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Simon Canute and the blogs

Written By: - Date published: 12:17 am, October 17th, 2010 - 29 comments
Categories: blogs, dpf - Tags: , ,

Minster of Justice Simon Power is ‘consulting’ on regulating the on-line communities to prevent violations of normal societal and legal standards. Clare Curran at Red Alert asks ‘hopefully’ that this isn’t simply a reaction to the idiocy of ex-National party member Whaleoil in how he chases readership. But I suspect that is exactly why this kind of foolishness has come back on the agenda again. Plus of course National would prefer that there wasn’t so much criticism of their wimpy leader and his habit of having poll driven responses rather than having or using his backbone.

There are existing systems in place that are generally sufficient. But they need to move closer to the speed of internet processes rather than the glacial pace that the courts have. It took almost a year between the time that Whaleoil started violating name suppression orders and the time he actually stood in front of a judge for sentencing. That is patently ridiculous and more importantly didn’t reinforce the lesson early enough. Simon Power has the ability to speed up the court process, but has been failing to provide the required resources. The delays are getting worse not better.

In his press statement Simon Power said…

It’s a bit of a Wild West out there in cyberspace at the moment, because bloggers and online publishers are not subject to any form of regulation or professional or ethical standards.

Bullshit – quite simply this is the statement of a fool that doesn’t appear to understand the way that the net operates. Which is the point that No Right Turn makes in his first post on the subject and I intend to expand on here.

But the ‘wild-west’ of blogging exists largely on the wild-right of the local blogosphere with their weak to non-existent moderation of comments. Perhaps the minister should have a talk to the erstwhile supporters of his government about voluntarily providing more effective moderation of their comments sections. Or in the case of Whaleoil, ask him to stop trying to take shortcuts to boost his readership while attempting to shroud himself in a spurious attempt to portray it as a deliberate activist activity. Failing to do that makes it look like Power is using a excuse manufactured by his own supporters to suppress the better managed blogs like this one and others that do moderate well within what the courts would allow.

Generally the net is populated not by ‘professionals’ but by individuals exercising their ability to say what they are thinking. That makes the whole basis of Power’s ‘review’ more than a little farcical. The closest thing that the local blogosphere has to a professional, outside of the few professional media driven blogsites like Pundit, is David Farrar. He runs a polling business that seems to have customers that are largely right wing political parties – mostly National. But even the contortions of his post at kiwiblog he seems to do basic spin control for Power, but anticipates my (and others) reaction to the news of this ‘review’.

But the way the Minister’s press statement has framed the issues is not good, and likely to rub a lot of people up the wrong way.

He is right, and I can’t see any of the potential benefits that he postulates are there. I can simply see it as destroying a system that is mostly already working because a Minster is too damn lazy to do his job in effectively improving the court processes, and doesn’t use the processes that are already in place inside the net itself.

Generally bloggers and almost all hosting providers abide by the rules of society, not only of their own societies, but also of others when requested to do so. We certainly do. The content that we provide and permit on our overseas server pretty much conforms to a standard that we think that the local courts would permit if a case was ever taken. This is a strictly voluntary moderation standard but as far as I can see most local bloggers tend to conform to the same standard to one degree or another. With a few exceptions the standard of moderation has improved considerably over the last few years without the Ministers inept interventions. Bloggers that don’t abide by this informal standard tend to get the treatment that Whaleoil did – widespread derision. We mostly ignored the deluded fool and we waited for the court process to take its laborious but inevitable course.

Besides if the courts, police or Minister had wanted to shortcut their own glacial processes then they could complained to his hosting provider. Generally if a complaint is received by most hosting providers either locally or internationally, they will look at the specified examples, make their own decisions, and in all likelihood they would have at least warned Whale or taken the site down. That is how the net tends to operate and has done so for decades. It is exactly the procedure that we take when we receive complaints about material on this site. Moreover whatever decision was made and whatever action was taken would have taken days or even hours – not the months that Simon Power’s justice system took.

However there appears to have been no attempt by the police, courts, or department of justice to take that effective action. It hardly shows the concern that Simon Power dribbles on about in his statement. To people on the net that lack of effective action indicates that officials were not particularly serious about the damage it was doing to our court system. People on the local net appeared to be far more concerned about it than either Simon Power, the police or the courts were based on the comment on the subject.

Quite simply either Simon Power has no real idea about how the net currently operates, and the way that it has done so for my 30 years around network communications, or this is some kind of idiotic attempt to suppress and intimidate the local blogosphere. Personally I suspect the latter because Simon Power is too young to have not been exposed to the net in his youth. The local blogosphere has increasingly attacking an ineffective government – for all points on the political spectrum. This looks like the same idiotic type of net-nanny approach that we have been suppressing for decades in select committees to backbench MP’s (I last did it in the late 1990’s) and advice to our more elderly politicians who didn’t grow up with the net.

Perhaps the Law Commission should look at the reality of how the net actually operates, informally and internationally and look at how to establish effective actions using the existing methods that the network provides. But since there are very few literate (in my terms) lawyers then I suspect that is a pious hope. They’d probably feel more comfortable requesting that Simon Power looks at how to put more resources into the court system so cases like Whaleoils name suppression violations can be done in a far more timely manner.

What we don’t want to see is how some fool of a politician would prefer it to operate so that they can stifle public opposition by citizens. Even the ever more desperate operation of the great firewall of china can’t prevent information flowing in and out of China, and I hardly think that the NZ Government has either the nounce, finance or commitment to mount such an effort.

If the Law Commission are foolish enough to to try to regulate the local net on the flimsy pretext that Power is proposing, then I will treat whatever ‘solution’ they come up with as simply being an network impediment, and bypass it. I’d suspect that many bloggers and even their hosting providers around the net would feel the same. Personally if Minster prefers to make an arse of the law with a Canute like proclamation, then I’d be willing to sit down and spend some time writing code to simply make a monkey out of it. Unlike the poor deluded Whaleoil, I’m not only a professional programmer but I also understand the law enough to do a pretty good job of twisting it into knots and make it look completely ridiculous. I don’t think that I’d be alone.

The likely outcome of a foolish decision by either Simon Power or the Law Commission is that the current voluntary restrictions that almost all bloggers currently observe (apart from the delusional Whaleoil) will cease. Once New Zealand gains a reputation as a impediment to the network, then international providers are also likely to cease their current levels of potential cooperation

29 comments on “Simon Canute and the blogs”

  1. The mainstream media, private or public, has been easy to control for the elite interests they serve. ‘Professional’ journalists/editors self censor to the point that nothing controversial is reported in a way that might adversely affect the illusion of authourity with which the centers of power cloak themselves. I believe the ruling elite are extraordinarily fearful of the radically democratic potential of the internet.

    The internet, although clumsy and crude at the moment, offers a large section of the community a forum where they can discuss policy decisions with a diverse mix of their peers. Previously the decision making process has been heralded by obedient broadcasters and newspapers to a passive audience. Aside from letters to the editors, discussion was largely limited to workplaces and small social gatherings or, if serious enough, union meetings and public rallies. Nothing in the past has matched the internet’s capacity for allowing dissenting ideas to coalesce into coherent resistance at such a swift pace. It is in the interests of those who control the decision making process to ensure the internet is constrained to disseminating information in as passive a manner as possible.

    The pretext Power is operating under, in the pursuit of passivity, is flimsy to the point of irrelevancy. The offending blogger was successfully dealt with using existing legislation. If a newspaper had printed the same material, in contempt of court orders, the editor/owners/journalist would have been dealt with in a similar manner. I doubt Simon Power would be “…’consulting’ on regulating…” the fourth estate “…to prevent violations of normal societal and legal standards.”. If violating court orders was socially relevant blog sites everywhere would be participating in the violation, it didn’t happen.

    I am sure there are contemporaries of Simon Power, throughout the ‘free and democratic’ societies of the west, who are dredging up pretexts around which they intend to craft regulations that limit the participatory nature of the internet. There is nothing more threatening to the centers of power than an informed and politically active public. From the perspective of the bosses this must be prevented where possible.

    I do not envy those who have been ‘offered’ this task, King Canute’s attempt to order the tide to cease its advance had a far greater chance of success. The tide will come in.

  2. comedy 2

    I thought the latest theory was that Slater was on the Nat payroll ?

    Is this just a Machiavellian plan to confuse the punters oh noes !!

    • lprent 2.1

      I tend to take people at their word, unless of course I have contrary evidence (eg Paul Henry frequent proforma insincere ‘apologies’) or a bad attitude on the day and a desire to stir. In this case I suspect that Slater has left National. But that doesn’t stop a cynical politician from using his ravings to stir up a shitstorm

      That might confuse you, but that really doesn’t seem to be a onerous task.

      • comedy 2.1.1

        So to sum up your approach to life.

        ‘I take people at their word unless I don’t like them and choose not to ‘……. right o

        Guess that’s what it takes to be a political blogger and party activist.

        • lprent 2.1.1.1

          Oh no, you really get to know if I don’t like someone. It usually involves someone wasting my time..

          I note that you haven’t said anything about the substance of this post. I’m aware that you have a genuine problem with having a shallow mind, but surely you have an opinion about regulating the blogs that you comment on?

          • comedy 2.1.1.1.1

            “I’m aware that you have a genuine problem with having a shallow mind, but surely you have an opinion about regulating the blogs that you comment on?”

            Much like I’m aware that you have a pathologic need to insult almost everyone who calls you on your hypocrisy.

            Now onto the pertinent question, should blogs be regulated and how.

            I’m very much for free speech so in principle would oppose any “blog regulation” that prohibits such discourse. I do however note the not infrequent banning of commenters and deletion of comments on blogs which does seem to be somewhat hypocritical.

            • lprent 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Good to see that you have an opinion but still appears shallow and sloganist to me. From memory you were against the free speech when it came to people expressing their opinions about Paul Henry and what they intended to do to his supporting advertisers.

              You have free speech pretty much anywhere but subject to the rules of the various private sites and the willingness of societies to take action against you. This is what free speech is – you can say what you want, but you take the consequences of your action.

              But many ‘free speech’ advocates do not consider that they should be responsible for their actions. They are as Paul Thomas pointed out yesterday

              Given the likelihood that these episodes were essentially stunts that got out of hand, it’s curious that Henry’s defenders – a distinct minority among the many readers who responded to last week’s column – see it as a freedom of speech issue and the outcry as evidence of creeping totalitarianism in the guise of political correctness.

              This freedom of speech is a one-way street. They have the right to say whatever they like and we have to wear it.

              As the great American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes pointed out, using the example of someone falsely shouting ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theatre, freedom of speech isn’t absolute.

              As I said you sound as if you’re more into uttering a slogan than thinking about the consequences.

              • comedy

                “From memory you were against the free speech when it came to people expressing their opinions about Paul Henry and what they intended to do to his supporting advertisers.”

                Your memory is failing.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  I do however note the not infrequent banning of commenters and deletion of comments on blogs which does seem to be somewhat hypocritical.

                  Really. Lynn can stop people commenting on the whole internet and delete their dribble from any blog? Fuck, that’s some powerful fu.

                  • lprent

                    Yeah, I am so all-powerful that I can moderate other sites.. (not)

                    We’re pretty clear about when people get comments deleted or if they get banned and why these things happen. The only people who just get comments deleted are those that we have never approved a first comment for. They keep getting them deleted until they raise their standard to a minimum level.

                    I keep an eye on the trash to make sure that comments aren’t just deleted by over-enthusiastic authors. It isn’t efficient to trash comments without an explanation because the commentator doesn’t get an opportunity to learn better behaviour.

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  ‘Free speech’ , that you refer to is the right from government interference in what you think or say.

                  • lprent

                    I would have put it as unreasonable interference. I have few quibbles with preventing tainting the jury decision process. The background threat of the defamation process is sufficient to reduce the more idiotic outpourings to acceptable levels. The biggest issue is actually the vexatious misuse as were performed against hager a few years ago.

                    What irritated me is having a posturing publicity seeker looking for a cheap shot rather than exercising that options that are already in his power.

                • bbfloyd

                  can you feel the bite of the hoist C? that’s your own petard you can feel.

                • roger nome

                  The oxymoronic comedy act is wearing thin. He’s not funny, not thoughtful, and not even very much fun to laugh at (unlike d4j). What purpose does he serve here?

                  [lprent: Sometimes he rouses himself to a higher standard. Usually you have to torment him a bit first before he will exert himself. ]

  3. Rharn 3

    A thought provoking article on a subject few of the public know little about.

  4. Santi 4

    Power is a pompous fool. All politicians, including wimpy Key and useless Goff should be open to the fiercest criticism in the blogosphere.

    Lousy comments from a lousy minister.

  5. prism 5

    Listening to the news this morning I thought of our present being an analogy to Brave New World. There are manipulators of parts of society that has a zeitgeist of being happy, wanting to party, not allowing troublesome thoughts or concerns about ethics and morals to be examined.

    This regime encourages Paul Henry who is allowed to pursue an unethical line that brings in money for powers-that-be, he has fans that are catered to because they are the consumer mass with money and easy to manipulate like the brain-washed soma drug takers of the book, people who rail against Paul H and his ilk are like John the Savage trying to find a moral compass and depth, drawing on past writings and thinking which are varied and confused making discussion essential to find a clear path. John Savage is doomed because he is on his own and his idea of life purpose though confused is extensive, but the rest of his world has no desire to search for a life purpose, but to live mindlessly in the now.

  6. prism 6

    Last thought – a Burmese dissident who has escaped the country has a sister in law away for 65 years for being an uppity thoughtful democracy supporter. He and his whole family are affected by the punitive rulers of Burma. He fights for an ideal and sacrifices his ease of life and perhaps life itself.

    Yet what happens when people have democracy? After a while they take it for granted, many don’t bother to vote, or play along with it as a system to rort in all the ingenious ways that humans can think of? Sorry to be thinking so much this morning about ‘inconvenient truths’ and human tendencies. We have so much potential to be higher species on all levels but fail as a group to realise it, though some individuals do and illustrate what could be achieved. And that’s not requiring perfection in any aspect, just to be able to grasp the vision and work towards it.

  7. Simon Power is too young to have not been exposed to the net in his youth

    Ah, no. He was born in 1969. When he was a child, there weren’t even home computers. When he was a teenager, there were home computers, but no public network. While the net had made its way into student use in universities by the time he went there, it was mostly in computer science departments. He was studying law. And he would likely have graduated before there was a web.

    And Power is one of our younger politicians. If you want politicians who understand the web, who grew up with it, you need to look to the next generation beyond him. As for the older ones, they’re fossils.

    • lprent 7.1

      I was born in 1959. Computer networks were available when I went to university. At Waikato there were terminals all over the campus. It was much the same at Otago 5 years later. PCs and modems were widely available and not too expensive for clones when I was in my mid to late 20’s.

      Before the web there was Usenet and bbses. Both were widely available when I was in my early 30’s.

      All of those opportunities were available to Power except when he was a decade younger. But more importantly he would have contempataries or even older people with the required skills to make judgements about practicality. This review shows no understanding of the topic. All it will do is piss off literates by pandering for a PR line. We are not particularly tolerant of idiots who don’t make an effort to understand the issues

      Agreed that most of the ministers are fossils, but that really doesn’t stop them from knowing and trusting literates – preferably ones with better knowledge levels than DPF.

      • Idiot/Savant 7.1.1

        You’re mistaking availability for exposure, theoretical opportunity for using it. Yes, computers and the net existed when Power was young, but they were confined to the techno-priesthood. Even when he was at Vic, they were the domain of computer science students and early adopters. They weren’t ubiquitous enough to assume that he was properly exposed to them, let alone enough to have a clue.

        (Remember, you’re a geek. Power is a lawyer. Your technological experiences are very, very different).

        But I agree: this review is utterly uninformed by even a hint of a clue, and he clearly didn’t bother to talk to anyone who had one. And as a result, Power looks like a dick.

        • lprent 7.1.1.1

          The first degree was techno-geek (well science) at a technically literate uni. But the second? I was doing an MBA (ie management) at Otago, and yes we had more gear than the undergrads – but not by much. Admittedly the legal fraternity tend towards being a tad conservative at a tech level. It appears to be a career requirement after they look at prior cases and the potential consequences.

          But that is part of the issue as well. I find it hard to see how a group of people from a traditionally technophobe profession who are even older than Power can contribute.

          What would the average age of the members of the Law Commission be? Ummm http://www.lawcom.govt.nz/about/commissioners They look like they range in age from quite a few years older than I am to about 70+ for Palmer

          I’ve been having to educate people older than myself on how to think about computers and networks forever. There is quite an impressive shortfall in basic understanding for people that are older than I am, and even more so for older people who aren’t technically inclined. The way of thinking that is implied in the existence of open networks, and the implications, just seems to be quite beyond their comprehension. If you understand why it was almost impossible to build it any other way, it is pretty obvious.

          But I’d agree that for people who grew up with the web it appears completely obvious. Their problem is the opposite one. They accept the status quo and don’t understand the implications of what even small changes could imply for the network survival – they’ve never examined the alternatives.

          Update: re-read this, and no I’m not interested in trying to educate yet another lot… It is a lot less interesting than writing code.

        • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.2

          He probably had exposure but it would have been limited. He’s a year younger than I am and all the secondary schools (Rutherford, Green Bay and Tokoroa) I went to had computers that we were taught how to use.

    • lprent 7.2

      If he was studying law, then he’d definitely have been exposed to the computer nets. My ex spent inordinate amounts of time on Lexis when she was doing law in the mid-80’s

  8. Ari 8

    I think there’s room to regulate professional blogs, if they’re good standards and careful of free speech. (for instance business blogs of newspaper columnists, or people who make a decent living from running a blog) Trying to regulate anyone who’s not actually blogging professionally and is just having their say is pretty much lunacy though.

    • lprent 8.1

      I don’t think that they need more regulation than already exists through the courts and net cooperation. What Power should concentrate on is making sure that these are used in a more timely manner

  9. “It’s a bit of a Wild West out there in cyberspace at the moment, because bloggers and online publishers are not subject to any form of regulation or professional or ethical standards.

    Fuck what Simon says, I regulate like Nate Dogg and Warren G.

    Regulators…mount up

    Fight the Power !!!

  10. roger nome 10

    Polly i know – i’m sick of the kid-glove left. Bring back Robinsod etc. These power-obsesed rightists need to be told it like it is. Also, the NZ left has been bending over to take the searing-hot poker of rogernomics, ruthanasia and third-wayism for far too long. They all equate to the same thing – i.e. if you’re born poor, the market will make sure you have a great big pit to climb out of, which most will never scale. The result – most stay poor, alienated and disenfranchised for the rest of their lives. Well fuck that. Where are the people with balls in this movement? Too many simpering cowards, afraid of confronting the fundamental sickness of the right.

    I like the attitude of Woody Guthry who used to tour with a guitar, which had a message on it “this machine kills fascits”.

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Woody_Guthrie_NYWTS.jpg

    He wrote the song “this land is your land, this land is my land” – fuck yeah. We’re entitled to share in the wealth of this earth just as much as Key and any of the other born to rule types. Fuck them all if they try to tell me any different.

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 11
    . . April 5: Day eleven of living in lock-down… My one day of rest for the week, and an opportunity to mow my lawns – which I’d been delaying for about three weeks. (On the plus side, the damp micro-climate in my back yard yielded three lovely fresh mushrooms ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Now we know what the rules are
    As the lockdown has gone on, disquiet about what the rules were and the police's enforcement of them has grown. On Friday, Police admitted that they were abusing routine traffic stops to effectively set up illegal checkpoints, and on Saturday Stuff revealed internal police advice saying that they actually needed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 2: Green et al (2019)
    Paul Connett is putting all his eggs in one basket. He says “you only have to read four studies” to find community after fluoridation harmful. Image credit: Fluoride Action Network newsletter. For part 1 of this series see Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018). Paul Connett, ...
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: Splore Listening Lounge 2020: the road to a “yes” vote
    As far as anyone can say, New Zeaand still has a general election scheduled for September 19 this year. The election will be accompanied by two referenda, one of which will ask voters:Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?The official campaign period for the cannabis referendum begins ...
    4 days ago
  • Obituary for The New Zealand Listener (1939-2020)
    The vast majority of tributes to the Listener hearken back to its glory days, with little reflection on the magazine as it was at its end.I wrote for it, for half the Listener’s life; I have known personally all the editors except the first (mythical) three. From 1978 to 2014 ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    4 days ago
  • Universal income – a challenge to capitalism or a crutch?
    As the world economy slides rapidly towards deep recession there are growing calls for a Universal Benefit coming from some leftists and rightists. Now Finance Minister Grant Robertson is saying it is on the table.  This article by a French party Workers Struggle provides analysis of various forms of universal ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 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 ...
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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 ...
    4 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 ...
    4 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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 ...
    7 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 ...
    7 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
    7 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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? ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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

  • Decisions made on urgent turf maintenance
    The Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson has announced that urgent maintenance of turf and care for plants in non-plantation nurseries will soon be able to go ahead under Level 4 restrictions. “The Government has agreed that urgent upkeep and maintenance of biological assets will be able to go ahead ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Acknowledging an extraordinary te reo champion
    E tangi ana a Taranaki iwi, e tangi ana te ao Māori, otirā e tangi ana te motu. Mōu katoa ngā roimata e riringi whānui ana, mōu katoa ngā mihi.   E te kaikōkiri i te reo Māori, e Te Huirangi, takoto mai. Takoto mai me te mōhio ko ngā ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Prime Minister’s remarks halfway through Alert Level 4 lockdown
    Today is day 15 of Alert Level 4 lockdown. And at the halfway mark I have no hesitation in saying, that what New Zealanders have done over the last two weeks is huge. In the face of the greatest threat to human health we have seen in over a century, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Licenses, WoFs and regos extended under lockdown
    All driver licences, WoFs, CoFs, and some vehicle certifications, that expired on or after 1 January 2020 will be valid for up to six months from 10 April 2020, Transport Minister Phil Twyford has announced. “People shouldn’t have to worry about getting fined for having an expired document if driving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Inquiry report into EQC released
    The Government has today released the report from the Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission chaired by Dame Silvia Cartwright.  Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission Grant Robertson says the Government wants to learn from people’s experiences following the Canterbury earthquakes and other recent natural disasters. “Dame Silvia’s report documents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • More time for health workers and elderly to get flu vaccine
    The Government has extended by two weeks till April 27 the amount of time priority groups, such as health workers and those aged over 65, have to get their flu vaccine before it is made available to the wider public. This year’s vaccination campaign is a key component of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    2 days 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
    2 days 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
    2 days 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 days ago
  • Government supports air services to offshore islands
    The Government has stepped in to support vital air links to our offshore islands, the Chatham Islands, Great Barrier Island and Motiti Island, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. “As part of our $600 million support package to minimise the impacts of COVID-19 on the aviation sector, the Government has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 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
    7 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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 week 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
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