Open mike 22/05/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 22nd, 2020 - 138 comments
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138 comments on “Open mike 22/05/2020 ”

  1. Andre 1

    Hang in there Simon! Just remember, Bill led the party to a vote share of 20.93% yet he went on to become Prime Munster. Helen had 6 years of lousy polling and one lost election before she succeeded. You can do it, Simon. Have faith and tough it out!

  2. Andre 2

    It can't open and close gates or do fencing. Yet. But it’s got rolling in something nasty sorted.

    • lprent 2.1

      That was interesting and kind of creepy.

    • Robert Guyton 2.2

      How bucolic.

      • Andre 2.2.1

        Yeah. When they take over, I'm really going to miss the dulcet tones of small petrol engines and large diesels. All lacking effective mufflers on their exhausts.

    • RedLogix 2.3

      Another aspect is that these could improve productivity in tropical agriculture which has traditionally been limited by the intensive labour needed for the crops grown in these climates.

      That could conceivably change the prospects for chronically poor nations like the Phillipines.

      • francesca 2.3.1

        I think it would be difficult to replace humans in agriculture, without inviting a world of trouble .

        We already reap the bitter rewards of factory farming

        There's a true stewardship of the soil thats not just about inputs and outputs , spraying for pests and diseases etc , as if the earth is a mechanical being

        Regenerative agriculture depends on acute observation over time ,and an intuitive "learning" of each complex environment

        Only humans can have the serendipitous moments necessary

        • RedLogix

          I totally understand what you are saying; it makes sense and I've no argument. I wasn't imagining humans being replaced. As an automation engineer I've had the chance to see the impact up close and personal’ and everything I’ve seen is that automation works to amplify and assist human capacity. It has no independent existence.

          In my view no automation or AI system will ever replace human consciousness. Superhuman AI will turn out to be one of what Vernor Vinge called 'the failed dreams'.

          The reason is that consciousness is not computational. (And if Roger Penrose says so that's good enough for me.)

        • Andre

          Where machines shine is being able to do the simple routine tasks that are able to be condensed into an algorithm. Thereby freeing up time for humans to be able to do more observing, learning, and synthesis of new and different ways of doing things.

          • weka

            which is good in a factory, not so much in nature.

            Shocking to some I know, but farms are nature not factories.

            • KJT

              W've been hearing about autonomous ships for decades, now.

              In reality they haven't even developed controls and machinery, that can get reliably through a day, without human intervention.

              • weka

                I really don't get the whole automation ideology. Let's use that where appropriate, but there's nothing wrong with people doing things. Lots of people love growing food (and I assume love working on ships), so why not take advantage of that and design systems that are good for people and are functional.

                • RedLogix

                  Yup. And that's the general pattern, automation is best thought of as a tool to extend human capacity, not to replace it.

              • RedLogix

                In reality they haven't even developed controls and machinery, that can get reliably through a day, without human intervention.

                I once got a major water treatment plant to run autonomously for 9 days without operator intervention … it was quite an accomplishment!

                But in general you are right, and it's my view that the prime role of automation is to reliably control the routine, predictable tasks and free up the humans involved so that they can focus their much more flexible and creative energies on higher value add.

                Autopilots are a good example you will familiar with, no-one hand steers any more than they have to or enjoy doing these days. And the modern versions do a better job of holding track than a human anyway. On the other hand deciding where the track should be plotted still remains a task better suited to people. Usually.

      • greywarshark 2.3.2

        RL Now that's a point. The temp is said to be going beyond what humans can cope with working in the fields growing food, and can’t do enough with new tech or have enough covers, already is in India etc. So robots to do that would make sense. Unfortunately, the way our 'civilisation' is configured these days, the good of robotising will be compromised by the attack/defence capabilities. But what can't be cured must be endured perhaps.

    • gsays 2.4

      Funny. Yesty, the boss was talking about her teen son's idea.

      Getting 2 or 3 lawnmower robots. We have about 60 lawns ranging from about 2 square metres up to around 50 square metres.

      I smiled enthusiastically when mention of a drone to control them came up.

      • greywarshark 2.4.1

        What about thoughts of having city lawn clippings as base for silage for farmers? Ever pursued that idea gsays, it would have to be planned, done carefully, a range of weeds kept out and no spraying, and people take responsibility but it could mean free lawn mowing for them.

        • gsays

          I work in a senior lifestyle village.

          Rather than silage, I investigated and proposed composting of grass clippings, leaf mulch, tree trimmings and the kitchen scraps.

          The compost would be returned to the sub standard soil that is found in most new housing developments.

          Long story short (too late!), the residents had concerns about appearances, smell and rats. The management didn't see the benefits…. I have walked this earth long enough to try and convince folk against their will.

          Every time I tip another catcher full of clippings into the skip bin, a little part of me dies. Then the last two frosty mornings the bin has been toasty warm with the decomposition starting up.

      • McFlock 2.4.2

        I read a while back that the DCC had bought a remote control lawnmower – still needed a remote control unit run by an operator, but it was intended to make mowing slopes safer. Ah, here we are.

        The fun question is "if the drone controls the mowers, what controls how the drone controls the mowers?"

        Not sure I like the idea of autonomous mowers – we don't need to give our robots-gone-berserk edged weapons. Very sci-fi peasant revolt, that.

        • KJT

          Ha. Reminds me of my Dad telling us, about the self propelled mower that got away from him, and ended up drowned in the Avon. Briggs and Stratton petrol reel mower, of course.

          More recently the automated straddle carrier, that made a bid for freedom in a Dutch port. Through the gate and down the street.

          My own favourite machinery with a life of their own, are Lister and Gardener diesels, that have to be thoroughly suffocated to get them to stop. Unlike modern ones, where one dud chip on an electronics board can kill them

        • gsays

          On an unrelated subject, I was on University Tube looking to upgrade my drill press with a DC permanent magnet motor from a treadmill…

          Anyhow, one of the videos talked about fancy saw benches have 'flesh detectors', that shut down the motor when your fingers get too close.

          I figure these lawn automatons would have a similar tech involved.

          • McFlock

            I suspect it's easier to train a computer to distinguish between wood and a finger than it is between fresh mulch or dog turds and a finger.

            • Nic the NZer

              Easier to train as long as your willing to lose a bunch of fingers getting there.

              The SawStop works by running a small electric current through the saw blade and detecting when its interrupted by an electrically conductive body part.


              • gsays

                Thanks for the reading.

                There are 10 table saw amputations a day in the US.

                " After numerous tests using a hot dog as a finger-analog, in spring 2000, Gass conducted the first test with a real human finger: he applied Novocain to his left ring finger, and after two false starts, he placed his finger into the teeth of a whirring saw blade. The blade stopped as designed, and although it "hurt like the dickens and bled a lot," his finger remained intact."

                sends a shudder down the spine.

                I have gone to a mates workshop to find doors open, blood spattered table saw outside and no-one around.

                He lost his right index finger-tip.

  3. francesca 3

    Ever seen the Black Mirror series?

    There's an episode with post-apocalyptic survivors being hunted by super wired dog robots.Horrifying

    • I Feel Love 3.1

      Metalheads, my first thought too, brilliant episode, brilliant series. Check out Black Mirrors creator Charlie Brookers Anti Viral Wipe (about UKs response to pandemic) on YouTube for a good laugh and also quite insightful.

      • Wensleydale 3.1.1

        I've been a fan of Charlie Brooker's since he wrote for nerdy games mag, PC Zone during the '90s. He's viciously hilarious and his books are great. They should really make him PM.

    • RedLogix 3.2

      Yes and it will happen too. All tools get misused, the problem is always the workman.

    • Molly 3.3

      No. But I can imagine.

      I also think that the military in many countries will already be/or looking into weaponising these.

      • RedLogix 3.3.1

        Yup. Absolutely and we will live to see the horror. Sorry if that comes across as grim.

        • Molly

          Might not be age-appropriate for the TS audience, but after having and reading the Harry Potter series to four children – (should have bought Stephen Fry's audiobooks when they came out) your Grim reference immediately struck me as appropriate.

          " The Grim is an omen of death, which is reputed to bring about the demise of the person who encounters it. The Grim takes the shape of a large, black, menaching, spectral dog. "

          (BTW: Still trying to keep the offspring reading. Just bought two Terry Pratchett novels for the nineteen year old's birthday next week. It's a shared enjoyment.)

          • RedLogix

            Pratchett is wonderful; he's the only other author I still keep a full collection of every published novel I could buy. (The other is of course Vernor Vinge.)

            Going Postal was pure genius.

            • Molly

              Thanks, will check out Vernor Vinge for him. He's still likes collections…

              He has the book for Going Postal, and we all enjoyed the miniseries. Even the youngest.

              Was delighted to find four pristine Pratchett hardcover books in our local charity shop last year – 25c each.

              I absolutely HATE shopping, but I was embarrassingly overjoyed to make that purchase.

            • halfcrown

              Can't go wrong by reading Pratchett Red. I like the Big Bang Theory in one of his Disc world novels. Mort I think. I have it somewhere, will have to have a read of it again.

  4. mauī 4

    The wonderful Bob Clarkson (former MP) was just on the radio nationale. Said Todd is the equal of Simon, and would definitely be better than the "communist" currently in charge.

    Thank you Bob, for capturing the mood of the nation…

    • pat 4.1

      Bob who?

    • observer 4.2

      Worth repeating (from Colmar Brunton thread):

      28% of National voters disapprove of the "communist". That's 28% out of 29% which is … *counts fingers* … single digits.

      They don't even understand their own voters, never mind the rest of the country.

    • francesca 4.3

      haha was that Bob the Builder , who briefly ousted Winnie?

      • observer 4.3.1

        And then replaced by Bridges. The rising star.

        It'll be quite the twist of fate if Bridges leaves Parliament before Peters. He already knows he won't rise as high in government. Ouch.

        • francesca

          Wonder if he's willing to bet his left testicle?

        • swordfish

          This is all getting a little incestuous:

          Peters = former MP for Tauranga

          Clarkson = former MP for Tauranga

          Bridges = current MP for Tauranga

          Muller = current MP for a Seat that is basically Tauranga Suburbs

    • millsy 4.4

      "Communist", really?

      Last time I looked, there was no nationalisation of businesses without compensation, collectivisation of land and agriculture or even purges of those seen as enemies of the state, unless you count Mike Hosking leaving 7 Sharp.

      People need to start calling the likes of Clarkson out.

      • Wayne 4.4.1

        You are calling him out.

      • observer 4.4.2

        "Mr Clarkson, the Prime Minister's critics say she has focused too much on keeping you alive, are you one of them?"

      • mac1 4.4.3

        A quick Google of 'Bob Clarkson MP' found that he had been called out by quite a few people in the media.
        Issues with Bob the Builder involved anti-gay and anti Muslim comments, stoushes with family over money, blaming people who lived near industrial sites for complaining about heath problems from dust.

        Now we find he doesn't like our "Communist" PM even though he does call by her first name. I presume that local National people called him out because he only had one term as Tauranga MP. Later news said he was leaving to join ACT.

        After all these years, a one term wonder is called back to comment on Bridges and Muller on RNZ. I listened to the interview. It's an interesting interview from the point of view of personal values and political support.

        RNZ did neither Muller or Bridges a favour by allying such support to them from this man.

    • I Feel Love 4.5

      "Our rights are being violated. That is all actually real," Stokes said. "But this is one of the few times that's ok. Pandemics – these call for a collectivist response. They don't work without one." An American gun rights activist gets it, the people calling Labour communist don't.

      I remember it was a trap lefties got into when National/Key were flying high, disparaging their supporters as stupid etc, I see it with the righties now, didn't work for us and shouldn't for them either.

      Also, I watched the One News last night, first time in years, and I waited to see what the Muller guy was gonna be like, and they had no footage, just some friends saying he wss a good "bugger" & that "maoris stole his flash sandwiches at school", or something.

      One last thing, to me the Labour numbers proves no one is listening to Hosking, Garner etc or reading the Herald.

    • RedBaronCV 4.6

      Who thought it was a good idea to put him up to give public comment and use airtime? He's a has been of the worst sort and his opinion as irrelevant as most of the public. It smacks of irresponsible journalists. What is national radio's guidelines for selecting commentators?

  5. Molly 5

    Interesting Guardian article yesterday about negative interest rates coming up in the UK.

    It refers to the Danish Jyske Bank which launched it's first negative interest mortgage rate last year:

    A Danish bank has launched the world’s first negative interest rate mortgage – handing out loans to homeowners where the charge is minus 0.5% a year.

    Negative interest rates effectively mean that a bank pays a borrower to take money off their hands, so they pay back less than they have been loaned.

    Jyske Bank, Denmark’s third largest, has begun offering borrowers a 10-year deal at -0.5%, while another Danish bank, Nordea, says it will begin offering 20-year fixed-rate deals at 0% and a 30-year mortgage at 0.5%.

    Under its negative mortgage, Jyske said borrowers will make a monthly repayment as usual – but the amount still outstanding will be reduced each month by more than the borrower has paid.

    “We don’t give you money directly in your hand, but every month your debt is reduced by more than the amount you pay,” said Jyske’s housing economist, Mikkel Høegh.

    In recognition of how puzzling the new mortgage is for customers, the bank’s FAQ is littered with questions and statements such as Hvordan kan det lade sig gøre? (How is that possible?) and Ja, du læste rigtigt (Yes, you read that right).

    The mortgage is possible because Denmark, as well as Sweden and Switzerland, has seen rates in money markets drop to levels that turn banking upside-down.

    Høegh said Jyske Bank is able to go into money markets and borrow from institutional investors at a negative rate, and is simply passing this on to its customers.

    But the flipside is that savers will see nothing paid in interest on their deposits – and may also suffer as they go negative."

    I'm thinking there may be benefits for this happening in New Zealand.

    1. Palatable or not, those best able to weather the financial implications of Covid will most often be those who have the excess income, and ability to amass savings. They will not gain interest but they will also retain equity on their savings, unless the savings are more than a specified amount, such as in Sweden:

    " In Switzerland, the bank UBS last week told its wealthy clients that it would introduce a charge of 0.6% a year if they deposited more than €500,000. "

    Those implications may mean that those with money may choose to invest in businesses or spend it which will circulate that money and improve the economy recovery.

    2. For mortgage holders, this will allow a practical relief from the financial commitment of a mortgage, while still maintaining a payment relationship with their bank. It may be able – in many cases – to offset financial hardship resulting from reduced pay or unemployment.

    3. A further benefit is, that if housing prices fall significantly (which would be a huge benefit to society) those who have entered the market lately, when it is most inflated, will have a reduced payment for the rest of the mortgage, offsetting a larger amount of equity loss than those who are at the end of their mortgages.

    That is, if a mortgage has been taken out for $500,000 today and goes for twenty years at 4.0% paid weekly, the interest paid over that time is $226,569 accounting for just over 31% If of payments during that time. (NB: I used the stuff mortgage calculator for these calculations)

    If that mortgage is transferred to what the Jyse bank offers there are two options:

    a. Keep the 20 year term and reduce the weekly payment to $481

    b: Retain your existing weekly payment of $699 and reduce your term to 14 years.

    c: A combination of either above.

    This is a reduction of around 30% of current mortgage commitments on offer. This provides a cushion for house prices to fall – 20-25% or more without causing excessive financial harm for home owners and tenants.

    For me, the elegance of this proposal is that those who are at the end of their mortgages – and will not gain as much benefit as those at the beginning – will have, during their mortgage term have already accumulated untaxed, and inflated capital gains so their direct investment will still be higher than what they have contributed. In fact, any mortgage transferring over will have built into it a proportional cost/benefit that relates to the loss of equity if house prices fall vs the reduction in interest payable on that property.

    This is kind of a follow up comment to the article I posted from the NEF last week.

    I am coming from the perspective that house prices and rental costs need to fall significantly – and have needed to for a while. I also understand that many NZers have all their financial wealth and security in their homes, and need to be considered.

    I would like to see our government administer or legislate for such a solution.

    Ideally, it would be a government agency, such as the State Advances Corporation that provided home loans to ex-servicemen.

    To facilitate rollout it may be necessary to provide in tranches depending on owner/occupier and citizenship status. I'd personally delay offering to family trusts or LLC's or overseas residents because their choice of vehicle provides them with some insulation from taxes, expense and financial shocks already.

    I'd be interested to hear from others about problems they can see with this proposal, to see if there are any kinks that needed to be worked out if it was to be a practical and possible option.

    (Quick correction: Just noticed the -0.5% bank rate only applies to 10 years and I used it for the whole 20 yr term, which is only offered at 0%. Will update on next comment)

    • Molly 5.1

      … still a term reduction of 6 years according to stuff at $699/wk.

    • Dennis Frank 5.2

      Hi Molly, it's a trend to watch for sure. When I grew up & got a savings account the bank paid me 3% interest to deposit money in it. Banking then had a structural incentive to get more custom. We may be returning to it!

      John Campbell interviewed a young asian guy who spoke our lingo like a kiwi a few days ago, about quantitative easing. He was representing the Reserve Bank on the TVNZ breakfast show. They've recently doubled their qe. He said the new money gets created as electronic credit (which I knew), which would have confounded many viewers but he was refreshingly forthright and sensible in not spooking them by calling those dollars imaginary. They become real when digitally invented.

      So the way to keep the economy going now is to invent money. Farmers could use this thinking in times of drought, eh? Invent rain. How? Well, easiest way is to catch and store it when it falls. They could call that process water conservation. Conservatives ought to conserve, eh? You'd think. The reason farmers don't is because they believe rain always falls eventually. As Tom Petty once sang "the waiting is the hardest part"…

      • Adrian 5.2.1

        Catching and storing rain is fine for targeted irrigation but the dam needs to be half the size of the farm for an effective grazing regime. And it does rain most of the time.

        The numbers around volume and weight for just 20mm on a thousand hectare farm are astronomical. Clever farming is a better option.

        • WeTheBleeple

          That's utter nonsense.

          And even if it were true (it's total crap) aquaculture is more productive than farming, because gravity.

      • Nic the NZer 5.2.2

        I think the most important thing to understand about all this stuff was highlighted to me simply by the US economist Randell Wray (and recently I heard this idea repeated by the US Fed chairman in a public interview where he encouraged the US treasury to spend more).

        The statement (miss-quoted) is "the central bank lends and the treasury spends". Treasury spending gets spending moving including when facilitated by central QE programs to lower the government interest rates, but all the monetary policy stuff done by the central bank is about changing the interest rates and so all depends on the amount of interest in taking on loans.

      • Molly 5.2.3

        Hi Dennis, good analogy.

        Using that analogy, I would say that would require the government to direct the rain to fall more equitably, instead of providing torrential downpours on dams and giving the control to commercial banks and saying turn the taps on as you wish. (Or don't.)

      • Sacha 5.2.4

        a young asian guy who spoke our lingo like a kiwi

        You mean a Chinese New Zealander or suchlike?

      • Nic the NZer 5.2.6

        A post about many of the incorrect things you will hear said about government spending and its impacts on the economy. In this case highlighting that the Bank of England is presently falsifying many of these ideas.

    • Nic the NZer 5.3

      That's a very interesting thing to observe, seeing this in practice doesn't make much sense to me however.

      Negative interest rates (which I believe Sweden's central bank is running) mean that the banks deposits with the central bank lose money. Collectively there is no way for the financial sector to rid itself of these excess deposits (other than lending them to the government) as any payments they make then go to another large financial institution. The upshot of this is that government debt often ends up lending at negative interest rates which are however lower than what the central bank is offering.

      This is what is going on with the charges banks are setting for holding onto large deposits.

      What makes little sense to me however is public loans at negative interest rates, and I suspect there is some missing piece such as a small number of these loans are made as an advertising ploy by the bank. The reason I understand things this way is because the interest component paid on a loan is basically the income part of the arrangement for the bank. If there is negative income to the arrangement then it makes little sense to enter into the loan agreement. Maybe Jyske bank is simply leading the pack in this case, but if all the banks are doing this then collectively it seems to make more sense to get out of the banking game.

      • Molly 5.3.1

        Your concerns are already covered in the comment, Nic. This is about ensuring everyone gets through intact. No interest on deposits does not remove equity, just encourages direct investment and spending.

        " Maybe Jyske bank is simply leading the pack in this case, but if all the banks are doing this then collectively it seems to make more sense to get out of the banking game. "

        Banks still can charge fees, as I believe Jyske does, but not excessively. Long-time the banks will be able to survive, and their chance of survival improves if the majority of their customers are financially secure. But we have businesses – banks included – that are not used to long-term thinking.

        And why can't the government play the game to benefit all NZers?

        • Nic the NZer

          Molly, I'm not saying it would be a bad thing if this happened. I just think its unlikely to be something which can be setup as a widespread part of the financial system, as your expecting banks to engage in widespread unprofitable lending. The long term thinking on that game is to stop being in the business of banking.

          I did consider that this can be a way to shrink the financial system which might be a good thing to do to some extent. I do think this aligns with something which seems to be not widely understood, but low (or even negative) interest rates are actually less favorable to banks than the high interest rates, which are supposed to be restraining their lending.

          • Molly

            I understand. But I'm not worried about the banks incentives. So, far the banks are not offering anything that doesn't improve their income substantially in the long term – which the mortgage holidays do. What the rent holidays don't necessarily do – is improve the financial security and well being of their clients.

            So, I'm trying to look at it from the perspective of the people of NZ, taking into account the inflated cost of housing that has continued not to be addressed, AND the NZ cultural attachment to housing as financial security. That is the problem I'm talking about and trying to address – not how to retain the bank as a commercial entity.

            • Nic the NZer

              The facts became somewhat more clear when I read the guardian article in full. First its a Danish bank (which I was calling Swedish) and second the banks still make profit on the loans due to the associated fees.

              I suspect that in their banking system these fees are much higher than in New Zealand which has a much higher rate difference between the central bank (and money market interest rates) and commercial bank interest rates. In New Zealand the fees component is typically very small and often waived. This structure makes the New Zealand banks profitability much more opaque.


              I would suggest that to gain the social benefits the overall cost of lending is what is relevant rather than the specifics of only some of interest rates and costs involved in the lending.

              • Molly

                "I would suggest that to gain the social benefits the overall cost of lending is what is relevant rather than the specifics of only some of interest rates and costs involved in the lending. "

                I agree, and we need to start quantifying those benefits by some means in order to know where to rebuild the economy and support NZers. SROI (Social Return on Investment) has been around for a while now, but is not often referred to in policy statements or media articles while expected returns from events such as the America's Cup are calculated and accepted without much scrutiny.

          • RedBaronCV

            I guess – without going into the role of the central bank – any single bank would make money by taking a deposit of $10k and then repaying $9500. It loans the $10k on mortgage but receives repayments of say $9700. So it would still have a $200 margin. I made the figures up for the above.

            • Nic the NZer

              Its a question of how far $200 goes to paying the banks employees though, and also why you do if the borrower defaults (e.g stops making repayments).

              • RedBaronCV

                Same as banking now I expect – the margin plus any fees need to cover the banks expenses plus profit.

                • Nic the NZer

                  Absolutely. As I highlighted in other comments in Denmark they pay a lot more in fees (including an annual percentage of the loan, as a fee), in New Zealand all the payments are rolled into interest rates, so by focusing on just the interest rates this is a bit miss leading when compared to New Zealand.

                  • Molly

                    Yes, I understand that as well. Which is why I have suggested a Government run system that reduces those costs as much as possible.

                    The banks have been very profitable and have no incentive to reduce their income from clients or reducing the inflated housing costs. They are financially better off when these are as high as possible.

                    A government agency – however – can consider SROI when calculating cost/benefit and a create a system that does not need mortgage brokers and refixing every two-three years. A young relative working for one of the big four banks in the mortgage lending department receives quarterly bonuses in the tens of thousands for the process of refixing existing loans or signing up new ones. There's a lot of extraneous extras that are lost when a constant long-term loan at a fixed rate is entered into.

            • Molly

              A bank in Switzerland is already doing that – charging clients for deposits over a certain amount.

              "Swiss banks are to start charging their super-rich clients to look after their piles of cash.

              UBS, the world’s largest wealth manager, told its ultra-wealthy clients on Tuesday that it would introduce an annual 0.6% charge on cash savings of more than €500,000 (£461,000). The fee, to be introduced in November, rises to 0.75% on savings of more than 2m Swiss francs (£1.7m).

              The minimum fee is €3,000 a year. Savings of 2m francs would attract an annual charge of 15,000 francs."

              In terms of addressing the mechanisms that produce inequality, this may also go some way to improve it. At a certain point when you have met all your financial requirements to live, and have saved enough to be secure, the current financial environment allows wealth to multiply and accumulate.

              Note: The Jyske bank also charges fees that cover admin and employment costs, but they are not excessive.

              Following the discussion with RedLogix above the following thoughts from the character of Samuel Vines seem appropriate:

              “The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

              Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

              But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet."

              This was the Captain Samuel Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness.” – Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms: The Play

              Terry Pratchett, economist.

    • Molly 5.4

      Already thought of a possible improvement while AFK:

      IF landlords on a property take this option, they have to take the same term and the reduced payment amount and pass on at least 80% of that saving to the tenants. That would reduce financial rental pressure immediately.

      • pat 5.4.1

        That will happen anyway in current situation …and considerably faster.

        Negative rates are a very slow way of unwinding the effects of QE…. especially at -0.5%.

        • Molly

          Why and how do you think that will happen?

          I would expect quite a lot of turmoil for both homeowners, landlords and tenants that are financially stressed, and this mechanism might be a way of providing security in terms of housing without a lot of changes in ownership. (As well as providing a needed downwards pressure on housing and rental prices)

          “Negative rates are a very slow way of unwinding the effects of QE…. especially at -0.5%.”
          And why is slow considered a negative? This does allow a downward movement in housing prices and rentals – at -0.5% a 31% neutral position compared to maintaining the same mortgage at the current 4%.

          Given the love affair and financial security many NZers have with property, we need a plan to allow many to still feel and be financially secure while creating a more affordable housing environment for all.

          Any other ideas on how to do that would be great… because many have been waiting quite a while to access housing that is affordable and healthy without needing to overcrowd…

          • pat

            Thousands of under-utilised Air BnB properties, high and increasing unemployment, increasing State housing provision will drive it…..the same forces that will drive down property prices.

            Slow is considered negative because the need is now….the tenants and mortgagees cannot wait years or decades for the ratios to begin to become aligned with the real economy again.

            The RBNZ backstopping the banks is (I expect) designed to support that deflation while enabling bank viability….it would not surprise to see them take on the bad loan books of the banks and administer those mortgages in the near term to remove them from the private balance sheets. Hopefully they will have a mechanism to support owner occupied to continue and foreclose investment properties.

            • Molly

              The mechanism you state, which is left to circumstance and commercial entities, will disrupt a lot of homeowners, landlords and tenants. The disruption may also continue for some time, and will result in NZers losing out – not banks who have benefitted from increasing debt levels for many years now. It just depends on where priorities lie.

              There will also be a fast response time to reduced mortgages – for financially strapped owners and tenants.

              If your housing costs are reduced immediately by 20-30% to offset the financial downturn and resulting constricting household incomes, then there is less likely to be disruption by the need to move or sell – AND find somewhere else to live. (Although, I think there still will be disruption and devastation, just perhaps reduced)

              I do agree that the state has to be more involved to direct the fallout, and ensure long-term benefits to NZers.

              • pat

                negative rates won't create that scale or speed of reduction (immediate)…and as stated the reduction is going to occur anyway, negative rates or not.

                And negative rates create other problems that make the whole regime problematic.

                The mechanism I outlined is hardly left to commercial entities and circumstance (market forces) for it involves market intervention by the state…..and its not as if it hasn't been done before.

                Back in the 80s high interest rate environment the government offered Housing Corp mortgages at considerably below market rate to distressed mortgages for owner occupiers….the mechanism may be different this time but the result will be the same.

                P.S. disruption is not going to be avoided no matter what is done.

                • Molly

                  " Back in the 80s high interest rate environment the government offered Housing Corp mortgages at considerably below market rate to distressed mortgages for owner occupiers….the mechanism may be different this time but the result will be the same. "

                  What was the result from your perspective? Because the government also offered low rates to returned servicemen, and increased home ownership and security was also a result.

                  And, without rancour.. do you have any ideas about reducing the fallout without just allowing the market to crash? Another concern I have about that passive method is that on top of financial and housing disruption, it also reduces the likelihood of investment in improving housing stock standards, and our housing stock is still often disgracefully low in this regard.

                  (Already conceded disruption will occur, just looking to reduce the impact, while supporting NZ people – not entities)

                  • pat

                    "What was the result from your perspective? Because the government also offered low rates to returned servicemen, and increased home ownership and security was also a result."

                    When the mortgage we had taken out at 8% hit 19% we applied for a housing corp refinance and from memory the rate was 11%…and the term extended to 24 years (greater than available in the market)…the result was we didn't lose our home.

                    "And, without rancour.. do you have any ideas about reducing the fallout without just allowing the market to crash?"

                    The market is going to crash whether we like it or not…the only question is by how much. I have outlined how I believe the RBNZ will reduce the fallout….remember they are required by statute to ensure the stability of the banking system but they have also stated the property ratios are unsustainable and create instability so really their options are very limited.

                    And if they bail out investors (in both residential and commercial) they create the same problem for themselves that the Fed did with their QE programme….they become captured by the underwrite and cannot withdraw it….which ultimately runs counter to their charter.

                    • pat

                      "another concern I have about that passive method is that on top of financial and housing disruption, it also reduces the likelihood of investment in improving housing stock standards, and our housing stock is still often disgracefully low in this regard."

                      Gov is partially addressing this with increased social housing build and the improving standards can be covered by increased trades training though its not a given….there is room for much more particularly in regard to CC and density as Susan Krumdieck promotes.

                    • Molly

                      I'm someone who thinks the inflated housing prices do need to come down – both for purchase and for rent.

                      The question is: Can this be equity adjustment occur WHILE still allowing people to live in and retain their current housing? You seem prepared to let the market which has failed us in terms of providing homes, crash AND then provide them.

                      You also seem to suggest you would support govt loans only for homeowners, but I don't think that would deflate the housing market substantially. Significantly, tenants would be delayed in receiving any benefit.

                      I would have landlords who don't use alternative entity vehicles such as trusts, or LLC's to be the next in line for government mortgages after owner occupiers.

                      Only if there was a capacity left, would you include commercial entities that trade in housing and rentals. I would also not offer the facility to overseas investors or non NZ citizens.

                      The current social housing programme is going to take a while to come online, and is inadequate unless you are counting on a vast load of properties to come on the market at diminished prices. Which while beneficial in terms of stock numbers, will have an ignored human cost to it, that might be avoided if some direct action is taken.

                      As mentioned, IF investors were included, they would only be able to take the reduced rate option AND be required to pass on the majority of that rate to tenants. Eg. they still get the 30% reduced payments over time to offset the expected loss of capital equity, and rental costs are directly and immediately reduced for tenants.

                  • pat

                    "The question is: Can this be equity adjustment occur WHILE still allowing people to live in and retain their current housing? You seem prepared to let the market which has failed us in terms of providing homes, crash AND then provide them."

                    You appear to misunderstand …the equity adjustment is going to occur….and as it does we can (and I suspect will) provision home owners to remain in their homes.

                    "You also seem to suggest you would support govt loans only for homeowners, but I don't think that would deflate the housing market substantially. Significantly, tenants would be delayed in receiving any benefit."

                    Support for homeowners is correct….if you include provision for investors you are placing the floor under the market and encourage the lending…the deflation will occur because homeowners do not require a return…it is somewhere to live…whereas investors require the return to justify the investment.

                    Serviceability is the key

                    "I would have landlords who don't use alternative entity vehicles such as trusts, or LLC's to be the next in line for government mortgages after owner occupiers."

                    They can be next in line…but if the gov says sorry nothing for you then the deflation occurs….there is a disincentive for banks to provide finance.

                    "Only if there was a capacity left, would you include commercial entities that trade in housing and rentals. I would also not offer the facility to overseas investors or non NZ citizens. "

                    It is not a question of capacity…the Govs ability to finance is unlimited (if we ignore future impact) …it is what is the desired outcome…commercial property is also overvalued and over leveraged… cannot be subsidised as that creates disconnects and disconnects from the real economy are the problem.

                    "the current social housing programme is going to take a while to come online, and is inadequate unless you are counting on a vast load of properties to come on the market at diminished prices. Which while beneficial in terms of stock numbers, will have an ignored human cost to it, that might be avoided if some direct action is take"

                    Yes the social housing will take time and in one respect I think the gov foolish to build when they could buy cheaply existing properties (there was no shortage of houses, only a shortage of affordable housing) But there are positives to building social housing including training, employment and new technology (or systems)

                    "As mentioned, IF investors were included, they would only be able to take the reduced rate option AND be required to pass on the majority of that rate to tenants. Eg. they still get the 30% reduced payments over time to offset the expected loss of capital equity, and rental costs are directly and immediately reduced for tenants."

                    And why would an investor do that?…the incentives are to quit as they are now.

                    • Molly

                      Social housing opposed to state housing helps to maintain inflated housing prices.

                      Supporting landlords while requiring them to pass on the savings to their tenants, will still allow the market to deflate while allowing the high proportion of tenanted NZers to stay in their current housing if it is still the most appropriate for them.

                      You seem to expect the market which has failed, to crash, and then as it recovers – somehow do what it has failed to do in the past. Our housing situation requires a stronger government intervention to solve. Social housing programmes won't be the solution.

                      "As mentioned, IF investors were included, they would only be able to take the reduced rate option AND be required to pass on the majority of that rate to tenants. Eg. they still get the 30% reduced payments over time to offset the expected loss of capital equity, and rental costs are directly and immediately reduced for tenants."

                      And why would an investor do that?…the incentives are to quit as they are now.

                      Well, aren't all landlords in it for the business of providing housing at a profit and not capital gains? (/sarc) In essence, their profits won't be adversely affected – their income would reduce, but so would their expenses. The return should be equitable with pre-Covid.

                      I'm advocating a bottom-up approach. What do the NZ people need. We need to be housed, fed and supported – then employed. The current social housing plan is not going to cut it, it was ineffective to address the real housing issues before, and it will not deliver now.

                    • pat

                      "Social housing opposed to state housing helps to maintain inflated housing prices"

                      .Not sure your definition of social housing is the norm…social housing INCLUDES state housing, community and emergency housing.

                      "Supporting landlords while requiring them to pass on the savings to their tenants, will still allow the market to deflate while allowing the high proportion of tenanted NZers to stay in their current housing if it is still the most appropriate for them"

                      Supporting them how?…..and tenants can remain in their current housing (if they so desire) if the landlord changes…the property remains.

                      "You seem to expect the market which has failed, to crash, and then as it recovers – somehow do what it has failed to do in the past. Our housing situation requires a stronger government intervention to solve. Social housing programmes won't be the solution."

                      You continue misunderstand what I am outlining….'the market will do what the market does , and currently it is in a deflationary environment….the state intervention (or not) is crucial to the desired outcome…as it always was, its just that in the recent past the intervention was considered undesired

                  • pat

                    "The World Bank also says this ratio is "possibly the most important summary measure of housing market performance, indicating not only the degree to which housing is affordable by the population, but also the presence of market distortions".

                    Based on this official work, it seems to have become accepted that a median multiple of 3.0 times or less is a very good marker for housing affordability. Much of the work in support of the 3x standard is based on US research on the US housing market"


                    Is that a ratio you wish the government to "support"?…..for by requiring support for investors that's exactly what you will be doing.

  6. observer 6

    I have little time for JLR but credit where it's due, this is a useful insight into how things are done inside the National caucus:

    • ianmac 6.1

      My link didn't work Observer?

      • I Feel Love 6.1.1

        Basically he says all MPs are liars and it's anyone's guess between "mr unlikable and mr unknowable". He's quite funny.

    • ianmac 6.2

      Thanks observer. A worthwhile read. Much more credible insight on the "Vote. Far more useful than some of the commentators! Thanks Jamie.

  7. RedLogix 7

    So much for the Swedish experiment:

    Sweden now has the highest coronavirus death rate in the world per capita over the last week after continuing to shun lockdown.

    The government has insisted that its softer approach to dealing with the pandemic will pay off in the long run as restaurants, bars and businesses remain open.

    But over the last seven days, Sweden had an average of 6.08 deaths per million inhabitants – more than any other country in the world.

    This is in comparison to 5.57 in the UK, 4.28 in Belgium, 4.11 in the US, 2.62 in Spain, 2.29 in Italy, and 2.26 in France.

    Many of these other countries saw far more virus deaths earlier in the pandemic, but managed to bring down the numbers with strict lockdown measures.

    • pat 7.1

      Sweden currently ranks 8th on deaths per capita @384 per million….behind the likes of Spain, France , UK and Italy…San Marino is the highest @1209

      Ah…over the last week…lies, damn lies and statistics.

    • I Feel Love 7.2

      Also something in the Guardian about the lower than expected percentage of infected people with antibodies, the mathematicians are baffled (?????).

      • Andre 7.2.1

        There's some kind of mental disconnect going on between an expected 25% antibody rate, or even a 7% antibody rate, and a reported population case rate of 0.3%.

        Evidently they are putting a lot of hope into the asymptomatic infection and transmission rate being orders of magnitude higher than detected case rate. But that hope isn't supported by data from places where extensive testing of contacts is carried out (such as New Zealand), which shows that true asymptomatic cases are a small fraction of the number of symptomatic cases.

        Given that most reports of antibody tests highlight the fact that most tests have a very high false positive rate, the likeliest explanation is that even the 7% at the end of April is a gross overestimate of how many have actually been exposed. Which in turn suggests that the voluntary physical distancing the Swedes have done has successfully flattened the curve, but they are just somewhere near the start of a very long broad peak of the curve.

        • lprent

          Which in turn suggests that the voluntary physical distancing the Swedes have done has successfully flattened the curve, but they are just somewhere near the start of a very long broad peak of the curve.

          That was my reading of it this morning as well. Covid-19 simply isn’t as infectious as originally anticipated, or it doesn’t cause the immune system to generate antibodies unless symptoms are severe or ….

          But as was obvious from the start – this isn’t a standard disease

          • Andre

            Covid-19 simply isn’t as infectious as originally anticipated

            My sense is that infection spreading is mainly due to large groups getting close together and making loud noises at each other. Choir practice, bars, weddings, noisy restaurants etc. Those appear to have been the superspreading events. Then once those events stopped, and very basic precautions against spreading started, it took a lot of close personal contact for most new infections.

            It kind of makes a mockery of the idea of an R0 number when most infection spread is due to a few discrete superspreading events, each resulting in a large but random number of transmissions. Rather than the picture implied by an R0 number, which suggests each infection likely passes it on to two or three other people .(or twenty in the case of measles in an unprotected population).

            • I Feel Love

              Ever been to a resthome lately, they're squished in like sardines, and of course NZs other outbreak was at a school.

            • Nic the NZer

              I looked into typical infection models of the kind being used to discuss policy (the SIR form) and was astounded by how unrealistically simplistic they are. While its possible to understand they are modelling a process like viral spread its always going to be questionable if they are making a reasonable forecast, specifically as the outbreak occurs people will and have been naturally socially distance themselves from others (people automatically out less and take more precautions), but the assumption seems to be a static R0 throughout any forecast which doesn't respond to the outbreak.

  8. Ad 8

    Does anyone know of government reviews going on in response to the Covid-19 outbreak?

    • Anne 8.1

      I vaguely recall talk about a review into the Covid 19 responses by DHBs after complaints about lack of surgical equipment and PPEs in some parts of the country. I can't remember the actual specifics.

  9. lprent 9

    That was annoying. Software security update reboot. It found a configuration issue from the operating system update earlier in the week. Set the IP incorrectly.

    Rapid fix while I was in a zoom webinar.

  10. Poission 10

    One interesting aspect of the lockdown,and spending constraints is that NZ has reduced both its use of credit cards,and paid off over the last 2 months 1.5 billion of interest bearing credit card debt.

    • RedBaronCV 10.1

      It sucks to be visa . Wonder what the impact is on the balance of payments and how much less is going to overseas as profit and fees. I'm assuming the local banks provide the capital circulated but I don't really know how it works in the background.

      Another random thought – so far banks and credit card companies seem to have made up the fraud losses. that happen but with the changing banking enviroment will security become a higher profile activity?

  11. Muttonbird 11

    I see James' favourite politician, Jair Bolsonaro, is butchering Brazil's Covid 19 response.

    1153 deaths today with 8000+ critical.

  12. pat 12

    "But first, the latest update records +2.4 mln more people claiming unemployment benefits in the US, taking the total since early March to more than 38 mln. We may be getting used to such large numbers and this latest week is lower than last week, but this still represents a building social disaster, the scale of which vastly exceeds the Great Depression. In 1932, twelve million Americans were unemployed and one out of every four families no longer had an income. In 2020 the social safety net is helping with the income stress in the short term, but the level of real jobless level is also now approaching 25%. US jobless benefits typically last only 26 weeks"

    Over 38 million unemployed in worlds largest economy…and a virus uncontrolled…difficult to see any upside

    • RedBaronCV 12.1

      I don't envy the state governors who seem to be the last stand of sensible politicians in many parts of the US. No money, no food and widespread gun ownership is a recipe for civil unrest. Those billionaire communities maybe don't look so secure anymore and the overseas boltholes are closed

  13. Fireblade 14

    Newshub Breaking News:

    Todd's in, Simon's gone.

    • Bruce 14.1

      And hes making it pretty clear, his absolute priority is the economy, no matter how many lives it costs.

  14. Fireblade 15

    Hoots got the boot?

    National's Chinese Communist Party funding must have been cut now that Simon's gone.

    • weka 15.1

      maybe he's got a new job that's incompatible with his twitter account.

      Or he's arch trolling the left.

  15. The Herald changing its tune? Pointing out New Zealand's shameful inequality of recent decades.

    Social and racial stresses arose from widely differing interpretations of the Treaty, the article said, which led to 135 years of conflict and grievance until the document was enshrined in law in 1975 and a truth and reconciliation commission formed.

    "Today, the nation has shamefully unequal rates of Māori health, educational and judicial outcomes, and youth suicide statistics are tragically high."

    Because of these disparities, many contemporary local commenters viewed the country's progressive label with scepticism, the article said.

    Many social advances previously occurred because of the nation's values of fairness and equality, but now some of the motivation was to be seen as a world leader.

    "If you look at the right of women to vote, in the 1890s, no one was saying, 'We want to be the first…'," historian Professor Paul Moon told the BBC.

    "The concern was, 'This is an important right because it will enfranchise women or be more representative, more democratic and so on'. "

    But then Granny reverts to form and tries to link 35 years of neoliberal crap to the current Labour led govt.

  16. Corey Humm 18

    I feel like hell has frozen over. Firstly my dad has been saying nice things about Winston Peters… And I agree with them (my dad's a labour/alliance kinda guy)

    Then all the older blokes I know who have benefited enormously from neoliberal policies and absolutely hated Labour and adored key and haven't voted Labour since Lange, many of them are praising the PM, talking about nationals lack of compassion and saying they may vote labour or NZ f.

    Obviously not a poll or anything but … It's so weird to hear so many people who traditionally spit bike at me for being a lefty even entertain the idea of Labour. Perhaps covid 19 has changed how a lot of people value things. Time will tell.

    • I Feel Love 18.1

      I hope so Corey.

      • Eco Maori 18.1.1

        Kia Ora Newshub.

        Paddy I see you won a award. Yes it great that the government took a strong stance against the virus.

        Looks like the young ones are enjoying the night life.

        That's cool A shortage of wool for because of a The people nitting.

        Ka kite Ano.

  17. Eco Maori 19

    Kia Ora Te Ao Maori News.

    That's correct the health of the Kaumatua comes first our traditions can still be revived later on.

    Festpack is postponed till 2024 it looks like a great Pacific people festival. of Arts

    Ka kite Ano.

  18. Eco Maori 21

    Kia Ora Newshub

    I think it's a great idea dropping council concent for sheds and sleepouts under 30 Square metres.

    That's good $600 million being put into regional economy's.

    Looks like Kiwis are enjoying the ski fields.

    Conserving water is the best way to go so we stop putting huge pressure on our environment look around the world and learn from there mistakes.

    Ka kite Ano

  19. Eco Maori 22

    Kia Ora Te Ao Maori News.

    Some people will be able to build sleepouts to house the whanau with the guidance of a qualified builder.

    Tangata Whenua using the Internet to entertain and teach Te reo Ka pai.

    To much the tangata living off the grid.

    Ka kite Ano

  20. Eco Maori 23

    Kia Ora The Am Show.

    The government has done a great job in their first term.

    Aotearoa is the place a lot of people want to flight to.

    Fruit juice will be good for you with no sugar or coffee. Sounds like the new drink is great.

    Ka kite Ano

  21. Eco Maori 24

    Kia Ora Newshub.

    Great that Stuff is going to be owned by its staff.

    The magnetic virus testing is great especially with the technology being open sourced and very cost effective open source is the way of the future.

    Ka kite Ano

  22. Eco Maori 25

    Kia Ora Te Ao Maori News.

    That's great church and tangi can have 100 tangata attending .

    The Papatuanuku has changed a lot in the last 3 years.?????.

    Mana Wahine.

    Ka kite Ano.

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  • The Hoon around the week to July 19

    TL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers last night features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent talking about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s release of its first Emissions Reduction Plan;University of Otago Foreign Relations Professor and special guest Dr Karin von ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #29 2024

    Open access notables Improving global temperature datasets to better account for non-uniform warming, Calvert, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society: To better account for spatial non-uniform trends in warming, a new GITD [global instrumental temperature dataset] was created that used maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) to combine the land surface ...
    4 days ago
  • We're back again! Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live

    Photo by Gabriel Crismariu on UnsplashWe’re back again after our mid-winter break. We’re still with the ‘new’ day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Gut Reactions.

    Trump Writes His Own Story: Would the “mainstream” media even try to reflect the horrified reaction of the MAGA crowd to the pop-pop-pop of the would-be assassin’s rifle, and Trump going down? Could it even grasp the sheer elation of the rally-goers seeing their champion rise up and punch the air, still alive, ...
    4 days ago
  • Dodging Bullets.

    Fight! Fight! Fight! Had the assassin’s bullet found its mark and killed Donald Trump, America’s descent into widespread and murderous violence – possibly spiralling-down into civil war – would have been immediate and quite possibly irreparable. The American Republic, upon whose survival liberty and democracy continue to depend, is certainly not ...
    4 days ago
  • 'Corruption First' Strikes Again

    There comes a point in all our lives when we must stop to say, “Enough is enough. We know what’s happening. We are not as stupid or as ignorant as you believe us to be. And making policies that kill or harm our people is not acceptable, Ministers.”Plausible deniability has ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:The inside stories of KiwiRail’s iRex debacle, Westport’s perma-delayed flood scheme and Christchurch’s post-quake sewer rebuild, which assumed no population growth, show just how deeply sceptical senior officials in Treasury, the Ministry of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • What's that Jack Black?

    Ah-rah, deeSoo-guh-goo-gee-goo-geeGoo-guh fli-goo gee-gooGuh fli-goo, ga-goo-buh-deeOoh, guh-goo-beeOoh-guh-guh-bee-guh-guh-beeFli-goo gee-gooA-fliguh woo-wa mama Lucifer!I’m about ready to move on, how about you?Not from the shooting, that’s bad and we definitely shouldn’t have that. But the rehabilitation of Donald J Trump? The deification of Saint Donald? As the Great Unifier?Gimme a bucket. to re-iterate, ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • June 2024: Earth’s 13th-consecutive warmest month on record

    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Jeff Masters and Bob Henson June 2024 was Earth’s warmest June since global record-keeping began in 1850 and was the planet’s 13th consecutive warmest month on record, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, or NCEI, reported July 12. As opposed to being focused in ...
    4 days ago
  • Connecting the dots and filling the gaps in our bike network

    This is a guest post by Shaun Baker on the importance of filling the gaps in our cycling networks. It originally appeared on his blog Multimodal Adventures, and is re-posted here with kind permission. In our towns and cities in Aotearoa New Zealand, there are areas in our cycling networks ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    4 days ago
  • Webworm Down Under Photos!

    Hi,I wanted to share a few thoughts and photos from the Webworm popup and Tickled screening we held in Auckland, New Zealand last weekend.In short — it was a blast. I mean, I had a blast and I hope any of you that came also had a blast.An old friend ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:30 am on Thursday, July 18 are:News: Christchurch's sewer systems block further housing developments RNZ’s Niva ChittockAnalysis: Interislander: Treasury, MoT officials' mistrust of KiwiRail led ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Thursday, July 18, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:Verbatim: Climate Change Minister Simon Watts held a news conference in Auckland to release the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan, including ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The politics of managed retreat

    Climate change deniers are now challenging the Government over a key climate change adaptation policy. That begs the question of whether New Zealand First will then support Government moves to implement processes to deal with a managed retreat for properties in danger of flooding because of sea level rise and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • Some changes are coming

    Warm welcome again to those who are here. The Mountain Tui substack was officially started on the 2nd of July. I wrote about what led me here on this post. Since then, it’s been a learning to navigate the platform, get to meet those in the community, and basically be ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • About fucking time

    The US Supreme Court has been rogue for years, with openly corrupt judges making the law up as they go to suit themselves, their billionaire buyers, and the Republican Party. But now, in the wake of them granting a licence for tyranny, President Biden is actually going to try and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: False accounting and wishful thinking

    National released their draft 2026-2030 Emissions Reduction Plan today. The plan is required under the Zero Carbon Act, and must set out policies and strategies to meet the relevant emissions budget. Having cancelled all Labour's actually effective climate change policies and crashed the carbon price, National was always going to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The Enemies Of Sunshine And Space.

    Our Houses? The Urban Density debate is a horrible combination of intergenerational avarice and envy, fuelled by the grim certainty that none of the generations coming up after them will ever have it as good as the Boomers. To say that this situation rankles among those born after 1965 is to ...
    5 days ago
  • Still the 5 Eyes Achilles Heel?

    The National Cyber Security Centre (NZSC), a unit in the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) dedicated to cyber-security, has released a Review of its response to the 2021 email hacking of NZ members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC, … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • Britain's Devastating Electoral Slip.

    Slip-Sliding Away: Labour may now enjoy a dominant position in Britain’s political landscape, but only by virtue of not being swallowed by it.THE BRITISH LABOUR PARTY’S “landslide victory” is nothing of the sort. As most people understand the term, a landslide election victory is one in which the incumbent government, or ...
    5 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why right wingers think all governments (including their own) are incompetent

    Since open denial of climate change is no longer a viable political option, denial now comes in disguise. The release this week of the coalition government’s ‘draft emissions reductions plan” shows that the Luxon government is refusing to see the need to cut emissions at source. Instead, it proposes to ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy this morning are:Chris Penk is set to roll back building standards for insulation that had only just been put in place, and which had been estimated to save 40% from power costs, after builders ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Open Letter to Pharmac

    All this talk of getting oldIt's getting me down, my loveLike a cat in a bag, waiting to drownThis time I'm coming downAnd I hope you're thinking of meAs you lay down on your sideNow the drugs don't workThey just make you worse but I know I'll see your face ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • A blanket of misinformation

    Two old sayings have been on my mind lately. The first is: “The pen is mightier than the sword”, describing the power of language and communication to help or to harm. The other, which captures the speed with which falsehoods can become ingrained and hard to undo, is: “A lie can ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 7:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 are:Scoop: Government considers rolling back home insulation standards RNZ’s Eloise GibsonNews: Government plans tree-planting frenzy as report shows NZ no longer ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 , the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day were:Simon Watts released the Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP), which included proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • “Shhhh” – National's 3 Waters is loaded with higher costs and lays a path to ...

    This is a long, possibly technical, but very, very important read. I encourage you to take the time and spread your awareness.IntroductionIn 2022, then Labour Party Prime Minister Jacinda Adern expended significant political capital to protect New Zealand’s water assets from privatisation. She lost that battle, and Labour and the ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Plugging a video channel: Dr Gilbz

    Dr. Ella Gilbert is a climate scientist and presenter with a PhD in Antarctic climate change, working at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Her background is in atmospheric sciences and she's especially interested in the physical mechanisms of climate change, clouds, and almost anything polar. She is passionate about communicating climate ...
    6 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” again

    Back in 2022, in its Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, the government promised to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation. Since then they've run a secret "consultation" on how to do that, with their preferred outcome being that agencies will consult the Ministry of Justice ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Crashing New Zealand's health system is not the way to prosperity, Prime Minister

    Another day, and yet another piece of bad news for New Zealand’s health system. Reports have come out that General Practitioners (GP) may have to close doors, or increase patient fees to survive. The so-called ‘capitation’ funding review, which supports GP practices to survive, is under way, and primary care ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Closer Than You Think: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.

    Redefining Our Terms: “When an angry majority is demanding change, defending the status-quo is an extremist position.”“WHAT’S THIS?”, asked Laurie, eyeing suspiciously the two glasses of red wine deposited in front of him.“A nice drop of red. I thought you’d be keen to celebrate the French Far-Right’s victory with the ...
    6 days ago
  • Come on Darleen.

    Good morning all, time for a return to things domestic. After elections in the UK and France, Luxon gatecrashing Nato, and the attempted shooting of Trump, it’s probably about time we re-focus on local politics.Unless of course you’re Christopher Luxon and you’re so exhausted from all your schmoozing in Washington ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • How the Northwest was lost and may be won

    This is a guest post by Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which we encourage you to check out. It is shared by kind permission. The Northwest has always been Auckland’s public transport Cinderella, rarely invited to the public funding ball. How did ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Tuesday July 16

    Luxon has told a Financial Times’ correspondent he would openly call out China’s spying in future and does not fear economic retaliation from Aotearoa’s largest trading partner.File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Tuesday, ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 16

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 16 are:PM Christopher Luxon has given a very hawkish interview to the Financial Times-$$$ correspondent in Washington, Demetri Sevastopulu, saying ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Tuesday, July 16

    Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 6:00 am are:BNZ released its Performance of Services Index for June, finding that services sector is at its lowest level of activity ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The second crisis; assumption was the mother

    Late on the night of July 16, 1984, while four National Cabinet Ministers were meeting in the Beehive office of Deputy Prime Minister Jim McLay, plotting the ultimate downfall of outgoing Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, another crisis was building up in another part of the capital. The United States ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • Can we air condition our way out of extreme heat?

    This is a re-post from The Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler Air conditioning was initially a symbol of comfort and wealth, enjoyed by the wealthy in theaters and upscale homes. Over time, as technology advanced and costs decreased, air conditioning became more accessible to the general public. With global warming, though, ...
    7 days ago
  • Review: The Zimiamvian Trilogy, by E.R. Eddison (1935-1958)

    I have reviewed some fairly obscure stuff on this blog. Nineteenth century New Zealand speculative fiction. Forgotten Tolkien adaptations. George MacDonald and William Morris. Last month I took a look at The Worm Ouroboros (1922), by E.R. Eddison, which while not strictly obscure, is also not overly inviting to many ...
    7 days ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on the Trump assassination attempt.

    In this episode of “A View from Afar” Selwyn Manning and I discuss the attempt on Donald Trump’s life and its implications for the US elections. The political darkness grows. ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • Law & Order: National Party 1, Police 0, Public -1

    What happened?Media is reporting that police have lost in their pay dispute with the Coalition Government.Some of you might remember that the police rejected Labour’s previous offer in September, 2023, possibly looking forward to be taken care of by the self-touted ‘Party of Law and Order’ - National.If you look ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    7 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the Trump shooting and a potential hike in fees for visiting the doctor

    Having watched Donald Trump systematically exploit social grievances, urge people not to accept his election loss and incite his followers to violent insurrection… it is a bit hard to swallow the media descriptions over the past 24 hours of Trump being a “victim” of violence. More like a case of ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Monday July 15

    The exploitation of workers on the national fibre broadband rollout highlights once again the dark underbelly of our ‘churn and burn’ economy. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:An extraordinary Steve Kilgallon investigation into ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Monday, July 15

    Photo by Jessica Loaiza on UnsplashTL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last three days to 9:00 am on Monday, July 15 are:Investigation: Immigration NZ refused to prosecute an alleged exploiter despite a mountain of evidence - ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • City Centre Rebuild: How Soon Is Now?

    Patrick Reynolds is deputy chair of the City Centre Advisory Panel and a director of Greater Auckland There is ongoing angst about construction disruption in the city centre. And fair enough: it’s very tough, CRL and other construction has been going on for a very long time. Like the pandemic, ...
    Greater AucklandBy Patrick Reynolds
    1 week ago
  • Peril, dismay, resolution

    This afternoon we rolled into Budapest to bring to a close our ride across Europe. We did 144 km yesterday, severe heat messages coming in from the weather app as we bounced along unformed Hungarian back roads and a road strip strewn with fallen trees from an overnight tornado. Somewhere ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Bullet the Blue Sky

    In the locust windComes a rattle and humJacob wrestled the angelAnd the angel was overcomeYou plant a demon seedYou raise a flower of fireWe see them burnin' crossesSee the flames, higher and higherBullet the blue skyBullet the blue skyThe indelible images, the soundtrack of America. Guns, assassinations, where-were-you-when moments attached ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Monday, July 15

    TL;DR: The top six announcements, rulings, reports, surveys, statistics and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the three days to 6:00 am on Monday, July 23 are:University of Auckland researcher Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy published an analysis of the impact of Auckland's 2016 zoning reforms.BNZ's latest Performance ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā’s diary for the week to July 23 and beyond

    TL;DR: The six key events to watch in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy in the week to July 23 include:PM Christopher Luxon has returned from a trip to the United States and may hold a post-Cabinet news conference at 4:00 pm today.The BusinessNZ-BNZ PSI survey results for June will be released this ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Was The Assassination Attempt Fake?

    Hi,It’s in incredible photo, and we’re going to be talking about it for a long time:Trump, triumphantly raising his hand in the air after being shot. Photo credit: Evan VucciYou can watch what happened on YouTube in real time, as a 20-year-old from Pennsylvania lets off a series of gunshots ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • 40 years ago, inside the crisis that made modern NZ

    It had rained all day in Auckland, and the Metro Theatre in Mangere was steamed up inside as more and more people arrived to celebrate what had once seemed impossible. Sir Robert Muldoon had lost the 1984 election. “Piggy” Muldoon was no more. Such was the desire to get rid ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago

  • Minister to speak at Australian Space Forum

    Minister for Space and Science, Innovation and Technology Judith Collins will travel to Adelaide tomorrow for space and science engagements, including speaking at the Australian Space Forum.  While there she will also have meetings and visits with a focus on space, biotechnology and innovation.  “New Zealand has a thriving space ...
    2 hours ago
  • Climate Change Minister to attend climate action meeting in China

    Climate Change Minister Simon Watts will travel to China on Saturday to attend the Ministerial on Climate Action meeting held in Wuhan.  “Attending the Ministerial on Climate Action is an opportunity to advocate for New Zealand climate priorities and engage with our key partners on climate action,” Mr Watts says. ...
    4 hours ago
  • Oceans and Fisheries Minister to Solomons

    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is travelling to the Solomon Islands tomorrow for meetings with his counterparts from around the Pacific supporting collective management of the region’s fisheries. The 23rd Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee and the 5th Regional Fisheries Ministers’ Meeting in Honiara from 23 to 26 July ...
    2 days ago
  • Government launches Military Style Academy Pilot

    The Government today launched the Military Style Academy Pilot at Te Au rere a te Tonga Youth Justice residence in Palmerston North, an important part of the Government’s plan to crackdown on youth crime and getting youth offenders back on track, Minister for Children, Karen Chhour said today. “On the ...
    2 days ago
  • Nine priority bridge replacements to get underway

    The Government has welcomed news the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has begun work to replace nine priority bridges across the country to ensure our state highway network remains resilient, reliable, and efficient for road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“Increasing productivity and economic growth is a key priority for the ...
    2 days ago
  • Update on global IT outage

    Acting Prime Minister David Seymour has been in contact throughout the evening with senior officials who have coordinated a whole of government response to the global IT outage and can provide an update. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has designated the National Emergency Management Agency as the ...
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand, Japan renew Pacific partnership

    New Zealand and Japan will continue to step up their shared engagement with the Pacific, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “New Zealand and Japan have a strong, shared interest in a free, open and stable Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.    “We are pleased to be finding more ways ...
    3 days ago
  • New infrastructure energises BOP forestry towns

    New developments in the heart of North Island forestry country will reinvigorate their communities and boost economic development, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones visited Kaingaroa and Kawerau in Bay of Plenty today to open a landmark community centre in the former and a new connecting road in ...
    3 days ago
  • 'Pacific Futures'

    President Adeang, fellow Ministers, honourable Diet Member Horii, Ambassadors, distinguished guests.    Minasama, konnichiwa, and good afternoon, everyone.    Distinguished guests, it’s a pleasure to be here with you today to talk about New Zealand’s foreign policy reset, the reasons for it, the values that underpin it, and how it ...
    3 days ago
  • Delivering 24 hour pothole repairs

    Kiwis and freight operators will benefit from the Coalition Government delivering on its commitment to introduce targets that will ensure a greater number of potholes on our state highways are identified and fixed within 24 hours, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Increasing productivity to help rebuild our economy is a key ...
    3 days ago
  • Peer Support Specialists rolled out in hospitals

    Five hospitals have been selected to trial a new mental health and addiction peer support service in their emergency departments as part of the Government’s commitment to increase access to mental health and addiction support for New Zealanders, says Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Peer Support Specialists in EDs will ...
    4 days ago
  • Consultation opens for the Emissions Reduction Plan

    The Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows we can stay within the limits of the first two emissions budgets while growing the economy, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “This draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows that with effective climate change policies we can both grow the economy and deliver our ...
    4 days ago
  • Benefit stats highlight need for welfare reset

    The coalition Government is providing extra support for job seekers to ensure as many Kiwis as possible are in work or preparing for work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “While today’s quarterly data showing a rise in the number of people on Jobseeker benefits has been long ...
    4 days ago
  • School attendance continues to increase

    Provisional school attendance data for Term 2 2024 released today has shown more students are back in class compared to last year, with 53.1 per cent of students regularly attending, compared with 47 per cent in Term 2 2023, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. “The Government has prioritised student ...
    4 days ago
  • $22.7m of West Coast resilience projects underway

    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed news of progress being made by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) on the first of several crucial resilience projects underway on the South Island’s West Coast.“State highways across the West Coast are critical lifelines for communities throughout the region, including for freight and tourism. ...
    4 days ago
  • Migrant school leavers to get part-time work rights

    The coalition Government is providing migrant school leavers with greater opportunities, by increasing access to part-time work rights for those awaiting the outcome of a family residence application, Immigration Minister Erica Stanford has announced.  “Many young people who are part of a family residence application process are unable to work. ...
    5 days ago
  • Funding to support use of NZ Sign Language

    Seven projects have received government funding totalling nearly $250,000 to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Initiatives that received an NZSL Board Community Grants this year include camps that support the use of NZSL through physical and sensory activities, and clubs where Deaf people and ...
    5 days ago
  • Inflation data shows progress in economic recovery

    Today’s Consumer Price Index data which has inflation at 3.3 per cent for the year to July 2024, shows we are turning our economy around and winning the fight against rampant inflation, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “While today’s data will be welcome news for Kiwis, I know many New ...
    5 days ago
  • Experts to advise Minister on Oranga Tamariki

    The Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board has been re-established by the Minister for Children, Karen Chhour. “I look forward to working with the new board to continue to ensure Oranga Tamariki and the care and protection system, are entirely child centric,” Minister Chhour says. “The board will provide independent advice ...
    6 days ago
  • Expectations set for improved medicines access

    Associate Health Minister David Seymour says he has set clear expectations for Pharmac around delivering the medicines and medical technology that Kiwis need.  “For many New Zealanders, funding for pharmaceuticals is life or death, or the difference between a life of pain and suffering or living freely. New cancer medicines ...
    6 days ago
  • Regional Development Minister to host summits

    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will hold a series of nationwide summits to discuss regional priorities, aspirations and opportunities, with the first kicking off in Nelson on August 12. The 15 summits will facilitate conversations about progressing regional economic growth and opportunities to drive productivity, prosperity and resilience through the ...
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers new school for Rolleston

    The Coalition Government is addressing growing demands on Canterbury’s school network, by delivering a new primary school in Rolleston, Education Minister Erica Stanford says. Within Budget 24’s $400 million investment into school property growth, construction will begin on a new primary school (years 1-8) in Selwyn, Canterbury.  Rolleston South Primary ...
    6 days ago
  • New speed camera signs to improve safety

    The Government is welcoming the rollout of new speed camera signs for fixed speed cameras to encourage drivers to check their speeds, improving road safety and avoiding costly speeding tickets, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “Providing Kiwis with an opportunity to check their speed and slow down in high crash areas ...
    6 days ago
  • NZ, Korea strengthen relationship

    New Zealand and the Republic of Korea continue to strengthen their relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “New Zealand and Korea have a long history – from New Zealand soldiers fighting in the Korean War, through to our strong cooperation today as partners supporting the international rules-based order.    ...
    7 days ago
  • Investing for future growth in tourism and hospitality

    The Government is moving forward with recommendations from the Tourism Data Leadership Group, beginning with establishing a Tourism Data Partnership Fund says Tourism and Hospitality Minister Matt Doocey. “The Tourism Data Partnership Fund is funded through the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) and will provide up to $400,000 ...
    1 week ago
  • 4000 more job seekers to get case managers

    A new over-the-phone employment case management service will see thousands more job seekers under the age of 25 supported to find work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston has announced. “MSD case managers provide valuable support to help people into work, but less than a third of those receiving ...
    1 week ago
  • Trade Minister to attend G7 meeting in Italy

    Trade Minister Todd McClay will attend the Group of Seven (G7) Trade Ministers meeting in Reggio Calabria, Italy next week. This is the first time New Zealand has been invited to join the event, which will be attended by some of the world’s largest economies and many of New Zealand’s ...
    1 week ago
  • Ministers reveal consequences for unruly Kāinga Ora tenants

    Ministers are pleased to see Kāinga Ora taking a stronger approach to managing unruly, threatening or abusive tenants, Housing Minister Chris Bishop and Associate Housing Minister Tama Potaka say.    “For far too long, a small number of Kāinga Ora tenants have ridden roughshod over their neighbours because, under Kāinga ...
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up US visit in California

    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has finished a successful four-day visit to the United States with meetings in California on his final day focusing on innovation and investment.  “It has been fantastic to be in San Francisco today seeing first-hand the deepening links between New Zealand and California. “New Zealand company, EV Maritime, ...
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister leads Indo-Pacific Four at NATO

    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today chaired a meeting of the Indo-Pacific Four (IP4) countries – Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand. The IP4 met in the context of NATO’s Summit in Washington DC hosted by President Biden. “Prosperity is only possible with security,” Mr Luxon says. “We need ...
    1 week ago
  • District Court judges appointed

    Attorney-General Hon Judith Collins today announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges.   The appointees, who will take up their roles in July and August at the Manukau, Rotorua and Invercargill courts, are:   Matthew Nathan Judge Nathan was admitted to bar in New Zealand in 2021, having previously been ...
    1 week ago
  • Urgent review into Wairoa flood response begins

    Environment Minister, Penny Simmonds today announced the terms of reference for a rapid review into the Wairoa flood response. “The Wairoa community has raised significant concerns about the management of the Wairoa River bar and the impact this had on flooding of properties in the district,” says Ms Simmonds. “The Government ...
    1 week ago
  • NZDF’s Red Sea deployment extended

    New Zealand has extended its contribution to the US-led coalition working to uphold maritime security in the Red Sea, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The decision to extend this deployment is reflective of the continued need to partner and act in line with New ...
    1 week ago
  • Government provides support to tackle tax debt and compliance

    New compliance funding in Budget 2024 will ensure Inland Revenue is better equipped to catch individuals who are evading their tax obligations, Revenue Minister Simon Watts says. “New Zealand’s tax debt had risen to almost $7.4 billion by the end of May, an increase of more than 50 per cent since 2022. ...
    1 week ago
  • Taking action to reduce road cones

    The Coalition Government is taking action to reduce expenditure on road cones and temporary traffic management (TTM) while maintaining the safety of workers and road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  Rolling out a new risk-based approach to TTM that will reduce the number of road cones on our roads.  ...
    1 week ago
  • Celebrating 100 years of progress

    Te Arawa Lakes Trust centenary celebrations mark a significant milestone for all the important work done for the lakes, the iwi and for the Bay of Plenty region, says Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka. The minister spoke at a commemorative event acknowledging 100 years ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Foreign Minister to travel to Korea and Japan

    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to the Republic of Korea and Japan next week.    “New Zealand enjoys warm and enduring relationships with both Korea and Japan. Our relationships with these crucial partners is important for New Zealand’s ongoing prosperity and security,” says Mr Peters.    While in the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government creates MAG for retail crime victims

    The coalition Government is establishing a Ministerial Advisory Group for the victims of retail crime, as part of its plan to restore law and order, Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee says.  “New Zealand has seen an exponential growth in retail crime over the past five ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Huge opportunity for educators and students as charter school applications open

    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says today is another important step towards establishing charter schools, with the application process officially opening.  “There has already been significant interest from groups and individuals interested in opening new charter schools or converting existing state schools to charter schools,” says Mr Seymour. “There is ...
    2 weeks ago
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    MBIE’s annual Petroleum Reserves report detailing a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural gas reserves shows the need to reverse the oil and gas exploration ban, Energy Minister Simeon Brown says.“Figures released by MBIE show that there has been a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural ...
    2 weeks ago

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