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Doing nothin’: The gap with Australia

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, November 4th, 2010 - 23 comments
Categories: Economy - Tags: ,

September Quarter unemployment numbers are out today. It will be an indictment on National if there is not a good sized drop. So how is this government doing on its flagship policy of closing the gap with Australia by 2025? No Right Turn has been trying to find out what work they’re doing to achieve that goal. Answer: Nothing.

Back in August, Labour spent a lot of time trying to get a straight answer from Gerry Brownlee about the milestones and targets the government had set to show it was on the path to closing the gap by 2025. Finally Brownlee gave this answer:

  • to remove the millstones from around the neck of the New Zealand economy placed on it by the previous Labour Government; [“millstones” like zero net crown debt, structural surpluses and record low unemployment – I/S]
  • to assist the Government’s programme to undertake comprehensive economic reform of the New Zealand economy; and
  • to rebalance the economy towards export-led growth.

It is my view that if we are successful in achieving these targets, we will achieve the Government’s milestone of achieving income parity with Australia by 2025.

I/S at No Right Turn points out the obvious: those aren’t targets or milestones, they’re vague statements of National’s economic policy. I/S didn’t think that answer was good enough from a senior minister of the Crown describing his government’s core policy. Like the terrier he is, he keep digging. He OIA-ed the documents that laid out the supposed targets and milestones Brownlee had refered to.

Eventually, the government handed over a Cabinet paper. I/S explains:

It makes no mention of Brownlee’s “targets”, or indeed of any interim targets or milestones at all. Instead, its full of the usual bureacratese, recommending that Ministers take “a targeted and structured approach” to economic growth and inviting them to consider actions in their portfolios which could be the subject of further papers. A lot of wheel-spinning, but no formal targets or milestones.

Attached to that Cabinet Paper was a powerpoint presentation to the Cabinet Strategy Committee, Achieving New Zealand’s Economic Potential: Exploiting International Opportunities by Harnessing our Strengths (15 September 2009). It likewise does not contain any targets or milestones. But it does contain lots of information on the sorts of things which should be targets. For example, it notes that NZ’s GDP per-capita growth rate must be 1.5% higher than Australia’s on average over the next 15 years if we are to close the gap. The Government has already admitted that it does not expect to meet that target for the next five years. Real exports/capita needs to grow 2.2% faster than their historic average of 3.1%. There’s no sign of that happening. Exports need to grow to $150 billion. But even the government’s “stretch” targets show them coming to only $116 billion or $137 billion if we discover oil (which seems to be their plan, BTW: “discover oil”). And that is why the government will not publish proper benchmarks: because by any assessment, their grand project would be judged a failure, an impossible dream.

Yesterday, I/S reported he had been contacted by a government source who said:

I can confirm that during the period you are referring to – roughly speaking, the winter and fall of 2009 – there was no discussion of or advice given on targets for closing the income gap with Australia. The 15 Sept Cabinet paper, which details the growth paths of GDP and exports needed to achieve the Government’s goals, is the closest thing that exists. In short, Minister Brownlee did not ask for advice on specific targets or milestones.

If it’s not clear by now, let me put it plainly: the Government has done no work at all on achieving its stated target of catching Australia within 15 years. They are lying to Parliament and to us when they claim to have any targets or milestones for getting there.

But what if it did have a target that would actually get us there? What if it was to grow the economy 1.5% per capita per year faster than Australia? How are they doing?


Not so good. 4% behind target after a year and a half, and going to get worse as we experience the second dip in the recession. Expect a whole lot more spin and no results. They can’t admit there’s a problem with achieving their own policy, let alone do anything about it.

23 comments on “Doing nothin’: The gap with Australia”

  1. Jim Nald 1

    Warning: Next time Key opens his gap*, think about his credibility gap.

    *The reference here is to the gap above his chin and below his nose, although another interpretation possible.

  2. Hamish Gray 2

    So unemployment fell from 6.9% to 6.4%. Does this mean the Nats are doing something right?

    • Marty G 2.1

      There’s something wrong with the seasonally-adjusted unemployment series (that’s the one you see in the headlines). It has jumped around like mad the last year: 7.1%, 6.0%, 6.9%, 6.4%. There have been significant revisions of past numbers each quarter. All of which is causing economists to view the numbers with some suspicion.

      But the consensus, which matches with the trend series, is that unemployment peaked earlier this year and is edging down at about 0.1-0.2% per quarter. Hardly breakneck speed considering it rose 2.5% in National’s first year. We’ll be waiting four years just to undo that damage at this rate.

      Put it another way: the number of unemployed doubled in less than two years, with about 80,000 more Kiwis out of work. Over the past six months, the number of extra unemployed is down about 10,000.

      It’s not exactly time for dancing in the streets.

      • Hamish Gray 2.1.1

        No one said it was time for dancing in the streets, but you yourself said “It will be an indictment on National if there is not a good sized drop.” Sure enough ,it was a sizable drop and as expected, no matter what the figure was, you couldn’t concede that things were improving.

        New Zealand went into recession at the end of 2007. National took over at the end of 2008. Given employment trends lag economic performance (including in recovery), how can you blame rising unemployment in the first year of a first term government on that government? The “damage done” was already set in stone. From there it was a question of how bad it would get and compared to the the US, Europe and the UK, New Zealand came out ok (or more accurately, less worse-off).

        whenever employment figures worsen, the Government gets blamed. So, given the numbers have apparently improved, will you be giving credit to the Government?

        • lprent 2.1.1.1

          Personally I won’t be. The improvement if there is one apart from statistical blipping has happened despite the governments efforts to avoid doing anything.

          The criticism of the government here hasn’t been about having rising unemployment, it has largely been about the government doing nothing to constrain it apart from ineffective measures like the cycleway, the fire at will act, and tax changes – none of which have had any significant effect on the economy or the unemployment symptom.

          If they’d acted more like the aussie labour government then nz wouldn’t be pottering along in the economic doldrums

          • Hamish Gray 2.1.1.1.1

            Acted more like the Australians? You mean, dig up every mineral they can find and flick it off to the Chinese? I thought National tried that and was rebuked by… Robyn Malcolm.

            And doing “nothing” is an interesting take on things. Arguably, choosing to do “nothing” is a strategy in itself, enabling the market to correct itself and protecting public finances. I suppose that’s really the debate then, but to frame it in such a way that it makes it look like the government was standing around picking its nose while the world went to hell is sort of unfair, in my opinion.

            • prism 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Scornful reply HG Australians do more than mine though it is a major part of their economy.

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1.2

              choosing to do “nothing” is a strategy in itself, enabling the market to correct itself

              So, who still believes in the invisible hand of market self correction?

              Nah, after US$4T of capital destruction in the last 2 years, I didn’t think so.

              And which has been the only economic superpower with year on year growth over the last ten years? China. And China definitely does not believe in the invisible hand of market self correction.

            • lprent 2.1.1.1.1.3

              Or in NZ’s case, convert all farmland into dairy producing regardless of how suitable it is for the purpose? Your point is? Quite frankly both countries exploit their resources in an unsustainable extractive mining process. We just mine soil and water rather than minerals, but there is little difference once the resources have been depleted. Moreover neither extractive process actually employ that many people either directly or indirectly.

              However I was referring the people intensive industries. This is where NACT have done nothing significant to support our IP industries either in the present or in the future, and have instead actually harmed them by pissing around with the research and development incentives and idling around on infrastructure development. This is the exact opposite of the approach taken by the aussies. The effects are pretty obvious when you look at the relative states of those sectors between the two countries.

              Getting industries off the ground like that requires a great deal of effective support from the government in the infrastructure, laws, and skill development, because the free market operates on too short a time scale. Governments have an incentive to operate strategically for the whole economy, companies and the ‘market’ don’t.

              So yeah, this do-nothing government is bloody useless and it is fair to call them on it…

  3. SHG 3

    to rebalance the economy towards export-led growth

    Of course, because that’s where NZ has such an obvious advantage over Australia.

    • Well it could at least hold its own if they came up with a policy that drove capital toward new ventures (particularly), the private equity market and, to a lesser extent, the sharemarket instead of policies which serve to price a home out of the reach of most young NZers.

      There’s a wealth of phenomenal ideas out there that could be developed into exports. Not that any one – or 100 – would come close to matching the kind of amounts for which Australia can sell it’s minerals. But NZ, being smaller in every sense (population, land mass, economy…), doesn’t need that much money.

      Australians do a little better (particularly in encouraging R&D) but fall well short in terms of rebalancing investment flows to favour business and not property development. But they don’t have to.

    • KJT 3.2

      No country has done well in non-commodity exports that has not had a somewhat protected and functioning internal economy. Businesses need to learn baby steps before expanding.

      This means the country needs to have a sufficiently advanced and PAID internal economy to buy the products of local business. The reason why many people, including myself, will no longer invest in a business in NZ is that too few here are paid enough to buy our products. The RBA, lack of capital and higher interest rates than overseas competitors preclude going to exporting only.

      The “free trade” advocates tend to fudge over how protectionist the UK and USA were during their periods of greatest prosperity.

      It is a problem many in States such as Saudi Arabia are well aware of. What to do when the oil bonanza runs out? What are we going to do when the dairy bubble bursts?
      Nauru was a prime example of what not to do.

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.1

        Spot on KJT.

        We’re in a low pay, high cost living environment.

        China will be interesting to look at; their next 5 year plan is likely to emphasise a rebalancing of their economy away from export led activity to internal consumer led activity.

  4. Vicky32 4

    What I heard this morning is that unemployment is down – by a fraction of 1% – but that within that, female unemployment is way up… (male unemployment has dropped – hence the overall drop.) I don’t think said drop will actually be noticeable by any of us!

  5. Carleen Harawira 5

    NZ will never close the wage gap with Australia: over here they are ripping resources out of the ground as fast as the giant tractors will go.
    It is the mining sector keeping the Lucky Country going: retail sales and housing data is about equal with NZ

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Agreed. Australia will keep going strong-ish as long as China has the billions to wire over for its rocks, oil and gas.

  6. Herodotus 6

    [“millstones” like zero net crown debt, Marty you are beciomming obsessed with this non achievement of Lab. Why because the likes of NZSF, ACC EQC are not able to be touched for general purposes. They are tagged so to include them in netting off figures is to somewhat misleading. What legacy was established by the golden years? Nothing that is able to be built upon. GPD was grown due to excessive borrowing by the country as a whole, and we are beginning to suffer from this now(ref many posts and comments on the subject neo lib/consumerism/ponzi scheme) . A building boom (Not to mention that many of these houses are rotting), high immigration that gives short term distortion to GDP figures as these new Kiwis become established, and a commodity boom in particular dairy and oil.
    If NZ grows at the rate required the Res Bank just srews us with OCR hikes, negating any growth. Our only chance is to sell of minerals, giving us “free” growth, which will not happen.
    Just like when Japan plays the AB’s there is always hope of victory, and it is something for the Jap rugby team to aspire. NZ = Aust is nice to aspire and to have some actual policies to direct us in the right direction. But if we are real to ourselves this will not happen in the short or med term. We are the little bro.
    p.s. Nat policy of catching up with Aussie = Labs knowledge economy. please to the ears Rhetoric.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Although I should say that Labour’s knowledge economy has a $4.9B export basis and 24,000 high waged jobs as today’s starting point.

      Now, wondering what would it take to double that into a $9.8B export giant employing 48,000 NZ’ers?

      I think it could be done, and I think it could be done within 10 years.

      • Herodotus 6.1.1

        CV are you referring to the education of foreign students?
        From the 2000 (? unsure of the date)summit that was not what was being pushed. NZ was to be at the cutting edge in technologies. There were few policies or funding initiatives that followed up from this policy. Like many govt policies here is an idea now lets hope someone grabs it and runs with it. When we do have successes there are some out there to destroy what gains we make e.g. Rakon.

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1

          Hi Herod.

          No, not referring to monies received from trying to teach foreign students basic English at our universities.

          Am referring to our multibillion dollar high tech industry as examined in the TIN100 report, and referred to by the NZ Herald

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10673489

          Background on the report here

          http://www.tinetwork.co.nz/TIN100+Report/TIN100+2010+Report.html

          NZ should grow this industry over the next one or two decades, tens of thousands of new high wage jobs are within this country’s grasp.

          • Herodotus 6.1.1.1.1

            Then as technology is sooo important why are we pushing out the like of Accountants & Lawyers? (Those mass produced degrees with only a very large lecture room, and tutorial room required + large ratio of students:lecture)
            NZ needs dooers
            I found Stephen Carden NZ Unleashed very thought provoking, and brought into his message to move NZ forward.
            http://idealog.co.nz/magazine/11/the-man-from-m-c-k-i-n-s-e-y

            • Greg 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Re Carden book, from that review and excerpt: meh. Creativity matters to economies the way mutation matters to evolution. Yes, it’s the underlying driver, but most of the action happens elsewhere.

              Rick Boven puts it well in the latest issue of Management magazine. There are three stages to making money from highly-differentiated products: invention, commercialization, and internationalization.

              We do quite well at the first two, but we suck at the last, and that’s where the payoff is. Let me say that again. The big money is in growing sales from $20M a year to $200M+ a year, not in growing them from nothing to $2M a year. Internationalization, not invention.

              So the same “meh” applies to TIN100. Look at the size of them.

              It’s quite telling that the same issue of Management magazine reports that our best “large” ($50M+) exporter is Pumpkin Patch. A clothing maker.

              The issues facing NZ are scale, distance/location, and connection. (Google “economic geography.”)

              Our big city needs to be much bigger and more densely populated. Our companies need to be much, much bigger, and to appear, from overseas, to be bigger and closer than they really are. We need better connections into our markets — and at the same time, we need to fight the attraction for our companies of relocating near their biggest customer. We need better connections among researchers and between research and commercialization — we need policy that fosters cooperation, not competition.

              Yes, we need diversification, but it has to be narrowly targeted and the plan must be well executed. We’re too small to try to do everything and let the market sort it out. That kind of approach only works in large economies; what’s right in America isn’t necessarily correct here.

  7. No Right Turn has been trying to find out what work they’re doing to achieve that goal.

    Actually, I’ve just been trying to show that Brownlee lied to Parliament. The actual information I’ve uncovered on National’s economic plans (most of which doesn’t seem to have been implemented a year after it was discussed) is just a bonus.

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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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 ...
    1 week 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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

  • 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
    16 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
    18 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
    1 day 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
    2 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 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 ...
    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
    3 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
    The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks.   “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to make sure businesses can work together in ways that will allow them to provide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
    The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
    Associate Health and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare has today announced the Government’s plan to support Māori communities and businesses in the face of COVID-19. “Our Government’s $12.1 billion economic package will help many Māori whānau, workers and businesses, whether it’s through wage subsidies, income support and worker redeployment, or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
    The Government and the hospitality industry have worked together to produce guidelines to assist with managing and reducing transmission of COVID-19, Health Minister David Clark announced today.  The guidelines developed between the Government, Hospitality New Zealand and SkyCity Entertainment Group, set out how the new restrictions on physical distancing and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
    Four stage Alert System for COVID-19 announced New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact New Zealanders over 70 and those with certain medical conditions told to stay at home as much as they can to reduce risk of contact with the virus Workplaces to implement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago