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Ear treatment cuts another attack on the poor

Written By: - Date published: 3:58 pm, January 15th, 2013 - 27 comments
Categories: child welfare, class war, health, national - Tags: , , ,

This is a topic that came up over the break that I noted to write about when I got back to posting. The Nats want to cut the budget for surgery to install grommets, a technique for treating persistent ear infection (especially in children). The rationale is summarised in this Herald piece:

Govt eyes cuts to elective surgery

The National Health Committee has to find savings of $30 million this financial year from elective procedures deemed to be of little benefit. The money would be used for smarter investment in other parts of the health system.

The only specific elective procedure the committee has so far named for “disinvestment” is the insertion of grommets. Grommets are tiny ventilation tubes placed in an incision in the eardrum to treat persistent, painful infections called glue ear.

[The committee] … draws on a Welsh health system report that evaluated 550 elective procedures deemed to be of “relatively low priority”. … The Welsh report’s specific procedures are listed under 17 surgical and dental headings, including tonsillectomy, grommets, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, dilatation and curettage, hysterectomy, gallbladder removal, caesarean section, lower-back procedures, circumcision, eye-lid surgery, nose surgery and surgery to correct protruding ears.

OK, so, there are 17 “headings” to explore, including purely cosmetic options like the correction of protruding ears, and so far the only one specifically mentioned and targeted is grommets. That’s a procedure which in many cases helps restore the sense of hearing, and is used mainly by (you guessed it) children in poor families. Brilliant.

The committee said it had completed a technological note on the use of ventilation tube grommets for treating middle-ear infections (otitis media). “The evidence indicates that the use of ventilation tubes is of limited value in treating otitis media with effusion, although it does not suggest that it should be stopped completely.”

New Zealand’s rate of grommets use is about 75 per cent greater per capita than Britain’s. “The difference represents a cost to New Zealand of approximately $4.4 million per annum,” the committee says.

Save $4.4 Million a year by bringing ourselves in to line with Britain. Did anyone on “The Committee” stop to ask if it was Britain or NZ that had it right? Of course not. But Kiwi doctors have let us know what they think:

Doubt over savings from restricting ear treatment

A leading surgeon doubts the Government will be able to save money by cutting down on treating children’s ears with grommets.

Scott Stevenson, an ear, nose and throat surgeon, was commenting on a government group’s suggestion New Zealand could save $4.4 million a year if its rate of grommet insertion was lowered to Britain’s level.

“The savings probably aren’t there,” said Mr Stevenson, the chairman of the New Zealand board of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. … Mr Stevenson said the college had concerns about the ideas the National Health Committee expressed on grommets in a discussion document and he had responded “fairly vigorously”.

The ideal intervention rate for grommets was unknown. “No one has looked at that and said are we over-treating or is the UK under-treating.

“Maori and Pacific people have a high incidence of middle-ear disease. I would hate to see anything done that impacts on our ability to look after some of our most economically deprived and underprivileged kids.” [my bold]

Auckland ear, nose and throat surgeon Dr Colin Brown said, “The UK is not a good reference point in terms of whether we do more or less. In my opinion children are substantially under-treated in the UK.”

I’m with Kerre Woodham on this one – I have personally known too many kids who have been helped by grommets. I would hate to see any cuts to what is often a vital procedure – especially when we could be starting with protruding ears instead. Last word (from the same piece as the above quote) to Labour’s Maryan Street:

Labour’s health spokeswoman, Maryan Street, said reducing the number of grommet operations for children – without a direct investment in measures to reduce the need for the treatment – would be a false economy that led to “more kids sitting in class unable to listen and learn”.

Exactly.

27 comments on “Ear treatment cuts another attack on the poor”

  1. Blue 1

    Right-wing government at their most disgusting. They don’t care if children from low-income families go deaf or suffer permanent hearing loss.

    When those children struggle at school and show up in crime, unemployment and health system statistics later in life, the right-wing will do their usual song and dance about how they’re just lazy and stupid and need a good kick up the arse.

    I think National have bought themselves a fight on par with class sizes over this one, however. Many parents in NZ have experience with their children getting ear infections and needing grommets. They also object to kids being permanently disabled because of government policy.

    Tony Ryall’s oversight of the Health portfolio just fell off a cliff.

  2. higherstandard 2

    Hi R0b

    Can you please link to the bit where “The Nats want to cut the budget for surgery to install grommets”

    I’m pretty sure this is just a discussion document put forward by the NHC for comment from the respective colleges, I’d be very, very surprised if there was any cuts too this particular procedure as like immunisation it’s a very effective and cost effective intervention.

    Assuming this information was released by the government, if I was you I’d look at what is not being said, if it’s just a media initiated story I suspect it was a slow news day.

    • McFlock 2.1

      So the directive to save $30 mil is self-imposed?

    • Bill 2.2

      Acknowledge your point that it’s not accurate to state that “The Nats want to cut the budget for surgery to install grommets”… seeing as how it’s a committee in it’s preliminary stages of investigation.

      But to be looking for savings of $30 million in the Health Service for the sake of ‘smarter investment’ in the Health Service is very bloody questionable on the grounds that it is (likely/possibly – choose your own qualifier) being driven by ideology rather than concern for ‘coal face’ services delivered by the Health Service.

      edit. Having just seen r0bs comment below, I retract my acknowledgement of inaccuracy 🙂

    • r0b 2.3

      It’s there in the first piece linked to, but here’s a short sharp summary:

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/125166/grommets-targeted-as-govt-razor-gang-eyes-health

      The Nats have specified a saving of $30 million a year – the first recommendation of the committee they set up to do it is that $4.4 million can be saved from cutting grommets. Health Minister Ryall (apparently when asked about this) has been supportive of the committee, hence I think it’s fair to say that “The Nats want to cut the budget for surgery to install grommets”.

  3. One Tāne Huna 3

    Controversy over this operation re-surfaces every few years, especially when the NHS needs to save money. The most recent example was a Personal View column in the British Medical Journal (Friday, November 19) by a general practitioner from Glasgow, Des Spence, who made a rather emotive attack on ENT surgeons who look after children. This has provoked many ENT surgeons to respond to the BMJ, suggesting that Dr Spence has misrepresented and ignored evidence, including the fact that many fewer operations are actually done today compared to when the procedure was first evaluated in the 1980s. Many ENT surgeons have said that they do operate selectively and when appropriate, as recommended by NICE.

    “Some of these arguments surrounding grommets are historical rather than factual,” said Vivienne Michael, Chief Executive of Deafness Research UK. “Otitis Media is not a trivial condition and in serious cases, grommets are essential. Unnecessary procedures were undoubtedly performed in the past when the condition was not well understood. But this should not be used as a justification for cutting funding for an often valuable procedure. With pressures on funding, we are concerned there may be delays in treatment for those children in whom the condition does not resolve itself. In the long-term, this won’t save money and, for the children seriously affected, there could be significant impact on their development which grommets could have easily alleviated.”

    Deafness Research UK

    Other sources refer to “an epidemic of surgery” for glue ear (Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 1995;49:234-237), but speaking of epidemics, The Lancet tells us that since Rogernomics and Ruthenasia, New Zealand has experienced a massive increase in infectious disease admissions, of which glue ear is but one. It is also “the main cause of hearing loss in New Zealand” (Word DOC).

    I doubt the comparison with the UK is valid. Shonkey is as Shonkey does.

  4. Financially literate 4

    For those interested in the report itself the link and excerpt is below. Link to the latest Cochrane review also provided.

    http://nhc.health.govt.nz/committee-publications/priorities-activities-and-next-steps-national-health-committee-report

    50. As an example, the NHC has completed a TechNote on the use of ventilation tubes for the treatment of otitis media. The evidence indicates that the use of ventilation tubes is of limited value in treating otitis media with effusion, although it does not suggest that it should be stopped completely.
    51. The following diagram shows that insertion rates in New Zealand (represented by the green line) are, on average, considerably above the average UK intervention rate (the red line). The difference represents a cost to New Zealand of approximately $4.4 million per annum.
    52. The NHC is suggesting that by focusing on the pathway of care for children, both in primary care and in secondary settings, and through increasing integration between settings, there is potential to both provide children with more appropriate and more effective care, while simultaneously reducing wasted expenditure for the DHBs.

    http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD001801/grommets-ventilation-tubes-for-hearing-loss-associated-with-otitis-media-with-effusion-in-children

    Evidence suggests that grommets only offer a short-term hearing improvement in children with simple glue ear (otitis media with effusion or OME) who have no other serious medical problems or disabilities. No effect on speech and language development has been shown.

    Glue ear is the build up of thick fluid behind the ear drum. It is a common childhood disorder, affecting one or both ears, and is the major cause of transient hearing problems in children. The insertion of grommets (ventilation or tympanostomy tubes) into the ear drum is a surgical treatment option commonly used to improve hearing in children with bilateral glue ear as unilateral glue ear results in minimal, if any, hearing disability. This review found that in children with bilateral glue ear that had not resolved after a period of 12 weeks and was associated with a documented hearing loss, the beneficial effect of grommets on hearing was present at six months but diminished thereafter. Most grommets come out over this time and by then the condition will have resolved in most children. The review did not find any evidence that grommets help speech and language development but no study has been performed in children with established speech, language, learning or developmental problems. Active observation would appear to be an appropriate management strategy for the majority of children with bilateral glue ear as middle ear fluid will resolve spontaneously in most children.

    • George D 4.1

      Thanks. I was going to post a link to the Cochrane review – for those unfamiliar, they’re a review of all available evidence on a particular topic in medicine, and are considered a ‘gold standard’ of evidence review.

      I’m strongly in favour of evidence-based medicine, with priority funding going to procedures that demonstrate clear benefit at a reasonable cost, and less priority going to those that offer little benefit, or cost a very large amount for the benefit they offer. It’s what we do with ACC, and it works very well there.

      The challenge with health is to keep the budgets in line with costs, and you can do that by cutting costs, or by cutting budgets. The very real risk under any National Government is that you end up doing both.

      • McFlock 4.1.1

        yep. I like EBM too, although the pain issue should also be in mind (not just hearing/speech).

        It seems to me that they’ve gone “save $30mil” and we just hope that all the surgeries not funded are not essential.

    • higherstandard 4.2

      Thanks for that.

  5. bad12 5

    The cuts to budget Health are becoming apparent around the edges, it was highlighted in another recent post where someone in short stay accommodation for a head injury,(presumably the private provider was being funded via vote Health), had ended up in the night shelter once ‘the short stay’ nature of provision had run its course,

    Lower back procedures, according to my Doctor, will not be undertaken until there is a life threatening situation,

    Rape Crisis and Woman’s refuges are being starved of funds either by Health or the Ministry of Social Development…

    • mike e vipe e 5.1

      More work for failed Charter schools and prisons brilliant idea from the Nasty NATS

  6. Dan1 6

    A very sad call. Our oldest lad had glue ear, earache and was generally miserable for two of his first four years. The cycles of illness would come around every three months. His speech was definitely below par. He was on a continual round of antibiotics.

    The grommets changed everything, and with speech therapy, he came up to par. It was the high frequency sounds that he had missed out on.

    I cannot believe this decision. You might save $4.5m on the operation, but lose much more with medicines and remedial education and the loss of considerable potential amongst our young people. Without funding for this operation, many more kids will lose hearing.

  7. millsy 7

    Ryall has learnt from the mistakes made by Upton, Birch, and of course, English. Rather than a hard out smashing down of the gates, and bingeing out on hospital closures, Ryall plans to gut our hospital system more subtly. The rise in prescription charges and the proposed ‘disinvestment’ in glue ear operations (gotta love the jargon), probably to pay for pensioner hip operations, and cancer treatments for desperate housewives are but two of these measures.

    By the way, here is the list of hospital closures I promised you all. brought to you by one of Muldoon’s positive legacies — the Official Information Act.

    • McFlock 7.1

      Interesting list.

      How much did they charge you for the request? One thing to check it against might be hospital openings and ward bed capacity (can’t remember the exact term) in each hospital, for followup requests.

      • millsy 7.1.1

        No charge at all. Response was reasonably quick too. Format is pretty dodgy though. I might look at seeing if I can dump it into a spreadsheet later on.

    • tc 7.2

      ‘ bringing ourselves in to line with Britain’ is more neo liberal claptrap, the UK is not who we should be emulating.

      Millsy’s onto it, waikato hospital is overflowing as the other regional hospitals have had so many cuts they can’t deliver those frontline services they bang on about keeping so waikato gets them.

      Ryall’s also quietly culling in the back office and creating a mess as it’s needed to supports frontline services. Health runs at 10% CPI so no $$$ increase is effectively a 10% cut across the board, Ryall’s a dirty word to healthcare workers and less than honest in the house with his more doctors and nurses statements.

      • LynWiper 7.2.1

        I for one am very happy to see Ryall’s pigeons coming home to roost. I don’t know how he has managed to stay under the radar for so long.

        • tc 7.2.1.1

          Health in NZ is pretty much 100% gov’t funded so where do you go if you call him out as the NACT are a vindictive lot who’ve already removed a few troublesome sorts to set the tone.

          If only we had a media, that loralei mason on TVNZ is as much a health reporter as I’m an astronaut.

        • Colonial Viper 7.2.1.2

          I for one am very happy to see Ryall’s pigeons coming home to roost. I don’t know how he has managed to stay under the radar for so long.

          He’s one of the most capable members of the Key Cabinet. Health, like Education, is usually a kiss of death for anyone who is not truly Ministerial material and Ryall has got through with barely a squeek so far.

  8. Dan1 8

    Thanks Millsy. A fascinating list. The smaller towns have missed out. Psychiatric services over the last 12 years have been a clear focus. Helicopters and intensive care have their place in an emergency but the friction of distance for families is costly in time and $$$ for any ongoing treatment.

    • McFlock 8.1

      One of the things that’s become evident to me over the last few years is that we are still really good at saving kids’ lives.

      Sadly, we’re shit at stopping them needing emergency treatment in the first place.

    • millsy 8.2

      Got the Mason Report and the Gibbs Report (the one that inspired the 1991-96 health reforms) as well. Im trying to get a lot of these reports and documents via OIA request and post them online in one place so they can be accessed by those interested. With the advent of the internet there is no reason why historial government reports cannot be placed online for all to see.

  9. Murray Olsen 9

    I predict they’ll appear to back down and agree to fund grommets, but cut funding for virtually everything else on the list. That seems to be Key’s modus operandi – choose a particularly sensitive and emotive area to float an idea, never intending to push it through, and then making cuts elsewhere. Then they’ll probably stop funding grommets next year and say that they are regretfully forced to do it by a plague of locusts in Upper Egypt or something. At least half the population will probably swallow their bullshit.
    Shearer will say that anyone whose kids need grommets will be assessed by social workers to see if any welfare money they receive is being spent in a responsible manner. It’s only fair, after all.

  10. This is something I looked at, and compared it to National’s health “reforms” in the mid/late 1990s. Unsurprisingly, the similarities are there in plain sight.

    The health cuts and grommet-issue here; http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/childrens-health-not-a-high-priority-for-health-minister-tony-ryall/ – which interestingly leads on to similar cuts that the current National-led government is carrying out. Full report here; http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/its-fundamentally-a-fairness-issue-peter-dunne/

    Interesting when one connects the dots…

    The cuts to state social services is, again, unsurprising and is a re-hash of the ’90s. What has changed is that the cuts are more subtle this time – and the MSM are nowhere as vigilant in reporting government policies and their flow-on effects.

    It also doesn’t help that current affairs and investigative reporting these days is minimal, and replaced mostly by crime “news”, reality TV, American sitcoms, and in case the 6PM News didn’t deliver up enough crime – TV offers endless crime “dramas”.

    Newspapers have been gutted of their best talent, with Simon Collins at the Herald perhaps the last remaining top journo. The rest now work for politicians and the corporate sector as PR spin-doctors.

    The greatest difference though, is that NZ First is not politically part of the picture. Their coalition deal with the Nats in ’96 made the Bolger/Shipley-led regime probably the most unpopular in living memory. So the media was only to happy to focus on social issues, to feed/reflect public feelings.

    Compare it with the Herald report, on 8 January,

    The National Health Committee has to find savings of $30 million this financial year from elective procedures deemed to be of little benefit.

    The money would be used for smarter investment in other parts of the health system

    See: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10857848

    Notice that there are no quotation marks anywhere through the above two paragraphs – especially the last statement. The statements are presented uncritically as reportage – not as government media statement reflecting National Party policy.

    In fact the whole “money saved will be reinvested elsewhere” theme re-occurs throughout media reporting – though no one in the MSM seems tro have picked up on it.

    None of the “savings” (ie, cuts) will be reinvested of course. That’s BS.

    The Nats are desperate to show a budget surplus by 2014/15, and if kids have to go through their childhood with hearing loss; failed schooling; and an adult life at the bottom of the socio-economic heap – well, at least Bill English will be able to report, at election time, that National made a $66 million surplus. And John Key will do a little happy gangnam-style dance again…

  11. So National’s plan is bring NZ into line, makes sense when you put it with their other achievements like high unemployment, slow growth, trade deficits and general chaos. So when can we see UK style riots in Auckland, John Key better watch out that the would be rioters don’t target his fancy house.

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    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 ...
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    6 days ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    6 days ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
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    6 days ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • What about renters?
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
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    6 days ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
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    7 days ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
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    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 ...
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    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
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    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
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    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
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    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
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    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
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    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?
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    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
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    1 week ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
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    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
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    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
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    1 week ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
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    1 week ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
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    1 week ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Only Way Through This Crisis Is Together.
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    2 weeks ago
  • GFC vs Covid-19
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    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • Nobody Left Behind.
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    2 weeks ago
  • Rebuilding a truly “Democratic” counter, or a “moderate Republican” bolt-hol...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion law reform a win for women
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • How to spot bogus science stories and read the news like a scientist
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus
    Michael Baker, University of Otago and Nick Wilson, University of Otago With some of the toughest border restrictions and a newly-announced NZ$500 million boost to health services, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand is also fortunate in ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Parliament and the pandemic II
    As expected, the government has introduced a sessional order to allow Parliament to operate during the pandemic. You can read it on the Order Paper here, but the short version is that questions and motions can be filed electronicly, select committees can work remotely, and the the Business Committee can ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • When a virus goes viral: pros and cons to the coronavirus spread on social media
    Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology; Daniel Angus, Queensland University of Technology; Timothy Graham, Queensland University of Technology, and Tobias R. Keller, Queensland University of Technology News and views about coronavirus has spread via social media in a way that no health emergency has done before. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • How to survive 14 days of self-isolation
    So you’ve recently returned from overseas, come into contact with someone who tested positive, got a bit of a dry cough yourself or perhaps just want to self isolate for 14 days to avoid other people who might have COVID-19. Here are a few tips and tricks to help get ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion Legislation Bill passes third reading
    Some fave speeches:     ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    2 weeks ago
  • Why Leadership Matters – More Than Anything.
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    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #11, 2020
    2 weeks ago
  • 68-51
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The ‘herd immunity’ route to fighting coronavirus is unethical and potentially dangerous
    As most of the world tries to suppress the coronavirus spread, some countries are going it alone – trying to manage the pandemic through so-called “herd immunity”. Herd immunity means letting a large number of people catch a disease, and hence develop immunity to it, to stop the virus spreading. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Eight new COVID-19 cases today. It’s no surprise when you look at some numbers
    So, as I sit at home with a very, very slight headache (i.e. not at work when I would otherwise be so), the now familiar figure of Ashley Bloomfield reports eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19  including two in Waikato. A surprise, given that we had just twelve yesterday? No. ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • The WINZ Paradox versus the new COVID-19 Reality: Get real people, seriously…
    Many who advocated for, and voted for, the current Coalition – particularly those who voted Labour and the Green Party – expected to see a sea change in the reality of social services. A real, deep change of attitude, approach of process through which the system negotiates the difficult and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago

  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours 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
    16 hours ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 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
    5 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
    5 days ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
    The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks.   “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to make sure businesses can work together in ways that will allow them to provide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
    The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
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    1 week ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
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    1 week ago
  • PM Address – Covid-19 Update
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ and Singapore commit to keeping supply and trade links open, including on essential goods and med...
    New Zealand and Singapore have jointly committed to keep supply chains open and to remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the commitment. “This is an important collective response, and ...
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    1 week ago
  • Joint Ministerial Statement by Singapore and New Zealand -Covid-19 situation
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Transit between Australia and New Zealand
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $100 million to redeploy workers
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • More support for wood processing
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt steps in to protect Air New Zealand
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