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Labour and the Keytruda campaign

Written By: - Date published: 11:50 am, March 2nd, 2016 - 64 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, making shit up, Media, spin, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: ,

Andrew Little backing the dream-3

The usual suspects are trying to manufacture a scandal over Andrew Little having dinner with some Medical Industry big wigs in September last year and because Labour more recently has supported the drug Keytruder being funded by Pharmac.

The “scandal” to use that word in its most loosest sense was broken by Stacey Kirk in the Dominion Post.  It may have well been written by Jonathan Coleman’s media advisors, such is the level of spin involved.

The headline to the story is “Andrew Little dines with drug company executives months before adopting Keytruda stance” which is correct at least in a temporal sense. The dinner occurred 6 months ago well before Little expressing interest in Keytruda as an issue.  As far as I can ascertain the issue only arose in December 2015 when Pharmac decided not to fund Keytruda and Labour then started to formulate a position.

But this did not stop Kirk drawing what was an exceedingly unlikely conspiracy theory.  From the article:

Drug company lobbyists were hosted at a special dinner by Labour leader Andrew Little, months before Labour announced its stance to override Pharmac and fund melanoma drug Keytruda.

Labour confirmed the dinner took place, understood to have been in Labour’s parliamentary offices, in September.

Organised by Pharma lobbying group Medicines NZ, the dinner also included representatives from Keytruda makers Merck Sharp and Dohme, Pfizer, Roche, Healthcare Logistics and Sanofi.

Little said he recalled a dinner, but was unsure of the timing.

“I’ve certainly met with health insurers, I’m not quite sure whether drug companies were represented there.”

His office clarified Little hosted both groups separately, late last year.

But Little said neither meeting had any influence on Labour’s current position, and there had “absolutely not” been any discussions around political donations from the drug companies.

“And I don’t get caught up in discussions about that, but I’m certainly not aware of any suggestions, hints at, offers of, contributions. It’s not the basis of which we would arrive at the position we’ve arrived at.”

The line of questioning was clearly of the “have you stopped beating your wife” variety.  And I understand the topic of conversation at the dinner was the potential effects of TPP on Pharmac.  Labour’s decision to oppose the TPP no doubt was upsetting to many of the attendees of the dinner.

Kirk also said this:

It’s understood there is deep disquiet within Labour, over the issue. It’s believed some MPs and wider party members are privately unhappy with the moves to interfere with Pharmac’s purchasing model.

She should have completed the first sentence and said that it was understood from Jonathan Coleman’s office that there is deep disquiet within the labour party.  No one has mentioned it to me as an issue and those I have communicated with are surprised and annoyed at the insinuation.  One day the media will stop running National smear lines against the Labour Party and start reporting on facts.  It is a shame we are not there yet.  Then to reinforce the effect Coleman gets to comment on how Labour is divided.

On social media the normal suspects on the right and those on the left who believe that Labour can do no good, no matter what, joined in.

If the media was really interested in the general issue of political influence it should ask how many times has John Key had dinner with industry representatives and then get him to deny that a change of policy is because of that dinner and that National has not received donations from that industry group.

Of course Little could refuse to meet with industry representatives.  Yes that is as ridiculous as it sounds.

There is an argument that Pharmac should be allowed to make decisions of its own volition without political interference.  In a perfect world perhaps.  But National in 2008 broke the mould with its decision to direct the funding of Hercepton.  So Labour should be  forced to fight political battles with a hostile media and one hand tied behind its back?

And besides the drug is approved for use in Australia and in the United Kingdom. And there are recent reports that National has squeezed funding to Pharmac to the tune of $40 million a year to bolster the health spend in other areas. This would be more than enough to fund use of the drug for a significant number of cancer sufferers.

National clearly is in a difficult situation with Keytruda.  What better way to minimise the damage than to get the media to run conspiracy theories about the Labour Party.

64 comments on “Labour and the Keytruda campaign”

  1. Anne 1

    Labour has to do something. This constant together with the irrational and insane hostile media attitude towards Labour has to be confronted – NOW. No more pussy footing around plaintively denying this is not true etc.

    Get on the front foot and roar like a lion Labour. If Winston Peters can do it so can you.

    For starters, how about a few local Wellingtonians (or mickysavage) fire off emails to the author of the article pointing out that… just because Jonathan Coleman’s office says there is disquiet in Labour doesn’t make it true.

    • Anne 1.1

      oops… after constant – should be ‘misrepresentation’. In a hurry.

    • Eyre 1.2

      No one is mentioning the elephant in the room. Who leaked this?

      • Anne 1.2.1

        I would say this came from the National Party – Jonathan Coleman’s office? I’m picking some right-wing prick (that choice of word is sure to upset some morally moribund rwnj) in the medical industry heard about the dinner in “the Office of the Leader of the Opposition” and told Coleman’s office. I’ve already been wrong once today so don’t take my word for it, but I very much doubt it was a Labour caucus leak. The L.C. is much more disciplined under Little’s jurisdiction.

        • Eyre 1.2.1.1

          Was Jonathan coleman there?. That would be a strange invitation. Bet he couldn’t believe his luck. I think you will find it came from with in labour. Who else knew. Why didn’t little come out and say, they were discussing tppa. Would say they weren’t.

          • mickysavage 1.2.1.1.1

            Were you there? I guess not. But you decided to pronounce as if you were. Why is that?

            • Eyre 1.2.1.1.1.1

              tell me who leaked it. Cunliffe?, Roberson?. Someone inside labour leaked it, knowing it wouldn’t make little look good

              • mickysavage

                The dinner was that secret it was held at Parliament … no leaking required.

            • Eyre 1.2.1.1.1.2

              Why was there 4 questions in the house from labour about pharmac on tuesday. One from little about keytruda. And none on Wednesday.

  2. Karen 2

    I don’t see anything wrong per se in Labour meeting with Medicine Net or any other industry groups. I do disagree with the government interfering with the Pharmac model because of a media campaign to get a particular drug paid for, however. I don’t care that National did it – they were also wrong.

    What Labour should be saying is that the health budget is inadequate overall, plus more money needs to be given to Pharmac directly so more drugs can be made available.

    James Dann has written a good piece about this:

    http://thespinoff.co.nz/02-03-2016/keytruda-pharmac-and-the-zero-sum-game/

    • McFlock 2.1

      I agree entirely

    • mickysavage 2.2

      I accept the interference argument is potent but the trouble is that National does it time and time again. Roads of National significance and Northland bridges are two examples. For very good reasons the NLTP system was set up to depoliticise decisions and to allow for funding decisions to be made on the merits but this has been turned on its head by this Government.

      • McFlock 2.2.1

        National are shit. We know that.

        But the electioneering lolly scramble divides society, alienates people against each other. So people drop out of the system.

        Copying National means Labour scrabbles for the remaining pieces of a rapidly shrinking and mouldering pie.

        Option B is to maybe be in a position to catch some of the perfectly good crumbs dropping off the pie. They’ll mount up, and they’re better than what will end up remaining on the plate.

    • Wainwright 2.3

      Commented in the wrong place before. He didn’t meet them, he wined and dined them. Big difference.

  3. McFlock 3

    Pharmaceutical funding is one of those things that, no matter what choice you make, people will suffer and die.

    These decisions need to be coldly calculated, otherwise “deserving” or “cute” patients (or those with the loudest publicists) get treatment ahead of their priority, increasing overall suffering and death.

    Increase pharmac’s budget by all means, but “National did it too” is just as degenerate an argument as “Labour did it too”.

    If behaving in a rational and principled manner is campaigning with ” one hand tied behind its back”, then so be it. Political parties should not leverage suffering into votes when no just government would alleviate the suffering being leveraged. Because that’s the sad situation at hand: increase overall suffering to get a photo-op with grateful queue-jumpers.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    The TPP is going to hamstring pharmac.

    Labour is going to keep the TPP.

    Labour has just launched a social media campaign based on inadequate treatment for skin cancer sufferers.

    Big Pharma now states that government funding problems means dozens of new drugs are unavailable to Kiwis.

    Little meets with Big Pharma to socialise and talk business, Big Pharma the industry which wrote entire sections of the TPP.

    Labour supporters: nothing to see here, these things are not interconnected, move along.

    • McFlock 4.1

      yes dear.

    • Sabine 4.2

      I get it, what we need is the NZ answer to Donald Trump.

      Care to run CV?

      • Tim 4.2.1

        He fits the part doesn’t he? Gradually sounding crazier day by day..

        • adam 4.2.1.1

          Never critique the labour party, – they just call you crazy!

          Wow Tim, what a Tory scumbag you turned out to be.

          • McFlock 4.2.1.1.1

            Suggests name calling is tool to discredit valid opponents.
            Name-calls individual who you just implied uses said tool.

            lol

          • Colonial Viper 4.2.1.1.2

            Notice adam how the left think that uber clever wit decisively shuts down points of view that it doesn’t want to hear?

            It’s that kind of intellectual arrogance that electorates all around the world are growing weary of.

            Plenty of lefties on The Standard have been name calling and abusing Trump over the last few days. No one has called for that to stop.

            Oh yeah, moral hypocrisy is another thing that people notice about the political left.

            • McFlock 4.2.1.1.2.1

              who called for name calling to stop?

              I just found the immediately adjacent hypocrisy funny. dissonance much?

    • Johan 4.3

      Does Pharmac spend money purchasing the “new drugs” or does it wait ’till the generic brand comes out?

      • Colonial Viper 4.3.1

        AFAIK they use a complex cost/benefit analysis to figure out whether or not a new drug makes it.

  5. Ad 5

    The pharmaceutical industry is not a democracy, so I fully support Little seeing them. I hope he ordered the best wine on the menu.

    Coleman one the one hand admitted he and Key shouldn’t have folded on the breast cancer drug, but on the other hand bleated and pleaded to the camera like a lamb when finally shamed into meeting the petition-organisers. Pharmac was set up to avoid life-and-death medications done on political whim like this.

    Coleman is just being a politician.

    • Sabine 5.1

      but he is not Labour, and that makes it all good.

      Its only wrong or questionable if Labour does it. See how easy that is.

      Nevermind that there are people in NZ that will die before their time because we have an actual government not doing its job on principle cause small government, free enterprise and market and no regulations n shit.
      But we are not allowed to talk about that. That would be disrespectful or something.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        Its only wrong or questionable if Labour does it. See how easy that is.

        Not quite.

        It’s wrong or questionable.

        If its a National MP they get a pass. If its a Labour MP they don’t.

        Now, that’s clearly not a level playing field but it doesn’t stop it being wrong or questionable in either case.

        Nevermind that there are people in NZ that will die before their time because we have an actual government not doing its job on principle cause small government, free enterprise and market and no regulations n shit.

        Labour was underfunding hospitals in the 2000s leading to excess deaths. This was reported in various news media.

        Just saying.

        Of course, the NATs are somewhat worse in multiple ways.

    • Wainwright 5.2

      You hope he ordered the best wine on the menu? Generous of you, coz if you’re a Labour member you paid for it. This wasn’t the Skycity corporate box. It was fancypants dinner in his office after hours, with a bunch of corporate scum who were never going to help Labour out anyway and probably leaked the story to the tories next day.

      • Colonial Viper 5.2.1

        You hope he ordered the best wine on the menu? Generous of you, coz if you’re a Labour member you paid for it

        This sounds about right.

        Or the tax payer paid for it.

      • Ad 5.2.2

        Pharma lobbyists have excellent expense accounts

        • Wainwright 5.2.2.1

          Read the article, mate. The dinner took place in Labour’s parliamentary offices. Little wasn’t the guest, he was the host. He paid – you paid. ANd for what? Another bad headline.

          • mickysavage 5.2.2.1.1

            I don’t get it. If this was a secret dinner held at a private location then the conspiracy theories would have slightly more validity. But it was held in Parliament. Hundreds of people would have known what was going on.

            And are you saying that Little should never meet with any industry representative? Honest the suggestion is bizarre. Labour needs to reach out to all sorts of groups. It can’t go into a shell and meet with supporters only.

            • Herb 5.2.2.1.1.1

              ” Hundreds of people would have known what was going on.” you say ,but persist in blaming Johnathon Coleman.
              Even Vernon Small knows it was your own team

            • Wainwright 5.2.2.1.1.2

              Mate, from what I hear even senior Labour Party types didn’t know it was happening. But all the defenders keep saying “meet” like it was a business briefing. Just admit it sounds shady and hold our man to a higher standard.

  6. But National in 2008 broke the mould with its decision to direct the funding of Hercepton.

    They did indeed. That’s because they’re shit corporate weasels unfit to be put in charge of a picnic, let alone a country. Is Labour now considering that an aspirational goal?

  7. alwyn 7

    Did Little really say ” I’m not quite sure whether drug companies were represented there’.
    He must be in a bad way, mustn’t he? Just a few months ago and he only vaguely seems to remember the dinner and he can’t remember who was present.
    Early onset dementia by the sound of it. Such a shame for his family.

  8. Michael 8

    That’s right – Labour politicians never, ever sell out in return for a bit of corporate koha, as even a cursory glance at political history reveals. Any suggestion that Little and co would let themselves be bought by Big Pharma is absolutely scandalous and must be firmly eschewed. I’m off to watch “The COnstant Gardener” again.

  9. Keith 9

    National will fund Keytruda and it will be fronted by John Key to try and resurrect his flagging popularity.

    BUT the truly worrying thing is it will come at an awful cost. Expect a variety of smaller cuts to the health budget or other public service budgets that will cover the cost but with interest! This is National and as a government living off debt and tax cuts they are short of money and long on illusions!

    And I expect the likes of Little to be speaking with drug companies, why the hell not, its a major cost to NZ and a major savings if done right. I mean its not as if they are lepers like SkyCity!

  10. Tautoko Mangō Mata 10

    IT is time the finger is pointed at Big Pharma for being greedy. It annoys me greatly that Pharmac will have to justify their choices under TPP providing opportunities for litigation but the Big Pharma corporations don’t have to justify their profits or be accountable for the deaths caused by the unaffordability of some of the drugs. Sure, research is expensive but Big Pharma spend more money on advertising than research. Why can’t they spend less on advertising, give fewer freebies to doctors and cut their prices?

    • Michael 10.1

      “IT is time the finger is pointed at Big Pharma for being greedy.” – It won’t be a Labour Party finger that’s for sure: they’re all jammed in the feeding trough.

  11. mac1 11

    And in tonight’s paper, a piece from Tracy Watkins on using cancer sufferers as a political football.

    She says- “Nobody’s hands are clean in the Keytruda row.” She criticises Labour for coat tailing the plight of cancer patients to attack the government, the drug companies for attempting to leverage up the price to Pharmac , and National for doing the same over Herceptin but claiming the high moral ground.

    I simply ask Tracy Watkins, what is the role of the Opposition?

    Is it not pointing out the failings of Government? On our behalf? In a democracy?

    ‘Cos that is its traditional role, alongside the fourth estate, and we are not seeing enough of that happening from the media.

    Pharmac has underspent its budget by $30 million. No mention of that in Watkins article.

    I am glad that Labour is hammering on the government’s gates.

    ‘Cos it’s nor bein

    • miravox 11.1

      “Pharmac has underspent its budget by $30 million”

      Which brings me back to wanting some information about how pharmac interprets its own funding criteria in relation to approving drugs and what the new criteria will produce.

      Medicines New Zealand on Pharmac funding

      Also, was there a reason other than strict interpretation of criteria for underspending – a political directive maybe?

  12. Magisterium 12

    Sure, this isn’t as egregious as National’s Sky City deal, or sending our troops to Iraq so we can stay ‘part of the club’. But Key, Joyce et al have reasons for the questionable stuff they do. They have agendas. It’s deliberate; calculated. They have reasons! Labour just does random bewilderingly stupid shit for no comprehensible reason. All the time. People write columns about how Labour should ‘move to the center’, or the left or whatever, but addressing the bewildering stupidity issue should be their primary goal.

    Dim-post, Same As It Ever Was
    https://dimpost.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/same-as-it-ever-was/

    • mickysavage 12.1

      I like Danyl’s writing but he is a green. He is never going to praise Labour.

      • Colonial Viper 12.1.1

        Are Danyl’s criticisms of Labour and the Labour leadership not valid then?

        The performance we have seen to date suggests that some of the criticisms might be spot on.

  13. upnorth 13

    He dine with executives – end of subject

    Story ends

  14. Colonial Viper 14

    Question: what contact has Little and Labour had with Big Pharma execs since the well publicised dinner.

    • Flatulence 14.1

      More than that. Has any donation to Labour occurred since that meeting, from Big Pharma?

      Like any race, if you are behind you have to run faster. In politics I assume if you are behind, you have to be either cleaner, or more devious.

  15. Ben 15

    “I’ve certainly met with health insurers, I’m not quite sure whether drug companies were represented there.”

    But Little said neither meeting had any influence on Labour’s current position, and there had “absolutely not” been any discussions around political donations from the drug companies.

    So although he can’t remember if he actually met with the drug companies, he can categorically state what wasn’t discussed at the meeting(s) that he can’t remember. Is he taking a leaf out of JK’s book? Not sure that Little can pull that off. If this this was a National minister or MP the Left (and the media) would be unhinged with indignation. Instead we get the “move on, nothing to see here” line.

  16. tinfoilhat 16

    The stench of hypocrisy from both National and Labour and their respective supporters on the issues surrounding PHARMAC is quite pungent.

  17. Jester 17

    Im unsure why Mickey states that National broke the mould in regards to convention of non political interference into Pharmac funding.

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    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 ...
    5 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • Nobody Left Behind.
    Solidarity Forever: All over the world, the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has exposed the fragility of the walls we erect around ourselves and our loved ones. It has shattered our illusions of autonomy and revealed to us how utterly dependent we all are on other human-beings. Finally, we see ...
    1 week ago
  • Rebuilding a truly “Democratic” counter, or a “moderate Republican” bolt-hol...
    Looking across the various arguments for/against the leading candidates to take the Democratic Nomination, you might honestly be very hard pressed to tell. There are a number of things that have now started happening since Amy Klobuchar and “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg both threw the towel in and immediately (and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Abortion law reform a win for women
    by Daphna Whitmore Abortion is no longer in the Crimes Act in New Zealand. The law reform passed yesterday and now abortion is a medical matter between a woman and her doctor. Many women’s groups and progressive people have campaigned for reform for decades. The women’s liberation movement and some ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • How to spot bogus science stories and read the news like a scientist
    Doug Specht, University of Westminster and Julio Gimenez, University of Westminster When fake news, misreporting and alternative facts are everywhere, reading the news can be a challenge. Not only is there plenty of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other scientific topics floating around social media, you also ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus
    Michael Baker, University of Otago and Nick Wilson, University of Otago With some of the toughest border restrictions and a newly-announced NZ$500 million boost to health services, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand is also fortunate in ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the pandemic II
    As expected, the government has introduced a sessional order to allow Parliament to operate during the pandemic. You can read it on the Order Paper here, but the short version is that questions and motions can be filed electronicly, select committees can work remotely, and the the Business Committee can ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When a virus goes viral: pros and cons to the coronavirus spread on social media
    Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology; Daniel Angus, Queensland University of Technology; Timothy Graham, Queensland University of Technology, and Tobias R. Keller, Queensland University of Technology News and views about coronavirus has spread via social media in a way that no health emergency has done before. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • How to survive 14 days of self-isolation
    So you’ve recently returned from overseas, come into contact with someone who tested positive, got a bit of a dry cough yourself or perhaps just want to self isolate for 14 days to avoid other people who might have COVID-19. Here are a few tips and tricks to help get ...
    1 week ago
  • Abortion Legislation Bill passes third reading
    Some fave speeches:     ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    1 week ago
  • Why Leadership Matters – More Than Anything.
    Our Good Fortune: Precisely because she has never been an ideologue (she calls herself a “pragmatic idealist”) Jacinda Ardern has a political nimbleness and spontaneity which, when infused with her exceptional emotional intelligence, produces spectacular demonstrations of leadership. Jacinda's empathic political personality contrasts sharply with the less-than-sunny ways of her ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #11, 2020
    1 week ago
  • 68-51
    The Abortion Legislation Bill has just passed its third reading, 68-51. NZ First MPs bailed because their referendum amendment didn't pass, but there were plenty of MPs to provide a majority without them. The bill is a long way from perfect - most significantly, it subjects pregnant people who need ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The ‘herd immunity’ route to fighting coronavirus is unethical and potentially dangerous
    As most of the world tries to suppress the coronavirus spread, some countries are going it alone – trying to manage the pandemic through so-called “herd immunity”. Herd immunity means letting a large number of people catch a disease, and hence develop immunity to it, to stop the virus spreading. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Eight new COVID-19 cases today. It’s no surprise when you look at some numbers
    So, as I sit at home with a very, very slight headache (i.e. not at work when I would otherwise be so), the now familiar figure of Ashley Bloomfield reports eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19  including two in Waikato. A surprise, given that we had just twelve yesterday? No. ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • The WINZ Paradox versus the new COVID-19 Reality: Get real people, seriously…
    Many who advocated for, and voted for, the current Coalition – particularly those who voted Labour and the Green Party – expected to see a sea change in the reality of social services. A real, deep change of attitude, approach of process through which the system negotiates the difficult and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • The Air New Zealand bailout
    Stuff reports that the government is going to have to throw $2 - 3 billion at Air new Zealand to get it through the pandemic. Good. While international routes are basicly closed, Air New Zealand is a strategic asset which is vital to our tourism industry, not to mentioning airfreight. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Why NZ’s tough coronavirus travel rules are crucial to protecting lives at home and across the Pac...
    New Zealand’s border restrictions will come with significant job and business losses in the tourism sector, both at home and in the Pacific. But the new travel rules are absolutely necessary to protect the health of New Zealanders and people right across Pacific Islands, because New Zealand is a gateway ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The tiniest of teeth
    Back in early 2018, as a shoddy legal tactic to try and avoid the prisoner voting ban being formally declared inconsistent with the BORA by the Supreme Court, Justice Minister Andrew Little floated the idea of greater legal protection for human rights. When the Supreme Court case didn't go the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • One simple, common factor to success against COVID-19
    Professor Philip Hill and Associate Professor James Ussher Most infectious diseases have an Achilles heel, the secret is to find it. The question is if we don’t have a drug or a vaccine for COVID-19, is there something else we can do to beat it? Some people estimate that, without ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • National should isolate Simon Bridges
    The Coalition Governments $12.1 billion economic package to help combat the financial effects of COVID-19 was generally well received across the board, even amongst many business leaders who would normally be critical of a Labour led Government.However there was one glaringly obvious exception, Simon Bridges. The so-called leader of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • How testing for Covid-19 works
    With confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand up to 12, many influential people are writing open letters and opinion pieces and doing press conferences asking why we aren’t pulling out all the stops and testing thousands of people a day like they are in South Korea. The thing is, ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    2 weeks ago
  • The COVID-19 package and the limits of capitalism
    by Daphna Whitmore The willingness to put human life before business shows that sometimes capitalism is capable of suspending its relentless drive for profit. For a short time it can behave differently. Flatten the curve is the public health message since COVID-19 suddenly overwhelmed the hospital system in northern Italy. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Black April, May and June?
    Worldwide, the 1918 influenza epidemic – wrongly called ‘Spanish’ flu – lasted about two years. However, it lasted about six weeks in New Zealand (remembered as ‘Black November’, because the dead turned a purplish-black). It is thought about 7000 Pakeha died and 2,500 Maori. The population mortality rate was about ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID 19 has struck… as has a lot of terrible ineptitude from far too many
    In a world and a time when the worst off and most vulnerable have been asked, time and again, to foot the bill for the complete subjugating to the will of the 1% thanks to the GFC, at a point where the world as a whole is now seeing quite ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • What’s in the Coronavirus Package?
    With the economy already reeling from a crisis that’s barely begun, the Government today sought to provide reassurance to workers and businesses in the form of a massive phallic pun to insert much-needed cash into the private sector and help fight the looming pandemic. Here are the key components: $5.1 ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • I just had my benefit suspended during a fucking pandemic
    I am a member of the working poor and so still need state welfare to make rent. So I had booked an appointment for yesterday with my caseworker at Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) to apply for a transition to work grant. However the current health advice in New ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    2 weeks ago

  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • Joint Ministerial Statement by Singapore and New Zealand -Covid-19 situation
    JOINT MINISTERIAL STATEMENT BY SINGAPORE AND NEW ZEALAND AFFIRMING COMMITMENT TO ENSURING SUPPLY CHAIN CONNECTIVITY AMIDST THE COVID-19 SITUATION  The COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis.  As part of our collective response to combat COVID-19, Singapore and New Zealand are committed to maintaining open and connected supply chains. We ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Transit between Australia and New Zealand
    Travel restrictions, closing our border to almost all travelers came into force from 23:59 on Thursday 19 March 2020 (NZDT).  All airlines were informed of these restrictions before they came into force. Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says “The transit of passengers between Australia and New Zealand has been agreed upon and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $100 million to redeploy workers
    The Government has allocated $100 million to help redeploy workers affected by the economic impact of COVID-19, with the hard-hit region of Gisborne-Tairāwhiti to be the first helped, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford, Forestry and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced today. Phil Twyford ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More support for wood processing
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is ramping up support for Tairāwhiti’s wood processing sector to bolster the region’s economy at a time of heightened uncertainty, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Following earlier announcements today of a regional support package for Tairāwhiti, Minister Jones has also announced a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt steps in to protect Air New Zealand
    The Coalition Government has stepped in to protect Air New Zealand with a significant financial deal that protects essential routes and allows the company to keep operating. The Government and Air New Zealand have agreed a debt funding agreement through commercial 24-month loan facilities of up to $900 million*. The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Stronger border measures to protect NZers from COVID-19
    The Government has taken further measures to protect New Zealanders from the COVID-19 virus, effectively stopping all people from boarding a plane to New Zealand from 11:59pm today, except for returning New Zealanders, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.  New Zealanders’ partners, legal guardians or any dependent children travelling with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Action on indoor gatherings and events to protect public health
    The Government has reinforced its commitment to protecting the health of New Zealanders from COVID-19 through the cancellation of indoor events with more than 100 people.  “Protecting the health of New Zealanders is our number one priority, and that means we need to reduce the risks associated with large gatherings,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • New Zealanders advised not to travel overseas
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