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Curse of the celebrity politician

Written By: - Date published: 1:55 am, June 7th, 2010 - 71 comments
Categories: brand key - Tags:

One of the stories about David Lange that has always stuck with me is how he was informed of the Rainbow Warrior bombing while lining up for the Tuckshop at Waiwera Hot Pools. As a young fella I guess I had a view of a PM as kind of distant, so I thought it was fantastic that Lange actually just stood in line with his gut hanging out like any other joker and, more than that, there no-one seemed to think it was odd to being lining up with the PM and he had no expectation that they would.

So, I was sad to see the story in the Dom the other day about John Key wearing a baseball cap pulled down low to hide his identity when in public on private business. It’s like something we expect from a Hollywood star and I think that he feels the need to do it because his interaction with the public is modeled on that of a star, rather than a politician or national leader.

While any politician has to be aware of their public appearance and behaviour (Tim), no other PM has had to feel that they are constantly needing to perform if seen in public. Helen Clark would pop down to the dairy or go watch the League without trying to remain inconspicuous or feeling the need to. A mate’s dad remembers from his paper-run that Keith Holyoake would come down the drive in his dressing gown to get his morning milk and paper like anyone else.

But Key, far more than any previous PM, is a celebrity first and a leader/decision-maker second. And, as part of that, he has invited the press into his private life more than previous PMs have. This is all part of ‘Brand Key’; his job is to be the likeable, smile and wave face, for a government that is pursuing the same old, unpopular, rightwing agenda.

Indeed, the decision to put this story in the press was part and parcel of that: ‘family man Key feels the pressure of fame, how human, etc’.

‘Brand Key’ is all about being an ‘aw, shucks’ ordinary guy just having a good time. But, almost paradoxically, it has put a distance between him and the public that is out of keeping with New Zealand tradition. When ‘Brand Key’ is on he’s out there high-five-ing kids all day long but the price is that Key the man can’t fit in like anyone else when going about his private business.

I think this is just another reason why, in future, we need to elect Prime Ministers for their actual ability to do the job, not in response to a manufactured ‘star’ factor.

71 comments on “Curse of the celebrity politician”

  1. felix 1

    Excellent post Eddie.

    In fairness to wee Johnny though, he’s probably got a lot to hide.

  2. TightyRighty 2

    does all the jealousy of John Key boil down to the fact that you don’t have any average people who made something awesome of themselves in the real world? or at least made it and then tossed it in and took a massive pay cut to help lead the nation forward?

    captcha: appreciates. as in appreciates there is no one on the left who can match key, intellectually or politically.

    • It is funny really. The left want to and take steps to create a society where average people can make something awesome of themselves in the real world.

      Those on the right who do make it want to celebrate their own talents that in their opinion resulted in their success and then torch the institutions and policies that actually allowed them to succeed thereby preventing the next generation from doing so. They do not realise that their success depended on liberals in the past fighting for improved educational assistance or a safety net for the poor.

      Jealousy is the wrong word. It is annoyance with hypocrisy that causes the left to focus on Key.

      He may have been a good forex trader in a Merryl Lynch type institution. He is an appallingly bad PM for New Zealand society.

      • TightyRighty 2.1.1

        and the minute they make something, they get torn down by the left because they have made something. “class warfare” is the label marty uses. which smacks of jealousy, big green bug eyed jealousy.

        • IrishBill 2.1.1.1

          “Class war” refers to the economic war being waged by a small wealthy elite on every other class.

          Like Warren Buffet told the New York Times: “There’s class warfare, all right,’ Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.’

          • just saying 2.1.1.1.1

            There’s a similar class war between the first/second, and second/third world, and ‘we’re’ winning too, to our shame.

        • Eddie 2.1.1.2

          It’s the label I use. And it’s not about jealously. It’s the dominant political/economic dynamic of capitalism.

          Failing to acknowledge it is one way to protect it.

        • Armchair Critic 2.1.1.3

          ‘cept he hasn’t made anything. He’s just a ticket clipper. He’s a successful speculator in the same sense that Mugabe is a successful politician.
          And FTR I’m not jealous in the least of him. He has almost nothing that I want, and many of the things he has done I am pleased to have not done.

      • travellerev 2.1.2

        I dare say that because he was a good forex and derivatives trader he was bound to be a bad PM of any country because in order to be a good banker you have to be a psychopath. Definitely someone you don’t want as your leading politician.

        Captcha: MISLEADS. Hummm.

        • Wow, what an excellent link, Ev. To save other readers the trouble of looking at it, though they should, coz it’s a very funny site, here are the traits of the psychopath:

          1. Glibness/superficial charm
          2. Grandiose sense of self-worth
          3. Pathological lying
          4. Cunning/manipulative
          5. Lack of remorse or guilt
          6. Emotionally shallow
          7. Callous/lack of empathy
          8. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
          9. Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
          10. Parasitic lifestyle
          11. Poor behavioral control
          12. Promiscuous sexual behavior
          13. Lack of realistic, long-term goals
          14. Impulsiveness
          15. Irresponsibility
          16. Juvenile delinquency
          17. Early behavioral problems
          18. Revocation of conditional release

          So that’s 1-10 without doubt applying to John Boy and probably 13, 14 and 15. Don’t know what 18 means, probably something to do with 3 strikes.

          • logie97 2.1.2.1.1

            When he commented light heartedly at a press conference with the answer that he had had the snip and he added it had been “…highly successful, but we wont go into that either…” what could that have meant? Did the journalists miss a good story?
            I think the “self effacing” (viz Tuhoe moment) one liner quips may drop him into it one day.

            • felix 2.1.2.1.1.1

              I think he was trying to say what a stud he is.

              “Considering the awesome amount of shagging I do, it’s amazing I haven’t knocked anyone up even WITH a vasectomy etc etc”

    • Lazy Susan 2.2

      “Made something awesome of himself in the real world” – come on TR he was a money changer not Einstein. Guess this gives away more about your value system than anything about Key.

      When you’ve got $50m in the bank taking a “massive pay cut” to be on 10 x the average wage must be a huge sacrifice!

      As for ‘leading the nation forward’ surely you don’t think he’s a Messiah? Best check out the Bible to see what happened to the money changers.

      • TightyRighty 2.2.1

        oh, so you only make something of yourself if you are an intellectual then susan? success is success, the left can’t seem to grasp that. it’s ok to be a successful academic, or celebrity, as then you are likely to have left wing views. but if you’re a business person or sports player, you’re just a parasite or a dumb-ox money trader. such condescending twaddle is fairly typical, and displays an aptly lazy view of how people can succeed.

        • Eddie 2.2.1.1

          mate, you’re the one who’s condescending enough to label any comment (this isn’t even criticism) on Key as ‘jealousy’ over his wealth. This post doesn’t even mention his wealth or his previous career. It was your mind that went there, not anyone else’s

          Do you think its his wealth that makes him unable to fit in with ordinary kiwis and that’s why he hides his identity when he’s not doing the rodeo clown act?

          • TightyRighty 2.2.1.1.1

            i’m not your mate, even though i know you say it with your upper lip curled. i’m condescending enough? this post just smacks of jealousy, and the condescending comments about being a money-trader? it’s not just the wealth factor, it’s his common touch, which you don’t like, so have set out to denigrate. it’s his political acumen, which you don’t like, so have set out to denigrate. yet these attacks aren’t working, that must really grate.

            • Eddie 2.2.1.1.1.1

              “even though i know you say it with your upper lip curled”

              No I don’t. You’re taking this all very emotively. I must be jealous of Key’s wealth if I’m critiquing the political persona and its effects. LS must be condescending when she calls Key a money trader, which is what he was. I must be sneering when I say ‘mate’.

              No-one’s jealous of a man whose ‘common touch’ means he has to disguise his identity in public when not ‘performing’ like one of the sport stars you, oddly, compare him to.

        • Lazy Susan 2.2.1.2

          Have I hit a nerve TR?

          Did I say Key wasn’t a successful money changer?
          Did I say you can only make something of yourself if you are an intellectual?
          Parasite and dumb-ox money trader? All these words are yours not mine.

          My response was to points you made in your post.

          Perhaps you could offer me the courtesy of the same rather than getting UpTightyRighty.

          Captcha: widespread – what Key used to make money!

        • uke 2.2.1.3

          The assumption that all forms of success are to be celebrated and praised is simplistic in the extreme. “Money trading” has been a target for many major religions – identified from Biblical times as a source of evil, as unholy. To make money beget money is a moral cancer, a travesty of true productivity.

          To ascribe criticism of money-trading to personal envy is to replace thousands of years of theological and ethical debate with a playground taunt.

      • D14 2.2.2

        >>>When you’ve got $50m in the bank taking a “massive pay cut’ to be on 10 x the average wage must be a huge sacrifice!

        What pay cut. He will still be getting income from the 50mil.

  3. Doug 3

    So in comparison we have Mr 6% Phil Goff with no polices, changes with the wind, tells all sort of porkies, so he does not look like a future leader.

    • Galeandra 3.1

      Phil Goff with no polices, changes with the wind, tells all sort of porkies, ..

      Add some substance Dougtroll, at moment the only wind is yours.
      Goff can be liked or disliked, but he’s rather more real.
      At least he’s not like that Cosby Textor boy doll photo-opped in an intimate barbie scene product placing beer alongside a faded royal, and that rather seems to be the point of the post.

  4. tc 4

    Pay attention Doug rather than swallow the swill dished up by the msm……takes a little extra effort but it’s worth it. WARNING: it may challenge your assumptions so it’s not for everybody.

  5. Eddie 5

    tighty, the last thing I am or anyone I know feels is jealously of Key. If you can’t engage except by accusing us of an emotion we’re not feeling, you’re losing the debate.

    • TightyRighty 5.1

      really? no jealousy whatsoever? ok, fair call if you don’t. everyone knows however that you don’t think key is up to the job. whether he is or isn’t, put it aside for a minute. you’ve banged on about how much you think he is worthless for a while, yet no one is listening. you find increasingly pathetic excuses to attack him about, like the one above. so what if he wants a little bit of privacy for a second? so, following on from that, the only logical reason to keep flogging a dead horse is that you are kind of miffed by his continuing success. if you are miffed by his success, it means you are envious of it, not personally, but you’d like it for your team right? as you feel they are doing a good job, don’t you?

      • Eddie 5.1.1

        the post is not an attack on the man. it’s a look at the effect of brand/celebrity politics on the PM’s ability to behave like an ordinary person.

        Funny, I knew your next line after ‘you’re jealous’ would be ‘who cares, he’s popular’.

        And, no, jealously is simply not an emotion I feel regarding the rich. Who would be jealous of parasites like the Crafars, Reynolds, Hotchins, the money traders….? I don’t want to have what they have. I want them to stop taking the wealth others produce.

  6. kriswgtn 6

    The guy is an embarrassment and he knows he is,, and holds himself in a higher esteem than everybody else

    His missus should hide her Womens day mags hahahhahaha

    The guy is over rated and he dont fool as many as he thinks he does

  7. Tigger 7

    “When ‘Brand Key’ is on he’s out there high-five-ing kids all day long but the price is that Key the man can’t fit in like anyone else when going about his private business.”

    Great post Eddie. The truth in this quote alone is deeper than anything I’ve seen from the MSM in ages.

  8. MikeG 8

    Let’s be fair to the guy – he was probably off to a shareholders meeting of a company that he may or may not be a shareholder in, and he didn’t want the other shareholders to recognise him.

  9. Jenny 9

    Interesting that Tighty tries to make a bridge between sports people and business people.

    By hoping to cast the two groups in the same category. It’s almost an admission that the second group is held in low regard, even by himself, so much so, that he feels that he feels compelled to imbue them with a little reflected glamour, from the sporting community.

    Hey Righty, care to enlarge on your comparison?

    I could do with a good laugh.

  10. Cuts the que to get his morning coffee at the airport too.

  11. tsmithfield 11

    This article is typical of what I see as being typical of the majority of articles on this site.

    It is all about tearing down the other side rather than putting forward something positive as an alternative. I think the left is in quite a lot of trouble if this is what it boils down to. It suggests a vacuum and a paucity of ideas from the left wing at the moment. This is a bit sad, really. However, it seems fairly typical not only from what I see on this site, but what I see from left wing parties generally at the moment. To be honest, it smacks of desperation.

    Why not more articles actually putting forward positive alternatives to what is on offer from the right rather than just knocking what the right is doing all the time?

    • Eddie 11.1

      “It is all about tearing down the other side rather than putting forward something positive as an alternative.”

      The positive alternative is how every other PM has behaved

    • Jenny 11.2

      tsmithfield:

      It is all about tearing down the other side rather than putting forward something positive as an alternative. I think the left is in quite a lot of trouble if this is what it boils down to. It suggests a vacuum and a paucity of ideas from the left wing at the moment. This is a bit sad, really. However, it seems fairly typical not only from what I see on this site, but what I see from left wing parties generally at the moment.

      Maybe you need to look a little deeper, Smithy.
      The left which is a much wider grouping than just the Labour Party, has lots of ideas on positive alternatives.

      For instance, the Alliance in unity with the Socialists is mounting a combined campaign for tax justice.

      Along side this, the Combined Trade Unions (CTU) has launched a debate about adopting a similar sort of programme.

      Maybe these alternatives haven’t broken out into the mainstream yet but as the recession deepens and all indications are that it will, market driven solutions will become more and more ineffectual and discredited. Sooner or later even the Labour Party will have no choice but to look to similar sorts of left positive alternatives.

      Already at the Labour Party’s recent Auckland regional conference they voted unanimously for GST-free food and for a financial transactions tax.

      Meanwhile in a similar vein the Maori Party has sponsored a bill to remove GST from healthy food which will soon get its first reading in Parliament.

      The Greens also are looking more leftwards. Though the Greens have a memorandum of understanding with the National Government they are working with the Labour Party on an inquiry into the aged care sector. And last year the Greens joined with Labour in an enquiry into the banking sector which was opposed by the government.

      And this week the Labour Party The Greens and The Maori Party all joined together in supporting the call from the SFWU for an inquiry into the fishing industry.

      To the consternation of the right, the pattern that is emerging is that due to the severity of crisis, from the minnows to the big players, the Left realise they no longer have the luxury of indulging in sectarian attacks on each other, but are increasinly having to engage in debate, share ideas and even work together.

      • just saying 11.2.1

        Thanks,
        It’s good to be reminded of the good news out there. Hopefully the left turn will come sooner rather than later. The left doesn’t need to be of one mind to work together.

      • Bunji 11.2.2

        To defend Labour slightly, we do need to consider what point of the political cycle we’re at.

        At the moment Labour are consulting widely and working through ideas to bring together a coherent policies in all areas. They’ll put their policies out there next year.

        Given National didn’t release any policy (beyond “we’re thinking of some sort of ‘Labour Lite…'”) until just before the last election so it couldn’t be scrutinised properly, I don’t think the right can complain about Labour not releasing their manifesto just yet…

        That said, the Greens are putting out some great stuff at the moment, and the left generally has some pretty clear ideas on what they are working towards. The problem’s not generally the lack of ideas, it’s the wealth of them and working out which to prioritise…

  12. felix 12

    Just think of all the lies he’s told and the contradictory promises he’s made depending on who he’s talking to at the time. It’s all catching up to him.

    He wouldn’t be able to go anywhere these days without running headfirst into someone he’s blatantly deceived. And without his script he has no answers for them. No wonder he wants to hide his face in shame.

    Don’t worry wee Johnny, it’ll all be over soon and you can fuck off back to where you came from and never have to see any of us again.

  13. SHG 13

    Yes, we need to judge our leaders according to the IMPORTANT CRITERIA. We need to focus on the BIG ISSUES.

    Like HOW THEY WEAR THEIR HATS.

    • Eddie 13.1

      it was the dom that published the story about how he wears his hat after Key’s office gave it to them – it’s all part of Brand Key.

      and don’t yell.

  14. Adrian 14

    The defining characteristic of Key’s career so far seems to be the ability to grab the umbrella and bugger off just as the shit hits the fan. Don’t expect him to be around for long. And why did he take the paycut, because you can make a lot of money with 50 mil and an ability to skew the market if you run it, like, oh..stealing Canterbury water to feed your dairy interests. He’s making more money now than he’s ever done.

  15. Just musing on the opening lines of the post, Eddie. It’s pretty unlikely that Lange was cueing for anything at the time he was informed of the bombing. It was close to midnight when the bombs went off, so I’m guessing he was asleep. Of course, given his girth, he may have been dreaming that he was lined up in front of a tuck shop!

    • Eddie 15.1

      maybe the news didn’t get to him immediately. I mean, it would have just been a police issue until they realised it was a bomb.

      • I heard it first on the radio news when the alarm went off at 6.30 am, Eddie, so I presume Lange was told at 1am or thereabouts. I remember the bulletin distinctly because I finished the opening sentence in my head before the announcer had finished reading it, kinda like you do when you hear things like ‘veteran hollywood actor …’ and you know it’s going to end in ‘died today’.

        The bombing was a hell of a shock, but it was no surprise. What is it with authoritarian Governments, state terrorism and boats, eh? No rubber duckies in the bath as a kid?

        To get back to the post proper, I have bumped in to Muldoon on two occasions, HC plenty of times, as I was Mt Eden neighbour, Bolger once while he was PM and none of those times was the relevant PM hiding their identity.

        Bumping into Muldoon was interesting. First time, he was walking into a Lampton Quay coffee shop as I was walking out. He said g’day or something similar as we passed, no problems, no pretence. No DPS, either.

        The second time was when his LTD was stuck at the lights in Hataitai on the way to Welly airport (meeting newly married parasites Charles and Diana Windsor). I was cycling there, too, though to join the republican protest. Piggy was apparently pissed at the slow drive and started to get out of the car, saying ‘I could bloody walk faster’, till Thelma told him to get back in the car. Which he did, laughing. I, and a group of people outside the dairy on the corner of the intersection all laughed too. Despite his politics, he was human and convinced that he was just one of us and didn’t fear unscripted moments with the voting public, despite being the most divisive and often hated politician in the last 50 years.

        Compare and contrast with John Key, who couldn’t do spontaneous unless Farrar told him a focus group and two seperate polls had ok’d it.

  16. the poster formerley known as millsy 16

    Mr TightyRighty,

    Please provide a detailed explanation as to why we should bow and scrape and doff our hat to people who have more money than us.

    Even Muldoon holidayed at his bach at Orewa, hosting barbecues with ordinary people, and not prviviliged types.

    • RedLogix 16.1

      True enough. At one time my father worked for the accounting firm Muldoon was a partner in. About the age of 10 or 11 I can recall my family renting the Muldoon’s Hadfield Beach bach for a few weeks at Christmas.

      Muldoon’s bach was indeed a very modest affair, and certainly nothing like the bloated McMansion the current PM seems to need.

      I vividly recall listening to Helen Clark’s farewell speech to the House, and at one point she mentioned how much she loathed ‘snobbery and pretension’, sentiment that nowadays seems more like a quaint echo from a lost era …and at that point I remember thinking “What have we done?”.

      • Zorr 16.1.1

        What did “we” do? I know I didn’t vote for Jonkey and despise the smarmy git along with his cadre of equally useless RWNJ pollies. However, it comes down to (once again) “he who lives by the sword, dies by it” and by living in a democratic nation we have to accept the outcome of an election even if we personally disagree with the result.

        I will once again state a preference for a political system that means my personal will determines the future of any nation I live in… ^_~

  17. Olwyn 17

    There is a difference between someone who is a celebrity by public acclaim or affection, and the manufactured celebrity of the “star” variety. Those who claim that the detractors against the latter sort of celebrity are merely jealous should note that it would sound ridiculous to say that people were “just jealous” of Edmund Hillary – a man who retained a listed phone number and regularly answered questions from kids about their school projects. Similarly, people do not seem to begrudge Peter Jackson or the Mad Butcher their wealth, neither being men who demand love in return for contempt. The people who maintain John Key as a political star should note that the difference between the two is analogous to the difference between true love and a crush – the latter dies very quickly once the illusion starts to wear thin.

  18. Alexandra 18

    Good post Eddie and fair analysis, lost on some unfortunately. This isnt about about an expectation that Key loses his right to privacy, but about the bullshit persona he and his advisors have created to hide the real man and the real agenda. This strategy will continue to polarise public opinion. Either you believe the bullshit and love him, or you see through his lies and dont. Key will increasingly need to hide and his security will intensify as the public become more aware of his dishonestly and become less adoring of him.

  19. Sarge 19

    The post is accurate in what it states, but I dare say it misses the point. Yes, Key is just an actor. Yes, Key has a very carefully manufactured public image. And yes, it’s working. Can the Left not accept that these days, image (not policy or track record) wins elections. And once we’ve accepted this, can we change our behaviour to suit??

    • just saying 19.1

      I thought you were being ironic at first.
      Apart from all the obvious objections, do you really think the left will ever benefit from trying to dance to the tune dictated by NACT? Where’s that ever got us?

      • Sarge 19.1.1

        “…dance to the tune dictated by NACT?…”

        I didn’t mean we had to copy their policies, just their methods. Learn to boil things down to 10 second sound bytes. Use common themes over and over (ie. Nanny state, political correctness etc etc). Learn how to properly pull off smears.

        Unprincipled?? Maybe. But you achieve little sitting in the opposition benches…….

    • Marty G 19.2

      we can’t be manufactured and artificial because we’re actually trying to make positive change, not just protect a corrupt and failing status quo.

      • Sarge 19.2.1

        Tell me, how much change do you acheive in the opposition benches??

        Look, I’m not saying the Left needs to start worshipping Douglas. I’m just saying the left leaning political parties (which I realise you guys aren’t) just need to learn how to present their side more effectively.

  20. Rex Widerstrom 20

    Like TVoR above, I’ve run into a number of PMs in my time, in a variety of situations, and none felt the need to act like Tom Cruise.

    But then none were fully fledged members of a strange cult either. I’m talking “celebrity”, in the NZ context. We’re a small country with a small population such that we have to resort to knighting a purveyor of pork chops (nothing against the guy, but seriously… we’ve used up the entire list of slightly-better-than-mediocre sportspeople and a-bit-richer-than-the-others businesspeople?!)

    Anyway, the celebritisation of politics began with Winston and has been getting progressively worse. I don’t want to single out Paul Holmes as he’s far from alone in his fawning, but who could fail to remember his inviting Jim Bolger to his wedding? And Bolger accepting.

    And then those appalling, embarrassing “Wow, I had actual dinner with Helen and Peter” pieces? Then there’s all the “The agonising story of my Celebrity Treasure Island hives” stories on Lhaws in the Wimminz Daze. And so on and so forth.

    Each successive generation of politicians — to varying degrees depending on the size of their egos — has allowed themselves to be increasingly celebritised in this way. Yes, even Helen.

    Key is just an extension of the trend. If we want it to stop (and god knows, I certainly do) then it’s the superficial media we need to be critiquing, not the easily flattered, superficial subjects it targets.

    • comedy 20.1

      Um Rex

      Perhaps you should read up on what Peter Leach has actually done from a philanthropic perspective rather than dismissing him as a purveyor of pork chops

      • Zorr 20.1.1

        Also, to be complaining about the “celebritisation” of politics at this point is quite ridiculous. It has, is and will always be a popularity contest, ever since the inception of democracy as part of Athenian politics – and if being a celebrity gets you the result you want quicker then that is a route to be exploited.

        • Rex Widerstrom 20.1.1.1

          It has, is and will always be a popularity contest

          I realise that… Churchill and Disraeli are two that spring immediately to mind, along with more than a few in the Roman senate. But they were all men (in those days they were inevitably men) of substance, and weren’t celebrities in today’s terms, where a Prime Minister is almost interchangeable with a football player.

          What I’m referring to is the tendency to make celebrities out of people in all walks of life who don’t deserve the admiration (and thus votes) which such status seems to confer.

          if being a celebrity gets you the result you want quicker then that is a route to be exploited

          Shall I pass your name on to Lisa Lewis when she’s looking to build her campaign team? 😛

      • Adders 20.1.2

        Bit harsh on Tom Cruise there too, Rex, though I daresay unintentionally. A few years ago, when he was filming in Taranaki, Cruise would go for fish and chips in Oakura, near where he was staying, no bother. He even stopped to help a family change a tyre on a back road some place. There was nothing staged or contrived about his actions, no trying to hide in public or publicity seeking. (Though he did make a surprise donation [of about 6 grand or so] for a sun shade at the school one of his adopted children went to, and cajoled a local radio station into matching the amount.) Tom Cruise also proved to be a generous and understanding employer, showing plenty of respect for ANZAC Day, for example.

  21. gobsmacked 21

    I can feel envious (which is not the same as jealous) when people do things I can’t do. Not a nasty envy, rather an admiration: “Wow, I wish I could do that.”

    If I read a fine piece of writing, be it a book or an opinion piece, I might think “I wish I could write like that.’ I might envy a musician with rare talent, a Nobel prize-winning scientist, an athlete, or even just a remarkable human being, famous or not, like Nelson Mandela or my brother-in-law, a dedicated doctor.

    There are many people I envy, or admire, or simply respect.

    But I have never for one moment looked at John Key and thought: “I wish I could do that.”

    Do what?

    • ianmac 21.1

      My thoughts too Gobsmacked. Jealousy suggest envy. Am I envious or jealous of Key or his wealth. Nope. Feel a bit sorry for him actually. I am living in a great country and have a great family, good health, and just enough to live on. I am so lucky!

  22. Cnr Joe 22

    I have a real problem with John Keys 50 million.
    Whose money has he got?
    He didn’t make anything. Did he just join a money go round and clip the tickets?

    Money traders. Currency speculators. Dealers.

    Frankly I believe he and his ilk are frikken criminals.

  23. comedy 23

    ..

  24. Locke 24

    Well, if you were worth NZ$XXmill and had been responsible for the destruction of YYYY* jobs, you might not want to show your face in public either.

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  • Testing for COVID-19 in NZ to Achieve the Elimination Goal
    Nick Wilson,1 Ayesha Verrall,1,2 Len Cook,3 Alistair Gray,3 Amanda Kvalsvig,1 Michael Baker,1 (1epidemiologists, 2infectious disease physician, 3statisticians) In this blog, we raise ideas for how New Zealand might optimise testing to both identify cases in the community as part of the COVID-19 elimination strategy, and to confirm when the virus ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    17 hours ago
  • Should we all be wearing face masks to prevent Covid-19 spread?
    Maybe you’ve seen the graph that says those countries where everyone wears a mask are the ones that have managed to keep Covid-19 under control? The first thing to say about that claim is that those countries also did lots of other things, too – they acted fast, with intense ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    18 hours ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #14
    Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... North Atlantic's capacity to absorb CO2 overestimated, study suggests Research into ocean’s plankton likely to lead to ...
    20 hours ago
  • The Americans are trying to kill us all again
    The Treaty on Open Skies is one of the most effective mechanisms for preventing war curently in force. By letting countries make surveillance flights over each others' territory, it eliminates fears that they are secretly preparing for war. So naturally, the US is planning to withdraw from it: The Trump ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    21 hours 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
    21 hours 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
    21 hours 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, ...
    1 day 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 ...
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    2 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 ...
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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 ...
    2 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 ...
    2 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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 ...
    4 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 ...
    4 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
    4 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
    5 days ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    5 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    5 days ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    5 days ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    5 days ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    5 days ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    5 days ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    7 days ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    7 days ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    1 week ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    1 week ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    1 week ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    1 week ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    1 week 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 hours 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 hours 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
    17 hours 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
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    6 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
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    6 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
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    7 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
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    7 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
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    7 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
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    7 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
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    7 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
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    7 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
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    1 week 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, ...
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    1 week 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 ...
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    1 week 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 ...
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    1 week 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 ...
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    1 week 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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. ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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, ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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. ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks ago