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Mythbusting: Largest party must govern

Written By: - Date published: 9:58 am, November 4th, 2008 - 46 comments
Categories: election 2008 - Tags:

Because the polls are showing a Labour, Greens, Progressives, Maori alliance could govern, National is crying that the largest party has some kind of ‘moral mandate’ to govern. Much as the cricket team which has the highest individual run scorer has the moral mandate to win the game, I guess. Back in the real world, though, it is common for governments in countries that use proportional representation to not include the largest party.

In the last 12 elections in the Netherlands, 3 have not included the largest party (the left-wing Workers’ Party)

The Social Democrats are the largest party in the Swedish Parliament but the right-wing Alliance for Sweden, led by the Moderate Party, governs. This was such an unexceptional event in Sweden that the Moderates and their allies declared victory within three hours of the results coming in and the leader of the Social Democrats resigned at the same time with nary a whimper about moral mandates.

In Germany, right-wing coalitions governed despite the Social Democrats being the largest party in 1949, 1965, 1982, 1983, 1987, and 1994.

In Austria in 2002, the major right-wing party won the most votes but the Social Democrats governed with the far-right party.

I could go on, but the point is this: the will of the people is what matters in a democracy and when the people have voted for a bloc of parties that can work together and command the confidence of Parliament that bloc is the legitimate government. National would have no moral mandate to govern when a majority of people had voted for parties that oppose, or are expected to oppose, National.

46 comments on “Mythbusting: Largest party must govern”

  1. higherstandard 1

    Just out of interest which of those countries have an MMP (or other proportional system)

  2. 08wire 2

    Well said and well researched, Steve. Nice job. I especially like the line about the cricket teams!

    (Although if we ever get to the point of having an 11-party coalition, then something will have gone seriously awry somewhere…)

  3. 08wire 3

    HS – The answer to that question is “all of them.” It is worth noting, in addition, that FPP-type systems cannot be relied on to have the most popular party win, either. They even have the most popular **movement** lose from time to time. Just ask Al Gore, or the New Zealand Labour Party circa 1978 and 1981.

  4. Daveski 4

    “the will of the people”

    How cute. The problem with MMP is that there is no such thing. It is the will of the parties and one of the reasons there is a backlash – from some – against MMP.

    Rest assured that should Labour have had the largest single bloc of votes, we could have expected quite a different analysis.

    Even so, as I’ve admitted before, I’ve rarely agreed with SP but in most occasions he attempts to provide some rationale for doing so (except for when it comes to “Aunty”* Helen’s performance on TV debates).

    * Helen herself referred to “Aunty” Helen with respect to the PI vote. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  5. NeillR 5

    SP, it’s not going to matter. The only question will be whether National chooses to take others into government with them, they are that far ahead.

  6. randal 6

    ah SP natoinal is just trying to run a conspiracy theory line for the uneducated and gullible among its supporters.
    you know the one.
    12 is a dozen.
    6 is half a dozen so where is the other half and why wont you tell us.
    when you look at the zoobies that Natoinal lines up for its photo ops around the place its no wonder that the most simplest parts of our constitiution are mangled and twisted out of shape so the dum dums can have something to get annoyed about and feel aggrieved about and hard done by because they are to stupid to do any thinking on the matter
    doh!

  7. Daveski. you’re out of touch. People refer to Clark as Aunty Helen with affection throughout the Maori and Pacific communities. You might not know that in many Polynesian languages the words for aunt and uncle are not limited to blood, they can refer to any respected person, just as the word brother extends to cousins and other friends.

    Clark is referred to as Aunty Helen because she has dedicated her life to improving the lives of people including Pacific Islanders and she has delivered.

  8. Daveski. I never relied on some mythical moral mandate to oppose National’s attempts to form a government as the second largest party after the 2005 election. Why would I?

  9. yl 9

    Sorry to thread jack, but…

    The books are 800mil in the red. This is 1.7bil better then forecasts thought. Looks like Don Brash was correct a few weeks back when he said that the New Zealand economy is in one of the best positions to get through this eco crisis

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/vote08/4749560a28435.html

  10. Razorlight 10

    SP

    I may be wrong but I can’t find a direct quote from any member of National, as you so eloquently put it “crying that the largest party has some kind of ‘moral mandate’ to govern”. I would be interested to hear which candidate has cried this. I don’t think there are any but am happy to be corrected.

    But here is my bleat. If the right block with 51 % of the vote misses out to the left block on 49% due to a the MP using their 7 seat overhang to give Helen a 4th term there will be alot more than crying. That will, in my opinion, be the end of MMP

    [crying is just tears, its extolling forcefully, it’s also being whinging little boy because the rules aren’t what you want them to be. The scenario of Right 51%, Left 49% is not the one that Key is refering to when he talks about the largest party having a moral mandate to govern. In your scenario, the Right is the largest bloc and you haven’t specified which bloc contains the largest party because its irrelevant. SP]

  11. Daveski 11

    SP – my comment was in reference to Helen’s use of it, not the community’s. That’s the bit I struggled with.

    Good point re 2005 so I withdraw my comment.

    I do think the “will of the people” is overstated in MMP. STV would be my preference now which would seem to take some of the powers away from the party and restore a bit more natural balance.

    I think your broader argument is pretty accurate ie NZer’s still think alone the lines of FPP. Having said that, Key and/or his strategists appear finally to have understood MMP and that’s one of the reasons Labour is struggling as much as it is.

  12. higherstandard 12

    RL

    I don’t think that will happen – much as I personally would like to see the Maori party tale all their sets it looks as though Parekura and Nania will both hold their seats.

    Despite that I still think that many are taking as a given that the Maori party will only support a Labour led government which is taking too much for granted.

  13. Ianmac 13

    Some have argued that the biggest party get to choose first, but they all mix and match until one bloc has a majority to take to the Governor General.
    It is conceivable that there could be a dead heat and I suppose there would have to be a new election and Labour would carry on in the interim. And show how to manage a recession.

  14. randal 14

    razorlight you are entitled to your opinion but I dont think its worth jack.
    the whole system is not going to change just because of an overhang in one election
    if you think it is then you are having obvious delusions along with the rest of the natoinal party who it seems are already looking for a grievance now that they know which way the wind is gonna blow
    hehehehe

  15. I worked on STV. I don’t like it. There is no guarantee of proportionality and the results are actually the same most of the time as using FPP (assuming a 1 equates to a tick)

    Look at Australia, essentially a two party system and STV for the Senate has devolved into essentially a list system where you specify your favourite party and they allocate their preferred order of candidates.

    Having studied electoral systems at uni and professionally, I think MMP is the best one going (which is not to say its perfect). That’s why the Royal Commission recommended it and more countries are adopting it or its cousins

  16. Razorlight 16

    HS

    Agreed that it is unlikely. But the fact remains. To win the treasury benches you will need more than 61 seats.

    Is that the intention of MMP?

    My idea of proportional representation is if you can command 51% support you should have the right to govern. Under MMP this is not the reality.

  17. randal 17

    the intention of MMP is to elect a parliament. the parliament will then form a government
    it is far less complicated than the american electoral college and will produce a popular government no matter who has any clever ideas that dont mean very much in the wider scheme of things

  18. Razorlight 18

    And who from National has publicly said that the party with the largest vote should have the right to form a government.

    I still can’t find anyone who has said that, but then again I was wrong with something in 1986 as well

    [John Key has repeatedly stated that National would have a moral mandate to govern if it wins the most votes and minor parties should follow that. There are numerous articles on it, google ‘moral mandate john key’. SP]

  19. cocamc 19

    yl – how do you read that. The article says the forecast was for 943m surplus so $1.7 billion reversal.
    This is worse. company tax take down. tax adjustments are due to accruals

  20. Vinsin 20

    Razorlight
    I think you’re dreaming if you think the right bloc is going to get 51% – they’ll get close, maybe 48, maybe 49%. But i think you’ll find on election night that their numbers just aren’t there. In 2005 national were polling around 45% – 49% in most polls and still looked unable – and unwilling – to form a coalition, they ended up getting far less as we all know. The news be it Tv3, Tv one, Herald, the dominion post, all need Polls to add some kind of weight to their particular brand of political entertainment; however the polls are nowhere near a bankable representation of how things will turn out on November the 8th.

  21. Ari 21

    One thing that strikes me as missing is that the situation being described is much like how Helen Clark didn’t have any moral mandate to govern when Don Brash was also trying to form a government. A stronger bargaining position, maybe… Do any of your recall anyone kicking up a fuss about that? I certainly don’t, so it seems incredibly opportunist for it to start now.

    How cute. The problem with MMP is that there is no such thing. It is the will of the parties and one of the reasons there is a backlash – from some – against MMP.

    How very cute. Listen, the parties recieve a mandate from the electorate in direct proportion to their number of party votes. If the electorate is not demanding enough information to make good decisions based on who can work together, then we’re merely reaping what we’ve sown if unexpected coalitions happen. Yes, the parties can override the will of the people- but understand that it’s a calculating risk every time they try.

    As for dissatisfaction with MMP- I’ve yet to see any evidence of widespread disfavour. It seems to be isolated to core National and Act supporters in my experience, although I’m open to the possibility that I just have a very pro-MMP circle of acquaintances.

  22. Chuck 22

    I’m not saying it was you, Steve, but a lot of people on the left were aghast that George W Bush claimed victory in 2000, and considered his victory tainted and Al Gore the rightful president – solely because Gore did better in the (meaningless) national popular vote.

  23. bill brown 23

    Re: dissatisfaction with MMP. Pundit quotes a study that shows voters who have only voted MMP are very much less inclined to get rid of it.

  24. randal 24

    and John Keys and his natoinal party are still lying through their teeth about anything and everything
    what a cynical view to have of the people of new zealand that they are prepared to just flat out lie almost all the time

  25. Lew 25

    Razorlight: For documentary evidence, here’s audio of John Key saying National would have `strong presumption of a moral mandate’ to lead a government: http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/mnr/mnr-20081027-0706-United_Future_Rules_Out_Talks_With_Labour_After_Election.ogg

    L

    Captcha: `CLOSE disaster’

  26. Vanilla Eis 26

    Chuck: there was a delightful article in the NY Times last week about how it would be possible to win the presidency with 26% of the popular vote, assuming every eligible voter in the country participated. I’m at work so can’t find it easily, but I’m sure you can find it.

    The US does not have a proper democracy, at least not like they think they do.

    And as far as Al Gore went, it was more a case of the Supreme Court ordering the Florida recount to halt, thereby preventing knowing who actually won the election as at the time Bush was possibly ahead by mere hundreds of votes in a state where millions voted. I believe there were multiple counts going on, and some put Bush ahead, some Gore. Are you certain that Bush was the rightful President, considering that Florida may not have voted in his favour?

  27. Lew 27

    Chuck: I spend a fair bit of time (to the dismay of some of my good friends) defending the 2000 US presidential election result on these grounds – while there were shenanigans, they were legitimate shenanigans conducted by those constitutionally authorised to conduct such shenanigans. That result was a strong argument for electoral law reform, but a lot of people (on both sides) seem to want to take it and instances like it as reason to throw out the rule of law when it doesn’t suit them. Can’t happen.

    L

  28. Lew 28

    Vanilla Eis: Are you certain that Bush was the rightful President, considering that Florida may not have voted in his favour?

    Yes, because the SCOTUS (never mind the fact it was stacked by Bush Sr) is the body charged with determining the lawfulness or otherwise of a recount, and they duly did so.

    You can argue that morally Gore should have won, but that’s different from arguing that electorally he didn’t win, which isn’t a plausible position.

    L

  29. Lew 29

    Razorlight: My idea of proportional representation is if you can command 51% support you should have the right to govern. Under MMP this is not the reality.

    Under MMP it almost always is the reality. The overhang plays a small (but potentially critical) amount of merry hell with that, but it’s not yet happened, and may not yet happen. In any case, it’s not an argument for scrapping MMP – it’s an argument for modifying it in order to minimise the overhang.

    L

  30. randal 30

    dont talk sense lew
    otherwise the drongos will have nothing to get aggrieved and hard done by about after they get a kick on saturday
    oh god. i’ve got a ute and go pig hunting but no one understands me
    bwah bwah hah

  31. NeillR 31

    Does Labour use a proportional system for electing its candidates? If not, why not?

  32. Lew 32

    NeillR: That’s an idiotic question. In fact, since the second is predicated on the first, it’s two idiotic questions.

    Proportional voting systems aren’t appropriate in all cases.

    L

  33. randal 33

    lew
    you cant argue with an idee fixee

  34. QoT 34

    @bill brown: And it’s been my experience that young voters who have only ever voted MMP are even MORE keen on it when you explain what FPP is – because a depressing number don’t even know the difference.

  35. Vinsin 35

    QoT – i wish you didn’t put that qualifying statement at the end of your sentence, it’s absurb, not at all true, and… for the sake of being incredibly vague and general – like your statement – false.

  36. HS,

    I never knew that I had something to be so proud of in my countries history.
    Thank you for asking which countries had the MMP system in place.

    It seems that the Dutch were the first to have a revolution and told the ruling elite to shove it. Apparently this lead to the English war, the French revolution and ultimately to the American revolution.

    I looked it up again because when I was young it was not so much taught as an actual revolution against the Dutch oligarchs (I wonder why, ooh oops by the time I was born the descendants of the most important revolutionary leader were firmly in power as the new oligarchs) but as a revolt against the Spanish king Phillip who owned the Netherlands at the time. It resulted in an eighty year long war which was declared over in 1648. After which the Netherlands became a republic. In fact it was the first Royalty free republic ever.

    The Dutch have had a MMP system ever since. And it has done us no harm, what with the Dutch golden age coming after that and all.

    The Dutch have had this system for 360 years so I think we can safely say the system works.

    When I watch debates on TV here, I am appalled at the impolite yelling and hawking and the inane one party or the other party rules immaturity.

    When you watch debates on Dutch TV people actually listen to one another and the leaders of the smaller parties are a real part of the political process. They need to be taken serious because you may have to govern with them in the future. This allows for the more extreme views to be heard and taken into consideration.

    If the bigger parties don’t take the entire population into consideration they will suffer because the population will vote for the smaller parties knowing that this really will make a difference.

    Holland as a country has prospered with this system and even if poverty and the industrial revolution left huge swats of the population disenfranchised there was more equality on the whole than in countries such as France, England and Germany and it’s not for nothing that it inspired other countries to revolt.

    Having said that, this system until 1919 did not include the female vote since women were only given the vote in that year whereas NZ as the first western country gave women the vote in 1893.

  37. higherstandard 37

    Indeed Eve

    I was surprised as well. I’ve always enjoyed the Netherlands when visiting or passing through.

    Why though are you here rather than there – both pleasant countries I know but I can’t see the attraction of moving all the way from Holland to NZ just as I’d struggle with why people would want to do the opposite.

  38. HS,

    New Zealanders have absolutely no idea how lucky they are.

    I feel every day like I’ve died and gone to heaven. Silence (In Holland you can never get away from traffic noise, light 24 ours a day, etc) peace, food from my own garden and the most amazingly friendly community and I live in a gobsmackingly beautiful spot with views to die for in a rental (Why buy a house if you know it’ll be loosing value within the next 6 months) surplus to requirement rather than a money making tool for as long as we want for a sum for which you could only have a one room apartment in a grotty suburb in Holland. In Holland you would absolutely not have been able to live on one median income with two people and here we can actually save.

    If I have to go into a town I can’t wait to get back home and I honestly don’t understand how I ever managed to live in a city like Amsterdam. To me Holland is like hell on earth these days.

    No, me and Kiwi hubby are perfectly fine were we are.

  39. HS,

    Wow, we actually had a civil interaction there. LOL

  40. higherstandard 40

    Aye tis nice for a change.

  41. Lew 41

    For those of you who persist on claiming the moral mandate of a plurality, consider these words from the early days of MMP in NZ by (then) Governor-General Sir Michael Hardie Boys, which carry the weight of constitutional precedent:

    “In a parliamentary democracy, the exercise of my powers must always be governed by the question of where the support of the house lies. It is this simple principle which provides the answer to those who sometimes suggest that in situations like that encountered by NZ after the last election, the head of state should simply call on the leader of the largest party to form a government. Size alone provides no reason to prefer a party if its leader does not appear to have the support of the majority of the house. It is better to wait for negotiation amongst the parties to produce a majority.

    (Quoted in http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ntn/ntn-20081105-1130-Legal_Commentator_-_Dean_Knight.ogg – my emphasis.)

    That’s pretty definitive.

    L

  42. Swampy 42

    “I could go on, but the point is this: the will of the people is what matters in a democracy and when the people have voted for a bloc of parties that can work together and command the confidence of Parliament that bloc is the legitimate government. National would have no moral mandate to govern when a majority of people had voted for parties that oppose, or are expected to oppose, National.”

    Once again, like the Greens in their blog, trying to change the purpose of the voting system.

    People vote FOR a party/candidate. They do not vote AGAINST a party/candidates.

    As we know the government is formed as a result of coalition negotiations after the election. The fact that the National party does not hold an absolute majority of the votes in Parliament does not exclude them from having a mandate to enter or negotiate a coalition agreement.

  43. gobsmacked 43

    Swampy

    Dean Knight – and more importantly, the former Governor-General – have clearly and succinctly addressed the issue, in Lew’s link above.

    Worth listening to. Kills the myth stone dead, once and for all.

  44. Vinsin 44

    Swampy;
    “People vote FOR a party/candidate. They do not vote AGAINST a party/candidates.”

    That is absolute bollocks. Ever heard of tactical voting, vote splitting. People vote for country they want, not the party/candidate. They vote for the issues that make sense to them, this is why a typically green voter might party vote labour to strenghten their support or why someone might vote for rodney hide. The fact National doesn’t have an overwhelming majority is besides the point, the problem they have is that they won’t be able to form a coalition with NZF, Green and the Maori party.

  45. Lew 45

    Vinsin: Even a tactical blocking vote is a vote FOR a candidate – not against. Swampy’s quite right in this regard.

    Swampy: Nobody’s arguing National should be enjoined from entering coalition talks – indeed, nobody can legally prevent them doing so. It’s just that the Governor-General must allow the first party leader who has the confidence of the house to govern. There’s no first dibs, no special privileges, no special anything which accrues to the party with the largest plurality. Except maybe bragging rights, which, if they can’t be converted into the confidence of the house, are worse than worthless.

    All else being equal, the party with the largest plurality should be best capable of forming a government. But all things are not equal in this case.

    L

  46. Lew 46

    Peter Dunne ran the same race condition line on NatRad this morning, that National winning a plurality would mean the public had a `reasonable expectation’ that they would govern, and that they should get a headstart in the `race to prove confidence to the G-G. Conveniently ignoring the fact that each member can only vote confidence for ONE person, so by necessity only one coalition can be formed.

    L

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    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 ...
    4 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
    7 days 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 ...
    1 week 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
    8 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...
    New Zealand and Singapore have jointly committed to keep supply chains open and to 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 welcomed the commitment. “This is an important collective response, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Joint Ministerial Statement by Singapore and New Zealand -Covid-19 situation
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