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Key: out of touch on tax cuts

Written By: - Date published: 10:45 am, February 10th, 2011 - 65 comments
Categories: john key, tax - Tags: ,

Key proved himself bereft of ideas with his speech on Tuesday, and on Wednesday he showed himself to be out of touch. As you know, Key has voted himself $23,000 of tax cuts on his PM salary alone. Labour estimates another $60,000 on his investments – over $1000 a week. Key disputes Labour’s numbers, estimating his tax cut is ‘only’ $15,000.

Labour has been goading Key over his ‘thousand dollar a week tax cut’ since Parliament resumed. And yesterday, Key foolishly bit back saying:

“I am struggling with where the member gets a $1,000 a week tax cut from, because, without going into too fine a point, the last time I looked at the figure from the Remuneration Authority, I saw the Prime Minister of New Zealand earns $400,000 a year. The difference between the top personal tax rate, which was 38c in the dollar, and the new rate of 33c in the dollar is 5 percent, and 5 percent of $330,000 is about 15 grand.”

Oh poor Johnnie only gave himself a $15,000 a year tax cut, eh? Poor, poor Johnnie.

Hmm. Well, first that’s not very good maths for a money trader – 5% of $330,000 is $16,500. And Key hasn’t counted the first round of tax cuts he gave himself or the cuts on his income below $70,000. Add them in and the total tax cut that Key has voted for himself is $22,920 on his $400,500 a year PM salary.

Labour estimates that if he got just a 2% taxable return on his $50 million fortune (ie. another $1,000,000) then that’s a further $60,000 in tax cuts. A grand total $83,000 a year or $1,590 a week.

Oh and he pocketed a $7,500 pay rise this year. So, at least one person living it up on the public dime, I guess.

But, as with the Nats’ distorted net income figures (which count Labour’s tax cuts as their own, are based a skewed average, don’t count the GST hike, only count ordinary time pay for full-time workers, and don’t account for the unemployed), it’s not really the precise size of the tax cuts Key has given himself that matters. It’s certainly huge and unjustifiable.

The fact is that Key has voted for himself massive tax cuts that he did not need and he’s paying for it by cutting our services and selling our assets in a time when we’re back in recession and over a quarter of a million Kiwis are jobless. And now he adds salt to the wound by saying it’s a trivial amount, ‘only $15,000’

Talk about out of touch.

PS. If Key wants to make clear exactly how much of a tax cut he has given himself he could release his tax records like his good buddy Obama has to.

PPS. Oops. Some bad mental division – a 2% return on Key’s fortune is a million, making his tax cut $83,000 a year

65 comments on “Key: out of touch on tax cuts”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    I posted this in another thread, but I think MPs salaries should be indexed to the current tax rate.

    That is, if they reduce the tax rates, then their salaries should be reduced by the appropriate amount so they receive exactly the same after-tax income.

    The reverse should also apply, so if they increase the tax rate, their salary goes up by the appropriate amount so they receive exactly the same after-tax income, however this would be much less popular with the public as it would appear that the MPs are immune from tax rises that they force on the rest of the country.

    Anyway, a policy such as this would ensure there’s no conflict of interest with MPs cutting or raising taxes, and it’d make no difference to them either way – no benefit, and also no pain.

    • Bright Red 1.1

      agreed. And their base rate (not adjsuted for any subsequent tax changes) should be a factor of the median weekly income, just at benefit levels and the minimum wage should be.

      Does anyone seriously believe that any previous PM or future one would not want the job if the pay was ‘only’ $200,000 – half what it is now? And would we want the kind of person who is in it for the money to be our PM?

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        For someone doing the job of PM properly I think $200K p.a. is a bit of a short change. And since they’ve probably been an MP for at least 6-12 years before hand how much should MPs get paid, relatively speaking? $80K-100K p.a.?

  2. Sanctuary 2

    “…I think MPs salaries should be indexed to the current tax rate…”

    I would prefer to index them to the minimum wage. The PM can get six times the minimum wage and then work back from there for the rest of them.

    that way, if they want a pay rise they’ll have to put the minimum wage up.

    It is called leadership, innit.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      and likewise, CEO’s pay should be limit indexed to a multiple of what their median full time employee gets. Maybe 15x. Median employee is on $50K p.a. CEO pay is capped at $750K p.a. etc

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Wondered where that $1K p.w. figure LAB was tossing around came from.

  4. sally 4

    The Prime Minister is paid $400,000 a year – I’m not so sure this one earned it.

    • pollywog 4.1

      Apparently the belief is he doesn’t draw a salary as it all goes to charity…

      • Well that’s what the Nats say , but who would believe that lot of money grabbers ? Anyway since when was charity the best way to help the underpriviledged ? I prefer people to be paid decent wages and for the unfortunate to have decent benefits.I look around and see a number of people who live like Lords and do very little for it whilst others who have three or four jobs and are paid peanuts. On top of this these highly paid types pay little if any tax. Its time there was change over this infair system.

  5. Bill 5

    …the gross unemployment benefit for a single adult will actually be cut by $5 a week to offset the tax cuts and keep the increase in the net benefit to just 2.02 per cent – up from $194.12 a week to $198.04.

    Gross benefit rates will also be cut to keep the net increase to 2.02 per cent for sickness, invalid and domestic purposes benefits and student allowances.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10646498

    $690 000 not being given to some 138 000 unemployed tax payers. And so the gap widens between the poorest in society and the rest. Meanwhile inflation has risen above that 2.02%, meaning that unemployed people are decidedly worse off this year than last year. Good, innit?

    Now, wouldn’t it be nice if politicians adjusted their gross income to ensure that they too were paid in line with last years inflation rate?

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      I think the idea is that benefits always suffer from inflation, and this year most of the inflation was caused by the GST hike. They were compensated for the GST hike, but remain uncompensated for normal inflation.

      • Bill 5.1.1

        Yeah. Inflation decreases the value of a benefit. That’s a reality, not an idea. And benefits are adjusted retrospectively, so that they ‘catch up’ with inflation before slipping in value until the next ‘catch up’. Meanwhile, the government decreases the actual dollar amount of a benefit whenever it cuts taxes ’cause, like it would be a bad thing to allow the poorest in society the merest whiff of a good thing.

  6. Bright Red 6

    $23,000 a year. It’s a jaw-dropping amount. What did the median Kiwi get?

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      A big unpolished tube up the nether regions.

      • Bright Red 6.1.1

        $5 a week from two years of tax cuts, after the GST hike, by my count.

        That means Key’s tax cut of $83,000 is the same as that of 15,500 median income earners.

  7. randal 7

    leae poor johhnboy alone.
    he gunna give his salary away doncha know.
    so 23,000 divided by two means 46 people will get 500 each or 96 poeple will get 250 each and thats not all.
    see when he runs out of dough then everybody else wil get nothing.
    howzatt?

  8. Kevin Welsh 8

    I do not have a problem with how much they earn as I think it is about right.

    What I would do, though, is I would link MP’s pay rises to the minimum wage, so this time round they would have received the equivalent of 25c per hour increase. Much fairer, I think.

    What also seems to be forgotten when MP’s incomes are discussed is that what they are doing is Public Service, therefore the expectation that their remuneration should somehow reflect what could be earned in the Public or Provate Sector is wrong. IMHO of course.

    • Bright Red 8.1

      even if you are happy with his wage, you’ve got to admit that the $23K tax cut he has given himself is extraordinary and unjustified given what other families are going through.

      His talking down the size of the cut to ‘just’ $15,000 is completely out of touch with reality.

      • Kevin Welsh 8.1.1

        Yes, I agree BR. And his flippant remark that it was around “$15 grand”, just reinforced the fuckwits arrogance, to me.

  9. bobo 9

    Talking about Mr Key being out of touch watch this performance from MRNEWSguerillamedia
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggG7osLea1U&feature=youtu.be&a squirming when asked about his shares in bank of america by Penny Bright.

  10. Cnr Joe 10

    Hey Marty g – you write “Oh and he pocketed a $7,500 a week pay rise this year.”

    crikey

  11. Tanz 11

    He does donate part of his salary though, so kudos for that. Yes, he makes it back with the interest on his funds in the bank etc, but never mind, at least someone else also benefits. He doesn’t have to donate a cent.

    • Lanthanide 11.1

      Yeah, but he doesn’t say to whom, or how much. It could be $5,000 to the Young Nats for all we know.

    • Marty G 11.2

      There’s no proof he donates any of his money to charity. Just his word – like when he said he didn’t own those Tranzrail shares.

      And it doesn’t change the fact he has given himself $23,000 a year in tax cuts (at least, probably more like $83,000) and got a $7,500 payrise.

    • lprent 11.3

      It is like everything else about Key. Sounds good, but no substance. He said a long time ago that he was donating to charity. To date it has never been shown that he does.

      I haven’t heard of any charities congratulating the PM. Have you? It would seem like PR win-win for both sides. And yet it hasn’ happened. I suspect that if he is donating, then we will find the bulk of it in the donation returns for the National party.

      • orange whip? 11.3.1

        He said a long time ago that he was donating to charity.

        It’s even less concrete than that actually – he said he was going to.

        And I think we all know how firm that is, coming from Key.

  12. NX 12

    AT $400k, John Key pays around $140,000 tax.

    So compared to his total income & total tax, Key’s tax cut of $15-20k is comparatively small.

    What’s important is what JK does with that money – whether he invests it, or saves it, or whatever. Even if he buys share overseas it still helps NZ i.e. foreigners buy our exports!

    • Lanthanide 12.1

      I would rather the $23,920 from his tax cut went to the government and was used to fund ECE, rather than buy shares from foreigners.

    • Marty G 12.2

      Why does it matter what his tax bill is? The point is he gave himself a $23,000 tax cut on his PM salary alone, maybe another $60K on this investment returns.

      He didn’t have to do that, and every dollar of it means we have to borrow another dollar from overseas in government debt or cut spending, or keep someone else’s taxes higher, someone who would benefit more from the money than Key.

      • NX 12.2.1

        @Marty – if Key can’t be trusted to know what to do with a $400,000 income (minus $140,000 tax), then cut his pay (John Minto has suggeted a total pay of $120,000).

        @Lanthanide – $20K invested = business growth = more employment = more tax for the govt = more spending on health and education.

        • Marty G 12.2.1.1

          this isn’t about his pay packet. It’s about him choosing to give himself a $23,000 pay cut.

          It seems to me you’re just trying to avoid the fact that he chose to structure the tax cuts in such a way that he got this huge pile of cash (a tax-free bracket, for instance, would have given him the same cut as everyone else)

          • Crashcart 12.2.1.1.1

            You can’t argue with those who believe in trickle down. They forget that that tax cut would have partly gone to over seas holidays or a nice new car. They love to make you think it all goes intot hte economy which it just doesn’t.

          • NX 12.2.1.1.2

            Of course it’s related to pay packet.

            I’ve just crunched some rough numbers. The % of tax you pay on the following incomes.
            $26k = ~15% (excluding WFF)
            $42K= ~18%
            $400k= ~35%

            You want higher earners because they pay more tax. If just one higher earner stays in NZ because of the lower rate, that pays for Key’s ‘bonus’ x10 over.

            Also, with a lower more simplified tax rate higher earners are less inclined to restructure finances to hide income = more tax for the govt.

            • Marty G 12.2.1.1.2.1

              John Key did not have to give himself a $23000+ tax cut.

            • Crashcart 12.2.1.1.2.2

              higher earners were not leaving NZ because of tax. Simple. They were restructuring so they didn’t have to pay. The loop holes weren’t fixed so they will still be doing that. The fact remains that since the tax cuts the governments tax take has reduced. Where are all these extra taxes we are getting from the extra earners?

              • NX

                @Marty – “If just one higher earner stays in NZ because of the lower rate, that pays for Key’s ‘bonus’ x10 over. ”

                @Crashcart – National has actually changed the trust laws to stop sheltering of income. You’d know this if you read the news (why Labour never changed this is beyound me).
                Lower tax = less tax avoidance. Ask Phil Goff – he has voted for it.

                • Crashcart

                  Why was it nessisary to lower the tax rate then? The excuse that Key and English both trotted out was that it wasn’t being paid so if they lowered it then it would be.

                  Oh we just forget that because they want people to forget they wanted to reward tax evaision.

                  you also haven’t explained why the tax take has gone down?

                • Marty G

                  If that high earner went to Australia or nearly any other developed country, their tax would be higher on the same income even without the Key tax cuts. people were not and are not going overseas because of tax, it’s pay rates

                  which is why it’s actually mostly low-income people who are going to Aussie (a labourer in Brisbane will get twice what they do here – check out this adhttp://www.seek.com.au/Job/general-labourer-brisbane-metro/in/brisbane/18973540 , $21.52 for general labouring! You get minimum wage, $12.75, here )

                  • NX

                    @Marty – it’s not just trades people, it’s IT, medicine – you name it.
                    There are many reasons why people choose to live in NZ, but if John’s tax cuts can convience even a small percentage of people to stay in NZ, particuarly high earners, then they pay for themselves!!

                    Plus, it’s not just about balancing the books. Higher earns general business which creates wealth & more taxs.

                    @Crashcart, have you been living under a rock – GEC

                    • NX

                      Okay, look at it this way – why didn’t Cullen introduce a 45% tax rate which kicks in at $120,000 – you know, the mega rich pricks. Why hasn’t Goff proposed it…?

                      Even your leftie leaders know why – tax avoidance goes up, it’s scares off big business, & it’s an economic impediment. End result = less tax take than you started with. The only people who end up paying it is you’re average GP who has a student loan to pay off.

                    • Crashcart

                      See this is the problem I have. These tax cuts are supposed to help us recover from the GEC. They were suppose to stimulate investment in NZ and help us “Agressivly come out of ressesion” just like other countries allready have. At the same time they were supposed to be Tax neutral due to the increase in GST.

                      Even the national party aren’t trying ot push that it was tax neutral any more. We have not seen recovery yet. Unemployment is sky rocketing so I guess buisness owners are not investing their tax cuts in employing new people. Probably machinery to increase their workers productivity whilst still paying them the same (very few middle to low income earners got pay rises in the last year). All of which is designed to increase their own wealth at the cost of workers.

                      It amazes me when people claim that buisness owners are the only ones who can generate wealth in an economy. Without workers to make the buisness go they have nothing. Don’t get me wrong. We need inovators to come up with smart ways to grow NZ. I just understand that we also need skilled workers to allow those inovators to achieve success. This goverment only wants to help one half of the equation.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Even your leftie leaders know why – tax avoidance goes up, it’s scares off big business, & it’s an economic impediment.

                      Tax avoidance is reduced by closing down loop holes. Also by increasing the tax base. In NZ this would be to include capital gains, land and estate taxes.

                      Countries should not be afraid if a big business leaves, its competitors will happily take its place. Room will be created for small innovators to take charge instead of being crowded out by big multinationals.

                      Further we should remember that big business has the well being of its shareholders at heart, not the ordinary citizens of NZ.

                      We can keep kowtowing to capitalist investors and big corporate business but just look around you at the results in this country. A hollowed out job market and offshored jobs. 50% of NZ’ers earning less than $28K p.a.

                      Time for some big changes.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Higher earners need to pay more tax.

                      And it doesn’t matter if you get an extra 1000 “high earners” to stay in the country because you will still have 2,000,000 poorly paid people. Those who kowtow to celebrity and money hardly spare a thought for how to raise the incomes of that part of the population.

                      That warm pitter patter trickle down on to the forehead of ordinary workers and beneficiaries is not the equitable sharing of money from the rich getting richer. We all know that by now.

                      Every thing the Right does it does to favour the top 5% of income earners and wealth holders.

                      Once a just few more people recognise this, the game for Key and English is up.

                    • NX

                      @Viper – how does it feel to be on the hard left of Michael Cullen? He never did half the shit you’re harping on about for the very reasons I talk about above.

  13. Mike 13

    More douchebaggery from the PM at the Halberg awards tonight:
    Susan Devoy to John Key – “Don’t worry you’re amongst friends here”
    John Key – “That’s what Tony Veitch said”

  14. Rosy 14

    Always the comedian…

  15. burt 15

    policies of envy alive and well in standard land.

    • Craig Glen Eden 15.1

      Get a grip burt or is that your problem to much gripping? The countries back in recession your lot has caused it through its stupid lack of economic management. How about you start engaging in genuine debate about how this country could do better because Burt this lot in National have no idea!

      If you want to be smile and waves apologist fine but people are really starting to realize smile and wave promises lots delivers nothing.

      • burt 15.1.1

        Oh I get it, when we have a National govt and we go into recession it’s the gummits fault but when we have a Labour govt and we go into recession it’s drought, oil prices and the prudent economic management of the tax and spend popularity at any price gummit get called prudent.

        That’s to be expected from dim-bulb lefties I guess… but can you answer me this – do Labour govt’s who pretend to be left leaning while being nothing more than popularist always get your support (IE: Is it a colour of the logo thing) or do you actually think about their policies and their consequences every now and then ?

    • RedLogix 15.2

      Or it’s the politics of brain-dead sloganeering in burtland. (You’re short a few coffees aren’t you? Even you can do better than this.)

  16. Jum 16

    Who has that link showing Key’s parliamentary disclosure as having loaned $1million to the Bank of America.

    It seems to have disappeared and now just shows ‘banking’ with Bank of America. They took over part of Merrill Lynch (his old firm) didn’t they?

    • Marty G 16.1

      that’s right. in the vid he, modestly, says that when he was at merril lynch it was well-run but it went downhill after he left and had to be bought out by BoA, which is how he got the shares.

      • Colonial Viper 16.1.1

        Merril Lynch well run while he was there?

        That’s BS of course. Merril Lynch lost big time in the derivatives and proprietary trading casino 2007/2008, but while Key was there they were already laying their bets down on the roulette table. The same bets which eventually led his firm to implode.

        • burt 16.1.1.1

          And the current state of the NZ economy is his fault too… Hell he’s more powerful than god isn’t he.

          • lprent 16.1.1.1.1

            You might think that – I couldn’t possibly comment (on your obsessions)

            • burt 16.1.1.1.1.1

              Year right lprent, I’m not even a National voter but try telling the lovers of big govt, high taxes and vote buying welfare that you think such polices are short term power grabbing and they seem to think you vote National. Then the dim-bulbs go and blame National for the consequences of their beloved power at any price party consequences. I don’t expect much more from the lovers of a failed ideology but I though you were smart enough to know when I was taking the piss.

            • Colonial Viper 16.1.1.1.1.2

              The size of Government is irrelevant burt. The role it plays in helping to create a civil, sustainable, working society for citizens is not.

              And believe it or not, to do that job, it needs taxes and it needs people getting things done.

              You cut Government down too small, and all you will do is force a breakdown in service delivery while enriching private for profit consultants and contractors who are not interested in much else except their own shareholders interests. Certainly not the interests of ordinary people.

              Oh whoops thats whats happening right now under National, how co-incidental.

              As for vote buying welfare, I’m sure there are a lot of rural south island investors who just loved getting bailed out of SCf by Key and English. Another happy coincidence eh.

              • burt

                CV

                Remind me again who passed the law that enabled the failed finance companies to be bailed out using our money !

                • Colonial Viper

                  burt, small investors needed to be satisfied that their deposits in banks were secure. However, there is no way that large speculative investors and foreign investors should have got 100c in the dollar back courtesy of the NZ tax payer.

                  And who extended SCF’s coverage? Bill English.

                  And who paid out over the SCF collapse? Bill English.

                  Funny, for a Government which cries poor when it comes to ECE or community services, whistling $2B up out of thin air to bail out those finance companies happened awfully quick, didn’t it?

                  • orange whip?

                    100 cents on the dollar, CV?

                    Oh it was more than that. Billy Boy (us, really) paid them fucking interest on their bad investments too!

                    How’s that for retrospective risk assessment burtie?

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    Amelia SharmanThere’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to micro-credentials, those bits of bite-sized learning that can help workers stay on top of technological change.  What’s a micro-credential? While definitions vary, micro-credentials can be understood as short courses that allow people to learn new skills or have an existing competency recognised. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 days ago
  • “Not The Labour Party We Once Knew.”
    All Smiles Now: Claire Szabo is taking up her presidential role after serving as the CEO of Habitat For Humanity. Which is absolutely perfect! After KiwiBuild was so comprehensively mismanaged by Phil Twyford, the party has not only elected a new president from a thoroughly respectable not-for-profit, but one who ...
    3 days ago
  • Marxist versus liberal methodology on transgender ideology/identity politics
    While much of the NZ left has transitioned to postmodern and identity politics in relation to transgender ideology, there are some very good articles about that deploy Marxist methodology in relation to this subject.  The one below is from the British marxist group Counterfire and appeared on their site here ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Book review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos
    by Daphna Whitmore At Golden Oaks, a luxurious country retreat in the Hudson Valley, pregnant women have the best care money can buy. From the organic food, personalised exercise programmes, private yoga instruction and daily massages Golden Oaks looks like a country lodge for the upper class. Set some time ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
    When Labour was running for election in 2017, it felt it needed to demonstrate "fiscal responsibility" and signed itself up to masochistic "budget responsibility rules". It was a fool's errand: the sorts of voters who demand fiscal responsibility are also the sorts of voters who believe that labour can never ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: How to get there
    Writing in Stuff, Joel MacManus looks at what we need to do to meet the Zero Carbon Act's targets. The core of it:1. Convert 85 per cent of vehicles on the road to electric. 2. Eliminate fossil fuels from all industrial heating up to 300 degrees Celsius. 3. Double our ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Is Youth Vaping a Problem in New Zealand?
    Professors Janet Hoek and Richard Edwards, Emeritus Professor Phil Gendall, Jude Ball, Dr Judith McCool, Anaru Waa, Dr Becky Freeman Recent media reports have presented conflicting evidence on youth vaping in NZ. While some NZ school principals report concerns about increasing vaping on school grounds and confiscating vapes, ASH Year ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    4 days ago
  • In pursuit of “Freedom and Democracy”: Forever Wars in “America’s backyard”.
    “America the Beautiful!”, staunch defender of democracy, freedom and… a whole lot of despotic tyrants that play nice with what is called “the Washington Consensus.” America is indeed capable of immense good, but like any Nation, and most assuredly any aspirant to the mantle of Empire, great, immense evil. All ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    5 days ago
  • November ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: The beginner’s guide to blogging 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 ...
    5 days ago
  • Whodunnit? Finding the mystery 1080 testing lab
    1080 is used to control pests in NZ. Its use is contested by a noisy few. A new report claims high levels of 1080 in rats washed up on a beach. Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa (F&F) won’t name the laboratory that did their testing. It has sparked a hunt ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    5 days ago
  • Authoritarian Friends, Democratic Enemies.
    What Kind Of Empire? The thing for Kiwis to decide is what kind of empire they want to belong to. The kind that, while offering its own citizens democratic rights, demands absolute obedience from its “friends”? Or, the kind that, while authoritarian at home, takes a relaxed attitude to the ...
    6 days ago
  • Boris Johnson Goes Down
    It hasn't been a good week for the Conservatives, pollwise.  All major recent polls are showing their lead shrinking.Comparing each pollster's current (between 29/11 and 22/11) and previous most recent poll.Com Res - Conservative lead down 3 points.You Gov - Conservative lead down 1 point.Kantar - Conservative lead down 4 ...
    6 days ago
  • Interesting
    Within quick succession, Countdown maths wizard and twitterer Rachel Riley, alleged comedian David Baddiel and prominent lawyer Andrew Julius have all expressed very similar opinions / ideas:
    These #3billboards are going round London today, organised by ex-Labour people, horrified by what their party has become. Their principles haven’t changed, they’re ...
    6 days ago
  • Damn the Polls
    So, there have been a bunch of bad polls out for Labour, and even the Leftie's friend, Survation, have recently given the Conservatives a rip-snorting 11% lead.  You Gov's much vaunted MRP poll - which pretty much nailed the result in 2015 - is currently predicting a comfortable majority for ...
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: Europe declares an emergency
    The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to declare a climate emergency:The European parliament has declared a global “climate and environmental emergency” as it urged all EU countries to commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The vote came as scientists warned that the world may have already crossed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • A Bi-Partisan Commitment To X-ing “P”.
    Pure Fear: Worse than Heroin, this drug’s addictive power was terrifying. People under its influence didn’t drift off to Elysium. Nor did it persuade inadequate individuals that they could conquer the world. No, this drug – pure crystal methamphetamine, “P” for short – unlocked the gates of Hell itself. It ...
    1 week ago
  • Advice about measles: when ignorance is definitely not a virtue
    As the rate of measles infection, and of deaths, continues to climb in Samoa, antivaccination activists infectious disease proponents seem intent on doubling down on their claims about vaccination. (Check pretty much any news-media FB post about measles & you’ll see exactly what I mean.) Unfortunately, some of them have ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    1 week ago
  • Samoa’s devastating measles epidemic – why and how bad?
    Samoa are experiencing a devastating measles epidemic. It is possible that 2-3% of the population will ultimately be infected by the time it is over. Hopefully the mass immunisation campaign currently under way can mitigate some of this, for many it is too late. The first question many people ask ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    1 week ago
  • “It’s basic rights we are defending”: the Meghan Murphy interview
    Meghan Murphy is a Canadian writer and journalist She runs the Feminist Current website which she founded in 2012.  She was a keynote speaker for the Feminism2020 conference in Wellington this month. When Massey University cancelled the original venue booking Feminism2020 was hosted in Parliament by MP David Seymour. Meghan ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • A week of protests in Colombia
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh Colombia has lived through one week of protests against the economic measures taken by president Duque. What looked like a protest that would fizzle out after its first day on November 21st is still going strong. Part of the reason for the continuance ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Anti-neutrinos–When you are your own opposite
    Around a million billion pass through you each second, almost all originating from our sun, but few of them are likely to interact with you enroute. I was reading in a physics magazine earlier in the week about the nature of neutrinos. These are extremely numerous elementary particles, but only ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    1 week ago
  • Exoplanets, life, and the danger of a single study
    By Pallab Ghosh There’s value in covering new research advances, even when the underlying science is unsettled. But there are also risks. The recent announcement that scientists discovered water on the planet K2-18b, 110 light years away, prompted a media swoon. News stories, including a piece written by me, billed ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The Intersex Continuum
    I wrote this review a couple of years ago when I was still in the process of getting my head around the politics of transgenderism, and specifically the claim that intersex conditions lend support to the notion that sex is ‘socially constructed’. Since writing this review I have come across ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Leaving us with the bill
    Two weeks ago, Malaysian-owned oil company Tamarind declared it was insolvent and went into administration after a failed offshore drilling campaign. Tamarind apparently specialises in buying oil fields at the end of their life and trying to squeeze out the last few drops of pollution. But part of their scam ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How much does flying contribute to climate change?
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz How much does our use of air travel contribute to the ...
    SciBlogsBy Shaun Hendy
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The task before us
    Two weeks ago, the Zero Carbon Act became law. Right this moment, the Climate Change Commisison will be working on its initial budgets for 2022-25 and 2026-2030, and the UN has just given them a very clear steer:Countries must make an unprecedented effort to cut their levels of greenhouse gases ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2309) Mr. Spock
    Minor planet/asteroid (2309) Mr. Spock is named not for the character in Star Trek, but for a cat that was itself imperturbable, logical, intelligent and had pointed ears In a preceding blog post I introduced one of my favourite asteroids, (2472) Bradman, and also mentioned (6581) Sobers amongst a few ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Measles deaths and antivax misinformation
    Today the death toll from measles in Samoa rose to 32. All but four of the dead were less than 5 years old. Absolutely terrible, heartbreaking, news. That statistic alone should be enough to give the lie to the common claim by antivaccination activists plague enthusiasts that “measles is a ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    1 week ago
  • Colombia: the state murder of Dilan Cruz
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh It is late here in Bogotá, almost 11.30pm on Monday the 25th of November as I write this. The day began full of hope with yet more massive marches throughout the country, a mix of the International Day of Non-Violence Against Women and the National Strike. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Anti-fluoride propagandists appear not to read the articles they promote
    Anti-fluoride activists are rubbing their hands in glee over what they claim is “yet another study” showing fluoride harms the brains of children. But their promotion relies on IQ relationships which the paper’s authors acknowledge disappearing when outliers or other factors are considered. And they completely ignore other relationships ...
    1 week ago
  • The rise and collapse of classical political economy
    The feature below is the conclusion of A History of Economic Thought, whose author was a leading Marxist economist in Russia in the early 20th century, Isaac Ilyich Rubin.  The book arose from a course he ran at Moscow University following the Russian Revolution.  First published in Russian in 1929, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2472) Bradman
    There are many thousands of asteroids with formal names, some humdrum but other more noteworthy (depending on your predilections). One of my favourites, the name of which I was involved in suggesting, is (2472) Bradman, named for the Australian cricketing great.  As a minor planet (synonym: asteroid) spotter, I have ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Some cheap soundbites i thought up while reading about the underwhelming Conservative manifesto
    Tory manifesto: big on austerity, low on promise, non-existent on delivery. The Tories: the party so big on ambition they couldn't be arsed writing a manifesto. MLK: "I have a dream!"BJ: "I'll just have a nap." Labour: Broadband!Tories: Narrow minds! Labour have hope, dreams and ambition. The Tories will save ...
    1 week ago
  • Measles vaccination required to travel to islands and Phillipines
    The Ministry of Health has announced that “people under the age of 50 travelling from New Zealand to Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji” are now on the list of national priorities for MMR vaccination. Given the outbreaks of measles in Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji, the Ministry of Health is ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Giving the finger to Beijing
    Hong Kong has been protesting for six months for, demanding democracy, human rights, and an end to police violence. Today, they went to the polls in district council elections - a low-level of government with virtually no power, similar to community boards in New Zealand. But while the positions themselves ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Colombia’s national strike
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On Friday 22nd of November a curfew came into effect and troops were deployed on the streets, here in Bogota. It was the first time since September 1977 that a curfew had been imposed on the city. The decision was a cynical pre-planned ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • National supports slavery
    Meanwhile, while the government is planning to restore voting rights to prisoners, National is promising to turn our prisons into US-style slave-labour camps:The Opposition is proposing compulsory education, training or employment for prisoners who are serving sentences of two years or more. [...] On Sunday, National Party Leader Simon Bridges ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Erasing the infamy
    Last year, the Supreme Court confirmed that National's prisoner voting ban - a law so shoddily passed that it brought Parliament into disrepute - breached the Bill of Rights Act. This year, the Waitangi Tribunal added that it also breached the Treaty of Waitangi. And now, the government has finally ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Trade unions that never fight the sex industry bosses
    Excerpts from Being and Being Bought, by Kajsa Ekis Ekman Spinifex Press, 2013. Ekman, a Swedish journalist and critic, brings together a Marxist and feminist analysis of prostitution and surrogacy in this groundbreaking book. This is the second part of a synopsis and brief commentary of the book by Daphna ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • A Team Approach to Tackling the Psychology Replication Crisis
    Dalmeet Singh Chawla In 2008, psychologists proposed that when humans are shown an unfamiliar face, they judge it on two main dimensions: trustworthiness and physical strength. These form the basis of first impressions, which may help people make important social decisions, from who to vote for to how long a ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Big Pharma has failed: the antibiotic pipeline needs to be taken under public ownership
    Claas Kirchhelle, University of Oxford; Adam Roberts, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and Andrew Singer, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Antibiotics are among the most important medicines known to humankind, but we are running out of this crucial resource. Decisive action is needed if we are to retain access to ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • A Bloody Great Political Story (From A Parallel Universe).
    Things That Make You Go - Hmmmm: “All right. Let me come at this another way. I’m guessing that what you’ve got in that box contains names, dates, bank account numbers – all the details you need to put Winston Peters and Jacinda Ardern squarely in the cross-hairs. So, the first ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Submit!
    The Environment Committee has called for submissions on the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill. Submissions are due by Friday, 17 January 2020, and can be made online at the link above. The bill makes a number of changes to the ETS, including linking it to the carbon ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Message From Messenger Park.
    Coasters Turn Out In Droves: It’s precisely the widening gulf between those with actual experience of things like guns, chainsaws and drilling machines, and those who regulate their use, that accounts for the angry crowd at Greymouth’s Messenger Park on Sunday, 17 November 2019. In the rarefied atmosphere where decisions ...
    2 weeks ago
  • JFK’s assassination: a bit of physics
    There are perennial arguments about the circumstances of the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, and in particular whether more than one shooter is required by the evidence (such as the Zapruder film). Those who know little about physics frequently claim that the sharp backwards motion of JFK’s head as ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Is car washing so bad we need to ban it?
    Apparently, some people enjoy washing their cars. Each to his or her own, I suppose. I mean, some people like duck shooting, some people follow Coronation Street, and some people’s idea of a good day out is to sit on a grass bank at Seddon Park and watch cricket all ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • If Shane Jones isn’t corrupt, he is trying very hard to look it
    Last week we learned that New Zealand First had apparently tried to enrich itself from public office, with a dodgy forestry company linked to a number of NZ First figures sticking its hand out repeatedly for government money. Today in Question Time Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones had his ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: We need to end fossil fuels
    Finally, governments seem slowly to be beginning to act on climate change. But its not enough. While they're publicly signing up to targets, they're planning to destroy the world by continuing fossil fuel extraction:The world’s nations are on track to produce more than twice as much coal, oil and gas ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • As bad as we expected
    Stuff has begun interviewing NZ First's secret donors, and it turns out that its as bad as we expected. They start with racing industry figure Garry Chittick, who is predictably grumpy about NZ First's coalition choices. Meanwhile, I'm looking at the list of pork NZ First has effectively given its ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Second (And Final?) Crucifixion Of Winston Peters.
    Stag At Bay: Twelve years ago, Winston Peters was still robust enough to come back from the political crucifixion which his political and media enemies had prepared for him. In his seventies now, the chances of a second resurrection are slim. We should, therefore, prepare for the last gasp of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Earth’s artificial rings
    Satellites pass over NZ all the time (literally). Here I focus on the 187 Planet Labs ‘Dove’ Earth-imaging satellites, and I show that one can determine in advance where they will be, enabling scientists on the ground to correlate their environmental and other data collection with opportunities to get imaging ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Softy Jejune Parson – the new Mother Superior of Wellington
      The Council of Disobedient Women has learned that the Prefect of Aro Valley has been promoted to a new role with the blessing of the Pope of Wellington. Softy Jejune Parson has been appointed Mother Superior of Woke Wellington for the work she has been doing calling out heretics, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Atlantic shakeup: US and UK leadership contenders ripping up the usual scripts?
    On both sides of the Atlantic, some purportedly “contentious” and “difficult to deal with” leadership contenders to lead the US and UK, as President and Prime Minister respectively, seem to have thrown a few spanners into the works of the normal messaging most are used to hearing constantly. Except they’re ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Winston is the PM’s problem
    In Question Time today the Prime Minister was naturally facing questions about Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and his dubious party financing arrangements, which seem to violate electoral finance law. Her response was to pretend that it was nothing to do with her, and that she is not responsible for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Eight Queen’s Counsel appointed under new criterion
    Eight Queen’s Counsel have been appointed under a process that includes the new criterion of a commitment to improving access to justice, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. “The new criterion was included this year. It emphasises that excellence and leadership in the profession can be seen through a wider, community ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Major expansion for Wellington’s Onslow College
    Onslow College in Wellington will get 20 new classrooms for more than 400 students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. The much-needed investment will relieve growth pressure the school has been experiencing for some time. Seven existing classrooms which have deteriorated over time will also be replaced, bringing the total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Talented young Kiwis awarded PM’s Scholarships to Asia and Latin America
    More than 250 young New Zealanders will add international experience to their education, thanks to the latest Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia (PMSA) and Latin America (PMSLA), Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This round of scholarships supports 252 recent graduates or current students to undertake study, research or internships ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Government to improve competitiveness and transparency in the retail fuel market
    Consumers will benefit from a more competitive, transparent retail fuel market as a result of changes the Government will be making in response to the findings of the Commerce Commission’s study of the fuel sector. “We accept the Commission’s findings and, as the Prime Minister has said, we’re ready to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • More cancer medicines for more people
    Five new cancer medicines have now been funded this year, meaning thousands of people have more treatment options PHARMAC has today announced that it has approved two new medicines for funding – fulvestrant for breast cancer and olaparib for ovarian cancer. This follows earlier decisions on advanced lung cancer treatment alectinib, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Government acts to sort out electoral ‘coin toss’ problem
    The Minister of Local Government, Hon Nanaia Mahuta says the Government will consider making changes to local electoral legislation before the 2022 elections to fix the problems that have arisen where elections are settled by a coin toss.  The Minister says the recount process in the Murupara- Galatea ward at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • NZ to Join IMO Convention to Reduce Ship Emissions
    New Zealand will sign up to new international maritime regulations to reduce ship emissions and lift air quality around ports and harbours, Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced today. Subject to completion of the Parliamentary treaty examination process, New Zealand will sign up to Annex VI of MARPOL, an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Bill to empower urban development projects
    New legislation to transform our urban areas and create sustainable, inclusive and thriving communities will tomorrow be introduced to Parliament, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said. “The Urban Development Bill gives Kāinga Ora-Homes and Communities the tools it needs to partner with councils, communities, mana whenua and private developers to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Early Learning Action Plan to kickstart long term change
    Today’s launch of He taonga te Tamaiti: Every child a taonga: The Early Learning Action Plan 2019-2029 provides the foundation for long-lasting changes to early learning, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.   “Early learning will be one of the Government’s top education priorities going into 2020,” Chris Hipkins said.   ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Climate change lens on major Government decisions
    Major decisions made by the Government will now be considered under a climate change lens, Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. “Cabinet routinely considers the effects of its decisions on human rights, the Treaty of Waitangi, rural communities, the disability community, and gender – now climate change will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Tertiary Education Commission Board announced
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins today announced the appointment of Māori education specialist Dr Wayne Ngata and Business NZ head Kirk Hope to the Board of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). Dr Alastair MacCormick has been reappointed for another term. “Wayne Ngata, Kirk Hope and Alastair MacCormick bring a great deal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Next phase of Pike River recovery underway in time for Christmas
    The next phase of the Pike River Re-entry project is underway, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little says. “Fresh air will be pumped into the Pike River Mine drift this week, following acceptance of the plan for re-entry beyond the 170m barrier by New Zealand’s independent health and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Insurance contracts to become easier to understand and fairer for consumers
    New Zealand consumers will have greater certainty about their insurance cover when they need to make claims as a result of proposed government changes. “Insurance is vitally important in supporting consumers and businesses to be financially resilient when unexpected events happen,” Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • A new opportunity for Ngāpuhi collective and regional negotiations
    The Crown is providing an opportunity for the hapu of Ngāpuhi to rebuild its framework from the ground up for collective negotiations to deal with its historical Treaty claims, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little and Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The Crown is also ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Referendums Framework Bill passes third reading
    A Bill enabling referendums to be held with the 2020 General Election has passed its third reading. Justice Minister Andrew Little says the Act is important for upholding the integrity of New Zealand’s electoral process. “The Government has committed to holding a referendum on legalising recreational cannabis at the next ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Referendums website and initial cannabis Bill launched
    The first release of public information on the two referendums to be held at next year’s General Election was made today with an informative new Government website going live. Additionally, the draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill has been released, showing the strict controls on cannabis that will apply if ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government to ban foreign donations
    The Government is taking action to protect New Zealand from foreign interference in our elections by banning foreign donations to political parties and candidates, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. Legislation will be introduced to Parliament this afternoon and passed under urgency. “There’s no need for anyone other than New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Governments and tech converge to strengthen joint response to online terror events
    Governments and tech companies are holding a two-day workshop, hosted by YouTube/Google in Wellington, to test the Christchurch Call Shared Crisis Response Protocol. The workshop aims to refine and strengthen the response in the event of a terrorist attack with online implications. Companies, governments, civil society experts and NGOs will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Cancer Control Agency to drive improved care
    The new independent Cancer Control Agency has formally opened today, delivering on the Government’s plan to improve cancer care in New Zealand.         Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Health David Clark marked the occasion by announcing the membership of the Advisory Council that will be supporting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Supporting small business to prosper
    Small businesses who deal with government departments are set to be paid faster and have improved cash flow as a result, under a new strategy released today. The Government is backing recommendations from the Small Business Council (SBC) and has agreed to implement three initiatives immediately to support business and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Bill has biggest education changes in decades
    The Education and Training Bill 2019, introduced in Parliament today, proposes the biggest education changes in decades and is an important step towards improving success for all our learners, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “The Bill’s rewrite of education legislation is long overdue. Indeed one Education Act, parts of which ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Bali Democracy Forum to focus on democracy and inclusivity
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will travel to Bali to represent New Zealand at the 12th Bali Democracy Forum that will be held on the 5-6 December. “The Forum is a valuable opportunity for Asia-Pacific countries to share experiences and best practice in building home-grown democracy and fostering ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Innovative technology and tools to better manage freedom camping
    A package of new and expanded technology and other tools will encourage responsible camping and help communities and local councils better manage freedom camping this summer, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. “Our Government has been investing to improve the freedom camping experience for everyone because we want to support ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Improving wellbeing by understanding our genes
    The government is laying the groundwork to understanding our genes – work that can help us tackle some of our biggest health challenges, like heart disease and diabetes, says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. $4.7 million has been invested in the Genomics Aotearoa Rakeiora programme. The programme will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government investing to future proof school property
    Nearly every state schools will receive a capital injection next year valued at $693 per student to bring forward urgent school property improvements, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.  The one-off cash injection is the first project to be announced from the Government’s infrastructure package ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Infrastructure investments to be brought forward
    The Government has decided to bring forward major investments in New Zealand’s infrastructure to future proof the economy. “Cabinet has agreed to a significant boost to infrastructure investment. I have directed the Treasury to help bring together a package of projects that can be brought into the Government’s short and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Future-proofing New Zealand
    It is a great pleasure to be with you today in Whanganui. Like the Prime Minister I grew up with the TV clip of Selwyn Toogood booming “What do you say Whanganui, the money or the bag?” to an unsuspecting ‘It’s in the Bag’ audience. For those under the age ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand’s newest Great Walk, the Paparoa track opened – an asset for the West Coast
    New Zealand’s newest Great Walk, the Paparoa Track, was officially opened in Blackball today by the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage alongside the family members of the Pike 29 and Ngāti Waewae.  Local mayors and MP for the West Coast Hon Damien O’Connor were also in attendance. “Paparoa National Park ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • P-8A Poseidon base works commence
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