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Here we go again – from leaky homes to porous pipes

Written By: - Date published: 12:32 pm, March 21st, 2016 - 24 comments
Categories: housing, national, same old national - Tags:

Key blighted future

It seems inconceivable so soon after the leaky buildings debacle that we are slithering down a similar slippery pipe thanks to this government’s neo-liberal deregulation ideology that states just about anything goes in the building industry and buyer beware.

The leaky homes fiasco cost the country by various estimates between $11 billion and $22 billion – not counting considerable health costs and untold mental anguish.

National Plumbing and Pipelaying Standards Committee chairman Darren Waith​ said this month that up to half of the country’s homes could have unregulated plumbing products installed.

Like the use of low grade cladding and untreated timber, that caused leaky homes, shonky pipes are pretty hard to detect when you buy a house, but can have dire consequences years later.

Waith called for compulsory performance requirements in New Zealand to match the Australia’s WaterMark system, where products have to comply with a standard. New Zealand has voluntary system thanks to our neo-liberal ideology.

Installation of poor pipes is “very widespread especially in Auckland and most likely in Christchurch now, because there is a lot of pressure to drive down the price of the products and there are some big contracts,” Waith said.

A minimum performance standard for plumbing should be enforced in New Zealand rather than rely on consumer laws which were the “ambulance is at the bottom of the cliff”, he said.​

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, which in 2012 incorporated the Department of Building and Housing, said it is aware importers were bringing in shonky plumbing fittings.

But Housing Minister Nick Smith dismissed claims the country could be heading towards another “leaky homes”-type crisis.

He said the ministry had made inquiries but found no major problems. He said plumbers were responsible for deciding whether the products they installed met New Zealand standards.

Every single piece of plumbing work has been certified by a plumber, and if that work is found – two, three or five years hence – to be substandard, that plumber is in the gun and potentially has his registration up for loss if he has not met those Building Code requirements,” Smith said.

The public should be wary of claims about substandard foreign products, because it could just be local companies trying to reduce competition from overseas, he added.

When you find out several years after buying a house that all the pipes are shot, I can just see you getting restitution paid by the plumber who installed the product.

Whether this turns out to be on the scale of the leaky homes fiasco or not, this is a repetition of the same issue – deregulation in the name of cost cutting and slashing red tape.

It also lay behind the Pike River tragedy, where 29 men lost their lives. The genesis of that was the  National government’s decision in 1992 to water down health and safety rules in the Department of Labour in the name of cutting bureaucracy and costs.

The PSA-v fiasco in the Kiwifruit industry, that cost the industry over $1 billion, was essentially the result of lax biosecurity where deregulation allowed pollen to be imported against the government’s own policies and procedures.

A class action claim against the government by 212 kiwifruit farmers, had a “smoking gun” of evidence of negligence by the government in its $375 million claim, according to Auckland University legal expert, Professor Bill Hodge.

Then last week, we had the extraordinary case of Steel and Tube admitting that for four years it had produced steel reinforcing mesh installed in thousands of buildings, falsely signed off as being certified to standard by top accredited lab, Holmes Solutions.

Chief executive of the publicly-listed company, Dave Taylor, said Holmes Solutions’ logo was left on the test certificates inadvertently four years ago, in a mistake that was only revealed this month.

The mesh was developed as a direct result of the Christchurch quakes. It is put in load-bearing walls and floors of high-rise buildings to hold the concrete together during an earthquake. Taylor tried to give assurances the mesh was okay but how do we know?

Greg Wallace, chief executive of Master Plumbers said New Zealand was fast becoming the Wild West of building products.

He has called for urgent talks with the government to address the burgeoning “grey market” in non-regulated building products.

“It’s impossible to say how many residential, commercial, industrial and public buildings contain these ‘dodgy’ products, ranging from plumbing pipes and fittings, to electrical items and lights, where we simply don’t have any idea of their quality, safety or longevity … New Zealand’s a bit like the Wild West when it comes to building products, because we do not have a mandatory product quality certification standard as they do in Australia.”

He called Housing Minister’s Nick Smith’s response as “ill-informed” and refuted Smith’s claim that a licensed plumber had to sign off  a job and a local authority inspector had to sign for the plumber’s work.

That’s incorrect. The plumber has no way of knowing if piping products are of sufficient quality without an external regulation certification of manufacturing quality.”

He said his organisation has been urging the government to act on this for years.

The government can simply no longer ignore industry concerns.”

Wallace accused Smith of “disingenuously implying”’ that plumbers were protecting their patch. He said non-regulation of the building industry was a cross sector issue.

Ultimately, it’s much cheaper to invest in a product that lasts 50 years than buy cheap non-regulated products that fail and lead to significant early replacement costs,” Wallace said.

That is the nub of the issue.

Smith, John Key and their mates taut themselves as good financial managers, but their ideological adherence to deregulation has cost the country tens of billions of dollars.

No matter what your view is of Key and Co, the one value – probably their only bottom line value – is that money matters.

So you have to ask yourselves why do they persist with these absurd policies? The only semi-plausible answer I can arrive at, is that deregulation helps those inNat’s constituency, whether they be developers in the building industry, importers or wide boys in a deregulated finance industry, wanting to make a fast buck.

When the mess is exposed, the companies that created it have disappeared, the fast buck banked, and the taxpayer, is left to pay the bill.

(Simon Louisson is a former journalist who reported for The Wall Street Journal, AP Dow Jones Newswires, the New Zealand Press Association and Reuters and was a political and media adviser to the Green Party.)

24 comments on “Here we go again – from leaky homes to porous pipes”

  1. esoteric pineapples 1

    “The only semi-plausible answer I can arrive at, is that deregulation helps those inNat’s constituency, whether they be developers in the building industry, importers or wide boys in a deregulated finance industry, wanting to make a fast buck.”

    Yep, this government is the feral child of previous Monetarist governments with no real ideology except making a profit for its supporters. It is in essence a government version of the asset stripping companies of the 1980s like Brierley Investments. Its aim is to plunder what’s left of assets still in New Zealand ie what is owned by public. It is no coincidence that we have a Prime Minister who came out of that era.

    • aerobubble 1.1

      Today Key admitted that he was wrong to conclude the teapot tape was deliberately taped,though obviously that was why it was there, that his staff were managing the event, and the owner of the device agreed Key did wrongly conclude.

      What strikes me about neolibs is really they are just Muldoonists. Muldoon classic tv clip of a drunken repeating of the question asked. Key is likewise drunk on profits, incapable of questiinng what he has believed his whole career, publuc and private. That people are rational, that free is better than managed, that Key did not embrace Ambroses entrepreneurism and move to accept free discourse, rather he ran to the oppressiveness of law, to effect a victim stance now we’re all told there was nothing in them. Key people managed the op, trapped a device in the PM vicinity and then manufacture the politucal victim event of the election. Killing off the bad polling from meeting Banks for tea. Key isn’t about substance especially substance that alters the status quo. Neolibs isn’t about deal with crisis, its about looking at the forest a remarking about the color in a way to provoke sustantive consideration.

      For thirty years torys have claimed the benefits of cheap oil come from their handling of the economy, this is contradicting their own free market belief, that its the market, like cheap oil had nothing to do with growth. Butat it would have happened anyway by better management and regulation building sustainable outcomes we’d not have lost billions in SCF, or leaky homes, or Dairy collapse, etc. Removing bad givernance frees markets and is good, removing good governance however creates a free for all for short term exploitation and long term hidden costs.

      Key is a professional at half heartedly dealing with the merits and leaving off the detail.

  2. TC 2

    Building in this country is a wild west of sfa regulation, unproven materials poorly installed and alot of badly executed if any inspection and compliance activities.

    Councils run by nactiods play their part as one inspector is known as ‘drive by dave’ doesnt even leave his council vehicle and rubber stamps the compliance.

    • JonL 2.1

      Bullshit! As an ex- inspector I’ d refute that claim. Yes, there are fucktards amongst the inspectorate, as in all organisations. In Auckland City when I was there, out of 20 inspectors, there were 17 who were knowlegable and pretty diligent in their work without being too heavy handed – the other 3 were………not so….but we knew who they were and tried to work around them. There are always going to be the tales of the ” drive by Daves”, but they are not the norm!

      • McFlock 2.1.1

        lol

        It’s the old story – someone who does a good job passes unnoticed, if someone does a bad job then the tale is told to 20 people

      • RedLogix 2.1.2

        I tend to agree. After a 40 year career in both the private and public sector, I don’t hold one to be superior to the other. They are different, with different drivers and values underlying their business models … but fundamentally the people are pretty much the same and there is no evidence to suggest one is innately more efficient or better than the other.

        They’re just good at different things.

  3. saveNZ 3

    The scary thing is the cost of plumbing materials which are about 7x the cost price retail, now allegedly sub standard. The commerce commission does not seem to care about this overcharging, even though the government seems to be desperately concerned about the less than 1% of resource consents not going through in the RMA and making SHA areas which now house million dollar mansions in some sort of cruel blow for the first home buyers.

    As to the incredible cost of building as well as the lack of regulation which led to leaky buildings which protect the public – the government is not interested.

    Plumbing costs impact on house costs and rent costs for repairs.

    I was told by a plumber that the pipe had to have some sort of brand on them to be used or the council will not pass it. (This was to justify the level of cost of the plumbing work).

    Who knows what to believe!

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    He said plumbers were responsible for deciding whether the products they installed met New Zealand standards.

    And how the fuck would they know?
    Can’t say that I know of many plumbers that have a full scale laboratory for testing plastic pipes in the garage at home.

    So you have to ask yourselves why do they persist with these absurd policies? The only semi-plausible answer I can arrive at, is that deregulation helps those inNat’s constituency, whether they be developers in the building industry, importers or wide boys in a deregulated finance industry, wanting to make a fast buck.

    And it also means that when the brown stuff hits the whirly thing they’re not held responsible. They get to pass the buck while keeping their ill-gotten profits.

    Nick Smith says that the plumber signs stuff off? Well, plumbers are usually sub contractors using supplied materials and they don’t actually get the choice of using other materials. It’s the main contractor (which has probably closed by then anyway) that buys the cheap shit but it will be the plumber that installed it that will take the heat.

  5. saveNZ 5

    Basically we are turning into the USA, where there is zero regulation and a litigateous society where the little public and little guy carry all the risks. Big players can do whatever they want and get away with it.

    In response to Pike River, the National government have now got principals and non profits able to be sued for safety issues.

    They really are masters of confused legislation!!

    Not sure how having a dangerous mine which should never have been built and killed so many people can somehow make a school principal liable for injury.

    Bit like the builders being blamed for leaky building and now liable under law, but Fletchers got that sweet deal from the government and still producing similar products.

    • Expat 5.1

      saveNZ

      And what about the recent Health & Safety reforms, where “worm farming” is considered more dangerous than “Beef and Dairy” farming, and on the day the reforms were approved, another farmer lost his life in quad bike incident, and weeks later, another one, all this to save the farmers a few bucks on compliance, I would suggest the Lives of these farmers is worth far more than a few bucks, and what about the families, that’s the worst thing of all.

      With regard to the Pike River mine, any govt worth anything at all would have chased down the “principles” and held them accountable for their irresponsibility, instead, they get away scot free, didn’t Key say he would do that?

  6. crashcart 6

    We had this issue. We were getting some work done on our driveway and when they ripped it up we got a plumber to check the pipe work from the meter to the house. What he found was that when the house was built they used internal piping for this job and it was falling to pieces. God knows how much it had cost us on our water rates over the years.

    We didn’t build the house and wouldn’t have a clue how to track down who did the work. I doubt they are even an operating business any more. It cost us a lot of money to get it repaired and we were just lucky we were ripping the driveway up any way. I would hate to think how much it would have cost to just get the job done.

    How can the minister say with a straight face that the plumbers will be held responsible after what happened with leaky homes. How hard would it be for the same tactic of winding up a business and starting another one to cut off liability for all this sort of crap.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      How can the minister say with a straight face that the plumbers will be held responsible after what happened with leaky homes.

      A practised liar?

  7. Expat 7

    Australia is having a similar problem right now over imported electrical cable for use in residential homes, the Aus standard is very high for local manufactured cables, but because Abbott reduced the number of staff at the border to check products meet the Au standard, they now have a problem with imported cable, the insulation is cracking and breaking off after only a few years, there is a recall, but the cable is already installed in thousands of homes, and the problem is a serious fire risk.

    You would think NZ had learnt it’s lesson after the “leaky homes saga” but it looks like de ja vou, all imported products should be tested to ASNZ standard before approval for use, allowing substandard products in the “back”door only benefits the importer.

    • Gristle 7.1

      Don’t think that this problem is restricted to Australia. I have seen containers of TPS cable coming in to New Zealand.

      IMO the mode of failure is insulation breakdown as the chlorine migrates out of the plastic. And the result is fire at worst, or re-wiring the whole house. This process is accelerated by the presence of heat, sunlight, some building products.

      A standard house will have 600m to 1,000m of cable in it, so the cost saving per house was around $500 (but it is more likely to be put in the contractors pocket.). Re-wiring a house will cost around $5,000.

      The Smith resolution route is rubbish as often the signing electrician is not the person specifying the cheap Chinese product.

      Standards give you the minimum performance level. Talk to experienced tradespeople and find out what they would use on their house and what way they would use it.

      • Expat 7.1.1

        Gristle

        It’s sad to hear that the same products have made it to NZ, thorough testing of the products to ensure they conform to the required standard before being released into the market place is the common sense approach.

        I didn’t like to identify the country of origin, as many here don’t like the identification of the offending culprits.

        The raw materials used in the manufacture of cabling (extrusion process), the outer insulation is a PVC (poly vinyl chloride) material, but the actual wire insulation is nylon, this is the insulation that is failing, due to the low quality of the raw materials, hardening with time, and unable to sustain any bending without fracture, unusual for nylon, as it’s a hydroscopic material (absorbs moisture after processing) which actually provides the flexibility in the finished product, recycled nylon and the addition of plastisizers can often lead to a much lower structural integrity and may be part of the problem as well.

        If the problem has been identified, then all imported cabling product should be quarantined till thorough testing has been carried out and approved by the standards watchdog before being released into the market place.

      • kendoll 7.1.2

        Huge amounts of electrical fittings and cable have been imported into NZ by the big boys which apparently meet Aus standards but have not been tested and are sub standard. So the rort continues on and the consumer is the bearer of the cost of faulty product. Please check with your sparky when having work done he can verify quality of product, if not tell him to fuck off, same with plumbers and sub quality copper pipe, be ruthless about what you are being sold or told….

  8. Tautuhi 8

    Substandard plumbing products from Asia are going to cause a number of homeowners a big problem in the future.

    We really have a bunch of turkeys in positions of power who make the regulations in NZ, we used to have the best tradesmen in the world now we have cowboys and hammer hands?

  9. Keith 9

    To this very day there are plastic wrapped buildings everywhere, a tribute to Nationals sheer stupidity and probably that of the voters.

    “Wallace accused Smith of “disingenuously implying” “. That sums up Nick Smith nicely, the imbecile who is supposed to be doing something about Auckland’s housing crisis. Disingenuously of course, doing something to fix the problem, not so much.

    This fool was around in the last National government that gave us the Leaky Home, the disgrace that never stops giving. The bullshit given to us at the time was there was no need for regulation as builders reputations were on the line and no one would build substandard buildings. Yeah right! Builders and their companies went out and back into business like yoyo’s and few if any have been held accountable. Just the poor bastards left owning the rotting shit holes and the long suffering rate payers. National haven’t paid a cent for their dumbness.

    And the savings in so called unnecessary costs like treated timber would be reflected in savings in the buildings cost. Yet all that happened with the use of inferior materials was that it got absorbed into their profits.

    How is the innocent buyer supposed to know what rubbish has been used in plumbing, hidden deep in the walls and under a building until the day it leaks and potentially destroys their asset? Who will know what plumber installed it and even then how will you prove that plumber knew the product was rubbish because of lazy short term profit driven government can’t be arsed regulating, instead taking a hands off approach that will guarantee problems in the future.

    How did we not learn from history on this subject? The answer for the Leaky Homes was that no one from the era was ever held accountable and put on public display for their brain dead decisions to “leave it to the market” rather than regulating, so they got away with it and when crooks get away with things, well they keep doing it don’t they?

    • Expat 9.1

      Keith

      It was McCully who was the minister for housing at the time that approved the building standard changes which lead to the “leaky home syndrome”, as recent as two years ago he was still denying culpability and blaming the “consultants” for their phony advice, as you can expect, there was a correction to the building standards, but it was a knee jerk correction, it went from ridiculously low standards to ridiculously high standards, over compensation, but I suppose the latter is preferable to the former.

      The govt should have compensated the affected owners from a fund raised from the manufactures of the faulty products (who lobbied the govt in the first place), at least this would help the owners for the financial trauma, but that still leaves the mental trauma, which is often more devastating than the costs.

  10. dave 10

    you cant trust the new Zealand building industry if there going to be a government backed building program then i would sud-jest we work to a strict set of standard designs off the shelf and as much work as possible done in a factory environment where quality control is handled by process and repetition .our current building industry model is hopeless and needs a radical re think it attracts bad actors where the quick buck and cheapest possible price are the driving force plus our home designs consume far to much labor are high maintenance no way will alot of the new homes last 50 years there lucky if you get 10 years with no big bills

  11. Visubversa 11

    Lots of the new houses in Auckland are being built by gangs of Chinese builders. You go to a building site and it you are lucky, one person will have some English. The materials arrive by the container load from China. Good luck finding anyone to make a claim against in 5 years time.

  12. Smilin 12

    Its bad enough having a shortage of good well grown pine which has been the crux of the problem with leaky homes rotting and the expensive price of oil causing a huge increase in the price of tanalising for the best part of 30 yrs
    I know of many small tanalising operations who just couldnt compete with the cost of production and the result being excessive price of transporting timber around the country hence the exorbitant costs of building to standard and the use of the so called new technologies that we were all were assured that the use of untreated timber would be ok
    Yeah greed and lies as we all know now

  13. That’s so true that many tend to take advantage of the technology by selling services that doesn’t last long. Not only it hurts the pocket of a user but also there are hassles involved in transporting the material again.
    Hamilton Gasfitter

  14. That’s so true that many tend to take advantage of the technology by selling services that doesn’t last long. Not only it hurts the pocket of a user but also there are hassles involved in transporting the material again.

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  • 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 ...
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    4 days ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    4 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    5 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    5 days ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    5 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    5 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    6 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    7 days ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    7 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    1 week ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    1 week ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    1 week ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    1 week ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    1 week ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    1 week ago

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