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How to vote in STV

Written By: - Date published: 12:15 pm, September 26th, 2019 - 21 comments
Categories: local body elections - Tags: ,

It’s that local democracy time of year again, and thanks to initial efforts at local body voting reforms, even more councils1 are adopting Single Transferrable Vote for wards, have it for District Health Boards, and use Instant Runoff Vote (which we weirdly also call STV in New Zealand- it’s basically STV where only one person can win) for Mayor.

Without going into full voting system nerd mode, (I can do this if requested, and tell you all about further local government voting reforms that would be better) STV is a good improvement on FPP, and a quasi-proportional system where you can still elect individual candidates. It’s not ideal, but if we used it for General Elections, it’d be about half as much of an improvement over First Past the Post as a reasonably proportional system like our implementation of MMP would be. While I normally talk about electoral issues in terms of making them more proportional and accessible to the public, I want to actually do a brief PSA in the voting period on how to vote effectively in STV.

In New Zealand, we rightly recognize that sometimes voting in these local elections are exhausting and you don’t want to do the research to rank all candidates. It’s permissible to partially order an STV vote for this reason, as it makes it harder to cast an invalid vote.

That said, it’s not optimal to do so. If you have time and energy to figure out your relative preferences for all candidates, ranking them all, (or you know, leaving out the last one, because that’s functionally the same thing) can actually swing the election your way a bit more. Yes, I mean you should even rank candidates that you know are “lesser evils,” the only time you should not rank a candidate is if you can’t make up your mind based on the information you can find easily. If you can’t do that, that’s fine, do your best. But if you want more from your vote, I think it’s important people have information on how to vote effectively.

Why should we rank “lesser evil candidates?”

Well, it’s in the name- your vote transfers under STV, but contrary to some people’s understanding, it doesn’t actually transfer in whole all the time if you’ve picked any popular candidates, and in fact in any STV election with more than 2 candidates, it’s rare (and increasingly so as we add more candidates) for a voter’s entire vote to count for one candidate, and mostly only happens if you happen to have the winner of the last round as your first preference.

Looking at a particular ward for example, voters who picked the first winner in Wellington’s Lambton Ward from 2016, Iona Pannett, as their first preference actually only used 62.4% of their vote (also known as a candidate’s “keep value”) to get her elected. Because she was more than a thousand votes over the necessary quota to be elected, the remaining 37.6% of their vote went on to count towards their next preference, if they had a next preference listed. If those voters “bullet-voted” with just a first preference, though, they lose the remaining 37.6% of their vote and it simply doesn’t transfer, lowering the quota instead and leaving subsequent decisions to other voters.

If you’re an informed voter, you should want that residual vote left over from each candidate’s “keep value,” no matter who it will apply to, until it’s all used up. To guarantee you get it all, list all the candidates you reasonably can in order of best to worst. If you don’t have the energy to figure it all out for everyone, that’s okay, vote with an incomplete list. But don’t deliberately leave compromise candidates or lesser evils off the lower part of your list.


1Specifically:

Dunedin City Council
Kaipara District Council
Kapiti Coast District Council
Marlborough District Council
New Plymouth District Council (1st time)
Porirua City Council
Ruapehu District Council (1st time)
Tauranga City Council (1st time)
Wellington City Council
Greater Wellington Regional Council
Palmerston North City Council

 

21 comments on “How to vote in STV”

  1. hoom 1

    I don't see the point TBH.

     

    If electing a single candidate, unless there is a massive swing STV is just FPP with warm fuzzies.

    You can feel happy voting for your preferred candidate but that vote shifts to the other guy when your preferred candidate didn't win on first round.

    It makes the small candidates feel better because they get more first preferences than they would have got under FPP but they still don't get to win.

    The main effect is it boosts the main candidates' votes because people will put them in for 2nd (or 3rd) preference instead of those minor candidate votes being entirely 'wasted' in FPP.

     

    But it doesn't make sense for multiple candidates either.

    For my Local Board I have FPP for 7 members.

    I tick the 7 City Vision members in the list, ta-da.

     

    For my District Health Board I have STV to elect 7 members.

    I rank the 7 City Vision Health members in the list 1-7 which takes several seconds longer but has the same effect.

    If the 7 City Vision Health members all get in my 7 ranks all had effect.

    If less than 7 of them get in then less than my 7 ranks had effect.

    Either way there is no point ranking more than 7 candidates so they might as well have just been 7 FPP ticks like the Local Board.

    • Matthew Whitehead 1.1

      You don't see the point in what, STV? That's not exactly what this post is about. It's telling voters in areas that already have STV how to vote effectively.

      But if you want to talk election systems briefly…

      "If electing a single candidate" That's IRV- it gets a different name because it falls into a different class of election systems, but for some reason we've incorrectly labelled it as STV in New Zealand, too. It's a dumb idea for voter reform and only worth doing to align single-winner elections with STV voting methods for multiple winners, and you are correct in saying it isn't much of an improvement. It works fine when there are no more than two leading candidates- if you have a close three-way contest the lack of monotonicity comes into play and you can end up needing to vote your most preferred candidate second sometimes. It's rather confusing. STV actually functions a lot better than IRV comparatively, but it's still the rough equivalent of FPP in the class of "proportional multi-winner candidate systems."

      What you're describing for your local board is called Block Voting, and is the usual reason for critiques of voting “at large,” because it achieves its simplicity by ignoring proportionality. It's even worse than STV. It has no good use case at all, its only advantage is that it's simple. If you wanted something that simple for you to use, you could use RAV, (Re-weighted Approval Voting) and you could tick any number of preferred candidates instead of the specific number to be elected. It's basically a very simplified form of the RRV (Re-weighted Range Voting) I alluded to, and keeps all the complexity on the counting end of the equation.

      Suffice to say, there have been numerous Monte Carlo method studies done on candidate voting methods, (usually referred to as "Bayesian regret studies," after the measure used to quantify voting system performance) and while some of them might be more complex to use, they often come with far more proportional and expressive results that better express the preferences of electorates. FPP is really only good to use when there are precisely two options and one winner is required- although I don't like IRV as a single-winner method, I accept it is indeed an improvement over FPP at least, my beef with it is that it absorbs a lot of energy that could be used for better electoral reforms.

      • Dukeofurl 1.1.1

        STV has to be the sytem  that only a few understand well, another group misunderstand it , all all the rest couldnt care.

        The Australian type preferential voting seems to best understood of the preferential number voting systems.

        1) You need  50% +1 to be elected

        2)  minor choices do matter  and the order you rank matters [#2 is  good and #15 isnt !]

        3) the least popular choice is eliminated  first.

        The whole idea of 'excess votes'  just  makes peoples head hurt and contrary to  idea of voting  to eliminate the least likely candidates first if there isnt  majority.

        • Matthew Whitehead 1.1.1.1

          …Australian preferential voting is STV, Duke, if you’re referring to their Senate.

          If you’re referring to their House, it’s IRV, which is just STV with only one winner, like our votes for Mayor in Wellington, or other cities that have gone full-STV. It’s actually a much worse system, as it has all the disadvantages STV has for being a multi-winner system without the benefits of proportionality.

          “Excess votes” is actually not contrary to the idea of STV at all. You get exactly one vote, but it can be split into fractions if more people than necessary vote for a candidate. All multi-winner proportional systems work in similar ways.

        • lprent 1.1.1.2

          STV has to be the sytem that only a few understand well, another group misunderstand it , all all the rest couldnt care.

          The Australian type preferential voting seems to best understood of the preferential number voting systems.

          You mean the system known as STV? That is exactly what the aussies use for their senate and most of the state elections. I think that their lower house uses something similar

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_transferable_vote#Countries_with_STV

          Yeah the lower house uses a easier to calculate form – Two Candidate Preferred (TCP)

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_system_of_Australia#Counting_votes_in_elections_for_the_House_of_Representatives

          The crucial part of that is this

          Section 268(1)(c) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 now has the effect of making the vote of any elector that does not preference every candidate on the ballot paper an informal vote as opposed to counting the vote until the voter’s preference exhausts.

          In other words as far as the voter is concerned they do exactly the same as a STV – fill out all preferences. 27 of them in the case of the Auckland City Council District Health Board.

          • Dukeofurl 1.1.1.2.1

            Australian Senate is  'preferential voting'  [their words] with bells and whistles ( and defies normal description)

            eg  short version

            :If you vote above the line, you need to number at least six boxes from 1 to 6.

            If you vote below the line, you need to number at least 12 boxes from 1 to 12.

            Once a candidate for Senate is past the quota only then are their excess votes distributed ( as described for here for STV)

            https://www.aec.gov.au/Voting/How_to_Vote/Voting_Senate.htm

             House is  preferential  voting as described [https://www.aec.gov.au/Voting/counting/index.htm] when the lowest ranked  candidate  has their second choice distributed and so on .

            Excess votes  of the  leading candidate arent used as described for STV in NZ

            Not all the states require  every box to be numbered  preferentially.

            This is how AEC describes the vote counting

            House of Representatives count on election night

            Immediately after the polling place doors close, polling officials open and empty the House of Representatives ballot boxes. The green ballot papers are unfolded and all the number '1' votes (first preferences) are put into separate piles for each candidate and counted. Informal ballot papers are counted separately (ballot papers that are not completed correctly are referred to as informal ballot papers)…

            Following the first preference count, polling officials conduct an indicative two-candidate-preferred (TCP) count – a distribution of ballot papers to two selected candidates. This result is then phoned through to the DRO.

            The two selected candidates are those expected to receive the most first preference votes. The TCP count is conducted to give an early indication of who is most likely to win each seat, as this is not always clear from first preferences. 

            Senate count on election night

            Following the House of Representatives count, polling officials open and empty the Senate ballot boxes. The ballot papers are sorted into first preferences for each group above-the-line (ATL) and below-the-line (BTL) and first preferences for each ungrouped candidate as well as those which are obviously informal. 

            https://www.aec.gov.au/Voting/counting/index.htm

            • Matthew Whitehead 1.1.1.2.1.1

              The senate voting is in fact just straight STV, there are only two differences between our use of it in local elections and theirs in federal ones:

              1) In New Zealand you can partially list the candidates to whatever degree you so choose, so long as you express a first preference.

              2) Australia has the option for parties to recommend a preference order for you, in New Zealand we restrict candidates from telling you how to vote for other candidates in any way, regardless of their party.

              I can GUARANTEE you that votes above the quota are redistributed as I described. In fact, I'll let you be lazy: look here, under "transferring the surplus." The Aussie Senate uses STV, and votes above the quota are ALWAYS redistributed in STV, not doing so breaks the proportionality of the system. The only way you differ the transfer is that there are a few different quotas you can use. I believe we both use the Droop quota.

              • Dukeofurl

                I said the Senate uses  STV  ' as you described' for the counting. However they call it preferential voting.

                 

                 

  2. FYI:

    You might be interested in this from Andrew Geddis:

    https://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/stv-voting-strategy-candidates-you-dislike

    (especially if you're in Wellington, faced with a Regional Council that destroyed a perfectly good bus network – with help from the local WCC; or some of the candidates putting themselves up for a ride on the Ticket Clipper's Express to Fame and Ego. Pale, stale and thick as pigshit beneficiaries should show their concession cards on boarding. There’ll be a 15 minute stop at Fame only, and there’s been a decision to put extra First Class carriages on for the comfort of the “well-deserving” candidates that can afford it)

    • Matthew Whitehead 2.1

      Thanks, I hadn't seen that. Geddis is saying the same thing I am here, coincidentally, but figures he'd be up on how STV actually works.

      And yes, I agree with you on GWRC. The only incumbent still running that I'm rating to any degree is Daran Ponter. I'm giving my top rankings to Nash, Victoria Rhodes-Carlin, and Lee. The problem is of course that there will be some right-wing winners to GWRC, and the other cities in the area are not as likely to care about GWRC screwing up our bus system. I wouldn't have minded electing Sue K again, but she didn't want to run again for GWRC.

      • OnceWasTim 2.1.1

        "I tend to agree with you Matthew". :p  I've just done the same thing re rankings. I once worked with Ponter in the ps and will give him a high rating as well – I'm just hoping his cajones are still growing

      • OnceWasTim 2.1.2

        Oh, btw, hopefully you'll rate Sue K on the Health Board – plus anyone that's actually been a medical practitioner or been involved in health delivery and in contact with actual human patients

    • Dukeofurl 2.2

      "faced with a Regional Council that destroyed a perfectly good bus network –"

      You do know that it wasnt the current council , but the previous one that voted to give the contract to a new operator ? ( under government rules that said lowest must win)

      • OnceWasTim 2.2.1

        Yes Duke, and I'm well aware of Steven Joyce's hand in it all. The current council(s) are by NO means blameless in as much as implementation fuckups of a bad design (Where to begin!), and silo thinking between local and regional councils.

        • Ed1 2.2.1.1

          The policy I saw had Gerry Brownlee's signature at the bottom. It required a tender process that was required to allow bids for parts of the network to encourage multiple operators, and all contracts to be selected solely on price. Design was not helped by finding that Snapper data could not be used, or by the need for new depots for the different operators in different places. The underlying aim may have been not to reduce costs, but to make the system disfunctional . . .

          • Matthew Whitehead 2.2.1.1.1

            Yes, this is the current PTOM. Labour have been slow on repealing it, although I believe the Greens have been pushing them to get it done, and a recent development* actually renews my hope that Labour are considering this but there are technical issues or higher priorities making it wait.

            *I may do a post on this soon, but basically Labour has just opened up the possibility for GWRC and other regional councils to delegate public transport functions to city councils. You can imagine how enthusiastic I am to get Wellington's bus system into WCC's hands, as WCC has been much better and more responsive in the wake of the bus scandal. I'm imagining how much hell Iona and Sarah Free would raise with Tranzit et al right now and it is glorious.

            • Dukeofurl 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Good point. The 'system design' part is  best handled by City  councils for their urban areas.

              From memory Auckland  has slowly grown its circular routes  around CBD while keeping the old  routes  that run from  isthmus suburbs to the city.

              Further out they built the hubs around  train stations and terminated local routes at the station instead all running to CBD, but still had  a single regular service that covered that route.

              For the North Shore they had the busway.

              Wellington seems to have invested nothing in bus infrastructure and  wanted change soley from  route redesign , which was really about saving money

              • Well, suffice to say, the Wellington system has been an exercise in how NOT to do things.

                The really funny thing is that now, a good many of those standing for council (both local and regional) are making promises to fix it – an most of them, but a couple, still with lots of cloth in their ears.

  3. lprent 3

    For the Auckland DHB (our STV vote) there were 27 candidates.

    First I picked who I absolutely wanted on it and who I absolutely did not.

    So Peter Davis at 1 (he has been involved in preventative health policy for years at a preventative stats level, best place for health policy, and I know his ideas) and Doug Armstrong at 27 (obstructionist who adds a negative influence only).

    I then processed to do everyone I knew like that because I usually either want them or don't.

    Then I put remaining City Vision at the top and the remaining C&R at the bottom.

    Frankly after decades upon decades of C&R I can't see that they have added anything except wasted time to my city. Now with the growth of the city the obstructionism and wasted time is directly visible in a creaking infrastructure.

    Some of the CV people are a pain, but they do tend to work together for the greater good.

     Then I looked for people involved in treating health as a service rather than health as a business either to the community. Health as a business went to the bottom – basically it isn't when you are looking at basing it around a preventative health model. Service to the top with an emphasis on maori (appalling health track record) and non-surgeons (bottom of the cliff usually).

    That left me with about 6 in the middle. That was pretty random

    • Matthew Whitehead 3.1

      Sounds like a great approach. 🙂

      • Dukeofurl 3.1.1

        Years ago when I stood for ADHB they divided the Isthmus into about 3 wards so the 'tickets' ( which I wasnt on) only had  2 ?  candidates each. Now of course everything is supersized up

         

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    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.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    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
    1 week ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing or ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    1 week ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    1 week ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    1 week ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    1 week ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    1 week ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • 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

  • Communities step up to help New Zealanders stay connected and fed during lockdown
    Communities stepping up to help New Zealanders stay at home to break the transmission of COVID-19 and save lives have received Government support, said Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. “Delivering groceries for the elderly who can’t shop online, providing data packs for low income families to keep them connected, and being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    41 mins ago
  • 120 COVID-19 testing centres now operating
    Across New Zealand 120 sites are taking samples to be tested for COVID-19.   68 community based assessment centres (CBACs) have been established to take samples from people with COVID-19 symptoms. Alongside this, 52 other centres including designated general practices, swabbing centres, and mobile clinics are now testing people for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • Covid19: Government moving quickly to roll out learning from home
    The Ministry of Education is working with partners to develop a package of options so that students can learn at home when Term 2 begins on 15 April, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Supports are also being prepared for households with children under five, to help parents and whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Making learning from home accessible to Māori learners and whānau
    Māori Television to begin educational te reo programmes Ki te Ao Mārama – a new online learning space Thousands of hard copy learning packs ready for distribution Helpdesk and advice service for kōhanga, kura and wharekura Television, the internet and hard copy learning packs are some of the ways whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • New Zealand to provide assistance to Vanuatu following Tropical Cyclone Harold
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced an initial package of support to help the people and the Government of Vanuatu respond to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Harold. “Our Pacific neighbours have been hit by a Category 5 Cyclone at the same time as dealing with the economic impacts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Planning for the future of tourism
    Tourism New Zealand to lead work reimagining the way tourism operates in post-COVID-19 world. Ministers to review International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy investment plan. The Government, industry and business are working together to develop a plan for how tourism will operate in a post-COVID-19 world, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 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
    12 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
    1 day 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
    6 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    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
    1 week ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago