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Let them drink beer

Written By: - Date published: 1:16 pm, October 25th, 2015 - 30 comments
Categories: health, national, science - Tags: , , ,

The Nats are so desperate to avoid taking action on sugar’s role in the demographics of obesity that they’ve taken to talking pure drivel.

Here’s the transcript:

Political editor Patrick Gower sat down with Dr Coleman and began by asking him what actually happens once a child is identified as obese at a pre-school check.

Jonathan Coleman: They will then get referred to appropriate professional advice …

You’ve justified not contemplating any form of junk-food tax by saying there isn’t enough evidence.

Well, you’re saying a junk-food tax. You mean a sugar tax.

Sugar tax.

Yeah, okay. Soft-drink tax.

Looking at a soft-drink tax –why not?

Because, actually, there’s not the conclusive evidence, right? There might be a correlation in those Mexican studies, so they put a 9% tax on soft drinks.

And consumption dropped. That’s evidence, isn’t it?

Sales decreased, but it’s not clear if that’s a correlation or a causative effect, so there were other things going on – a tanking Mexican economy, $30 billion drinking-water programme. It’s also not clear if there’s substitution to other beverages. So we’re saying, look, you know, there’s some evidence that’s being assessed – it’s going to be reported on in 2017 at Waikato University as well as the University of North Carolina – but there isn’t any direct evidence of causation that anyone can point to.

Well, the World Health Organization, which put out that major report recently, led by our own Sir Peter Gluckman, you know, that has said, and I will quote it for you, ‘The rationale and effectiveness of taxation measures to influence consumption are well supported by available evidence.’

Well, they might be talking about a decrease in sales. But what we want to know about is – is there a link to obesity directly? So, for instance, there might be a decrease in consumption of soft drinks, but are people drinking more flavoured milk? Are they drinking beer as a substitution? What is says in that report is that, actually, there isn’t clear evidence. On balance, they recommend it, but, look, that’s the WHO, you know? You would expect that they would take a very purist view. … [emphasis added]

Coleman is obviously prepared to go through any contortion to try and avoid the bleeding obvious. Because science rarely deals in certainty, any remaining shred of uncertainty is used as an excuse. I guess he’s just following in Key’s fine traditions (“He’s one academic, and like lawyers, I can provide you with another one that will give you a counterview”). But as with the data on polluted water, or the evidence for climate change, we can only go on ignoring reality for so long before things fall apart.

30 comments on “Let them drink beer”

  1. Bill 1

    You know the same argument is being had, and the same positions are ebing adopted by the same people in the UK?

    Anyway, I kinda liked this from a Graham MacGregor, a professor of cardiovascular medicine and chairman of Action on Sugar, calling for …

    a ban on marketing of all unhealthy foods, just like cigarettes. There is no rationale for banning cigarette advertisements when unhealthy food is now a much bigger cause of death in the UK. We need also to stop price promotions in supermarkets, which are almost entirely on the most unhealthy foods and encourage greater consumption. We also need to limit availability and portion size. If all of these actions were put into place, we could prevent the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/oct/24/sugar-tax-poll-obesity-cameron-oliver

  2. Nic the NZer 2

    “Because science rarely deals in certainty, any remaining shred of uncertainty is used as an excuse.”

    You may be discussing the wrong area of research. Dr Coleman is arguing that people may substitute other unhealthy drinks offsetting the effects of a sugar tax. Supposedly people have certain fixed preferences which they will substitute towards negating the price effects introduced by regulation. Effectively this would mean that government can do nothing to combat unhealthy eating. Given the lack of empirical evidence for government impotence in this area I don’t think we should elevate this assumption to the level of ‘science’. Its clearly just a made up belief which some economists have assumed to be true.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      What a load of drek.

      A sugar tax will apply across all that have sugar in it and that includes beer.

      Effectively this would mean that government can do nothing to combat unhealthy eating.

      Actually, the government can do a hell of a lot by putting in regulations that prevent unhealthy food even being on the market.

      Really, what we’re seeing here is the usual RWNJ BS that works to ensures that nothing will be done so that a few people can continue to make a profit from the suffering of others.

    • John Shears 2.2

      @ Nic
      “Given the lack of empirical evidence for government impotence in this area I don’t think we should elevate this assumption to the level of ‘science’. Its clearly just a made up belief which some economists have assumed to be true.”

      What a lot of bollocks. Tax on products reduces their use because the cost becomes higher than the user is prepared to pay.

      Fats & Sugars are flavour enhancers and at the same time cause obesity if the extra calories are not needed by the individual eating and drinking the product.

      Just why this thread is only about carbonated drinks and Coke in particular, is beyond me. It should be about sugar levels in all food & drink products.

      The tax on sugar could be simply collected at source either from the only NZ Refinery or at the border for imported refined sugars.

      If the initial tax level does not have the desired effect then it would need to be increased until it does.

      The Tax rather than being placed in the consolidated fund should be used to help combat the effects of obesity as a result of dietary intakes from high sugar and other food ingredients.

      This was how the original Social Security Tax was set up, I think 1/6d in the pound and held in a separate account.

      Not likely to happen with the current Minister & Government sadly.

      • Nic the NZer 2.2.1

        You may need to look up the definition of the word impotence.

      • Psycho Milt 2.2.2

        This comment highlights several reasons why the proposed tax is a bad idea.

        1. Scope creep 1. Why just tax “sugary drinks?” Shouldn’t we tax all sugar? And does that mean just sucrose, all the ones ending in “ose” or all carbohydrates?

        2. Scope creep 2. Fats are also bad, right? “Scientists” say so. They believe sugar and fat both cause obesity – so if we’re going to tax sugars, why wouldn’t we tax fat?

        3. Scope creep 3. “If the initial tax level does not have the desired effect then it would need to be increased until it does.” This reads like a Kiwiblog-commenter’s caricature of left-wing thinking.

        4. Ignorance-based approaches to problems are never a good idea. Unfortunately, the whole “sugar-tax” idea is based on this premise: “Fats & Sugars … cause obesity if the extra calories are not needed by the individual…” The premise is untrue. It’s based on the fallacy that obesity is caused by some black-box event in which the calories you take in exceed the amount you expend and the difference is turned into fat. That’s wrong even at first glance (if were true, your weight would fluctuate wildly because those two amounts never match, except by unlikely accident). It’s even more wrong on closer examination, and yet it’s the foundation of the “expertise” of the people demanding the government introduce sugar taxes. I know little about nutrition, but apparently nutritionists know even less than I do. If you don’t know how something works, don’t mess with it – applies to more fields that just IT. Nutritionists don’t know how nutrition works, but they’ve been messing with it for 40 years now and the development of a population of lard-arses is closely correlated with that messing. We should stop listening until they develop some genuine knowledge about their field.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    Because, actually, there’s not the conclusive evidence, right? There might be a correlation in those Mexican studies, so they put a 9% tax on soft drinks.

    Which is a load of bollocks.

    The reason why we keep raising taxes on cigarettes is because it reduces the number of people who smoke. This has been known for some time so for him to say that is him outright lying.

    It’s one of those things that applies across the board. Raise taxes on something thus increasing it’s price and it will be bought less. Just as economics actually hypothesises.

  4. Lanthanide 4

    The impact of a sugar tax on soft drink sales and consumption would be very obvious.

    Say right now, a bottle of coke costs $2, whether it is full-strength coke, diet coke, zoke zero or coke life.

    After a sugar tax is put into place, it could be the case that a bottle of regular coke costs $2.50, a bottle of coke life costs $2.30, and diet and coke zero would both still cost $2, on account of them not actually having sugar.

    When faced with those prices on the shelves, do you think people are going to buy regular coke at the same rate as they used to, and not substitute it for one of the cheaper variants?

    Coca cola could even be re-formulated to reduce the amount of sugar, so that it comes down to $2.40 in price instead of $2.50. That in itself would mean people are consuming less sugar.

    • RJL 4.1

      …it could be the case that a bottle of regular coke costs $2.50, a bottle of coke life costs $2.30, and diet and coke zero would both still cost $2…

      Maybe not. Coca Cola could choose to set the price to be the same nonetheless. Maybe it would just make regular coke less profitable for Coca Cola (which is, of course, their main concern).

      • Lanthanide 4.1.1

        “Maybe not. Coca Cola could choose to set the price to be the same nonetheless.”

        Good point. Thankfully, the government can legislate to prevent that happening.

        • Psycho Milt 4.1.1.1

          Well, it can try. As with most do-gooder proposals, the proposal gets more and more complicated in pursuit of a goal that was of dubious value to start with.

        • RJL 4.1.1.2

          Good point. Thankfully, the government can legislate to prevent that happening.

          How? I don’t think that it would be very easy to legislate (or audit) at that level of commercial detail.

          • Lanthanide 4.1.1.2.1

            For all products currently on sale, the government can mandate that after the sugar tax is brought in, manufacturers must pass on the sugar tax to customers in full on a product-by-product basis, proportional to the sugar content of said product. So product A by the manufacturer that has no sugar would naturally have no sugar tax to apply, and product B which has a lot of sugar would have its price increased as a result of the tax.

            This type of legislation wouldn’t get future products, but it would hammer all of the existing sugary drinks, which are the prime culprits that need hammering anyway.

  5. whateva next? 5

    I was laughing by the end of the interview, so utterly absurd that he thinks we will believe his tripe

    • Lloyd 5.1

      Who says he believes it?
      Con men often tell complete porkies in a manner which appears that they believe what they are saying.
      It is called lying.

      • Grindlebottom 5.1.1

        Whatever you want to call it, it’s an ability most successful politicians develop early and never lose.

    • Kevin 5.2

      I am amazed that Gower didn’t reach over and pat his leg and say ‘there, there, it’s over now’.

      So many opportunities to nail the minister on the rubbish he spouts.

      No mention of the thousands kicked off the elective surgery waiting lists.

      Once again Gower’s interview technique with government ministers is almost the complete opposite of how he conducts interviews with politicians on the left.

  6. mary_a 6

    If NatzKEY wants to address the issue of (childhood) obesity, it might do well to begin with its own front bench! Plenty of blubber to be forfeited there!

    Nothing like leading from the top and setting an example to be followed!

  7. Much as it pains me to agree with a pillock like Coleman, he’s on very good ground with this:

    Sales decreased, but it’s not clear if that’s a correlation or a causative effect, so there were other things going on – a tanking Mexican economy, $30 billion drinking-water programme.

    There’s no good reason to assign causality to the tax rather than either or both of those things, or all three. The word “science” shouldn’t be applied to this bullshit – it’s social science, which isn’t the same thing at all.

    Likewise, this also is bullshit:

    ‘The rationale and effectiveness of taxation measures to influence consumption are well supported by available evidence.’

    The quote itself isn’t bullshit – we’ve seen pretty conclusively that it works, via the tax on cigarettes. However, there are two factors applicable in the case of cigarettes that aren’t obviously applicable in the case of sugary drinks:

    1. The level of tax on cigarettes required to influence consumption is enormous. What politician is seriously going to legislate to make a 500-ml coke $10 or upwards?

    2. As Coleman asks, “is there a link to obesity directly?” With cigarettes, there’s a clearly-demonstrated and indisputable link to heart disease and lung cancer. The same can’t be said of sugary drinks and obesity. Personally, I’d say there has to be such a link, because lipogenesis is a matter of insulin response and sugary drinks prompt a high insulin response. But so do a lot of other things, much of which is declared by “experts” to be something called “healthy food” that we should eat in large quantities. Unless there’s proven causality for obesity involving sugary drinks that doesn’t equally apply to all other carbohydrates, drinks manufacturers have every reason to dispute the justification for a tax on their products.

    • Crashcart 7.1

      Sorry for necroing this thread a bit but I had to respond to this.

      You point out the obvious link between smoking and heart disease and lung cancer like it was always accepted. Ignoring the fact that tobacco companies spent millions of doallars delaying a consensus by funding bollox research that countered what real researchers were saying. Sort of like Coke spending huge sums of money to produce research that counters research by actual scientists that links the increase in sugar intake and the increase in obesity rates.

      So far every thing I have read from you on here is feeding into the whole idea of “we can’t do anything cause we don’t know enough” mantra. Well bollox to that. The obesity epidemic isn’t going to go away while we sit on our asses waiting for scientists to tell us definitively what needs to be done. Governments with courage need to take action and attempt to work with the best available data to improve the situation now.

      [lprent: We leave the comments open for 30 days after the post goes up. ]

  8. gsays 8

    Once again we are dancing to the Tory tune.

    The questions to ask are to enquire about who has been lobbying the government t and the nature of the lobbyists desires.

    Time and time again we end up singing the Tory tune.

    If the journalists will not ask, perhaps the opposition needs to start.

    • Kevin 8.1

      What would be the point?

      Government ministers now just refuse to answer the hard question in the house and the speakers washes his hands of it.

  9. Detrie 9

    I think Jamie Oliver has the right idea in the UK. Use a tax on sugary drinks to fund other initiatives. http://www.jamieoliver.com/sugar-rush/

  10. Treetop 10

    Were sugar to be reduced in products, the cost of the product would go up as it would cost the manufacturer more in healthy ingredients.

    Too much sugar, fat and artificial colour in isles at the supermarket. Carbohydrates turn into sugar in the body, thats why carbohydrates need to be restricted. I would like to know how much sugar carbohydrates produce.

    Removing sugar is the best solution because sugar adds kgs to body weight.

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    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • We are not America
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
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    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
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    6 days ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
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    7 days ago
  • After the Pandemic
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    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
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  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
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    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
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  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
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  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
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    PosseBy chloeanneking
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  • An equitable way to support business
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
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    1 week ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
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    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
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    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • What about renters?
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Living within our means.
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    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    1 week ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    1 week ago

  • 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
    2 hours ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours 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
    5 hours 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
    5 hours 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
    5 hours 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
    8 hours 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 day 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 day 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
    2 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 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
    6 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 ...
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    6 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 ...
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    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago