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NRT: This stinks

Written By: - Date published: 8:40 am, October 11th, 2017 - 71 comments
Categories: disaster, local government - Tags: , , ,

Reposted from No Right Turn

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In the wake of the Christchurch earthquakes, the government red-zoned a huge swathe of the city and used coercive buyouts to depopulate and demolish it on “safety” grounds. Now, having snapped up those properties cheaply due to the red-zoning, causing enormous losses to the victims, it now plans to re-offer them for residential development at a profit:

New housing has been confirmed as a possibility for Christchurch’s red zoned river corridor, after close to 7000 households were cleared off it following the earthquakes.

Crown-council agency Regenerate Christchurch on Friday included residential development on five out of 10 land use options it announced for the 602 hectares.

Regenerate chief executive Ivan Iafeta said their goal was to find out how to make “the biggest contribution to Christchurch and New Zealand’s future”.

As one former red-zone resident points out, this is unfair. It looks like they’ve been cleared away for government profit. If the government had acquired this land under the Public Works Act, the former residents would have a right to buy it back. The same should apply to former red zone residents if their land has been deemed safe enough for people to live on.

71 comments on “NRT: This stinks”

  1. tc 1

    Disaster economics is the type of economics national do best.

    CHCH is a case study of the worst kind that NZ needs to be schooled over as most people outside of the main Island are oblivious to this type of abhorrent plunder that has become SOP under National.

    • weka 1.1

      Yes. Still can’t help but feel NZ left Chch to its fate.

      • Psych nurse 1.1.1

        But the true blue, man of the land,Nat supporting people of Kaikoura havn’t been left to the same fate.

        • Keepcalmcarryon 1.1.1.1

          Kaikoura quake is different for all sorts of reasons to be fair. I doubt the big spend is to do with it being a blue electorate.
          Virtually all the govt money in kk is for NICTR : welfare for roading companies to future proof the highway= put more trucks on it to keep those nat connected lobby groups happy.
          Spend on local business is smallfry but good PR.
          They ( non local company in charge) blew the govt money (and local contributions from tourist operators) for the harbour pretty quickly moving gravel out and back in with a digger instead of using barge from the get go.
          Some great work being done in places and some pockets being lined in others ( buy shares in a helicopter or monsoon bucket company next kk quake )

      • tc 1.1.2

        Didn’t look like they were all that interested themselves in sending a message to national via their voting patterns.

        This tended to make others outside chch think they were doing an OK job…..till you visited and went WTF does this still look in parts like mid 80’s West Beirut

        • weka 1.1.2.1

          I’d be interested to see a break down of voting by suburb and analysed by which suburbs got hit the worst by the quakes and which got shafted the worst after the quakes.

      • Sabine 1.1.3

        No NZ did not leave CHCH to its fate. We collected, volunteered, prayed, and did a many many other things to help. However we are not the government, and it is the National Government that has dropped the ball – or worst case never even picked it up – and people voted for this government. Again and again and again.

        And why do people always bask in bewilderment that a resource extraction orientated government does precisely what it advertises, run a profit for the few at the expense of the many. National! Sell, Sell, Sell. That is all they ever got.

  2. So smelly this one – profiting from others misery is sick.

  3. Michelle 3

    NZ never left chchs to it fate Weka chch went blue and now they still have the blues
    as tc said via their voting patterns the rest of NZers would naturally think they are happy with the status quo

    • weka 3.1

      Looks to me like a rough split between left and right,

      http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2014/electorate-5.html

      • Antoine 3.1.1

        A large chunk of Christchurch remains happy with National’s handling of the earthquake, as evidenced by their voting patterns.

        (I was expecting Christchurch to swing way red in 2017 as National’s response seemed to have gone well off the boil in the last few years, but I don’t live in Christchurch and like most who don’t, I misread the mood of the electorate.)

        A.

        • Jerko 3.1.1.1

          The Western suburbs have always been National. They went largely unscathed in the earthquakes. I know this because I was there. I was Redzoned in Avonside and I took the money and ran, never looking back. However I still get to vote for Port Hills after boarding with a friend for a year in Linwood and by virtue of the fact that I visit New Zealand for a week every two years. I rented a place in Ilam for a while. There was minimal damage to the unit I rented that backed onto a creek, except for the Concrete block garage. Anyway What I’d like to know is why the Port Hills electorate that has been Labour forever gave their party vote to National. Yes 5000 Labour voters party voted National. I believe it was because a. New Zealanders are pretty ignorant politically and b.There are a number of people who bought into Nationals bribes of Tax cuts and the other bullshit stories Lynton Cosby had them feed the media. That being said, the Red zoned land should never have been built on and should never be built on again. There is no amount of remediation that will fix liquifucked land – the land is still sitting on Liquified silt. It’s a swamp! If the National Party Govern again they will surely sell off the land to some foreign buyer/developer. That’s what they do.

          • Antoine 3.1.1.1.1

            > There is no amount of remediation that will fix liquifucked land – the land is still sitting on Liquified silt. It’s a swamp!

            I’m no expert on this. The original article mentions “filling and raising the land, and shoring it up with stone piles”. Is this not effective?

            A.

      • tracey 3.1.2

        You also have to look at where the 7000 went. They are probably not in Poto Williams electorate anymore. Anecdotally I have been told many moved to Rolleston area which puts them in Selwyn.

        Nonetheless there does seem to be a sense in this country that no matter how shafted people are by national they deserve another chance to deliver…

  4. adam 4

    And yet you will still cling to believing the state is good.

    • Who believes that Adam – i spose you mean nrt – can’t agree with that.

      • adam 4.1.1

        So you are happy for us to remove the state, because it fails at being good?

        • weka 4.1.1.1

          the state does good things too. I’ll be more interested in removing the state when I see some serious addressing of what it would be replaced with. For instance, no police force, how will women manage safety issues? Or if there is no welfare state, how will I live with no income and no ability to earn enough to live on?

          • adam 4.1.1.1.1

            So the state is good for you, as it keeps itself tethered to it.

            • weka 4.1.1.1.1.1

              “So the state is good for you”

              I wouldn’t say it’s good for me so much as it provides things that need replacing if the state is removed.

              “as it keeps itself tethered to it.”

              I don’t know what that means. As the state keeps the state tethered to the state?

    • Stuart Munro 4.2

      The state is the current unit of political accountability. Globalisation = less accountability. Anarchy is simply a very bad idea – unless you’re a predatory corporation.

      • adam 4.2.1

        Your funny Stuart Munro – how has the last 9 years been any sort of accounting for those who took their own lives, the people losing their houses and made homeless, the deaths in prison, the murders by the police.

        Where is this accountability you talk of?

        All I’m seeing is the predatory corporations getting what they want, profit – at any cost. That is the state perpetuating that, not the absence of a state.

        • Stuart Munro 4.2.1.1

          That is because the current crop of thieves and scoundrels pretending to the mantle of Westminster descended governance are a pack of crooks and scofflaws who don’t give a deleted expletive about their people much less their country.

          Traditionally such behavior entails certain risks, not least of which are charges of treason, writs of attainder, and an opportunity to ‘show what they are made of’.

          Until we revive these important checks and balances our outlook is bleak. But one should not mistake the outcomes of a failure to govern for a failure of the nation state per se.

          An anarchist state would suffer from the same malaise, but the citizens would have no constitutional apparatus for bringing the guilty to heel. We would be obliged to adopt more spontaneous forms of political censure that, typically, are a short cut to despotism.

  5. Antoine 5

    It’s weird to characterise the red zone offer, and subsequent plans to sell some of the red zone, as profiteering.

    The land was bought at a generous price and since lost almost all its commercial value. Even if the Government does manage to get some money for bits of the red zone, it will still have made a substantial loss on the deal. That loss has gone to the pockets of the red zone residents to (in many cases) save them from financial ruin.

    A.

    • Stuart Munro 5.1

      I think you’ll find many of those obliged to relocate would not agree.

      Compensation was not generous, and resulted in numerous court cases, which the government generally lost. https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/95319282/quake-outcasts-decision-unlawful-for-govt-to-discriminate-in-red-zone-buyout

      It was just another instance of Gerry Brownlee riding roughshod over NZ voters – not in his own electorate of course. They got pampered.

      • tracey 5.1.1

        And the stress which goes way beyond a financial value

        • Antoine 5.1.1.1

          There was no way anyone in the red zone was going to escape without _some_ stress, whatever happened.

          I think most of them, exiting with a large cash settlement, would have ended up much happier than many landowners outside the red zone.

          A.

          • Stuart Munro 5.1.1.1.1

            Perhaps you should take the trouble to inform yourself about the issue before offering your opinion. I had family members in the red zone who would disabuse you of your fantasy in short order.

            • Antoine 5.1.1.1.1.1

              They’re not remainers are they? I understand the remainers have a pretty rough time

              A.

              • Stuart Munro

                Who and what they are is none of your business. They and their former neighbours are very well informed on the progress of events in the red zone and I can promise you none of them have a good word for the outgoing government.

                They hate them, and their neighbours hate them, and every day they marvel that Brownlee the crook remains at large.

          • tracey 5.1.1.1.2

            That shows a lack of understanding of how money compensates (or does not)stress. Relationships under stress can fail. Families under stress suffer mentally and this includes children. Young children feeling stress do not have the cognition to process the facts and turn it on themselves (somehow they are responsible for this stress in the family, what did they do or not do). lack of sleep. Physical health problems.

            Can you explain what you mean by “large cash settlement”?

            • Antoine 5.1.1.1.2.1

              > That shows a lack of understanding of how money compensates (or does not)stress.

              Of course, I appreciate that people in the red zone were stressed. I never said otherwise and it was never going to be otherwise. People outside the red zone were stressed too, for different reasons.

              > Can you explain what you mean by “large cash settlement”?

              Enough money to buy a home somewhere else. As opposed to the situation of someone outside the red zone, potentially waiting on an insurance settlement for years, unable to move.

              A.

              • tracey

                Ok so enough money to buy a similar home somewhere else is not necessarily the same as a “large cash settlement”, given the value of the majority of properties impacted were from poorer areas of Christchurch.

                we can also discuss the callousness of the insurance industry’s response and the part the govt played in that if you would like? Inextricably combined with what is anecdotedly described as corruption which is suggested to have been known about right up to Brownlee’s office and those attempting to shine a light on it dealt with swiftly.

                You can choose to intellectualise this Antoine, and use words like “appreciate” to suggest an understanding of the issues beyond monetary but it is ringing a little hollow tbh.

                • Antoine

                  > we can also discuss the callousness of the insurance industry’s response and the part the govt played in that if you would like? Inextricably combined with what is anecdotedly described as corruption which is suggested to have been known about right up to Brownlee’s office and those attempting to shine a light on it dealt with swiftly.

                  I don’t have a view on any of those things

                  > You can choose to intellectualise this Antoine, and use words like “appreciate” to suggest an understanding of the issues beyond monetary

                  The OP is about a monetary issue – profiteering – so my comments were about monetary issues as well.

                  A.

              • KJT

                It. In most cases, ended up as not enough money to get anywhere near replacing what they had lost. As speculators in Canterbury housing and land have made a killing.

        • Stuart Munro 5.1.1.2

          Yes – folk under stress, and many were after the earthquake, have fewer financial or nervous resources with which to contest Brownlee’s egregious theft.

    • tracey 5.2

      Generous? People had to sue the govt! That action alone is not cheap. Factor in the stress of beibg offered low ball… then suing your own govt.

      Can you post your evidence for the loss the govt will have made on the red zone even ” if it does manage to get some money”?

      • Antoine 5.2.1

        > Generous? People had to sue the govt!

        Is this with reference to uninsured land, where people were offered half the 2007 value (which is a lot better than the zero they would otherwise have got), and then sued the Govt, ending up with a new offer of 100% of the 2007 value (generous to the point of creating moral hazard)?

        > Can you post your evidence for the loss the govt will have made on the red zone even ” if it does manage to get some money”?

        Easy, right now they are about $1.3B in the hole: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/96144297/govt-spent-15-billion-acquiring-christchurch-red-zone-land-thats-now-worth-just-21m

        A.

        • Stuart Munro 5.2.1.1

          The court obliged the government to lift the offer because it was manifestly unjust.

          So it wasn’t generous at all – why are you trying to sell this outrageous nonsense?

          • Antoine 5.2.1.1.1

            I just explained that. The first offer would still have been better than the nil that uninsured parties might rightly expect. The second offer, which was what they actually got following legal action, was generous.

            Red zoned people should know they are unlikely to have done better under a different Govt.

            A.

            • Stuart Munro 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Oh I don’t know – a government that did not conspire to rob them of their land with a view to profiting from it later might have behaved very differently.

              It’s fair to say that Christchurch people suffered greatly from Brownlee’s greed and corruption – he even went so far as to load CERA with fraudsters.

              Red zoned people know that they were robbed by a government paid and sworn to protect their interests – they wouldn’t agree with a fool like you anytime soon.

            • tracey 5.2.1.1.1.2

              Maybe not better but quicker. And I base that on not all parties having a spreadsheet only or poll driven, approach to social justice.

            • tracey 5.2.1.1.1.3

              Are you saying the legal action did not impact the outcome for the people? You certainly cant be saying the Courts made a moral, rather than legal decision?

        • tracey 5.2.1.2

          Let’s wait and see if it is worth just $21m now that it has been rezoned and developers are hovering to build river view property. I wonder if the book value took account of this?

          Nonetheless you do seem to be quite blasé about the impacts of stress on human beings, for many over lots of years and that a stroke of a pen and some money can just undo all that harm.

          *I* am one of the people whose money helped these folks out and I have no doubt that whatever money they ended up with, in most cases, does not undo what they endured both as a result of the physical movement of the earth and the slow progress and barriers of govt and insurance companies.

          And to qualify this I was a leaky home owner, not because of an accident of nature but deliberate actions of human beings within the buliding industry and amongst legislators and regulators and there are tens of thousands in Auckland alone who cannot sell or repair their leaky homes, and most fall outside the 10 years to claim in Courts and to recover 25% from the govt.

          • Antoine 5.2.1.2.1

            > Nonetheless you do seem to be quite blasé about the impacts of stress on human beings

            I don’t think my views on the impacts of stress on human beings are relevant.

            NRT’s original post and most of the reactions to it above are predicated on the idea that the Government was profiteering on red zone land. That is, the Government bought the land cheap and will make money by flogging it off. Hence for instance Marty’s comment that “profiting from others misery is sick”.

            The primary purpose of my comments was to remind people that the Government will still end up having made a very large financial loss. The purchase of red zone land was never intended to be, and will not be, a profitable venture.

            The secondary purpose was to remind people that the red zone offer was on the whole reasonably generous in financial terms. Some years ago, this was the view of the majority of interested people both within and outside Christchurch, and I was surprised to find anyone arguing the reverse now.

            That is all.

            A.

            • Stuart Munro 5.2.1.2.1.1

              That is all nonsense.

              The offer was measly. The court found that it was inadequate. Moreover, the outgoing government has a prodigious talent for losing money – from SCF to Saudi sheep to flags to the Asian bank – these poltroons don’t a fucking fiscal clue. Why the already suffering citizens of the red zone must further subsidize Brownlee’s blithering incompetence is not apparent to anyone not a vile toady of that abominable failure of an administration. They need the proceeds from their property to rehouse themselves.

              The understanding under which they were deprived of their homes was that the area could not be made habitable – now suddenly it can. So it was a fraud. Par for the course from this disgusting graft-ridden cesspit of an administration. Many of these people put years of their lives into back-breaking toil clearing tonnes liquefaction to make their properties habitable once more. But they were ruled uninhabitable. Until Gerry was ready to profit from the theft. The bastard should be horse-whipped.

              • Antoine

                I dont really agree with any of that. Im just glad that some of the red zoned land, previously thought unfit for habitation,will now be put to use and some families will get homes there.

                A.

    • Jerko 5.3

      Really? And you know this because?

  6. RedLogix 6

    The Public Works Act has pretty much always allowed this sort of thing to happen; especially for road construction. It’s not at all uncommon for a large corridor of land to be compulsorily purchased for a new highway, way more than is required … and what is not used is later sold for a considerable profit.

    It’s rarely happened on this scale and it begs the question that if the land was condemned as ‘unsafe’ and this was the reason for the compulsory purchase, then how has it been ‘remediated’ and now deemed ‘safe’ for residential purposes.

    • Craig H 6.1

      It was always the case that the red-zoned land was deemed unsafe without remediation, not necessarily totally unsafe forever. Not that I agree other aspects of the process or some of the prices on offer, mind, but the government never ruled out selling some of the red zone as residential land after remediation, because it was always recognised that some of it was more about allowing people to move on and make a life elsewhere rather than trying to work through the insurance and EQC morass.

      • RedLogix 6.1.1

        Thanks … that does make sense.

        Maybe the old owners should have been given first option or right of refusal. That may well be have better optics.

        • Antoine 6.1.1.1

          While at the same time destroying any chance of getting substantial new developments in place any time soon.

          A.

          • tracey 6.1.1.1.1

            Why would that have destroyed chance of substantial new developments (needs defining btw) “any time soon”?

            Such offers have a reasonable time limit placed on them to exercise the option or refuse. Why should third party developers be a better option than owners returning to build their own building?

            • Antoine 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Well, I think giving ‘first right of refusal’ would have quickly led into an emotive morass with no end in sight and few or no dwellings getting constructed. If you have a different view as to what would have taken place, that’s fine.

              Anyway, it’s a moot point as the original red zone offer provided no right of refusal. Indeed, I think it would have been a mistake to include such in the offer, as it would have given many false hope as to the ongoing viability of their property.

              A.

              • Jerko

                Actually after the Sept 4 earthquake – the biggest one, they fully intended to remediate the land where I lived in the Avon Loop. It was going to take forever for them to even know if it would work and then the second and third earthquakes hit each one depositing more silt and each time my garage sinking further and the house tilting. Try r mediating that. It would have cost billions more to have fixed the land and the houses on it. The Government and Insurance were off the hook. There is no way I would ever buy any of that land again and it should never be built on – ever!

      • greywarshark 6.1.2

        The people did try to introduce some raional thinkingand cost benefit analysis and community support combined, into government thinking but lost.

        http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/6821886/Former-TV-host-looks-for-answers
        When the entire Brooklands suburb was red-zoned by Cera, [Olly] Ohlson helped set up the community group of 50 families called Brooklands Stayers.

        He is filming the community’s struggles and progress, and has plans to turn the footage into a documentary….
        His own home has been red-zoned and, like others, he has been caught in the insurance twist where the insurance company will only pay the amount to fix a home, rather than the amount to replace it – even though the house will be lost because it is on land that the homeowner has to leave….

        “The legal opinion by Dr Duncan Webb, a partner in the Christchurch law firm Lane Neave, provides some hope for red-zoned residents such as myself. He has stated: ‘It is our view that on the terms of standard insurance policies, other than those expressly limited only to physical loss, that where a property is in the red zone the obligations of the insurer will be to replace that property’.

        “This means therefore that everyone in a red-zone area should be rebuilt or alternatively cashed up to that amount.
        “Based on this legal opinion there could be an avenue for people to take insurers to court in retrospect for losses they incur as a result of being bullied into accepting the Government’s offers.”

        Ohlson says Prime Minister John Key should instruct Earthquake Minister Gerry Brownlee to fix the land at an estimated maximum cost of $45m as opposed to the cost of red-zoning, estimated to be $57.7m. “These figures were from documents released by Cera,” Ohlson says.

  7. Jum 7

    read Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine and Christchurch will know it’s been had by political and privatisation greed, that benefits from people’s misery.

  8. Pat 8

    for anyone who wishes to begin an understanding of the Christchurch EQ experience….and keep in mind the statement from John Key shortly after the Feb 2011 quake (from memory) re winners and losers……Christchurchs recent history has indeed been a very different experience depending on which side you fell….
    it begs the question ‘what is the role of government’…..especially when the government adopted exactly the same strategies as the private insurers.

    https://thechristchurchfiasco.wordpress.com/

    and a search of the phrase ‘delay, deny, defend will assist

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    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    3 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    11 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
    13 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
    17 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
    17 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
    20 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
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