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Bully Brownlee forces SOE CEO to withdraw critical blog

Written By: - Date published: 11:26 am, January 12th, 2010 - 41 comments
Categories: national/act government - Tags: , ,

Powershop is a subsidiary of Meridian Energy, an SOE. It is the most highly rated power retailer by its customers, with 92% satisfaction. On the Powershop website, there’s a blog. On this blog, the CEO of Powershop, Ari Sargent, wrote a post on the Government’s proposed electricity sector reforms. It’s insightful, adroit, politically neutral, and scathing of ironically titled Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee’s reforms. It is called: Proposed energy sector reforms likely to increase electricity prices.

In response, Brownlee launched into a bizarre public attack on the publicly-owned company saying Powershop should “come out from behind Meridian’s skirts. When Powershop manage to achieve a significant presence in the retail domain, they’ll be able to speak with a great deal more credibility and authority.” This, of course, coming from a former woodwork teacher with no experience in the electricity sector and a year in his job as do nothing minister and inept Leader of the House. Effectively he’s saying “shut up, you bastards and stop wrecking my PR”.

More disturbing is what went on behind the scenes and it explains why when you go to Powershop’s blog now, the contents of the post are gone. Brownlee called Wayne Boyd, Chairman of Meridian Energy, and ranted and raved at him for several minutes about the Powershop blog post before Boyd could even get a word in. Brownlee, stepping miles beyond his power as minister, insisted that the post be removed because it didn’t suit Naitonal’s political purposes for the truth to be told. In contravention of the legal checks on his power, Brownlee orderd that Sargent and Powershop be muzzled for daring to speak truth to power.

Boyd (also Chairman of Telecom) failed to stand up to his minister, probably in justified fear of his job, and called Sargent telling him (in excess of Boyd’s own power) to take down the post that had so offended Brownlee. Sargent, probably in fear of his job, complied. Although he cleverly left up the comments, so we can see him rationally, responsibly and intelligently discussing the problems with the reforms with various commenters.

Of course Brownlee is an idiot as well as a bully, and his idiocy extends to not realising that you can’t really destroy anything that has been on the internet. Wikileaks has a copy of the original blog and, now, so do you. As you can see, it is a thoughtful and measured response by an expert who is clearly concerned about reforms that are directed more at PR than ensuring the future of cheap, reliably electricity.

And that’s why it had to be suppressed, of course. That’s why Gerry Brownlee was throwing his weight around behind closed doors, exceeding his legal powers under the SOE Act by bullying a Chairman to direct the CEO of a subsidiary company regarding operational matters.

SOEs are meant to be free of such political interference. It is not acceptable for ministers to behave like this.

The shame is that this is hardly an exception, more like the rule. Brownlee is fast becoming notorious for his bullying, above the law, dictatorial attitude, as are other ministers like Paula Bennett and Judith Collins.

The Right used to talk of Helengrad and spoke darkly of politicisation of the public service, although the truth was most civil servants felt their ideas were listened and valued to under Labour. Now, we have a government that is extending its reach deep into the operational aspects of independent public bodies to make them politically correct for National’s purposes. Ministers run their portfolio agencies like personal fiefdoms, while the PM is either on holiday or hamming it up for the cameras.

Welcome, to the Bully State.

41 comments on “Bully Brownlee forces SOE CEO to withdraw critical blog”

  1. fizzleplug 1

    Welcome, to the Bully State.

    Hi, you must be new here. I’ve lived here for around 10 years. Weather’s great.

  2. El Laho 2

    brownlee has always been a bully – now Ari Sargent thats a guy you want as a CEO. Great post and he suggested his own reforms – keep that guy on!

  3. randal 3

    I have been chastised for this before but anyone who achieves the girth of gerry is trying to psychologically compensate for a lack of power in their personal lives.
    I believe it is called throwing their weight around.
    any notion of right or wrong is completely irrelevant to being in charge and forcing other people to do their will.
    disgusting.

  4. Crash Cart 4

    Hell of a lot of very detailed accusations as to Brownlees actions but very little corroborating evidence to go with it.

    And no just the post being removed does nothing to corroborate “raved at him for several minutes about the Powershop blog post before Boyd could even get a word in”

    • Pascal's bookie 4.1

      It would corroborate someone’s claim of that though.

      JFTR, if true, what say you?

    • lprent 4.2

      You know the usual drill. The parties (Brownlee, Boyd, and Sargent) are welcome to deny it. We will happily publish a denial.

      Denials tend to drag these things out especially if you have to avoid directly lying. Of course there are usually 3rd parties to these things and everything leaks eventually so I don’t think that it is that likely we will get much of a response.

      In the meantime, I’d expect that the media will ask Brownlee as well.

    • Bright Red 4.3

      what do you want? Phone logs? Peps are really spoiled since the secret tapes.

      Eddie’s relating something he has heard, insider info. That’s one of the reasons this blog is so worth coming to. You can’t expect that insider info will come with signed affidavits.

      • Crash Cart 4.3.1

        The fact remains that this is a very serious allegation. One that I would think were it to prove true could have serious consequences to the minister involved. Sans evidence it is nothing more than hear say and can have no real effect. Brownlee can no more be found guilty for this than any other person charged with a crime with no evidence. It then comes off as a smear.

        And if either of the parties were to go public with this I doubt that the minister would have the opportunity to meat retribution. He would be so busy covering his own arse that any attempt to fire the said whistle blower would result in even more pressure.

  5. Crash Cart 5

    It would corroborate the claims if they were made by the person who made the initial blog that is true. However all I have seen is Eddies claim. The fact is that the removal of the post could indicate that the SOE themselves felt that perhaps their posting was starting to stray into the realms of political commentary and removed it them selves. I am by no means suggesting that this is what happened but what I see above has no backing substance. It could well be true but unless there is a link to a quote from the initial author to confirm he removed it from circulation due to downwards pressure or from the head of Meridian confirming that he was ranted at for minutes then it all just seems like emotive story telling.

    • Bright Red 5.1

      bro, think about it. The dude removed his blog post. If he backed down because of ministerial presure he’s hardly then going on the offensive, eh?

      • ben 5.1.1

        So the complete absence of evidence is the surest sign what Eddie says is true?

        • lprent 5.1.1.1

          The only bit for which there is no evidence is the phone call by Brownlee and the subsequent call to Sargent.

          The rest is all public record. Bearing in mind the linked article comment by Brownlee to the news about Powershop, what Eddie claims happened sounds quite plausible.

          Unlike a court, politics isn’t based on evidence. It is based on credibility. Ask Winston Peters (that the right used the blogs to draw out the speculation) or Worth (where the speculation went over all blogs) or … many others.

          This sounds credible. Politically Brownlee either has to answer or attempt to ignore. If he cannot answer, then I’d suspect that it is true. If he does answer then the other parties will also wind up answering.

    • Crash Cart 5.2

      For the record if it is true then Brownlee is showing once again that this government is chronic in its lack of regard for living up to the virtues it so strongly preached at the last election. I for one have no intention of voting for them next time round but it puts me off when a blogger I respect would post such detailed and inflammatory accusations without even a link to something that might provide corroboration.

      @brightred

      If this accusation had been bought in this way against anyone on the left the first thing I would expect to see would be your self asking for some evidence, and rightly so.

      • Pascal's bookie 5.2.1

        Not everything a blogger writes about can be linked to.

        If someone tells you something, and you trust them, and they say you can blog about it but not say their name, what’s a blogger to do?

        Like any media outlet they can publish, protect their source, run the risk of libel hearings etc, and the credibility of story will be judged by it’s readers.

        • Crash Cart 5.2.1.1

          But that isn’t like any other media outlet. This isn’t m,early reporting what may have been said. This is being pro ported as fact. With nothing to back that up. In the MSN if this were to happen it would have one word attached to it, SMEAR.

          • lprent 5.2.1.1.1

            Blogs aren’t a media outlet.

            What they do is to provide an outlet for the posters of the writers in a way that is unfettered by anything apart from the legal rules on libel (if someone wants to bring a case), suppression orders where the police are able to enforce them, and whatever the hosting company chooses to do.

            Internally, they operate as a private venue completely up to the whims of the operator of the site. Generally this makes them semi-public with some kind of rules about what other people can put on them.

            • Crash Cart 5.2.1.1.1.1

              This is true but they also set their own standards as to credability.

              The fat fish for instance is really a waste of time to even go and visit because it is full of unsubstantiated bolloks that is just people throwing crap at other people.

              The standard tends to be a place where you find people discussing a wide range of topics in depth with respect for each other. Eddie is often at the forefront of that sort of discussion. I just personally felt that this particular post was more along the lines of what fat boy would throw up.

              As you say it is completely yours and Eddies right to make the accusations. I merely pointed out the they are completely unsubstantiated. Hell you could have even edited me out if you wanted, it is another thing that I like about this place that all views are heard.

              • lprent

                Yep. In this case Eddie appears to have found something interesting in an area that appears to have some prima facie evidence, but where you couldn’t do a OIA (Official Information Act) request, and would require someone to go and ask the people concerned.

                We are part-time bloggers who use psuedonyms to protect ourselves. So we aren’t going to do that. However Eddie seems to think that it is worth pursuing so is putting it up for more public attention. So the blog gets used to put it out so that the media/politicians/public and see it has been made ‘public’. They can do it.

                As you said, the credibility of the poster is everything on particular topics. If Zetetic said it, then it would probably be ignored. If I said it on this topic so would I (and anyway I seldom post on the beltway issues). Eddie is known to be pretty good on beltway issues, and not known for going over the top. I’d expect it will get looked at by the MSM.

                BTW: He is a fat mammal – not a fish. I point this out because I’m uninterested in being regarded as a fish either – see my identicon.

  6. tc 6

    More of the same bullying, intimidating, arrogant behaviour that will go unchallenged by the media who apply the formula’ IF govt…THEN positive/nice copy only’.

    Unsure about Boyd being painted as an innocent party here……if he had bollocks he’d resign as his position is being undermined by the minister abusing his powers so effectively he’s culpable in abusing the due process instead of reminding Gerry of his boundaries.

    In fact I reckon Boyd probably enjoyed the opportunity to play Yes minister……watch those remuneration figures people….betcha wayne gets a few bones thrown at him….good boy now sit and rollover.

    • prism 6.1

      Serving the government in a senior position can be a grubby business it seems. But somebody has to do it. It may not be good for everyone who is put under pressure to resign. Politics appears to advance with a series of compromises but hopefully government does understand the need for limits to these.

  7. The reforms are bizarre.

    Meridian’s “green and clean” image has been shot by Brownlee requiring it to take a Hawkes Bay diesel powered station thereby “contaminating” the source of its power.

    If the idea was to provide geographic diversity I do not understand why a Waikato power station or a Geothermal station could not have been provided instead.

    The decision has caused consternation in the ranks of Meridian’s management.
    According to The Press

    A Government review of the electricity sector is jeopardising the green reputation of one of its biggest money-spinners. Giant state-owned South Island generator and retailer Meridian Energy’s multimillion-dollar carbon-neutral generating status will be threatened if the recommendations of a review requested by Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee are adopted.

    Meridian has written about the review to its shareholding ministers, Finance Minister Bill English and State-owned Enterprises Minister Simon Power, and to Associate Infrastructure Minister Steven Joyce. However, its letter has not been addressed to Brownlee.

    Meridian chief executive Tim Lusk had said it would not consider building gas-fired power stations. “Our mission statement is to be a global reference company in renewable energy. It is pretty hard to see how we would move into gas, because it would not do a lot for our brand.

    Get the feeling Brownlee may have deliberately sabotaged Meridian?

    • mouse 7.1

      I think you have hit the nail on the head Mickeysavage… I for one moved to Meridian as a vote for their renewables focus…

      I think It Irks National that Meridian have sucessfully differentiated themselves as being a renewables only Business…

      Though I think Nationals Stratergy is really very straight forward…i.e. just think of what the best policy response to events should be, then do the opposite.

  8. You guys are making big gerry look like old flatiron himself..

    Interesting to me was the stuff-link title refered to by eddie, in which the word ‘majority’ was purportedly spoken/written by the minister in regard to his intended legislative changes. Taken to mean that only the majority was for whom these changes were necessary..

    Given how a majority can amount to just one person are we left to assume that such a person is the Minister himself..?

    Also Eddie, and in no way mischievous I assure you, a lot of manufactured debate could be very good for ‘bully’ victims and amount to vigorous positive promotion of cost-cutting power retailers. Albeit discriminatory against potential customers outside of an operator’s existing coverage ambitions..

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    Ministers run their portfolio agencies like personal fiefdoms,

    I’ve called National the Party of Petty Dictators before and nothing they’ve done so far has disabused me of that notion. In fact, everything they’ve done is totally characteristic of dictators including the Nanny State smear they levelled at the last Labour led government.

  10. Irascible 10

    The mind set of the NACT MPs has always been closer to those of the stasi state of East Germany than of any democracy. Brownlee is demonstrating, along with his stasi mates – Key, Bennett, Collins,English, McCully, Wong… , the arrogance of the conservative dictatorships the world over.

  11. Zaphod Beeblebrox 11

    He’s making lots of enemies at the moment. The Queens Wharf debacle in Auckland is the other current mess of MED. Read the front page of the Herald and weep Aucklanders.

  12. Welcome, to the Bully State.

    No welcome to SOEland. The government owns the SOEs, examples like these are one reason why they shouldn’t. Depoliticisation of firms is a major reason for privatisation of state owned firms.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 12.1

      Yeah but they are never really free of the influence of the state are they??

      As the above example proves, sort of like monopoly guaranteed profitised socialism for the lucky few.

    • RedLogix 12.2

      No…Ministers keeping to the rules is how you de-politicise SOE’s.

    • burt 12.3

      No Ministers keeping to the rules is how you de-politicise SOE’s.

      Putting aside the ideological issues of big-govt vs small-govt for a moment, RedLogix hits the nail on the head.

      And what is important is that we pull them up when they fail to do exactly that irrespective of which party they are in. Every time we STFU because they are from our team we are condoning what we find offensive from the other team.

    • dcnbwz 12.4

      no the government does not own the S.O.E.s. The government is an elected body supposedly acting on behalf of the will of the people. The citizens of New Zealand are the stakeholders, not any elected body.

      It’s been proven time over and around the western world that all privatisation does is at best maintain status quo with services provided whilst providing massive profits for (usually) overseas corporations. New Zealand’s experience with a number of privatised S.O.E’s is also that little or no maintenance is carried out during this ownership and assets are stripped. Assets that were provided by the previous owners i.e. the nz public.

      If the press actually did what is expected (which I know will never happen) i.e. provide neutral coverage with a decent amount of research we would not even be discussing this. It would be black and white that privatisation is NEVER in the interests of citizens and almost always in the interests of a very rich minority.

  13. The problem is Minister don’t “keep to the rules”. And what are the rules anyway? The government owns the SOEs, so they can direct them to do what they want.

    • burt 13.1

      Indeed, Darnton VS Clark shows us what happens when the rules are inconvenient.

    • Eddie 13.2

      Paul. I expect better than ignorant crap like that from you (not from burt, of course).

      A minister owns an SOE on behalf of the people of New Zealand. The SOE Act and related law establishes limits on how that ownership can be exercised. They do not have the right to reach into an SOE and direct its operational affairs. They are not allowed to run SOEs as their personal fiefdoms

      • Paul Walker 13.2.1

        Actually the Minister does not own anything on behalf of the New Zealand people. Ownership is having (residual) control rights, the New Zealand people do not have such rights. The government has these rights and thus they are the owners, plain and simple.

        • Bright Red 13.2.1.1

          Good God, Paul. Shareholding ministers do not have the right to direct operational matters of a company. They do not have personal ownershp of the companies, the shareholding goes with the office, a minister in the New Zealand Government, governing on behalf of the people of New Zelaand and under New Zealand law, most specifically the SOE Act.

          What the hell is wrong with you, you think you’re some smart-arse economist and you don’t even know how SOEs work?

          Get informed.

  14. Ron 14

    I tried to link to the Wikileaks article from my Facebook and it was blocked. Ought I be getting paranoid?

  15. What does one expect from Right -Wing governments. ? They are “The Nasty Party”completely anti- worker .Their whole purpose in life is to have money and power . History proves it . So i’ts no suprise that the National Party spawns a number of bullies among its members. they even had a Leader called Muldoon who was nothing but a vicious drunk. Remember Brownlee has a conviction for assaulting an old age pensioner. By making him a minister the Nats are showing they have learnt nothing from the Muldoon years .

    • gitmo 15.1

      Is this pseudonym channeling D4J ?

      [lprent: This IP range was on a watch list because of someone with a very similar address getting moderated the other day. I’ve removed the auto-moderate…. ]

  16. Sally Wu 16

    Word on the street is Brownlee’s friend Shipley( who is chair of Genesis) has connections to the factory farmers who would love to get their hands on the water from the Waitaki chain to pump into the factory……..Mr Brownlee is this asset swap really about increasing competition or increasing milk production………. New Zealanders should be worried.

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    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
    3 days ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    3 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    4 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    4 days 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
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    4 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    4 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    5 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    5 days ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    6 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    6 days ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    6 days ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    7 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    7 days ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    1 week ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    1 week ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago

  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours 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
    10 hours 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
    22 hours 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
    24 hours 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    2 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days 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
    6 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
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    1 week ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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