Pandemics and our privacy

Written By: - Date published: 9:17 am, April 22nd, 2020 - 43 comments
Categories: health, health and safety, human rights - Tags: , ,

A little chill went down my spine when I saw that the Ministry of Health was checking with our data spy agency the GCSB to enable full tracing of people to slow further outbreaks.

The Ministry told RNZ that any data held about individuals would be used only to help the public health response and “not be used for other purposes”, commenting: “We expect the majority of the information held will also regularly and automatically be deleted.”

Massively invasive tracking and testing have been the primary means by which the governments of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan have all managed to avoid prolonged lockdowns. So it works. They also arrested all the key democratic activists in Hong Kong over the weekend. Probably a coincidence.

Across workplaces everywhere people are generating forms and apps to track where you drove from, who you had in the car, whether any of your household is sick or is an essential service worker, even whether you’ve got pre-existing immune deficiency conditions, and indeed what your temperature is when you come to work. And failure to response means …

So, after this outbreak all countries that can will be planning for the next viral outbreak. They will be planning massive preventative measures such as population movement surveillance. 

Google has been sharing some of its vast collection of location data with public health researchers and epidemiologists to help model the movement of its users. Thanks Siri. Plenty of firms are developing proximity-tracking apps to trace those who have had contact with COVID-19 patients.

As you might expect when we demand the state to take over management of society down to our actual personal movements to actually save the country, we lose a bunch of freedoms along the way. Clearly our own state is thinking along these lines already.

So, questions I would want to put to the Ministry of Health in a Select Committee, can it be proven that any and all of these temporary measures are reversible? The process of their removal must be defined into law from the moment of implementation.

Of course we have pretty clear principles for harvesting personal information, which are set out in our Act.

But as was shown this week when Paula Bennett was not found to have breached the privacy of Winston Peters when his superannuation details were released by one of very few people and high up the food chain in the heat of an election battle, you can have all the law on side and the money to get to court all you want and point to a big fat smoking gun and motive, and means, and opportunity, it can achieve zero practical protection or recourse to a mere citizen. Even a well-armed and wily one like Winston Peters.

To track potentially infected individuals, South Korea collects not only localisation data from cellphones and GPS, but also public transport data (Equivalent of our HOP cards and SuperGold Cards), credit card data, immigration records, and so on. But is there really any reason to collect and process and hold localisation data for months or years when this kind of virus only incubates inside two weeks? At last we’d know where Grandpa went to, I guess.

Behold, leviathan the state, benevolent in March and April but growing into a towering animal every day this goes on, behold this state has working groups that will not waste a crisis. Maybe we just trust the benevolence of our own little state so much that we don’t care if we open up our lives for more accurate health services, or telco services, or transport infrastructure. But once a state gains the capacity for a power to be exercised, it almost never gives it back.

It just keeps quiet about it.

Now you can go the full China version and have a smartphone app that aggregates your health data and on that assigns you a colour code (green, yellow, or red) reflecting your health status and can then prevent you from getting into a mall or a train.

Charming.

But the softer, Australian version is on its way already and primed for release. Not compulsory to upload yet, but at least it’s more polite than printing 666 on your forehead.

Now, we have to be honest and admit that there’s very little privacy left, and we willingly have it away ourselves anyway. Every swipe, every Cookie, every site we visit.

And we won’t always have a Jacinda Ardern to charm and successfully manipulate us into doing what needs to be done. The collective good is going to need some further loss of privacy to be sustained. Once the good will vanishes, it’s going to need stronger collective data to do the job instead.

Not too long ago we were at the forefront of the need for regulating the big data harvesters. Remember Ardern working with Macron on regulating the big data players?

And as recently as February this  year we promised Prime Minister Scott Morrison that we would work with them on artificial intelligence.

Note this one just on travel:

The Prime Ministers underlined the need to maintain high security standards for trans-Tasman travel, and welcomed the use of biometrics technology and timely data processing to increase efficiency. They welcomed New Zealand’s successful introduction of the Electronic Travel Authority in October 2019, for both air and cruise passengers, and noted its twin aims of improving border security and enhancing passenger facilitation. The Prime Ministers noted the world’s first 3D auto-detection algorithms for identifying biosecurity risk materials, developed from joint trials in 2019, which will increase border screening effectiveness and efficiency for both countries.”

My bet is those kinds of records aren’t going to be temporary. Certainly not if we want a tourism industry for the next few years.

So how much more of our democratic values are we going to trade for the state’s demands in the name of public health and safety? The digital response to COVID-19 magnifies this shift.

As they have in Australia, we will develop a public health app. It will start as Opt-In, shift to Opt-Out, and then go to Compulsion.

Maybe that’s as short as when the next Level 4 lockdown happens.

Maybe Google just slips it into its next Terms and Conditions upgrade.

Hey government, can we at least debate this in the open?

43 comments on “Pandemics and our privacy ”

  1. Alice Tectonite 1

    Bad enough under Labour led government, imagine if Nats get hold of it. Or the sadistic fuckers at Work & Income…

  2. A 2

    Great post.

    When will we be consulted?

    The Covid cards seem to be a colosal waste of money because they are going to aim for around 5 million of the things…how many of us are objecting and won't carry one, and at what number of people refusing to be tracked "for their own good" does this tech become useless?

  3. Andre 3

    This proposed Covid Card seems an interesting way to gather info for contact tracing, while reducing concerns around something as intrusive as a compulsory app for your phone.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/121083996/coronavirus-new-zealand-considering-100m-contact-tracing-covidcard

    • pat 3.1

      That struck me as a much better option…especially as it dosnt require a smart phone, and has a limited lifespan…curiously it dosnt appear to have been mentioned since by either media or gov who all appear to be discussing apps

      • barry 3.1.1

        Except it is not likely to work, the same with the apps. bluetooth is not the right technology for recording proximity.

        In the end it is a trade-off between health, money & privacy. If we had ID cards we could use them to scan into trains, restaurants etc and then we could be contacted if there was a need. If we had China's app then we could have less of a lockdown and achieve the same benefit.

        If there were an app that worked and it saved $20billion of government money in support for failed businesses would we risk a short privacy reduction?

        We won't even wear masks which would achieve a similar level of security without loss of privacy for a fraction of the cost.

    • Andre 4.1

      No matter how many assurances techies give me about data anonymisation, security etc, I've got a real problem with the idea of putting some kind of app on my phone that requires bluetooth to continually be on and has some sort of fairly precise tracking capability.

      But I'm totally ok with the idea of carrying around a government issued card-sized device that does essentially the same thing. The main articulable reason is that a separate dedicated device is much less a risk for malware.

  4. RedLogix 5

    There is always a trade off between personal freedom and social freedom. Reaching for an example everyone can identify with … if everyone was free to choose which side of the road they wanted to drive on that day, the roads themselves would quickly become dangerous mayhem and become unusable. So we trade off some of our personal freedom and submit to a rule that we must all drive on one arbitrary side (and many other rules) in order to gain the social freedom that enables all of us to drive where we want safely.

    So far this is pretty obvious. But the subtle observation to be made here is that we don't make the same rule for pedestrians on a sidewalk. There is simply no need for it, because the consequences of a collision between two people just walking are usually pretty trivial. But driving a car at speed is not only more 'powerful' than walking, it's also more dangerous, so we tolerate less personal freedom when we get in a car.

    From this we can usefully generalise that the more dangerous the context is, the more we need to trade off personal freedom for social freedom. All this is a complicated way of explaining something most people grasp pretty intuitively anyway. Given an ultimate existential threat like a hostile invasion, we'd all quickly submit to the extremes of martial law with almost no objection. At the extreme we'd sacrifice our own lives for the social survival of the nation.

    The really interesting question is this; moving in the direction of giving away personal freedoms is usually marked by a crisis of some nature. It's a visible process. But when the crisis passes the opposite movement back toward restoring personal freedoms is much less obvious, there is no crisis, there are no headlines … it's not clear what mechanism drives us to restore the balance between personal and social freedom again.

    Does the pendulum ever quite go back to where it was? Is it a bit sticky? Under what conditions does the pendulum get stuck at tyranny? After all my all-time favourite scifi author Vernor Vinge had a great line for this "ubiquitous surveillance being one of the better known end-points for civilisations".

    Crunching this back down to the matter at hand, my instinct is that for the duration of the COVID crisis most people will trade off some privacy and personal freedom, for the ability to travel, socialise and work safely … IF there is a clear cut sunset mechanism undoing the new rules when the crisis is over.

    Then there is another completely different way to frame this; what if personal freedom was largely an illusion?

  5. weka 6

    That's the sound of the MoH poking holes in the Ardern government's moral legitimacy to manage the covid outbreak well.

    That messaging is classic MoH. Doctor knows best.

    Never mind about Bennett and Peters, Bennett demonstrated ably some years ago that our privacy laws are sufficiently loose to allow much abuse. She not only released the private information about beneficiaries, once she was found to be in breach of the privacy act she basically said she didn't give a shit.

    Cue Bill English's big data plans. Normalise using personal data to control beneficiaries, the middle classes will come later.

    I'm seeing a fair amount of twitter talk about the tech side of contact tracing. They throw in some bits about privacy, but I'm not seeing many people taking it seriously. We should be worried.

  6. Carolyn_Nth 7

    It does worry me. I have always been suspicious of the amount of data people willingly put online. [See Zuboff's, Age of Surveillance Capitalism)

    I rarely use facebook. And I also rarely use a mobile phone. I have a flip phone for phone & texting and don't have it on a lot, and rarely have it one when I'm out and about.

    I have a smart phone that I've never used as a phone – am trialing a year with lowest cost plan, but actually only use it for free wifi when I'm out and about. And since lock down, I haven't had it on.

    Don't have GPS in my car.

    I have wondered about the ease of tracking people via HOP cards.

    It's made so it's impossible to totally avoid this insidious surveillance of our private lives. For most people, it probably doesn't have a lot of impact. But it puts those who are critical of those with power, wealth and influence, it could too easily be mis-used to silence them.

  7. McFlock 8

    Basically, there's no fucking way any cellphone-based tracking system will be put back in the box. Even if the programme closes, the private sector (and secret squirrel crowd) will be putting together the lessons learned for their own non-pandemic projects.

    I'm actually pretty relieved I have an obsolete android version – there's a good chance I'll be an outlier not able to take the app.

    There are good reasons to do tracking invasively in a "papers please" manner during a pandemic. That's why I like the bluetooth card idea – the programme can only last a year or so before it needs all the cards replaced. Each and every time you get or carry it, it's "wasn't this just supposed to be for the pandemic?"

    A phone app preinstalled as a bachground-running thing on every new phone? Becomes unnoticed with no reminders, and never dies as long as the phone is alive.

    • KJT 8.1

      Everyone who uses any form of bank card, is constantly tracked already.

      It was publicly said that one of the reasons supermarkets were allowed to open, is that everyone makes a purchase, and could be contact traced through their bank records.

      We already know that banks were happy to give that information to the police, pre-covid, recently, without a warrant. Even though that was illegal.

      Of course, smart phone tracking is here already.

      It would be naïve to think that our security services, who have already shown their contempt for privacy laws, don't use this information.

      I'm OK, with health authorities using information in a silo for a limited purpose, but doubt that will be the case.

      Misuse of peoples private information, seems to be a feature of National Government.

  8. DennyPaoa 9

    If any NZ government accepts or adopts this policy. We will be more closely aligned with China,(I dont have a problem with that per se) and we'd effectually be adopting full public surveillance which does play into the 5 Eyes network hands which have been collecting bio-data which has been going on since the Iraqi war, if not before?
    But then again, they couldnt find a terrorist!

    • Peter ChCh 9.1

      Yes, but as RedLogix says above (paraphrasing here), living in a society comes with a tradeoff between personal freedom and social freedom.

      Excessive personal freedom and we will end up like the USA, with nutters claiming the personal freedom to own bazookas and sub machine guns at the expense of the social freedom of the majority. Desperate times, which these are and will remain for a few years, requires a small erosion of personal freedom. But yes, a sunset clause would be good.

  9. Robert Guyton 10

    Perhaps we should lose our phones.

    En masse.

  10. RedBaronCV 11

    I'm going to stay as far away from this as possible.

    MOH already link most health data to your national health number and there is no way that they won't use this more widely. Health in general seems to be wildly naive about the uses their data collection can be put to. They also upload health information to the national database. It's deeply scary.

    And don't for one moment think that the data base Bill English created is only for beneficiaries. The object ( can't find the source) was to have the spine of the system as an individual number for every new zealander against which data sets with data about them can be loaded. I think it's under the commercial arm of the Stats dept so money is involved – plus some spectacular naivety about data reintegration methinks.

    https://www.stats.govt.nz/integrated-data/integrated-data-infrastructure/

    The rules are here and don't for one moment think that the public interest is narrowly drawn. – the privacy impact assessments link is an eyeopener. Basically external datasets can be loaded by an applying party and this used to extract the data from the government datasets loaded which include health, tenancy data, education etc.

    An example is this from the Rugby Union

    https://www.stats.govt.nz/privacy-impact-assessments/privacy-impact-assessment-for-adding-nz-rugby-register-data-to-the-idi

    who wanted to load data from a book NZ Rugby register (basically it's a settle the pub argument book but.whatever happened to copyright?) which has details of all players above a certain level gleaned from newspapers etc. What the union want to do is use this data to attach to individual health records to analyse the long term health outcomes of rugby playing ( so if you play in a forward pack you may not get life/health insurance in the years to come or pay an increased premium ? Data to minimise ACC premiums and claims) The privacy analysis is a joke. They assume that players in a modern era might be able to be identified but not those earlier . WTF- a few minutes with other sources would fix that issue.

    However, NOWHERE does the assessment ask the blindingly obvious question – would individuals agree to surrendering their long term medical records to the Rugby Union for the purposes of analysis and subsequent possible dissemination to other parties such as ACC or insurers and why are they not getting that choice.

    Benefits of adding NZ Rugby Register data to the IDI

    Research using the NZ Rugby Register data will assist NZ Rugby to manage the player welfare risks in rugby. At present, NZ Rugby is faced with a lack of knowledge, and this data will help NZ Rugby to confirm or refute claims that were previously unsupported by research evidence.

    Adding NZ Rugby Register data to the IDI will:

    • enable analysis on health outcomes of former provincial-level rugby players compared to similar New Zealanders who did not play provincial rugby or higher
    • specifically, allow NZ Rugby to compare rates of dementia, arthritis, heart disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality, along with measurements of quality of life
    • by having this knowledge, put NZ Rugby in a better position to manage the risks and help fulfill their duty of acting as a responsible sports organisation.

    Time to dump this whole database – it's outstandingly dangerous- and cut out the "income earning arm of stats" – it's blinding them to their public service role if they can see dollars. One bad actor with this stuff would have a field day

    • McFlock 11.1

      IDI isn't actually too bad – because there's no govt-wide ID number, the interdepartmental linkages are probabilistic. Also, statsnz and MoH managed to argue down MSD and put in OTT controls on researchers. It's a headache.

      One issue I have with a cellphone-based solution is that it puts everything through one channel: whomever is in control of that can see everything.

      FB has a lot of stuff, the bank has a lot, stores I use club cards at know a lot. But a bank vault where different employees have different parts of the combination is more secure than a vault where an employee knows the entire combination.

      • RedBaronCv 11.1.1

        From what I have read there is a unique identifier in the spine. But see the description below. It may be stored as a sort of relational database but put in say your birthdate, sex, ird number and a couple of other factors and what you get out will be pretty much your data. Nor do I hear anyone asking us if we want say our health data shared widely. Plus a bad actor could go through and de -aggregate to find say "individuals who have had an abortion." And its easy enough to de anonomise data sets.

        https://www.adruk.org/news-publications/news-blogs/new-zealands-integrated-data-infrastructure-linking-data-for-better-science-and-policy-123/

        "The ‘spine’, containing more than nine million people, is the central dataset that all other datasets are linked to. It is created through probabilistic linkage, linking tax data to births data, births to visa data, and visa to tax data; these links are then combined to create the spine dataset. It is estimated that fewer than 1% of links in the spine are incorrect. "

        • McFlock 11.1.1.1

          Given the paranoid levels to which they prevent researchers having anywhere close to that access, I'd be surprised if anyone had that level of unsupervised control.

          How it works fr researchers is that once you pass the vetting so your project is safe and worthy of the IDI, you got into a room with a single machine. No data uploads. You type in your queries. They get back to you after a while to say whether you're allowed to see the answer.

          You don't get back anonymised individual records. They give you aggregates that are too large to be reverse-engineered into identifiable data, last I looked at the process. And even then the linkage is an estimate, with gaps filled in from dataset to dataset (or conflicting data between organisations "corrected") with a probabilistic guess.

          Don't get me wrong, if they'd gone with MSD'd ideas for use, it would be a privacy nightmare full of pretend-precogs "because the data says you're likely to be xxxxx". And it could always change its rules. And I've not really considered it worthwhile (just to replicate findings already made by nations with a national ID number? meh).

          But the clubcard at the supermarket paying you to participate? Your purchases tell rando analyst and advertising purchaser if you're single, in a new relationship, or about to expect a baby. Exercise loggers were telling stalkers where their victims lived by simple elimination. IDI designers went to great lengths to make that sort of thing structurally impossible, like refund handling authority at a tech giant.

          • RedBaronCv 11.1.1.1.1

            They acknowledge that it can happen ( see the rugby example- can't come up to more recent data) but the central issues remain- I don't want say my health data being accessed by the NZRFU without my express permission which I wouldn't give and this can fall into the hands of "bad actors" . How private would low end data be under a RW government?

            BTW I don't use club cards, exercise loggers, social media like facebook twitter,etc. I do use firefox with the latest upgrades- encrypted page requests and duck duck go. I really try to have as small a footprint as possible. Also thinking of reverting to largely cash and have an RF wallet for the phone now i’ve upgraded from last century technology.

            • McFlock 11.1.1.1.1.1

              great, now you just have to defeat face recognition software paired with transaction logs.

              As for the IDI, yes they identify the risk. And explain how they mitigate those risks.

              • RedBaronCv

                There are glasses being tested and coming for that- plus other devices that cause electronic disturbance around you.

                And don’t forget they only decide to mitigate the risk until the day they decide they don’t want to mitigate the risk any more.

          • RedBaronCv 11.1.1.1.2

            And even anonymous data can effect outcomes for individuals. If the rugby study showed that most props died before 60 good luck with getting life insurance if you answered that question on the application form.

            • McFlock 11.1.1.1.2.1

              If it shows most props die before 60, insurance companies will have known it for decades.

              The next question is whether there's a causal link. That's the sort of thing the IDI is ostensibly for, e.g. running rugby position against history of concussion, occupation (maybe props are more likely to be in risky jobs), and cause of death.

              • RedBaronCv

                Look you can easily pick holes in an example I give but the the basic principles as you affirm in the next sentence remain the same. If there is more than a casual link who benefits?

                Highly unlikely to be the individual concerned where independent questions can be asked to see if they fit the critera and then they can be discriminated against. But the NZRFU – why do they want to know this stuff? It will be costing them money so they are wanting some return.

                And I remain utterly unconvinced that they should be allowed to access private healthcare details without the informed consent of those whose records are being accessed even if they only get a bulk answer.

                • McFlock

                  It's not the NZRFU directing the outputs, though.

                  Look at the recent history of concussions in sport, especially the attempted coverups. The beneficiaries of research by disinterested and independant researchers will benefit future players more quickly. The entire idea of this sort of research is to look to the experiences of the past to help the people in the present and future.

                  Hell, you're talking me into liking the damned idea, even though for me it involves going into a room, logging into a strange machine, typing code from memory, and waiting an hour only to discover I left off a semicolon and screwed the entire program.

                  • RedBaronCv

                    The NZFRU asked for the extra data they provided (someone's book to be uploaded) so the data in it could be used to scrap the IDI for further data – presumably of their choosing subject to some controls and I assume payment from them so it is a profit driven exercise as far as I can see for both parties. The data in the IDI was derived from individuals who have not consented.

                    It's a bit like those genetic databases (that are causing all sorts of ethical problems). If you upload yours then you actually upload the rest of the family by default.

                    But we will have to agree to differ I feel. I rate individual privacy and informed consent very highly and can see some very real personal downsides for individuals – never mind the bad actors if they become involved.

  11. woodart 12

    think the horse has already bolted. your eftpos card, smartphone,laptop,shopping purchases and google feed, along with half a dozen others, leave a huge footprint already..as a professional artist, I realize that art will rightfully be down the list of essentials, nowhere near as important as golf(sarc). so, to keep my head above water, I am making a few(get bored quickly)tin foil hats, caps,beanies,etc… lets not end up like preppers.

  12. Craig H 13

    Bluetooth seems unreliable since it requires Bluetooth to be on, and if it becomes annoying, rooting of devices (replacing the operating system) will become more common as a reaction, or getting a dumb phone which can't run apps for discreet travel.

    I'm not sure if a card will work or not as people can leave it at home, but at least that's the ultimate in opt in, can be tied to alert levels (compulsory for travel at certain alert levels), and will survive a change of phone.

    I'd also say that human rights are important, but they aren't much use if you're dead, so this is probably a case of the right to life outweighing other rights.

  13. Maurice 14

    Faraday Cage ?

  14. Sacha 15

    The whole idea of an app like Singapore's (or the card equivalent) is that it only records which other people with the same app or card cross your path.

    Does not need to know where you were. Does not know if you or anyone else is infectious. Data is downloaded for manual contact tracing, which can tease out those other details just like they already do.

    Otherwise, not useful in itself for any other purpose – unlike heaps of other apps people use every day with GPS/cellsite location tracing turned on.

    Very much little brother rather than big brother. Not that the privacy aspects can be ignored. Nobody I have seen with relevant tech expertise is saying that.

    • Andre 15.1

      I'm ok with carrying around a special purpose small device that records anonymised IDs of people I get close to, and that's the only thing it does.

      But I'm very wary of loading an app for that onto my general purpose device that uses the same comms channels for a whole lot of other things.

      Yes, I do go around with my mobile data, bluetooth and location information turned off, so the closest they get is which tower my phone is connecting to. And eftpos purchases.

    • weka 15.2

      "Not that the privacy aspects can be ignored. Nobody I have seen with relevant tech expertise is saying that."

      I've yet to see a good explanation of the tech in the NZ context that also takes the privacy issues seriously (rather than an add on).

  15. "I'm ok with carrying around a special purpose small device that records anonymised IDs of people I get close to, and that's the only thing it does."

    Ditto here.

    And tho' I'm far from a luddite given the first half or more of my life was working in IT, technophiles are always anxious to show us all how clever they are – often to the extent of reinventing wheels; assuring us that the risks of online voting can be 'managed', and there are solutions to everything.

    I'll always remember the wise words of the "10 pound pom" boss I had when first starting out – to paraphrase:

    People should drive technology (and IT solutions), not the other way round. How all that has been corrupted over the years by various IT salesmen and ticket clippers. (Let’s have online voting – because we can)

  16. Carolyn_Nth 17

    Once some records are on a database, there's no telling what authorities, corporations and governments will link it to. So, basically, if it were possible to develop a stand alone virus monitoring app, that'd be my preferred option.

    But then you don't know which companies might merge with the designer of that app in the future.

    Zuboff's research shows that there have been 2 steps in the age of surveillance capitalism. The first one was the erosion of privacy, so that people have gradually come to put all sorts of info about themselves in commercial applications (Facebook, etc), to be mined for commercially useful data.

    The 2nd step was to start using that data to manipulate people for commercial (and maybe political) benefits (see also facebook, etc.).

    She also quotes research that shows how little we know of the access we give to corporations when we sign up to their apps. So signing up to 1 app, involves also agreeing to other apps nested within it. She called these nests within an interconnected ecosystem. Uni of London research showed that agreeing to one smart home device had within it nearly a thousand other apps, each with their own TOS. To really see what you are agreeing to, you'd need to review each of these TOS.

    The role of the GCSB? Maybe to ensure the virus app is not hacked by other countries? But, given the GCSB can also be used to monitor protester within NZ… I don't trust them

  17. Ad 18

    And the update …

    Palantir is in the running for the Ministry of Health tracking contract.

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    As previously noted, my historical fantasy piece, set in the fifth-century Mediterranean, was accepted for a Pirate Horror anthology, only for the anthology to later fall through. But in a good bit of news, it turned out that the story could indeed be re-marketed as sword and sorcery. As of ...
    2 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Friday, July 19

    An employee of tobacco company Philip Morris International demonstrates a heated tobacco device. Photo: Getty ImagesTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Friday, July 19 are:At a time when the Coalition Government is cutting spending on health, infrastructure, education, housing ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Friday, July 19

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 8:30 am on Friday, July 19 are:Scoop: NZ First Minister Casey Costello orders 50% cut to excise tax on heated tobacco products. The minister has ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 19-July-2024

    Kia ora, it’s time for another Friday roundup, in which we pull together some of the links and stories that caught our eye this week. Feel free to add more in the comments! Our header image this week shows a foggy day in Auckland town, captured by Patrick Reynolds. ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    3 days ago
  • Weekly Climate Wrap: A market-led plan for failure

    TL;DR : Here’s the top six items climate news for Aotearoa this week, as selected by Bernard Hickey and The Kākā’s climate correspondent Cathrine Dyer. A discussion recorded yesterday is in the video above and the audio of that sent onto the podcast feed.The Government released its draft Emissions Reduction ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Tobacco First

    Save some money, get rich and old, bring it back to Tobacco Road.Bring that dynamite and a crane, blow it up, start all over again.Roll up. Roll up. Or tailor made, if you prefer...Whether you’re selling ciggies, digging for gold, catching dolphins in your nets, or encouraging folks to flutter ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • Trump’s Adopted Son.

    Waiting In The Wings: For truly, if Trump is America’s un-assassinated Caesar, then J.D. Vance is America’s Octavian, the Republic’s youthful undertaker – and its first Emperor.DONALD TRUMP’S SELECTION of James D. Vance as his running-mate bodes ill for the American republic. A fervent supporter of Viktor Orban, the “illiberal” prime ...
    3 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Friday, July 19

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Friday, July 19, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:The PSA announced the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) had ruled in the PSA’s favour in its case against the Ministry ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to July 19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Ah-rah, deeSoo-guh-goo-gee-goo-geeGoo-guh fli-goo gee-gooGuh fli-goo, ga-goo-buh-deeOoh, guh-goo-beeOoh-guh-guh-bee-guh-guh-beeFli-goo gee-gooA-fliguh woo-wa mama Lucifer!I’m about ready to move on, how about you?Not from the shooting, that’s bad and we definitely shouldn’t have that. But the rehabilitation of Donald J Trump? The deification of Saint Donald? As the Great Unifier?Gimme a bucket.https://yellowscene.com/2024/04/07/trump-as-jesus/Just to re-iterate, ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • June 2024: Earth’s 13th-consecutive warmest month on record

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    It had rained all day in Auckland, and the Metro Theatre in Mangere was steamed up inside as more and more people arrived to celebrate what had once seemed impossible. Sir Robert Muldoon had lost the 1984 election. “Piggy” Muldoon was no more. Such was the desire to get rid ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    7 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #28

    A listing of 34 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, July 7, 2024 thru Sat, July 13, 2024. Story of the week It's still early summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The season comes as our first year of 1.5°C warming ...
    1 week ago
  • Unsurprising, but Trump shooting creates opportunity for a surprising response

    I can’t say I’m shocked. As the US news networks offer rolling coverage dissecting the detail of today’s shooting at a Donald Trump rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, and we hear eye-witnesses trying to make sense of their trauma, the most common word being used is shock. And shocking it is. ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Escalation in the States as Trump is shot and his allies capitalize on the moment

    Snapshot summary of the shooting in the States belowAnd a time to remember what Abraham Lincoln once said of the United States of America:We find ourselves in the peaceful possession of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Bernie Sanders: Joe Biden for President

    I will do all that I can to see that President Biden is re-elected. Why? Despite my disagreements with him on particular issues, he has been the most effective president in the modern history of our country and is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump — a demagogue and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Questions from God

    Have you invited God into your online life? Do you have answers for his questions? Did I just assume God’s pronouns?Before this goes any further, or gets too blasphemous, a word of explanation. When I say “God”, I don’t meant your god(s), if you have one/them. The God I speak ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The politics of money and influence

    Did you know: Four days ago, the CEO of Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), David Zaslav, opined that he didn’t really care who won the US Presidential election, so long as they were M&A and business friendly. Please share my Substack so I can continue my work. Thank you and happy ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Auckland & Transport Minister Simeon Brown's insanity

    Excuse me, but I just don’t feel like being polite today. What is going on with Simeon Brown? I mean, really? After spending valuable Ministerial time, focus, and government resources to overturn tailored speed limits in school and high fatality zones that *checks notes* reduces the risk of deaths and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago

  • Oceans and Fisheries Minister to Solomons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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