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Brownlee’s blow-out

Written By: - Date published: 11:33 pm, November 27th, 2008 - 45 comments
Categories: climate change, flip-flop, Media, national/act government - Tags:

National/ACT has only been in power a week, but the flip-flops keep coming. Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee will not confirm that that National/ACT will reversing the new light-bulb standards. This after they campaigned hard against these standards and Key repeatedly promised that under a National government people would not be told which type of light-bulbs they can use. Brownlee hasn’t confirmed that the policy will be dropped, but he is no longer confirming his party’s policy stands and that says it all. 

Campaigning on reserving the standards was a typically hollow vote-grabbing move from National; the kind of politics that encourages you not to think too hard, just be outraged. ‘Don’t let the nanny state take away your lightbulbs’ – it’s enough to stir the brain-dead reactionary in all of us.

Just as predictable as National’s pre-election bluster is their post-election back-down. The fact is there was never anything extreme about the improvement in light-bulb standards that most incandescent bulbs can’t match: the Government sets standards for all kinds of consumer goods for safety and environmental reason among others (that’s why you can’t get CFCs in your refrigerator anymore). We are actually behind the rest of the world in raising our standards and will look positively Luddite if we lower them again. In fact, the choice to buy incandescent bulbs is going to be taken away from us soon enough because China produces 70% of the world’s supply and has already banned their use domestically. So, National will move quickly to get this inevitable flip-flop out of the way so the voters forget.

Now, we can’t blame National too much for cynically exploiting this issue then back-flipping any more than one can blame a polar bear for eating baby seals; it’s just what they do and they’ll do it as long as they can do it successfully. What is disappointing, though, is that they are allowed to get away with, first, the electioneering stunt and, soon, the back-flip.

Only one group has the power to effectively expose and disarm cynical electioneering. But the media’s ping-pong excuse for objectivity failed because it can’t point out that one side of the argument is complete bollocks. Worse, we had excitable columnists comparing the light-bulb standards to the third Labour Government’s public health regulations that (among a whole slew of other things) banned cats from dairies, which National used to whip up the knee-jerk conservatives. In a bizarre reading of history, they claimed banning cats from dairies had cost Labour re-election in 1975 and light-bulbs would do the same in 2008 – they failed to ask whether National’s promise was the right thing for New Zealand or likely to be kept by a National government. The fact that parties are permitted by the way the media reports politics to get away with this kind of dishonest crap is an indictment on the industry that is meant to perform a crucial role in informing us and protecting our democracy*. 

Well, that notwithstanding, it looks like those excitable columnists’ comparison between the incandescent ban and the cat ban was valid but in a way they perhaps didn’t foresee. After all, when was the last time you saw a cat in a dairy?

*[I wonder if the media bigwigs have realised that it is this failure of duty that is driving people away from the mainstream media to the blogs for their political analysis]

45 comments on “Brownlee’s blow-out”

  1. Quoth the Raven 1

    What a laugh these National kids are. Cue the right wing mental/linguistic gymnastics to defend National’s flip flop on fictional nanny statism. Along the lines of “they weren’t saying that SP your exaggerating consequently the grasshopper is a column” What mirth.

  2. T-Rex 2

    Maybe the media are failing to cover this for the same reason that I wish you hadn’t – They’re trying to forget that someone as uninformed as Brownlee is Minister of Energy.

    I mean it’s important to get it out in the open and all, but doesn’t it feel kind of like chewing a roofing nail?

  3. Camryn 3

    Cats are banned from dairies? Madness!

  4. Stephen 4

    Not sure where you got “A staffer for Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee has told reporters that National/ACT will not be reversing the new light-bulb standards”, cos:

    A newspaper today reported a National staffer saying the phase out would not go ahead but Mr Brownlee would not confirm that.

    Mr Brownlee said officials at the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority were doing some work on the issue.

    “We’ll be making an announcement about that in due course,” Mr Brownlee said.

    They haven’t confirmed anything, and the staffer said something different to what you claim, so I think it’s a bit premature to crow.

  5. ghostwhowalks 5

    See the announcement Paul Oliver is to leave the Herald political reporters to work for John Key.

    No surprise really as her stories were all patsies anyway. But she didnt waste any time

    her new full time job making sure the National spin gets in the Herald….come to think THAT was her full time job before the election

  6. Janet 6

    Interesting that Bob Jones is already getting cynical about the new leader he campaigned for. His column this morning is an attempt at satire about the expensive junket to see Gordon Brown. Now I wonder if the DomPost will bring back their ‘junketwatch’ column?

  7. ah, the perils of writing at 11pm, I had just cited Brownlee’s refusal to confirm the policy, then I looked at the nzpa article again an got my wires crossed. You’re right Stephen, the staffer does say the opposite, that the reversal would go ahead, but the crucial thing is that Brownlee is already backing away from it. I’ve edited the post.

    You also have to remember that nzpa didn’t ask Brownlee about this out of the blue – they got some info off the record to prompt them to seek clarification from the minister.

  8. Tim Ellis 8

    I agree with you SP, there does seem to be an inconsistency here. Interesting post. I think National voters probably do see that Brownlee should reverse the standard, as National did campaign on it up and down the country, and they should also pull back on nanny-statism where it exists.

    Have you got a link to the article? I think a lot of National voters will be really annoyed if that standard stays in place.

  9. Stephen 9

    Cheers. In any case, I doubted they’d reverse the proposed changes too, if only because it seems pretty rare that any previous government’s legislation is overturned/repealed by a new one (?), unless it’s REALLY a big deal to them e.g. the Employment Contracts Act, or the EFA.

  10. Stephen 10

    Have you got a link to the article? I think a lot of National voters will be really annoyed if that standard stays in place.

    I don’t think so, because it’s not going to have that much of effect.

  11. toad 11

    Thanks for the correction, Steve. I’d just blogged about it myself on g.blog, including that I thought you had got it wrong, before I noticed that you’d edited it.

    I suspect (hope) that Brownlee will heed the advise of EECA, and leave the standard intact. Or maybe fiddle around the edges of it to be seen to be doing something to appease those voters who bought into his political electioneering beat-up of what should be a science-based decision.

  12. Janet 12

    By the way these things add to the view that NZ is going against the world trend on climate change. In Australia this new standard is the unquestioned norm, plus they are of course very vigilant about water – low volume shower heads and toilets that only work on half flush are the norm. Australians who know about these election issues wonder why are NZers so resistant to doing anything about climate change.

  13. tsmithfield 13

    I heard Bill English talking about all this sort of stuff (shower heads, light bulbs etc) on ZB yesterday. He said they were reviewing all these standards etc with a view to simplifying the building consent process. So, it looks like the proposed standards could be given the boot.

    Personally, I have no objection to efficient light bulbs etc. The problem I have is having these things made mandatory. I am sure there would be a substantial voluntary uptake through a good marketing campiagn without the need for compulsion.

    I have used ECO bulbs before and in my experience have found that they are not suitable for all applications (taking time to get fully bright etc). In some situations the ECO bulbs could actually cause hazards because they do not provide adequate illumination immediately.

    Therefore, I think people need the freedom to use conventional light bulbs where they are more effective.

  14. insider 14

    LAbour mucked this up completely. They turned a smallish issue into a touchstone one through arrogance. The ban wasn;t even needed as the market was converting itself, so it was bad policy and politics. The state dictating what you could buy just created an issue for fear and loathing to coalesce around. Not for the first time Parker showed poor judgement for someone so senior.

    As for the fridges comparison, you usually only buy one every 10 years and in my experience new fridges tend to be better than old ones. That is not my experience with cfls and I think that many have a similar view and that is what has driven a lot of the negative reaction.

    As for people relying on blogs for analysis, there was a US Professor of media in NZ recently who said the evidence for that was skimpy. He said that while it is often claimed the landscape has changed, when you get into it you see it is the blogs that are actually highly reliant on the media for their content.

  15. Chris G 15

    If they dont stop the change in efficiency ratings, then they mislead the public in their campaigning, how long will that list be?

    insider, Evidently the way you see things, the national party does not share that same view:

    “A newspaper yesterday yesterday reported a National staffer saying the phase-out would not go ahead but Mr Brownlee would not confirm that” Dom Post today.

    If it were so clear cut, as you suggest, and say its: “The state dictating” Then why isnt brownlee taking a page from Hide and saying ‘Itll be gone by Christmas!!!’

    I thought the Nats are the masters of economics? Why then dont they share your immediate concern that the market was already changing itself?

    On a personal note, naturally I hope they let the phase out go ahead

  16. Strathen 16

    I find it amusing you seem to think there’s a proportion of people that voted for National/ACT because of light bulbs and cats. I know quite a few National voters, and none have mentioned this as an issue for voting. Even my family and mates that are builders thought the legislation was a pain in the arse, but not an election keystone.

    Their biggest gripe is how long it takes the building consent process. The posters above that touched on this and the safety issues around these bulbs in some applications are more on the money as to where I interpret voters would want this issue analysed.

    To take the debate away from the real issue so as to label it a ‘flip-flop’ shows that left commentators still haven’t grasped how out of touch with the real voters, and their reasons, they are.

  17. insider 17

    Chris

    Brownlee did say that before the election. Funny how things change once you are bound by ministerial responsibility. Note the ban still has some significant hurdles to get through which a smart bureaucracy can use to delay it – and I wouldn;t mind betting that is the outcome, delay it a few years so the market changes on its own and more products get introduced to smooth the way.

  18. bill brown 18

    It’s interesting that under the Labour government the use of incandescent light bulbs was coming under pressure due to their non-adherence to proposed efficiency standards whereas under the Nactional, Brownlee is looking at a ban of a particular type of bulb (or not) for bureaucratic reasons.

  19. Chris G 19

    Insider,

    I cant see how brownlees comment isnt from yesterday, rather than before the election. Looking at the article in todays paper it seems like the comments are from yesterday, if not very recently.

    Ill tell you what john boy said in one of the leaders debates though: “They’re banning lightbulbs!!” The sensationalism!

    Once again, I’ll point out that if it were so obvious, as it is to you, that the market was changing anyway… why isnt Gerry saying so and telling the press a more assertive statement on the lightbulb standards?

    I think they’d be plain stupid to not drop the phase-out given johnnys aforementioned rant, but you never know with the Nats. Someone at the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority might just whisper some advice in Brownlees ear.

  20. gingercrush 20

    Bah leave poor Gerry alone. You lefties are mean.

    —-

    Anyway on a serious note. I’m not a fan of those new lightbulbs because we brought several and two didn’t even last a year and in one of them it burned the lining. While the savings are admirable. I do have questions over their safety or claims of how long they last. Because as I said two did not last a year which meants whatever savings we could have made. I doubt we made any considering the lightbulbs at the time were four times the price of a standard lightbulb.

  21. bill brown 21

    GC,

    See the following for some links that should assuage some of your fears.

    Mythbusting: Half of new generation is thermal

    (Not the Wishart ones, the others – the Wishart ones will just make your brain rot).

  22. Ianmac 22

    Strathan: “I know quite a few National voters, and none have mentioned this as an issue for voting.”
    Of course not! But the thread of Nanny-state included light bulbs and showerheads and protect your kids and um…. Just mention Nanny-state and the chunk of voters eyes light up like a 200watt lightbulb!

  23. Stephen 23

    The bulbs might not have been a single factor exactly, but it would’ve added weight to the ‘this government needs to be shown who’s boss’ feeling of some voters, and THAT was a significant factor.

  24. Strathen 24

    Ianmac – I’m not sure it’s the voters eyes that light up, but more the right commentators. Whilst I mentioned the left commentators are out of touch with the voters, the same can be applied to the right as well. I’m often dismayed at what is reported in the media and on blogs, a lot of it takes an issue and seems to grab one part of it, most often the irrelevant part. Maybe my gripe is with the commentary of all. The one-up-manship seems to take priority over the genuine debate. It’s as if everyone wants to win, rather than look at what is happening for the country.

    Stephen – Agreed. Perhaps tie it in to tall poppy syndrome. I would think your line of thought would be better for the topic of a blog article, but instead there is a prevailing need to get ‘flip-flop’ in to the commentary.

    Flip-flop is a horrible term that has been embraced by people that should know better. What does it actually mean? What are the practical applications? What are the parameters required so as to apply this term? My impression is that it can only be used to describe the right wing parties as it seems to get dismissed if an attempt to apply it to left wing parties is put forward. Following this line of thought, the term ‘flip-flop’ would probably be classed as propaganda or sensationalism. Something to brainwash the masses with.

  25. insider 25

    ginger

    Don’t believe the safety issues – the fire service has actually had fewer calls to efficient bulb events than to traditional bulb ones and there are about 10 million cfls in place. Remember when unleaded fuel was introduced? There were a spate of vehicle fires reported and the fuel blamed. Turned out vehicle fires actually reduced after PULP’s introduction but common old ignorance and superstition fuelled a media beat up. It’s just flat tyre syndrome or people ignoring the instructions and putting them in the wrong places.

    As for lifespan, bulbs fail all the time before their typical lifespan – mostly we don’t log and time it becasue the traditional bulbs have a limited life anyway. Could be electrical, could be manufacture. Make sure you don’t get the low quality ones. Or get the halogens that look and perform just the same as the old bulbs but only save 30% energy.

    Chris

    I agree with you that the NAts should stick to their promise (which I think was that they wouldn’t introduce it in 2009). Like I said, it may be that it is a bit more complex now they are in power – as it is a common standard with Aus there may be some agreed deadline (but no-one has mentioned it). Easiest option is to not do or delay the ground work meaning they can’t implement it.

  26. Quoth the Raven 26

    GC – Yes Gerry is such a nice fellow so nice in fact that he assualted a pensioner.

  27. gingercrush 27

    Oh don’t start that crap QtR. Irrelevant and totally out of order as well.

  28. this to express appreciation for bill brown’s “Nactional” — oh I do like that one. For another coalition of the willing. But that small ‘c’ suggesting that instead of willing one could suppose shilling (for who knows what shall remain unspoken).

    on the bulbs business, I like the low wattage jobs, better for my eyes. I have long thought how incandescents deal wasted heat AND light. In comparison with the others they have hitherto constituted a one-type fits all monopoly.

    choice – now there’s the thing.

  29. sweeetdisorder 29

    Swing and a miss pierson.

    As reported midday news on ZB,

    Lights out on incandescent bulbs ban

    28/11/2008 12:04:20

    The previous government’s ban on incandescent lightbulbs is being reversed.

    There have been conflicting reports today on whether the new Government would follow through on its pre-election stance.

    Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee says he has instructed the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority to prepare the paperwork to overturn the ban.

    He expects an announcement will be made early in the New Year, reversing the decision to phase out incandescent lightbulbs.

  30. Pascal's bookie 30

    Thanks sweeet.

    Now we know what the Nactonauts mean when they say they are ‘looking into it’ or ‘considering’ something.

    Puts Rodney’s little slush fund for pre ordained research into it’s proper context.

    Why don’t they just front and up and say what they are going to do straight off the bat instead of paying our money to their mates in the consultancies to spin a line?

  31. Ianmac 31

    Bet the incandescant bulbs don’t last till the next election. There won’t be a world market so the supply will just dry up.

  32. Janet 32

    Watch this policy change over this parliamentary term. Try buying one of the old light bulbs in a couple of years – or admitting to your friends and neighbours that you still use them. Will have the same status as leaving the sprinkler on your garden in a time of extreme water shortage. Something probably only Act voters do.

    Green issues are going to escalate in significance in the next couple of years and this announcement of Gerry’s will come back to bite him.

  33. Its all about choice.

    People can buy what they like under National, under Labour they had to get Aunty Helen’s permission first

  34. Felix 34

    Bloody silly banning cats from dairies.

    At one time they were compulsory and with good reason.

  35. Janet 35

    Brett
    Choice is a cultural construct.
    It’s not a level playing field.

  36. gingercrush 36

    Janet – The Greens polled nearly 7% and 7% only. Green issues while adopted in Labour and elsewhere does not mean the whole of New Zealand is turning Green. It also doesn’t mean some stupid social stigma will be attached to those that use OMG the old lightbulbs. Get real.

    People still have fireplaces and people still use coal. Do people give them social stigma? No. People still drive cars and older cars that use more emissions. Do they get socially stigmatised?No. So please don’t speak like you are everyone. Because anyone that would stigmatise someone over using old lightbulbs really needs to get themselves in check

  37. bill brown 37

    GC, suddenly you’re all over telling everyone how to think – go take a cold shower and get over yourself.

  38. RT 38

    Must be an Act convert, and they polled well below 5%

  39. Janet

    Choice is not a culture construct (what ever the &*^%$ that means)

    Choice is choice.

  40. Quoth the Raven 40

    GC – What’s environmentally unfriendly about a fireplace? Fitsimmons has a fireplace. As long as you’re burning wood there’s nothing wrong.

  41. gingercrush 41

    cultural construct – Pathetic sociology term.

    bill brown – You get over yourself or would you stigmatise someone for using old light bulbs? Yeah I think you would. Such a shame.

  42. Janet 42

    Brett
    Some people are in a position to exercise choice (because of wealth, access to resources, money, transport etc). Most people aren’t. Choice is not a neutral term. It is a concept that some people have created to justify their own access to, or desire for something, that other people can’t have (for a variety of reasons).

    GC
    Green issues are actually sustainability of the planet and support for humanity issues. Wait till President Obama gets going – being Green will not only be very cool, but finally people will realise that it is essential for our mutual survival.

  43. gingercrush 43

    Yes Green issues will become more relevant I actually don’t disagree with you there. As for Obama. Before Obama a number of states were already working on Green ideas and in America the best way is through the states though Obama will be a larger proponent of Green issues. I wouldn’t expect miracles from Obama and increasingly his team isn’t looking like change its looking like a government from the left. Which is fine but to me Obama’s whole rhetoric was a change and an America citizens can once again believe in. But when most of your team is made up of the same washington insiders as the Clinton administration I don’t see change. And also in America there are several steps where Green issues will be resisted. Unless Obama totally changes how Washington operates which I think looks unlikely. The Green movement there will only go so far. And it still requires action to be taken by the states where that will be more effective.

    Green issues likewise will be relevant here. Just because people vote National does not mean we don’t care about green issues or in sustainability. But that doesn’t mean we’ll go down the route of the Green party and implement their policies. That is something most New Zealanders haven’t voted for.

    QtR – I was using that as an example. And I used that as an example because 1 trees breathe in CO2 and 2. burning of wood still creates emissions. And 3. I believe you live in Christchurch which as you know has certain smog levels that are rather unacceptable and the council has implemented new standards in housing etc for what a person can or can’t use as energy. Thus even burning wood fireplaces have been tackled as part of that implementing. Thus by Janet’s analogy people could have been stigmatised for having wood burners. But that hasn’t happened meaning I can’t see how someone would be stigmatised for using old lightbulbs.

  44. DB,

    Choice is choice.

    Whicha choice is whicha..?

    There’s the choice of preferment(aka cultural construct (of becoming))..

    and the optional choice – can have one, can’t another – as per the intended law re out with incandescents, in with low wattage light efficiency.

    BTW: be interesting to note how incandescents are characterised since they do waste heat energy( excepting the infrared jobs at 250 watts for tiny bathrooms!)

    and the choice most folks take the word to mean, between one thing and another, both retained or available..

  45. Im always amazed how ordinary folk have fallen for Nanny State as a means of attacking the Political left. In a natural crisis like floods and slips these same people are the first to moan if “nanny state”action is not started at once.
    The wealthy and privaledged among us have done very well out of “nanny state ” but as soon as a helping hand is given to working people the rich and their mates say
    its nanny state .A simular motive is when the union movement gains something for its workers , the first in the queue to recieve are the non unionists. The left needs to capture the power of words ,and well before the next election.

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    As the world economy slides rapidly towards deep recession there are growing calls for a Universal Benefit coming from some leftists and rightists. Now Finance Minister Grant Robertson is saying it is on the table.  This article by a French party Workers Struggle provides analysis of various forms of universal ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018)
    This is the advice from the very top of the anti-fluoride movement – Paul Connett, director of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN). Don’t worry about reading  up on all the scientific information “You only have ...
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 10
    . . April 4: Day 10 of living in lock-down… I wake up to a fine Saturday morning which normally would be like an early Christmas. But it’s Day 10 of Level 4 Lock Down. What  will my fellow New Zealanders be doing on a day like this – staying ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Redline reaching out to more writers & readers
    Some time during the night we went over the 850,000 views mark. We might have had our millionth view by the end of this year – certainly by early next year. Most of the people involved in Redline spent years and years producing various small left-wing papers and selling them ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Keir Starmer elected
    Comfortably, in the very first round, with an impressive 56% of the votes.I wonder, did members of the Shadow Cabinet start tweeting their resignations during Starmer's victory speech, or is that only a trick the right pull?It is odd how all the talk of how the next leader "needs to ...
    3 days ago
  • Hard News: Michael Baker and the Big House
    One of the key voices in this extraordinary time in which we live is that of University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker. Philip Matthews did an an excellent job this weekend of capturing the way he became the man for this moment in a profile for The Press.But one ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand Gives up on Trying to Save Daylight
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the nation today about the decline in daylight New Zealand has been experiencing over the previous few months. She said “As many of you will notice, our attempts to stem the dwindling of the daylight over the last few months have been completely ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    4 days ago
  • A bulletin from Greece
    Redline received this article from the KOE a Marxist party in Greece Our friends in the KOE describe here the mounting crisis in Greece and tensions on the Turkish border. As desperate people flee from their homelands which have been ruined after decades of imperialist wars and interventions the people ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
    As the first week of Level Four lockdown unfolded, mounting questions grew as to just what was (and was not) allowed under its “rules”. Partly these were driven by some apparently contradictory messages from different authority figures and explanations carried in the media. Partly they reflected a somewhat sketchy legal basis ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

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

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

  • Communities step up to help New Zealanders stay connected and fed during lockdown
    Communities stepping up to help New Zealanders stay at home to break the transmission of COVID-19 and save lives have received Government support, said Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. “Delivering groceries for the elderly who can’t shop online, providing data packs for low income families to keep them connected, and being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • 120 COVID-19 testing centres now operating
    Across New Zealand 120 sites are taking samples to be tested for COVID-19.   68 community based assessment centres (CBACs) have been established to take samples from people with COVID-19 symptoms. Alongside this, 52 other centres including designated general practices, swabbing centres, and mobile clinics are now testing people for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Covid19: Government moving quickly to roll out learning from home
    The Ministry of Education is working with partners to develop a package of options so that students can learn at home when Term 2 begins on 15 April, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Supports are also being prepared for households with children under five, to help parents and whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Making learning from home accessible to Māori learners and whānau
    Māori Television to begin educational te reo programmes Ki te Ao Mārama – a new online learning space Thousands of hard copy learning packs ready for distribution Helpdesk and advice service for kōhanga, kura and wharekura Television, the internet and hard copy learning packs are some of the ways whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • New Zealand to provide assistance to Vanuatu following Tropical Cyclone Harold
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced an initial package of support to help the people and the Government of Vanuatu respond to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Harold. “Our Pacific neighbours have been hit by a Category 5 Cyclone at the same time as dealing with the economic impacts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Planning for the future of tourism
    Tourism New Zealand to lead work reimagining the way tourism operates in post-COVID-19 world. Ministers to review International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy investment plan. The Government, industry and business are working together to develop a plan for how tourism will operate in a post-COVID-19 world, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • NZ horticulture sector feeding Kiwis and the world during COVID-19
    More New Zealanders are taking up the chance to work in horticulture as the sector keeps New Zealanders fed and in jobs during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown. “Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Work to repurpose PGF funds begins
    The Provincial Development Unit is working through applications and projects to see where Provincial Growth Fund money can be repurposed for initiatives deemed more critical to fighting the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “We need to be throwing everything we have at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • A million workers supported by Govt wage subsidy
    The Government’s wage subsidy to protect jobs and keep workers and businesses connected during the lockdown has now supported over a million New Zealanders, with $6.6 billion already paid out. “We’re supporting businesses to pay wages, and stay connected with their workers so that we are all in a better ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government helps Pacific communities fight COVID
    The Government is stepping up efforts to help protect New Zealand’s Pacific communities in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet has agreed that $17 million will be allocated to support a COVID-19 Pacific Response Package, which will: Support Pacific health and disability services facing increased demand; Ramp up public health messaging ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark
    “Yesterday evening the Health Minister advised me of his trip to a beach during the lockdown and offered his resignation,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses.  “But right now, my priority is our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Statement from David Clark
    Last night as part of my preparation for the Epidemic Response Committee, I provided the Prime Minister with a complete picture of my activity outside my home during Alert Level 4.  That included the fact that on the first weekend of the Alert Level 4 lockdown I drove my family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 mental health support begins
    A range of support is being rolled out across New Zealand to help people look after their mental health during COVID-19 Health Minister David Clark said this morning. “COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives and many of us will be feeling some level of distress or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
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  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
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  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
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