Open mike 30/06/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, June 30th, 2020 - 167 comments
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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 …

167 comments on “Open mike 30/06/2020 ”

  1. RedLogix 1

    Duncan Garner advocating for something utterly illegal and morally wrong. No-one can have any confidence in his judgement.

    Sadly, the numbers in quarantine just keep rising as Kiwis meander and dawdle home some 90 days after we went into lockdown, and even longer since we were warned it was time to come home.

    It was way back on March 18 when Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said, "If you can get home – come home now".

    I think those that are still returning are taking the mickey and putting all our sacrifices at risk. New Zealanders have had plenty of time to get their backsides home if that was their intention.

    We have been more than accommodating and generous. I believe now is the time to totally shut the border to everyone – returning Kiwis included.

    Just for three months.

    Where do I start? It's illegal for a kickoff, for a second his transparent little 'just for three months' arse cover is an arbitrary nonsense with no justification whatsoever.

    It's also deeply ignorant; there are over 1m kiwis living overseas. Many still retain family and business connections in NZ, many effectively spend their income earned overseas back in NZ at some point. Most will have gained skills and experience that they could never have attained by staying home; it's certainly true in my own case. Most plan to return home at some time in the future.

    As for his bullshit argument that we should have come home already, it overlooks the obvious point that if 1m kiwis had all returned before the March 24 cutoff the country could never have coped, and certainly COVID19 would have slipped through en-mass. Far better we return at a manageable rate over a period of the next year or so.

    But the decision to return is rarely as clear cut as he pretends it it. In our case we've been caught between circumstances which mean that we lose out if I return, or if I don't. In normal circumstances right now I'd be back in NZ looking after important family and personal matters, but if I did, I would not be able to return to Australia as they are not allowing Kiwis to enter on the usual SCV444 unless they have been resident in Australia for more than 10 years, which I'm just shy of. That would have other bad consequences right now.

    Not to mention the two weeks in quarantine at both ends. (Which are of course vital to do properly, but a real consideration nonetheless.)

    There will be tens of thousands of people in similar situations, caught between commitments overseas and back home, and no easy way to manage both at the same time. For us the decision has been to sit tight in Brisbane for the time being, but it's not one we took lightly. Even if compared to many people my problem is a pretty small one, each morning I wake up it's the first thing I worry about.

    Over time it will all sort itself out, but idiots like Garner beating up click bait like this is irksome and irresponsible. We all have enough uncertainty in our lives right now without this crap added to the pile.

    • Molly 1.1

      Duncan Garner seems to write in the same manner he thinks and speaks, with supreme confidence in his utterings and without regard for context or nuance.

      Any rational person reading that article, will find many holes in his argument, and will discount it.

      (Didn't realise you were in Brisbane, hope you and your family are well there. I would assume that there are many in your position of not having a clear choice or options available.)

      • I Feel Love 1.1.1

        Yeah the "three months" jarred me too, what does that even mean? Why 3 months? Just nonsense. Has any country in the world ever stopped its own citizens entering their own country? What an idiot.

      • RedLogix 1.1.2

        I'm the idiot who invested in a small business here late last year. Having reached the age where one's CV automatically goes into the 'round universal filing unit', we put put a lump of cash into an opportunity here, with the long term intention of bringing it back to NZ if it went well.

        Globally there are millions of people with similar stories, all of them complicated, messy and unique to their circumstances. COVID 19 has pulled the rug out from the assumption of freedom of travel that was part of our lives. We aren't complaining about that, we understand the ground has shifted for everyone and we have to take our chances along with everyone else. But there will be kiwis who are going to have to return, decisions they made three months ago to stay overseas may not always work out for any number of reasons.

        What I would advocate for is a more stringent process of return, including a booking system that required two tests before you get on the plane, and controlled the rate at which people returned to ensure the system at the NZ end was never overwhelmed.

        I am enormously proud of what NZ has achieved in controlling this demon virus, and I'd doing anything necessary to ensure if I came home I did it as safely as possible. I think most ex-pats would feel much the same.

        • greywarshark

          Your situation and age gives breadth to your innate wisdom Redlogix. I think what you say about handling the borders is right.

          But also while NZs should be able to return, we also have a moral obligation to people who have built their lives around being in NZ and devoted themselves to working here as good people contributing to the country. So can you work those into at least a quota to start with if they can tick a number of criteria, or can make a very special case? And then there are the legal partners of NZs who would be immigrants hoping to become residents alongside their husband/wife.

          It needs to be viewed like some illnesses are, which are hard to diagnose. There is a list of affects and if you have over 6 say, then you are regarded as having the…..syndrome; that applies to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, for example. So immigrants with ticks in particular boxes rise to the top. That will give them guidance on what to expect. Immigration seems to have been affected by Power Agency Syndrome that performs to government targets without let or hindrance in their manner, free to make decisions and eye Ministers with weary detachment. Or so it seems to this citizen.

          You are good on the planning, engineering side. It would be good if we in NZ could tap into those skills and attributes.

          • RedLogix

            You touch on an important aspect of COVID 19. It's got far more in common with a disease like polio than influenza in that while many people will recover, it looks like there will be many long term health consequences for them.

            And for nations this could have huge impacts on their health systems.

            But otherwise thanks for the encouragement; just lately it feels like every decision we make with the best information we have available at the time, comes undone for reasons we could never have guessed. And that will be the case for so many others as well.

            And something Garner in his blithering bombast has absolutely NFC about.

          • RedBaronCV

            I too think a booking system and controlling the rate of return would be a good idea. As it seems at the moment airlines can just decide to fly here with passengers (American airlines are returning in Oct) to heck with how much quarantine we have available.

            I was interested in RL saying that Australia have a border ban on some visa's unless you have been permanently resident for 10 years. We have permanent residents in name only (PRINO?) who haven't lived here for years but as far as I know we have no filter on the border so we only let in those who have been actually resident and working here. ( habitually resident)

            We also have dual passports holders (think Peter Thiel and some of the chinese and american billionaires) who are citizens in name only (CINO). Their only interest in NZ is what they can grab out of it or as a bolthole and frankly public opinion would probably be quite happy leaving them well down the queue but I don't know how you do that.

            I'd also suspend then kill the business investment category . We give you a passport and the ability to buy any distressed assets for sale? We must be nuts – and it certainly won't help asset values to drop to a level that are affordable by those within the local economy – as the bolt hole premium is removed. Economists have also gone back and found that it doesn't do a thing for our economy. Most put the money on a deposit and then take it out of the country when the time is up. Where are the factories ??? non existent

            I'd also chop issuing any further visas under the high wage cutoff. If you are here and working that's fine but we will get a good number of the well qualified back ( they are already turning up in my 'hood) who may simply want their kids to live in a covid free environment.

            As to those who have been here for a number of years on a succession of limited or short term visas. or who were employer sponsored. Don't vote for the Nacts. We had this problem in 2008 when companies dodged training people in favour of employing temporary visa workers some of whom had been here for 5-8 years. These have been crack cocaine for employers in keeping wages down and when employer sponsored are the source of a number of scams and outright fraud. I have personal sympathy for a lot of them and they need a nuanced response but they are in a scarce job market and if employer sponsored have jumped any queue. Short term visa's and youth visas 1-2 years should probably expect to go – with perhaps a a sliding scale that matches those with permanent residence

            I expect most people think that partners get the same consideration as the primary holder.

        • Gabby

          Given the number of countries one can buy a drivers licence, I wouldn't be putting too much reliance on tests prior to boarding.

    • Graeme 1.2

      The politics of this position the same day that Muller say’s that border restrictions are “untenable” are a bit bizarre.

      Either Garner is a complete loose cannon muppet who isn’t influenced by anyone bar himself, or there’s some very contradictory messaging coming out of the National Party.

      • RedLogix 1.2.1

        The problem for National is that their instinctive desire to ensure both public safety AND a return to business as usual are in direct conflict with each other.

        Neither ambition is not necessarily a bad thing, but right now COVID means they cannot have both at the same time. Until they're willing to have an honest conversation on this, expect more talking out of both sides of the mouth.

        • Treetop

          The world is now 6 months into the pandemic and what do virologists, infectious disease, immunologist and respiratory doctors know to treat and prevent the pandemic?

          Muller cannot have it both ways (closed border and open border for business) because that is the way it is, to think otherwise is being in denial. Someone needs to tell him that the pandemic has not yet reached its peak.

      • RedBaronCV 1.2.2

        I think the Nats are positioning them selves to advocate taxpayer paid but employer privatised and supervised quarantine. Preferably down on the farm milking them cows…

    • Ed1 1.3

      There are still people who have been unable to find flights back to New Zealand. There will also be others who need to stay overseas for current commitments but will want to travel back in the next few months or years. Does Garner think that the thousands who have returned in the last few weeks could have found transport between the advisory to return and our own lockdown?

      • Treetop 1.3.1

        There is so much to think about when entering and exiting the country. When it comes to going for a short trip overseas obtaining health insurance for Covid-19 is unlikely and catching the virus is likely. If the purpose of a trip is to relax this is going to be a stretch.

  2. Ad 2

    I totally get that for political reasons the Greens proposal for a wealth tax is dead on arrival.

    Labour head and PM Jacinda Ardern signalled yesterday that her party is not interested in it. This stands to Wayne's point yesterday that tax policy will remain in the hands of the majority coalition partner, both now and in the future.

    Also of course the Tax Working Group already considered a wealth tax and opposed it.

    And Ardern also came out last year saying that she would never, ever support a capital gains tax as long as she was an MP.

    So it's not like they were unclear on the matter.

    But the effect of Ardern’s clarification simply reassures the 9% of New Zealand voters who turn on a dime, and the effect of Green’s policy throws a bone to the socialist left within the Greens to keep them above 5%.

    But it does ask: what is Labour's tax policy going to be – other than exactly what we have right now?

    At some point the state is going to have to start earning more money. They could at least reverse National's tax cuts from the previous administration. It's not enough to save the health of the country. You have to start making it less unequal – and your primary instrument to do that with is tax policy.

    It also asks: do the Greens get what policy areas they are really be allowed to effect inside a future coalition?

    • RedLogix 2.1

      what is Labour's tax policy going to be

      Just to remind you that TOP put up the correct answer, the CCT.

      It's an intelligent, asset class neutral policy that delivers what proponents of a Capital Gains or a Wealth Tax actually want. But like the UBI idea, the CCT originates from outside the gated political narrative … so no-one will touch it.

        • Dennis Frank

          We got the Alliance to adopt it in the early '90s – I attended some of those meetings and voted for it. Your confidence that Labour will go for it seems misplaced, however, due to ongoing neoliberal hegemony. They would only adopt it if they wanted to campaign on the basis of being genuinely progressive. I doubt there's anyone left alive who can recall Labour being that honest…

        • RedLogix

          Yes. TOP actually stumbled on a magic combination, a UBI, CCT and FTT (a bunch of TLA's if there ever was) … but it was not just the merit of each one that fascinated me, but how they all worked together to deliver more than the sum of the parts.

          I was never so much interested in the party for it's own sake, but in it's interesting policies. The Greens and Labour have a lot of objectives in common with TOP, and often come very close to nailing it (the Green's GMI and Labour's now dead CGT are good examples).

          Dennis is right though, the political trauma of the 80’s seems to have permanently disabled Labour’s ability to try anything new. It’s not so much they’re locked into neo-liberalism, it’s they deeply fear anyone who looks like another Douglas with fancy ideas.

      • mikesh 2.1.2

        I don't think TOP's tax proposals are really what proponents of CGTs or wealth taxes actually want. Advocates of CGTs want to exclude family homes whereas TOP wants to bring them into the tax net. Wealth tax advocates want to tax wealth (however it is defined) whereas TOP is happy to see only the return on wealth taxed, but subject to the proviso that, where that return is deemed inadequate, it will impute an adequate return and tax that.

    • Nic the NZer 2.2

      Your claim that the state must at some point earn more money is still uterly false.

      The reserve bank still issues all the tickets (on behalf of the government). In the same way the trains have temporarily stopped collecting tickets. Does that in any way threaten their ability to issue tickets? Obviously not.

      • Ad 2.2.1

        So all tax levels are meaningless to the government's capacity?

        We're not the US.

        And luckily we're not Newfoundland either.

        • Nic the NZer

          Capacity, yes meaningless (there is no impact despite rhetoric). Impacts on the real economy on the other hand are obviously worth discussing.

          Btw I completely agree here the goegraphy of New Zealand is different to other places. But then not without reason I have described your rhetorical style as stream on non-sequeiter.

          • Nic the NZer

            *stream of non-sequeiter

          • Ad

            It's actually "non sequitur".

            I know you don't make links in your thinking, so I'll help you out.

            My first mention was of New Zealand, and an implication that there might be limits at some point to tax income and public debt. Treasury thinking from June last year was that there are three areas to consider.

            First, the debt sustainability approach. This considers the level of debt above which the government would simply be insolvent. That is because the interest expenses on the debt would be so large that the government’s primary fiscal balance (that is, revenue less non-interest expenditure) could not be sufficient.

            Second, the market access perspective. This considers the level of debt such that beyond it, creditors are no longer willing to lend on reasonable terms. Market confidence is lost, and governments cannot roll-over debt.

            The third approach is to consider the level of public debt beyond which there are likely to be adverse consequences for living standards and economic welfare.

            You can see the Treasury commentary on that here:


            I have a little suspicion that their longer term thinking hasn't yet caught up with events, other than roll out another budget.

            My second mention was that of the United States, and they have plenty of commentary on the effects of excessive public debt here from the Congressional Budget Office.


            And my third one was Newfoundland, which caught my eye recently. Though brewing for a while, Covid-19 and the oil crisis makes it all a bit tight, so the Federal government has had to step in:


            We're closer in size to Newfoundland than the United States, and we don't have a federal government to take care of us if this all gets worse.

            • Nic the NZer

              Unfortunately this is a highly slippery area of economic theory and government economic policy.

              The simple story is that it does make a difference if your state operates its own central bank which issues its currency, floats its currency and almost exclusively issues debt in its own currency (like New Zealand, but not all countries, do). In this case the government can always make payments by marking up bank accounts inside the countries inter-bank accounts which its central bank operates. There are of course many ways that these funds are put into this set of accounts, the key point is that the central bank is a monopoly issuer of the currency and is in fact the only place this form of money originated. Obviously and as I described, if you issue the tickets you can't run out just because you didn't clip any recently. These are just fundamental institutional realities, but understanding these clears up a lot of confusion.

              By contrast you raised an example of the geographic area called Newfoundland. Now obviously as a Canadian province it doesn't issue its own currency via its own central bank. Unsurprisingly (once you understand the institutions) it needs to negotiate help with its limited budget with the overarching federal government of Canada. The fact that Newfoundland on the other hand is a similar size and population to New Zealand is not really relevant here, what is important is that it remains on good terms with the institutions which facilitate its spending, at least to the extent it doesn't raise that in local taxation (and things like mining revenues, etc…).

              A similar (but subtly different) relationship exists between Eurozone states and the ECB (and the parts of the EU bureaucracy which govern the ECB) in order to facilitate Eurozone states spending. This is public enough its possible to observe the current declarations that Eurozone states are allowed to spend as much as they need without limits (at least in the short term) to get through the Covid-19 crisis. At other times the relationship has been different with states told to implement reforms to target <60% debt to GDP ratios or <3% of GDP government deficits. It should be clear enough from the history of such events who holds the purse strings and that this is different between Eurozone countries and non-Eurozone countries.

              Another similar (but subtly different) relationship exists between the Auckland council and the government of New Zealand in that some of the funding for large scale projects is provided by the central government. If the Auckland council wants to make serious progress on its light rail proposal its going to require a funding proposal to traverse cabinet.

              What should be clear is that these relationships is that one of the sides has a budget constraint and must negotiate with the other to overcome it, while the other side isn't negotiating with any party to facilitate its spending, it just decides broadly (and in practice subject to its forecasts being any good) what to spend and that then goes ahead.

              Now onto the treasury discussion.

              First its worth pointing out how treasury considers its role.

              "The level and the exact specification of the debt anchor has changed quite frequently. These changes reflect different economic circumstances and policy preferences and each successive government has set its own fiscal strategy, creating strong political commitment to the overarching framework. " – Makhlouf

              "I want to use this lecture to lay out how the Treasury has thought about prudent debt and the assumptions and judgments behind our advice. These are rightfully matters for public debate and should not been seen as merely technocratic questions." – Makhlouf

              What should be clear here is that Treasury sees the decision of an appropriate budget and public debt levels to be a decision at the discretion of the government and legitimately influenced by public debate. In fact it would seem to be treasuries own advice that the government first consider its policy objectives and secondarily consider how these influence its budget and long term what it should set its public debt targets to be. Where as what you seem to be suggesting is that the Green parties proposed policy would shift the Labour parties pre-conceived long term budget targets (because tax changes will be politically unmanageable) and so should be discarded. Clearly by treasury standards it would be more than reasonable for the implementation of the Green's policy proposals to influence the long term debt targets the government sets itself anyway.

              Now moving onto the slippery slope.

              "The result of debt reaching the levels envisaged by either the debt sustainability or the market access approach, is a debt crisis. From there, governments face three unpalatable choices. They can default on their debt. They can make drastic adjustments to spending and taxation to reduce debt. Or, in states with sovereign monetary policy and debt issued in their own currency, they can stimulate inflation to devalue their debt. The effect of any of these policies would be devastating for living standards." – Makhlouf

              So we can start with the worst case scenario. It turns out as a country New Zealand has recently entered it with the implementation from this year of QE. Supposedly this will devalue the debt by stimulating inflation (and additionally driving interest rates up with a likely flight from public debt). However as it turns out not to be an effective way of stimulating inflation, or any of the other harms cited. Well New Zealand has just started so we might consider countries which have been doing this for a while then. The US, UK and among other countries have been doing this for about 10 years or more with none of the harms occurring. Probably the worst case is Japan with 20+ years of this policy. In fact virtually the opposite effects are evident than the effects predicted. Now I don't know how you feel about a theory which gives you completely the wrong conclusions, but I don't have much use for them.

              Drilling down a bit into how these conclusions are drawn its actually fairly clear why the modeled conclusions are next to useless. This follows from the construction which wants to draw conclusions about long term debt levels and so only considers projections of the economy to equilibrium (long run) states. You should note that an equilibrium state is by definition one where the economy is fully employed so the rather heroic assumption is made that the economy automatically corrects itself. One of the most destructive consequences of the equilibrium modeling assumption is that such a state is not one an economy can actually reach (equilibrium is a state the economy supposedly settles in in the absence of any external events, like new technology, actually basically anything can be an external event) so it becomes impossible to validate your modeling assumptions. But why did I raise this?

              "This highlights that the fundamental challenge is one of scarcity. It is a basic point, but one worth reiterating. Increases in debt cannot be used to fund new spending without trade-offs in the rest of the economy. I emphasise this, in part, because of another strain of thinking gaining increasing prominence in the United States: Modern Monetary Theory.

              The central proposition of its advocates is that a state that can print its own money cannot go bankrupt and therefore debt should not be a constraint on public spending. The first part of that statement is, in a technical sense, true. But the second part is missing an important part of the story: productive investment requires the ‘real resources’ of the economy, workers, machines, land. Money creation or new government bond issues do not automatically create real resources. When the economy is near capacity, as New Zealand’s is today, more of these resources being used by government means less being used by the private sector in the short term, and more inflationary pressure across the whole economy. If infrastructure investment is of high quality, it may increase the supply potential of the economy and increase overall productivity but only in the longer term. There is no free lunch: we will always face trade-offs." – Makhlouf

              So here we can see how the overall argument influences things and it just leads towards shutting down the debate. In fact the MMT literature is very focused on an economies real resource constraints because this is central to its own model for inflation. That includes the claim that increased spending on an economy which is fully utilized may be a cause of inflation. But we are not considering a New Zealand economy which is highly utilized at present and even when this Treasury presentation was made its highly debatable that the government was facing an inflationary spending constraint (e.g that there was a visible up-tick in the New Zealand inflation rate).

              Anyway as I said its a slippery area and seems to have drawn you into some miss-leading claims that New Zealand is likely to face significant public spending constraints while the country is simultaneously (and quite obviously) operating with an elevated unemployment rate and below recent capacity utilization rates. On the other hand I do believe Treasury has a better feel for which way the wind is presently blowing and so won't be releasing anything similar to this discussion for a year or maybe ten.

        • Dennis Frank

          Presuming Nic means QE, he has a point. Why would the govt rely on real money when the Reserve Bank is using imaginary money to keep us afloat??

          And yes, to anticipate those who will try to correct me, I do concede that the real/imaginal boundary is a matter of subjective opinion.

          • Incognito

            And yes, to anticipate those who will try to correct me, I do concede that the real/imaginal boundary is a matter of subjective opinion.

            When marking exams and you cannot read the answer that’s written down you have to fail it 😉

          • Tricledrown

            QE only works in times of low inflation and if your country has enough productive capacity.

          • Nic the NZer

            It's not particular to QE (though this can be part of the accounting gymnastics via which a central bank ends up buying its own governments debt). Virtually all government spending involves a transfer of funds into the account of a government payees bank (and ultimately a payees bank account) and this happens in the accounts administered by the central bank.

            Once you understand this its pretty obvious that "all tax levels are meaningless to the government's capacity" to spend. The impacts of that spending on the economy are what should be considered.

            • Tricledrown

              Zimbabwe Nic

              • weka

                Can you please reply to this moderation? Your comments are still in premod, and I’m close to shunting them to Spam until you respond.


              • Nic the NZer

                Actually what I said describes virtually all New Zealand government payments. That applies if there is some QE in the mix or not or even if there is no debt matching going on (e.g the RBNZ runs a zero interest rate more permanently).

                On the other hand read this.


                After reading you should understand why excluding any of supermarkets, pharmacies or fuel sellers from essential lockdown services could easily have lead to massive inflation in New Zealand (regardless of whatever was going on with monetary or fiscal policy).

        • greywarshark

          It seems that we ought to be literally, Newfoundland in all meanings.

    • Incognito 2.3

      If now is not the time for using some of the enormous political capital that Labour (read: Ardern) has accumulated and campaign on a progressive and transformative policy platform then when is the time?

      Is Labour going to be a chassis whilst blaming a minor and junior coalition partner for being a handbrake on all of its ‘aspirations’. When does a “nuclear moment” change into a “nuclear decade”?

      Although there will be more crises in future, I won’t want to vote for a party (read: leader) that is good in crisis management and communication only!

      Be imaginative, be bold, there is no try, there is no ”let’s do this”. Do, or do not, and be damned in the history books.

      What do you think, Ad, is this ‘advanced baiting’?

      • greywarshark 2.3.1

        No it's Yoda schooling Luke Skywalker on how to lift his vehicle out of the bog. A very good analogy. Use the power, force of your mind he urges Luke.


        We need to do this!

      • Enough is Enough 2.3.2

        I agree 100%

        Labour is the party of great intentions. Its MPs spend their years in opposition claiming that National is destroying our country through its neo-liberal policies. Then in government Labour do nothing transformational and continue BAU.

        Labour will never be more popular than they are now. Now is the time to reform our economy and end poverty. If Labour do not adopt the Green policy, or at least a version of it, then what is the point of supporting them?

      • Ad 2.3.3

        The 2020 Labour manifesto consists of the following policy areas:

        "Be grateful and keep chewing"

        "Stop asking for plans"

        "Here's how we print money"

        "Saying the word kindness provides shoes", and:

        "The Answer Is No"

        • Incognito

          A more coherent policy platform than I’d expected. Should be an easy campaign for Labour. Any guesses for the campaign slogan?

          My Electorate has changed too as I found out the other day when I actually bothered to look it up but I don’t know yet who the candidates are.

          Do you give Masterclasses or should I join Beginners?

    • swordfish 2.4

      and the effect of Green’s policy throws a bone to the socialist left within the Greens to keep them above 5%.

      Or are they hoping to attract Left-leaning, Green-friendly Labour voters … that slice of the electorate that – despite identifying most strongly with Labour – continually voted Green throughout the Key years, swung back to Labour in the midst of Jacindamania in 2017 and then further pulled back to Labour by the Govt's handling of COVID-19.

      I think our chums in the Metro Woke Hipster / Ageing Hippie Party are hoping to make inroads into Left-Labour … the Left-Greens already being onboard.

      • Dennis Frank 2.4.1

        Probably a correct diagnosis of the intent of the Metro Woke Hipster segment. On behalf of the Ageing Hippie faction, I'll just do an 🙄. Oh for a little sophisticated political strategising to be injected into that mix, for a change. Okay, maybe the election after next…

        • swordfish

          LOL … I've always considered you a leading spiritual force in the Ageing Hippie faction of the Green Party, Dennis … indeed longtime organiser of the dominant Grateful Dead tendency within that faction, clashing as you so often have with your strategically outwitted Loving Spoonful & Jefferson Airplane rivals. Dreadful bitter business … and yet in its own way groovy.

          • Dennis Frank

            I was a LS fan back in '66 but not since. The airplane has stood the test of time, and I still play a selection of favourites by them at least a few times each year. Blows Against the Empire in which they relabelled themselves starship, was an all-time classic – not just the music, but their political stance as well. By the mid-'70s they had degenerated into commercial crap.

            I've never actually self-identified as deadhead, but GD music has been good to me since '72 (up until then too weird to my Keith Richards taste). But Quicksilver & Moody Blues were always the best hippie bands…

      • Ad 2.4.2

        The Greens can take Auckland Central out of our cold dead hands.

  3. "If now is not the time for using some of the enormous political capital that Labour (read: Ardern) has accumulated and campaign on a progressive and transformative policy platform then when is the time?"

    Exactery. And so far, despite some of the positive stuff Labour have achieved, there are stuff things that've caused me to jump ship to the Greens after a lifetime.

    3 Tier dirty filthy bennies; the shameful treatment of some immigrants; kicking the can down the road on so many things (PSB included); public service reform.

    • greywarshark 3.1

      I know you feel strongly OwT but please save your diatribes for later after Labour is back in, though positively backing Greens. NZs are backsliding animals like Toad) and you are wise Badger who can see things pretty clearly and in a way that leads to sensible action. (I love the BBC audio version of Wind in the Willows with all those great actors.)

      Badger knew of a secret entrance to Toad Hall, information entrusted to him by Toad's father, not to be disclosed to Toad till the time of necessity. Now is not yet that time. So don't go hard, the poor leftie-type things are under all sorts of pressure in Parliament (Toad Hall infested with weasels).

      Remember that Roger Douglas went around giving lectures at good fees to those who wanted to sweep pesky considerations for the ordinary people aside – Tony Blair also. And they have won a huge following.

      If our dormice have been able to wake up at Alice's table, it's getting us a part of a magical, clever fable. Keep the story going, it might turn out to have a happy ending. Hey, there goes the White Rabbit muttering about time, and being late!

      (For people who believe in magical endings and need both a laugh and a fresh perspective apart from the chaotic grim fairy tales abounding, see the parallels with our polity and Dodson's treacle pit –

      • Rosemary McDonald 3.1.1

        So don't go hard, the poor leftie-type things are under all sorts of pressure in Parliament…

        Poor diddumsses…

      • OnceWasTim 3.1.2

        I tempted to go with another 'diatribe' explaining the reasons for feeling so "strongly" but I'll refrain.

        Suffice to say they relate to things such as:

        – One's NZ-born toddler God/Guru daughter having to watch her mother being sexually abused by an over-stayer of more than 5 years despite INZ being given the exact location of his whereabouts. Reported more than once by more than one.

        – Receiving a selfie of JA and a couple of Chardonnay-sipping ladies (one closely related) at the Martinborough post election shindig at the exact time I was seated with an octogenarian hearing about what happened during partiton, and regularly taking him to hospital after he stopped eating. The reason being the indebtedness and potential loss of land as a result of his family members going through NZ's wonderful tertiary education system and series of ticket clippers at the time.

        – It might even be the way I witnessed INZ 'swoops' by people quite happy to have immigrants referred to as "Scum".

        (There's a lot more. And it isn't just down to what Helen Clark referred to as a "lack of capacity" in our public service these days.

        A real diatribe would take several pages but I think you know what I mean.

        • greywarshark

          Saying there there by me doesn't help. But convince the self-centred to do something right. try, huh i have given up with most – won't be infomed or care. but get labour in or there is no chance, as the wealthy want to live like kings and bugger responsibility to anyone or thing.

          • OnceWasTim

            No worries @grey. NZ will get what they get off their arses to choose.

            As @Incognito said at

            "If now is not the time for using some of the enormous political capital that Labour (read: Ardern) has accumulated and campaign on a progressive and transformative policy platform then when is the time?"

            With the rate of change increasing over the past couple of decades, H1's incremental pragmatism (or pragmatic incrementalism), steady as she goes approach that worked in the past isn't going to cut it for much longer, and nor are politicians who are happy to just keep kicking the can down the road.

            By the way – couldn't agree with you more:

            "But also while NZs should be able to return, we also have a moral obligation to people who have built their lives around being in NZ and devoted themselves to working here as good people contributing to the country."

            especially since we've turned citizenship itself into just another tradeable commodity – some as you know (Peter Thiel for example) just love collecting passports and those 'rights' that go with them, while not bothering with all those supposed 'responsibilities' we're expected to observe

  4. I Feel Love 4

    This was posted last night, & yes, good on Ardern for not sacking anyone or scapegoating, just getting on with the job.

    • RedLogix 4.1

      Wonderful. Especially this:

      I’m glad the Prime Minister refused to hand over any sacrificial victims, either by condemning the two women, who were after all grieving for a parent who had just died; or by naming and sacking the hapless civil servant who gave them permission to travel without a Covid-19 test.

      • I Feel Love 4.1.1

        Yes, that's the bit. She held her nerve, and if she had sacked people or went public with those women what would the difference be today, nothing. Great decision, excellent leadership.

        • Dennis Frank

          If Labour stabilises over 50% in the next poll, that view will seem validated. If it continues to be an ebb tide for Labour, will you concede that it's wrong?

          • Incognito

            Don’t be so naïve.

            • Dennis Frank


              • Incognito

                Do I really need to explain this to you? A week is a long time in politics (ask Chris Penk, Simon Bridges, or Paula Bennett (next week), for example). Do you really think that the next political poll result will be determined by a single factor of your choice/preference of a media beat up of a few weeks back? If so, you’re reading way too much into polls – go and ask Swordfish – and I have a bridge to sell you. Why on Earth would you ask another commenter to concede when the issue is that they hold an opinion that’s different from yours? Isn’t that what you meant with this:

                And yes, to anticipate those who will try to correct me, I do concede that the real/imaginal boundary is a matter of subjective opinion. [my italics]

                • Dennis Frank

                  Well, that just raises the question of other factors that can reasonably be expected to ebb Labour's tide further. None come to mind. I agree that you make a reasonable point about this – but my assumption is only reasonably categorised as naive if there are other such suitable contenders, right? Perhaps you can provide a list of those??

                  • Incognito

                    None come to mind.

                    Lack of imagination. Plus who knows what other ‘factors’ will appear over the next little while? Can you predict the future?

                    but my assumption is only reasonably categorised as naive if there are other such suitable contenders, right?

                    Nope, wrong premise; see above.

                    Perhaps you can provide a list of those??

                    Sorry, can’t do; even though I’ve stopped playing Lotto after the announcement of the Greens’ tax policy I still will not share with you the lucky numbers for the next draws.

                    • Dennis Frank

                      Huh. Sophistry is a poor substitute for addressing the issues. 🙄

                    • Incognito []

                      What issues? There’s more than one? How can we interpret those polls if there are multiple issues at play?

                      A narrow and persistent focus on a single issue with negative consequences is called an obsession.

                      I’m calling your comments as I see them. I don’t expect you to like it but I’m not here to make friends; I use Tinder for that.

          • Ed1

            We had a government before that did whatever would increase polling – sometimes it worked, but in the end the public decided that ethics and morality did actually have a place in politics, and that polls are not good determinants for the advisability of actions on single issues.

          • Gabby

            That would be a sign it was time to go after Goldfish Woodlouse & Munter with a tad more rigour.

        • aj

          I feel love 4.1.1
          It would have also lowered the bar considerably. The threshold for such actions must remain fairly high.

    • ianmac 4.2

      Anne is so correct that it hurts.

      If journalists want to be respected by the public, they must check their facts. The last thing we need is a Crosby-Textor style of divisive, dishonest politics in this election, in the middle of the ravages of a global pandemic. The country deserves better than that.

      "Journalists" claim that they screamed pointed to the errors on the border in order to help make NZ safer. And that is nonsensensical.

      • Dennis Frank 4.2.1

        Obviously anyone corrects a mistake after becoming aware of it. Dunno why you are advocating journalists are wrong to alert people to those mistakes. If the govt were able to rectify the mistakes without the help of journalists, you might have a point. But we live in a reality in which govts usually deny mistakes, right?

        I don't disagree with anything the dame wrote, but her glaring omission in failing to acknowledge the role of the health minister indicates she was just trying to do spin to help Labour. Nothing to do with fairness – or social justice!

        • ianmac

          But journalists didn't just alert to mistakes. They shouted over and over and use National's "shambles" over and over for over a week, long after corrections were made.

          I wonder about your reference to the Health Minister. Seems likely that you are doing the Devil's work forMr Woodhouse. Wonder why?

          • Dennis Frank

            It seems that Woodhouse has a valid basis to call for Clark's resignation – like I wrote yesterday, even someone with average intelligence can get it right 50% of the time. Fairness is all about giving credit where it's due.

            In regard to your first paragraph, I think that's fair and I agree with your critique. Some journos do seem to have an anti-govt agenda that warps their judgment.

            • Adrian

              Did David Clark piss on your Weetbix at some time because you obviously have an unhealthy obsession with harming him ?

              • Dennis Frank

                Don't be silly. It's all about ministerial responsibility and accountability. Look it up on the govt website if you haven't considered that yet. Self-harm.

                • RedLogix

                  Minsterial responsibility was never cut and dried. It's fairly easy when the Minister misleads Parliament, or is caught out in some obvious malfeasance.

                  But operational problems within their Ministry were always less obvious, clearly you can't sack the minister every time some public servant makes any mistake, none of them would last until lunchtime. So there has to be some threshold of mistake that justifies a sacking.

                  That threshold would ask questions like, is this a systemic problem, has there been a history of this, could have it been reasonably foreseen and has there been an opportunity to fix it, was the mistake reckless or ill-advised?

                  Now I understand exactly how these quarantine mistakes happened I am satisfied none of these criteria these apply.

                • mac1

                  What the 2012 Cabinet manual says.

                  "Individual ministerial responsibility is a constitutional convention. Members of cabinet are individually responsible in three main ways:

                  • they are accountable for decisions that they take in relation to their portfolio responsibilities
                  • they are responsible for their own professional and personal conduct
                  • they are responsible for decisions and actions (and the consequences that follow) of individuals and organisations for which they have ministerial responsibility, whether or not they were party to or knew of those actions. This is known as vicarious ministerial responsibility.

                  Breaches of ministerial responsibility

                  The Cabinet manual provides some guidance, but ultimately it is for the prime minister to decide, in a broader political as well as a constitutional context, whether a breach of individual ministerial responsibility has occurred and, if so, what the consequences should be.

                  Grounds for resignation or dismissal include misuse or abuse of the financial supports available to a minister, and misleading the prime minister, one’s cabinet or parliamentary colleagues, or Parliament itself. On some occasions ministers who are the subject of an accusation will stand aside until matters have been investigated. If no serious fault on the part of the minister is established, their cabinet position will be restored.

                  Vicarious responsibility

                  Vicarious responsibility is the one aspect of individual ministerial responsibility where the consequences of a breach are most debated. In one view, even where a minister is unaware of an action taken by a subordinate, he or she should resign. The contrary view, held by successive New Zealand governments, is that rectification should be placed ahead of resignation."

                  Rectification should be placed ahead of resignation.

                  It's for the PM to decide. She decided for rectification. All the rest is commentary. Time to move on from desiring to examine the entrails which is some people's sole purpose- not for reasons of state but for reasons of political revenge. Motivation is important in this discussion as it informs our choice in the matter.

                  • Dennis Frank

                    That's well-reasoned. Just leaves aside the issue of damage to Labour & the PM's reputation for good judgment. Time will tell on that. I do agree that public perceptions of responsibility, accountability & natural justice are irrelevant to how govt operates.

                  • RedLogix

                    Good reply mac, way better than my off-the-cuff effort.

              • David Clark is an idiot, long before Covid 19. Does no one here remember the string of lies he told about Middlemore way back in 2018/2019, which after many months he admitted his 'errors' (lies or ignorance morelike).

                Just do a Google search 'David Clark Middlemore' for the full story.

                He is an embarrassment to the government. And why on earth do we now have Megan Woods, the Minister of Housing, fronting Covid 19? Surely that is Clarks job, or just a tacit admission that he is not up to the job. Sack the idiot.

                • Ed1

                  It is my understanding that covid-19 is still largely a health issue – while organisation of quarantine and managed isolation at the border include some health issues, the task mostly requires coordination with transport, airports, planning for accommodation, administration of the process, logistics relating to security and specialist supplies, and communication to travellers. She is not being asked to make or approve Health decisions, but to facilitate implementation of those decisions.

                  • Thats a good answer Ed1. Makes sense, but my comments re Clark stand. I will never forget his shambolic and deceiptful approach with Middlemore.

                • anker

                  Peter CHCH how come that Health has been the very big winner/most successful of the port folios under the coalition govt if Clark is such bad news. I have outlined now a number of times what has been achieved in health under his watch.

            • Peter

              Okay, even someone with average intelligence can get it right 50% of the time and fairness is all about giving credit where it's due.

              The link has the timeline of coronavirus.


              If you list for us all the things that David Clark did along the line and let us know what % of things he got right we can decide whether any credit is due.

              Maybe, in itemising all those things he did you could also weight them according to significance. Not significance as determined by public reaction to them and headlines but significance in terms of handling the Covid-19 to best cope with the situation and protect us.

            • Incognito

              Some National MPs do seem to have an anti-govt agenda that warps their judgment.


            • aj

              It seems that Woodhouse has a valid basis to call for Clark's resignation

              Myself, I have no qualms in suggesting Woodhouse's performance since 1/ Covid/19 is more deserving of public contempt and opprobrium than Clarks.

        • Incognito

          Anne Salmond a partisan spin doctor for Labour surprise

          I can’t stop crying crying


        • SPC

          I know you were an early adopter of Chris Trotter's argument that the government had to dump the Health Minister to save itself (this is the same person who argued that Labour was wrong to dump Little for Ardern in 2017).

          And you also believe the fallacy that the media alerted the government to failings that saved us all (the media's own spin of their gotcha grab a headline style).

          But to adopt the Pete GeorgeJoffre of Verdun approach to defending a position is, while courageous at the risk of heavy casualties, such as perspective and truth.

          Think it through.

          The government was under pressure to move to Level 1. The DG of Health would have advised to wait another week and (so they could in time) bring in testing to minimise the greater risk applying at Level 1. Cabinet decided to bring it in on June 9 with a days notice before there was capacity to test, and for all we know Clark took Bloomfield's position in Cabinet but was outvoted.

          The PM herself has said those two work together and that there was collective responsibility – the whole of Cabinet made the choice.

          • Dennis Frank

            Re Joffre of Verdun, I did scan the wiki but relevance failed to become apparent. Not sure why you would jump to the conclusion that media reportage of quarantine failures failed to alert the govt. Calling it a fallacy obviously disregards public opinion.

            And I rarely adopt Trotter's opinion on anything. I've spent a lifetime figuring stuff out before anyone else, and in this instance I had already got there independently when I reported his view.

            As regards your later reasoning, it disregards the relevance of ministerial responsibility but the countering argument you mention has been well made elsewhere already and I accept the PM's advocacy of collective fudging on the basis of realpolilik. 🙄 There is indeed room for diverse views on this situation so I will try to refrain from reiteration of my view!

            • SPC

              It is certainly a fallacy to presume a government only learns about something when it can be read by the public in the media or when media ask them questions.

              Minister’s often advocate based on their ministry advice but are then outvoted and become part of collective responsibility … cabinet papers when released in x weeks are going to show advice (I would expect that this would have been one rationale for another week at level 2) that bringing in a testing regime would take longer than 1 day (June 8 to June 9).

            • mac1

              From memory (not that I was there at the time), the battle of Verdun cost the French 450,000 dead and the Germans 420,000 dead. One shell landed for something smaller than every square metre on that battlefield. It was war specifically to wear down the enemy by attrition. Let's kill more of yours than you kill of ours.

              I have walked some of that battlefield and viewed a walled-up part of the French fort Douaumont where after capture by the Germans a 410mm shell penetrated the roof and instantly killed some 700 men.

              I was then, and am still sorry, that truth is not the only casualty of war.

              • Dennis Frank

                As an adolescent I read All Quiet on the Western Front and it spooked the hell out of me. Made me anti-war. Later, in '64, hearing Bob Dylan sing Masters of War got me reinforced on that:

                And I hope that you die
                And your death will come soon
                I will follow your casket
                By the pale afternoon
                And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
                Down to your deathbed
                And I’ll stand over your grave
                'Til I’m sure that you’re dead

                • mac1

                  I read the same book, and Archibald Baxter's "We Shall Not Cease" and heard the song "Universal Soldier" by Donovan. "He's here and there, and you and me, and brother can't you see, This is not the way we put an end to war."

          • Gabby

            Trotsker wouldn't be angry at Labour for him being wrong would he? Surely he wouldn't be so self involved and arrogant.

  5. Dennis Frank 5

    Interesting review of the Greens radical tax policy by someone who frames it as moderate!

    Even more incredible is that if we look at the so-called conservative 1960s governments of Keith Holyoake in New Zealand and John F. Kennedy in the US, the wealthy were paying personal tax rates over 50 per cent.

    So when we look at the Greens' ‘'far Left’' wealth tax, we have to remember that it is a slightly Left-of-centre party big on the environment and with the Right-wing ‘'realist'’ faction of the party firmly in control.

  6. SPC 6

    Most countries in the OECD have a CGT and some form of wealth/estate tax as well, and a higher top rate of tax than 33 cents.

    Advocating for something of that sort here is not radical but mainstream, New Zealand is the outlier on tax.

  7. I feel Love, thank you for posting that. Yes, I think people have been forgetting to be kind to each other. Fear is behind Duncan Garner's plea for the border to be closed to returnees. Also some do not want to share the safe places on the lifeboat we have become.

    Most are anxious that our systems could be overwhelmed, but others are still wanting even more people allowed in. So those groups try to justify their position about our borders with cries of "Shut them" or "Open them"

    Muller is saying we "won't survive without open borders, our GDP will be wrecked." The emphasis is for returnees who bring cash along with the virus. He does not say how much it would cost the country if cases slipped through with the students or immigrant workers, instead the short term gains are lauded.

    Muller and c/o would create jobs with private groups doing the necessary isolation work. There is no mention of training or oversight though, the very things they are rumbling about now. "But they would do it better" Really?? So much unjustified hubris.

    Over a million New Zealanders are learning working or living overseas. Those who are working for affected entities, those afraid of changing health circumstances, and those needing to complete contracts or sell possessions are not able to "jump the first flight out". Some had return flights which were postponed or cancelled,

    The returnees have come from frightening situations, and often have had their lives and plans wrecked, we need to be ready for thousands of these covid refugees.

  8. Stephen D 8

    At what point will a journalist ask Todd Muller, "So, how many deaths are an acceptable if we allow all the students/tourists back in?"

  9. AB 9

    Muller has raised an important dilemma. Our border restrictions are simultaneously too weak and too strong. Too weak, because recent issues suggest that getting them 100% perfectly secure from COVID-19 intrusions is difficult. Too strong, because they harm the economy by stopping people coming here, and by putting those who do in a business-unfriendly two-week quarantine.

    How do we square the circle and reconcile these contradictions – something that is 100% safe and also lets the economy roar into action? I’d humbly put forward a suggestion that I think cracks it:

    We should have completely unrestricted borders for homeless people who don’t actually exist. Totally safe – because they don’t exist. But great for the economy too – imagine all the people who could be employed trying to find them. As Michael ('Aristotle') Woodhouse would say – "no evidence of existence is not proof of non-existence" – so it’s a never-ending task. Plenty of opportunity for thrusting entrepreneurs in this scenario. I will be putting this idea forward to Todd for his masterful consideration.

  10. Tricledrown 10

    Todd Mullers chant that borders must open any other option is untenable is stupid we don't have the capacity in our health system if it got out of control.

    Looking at the Canterbury rebuild and repairs Nationals handling of this disaster now being exposed that the $550 million repairs of dodgy repairs is set to rise into $billions of dollars as most of the repairs were substandard on par with the leaky buildings $ 35 billion cost.

    National cut health spending by 20% over 9 years leaving our health system in a very bad condition unable to cope with a small outbreak.

    Luckily our borders were shut ,but on every measure our hospital system has been run down.Buildings in a very poor state, massive shortages of experienced professionals massive shortages of nursing staff.filthy dirty hospitals cleaned by poorly trained minimum wage casual workers who don't care about cleaning wards properly.

    Muller if you want to open the border's put your money where your mouth is $ billions need to be spent on just the buildings let alone staffing to cope with a worst case scenario.

    This would take at least 4 years of a massive increase in health funding to cope with any moderate outbreak.

    Our countries ability to cope is at the bottom of the OECD.

  11. observer 11

    This is a really strange press release from Muller:

    Leaving aside the confused calendar (tomorrow *is* next month), it reads like a defensive child, responding to a telling-off. Short and sullen.

    It is a statement from the opposition on policy at the border, without any mention of National's policy at the border. Who is Muller aiming this at? Probably his own caucus ("look, I'm doing something"). But really it just comes across as more digging.

    • Incognito 11.1

      As the wannabe next PM, why doesn’t he front up with his answers? We need to know so that New Zealanders have confidence in electing the right people to progressively and safely open the border and grow the economy.

      • Poission 11.1.1

        Muller fails to understand that talking an economy down is a self fulfilling prophecy.His diatribe that the only answer for the economy of NZ inc, is the opening of the borders seems to be at odds with both public opinion,and economic statistics (and more a message from his sponsers).

        To enable a recovery,people need confidence ie stability for decision making such as spending or investment,not an enhanced set of risks.

        Cordon sanitaire for NZ is working,relaxation of controls overseas has seen that too early gets recurrence,and return to lockdown.

        to have confidence we need to ask the right questions.

        The question of predicting the disease trajectory is less important than questions related to what’s necessary to 1) cause an exponential decrease rather than increase in new infections and 2) cause this decrease to occur as quickly as possible.

    • Graeme 11.2

      Certainly some strange goings on in National re the border, Garner's piece at 1 above, and Kirk Hope's (Business NZ) rant, then this. Something's cooking

      More digging? I'd say a fox hole, quickly.

    • Anne 11.3

      I imagine Matthew Hooton is behind this current nonsense. It is exactly how he operated when he was part of the RNZ Monday morning political bash with Kathryn Ryan. He was forever making absurd claims without a skerrick of evidence to back them up. Even Ryan found some of them sufficiently unpalatable to give him a scolding – not that he ever took any notice.

    • Graeme 11.4

      The palaver around the border could be related to this decision

  12. RedLogix 12

    I realise that many on the left would probably prefer this particular sleeping dog to be left to rot, but a Royal Commission that doesn't actually report?

    • Tricledrown 12.1

      Could give the perpetrator a higher profile .

      To push his agenda

    • Dennis Frank 12.2

      The relevant ideology of the partisans seems to be that one must attempt to de-platform opponents at all times (rather than working together for the common good). Using that logic, they would have opposed the Churchill/Stalin summits that produced the Allied victory over Hitler in WWII.

      So when you get spokespeople for local islamic folk wanting to understand the motives of the shooter, they dig in and resist. Why give him a platform? What they don't say to those folk is "What part of white supremacy do you not already understand?" Implying that someone is a slow learner is too non-pc for the de-platformers…

      • mac1 12.2.1

        I'd say let him have his platform but not in person on video as that will readily be misused. Let his words be reported in the third person, so that his explanations for his actions are known, but without the rhetoric and the inflammatory content.

        Let it be a dispassionate reporting, as an historian would write commentary upon a Mussolini speech, or a psychologist would review in case notes of a serial killer, or a linguistics expert might examine in a study of the language of hate.

        Documents available to those who have a proper interest in the matter, restricted upon sufficient grounds.

        But then I'm not a victim or related to his victims, nor am I of the religion or ethnic group related to his victims. I might think differently, then.

        One thing I'm sure we would agree on, is that we don't want the words and views, especially a video, of a hateful and evil killer to cause more harm in our community.

        • Dennis Frank

          I like that approach. Get a professor of sociology to provide an expert analysis and use that to inform those who seek an explanation for the massacre. See if the result satisfies their interest – or do they want to hear it straight from the horse's mouth instead? Anyway, probably best to restrict access to the victims, eh?

          • mac1

            Your final sentence is possible to be read to read two diametrically opposed things. 🙂 Whichever you meant, I do believe that the victims should be consulted, and whatever evidence of the killer's motives, explanations and justifications be treated with as much care as is possible.

        • RedLogix

          Not a bad suggestion mac, I could go with that.

          At the the time I accepted the censorship was probably necessary in the immediate aftermath of the event, but I recall saying that waiting for a Royal Commission to answer the obvious questions was a reasonable compromise.

          I still think this is necessary. I don't need to hear from the perpetrator directly, but there remain open questions about his travels, connections and motives that should be made public. The fact that the authorities seem deeply reluctant to be transparent on this only sharpens my doubts.

          • mac1

            I don't have any conspiratorial doubts, just a desire to serve the needs of justice and humanity compassionately.

    • SPC 12.3

      The left would have no problem with it. You think a government with a top rate of tax at 33 cents, not CGT, no wealth tax, no estate tax is left wing. Why?

      There is no reason to think a openly right wing government would rush this out with full disclosure.

    • Dennis Frank 13.1

      MH to JS; "we're friends now", at the close of the interview. So farmers using estimates for the purpose of scaremongering encounter the facts from James, and lose. Good to hear that the people in local communities involved in forestry are keen to make the shift to native forests instead of pine.

    • bwaghorn 13.2

      Fed farmers say its 70 k hectares .

      O'connor say it say provisionalnumbers for 2019 are 22 k hectares

      Shaw say 13 k

      Confused of raetihi???

      I’ve edited o’connor’s figures after a quick check

      • Incognito 13.2.1

        It obviously depends on which side of the fence you are 😉

        • bwaghorn

          I'd expect the feds to massage numbers but two of those chaps should have access to the real figures!!!

          • Incognito

            Entirely possible that different Ministries have/use different numbers 😉

  13. ianmac 14

    Meridian accused of cheating by spilling water to bump up prices. Is this the product of Key's vision?

    Meridian Owner: New Zealand Government (51.02%, 2016)

    • greywarshark 14.1

      They may just have been trying to help the fish, or give kayakers a decent course to practice on, or a number of really thoughtful reasons. I wonder what their defence will be? Perhaps they expect a huge amount of rain and don't want a collapse as elsewhere recently in the world. Don&#Can’t remember just where but I read about dams collapsing FTTT, it's not rare enough to be sanguine about it.

      • ianmac 14.1.1

        Suppose those dividends must be paid to the Mum and Dad investors?

      • Gabby 14.1.2

        It's not fair on the poor to take away their incentive to better themselves by selling cheaply, when you can nurture their growth to selfimprovement by screwing them into the ground and kicking them in the face. It's what jesus would want.

        • greywarshark

          You sound sort of muddy yourself Gabby perhaps with imprints of hobnail boots in your cheeks. But leave Jesus out of that, his name gets besmirched by the smirking tv evangelists, personality cults and prosperity churches without having it popped in to every discourse on a Godwin basis.

    • RedBaronCV 14.2

      The case for renationalising them?

  14. ianmac 15

    Petrol going up by 4cents pl tomorrow.

    "The ministry says the increased fuel price will cost the average one-vehicle household around $35 to $40 per year." What not $400 per car?

    • Graeme 15.1

      We run a fuel card with discount off the national price and the provider sends notification of any price movement 3 or 4 days before. Got one for a price increase of 3-4c applied yesterday, but nothing yet for tomorrow or Monday.

      Bit cynical making a fuss about it in the media when the price has already gone up.

  15. Poission 16

    Bad timing for a press release

    The country's pork sector says it is facing "severe staff shortages" with skilled migrant workers unable to enter the country and those already here in danger of not having their visas renewed.

    The industry is calling on the Government to urgently review its policies around who it lets into the country in the wake of COVID-19.

    Pigs are considered as important hosts or “mixing vessels” for the generation of pandemic influenza viruses. Systematic surveillance of influenza viruses in pigs is essential for early warning and preparedness for the next potential pandemic. Here, we report on an influenza virus surveillance of pigs from 2011 to 2018 in China, and identify a recently emerged genotype 4 (G4) reassortant Eurasian avian-like (EA) H1N1 virus, which bears 2009 pandemic (pdm/09) and triple-reassortant (TR)-derived internal genes and has been predominant in swine populations since 2016. Similar to pdm/09 virus, G4 viruses bind to human-type receptors, produce much higher progeny virus in human airway epithelial cells, and show efficient infectivity and aerosol transmission in ferrets. Moreover, low antigenic cross-reactivity of human influenza vaccine strains with G4 reassortant EA H1N1 virus indicates that preexisting population immunity does not provide protection against G4 viruses. Further serological surveillance among occupational exposure population showed that 10.4% (35/338) of swine workers were positive for G4 EA H1N1 virus, especially for participants 18 y to 35 y old, who had 20.5%

    • SPC 16.1

      … new flu strain that has been identified in China is similar to 2009 swine flu, but with some new changes.

      It emerged recently and is carried by pigs, but can infect humans, they say. The researchers are concerned that it could mutate further so that it can spread easily from person to person, and trigger a global outbreak. While it is not an immediate problem, they say, it has "all the hallmarks" of being highly adapted to infect humans and needs close monitoring.

      • Gabby 16.1.1

        If at first you don't succeed…

        • Dennis Frank

          Now now. Being mean to China like that creates a very real danger some left-winger will call you racist. It's what they do. Remember you don't have to actually be racist to be racist, you just have to trigger the paranoia by means of creating a subjective impression in their minds. Even commenting on the weather could do it. The world is an extremely dangerous place! 🥶

        • SPC

          If feeding anti-biotics to pigs, allowing live markets with animals in cages cheek by jowl does not cause us a hospital crisis with super bugs there is the pandemic, next is the matter of hormones into American livestock and the promotion of the burden of that and Big Pharma in FTA around the world …

    • RedBaronCV 16.2

      Not again. The main dairy farm job site shows some 720 jobs with around 1900 looking for work(okay that 1900 needs to be culled for the ineligible) and yes it is pigs but there must be some transferable skills and we have a lot of unemployed neets that are being trained. So why are the media giving this a beat up?

      The owners need to get onto plan B

      – updating and brushing up their employer CV

      -making sure they have the right skills, wages and background conditions including further training and skills updating being offered to employees.

      -having references that show they don't take drugs or indulge in sackable offences towards their employees like bullying and sexism.

      -using their local networks to score an employee

      -doing sufficent training and forward planning to put resilience into the industry so the issue does not reoccur.

      Stop whinging and seeking special treatment as the market will provide.

      Problem fixed.

  16. ianmac 17

    QT: Muller just denied ever saying that we should open up to China. A quote just read from cell phone. Misleading? Dunno.

  17. Adrian 18

    Are you aware that todays report highlighted the reason for the fuck up. It was an IT mistake of not putting the NIH number on one of the two forms required so they couldn't be cross referenced. If every Minister resigned after an IT fuck up everybody in the country would have had a turn at being a Minister.

    Typical IT bullshit, over-promising and under delivering. the industry runs on more bullshit than Fonterra.

  18. Drowsy M. Kram 19

    Question for past/current 'leading lights' in the National party: If 'your team' had been in charge during this pandemic, and your efforts had contributed to NZ's relatively good Covid-19 health outcomes (~1,530 cases; 22 deaths; at level 1 for weeks with no evidence of community transmission), would you be relieved and pleased? That's how I feel.

  19. sumsuch 20

    You're all right.

    I've just talked myself, via my blog comments, into believing if you can't shout for the people you're no good to them.

    The last one who did that was Norman Kirk. All the following played the cards they were given by the powerful.

  20. Eco Maori 21

    Kia Ora


    I think it's a logical move for people to have watertanks to catch their own water.

    Film and television getting a funding boost $73 million I hope some putea will go to Tangata Whenua projects.

    Ka kite Ano.

  21. Eco Maori 22

    Kia Ora

    Te Ao Maori Marama.

    The fule tax will lower our emissions that will be good for our environment.

    The Matariki festival in Taramaki Makaru looks good.

    Ka kite Ano.

  22. Eco Maori 23

    Kia Ora

    The Am Show.

    The reality is our Wai is life so conservating the use of Wai is the way of the future so we don't use it all and leave nothing for our wildlifes environment.

    Having a sestanable fishery is of utmost importance for our future generations.

    Ka kite Ano.

  23. Eco Maori 24

    Kia Ora

    Te Ao Maori Marama.

    Its good to see Rugby Park getting a up grade.

    That's is cool Te puia hosting tourist again in Rotorua.

    Ka kite Ano

  24. Eco Maori 25

    Kia Ora

    The Am Show.

    The Zorb ride rolling down a hill in a big bubble looks good.

    Off the Beaten track looks like a good company.

    Ka kite Ano.

  25. Eco Maori 26

    Kia Ora


    I think playing if safe with is correct.

    Doc does awesome mahi for Aotearoa wildlife and environment.

    Ka kite Ano.

  26. Eco Maori 27

    Kia Ora

    Te Ao Maori Marama

    It will be awesome when New Zealand history is taught from Tangata Whenua facts on the events.

    Ka kite Ano

  27. Eco Maori 28

    Kia Ora


    Looks like the ski season is going to be OK after all.

    That was a lucky landing for that small aircraft alright.

    There is a few good reasons to keep a vigilant process and keep the virus out of Aotearoa.

    The science festival looks great its good to get people interested in science.

    Ka kite Ano

  28. Eco Maori 30

    Kia Ora


    There are people who don't consider the effects of their actions jumping the fence.

    That's the way Paddy.

    That's is a cool waiata.

    Ka kite Ano.

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    1 week ago
  • The holes in National’s water reform pipes
    Young renters just have to watch on as pipes keep failing and the Government and councils point fingers at each other, because all the incentives are for ratepayers to block rates increases, water meters, water charges and the creation of new entities. File Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: The National-ACT-NZ First coalition ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • After years of stability, Antarctica is losing ice
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by SueEllen Campbell Until recently, Antarctica’s ice has seemed surprisingly stable. In contrast to the far north, the southern continent’s massive ice sheets, glaciers, ice shelves (ice that floats on the ocean), and seasonal ice appeared to be reliably frozen: Enough snow fell ...
    1 week ago
  • Auckland’s Persistent Rail Issues
    Over the last few weeks in our weekly roundup we’ve commented on the frequent delays and cancellations that have occurred on the rail network this year since the rail network went back into full operation on the 22-Jan – with Kiwirail proclaiming they had ‘successfully delivered summer holiday infrastructure upgrades ...
    1 week ago

  • Greater support for social workers
    The Coalition Government is enhancing the professionalism of the social work sector and supporting the vulnerable people who rely on them, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says.  The Social Workers Registration Legislation Amendment Bill passed its third reading in Parliament today. It amends the Social Workers Registration Legislation ...
    2 hours ago
  • Government delivers greater freedom and choice for sick New Zealanders
    The coalition government is delivering on its commitment to making principled decisions by getting rid of red tape that doesn’t make sense and allowing sick New Zealanders greater freedom and choice to purchase effective cold and flu medicines. A bill amending the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is being introduced, and changes to the Medicines ...
    9 hours ago
  • Government begins reset of welfare system
    The Coalition Government is taking early action to curb the surge in welfare dependency that occurred under the previous government by setting out its expectations around employment and the use of benefit sanctions, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. In 2017, 60,588 sanctions were applied to beneficiaries who ...
    1 day ago
  • State of the Nation
    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora, good morning, talofa, malo e lelei, bula vinaka, da jia hao, namaste, sat sri akal, assalamu alaikum. Thank you for coming to my first State of the Nation as Prime Minister. Thank you for coming to a speech where I don’t just ...
    2 days ago
  • West Coast tourism attractions officially open
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will attend the official opening of two highly anticipated tourism projects on the West Coast today – Pike29 Memorial Track, dedicated to the memory of the Pike River miners, and Pounamu Pathway. “The Pike29 Memorial Track is a way to remember and honour the men ...
    4 days ago
  • Independent ferry service advisory group in place
    Appointments to the Ministerial Advisory Group tasked with providing independent advice and assurance on the future of KiwiRail’s inter-island ferry service have been made, State Owned Enterprises Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “It’s important for New Zealand that KiwiRail is focused on ensuring safe, resilient, and reliable ferry services over the ...
    5 days ago
  • Joint statement from the Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand
    The Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada and New Zealand today issued the following statement on reports of Israel’s planned military operation in Rafah. We are gravely concerned by indications that Israel is planning a ground offensive into Rafah.   A military operation into Rafah would be catastrophic. About 1.5 million Palestinians ...
    5 days ago
  • Govt will deliver on expanded breast screening
    The coalition Government has made the first steps in delivering on its promise to  extend free breast screening to women aged 70-74, Health Minister Shane Reti says. “As part of the 100 day plan, the Government has now met with officials and discussed what is needed in order for the ...
    5 days ago
  • Government announces woolshed roadshows in support of sheep farmers
    The Government celebrates National Lamb Day (15 February 24) and congratulates sheep farmers on the high-quality products they continue to produce. Agriculture Minister McClay hosted bipartisan celebrations of National Lamb Day with industry representatives at Parliament this week to mark the anniversary of the first frozen lamb exports that left ...
    5 days ago
  • Speech: Address to the NZ Economics Forum
    It’s great to be back at the New Zealand Economics Forum. I would like to acknowledge everyone here today for your expertise and contribution, especially the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Head of the Waikato Management School, economists, students and experts alike. A year has passed since I was last before you, and ...
    5 days ago
  • Government tackling high construction costs
    The Government is focused on reducing sky-high construction costs to make it more affordable to build a home, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says.  Stats NZ data shows the cost of building a house has increased by 41 per cent since 2019, making housing even more unaffordable for Kiwi ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour’s Three Waters legislation repealed
    The Coalition Government’s legislative plan to address longstanding issues with local water infrastructure and service delivery took an important step today, with the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “Repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing our Local ...
    6 days ago
  • Cost of living support for beneficiary households
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to ease the cost-of-living by increasing main benefit rates in line with inflation and ensuring the Minimum Family Tax Credit threshold remains aligned with this change, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. The Social Security (Benefits Adjustment) and Income Tax ...
    6 days ago
  • Government announces agriculture delegations to better support Primary sector
    The coalition Government has announced ministerial delegations to support key areas across the Primary sector to deliver for New Zealand’s food and fibre sector, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay announced today. “I will be supported in my roles as Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Hunting and Fishing, by three Associate ...
    1 week ago
  • Waikato MoU reinforces Govt’s commitment to increase NZ doctors
    The Government has taken an important step forward in addressing a critical shortage of New Zealand-trained doctors, with today’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a third medical school, Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti has announced.  “Today’s signing by the Ministry of Health and the University of Waikato ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech – Lunar New Year 2024
    Annyeonghaseyo, greetings and welcome all. It is my pleasure as the Minister for Ethnic Communities to welcome you to the first Lunar New Year Event in Parliament. Thank you to our emcees for greeting us in the different languages that represent the many cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year. ...
    1 week ago
  • More funding to Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti
    Urgent work to clean-up cyclone-affected regions will continue, thanks to a $63 million boost from the Government for sediment and debris removal in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti.                                                                                                   The funding will help local councils continue urgent work removing and disposing of sediment and debris left from Cyclone Gabrielle.   “This additional ...
    1 week ago
  • Budget will be delivered on 30 May
    Plans to deliver tax relief to hard-working New Zealanders, rebuild business confidence and restore the Crown’s finances to order will be unveiled on 30 May, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says. The plans will be announced in the Budget which is currently being developed by Ministers.  “The last government’s mismanagement of ...
    1 week ago
  • Government advances Local Water Done Well
    The Coalition Government is continuing work to restore council ownership and control of water assets by repealing Three Waters and appointing a Technical Advisory Group to provide expert advice on the implementation of Local Water Done Well, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “The Government will pass a bill to ...
    1 week ago
  • New diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today announced five new diplomatic appointments.  "Strong and effective diplomacy to protect and advance our interests in the world is needed now more than ever," Mr Peters says.  “We are delighted to appoint senior diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to these ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Committee for Auckland
    It is great to be here today at this event as Minister for Auckland and Minister ofTransport. Let me start by acknowledging each one of you and thanking the Committee forAuckland for hosting this event and inviting me to speak here today. The Committee for Auckland has been a symbol ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting Transport Back on Track in Auckland
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has today confirmed his high-level transport priorities for Auckland, in the lead up to releasing the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport. “Our economic growth and productivity are underpinned by a transport network that enables people and freight to move around safely and efficiently. At ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government to axe Auckland Regional Fuel Tax
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has confirmed that the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax will end on 30 June 2024. “Today, I can confirm that the Government has agreed to remove the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax in line with our coalition commitments, and legislation will be introduced to parliament to repeal the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister Calls for Work to Tackle Kina Barrens
    Changes to fishing rules and a significant science programme are being undertaken to address kina barrens, says Minister for Oceans and Fisheries Shane Jones. “There has been tremendous interest from iwi, communities and recreational fishers who had raised concerns about such kina infestations being a major threat to Northland’s marine ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government law and order crackdown begins
    The coalition Government is making good on its promise to restore law and order by removing government funding for Section 27 reports and abolishing the previous Labour Government’s prison reduction target, Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Corrections Minister Mark Mitchell say.  “In recent years, the development of Section 27 reports ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Greater focus on getting people into work
    The coalition government will refocus employment efforts and the welfare system so that supporting people who can work into jobs is the number one priority, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “Of concern in the labour market statistics released by Stats NZ today was the number of youth not ...
    2 weeks ago
  • One year on, NZ appeals for release of Phillip Mehrtens
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has appealed to those holding New Zealand pilot Phillip Mehrtens in remote Papua, Indonesia, to release him immediately.  Phillip Mehrtens was taken hostage a year ago on 7 February in Paro, Papua, while providing vital air links and supplies to remote communities. “We strongly urge those holding ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministers reaffirm Pacific connections this week
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Health Minister and Minister for Pacific Peoples Dr Shane Reti are reaffirming the importance of New Zealand’s connections to the Pacific by visiting Tonga, Cook Islands and Samoa this week.  “New Zealand enjoys strong and long-standing relationships with our Pacific partners - especially in Polynesia, where we ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rt Hon Christopher Luxon – Waitangi speech
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, rau rangatira ma. Tēnā koutou katoa. He tino mihi ki te mana whenua o tēnei rohe.  Mihi mai, mihi mai, mihi mai. Te whare e tū nei, tēnā koe.                               He-wāhi whakahirahira tēnei mō Aotearoa. Ka huri nga whakaaro, ki nga mate. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government awards primary sector scholarships to students
    Six university students studying agriculture and science have been awarded scholarships as part of the coalition Government’s efforts to boost on-the-ground support for farmers and growers. “The coalition Government is committed to improving support and operating conditions for farmers and growers,” Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says. “We’re backing a range ...
    2 weeks ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996. From 1996 to 1999 he worked as a solicitor in the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand provides further humanitarian support to Gaza and the West Bank
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced that New Zealand is providing a further $5 million to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank.  “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling,” Mr Peters says.  “That is why New Zealand has contributed $15 ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government consults on expanding COVID-19 Inquiry terms of reference
    The Government is delivering on its commitment to enable public input into expanding the scope of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 Lessons, says Internal Affairs Minister Brooke van Velden. “As committed to in both the ACT-National and NZ First-National coalition agreements, the public will be given the opportunity ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Tai Tokerau Water Boost
    A further $5 million loan has been advanced to the Tai Tokerau Water Trust for Te Waihekeora Reservoir, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says.  “Water is a precious resource, Kānoa – Regional Development and Investment Unit at the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment have done amazing work in the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Fast track consenting in the fast lane
    The Government is progressing changes to resource management laws as part of its 100 Day Action Plan, with the first steps taken to establish a new fast-track consenting one-stop shop regime. “This new regime, which forms part of National’s coalition agreement with New Zealand First, will improve the speed and ...
    3 weeks ago
    Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence the Hon Richard Marles MP and Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator the Hon Penny Wong hosted New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt Hon Winston Peters MP and Minister of Defence Hon Judith Collins KC MP on 1 February ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Minimum wage set for cautious increase
    The adult minimum wage rate will increase by 2 per cent to $23.15 an hour from 1 April 2024, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden announced today. “This Government is committed to striking the right balance between protecting the incomes of our lowest paid workers and maintaining labour ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Increased security improves ED safety over summer
    Increasing the number of security staff in emergency departments (EDs) over the busy Christmas and New Year period improved the safety of both staff and patients, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says. 200 additional security staff (93 FTEs) were provided to 32 EDs in response to concerns raised by ED ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Step Closer for European Union Free Trade Agreement
    New Zealand has moved closer to ratifying the New Zealand – European Union Free Trade Agreement (FTA), with the First Reading of legislation to bring the Agreement into force being held in Parliament today.   “Almost a decade after preparatory talks first began on an FTA with the European Union, I’m pleased to ...
    3 weeks ago

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