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Beefing up the border – expensive and essential

Written By: - Date published: 11:31 am, December 21st, 2020 - 30 comments
Categories: covid-19, Economy - Tags: ,

From a few days ago (it seems like an eternity), RNZ reported “Govt to pump almost $3 billion into its Covid-19 response after report identified failings“. There are several points I’d make about the border controls and generally with our border and the long slow process that we and the world will have over the next few years constraining this pandemic.

They’re expensive. This extra funding consists of about $3 billion over several years.

The funding announced today will pay for a series of Covid-19-related health activities to June 2022.

It’s committing about $1.1 billion until June 2022 to bolster testing and contact tracing – and roughly $1.7 billion for the managed isolation regime.

RNZ: “Govt to pump almost $3 billion into its Covid-19 response after report identified failings

That isn’t to expand the MIQ quarantine facilities. It is simply to reduce the risk of leakages through the staff. Expanding the number of places, staffing them, and maintaining close control over all parts of the operations is way way more expensive than doing with this closing of loopholes does.

The reasons for the loopholes were the classic issues that every organisation faces. Despite the best effort of all concerned, the classic SNAFU (Situation Normal, All Fucked Up) is the normal. I’ve seen it in every workplace I have ever been in. Some critical pieces of every enterprise fall through the cracks because they aren’t the direct responsibility of any particular organisation or sub unit or even individual. Everyone thinks that it is being handled elsewhere and/or that it especially doesn’t apply to them.

Senior advisers Heather Simpson and Sir Brian Roche were urgently commissioned in August to review the regime after revelations many border staff were not being tested for Covid-19.

The report found problems with communication, accountability, and clarity in the testing framework.

It also found that despite clear expectation of ministers there would be structured testing of border facing workers, and regular advice stating that such testing was occurring, in reality little testing was happening at the time.

“There appears to have been a reluctance on the part of some agencies to contemplate mandatory testing regimes, there was a general lack of forward planning with respect to testing, there was a reluctance to work with employers about how testing could best be implemented at particular sites,” the report said.

Read the full report

Read recommendations and progress

The report noted there was also a lack of clarity about who was in charge of implementing and monitoring the testing regimes.

In a letter to the minister by the committee co-chairs it said that the current model is improving, but it’s is not fit for purpose over a longer time period.

“We don’t have a status quo model which is well understood and could serve effectively for the next 24 to 36 months,” it said.

RNZ: “Govt to pump almost $3 billion into its Covid-19 response after report identified failings

In this case, it was accentuated because there was (and still is) the stupid idea that ‘this will all be over soon‘. Yeah right… Clearly the people in our population need more education about the historical process and progress of pandemics and epidemics. Perhaps the journalists could do some actual research and stop writing some of the complete crap that I keep reading from their opinions? This is going to take years to deal with. If we’re lucky…

This correctional cost pales in comparison with the costs of a lock down. Not having a lock down improves our productivity a lot. At present I’m looking at zoom colleagues working in the UK winter struggling to hit project deadlines under lock downs. Those contacts bring back the sense of total frustration that I was getting in the first and even the second lock down trying to get gear and support for the things that I’m useless at.

You’d think that a computer programmer like myself would be insulated from a lot of the issues. I’m used to working remotely with other people, have the gear already at home, have big bandwidth, and generally I’m as anti-social as possible when I’m working.

But I program a lot with bespoke hardware. I’m also all thumbs when it comes to doing basics like soldering 1-2mm wires together. I rely on those strange people who like hardware to do that kind of work because they can do without a very large bobble of solder. Plus first of course I had to get a the solder, soldering iron, magnifier for my ageing eyes, and to argue with my partner about using the kitchen bench to do it. Just getting around that problem caused me weeks of project delay during the first lock down.

Those kinds of screw up magnify out throughout our export economy. Along with the specialised batteries that I needed to code the gas gauge for for couldn’t be shipped to here. And there were a lot of other frustrating productivity sapping lock down issues.

But with the exception of the tourism, student and immigration sectors – it has been notable for how little damage the underlying economy has suffered.

As Liam Dann opined (probably paywalled) at the Herald…

The last full working week of year delivered a flurry of upbeat economic news.

If you woke up from a year-long coma on Monday and only read the business pages (which seems reasonable to me) you’d be forgiven for thinking the economy was in great shape.

It started on Tuesday, with the Westpac McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence survey showing a strong upward surge.

We are feeling more optimistic about the state of the economy over the next few years, it found.

New Zealanders were also feeling more secure about their personal financial position.

Remarkably, business confidence is even stronger and is now at its highest level since 2017.

On Tuesday we got a double whammy.

The country’s current account – the net balance of trade and investment capital flows – is in it’s best shape since 2001.

Later that day, the Half Year Economic Update from Treasury showed a positive revision to all the economic forecasts and news that we’ll be borrowing $20 billion less than we planned over the next four years.

Of course, at that point, some of the numbers ought to be looking a bit odd to our post-comatose reader.

On Thursday we got the big one. Third-quarter GDP figures, record quarterly growth – a staggering 14 cent surge in economic activity.

NZ Herald: “Covid 19 coronavirus: Liam Dann – Content or complacent? New Zealand’s happiness dilemma”

Basically the economy took a hit. Much of which is still to come – especially inside the domestic economy of NZ. Anyone who has been hanging on desperately hoping and relying on a travel bubble to save their flight dependent business is probably clean out of options.

Six days ago, there was a lot of hype on the order of :-

Trans-Tasman bubble to help reunify families, business – Melbourne University epidemiologist
Trans-Tasman bubble finally set to go ahead“.

My immediate thought on reading and listening to it was that it was premature. Not only was it only an agreement in principle with a lot of the detail still to be dealt with. It was also far too susceptible to lock down and tracing issues. I follow the material about the pandemic, and I don’t think that we have a handle on covid-19. We probably won’t until late in 2021.

To put it bluntly it is still too damn dangerous to open up to Australia or the islands. The probability of getting an outbreak and spreading it is just far too high. It will be until we get well over 60% vaccinations and at least our current level of outbreak control.

Personally I’m not willing to accept the risk that others could put me back trying to solder my own wires and drop my personal productivity by half just so that that other can have a quarantine free holiday or to see family.

As importantly there were really high risk values for all concerned. What if I wind up transmitting the disease from the Auckland entry point to my 81yo father in Rotorua? What happens to the aussie tourist who arrives in Queenstown and who can’t fly back after an outbreak happens on the ski fields there?

I was talking to one of my work colleagues the other day who hadn’t seen his kids for a year. They were living with their mother in Australia. I have a lot of sympathy. But definitely not enough to put myself or my family and friends at risk for him.

As for the selfish gits who just want a beach to lie on…. Please – can we de-citizen them? They really need to go to the home of selfish, self-entitled, and ignorant. They will be given a great maskless welcome.

It’s looking increasingly likely that the much discussed trans-Tasman bubble is finally on the way.

Cabinet have agreed in principle to quarantine-free travel in the first quarter of 2021.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said officials were working on contingency plans in the event of an outbreak.

The decision is dependent on Australia’s agreement and no major change in circumstances in either country.

RNZ: “Trans-Tasman bubble to help reunify families, business – Melbourne University epidemiologist

In recent days, we’ve had an rapidly expanding outbreak in Sydney that has caused virtually every other Australian state to put in travel restrictions. I suspect that doesn’t fit the criteria of “no major change”. Personally, I suspect that there are enough dickheads in Aussie to keep expanding periodic outbreaks right up until they get a jab in the arm. And they will be whinging about needing to get that.

While the expanding variant in the UK doesn’t really worry me for pretty much the reasons outlined in Robert Hicks post at SciBlogs “The virus that stole Christmas“. It doesn’t look like it is any more pathogenic than the another five major variants. It just looks like it spreads faster when people ignore public health advice.

So keep using the covid-19 tracing application – now updated with optional and supplemental bluetooth peer tracking. Keep planning on dealing with the next outbreak here.

30 comments on “Beefing up the border – expensive and essential ”

  1. RedLogix 1

    But with the exception of the tourism, student and immigration sectors – it has been notable for how little damage the underlying economy has suffered.

    One point worth making is that if this had hit a decade earlier the economic impact would have been much worse; consider how much business activity has been kept going because people have been able to work remotely from home.

    • lprent 1.1

      Sure. The capability has been there for a while. In the late 90s and early 00s, I was running a team of development programmers and interfacing (aka interfering) with support staff and our offshore customers from home. I used to go to work once a month. I did that for about 8 years until I started interfacing more with hardware.

      We were building systems using instant messaging, vpn to version control systems, email, and web systems. Essentially the same set of solutions.

      The real difference now is that the courier physical delivery systems are much better and most services are web accessible. Like package tracking. Also managers are a lot better at dealing with employees who aren't physically present.

      • froggleblocks 1.1.1

        The actual real difference now is the fibre broadband rollout with unlimited / very high data caps for practically everyone who wants it.

        One thing the last National government managed to get right, although entirely by accident because the main benefit they touted for it was "you can watch television over fibre internet" rather than "if there's an epidemic, people will be able to work from home".

        • lprent 1.1.1.1

          It makes it easier (ie less technical) and less expansive. But I was doing the same things in the 90s on copper ISDN dialup, and then ADSL.

          Hell, I was streaming video well before I got fibre in 2012 when it finally arrived at my apartment in central Auckland.

          The fibre just makes the volumes of data in video streams for things like Zoom easier. That makes it easier for people who aren't that focused on text (ie not programmers was my immediate translation of that statement 🙂 ).

          • froggleblocks 1.1.1.1.1

            Yeah, so 95% of people trying to work from home during lockdown then.

            That's why the actual change between now and 10 years ago that means huge numbers of people working from home during lockdown was feasible now whereas it would have been a disaster 10 years ago, is the broadband infrastructure, principally fibre.

        • Incognito 1.1.1.2

          You can watch TV over ADSL, you can have Zoom meetings over ADSL, and there is plenty of ADSL packages/plan that are uncapped. My Upload max. is ca. 1 Mbps and Download max. ca. 14 Mbps. That said, connectivity can be crap at times, particularly in School Holidays.

          • froggleblocks 1.1.1.2.1

            That said, connectivity can be crap at times, particularly in School Holidays.

            And just imagine how much worse it would have been 10 years ago if we had a pandemic and everyone was trying to work from home.

            Or during level 4 lockdown this year if we didn't have the fibre rollout.

            • Incognito 1.1.1.2.1.1

              In my neck of the woods fibre is being rolled out as we speak although not yet to my street 🙁

              So, it is today what it was like 10 years ago except for all the gamers and YouTube addicts, i.e. basically any human being over the age of 7.

              Anyway, working from home doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be on-line 100% of the time even though you might be on a device nearly 100% of the time.

              Zoom meetings quickly became as useful as face-to-face meetings, many were recorded anyway for later viewing, and audio-only is usually sufficient and less distractive. Enough said.

  2. Twas only 10 years ago when IT upgrades proceeded via projects and big overnight outages.. kind of fun to be a part of.. now it's all continuous delivery, incremental releases, cloud stuff. And 20 years ago offices were full of reams of A4 paper

    • lprent 2.1

      I'm always surprised when I use paper these days. Quite convenient for checking off large checklists or when I have immense tables of line definitions.

      I had the shock the other day of trying to find a stamp, envelope, and a post box. All were missing. The latter I had to look up on my phone after the last location I used to use had disappeared.

  3. Treetop 3

    Managing Covid has come a long way. Just what the end point managing Covid will be and for how long is unknown.

    • lprent 3.1

      Just what the end point managing Covid will be and for how long is unknown.

      That is the key point. Just spreading vaccines worldwide, let alone learning their effectiveness, will take years. There are a lot of potential cusp points in there as well. It looks like the UK just found one. The rate of transmission appears to have increased within the bounds of their existing reduce transmission model – and invalidated that model.

      By the time everything settles out, the business models will have adapted and the social expectation of people themselves will have changed into a new normal. It isn't likely that behaviour is going to miraculously revert fully back to where it was in December 2019.

  4. Incognito 4

    I assume and hope that some of the funding will go towards looking after personnel looking after MIQ facilities.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/300184874/covid19-hundreds-of-military-staff-need-psychological-checks-after-miq-incidents

    Government would be well advised to beef up INZ too because they don’t seem to be coping well with workload ‘re-prioritisations’ as I can attest through experiences at work as well.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2020/12/life-in-limbo-couple-in-nz-stressed-frustrated-as-wait-for-work-visa-passes-4-month-mark.html

    • lprent 4.1

      It sounds like INZ are just way way behind at present and were for the last couple of years.

      • Craig H 4.1.1

        Ignore residence delays, they were caused by the NZ residence programme (number of resident visas the government wants granted in a 2 year period) being much lower the number of residence applications actually made and there being no legal ability (until recently) for INZ to stop accepting applications. Since most residence categories are uncapped (partners of NZ residents, for example – an example of a capped category is the refugee quota), the only way for Immigration NZ to manage the number of resident visas actually being granted is to set the number of immigration officers assessing residence applications at a level which avoids granting more than the NZ residence programme target. Not surprisingly, when applications received are much higher than allowed visas, the queue gets rather long.

        Other visas have been more variable depending on season, pandemic issues (most of the overseas branches have been closed since March) and a large increase in fraud – apparently, the more INZ look, the more they find.

        • lprent 4.1.1.1

          Good points.

          I suspect that part of the problem from my perspective is that the time taken on the residence and citizenship applications is excessive. Personally I'd just cap most of the categories and draw some of them from a hat of successful candidates to fill a quota.

          Make providing false information to the INZ a simple criminal offence for anyone doing it (including immigration 'consultants') and grounds for immediate deportation for the persons making the application. Make it so there is immediate mandatory rejection on insufficient supporting documentation (they can put in another application). Of course this would require that the INZ specifies the required supporting documentation a bit more clearly than they do now.

          That should reduce a lot of the fiddling especially after jailing and fining a few immigration consultants.

          But the time taken after receipt of application before it is accepted or rejected needs to be capped at something like 3-4 weeks and essentially based only on the documentation in front of officer. Reject applications with suspicious information immediately and refer to a separate enforcement unit to check to see if charges need to be laid before a court – and fund that unit well.

          I've run across people who have skills that we want and need who have literally taken a years and thousands of dollars in fees to have an application lie on the INZ desks. That is a complete waste of time and effort. Win or lose they'd prefer to have certainty rather than sitting with a finger up their arse.

          I also think that they should get rid of the bloody stupid points system. Who cares if they have a degree? What they should be interested in is if they have a real skill. We need bugger all nuclear physicists. But we're continually short of crane drivers and other skilled construction workers.

          BTW: I have several completed degrees BSc in earth sciences, MBA on operations management – none of which I directly use in my current profession of ancient geek programmer. I entirely rely on other people with skills to solder the damn wires on bespoke cables, or to delicately place a large steel beam from a great height into an apartment building site. Don't need them to have degrees – and we're really short of those skills (and mine).

          • Incognito 4.1.1.1.1

            Agreed.

            Incomplete applications should simply not be accepted into/by the system. Of course, this needs to be accompanied by INZ information and assistance that makes it as clear and simple as possible. However, not every overseas applicant has the same resources to fill in and complete their application.

            I guess that checks on the accuracy and veracity of provided information take time as well as other ‘background’ checks as/when required.

            In my view, INZ is inefficient and poorly resourced and it is costing us time & money further down the pipeline. In some ways, it is a perverse system but then again, many central and local government as well as institutional systems are.

            • Craig H 4.1.1.1.1.1

              See my answer to LPrent about the acceptance of incomplete applications, and forms and guides are about as accessible as it's possible for them to be given the complexity of the subject matter. It's definitely the case that verification of documents, especially overseas in countries with poor systems, can take a long time. INZ has no control over how well-funded another country's public service is, or isn't.

              INZ isn't poorly resourced for verification, compliance and investigative work, it's just that the more they look, the more they find, which creates more work, and a lot of the work has to be through overseas channels which is often slow (as above).

              • Incognito

                Crikey, that’s a shed load of information!

                From the client side, INZ is unacceptably slow causing employment contracts, et cetera, to be delayed and on hold for far too long. When they have things on file, they shouldn’t have to take as long as they do. So, if they’re not under-resourced then they should review their deadlines as targets, e.g. process the ‘straightforward’ cases with priority and expediency. This is fairly essential service/infrastructure.

                • Craig H

                  There's not really any such thing as straightforward, or at least, not in anything to do with employers. Employers have to be compliant with employment and immigration law and financially sustainable, all of which are potential speedbumps, and for the main work visa category, also have to provide evidence of being unable to find a NZ citizen or resident (which comes with a set of rules and guidelines based on reasonable practice and attempting to avoid common issues), while the visa applicants/employees have to be of good character, health and bona fides (i.e. not going to breach conditions of a visa – this is how previous visa breaches are taken into account, as past history informs likely future actions), which can also be potential speedbumps.

                  That's without the ever increasing amount and sophistication of immigration fraud, which while it's not rife, is a lot more prevalent than it once was. Fake jobs, payment for jobs and job inflation (making jobs appear more skilled than they actually are to qualify for residence) are all issues, and all target a lot more industries than in the past e.g. IT used to be a safe, low-risk industry, but it is heavily targeted now, so while some of it is still safe and low-risk, there is a lot more to check than in the past.

                  All that aside, complete, low risk work visa applications were prioritised and were mostly in and out in a week or two pre-Covid. Covid has created a lot of issues with sustainability (how sustainable is employment now?), compliance (a lot of non-compliance over lockdown that is being unravelled still) and the labour market itself has shifted a lot, so a lot of previous shortages potentially weren't shortages any more. Economic impacts are starting to become better-understood, but it's only really the last month or less that we have started to see a much better picture emerge than originally predicted.

                  Something else that is coming from INZ will the employer accreditation requirements, which should land in July – this has been signalled well in advance, but is basically employer vetting/licensing done on a regular basis so that it doesn't have to be done each time an application is received, and can be revoked and employers effectively banned from supporting work visas until they have tidied up their act. This should speed up actual work visa applications significantly since that is a major issue currently as I hope my notes above briefly explained.

          • Craig H 4.1.1.1.2

            These are good ideas although they are mostly in place already.

            Incomplete applications generally aren't accepted – the concept of what INZ refer to as lodgement requirements has been part of the system since 1991 and these are currently set out in the Immigration (Visa, Entry Permission, and Related Matters) Regulations 2010: https://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2010/0241/latest/DLM3148101.html. (this set of regulations also includes all the various visa waiver categories)

            However, rigidly holding to lodgement requirements can cause issues, so the minister and INZ also have the ability to waive requirements for applications – a current example of that is to waive lodgement requirements to produce foreign government documents such as foreign police certificates or passports where Covid-related shutdowns/delays of the relevant foreign government department have caused delays. These still have to be produced at some point, but by accepting the application for processing and putting it in a queue, an interim visa can be generated if applicable and other documents don't go stale.

            Providing false or misleading information in immigration matters is the oldest immigration-related criminal offence and dates back to the Immigration Act 1868 (s4) i.e. 152 years ago. It is currently covered by s342 of the Immigration Act 2009. In line with normal criminal law, mens rea (intent) has to be proven and the person has to know the information was false or misleading – accidental provision of false information is rare, but it does happen e.g. a fraudulent birth certificate obtained by an applicant's parents where the applicant has had no obvious reason to question the information.

            Providing false or misleading information or concealing material information from an application is also grounds to decline the application whether deliberate or not, per s58 of the Immigration Act. This also covers the requirement to update INZ of "material changes in circumstances" e.g. breaking up with one's partner while applying for a partnership-based visa.

            The other item covered in s58 is the requirement to provide all relevant information and that INZ is not required to seek further information and can make a decision on the basis of what was provided with the application. However, this is subject to the common law requirement to observe fairness and natural justice in decision-making by the government, so in most cases an applicant will be given at least one opportunity to explain or rectify matters, especially for residence applications where the stakes are higher, so INZ is required to more strictly observe fairness and natural justice requirements.

            Deportation on the grounds of these is covered by ss156-158 – respectively, obtaining a visa under a false identity, deportation of residents for fraud etc, deportation of temporary visa holders for cause which includes these issues. Deportation liability for residents under these sections is automatic if determined to be the case either by a court or the minister or their delegated decision-makers. The minister and delegated decision-makers can suspend or cancel liability for deportation as they see fit and potential deportees can appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal to do the same. Decisions not to deport someone for these will usually be based on humanitarian grounds of some sort e.g. children here.

            The Skilled Migrant Category (the points system for residence based on employment) could definitely do with an overhaul, although the system as designed was meant to allow for skilled migrants to get residence here based on likely success factors, not the current job or industry so much since that tends to be cyclical while residence is indefinite. It's a lot more employment-focused now than when it was originally designed, it must be said, as now a job is required to get residence (it wasn't originally) or an applicant has a Masters or PhD with at least 2 years study in NZ. A big change that came in a few years ago was to allow applications from people of any occupation if their remuneration was at least 1.5 x the median wage, which gets crane operators and the like into consideration. Priority is also given to applicants in occupations with registration being required, and where the salary/wage is double the median of $25.50 i.e. $51/hr or $104,000 p.a.

  5. "

    "Johnson said on Saturday that a fast-moving new variant of the virus that is 70 per cent more transmissible than existing strains appeared to be driving the rapid spread of new infections in London and southern England in recent weeks.

    But he stressed "there's no evidence to suggest it is more lethal or causes more severe illness," or that vaccines will be less effective against it."…..i would like to see evidence that this IS actually the case……we have done very well so far AND been lucky…..lets hope we can keep our eye on the ball…..merry christmas to you all

    • Incognito 5.1

      The formatting of your comment is crap, which makes it hard to read, and there’s no link for the quoted text angry

  6. Foreign Waka 6

    In todays news

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/123773849/new-covid19-variant-hasnt-yet-been-identified-in-new-zealand-but-expert-says-likely-to-get-here

    "Epidemiologist Michael Baker said he expected someone travelling from the UK would bring the new variant to New Zealand."

    If that happens than the last year was not just a waste of time but also a waste of resources, effort and pain.

    I wonder whether we have a better program in place to prevent food and pest imports than containing a potential new infection. We allow sports people, entertainment, "important" people exemption. The virus does not differentiate and with this increased demand for more "exemptions", which effectively is an "open the boarder" cry, its just a matter of time until we have again a total lock down.

    [lprent: Selective quoting on one of my posts if a dangerous activity. The next paragraph / sentence to the quote was

    But it would only be a problem if it got through the border and started a community outbreak, Baker told RNZ on Monday.

    You comment assumes that to arrive on out shores is for it to create a outbreak. The reality that your crazed and extremely stupid fantasy appears to have overlooked is that most of the known strains of the virus that have arrived here haven’t got past the quarantine.

    I treat selective quoting and making presumptions based on them as being a form of deliberate lying. You are effectively putting words into the mouths of others. If I see you do it again, I will ban you. This is your warning. ]

    • Maurice 6.1

      Another total lock down is virtually impossible as it would have to be policed by police wandering about, quarantine personnel going to and from home and isolation facilities and medical persons treating the ill. ALL infection carrying vectors.

      Not to mention "essential" workers and trips to the supermarket. Kiwis have already become really inventive at avoiding being herded into their homes – if they have them.

      Let alone any protest at further destruction of income earning and the decreased possibility of widespread government subsistence 'payments'

    • Drowsy M. Kram 6.2

      Almost all NZers survived the effects of a one-month (level 4) lockdown (25 Mar – 26 Apr). Community spread of a (much) more infectious strain of COVID-19 in NZ might push us into level 4 restrictions again – if such a precaution is judged to be necessary then just do it.

      IMHO our Government, health professionals and others providing essential services have done spectacular work to keep us relatively safe under extremely trying circumstances – long may that continue.

      U.S. Resilience Ranking Drops (Dec. 21, 9:00 a.m. ET)
      According to Bloomberg’s COVID-19 Resilience Ranking, the U.S. dropped 19 places to 37th position. The U.S. authorized two cutting-edge mRNA vaccines this month and hundreds of thousands of doses have been rolled out, but that is yet to translate to an easing of the devastation on the ground. New Zealand remains [comfortably] in the top position, and the U.K. dropped two places to 30th.
      https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/covid-resilience-ranking/

      We don't know how lucky we are…

    • lprent 6.3

      Please read my note and moderate your behaviour accordingly.

    • Incognito 6.4

      If that happens than the last year was not just a waste of time but also a waste of resources, effort and pain.

      How so?

    • Foreign waka 6.5

      Hi lprent

      This was not the intention as I purposely added the link at the start. I am very certain most people read the article. Europe is currently facing exactly that scenario. It is complacency that will get us once more in the same predicament. I will add though that, freedom of expression is not just the reserve of a few. But I am happy to leave the site because being banned for observing what the worst case scenario is just takes it a bit in the realms of unreasonable.

      Thank you.

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    1 day ago
  • Keeping our Police safe to keep our communities safe
    The Government is committed to keeping our frontline police officers safe, so they in turn can keep New Zealanders safe – with one of the largest investments in frontline safety announced by Police Minister Poto Williams at the Police College today.   The $45 million investment includes $15.496 million in ...
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    1 day ago
  • Clean Vehicles Bill passes first checkpoint
    The Land Transport (Clean Vehicles) Amendment Bill will help New Zealand drive down transport emissions by cleaning up the light vehicle fleet, Transport Minister Michael Wood says. The Bill passed its first reading today and will establish the legislative framework for key parts of the Government’s Clean Car Package, including ...
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    2 days ago
  • Funding boost supports ongoing Māori COVID-19 response
    The Government is responding to the need by whānau Māori and Māori Health providers to support their ongoing work responding to COVID-19 and to continue increasing rates of Māori vaccination, Associate Minister for Health (Māori Health), Peeni Henare and Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today.   This increased ...
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    2 days ago
  • Significant increase to COVID-19 penalties
    Penalties for breaches of COVID-19 orders are set to significantly increase from early November 2021 to better reflect the seriousness of any behaviour that threatens New Zealand’s response to the virus, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Throughout this Delta outbreak we’ve seen the overwhelming majority of people doing ...
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    2 days ago
  • Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill returns to Parliament
    The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill has returned to Parliament for its second reading in an important step towards giving enforcement agencies greater power to protect New Zealanders from terrorist activity. “The Bill addresses longstanding gaps in our counter terrorism legislation that seek to protect New Zealanders and make us safer,” Justice ...
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    2 days ago
  • Joint Statement: New Zealand and Australian Trade Ministers
    Hon Damien O'Connor MP, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth, and Hon Dan Tehan MP, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, met virtually on Monday 20 September to advance trans-Tasman cooperation under the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER). CER is one of the most ...
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    3 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s Post Cabinet Press Conference/COVID-19 Update opening statement
    ***Please check against delivery***   E te tī, e te tā, nau mai rā [To all, I bid you welcome]   As you will have seen earlier, today there are 22 new community cases to report; three of which are in Whakatiwai in the Hauraki area, and the remainder in ...
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    3 days ago
  • Major milestones for Māori COVID-19 vaccine rollout as new campaign launches
    Whānau Ora and Associate Health (Māori Health) Minister Peeni Henare acknowledges two major milestones in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for Māori. “I am very pleased to announce more than 50 percent of eligible Māori have received their first dose and 25 per cent are now fully vaccinated,” ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government funding to fight infectious diseases
    $36 million for research into Covid-19 and other infectious diseases The investment will improve our readiness for future pandemics Research will focus on prevention, control, and management of infectious diseases The Government’s investing in a new Infectious Diseases Research Platform to boost Aotearoa New Zealand’s Covid-19 response and preparedness for ...
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    4 days ago
  • Quarantine-free travel with Australia to remain suspended for a further 8 weeks
    Suspension to be reviewed again mid to late November Decision brought forward to enable access from Australia to first tranche of around 3000 rooms in MIQ Air New Zealand working at pace to put on more flights from Australia from October    The suspension of quarantine-free travel (QFT) with Australia has ...
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    6 days ago
  • Extra support for Ethnic Communities to share vaccination information
    Extra support is being made available to Ethnic Communities to help them share COVID-19 vaccination information within their communities, Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan said. “We know we need to get every eligible person in New Zealand vaccinated. A fund being launched today will allow for ...
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    6 days ago
  • School holidays remain unchanged for Auckland region
    School holidays in Auckland will continue to be held at the same time as the rest of the country, starting from Saturday, 2 October, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I’ve carefully considered advice on the implications of shifting the dates and concluded that on balance, maintaining the status quo ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government continues crackdown on gangs and organised crime
    Operation Tauwhiro extended until March 2022 Since it was launched in February, Operation Tauwhiro has resulted in:   987 firearms seized $4.99 million in cash seized 865 people charged with a firearms-related offence Gangs and organised crime groups will continue to be relentlessly targeted with the extension of Police’s successful ...
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    6 days ago
  • Speech to Body Positive 'HIV Treatments Update Seminar 2021'
    E ngā mana E ngā reo E ngā iwi Tēnā koutou katoa Ka huri ki ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēnā koutou. He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei I raro I te kaupapa o te rā. Nō reira tēnā koutou katoa Acknowledgements It’s a ...
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    6 days ago
  • Power bill changes bring fairness to charges
    A key recommendation of an independent panel to make electricity charges fairer across all households will be put in place, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. “Phasing out the regulations on ‘low-use’ electricity plans will create a fairer playing field for all New Zealanders and encourage a ...
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    6 days ago
  • NZ economy’s strong momentum will support rebound from Delta outbreak; COVID fund replenished
    The economy showed strong momentum in the period leading up to the recent Delta COVID-19 outbreak, which bodes well for a solid economic rebound, Grant Robertson said. GDP rose 2.8 percent in the June quarter, following on from a 1.4 percent increase in the previous March quarter. This was a ...
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    1 week ago
  • Projects create benefits into the future
    Making a well-known lake swimmable and helping to halt the decline of the endangered hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins are among a suite of new projects being supported by the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme across the southern South Island, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “It’s no secret that many of our most ...
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    1 week ago
  • Opening statement for Whāriki Indigenous Small Business Roundtable
      Kei ngā tōpito e wha o te āo e rere ana te mihi maioha ki a koutou nō tawhiti, nō tata mai e tāpiri ana ki tēnei taumata kōrero mo te ao hokohoko arā mā ngā pākihi mo ngā iwi taketake Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa – Pai Mārire.  ...
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    1 week ago
  • New members appointed to Kāpuia
    The Government is adding four additional members to Kāpuia, the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. “I’m looking forward to having Pamela MacNeill, Huia Bramley, Melani Anae and Katherine Dedo  join Kāpuia and contribute to this group’s ...
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    1 week ago
  • Timeline confirmed for Emissions Reductions Plan
    Cabinet has agreed to begin consulting on the Emissions Reduction Plan in early October and require that the final plan be released by the end of May next year in line with the 2022 Budget, the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw confirmed today. “Cabinet’s decision allows organisations and communities ...
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    1 week ago
  • Pay parity pathway for early learning teachers confirmed
    Pay parity conditions and higher funding rates for education and care services will come into force on 1 January, 2022, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins confirmed today. The Government signalled this work in Budget 2021. “From 1 January, 2022, centres opting into the scheme will receive government funding and be ...
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    1 week ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Conference 2021
    Kia Ora tatau katoa.   Ka tuku mihi ki nga nēhi, He pou Hauora o Aotearoa, E ora ai tatou.   Whakatau mai  I runga i te kaupapa o te ra Te NZNO conference.   Tena koutou tena koutou Tena tatou katoa   Good morning, and thank you inviting me ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government investment in farmer-led catchment groups sweeps past 150 mark
    171 catchment groups have now been invested in by the Government 31 catchment groups in the Lower North Island are receiving new support More than 5,000 farmers are focussed on restoring freshwater within a generation through involvement in catchment groups  Government investment in on-the-ground efforts by farmers to improve land ...
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    1 week ago
  • Fight to protect kauri on track
    The Government is pitching in to help vital work to protect nationally significant kauri forests in Auckland, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says. “Ensuring the survival of these iconic trees for future generations means doing everything we can to prevent the potential spread of kauri dieback disease,” Kiri Allan said. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Joint statement of Mr Bernard Monk; Hon Andrew Little, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry,...
    [Note: The Parties have agreed on terms to fully and finally settle the proceeding and will jointly issue the below statement.] At the heart of this litigation are the lives of the 29 men tragically lost at the Pike River mine on 19 November 2010 and to whom we pay ...
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    1 week ago
  • More financial support for businesses
    Today’s decision to keep Auckland in a higher COVID Alert Level triggers a third round of the Wage Subsidy Scheme which will open for applications at 9am this Friday. “The revenue test period for this payment will be the 14th to the 27th of September. A reminder that this is ...
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    1 week ago
  • Aotearoa New Zealand provides further humanitarian support for Afghanistan
    Aotearoa New Zealand is providing a further $3 million in humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  “There is significant humanitarian need in Afghanistan, with the crisis disproportionately affecting women and girls,” said Nanaia Mahuta. The UN has estimated that 80% of the quarter of a million ...
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    1 week ago
  • Innovative te reo prediction tool announced in Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori
    A new Māori language prediction tool will play a key role in tracking our te reo Māori revitalisation efforts, Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today. He Ara Poutama mō te reo Māori (He Ara Poutama) can forecast the number of conversational and fluent speakers of te reo Māori ...
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    1 week ago
  • Further Government support for people to access food and essential items
    The Government is responding to need for support in Auckland and has committed a further $10 million to help people access ongoing food and other essential items, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced today. This latest tranche is targeted at the Auckland region, helping providers and organisations to distribute ...
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    1 week ago
  • Half a million Pfizer vaccines from Denmark
    The Government has secured an extra half a million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines from Denmark that will start arriving in New Zealand within days, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “This is the second and larger agreement the Government has entered into to purchase additional vaccines to meet the ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Inland Revenue providing essential COVID support for businesses
    Inland Revenue is seeing increased demand for Resurgence Support Payments and other assistance schemes that it administers, but is processing applications quickly, Revenue Minister David Parker said today. David Parker said the Resurgence Support Payment, the Small Business Cashflow (loan) Scheme and the Wage Subsidy are available at the same ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand marks 20th anniversary of 9/11 attacks
    New Zealand is expressing unity with all victims, families and loved ones affected by the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks, and all terrorist attacks around the world since, including in New Zealand. “Saturday marks twenty years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, which killed nearly 3,000 people ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to SPREP Environment Ministers
    Talofa Honourable Ulu of Tokelau Faipule Kelihiano Kalolo Tēnā koutou katoa and warm Pacific greetings from Aotearoa to your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. The new science released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on 8 August paints an alarming picture of the projected impacts of climate change on the ...
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    2 weeks ago