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In face of share market meltdown, Govt’s options limited

Written By: - Date published: 7:15 am, August 26th, 2015 - 54 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, bill english, debt / deficit, Economy, housing, john key, tax, treasury - Tags: , ,

By Simon Louisson

John Key says New Zealand has options in the face of a share market meltdown.

The Prime Minister says that New Zealand is not like Greece (well that’s a relief).

The question is how real are those options?

Enormous debt built up by six successive Budget deficits has limited options.

Government debt under the stewardship of Finance Minister Bill English has soared to $63 billion – some 26.5% of GDP – from just $17 billion, or 9.1% of GDP, in 2009 when National tool office.

And while the economy temporarily revived due to a spike in dairy prices and the stimulus of the Christchurch rebuild, Bill English discarded the concept of the “automatic stabilizer’, where you save in good times so you can spend in bad times.

Remember it is only three four years ago that international rating agencies Fitch and Standard and Poor’s downgraded New Zealand’s credit rating, citing concern over our high external debt.

S&P’s sovereign credit analyst Kyran Curry said then: “the lowering of the foreign and local currency long-term ratings follows our assessment of the likelihood that New Zealand’s external position will deteriorate further”.

Our economic strengths were “moderated by New Zealand’s very high external imbalances, which are accompanied by high household and agriculture sector debt, dependence on commodity income, and emerging fiscal pressures associated with its aging population”.

Downward pressure on New Zealand’s ratings could re-emerge if the external position deteriorated, added Mr Curry.

Shortly after the ratings downgrade, New Zealand’s external position improved, thanks to dairy prices, but that situation has drastically reversed in the last 18 months with the Global Dairy Trade Index down 62 percent from a peak in 2013.

As well, debt in the household and agricultural sectors has increased sharply, and the latter it is about to increase drastically with most dairy farms now being unprofitable.

And now, our economy is tracking on what Treasury euphemistically called “Scenario One” – ie a negative outlook.

Under Treasury’s Budget Scenario One economic forecast, where world prices for New Zealand’s commodity exports fall below the central forecast, New Zealand’s current account deficit jumps to 7.7% of GDP by the end of 2016, far worse than the 3.6% deficit in the year to March 31, 2015.

Such an ugly deficit will certainly make the rating agencies sit bolt upright.

The central forecast had wholemilk powder prices moving back by 2016 to US$3900/MT, far north of their current level of US$1856.

Mr Key told Radio NZ that fears about China’s outlook mainly revolved around the construction and investment sectors while New Zealand was happily exposed to the consumer sector. Well go look at the fall in milk powder prices Mr Key.

The effect of a credit rating cut is to make borrowing by the government or New Zealanders more expensive. It is a detrimental and serious event that has long-term negative economic implications.

So essentially, the option of stimulating the economy via increased spending, or tax cuts, which would each significantly add to debt, is seriously limited.

A second option cited by Mr Key is a potential sharper cut in interest rates than already contemplated by the central bank.

Unlike many of the world’s leading economies, New Zealand has not yet had to cut its interest rates to zero, so with the Official Cash Rate at 2.5% there is theoretically a degree of wriggle room.

However, even there, the rating agencies are poised like Jerome Keino ready to wack us as a sharp cut to interest rates would puff up the Auckland property market further.

S&P just this month cut the ratings of the New Zealand arms of the four big Australian banks, citing concern about the over-valued Auckland market.

It said that most financial institutions would be adversely affected if house prices in Auckland fell sharply, even if they didn’t lend much in that region. The agency said that was because of Auckland’s importance to the New Zealand economy, accounting for about 35% of national output.

Then on Monday, Reserve Bank Deputy Governor Grant Spencer said the potential for a bursting of the Auckland property bubble was a serious danger to both banks, the banking system as well as the economy as a whole.

A sharp cut in interest rates will therefore be problematic without further inflating the Auckland property bubble, thereby risking destabilizing the financial system, something the Reserve Bank has a statutory requirement to protect.

So while New Zealand may have more options than Greece, thanks to this Government’s profligate past spending, including irresponsible tax cuts, our options have narrowed drastically.

 


 

Simon Louisson is a former journalist who worked for NZPA, Reuters, AP Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal, The Press, The Jerusalem Post and as a media and political adviser to the Green Party.

54 comments on “In face of share market meltdown, Govt’s options limited”

  1. AmaKiwi 1

    +1

    In each of the past 30 years, only three OECD countries have NEVER had a year when they had a positive balance of trade: Greece, Australia, and New Zealand.

    IMO, these market drops signal a dramatic turn for the worse in a global sovereign debt crisis. If I am right, National has done everything WRONG. We are more in debt and far less able to cope than we were under Labour in 208.

    • save NZ 1.1

      +1 – the government should have continued to cut debt like under Labour. Instead they have spent the kitty and then some, AND MORE.

      Not content to get us into huge debt the Nats have also been busy selling our assets to their mates, power, land and state housing.

      Not even content to do just that they have ordered state owned companies like Solid Energy to take on more debt until they are now bankrupt so they could get more dividends (while still not being in surplus).

      Not content with that, they lowered the immigration investment criteria so now you get into the country by buying up residential property and farms!

      Not only content to do that, they set up crazy public private schemes like Serco to lose NZ jobs and pay more money to have worse public service, less jobs and the profits being sent offshore.

      Not only content to do that they set up crazy corporate welfare schemes like paying for SkyCities conference centre build and putting a vanity conference centre in Christchurch (where Joe Bloggs doesn’t even have an insurance pay out to provide a roof over their head).

      They are like SO CRAZY and irresponsible. It is like some sort of sick joke.

      And then having MSM do their dirty work by telling joe blogs how amazing they are running the economy.

      Words fail me.

      They are even worse than Muldoon’s crazy ideas.

      They are the LOONY RIGHTIES.

      • Chooky 1.1.1

        +100…”They are the LOONY RIGHTIES.”…corruption!

        ….they are working NOT for New Zealand and New Zealanders

        • save NZ 1.1.1.1

          And this, money not spent of social welfare but on consultants to take from the poor and give to the corporate rich.

          Cost of private contractors doubles to $11.9m at Ministry of Social Development
          Payments for private contractors at the Ministry of Social Development has skyrocketed to $11.9 million.
          The blow-out has resulted in a bill for taxpayers that is more than double the previous year.
          Figures from the Social Services Committee’s estimates examination reveal that at the same time the public service is being asked to be frugal, the ministry has spent up large on private contractors, including a $2.6m programme provided by Deloitte.
          The ministry spent $5.4m on contractors for the year to the end of March 2014, but that amount ballooned to almost $12m by the end of March this year.

        • save NZ 1.1.1.2

          +1 – I just hope these National MP’s unscrupulously selling off our country and doing criminal financial damage to the economy, get to taste a Serco prison first hand.

    • DS 1.2

      Quibble:

      New Zealand hasn’t had a Current Account surplus since 1974. We have trade surpluses all the time, but they are always outweighed by a severely negative balance of invisibles (profit flows and such).

  2. Ad 2

    The Key/English/Joyce handling of the economy is beginning to feel like the Robert Redford film “All Is Lost”, which consists of a series of flashbacks in which the sailor
    – chose not to plan
    – chose not to tell people where he was going
    – chose not to predict his risks
    – chose to go the unsafe and vulnerable route
    – chose the wrong equipment
    – chose to keep pressing ahead when it was going wrong

    …and then cries out “All Is Lost.”

    Now, I sure ain’t saying “All Is Lost”. Far from it.
    And I would hate to hear any alternative government sounding other than resolute and coherent rather than stoking public fear.

    But this government has consistently failed to plan, form new instruments, chart a course, tell people where it was going, or figured out how to change when things are going wrong.

    National are inferior government in a crisis.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      Also, they’re an inferior government when there isn’t a crisis.

    • tracey 2.2

      except the government ministers are not suffering. They are not castaways, they are not bereft or hungry or thirsty.

      • Ad 2.2.1

        And clearly you’re not Robert Redford either.
        Go and figure out the definition of metaphor and come back.

  3. Charles 3

    Cool! The Nats are finally thinking of becoming responsible in the face of a crisis and spending to alleviate effects. This spending will include:

    Proactive job creation, public sector support for self-employment, small businesses, co-operative and community-owned enterprises. Expand the apprenticeship programme and greater availability of bridging courses for immigrants.

    Introduce a tax-free zone at the bottom end of the income scale.

    $6.8 million increase in support Initiatives to employ people with disabilities, mainly in the public sector.

    New top tax rate of 40 percent above $140,000. Tax credit giving an extra $60 a week to families; a non-discriminatory Parental Tax Credit of $220 a week in the first weeks of life for the poorest children; $500 million per year investment in children’s health and education to reduce the harm caused by poverty.

    $21 million a year to extend free GP visits to teenagers aged 13-17, abolish their prescription charges; a further $8 million a year to help GPs deal with the extra workload.

    Increase the minimum wage and ensure it cannot fall below 66% of the average wage.

    Set benefit amounts at a level sufficient for all basic needs of the individual/family: Protect all benefit levels by linking rates to a fixed percentage of the average wage (like superannuation).

    A two-tier benefit system consisting of a universal base rate that is enough to live on, with add-ons for specific circumstances, such as dependants, disability or chronic illness.

    A Universal Child Benefit with the ability to capitalise it towards a home deposit.

    Abolish stand-down periods, treat people aged 18 and over as adults for benefit purposes; no forced work for the dole.

    Oh wait no I was thinking of a Green government. Silly me. https://www.greens.org.nz/policy

    Oh, well then, what will happen is National will use this as an excuse to blame the unemployed, the vulnerable, extend zero hour contracts everywhere, privatise everything, throw those with the least power over their circumstances under the metaphorical luxury tour bus – or into private prisons – while handing out funds to the usual collection of people who don’t need it and waste it.

    • tracey 3.1

      I can always count on your to remind me that I have a pot on the hob… that needs more…

  4. tc 4

    As designed folks, the narrow ‘dairy is the new gold’ focus, hammering R&D, reduction in the govt asset base/revenue, foreign ownership is all good, Cullen fund is evil etc etc is what banksta john’s wrecking crew has been relentless about with TPPA coming along to further give away control and soverignty.

    Granny hardcopy leads today with a dog whistling piece on empty state houses playing her part on the diversion front giving the flag a rest probably.

  5. Stuart Munro 5

    The Key government aren’t actually any good at this economics stuff. They just swallow and regurgitate any daft line from the fantasists at Treasury. Among the many options this government faces the service revolver and the decent thing is not the worst.

  6. tracey 6

    I thought I heard Key imply when asked about plan B that he didnt need one cos PLan A is working?

  7. linda 7

    I think national party voters should. Pay the rest of us cant we are stone broke as it is

  8. Anno1701 8

    makes you wonder if JK is our “economic hitman”

  9. Michael 9

    I hate to give National any satisfaction, but this post is wrong.

    a) National was right to run deficits after the GFC as balancing the books when the economy was not running at capacity would have harmed the economy and worsened unemployment.

    b) Debt being 26% of GDP still places us as one of the lowest debtors in the OECD. We can afford to run more deficits if the economy worsens. Debt below ~60% of GDP is considered sustainable, I believe. (And you don’t really get into a Greece-style crisis until you get to like 100-150% of GDP).

    But one point I will make to criticise:
    a) Increasing debt to cut taxes for the wealthy was extremely stupid. National’s tax cuts for the lower tax brackets made sense – that’s classic Keynesianism. But the top rate should not have been changed.

    • dukeofurl 9.1

      Trouble is this year which is supposed to be a ‘near surplus’ is in reality a cash deficit of $5-7 Billion. Thats 7% of government spending. Any economic slowing and the cash deficit ( which is the amount borrowed) gets to 10% of total spending very quickly.

    • Lara 9.2

      Your first point a) may have been true for a couple of years, or maybe even up to four years after the GFC ended, but not the last couple of years at least.

      The GFC ended (at least, the markets made their final lows and thereafter have been in a bull market since) in 2009.

      So for a couple of years after that then yes, running a deficit would be okay. With the strong caveat that only so long as the extra spending was carefully targeted to STIMULATE THE ECONOMY.

      But six years? Six years after the GFC ended? That’s ridiculous. Those last years were a bull market, a long one, with economic recovery. That’s the time to put money aside to weather the next storm, not continue to run deficits and leave the economy less able to weather the next storm.

      • Colonial Viper 9.2.1

        Don’t mix up the bullish state of the financial markets in the last couple of years – fed by a QE I.V. drip of brand new electronic cash direct injected into the markets daily feeding asset price bubbles as well as ZIRP/NIRP – to the state of the global real economy over the same time frame.

        The Wall St/Main St divide has never been greater.

        • Lara 9.2.1.1

          This is true, that inequality and the divide between financial markets and the rest of the economy is great.

          But NZ has still had overall growth in our GDP (with the exception of 2011) for most of National’s reign.

          And although there is a gap between financial markets and the rest of the economy (which is highly problematic) there has been some filter through to the wider economy.

          It’s just not true to say that NZ has been suffering from the effects of the GFC enough for deficits to be run consistently all these years.

          • Colonial Viper 9.2.1.1.1

            The NZ money supply depends on debt, because our government does not issue the money it needs itself.

            Foreign companies take approx $15B out of the country annually, we import more than we export, and the country runs a chronic current account deficit.

            Net, the NZ economy is depleted of many billions of dollars of cash a year.

            If the government were to also start running a surplus i.e. taking more out of the economy than it spends into the economy, it will further exacerbate this extraction of cash out of the NZ economy.

            The result, over time, will be a recession and economic crisis.

            • Lara 9.2.1.1.1.1

              I agree completely.

              I’m approaching the topic from the mantra of a National supporter. They seem to think a surplus is a good thing, and that National are always just about to produce one, and when they don’t’ keep blaming it on Labour and GFC.

              My point is that is bullshit.

              And I’m aware of how money works, that it is created new as debt by private banks.

              And I’m also aware that this is not the only possible way of structuring our monetary supply, in fact, it seems really dumb to keep doing it this way. Iceland is onto it.

              But while we operate in a money = debt system and while we get into ever increasing debt, the interest must be repaid. If this is the system they insist on then they need to reduce debt in good times so that they are ready for bad times.

              I have read plenty of Bernard LIeater’s ideas, and Margrit Kennedy’s too.

      • Michael 9.2.2

        That’s why I mentioned the tax cuts for the wealthy. Now *that* was profligate. If National had not done that, then the books probably would have balanced themselves a bit faster.

        But other than reversing those tax cuts, National should not have raised taxes or cut spending elsewhere to get the deficit down faster. In 2007/08 the unemployment rate was between 3 and 4 percent. It peaked above 7 percent around 2012 or 2013. We didn’t see a more solid recovery in that rate until 2014. So that’s 5 years after the GFC ‘ended’.

        So sure 6 years after the GFC might be a bit excessive. But we still were quite far from running at capacity until early 2014, so the deficit should not have been forced down. I think if National hadn’t cut taxes for higher income earners, we probably would’ve seen the books balanced by then.

        But I think it was completely justified to deficit spend and keep easy monetary policies until 4 or 5 years after the GFC officially ended, sure. I do agree that we should have seen the books balanced by now, though, so we can be prepared to stimulate the economy in case the China crisis snowballs.

        • Colonial Viper 9.2.2.1

          Governments cannot ‘balance the books’ if a country has a chronic current account deficit like we do.

        • Lara 9.2.2.2

          Yes, I do tend to agree with you.

          I’m just really sick of National supporters blaming this governments lack of financial management, the consistent deficits and increasing government debt on the GFC which ended years ago.

          Their supporters are so sure National is a good manager of the economy, all the while they have never actually produced a surplus while repeatedly promising it’s just around the corner, and blaming it all on Labour and the GFC which damn well ended years ago.

          I do agree the “recovery” is a fake. And I expect it’s beginning to all unravel now.

    • Stuart Munro 9.3

      Don’t confuse the incompetent inability to run surpluses with stimulus spending. Those tax cuts were paid for by austerity measures that more than consumed any stimulatory effect. Tax cuts are invariably a remarkably poor stimulus – they feed into the wrong end of the economy.

      We’re in trouble – and the reason we’re in trouble is our economic management is hopelessly captured by neo-liberal cultists. Whatever goes wrong their answer is to steal more public assets.

      This government are looters – only in power for what they can steal. The public should impose martial law on them until the crisis abates. Martial law usually includes shooting looters.

    • Pat 9.4

      debt is approx 37% of GDP…from near zero under Labour

  10. SPC 10

    The OCR was reduced to 3% in July.

    It is not 2.5%, it is forecast to reduce to 2.5% later this year.

    • lprent 10.1

      Agreed. A bit pedantic though

      By now I’d say that the drop is built into everything that the market already does. It is even more likely to go ahead now that the overseas trade is falling.

      The only thing that appeared to have been staying the RBNZ’s hand last year was that it might heat up the Auckland housing market further. However it has become quite apparent over the last 18 months that the money fuelling that is from financing sources outside of the local mortgage markets, and therefore unaffected by OCR rates.

  11. SPC 11

    The most obvious option is to introduce unemployment insurance.

    A pool of money available to pay people for up to 12 months unemployment keeps the economy intact despite job loss – it also means there is no shock to the government budget from benefit cost rise.

    Re property, a surcharge on investment property mortgages would help to calm speculation driven buying and assist resort to a lower OCR/dollar.

    • Craig H 11.1

      I don’t care how it’s done (UBI is my personal preference), but anything that eliminates benefit-bashing is good in my books.

    • Tricledrown 11.2

      That’s not working very well in the US ,ACT style policy.

      • SPC 11.2.1

        Unemployment insurance is not ACT style policy. And they do not have universal unemployment insurance in the USA. They simply have a limited term for UB.

  12. Richard@Down South 12

    The Government crippled the economy when they lead a ‘cut costs at all expenses’ crusade… It didn’t matter what it did to each government dept, as long as costs were cut…

    Private industry was hardly going to look at what the government was doing and go ‘now is a good time to invest and hire new staff (unless you had an up and coming plan/project which had a good chance of succeeding), so most businesses hunkered down, and waited for the ‘economic recovery’ which never came

    Instead, the Government could have made smart choices, invested in real job growth, not changed the GST rate/upper tax rates (a move which was supposed to be revenue neutral but wasnt)… Instead of selling off assets because it is a core belief, they could have kept them and in a few years, we’d have been in a better position than we will be due to the sell off (i believe its 7 years from sale date that we lose any benefit due to what we would have gotten in dividends)

  13. RedBaronCV 13

    I Think I would change the heading “Govts options are limited” sounds like they are caught in something they haven’t contributed to.
    Something harsher like “Govt ensures we have no options ” but I’m sure there are better ways of saying this

  14. Nic the NZer 14

    [lprent: This is a simply awful comment – appears to have been written by a economic idiot doing a diversion comment and not even explaining what their alternatives are. ]

    This is a simply awful article. The author disqualifies himself from ever writing about the economy again due to his total ignorance.

    Question: can NZ ever become like Greece?
    Authors Answer: Yes, maybe.
    Actual Answer: No never, because NZ has its own currency, unlike Greece.

    [lprent: Author never said that anywhere. ]

    Question: should we be concerned about credit rating downgrades?
    Authors Answer: Yes.
    Actual Answer: No never, because NZ has its own currency.

    [lprent: The issue is about debt, specifically sovereign debt which is about how governments raise money offshore in overseas currencies. We raise bugger all sovereign debt inside NZ because our savings levels are too low. Local currency has very little to do with overseas debt except in the export/import balances in paying it back. ]

    Question: should the government stimulate the economy with tax cuts or spending?
    Authors Answer: No, not an option, because it will add to the deficit.
    Actual Answer: Yes, definitely, the government should have already been doing more due to a 5%+ unemployment rate.

    [lprent: He didn’t say anything of the sort. It can only be done if the government wishes to raise debt offshore, or raises local taxes, or causes inflation in prices by printing money or by arbitrary confiscations. (And you didn’t explain any other method). What he said was that using the first was a problem. ]

    Then a discussion about interest rates, apparently the more viable but still problematic alternative. But completely missing the point that the housing market slowing dramatically is a likely underlying cause of the recession at which point your no longer concerned about housing market inflation.

    [lprent: You appear to have been reading a different article. The discussion was about the Reserve Bank’s OCR rate, the rating agencies response to it, and the danger to banks if there was a pop in the housing market. ]

    Obviously by dismissing the best, option for dealing with a likely recession you are going to be left with poor alternatives. Deficit fetishism is doing the country tremendous harm.

    [lprent: And then you didn’t bother to explain what your alternative was. Banned one week for doing a diversion on this post and attacking an author personally. I don’t care if you disagree, but to deliberately misrepresent what the author is saying, and then not even put your own ideas forward is outright stupid. Also tucking this at the end of the comments on this post ]

    • dukeofurl 14.1

      Glad someone pulled apart Nics farrago.

      One other economic lever Key said we could use was ‘lower interest rates’

      Which had me gobsmacked. The Reserve Bank governor is the only one who can set an ‘official interest rate’, and this was because it was taken out of the hands of politicians.

      Last time I checked the only mandate of the RBG was price stability in a certain range. Nowhere is there and requirement ( like other countries) for other economic indicators like reducing unemployment, or growing the economy etc.

      Has Key really thrown the RBG under the bus and the long held economic stability model that goes with it ? Is this the new Muldoon !

    • Wayne 14.2

      Another example of unreasonable banning by Iprent. I appreciate its your blog, but seriously Nic the NZer does not deserve the over the top reaction by you. And if you want to ban me as well because I question your decision, well, its your blog, so its your choice.

      [lprent: Hey don’t tempt me. My usual response to that plea is assist in the self-martyrdom that you are so clearly requesting. I figure that those making that plea should have what they are asking for in full, so I usually quadruple sentences.

      But in this case no. The comment was left in the post with my demonstration of a moderator doing exactly the same style of personal attack in return for a reason. Therefore to allow discussion on why I did it that way. See my comment in reply further down the page. ]

      • dukeofurl 14.2.1

        Banned one week for doing a diversion on this post and attacking an author personally. Im sure this nonsense did it:
        “The author disqualifies himself from ever writing about the economy again due to his total ignorance.”
        Everyone has a go at you wayne but authors are a different category

      • les 14.2.2

        have to agree with you there Wayne..he must have got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning.

        • dukeofurl 14.2.2.1

          read what the banning notice said, attacking the authors is a big no no.
          writing gibberish didnt help

      • Stuart Munro 14.2.3

        Actually Nic was behaving abnormally stupidly.

        should we be concerned about credit rating downgrades?
        Authors Answer: Yes.
        Actual Answer: No never, because NZ has its own currency.

        So credit downgrades make no difference? They don’t affect for example the cost of borrowing? The interest when for example you’ve blown $101 billion by truly spectacular incompetence is more if your credit rating is lower. Magic foreign investment fairies don’t make that go away.

        Like most of you untruthful ultra-righties Wayne, Nic would not survive what he deserves.

      • lprent 14.2.4

        I am always very unreasonable when people personally attack authors, and that was pretty clearly an attack on the author rather than what they wrote about.

        If it’d been a deconstruction of what was in the post, then Nic would have put in their preferred alternatives and left out the personal attack at the start.

        You’ll note that I did EXACTLY the same kind of attack on Nic that Nic did on Simon. This is part of my usual strategy to demonstrate why people shouldn’t use certain techniques unless they are willing to have the same ones used by me against them. Which is why I have this rather hurt email in my mailbox this morning from Nic.

        We need authors a damn sight more than we need commenters. Which is why attacking them on a personal basis is a risky business if people want to continue commenting here. Attack what they are saying, sure. But do not expect to do so when not offering anything as alternatives or without pointing to actual facts. That is a classic avoidance strategy of someone wanting to be a lazy critic without the moral and intellectual underpinnings to frame an effective criticism. It is what you do when you want to frame a personal attack. And leading off with something like

        The author disqualifies himself from ever writing about the economy again due to his total ignorance.

        is pretty hard to view as being anything apart from a personal attack.

        Normally I try to let authors deal with these as much as possible, and acting as a backup. However you’ll usually find me swinging my size 11’s in the same vein as any arsehole commenter (except far far worse) as soon as it is a post by a guest author, or a new author.

        I find it keeps most of the new authors entering the blogging environment happier if they know someone will deal with people being idiots.

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    “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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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 ...
    2 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 ...
    2 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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 ...
    3 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
    3 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? ...
    3 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
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    4 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
    4 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
    4 days 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 ...
    4 days 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
    4 days 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 ...
    4 days 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 ...
    4 days ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    4 days ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    5 days ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    5 days ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    5 days ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    5 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    6 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    6 days ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    6 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    6 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    7 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    1 week ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    1 week ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    1 week ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    1 week ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    1 week ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    1 week ago

  • 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
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  • 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 ...
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  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
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  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
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  • $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 ...
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  • 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, ...
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  • 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 ...
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  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
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  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
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  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
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  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
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  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
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  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
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  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
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  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
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  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
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  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
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