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Austria and Europe

Written By: - Date published: 2:07 pm, October 16th, 2017 - 20 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, democracy under attack, democratic participation, elections, Europe, Globalisation, im/migration, International, Politics - Tags:

Why is Europe continuing to vote for anti-immigration parties, spurning the once-dominant centre-left parties? The Austrian election has finally provoked me.

After World War II, European societies were built on principles that owed a lot to centre-left ideas. There was widespread agreement after the war that the political chaos and social upheaval associated with the Great Depression had been the consequence of unregulated markets, so the idea that they should be left unregulated again was an anathema. And so, when European political economies were rebuilt, they were designed to ensure that capitalism was reined in by governments. Just to focus on Austria for a moment, it’s been said by historian Gunter Bischof that no country did better out of the Marshall Plan that stabilised industrial production than Austria. This postwar order worked well: The three decades after 1945 remain Europe’s period of fastest growth ever.

So why now are so many exclusionary parties gaining in share and now gaining power?

My quick answer is that more and more are viewing foreign immigration as shorthand for globalised trade stealing economic security. More and more voters view un-integrated migrants as standing for destabilisation and economic insecurity.

This is growing fast. Way, way back in May 1989, 28% of Jacques Chirac’s Gaullist supporters pronounced themselves “globally in agreement” with the ideas about immigrants expressed in the program of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s National Front. In 1991 the figure was 50%. In the Presidential elections of 1995, the socialist candidate Lionel Jospin got just 21% – a figure they can but dream of now. In 2017 the National Front was actually running off for the Presidency itself.

Other examples abound, but here’s the fresh one: a 31 year-old from the further right is now elected to run Austria.

His People’s Party won 31%, and they will form a coalition with the far-right Austrian Freedom Party who came in second with 26%: 57%. The Austrian Greens are gone, and the old social democrat parties are way down.

In 2015, Austria was used as a gateway for nearly 900,000 migrants making their way to Germany.

In a poll reported in Deutcsche Walle, state broadcaster ORF reported 55% of respondents said that they voted for the OVP (People’s Party) because of their stance on asylum and immigration.

The threat and its political results is clear.

And yet for so many at the core of Europe, European integration and free borders to economic migration really works. To see Europe at work for the “winners” one has only to spend a few days in the triangle made up by the towns of Saarbrucken (Germany), Metz (France), and Luxembourg. Here prosperous citizens of three countries travel freely across all-but-vanished frontiers. People, employment, commodities, and entertainment move easily back and forth among languages and states, seemingly unconscious of the historic tensions and enmities that marked this very region in the quite recent past.

The threat to this prosperity used to emerge from the European south – from the south of Italy, Spain, Greece. Each in turn provided waves of immigration from distinct European subcultures for cheaper and less skilled labour. Thirty years ago, many European saw this multiculturalism – the embrace of an inclusive and diverse society – as an answer to Europe’s social problems. Today it is clear a growing number consider it to be a cause of them. That perception has led to some mainstream politicians including previous Prime Minister David Cameron and Angela Merkel, to publicly denounce multiculturalism and speak out against its dangers. It has fuelled the success of far-right parties across Europe.

But the truth about multiculturalism is complex and highly coded. Multiculturalism has become a proxy for amalgamating social and political issues: immigration, identity, political disenchantment, working-class decline. Different countries have followed distinct paths. While the United Kingdom’s public sector has worked hard over the last two decades to give various ethnic communities a more equal stake in the political system, some non-integrated Muslims have perpetrated outrageous violence. Germany has encouraged immigrants to pursue separate lives in lieu of citizenship, but the Turkish communities have drifted further from mainstream society. Everywhere you look in Europe, the overarching consequences from the immigrants arriving since the high point of the early 1970s has seen fragmented societies, alienated minorities, and resentful citizenries.

The causes may be legion, but from the citizenry voting against them, the biggest interest they seek to protect is economic. Prior to the GFC a decade ago, and the austerity programmes that made things worse, the “losers” in Europe’s postwar history have been sustained by complicated but expensive and substantial systems of regional aid that the European Union put in place within and between countries. These amount to a form of institutionalised relief – constantly correcting for market deformations that have concentrated wealth and opportunity in the rich northwestern core without doing much to alter the causes of the disparity. Southern Europe, the periphery countries, and the “immigrants” thus constitute a community of the disadvantaged for whom the EU is the only source of relief on the one hand – for without their help the depressed mining communities and unprofitable peasant villages would be in even worse trouble than they are – and envy and resentment on the other.

Failure to protect sustained prosperity is viewed by voters as an undermining of the entire project of European integration, and you can see the significant impact of globalised manufacturing on European voting patterns here.

It’s also worth looking at “The Trade Origins of Nationalist Protectionism: Import Competition and Voting Behaviour In Europe” by Italo Conantone and Piero Stanig.

That same impact from globalised manufacturing can be seen on the Brexit vote.

The really chilling thing is how much the citizen-frog is enjoying feeling the heat turned up in the pot. So many Austrians are nonplussed by a hard-right president and government. “Most people just don’t associate the Freedom Party with the far right anymore,” says Günter Haunlieb, a senior director at Gallup International, a leading pollster in Vienna. “The Nazi label doesn’t stick.”

Voters do, however, associate the mainstream parties with the period of economic stagnation that took hold after the global financial crisis of 2008. Unlike Greece, Spain and other debt-wracked E.U. members, Austria came away from the crisis relatively healthy, and its economy has returned to growth. But the crisis has left Austrians feeling unmoored, fearful of losing what they still have. “A steady job previously guaranteed a comfortable life here,” says Haunlieb. “But that’s finished. People have stopped believing they can move up the social ladder.”

There is hardly a democracy in Europe where that same sentiment would not ring true. Countries in the formerly communist East have been hit especially hard by factory closures, high unemployment and an exodus of young workers to the wealthier states of Western Europe. They have all been able to capitalize not only on fears of migration but also on angst over economic inequality, often with what seem like the same slogans in different languages. On immigration: Send them back! On Muslims: Keep them out! On the media: Full of lies! On the Establishment: Crooked! On the elections: Rigged! Even their tactics seem to run in parallel, especially when it comes to the politics of fear.

It used to be possible to conceive of such failures in long Marxist waves: painful crises are followed by incremental reforms that lead to deeper integration. From the GFC, so the theory goes, institutional collapse leads to policy crisis that threatens to destroy whatever progress has been made to integration. Unwilling to allow such collapse. E.U. leaders then agree to a set of minimal reforms they think are necessary to save what they have accomplished, strengthening their common institutions but leaving them incomplete in ways that will later spark another crisis. But the political trends right across the continents’ elections are now too great to ignore: France’s President Macron stands alone with the E.U. President as seeking greater integration. What matters now is far simpler: the E.U. hasn’t delivered enough in a decade, individual members states are fracturing from internal and external threats, and the centre of its idealism holds less and less.

The simple test for the European Union, as it is for any political party is this: you keep fear down and the politics of xenophobia at bay when you consistently deliver the economic goods. Fail to do that with really significant cross-regional wealth transfers, and the whole thing will start to turn to the path that Austria is now on.

20 comments on “Austria and Europe”

  1. Sparky 1

    People are afraid for their jobs, afraid of possible crime and possibly losing their sense of self. Really no government should undertake this kind of mass migration without asking their citizenry and lets be honest in many nations in Europe that has not happened. The result is this kind of back lash.

    • Michelle 1.1

      Well people here in good old NZ need to think how our Maori people feel cause all this immigration does not bode well for us as a people. Yet we have a Tory government hell bent on bringing in thousands every year so the rich can get richer. Put yourself in our shoes.

  2. esoteric pineapples 2

    They are all going to get a shock when literally millions upon millions of migrants start heading for any part of the world that is functioning as the world heats up.

  3. Smellpir 3

    Excellent post.

    I have been challenged recently by political friends in the US to explain why the politics of immigration in NZ is actually different to reprehensible political impulses now being unleashed in the US and what you are characterising in Europe.

    At one level, what NZ First is proposing IS similar, and I accept your premise that a vote against a tide of ethnically-demarcated, poor immigrants is a proxy challenge to the destabilising effect of globalisation. However, the tide of rich globalists who see NZ as a safe haven for their abundant store of mobile capital seem to be something else? Yes, they are the flip-side of globalism – if immigration exposes countries to the flight and plight of the poor victims of globalisation and neoliberalism – the losers – then surely it also exposes us to the wishes and desires of the winners?

    So, can we have genuine progressive immigration policy that doesn’t punish the victims as well as the winners? (I can’t see that accepting a few thousand refugees exhausts our national responsibilities to the the disenfranchised of the world).

    I hope we can, although maybe protecting us from the ‘amenity predators’ of the world like Peter Thiel isn’t achieved through immigration policy, but through rules around property ownership and a different tax regime?

    • Ad 3.1

      I suspect your point about our resistances to globally mobile elites and property ownership in New Zealand is about to get tested,no matter who our new government is. Yet another challenge to our real estate bubble.

      I’m not yet game to do a post on New Zealand immigration policy after the kerfuffles from last week. I might just keep picking on somewhere safe and distant like Austria. 🙂

  4. Sanctuary 4

    The problem with modern immigration is it now occurs in the age of the wide body jet, mass tourism and globalisation.

    To illustrate, I’ll tell a true story. My old man had an English mate who came out in the fifties as a working class ten pound Pom, an assisted passage via ship and a three week journey. Before he left to come to NZ he and his three best mates went down to the local pub and had a going away drink. He got here as a lad in his early twenties, secured a job on the wharf in Napier, married a local girl, had some kids and migrated into the Kiwi middle class. Eventually, after forty years and now retired, he went back to his old home town. Having long lost touch with his mates he went to his old local pub. There sitting at exactly the same table were his old mates. He walked up to them, and one said “‘ere, where you been then?”

    Now that is a fair dinkum story my Dad liked to tell as a contemptuous illustration of the backward, innate conservatism of the English (I suspect it was more like British humour). But it also neatly illustrates how total immigration was right up to the 1980s. You left, and you were gone forever. Letters (that took weeks) and the excitement of the very infrequent, expensive, long distance, operator assisted call was all there was. Until the 1980s, you had no choice but assimilation. Be you a post-war Dutch or a Pole by the second generation no one spoke the old language anymore and by the third the only thing that distinguished you was your surname and membership of a (heavily diluted) cutural society. Further, this is what most of the locals approvingly thought of as “good” migration. You turned into Kiwis, quick smart.

    Modern immigration has done away with that. Grandparents can Skype their grand kids across the planet every day. You can call home all the time for very little. Air travel back to the homeland is affordable to almost everyone. Assimilation is now not necessary, and if you come from a Muslim society (because that is what this debate is really about, no one cares about immigration by cultural and racial in-groups) with radically different and conservative cultural views on things like the role of women not even desirable. A permanent, non-integrated first generationalism is the new norm. These new migrants NEVER have to integrate culturally or even socially if they are disinclined to.

    And I personally think that is a very worrying thing, yet the liberal middle class gatekeepers refused to even discuss this without howling racism. And the consequence of that arrogance has been the rise of the anti-immigration right.

    • Ad 4.1

      I sure ain’t no immigration expert, but even I can see there’s a difference between assimilation and integration. Assimilation means to me at least to erase and dissolve oneself in to the context. Integration seems to me to mean both the person and the society has some give and take in how they re-frame lives and identities.

      I grew up in a street where there were strong English accents on all three sides of us, but their children had none. There were northern English, Welsh, Scots, and Cornish. Most were older having come after the War.

      It’s a pretty different neighbourhood now.

      • garibaldi 4.1.1

        I think the reason for the resurgent Nationalism in Europe is fully explained in one word…..Islam.

        • Blackcap 4.1.1.1

          Having lived in Europe between 2006 and 2010, I concur with your synopsis.

        • Skyler 4.1.1.2

          Yes. Perhaps people are afraid of what history tells us. Cultural and religious differences often inevitably lead to war. As sad as it is, I have to wonder what is really behind the refugee crisis in Burma. It’s predominantly a Buddhist country which is usually a peaceful religion. Perhaps the Buddhists are afraid if the Islamic population grows too much in number, they may eventually be overthrown and slaughtered. Afghanistan, Lebanon…. the war in Yugoslavia. History tells us clashes of culture often follows this path. It would be good as a country if we could discuss this without being branded racist. It’s terribly important. The West is at risk of self destructing with our PC nonsense. How many other cultures and countries now allow this to happen to them? Christians in many countries are being slaughtered but we don’t talk about that.

  5. Bill 5

    The quote that captures the heart of the situation is

    “A steady job previously guaranteed a comfortable life here,” says Haunlieb. “But that’s finished. People have stopped believing they can move up the social ladder.”

    The same holds true of the USA, where people knew that voting for “the establishment” as personified by Clinton, would just mean a continuation of an intergenerational decline in living standards and prospects.

    The same held true in France where all establishment parties got hammered in the polls…or in Canada where Trudeau faked an anti-establishment line to win elections there. (Worth noting that Macron in France and Trudeau in Canada are collapsing in polls now)

    It has held true in the UK too where, when the opportunity has been presented, an “anti-establishment” vote has triumphed and it holds in Spain and Greece where Syrzia and Podemos enjoyed electoral success at the expense of what Gareth Morgan might call “the old establishment parties”.

    The centre (the radical centre that cleaves to a revived 19C Liberalism) is collapsing.

    And that collapse either breaks to the right off the back of xenophobic tosh that old establishment parties lend weight to, or it breaks to a social democratic left off the back of a meaningful critique of the Liberalism that has been foisted on “the west” during the latter decades of the 20C. Funnily enough, the old establishment parties don’t like that critique having oxygen and continually seek to smother it.

    Unfortunately, although this post touches on the root cause of peoples’ unhappiness, it buys into and perpetuates the “blame an immigrant” narrative that both the centre and right, for their own different reasons, would rather promote.

  6. timeforacupoftea 6

    I was overseas and heard from a news source that the NZ Greens Policy on
    1: refugees was just released.
    https://www.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/Green%20Party%20Refugee%20Full%20Policy%20Wording.pdf
    followed by
    2: METIRIA TUREI’s misdemeanours in her youth,
    I was not sure which of the 2 caused the massive drop in the polls.

    But now reading about the Austrian election results, could it have been the refugee policy ?

  7. Stuart Munro 7

    I think you’ve pretty much nailed why a number of countries are rejecting immigration in spite of apparently adequate economic performance – that the country is making it in some fashion is no relief to the poor, and migrant competition is more consequential the less secure you are.

    The issue of integration is also potentially fraught – if NZ acquires a racially distinct landlord class with a different culture’s values about wealth and poverty that is unlikely to make for happily functioning communities.

  8. miravox 8

    I’m not a political analyst, so this is loaded with ‘I reckons’. But after almost seven years in Vienna, I feel the need to go through this analysis point by point and add my reckons where I think Austria fits in.

    At the outset – It’s terrifying that the FPÖ (sorry, I can’t call it the ‘Freedom’ party so I’ll use the acronym with the ‘F’ standing for that other political F-word) and the ‘former’ neo-nazi Heinz-Christian Strache will be part of the next Austrian government. There is very little doubt about that given the acrimonious breakup of the grand coalition between the conservatives and social democrats. Pre-election reckons are here

    I think you’re right to focus on the economic factors as a root cause for the rise of the right. The conservatives could not use this to beat the SocDems though, because they were part of (and likely a great part of the cause of) the problem. Sebastian Kurz instead created a narrative that he picked up from the FPÖ. It doesn’t mean he believes it, just as John Key didn’t believe it when he said he was working for a ‘brighter future’ for all New Zealanders.

    I also agree with the points you’ve made about the centre-left ideals in Europe (although in Austria’s I suggest that began post-imperial war, rather that post-ww2).

    “So why now are so many exclusionary parties gaining in share and now gaining power?”

    In Austria’s case I reckon a look at the previous election in 2013 is required. The country was dissatisfied with job prospects, although the unemployment rate was only 5.4% (lower than NZs – at around 6% in the same period). But jobs and businesses had to be propped up by government for that to remain.

    Also, Austrians can vote from age 16 and I was shocked (I think it’s fair to say that in NZ we expect most young people to vote left/green) at a University of Vienna analysis to see that over 40 percent of 16-18 voted FPÖ – these voters were without a doubt anti-immigrant – possibly because they were the ones, especially if working class, who felt they had no future – going from school to training course, but no job. This was flagged also at the 2008 election. An analysis found

    that 43% of the 16-29 year olds voted for the FPÖ (25% of the 16-18 year olds). The youngest also quoted the immigration (32.3%) as the main issue in the election, ahead of education (23.7%). According to the polls young people’s mistrust of the traditional political parties [was] still rising.

    People in work may have had fears, but actions were taken to protect their jobs, pay and their working hours.

    “My quick answer is that more and more are viewing foreign immigration as shorthand for globalised trade stealing economic security. More and more voters view un-integrated migrants as standing for destabilisation and economic insecurity.”

    Discussing this with locals, complaints about immigration hark back to the refugee crisis from the break-up of Yugoslavia. Ironically it was the far-right in power 10 years ago that removed the tools of integration for refugees then, and will do the same again now, if they have the chance. There was also talk about the Vienna housing department not dispersing refugees, as they were required to do, and now there are a district that Austrian-born youth feel are no-go zones. They say the youth in these areas don’t speak German and this also ties in with their recreational life e.g. football teams (think Glasgow Rangers & Celtic). I’ve no idea how true this is, but the fact that young people believe it is enough in terms of politics.

    Nowadays the EU freedom of movement policies are a real concern as well. Masses of people from eastern Europe taking low-skilled jobs for (illegally) lower wages than an Austrian ever could and begging gangs – yes, they do exist. Austria is not exactly authoritarian about this and people are upset. The EU has not handled freedom of movement well. If the freedom of capital to move eastwards was more aligned with development needs at the same time as the freedom of movement of people to the west, the results could well have been different. But that’s not how the globalisation we know works.

    In hindsight, I reckon, it would have been better for the left if the conservatives formed a coalition with the FPÖ back then, in 2013 but, to their credit, the conservatives refused to do this. (The SocDems had already stated they would not work with FPÖ). As it was the conservatives got their hands on the economy, unemployment began to rise etc, etc. And then the refugee emergency.

    “A 31 year-old from the further right is now elected to run Austria.
    His People’s Party won 31%, and they will form a coalition with the far-right Austrian Freedom Party who came in second with 26%: 57%. The Austrian Greens are gone, and the old social democrat parties are way down.”

    – Kurz is not from the ‘further right’ he’s a mainstream conservative politician who has co-opted the rhetoric of the far-right. He’s neo-liberal, a smart and experienced political operator and pretty damned sure of himself. Although he probably socially conservative – don’t expect and LBGTQ rights any time soon – I’d liken him more to Macron (who used the language of the left in his campaign) than any of the old far-right Europeans such as Farage or Wilders. Both are young neo-libs and know how to lie and work a crowd. His website – yes he campaigned on his site, not the party site (how Trump-ish huh?), show immigration policies that are not too different from New Zealand’s and would go down well in NZ political discourse – points-based, highly-skilled, not a ‘burden’ on the country.

    – The Greens had a split in their party so that ruined them. Peter Pilz, whose list focuses on corruption is a former Green and is in parliament. The Greens proper took the rest of the split vote, but not quite enough to make it back in.

    – The SocDems are not well down, they are on the same as last election and expected to be ahead of FPÖ after specials are counted – despite being embroiled in a scandal of their own making, which lost them valuable support.

    – FPÖ (as have the conservatives) have also benefited from the collapse of other smaller parties that were around last election, and who had alternative agendas to push (including Stronach’s neo-liberal agenda). Also the FPÖ was (surprisingly) the only party scandal-free this election. It was a pretty filthy election and it’s easy to see that people may have done a pox on both the traditional party houses and gone FPÖ. I’ll be interested to see how many negative choice votes were based on the dirty politics.

    “In 2015, Austria was used as a gateway for nearly 900,000 migrants making their way to Germany.
    In a poll reported in Deutcsche Walle, state broadcaster ORF reported 55% of respondents said that they voted for the OVP (People’s Party) because of their stance on asylum and immigration.
    The threat and its political results is clear.”

    The refugee emergency should not, in my view be the header for this piece of information – the tone is inflammatory and the perspective not quite right in terms of my Austrian experience. I wish these pollsters would separate out the refugee/asylum/immigration views.

    I don’t think New Zealanders quite understand what this movement of people across the continent meant for Austrians, and, acknowledging there are arseholes everywhere, how supportive they generally were (as earlier Balkans, Czech and Hungarian refugees) – and yes! there was a real sense of atonement (for which there can never be enough) for the past among the people we met when we joined the 150,000-person march in Vienna supporting the rights of refugees.

    But after accepting 90,000-odd refugees, the services to support them were not coping and EU countries were not participating in solving the crisis. Sebastian Kurz was the Foreign minister at the time, and he did work to close the Balkan route, and it did feel like a relief.

    Note also when the refugee numbers were cut , that meant a reduction to 37,500 per year, not zero or 1500 or whatever NZ, Australia, UK, US would do (The english-speaking – Canada excepted – world is so holier than thou over this and simply do not have the right to make a judgement, unless they’re also supporting a proportionate increase in their own refugee quotas, imo).

    Anyway, while the conservatives support was waning, Kurz’s personal political capital was rising. When the inevitable implosion of the coalition occurred, he was well-set to shake up Austrian politics.

    “And yet for so many at the core of Europe, European integration and free borders to economic migration really works. To see Europe at work for the “winners” one has only to spend a few days in the triangle made up by the towns of Saarbrucken (Germany), Metz (France), and Luxembourg. Here prosperous citizens of three countries travel freely across all-but-vanished frontiers. People, employment, commodities, and entertainment move easily back and forth among languages and states, seemingly unconscious of the historic tensions and enmities that marked this very region in the quite recent past.”

    I don’t think people here have a problem with the *ahem* right sort of immigrants. Austria has always had a large immigrant population, thanks to its near-Empire (timewise and geographically) past and their response to the aforementioned needs of other European countries suggests they are reasonably tolerant.

    “…Angela Merkel, to publicly denounce multiculturalism and speak out against its dangers. It has fuelled the success of far-right parties across Europe.”

    Angela Merkel is clearly not anti-immigrant despite finding multiculturalism problematic. She knows the economic value to Germany, with its falling birth-rate, of immigration and that self-interest played its part in the response to the refugee emergency. I think Kurz is similar – unless he’s planning to reduce the integration services for migrants that he says he is. I have to believe that saying he’s cutting these services is all part of building his credentials; that it won’t happen, given the last time the far-right did this created some of the problems now. I reckon he’ll keep the services, but in-line with his neo-lib credentials, will privatise them.

    “So many Austrians are nonplussed by a hard-right president and government. “Most people just don’t associate the Freedom Party with the far right anymore,” says Günter Haunlieb, a senior director at Gallup International, a leading pollster in Vienna. “The Nazi label doesn’t stick.””

    Yup. The FPÖ has moderated its tone. This was especially clear when they were trying to broaden their base in the presidential election last year – an election that they lost to EU-supporting, former refugee, Green Party leader – Yay Austria!

    “Voters do, however, associate the mainstream parties with the period of economic stagnation that took hold after the global financial crisis of 2008…”

    Yes. This was where the SocDems lost support after 2013 – moving economic policies to the centre with the conservative coalition. They lost a lot of trust, despite beginning to implement and, campaign on, worker-friendly policies now.

    …France’s President Macron stands alone with the E.U. President as seeking greater integration.”

    As I reckoned before, I think Austria will stay a strong EU supporter under Kurz. Hopefully (I can dream) this will lead to a schism with FPÖ and the coalition collapses early, with the public realising they’re living in one of the most equitable societies in the world because of the policies that you mentioned at the top of this piece, and that these are the policies that the SocDems represent.

    “The simple test for the European Union, as it is for any political party is this: you keep fear down and the politics of xenophobia at bay when you consistently deliver the economic goods.”

    If that was the only thing that mattered, Austria would have voted SocDem, who ran a campaign on traditional left-ist working class-based policies, a la Jeremy Corbyn.

    And to finish on the refugee/immigration thing… It’s worth noting also that Vienna and Burgenland remain social democratic states. Although Burgenland’s majority decreased, Vienna’s support for social democrats actually increased by over 3% (as always, local conditions apply in those results). Why is it worth noting? Because the Balkans refugee route went through Burgenland to Vienna. (Refugee routes avoided Hungary went through states in the south that were not SocDem before and after the crisis).

    More localised research also supports the hypothesis that exposure to refugees decrease support for the FPÖ in an analysis of the 2015 state election exit poll data it was found that

    a positive effect on the optimism in the population that the integration of refugees can be managed.

    If it was all about immigration these states would have had much lower SocDem votes. I suggest, given the Viennese election results, that a similar effect occurs when economic migrants are integrated into the society. A left-ist government, that worked from this point of view, rather than ditching support for immigration, may have a policy platform that is both economically useful, ethical, and acceptable.

    • Ad 8.1

      Lovely detailed response and great to hear from someone with long term experience of the situation on the ground.

      • miravox 8.1.1

        Thanks Ad…

        The first move has been played – a big oops for the Eurosceptics. As expected Kurz wasn’t saying what people thought they heard.

        “It is clear to me that Austria must play an important role within the European Union and when we are pro-European, we should not only stand for Europe but be an especially active participant in Europe,” the 31-year-old conservative “whizz-kid” said.

        “This is clearly what I will do in the coming years,” he added.

        FPÖ won’t be happy.

    • Foreign waka 8.2

      Thank you for providing such extensive explanation of the political landscape of Austria.
      May I add that, also from personal experience, that Vienna in particular is coping with an increased influx of criminals that are organized and know how to drain the social system to the disadvantage of the now increasingly retiring masses. One has to understand that the social fund is self supporting, in other words similar like Kiwi saver, only compulsory and one only gets what has been put in. However, this fund is being now used to support the refugees and social immigrants which leads to enormous resentment, especially if the entitlements are cut to do this. There are children who have to support the elderly because there is not enough money paid out under that scheme. The injustice is felt in some quarters with profound anger.
      As you mentioned, there are whole districts that not one of the locals wants to enter. It becomes therefore a divided city.
      Brutal attacks of the common variety is another issue the locals have to deal with. Example: Not so long ago 2 women were going to work early in the morning and were attacked by young men that on investigation were refugees. One of the women died because the attack was so vicious. No reason why, just hate.
      The counties have started to reduce the social welfare given so freely (approx in NZ $ 2800 per month per person) but Vienna hasn’t. So naturally all the emigrants ascended on the capital. So despite being generous and forgetful – Austrians are known for being vocal but settle to any change of circumstance given some time – the situation has come to a head and the vote shows the discontent and betrayal the population feels.
      Unlike you, having high hopes, I am not so positive and belief that the FPO will actually be a lasting partner if the situation for the locals is not improved.
      And additionally, Vienna has the Bundeswahlen in a few months and will for sure vote OVP. So the capital will join in the same overall tenor of the situation.
      The real sad part is that the majority of the refugees are in dire need for assistance and this right of survival is being negated by those who take advantage and introduce polarization and criminality.
      NZ has the advantage that no one can just swim here, but Europe’s borders have until recently not been policed. This stupidity is now coming home to roost.

      • miravox 8.2.1

        I love your description of Austrians as “known for being vocal but settle to any change of circumstance given some time”. This is exactly our thoughts too.

        I hear what your saying about Vienna’s problems – though another part is that some other states (just like the other European countries) have refused to help with refugee resettlement.

        I think the partnership between ÖVP and FPÖ would last if Kurz was saying what he really believed, I just don’t think he is. But time will tell.

        I guess I hope they don’t last, partly because integration requires exactly the opposite to what these two parties are planning – as the results of the far-right’s last term in government shows.

        It’s my last day living here today. It’s been such a privilege to have the chance to get to know your country. I’ll miss it immensely.

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    Nick Wilson,1 Ayesha Verrall,1,2 Len Cook,3 Alistair Gray,3 Amanda Kvalsvig,1 Michael Baker,1 (1epidemiologists, 2infectious disease physician, 3statisticians) In this blog, we raise ideas for how New Zealand might optimise testing to both identify cases in the community as part of the COVID-19 elimination strategy, and to confirm when the virus ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    11 hours ago
  • Should we all be wearing face masks to prevent Covid-19 spread?
    Maybe you’ve seen the graph that says those countries where everyone wears a mask are the ones that have managed to keep Covid-19 under control? The first thing to say about that claim is that those countries also did lots of other things, too – they acted fast, with intense ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    12 hours ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #14
    Story of the Week... Editorial 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... North Atlantic's capacity to absorb CO2 overestimated, study suggests Research into ocean’s plankton likely to lead to ...
    15 hours ago
  • The Americans are trying to kill us all again
    The Treaty on Open Skies is one of the most effective mechanisms for preventing war curently in force. By letting countries make surveillance flights over each others' territory, it eliminates fears that they are secretly preparing for war. So naturally, the US is planning to withdraw from it: The Trump ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    16 hours ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 11
    . . April 5: Day eleven of living in lock-down… My one day of rest for the week, and an opportunity to mow my lawns – which I’d been delaying for about three weeks. (On the plus side, the damp micro-climate in my back yard yielded three lovely fresh mushrooms ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    16 hours ago
  • Now we know what the rules are
    As the lockdown has gone on, disquiet about what the rules were and the police's enforcement of them has grown. On Friday, Police admitted that they were abusing routine traffic stops to effectively set up illegal checkpoints, and on Saturday Stuff revealed internal police advice saying that they actually needed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    16 hours ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 2: Green et al (2019)
    Paul Connett is putting all his eggs in one basket. He says “you only have to read four studies” to find community after fluoridation harmful. Image credit: Fluoride Action Network newsletter. For part 1 of this series see Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018). Paul Connett, ...
    19 hours ago
  • Hard News: Splore Listening Lounge 2020: the road to a “yes” vote
    As far as anyone can say, New Zeaand still has a general election scheduled for September 19 this year. The election will be accompanied by two referenda, one of which will ask voters:Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?The official campaign period for the cannabis referendum begins ...
    19 hours ago
  • Obituary for The New Zealand Listener (1939-2020)
    The vast majority of tributes to the Listener hearken back to its glory days, with little reflection on the magazine as it was at its end.I wrote for it, for half the Listener’s life; I have known personally all the editors except the first (mythical) three. From 1978 to 2014 ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    19 hours ago
  • Universal income – a challenge to capitalism or a crutch?
    As the world economy slides rapidly towards deep recession there are growing calls for a Universal Benefit coming from some leftists and rightists. Now Finance Minister Grant Robertson is saying it is on the table.  This article by a French party Workers Struggle provides analysis of various forms of universal ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 day ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018)
    This is the advice from the very top of the anti-fluoride movement – Paul Connett, director of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN). Don’t worry about reading  up on all the scientific information “You only have ...
    1 day ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 10
    . . April 4: Day 10 of living in lock-down… I wake up to a fine Saturday morning which normally would be like an early Christmas. But it’s Day 10 of Level 4 Lock Down. What  will my fellow New Zealanders be doing on a day like this – staying ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • Redline reaching out to more writers & readers
    Some time during the night we went over the 850,000 views mark. We might have had our millionth view by the end of this year – certainly by early next year. Most of the people involved in Redline spent years and years producing various small left-wing papers and selling them ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • Keir Starmer elected
    Comfortably, in the very first round, with an impressive 56% of the votes.I wonder, did members of the Shadow Cabinet start tweeting their resignations during Starmer's victory speech, or is that only a trick the right pull?It is odd how all the talk of how the next leader "needs to ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: Michael Baker and the Big House
    One of the key voices in this extraordinary time in which we live is that of University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker. Philip Matthews did an an excellent job this weekend of capturing the way he became the man for this moment in a profile for The Press.But one ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand Gives up on Trying to Save Daylight
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the nation today about the decline in daylight New Zealand has been experiencing over the previous few months. She said “As many of you will notice, our attempts to stem the dwindling of the daylight over the last few months have been completely ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    2 days ago
  • A bulletin from Greece
    Redline received this article from the KOE a Marxist party in Greece Our friends in the KOE describe here the mounting crisis in Greece and tensions on the Turkish border. As desperate people flee from their homelands which have been ruined after decades of imperialist wars and interventions the people ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
    As the first week of Level Four lockdown unfolded, mounting questions grew as to just what was (and was not) allowed under its “rules”. Partly these were driven by some apparently contradictory messages from different authority figures and explanations carried in the media. Partly they reflected a somewhat sketchy legal basis ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    4 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

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

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

  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
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    6 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
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    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 ...
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    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 ...
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    7 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 ...
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  • 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 ...
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    7 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
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  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
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    7 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
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    1 week ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
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    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 ...
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    1 week ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
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  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
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    2 weeks ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
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  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
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    2 weeks ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
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  • COVID-19 updates
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    2 weeks ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
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  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
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  • 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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  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
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    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
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    2 weeks ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
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