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Market forces

Written By: - Date published: 11:17 am, September 3rd, 2015 - 70 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, class war, im/migration, john key, Syria - Tags: , , ,

Rosemary McLeod has an excellent piece in stuff this morning. Partly it laments the travesty of the flag process, but it transitions into a general take on market forces:

We are sold market forces, and their friend branding, as rational things and therefore good. And with them comes that awesome thing, the printed business mission statement. You see it everywhere, stuck to the office wall while staff beneath it yawn and pick their noses.

Well, market forces made little kids chimney sweeps in the 19th century, because they’d work 15-hour days for next to nothing, and if they dropped dead it didn’t matter. Market forces had women crawling through mines half-naked to drag out the coal, and yet more tots employed to open and shut trap doors for the loaded coal carts.

Women were cheap labour. Even hookers earned peanuts, because there were so many desperate competitors. Starvation is a great motivator, as well as a great market force I dare say.

I’m on a roll now. Market forces had yet more small children crawling under giant looms in factories, untangling threads and gathering the falling lint while the machines whirred above them and they breathed in the dust that would eventually kill them. Kids were disposable. When they died there were lots of new ones.

Market forces had industrial cities swathed in toxic fog, and poisoned waterways with aniline dyes. They sent the poor from villages and countryside into cities to sell their labour, and die just as poor as they ever were. And this was all a fine thing, because it made a few people incredibly rich. That was a good idea, I can’t remember why. And then trade unions were invented. Briefly.

A pretty fair summary. In a searing piece at Dimpost today, Danyl Mclauchlan takes the refugee disaster and market forces straight to Key:

Key’s mother was a refugee from the Nazis though, and you’d think that if any politician could see the virtue of giving these families a new chance on the other side of the world and to sell that to the public it’d be him. But Key didn’t get to where he is today by empathising with and helping helpless people, even though he’s ultimately only here because someone else did that for his family. His instincts are to help those who can help him and then extract maximal benefits from the exchange. And this mentality works for him personally, obviously, but it points to the nihilism in the dark heart of the transactional politics Key is such a master of: impoverished refugees have nothing to offer him, so they get nothing.

Is this our New Zealand?



70 comments on “Market forces”

  1. Ad 1

    One of Key’s rare fully tone-deaf moments, and it will cost him.

    Sometimes, even a grand planetary alignment between the Flag and the All Blacks can be undercut by events.

    Fully agree with you Anthony.

  2. Paul 2

    On the first referendum, I think people should draw a box below’ tick it and write
    ‘I believe that $26 million would be better spent on helping refugees.’

      • Ad 2.1.1

        Every uniform and document and website that is changed as a result will now be effectively colonized by this Key branding initiative. It’s a true viral marketing miracle for the government.

    • ankerawshark 2.2

      Or in the first ballot vote for the Koru flag to split the vote and stuff it up for Key who wants the fern.

      It is a very good point about Key’s background and not helping more refugees. Shows how truly heartless and without empathy he is.

    • It’s not like the government couldn’t just admit it’s not getting back into surplus soon and just do both, IMO.

  3. Ad 3

    When you add a few things together, John Key is truly altering the character of New Zealand:

    – Changing the flag. Once in a generation debate and effect.
    – Be colder to poor foreigners, but help rich foreigners with land, capital investment, and legislative alterations.
    – Accept that we are a bulk commodity economy and there is no changing it, no matter what the risk.
    – Actively attack unions and seek to get rid of them.
    – Love Rugby above all else.
    – The public sector can achieve so little that it should be privatized.
    – We are international leaders in the UN on nothing.
    – There is no need for public ownership of anything, and there’s need for only the slightest monopoly regulation

    Much as I admire his tactical skill, he has diminished New Zealand by making us smaller.

    • maui 3.1

      I thought the graphic yesterday showing that we’re one of the worst contributors in helping refugees in the western world, together with being one of the worst contributors to climate change in the western world is appalling.

    • Tracey 3.2

      agree. we got onto security council. thats the biggest joke right now

  4. maui 4

    Wow, what a column by Rosemary. Gets to the heart of the issue alright.

  5. Bill 5

    Would be nice to see the thoughts of Rosemary McLeod embedded in the political analysis of news pieces instead of being momentary flashes passing through the relative ghetto of ‘opinion columns’.

    Still nice to see such thoughts reproduced in mainstream print media though.

  6. Ralf Crown 6

    Refugee crisis: Prime Minister John Key stands firm, media write sob stories

    Maybe you should also write about the other side of the mass immigration in EU. It is estimated that only 10% of the migrants are genuine refugees. They arrive after having paid 10, 000 to 50,000 dollars in fees to human traffickers, they arrive in Adidas designer clothes with new iPhones. And write about the resulting gun battles in the street, the hate racist campaigns against Jews, the beatings and robbing of pensioners, the regular stone throwing mobs, the daily burning of cars, how they throw hand grenades at the police, how women out jogging are gang raped by African mobs, give kiwis the full story, not only the sob story. You can find it all in web media.

    Ralf Crown
    Freelance correspondent
    The Correspondents in China

    • Bill 6.1

      It is estimated that only 10% of the migrants are genuine refugees

      Not possible. See, refugees and migrants are two entirely different sets of people. I’ll give you an example. I’m a migrant. I wasn’t fleeing for my life and hadn’t been bombed out of my home or any such.

      As for the rest of your rant – pfft.

    • Gabby 6.2

      Do you call yourself a journalist? Is that a sample of your style?

    • greywarshark 6.3

      Ralf
      It’s unfortunate that there is a half crown who writes here and for a sec I thought you were he and was surprised. I’m not sure what your point is.

      Males who have paid large amounts of money to get over the water, and into Europe, and there are a lot of them, with nothing but Adidas shoes etc? and nothing to lose, I think leads to trouble. They are coming from lands where they haven’t been leading peaceful orderly lives for years – well there will be outbreaks of bad behaviour.

      Thank you for bringing it to our attention, as it is the numbers and officials dealing with them and the dead bods that have to be processed and buried that we hear most about.

    • half crown 6.4

      He’s not me and to prove it this is my take on his opinion.

      ” And write about the resulting gun battles in the street, the hate racist campaigns against Jews,”

      Yeah agree, give kiwis the full story LIke the way the Jews have stolen the Palestinians land and how they bombed a so called UN “safe house” school in that biggest concentration camp called Gaza with banned White Phosphor bombs.
      Remind me again When was the grenade thrown, and where was it thrown? Wasn’t in Kiev in the Ukraine was it ? suspected by an ultra right winger was it ?

  7. esoteric pineapples 7

    I see Rosemary McLeod as one of those once talented young liberal journalist/opiners who in later life has become dry and cynical for no good reason, with a generally conservative view of mainstream New Zealand society. Raging against the machine now feels like too little, too late. At the very least, she should have been complaining about this government seven years ago. I’m not sure she won’t fall back into a comfortable slumber, writing columns full of generalisations about sections of society she doesn’t have anything to do with, and towns she hasn’t lived in for 50 years. Hopefully, I will be pleasantly surprised by a permanent about-face.

  8. Byrnz 8

    Hell! Was Rosemary on holiday? Did her account get hijacked??

  9. Heather Grimwood 9

    Truly wonderful pick-me-up to read Rosemary’e writing and thanks Anthony for bringing it to my attention. I’ve been so desolated today by reading of Maurice Williamson’s atrocious actions ( so revealing his underlying unfitness for belonging to Government) that I needed this ‘cheer’ !

  10. rhinocrates 10

    But wait, what does Hosking have to say on refugees?!

  11. Heyegg 11

    Helping refugees and social housing are goods in themselves, you don’t need to be a recipient to work that out.

  12. Chooky 12

    +100 Good Post….and when Rosemary McLeod’s writing is good she can be very, very perceptive and thought provoking.

  13. Lloyd 13

    John is right. We must keep the Ruth Keys out of the country. If we let these refugees into the country and give them housing they will breed and take over the country and sell it off………

  14. sabine 14

    priorities

  15. The lost sheep 15

    Rosemary attacks Market forces on the basis of conditions 100 years ago?
    So how does she explain the astonishing improvements in living standards, wealth, health, and general societal conditions in the meantime?
    It’s all been under Market forces hasn’t it?

    • vto 15.1

      ha ha ha ha, really? When in doubt fulla, don’t shout it out….

      Perhaps you could outline what has been the result of solely market forces ….. you might come up with plastic buckets but that would be about it.

      • The lost sheep 15.1.1

        Perhaps you could outline what has been the result of solely market forces

        Solely? You mean like Rosemary is stating above?
        That’s an extremely simplistic stance. It’s like saying that Communism was ‘solely’ responsible for the Russian Purges.

        I would think a more sophisticated view would be that market forces have been a central component of our economic system since the times Rosemary is talking about…and therefore have been a major component in ALL the changes that have occurred since.

        • vto 15.1.1.1

          so already dancing on the head of a pin ….

          but carry on … lets hear some example lost sheep

          • The lost sheep 15.1.1.1.1

            Well let’s take a single person like the inventor/entrepreneur Thomas Edison.
            Developed the electric Light, The phonograph, the motion picture camera, and rolled them all out using a purely commercial mass-production model in order to meet consumer demand for those products.
            Commercial developments that went on to spawn huge industries world wide that grew on and existed on a purely commercial basis to meet an insatiable demand for those products.
            How much wealth did those industries create that did not exist before VTO? And not just for those who got rich off them. How many JOBS for working class people have those market driven developments provided?
            And how much benefit do ALL of our lives gain from widely available inexpensive electricity, recorded sound, moving pictures?
            Just one man/one example…

            • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1.1.1.1.1

              If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill.

              Thomas Edison comes out for printing money.

              This is not the champion of market forces you are looking for.

              • The lost sheep

                I must of made a good point. You are trying to obfuscate the discussion.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  You failed to establish that the price of goods fostered Edison’s genius. I suspect it may have been his education. Do go on.

                  • The lost sheep

                    No doubt his education was crucial.
                    And that very same education was responsible for the fact that he was a business entrepreneur from a very early age and developed all his inventions on a classic capitalist model through the commercial market?

                    What evidence is there that he would have committed the time and resources to develop those inventions if there had been no prospect of making money out them by meeting consumer demand for them?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      What evidence is there that he would have had customers at all were it not for the rule of law?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1.1.2

          market forces have been a central component of our economic system

          So you’re saying that the price of, demand for, and availability of commodities are important factors in economics. And that’s your political banality philosophy.

          🙄

          • The lost sheep 15.1.1.2.1

            I’m going a bit further than that OAB. I’m saying that allowing those forces to play out to a large degree is a good thing.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1.1.2.1.1

              Yes, you and Max Bradford can pay lip service to that, but why not buy a table at Cabinet Club anyway, just to be on the safe side.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 15.2

      Are you really so ignorant?

      • The lost sheep 15.2.1

        Have you got a point to make?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 15.2.1.1

          explain the astonishing improvements in living standards, wealth, health, and general societal conditions

          Um, let’s see, how about democratic government interventions in the marketplace? Education, universal suffrage, the welfare state.

          You keep on making this tired old assertion over and over again, and each time you get schooled in history and fail to learn a damn thing.

          • The lost sheep 15.2.1.1.1

            As i point out above OAB, it would be simplistic to claim (as Rosemary does) that one factor explained the human situation.
            So I agree that all the other factors you mention, and many more, are essential components, as are market forces.

    • half crown 15.3

      The lost sheep wrote @ 7.52am #15

      “So how does she explain the astonishing improvements in living standards, wealth, health, and general societal conditions in the meantime?
      It’s all been under Market forces hasn’t it?”

      No it hasn’t

      A lot of the conditions my friend was brought in after the second world war. When the western world politicians, and I include New Zealand politicians, good people like Sir Keith Holyoak, conservatives as well as socialist’s had a social conscience and created the likes of the Marshall plan which went one hell of a long way to get Europe on it’s feet, and in the UK bankrupted through the second world war, in 45 introduced very good housing policies that re housed a lot from bombed out districts as well as slum clearance, the National Health Service that overnight fixed nearly all the nations dental health problems something the working class’s suffered along with other health issues from inadequate dental & health care. Eliminated Rickets (a disease returning to the north of England along with child poverty and homelessness) The return of these 1800 scourges has been caused by the likes of Thatcher, Camoron, and our own Fucking Spiv, because they worship at the alter of this neo classic dogma that believes “the” (fucking greed and sod you jack) market can do it better. Biggest bit of bullshit going for dismantling these systems and selling off to their Spiv mates. It was not a perfect system nothing is and there were some mighty problems, and some mighty big disasters like the Labour governments “Ground Nut Scheme”. But it was certainly lot better than what we have now and McLeod is pointing out the fact that was the conditions under the “market Forces” Something we are returning to with the conditions I have already outlined.

      • The lost sheep 15.3.1

        Correct me if I am wrong, but during the era’s you refer to as examples of ‘strong social conscience’, market forces were still retained as a fundamental part of our economic system?
        So ‘market forces’ alone do not make it inevitable that children work as chimney sweeps or that you cannot build social housing?
        Human society is a bit more complex than that?

        Rosemary’s implication is one you see quite frequently here and one worth pointing out for the nonsense it is.
        If you removed Market Forces completely then suddenly self interest would disappear as a key human motivation and all societies would become nirvana’s of equality and communal altruism….

        Well it’s been tried innit? And it turn’s out there are a couple of small flaws in that theory.
        First is human nature. Love it or loath it, there it is. Bugger of a thing to change as it turns out.
        Second is the limitations of human ability to control complex situations. And the human economy is very complex indeed.

        So you can let those very complex interactions play themselves out freely, or you can attempt to control them completely, or you can find a balance between those poles.

        Which is what we do. Because although letting Market forces run completely uncontrolled is a very bad thing, experience has taught us that there is one thing that is even worse.
        And that is letting a human bureaucracy try to completely control them.
        Just doesn’t work at all.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 15.3.1.1

          Of course, on Earth, extolling the virtues of ‘market forces’ is a euphemism for “the private sector is always more efficient”. It’s a lie, cf: SERCO, Max Bradford, Stephen Joyce, etc. etc.

        • McFlock 15.3.1.2

          Ok, you’re wrong.

          Market forces alone, by themselves, make it inevitable that children will work as chimney sweeps. Or, indeed, burn to death in a factory that makes cheap pants for high-end clothing brands, if you want a more recent example.

          Market forces accompanied by human decency stop that from happening.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 15.3.1.2.1

            And the least efficient global manifestation of human decency apart from all the other ones that have been tried, is social democracy.

            • McFlock 15.3.1.2.1.1

              Although, back in the day, many pub hours were spent arguing the superiority of democratic socialism vs social democracy.

              I’d switch sides halfway through and see if anyone noticed 😉

          • The lost sheep 15.3.1.2.2

            Yeah, I believe I did say that leaving market forces completely uncontrolled would be a very bad thing, and that is why we control them as part of a complex system.
            So I think I got that bit right?

            But I did say that attempting to fully control them by a human bureaucracy was the worst option of all.
            Where do you stand on that point?

            • One Anonymous Bloke 15.3.1.2.2.1

              I’d like to see your evidence, and I’d like you to consider Stephen Pinker and Friedrich Schiller’s arguments in your response.

              • The lost sheep

                Evidence?
                The absolute lack of successful economies that have tried to complete eliminate market forces?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  The list of societies that have tried to eliminate the price of goods is null.

                  • The lost sheep

                    Yeah, so no one has ever silly enough to think that completely eliminating prices was a good idea, and that’s not the question I posed.
                    But the list of countries that have tried to tightly control the price of goods and other market forces such as supply is quite long, and well documented, so surely you can find plenty of success stories among them?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Yes, I can.

                      PHARMAC and ACC era New Zealand, for example. The relative success of the “New Deal”, for example. I already cited Schiller and Pinker, so let’s add Piketty.

                      And in the abject failure corner, Hayek Greenspan Sachs Trump Key and Rand.

                • McFlock

                  Juxtaposed against the absolute lack of economies that had both:
                  A) unrestricted (or barely restricted) markets; and

                  B) any regard for the safety, dignity and longevity of workers (of any age).

            • McFlock 15.3.1.2.2.2

              I’d say that slavery in Brazil was just as bad as any society where markets were attempted to be banned/”fully” controlled.

              But then Rosemary McLeod never advocated “fully” controlling market forces, so your dichotomy is false. As usual.

              • The lost sheep

                I had this same discussion yesterday McFlock.
                For all the evils Rosemary names, she categorically states that ‘Market forces made‘ them, and she does not mention any other factor at all as being involved.
                But you want me to accept that what she was actually saying was that market forces were a ‘contributing factor’ to those evils?
                She’s a bright lady with a great control of language…if that’s what she meant why didn’t she say so?

                In the meantime, I’ll continue to comment on what people actually say, not how you want to interpret it when the discussion starts to make their original statements look a bit silly.

                I agree about slavery in Brazil. But once again you are talking about a situation that has dramatically improved in a world that has market forces?
                And you didn’t say where you stood on attempting to control them completely?

                • McFlock

                  Brazil only (moderately) improved after the slave market was controlled then eliminated. Left to its own devices, markets turn people into disposable goods.

                  And no, it’s not an argument about “contributing factors” vs “sole causes”. This is an argument about whether A, by itself, necessarily leads to B. Not whether B was caused by A, C and D.

                  Unrestricted markets always lead to people being treated as disposable commodities, because markets provide an inherent advantage to sociopaths. In an unrestricted market, shit floats to the top more quickly than cream.

                  That is why workers die in factory fires. That is why corporations sell products that do not work, or even are dangerous (or, in the case of bomb detectors sold for checkpoint use in Iraq, both). That is why companies go into liquidation because it’s cheaper than cleaning up their own chemical waste. That is why lead paint is used in kids toys. All of those happen to this day because the cost-cutting for short term gain provides an advantage over companies that want to provide good, safe products and services in a safe and decent manner over the long term. And then the owners of the cost-cutters simply move on to the next short term profit.

                  And you didn’t say where you stood on attempting to control them completely?

                  Oh, it’s bad. But it’s also completely irrelevant to anything Rosemary said, or indeed anyone here except you has said.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  …which no-one has ever claimed is a goal, other than you. Mr. Strawman is on your dancecard, but he called in sick, and now you have no dancing partners.

          • half crown 15.3.1.2.3

            Thanks for that McFlock & OAB, I am a bit pissed off as I wanted to answer the lost sheep in depth. However you have said already said what I wanted to say in possibly better English and grammar than I could have said. Going off topic, I can now relax if you call it relaxing, and return to reading my book by Ayan Rand. What a heap of crap, the women was mental, she should have been locked up as a danger to society. I can only think how lucky we are that she was not an ambitious politician/dictator like Stalin, Hitler or Pinochet. If she was, Orwell’s 1984 would look like a paradise. These “libertarians” or right wing fuckwits who follow her preaching s should be sent to an island somewhere, where they can wank all day over her theorems whilst the rest of us try and get on and build a better society which will encompass everybody.

  16. les 16

    when will the Q.E money go round ,derivatives and ludicrous debt levels blow up?
    ‘ The Brown-Kaufman proposal to limit the size of banks was defeated, 60 to 31. Bank supervisors meeting in Switzerland did mandate minimum reserves that institutions will have to hold, with higher levels for the world’s largest banks, including the six biggest in the U.S. Those rules can be changed by individual countries.
    They take full effect in 2019.’

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    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    4 days ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    4 days ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    4 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    5 days ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    5 days ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    5 days ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    5 days ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    6 days ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
    The coronavirus pandemic has of course had a major impact on individual lives and on societies as a whole. But, long after the crisis has passed (assuming it does), we will begin to realise that its real and lasting significance lies in the lessons it has taught us, if only ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
    COVID-19 has plunged Aotearoa New Zealand (indeed, the world) into territory that, while maybe not totally unprecedented, certainly hasn’t been seen during the lifetimes of most of us here today. Our borders are closed to non-citizens, we’re being told not to gather in groups of more than 500 outside/100 inside, ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been urging you to prepare yourself, your family, business, and community for Covid-19. Now it’s time for real action.  Yesterday the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced another 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing our total to date to 52. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020 Editor's Pick Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts   Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed ...
    1 week ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
    by Cultural Worker Late March 2020 amidst the virus. With gigs crashing and burning all around it was without much hope that I called a long standing rest home booking: “ Hi, I’m supposed to be entertaining at your place this afternoon – is it still on?” “”If you don’t ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
    Whenever people demand real change from their politicians, we're told that "politics is the art of the possible". The implication is that change isn't possible, so we'd better just get used to the sucky status quo. But now that there's a pandemic, a lot of things we were previously told ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Only Way Through This Crisis Is Together.
    Together: In leading New Zealand through the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Prime Minister could do a lot worse than allow herself to be guided by the spirit of collective sacrifice and co-operation that animated the New Zealanders of 80 years ago. Most Kiwis alive today have had no opportunity to prove their ...
    1 week ago
  • GFC vs Covid-19
    It is said that generals fight the last war. In the case of the early stages of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) they had learned from the Great Depression of the 1930s and they fought intelligently and successfully. Later their advice would be ignored in favour of the Austerians who ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Nobody Left Behind.
    Solidarity Forever: All over the world, the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has exposed the fragility of the walls we erect around ourselves and our loved ones. It has shattered our illusions of autonomy and revealed to us how utterly dependent we all are on other human-beings. Finally, we see ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rebuilding a truly “Democratic” counter, or a “moderate Republican” bolt-hol...
    Looking across the various arguments for/against the leading candidates to take the Democratic Nomination, you might honestly be very hard pressed to tell. There are a number of things that have now started happening since Amy Klobuchar and “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg both threw the towel in and immediately (and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion law reform a win for women
    by Daphna Whitmore Abortion is no longer in the Crimes Act in New Zealand. The law reform passed yesterday and now abortion is a medical matter between a woman and her doctor. Many women’s groups and progressive people have campaigned for reform for decades. The women’s liberation movement and some ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • How to spot bogus science stories and read the news like a scientist
    Doug Specht, University of Westminster and Julio Gimenez, University of Westminster When fake news, misreporting and alternative facts are everywhere, reading the news can be a challenge. Not only is there plenty of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other scientific topics floating around social media, you also ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus
    Michael Baker, University of Otago and Nick Wilson, University of Otago With some of the toughest border restrictions and a newly-announced NZ$500 million boost to health services, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand is also fortunate in ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Parliament and the pandemic II
    As expected, the government has introduced a sessional order to allow Parliament to operate during the pandemic. You can read it on the Order Paper here, but the short version is that questions and motions can be filed electronicly, select committees can work remotely, and the the Business Committee can ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • When a virus goes viral: pros and cons to the coronavirus spread on social media
    Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology; Daniel Angus, Queensland University of Technology; Timothy Graham, Queensland University of Technology, and Tobias R. Keller, Queensland University of Technology News and views about coronavirus has spread via social media in a way that no health emergency has done before. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • How to survive 14 days of self-isolation
    So you’ve recently returned from overseas, come into contact with someone who tested positive, got a bit of a dry cough yourself or perhaps just want to self isolate for 14 days to avoid other people who might have COVID-19. Here are a few tips and tricks to help get ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion Legislation Bill passes third reading
    Some fave speeches:     ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    2 weeks ago
  • Why Leadership Matters – More Than Anything.
    Our Good Fortune: Precisely because she has never been an ideologue (she calls herself a “pragmatic idealist”) Jacinda Ardern has a political nimbleness and spontaneity which, when infused with her exceptional emotional intelligence, produces spectacular demonstrations of leadership. Jacinda's empathic political personality contrasts sharply with the less-than-sunny ways of her ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #11, 2020
    2 weeks ago
  • 68-51
    The Abortion Legislation Bill has just passed its third reading, 68-51. NZ First MPs bailed because their referendum amendment didn't pass, but there were plenty of MPs to provide a majority without them. The bill is a long way from perfect - most significantly, it subjects pregnant people who need ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The ‘herd immunity’ route to fighting coronavirus is unethical and potentially dangerous
    As most of the world tries to suppress the coronavirus spread, some countries are going it alone – trying to manage the pandemic through so-called “herd immunity”. Herd immunity means letting a large number of people catch a disease, and hence develop immunity to it, to stop the virus spreading. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Eight new COVID-19 cases today. It’s no surprise when you look at some numbers
    So, as I sit at home with a very, very slight headache (i.e. not at work when I would otherwise be so), the now familiar figure of Ashley Bloomfield reports eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19  including two in Waikato. A surprise, given that we had just twelve yesterday? No. ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • The WINZ Paradox versus the new COVID-19 Reality: Get real people, seriously…
    Many who advocated for, and voted for, the current Coalition – particularly those who voted Labour and the Green Party – expected to see a sea change in the reality of social services. A real, deep change of attitude, approach of process through which the system negotiates the difficult and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago

  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
    The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks.   “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to make sure businesses can work together in ways that will allow them to provide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
    The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
    Associate Health and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare has today announced the Government’s plan to support Māori communities and businesses in the face of COVID-19. “Our Government’s $12.1 billion economic package will help many Māori whānau, workers and businesses, whether it’s through wage subsidies, income support and worker redeployment, or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
    The Government and the hospitality industry have worked together to produce guidelines to assist with managing and reducing transmission of COVID-19, Health Minister David Clark announced today.  The guidelines developed between the Government, Hospitality New Zealand and SkyCity Entertainment Group, set out how the new restrictions on physical distancing and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
    Four stage Alert System for COVID-19 announced New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact New Zealanders over 70 and those with certain medical conditions told to stay at home as much as they can to reduce risk of contact with the virus Workplaces to implement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM Address – Covid-19 Update
    Kia ora koutou katoa I’m speaking directly to all New Zealanders today to give you as much certainty and clarity as we can as we fight Covid-19. Over the past few weeks, the world has changed. And it has changed very quickly. In February it would have seemed unimaginable to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ and Singapore commit to keeping supply and trade links open, including on essential goods and med...
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  • Joint Ministerial Statement by Singapore and New Zealand -Covid-19 situation
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  • Transit between Australia and New Zealand
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  • $100 million to redeploy workers
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  • Govt steps in to protect Air New Zealand
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  • Stronger border measures to protect NZers from COVID-19
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  • New Zealanders advised not to travel overseas
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