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MMP rules, FPP/SM drools

Written By: - Date published: 12:32 pm, June 29th, 2011 - 49 comments
Categories: elections, First Past the Post, MMP, referendum, Supplementary Member - Tags:

A commenter, MarkM, accused me, and the Left more broadly, yesterday of not wanting to engage in any intellectual debate on the merits of MMP vs the other systems on offer. Not true! It’s just we have been through this already and MMP won because it’s the best system.

The people behind the ‘Vote for Change’ campaign (Peter Shirtcliffe) don’t have an intellectual, principled objection to MMP. They just hate that it stops a small minority capturing one or both of the major parties and engaging in Blitzkrieg reforms like he and his cronies did in the 80s and 90s.

But if you’re looking for an intellectual argument for MMP. Here’s one, just one, of the many.

Principle: governments should only govern with the support of the people, which, in practice, means the support of the majority of the people.

In the inverse: it is immoral for a government to rule when most people oppose it.

Agreed? OK. Let’s test FPP vs MMP to that standard.

Definition: I counted terms of Parliament were the parties voting for the Government on confidence and supply votes had won more than 50% of the the vote, combined.

Times that the Government had the support of the majority of voters under FPP from formation of Reform (beginning on multi-party system) in 1911: 7 out of 27 (26%)

Times that the Government has had the support of the majority of voters under MMP: 4 out of 5 (80%)

All of the FPP examples were between 1928 and 1951. The exception to the rule for MMP was 1996 when National plus NZF equaled 47.2% of votes cast, but had a majority of seats due to the high (by MMP standards) wasted vote.

So, if you believe that democracy means governments should govern with the consent of the (majority of the) people, MMP is the system for you. If you believe in governments ruling with as little as 35% of the vote, a la National 1993, then you want FPP, or its bastard cousin SM.

49 comments on “MMP rules, FPP/SM drools”

  1. Portion Control 1

    In the inverse: it is immoral for a government to rule when most people oppose it.

    How do you know if most people oppose it? That is a subjective view and MMP doesn’t produce results that most people necessarily are in favour of. Ask NZ First voters in 1996 if they supported going into coalition with National. Ask Green voters in 2005 if they supported a Labour government backed up by a NZ first partner rather than a green partner? Ask Maori voters in 2008 if they supported going with National or staying on the cross benches?

    The point is you don’t know, because you’ve assumed that if Person A supports Party X, then they must oppose Party Y, even though voting history shows that most people’s views aren’t that entrenched. There are a number of parties they might be comfortable with, and a number of parties they are uncomfortable with. MMP puts all the power of deciding which other parties form a government into the hands of the political leadership.

    There are lots of arguments for and against MMP and it’s good to have a debate rather than just shouting down your opponents because they want to debate it.

    • SMSD 1.1

      How is it subjective to say that people who voted for a party in government support that government? Sounds like a logical conclusion to me.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      How do you know if most people oppose it?

      Oh, that’s really easy. They didn’t vote for it.

      You’re only real example there is NZ1st in 1996 going with National and that was because NZ1st had indicated, although not outright said, that they would go with Labour. In fact, that was the only reason NZ1st got such a high vote. You’ll note that that government actually collapsed half-way through as well. It was not popular.

      MMP puts all the power of deciding which other parties form a government into the hands of the political leadership.

      Only if the party is dictatorial else it would be up to the party membership through voting and that decision would be made clear to the electorate prior to the election. And then there’s the fact that some parties just don’t gel at all and people are quite capable of recognising those incompatibilities. Think about it, if it was only to get enough MPs to govern we’d always end up with a National/Labour coalition. If National/Labour said that they were going to form a coalition after the election the chances are neither would get into parliament.

      So, yeah, they didn’t vote for it is actually very accurate although there’s a hell of a lot more to it than just the marks on a bit of paper.

      • Portion Control 1.2.1

        Oh, that’s really easy. They didn’t vote for it.

        Read my post again moron. Not everybody is as entrenched or as partisan as you. Elections are won or lost on the middle ground swinging between labour and national. Most swinging voters by definition don’t “oppose” National or Labour. They have a preference one way or another. They are generally happy with National or Labour in government, but generally unhappy with the extremes of the Greens or Act holding too much influence.

        One of the criticisms of MMP is that small parties have a disproportionate influence over deciding government and the policies of government. Do you think helen and Michael bent over to defend Winston when he was so corrupt as a matter of principle? Not likely. They were happy to whore themselves and their ideals to to stay in government.

        • KJT 1.2.1.1

          What a load of rubbish. Most people vote for however they think may possibly do less harm in the next three years as the choice is really between Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

          Also explains the lack of interest in politics in NZ. The public know they have no real power.

          As No Right turn said. “Our only way of getting rid of the lot we do not like this time is to vote in the lot we did not like last time”.

        • felix 1.2.1.2

          Actually elections aren’t “won or lost on the middle ground swinging between labour and national” in reality. This is a statistical interpretation, sort of a cartoon version to describe elections to idiots.

          In reality elections are won and lost by all voters equally. Take any of them out and the result changes. No?

          You’re buying into (or trying to sell) the bullshit analysis that treats the electorate as a single entity, an animal with a defined position or opinion on anything.

          It leads to people thinking, for example, that the electorate sends messages about the make-up of the government it wants. You hear it a lot in political analysis these days, phrases like “the people are still in favour of pursuing direction (x) but clearly want the pace tempered by (y).

          Which is bullshit. In reality some people want (x) and some want (y). And others want (a), (b) & (c).

    • felix 1.3

      Contortion Patrol comes out strongly against elections.

      Good to get that on the table from the outset.

      • Portion Control 1.3.1

        No I didn’t you liar. Get a rib removed and see what else you can suck on.

        [lprent: that is on the bounds of a pointless insult. Had to look at felix’s comment to see what it is about. ]

        • felix 1.3.1.1

          Yeah you did.

          Elections are what we use to find out which parties and individuals have the support of the majority. We do it by counting the votes.

          And counting the votes trumps all your waffle about the possible motivations of various groups of voters to support or not support this or that (which is pure speculation on your part).

    • Blighty 1.4

      the entire premise of representative democracy is that, at the last election, the MP or party had the support of the people who voted for them, who preferred them over all the other options. That people might later change their minds is only an issue for the next election.

      • Portion Control 1.4.1

        Yes but there are limits on that blighty even under MMP. Bill and Ben aren’t represented in Parliament. We have 5% threshholds. Many parties and individuals get votes but systematically not enough to get in.

        FPP, SM, MMP, STV are all forms of representative democracy. They have different features and different tendencies to produce different forms of government. To say that the only democratic system, or the only truly representative form of democracy when only four other countries in the world have MMP is just stupid.

        • Blighty 1.4.1.1

          not every country in the world is as lucky as this one.

          We had the opportunity to choose systems from 5 options over 2 referendums and we chose the best, despite the millions that Shirtcliffe spent trying to buy a result. All the polls suggest we’ll choose that same system later this year after 15 years experience.

    • Bazar 1.5

      “That is a subjective view and MMP doesn’t produce results that most people necessarily are in favour of.”

      Such is government. This is doubly true when your party has to make a compromise to have any real power.

      FPP might have been democratic, but only for the minority. The majority generally had to comply with the rule of a minority with no say.

      “Ask Green voters in 2005 if they supported a Labour government backed up by a NZ first partner rather than a green partner? Ask Maori voters in 2008 if they supported going with National or staying on the cross benches?”

      And thats people trying to game the election system and being caught out.
      You vote for the party that best represents your views, not your side. If NZ ever develops into a two party voting system like America is, I’ll be greatly disappointed.
      It’s not Left vs Right, or Red vs Blue. It’s all about representation. But try telling that to Americans, hell i still can’t tell the practical difference between republicans or democrats.

      The Maori party swapping it’s from labour to national is what i consider a success of the MMP system. That small party (even if i do consider it racist) managed to get itself heard, rather than bleating with the opposition unable to do anything but bleat.

      I’m sure there are a lot of Maori party voters upset over that, but they are just idiots. You vote for the party, not the side. If the Maori party could get progress towards its party goals by siding with national, they should.

      People who voted act managed to get harsher sentences handed down (as stupid as that may end up being) with it being a minority that would have been overlooked.

      Those compromises by the MMP system give a fairer system, where each vote is more likely to count. As for how much it can hurt the efficiency of the ruling party is another matter.
      Personally i like the MMP system, but there are ways to improve it. FPP isn’t something I’d vote for, but I’d like some of the other systems.

      PS: So i’m somewhat disappointed to see this post only compares MMP with the most primitive voting system… Hopefully there’ll be more robust debate on the other voting systems in the weeks to come.

  2. Frank Macskasy 2

    MarkM should’ve been around in 1993 when the great FPP/MMP debate took place. There was plenty of debate and quite a bit of bovine excrement – the latter usually from the so-called ‘Campaign for Better Government’, In fact, at least one of the many TV ads was ruled as unacceptable by the BSA.

    If MarkM wants to debate the issues seriously, I’m up for it.

  3. randal 3

    these geeks just make up stuff that sounds logical and valid but when the conclusions are examined for validity then they are found to be false.
    like the tax free week and many other shibboleths beloved by the right wing its all crap and specious twisting of the language to try and make ordinary people believe what are at base unfounded lies.

  4. tsmithfield 4

    You are arguing a false dichotomy. There are plenty of other systems of representation besides MMP and FFP (and its bastard child SM as you put it).

    • Blighty 4.1

      the only other one on the table is STV.

      Are you arguing for it? If so, make the case.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      There are plenty of systems – MMP is the best of all of them. Throw in STV for the electorate vote and it would be even better.

      • Colonial Viper 4.2.1

        An STV where you only rank your top 3 choices please.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.1

          And if you don’t rank them the vote is discounted – stops it being turned back into an FPP election.

    • bbfloyd 4.3

      while you’re busy wasting our time with pitiful attempts at critisism, you could have been compiling a list of said systems for perusal and consideration. then, possibly, a constructive debate could have ensued.

      too bad you chose to be a time waster instead

  5. All of the FPP examples were between 1928 and 1951. The exception to the rule for MMP was 1996 when National plus NZF equaled 47.2% of votes cast, but had a majority of seats due to the high (by MMP standards) wasted vote.

    Didn’t they also have support on confidence and supply from ACT as well?

    (Dammit, can’t get a 1996 Hansard to check)

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Yep, would have had to have been a National, Act, NZ1st arrangement. The Labour led option would have been Labour, Alliance, NZ1st.

    • Blighty 5.2

      Wikipedia’s page on ACT says “It remained outside the National-New Zealand First coalition government, although sometimes gave it support.”

      Not sure if they voted for it on confidence and supply, but formal confidence and supply agreements were invented by the Fifth Labour Government. Before that, I think the assumption was any party supporting a government would be in coalition with the government and have ministerial seats.

    • KJT 5.3

      AND NZF never got the same proportion of votes again because they were punished by the Electorate for supporting NACT.

      For the same reason as the Maori party is hemorrhaging votes. Supporting a Government against the obvious wishes of most of their previous supporters. Given that a large number party voted Labour.

      • Colonial Viper 5.3.1

        It’s so easy for the leaders of minority parties to rationalise themselves into accepting the baubles and poisoned chalices of office.

  6. A commenter, MarkM, accused me, and the Left more broadly, yesterday of not wanting to engage in any intellectual debate on the merits of MMP vs the other systems on offer.
     
    I suspect Eddie we are going to see this more and more.  Historically the right have been attacked by the left because they tend not to analyse and oppose on prejudice rather than principle.
     
    Recently I have seen RWNJs come out with this meme where they say that the left is afraid/does not want to debate the merits.  The slithery one has been doing it a lot lately.  I always laugh when he claims some sort of feigned victimhood. An example is in the comments at http://blog.labour.org.nz/index.php/2011/06/28/lusk-and-williams-out-themselves/#comments where there is a full on attempt to avoid debating who is paying what to do stuff to our democracy.
     
    It goes along with their other meme that the left attack the person.  They (RWNJs) are attempting to paint themselves as victims.
     
    The reality is different but they are looking for a weapon to wield, not to work out reality.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Further, asking for evidence or debate is a play to slow down and distract the Left. It makes the conversation difficult for lay citizens to follow too.

      It is a tactic that appeals to the Left’s academic/intellectual side, and as you go about debating and arguing, the Righties are quietly grinning away watching the timer run down.

      Fact of the matter is it is long past time for trying to convince/convert/rescue/save the Right Wing, its a waste of time and effort.

      What the Left need to do is to connect with its base, listen to them and turn them out.

      • felix 6.1.1

        “It is a tactic that appeals to the Left’s academic/intellectual side, and as you go about debating and arguing, the Righties are quietly grinning away watching the timer run down.”

        This.

    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 6.2

      “It goes along with their other meme that the left attack the person. They (RWNJs)…”

      I am so glad the Left is above attacking the person.

      Now, remind me what RWNJ stands for, will you?

      • mickysavage 6.2.1

        Thanks Gormless fool and I agree my comments were an attack on rwnjs which I believe is justified but which they will be affronted about and I was not addressing the merits of the argument.
         
        From now on I will do my best to address the merits only and not get stuck into the personalities.
         
        Promise …
         
        Really I will …

        EDIT: And my calling you “Gormless fool” was only because that is part of your name …

    • MarkM 6.3

      Eddie at least put up some arguments which is all I asked for and it is appreciated
      You as a trained Lawyer simply prove my point.
      Hiding behind a pseudonym and painting everyone who dosent agree with your views as a RWNJ. isnt a debate

      You fail to realise that attacking the opponent not their argument turns people off .

      If MMP is the best system it will stand or fall on its merits not the side who has the best abuse lines

      [lprent: the psuedonym argument is unacceptable. Continuing to use it will result in me banning your pseudonym.

      It is the silliest of arguments, typically used by those whose arguments are so weak that they have to resort to being juvenile dorks and attacking the person and not the argument. ]

      • bbfloyd 6.3.1

        mark,, are you talking to your mirror? the only people i seeregularly using personal attacks as standard debating technique are the rwnj’s that regularly come on here and continue spewing their nonsensical invective as if they had never logged of kiwiblog.

        look up hypocrisy in the first dictionary you can find(and don’t break into a school to get it).

        understand one thing… those who are being catagorised as “left” are the ones attempting to have a rational debate on a fundamental issue. the people who are using namecalling and abuse are, in the main, the ones pushing the national party lines…. if you disagree, then i would be gratified to hear a rational proposal as to why we should contemplate such a shift… otherwise, you run the risk of making yourself, and the ilk you belong to utterly irrelevant to the natural processes of evolutionary developement.

  7. tsmithfield 7

    Despite the fact I would like to see debate, I personally would probably be happy with MMP with a few changes.

    One change I would like to see would be for coalitions to be declared before the election and coalition policies presented during the election campaign. That way voters know what they are going to get beforehand rather than finding out afterwards to their disgust.

  8. Reality Bytes 8

    I would like to see a version 2.1 of MMP enacted where:

    a. The “win a seat and bring your mates rule” is abolished.

    b. The percentage of votes required to get proportionally represented seats is proportional to that of a getting a single seat, not some arbitrary 5% threshold. We have 120 MPs in our parliament.

    So why not make it 0.83% of party votes equals 1 seat. instead of this undemocratic 5% threshold bs. Get out of this provincial bs attitude, we are all kiwis, we should all have an equal chance to make our opintion/vote count on a national level. Pure MMP ftw.

    Something to think about !

    • Mbossa 8.1

      If I’m not mistaken, doing (b) would do (a) by default. There’d be no need for a “bring your mates” rule if there’s no threshold to cross.

      The only reason we will never ever (well, not in the near future anyway) see the threshold abolished is because both Labour and National are terrified of the prospect of ALCP gaining a seat.

    • felix 8.2

      The threshold is the single worst aspect of our current version of MMP.

      It has no function other than to silence minority voices.

      Begone with it.

      • Bored 8.2.1

        Too true, I think even RWNJ parties that attract 1% of the vote should be able to have a representative in parliament…..isnt that called ACT?

  9. DS 9

    Ah, yes. The bizarre elections that FPP threw up.

    1993: National gets 35%, Labour 34%, Alliance 18%, NZ First 8%. Produces majority National Government (just. After special votes: it was a hung parliament on election night).

    1990: National gets 48% of the vote, but over 2/3 the number of seats. Under MMP, 1990 would have been a hung parliament.

    1981: Labour gets more votes, but loses the election. Social Credit get 20% … and 2 seats.

    1978: Labour gets more votes, but loses the election.

    1957: Labour outpoll National 48%-44%, but only have a two seat majority.

    1954: Labour comes within a thousand votes of National across the entire country, but National gets a comfortable majority.

  10. DS 10

    Oh, and the two precedents of the “biggest party not forming government”:

    1928: Reform gets 34.8%, United gets 29.8%, both get 27 seats. Labour (26% and 19 seats) backs United.

    1911: Reform gets four more seats than the Liberals. The Liberals govern with support from independents (until brought down by a no-confidence vote in 1912).

    • swordfish 10.1

      Excellent research, DS !!!

      I was going to do the same thing myself (having studied 20C NZ history – with a particular focus on Elections/Political Parties at Uni). You’ve saved me the trouble !

  11. vidiot 11

    Change the mix.

    120 MP’s (maximum), made up of 70 Electorate & 50 MMP seats.
    * Reduce 5% threshold to 2%, each 2% of the vote, get’s you 1 MMP seat. If you get 51.9% of the vote, you only get 25 MMP seats.
    * 70 General Electorate Seats, remove the Maori specific seats.

  12. jco 12

    Why not a “true” democracy – such as that in Switzerland. Or, it used to be. Everyone votes on everything and you don’t have someone voting for you. My representative rarely votes the way that I would vote but he votes the way I would vote more than the other representatives. So, he votes my way 44% of the time and the the others vote my way 40% of the time or less. Why can’t I vote for things myself??? We are not a democracy, we’re a republic; we elect someone else to represent us. Personally, I would like to immigrate to Switzerland but I’m a bit old to uproot my family and move to a foreign where we don’t even speak the language.

    SDG
    jco

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

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

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

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