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Is Democracy peaking?

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, July 5th, 2016 - 48 comments
Categories: democratic participation, internet, Media, Politics - Tags:

facebook democracy

According to democracy expert Larry Diamond “between 2000 and 2015, democracy broke down in 27 countries, while many existing authoritarian regimes have become even less open, transparent, and responsive to their citizens.”

Across the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, total voter participation continues to decrease in both local and central government.

Young people in particular are not voting, and not weeping about it either.

But for minorities, for women, and for postcolonial countries, real blood and sweat has been spent in achieving the right to vote.

So is it OK to get to Peak Vote?

Perhaps, if there’s a better model.

Facebook now has 1.7 billion users and is tracking towards 2 billion, out of a total roughly of 7 billion people. WeChat already has nearly 800 million. Facebook has surpassed voter participation by any single government in the world.

And before you say, Facebook and Twitter and WeChat are just perpetually manipulating us with all their corporate corporation stuff (See America: World Police, and the Film Actors Guild sequence), let’s look at the deeper principle of strengthening and expressing our autonomy, and reforming society.

Is it really worse, when registering to vote, to lose our information to our government than to a corporation? Does it make you feel any safer? (For the record, I’m not on Facebook, and I vote in everything. Which just makes me old, and odd). When we vote does anyone except a politician really know how it’s going to affect our people and our lives and our experiences?

Facebook and democracy work on entirely different principles.

Facebook (et al) is based on free association. You join or decline to join. It’s based on you contributing what you know best: your actions, your ideas, with your people. It builds as much interaction as you like. Comparing Facebook to democratic voting is like comparing a 7-geared Camaro to a slingshot. Slingshots just give you one shot, which you then reload. The Camaro is a machine in which you have full reflexive command over its speed, direction, and ratios.

You also form networks and coalitions. A fully involved, evolving and cooperative process occurs. This, not voting, is the basis for society itself.

I betcha you’ve had more productive conversations about policy and politics just on this little site than you’ve had in your analogue lifetime in a hall with some grumpy numpty railing on about The World Today I Mean Young People, Really, Civics Lessons Would Fix Them.

Facebook (et al) lets you effectively vote over your realm, with the people important to you, every hour of the day if you want.

The problems with voting-based democracy include: parties who decide policy from a handful of members, moronic politicians who too often become populist tyrants, and of course, the tyranny of the 51% majority. With Brexit and Trump and Erdogan and all manner of other nut-jobs rising via the vote, one could be given pause about voting.

I’m not proposing doing away with vote-based elections from citizens. Put your smelling salts away, my brethren and sistren. Except for participation itself, MMP has definitely improved things here anyway.

But the gyre is turning. Participation in society is changing. We don’t have to confuse Brexit etc with the decline of a liberal world order and reaching a humane limit to democracy. But we can safely and effectively look elsewhere for the renewal of the expression of how we form, sustain and re-form society itself. And that may be by means other than voting.

48 comments on “Is Democracy peaking?”

  1. Greg 1

    Politics has always been about the message delivery, maybe peoples reactions are just being tired of the propaganda and bullshit, populated by misleading use of statistics and self aggrandizing of the political elites. =NZs average wage at $31, wheres a list of NZ workers on this wage, Key’s prediction of 3.6% wage rises, who was lucky to get that. =no one I know.

    TV soundbites has eroded the delivery of political policy and debate.
    National are now reverting to form, in putting out policy on the hoof,
    as a tired party without idea’s, and a leader that wont last the election year.

    Does any of this sound familiar:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/british-people-stopped-believing-in-the-benefits-due-to-tony-blair-researchers-claim-9753824.html

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jul/07/corporate-welfare-a-93bn-handshake

    and they wonder why the peasants are revolting:
    http://www.britannia.com/history/articles/peasantsrevolt.html

    First Aboriginal MP in Australia=about time,
    https://nz.news.yahoo.com/world/a/31974699/aboriginal-woman-makes-australian-political-history/?cmp=st

    • Ad 1.1

      If we were tired of the “propaganda and bullshit”, we would have turned away from the sports section of the tv news some time ago.

      Brexit was replete with propaganda and bullshit. As is Trump.

      We love it.

      • miravox 1.1.1

        Well thought post, Ad, thanks. Another piece to put with the following:

        It’s not democracy that is the problem, according to this article. It’s conflating voting with democracy. And the argument is that voting is not the best way to keep a democracy healthy.

        Democracy is not the problem. Voting is the problem. Where is the reasoned voice of the people in all this? Where do citizens get the chance to obtain the best possible information, engage with each other and decide collectively upon their future? Where do citizens get a chance to shape the fate of their communities? Not in the voting booth, for sure…

        …This single-minded focus on elections is actually rather odd. During the past 3,000 years, people have been experimenting with democracy and only in the last 200 have they practised it exclusively by holding elections. Yet we regard elections as the only valid method. Why? Force of habit is at play here, of course, but there is a more simple cause, based on the fact that elections have worked pretty well over the past two centuries. Despite a number of notoriously bad outcomes, they have very often made democracy possible…

        …Elections are the fossil fuel of politics. Whereas once they gave democracy a huge boost, much as oil did for our economies, it now turns out they cause colossal problems of their own. If we don’t urgently reconsider the nature of our democratic fuel, a systemic crisis awaits. If we obstinately hold on to a notion of democracy that reduces its meaning to voting in elections and referendums, at a time of economic malaise, we will undermine the democratic process…

        This is quite a long read for a newspaper article, but worth it imo. It needs to be long to deal with the history and the approaches to democracy the author is discussing.

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1

          Reminds me of a State Department spokesperson being asked if the US was finally successful in bringing democracy to Iraq.

          “well, they’ve just had successful elections…”

          • miravox 1.1.1.1.1

            Similarly dictators use elections to ‘prove’ democracy is in their countries. I’m not sure what the answer is, but the conversation about what a makes a successful, inclusive democracy needs to move beyond who ticked a box on a voting form (which may be better than nothing, but not sufficient).

    • AmaKiwi 1.2

      Democracy is about how decisions are made.

      Do you and I get to vote on legislation to resolve the housing crisis or how to reduce the gap between rich and poor or how our country should cope with global warming?

      No. “Parliament is sovereign” which means whoever controls parliament dictates the laws. It has always been so except once upon a time the public’s views were less polarized so we had the impression of a pseudo democracy.

      If the people are not sovereign, it ain’t a democracy.

      • Greg 1.2.1

        NZs Parliamentary democracy is party tyranny.

        Democracy is a lot of things, but NZs isnt about balance the interests of the people or about some majority rule.
        =National rule with a minority of total votes.

        Parliament is ruled by a Party, it is Sovereign because it has the powers of the Queen backing it.
        She is our head of State, and totally useless in protecting us from a corrupt and criminal political party, but then thats what minority rule gets us when the majority of people dont vote.

        • Ad 1.2.1.1

          Democracy is an instrument, not a policy.

          • Greg 1.2.1.1.1

            Democracy is access to a nations credit card via its tax payers, and paying favours and getting favours, =$$

            NZ politicians are not directly responsible for policy, and none have ever been held legally accountable.
            The party leader cant sack electorate MPs, just list ones.

            we dont have this:
            The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. The RICO Act focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows the leaders of a syndicate to be tried for the crimes which they ordered others to do or assisted them in doing, closing a perceived loophole that allowed a person who instructed someone else to, for example, murder, to be exempt from the trial because he did not actually commit the crime personally.[1]

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeer_Influenced_and_Corrupt_Organizations_Act

  2. save nz 2

    +100 “According to democracy expert Larry Diamond “between 2000 and 2015, democracy broke down in 27 countries, while many existing authoritarian regimes have become even less open, transparent, and responsive to their citizens.”

    I think we can totally see that has occurred in NZ. Democracy is being eroded by dirty politics and corruption. The MSM are biased and nothing is being done. Those eroding democracy are benefiting by their own actions, by making things unfair they are actually turning people off voting to their benefit.

    Democracy is even more important now, without it countries will face civil war. Once they put in TPPA with more unfairness and inequality then all around the world people are going to revolt. If you can’t see that happening you don’t know much about history.

    It is scary stuff what is going on in NZ under National and Key as chairman of the IDU.

    The warning signs that erosion of democracy has gone to far is Brexit, rise of Trump, Sanders vs Clinton and Blairites vs Corbyn, where politicians and people have lost their way in democracy and just turning on each other to get their own agenda through rather than democracy for societal benefit.

  3. Greg 3

    Remember this Bill, it got taken out of the Box and silently disappeared:

    National wants to take away our right to silence

  4. Lanthanide 4

    Focussing on Facebook as the saviour of voting is a bit naive, really.

    In 2009, Facebook instituted a policy where the active members could vote on changes to site governance, requiring a 30% turnout for any proposal to be binding.

    In 2012, they decided they wanted to end this system, and so put up for vote the decision to end future voting on site governance changes.

    At the time, they had over 1 billion active users, and so would need ~300M to vote in order for the result to be binding.

    Over the course of the voting period, they received 668,752 votes, 88% of whom voted to retain future voting rights. In other words less than 0.06% turnout to vote on the future of voting for Facebook. Since that fell short of the 30% turnout required, Facebook ended their democratic experiment and now users have no direct say on their governance.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/10/tech/social-media/facebook-policy-vote/

    People go to Facebook to look at cat videos and share photos about what they did in the weekend. Not to vote.

    • save nz 4.1

      +100 Lanthanide – Facebook/Google are the new Microsoft. Beware.

      Corporations are not government and any crossover should be frowned on. Neutral for both.

    • Ad 4.2

      I’m not proposing it as a savior of voting. Check the post.

      It’s a bit deeper than that.

      Facebook et al is supplanting human public participation.

      Don’t have to like it – life is about your relationship with your device.
      Don’t believe me? Switch everything off for a month.

      • Lanthanide 4.2.1

        Boiling it down, this post just seems to say “people are doing stuff on Facebook these days”, and not much more than that.

        • Ad 4.2.1.1

          No.

          Voting is in decline.

          Participation in society through voting is being hollowed out by digital exchange.

          It’s really, really big.

          All involved in politics need to adapt to the scale of change to enable their participation in society.

          We have Neolithic emotions, Medieval institutions, but 21st century massive instruments and tides. The mismatch is growing with every election and every large social-change movement we see around us.

          Prepare.

    • Greg 4.3

      Facebook is still only a window into GenY lives.
      It can be dangerous to post stuff, and workers have been sacked for it.

      Political discourse in universities is almost non existent, = see Germaine Greer about that,
      https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/nov/18/transgender-activists-protest-germaine-greer-lecture-cardiff-university

      =where are the political left?

      Politics in Print and on Television is expensive, National could buy front page adverts,
      and still lose an election because they need people not to vote to win as an incumbent government.

  5. Chris 5

    This is precisely the objective of a dumbed down media. It’s no coincidence that the likes of Weldon get to head an outfit like Mediaworks, those of his ilk, personal mates with Key and so on, the explosion of reality tv etc. We do love it because we love watching ourselves and they know that and they also know there are only a certain number of tv hours in a day.

    Gone are the days when we used to see this sort of stuff on tv almost every night of the week:

  6. Nck 6

    Labour Greens and others need to propose mandatory voting, if they haven’t already. If they can make this happen, empowering people, then change can occur for the majority and make democracy more effective.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Empowering your people by threatening them with prosecution? Saving the village by destroying the village? Did you even read what you wrote?

    • Greg 6.2

      It sure works in Australia, defacing voting papers is a result, how many voting papers are invalidated there?

      Again, politics of the youth especially at university now is dominated by sexual identity and alleged rape culture. Only 1/3 of graduates are males, making up part of the sports elite and entitlement,

      Politics has been sidelined.

      So are youth being disenfranchised, particularly males.

      Finally some equality?
      http://www.voanews.com/content/senate-bill-calls-for-women-to-register-for-draft-in-2018/3328770.html

      • Colonial Viper 6.2.1

        Yes I see all the gender equality types crying out for urgent action and reform on how the education system is leaving young men far behind in both participation and achievement. Not.

        • Greg 6.2.1.1

          This is one of the social costs of leaving boys behind:

          “The Department’s latest annual report claims that 2,196 inmates started a Corrections’ literacy and
          numeracy programme in the year to July 2010.18 However, only 9% – that’s 198 inmates – were
          assessed by a tutor as having reached a satisfactory level and actually completed the programme.
          That figure represents just 1% of the daily muster.”

          its a pretty pitiful result, and to keep private prison full and profitable,

          =so who is paying for it,

          http://www.rethinking.org.nz/assets/Newsletter_PDF/Issue_94/Synod_Prison_Task_Group_Incarceration_in_NZ.pdf

          Finding direct educational failure rate of boys takes some searching…

          • Colonial Viper 6.2.1.1.1

            well, I hear the numbers of female prisoners is now increasing faster then men, so yay for gender equality.

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    Virtually every single time the west has gone to war in the last 20 years, the public has ben against it.

    The power elite of the US and the UK have gone around the world regime changing in the name of democracy – and against the will of their own peoples – but each time the result has been societal collapse and country implosion. Not democracy.

    Maybe we should chat about why the elites have been working so hard and so successfully at implementing their model of highly managed democracy and why the middle class and upper classes support this wholesale against the interests of the bottom 2/3 of the population.

    Before we start looking at Face Book for bloody answers.

    • Ad 7.1

      I’m not looking to Facebook for answers.
      I’m looking to where participation in society is going.

      Meanwhile, re the west going to war ……………

      America
      Claude McKay, 1889 – 1948
      Although she feeds me bread of bitterness,
      And sinks into my throat her tiger’s tooth,
      Stealing my breath of life, I will confess
      I love this cultured hell that tests my youth!
      Her vigor flows like tides into my blood,
      Giving me strength erect against her hate.
      Her bigness sweeps my being like a flood.
      Yet as a rebel fronts a king in state,
      I stand within her walls with not a shred
      Of terror, malice, not a word of jeer.
      Darkly I gaze into the days ahead,
      And see her might and granite wonders there,
      Beneath the touch of Time’s unerring hand,
      Like priceless treasures sinking in the sand.

  8. McFlock 8

    Firstly, there’s no such thing as “peak vote”.
    It’s swings and roundabouts, not a finite resource. Democracy has been pretty rare throughout human history, even if you count the “democracies” that excluded women and slaves. Any retreat in the last 20 years is a blip that’s insufficient to draw a conclusion on.

    As for digital networking, in a heavily moderated forum I find it’s more useful as a news (including analysis) vector than having discussions that are “more productive” than the ones in real life. For every person you bring up who hogs committee meetings with long, rambling diatribes against the youth, there’s someone here who will go on about 9/11 or blame Labour for everything.

    An unmoderated forum like FB is almost useless for networking – news about local events is fine, but some friends link stories about ships lost 90 years ago in the Bermuda Triangle alongside valid links about current events. All links are treated as equal, and this is not conducive to making an informed opinion. The discussions are even worse.

    The people who turn up online or to meetings are the ones who have time to turn up (myself included). If I were a builder who needed both hands to nail joists and both eyes to ensure I did it correctly and safely, I’d be restricted to the goddam radio as a news source.

    What I will say as far as productive conversations go is that face to face I’ve given and received good advice that was confidential. Face to face you can see the mad glint or slight, superior-than-thou smile which indicates that the grand design being alluded to is only so much marsh gas. Online it can take a bit of time to figure out if someone is a complete nutbar, or a nutbar on only a few topics. Face to face it’s pretty easy to pick the do-ers from the talkers.

    But above all, I’ve seen people help change the entire dialogue of the country when it comes to things like child poverty. It takes hard work, boring work, as well as interminable meetings and online activity. I have one friend who daily shares FB stories and moderates a group on a particular issue, and even though I no longer read them by gum she keeps reminding me about that issue via the title and removing spam from the group. Occasionally we have a coffee when she needs advice about how to deal with difficult people who are trying to either stomp on or co-opt her campaign. Frankly, I feel that those conversations are more productive than most of the ones I have here. There’s more depth, less derail, good faith guaranteed on both sides, and she’s not a nutbar.

    • Ad 8.1

      I’d certainly agree that good old analogue conversations are best.
      And are superior.

      Perhaps not where the world is leading though.

      • McFlock 8.1.1

        Noise vs substance.

        • Ad 8.1.1.1

          The noise is substance itself.
          Crowds and Power.

          • McFlock 8.1.1.1.1

            I disagree – look at trump. Sure, there’s power to whine, he might even win, but there’s no direction. They’re not dictating to him which way to go, they’re not directing policy. He makes sounds, they go yay. What will he actually do? Nobody knows.

            But the substance of an action is the power plus the impulse direction. That’s the difference between an engine and an explosive: coordinated power. That moves you forwards, even against established resistance. Explosives just move you in all directions at once, with a bias towards the direction of least resistance.

            Slacktivism power can be focused, but dissipates quickly – the occupy movement, for example. But it needs establishment leaders and face to face conversations to sustain any change long enough to change policy.

            • Ad 8.1.1.1.1.1

              I’m not familiar enough about Trump’s Facebook or Twitter campaigns to comment.
              If your general point is that old-school analogue demogoguery isn’t going away, hard to disagree.

              • McFlock

                My point is more that the “power” of the crowd, the great leverage of social networking online, is largely unfocused and unproductive.

                It occasionally creates an explosion, but rarely creates fundamental change.

                Whereas the power of face to face meetings is focused and productive, even if one attendee wanders off into lala land. Policy gets confirmed. Strategies are formed. Ideas get to people in a position to make them happen.

                That’s why the Cabinet Club happens.

                • Ad

                  I think you have a confused conflation of different kinds of power.

                  We used to have a town hall. Speeches were made in analogue. There was one immediate and common source of messaging that radiated out in analogue time. This form was stretched and amplified through newspaper, then radio, then televisual space. The history of political space is a history of communicative technology.

                  The day of the central analogue town hall is gone. The days of door-knocking conversations is way, way long gone.

                  Fundamental change is happening through Facebook/Weibo et al, but in an entirely different kind of power than you understand. Don’t confuse their lack of focus for lack of power. They are altering the world – as I point out from the stats. They are also altering what counts as politics.

                  Facebook et al is not a mere niche of technology or a business proposition, or a mere supplement to the analogue world. It is a cultural paradigm shift. It is a giant new empire that is more fluid and moving faster than any empire we’ve seen before.

                  • McFlock

                    In your post you mentioned “productive conversations about policy and politics”.

                    Lots of people are having lots of activity, but what are they actually producing?

                    People talk about an issue on FB, a dentist’s office might get boycotted, but it doesn’t change lion hunting in Africa. Or someone makes a twitter comment about Aids before getting on a plane to Africa, but still has a decent career in PR once the outrage dies down. Sure, it ‘alters the world’, but not in any way that actually fixes the world to stop the next outrage.

                    Cellphone footage of cops is good, but the main use is as evidence in actual criminal cases.

                    That’s not to say that online activity is futile, it’s just often not so much a “paradigm shift” as it is an “energy suck”. It’s an excellent news source, when editorial control is intelligent. But it’s frequently a self-selecting echo chamber.

                    Whereas actual productive conversations, that change government or party policy, that improve public safety, and so on, those are often, even usually, face to face or in a group meeting. Not often as large as a “town hall”, but if you get 80 regional managers at a conference then you can begin to fundamentally change whatever NZ industry they’re in. More than if they were just all Linkedin contacts sending each other TED talks.

  9. Rosie 9

    For the record Ad, I have to say I very much enjoyed reading your post and the following comments.

    I have nothing to add except to say, in regard to fb, I find it a sociology fascinating phenomena. I have been dead set against it for a long time. I felt there was something creepy and voyeuristic about it. There’s a level of psychological nakedness and vulnerability about being in the machine but bigger than that, it’s a great tracking device for govt’s. Ditto iphone/spy phone.

    I made a decision along time ago for a number of reasons to live in the dark in our comm technological world. But last week I joined fb and was given an unwanted iphone4s by a family member. The light has been switched on and it’s blinding.

    I am amazed by the flow of energy, of INFLUENCE by the stronger voiced members of fb. I can see how easy it is for those to sway others, in any direction. Yes, like lanthanide says it’s full of cat video’s and for people to share their weekend’s activities. That’s fine but I can see what a political tool it has the potential to be, for good or bad.

    I’s still rather sit with people, share a drink and talk politics with them. I’m not sure if people do that or not, or if they do, whether it’s just a formally educated politically engaged elite that are part of an enclosed group. Maybe it’s fb where the ordinary folk go.

    • Greg 9.1

      Its a lot less private than it was, even if you have maximum privacy settings,
      the police can override privacy settings:

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11569107

      • Rosie 9.1.1

        Am aware that Police can police fb. Sometimes they even catch moronic criminals that way, the ones that post their crimes on line.

        After the Telecommunications Interception Capability & Security Act was passed a few years ago we can’t assume anything is private. We’re under a surveillance spotlight to some degree in our on line lives.

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1

          Everything you communicate or receive over the internet is held on FVEY server farms for eternity.

          • Rosie 9.1.1.1.1

            Yes, creepy isn’t it? Or others would say “thats just the way it is, get over yourself” but I wonder if we give away a little of our independence, or is that independence really only in our heads?

            In all honesty I have found the new fb experience greatly enjoyable on one level but also surreal and somehow troubling. Maybe I have a pessimistic personality.

            iShrug.

    • Ad 9.2

      Cheers for that.
      Just a few of us left huddling in the dark of analogue space.
      Such a twinkly firmament.

      • Rosie 9.2.1

        Some how that statement reminds me of Red Dwarf. Nice.

      • b waghorn 9.2.2

        i joined a few years ago, put bugger all on and filter out shit i don’t like , its connected me with more people , and i get to see some hardcase stuff that makes me laugh.
        I also use it in a very gentle way to try and nudge people into a progressive path.

  10. Greg 10

    Enjoy,

  11. Ian H 11

    Facebook is annoying and creepy; Twitter is full of nasty people insulting each other. Both are dominated by social justice warriors acting out their indignation and aggression and trying to shout other people down. It is all personal insults and mindless groupthink and I have had nothing to do with either for a very long time. If that is your model to replace democracy then God help us all.

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    . . April 4: Day 10 of living in lock-down… I wake up to a fine Saturday morning which normally would be like an early Christmas. But it’s Day 10 of Level 4 Lock Down. What  will my fellow New Zealanders be doing on a day like this – staying ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 day ago
  • Redline reaching out to more writers & readers
    Some time during the night we went over the 850,000 views mark. We might have had our millionth view by the end of this year – certainly by early next year. Most of the people involved in Redline spent years and years producing various small left-wing papers and selling them ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 day ago
  • Keir Starmer elected
    Comfortably, in the very first round, with an impressive 56% of the votes.I wonder, did members of the Shadow Cabinet start tweeting their resignations during Starmer's victory speech, or is that only a trick the right pull?It is odd how all the talk of how the next leader "needs to ...
    1 day ago
  • Hard News: Michael Baker and the Big House
    One of the key voices in this extraordinary time in which we live is that of University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker. Philip Matthews did an an excellent job this weekend of capturing the way he became the man for this moment in a profile for The Press.But one ...
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand Gives up on Trying to Save Daylight
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the nation today about the decline in daylight New Zealand has been experiencing over the previous few months. She said “As many of you will notice, our attempts to stem the dwindling of the daylight over the last few months have been completely ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    2 days ago
  • A bulletin from Greece
    Redline received this article from the KOE a Marxist party in Greece Our friends in the KOE describe here the mounting crisis in Greece and tensions on the Turkish border. As desperate people flee from their homelands which have been ruined after decades of imperialist wars and interventions the people ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
    As the first week of Level Four lockdown unfolded, mounting questions grew as to just what was (and was not) allowed under its “rules”. Partly these were driven by some apparently contradictory messages from different authority figures and explanations carried in the media. Partly they reflected a somewhat sketchy legal basis ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    2 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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 ...
    4 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 ...
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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 ...
    4 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
    4 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? ...
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 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
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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 ...
    5 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
    5 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 ...
    5 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 ...
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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 ...
    7 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
    1 week ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    1 week ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    1 week ago
  • 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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

  • 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
    5 hours 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    7 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
    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
    1 week ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
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    1 week ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
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    1 week ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
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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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    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
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    2 weeks ago