of a government cover up.

            I really don’t get National’s inertia on this, what are they afraid of?

            • Cinny 5.5.1.3.1.1

              Heading into the drift would enable the media to spotlight Pike again, informing the public of the past, something the outgoing government probably wants to just go away, it tugs at peoples heart strings, leading them to make emotional decisions such as not voting for National.

              Or do the lobbyists have something to do with the big picture…?

              When you can’t trust the government because they’ve been proven to lie, side step and loop hole exploit it’s bloody difficult to find a real answer, let alone believe anything they say.

  6. adam 6

    TO sum up red, the media have moved on so so should you.Funny when our media is still deep in dirty politics then I find that argument silly.

    OAB is a little man. Funny, OAB is a green voter not labour, so that barb was way off. But typical of rwnj on this site who have an obsession with the ‘left’ being homogeneous.

    Pike river is not news worthy (so many more disasters to talk about) , so we should forget it. Again a odd comment, but at this stage it’s only going to get weirder.

    It’s a safety, well duh it always has been!

    Again same barb at OAB – see above comment

    When challenged reaches for report we can’t read – winning argument that one.

    Calls anyone who opposed his opinion a conspiracy theorist, well losing the argument at this point so desperation is a must.

    Say’s nick smith knows best – odd I would not trust smith with children. Again is losing argument so straw clutching.

    Then unnamed expert – are we in lala land or what at this point.

    Feels real bad, so lashes out at so called conspiracy theorists.

    Finally knows his argument is a fail, goes on a whinge, and complains about people taking it personal.

    Wow Red, interesting stuff – I always thought you were a bit off. But this level of amoral high-jinx – even for you, is a bit low.

    Oh and by the way, no one wants to go down the shaft. They just want to to go in far enough to get the bodies back.

  7. Red 7

    To your points Adam

    All I am saying is story is old news in a sea of new tragedies thus hard to get purchase

    little man is nothing to do with labour OAB Just comes across to me as little man with a potty mouth

    nick smith does no best as he has more information than all of us and it’s is he who is on the hook if it goes wrong,

    At the end of the day everything is premumptious I just choose to trust the government here, you don’t, get over it

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1

      The government always knows best, eh. 🙄

      Watching this witless gimp twist and turn and lie for Dear Leader would be entertaining if it weren’t so nauseating.

      • DH 7.1.1

        “I just choose to trust the government here,”

        No you don’t Red, you’re not stupid mate. That they’ve put the village idiot onto it should be a giveaway even to staunch Nats. This all fails the logic test;

        From Nick Smith…

        “The mine is full of methane and is likely to have residual heat sources capable of triggering an explosion if there was a source of oxygen. There is the added risk of rockfalls,” he said.

        All irrelevant to re-entering the mine. If they use closed-circuit breathing apparatus they won’t be introducing any source of oxygen to the mine and rockfalls are a risk in any underground activity. I don’t see speleology being banned.

        “The mine had only one exit and that remained a fundamental flaw for the safety of any re-entry attempt.”

        A second exit is not a requirement for a re-entry, nor would it improve safety even if there was one. It looks like the man is making shit up.

  8. alwyn 8

    I have no doubt that some people contributing to this blog will describe me as a miserable, cynical …. etc etc.

    There is, in my opinion, not the slightest chance that Little will attempt to re-open and enter the mine if he should, god forbid, ever be in the PM’s chair.
    He is doing exactly what he is accusing John Key of doing. Andrew is giving the families of the miners a completely false hope.
    He claims it is safe to re-enter the mine. He claims that he will arrange the recovery of the bodies. He will never attempt such an action. He cannot have any guarantee of the safety of the people he would order into the mine and he, along with the Labour Party would never recover if anyone he sent into the drift, or the mine, was injured.

    If Andrew got into a position of power he would immediately find some reason not to carry out his “promise”. He would probably come out with a statement such as
    “It was safe in 2016 but the National Government sabotaged the shaft when they sealed it and now we can’t open it.”
    Something like that anyway but whatever it is he isn’t going to order someone into the drift to look for what would be 8 year old remains, assuming any can be found.
    He could not possibly recover from the report of someone being injured at that they had to be removed from the area because it was, as the Government says totally unsafe.

    Why does he feel he must give the families a totally false hope? Is he really such a vile person that he will say anything to try and make himself look good and the PM look bad?

    What is he going to say if the Government table their expert reports in Parliament that it is not safe. Can he really think he can get away with claiming he knows better?
    The man is a miserable fool for making the promises he is coming out with and giving the families of the 29 miners continued false hopes.

    • ropata 8.1

      You’re a miserable piece of work, this isn’t about politicking it’s about justice and closure for the miners and their families.

    • DH 8.2

      How about you not be such an accusing prat. For one it’s almost certainly possible to make the mine completely safe to enter*. That would just cost money so anyone who says it’s not safe is being rather duplicitous.

      *The mine can be re-ventilated, removing all the dangerous gases. They can re-ventilate the mine by drilling new shafts to calculated points of the mine and creating an airflow to suck all the gases out.

      If they really wanted to enter the mine they could do it. It’s not a matter of risk, it’s a matter of cost.

      • Clump_AKA Sam 8.2.1

        If it was me I’d flood the mine, go down the vent shaft, pump out each section as I went.

      • alwyn 8.2.2

        I shall reply to you as, apart from Wild Katipo most of the others are simply abuse without thought or relevance.
        You say ” it’s almost certainly possible to make the mine completely safe to enter”.
        You may be right. I’m not an engineer or a geologist so I am quite unqualified to comment on that. However there are experts who say it is not safe and cannot be made so.
        Little will not risk trying to put anyone into the mine, or the drift, while any such doubts exist. What would he do if there was an accident and someone was hurt or even killed? He could never answer accusations that he caused the injuries or death for political purposes. He, and his party would be politically dead.
        He has, in his statement, basically claimed that he would order people to enter the mine and recover the bodies. He also says there is no risk and that the mine is stable.
        He will apparently spend any amount of time, spend any amount of money and take any amount of risk with peoples lives to do this. I really don’t think he will actually go ahead with it. He simply won’t take any chance at all on something going wrong that would end up with him carrying the can

        • One Anonymous Bloke 8.2.2.1

          So according to your logic, Key and National take responsibility for all work related deaths and injuries, do they? On worm farms?

          Fact is it’s easy to care about workers’ lives when there are votes involved, eh. Frankly, if Key ordered a team in and they all died he’d hold a “solemn” memorial service and “honour” their “sacrifice” wrapped in the flag.

        • Clump_AKA Sam 8.2.2.2

          Engineers build bridges, geo’s take samples, miners fix up fuck ups

        • DH 8.2.2.3

          Oh stop being so precious alwyn, you’re not convincing here.

          Every day thousands of NZers are engaged in dangerous work and the Govt ‘orders’ many of them. I didn’t see Key being too bothered about lives when he sent NZ troops to Iraq, your argument about risk is sheer fallacy.

          It goes without saying that any attempt to enter the mine would only be undertaken if all parties involved are convinced, and satisfied, they have eliminated the risk to life and limb.

          If the Govt is so worried about negative publicity they can go the easy route and tender it out to the private sector.

          You’ve used an extremely weak argument to make a very strong attack on Andrew Little. It’s pretty pathetic.

    • dv 8.3

      The man is a miserable fool for making the promises he is coming out with and giving the families of the 29 miners continued false hopes.

      Good description of Key!!!

    • ALWYN

      You know perfectly well that the current issue IS NOT about Andrew Little or the Labour party but EVERYTHING to do with the Key led INCUMBENT govt.

      That you would try to divert the issue by claiming spurious political motives of Little and the Labour party’s statements regarding reentry into Pike River – and the bald faced assumptions flying in the face of the evidence and testimony of experienced and qualified mining experts who disagree with the govt’s stance and state the mine CAN be reentered …. demonstrates that you , along with your sycophantic National party colleagues on this blogsite are , in fact , simply using nothing more than crystal ball fear tactics to justify the sealing up and thus the denial of collection and collation of forensic evidence that most certainly would still exist in that mine.

      When John Key releases the information and disclosure of exactly WHO and what organisation is providing that ‘ expert’ mining information he is basing his decision on , – and thus stands open to expert and public critique of his sources , perhaps then you can make such bold assertions.

      Until then , the evidence still stands as it always has , – that the mine at Pike River CAN be reentered.

      • alwyn 8.4.1

        You say “the current issue IS NOT about Andrew Little”. The current issue is precisely about Andrew Little. It his statement we are talking about.
        My claim is simply that, should he get into power, Little will not order people to try and enter the mine while there is any disagreement between experts as to whether it is safe.

        As for “When John Key releases the information and disclosure of exactly WHO and what organisation is providing that ‘ expert’ mining information”.
        Yes I would like to see it released too, if it hasn’t already been done. However I would also like to see the evidence of the people you quote being released in equal detail. Does anything except statements of belief exist? So far it appears to be, on both sides, simple statements that “I think” vs “you think”.

        Neither Little, nor the present Government are going to risk being prosecuted for putting people into danger when there was reasonable doubt as to the safety of the mine. He will, if he should somehow get into a position of power fudge the issue and simply drop the whole thing.

        • WILD KATIPO 8.4.1.1

          I think you will find that Andrew Little will not ‘order’ anyone,… it will be more a case of going on advice gleaned from those who offer a feasible plan of operations first , perhaps as others here have suggested and definitely from those qualified to know.

          The primary difference is instead of the inertia and defeatism offered up by Key , Little says he will act on qualified expert opinions to get the job done.

          During the Strongman mine disaster, because it was a state run mining operation , the Govt was forced to pay around 230,000 pounds in compensation to affected family’s.

          Contrast that with Whittall … ” When he was finally charged with 29 counts of manslaughter, Worksafe did a secret deal with his insurance company the night before Court, allowing him to buy his way out of these severe criminal charges for $100k per head. He was immediately allowed to leave the country a free man. ” ,… and the original fine of $750,000 payable by Pike River company – which ended up by not paying anything at all…

          There is no doubt at all that skulduggery occurred in the above two examples, – and to add injury to insult to the victims family’s, – after having been pushed and pulled from pillar to post for 6 years, they have now been told the mine is to be sealed off , which as stated – will destroy any likelihood of ever gathering evidence for exactly what went wrong, who was ultimately responsible and most importantly – denying closure for the victims family’s and denying them a proper burial for their loved ones.

          If this is simply an issue about money – which undoubtedly some of it is – then there really isn’t any excuse to not start recovery operations. It was an obscenity for Key to talk of tax cuts recently when a recovery operation would only comprise a small fraction of that amount for example.

          However , if the real motives for literally burying this issue is one of political expediency and an avoidance of opening a can of worms in an upcoming election year, … then it would behoove this Govt to dispel all doubts and to start plans for a recovery operation.

          But they haven’t. They have done exactly the opposite.

          The onus therefore doesn’t lie with the public to prove or disprove , but this Govt. Particularly with Keys bold statements soon after the disaster, upon which he has since reneged. And even more so in light of the conflicting advice from as equally qualified sources as his so- called sources that the mine can be reentered.

          This is why I included the historic case of the Brunner coal mine disaster. There we can graphically see the machinations of those in positions of authority against those who had neither the political clout nor the finances to sustain legal proceedings ie : the miners and their family’s.

          That was over one hundred years ago ,… yet has striking similarity’s to what has happened over the Pike River issue. All credit due to the Commission of Inquiry held for Pike River however , inasmuch as when the issue of blaming the workers came up , ( as it did at Brunner 100 years before ) the Commission laid the ultimate blame at the feet primarily ,… of senior management instead.

          Feasible methods have been put forward for a safe recovery operation , yet have been ignored. And so the only two possible motives left to justify this stance is one of money and political face saving.

          • weka 8.4.1.1.1

            I thought the use of the word ‘order’ was telling. It creates the context for alwyn’s whole comment.

    • adam 8.5

      Wow alwyn, can you get anymore politically sleazy?

      Probably not.

      You just wanted to out do red on the raving ridiculous right (rrr) ah alwyn.

    • Cinny 8.6

      alwyn just because the outgoing PM has gone back on his promises on more than one occasion, does not mean the future PM will do the same.

      It’s really sad that you may well have become so normalised to the outgoing PMs lies that you feel that way, not all PM’s are consistent liars.

  9. And so ,…

    We have Pike River. And we find this from an earlier article on The Standard ,…

    Pike River anniversary: what have we become?

    Doug White and Peter Whittall, the men responsible for this worksite that just killed nearly its entire workforce, were effectively given control of the rescue. They insisted none be attempted, then after all reasonable hope was gone insisted the mine not be sealed, causing an inevitable series of massive explosions and fires.

    Peter Whittall was allowed to opt out of testifying to the Royal Commission because he might incriminate himself.

    When he was finally charged with 29 counts of manslaughter, Worksafe did a secret deal with his insurance company the night before Court, allowing him to buy his way out of these severe criminal charges for $100k per head. He was immediately allowed to leave the country a free man. ”

    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

    We now presumably live in the age of fairness , sophistication of legal due process and smugly assumed egalitarianism that excludes the possibility of repeats of the sort of corruption , elitism and class distinction that existed in the 19th century . And thus we satisfy ourselves that modern day ‘authority’ would never betray the confidence of the voter.

    But do we?

    Let us compare an historic case to events unfolding today over the tragedy of , and also the future of the Pike River mine …. and compare the attitudes and actions of the authority’s then and those of today … and then notice the similarity’s….

    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

    The Brunner Mine Disaster
    Thursday, March 26th, 1896

    wpeD.jpg (29762 bytes)

    To the memory of 65 men, their widows and families who were affected by this disaster.

    Thursday, March 26th 1896, dawned bright and clear after several days of incessant West Coast rain and strong winds. As they had done for some time prior to this day, the early shift at the Brunner Coal Mine, inland from Greymouth on the South Island’s West Coast, was preparing to enter the mine. It was 7:45am.

    On the hillside above much to the amusement of the miners, an impromptu comic opera was under way. Young Patrick McInerney had released the four pit ponies which were to accompany the miners underground that morning. Well fed and well cared for and of immense value in the narrow tunnels, the ponies had followed the miners underground in the past without a hint of fear. Perhaps in an instinctive premonition of danger, this time they commenced a wild-eyed snorting and stamping as they were chased towards the gaping mouth of the mine. Refusing to enter as they would normally have done quite placidly, the ponies turned and galloped back to their stable. It took some time for them to be coaxed into the mine entrance where their drivers awaited them. Turning their backs to the sunlight for the last time, ponies, drivers and miners entered the eternal night.

    Within 90 minutes, every living being underground in the Brunner Mine that day would be dead. Sixty five men and four ponies would die, either directly from the effects of the explosion or from the resulting suffocating and deadly gases that raced through the underground tunnels and shafts on their way to the surface.

    A muffled boom heard just after 9:00am followed by a strangely sinister cloud of dense grey smoke emanating from the mine entrance was the first indication that something was not right below. Having been informed by those working on the surface of these irregular events, the Mine Manager, James Bishop, and the Engineer, Bob Smith, not cognisant of the immediate dangers posed by doing so, rushed into the mine and down the incline to investigate. Almost immediately they were overcome by the deadly fumes which consisted, in part, of lethal carbon monoxide gas. When they failed to return, surface hands ran into the mine to rescue them. Both were unconscious but were later revived, owing their lives to those comrades who had ignored their own safety. Seeing the effects of the fumes from the mine, those topside with experience of such events, knew that there was now little hope for their comrades in the tunnels below.

    Between the time of the incident and 10:00am that same morning (barely 45 minutes), the telegraph wires throughout Westland had been humming with calls for help and assistance to mount a rescue operation. Answers were received from many of the surrounding townships and mines, all thinking perhaps, that were such an event to befall their community, they too would rely on the help of others. By 11:00am the mine entrance was surrounded by crowds of men, women and children. Many were from Brunner itself whilst many more had arrived by coach, train, steamer and on foot to help where they could. The men to go down the pit in an attempt to rescue anyone still alive and the women to comfort those in sorrow and grief. There was a fellowship here. Other miners knew that it was simply by the grace of God that they were not the ones laying dead down below.

    Work commenced almost immediately on building a “bratticed zig-zag track” (brattice is calico or canvas used to separate ventilation air from return air in a mine shaft) into the mine in an attempt to dispel the deadly gases. Heedless of their own safety, gangs of thirty men worked their way into the mine. In some cases their shifts underground were of less than half an hour before they were overcome by the fumes and trucked back to the surface to recover. Eventually, around a quarter of a mile from the entrance, the first bodies to be found were those of Pat MacDonald and Charles Baxter. Both were unconscious and when found to be still breathing were rushed to the surface. However, in their eagerness to save these lives, the brave rescuers made the fatal mistake of not attempting to revive them underground and, on being overcome by the fresh air, they were to breath their last.

    About a mile underground, near the dynamo, many badly battered bodies were found suggesting that this was the seat of the explosion. As the “rescuers” moved in their relays through the mine they could build a picture of the force, the fear and the terror of those final minutes underground. Some of those near the seat of the explosion had been flayed of their skin while others were found partially dismembered. A reflection of the tremendous force of the explosion was shown by the body of 20 year old David Hall which had been hurled almost 100 meters up the incline where he had been attending to the pump. This equated to an explosive force of 1,000 meters per second. Others, escaping the initial blast, had taken some quite extreme steps to avoid the deadly fumes. Some had tried laying down to take advantage of low-lying pockets of air, some like 45 year old Thomas Clarke had pressed themselves into crevices in the mine walls and others had wrapped themselves in remnants of the canvas “brattice”.

    Nothing was to spare them. Whatever the measures taken, nothing could stop the pervasive “after-damp” gases. There was no escape. The gas was driven by incredible force and the only way to escape was to out-run it………an impossible feat. An underground mine is a lattice-work of tunnels, some linking to others giving several fronts on which the gases could approach and yet others, known as “bords”, were dead-ends and had but one exit. The gases themselves would have done their lethal work swiftly. “After-damp” is a combination of all the gases produced after a mine explosion including “white-damp” and “black-damp”. “White-damp” is carbon monoxide, a deadly poison in small quantities while “black-damp” is carbon dioxide, non-combustible but capable of spreading like a suffocating blanket throughout the mine tunnels. It would have been a combination of these that was seen emanating from the mine opening shortly after the explosion and it was considered that within three minutes of the the explosion all life would have been extinguished.

    Throughout the day following the explosion, Friday March 27th, the weary gangs of men toiled in the dark, dirty and un-safe conditions of the mine to locate and bring out the bodies of their fellow miners. By 2:00pm all but one of the bodies, that of 36 year old Edward Stevens Kent, had been recovered. The search to locate Kent continued while his wife and three children waited daily at the mine entrance hoping beyond hope that a miracle may have happened and he had escaped alive. It was not until the morning of the following Tuesday, March 31st, that Mary Kent knew that her hopes had been in vain. Edward’s badly burned body was found under a large fall of rock. The register was now complete.

    Death is simply interested in the extinction of life and does not select its victims on the basis of age, nationality, family status or relationship. Of the sixty five who died that day, forty were family men leaving grieving widows and a total of 186 dependent children. Others, such as John Roberts (46), William John Roberts (22), Samuel Roberts (18) and David Roberts (15) were father and sons who had been part of the same early shift and yet others such as Joseph and Thomas McIvor (25 & 19 years respectively) were brothers. Many hailed from England, while some were Irish born and yet others traced their birth back to Scotland. Some, not many, were first generation New Zealanders, whilst one was from Lyon in France and one from Victoria, Australia. The oldest was 72 and the youngest, as we have seen, just 15. All the while, in the nearby Brunnerton Carpenters Shop, a gang of men led by Jack Temperley toiled hastily with weatherboard, saw and hammer. On Saturday, March 28th, a number of the victims were buried at Greymouth. On the Sunday many more were buried at Stillwater in individual family plots or in the mass grave that now holds 33 of the victims.

    The day following the disaster a Charitable Appeal was launched by the then Prime Minister, Richard John Seddon, who had been touring the West Coast at the time and went straight to Brunnerton on hearing the news. Throughout the country donations of money, clothing and toys were made by all those who felt sympathy for the victims – the wives and families of those who had died. In terms of money, the amount raised was £32, 957 13s 11d or 11s 3d per head of population in 1896. When compared to New Zealands most successful Telethon in 1981, this suggests that the population back then, when called on, was some 30 times more generous.

    Immediately following the final burials, a Coroners Inquest was held, headed by Coroner Henry Aldborough Stratford. The inquest, however, was to get off to a bad start and prove, in terms of a solution (ie in finding the reason for the explosion and therefore the reasons for the resulting deaths), inconclusive. It had long been known by local miners that the mine had insufficient ventilation and was dangerous in that it contained pockets of gas. The miners were willing to testify to this and that it was their belief that this was the reason for the explosion. Under the 1891 Coal Mines Act, half of the jurors at the inquest were required to be miners. None were. Two that had been selected by Constable Beattie were struck off by the Coroner “after he had made enquiries”. Complaints to Seddon fell on deaf ears as he was to state that the responsibility for the Inquest lay with Police and Coroner, not with the Government. Evidence that gas existed in the mine and that, in the belief of experienced miners, this was the cause of the explosion (the miners used “Colza-oil” lamps with a naked flame rather than “Davey Safety Lamps”) was either ruled inadmissible or cleverly discounted.

    The verdict of the Coroner’s Inquest was one thing. It would state, for better or worse, correctly or incorrectly, the conclusion as to the cause of death of the 65 Brunner miners. Following hard on its heels, however, was the Royal Commission of Inquiry. Wielding more authority, it was hoped that the Royal Commission would determine culpability and responsibility for events leading to the explosion and for the explosion itself. While the avenues able to be followed by the Coroners Inquiry were also full of the same legal entitlements (and moral requirements), much effort at that time had been focussed on researching “facts” for the Royal Commission. Matthew Batty, a wonderfully outspoken pioneer miner at the Brunner Mine, was to state before the beginning of the hearing “it is well known that the experts’ verdict is that no-one living is to blame”. It seemed that there was no cognisance of the fact that miners were sent into a mine with a known existence of combustible gas and with naked-flame lights.

    The Royal Commission of Inquiry began on May 7th, 1896 amid local suspicion as to its composition. Headed by Dudly Robert Ward, a District Court Judge from Christchurch, the Commission was made up of Sir James Hector, Head of the Geological Service and known to be unsympathetic to miners, Joseph Proud a certified mine manager and Thomas Skellon, described as a Huntly “coal miner” but who was unknown to the miners from Brunnerton. The Premier had asserted, to the disbelief of the Brunner community, that their interests would be “ably represented” by Proud and Skellon. It was claimed that the absence of “working miners” on the Inquiry board would mean “that there would be no genuineness in the Royal Commission proceedings”.

    Throughout the course of the Royal Commission, the beliefs of the miners were at odds with the Commissions conclusions and the witnesses that it called. Again, Matthew Batty, the miners advocate, was to give expression to the general feeling amongst the miners that there was little value in the Royal Commission. He was also critical of Prime Minister Seddon’s meddlesome interest in the Commission and his “toadying to the big bug and capitalist”. He made slighted comment as to the way Seddon was seen to have changed (Seddon had been a miner before the heady days of his political career) when he said “the slaughter of 65 valuable lives will long be remembered as having occurred under this working man’s Government”. Batty was more critical, however, of Sir James Hectors appointment. Of Hector he was reported to say “He can hardly fail to lean with the Government” and “the poor colliers will be all alone in black damp”. This was a pointed reference to the deaths of the miners and that it was felt that they were all alone with no representation. Batty’s main concern was for those left dependent as a result of the accident. The widows and children of the dead miners who were “…at our backs crying for justice…”. While those well able to defend themselves (the mine managers and officials) in an articulate manner continued their infighting, bickering and power-plays, defending themselves at the expense of anyone else, the miners were left to represent themselves. Indeed one of the central weaknesses in the airing of the miners’ case was the absence of adequate representation because of lack of money. Of the Commissioners it has been said that “…they asked the questions they wanted to ask and heard the answers they wanted to hear and that these were decided mainly by socio-political considerations.”

    Claims were made, accusations flew and opinions were formed. It was up to the Commissioners to bring down a judgement. Enough said. It was the belief of the Commissioners and those who spoke from a position of authority that “…the primary cause of the explosion was a blown out shot (an explosive charge that had misfired and ignited coal dust or gases in the mine; ie the fault of the victims) …. fired by a person unknown…. contrary to the rules of the mine, in a part of the mine where no work should have been in progress…”. It was unfortunate that no-one could, in truth, testify for or against this assertion. No evidence of work being undertaken in the part of the mine where this occurred was found. But, all the witnesses were dead. They had died in the mine as a direct result of the supposed lack of judgement. A tidy package indeed. The miners knew, however, from their experience that the explosion was caused by firedamp (a mixture of methane and air which could be ignited by a naked flame). They had known for some time that Brunner coal gave off gas and that there were pockets in the mine. The miners had used naked-flame lamps. They had no choice. However in the recovery photographs displayed at the time, the miners held high their Davey Safety Lamps. The implication was obvious.

    Following the results of the Royal Commission and the Coroners Inquiry dissatisfaction with the verdicts still remained. Two writs were brought against the “Greymouth and Point Elizabeth Railway and Coal Company”, alleging negligence. One was brought by Mary McIvor concerning her two sons killed in the incident and the other by George & Sarah Geoghegan on behalf of their son James. Of his action George said “I did all I could to raise the wind, to have the action fought, to get the breath of the jury on it. I did not succeed. There was only one who had any spark to come in and test the case.” This was 51 year old Mary McIvor widowed in 1890, who had not only lost her two sons in the disaster but also the family income that they provided.

    The trial began on March 26th 1897, the first anniversary of the disaster. The proceedings consisted of the usual to-and-fro of accusation and counter-accusation, insinuation and censure. Early in the proceedings the miners advocate and representative Mr Jellicoe was (rightly or wrongly) suspended for contempt and subsequently found guilty of that charge. The potential of this was that, once more, the miners would be left without representation. The blown-out-shot theory which was the verdict of the Royal Commission was not this time genuinely supported by anyone. Even those who had spoken out for it at the Commission had “changed their minds”. Other theories were put forward, all of which laid the blame squarely (if not fairly) at the feet of the miners. Natural events and a person or persons unknown had created the conditions that led to the explosion and the subsequent deadly gas. In any event, this person was now dead and the evidence extracted from the mine was inconclusive.

    Throughout the course of the trial, Justice Denniston had been particularly remiss in offering guidance and interpretation on points of law to the jury. Indeed the focus of the trial had been on the question of cause rather than that of negligence. This negated the need for Denniston to offer his learned help to the jury. Of him it has been said that “Judge Denniston was insecure in some of his judgements and was often, during his career to express the wish to have other judges join him in giving decisions.” What hope, then, the miners? In his summing up of the trial before the jury retired, Denniston indicated that an acceptable verdict would be that “…the accident must have occurred by some unforseen and not reasonably foreseeable occurrence…”. What hope, then, the jurors? After 3 hours of deliberation, they were unable to reach a verdict.

    There were to be future appeals and investigations but nothing would finally decide the cause of and culpability for the disaster. The whole sorry episode was perhaps best summed up by the Editor of the West Coast Times who prophetically wrote “It would seem to us that the history of this disaster and the conditions surrounding has not been written yet.”

    Let this piece, then, speak on behalf of those miners and their families who were so wronged.

    • ropata 9.1

      Brilliant piece, thanks for sharing. IMHO the cause (as usual) was a culture of profit before people and safety.

      See also: Dreamworld ; Pike River ; Libby, Montana ; The Colorado River ; The fracking industry ; The Dakota Access pipeline ; The dairy industry & poisoning of Hawkes Bay residents

  10. Neil 10

    Of course Little will keep his promise, Little is an honorable man.

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    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
    3 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? ...
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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 ...
    4 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
    4 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 ...
    4 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 ...
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 days ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
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    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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 ...
    5 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
    6 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    6 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    6 days ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    6 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    6 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    6 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    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
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    1 week ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    1 week ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    1 week ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    2 weeks 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    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
    1 week ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago