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Labour’s popular housing policy

Written By: - Date published: 3:40 pm, January 10th, 2013 - 121 comments
Categories: david shearer, housing, labour - Tags:

I’m delighted to see that over 70% of respondents to a recent Herald poll, published today, think Labour’s 100,000 houses plan is “a winner for Labour”. The plan was announced by David Shearer at Labour’s November conference.

I’d also like to thank Olwyn for asking some questions about Labour’s policy on housing in response to Zetetic’s post – they deserve an answer.

Olwyn asks: “Does Labour share Zetetic’s concerns about the state house sell-off?” These concerns were also expressed in the Herald by Metiria Turei.

Of course we share the concerns; here’s what Labour’s 2011 housing policy said:

Labour is committed to increasing and upgrading Housing New Zealand’s state housing stock. Labour also remains committed to the policy of income related rents for state house tenants.

We need to invest in housing. The last Labour Government spent nine years repairing the damage caused by a National Government that oversaw a fire-sale of nearly 13,000 state houses, carried out no modernisation whatsoever, and introduced market rents plunging tens of thousands of families into poverty overnight.

I think that’s pretty clear.

Olwyn asks again : “Will it(Labour) do things differently? Build more state houses for example?” Labour’s policy again:

Labour will focus on new builds for any state house acquisitions, rather than purchasing existing properties, to increase the overall housing stock. Where possible new state houses will be built in accordance with the disability sector approved Lifemark standard for accessible, adaptable lifetime design.

Once again from Olwyn: “Is the same caucus able answer the question about affordable housing?

The current policy on housing affordability, approved by the Caucus and Party Council, runs to seven pages in the 2011 election manifesto, and starts thus:

The road back to housing affordability

Getting the New Zealand housing market back on the path to affordability will take time and structural change in our economy. Only a Labour government has the plan to do this.

You can read the full policy here; it runs for 12 pages, 287-299.

Olwyn goes on to say: “If Labour will not answer such questions, then surely this gives you a clue as to why these days Labour is being criticised by the left almost as much as National is.”

As I hope I have indicated above, I don’t think Labour has a particular problem answering the questions. I do accept that there are problems with Labour’s communications, as well as in left perceptions of Labour. So those of us who do support Labour have a responsibility to explain the policies as well as engage in the policy debates.

However I do also think that some on the left sometimes do not give Labour credit where credit is due. Housing policy is a good example, as it is one of the litmus policies where the distinction between Labour and National is most clear.

The best example of that distinction is also mentioned in the policy above. In 1999, Labour campaigned on a promise to change state house rentals from so-called market rents to income-related rents. Labour did this in government, and it made a huge difference to state home renters.

Labour promised to pay for this policy by increasing the top rate of income tax from 36% to 39%. They did this too. As far as I am aware this is one of the few times any social democratic government has campaigned and won an election on a promise to increase income tax. There’s nothing right-wing about any of that.

And I think the fact that Labour’s 100,000 houses policy is so popular gives the best answer to David Shearer’s more virulent critics. The poll was taken at the beginning of December, so the policy will have been widely discussed over the holidays.It is a big idea, it is very Labour, it is very different from National, it goes alongside Labour’s commitment to state housing.

It should get the new year off to a good start. I’m optimistic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

121 comments on “Labour’s popular housing policy”

  1. Steve H 1

    So instead of saving money, living to the bare minimum to get a deposit and pay off a mortgage, you should be able to not save, spend as much money as you like on nice food, alcohol, takeaways and V8’s, and not make a sacrifice whatsoever? And still get a decent house too?

    I’m in, workings over-rated.

    • McFlock 1.1

      …spend as much money as you like as long as the amount you like to spend on those things is infinitesimal to the point of purely imaginary.. .

      FIFY

    • burt 1.2

      Work is what other people do to fund your lifestyle – this is socialism : Other peoples money is yours for the taking … all you need to do is vote for the party that promises it to you !

      • xtasy 1.2.1

        burt: Welcome to another disciple of divide and rule by applying injustices across the board. And perhaps put the boot in next time to beneficiaries, whom you will despise, as they are from your view “not pulling their weight” (as if there is one class of permanent beneficiaries, while in fact there is very much movements out of and also into benefit dependence).

      • McFlock 1.2.2

        So in the marketplace we should act according to our own self interest, but when voting we should act according to the interests of other people?

        That right there is the con that lets non-millionaires vote national.

      • One Tāne Huna 1.2.3

        burt, it’s called a free market: we freely decided to take all your money and spend it on poor people, because you don’t deserve the benefits of the society you despise.

        This just in: no, wait, we didn’t, we just required you to pay your taxes, cry-baby.

      • mike e vipe e 1.2.4

        burt you should form the suckers party for those sucked in by simplistic short term thinkers such as yourself and SH .
        most major companies in NZ were started on the back of govt investment of one type or other!
        You could all advocate to go back and live in Dickensian times!

    • Colonial Viper 1.3

      In the 1970’s and 1980’s it was quite possible to do what you suggested Steve H. Too bad successive Right Wing governments have ruined the chances for so many after them.

      You can’t save anything worthwhile on less than $45K pa. and even if you did, no bank would loan you a mortgage sufficient to buy a house anywhere other than Ashurst, Bulls or Ettrick.

    • xtasy 1.4

      Steve H: You apparently have not read much about Labour’s housing policy!

      The Kiwi Build policy will require people to save and pay down a deposit, and they also must fulfil other criteria, so they cannot get an “affordable” home and simply sell it on straight afterwards, making a nice tax free gain.

      And for state housing, have you ever enquired what your circumstances need to look like, before you ever even get onto a waiting list for a state home?

      With house prices at what they are here in Auckland now, where most choose to live due to better job-availability, you have to be a big earner to be able to save anything for a home. Labour want to ease the pressure on the market with their ideas.

      The major issue I have so far with Labour’s plans is the unanswered question of where the cheap land to build on will come from. Mike does not appear to address the major shortfall here.

      More is needed, and Labour will have to work through the Kiwi Build plan again, addressing some flaws in it.

      But they are certainly doing a heck of a lot more than this government!

    • mike e vipe e 1.5

      D#*k head a labour govt are going to sell guaranteed bonds into the market to start the ball rolling
      some of New Zealands most prosperous times were when in the past the govt stated housing programs they were times of very low unemployment as well!
      Young families have very little chance of getting started and having a stable place and community.
      Young families Can’t afford to live it up like you say I’m still bringing up 2 teenagers on a very respectable income and it ain’t cheap!
      No doubt there are a few irresponsible out their but they are few and far between and are unlikely to save a deposit or have kiwisaver in place!
      You are just being an ignorant bigot by victimising poor people!

  2. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 2

    I notice those polled think Labour’s 100,000 houses plan is “a winner for Labour”.

    I wonder what the answer would have been had they asked whether it was a winner for home buyers, or taxpayers. I would have answered “is it a winner for Labour?” in the affirmative, and I think it’s a fucking stupid idea. I just happen to think political parties promising free shit to people is always a winner with the people being offerred free shit. Paul’s always thrilled about Peter being robbed.

    • Pascal's bookie 2.1

      That isn’t something you noticed, it’s something you inferred. The article says the respondents approved of the policy, and the journo said that makes it a winner for Labour.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 2.1.1

        Well, I inferred it from this:

        I’m delighted to see that over 70% of respondents to a recent Herald poll, published today, think Labour’s 100,000 houses plan is “a winner for Labour”.

        And I think it is the only inference you can take from what the author wrote.

  3. burt 3

    OK folks, the gummit wants to send you a message – don’t worry – vote Labour : Everything will be fine and the coalition with the Greens will provide the freshly printed money to create wildfire inflation build houses.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      What’s the difference between printing the money into the NZ economy and borrowing it into the economy from China?

      • You_Fool 3.1.1

        One is a Green/Red policy and the other is Blue…. and Burt’s favourite colour is blue so therefore that one is obviously better

    • bad12 3.2

      May i be so impolitee as to inquire if your name is by any chance f**k-head, the US has printed trillions of dollars, is still printing the stuff and according to their Prez will continue to do so untill such time as unemployment has fallen to a suitable level,

      Before you start on the ‘run-away inflation’ idiocy i suggest you check the current rate of inflation in the US,

      Dumb f**ks like you make me angry beyond what’s good for me…

      • infused 3.2.1

        The US will be gone by then. Because retards like you have no clue.

        • bad12 3.2.1.1

          And you think that what you have just posted is intelligent debate??? fuck off back to the slimy fucking hole you just crawled out of you piece of shit…

    • mike e vipe e 3.3

      Burt where’s your evidence every major trading block has printed money(no infltion problems in any of their economies) that’s why our balance of payments is so bad you idiot we wouldn’t have to borrow $52 billion of other peoples money. (Where’s all the inflation there you numskull, read some thing about economics not your homespun Act BS” ACT <than 1%support")
      You Right whingers keep reeling out this economic diatribe without any evidence but are happy to support a govt who spends other peoples money by borrowing and paying more people to be on welfare funny that!

  4. Lightly 4

    but what’s the answer for the 40% of families who can’t afford KiwiBuild? Why is Labour only subsidising the top 60%?

    • Steve H 4.1

      Because its nice to get something that isn’t just “for the poor, poor people who don’t have to work”?

      Something for the middle class that isn’t just another tax increase?

      • Lightly 4.1.1

        a) I think that the bottom 40% includes quite a bit of the ‘middle class’, most of them are working – in fact there are only about 10% of families with kids who don’t have any work income
        b) there’s already lots of middle class spending eg Working for Families. There’s also 270,000 kids living in poverty and sharply falling homeownership in the lower income brackets.
        c) If you assume that the top third of families by income can’t get KiwiBuild, because surely we’re not subsidising the wealthy here and the bottom 40% can’t afford it and about half the rest already own a house…. are there even 100,000 eligible families out there?

      • Colonial Weka 4.1.2

        Do you really believe that the bottom 40% of families don’t work?

    • burt 4.2

      Why is Labour only subsidising the top 60%?

      Because that’s enough to get the levers of power…. It’s not about good long term outcomes, prudent fiscal policy, better outcomes for NZ people – it’s about being popular enough to get the levers of power !

      Hell the numbers don’t even stack up – how will Labour build houses for hundreds of thousands less than is currently possible… who cares… enough stupid people in love with other peoples money will vote for it !

      • Lightly 4.2.1

        $300,000 homes are possible. There’s lots of them. The problem is that there aren’t enough and they’re being snapped up by property investors.

        • The Al1en 4.2.1.1

          Who invest to on sell and pay no taxes on huge profits.
          If WFF is middle class welfare, housing portfolios are legalised tax rorts.

          Will DS promote a CGT with such vigour as ‘his’ new homes package?
          Will he legislate for a minimum standard of habitability, and pledge no more families living in garages?
          Will he signal that landlords are responsible for problem tenants, and made to pay fees for noise control/policing as a consequence?
          Will DS clearly (See what I did 😉 ) express his solidarity for the party core constituents and make a huge impact on their lives, or will he appease middle class voters to win back their votes?

          The right always tell us no-one should get something for nothing, so why slumlords and party leaders?

  5. Steve Wrathall 5

    Hope your number comes up and you get the discounted house. Immediately flick it onto the market and trouser $100K. Labour’s Lotto housing policy is a “winner” all right. But like Lotto it has many more losers.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      I guessed your twisted money grubbing mind would come up with this idea

    • mike e vipe e 5.2

      One small problem Silly Wanker they have to hold the house for 10 years minimum and pay back homestart and kiwisaver !

      • Steve Wrathall 5.2.1

        Borrow against future windfall. Thank you sucker taxpayer. Learn some economics.

        • Chris 5.2.1.1

          Just so we all have a solid understanding of how you understand the economics of this:

          The government will be build a large number of houses in one area and sell them for $300,000. Once this first tranche of houses are built, they will build some more presumably in the same area and sell these ones for $300,000 also. Yet somehow you are going to find a buyer who is willing to pay $400,000 for a house readily available for $300,000.

          Or do you mean you will sell it in ten years for $400,000 giving you a princely return of 2.9% p.a.

  6. Matt 6

    I think the response would have been very different if the question had been, Are you happy to fund 100,000 houses for people that can not be bothered to save and buy their own home?

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      How about: are you happy to tax property speculators and slum lords out of the market so that ordinary families can afford decent housing in Auckland?

    • Blue 6.2

      Pretty sure these houses are not being given away for free. There was something on that pesky press handout about having to have saved your own deposit to get one. And you have to either get a mortgage like everyone else or have $300k lying around to buy it outright.

      The quality of RWNJs is really decreasing.

      • Steve Wrathall 6.2.1

        Who said they were being given for free? Names please

        • Blue 6.2.1.1

          That’s generally what’s implied when Matt claims these houses are being ‘funded’ for people who “can not be bothered to save and buy their own home”

          If they don’t have to buy it, then it must be free.

    • xtasy 6.3

      Matt: You have no clue, it shows! To get one of those 100,000 proposed new “homes” (not necessarily all standalone “houses” on sections), a deposit will still be needed! So how does one get that? Santa Claus has been and gone, but I got no deposit from him. Lotto maybe a tough chance too. So what is left? Work and earn it. Stop distorting the true facts of the plan.

      • Matt 6.3.1

        How is that distortion Xtasy? What about the people who have already had to fork out and buy houses at the inflated prices what mechanism will be in place to protect their existing investment and ensure they don’t fall into negative equity territory?, I do not have a problem with a hand up however I don’t believe that people should be receiving a hand out.

        It would appear that some of the commenters here get fairly feral pretty quickly and are prone to slagging people off its not really becoming for the party is it?

        • xtasy 6.3.1.1

          “What about the people who have already had to fork out and buy houses at the inflated prices what mechanism will be in place to protect their existing investment and ensure they don’t fall into negative equity territory?”

          By that logic you are in favour of ever increasing house prices!

          This is acceptance of the divide and rule mentality we are getting from the National led government, in virtually all areas of government and policies.

          How do you know whether, and by how much prices would fall for other homes, if the 100,000 new homes get built within say ten years? You are making mere speculations. With population growth projections and expected additional migration, the homes will be needed anyway. And even with a stable population, there is not much need to expect that prices for homes in Auckland and Christchurch will drop due to more housing being built for affordable prices.

          Forget also not the leaky home fiasco, which has left thousands of homes with damages, many of them unsellable. Others face huge repair costs, even after legal court action settlements – or accepting the government’s offer.

          Some will have to be demolished over coming years, leading to more shortage of homes.

          What will happen if the homes that Labour proposes do not get built? Hey, bingo, that may be what you and a few others want, as it will ensure prospective gains for homes that exist already, and that do not meet the increased demand.

          Also do not forget, that there are many thousands on waiting lists for Housing NZ homes, which the government never offered. Do you want them to spend the rest of their lives in caravans, in garages, living in over-crowded homes with others, or staying in boarding houses or even sleeping rough?

          • Steve Wrathall 6.3.1.1.1

            Actually the massive increase in house prices occurred under Auntie Helen

            • Colonial Viper 6.3.1.1.1.1

              Yes it did; Cullen refused to reign in bank lending during that period. Bad mistake. Bank lending should be reigned in now. And a big fat stamp duty placed on anyone buying a speculative property.

        • Blue 6.3.1.2

          What about the people who have already had to fork out and buy houses at the inflated prices what mechanism will be in place to protect their existing investment and ensure they don’t fall into negative equity territory?

          An ‘investment’ can go up and down in price. An informed investor takes that into account when buying and realises there are never any guarantees that they won’t end up losing money.

          If you buy it, you take the risk.

          Welcome to the market.

  7. Populuxe1 7

    Where is the land coming from? Can Labour guarantee this won’t cause a Bill Clinton-esque real estate bubble. Isn’t this just putting a bandaid on Auckland’s top heavy overpopulation when a more farsighted and lasting strategy would be to encourage relocation to other centres. etc etc

    • Saccharomyces 7.1

      +1 to that P1. I don’t see how this can be achieved without having unintended consequences.

      I also agree on relocation, the problem is how do you encourage that relocation? Do you have any ideas on that? The only one I can think of is bettter infrastructure between centres…

    • ad 7.2

      It’s never easy, but the first place you look is current Crown land holdings and go through the offer-back procedure. There’s a fair old bunch of them, often wtihin brownfield sites.

      The step after that, if you followed the preferences of the Public Works Act, would be for central and local government to act in concert together, for the public work of housing.

      Or go it alone. Where it can get to the Land Valuation Tribunal. It’s harsh business, and the results are never perfect in retrospect, but that are better than what was there. Good examples of it in the last two decades can be found in Te Atau Peninsula, Hobsonville, Point England, and New Lynn.

      The PWA is a tough Act to be on the other end of, but that’s what a market intervention looks like. That’s how you get the land.

  8. ad 8

    Well, good to see Mike back. It’s the best positive policy Labour has had in years; so much of what Labour has proposed has been defensive and reactive. Nor do I mind that it supports real estate capitalism; it’s a major part of what New Zealand is and would take at least two full Labour/etc terms to keep to a steady simmer rather than binge-purge cycle.

    I haven’t heard much about how Labour would enable the big City councils to partner with them. Auckland’s great public housing selloff a generation ago was a major driver of the nasty price/ownership sorting mechanisms Auckland now has going. Barring some exceptions, Auckland Council is largely relying on its Unitary Plan to simply set a framework for the market rather than actively making the market (which is the way to change it).

    We now have pretty much no mezzanine finance for housing, few developers other than the real majors and a few boutique practices, and a still highly conservative banking system post GFC. So public-public partnerships are necessary, and they would also blow on the dying coals of the whole civic realm. Labour needs to think beyond Central Gvoernment’s instruments.

    It also needs to reaggregate and de-corpratise the Housing Corporation, and make it simply a sub-Department of Work and Income. The structural splintering over two decades has encouraged real abdications of responsibility from the public sector and huge devolution in to NGO-Corporate hybrids. Labour needs to take back the idea of the public in public housing, for the public sector and the public good.

    Mike I would just encourage you to get the actual housing spokesperson on this site to promote policy. That’s what they are employed for.

  9. Tiger Mountain 9

    Gosh the chunder bucket has been urgently and well employed on this one.

    Fulfilling social needs?-the right don’t like it up’em that’s for sure. Clue for Labourites-become left social democrats again, house, feed, care for and educate citizens (rather than individuals) and you may get somewhere.

  10. Colonial Viper 10

    I don’t understand why Labour is not proposing building these houses via a Ministry of Public Works, instead of funneling huge contract and profits to corporates.

    • burt 10.1

      Because they want the glory – not the risk !

    • ad 10.2

      It’s not going to come back unless you aggregate the civil build back together again for the central public realm, which just to start with would mean:

      – split off Kiwirail operations from track and station assets,
      – aggregate Kiwirail track and station assets with NZTA’s motorway assets, and run their Asset Management Plans jointly
      – get rid of NZTA to split off those motorway assets, so NZTA is just a revenue generator and distributor
      – decorporatise Housing Corporation and have a monopolitistic single-supplier construction contract
      – and unwind Transpower into a Department again, along with any unsold power generators

      … much of which would require legislative change to the State Sector acts…

      and then
      – have a really good talk with whomever governs monopolies these days

      …and having done all of that, all you’ve done is form another corporate – this time a public one.

  11. Pete 11

    Home ownership also brings with it a number of positive social benefits. People are more rooted in their communities and have a greater stake in them. Children are more likely to perform better at school if they’re not moving around every few years, and there’s greater political engagement on the local and national level.

    • karol 11.1

      Actually, I think home ownership can lead to political disengagement, as people get focused on ensuring they retain their property, upgrading it, DIY etc, etc, more concern they maintain their foothold, rather than focusing on what’s happening in society at large, and especially disconnecting from what’s happening with the less well-off.

      • felixviper 11.1.1

        Very true karol. Who was it who said “people with mortgages don’t go on strike”?

        I also agree with Pete about the wider benefits of being secure in a stable community, but that doesn’t – or shouldn’t – have to be related to home ownership.

        • Mary 11.1.1.1

          It’s about the consequences of the breakdown of what was a far more caring and inclusive society. State assistance for first time home buyers was originally available to everyone because of “the wider benefits of being secure in a stable community”. Labour’s current policy reminds me of the food in schools debacle where almost everyone said let’s “feed the kids in deciles one to three”: yet another band aid response to a far deeper problem, and creating further divisions. Nothing wrong with food in schools, but only if it’s across the board with objectives based on social cohesion, “the wider benefits of being secure in a stable community” etc, rather than a knee-jerk response to inherent inequality.

      • Come on ! Karol I expect better from you than daft statement like the above.
        Mt wife and I bought our house through the SA.loan scheme and we are the proud owners of our “Little palace” I can assure that because it was possible to own our own house,an impossible
        dream in our first years of marriage , has made me more socialistic than ever . To me making it possible for a low paid working family to own their own home is the true meaning of Democratic
        Socialism . Plus one of the reasons the Labour Party was started.

        • karol 11.1.2.1

          It’s not daft. And the original Labour Party didn’t start to enable home ownership by workers. it focused on Labour policy and state housing.

          Yes, many people have benefited, especially the upper working classes. But those on the lowest incomes suffer, and it has got increasingly difficult for those on upper working class incomes to buy their own homes.

          I am glad to see you have remained very socialist/social democrat. But, I don’t think it’s true of all people, working class or otherwise, who became home owners. And not all working class people have been able to become home owners. How do you explain the increase of working class support for National or who stopped voting over the decades? More importantly, what about the impact on more sustained political activism (eg union activity), beyond voting every few years.

          • Colonial Viper 11.1.2.1.1

            TPP deliberately referred to democratic socialism…much cooler than “social democracy” if I may say so 😉

    • burt 11.2

      Pete

      As noted succinctly by felix, people have a vested interest in keeping a cash flow when they have a mortgage. With or without a mortgage they have a vested interest in looking after their property and improving it’s value. That’s not always true of renters.

      Greater political engagement … do you have a link for this study you reference ?

      • Mary 11.2.1

        You’re misrepresenting what felix said, which was that security in a stable society can come from home ownership but that that doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. An example, I’d say, would be how state rental housing used to help bring such stability. There are also other factors unrelated to housing, of course, but I think the point felix is making is that security and stability is crucial to participation, rather than home ownership.

        • felixviper 11.2.1.1

          Exactly Mary, much better than I had put it 😀

        • rosy 11.2.1.2

          “security and stability is crucial to participation, rather than home ownership.”

          This hits on one of the tenets of the neo-liberal turn. A flexible labour market is not simply a contracted rather than employed labour market. It is a mobile one.

          Neo-libs don’t like state involvement in housing just because it’s crowding out market signals but because it does build help build a stable and secure society (if it the state support is widespread, not just for the economically deprived portion of the population) through long-term fixed rentals.

          Home-owenerhsip is a bit more of a conundrum. Felix’s ‘homeowners don’t go on strike’ is a powerful driver for capitalists to support home ownership over long-term rental.
          From David Harvey

          In the 1890s this trend starts as the business-class was wondering how to get lower-income populations stabilized and less restive. There was a wonderful phrase the business-class used to use, “Incumbent homeowners don’t go on strike!” Remember, people had to borrow to become owners. There’s your control mechanism.

          On the otherhand for neo-libs – the problem is that home ownership makes labour less mobile.

          The flexibility of a labour market, and its ability to handle bad times without costly spikes in unemployment, is based in no small part on the ease with which the economy can reallocate workers to growing industries in growing places. When home-owners become stuck, they make the economy as a whole more brittle.

          I see a conflict between making the economy more brittle and society more brittle. It seems to me that long-term rentals (5-10 years, maybe) need to be in the mix for building a strong, stable and secure society. I’m not seeing anything from any political party that’s linking in issues of future employment, social balance and housing tenure yet this combination is crucial, especially to those on the left.

    • Steve Wrathall 11.3

      Yes, taxpayers will be rooted by this policy

  12. Olwyn 12

    Thanks very much for your answer Mike. I hope that the 2011 plan regarding State Housing is retained, and perhaps even increased a little, as we approach 2014. I have just come back from the dentists so I have yet to read the 12 page document you have posted. I am assuming that the plan will end up with safeguards against both sub-prime bubbles and property developers. More vitriol from the right than the left on this occasion has to be a good sign.

    • Anne 12.1

      I have just come back from the dentist.

      Root Canal perhaps? If so, lucky you. Mine comes up next week. Having trouble concentrating on anything until the damm thing is over. 🙁

      Thanks for asking excellent questions.

      And thanks to Mike Smith for answering promptly. It augers well. Finally we might be starting to get somewhere – at least in this area of policy.

  13. karol 13

    I’m very pleased to see state housing being included in the Kiwibuild policy. Is Shearer going to make some public statement to that effect? Why hasn’t he made this explicitly clear before?

    Am I the only person who assumed that nothing in the 2011 LP election campaign policies was automatically going to be picked up by Shearer?

    I assumed he would continue with some stuff, but not with others (eg GST on/off fruit and veges).

    It goes to trust, and the continuing issue that I really don’t know what Shearer stands for – his under-lying political position. Trust needs to be strong as, once in government, a party can back of some policies they had prior to the elections (e.g. closing the gap).

    And I am still not seeing anything in Kiwibuild for us lifetime private renters. It still looks like a policy to ensure the children of the reasonably well-off can buy into the housing market, with some state housing tacked onto it. The housing crisis in Auckland is acute right now, especially for those on low incomes – and it needs addressing urgently.

    • Puddleglum 13.1

      This is a crucial point, karol.

      The 2011 election manifesto was under a different leadership and was part of an obvious play for the left-wing vote that manifested in the 2011 election campaign (apart from raising the age of super).

      If Labour can confirm that its Kiwibuild policy is in addition to the housing policies carried into the election and will not compromise, reduce, delay, dilute or make other substantive or substantial changes to the housing policies cited in this post then it would be a good sign and be a housing policy that sat naturally with a centre-left party.

      I’m a bit surprised, though, that the 2011 housing policy appears to have been endorsed, in part or whole, for the 2014 manifesto. I presume it has been endorsed given that it is being strongly implied in this post that Labour’s stance has not changed in this area and will not change in any significant way in the lead up to the election (hence it is – and will be – a distinguishing feature between the two main parties).

      I’m aware that other 2011 election manifesto policies appear to have been reversed (e.g., GST back on fruit and veges) so perhaps these ones have been confirmed?

      • Saarbo 13.1.1

        I was told at the Conference (by a member of Labour Council) that you can safely assume that Labour Policy is the last policy document produced unless a particular policy has been repealed.

        I think Labour need to make this more explicit on its website.

        • Puddleglum 13.1.1.1

          I suppose I knew that, but that’s a technical issue that does not seem to ‘do the work’ that it is being used for in this post.

          Specifically, the concern is that there may be a (further) shift rightwards under Shearer. Surely, it is what the policy ‘will be’, and how policies are promoted or prioritised, not what the last policy document on the website is, that would put to rest concerns about where the party is heading. Or am I missing something?

          As Jenny Kirk mentions below, such ‘current policy’ does not always seem to be determining the emphasis of public pronouncements from the Labour leadership as often as would be expected if, indeed, such policy ‘still stands’ and is what MPs should be asserting (unless and until some further policy document supplants it).

      • Jenny Kirk 13.1.2

        The current Labour Party constitution states clearly the Policy of the last general election remains Labour Party policy until it is changed and approved by the Party and the Policy Council. This has not yet happened. It is likely to happen at the 2013 annual conference in Christchurch.

        Therefore, the 2011 general election policy – available on the Labour Party website – continues to remain the Party’s policy at this time.

        Meanwhile , I find it difficult to understand why the Leader and other Labour MPs are NOT using the 2011 policy to make a stand on various issues as they arise. Perhaps this failure provides one of the reasons why Labour supporters are perturbed at the current direction of our Parliamentary caucus.

      • xtasy 13.1.3

        Puddleglum:

        “I’m aware that other 2011 election manifesto policies appear to have been reversed (e.g., GST back on fruit and veges) so perhaps these ones have been confirmed?”

        Your cautionary and sceptical notes are justified.

        Mike Smith is trying to warm up the left-overs of the last election manifesto that Labour released. Some of what they announced as part of that, prior to the last election, was last year reversed, or abandoned, as Shearer made very clear.

        As far as I remember the $ 5000 tax free first income, the GST off fruits and vegetables, the working for families tax credit (or what it was) to also be applied for beneficiaries, and some other things were “off-loaded” soon after Shearer took over.

        As for Labours 2011 housing policy, it rather resembles a potpourri of various proposed measures, with much remaining uncertainties, where Housing NZ was going to be maintained as state housing provider, but also “third parties” were going to be involved more in housing developments for poor, disabled and needy.

        Category C and D Housing NZ waiting list candidates were supposed to be getting continued assistance under Labour to find “alternative” housing – which means also Labour were planning to off-load them off the waiting lists, as this government is doing already.

        The Welcome Home scheme was to be kept and expanded, but also other measures were considered, in co-operation with local government. Crown land was to be made more easily available, and so forth.

        It was in large part sounding good, in other parts not much different from what the Nats are doing now, and otherwise it is full of intentions and much ambiguity and vagueness.

        So warming up old policies here does not convince me, I am sorry!

        More clarity and commitment is needed, will be expected and will be welcome. So, Mr Shearer, where is your clear statement re land for Kiwi Build, safeguards that first home buyers will stay in the homes, that building materials can be obtained more cheaply, and above all, where is a clear commitment to state housing projects, at least to a deficient level as in Manifesto 2011???

        • Colonial Viper 13.1.3.1

          Mike Smith is trying to warm up the left-overs of the last election manifesto

          I’m trying to decide if this was deliberate.

    • QoT 13.2

      Am I the only person who assumed that nothing in the 2011 LP election campaign policies was automatically going to be picked up by Shearer?

      You are not. I mean, maybe not nothing, but I certainly assumed that anything to be retained from previous policy statements would be explicitly spelled out. You know, the 2011 policy statement being the Old Testament to David Shearer’s Jesus Christ and everything … /snark

  14. ad 14

    One extra thing. It’s not enough.

    One good fresh non-reactive policy in six years.

    Even the image on the post of Michael Joseph Savage says: nostalgia is still the talisman.
    Give me policy and leadership that is a fresh vision, and yes, is better than historical heroes.
    Not aspiring to. Not as good as. Better than.

    Not good enough. Not by a long shot.

  15. bad12 15

    My questions for Labour’s housing spokesperson would be,

    (a) Put a number and time-frame to the ‘Labour are committed to building more state houses, 9 years of the last Labour Government did not return the Housing NZ portfolio, (75,000), to the size it was before National began to sell them to their mates,

    (b),The figure of 60,000 dollars in household income is being used as the benchmark by commenters with regards to qualifying for a mortgage so as to be able to partake in the KiwiBuild program proposed by Labour,

    If that figure is anywhere near correct then what of the decile of income earners below that, most of whom are now locked out of HousingNZ rental by dint of having an income above a benefit, are not the decile with earnings of 30,40,50,000 dollars more in NEED of Labour Government help,

    (c), Again with regards to the number of HousingNZ properties, with a population of 3.3 million we had a total of 75,000 state houses mostly tenanted by low waged workers, the population is now some 4.4 million with a current Housing NZ rental stock of some 69.000,(less the 500 odd the Tories have recently flogged off), the 69,000 are now in the majority housing beneficiaries with the low waged trapped in the private rental market which is the root cause of the demand and the un-affordability of housing for the decile above the low waged worker,

    On a population basis alone the numbers would suggest that we NEED at least 100,000 state houses…

  16. tracey 16

    For all those above who dont like this policy, do you accept there is an accomodation problem, particularly in auckland, and if they do, what do they see as a solution, please be specific not broadbrush. Thanks

    • karol 16.1

      The heat needs to be taken out of the (upper end) of the property market, asap. This means the primary focus should be on building more state housing first. Maybe also a CGT on housing.

      • karol 16.1.1

        PS: as the 1930s Labour government is referenced in the image on the front page for this post, as far as I can see, their solutions to the housing crisis at the time looks pretty much focused on building state houses – and they did more than just focus on one flagship policy, as listed on wikip.

        It’s breath-taking – a total change of direction.

        • Colonial Viper 16.1.1.1

          Auckland needs to be depopulated and people moved to other centres. Having 30% of the country’s population in 0.3% of the land area is a recipe for distress.

          Agree though Karol – what Labour needs to deliver to NZ now is a seachange in approach to the social-economy of this nation. Not just one ‘flag ship policy’ but an entire programme of political economic change.

          • karol 16.1.1.1.1

            Yes, CV, I think there needs to be more focus on de-centralisation. Unfortunately the long term Auckland Plan is focused on centering key cultural establishments and activities in central Auckland – makes it easier for tourists, you see. But for those of us out in the burbs, there’s a lot of travelling.

            Many of us have our reasons for staying, and availability of jobs is a biggie. I have been considering moving out of Auckland due to the cost of rents here. When I’m fully retired I maybe will. However, I grew up here, and have a strong emotional attachment to it. Also one of my long term interests is the history of Auckland, and there are a lot of heritage collections and sites here that I am interested in.

          • Coronial Typer 16.1.1.1.2

            That will never happen. For the last century its been quite the reverse. As a quick factoid on how irreversible the tide is, in every territorial authority in New Zealand except Christchurch, Queenstown Lakes, Auckland, and Hamilton, population will generally shrink and in a few cases about roughly stagnate, and this will accelerate in the next decade. I think this census will shock us somewhat.

          • Tracey 16.1.1.1.3

            it’s similar the world over… London? Paris?

          • NoseViper (The Nose knows) 16.1.1.1.4

            cv 16 1 1 1
            +1

      • bad12 16.1.2

        A capital gains tax would be slow and ponderous as people will just sit on their ‘investments’ so as not to be caught by the tax,

        Such a tax if the above occurred would simple punish those who need to move cities,(houses), for legitimate reasons,

        Build enough,(100,000) State owned rentals in Auckland and target their rental at the low waged workers in that city and demand for rental housing will plummet like a stone

        I will not bother tho to repeat the rumour of how many rental properties the previous Prime Minister owns, nor speculate how many of the current Labour MP’s in the current Parliament own, so despite my passion for the subject in some ways i believe i am wasting my energy upon such advocacy,

        My view is that State house rentals should be available to everyone regardless of income so long as as a tenant they pay 25% of household income as rent and ditch the upper limit,

        If all the low waged workers who WANT State rentals were housed at 25% of income the direct subsidy to HousingNZ from the taxpayer would drop dramatically,

        If after that enough State housing was made available to house all-comers no matter what their income at 25% of income with no cap of ‘market rent’ there would be no need for the taxpayer to be subsidizing HousingNZ at all and payment of the accomodation subsidy would largely be made redundant…

    • bad12 16.2

      As Karol says, ”the heat needs to be taken out of the buyers market”, the larger part of the over-heating is the seriously pampered middle-class buying ‘investment property’ as rentals,

      As Housing NZ’s rental stock has reduced in actual numbers while at the same time the population has grown by a million the number of those dependent upon benefits have also grown,as a large part of eligibility for a HousingNZ property is based upon income the decile of HousingNZ occupancy has changed from low paid workers to beneficiaries,

      Build 100,000 new HousingNZ tenancies in Auckland and demand for rentals for the decile of low waged workers who cannot ever expect to be able to afford a mortgage at current house prices and demand for rental accomodation in that city will drop dramatically killing the demand from the middle class to buy rental property and lowering the cost for those on the verge of being able to afford a mortgage,

      Housing the decile of low waged workers below earnings of 50,000 a year at 25% of household income will free up their income for use in the wider economy as most in private rental are paying 50% and above in private rental, and stop part of that income simply becoming a direct flow of capital along with any accommodation supplement being paid for private rentals to the overseas banking industry who hold the mortgages of most of this middle class game of monopoly which is what the Auckland housing market has become…

  17. tracey 17

    Isnt cgt a pillor of labour party policy?

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      CGT is useless at controlling Auckland real estate speculation. If you expect to make a 30% capital gain on an Auckland property over the next 5 years, giving 15% of that gain up in a CGT is very acceptable.

  18. bad12 18

    The Chinese have built whole cities,(admittedly all tower blocks) to house 250,000 people in places in both China and Africa,

    The whole build has taken them from bare site to complete city in 3 years, anything is ‘do-able’ it simply takes the ‘political will’ to do so…

  19. Herodotus 19

    However I do also think that some on the left sometimes do not give Labour credit where credit is due. Housing policy is a good example, as it is one of the litmus policies where the distinction between Labour and National is most clear.
    From my industry knowledge the policy has one major problem under the current market and that labour is to utilise private enterprise the policy is unworkable. Nothing much else !!!
    Land eartworked for high density sells for $400/m2 + gst add in council contributions $20k dwelling and you get for a 120 m2 house a section size required 270 m 2 so land cost is $124k and that is the lowest land available that I have come across in Auckland in the last few years. Add in the current market trends, inflation for building materials and to find enough available.
    Love to see any details and see how this is to be implemented and not become another empty broken government policy in trying to buy the votes from the middle and upper class

    • Rogue Trooper 19.1

      following on from your comments when this policy was first announced your costings are invaluable

    • mike e vipe e 19.2

      herodotus Multi story low rise buildings such as in Melbourne inner-city redevelopment

      • Herodotus 19.2.1

        So where is the land, to allow such developments to happen either town planning rules would be required to be rewritten, and if so the value of the land increases, or the govt buys the land under the current operating plan and either goes for a plan change or a variation to planning rules. Both take time and remember that there has been an estimate that the max the costs will be is $1.5b. These solutions take time and to cover 10k dwellings pa this solution should not suffice. Next valiant effort, at least mike you are trying to come up with solutions more than can be said for labour or its cheerleaders. And the sketch that came with the policy was a stand alone detached dwelling.

  20. Don’t believe anyone mentioned it, or can’t believe I missed it, but the picture of Savage in the thread title…

    What’s that all about? An attempt at well earned respect by association?
    No pics of Dave in front of his own appreciative crowd yet?

    At least we know if it’s all about spin, the promo group have one that didn’t turn and went down leg in their arsenal.
    Can’t wait for the flipper and the googlie.

    • karol 20.1

      Yep.

      I mentioned the 1903s Labour government & the image @6.15pm (16.1.1)

      Trust.

      • The Al1en 20.1.1

        You did too, and I feel no shame in being second 😆

      • bad12 20.1.2

        A bit off topic, but i had a wee look at your link and was struck by just how many of the names in that Labour Governments Cabinet struck a chord of me knowing the name, Mabel Howard for one, and 4 or 5 other’s, but i can’t for the life of me remember why i remember their names so well,

        John A Lee who is prominent by not being included i have read a lot of and Savage of course we all remember…

  21. bad12 21

    I don’t think the Herald poll at the center of this particular post is something for Labour to have a massive party over either,

    A poll where 500 people are enthused enough to reply with 70% in favor from a circulation area as large as what the Herald has aint exactly mass enthusiasm…

  22. millsy 22

    Steve H has obviously never heard of 3% housing corp loans, family benefit capitalization and the like.

  23. David H 23

    @ Mike Smith 70% of 500 is something to crow about??? Well that just goes to show you that the state of the Party is dire indeed, if you are going to crow about those pathetic numbers. Now what did the bosses say when you went back and told em’ we’re not going to play? did you get a pat on the head or a kick up the bum and told to go and try again???

    So Some questions.

    1 When is Shearer going to apologise to the membership for the shit he pulled after the conference?
    2 When is Shearer going to apologise to all the beneficiaries for the roof painter bullshit?
    3 When is shearer going to stand down and have a DEMOCRATIC vote?
    4 When is Shearer going to fire the Dinosaurs that are the cause of most of the problems in Caucus?
    5 When is Shearer going to PUBLICALLY apologise to David Cunliffe?
    6 When is Shearer going to learn to speak?
    7 When is Shearer going to have the Balls to come in here and face us instead of sending the messenger boy?

    And Will Mike Smith even bother to come back and answer the next load of criticism, because NO ONE else from Labour is allowed to, by royal fucking decree of the megalomaniac Shearer.

    • xtasy 23.1

      “7 When is Shearer going to have the Balls to come in here and face us instead of sending the messenger boy?”

      Maybe he can’t find “the Ba**s”, because he may have none?

  24. Tracey 24

    “70% of 500 is something to crow about???” It’s about the same size as the nightly sample the PM views to work out what to do/say the next day!

  25. Bill 25

    So hang on…this whole post is based on a readership poll that is undoubtably heavily weighted by people who actually have some money or who have prospects of having some money.

    And then 2011 Labour Policy; policy that may no longer actually be Labour policy seeing as how everything (from memory) was up for review, is being used to promote the good side of a completely different 2012 policy announcement?

    Is that about right, or am I missing something here?

    • Colonial Viper 25.1

      As Trotter just said, it appears that Labour’s housing policy is a nice big Private-Public Partnership. What we need next is a military policy which is a nice big Private-Public Partnership.

  26. DH 26

    I’m a fan of the policy but I think it’s important for people to rationalise why they like or dislike it. I like it only because it will significantly slow or even halt inflation in the housing market for a good few years. That should lead to more investment in productive sectors of the economy

    House prices go up for one reason only; demand exceeds supply. The choices for halting housing inflation are to intervene in the market to either reduce the demand or increase the supply (or both). An increase in the supply of this magnitude will seriously affect the housing market, which to me is a good thing.

    It’s not so good for those who rely on capital gain to protect their investment or those who might end up with negative equity in the overpriced home they recently bought. The collateral damage is a concern.

    Renters should be happy with it. This will take 100k plus people out of the rental market and the consequence of that is easy to work out – much less demand for rentals and subsequently lower rents. That will indirectly benefit lower income earners.

    Unfortunately though I don’t see it as any kind of solution to a long term problem. It’s more of an election bribe.

    That’s my 2c FWIW

    • bad12 26.1

      Doesn’t negative equity tho only really effect a home owner at the point of sale, admittedly those who’s house price dropped would still be paying the same amount of mortgage on the property BUT, must already have the income to be able to service that mortgage,

      As far as the private landlord’s being left holding the sticky end of the spoon goes i have no sympathy, these people have been pampered by successive Governments policies for far too long…

      • Colonial Viper 26.1.1

        If you are underwater, the bank can usually demand the difference to be paid in full, immediately, or take the home from you.

        House prices go up for one reason only; demand exceeds supply.

        No no no

        You arent wholly incorrect, but you also haven’t factored in ponzi expectations of asset price appreciation.

        • DH 26.1.1.1

          “You arent wholly incorrect, but you also haven’t factored in ponzi expectations of asset price appreciation.”

          Of course I’m correct, it’s economics 101. Demand is all the people who want and who can buy a house. Why they want to buy is irrelevant in that context, whatever their reasons it’s still demand. The ponzi speculators just add to the demand which consequently exhausts the supply and perpetuates the inflation.

          This scheme will burn property investors bigtime. Many new-home buyers chasing existing housing stock, which is their only choice at present, will go instead for the cheaper houses which will lead to a reduction in the demand for second-hand houses. That slowdown in demand will lead to a further reduction in demand by speculators and investors as they see future capital gains dwindling.

          The large scale of this scheme guarantees that the inflation ratchet will be broken for the duration, should easily last an extra 2-3yrs past that before prices start ramping up again. Land makes up over 60% of the house value in many areas of Auckland, it’s not inconceivable that this scheme could lead to a very big crash in the price of houses.

          • Rogue Trooper 26.1.1.1.1

            we hope and pray. Transmission Gully’s an interesting PPP anchor pulling dirt uphill according to Sue Kedgley.

          • Colonial Viper 26.1.1.1.2

            Of course I’m correct, it’s economics 101. Demand is all the people who want and who can buy a house. Why they want to buy is irrelevant in that context

            I can see your reasoning. I’ll say however that justifying anything as Economics 101 usually means it’s highly suspect from my perspective, as the “science” of orthodox economics as it is taught is basically completely wrong.

            Your purely “supply side” solution matches your philosophy of economics but I would also carefully analyse and deal with the demand side as well, particularly that associated with ponzi speculation and ponzi financing.

  27. GeoffC 27

    Kiwbuild. A govt economic stimuli package designed to create a controlled housing bubble and on flow growth. With a boost to GDP multiplier its will directly and indirectly create jobs.
    The commodity flow on effect will be a massive stimuli to the economy.
    Aimed a demographic who can provide the minimum deposit and mortgage repayments.

    My suggestions.
    QE bonds to kiwi bank to onsell as cheap mortgages for kiwi build home buyers.
    Use cullin fund as investment platform to provide a building company. See Z strategic energy provider.
    Provision for govt to become involved in the purchasing and sourcing of materials and or contracts to third party nZ companies to provide bulk consumables for kiwi build homes.
    Examples where the market dos that now…see Lockwood stone wood jennian home etc.
    Minimise profit taking at all levels of the initiative.
    Housing nZ contracts for refurbishments of state houses are very very stringent and tight on private sector margins.

    Entire object is govt initative to control and stimulate the economy via housing…brilliant.

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    . . April 5: Day eleven of living in lock-down… My one day of rest for the week, and an opportunity to mow my lawns – which I’d been delaying for about three weeks. (On the plus side, the damp micro-climate in my back yard yielded three lovely fresh mushrooms ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Now we know what the rules are
    As the lockdown has gone on, disquiet about what the rules were and the police's enforcement of them has grown. On Friday, Police admitted that they were abusing routine traffic stops to effectively set up illegal checkpoints, and on Saturday Stuff revealed internal police advice saying that they actually needed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 2: Green et al (2019)
    Paul Connett is putting all his eggs in one basket. He says “you only have to read four studies” to find community after fluoridation harmful. Image credit: Fluoride Action Network newsletter. For part 1 of this series see Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018). Paul Connett, ...
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: Splore Listening Lounge 2020: the road to a “yes” vote
    As far as anyone can say, New Zeaand still has a general election scheduled for September 19 this year. The election will be accompanied by two referenda, one of which will ask voters:Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?The official campaign period for the cannabis referendum begins ...
    4 days ago
  • Obituary for The New Zealand Listener (1939-2020)
    The vast majority of tributes to the Listener hearken back to its glory days, with little reflection on the magazine as it was at its end.I wrote for it, for half the Listener’s life; I have known personally all the editors except the first (mythical) three. From 1978 to 2014 ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    4 days ago
  • Universal income – a challenge to capitalism or a crutch?
    As the world economy slides rapidly towards deep recession there are growing calls for a Universal Benefit coming from some leftists and rightists. Now Finance Minister Grant Robertson is saying it is on the table.  This article by a French party Workers Struggle provides analysis of various forms of universal ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018)
    This is the advice from the very top of the anti-fluoride movement – Paul Connett, director of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN). Don’t worry about reading  up on all the scientific information “You only have ...
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 10
    . . April 4: Day 10 of living in lock-down… I wake up to a fine Saturday morning which normally would be like an early Christmas. But it’s Day 10 of Level 4 Lock Down. What  will my fellow New Zealanders be doing on a day like this – staying ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Redline reaching out to more writers & readers
    Some time during the night we went over the 850,000 views mark. We might have had our millionth view by the end of this year – certainly by early next year. Most of the people involved in Redline spent years and years producing various small left-wing papers and selling them ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Keir Starmer elected
    Comfortably, in the very first round, with an impressive 56% of the votes.I wonder, did members of the Shadow Cabinet start tweeting their resignations during Starmer's victory speech, or is that only a trick the right pull?It is odd how all the talk of how the next leader "needs to ...
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: Michael Baker and the Big House
    One of the key voices in this extraordinary time in which we live is that of University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker. Philip Matthews did an an excellent job this weekend of capturing the way he became the man for this moment in a profile for The Press.But one ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand Gives up on Trying to Save Daylight
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the nation today about the decline in daylight New Zealand has been experiencing over the previous few months. She said “As many of you will notice, our attempts to stem the dwindling of the daylight over the last few months have been completely ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    5 days ago
  • A bulletin from Greece
    Redline received this article from the KOE a Marxist party in Greece Our friends in the KOE describe here the mounting crisis in Greece and tensions on the Turkish border. As desperate people flee from their homelands which have been ruined after decades of imperialist wars and interventions the people ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
    As the first week of Level Four lockdown unfolded, mounting questions grew as to just what was (and was not) allowed under its “rules”. Partly these were driven by some apparently contradictory messages from different authority figures and explanations carried in the media. Partly they reflected a somewhat sketchy legal basis ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    7 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

    Prospect Magazine alerted me to this particularly apt quote. It is a much more evocative quote than Hemingway’s “gradually then suddenly” which is also doing ...

    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    7 days ago
  • Maybe axing Clark would be unfair. But what about any of this is fair?
    Yesterday was the day the consequences of the lockdown suddenly got very real for many. Firms have been closing and laying people off since the outset of the quarantine but this has mostly been happening out of the public eye. The mass closure of a number of iconic New Zealand ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    7 days ago
  • Might a ‘Coasean’ social contract mitigate overall societal harm from COVID-19?
    Brian Williamson1, Prof Nick Wilson2 (1Economic consultant, UK; 2University of Otago Wellington) In this blog, we outline how a win-win social contract could be forged to address the major dimensions of response to the COVID-19 pandemic when using a mitigation strategy: the particular need to protect older people from high ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    7 days ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
    Resuming Normal Service: The Republican Party's nominee for in 1920, Warren Harding, promised the American people: “not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration”. If she wishes to remain our prime minister, then Jacinda Ardern will offer New Zealanders the same.HOW EDUCATED AMERICA snickered when the ...
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
    No Free Society Without A Free And Functioning News Media: If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating Covid-19, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders simply because it improves their bottom line.I’M ...
    7 days ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Lockdown day 8
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    1 week ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    1 week ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    1 week ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    1 week ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing or ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    1 week ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    1 week ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago

  • Decisions made on urgent turf maintenance
    The Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson has announced that urgent maintenance of turf and care for plants in non-plantation nurseries will soon be able to go ahead under Level 4 restrictions. “The Government has agreed that urgent upkeep and maintenance of biological assets will be able to go ahead ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Acknowledging an extraordinary te reo champion
    E tangi ana a Taranaki iwi, e tangi ana te ao Māori, otirā e tangi ana te motu. Mōu katoa ngā roimata e riringi whānui ana, mōu katoa ngā mihi.   E te kaikōkiri i te reo Māori, e Te Huirangi, takoto mai. Takoto mai me te mōhio ko ngā ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Prime Minister’s remarks halfway through Alert Level 4 lockdown
    Today is day 15 of Alert Level 4 lockdown. And at the halfway mark I have no hesitation in saying, that what New Zealanders have done over the last two weeks is huge. In the face of the greatest threat to human health we have seen in over a century, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Licenses, WoFs and regos extended under lockdown
    All driver licences, WoFs, CoFs, and some vehicle certifications, that expired on or after 1 January 2020 will be valid for up to six months from 10 April 2020, Transport Minister Phil Twyford has announced. “People shouldn’t have to worry about getting fined for having an expired document if driving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Inquiry report into EQC released
    The Government has today released the report from the Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission chaired by Dame Silvia Cartwright.  Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission Grant Robertson says the Government wants to learn from people’s experiences following the Canterbury earthquakes and other recent natural disasters. “Dame Silvia’s report documents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • More time for health workers and elderly to get flu vaccine
    The Government has extended by two weeks till April 27 the amount of time priority groups, such as health workers and those aged over 65, have to get their flu vaccine before it is made available to the wider public. This year’s vaccination campaign is a key component of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Communities step up to help New Zealanders stay connected and fed during lockdown
    Communities stepping up to help New Zealanders stay at home to break the transmission of COVID-19 and save lives have received Government support, said Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. “Delivering groceries for the elderly who can’t shop online, providing data packs for low income families to keep them connected, and being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • 120 COVID-19 testing centres now operating
    Across New Zealand 120 sites are taking samples to be tested for COVID-19.   68 community based assessment centres (CBACs) have been established to take samples from people with COVID-19 symptoms. Alongside this, 52 other centres including designated general practices, swabbing centres, and mobile clinics are now testing people for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Covid19: Government moving quickly to roll out learning from home
    The Ministry of Education is working with partners to develop a package of options so that students can learn at home when Term 2 begins on 15 April, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Supports are also being prepared for households with children under five, to help parents and whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Making learning from home accessible to Māori learners and whānau
    Māori Television to begin educational te reo programmes Ki te Ao Mārama – a new online learning space Thousands of hard copy learning packs ready for distribution Helpdesk and advice service for kōhanga, kura and wharekura Television, the internet and hard copy learning packs are some of the ways whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand to provide assistance to Vanuatu following Tropical Cyclone Harold
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced an initial package of support to help the people and the Government of Vanuatu respond to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Harold. “Our Pacific neighbours have been hit by a Category 5 Cyclone at the same time as dealing with the economic impacts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Planning for the future of tourism
    Tourism New Zealand to lead work reimagining the way tourism operates in post-COVID-19 world. Ministers to review International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy investment plan. The Government, industry and business are working together to develop a plan for how tourism will operate in a post-COVID-19 world, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • NZ horticulture sector feeding Kiwis and the world during COVID-19
    More New Zealanders are taking up the chance to work in horticulture as the sector keeps New Zealanders fed and in jobs during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown. “Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Work to repurpose PGF funds begins
    The Provincial Development Unit is working through applications and projects to see where Provincial Growth Fund money can be repurposed for initiatives deemed more critical to fighting the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “We need to be throwing everything we have at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • A million workers supported by Govt wage subsidy
    The Government’s wage subsidy to protect jobs and keep workers and businesses connected during the lockdown has now supported over a million New Zealanders, with $6.6 billion already paid out. “We’re supporting businesses to pay wages, and stay connected with their workers so that we are all in a better ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government helps Pacific communities fight COVID
    The Government is stepping up efforts to help protect New Zealand’s Pacific communities in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet has agreed that $17 million will be allocated to support a COVID-19 Pacific Response Package, which will: Support Pacific health and disability services facing increased demand; Ramp up public health messaging ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark
    “Yesterday evening the Health Minister advised me of his trip to a beach during the lockdown and offered his resignation,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses.  “But right now, my priority is our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Statement from David Clark
    Last night as part of my preparation for the Epidemic Response Committee, I provided the Prime Minister with a complete picture of my activity outside my home during Alert Level 4.  That included the fact that on the first weekend of the Alert Level 4 lockdown I drove my family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • COVID-19 mental health support begins
    A range of support is being rolled out across New Zealand to help people look after their mental health during COVID-19 Health Minister David Clark said this morning. “COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives and many of us will be feeling some level of distress or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government supports air services to offshore islands
    The Government has stepped in to support vital air links to our offshore islands, the Chatham Islands, Great Barrier Island and Motiti Island, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. “As part of our $600 million support package to minimise the impacts of COVID-19 on the aviation sector, the Government has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
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