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Open mike 03/04/2020

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, April 3rd, 2020 - 261 comments
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261 comments on “Open mike 03/04/2020”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    The outrage and bellicosity that has greeted the fall of the Bauer publications from comfy centrists, neolib and other out of touch media types who are for once in the frontline rather than sniping from the back of an economic crisis is a classic illustration that when tens of thousands of others lose their jobs it is a necessary market correct but when the pampered middle class lose theirs it is a government failure led depression.

    One should feel very sorry for the people who have lost their jobs, but I think you can also be permitted to savour a certain delicious irony at watching publications (like the Listener) that long ago transformed themselves into cheerleading journals for the comfy and complacent middle class winners of neoliberalism, globalisation and unfettered foreign ownership of our assets scream for government intervention when the grim reaper of "market forces" comes for them. And let's not get started at how Mediaworks – who consistently argue the government should pull out media altogether because it shows then up and they compete – are bellowing about the need for government help as well now.

    Some – most – have taken it on the chin, but others (Lizzie Marvelley's splenetic twitter outbursts would be funny if it wasn't tragic, a snowflake right there) have reacted in a way that kinda confirms the suspicion that quite a few of the chatterati think of themselves as part of the other, pampered class and quite different from Joe and Jane Sixpack on Struggle street. 

    Then you've got aging types like Chris Trotter, who yearns these days for NZ to be like it was in the 1980s. His reaction is bordering on the hysterical, as trusty mastheads of his youth fall all around him and nothing is certain anymore.

    The thing is we can argue all day about the whys and wherefores of this. A wildly angry Wendyl Nissan (so much for the smooth veneer of media objectivity when the abstract becomes the personal) claimed on RNZ yesterday that the Woman's Weekly was making money. Some claim Bauer are clearing out the local opposition ahead of simply bringing it's Australian equivalents. It does seem like COVID-19 has provided a nice cover for Bauer to engage in a bit of disaster capitalism. 

    But really these titles have gone broke because increasingly no one reads them and nobody wants to advertise in them. Gone with not a bang, but a whimper. The Listener – the biggest of them all I think – nowadays has a "readership" of a couple of hundred thousand. That isn't sales, just what they think the number of people who read an issue is so they can pump their advertising costs. Sure, they may have been turning over a trickle of profit. But their ruthless German publishing masters clearly thought wurst was to come. 

    the future of how to pay for longform journalism is a conundrum even the media experts don't have an answer for. Perhaps it is time for government subsidies – but the idea that those subsidies should go to obsolescent publications owned by foreign corporations? Hmmm. Not so sure.

    For what it is worth, I think it is time for a licence fee – a fee on data usage, collected by ISPs and paid to a state broadcasting entity. According to stats NZ (https://www.stats.govt.nz/news/new-zealand-internet-is-going-unlimited) in 2018 the average unlimited broadband user consumed 150 gigabytes a month and broadband usage was about 280 million gigabytes a month. Imagine NZers used four billion gigabytes of data a year in 2020. A fee of 1.5c a gigabyte would bring in sixty million or so (if my morning maths isn't to wobbly). It would add $27-$30 a year to the cost of that average unlimited broadband connection. Is $30 a year a price New Zealanders are willing to pay to keep a local media? Could that be a way to help fund journalism?

    • weka 1.1

      Have the companies pay that. There are people in NZ who can't afford to eat and pay their rent, so I think a set fee on all usage is not the best option.

    • Ad 1.2

      I am amazed at the lack of solidarity – let alone memory – from those on the left like Sanctuary who saw their communities ripped apart in the 1990s with meatworks closing down, manufacturing industries dying, farmers walking off their land and suiciding, mortgagee sales piling up, and entire generations wrecked and forced into near-perpetual social welfare. 

      Did we protest at the time for the devastated provincial proletariat?

      Hell yes we did. And the "we" includes Chris Trotter and plenty of others with actual functioning memories.

      It may well be too much to ask people like you to lift a fucking finger in protest when it happens to the bourgeoisie. But that's just a measure of your integrity. 

      There will of course be plenty who like you will continue to sneer from their keyboards because they don't like the ideological impurities of the New Zealand Women's Weekly or any of the other media for which it is about to happen – but that just shows how out of touch you are with how many hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders communicate. 

      And now for the real stuff. 

      We are losing thousands upon thousands to unemployment by the day right now. 

      They are from all kinds of industries. 

      Almost none of it is the fault of the newly unemployed. 

      Before anyone else like Sanctuary or Alwyn commits to their keyboard again and tries to offload their bile about who is more or less deserving to hold onto a job, do just one thing: 

      Imagine it happening to you. 

      Who knows, perhaps you have the memory still to remember a time when it got all a bit too close. When families were devastated, homes were lost, marriages broke down. Like is happening right now.

      That thing called human empathy.



      • KJT 1.2.1

        Good comment. A post would be good. Hint. Hint.

      • pat 1.2.2

        "Imagine it happening to you. "

        For many of us its not a case of imagining….its a case of remembering.

        4 times in the 80s and twice more in the 90s

        • Ad

          Exactly. That's why I started my response that way.

          • pat

            Then you will know that protesting wont change it.

            • Incognito

              Do you know what changes it?

              • pat

                are you referring to this specific case or employment in general?

                • Incognito

                  As general as possible 🙂

                  • pat

                    lol…not much to ask.

                    A permanent solution, no….as far as I can see all solutions have a limited period of functionality until they cease to work any longer though that period may be decades.

                    What I do see however is a need for some form of government employment scheme to transition out of the worst of the crisis as wasnt done in the eighties reforms…we cannot leave it all to market forces this time round because we know how that plays out.

                    • bwaghorn

                      The thing is most make work projects are just nave work hard and uninspiring. 

                      It worked in the depression but it wont now with a benefit backstop. 

                    • lprent []

                      Not all of them. For instance my maternal grandfather spent a chunk of the late depression hammering out Scenic Drive in Auckland’s Waitakere ranges pretty much by hand and blasting until they got it flat enough to get a bulldozer in. Even the thought of doing 26 miles of road in a basalt base is enough to make my skin crawl.

                    • greywarshark

                      Pat 11.03am   Rational and wise – let's do it for the good of society and those who are left bereft without work and a way to go.

                    • pat


                      some define a 'depression' by an unemployment rate of 25% or more

                      or a prolonged decline in GDP of greater than 10%.

        • KJT

          I was tempted to gloat about the prospect so many right wing propaganda mongering bene bashing overpaid fools, getting the medicine they are so keen on dishing out to those "lazy, other people".

          But. Thinking about it, I don't wish that on anyone, apart from people like Hosking's and Richardson having their monstrous salaries reduced, to their true worth.

          There are all the other people in the organisation losing their jobs, printers, delivery people typesetters etc, and the few remaining actual, journalists! 

          And my mum, who has been reading woman's weekly for near on 80 years.

          • pat

            Its not a case of wishing it upon anyone , or gloating or even indifference…nor is it dismissing the value of the work….it is a recognition of the realities.

            There has been much reportage about the 'zombie' companies only surviving due to the low cost of debt and obviously were vulnerable to any revenue shock….this will be far from the last company to close its doors and the government cannot buy them all out.

            We will adapt….because the alternative is not to.

            • KJT

              I agree, that the Government cannot support companies which were on their way under anyway..

              Especially when they take the opportunity to close down companies, when they can pretend that it was Covid 19, not them.

              Supporting the staff into new industries, that do have a future, is something I've always advocated, as a legitimate role of the Government.

              Good and varied Journalism is an essential infrastructure, in my book. The recipes and knitting patterns serve a purpose as well.

              Noting that the Government agrees. They did offer support to keep those staff employed.

      • Anne 1.2.3

        Sanctuary @ 1

        One should feel very sorry for the people who have lost their jobs, but I think you can also be permitted to savour a certain delicious irony at watching publications (like the Listener) that long ago transformed themselves into cheerleading journals for the comfy and complacent middle class winners of neoliberalism, globalisation and unfettered foreign ownership of our assets scream for government intervention when the grim reaper of "market forces" comes for them.

        Did you watch TV1 6pm news yesterday? Did you note the palatial back-grounds of the big names associated with said magazines who were interviewed in their homes?

        To suggest he is "lacking solidarity…  with those who saw their communities ripped apart in the 1990s…" and is "lacking in human empathy" is reading something into Sanctuary's comments that isn't there.

        As a person who was adversely affected at the time, I see no comparison whatsoever to the events of the 1990s and Sanctuary's response to the demise of a bunch of magazines whose time was up, so the owners used the pandemic to close them down.

      • alwyn 1.2.4

        "Before anyone else like Sanctuary or Alwyn commits to their keyboard again and tries to offload their bile about who is more or less deserving to hold onto a job, do just one thing: "

        You really don't get it do you? I don't make any comments, or express any opinions about who is "more or less deserving to hold onto a job". I merely state that if people don't buy printed magazines, and nobody is willing to pay to advertise in them they will die.

        Technology becomes redundant. People in jobs within those technologies lose their jobs. I don't make decisions on those matters. Look for example at the computer industry. Remember the days of the punch rooms where a lot of people were occupied in punching data into punched cards to feed the computers of the day? Should we insist that that technology must be restored to recreate those jobs?

        Of course not.

        If you have access to a map of Australia have a look at the route of the railway line from Perth to Sydney. In particular have a look at the little places between Kalgoorlie and Woomera. Every name on that map was a settlement where people lived in the days when the trains were coal fueled and used water in the bilers.

        Soneville, Karonie, Zanthus, Kitchener, Naretha, Rawlinna, Haig, Nurina, Loongana, Forest, Reid, Deakin, Hughes, Denman, Cook, Fisher, O'Malley, Watson, Ooldea, Bates,Wynbring, ……. There are others but I am sick of reading the names in the very small print on my map.

        They were all places where people lived and worked. They were needed because a train had to take on coal about every 160 km and water every 80 km,

        Well now they have Diesels and they refuel at, I believe, Kalgoorlie and Cook. Cook has a population of 4. Nothing exists of all the other places. All the people who worked there lost their jobs because the steam train was dead. Should we bring them back to recreate the jobs of yesteryear?  

        Why? And if you won't do it for those jobs why do it for magazines that not many people buy. Why do YOU think you have the power to decide which jobs stay and which go? Because that is the power you are claiming for yourself when you decide that these particular magazines must continue, at taxpayers expense, to be preserved. 

        • swordfish

          Well it's hotter 'n blazes and all the long faces
          There'll be no oasis for a dry local grazier
          There'll be no refreshment for a thirsty jackaroo
          From Melbourne to Adelaide on the overlander
          With newfangled buffet cars and faster locomotives
          The train stopped in Serviceton less and less often

          No, there's nothing sadder than a town with no cheer
          Vic Rail decided the canteen was no longer necessary there
          No spirits, no bilgewater and eighty dry locals
          And the high noon sun beats a hundred and four
          There's a hummingbird trapped in a closed-down shoe store

          This tiny Victorian rhubarb
          Kept the watering hole open for sixty-five years
          Now it's boilin' in a miserable March twenty-first
          Wrapped the hills in a blanket of Patterson's curse
          The train smokes down the xylophone, there’ll be no stopping here
          All you can be is thirsty in a town with no cheer

          No Bourbon, no Branchwater, though the townspeople here
          Fought her Vic Rail decree tooth and nail
          Now it’s boilin’ in a miserable March twenty-first
          Wrapped the hills in a blanket of Patterson’s curse
          The train smokes down the xylophone, there’ll be no stopping here
          All ya can be is thirsty in a town with no cheer

          Town With No Cheer – Tom Waits (Swordfishtrombones)


          • alwyn

            Come, come. Be more cheerful. Always look on the bright side of life.

            They may have called it Patterson's Curse in your part of Australia but it was better known in South Australia as Salvation Jane.

            How the same plant could be regarded as a poisonous scourge in one place and a suitable feed for livestock in another was totally beyond me.

            I hope you'll forgive me for thinking that listening to this once, and I did listen to all of it, is enough for my lifetime.

      • Chris 1.2.5

        Nobody wishes the ills that follow job loss upon anyone.  But this is a different issue to the problem of what publications like The Listener represent.  The ideal situation is that The Listener dies and never again sees the light of day, and the consequences don't include any kind of hardship for anyone.  There's an interesting piece on Stuff about a number of things but I think the issue of pointless jobs is its prevailing theme:


    • JanM 1.3

      My favourite was the tantrum by Bill Ralston looking like something from the Australian outback (is that the new Ponsonby look?) Still can't stop giggling.

    • Blazer 1.4

      Brilliant summation-this'Some claim Bauer are clearing out the local opposition ahead of simply bringing it's Australian equivalents. It does seem like COVID-19 has provided a nice cover for Bauer to engage in a bit of disaster capitalism.'.



  2. Rosemary McDonald 2

    What should happen today is the Minister of Health is fired.

    He shouldn't be allowed to resign.

    Ardern should fire him.


    Primarily for gifting the Right more ground from which to sling shit.

    Making it too easy for Farrar's Mob.


    • Sanctuary 2.1

      If you read Farrar for news and opinion? Jesus wept.

      • Rosemary McDonald 2.1.1


        You know some folk do '…read Farrar for news and opinion.'

        Just like folk come to TS and go to TDB.

        Or, one just might see an article in the mainstream news and then find out where that particular news item is being discussed.

        Ignoring our problems does not make them go away dear.


        • Sanctuary

          "…You know some folk do '…read Farrar for news and opinion.'.."


          Maybe once upon a time. Farrar's blog struggles for relevance these days and is regarded as toxic – something he can only blame himself for, as he allows the comments of completely fucking insane nutters to remain up. To put it bluntly, he has inherited the Whaleoil crowd and done nothing about it – and his reputation as a source has suffered accordingly.

          • Morrissey

            To put it bluntly, he has inherited the Whaleoil crowd and done nothing about it – and his reputation as a source has suffered accordingly.


            That statement suggests that Farrar's blog has been less toxic and less extreme than Whaleoil's. That's not true, not in the slightest. Farrar's views are as horrible as Cameron Slater's, and the people commenting on his site are no more better informed or humane. Farrar himself is a disgrace: he once wrote about a visit he made to the Occupied Terrritories, and claimed that he had not noticed anything at all to suggest that Palestinians were being oppressed.

            Over many years, Farrar has encouraged and/or turned a blind eye to the most ignorant and racist comments outside of a NewstalkZB announcers' barbecue….


    • weka 2.2

      I don't think he should be fired (last thing we need right now is a change of Health Minister during a pandemic). But I do think he and Ardern should address this more directly. He needs to own up to having fucked up (the traveling thing, they can deal with the stupid of a sign written car internally) and point out we are all on a learning curve, an apology would be good too.

      Unfortunately we have a macho political culture that will try and use that to take Labour down. Labour should still do the right thing.

      • weka 2.2.1

        I'm also mindful that those government people will be full of stress chemicals, and they're going to have to sustain living like that for quite some time. I can understand why he would want and even need to do what he did. It's still a fuck up though.

        • Jimmy

          Wow. Some one on the Standard actually admits Clark made a mistake or a fuck up in your words.

          IPrent will ban you! The echo chamber must be preseved at all costs.

          [lprent: Or you could be less of a moronic dimwit and listen when a moderator talks to you about your behaviour. Commentary is ok. However this is a forum for debate and that involves dealing with other peoples disagreeing with you, especially when they make reasonable objections to your points. Sticking your head firmly up your arse and ignoring them, which appears to be your childish default behaviour isn’t acceptable. FFS grow up. ]

          • weka

            Not sure how new you are to TS, but most of us have been criticising Labour for a long time. I suggest you take note of Lynn's moderations, because now you just look like a troll.

      • Stunned Mullet 2.2.2

        It would make little to no difference to the pandemic management if the Health Minister is sacked, the bureaucrats in the ministry are effectively directing and running the show at present.

        What it would do if he was severely censured is signal that no one in NZ whatever their status is above those impositions being placed on the rest of us.


        • Rosemary McDonald

          Same as it has been for the past two decades.

          The names of the MOH bureaucrats might change, but the culture remains.

          This government demonstrated its subservience to the Ministry when it allowed the demonstrably incompetent Group Manager of MOH:DSS to closely advise Ministers on disability and carer issues.


    • observer 2.3

      I don't think he should be sacked, but certainly hope the PM gives him a kick up the backside.

      No, it wasn't terrible, it wasn't near the level of Ministerial misbehaviour in the past, BUT he's just made his own job – and the government's – harder. Not helping.

      • KJT 2.3.1

        Hopefully it will highlight the overreach, of banning, all, car travel for exercise, when there are people who cannot get enough  exercise while following the distancing rules and keeping safe, without some car travel.

        Letting scared people on Facebook,and "past their use by date" Senior cops who got there by attrition, set the rules.

        But it won't. And by giving those people a stick to beat the Government with. I was going to say he should go. But maybe this is an opportunity to be more rational about total bans on activities.

        • weka

          Has car travel for exercise been banned?

          • KJT

            As I said not sure.

            My son says it was on the Covid website from the 30th, but if it was, I missed it.

            The Police Commissioner was saying one thing about it one day, and something different the next.

          • KJT

            I see the "car travel to exercise" has been removed from the Unite against Covid 19 website.

            "Essential purposes only".


            • weka

              which I take to me: please don't drive to exercise if you can avoid it, but people need to make their own decisions based on need and location.

              i.e. not a ban.

              • Wayne

                Yes, there have been a few changes like that. For instance going from a complete ban on swimming to swimming in a way that is very safe (ie no surfing). These changes are to be expected This is such a novel situation that it would be impossible to be completely right from the get go.

                In my neighbourhood people are being very sensible and reasonable. Almost no traffic at all. I wonder if car use will reduce in a more permanent way, even when we can drive freely?

                • weka

                  I hope it does Wayne. People have been pushing for less traffic for a long time, seems an ideal opportunity to adopt some new social practices. Less pollution, better for climate mitigation, more liveable urban spaces, more health, lots of benefits.

                  Agreed on the need to adapt advice over time. Not least because they'd have to wait and see how well people were getting what needed to be done.


                • KJT

                  I wonder how much of our low community transmission, so far, is due to people thinking for themselves and maintaining their distance, well before the Government required it?

                  In our previous week before the lockdown, we obviously didn't see many people, but the ones we did were already socialising from several metres away, in their dinghies, the local shop was sanitising the EFTPOS pad between customers and the fuel bowser attendant was cleaning it between fills. People walking on the road were keeping their distance.

                  • McFlock

                    Yeah in general it's been really good for a couple of weeks now.

                  • I Feel Love

                    Nah, I walked through the uni here in Dunedin during and after St Patricks day (coz my work) & there were 100s of people like any other day. 

          • Incognito

            Unless it is for essentials, the answer is no. If you have to drive somewhere for a walk, for example, then it is not regarded as local and you’re flouting the rules. I saw a Government clip somewhere yesterday that explained it well but I cannot find it 🙁

            • weka

              if someone needs to drive 4 blocks to the local park so their kids can run around, and this is for the parents' mental health as much as anything, that seems as essential to health as walking round the block next to one's house in terms of personal physical exercise.

              As long as people are social distancing, not using jungle gyms, and not taking the piss or socialising, this seems reasonable to me.

              If the govt cracks down on that under the current level, it will be because of people doing stupid shit like socialising, not because someone went an extra few blocks.

            • weka

              People on twitter are saying it's in the daily briefings, which is not much use for those of us that don't watch them.

          • Anne

            No. It hasn’t weka @ Those who need to travel by car to get to an area for exercising can do so provided it is within their neighbourhood. I think it was Bush who reiterated this only yesterday. I am one of those affected since I can no longer walk to the beach for exercise because of severely arthritic knees.

            In the case of David Clark… I gather he drove 2 kms to get to a motorbike track which was closely associated with his neighbourhood. I think the public pearl clutching over his 'misdemeanour' is being a tad overdone for political reasons.

            • Rosemary McDonald

              Anne. Clark drove his electorate vehicle emblazoned with a photo of his physiognomy to a mountain bike track for a spot of between video conferencing mountain biking.

              An activity on the 'We 'd rather you not indulge in because of risk of injury' list.

              The whole incident smacks of either extraordinary arrogance  or extreme tone deafness.

              Or both.

              This is a fuck up of quite significant proportions and could not have come at a worse time.

              • Anne


                He used his electorate vehicle because he could put his bike into it. It was hardly for publicity because there was no one there but himself. Looked like an easy ride – nothing dangerous – and there are few spots he can go to where he can have any privacy.

                You've got it in for him as you seem to have a good many people, and you are using it to discredit him. No different from those who are doing it for political reasons. 

                • Stunned Mullet

                  Why didn't he just ride his bike to the track if it is so close ? Or just ride it around his suburb a few times like people seem to be doing in my neck of the woods ?


                  • weka

                    Why doesn't Anne walk on the beach?

                  • lprent

                    Or just ride it around his suburb a few times like people seem to be doing in my neck of the woods ?

                    I'm a commuter cyclist. So when I ride, I ride as much as possible on cycle paths and only go on the roads when I absolutely have to.

                    That is because many motorists can be classed as dangerous fuckwits on the road.

                    • They open doors whilst parked without looking in their mirror. That happened to me on Wednesday. Fortunately I was riding a metre out from the parked cars and didn't have truck or SUV trying to pass me.
                    • They change lanes without notice because they expect cyclists to be really slow. That last happened on Tuesday. FFS: I routinely ride my e-bike between 35km/hour and 50km/hour except uphill. The number of time I've had to crash on the brakes to stop crashing into fuckwit driver who jumps into the left lane directly in front of me and then slows down to lok for a park is almost a daily occurrance if I'm on a road.
                    • They (especially now) speed through intersections when the other traffic has a green light because it was orange when they crossed the line. That happened to me yesterday. Which is why I sometimes get a honk from cars behind. The acceleration for an electric bike is such that cars are just slow starters. I have to make sure that there isn't damn fool running a orange light.

                    Of course there are even more driver who are considerate and not impatient dimwits. But when you have no protection you stick to what you know works and what you have experience with.

                    It seems unlikely that David Clark is a commuter. He sounds like a recreational mountain biker. Probably doesn't ride on the road because it is too damn dangerous.

                    I trust that answers your query.

                    I expect it doesn’t. To me it is apparent that I’d class you as being a ignorant dangerous fuckwit motorist who is too stupid to think through what other road users do.

                    • lprent

                      They (especially now) speed through intersections when the other traffic has a green light because it was orange when they crossed the line

                      Incidentally I frequently see cyclists (and some scooter user)  do the same even when the light is red. Basically police should seize their bikes/scooters and sell them to someone who is less stupid. If they are renting them, then they should inform all hire companies that they should not be able to hire one again. Can't think of anything that is a more stupid behaviour.

                      Squished cyclist is unpleasant for everyone.

                    • Stunned Mullet

                      "I expect it doesn’t. To me it is apparent that I’d class you as being a ignorant dangerous fuckwit motorist who is too stupid to think through what other road users do."

                      Perhaps you haven't noticed the vast decrease in traffic on the road at the moment ? This is making it vastly easier for cyclists to get out and about without worrying nearly as much about motorists.

                      Please continue with your specious rant it's most amusing.


                • Rosemary McDonald


                  A friend, homeless and forced to live in a campground and share facilities with a swag of overseas backpacker types,  drives her wee van out of the camp ground and down the road to a near deserted beach to allow her aged and grass averse dog to walk on sand and in soothing seawater.

                  No risk. No harm. And believe me, her fragile state means that the whole social distancing thing has been her way of life for years.

                  She gets tailed by the local cops in a marked car who park right behind her. They don't approach her in a community friendly manner. Just intimidate by their close presence.  Later, when she is driving out of the camp for another dog walk and soul repair session she gets told by the camp managers she's going out too often.

                  Now.  Do you think that Dr. (of god only knows) Clark will intervene and allow my highly stressed friend a pass to indulge in an activity that is causing harm to no one and benefiting her and her wee dog immeasurably?

                  Of course not. Don't be silly.

                  But bet you we get a call or a text sometime today when she reads about Clark's little lapse.

                  Her fingernails are ragged enough already.

                  But what does that matter so long as we all abide by the New Way and allow our Minister of Health in time of a pandemic to openly and loudly flout the rules he demands we plebs follow?

                  And while you're there Anne and making this personal…who ate these "…good many people…" I have it in for?

                  • Gabby

                    That'll be why the Bush police have no time to check up on self isolating travellers. I thought they were too busy playing with their guns.

              • Wensleydale

                I think Jacinda's conversation with David Clark will probably start with, "David. What the actual fuck?!"

                Unless he's oblivious to everything going on around him, I struggle to comprehend how he thought doing what he did was in any way a good idea. And taking a van. With your fucking face painted on it. Christ on a bike, man!

                I guess he was hoping everyone was at home and no one would notice. But the Blue Team are watching. The Blue Team are always watching…

                Speaking of the Blue Team, I see Joyce and English have slithered out from whatever rocks they've been hiding under to throw handfuls of muck at the government. Armchair generals are the very best kind after all.

                • Rosemary McDonald

                  "What the actual fucking fuck."

                  and "Jesus Christ on a fucking chariot" were my first comments last night when I read it on Stuff.

                  And Farrar, Blue to his core, had the breathtaking audacity to dig up the putrid corpse of Ryall and state categorically that 'he would never do such a thing…'

                  Ryall was a numpty of outstanding proficiency who accepted bucketsloads of absolute bullshit from his trusted advisors at the Ministry of Health. Outstanding he was. Set a whole new standard for fuckwittedness of Ministers of Health. 

                  This is of course from the point of view of a family carer of a MOH:DSS  client with very high support needs who still hasn't managed to remove the knife in my back planted there by Ryall and driven home by subsequent Ministers, including the current incumbent.


              • Sanctuary

                Jesus the axes at your place must be really blunt, given the amount of time you spend on grinding them.

              • Jimmy

                I agree totally. He's made a dumb mistake and even Willie Jackson couldn't defend him this morning. Its probably not sack able but does undermine the govt. Jacinda will have a talking to him. Anyway, shouldn't really question on this blog as you are not allowed to debate or disagree according to IPrent below. – Goodbye. 

            • weka

              More and more it looks to me like a situation with no good outcome. Such are our times.

              But yep, people need to be able to make personalised decisions within the rules. Otherwise we will have rules designed for middle of the bell curve people that cause problems for others.

    • Don't be silly Rosemary. He was 0.3km outside the 2km limit-hardly a hanging offence. It is possible the bike track was on the way to or near his local supermarket-have you thought about this? I have to drive 19km to my local supermarket which opens up no end of biking/walking opportunities. 

      It appears the Health Minister followed all other self-isolation criteria. Media I have read/listened too (Stuff/RNZ) have not given this story any oxygen at all. 

      Here in Wanaka groups of people are congregating on bridges and jumping into the Clutha River, ignoring all of the s-i rules-these are the people the police should be chasing.

      I do sympathise with some of the comment on Kiwiblog criticising the fact that people seem to be getting away with biking, including mountain-biking, all over the place. Mountain biking is more dangerous than skiing in terms of injuries suffered. Meanwhile I am not allowed to take my sailing boat out in light winds with reefed sails, which is safer than both. 

      • weka 2.4.1

        there's safety statistically, and there's safety individually, and then there's plain bad luck.

        Where does it say 2km is the limit?

      • weka 2.4.2

        "He was 0.3km outside the 2km limit-hardly a hanging offence"

        If he was Joe Bloggs, it wouldn't matter. He's the Minister of Health and has a perception/messaging issue to deal with now. Hoping it blows over, but it does leave the problem  of the perception that we can bend the rules.

        • observer

          Yes, a senior Minister should grasp the basics of perception.

          We know (and he should have) that the PM will be asked about it at the press conference today. She is now obliged to say …

          either "No biggie, not bothered", which she can't then combine with her usual messaging. She can't switch seamlessly from a shrug to a call for sacrifice.

          or (more likely) "The Minister got it wrong".

          Ardern's tough-but-kind persona is very effective in this crisis, and she doesn't need that undermined. More importantly, the country doesn't.

          • JanM

            Yes it is about perception – rightly or wrongly people in the public eye are held to a higher standard of behaviour whether they like it or not! Silly man!!!

        • Jimmy

          Its not so much that he was 0.3km out of range, its the fact that its a deserted bike trail that the general public are not using as they've been told not to do those sort of activities, but Clark decides that rule only applies to the plebs not him. What if he had an accident somewhere along the trail?

          • mauī

            The general public has been told to stop using easy bike trails like "The Big Easy" ??

            • Jimmy

              Yes. Most bike trails are closed. Why do you think the car park is deserted?

              That ones normally busy

              • mauī

                "Most bike trails are closed."

                Citation please.

                • Jimmy

                  DOC website. When you go on web site a covid-19 window comes up saying "stay at home, All DOC facilities are closed"


                  • weka

                    you should read the link though, tracks aren't closed, it's the huts and campsites that are. Obviously they're also telling people to not go into the back country and to use tracks in the neighbourhood (they also say don't drive to them).

                    • Jimmy

                      Yes but point being we are all told not to go surfing, hunting, sailing, swimming? or anything else and slightly dangerous. So now the general public stuck at home with time on their hands will say if its ok for him (and he makes the rules) its ok for us.

                    • weka

                      Yes, which is why he has apologised, and everyone is reiterating stay home, don't drive unless it's necessary, get some exercise, wash your hands and practice physical distancing.

                  • mauī

                    "For everyone’s safety, at Alert Level 4 people must not to head into the backcountry or remote areas, nor should they undertake outdoor activities (such as adventure sports or hunting) that would expose them to higher levels of risk." https://www.doc.govt.nz/news/issues/covid-19/ 

                    Clark wasn't in a remote area, nor was he partaking in an adventure sport. Nor was he even in a DOC area to start with.


                    • Jimmy

                      Then that's great. We can all head out to the parks.

                      Did you notice in the photo the car park was empty so the public was actually staying away!

                      [lprent: Read my note please – rather than your current career of being a dimwitted repetitive troll who never listens. I’ll release one more comment, otherwise I’ll get ride of you as stupid time wasting problem with a brain of stone and clogged up ‘ears’ that need a pneumatic drill to clear them. ]

                • aj

                  Otago Rail Trail = Open. 

                  Trails in the Queenstown area = Open

      • KJT 2.4.3

        Where did this 2km limit come from?

        There seems to be people, and different branches of Government,  making up ad-hoc rules all over the place.

        Not even sure myself, where we were at in the "driving to exercise" rules, and I've been going on the Government Covid website every day.

        They are not, helping.

        Why does it matter how far I walk, for example, when the only thing I touch on the entire walk is my front gate, and all of us on every walk, are keeping, so far, several metres apart.

        I am refraining from sailing in the harbour ,, even though I can do that without going within 20metres of anyone, and my coastal capable boat, is extremely unlikely to require help, where I can almost walk ashore, as much not to bother the cop who has to tell me off, as much as any other reason.

        I would rather they spent their time, talking to the few, that are really doing things that endanger other people.

        If everyone tries to follow the principal, "act as though you have it", and keep away from people outside your bubble, we will not, have community transmission. Whether someone drove 2.174km or 1.999km, away from home is not going to change that.

        Some people like the reassurance of, rules, or the power kick from forcing others to follow them. But arbitrary, detailed and confusing rules, treating people like children, don't work.

        East Germany tried that!

        • mickysavage

          There is not a 2 km limit.  There is in Ireland and there is talk about local limits.  

          Call me biased but the incident fills me with "meh".  He drove to a carpark near his home where there was no one and got some exercise.

          Hardly a hanging offence.


          • observer

            You and I can say "meh".

            But the PM can't. That's the point.

          • Andre

            My only thought about the whole thing is why didn't he just bike to the start of the trail? At 2.3km away, it would have taken bugger-all longer than the time needed to load and unload his bike into the van.

            • lprent

              If you aren't used to riding on the road, most cyclists won't if they have any choice. It is frigging dangerous.

              I've only started since I don't have a bike path between me and work from december (they moved). Even now, during my daily exercise during the lockdown, I'm still getting close to having idiot car driver caused accidents most days. I’m road riding now because it is an ideal time to get more experience at avoid the dipshit motorists. I normally ignore main roads, riding on footpaths by preference because it is safer for me and not that dangerous to pedestrians (I just wait at slow speeds until they move over).

              Most mountain bikers who do trails don’t ride on roads. They don’t have the road skills and their bikes don’t have all of the lights, reflectors and other crap like highlighted clothes and road level helmets that road cyclists routinely have.

              I bike because I can't walk far due to a pad wearing out between my right big toe and the foot bones. 

              • Andre

                I avoid road riding around Dorkland, it's no fun at all and scary AF. And I'm the kind of person that needs a bit of adrenaline with my exercise, whether it's on a bike or kayak or skis. But right now in lockdown it might be ok.

                When it comes to the specific ride in question, supposedly David's home is in Opoho. The roads to and from the Logan Park High School carpark don't look like the kind of hazards our Orcland roads are. Or better yet, do a loop to the carpark, over the Big Easy, then back home via Signal Hill Rd.


                • KJT

                  In normal times I won't ride on the road in Wellington. The drivers actively try to kill you.

                  Better in Auckland. They are just unaware of your existence.

                • lprent

                  I did my MBA in Dunedin from 1985 and was there for while afterwards until the end of 1988 while my partner at the time finished her dual degrees.

                  We had bikes the entire time that I was there and never rode them around the city. The main reason was because compared to Auckland the streets were quite narrow (more like the rabbit warren cart track streets in the water side of Ponsonby or Kingsland) and the parked cars made them too dangerous. Instead we walked most of the time or took a car.

                  Where we used the bikes was where there were no parked cars and the roads were pretty wide – riding around most of the West Coast for instance.

                  I think that the roads are wider further out from the centre of Dunedin from what I saw this Xmas at least on the flat. Once you get into those hills however they looked like single way cart tracks winding their way up and down. The danger on bikes is mostly proximity to cars.

                  I can’t remember much about Opoho, but generally I regard any route as dangerous if at any point you get to effectively single lane with even occasional parked cars. Which is why I never road there. All of the roads around where I lived were like that.

                  While there are lot of roads that are like that in Auckland, there are usually routes that allow you to avoid them here. Less so in Wellington or Dunedin. Whereas riding in Christchurch or Invercargill is just so damn easy.

                  • "We had bikes the entire time that I was there and never rode them around the city."

                    At that same time I commuted via bike from Maryhill to work at the bottom of MacClaggan Street. One morning I rode (with feet sliding) all the way down down High Street in snow.

                    • lprent

                      My point wasn’t really about snow or the shape of roads – it was about bloody motorists.

                      I grew up in Mt Albert in Auckland. We used to ride everywhere all of the time. But the traffic went from being not a problem in the late 60s to bleeding dangerous by the early 80s as the population went up markedly and the quality of the drivers dropped.

                      In the late 70s and early 80s I’d had several accidents on pushbikes and motor scooters, all the fault of drivers. The worst was riding down a shallow slope on morningside drive by St Lukes Mall and having a car abruptly turn right in front of me to go into the mall. Or having a car pull out of a parking space on the side of the road obviously without having looked in their wing mirror.

                      Problem is that with a bike of any kind you’re reliant on dimwits in cars. After a few accidents caused by motorists you become a really defensive rider very fast. Dunedin city drivers really didn’t impress me with the care that they took looking around.

                      Of course I could just have high standards…

                      I’d point out that in my entire car driving career, I’ve only had a few accidents. One where another car turned right into me (I still have no idea how they could have missed an burnt orange peugeot). One where a tire blew out after running into the end of someones exhaust dropped in the southern motorway – it was evening and I didn’t see the pipe on the road until too late. And one on the bridge evening commuter shuffle when an idiot talking to the female passenger (I’d be watching him in the mirror) behind me ran straight into my arse.

                      Oh and I slid a long wheel base land rover off a track once, while I was trying to get around a slip in the clay road.

              • Brigid

                So he could have used his legs and pushed the damned thing.

            • Psycho Milt

              …why didn't he just bike to the start of the trail?

              Riding mountain bikes on the road is a pain in the arse with those fat, knobby tyres.  You'd have to be very determined or a glutton for punishment to choose to do it.

              • Andre

                Not as much a pain in the arse as riding skinny road tyres around a mountain bike trail. Or snow, for that matter. I was a product development engineer at Trek in Wisconsin for a year. I've ridden some weird shit and seen a lot of even weirder shit happen on bikes.

                In San Diego I lived about 4km from some primo trails. I almost always rode there and back, it just felt wrong to drive there. It helped to pump up the tyres a bit for the road and let them down for the trails. Not locking out the shocks on the road was good for dialling in smooth pedalling technique.

            • I Feel Love

              I don't know where in Opoho he lives but that's the suburb with Dunedins steepest streets (Baldwin for eg, like excessively steep), to get to Logan Park you'd have to use the high windy narrow road through the Botanical Gardens, or go the long way (bout 5-6 kms) through the university. 

              • Andre

                This is mountain biking we're talking here. Steepness and hills are kinda the point.

                Baldwin street is overrated. Hell, my driveway here in Titirangi is steeper. For about ten metres or so, anyways. Was down there in November and my twins on their learners permit wanted to drive up it to see what the big deal was. It was a letdown for them.

                Shoulda made them do a three point turn at the steepest bit.

                • Baldwin Street is further up North East Valley and doesn't link to Opoho, but there are other steep-ish streets from NEV up to Opoho Like Blacks Road, which on paper links to the Big Easy (down a gully). Clark will live at about 100m which isn't much in Dunedin.

                  Funny thing is he drove down from Opoho to near Logan Park at near sea level (at what was Pelichet Bay before it was reclaimed). Then the Big Easy track heads up the Opoho Creek gully to closer to where he lives. There's walking track access from Opoho, but I don't know if there's bike access.

                  But the driving a couple of km to the track isn't what the PM told him off for, it was for doing risky recreation which has clearly been officially discouraged for ordinary people.

                  Presumably some people would get a bit grumpy if the Minister of Health ended up crocked up in hospital right now.

                  • Muttonbird

                    Come on Pete. Admit you have been camped outside Minister Clark's house watching his movements for the last week.

                    • I hope that's a stupid attempt at a joke.

                      I haven't been away from home since Saturday two weeks ago – I had decided to go into isolation before we had to.

                    • Muttonbird

                      You do seem to know a lot about his movements, Pete…

                  • Andre

                    From trail ratings I've read, Big Easy does not qualify as risky recreation. As lprent says, even with reduced lockdown traffic riding the streets is riskier.

                    He would have been told off for the "not a good look" of getting sprung for doing something we've all been sorta kinda instructed to not do.

                  • Robert Guyton

                    This "incident" is a Pete George "magic moment" – his glee is palpable!

                    I say (again), ho hum.

          • weka

            I'm good with trusting people to make decisions in their own location. But we do need the govt to be seen to doing the right thing here, because now people will be going oh, it's ok to drive to my local bike track. I wish he'd taken a plain car.

          • Chris

            But perception is everything.  Regardless of the rights or wrongs of what he did, he's the health minister.  At a time when the message is stay at home what he did means there'll be people who'll think 'what's good for the goose' then find themselves being confronted by the cops.  It's a time when the government needs the support and cooperation of citizens, which in turn means the respect of citizens.  Without that we're stuffed.  Clark should've known that and have acted accordingly.

        • Paddington

          Well said.

      • I Feel Love 2.4.4

        Reminded me of when I was a kid at a friends house for dinner, and they all prayed, I didn't as I had no idea what they were doing, anyway, one of the other kids told their dad I hadn't prayed and the dad said "how did you know? were you not praying too?". Just the person who took the photograph was a couple kms away from wherever they lived too (I know the area).

      • James 2.4.5

        I do not believe there is a 2km limit that you are referring to.  But there are guidelines that dont support the actions he did (https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/120613766/coronavirus-mountain-bike-trails-close-as-cyclists-asked-to-ride-local)

        But ignoring all that – it goes against what we are being asked to do.  If everybody acted in the same way as the minister of health did in this circumstance the whole isolation 'thing' would be nowhere as effective and people will die.

        So – should his behaviour be ignored?

      • Jimmy 2.4.6

        As you can see from the car park, the place was deserted. What if Clark had had an accident and needed rescuing somewhere on the track?

        They are telling us not to go swimming and surfing but idiot Clark goes on a bike trail!

        • KJT

          Also telling us to keep away from other people!

        • Anne

          They are telling us not to go swimming.

          No they're not. They are telling us not to go swimming in clusters and to keep the full 2 metre distance from one another. That did not happen in Mission Bay, Auckland for example, so they shooed the lot of them off the beach. Since then they appear to have eased the rules and if people are acting sensibly… going for a swim by themselves or in pairs and keeping a good distance from one another they are being left alone. That is what is happening at my local beach anyway.  

          Your political bias is shining through. Knew it wouldn’t take long before the rwnj’s were back to normal. In fact they’ve been strangely absent here up until now.

          • Jimmy

            Justify it anyhow you like……Clark was an idiot. He is obviously above the rules for us plebs.

            [lprent: You appear to be reluctant to actually deal with the objections to your pre-written scenario. That does not constitute robust debate. That just makes you look like a fucking useless and ignorant idiot troll. I suggest that you engage or leave before I make the decision for you. ]

            • Anne

              Yes. It was mistake to go in his electorate van. His bad luck that a Nat – who was also 2 km away from his residence – happened to spot him and took a photo and dropped him into it. Someone should trace the source of the photo and see who it was, and what he/she was doing in the area too. 

              • Jimmy

                That sounds a bit like sour grapes. You are allowed out but you are not supposed to do "dangerous"activities else I would go surfing!

              • Chris

                So it would've been okay to go in his private car without the identifying stuff on the side of it?  Why then wouldn't it have been okay for the photographer to have been there?

                • McFlock

                  In which case, why did the photographer consider it photo-worthy?

                  • Chris

                    Perhaps the photographer lived across the road and was going for a quick walk alone for a bit of exercise?  There's certainly nothing to suggest the photographer was mountain biking, either.

                    • McFlock

                      "lived across the road".

                      He got papped by the wilderpeople living in the green belt. Much lols

                    • Chris

                      So you're saying, mcflock, that the photographer had no business being there?  The point is that their presence may have been well within the common understanding of the limits of the lock down.  

                    • McFlock

                      No, I'm saying that there are no houses "just across the road".

                      If the photographer thought being there was fine for them, why would anyone think Clark's presence was camera-worthy? You're coming up with imaginings to defend rank hypocrisy.


                    • The carpark is down a long dead end track behind the school, so the photographer must have been in there for a specific reason. Maybe going for a ride themselves, dropping someone off or picking them up, or maybe had seen the van and followed it in. 

                    • Chris

                      "If the photographer thought being there was fine for them, why would anyone think Clark's presence was camera-worthy? You're coming up with imaginings to defend rank hypocrisy."

                      Even if there aren't 'houses across the road', my point is the photographer may have been there within the limits of the lock down.  Clark clearly wasn't.  It hasn't been established the photographer had no business being there.  If the photographer was there legitimately there's no hypocrisy.  Your logic is lacking.

                  • Andre

                    McFlock, that's your stomping ground isn't it? The Oddity says the van was parked at Logan Park school, other reports say it was at Signal Hill. Do you recognise from the photo which carpark it was?

                    edit: never mind, Pete seems pretty definite it was Logan Park school.

              • James

                First of all you identify the person taking the photo as a "Nat" and then state that they were also over 2km away from their residence.

                Anything to back that up?

                No?  funny that.

          • Paddington

            Hi Anne – hope you are well.  I'm really not that concerned about him using his electorate van.  The guys probably working his ass off at the moment, and I don't begrudge him some 'me' time at all.  I think the issue is the nature of the activity – mountain biking.  https://covid19.govt.nz/help-and-advice/for-everyone/leaving-your-house/ says this:

            • Help our emergency services by only doing safe activities, such as going for a walk.
            • Don’t go swimming, surfing, hunting or tramping.

            Anyone giving Clark flack for having a break is being a dick.  But IMHO he should not have been mountain biking.

            All that said, I'm loooking out over the upper harbour towards TeAtatu and gee it's tempting to put my little boat in.  We're all human after all!

            • mauī

              If there was an issue with the nature of the activity, the website would probably say don't go mountain biking as well. 

            • Anne

              Nice one Paddington. Of course he made a mistake and he has admitted as much.

              What I take objection to is the over-reactions largely by those who are indulging in political point scoring. Interestingly, these types have been strangely silent on this blog for weeks now, then suddenly when a cabinet minister makes a wee mistake – and let anyone name a minister of any political persuasion who hasn't –  and they all turn up for the kill.

              Their motivations are crystal clear for all to see. 

      • Rosemary McDonald 2.4.7

        I'm not so "silly" as to read the comments from Farrar's Ferals, my primary interest is following what various platforms are choosing to highlight by way of posts and opinion pieces.

        I have a particular and very personal interest in all things Ministry of Health  and especially the relationship between the Ministry and the Minister.

        And although, despite his Higher Education, Clark was clearly unsuited from day one to be the Minister in Charge of the Transformation of Kindness (after the much need high colonic) promised by Our Leaders he has outdone even my low expectations of him.

        Heavens to Betsy BG, he gave the lot if us in Lockdown a very emphatic FU.

        Perhaps Clark’s god can help us?

    • Stunned Mullet 2.5


    • If what David Clark did was a general member of the public it would have likely gone unnoticed, and if the police had discovered them they would probably have been 'educated'.

      But Clark isn't just an ordinary member of the public.

      So this doesn't look good for Clark nor for the Government, on an issue that is annoying many people due to open abuses and borderline cases and in particular a lack of clarity (that has to be rectified quickly). Clark has made it appear that anyone can decide for themselves what they do.

      Possible more importantly, Clark has what must be one of the most important jobs in the country, in the biggest issue facing health in probably a hundred years.

      So why is he working from home and not in Wellington?

      The Prime Minister has seen fit to work from Wellington. The Minister of Finance and the Director-General of Health and the Commissioner of Police and the  Director of Civil Defence and Emergency Management are all in Wellington dealing with an unprecedented crisis.

      I can understand Clark preferring to be at home for personal and family reasons, but he can't be as effective from home asd he could be working with the other key personnel and his Ministry of Health in Wellington.

      Unless he is unofficially but deliberately sidelined .

      • Sanctuary 2.6.1

        "… on an issue that is annoying many people due to open abuses and borderline cases …"

        You are self isolating to do the right thing, it isn't a competition. Do your bit  and concentrate on what you can control.

        • Pete George

          You could follow your own advice.

          I'm self-isolating to protect myself and others including a vulnerable person. I haven't left my property for nearly two weeks.

          But it's obvious from media and social media coverage that many people are doing a wide range of activities away from home. This is likely to keep creeping to more activities and more risks.

      • lprent 2.6.2

        In case you hadn’t noticed ( *sigh* ) all Ministers and MPs, apart from Jacinda Ardern and Grant Robertson, are working from where ever their home is. The reason why these two are required to be at the centre is because they need to use their actual hands to formally and legally sign things – like requests to use powers granted by the ‘crown’ like asking to use the armed forces and expending money from the treasury.

        Everyone else is remote..

        Ministers don’t need to be in Wellington. After all they don’t exactly have bits of hardware like bodies or sewerage systems that they’re working on. Most of their ‘hands’ are part of the bureaucracy or at the coalface. They just need to be able to communicate with those that they are responsible for and working with all around the country.

        This includes the epidemic response committee which arguably is as important or more important as a frigging minister of cabinet.

        The only requirement in our system for MPs to be together otherwise is pass legislation with even a token presence. Which they did before stage 4 when parliament shut itself down for a time.

        There was an interesting RNZ article on the legal issues from last month.

        Please avoid straw man arguments based on a ignorant and rather stupid spurious premise.

      • Gabby 2.6.3

        I think they have phones down in Dunedin. Correct me if I'm wrong.

        • Pete George

          You're right about that. I do most of my work remotely from Dunedin. I've been working in Timaru, Auckland and the UK today from home. But for big and critical jobs we like to do site visits, there are things you can miss from not being on site dealing with key people face to face and seeing a bigger picture.


          • weka

            Are you suggesting that the Health Minister should be doing face to face meetings? Or going to sites? Why?

            • Pete George

              All the other key leaders seem to be involved in person, they have appeared in various combinations in media conferences (keeping appropriate distances to set a good example) so must have a safe bubble to work in.

              • weka

                Six key people (see Lynn's explanation) are working in Wellington. Some of those for obvious reasons (eg press conferences).

                What can Clark do in Wellington that he can't do from Dunedin?

                • Ride his mountain bike?

                  Keep in touch with what the Government doesn't want you to do when in isolation, or when in a key ministerial position?

                  Remote conferencing is good for many things, but it isn't as good as face to face for important discussions and decision making.

                  Face-to-face meetings allow for clearer communication. In addition to being able to read facial expressions, body language, and inflection, in-person meetings often end up being more positive, and considered more credible than online or virtual conversations.


                  In a face-to-face meeting, participants can see the reactions of others, recognizing body language and gestures. Those nonverbal signs help participants and meeting leaders to know if others understand the points they are making.


                  Clark seems to have not properly understood Ardern's stay-at-home related advice.

                  • weka

                    So you are suggesting that he does face to face meetings, despite all work places being told to work from home where possible.

                    "Clark seems to have not properly understood Ardern's stay-at-home related advice."

                    I can't see anything that Clark needs to be face to face for for the month, and no-one seems to be able to be specific on this.

                    How so? We're allowed out to exercise.


                    • Ardern: “People can go outside to get fresh air and drive short distances if needed, but we have asked people to avoid activities where there is a higher risk of injury, and the Minister should have followed this guidance.”

                      The latest Daily COVID-19 update from the New Zealand Government (just received by email):

                      Answers to common questions

                      Q. I want to get some fresh air in my neighbourhood this weekend. How can I stay safe?

                      A. You might be tempted to leave the house this weekend, particularly if the weather is nice. Remember, staying home is the best thing you can do to stop the spread of COVID-19. But you can leave the house to buy groceries or to get some fresh air in your neighbourhood.

                      If you do leave the house this weekend, here are some do’s and don’ts to remember:

                      • Keep a 2 metre distance from other people at all times.
                      • Stay local if you go out for exercise and stay close to home.
                      • Keep it solitary when going out, just by yourself or with the people you live with.
                      • If you're exercising in your neighbourhood and it's too busy, go home. Go out later.
                      • Help our emergency services by only doing safe activities, such as going for a walk.
                      • Don’t go swimming, surfing, hunting or tramping.
                      • Don’t touch surfaces others may have touched and avoid park benches or playgrounds.
                      • Don’t travel far from home, especially not to baches or second homes.
                      • Only shop for essential supplies.
                      • Wash your hands regularly.
                    • weka

                      Clark has apologised for doing something a bit risky (riding a bike on a dirt track). But sometimes driving a short distance for exercise seems to be within the rules from what I can tell. The guidance is to avoid unnecessary travel.

                  • lprent

                    Hey that is just crap.

                    I do video conferencing all of the time. Kind of have to with my current project team being in the UK, aussie, parts of the US and now locked down here. It isn’t any worse or better than when we all did the same thing around a meeting room table with or without video links to outliers as I did it a decade ago. Or when doing it via chat rooms and version control systems as I did 20 years ago.

                    Or as programmers do it these days; via slack, jira, confluence, stash and jenkins or their equivalents. We seldom use video conferencing except to deal with the unskilled (like managers and customer), because we’ve been doing this kind of remote stuff forever and we’re efficient doing it.

                    These days we just layer all of those together depending on who the audience is.

                    It is like everything else – you get better at it the more you do it.

          • Gabby

            'We' might need to get over 'ourselves'.

      • Bearded Git 2.6.4

        Did Clark's actions actually threaten anyone with Covid-19? No.

        Media beat-up. They are desperate to tarnish the gold that is Jacinda (and Robertson).

    • Chris 2.7

      I don't think it's fair or correct to sack Clark for anything in particular.  He's clearly an idiot so blame shouldn't come into it.  He should just be sacked for general incompetence.

      • weka 2.7.1

        Who should be Minister of Health?

        • Chris

          I don't know.  Louisa Wall?  Liz Craig? I’m liking Chloe Swarbrick more and more.

          • Pete George

            Liz Craig would be very appropriate but this is her first term so it could be a bit soon. She wasn't even appointed to the Epidemic Response Committee.

            • McFlock

              Bit of a joke that last bit, given her CV.

            • Paddington

              Out of interest, have you seen Farrar's post from yesterday about the Covid-19 comittee members?  He makes the same point about Liz Craig.

    • Cooper oil 2.8

      Farrars mob?

      Haven't they been wishing for someone more like bill english in a crisis?

  3. ScottGN 3

    John Hopkins just ticked over a million reported cases. Took 8 days to double from half a million.

  4. ianmac 4

    There is a very funny picture leading Brian Easton's column on Pundit re Trump masking. I can't copy and paste it but it can be seen on https://www.pundit.co.nz/

  5. Reality 5

    The PM will likely address the Minister of Health’s brain fade at her press conference today.  Hopefully anyway, and use him as an example of what not to do.  He should apologise profusely.  Jacinda did not need this at this time.  She has to keep well and get enough sleep and not be kept awake at night by such stupidity.

  6. Jimmy 6

    Jacinda is a very weak leader re staff. Twyford, Lees-Galloway and Clark (and NZ First MP's) often embarrass her but she will not fire anyone. The talent pool is too shallow we all know that. She also only acted on Clare Curran and Meka Whaitiri as she was forced to.

    She needs to take a leaf out of Helen Clarks' playbook.

    • observer 6.1

      Like many others, Jimmy is still tuned in to "politics as usual".

      Previous cases are irrelevant here. Firings have always been based more on the importance of the sinner than the sin (Murray McCully broke more rules than there are in the book, but survived, because he was Murray McCully and knew where the bodies were buried).

      The PM won't fire Clark because she is dealing with an extraordinary challenge, and the health system doesn't need a newbie learning the name tags. That is vastly more important than playing the Beehive games which made headlines on a slow news day, but are entirely irrelevant now.

    • KJT 6.2

      Really?  I've never sacked anyone either.

      Told a few, including myself, "I hope you have  bloody well learned from this, and will do better next time".

      Works much better than shooting people for their cockups. 

      You just end up replacing them with another fallible human, who you have to train to avoid the mistakes, the previous one learned from.

      • Jimmy 6.2.1

        Some people are promoted beyond their capabilities. Clark, Curran, ILG and Twyford are examples in Labour IMO.

        Nick Smith, Paula Bennett are examples in National also IMO.

        • KJT

          I still have an open mind about which of them were, "promoted beyond their capabilities" and which are learning a huge job, on the trot.

          It remains to be seen.

          National were in long enough to make it obvious.

          Jacinda Adern has done an excellent job, of communicating, which is her role, so far, as have many others.

          • Jimmy

            I have to agree with you on Jacinda's communication (and not just this Covid-19 thing), it is always very good. Just wish she would put some of her MP's in their place when the do absolutely dumb things like this that embarrass them.

        • Fireblade

          Some people are promoted beyond their capabilities.

          IMO, Simon Bridges.

    • bwaghorn 6.3

      Gee  the leader of the of a labour party (the party that try's to make workers lifes better) doesnt believe in pulling their metaphorical penis out and sacking people to prove they’re the bees knees.

      Who woulda thunk it.?

      • Jimmy 6.3.1

        I'm simply saying Helen Clark would not have put up with this shit from her MP's.

        • bwaghorn

          Yeah well Clark was a 90s poly and the first elected female PM   Nz was still dragging its knuckles then some are trying to walk upright nowadays  

    • Anne 6.4

      She needs to take a leaf out of Helen Clarks' playbook.

      Oh look. Jimmy was almost certainly calling Helen Clark an idiot – and a few other names no doubt – when she was PM. 

      It is Helen Clark's playbook by the way. Just a little grammar lesson for you.

      • Jimmy 6.4.1

        Did you get out of the wrong side of someone's bed Anne?

        No I did very well under the Clark government and she certainly surrounded herself with much more competent people. But also did not suffer fools. 

        But thanks for the grammar lesson….I must admit I'm not a good typist. 


      • Chris 6.4.2

        Helen Clark was no idiot.  Cold, uncaring, heartless, calculating, unkind, at times even duplicitous – but she was no idiot.

        • Incognito

          Some (…) would call that a backhanded compliment, others would call it a character assassination.

        • Jimmy

          Like her or loathe her (Helen that is), she was a good politician and PM.

        • Anne

          She was none of those things Chris. OK maybe a bit duplicitous in a political sense but you name a prominent politician who isn't. But she was from broadly the same generation and Presbyterian background as I came from. We were brought up not to show our emotions on our sleeve. It was often mistaken for coldness and lack of empathy. It was neither of those things.

        • KJT

          Helen Clark was certainly no idiot. But I knew her personally. She was none of the other things.

          I disagreed with her simply calling a hiatus to the Neo-liberal onslaught. “New Zealand is tired of changes”, But doubt anyone could have achieved much more at the time, in that direction.

          Male politicians with similar characteristics, would have been credited with much more positive descriptions.

  7. Adrian 7

    The only brain fade was using a marked van. In his defence a chance to get away on his own and do a bit of clear thinking is probably invaluable considering how many are yapping in his ear. I once had a job that required a bit of clear headed thinking on occasion and I used to drive a few kms away and park-up and think without distraction for 5 or 10 minutes. 

  8. Andre 8

    It seems COVID-19 deaths in Europe are being way under-reported. For instance, in France and Spain, retirement home deaths apparently aren't included in reported totals.


  9. Red Blooded One 9


    If only David Clark had listened to Randy Rainbow.

  10. Cinny 10

    Every morning Bill de Blasio, mayor of NY does a presser. 

    This morning he is advising all NYer's to wear a 'face covering'.  People may carry the virus yet have no symptoms, so they just spread it, asymptomatic .  He does not want people using surgical masks, as those need to be saved for those on the 'front line'.  Instead encouraging people to make their own or wear a bandana.

    It must be horrendous in NY, he's asking for the military to mobilize and for any medical people to come to NY to help.

    If your interested, I usually watch it on this link, comes on around 9.30-10am.

    Meanwhile, agent orange has just started his daily presser…

    • Peter 10.1

      The Presidential presser yesterday started off with an astonishing electioneering session. They didn't want to talk about the new milestones or the number of deaths and infected so went full out on war. 

      The navy is going to sort out the drug cartels. This is war. Iran is going to be sorted out, this is war. 'We are not sleeping, no-one should think that while we're distracted we're not ready." The navy is ready, they're ready to go. As of today they're …

      And all those saying how great the Leader is. The election is the week before Veterans Day. I wonder if the troops and rockets and bowing and scraping experts will be ready for the parade in Washington. 


    • Gabby 10.2

      Bit of a dilemma for the trumpskyites, is it still ok to rip veils off muslims.

  11. ScottGN 11

    Great piece here from the NYTimes about the demise of advertising-funded print media. Perhaps a few of the loud mouthed media commentators here in NZ should read it and have a deeper look at the reasons their industry is headed the same way as the dinosaurs. Apologies if it’s paywalled, an online sub to the NYT is the same price as the NZHerald though and about a million times better. 


  12. KJT 12

    On the lighter side. Walked past a couple of women, several metres apart,  sitting on their respective front lawns, drinking wine.

    Told us they were practising their "social" distancing.

  13. Barfly 13

    Oh joy Mitre 10 can sell padlocks online – pity I have a broken exterior door lock – which they stock


    • Carolyn_Nth 13.1

      Maybe contact Mitre 10 and ask them to have it included in their list of essential items?  I under stand they had to submit such a list to the government?

      • Barfly 13.1.1

        Got through to their customer service centre  – transferred to a supervisor… left message on his answerphone – wish me luckindecision

    • Rosemary McDonald 13.2

      In anticipation of a resolution of our current homeless/NFA situation I eagerly went online seeking 5ol heavy duty storage crates with lids. The crates I originally packed our books in have not fared well in the shed they are stored in.  They will not survive being trucked to our prospective home.

      Got the same NO CAN SELL message.

      Played the phone tag game for a while, but life is short.


  14. joe90 14

    Papiere Bitte!


  15. Peter 15

    The idiot US President has some other idiot on there talking about the big learnings to come out of the current situation. Apparently relying on other countries for essential things is bad. Stuff is being made overseas because of cheap labour is bad.  

    Hello? Globalisation has been good for scores of years when American companies decamped production off shore for cheap labour so they could make a killing.  Now essential medical needs should be manufactured at home? How about making everything at home?

    Whingeing about their sacred capitalist system not working how they want it to work when the going gets tough? Just another effect of the virus I suppose. 

  16. joe90 16

    What happens when you displease Dear Leader by telling the truth,


  17. Morrissey 17

    Horror Show, Live

    Why the hell is it all Trump, Pence, and Jared Kushner? Where are the DOCTORS? Why do the press corps just sit there like dummies and accept this evil farce?

  18. Carolyn_Nth 18

    Whoa!  Just looked up from my laptop, glanced out my window.  A couple of PO-licemen in the front yard of neighbour, talking to neighbour – same place there was a loud altercation a couple of evenings' back.

    I guess I'm becoming a curtain twitcher under lock down.

    • Rosemary McDonald 18.1

      Same here yesterday.

      Ambulance first.  Then cop car.

      No one wearing PPE and no handcuffs, pepperspray or tasers.

      At one stage four members of the household were in the back of the ambulance and were then joined by a thin mask wearing paramedic.

      All but the Man of The House exited said ambulance and it went on it's way.

      The constables spent some time in deep conversation with an Older  Gentleman who had arrived earlier in the day. Possibly to hold the a-frame ladder while the man of the house perched atop so he could remove crud from his spouting and hurl it hither and thither.

      Mildly interesting, but I was busy, so I detached from this timeless suburban pursuit with a dismissive…'silly bugger's going to fall and break his neck' to my partner. 

      Total relief when I saw them all walking in and out of the ambulance.

      Oh happy days.

      • Carolyn_Nth 18.1.1

        Yes.  All these little dramas in the residential areas.  I take an interest for a minute or 2 and go back to what I am doing.

        Mostly my hood is pretty quiet.  No illegal or risky behaviours as far as I know.  Probably just some stressed people with short fuses.

      • weka 18.1.2

        Maybe people don't have much imagination, or maybe I have too much, but the last place I would want to be right now is in traction in a hospital.

  19. greywarshark 19

    Help!     What are we doing for these people.  Our people overseas, now needing help in all parts of the globe.

    We have to get right down and personal and help NZs stuck overseas and not just keep repeating that refrain that's almost a threnody, stay in place for the duration.    That's economic thinking, we say it and turn it into reality without concern for the implementation.     These people need money and need it now.    And to be advised of any transport available, and they need a 24 hour line with people who have a budget to facilitate things now.    Not save money or supplies up for a possible greater need tomorrow.

    NZ Government – support our people.    You have been in globalisation mode for quite a while now – but the other side of it is that everyone needs a home, not in the globe in general, but on some definite ground which is here in NZ.   Bring them home, or support them until they can get here.


    Bring Him Home  from Les Miserables

    Bring him peace, bring him joy
    He is young, he is only a boy
    You can take, you can give
    Let him be, let him live…

    Bring him home
    Bring him home
    Bring him home

  20. adam 20

    Worth a laugh, funny news 


  21. Andre 21

    Here's a good illustration of the kind of price gouging and profiteering going on right now in the US.


    The federal government has explicit powers under the Defense Production Act to take control of this, order companies to produce what's needed and set the price at cost plus a reasonable margin, and coordinate sending product to where it's most needed. But it's not doing that with the bilious fake-bronze baboon preferring to just sit back and fire off twitter insults against those trying to fight the problem.

  22. Peter 22

    More who love the market model. Coming up with some altruistic crap about loving America and doing things for America.

    People do things for money. That's how it works. More money, quicker money. Donald Trump would be happy.  

    • joe90 22.1

      White power Tucker's pissed off because 3M is selling what is rightfully the tRump crime family's PPE to foreigners.


  23. weka 23



  24. I am, I admit, being a little provocative here: a link for bill. The first 20 minutes worth watching.

    Tedros of WHO a member of the Maoist Party of Ethiopia?

    • joe90 24.1

      Yeah, Falun Gong don't like the CCP.

      • RedLogix 24.1.1

        Given the atrocious way the CCP have treated the Falun Gong, this should be unsurprising. The CCP's relationship with all religious traditions has varied from overbearing and oppressive, to hostile and murderous. 

        I don't know a great deal about Falun Gong, but whatever the propaganda from either side says, it's clear that nothing good has happened.

        Then look at the Uighur situation for another example of totalitarian oppression.

        Then listen to what many of the Christian Churches say, forced to operate underground or work with severe restrictions such as not being allowed to teach their own children their faith. Or compelled to register with State bodies that ensure compliance with state dictates.

        Or just go back to the Maoist destruction of China's own indigenous religious and cultural traditions during the Cultural Revolution. 

        Yes there is a lot of propaganda from all sides, and with the language barrier plus our social remove none of us are in a position to make much sense of it all. Yet one thing is clear, the CCP is not merely a political party; it represents a totalitarian ideology that brooks no serious competitors.

        • joe90

          My mainland born SIL reckons it's China's Chernobyl. Local officials minimised and prevaricated, things were out of control long before Beijing was aware of the severity of the situation and from then on it's only ever been a face saving exercise.

          But this time there was no radiation to be detected so we'll never know how widespread the disease was let alone how many deaths occurred.


          • Muttonbird

            What has transpired is too big to be left to individual countries. Particularly closed-off and authoritarian ones.

            Doctors and health officials need an independent global body which to report to the next time this happens.

            We can't go through this shit again.

      • Gabby 24.1.2

        Well, who does.

    • francesca 24.2


      an excerpt:

      "Countries may have good reasons to change the way they collect data as circumstances change, but it apparently happens often enough that the World Health Organisation feels that they have to ask countries to notify them when they do it. Famously, China did so earlier in the epidemic, but others do too: in complying with the WHO’s request, Australia has noted that it has changed its definition of a Covid-19 “case” (and therefore a Covid-19 “death”) at least 12 times since 23 January. 

      As for the number of urns delivered to funeral homes in Hubei after the quarantine was lifted one has also to consider the number of regular death. Hubei province has some sixty million inhabitants. The regular mortality rate in China is 726 per 100.000 inhabitants per year. The regular expected number of death from January 1 to March 31 in Hubei province without the epidemic was 108.900. In Wuhan, which has 14 million inhabitants, the expected number was 25.410. Photos that show the delivery of a few thousands of urns to large funeral homes in Wuhan are thereby not a sign for a higher Covid-19 death rate. To claim such is propaganda nonsense."


      Really some of the crap coming out of American Trump and Bannon wannabes is laughable .Pravda redux.

      • bill 24.2.1

        Pravda redux.

        I think it's far more insidious than pravda. Pravda was one outlet, not a conglomeration of corporate media outlets always singing from the same song book and from the page they have been told to turn to by (usually) anonymous western "Intelligence Sources".

        Throw on top of that the fact that most people (it seems) continue to labour under the notion that there's a "vibrant free press"  comprised of competing outlets and mediums bent on providing facts and discovering truths.

        It's truly horrible.

    • bill 24.3

      That's not provocative. It's just a reflection of who and what you are.

      I already provided a lengthy article that covered the propaganda of the Wuhan urns – that article "outed" the source of the story and much else besides and you didn't challenge a word of it. But for anyone who might be stumbling across this bile for the first time, below is the relevant passage from the article I already provided to you.

      And for those who don't know, the source for the story – RFA is Radio Free Asia –  " a US government news agency created during the Cold War as part of a “Worldwide Propaganda Network Built by the CIA”, according to the New York Times."

      And, of course, versions of the urn story are being carried uncritically by multiple western outlets (google "chinese urns" for a partial run down), because that's what they do – "follow the script" that's fed to them – China being an "official enemy" and all….

      Oddly, none of the social media posts RFA referred to were quoted in its article.

      RFA’s “estimates” are based on morbid speculation regarding the cremation capacity of Wuhan’s funeral homes. RFA cites a story by the Chinese media outlet Caixin on funeral arrangements being made by Wuhan residents during the crisis. On March 26, Caixin reported that 5,000 cremation urns had arrived at a mortuary in Wuhan over a two-day period. This is treated as nefarious evidence of Chinese government deception solely because it exceeds the official death total in Wuhan. 

      RFA completely ignores the fact that residents have continued to die from other causes during the pandemic, as well as the backlog in funerals and cremations caused by the city’s several month long lockdown. In 2019, approximately 56,000 cremations took place in Wuhan, according to the city’s official statistics.

      That means that roughly 4600 residents died per month, a figure that was likely higher during the winter months and with Wuhan’s health care system overwhelmed by the outbreak. With Wuhan under lockdown since January 23, a substantial increase in the use of funeral homes and crematoriums should have been expected. 

    • weka 25.1

       Critic can be a bit of a loose unit at times.

    • McFlock 25.2

      The editorial's not even that bad. Just accurate.

      The university was pulling the business as usual card up until a day before it locked its doors.

      It constantly couches everything, especially publicly, in concern for safety and wellbeing, but then put the onus on staff to demonstrate why they should be able to stay home, tried to implement some BS "working from home" leave request that required above-department signoff, and generally shows a lack of human consideration worthy of a nat blogger.

      Plus everything in the Critic opinion piece.

      A month or two back (who can tell these days) the uni decided to improve morale by telling us to consider what we could do to make our colleagues happier. Telling colleagues that everyone in the top rungs of the hierarchy was retiring  would cheer a lot of people up.


      • KJT 25.2.1

        Universities seem to have had the worst of incompetent, chair polishing managerialism inflicted on them. Since they have been "run like a business".

        • McFlock

          Skegg was pretty good, as I recall. People were quite optimistic about Hayne, as another practising academic rather than academic-turned professional university administrator.

          Shame it turned out this way. She's possibly even worse than Fogelberg was, and he was a total wanker as VC. In those days we could get 2,000 people outside his office chanting exactly that 🙂

  25. Carolyn_Nth 26

    I'm staggered by the numbers of overseas tourists still in NZ.

    Air New Zealand charter flights will help fly home up to15,000 Germans and Europeans stranded by the coronavirus lockdown.

    12,000 Germans have registered for repatriation from NZ.

  26. Muttonbird 27

    Given the events of the last few weeks, anyone else think the grim reaper of New Zealand, David Seymour, will have trouble with his legalised murder bill in the upcoming referendum?

  27. joe90 28

    The robber barons never went away.

  28. Fireblade 29

    Adam Schlesinger died from Covid-19 on 1 April in New York (aged 52). He was a singer-songwriter, record producer, guitarist, keyboardist, and frontman for several bands including "Fountains of Wayne".

    It makes me very sad, but I just wanted to remember him and share one of his bands popular songs released in 2003. 

    Stacy's Mom by Fountains of Wayne (Live In Chicago).

  29. Macro 30

    Sesame Street for Adults:


    Brought to you by the letters W T and F

  30. joe90 31

      Two weeks ago bus driver Jason Hargrove posted a video on FB saying he was worried about coronavirus transmission after a woman coughed on his bus.

    He's died after contracting coronavirus.


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  • Concern at introduction of national security legislation for Hong Kong
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    3 days ago
  • Samoa Language Week theme is perfect for the post-COVID-19 journey
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  • Adult kakī/black stilt numbers soar
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  • Waikato-Tainui settlement story launched on 25th anniversary of Treaty signing
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  • Taita College to benefit from $32 million school redevelopment
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  • Redeployment for workers in hard-hit regions
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  • $35m to build financial resilience for New Zealanders
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    5 days ago
  • New District Court Judge appointed
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  • $206 million investment in upgrades at Ohakea Air Force Base
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    5 days ago
  • Review of CAA organisational culture released
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    5 days ago
  • New Board appointed at Stats NZ
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    5 days ago
  • New Principal Environment Judge
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    6 days ago
  • Digital connectivity boost for urban marae
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    6 days ago
  • Govt increases assistance to drought-stricken Hawke’s Bay farmers
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    1 week ago
  • Investment in New Zealand’s history
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  • Driving prompt payments to small businesses
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  • Rotorua tourist icon to be safeguarded
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  • $14.7m for jobs training and education
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    1 week ago
  • Is it time to further recognise those who serve in our military?
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  • Paving the way for a fully qualified early learning workforce
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    1 week ago
  • Sport Recovery Package announced
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    1 week ago
  • Major boost in support for caregivers and children
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    1 week ago
  • Great Walks recovery on track for summer
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  • Māori – Government partnership gives whānau a new housing deal
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  • Keeping New Zealanders Safe In The Water
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    1 week ago
  • Legal framework for COVID-19 Alert Level referred to select committee
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    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand condemns shocking attacks on hospital and funeral in Afghanistan
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  • Government to close tobacco tax loophole
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  • $62 million package to support families through the Family Court
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    2 weeks ago
  • Tailored help supports new type of job seeker – report
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  • A modern approach to night classes
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  • Christchurch Call makes significant progress
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  • Christchurch Call: One year Anniversary
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  • Budget 2020: Jobs and opportunities for the primary sector
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  • New registration system for forestry advisers and log traders
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