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Peak soil

Written By: - Date published: 12:32 pm, April 5th, 2015 - 50 comments
Categories: Conservation, sustainability - Tags: , ,

No, not a typo. Just in case you’re short of things to worry about, you can add soil to the list. George Monbiot last month in The Guardian:

We’re treating soil like dirt. It’s a fatal mistake, as our lives depend on it

… Landowners around the world are now engaged in an orgy of soil destruction so intense that, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, the world on average has just 60 more years of growing crops. Even in Britain, which is spared the tropical downpours that so quickly strip exposed soil from the land, Farmers Weekly reports, we have “only 100 harvests left”.

To keep up with global food demand, the UN estimates, 6m hectares (14.8m acres) of new farmland will be needed every year. Instead, 12m hectares a year are lost through soil degradation. We wreck it, then move on, trashing rainforests and other precious habitats as we go. Soil is an almost magical substance, a living system that transforms the materials it encounters, making them available to plants. That handful the Vedic master showed his disciples contains more micro-organisms than all the people who have ever lived on Earth. Yet we treat it like, well, dirt.  …

A few years back I reviewed Tim Flannery’s Here on Earth: An Argument for Hope, which is also very good at documenting the dangers of the rapid environmental degradation that we are engaging in.

The government’s deregulation bill, which has now almost completed its passage through parliament, will force regulators – including those charged with protecting the fabric of the land – to “have regard to the desirability of promoting economic growth”. But short-term growth at the expense of public protection compromises long-term survival. This “unambiguously pro-business agenda” is deregulating us to death.  …

Of course our government is doing exactly the same, with its attack on the RMA.

This is what topples civilisations. War and pestilence might kill large numbers of people, but in most cases the population recovers. But lose the soil and everything goes with it.

Now, globalisation ensures that this disaster is reproduced everywhere. In its early stages, globalisation enhances resilience: people are no longer dependent on the vagaries of local production. But as it proceeds, spreading the same destructive processes to all corners of the Earth, it undermines resilience, as it threatens to bring down systems everywhere.

Most people understand the need to manage the environment sustainably. Even the political right should be able to grasp that there is no economy without the environment. And yet we carry on down our destructive road.

Obviously we need to vote for parties and local governments that take environmental issues seriously, not those that ignore or deny the problems. But we don’t have to just sit and wait for governments, we can all act locally. In this respect the Transition Town movement is a fantastic initiative. Get in touch with your own local transition organisation and get involved. There are plenty of great people and resources out there to learn from.

50 comments on “Peak soil”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    This is NZ from sapce. The light areas are farms and the dark areas are forest.

    Since the arrival of humans forests have dropped from near 100% to 31.4% in 2010. That coverage decrease had dropped to 56% by 1840 which means that even before the arrival of Europeans land use in NZ was unsustainable. Coverage has been slowly increasing since 1998 but not by enough.

    We need to change land use rules significantly from the presentfarm as a much as possible to make farmers richer to farm only what we need to feed the population in NZ. Cities need to upwards rather than outwards further decreasing land use. Everything else needs to be returned to forest with most of it being native forest.

    It is forests that build and sustain soil that can then be used to grow food. Artificial fertilisers do the exact opposite.

    • NZJester 1.1

      Actually maybe cities need to go down not up as in underground to leave the surface mostly clear for food and forest production. Or at least put in a growing level or two in each building.
      I saw a while back some plans an architect had drawn up of a building with a greenhouse built into it to grow food. Domes and mirrors on the roof reflected sunlight into the end of fiber-optic tubes that let them transfer the natural sunlight into the building where panels redistribute the light into the room without the need for electric lighting.
      Highrise greenhouses could be the thing of the future if we can still have the good soil to use.

      • weka 1.1.1

        We have enough land, that’s not the issue. We might end up with too many people, so at some point we will need either a steady state economy or degrowth. But the soil issue is how we farm the land we have not how much land we farm. Currently farming practices deplete soil, and the recent decades of extractive farming have accelerated that to a rate that is completely unsustainable. Fortunately we also know how to build soil (will drop some links down thread).

        • saveNZ 1.1.1.1

          Thanks Weka. Keen for links.

          Really liked those other links you did a while ago about drought. The one in Jordon was an amazing transformation.

          Do you know any thing about putting carbon in the soil?

          Apparently putting carbon in can totally change it for the better. Might be good for NZ soil.

          • weka 1.1.1.1.1

            Links here /peak-soil/#comment-995892

            The carbon one is interesting. Lots of amazing work being done using animal grazing to restore soil and at the same time sequester carbon (you have to stop ploughing of course). If perennial pasture is left to grow long, then is mob grazed low, the plants shed their roots and this feeds the microbes. Those microbes are then crucial to all the biological processes that go on that ensure fertility, and good soil structure. This builds carbon in the soil, and as a long as it isn’t ploughed it remains there indefinitely. There are a number of different systems now in use that mimic this natural cycle from grassland and herd ecosystems (which are very fertile).

            Much of that work has been done in Africa, the US and Australia. People are doing it here too. I’m not sure what the limitations are here. In the big continents, herd animals were part of the natural ecosytems for very long times. Not so here and I hope we get to do more research on what are the best practices for the soils we have. On the other hand, we’ve spent 150 years degrading the landscape here and there is no reason to not use the livestock farms we have to restore some of those landscapes until we get to the next thing (we also need to massively be planting trees, because forests are crucial to how the ecologies of NZ works).

            Check out Holistic Management (Allan Savory), Carbon Farming, Regenag, and Joel Salatin. People that are good with empirical evidence without scientific rationale can check out the biodynamic farmers too. All those techniques are looking at land restoration not just sustainable farming.

      • Coffee Connoissuer 1.1.2

        take a look at vertical farming.

    • Poission 1.2

      The contrast from SPACE with a ring fenced national park is evident with Taranaki.

      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b7/NEO_egmont_big.jpg

  2. saveNZ 2

    Absolutely right!!!

    Thanks for this article. Soil is very underestimated in how important it is both for food production, flora survival and erosion control.

    With the climatic change events that are occurring, droughts, floods, earthquakes, tidal waves etc throughout the world, soil issues are not really being talked about. We are losing the bees, kauris disease, etc etc and not enough is being done about it.

    People have lost sight of the big picture of life, now everything is so short term with profits – in the days before fertilisers you rotated crops and then on the seventh year let them be fallow. This has worked for centuries but now crops are mono crops, soil is not rested, soils are artificially maintained and the run off is leaching.

    I am not against fertiliser or pesticides but everything should be in moderation. There are big industry interests that want farmers to keep buying their products in ever increasing quantities. However the long term cost are not known and impacts on bees, water quality, soil etc

    The RMA is not strong enough already to protect the environment from short term profiteering, let alone if National gets its way to remove more environmental protection.

    Farmers should be the most scared, far from benefiting them, it is more likely industry and development will start to encroach them and wreck the Kiwi farming way of life. Fancy a motorway or power pylon through your farm, or a 200 residential subdivision next door – vote National!

  3. weka 3

    We need to shift to farming that not only doesn’t destroy fertile soil, but actively builds it. The basis of that is working with soil as a biological entity rather than a mechanical/chemical one. Fertility is created by the life cycles in the soil that are completely dependent on microbes. Kill or disrupt the microbes and the fertility and structure of the soil degrade.

    Currently we destroy soil by ploughing, leaving soil exposed, using artificial fertilisers, creating monocultures, overgrazing, cutting down trees and destroying natural ecosystems, and using techniques that dry out the land. Those things destroy the microbial life in the soil. All of that is avoidable.

    Examples of soil building farmers including Joel Salatin, who build soil at a rate far in excess of what biologists have been currently thinking.

    Joel Salatin’s family moved to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley in 1960. Estimates of soil lost by plowing in the valley since colonial times range from 3 to 8 feet. When Joel’s father began grazing, there were areas of bare shale rock as extensive as 100 feet in diameter. In 2000, after 40 years of grazing, the largest of these rocky galls had been reduced to a few feet in diameter. By 2010, he couldn’t find any of these areas with less than 8 inches of new soil. He is making a case for 8 inches of soil created within a decade using a grazing plan with high-density herd impact followed by ample recovery time.

    http://www.nofamass.org/articles/2014/05/how-can-we-build-deep-rich-soils-new-england

    A good explanation of the soil food web and how it works,

    http://www.resilience.org/stories/2006-12-07/soil-food-web-opening-lid-black-box

    Demonstration of how to re-establish soil fertility in a dry, very degraded landscape by managing water in the soil and planting appropriately (“they laughed and said it couldn’t be done”) 5 mins,

    John Liu’s documentary on the restoration of the Loess Plateau (large scale restoration of desertified land to ecological food production).

    Holistic Management case studies in Australia, including large scale stations,

    http://www.soilsforlife.org.au/case-studies.html

    • RedLogix 3.1

      Great links weka. Especially that last one from Australia.

      Last year I had the chance to see what long-term drought is doing to farmers in NSW up close and personal. It ain’t pretty. The sad part is that only a minority of landowners like the ones in that link are so far willing to contemplate real change.

      Oh and the relationship between soil, forests and carbon capture has long stuck in my mind the the most vital link of all.

      Just local to us is Dave Holgren who can rightly be described as the godfather of permaculture here – we’re planning a visit as soon as we can find a free weekend.

      http://holmgren.com.au/

  4. fisiani 4

    So is this the latest excuse for no more houses to be build in the outer parts of Auckland and then blame the gummint for lack of houses?

    • weka 4.1

      stoopid trole.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      The only thing stopping new housing in Auckland is the government and they’re doing that by forcing green fields development for their land banking mates. What we really need is medium and high density within the bounds that we have and to slowly bring those bounds in.

      We have no other choice as we’ve already burnt through the resources that allowed us to spread out catastrophically.

    • DoublePlusGood 4.3

      Pro tip: just intensify the isthmus and then you don’t need to have Auckland swallow Franklin and Rodney.

  5. Upnorth 5

    this website just gets loopier and loopier

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      This is from te Ara, the New Zealand government’s encyclopedia of New Zealand.

      Extent of erosion

      In 1997 the Ministry for the Environment noted that:

      50% of the country was affected by moderate to slight erosion
      10% had severe to extreme erosion (eastern North Island, parts of Taranaki, and the South Island high country)
      only 31% of the total area could sustain pastoral farming without significant control of erosion
      a further 28% could support restricted livestock grazing combined with erosion control.
      It stated that the erosion of agricultural soils in the North Island hill country and South Island high country was of major concern.

      Are they loopy too? Or do they just require defunding?

      • weka 5.1.1

        The irony there is that the current government is desperately trying to control the advice coming from its own departments on ecological crises. It really doesn’t want to know what is real. Loopier and loopier.

      • Upnorth 5.1.2

        thats because the Labour goverment took away all farming subsidies – fertiliser was no one…hmmm

    • saveNZ 5.2

      @Fisiani or Upnorth, if you eat food, then soil is important. Not really loopy.

      Just because you don’t understand something does not mean it is not important.

      If you only care about money, then check out both the price of building insurance now and the cost of food in your supermarket. You might also like to understand farming both livestock, plants and trees is part of the NZ economy and tourism is also important that is based on the idea we have a clean green country.

      There is a relationship between food, soil, plants, livestock, trees, and climate change. I am sure in the ACT 101 manual it is not there but even the most ardent climate change denier I believe still understands that soil and food are related.

  6. tracey 6

    BEES HAVE BEEN IN TROUBLE FOR A LONG TIME TOO AND FOR SOME REASON (BASIC IGNORANCE OF HOW OUR FOOD CHANCE WORKS PERHAPS) it keeps flying under the radar (figuratively speaking)

    sorry Caps lock

    Soil and bees.

    Those who think a focus on those is loopy truly need to check off the planet now.

  7. fisiani 7

    What percentage of NZ is developed land? Care to guess?
    Is it 50%? 30%? 20%? 10%? 5%?
    I’ll post the answer later after I laugh at the guesses.

  8. Sable 8

    The fools in Labour and National seem to think treating our country as a toilet is just fine. Yet parties that do care seem to get overlooked. Personally I don’t get it.

  9. fisiani 9

    I’ll give you a little clue. We have roughly the same population as Singapore, Singapore could fit inside Lake Taupo,
    Whatever the point of this post it is irrelevant in New Zealand which is vastly under populated.

    • saveNZ 9.1

      Earth to Fisiani…

      Soil is not about Housing, soil is about Food Production!!!

      Many of New Zealand’s exports are related to food production or forestry.

      Soil is very important in NZ and less important than in Singapore which probably has to import all their food and forestry.

      Your point even wrecks your argument about housing as Singapore has a larger population in a vastly smaller country so blaming our housing issues on not enough land is nonsensical. Not to mention irrelevant.

    • felix 9.2

      What does “under populated” mean?

    • weka 9.3

      Fisiani, where does Singapore get its food from? (and it’s other resources)/

    • Foreign waka 9.4

      I am surprised that you say that since NZ main income comes from agriculture and forestry. Now, this requires land and lots of it. Unfortunately, many farmers are very short sighted (as are the gamblers on Wall street). The credo is: we want the dollars, and we want it now. This of cause means that the land is being used like a mechanical plant which we all know is unsustainable. The question is, will it be people in their middle age seeing the disaster when they are old or is it their kids?
      NZ is an island and as such extremely prone for the top soil being just being blown off to the sea. As it is only the top layer that allows to grow anything, farmers have undertaken a combination of deforestation, whilst growing only pines in other parts, depletion of water and pollution of the rest of waterways, whilst all the while saturating with ever increasing amounts of pesticides and other chemicals fields that are fertile.
      This principle of increasing yields might be seen as perfectly OK in the realm of invented values in the Stock market, but the Earth and its means of supporting all life is a bit too big for the little boys to play with.
      Coming back to the population growth as you stated with the example of Singapore. Firstly, the density of people living there is inhuman – literally. Secondly, we first need to be able to feed every child in NZ before we should have more of the same. Please do not come back with more people = more economic activity as this is really not the case in the long run.

      • NZJester 9.4.1

        It used to be every few years the over used farm soil in ancient farms would refuse to grow new crops as the farmers exhausted the nutrients in the soil their crops needed to grow. Then they discovered you could improve soil structure and fertility by alternating deep-rooted and shallow-rooted plants in the same area of ground by crop rotation. Modern farmers try to avoid the need to rotate crops by dumping on lots of fertilizer but that is starting to cause problems in our rivers and streams by choking up the waterways with nasty aquatic plants nourished by the fertilizer runoff into our rivers and streams when it rains. They should just go back to the well proven and environmental friendly method of crop rotation and avoid dumping all that fertilizer on the farms.

        • Foreign waka 9.4.1.1

          You are absolutely right. It would be even more important now to have the field rotation as well as certain plants as “neighborhood” crops to have a natural pest prevention in place.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.5

      That’s not a clue but an allusion and a piss poor one at that as it fails to take into account reality.

  10. Maui 11

    From what I can gather the Transition Town movement isn’t really a political group. Sure it’s a group where Green minded people will gravitate to and form some sort of community, but it’s not an activist group. I think there’s a big gap there for another green protest group to fill as the ecological pressures continue to mount and put pressure on society.

  11. aerobubble 12

    All species have the potential to explode in population, and just like all previous species we are inevitably going to hit a resource shortage, and have done over coming by adapting faster than genes use to, so much so that we did not take much of a hit.

    Eventually we will find a limit we cannot adapt culturally faster enough to, this would coincide with a rise in conservativism – forces opposed to change – will always occur when society needs to change. Heres the thing though, when we hit the wall, the final limit we cannot adapt fast enough, the conservative forces will be strongest, feeding off the growing clamor for change, but culture unable to agree on hw to achieve it since its a wall against which there is no solution.

    Well there is a solution, massive depopulation. Global one child policies. And until we actually can work together collectively globally we beyter get at it, crises in soil, water, energy, carbon show we are solving the easy bits of our spe ies needs and leaving all the hard problems, the wall exposed more clearly.

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  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    6 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    6 days ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    7 days ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
    The coronavirus pandemic has of course had a major impact on individual lives and on societies as a whole. But, long after the crisis has passed (assuming it does), we will begin to realise that its real and lasting significance lies in the lessons it has taught us, if only ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
    COVID-19 has plunged Aotearoa New Zealand (indeed, the world) into territory that, while maybe not totally unprecedented, certainly hasn’t been seen during the lifetimes of most of us here today. Our borders are closed to non-citizens, we’re being told not to gather in groups of more than 500 outside/100 inside, ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been urging you to prepare yourself, your family, business, and community for Covid-19. Now it’s time for real action.  Yesterday the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced another 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing our total to date to 52. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020 Editor's Pick Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts   Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed ...
    1 week ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
    by Cultural Worker Late March 2020 amidst the virus. With gigs crashing and burning all around it was without much hope that I called a long standing rest home booking: “ Hi, I’m supposed to be entertaining at your place this afternoon – is it still on?” “”If you don’t ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
    Whenever people demand real change from their politicians, we're told that "politics is the art of the possible". The implication is that change isn't possible, so we'd better just get used to the sucky status quo. But now that there's a pandemic, a lot of things we were previously told ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Only Way Through This Crisis Is Together.
    Together: In leading New Zealand through the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Prime Minister could do a lot worse than allow herself to be guided by the spirit of collective sacrifice and co-operation that animated the New Zealanders of 80 years ago. Most Kiwis alive today have had no opportunity to prove their ...
    1 week ago
  • GFC vs Covid-19
    It is said that generals fight the last war. In the case of the early stages of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) they had learned from the Great Depression of the 1930s and they fought intelligently and successfully. Later their advice would be ignored in favour of the Austerians who ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Nobody Left Behind.
    Solidarity Forever: All over the world, the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has exposed the fragility of the walls we erect around ourselves and our loved ones. It has shattered our illusions of autonomy and revealed to us how utterly dependent we all are on other human-beings. Finally, we see ...
    1 week ago
  • Rebuilding a truly “Democratic” counter, or a “moderate Republican” bolt-hol...
    Looking across the various arguments for/against the leading candidates to take the Democratic Nomination, you might honestly be very hard pressed to tell. There are a number of things that have now started happening since Amy Klobuchar and “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg both threw the towel in and immediately (and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Abortion law reform a win for women
    by Daphna Whitmore Abortion is no longer in the Crimes Act in New Zealand. The law reform passed yesterday and now abortion is a medical matter between a woman and her doctor. Many women’s groups and progressive people have campaigned for reform for decades. The women’s liberation movement and some ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • How to spot bogus science stories and read the news like a scientist
    Doug Specht, University of Westminster and Julio Gimenez, University of Westminster When fake news, misreporting and alternative facts are everywhere, reading the news can be a challenge. Not only is there plenty of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other scientific topics floating around social media, you also ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus
    Michael Baker, University of Otago and Nick Wilson, University of Otago With some of the toughest border restrictions and a newly-announced NZ$500 million boost to health services, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand is also fortunate in ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the pandemic II
    As expected, the government has introduced a sessional order to allow Parliament to operate during the pandemic. You can read it on the Order Paper here, but the short version is that questions and motions can be filed electronicly, select committees can work remotely, and the the Business Committee can ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When a virus goes viral: pros and cons to the coronavirus spread on social media
    Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology; Daniel Angus, Queensland University of Technology; Timothy Graham, Queensland University of Technology, and Tobias R. Keller, Queensland University of Technology News and views about coronavirus has spread via social media in a way that no health emergency has done before. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • How to survive 14 days of self-isolation
    So you’ve recently returned from overseas, come into contact with someone who tested positive, got a bit of a dry cough yourself or perhaps just want to self isolate for 14 days to avoid other people who might have COVID-19. Here are a few tips and tricks to help get ...
    1 week ago
  • Abortion Legislation Bill passes third reading
    Some fave speeches:     ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    1 week ago
  • Why Leadership Matters – More Than Anything.
    Our Good Fortune: Precisely because she has never been an ideologue (she calls herself a “pragmatic idealist”) Jacinda Ardern has a political nimbleness and spontaneity which, when infused with her exceptional emotional intelligence, produces spectacular demonstrations of leadership. Jacinda's empathic political personality contrasts sharply with the less-than-sunny ways of her ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #11, 2020
    1 week ago
  • 68-51
    The Abortion Legislation Bill has just passed its third reading, 68-51. NZ First MPs bailed because their referendum amendment didn't pass, but there were plenty of MPs to provide a majority without them. The bill is a long way from perfect - most significantly, it subjects pregnant people who need ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The ‘herd immunity’ route to fighting coronavirus is unethical and potentially dangerous
    As most of the world tries to suppress the coronavirus spread, some countries are going it alone – trying to manage the pandemic through so-called “herd immunity”. Herd immunity means letting a large number of people catch a disease, and hence develop immunity to it, to stop the virus spreading. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Eight new COVID-19 cases today. It’s no surprise when you look at some numbers
    So, as I sit at home with a very, very slight headache (i.e. not at work when I would otherwise be so), the now familiar figure of Ashley Bloomfield reports eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19  including two in Waikato. A surprise, given that we had just twelve yesterday? No. ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • The WINZ Paradox versus the new COVID-19 Reality: Get real people, seriously…
    Many who advocated for, and voted for, the current Coalition – particularly those who voted Labour and the Green Party – expected to see a sea change in the reality of social services. A real, deep change of attitude, approach of process through which the system negotiates the difficult and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • The Air New Zealand bailout
    Stuff reports that the government is going to have to throw $2 - 3 billion at Air new Zealand to get it through the pandemic. Good. While international routes are basicly closed, Air New Zealand is a strategic asset which is vital to our tourism industry, not to mentioning airfreight. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Why NZ’s tough coronavirus travel rules are crucial to protecting lives at home and across the Pac...
    New Zealand’s border restrictions will come with significant job and business losses in the tourism sector, both at home and in the Pacific. But the new travel rules are absolutely necessary to protect the health of New Zealanders and people right across Pacific Islands, because New Zealand is a gateway ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The tiniest of teeth
    Back in early 2018, as a shoddy legal tactic to try and avoid the prisoner voting ban being formally declared inconsistent with the BORA by the Supreme Court, Justice Minister Andrew Little floated the idea of greater legal protection for human rights. When the Supreme Court case didn't go the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • One simple, common factor to success against COVID-19
    Professor Philip Hill and Associate Professor James Ussher Most infectious diseases have an Achilles heel, the secret is to find it. The question is if we don’t have a drug or a vaccine for COVID-19, is there something else we can do to beat it? Some people estimate that, without ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • National should isolate Simon Bridges
    The Coalition Governments $12.1 billion economic package to help combat the financial effects of COVID-19 was generally well received across the board, even amongst many business leaders who would normally be critical of a Labour led Government.However there was one glaringly obvious exception, Simon Bridges. The so-called leader of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • How testing for Covid-19 works
    With confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand up to 12, many influential people are writing open letters and opinion pieces and doing press conferences asking why we aren’t pulling out all the stops and testing thousands of people a day like they are in South Korea. The thing is, ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    2 weeks ago
  • The COVID-19 package and the limits of capitalism
    by Daphna Whitmore The willingness to put human life before business shows that sometimes capitalism is capable of suspending its relentless drive for profit. For a short time it can behave differently. Flatten the curve is the public health message since COVID-19 suddenly overwhelmed the hospital system in northern Italy. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Black April, May and June?
    Worldwide, the 1918 influenza epidemic – wrongly called ‘Spanish’ flu – lasted about two years. However, it lasted about six weeks in New Zealand (remembered as ‘Black November’, because the dead turned a purplish-black). It is thought about 7000 Pakeha died and 2,500 Maori. The population mortality rate was about ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID 19 has struck… as has a lot of terrible ineptitude from far too many
    In a world and a time when the worst off and most vulnerable have been asked, time and again, to foot the bill for the complete subjugating to the will of the 1% thanks to the GFC, at a point where the world as a whole is now seeing quite ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • What’s in the Coronavirus Package?
    With the economy already reeling from a crisis that’s barely begun, the Government today sought to provide reassurance to workers and businesses in the form of a massive phallic pun to insert much-needed cash into the private sector and help fight the looming pandemic. Here are the key components: $5.1 ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • I just had my benefit suspended during a fucking pandemic
    I am a member of the working poor and so still need state welfare to make rent. So I had booked an appointment for yesterday with my caseworker at Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) to apply for a transition to work grant. However the current health advice in New ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    2 weeks ago

  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
    The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks.   “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to make sure businesses can work together in ways that will allow them to provide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
    The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
    Associate Health and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare has today announced the Government’s plan to support Māori communities and businesses in the face of COVID-19. “Our Government’s $12.1 billion economic package will help many Māori whānau, workers and businesses, whether it’s through wage subsidies, income support and worker redeployment, or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
    The Government and the hospitality industry have worked together to produce guidelines to assist with managing and reducing transmission of COVID-19, Health Minister David Clark announced today.  The guidelines developed between the Government, Hospitality New Zealand and SkyCity Entertainment Group, set out how the new restrictions on physical distancing and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
    Four stage Alert System for COVID-19 announced New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact New Zealanders over 70 and those with certain medical conditions told to stay at home as much as they can to reduce risk of contact with the virus Workplaces to implement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM Address – Covid-19 Update
    Kia ora koutou katoa I’m speaking directly to all New Zealanders today to give you as much certainty and clarity as we can as we fight Covid-19. Over the past few weeks, the world has changed. And it has changed very quickly. In February it would have seemed unimaginable to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ and Singapore commit to keeping supply and trade links open, including on essential goods and med...
    New Zealand and Singapore have jointly committed to keep supply chains open and to remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the commitment. “This is an important collective response, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Joint Ministerial Statement by Singapore and New Zealand -Covid-19 situation
    JOINT MINISTERIAL STATEMENT BY SINGAPORE AND NEW ZEALAND AFFIRMING COMMITMENT TO ENSURING SUPPLY CHAIN CONNECTIVITY AMIDST THE COVID-19 SITUATION  The COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis.  As part of our collective response to combat COVID-19, Singapore and New Zealand are committed to maintaining open and connected supply chains. We ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Transit between Australia and New Zealand
    Travel restrictions, closing our border to almost all travelers came into force from 23:59 on Thursday 19 March 2020 (NZDT).  All airlines were informed of these restrictions before they came into force. Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says “The transit of passengers between Australia and New Zealand has been agreed upon and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $100 million to redeploy workers
    The Government has allocated $100 million to help redeploy workers affected by the economic impact of COVID-19, with the hard-hit region of Gisborne-Tairāwhiti to be the first helped, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford, Forestry and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced today. Phil Twyford ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More support for wood processing
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is ramping up support for Tairāwhiti’s wood processing sector to bolster the region’s economy at a time of heightened uncertainty, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Following earlier announcements today of a regional support package for Tairāwhiti, Minister Jones has also announced a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt steps in to protect Air New Zealand
    The Coalition Government has stepped in to protect Air New Zealand with a significant financial deal that protects essential routes and allows the company to keep operating. The Government and Air New Zealand have agreed a debt funding agreement through commercial 24-month loan facilities of up to $900 million*. The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Stronger border measures to protect NZers from COVID-19
    The Government has taken further measures to protect New Zealanders from the COVID-19 virus, effectively stopping all people from boarding a plane to New Zealand from 11:59pm today, except for returning New Zealanders, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.  New Zealanders’ partners, legal guardians or any dependent children travelling with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Action on indoor gatherings and events to protect public health
    The Government has reinforced its commitment to protecting the health of New Zealanders from COVID-19 through the cancellation of indoor events with more than 100 people.  “Protecting the health of New Zealanders is our number one priority, and that means we need to reduce the risks associated with large gatherings,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealanders advised not to travel overseas
    The New Zealand Government is advising New Zealanders not to travel overseas due to COVID-19, Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced. “We are raising our travel advice to the highest level: do not travel,” Mr Peters said. “This is the first time the New Zealand Government has advised New Zealanders ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt announces aviation relief package
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today outlined the first tranche of the $600 million aviation sector relief package announced earlier this week as part of the Government’s $12.1 billion COVID-19 economic response. The initial part of the aviation package aims to secure the operators of New Zealand’s aviation security system, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago