Condoms and democracy

Written By: - Date published: 12:30 pm, September 14th, 2009 - 35 comments
Categories: democratic participation, labour, Media - Tags: ,

Have to disagree with Zet’s call for Labour to ‘just put it away‘ on the remit to conference calling for subsidised condoms in shops to help reduce unplanned pregnancies and our high rate of sexually transmitted diseases.

Sure, if Labour were putting it up as a policy priority there might be an argument. I’m completely in agreement that Labour needs to pick its battles and that right now those battles need to be on the economy. But let’s get some perspective, we’re talking about a bloody conference remit here.

We simply can’t have Labour going around censoring its own branches and limiting its members’ internal debate because our media act like a bunch of immature schoolchildren who giggle and scream at the slightest mention of sex.

Labour needs internal democracy. It needs robust debate. If the media can’t handle that, well, that’s just a price the party will have to bear.

Update: Changed ‘free’ to ‘subsidised’. That’s what I get for relying on Farrar’s culture war dog whistles for my information.

35 comments on “Condoms and democracy”

  1. Pat 1

    Except its such a dumb idea. So I asked my 16 year old daughter and her 16 year old friend as I drove them to school this morning. They both thought it was a dumb idea.

    And its so obviously dumb because price and availability of condoms is not the reason there are unwanted pregnancies.

  2. George D 2

    Is it a dumb idea? Well, the best people to ask would be sexual health professionals. And we could have a real debate.

    But as Eddie says, the media picks up on 3 lines of a 62 page document and runs round like a bunch of 8 year old boys. Oooooooohhhh!!! A condom!!!

    This is the level of debate in NZ. Such that Phil Goff himself is confused and starts apologising for things that weren’t even the case, but were circulated as snappy soundbites.

    So, how do you win this? I don’t know. But I do know that you never win a fight by giving up.

  3. Eddie 3

    The question is whether price is a barrier, not whether it’s the only barrier. I’d look at the studies on that one before relying on your 16 year old daughter as the world authority on price as a barrier to condom use.

    But that’s not the issue. The issue is whether Labour’s hierarchy (because that’s who it would have to be) should censor their own members’ remits out of fear the media might take three lines out of the conference programme and blow it up into a major issue.

    What are your views on that Pat?

  4. Pat 4

    Actually my 16 year old daughter was good one to ask, since she is a PSP Support person (one of 4) at her school of 2500 students. Peer Sexuality Support Program. So not only does she have first hand contact with boys and girls at her school who are thinking about having sex, having sex, or have fallen pregnant – but she also hands out the free condoms. She has a huge stockpile of them, wears a badge advertising the fact, and has made presentations to every class in the school about it.

    Still girls fall pregnant. So condom supply is not the issue, education is not the issue. Maybe being young and horny is the issue, just like it has been for centuries.

    So maybe Labours remit should have been on how to deal with the young and horny. It would have made more sense.

  5. infused 5

    Price has never been a barrier. Condoms don’t give the same feeling. You think drunken youth on a Friday night, drunk at a club are going to be looking for condoms? Think again.

    I’ve asked many people if they use condoms, very few people have. Price certainly hasn’t been a problem. Hell, you can get them from the family planning clinic for like $3.

    That’s why it’s a stupid idea.

    • Pat 5.1

      And everyone knows it but no-one ever says it – a big chunk of Maori and Polynesian boys don’t like using condoms.

      • marty mars 5.1.1

        Plenty of young people getting pregnant in countries without maori and pasifica people aren’t there?

        • Ari 5.1.1.1

          What does that have to do with condom use being less prevalent for certain demographics?

          • marty mars 5.1.1.1.1

            Is it less prevalent for certain demographics? Certain types who dislike the use of such barriers, cross all demographics – don’t they?Seems to be universal to me and not related to whether they are maori or pasifica peoples.

  6. Good post Eddie, I concur.

  7. It’s not a question of the importance of the particular issue and the broader context in which it emerges (both of which I freely agree are important). This is the type of issue that a government in power can deal with as a relatively straightforward policy intervention. What is at issue is, when we’ve decided to cede ground to the ‘nanny state’ accusation – and the current navel-gazing seems to have done so – we don’t then go and goad the beast that is feeding on us. The message that is needed from the conference is effective organisation building, good policy (economy, social inclusion – and I would add a strong international focus) and, for want of a better word, reconnection with a mainstream vote that clearly walked away in 2008. Any sidetracking will divert energy and impact. All of us with our own pet projects – and we all have them – have to accept the discipline that leads to power. The realpolitik is that clear. This doesn’t mean that we can’t have robust debates within the core issues, but, to repeat, every time we are portrayed as single-issue flakes, or social engineers, or anything remotely wacky, that elusive vote vote becomes all the harder to win over.

  8. Bright Red 8

    There’s an issue over whether this would even be a good use of money. The question is: would be additional use be worth the additional cost?

    You end up subsidising all existing use by a huge amount in the hope that a few people who are too irresponsible at the moment would start using them if they were cheaper. Seems unlikely to me that many would, I just can’t see cost as that much of a barrier, especially when you can get free condoms pretty easy as it is. And we’re talking an annual cost in the high tens of millions for this small, possible benefit. Think about what other uses that money could be put to. Without straining, I’m sure you could come up with half a dozen that would have a certain and signficant social or economic benefit.

    As for saying ‘stuff the media if they’re gonna be childish’. Sorry, but if you want to win the game you can’t ignore the playing field you play on.

    • Eddie 8.1

      if you want to win the game you can’t ignore the playing field you play on.

      Mate, I wrote the book on that.

      But there are some things that are more important, like democracy.

      Look at the bigger picture here. If Labour’s going to drag itself out of the rut it’s in then it needs an active and engaged membership and some serious internal debate. You allow the leadership to ban remits they don’t like and next thing you know the Rogernomes are in charge and they’re telling the unions to drop references to collective bargaining and the minimum wage.

      Party conferences aren’t just stage-managed media events, they perform a vital democratic function. If it means the occasional childish outburst from the media then it’s just something you have to cop.

      • Bright Red 8.1.1

        Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for remits and active membership.

        I just wish delegates would have the sense not to put up stupid remits that will make the party look out of touch and beholden to special interest groups… maybe the real problem is that it is (or at least part of it is)

        • Lew 8.1.1.1

          BR, freakishly, we agree.

          The issue here is that some idiots in the wider party membership didn’t get the memo handed out at the 2008 election, and still labour (heh) under delusions as to why they lost.

          L

        • Eddie 8.1.1.2

          Bright Red – I’ve no problem with your suggestion that delegates should take the wider political implications of their remits into account. It’s the suggestion that the leadership should be able to censor remits they disapprove of that I have an issue with.

          • Bright Red 8.1.1.2.1

            Not sure anyone’s suggesting that old boy.

            • Eddie 8.1.1.2.1.1

              Well, that’s the logical conclusion if you think Labour should clamp down on remits to avoid negative media coverage.

            • Bright Red 8.1.1.2.1.2

              I’m not sure I wrote ‘clamp down’ anywhere.

              I’d like to think the solution to delegates putting up ill-thought out and politically damaging remits isn’t to censor remits but for delegates to engage their brains before submitting remits.

  9. Peter Johns - bigoted troll in jerkoff mode 9

    Eddie, not listening are you?

    ‘I’d look at the studies on that one before relying on your 16 year old daughter as the world authority on price as a barrier to condom use.’

    16 yr old girls are probably closer to the ‘action’ than you but you Lampoon them bc they are young. That is Labour’s problem, we always know best.

    • lprent 9.1

      Just as being obsessed about sex is the right’s prerogative?

    • Eddie 9.2

      Listening to who? You? Don’t be a fool. I’m disdainful of anyone who tries to pass off anecdotes as evidence. Anyone can make up an anecdote, and they usually do.

  10. lprent 10

    That’s what I get for relying on Farrar’s culture war dog whistles for my information

    Foolish. He always spins it and uses inaccurate language.

    Besides it was a small debate. But then DPF likes to flash the boobs around on his site, so it comes as no surprise that he takes a small debate about dicks and inflates it.

    Perhaps for his next moderation policy for the sewer he could try a free condom policy – to their mothers…

  11. Did someone say evidence? From a 2007 UK House of Commons Hansard:

    Condom provision must be free because, as with any consumer product, the higher the price, the lower the take-up. In the July 2004 edition of The Lancet the RAND corporation reported an interesting experiment that proves the point. The corporation distributed 13 million free condoms annually in Louisiana through almost 2,000 retail outlets and publicly funded clinics. After three years, there was an increase in condom use from 40 to 54 per cent. by men and from 28 to 36 per cent. by women. At the end of the three years, the corporation tried to recoup some of the programme’s costs by selling heavily subsidised condoms to retail outlets and letting them resell the condoms for just 25 cents each. Instantly, condom distribution nose-dived by 98 per cent. Free distribution was reinstated, and condom use rose again.

    As the author of the RAND report says:

    “The lesson: even in the world’s richest country, the right price for condoms is zero.’

    • r0b 11.1

      Imagine a world where government policy was determined by evidence…

    • gargoyle 11.2

      Are you making the point that if you increase the price after a period of free supply there is a decline in usage .. who would’ve thunk it ?

    • Bright Red 11.3

      strawman Russell.

      No-one is arguing against provision of free and subsidised condoms to targeted groups, which is what happens in Lousiana according to your quote and is what already happens here.

      The problem is that subsidisation of all condoms would mean putting $70 million or thereabouts in the pockets of people who are using condoms already in the hope that it might make people who are not using them now use them.

      Is price a barrier for non-users?

      Not from what I can see on my brief look through the info online. Take this http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0010782407000716 study of why women who had protected sex resulting in unplanned pregnancy didn’t use contraception:

      – Of 7856 respondents, 33% felt they could not get pregnant at the time of conception, 30% did not really mind if they got pregnant, 22% stated their partner did not want to use contraception, 16% cited side effects, 10% felt they or their partner were sterile, 10% cited access problems and 18% selected “other.’ …. “cost will be a subgroup of ‘access problem'” –

      So, it would be a large expense subsidising a non-target population to change the behaviour of a relatively small part of the target population.

      I can think of better things to do with $70 million a year.

      • gargoyle 11.3.1

        Why are people arguing about free condoms when they are already …. I repeat already free from your GP/Sexual Health Clinic.

    • The bit that is missing from this debate is how many AIDs cases could be averted and how much this would be worth to the State. Expressions of incredulity should be held back until that information is ascertained.

  12. ben 12

    Ah yes, the dog whistle, that bs meaningless term to use when you have no evidence of anything in particular. It’s just a big conspiracy, eh?

    • felix 12.1

      Meaningless? It has a very specific meaning.

      It refers to the use of language designed to carry a strong message which resonates with the intended audience but which will be understood in a more innocuous, less offensive sense by most people.

      It’s called a dog whistle because dog whistles are designed to resonate at frequencies audible to dogs but inaudible to humans.

      It’s a very, very simple analogy.

  13. Quoth the Raven 13

    Good post Eddie. It’s good to see that some here still has some sense. You should stand up for what you believe is right. If the party wishes to censor you tell them to go fuck themselves and don’t censor yourself. If this is what Labour’s come to it’s more degenerate than even I thought. It shouldn’t matter if it is not popular or the media, with the intellegence of a retarded monkey after a three day bender, will make high pitched squeals. Posts like Zet’s show a lack of principle, a willingness to play duplicitous games, a belief that all that matters is attainment of power and with that prinicples and ideals can go out the window. I say fuck that. Leave that to the corrupt, venal, debased conservatives in the National party. Stand up for what you believe in.

  14. Gus 14

    Interesting post Eddie, I usually like reading your posts although there are times I wish you would hop off the soap box and tune into the atmosphere a bit more down here in the playground. Here is some advise, yes probably unwanted and definitely not requested, from a swing voter: I care about democracy but not enough to join your spirited defense of party remits. I really care that the Conference has picked up the message it was sent last year. Dont water that down, it was a collective message from enough Kiwis to roll Labour. Hey look subsidized condoms may, or may not be a workable partial solution, who knows. I would encourage my son to take up that offer. But is that the issue you want fumbled around the Country but an immature media ? I reckon (yes speculating a bit) that I am pretty close to your typical swing voter and as such this is how my mind works when I am supping on my Speights on my home built front porch after a long day’s work … I switch off … because it just confirms in my mind the Party still hasn’t learnt yet. Stay on message … keep it simple … its the economy … and it will be for a while yet. Keep those posts rolling Eddie.

  15. nic 15

    Since this thread has moved towards a discussion of whether the actual policy makes sense, I will add my two cents:

    1) Farrar’s costings are nonsense. There is absolutely no way Pharmac will (or is) paying $20 for a box of condoms. They will (and do) get them for a heavily reduced price. $70 million? I reckon a $15 million bulk condom purchase would be enough to bury the whole country in free condoms.

    2) Obviously existing users will be subsidised. But because we live in a country with a social welfare system, everyone pays for the consequences of one person’s poor decision. So even if you have to give away thousands of condoms to prevent one HIV infection or unplanned pregnancy, it’s still a good deal for the raxpayer.

    I’m not saying this policy will make sense. But I think it’s certainly worth costing to see if the benefits do in fact outweigh the harms. I’m guessing they will.

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter
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    1 week ago
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
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    1 week ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
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  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
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    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
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    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
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    1 week ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No-one cares about local government
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • “Surplus” again
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
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  • Are GNUs extinct?
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  • Labour chickens out again
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  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
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    1 week ago
  • Rebelling in Wellington
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘The Workshop’ – Report: Talking about Poverty and Welfare Reform: A Guide to Strategies that ...
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  • Exclusive language
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  • April 2018 – Submission to the NZ Govt Tax Working Group
    You can read our submission HERE ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
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  • 2018 – Submission to the NZ Government Tax Working Group
    Read our submission here ...
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  • Guardian: Poll shows DISASTER for Corbyn and the End of Times
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  • How prostitution became the world’s most modern profession
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  • Clever legal fellow on Scottish challenge to Brexit
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  • An Open Letter From Closed Minds.
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  • Extinction Rebellion members want to “eat babies”
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    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    2 weeks ago

  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
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    14 hours ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
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    1 day ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
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    2 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
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    2 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
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    2 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
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    2 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
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  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
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  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
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    3 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
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  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
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    3 days ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
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    3 days ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
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    4 days ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Extra support for rural families
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    6 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
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    7 days ago
  • Further details of Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit to New Zealand
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed further details on the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to New Zealand next month. Their Royal Highnesses will visit New Zealand from 17-23 November – their third joint visit to New Zealand and first in four years. They arrive in Auckland ...
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  • O’Connor in Thailand to push for RCEP deal
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    7 days ago
  • Young Pacific people can access earning and learning opportunities in Hawke’s Bay, Otago and South...
    Pacific young people living in the Hawke’s Bay, Southland and Otago regions will have access to support services that have proved successful in helping young people find new earning and learning opportunities. “Tupu Aotearoa is about changing Pacific young peoples’ lives. Our young people are talented, they are smart, they ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Protecting wellbeing – ACC HQSC Trauma Forum
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    1 week ago
  • NZ economy in good shape – notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch
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    1 week ago
  • World Mental Health Day a reminder of the importance of mental health work
    Minister of Health Dr David Clark and Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare say this year’s World Mental Health Day theme is a reminder of why the Government’s work on mental health is so important. “This year the World Federation for Mental Health has made suicide prevention the main theme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Cultural Ministers Meeting
    Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni will represent the government at Australia’s Meeting of Cultural Ministers in Adelaide this week. “This year’s meeting is special because New Zealand is expected to become an International Member of the Meeting of Cultural Ministers at this Australian forum,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “The meeting is an opportunity to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 608 claims resolved by GCCRS in first year
    The Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service has resolved 608 insurance and EQC claims in its first year in operation, Minister Megan Woods has announced. The government service, which celebrates its first birthday today, provides a one stop shop to help Cantabrians still battling to get their homes repaired or rebuilt ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ economy in good shape
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago