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Home Sweet Home

Written By: - Date published: 11:52 am, November 4th, 2017 - 23 comments
Categories: class war, housing, infrastructure, poverty, quality of life, Social issues, tenants' rights - Tags: , ,

My New Zealand used to be one of innocent pride, where we helped each other out and we gave a damn about others. Now I am disillusioned and angry. I feel disgust and anger that we have allowed poverty and homelessness to occur in our communities. I am disgusted and angry that our Government (no matter which political persuasion) has been allowed to undermine our safety net to the point that there is no safety net for some of our most vulnerable citizens. And I am angry that instead of facing this problem, we have allowed a small portion of our society to promote a discourse of blame and hate. It is time that we take back our communities and work together to ensure our most vulnerable citizens are shown the kindness, care and support that they need. We can no longer turn a blind eye, and we can no longer sit back and pretend this is not our problem.

Using the official definition of homelessness there were over 41,000 homeless people (pdf) in New Zealand back in 2013. I meet homeless people every single day and I want to highlight some underlying factors to help explain how difficult it is being homeless in New Zealand.

The people I meet are homeless for a variety of reasons. Some of the typical scenarios include illness impacting on people’s ability to work resulting rent arrears and eviction. Some are women escaping violence. Some have experienced a breakdown in other relationships, or are responding to changing family situations. By the time I get to meet these families there’s usually a lot has already gone on for them. Some having amassed debt (due to poverty related factors as well as commonly not receiving proper benefit entitlements) and some, but not all, have poor tenancy records. Once this happens these people, under the current system, don’t really stand a chance.

I have noticed that more and more rental properties are being managed by agencies; agencies who in my opinion, find it easier to say no to homeless mothers and children begging for a roof over their heads. Discrimination is rife, with some sharing stories of landlords commenting on their family size, the gender of their children, their brown faces, their tattoos, their work status (or lack thereof)…. The truth of the matter is that landlords can afford to be fussy. They can afford to deny decent people and their children the chance of a home because there’s plenty of potential tenants (who are much harder to stereotype) banging on their doors. In part, this discrimination is a direct result of the negative discourse about beneficiaries that both Government and media have propagated over the last 25 years or so. The impact of poverty on people’s credit and tenancy records is also the manifestation of over thirty years of miserly and punitive welfare policy. Essentially we are now visibly reaping what was sown from the early 1990’s. Stereotypical and discriminatory thinking even affects some in the supposed caring professions. I often have to challenge these beliefs among my peers and colleagues, and frankly it is tiresome and frustrating that some in the ‘helping’ professions are complicit in propagating such a negative discourse.

Homelessness disrupts children’s lives considerably. It can mean several changes of school; disrupted education and social relationships; not having their own space; having stressed parent/s who have no energy; not having friends home to play and being embarrassed in front of their friends, and it often means losing their worldly possessions and having no toys. Sometimes the end result is unnecessary stress and anxiety and behavioural problems that are then judged and treated harshly.

For their parents, homelessness also causes high levels of stress, depression and a sense of hopelessness about the future. It means house hunting is a full-time job. It means having to tell stranger after stranger why they are in the situation they’re in – it means being judged and then being knocked back time and time again. Homelessness prevents these families having a sense of belonging in their communities. Homelessness can mean having to live in situations and rely on people who may use and abuse them. These families are vulnerable and often see no light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel.

With things so difficult for the homeless on the private rental market, one would think that these families would easily access state housing. Unfortunately this is not the case for the people I meet. It seems the previous Government didn’t want to spend money on empty houses. Let’s hope the new Government will step up. Internet searches bring up multiple articles about Government selling supposed surplus state houses – even as recently as a month ago. There are also multiple accounts of empty state houses despite desperate families needing homes. The families I work with just want a house. They’ll take anything. Anywhere. As long as they have a roof over their heads. Of course from a practical point of view, this level of desperation is likely to cause problems later on, as families find themselves having to pay small fortunes on buses or travel trying to get their children to schools – money that will likely come from already inadequate food budgets or from money earmarked for rent These type of situations are often judged harshly by WINZ case managers, who will suggest unreasonable solutions, that will have further negative impacts on these families.

Homelessness has many faces. It is not just the stereotypical older male alcoholic sleeping on park benches in his unkempt clothes or the crazy bag lady carting her worldly possessions around. Those stereotypical images lay blame. Those images mean we don’t have to care because it’s “just the way it is”, or it’s their fault – it’s nothing to do with us.

23 comments on “Home Sweet Home”

  1. cleangreen 1

    Very true this is.

    “Egelitarianism” was the word of the 1950’s 60′ and 70’s util 1984 then our life changed as I grew older then.

    It was common to see hitch hickers on the roads and ofrten we would pick up folks or be picked up whe we were hitch hickig ourselves.

    Then you could leave a home or car unlocked but ever could you do it today.

    • timeforacupoftea 1.1

      “cleangreen said –

      I presume you are talking North Island.
      Don’t tell anyone but all this still happens around South Otago area’s.
      Students often get picked up on the Northern Motorway and Southern Motorways plenty of tourist sit with signs seeking rides to Queenstown etc between Dunedin City and Mosgiel.
      Plenty of homes and cars left unlocked day and night especially in the farming areas.

      • mary_a 1.1.1

        @ (1.1) timeforacupoftea … recently moved permanently to Cromwell from a lifetime living in Auckland. One of the reasons for the move, apart from the awesome scenery and fresh mountain air, was the friendliness, caring, kindness and most of all trust shown in this spiritually generous community, where we feel safe.

        For us two old codgers (in our early 70s), setting down roots in Cromwell was like stepping back in time, to the Auckland of our youth in the ’50’s & ’60’s. A place where people matter and people care.

        I’m still coming to terms with the fact that most of the locals here are not bothered about leaving their vehicles and homes unlocked as you mentioned! As our neighbours told us, we don’t have to worry about that sort of thing around here, because we don’t turn on our own and we always look out for one another. Good points to remember. Very sad indeed though that such kindness and generosity of spirit is so sadly lacking in this day and age particularly in the cities, leading to unnecessary suffering, where far too many Kiwi families are being allowed to fall through the cracks, through lack of adequate support. A situation where negligence of their plight has made them all but invisible to society.

        This is the community’s problem, something we should all share, help and become part of before it’s too late for vulnerable Kiwis.

  2. Incognito 2

    Excellent post!

    Saying that it is not our problem is our problem and the more we say it, the bigger the problem. This selfish & individualistic behaviour is a social issue by definition and entirely shaped by human nature and vice versa.

  3. Antoine 3

    Preach it!

    A.

  4. Siobhan 4

    “The human right to adequate housing is binding legal obligation of the State of NewZealand. This means the State of New Zealand has agreed to ensure that the right
    to adequate housing is progressively realised in New Zealand. It is an “international obligation” that must be performed in New Zealand.”.(..my bolds.)

    https://www.hrc.co.nz/files/1214/2681/4255/Right_to_Housing_Flyer_FINAL__2.pdf

    we better rattle our daggs because we signed this in 1948..’progressively’ should be ‘realised’ by now…

  5. greywarshark 5

    Very well put, coming from someone who has experienced the situation it is very telling. And I think there is a charity model strong in NZ where you administer things to the peeps who are regarded as lesser and face a template prejudice (this is how ‘these’ people are etc.).

    It used to be that people were encouraged to remember that there but for the grace of God go I. And that things can go bad for anybody. But now when this should be understood plainly and compassion shown, people still accept the propaganda that these people don’t deserve to have a life.

    It is heart wrenching to see the hardening of hearts, the closing of ranks, the comfortable cliques with similar beliefs and understandings, the desire to withhold opportunities and living standards from others. Everyone has watched the history of NZ – business deteriorate, stories about redundancies, low wages, high rents, uncertain hours etc. Yet we remain ignorant of it all, determinedly ignoring it, pushing it away, waiting for some cargo cult from the USA or Australia to deliver some policies that will work and improve the situation.

    And in the meantime so many people just go on voting for whoever, doing the same old, placing hope in some past group that has no answers that help people regain their own strength and self-determination but within a supportive community. Many don’t seem to have the vitality and curiosity to study what can be done to improve things right now, and what new approaches are needed to direct us onto another path so we can manage not to have vast pockets of unfortunate people being put through the mill so others can have more and swan around buying their designer this, and their trendy that.

    But TS is a place where people with ideas can put them forward. Out of the raw material put here we may be able to gather the resources and materials to sew and hammer a new fabric that is fit for purpose in the precarious 21st century.
    Let’s do it!

    I’m thinking about co-operative living and co-housing. What are you thinking about and doing studies about and discussing about and perhaps applying your knowledge to? Whoever is reading this is – it would be good to hear what you are doing, and not just hear from so many sitting judging the words and the world as they pass by.

  6. gsays 6

    Thanks korero, what you have written is very uncomfortable to read.

    The Aotearoa of the past resonates with me. We knew and were often a big part of our neighbours lives (veges, eggs, child care, a sympathetic ear).

    A big problem, as you highlight, is this notion of a property portfolio, tax breaks, and being a landlord as a way to get ahead.
    Perhaps a big rejigging of the rules around this could help.

    Thanks again for your heartfelt words.

  7. weka 7

    Very good KP.

    Would be interested to know your opinion on something. If the new govt transformed WINZ, took away sanctioned, enabled full access to entitlements, and change the culture from a punitive one (ie. best case scenario under Labour/Green hand), how much of the poverty issues too you see being resolved? Obviously that’s not going to fix housing but I want to get a general sense of how people seeing the WINZ system working if it was functional but without major legislation change (apart from rolling back the Bennett stuff).

  8. Korero Pono 8

    Weka, to answer your question, I will deviate slightly from the main gist of my post. The Government needs to take a serious look at Section 70A of the Social Security Act, which does impact on a number of families that I have worked with over the years. This is important to the homeless issue because of the impact it has on mainly women and their children. These families are forced into debt because they cannot afford essential living costs, the loss of $28 is disastrous for the women and children affected. The debt cycle then creates negative credit history and means that rental agents and even private landlords base decisions on this history, thus locking many out of the private housing market. To add to the punitive section 70A, I just discovered that for the purpose of calculating Temporary Additional Support, the system does not deduct the $28 (or more in some cases) from the client’s income – even though technically they don’t receive this money. This situation creates a double punishment to those unlucky enough to be in that situation. (Over 14,000 beneficiaries are affected by section 70A – see https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/98519361/weve-inherited-a-disaster-official-figures-show-45000-home-shortfall-in-auckland). What’s more, the last time I looked, liable parents on benefits usually don’t pay $28 in child support payments – so the $28 paid by sole parents who don’t name the liable parent, is probably disproportionate to the actual child support lost by the state. There is something incredibly wrong with how everything within the system is stacked against those with the greatest need. In my line of work, I see this time and time again – I am often left wondering how the fuck I am going to find resources or extra money for these families to survive on. To be honest I don’t have much faith in Labour to ‘fix’ anything…I am taking a strictly will believe it when I see it stance on that one. I have been around and working within (and against) the system for too long to not remember how bad things have been under both Labour and National. We need to, absolutely must challenge the negative discourse surrounding welfare and the beneficiary class (the under class) if you will…as greywarshark states above ” but for the grace of God go I”, most of us are only one or two pay days away from being in that position ourselves.

    • weka 8.1

      When did Section 70A come into force? (google isn’t helping).

      I had been reasonably hopeful about the Greens doing some good stuff to remove sanctions and change the culture at WINZ, but just reread the C/S agreement and realised that they’re probably not going to be leading on that. The agreement just says that both Labour and the Greens agree it should happen, but as Labour hold the Ministry I’m expecting that it will be Labour’s job to organise, and like you, based on history and current reading of Labour policy and position, I’m in a wait to see what they do frame now. I think some things will change for the better, but Labour need to re-earn our trust and I’m not convinced yet that they will do what is necessary. I also don’t know that they are talking to the people most affected well enough, which is critical

      • Karen 8.1.1

        You may find this informative re section 70a as it also gives the figures for the numbers of beneficiaries affected.

        https://www.msd.govt.nz/documents/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/official-information-responses/2016/november/20161103-section-70a-deduction-from-benefit-va15550088.pdf

        Labour should have addressed this when last in power so I understand that there lack of faith that they will do it this time. There are a couple of things that give me hope, however. First, I know the Greens will push for it and I also know that Carmel Sepuloni will be supportive. The second is that this penalty pushes children into a state of severe poverty and because Jacinda has taken on the portfolio of reducing child poverty I cannot see how she personally will be able to justify not removing it.

        • weka 8.1.1.1

          thanks Karen, I saw that but wasn’t sure if the figures indicated the start date or not.

          I’m wondering if WINZ were using more discretion back in the day? I don’t remember it being talked about so much, but I’m guessing the pressures are even more than they used to be (financial and system).

          • Karen 8.1.1.1.1

            Most of the anti beneficiary/welfare dependence rhetoric started in the early 1990s after the benefit cuts. It was a concentrated propaganda campaign throughout all media outlets, but particularly talk-back radio. The welfare dependancy message was relentless but my feeling is that WINZ workers at that time were not as punitive as they now are.

            The 1991 benefit cuts didn’t come out of a vacuum – the Muldoon government did quite a lot of beneficiary bashing – in particular there was a lot of anti DPB rhetoric. It was blamed for an increase in marriage breakups and promiscuity. Women who didn’t have a paternity established only qualified for an Emergency Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and in 1977 this began to be paid at $16 a week lower so this was the start of the penalty.

            In 1985 Labour started paying the EMA at the same rate as the DPB and there was a much better attitude to beneficiaries for a while. This is also the time when the racism within government departments began to be addressed – although, of course, Māori were at the same time being severely disadvantaged by Rogernomics.

            This is a paper that explains some of the history:

            https://www.victoria.ac.nz/law/research/publications/vuwlr/prev-issues/vol-36-1/hughes.pdf

  9. David Mac 9

    The shortage of rental properties has made it increasingly difficult for anyone that presents as anything other than an immediately evident superb tenant. For years the total of rental homes advertised on Trademe in the Far North hovered around 100. For 2 years that figure has been tumbling, today there are 33.

    Owner landlords and property managers alike, with so many strong applicants…They don’t need to take a chance on anything less than a glowing credit history, superb previous tenancy references, stable employment history, they don’t have to anticipate how well behaved a dog may be, no dogs allowed. Why subject the house to the wear and tear of 5 people when a single person is keen to move in?

    As a result, anyone that is less than the perfect cookie cutter potential tenant struggles. They’re part of a growing group.

  10. Karen 10

    Excellent post.
    I am absolutely sure that 2013 figure of 41,000 is much, much higher now and it isn’t just a big city problem any more. The reasons for the crisis are multiple but the sell off of state houses has been a major factor. The Nat. government should have been building state houses to cope with population growth, not selling them off. As well as selling 3000 state houses, many more have been boarded up and left to rot because of so-called ‘P’ contamination based on shonky testing and bad science.

    Even getting onto a state house waiting list has been made almost impossible because WINZ is now the gatekeeper and many people are too scared to tell them of their living conditions in case their kids get taken off them. Housing NZ needs to reopen publicly accessible offices and start taking responsibility for making sure decent housing is provided.

    Personally, I’d like to see a massive state house building programme as it is the only way to make sure everybody can afford somewhere decent to live. Accommodation supplement just subsidises landlords – better that the state provides housing direct.

    • Carolyn_nth 10.1

      Agree with the need for a massive sate housing build.

      Excellent post. I was conscious when reading it, that I am one of the more privileged renters – middle class, reasonable income, single, no pets. And that is while still feeling pretty insecure in the current renting context.

      And having moved a couple of times in recent years, I know what the quality of private rentals is like, and also know how over-priced everything is, and how much landlords and estate agents hold all the power.

      More than anything, the laws and regulations need to change, to give more power to the least well off renters.

      The state would be better spending money on supporting those deemed unattractive to landlords, rather than on housing allowances that go straight into ungrateful landlords banks.

      Support for those with mental health issues; support for solo mothers in various ways e.g. access to education/training, affordable child care, adequate benefits, developing supportive communities for those who have had to move too often, etc.

  11. Angel Fish 11

    We need to identify and address the cause of this problem and just mitigate the symptoms.

  12. greywarshark 12

    Looking at past post from one Corie Haddock.
    This was one from last year that says it for others this year just as well. I have just put some paras in for better effect.

    Guest post: Corie Haddock on the homeless crisis

    keith ross 5
    18 June 2016 at 11:13 am

    the other elephant in the room is the sanctions that are put on people who are unemployed by the welfare dept(not sure what the name of this dept is now).
    The difficulty of obtaining the dole and maintaining the income from this is very challenging for many people.

    The govt needs to relax the ridiculous rules like going to write your own cv courses over and over and miss an appointment ,your done,look the wrong way at a worker at the office, your done, for example. Having to report in multiple times which costs you money for no reason but to make life difficult for you.

    If the access to this was put back to where it was ten years ago then that would help a lot of people. Those that just drop off the roles but do not have a job go somewhere, the street in many cases.Stop punishing the most vulnerable in our society. The money that they get (tiny as it is) is totally spent and goes back into the community supporting other small businesses and the economy in general. by the time their income is spent and taxed multiple times the govt gets back a fair portion of this money in the end anyway. It is cheaper to pay them than not to .

    (18/6/2016 – Corie Haddock worked at the coal face of homelessness in Auckland’s CBD for almost a decade, finishing in March this year. In that time he developed and ran person centred, innovative services that focused on ending homelessness one person at a time. He was also Labour’s candidate in the Helensville electorate in 2014. Currently he is the co-chair of the New Zealand Coalition to End Homelessness, a national body that works at all leaves (levels?)to address the issue of homelessness. Corie is now self employed working on innovations that can address homelessness at a community level.)

  13. Patricia 13

    Karen / Weka ; many of the single mums know very well who the fathers are but they have either left the relationship or refuse to sign the birth certificate.
    Once mothers have named the fathers it should be compulsory for them to undergo an DNA test. Unfortunately the expense of DNA testing is beyond the budget of most women so would it not be better for MSD / IRD to cover that cost ?
    Losing $28 weekly is supposed to punish / shame the mother but we all know that the whole family suffers.

    • Karen 13.1

      Often the mothers are too frightened to name the father – it isn’t just a case of not being able to prove it.

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    . . 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
    4 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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 ...
    5 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 ...
    5 days ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Lockdown day 8
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    6 days ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    6 days ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    6 days ago
  • Outsiders.
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    6 days ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    6 days ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    7 days 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
    7 days ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing or ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    1 week ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    1 week ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    1 week ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    1 week ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    1 week ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    55 mins 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
    3 hours ago
  • NZ horticulture sector feeding Kiwis and the world during COVID-19
    More New Zealanders are taking up the chance to work in horticulture as the sector keeps New Zealanders fed and in jobs during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown. “Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Work to repurpose PGF funds begins
    The Provincial Development Unit is working through applications and projects to see where Provincial Growth Fund money can be repurposed for initiatives deemed more critical to fighting the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “We need to be throwing everything we have at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day ago
  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 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
    5 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
    5 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    1 week ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago