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Contact: a model of lost Kiwi ownership

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, June 14th, 2011 - 43 comments
Categories: privatisation - Tags:

An attempt to promote asset sales in yesterday’s Dom ended up falling on its face. The author takes the government line, that Contact provides the template for ‘mum and dad’ investors buying SOEs. But the article admits the truth: only a tiny fraction of Kiwis ever invested in Contact, less own it now, and even they may soon be forced out.

Here’s what the article says about Contact:

Contact provides a blueprint of probable success. In 1999, 227,000 “mum and dad” investors rushed the issue,

227,000 – that’s less than 10% of adults at the time:

and 80,000 are still shareholders.

Wow. Less than 3% of adult New Zealanders now own shares in Contact when just 12 years ago, we all owned it in common as a public asset. Even that tiny residual Kiwi ownership is under serious threat:

They have battled hard at some contested special meetings to keep the company local by fighting takeover bids from major shareholders, the latest from Australia’s Origin which has a 51.8 per cent stake.

Even so, the locals seem to be headed for ultimate defeat in spite of showing solid support in the recent cash issue. Origin is staging a steady creeping takeover and would have taken up all its rights in this issue, and may have also bought some of the 3.8 million rights not taken up by shareholders, which were sold at 80c, a total price of $5.85, compared with the $5.05 in the rights issue.

So, Origin is forcing ‘mums and dads’ out by making Contact offer existing shareholders the opportunity to buy more shares. Origin takes up all the new shares it is entitled to. Every ‘mum’ or ‘dad’ who can’t afford to take up the issue, or isn’t aware of it, or has other priorities, sees their interest in the company diluted while Origin’s expands.

Eventually, Origin will have enough shares and enough support from instituational investors that it will be able to forcefully buy all the other shares. Contact investors have already seen off at least one attempt at this.

Now, here’s a thought. Say the worst happens and a National/ACT government gets in next term. 49% of the energy SOEs are sold.

Later the board of one of these now partially-privatised assets (perhaps at the prompting of foreign investors) decides to raise money through a rights issue. A future government suddenly has to find tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to retain its thin majority shareholding, or it will become a minority shareholder. And ‘mums and dads’ will be forced to dip into their pockets as well if they want to keep their little slice of what was once theirs as a birthright.

43 comments on “Contact: a model of lost Kiwi ownership”

  1. Jim Nald 1

    “Mum and dad” investors – yeah, right!

    That’s political fiction!

    And that will quickly degenerate into deception played on NZ folks.

  2. johnm 2

    Bankers such as John Key are loyal primarily to their own class: The World of business, profit, profit rationalisation : the neo-liberal economic social culture. Any concept of the common good and financial independence for all NZers doesn’t exist in their minds in fact they have bought the pathetic self-serving for the rich idea (propaganda) that retaining ownership for the people as a whole is not only socialist but virtually communist! This rubbish privatisation ideology has come from the now bankrupt Obanana state of the U$-which has been totally f*cked over by the rich.

  3. freedom 3

    and as power prices rise and ever increasing hardship ensues we will see a lot more of The State ‘helping’ the power companies,

    note about 2:20 in, the helpful use of a baton on a man peacefully resisting, note also there was no court order for the police presence

    • ianmac 3.1

      Since there was no context for this it is very hard to understand what it means. The Pwer companies have extensive rights to enter any property. Therefore they are entitled to police protection. So?

      • freedom 3.1.1

        i agree that the power company has many rights of access but Police assistance to a Vendor when accessing private property to maintain or disconnect essential services requires a court order.

        I got sent it earlier today and i am still trying to accurately source the story behind it but so far i understand it is about a payment dispute for installation of Utilities. I agree they should have included a clear backstory but it is the illegal use of the Police presence that is the troubling part of this video. When we look ahead to the transfer of ownership of our Assets, do we really want our Police to essentially become a Security team to enforce the word of the Corporate owners whilst the Law is left to crumble back into the dust of injustice whence it came?

        Without a Court Order where is the law, without the law where are the people?

      • felix 3.1.2

        Regardless of the context, these cops should be in fucking jail.

        They sat on a man and beat him with closed fist and baton until he bled.

  4. marsman 4

    The National spin piece was written by Terry Hall but doesn’t say who he is. Another bit of hoodwinking from the Centre for Independent Studies perhaps?

    • UncleGeoff 4.1

      In reply to marsman, Terry Hall is supposedly a business reporter for the Compost, but after reading this blatantly partisan article, I have decided that a more appropriate name for him is “Hairy Tool”. 🙂

  5. Rob A 5

    Anybody who believes that “Mum and Dad investors” are going to be buying up large are idiots.
    All our assets are going to end up overseas whilst our kids sit in the dark cursing us if the Nats get thier way.

  6. freedom 6

    and if TPP is completed we will not only have lost our most basic, our most essential and socially important infrastructures to Corporates, we will also be sued by them left right and center as soon as a kiwi tries to get ahead and is said to have caused ‘potential damage’ to a foreign Corporate’s income stream.

    All this of course whilst we watch the continual degradation of real streams by intensive Dairying, the destruction of our Tourism dollar through incorrect mining and agricultural practises and the loss of real jobs as big business builds one stop processing shops for foreign Governments using our resources.

    I guess the reality here is New Zealand’s new slogan for visitors from overseas

    Don’t leave town till you own the Country

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    Hey! The Chinese Government realises the long term strategic nature of energy production assets.

    If NZ doesn’t then they will be more than happy to purchase those assets off us. In exchage for brand new freshly printed “magicked out of thin air” USD that the Federal Reserve gave them, in fact.

    This is a deal that NZ can’t afford to turn down, surely!

    • freedom 7.1

      would rather China paid for it using all the US gold they acquired over the last fifty years of bailing out Amerika. A Clusterfuck does not even begin to explain the current International Debt structures, but we all know one thing for sure about the future of the world’s currencies…. fewer and fewer people are getting more and more whilst more and more people are getting less and less.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        Yeah payment in gold or silver is probably better. Thing is though, you can’t heat your home or cook your dinner using gold or silver, but you can using a hydrodam 🙂

        • freedom 7.1.1.1

          and NZ does Hydro pretty well. Probably why others want it, and if others want it, it must be valuable.  If something is valuable, raise the price, If they don’t want to pay that price, we still own it and as its value is so high it is a low risk for the banks so there is really no reason to sell it in the first place
          Politicians are stoooopid arrogant ignorant sycophants and if there is one positive thing we could do for Democracy it is get rid of the lot of them and hand all power over to a bowl of wax fruit.  i bet we would not notice the difference as the people who actually do all the work would carry on happy and secure knowing they can finally help their country instead of being manipulated to contribute to a culture of deceipt, corruption and despair.
           

          • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1.1

            Shall we ask the Chinese if they would be willing to sell an ownership stake in the Three Gorges Dam to us?

            Wonder what they would say to foreigners wanting to own part of their strategic energy infrastructure.

            Might we even be able to guess their translated response? 😛

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.2

        Zeitgeist: Moving Forward | 2011

        It’s a documentary that everyone needs to see.

  8. john 8

    I pity the children who have a dad like that

  9. Irascible 9

    A good case study would be to examine the number of “Mum & Dad” investors who still remain after the local body utility companies were privatised by Bradford in the name of competition. The number of “gifted” shares that were on-sold by the “Mums & Dads” once the big companies began bidding was, I’d guess, pretty big so that, now, most of those local body utility companies are owned by conglomerates with a largely foreign ownership.
    All Key and his mates are doing is lining NZ up with Greece for the bargain basement sale of state assets which will mean even better pickings for the foreign multi-nationals.

  10. queenstfarmer 10

    Later the board of one of these now partially-privatised assets (perhaps at the prompting of foreign investors) decides to raise money through a rights issue. A future government suddenly has to find tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to retain its thin majority shareholding

    The point of the Govt retaining majority control is that the Govt controls the Board. As majority shareholder, if the Govt doesn’t want it to happen it can block it.

    • ron 10.1

      “The point of the Govt retaining majority control is that the Govt controls the Board. As majority shareholder, if the Govt doesn’t want it to happen it can block it.” …and if they don’t care who owns the asset?

      • felix 10.1.1

        Bingo ron.

        And as tc points out, the board is legally obligated to act at all times in the interests of the shareholders.

        I want these fuckers acting in the interests of all of us, not just a handful.

        • queenstfarmer 10.1.1.1

          “the board is legally obligated to act at all times in the interests of the shareholders”
          That is plain wrong. See sections 131 of the Companies Act, as a start.

          • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1.1

            Well its not “plain wrong”. Perhaps a little unfocussed would be a better description.

            In the Act the focus is on directors acting in the best interests of the company.

            Since companies exist to benefit shareholders in one way or another…

  11. tc 11

    Once you introduce private owmership, be it any %, and give it a board voice then profit and return are the only outcomes they seek so when you want to divert profits for growth they’ll squeal like stuck pigs whilst demanding the max return regardless of if it’s good for the business long term benefit….a la telecom.

    Culture also changes from service, continuity, social responsibility and growth of generation capability to one of maximising return when this is an essential utility and basic requirement of society, not a soft drink or consumer good.

    Haven’t we sold enough of what our parents and granparents helped pay for to foreign owners who don’t give an F about anything other than profit….history proves we’ve never got the correct value and some things are priceless, like hydro power in a peak oil world.

    • queenstfarmer 11.1

      “profit and return are the only outcomes they seek so when you want to divert profits for growth they’ll squeal like stuck pigs ”

      My god you couldn’t be more wrong. I can only imagine you have next to no experience or knowledge of the markets. Look at the paper almost every day and you see examples of “diverting profits for growth” as you put it.

      One current example is Sky City proposing to sink hundreds of millions over many years into building a major new facility in downtown Auckland.

      The best examples, in any country, of sucking out money at the expense of growth / reinvestment / capital works, are usually SOEs. The last Govt took hundreds of millions out of the power companies, leaving them starved for capital.

  12. KJT 12

    Just as serious is that power companies have been run as corporates.
    I.E. by Managers and Directors more intent on their own remuneration than the benefit of customers and owners.

    The same problem is obvious in Ports of Auckland where managers are proliferating like fleas while frontline staff and customer service are being decimated.

    In both cases the customers and owners are the same people.

    SOE’s have Management more interested in their own gains from privatisation than best serving the customers/owners.

    The cult of Management, where Managers and directors give themselves 14% pay rises, while skilled staff are cut in numbers and pay, is one of the tenants of Neo-Liberalism responsible for rising costs and reductions in service.

    • ZeeBop 12.1

      Don’t meet the standard? Low them until you do! Leaky Homes!

      Its not just the private sector that convinced itself of its own invincibility.

      We supposed to be competing with the world but all we end up doing is
      making it easier on the managers of our economy, like they should never
      get fired.

      Now Paul Henry is back. The lock out continues, only right wing and
      neo-liberals.

      And the joke is, as you point out, it just cost more eventually.

      That is what debt is, you pay but the principle, you pay the interest,
      and you spend less.

  13. Pascal's bookie 13

    If mixed ownership is so crash hot why isn’t the government buying up shares in telecom and FCLBuilding?

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      Why purchase what you can reacquire for free? 😛

    • queenstfarmer 13.2

      Because the Govt doesn’t want to borrow billions from the Chinese to gamble it on the stockmarket.

      The better question is why isn’t Labour announcing a policy to do what you suggest, and borrow billions of dollars from the Chinese to buy the entirie NZX, given that David Cunliffe declared that stocks must always outperform the Govt’s borrowing costs, and you can ignore factoring in risk.

  14. jackal 14

    I’m thinking there’s a few secret truckloads of used twenty dollar bills involved.

  15. Gazza 15

    As long as National is in power and Shonky is the leader the multi-national conglomerates will get control eventually as they have an inside man, Mr John(Shonky) Key himself.
    What’s the bet the longer he stays on power the larger his personal assets keep growing and selling our SOE’s had it’s plan before he entered parliament and you can bet that when NZ has gone down the drain and the Donkey retires…….he will end up sitting on some large conglomerate board.

  16. g_man 16

    In an attempt to provide some balance …

    I am one of the “mum and dad” investors who invested in Contact.

    I still own my shares – nobody has tried to force me to sell them to a big corporate (well that moron Bernard Whimp sent a letter offering to buy them for less than they were currently worth, but if you fell for that then you should be locked up for your own protection …)

    The offer made was a 1 for 9 offer – that is, for every 9 shares you own, you are offered 1. Hence, “Mum and dad investors” who invested $900 only have to find $100 to take up their entitlement. And from memory (so yes, I could be wrong here), they could choose to take up all, some or none of the offer. So it’s a bit rich to say ‘mums and dads’ are forced out when they were given a number of different opportunities.

    The shares were offered, by the way, at under the market price at the time the offer was announced.

    About 94.5% of the new shares available under the offer were taken up. Now, it would be interesting to find out what percentage of mums and dads took up the offer – I personally don’t know how to.

    Oh and if as you say “mums and dads” are not aware of it, or have other priorities, then surely that’s their problem, not Contact’s or Origin’s?

    PS you do realise, don’t you, that any mum or dad is actually allowed to buy shares? It is still legal, although you do risk being labelled a “rich prick” by some people …

  17. Gazza 17

    g_man. It is not the fact of “mums & dads” being able to purchase shares it more than likely that those “mums & dads ” will not be able to afford to buy them unless they are those “rich pricks” because you can bet that Mr Key already has them lined up.

    • g_man 17.1

      Ummm … did you not read my post?

      Contact offered several different options, which meant “mums and dads” could afford them. Like me.

      There have been several share offerings to the public in the last ten years – all have been massively over-subscribed (indicating huge interest), and the entry level has actually been pretty reasonable. There are several companies that offer an employee scheme which allows employees to deduct a certain amount from their pay and buy shares on a regular basis over time. The company I work for does this.

      Nice comment that Mr Key already has those “rich pricks” lined up to buy the shares. Tell me, is that in the same way that Helen Clark lined up the “rich pricks” in 2005 when Vector did their share offer?

      • lprent 17.1.1

        Tell me, is that in the same way that Helen Clark lined up the “rich pricks” in 2005 when Vector did their share offer?

        That is an interesting rewrite of history. The Labour affiliated members of the Auckland trustee board that owned Vector were attacked by the Act and National affiliated ones because they tried to prevent the selloff of Vector shares out of public ownership. They went so far as to take it to court.

        So no – Helen Clark wasn’t involved and only an obnoxious little ACToid like yourself would rewrite history in such a way.

        • g_man 17.1.1.1

          No, not trying to rewrite history at all. I was just repeating back gazza’s lines to him, because he did something that I know you personally have a low tolerance for, lprent – he made an accusation without any substantiation, without any facts to back it up, without any supporting links. Namely that “you can bet that Mr Key already has them lined up” (IE the rich pricks).

          I repeat it back to Gazza, and you come back with the facts to point out why it’s wrong. Fair enough. I will be interested to see if Gazza is able to substantiate his/her claims with facts also.

          Actually, I would also be interested to see if Gazza can back up the claim that a “shit-load of money” that has been “handed (to) Telecom for b/band” will mostly disappear into “probably one of Key’s offshore bank acc’s”. That’s actually quite a nasty little accusation there, and I suspect that if I had made a similar accusation against Phil Goff, for example, you or one of the other moderators would very quickly insist on me putting up or shutting up. Double-Standards?

          Anyway, I’m still waiting to see a point by point refuting of my attempt to add some balance, Gazza …

          • g_man 17.1.1.1.1

            By the way, for what it’s worth, you’re wrong about my political affiliations, lprent. I have NEVER voted ACT. Not once.

            I have voted for National previously. I have also voted for Labour previously. I tend to vote on which party will do the better job at the time, rather than voting blindly along idealogical lines. And ACT has never fulfilled my criteria, so far.

            • lprent 17.1.1.1.1.1

              My apologies for thinking that you had the randian disease of thinking that stating something with absolute confidence made it true in real life. 

          • lprent 17.1.1.1.2

            Didn’t notice his as an assertion because of the “because you can bet” puts it into a probability. I don’t tend to view those as being anything more than opinion. If he’d just said “that Mr Key already has them lined up” then it would have been a assertion of present/past fact that if challenged for as link that I’d have been chasing as a moderator.

            Noticed your one because it was phrased as a statement of past fact.

             

            If I sound a bit like lockjaw acting as speaker, then it is for the same reasons. The exact language used is important for discerning meaning. 

  18. Gazza 18

    Tell me, is that in the same way that Helen Clark lined up the “rich pricks” in 2005 when Vector did their share offer?

    Good thinking 1prent it looks like g_man is advocating monkey see monkey do, at least Labour got Kiwi rail back & gave us a fully owned NZ bank and by now would probably sort out the telco’s fully and not handed Telecom a shit-load of money for b/band that most of will disappear into overseas pockets and probably one of Key’s offshore bank acc’s.

  19. Gazza 19

    @ g_man.If you read my comment clearly it was pertaining to probabilities as a suggestion of
    “Dont even think about it” as my guess is that the media hounds will be watching out for exactly that probability.

    As for Mr Key, he would not consider selling off the assets on the hope that all will go to the “mums & dads without having some sort of backup plan for them to be snapped up.
    Once again this is only based on probabilities as no one really knows what pie’s he has his fingers in offshore, as you well know that most financially effluent people do not keep all their eggs in one basket IE: NZ and i repeat this is only probable thoughts that in this country is democratically legal.

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    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    5 days ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    5 days ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    5 days ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    5 days ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    6 days ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
    The coronavirus pandemic has of course had a major impact on individual lives and on societies as a whole. But, long after the crisis has passed (assuming it does), we will begin to realise that its real and lasting significance lies in the lessons it has taught us, if only ...
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    1 week ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
    COVID-19 has plunged Aotearoa New Zealand (indeed, the world) into territory that, while maybe not totally unprecedented, certainly hasn’t been seen during the lifetimes of most of us here today. Our borders are closed to non-citizens, we’re being told not to gather in groups of more than 500 outside/100 inside, ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been urging you to prepare yourself, your family, business, and community for Covid-19. Now it’s time for real action.  Yesterday the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced another 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing our total to date to 52. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020 Editor's Pick Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts   Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed ...
    1 week ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
    by Cultural Worker Late March 2020 amidst the virus. With gigs crashing and burning all around it was without much hope that I called a long standing rest home booking: “ Hi, I’m supposed to be entertaining at your place this afternoon – is it still on?” “”If you don’t ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
    Whenever people demand real change from their politicians, we're told that "politics is the art of the possible". The implication is that change isn't possible, so we'd better just get used to the sucky status quo. But now that there's a pandemic, a lot of things we were previously told ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Only Way Through This Crisis Is Together.
    Together: In leading New Zealand through the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Prime Minister could do a lot worse than allow herself to be guided by the spirit of collective sacrifice and co-operation that animated the New Zealanders of 80 years ago. Most Kiwis alive today have had no opportunity to prove their ...
    1 week ago
  • GFC vs Covid-19
    It is said that generals fight the last war. In the case of the early stages of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) they had learned from the Great Depression of the 1930s and they fought intelligently and successfully. Later their advice would be ignored in favour of the Austerians who ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • Nobody Left Behind.
    Solidarity Forever: All over the world, the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has exposed the fragility of the walls we erect around ourselves and our loved ones. It has shattered our illusions of autonomy and revealed to us how utterly dependent we all are on other human-beings. Finally, we see ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rebuilding a truly “Democratic” counter, or a “moderate Republican” bolt-hol...
    Looking across the various arguments for/against the leading candidates to take the Democratic Nomination, you might honestly be very hard pressed to tell. There are a number of things that have now started happening since Amy Klobuchar and “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg both threw the towel in and immediately (and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion law reform a win for women
    by Daphna Whitmore Abortion is no longer in the Crimes Act in New Zealand. The law reform passed yesterday and now abortion is a medical matter between a woman and her doctor. Many women’s groups and progressive people have campaigned for reform for decades. The women’s liberation movement and some ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • How to spot bogus science stories and read the news like a scientist
    Doug Specht, University of Westminster and Julio Gimenez, University of Westminster When fake news, misreporting and alternative facts are everywhere, reading the news can be a challenge. Not only is there plenty of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other scientific topics floating around social media, you also ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus
    Michael Baker, University of Otago and Nick Wilson, University of Otago With some of the toughest border restrictions and a newly-announced NZ$500 million boost to health services, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand is also fortunate in ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Parliament and the pandemic II
    As expected, the government has introduced a sessional order to allow Parliament to operate during the pandemic. You can read it on the Order Paper here, but the short version is that questions and motions can be filed electronicly, select committees can work remotely, and the the Business Committee can ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • When a virus goes viral: pros and cons to the coronavirus spread on social media
    Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology; Daniel Angus, Queensland University of Technology; Timothy Graham, Queensland University of Technology, and Tobias R. Keller, Queensland University of Technology News and views about coronavirus has spread via social media in a way that no health emergency has done before. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • How to survive 14 days of self-isolation
    So you’ve recently returned from overseas, come into contact with someone who tested positive, got a bit of a dry cough yourself or perhaps just want to self isolate for 14 days to avoid other people who might have COVID-19. Here are a few tips and tricks to help get ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion Legislation Bill passes third reading
    Some fave speeches:     ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    2 weeks ago
  • Why Leadership Matters – More Than Anything.
    Our Good Fortune: Precisely because she has never been an ideologue (she calls herself a “pragmatic idealist”) Jacinda Ardern has a political nimbleness and spontaneity which, when infused with her exceptional emotional intelligence, produces spectacular demonstrations of leadership. Jacinda's empathic political personality contrasts sharply with the less-than-sunny ways of her ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #11, 2020
    2 weeks ago
  • 68-51
    The Abortion Legislation Bill has just passed its third reading, 68-51. NZ First MPs bailed because their referendum amendment didn't pass, but there were plenty of MPs to provide a majority without them. The bill is a long way from perfect - most significantly, it subjects pregnant people who need ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The ‘herd immunity’ route to fighting coronavirus is unethical and potentially dangerous
    As most of the world tries to suppress the coronavirus spread, some countries are going it alone – trying to manage the pandemic through so-called “herd immunity”. Herd immunity means letting a large number of people catch a disease, and hence develop immunity to it, to stop the virus spreading. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Eight new COVID-19 cases today. It’s no surprise when you look at some numbers
    So, as I sit at home with a very, very slight headache (i.e. not at work when I would otherwise be so), the now familiar figure of Ashley Bloomfield reports eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19  including two in Waikato. A surprise, given that we had just twelve yesterday? No. ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • The WINZ Paradox versus the new COVID-19 Reality: Get real people, seriously…
    Many who advocated for, and voted for, the current Coalition – particularly those who voted Labour and the Green Party – expected to see a sea change in the reality of social services. A real, deep change of attitude, approach of process through which the system negotiates the difficult and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks 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
    11 mins 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
    10 hours 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
    2 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
    2 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
    The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks.   “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to make sure businesses can work together in ways that will allow them to provide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
    The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
    Associate Health and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare has today announced the Government’s plan to support Māori communities and businesses in the face of COVID-19. “Our Government’s $12.1 billion economic package will help many Māori whānau, workers and businesses, whether it’s through wage subsidies, income support and worker redeployment, or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
    The Government and the hospitality industry have worked together to produce guidelines to assist with managing and reducing transmission of COVID-19, Health Minister David Clark announced today.  The guidelines developed between the Government, Hospitality New Zealand and SkyCity Entertainment Group, set out how the new restrictions on physical distancing and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
    Four stage Alert System for COVID-19 announced New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact New Zealanders over 70 and those with certain medical conditions told to stay at home as much as they can to reduce risk of contact with the virus Workplaces to implement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM Address – Covid-19 Update
    Kia ora koutou katoa I’m speaking directly to all New Zealanders today to give you as much certainty and clarity as we can as we fight Covid-19. Over the past few weeks, the world has changed. And it has changed very quickly. In February it would have seemed unimaginable to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ and Singapore commit to keeping supply and trade links open, including on essential goods and med...
    New Zealand and Singapore have jointly committed to keep supply chains open and to remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the commitment. “This is an important collective response, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Joint Ministerial Statement by Singapore and New Zealand -Covid-19 situation
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Transit between Australia and New Zealand
    Travel restrictions, closing our border to almost all travelers came into force from 23:59 on Thursday 19 March 2020 (NZDT).  All airlines were informed of these restrictions before they came into force. Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says “The transit of passengers between Australia and New Zealand has been agreed upon and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $100 million to redeploy workers
    The Government has allocated $100 million to help redeploy workers affected by the economic impact of COVID-19, with the hard-hit region of Gisborne-Tairāwhiti to be the first helped, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford, Forestry and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced today. Phil Twyford ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More support for wood processing
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is ramping up support for Tairāwhiti’s wood processing sector to bolster the region’s economy at a time of heightened uncertainty, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Following earlier announcements today of a regional support package for Tairāwhiti, Minister Jones has also announced a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt steps in to protect Air New Zealand
    The Coalition Government has stepped in to protect Air New Zealand with a significant financial deal that protects essential routes and allows the company to keep operating. The Government and Air New Zealand have agreed a debt funding agreement through commercial 24-month loan facilities of up to $900 million*. The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Stronger border measures to protect NZers from COVID-19
    The Government has taken further measures to protect New Zealanders from the COVID-19 virus, effectively stopping all people from boarding a plane to New Zealand from 11:59pm today, except for returning New Zealanders, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.  New Zealanders’ partners, legal guardians or any dependent children travelling with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Action on indoor gatherings and events to protect public health
    The Government has reinforced its commitment to protecting the health of New Zealanders from COVID-19 through the cancellation of indoor events with more than 100 people.  “Protecting the health of New Zealanders is our number one priority, and that means we need to reduce the risks associated with large gatherings,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago