web analytics

Grow the Commons

Written By: - Date published: 9:19 am, August 10th, 2016 - 57 comments
Categories: activism, Environment, farming, food, sustainability - Tags: , , , , ,

The following is a Guest Post from Robert Guyton.

Robert is a sustainability pioneer who along with his family grows the oldest food forest in NZ. A long time organic gardener, permaculturist and heritage orchardist, he’s a columnist, a regional councillor for Environment Southland, and an early climate change adaptor. 

Some time ago, I wrote a column describing a nascent movement called Common Ground that sought to link like-minded growers of plants under the umbrella of a shared name and an icon in the form of a Greenman sticker, which I promised to send out on receipt of a self-addressed envelope. The response to that idea was remarkable. My letterbox became, for several weeks, the scene of great activity; the postie’s, in filling it with letters, and mine, carrying those letters to my house for opening and reading. It was a delightful experience all round, replying to the charming messages, slipping the sticker into the return envelope and dropping them, one after the other, into the NZ Post mailbox in the village. I’d hoped there’d be a lot of gardeners out there who found the idea alluring, and there were.

The question then became, what to do as a follow-up to the initial excitement of being a sticker-carrying Common Grounder. Those good folk who now have a little Greenman stuck to their wheelbarrow, bicycle mudguard, or like me, front door, have no doubt kept on doing what they’ve always done – garden, filling their properties with plants of all descriptions and making their little corner of the world a better, more verdant place and for that I admire them as much as ever.

In recent days, I’ve been struck by an idea that I think could qualify for the title “Next Step” or “Phase Two” in the Common Ground story. With the weather being perfect for planting down here in the south of the South, I’ve been doing just that, lifting trees and shrubs that grew from cuttings set out last autumn and shifting them to their permanent homes. Only those final destinations are not inside of my boundary fences, but outside. I’ve been planting the Commons. In various overlooked and under-appreciated strips of neglected council land, I’ve been digging and delving, clearing and planting – apple, peach and plums trees, hazel and chestnut, nectarine, grape and quince.

I’ve chosen scrappy sites that no one wants, broom-covered bony land infested with cocksfoot, cotoneaster and holly, wasteland that can’t be built on or isn’t worth sowing in grass and mowing, no-man’s land, only it’s everybody’s ground, under common ownership thanks to the rates we pay our councils. I’m adding value to the overgrown wastelands by planting fruit trees that anyone and everyone will be able to pick from, once the trees reach fruiting age.

It’s a prickly business, planting in the blackberries and gorse. I’m covered in scratches and am forever digging thorn-tips out of my hands with pins and needles. I’m reminded of when I first began planting my forest garden here in Thames Street. Back then, I made the mistake of clear-felling the broom and gorse that covered the property and in doing so, exposed the site to the wind. Nowadays, I let the shelter trees stand and plant amongst them, hence the scratches. But it’s an investment for my community and we’ll all share in the harvest from those trees in years to come. I’m guessing that locally-grown, foragable food will become important in the years ahead, so I’m getting in early, establishing as many fruiting trees, shrubs and vines as I possibly can.

And here’s where existing Common Grounders and all other readers who like the idea come in – you too could grow the Commons. You know how to grow things and you probably also know where there is waste-ground that’s aching to be made useful and you may also have, as I do, grandchildren, who would love to clamber about in trees picking fruit for their dear grandparents. Naturally, I’ve chosen Grow the Commons as the name for this follow-up to the Common Ground concept, as it captures the intent of the second phase of the movement elegantly.

It’s a benevolent act, planting for the wider community on land that isn’t being utilised productively, though your local council might have some reservations (pun intended) about that. I’ve not bothered them with the trifling issue and suspect your own council will be as busy as mine with keeping the street lights on, the gutters swept and the thousand other important issues local councils have to deal with every day and won’t want to be bothered with the planting of a few pretty trees.

So, Common Grounders, that’s where we’re headed, out onto the Commons to grow for our future. Any anxiousness you might feel is probably justified, but it’s up to you and if you’d like to report in and tell me about your progress, my letter box is swept, its hinges oiled and ready to receive mail. If there are new-to-the-idea readers who would like a Greenman sticker for whatever purpose, send me a stamped, self addressed envelope and I’ll send one your way – 20 Thames Street, Riverton, 9822.

Happy planting.

A version of this article first appeared in the August edition of New Zealand Gardener.

57 comments on “Grow the Commons”

  1. Thanks, weka, for putting up my story; it’s a bit wordy but I hope, interesting. At our weekend fruit tree sale a number of people bought our grafted heritage apple trees with the intention of planting them outside of their own boundary fences, having read this article in last month’s NZ Gardener. I hope that TS readers might be similarly inspired 🙂

    • Sabine 1.1

      i will go down to my garden in two weeks. I have discovered a Quince, Walnut, Lemon, Apple, Grapefruit tree sofar. A little rickety Green house full of cacti (?) and stuff. it will be exiting to go there and see what grows under the ‘weeds’ infact it will be fun to see what ‘weeds’ grow in my garden.

      While I understand the need for common food sources and the likes i would like to raise the issue of potable water. In Europe -especially old Europe – all the villages have public fountains – often two – one for people and one for animals. However that is one thing that seems to be completly overlooked in NZ. We can not overlook this issue as water born diseases may be a bigger killer then lack of food.

      Also a thing that I would like to see in my future ‘commons’ ( we are several friends that have bought small houses with big gardens in a small rather empty village in the middle of the north Island) is a bread oven. Again, being someone who has lived in very old villages in Europe the community oven often still stands.

      The planting of the gardens and the sharing of the fruit is important, but we need to include water treatment, water storage and common ovens to help us in the long terms.
      I would also like to know more about the maori way of storing food. I believe they had some sort of ‘underground’ storage.

      Thanks again for this beautiful read.

      • weka 1.1.1

        “( we are several friends that have bought small houses with big gardens in a small rather empty village in the middle of the north Island)”

        Nice one!

        The old European Commons oven reminded me of this essay by Dmitry Orlov about Russian villages and their relative immunity to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Interesting descriptions of private and communal spaces and resources,

        https://web.archive.org/web/20051225160222/http://www.survivingpeakoil.com/article.php?id=our_village

        Love this bit about communal benches. The sauna one is interesting too.

        The main elements of communal life are visits, barter of food and favors, and use of sauna. Visits are almost universally unplanned and unannounced. Most often, people stop by on the way, sometimes coming into the yards, and sometimes simply talking across the fence.

        The village has many benches scattered throughout, which consist of a length of split log hand-planed smooth, flat side up, which is joined to two round logs, which are buried vertically into the ground. These are found both next to the houses and outside the fences, and are used to sit and chat with neighbors. There are benches where you can warm up on sunny but frosty mornings, and benches to while away hot mid-afternoons in the shade. There was even a bench where I could stretch out on a clear night and watch the myriad of stars, the asteroid showers, and the Mir space station whizzing by periodically. I have built several of them myself, in strategic locations.

        Typical examples of barter involve exchanges of rabbit meat, eggs, vegetables and other perishable items that would otherwise be distributed unevenly and perhaps go to waste. Staples such as potatoes are generally not bartered.

        Sauna use presents one of the more complex examples of social interaction in Soykino. During my stays there, it was my responsibility to fire the sauna at least once a week, but since I enjoyed doing it and had little else to do, I fired it twice a week. It was quite a bit of work, but it made me instantly popular.

        • Robert Guyton 1.1.1.1

          Benches! That’s brilliant and simple. Planning…

          • weka 1.1.1.1.1

            Isn’t it great? And a neat way to bring in the carpenters and woodworkers in an area.

            • Robert Guyton 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Funny that you say that, weka. A young guy has just moved to the village, set up shop and is calling himself “The Funky Joiner”. He specializes in creating furniture from found timbers, recycled building materials etc. I’ll call in and see him soon, with a proposal…I can’t help seeing images from “The Last of the Summer Wine” in my head.

        • Sabine 1.1.1.2

          same go anywhere in France, Italy, Sardenia, Corsica and Germany and you will find benches. A good place to sit for the elders to have a chat and observe the life around them.
          Market places in the middle of the villages. A game of boules, a village fest with music on the day of the Patron Saint, the most favorite fruit (in France and Corisca it is often the edible chestnut) and so on and so on. While quite open to gossip it is also open to trade and barter.

          One thing i miss very much in NZ.

          • miravox 1.1.1.2.1

            “One thing i miss very much in NZ.”

            The benches thing is something that I’ve taken note of while in Austria. Not just in terms of how well they’re used, but also, as with plants, drinking fountains and decorative shop fittings, that no-one thinks they need to be CCTV’d, bolted down or removed to prevent them being damaged or stolen.

            And they’re right… the community garden on the busy Donau Kanal, pretty boozy over the summer, is never vandalised, and the seating never removed.

            That was pretty much the first thing that made me sad for my country.

            Anyway, I’m thinking about what will happen if I try to convert our unused carpark space at our Wellington apartment to a raised garden when we get back…

        • Sabine 1.1.1.3

          i asked the bloke who lives in my house to build me a sauna.
          his expression, priceless.

    • weka 1.2

      Any tips for planting in the Commons Robert? Do you plant as in your food forest, or do anything special? Compost? How big a hole? etc

      • Poking wands into the ground is perhaps the simplest method. Casting seed. Pushing nuts into the soil. Lugging trees in planter bags is the most difficult approach and the one I avoid now. Grapes grow easily from a section of vine pushed into the ground at this time of the year. I go for ease of planting, in my garden and out in the wildlands.

  2. save nz 2

    Nice post.

  3. Good one Robert. Walking the walk as well as talking the talk – the revolution in action.

  4. Hi, Sabine. Your comments about water are valuable in light of what we are developing in our small Southland town where The Council has extinguished interest in independent water storage of rainwater collected from the roof, in favour of a reticulated supply from a dirty river. In response, we installed tanks and collect our own, encouraging all of our friends to do the same, which they have done or are doing. Railing against authorities is one thing, making real what you believe to be right is another. The hill behind our town has numerous springs issuing from it, but very few are used for anything other than watering stock. They are a valuable asset that could be carefully managed to the benefit of our community. A community bread oven is another development waiting in the wings for our wee town. We’ve a semi retired architect planning/hoping to build a brick oven like the ones he has studied from earlier days in New Zealand and as well, we have several specialist bread makers, young people who have moved here for what they see as a great chance to create a community, who are encouraging our architect to make his/our dreams come true. Regarding food storage and especially “Maori” storage methods, I have drawn up plans for a raised pataka based on an old photograph of one that stood where the school sits presently. Not difficult to build and very elegant. There are “European” storage methods that suit just as well, such as the “apple house” my wife is determined to build to store our heritage apple crops. I’m using the “cider” method to store the tangiest apples 🙂

    • Sabine 4.1

      oh the cider method is and excellent storage for pears aswell.

      i am just struck by some of the villages i have lived in France that have recorded history going back to the Templar that as a standard have two at least sometimes three fountains. One for watering people, one for watering animals and one for washing – a safety aspect for the women i would guess.

      I have subscribed to a bread page on fb Universal bakers, and often there are video of community ovens from around the world, very interesting and yes i would like to have one in my village.

      I will install as many water catchment containers as i possibly can, but think that in order to fend of water born disease every community needs to do better then just relay on the individuals effort, especially in regards to purification etc.

      If you have an FB page or email one can contact you that would be awesome.

      • I’m easily reached, Sabine. Here’s my email: rguy10@actrix.co.nz and my blog: http://www.robertguyton.blogspot.com
        I’ve done pears, perry, over the past couple of years. We are growing a collection of gorgeous heritage pear trees we grafted from old trees we found surviving in farm orchards around the region, tastes like no other, shapes that amaze. I agree that while individual sufficiency is good, shared resources are also vital. Infiltrate (water allusion there) your councils, create your own (easy) and adapt what’s already in place. Some people won’t be able to get busy with these things, so working on their behalf is necessary and rewarding.

  5. Siobhan 5

    Auckland transport Proposed planting guidelines for berms…”Any planting shall not be edible ”
    https://at.govt.nz/about-us/asset-maintenance/footpath-berm-maintenance/

    I’m looking forward to someone planting edible ‘weeds’ and flowers and seeing how that plays out in Court. It is so petty to allow, presumably ‘pretty’ plants, but not edible plants…they do seem to have an issue with fruit trees, as they envisage piles of rotten lemons or feijoas all over the pavement, which I suspect would not be an insurmountable problem, yet I do see olive trees planted around which seems odd.

    • Hi, Siobhan. The guidelines have left a huge loophole for keen planters, in the enormous range of plants that are “pretty” but also edible. Into which category do they shunt hosta, for example being edible in the way asparagus are, or day lilies (edible flowers), evening primrose (edible, tasty too), kawakawa, cardoon and arugula. There are a host of ornamental perennials that would feed an army, if they only knew about them. Don’t mention the edibility and no one will know 🙂
      Next, shrubs with edible small fruits. Did anyone say Chilean guava? Or Chilean wineberry for that matter? Chinese dogwood? Yum. This trees don’t look fruity, nor do they drop their crop in the way the transport authorities would notice.

    • weka 5.2

      “Any planting shall not be edible”

      Good grief, how on earth did they rationalise that? Was it just the rotting fruit on the ground thing?

      • Siobhan 5.2.1

        They include this little gem…”They also have no right of ownership of any flowers or produce grown in the road corridor.”…they possibly envisage angry old folk getting into ‘pavement rage’ with the kids down the road pilfering ‘their’ fruit.
        To be fair, I think Council employees live in dread of enraged pensioners with fax machines contacting them every five minutes.

        • weka 5.2.1.1

          Lol, maybe that’s the way to the revolution!

          Pretty bizarre to see the council claiming ownership of plants produced on their land. It’s very U.S-ian.

          • Sabine 5.2.1.1.1

            especially considering that the council actually expects private citizens to ‘maintain’ council property at their cost.

            • adam 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Not always, they will mow it if you are disabled, if you ask, and can produce evidence of disability.

              I’d like to point out that they did not accept a photo of having no legs as evidence of disability. They demanded a letter from a medical professional.

              Ah New Zealand a land of bureaucrats and pen pushers, each as stupid as the next one. Thanks national, your government has one thing which we can all be dumbly proud of, your ability to make the civil service even more useless and stupid in just 8 years of office. That must qualify for some sort of reward?

  6. Ad 6

    IMHO that Riverton thing is a shining beacon of goodness.

    We’ve visited a couple of times, and the knowledge and generosity of the staff are just terrific. A really positive example for us up here.

  7. Rosemary McDonald 7

    ” I’m reminded of when I first began planting my forest garden here in Thames Street. Back then, I made the mistake of clear-felling the broom and gorse that covered the property and in doing so, exposed the site to the wind. Nowadays, I let the shelter trees stand and plant amongst them, hence the scratches. ”

    Do you think Robert, that perhaps the same method can be used to change the social and political environment for the better?

    Try and get the good and better stuff established before getting rid of the unwanted elements. Using the unwanted elements to shelter the new and better aspects until they grow strong enough to stand alone…as part of an overall more sustaining environment.

    I don’t want to complicate a brilliant post…its just what occurred to me when I read that.

    (We have an acre, and have been self sufficient for water for years. I can’t abide the taste of town supply…Auckland especially…
    Are you in town? Are you vulnerable to neighbours’ agrichemical use? This was the reason the wheels fell off our 11 years of spray free, permaculture (Linda Woodrow, rocks) dream.)

    And may you cow parsley run rampant in your fields!

    • “Do you think Robert, that perhaps the same method can be used to change the social and political environment for the better?”

      Yes x 1000, Rosemary and that’s very astute of you. That’s exactly how I feel (and I hope, act). I need to go and lie down, I’m overcome with a tidal swell of hope 🙂
      When I recover, I’ll finish answering your comment.

    • Herbicides are the bete noir of the commons planter, Rosemary but every good thing needs a threat in order to keep it strong. I make and post signs, “Spray-free zone” or similar, if I’ve planted in the town, but elsewhere I plant in places that don’t attract attention or herbicide. If ever my plantings get sprayed, I shake my fist at the sky, though it’s not his fault, then increase my plantings elsewhere – one tree lost to the ‘cide people means a dozen more going in somewhere else from me. My own neighbours are in the main, spray-averse, but if one does begin to wave a nozzle around, I’ll be engaging in discussion. Talking about chemical trespass though, my forest garden was trespassed upon by a herd of cattle beasts over the two days I was away at the weekend! They tramped over ever square metre of the garden, repeatedly, probably reconnecting with their aurochy past, browsed and broke but I wasn’t concerned. I’ve always said the forest garden is the most resilient system of all, able to withstand fire, flood and drought, and now I know it shrugs off stampede as well. I got photos of the dumb beasts gormlessly stomping my garlic beds and have written about it for the next NZ Gardener, so I’ll profit from the incident. Here’s a clip from that story 🙂
      “It’ll be a while before all signs of their dropping-by are covered, but what their rude visit did do is strengthen my claim that forest gardens are indestructible. Floods may come, hail may fall, wind may blow and fire may rage, I’ve often said, but my forest garden will shrug off all threats. The complex mix of species, plant and creature, that make up my garden is resilient because of it’s variety and overall health and can recover from anything, even, it turns out, the attentions of a herd of cattle beasts. I’m pretty confident, though I don’t wish to bring bad fortune upon myself by invoking fate, that even if every plant in my forest garden was up-rooted by some storm of other cataclismic event, it’d quickly recover; there have to be millions of seeds in the ground beneath all of the plants growing there now, along with stolons and tubers, rhizomes and bulbs, all poised to reclothe the soil, should disaster strike. In any case, my garden cared little about the cows, disregarding them the way they themselves might flick a fly with their tails.”

  8. Macro 8

    Robert – whilst visiting Vancouver a couple of years ago I was struck by the many roadside plantings of fruit and vegetables. Beans, lettuce, tomatoes, and apple, pear and so on. All well maintained. It seems that this is quite a thing in the city with an active community group.
    Here in Thames our Transition Town Team have been pursuing a similar path with a good planting of fruit trees in parks and reserves. There was some doubt about the planting of peach trees in the Hall Arboretum (the oldest in the country) and they have been removed as they were next to the scion trees of the Hall’s Totara. (One has to be mindful of the areas chosen) A community Garden in the nearby reserve is also planned.
    In Perth from where I have recently returned the residential building sites are not much more than 400 sq m (if that) but there is an ample roadside verge and around where I was staying almost all are planted – many are now being planted in native species as continuing drought conditions makes the sustainability of exotics doubtful – but here and there, there are fruit trees appearing – olives, citrus, and banana do particularly well, as do mulberry and apple.

    • Hi, Macro – Vancouver’s great, from what I’ve heard, and Thames too with it’s TT team. Fruit trees are probably the most difficult plants to “install” in any town, village or city, as there are prejudice against free fruit (Biblical, perhaps :-))
      Do you know of the Free Fruit Peddlers? They profess to be planting stones and pits as they cycle the roads of NZ. Go the Peddlers! Peaches, btw, are simple to grow from the stone, in situ. Push them in and forget. May as well do a hundred as do one 🙂

      • Sabine 8.1.1

        can yo use commercial peaches?

        • Robert Guyton 8.1.1.1

          Yes, but it’s more interesting to find a tree that’s been growing in the area since Adam was an orchardist, and collect those stones. I’m growing Morepark apricots, the ‘old’ flavorsome apricots our parents loved, because they have ‘story’ as well as taste. A delightful elderly woman sent me a box of nectarine stones she’d collected from under her special weeping nectarine, a one-off she’d discovered, and those suit this zone perfectly, as the original tree thrived without spraying, ever. There are other stones I’ve collected from similarly unique and long-lasting trees across Southland. I search for them and people who know I’m searching, post stones, pits, pips, cuttings and so on, to me, out of generosity. Crack the pit before you plant outside in wintertime and let nature take her course. They grow readily. Nursery-grown stone fruit seem to harbour leaf curl. Home growns don’t 🙂

          • Rosemary McDonald 8.1.1.1.1

            “Crack the pit before you plant outside in wintertime and let nature take her course. ”

            So why would you ever bother with fiddly grafting?

            • weka 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Some trees don’t necessarily grow true from seed eg apples. Peaches seem to grow true though, every easy.

            • Robert Guyton 8.1.1.1.1.2

              For one thing, Rosemary, apples don’t grow true from the seed. Pip fruit have to be grafted if you want to enjoy the same fruits as the original tree produced. Pears, being pip fruits, are the same. Stone fruits are more likely to grow the same as or close to the original and so are worth trying. You might even improve on the original. Root stock does offer some advantages; many are selected for their size-controlling effect. Others are good at resisting certain diseases or suit wet soil, for example. I’m planting some grafted apple trees out and about on the “waste” spaces but only where I’m sure they’ll not be broken, etc, as grafting takes effort, whereas pits and stones are easy to do en masse so I don’t worry about them being mown or whatever. I like grapes for the ease with which they can be spread – poke a cutting into the ground and step back 🙂 Nuts are very easy too. Hazels in particular make great forage for hungry townspeople. There’s lots you can do with hazelnuts.

            • Robert Guyton 8.1.1.1.1.3

              It just occured to me, Rosemary, that you could plant cuttings of your namesake all over the show, just ’cause 🙂 What a lovely service to the community that would be. Rosemary cuttings strike easily and make attractive and useful foragable plants 🙂

              • Rosemary McDonald

                I’ll remember that…..;-)

                Lavender also, thyme, oregano, sage, clumps of chives,

                But mint….with caution! Tends to invade.

                And…nasturtiums…

  9. One Two 9

    Thanks for posting this information and to all the contributers in the comments section as well. Lots to follow up on and read further into

    This is wonderfully positive, informative and motivational

    • weka 9.1

      I’m into putting up more posts like this (writing them, guests posts), so if there is any thing in particular you’d like to see let me know. It needs a political context too (this one easily fitted into Green activism).

  10. Rosie 10

    One of the most enjoyable and convivial posts I’ve read in a long time. There is a lot of helpful and useful information in the post. Thank you Robert and commenters.

    We started with with other planting volunteers on the reserve over the road a few years ago. I have plans for round two, which will be culinary herbs and the self seeding types of herbs and flowers, but there is too much work to do in establishing and caring for our own garden without getting knackered!

    If you’re in Wellington you can get free native plants from the council to plant up your berm if you want to turn it in to a no mow zone. They don’t do food plants but I’ve not seen them object to people planting fruit and vege crops on their berms – and I have seen them, they look just delightful.

    We have 50 mountian flax/wharariki, 30 libertia’s and some carex on our berm. The flowers have helped attract tui, which we don’t normally see around here.

    It’s all good 🙂

  11. mauī 11

    A few people have made pushes for fruit and nut trees in my area.

    I’ll give you a few snippets from the Council email reply:

    “Fruit trees require intensive maintenance”
    “Residents complain about rotting fruit”
    “The trees create a rat problem”

    So we don’t have fruit/nut trees in our parks, while neighbouring Councils have recently made a big push to have them. This is the problem with conservative Councils.

    But I like the approach you’re going with here Robert, good stuff. It’s giving me some ideas 😉

  12. mauī – they’re practiced at putting up barriers, that’s for sure. It’s a blessing really, by-passing them, for their own piece of mind, and planting in places they don’t pay attention to. In any case, baskets of locally grown nuts and berries make wonderful surprise gifts for local body representatives, delivered to their offices at times when the grind of political life is getting them down 🙂

  13. Sans Cle 13

    This post and comments are inspirational. I’ve planted a few fruit trees on the verges of reserves, where the Council doesn’t mow. Always a bit apprehensive of Council workers’ reaction to them, and neighbours. But so far so good. My little gift to the future. Tit-for-Tat…..as I have received much from past generations.

    • Rosie 13.1

      “My little gift to the future. Tit-for-Tat…..as I have received much from past generations.”

      A lovely way to show thanks to past generations and keep the wheels of kindness and thoughtfulness turning. Kia Ora.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • The Few are on the run, again, it still won’t stop reality catching up…
    We are seeing what has been termed “a greater challenge than the crash of 2008” by a growing number of economists and more rational, sane commentators, because whilst that was a shocking exposure of the levels to which hubris had sunk, right down to the blank cheque given those who ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    9 hours ago
  • Speaker: Locked down in Jersey City
    I am a Kiwi living in Jersey City, New Jersey. Jersey City is the second-largest city in the state and is located directly across the Hudson River from downtown Manhattan. Locals call it New York’s sixth borough. More than 350,000 New Jersey citizens, including myself, commute to New York daily ...
    12 hours ago
  • Expanding houses
    It’s  a beautiful autumn afternoon, we need to get out of the house, and so our bubble sets off on a bike ride around our local neighbourhood, Cambridge Park. The bikes come out of the garage, and, being really certain we have a front door key, close the garage door ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    13 hours ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 13
    . . April 7: Day 13 of living in lock-down… and unlucky for those who are superstitious. A day when there was a ray of sunshine from an otherwise bleak day of worrying signs. Today, as RNZ reported; Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield reported 54 new confirmed and probable cases ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    15 hours ago
  • A UBI in Spain
    So far, universal basic income policies, which see people given a regular income without any conditions, have been trailed only on a small scale. But now, Spain is introducing one nationwide as a response to the pandemic: Spain is to roll out a universal basic income (UBI) “as soon as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    16 hours ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 4: Till et al (2020)
    Paul Connet, head of the anti-fluoride propaganda group, Fluoride Action Network, claims that the IQ of children bottle-fed in fluoridated areas drops by 9 points. But he misrepresented the research. There is no observable effect. For earlier articles in this series see: Part 1: Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only ...
    19 hours ago
  • The Role of Government
    The Queen’s coronavirus broadcast, with its overtones of Winston Churchill and Vera Lynn, prompted me to reflect on the tribulations my parents’ generation suffered during the Second World War – and I imagine that those parallels, given her own wartime experience, were very much in the Queen’s mind as she ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    20 hours ago
  • How to complain about MDC’s unreasonable LGOIMA charging regime
    Back in February, the Marlborough District Council increased the mount it charges for LGOIMA requests. I used the LGOIMA to poke into this, and it seems the case for increased charges is unjustified: the supposed increase in request volumes it rests on is an artefact of the Council suddenly deciding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 12
    . . April 6: Day 12 of living in lock-down… Another day of a near-empty Park N Ride carpark; . . And another day of near-empty Wellington streets; . . . Light traffic on the motorway. No apparent increase in volume. Commercial vehicles sighted; a gravel-hauling truck; McAuley’s Transport; a ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • A Lamentable Failure of Imagination.
    Imagination By-Pass: Had the Communications Minister, Kris Faafoi (above) taken a firm stand with Bauer, reminding them of their obligations to both their staff and the wider New Zealand public, then a much more favourable outcome may well have ensued. He should have made it clear to the Bauer board ...
    2 days ago
  • Simon Bridges can’t connect
    We all know that Simon Bridges has, at the best of times, an intermittent relationship with the truth. However you would think that during a pandemic and economic crisis the current opposition leader would pull his head in and start to do the right thing.Obviously leading by example should be ...
    2 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 3: Riddell et al (2019)
    Connett promotes Riddell et al (2019) as one of the only four studies one needs to read about fluoridation. But he misunderstands and misrepresents the findings of this study. Image credit: Fluoride Action ...
    2 days ago
  • The biggest challenge for a generation ahead – covid-19. Defeat and Recovery
    Last month I wrote my blog on covid-19 pointing out the in our pre Alert Level 4 days that a subject no one had heard here months ago was now dominating the media. An amazing feature of this crisis is how quickly it has swept every other issue aside worldwide. ...
    PunditBy Wyatt Creech
    2 days ago
  • Testing for COVID-19 in NZ to Achieve the Elimination Goal
    Nick Wilson,1 Ayesha Verrall,1,2 Len Cook,3 Alistair Gray,3 Amanda Kvalsvig,1 Michael Baker,1 (1epidemiologists, 2infectious disease physician, 3statisticians) In this blog, we raise ideas for how New Zealand might optimise testing to both identify cases in the community as part of the COVID-19 elimination strategy, and to confirm when the virus ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 days ago
  • Should we all be wearing face masks to prevent Covid-19 spread?
    Maybe you’ve seen the graph that says those countries where everyone wears a mask are the ones that have managed to keep Covid-19 under control? The first thing to say about that claim is that those countries also did lots of other things, too – they acted fast, with intense ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    3 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #14
    Story of the Week... Editorial 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... North Atlantic's capacity to absorb CO2 overestimated, study suggests Research into ocean’s plankton likely to lead to ...
    3 days ago
  • The Americans are trying to kill us all again
    The Treaty on Open Skies is one of the most effective mechanisms for preventing war curently in force. By letting countries make surveillance flights over each others' territory, it eliminates fears that they are secretly preparing for war. So naturally, the US is planning to withdraw from it: The Trump ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 11
    . . April 5: Day eleven of living in lock-down… My one day of rest for the week, and an opportunity to mow my lawns – which I’d been delaying for about three weeks. (On the plus side, the damp micro-climate in my back yard yielded three lovely fresh mushrooms ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Now we know what the rules are
    As the lockdown has gone on, disquiet about what the rules were and the police's enforcement of them has grown. On Friday, Police admitted that they were abusing routine traffic stops to effectively set up illegal checkpoints, and on Saturday Stuff revealed internal police advice saying that they actually needed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 2: Green et al (2019)
    Paul Connett is putting all his eggs in one basket. He says “you only have to read four studies” to find community after fluoridation harmful. Image credit: Fluoride Action Network newsletter. For part 1 of this series see Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018). Paul Connett, ...
    3 days ago
  • Hard News: Splore Listening Lounge 2020: the road to a “yes” vote
    As far as anyone can say, New Zeaand still has a general election scheduled for September 19 this year. The election will be accompanied by two referenda, one of which will ask voters:Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?The official campaign period for the cannabis referendum begins ...
    3 days ago
  • Obituary for The New Zealand Listener (1939-2020)
    The vast majority of tributes to the Listener hearken back to its glory days, with little reflection on the magazine as it was at its end.I wrote for it, for half the Listener’s life; I have known personally all the editors except the first (mythical) three. From 1978 to 2014 ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    3 days ago
  • Universal income – a challenge to capitalism or a crutch?
    As the world economy slides rapidly towards deep recession there are growing calls for a Universal Benefit coming from some leftists and rightists. Now Finance Minister Grant Robertson is saying it is on the table.  This article by a French party Workers Struggle provides analysis of various forms of universal ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018)
    This is the advice from the very top of the anti-fluoride movement – Paul Connett, director of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN). Don’t worry about reading  up on all the scientific information “You only have ...
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 10
    . . April 4: Day 10 of living in lock-down… I wake up to a fine Saturday morning which normally would be like an early Christmas. But it’s Day 10 of Level 4 Lock Down. What  will my fellow New Zealanders be doing on a day like this – staying ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Redline reaching out to more writers & readers
    Some time during the night we went over the 850,000 views mark. We might have had our millionth view by the end of this year – certainly by early next year. Most of the people involved in Redline spent years and years producing various small left-wing papers and selling them ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Keir Starmer elected
    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
    18 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
    3 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