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Privatisation a dirty word?

Written By: - Date published: 10:19 am, July 4th, 2011 - 48 comments
Categories: privatisation - Tags:

No Confidence

Written by The Jackal at 4:51 PM

Steven Joyce was asked some hard questions today by Labour Minister of Communications and Information Technology David Cunliffe concerning Nationals Privatisation plans for New Zealand’s SOEs. Once again the speaker of the house Lockwood Smith came to National’s rescue. Lockwood argued that Joyce didn’t have to answer a question because the Minister disagreed with the word “Privatisation.” What utter Bullshit!

National started to use the word first when they floated the idea, so it’s a valid word to use to describe what National intends to undertake. David Cunliffe did not load a question by using the word “Privatisation.” Saying so is ridiculous and Lockwood’s argument turns Parliament into a farce.

Since when are facts characterizations? Steven Joyce is simply dismissing facts out of hand because he has no answers. When the facts are presented, there is clearly no argument for asset sales. Our partially privatised SOEs charge more; often need to be bailed out by the taxpayer and account for billions of dollars of lost revenue each year. The amount of shares retained by New Zealand investors is minimal making such an argument mute.

8% of New Zealanders purchased shares in Contact Energy when it was partially privatised. Today, only 2.5% of Contact Energy shares are retained by Kiwi’s… so where does that leave National’s “Mum and Dad investors” proposition, especially considering National has no mechanism to ensure New Zealander’s purchase or retain shares? It’s a lie, plain and simple.

National is spending $6 million before the next general election on getting our assets ready to be sold. They’re effectively gambling with our money, taking the will of the public for granted and not undertaking proper procedures to gain a mandate. Many polls have recently shown that two thirds of Kiwi’s don’t want to sell our SOEs. So who exactly is National listening to?

It’s a travesty that National undertook the $6 million outlay of taxpayer money before seeking a mandate from the public. That’s like stealing money from your wallet to sell your family car… Then you’ll have to hire the car back again at a marked up price, unless you kick the thief out of the house. It’s not the way a proper functioning Government should be conducting itself.

It will cost taxpayers around 2 to 5% of the profit value to sell our SOEs, which works out to be $136 to $340 million. Joyce knows what the potential costs will be from partially privatising our SOEs… He’s playing stupid and is treated as such by David Cunliffe.

As usual National is happy to reside in rhetoric and a twisted sense of reality, which is not appreciated or helpful to the process. Lockwood Smith should ensure that questions are answered appropriately, instead of being lost in Nationals obfuscation.

Because of a lack of impartiality, dismissing the facts and protecting National’s agenda, I have no confidence in Lockwood Smith as the Speaker of the House. He is not undertaking his duties properly and should therefore resign.

48 comments on “Privatisation a dirty word?”

  1. randal 1

    there is a certain style of political organisation that came to power in germany in the 1930’s where they shouted down all opposition, would not define terms and criminalised words that they were afraid of. these policies were the ground rock of the national socialist party who were called nazi’s for short.

  2. randal 2

    and this national party may be a little more easy on the eye but in intetions they are just the same. there desire to steal the states assets for private gain is criminal but in this unicameral state there is no opposition nor chance of opposing their depredations.

  3. g says 3

    did the esteemed speaker give guidance of how the pillaging of state owned assets was to be referred to as?

  4. queenstfarmer 4

    What’s the actual problem here? Privatisation != selling minority stakes. Smith has been the best speaker in ages for holding the Govt to account.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Privatisation != selling minority stakes.

      Symantics. Selling off public equity is selling off public equity.

      • queenstfarmer 4.1.1

        Yes, semantics: “The branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning”. And yes, selling off public equity is selling off public equity. But selling a minority stake still aint priviatisation, although it may be casually referred to as such.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1

          But selling a minority stake still aint priviatisation

          Yes it is, no matter how much you try to say it ain’t. Selling the shares of a public asset into private ownership is privatisation. With our laws there to protect the minor shareholders against majority shareholder actions that means that the control of those assets would devolve to the private, minority owners.

          And that is privatisation.

          • queenstfarmer 4.1.1.1.1

            This is comedy gold. So your argument now is that the minority floats themselves don’t amount to privatisation, but the eventual “devolving” of assets to private, minority owners (by some magical process entirely unknown to the law) is the privatisation.

            Hey, on your logic, the Govt should sell 90% stakes, because the assets would magically “devolve” back to the minority!

            • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1.1.1

              What the law requires is that majority shareholders not to purposefully do anything to cause minority shareholders to lose value either in profits or share value. A government entity could be asked by the government as the owner to take a loss that they didn’t have to to help out the community. With private owners involved, even at a minority non-controlling level, that can’t happen.

              • queenstfarmer

                Sorry DTB, you are just way off base here. The law doesn’t impose any duties on shareholders. Obligations are on the company itself, and on directors. The main obligation is to act in the best interests of the Company (which you will find in all but rare cases involving insolvency equates with the majority shareholder views). Shareholders can’t be “levied” or asked to “take a loss” (unless shares aren’t paid up, which isn’t the case here).

                • Lanthanide

                  You’re right, queen, in terms of the law.

                  The point Draco is making was borne out a few years ago when engineers/mechanics working on Air New Zealand planes in Chirsthchurch asked the government to intervene when Air NZ was in the process of moving the jobs offshore.

                  The (Labour) government declined to intervene, citing commercial interests of the minority shareholders preventing them from interfering in business decisions by Air NZ.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    That’s not a Labour Govt that people in the 1960’s and 1970’s would have recognised.

                  • queenstfarmer

                    The point DTB was making about assets somehow “devolving” to minority shareholders.

                    Re the Air NZ example, if it is as described, then first of all it was beyond belief (even allowing for Govt incompetence) that a 75%+ majority shareholder could get bossed around, without actually wanting the outcome.

                    The other point which I have made before is that it is open to the Govt to put in a constitution that expressly allows certain “national interest” decisions to be taken. Of course these can be achieved anyway, but this makes it express.

                    • Jum

                      Queenstfarmer,

                      I have watched this government in parliament; there is nothing honourable or honest or intelligent about their behaviour.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      Selling off shares to the private sector is privatisation especially when NZ law forbids the majority shareholder from doing anything that would detract from the minority shareholders profits.

  5. It will come as a surprise to those intending to buy shares in the SOEs that their shares will not be privately held.

  6. randal 6

    queenstreetfrmr. smith might be the best speaker for ages if you think that squashing debate and sanctioning government theft is the sine qua non of being a good speaker.

  7. Tangled up in blue 7

    They’re effectively gambling with our money, taking the will of the public for granted and not undertaking proper procedures to gain a mandate. Many polls have recently shown that two thirds of Kiwi’s don’t want to sell our SOEs. So who exactly is National listening to?

    Because we don’t have a direct representative democracy; if National get re-elected this year then that is all the mandate they need.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    I like this graph from Jackal’s Blog. Reminds me of the meeting that was held at one of the large telcos I worked for. Being enthusiastic about the business the upper management decided to show, in graph form, where all the money was coming from and going to. In the build up to displaying the graph they mentioned how important the VIP (Big Business) customers were to the profit of the business. Then they put up the graph. Those VIP customers? Yeah, they were losing the company money. The profits were all coming from the residential side.

    This looks to me like the same thing is happening in electricity.

    As for Lockwood, yeah, total partisanship and bias. Obviously didn’t like National to be shown up by the facts.

    • Jim Nald 8.1

      In that dolt’s previous political incarnation, his comments about Asians and Pasifika reflected badly on him to reveal his own small mind and his credibility going down the toilet.

  9. johnm 9

    Makes you despair about the criminal Politicians and the smug tax cut people who vote them in. Neither really care about NZ, for them we are just taxpayers (as little as possible) and consumers. This group have no vision no optimism. They believe in the virtue of selfishness: the common good is an alien concept to them.

    Lockwood Smith is a crook. Why? The whole World knows what Privatisation is (The robbery from the people for the benefit of Private interests) aided and abetted by criminal governments who identify with those same private interests and not with all the people of that country. It is a deliberate attempt to dumb down the debate in the Nation’s Parliament-Fascist and unbelievably arrogant.

    “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?”
    George Orwell
    1984

    Lockwood’s Newspeak is the removal of “Privatisation” from discussion simply disgusting!

  10. deemac 10

    George Orwell should be living at this hour!

  11. Jan 11

    Privatisation – with apologies to Oscar Wilde. The unspeakable advocated by by the undesirable,
    I’m amused by the acceptable spin term however – Mixed Ownership Model abbreviates to MOM.

    • seeker 11.1

      Likewise Jan.
      Is this the beginning of the MOM state? How many assets are to be Mommed?
      ACC has been prepared by NickS as well as ECan water; welfare has been prepped by PaulaR courtesy of PaulaB.,prisons likewise by Judith; education is being prepped via Nat.Stans and PPPs; DoC via Whats her name; oil, mines and coal via Gerry; PharMac (traded version) via TimG; roads and internet by “cute’ joyce; heaven knows whats going on with health, and all this portfolio ‘momming’ overseen and, I think, commissioned, by John and Bill under initial advisement from business round, ashcroft and his crafty con.group and archmommer of Auckland, Hyde and his at one time in group- Shipley, Boag, Brash, not to mention the Wongs.And don’t forget SimonP. who has gone to help the Moms, I bet.
      That is the end of tonights story NZ, sweet dreams, Mom is going to turn out the light.

  12. idlegus 12

    mediaworks radio is falling into line, they refer to privatisation as ‘partial asset sales’ which is a more loaded biased political term imo.

    • queenstfarmer 12.1

      It’s telling that you find an accurate description (partial asset sales) to be more loaded and biased than an incorrect description (privatisation).

      • Puddleglum 12.1.1

        queenstfarmer, if I ‘partially sell’ an asset does the ‘part’ I’ve sold still belong to me or has it gone into (other) private hands – i.e., been ‘privatised’? (Hint: presumably I no longer get a return on the bit I sold.)

        • queenstfarmer 12.1.1.1

          Haven’t you answered your own question? It becomes “partially privatised”. Hence the perfectly accurate phrase that idlegus seems to find objectionable: partial asset sale.

          As for the asset itself, it is not privatised until majority control is gone. Look at the definition: “privatize : transitive verb : to make private; especially : to change (as a business or industry) from public to private control or ownership.”

          • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1.1

            ffs

            Key and English are over in Nov regardless.

          • felix 12.1.1.1.2

            “Haven’t you answered your own question? It becomes “partially privatised”. “

            Err, Puddlegum asked you about the part sold. Surely you’re not saying that the part sold is only partially privatised?

            Surely the part sold is totally privatised, no?

            If you could please clear this up by indicating that you understand the question Puddlegum asked we can save a lot of time talking past one another.

            • queenstfarmer 12.1.1.1.2.1

              Of course a part sold privately is privatised (what would you call it?). The rest is held by the Govt, and remains non-privatised.

              Therefore, part of the whole asset is privatised, which means (as I repeat for the third time) the asset is “partially privatised”, following a “partial asset sale” – which is the perfectly accurate, precise term that the OP apparently objects to.

              • felix

                which is the perfectly accurate, precise term that the OP apparently objects to.

                Really? Missed that, where did you see it? (The objection to the term “partial privatisation”)

                I thought Lockie wanted everyone to say “mixed ownership model” instead.

                • queenstfarmer

                  Really? Missed that, where did you see it? (The objection to the term “partial privatisation”)

                  You misquote me. What I said was “following a “partial asset sale” – which is the perfectly accurate, precise term that the OP apparently objects to

                  Then see post #12.

                  • felix

                    Ah I see. So you’re not really arguing that selling bits of assets isn’t privatisation then.

                    Just running the lines, muddying the waters, distracting from the point and generally wasting time.

                    Hope you’re on a good wicket for selling out your country and kin.

          • Pascal's bookie 12.1.1.1.3

            Trick for young players, ‘especially’ doesn’t mean ‘exclusively’. You can look at the definition if you like; or consider this example.

            ‘Illiterate’ can be defined as: not well educated in the reading or the writing; especially, being unable to read or write.

            That doesn’t mean that if you can read and write, you aren’t illiterate. That’s just a special case; a particular one.

            • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1.3.1

              That doesn’t mean that if you can read and write, you aren’t illiterate. That’s just a special case; a particular one.

              Indeed, someone who doesn’t know the correct meanings of words that he can read or write could still be considered illiterate

              :mrgreen:

            • queenstfarmer 12.1.1.1.3.2

              Trick for young players, ‘especially’ doesn’t mean ‘exclusively’.

              No argument there. The first part of the definition makes my point. As you say, what follows simply adds further detail.

              Though it’s quite nice that the one, non-exclusive example is exactly on the topic of this debate, and gives a meaning entirely consistent with what MediaWorks and others have been saying, but which some on this thread apparently think is incorrect.

              • Colonial Viper

                It’s selling out our country and the energy security of our children, regardless of how you cleverly define it you cheap fuck.

                • Hanswurst

                  It is not even vaguely clever, though. The only question that needs to be asked is, “Has anything that was previously in public ownership passed into private hands?” The answer being “Yes,” there is no further argument to be had.

                  Qstf”ers thick-headed misunderstanding of privatisation to mean “When some big whole company or summink gets sold by a gummint (esp. a Labour gummint)” is on exactly the same level as those lazy and misinformed citizens who define communism as “That fascist system where nice people get shot and it reminds me of Hitler”.

  13. let’s call it what everybody around the world at the receiving end of the Banksters “largesse” calls it: Looting.

  14. Red Rosa 14

    Love it. The Nats are right into Orwellian bafflegab.

    First we have MOM. Surely not the Nanny State?

    Bad luck for any buyers of these shares. Presumably (Lockwood, we have your word on this) they are not then private property?

    Bit disturbing really.

    • Puddleglum 14.1

      Yep, putting the boundary at the ‘firm’ level (of the SOE) just so you can say you haven’t ‘privatised’ what was once under public ownership is playing with words.

      What say one of the SOEs was split and the asset value of a part of it that was then sold to private interests amounted to the proportion of shares now proposed for sale? Then, no-one would hesitate in saying the asset had been privatised.

      Also, fifty-one percent retention of shares does not mean that decision making remains in the hands of the government. Or, to put it more accurately, the nominal government control over decision making (because it would have the majority of shares) obscures the fact that the kinds of decisions that would then have to be made would have to incorporate the fact that 49% of the shares were in private hands and that, therefore, the viability of the, nominal, SOE would be dependent upon keeping that 49% happy (i.e., putting their interests first). If they weren’t kept happy they would sell down and then where would the SOE be?

      This form of privatisation is an attempt to make SOEs completely part of a market rather than to operate as a ‘strategic asset’ owned by all of us.

  15. Jan 15

    What is this special “not private status” I wonder since the intention is to trade the SOE;s on the share market. The potential public benefits (smart metering technology, options to use more power cheaply at times of plentiful supply, profits to the exchequer to purchase government services or to keep power prices manageable, approaches for guaranteeing energy security for the future as discussed on the recent Radio NZ Sunday programme http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/sun/sun-20110703-1005-john_scott-048.mp3

    [audio src="http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/sun/sun-20110703-1005-john_scott-048.mp3" /]

    are all marginalised in favour of the benefits to private share holders. The broken ‘competitive’ model has and will hamper the efficient operation of the electricity industry in in favour of guaranteed profits for a few.

    Typical of a government who see themselves solely as enablers of capital – Jam today for a few in preference to Jam today and tomorrow for all New Zealanders

    MOM n’ DAD – dangerous and duplicitous anyone

  16. felix 16

    Watching Lockwood’s character arc over the past term, it’s hard to avoid thinking he was given a very strong talking-to during the summer recess – you’ve been very fair but this is election year, don’t forget who’s team you’re on, I made you I can break you too, you want the fucking knighthood or not, cunt? – that sort of thing.

    Disappointing really.

  17. randal 17

    anyway the guts of the matter is this. the neo-cons in the government want to disrupt a natural monopoly so that they can get their hands on the spoils and even better create a market so they can bet on spot prices and make the conusmer and more importantly industry pay on the nose any time time they can put a corner on the market.
    and kiwis are so dumb they are going to fall for it.
    think enron and think how the staff at the wall street journal nearly crashed the paper trying to do the same thing.

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    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    6 days ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • What about renters?
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    7 days ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
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    7 days ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
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    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
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    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
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    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
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    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 ...
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    1 week ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion Legislation Bill passes third reading
    Some fave speeches:     ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #11, 2020
    2 weeks 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

  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours 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
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
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    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
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    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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago