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Blogs and the Political Establishment

Written By: - Date published: 11:01 am, July 4th, 2018 - 43 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, blogs, internet, Media - Tags: , ,

On reflection my distain wasn’t in fact for blogs. My weekly presidents’ column was published online in a blog format, thus I was using the medium to attack the medium. My distain came from operating in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, where the political establishment operated in an isolated bubble. In student politics, I loved being in a position where I could be a voice for change or do good. What I despised was the irrelevant gossip and manoeuvring that inevitably follows when you are near the seat of power, ie parliament.

It wasn’t that I had a particular thin skin. Having had the record for being called a c%#t in the Salient’s letters to the editor one year, to then go on and get re-elected to the executive showed me that the (usually unanimous) comments from random dickheads mattered little. What annoyed me was the time wasted when others indulged them, or made random attention seeking idiots feature writers or gave them some other platform. If this were just student politics then fine. But I could tell then and still see today, that much of the political debate in Wellington supposedly at a national political level is little more than the gossip and nonsense of a club. This sadly, sums up much of the political journalism, social media and blogging from Wellington.

The Beehive – Wellington’s Capital, and a great big political bubble.

This is by no means unique to Wellington. I very clearly see similar such bubbles exist in London, Canberra, Washington, Paris, Ottawa and in most capital cities in democracies. And worse, people know this. They’ve known for years that politics is an elite club.

One of the reasons that the people in these clubs are still struggling to understand TrumpBrexit or even the relative rise of Corbyn and Bernie Saunders is that many people outside the bubble are sick of the bubble. In fact there are people who are quite happy to vote for extremes on either side of politics, just to wipe the smug look off people the smug establishment.

The fact is people who don’t live in the world of the political chit chat, or endlessly read the inane political blogs may view the world differently (The Standard is of course above all the others haha) . The world views of people outside the bubble are not only valid, they actually are often more informed than those in it. People in the bubble to will claim to know what is happening “on the ground.” Yet something like Brexit or the Trump election hits, and those in the bubble are shocked.

My experience during my student politics years was to be labelled mad, looney, extremist, idealistic and unrealistic. Many of those positions I took at the time such as free tertiary education are now government policy in New Zealand. Democracies work well when voters are given a genuine choices and can be part of serious debates about the future of our society. When this reverts to name calling and pettiness by those who would rather protect their position in the club, this undermines democracy.

Reposted from Nickkelly.blog

43 comments on “Blogs and the Political Establishment”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Democracies work well when voters are given a genuine choices and can be part of serious debates about the future of our society.

    No. Democracies work well when the state administration (much better word than government) actually asks what the people want and then enacts those policies rather than simply dictating them. Giving people choices is actually removing their choice and their freedom to govern themselves.

    To ensure that people have the necessary education to govern themselves well requires free, ongoing education. That people be taught how to think critically and how to do research from a young age. Finally that everyone be encouraged, and even required, to engage politically.

    • soddenleaf 1.1

      agreed but the principles are asking for an extension to get their homework in.

    • Bill 1.2

      Maybe you’d do yourself a service to look up democratic centralism and all the pitfalls inherent to it (hint: Bolshevism)

      • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1

        Good job I didn’t propose that idea then isn’t it?
        In fact, that sounds remarkably like Representative Democracy.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_centralism

        “The Soviet state is organized and functions on the principle of democratic centralism, namely the electiveness of all bodies of state authority from the lowest to the highest, their accountability to the people, and the obligation of lower bodies to observe the decisions of higher ones”.

        The exact opposite of what I proposed.

        • Bill 1.2.1.1

          No Draco, it’s precisely what you suggest.

          It’s just that you’re blind to “institutional capture” with your nonsense around a centralised admin “asking” people what they want (who decides what’s asked, and who frames the questions?) and enacting policy off the back of the answers (who sets the priorities?).

          Also quietly noting the suggestion of possible coercion inherent to your idea that people may be “required” to engage in the thoughtless mangled mess you imagine.

          • Enough is Enough 1.2.1.1.1

            Exactly Bill.

            So under Draco’s State Administration system, someone (I am not sure who) will ask the public how much money they want collected in tax this year, and how do they want it spent.

            As it will be compulsory for everyone to respond, I’m thinking they will get about 4 million different answers back. From there they will have to work out what the people want.

            This sounds like a system where absolutely nothing will ever get achieved.

            • McFlock 1.2.1.1.1.1

              I’m put in mind of California, which has binding referenda.
              So the legislature occasionally gets contradictory instructions like demands for increased expenditure and demands for tax cuts.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Yeah and when the two don’t meet a new referenda is made and the taxes went up.

                People can, and do, learn from their mistakes if they’re in a position to make them and then correct them. IMO, a major problem with Representative Democracy is that people don’t accept their mistakes. They just blame the government instead.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  Could a majority of NZ voters learn to support ‘anti-smacking’ legislation, and how long might that take?

                  Our current system occasionally delivers good (progressive) legislation in a timely manner, but that requires a level of public trust that is difficult for all but the most charismatic (and ethical/moral) leaders to gain and maintain.

                  Power corrupts…

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Could a majority of NZ voters learn to support ‘anti-smacking’ legislation, and how long might that take?

                    More than likely. After all – the leading question that was asked was designed to get the response that it did and didn’t actually relate to the law that was being passed.

                    What do you think the answer would have been if the question had been:
                    Should adults be allowed to assault children?
                    or
                    Should the law be able to be used as a defence when a person has been found to have assaulted their child?

                    Our current system occasionally delivers good (progressive) legislation in a timely manner

                    No it doesn’t else we’d have legalised recreational marijuana by now. Abortion would be on demand and not in the criminal section of law.

                    Then there’s the other side:
                    Selling off our state assets against our will.
                    Signing FTAs against our will.
                    Lowering taxes – against our will.

                    It’s done better than an outright dictatorship but not by much.

                    • JohnSelway

                      Your questions are just as leading as assault is already a crime so basically you propose to ask if parents should be able to get away with a crime if leveled against their own children.

                      Given the question is whether it should be a crime or not your proposed question is not satisfactory and is leading.

                      Better would be: “should a parent be able to strike their child as part of behavior correction”.

                      Doesn’t lead, doesn’t assume a crime has already been committed.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Your questions are just as leading as assault is already a crime so basically you propose to ask if parents should be able to get away with a crime if leveled against their own children.

                      Smacking someone is assault. There were just legal outs if the one being smacked was a child. Those legal outs allowed many people who were outright abusing their children to get off scott-free.

                      And people would complain about it. They just didn’t seem to realise that it was the legal outs that allowed such immoral behaviour.

                      Better would be: “should a parent be able to strike their child as part of behavior correction”.

                      Doesn’t lead, doesn’t assume a crime has already been committed.

                      And allows abuse of children to continue. Why are you so determined to allow immoral behaviour?

                • McFlock

                  Whereas a representative government usually manages to identify and assess legislative incosistency before making the decision.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    There’s a difference between inconsistency and doing something that may or may not work and learning from the result.

                    Inconsistencies can be found, published and dealt with. The administration would be looking for such inconsistencies.

                    • McFlock

                      Found and published and dealt with. By whom? People sometimes demand contradictory things. Freedom and safety being the most basic.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Found and published and dealt with. By whom?

                      The computer program and the administration.

                      I see no way to get rid of the necessary administration that a country needs but I do see a way in which that administration does what the populace wants rather than what the rich want.

                    • McFlock

                      Take care: the Soviets thought they saw exactly the same thing.

              • dukeofurl

                “legislature occasionally gets contradictory instructions like demands for increased expenditure and demands for tax cuts.”

                Which ones do you refer to ?
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_California_ballot_propositions_2010%E2%80%9319

                of course not all propositions pass each year and yes some contradict each other but the voters didnt chose both

                62:’Death Penalty. Initiative Statute. Repeals the death penalty and replaces it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole as the maximum punishment for murder.- fail

                66:Death Penalty. Procedures. Initiative Statute. Limits death penalty appeals and length of time for death penalty review. Invalidates Proposition 62 if passed by a larger proportion of the popular vote.-Pass

            • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.1.1.2

              So under Draco’s State Administration system, someone (I am not sure who) will ask the public how much money they want collected in tax this year, and how do they want it spent.

              Nope. Once the people have told the state admin what they want that admin to achieve they get supplied with the bill. Of course, how that bill is paid is also dependent upon the wishes of the people discussing the tax laws.

              As it will be compulsory for everyone to respond, I’m thinking they will get about 4 million different answers back. From there they will have to work out what the people want.

              That’s what computers are for and are actually very good at it.

          • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.1.2

            No Draco, it’s precisely what you suggest.

            No, it’s the exact opposite.

            who decides what’s asked, and who frames the questions?

            There’s really only one question: What do you want the administration to do?

            And nothing gets done without the majority agreeing to it.

            Also quietly noting the suggestion of possible coercion inherent to your idea that people may be “required” to engage in the thoughtless mangled mess you imagine.

            Democracy requires that everyone participate in it else we end up where we are with the state representing the business class and not the people.

            • Enough is Enough 1.2.1.1.2.1

              What do you want the administration to do?

              There are approximately 567,876,546,345,243,119 different, but equally valid ways that question can be answered.

              Is your computer going work through each of them and decide which things take priority?

              • Draco T Bastard

                Is your computer going work through each of them and decide which things take priority?

                No, it’s going to read through them and find the similarities so although there are 567,876,546,345,243,119 replies there are far less actual policies.

                Priorities would be set by referenda.

                • Enough is Enough

                  Well it is certainly an interesting concept.

                  I’m going to throw a wild prediction out there though and say it will thankfully never see the light of day.

                  Running a country is not something most people concern themselves with. There are us political geeks, but the vast majority of people just want to get on and their own thing.

                  Then every three years have a say on whether the current mob is doing what they were elected to do.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Running a country is not something most people concern themselves with.

                    How can they expect to have freedom if they won’t govern themselves?

                    In a democracy it’s a requirement to be politically active else it will just turn into another dictatorship.

                    Then every three years have a say on whether the current mob is doing what they were elected to do.

                    Which just leaves us where we are with none of the political parties truly doing their job as we see increasing inequality and poverty.

                    • Enough is Enough

                      Being politically active is a right. It is not an obligation or something that people should be compelled to participate in.

                      People should be encouraged to participate and engage in the system, but if those same people are informed and happy for others to make decisions on their behalf, that is their right.

                      You can lead a horse to water but….

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      It is not an obligation or something that people should be compelled to participate in.

                      It is an obligation and one that people don’t have the right to abrogate. It’s what keeps a polity a democracy rather than allowing it to descend into a dictatorship.

                    • Enough is Enough

                      What are the consequences if they don’t participate?

                      Billy the kid doesn’t want to participate in the referendum on whether to immigration should be made illegal and refuses to vote.

                      What happens to Billy?

            • dukeofurl 1.2.1.1.2.2

              I think what Draco describes is the system that Athens used before direct democracy , rule by ‘archons’ or Chief Magistrate. Himself of course and his ‘Draconian Constitution’

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draco_(lawgiver)

    • Pat 1.3

      an idea that deserves further exploration.

      • Dennis Frank 1.3.1

        Indeed. Some of us were brainstorming this in the seventies, and formulating policy therefrom in the Greens economic policy working group led by Jeanette Fitzsimons in the early nineties. His approach is refreshing in demonstrating how to catalyse rapid consensus using the wisdom of the crowd.

        Several years ago I blogged on this method, in general outline here http://altaotearoa.blogspot.com/2015/12/how-to-solve-inequality-problem.html and in more prescriptive terms here: http://www.alternativeaotearoa.org/get-this/inequality-towards-a-solution

        Yes, I did send a paper proposing this solution to Metiria Turei’s GP inequality policy group. No, I didn’t expect them to support it. Any group of leftist politicos can always be relied on to head for the hills as fast as their wee legs can carry them when confronted with an actual solution to an endemic social problem. They see their social role as being to pretend to solve such problems – not to actual do it.

  2. soddenleaf 2

    blogs missed the big story… ..the jk was the worst… ..the national party love of lax or no regulation… …leaky housing wasn’t key… …shitty rivers, Fletchers happy govt contracting, now falling apart Waikato roads, whether the 29, or rebuild insurance flibuster, there is not one part of jk nine years that did nz any favors. geez housing in motels….

  3. SPC 3

    If the comments were unanimous, rather than anonymous, you would not have been re-elected.

    • The Fairy Godmother 3.1

      Actually I took that as the point. The comments were unanimous but did not reflect the feeling of the student voters in the real world so he one the election. In a recent election I was involved in in of the candidates was the target of a nasty campaign on neighborly. However on the ground noone was discussing the issues online and he won the election with a huge majority. Sometimes this negative online stuff says a lot more about the people generating it than those it is about.

      • SPC 3.1.1

        One the first and two in the second?

        There is probably a connection between the ease (time convenience) and safety of anonymous online comments that means they are less likely to be as active on the ground as those who use their real names.

      • james 3.1.2

        “Sometimes this negative online stuff says a lot more about the people generating it than those it is about.” – amen to that

  4. SPC 4

    What you overlook is that those in the beltway blog/media realm operate within relevant parameters – elected politicians, party operators, bureaucrats, lobbyists and commentators.

    They are constrained by party manifestos and which party/parties are in government – which change every three years. But during that period activists for change are marginalised from their world (apart from the party conference).

    To those outside of the estates of power networks involved, it will seem of another world, and the nature of the relationship with the governed is based to a degree on perceived fear (of it doing the wrong thing or not doing the right thing) or trust (in it not doing the wrong thing and in doing the right thing).

    And because of growing inequality, there is more partisanship thus more disquiet when the other is in government office.

    And the blogs of those of those outside of the beltway and posts on media sites reflect this – as well as providing an on-line means to express dissent (the convenience results in a certain tempermental nihilism/immaturity).

  5. Dennis Frank 5

    An accurate diagnosis, Nick. If you want to go deeper then ponder this question: what does the media mediate? Even deeper: why doesn’t the media itself answer the previous question?

    Our media mediates between govt & people (ie the powerful & the powerless), or between capitalists & workers (19th century frame) or employers & employees (20th century frame). Politicians pretend to represent electors (19th century frame). Bloggers try to be meaningful to readers whilst being captive to the narcissism induced by our culture (20th century frame).

    So the inertial effect of tradition can only be overcome by a radical progressive alternative. My suggestion for this millennium is a focus on our common interests instead of the entrenched polarising caused by the traditional focus on sectional interests. Obviously collaboration on climate change governance will drive this forward, but I’d prefer a concurrent renovation of the economy as well. However, at age almost 69, ain’t up to me or my generation, so what positive alternative is emerging from the millennials themselves? If any?

    • patricia bremner 5.1

      “At age 69 it aint up to me” paraphrased.

      But you could live to 89!! Another 20 years. So stay engaged!!

      • Dennis Frank 5.1.1

        Yeah, thanks Patricia, have attended a Greens conference & a permaculture hui in recent months. Gotta keep doing that social alchemy thing wherever possible. Still waiting for a social media forum for pan-generational application though. A few years ago I was involved with several others in getting one started (Action Station) but the design turned out to be flawed (skewed to lowest-common-denominator). We need something that operates at the upper level of competence instead.

    • Janet 5.2

      So wisdom accrued after 69 yrs has no value these days ?

      • Dennis Frank 5.2.1

        Interesting question Janet. Thing is, wisdom is a personal quality. One useful thing postmodernism taught us is that meaning is essentially subjective. Science attempts to objectify it via a group discipline, often successfully, but the culture of science breeds scientists full of knowledge yet devoid of wisdom. Gluckman, recently retired as our govt science advisor, actually did a surprisingly good job consistently in rendering scientific appraisals spiced with sufficiently wisdom that his advice always seemed appropriate. He’s an untypical scientist.

        In whatever field of social endeavour, you’re really only as good as your last performance – you get judged accordingly in the court of public opinion. Relevance as either blog commentator or political activist is limited by our affect on others. I’ve learnt from life at the leading edge of western civilisation; always a challenge to make such marginal experience relevant to others even in my own generation! We need a pan-generational transmission of wisdom, I try to help that process, but younger folk only get it if/when the time is right for them to do so.

  6. ropata 6

    s/distain/disdain/

    suggest a veto system rather than a plethora of referenda. put all new laws to the people for ratification first. we could have avoided asset sales, TPPA, all sorts of stealth neoliberal shit

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  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    5 days ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    6 days ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    6 days ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    7 days ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    7 days ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    1 week ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
    The coronavirus pandemic has of course had a major impact on individual lives and on societies as a whole. But, long after the crisis has passed (assuming it does), we will begin to realise that its real and lasting significance lies in the lessons it has taught us, if only ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
    COVID-19 has plunged Aotearoa New Zealand (indeed, the world) into territory that, while maybe not totally unprecedented, certainly hasn’t been seen during the lifetimes of most of us here today. Our borders are closed to non-citizens, we’re being told not to gather in groups of more than 500 outside/100 inside, ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been urging you to prepare yourself, your family, business, and community for Covid-19. Now it’s time for real action.  Yesterday the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced another 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing our total to date to 52. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020 Editor's Pick Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts   Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed ...
    1 week ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
    by Cultural Worker Late March 2020 amidst the virus. With gigs crashing and burning all around it was without much hope that I called a long standing rest home booking: “ Hi, I’m supposed to be entertaining at your place this afternoon – is it still on?” “”If you don’t ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
    Whenever people demand real change from their politicians, we're told that "politics is the art of the possible". The implication is that change isn't possible, so we'd better just get used to the sucky status quo. But now that there's a pandemic, a lot of things we were previously told ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Only Way Through This Crisis Is Together.
    Together: In leading New Zealand through the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Prime Minister could do a lot worse than allow herself to be guided by the spirit of collective sacrifice and co-operation that animated the New Zealanders of 80 years ago. Most Kiwis alive today have had no opportunity to prove their ...
    2 weeks ago
  • GFC vs Covid-19
    It is said that generals fight the last war. In the case of the early stages of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) they had learned from the Great Depression of the 1930s and they fought intelligently and successfully. Later their advice would be ignored in favour of the Austerians who ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • Nobody Left Behind.
    Solidarity Forever: All over the world, the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has exposed the fragility of the walls we erect around ourselves and our loved ones. It has shattered our illusions of autonomy and revealed to us how utterly dependent we all are on other human-beings. Finally, we see ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rebuilding a truly “Democratic” counter, or a “moderate Republican” bolt-hol...
    Looking across the various arguments for/against the leading candidates to take the Democratic Nomination, you might honestly be very hard pressed to tell. There are a number of things that have now started happening since Amy Klobuchar and “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg both threw the towel in and immediately (and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion law reform a win for women
    by Daphna Whitmore Abortion is no longer in the Crimes Act in New Zealand. The law reform passed yesterday and now abortion is a medical matter between a woman and her doctor. Many women’s groups and progressive people have campaigned for reform for decades. The women’s liberation movement and some ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • How to spot bogus science stories and read the news like a scientist
    Doug Specht, University of Westminster and Julio Gimenez, University of Westminster When fake news, misreporting and alternative facts are everywhere, reading the news can be a challenge. Not only is there plenty of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other scientific topics floating around social media, you also ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus
    Michael Baker, University of Otago and Nick Wilson, University of Otago With some of the toughest border restrictions and a newly-announced NZ$500 million boost to health services, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand is also fortunate in ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Parliament and the pandemic II
    As expected, the government has introduced a sessional order to allow Parliament to operate during the pandemic. You can read it on the Order Paper here, but the short version is that questions and motions can be filed electronicly, select committees can work remotely, and the the Business Committee can ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • When a virus goes viral: pros and cons to the coronavirus spread on social media
    Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology; Daniel Angus, Queensland University of Technology; Timothy Graham, Queensland University of Technology, and Tobias R. Keller, Queensland University of Technology News and views about coronavirus has spread via social media in a way that no health emergency has done before. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • How to survive 14 days of self-isolation
    So you’ve recently returned from overseas, come into contact with someone who tested positive, got a bit of a dry cough yourself or perhaps just want to self isolate for 14 days to avoid other people who might have COVID-19. Here are a few tips and tricks to help get ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion Legislation Bill passes third reading
    Some fave speeches:     ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    2 weeks ago
  • Why Leadership Matters – More Than Anything.
    Our Good Fortune: Precisely because she has never been an ideologue (she calls herself a “pragmatic idealist”) Jacinda Ardern has a political nimbleness and spontaneity which, when infused with her exceptional emotional intelligence, produces spectacular demonstrations of leadership. Jacinda's empathic political personality contrasts sharply with the less-than-sunny ways of her ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #11, 2020
    2 weeks ago

  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
    The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks.   “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to make sure businesses can work together in ways that will allow them to provide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
    The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
    Associate Health and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare has today announced the Government’s plan to support Māori communities and businesses in the face of COVID-19. “Our Government’s $12.1 billion economic package will help many Māori whānau, workers and businesses, whether it’s through wage subsidies, income support and worker redeployment, or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
    The Government and the hospitality industry have worked together to produce guidelines to assist with managing and reducing transmission of COVID-19, Health Minister David Clark announced today.  The guidelines developed between the Government, Hospitality New Zealand and SkyCity Entertainment Group, set out how the new restrictions on physical distancing and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
    Four stage Alert System for COVID-19 announced New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact New Zealanders over 70 and those with certain medical conditions told to stay at home as much as they can to reduce risk of contact with the virus Workplaces to implement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM Address – Covid-19 Update
    Kia ora koutou katoa I’m speaking directly to all New Zealanders today to give you as much certainty and clarity as we can as we fight Covid-19. Over the past few weeks, the world has changed. And it has changed very quickly. In February it would have seemed unimaginable to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ and Singapore commit to keeping supply and trade links open, including on essential goods and med...
    New Zealand and Singapore have jointly committed to keep supply chains open and to remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the commitment. “This is an important collective response, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Joint Ministerial Statement by Singapore and New Zealand -Covid-19 situation
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Transit between Australia and New Zealand
    Travel restrictions, closing our border to almost all travelers came into force from 23:59 on Thursday 19 March 2020 (NZDT).  All airlines were informed of these restrictions before they came into force. Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says “The transit of passengers between Australia and New Zealand has been agreed upon and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • $100 million to redeploy workers
    The Government has allocated $100 million to help redeploy workers affected by the economic impact of COVID-19, with the hard-hit region of Gisborne-Tairāwhiti to be the first helped, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford, Forestry and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced today. Phil Twyford ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • More support for wood processing
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is ramping up support for Tairāwhiti’s wood processing sector to bolster the region’s economy at a time of heightened uncertainty, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Following earlier announcements today of a regional support package for Tairāwhiti, Minister Jones has also announced a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago