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National identity

Written By: - Date published: 9:52 am, November 24th, 2014 - 49 comments
Categories: history, identity - Tags: , ,

I missed it at the time, but about a week ago the Waitangi Tribunal released a major report. The excellent Andrew Geddis was quick off the mark with a useful and challenging summary:

…the real money passage comes at pages 525-526:

Our essential conclusion, therefore, is that the rangatira did not cede their sovereignty in February 1840; that is, they did not cede their authority to make and enforce law over their people and within their territories. Rather, they agreed to share power and authority with the Governor. They and Hobson were to be equal, although of course they had different roles and different spheres of influence. The detail of how this relationship would work in practice, especially where the Māori and European populations intermingled, remained to be negotiated over time on a case-by-case basis. But the rangatira did not surrender to the British the sole right to make and enforce law over Māori. It was up to the British, as the party drafting and explaining the treaty, to make absolutely clear that this was their intention. Hobson’s silence on this crucial matter means that the Crown’s own self-imposed condition of obtaining full and free Māori consent was not met.

Wow – that sounds pretty major! The Treaty wasn’t actually the mechanism by which Māori accepted that the British Crown could take over running the motu known as Aotearoa/New Zealand!! Māori assumed that they would retain the capacity to make and enforce their own laws for themselves!!! What then flows out of that historical finding?

If we do accept that picture, then it really poses a challenge to us. Because if we want the story we’ve come to tell ourselves about the Treaty and what it means for who we are to be true, then we can’t just keep on keeping on as we’ve done. Nor can we resolve the breaches of the Treaty simply through payments of money, transfer of resources, and apologies. Rather, it calls for a more radical reworking of the sharing of power over at least some aspects of New Zealand between the Crown and Māori in order to make good the Treaty’s original vision.

And that, it seems to me, is the real importance of the Waitangi Tribunal’s Report and its conclusions. It provides us with a choice – you can either have your comfortable and ennobling history of the Treaty as the founding document of New Zealand, or you can have the current New Zealand State in which the Crown has the right to exercise ultimate sovereignty over all aspects of life within it. But you can’t have both.

There is much, much more. Go read Geddis’ full piece on Pundit, and plenty of other followup summarised by the comprehensive Bryce Edwards.

It is not likely that John Key, with his fantasy version of NZ history, will be interested in acknowledging the ramifications of this finding. Instead we will have an expensive and superficial circus about our flag. But when it comes to the matter of our national identity, this really is a defining issue. Exploring it will be up to some future government.

49 comments on “National identity”

  1. Enough is Enough 1

    This really opens the door for the Maori party and the opportunity to give themselves relevance.

    National have ignored this and Labour will be too scared of upsetting the “Waitakere Man” to do anything meaningful.

    The Maori party can jump on this issue, cut their ties with the government and create a real movement.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    What is the point of this report? It is a complete waste of taxpayers money. What possible useful outcome does it serve?

    I guess that this ruling is of interest to those on the treaty gravy train, ivory tower academics and give false hope to various assorted Maori sovereignty advocates but it forgets that while de jure is all very interesting, de facto is what counts when the rubber hits the road. For example, Gerard Omiti might claim his Maori passports are valid, but he’ll still go to jail for fraud and the dupes who buy his passports will still get deported for overstaying.

    • weka 2.1

      Telling the truth, yep a waste of time. /sarc

    • You have absolutely no idea what goes on at the tribunal or the supreme importance of it if you think it’s a gravy train.

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen another workplace with that much unpaid overtime being clocked in, it’s played a critical part in truth and reconciliation for Maori, and the settlements proposed have done a good shake at evening up the economy and making New Zealand a fair place to live. I don’t see how you can look at the overall work the Tribunal has done with anything but pride if you’re:

      a) Aware of the actualities of New Zealand history.
      b) Not some flavour of denialist regarding structural racism, ie. you acknowledge that due to the way colonisation happened in New Zealand that Maori are dealing with great historical injustice and in many cases economic and/or political disadvantage.

  3. weka 3

    One of the significances here is that the middle class commentariat will now push for discussion about this more broadly. Māori of course have been talking about this for a long time. Hopefully this will be a second wave of decolonisation where more Pākehā start to take it seriously after all the work that was done in the 80s.

    • Sanctuary 3.1

      “…Hopefully this will be a second wave of decolonisation…”

      Maori need to once and for all forget any idea they can turn the clock back and create some sort of proto-racist parallel state permanently anchored in some pie-eyed interpretation of the past.

      Take a walk down Queen street or go to the Avondale markets. Bi-culturalism is extinct in the wild and exists only a dangerous myth in the rarified airs of our ruling elites. Many fourth, fifth and sixth generation Pakeha now feel as much or more part of this land as any Maori. The idea that Maori have any stronger prior claim is regarded by many Pakeha as culturally offensive.

      If it was ever put to a popular vote the whole treaty settle process would be shut down yesterday. That is the political reality. The whole treaty settlement process was imposed by elite consensus on a reluctant population on the basis that a medium term exercise to right the wrongs of confiscation and losses of colonisation was essential in order for us to peacefully move forward as a nation. That deal should not be usurped by trouble makers and Maori sovereignty advocates intent on trying to alter the results of the Land Wars by litigation.

      The government needs to be clear. The settlement of New Zealand by non-Polynesians since 1840 is irrevocable. The universal suffrage and the absolute sovereignty of parliament are not negotiable.

      Dwelling in the past to suggest otherwise is to play a very dangerous game. In an age where right wing populism as a reaction to an imposed elite economic consensus is on the rise does anyone really want to offer a political opportunity to anyone willing to grab it a chance to mobilise one-nation Pakeha nationalism against emboldened Maori sovereignty radicals? No good would come of that, mark my words.

      • RedLogix 3.1.1

        The extraordinary thing is how the report simply stops at the point of saying that Maori never signed away sovereignty. Well there is the promise of a further report at some time in the future – but in doing so it leaves far more unsaid than said.

        By definition there can only be one supreme sovereign authority in a nation. It is in fact more or less the definition of a nation. By this statement therefore the Tribunal is implying that the Crown never obtained legitimate and supreme sovereignty.

        You have to wonder why they could bring not themselves to just say this.

        • The Tribunal can’t prove a negative, they can only disprove a positive. They can say that the Crown did not negotiate its sovereign authority through the Treaty. It’s not actually their place to say that the Crown has no sovereignty, as it’s only in their remit to provide information and guidance on what the treaty says.

          (And also as a crown agency they would be making a bit of a paradox in drawing that conclusion, as if a crown agency says the crown has no legal standing in New Zealand, if they are correct, neither does their own ruling)

          IMO they stopped at the correct point. It is for constitutional scholars and news sources to then go “oh, the Treaty doesn’t do what the Crown totally thought it did. Maybe we should reconsider our constitution.”

          • RedLogix 3.1.1.1.1

            Thank you.

            • Tracey 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Red

              The legal aspects which include matthews explanation above and one I have been trying to make are of at least equal importance as the historical observations you have been making. Unless we understand ALL aspects we run the risk of making the matter worse notwithstanding good intention.

              • RedLogix

                While Mathew’s comment is useful and logical – it clearly states that it is not the whole answer. He explicitly says that there is a whole lot of important matters left unsaid.

                So given that the Tribunal has not given us a whole answer – and Mathew has explained why – who do you think will?

      • marty mars 3.1.2

        “Maori need to once and for all forget any idea they can turn the clock back and create some sort of proto-racist parallel state permanently anchored in some pie-eyed interpretation of the past.”

        This does seem to be the big fear for some but really it isn’t based upon any facts or logic imo. The clock can’t be turned back and I cannot hear voices asking for it to be turned back. But we can go forward as the quoted portion of the report says,

        “The detail of how this relationship would work in practice, especially where the Māori and European populations intermingled, remained to be negotiated over time on a case-by-case basis.”

        “negotiated over time” – key phase there that should allay any fears.

    • Tracey 3.2

      did you get a chance to read my suggestion yesterday for an elected maori president to replace governor general?

      everyone votes but only maori candidates can stand. like a monarchy figurehead. not just anyone can be king or queen of England.

      would this be of any use as a way to publicly and constitutionally try and restore mana and honour this aspect of the treaty?

      not meant as lipservice … or patronizing or the only change needed

      • RedLogix 3.2.1

        No I didn’t spot it. But it’s a fine suggestion. I don’t see it as lipservice at all.

        Another one I would like to see is moving Guy Fawkes to Matariki. It’s not original idea but would be a decent small step in the right direction. Symbolic yes – but even the debate it would arouse would be worth having.

        • Tracey 3.2.1.1

          thanks. i meant the question weka in particular but dont mi d who else replies

        • Mr Nobody 3.2.1.2

          Why move Guy Fawkes which would cause a big wah wah. Why not just celebrate both?

          One difference I would make though is make Matariki an official public holiday.

          • RedLogix 3.2.1.2.1

            That’s the point – it would be a big wah wah – but a completely symbolic one. It might shift a lot of people’s thinking.

            • Mr Nobody 3.2.1.2.1.1

              I think you would find you would simply end up turning a lot of people off and adding to the “conflict” between NZ’s various cultures.

              By leaving Guy Fawkes alone you affect nobody however by recognizing Matariki and making it a public Holiday a instead enshrine it as being more significant add to the Kiwi culture.

  4. Weka any “second wave of de-colonisation” while have to take its chances against a ” second wave of re-colonisation” of NZ by US and China.
    Practically the Maori Party will have a marginal advantage in picking up crumbs under the Cabinet Table on behalf of the Iwi Leaders Forum.
    Most Maori will miss out as iwi leaders these days disregard most Maori.
    That will leave most Maori open to lining up with the rest of us to fight the title bout.

  5. Ross 5

    Whatever.

    None of this hot air matters. What happened in the past happened in the past in accordance with the customs of the time. That there was any kind of treaty was utterly against the custom of the time. That is the relevance of the treaty, not who did what to whom and who didn’t pay. There was a treaty. End of story. On the Maori side at the time, for example, there was this type of thinking:

    …having arrived in Wangaroa we took possession of the land in accordance with our customs, and we caught the people. We caught all the people, not one escaped, some ran away from us, those we killed and others were killed but what of that. It was in accordance with our custom.

    Wi Naera Pomare

    …talking about the taking of Rekohu/Wharekauri/Chatham Islands and the slaughter of the Moriori. That was British custom too. That’s how we lived our lives in the nineteenth century. That is how the British were still conducting themselves in Australia at the time. Yet here we had at least the attempt of a treaty. I don’t believe the process was as cynical as others say. If there was no intention of honoring a treaty, then why bother with one at all? It was still the custom of the time to simply slaughter and take.

    There was a treaty conceived, composed, translated, debated and agreed to. As far as I know this was the first time in human history that this had happened. Now you’re telling me that there were mistakes? Duh. Whatever. There was a Treaty!!!!.

    BY endlessly arguing over the minutiae of events that are long in the past we are condemning ourselves to live there. Where we are now and how we all move on from there, that is what deserves a real money passage on pages 525 – 526 of a heavily funded government report.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      🙄

    • RedLogix 5.2

      It was still the custom of the time to simply slaughter and take.

      But that is not the whole story Ross. I’ve spent a fair bit of time annoying people here by re-visiting the Musket Wars – and been thoroughly beaten up for it.

      But my reason in doing so was not to diminish Maori in any sense (the merest glance at European history tell us that Pakeha have not the slightest scrap of moral high ground to posture from either – war, rape and pillage was a commonplace). But the most interesting thing is that by 1840 – reading the accounts of Colenso about the signing of the Treaty – reveal a very real desire by the Rangitira to make a break with this dark past.

      This combined with their very real interest in Christianity, in developing commerce and trade with the wider world can be read as a peoples in the midst of very rapid change – and looking for ways to adapt.

      In that sense I believe the Treaty was conceived in good faith by both sides.

      • Ross 5.2.1

        Too often this discussion devolves into us against them. You are right. I didn’t mean to imply any fault in Maori by using the quote. It is simply the best expression of the thinking of the time, by both sides, that I have ever read. Both sides were looking for a better way. The changes Maori went through in adapting to the new realities were incredible achievements and should be lauded in our history. That the British were also coming to their senses and understanding that taking was inefficient, ruinously expensive and unnecessary – quite apart from just plain wrong – is another golden element of our (shared) history. We have always prided ourselves in leading the way in the world. Why do we choose to continually devalue and trash this world first: the treaty.

        • Tracey 5.2.1.1

          by beaten up… he means disagreed with

        • marty mars 5.2.1.2

          No Ross it isn’t the best description imo

          “It was still the custom of the time to simply slaughter and take.”

          This is just not true, for instance marriage was a time honored, traditional, successful way to co-join different peoples – it worked because of the pulling together of whakapapa and the desire to not simply slaughter and take.

          red – you were the one that was annoyed because your analysis was not agreed to by some.

          • Ross 5.2.1.2.1

            Mm,

            …having arrived in Wangaroa we took possession of the land in accordance with our customs, and we caught the people. We caught all the people, not one escaped, some ran away from us, those we killed and others were killed but what of that. It was in accordance with our custom.

            Wi Naera Pomare

            • marty mars 5.2.1.2.1.1

              Yes Ross I read that thanks.

              There are numerous examples where members of an attacking force let those about to be attacked know so they could escape – that was in accordance with custom too. I know, shock horror there were quite a few customs – sometimes contradictory, sometimes overlapping, and sometimes beyond our understanding – imo cultures are often like that.

            • RedBaronCV 5.2.1.2.1.2

              Not all of them were killed Ross – personally I’m the product of some “in the bushes” activity in that geographical area.

              They also adapted their customs- in the annual raiding party (away match between Northland & Auckland) Ngapuhi had guns first so the Auckland tribes ran away. To even the score Ngapuhi used to ship Henry Williams the missionary with them. Once the firing stared Henry would get up and with much Korero talk them all out of it – so mana was maintained all around. I’m sure that great trouble was taken not to hit the referee…

    • Tracey 5.3

      yea lets just argue english law instead

      contra proferentum

      Discuss

      • RedLogix 5.3.1

        Because logically you can only have one supreme source of authority in a nation, either:

        1. The Crown based NZ State is the sovereign power de-facto.

        OR

        2. Maori never signed away sovereignty in 1840 and therefore have been the legitimate power in this country all the time since.

        It really has to be one or the other. A binary choice. Is anyone realistically suggesting that NZ is actually a nation with two separate sovereign powers that are co-existing at the same time?

        The standard ToW interpretation of a partnership between Maori and the Crown is ruled out by option 2 above – because in that scenario the Crown does not exist as the supreme authority, nor can any of the system of legal governance that flows from it have any legitimacy. (We discussed these definitions earlier.)

        A legal system is a component of governance. It does not exist in isolation. Legitimacy of governance derives entirely from the authority of the sovereign power it is dependent on. If that is lacking – then pointing to a legal principle which is part of it carries no weight. It would be like pointing to say the American 2nd Amendment as a legal defense in a New Zealand Court.

        In other words the principle of contra proferentum is useful principle (and a very good one at that) only as long as you are operating in a governance where it applies. But here in this case we are applying it in a situation which takes that applicability away – and the whole thing vanishes up a logical rabbit-hole.

        That is not the whole story – but it is a consistent and reasonable response.

        • marty mars 5.3.1.1

          “It really has to be one or the other.”

          except the report says,

          “They and Hobson were to be equal, although of course they had different roles and different spheres of influence. The detail of how this relationship would work in practice, especially where the Māori and European populations intermingled, remained to be negotiated over time on a case-by-case basis.”

          I struggle to see why that is so difficult to understand.

          • RedLogix 5.3.1.1.1

            That’s fine – you’re going for the two equal, peer type sovereignties. It’s not so hard to understand when the Treaty was signed in 1840 because at that time Maori and Pakeha societies were very distinct. It was quite feasible to see them as separate.

            No doubt each Rangatira signed in the full expectation that he would retain his mana over the iwi he was responsible for, the people, resources and so on.

            And that the Crown would have the same role regarding the Pakeha.

            But given the enormous changes, the complete intermingling of peoples since – – I honestly struggle to see quite how that works in 2014. Maybe I’m just lacking imagination.

        • I’d note that the treaty does still grant the crown Kawanatanga, however you interpret that, so it’s not correct to say that Maori are the only legitimate legal authority in the country.

          To be honest anyone who’s read an accurate translation of the treaty has known this whole time that legally, we’re in an interesting gray area, where Maori signatories have agreed not to exercise sovereignty over European citizens of New Zealand, have agreed to allow some settlement within legal limits, but have not ceded their own rights as people or as chiefs, only accepted a similar chiefly authority to be placed over european citizens and to have to deal with that authority as equals. (You could argue that our modern representative government works somewhat similarly to this in practice)

          Where we go from here is a question that can and should only be answered by an unbiased constitutional review that is ready and willing to shake up the New Zealand government if it’s the correct thing to do.

          • RedLogix 5.3.1.2.1

            Given that iwi are the largest social unit in Maori society and that in 1840 the Rangatira almost certainly did not imagine they were surrendering the slightest scrap of mana to any other iwi – then how many separate sovereigns do you think exist in this country at the present time?

          • Tracey 5.3.1.2.2

            Matthew, thanks for yourcontributions.

            I have suggested a Maori President elected by all registered voters to replace the govenor general. Not by any means as a pancea but to begin the acknowledgement and restoration of mana aspect.

            I also wondered about a kind of version of a house of lords with jurisdiction limited to certain matters, subordinate to parliament but with certain voting rights.. And thereafter the removal of Maori seats but not the Maori roll.

        • Tracey 5.3.1.3

          You may proclaim your version a consistent and reasonable response but that doesnt make it so.

          In order to ascertain the legal validity of the Treaty, to ascertain who gave or received what, you apply the legal principles. That is what the Waitangi Tribunal has done. It has used historical analysis and legal principle including contra proferentum to determine that Maori did not cede sovereignty.

          You are, with respect confusing yourself. The analysis is to determine what the treaty granted or removed or whether it had any validity at all. The conclusion is sovereignty was not given away.

          You appear to be taking the conclusion, removing the Treaty as a result, and applying an historical matrix to suggest that sovereignty was given because it helped both sides.

          Your questions about where to now, in practical terms, imo, is a crucial one, but your prior analysis I believe is flawed.

  6. coaster 6

    What a potential mess and disaster for nz. Some stones shouldnt be looked under and this is one.

  7. adam 7

    So the war that starts 5 years after the signing of the treaty makes more sense to white NZ now?

    I live in hope.

    People don’t start wars for the hell of it, the New Zealand wars did not roll on for 60 odd years because Maori are a warrior culture bent on making war. The wars were like many colonial wars, wars for survival. Because at the end of the day, land = resources = power.

  8. DS 8

    If the Maori Chiefs did not cede law-making power in 1840, then the New Zealand Parliament as it currently operates is illegitimate. If the New Zealand Parliament is illegitimate, the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 is illegitimate. If the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 is illegitimate, then the Waitangi Tribunal itself is illegitimate – for what is the Waitangi Tribunal but a creation of Pakeha Power which they shouldn’t have had? If the Waitangi Tribunal is illegitimate, it lacks the authority to determine whether the Maori Chiefs in 1840 ceded sovereignty.

    All in all, a nice little paradox.

    • Tracey 8.1

      If you continue your circle, not only the tribunal doesnt exists but neither do any prior laws including confiscation of maori land, so back it all goes. You cant ring off your paradox at a position convenient to a certain view.

      • DS 8.1.1

        Of course the land grabs would be illegitimate. It’s just that there would be no-one with the authority to call them so, including the entire court system and the Waitangi Tribunal.

        The Tribunal really is trying to have its constitutional cake and eat it too.

  9. Paul 9

    Do you support NZ’s involvement in the TPP agreement?
    The Herald is asking for your views and comments
    Presently 6 in favour , 38 against.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11363630

  10. Dont worry. Be happy 10

    Hold your noses and visit the Herald. They are running a poll on whether NZ should sign the TPPA.

  11. I personally think that at the end of the day, whoever takes the seat just needs to put a little effort and compassion into his work and look out for all the people that he can. I mean a lot of this nonsense that they’re debating on comes from arguments that should be left in storage a long time ago instead of being constantly dragged out to no solution…

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  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    4 days ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    4 days ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    4 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    4 days ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    4 days ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    5 days ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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 ...
    6 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 ...
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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 ...
    7 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
    7 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
    The coronavirus pandemic has of course had a major impact on individual lives and on societies as a whole. But, long after the crisis has passed (assuming it does), we will begin to realise that its real and lasting significance lies in the lessons it has taught us, if only ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
    COVID-19 has plunged Aotearoa New Zealand (indeed, the world) into territory that, while maybe not totally unprecedented, certainly hasn’t been seen during the lifetimes of most of us here today. Our borders are closed to non-citizens, we’re being told not to gather in groups of more than 500 outside/100 inside, ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been urging you to prepare yourself, your family, business, and community for Covid-19. Now it’s time for real action.  Yesterday the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced another 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing our total to date to 52. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020 Editor's Pick Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts   Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed ...
    1 week ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago
  • Nobody Left Behind.
    Solidarity Forever: All over the world, the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has exposed the fragility of the walls we erect around ourselves and our loved ones. It has shattered our illusions of autonomy and revealed to us how utterly dependent we all are on other human-beings. Finally, we see ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rebuilding a truly “Democratic” counter, or a “moderate Republican” bolt-hol...
    Looking across the various arguments for/against the leading candidates to take the Democratic Nomination, you might honestly be very hard pressed to tell. There are a number of things that have now started happening since Amy Klobuchar and “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg both threw the towel in and immediately (and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion law reform a win for women
    by Daphna Whitmore Abortion is no longer in the Crimes Act in New Zealand. The law reform passed yesterday and now abortion is a medical matter between a woman and her doctor. Many women’s groups and progressive people have campaigned for reform for decades. The women’s liberation movement and some ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • How to spot bogus science stories and read the news like a scientist
    Doug Specht, University of Westminster and Julio Gimenez, University of Westminster When fake news, misreporting and alternative facts are everywhere, reading the news can be a challenge. Not only is there plenty of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other scientific topics floating around social media, you also ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus
    Michael Baker, University of Otago and Nick Wilson, University of Otago With some of the toughest border restrictions and a newly-announced NZ$500 million boost to health services, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand is also fortunate in ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Parliament and the pandemic II
    As expected, the government has introduced a sessional order to allow Parliament to operate during the pandemic. You can read it on the Order Paper here, but the short version is that questions and motions can be filed electronicly, select committees can work remotely, and the the Business Committee can ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • When a virus goes viral: pros and cons to the coronavirus spread on social media
    Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology; Daniel Angus, Queensland University of Technology; Timothy Graham, Queensland University of Technology, and Tobias R. Keller, Queensland University of Technology News and views about coronavirus has spread via social media in a way that no health emergency has done before. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago

  • 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
    4 hours 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
    6 hours ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day 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
    2 days 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
    3 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
    3 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
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