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Open mike 27/05/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, May 27th, 2020 - 176 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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

Step up to the mike …

176 comments on “Open mike 27/05/2020”

  1. Infused 1


    Stories arent showing on mobile. Just see a heading

    • weka 1.1

      Switch from Mobile to Desktop view (or the other way round), you should be able to see the post then.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    Some of the absolutism from the left – especially the disaffected detritus of Labour that has washed up in to Greens – has late become hysterical. If the Greens continue to provide a home for people who seem to cling grimly to a Marxist vanguardism then they will deserve joining all the other parties these fringe merchants have consigned to the dustbin.

    • Ad 2.1

      Best place for them.

      And they all comment here.

      • Andre 2.1.1

        Best place for them.

        Oh feck no. If there were enough of them to be politically meaningful I would much rather they had their own party and let Greens focus on green issues. As it is, I reckon Sanc has put his finger on it.

        • left_forward

          I guess one of the things that happens to you when you think 'green', is that you begin to appreciate that nature is a complex organic ecosystem. To have a Green focus then is to develop an awareness of the interdependence of social economics and the sustaining of our environment. Excusing quantum physics, reductionism is so last century – so lets get real!

        • AB

          It's possible that when someone decides to "focus on Green issues" they might end up thinking that environmental and climate devastation might in some way be linked to the internal machinery of the economy, i.e. what sorts of economic activity gets incentivised and rewarded – and why. In fact, a focus on Green issues that is anything more than a superficial desire to just conserve a selection of our nicer landscapes, will lead into these other areas. If It's not possible to erect some ideological wall around Green issues that stops this natural movement.

          • KJT

            I've always thought it a curious idea, that you can address environmental sustainability, and ignore social and economic sustainability.

            May be possible with a totalitarian Government. If you can ever have one that is concerned about the environment.

            But not in a Democracy.

    • Adrian Thornton 2.2

      Yep,why not join the modern urban Green swing to the free market liberal centre…and then you can safely consign the whole planet to a slow lingering death.

    • left_forward 2.3

      So you are saying – that the Greens are totalitarians, in a fragmented sort of way, but are charging forward, and grimly selling fringes in a dustbin??

    • AB 2.4

      I think vanguardism might be Leninist rather than Marxist? (I don't know enough to be certain.) That's why someone memorably described the 1980's neo-liberal reformers from Douglas on down as "Market Leninists". That history should be enough to make us wary of vanguardists of all stripes.

      Though I think it's s stretch to call someone a vanguardist for pointing out the fairly obvious contradiction of higher payments for Covid-induced unemployment than for pre-Covid unemployment. I can see why the government did it – there is still far too much in-built, cultural hostility towards beneficiaries for any government to get away with implementing much higher benefits for everyone. Maybe it would be better if people like Sue Bradford acknowledged the 'realpolitik' of the situation, while also pointing out the ethical contradiction.

    • KJT 2.5

      Before you talk about Marxism, I suggest you actually read Marx.

      The Greens on here, and generally, are much more Michael Joseph Savage, than anything to do with Marx.

      In the former NZ tradition of a fair go.

      Is that what bothers Ad and Sanctuary about the Greens?

      Greens have the policies, and social conscience, Labour has abandoned, until recently.

  3. Observer Tokoroa 3

    My good Sanctuary

    – you seem to have developed a Goitre problem. Disaffected toenails or some other weird bowel problem.

    You have fallen over on the filthy road of the Nationals.

    Have you heard of them ? They spend life thieving money from the poor and the middle classes.

    NZ Landlords are at the core of it. Decade after decade. You will pay a big price for clubbing and grubbing with the Nationals.

    You will be hated

  4. Sanctuary 4

    Ohhhhhhh… The pandemic crisis must be officially over, Guyon Espiner is back slinging mud at NZ First.

    It is interesting that Espiner himself is no longer fronting these stories on RNZ, an indication that the NZ First has managed to damage Espiner’s credibility. But I have yet to be convinced the whole thing hasn’t taken on aspects of a personal vendetta , fuelled by disaffected ex-officials of NZF, and nothing so far revealed is anything more than the usual just-legal cronyism that has always pervaded NZ politics, despite the innuendo.

    I wish he’d spend half as much effort looking into the amount of money the Chinese Communist Party spends on our politics, but that topic appears verboten to our centrist media elites.

    • AB 4.1

      Maybe Guyon didn't get the message that, unlike Simon, Todd will work with NZF. Misrepresenting the sort of bog-standard corruption that infects political donations across the spectrum into a scandal unique to NZF – maybe not so smart now from a Nat perspective. Guyon may need to find a different story.

  5. Dennis Frank 5

    Sue Bradford: "There has rarely been a more blatant case of discrimination against beneficiaries than Grant Robertson's announcement yesterday that people who have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus will receive weekly payments of $490 per week for 12 weeks and $250 per week for part time workers."


    "Labour has revealed once again its decades-long predilection for categorising people into the "deserving" and "undeserving" poor, an ideology straight out of the 19th century England from which many Pākehā settler forebears came."

    Thus the framing `Labour the settler's party, ruling ideology colonialism'. Unstated, but discernable in the sub-text. Waving the red flag at the Labour bull – to see if it will get up & charge instead of continuing to wallow in the bullshit, I guess.

    "It is also impossible not to speculate that this is a rather unsubtle way of shoring up support for the government". Well, of course! Beneficiary bashing isn't just trad Nat behaviour. It's a way for the middle class to marginalise those beneath them. Bipartisan. And Labour is intent on being more middle class than National.

    "Labour is declaring that people who are on benefits not related to Covid-19-related unemployment or are stranded migrants simply don't matter; that their votes – if they do vote – don't count."

    That's the guts. Born losers are unlikely to vote, the theory goes. Dunno if social science research has ever validated it with stats, but psychological investment in democracy only happens if people feel they are stakeholders. If they have been brought up without that feeling, can't expect them to think and act like citizens.

    • Cinny 5.1

      Trying to get my head around this….. a person on the job seeker benefit gets $ plus accommodation supplement, winter energy payment and monies for food grants etc etc.

      A person on the covid allowance gets $ plus no other entitlements for 12 weeks.

      Does it balance out in the grand scheme of things? What is the max $ including allowances that a person can get on the job seeker benefit?

      Because when they quote the amount a person gets on the sole parent benefit, I know I received more than twice that amount a week with two children once they had added on the accommodation allowance etc.

      • RosieLee 5.1.1

        First common sense comment I've seen on this issue.

        • Anne

          +1. And someone who has been a solo mum on a benefit in relatively recent times so knows how it works and who gets what.

      • Pingao 5.1.2

        Good question Cinny. I've been wondering that too. Accommodation supplement also varies across regions. I'm guessing it's a lump sum to simplify it so people can apply for it and receive it very quickly.

        • weka

          I would expect there to be low income workers who've lost their job who were already getting a supplementary benefit. They're not just for people on a core benefit.

      • Molly 5.1.3

        I think stripping it down to dollar values misses out an important issue.

        It is the difference in consideration shown, and the implication that those who don't have employment – for reasons other than Covid-19 – remain a separate group, and so can be treated differently.

        It is hard to justify that difference. The anxiety and stress felt when not employed and unable to meet expenses is shared across both groups.

        • Anne

          The anxiety and stress felt when not employed and unable to meet expenses is shared across both groups.

          So true Molly. The restructuring of the Public Service in the 1990s left me on Ruth Richardson's miserable benefit. It wasn't enough to feed and clothe oneself. I ended up with one pair of sand-shoes from the Warehouse – my previous shoes had fallen apart and were beyond repair.

          Not only was there the physical discomforts, but there was the mental stress of finding yourself treated with disdain as if you were a loser who had brought failure on yourself.

          I do wonder sometimes if there are any MPs who have experienced the degradation that goes with trying to survive on a benefit. Very few, if any, I suspect.

          • Adrian

            Shane Jones is one.

            • Sacha

              Interesting. When was that?

              • Adrian

                After Ruth Richardson as I remember and the family had to break up apparently with Mum and Dad off to Aussie for work and the older kids staying here for school. He talked about it a few weeks ago on Natrad I think and is still bloody bitter. He is no friend of National.
                I may be blaming RR but it must have been earlier maybe Muldoon? , short term memory not what it used to be.

                • Sacha

                  Thanks. Had not heard any of that.

                • swordfish

                  Yeah, would've been a lot earlier … he was in his early 30s by the time Ruth announced her Mother of all Budgets. (unless of course he was not so much a third-year-fifth as a sixteenth-year-fifth … there were certainly a couple of lads at our high school who appeared to have been in the 5th form for several decades … kept on by the Principal because they were brutally effective front row forwards … I remember as newbie 3rd formers, we were amazed at these 5th formers with whiskers, adams apples, fully developed adult physiques and (we assumed) wives & several hungry mouths to feed) …

                  … the poor bastards still forced to wear the school uniform while their peers were beginning to pay off mortgages …

                  … So, if he was talking about the Nats: Jones was 13 when the Holyoake / Marshall Govt lost power, 16 when the Muldoon Nats were elected. Presumably the latter.

                  Remember him in the news as a young, high-profile activist (with ponytail & radically-chic Che Guevara/Rik from The Young Ones beret, IIRR) … certainly in the early-mid 80s (possibly even late 70s).

                  • Anne

                    I remember Shane telling a group of us in Labour (10-15 years ago) that, as a small boy, he was selected by the elders in Northland to enter politics and be their representative in parliament. He used a Maori expression but it was roughly the same meaning as 'representative.'

                    From that point, they groomed him for his future exalted position.

                    That's what he told us anyway.frown

      • weka 5.1.4

        Cinny, do you have a link to where it says covid payment people can't get supplementary benefits? The main WINZ page suggests they can get extra assistance via SNGs. I'd be surprised if they were ineligible for AS and TAS, theses are benefits for all NZers whether they have a job or not so long as they meet the asset and income tests.

      • KJT 5.1.5


        By the way, payments for emergency expenses, food grants and other allowances are available to people who are working, that are on low income, so I expect they will also be available to those on the covid payments.

        • Cinny

          Thanks for explaining, much appreciated. I wasn't sure if people on Covid payment were allowed extra, crikey I didn't even know that those on low incomes could get extra help, WINZ never told me that when I came off the benefit last year.

          • KJT

            WINZ are often less than forthcoming about entitlements.

            Very difficult for people who are not articulate, or with mental health issues, in particular.

            Yes. Help is there for people on low income, even if they are not on main benefits and/or, are working.

            Hopefully WINZ is getting better under this Government.


            • weka

              well they've had 3 years already.Queues outside the Auckland offices and advocacy still being a high need suggest Sepuloni either has no intention of fixing this or is blind to the problem.

              • KJT

                Yep. I think National's attack on seat warmers, in Labour, had the wrong targets. Especially from a party that is all "seat warmers".

                Most of the other missteps seemed to be more learning on the job, rather than incompetence.

                Difficult for National to attack meanness and incompetence in WINZ, though. Seeing as they agree with it. And Bennett was the driver of it

          • weka

            See this page, where it says Help With Living Expenses.


            It doesn't link to the AS page, so it's possible that they can't get that, only the SNGs.

            It's bullshit that this isn't explicit on the website or that the MSM haven't reported it. SSDD.

            • Craig H

              Seems more likely that MSD just haven't got all the detail on the website yet. After some digging, I think the answers on matters like supplementary assistance are clear enough. The payment will be made under S101 of the Social Security Act, but to avoid people being eligible for it and an income-tested benefit (ITB), the Act has to be amended as otherwise the payment would not be income and therefore would not prevent someone also getting an ITB. Amendment Bill:


              To quote from the Bill:

              "General policy statement

              This Bill ensures that a payment received by a person under the COVID-19 Income Relief Payment Programme (the Programme) is treated as the person’s income for the purposes of the Social Security Act 2018 (the Act).

              The Programme will be approved and established under the Act. Payments under the Programme will provide temporary income relief to people who have lost their jobs as a result of the impact of COVID-19. The intention is to ease the income shock individuals and whānau may experience from unemployment.

              A payment under the Programme will be paid to eligible people for up to 12 weeks, at a rate of $490 per week if they were previously in full-time employment (30 hours or more a week), or $250 per week if they were previously in part-time employment (15 to 29 hours a week).

              The Programme will come into force on 8 June 2020 and will be available for eligible people who have lost their jobs on or after 1 March 2020 and no later than 30 October 2020. People will be able to apply until 13 November 2020.

              People cannot receive a payment under the Programme at the same time as an income-tested main benefit, but people will (if otherwise eligible) be able to receive at the same time supplementary assistance and hardship assistance under the Act.

              The change made through these amendments will ensure that access to income-tested support provided for under the Act, or approved and established under the Act, takes into account the actual financial resources a person has received or is receiving. To achieve this outcome, the definition of income in Schedule 3 of the Act must be amended to include a payment under the Programme. The payment would otherwise be excluded as income by clause 8(a) of Schedule 3."

              Beehive release: https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/new-payment-support-kiwis-through-covid

              At the Beehive link, there is a Q&A doc on the right hand side. Relevant questions from that:

              25. Can someone receive the COVID-19 Income Relief Payment as well as supplementary assistance from MSD like Accommodation Supplement? Yes –COVID-19 Income Relief Payment recipients may be eligible to receive both supplementary and hardship assistance. The income relief payment will be treated as income when assessing entitlement to these supports. This includes public housing support like income-related rent.

              26. Will receiving the COVID-19 Income Relief Paymentaffect someone’s Working for Families tax credits, student loan repayments or Child Support? No –as the COVID-19 Income Relief Payment is not treated as income for these paymentsas it is non-taxable. The loss of income from losing theirjob is likely to mean some people may now qualify for more Working for Families and other supports.

      • Siobhan 5.1.6

        A covid benifit can be granted when your partner earns up to $2000 a week.

        Up to $2000 a week.


        • KJT

          Welfare should be individual.

          After all, the taxes we pay for it are individual.

          Time we got past the idea, that having sex with someone should make them totally dependant on you.

          Time Government got out of our bedrooms.

          • RedBaronCV

            Would that mean that spouses who have never worked ( nor have ever planned to work) suddenly get a benefit? Think homemaker in rich auckland suburb. That makes it a UBI

            • KJT

              Getting closer to one, anyway.

              It also would have meant my wife, who couldn't work because of my sons issues, would have got a benefit, when I was too ill to work, myself.

      • ianmac 5.1.7

        Yes well said Cinny. You have sanity and common sense.

      • Craig H 5.1.8

        The part time amount of $250 will depend on which benefit and whether the beneficiary can find a part time job (complicated calculations involved no doubt), the $490 will be better in almost all cases.

      • The Al1en 5.1.9

        Talking about amounts etc. The standard dole is 250 after tax. I chose to work 24 hours per week at minimum wage to get myself off the benefit and out of the clutches of work and income, even if it means my take home pay of $386 means I end up working for what amounts to $5.66ph.

        And this talk of middle class entitlement that’s coming out is a bit shit, seeing as a lot of those who’ll claim will be minimum wage earners in service/tourism industries. When those wage slave working poor are equated with the middle classes, then something has seriously gone wrong with perception.

        I'd love the $490 if and when I get laid off, which I think I will, but I won't qualify on hours, and yet I don't begrudge those who will get it, and I sure as fu*k won’t slag the government off for giving it to them.

    • Adrian Thornton 5.2

      Sue Bradford the greatest leader the Greens never had….of course they didn't, the Greens have proved time and again they don't have the backbone to or courage of someone like Bradford who is prepared to firmly stand their ground on matters of principle.

      • weka 5.2.1

        Keep voting Labour then, see how far that will get us.

        Meanwhile, Marama Davidson yesterday,

        Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson told RNZ the new offering was a "very clear" admission that base benefit rates were not enough to live on.

        "Everybody should be able to access the support, regardless of whether they are recently unemployed or longer-term unemployed."

        Davidson said she had heard the frustration of beneficiaries who felt they had been deemed the "undeserving poor" by the latest move.

        The Greens had pushed for all benefits to be increased to the new Covid-19 level, she said, but had so far been unsuccessful in getting that over the line.

        "We've been consistently clear that this needs to happen urgently and desperately. It hasn't happened yet, but we won't give up," Davidson said.

        "Both New Zealand First and Labour need to come to the table on this."


        • miravox

          That's a nice tone from Marama Davidson (and/or Craig McCulloch) in that report. It also notes some of the takes on the payment that I've found incendiary and misplaced over the last few days. It’s taken me a few days to get my thoughts together around the government emergency payments to workers laid off due to Covid-19.

          I understand the rage, I think, but I also think this is misplaced. To start, I’ve been both a long term beneficiary, lived through my partner’s redundancy and later, lost my job suddenly due to illness. Based on these experiences I think:

          1. The Covid-19 emergency payment is a good thing. It’s temporary and it’s needed for a whole lot of people who need to down-size their financial commitments and/or to hold them over without massive debt while they begin the process of finding work.
          2. Long-term beneficiaries have already done this down-sizing (often without the help of redundancy payments). They already (don’t) cope with depleted budgets.
          3. Fixing unconscionable underpayment of benefits is critical.
          4. The two situations are not comparable. I don’t believe it’s a case of deserving and undeserving poor
          5. If I were a long-term beneficiary now, I would be angry, I would have been angry for a long time and this would have made that anger flare. How long are beneficiaries meant to be patiently waiting for changes that have been promised?

          I believe the anger that is showing up though, is mis-directed.

          The view that ‘the middle-classes should have to live like beneficiaries, we’ve lost an opportunity for them to know what it’s like’ – No, a thousand times no! Since when were wait staff, kitchenhands, reception and accounts staff, builders’ labourers, foresters, drivers, tour guides etc. middle class? They’re working class (and in my opinion, despite being a major factor in who gets employed in what jobs, racism isn’t a factor in deciding on the temporary payment either).

          These workers shouldn’t have to know what it’s like to live in poverty, no-one needs to be taught that lesson in a supposedly civilised world (although chances are many of them do, given the precarious working environments in some of these industries). We should be looking upwards, not expecting people to move more people down the socio-economic ladder; we should be pressing the government to give an update, a timetable, a sense of urgency on plans for improving the financial security for beneficiaries.

          We should be demanding the government use some of that political capital it has built (which I know some advocates are doing). The evidence is there, the justification to politically ‘sell’ such changes should have been written a long time ago. Sure Covid-19 has thrown things off the tracks, but there should be something that already exists to indicate the government is taking the plight of beneficiaries seriously and that this will be treated with urgency. Pressure the government on this and leave the people who have just lost their jobs out of it.

          Labour relations – Grant Robertson hit on this (but not hard enough) when he mentioned that this is the third time in a few years that the government has had to bailout businesses by supporting their employees. When my partner was made redundant years ago we had a redundancy payout that covered almost exactly the three months between jobs. It kept our heads above water. The alternative would have been bankruptcy with little chance of ever coming out of that. And I’ve been there too – as a person who lost a job through long-term illness, a huge mortgage on an apartment we later found to be a leaky building, and in ‘a relationship in the nature of a marriage’. Effectively bankrupt. By sheer good fortune a way out of that landed in our laps.

          I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to have three of these events – as a sole parent on a benefit, living through a redundancy and losing a job to illness. A blight on our supposed civilised society that we’ve done that to so many people since the Douglas/Richardson years). Being divisive by shouting at people who are going to receive three months respite payments and equating that payment to a two-tier system seems not only counter-productive, it’s also not correct.

          No, beneficiaries should not have to be patient, to hold out for some distant reprieve from the state they’re in. The anger (imo) should not be directed at enhanced short-term assistance to the ‘lucky’ recently unemployed, it should be directed as a call for action on the state of the rights of people who don’t make money through capital investment (aka workers’, beneficiary, human! economic rights). When the hell are we going to focus and turn this around?

          • weka

            I put a short post up on Davidson and the Greens.

            Labour and the Greens on welfare

            Having a read of your comment now.

          • weka

            The view that ‘the middle-classes should have to live like beneficiaries, we’ve lost an opportunity for them to know what it’s like’

            Hmm, who is saying that about the payment? I've seen people say that more people having to depend on welfare might improve compassion for beneficiaries, but that's not the same as saying that the middle classes should poor for a while to teach them (I'm sure there are people saying that, I just haven't seen it).

            I agree about the class stuff though. Job loss will be affecting people across the board.

            The criticism I've seen has been of the govt, not for giving people the covid payment, but for not also helping beneficiaries. This is blatantly discriminatory.

            I'm not keen in the newly unemployed vs long termers who are used to it argument. The people who ended up on welfare in January? Or last year? At what point do they become long term? Also not keen on the argument that long term people have adjusted given that many beneficiaries live in fear of losing what they have in large part because of the govt.

            "We should be looking upwards, not expecting people to move more people down the socio-economic ladder"

            Yes and no. I agree that punitive, that'll teach 'em stuff isn't helpful. I do think the middle classes specifically need to change how they live, because they are driving NZ's ecological and climate overshoot. We can't all live the lifestyle of my upper middle class family if we want to transition to post-carbon and sustainability. I believe we can still all have good lives, but that's not the same as us all trying to move upwards.

            Being divisive by shouting at people who are going to receive three months respite payments and equating that payment to a two-tier system seems not only counter-productive, it’s also not correct.

            Ok, can you please show me some examples so I know what you are referring to? Someone on twitter said similar, but I'm obviously missing that.

            I mean my ire is clearly directed at Labour, lol.

            In terms of turning it around, my fear at the moment is that the people who consider themselves progressive will vote Labour again this year. If that happens, then I think it will be hard to recover from this divide and it will run much deeper, esp if Labour bring in a permanent two tier system without mending WINZ or raising benefits. This scares me more at the moment than National, and not just on this issue, I see Labour moving from very good handling of acute covid response, into the mid term management and it's looking very neoliberal.

            • miravox

              Hmm, who is saying that about the payment?

              A bit of stuff Twitter and Facebook. Usually comments on Beneficiary activist sites – mostly in rage on the first day of announcement. Wording along the lines of the mc should experience living on a benefit (some of us already have of course). Also comments that are more desperate (and all the sadder) because they believe they’re more likely to get mc support for a raise in benefits if they have to, or know of people who have to, live on current benefits too.

              The criticism I've seen has been of the govt, not for giving people the covid payment, but for not also helping beneficiaries. This is blatantly discriminatory.

              Totally agree that a fairer and system and higher rates of pay for beneficiaries should not have taken this long. I understand people’s impatience and anger. However I don’t agree this covid payment is blatantly discriminatory. I see this payment and the improving the social security system as separate issues. This payment and redundacy payments generally are linked issues, imo.

              I'm not keen in the newly unemployed vs long termers who are used to it argument.

              After three months the covid unemployed are in exactly the same position as other beneficiaries if new jobs don't materialise – all they’ve had is an adjustment period which they would have got if we had decent legislation around redundancy, which everyone deserves. It's a good thing GR recognises it's important – now to make sure he extends it via legislation .

              I do think the middle classes specifically need to change how they live…

              Yes, of course the mc need to change how they live – not something that should be put on the recently unemployed though. My meaning of looking upward was that beneficiaries deserve a better standard of living.

              Being divisive by shouting at people who are going to receive three months respite payments and equating that payment to a two-tier system seems not only counter-productive, it’s also not correct.

              Ok, can you please show me some examples so I know what you are referring to? Someone on twitter said similar, but I'm obviously missing that.

              I think Grant Robertson blew the whole announcement of this payment. To me, it’s clearly a redundancy payment but it came across as a higher pay-rate. It took quite a bit of to and fro-ing to actually work out it wasn’t an increase for some and not others, but by the the ‘two-tier’ sound bite was in popular use. I believe this is divisive.

              I hope the Green party does not go with sound-bite into the election (I haven’t heard them using it, I’m just worried they will). At the moment I do like what they’re saying.

              I mean my ire is clearly directed at Labour, lol.

              Yes, understandably so.

              I don’t believe Labour will bring in a two-tier system. I think that’s odd I do hope they do something to ensure a redundancy payment for recently unemployed though, I truly believe this transition payment will give people much-needed breathing space and it should be available to everyone. I’m angry in part because we should know by now where the government is at with mending WINZ or raising benefits. Carmel Sepuloni doesn’t seem keen on rocking the boat and yes, we need something radical.

              • weka

                I haven't been following the redundancy payment thing. Is the suggestion that the govt passes better legislation so that businesses have to pay redundancy across the board in situations like covid?

                I agree that Labour fucked the messaging. I'd have way less of a problem with the policy if they'd done two things. One is not tie it to benefits, but as you say, make it a redundancy payout. Two is give something to beneficiaries, at the least some messaging along the lines of 'we will need to address issues x, y, z next to make sure that people already struggling are ok, and this is what we are looking at next'. Changing the abatement rate would fit well with Labour's ideology around work. Not nearly enough, but it's something.

                Labour won't do that though, because as far as I can tell they don't actually have any plan for welfare. Plus the whole paid jobs will save the day bullshit.

                I haven't looked on FB, but I can imagine that there are people there really fucked off and lashing out.

                Re the future, what did you make of the insurance idea from Labour, if not a two tier, user pays system?

                • miravox

                  Darien Fenton has been tweeting a lot about equating the payment with redundancy pay rather than benefits she has said e.g.

                  "Our failing in NZ to ensure a safety net of protection called redundancy pay when workers are laid off through no fault of their own provided by the employer has led to this [the covid temp payment]. We've avoided this question for years and years. If it means better protection for all, I'm up for it."

                  I don't know if Labour will tie this into the social welfare system, or labour laws. Robertson has clearly indicated he wants to do something so the govt doesn't have to pick up the tab for mass redundancy when the economic system falls over. They did masses of work on "the future of work' before the election. We haven't really seen much to show for that. except, of course, the fast decision for major money dedicated to saving jobs at the beginning of the covid crisis.

                  "Labour won't do that though, because as far as I can tell they don't actually have any plan for welfare."

                  ^^ this. this is exactly why the messaging was fucked. They say they're working diligently on this, but after all this time, no-one knows what they're doing with regards to benefits, and for that matter, labour laws and everyone is just being told they have to be patient.

                  Insurance – depends, when we were living in Austria most people seemed happy enough with their insurance system. it was a bit like the – a dedicated paye deduction (I believe). The question of time-limiting unemployment benefits could be an issue. I'll start paying attention now to what Labour seems to have in mind, instead of just waiting for them to present it 🙂

                  • miravox

                    Also – speaking of Austria. NZ cannot change the benefits system and increase payments without rent controls and more state housing. The increase, as has happened before, will go straight in landlords bank account.

                    A huge lesson from living over there was this.

                    • KJT

                      Certainly agree there.

                      In fact, making housing more affordable, could be more effective than a welfare raise.

                      Without addressing housing, raises in welfare payments are likely to go straight to banks and landlords, profits. As you have said, and as we've seen with student allowances.

                    • weka

                      Completely agree. I'm more and more against lots of house building unless it is state housing, or community based housing. Anything else will just fuel the housing market.

                      Def rent control.

                      Re the insurance scheme, how did poor people in Austria feel about some people getting better benefits than others based on user pays?

                    • miravox

                      "I'm more and more against lots of house building unless it is state housing, or community based housing"

                      Another one of the beautiful things about living in Vienna the percentage of state housing – there is no stigma associated with it *- combined with rent controls moderates the housing profiteers (note – Vienna, not Austria here – the States rather than the State is responsible for their housing.

                      *the video is a pretty special housing development, but the principles are everywhere and the interview displays the general attitudes that I heard while living in the city.

                      "how did poor people in Austria feel about some people getting better benefits than others based on user pays?"

                      I didn't get a sense of dissatisfaction about it (different for migrant labour of course) and the last election swing to the right was about nationalism rather than economics I believe. The latest iteration of a right-leaning government is still not neo-liberal as we know it. Also, if you don't have (or run out of) unemployment insurance, there is still unemployment assistance.

                      A couple of links:

                      Unemployment benefit

                      Severance pay/redundancy compensation

                  • weka

                    Part of the problem with Ardern and Roberston mentioning insurance but not saying much else is that now there is all this speculation. What I picked up is that it would be user pays for those with jobs, people with better employment would accrue better benefits if they were laid off. Hence two tiers built in.

                    Of course we already have two tiers eg in ACC, and in the way the state views accidents versus illness. I can totally see Labour going down this path, and it's consistent with the idea that the are ok with a permanent underclass. They're still way better than National, but I fear that within covid pressures they are going to cement in whole layers of neoliberalism that we don't even see yet.

                    Some still hold hope that Labour will do right by welfare. I don't. I think they will do what they have always done, even if free from NZF. Their plan is paid jobs, and there is no plan beyond that. I actually feel more despair around this this week than I ever have. I really hope I am wrong, but seeing so many people now hating on the Greens for not forcing Labour to do better, it's hard to see anything other than a neoliberal future that will leave so many people behind.

          • pat

            sound analysis.

      • KJT 5.2.2

        In reality Green MP's have been standing up over the last few days, on this.

        Especially Marama. Who is the Green spokesperson for social justice issues.

      • Sanctuary 5.2.3

        Bradford is near lethal to every political party she touches. Her arrogant ramming through of the Section 59 changes was merely the most egregious of her political errors, being incredibly costly to the broader centre left.

        She failed to build a constituency or a consensus for a highly sensitive change with the wider community, merely lazily and arrogantly relying on elite consensus and a high handed dismissal of opponents and she condemned Labour by association, made the parliamentary left fatally vulnerable to culture war attacks and meant that for ten years the phone was off the hook with middle New Zealand for Labour.

        Her impact on the Greens – pulling in all sorts of militant losers who have already been twice, thrice, even quadrice rejected by the electorate – has been primarily to dilute the parties raison d'etre on the environment and convert it into a last stand of the out of touch, electorally toxic, activist rabble she comes from.

        • weka

          The party that currently holds both the Climate and Conservation portfolios in government /eyeroll.

          • Sanctuary

            Let's see how your remarkable (given the state of the Green's polling) complacency is holding up on the 20th September. If the Greens get less than 5%, they will be looking at a long road back -particularly as the militant left that will form the rump of the party after an electoral drubbing seldom sees defeat as a reason to review it's POV.

            Personally, if I were Labour I’d be eyeing up their best parliamentary talent – Schwarbrick, Genter – for a return on a labour ticket in 2023 if the Greens fail to get back into the house.

            • weka

              Lefties who want the Greens out of parliament deserve a Darwin Award.

              • Sanctuary

                No one wants the Greens out of parliament, I was merely pointing out the direction Bradford took the Greens seems to have set the party on a path of decline and she was a catastrophe for the wider centre left.

                • weka

                  The Greens dropped from 14 MPs to 8 in the 2017 election after Turei's speech and Ardern's rise. Bradford hasn't been in parliament since 2009. You're drawing a pretty long bow to link her to the low polling now.

              • Bearded Git

                smileyso true but don't put it past themangry

            • KJT

              "Militant left".

              What would you have called the first Labour Government?

              The "return of the apocalypse" ?

        • solkta

          You can't say that a law change has been rammed through when it is supported by 113 votes to 8. Get over yourself.

        • solkta

          The "raison d'etre" is to realise its Charter https://www.greens.org.nz/charter

          Nothing to do with Bradford.

        • left_forward

          Oh no – are you still hitting the children Sanctuary?

          Time to move on FFS.

        • KJT

          Really funny when even National voted for section 59.

          Hardly ramming through. And a vastly improved piece of legislation after public objections to the original bill.

          An example of the system working at it's best.

        • gsays

          Your analysis is usually pretty good, but there are blind spots.

          Section 59 repeal took two years of cross party negotiations. Far from ramming through as you can get.

          " …Section 59 changes was merely the most egregious of her political errors, being incredibly costly to the broader centre left …"

          If that is the price to pay, to remove the defence of assaulting children so be it.

          Edit oops, said better by folks earlier…

      • mauī 5.2.4

        Sadly the Green party of today are nowhere near a true socialist party. A 2016 Sanders or French Melenchon type socialist movement cannot be born from the lime coloured bourgeoisie.

        • Andre

          So don't even try to do an Alien-style facehugger/chestburster on the Greens. Put the movement together outside of the stale old parties that are tainted by making the compromises necessary to make actual governing work.

          Viva la revolucion!

      • Bazza64 5.2.5

        Have to agree Adrian re Sue & her principles. Although I wouldn’t vote for Sue she refused to go with Kim Dotcom when Minto, Hone & Laila Harre all went where the money was. Sue refused to have anything to do with KDC (who I hear likes KFC) as she viewed him as corrupt & told Mana where to go, so definitely an ethical person.

  6. peter 6

    It must be hard being an investigative journalist. Do you hear of something and investigate it or do you develop a thesis and set out to prove it's true?

    If you (and your employer) invest time in the story and there is no story what do you do?

    When does an 'investigation' turn into a campaign? When does an investigation become a vendetta?

    • Morrissey 6.1

      On the other hand, it's exceptionally easy if you're the opposite of an investigative journalist. Unlike Jon Stephenson and Nicky Hager and John Campbell, the likes of Richard Harman, Sean Plunket and Mike Hosking have never been targeted by vengeful governments.

  7. RedLogix 7

    Scott Morrison has proposed an urgent and potentially far reaching reform process to labour relations in Australia.

    Even though employers and unions will be told to leave their industrial "shopping lists" with their weapons at the door, the five key areas up for negotiation appear to include grievances drawn from the lists of both sides — simplification of awards, enterprise agreements, casuals and fixed-term employment, compliance with workplace laws and "greenfield" agreements (for new businesses) — which is a reasonable place to start.

    The negotiators — including those from small businesses, the regions, women's groups and multicultural communities — have only four months to complete their work, with Porter playing the role of moderator.

    A walk-out in disgust in the first rounds of talks would confirm a system beyond anyone's will to repair, but as with all such exercises, the longer these old enemies sit around the campfire, the more likely they'll be making headway towards some consensus.

    An invitation to re-write the rule book comes of course with some skepticism, but given grim economic mood in both board rooms and bedrooms at the moment, it may well be a well timed move.

    Ardern's govt has the same opportunity before it; the Budget was merely a scene setter. With households close to running out of reserves there is every reason to be wary of entering a reform process from a weak negotiating position, yet the same applies to business. Now is perhaps the best moment in generations to re-frame the debate … we now have the undeniable demonstration before us that the workers who are paid by business, are also the same people who are it's customers.

    Now is our best moment to tackle the long neglected question of labour and capital productivity in NZ.

    • greywarshark 7.1

      Great comment Red Logix. Could you watch this reporter Greg Jennett and (Twisted Ribbon?) News (so modern, not having a recognisable name just a visual logo. Leaves room for useless conjecture!).

      This is info about Porter and more background looking into link provided by RL above:

      But in the depths of the coronavirus crisis, senior ministers in the Morrison Government, especially Attorney-General Christian Porter, have seen enough of ACTU Secretary Sally McManus and the leadership of the various business lobby groups to gauge that if ever there was a time to achieve some consensus then now must be it.

      Abandoning the heavy-handed "Ensuring Integrity" bill, which would mete out heavy penalties against wayward union officials has bought the Government some goodwill at the outset.

      And maybe this truth you have presented will pierce through the murk hiding factual economics set up by the neolib horde.

      Now is perhaps the best moment in generations to re-frame the debate … we now have the undeniable demonstration before us that the workers who are paid by business, are also the same people who are it's customers.

  8. Molly 8

    And so it begins… after it is revealed that our borders were opened to foreign film crew and production workers during lockdown that were regarded as essential workers because of "significant economic value", others who value overseas money are claiming the same.

    I am disappointed in Twyford's reasoning and response, and find it hard to see how it can be justified when NZers restricted themselves from the normal responses to anxiety and stress by avoiding contact with loved ones.

    This is a strategy that provided overseas entities a freedom that was not available to NZers, and will only lead to a raft of similar requests from other institutions and businesses asking for the same "exceptional" treatment.

    • KJT 8.1

      The pressure to resume the "education for residency" scam and the imports of cheap labour to be exploited, has never let up.

    • Treetop 8.2

      Covid-19 cases coming into the country need to be carefully managed otherwise the freedom of NZ citizens and residents will be limited and our health service could become overwhelmed in a month.

      The problem is that NZ is dependent on tourism, the hospitality industry and overseas students.

      Covid-19 will be a threat until a vaccine is made and/or an effective treatment is available.

      I do think that the cautious approach of closing the borders for the next six months (unless for an exceptional reason) is going to be less costly for the country than opening up the borders to quickly.

      Pressure either way.

      • Molly 8.2.1

        " The problem is that NZ is dependent on tourism, the hospitality industry and overseas students. "

        The solution then, may be to reduce that dependence as much as possible, if we are unable to eliminate it.

        "Covid-19 will be a threat until a vaccine is made and/or an effective treatment is available.

        I do think that the cautious approach of closing the borders for the next six months (unless for an exceptional reason) is going to be less costly for the country than opening up the borders to quickly."

        Agree. Managing quarantine in such as way as to ensure the wellbeing of us all is necessary for long-term benefits, both in health and economy.

        • Adrian

          Tourism and students are going to be self limiting for a while even with open borders.

      • greywarshark 8.2.2

        Treetop +100

      • RedBaronCV 8.2.3

        Tourism has a lot of yo-yo money in it. Foreign tourists pay foreign firms operating here who pay people on work visa's and the taxpayers pay the social costs.

        Foreign students pay for huge vice chancellor fees while the rest of the staff live on insecure contracts or they fund dodgy private courses off which people can get business start up visa's? There is also use of long term public resources like buildings funded and libraries. Cutting a few vice chancellors salaries and the offshore trips plus advertising budget would fix the problem. A good package for really high quality students rather than a disguised work permit is what we need.

    • RedBaronCV 8.3

      Well I really hope that those coming here as essential workers for the privet sector paid their own quarantine costs rather than us taxpayers. And that there is a decent salary level on those projects for the local jobs before any permission is give,

      As to students – now is the time to remove any "work visa's" attached so we get rid of low paying job competition and useless courses. Our NEETS are under enough pressure now with respect to jobs.

      • Molly 8.3.1

        A considered review of the system, would result in such changes I would hope. But we haven't practiced considered reviews of some of these industries/mechanisms for a while. Seems a great time to do so.

        • Molly

          For a list of recipients of other benefits (such as tax breaks for filming production) you can have a look at the government rebates given to overseas companies.

          (PDF) LBSPG / NZSPG-International Grants Approved: 1 January 2010 to 31 March 2020

          Some big high-profit popular films on the list. A question about how that "investment" and economic benefits are shared amongst the New Zealand community is not even asked, let along answered.

          • RedBaronCV

            Be nice if we got some profit shares on our taxpayer investments.

            Nor do I think that any government should necessarily feel the population as a whole is in favour of endless work visa's or huge numbers of tourists.

            And if others now see us as a " safe place" to run their projects (the America's cup contestants were wanting entry the other night on the Telly – not a word about how we had all participated in the lockdown – just me, me me look what it does for me) then I would expect to see some large charges for all of us to share.

            As a minimum wages paid to locals on these projects should meet the level of wages needed to apply for work visa's ( around $$76k?)

        • greywarshark

          This from Peter's office about Australia and how we are wedded to a partner that is near to a partner-basher.

          New Zealand and Australia are two of the most integrated economies in the world, with deep connections between our people. We are critical markets for each other’s businesses and major tourism markets for each other. We have highly developed systems in place which give us a high degree of confidence in each other’s border management.

          New Zealand and Australia are committed to introducing a trans-Tasman COVID-safe travel zone, as soon as it is safe to do so. A travel zone would boost our trade and economic recovery, help kick-start tourism and transport sectors, enhance sporting contacts, and reunite families and friends.

          'A high degree of confidence in each other's border management'.

          As in uprooting NZs from their homes and families after long-term settlement in Oz? Isn’t this against long-held laws of habeus corpus? But Australians are ready to go that extra mile in negative behaviour it seems.

          As in a possible repeat of how they treated our Prime Minister Clark* after Ansett's collapse for instance? Friendly relations? And they want us back in the fold again so they can keep reaping benefits from our enterprise efforts, that they either own or their banks have lent on.

          * http://tvnz.co.nz/content/56780/2591764/article.html

          Transtasman relations take a dive Published: 6:15PM Friday September 14, 2001

          Transtasman relations have plummeted with the demise of Ansett Australia leaving 16,000 workers and numerous suppliers to the airline jobless…

          Prime Minister Helen Clark felt the full heat of their anger when Ansett workers blocked her Air New Zealand plane from leaving Melbourne Airport…

          Federal Transport Minister John Anderson said the government could not afford to help keep Australia's second airline flying and joined Ansett unions in blaming the New Zealand carrier.

          He said it would have cost $170 million to just keep Ansett flying until Saturday night.

          "Its assets will now be put up for sale but the company itself has been completely and comprehensively driven into the ground by its New Zealand owners, Air New Zealand," Anderson said…

          It took two stalwart journalists in Australia to shine the spotlight on the lies from the Australian government and John Anderson.

          ANSETT: THE COLLAPSE by Geoff Easdown & Peter Wilms [large format paperback]

          and http://newsweekly.com.au/article.php?id=1227

          (I have to read more to check on the story that the Australian Government had acceded to the NZ Government the right to fly domestically within Australia to carry passengers direct to state capitals, which was quickly rescinded by email? after a Qantas intervention; with run-down, debt-laden Ansett being offered as the only alternative.)

          • greywarshark

            It appears that there may be a connection between Ansett's collapse and the onset of rules barring NZs social security rights in Australia as a punishment, an excuse for labelling us negatively to Oz citizens, and a cross that many of our family members have had to bear after settling there.

            I believe that it is very hard for NZs to get residency in Oz now also.
            And that it is harder for us than many other countries. Friends?

            Ansett collapsed in September 2001: centreforaviation.com › analysis › reports › ansetts-collapse-set-decad…

            Sep 11, 2011 – The 14-Sep-2001 collapse of Ansett Australia set the following decade for a series of rapid and momentous changes in Australian air transport, …

            The great change in banning NZs from welfare appears to have come into effect on 1 July 2002. https://www.dss.gov.au/about-the-department/international/international-social-security-agreements/current-international-social-security-agreements/australia-and-new-zealand-frequently-asked-questions

            Division 11—Preclusion periods 304

            93U………………….. Disposal preclusion period—disposals before 1 July 2002 304

            93UA……………….. Disposal preclusion period—disposals on or after 1 July 2002 305

          • Treetop

            NZ cannot continue subsidising the life style of non citizens and non residents unless this group is actually contributing more to the NZ economy than it is costing the country.

            I have no issues with refugees as a person is a refugee for a valid reason (they are escaping something terrible).

            The universities need to do belt tightening and they just might have money for projects and courses which convert to a job once the course or degree is completed.

            I have to give it to the Aussies that they make a profit off NZ citizens and residents in Australia.

            There are going to be some big stoushes when it comes to airlines.

    • Janet 8.4

      I was absolutely gobsmacked to read that our borders have been infiltrated by a huge film crew during Lockdown. How dare they presume to come at such a time and how stupid to let them in; "essential "they are not. I hope as others have also commented , that they paid all costs – plus some – for the quarantining required. I expect everyone entering this country is paying their cost of quarantining for electing to come in these times of kiwi sacrifice

    • RedLogix 8.5

      Once the capacity to manage reliable quarantines was in place it was only sensible to allow a small number of high value or urgent individuals into the country.

      A complete hermetic seal would only do more harm than good.

    • McFlock 8.6

      I mean, it's not actually a bad idea to maintain a trickle as long as everyone does their isolation.

      And build it up as the systems get nailed down properly.

      • Molly 8.6.1

        Essential workers – such as medical staff or scientists would be acceptable to most under the lockdown restrictions.

        Classifying those who work in the entertainment industry as "essential" because of perceived economic benefit, is much harder to justify. If they had required them to wait until the Alert level had reduced to 1 or 0, then both the lockdown and the transition out of it would be even-handed and equitable.

        Referring to this industry as "essential" in this situation, when everyone else was under homestay restrictions is not good decision making.

        • Janet

          Landau said he felt the crew was "coming back to the safest place in the world"

          Was it essential or was it for a safe haven right now. I think the latter and without a doubt they could have waited until we transitioned out of lockdown.

  9. Tricledrown 9

    Winston Peter's is in trouble electoral finances look dodgy so he throws the dead cat saying we are in lockdown to long and we should be opening borders given Australia doesn't report probable cases we should be patient.

    • Treetop 9.1

      Peters might not make it back. His party has to win a seat.

    • peterh 9.2

      Why do the media report this crap they know just like Peters and Muller know ,Australia is not ready for a bubble. the two PM had talks yesterday aust still have new cases every day and some are community transmission just trying to catch votes

      • observer 9.2.1

        They report it because the deputy PM publicly distancing himself from the PM is news.

        There's going to be a lot more of this as parties switch to campaign mode.

        • Chris T


          Winston seems to be looking a bit desperate and it is worthy of reporting.

    • Sanctuary 9.3

      He is struggling for relevance and for airtime. I think time is up for NZ First, both the main elite consensus parties would rather not have him there and father time is clearing his throat for Winston, who is now 75 years old – his ability to campaign vigorously has been in decline for the last three elections, I doubt he'll be able to rally it for this one.

      I'll be sad to see the demise of NZ First, even though I dislike Peters. They represent a genuine constituency but Peters has really squandered the decades he has had to build a permanent party.

      • Stephen D 9.3.1

        Is his constituency still older NZers? You know. the ones most likely to suffer the worst effects of Covid?

        • RedBaronCV

          Not sure about that but some at least in the smaller provincial towns who see labour as too "urban, liberal , stands for unions striking (not that that has been true for 30+ years) " vote NZF because Nact stands for big business and too much foreign money.

      • Adrian 9.3.2

        Comeon Sanc, this could have been written anytime in the last 25 years ..and probably for another 25. Tuatara live for a long time.

      • Treetop 9.3.3

        Do you think a new NZF leader would save NZF?

        If so who?

      • woodart 9.3.4

        think nz first will do well this election. nat vote will collapse as voters see the trainwreck that is muller and co.only place for these votes to go is act and nz first

      • millsy 9.3.5

        He screwed it up back in 1996 when NZF went into government with National after promising to throw them out of office. There was a lot of momentum built up that year, with Winston's party polling higher than Labour, but he started backpedalling, by not ruling out a coalition with National and softening policy stances.

    • Janet 9.4

      With elections on the horizon Winston is starting to run with the foxes and hunt with the hounds me thinks.

    • peter 9.5

      National's not in trouble with electoral finances because 'they weren't /aren't members of the party' those people we don't know who are involved in a legal situation. And no-one involved in what went on was a member or agent of the party. If anything went on.

  10. Tricledrown 10

    Peter's is throwing Mule a lifeline hoping National voters will give him enough to get to 5%.
    But National will not be happy with his dodgy electoral finance jackup.

    • McFlock 10.1

      only because he tried to copy them lol

    • Treetop 10.2

      I like your comment.

      Muller is counting on a coalition partner whose party just might not be around after the next election.

  11. satty 11

    From this NZ Herald article

    Figures released by the Department of Health show that 732, or about 10.3 per cent, of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country have been locally acquired with no contact identified.

    This means hundreds of people have caught the virus in Australia but the source of the infection could not be found.

    There has also been a new case in South Australia that didn’t report any new cases for a long period. No surprise some states are very keen to keep the inter-state borders closed.

    They have still too many “unknowns” re. COVID and therefore I can’t see how NZ could open the bubble responsibly with Australia without requiring quarantine.

    As for workers / tourists from other countries, one would expect a mandatory quarantine for the near to medium future and why should the NZ government / taxpayers pay for their quarantine? I can see some minor exceptions like the German engineers fixing the Wellington waste water.

    • Hooch 11.1

      Some good points here when people point to Australia having a lesser lockdown, they still haven’t got the virus under control. Two schools in Sydney had to be shut yesterday with student cases. McDonald’s has to shut 12 restaurants due to an infectious delivery driver. At the same time they are reducing restrictions when they still appear to have community spread, a recipe for disaster.

      The south Australian case is sheer incompetence on somebodies part, letting a recent UK arrival out of quarantine early and then to board a flight from Melbourne to Adelaide. A trans Tasman bubble is going to be a long way off with this sort of negligence.

  12. Macro 12

    Q: What borders on stupidity?

    A: Canada and Mexico.

  13. Andre 13

    Twitter is finally applying some fact-check flagging to Malice in Blunderland's tweets. And he is not happy.


  14. Morrissey 14

    Blair's hatchet man railed against "hypocrisy" and "lying" yesterday, but Susie Ferguson seemed oblivious to the irony.

    RNZ National, Tuesday 26 May 2020, 7:58 a.m.

    The Dominic Cummings scandal has provoked disgust from people all over Britain and indeed much of the rest of the world. Just before the news yesterday morning, Suzie Fergusson was subjected to an extended rant on the matter from a man with a Lancashire accent….

    ALASTAIR CAMPBELL: This stuff is just doing my BRAIN in. We're in the middle of a pandemic, we're one of the WORST affected countries in the world, we've got TENS of thousands of people have DIED. We've got BUSINESSES collapsing left, right and centre, we've got UNEMPLOYMENT skyrocketing, and the entire government today has been en-, has been enga-a-aged in NOTHING to do with that, and EVERYTHING to do with trying to protect this ri-DICULOUS character that, for some reason, Boris Johnson can't untie his shoelaces without. And, you know, to have a, to have a—I mean, I was an adviser, I was the Prime Minister's, Tony Blair's press secretary. The idea of an unelected adviser, in the MIDDLE of an event like this, doing a big press conference in the garden, back garden at Downing Street, and then Boris Johnson doing as it were the FOLLOW-UP press conference to try to move the agenda onto lockdown easing, and THIS is what is horrific, I mean phase one of this pandemic, because Boris Johnson is IDLE, and he went on not just one, but TWO holidays, because he when he did come back he basically, his basic message was Oh well everybody else is panicking, there's no problem, we'll send this virus packing with a bit of good old British vigour and resolve and a few Churchillian speeches. Telling people to go off to football matches and race meetings and not to worry, telling people that he was shaking hands with corona virus patients in hospital, so I would say he directly contributed to the deaths of many people, through the messaging. They then realized it was a total disaster, and they went into a completely different messaging which was very effective: Stay home, protect the National Health Service, Save Lives. And the vast m–, the vast majority of the country did that. And now, we discover that his own closest adviser completely broke those rules. And it's just, it's unleashed an absolute FURY in this country, the idea that there's one law for them and there's one law for everybody else. And I think that even though Johnson thinks he' dealt with it today by sticking Cummings out in front of the media and getting him to deal with it—

    SUSIE FERGUSON: Boris Johnson's, uh, perhaps thought YESTERDAY he would have dealt with it in his press conference, but today Dominic Cummings has had to come out and speak to the media AGAIN. Has this been put to bed?

    ALASTAIR CAMPBELL: It's not been put to bed at ALL, because there's so many unanswered questions. And also I think one of the WORST things about this is that the government is reduced to a laughing stock, I mean one of the most extraordinary moments was when he was aked, um, whether this home, this sort of GRAND country house where he was self, supposedly self-isolating, his parents' residence in County Durham, whether he went out from there, and he said yes he did because he'd not been feeling very well, and one of the problems he had was that his EYESIGHT wasn't very good and so he went for a drive to see whether his EYES were okay.

    SUSIE FERGUSON: Is that a good idea?

    ALASTAIR CAMPBELL: So that he could decide, to see whether he could decide to drive the whole way to London. I mean, the guy has made himself a complete laughing stock, and then on the BACK of that, any of your listeners who follow any of our ridiculous cabinet on social media, ONE BY ONE, they've been putting out cut-and-paste tweets saying "Dominic Cummings has dealt with all the answers, let's move on and crack on with dealing with the crisis." And the thing is, I don't think the public, who frankly probably don't care two hoots about Dominic Cummings, who most of them until a week ago hadn't heard of, [clears throat] I don't think, I think they wouldn't WORRY too much about his lying and the hypocrisy and the rest of it if they thought the government was competent. And they're NOT. And so-o-o-o phase one they've screwed up, and now they're screwing up phase two, because frankly the lockdown which we still have in place to some extent, is breaking down anyway. I've seen SO many pieces today, there was a thing on, y'know, ENDLESS little films on social media, people saying Well if Boris Johnson can do it, I can do it.

    SUSIE FERGUSON: Well this is the thing—


    SUSIE FERGUSON: Does this then all break down? So how damaging is this not just for Domic Cummings and for Boris Johnson but potentially for handling the pandemic?

    ALASTAIR CAMPBELL: Well I think it is, and it's very interesting how several of the scientists who are on the government advisory committee have come out publicly and said this has fundamentally undermined the government's strategy. The government's chief scientist and medical officer, for instance, as we went into Downing Street today, we were told they were going to do the press conference with Boris Johnson and neither of them were there. I hope it means that they're just refusing to go along with this ridiculous charade any longer, I just don't know. But, look, you're talking to somebody here, don't ask me these questions as if you're talking to some sort of an objective commentator. I utterly DESPISE these people. I've despised them for a long time, because I've KNOWN them for a long time, and KNOW what sort of people they are. They are AMORAL, they do not CARE about people, they care about themSELVES, they got into power by pretending to be FOR the people against an elite, they ARE the elite. And honestly, YOUR prime minister is getting SUCH a lot of love in the U.K. because people have, y'know like everybody, people are following this around the world and seeing who's done it well and who's done it badly, and your prime minister's done incredibly WELL. And even the shot today of her in the earthquake and y'kknow if we-e-e-e could have a prime minister that has a little bit of empathy—what would SHE have done today if this had happened? She'd PROBABLY have sacked the adviser, probably. She might have said, Do you know what, they made a terrible mistake, I'm gonna MAKE them apologize and then move on. But THESE two—NO contrition, NO apology, no humility, nothing.

    SUSIE FERGUSON: That's Alistair CAMPBELL, former Director of Communications to Tony Blair.


    "L'hypocrisie est un hommage que le vice rend à la vertu." — François de La Rochefoucauld

    More on Susie Ferguson… https://morrisseybreen.blogspot.com/2018/01/come-back-kim-hill-urgently-oct-19-2013.html

    And more on Campbell…. https://morrisseybreen.blogspot.com/2019/05/lions-players-ritually-humiliated.html

  15. ianmac 15

    Bowalley sends a warning about the threat of the Muller rise.

    "National's Army Is On The Move."

    The chances of tens-of-thousands of erstwhile National supporters also "coming home" over the next 120 days are very high. The easy victory over a Bridges-led National Party which Martyn and the rest of the Left had every cause to anticipate just a few days ago is no longer in the offing. Our enemy’s position has changed. His numbers are swelling. A rapid thrust to the left followed by an audacious outflanking manoeuvre can now be expected.


    • weka 15.1

      next poll might sober the left up a bit. Or not.

      • Sacha 15.1.1

        Depends how much time the new Nat 'leaders' get in front of cameras 🙂

      • observer 15.1.2

        The timing of the next poll will be important. Probably a few weeks yet (apart from internal polling by parties).

        National might be in danger of getting an invisible bounce. If we had weekly polling we could see National up 5 (Bridges rolled, new leader unknown) and then down 5 (voters get to know new leader, not impressed). But if there's a long gap between polls then it could look like there's been no change, when it was actually up then down.

        FWIW I don't believe they can stay as low as they are. Mid-30s next time.

        • ianmac

          My knowledge of National supporters will mean a big wave of return to support National in the next poll. I would expect National support to be in the 40s.

          • I Feel Love

            From Twitter "National supporters disappointed in new National leaders being more incompetent than the old leaders even though they're white and there on merit." Pretty much.

    • Treetop 15.2

      I was giving it a thought when expats would be returning.

      Just how many by the end of the year?

      I think minimum 25,000. Maximum 50,000.

  16. weka 17

    Excellent news

    • McFlock 17.1

      the nice thing about being slightly pessimistic is that pleasant surprises are so much more pleasant and surprising 🙂

    • RedLogix 17.2

      Wow … like McF I was not expecting this. The terrain in the Anatori is unusual and confusing; I was told not to go there once and I'm glad now I didn't.

      It will be interesting to hear the details of their story. Well done LandSAR once again!

    • Cinny 17.3

      It's such good news 🙂

      Many in our region had hope for them, as they are resourceful young people, but this week we were losing a bit of hope. Especially because of the heavy rain in the weekend and the drop in temperature.

      So many people helped out and the LandSAR team were epic.

      It's wonderful to have a happy ending for a change.

  17. Robert Guyton 18

    Ex-Speaker Carter shone a torch into present-Speaker Mallard's eyes during question-time?!? What??????

  18. Fireblade 19

    USA Covid-19 update.

    Cases: 1,725,275
    Deaths: 100,572


    • Fireblade 19.1

      • Andre 19.1.1

        For when the inevitable story comes out that there actually are some rest home residents in hospital because of COVID: as I understand it they are there to enable isolation and to ensure their carers are well versed in PPE and infection containment, and to ensure they won't infect other vulnerable rest home residents. They are not at the hospital because they need hospital level care for COVID.

  19. Andre 20

    Dr Strangehair (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Drink Lysol) is at it again.

    • Macro 20.1

      LOL That Sarah Cooper takes him off to a T.

      He is such an ignoramus it is almost unbelievable.

  20. joe90 21



  21. joe90 22


    • I Feel Love 22.1

      Yes watching all that now, and the Amy Cooper Central Park Karen stuff, wow.

      Had a laugh with people retweeting Trumps Tweets because "they can't fact check us all" – lovers of irony, clearly!

    • I Feel Love 23.1

      Woah, heavy, and what a great speaker, "he may not see us, but we see him".

  22. joe90 24

    Best we don't start feeling too pleased with ourselves.

  23. Anne 25

    This speech by Peeni Henare should be seen and heard by all NZers. It was a joy to listen to him and shows up the pale, stale Opposition leader and his pale, stale team for the ignorant losers they really are:


  24. Fireblade 26

    The National Party is in disarray, playing dirty and leaking to the media. BAU.

    "Newshub can reveal that under its new leadership the National Party has set up an "intelligence unit" to dig up information on its political opponents during the 2020 election campaign."

    "National MPs leaked details of the unit to Newshub, concerned it would be used for black ops and dirty politics."

    • Anne 26.1

      National Party has set up an "intelligence unit" to dig up information on its political opponents…

      Really? Do they plan to apply for membership of the Five Eyes partnership?

      • Cinny 26.1.1

        LMFAO Anne, am laughing hard here.

        Mental note to self…. look up brownlie in Nicky's handy dandy index at the back of Dirty Politics.

  25. joe90 27

    Just another a fundie.


  26. Eco Maori 28

    Kia Ora Newshub.

    Protecting our Wai Awa for the future is a great intelligent move.

    Support for Te toi cool.

    Sports is coming back Ka pai.

    Ka kite Ano

  27. Eco Maori 29

    Kia Ora Te Ao Maori News.

    It would be good to celebrate Matariki and have a public holiday to.

    Taking the whanau out to a museum is cool.

    It great to see churches use the Internet to stay connected to their Tangata.

    That's the way if you have a problem there many ways to solve it

    Ka kite Ano

  28. Eco Maori 30

    Kia Ora The Am Show.

    Not everyone can afford to go on holiday.

    Changing to green energy will be a intelligent move for our future.

    Doc does great mahi looking after our wildlife.

    Ka kite Ano

  29. Eco Maori 31

    Kia Ora Newshub.

    Great 100 people are aloud to attend gatherings.

    The World’s largest electric plane cool. As battery technology advances the fast the green energy economy will take off.

    Ka kite Ano.

  30. Eco Maori 32

    Kia Ora Te Ao Maori News.

    There you go Turanginui A Kiwa is run by half the people with no consideration for Maori.

    Those Trust members are elected to serve the tangata not themselves.

    Ka kite Ano

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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
    Tena koutou katoa  Nga tangata whenua o tenei rohe o Pōneke, tena koutou Nau mai, haere mai ki te hui a tau mo te roopu reipa Ko tatou!  Ko to tatou mana!  Ko to tatou kaupapa kei te kokiri whakamua  Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa   Welcome. I ...
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