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Health, Safety and Accountability

Written By: - Date published: 11:45 am, December 22nd, 2011 - 39 comments
Categories: workers' rights - Tags: , ,

CTU President Helen Kelly talks about Pike River and the death of security guard Charanpreet Singh Dhaliwal and what these tragedies tell us about employer accountability for health and safety in the workplace.

39 comments on “Health, Safety and Accountability”

  1. randal 1

    what this tells us is that we live in a self regulated civil society.
    what this means is that you must tug your forelock and not answer back to the bosses who have their minds on higher things like how to reduce your wages.
    otherwise you are being uncivil and spoiling their equanimity.
    bwah wah wah.

  2. fender 2

    I love you and the great work you do on behalf of the people that some want to abuse to death in many cases Helen. You are the most admirable type of human around and the type of person we need more of not only in NZ but the world over.
    I know you often get flak from people who are afraid you will somehow eat into the profits that they make by exploiting people. But sensible people know that a safe, happy, equal opportunity workplace where people get fair pay for a fair days work is not only best for productivity but creates an environment where making profits is more likely and sustainable.
    Keep up your great work. Hope you have a great xmas and new year xxooxx

  3. Uturn 3

    There is a connection, or disconnection somewhere, in the minds of those who should act, between their percieved organisational status, their legal obligations and then maybe far down the line, their moral responsibility. I guess what that means is that over the period of my working life, my employers have ranged from psychotic, to negligent through to plain confused. The psychotic ones thought that “no care, no liability” was a good motto. They had taken the risk to form a business and now everyone else should pay. It was up to me to save myself, at my cost, regardless of the law. They were the big man, with percieved extra-legal rights because of social status. To some degree, the legal systems backed them up. Pushing people who simply refuse to engage is a job no one really wants to get involved with unless there is some material payoff – this included the supposed “good guys”.

    When you’re young and ignorant, it’s easy to be taken advantage of by more aware superiors. Morally right? No freekin’ way. What happens is wrong, on every level, but when the choice is look after yourself or get injured, maimed, or worse, a person usually does what they can to protect themselves. That act of looking out for yourself is usually stolen for the whole “personal responsibility” meme and because the victim of this abdication from above wants the dream to be real, they might even start believing it themselves. But all they’re doing is maintaining a dangerous environment. Big boys don’t cry, your own efforts your own rewards, tough guys don’t complain and no one questions the boss’ abdication of responsibility. Senior employees often back this up and don’t help the at risk workmate either – waiting for them to fall for whatever personal thrill.

    Sometimes the boss doesn’t actually want you dead. If they come up through this same distorted culture, sometimes they just don’t know. They have a mixture of ideas about safety, all contradictory and rather than risk cognitive dissonance they disappear at important moments, like during the set up of a job or during orientation of a new employee. These employers hover around, looking through their fingers, until reality pushes through their fuzzy thinking and down they come, barking that “it ain’t safe” and then everything stops until a fresh grasp can be found on how to proceed. If they don’t re-appear, they come back later to console the employees who are discussing the craziness of the now finished job, and how one guy almost had that happen, and how she almost lost her hand, and the scaffold was waving in the breeze. They don’t want you dead, but they won’t act. If anything had gone badly wrong, they’d find out the law takes a dim view of neglect.

    Changing the ideas of the psychotic employer is a job for the law, politics and culture in general. Solitary workers can make small day-to-day changes in their environment, but currently they will always be outgunned at an organisational level and risk some kind of workplace penalty. It takes some courage. If you see the new guy a bit disoriented, come on people, guide them through it! If you know a new shift or environment has a hidden risk, tell them about it, or go with them, or alert your supervisor with your concern. It doesn’t matter if you had it hard and now you want others to feel how hard you had it so you can be sure they can relate to your pain and fear. Don’t use people like that, you only trap yourself. Feeling crappy might seem better than feeling nothing at all, but the path to emotional freedom often begins with a period of what feels like non-identity. It doesn’t last forever.

    Creating supportive and safe workplaces isn’t just a political choice, it’s about finding real connections between people and that holds wider benefits than just at work or the bottom line.

    Merry Christmas, if you celebrate it. Decide to keep your shift safe over the holiday period.

  4. lprent 4

    Hell, I am impressed with this video blog. Clear consise and stayed on topic. I was somewhat worried that it’d look like crap or would waffle. But I was impressed and it got me irritated with those companies to the point I will have to read some more.

    I got Lyn (she does video for a living) to watch it. She suggested a couple of tech things to improve it, but said it wouldn’t matter that much. I will squirt them through when I rouse myself from the immediate post work mode (aka blobbing out).

    Doing this regularly is a great idea.

  5. randal 5

    If anyone deserves a knighthood for their services to this country and devotion above and beyond the call of duty then Lprent does.
    thank you lprent.

  6. tsmithfield 6

    I absolutely agree that businesses need to treat health and safety of their employees as their utmost concern. However, employees also need to play their part. For instance, it has come out in the Pike River enquiry that minors were putting plastic film over their methane sensors. This in no way reduces the culpability of the company, and their may well have been productivity motivations that encouraged this behaviour. However, it clearly was a highly dangerous thing to do.

    Also, if people believe they are intrinsically safe they can tend to take less care than they ought. I looked at this sort of behaviour during my studies a few years ago. I read an article about the introduction of safety belts in Britain. The effect was a reduction in death and injury to drivers. However, there was a corresponding increase in death and injury to pedestrians. It seems that because drivers perceived themselves to be safe they took more risky behaviours on the road.

    This all goes to show that health and safety is quite complex and not solved simply by management establishing a safe working environment as there are complex psychological factors at work that can lead to unforeseen outcomes.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      For instance, it has come out in the Pike River enquiry that minors were putting plastic film over their methane sensors. This in no way reduces the culpability of the company, and their may well have been productivity motivations that encouraged this behaviour. However, it clearly was a highly dangerous thing to do.

      You’re a fucking asshole. What you’re ignoring here is who has the power and the responsibility in the workplace for ensuring that high levels of health and safety standards are followed at all times. The 17 year old kid or the mine’s general manager?

      • Craig Glen Eden 6.1.1

        Health and safety is a real reason to have strong Unions without a good Union most companies will do what ever the hell they like and workers often end up paying with their lives, if it was the 1% who were loosing their lives it would be a totally different story.
        Its a bit like Keys statement that NZ SAS did a grand job sorry that we lost a couple of good soldiers but thats the price we pay ( words to that effect). I bet he wouldn’t be so flippant if the price to pay was his son that had been killed that would a different bloody story.

      • tsmithfield 6.1.2

        CV: “You’re a fucking asshole. What you’re ignoring here is who has the power and the responsibility in the workplace for ensuring that high levels of health and safety standards are followed at all times. The 17 year old kid or the mine’s general manager?”

        You obviously have very little knowledge of the health and safety act.

        It is clear that employees also have responsibilities under the health and safety act.

        From the act:

        WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO AS AN EMPLOYEE?
        As an employee, you have responsibilities for keeping yourself and others safe.

        You can make your workplace safer by:

        being involved in processes to improve health and safety
        sticking to correct procedures and using the right equipment
        wearing protective clothing and equipment
        helping new employees, trainees and visitors to the workplace understand the right safety practices and why the practices exist, and
        communicating any safety concerns to your employer.

        I am fairly confident that covering the sensors with plastic film wasn’t “sticking to correct procedures and using the right equipment”.

        I thought I made it quite clear in my previous comments that I considered that most of the blame lies with the company. However, employee behaviour can’t be ignored in this.

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.2.1

          I am fairly confident that covering the sensors with plastic film wasn’t “sticking to correct procedures and using the right equipment”.

          Show me one instance of disciplinary action taken against a worker for doing such.

          These practices were tacitly or explicitly supported by mine management IMO. Unless you are claiming that every time the General Manager went down the mine, the workers hurriedly took all the plastic film off the sensors so he didn’t see it.

          Tell me, would you back health and safety whistleblower legislation protecting employees in work places?

          If not, why not.

          • tsmithfield 6.1.2.1.1

            Yes I would support whistleblower legislation.

            You have no argument from me that the company was atrociously deficient in it health and safety practices. And I absolutely agree that the company should shoulder most of the blame for the terrible outcome. They created the culture, and were clearly very lax in their enforcement of safety in the mine.

            However, even if management had actively been telling workers to deactivate their sensors with plastic film, employees should still have known it was the wrong thing to do and refused to do it. There are some things that are so blatantly wrong that people should know not to do them under any circumstances. What they appear to have been doing is not far removed from striking a match in a mine.

            So I still hold there appears to be a small degree of responsibility with the employees in this situation. The act is very clear that employees also have responsibilities as I pointed out above, and to some degree they may have failed to meet these responsibilities.

            • Colonial Viper 6.1.2.1.1.1

              Fair enough. It seems to me you clearly recognise that the power, authority and responsibility for designing and running a safe mine rests primarily with senior management.

              • tsmithfield

                CV: “Fair enough. It seems to me you clearly recognise that the power, authority and responsibility for designing and running a safe mine rests primarily with senior management.”

                Thanks for that.

                It is probably impossible to know whether deactivating the sensors actually had any causal role in this situation. My understanding of Pike River is that there was a much higher tolerance of methane levels by management, almost to the point of explosive concentrations. Also, I have grave doubts about the investment the company was making in necessary equipment such as ventilation etc to evacuate methane from the mine. So, the accident may have happened regardless.

                My company had just won an order for a whole lot of second-hand compressor equipment for Pike River. Second-hand because they couldn’t afford new. I thought at the time it seemed a bit odd, and wondered if this was typical for the mine. We were on the verge of supplying when the accident occurred. Our staff could have been installing the gear into the mine at the time of the accident other than for a few days.

                Subsequent to the event, the manager we know from another contracting company told us he had pulled his workers out from working in the mine several months earlier because he was worried about safety. Turns out to have been a very wise move.

                • RedLogix

                  And while I fully agree ts that there is both an element of employee and employer responsibility for this disaster…. there is a dimension you have not touched on.

                  Employees have a responsibility to act safely in the ways the Act outlines. But their degree of committment and compliance with good practise will be set by the example and standards demanded by management.

                  Just three weeks ago I installed and commissioned a SIL2 level CO2 gas detection and shutdown system. In my working environment this kind of issue is taken seriously, disabling such a sensor would be an instant, if not sooner, dismissal offence. Presented with such a blatant stupidity, our entire organisation would demand a dismissal and seek to find a way to prevent a repetition.

                  Pike River management clearly did not set about blowing up their mine. They never had a meeting were they decided to deliberately take short-cuts and insane risks with lives and their huge investment. Instead they fooled themselves into thinking that what they were doing…in the cause of getting the mine into desperately needed production… was going to be ok. A lethal sort of closed circle groupthink as it were.

                  Missing in action was an independent oversight of mine management. That is the crucial element that should have picked up what was going at Pike River. Instead we had a DOL desperately understaffed and resourced… and given the emphasis on ‘industry self-regulation’ brought about by the dismantling of government departments in the 1990’s … not correctly placed to act effectively.

                  That is why Pike River has a political culpability as well, no less inescapable than that of the idiots who may or may not have put plastic film over sensors.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Instead they fooled themselves into thinking that what they were doing…in the cause of getting the mine into desperately needed production… was going to be ok. A lethal sort of closed circle groupthink as it were.

                    This is very similar to the ‘normalization of deviance’ or ‘normalization of risk’ organisational culture that NASA was accused of.

                    In other words you know that technically, you should not be covering up the sensors because it poses a potential risk to life and limb. But you do cover a couple of the worst offenders for convenience.

                    No one dies on day 1. No one dies on day 2 or 3. So having ‘proven’ that its ‘safe’ you cover the rest up. And no one dies on day 4, 5 or 6.

                    Sweet, the organisation has now ‘proven’ that its ‘safe’ to keep the gas sensors covered and the deviation to proper protocol becomes normalised as routine.

                    Until the fucking thing blows up killing people, whether its the Space Shuttle or a coal mine.

            • Jilly Bee 6.1.2.1.1.2

              I thought whistle blower legislation already exists – it’s going back a long way, but didn’t Phil Goff help that bill through Parliament? Something to do with a problem at a psychiatric institution. Lake Alice, maybe.

        • mik e 6.1.2.2

          tsm its clear that pike river were taking short cuts just about everywhere they could that was the culture enforced on workers because the management didn’t have enough money to open the mine safely

        • fender 6.1.2.3

          If the miners were coming home feeling crook all the time, which they were, it’s clear there were ongoing ventilation issues. Management must have and should have known this, and I’d bet they were aware.
          Management may have been aware of sensor covering if there were earlier incidences of “false alarms” holding up production, could have been suggested by them even.
          Anything’s possible and likely with that poorly designed and run death trap.

          Someone needs to be jailed for this.

          • tsmithfield 6.1.2.3.1

            “Someone needs to be jailed for this.”

            I don’t disagree with you there.

            • KJT 6.1.2.3.1.1

              Yes they do.
              The Rena second mate and Master are facing criminal charges for what is, most likely, a simple mistake, possibly accentuated by fatigue, working conditions and training issues.
              Scapegoats for systemic rather than their individual fault.

              Pike River is also due to a lax attitude to safety from Government on down.

              I wonder of the party of individual responsibility will take individual responsibility for the de-regulation and lack of interest in workers safety since the 80’s which contributed to these disasters.

              In my view the buck stops at those who had the power to make changes. The top.

              Without proper outside audits and monitoring even the most safety conscious can get complacent.

              Especially people whose main responsibility is the bottom line.

              Still trying to instil in my crews that just because a confined space or hold was OK yesterday, it doesn’t mean it is OK today.

              McFlock is right that safety is complex. Like the common increases in accidents when a safety management system is first implemented. The normal human attitude then, is that “safety is covered. Don’t need to worry about it any more”
              A very dangerous attitude in places like ships, mines and rigs, which cannot be made totally safe.

    • McFlock 6.2

      This all goes to show that health and safety is quite complex and not solved simply by management establishing a safe working environment as there are complex psychological factors at work that can lead to unforeseen outcomes.

        
      But some psychological factors leading to safety hazards are simple enough to understand. Fatigue, intense and sustained production targets, and poor training and supervision are all pretty obvious.
       
      For example, low management emphasis on workplace hazards indicate to inexperienced workers how “real” a threat is, leading to the effect you alluded to with safety belts. Is the threshhold for an alarm indicative of a “real” hazard, or is it just some line drawn by a gummint boo-row-krat? And if the alarm shuts down production, and workers have production targets which result in payment penalties if not met, well – what would you expect to happen over the course of time? Management 101 (or it should be).
        
       

      • KJT 6.2.1

        Reminds me of an oil rig that had a zero accident rate for two years in Indonesia.

        They paid a very large, by Indonesian standards, bonus to each team for a perfect safety record.

        There were no lost time injuries, but some rig workers were never seen again.

  7. Skeptic to the max 7

    “Work is killing 1000 of us a year. New figures, which also show there are 17,000 new case of work-related disease in New Zealand each year, have been revealed by the Labour Department as it rolls out a new plan to reduce the statistics.
    The Occupational Health Action Plan has 21 initiatives focused on reducing occupational cancer, respiratory hazards, noise, skin irritants and stress and pressure.”
    …….. “She [Helen Kelly] applauded the department’s plan but said it had a history of writing reports about workplace health and safety, then not having the time or resources to implement them properly.”
    The department could not say yesterday whether it had specific funding for the plan. ”  http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/business  19.12.2011

    Meanwhile
    “The plan was drafted in response to the 2009 review of the Workplace Health and Safety Strategy for New Zealand to 2015 which identified the need for a stronger focus on occupational health as a priority issue.”
    The draft was the  “Occupational Health Action Plan 2011-13”.
    The consultation on that draft plan then closed November, 2011.

    The final has now been launched December 2011. It’s now the “Occupational Health Action Plan to 2013”

    Some two years for a response to the 2009 review. By the Labour Dept’s estimate that’s 1400 to 2000 more deaths and yet to begin the lengthy process of Implementation. Think now about Public Sector cuts as a response to workplace safety…inspectors..’She’ll be right’..we got until 2013.

    Then compare responses and response time of 8 months to the following scenario and Bill introduction by National…13/08/2009
    “According to statistics supplied by Mr Joyce, there were 25 fatal crashes and 482 injury crashes between 2003 and 2008 (5 years) where the use of a cellphone or another mobile device was a factor.” He announced at that time his estimate was that this Bill would then save 5 or 6 lives a year. 

    National’s new plans and priorities summed up nicely by panellist on “Backbenchers.” this week. ….whatever crops up at the time in this term..like the earthquake, the Pike mine, the Rena

     

    • fender 7.1

      1000 every year. Thats 29 people every 10.7 days.
      It’s easy to see where this governments priorities sit. They would rather a token gesture cellphone rule to appear concerned for lives when theres the 1000 every year staring them in the face.
      But we can’t upset shonkey corporate mates with extra “hassles” now can we.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        1000 every year. Thats 29 people every 10.7 days.

        20 people per week is the more marketable way of framing the statistics 😛

        • fender 7.1.1.1

          20 per week makes a better poster for sure.

          I used the 29 to say its a pike river every 10.7 days

  8. randal 8

    the real founding document of new zealand is the world bank report 1968. (watch out for hippies).
    the parameters it uses are exactly the same now as then and the problem is still the same.
    autarchy or rampant capitalism forcing its full effects on a very small society with sometimes devasatating results.
    an optimistic viewpoint is looking for new things to do and I personally believe that it is possible.
    the labour party must and will lead.

  9. Hulun Shearer 9

    I just love the efforts of the far-Left to rehabilitate Helen Kelly. Every time the extremists show her face, they remind the electorate exactly who the Labour Party is. Who Trade Unionists are.

    Keep up the good work. Another anti-Union march this Mayday (of all days!) this year would be superb.

    • RedLogix 9.1

      Well coming from you HS that’s unexpectedly welcome support and praise. Maybe there’s something in this Christmas spirit thing after all.

      Best wishes….

    • lprent 9.2

      Far left? Me (since I was the one who organised the login)? You really are a bit of a moron.

    • fender 9.3

      Hulun Shearer is the name of a troll, banned till next year, in my humble opinion.
      Theres certainly no need for rehabilitation, shes more relevant and vital to society than you could ever be. Sticking up for people and their rights, protecting them from exploitation is work for the finest people on earth.
      Theres nothing extremist about trade unions you clown HS. It’s very likely if you have ever worked at all that you have been the recipient of a condition that has protected YOU from danger or exploitation, and that was put in place with the assistance of a union.
      Any political party that cares about the workers in this country would know that unions are a very strong voice for workers who are often taken advantage of. Labour can only be commended for supporting people who care about others HS, because that shows that they care too. Caring may be a foreign concept to you HS, but to humans (the real kind) thats a part of what makes them tick.

  10. Tarmack54 10

    An unsung Kiwi hero who will only be acknowledged very late in her career, but never by Corporates

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    . . 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, ...
    4 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 ...
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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 ...
    5 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 ...
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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 ...
    7 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 ...
    7 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
    7 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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? ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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

  • Decisions made on urgent turf maintenance
    The Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson has announced that urgent maintenance of turf and care for plants in non-plantation nurseries will soon be able to go ahead under Level 4 restrictions. “The Government has agreed that urgent upkeep and maintenance of biological assets will be able to go ahead ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Acknowledging an extraordinary te reo champion
    E tangi ana a Taranaki iwi, e tangi ana te ao Māori, otirā e tangi ana te motu. Mōu katoa ngā roimata e riringi whānui ana, mōu katoa ngā mihi.   E te kaikōkiri i te reo Māori, e Te Huirangi, takoto mai. Takoto mai me te mōhio ko ngā ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Prime Minister’s remarks halfway through Alert Level 4 lockdown
    Today is day 15 of Alert Level 4 lockdown. And at the halfway mark I have no hesitation in saying, that what New Zealanders have done over the last two weeks is huge. In the face of the greatest threat to human health we have seen in over a century, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Licenses, WoFs and regos extended under lockdown
    All driver licences, WoFs, CoFs, and some vehicle certifications, that expired on or after 1 January 2020 will be valid for up to six months from 10 April 2020, Transport Minister Phil Twyford has announced. “People shouldn’t have to worry about getting fined for having an expired document if driving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Inquiry report into EQC released
    The Government has today released the report from the Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission chaired by Dame Silvia Cartwright.  Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission Grant Robertson says the Government wants to learn from people’s experiences following the Canterbury earthquakes and other recent natural disasters. “Dame Silvia’s report documents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • More time for health workers and elderly to get flu vaccine
    The Government has extended by two weeks till April 27 the amount of time priority groups, such as health workers and those aged over 65, have to get their flu vaccine before it is made available to the wider public. This year’s vaccination campaign is a key component of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    2 days 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
    2 days 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    6 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
    7 days ago
  • Government supports air services to offshore islands
    The Government has stepped in to support vital air links to our offshore islands, the Chatham Islands, Great Barrier Island and Motiti Island, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. “As part of our $600 million support package to minimise the impacts of COVID-19 on the aviation sector, the Government has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 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
    7 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
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  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
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