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Attack on democracy

Written By: - Date published: 5:02 pm, September 28th, 2008 - 52 comments
Categories: election 2008, maori party, national - Tags:

National have quietly released their policy on electoral law and have promised to abolish the Maori seats once treaty claims are finished, repeal the Electoral Finance Act and run a referendum on MMP.

These all represent substantial changes to the way our democracy operates.

I’ll be very interested to see what the Maori Party make of the abolition of seats. I’d also like to know what kind of electoral law they envisage replacing the EFA because I have a bad feeling it won’t involve transparency and the removal of anonymous donations. I sincerely hope our media push for details about the Nat’s plans for electoral law because it’s too important to see it taken back to the days of the shadowy backrooms.

Regarding the plan to run a referendum on MMP, I can only repeat what I said when the Nat’s intentions for MMP first came to light:

I would imagine we’ll hear a lot about how National just support the democratic right to choose an electoral system while their backers run big money campaigns to push first past the post.

Just in case you missed it the first time around here’s a video showing exactly what that meant

52 comments on “Attack on democracy”

  1. The PC Avenger 1

    RE: The Maori party, National, and the maori seats.

    They appear to view it as some kind of bizarre political suicide.

    “Campbell : Having said that, and given we haven’t seen all of National’s policy hand yet – can you imagine anything they might propose that would count as a bridge too far in preventing you from going into government with National ?

    Harawira : Getting rid of the Maori seats. That’d be a bridge too far. A refusal to allow us to be a player at the table.

    Campbell : Have you had any communications from National that the abolition of the Maori seats or anything else would be off the table ?

    Harawira : We’re hearing that sort of thing informally all the time. And we understand that’s on the basis of political analysis that if all the Maori seats were to flow back into the general seats they would all vote Labour – in sufficient numbers and in sufficient seats that National wouldn’t rule again for another 30 years. “

  2. IrishBill 2

    And just for the record I expect all the coverage will be in the mode of “what will this mean for a Maori Party deal with National” and none will address the actual role of the Maori seats in our democracy.

    I’d like the gallery to prove me wrong but I doubt they will.

  3. bill brown 3

    No, Irish, you’re wrong. All the coverage is about some American film star who has died.

    I wish my captcha was priorities akimbo, but it aint.

  4. IrishBill 4

    Bill, that’s because National released this late on a Sunday afternoon. It seems a deliberate attempt to downplay the policy as news of it will be more than 24 hours old by the time the sixes go to air again.

  5. bill brown 5

    Come on, the press release is timed 3:13 PM – our “premier news channel” can’t get it on the air in 2 and 3/4 hours?

    For Buddah’s sake, you spotted it, I spotted it. It was probably sent straight to them!

    They’re a joke.

  6. IrishBill 6

    Perhaps as an RVO but it takes time to shoot interviews get covershots and edit. Sunday afternoon is also a bad time to try to chase up talent which is clear from the lack of balancing opinion in any of the stories thus far. And it seems there was no public launch on this. just a media release and that makes it even harder to get pictures.

  7. jaymam 7

    “that National wouldn’t rule again for another 30 years”
    Oh dear how sad! How old will Key, English, Brownlee be then? 🙂

  8. randal 8

    Hey look you guys…the media know everything. What they dont know isnt worth knowing. dont knock them they might get a black mark on ther c.v.’s when they finally decide to scuttle off and then they will cry and blub.

  9. Brilliant polices!!!, a referendum is needed on MMP, why have seats based on race? and get rid of the sickening electoral finance act.

    Well done to John Key.

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    Brett, what does MMP have to do with the Maori seats?
    The EFA needs cleaning up but getting rid of it would be counter productive.

  11. FYI – I heard about the policies on the 2pm news on Newstalk ZB, and blogged about it soon after. The decision to repeal the EFA is no surprise – Key talked about that in the third reading debate on the EFA last year. Nor should the referendum on MMP – this was signalled months ago. What is significant is that it will be a BINDING referendum – I can’t imagine Labour giving the peasants a chance to speak like that.

    But heck – you guys slag National off for not releasing policy, then when they do, you slag them off all over again. Kind of says something doesn’t it.

    http://keepingstock.blogspot.com/2008/09/nationals-electoral-law-policy.html

  12. Greg 12

    IrishBill – According to Key they are going to abolish the EFA, replace electoral law with the old act in the mean time, except keeping the EFA’s provisions on anonymous donations and eventually put in place a new electoral law using a bi-partisan approach. Seems fair enough to me. Electoral law should never be solely decided by the party in power at the time for obvious reasons.

  13. IrishBill 13

    Greg, I read that after I wrote my post. If they really do abolish anonymous donations including donations from trusts I’ll be very happy. I’ll be particularly interested to see what they want to do with the campaign period. My preference is to keep it at a year.

    I’d also like to see where they stand on full public funding.

  14. gobsmacked 14

    National’s stated policies are a clear rejection of Brash’s Orewa speech. They also require significant increases in public spending. So there are two obvious questions for the media to put to John Key: “Are you now apologising for Orewa, and acknowledging it was always a fraud?” and “Where’s the money coming from, and how much?”.

    But I’m guessing we won’t be hearing those questions. I hope I’m wrong.

    The relevant policy lines (from National’s press release), and my comments in italics:

    * Putting a big focus on investment in education (spending taxes), including national standards, trades in schools, our Youth Guarantee, promoting greater participation in early childhood education through Kohanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa, and expanding Te Kotahitanga. Orewa’s “race-based” programmes

    * Improving health and housing outcomes for Maori, including working with Maori health providers and Maori collectives on housing. again, Orewa

    * Working to increase investment in Maori assets and enterprises, including working with iwi enterprises and their leaders to help overcome barriers to economic development. so, both taxes and Orewa

    * Acknowledging the importance of Maori language and culture, including committing to Maori broadcasting and the promotion of Maori language, arts and culture. how? how much money?

    * Working with Te Puni Kokiri to strengthen and expand successful and proven Maori-led programmes to advance outcomes for Maori. more Orewa, and more bureaucrats

    There’s so much there for real political journalists to get their teeth into. If only New Zealand had some.

  15. gobsmacked 15

    Sorry, the third one should not be all italics, it’s their policy.

  16. Draco T Bastard

    I was commenting on all three polices as separately.

    I know MMP has nothing to do with the Maori seats.

  17. I only hope National has a tough law and order policy, it seems the Standard’s members favorite little friend, has breached parole again, still Im guessing those on the left, don’t think it’s Bailey’s junior fault.

    Under a National government, the public would be kept safe from the likes of him.

  18. randal 18

    how do you know that brett dale. are you privy to their lauranorder policy. did jokey tell you that specifically. get a grip man.

  19. gobsmacked 19

    Really, Brett? Are you saying that a National government will have the power to keep someone in prison, even after their sentence has finished? The government will override the courts? No need to bother with trials and other inconveniences?

    Now that really would be a drift to Mugabe rule. God only knows how many treaties and laws they’d be breaking.

  20. Nope, but National will have the power to make sure that people like Bailey stay in Prison longer, where he should be.

  21. Draco T Bastard 21

    Brett, you’re really declining in your ability to post credible comments.

  22. Rex Widerstrom 22

    What’s Danna Glendinning (I notice the video spells her name wrongly :-/) doing these days? Still at Greens HQ? I’m surprised she doesn’t feature on the Greens’ list (unless of course she doesn’t want to) as she’s an impressive person…. one of those who, like Rod Donald, you may disagree with on some issues but would never doubt their earnestness and good intentions, nor their mastery of the subject matter.

    Back on topic… I’d be interested to hear what the people who supported MMP back then feel about the way it’s working now. I’d hope that the pragmatic and honest amongst them would agree that it’s fixed a lot of problems but has created others (most notably the fact that list MPs are beholden only to the list rankers which, in every party bu the Greens, are a relatively small coterie) and that there is no requirement on parties to make the ranking process open, fair, democratic or even (as was proven by the case I took against NZF in 1996) non-fraudulent!

    There’s no way I’d want to see a return to FPP. But I do believe we need a debate on the electoral system, which should centre on fixing MMP’s flaws (and they can easily be fixed) or introducing some other form of proportional representation.

  23. Draco T Bastard 23

    Well, Rex, MMP is working better than I expected it would. I’d worked out by the time I was 15 (1984 election) that FPP was completely undemocratic as it would predominately return minority governments. Can’t say I was overly knowledgeable about politics at the time of the referendum but it was definitely time, and past time, to change the electoral system.

    We do need to discuss the present system and its flaws – we need to agree on what the flaws are before we can do anything about them. IMO, get rid of all electorate seats, drop the threshold percentage down and make the lists open selection. This does have the problem that independents won’t be able to be elected but then, they don’t get elected anyway as, IMO, most people would consider voting for them to be a wasted vote. I still don’t like being beholden to political parties, especially when you consider that they are becoming less connected to the populace as their members decrease, but I suppose we will have to until such time as we become a participatory democracy (which I don’t see happening for another few decades).

  24. vidiot 24

    MMP in New Zealand isn’t working and that’s mostly because the country is getting pulled either to the hard right or to the hard left, by the fringe partners.

    If the two centrist parties actually got together (Yes a LAB/NAT grand coalition) and worked together, we would be in a lot better place than we currently are. There would be no fringe loonies (JAPP, NZF, Greens, ACT, etc) pulling us off kilter.

    If they wanted to overhaul MMP, why not reduce the party vote threshold down to 1%, reduce the number of MMP’s down to 100 and abolish the electorate seats ? The Maori seat’s wouldn’t be needed then either as as long as they got there % of vote high enough, they get the representation they deserve.

    None of this overhang BS.

    And the true attack on democracy was the introduction of the EFA, it should have been a bi-partisan agreement – not just one parties party toy.

  25. Rakaia George 25

    Just another thought for you all: There is a difference between a stated policy and what might be a “bottom line” for post-election negotiations.

    Why would the National Party, by this point expecting to be having to work with the Maori Party to form a government, throw away such a good bargaining chip as the maori seats before the negotiations?

  26. Phil 26

    The semantics of the policy seem to be the kicker here – abolish Maori seats once treaty claims are settled (By 2014?).

    sounds to me like a sensible approach to tie the two together.

  27. Felix 27

    vidiot are you advocating a one-party-state?

    If so, there’s really be no need to overhaul electoral law…

  28. vidiot 28

    Felix – not a one party state, just one where the vast majority of voters get truly represented in. None of this the party that can cobble together 50.1% of the voter support wins crap, hell that’s FPP mentality.

  29. Santi 29

    Attack on democracy? My backside!

    No reason to have parliamentary seats based on race (SP, were you a supporter of apartheid?).

    Maori should be able to run for Parliament on equal terms with any other New Zealand citizen.

    About time this anachronism is abolished.

  30. Bill 30

    Felix, vidiot

    Jenny Shippley proposed the idea of a Lab/Nat coalition. It was an ‘off the cuff’ remark shown on TV a few years back but never pursued by the media.

    Was it an outrageous idea or merely an acknowledgement that for all intent purposes we already live in a one policy, two party state?

    Both parties adhere to the neo-liberal economic doctrine and differences lie only in the delivery. (Labour merely softens the edges.)

    A Lab/Nat coalition would be do-able, except that the façade that we live in a democracy would be gone. Therefore it’s not going to happen.

    Anyway, on topic, that policy reads like a big ‘gimmie’ to the Maori Party on first read. A fair bit of it suggests autonomy in a number of areas, which is what Hone Harawira was arguing for in his interview with Gordon Campbell over at Scoop. It’s probably worth reading that interview in conjunction with the policy release for a bit of added insight.

  31. gobsmacked 31

    Look, everyone knows what the Maori seats policy is. It’s a “Taiwan game”.

    Taiwan is, officially, the government of China, according to Taiwan.

    They will never try and implement this policy (suicide). They don’t scrap the policy (domestic politics). They just nod and wink, and the world gets the message, and so Taiwan and China trade and go to the Olympics and all that, while the fiction remains that there are two governments of China, which nobody believes.

    National have kept their policy, and won’t implement it. That’s all.

  32. Felix 32

    vidiot,

    While I agree with bill that your idea would be a more honest way of doing what already happens, I want more representation for everyone – not just the majority.

  33. DS 33

    >>>Both parties adhere to the neo-liberal economic doctrine and differences lie only in the delivery. (Labour merely softens the edges.)<<<

    That “softening of the edges” represents the difference between the the Employment Relations Act and the Employment Contracts Act, between minimum wage increases and no minimum wage increases, between the rebuilding of economic infrastructure and letting it rot, and between interest-free student loans and charging interest on students while they are studying.

    Anyone who makes the claim that “Labour and National are really just the same” has rocks in their head.

  34. burt 34

    Repeal the Electoral Finance Act and run a referendum on MMP. Yep that’s crazy stuff. Imagine not having partisan electoral funding laws and letting the people decide what election system they want to use – madness – it will never catch on and Labour wouldn’t dare copy a policy like this…..

  35. MikeE 35

    National’s real attach on Democracy is their EFA complaint by Pansy Wong’s team against Kenneth Wang in Botany Downs.

    So much for the Nat’s supporting freedom of expression during and election.

  36. Rex Widerstrom 36

    Draco T Bastard: I kinda like your idea, but then again I don’t, because as you’ve said there’d be no way for anyone to ever get elected unless they were in some party or other. And I personally believe that 120 (or whatever number) independents would produce better law and better outcomes than any mix of parties ever could.

    But under your proposed system I guess those people willing to take each decision on an “as it comes” basis, consulting with those who elected them and not simply sticking to spport or opposition to a proposal because “their” party says they should, could form a party – the No Preconceived Ideas Party maybe. It’d still be imperfect though, because I think voters deserve to have someindication of the way their politicians think before making their choice.

    But if we started from opposite ends of the spectrum but with the same end in mind – better democracy – I think we’d devise something infinitely better than a system that’s seen Alamein Koopu, Ron Mark, Gordon Copeland and other shining examples of itelligent accountable leadership get themselves “elected” via the back door.

  37. Very good points made by Burt.

    Labour just doesn’t want to lose control.

  38. Draco T Bastard 38

    And yet, Brett, it’s National that are proposing an electoral system that would make it far more likely that they would be able to govern alone.

  39. Bill 39

    DS

    “That “softening of the edges’ represents the difference between the the Employment Relations Act and the Employment Contracts Act”

    As I’ve said before, the ERA left the balance of power ridiculously tilted in favour of the employer. Industrial action is severely prescribed…(or is that proscribed?)and the whole employer/employee relationship has been bureaucratised which is an environment foreign to almost all workers, but one in which lawyers and bosses operate well. Bottom line, the ERA is not a remarkable improvement on the ECA.

    “between minimum wage increases and no minimum wage increases”

    But the min wage increased only when it appeared that low paid workers might be getting uppity…it’s a containment strategy, nothing more.,

    “between the rebuilding of economic infrastructure and letting it rot”

    I don’t know what you mean by ‘economic infrastructure’…but water and electricity infrastructure have deteriorated.,

    “and between interest-free student loans and charging interest on students while they are studying.”

    Which challenges the ‘user-pays’ ethos how?

    Anyone who thinks that Nat and Lab hold meaningfully disparate political beliefs has a head full of broken bottles.

  40. randal 40

    Everybody here thinks that somehow we have sovereignty and direction of our own affairs. get real. New Zealand is still an “area of recent settlement” and coupon clippers in the first world are still fleecing us. Everything in New Zealand is done on the cheap…for a quick example think Auckland Harbour Bridge. Our academics are low paid and everything else is supplied by the lowest bidder. Meanwhile we are like little tin gods in our antipodean paradise. National are involved in stripping capital and Labour in creating it. You have to decide who you stand with and then do your bit and stop bleating on blogs!

  41. Draco T Bastard 41

    Randal:

    Everything in New Zealand is done on the cheap

    Couldn’t agree more especially since the Rogernomics financial revolution of the 1980s. Everything since then has been about cutting costs and boosting profit. This has resulted in needed work not being done as well as they it be (power, telecoms) and the overall deterioration of our society due to increasing poverty levels.

  42. MMP is just a bad system.

    I dont see how a party with only 5% of the vote, can dictate who becomes government.

    It goes against the wishes of 95% of the population.

  43. Anita 43

    Brett Dale,

    In what sense do they determine who becomes government?

    If 11 people have to decide between a picnic and a movie, and 5 say “movie” and 5 say “picnic” and the remaining one say “um… picnic” so it’s 6-to-5 and the have a picnic, who determined how the group would spend the afternoon?

    I can see three options

    1) The final person, cos they tipped the scale
    2) The six people who chose a picnic
    3) All eleven people, because they chose the process

  44. randal 44

    SOK ANITA… when bd read the bible he never got passed the chapter on Moses!

  45. Draco T Bastard 45

    Brett Dale:

    I dont see how a party with only 5% of the vote, can dictate who becomes government.

    They can’t dictate it – they can only negotiate it. Something that you’re obviously unfamiliar with.

    Really Brett, all you seem to be complaining about is democracy and your complaint seems to be that it’s not a dictatorship.

  46. Phil 46

    Anita,

    If 11 people have to decide between a picnic and a movie, and 5 say “movie’ and 5 say “picnic’ and the remaining one say “um picnic’ so it’s 6-to-5 and the have a picnic, who determined how the group would spend the afternoon?

    If Winston is involved, he’d say he wanted the picnic and the movie. Then, when asked by a mutual friend how he spent the afternoon, he’d deny ever being involved in the activites or the decision making process. When one of the other 10 offer a contradictory story for Winstons whereabouts, he would then claim that the others were conspiring against him and that he wasn’t ever actually their friend in the first place.

  47. Ari 47

    Phil- Yes, but that’s where the analogy breaks down slightly as you have to remember that hundreds of thousands of people voted for the man who said “umm… picnic”, then said he wanted both, then was never involved in the decision and claimed conspiracy when confronted with truth.

    Remember, when we ultimately have to ask who’s responsible for a politician who gets elected despite being dodgy in a previous term, the answer needs to be “The stupid buggers who elected that sly little fox, not to mention said fox themselves.”, not “anyone who ever even slightly facilitated their involve in decision-making, even in the name of democracy, fairness, and the process of fair and non-partisan trials.”

    And that’s coming from someone who thinks Winston is one of the worst politicians ever to disgrace the current Parliament by lying in it, AND thinks Helen Clark is being uncharacteristically stupid in defending the blighter.

  48. Just for the fun of it, how’s this for an attack on democracy.

  49. higherstandard 49

    Thanks Eve,

    After reading the comments section in the link you posted I can only conclude that most there are some extremely odd people in the US.

  50. hs,

    I hate what is about to happen to the US and if you just read the mainstream media you can find out about what’s to happen here and I do so because I like people and I have a lot of American friends who are in peril but honestly, when the shit comes down it will be my pleasure to say to you,”I told you so” you sad wanker.

    Just google “martial law US” for the rest of you and find out.

  51. higherstandard 51

    Eve dear I would hardly say the sites that you link to are mainstream media.

  52. Actually it is these days HS,

    More than 80% of all Americans believe their government did not tell them the truth about 911 and over 50% want a new investigation.

    This site and its show is read and listened to daily by millions and millions of Americans and people around the globe while “Mainstream” media is tanking left right and centre.

    Alex Jones has people like Willy Nelson, Jesse Ventura, Col. Bob Bowman, Martin Sheen, Chuck Norris, Ron Paul, Kucinich, Ralph Nader, Cynthia McCinny, Ex-assistent treasurer Paul Craig Roberts under Reagan, frequently call in.

    In fact if he says he wants to speak to someone on his show they call him not the other way around. If senators want to get a word out to the people they call him because the mainstream media is censored and that includes the left and the right.

    He is what you might call the voice of the underground and that HS, is about the entire US under and middle class against the super rich 1% upper class.

    In fact if Alex Jones were to call for a revolution (which he doesn’t, god bless) it could get very ugly in the US. Especially after the power and money grab of those 1% super rich this week.

    Actually the financial inequality in the US resembles very much the state France was in in the days preceding the French revolution especially when the pending financial collapse will continue to unravel the “American” way of live.

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    Yesterday was the day the consequences of the lockdown suddenly got very real for many. Firms have been closing and laying people off since the outset of the quarantine but this has mostly been happening out of the public eye. The mass closure of a number of iconic New Zealand ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    3 days ago
  • Might a ‘Coasean’ social contract mitigate overall societal harm from COVID-19?
    Brian Williamson1, Prof Nick Wilson2 (1Economic consultant, UK; 2University of Otago Wellington) In this blog, we outline how a win-win social contract could be forged to address the major dimensions of response to the COVID-19 pandemic when using a mitigation strategy: the particular need to protect older people from high ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    3 days ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
    Resuming Normal Service: The Republican Party's nominee for in 1920, Warren Harding, promised the American people: “not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration”. If she wishes to remain our prime minister, then Jacinda Ardern will offer New Zealanders the same.HOW EDUCATED AMERICA snickered when the ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
    No Free Society Without A Free And Functioning News Media: If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating Covid-19, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders simply because it improves their bottom line.I’M ...
    3 days ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Lockdown day 8
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    4 days ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    4 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    4 days ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    4 days ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    4 days ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 days ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    4 days ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    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
    4 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    5 days ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    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
    5 days ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing or ...
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    5 days ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    5 days ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    5 days ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    6 days ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    6 days ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    6 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 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
    7 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 ...
    7 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
    1 week ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    1 week ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    1 week ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    1 week ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    1 week ago
  • 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

  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
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