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Key: better for me if you don’t vote

Written By: - Date published: 11:28 am, March 14th, 2012 - 32 comments
Categories: democratic participation, tertiary education - Tags:

Key hates interest-free student loans, the only thing that has kept thousands more from leaving the country for higher wages, but says “it’s not politically sustainable to put interest back on student loans”. Why? “That is about the only thing that will get [young people] out of bed before 7 o’clock at night to vote”. Key’s willing to keep a policy he hates as long as you don’t vote.

32 comments on “Key: better for me if you don’t vote”

  1. Herodotus 1

    Student interest free loans are an accounting scam devised by Labour (and exasperated by the crap policy of “Bums on seats” – quantity over quality) http://jmo.e-contentmanagement.com/archives/vol/12/issue/1/article/363/the-teac-(tertiary-education-advisory-commission) and continued by National.
    It allows for (currently $12b) of education funding to be classified as a Govt asset and appears to show any govts net debt in a stronger light. For me student laons should be got rid off and the money that we spend on this debt and servicing should be fed directly into the institutions and reflected in low to nil fees. It would necessitate in a $12b write off and a bad accounting year for the govt. even Winny/The Greens agree in sorts http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/5367182/Peters-wants-to-write-off-student-loans
    Student debt is similar IMO as the age of entitlement for the pension – In its current state it is a noose around our countries neck that will strangle us and we are sacraficing other govt spending programs to cater for these ” Untouchables”
    http://www.interest.co.nz/personal-finance/57004/student-loans-and-allowances-grow-69-and-164-respectively-2010-while-debt-red.
    So at least JK was being semi honest isn his appraisal of it not being politically substainable

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      Higher education is both a private and public good. The private part is reflected by the user-pays approach. The public part is reflected by the interest-free loan.

      • McFlock 1.1.1

        But if I pay for the private good portion, doesn’t that reduce the net incentive for me to study? And increase the incentive for me to earn better wages in Australia after I finish studying (hence the brain drain)?
             
        I’ve never seen the point of the student loan scheme, other than the state cutting off its nose to spite its younger citizens. 

        • Yeah, I’d be happy to pay higher taxes to know that I could go back and complete additional tertiary education for a more reasonable price.

        • Lanthanide 1.1.1.2

          “But if I pay for the private good portion, doesn’t that reduce the net incentive for me to study?”

          Yes. But in a resource-limited world, we have to apportion out the resources we do have appropriately. It would be nice if everyone could go to university and earn 4 degrees if they wanted to, but unfortunately that isn’t the world we live in.

          I would advocate for a UBI system before I advocated for free university, in our current economic climate.

          • McFlock 1.1.1.2.1

            Well then, make admission or progression merit based. Or structure the funding mechanism around quality, rather than bums on seats. 
                 
            But the big thing is that only a few people want 4 degrees all at once. And we might need them in our hip pocket one day – there’s a lot to be said for multidisciplinary approaches.
               
            I’m on my third significant qualification over about 20 years, gradually retraining for new roles each time. But in each new role I’ve taken something from the previous job into the new environment – it’s interesting how random things provide that little wedge to move forward on an issue, when people with more focused backgrounds are stumped (or doing the same thing in 3 times the work). But then their specialty knowledge is essential. So it’s all about diversity within the team.

    • Blighty 1.2

      money that is owed to you is an asset.

      That was the case with the government’s student loan book before the loans were made interest free and it remains the case. The only difference being that the book value of that asset was slashed when the debt was made interest-free.

      Wiping student debt, while obviously good for those with it, would not free up money to fund education. It would cost the government hundreds of millions of dollars a year in loan repayments.

      • Herodotus 1.2.1

        Currently student loans from a cash perspective costs approx $600m in debt servicing Interest rate 5%, (so it already does cost us “It would cost the government hundreds of millions of dollars a year in loan repayments”) the debt has been increasing gross by 5%p.a. (ie new student loans less repayments) that is about $1b every 18 months. So the last year we forked out approx $1.2b into this asset. !! The only time that this laond book will become benificail to a govt is when there is a net cash inflow derrived from it- And guesses as to when?
        Cover course fees and allow students to cover living costs above current allowance entitlements- So it would not cost us more- and for those skills we as a country value, cover additional costs and bond back students as we use to. Sometimes what we did was an improvemnt to what we are currently doing 😉
        There is another debate around this should the govt look after everyone in providing a full and compreshive education i.e. Pre/primary and secondary or share the spend and include tertiary?
        And as an aside according to Key we collect 53% of the debt
        http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/3963867/11b-student-loan-debt-a-disaster-says-Key

      • McFlock 1.2.2

        Of course, skilled citizens are an asset too. Whack universal education fees and allowances to students, bung in a government capex line item of “intellectual capital” and depreciate it over 40 years (career length). Same book offset, without the administration fees of the loans scheme.

  2. vto 2

    If Key doesn’t like interest-free loans to students then what does he think of the Federal Reserve, that privately owned money-printer, punching out billions and billions of near interest free loans to banks?

    And further, why doesn’t he reform our own money-printing system to provide that such interest free loans come at zero cost i.e. get the government to print its own money?

    After all, everyone is doing it. Actually, that’s not right, only privatly owned central banks are doing it. To the rest of the world’s cost.

    Somebody ask Key these questions. Please. I would love to see the response.

    • TT 2.1

      As a key shareholder of the Fed along with his Rothchild buddies, I’m sure he thinks it’s A-OK. So there’s no chance our privately owned central bank will continue to be anything more than a vehicle for the 1% to line their own pockets.

  3. vidiot 3

    Interest Free Student Loans / Working for Families – 2 fine examples of vote appealing to the masses and at the same time hindering the country. The sooner we figure that out, the better it will be.

    • McFlock 3.1

      yeah. Get rid of the loan scheme completely, nuke WFF, and pay everything through a more cheaply administered more progressive tax system. 4 bands plus tax free under $20k.

      • vidiot 3.1.1

        Allowing income splitting would also go some way to improving the balance of things.

        Why should a single income family pay more tax (circa 5K on 80K of FI) and get the same rebate as a dual income family earning the same level ‘family income’ ?

        • McFlock 3.1.1.1

          Not hugely familiar with, or worried by, that issue. I tend to look at problems from the bottom up, rather than starting near the top. 
               
          I might be completely wrong, but it looks to be the self-obssesed angst of the want-to-be 1% but destined-to-be-20% class. I suggest referring it to Dunne or maybe ACT. 

          • Uturn 3.1.1.1.1

            The “struggling middle classes”.

            • McFlock 3.1.1.1.1.1

              nah, not even them. 

              edit: 80k job is beyond most nzers by far – that’s why POAL boosted the figures as much as possible

              • vidiot

                80K is not beyond most families by any means. 2 earners, 40K each = 80K

                • McFlock

                  But they aren’t the ones “adversely affected” by lack of income splitting. Your issue is how to make things nicer for the few remaining people who can actually (most often comfortably) support a partner and small family in this day and age without additional sources of income.

                         
                       
                  And your example is the most extreme assumption that the lower income earner is on zero, rather than earning $10k or $20 in a part time job. And we are actually whether they are more hard done by than two income earners who are both scraping around $40k each doing every shit low wage casual job under the sun. 
                        
                  I still don’t see the pressing need of the hardship you identify. As opposed to, say, reestablishing an underclass by poorly resourcing high-dep schools and cutting social service assistance.

                • lprent

                  Yep. But you really should look at who you want to support. $40k is well above median income. Two people earning that in a household makes that a pretty affluent household.

                  See table 2 in here ( or somewhere in PDF)

                  BTW: the difference between average and median is getting extreme. $703 per week average compared to $550 for the median.

                  • Herodotus

                    lp your agruement in not supporting income splitting is contary to how WFF works. WFF is based on household incomes and the total income of the family- yet tax is based on the individual. 2 families have the same family gross income and the same WFF entitlements yet if there is a vast difference in how the incomes are derrived extreme case 2 on $40k and the other family on 65 + 15 both families have differing disposable income but the same WFF. This was more extreme on having a low threashold of the top tax bracket, before Lab commenced the dutch auction on delivering tax cuts.

                    • lprent

                      It was less of an argument and more of a contrarian. I was pointing out that the basis of most taxes and rebates was related to the targeting of the tax or rebate. I then said that it makes as much sense to move income tax to household basis as it did to move WFF to a individual basis – ie little to none.

                      The intent of WFF was to help working families raise kids, especially during the phase where one income earner was off work having or raising the kids and the household income dropped like a stone. In households where you have two earners earning low incomes, dropping one for months to have a kid s a powerful disincentive to do so.

                      So in your two scenarios in tha case you wind up with 15k, 40k, and 65k household incomes during late pregnancy and birth. Take the personal income tax out, add the WFF back in and you will find that the household incomes have moved closer together a bit. I’d do the maths, but not on an iPad sitting in bed. The effect to slightly reduce the disincentive to have kids because of income levels and helps reduce our ever diminishing home grown population stats in the future, which reduces issues with the tax base supporting the boomers on pensions.

                      And surprise surprise – that was the intent of the WFF. It is a longer term strategy to deal with the demographic issues we will get into over the next 50 years

                      And in this case I’d point out that the higher personal income tax threshold makes piss all difference. 5k at an extra 6% is what $300 per year or less than $6 per week. It is swamped by the WFF. Why did you bother bringing it up? Possily because you were only interested in above median income level obsessions that you have rather than looking at the country as a whole?

                      There is usually a reason why taxes and rebates are done the way they are. I find many people don’t bother looking. They just reference to themselves.

                    • Herodotus

                      From ther IRD tax tables 2011-12 income year
                      $80k income = $17,320 tax
                      $40k income = $6,020 tax so tax on 2 =12,040
                      $60k income = $11,020 & $20k = $2,520 tax = Total tax = 13,540
                      representing a gap of $5,280 on extreme case and $3,780 and $1,500 on the other 2 scenarios
                      Yet all 3 cases are eligible for the same WFF assistance- And this is the technical problem with having tax based on individuals and govt assistance on household incomes- there is no consideration taken into account of the results of different tax rates and the disposable after tax incomes.
                      It all goes back to some govt addressing the tax system with clear objectives and understanding – instead of the attacking the fringes as so often happens

        • lprent 3.1.1.2

          Another alternative would be to do income tax based on households like rates are.

          In many ways this is actually a more equitable route. Tax rebates like WFF that are done on the basis that children are household based responsibility and that society depends on having kids for societies future survival.

          Of course it happens to ignore all of the children from separated households where both parents are contributing, but only one can claim a WFF. Or where a WFF is unable to be claimed because the parent raising the kid in a separated household isn’t working.

          You’d have the interesting problems with aggregating income on flats with multiple earners and the like. People living together with kids in the household who may or may not be parents.. etc etc.

          Quite simply every way you look at this you find inequities. The ones that particular people seem to feel are the important ones seem to relate directly to if they feel they themselves are affected.

          Based on your comment I can guess many things about your circumstances. I can also detect that you haven’t bothered thinking much past your own circumstances. Perhaps you should widen your mind a little.

          FYI: Neither Lyn or I have kids, are unlikely to have any, and both of us earn well. It is the signature of the most taxed group in the country – DINKies. Yet it isn’t hard to look at the reasons for WFF, student loans, and even the current tax techniques to see how hard it’d be to find better structures – at least not if you’re looking beyond your own circumstances and over the long term.

          I’d argue with levels and mixes (like the UBI systems or the levels of WFF and student support). But I’ve had real problems figuring out better systems.

          • vidiot 3.1.1.2.1

            Rates aren’t worked out on the household (number of occupants, family income) income, they are based on the value of the property (land, capital improvements) and do not take in to account number of people residing there.

            – if we wanted to be fair, they (rates) would be levied equally against every person in that region. Perhaps 3 tiers – under 18 (25% of adult rate), 18-65 & 65+ (50% of adult rate). But then again, that’s a Poll tax, and Poll taxes are nasty.

            • lprent 3.1.1.2.1.1

              Rates are worked out on the household property…But if you think about what I was talking about, it was on the household income.

              But both were levied using the household property as the basis rather than the individual. My point was that at present we have some things that are worked out using that peculiar structure of a family household (eg WFF), some as an individual (income tax, student loans), some as household property (rates), consumption (GST), etc. Generally they are done on the classic cost accounting allocation basis of trying to tie it to the thing that is most closely related.

              Simplistic individual based tax accounting like you’re advocating just offers uneven cost recoveries and distorts the intent of the taxes to be related to what they’re trying to recover costs from (or behaviours that are being encouraged).

              And incidentally, a poll tax is actually a daft basis to tax rates on. Property values are also a daft basis. Most of the substantial costs for rates are related to houses in an area. In particular roads, footpaths, garbage, parks, street lighting etc. If you don’t have sewerage and water in it (which Auckland does not), then far more of the substantial costs are related to street frontage and number of residences in an area than in numbers of people or property values.

              Quite simply a poll tax basis doesn’t recover costs adequately from low density housing.

  4. KJT 4

    Two minds about this one.
     
    For starters, Uni was not free. It was paid for by 65% taxes on those who did trades or other non University courses. Tax on people who could not afford university to help the children of the privileged infest the ski-fields.
    Student loans have made it easier for more people to go to University, but the business like focus on “competition” between tertiary providers has resulted in a drive for “bums on seats”, a multiplicity of tertiary courses of dubious value and university or polytech courses for subjects which should be apprenticeships/on the job training.
     
     
    We have more Lawyers per capita than anywhere else but the USA, while the average age in, the remaining,  trades, technicians and medical staff is in the 50’s.
     
    For subjects which give “a licence to kill” like law or accounting. Where strong Unions allow their pay gouging. The private good out-ways the public. 
     
    Others. Like nursing, there is a clear public good.
     
    I think some courses should be free, with a bonding scheme, others students should pay.
     
    Like others here, I would prioritise funding for, intervention to help kids at your 1 to 3 level,  a UBI and apprenticeships over free University study.
     
    The fact is, and the reason why Key will not touch it, is the majority of those who benefit from student loans are the offspring off wealthy tax avoiders.
    A major part of NACT’s constituency.
    As they are, by definition, greedy and self centred, cutting student loans would drive them to NACT lite.

    • rosy 4.1

      “The fact is, and the reason why Key will not touch it, is the majority of those who benefit from student loans are the offspring off wealthy tax avoiders.”

      That’s not true. Trades courses that are not part of an apprenticeship scheme have course costs that are paid mostly out of student loans, given that these students are unlikely to have parents with trusts. The wealthy tax avoiders don’t need student loans for their kids – they can get student allowances, a whole other level of rort.

      • KJT 4.1.1

        They may not need them, but they are handy to buy shares with.
         
        Trades courses should be free. We need them!

  5. jim 5

    How sad it is that some people here are saying some education/courses should be free and others not. All education and health care should be free(funded by tax payers) it has many benefits to the whole community of humanity to have educated healthy people.
    But I guess that’s a part of Mr Keys and his followers grand plan to keep the general work population uneducated, addicted to cigarettes and alcohol, keeping them numb to what is really going on!

    • TT 5.1

      Some current tertiary courses should be shut down. Commerce departments across the country need to be eliminated and the so called degrees abolished. They are but a tool of the 1% to control the economy. Accountants and the like are a cancer on our society.

  6. Vicky32 6

    I would advocate for a UBI system before I advocated for free university, in our current economic climate.

    Lanth, you seem to have forgotten that once upon a time we had free university! (I  knew about it only for the last 2 years that it existed, which really upsets me) but the fact is, it once existed. In those days, they kept working class kids out by not telling them what they were entitled to – now they keep them out by pricing study above what they can afford.

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    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    5 days ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    5 days ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    6 days ago
  • After the Pandemic
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    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    6 days ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    6 days ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    7 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    1 week ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    1 week ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
    The coronavirus pandemic has of course had a major impact on individual lives and on societies as a whole. But, long after the crisis has passed (assuming it does), we will begin to realise that its real and lasting significance lies in the lessons it has taught us, if only ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
    COVID-19 has plunged Aotearoa New Zealand (indeed, the world) into territory that, while maybe not totally unprecedented, certainly hasn’t been seen during the lifetimes of most of us here today. Our borders are closed to non-citizens, we’re being told not to gather in groups of more than 500 outside/100 inside, ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been urging you to prepare yourself, your family, business, and community for Covid-19. Now it’s time for real action.  Yesterday the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced another 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing our total to date to 52. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020 Editor's Pick Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts   Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed ...
    1 week ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
    by Cultural Worker Late March 2020 amidst the virus. With gigs crashing and burning all around it was without much hope that I called a long standing rest home booking: “ Hi, I’m supposed to be entertaining at your place this afternoon – is it still on?” “”If you don’t ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
    Whenever people demand real change from their politicians, we're told that "politics is the art of the possible". The implication is that change isn't possible, so we'd better just get used to the sucky status quo. But now that there's a pandemic, a lot of things we were previously told ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Only Way Through This Crisis Is Together.
    Together: In leading New Zealand through the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Prime Minister could do a lot worse than allow herself to be guided by the spirit of collective sacrifice and co-operation that animated the New Zealanders of 80 years ago. Most Kiwis alive today have had no opportunity to prove their ...
    2 weeks ago
  • GFC vs Covid-19
    It is said that generals fight the last war. In the case of the early stages of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) they had learned from the Great Depression of the 1930s and they fought intelligently and successfully. Later their advice would be ignored in favour of the Austerians who ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks 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
    10 hours 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
    20 hours 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
    20 hours 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
    22 hours ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day 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
    2 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
    2 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
    The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks.   “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to make sure businesses can work together in ways that will allow them to provide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
    The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
    Associate Health and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare has today announced the Government’s plan to support Māori communities and businesses in the face of COVID-19. “Our Government’s $12.1 billion economic package will help many Māori whānau, workers and businesses, whether it’s through wage subsidies, income support and worker redeployment, or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
    The Government and the hospitality industry have worked together to produce guidelines to assist with managing and reducing transmission of COVID-19, Health Minister David Clark announced today.  The guidelines developed between the Government, Hospitality New Zealand and SkyCity Entertainment Group, set out how the new restrictions on physical distancing and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
    Four stage Alert System for COVID-19 announced New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact New Zealanders over 70 and those with certain medical conditions told to stay at home as much as they can to reduce risk of contact with the virus Workplaces to implement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • PM Address – Covid-19 Update
    Kia ora koutou katoa I’m speaking directly to all New Zealanders today to give you as much certainty and clarity as we can as we fight Covid-19. Over the past few weeks, the world has changed. And it has changed very quickly. In February it would have seemed unimaginable to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ and Singapore commit to keeping supply and trade links open, including on essential goods and med...
    New Zealand and Singapore have jointly committed to keep supply chains open and to 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 welcomed the commitment. “This is an important collective response, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago