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Is Matthew Hooton becoming a socialist?

Written By: - Date published: 8:38 am, July 20th, 2018 - 41 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, class war, Deep stuff, economy, Economy, employment, Free Trade, jacinda ardern, john key, Politics, quality of life, tax, Unions, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

Occasionally previously staunch defenders of the free market see the light and turn to the left after they realise that the power of the state is necessary to counter the evil caused by unregulated greed.

One of them is Bernard Hickey, one of the most astute local commentators on economic issues.  In 2010 he wrote:

I feel like a priest who has been wrestling with his belief in god and has now decided god does not exist.

It’s time for me to recant and to say what I’ve been thinking for months: the economic god of completely free markets and capital flows is not worth believing in anymore and we must look for other things to believe in and do.

I think New Zealand needs to have a debate about capital controls, about foreign ownership of assets, about measures to control our currency and about being openly nationalistic rather than internationalistic about our economic policy.

I think the Global Financial Crisis and the preceding decade of debt-driven instability in global capital markets and trade flows have demonstrated the failure of the economic model most New Zealand policymakers have adhered to for nearly 3 decades.

I think we need to rethink the way we run monetary policy, the way we allow foreign ownership of assets, the way we encourage savings, the way our financial institutions are regulated and change the things we are aiming for.

We should debate more specific controls on who owns what assets, whether monetary policy should still use the Official Cash Rate to focus on inflation alone, and whether banks should still be free to lend however much they want to whomever they want.

Another right winger may right now be having his very own road to Damascus moment.  Although judgment on this should be reserved until further information is in.

I am referring to occasional Standard reader Matthew Hooton.

His latest Herald article is headed Communism by Stealth is here, recycling John Key’s oft quoted description of the Government’s Working for Families policy.

He talks about how the Nurses wage claim was perfectly justified, which it was.  He says that this may ignite wage inflation, which it might, and this would mean that Jacinda Ardern would be a one term Prime Minister, which it won’t and which she wouldn’t.

He then says this:

In fact in 2004, the left-wing critique of Working for Families was stronger than Key’s, that it would operate as a subsidy of low-paying employers.

That is, using Key’s original numbers, if there was a job to do worth $60,000 a year, an employer could hire someone with two kids, pay them just $38,000 a year, and they’d end up with almost the same pay in the hand.

Union bosses rightly feared it would be difficult to get workers with children to sign up for a pay campaign if it made little difference whether they earned $38,000 or $60,0000 a year.

Worse, if Government subsidises something, there will be more of it, in this case low-paid jobs. To an employer, Working for Families screams out: “Don’t buy more plant and machinery or invest in on-job training, just hire a few more low-skilled labour units and get the government to pick up a big hunk of the tab.”

On this point many left wingers would agree.  Wages should be higher and the state should not have to subsidise wages and salaries just so that families can cope.  I disagree with the language however.  I have always thought of working for families as advantageous tax treatment of deserving taxpayers, not as a cost.

Hooton then seeks to divide workers between those with children and those without.

When trying to buy a house, childless people also have to compete with those with children, whose after-tax incomes have been artificially inflated by the state.

Working for Families then creates a vicious economic and political cycle. As it holds back productivity and keeps wages low, the best electoral response is to expand it further, as Ardern and Robertson did in December.

And what better way to stop nurses, teachers, doctors, and police officers from striking than to ensure the ones with children will get nothing out of doing so?

He thinks the policy causes division.  Speaking as a taxpayer who has never received working for families can I express my consent and support to those with young children on modest wages receiving extra assistance.

Hooton blows it with his last paragraphs.

And don’t expect National to be able to do anything about it. With the financial status of so many working families now as locked in to welfare as any other beneficiary, abolishing Working for Families is becoming ever-more politically impossible.

It has transferred the primary economic relationship that determines family income from being that with the employer to that with the state. It is indeed communism by stealth. Clark and Cullen knew exactly what they doing when they set it up.

The policy was not a permanent power grab by the fifth Labour Government.  It was an attempt to address increasing poverty caused by rampant greed and Globalisation.

But what are the solutions?  What does Comrade Hooton think should happen to make sure that working families receive an adequate wage?

He is unfortunately very quiet on this.  Maybe he needs to go further on his trip to Damascus before he can say what needs to be done.

Through an unfortunate juxtaposition his column had an EMA advertisement opposing the Government’s attempt to improve Union access to work sites.  The evidence is undeniable, increased Union power increases wages.  Clearly the EMA realises this.

I look forward to the next column from Comrade Hooton where he takes on the EMA and explains to them that the best way to avoid “Communism by Stealth” is to properly reward workers and to respect and engage with the Union movement.

41 comments on “Is Matthew Hooton becoming a socialist?”

  1. Puckish Rogue 1

    Aren’t we all a little bit socialist 🙂

  2. R.P Mcmurphy 2

    Business in New Zealand hides behind a grandiose set of axioms that are the stuff of economic theory for giant corporations with large payrolls. Business can always afford higher wages but in new zealand where most businesses are relatively small and owner operated the payoff is psychological for the owners and not merely financial but the ruggid individyoualls love being able to enforce economic obedience and obeisance from the workers.

    • soddenleaf 2.1

      Poorly thought theories, like neolib free market ideals, support big corps, why?How have they persisted though wrong? Simple cheaper energy means growth has nothing to do with politicians or economic theories. Those who vote Tory really never had a clue, or else brought into the idea that cheaper energy meant govt needed to regulated lessand so let the market be freed up. The problem is govt keeps your competitors honest, chlorine meat, heat treated vegies, PR running to shop floor where manager get bonus for cutting wages, etc becuase some bright thing in or has convinced the board that lower quality means more sales.

      Good businesses recognize the need to keep efficiency high not just inside the business gates, when a company cheats customers, employees, the competition must meet those lower standards or goto the wall. So good boards,ceos, are out in front pushing good standards on tgeir industry. I.e not like the civil engineers who let the cctv building inspectors walk… etc.

      Efficient economy efficient govt.

  3. Pat 3

    It may not apply to Hickey whos revelation was sometime ago, but I suspect most recent ‘road to Damascus’ events are driven largely by fear….and a likely justifiable fear at that.
    Resetting wealth distribution is not so simple as higher wages for the low(er) paid as was alluded to by Mr Hickey when he mentions capital controls for it is the free movement of capital that is the very basis of the neoliberal experiment….and are enough prepared to accept the trade offs that come with that control?…especially when many have known nothing else.

    And then theres climate change.

  4. aj 4

    “The policy was not a permanent power grab by the fifth Labour Government. It was an attempt to address increasing poverty caused by rampant greed and Globalisation”

    And if I recall correctly WFF was put in place after a long period when the Right (and the media) were constantly drawing attention to the difficulties families were facing with living costs.

    • Pat 4.1

      WFF was largely an increased version of the Family Support paxkage introduced by the 4th Labour Gov….if I recall correctly the Australian gov introduced a much more generous version around the same time and later the Clark gov increased payments and renamed it WFF.

  5. Lucy 5

    I have always believed that WFF was a subsidy for employers that artificially depressed wages. Having said that there was a desire to ensure that lower paid workers with children were able to keep out of the poverty. The difference between the minimum wage and a family wage for a person with one child is $185 in tax credit and in work tax credit. So the difference between what the employer pays ($630) and what a statistician has calculated costs to raise a child is $185. Labour costs have been suppressed by ensuring a flow of cheap labour – with youth rates and migration (probably not as big a factor as categorized) and clamping down on the ability to organize as a collective. The cost of labour should reflect the cost to the labourer, as no firm would produce a part that cost more to make than was sold for! If we look at humans as resources, as employers tell us they do then the real cost of living is an essential part of the calculation of wages. which would logically mean that working in Auckland you would be paid more by your employer for housing component and in South Island you are paid more to compensate for oil prices.

    • Adrian Thornton 5.1

      @ Lucy +1
      I would also add that if the WFF is also a subsidy to landlords that helps artificially floats New Zealanders obscene fetish in using housing as a tradable commodity, the ‘housing market’ would collapse tomorrow without it.

    • millsy 5.2

      The same could be said about what people like to call ‘youth rates’. Bascially expecting parents to subsidise employers (the argument being that most 17 and 18 year olds live with their parents and don’t need as much money as older workers do.

  6. tc 6

    ” Is Matthew Hooton becoming a socialist? ” yeah nah just another day at the office for matty. Chuck out an old slogan that seemed to work last time dog whilsting with communism eh, must be a slow day.

    What intrigues me is how much in the DP delivery seat is the paid columnist as opposed to how much at the DP strategy table he is. Be interesting to see who sits at that table.

  7. Morrissey 7

    Hooton? That cynic above all cynics has meddled with gullible “liberals” in the past.

    https://morrisseybreen.blogspot.com/2018/01/hooton-talks-mike-williams-agrees-with.html

    And no bunch of liberal patsies is more gullible than the poor folk over at Russell Brown’s love fest. Remember the havoc Hooton stirred up when he pretended to be a Nelson Mandela fan…

    Open mike 30/12/2013

  8. patricia bremner 8

    Last time I heard Hooten on the radio with Kathryn Ryan he was hysterical at the idea of Jacinda forming a government with the Greens and NZ First. He was so petulant and cross at the idea of change he was child like.

    He was so in a screaming frenzy Kathryn told him ‘That is enough Mathew’ Mind this hostess has had the right on regularily and can harrange the left when it suits.

    So the idea that Mathew could seriously accept anything other than right wing dogma would be a complete surprise. ‘A Damascas moment? Possibly, but not too likely.

    Some of these now fringe players are finding astute journalists asking questions they can’t answer, and to get cut through they are using ‘communism’ ‘unions’ ‘payrates’ ‘Inept government’ in a muddled effort to explain what clearly hasn’t worked. ‘Poor Mathew’. He and Hosking have the same ‘flu, only Hoskings blames the Government.

    Have they seen ‘the light?’ Don’t think so. Will they change? It isn’t likely all things considered, as they think those from the left lesser beings with fewer rights.

  9. Currently reading Other People’s Money, by economist John Kay and he pretty much says all of this. That the financial institutions we have created have only served to syphon off wealth to the 1%. It seems that a lot of other people have come round to this viewpoint. Hooton knows this instinctively – and he does note ruefully the strong early criticism of Working For Families on the left.

  10. Julia Schiller 10

    Perhaps you need to look past your own cohort to find resentment toward families receiving WFF? At least you and I were comfortable enough to be able to have children in the first place. But the Millennial generation is delaying having children, maybe forever, thanks to student debt, crappy housing options, and precarious work.

    I am starting to appreciate the argument that Labour’s efforts to mitigate the evils of unregulated greed don’t equate to much more than handouts/bandaids that go straight back into the pockets of these greedy private interests. Increase the student allowance? Private landlords raise rents commensurately. Similar with the winter heating subsidy.

    In the case of power, the left should be talking about completely renationalising that industry to lower everyone’s power bill and make the switch to sustainable energy easier. There’s some communism for you, Hooton!

    • Rosemary McDonald 10.1

      “In the case of power, the left should be talking about completely renationalising that industry to lower everyone’s power bill and make the switch to sustainable energy easier.”

      Seriously scary suggestion, and it’d be wise to check the horses are well contained with their blinkers and earmuffs in place before putting it out there. 😉 😉

      This is what a true Left and progressive gummint would do if it was truly committed to positive change for the 99%…but we don’t have one of those yet. 🙁 🙁

      Maybe next time?

  11. UncookedSelachimorpha 11

    He’ll become a communist I expect. It’s exactly the same thing as socialism.

  12. Kat 12

    Long after the sun went down Hosking and Hooton sat quietly in the car, the contents of the glove box had been emptied on the floor and there was no map. Hosking looked out the window into the darkness and began to shiver, he needed some relief. Hooton spun the dial on the radio, faint voices could be heard behind the static. Then the unmistakable voice of John Campbell burst through the ether “absolutely marvelous”………. Hosking looked down at the rear left wheel, not only was it wet it was flat.

    • patricia bremner 12.1

      Wonderful visuals, Thank you Kat.

      • cleangreen 12.1.1

        Shit Kat;

        Please write a book; – as you have a way with words I’m captured again.

        I am astonished. You are gifted.

  13. SPC 13

    More likely he is setting the scene for the right to once more move on WFF when back in government.

    As last time, they would reduce the real value of WFF, and again hold down nurses wages and use the saved money to finance a reprise of the 2017 election tax cuts package – this is why the great majority of the oldies vote National (every tax cut bumps up the value of their super, which just makes it more unaffordable).

  14. SPC 14

    And as for the ridiculous argument that without WFF employers would pay workers more. Total nonsense. National held down the real value of WFF while in office and there was no surge in wages, ask nurses.

  15. The sky will fall in on our heads if we have a strong Union presence like they do in Australia where wages are significantly higher…

    Say what ????? !!

    Socialism ,…my great fanny fat aunt… and Australia has a far more ‘ Americanized’ economy than us by far.We just are not ‘ doing it right’.

    Too many who want to keep it just like it is.

    And that’s the real problem.

    • Draco T Bastard 15.1

      Too many who want to keep it just like it is.

      And that’s the real problem.

      QFT

  16. Brutus Iscariot 16

    He’s right in that WFF is an appalling mess – discriminatory against non-breeders, and abysmally inefficient. Tear up the lot and start again, perhaps by going down the route of a UBI.

    • RedLogix 16.1

      I’ve strongly argued for a UBI as a component of a rational, efficient tax reform package. The open question remains, is it sufficient by itself? The clean logical arithmetic appeals a lot, but what might be the unintended outcomes?

      It’s something we should think through.

    • phil 16.2

      Agreed, although I’d prefer the UI to be rather more than basic. Why not reorganise the economy to maximise the quality of life of the many rather than the wealth of the very few?

  17. RedLogix 17

    A thoughtful post Mickey. While I agree that empathy is not a cardinal feature of right wing politicos, it’s wrong to think they are entirely unaware of inequality as a problem.

    It’s worth reading Hooten to understand how deep and complex a problem it really is. While it’s true that the chief symptom of inequality is a lack of money, it’s not obvious that throwing money at it is the best solution.

  18. patricia bremner 18

    When did these poor wages become entrenched?? When Muldoon started his wage and price freeze.
    Then the Bill Birch contracts act allowed firms to close, change their name and offer cut rate rehiring wages. Locking union reps out and bringing in individual contracts compounded thingsThen to avoid holiday pay uniforms insurance and Kiwi saver, employers moved to contracting..
    We are more like America than Aus. Aussies still have Unions and on-site reps, they also have the “Fair work” rules and $18.98 an hour is the bare minimum.
    Workers here in NZ had no rights, but this new Government has made numerous employers pay correctly, which has given people backpay up to 13/14 thousand.
    More work place inspectors has uncovered mean and cruel practices. Aussies can’t believe the low wages some Kiwis get.
    The Australian Government pays Employers $10 000 to take on a new worker full time. So the employers are subsidised here and in Australia.
    The Neo Liberal system is like gruyere, full of holes.

    • … ‘ Aussies can’t believe the low wages some Kiwis get ‘ …

      And in an article I read many years ago about young Australian managers sent here from Australia to do their ‘apprenticeships’… one statement by one of them was :

      … ” Australian CEO’s cant believe the garbage NZ workers will put up with , – in Australia there’s just no way workers would put up with any of this shit ”…

      So they’ve known about it for several decades and taken full steps to exploit the situation for all its worth. Foreigners coming here , exploiting New Zealand workers, siphoning off huge profits and then laughing at us.

      Make you feel good ?

      But the question remains ; WHO enabled them to be able to do that ?

      I think you know and I know EXACTLY who.

      ——————————–

      New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?
      http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

      ——————————–

      • Graeme 18.1.1

        I went over to WA in the mid 80’s after a while on the Clyde Dam and other sites around NZ.

        I thought NZ had a strong Union culture but the Aussies had REAL UNIONS. I couldn’t believe the efficiency and reach of the Australian Unions, coverage went well above the trade level and they didn’t fuck about. Any shit and it was all on.

        • WILD KATIPO 18.1.1.1

          Good on you , Graeme.

          Been busy… just casually recapped. Was good to see .

        • Wensleydale 18.1.1.2

          Yeah, NZ unions don’t seem to have the stomach for a fight to be honest. It’s more a case of “Let’s just sit down, have a wee chat and a nice cup of tea, and see if we can’t come to an arrangement.” And while you’re sitting there enjoying your cup of Bell and plate of gingernuts, employers are knifing you in the kidneys, lying to the media and laughing all the way to the bank. The notion of ‘good faith’ seems to be a sick, sad joke much of the time.

  19. greywarshark 19

    Thanks Micky
    Interesting post. A double rainbow, how can it be? Bernard AND Matthew?
    It is a bright moment in a day to read about possible changes that might enable some good stuff to get done.
    A little songwas made to go with the double rainbow viral thing.
    Let’s celebrate, and mark this point in time.
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MX0D4oZwCsA

  20. Tricledrown 20

    Hooton is a politikle chameleon he changes his colour according to how the political winds blow.
    But underneath he is yellow notice the little twerk when he speaks.
    He’s Trumpish but with a nagging whine.
    Since he been off the waggon he has been doing a lot more slaggin.
    When the National Party is up in the poles he is fine.

  21. Pat 21

    Before unwinding WFF it may pay to develop a workable alternative …especially in light of the fact that the minimum wage is $16.50 p/h (34k pa) and the living wage is considered $20.55 (or 43k)

    https://www.workingforfamilies.govt.nz/tax-credits/payment-table.html

    • greywarshark 21.1

      People would like to see WFF dismantled. It only subsidises employers and that is wrong. It enables them to pay less than they should so that we are increasingly seeing poor working people living below the breadline.

      Abolish this practice they thunder. It is incompatible with a fair society. Yes but. First replace it with something else will you boofheads. There are real people here trying to live on relatively little, so don’t take the little away and only leave them with ‘relatively’.

      Something like this is happening already to beneficiaries who get money to boost their meagre benefit from their relatives (or friendly loan company), but then the state tries to cancel their benefit and want back all the living expenses already used for sustenance, back to some distant time when they became needy.

      Can lefties with such high principles about how things should be done actually CARE that people have sufficient remuneration from elsewhere and are paid adequately first! This BEFORE wiping WFF and insisting on tidy, appropriate business systems that bring decent standards to “”everything”” they do?! Let’s face it – a majority of businesses in NZ would have to close down in that case, at least temporarily.

      • greywarshark 21.1.1

        And further to my above comment I look further in the column and see Red Logix at 16.1 making a short but absolutely vivid true point about the need to think through changes and alternatives from a practical point of view of how it will affect the lowest paid, and structurally unemployed and partially employed.

        Also what effect it will have on the money flow so that NZ businesses can continue trading profitably and employing at decent wage levels. Wages should start cranking up every two years to keep up with low inflation, remembering that over those two years people have been paying the current prices from yesterday’s wage rates. That lag should be remembered when there is talk about wage rises being inflationary. Look elsewhere for that fuel I think.

  22. Jum 22

    Hooton a socialist? How ridiculous. He’s a weasily, snake whisperer from radio 10 years back. The only reason he ever attacks National is because they’re not the alt right/conservative right/greedy right act.

    He has clients that want to own New Zealand and New Zealand workers and he wants to help them get there.

    Handle with care; bacteria alert.

  23. georgecom 23

    WFF does have an element of subsidising low wages. However, if WFF had not existed wages would be little higher than they are today. So whilst Hooten might be correct in a sense, the real world reality is that I doubt employers would not have suddenly and magically hiked wages had WFF never come around. So maybe theoretically correct only M Hooten.

    WFF is a funny amalgam of approaches. Yes, it is a poverty reduction package that ensures families are lifted above a poverty line. It is also a form workfare, not the highly punitive form we can see the likes of Judith Collins rolling out were she in power, more an incentive for people to be “available and work ready for the labour market”. It financially drives people toward being available to the market. Another way that it subsidises employers.

    If H Hooten is indeed genuine about his comments, he will strongly advocate foe the one thing which is shown to lift wages, unionism. He will advocate for strong democratic industry unions and the policy settings which allow industry based agreements.

    Balls in his court now to back up what he says with an actual plan to lift wages.

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    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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    4 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
    4 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 ...
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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 ...
    6 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
    2 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
    6 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
    7 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
    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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    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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  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
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  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
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