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Good Old Fashioned Solidarity

Written By: - Date published: 3:41 pm, November 1st, 2009 - 27 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags:

Matt McCarten writes a fine opinion piece in today’s Herald. He hits four main points:

1. The neo-liberal dismantling of NZ’s egalitarian society ideal in the 80’s and 90’s.

2. The new subservience of the State to corporate interests.

3. Dramatic increases in productivity over the last 30 years that have been almost entirely captured by a tiny capitalist elite; a huge transfer of wealth away from working people.

4. The substantial rise in working hours and household debt that has been the direct result.

The simple, undeniable truth is that neo-liberal economics has been a dismal failure, except of course for a wealthy minority.

As I’ve said several times recently, it’s amazing how people get all panicky and obsessive about wage inflation (especially in the context of the minimum wage). The truth is that unions have been regulated to within an inch of their lives and with only 20% penetration in the NZ workforce it is risible to suggest that unreasonable wage demands have anything to do with inflation.

Yet at the same time massive asset price inflation, driven by a very lightly regulated finance sector was allowed to run unchecked for almost a decade… and few people seem to notice the disconnect. The underlying reason is simple and deep rooted… it’s all about class.

New Zealand now has the sixth highest GINI score of the OECD nations; According to the OECD, New Zealand had the biggest rise in inequality among member nations in the two decades starting in the mid-1980s.. That’s actually rather appalling.

Now while I still regard the Clark/Cullen govt with respect, in all fairness they really only managed to slow the neo-liberal rot, not reverse it. Several forces were at work against real change. Clark and Cullen, for all their genuine beliefs, are fundamentally conservative people, it was easier for them to take a stand on social/moral issues than attack the well funded and powerful capitalist elites. As Muldoon Bismark once said, “politics is the art of the possible” and for the modern Labour Party, that was always going to be a battle too far. Moreover New Zealand, like much of the rest of the western world has been captured by the cult of the individual; we’ve had our faith in the unifying power of the collective systematically undermined and eroded for decades.

For all the real and valued social gains that the left has made in the last 30 years, the moral foundations of the movement have been hollowed out and economic injustice has risen unchecked. The numbers that Matt quotes (and similar that MartyG has repeatedly shown here on The Standard) demonstrate the depth of the failure. The very first Labour Party meetings were held in Baptist Church halls, and for decades simple Christian notions, such as ‘I am my brother’s keeper’, and the parable of the Good Samaritan, were the glue that held the movement together and drove it forward. The power of that understanding now seems lost to us.

Nowadays opinions are a multitude, everyone has one…and everyone demands to be listened to. While no-one expects, or desires uniformity of thought (that’s the hallmark of a cult), it’s far too easy for our efforts to be scattered uselessly in argument and alienation. Our diversity and depth of thought will only be of use if it is harnessed in unity, and for that to happen the left must above all discover a common set of values to share. This is the simple lesson the left must re-learn at every generation, a lesson that old dinosaurs like Chris Trotter keep trying to remind us of… that it is still all about the rejection of class privilege, snobbery and injustice, it’s still about rising above these things and inspiring the best from each other.

Matt concludes:

Workers today are more productive and work longer whilst wages are going backwards. Conversely shareholders wealth and executive salaries have skyrocketed. No wonder the elites don’t want to draw attention to the true purpose of Labour Day. Workers might start thinking.

That’s why they dumb down our media and entertainment, and fast cycle 10sec soundbites…they don’t want us thinking. That more than anything else scares the hell out of the power hungry elites, because there is far more of us than there is of them.

27 comments on “Good Old Fashioned Solidarity”

  1. Robert Wade, here earlier this week, thinks very much like Mr McCarten on some issues.

  2. Nick C 2

    “The simple, undeniable truth is that neo-liberal economics has been a dismal failure, except of course for a wealthy minority.”

    That statement is obviously an opinion, you achieve nothing by trying to claim that it is the ‘truth’. Using words like ‘simple’ and ‘undeniable’ doesnt make it any more convincing.

    • Zorr 2.1

      And the crash of the past couple of years was just a small blip in the “rising” star of neoliberalist economics?

      Try pulling the other one Nick.

    • So Bored 2.2

      Except Nick C, you cannot conclusively demonstrate otherwise, the facts just dont support any contention to the contrary. Truth is a different issue but empirical measures will do for me, and in the case of neo liberalism they demonstrate a huge failure at best for the average person. Now if you are rich, thats another matter.

  3. JD 3

    So what you’re saying is that life under Muldoon was so much better?

  4. Quoth the Raven 4

    Just thinking aloud here. On the issue of the left I like to recall Ernest Lesigne letter

    “There are two Socialisms.
    One is communistic, the other solidaritarian.
    One is dictatorial, the other libertarian.
    One is metaphysical, the other positive.
    One is dogmatic, the other scientific.
    One is emotional, the other reflective.
    One is destructive, the other constructive.
    Both are in pursuit of the greatest possible welfare for all.
    One aims to establish happiness for all, the other to enable each to be happy in his own way.
    The first regards the State as a society sui generis, of an especial essence, the product of a sort of divine right outside of and above all society, with special rights and able to exact special obediences; the second considers the State as an association like any other, generally managed worse than others.
    The first proclaims the sovereignty of the State, the second recognizes no sort of sovereign.
    One wishes all monopolies to be held by the State; the other wishes the abolition of all monopolies.
    One wishes the governed class to become the governing class; the other wishes the disappearance of classes.
    Both declare that the existing state of things cannot last.

    and so on and so fourth. The important point from the poem is “The first will fail; the other will succeed.” It goes to the heart of the differences between those on the left and that is the state. The radical anti-authoritarianism of the left had largely receded so maybe it’s farily meaningless to talk of the ‘left’ now or ‘socialism’ and merely speak as Robert A. Heinlein put it:

    Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.

    • RedLogix 4.1

      Or perhaps the human race divides into those who think there are 10 different types of person… and those who understand binary.

      But seriously QtR, thought provoking as always. Although we often seem to talk past each other I do appreciate the quality of what you say, and the eloquence with which you write.

      My response is along the lines that neither the State, nor the individual can be pure and absolute sovereigns. Down each path lies a particular hell. The reality is that both must exist in balance with each other, each with a mutual interdependence upon each other.

      The mediating force between the two is the community and it’s value system.

      • Quoth the Raven 4.1.1

        I see no contradiction between individual sovereingty and community. Though one should avoid absolutes. And that comment was writted particularly poorly. I should’ve proofread it.

  5. Tom Semmens 5

    Just a correction – Otto Von Bismark said “politics is the art of the possible”, not Muldoon.

  6. Zaphod Beeblebrox 6

    It always makes me curious where the elites or the ostentatiously wealthy make their money in NZ. We don’t have much of a manuacturing base to speak of (save Fonterra and some food producers like Dick Hubbard), our mining industry is small and our media and banks foreign owned.

    Makes me think that the elite in NZ have to rely on things such as property or retail development or expropriating government guaranteed monopolies.

    As I don’t see much future for property investment in NZ the only way I can see the elites maintaining their power and influence will be through state funded corporate welfare or in the case of the Central North Island Iwi re-expropriation of their ex- assets.

    Will be interesting to see how they (the wealthy in NZ) will justify fighting to retain their wealth in a world where the rich are threatened with diminishing returns.

    Even someone like Graeme Hart (who flips over previously unprofitable, unloved enterprises) has had to look off-shore to maintain his wealth

  7. sk 7

    Redlogix,

    Very very perceptive post. Rising inequality and loss of community is the challenge for all Western countries (Krugman’s primary theme in the NYT for years). And as you say, NZ has had the worst rise in inequality in the OECD. This is a much bigger issue than our lagging of Australia (where the damage was done in the 1970’s and 1980’s anyway).

    Celebrity or style-driven politics is about avoiding this persistent widening inequality, and sustaining the status quo.

  8. Quoth the Raven 8

    As I’ve said several times recently, it’s amazing how people get all panicky and obsessive about wage inflation (especially in the context of the minimum wage). The truth is that unions have been regulated to within an inch of their lives and with only 20% penetration in the NZ workforce it is risible to suggest that unreasonable wage demands have anything to do with inflation.

    I thought you were interested in the abstruse economic work of a certain elitist english aristocrat? I don’t know too much about him but I believe he was concerned that wages didn’t fall enough during a recession, that is his “sticky wages” and how to make it so they did, even though they actually do. I also believe that adherents of this have in the past blamed labour unions.

  9. sk 9

    Also, great link on the Gini co-efficients. Our standing is much worse when one takes into account it includes non-OECD economies such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Israel.

    Surely, this is the issue for Labour to start again on . . .

  10. vto 10

    Good post. QtR’s post above, where he says “It goes to the heart of the differences between those on the left and that is the state.” regarding the Ernest Lesigne letter, I think sums up an awful lot about todays NZ politics.

    Imo many NZers are split between the nats and labour. Most kiwis in my experience are socialist in nature (incl. me believe it or not). The push which swings them away from labour is highlighted by QtR’s point and can be illustrated by the recent (Clark/Cullen/r0b) labour party / govt obsession with government. This attitude clashes with NZers innate sense of freedom from servitude etc, formed when the european immigration of 1800s resulted from a desire to escape the class system and effective dictatorship of the old country.

    People had had enough of no hope and being subjects and servants. That resistance and attitude survives in spades still today. And that is why, when orgainsations and people raise the state as the only possible way of achieving society’s ends, many kiwis almost throw up. And the socialism and egalitarianism that is virtually the default setting for most kiwis gets shunted aside for fear of bringing back that dictatorial State.

    This is Labour’s loss. Last election = full proof. Labour should abandon / amend their idolation of the State and they would connect with another whole chunk of NZ. Perhaps even become the natural party of govt, as Clark apparently dreamt…. but that one major flaw stopped it.

    That Ernest Lesigne letter and QtR’s points are spot on.

    Some 2c

  11. George.com 11

    McCarten is pretty much spot on with his comments about neo-liberalism as a political project and its ‘achievements’ to date. The current world slump is the legacy of neo-liberalism. This is not only a lack of regulation of financial markets but also the wealth transfer that has occurred under 30 years of no-liberalism. The link between productivity-wages & rising living costs through the 1950s, 60s and early 70s was severed by neo-liberalism. The current crisis was a crisis of debt brought about by a lack of purchasing power amongst wage and salary earners. People used debt to maintain lifestyles they were unable to through rising wage levels. An environmental probem of rising energy and food costs tipped over the neo-liberal financial casino – people lending money they did not have and people borrowing money they could not repay. Some good left wing source of analysis of neo-liberalism and the economic slump include David Harvey and Alain Lipietz.

  12. prism 12

    RedLogix refers to changes and problems for Labour. One being fragmentation. This is a problem for the Left with small groups forming under a banner for a pet ideal, I noticed in French stats after rabble rouser anti-immigrant Penn was nearly elected that the left had far more votes but were split into 16 I think, different factions. The Right can concentrate on goals of getting more money, directing more of what is available to themselves and criticising the less successful or well-off, its very uniting.
    NZ Labour has become too middle class. The work of unskilled and semi-skilled is derided and users of technology are lauded. But manual work tends to be in producing real things, while computers etc manipulate and plan with many merely shuffling accounting figures, not designing, modelling, preparing for new or improved machinery etc.

  13. prism 13

    George.com. Right on the nail with this –
    The current crisis was a crisis of debt brought about by a lack of purchasing power amongst wage and salary earners. People used debt to maintain lifestyles they were unable to through rising wage levels.

    I think if NZ had not been able to borrow at low interest as they have, Labour would have been called to account by workers who would have chafed at their inadequate income. Labour a number of times raised the minimum wage but working conditions and pay for ordinary people would still have stung without the plastic.

    • George.com 13.1

      The financial world became disconnected from the real world, this is your financialisation and fractional lending and slicing and dicing of debt etc. Alongside that demand has become debt driven rather than wage driven. Apparently US wages in real terms are little different than they were 40 odd years ago. That is, there has been little growth in real wage levels since the 1960s. Debt fueled demand that met an energy and food crunch 18 odd months ago upset the finacial amusement park. Result – it fell apart. Trouble in America, trouble for all of us.

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

    like much of the rest of the western world has been captured by the cult of the individual;

    The face of individualism 1, 2.

    From Joseph Tainters The Collapse of Complex Societies

    • Quoth the Raven 14.1

      Draco – Certainly individualism is understood in different ways, but you seem to continually and willfully wish to misunderstand it against commonly held views of individualism. Individualism is not about atomism, it is not about isolation. It recognizes that humans are soical creatures. It is about the freedom of the individual, it is against the subservience of the individual to the collective. It’s not just about individualist anarchsim I’ve read socialist and even communist discussions of individualism time and again in a positive manner. Indeed Oscar Wilde said Socialism itself will be of value simply because it will lead to Individualism. Surely they don’t hold to whatever confused conception of individualism which you do. What do you hold individualism to be?

      • RedLogix 14.1.1

        If by your own axiom, humans are social creatures, then there must exist a bilateral relationship between the individual and the collective. In the extremes, the collective cannot exist if the individual is crushed out of productive existence, equally the collective becomes utterly impotent if every individual insists on their own unfettered freedom.

        The individual and the collective (which in the modern incarnation is the nation state) must therefore exist in a mutually balanced relationship. Anything else is a tyranny of one form or the other, a subservience of the individual to either the collective, or the powerful . The history of the 20th century has rightly sensitised us to the perils of the former, but the briefest dip into history prior to that should clear our heads about the misery of feudal life, subject to the whim of petty and rapacious overlords, packs of roving bandits with little or no recourse of legal protection or redress.

        The agonised, long drawn out process by which we arrived at the nation state, with it’s wholly pivotal and novel concept of all citizens being equal before the law, including the ruling classes themselves, and it’s institutions of democratic accountability, while far from perfect… have evolved as a direct solution to the ancient problem of balancing the powers and rights of the state, against those of the individual.

        While we can readily point to concrete existence of an individual, and at the institutions and powers of the state… the notion of community is essentially an abstract. Yet community is on closer examination, performs what might be though of as the vital mediating role between the individual and the state.

        Governments perforce plan and develop policy, not in terms of individuals, but in terms of the desired effect on the community of citizens, or at most sub-communities of special interests. Equally it is not the individual who elects, directs or holds the govt accountable… it is the community as a whole. In this model, it is the community, and vitally the consensus of values of that community, that determines the boundaries and parameters in which both govt and the individual can act.

        • Quoth the Raven 14.1.1.1

          I don’t argue that what we have now is an improvement on the past. However, I fully believe that man and his social relations are perfectible and we have far yet to travel and eventually we will move towards a free society. But it’s not inevitable and we must work at it which means smashing the state.
          The recognition of man as a social creature is much greater when it comes with a basic recognition of his individuality. Communities would be enhanced under a free society because they would be based on free voluntary relations organised from the bottom-up, fully participatory with individuals relating to each other as equals. In a free society government truly would be by and for the people. The state an inherently violent institution with centralised power, living parasitically off the labour of its people, beholden to elitist interests and with derisory democracy stands in the way of vibrant organic community organisation based on the prinicples of individualism, democracy and non-aggression that anarchists hold.
          The state holds together the current social relations, hierachical relations based on authority, coercion, and violence. We oppose these, we want a society where people freely cooperate without hierachies. We must “strike the root”.
          Furthermore, the nation state is a harmful idea which has given forth to much violence. Why should it be that we divide the world up into ficticious little enclaves, why cannot people move about the earth freely, live and associate with others where they wish?

  15. RedLogix 15

    vto,

    So you prefer King Log to King Stork then? The age old fable of course omitted to mention that the frogs desire for a mighty king may have stemmed from more than mere vanity. Perhaps they wanted a leader who could protect them from the greedy and rapacious, and King Log proved useless for the task. The ancients in their own brand of black humour then had Zeus send them the frog’s worst enemy, King Stork as replacement. Ultimately neither the log nor the stork where any use as Kings. No King that Zeus could send was able to meet that need; the frogs needed to find their own leader… something they were unlikely to achieve as long as they kept thinking as frogs.

    Private and political morality may spring from the same root; but the one has often flourished where the other has remained stunted. Perhaps this is only natural. Human nature seldom develops equally in all directions. Men who are intensely concerned with the right ordering of their relations to neighbours, friends and family; may well forget the larger community in which their private circle is contained.

    HWC Davis, Medieval Europe.

    Or to put it in a more modern context; it’s a common vanity to imagine that if you ignore politics, that politics will ignore you. The point is, the personal and the public are intimately linked regardless. The real leadership, the real State we want is one that we authentically participate in, one that is part of who we really are as a nation.

  16. John Ryall 16

    I am sorry that I missed Matt’s column today. Sounds very good.

    However, I don’t know about “the new subservience of the state to corporate interests”. The history of trade unions and working class organisation in Aotearoa/New Zealand would show that this is not “new”, but very old indeed.

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    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
    4 days 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
    4 days ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    4 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    5 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    5 days ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    5 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    5 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    6 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    6 days ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    7 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    1 week ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    1 week ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    1 week ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    1 week ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    1 week ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    1 week ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago

  • 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
    24 hours 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    3 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago