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Lobby group wants motorways to drive over locals

Written By: - Date published: 5:58 am, May 6th, 2009 - 48 comments
Categories: mt albert, transport - Tags: , ,

Aerial view of Waterview. Click for enlarged view

Owen McShane’s lobby group the Centre for Resource Management Studies has a set of questions up about the Waterview Tunnel option of SH20. Essentially they argue for ramming an above ground motorway through the Waterview houses and green belt for the benefit of the motorists, and that the pesky locals should be ignored.

One of the basis of their argument is:-

However, this consultation has not revealed the preferences of the much larger number of people who will actually use the Waterview Ring Road when complete. The modeling indicates a two-way flow of 90,000 vehicles a day by 2026, which would be carrying at least 100,000 people a day. Surely their preferences count as much as a few score households on nearby land?

This is a gross misrepresentation. An above-ground motorway will affect thousands of households within earshot. Just ask any resident within earshot of the north-western motorway in Kingsland, Grey Lynn, Newton, and other suburbs. After that was put in close to our house at the time, it went from being an extremely quiet area to having a background hellish noise. They’d put in a rough surface and no noise protection. These days the RMA gives some protection against that sort of arrogant engineering, but it appears to me that CRMS wishes to revert back to that style of thinking.

Most importantly the Waterview project will be paid for almost entirely by the motoring public of the Auckland region and we would have thought that the motoring community that ‘pays the piper’ should surely ‘call much of the tune’.

Huh? Surely this is a case for user-pays. If they want it so much, then they should pay for what is required for the locals to let it through their community. Most people near the path of proposed SH20 would prefer that it wasn’t built at all.

We wonder why the interests of the neighboring residents of Mt Albert are regarded so highly, while the interests of the motoring public, who pay for the project, are totally ignored.

Furthermore, this motorway network will exist and be in use for hundreds of years. Surely the specifications of such a major piece of infrastructure should not be determined by the wishes of households whose average stay is measured in years.

If necessary, adversely affected residents should be bought out with generous compensation.

Now we understand why they wish to think that there are only a few score households. Buying out the hundreds or thousands of adversely affected households would massively increase the costs of an above-ground motorway. It would be cheaper to put in a tunnel. What the CRMS are proposing is how to provide a cynical fig-leaf token gesture to local concerns for politicians.

In any case, if the CRMS is proposing that the payback for the project can be measured in hundreds of years, then presumably so the costs of doing the project correctly for that timespan can be amortized over that period as well.

The CRMS also rails against number of lanes saying that it is too few for expansion. The solution is obvious – pay for more lanes. Putting in a bus lane in both directions seems like a good idea as well. After all the motoring public is looking at an investment that can be paid back over hundreds of years – the CRMS has said so.

There seems to be an implicit view that motorways generate adverse effects and no benefits to amenity and landscape. In reality a well designed highway in a park like setting can provide a major open space amenity to scores of thousands of road users every day. The northern motorway beyond Albany is an excellent example.

Unlike the Albany motorway, this area has residents already. People in Mt Albert are quite aware of the adverse effects from previous motorway projects. No amount of landscaping for motorists will help with the noise and disruption problems. Whoever the fool who wrote this report is, I surprised that they haven’t suggested that children would like to play alongside the motorway in the nice landscaped area. It is hard to see what kind of amenity it is for motorists either. You aren’t actually allowed to get out and use it.

After all, if this conclusion is correct for this link, which is being built through a mix of low-density residential development and open parkland, then this outcome must also hold true for all future motorway construction in the Auckland Metropolitan Area, and through many of the urbanized areas within the Auckland Region.

Exactly, here is the crux of the CRMS’s argument. If you are driving a motorway through an area of built up housing and established communities, it is different to shunting a motorway through countryside. There are unlikely to be many benefits to the locals from the motorway, it will largely benefit the motorists.

Most communities would prefer not to have a motorway shunted through their parklands and houses. Residents everywhere need to understand that if an above-ground motorway is driven through in Waterview over the local residents, then the same will be done using exactly the same arguments anywhere.

I’m not even going to go into the other spurious arguments. They are simply pathetic – have a laugh, read them. “Princess Diana” syndrome – people getting drunk and running into a wall?

Motorists, if they want motorways, should expect to pay for the cost of having the least impact on the local community and environment. Perhaps John Key and other NACT MP’s should be asked for their views on these questions when they visit Mt Albert during the by-election. Just make sure you get a recording of the answers. NACT politicians are a bit slippery about promises after elections

48 comments on “Lobby group wants motorways to drive over locals”

  1. Nick 1

    Why doesnt McShane just cut the bull and call his group what and who they are, the “Centre for the Privatisation of Resources and the Donation of the Common Good to Wealthy Interests”. Im sick of privately funded think tanks posing questions to frame debate with preset answers, its an abuse of the democratic principle.

    On the need for motorways has anybody asked the sensible questions like:
    * will we be driving cars as much in 10 years?
    * where and what work will we be doing?
    * would public transport be a more viable answer?

    An oil depleted future might not be nice but is a certainty. Consequently I dont think that things will be the same as today so a little forward thinking might go a long way.

    • lprent 1.1

      I’d agree with all of that. There was a large section in the post pointing out that the traffic estimates might be a wee bit optimistic. However it was getting too wordy so I clipped it.

  2. TBA 2

    Lets be honest, the concerns these residents have are no different from the concerns that the residents who border the other 100+ km of open air motorways in the Auckland region. The only difference is that this motorway expansion is going to effect Helens backyard, hence why Labour pursued the tunnel option and now its simply a by-election issue that Labour hope to use to its political advantage.

    I wonder how much of a noise Labour or this website would be making about this if Mt Albert was a safe National seat?

    • Chris 2.1

      Motorways through urban areas tend to be bi-partisan in response. Motorways through blue rinse areas generate as much noise and anger as do poorer western suburbs such as Mt Albert. Just ask Mr Banks, current Mayor of Auckland. Whether blue red or purple, the noise is the same.

    • lprent 2.2

      Wrong – and ignorant of Auckland’s history of motorways.

      Most of the length of the existing motorways were originally put in when there were no bordering houses. The houses came after the motorway was put in – ie they were built for the conditions and the buyers were aware of the motorway at purchase..

      The vast majority of the other lengths were put through in what were then (and often still are) business districts.

      Some areas that were residential, they simply brought the houses and bulldozed them.

      There have been few motorways put through largely residential areas, and the track record is that they cause enormous disruption, an on-going noise problem, and usually a considerable drop in property values.

      • TBA 2.2.1

        Sorry Lprent, can’t be bothered with your personal attacks on opinions you disagree with today but I suggest that you go talk to some of the older urban planners in the Auckland area to get a true picture of what has happened in the past 30 years and actually get out and drive the roads, talk to the people vs just listening to the political propaganda and if you’re really interested

        Have a nice day.

        • felix 2.2.1.1

          Lynn said you were wrong, which you were, and ignorant of the history of Auckland’s motorways (that’s a fancy way of saying you were wrong), which you were.

          Then he explained why you were wrong. Where’s the personal attack? Have you never been corrected before?

          You poor wee thing. Run along and play and I’ll get you some bikkies.

        • lprent 2.2.1.2

          Nothing beats personal experience.

          I’ve been driving since 1975 on the developing motorway network. The housing filing in the spaces beside the motorways has been interesting to watch.

          I drove the northern motorway from Mt Albert every other weekend to a 88 acre block that my parents were developing in Puhio from 1975-1977. In 1977 I was driving back on the southern from the town supply farm in Alfriston to Mt Albert most weekends. Obviously I was next to the North-western when it was built, and we drove that as well when it was finished.

          Almost all of the motorway neighborhood then was either industrial or paddock apart from the north-western.

          Since then most of the motorways have followed the same pattern, developed in largely industrial areas or paddocks.

          …can’t be bothered with your personal attacks on opinions you disagree with today…

          Or that you are just wrong and don’t want to defend the line of bull you were spinning.

  3. andy 3

    The above ground and trench options will cause major disruptions to a very important arterial route. Great North Road carries 40,000 vehicles a day from large parts of West Auckland (not Mt Albert). What people miss is that trying to manage this traffic while creating a trench literally right next to the road will only create more traffic chaos for the years it takes to build.

    Glad to see people still trying to make it a Helens backyard boggie man issue. Without thinking that it is actually about moving people across town more efficiently, and would benefit Paula Bennets electorate more than Mt Albert.

    • lprent 3.1

      Yeah – it is almost impossible to find anyone in Mt Albert or Mt Roskill who thinks that it is a good idea for the local area.

  4. Pascal's bookie 4

    “this motorway expansion is going to effect Helens backyard, hence why Labour pursued the tunnel option and now its simply a by-election issue that Labour hope to use to its political advantage”

    Yeah. Bloody Labour party abusing the political process by taking notice of what the peasants want. The job of a local MP is to tell the peons what the Party is going to do to them.

  5. TBA 5

    Andy:”What people miss is that trying to manage this traffic while creating a trench literally right next to the road will only create more traffic chaos for the years it takes to build”

    Andy without a question that there will be an impact through construction however will it be any worse that the impact that the Spaghetti Junction/Ports of Auckland caused for years, or even the work that is being carried out at present on the Mangere Bridge region? I doubt it.

    Pascal:”Bloody Labour party abusing the political process by taking notice of what the peasants want.”

    I haven’t said that its abuse of the political process (or believe that it is) but lets not pretend that Labour are fighting this fight out of some noble sense of right/wrong, its simply political ammunition that they hope will help sway the masses and the by-election.

    • Pascal's bookie 5.1

      So your accusation is that labour is engaging in perfectly legitimate politics, using the process as it should be used to advocate the concerns of the locals. The horror. Bastards.

    • lprent 5.2

      Spaghetti Junction/Ports of Auckland

      That is a business district – not many houses there.

      Mangere Bridge

      You mean the other bit of SH20 in Phil Goff’s Mt Roskill electorate. Perhaps you’d better have a closer look at the chaos that extension caused in Mt Roskill. That was in a area with relatively light traffic flows. The next area is high traffic.

      Labour and its MP’s have been fighting for an equitable solution for SH20 because that is what their constituents have been asking for. The tunnel solution was the best that was achievable. The next is not to have a motorway at all.

  6. andy 6

    TBA

    will it be any worse that the impact that the Spaghetti Junction/Ports of Auckland caused for years, or even the work that is being carried out at present on the Mangere Bridge region? I doubt it.

    I don’t know either, I suspect it would because of the nature of Gt North Rd and waterview being isolated by it and the high use of the road by locals just to get to the diary. But in this case there is a second option with less impact on the local community and existing traffic flows, so there must be an opportunity cost to for commuters.

    Was the same option was available in at spaghetti junction, Mangere bridge and ports? I doubt it!

  7. Zaphod Beeblebrox 7

    Everyone is to blame for the huge mess that has been created by this one. The huge amount of traffic that is funnelled from the west mixed in with a new huge NW-SE traffic funnel, with a NW motorway that will be unable to cope with the extra traffic, is a recipe for perpetual gridlock. I would not be wanting to live anywhere near this traffic triangle in next fifty years.
    When I drive anywhere in Auckland (except maybe on Sunday or late at night) I find it much easier NOT to go nowhere near the motorways and any of their off ramps.
    Why do we have to think of these huge unaffordable grandiose road schemes everytime the local network struggles at peak times.
    if you look at a road map of Auckland you see hundreds of unconnected local roads that end at a gully edge or loop back on themselves. We have constructed entire housing developments with only one way in or out. What we need are alternative routes using the existing road system not more unaffordable roadblocks.

  8. Rich 8

    I think it can be summarised as:
    “NACT to Mt Albert – fuck off you lowlives. Poop poop!”

  9. Oh good I can really sink my teeth into this issue.

    For a start, the cost difference between a full tunnel option and other potential options is not nearly as big as people make it out to be. The Ministry of Transport’s review of the Waterview Connection clearly pointed that out (see page 18 of this document: http://www.transport.govt.nz/assets/Katrina-09/Business-case-for-the-Waterview-Connection.pdf )

    To paraphrase (all costs in 2015 dollars)

    1) Cost of full tunnel option: $2.005 billion for 4 lanes, $2.335 billion for 6 lanes
    2) Cost of cut and partial cover options: $1.790 billion for 4 lanes, $1.813 for 6 lanes
    3) Cut and extended cover: $1.988 billion for 4 lanes, $2.205 billion for 6 lanes
    4) Open cut (no tunnel at all): $1.456 billion for 4 lanes, $1.585 billion for 6 lanes

    So therefore, there is no cheap option. If we compare apples with apples we see that a cut & partial cover option is only around $200 million cheap than a full tunnel option, a cut & extended cover option is around the same cost. An open cut option is $500 million cheaper, but that must be counter-balanced against the huge environmental and social costs that this option would generate.

    Now, to take on Owen McShane’s theory that the Waterview Connection ‘would pay for itself’. The Ministry of Transport’s report was clear that neither NZTA nor ARTA view the Waterview Connection as a priority – so therefore it would not be funded out of traditional funding sources any time soon. This is largely due to its low cost-benefit ratio.

    Page 11 of the report I link to above states this quite clearly:

    Funding the entire project from any single source would place a considerable strain on that source, making a combination a more feasible approach to take. All the sources of funding other than Crown funding or tolling require agreement from the Board of the NZTA, Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) or both. To date, neither the Board of the NZTA nor ARTA have indicated that they view the Waterview Connection as a priority project within existing funding levels.

    If the Waterview Connection was to be funded any time soon it will be through crown debt – as this is why financing costs were included in the reporting of the Waterview Connection’s cost going from $1.89 billion to $2.77 billion. This means that it will be general taxation that pays for it, not users of the connection themselves. If it is going to be built any time in the next 20-30 years it will not be via petrol taxes, as NZTA and ARTA do not view this link as a priority.

    Regarding the debate about past motorways being built through existing urban areas – spaghetti junction, the southern motorway from spaghetti junction through to Ellerslie and the NW motorway from Pt Chev to the city are the only main parts of our system ever built through existing urban areas.

    But getting back to Waterview, I just can’t see any option here being justifiable. There is no cheap alternative – we start at $1.5 billion (plus financing costs, plus upgrades to SH16 costs) and work our way up from there. The $1.5 billion option (Open Cut) would have huge environmental and social effects and it is still enormously expensive.

    Financing costs & SH16 upgrades added arond $800 million to the price of the full tunnel option, and I can’t see them adding much less to the costs of an open cut option. That means we are looking at the cheapest option being around $2.2 billion AND having massive environmental and social effects.

    How can you justify that Mr McShane?

    Edit: One more thing, Transit NZ became NZTA in August last year – get with the times Owen!

    • lprent 9.1

      the southern motorway from spaghetti junction through to Ellerslie

      Yeah that was done before my driving time, apart from recent upgrades to the existing systems.

      ….as NZTA and ARTA do not view this link as a priority.

      However this government seems to think that anything is possible regardless of the cost/benefit ratios.

      • jarbury 9.1.1

        I thought I remembered Steven Joyce saying that transport projects must have a sound economic justification, or was I just being delusional? Or does that only apply to public transport?

  10. Pat 10

    Jarbury, I always thought a number of houses had been bought up already. Is this true?

    Personally I’m in favour of the open cut option, particularly if it has the earliest completion date. We need the second motorway through Auckland completed asap. The Hobsonville Deviation is only a few years away, so Waterview is the last link in the chain. The words Just Do It come to mind.

    • felix 10.1

      I don’t know, Pat. I’m in favour of finishing the damn thing too but the words that spring to my mind aren’t Just Do It, they’re Do It Properly.

      • jarbury 10.1.1

        At least we’ve got the choices sorted here. There’s a $2.2 billion rubbish option or a $2.8 billion OK option. Neither can be paid through petrol taxes or tolling (even a $2 toll puts off enough traffic to push the cost-benefit ratio below 1) so both will be a $2 billion+ crown debt.

  11. Zaphod Beeblebrox 11

    What happened to the overland option along the side of the Rosebank Peninsula? I would have thought this would minimise disruption to Great North Rd and avoid a horrendous engineering nightmare a la the SH20-16- Great North Round Interchange.
    BTW for the costs mentioned here we could have a very nice rail system.

  12. jarbury 12

    Pat, I don’t know for sure about what houses have and have not been bought. I know that most of the required houses at the Waterview end were owned by Housing New Zealand, so I assume a purchase there would be quite simple.

    It is my understanding that around 150 properties are required for the full bored tunnel option, compared to 500-600 for any sort of other option (remember that even for cut & cover you need to buy the property above the tunnel). That’s part of the reason why cost differences between the bored tunnel and a surface option are nowhere near as big as people think they will be. At around $500,000 a property, you’re spending $250 million on property acquisition alone. Furthermore, the parkland a surface option will run through (Alan Wood Reserve and Phyllis Street reserve) is owned by Auckland City Council, who would not just give it to NZTA. That’s possibly another few tens of millions of dollars at least (I don’t really know how valuable open space land is).

    Remember, we’re looking at $2.2 billion for this at the very least. That money will have to be borrowed as NZTA & ARTA do not have the funds for such a large project (and they are smart enough to realise that it’s not a high priority). So this will be a HUGE tax-payer subsidy to a road that will just entrench Auckland’s auto-dependency.

    We need to look at alternatives.

    • George Darroch 12.1

      No we don’t!!!

      Roads roads roads roads roads roads roads. If Labour and United Future and ACT and National all agree, they can’t be wrong! More roads!

      • Pat 12.1.1

        Yes THIS road has to be completed. This is indisputable. How stupid would it be to alternative motorway through Auckland with a 4km vasectomy in the middle of it. It would be the motorway to nowhere.

        • jarbury 12.1.1.1

          Clearly the benefits of the rest of the Western Ring Route will only be fully realised once this last part of it is completed. However, I cannot see how it is economically justified. There is no cheap option here, it’s $2.2 billion and upwards.

          If we are to spend that much money we need to be sure it is worth it (and I have my doubts over the calculated time saving benefits for a start).

          The other option is to toll it. $2 of tolls will cover $400 million of debt. So a $14 toll should cover the $2.8 billion for a full tunnel option.

          More of my analysis is here: http://transportblog.co.nz/2009/05/06/waterview-connection-its-22-billion-and-upwards/

          • Pat 12.1.1.1.1

            No problem with tolls. The Orewa tollroad seems to be running smoothly now and obviously has wide acceptance.

            I don’t think the rail option forms part of the Waterview debate. It’s a separate issue. The Western Ring Route is a long and expensive motorway infrastructure with a 4km gap in the middle. It simply needs to be finished.

  13. Pat 13

    Jarbury – I have a family friend who completed a housing development at Waterview several years ago, and he ended up having to sell several of the completed homes to Transit NZ. My anecdotal impression from speaking to him was that a large no of properties had been bought along the intended route. Surely this is also the case at the Hillsborough end where a lot of works is currently being carried out.

    It would be interesting to find out how many homes have already been bought. This has an impact on the costs and which option is best.

  14. jarbury 14

    Pat, I certainly doubt that houses outside the 150 required for a full tunnel option would have been purchased. NZTA would be crazy to have done so, as their current preferred option would have not affected these places. He legally would not have “had” to sell anything to Transit as there’s no designation in place.

    The Mt Roskill SH20 extension is completely different. There has been a designation for that in place for decades. It opens in a week or two.

  15. Quoth the Raven 15

    Furthermore, this motorway network will exist and be in use for hundreds of years.

    What no flying cars.

    • George Darroch 15.1

      No peak oil either.

      • Pat 15.1.1

        Electric cars, and cars running on biofuels (be they cows urine or chinese gooseberries) still need motorways. The new motorways also enhance bicycle routes – see Hobsonville Deviation/Greenhithe bridge for example.

  16. Pat 16

    Jarbury – Is there any truth that the underground springs at Waterview make it unsuitable to build a tunnel?

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 16.1

      I understand the volcanic rock in that area is also a significant impediment to blasting. Has this been factored into the costs?
      re the springs- given the track record of transit don’t count on their cost estimates

      • jarbury 16.1.1

        I am sure that has all been taken into account. In recent years NZTA/Transit have actually done very well in ensuring that projects are completed on time and within budget.

    • lprent 16.2

      Probably not. Pops on geology geek hat.

      All of the fresh-water springs around the isthmus area are not from artesian or sub-artesian sources – there is no strata to carry them from the distant mountain sources.

      As far as I’m aware, local springs are all from basaltic lava pipes from the dome volcanoes (or maybe the Waitakere range volcanoes – although that seems unlikely) that are around the area. Those are easy to divert because their source is horizontal.

      I’d class that as myth unless you have an actual source (in which case I’d be fascinated). There is nothing to create a spring system. What is left of the local strata after millions of years of volcanoes is broken and block faulted.

  17. jarbury 17

    Pat – not that I know of, although I have heard rumours there’s hazardous medical waste at the back of the old Carrington Hospital.

    A lot of work went into the full tunnel option, and NZTA were ready to lodge the notice of requirement for it at the end of last year/beginning of this year. I imagine that if there had been such a big problem with a full tunnel option, NZTA would have known about it.

    The problem with slapping a $14 toll on the road is that nobody would use it and it would be a HUGE economic failure. It can’t even maintain a BCR of above 1 with a $2 toll, according to the Ministry of Transport:

    Traffic modelling suggests that up to 50 percent of users would be diverted from the road if a $2 toll were imposed. A $2 toll would support around $410m of debt, but the diversion would mean the loss of economic benefits worth an estimated $393 million. (The revenue-maximising toll is approximately $3 per vehicle, which would support approximately $470 million of debt in total, or approximately 17 percent of the total project cost.)

    Incurring $393 million in economic costs to finance $410 million in debt is equal to an economic cost of nearly 96c for every dollar raised. This compares with an estimated 20c in economic costs incurred for every dollar raised through general taxation (income taxation or GST). Therefore, we recommend against the use of a toll in this circumstance.

  18. Pat 18

    OK so no tolls. Then the answer is to skip just one year of $2Bn Cullen Fund contributions and put towards Aucklands infrastucture instead. Waterview paid for, problem solved.

  19. jarbury 19

    If we’re going to do that, then I suggest comparing the benefits of building the CBD rail loop and rail to the airport with that of the Waterview Connection.

    I don’t know what the results would be, but there would be a comparable $3 billion price tag so we should at least ask which would have a better BCR.

  20. Pat 20

    I still think the rail issue is a separate public transport issue. So complete Waterview short-term AND look at Auckland’s long term public transport infrastructure. The latter is something for the Supercity to sink their teeth into. If North Shore can spend $400K on a website that will last 18 months, then I think our rates can/will be better spent on Auckland-wide solutions.

  21. jarbury 21

    I don’t think it’s a separate issue Pat. The government now funds rail through crown grants, the Waterview Connection can only ever hope to be funded by a crown grant. They therefore compete for the same money and should be compared with each other to decide which one is the best value for that money.

    I’m sick of “let’s sort out the roads now and think about public transport later”. It is that mindset which has led to Auckland having one of the lowest levels of public transport use of any developed world city.

  22. Pat 22

    Jarbury, you are obviously an intelligent man/woman/man-bear-pig. You think a 4km gap in the Western Ring Route is a good thing?

  23. jarbury 23

    No I don’t Pat. However, given the expense of competing the gap I think we need to make sure it’s value for money. I’m very very much not convinced that it is.

    What looks pretty on a map isn’t what matters in the end. There are a lot of pressing transport projects in Auckland at the moment – including the rail projects that I mentioned above. Given peak oil uncertainty in the future (and all your biofuel & fairy dust cars won’t become affordable to the masses for decades) and the fact that motorway simply induce travel (and therefore congestion) we need to look at alternatives that can provide better value for money than this project.

    I truly believe that the benefits of this project have been overstated. The traffic modelling expects 98% of people travelling from the North Shore to the airport to use this connection, which seems truly bizarre. It also expects to remove 28,000 cars per day from the CMJ – in which case why are we about to spend $600 million on the Victoria Park Tunnel and the Newmarket Viaduct? Time savings benefits have been proven overseas to simply not exist in the longer term (as people drive further rather than travel times being shortened), yet these time savings make up 73% of the benefits of the Waterview Connection.

    There are just too many flaws.

    If we leave things for a decade, the MoT report says the cost benefit ratio will rise to 1.7 – which is a lot better than 1.15. Furthermore, if we spend that decade building a CBD rail tunnel, rail to the airport and other public transport projects we may find that we don’t need the Waterview Connection anyway. Particularly if petrol is over $3 a litre by then (which is what the NZTA and the ARC anticipate it to be in a decade [in today’s dollars] – which I think is conservative).

    Wouldn’t it be better to find that out before we spend $2.5-3 billion?

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    24 hours 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 ...
    24 hours 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
    24 hours 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
    2 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 ...
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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 ...
    2 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 ...
    2 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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 ...
    4 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 ...
    4 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
    4 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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 ...
    5 days 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
    5 days 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? ...
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    7 days ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    7 days ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    7 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    1 week ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    1 week ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    1 week ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    1 week ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    1 week 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 hours 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 hours 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
    17 hours 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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 days 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 days 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 days 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
    5 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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 ...
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    7 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 ...
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    7 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 ...
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    7 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 ...
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    7 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, ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
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    1 week 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 ...
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    1 week 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 ...
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    1 week 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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. ...
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    2 weeks 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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    2 weeks 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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    2 weeks 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, ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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. ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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  • 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks ago