Open mike 15/03/2023

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 15th, 2023 - 81 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

81 comments on “Open mike 15/03/2023 ”

  1. arkie 1

    Very uninformed person makes very uninformed career choice, then argues teachers don't want/need extra pay:

    When I became a secondary school teacher, I had a fairy tale idea of what this career would look like. I pictured bright-eyed, eager students who wanted to learn.

    I envisioned school holidays would be paid vacations that I could waste away at my leisure.

    I thought, like the other jobs that I had held, that staff meetings would happen once a month, if that.

    I thought parents would appreciate us. I thought society would respect us.

    I got into this job because I want to make a difference. I want to help teens get a brilliant education so they could go out and take on the world. I want the best for all of them.

    And you know what won't help? More money in my pocket.

    So please don't pay me more. Just provide me more time, and fewer students in my classroom.

    I promise you the results will speak for themselves.

    The writer's name has been withheld to protect their identity.

    • SPC 1.1


    • Stephen D 1.2

      A right wing teacher colleague of mine had an idea.

      Give teachers much needed PD about teaching students with ASD, ADD, ADHD, dyslexia etc etc. Then pay us more for having that PD/qualification.

      Not such a bad idea.

  2. Reality 2

    Monday night had Jessica M-M on TV1 saying we needed to get to know Luxon better following on from that night's polling. Last night Shane Reti was practically pleading with those watching to get to know him better because he is the greatest. Luxon has been Opposition leader long enough now for people to have made up their minds. What more do we need to know about him that we don't already know. He has had plenty of air time and screen time and Jessica M-M particularly is very supportive of him and is slightly caustic when she talks about the PM in my opinion.

    • Roy Cartland 2.1

      Shane Reti's comments were absolutely vomitous. He mentioned twice that we needs to see more of Luxon's "parts", twice about Luxon needing to "reveal" more of himself, and a running theme of Reti's close proximity (between, behind, after hours) to Luxon.

      Something of a Smithers

    • Peter Kelly 2.2

      I was bemused by the Nat's desperately pleading with us to like their leader. If after all this time and all of Luxon's gaffes and backtracks they think Luxon is suddenly going to become inspirational they are clearly living in fantasy land. Time for them to admit allowing JK to anoint Luxon was a huge mistake and draw a 'leader' out of the hat and then providd some coherent policy.

    • Sanctuary 2.3

      Labour strategists must be right chuffed with National at the moment. Against the cost of living crisis, national disasters and covid related inflation they lead in the the polls. As the cray-cray influence of the Fox News GOP right infects more and more right wingers so their political vehicles become more and more unelectable.

      This isn't much of a problem in the USA where the far right has limitless resources, a full on media propaganda arm and has captured the judicial system to enable a whole raft of voter suppression and gerrymandering measures that means they don't have to worry as much about being popular enough to be elected in a fair election. But elsewhere, this style of politics has made the right unelectable.

      Let's be honest – Labour is running a small target policy and on being the grown up in the room against an out of touch opposition ideologically marooned in the worst excesses of 1990s neoliberalism and full of Evangelicals intent on culture war politics. The trouble is the evidence is growing that this makes the right politically irrelevant in any sort of fair election. From Biden's victory, to the US midterms, to Albanese's win in Australia to the upcoming rout of the UK Tories the public are tiring of the infantile political distractions of Plutocrat populists. For all the horse race enthusiasm of the pundit class, that is the facts that matter.

  3. SPC 3

    Anyone else noting that Google is playing a captcha cop game on VPN use?

  4. weka 4

    latest round of culture wars bollocks (bollocks on both sides)

    • SPC 4.1

      Pithy response award to

      Dr Sereana Naepi, a lecturer in social sciences at University of Auckland, said: “At best Te Pūkenga doesn't have separate email lists for academic and professional staff, at worst their CEO and the wider leadership team hasn’t read the Education and Training Act 2020.”

      The "information" that staff are public servants and are not allowed to have (public) political opinions is dubious.

      • Shanreagh 4.1.1

        Yes well I think the separate lists is more the correct happening.(Cockup rather than conspiracy)

        Even then most of the academics I know would look at these style guides as they usually give the best advice in not offending people unintentionally.

        Unless offending is part of the game in your academic work, you mostly want to get your message/research read by as many as possible.

        As well many academics are asked for things like literature reviews, extended analyses on papers of relevance to a Govt Dept and many of these paid works do abide by standards set by the employing agency. Many contracts do include the expected style and any deviation is simply not paid for and it is a waste of money.

    • Anker 4.2

      Arhh, yes controlling speech. George Orwell foreshadowed it in 1984.

      It is worse than bonkers. And of course it relates to the workings of gender ideology where it is people who menstruate etc.

      Remind me again how much the Polytech merger has cost? And this is what it has bought us

      • weka 4.2.1

        Having a style guide isn't controlled speech, nor Orwellian. Lots of organisations have style guides. If you want to make the argument that there is something Orwellian about this particular style, can you please make an actual argument?

        How does it relate to gender ideology?

        • SPC

          Presumably the advice to use the gender neutral terms spouse or partner.

          • weka

            which makes sense when you don't know the sex or gender, or marital status, of the person being referred to. It's not akin to replacing the word woman with people who menstruate.

          • Shanreagh

            The terms spouse or partner have been 'around since Adam was a cowboy' as they say. Mid 1980s? Just like using Ms/Mr.

            I don't have a problem with a style guide, most PS agencies have them and in the olden days we used to have a publication called

            The PS Style Guide that covered all sorts of things such as

            1. use of the Oxford comma
            2. indenting and when you use it…….
            3. etc
            4. etc

            This was very useful when drafting things like Gazette Notices, Orders in Council

            Every Govt Dept that I ever worked in supplemented this with a department/agency specific style guide. I guess you could grab anyone of these and have a media beat-up on it.

            colours and sizes of dept'l logos


            when to use the shortened version of long dept'l names

            use of both dept'l names etc etc.

            (Australian but we had one similar)


            then there are the special guides for writing for an audience who gets info on line


            then we have specialist writing and style guides for writing for Ministers etc


            If this is a Govt agency then the employees are Public Servants or belong in the State Sector and Codes of Conduct apply covering being impartial.

            My understanding, having employed 'academics' in a Dept is that the usual PS Code of Conduct applies except when they are discussing their specialty so you would not expect an historian employed by Ministry of Culture or Treaty Unit to suddenly come out and comment on fluoridating water or Three Waters using their qualification in the history of Magna Carta to give these views credence.

            Not being up on the pay arrangements, are all employees of tertiary orgs now employed by Te Pukenga including all academics ie tutors, profs etc?

            What a beat up fuelled by ignorant journos aided and abetted by disgruntled and ignorant (on this issue) academics.

            Aimed at public servants whose rules of employment prevent them from defending themselves and so presenting an easy target for bullies.

            Also special attention is paid to being correct on Maori matters. The Crown is the other Treaty partner.

            These agencies are crown agencies so surely out of all the people employed in the Govt sector ie for the other Treaty partner then we have an expectation that these matters will be addressed/standardised.

            And again this is not new.

            In a land dept prior to 1987 we had the equivalent of Maori Language style guides. I had several papers checked by both Pakeha & Maori academics and then by one of a group of eminent Maori who had an interest in what we were doing before it was presented to a UN agency audience, also in 1986/87.

        • Cricklewood

          It sort of does control speech, you'll quickly find that if you don't use the preferred language your opportunities quickly evaporate in the organization, will also be brought up in performance reviews etc.

          • Anker

            100% Cricklewood

          • weka

            I'm going to guess you're not objecting to the punctuation and grammar guide. Which bits are a problem exactly. That when writing official documents they want the organisation to be called by its name instead of the megapoly?

          • Shanreagh

            But why wouldn't you want your language, your tool, along with your brain, to be the best and most effective both for you and for your employer?

            Do surgeons moan & groan because 'people' ask them to to sterilise their tools or use the most up to date ones. Do they moan at hospitlas that employ them who have these expectations?

            So why shouldn't a person using their language tools for an employer not be guided by the employer as to the standards they expect?

            As well most Style Guides are guides only, usually circulated for comment etc and if you did not take the chance to comment or indicate on a letter by letter basis why it may not be correct why do you moan when it is commented upon.

            If it is still being commented on by the time a performance appraisal time comes about then you may not have shown that you have learned.

            If you are writing for a Minister, for a cabinet paper, policy papers there are ways of doing this just as Drs, when writing scripts have to write them in certain ways otherwise they don't get filled.

            I don't find this very convincing I am sorry Cricklewood.

            Or are you saying that employers have taken issues with possible racism, sexism, ageism etc in speech in the workplace?
            I did have a couple of staff that I had to ‘counsel’ about this. In the end we came to an agreement that he would act as if the Depts stds were a cloak that he put on as he stepped out of the lift on the way to work and left on throughout the working day. Mainly racism and sexism. The racism part, funnily enough, disappeared when he married someone who was Maori. The sexism never did.

        • Anker

          A quote from the article I posted above. "words they should and should not use"

          The row over academic freedom at Te Pūkenga – the country’s largest tertiary provider – has rumbled on after it emerged staff have been issued with a list of words they should and should not use.

          “Staff were told they should not refer to the organisation as a “megapolytech” or say “merge” – even though those terms describe how it was formed. “We always refer to ourselves as Te Pūkenga.”

          The guide discourages gendered language, for example: “We also use: spouse or partner – not husband, wife”.

          how dare my employer tell me how to refer to my husband…….

          • weka

            They're not talking about personal communications, the style guide is for writing official documents so that there is consistency across the organisation. See Shanreagh's explanation above. No-one is taking away your ability to call your husband husband.

            I have far more of a problem with this from the Stuff piece,

            Last week Te Pūkenga staff were told they are “public servants” and must separate their personal views from their professional roles.

            • Shanreagh

              I only have a problem if it is not correct that they are public servants.

              PS are bound by a Code of Conduct. this does in effect separate their personal & political views from their professional roles

              Of course this does not stop you putting the best views forward to any policy based on your skills, research & life experiences within your workplace. Your brains are your tools and they are expected to be used! This is why diversity in workplaces is so important. In giving voice to views. policies, procedures we need to have a different experiences and views working with us.

              If you want to engage in politics most PS are quite careful about doing anything that calls into question their impartiality, thus leading to their suitability for continued employment being called into question and losing their jobs. There are many ways to express your concern within the departmental setting and even whistle blowing mechanisms, contact with any Inspectorate doing their jobs etc.

              When I was a PS I was never a member of a political party and neither were most of those I worked with. Of course we had our views and we voted, but we tried not to bring them to work.

              If we were doing something that could put us in the spotlight then it was no problem to clear this and give a head's up to our employers.

              • weka

                if you work in a university or polytech you have to be able to speak freely. That's part of the role of academia.

                Last week Te Pūkenga staff were told they are “public servants” and must separate their personal views from their professional roles.

                However, the Education and Training Act 2020 protects the freedom of academics “to question and test received wisdom, to put forward new ideas, and to state controversial or unpopular opinions”, within the law.

                “The very purpose of the protections for academic freedom in the legislation is to recognise the unique role of such institutions as spaces for stimulating debate, including on matters of controversy, provided this is informed by quality research and analysis,” said Jane Kelsey, professor emeritus at the Faculty of Law at University of Auckland.

                “It may be that staff of Te Pūkenga central organisation are subject to those guidelines, but not the academics.”


                • weka

                  I'm pleased this is coming up because if the GI stuff goes like the UK having academic freedom established will help.

          • Shanreagh

            It is not academic freedom it is a style guide.

    • Shanreagh 4.3

      Weka, I was going to follow up with Ani O'Brien but it is futile, from past experience.

      Sometimes I cannot get over how sheltered and naive people like her are, have they never worked for an agency where there is a concern for correct writing & image.

      This applies even to most large private sector employers who are very concerned about who & how people get to speak for them.

      I’m probably blocked anyway as a couple of us tried to put a different view and were subsequently blocked……

      • Anker 4.3.1

        The merged polytech is a publicly funded organisation. I think tax payers who pay for this have a right to push back on this change of the use of language

        Also this change of language has nothing to do with the imparting of knowledge and skills that the polytech is set up to do. Its ideological

        • weka

          yes, but Ani has a large follower count and she lied by calling it a ban. Can you not see the problem with that?

          • Shanreagh

            I do see the problem with that, very much so but some times my energy for trying to advise/comment on such sterile ground as her over blown comments just is not there.

        • Shanreagh

          change of the use of language

          Hmmmmm we will be having a big back log then…..I came across the PS style guide in the 1970s and Dept'l style guides in the 1980s……so they have been around a while….

          What exactly is the objection to treating people with respect and courtesy and observing Te Tiriti?

          Some of the guides have standards about accessibility of language, not dumbing down, but freeing the letters from jargon and other bits that are just 'noise' to a person trying to understand things.

          Look & feel across all communications ie making sure the logo is the correct colour, the comms are clearly set out, there are no spelling mistakes etc that you are respectful are not hard concepts to grasp.

        • Shanreagh

          It has everything to do with the 'imparting of knowledge'.

          People see themselves 'reflected back' in the contacts they have with an organisation. If an organisation only wants to 'see' salutations that are Mr or Mrs or pairings such as husband and wife then it is hard for people who don't fit those categories to 'see' themselves. Many of us fought for the right to use Ms as we did not feel we should have to reveal our matrimonial status with every letter we wrote. This was when Miss was sort of used as a spinsterish demeaning way and Mrs often meant you were going to get pregnant and leave

          We (royal we should I say most public servants) want people to feel included and if this means we take care with our salutations, we don't weaponise the way the organisation was founded, we carefully use any Maori words (we represent the treaty partner, the Crown, remember.

          I cannot really see what the objection is, no story really as style guides have been around for decades.

  5. Anne 5

    Good overall analysis of where we are at regarding Climate Change and its effect on our rain intensities – and is easy for anyone to read:

    Though it concerns me anyone is even suggesting obliquely there is still doubt among the informed that CC is real.

  6. Tricledrown 6

    tsmythfielder channeling Tucker look how that's working with Tucker you must feel like a very proud boy promoting your Strawman!

    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

    [stop harassing this (or any) commenter. This is a pattern of behaviour from you. Next time I see it, expect a ban, building on your previous bans, and bearing in mind we are handing out bans until well after the election because we want to up the debate culture here and discourage this kind of SM-esque response – weka]

  7. Incognito 7

    Aucklanders have something to think about, but not for too long – the consultation window is for a defined period only.

    After the recent flood damage and yet another BBB (Big-Budget Blowout – as time rolls on, they are default by their inevitability) it seems certain that some things must go off the wish list.

    Short-term thinking and ‘fixes’ tend to win the day, in local and national politics, and one day the can will have grown to a concrete-filled barrel that can no longer be kicked down the road.

  8. UncookedSelachimorpha 8

    I was looking at party health policies last night, due to ongoing personal experience with people not being treated or not being able to afford treatment in our health system – plus many similar stories in the news. As expected, the Greens seem to be the only ones with an unambiguous policy of actual free health care. Unfortunately the policy is delivered cluelessly, with this being the first strategic priority:

    1.1 Reconfigure our health system towards recognising and acting on oppressive and intersecting biases (e.g. racism, sexism, ableism, fatphobia, ageism, queerphobia, transphobia) and the knowledge and skills required to work with affected communities, such as Deaf and disabled people.

    And only three points further down do we get:

    3.5-6 Provide universal, free and accessible diagnosis, treatment and management for all illnesses and injuries — including fully-funded public provision of dental care, general practitioner clinics, ambulance and emergency services, aged care, palliative care, and mental health services.

    The first point means little to a lot of people and is confusing or alienating to people not up with the latest progressive buzzwords. I don't have a problem with the intent of point 1 – but why not swap the points around and put "FREE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL" as the first point? Of course free health care will benefit all the groups identified in 1 as well.

    • Maurice 8.1


      Surely Tax Payer funded health care for all.

      For if it is free for ALL … exactly who pays for it as someone MUST inevitably

      • Drowsy M. Kram 8.1.1

        Not-for-profit health care for all; would prefer public, but don't care too much if the health care service provider is public or private, as long as extracting profit isn't its reason for being, and access to health services is based on need, not ability to pay.

        Myth: "Privatization" can help everyone access health care

        Canada’s health care system is built on the principle that access to care should be based on need, not ability to pay. A well-designed, adequately funded, single-payer system can provide high-quality, efficient, equitable care to restore that reality.

        Our publicly-funded health care system is certainly facing challenges. But the solutions lie in strengthening our public health care system, not weakening it.

        There is little evidence that private for-profit investor-owned corporations can provide better quality care or reduce costs. In fact, there are many examples to the contrary.

        Looking at you, Coleman.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 8.1.2

        Free at point of delivery, obviously paid through tax and other state revenue.

        Exactly who should pay? Mainly those with the most – in particular the top 10% who have over 50% of the wealth.

        "User Pays" = "Poor Can't Use"

    • joe90 8.2


      Or we could call it what it is – "single payer health care for all"

  9. Herodotus 9

    I see that the greens and labour are Totally consumed by climate change and what needs to be done immediately ahead of everything else. Or was that to say anything that sounds good and will get them re elected, pity action is telling us all what they really think, and now to have a pm who doesn’t think this is important, humanity and the planets survival above everything else, you could say the defines a climate skeptic 🤨

    • Anne 9.1

      Would you like to re-write your 'hate on anything connected to Labour' comment so we know what you are talking about – together with suitable links?

      Banging on about something Jacinda Ardern (who has left the parliamentary arena) said six years ago is no longer a relevant link.

      • Herodotus 9.1.1

        So the condition of the world is NOT an issue – Amazing how many on the left now are deniers that climate change is an issue worth making sacrifices for ??

        Perhaps you too along with our current PM should wear a tin foil hat out in public.

      • Herodotus 9.1.2

        Shaw said it's "very disappointing".

        He's disappointed with the lack of consultation and with Hipkins' focus on the cost of living crisis over climate crisis.

        "It's clear that the Prime Minister is very keen to win the election and he's prepared to do just about whatever it takes to do that." _ Great comment from someone that potentially in a few months time you will have to come crawling to form a government- Pity Hipkins has lost credibility and has little integrity, the guy is a total political animal and will do anything to survive even lie to NZ.

        • SPC

          Given you won’t vote for the Greens

          either because of their wealth tax and or their environment first approach

          or MP

          either because of the indigenous rights co-governance (consultative) or Tiriti advocacy or their support for delivery MHA

          or Labour

          either because of their mortgage interest tax deductability or their coalition partners

          what is your point?

          Everyone knows Greens will support Labour on confidence and supply for nothing if the alternative is National or NACT.

    • SPC 9.2

      It's useful to note the issues which are raised by those who come here from time to time for this purpose, to eviscerate the left/Labour.

      The old, label them as either single issue ideologues, or insincere politicians tactic.

      Some on the left would have preferred an original focus on moving from vehicles to PT (the half fares) and e bikes (away from car transport).

      There is obviously Labour's realisation that many working class cannot afford to buy cars atm (rent/cost of living or rising mortgage cost) – which speaks to the suspension of petrol taxation.

      It's a real world moment. And no the modernisation of our car market is not dependent on financial inducements at taxpayer expense.

  10. Gosman 10

    Stuart Nash has officially resigned after initially stating he had no reason to do so.

    He looks very foolish now. He should have just refused to speak to journalists prior to his decision to resign.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 10.1

      Staurt Nash has resigned as police minister after admitting on radio he encouraged Police Commissioner Andrew Coster to appeal a court decision.

      Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said calling the commissioner to discuss the prosecution, and refusing to apologise for that, was “an error of judgement”. He accepted Nash’s resignation as police minister.

      Nash will continue to serve in his other roles.

      "Staurt Nash" eh. At least that error is easily fixed. Ah well, he brought it on himself.

      • Gosman 10.1.1

        If Chippy wants to be consistent with past breaches of this rule he should be sacked from all portfolios not just Police.

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          It's the PM's call – Nashie's been reasonably popular in the Napier electorate, so he might come back – might even rise to lead the party. It's been known to happen.

          • Gosman

            You missed the point. He still holds other portfolios (Minister for Economic Development, Forestry, and Oceans & Fisheries). If Chippy was as strong a leader as you suggest then he should have removed ALL his Ministerial warrants.

            • weka

              Quite a few people will be wanting Tourism taking off him too over his stupid freedom camping ban legislation.

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              If Chippy was as strong a leader as you suggest…

              As I suggest? Really Gosman – that's a bit strong. It is the PM's call, isn't it?

              Chippie's an experienced politician – an electorate MP for 14+ years cf. Luxo's two-and-a-bit. Lux weathered last year's Uffindell storm well, I'll give him that.

    • Red Blooded One 10.2

      What it does show is a very decisive PM who will not allow distractions to get in the way, unlike the floundering isolating LOTO.

      • Gosman 10.2.1

        Except Nash should not be a Minister of anything.

        • Red Blooded One

          Many on this site have, in the past, said Nash is too Right for the Labour Party so perhaps your opinion is right.

          • Gosman

            It isn't because he is too right wing but because he breached the Cabinet manual and the one involving political interfering in the Police Commissioners role.

            • observer

              That is correct, but ignores the glaring irony that the opposition are constantly demanding that the PM and Ministers interfere in the Police Commissioner's role, from crime to cyclones to protests at Parliament.

              Chris "I would pick up the phone" Luxon would presumably NOT pick up the phone after all, like Nash picked up the phone. Good to know.

              • aj

                That's a very good point, but will be lost on the public.

                • observer

                  I suspect the public would have very little interest in the story anyway.

                  It's one of those times when the opposition and media get very excited ("Cabinet manual!") and are later surprised when it has no effect whatsoever on public opinion. They really do live in their own world.

                  (If the wider public think about the story at all, they are going to be far less "outraged" by Nash, and far more that a guy commits a serious gun crime and gets off scot-free … ).

        • tWiggle

          Why? As Hipkins pointed out, while Nash had the discussion, the outcome of the legal decision was not what he advocated. Hipkins put forward that this shows our system of judicial independence was maintained. Seems fair to me. And at the time he was not Minister for Police.

  11. Peter 11

    The US is a wacky place. They have Marjorie Taylor Greene as an elected representative. Most Republicans believe the Presidency was stolen from Trump. Apparently some are totally opposed to abortion because it's killing and all killing is wrong, but they agree with capital punishment.

    I've seen pleas that school kids should have see-through bags so any guns in them can be spotted. Another school story indicating the state of what has been called the 'most advanced country in the history of the world. Bullet proof whiteboards in class.

    "Two special education classrooms at West Elementary School are currently piloting the technology, developed by KT Security Solutions, which essentially turns a classroom whiteboard into a pop-out, standalone, bulletproof storm shelter."

  12. observer 12

    Tremain's racist (and reality-free) cartoons are still being hosted here. Inexplicable, please stop.

    • Shanreagh 12.1

      Agree with this. We did raise this before.

      I don't think the Point of Order blog is worth having to suffer these racist, vitriolic and clearly personal cartoons for.

      Readers can go directly to the blog off their own devices and put themselves down to get updates. We don't need to have a direct link here, do we?


  13. SPC 13

    Gain of function research was suspended by POTUS Obama in 2014.

    When it resumed in 2017 some were concerned

    Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said he is concerned the framework does not include a clear process for analysing the risks and benefits of such experiments.

    “Does the benefit of this outweigh the risk and how do we determine that?”

    At this time the debate was whether research should be limited to diseases/viruses that had never infected humans.

    In his letter, Daszak claimed that the experiments carried out by WIV would not count as “gain of function” because the bat coronaviruses involved had never infected humans.

    This is the argument used by Fauci when he denied funding gain of function research at Wuhan.

    No laboratory in the world held a virus close enough to Covid-19 that it could be manipulated to create the pandemic strain, the British zoologist whose company funded Wuhan researchers has said.

    Peter Daszak, the president of EcoHealth Alliance, was responding to claims that scientists had dismissed the lab leak theory because they did not want to stop doing dangerous “gain of function” experiments to increase the infectivity of viruses.

    The following is an interview with him at a December 2019 conference in Singapore

    He mentions after 26 minutes – that they had a lot of bat coronaviruses they were adding spike proteins to so as to manipulate the virus. The spike proteins would make any such virus more dangerous (and as we know the mRNA designed vaccines focused on identification of the spike protein).

    The SARS 2 coronavirus is about 97% similar to some in the Wuhan lab research.

    Daszak said: “There’s really no way RaTG13 could have anything to do with SARS-CoV-2 – the spike protein and the backbone sequence of the virus are too genetically distinct to make it possible that this virus could have rapidly evolved into SARS-CoV-2 or be manipulated genetically to become SARS-CoV-2.”

    However it is not that simple. Those involved were aware of the the possibility of making consensus sequences where viruses were 95% similar.

    In a leaked grant proposal made by EcoHealth Alliance and WIV in 2018, researchers had proposed synthesising viral genomes to make a consensus sequence based on viruses that were 95% identical to each other.

    The proposal, which was rejected by US military research agency DARPA because it “could have put local communities at risk” also proposed the insertion of human-specific furin cleavage sites into Sars like coronaviruses – which could have made them very infectious for humans.

    Dr Monali Rahalkar, a Scientist in Microbiology at the Agharkar Research institute in India said the changes would have been possible with the viruses available.

    “A consensus sequence can be created if they have similar viruses or using other bioinformatics tools,” she said.

  14. Ad 14

    Tough break Nash you were on point.

    • SPC 14.1

      It speaks to National being soft on illegal gun possession, if none of them said anything similar.

  15. Sanctuary 15

    The funny thing is Nash is unlikely to lose votes for venting to the police commissioner over a soft sentence amongst the voters of Napier.

    • observer 15.1

      Exactly. Public outrage: none.

      Of course he had to resign because he broke the rules, but only the press gallery and headline-hungry opposition will care.

      Luxon's lucky he has Covid and is isolating, otherwise he'd be flannelling when asked the obvious question: this sentence OK by you? (And unlike a Minister, he'd be free to answer it … but he wouldn't want to).

      • Anne 15.1.1

        So how did the media get to hear about it?

        From accounts I have read it was essentially a private conversation between Nash and Coster who apparently are personal as well as professional acquaintances. It happened two years ago and it suddenly pops up in the media.

        Foul play? Where’s Soper in all of this?

        Having said the above, Nash has a reputation for impulsive behaviour. It isn't the first time he has been in trouble.

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  • Government improves mass arrival management
    The Government has strengthened settings for managing a mass arrival, with the passing of the Immigration (Mass Arrivals) Amendment Bill today.  “While we haven’t experienced a mass arrival event in New Zealand, it is an ongoing possibility which would have a significant impact on our immigration and court systems,” Immigration ...
    22 hours ago
  • Super Fund to get more investment opportunities
    Finance Minister Nicola Willis has welcomed the passage of legislation giving the New Zealand Superannuation Fund a wider range of investment opportunities. The New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income (Controlling Interests) Amendment Bill passed its third reading in Parliament today. “The bill removes a section in the original act that ...
    1 day ago
  • Crown and iwi settle three decades of negotiations
    Three decades of negotiations between iwi and the Crown have been settled today as the Whakatōhea Claims Settlement Bill passes its third reading in Parliament, Treaty Negotiations Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “While no settlement can fully compensate for the Crown’s past injustices, this settlement will support the aspirations and prosperity ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand to support PNG landslide response
    New Zealand will support Papua New Guinea’s response to the devastating landslide in Enga Province, Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Judith Collins have announced.   “Ever since learning of the horrendous landslide on Friday, New Zealand has been determined to play our part in assisting Papua New Guinea’s ...
    2 days ago
  • Government to consult on regulation of shooting clubs and ranges
      The Government is consulting New Zealanders on a package of proposals for simple and effective regulation of shooting clubs and ranges, Associate Minister of Justice, Nicole McKee announced today.   “Clubs and ranges are not only important for people learning to operate firearms safely, to practice, and to compete, ...
    2 days ago
  • Successful New Caledonia repatriation winds up, need for dialogue remains
    Over 300 people have been successfully flown out of New Caledonia in a joint Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) operation.   As of today, seven New Zealand government aircraft flights to Nouméa have assisted around 225 New Zealanders and 145 foreign nationals ...
    2 days ago
  • Minister to Singapore for defence, technology talks
    Defence and Science, Innovation and Technology Minister Judith Collins departs for Singapore tomorrow for defence and technology summits and meetings. First up is the Asia Tech X Singapore Summit, followed by the Five Power Defence Arrangements Defence Ministers Meeting and wrapping up with the Shangri-La Dialogue for Defence Ministers from ...
    3 days ago
  • Major investment in teacher supply through Budget 24
    Over the next four years, Budget 24 will support the training and recruitment of 1,500 teachers into the workforce, Education Minister Erica Stanford announced today. “To raise achievement and develop a world leading education system we’re investing nearly $53 million over four years to attract, train and retain our valued ...
    4 days ago
  • Joint statement on the New Zealand – Cook Islands Joint Ministerial Forum – 2024
    1.  New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt Hon Winston Peters; Minister of Health and Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Dr Shane Reti; and Minister for Climate Change Hon Simon Watts hosted Cook Islands Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Hon Tingika Elikana and Minister of Health Hon Vainetutai Rose Toki-Brown on 24 May ...
    5 days ago
  • Middle East, Africa deployments extended
    The Government has approved two-year extensions for four New Zealand Defence Force deployments to the Middle East and Africa, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “These deployments are long-standing New Zealand commitments, which reflect our ongoing interest in promoting peace and stability, and making active ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change Commission Chair to retire
    The Climate Change Commission Chair, Dr Rod Carr, has confirmed his plans to retire at the end of his term later this year, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “Prior to the election, Dr Carr advised me he would be retiring when his term concluded. Dr Rod Carr has led ...
    6 days ago
  • Inaugural Board of Integrity Sport & Recreation Commission announced
    Nine highly respected experts have been appointed to the inaugural board of the new Integrity Sport and Recreation Commission, Sport & Recreation Minister Chris Bishop says. “The Integrity Sport and Recreation Commission is a new independent Crown entity which was established under the Integrity Sport and Recreation Act last year, ...
    6 days ago
  • A balanced Foreign Affairs budget
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters confirmed today that Vote Foreign Affairs in Budget 2024 will balance two crucial priorities of the Coalition Government.    While Budget 2024 reflects the constrained fiscal environment, the Government also recognises the critical role MFAT plays in keeping New Zealanders safe and prosperous.    “Consistent with ...
    6 days ago
  • New social housing places to support families into homes
    New social housing funding in Budget 2024 will ensure the Government can continue supporting more families into warm, dry homes from July 2025, Housing Ministers Chris Bishop and Tama Potaka say. “Earlier this week I was proud to announce that Budget 2024 allocates $140 million to fund 1,500 new social ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand’s minerals future
    Introduction Today, we are sharing a red-letter occasion. A Blackball event on hallowed ground. Today  we underscore the importance of our mineral estate. A reminder that our natural resource sector has much to offer.  Such a contribution will not come to pass without investment.  However, more than money is needed. ...
    6 days ago
  • Government sets out vision for minerals future
    Increasing national and regional prosperity, providing the minerals needed for new technology and the clean energy transition, and doubling the value of minerals exports are the bold aims of the Government’s vision for the minerals sector. Resources Minister Shane Jones today launched a draft strategy for the minerals sector in ...
    6 days ago
  • Government progresses Māori wards legislation
    The coalition Government’s legislation to restore the rights of communities to determine whether to introduce Māori wards has passed its first reading in Parliament, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “Divisive changes introduced by the previous government denied local communities the ability to determine whether to establish Māori wards.” The ...
    7 days ago
  • First RMA amendment Bill introduced to Parliament
    The coalition Government has today introduced legislation to slash the tangle of red and green tape throttling some of New Zealand’s key sectors, including farming, mining and other primary industries. RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop says the Government is committed to  unlocking development and investment while ensuring the environment is ...
    7 days ago
  • Government welcomes EPA decision
    The decision by Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to approve the continued use of hydrogen cyanamide, known as Hi-Cane, has been welcomed by Environment Minister Penny Simmonds and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay.  “The EPA decision introduces appropriate environmental safeguards which will allow kiwifruit and other growers to use Hi-Cane responsibly,” Ms ...
    7 days ago
  • Speech to Employers and Manufacturers Association: Relief for today, hope for tomorrow
    Kia ora, Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou kātoa Tāmaki Herenga Waka, Tāmaki Herenga tangata Ngā mihi ki ngā mana whenua o tēnei rohe Ngāti Whātua ō Ōrākei me nga iwi kātoa kua tae mai. Mauriora. Greetings everyone. Thank you to the EMA for hosting this event. Let me acknowledge ...
    7 days ago
  • Government invests in 1,500 more social homes
    The coalition Government is investing in social housing for New Zealanders who are most in need of a warm dry home, Housing Minister Chris Bishop says. Budget 2024 will allocate $140 million in new funding for 1,500 new social housing places to be provided by Community Housing Providers (CHPs), not ...
    1 week ago
  • $24 million boost for Gumboot Friday
    Thousands more young New Zealanders will have better access to mental health services as the Government delivers on its commitment to fund the Gumboot Friday initiative, says Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Budget 2024 will provide $24 million over four years to contract the ...
    1 week ago
  • Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill passes first reading
    The Coalition Government’s Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill, which will improve tenancy laws and help increase the supply of rental properties, has passed its first reading in Parliament says Housing Minister Chris Bishop. “The Bill proposes much-needed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 that will remove barriers to increasing private ...
    1 week ago
  • Montecassino Commemorative Address, Cassino War Cemetery
    Standing here in Cassino War Cemetery, among the graves looking up at the beautiful Abbey of Montecassino, it is hard to imagine the utter devastation left behind by the battles which ended here in May 1944. Hundreds of thousands of shells and bombs of every description left nothing but piled ...
    1 week ago
  • First Reading – Repeal of Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989
    I present a legislative statement on the Oranga Tamariki (Repeal of Section 7AA) Amendment Bill Mr. Speaker, I move that the Oranga Tamariki (Repeal of Section 7AA) Amendment Bill be now read a first time. I nominate the Social Services and Community Committee to consider the Bill. Thank you, Mr. ...
    1 week ago
  • First reading of 7AA’s repeal: progress for children
    The Bill to repeal Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act has had its first reading in Parliament today. The Bill reaffirms the Coalition Government’s commitment to the care and safety of children in care, says Minister for Children Karen Chhour.  “When I became the Minister for Children, I made ...
    1 week ago
  • China Business Summit 2024
    Kia ora koutou, good morning, and zao shang hao. Thank you Fran for the opportunity to speak at the 2024 China Business Summit – it’s great to be here today. I’d also like to acknowledge: Simon Bridges - CEO of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. His Excellency Ambassador - Wang ...
    1 week ago
  • Assisted depatures from New Caledonia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has confirmed a New Zealand Government plane will head to New Caledonia in the next hour in the first in a series of proposed flights to begin bringing New Zealanders home.    “New Zealanders in New Caledonia have faced a challenging few days - and bringing ...
    1 week ago
  • Assisted departures from New Caledonia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has confirmed a New Zealand Government plane will head to New Caledonia in the next hour in the first in a series of proposed flights to begin bringing New Zealanders home.  “New Zealanders in New Caledonia have faced a challenging few days - and bringing them ...
    1 week ago
  • Government to rollout roadside drug testing
    The Coalition Government will introduce legislation this year that will enable roadside drug testing as part of our commitment to improve road safety and restore law and order, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Alcohol and drugs are the number one contributing factor in fatal road crashes in New Zealand. In ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister responds to review of Kāinga Ora
    The Government has announced a series of immediate actions in response to the independent review of Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities, Housing Minister Chris Bishop says. “Kāinga Ora is a large and important Crown entity, with assets of $45 billion and over $2.5 billion of expenditure each year. It ...
    1 week ago
  • Pseudoephedrine back on shelves
    Associate Health Minister David Seymour is pleased that Pseudoephedrine can now be purchased by the general public to protect them from winter illness, after the coalition government worked swiftly to change the law and oversaw a fast approval process by Medsafe. “Pharmacies are now putting the medicines back on their ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand-China Business Summit
    Tēnā koutou katoa. Da jia hao.  Good morning everyone.   Prime Minister Luxon, your excellency, a great friend of New Zealand and my friend Ambassador Wang, Mayor of what he tells me is the best city in New Zealand, Wayne Brown, the highly respected Fran O’Sullivan, Champion of the Auckland business ...
    1 week ago
  • New measures to protect powerlines from trees
    Energy Minister Simeon Brown has announced that the Government will make it easier for lines firms to take action to remove vegetation from obstructing local powerlines. The change will ensure greater security of electricity supply in local communities, particularly during severe weather events.  “Trees or parts of trees falling on ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani win top Māori dairy farming award
    Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani were the top winners at this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy awards recognising the best in Māori dairy farming. Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka announced the winners and congratulated runners-up, Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board, at an awards celebration also attended by Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Finance Minister ...
    2 weeks ago
  • DJ Fred Again – Assurance report received
    "On the 27th of March, I sought assurances from the Chief Executive, Department of Internal Affairs, that the Department’s correct processes and policies had been followed in regards to a passport application which received media attention,” says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “I raised my concerns after being ...
    2 weeks ago
  • District Court Judges appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins has announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges, to replace Judges who have recently retired. Peter James Davey of Auckland has been appointed a District Court Judge with a jury jurisdiction to be based at Whangarei. Mr Davey initially started work as a law clerk/solicitor with ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Unions should put learning ahead of ideology
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour is calling on the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) to put ideology to the side and focus on students’ learning, in reaction to the union holding paid teacher meetings across New Zealand about charter schools.     “The PPTA is disrupting schools up and down the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Craig Stobo appointed as chair of FMA
    Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Andrew Bayly today announced the appointment of Craig Stobo as the new chair of the Financial Markets Authority (FMA). Mr Stobo takes over from Mark Todd, whose term expired at the end of April. Mr Stobo’s appointment is for a five-year term. “The FMA plays ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Budget 2024 invests in lifeguards and coastguard
    Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Coastguard New Zealand will continue to be able to keep people safe in, on, and around the water following a funding boost of $63.644 million over four years, Transport Minister Simeon Brown and Associate Transport Minister Matt Doocey say. “Heading to the beach for ...
    2 weeks ago

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