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Low priority: pedestrians & wheelchairs

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, February 26th, 2013 - 41 comments
Categories: infrastructure, public transport, transport - Tags: , ,

Yesterday’s appalling accident with a woman in a wheelchair being caught in the tracks at Morningside rail crossing, highlights several problems with the hierarchies operating in our transportation systems.

In the end, all the rescuers could do was tip the chair on its side and leap out of the way.

“[The woman] fell clear but the wheel chair was still on the tracks,” Mereau said.  “That got caught by the train. The lady was still close to the wheelchair so she got dragged along.”

The woman remains in a critical condition today.

Top of the priority tree is given  to motorised vehicles and roads.  Secondary to this comes the organisation of public transport: buses, trains, ferries.  Arrangements for pedestrians are often pretty low in the hierarchy. People with disabilities are increasingly being catered for, but they remain a very low priority as shown by news reports on yesterday’s accident..

As a car driver, public transport user, pedestrian and ex cyclist & motorcyclist I have long been aware of the low priority given to pedestrians around Auckland.  It’s especially noticeable with the upgrades at places like New Lynn.  At such places the road and footpath arrangements have been constantly changing.  Each time I arrive on foot to some train stations or bus terminals, the footpaths have been changed, often requiring the pedestrian to negotiate an unfamiliar, re-routed obstacle course.  Usually it takes longer than expected, sometimes having to wait for more than one lot of traffic lights changes, and is frustrating when rushing to catch a train or bus on time.

Generally footpaths away from main routes around Auckland can be uneven, and prone to causing tripping and slipping.  There are extra hazards of trying to avoid vehicles backing out of drives.  Traffic lights and roundabouts clearly show motor vehicles are first consideration.  There’s those “free” left turns at traffic lights, often with a constant stream of traffic, while the pedestrian has to find a gap in which to dash between the stream of cars.

At lights some vehicles turning on/after the orange or red lights, and impatient drivers when both vehicles and walkers have the right to proceed, add anxiety to the pedestrian experience.

All these things must be extremely hazardous for people in wheelchairs.  Yet the reports show that they are just expected to accept the conditions, and wait for fairly long periods for upgrades.  Last night RNZ reported that:

The accident happened on an undulating footpath that passes over at least three sets of tracks.

KiwiRail says there have been previous incidents at the scene and it upgraded the tracks last year.

Local ward councillor Cathy Casey says she is shocked to think people in wheelchairs could be at risk at train crossings.

She says safety measures such as barrier arms and warning bells aren’t enough, as they are often ignored.

KiwiRail says the incident with the wheelchair becoming stuck on the tracks is an unusual event that has never happened in New Zealand before.

The company’s chief executive Jim Quinn says a full investigation is underway which will determine whether the gaps, which should be around 69 millimetres, are too wide.

Mr Quinn says staff will be at the crossing on Monday night to check if there are any problems with people in wheelchairs passing the tracks.

But the chair of Auckland Council’s disability strategic advisory group says several other people have become stuck in their wheelchairs at the Morningside level crossing.

Huhana Hickey, who chairs the disability strategic advisory group on the Auckland Council, says she has the same wheelchair and it does get stuck in nooks and crannies.

Dr Hickey says three or four people have told her they have had trouble at the Morningside crossing.

Campbell Live last night, showed that, white arrows marked on the crossing are evidence that the Morningside rail crossing had been registered as a hazard some time before the accident: see about 1min 53 into the Campbell Live video.  Following this in the video, the reporter Kate King asks who is responsible for fixing the hazard? “The people who run the roads, the people who run the trains, or the super city council.”  According to Albert-Eden Community Board Member Graeme Easte,  some people have been debating whether the road goes over the railway tracks or vice versa, in an attempt to  identify who has ultimate responsibility.  He says the ARC (Auckland Regional Council) put up some money for upgrades a few years ago, but no other organisation followed with further money, and nothing happened.

Kiwirail upgraded the Morningside rail/road intersection in 2011, but left the footpath remained cracked and uneven.  Campbell Live showed this is a hazard to cyclists and pushchairs. There’s a lot of these kind of crossings in Auckland, and the planned new electric trains will be quieter, and harder for pedestrians and wheelchair users to hear than the current ones.

Adding to the hassles for wheelchair users, I have also heard that some people in electric chairs can’t take them on buses because their combined weights are above the current limit.

Wheelchairs and some mobility scooters can be carried on a bus subject to the following restrictions:

  • Maximum length:           1200mm

  • Maximum width:             700mm

  • Maximum weight:           240kg  (combined weight of wheelchair and user)

As constantly argued by the Greens, our public transport system needs to be given higher priority. As Julie Anne Genter argued yesterday, the public also wants a better system.  Along with this, high priority also should be given to pedestrians and accessibility for all.

41 comments on “Low priority: pedestrians & wheelchairs”

  1. Rogue Trooper 1

    that crossing looked unbelievable, yet where will the money come from?

  2. tracey 2

    well, it’s going to be worse in Christchurch if the minister of money(Joyce) gets his way and many buildings dont have to be accessible.

    17% of our population classify themselves as disabled. That doesn’t include the number who don’t classify themselves that way but are – for example older folks.

    It’s actually a substantial part of the electorate. If you then add in their family and friends the issue of accessibility can be bigger than first thought.

  3. Yorick 3

    All I know (at the moment) comes from this blog and a short clip on TV, but I cannot believe what I read.

    What was more important – to save the person or the wheelchair ?

    All they had to to was lift him or her out of harms way (I saw a couple of able-bodied
    police around a person in a wheelchair stuck on the tracks on TV) then deal
    with the mechanical problem afterwards.

    It is a no brainer, and tells us a lot about lack of experience and official priorities .. words fail me.

    • Rogue Trooper 3.1

      i wondered why the person was not un-belted and fireman-lifted out of harms way but i wouldn’t want to presume

      • RJL 3.1.1

        The stories seem to suggest that there was very little time to do anything at all, and that it appeared (correctly or not) to the rescuers that the woman was strapped into her chair.

        The fact that the woman in the wheelchair was nonetheless still dragged along when the train collected the “pushed over wheelchair”, suggests that she was indeed somehow strapped in.

    • scrubone 3.2

      The people who were trying to help were two random people who in seconds went from their normal routine to the most stressful situation they probably will ever encouter.

      One of them was injured and taken to hospital, because she put her own life on the line.

      I’d be a *lot* more careful about describing decisions in those circumstances as “no brainer” myself – especially when using words like “official priorities” to describe first responders.

      • Yorick 3.2.1

        Re ..I’d be a *lot* more careful about describing decisions in those circumstances as “no brainer” myself – especially when using words like “official priorities” to describe first responders. ..

        I was careful to emphasize my limited knowledge of this incident at the top of the post ..

        • Yorick 3.2.1.1

          I’ve had a bit of experience with people and wheelchairs. The fact that he/she was strapped in suggests a considerable degree of disability. I don’t know who the ‘random people’ were, but most NZers are fairly down to earth in their assessment of risk. This would certainly have been novel for a lot of people, and it sounds as if there was unexpectedly little time to react .. but getting him/her out of danger would not have used up a lot of cortical computing power.

          Re. “the most stressful situation they probably will ever encouter” .. will probably be when they themselves are at risk.

          Re. “I’d be a *lot* more careful about describing decisions in those circumstances as “no brainer” myself – especially when using words like “official priorities” to describe first responders.”

          scrubone (or should that be ‘scrub one’ ?): The TV footage I saw briefly showed what appeared to be police uniforms struggling with a wheel chair stuck on tracks. I remain dubious about official priorities in providing safe railway crossings for the differently abled in Auckland. I have a lot of respect for medical first responders .. whom I have worked with on-scene and in casualty overseas.

          This is an evolving situation so it would be unwise to comment further.

    • McFlock 3.3

      Well, you’re thinking without factoring in stressors, in this case “fucking big train bearing down on you”.

      It wasn’t stress-experienced cops trying to save the woman, it was a couple of joe blow public. Possibly that’s some of the most extreme stress they’ll face in their lives. So prime candidates for objective fixation and lowered mental functioning. That’s if they had the fine motor control to deal with any seatbelt etc.

      People do funny things under stress – sometimes completely random, other times there’s a discernible logic (in this case they might have been used to thinking about paraplegic+wheelchair as one unit, so didn’t think to break up the unit – the woman was probably used to thinking of chair as best way to move anywhere quickly, too), but almost always sub-optimal. Even running like buggery might be a bad move in some situations.

      The funniest one I saw (nobody hurt, fortunately) was a driver that pulled out in front of a cyclist, who proceeded to somersault over the bonnet (most impressive). The driver was completely unharmed, but in a bit of shock, and the first thing she did was stammer “this is a new car”and look for a scratch. Not as insensitive as she sounds – just a stress reaction. Of course, if the cyclist had died then the prosecutor would have made a big deal out of it as an example of her callous and uncaring attitude to killing someone else. Not that at all – she was just shitting bricks and that was the first thing that snuck through the information overload.

      • vto 3.3.1

        Myself and a couple of others on the day of the Chch earthquake (Feb 22) caught up together in the first hour or so made some decisions and did some things that in hindsight were most definitely not smart. It was stressed thinking and it does most definitely lead a person to make decisions that wouldn’t normally be made. One of those people has since said subsequently that they did not make good decisions that day, and neither did I. Another person nearby was killed as a consequence of decisions like ours at the exact time we were doing these things. Close calls.

        Was very sobering and highlighted that circumstance of decisions made quickly and under immediate threat of death.

        Those brave people helping the wheelchair person would have been freaking out.

        • aerobubble 3.3.1.1

          The picture of the tarmac between the rails was obvious well worn down, and the fact nobody was out there with tarmac asap is horrific. Why have people not complained in the past? A culture of non-complaint? Why aren’t people more aware of dangers and so think better when the time comes – as the previous comment makes clear? The opening car door killing a cyclist.
          Why do we always get to pick up the pieces and there is no department of government who actively catch these issues, and also educate the public about decision making in moment of crisis? Risk analysis, risk abatement, risk training…

          Where are the disabled groups blocking the intersection until someone fixes the problem?
          And as to its not a rail budget, or a council, or a roading issue, bollocks, if a third
          party goes and tarmacs the area you damn sure the rail people will turn up and start
          suing, and so its a rail safety issue and a rail safety botchup. The rail company, if this
          lady were to die, would be charged with corporate manslaughter if it was legislated.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 3.4

      Alas, poor Yorick! (sorry – had to)

      Not many of us have been forced to make such a life/death decision in the face of an oncoming honking freight train, but I suspect the wheelchair would have been seen as valuable (they are a couple of grand at least, ACC are shits at paying for them and it’s not like she could walk into a wheelchair yard and get on the next day), and the rescuers would also have seen the chair as an extension of the person sitting in it.

      No chair = no ability to function, something which we able bodied folk take for granted.

      • Yorick 3.4.1

        Yorick is “is the deceased court jester whose skull is exhumed by the gravedigger in Act 5, Scene 1, of” Hamlet.

        More broadly,

        Scholar David Carlyon has cast doubt on the “daring political jester”, calling historical tales “apocryphal”, and concluding that “popular culture embraces a sentimental image of the clown; writers reproduce that sentimentality in the jester, and academics in the Trickster,” but it “falters as analysis.”[6]

        Jesters could also give bad news to the King that no one else would dare deliver. The best example of this is in 1340, when the French fleet was destroyed at the Battle of Sluys by the English. Phillippe VI’s jester told him the English sailors “don’t even have the guts to jump into the water like our brave French.”[7]

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jester

  4. Jeremy Greenbrook-Held 4

    “Kiwirail upgraded the Morningside rail/road intersection in 2011, but left the footpath remained cracked and uneven. ”

    That’s not entirely true. The ped crossing was tidied up, but they did such a crap job that it’s all warn out now. Doesn’t help that they’ve driven heavy maintenance machinery across it too…

  5. Bill 5

    If the people who used stuff were the people who designed the stuff, most problems with accessability/bad design would disappear.

    I’m sure we could all give a shopping list of things we’ve encountered in life that made us think “Wtf?”

    But then we are trained to understand that ‘experts’ know better. Regardless.

    On the transport front, I just happened to be reflecting on how car designs have become more ‘sexy’ and comfortabe while public transport designs have become ever more ‘grey’ and uncomfortable. I know this isn’t so much to do with physical accessabilty rather than psychological desirability, but think of the old comfortable bus/train seats with plenty of room alongside the internal trimmings and compare to modern b/s plastic bucket seats and hard plastic ‘nothingness’. Next time you pass a bus-stop, imagine how it would be if the concept of four sides and a door as shelter against the elements had been thought of.

    Thoughtlessness permeates all aspects of social design from urinals to bike lanes and sweet counters to entrance ways. Like i said at the beginning of this comment – have stuff designed by those who will use the stuff. It’s a simple solution.

  6. vto 6

    Streets were created for pedestrians first and orginally.

    Horse and cart, and then cars, came much much later, yet most people look at you sideways if you mention that fact, such is the ingrained “car is king” approach to everything today.

    This approach manifests itself in other ways too. Check out new houses which apparently need to have two cars parked inside the house as close as possible to the half dozen toilets and two lounges. Recall horses used to have a barn separate from teh dwelling. It should be thus today. Quite why people want noisy stinking cars inside their house I do not know. Dumbo.

    Also, business and shops and malls. We all need to be able to park right beside the shop.

    What ever happened to walking? Chech the streets out right now. Take look. Betcha the number of people walking is close to nil. Ffs I know people who drive 100m to the shop.

    The streets were created for people first. The cars came later and should be relegated so…

    (one other thing – always wondered why wheelchairs don’t have bigger diameter wheels. Just like tractors, makes it a hell of a lot easier trundling along a surface and this would have allowed the wheelchair to roll across the gaps…)

  7. AsleepWhileWalking 7

    I note that in today’s Domp the WRC are looking at increasing fares.

    Again.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/8350269/Bus-train-commuters-likely-to-face-fare-rises

  8. Skinny 8

     So CEO of Kiwi Rail, Jim Quinn says “safety will not be compromised as s result of  cuts jobs.” guess what Jim public  safety has been compromised because of your job cuts. That Morningside rail crossing was identified by a track inspector late last year as needing urgent attention  ‘nothing done about it.’ And now Mr Quinn has done away with track inspectors all over the Country, so the New Zealand public can expect a lot more safety issues regarding Rail regrettably.

    • vto 8.1

      “And now Mr Quinn has done away with track inspectors all over the Country”

      Remove mines inspectors and people die in mines.

      Remove track inspectors and people die on tracks.

      what is the matter with these people?

      • muzza 8.1.1

        According to Albert-Eden Community Board Member Graeme Easte, some people have been debating whether the road goes over the railway tracks or vice versa, in an attempt to identify who has ultimate responsibility

        More to the point, what is the matter with the NZ public that allow this kind of midset to control our country.

        What a terrible situation, (which the first responders must be recognised for), which I had not heard of until I read this post.

        With every such avoidable situation as this, we are allowing those charged with the safety and well being of NZ, to inflict further damage.

      • Arfamo 8.1.2

        What’s the matter with these people? Unless it happens to them, they don’t care. It’s that simple.

  9. AsleepWhileWalking 9

    A note on accessability – NZ is a party to the United Nations Resolution for the Rights of Disabled Persons. One of the points the treaty agreed upon is accessability, specifically for things such as public transport.

    For those who aren’t disabled you likely have no idea of just how little regard is given to those less mobile in particular, and how disabled needing modifications (eg to vehicles) have to fight over scraps of funding just so they can have basic independence.

  10. dewithiel 10

    The marginalisation of pedestrians is the consequence of a long-running and insidious campaign – dating from the 1920s – by car manufacturers and driver associations such as the AA aimed at ensuring that motor vehicles have priority on the roads. It was embraced enthusiastically by Auckland traffic engineers and their political masters who, from the 1950s onwards, have designed the city’s roads with one overriding principle: move more vehicular traffic faster. The initial step taken here was to abolish the tram system; this was followed by the construction of kilometres of motorway and arterial roads – a process which continues to receive the overwhelming bulk of transport funding. Sadly, 100s of people die on our roads every year, many of them pedestrians hit by motor vehicles but we don’t seem to care all that much and the police have become adept at ensuring that pedestrian behaviour is highlighted as being primarily culpable in these incidents. Yet when one wheelchair user is tragically hit by a train, ultimately because traffic engineers haven’t considered it a priority to grade separate our rail and road networks, the press goes into overdrive. The victim of this tragedy has all my sympathy; and the heroic actions of the two passer byes who sought to rescue her have all my admiration. But we should recognise that as a society we treat pedestrians as second class citizens; moreover, we should challenge the actions of the engineers and politicians whose venality and complacency has led to this awful outcome.

    • Ennui in Requiem 10.1

      There’s some common sense dewithiel. I have for a long time ridden my cycle on the footpath on the basis that my bike and cars / buses / trucks are incompatible in the same vicinity. The occasional cop and rare pedestrian raise some ire at this, to the cops I usually suggest they do their job, slow the traffic and make it safe for me. On the road I don’t feel as much a second class citizen as an endangered species.

      Fortunately cars have now become the endangered species….peak oil and all that: might use a few cars and vans to grow tomatoes in as there owners abandon them.

  11. BD 11

    The main problem is that we have a government who has commited to spending billions of dollars on building shinny brand new motorways around NZ, and leaving virtually no money left for safety upgrades to foot paths and level crossings for pedestrians around Auckland were more than 2/3 of the population live. Even when some pedestrians crossings do get upgraded they are done in a half-baked way and don’t take into account for disabled people.

    Even the bus network around Auckland is a shambles. The trains are improving but more needs to be done about the level crossings and making station access easier and safer for both pedestrians and disabilitiy people.

  12. dewithiel 12

    In the three years 2012-2015, the current administration will spend an obscene 97% of new transport infrastructure funding on roads and a mere 3% on public transport. See: http://transportblog.co.nz/2013/02/26/why-arent-we-getting-what-we-want/

  13. pmofnz 13

    Always remember, if a certain Mr Cullen had not wasted all that taxpayer wedge on a toy train set, there would not be any level crossing problems today.

    • McFlock 13.1

      Because there would be almost no level crossings.
      Because of 15 years of profit-taking and low maintenance would have led to winding up.
      Because it was sold in the first place.

  14. tracey 14

    Agree with bd. Why would kiwirail, whose boss is the govt, upgrade for the disabled when they are proposing loosening disabled access to buildings in the chchch rebuild?

  15. tracey 15

    Pmofnz is that because no passenger trains wld be running?

  16. xtasy 16

    Thanks for your post and raising this, which for once even mainstream media raised justifiably.

    I know that crossing well and have crossed it many times there in Morningside.

    While I am not wheelchair bound, I can fully understand what any person in a wheelchair, same as a prem pushing parent or even a cyclist would encounter and face.

    That is just one more case, where I do, and I know it does offend some, consider NZ in some ways to be backward and needing to improve a lot.

    Rail crossings here are an invitation for disasters, and this one is just one of many, in Auckland and other places across NZ.

    It maybe suited to drive cattle across it, with low risk, but to allow for civilised, vulnerable and modest transport option using pedestrians, many of such crossings are a hazard.

    I never saw anything like it in Europe, where much more emphasis is on safety and security. Such wide gaps beside rails, such poor controls and such appalling standards in general are disgusting. It is overdue that something is done, and Kiwirail, same as Auckland Council have responsibilities here.

    What the hell would it cost to pour a bit of bitumen or concrete in there to narrow the gaps? It cannot cost a fortune, for sure. It should also not impact on traffic. There should be better signals too, and it is overdue that things get done and improved.

    Sadly, I feel, this is showing how poorly NZ is on supporting and protecting disabled persons in general, that is of physical and mental disabilities. We have before Parliament a Social Security (Benefit Categories and Work Focus) Amendment Bill that will hammer many beneficiaries by placing “work obligations” or “expectations” on them.

    Where is the bloody support and decent respect that sick and disabled deserve here, I ask. NZ signed the UN convention on the rights for disabled, but this government is SHITTING on that obligation. It stinks and makes me extremely angry, to just see and hear what is going on in NZ daily. Sadly the public are largely not aware of what goes on, because a useless media is not paying attention.

    I am ANGRY!

  17. Afewknowthetruth 17

    Cyclists, pedestrians, scooter riders etc. use little or no fuels = bad for the profits of the oil companies that run NZ for the benefit of oil companies.

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    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz I was in Switzerland recently and discovered that they haven’t ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    4 days ago
  • Reviewing the whitewash
    Back in 2015, then Ombudsman Beverley Wakem conducted a review of the OIA, Not a game of hide and seek. The "review" was a whitewash, which found no need for legislative change, and instead criticised the media and requesters - which destroyed Wakem's reputation, and undermined that of the Office ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • You Gov MRP Poll Out
    So, You Gov's MRP poll - the weird one that tries to reflect what will happen at a constituency level and which pretty much nailed the hung parliament in 2017 - is not looking too good for Labour:
    UK #GE2019 MRP seat projection:CON: 339 (-20)LAB: 231 (+20)SNP: 41 (-2)LDEM: 15 ...
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: Accountability?
    We've known about climate change for over forty years now,and it has been a major political issue for twenty. And yet fossil fuel companies have kept polluting with impunity, while government have looked the other way and twiddled their thumbs and refused to do anything because "the economy", or just ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Delusional And Irrational: The Rise Of Paranoid Politics In New Zealand.
    Sheer Loopiness: Many of those expressing bemusement at the antics of these #turnardern effacers, were convinced that they were yet another expression of the National Party’s increasingly spiteful anti-government propaganda campaign. They marvelled at the oddness of the perpetrators’ mindset and questioned the common-sense of allowing the rest of New Zealand ...
    4 days ago
  • Things to know about Whakaari/White Island
    Brad Scott, GNS Science VolcanologistThis post was originally published by GeoNet. Following the 9 December devastating eruption at Whakaari/White Island we have put together some information about the island. New Zealand’s most active volcano Whakaari/White Island is currently New Zealand’s most active volcano, it has been since an eruptive episode ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Status quo supports status quo
    The Justice Committee has reported back on its Inquiry into the 2017 General Election and 2016 Local Elections, with a host of recommendations about how to improve our electoral systems. Some of their recommendations are already incorporate din the Electoral Amendment Bill currently before Parliament, but there's also a recommendation ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The Greens abandon NeoLiberalism
    Back in 2017, in order to make themselves "electable" in the eyes of rich people who oppose everything they stand for, the Greens signed up for NeoLiberalism, adopting a restrictive set of "Budget Responsibility Rules" which basicly prevented them from using government to make things better. Now, they're finally abandoning ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Lying about a failed war
    Since invading in 2001, the US has consistently claimed that their war in Afghanistan has been going well, even when it continued year after year after year. Of course, they were lying, and thanks to the Washington Post and the US Freedom of Information Act, we get to see just ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Artificial Intelligence and You
    How should we think about artificial intelligence and the implications that it has for our work and leisure? There are many articles on artificial intelligence and its potential impacts on jobs, and the ethics of applications. These are important topics, but I want to focus on some less discussed aspects, ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    5 days ago
  • Statistical manipulation to get publishable results
    I love data. It’s amazing the sort of “discoveries” I can make given a data set and computer statistical package. It’s just so easy to search for relationships and test their statistical significance. Maybe relationships which ...
    5 days ago
  • More lies on the Twitter (Dan Hodges edition)
    The other big story concerning Leeds Hospital is Boris Johnson's bizzare behaviour at Leeds Hospital, where he was confronted by a journalist and challenged about a four year old boy with suspected pneumonia who was left sleeping on the floor, rather than getting  abed like a sick kid would in ...
    5 days ago
  • LabourActivistPunchedMattHancock’sSPADGate
    So, for a brief period of history, it was alleged that a protester had punched Matt Hancock's SPAD (not a euphemism; special adviser) when Hancock visited Leeds Hospital.This was reported by the likes of Robert Peston and Laura Keunssberg, as well as the less credible Guido Fawkes.  It also quickly ...
    5 days ago
  • France’s anti-Zionism is anti-liberté
    by Daphna Whitmore Last week France passed a law that equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. It is based on a definition of anti-Semitism that includes criticism of Israel such as: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Another bus lockout
    Over the past year we've seen major bus problems in Hamilton and Wellington, as drivers have sought better wages and an end to the bullshit of split shifts, which basicly see them "married to the job". And now its Auckland's turn. When NZBus's drivers planned low-level strike action of not ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Showing us how its done
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. But those targets are insufficient. Meanwhile, Denmark is showing us how its done:Denmark’s parliament adopted a new climate law on Friday, committing to reach 70% below its 1990 emissions in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Public sector dysfunction should not be allowed to undermine freedom of information
    Another day, another piece of legislation with a secrecy clause. This time its the innocuous-seeming Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill, which (after establishing a new body and making it subject to the OIA in three different ways) includes the rapidly-becoming-standard clauses enabling it to request information from other public ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • “This is England, this knife of Sheffield steel…”
    The state of the United Kingdom is fractured, torn up, shredded. The Empire is gone, it died a long time ago. And yet, the country is still tracking with a lead in favour of the ones who play to the ingrained, class-bound division for political gain. It is a disgrace ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • CORSIA, coming soon to an airport near you
    On 27 September, Greta Thunberg addressed a crowd of 500,000 at the School Strike for Climate in Montreal, saying: “You are a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And Sweden is also a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And in both cases, it means absolutely nothing. Because ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • Cloaking hate speech and fake news in the right to free expression.
    It should be obvious by now but let’s be clear: The same folk who regularly traffic in disinformation, misinformation and “fake news” are also those who most strongly claim that their freedom of expression rights are being violated when moves are made to curb hate speech (as opposed to protected ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • The Physics (and Economics, and Politics) of Wheelchairs on Planes
    Michael Schulson When Shane Burcaw flies on an airplane, he brings along a customized gel cushion, a car seat, and about 10 pieces of memory foam. The whole arsenal costs around $1,000, but for Burcaw it’s a necessity. The 27-year-old author and speaker — who, alongside his fiancée, Hannah ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • To Advance Civil Rights, Oppose Transgender Extremism
    We are very pleased to publish this submission is from Lucinda Stoan. She is a social justice activist, mother, and educator, based in Washington State in the  US.   This detailed and comprehensive source-linked overview of trans issues and what is at stake will be useful for many people, especially in ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Faafoi should be fired
    Newshub last night reported that Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi had apparently promised to help out a mate with an immigration issue. While its normal for people to approach MPs for assistance in this area, when you're a Minister, the rules are different: as the Cabinet Manual says, Ministers must "at ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Adrian Orr – The Reserve Bank’s Revolutionary Governor?
    New Zealand's Underarm Banker: It bears recalling that the “independence” of the Reserve Bank Governor was for decades held up by neoliberal capitalists as the most compelling justification for passing the Reserve Bank Act. Interesting, is it not, how the ruling class’s support for the Bank’s independence lasted no longer than ...
    1 week ago
  • Driving Us Up The Poll.
    Rubbish In, Rubbish Out: Put all this together, and it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that anyone who responds positively to a pollster’s request to “answer a few questions” is just ever-so-slightly weird. Desperately lonely? Some sort of psephological train-spotter? Political party member primed to skew the poll for or against ...
    1 week ago
  • Jordan Williams, Colin Craig podcast series announced
    “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.” ― Martin Luther King Jr. A long and bitter court feud between former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig and Jordan Williams has been settled, with an apology and compensation from Williams. On Tuesday, Craig sent out ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    1 week ago
  • How plant-based meat is stretching New Zealand’s cultural and legal boundaries
    Samuel Becher, Victoria University of Wellington and Jessica C Lai, Victoria University of Wellington Earlier this year, the New Zealand-based pizza chain Hell Pizza offered a limited-edition “Burger Pizza”. Its customers weren’t told that the “meat” was plant-based. Some customers complained to the Commerce Commission, which enforces consumer law in ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Scientific integrity requires critical investigation – not blind acceptance
    Some people seem to want to close down any critical discussion of the current research into the relationship between water fluoride and child IQ. They appear to argue that claims made by researchers should not be open to critical review and that the claims be accepted without proper consideration ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The shameful reality
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. Meanwhile, Climate Action Tracker has the shameful reality: those targets are insufficient:While New Zealand is showing leadership by having passed the world’s second-ever Zero Carbon Act in November 2019, under ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • More secrecy
    The government introduced a Racing Industry Bill today. As an urban who horse racing as pointless-to-cruel, and gambling as a tax on stupidity and/or hope, this isn't normally a bill which would interest me in the slightest, beyond grumpiness at more government money for a dying industry. But there is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Unlikely online bully, Liam Hehir
    Check. Check. One, two, three, four. Is this thing ON? Hello readers, I logged in last night (yeah, it’s been a while) to mark THE END of the landmark legal case, Jordan Williams v Colin Craig, which (gulp) reached The Supreme Court, in which New Zealand’s most-defamed man was suing the politician he ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    1 week ago
  • The Birth Of Israel: Wrong At The Right Time.
    Before The Birth: Israel’s most fervent supporters set their clocks ticking in Biblical times. They cite the kingdoms of David and Solomon as proof that, in the words of the Exodus movie’s theme-song: “This land is mine.” The majority of Israel’s backers, however, start their clocks in 1933 – the year Adolf ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2019: Korero phase
    In an unreliable, strange and confusing world, Public Address is proud to present a measure of comfort and stability by annually asking everyone what words or phrases sum up the year that's been – and then giving some of them consumer goods as prizes for being clever or simply lucky.Well, ...
    1 week ago
  • Generalist to specialist
    Both my parents are pretty handy – and they seem to have the right tools for most jobs in the garage and they know how to fix practically anything. A similar story could be told about their generation’s experience in the workforce – being a generalist was not unusual and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • A “coincidence”
    When it was revealed that NZ First had tried to enrich itself from public office via the Provoncial Growth Fund, the Prime Minister assured us that everything was OK as Shane Jones, the Minister responsible for the fund, had recused himself. Except it seems that that recusal came very late ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, and probably the last one of the year. After the marathon of the End of Life Choice Act, most of the bills up for debate today are uncontentious. First up is the second reading of Chlöe Swarbrick's Election Access Fund Bill. This will be followed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Worse than I thought
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has reported back on the government's odious and tyrannical control orders bill. As expected, the fraudulent select committee process has made no significant changes (partly because they couldn't agree, but mostly because it was a stitch-up from the start, with no intention of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The cannabis bill and the referendum
    Yesterday, the government released its draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which will be put to a non-binding referendum at the next election. I'm not a drug policy expert, but Russell Brown is, and he thinks its pretty good. And pretty obviously, it will be a massive improvement on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far
    As you're probably aware, the draft bill outlining the proposed legal cannabis regime to be put to a referendum late next year was published yesterday, and has already attracted a flurry of comment. It's notable that a good deal of the comment is about proposals that aren't actually new.A minimum ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Alignment
    One of the big problems in New Zealand climate change policy is the government working at cross-purposes with itself. It wants to reduce fossil fuel use, but encourages oil and gas exploration. It wants to reduce transport emissions, but then builds enormous new roads. The problem could be avoided if ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How climate change will affect food production and security
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz According to the United Nations, food shortages are a threat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • More bad faith
    Last year, the government announced it was ending offshore oil exploration by no longer issuing new permits. The idea was that the industry would then die off as permits expired. Except almost immediately the government revealed its bad faith, by saying they would extend permits and alter conditions to keep ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Banning foreign money from our elections
    The government has said it will ban foreign donations to political parties and candidates, and will be introducing legislation to be passed under all-stages urgency this afternoon. While I agree with the goal, I don't see a particular case for urgency, unless the government is concerned about a flood of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Reforming the Education Acts
    The government introduced the Education and Training Bill to Parliament yesterday. Its a massive bill, which replaces both existing Education Acts, as well as various other bits of legislation (including some which are still proceeding through the House). I'll leave the serious analysis to teachers and people who actually know ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Bite-sized learning
    Amelia SharmanThere’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to micro-credentials, those bits of bite-sized learning that can help workers stay on top of technological change.  What’s a micro-credential? While definitions vary, micro-credentials can be understood as short courses that allow people to learn new skills or have an existing competency recognised. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • “Not The Labour Party We Once Knew.”
    All Smiles Now: Claire Szabo is taking up her presidential role after serving as the CEO of Habitat For Humanity. Which is absolutely perfect! After KiwiBuild was so comprehensively mismanaged by Phil Twyford, the party has not only elected a new president from a thoroughly respectable not-for-profit, but one who ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Marxist versus liberal methodology on transgender ideology/identity politics
    While much of the NZ left has transitioned to postmodern and identity politics in relation to transgender ideology, there are some very good articles about that deploy Marxist methodology in relation to this subject.  The one below is from the British marxist group Counterfire and appeared on their site here ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Book review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos
    by Daphna Whitmore At Golden Oaks, a luxurious country retreat in the Hudson Valley, pregnant women have the best care money can buy. From the organic food, personalised exercise programmes, private yoga instruction and daily massages Golden Oaks looks like a country lodge for the upper class. Set some time ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
    When Labour was running for election in 2017, it felt it needed to demonstrate "fiscal responsibility" and signed itself up to masochistic "budget responsibility rules". It was a fool's errand: the sorts of voters who demand fiscal responsibility are also the sorts of voters who believe that labour can never ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: How to get there
    Writing in Stuff, Joel MacManus looks at what we need to do to meet the Zero Carbon Act's targets. The core of it:1. Convert 85 per cent of vehicles on the road to electric. 2. Eliminate fossil fuels from all industrial heating up to 300 degrees Celsius. 3. Double our ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • anti-vaxxers in a measles epidemic: so many ways to be untruthful
    “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa over the past twenty-four hours. “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Is Youth Vaping a Problem in New Zealand?
    Professors Janet Hoek and Richard Edwards, Emeritus Professor Phil Gendall, Jude Ball, Dr Judith McCool, Anaru Waa, Dr Becky Freeman Recent media reports have presented conflicting evidence on youth vaping in NZ. While some NZ school principals report concerns about increasing vaping on school grounds and confiscating vapes, ASH Year ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago

  • Record export highs picked for primary sector
    Sustained high growth in primary industry exports looks set to continue over the next two years with strong prices predicted for farmers, fishers, growers and rural communities. Minister of Agriculture and Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor today released the latest Situation and Outlook report for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • New partnership to boost screen sector job opportunities
    Auckland’s growing screen sector is the catalyst for a new partnership between the Ministry of Social Development and Auckland’s economic development agency Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED). The launch today at FilmFX in Henderson, is to celebrate the partnership which looks to capitalise on the social and economic development opportunities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • A minute’s silence for Whakaari White Island victims
    A minute’s silence will be observed at 2.11pm on Monday 16 December in honour of the victims of the Whakaari White Island eruption, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed. “Wherever you are in New Zealand, or around the world, this is a moment we can stand alongside those who have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • NZ to help fund fight against measles in the Pacific region
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced New Zealand will contribute NZ$1 million of funding towards the joint United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) and World Health Organisation (WHO) Pacific Regional Action Plan for Measles.   “Prevention through vaccination is the most effective way of avoiding illness and a costly health emergency. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand remembers Sir Peter Snell
    New Zealand is today remembering one of our true sporting heroes, triple Olympic gold medal winner Sir Peter Snell. “He was a legend, here and around the world,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “Our thoughts are with Sir Peter’s wife Miki and their family.” “Sir Peter is recognised as New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • PM congratulates Boris Johnson on election victory
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his election victory.  “New Zealand and the United Kingdom are close friends and despite our distance we are strongly connected by our history and people,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “I look forward to continuing to work with Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Building a platform for the future of rail
    The Government has released its long term vision for a sustainable 21st Century rail network that gets our cities moving, connects our regions and gets more freight off the roads.   Deputy Prime Minister and State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters said the Government is committed to rebuilding New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister statement Whakaari White Island recovery operation
    I want to start by acknowledging the families who have experienced such grief and such loss since the extraordinary tragedy on Monday. Today was all about reuniting them with their loved ones. We've just come from the airport where many of them were gathered and in amongst what you can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand medical specialists to provide further support to Samoa
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced further support for Samoa’s longer term needs as it continues to respond to a devastating measles epidemic. “Samoa’s health system has experienced massive strain in the wake of the measles epidemic. The volume of patients needing care during this outbreak, and the number of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Discounted electric-bikes offered to public sector workers
    Discounted electric bikes will be offered up to public sector staff across the country as part of the Government’s work to reduce transport emissions and support healthier transport options.  Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter officially launched the new initiative at Wellington Hospital today.  “The Government has negotiated bulk-purchase ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Australia and New Zealand confirm joint bid for FIFA Women’s World Cup
    The Australian and New Zealand Governments today launch an historic joint bid to bring the FIFA Women’s World Cup to the Southern Hemisphere for the first time. Australian Minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck and New Zealand Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson will announce the bold campaign, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Blackwater gold mine gets PGF boost
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has approved a $15 million loan to help re-establish a gold mining operation at Blackwater Gold Mine, near Reefton, Rural Communities Minister and local MP Damien O’Connor announced at an event on the West Coast today. “This is great news for the Coast that could ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being
    Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being A housing project by Kohupātiki whānau in Hastings is an outstanding example of a Māori-led housing initiative that can reduce financial pressure and reconnect whānau to their whakapapa says the Minister for Māori Development Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Minister Mahuta officially opened the Aroha Te Rangi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government provides more funding for major community wetland restoration project
    Restoration efforts for a significant wetland in the Hawke’s Bay are getting more support announced Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage. “Wetlands are vital to healthy landscapes and ecosystems. They function as nature’s ‘kidneys’, filtering and protecting water quality, acting as nature’s sponges after rain and are home to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Housing First to help Nelson Tasman homeless
    Nelson has today seen the launch of Housing First Nelson Tasman. Today’s launch marks the expansion of the Government’s homelessness programme, Housing First, to the top of the South Island. “Housing First is a proven programme that puts people who are experiencing homelessness and multiple, high and complex needs into ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New funding to support Environment Centres working for sustainable local solutions
    New Government funding announced today will help communities make a difference in tackling environmental issues Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage announced in Hawkes Bay today. The Ministry for the Environment’s Community Environment Fund is dedicating $243,101 to growing the capacity and capability of the Environment Hubs Aotearoa’s (EHA) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government takes bite out of loan sharks
    The days of vulnerable consumers falling victim to loan sharks, truck shops and other predatory lenders are numbered, following the Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Bill passing its third reading tonight. “Too many Kiwis are being given loans that are unaffordable and unsuitable, trapping them in debt and leaving their families ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand safer as Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders Bill) becomes law
    A Bill that prevents terrorism and supports the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas has passed its third reading, Justice Minister Andrew Little says. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill is a carefully targeted response to manage the risk posed by a small number of New Zealanders who have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Foreign Minister and Pacific Peoples Minister to visit Samoa
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will travel to Samoa on Friday, where New Zealand medical teams are helping Samoa respond to an outbreak of measles. “New Zealand has been working closely with the Government of Samoa and offering our assistance from the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Pastoral Care Code will support tertiary students in 2020
    The Government has changed the law to improve student safety and welfare in university halls of residence and other student accommodation. The Education (Pastoral Care) Amendment Bill passed its third reading this afternoon and details of an interim Code of Practice setting out the Government’s expectations of tertiary providers have also been released. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New infrastructure funding tool to build housing developments faster
    A new tool to help councils fund and finance infrastructure could mean some housing developments happen a decade earlier than currently planned, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said today. “This new tool, developed by the Government in partnership with industry and high-growth councils, will allow councils to access private debt ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Vision to unite the primary sector launched today
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has welcomed the release of a bold new vision for the country’s vital food and fibre sector. “I’m delighted that New Zealand’s major farmer and grower organisations are today supporting the Primary Sector Council’s vision – Fit for a Better World,” he said. “The international consumers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ congratulates PNG and Autonomous Bougainville Government on referendum
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has congratulated the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government for completing a well-conducted referendum on the future political status of Bougainville. “New Zealand supported the referendum process by providing technical advice through the New Zealand Electoral Commission and leading a Regional Police ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Next steps for Upper North Island logistics
    In light of Cabinet’s position that freight operations on prime land in downtown Auckland are no longer viable, the Government will now embark on a short work programme to enable decision-making in the first half of next year, Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones says. Minister Jones is today releasing the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Surgical mesh restorative justice report received
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter has received the report back from a surgical mesh restorative justice process undertaken by Victoria University. The process heard stories, either in person or online submission, from more than 600 people affected by surgical mesh. “The report made for heart-breaking and confronting reading,” says ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai a milestone for drinking water safety
    The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai , introduced to Parliament today, is a milestone for drinking water safety in New Zealand and will help improve environmental outcomes for urban waterways, rivers and lakes.  “This is a breakthrough for New Zealanders in terms of providing safe drinking water throughout ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to new direction for criminal justice reform announcement
    Kia ora koutouE ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā matā wakaTēnā koutou katoaHaere ngā, moe maiKoutou ma ngā Rangatira Ko Anaru ahauKo au te Minita mo ngā TureHe Honore tino nui kei roto I ahau No reira tena koutou katoa Today, we are releasing two reports that are the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New direction for criminal justice reform
    The Government is looking to turn around the long-term challenges of criminal justice by taking a new approach to break the cycle of offending to ensure there are fewer victims of crime. Justice Minister Andrew Little released two reports today, Turuki! Turuki! from Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New law sets up $300m Venture Capital Fund
    New Zealand firms expanding beyond the start-up phase are set for more support after today’s passage of the Venture Capital Fund Bill, Associate Finance Minister David Parker said. The Bill, which establishes a $300 million Venture Capital Fund, puts in place a key initiative of the Wellbeing Budget’s economic package. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • New Zealand’s National Statement to COP25
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