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Govt tries to silence dissent

Written By: - Date published: 9:32 am, December 5th, 2009 - 32 comments
Categories: democratic participation, national/act government - Tags:

The Government, stung by criticism of its inept education policies, is trying to silence teachers. Their plan is to make teachers, principals, and Board of Trustee members subject to the public service code of conduct. The, which currently applies only to people in the core public service (the ones the Right calls bureaucrats) bars people from making public political statements like openly endorsing or opposing a particular party or policy.

Now, it’s fair enough that core public servants can’t be involved in politics. They are often privy to confidential government decision-making and they have to advise the government. Maintaining neutrality is important in those roles for the government to have confidence in the professionalism of the public service and the public to have confidence the public service isn’t captured by the government but, rather, is giving free and frank advice.

That argument just doesn’t apply to teachers and Board of Trustee members and never has. They aren’t part of the government’s policy formation, their job is to teach and they are often the best placed people to tell us whether policies are working or not. What next? Will doctors and nurses be barred from commenting on health policy? It’s draconian and it speaks to a government that is afraid of having an honest debate.

This attempt to muzzle teachers is probably in breach of the Bill of Rights, which guarantees political freedom and freedom of speech except in very limited circumstances where there is a good reason to override those freedoms.

It’s clear why National is doing this. It has the fingerprints of Tony Ryall all over it. National’s education policy has been disaster after disaster – ACE cuts, teacher:pupil ratio worsened, uni fees, national standards. Anne Tolley is arguably the worst minister of a bad bunch and it shows. But rather than actually try to put good policies in place and get a competent minister, National’s response is to try to silence the critics.

It’s disgraceful and it won’t succeed.

32 comments on “Govt tries to silence dissent”

  1. kelsey 1

    So a quick review of the linked article:

    The State Services Commission wants to gag principals and teachers from criticising the Government.

    Right, so it’s the SSC, not the government directly. Not huge, but go on…

    The code, which covers government departments and district health boards, states that it is unacceptable for employees to comment on government policy if it constitutes a “personal attack” on a minister, work colleagues or other state servants.

    So it already covers DHBs, and is only about personal attacks not comments on policy, so let’s see what Anne Tolley has to say:

    But in a show of camaraderie, Education Minister Anne Tolley has thrown her support behind the unions. It is understood she contacted State Services Minister Tony Ryall to get the process stopped.

    So basically, the entire post is wrong

    • lprent 1.1

      Yeah right….

      1. When the process is stopped I’ll get interested.
      2. What is more interesting is how the process got started. For understanding that you just need to look at Tony Ryall.

  2. TightyRighty 2

    Um, didn’t your great mate, Anne Tolley, come out and say this was not on?

    at least this government can handle dissent. unlike the “tired, hectoring and corrupt” former government. gotta love Hooton.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Yes, she did but not because she doesn’t support the move:

      Mrs Tolley said if schools and boards were added to the code, it would not stop them from speaking out. “To claim the code of conduct has anything to do with muzzling schools and their opinions on any subject is ludicrous.”

      It was because she was being really stupid again in thinking that the rules wouldn’t apply to teachers once the rules had been applied to the teachers.

    • lprent 2.2

      Do you have a link? All I can see is stuff saying that this is proceeding…

      at least this government can handle dissent.

      Just off the top of my head…

      • Paula Bennett is still in front of the privacy commissoner for releasing private information to stifle dissent.
      • Tony Ryall has been sacking any DHB board member who he thinks might disagree with him.
      • Rodney Hide has had councils trying to gag employees talking about super city implications.
      • Brownlee has been making legislation avoid select committees. Has ANY legislation not passed the house under urgency in many of its stages.

      Sounds to me like this government is terrified of hearing opinions that they don’t like.

      And you! You seem to live with your head firmly stuffed up your arse so you can maintain a closed loop between the crap you want to consume and what you ingest. I suppose it keeps you firmly in 2008 and prevents contamination with reality.

      • TightyRighty 2.2.1

        oh lprent, vulgarity is not your strong point.

        much as you might like to believe that this government is the worst kind of all evils, evil wrapped up in niceness, your wrong. paula bennett quite rightly released the benny’s details. it didn’t stifle dissent, it added perspective. annette king is the reason dhb board members have to be sacked and rodney hide at least owned up to his misspending, unlike the fucking idiot carter, who cares if your gay? so why don’t you pull the finger you had up your date and is now in your nose out. it’s affecting your thinking as you obviously have shit for brains.

        • lprent 2.2.1.1

          I see that you’re avoiding the substance of what I pointed out. It is what I expected from a conservative in a catatonic state contemplating the myths of the past and avoiding the future. The ‘vulgarity’ was there to drag your attention away from your womb fetish. Looks like it partially succeeded.

          So why is Paula under investigation from the privacy commissioner?
          Because she asked for details that she had no right to access.

          Why doesn’t Tony Ryall just wait until the board members terms come up?
          Because he doesn’t want people who know what they’re talking about to point out that he is an ignorant jerk who doesn’t have any idea about what he is doing.

          I notice that you avoided talking about Rodney in his role as Local Government. Too ashamed of his performance perhaps?

          Same for Brownlee? He is abusing the parliamentary process because he knows that the governments bills don’t look good if they’re examined closely.

          This is a government that is appalling bad at wanting public dissent. They are crushing it any way that they can.

          But you prefer living in the past. It is always amazing to see someone so wedded to their faith that they refuse to live in reality. But it seems to describe you quite well. But I can assure you that the present and future are more fun than the sewer myths of the past. Perhaps you should try them.

          BTW: Interesting to note that as usual you scratch a conservative and find a homophobic/racial/gender bigot. I suppose the grooves get worn deep when you refuse to think.

          • TightyRighty 2.2.1.1.1

            i noticed you avoid any mention of chris carter when talking about stifling dissent. playing the gay card because people are asking you tough questions on your travel spending. at least the members of this government front up when people call them out, unlike the opposition, if you could even call them that. the last government is still an unfortunate recent memory. one with a very long one too, still calling national out for things done in 98′ when it’s two thousand and fucking seven. im not wedded to the national party any more, but posters at the standard should at least get there facts straight before mouthing off. anne tolley stood up for the teachers, you didn’t like the fact that someone had pointed it out so thought about how you could save eddie’s post. shit for brains.

            • lprent 2.2.1.1.1.1

              And again you’re avoiding my questions of where the government is stifling dissent.

              Is this avoidance behaviour because you’re too stupid to understand what you’re talking about, or haven’t kept up with current affairs, or just don’t want to talk about the track record of this government on stifling dissent.

              Apart from your obvious homophobia. What does Carter have to do with stifling dissent by the government – which is what the post was about.

              Face it – you are just pathetic at actually arguing. All you can do is denigrate. Hell you’re pathetic even at that.

          • TightyRighty 2.2.1.1.2

            because i mention chris carter and his travel spending im a homophobe? always trying to stifle dissent aren’t you. if you don’t like me bringing things up, attack the message shit for brains. calling me a homophobe? why? a racist? why? a gender bigot? can’t you spell sexist shit for brains? but why call me these things? do you not like the fact i think you have shit for brains? why don’t you just compare me to paul henry and complain to the human rights commission because i’m comparing you a retard, and that’s discriminatory towards retards?

            • lprent 2.2.1.1.2.1

              See the reply above. What does Carter have to do with the government.

              The post is on the government wanting to stifle dissent

              I’d have to assume you raised Chris Carter because it is of more importance to you than the stifling of dissent. Explain why this is the case? Otherwise I’ll just assume you are just a homophobe.

            • Pascal's bookie 2.2.1.1.2.2

              Fuck eh Lynn.

              Poke a stick at it and watch the spittle fly.

              snargle flargle schleisen flukter, snibble targin heppensharft.

              etc.

              Got content?

            • lprent 2.2.1.1.2.3

              PB: Yeah I have a bit of time this morning (big compiles due to structural changes). So I thought I’d have a wee poke into a pontificating ego when I saw such an obvious diversion comment.

              Besides I haven’t exercised my net-needling skills for a while. Being sysop is a bit constraining about what I can do.

            • TightyRighty 2.2.1.1.2.4

              turned the reply button off shit for brains. scared of something? stifling dissent is nothing new. we all know about how Hulun treated journalists who did and didn’t like her. it’s really the only the reason braunias still has a job.carter, ex government minister, trying to head off questions by playing the gay card. this government has not tried to stifle teachers, the ssc has, and has been told by the education minister to back off. Tony Ryall is doing a magnificent job. health boards were packed with labour lackeys and other do nothings that needed to go. why wait? if you have an unperforming staff member do you wait for them to resign? no. you start making moves to make them redundant. paula bennet? storm in a tea cup. nothing will come of it as it what she did adds much needed perspective to arguments and debates. rodney’s super city will be excellent, especially with banks as mayor.

            • Tim Ellis 2.2.1.1.2.5

              that kind of abuse isn’t warranted LP and you don’t have any credibility referring to the “sewer” when you start those sorts of flame wars.

            • Tim Ellis 2.2.1.1.2.6

              TR, that kind of abuse isn’t needed either. LP didn’t turn off the reply button. It disappears after a certain level of replies automatically.

              • Tim Ellis

                This isn’t about moderation LP, it’s about you encouraging good commenting behaviour by example rather than climbing into the gutter.

                • lprent

                  It is always about moderation. That is the bounding factor.

                  Within in that limit it depends on what you want to achieve, and I’m sure that your objectives are not the same as mine. As you know I detest people who say meaningless things like TR did.

                  So I called him on it, made sure his attention was drawn to it, and then made damn sure he became aware of his habit and what I thought of it. It helps lift net standards. People are either more careful where I may read. Or they depart from my presence. Either way I’m out ahead. I consider that to be a useful outcome.

                  On the way through it helps in raising standards on the net forums. I should really do it more at the sewer. It is a pity that I don’t have much time for it.

                  • TightyRighty

                    Um with all due respect to your version of meaningless, all i did was point out that anne tolley had told the SSC to back off. which she did. so whats meaningless about that? you may not like Anne Tolley, thats your call, but telling another government to back off when they are meddling in your department, publicly too, is hardly meaningless. that to me is very indicative of a government willing to tolerate a little dissent, even from within it’s ranks. though of course you’ll have some fatuous reasons why i am wrong. even though you have avoided any discussion of tolley being the one to call the ssc out. you just moved on to try and slur some other cabinet ministers. i can think of several ministers in the former government who could have exhibited some ministerial responsibility (all of them), but to avoid accusations of living in the past, I won’t list them like that snore bore Darien Fenton

                    • lprent

                      Blustering and trying to distort what everyone can see plainly above is also stupid.

                      I responded to the comment about Tolley.

                      Do you have a link? All I can see is stuff saying that this is proceeding

                      You ignored that.

                      I then responded to

                      at least this government can handle dissent.

                      I said

                      Just off the top of my head

                      * Paula Bennett is still in front of the privacy commissoner for releasing private information to stifle dissent.
                      * Tony Ryall has been sacking any DHB board member who he thinks might disagree with him.
                      * Rodney Hide has had councils trying to gag employees talking about super city implications.
                      * Brownlee has been making legislation avoid select committees. Has ANY legislation not passed the house under urgency in many of its stages.

                      Sounds to me like this government is terrified of hearing opinions that they don’t like.

                      And you! You seem to live with your head firmly stuffed up your arse so you can maintain a closed loop between the crap you want to consume and what you ingest. I suppose it keeps you firmly in 2008 and prevents contamination with reality.

                      What I called you on was:-

                      at least this government can handle dissent.

                      That was blatantly untrue as I pointed out. This is a government that has brought new lows to stifling dissent. Obviously you didn’t like confronting reality because you went into your usual avoidance behaviors.

                      As you did each diverting turn, I commented on the diversion and brought you back to answering my questions. I guess that you just hate reality. Perhaps you should look at a pharmaceutical solution that dulls it a bit further.

                      Alternatively don’t make bloody ridiculous comments where I can see them. You never really know when I’ll take an interest in your continuing struggle to understand the world as it is rather than how you’d like it to be.

                    • TightyRighty []

                      “This is a government that has brought new lows to stifling dissent.”

                      Brought new lows to stifling dissent? Electoral Finance Act anyone? National, who are fast falling out of my favour for other reasons have yet to sink as low as that.

                      here is the link for Tolley

                      http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/national/politics/3125623/Gag-plan-incenses-teacher-unions

                      a very good quote in there

                      “But in a show of camaraderie, Education Minister Anne Tolley has thrown her support behind the unions. It is understood she contacted State Services Minister Tony Ryall to get the process stopped”

                      now, i’m not saying that the code of conduct is a good thing, far from it. I just don’t believe this government is as bad as you are making it out to be.

                      and on a side note, why, for the second time today is your site banner now blue?

                    • lprent []

                      Thank you. That was a much better answer. To which I will politely disagree. I suspect that time will tell, but at present it looks to me like there is a strong anti-dissent sentiment inside this government. Far more than the last one.

                      Have you looked at the Nats replacement for the EFA? It looks a lot like ummm the EFA. I suspect that by the time it gets through the select committee it will look even more like the EFA with the exception of the electoral accounting period.

                      There were reasons for the each of prescriptions in the EFA. They were related to previous issues where people had been ducking around the intent of the 1993 electoral law.

                      The blue banner is due to the style sheet background colour of tan not displaying on your browser. I switched the banner to a transparent graphic last week. So the a old conservative style is leaking through. I’ll fix by changing the page header.

                  • Tim Ellis

                    nonsense, LP, you can twist and turn as you like but nobody seriously believes that you’re lifting net standards by abusing people.

                    • lprent

                      It seems to have worked in the past. We seem to have pretty well gotten rid of the trolls here from that process. A few have permanent bans.

                      But most seem to have just given up because they can”t open their mouths without people stuffing their words back into it.

                      Should I start assisting felix and others on your comments? You really do seem to have a distorted sense of reality at times.

                      It always seems to preview the National party lines. Can you explain that?

              • gitmo

                Pull your head out of your arse ………… it’s an insignificant little blog, if you can’t cope with the odd bit of visual verbal from anonymous bloggers best you get your panties unbunched and go read a book.

            • lprent 2.2.1.1.2.7

              The reply limit is 5 or 6 deep because of the width constraints on the screen.

              The question is about this government stifling dissent. What is this Hulun of which you speak. It is hard to see how a territory in Manchuria is of any relevance.

              There is a thing called ministerial responsibility. So who is the minister in charge of state services? I think that it is Tony Ryall? Why has he asked the State Services Commission to proceed down this path? Because they don’t do this type of review without a ministerial request.

              I didn’t ask about how Tony Ryall was doing. I asked about his tendency to try and stifle dissent. I was referring to the DHB boards. Ryall stomped right over all due process about getting rid of people. Every other employer has to do it. However Ryall seemed to think that the rules don’t apply to him.

              But if you want to open up the question to Ryalls tendency to see people out to get him everywhere – then fine. I’m not sure how a discussion on one persons paranoia helps… But we can discuss it.

              I suspect that Paula Bennett, by accessing information she was not entitled to see, has effectively started a whole movement about personal privacy in the civil service. There seems to have been a lot of movement around that in the past weeks. Who’d want their info accessible by the incompetent ministers that Key has to deal with?

              Hide has released the 3rd Auckland super-city bill. For some strange reason it omitted to define the duties of the local boards. They have no powers. Why is ACT afraid of democracy?

              BTW: Banks probably will have to run as an independent against some good right candidates. Seems to have pissed off a lot of people on the political right here.

            • lprent 2.2.1.1.2.8

              Hi TE.

              All I did was ask (impolitely as his comment deserved) if he was still living in 2008 and suggested a possible explanation. Admitted the explanation was designed to trigger long-observed TR’s prejudices.

              And you! You seem to live with your head firmly stuffed up your arse so you can maintain a closed loop between the crap you want to consume and what you ingest. I suppose it keeps you firmly in 2008 and prevents contamination with reality.

              The other moderators will be along eventually. But I don’t think that they’ll find much wrong with my comments.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    This is the type of move you’d expect from a government that’s not in touch with reality, never mind the electorate, and are trying to hide their decisions that prove that they really don’t know what they’re doing. This is a government that’s sure that it knows best even though all the evidence is to the contrary.

  4. prism 4

    If you can’t say anything about anybody what will happen to the whistleblower legislation? Will they be shot at dawn? I know an ex teacher who was sanctioned for burning a NZ flag in the last government’s time. In the same period charities who spent a significant time advocating for their disabled constituents were also denied their previous government grants. Why should government help people criticising them? Shut up, hold your hand out and be grateful for our charitable assistance, sliding towards Dickensian.

    It seems that in these terrorist days we are seeing a readiness to impose draconian controls.

  5. Irascible 5

    The arguments that attack the post that use personalities to justify either side of the debate are ignoring the fundamental issue here… the NACT govt, through its agencies, has an obvious tendency to creating a stasi like employment situation and state in N.Z.

    The implication of the Ryall lead State Services recommendation is but the thin edge of a wedge that will progressively erode the rights of individuals regardless of the head of a pin debate on whether the limitation applies to a criticism of the Minister or of the policies the Government is imposing, contemplating or has already imposed. Once a programme is accepted, even if it is but a “minor” point, it very soon becomes an expanded policy and wider powers given.

    Make no mistake this proposal is a serious one that has the ability to allow the stasi mentality of this NACT government to spread.

  6. TightyRighty 6

    I have looked. and at least i have the oppurtunity to do so, and to have a say, this time. I do agree it does startlingly resemble in parts labours version. too much C&P methinks. But the essence has changed, there is less of an attempt to stifle interested third parties. though of course not much effort made to clear up hidden donations. There is no argument the rules needed to be cleared up, but the last EFA was remarkably draconian, and succesfull attempts to portray it as a knee-jerk reaction to the exclusive bretheren campaign of 2005 didn’t help. while obviously some of it was a reaction to the exclusive bretheren, i can’t understand why labour got so scared over something that was one of the few major factors that cost national the 2005 election? except maybe to stifle dissent.

    pretty funny that when this site auto-formats for whatever reason, it looks like a poster for the nats. also, seem to be having endless trouble with the anti-spam word, first attempt is always ***invalid***, followed by a server error.

  7. Pascal's bookie 7

    i can’t understand why labour got so scared over something that was one of the few major factors that cost national the 2005 election? except maybe to stifle dissent.

    Just becuase the EB sucked at covert third party funding of partisan campaigns, doesn’t mean other groups would, once the cat was out of the bag…

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    Comfortably, in the very first round, with an impressive 56% of the votes.I wonder, did members of the Shadow Cabinet start tweeting their resignations during Starmer's victory speech, or is that only a trick the right pull?It is odd how all the talk of how the next leader "needs to ...
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: Michael Baker and the Big House
    One of the key voices in this extraordinary time in which we live is that of University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker. Philip Matthews did an an excellent job this weekend of capturing the way he became the man for this moment in a profile for The Press.But one ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand Gives up on Trying to Save Daylight
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the nation today about the decline in daylight New Zealand has been experiencing over the previous few months. She said “As many of you will notice, our attempts to stem the dwindling of the daylight over the last few months have been completely ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    4 days ago
  • A bulletin from Greece
    Redline received this article from the KOE a Marxist party in Greece Our friends in the KOE describe here the mounting crisis in Greece and tensions on the Turkish border. As desperate people flee from their homelands which have been ruined after decades of imperialist wars and interventions the people ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
    As the first week of Level Four lockdown unfolded, mounting questions grew as to just what was (and was not) allowed under its “rules”. Partly these were driven by some apparently contradictory messages from different authority figures and explanations carried in the media. Partly they reflected a somewhat sketchy legal basis ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

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

    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    6 days ago
  • Maybe axing Clark would be unfair. But what about any of this is fair?
    Yesterday was the day the consequences of the lockdown suddenly got very real for many. Firms have been closing and laying people off since the outset of the quarantine but this has mostly been happening out of the public eye. The mass closure of a number of iconic New Zealand ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    6 days ago
  • Might a ‘Coasean’ social contract mitigate overall societal harm from COVID-19?
    Brian Williamson1, Prof Nick Wilson2 (1Economic consultant, UK; 2University of Otago Wellington) In this blog, we outline how a win-win social contract could be forged to address the major dimensions of response to the COVID-19 pandemic when using a mitigation strategy: the particular need to protect older people from high ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
    Resuming Normal Service: The Republican Party's nominee for in 1920, Warren Harding, promised the American people: “not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration”. If she wishes to remain our prime minister, then Jacinda Ardern will offer New Zealanders the same.HOW EDUCATED AMERICA snickered when the ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
    No Free Society Without A Free And Functioning News Media: If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating Covid-19, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders simply because it improves their bottom line.I’M ...
    6 days ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Lockdown day 8
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    6 days ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    6 days ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    6 days ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    7 days ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    7 days ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    7 days ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    1 week ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing or ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    1 week ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    1 week ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    1 week ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    1 week ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    1 week ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago

  • Communities step up to help New Zealanders stay connected and fed during lockdown
    Communities stepping up to help New Zealanders stay at home to break the transmission of COVID-19 and save lives have received Government support, said Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. “Delivering groceries for the elderly who can’t shop online, providing data packs for low income families to keep them connected, and being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • 120 COVID-19 testing centres now operating
    Across New Zealand 120 sites are taking samples to be tested for COVID-19.   68 community based assessment centres (CBACs) have been established to take samples from people with COVID-19 symptoms. Alongside this, 52 other centres including designated general practices, swabbing centres, and mobile clinics are now testing people for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Covid19: Government moving quickly to roll out learning from home
    The Ministry of Education is working with partners to develop a package of options so that students can learn at home when Term 2 begins on 15 April, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Supports are also being prepared for households with children under five, to help parents and whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Making learning from home accessible to Māori learners and whānau
    Māori Television to begin educational te reo programmes Ki te Ao Mārama – a new online learning space Thousands of hard copy learning packs ready for distribution Helpdesk and advice service for kōhanga, kura and wharekura Television, the internet and hard copy learning packs are some of the ways whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • New Zealand to provide assistance to Vanuatu following Tropical Cyclone Harold
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced an initial package of support to help the people and the Government of Vanuatu respond to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Harold. “Our Pacific neighbours have been hit by a Category 5 Cyclone at the same time as dealing with the economic impacts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Planning for the future of tourism
    Tourism New Zealand to lead work reimagining the way tourism operates in post-COVID-19 world. Ministers to review International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy investment plan. The Government, industry and business are working together to develop a plan for how tourism will operate in a post-COVID-19 world, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • NZ horticulture sector feeding Kiwis and the world during COVID-19
    More New Zealanders are taking up the chance to work in horticulture as the sector keeps New Zealanders fed and in jobs during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown. “Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Work to repurpose PGF funds begins
    The Provincial Development Unit is working through applications and projects to see where Provincial Growth Fund money can be repurposed for initiatives deemed more critical to fighting the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “We need to be throwing everything we have at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • A million workers supported by Govt wage subsidy
    The Government’s wage subsidy to protect jobs and keep workers and businesses connected during the lockdown has now supported over a million New Zealanders, with $6.6 billion already paid out. “We’re supporting businesses to pay wages, and stay connected with their workers so that we are all in a better ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government helps Pacific communities fight COVID
    The Government is stepping up efforts to help protect New Zealand’s Pacific communities in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet has agreed that $17 million will be allocated to support a COVID-19 Pacific Response Package, which will: Support Pacific health and disability services facing increased demand; Ramp up public health messaging ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark
    “Yesterday evening the Health Minister advised me of his trip to a beach during the lockdown and offered his resignation,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses.  “But right now, my priority is our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Statement from David Clark
    Last night as part of my preparation for the Epidemic Response Committee, I provided the Prime Minister with a complete picture of my activity outside my home during Alert Level 4.  That included the fact that on the first weekend of the Alert Level 4 lockdown I drove my family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 mental health support begins
    A range of support is being rolled out across New Zealand to help people look after their mental health during COVID-19 Health Minister David Clark said this morning. “COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives and many of us will be feeling some level of distress or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago