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Death knell for print media?

Written By: - Date published: 11:32 am, March 16th, 2009 - 12 comments
Categories: articles, Media - Tags:

A conversation that seems to be occuring more and more frequently is asking what’s the future of our newspapers? It’s a global question and is examined in some depth in this interesting article from The American which says:

Speculation about the future of the newspaper or its equivalents should start with a review of the newspaper of the past. It was a brilliant blend of three things:

•Technological innovations—Cheap paper from wood pulp; the high speed rotary press that turned rolls of newsprint into 30,000 two-sided pages an hour; the linotype; a long-distance telecommunications system that was fast but too expensive for individuals to use.

•The nature of the newspaper itself—a cheap, portable, disposable, random access device that could serve as a platform for content of all kinds. Think of it as 19th-century broadband.

• The moat around content created partly by copyright law, but even more by the difficulty and cost of stealing it. No one could economically take and resell the product without a large-scale operation, which made any taker easily visible. Even after the invention of the copy machine it cost almost as much to copy a single article as to buy a whole paper. Copyright was important, but protection-via-technological impossibility was crucial.

If the question is whether newspapers can remake themselves into strong businesses adapted to the Internet Age, combining the past strengths of the news biz and their incredible brand recognition with the new power of the Internet, the answer is ‘maybe.’

These forces produced a business model of extraordinary power.

Fast forward ten years it will be interesting to see where our publication industry sits – and what role blogs and other online communications play. But what we must take care to protect is that staffing levels that allow the gathering and analysis of events, lest we all end up commenting on anecodotes alone.

Preparing the Obituary

By James V. DeLong Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Filed under: Culture, Public Square
Netizens and the news business are locked in a mutually destructive death spiral. Can anything arrest the decline?

In small-town Ohio in the early 1950s, the main link to the outside world was the Canton Repository newspaper. The radio had a role, as did the movies, and television was about to explode through the culture, but the newspaper had breadth and depth. It was the Repository that had the maps showing how the Marines fought out of the trap at Chongjin Reservoir, and it was the Repository that nurtured my unshakable view that an essential feature of a good newspaper is lots of comic strips.

The Repository was delivered daily in the late afternoon. Paperboys collected bundles of papers that were tossed off a truck at Sterling’s Drugstore downtown and showed an admirable skill at folding each into proper aerodynamic shape. Some rode special bikes, with a front wheel built small enough to accommodate a large basket which held the papers within easy reach to grab and throw. The boys also bore the collection risk—once a month they trudged their routes, punch cards in hand, ringing doorbells and recording the payments, or, since the town was poor, the excuses.

On Sundays, we added the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Pittsburgh was closer, but the lines of culture ran north and Pennsylvania was considered exotic. This was Indians and Browns territory, not Pirates and Steelers, and the papers were important parts of the identity.

The Repository still exists, circulation 66,812, and 86,357 on Sunday. GateHouse Media bought it in 2007 from the Copley Press, but Mr. Stock Market does not think much of GateHouse Media’s prospects, since the price of $20 per share in May 2007 has shrunk to 7 cents in March 2009, even worse than the 83 percent haircut taken by newspaper stocks generally in 2008. Mr. Market’s gloom seems warranted, since the company has $1.4 billion in debts and must include ‘intangible assets’ and ‘goodwill’ of over $1 billion to provide the balance on its balance sheet.

The state of newspapers as financial entities does not reflect their basic strengths as brands.

The Plain Dealer is the largest paper in Ohio and is part of Advance Publications, the empire of the Newhouse family that includes the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and a slew of business magazines. Its market penetration is impressive, as more than 75 percent of adults in the area read it on Sundays. Advance is privately owned, so its finances are unknown.

The immediate question is whether these institutions will survive into the next decade, or possibly even into next year. The answer is complicated. If phrased as: Will these and other newspapers continue to put content on newsprint and blanket their viewsheds? the answer is ‘no.’ Some will continue in their present form, but many are in a downward spiral. The New York Sun just folded, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is in bankruptcy, the McClatchy chain has $40 million in operating income per quarter and debt service of $34 million, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is about to shut down or go online-only. For the first nine months of 2008, the Washington Post newspaper business lost $178 million on $600 million of revenue; the company is bailed out by its educational subsidiary and cable television. The rot has spread to the magazine business, too; a dozen big ones had ad page decreases of 20 percent or more last year.

Some numbers are still rosy. Circulation may have peaked in 1984 at 63.3 million and declined since, to 54 million in 2007, but 20.4 million of that decline came from afternoon papers, slain by TV news. The morning papers increased their circulation from 35.7 million in 1984 to 44.5 million in 2007. Ad revenue, $23 billion in 1984, went to almost $50 billion 25 years later. Such improvement in market position was hardly a catastrophe for the survivors. Furthermore, the Newspaper Association of America will be happy to deluge you with numbers on readership, penetration, time spent, and other favorable aspects of the business. Indeed, despite the looming Internet, until 2005 ad revenue was expanding steadily, to a peak of $49.4 billion.

However, after the 2005 peak, ad revenues declined to $45.4 billion in 2007, followed by quarter-by-quarter falls of 12 percent to 20 percent during the catastrophes of 2008. Audience share is in a long-term decline. In 1992, 71 percent of survey respondents said they read a paper ‘regularly,’ but only 46 percent said so in 2008, and only 34 percent read a newspaper ‘yesterday’ (which is probably a better measure), and the decline is particularly large among young people. The newspapers’ share of total advertising also declined between 1984 and 2005, as the national market tripled while their revenues only doubled.

Most important, both the stock market and the internal industry observers are extremely gloomy. As noted, the former has given business not just a haircut but a shave as well, and there has been a recent boom in the number of woe-is-us articles that the Internet is killing the industry, including suggestions that the only solution is endowments or patronage.

The news biz has not really lost its readers; it just lost its ability to monetize them.

Even the Ozymandias of the business, the New York Times, is selling off valuable real estate assets to feed the hungry demands of its declining news business and recently accepted money from Mexican billionaire and crony capitalist Carlos Slim on distress-financing terms.

Clearly, the current business model is sick unto death.

But if the question is changed to whether newspapers can remake themselves into strong businesses adapted to the Internet Age, combining the past strengths of the news biz and their incredible brand recognition with the new power of the Internet, the answer is ‘maybe.’ It depends heavily on their shrewdness and on their ability to develop a new model for monetizing content and selling it to the society at large.

Peering through the murk of doomsaying, the state of newspapers as financial entities does not reflect their basic strengths as brands. Many besides GateHouse are in financial trouble because the assets on their balance sheets are heavily tilted toward the airy—’Goodwill,’ ‘Intangibles’—while the liabilities are hard debt and pension obligations. Gannett, the largest chain, had $9 billion in these two asset categories, as of September 2008, and $4.4 billion in harder assets, such as ‘Receivables,’ or ‘Plant.’ It also had long-term debt and other liabilities of $5.4 billion. As of January 2009, Gannett was considering a $5 billion dollar write-off.

If one examines the balance sheets with a thought to letting out the air, transmuting the debt to equity through the purge of bankruptcy, and reconstituting the newspapers as mixed print and Internet entities, a future looks possible.

Yet a third question is: If the newspapers do not survive, then what takes on the crucial social and economic roles they have performed over the past century and more? That is unknowable. Failing some inventive institutional spark, some vital functions might simply go unperformed. The Internet is creating a ‘tragedy of the commons’ situation for news, and no one ever claimed that all problems have solutions. Decay and decline are always options, and—unless some mechanism is found to let producers of information monetize their work—inevitabilities. Absent institutional invention, a government-funded news service seems not just possible but likely, possibly supplemented by privately funded organizations with varying axes to grind.

Is Past Prologue?

Speculation about the future of the newspaper or its equivalents should start with a review of the newspaper of the past. It was a brilliant blend of three things:

•Technological innovations—Cheap paper from wood pulp; the high speed rotary press that turned rolls of newsprint into 30,000 two-sided pages an hour; the linotype; a long-distance telecommunications system that was fast but too expensive for individuals to use.

•The nature of the newspaper itself—a cheap, portable, disposable, random access device that could serve as a platform for content of all kinds. Think of it as 19th-century broadband.

• The moat around content created partly by copyright law, but even more by the difficulty and cost of stealing it. No one could economically take and resell the product without a large-scale operation, which made any taker easily visible. Even after the invention of the copy machine it cost almost as much to copy a single article as to buy a whole paper. Copyright was important, but protection-via-technological impossibility was crucial.

If the question is whether newspapers can remake themselves into strong businesses adapted to the Internet Age, combining the past strengths of the news biz and their incredible brand recognition with the new power of the Internet, the answer is ‘maybe.’

These forces produced a business model of extraordinary power.

The high costs of printing and the need to maintain a distribution network capable of blanketing a metropolis in a few hours created a strong bias toward local monopoly or, at least oligopoly. The result was the bedrock of the newspaper business—huge power in a local market.

At the other end, the news gathering business, the papers could pool their resources to fund joint operations and share massive economies of scale. The Associated Press is dominant, a cooperative with 4,100 employees, owned by 1,500 daily newspapers. Each pays a fee, and also feeds local stories to the service. The AP also supplies 5,000 TV and radio outlets, and, more recently, the Internet, such as Google News, all of which pay for the service.

The efficiencies are amazing: In 2007, the AP had revenues of $710 million; apportion this out among 51 million newspaper subscribers and it comes to about $14 each. (That overstates it, because AP gets revenues from radio, TV, and the Internet, too.) Against this, each subscriber generated over $1,000 of revenue for the industry.

Each newspaper was thus placed neatly as a bottleneck between the worlds of news makers and news consumers, and became the center of a multi-sided market. It had a platform: the ability to deliver, every day, to hundreds of thousands of readers, as many sheets as it wished of content-carrying newsprint. The basic costs of the platform were largely fixed; the extra ink and paper required for a million copies are not that much greater than for 100,000, as compared with the long- and medium-term investment costs. Newsprint is only about 14 percent of the costs of a news operation.

Starting with this basic news product, the paper could then hire some reporters to do local coverage, perhaps set up some out-of-town bureaus, especially in state capitals and Washington, D.C., to get the local angle on events there, and add every possible feature that might pick up a marginal customerfeatures, comic strips, crosswords, whatever. Pack in enough variety and it is hard to find anyone who won’t find a quarter’s worth of value somewhere.

Then the paper could turn around and sell all those eyeballs to advertisers, and, because it was difficult for the advertisers to find an alternative channel to masses of consumers, these ads got good prices. Television was a threat, but it is a low information medium compared with newspapers, so display ads and classifieds became cash cows. This set up a happy upward spiral, too. Because advertising is itself valuable information, consumers would buy the paper to get the ads that the advertisers were buying to reach the consumers, and the more that each side signed on, the more valuable the service became to the other.

Furthermore, the newspaper protected the business models of its advertisers. A department store or a supermarket or an auto dealer needed to reach large numbers of people, and it could use the eclectic audience drawn in by the newspaper’s multiplicity of features. A niche competitor could not afford the price of a large ad because it was not trying to appeal to as many people.

As a final stroke of fortune, the advertising is not overly irritating. It is at the fringe of vision; look at it if it interests you or ignore it. The great weakness of advertising on audio or visual media is that it forces your attention and takes your time, so that a TV show, with a ratio of content to ads of about 2 to 1, becomes a frustration. As the publisher of Harper’s put it: ‘No offense to my fellow journalists, but newspapers and magazines are first and foremost effective catalogs, which some people like to read. If the headline or cover line grabs you, there’s a good chance you’ll start turning the pages and bump into the ads. Advertising on the Internet and TV (with Tivo, muting, and zapping), is simply too easy to dodge.’

The wedding of news and advertising is only the first level of sophistication. A newspaper is also an aggregator and filter of the news, assuring its readers that its staff has scanned the universe and selected for presentation what the readers need to know that day to be informed. For the hard core, this is an immensely valuable and time saving function. It also enables a newspaper to capture a good share of the budget of time that the reader is willing to allocate to news, akin to the way a good department store vacuums up its customers’ disposable income.

Newspapers also became the indispensable links between the newsmakers and the public. Anyone wanting attention had to go through the paper and its staff, a relationship that bred symbiosis and reinforced indispensability. The newspaper became the gatekeeper for commentary. No one not tapped by it could reach a significant audience. It became the certifier of experts, whose knowledge could be obtained for a pittance since they had no alternative way of reaching the public. They sold community, as the Repository provides for several counties in northeast Ohio, and as do hundreds of small town weeklies for their communities.

The Internet is creating a ‘tragedy of the commons’ situation for news, and no one ever claimed that all problems have solutions.

The result of these happy synergisms was a sturdy structure. In 2005 (the revenue peak), papers collected $44.7 billion for print advertising ($17.3 billion for classified, $22.2 billion for retail, $7.9 billion for national). Online ads produced $2 billion, and $11 billion was paid in by 54 million daily readers. About 75 percent of all circulation was via subscription.

Since then, it has been downhill. Although the model is powerful, it is also intricate and highly leveraged in that fixed costs are high and marginal costs of adding a subscriber or ad are low. As in any leveraged model, extra revenues go directly to the bottom line because the business can supply increases in demand without incurring significant cost increases. That is why newspapers had, for years, rates of return that were the envy of the business world. But levers go down as well as up, and declines in revenue also affect the bottom line quite directly.

At many papers, the inherent leverage of the business model was compounded by adoption of leveraged financial models, as news properties were loaded up with debt. Because debt service is sacred, decreases in revenues result not in a decrease in a variable called ‘profit’ but in an immediate need to cut costs, which means cutting the quality of the product.

The most immediate threat from the Internet is classified ads. Newspapers are not efficient media for classifieds if there is an Internet alternative. Classifieds are concentrated on the three big categories of autos (24.4 percent), employment (33 percent), and real estate (32.3 percent). These are all particularly vulnerable to the current slump, but they are also vulnerable to complete cannibalization by the Internet. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine how this would not happen, because these listings attract people who are actively looking, not casual browsers flipping through a paper. So Craig’s List or other specialized websites will take over this area. The papers themselves are well positioned to run such sites, of course, but the threat of competition will keep the prices down.

Losing up to 30 percent of the revenues in a leveraged model is not good, but the real fear is that the rest of the advertisers will also leave, or at least demand substantial rate reductions to stay. National advertisers, in particular, are likely to see a portfolio of Internet ads as more effective than a collection of newspapers. In any event, the existence of alternatives is certain to put downward pressure on ad rates.

A second effect of the Internet is to deprive the newspapers of much of their market power at both ends of the news business. For the subscribers, they are no longer the only serious link to the outside. For the newsmakers, they are no longer the only link to the readers. Institutions of all kinds can set up websites and communicate directly with interested communities.

The role of gatekeeper and certifier of expertise has largely departed, and they have lost their position as the only game in town for those who want to be informed. Experts can reach out on their own. Slovenly reporting and bias are illuminated. Columnists are exposed to competition—as when the New York Times put its pundits behind a wall and found that no one missed them enough to pay to read them. A decade ago, the news junkie had the paper or nothing. Now, surf the net. The model of adding numerous specialized features to the platform no longer works because the reader who once bought the paper for its sports, or finance, or the crossword now has better Internet options, and probably for free.

The Cost of Openness

It is a tribute to the power of the brands, as well as to the high value of the content that the papers collected, that circulation has held up as well as it has. The papers have also been reasonably successful in transferring that brand power to the Internet. Their own websites are huge portals, attracting 100 million viewers a day.

The Internet community seems unaware of the extent of its own dependence on the newspapers for raw material; it acts as if the news is simply there, like the ocean, and damned if anyone is going to tell them ‘no fishing.’

Viewed logically, the papers should have been able to use their brands to achieve Internet dominance. In 2008, 40 percent of the respondents to a Pew survey cited the Internet as a ‘main source’ of national and international news versus 35 percent for newspapers and 70 percent for TV. For 18- to 29-year-olds, the numbers were 59 percent Internet, 28 percent newspapers, and 59 percent TV. The missing fact here is that ‘the news’ is pretty much all from the newspapers, either from their own websites, or via their subsidiary the AP. The news biz has not really lost its readers; it just lost its ability to monetize them.

As a thought experiment, imagine what would happen if content were effectively locked up, so it could not be freely disseminated over the Internet. One would expect that over time all newspapers would move to the Internet, with subscribers paying for access. Perhaps some printed copies would be produced for sale at train stations and downtown newsstands and for people who lack Internet access, though the latter are unlikely to be newspaper readers. The transition might be slow for a time, because there are generational lags, but eventually a tipping point would be reached.

Over not too long a time, specialization would arise, with a few papers turning into dominant national brands while the rest become local and provide local news, advertising, and community. Ad rates would fall because space would not be scarce and there would be the threat of competition, but every local newspaper would have a huge brand name and first mover advantage that would allow it to become the premier local ad site.

Other websites would exist, of course, including the blogosphere, which consists largely of riffs on the news. However, these sites would feed revenue to the news-gathering business by paying for access or clicking, so they would be added sources of revenue.

It would be a rich mix, and, with the existing newspapers’ market power broken at both ends, it would produce new entities to create new aggregation and filtering functions, and perhaps new news collection services, since innovators would be able to monetize their investments.

That is not how it went down, though. The Internet was wide open, and the newspapers had given little thought to their crown jewels, the intellectual property in the content that they sold to readers, gathering the readership numbers that the paper then sold to advertisers. The protection by technology was accepted as the natural order of the universe, and the papers did not understand the implications of the fact that their power rested not only on their ability to monetize their intellectual property, but on the inability of others to do so.

Indeed, as reliable liberals, most reporters and editors had a bias against property; they favored seizing any piece of real estate in sight if doing so could be justified in terms of ‘smart growth’ or ‘endangered species’ or ‘historic preservation.’ When Hurricane Napster hit the music industry in 1999, the news biz did not sympathize with the recording industry. The editorials were full of comments about ‘the need to adapt’ and ‘don’t protect broken business models.’ Even in 2008, when the AP became concerned about bloggers quoting its stories, it decided to issue ‘guidelines’ on how much it thinks is fair. It discounted the possibility of legal action with the comment: ‘We are not trying to sue bloggers . . . That would be the rough equivalent of suing grandma and the kids for stealing music.’

Newsies’ biases also inhibited them in another way. In defending themselves against any limitations on reporting, they embraced the view that information wants to be free and that checks on disseminating it are immoral. The question of what use of news product is ‘fair’ is complicated—legally, economically, practically, and morally—but the newsies undermine their own survival.

There has been a recent boom in the number of woe-is-us articles that the Internet is killing the industry, including suggestions that the only solution is endowments or patronage.

At the outset, some newspapers tried to preserve a subscription model, but none, outside of some specialized worlds, succeeded. Too many sites went the other way, and no general newspaper possessed the power to compete with the spate of free content, especially when everyone uses the same wire services, and the content had ceased to be compelling. Besides, the papers drank some leftover Kool-Aid from the dot.com boom and decided that the big thing was to collect market share of eyeballs on the Internet and figure out later how to monetize them.

The newspapers were also a bit slow off the mark, and a new class of intermediaries arose. Newspapers are aggregators and filters of news, but the road to Internet glory lay in being an aggregator and filter of newspapers and other news sources rather than of the news directly. For the info junkie, the first stop in the morning is no longer to check the Washington Post or Times’s view of what’s news; it is to read the Drudge Report, the Huffington Post, a Real Clear website, or the comments posted on a preferred blog.

Even if sites link back to the original story, the search engines will pick up the aggregators, which will cream off a substantial share of the eyeballs attracted by the headline, and Google will skim off a good bit of the revenue for providing the service of interfacing with advertisers. A small share of click revenue cannot replace subscribers and major ads as sources of serious funding of content. The cold arithmetic is that as of a couple of years ago, for the Washington Post, ‘advertisers paid about $573 million last year to reach readers of the company’s newspapers, predominantly the 673,900 daily and 937,700 Sunday subscribers to the Post. Advertisers paid only about $103 million to reach the eight million unique visitors to the Post’s websites each month.’

Nor could the Post, as secure a newspaper as exists, do without the aggregators, because an undefined ‘most’ of its website traffic comes in from other sites, not from its own home page.

Essentially, the news was turned into a commons, and everyone was invited to drop in a fishing line and hook some advertising dollars. The problem is not that an advertising model cannot support the production of news content: pre-Internet, the industry had revenues of $1000 per subscriber, 80 percent of it from advertising, and the Internet can provide a vastly improved product. The problem is that no mechanism exists to channel the ad dollars back into the news production enterprises. So, inevitably, more and more people will launch their boats onto the ocean of content, and rising resources will be devoted to competitive efforts to attach advertising to that $14 per subscriber worth of AP content.

However, the whole structure of Internet sites still relies on the newspaper industry, including the AP. Since the newspapers support the wire services, the more the content leaks out the more they are supporting their competitors’ free ride, and the more they enable the entry of still more competitors for the advertising dollars.

Information Wants to Be…

The newsies must have had a Come-To-Jesus session recently, or perhaps Come-To-Darwin, because suddenly the Internet is full of rumbling about the need to find a monetization model. The editor of the New York Times just ‘challenged the belief among some of the digerati that ‘information wants to be free,’ saying ‘a lot of people in the news business, myself included, don’t buy as a matter of theology that information ‘wants to be free.’ Really good information, often extracted from reluctant sources, truth-tested, organized, and explained—that stuff wants to be paid for.” The LA Times talked of the need for an antitrust exemption so newspapers can jointly agree to stop giving away the product, and several columnists have chimed in about the need for monetization.

So from here, things will fork. Either the news business succeeds in establishing a property rightsbased monetization model, based on subscribers or control of advertising or both, or it doesn’t. If it does, then the scenario described earlier will play out, with national outlets, local outlets, and specialized outlets. Innovative news collection services will arise to compete with AP, especially in specialized areas, and the creative side of the Schumpeterian balance will accompany the destruction of the old print model. We would probably get a paid Internet and a free Internet, with a great deal of interesting crossover and interaction.

If the newspaper business continues on its present path, then the structure goes into both individual and collective death spirals. Advertising and circulation declines will reinforce each other, and, crucially, papers will withdraw support for the AP and become exclusively local, where their control over a news collection apparatus will provide them with some market power. As is true of any cooperative enterprise, withdrawal of support by some will place more burden on those remaining, so the overall quality of news collection will decline, more papers will drop out, and so on.

It is a tribute to the power of the brands, as well as to the high value of the content that the papers collected, that circulation has held up as well as it has.

It is this possibility of individual and collective death spirals that is causing news people to think about property rights and monetization. On the other side, the Internet community seems unaware of the extent of its own dependence on the newspapers for raw material; it acts as if the news is simply there, like the ocean, and damned if anyone is going to tell them ‘no fishing.’

So the Netizens will fight the news industry on this right up to the point of mutual destruction, and then all bets are off because it is impossible to begin to imagine the shape of an Internet deprived of the material produced by the newspapers and wire services. At that point, the options change to government bailouts of the news business, or endowments for wire services, or beneficent foundations.

It is hard to hazard how this one will come out. News collection will not disappear, but given the odds against creating a property rights model in the current zeitgeist, it seems ominously likely that we are headed for a government-sponsored news service. Maybe we will like it. China is already expanding Xinhua to go worldwide, so we can call ours Xinhua East. It shouldn’t take more than a few days to clear any given story through the White House information czar.

James V. DeLong is vice president and senior analyst of the Convergence Law Institute, LLC, and special counsel in the Washington, D.C. office of Kamlet Shepherd & Reichert, LLP.

Image by Darren Wamboldt/The Bergman Group.

12 comments on “Death knell for print media?”

  1. Lew 1

    In the words wrongly attributed to Mark Twain: greatly exaggerated.

    L

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    Government supported news – there’s no problems with that just so long as it’s an independent body. We get the journalists we need with the resources they need to report the information we need to run our society. It’s only downside is that we don’t have a bunch of worthless capitalists profiting from our accessing of that information and I really don’t think most people will consider that a downside.

    Information isn’t free but it does need to be freely available.

  3. gingercrush 3

    A fascinating but long read. Thanks Dancer. Don’t really have much to say about it though. Many pressing issues but not enough answers. Though I certainly agree with his point, that without newspapers. Without the way we gather news currently. Its hard to see how blogs will function as they are currently without them.

  4. Tane 4

    Let them collapse. The sooner the oligarchs who control the print media go down, the better. The net will fill the gap, along with niche publications, and the state can fund independent journalism along the lines of the public broadcasting model.

  5. lprent 5

    I was initially annoyed with the length of this. But it was a fascinating read.

    Good article

  6. Ianmac 6

    And don’t forget the position of magazines like the Listener. We have read it for decades, but in the last 2-3 years it has turned into a populist frothy thing with a right wing bias. (Current Listener Editorial:” ..Cullen who spent $1 billion of taxpayers money in a failing railway company that….English says is worthless. Has Cullen sufficient entrepreneurial acumen to run a business.” Or chair a business?)
    Typical of the denigration over recent years. Subscription now cancelled.

    • BLiP 6.1

      Absolutely spot on with your comment in regard to “The Listener”.

      I actually have more respect for “Investigate” than I do for the “The Listener” – Wishart is an off-the-edge raving fundamental but he doesn’t hide it, he doesn’t pretend his ill considered, pre-Christian Old Testament, and biased diatribes are anything else, where as The Listener . . .

  7. Peter Wilson 7

    I’d like to offer a dissenting view from the common idea amongst bloggers that one day they will become the pre-dominant media. Two things – most people still obtain their news and knowledge from traditional media sources, especially for political news. Most of us here probably read The Standard for ideological reinforcement – to feel better when National launches another attack on something we hold dear. It’s about being reassured.

    The second thing is that the internet is hugely energy-intensive. Unless we re-engineer the internet (particularly the long distance links) to use *far* less energy, having it as an information medium won’t be sustainable. Newspapers have less embodied energy per page than say, this blog.

    My model of the future sees multiple competing and complementary newspapers, many of which are produced and printed locally.

    So, it may well be that bloggers just change their medium, and actually get their message out to a non-techie crowd 🙂

    I live in hope

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      I think you’ll find that a blog uses far less energy per read than a newspaper. I also suggest that you re-read the article – especially the bit where it hypothesizes why bloggers didn’t exist before the internet.

  8. Jum 8

    Peter Wilson

    I agree with the written word continuing to be important. There is a certain security of holding words in your own hands.

    BUT, living in a fundamentalist right electorate, the local complementary newspaper is biased and bad enough, especially when it comes to getting Labour Point of View into print, but the glossy free local magazine is a dangerous doozy. The Act writer pretending to be a one of you columnist but spreading the gospel of money is more important than people; the man of the people MP columnist who blames women for daring to want equality in the 50s/60s and the 2008 pre-election anonymous writers who blamed the ills of the world on Helen Clark – you don’t wanna live in my town.

    It’s nasty.

    The written word is only worth continuing if it encompasses all viewpoints, especially in narrow-minded authoritarian little towns like mine. We’ll probably get sherriffs next. I’d put nothing past this JKeyll gummint especially with Hydra in charge of local government.

    • lprent 9.1

      That was the point of the post. It was demonstrated doing a few keystrokes. We’re keenly aware of the issue, which is why we keep raising copyright issues.

      Normal usage is to link to other sites content, that is an even more interesting legal quagmire.

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  • 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 ...
    13 hours 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 ...
    14 hours 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
    14 hours 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
    16 hours ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    1 day ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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 ...
    2 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    2 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    2 days ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    3 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    3 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    3 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    4 days ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    4 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    5 days ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    5 days ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    5 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    5 days ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    5 days ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    6 days ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    6 days ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    6 days ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    7 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    7 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
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    1 week ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago

  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 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
    4 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
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
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    5 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
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    6 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
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    6 days ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
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    6 days ago
  • COVID-19 updates
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    6 days ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
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    7 days ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
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    1 week ago
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
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    1 week ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
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    1 week ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
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    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
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    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
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    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
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    1 week ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
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    1 week ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
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    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
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    1 week ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
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    1 week ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
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    1 week ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
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    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
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    2 weeks ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
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    2 weeks ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
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    2 weeks ago