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Obama delivers change

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, March 23rd, 2010 - 36 comments
Categories: health, us politics - Tags: ,

It has taken nearly a year and cost President Obama a lot of his popularity, thanks to the spineless behaviour of many House Democrats, but the final barrier has been passed to the US getting universal health-care.

Obama’s health reform bill passed the House yesterday by a narrow margin. It now needs to win a vote in the Senate, which is expected to be much more convincing, and then it goes for Obama’s signature.

Once the law comes into force, insurers will no longer be able to exclude children from coverage because of pre-existing conditions or put limits on pay-outs. The policy will expand until in 2014 it will become compulsory to have health insurance, which will be heavily subsidised for the poor.

It’s universal health-care. Not as we or citizens of other developed countries would recognise it, but a huge advance for a country where 50 million have no health-care coverage and many millions more are under-insured.

Until now, many millions of Americans have been cut out of the health system while private insurers have spent billions denying them coverage. This is why the country’s health statistics are so appalling. Hopefully, that will now start to change and Americans will get a health system that is actually focused on delivering health-care to all, rather than avoiding insurance pay-outs.

It’s stunning to realise how backward the US is on something so basic as access to health-care. Finally, the US is catching up with the 20th century.

So congratulations to Obama. Even if this was his one great achievement it would be worthwhile. I expect now that the issue is settled the fire will go out of the Right’s hysteria and Obama’s reputation will go from strength to strength.

36 comments on “Obama delivers change”

  1. gingercrush 1

    Huge victory for Obama. But the real victory is for Nancy Pelosi.While the right and the left have attacked her leadership of the house. The passing of this bill largely comes down to her. Perhaps it’ll hurt them at the mid-term elections. But while the opposition to this was real. To actually pass the thing secures Obama’s Presidency. And I have no doubt that in time that opposition will subside. Enough for the Democrats to not lose as many seats as is currently expected.

  2. Bill 2

    Insurance Industry Reform. Not Health Care Reform.

    Q. How many people get to die from lack of medical care before 2014?

    A. “45,000 Americans (..) die each year because they cannot afford coverage”
    “The bill will not expand coverage to 30 million uninsured, especially since government subsidies will not take effect until 2014”

    Q. What happens to illegal immigrants or their kids?

    A. No medical cover.

    Q. How the fuck are the poor to afford even the cheapest cover?

    A. “Families who cannot pay the high premiums, deductibles and co-payments, estimated to be between 15 and 18 percent of most family incomes, will have to default, increasing the number of uninsured.”

    Q. How much extra profit is the Insurance Industry looking to make out of all this?

    A. “Insurance companies can unilaterally raise prices without ceilings or caps and monopolize local markets to shut out competitors.”

    Quotes from this piece… The Health Care Hindenburg Has Landed by Chris Hedges

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      The US only has republicans to blame for the watering down of the bill.

      Quote from Slashdot:
      “It was the “right to life” people that threatened to block life-saving medical care for millions.”

      Even if this bill doesn’t go far enough, it sets the ground for a better bill in a few years time when it can be widely seen that the sky hasn’t fallen and that people are actually healthier under the new system.

      captcha: mistakes

      • Lew 2.1.1

        This is exactly right. Now the bill is passed (I believe it’s already passed the Senate); so now any further reform is a matter of amendment, rather than building the whole damned pyramid again. That’s a much more straightforward task, and this is Obama’s great achievement.

        L

        • Lanthanide 2.1.1.1

          The bill first went through the house, then through the senate back when they had 60 votes. The senate changed the bill substantially (due to republican pressure), so it had to go back through the house again, which is what the latest voting was about. Now the bill has to go back through the senate, because the house added some changes this last time as well.

          They are going to use a technical process of “budget reconciliation” that allows them to get through with 51 votes to avoid filibustering, instead of the usual 60 required, as they currently only have 59 democrat senators. At this stage it appears they are expecting that the senate will pass the bill as adopted by the house, so they aren’t expecting any further hurdles (especially as they only need 51 votes, so some democratic senators can still be against it).

          • Bill 2.1.1.1.1

            So in the beginning, what was the Obama administration proposing as far as health care went?

            And did they or didn’t they have a majority in both houses?

            And what did the Obama administration finally deliver?

            And how many Republicans voted for the reform as it now stands?

            How many Republicans will vote for any further proposals in the future that would shift health care back towards the initial proposal?

            How many Democrats are going to get their arse handed them in mid term primaries because of ‘protest’ voting ( or non-voting) over this and the banking bailout fiasco?

            Will somebody explain to me again why the Obama administration gutted its own health care proposals when it did not need and did not get Republican support? And then explain how things get better in the future given that the Democrats had a majority in both houses prior to the slicing and dicing? A majority they probably wont have again?

            It can’t have anything to do with the Republicans, obviously. And the Tea Party mob aren’t representative of any majority opinion.

            Campaign contributions anyone? Corporate lobbying perhaps? Preferring to take his chances with a pissed off electorate that he may or may not be able to game over the inevitable political suicide he envisages if he bites the corporate hand that feeds him?

            And now can somebody explain to me where representative democracy resides in all of this?

            • Lew 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Bill, the last sentence answers your question: members of the US House of Representatives represent their constituents, not the central party. That’s what they did. The executive can’t whip the legislature: it has to gain support for its initiatives by relatively non-coercive means.

              So while the gap between idea and implementation is pretty large and speaks to a great deal of political mismanagement and the propagandisation of the issue which the teabaggers have achieved, that’s how federal politics in the US works.

              Frankly, I’d prefer in NZ if electorate MPs were not whipped to a party line and could vote their conscience. This way we’d see fewer faits d’accompli presented by the executive to the parliament based on a simple head-count. It would also promote diversity within the parties — liberal or “compassionate” Nat members could actually make that moniker mean something.

              L

              • Bill

                ” members of the US House of Representatives represent their constituents”

                But that’s the nub of the matter int it Lew. Do they represent their constituents? Or do they bend to the wishes of their financial backers? As well as represent their own financial investments before their constituents?

                From the polls that indicated the support level for single payer health care, you really have to stretch a long bow to argue that representatives were representing the wishes of their constituents.

                However, their financial backers and the health of their own investments will be just fine thankyou very much. Wonder how that can be? In a democracy, unless…

              • Lew

                If they don’t, their constituents are free to vote them out. I’ll betcha those Reps know their constituents’ views well enough to have figured out which side of the fence to come down on. Self-preservation indicates that they’ll do what keeps them in a job, and I reckon rather few will get voted out for taking whichever position they took. Are those constituents just blind fools who shouldn’t be trusted with a vote because they’re not competent to exercise it?

                L

              • Bill

                Really fucking disingenuous Lew….or naive.

                When both wings are wrapped up, sold and delivered by and in aid of corporate agendas, then where is the agency in voting?

                You think you can vote them out? How? What %age of votes do you think an independent can get in the US when the independent has no corporate backing, meaning no exposure and no debate on the issues they would seek to bring to the table. Like single payer health care for example.

              • Lew

                No, Bill, neither — just cognisant of the realities of democracy and the fact that despite them, it takes a lot of beating.

                Your initial criticisms were of the Obama administration’s inability to pass a healthcare bill which was radical beyond anyone’s wildest dreams — an opening bid, if you’re familiar with street-market bargaining; and of the executive’s inability to force its caucus to back this electorally suicidal proposal, given the other interests in play. What part of that problem you describe is within the administration’s control? Do you suggest that, since they can’t pass a perfect bill, they shouldn’t pass anything at all? If they can’t get elected on a perfect platform, they should just cede the field? That if they can’t bring the revolution they shouldn’t try? If they can’t force the vested interests to do their bidding then they should be banned?

                Meanwhile, in the real world, Obama and his administration has passed a bit of legislation the likes of which the world hasn’t seen in generations, and which — most importantly — will form the basis for future reforms. It could have been better — but up until now it hasn’t been seen at all. Progress is progress.

                L

              • Bill

                They could have passed a single payer system. Easily. The Democrats had the numbers in both houses. The majority of US citizens wanted it, including 80% of registered democratic voters So no electoral suicide. Unless of course it is not the constituents who determine US politics but the corporations and the lobbyists.

                But regardless of the obvious truth being that democracy is tucked inside the corporate wallet you want to maintain that what has passed is “a piece of legislation the likes of which the world hasn’t seen in generations” !!?

                WTF Lew. That’s just plain idiocy talking.

                And as for it even being progress, why don’t you read the Hedges column I linked way back up yonder. It explains quite simply and clearly in terms that even wide eyed deluded fools can grasp why the bill is not any progress at all and how it is that it will worsen the situation of healthcare in the US

              • Lew

                Bill, the only people who thought single-payer would fly were folk like Dennis “little green men” Kucinich — and even he pulled out. You and I might like it, but the moment it gets floated the “s” word starts to be used — as it did — and that word can torpedo even the most robust progressive campaign without a backdown. Again, this was the politics of the possible.

                I’m not saying that US politics isn’t subject to excessive corporate capture — I’m saying that’s how it is, and you can’t just opt out on that basis. The way it works is that the corporates and the lobbyists deliver a few voters to one, other or both parties, while other voters make up their own mind, and the vast bulk of voters are subject to lobbying but still retain some degree of electoral agency. So for political success it’s necessary to appeal — or at least be tolerably acceptable — to both. This is what the Obama has passed: a compromise which keeps the zealots of neither side happy, but which may yet prove palatable to the vested interests and to the general public.

                L

              • Bill

                Okay Lew.

                45 000 deaths a year through to 2014 due to lack of medical coverage, as lobbied for by corporate interests, is perfectly acceptable and only a zealot would think otherwise.

                And lobbyists deliver voters to parties rather than wrench policy from parties. Whatever.

              • Lew

                Bill, 45,000 deaths a year perfectly acceptable? No. Given that that’s the (apparently highballed) figure from the pro-single-payer lobby Physicians for a National Health Program from before Obamacare, that’s the reason for reform! So given that somewhere around 30 million uninsured Americans will now have access to heathcare, the number, if it’s actually that high to begin with, will come down. Perfect? of course not. Nobody gets a pony with this scheme. Better than the alternative? Yes. This is the real world.

                And thanks for providing me with an example of a lobby of which you approve. Of course they don’t just deliver voters — they also influence policy. I see you understand that they’re not all vultures.

                L

  3. r0b 3

    Excellent summary here of the rabid opposition Obama faced:

    http://www.truthout.org/true-colors57888

    • Bill 3.1

      Obama didn’t face ‘rabid’ opposition. The Tea Party stuff is stuff and nonsense…not just a little like the climate denial camp. They were not the reason for the shape of the bill.

      Obama simply faced and caved to corporate lobbyists and Republican demands for a market driven health care….ie, the insurance market. End.

      Meanwhile ordinary Americans were roundly ignored. Chris Hedges again.

      “Obama and the congressional leadership have consciously shut out advocates of single payer from the debate. The press, including papers such as The New York Times, treats single payer as a fringe movement. The television networks rarely mention it. And yet between 45 and 60 percent of doctors favor single payer. Between 40 and 62 percent of the American people, including 80 percent of registered Democrats, want universal, single-payer not-for-profit health care for all Americans. The ability of the corporations to discredit and silence voices that represent at least half of the population is another sad testament to the power of our corporate state to frame all discussions.”

      And here’s a link to what looks to me like a genuine grass roots movement. And surprise, surprise, it called for single payer system http://www.healthcare-now.org/

      But lets have the corporate media have us believe that every bugger is a teapartier why don’t we?

      • Ari 3.1.1

        It’s not Obama who caved. The reform really isn’t up to him. It’s the senate that caved- the House actually largely wanted a stronger bill.

  4. gingercrush 4

    That’s all very well Bill. But I don’t know what left critics of this bill wanted. Because they were never going to get the perfect bill. They’re rather lucky anything got passed considering the democrats have been trying this for years. The United States or at least those who vote are largely conservative. Even those on the left would be considered right-wing elsewhere. The left were never going to happy with what was passed. But it could have gone the other way and the Democrats lose the health care debate again. Clinton may have survived his second term but the Democrats in the house and senate were largely destroyed. What happened? The momentum of the left was destroyed for 12 years.

    As it is the left have a real battle in the House and Senate. Though I suspect some of that is overstated.

    • Bill 4.1

      GC

      http://www.healthcare-now.org/contact/local-contact-list/ Go through the site. It’s extensive. Then come back and tell me whether you figured out what people…not just ‘left’ critics… wanted.

      Your position speaks of the success of the corporate agenda to narrow the debate and give a false impression of general feeling that led inevitably to limited options. Obama could and should have told the lobbyists and the Republicans to take a hike. Likewise with the banks and the bailouts.

      He would most definitely have had the US population behind him. And that might have been reasonably claimed by some to be a good example of representative democracy at work.

      But, no. Because at the end of the day the public is there merely to choose which corporate bastard will run the corporate agenda for the duration of the next term.

  5. randal 5

    I dont think Obama is any more unpopular than he ever was.
    the opposition is just more vociferous, meaner and nastier than usual as they are the ones who have suffered the defeat not Obama.
    three cheers for the president.

  6. Peter 6

    I still have trouble coming to terms with the level of hatred for Obama as demonstrated by the loonies in the US.

    No matter what side of the political spectrum you inhabit you have to hand it to him, he is one hell of an orator and he seems to have more of a “vision” than anything that Bush & co. demonstrated.

    Now, why don’t we have anyone of his calibre in our part of the world ??

    • Pascal's bookie 6.1

      I still have trouble coming to terms with the level of hatred for Obama as demonstrated by the loonies in the US.

      this explains some, but not all, of it:

      http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/real_vs_unreal_americans/

      Well, it’s simple, really. They assume, if they don’t state it outright, that large numbers of American voters shouldn’t have the right to vote. That’s the implicit argument when Sarah Palin praises white rural voters as “Real Americans’, when Birthers obsess over the idea that the first black President simply can’t be eligible for office, when tea baggers yell racist and homophobic slurs at politicians, and when they insist that you eliminate black voters from the count if you want to find out how popular a politician “really’ is. When Bart Stupak laughed out loud at the very idea that nuns have opinions worth listening to—and listed a bunch of men whose opinions were the ones that counted—you had a similar sentiment being expressed. Universal suffrage seems like a fundamental part of democracy to liberals, but it appears that conservatives think it de-legitimizes the results of elections. And that if you do something without Republicans on board, you’re eliminating those who represent the only people who count.

      • madnessinc 6.1.1

        It’s no different for the level of hatred for Key/Clark as demonstrated by those in NZ …… a large amount of it is simple moronic tribalism.

        • Pascal's bookie 6.1.1.1

          Let me know when you see armed kiwi protesters and signs saying the PM should be shot.

          • Peter 6.1.1.1.1

            There was a good article about the Secret Service detail that protects Obama in the weekend papers. Very educational as to the level and depth of the loonies in the US..

            For all its faults, we live in a much better place…

        • Lew 6.1.1.2

          And let me know when respected public personae such as the once-and-future mayor of a major city publicly vilify John Key on the basis of lies about his sexuality, or lies about his support for foreign dictatorships, or just general obsessive character assassination passed off as ordinary day-to-day political commentary.

          When you’ve done that, I’ll grant that your equivalence isn’t entirely false.

          L

          • madnessinc 6.1.1.2.1

            So there is no similarity between the moronic political tribalism that is exhibited in the USA and NZ…. mm OK.

            • Lew 6.1.1.2.1.1

              It’s not that there’s no similarity — it’s that your sense of proportion is completely screwed. Equivalences exist on both axes of comparison — between the two tribes, and with regard to the tribes between the two countries. But you need a fucking microscope to see them, they’re so tenuous.

              L

  7. madnessinc 7

    “No matter what side of the political spectrum you inhabit you have to hand it to him, he is one hell of an orator and he seems to have more of a “vision’ than anything that Bush & co. demonstrated.”

    There were plenty of those last century that didn’t turn out too well.

  8. Ag 8

    It’s stunning to realise how backward the US is on something so basic as access to health-care. Finally, the US is catching up with the 20th century.

    This shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. If we look past all the pro-US propaganda, we bump up against the fact that the United States has only been a genuine democracy for the past 45 years.

    Yes, people often forget that the United States only achieved universal suffrage in the mid 60s, but it’s nonetheless a fact, and goes some of the way to explaining why the US is a politically backward country (yes, people tend to forget that as well).

  9. prism 9

    Great news for USA health care and thanks to Barak Obama for a great leap forward for most people probably as improvements to their systems will have wide advantages. The country can hold up its head proudly as a place that has universal services, well almost. Bet there are exceptions here and there but the in-business-we-trust nuts, the anti-abortionist nuts, the reds-under-the-beds nuts, the freedom from government nuts, the backwoods gun nuts, the rigid religious and I’m agin everything nuts and other toxic blooms haven’t won out.

  10. Well done to President Obama.

    This bill will do more good than bad.

    Hes got himself a second term.

    • BLiP 10.1

      I see that the worst fears of the teabaggers have already begun to evaporate into the red mist of hate that they always were.

      • Pascal's bookie 10.1.1

        I’ve already got my invite to serve on the first Death Panel of the Kenyan International Socialist Islamic Front for the Fu(t)herance of making the Baby Jesus Cry. It’s gonna be sweet.

        Anyone you want offed?

  11. Roger 11

    This was a great victory for President Obama. Great news for those who were unable to afford health insurance – bad news for those private health insurance companies who enjoyed overcharging American workers. The far right assertions that government involvement in healthcare is “communism” says more about them than it does about Obama.

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    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    3 days ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    3 days ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    3 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    4 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    4 days ago
  • The police and public trust
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
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    4 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    4 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    5 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    5 days ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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 ...
    6 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 ...
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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

  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days 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
    3 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days 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
    3 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 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
    6 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
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
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  • Government working to keep air freight moving
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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