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Four wheels good, two wheels bad

Written By: - Date published: 10:08 am, March 20th, 2009 - 34 comments
Categories: climate change, economy, Environment, honeymoon, Media, national/act government, spin, transport - Tags:

The Government is taking nearly half a billion dollars out of public transport, cycling, walking, road maintance, and traffic policing to pay for more state highways. Transport Minister Steven Joyce’s reasoning for this – ‘86% of people go to work by car’.

Doesn’t he get that people have to go by car because there aren’t other options? In the age of climate change and peak oil the government needs to be giving people alternatives to driving. Instead they’re cementing the car culture, which will just make future oil shocks more damaging and hurt our environment.

Meanwhile, did you notice Guyon here on Tuesday saying “The government got the headline it wanted this morning…but when you look deeper into the numbers half of it comes from raiding other aspects of the transport budget”? Why did it take the journalists a day, you might ask. It should have been obvious immediately that the ‘reallocation from non-state highway streams’ that Joyce talked about meant money out of public transport. Why didn’t the journalists get that straight away and ask Joyce about it at the press conference on Monday instead of giving him the headlines he was looking for?

The dark, dirty truth is that they did ask him and he told them. Listen to the press conference here. You can hear Guyon ask if the money is coming out of public transport and Joyce acknowledges it is. Yet no-one mentioned it in the reports that followed. Journalists played the story like they had intially been tricked but had caught the government out after further investigation.  Not true. There was no digging here. No heroic investigative journalism. The journalists knew the full story from the start but, for whatever reason, chose not to tell us.

34 comments on “Four wheels good, two wheels bad”

  1. Stephen Whittington 1

    Sorry, when did we move into the age of peak oil?

  2. randal 2

    the short answer to the question seems to be that the current crop of journo’s is captured already
    they are not really journalists at all
    that might seem a little harsh but the group of people representing the fifth estate have folded completely under the lure of jobs on teevee and possibe public relations positions
    the answer of course is to erect alternative systems of communications
    there is no tablet carved in stone to say that the corporate ownership of the press is the only possible device for the dissemination of news and opinion
    they have become sclerotic and the ownership is divorced from management
    it really is time for a revolution in telling it like it is instead of getting bogged down in pointless beltway arguments and the endless progression of paid dweebs who will bury anything with inantion

  3. Joshua 3

    Yes this government does seem intent on embarking upon a recklessly myopic transportation agenda. 86% of people use cars to get to work because often they have little alternative – surely that should be a sign that we need to invest more in other transportation forms so that we have a more balanced system, rather than as justification to put our eggs even more in one basket?

    There are movements to increase awareness of public transport. The Campaign for Better Transport has made some notable gains in the past few years, in campaigns to re-open the Onehunga Railway Branch and get trains to Helensville. Clearly more can be done, but it’s a good idea to check out their website (bettertransport.org).

    Similarly, I update a blog that advocates for public transport improvements and a more balanced transportation policy (click on my name for the link).

    Clearly the best argument for public transport advocates is that we need a better balanced and more robust transport network for an uncertain future. Why is the government putting all its eggs in the roads basket when most agree that peak oil is inevitable (if indeed it hasn’t already happened)?

    Oh and I am quite prepared to have the biofuel/hydrogen/electric car debate with anyone should they choose to. None of them deal with congestion issues and none of them can be rolled out widely in the next 20 or so years like public transport can be.

  4. gingercrush 4

    Until people have an incentive to use public transport the majority of New Zealanders will not use it. Its as simple as that. Public transport on the whole is inconvenient. In Christchurch its way easier to jump into your car to wherever you’re going. By the time you wait for a bus to arrive you’re already where you wanted to be. Because the timetables etc are shocking.

    Wellington is very workable via public transport and does make a lot of sense. But in Auckland people will use their cars. If you did a poll and asked people would you rather have more roads or would you rather have more spent on public transport. There is no doubt in my mind, the majority of people would support roads.

    And really as much as some would like to think Labour would do better. To me that is doubtful. Sure they were likely to put more money towards Public transport but it isn’t going to be that different from National and they’re still going to build more roads. Only the Greens advocate proper public transport. And they themselves would be dependent on Labour agreeing to change the way we look at transport.

    I don’t think Labour were ready in 2008 and I’m not entirely sure they’ll be ready to do that in years to come. Then there is the question, how will the public react if we started putting so much into public transport that either more is spent on public transport than roading or even we spend the same amount on public transport as we would roading.

    • Joshua 4.1

      Depends what we get out of the public transport spending. If we got a CBD rail tunnel, railway to the airport, the Northern Busway turned into a railway line and extended to Orewa (and the , a Howick/Botany line built…. then I think people would be OK with the money being spent on public transport.

      Labour certainly weren’t particularly pro-PT either. Their roads-centric policies has only just begun to change in the last year or so, but even then they were proposing to spend close to $2 billion on the Waterview Connection. Hence my vote in the last election went to the Greens.

      • George Darroch 4.1.1

        Labour and partners spent significantly more on roads than any government in NZ history. Some of these were mad roads, like the Wellington inner city bypass.

        Public transport went up, but not in relative terms – the mix was still the same.

  5. Tim Ellis 5

    Interesting post, Eddie, but I’m not sure that your claim that no journalist followed up with the analysis and simply ran with the government’s spin actually stacks up.

    The first story that the Herald ran on the government’s transport plans was on Tuesday morning. You can read it at http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10562036

    Where will it come from?

    $420 million from “non-state highway classes” of the national land transport fund.

    $258 million in new Crown capital investment (likely to be borrowed).

    $283 million from national fuel tax increases of 6c a litre in two instalments, starting on October 1.

    • r0b 5.1

      So Tim, any comment on the wisdom, in this day and age, of removing funding from public transport to build more motorways? It seems to me that it couldn’t get any more wrongheaded if it tried.

      • Tim Ellis 5.1.1

        r0b, I don’t believe that all roading transport is good, and all public transport funding is bad. Clearly there is a trade-off between the two. I don’t actually know enough about transport infrastructure to take a position on whether particular public transport funding is better value than particular roading funding. What I do know is that this government has a set of priorities that it put before the electorate just a few months ago and that voters overwhelmingly expressed their confidence in a National-led government to deliver on its policy priorities.

        • r0b 5.1.1.1

          That’s a weasel worded reply Tim, and well you know it.

          National did not campaign on removing the funding from public transport, and they have no mandate for it.

          By any rational measure of what is needed for the challenges ahead it is entirely the wrong thing to do, and I suspect that you well know that too.

          • Tim Ellis 5.1.1.1.1

            r0b National clearly set out completion of roads as its main transport platform. I don’t believe they went about saying that all public transport initiatives were cost-effective and would be maintained. I did hear Maurice Williamson, in between some of his sillier outbursts, saying there was always a trade-off in transport spending.

            Obviously we need more investment in public and national road transport. Labour had major roading priorities, including the waterview connection, which they hadn’t allocated money towards despite a $2 billion likely cost. Auckland needs major roading investment, and no amount of investment in rail will substantially alleviate the transport issues over the next twenty years.

          • r0b 5.1.1.1.2

            I don’t believe they went about saying that all public transport initiatives were cost-effective and would be maintained

            Sadly, the weasel words continue. National didn’t say the policy of not kicking puppies would be maintained either, do they now have an electoral mandate to kick puppies?

            And there is a difference between evaluating public transport initiatives and blindly cutting the lot.

            Come on, you have a brain, disengage the partisan politics for a moment and consider this rationally, in the context of the challenges ahead. Is axing funding for public transport to build more roads really good for New Zealand? Honestly Tim?

  6. vto 6

    It’s not about public transport at all you noo-noos. It’s about the internal combustion engine, which is the current means of propelling vehicles. Changing the means of vehicle propulsion is the issue – not getting people to use public transport (which nobody really wants to do).

    • r0b 6.1

      Changing the means of vehicle propulsion is the issue

      One of the issues, an important one.

      not getting people to use public transport (which nobody really wants to do)

      Wrong wrong wrong. Proper public transport is brilliant. I’m currently in a big big city (no, not in NZ). Getting about by car here is a nightmare, and anyone who can uses public transport.

      In NZ we’re trapped in a “chicken or the egg” loop. We don’t use public transport because it’s mostly so naff. So there doesn’t appear to be the demand to create a decent system. But if it was a good system we would use it. And we should, and we must. But not under this government.

  7. infused 7

    Indeed vto. There will always be cars, the engine will change of course. Public transport sucks. It really, really sucks. I use to use it all the time, it caused me to quit my job.

    I will never, ever catch a train again until something is done about the speed. It takes an hour to get from Upper Hutt to Wellington. It’s shocking, not to mention, expensive, more expensive than using a car.

    • Kaplan 7.1

      You illustrate the ‘chicken and egg’ concept that r0b makes so well above.
      If the public transport system met your needs you would use it. Unfortunately with investment being taken out of public transport and pumped into roading you are not going to get that opportunity though are you.

      • vto 7.1.1

        chicken and egg bah. You still miss the point. The public transport issue is a subset of the internal combustion engine issue.

        Dealing with the subset issue does not solve the main issue, merely mitigate it to a small extent for probably a small period of time.

        One other matter re roads – they have been around for as long as manwoman has existed. Tracks and trails are established and used for decades and centuries and millenia and longer. The means of moving along these trails and tracks changes over time (foot, horsey, buggy, doggy, car, etc) but the tracks and trails themselves do not change to anywhere near the same extent. When the combustion engine is long gone the tracks and trails of today, say state highway 1 for example, will remain and be used by even more people (provided NZ’s population continues to rise to its water level density of Japan and UK). It is wise to maintain and improve these tracks and trails for the population to come.

        For some sandal-wearing reason public transport keeps being thrown into the mix in a vastly overrated manner. It is a mino factor. But keeps distorting the main issues. Concentrate please people, concentrate.

        • r0b 7.1.1.1

          vto – have you ever lived in a city with a good light rail transit system? Or for that matter a country with an efficient national rail system?

          Those tracks and trails that you refer to have often been traversed by public transport. Long before there was cars and trucks, there was the railways.

          • vto 7.1.1.1.1

            yes of course like most I have. And yes they are good. And yes of course those tracks and trails have always been used by both public and private means. That’s all good. But for reasons separate to climate change / peak oil / etc. Public transport is a congestion issue – nothing more (read with my other comments above).

  8. Tigger 8

    Public transport doesn’t have to be about door to door – it can be about creating routes to make using your car less an easier option. Look at central Wellington – a tram through the middle of it would mean I wouldn’t take my car or taxis for cross town trips. And the tram would be a tourist boon as well (Melbourne being the obvious example).

    This government claims it wants some different thinking but it keeps on going down the same paths we’ve been treading for years. Boring.

    • Phil 8.1

      Look at central Wellington – a tram through the middle of it would mean I wouldn’t take my car or taxis for cross town trips. And the tram would be a tourist boon as well (Melbourne being the obvious example).

      Most people avoid central Wllington roads as it is, because they’re already too convoluted in avoiding mixing buses and cars on the same stretch.

      In terms of trams, have you not been to Christchurch?! There’s a really good example of a tram system that is f**king useless with a capital F.

  9. ghostwhowalks 9

    The same path??

    The path they are creating has toll booths all around.

    The reason why the regional taxes were pulled is that the road user charges are coming, and the regional councils will get the backlash because they will have to impose them – the government has raided the cookie jar just as the invited guests were about to be served morning tea

    • Tim Ellis 9.1

      GWW you may have overlooked that both the SH16 Puhoi tunnel is tolled, as it was approved by a Labour Government. The Waterview connection includes a tolling proposal, also developed under a Labour government.

      National explicitly laid out at the last election the criteria for tolling roads: only on new roads where there were other alternative routes.

  10. Redbaiter 10

    “In the age of climate change and peak oil the government needs to be giving people alternatives to driving.”

    Given the whole argument is based on these two flawed and ephemeral concepts, then its worthless.

  11. Ianmac 11

    A great discussion until we read that Labour did/didnot etc. Sigh.
    Tigger put it well:”Public transport doesn’t have to be about door to door – it can be about creating routes to make using your car less, an easier option.”
    Absolutely right.
    And the trails and roads of the past have become obsolete because of the multiple ownership of cars and population growth. Recently I had cause to wait on the footpath of a busy arterial road in Christchurch for over 30 minutes. I counted the number of people in each of the cars. Nearly all had only the driver. About 1 in every 25 had 1 or more passengers.

  12. Peter Johns - bigoted troll in jerkoff mode 12

    Stedie Eddie – bring it on. For too long we have had socilaists telling us what we should have. We want roads, not cycle/bus lanes. I want to take my family out when I want on nice big roads not on a fucking bus.

    And don’t worry about GW, it ain’t happening.

    When are you softbait lefties going to realise we want freedom & choice and not be told whats good for us.

    • Snail 12.1

      supreme personal choice and so very good for you, PJ, is a plastic back over your head, a friend to inflow carbon dioxide gas as you wear it then seal the (neck) aperture and watch you grow..

      grow in knowledge and terminal transit.. and yes, finally know that IT IS HAPPENING..

  13. Pat 13

    Aucklanders will keep driving cars. When the oil goes or gets too expensive they will still be driving cars, just electric ones. The city is too geographically sprawled to make public transport options attractive to the average commuter.

    So it is high time the road projects were done. The Auckland roading projects have been on the drawing boards for years, if not decades. I well remember my school trip to the ARC in 1983, and they proudly showed us the plans for the Orewa bypass. The one that opened in January 2009.

    By all means keep improving the bus and train options. But finish the motorway projects as well.

    • jarbury 13.1

      I’m sorry but the myth that Auckland is too spread out for public transport to be effective is just wrong. Brisbane and Perth both have lower population densities than Auckland does, yet have 4-5 times the number of public transport trips per capita per year.

      The reason Auckland’s PT usage is so low is because the system has been neglected for so long. The demand is there – just look at usage of Auckland’s rail system increasing from 2.5 million trips a year to 7 million trips a year since Britomart opened. Where a half-decent PT alternative is offered, Aucklanders will use it. It’s another myth that Aucklanders for some unknown reason will just not use PT.

      Peak oil isn’t the only reason why investment in PT is so critical – there’s also the congestion issue. Auckland is reaching the size where building more roads simply does not fix congestion. Is the Southern Motorway through spaghetti junction any less congested now than it was before the extra lane was added in 2003 – I think not. Building more roads just induces more demand, not helping congestion at all. Once again I point to the fact that 2 tracks of railway can carry as many people as 12 lanes of motorway, I know out of the two which is cheaper and less likely to destroy the value of our cities (clue: not the 12 lane motorway).

      And regarding the “choice” argument that many right-wingers put forward, I want to have the choice of a variety of transport options to get to wherever I want to go, and not be “coerced” by the state into having to drive everywhere.

    • QoT 13.2

      Absolute rubbish. Speaking as an Auckland-raised Wellingtonian? I LOVE public transport. I love walking everywhere (I love the Republic, I love Democracy). But if I moved back to Auckland? Yes, I would buy a car.

      Not because Auckland is “spread out”.

      Not because roading projects have been delayed.

      But because the trains are consistently late, the buses are rubbish, and it takes 45 fracking minutes to get from what passes as a central suburb into the CBD. Not that that has ANYTHING to do with the number of people insisting on driving their cars individually along major bus routes every morning or anything …

      Unless your actual argument, Pat, was that Aucklanders are stupid? Do you write for the ODT?

  14. r0b, There are two problems with your argument “And there is a difference between evaluating public transport initiatives and blindly cutting the lot.”

    1. Key has sworn black-and-bkue that they aren’t actually reducing spending on PT but simply not increasing it as fast as Labour would have.

    2. The NLTP reveals that they don’t have to take the money from PT because over recent years the increase in subsidies available to local authorities for both PT improvements and road improvements has exceeded the increase in rates that councillors have been prepared to impose. NZTA has several hundred million of allocated but unspent subsidies sitting in investment accounts. That’s what the Nat’s are going to raid this coming financial year.

    Although none of the Nats have mentioned it there may also be an intention to return the method of funding multi year projects that was in place for three-quarters of a century before the LTMA came into force. Scrapping the requirement for NZTA to have all the cash in the bank before approving the first years payments on a multiyear project would release a further couple of hundred million currently sitting in NZTA investment accounts.

    I don’t think we have been spending too much on PT but what has been spent on roads has been in the wrong places and for the wrong reasons. All Aucklanders and PT advocates should read the Road Safety 2010 Strategy discussion documents and working papers released for public consultation in 2001.and work out for themselves what the target of 6.1 deaths per billion vehicle km travelled in 2010 computes to now that we know that oil prices and traffic growth didn’t return to 1990s values as expected in 2001 when it was estimated that 6.1 would produce 300 deaths. The expected increase from 33bn vkt to the 50bn vkt needed to reach 300 deaths hasn’t happened and that should have been obvious even as early as 2004 when the approved strategy became government policy.
    http://www.landtransport.govt.nz/strategy-2010/strategy-appendix-03.html

  15. Joshua 15

    I know the road toll is bad and it’s good to do what we can to prevent road-related deaths, but when one considers that poor air quality in Auckland (almost exclusively caused by cars) apparently kills as many people a year as the road toll arcross the whole country you have to wonder whether we’re over-prioritising road safety compared to other ways in which lives could be saved.

  16. r0b 16

    1. Key has sworn black-and-bkue that they aren’t actually reducing spending on PT but simply not increasing it as fast as Labour would have.

    Has he? Oh well that must be all right then. Meanwhile in other news, funding for new roading projects will come from sources including “$420 million from ‘non-state highway classes’ of the national land transport fund” – that’s real money from real public transport initiatives.

    NZTA has several hundred million of allocated but unspent subsidies sitting in investment accounts. That’s what the Nat’s are going to raid this coming financial year.

    The funding was allocated to planned PT projects. Now the piggy bank has been raided by the Government, so the projects can’t happen. So I’m not at all sure what point you are trying to make here (and you contradict your own first point).

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    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    5 days ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    5 days ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    6 days ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    7 days ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
    The coronavirus pandemic has of course had a major impact on individual lives and on societies as a whole. But, long after the crisis has passed (assuming it does), we will begin to realise that its real and lasting significance lies in the lessons it has taught us, if only ...
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    1 week ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
    COVID-19 has plunged Aotearoa New Zealand (indeed, the world) into territory that, while maybe not totally unprecedented, certainly hasn’t been seen during the lifetimes of most of us here today. Our borders are closed to non-citizens, we’re being told not to gather in groups of more than 500 outside/100 inside, ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been urging you to prepare yourself, your family, business, and community for Covid-19. Now it’s time for real action.  Yesterday the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced another 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing our total to date to 52. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020 Editor's Pick Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts   Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed ...
    1 week ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
    by Cultural Worker Late March 2020 amidst the virus. With gigs crashing and burning all around it was without much hope that I called a long standing rest home booking: “ Hi, I’m supposed to be entertaining at your place this afternoon – is it still on?” “”If you don’t ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
    Whenever people demand real change from their politicians, we're told that "politics is the art of the possible". The implication is that change isn't possible, so we'd better just get used to the sucky status quo. But now that there's a pandemic, a lot of things we were previously told ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Only Way Through This Crisis Is Together.
    Together: In leading New Zealand through the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Prime Minister could do a lot worse than allow herself to be guided by the spirit of collective sacrifice and co-operation that animated the New Zealanders of 80 years ago. Most Kiwis alive today have had no opportunity to prove their ...
    1 week ago
  • GFC vs Covid-19
    It is said that generals fight the last war. In the case of the early stages of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) they had learned from the Great Depression of the 1930s and they fought intelligently and successfully. Later their advice would be ignored in favour of the Austerians who ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • Nobody Left Behind.
    Solidarity Forever: All over the world, the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has exposed the fragility of the walls we erect around ourselves and our loved ones. It has shattered our illusions of autonomy and revealed to us how utterly dependent we all are on other human-beings. Finally, we see ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rebuilding a truly “Democratic” counter, or a “moderate Republican” bolt-hol...
    Looking across the various arguments for/against the leading candidates to take the Democratic Nomination, you might honestly be very hard pressed to tell. There are a number of things that have now started happening since Amy Klobuchar and “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg both threw the towel in and immediately (and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion law reform a win for women
    by Daphna Whitmore Abortion is no longer in the Crimes Act in New Zealand. The law reform passed yesterday and now abortion is a medical matter between a woman and her doctor. Many women’s groups and progressive people have campaigned for reform for decades. The women’s liberation movement and some ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • How to spot bogus science stories and read the news like a scientist
    Doug Specht, University of Westminster and Julio Gimenez, University of Westminster When fake news, misreporting and alternative facts are everywhere, reading the news can be a challenge. Not only is there plenty of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other scientific topics floating around social media, you also ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus
    Michael Baker, University of Otago and Nick Wilson, University of Otago With some of the toughest border restrictions and a newly-announced NZ$500 million boost to health services, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand is also fortunate in ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Parliament and the pandemic II
    As expected, the government has introduced a sessional order to allow Parliament to operate during the pandemic. You can read it on the Order Paper here, but the short version is that questions and motions can be filed electronicly, select committees can work remotely, and the the Business Committee can ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • When a virus goes viral: pros and cons to the coronavirus spread on social media
    Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology; Daniel Angus, Queensland University of Technology; Timothy Graham, Queensland University of Technology, and Tobias R. Keller, Queensland University of Technology News and views about coronavirus has spread via social media in a way that no health emergency has done before. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • How to survive 14 days of self-isolation
    So you’ve recently returned from overseas, come into contact with someone who tested positive, got a bit of a dry cough yourself or perhaps just want to self isolate for 14 days to avoid other people who might have COVID-19. Here are a few tips and tricks to help get ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion Legislation Bill passes third reading
    Some fave speeches:     ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    2 weeks ago
  • Why Leadership Matters – More Than Anything.
    Our Good Fortune: Precisely because she has never been an ideologue (she calls herself a “pragmatic idealist”) Jacinda Ardern has a political nimbleness and spontaneity which, when infused with her exceptional emotional intelligence, produces spectacular demonstrations of leadership. Jacinda's empathic political personality contrasts sharply with the less-than-sunny ways of her ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #11, 2020
    2 weeks ago
  • 68-51
    The Abortion Legislation Bill has just passed its third reading, 68-51. NZ First MPs bailed because their referendum amendment didn't pass, but there were plenty of MPs to provide a majority without them. The bill is a long way from perfect - most significantly, it subjects pregnant people who need ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The ‘herd immunity’ route to fighting coronavirus is unethical and potentially dangerous
    As most of the world tries to suppress the coronavirus spread, some countries are going it alone – trying to manage the pandemic through so-called “herd immunity”. Herd immunity means letting a large number of people catch a disease, and hence develop immunity to it, to stop the virus spreading. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Eight new COVID-19 cases today. It’s no surprise when you look at some numbers
    So, as I sit at home with a very, very slight headache (i.e. not at work when I would otherwise be so), the now familiar figure of Ashley Bloomfield reports eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19  including two in Waikato. A surprise, given that we had just twelve yesterday? No. ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • The WINZ Paradox versus the new COVID-19 Reality: Get real people, seriously…
    Many who advocated for, and voted for, the current Coalition – particularly those who voted Labour and the Green Party – expected to see a sea change in the reality of social services. A real, deep change of attitude, approach of process through which the system negotiates the difficult and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago

  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
    The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks.   “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to make sure businesses can work together in ways that will allow them to provide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
    The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
    Associate Health and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare has today announced the Government’s plan to support Māori communities and businesses in the face of COVID-19. “Our Government’s $12.1 billion economic package will help many Māori whānau, workers and businesses, whether it’s through wage subsidies, income support and worker redeployment, or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
    The Government and the hospitality industry have worked together to produce guidelines to assist with managing and reducing transmission of COVID-19, Health Minister David Clark announced today.  The guidelines developed between the Government, Hospitality New Zealand and SkyCity Entertainment Group, set out how the new restrictions on physical distancing and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
    Four stage Alert System for COVID-19 announced New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact New Zealanders over 70 and those with certain medical conditions told to stay at home as much as they can to reduce risk of contact with the virus Workplaces to implement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM Address – Covid-19 Update
    Kia ora koutou katoa I’m speaking directly to all New Zealanders today to give you as much certainty and clarity as we can as we fight Covid-19. Over the past few weeks, the world has changed. And it has changed very quickly. In February it would have seemed unimaginable to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ and Singapore commit to keeping supply and trade links open, including on essential goods and med...
    New Zealand and Singapore have jointly committed to keep supply chains open and to remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the commitment. “This is an important collective response, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Joint Ministerial Statement by Singapore and New Zealand -Covid-19 situation
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Transit between Australia and New Zealand
    Travel restrictions, closing our border to almost all travelers came into force from 23:59 on Thursday 19 March 2020 (NZDT).  All airlines were informed of these restrictions before they came into force. Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says “The transit of passengers between Australia and New Zealand has been agreed upon and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $100 million to redeploy workers
    The Government has allocated $100 million to help redeploy workers affected by the economic impact of COVID-19, with the hard-hit region of Gisborne-Tairāwhiti to be the first helped, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford, Forestry and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced today. Phil Twyford ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • More support for wood processing
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is ramping up support for Tairāwhiti’s wood processing sector to bolster the region’s economy at a time of heightened uncertainty, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Following earlier announcements today of a regional support package for Tairāwhiti, Minister Jones has also announced a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt steps in to protect Air New Zealand
    The Coalition Government has stepped in to protect Air New Zealand with a significant financial deal that protects essential routes and allows the company to keep operating. The Government and Air New Zealand have agreed a debt funding agreement through commercial 24-month loan facilities of up to $900 million*. The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Stronger border measures to protect NZers from COVID-19
    The Government has taken further measures to protect New Zealanders from the COVID-19 virus, effectively stopping all people from boarding a plane to New Zealand from 11:59pm today, except for returning New Zealanders, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.  New Zealanders’ partners, legal guardians or any dependent children travelling with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Action on indoor gatherings and events to protect public health
    The Government has reinforced its commitment to protecting the health of New Zealanders from COVID-19 through the cancellation of indoor events with more than 100 people.  “Protecting the health of New Zealanders is our number one priority, and that means we need to reduce the risks associated with large gatherings,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago