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Fifty year mortgages

Written By: - Date published: 9:22 am, November 9th, 2014 - 79 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, housing - Tags: , ,

I once read a SF short story where the protagonist was wrestling with a moral dilemma. There was some expensive new toy he wanted, but he was already mortgaged for the rest of his live, and he had mortgaged his son’s life earnings too. The only way to get his toy was to mortgage any potential grandchildren for life. Which, after quelling some vestigial twitching of conscience, he duly did. Interesting story, I thought at the time, and wondered if such things would ever happen for real.

Fast forward a few decades and we seem to be well on the way. On Stuff this morning:

Interest-only mortgage ‘irresponsible’

Westpac’s new 30-year, interest-only mortgage has been decried as irresponsible and likely to fuel property investor speculation. Details of the new loan product were discreetly fed to mortgage broker channels in recent weeks. The offering is a major shake-up to the market, with the term three to six times as long as the maximum allowed by rival banks.

Once the term is up, borrowers can either repay the loan in full or switch to a standard mortgage, implying a total length of 50 years. “You can get 50-year mortgages in America which mean you pretty much have a mortgage for life, which is not responsible at all,” said Rule.

With property prices as insane as they are, I predict that this form of mortgage will grow increasingly popular in NZ. Mortgaged for life. And of course, it’s worse than that, because as usual the game is rigged:

Westpac’s chief product officer Shane Howell said owner-occupiers were eligible, but not the target market. “It’s really specifically geared towards investors . . . to give them the best opportunity to take advantage of the tax benefits,” he said.

Property investors typically use interest-only loans to maximise cashflow, as interest is fully tax-deductible while principal repayments are not.

Australian regulators are keeping a wary eye on interest-only loans, which are fuelling a property investment boom and have triggered cautions from ratings agencies. However, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand has only just started collecting information from the industry, which it will begin publishing next year.

So here we have a product designed for investors, taking advantage of a tax dodge, which will further fuel a property boom, and the only way for ordinary buyers to compete is to mortgage themselves for life. What a world.

79 comments on “Fifty year mortgages”

  1. Ad 1

    Hope you caught Minister English on National Radio this morning on why the big state house sell off is happening.

    • hoom 1.1

      I took the rare step of switching the radio off because I couldn’t stand to hear his absolute bullshit any longer or my head would have exploded.

      Seriously, does he really believe anyone is actually buying his line?

      • felix 1.1.1

        English knows that everyone sees through the bullshit.

        But he also knows that part of the population are aware it’s all bullshit and are delighted, and that the rest have no-one to speak for them.

  2. Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 2

    Literally, from the Anglo Norman, a death pledge.
    Till death is one (and one’s children and descendants) in debt.

  3. dv 3

    What struck me was that Westpac had loaned 1 Billion in the last 6 mths.
    Where did that come from?

    And that is another 60m taken out of the economy for the interest payments.

    AND national debt is now
    NZ$ 94,360,060,149

    Interest is 4.5 billion

  4. Paul 4

    Debt = slavery.
    Our masters want us to be subservient.

  5. Tracey 5

    fodder for developers who by design of this government have no personal liability for the quality of their projects, unlike builders and designers. the latter being dictated to by, the developer.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      The builders are being dictated to by the developers as well. The developers do not like having to pay the full costs.

      • Tracey 5.1.1

        by later i meant builders and designers. sorry for lack of clarity

        • dave 5.1.1.1

          the workers and small buisness take the risk for devlopers . main contractor uses credit lines of the workers its a rotten system all the risk little reward hartners, mainzeal nz contruction industry is rotten to the core

    • Rosie 5.2

      I live on a development, in my first home. Whilst not normally one for being a defender of developers (many of whom have justly earned their rep as fly by nighters and money grabbers) I’d have to say that there is a good relationship between the developer, architects and builders and associated trades, in this particular case.

      It is a weird environment, feeling like instant suburbia in a barren tree less landscape. Like that show that used to be on “This is not my life”. The trade off for a lack of character and community was getting a house that is mega insulated, well built and double glazed – our power bills are the same all year round.

      Helped that no one wanted to buy the house from the former owners as there is ONLY one bathroom in a 3 bedroom home and a single garage – I know darls, it’s completely unacceptable when you can’t fit your ginormous SUV in the garage. We got it for approximately $30K under the expected price.

      But yeah, I think the developers are laughing all the way to bank, (they’ve opened up new land ahead of schedule at a time when a lot of folks are struggling) – they’ve just been a little more clever about the way they go about their business.

      • Tracey 5.2.1

        have their been any big problems yet, that is the test of the developer…

        • Rosie 5.2.1.1

          Not any biggies as yet Tracey. They were around in the leaky homes era at a time they were building a lot of homes with monolithic cladding and didn’t have any problems. They gained a good reputation in that time.

          I haven’t seen any problems with non compliance with the council either, and I do have my stickey beak in that area.

          My greatest concern is loss of habitat for birds such as the Spur Winged Plover and Paradise ducks. While the land is poor and rocky (it’s their own family farm land they’ve turned to development) there are those bird populations that live here and seem to be declining. You’d need a proper study done to gauge it accurately though.

          It’s the neighbouring developers who have been a problem. They illegally aerially sprayed gorse which went well out out the buffer zone and sprayed our residential area, as well as waterways that contained native fish. A bunch of us took evidence to the regional council and they did give them a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket. They also build ugly big boxes on tiny sections, but theres nothing that can done about that.

          • b waghorn 5.2.1.1.1

            So your urban sprall is OK but the neighbours is bad?

            • Rosie 5.2.1.1.1.1

              It’s not urban sprall _ I wouldn’t live in a shit environment like that. How can you judge anyway? You don’t even know where it is, you’re just making assumptions.

  6. Daveinireland 6

    People are both living and working longer, isn’t it logical that the mortgage industry reflects this?

    • BassGuy 6.1

      Many of us are going to be working longer simply because we can’t afford to retire.

      It’s very difficult to save for your retirement when your gross earnings are significantly less than the net dole.

    • b waghorn 6.2

      @ irland I have children and I would like to think there will be more to there lives than working there arse s for 30-50 years just so bank share holders can increase there profits ffs WAKE UP

      • Daveinireland 6.2.1

        Then tell them not to get a 50 year mortgage. They are not compulsory.

        • b waghorn 6.2.1.1

          Gee your a genius . Right all you people out there don’t get a 50 year mortgage good problem solved , hmmm what next

          • Tracey 6.2.1.1.1

            poor people! earn more money! next problem?

            • b waghorn 6.2.1.1.1.1

              Hay you put that smoke out . (this is easy)

            • Daveinireland 6.2.1.1.1.2

              ‘poor people! earn more money! next problem?”

              Mostly, people who are poor are not exactly in control of the situation. Choosing a 50 year mortgage is something you have complete control over. You have been able to get a 30 year mortgage for a long time, why the shock at a 50 year term?

              • ghostwhowalksnz

                There is a hell of lot of former high flyers in their middle 30s who have hit the wall by the time they are middle 40s.
                Ask Deborah Hill Cone ?

              • Colonial Rawshark

                The shock is you advocating for 50 years worth of debt slavery and guaranteed income for the banksters and life insurance companies who profit from people dying. Also your ignorance in terms of ‘using loansharks is not compulsory’ but without understanding how financial institutions take advantage of those in poor financial positions.

                But for someone like you, that probably falls into the ‘who gives a shit’ category.

                • Daveinireland

                  “The shock is you advocating for 50 years worth of debt slavery”

                  Jesus wept. I’m not advocating anything. I simply do not see how the difference between a 30y and 50y mortgage is much to get exited about.

                  “and guaranteed income for the banksters and life insurance companies who profit from people dying. Also your ignorance in terms of ‘using loansharks is not compulsory’ but without understanding how financial institutions take advantage of those in poor financial positions.”

                  So it’s the financial industry as a whole you have an issue with?

              • greywarshark

                DaveinI
                I wonder what line of business you and your family are in?

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  Profiting off misery.

                • Daveinireland

                  “DaveinI
                  I wonder what line of business you and your family are in?”

                  I’m a construction manager for industrial plants.

                  • greywarshark

                    @ Dave in Ireland
                    You may be one of an insulated-from-the-real-world types. Is this you? Always with a faraway look in your eyes as you remember all the things you have to do for your work which is ongoing and busy into the near future. You have a good life style and work hard and possibly play hard. And you adopt a pattern of thinking that disses others who aren’t managing to get on. Some want to reveal the real problems facing us all and the horrid reality, which is an inconvenient and unpleasant habit.

                    Yours is not a way of life that you will be able to maintain. What people are talking about are the parts of the iceberg that we know are there but that people like you prefer to ignore. If all you care about is yourself and your nearest connections plus a few others here and there then you are too self-centred to understand the world and what we as a people are doing to it and to each other.

                    Do you know the difference between cyclical and structural? Cyclical describes the tendency for statistics of business etc to go up and down in a circular way perhaps responding to seasons, but structural is when change is fixed and continuing. That is what we are thinking of, which makes ‘smart’, short and sweet advice or putdowns completely irrelevant. It’s a waste of your precious time coming here with dopey comments.

                    • Daveinireland

                      Errr, what does all that have to do with 50 years mortgages?

                    • greywarshark

                      dave in Ireland
                      Your view on anything is conditioned by what you are. That’s why you can’t understand the disadvantage to people of 50 year mortgages and the implications such as taking larger sums from people over their lifetime, paying off interest. It’s a waste of time discussing this with someone who will remain wilfully ignorant of the concerns and reasons for them.

                    • Daveinireland

                      Really? I can’t understand the disadvantages of a 50 year mortgage? Your average 8 year can see the disadvantage. That doesn’t mean there isn’t potentially a place for them. The reality is very few, if any people would hold a 50 year mortgage to term. It’s an alternative to the low start mortgages that have been around for years, and also a better option than interest only.

                      If you really want to change the mortgage market to cut the amount of interest paid to banks you should ban table mortgages in total and make everyone take out a reducing mortgage.

              • Tracey

                a thirty year interest only mortgage, really? i tried recently to get a two year interest free and was declined.

        • Tracey 6.2.1.2

          do you know the details of brokers commission for this new product?

  7. b waghorn 7

    “Its really geared towards investors” it strikes me as west pac are lining up to become giant landlords with a lot of freelance brokers hoping on a capital gains payday after 30 years.

    • dv 7.1

      ‘capital gains payday after 30 years.’

      And then they create more money and ‘loan’ that out for another 30 yrs.

      • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1

        +111

      • Colonial Rawshark 7.1.2

        People who think that the current global asset price bubble is going to last another 3 years, let alone 30, are in a dream world. Our global civilisation peaked years ago and the downhill slide is steepening. Those in the global top 0.1% ruling elite will be amongst the last to notice it as they are the most insulated from its negative effects, but it’s well underway. Many in the top 10% (i.e. the western middle class and working class) are already well aware of it.

        • Jones 7.1.2.1

          The numbers are all there… it depends now on how good the propaganda is. They can spin this out as long as the people remain wilfully oblivious to it. Could be next year… could another 5 years… even if they are aware of it, I imagine many have too much of themselves invested in a way of life to be able to proactively make any change.

        • Draco T Bastard 7.1.2.2

          Why do you think the 1% have had governments selling off state assets? When the global economy collapses the rich want to be able to control people and preventing them from accessing the necessary resources to maintain life is a means of control.

        • Tracey 7.1.2.3

          bailing out banks and financial institutions masked the problem. most of the bailed out banks are back in profit. fanny mae are back with a new version of the sub prime mortgage, this time using motor cars.

          the bailout meant no consequences, so no learning.

  8. RedLogix 8

    Been away for a really nice weekend. Long overdue.

    Just got back. Read this. Utterly disgusted.

    Any term over 20 years for a table mortgage is usury. Should be flat-out illegal.

    • Colonial Rawshark 8.1

      Yep. Anything much over a 15 year term and the interest servicing costs become exponentially burdensome.

      • RedLogix 8.1.1

        You’re dead right – 13-15 years is the optimum term. Most people need to spend some quality time with a good mortgage calculator trying out the effect of various terms and rates.

        I’m quite serious about the 20 year term limit. It would have the very salubrious effect of also effectively putting an upper limit on the rates the banks could charge.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      I’m thinking mortgages should have two limits set on them:

      1. Must not be more than 15 years and
      2. Must not take up more than 30% of household income over the term

  9. Jones 9

    Right on cue… just in time for the great state housing asset sale. Westpac’s getting ready for its slice… watch the other banks follow.

    • Colonial Rawshark 9.1

      Things can always be taken away from corporations which exceed their social operating licence. Hence why they are desperate for us to sign the TPPA.

      • Jones 9.1.1

        It’s going get rapidly less subtle in the months ahead… there’s a smash and grab going on. The TPPA is an insurance policy and the commons will be underwriting it.

  10. Ovid 10

    Are our memories of 2007-08 really that sketchy? Remember when Key wanted us to become another Ireland? He may just get his wish

  11. Richard29 11

    This is totally not targetted at buyers, its for investors. The fully geared interest only loan on a large property allows annual losses that write off any income tax paid. Over time the real value of the loan relative to the property value declines through capital gain which is all tax free when realised.
    There is nothing new to see here, this has been a middle class hobby for years. Bad press for Westpac though, the other banks make a pretence of not funding the property bubble with interest only loans by setting arbitrary 5 year limits, but they are happy to roll the terms over for another 5 years as many times as you like…

    • RedLogixFormes 11.1

      Your right – it’s not targeted at owners – but the effect on the market is just the same. The bank does not care whether its a tenant or an owner paying the mortgage – it’s just a way for them to pump more money into the market thereby inflating their profits.

      Governments are not allowed to do anything about it.

      • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1

        +1

        The governments of the world have been doing what they’re told by the rich about money creation and banking for the last two centuries or so. It’s time that government stopped doing that and started doing what’s needed – creating all money and spending it into the economy in such a way so as to support high living standards for all. We cannot leave it to the rich any more as what they do destroys the economy and our society with it.

  12. Most commenters seem to have missed the point. Only existing property owners are eligible for this type of mortgage – it’s not offered as debt slavery for people too poor to buy a house in NZ’s insane property market, it’s yet another scheme for property investors to dodge taxes.

    The tax system offering opportunities like this is the main reason NZers are such enthusiastic property investors. If you already own a house, the bank will cheerfully offer you a no-deposit loan for a new house. Tenants pay the morgage, insurance, rates and maintenance, so you pay only the fees involved in buying the place. If you can arrange things so you don’t pay tax on your investment, all the better – the capital gain you get at the end of it isn’t taxed either. Westpac is apparently keen to assist with arranging things so you don’t pay tax on your investment, but you can hardly blame them for that – blame the people who decide the tax system.

    • John Shears 12.1

      The fact that there is a tax incentive on a 2nd house but none on the family dwelling is the unfair advantage that allows those that choose for what ever reason the chance to start a property portfolio.

      The family home should also be allowed to claim tax rebates on interest and maintenance or nobody should be able to.

      We no longer are involved in real estate as we now live in a retirement village and have therefore released a housing unit onto the market. We were able to do that because our first house was bought with a no interest 5 year loan and a bank overdraft , banks didn’t do mortgages in those days.the late 1950’s.

      At the end of the 5 years we shifted to Auckland from Wellington having upgraded the first house which was cheap and run down and were able to buy a refurbished State House in Mt Eden amongst privately built ones.

      We never had any tax gains from the costs of our various houses or the costs of the materials we used to upgrade them but without the equity that we had in our last house we would not have been able to choose to move into our current apartment.

    • RedLogixFormes 12.2

      it’s not offered as debt slavery for people too poor to buy a house in NZ’s insane property market

      As I pointed out above though – the effect on the market is to ensure that instead of being debt slaves directly to the bank, they will remain rent slaves indirectly via their landlord.

      Another way of looking at this – go work out the total interest paid under this scheme. That’s all cash out from ordinary people into the pockets of the bank shareholders.

      • Psycho Milt 12.2.1

        Meh – it’d be a pretty odd bank that wasn’t out to make a profit. The question is why successive governments provide an environment for this to flourish in. The answer being that, for the most part they’re property investors themselves, and so are a lot of their voters. If paying interest-only for 30 years for an investment property represented the serious waste of the purchaser’s money that it would for a house you were planning to live in, no-one would be queuing up to throw their tenants’ money at Westpac’s shareholders – why it doesn’t represent a serious waste of the purchaser’s money is a matter for the government, not the banks.

        • RedLogixFormes 12.2.1.1

          Meh – it’d be a pretty odd bank that wasn’t out to make a profit.

          Profit sure – but exploiting monopoly position in market to become by far the most lucrative businesses in town may well be a different thing.

          I just did a quick and dirty calc – assuming a real interest rate of 4% the total interest payments for one of these loan would be in the order of 500% of the principle.

          In what world is that not a ‘serious waste of money’?

          • Psycho Milt 12.2.1.1.1

            In objective terms, it’s a horrendous waste of money. But what counts is whether it’s a waste of the purchaser’s money, because the purchaser chooses the mortgage. And it isn’t a waste of the purchaser’s money – in a world in which interest payments are tax-deductible and principal payments aren’t, some investment purchasers are going to say “Fuck it, I’ll just pay the interest then.” Altering that world is a job for the government, not the banks.

            • RedLogixFormes 12.2.1.1.1.1

              Well yes we agree at that point but;

              Altering that world is a job for the government, not the banks.

              What government could? The banks have decisively demonstrated they are bigger than governments. Sure the central banks tinker around with things on the margins a bit – but not in my lifetime have I seen anything seriously change.

              Note how very anxious the establishment gets about the possibility of wage inflation and how effectively they act against it – but apart from some token bleating nothing ever gets done against asset price inflation.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.3

      Didn’t miss the point at all – it’s about helping the rich to avoid paying taxes.

  13. vto 13

    Good way for the banking sector to grab another slice of the economy…

    and for what?

    they don’t produce anything.

  14. dave 14

    there grabbing all the assets they can before the crash while they still can all that printed money has to find a home and we workers are not invited to the party.

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    3 days ago
  • Hard News: Michael Baker and the Big House
    One of the key voices in this extraordinary time in which we live is that of University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker. Philip Matthews did an an excellent job this weekend of capturing the way he became the man for this moment in a profile for The Press.But one ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand Gives up on Trying to Save Daylight
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the nation today about the decline in daylight New Zealand has been experiencing over the previous few months. She said “As many of you will notice, our attempts to stem the dwindling of the daylight over the last few months have been completely ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    4 days ago
  • A bulletin from Greece
    Redline received this article from the KOE a Marxist party in Greece Our friends in the KOE describe here the mounting crisis in Greece and tensions on the Turkish border. As desperate people flee from their homelands which have been ruined after decades of imperialist wars and interventions the people ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
    As the first week of Level Four lockdown unfolded, mounting questions grew as to just what was (and was not) allowed under its “rules”. Partly these were driven by some apparently contradictory messages from different authority figures and explanations carried in the media. Partly they reflected a somewhat sketchy legal basis ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

    Prospect Magazine alerted me to this particularly apt quote. It is a much more evocative quote than Hemingway’s “gradually then suddenly” which is also doing ...

    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    6 days ago
  • Maybe axing Clark would be unfair. But what about any of this is fair?
    Yesterday was the day the consequences of the lockdown suddenly got very real for many. Firms have been closing and laying people off since the outset of the quarantine but this has mostly been happening out of the public eye. The mass closure of a number of iconic New Zealand ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    6 days ago
  • Might a ‘Coasean’ social contract mitigate overall societal harm from COVID-19?
    Brian Williamson1, Prof Nick Wilson2 (1Economic consultant, UK; 2University of Otago Wellington) In this blog, we outline how a win-win social contract could be forged to address the major dimensions of response to the COVID-19 pandemic when using a mitigation strategy: the particular need to protect older people from high ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
    Resuming Normal Service: The Republican Party's nominee for in 1920, Warren Harding, promised the American people: “not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration”. If she wishes to remain our prime minister, then Jacinda Ardern will offer New Zealanders the same.HOW EDUCATED AMERICA snickered when the ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
    No Free Society Without A Free And Functioning News Media: If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating Covid-19, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders simply because it improves their bottom line.I’M ...
    6 days ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Lockdown day 8
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    6 days ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    6 days ago
  • 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
    6 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? ...
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    7 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
    7 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    1 week ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago

  • Communities step up to help New Zealanders stay connected and fed during lockdown
    Communities stepping up to help New Zealanders stay at home to break the transmission of COVID-19 and save lives have received Government support, said Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. “Delivering groceries for the elderly who can’t shop online, providing data packs for low income families to keep them connected, and being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • 120 COVID-19 testing centres now operating
    Across New Zealand 120 sites are taking samples to be tested for COVID-19.   68 community based assessment centres (CBACs) have been established to take samples from people with COVID-19 symptoms. Alongside this, 52 other centres including designated general practices, swabbing centres, and mobile clinics are now testing people for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Covid19: Government moving quickly to roll out learning from home
    The Ministry of Education is working with partners to develop a package of options so that students can learn at home when Term 2 begins on 15 April, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Supports are also being prepared for households with children under five, to help parents and whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Making learning from home accessible to Māori learners and whānau
    Māori Television to begin educational te reo programmes Ki te Ao Mārama – a new online learning space Thousands of hard copy learning packs ready for distribution Helpdesk and advice service for kōhanga, kura and wharekura Television, the internet and hard copy learning packs are some of the ways whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • New Zealand to provide assistance to Vanuatu following Tropical Cyclone Harold
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced an initial package of support to help the people and the Government of Vanuatu respond to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Harold. “Our Pacific neighbours have been hit by a Category 5 Cyclone at the same time as dealing with the economic impacts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Planning for the future of tourism
    Tourism New Zealand to lead work reimagining the way tourism operates in post-COVID-19 world. Ministers to review International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy investment plan. The Government, industry and business are working together to develop a plan for how tourism will operate in a post-COVID-19 world, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • NZ horticulture sector feeding Kiwis and the world during COVID-19
    More New Zealanders are taking up the chance to work in horticulture as the sector keeps New Zealanders fed and in jobs during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown. “Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Work to repurpose PGF funds begins
    The Provincial Development Unit is working through applications and projects to see where Provincial Growth Fund money can be repurposed for initiatives deemed more critical to fighting the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “We need to be throwing everything we have at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • A million workers supported by Govt wage subsidy
    The Government’s wage subsidy to protect jobs and keep workers and businesses connected during the lockdown has now supported over a million New Zealanders, with $6.6 billion already paid out. “We’re supporting businesses to pay wages, and stay connected with their workers so that we are all in a better ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government helps Pacific communities fight COVID
    The Government is stepping up efforts to help protect New Zealand’s Pacific communities in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet has agreed that $17 million will be allocated to support a COVID-19 Pacific Response Package, which will: Support Pacific health and disability services facing increased demand; Ramp up public health messaging ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark
    “Yesterday evening the Health Minister advised me of his trip to a beach during the lockdown and offered his resignation,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses.  “But right now, my priority is our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Statement from David Clark
    Last night as part of my preparation for the Epidemic Response Committee, I provided the Prime Minister with a complete picture of my activity outside my home during Alert Level 4.  That included the fact that on the first weekend of the Alert Level 4 lockdown I drove my family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 mental health support begins
    A range of support is being rolled out across New Zealand to help people look after their mental health during COVID-19 Health Minister David Clark said this morning. “COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives and many of us will be feeling some level of distress or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    1 week 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 week ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago