National’s ICT failures.

Written By: - Date published: 10:55 pm, March 4th, 2014 - 23 comments
Categories: labour, national, same old national, Steven Joyce, telecommunications - Tags: , ,

After having the past five and bit years with National’s negative policies about anything to do with new technologies, it is really nice to see some effective red-tinged morning ideas appearing on the sky’s horizon.  Of course that they were accidentally released because of a technology screw up does make them somewhat more delicious. And no it wasn’t Clare Curran who screwed up. She just took the hit.

Of course getting caught by a slow auto-fill in a email program is a classic mistake. In this case it meant typing in the correct recipient but getting caught hitting return on the first (?)  person in the parliamentary database – Amy Adams. She happens to the opposition’s minister for doing stuff slowly and very reluctantly – currently:-

  • Minister for the Environment
  • Minister for Communications and Information Technology
  • Associate Minister for Canterbury Earthquake Recovery

You have to remember that National has since 2008 managed to do exactly two things in the infotech area as far as I’m aware. They have been most notable for doing  both extremely badly. Slowly dragging out a rollout of fibre, and surveillance

Their takeover of the Labour policy for a fibre rollout has been a monument to how slow it was possible to make something happen. The current plan is to get to 75% of household by 2019 – 11 years after they promised to start. They over-promised what was feasible, fibre to the home (FTTH) rather than Labour’s much more feasible fibre to the cabinet (FTTC)  and then they funded it for less than Labour’s proposal. That is why it has been so damn slow. Most of the time was simply trying to get corporates to come to the party, and since then they have  managed to finish the fibre to the node (FTTN) that was already underway prior to any political proposals.

It was also a comedy of errors,  because while some of the first zones to be done were where there were high density residential housing in the central cities. However some idiot (probably Stephen Joyce) managed to forget that high density housing often consists of apartments. The agreements didn’t negotiate exactly how the fibre was going to be taken to those apartments. Consequently it is only in the last six months that there has been any take up in strata-title apartment buildings. 

This is one of the main reasons that residential take up has been so slow.

The other has been that most people really don’t need fibre speeds. Quite simply the servers of content are mostly offshore and we have some of the worlds slowest download speeds to the major suppliers. It doesn’t really matter how fast the download connection is when you can’t get data at anything more than a fraction of the speed.  We have a single expensive and rather rationed pipe the Southern Cross cable between us and the rest of the world from a monopoly supplier.

Where we have some local content providers, the speed on the local network is great. But with the exception of the Ubuntu local download servers and the old TV and movie content on Quickflix nothing much runs at speeds above offshore links. Which is why Chorus is dragging their feet over the price differential between copper and fibre lines. They know that there won’t be any significiant takeup of residential fibre for some time. People can’t get anything faster than they already are.

The 20 megabits per second of a urban download ADSL link are more than ample for everything that is currently available.

But personally I’d love to have fibre at home. We have a need for it. But I’m a computer programmer and blogger who routinely pushes about 40-50GB from my desktops to servers every month for work and ‘pleasure’. My partner is a filmmaker who can easily push 100GB offshore when the festivals are on.

But we can’t get fibre installed to our house because it is an apartment, and despite the fibre being laid outside the block nearly a year ago. So both of us are selling intellectual property exports to the world at a maximum and incredibly sluggish rate of just over 100 kilobytes per second. It takes about 3 hours to send a gigabyte of data offshore, about an hour to restore the database for this site at a server, and about 12 hours to send a copy of a documentary to a festival.

Then there is the problem caused by National’s other ICT venture in the last 5 years. They have massively increased the potential level of legal surveillance by bodies like police, SIS, customs, GCSB, and any of the GCSB’s 5 eyes partners.

After having watched these various bodies massively misusing their powers of undocumented and unsupervised surveillance over the last 6 years both with people I know and with apparently almost everyone, I now routinely run much of my traffic over encrypted streams. They re-enter the net in countries that don’t have policies that confuse democratic activism with subversion and view commercial espionage as their rationale for operations.

I’m not exactly alone. This means at present I spend a lot of time squirting data from NZ to a location somewhere in the world that isn’t the 5-eyes territory, to come back into NZ. I’m not alone. After seeing the disasters that National and other foolish governments have been making with their security policies pandering to paranoid dickheads and commercial spying and it’s impact on the net, I just do this to increase the amount of encrypted traffic they have to handle.

I guess National seems to enjoy slowing down the net. I really haven’t liked the lack of new local tech startups recently. It means that when the current crop of startups fostered prior to 2009 either grow to maturity and usually move closer to their markets or die, that the industries that support them also dies. The R&D and developmental assistance that National has slashed is one part of it. The other is the lack of suitable ICT infrastructure for all types of tech companies. It is just so damn short-sighted. But we’d be lost without National trying to support the commodity industries and their crony capitalists in the way that their fathers did..

Digging through the Labour’s ideas. They won’t be able to do all of them immediately, but at least they seem to be looking at doing something. I’ll write some more on those in a few days.

23 comments on “National’s ICT failures. ”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    I’m now on VDSL. I get 40Mb down, 10Mb up, $95/month for 200gb including VOIP line.

    Fibre isn’t actually an attractive alternative to me because what I have now is well-fast enough.

    I saw a story on Slashdot within the last few months about new technology pushing 100Mb+ speeds over plain telephone copper.

    In this context, FTTH sounds like a 2003-2004 solution, with new ADSL technologies catching up in capability. FTTC as the standard practice would have been much more sane.

    • Paul Campbell 1.1

      VDSL is iffy, depends a lot on how close you are to the cabinet – I get ~22 down, lots of errors, and it stops when it rains

      (puts on hardware designer’s hat) 100Mb/s over copper will be equally, if not more iffy and will run more risk on radiating into the RF spectrum – it probably wont work to my house 3 blocks from the cabinet

      Do you really think that Chorus will spend money speed up copper if they have fibre installed (that makes no sense) – if we had 2 competing suppliers (Chorus with copper and someone else with fibre) we might see that now we’re stuck – Chorus chose it’s monopoly position, it needs to suck it up and also accept the regulation of its prices that must come with being a monopoly

      • Lanthanide 1.1.1

        ???

        Not sure what your final paragraph is about. My point is if we had fibre to the cabinet, Chorus wouldn’t have a FTTH network. So they would of course invest in whatever was the cheapest and most effective technology for the last mile, which could be new flavours of DSL, or it could be fibre, or it could be cable, or some new form of wireless, or combinations of all of them depending on the locality. But now that they’re going to have a FTTH, they’re stuck with it, even if it isn’t the optimal technology in a lot of places – as Lynn has already made clear with the apartment situation.

        • Paul Campbell 1.1.1.1

          I’m pretty sure Chorus already has fibre to the cabinets – just not to the block – that’s the ATM loop that your DSL backends on to

          The apartment issue is simply that no one’s figured out who’s responsibility it is to plumb the fibre into the apartments from the street (Chorus? the landlord? the tenants?) it’s a similar sort of issue if you’re going to plumb Sky from a single dish (someone has to pay to build a splitter/amplifier tree to feed all the apartments – fortunately cheaper in NZ because orbital slots are not at a premium)

          Wireless is OK in some places – Christchurch maybe – but not here in Dunedin with its crinkly topography

          Oh – my final paragraph is about National (despite their claims to free markets) giving their mates a monopoly contract that’s not in our interest rather than setting up something that might leave us with cheaper connections

          • lprent 1.1.1.1.1

            The apartment issue is simply that no one’s figured out who’s responsibility it is to plumb the fibre into the apartments from the street (Chorus? the landlord? the tenants?)

            Exactly. But think what a FTTH actually means in the context of apartments. And you haven’t seen the other obvious legal issues with apartments?

            The distribution box that is owned and run by chorus is typically stashed in the bowels of the apartment block. Thats where they’d have to pull the fibre from the street to. Probably a single fibre to some kind of junction from what I’ve heard. Then like the copper you have to take a single fibre strand from there, distribute around the cable trays and up into the apartments. Chorus have now taken about 3 months to start talking about doing the first bit – after innumerable meetings.

            Apartments are typically owned on a strata title where the body corporate controls all of the communal areas. The apartment owners – typically in a average mix of ~25-30% owner-occupier and the rest rentals – have little or no permission to install anything in communal areas. It is also a owner democracy. Purchases have to agreed with at least half of the owners agreeing.

            In my apartment block of 60 apartments this means about 45 owners. Two thirds of whom will turn up. The ideal would be to fibre ALL apartments at the same time. But bearing in mind that most of the land lords would see no point of return to them, it isn’t going to happen.

            So now it becomes up to each owner and their ISP. Some of whom will want to get a fibre interface, others who’d probably prefer to just use existing copper to the fibre, and others who’d probably want to something weird like install CAT6.

            It all HAS to be done on the interior of the building and through the cramped cableways for a three story building….

            Complete confusion reigns, especially for those on our third floor.

            I hate to think what happens in a 12 story apartment block. One guy I know just pushed it all through his body corporate and has it installed. It took 10 months. He got it installed and running. Then someone contracted by Chorus accidentally pulled the whole building off line at the exchange.

            Now he has just dumped Orcon and moved to a ISP who doesn’t have a 3 day callback policy from the Philippines for a dealing with an outage. He hung on the phone for an hour to get through to Orcon sales to tell them where to stick their contract because they hadn’t held up their side. Then he rang a telco contractor and had it fixed in 20 minutes.

            BTW: Orcon’s support completely sucks these days. I’m dumping them as well as soon as I move to fibre, VDSL, or whatever. Couple of thousand dollars per year of business that I’ve had for them for the last 8 (?) years. Stupidest thing that I have ever seen was them cutting their NZ support operation – it was pretty adequete. That was why I moved to them in the first place.

            When I have to waste time getting stuff fixed, the last thing I need is a techno illiterate with a bad script. What I want them to do is to test my link and router from their side now (because I have already checked everything on my side to errors at the router) rather than on the 3rd call.

            • Lanthanide 1.1.1.1.1.1

              I dumped Orcon and moved to Snap. I signed up with Orcon ’cause they gave me a really good deal with 2 months of a 12 month contract free (in total it was a $260 discount). But they royally fucked up the initial provisioning and install, I got absolutely no where with their customer support phone numbers – promised to fix the problems but never did. Tech support was surprisingly helpful, though. In the end I complained on their Facebook page and the guy there magically fixed everything in a few minutes.

              Also when I tried to leave them I had to ring up about 8 times. It appears saying “I want to cancel and I realise I have 1 month left of contract” doesn’t actually mean you have cancelled, it just means you have the intent to cancel. So I had to call back to confirm dates, and ended up having to push it back by a week because Snap never bothered to tell me that I had to be at home when the Chorus person installed the VDSL connection (my previously dealings with Chorus I never saw the technicians, they did everything at the exchange). Then finally, because Orcon have an antiquated billing system and the delay with Snap pushed the final date of service to the 23rd of the month, they billed me for an entire month in advance of which I would be using exactly 0 days service, then sent me a letter saying I was in arrears and they’d send debt collectors after me because I hadn’t paid it. The next month they reversed the charges.

              • David H

                Hmmm Maybe i’ll just stick with Slingshot ADSL. My speed ranges from 6Megabits to 15 on a good day but it don’t matter the fastest I have ever seen a d/load go here is 1.2M I have a package of 200gig with data rollover so I have about 700 gig’s to burn a home ph and 2 cell phones so is not a bad package for what I pay. But then again the biggest files I grab are about 9 gig’s. And after hearing the horror stories of Orcon. And after Telstra clear I swore NEVER again will I go with a company with a helpdesk in the Phillipines.

              • Paul Campbell

                I too dumped orcon and moved to Snap about a year ago too – largely because when asked they said “we’re doing fibre, not VDSL” and as I said we’re not getting fibre any time soon – Chorus seem to be spending their money in Auckland where the returns are larger (yes all those apartment buildings).

                Here in Dunedin we were screwed by the “unbundling” while Orcon et al spent their money installing their gear in high profit exchanges in Auckland Telecom/Chorus rushed out installing dslams in boxes in the neighbourhoods where they knew there was no room for 3rd party gear

    • Paul Campbell 1.2

      (I should add VDSL is generally better than ADSL, even mine is, even though its performance is ‘lumpy’ – just not as good for every one as you see)

    • Chris 1.3

      I see your point – VDSL works for you, but you’re very wrong about the capabilities of copper vs. fibre. For all this govt’s retardedness, doing FTTH, at least as a concept, is a great idea that will provide us with good infrastructure free of contention and latency problems for years.

      FTTH is the most desirable option and we should absolutely be supporting the national rollout, even if it should probably have been better managed. FTTC is a half-assed hack, leave that shit to Tony Abbot.

      • lprent 1.3.1

        Problem with FTTH the way Steve Joyce, Amy Adams, etc rolled it out is that it amounts to a subsidy for people living in villas in leafy suburbs and businesses – because that is who the policy is designed for.

        Occasionally by accident it manages to offer the opportunity for those who could use it productively, but unless you live in a villa like so few working programmers do in auckland (they live in apartments) it will cost a lot of time, money and effort to install. Creative businesses it helps. But it wasn’t sold as a subsidy to a small group of businesses.

        So far about the only useful economic benefit has been the supply to schools. The problem is that they aren’t funded for the cost of using the bandwidth. So take up of its use is low and (you guessed it) largely confined to schools of the affluent whom can afford large school fees.

        Basically FTTC would have been a whole lot more equitable. Then those who needed it could have simply brought a link without all of the silly pissing around that we aporn and gaming etting from chorus, and we wouldn’t collectively subsidizing the porn habits of the affluent villa owners.

        This incidentally is why as a programmer who spent much of my career working from home on servers offshore that I thought that the FTTH was stupidity made up by politicians less concerned by its economic benefit and more about supporting the use of online porn by their constituents.

        Nothing about about its implementation has caused me to change that opinion. I think it sucks as a idea.

  2. Paul Campbell 2

    I work at home, consult for US companies – I blew 4 hours yesterday sitting on my thumbs pulling a software tree from my client – I have (crappy, unreliable) VDSL I’d love fibre, they’ve installed it all around my neighbourhood but not into it – the install date changes periodically, started at 2015, now it’s some time after 2016. A friend elsewhere in Dunedin is a core firefox developer, according to Chorus I don’t think he’s going to see it, at least not according to their maps, he’s in a poorer part of town (Mongrel Mob territory) apparently only the rich are getting fibre

    Have you tried calling Chorus – they closed their Dunedin office when they laid off all their technicians and rehired them as “independent contractors” so I can’y knock on their door, call their 800 number and ask to talk to whoever’s in charge of deciding when fibre will be installed in Dunedin and you get the worst runaround – it’s so transparent it’s silly, even the person answering the phone couldn’t keep a straight face.

    Remember now that Chorus is a monopoly we’re not the customers, we’re what they are selling

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    @lanthanide

    ftth is the optimum solution. The problem is that it should be 1gbps both ways rather than the 100/30 top speed that were getting.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      The most expensive part is laying the fibre. Once it’s in, increasing the speed is an easier problem that can gradually happen over time as HW prices come down.

      So yes, fibre is likely to be more future proof than copper wires can be, but at the moment there isn’t a great use-case for fibre – all we’re told is that it will let us view television over broadband instead of through the air, but that’s not actually providing us anything new. So in the short-medium term, FTTC + investing in other last-mile technology seems like a better use of money.

      Similarly, instead of getting FTTH in the 30 biggest towns/cities in the country, focussing on FTTC in those 30 towns/cities, and then increasing rural broadband rollout, would benefit the country much more.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        So yes, fibre is likely to be more future proof than copper wires can be, but at the moment there isn’t a great use-case for fibre – all we’re told is that it will let us view television over broadband instead of through the air, but that’s not actually providing us anything new.

        Considering my hobby of CGI I tend to think more in terms of the possibility of collaboration. You see more and more of this happening around the world. Musicians and others getting together across the net to produce music, video and other forms of work that requires many people. The type of collaboration that can only be done with a reliable high-speed internet connection.

        Similarly, instead of getting FTTH in the 30 biggest towns/cities in the country, focussing on FTTC in those 30 towns/cities, and then increasing rural broadband rollout, would benefit the country much more.

        We could actually do both but that would require employing a few thousand more people which would drive wages up against John Key’s and National’s desire to lower wages. As I’ve said for a while now, we have the resources, we just don’t seem to have the political will to actually use them.

        • Sacha 3.1.1.1

          Totally. Killer app for many people/businesses may be high-definition videoconferencing. Spending another few billion on proper fibre would make way more sense than on highways. Elect smarter governments, people.

  4. Keiv 4

    1Gb upload on VDSL would be around 17 mins.

    Personally switched to VDSL 18 months ago and it’s been rock solid, 40 down, 10 up.

    I tend to download & then re-upload work material from home to works local ftp site, as work offices currently only get adsl2+ (20/1).

  5. NZ Jester 5

    That’s the problem with the current fiber roll out in New Zealand. Until we get some competition in the link in/out of New Zealand, all we really have is just a fast intranet and not fast internet.
    I have downloaded files from overseas that should have only taken a quarter of the time they actually did with the speed of my ADSL. If I upgraded to fiber once available to me, only local New Zealand content will be faster and all the international stuff will still be exactly the same speed. I doubt the time it took me to download the ISO images of a few of the Linux distributions at home to play around with while I was on a Hardware and Operating systems course last year would have been any faster.
    I also found it very frustrating trying to download the large ISO images due to a few times getting time outs on a few of the downloads that made me have to restart those downloads all over again.
    I ended up just downloading and trying out only 3 of the various Linux distributions instead of all the ones I wanted to compare.
    I had to use my home internet sparingly also for the rest of the month when I was getting the ISO image of the Fedora Linux install DVD at 3.57GB in size. I used up a lot of wasted Gigabytes from my monthly data cap as it twice stalled out and canceled after getting just over 3GB in the downloads. So just getting that one DVD used up about half my monthly data allowance of 20GB.
    Something that should have only taken me a week to do to compare the Linux distributions ended up taking me a couple of months due to download problems/speeds and my internet cap.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      There are usually local mirrors for most genuine linux ISOs (as opposed to things people sometimes euphemistically called linux ISOs).
      Use bittorrent when downloading anything big, if possible. It’s likely to be much faster, and you won’t have the problem of having to throw everything away and starting from scratch if it ‘fails at the last minute’.

  6. RedBaronCV 6

    And at a totally non tech pededestrian people level, everytime I hear the well paid in govt waxing on about iGovt I think, – great for all those people who can barely afford a few minutes of prepaid cellphone – they are totally locked out . If govt want to use it then they need to have people hooked up to it.

    • lprent 6.1

      That was why the hints at minimal allocation of bandwidth were interesting. It’d be reasonably cheap to provide a targeted allocation. It’d probably be pretty good for providing opportunities as well.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      If it becomes a right to have access to the internet then there’s no problem with affordability – it will be supplied.

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    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why we shouldn’t buy new planes for the PM
    Its not often that one has to agree with Judith Collins, but yes, it would indeed cost “hundreds of millions of dollars” (at least) to buy replacement aircraft to fly the Prime Minister on his overseas missions of diplomacy and trade. And yes, the public might well regard that spending ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    5 days ago
  • The Stadium Debate – What About the Transport Options?
    A few weeks ago, Auckland Council took another step in the long-running stadium saga, narrowing its shortlist down to two options for which they will now seek feasibility studies. The recommendation to move forward with a feasibility study was carried twenty to one by the council’s Governing Body for the ...
    5 days ago
  • Bernard’s mid-winter pick ‘n’ mix for Thursday, June 20
    Social Development Minister Louise Upston has defended the Government’s decision to save money by dumping a programme which tops up the pay of disabled workers. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: It has emerged the National-ACT-NZ First Government decided to cut wages for disabled workers from the minimum wage to $2 an hour ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Where the power really resides in Wellington
    The new Chief Executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) yesterday gave a Select Committee a brutally frank outline of the department’s role as the agency right at the centre of power in Wellington. Ben King, formerly a deputy Chief Executive at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Climate Adam: Why we're still losing the fight against Methane
    This video includes conclusions of the creator climate scientist Dr. Adam Levy. It is presented to our readers as an informed perspective. Please see video description for references (if any). Carbon dioxide is the main culprit behind climate change. But in second place is methane: a greenhouse gas stronger than CO2, ...
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: More ETS failure
    A few weeks ago, I blogged about the (then) upcoming ETS auction, raising the prospect of it failing, leaving the government with a messy budget hole. The auction was today, and indeed, it failed. In fact, it was such a failure that no-one even bothered to bid. Its easy to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The Return of Jacinda.
    Oh, take me, take me, take meTo the dreamer's ballI'll be right on time and I'll dress so fineYou're gonna love me when you see meI won't have to worryTake me, take mePromise not to wake me'Til it's morningIt's all been trueEarly morning yesterday, well before dawn, doom-scrolling.Not intentionally, that’s ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • How good is the interim NW busway?
    This is a guest post by Pshem Kowalczyk, a long-time follower of the blog. With great fanfare, just over six months ago (on 12 November 2023), AT launched its interim busway for the NorthWest region, with the new WX express service at the heart of the changes. I live ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    6 days ago
  • Consumer confidence collapses after Budget, in contrast with rest of world
    The first widespread survey of consumers and voters since the Budget on May 30 shows a collapse in confidence. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The belt-tightening and tax-cutting Budget delivered on May 30 has not delivered the boost to confidence in the economy the National-ACT-NZ First Government might have ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The end for the Air Force 757s
    The Air Force 757 that broke down with the Prime Minister on board in Port Moresby on Sunday is considered so unreliable that it carries a substantial stock of spare parts when it travels overseas. And the plane also carries an Air Force maintenance team on board ready to make ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • At a glance – Was 1934 the hottest year on record?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    6 days ago
  • It's not New Zealand they've never heard of, it's him
    Sometimes you’ll just be so dog-tired, you can only keep yourself awake with a short stab of self-inflicted pain.A quick bite of the lip, for instance.Maybe a slight bite on the tongue or a dig of the nails.But what if you’re needing something a bit more painful?The solution is as ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    7 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” II
    Last month I blogged about the Ministry of Justice's Open Government Partnership commitment to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation", and how their existing efforts did not give much reason for confidence. As part of that, I mentioned that I had asked the Ministry for its ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why the Biden “peace plan” for Gaza is doomed
    After months and months of blocking every attempt by the UN and everyone else to achieve a Gaza ceasefire, US President Joe Biden is now marketing his own three-stage “peace plan” to end the conflict. Like every other contribution by the US since October 7, the Biden initiative is hobbled ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    7 days ago
  • Raised crossings: hearing the voice of vulnerable pedestrians
    This is a guest post by Vivian Naylor, who is the Barrier Free Advisor and Educator at CCS Disability Action, Northern Region, the largest disability support and advocacy organisation in Aotearoa New Zealand. She also advises on AT’s Public Transport and Capital Projects Accessibility Groups. Vivian has been advocating and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    7 days ago
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane
    So kiss me and smile for meTell me that you'll wait for meHold me like you'll never let me go'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet planeDon't know when I'll be back againOh babe, I hate to go“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    7 days ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Tuesday, June 18
    The election promises of ‘better economic management’ are now ringing hollow, as NZ appears to be falling into a deeper recession, while other economies are turning the corner. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The economy and the housing market are slumping back into a deep recession this winter, contrasting ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • Scrutiny week off to rocky start
    Parliament’s new “Scrutiny” process, which is supposed to allow Select Committees to interrogate Ministers and officials in much more depth, has got off to a rocky start. Yesterday was the first day of “Scrutiny Week” which is supposed to see the Government grilled on how it spends taxpayers’ money and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • The choice could not be more stark’: How Trump and Biden compare on climate change
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Barbara Grady Illustration by Samantha Harrington. Photo credits: Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, European Space Agency. In an empty wind-swept field in Richmond, California, next to the county landfill, a company called RavenSr has plotted out land and won ...
    1 week ago
  • Differentiating between democracy and republic
    Although NZ readers may not be that interested in the subject and in lieu of US Fathers Day missives (not celebrated in NZ), I thought I would lay out some brief thoughts on a political subject being debated in the … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 17
    TL;DR: Chris Bishop talks up the use of value capture, congestion charging, PPPs, water meters, tolling and rebating GST on building materials to councils to ramp up infrastructure investment in the absence of the Government simply borrowing more to provide the capital.Meanwhile, Christopher Luxon wants to double the number of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • You do have the power to change things
    When I was invited to come aboard and help with Greater Auckland a few months ago (thanks to Patrick!), it was suggested it might be a good idea to write some sort of autobiographical post by way of an introduction. This post isn’t quite that – although I’m sure I’lll ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Turning Away – Who Cares If We Don't?
    On the turning awayFrom the pale and downtroddenAnd the words they say which we won't understandDon't accept that, what's happeningIs just a case of other's sufferingOr you'll find that you're joining inThe turning awayToday’s guest kōrero is from Author Catherine Lea. So without further ado, over to Catherine…I’m so honoured ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Dissecting Tickled
    Hi,Tickled was one of the craziest things that ever happened to me (and I feel like a lot of crazy things have happened to me).So ahead of the Webworm popup and Tickled screening in New Zealand on July 13, I thought I’d write about how we made that film and ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Webworm Popup + Tickled!
    Hi,I’m doing a Webworm merch popup followed by a Tickled screening in Auckland, New Zealand on July 13th — and I’d love you to come. I got the urge to do this while writing this Webworm piece breaking down how we made Tickled, and talking to all the people who ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • What China wants from NZ business
    One simple statistic said it all: China Premier Li Qiang asked Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell what percentage of the company’s overall sales were made in China. “Thirty per cent,” said Hurrell. In other words, New Zealand’s largest company is more or less dependent on the Chinese market. But Hurrell is ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Review: The Worm Ouroboros, by E.R. Eddison (1922)
    One occasionally runs into the question of what J.R.R. Tolkien would have thought of George R.R. Martin. For years, I had a go-to online answer: we could use a stand-in. Tolkien’s thoughts on E.R. Eddison – that he appreciated the invented world, but thought the invented names were silly, and ...
    1 week ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24
    A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 9, 2024 thru Sat, June 15, 2024. Story of the week A glance at this week's inventory of what experts tell us is extreme weather mayhem juiced by ...
    1 week ago
  • Sunday Morning Chat
    After a busy week it’s a good day to relax. Clear blues skies here in Tamaki Makaurau, very peaceful but for my dogs sleeping heavily. In the absence of a full newsletter I thought I’d send out a brief update and share a couple of posts that popped up in ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The Book of Henry
    Now in the land of Angus beef and the mighty ABsWhere the steaks were juicy and the rivers did run foulIt would often be said,This meal is terrible,andNo, for real this is legit the worst thing I've ever eatenBut this was an thing said only to others at the table,not ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Fact Brief – Is ocean acidification from human activities enough to impact marine ecosystems?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from the Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is ocean acidification from human ...
    1 week ago
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
    She's not a girl who misses muchDo do do do do do, oh yeahShe's well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet handLike a lizard on a window paneI wouldn’t associate ACT with warmth, other than a certain fabled, notoriously hot, destination where surely they’re heading and many would like them ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Still doing a good 20
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Coalition of the Unwilling?
    What does Budget 2024 tell us about the current government? Muddle on?Coalition governments are not new. About 50 percent of the time since the first MMP election, there has been a minority government, usually with allied parties holding ministerial portfolios outside cabinets. For 10 percent of the time there was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
    Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based ...
    2 weeks ago
  • All good, still
    1. On what subject is Paul Henry even remotely worth giving the time of day?a. The state of our nationb. The state of the ACT partyc. How to freak out potential buyers of your gin palace by baking the remains of your deceased parent into its fittings2. Now that New ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 weeks ago
  • The looting is the point
    Last time National was in power, they looted the state, privatising public assets and signing hugely wasteful public-private partnership (PPP) contracts which saw foreign consortiums provide substandard infrastructure while gouging us for profits. You only have to look at the ongoing fiasco of Transmission Gully to see how it was ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Illusion of Power: How Local Government Bureaucrats Overawe Democratically-Elected Councillors..
    The Democratic Façade Of Local Government: Our district and city councillors are democratically elected to govern their communities on one very strict condition – that they never, ever, under any circumstances, attempt to do so.A DISINTEGRATION OF LOYALTIES on the Wellington City Council has left Mayor Tory Whanau without a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Lowlights & Bright Spots
    I can feel the lowlights coming over meI can feel the lowlights, from the state I’m inI can see the light now even thought it’s dimA little glow on the horizonAnother week of lowlights from our government, with the odd bright spot and a glow on the horizon. The light ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 weeks ago
  • Weekly Roundup 14-June-2024
    Another week, another roundup of things that caught our eye on our favourite topics of transport, housing and how to make cities a little bit greater. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday, Connor wrote about Kāinga Ora’s role as an urban development agency Tuesday’s guest post by ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    2 weeks ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 14
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s moves this week to take farming out of the ETS and encourage more mining and oil and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate policy axed in broad daylight, while taxpayer liabilities grow in the dark
    In 2019, Shane Jones addressed the “50 Shades of Green” protest at Parliament: Now he is part of a government giving those farmers a pass on becoming part of the ETS, as well as threatening to lock in offshore oil exploration and mining for decades. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Here’s the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Rage Bait!
    Hi,Today’s newsletter is all about how easy it is to get sucked into “rage bait” online, and how easy it is to get played.But first I wanted to share something that elicited the exact opposite of rage in me — something that made me feel incredibly proud, whilst also making ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    2 weeks ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Friday, June 14
    Seymour said lower speed limits “drained the joy from life as people were forced to follow rules they knew made no sense.” File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Friday, June 14 were:The National/ACT/NZ First ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Friendly but frank talks with China Premier
    It sounded like the best word to describe yesterday’s talks between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and his heavyweight delegation of Ministers and officials and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and New Zealand Ministers and officials was “frank.” But it was the kind of frankness that friends can indulge in. It ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #24 2024
    Open access notables Wildfire smoke impacts lake ecosystems, Farruggia et al., Global Change Biology: We introduce the concept of the lake smoke-day, or the number of days any given lake is exposed to smoke in any given fire season, and quantify the total lake smoke-day exposure in North America from 2019 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Mathias Elle on UnsplashIt’s that new day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for our chat about the week’s news with special guests:5.00 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: China’s message to New Zealand – don’t put it all at risk
    Don’t put it all at risk. That’s likely to be the take-home message for New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in his meetings with Li Qiang, the Chinese Premier. Li’s visit to Wellington this week is the highest-ranking visit by a Chinese official since 2017. The trip down under – ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    2 weeks ago
  • The Real Thing
    I know the feelingIt is the real thingThe essence of the soulThe perfect momentThat golden momentI know you feel it tooI know the feelingIt is the real thingYou can't refuse the embraceNo?Sometimes we face the things we most dislike. A phobia or fear that must be confronted so it doesn’t ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 weeks ago

  • Transformative investment in cancer treatments and more new medicines
    The coalition Government is delivering up to 26 cancer treatments as part of an overall package of up to 54 more new medicines, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti and Associate Health Minister David Seymour announced today. “Pharmac estimates that around 175,000 people will benefit from the additional treatments in just ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • More support for drought-affected communities
    The coalition Government is providing more financial support to drought-stricken farmers and growers in many parts of the country to help with essential living costs. “Rural Assistance Payments have been made available in 38 districts affected by dry conditions to help eligible farmers and growers whose income has taken a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Job seekers to report on progress after six months from today
    A new requirement for people on Jobseeker Support benefits to meet with MSD after six months to assess how their job search is going gets underway today. About 20,000 Jobseeker beneficiaries with full-time work obligations are expected to attend MSD’s new ‘Work check-in’ seminars over the next 12 months, Social ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • New cops means more Police on the beat
    The decision to deploy more Police on the beat in Auckland CBD has been welcomed by Police Minister Mark Mitchell and Associate Police Minister Casey Costello. Starting from 1 July, an additional 21 police officers will be redeployed in Auckland City, bringing the total number of beat police in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government takes action to address youth crime
    The Government is introducing a new declaration for young offenders to ensure they face tougher consequences and are better supported to turn their lives around, Children’s Minister Karen Chhour announced today. The establishment of a Young Serious Offender declaration delivers on a coalition Government commitment and supports the Government’s target ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Reserve Bank chair reappointed
    Professor Neil Quigley has been reappointed as Chair of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Board for a further term of two years, until 30 June 2026.  “Professor Quigley has played a key role in establishing the new Board after the commencement of the new RBNZ Act on 1 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • School attendance increases
    School attendance data released today shows an increase in the number of students regularly attending school to 61.7 per cent in term one. This compares to 59.5 per cent in term one last year and 53.6 per cent in term four. “It is encouraging to see more children getting to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Record investment in public transport services
    The Government has announced a record 41 per cent increase in indicative funding for public transport services and operations, and confirmed the rollout of the National Ticketing Solution (NTS) that will enable contactless debit and credit card payments starting this year in Auckland, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“This Government is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy
    GDP figures for the March quarter reinforce the importance of restoring fiscal discipline to public spending and driving more economic growth, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  Data released today by Stats NZ shows GDP has risen 0.2 per cent for the quarter to March.   “While today’s data is technically in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Women continue to make up over 50 per cent on public sector boards
    Women’s representation on public sector boards and committees has reached 50 per cent or above for the fourth consecutive year, with women holding 53.9 per cent of public sector board roles, Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston says. “This is a fantastic achievement, but the work is not done. To ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government supporting Māori business success
    The Coalition Government is supporting Māori to boost development and the Māori economy through investment in projects that benefit the regions, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka say. “As the Regional Development Minister, I am focused on supporting Māori to succeed. The Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Better solutions for earthquake-prone buildings
    Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk has announced that the review into better managing the risks of earthquake-prone buildings has commenced. “The terms of reference published today demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring we get the balance right between public safety and costs to building owners,” Mr Penk says.  “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has just finished a successful three-day visit to Japan, where he strengthened political relationships and boosted business links. Mr Luxon’s visit culminated in a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio followed by a state dinner. “It was important for me to meet Prime Minister Kishida in person ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
    The Department of Internal Affairs [Department] is making a significant upgrade to their Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “The Department will incorporate the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
    A vaccine to prevent an infectious disease that costs New Zealand cattle farmers more than $190 million each year could radically improve the health of our cows and boost on-farm productivity, Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard says. The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project that aims to develop ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
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