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Electioneering on the public dime?

Written By: - Date published: 9:50 am, June 29th, 2011 - 47 comments
Categories: election 2011, election funding, national - Tags: , ,

Ahh the Nats. Nothing if not screaming hypocrites. Audrey Young writes:

Nats, Act spend up large with your cash

National and Act, the parties that kicked up a stink in Opposition about Labour’s taxpayer-funded election advertising, are engaging in their own taxpayer-funded binge this month.

The aim is to spend all the money they are entitled to before the financial year ends on Thursday. … So National is spending up big time around the country, producing leaflets, in the names of MPs, on last month’s Budget, with a survey attached.

The survey is clearly intended as an election tool. Its questions include asking voters which party they support and it tries to ascertain if they are swing voters.

National is refusing to say how many leaflets have gone out or how much they cost. The ads are heavily branded with party logos and look no different from electioneering ads. The spending is not unlawful because Parliament’s rules allow anything as long as it doesn’t solicit votes or money.

The formula under which parties are funded to run their parliamentary and electorate offices (including promotional material) gave National, with 58 MPs, $7.1 million to spend in the past year and Act, with five MPs, $631,000. …

The last Labour Government undertook a similar advertising binge about its last Budget at the same time in the electoral cycle but its spending had to count as official election advertising because the whole year to the election was then counted as regulated.

Just to be clear, I’m not opposed to the government spending public money communicating its policies (though I do have reservations as below). My main reaction here is to the pure hypocrisy of the grandstanding hysteria of National (and poodles) while they were in opposition – knowing full well that they would do exactly the same in government. An anonymous editorial in The Herald this morning also takes the Nats to task for “sending voters a message that its methods are no better than those it once condemned”.

That hypocrisy aside, is there a problem here? Political insider John Pagani doesn’t think so – see his piece “It’s a great idea for parties to spend your money on policy pamplets [sic]”. Commentator Bryce Edwards disagrees, suggesting that Pagani’s position shows “how out-of-touch the political class is”. Not sure how Bryce expects the government to communicate with the public though!

In my opinion, yes, there is a problem, but it’s not the one in the headlines (public money for advertising). One obviously relevant issue is the proximity to the election. Because the Nats have shortened the regulated period to three months their current spending will not count against their 2011 election spending limits. Pretty “convenient” for them.

But the main problem of course is the long standing, impossible issue of what it is that constitutes “electioneering”. Recall that “The spending is not unlawful because Parliament’s rules allow anything as long as it doesn’t solicit votes or money”. That definition is clear, but narrow. It allows parties to spend on what is clearly election related material. But should it? Should the definition of what is allowed be tightened? If so, how?

47 comments on “Electioneering on the public dime?”

  1. Anthony 1

    I quite enjoyed how the front page Herald article yesterday featured a picture of John Boscawen for some reason, not John Key…. Gotta protect that brand aye.

  2. ianupnorth 2

    I actually raised this issue a while back; a young Wellington friend of mine tagged the local Nat MP in a Facebook photo of those leaflets, suggesting the budget has done nothing productive for him or his family. Said MP untagged himself, much the indignation of most of his friends.

    When to original poster made a smart comment about him removing the tag he got all upset.
     
    The MP then suggested that it was a Labour organised campaign to humiliate Nat MP’s as several others had done the same. The Nat MP (Todd McClay) came out looking like a spoilt kid whose mum wasn’t letting him have any lollies in the supermarket.
     
    This is Nationals pledge card! It has National on it, has a picture of their local MP and is blue – it is NOT a government publication.

    • ianmac 2.1

      In about 2008 we received a leaflet/questionaire under the name of our local National MP. The questions were heavily biased to lead you to support the MP. I wrote to him, and sent a letter to the Editor of our local paper. The MP replied in the same paper but backed off ownership of the leaflet saying it was the work of Head office though it had his photo on it. (I think that was in the time of restricted spending before the 2008 Election.)

  3. tsmithfield 3

    Hmmm… Hypocrisy or balancing the ledger?

  4. Hi Anthony – you ask how the Government is expected to communicate with the public without using advertising paid for by parliamentary budgets. First, it’s worth pointing out that these budgets are not really anything to do with the Executive as such – they’re for the parliamentary parties and the funding amounts are based on how many non-Executive MPs a party has in Parliament. So they’re not supposed to be about the Government.

    Nonetheless, you might legitimately ask how a “political party is expected to communicate with the public” without using parliamentary budgets to buy advertising. I think there are plenty of ways of doing this – from political speeches through to blogging, through to electorate meetings. And the best ways are those that involve healthy and robust membership-oriented political parties that are active on the ground. The use of the parliamentary budgets has proved to be a useful way to bypass more interactive and grassroots methods of political communication. The result is that the parliamentary leadership no longer requires a membership-based and active political party, and is instead reliant on a professionalised model of politics where all the decisions and communications emanate out of the parliamentary offices.

    Yes, it’s not easy to define electioneering. But nonetheless the politicians have come up with a definition of this for the three months that proceed election day. So it’s very instructive that the politicians won’t let that apply for the full parliamentary term. The answer is that such a definition doesn’t suit them and the politicians want to have it both ways. But logic dictates that their own definition should indeed apply, and that parliamentary spending shouldn’t be allowed for anything that could be seen to encourage a vote for the party or MP.

    But more importantly, if all such parliamentary spending was *totally* transparent, then at least the public could make up its mind on whether any such spending is legitimate.

    And, btw, the original comment I made is in fact now online here:
    http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2011/06/nz-politics-daily-28-june-.html

    • r0b 4.1

      Hi Bryce, thanks for stopping by.

      Nonetheless, you might legitimately ask how a “political party is expected to communicate with the public” without using parliamentary budgets to buy advertising. I think there are plenty of ways of doing this – from political speeches through to blogging, through to electorate meetings.

      Those methods will reach what percentage of the population? Mickysavage has a guess (5 – 10%) in comment 5 below, but I reckon he’s on the optimistic side.

      And the best ways are those that involve healthy and robust membership-oriented political parties that are active on the ground.

      Certainly agree with that, but I don’t see any political parties that look really healthy in those terms. Are the parties all failures, or is it the changing nature of the population? My guess is the later. The days of mass participation in parties, such as they ever existed, seem to be over.

      Yes, it’s not easy to define electioneering. But nonetheless the politicians have come up with a definition of this for the three months that proceed election day. So it’s very instructive that the politicians won’t let that apply for the full parliamentary term.

      Labour’s one year was better than the Nats 3 months, but I agree, let’s make it full term.

      But more importantly, if all such parliamentary spending was *totally* transparent, then at least the public could make up its mind on whether any such spending is legitimate.

      Don’t stop there. Fully transparent public funding of political parties with no private donations of any kind. Get the influence of money out of politics.

      And, btw, the original comment I made is in fact now online here:

      Updated, thanks.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        Don’t stop there. Fully transparent public funding of political parties with no private donations of any kind. Get the influence of money out of politics.

        +1

        Those with a lot of money won’t like it though.

        Also need true public service broadcasting enabling people to get their political messages out irrespective of the MSM.

      • So you reckon that political activity beyond paid advertisements only gets the attention of 1-2% of the public? And Mickysavage reckons it only gets out to 5-10%? Wow. So Hone Harawira, for example, was only able to get his politics out to 1-10% of the Te Tai Tokerau electorate in the recent by-election?

        And I know that MPs constantly use the refrain that mass politics is old fashioned in order to marginalise activists and members, but why are you buying into that?

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.2.1

          I think he was more referring to the methods you mention in this line:

          I think there are plenty of ways of doing this – from political speeches through to blogging, through to electorate meetings.

          Which would only reach a small minority of the population. Advertising would reach more.

          • Bryce Edwards 4.1.2.1.1

            Hi Draco – I think I was fairly clear in saying that there are thousands of different methods of political communication and activism that get your message out to voters that don’t simply involve paying for media adverts, and that these methods “range” from the examples I cited. But for elite parties like Labour and National and the others, these professionalised ways of doing things are the only ones that seem to count. Activism and organic relationship with the public are simply not of interest to the political class, hence the huge desire to exploit (backdoor) parliamentary funding to run everything.

          • r0b 4.1.2.1.2

            Draco is correct, I was referring to the specific methods listed, which reach only a narrow segment of the population.

            And I know that MPs constantly use the refrain that mass politics is old fashioned in order to marginalise activists and members, but why are you buying into that?

            Huh?  Not the ones I’ve met, who would like to see more public participation.  But it doesn’t happen, and no one (see e.g. Alliance) seems to know how to make it happen.

  5. BE

    I think there are plenty of ways of doing this – from political speeches through to blogging, through to electorate meetings. And the best ways are those that involve healthy and robust membership-oriented political parties that are active on the ground.

    Easier said than done …

    Most of the Labour MPs do all of that but to be frank they only reach 5 to 10% of the population.  As for robust membership oriented political parties that ended I am afraid in the 1970s when cars and tvs became common.  Now instead of interacting with their local communities many people live in a bubble and are oblivious to what is happening around them.

    And if they rely on MSM media for news then they get smily pictures of John Key in the Herald and 30 second soundbites of bits of information from TV along the lines of “Goff bad Key good”. 

    I have a reasonable idea of the activist base of the various parties.  Labour is probably best off but is stretched, National is nothing but a series of cheques being written, the Greens are poor, Mana pretty good in TTT, the Maori Party not bad in pockets and the rest are just missing.

    What is wrong with tax money being spent on informing people about policies and principles?  What is wrong with people being educated about politics and what the parties stand for?  Isn’t that good for democracy?

    • KJT 5.1

      Agree with Cv above. Transparent taxpayer funding of political parties electioneering.

      Truth in advertising act should apply though.

      No other funding allowed. Probably would kill the NACT’s as they have few non paid activists.

      Should be equal for all parties once they get over a membership/or vote threshold. Voters should decide on who to vote for not the electoral commission allocating funding.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1

        Should be equal for all parties once they get over a membership/or vote threshold.

        You need 500 people just to register as a party and it’s not easy to get that many people as parties tend to start off local through word of mouth. Or, in other words, I consider just being able to register a party should be barrier enough. Anything more would, most likely, kill the party.

    • Whenever you inject large amounts of money into politics it has an influence – and this isn’t any different with money from the state. The state pays for a lot more electioneering than all the private sources combined, and it has had a significant influence on how political parties operate, pushing them into an elite-professional model where the membership and activists can be disenfranchised. For much more detail on the unhealthy impact of state funding of politics, see details of my submission against the National Government’s legislation to entrench the backdoor state funding of parties:

      http://liberation.typepad.com/liberation/2010/08/national-to-entrench-backdoor-state-funding-of-parties.html

  6. kriswgtn 6

    yeah got one of these from that smarmy creepy Nathan Guy couple weeks ago here in Pram- i ripped it up and went into recycling bin after reading it

    but it was glossy and i would love to know how much this bullshit cost to produce

  7. I’ve had reports of the Nats targeted glossies going to old folk on superannuation; working for families recipients; and students in Dunedin North. They are spending taxpayer’s money within the rules. But I’ve also heard a fair amount of scepticism. Some have written letters to the ODT to ask whether this is the best use of taxpayer money . The irony is that – beneath the spin -they’re effectively announcing ‘business as usual’ inflation adjustments put in place by Labour!

  8. wyndham 8

    Yes, as a pensioner, I got a letter from that nice Mr. Key the other day.

    It is blatant electioneering, listing ‘how the recent Budget will help you and your family’. After a long list of such benefits, it goes on to promote the wonderful advantages of promoting the ‘successful Air New Zealand mixed-ownership model to four state-owned energy companies’. I was assured that government will keep majority control and that New Zealanders will be at the front of the queue for shares.

    Finally, I was informed that National’s strong management has meant increased Super payments.

    It makes me puke.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      thanks for the intel 🙂

    • Blue 8.2

      @Wyndham, So don’t take the super increase then if it makes you puke. You remind me of a satiric film about a bloke called Bob Roberts. A Politician that had a problem with whiners. He wrote a song to the effect that lefties like to scream “give me a handout while a I complain.” So Wyndham you just keep taking that handout, and the increase, but don’t forget to complain about it.

      • felix 8.2.1

        “A Politician that had a problem with whiners.”

        Wow, that film went right over your wee head. Which is amazing really, as it wasn’t that complex.

        p.s. your suggestion that entitlement to superannuation be dependent on keeping one’s opinions about govt propaganda to oneself is frankly disgusting.

      • MrSmith 8.2.2

        Blue: you really are the best advert I have seen all day to vote Labour and if you have nothing constructive to say, maybe you should slither back into your dark, slimy, cold, hole with the other bullies.

      • Ianupnorth 8.2.3

        I thought just calling him a twat would suffice, but you guys have out done me!

  9. Anthony 9

    Yep I had a bragfest from Nikki Kaye not long ago as well.

    • adriank 9.1

      I recently enrolled in Ohariu and have had a letter from Chauvel and a full blown glossy headshot and survey from Shanks. Filled that one out and sent it back with gusto.

      Oddly nothing yet from Peter Dunne, he perhaps thinks I am too young to understand the brand of ‘common sense’ he purveys.

  10. sophie 10

    Got survey pamphlet from Hekia Parata even though I live outside the Mana electorate!

  11. ianupnorth 11

    Questions need to be asked in the house!

  12. Pascal's bookie 12

    What are the rules around the truthiness or otherwise of what parliamentary services funds?

  13. John Dalley 13

    Currently around West Auckland, we have the “mug shots” of Paula Bennett, Tim Groser and Tau Henare staring down at us from what i term political billboards and i must say i am getting sick of seeing there ugly mugs. I think they are paid for by central government and can only assume that they are legal. I do wonder if they are permitted by the Auckland Council but am sorely tempted to complain.

    • Craig Glen Eden 13.1

      Same those Nat Mps seem to be just Brand/Self promotion Boards you cant even see if their is a meeting topic or where the meeting is being held.
      While i love politics I am sick of these pointless billboards, surely they need to have a real reason for the meeting not just “what it means to be a westie” for pete sake.

    • Anne 13.2

      I was out your way the other day John Dalley and saw the bill boards. I wondered how Tim Groser felt having his mugshot together with Bennett and Henare. He looked a bit like a fish out of water.

  14. burt 14

    rOb

    If it comes out that Nation/ACT have allegedly breached the rules I expect you to fully support the National party passing retrospective validations under urgency, killing any court cases as necessary to protect the best interests of the National party.

    • Georgecom 14.1

      Hey Burt, I guess we’ll see all the Nat MPs shouting in unison to themselves “Pay it back, pay it back” in the house tomorrow.

      When Prime Minister Key returns to NZ next week we will get a speech in the house from him demanding that the National Party pay that money back.

      Won’t we?

      I mean, won’t that happen?

      Huh?

      • burt 14.1.1

        I mean, won’t that happen?

        It should. If they have “stolen” money for their own best interests then they should be charged and the courts should decide if they broke the law. The worst possible outcome from this would be the MPs saying they didn’t break the law, the ref made a bad call and we need to move on so we validate under urgency.

        Oh and don’t forget the most important things they will say (supported by partisan hacks who think the colour of a party is more important than it’s integrity) – The rules were confusing… others were doing it too….

        If they do this please don’t remember that by convention MPs are not allowed to use the “reasonable person” defense that the law was confusing – they wrote it, they voted to enact it – they are bound by it… anything else is an assault on democracy.

        • Georgecom 14.1.1.1

          But do we EXPECT to see it happening Burt? Do we expect to see Key & the rest of National berating themselves for ‘stealing’ tax payers money and the election? Do you expect to hear chants from National of ‘pay it back’?

          I don’t.

          Whats the word that describes that sort of thing, something beginning with H I think.

          Didn’t John Key campaign on ‘higher standards’?

        • Blue 14.1.1.2

          I agree Burt, if they have stolen money they should pay it back. just like Labour had to pay back (still paying back?) the $800,000 they stole from the public purse. Maybe the rules were “confusing” then too?

  15. Why not, they do everything else under urgency, why change how they do business (generally for the best interests of business)

  16. Alice 16

    Life is what you make it- reality bites, people can bite, yes, but that doesn’t mean you’re so docile and meek you can’t bite back. Come on are you ‘alive’ or have you already convinced yourself you are as dead as a fucking doorknob.

    Stop acting sooo useless, wimpy and pathetically hopeless.

    PS- I have no other reason for saying your as dead as a doorknob, other than, I am just stating ‘your being’ is so utterly useless right now, it’s pretty much laughable, you’re a joke.

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    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    4 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    4 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    4 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    5 days ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    5 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    6 days ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    6 days ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    6 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    6 days ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 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 ...
    7 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
    7 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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

  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    2 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    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
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    4 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
    6 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
    7 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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