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European Union v Apple and the US

Written By: - Date published: 8:02 am, September 1st, 2016 - 49 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, Europe, Financial markets, Globalisation, tax, us politics - Tags: , ,

The EU and the EC just sent a major pro-unity signal to the world.

One of the reasons countries group together is so they can ward off predatory multinational corporations, as Ireland is finding out.

Yesterday the European Commission released the results of its investigation into Apple’s tax liability in Ireland, and said that Apple must pay US$14.6 billion for skirting taxes. The EC determined that such a low tax rate was illegal because it created an illegal trade incentive.

There’s quite a lot you can do to help people in the EU with US$14.6billion. So that’s quite a lot the people had kept from them by Apple and the Irish government.

The decision will send shockwaves through the boardrooms of companies like Amazon and McDonalds that have extensive operations in Europe. Both are now being investigated for tax liability.

Both Apple and the Irish government intend to appeal the decision.

And now, apparently unrelated, the German Vice Chancellor has stated that a free trade deal between the European Union and the United States is pretty much dead.

The negotiations with the U.S. have de facto failed because we as Europeans naturally cannot submit to American demands.”

He added that in 14 rounds of talks, negotiators had not reached agreement on a single one of the 27 areas in the deal.

It’s not as if Germany isn’t committed to free trade, and he cited the free trade agreement with Canada, CETA, which is already largely negotiated and has similar provisions to those in the TTIP.

Even when the EU was more confident of settling the TTIP in July this year, they completely rejected the Investor State Dispute Settlement framework. Gianni Pittelli, the EU leader of the S&D group in the European Parliament, said in July:

ISDS is dead. It must be replaced by a new public and transparent system of investment protection, in which private interests cannot undermine public policy and which is subject to public law.”

That means actual judges.

I am sure Apple and the U.S. are remembering such statements now. A unified Europe is a fearless Europe, and they will never give up on the rule of law no matter how big you think you are. We can just imagine how this tax ruling would have gone if the EU had signed up to the TTIP and instead of being held to investigators driven by public policy, they could jack up their own hand-picked tribunal members and get away with it.

The two moves together – against Apple and against the U.S. – are no coincidence. This is a signal from remaining Europe that they still have the strength to muscle up and take anyone in the world on. The biggest country, the biggest taxpaying corporation. It’s also a major internal disciplinary signal to Ireland and others that they will be held to account if they undercut other members: tax will be enforced as the primary redistributive force, and such discipline will reinforce the strength of public policy itself to be done and be seen to be done. Ireland knew the rules, broke them, and was found out.

We could still see Obama force through our own TTP during his “lame duck” session. But at least in Europe, the case for rule-of-law internationalism, not unfettered corporate internationalism, has been put out there in neon to countries and corporations alike. Our own government stands exposed, while the EU stands up to them.

For those like Britain who want to break that unity, the signal is that they will no longer have the backing of the collective to stand up to the great political and corporate powers of the world. For those who stay inside the EU, follow the rules and you will be protected from biggest and toughest players on the planet. For the US and others, the word to them is clear: Union.

49 comments on “European Union v Apple and the US”

  1. Nck 1

    ShonKey doesn’t mind selling NZ (breaking up bits and selling them off corporate raider style) , because it’s just a commission based transaction to him….. That’s been his whole life and (non) substance. Like the Irish Govt.

    • AmaKiwi 1.1

      @ Nck

      True BUT . . . I think for Key & Co. it is a visceral hatred of anything controlled by bureaucrats.

      As Reagan said, “Government is not the solution. Government is the problem.” Therefore Key & Co.’s life’s work is to abolish all government oversight and privatize all government operations. The world is reaping the social destruction caused by their simplistic stupidity.

  2. Infused 2

    “For those like Britain who want to break that unity, the signal is that they will no longer have the backing of the collective to stand up to the great political and corporate powers of the world. For those who stay inside the EU, follow the rules and you will be protected from biggest and toughest players on the planet. For the US and others, the word to them is clear: Union.”

    Why would they want it? The EU telling Ireland what to do? This is exactly why Brexit was needed.

    • Infused 2.1

      No edit anymore?

      Also, you’re kidding yourself if you think those billions would go to the people of the EU.

      • lprent 2.1.1

        Edit should be there (there is a new one). Testing

        Edited: Yep. I see “Click to edit” on firefox (and chrome).

        Try a shift or ctrl F5 to force a cache refresh. But I should already have forced the caches to update.

        Otherwise what browser/OS are you using?

      • George Hendry 2.1.2

        ‘Also, you’re kidding yourself if you think those billions would go to the people of the EU.’

        Quite right – the people of the EU could well be disappointed.

        Here’s an idea. Simply leave the billions with Apple, the benevolent entity already known for having kept them from the people of the EU (and NZ, etc, etc )…

        • Ad 2.1.2.1

          Ahhhh, what to do for people with real taxation from Apple, Amazon, McDonald’s, Starbucks …

          Such a lovely question.

        • dukeofurl 2.1.2.2

          The EU does see a way for the member states to have a share of the Apple pie that Ireland is supposed to collect’

          “The amount of unpaid taxes to be recovered by the Irish authorities would be reduced if other countries were to require Apple to pay more taxes on the profits recorded by Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe for this period. This could be the case if they consider, in view of the information revealed through the Commission’s investigation, that Apple’s commercial risks, sales and other activities should have been recorded in their jurisdictions

          http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-2923_en.htm
          The bigger economies would see many billions of tax that should come their way and feel they are more deserving than ungrateful Ireland

    • Ad 2.2

      If Ireland lose the appeal, there will be a debate about splitting from the EU.

      Winner from split: every single multinational corporation you can name.

      • dukeofurl 2.2.1

        Its the reverse, the EU free market was the reason they set up in Ireland to start with.
        Take that away and you cant as easily allocate sales and profits to a business outside EU

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    This is quite the incorrect conclusion. The EU is not the saviour of anything.

    The people of Germany and France have told their national governments to fuck off with the TTIP.

    Hence German economic Minister and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has said that TTIP talks have effectively collapsed and French Minister of State for Foreign Trade Matthias Fekl has said that TTIP talks must be abandoned and new discussions on a new agreement started in the future.

    if you left it to the unelected Eurocrats in Brussels, TTIP would still be allowed to limp along for another dozen rounds of useless talks as the unaccountable bureaucracy keeps pushing ahead with their globalisation agenda.

    • Ad 3.1

      Indeed the two could be entirely coincidence. (I dont think so).

      The collective effects are the same irrespective.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        And even so, France and Germany have always been the powerhouses of the EU (and Euro Zone) they have the most say over its affairs and positions.

        The UK’s relative lack of leverage is a big reason that the Brits have always kept a skeptical eye on the EU (and Euro Zone).

        Britain doesn’t need the EU to give it the backbone to stand up to City of London and Corporate interests.

        It needs a decade of Labour rule which isn’t by Blairite Right Wingers.

        • Ad 3.1.1.1

          So Brexit needs to happen (many years away)….
          then Labour needs to win an election (a further 2 + terms away) … but only if there’s a comprehensive clean out of its MPS (best of luck there) …
          then maybe they’ll stand up to multinational corporates ….
          …..a decade or three gone, if ever ……

          Or the EC could keep doing what it’s doing right now. Holding the Plutocracy to task.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1.1

            Or the EC could keep doing what it’s doing right now. Holding the Plutocracy to task.

            While keeping the policies that keep the plutocracy in power.

            • Ad 3.1.1.1.1.1

              And wait for the overthrow of everything so everything sparkle shiny.

              If you want, set out an alternative to the EU and EC that successfully takes on Apple and the US. Meantime, The EU and EC aren’t waiting for the Great Leap Forward.

          • Cemetery Jones 3.1.1.1.2

            “Or the EC could keep doing what it’s doing right now. Holding the Plutocracy to task.”

            Good lord.

        • Adrian 3.1.1.2

          CV Exactly right, unfortunately the Tories are positioning themselves to keep Labour from gaining power with the aid of their dodgy electoral boundaries.
          Although that being said, you can’t help wondering whether many third way labour members wouldn’t more comfortable with a Tory victory, than a real socialist left in power, in certainly seems closer to the dark heart of their core politics.

    • spikeyboy 3.2

      The Eu may not be the saviour of anything but they will crtainly have rattled the cage of the empire. Empire doesn’t give a rats arse about whether or not americans benefit from apple tax dodges but empire does care that its tentacles are potentially being clipped. Europe will now have to pay for this trepidation. Expect the empire to increase agitation in France or some other target that they can chip out of the union. Divide and rule is the old axiom. Disruption, physical violence, fear should do the trick. The empire could only tolerate a united europ for so long anyway…

  4. dukeofurl 4

    The nux of the tax evasion by Apple had them move virtually all their IP to Ireland because of its low company tax rates ( 12.5%), but Apple wasnt happy with that in it came up with a side deal with Ireland so that most of that income wasnt taxed at all.

    • Macro 4.1

      But they they paid tax at 0.005% in the dollar. I mean how ruinous is that!
      What get’s me is that they even found a 12.5% rate too hard to pay. 🙄
      As for the US I can’t understand what they are worried about – it’s not as if Apple pays them their fair share of taxes either! Last year Apple had shipped around $200 Billion off shore to the Cayman Islands to avoid paying taxes in the US.
      I use Apple products
      I’m thinking of changing.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1

        I use Apple products
        I’m thinking of changing.

        I avoid Apple products like the plague. One of the reasons for that is their attempts to avoid sticking to standards that anyone can use. The other is that they rip off societies.

        • ianmac 4.1.1.1

          I use Apple too but I wonder if the others also abuse the taxes?

          • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1.1

            They probably do. In fact, we know that they do. We, ATM, don’t have the choice of using a corporation that doesn’t abuse the tax system.

        • Anno1701 4.1.1.2

          havent used an apple product for 20+ years,

          not into exploitation of labour thanks..

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    For those like Britain who want to break that unity, the signal is that they will no longer have the backing of the collective to stand up to the great political and corporate powers of the world.

    Independent nations have that power anyway. It’s the FTAs that are undermining it.

    Get rid of the FTAs, put in place standards that other nations and corporations need to meet to be able to trade with a country and they then maintain that power that you think that they don’t have.

    How well would Apple do if they couldn’t sell their products anywhere because they didn’t meet those standards?

    • Ad 5.1

      Love to see NZ stand up to China without its FTA in place.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1

        Quite easy really – just stop trading with them. It’s the FTA that prevents us from doing that.

        • Ad 5.1.1.1

          Or massive import and export demand.
          They are by a long way our biggest customer and importer.
          Also one of our largest investors.

          So no, not simple.

          And no, we would never have the diplomatic or economic strength to do it.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.1

            Or massive import and export demand.
            They are by a long way our biggest customer and importer.
            Also one of our largest investors.

            None of which we need.

            And no, we would never have the diplomatic or economic strength to do it.

            But we do because we have the resources to support ourselves.

  6. Pat 6

    The solution is for countries to enforce realistic accounting procedures in their own jurisdictions…..then sweetheart deals in Ireland (or wherever) will be of no use to the transnationals. Apparently Australia has recently moved in this direction, we however continue to sit on our hands in the hope we will somehow benefit by turning a blind eye.

  7. Bill 7

    Not quite sure I follow the logic here.

    Ireland, as a part of the EU and EZ dropped its tax rate and was lauded at the time as being a ‘tiger’ economy or some such. Then came the GFC.

    Now it , not other European countries, stands to gain $US 14.6 billion in back taxes (plus penalties). Well, except the size of the payment will decided by the Irish treasury or whatever and not Brussels. And, of course, Apple and others acting in solidarity with Apple will threaten to withdraw any of their operations and HQs from Ireland if the cost is considered onerous. ( Apparently 10% of Ireland’s workforce is employed by multi-national corporations – several thousand employed by Apple)

    So, no shockwaves in boardrooms and no financial gain for any people in the EU bar (and only perhaps) the Irish.

    What I’m not seeing is how dropping the already low tax rate from 12% tax rate even lower equates to any breaking of rules, except….it was a lower rate for Apple than for other multi-national companies operating within Ireland.

    And that’s the kicker. Ireland can decide that all multi-national companies pay 1% tax or whatever and there will be no issue. The ruling is very much a free trade ruling and nothing to do with any concern about Irish (or other EU) citizens being ripped off.

    • Ad 7.1

      There’s more detailed commentary on the breakdown of the wrongdoing by Gordon Campbell on http://www.scoop.co.nz today.

      Also, it’s a precedent for all EU countries; Ireland is the example.

    • dukeofurl 7.2

      The US Congress did an investigation into Apples practices in Ireland and The EU has followed it up.

      Essentially on a small portion of the profit booked in Ireland was subject to the 12% tax rate, as Apple and the Irish government agreed in advance what that would be and they allowed Apple to use ‘stateless subsidaries’ for the bulk of its profits were the tax was much much lower
      It seems that the EU has decided Ireland has done this so it can creat jobs in Ireland, thats where it becomes ‘illegal state aid’

      Apple’s stateless subsidiaries lower tax bills- Senate report [this was back in 2013]
      “Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations identified three subsidiaries that have no “tax residency” in Ireland, where they are incorporated, or in the United States, where company executives manage those companies.
      The main subsidiary, a holding company that includes Apple’s retail stores throughout Europe, has not paid any corporate income tax in the last five years.
      The subsidiary, which has a Cork, Ireland, mailing address, received $29.9 billion in dividends from lower-tiered offshore Apple affiliates from 2009 to 2012, comprising 30 percent of Apple’s total worldwide net profits, the report said.”
      http://www.reuters.com/article/usa-tax-apple-idUSL2N0E117320130520

      “Atop Apple’s offshore network is a subsidiary named Apple Operations International, which is incorporated in Ireland — where Apple had negotiated a special corporate tax rate of 2 percent or less in recent years — but keeps its bank accounts and records in the United States and holds board meetings in California.

      Because the United States bases residency on where companies are incorporated, while Ireland focuses on where they are managed and controlled, Apple Operations International was able to fall neatly between the cracks of the two countries’ jurisdictions.

      Apple Operations International has not filed a tax return in Ireland, the United States or any other country over the last five years.
      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/21/business/apple-avoided-billions-in-taxes-congressional-panel-says.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

      • Bill 7.2.1

        It seems that the EU has decided Ireland has done this (sweetheart deal) so it can create jobs in Ireland, thats where it becomes ‘illegal state aid’.

        Yup. And “illegal state aid” is a free trade concept. Whereas the post seemed to suggest there was some fig of concern for ordinary people in the EU.

        That same “illegal state aid” applies to a government running railways, ferries etc. They must put those services out to tender under European rules.

        I’m pretty damned sure that if every company operating in Ireland was offered the same deal as Apple, then there’d be no case taken and none to answer.

        • dukeofurl 7.2.1.1

          The EU is unique in that to belong you agree both free movement of goods and services and a certain level playing field on their companies.

          The members are allowed to set their own tax rates and even provide ‘state aid’ under their rules to some extent. UK paid for a new factory in Northern Ireland for the Canadian company Bombardier to build wings for a new airliner, and Airbus has had many freebies over the years from France Germany , Britain.

          Irelands deal, and I think this happened to some extent with Luxembourg, was to offer a zero deal on taxes for what was just a paper company run by Apple.

          the ins and outs of the deal with Ireland are not all that clear to outsiders but EUs competition watchdog has a lot of teeth and has wisely used them on the biggest tax cheat in the world.

  8. NZJester 8

    The US should be going after Apple themselves.
    The way the Apple tax scam has been working is well known.
    All the goods made in China are sold to their Irish subsidiary at cost price.
    All their other subsidiaries and Apples main company then buy their products from the Irish subsidiary at a heavily marked up price. They then add on a very small markup and sell it in their stores. On paper the tax payable on the profits made on those goods in the country of sale is very small as the bulk of the profit is shown to have been made in Ireland. In reality none of the goods go anywhere near Ireland but are shipped as direct as possible from the Chinese factories to the final county of sale. Apple is cheating a lot of countries out of tax using this big legal loophole in international tax law. They do this as Ireland offers them a sweet tax deal. Ireland is basically stealing tax money from other countries by offering them that lower tax deal.

  9. save nz 10

    “The commission found Apple’s effective rate of corporation tax at one subsidiary in Ireland was just 0.005% of its profits in 2014 – equal to a tax bill of just €50 on each €1m of profit.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/sep/01/apple-tax-ruling-fundamentally-unfair-former-ec-competition-chief

    You have to wonder how there can be a ‘level playing’ field for companies if some like Apple only pay .005% of profits and local companies are paying 35% (or more) of profits.

    And they will litigate it and litigate it, and then already the ‘experts’ are saying nothing to see here, move on.

    How is that difference in tax rates competitive and encouraging competition?

    • dukeofurl 10.1

      In a sense there were two tax rates for Apple in Ireland. 12.5% for a small portion allocated to Irish revenue and zero for the rest from other EU countries.
      The Irish are denying it because they allowed Apple to have a subsidiary that was stateless.
      This was agreed between the two parties, but of course Apple had all the say.

      There is echos in this arrangement between Apple and Ireland and the situation with NZ and ‘our’ foreign trusts. because we dont look into it, these trusts are essentially stateless too. But we dont get 5000 Apple employees for our trouble.

  10. save nz 11

    And finally an article from

    Robert Reich: Don’t criticize Europeans for standing up to Apple — thank them
    Rather than another tax amnesty, we need a crackdown on corporate tax avoidance like Europe did for Apple

    http://www.salon.com/2016/09/01/robert-reich-do-not-criticize-europeons-for-standing-up-to-apple-thank-them_partner/

    Ok then, so the US government is now seriously thinking about giving another tax amnesty in the US, so they the biggest tax avoiders can legally pay, less than 6% tax – against Moms and Dad companies and employees who pay 35%.

    Does that sound fair and a level playing field, or rewarding and encouraging companies for tax avoidance?

  11. dukeofurl 12

    This is the EU press release on their decision

    “Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Member States cannot give tax benefits to selected companies – this is illegal under EU state aid rules. The Commission’s investigation concluded that Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple, which enabled it to pay substantially less tax than other businesses over many years. In fact, this selective treatment allowed Apple to pay an effective corporate tax rate of 1 per cent on its European profits in 2003 down to 0.005 per cent in 2014.”
    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-2923_en.htm
    cant see Ireland offering 0.005% tax rate for all companies.

    The release gives a good summary of what Apple does worldwide. It notes that Ireland did give two special tax rulings in 1991 and then replaced in 2007.
    It seems they new the game was up as they ended the ruling in 2015

    But this was the Crux of the scam
    ” This “head office” was not based in any country and did not have any employees or own premises. Its activities consisted solely of occasional board meetings. Only a fraction of the profits of Apple Sales International were allocated to its Irish branch and subject to tax in Ireland. ”

    There is pressure from the larger economys for the EU to shut down its small countries which operate as tax havens
    “EU: Shut Tax Havens With Minimum Rate
    The European Union is considering imposing a minimum tax rate on companies across the 28-nation bloc, Handelsblatt has learned. Germany and France are for the plan, but small countries with low rates like Ireland and Luxembourg are not happy.”

    global.handelsblatt.com/edition/183/ressort/finance/article/a-tax-collision-course

  12. dukeofurl 13

    Its interesting that US vested interest have tried to spin this as anti-US companies deal

    However the previous biggest demand to repay ‘illegal state aid’ was the French energy giant ( and state owned to boot) EDF which had to cough up €1.37 bill.

    That was over ‘tax deals’ as well
    http://www.euractiv.com/section/competition/news/brussels-orders-edf-to-return-1-37-billion-in-state-aid/

    The french hardly blinked and didnt appeal

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  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    4 days ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    4 days ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    4 days ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    4 days ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    4 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    5 days ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing or ...
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    5 days ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    5 days ago
  • A Government System That Works
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    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    5 days ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
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    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    5 days ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
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    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    6 days ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
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    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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 ...
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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 ...
    7 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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, ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week 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
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    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    2 weeks ago

  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
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  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
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