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English – sell dams to buy prisons

Written By: - Date published: 6:37 am, June 9th, 2011 - 54 comments
Categories: bill english, david cunliffe, prisons, privatisation - Tags:

So, that’s National’s great big plan: get rid of our electricity assets and use the cash to build more prisons. Not much of a brighter future there. National still hasn’t come up with a convincing reason why we would sell highly profitable monopolistic companies. Instead, we’ve seen a series of weak excuses. Now, English has revealed the truth.

English looked very uncomfortable in the House yesterday.

Hon David Cunliffe: Why is he promoting a policy that he described today at the Finance and Expenditure Committee as “selling hydro dams to buy prisons”, when the return on those hydro dams averaged 17 percent in the last 5 years and he himself calls prisons a moral and fiscal failure?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: There seems to be some confusion about the return on State-owned enterprises. A figure of $700 million of dividends has been quoted, which is not, in fact, correct. That actually exceeds the Crown’s dividends from all sources—State-owned enterprises, Crown entities, and Crown research institutes. The true figure for dividends from State-owned enterprises is probably about $350 million, and the member might find that that changes his calculations.

Typical English, this. He avoids re-confirming what he said and pedantically argues over a minor point in an attempt to distract, while not denying the quote. Well, we’re not distracted because English has let the plan slip.

In National’s vision of the future, our assets are owned by foreign companies and the government focuses on ‘law and order’ to keep the population in line. English is simply making it happen.

We need a government whose ambition for New Zealand is set a lot higher than this.

54 comments on “English – sell dams to buy prisons”

  1. tc 1

    Blinglish and Sideshows dealing room caucus are presiding willingly over the largest wealth shift ever in such a short period, in a recession they’ve kept going by not stimulating the economy.

    Add in asset sales, dodgy deals and bailouts, urgency measures like ECAN and some of the worst ministers to ever attempt to run their portfolios and the scene is set for us to drop off the radar of developed nations into a developing one…..bravo NACT.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      We’ve been heading that way for some time (Since 1984) so we can’t just blame this present NAct government. We could do better, be sustainable and give everyone a good living standard but the capitalist paradigm prevents that.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    We need a government whose ambition for New Zealand is set a lot higher than this.

    Yeah come on NZ, the National Party of Aspiration is aspirational for themselves not for you or your children. Figure it out, get out and vote November!

    What does English care, all his kids are heading overseas anyways, like those of so many New Zealanders nowadays.

  3. vto 3

    Draco posted this yesterday, which should go on some opposition party billboard about asset sales…

    “Having taught the starving man to fish, the wise man sadly watches, as he sells off his fishing rod.”

  4. queenstfarmer 4

    When did the Govt suggest they were “getting rid of” electricity assets? Do you mean they will float minority stakes, which (obviously…) means the Govt will be the majority owner, and control the company?

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Oh quite right our energy assets will still be here mate, just Chinese owned, shipping valuable profits offshore to them.

      You are a naive little unit to believe that Meridian etc aren’t going to be completely sold off too. How many times do English and Key have to lie to you before you will get that they can’t be trusted with election promises?

      • Jag 4.1.1

        How does selling a “minority interest” result in an asset becoming “Chinese owned”???

        May I suggest you have at a minimum severe comprehension deficiencies and perhaps a drizzling of xenophobia…

        • Ari 4.1.1.1

          There’s two good replies here. The first is that the minority interest is really just a thin end of the wedge. We’ve seen this with many of the other government policies that suddenly became incredibly right-wing when they had a good emergency to ditch the restraint for. It’s unlikely that if the current government is re-elected, they’d stick with just selling off the minority interest that they promised not to exceed.

          The second is that even if they don’t become owned by foreign investors, we’ll still be shipping away dividends without any real re-investment in New Zealand, and it’s a continually increasing problem that we’re becoming a rent nation because of how open our investment laws are. I don’t mind even relatively important assets being at least partially owned by foreign interests, if they have sufficient incentive to reinvest in New Zealand instead of just shipping all the profits overseas.

      • Jag 4.1.2

        How does selling a “minority interest” result in an asset becoming “Chinese owned”???

        May I suggest you have at a minimum severe comprehension deficiencies and perhaps a drizzling of xenophobia…

    • Blighty 4.2

      would the govt still own the shares of the electricity assets National wants to sell or wouldn’t it?

      Of course not. Therefore, it wants to sell electricity assets. Whether it’s part of a company (for now) or the whole, it’s getting rid of some of the interest it holds in electricity companies.

      • queenstfarmer 4.2.1

        The Govt would own 51%. That is my understanding of the proposal (pending a mandate), but happy to be corrected.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.1

          That’s the stated plan but consider how many promises that this government have broken and how often they’ve lied and you’ll realise that this just another lie. They will sell off the whole lot because that’s what they want to do and, due to the laws protecting minor share owners, we will still lose control of the assets completely anyway.

    • Lanthanide 4.3

      Someone recently brought up an example of how the government’s 74% ownership of Air NZ means squat. The below is my hazy memory of the comment, but the gist of it should be correct.
       
      Back in 2007 or 2008 or so, I think it was, under Labour, Air NZ was shutting down some of it’s servicing contracts with engineers in Christchurch. The union urged the government to use their majority stake to overturn the decision. The government declined, on the basis that they were beholden to commercial interests and could be sued.
       
      And that’s with a 74% shareholding and a Labour government.

  5. Blighty 5

    and, hey, those prisons will be making profits for foreign private prison companies. Everyone’s a winner. Except for New Zealand.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      No doubt queenstfarmer will think that its fine if we sell only half our children to foreign ownership. Well, maybe not half, just 49% of them. After all, we’d still retain “majority” control lol

      Stupid Righties determined to make the country poorer so a few of their mates (who don’t give a shit about them anyway) can profit.

      • Jagilby 5.1.1

        How does selling a “minority interest” result in an asset becoming “Chinese owned”???

        May I suggest you have at a minimum a severe comprehension deficiency and perhaps a drizzling of xenophobia…

        • Blighty 5.1.1.1

          currently, the govt owns 74% of AirNZ but it exercises no control over the company’s direction. That is left to the other investors, Singapore Air mostly, who have a disproportionate number of seats on the board. Thus, the majority ownership is with the govt but control sits largely offshore.

          That’s the model that National says it wants to imitate for the power companies.

        • Deadly_NZ 5.1.1.2

          Because the Chinese have had Talks with Blinglish, and have publicly stated that they have 6 BILLION dollars to spend. So xenophobia??? I don’t think so.

          http://www.peopleforum.cn/viewthread.php?tid=98923

          • Lanthanide 5.1.1.2.1

            Actually I don’t think they’ve “publicly stated” that at all. As far as I’m aware, it’s a rumour.

            It’s probably true, but that’s not the same as “publicly stated”.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.3

          Ohhhhhh because selling a half stake in your house to someone else doesn’t make you a tenant in your own home, right?

          LOL

          • queenstfarmer 5.1.1.3.1

            Correct, it doesn’t.

            • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.3.1.1

              Actually, in this case, it does.

            • fraser 5.1.1.3.1.2

              tell that to the minority shareholder in your house and see how far you get

              • queenstfarmer

                You’d get pretty far, actually. Joint owners of undivided property, regardless of the percentage of ownership, have full rights to be in a house along with the other co-owners.

                As for minority floats of SOEs, your point is well made – the Govt will remain the majority shareholder and therefore have control of the companies.

                • fraser

                  “have full rights” – exactly – they still want their cut dont they?

                  and where your atittude to your house may not be totally about the profit – theirs will be.

                  Plus spare the “therefore have control of the companies” angle. History (as outlined in this thread) has shown that when this is elevated to government level a maniority shareholder still wields more power than the state due to profit demands (which the state cannnot deny them) and board structure

                  • queenstfarmer

                    The example given above was about Labour kowtowing to a minority shareholder, when it held 70+%. Perhaps the ministers at the time had no experience in finance? I don’t know. But it certainly is extraordinary and perhaps suggests that this Govt, if it goes ahead with minority stakes, should ensure constitutional / shareholder provisions to protect a future Govt from its own ineptness in financial matters.

                    On a related point, shareholders don’t get profits, they get dividends if and when declared by the company (which they also pay tax on, unlike interest cheques written to offshore Govt lenders).

                    • Colonial Viper

                      they get dividends if and when declared by the company (which they also pay tax on, unlike interest cheques written to offshore Govt lenders).

                      Who needs the tax on a stream of money when already own the entire stream of money in the first place?

                      Stupid economically illiterate Right Wionger. Where are your kids going to live once the country has been sold out to the Chinese? Or don’t you give a fuck?

                    • fraser

                      yeah dividend – fair call there. But it still mean $$ coming out doesnt it.

                      “should ensure constitutional / shareholder provisions to protect a future Govt from its own ineptness in financial matters ”

                      sounds like a good idea – wanna place a bet on how likely that is (and even if they did it, how beneficial it would be to the taxpayer) – with either labour or national at the helm?

                      Im no economist or corporate lawyer – but if a company posts a profit, it would follow that the shareholders will come seeking their dividend – and want a pretty good reason why they cant have all or part of it.

      • jackal 5.1.2

        That’s similar to National MP Tau Henare saying recently on twitter that it’s OK to have 20% of New Zealand children living in poverty because the other 80% aren’t. He doesn’t think the Government should do anything about it.

        • North 5.1.2.1

          You listen to Tau do you ?……….hardly ever hear his name up here (except from out of his own fat mouth).

          He’s regarded as a noisy, silly, sideshow sort of fulla. You don’t take seriously a word he says. You just put up with him. You keep the poor zero-mana fulla in the fold because without that what would he have ? Apart from the fat salary he patently doesn’t earn.

          The prevailing attitude is – “He’s a bloody egg but he’s OK……”

          • Ari 5.1.2.1.1

            Just because you’re ignoring him doesn’t mean everyone else is. If you don’t support his words you should stand up and say so instead of griping that he doesn’t follow through, because those words will certainly be appealing to some people.

    • queenstfarmer 5.2

      NZ wins too, because private operators would pay tax on those profits, plus wages and tax on jobs, etc.

      You need to compare that with borrowing money offshore, then writing massive interest cheques to foreign bankers, who we can’t even tax.

      Not saying private prisons are the way to go (I don’t know enought about it) but there should be a fair discussion on it.

      • Lanthanide 5.2.1

        On that basis, we should simply contract out our entire government to overseas companies, because they would pay tax on profits, plus wages and tax on jobs, etc.

        • queenstfarmer 5.2.1.1

          I hope not. My view is that everything needs to be weighed up. Ideological policy (i.e. without assessing the merits) to sell all assets is as bad as ideological policy never to sell any assets.

          • Colonial Viper 5.2.1.1.1

            Yes, let’s rationally and calmly assess the pros and cons of ripping your neighbour off or of profiteering from someone else’s misery.

            Another dumb unprincipled right wing comment.

            You can assess costs and benefits, but the real question around asset sales is not just what are the costs and benefits but also to whom.

          • Ari 5.2.1.1.2

            We wouldn’t really need to be borrowing very much right now if we reversed the tax cuts the Nats introduced for their mates, and honestly, you expect to either have to borrow or dip into surpluses to fund a government in a recession, that’s just sound economic practice.

            You should consider that your opposition to borrowing at all is just as ideological as you’re claiming opposition to asset sales is. Personally, I can think of some situations in which certain assets would be fine to sell, but we’re not in any of those situations right now, especially as most of them involve the government providing a service that a local private sector is already competing with, which is usually a bad model for an SOE, as they function much better at being the benevolent monopoly when a monopoly is necessary.

      • Blighty 5.2.2

        “private operators would pay tax on those profits, plus wages and tax on jobs”

        um, so do public operators, old boy.

        you’re quite right that we should compare the cost of borrowing against other decisions. Let’s do that:

        borrowing as a sovereign country is the cheapest borrowing around.
        Any private buyer of our assets or private prison operator has to borrow at a higher rate, so their return on capital needs to be higher than the Crown’s.
        Therefore, the price any buyer of a state asset will be willing to pay reflects a higher rate of return (ie lower sale price) than the Crown can afford at its borrowing rate.
        Likewise, having a private prison operator is essentially like borrowing the cost of the prison operations from that private company and their rate of return is akin to the interest. Obviously, that rate has to be higher than the Crown’s borrowing rate.

        So, basic economics tells us that when you’re paying a private company’s profit it’s always going to be a worse deal than interest on government debt.

        Finally, lets compare another government decision to the cost of debt.

        National’s 2010 tax swticheroo is not fiscally neutral. It will cost $1 billion over four years. What’s the interest bill on that? Something like $30 million a year. What’s the benefit to the economy of giving Key and his mates hundreds of dollars a week in tax cuts? Nothing that anyone has proven.

        • queenstfarmer 5.2.2.1

          “private operators would pay tax on those profits, plus wages and tax on jobs”

          um, so do public operators, old boy.

          Only if they are run as companies / SOEs, which state prisons aren’t (and I reiterate I don’t know whether it’s a good idea to do so).

          borrowing as a sovereign country is the cheapest borrowing around.

          Ireland, Greece and Portugal may beg to differ.

          So, basic economics tells us that when you’re paying a private company’s profit it’s always going to be a worse deal than interest on government debt.

          This is a rerun of the discussion the other day. I would disagree. But if, as you say, it’s “basic economics”, could you provide a citation? In particular, for the always part.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.2.2.1.1

            Only if they are run as companies / SOEs, which state prisons aren’t

            All employees pay tax so we won’t be losing that bit and the tax the companies would pay will be less than the profit that they take from us. Face it – privatising state assets is, altogether, bad for us.

            (and I reiterate I don’t know whether it’s a good idea to do so).

            Generally speaking, privatised prisons cost more and are less effective (meaning have more recividism) than stat owned prisons. In fact, the company that this government contracted for our prison, Serco, is one of the worst in the world.

            Ireland, Greece and Portugal may beg to differ.

            Once you’re in debt as deep as they are then the costs go way up you stop borrowing and should also default on the debt you do have as there’s no way you can pay it.

            This is a rerun of the discussion the other day. I would disagree.

            An appeal to authority and an admission that you’re stupid (Can’t actually frame an argument against what was said but disagrees with it anyway).

            • queenstfarmer 5.2.2.1.1.1

              You’re right in your first point about the wages part, my bad.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Right on the rest of it as well – especially the bit about you being stupid.

          • Colonial Viper 5.2.2.1.2

            Ireland, Greece and Portugal may beg to differ.

            Meh, even countries can be bankrupted, and it happens when they sell out to foreigners and foreign banks.

      • Akldnut 5.2.3

        Not saying private prisons are the way to go (I don’t know enought about it) but there should be a fair discussion on it.

        In going with their regular modus operandi, the only discussion/s will be:
        1. Submissions put before a select commitee.
        2. Everyone and everthing being totaly ignored.
        3. Then the rightwing mantra will be slammed through under Urgency.

  6. Sanctuary 6

    Now we understand why the way democracy in South America is. Right wing government privatises everything and creates a rentier economy for a tiny but immensely rich and powerful absentee landlord class made up entirely of Pinochet-fascists. Fascists clothe themselves in neo-liberalism and conflate free markets with freedom. Peasants finally have had enough and elect a socialist government that actually plans to do something about inequality and massive expropriation of the nation’s wealth to offshore interests. Fascist elite (with U.S. backing) engineers a military coup to “save the nation from communism”. After decades of such brutal repression by the elite, a Hugo Chavez emerges.

  7. Tom Gould 7

    The story is even more venal than suggested. They sell the electricity companies to their mates, then use the money to build prisons they then lease back to their mates to run as businesses, on long and generous contracts. And as we can see from the dairy sector, the operators hide the real profits and pay little or no tax. So average folks pay more for their power bills, and more tax to run the prisons, and to make up for the taxless corporates. Great deal, if you can swing it.

  8. ianmac 8

    John Key and his wife are Dad and Mum. They have heaps of dough.
    The Power companies will be sold.
    Therfore which Mum and Dad will be able to buy the shares?

  9. tc 9

    Reminds me of graffiti that was around in muldoons day ‘jail, where the big criminals send the little criminals’

  10. prism 10

    In apartheid there used to be two entrances – for white and black. Our country under a NACT government is planning a construction of the country with three doors, one for the wealthy, NZ and overseas investors and profit-takers. One for the average person scrabbling to stay in a job, putting up with hours of expected, unpaid overtime, of harrassment that must be borne to keep the job, of falling safety standards or concern for the wellbeing of employees. Then a third door, at the back of the building, for people who can’t command a permanent living wage, who work for wages hardly sufficient for survival and join other non-earners who receive assistance beneath a level that allows happy participation in society. People needing help slip in through the narrow gap quietly and meekly to supplicate for assistance from pinch-mouthed welfare inquisitors who are gatekeepers and screen every detail of the lives of of people needing welfare help. It’s already like this actually, it will just be further set in concrete.

    And the self-satisfied, smug well-off, will look down their individualistic noses with superior dissatisfaction at the poor type of people in the lower class. They will feel no connection to them through society, or humanity, or compunction to understand how life has been tilted against others, to share the country’s good with all the public. So 18th-19th century. Just what most of the colonists were trying to escape when they came to NZ. Is NZ going to stay on this merry-go-round that is revealed as being a vicious circle bringing us back to the past?

    • Treetop 10.1

      Prism when I saw the title of the post and read your comment I can now see why English will need to build more prisons.

      More prisons will be required because there is going to be a lot more hardship in NZ as less people will be able to obtain a welfare benefit and sadly an option will be to steal or commit other crime just to survive.

      Watch the crime stats and I doubt there will be crime stats for those who could not obtain a welfare benefit who went on to commit crime just to survive, who assaulted due to pressure and frustration and who took up alcohol and drug use just to blot out being refused a welfare benefit. I really hope that child abuse and neglect does not increase due to parents not coping or being forced into unsuitable work or remaining in a relationship where an income is derived from the abuser.

  11. johnm 11

    The OLD BILL SHUFFLE again! + The Prime Hypnotist-God help us!

  12. randal 12

    how much did they pay deloittes for that little bitty piece of social cost benefit analysis or did it spring fully formed from the fuitcakes at the BRT and hooton got the contract to make it official policy.

  13. Maybe Nutional should get all the prisoners to do some work in the Red Zone because nobody else is doing a fucking thing!
    Have another pint Gerry and give Bob Each Way a kiss. Grab a jack hammer English you wimpish tosser.
    RIP Christchurch. Blame the DAM POLLIES!!

  14. KJT 14

    Selling a compliant, cheap and cowed working population to overseas interests. They will pay more to the sellers for workers who are suitably afraid of asking for any human rights.

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    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    3 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    3 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    4 days ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    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
    11 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
    11 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
    14 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
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  • 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
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  • Government working to keep air freight moving
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  • 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 ...
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  • 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 ...
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