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Plutonomy

Written By: - Date published: 2:29 pm, November 18th, 2009 - 45 comments
Categories: capitalism - Tags:

plutocracyIn Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story (which is excellent, btw) he refers to two 2005 Citigroup memos about ‘plutonomy’ economies and political structures designed with the primary purpose of further enriching the rich. They’re stunning, not only for their frank admission that capitalism favours a tiny portion of the population at the expense of the rest but the premise that this is fantastic and that anything that could change the situation, like democracy, is a ‘threat’. Here’s some quotes:

The earth is being held up by muscular arms of its entrepreneur-plutocrats [Jesus, a straight-faced reference to Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged]

In a plutonomy, there is no such animal as the ‘average consumer’. There are rich consumers, few in number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income and consumption they take. There are the rest, the ‘non-rich’, the multitudinous many, but only accounting for surprisingly small bites of the national pie.

The top 1% of households account for 33% of net worth, greater than the bottom 90% put together.

[During an economic boom] in a plutonomy, the rich drop their savings rate, consume a larger fraction of their bloated, very large share of the economy. This behaviour overshadows the decisions of everybody else. The behaviour of the exceptionally rich drives the national numbers the ‘appalling low’ overall savings rate, the ‘overextended consumer’, and the ‘unsustainable’ current accounts.

While damning ‘non-plutonomies’ the memos show that it is possible to be a wealthy country with a basically capitalist system without an ever higher share of wealth going to the ultra-rich:
plutonomy

Under a section dealing with ‘threats’ to plutonomy:

Whilst the rich are getting a greater share of the wealth and the poor a lesser share, political enfranchisement remains as it was one person, one vote. At some point it is likely that labour will fight against the rising profit share of the rich.

Corporate tax rates could rise, choking off returns to the private sector, and personal taxation rates could rise dividend, capital-gains, and inheritance tax rises would hurt the plutonomy.

slow down the rate of wealth accumulation by the rich generally thought a reduction in the profit share of GDP. This could occur through a change in rules that affect the balance of power between labour and capital.

One reason that societies allow plutonomy is because enough of the electorate believe they have a chance of becoming a Pluto-participant. Could plutonomies die because the dream is dead, because enough of society does not believe they can participate? The answer is of course yes. But we suspect this is a threat more clearly felt during recession and periods of falling wealth if voters fells they cannot participate they are more likely to divide up the wealth pie.

The rich know they’re on conflict with us and they’re outnumbered. Their best hope is that most of us keep our eyes closed and continue to buy the lie that we could be plutocrats too.

45 comments on “Plutonomy”

  1. vto 1

    I think those memos refer to this idea being a ‘thesis’ not some previously unknown truth that the rich have suddenly and inadvertantly let out of the bag.

    • Daveo 1.1

      Read the document, it’s Citigroup’s analysis of how the economy works and their advice to the “mega-rich” on how to take advantage of it and prevent the masses from rising up and putting a stop to the whole crooked game.

      The document’s just stunning, they actually compare neoliberal economies to 16th century Spain.

      • vto 1.1.1

        It refers to plutonomy as a concept and as a thesis three times in the first two sentences.

        • Daveo 1.1.1.1

          Yeah, I don’t get what your point is though. It’s the way they believe the economy is working and they are advising their wealthy clients how to maintain this system. It’s a ‘thesis’ for these people in the same way that Marxism is a ‘thesis’ for the Communist Party.

        • snoozer 1.1.1.2

          so what vto? democracy is a concept, ‘efficient market hypothesis’ underlies neoliberal thought, evolution is a theory.

          All these words mean is that a model for conceiving of the real world is being explained, a model has validity inasmuch as it accurately describes what happens in the real world.

          I’m just not sure what you’re trying to get at vto. Are you saying that it’s not true that a small percentage of the population controls the bulk of wealth? Or are you denying the truth in front of your face that the rich are aware they are in conflict with the rest of us over wealth?

          • vto 1.1.1.2.1

            My point is that these memos are outlining just one, plutonomy, of many many ideas and theories that Citigrope research. That research is passed onto its clients.

            Plutonomy is not the sole, or even major, thesis that these rich pricks base their life practices on in order to maintain and expand their positions.

            Yet this post seems to take it as that. That plutonomy is “the way they believe the economy works” as daveo says.

            That is not what this memo is.

            I think this is what is called dog-whistling ya?

            • snoozer 1.1.1.2.1.1

              so, you’re saying that Citigroup doesn’t believe the stuff they release to clients?

              This is really head in the sand stuff champ

            • vto 1.1.1.2.1.2

              Sheesh snoozer I did not say that at all. I said it describes itself as a thesis. I imagine Citigroup would believe this thesis as much as say a university believes any thesis that sprouts from within its own confines.

              Do you believe every thesis snoozer?

              It really does nobody any good if something is held up as something it is not. Rather deceptive Mr Marty, stating this is “a frank admission” when it is nothing of the sort. Still, allows plenty of scope for the brainless lynch mobs to start braying, as per lprent’s lynch mob post a couple days ago.

            • felix 1.1.1.2.1.3

              So are you disputing anything at all about the thesis?

            • vto 1.1.1.2.1.4

              Well felix, from a quick glance mine own thoughts are that there appear to be some pretty damn good points in it.

              As I am sure there in other theories about capitalism and the position and manouevring of the ultra-rich within it.

            • snoozer 1.1.1.2.1.5

              vto. For godsake, Citigroup isn’t a university.

              At a university academics have academic freedom, which means they can come up with and print pretty much any thesis as long as it lives up to academic standards of research and argument. Their work is their’s not the university’s and they are not required to conform to an official univiersity position on issues.

              Citigroup is a business. Anything it produces is produced in the name of the organisation and employees do not have academic freedom or aynthing like it – they can’t just write whatever they want, it has to conform with the official company view. When Citigroup publishes a document, that is Citigroup’s official position. It puts out memos advising its clients on what shares to purchase and this is one of them wherein it advises its clients to purchase shares based on a frank analysis of the fact that the wealthy control the lion’s share of wealth – which citigroup refers to as (indeed praises as) plutonomy.

      • Bored 1.1.2

        Why not, its imperialism and exploitation still isnt it?

  2. Bored 2

    How can a blog be so accusing, so hard on the rich? Dont you know they have their just deserts through superior cleverness, harder work, any number of reasons that justify why they sit at the apex of the material mountain. How can you be so cruel to the wealthy? They deserve it, twisted versions of Darwin and the Bible confirm their right to be there. Not to mention St Ayns little missives.

    So leave the darlings alone, lets face it they never hurt anybody did they?

    • prism 2.1

      Yes Bored It pays to know that St Ayns ‘bibles; are well worth reading if one wants to understand the drive that these people on wealth steroids feel to magnify themselves. I particularly liked her Objective Ethics where she often fulminates of the ‘evil’ of altruism. Some objectivity.
      And she has also written the Virtue of Selfishness, she is just over the top and following her would turn our world into something like Bladerunner depicts.]
      I have got a lot of reading to do of her stuff before I can say I know it, I’ve got Atlas Shrugged which I need to set myself a few pages at least a day and seeing its a doorstop, it may take me six months. It is interesting to know about her as she stands out from the usual USA financial class.

      • Quoth the Raven 2.1.1

        Like rightwingers with Marx I think there is often a bit of hysteria around Rand, probably guilty of it myself.
        Here’s a couple of interesting bits:
        Ayn Rand’s Left-Libertarian Legacy.
        Ayn Rand and the Capitalist Class

        • prism 2.1.1.1

          Interesting site QTR – first thing I saw was – Andreas Katsulas, who played G’kar so unforgettably on Babylon 5, has died. Used to watch that religiously – great politics amongst other story lines.

        • Armchair Critic 2.1.1.2

          Thanks for the links QTR. I’m plugging through one of her novels now, and it has done a couple of things. One is that it has explained a lot about a couple of my friends. The other is it has consistently revolted me.
          The author of the links seems to have some sensible ideas on other topics, but when in comes to Rand he sounds like an apologist.

          • Quoth the Raven 2.1.1.2.1

            I don’t think he’s being an apologist, just showing another side of Rand – like young Marx and old Marx. If you want something negative about Rand this is a good read: The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult

            • Armchair Critic 2.1.1.2.1.1

              Thanks again QTR, I’ve done none of the things I planned to do this evening. LOL.
              I think Prof Rothbard is too kind, too, but that’s just me. The links from his page were good, too.

        • Daveo 2.1.1.3

          Rand is basically Nietzschian in outlook, she doesn’t even understand how capitalism works – that the dynamism is in the system, not in the god-like capitalists at the top.

          There’s a lot of talk about ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ but if you read Atlas Shrugged with some basic understanding of politics and philosophy she’s essentially a proto-fascist who believes in rule by a property-owning elite. Her contempt for democracy is explicit, and she repeatedly refers to ordinary people as “moochers” etc. That scene where she celebrates the death of people who believe in the tenets of collectivism is bordering on genocidal. And that rape scene in The Fountainhead? Jesus.

          It’s worth reading, just to get an understanding of how a lot of the more rabid right-wingers think, but there’s nothing there for the left.

      • Bored 2.1.2

        From what you have told me of your reading of Ayn you share my sympathies. I would have to suggest that I found Ayn a bit like eating something that repulsed every sense in your taste buds at a dinner party, then being asked for the sake of politeness to take a second helping. May I suggest you read something else for dessert, you have done your duty.

  3. tc 3

    With some religions it’s ‘God is great, god is good…..” in the world of high finance/corpoate finance it’s ‘Greed is great, Greed is good….” and with similar fanatacism heaven forbid anyone who disagrees with the might of the rich and powerful ruling class.
    On that subject isn’t it nice to see Mark and Eric’s hangover escape any meaningful scrutiny by the powers that be…..Gaynor had a go but felt the weight of their mates whilst a compliant finance media sat idly by simply too weak/inexperienced to ask some serious questions……a sham arrangement designed to keep them from following Bridgecorp/Bluechip into the courts.
    I note their chairman Yes Man (Greg Muir) who fronted the ‘arrangements’ is no longer around…..rats and ships eh.

    • Bored 3.1

      Theres a wonderful Biblical line (dont know where from) that goes “to those that have will be given”…..

  4. Quoth the Raven 4

    Lo and behold what came to rescue citigroup from the market? The state with billions of dollars worth of bailouts.

  5. Clarke 5

    I’ve posted both these quotes before, but they probably bear repeating in this context:

    “Today, the signature of modern American capitalism is neither benign competition, nor class struggle, nor an inclusive middle-class utopia. Instead, predation has become the dominant feature — a system wherein the rich have come to feast on decaying systems built for the middle class. The predatory class is not the whole of the wealthy; it may be opposed by many others of similar wealth. But it is the defining feature, the leading force. And its agents are in full control of the government under which we live.”

    – James K. Galbraith

    And this:

    “Western democratic capitalism … never foresaw that in a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organised greed always defeats disorganised democracy.”

    – Matt Taibbi

  6. Bored 6

    Jeez, I just read the article and part 2, it really is the sickest little f**k you text to those who are not plutocrats. Veblen would have had a field day with this, the Jacobins would have said “QED, convicted, guillotine, next”.

  7. fizzleplug 7

    Just as a suggestion, when linking pictures instead of inserting, could the linked image be larger please? (probably not technically linked, but clicking on it led to a new page, so the terminology is close enough for me).

    I don’t like straining my eyes if I don’t have to.

  8. Rich 8

    What the Citigroup memo proposes is exactly the Marxist idea of false consciousness. The writers believe, as did Marx, that the “proletariat” (nowadays, the non-plutocrats) are misled as to their chances of material progress.

    It’s interesting that they feel able to advance this thesis, when use of the term “false consciousness” amongst any group to the right of the SWP nowadays gets you called patronising, a Stalinist, or worse.

    • marco 8.1

      All hail Lotto…placating the masses since who knows when.

      • prism 8.1.1

        marco – Lotto isn’t too bad. Many of us like a flutter, take a little risk, unlike those betting on financial houses being viable.

        Did you hear on Nat radio recently about the woman who lost everything to bingo? Went into a trance and drew money from her account and couldn’t remember doing it – finished up losing her house etc. Even had a miscarriage while at the pokies but just cleaned up and went back, completely besotted with it.

        We didn’t use to have pokies in NZ till those 1984 righties introduced them, may have been under Labour’s watch. Why, a business opportunity was being lost! Sophisticated gambling casinos, friendly neighbourhood gambling parlours – just what we need they decided. It is a nice package for businessmen to seduce the vulnerable and addict them, then you have their money, their allegiance, and you can feel superior and kick them when they are down.

  9. So,….the “American Dream” is a euphemism for the carrot the plutocrats dangle in front of the rabbits to keep them hopping along.

    • burt 9.1

      And the Aussie dream and the Kiwi dream. Borrow big and live the lifestyle today… grease the wheels of the money machine. Now some crazy bare foot fellow use to talk about not being a lender or a borrower. Wonder what he thought of capitalism.

  10. RedLogix 10

    The best cure for greed is to make it an embarrassing social disorder. (I’m being serious.)

    • Galeandra 10.1

      Right on, RL
      Too often we’re polite about wealth, when in fact it is a symptom of greed. Especially today when we can know there’s a huge environmental backstory behind the successes like “Joe, my ex-neighbour from down the road, real hard worker, nice bloke, he’s got four farms down South,now.” (overheard on a plane recently)

      Should people feel a bit ashamed of the implications behind us all ‘growing NZ’ s share of the pie’, and of their growing their share of the NZ pie?

    • Draco T Bastard 10.2

      It is a social disorder but mental illness shouldn’t be seen as embarrassing. These people need help and if they’re embarrassed they probably won’t seek that help.

    • RL

      I so agree with you on this one. LOL. (I’m bloody serious about it too.)

      DtB

      I reckon greed is one of the many forms their disease can take and as such one of the diagnostic tools but you’ll find more often than not that the underlying disorder is that of Malicious Narcissism or Sociopathy. These people are notoriously difficult to treat and they will never ever think of themselves as someone who needs help.

  11. Quoth the Raven 11

    Here’s an interesting video:Crashing Michael Moore

    • Daveo 11.1

      It’s a complete misunderstanding of political economy to think that capitalist power relationships could exist without the force of an interventionist state. What those chumps are describing isn’t capitalism, it’s a schoolboy fantasy.

      • Quoth the Raven 11.1.1

        Captialism involves the interventionist state if we talk about actually existing capitalism. That’s why I think it’s wrong to talk about the free market as capitalist. I agree with you that captialist power relations couldn’t exist without the state. It’s like pro-capitalist anti-free market economist Martin Whitman said:

        “I am one with Professor Friedman that, other things being equal, it is far preferable to conduct economic activities through voluntary exchange relying on free markets rather than through coercion. But Corporate America would not work at all unless many activities continued to be coercive.”

        • Daveo 11.1.1.1

          This would be the Friedman who met with and later had his ideas implemented by Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet?

          Friedman also met with the military dictator, President Augusto Pinochet during his visit. He did not serve officially as an advisor to the Chilean government, but did write a letter providing Pinochet with a “shock” program to end hyperinflation and promote a market economy[39]. Later, Friedman said he believed that market reforms would undermine Pinochet.[40] Chilean graduates of the Chicago School of Economics and its new local chapters had been appointed to important positions in the new government soon after the Coup, which allowed them to advise Pinochet on economic policies in accord with the School’s economic doctrine.

          According to his critics, Friedman did not criticize Pinochet’s dictatorship at the time, nor the assassinations, illegal imprisonments, torture, or other atrocities that were well-known by then…

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milton_Friedman

          • Quoth the Raven 11.1.1.1.1

            Either that Freidman or David Friedman. But through Pinochet once again we see the evils of state capitalism. From the wiki page on Milton Friedman:

            Chile is not a politically free system and I do not condone the political system … the conditions of the people in the past few years has been getting better and not worse. They would be still better to get rid of the junta and to be able to have a free democratic system.” Friedman defended his activity in Chile on the grounds that, in his opinion, the adoption of free market policies not only improved the economic situation of Chile but also contributed to the amelioration of Pinochet’s rule and to the eventual transition to a democratic government during 1990. That idea is included in from Capitalism and Freedom, in which he declared that economic freedom is not only desirable in itself but is also a necessary condition for political freedom. He stressed that the lectures he gave in Chile were the same lectures he later gave in China and other socialist states.[43] During the 2000 PBS documentary The Commanding Heights, Friedman continued to argue that criticism over his role in Chile missed his main contention that freer markets resulted in freer people, and that Chile’s unfree economy had caused the military government. Friedman suggested that the economic liberalization he advocated caused the end of military rule and a free Chile.

          • Quoth the Raven 11.1.1.1.2

            Nice ad hom by the way.

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    This is the advice from the very top of the anti-fluoride movement – Paul Connett, director of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN). Don’t worry about reading  up on all the scientific information “You only have ...
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 10
    . . April 4: Day 10 of living in lock-down… I wake up to a fine Saturday morning which normally would be like an early Christmas. But it’s Day 10 of Level 4 Lock Down. What  will my fellow New Zealanders be doing on a day like this – staying ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Redline reaching out to more writers & readers
    Some time during the night we went over the 850,000 views mark. We might have had our millionth view by the end of this year – certainly by early next year. Most of the people involved in Redline spent years and years producing various small left-wing papers and selling them ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Keir Starmer elected
    Comfortably, in the very first round, with an impressive 56% of the votes.I wonder, did members of the Shadow Cabinet start tweeting their resignations during Starmer's victory speech, or is that only a trick the right pull?It is odd how all the talk of how the next leader "needs to ...
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: Michael Baker and the Big House
    One of the key voices in this extraordinary time in which we live is that of University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker. Philip Matthews did an an excellent job this weekend of capturing the way he became the man for this moment in a profile for The Press.But one ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand Gives up on Trying to Save Daylight
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the nation today about the decline in daylight New Zealand has been experiencing over the previous few months. She said “As many of you will notice, our attempts to stem the dwindling of the daylight over the last few months have been completely ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    5 days ago
  • A bulletin from Greece
    Redline received this article from the KOE a Marxist party in Greece Our friends in the KOE describe here the mounting crisis in Greece and tensions on the Turkish border. As desperate people flee from their homelands which have been ruined after decades of imperialist wars and interventions the people ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
    As the first week of Level Four lockdown unfolded, mounting questions grew as to just what was (and was not) allowed under its “rules”. Partly these were driven by some apparently contradictory messages from different authority figures and explanations carried in the media. Partly they reflected a somewhat sketchy legal basis ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

    Prospect Magazine alerted me to this particularly apt quote. It is a much more evocative quote than Hemingway’s “gradually then suddenly” which is also doing ...

    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    7 days ago
  • Maybe axing Clark would be unfair. But what about any of this is fair?
    Yesterday was the day the consequences of the lockdown suddenly got very real for many. Firms have been closing and laying people off since the outset of the quarantine but this has mostly been happening out of the public eye. The mass closure of a number of iconic New Zealand ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    7 days ago
  • Might a ‘Coasean’ social contract mitigate overall societal harm from COVID-19?
    Brian Williamson1, Prof Nick Wilson2 (1Economic consultant, UK; 2University of Otago Wellington) In this blog, we outline how a win-win social contract could be forged to address the major dimensions of response to the COVID-19 pandemic when using a mitigation strategy: the particular need to protect older people from high ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    7 days ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
    Resuming Normal Service: The Republican Party's nominee for in 1920, Warren Harding, promised the American people: “not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration”. If she wishes to remain our prime minister, then Jacinda Ardern will offer New Zealanders the same.HOW EDUCATED AMERICA snickered when the ...
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
    No Free Society Without A Free And Functioning News Media: If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating Covid-19, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders simply because it improves their bottom line.I’M ...
    7 days ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Lockdown day 8
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    1 week ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    1 week ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    1 week ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    1 week ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing or ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    1 week ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    1 week ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago

  • Decisions made on urgent turf maintenance
    The Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson has announced that urgent maintenance of turf and care for plants in non-plantation nurseries will soon be able to go ahead under Level 4 restrictions. “The Government has agreed that urgent upkeep and maintenance of biological assets will be able to go ahead ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Acknowledging an extraordinary te reo champion
    E tangi ana a Taranaki iwi, e tangi ana te ao Māori, otirā e tangi ana te motu. Mōu katoa ngā roimata e riringi whānui ana, mōu katoa ngā mihi.   E te kaikōkiri i te reo Māori, e Te Huirangi, takoto mai. Takoto mai me te mōhio ko ngā ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Prime Minister’s remarks halfway through Alert Level 4 lockdown
    Today is day 15 of Alert Level 4 lockdown. And at the halfway mark I have no hesitation in saying, that what New Zealanders have done over the last two weeks is huge. In the face of the greatest threat to human health we have seen in over a century, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Licenses, WoFs and regos extended under lockdown
    All driver licences, WoFs, CoFs, and some vehicle certifications, that expired on or after 1 January 2020 will be valid for up to six months from 10 April 2020, Transport Minister Phil Twyford has announced. “People shouldn’t have to worry about getting fined for having an expired document if driving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Inquiry report into EQC released
    The Government has today released the report from the Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission chaired by Dame Silvia Cartwright.  Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission Grant Robertson says the Government wants to learn from people’s experiences following the Canterbury earthquakes and other recent natural disasters. “Dame Silvia’s report documents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • More time for health workers and elderly to get flu vaccine
    The Government has extended by two weeks till April 27 the amount of time priority groups, such as health workers and those aged over 65, have to get their flu vaccine before it is made available to the wider public. This year’s vaccination campaign is a key component of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Communities step up to help New Zealanders stay connected and fed during lockdown
    Communities stepping up to help New Zealanders stay at home to break the transmission of COVID-19 and save lives have received Government support, said Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. “Delivering groceries for the elderly who can’t shop online, providing data packs for low income families to keep them connected, and being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • 120 COVID-19 testing centres now operating
    Across New Zealand 120 sites are taking samples to be tested for COVID-19.   68 community based assessment centres (CBACs) have been established to take samples from people with COVID-19 symptoms. Alongside this, 52 other centres including designated general practices, swabbing centres, and mobile clinics are now testing people for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Covid19: Government moving quickly to roll out learning from home
    The Ministry of Education is working with partners to develop a package of options so that students can learn at home when Term 2 begins on 15 April, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Supports are also being prepared for households with children under five, to help parents and whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Making learning from home accessible to Māori learners and whānau
    Māori Television to begin educational te reo programmes Ki te Ao Mārama – a new online learning space Thousands of hard copy learning packs ready for distribution Helpdesk and advice service for kōhanga, kura and wharekura Television, the internet and hard copy learning packs are some of the ways whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand to provide assistance to Vanuatu following Tropical Cyclone Harold
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced an initial package of support to help the people and the Government of Vanuatu respond to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Harold. “Our Pacific neighbours have been hit by a Category 5 Cyclone at the same time as dealing with the economic impacts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Planning for the future of tourism
    Tourism New Zealand to lead work reimagining the way tourism operates in post-COVID-19 world. Ministers to review International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy investment plan. The Government, industry and business are working together to develop a plan for how tourism will operate in a post-COVID-19 world, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • NZ horticulture sector feeding Kiwis and the world during COVID-19
    More New Zealanders are taking up the chance to work in horticulture as the sector keeps New Zealanders fed and in jobs during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown. “Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Work to repurpose PGF funds begins
    The Provincial Development Unit is working through applications and projects to see where Provincial Growth Fund money can be repurposed for initiatives deemed more critical to fighting the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “We need to be throwing everything we have at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • A million workers supported by Govt wage subsidy
    The Government’s wage subsidy to protect jobs and keep workers and businesses connected during the lockdown has now supported over a million New Zealanders, with $6.6 billion already paid out. “We’re supporting businesses to pay wages, and stay connected with their workers so that we are all in a better ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government helps Pacific communities fight COVID
    The Government is stepping up efforts to help protect New Zealand’s Pacific communities in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet has agreed that $17 million will be allocated to support a COVID-19 Pacific Response Package, which will: Support Pacific health and disability services facing increased demand; Ramp up public health messaging ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark
    “Yesterday evening the Health Minister advised me of his trip to a beach during the lockdown and offered his resignation,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses.  “But right now, my priority is our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Statement from David Clark
    Last night as part of my preparation for the Epidemic Response Committee, I provided the Prime Minister with a complete picture of my activity outside my home during Alert Level 4.  That included the fact that on the first weekend of the Alert Level 4 lockdown I drove my family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • COVID-19 mental health support begins
    A range of support is being rolled out across New Zealand to help people look after their mental health during COVID-19 Health Minister David Clark said this morning. “COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives and many of us will be feeling some level of distress or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government supports air services to offshore islands
    The Government has stepped in to support vital air links to our offshore islands, the Chatham Islands, Great Barrier Island and Motiti Island, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. “As part of our $600 million support package to minimise the impacts of COVID-19 on the aviation sector, the Government has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago