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Open mike 17/02/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 17th, 2021 - 52 comments
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52 comments on “Open mike 17/02/2021 ”

  1. Sacha 2

  2. RedLogix 3

    Can we please have some adults in the room pay attention to this?

    The Capital and Coast DHB confirms that of its roughly 61 full-time staff, 17 positions are vacant – nearly a third of its midwifery workforce.

    One midwife said not a single application was made for eight new graduate positions funded for the region.

    A serious shortage of midwives at Capital and Coast DHB has seen the maternity service go into "code black" three times recently – meaning it cannot look after any more women.

    An experienced midwife at the DHB said staff were at breaking point.

    Both my children were born at home and I have a deep respect for midwives as a profession. Their pay and resourcing in no way reflects their onerous, life critical responsibilities, and successive govts have ignored this slow burning issue.

    Time for a Labour govt – headed by a mother no less – to step up and make the difference.

    • Rosemary McDonald 3.1

      These women will be treated in the same way as the nurses in MIQ.

      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/covid-19-coronavirus-stressed-miq-nurses-warn-theyre-going-to-get-sloppy/LNDXBRMA65M2YMKOGSADOFVF3E/

      She said the working conditions weren't sustainable, and believed this could result in a breach of Covid-19 at the border.

      "The big concern is always that it's going to get out into the community, and that standards of infection control practices are going to slip, because everyone is exhausted. Really exhausted. We're going to get sloppy, because we're tired and stressed."

      She said nurses were leaving en masse, resulting in huge gaps in their rosters.

      "I've done two 24-hour shifts, where you work a day and there was nobody to cover the night, so I stayed on and worked through until the next morning. There's literally nobody, literally nobody.

      However, the Word from the Very Top is…

      In response, Hipkins said they had "no evidence" of these claims. He said extended shifts would be on an on-call basis only.

      Way to go Hipkins. Call your frontline medical staff liars.

      "There is a provision in the contract where you can work a shift and you can be 'on-call', so basically staying overnight. That's part of their collective contract agreement and there are people who have done that, but there's no evidence of anyone having worked a 24-hour shift."

      One nurse has provided a timesheet to RNZ showing that she was rostered on for a 21.5-hour shift.

      Another nurse said they worked three 24-hour shifts.

      They detailed an occasion where they were 'on-call', which involved actively working for 19 hours with a rest period of about five hours.

      • RedLogix 3.1.1

        Yup. This is definitely a concern where a bit of basic activism and political pressure can and should make a difference.

        And Hipkins is making a fool of himself here blindly taking the word of his senior advisors without doing some checking.

      • Incognito 3.1.2

        Way to go Hipkins. Call your frontline medical staff liars.

        No, he did not. Does this make you a liar too?

        • Rosemary McDonald 3.1.2.1

          So. How are we to interpret "…they had no evidence of these claims."

          • Incognito 3.1.2.1.1

            You are free to “interpret” it as you see fit, of course. Point is, Hipkins didn’t call them “liars”, did he now? You made that up.

            I read it as: I don’t know about this but I will look into it and if there’s a problem then I’ll make sure it gets dealt with ASAP.

            • Rosemary McDonald 3.1.2.1.1.1

              I read it as: I don’t know about this but I will look into it and if there’s a problem then I’ll make sure it gets dealt with ASAP.

              But he didn't say that, did he?

              Some irony here as the nurses had (perhaps in anticipation of their honesty being called into question?) provided evidence of having worked ..

              One nurse has provided a timesheet to RNZ showing that she was rostered on for a 21.5-hour shift.

              …and to explain the three and a half hour shortfall…

              They detailed an occasion where they were 'on-call', which involved actively working for 19 hours with a rest period of about five hours.

              https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/covid-19/436079/no-evidence-of-nurses-working-24-hour-shifts-at-miq-facilities-hipkins

              And the latest plea from the sector…

              https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/GE2102/S00053/prime-minister-jacinda-ardern-must-hear-nurses-on-their-own-terms.htm

              The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) is urging Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to invest time into hearing real stories from frontline MIQ nurses and other health workers.

              The Prime Minister has stated publicly that frontline MIQ workers are being prioritised, but NZNO believes the Government is not listening to nurses’ voices so there is little trust on the part of these health workers.

              Trust? Hmm…could that in any way be related to "truth", or its counterpart "lies"?

              Do you perhaps think that there is any relationship between Hipkins stating there was no evidence and the NZNO going over his head and appealing to the PM?

              Of course not. I'm just making shit up.

              • Incognito

                I’d like to think that the first four words gave it away but you’re so wedded to your own narrative that all I can say is: SSDD.

                Bye

  3. Adrian Thornton 4

    I urge anyone who has an opinion about rampant 'cancel culture' that is dividing the Left, to read this piece by Chris Hedges.

    Chris Hedges: Cancel Culture, Where Liberalism Goes to Die

    "Elites and their courtiers who trumpet their moral superiority by damning and silencing those who do not linguistically conform to politically correct speech are the new Jacobins."

    I like this bit…
    “When the town Campbell lived in decided the Klan should not be permitted to have a float in the Fourth of July parade Campbell did not object, as long as the gas and electric company was also barred. It was not only white racists who inflicted suffering on the innocent and the vulnerable, but institutions that place the sanctity of profit before human life.

    “People can’t pay their gas and electric bills, the heat gets turned off and they freeze and sometimes die, especially if they are elderly,” he said. “This, too, is an act of terrorism.”

    • Stephen D 4.1

      Jonathan Pie gets it.

    • Nic the NZer 4.2

      An amazing and pertinent story. I don't know how the US will back down from its political polarization.

      • Adrian Thornton 4.2.1

        I don't know, but I do know that NZ Labour will have spent all it's credibility and good will with New Zealand's workers, students and disenfranchised by the time Adern's time is up..the Centrist ponzi scheme that they try and pass off for an economic ideology has quite plainly run it's course, and they have nothing else left to offer that I can see…tough times ahead for a large percentage of us, that much you can take for granted.

        Turn Labour Left!

    • Sabine 5.1

      When we start funding mental healthcare to the needs of the country rather then the needs of the book keepers.

    • Peter 6.1

      It's just Mitchell saying stuff and taking a punt. It's just stuff said and soon forgotten .

      BUT if the worst happens and there is a community outbreak of significance he will loud and long be in, "I told you so, I was right" mode. Hosking will be all, "Why didn't we listen to the genius? He could be National's new leader."

  4. Sabine 7

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/christchurch-quake-victim-gets-236k-in-backdated-acc-more-than-half-taken-to-repay-benefits-she-needed-to-survive/3AYOPS7C44YDQRXCWOGGOQPIDI/

    love the headline

    Christchurch quake victim gets $236K in backdated ACC – more than half taken to 'repay' benefits she needed to survive

    She said repaying MSD out of Singh's back payment was "punishing her on punishing her".

    "If there was no error in the decision of April 2013 to say Bonnie could work fulltime, then why is ACC back paying to the same exact date?

    "The fact that ACC wants her to pay the debt, which they created by placing her there, is obscene.

    "ACC placed Bonnie in this position and then does not wish to rectify the problem.

    "It is a regrettable decision for ACC to continue with its abuse of power."

    Radford said she had also complained to ACC Minister Carmel Sepuloni and Associate Minister Willie Jackson about Singh's case.

    "They have never responded to complaints directly to them in 2020," she said.

    "Bonnie has had to fight every single step of the way – from the rubble of an earthquake to this.

    "It's disgusting."

    • Rosemary McDonald 7.1

      Not just ACC. Likewise with settlements after successful claims on other government departments. All payments from MSD during the period of the claim are deducted.

      Be interested to hear if there is a way of finding out if the $$$ are actually paid back to MSD hence leaving a null balance on a claimant's MSD record for that time.

      Considering the benefit is set at subsistence levels, the losing Government department in a claim should be paying an extra 30% (the averaged amount the WEAG suggested benefits should be raised by. https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO2001/S00009/weag-benefit-increases-urgently-needed-budgeting-expert.htm ) as a way of acknowledging the harm.

    • RedBaronCV 7.2

      I can't through to the paywalled article but I would like to think that the ACC settlement is for eligible wages (net or gross ? looks like around $30k p.a) plus interest plus any other costs ACC would have paid medical etc plus legal fees if any plus some thing for the general mucking around.

      Unlike ACC weekly payments to compensate for wages I assume this settlement is free of income tax.

      I expect the benefits claw back should have been net of any thing like accommodation supplement that can be claimed by earners or anyone on earners compensation.

      But beyond that I don't get the level of outrage. The MSD benefits ( even though they are inadequate – a separate but important issue) are the fall back we have as a society and unless the criteria is met they cannot be claimed whilst earning other income.

      So I don't see the outrage at double dipping being fixed even if retrospective. Others cannot do it.

      • Sabine 7.2.1

        this is not outrage at having to refund winz – we are way past that.

        this is an outrage at ACC forcing someone back to work who had 8 vertrebrae broken during the earthquake and was declared fit to work while clearly not.

        this is an outrage because she found it easier to deal with Winz in her situation, despite having a valid claim with ACC.

        this is an outrage because ACC while paying her 230.000 NZD in lost payments declares it has done nothing wrong, when clearly they did, see the payment of 230.000 NZD.

        this is an outrage because now WINZ wants to claim and successfully has claimed 130.000 of the settlement.

        Nevermindd that in order to get anything in NZ via WINZ one has to put up with a lot of bullshit and emotional abuse – kinder and gentler only applies to the WINZ Drones and other Government 'servants', never to those that need help.

        It is an outrage because if she would have received was she was entitled to – medical care, accident compensation so as to be able to heal fully, she might have found a way back to employment much earlier.

        But its ok that you don't see the outrage that someone who by virtue of luck survived a bloody earthquake and was fucked about by healthy wealthy people in government employment for shits n giggles and gets to pay for it too.

    • Chris 7.3

      Even if you believe that weekly compensation for lost earnings is akin to a social security benefit (unlike other income a beneficiary may receive, weekly compensation reduces benefits dollar-for-dollar instead of the gradual abatement brought by other income) there are two further inequities that everyone should be outraged by.

      The first is that the level of backdated weekly compensation the person receives is reduced by the gross amount of benefit received, not the net, even though the person has only received the net rate of benefit. So what's repaid is in fact more than what was received.

      The second is that the backdated weekly compensation is taxed in the single year it's received, therefore is more likely to include a higher tax rate. So again, the amount received is less than what would've been received had the weekly compensation been assessed and paid correctly in the first place.

      These problems are compounded by the fact that the Court of Appeal has said in no uncertain terms that this is what the legislation says, regardless of how unfair it might be. The heinousness of this is that the problems have been with us for years including the conclusions reached by the CA, yet no government, national or labour, has had the balls to do anything about it. Lees-Galloway put his head in the sand whenever these issues arose. Total piece of work. Thank goodness he's fucked off.

      • Sabine 7.3.1

        Carmel Sepuloni is nothing more then a big fat waste of taxpayers funds. But then i guess she is simply Paula Benefit but in red. Owes her life to decent social assistance – in more then one aspect – but now that they could do something to help those that are being screwed over by the dear civil servants of the country, they are too busy collecting a pay check and lecturing people about the 'value of work'.

      • RedBaronCV 7.3.2

        I don't believe that weekly compensation for lost earnings is akin to a social security benefit but it is there to provide wages compensation after the right to sue was removed.

        So it basically should prevent people having to use the social welfare net of last resort.

        I take your point about the tax and timing effects and have absolutely no issue with taking aim at ACC and the government over that where law changes are needed.

        Yes ACC does appear to misuse its power around complainants but the story headline ( It's paywalled so I can't read the rest) focuses on the benefit repayment. The story must be at variance to this.

        As to the way ACC uses it powers – I don't know who the board are or when they where appointed but the Nact government spent time revamping ACC in little slices.

        Maybe labour need to take better control of the board members and the rules they are using – it looks like it may be well overdue.

        I actually think Labour has been slow to appoint new people to a lot of entities. My pet beef is the privacy commissioner where they reappointed the incumbent who is rather too business friendly for my taste.

        • Chris 7.3.2.1

          "I don't believe that weekly compensation for lost earnings is akin to a social security benefit but it is there to provide wages compensation after the right to sue was removed.

          "So it basically should prevent people having to use the social welfare net of last resort."

          I'm not saying that you or anyone else believes this. The fact is that the legislation is based on that assumption by requiring a main benefit to be reduced by weekly compensation dollar-for-dollar. Most other income a person receives affects the benefit rate by way of gradual abatement. From 1 April, for example, a person receiving the unemployment benefit will be able earn up to $160 a week without affecting the benefit.

          The two further issues I outlined, which no government has ever shown an interest in fixing, involves situations where weekly compensation is initially refused, but then granted later on following review or appeal of that initial refusal. It's how back-dated weekly compensation affects benefit payments that’s the problem, not so much the payments themselves (although there's still the dollar-for-dollar issue). So when you say that social security benefits should act as a safety net of last resort, well, that's not the issue here because the need for the social welfare benefit has come about because of ACC's initial refusal to grant weekly compensation.

          You also say that the government needs to take more control of who is appointed to the ACC board. Yes, it does – there have been three recent appointments made: a lawyer from Russell McVeigh, an accountant and an insurance boffin. (It needs to be noted, also, that ACC uses Russell McVeigh to defend its decisions in the courts when they’re appealed.) Wider representation is needed, for claimants, advocates etc. But the source of the problems here is the legislation. Better representation on the board may help with putting pressure on government to fix the legislation, but ultimately it's government, or more precisely Parliament, that has the responsibility to sort this complete and utter shambles out.

        • Chris 7.3.2.2

          Anyway, the reality is, like most issues affecting the poor, very few people give a fuck, until it affects them, of course. So you can bet your house on nothing changing on this front any time soon.

    • I have had clients in a similar situation and a large pay out calculated ; MSD payments were deducted before the final payment to client. One client even received a large extra payment of interest on the pay out. It seems there is no consistency in their decision making.

  5. greywarshark 8

    Be wary of this man. I think a study has been done that shows that people who will carry out cruel practices on animals will be likely to have little moral consideration when it comes to treating vulnerable humans compassionately. This man is 59 and likely to have behaved in this manner before in his life.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/436574/morrinsville-farmer-fined-after-starving-26-cows

    The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) was tipped off to the abuse by a member of the public in July last year, investigated, and told 59-year-old Alastair Robert Kane Hughes to feed his cattle double what he had been giving them.

    MPI animal welfare and NAIT compliance regional manager Brendon Mikkelsen said charges were laid after Hughes was non-compliant with the order.

    "After the first visit, Mr Hughes continued to underfeed his cattle, providing them approximately half of their daily feed requirements resulting in the cattle continuing to lose weight.

    "Four of those cattle required urgent attention to improve their body condition."

    • Jimmy 8.1

      They should have fined him a lot more than that! He has to pay less than $5k! Talk about the wet bus ticket.

  6. Ad 9

    In a little announcement from Joe Biden, he committed to changing the entire Federal vehicle fleet to electric. That's 645,000 vehicles, with 225,000 of those being owned by the independent US Postal Service.

    https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/biden-replace-entire-federal-fleet-electric-vehicles/story?id=75488441

    No timetable, but promised that they would be made in the US.

    Nice little challenge for James Shaw there while he's got those draft Commission recommendations in front of him A lot of our Postal Service neighbourhood deliveries are electric already, but their courier vans aren't. Would be a neat addition to the Transport GPS though.

  7. Peter chch 10

    Yet another attempt by China to provoke a military reaction and play the victim card and so rally the people behind the CCP:

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/02/16/national/china-senkakus-armed-ship/

    Xi plays it straight from the Nazi play book. Step by step towards war.

    • Scud 10.1

      Yep, China has changed it’s Rules of Engagement (ROE) and it’s Orders For Opening Fire (OFOF) for its Coastguard a few weeks ago and I believe it may also include it Military as well.

      Weather China has a crack at Taiwan, the Senkakus Islands or in the SCS it will be the Asia- Pacific Region’s Rhineland Moment. At how we respond to that will telling as it was when Hitler cross into the Rhineland and the world did SFA which lit the slow burning fuse off for WW2.

      [Fixed error with user name]

  8. Gabby 11

    Many thanks for providing the opportunity to subscribe. Are there any more subscriber-only pages you could direct me to?

  9. Anker 13
    • Random thought for today…. what has become of the plan B group who, ya know wanted us to go down the path of Sweden. Hmm
    • Incognito 13.1

      They’ve just held their second Science and Policy International Symposium. As long as we’re in a pandemic, they’ll be around.

    • joe90 13.2

      Playing footsie with loons.

  10. Stuart Munro 14

    There is a class action proceeding against slaving chocolate companies. Mars, Nestlé and Hershey to face child slavery lawsuit in US | Global development | The Guardian Roll on the day NZ fishing companies are in the dock for their similar crimes.

  11. DukeEll 15

    Didn’t see you supporting the protest against Mike Smiths sinophile blog post. Is the disallowance of a single enemy of the west a tragedy while the genocide of a whole minority muslim Population a statistic to you?

    [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.]

  12. Treetop 16

    I am not optimistic about the level changes going down. More contact tracing and retesting required at this stage.

    The UK B.1.1.7 strain seems to have a long incubation period.

  13. Anker 17
    • Treetop interested to hear you say the new UK variant has a longer incubation period.

    genuine question, where did you read this?

    • Sabine 17.1

      This might be of interest to you.

      https://theconversation.com/yes-a-16-day-incubation-period-for-covid-is-possible-but-its-extremely-rare-155027

      The ‘day 16’ test

      For the small minority of people who incubate the virus beyond 14 days, this can be related to underlying conditions, especially those that weaken a person’s immune response.

      Over the weekend, NSW began testing returned travellers on day 16 — that is, two days after they finish hotel quarantine. This is how the latest case in NSW was detected.

      The test is not compulsory and if the person doesn’t have symptoms, they don’t need to isolate until receiving their result.

      This day 16 test is designed to pick up infections that may develop after the expected maximum 14-day incubation period on which Australia’s quarantine period is based.

      Other states are reported to be considering implementing this measure too. This is a good safety net because, not only could it pick up the very rare case where a person might incubate the virus for longer, it could also catch missed cases of the virus being contracted in quarantine.

    • Treetop 17.2

      This is not based on anything I have read. Perhaps using the words appears to would have been better. I wanted MIQ to be extended to 21 days as I felt 14 days was not enough for more infectious variants.

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