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Public Service Reform

Written By: - Date published: 4:30 pm, September 6th, 2018 - 27 comments
Categories: Economy, labour, Privatisation, treasury - Tags:

Apart from the 170 working parties, Wellington is awash with a large rocking boatload of corporate governors of entities from the Walking Authority to the Remuneration Authority to the Electricity Authority to New Zealand On Air. Far be it for me to say whether the whole of New Zealand would be improved if that boat sank and the lot of them drowned. What they do is get in the way of direct democratic accountability to elected Ministers. For a country the size of Melbourne, we have a ridiculously complex state, and this layer of accountablility is largely a complete waste of our taxpayer money and degrades our agency as citizens.

Just a tiny beam of sunlight promises something different.

Way, way back in the late 1980s, most of New Zealand’s public services were pulled from being a single largely unified set of public servants who were accountable through a series of arcane checks and balances to their elected Minister, out into something in which most Departments had chief executives, and many had boards. That was the accountability line: largely remove direct democratic oversight in favour of various levels of corporatisation.

Now, I haven’t said nice things at The Standard about Chris Hipkins, but he is embarking on a major overhaul of the governance structure of the entire public services. Do we really need all these boards? Do they really add more value than what they would have from direct Ministerial oversight? Beyond rolling back New Public Management, can a new reform process form a public service machinery fit for purpose?

The proposed changes are headed straight for that old State Sector Act (1988) and a bunch of others.

Chris Hipkins said recently:

The changes would drive two wider outcomes. On a system wide level, the changes would see the Public Service operate as one, joined up system to tackle the big, complex challenges facing New Zealand. The Public Service would have more capability to wrap multiple services around the needs of citizens.

Under the current model individual departments deliver services that they have sole accountability for. This doesn’t work well when agencies need to be working collectively were citizens often must deal with a number of different agencies on a single issue.”

So the subtext in there is seamless customer service:

There are at least a dozen occasions in everybody’s lives that require major interactions with the government. The birth of a child, moving house, moving jobs, retirement, the death of a close family member are all examples of where having one single contact with government would be much better for citizens.”

Under the changes, the Public Service would be given a range of flexible organisational options to deliver better services and outcomes. Some of those options include:

  • Executive Board of chief executives: this would mean chief executives are jointly responsible for achieving complex government priorities
  • Joint ventures: this would allow the public service to join up people and resources from different agencies to work on common issues
  • One stop shops: bringing related services together at a single point

The Government also proposed to include in legislation the purpose principles, and values of the Public Service. Consultation ends on October 12th, which is fairly quick for a complex topic and shows internally that they know what they want and are going to do it.

A recent speech which outlines his intent is here.

According to Minister Hipkins, they have five levers to achieve intended changes:

  1. Legislation: This includes the State Sector Act, Public Finance Act and Crown Entities Act, which set the basic rules and structure of the system.
  2. Organisational change: This will help drive our policy priorities, for e.g. changing organisational cultures to encourage collaborative behaviours that would help in establishing new agencies if necessary. Recent examples with this government include the new Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and the Pike River, Recovery Agency.
  3. Public Finance: This can enhance effectiveness of public services, for e.g. the reform of the Public Finance Act including the wellbeing budget, the commitment for an Independent Fiscal Institution, as well as specific funding decisions.
  4. Expectations and Accountability: these can be used to focus and drive effort on issues like reducing child poverty and Cabinet Committee outcome measures.
  5. The final lever for change is Employment and workforce policy: This is about decisions that help make the public service an attractive employer by building the skills base and paying the living wage and implementing pay equity and fair pay agreements.

I’m not expecting to see the Public Works Department re-form – NZTA is big enough already. And there’s plenty of horizontal integration occurring already in Minister Twyford’s portfolios through simple Ministerial force. There would need to be a root-and-branch of the Public Finance Act to decorproatise this country, and I don’t see appetite for that.

And I am sure we think there are a few time-wasters who sound like the Grand Pooh-Ba from the Mikado, who deigns to serve his Mikado (who is also the Lord High Executioner) suchly:

It is consequently my degrading duty to serve this upstart as First Lord of the Treasury, Lord Chief Justice, Commander-In-Chief, Lord High Admiral, Master of the Buck Hounds, Groom of the Back Stairs, Arch Bishop of Titipu, and Lord Mayor, all rolled in to one!”

Actually the most lasting cultural change from the late 1980s in the Wellington public service, as far as I can see, is that every Department is rocked by perpetual restructures that ensure that no-one commits to their job because everyone is afraid. There are too many Lord High Executioners; too much make work masquerading as a necessity from corporatised accountability layers.

Apart from slowing the rate of the executioners’ sword, I am hoping that there will be more initiatives such as The Southern Initiative in which horizontal accountability gets cracking into really poor areas of Auckland. I would very much like to hear why Minister Hipkins think this version of reform is more effective than the tightly calibrated set of measures for improving citizens’ lives spelled out by Bill English prior to the last election.

This is a reform process with the potential to clear out a layer or two of make work luvvies, who exist as largely non-value-adding chumps reifying themselves as Wellington’s haute-bourgeoisie experts coming out to feed Saturday morning at Moore Wilsons.

It is up to Minister Hipkins to determine if he is an executioner of waste and privilege, or a middle manager simply replicating himself as middle manager.

27 comments on “Public Service Reform”

  1. RedLogix 1

    Leave my Walking Access Commision alone!

    https://www.walkingaccess.govt.nz/

    • Ad 1.1

      Bless their walking socks.

      • OnceWasTim 1.1.1

        Sorry @Ad. The GWRC with its transport plan has put paid to all that.
        Apparently now-a-days, they’ll need acceptable fashion experiences (going forward) in order to grace the services of a basic transport ‘expereince’ going forward’

        Even the fucking EASIEST of solutions aren;t within the realm of the fuck-witters who’ve a vested interest and who think a Number 18 revirew is enuff.

        ( Sorry Darren – not nearly enuff )

        • OnceWasTim 1.1.1.1

          ew ew ew, I realise you prolly didnt mean to go so low as a local community lebvel.
          But since we have, and in the context of a Kruss Huppkins ruview (going ford),
          Do you think Kruss might find it easier to register is man-chile?
          All that ternal fears; then all that shit once you’ve buried the after-burth (no worries -it’ll go forth………….
          prolly shouldn;t go too much further in the interests of a Jacinda happy-babe

          (although she prolly should get with the programme with mothers in refugee camps that haven’t had as easy as her – even including a partner whose preoccupatiom is first with bubbs, then sea-lie.

          Fuck! Jacinda – what the fuck are you thinking. ( My guess is pragmatism rather than making a difference)

  2. Stunned Mullet 2

    Wouldn’t it be easier to just drop a small nuclear device on Wellington and start over…………the sacrifice of the good people of Wellington would be duly noted and eulogised by the rest of the country.

  3. BM 3

    Who’s behind this public sector restructuring?

    Richie Cunningham is just the spokesperson, any idea who the puppet master is?

    • Dennis Frank 3.1

      The Minister of State Services. Scoop has his introduction of the initiative in full here: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1809/S00075/hipkins-consultation-on-public-service-reform-4918.htm

      So “the purpose of today is to outline the changes we are proposing and to launch the start of a conversation with you as key stakeholders and with the public. We need you to help us reshape the Public Service. We want to get this right so it’s really important that you have your say.”

      He demonstrates that he’s a typical Labour minister by failing to include instructions as to how the public can actually do what he suggests.

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    Probably the most vital design feature to integrate is an integral liaison function to enable collaboration. Break down the old silo mentality, which makes departments independent of each other, and restricts public servants to specific functions.

    Essential to incorporate a mechanism by which both departments and public servants are specifically required to serve the public on the basis of our common interests (instead of just doing as they’re told).

    That requires all to operate according to their conscience, and do their duty by taking responsibility for their actions. That provides autonomy and agency. Enforce accountability to both peers and authority: that will keep everyone on the same page in respect of what is required and will constrain and discipline idiosyncrasy.

    So that’s an outline of how I’d do it if I were minister. Obviously Hipkins will be more timid, unimaginative and will need others to point him in the right direction.

  5. OnceWasTim 5

    Fark! at Ad! I need a while to clutch my pearls and take the entirety of all your post in.
    And I’m wondering whether you’ve been on the blower to Martyn Bradbury. Only because not too many weeks back, I’d thought one of your posts was singing the praises of one of the biggest government bugger’s muddles (MoBIE).

    I need time to cope! blow me down and call me Doris.

    Like you, I am hoping Hipkins’ proposals are more than turd polishing, and not merely based on how much of a hassle it is to register a child and engage with the state.

  6. Dennis Frank 6

    From the govt website: “Under the changes, the Public Service would be given a range of flexible organisational options to deliver better services and outcomes. Some of those options include:

    Executive Board of chief executives: This would mean chief executives are jointly responsible for achieving complex government priorities
    Joint Ventures: This would allow the Public Service to join up people and resources from different agencies to work on common issues
    One stop shops: Bringing related services together at a single point.

    The Government also proposed to include in legislation the purpose, principles and values of the Public Service, Chris Hipkins said. “It’s a simple thing but spelling out the purpose, the principles and values will provide the foundations on which the Public Service operates which I believe will have a unifying effect. It’s about ensuring the Public Service is imbued with a spirit of service, acts with integrity, and fulfils its constitutional role supporting Executive Government.””

    The Exec board concept must be implemented to flex in response to situational demands. One way to design for such flexibility is to recreate the board on an as-needed basis: using only CEOs with the relevant expertise for each major policy initiative, empowering them to incorporate consultants & co-ordinating managers if or when necessary. A similarly effective design could be to use a small permanent executive board for the purpose of the creation of subsidiary task-specific organising groups which could also operate as independent boards reporting to the relevant minister.

    I can’t see any functional difference between the joint venture and one-stop-shop options so it could be the same idea framed differently arriving from different advisory groups prior to the announcement. I agree that such coordinating groups are essential to produce a culture of effective collaboration.

    The quote from the minister shows that his head is in the right place as regards goals and intentions. Let’s hope he also gets a range of helpful suggestions and advice from both civil servants and the public, to facilitate design & implementation.

  7. R.P Mcmurphy 7

    where do I sign up for a job?

  8. Dennis Frank 8

    Here’s the essence of current govt expectations for the output of the reform process: “the Act is currently based on a model of a single department delivering, with strong lines of vertical accountability from one Chief Executive to a single Minister. That doesn’t work where we need agencies working collectively, across organisational boundaries, to achieve results for New Zealanders.

    There is also an expectation that public services are more accessible and organised with the citizen at the centre. The Public Service needs to be able to work as an agile and adaptable system in which people and resources are able to move more flexibly across present agency boundaries.”

    All those career public servants who have spent years learning the inadequacies of the current system ought to sit down in a quiet space with pen & paper & draft a list of all the changes they see as essential, based on their personal experience. Then keep it handy to use as basis for a written document submission or word-process it into an electronic file for when govt provides a place to submit it to!

  9. greywarshark 9

    If we stopped bringing over furriners of different colours ato be public servants and executives nd looked to train up our own people it would help leave jobs for NZ when shrinking our public service would start that retreat.

    Then have a look at the laws. Can they be simplified, and then properly monitored.
    Can we get down to half as many say? Health and safety are super tight while the government lets waterways and drinking water be polluted. The safety part pftem crops up after an accident.

    There seem to be rooms full of new law makers like the image. They have to turn out work so they can keep on being paid. Is it a USA practice, I think health and safety crops up in foreign media as well. Practicality rules OK.

  10. Michael 10

    I agree that the State Sector needs reform but Hipkins’ ideas will not achieve it. The PSA will never let a “Labour” government do anything to stop public servants abusing and mistreating the people they are paid to serve.

  11. D'Esterre 11

    “Actually the most lasting cultural change from the late 1980s in the Wellington public service, as far as I can see, is that every Department is rocked by perpetual restructures that ensure that no-one commits to their job because everyone is afraid. There are too many Lord High Executioners…”

    I’m a former public servant. I was only briefly in Wellington; for most of my career, I worked in other parts of NZ.

    In my view, Rogernomics was the worst thing ever to happen to the public service. It might sound corny now, but there was an esprit de corps which had developed over many decades, and redounded to the benefit of all of us. We understood that we were there to serve the public, that we could make a whole-of-working-life career of it if we wished. And that was no bad thing. In the old days, late 19th and early 20th centuries, Catholics could get work in the public service, when they were turned away from other areas of employment.

    The big government departments acted as training grounds for young architects and engineers, along with various trades. The loss of, for instance, the Ministry of Works, has been incalculable from that point of view.

    The constant restructuring is nonsensical: it achieves nothing. Calling in outside consultants to carry out reviews: now there’s make-work for you!

    The old public service wasn’t perfect; no human organisation is. But it was a great deal more efficient and – certainly where I worked – efficacious, than what’s left of it now.

    “… a layer or two of make work luvvies, who exist as largely non-value-adding chumps reifying themselves as Wellington’s haute-bourgeoisie experts coming out to feed Saturday morning at Moore Wilsons.”

    That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it? And how accurate is it? The public service in Wellington seems to be dominated by contractors now. Not much opportunity for make-work in such an uncertain environment, I’d have thought.

    I wish Hopkins well with his reform project. But I’m dubious about whether he can undo 30 years of systematic wrecking of the public service.

    • Ad 11.1

      D’Esterre, that “…layer of make-work luvvies …” line was directed at the Directors of the Boards, not at the public servants.

      Public servants are generally awesome.

      And D’Esterre, with regards to your career, thank you for your service to the country.

      • D'Esterre 11.1.1

        Ad: “was directed at the Directors of the Boards, not at the public servants.”

        Pleased to hear it! I’d started looking sideways at the Moore Wilson customers…

        “…thank you for your service to the country.”

        Thanks, Ad. I enjoyed it for the most part. Until Rogernomics happened along.

    • Marcus Morris 11.2

      Couldn’t agree more. Much as I admired David Lange and had a great affection for him, his lasting legacy has been “Tomorrow’s Schools” which has been a disaster in my opinion. Before the “business model” was introduced we had a system that was admired throughout the world and that was producing world leading “out comes”. Education Boards and the Department provided an over-riding umbrella of expertise and assistance that was free and readily available. When the “business model” was introduced “assistance” came from private providers at a cost, many schools, especially in the primary sector, had great difficulty in getting suitable persons into their management structures (not so difficult for secondary schools because they always had a greater degree of autonomy). In the pre “TS” days the Department or local Education Board had the ability to provide assistance and solutions very quickly when a school was having an issue of any nature.

      Possibly the worst aspect was the competition it has created between school for roll numbers. Ridiculous amounts of money is and has been spent on glossy promotional material, often with little actual benefit. This is/was particularly evident in medium sized rural towns where two schools (one the older established identity) competed in a very limited market. Vast amounts of money was spent that could have been utilised so much more effectively in providing educational facilities within the schools themselves.

      • D'Esterre 11.2.1

        Marcus Morris: ““Tomorrow’s Schools” which has been a disaster”

        Couldn’t agree more. It’s turned out to have pretty much nothing to recommend it.

        We’d all have been far better off, had Lange not caught the neolib bug, and Douglas had discovered a religious vocation and entered a closed order, before he made it into Parliament.

    • D'Esterre 11.3

      “Hopkins”

      Of course that should be Hipkins. As I know very well, but was not quick enough to spot the mistake last night.

      Bloody auto-edit….

  12. Tuppence Shrewsbury 12

    Soooooo….. cuts to the public service in the drive for efficiency.

    The colours may change but our rulers remain the same.

    • Ad 12.1

      There’s no signal of cuts at all.
      On the contrary the government is rolling out massive programmes, which of course requires more people to run them.

  13. millsy 13

    Makes a change from “The government’s not that good at doing this, so we will let the private sector do it instead.”.

  14. Steve Bradley 14

    We do want a central and local government which serves the people, And even more, enables the people to serve themselves as much as practicable. This can’t happen in 5 minutes, but the way could be opened to facilitate local citizen power over areas of life where people live.

    Areas such as public spaces, local traffic planning, land use, playgrounds, employment; essential services such as post office, bank, library, gymnasia, social welfare office, health clinics, could benfit from more direct citzen input and control.

    Potential for direct citizen control over automobile noise, liquor retailing, speed limits, cross-walks, public toilets, cleaning streets, bus stops, and so on (imagine!) could repurpose layers of stifling bureaucracy and allow citizens to function like adults in control of their own neighbourhoods.

    If we want communities with less financialised capitalism, more environmental richness, and increased levels of physical and mental health, self-acting comunalism is a good place to develope.

  15. corodale 15

    Yes, good article, good plans, good luck.

    Retreating from technocratic governance-by-finance, back to ecological principles. Using a decentralised-web-chain, to make insights and action possible:

    Would govt then see how welfare, environment, social services, education, housing and military can all combine as a grand solution? Eg. Post-school community-service (social/environmental/military), filling alternative accommodation niches, as a trial of a UBI, linked to the ethos of life-long-education, learning-by-doing and voluntary service.

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    5 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 ...
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    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
    6 days ago
  • Living within our means.
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    6 days ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
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    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 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
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    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
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  • 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
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    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
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    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
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    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
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    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?
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    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
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    1 week ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
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    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
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    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
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    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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    1 week ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Only Way Through This Crisis Is Together.
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    1 week ago
  • GFC vs Covid-19
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    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...
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    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion law reform a win for women
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    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
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The ‘herd immunity’ route to fighting coronavirus is unethical and potentially dangerous
    As most of the world tries to suppress the coronavirus spread, some countries are going it alone – trying to manage the pandemic through so-called “herd immunity”. Herd immunity means letting a large number of people catch a disease, and hence develop immunity to it, to stop the virus spreading. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Eight new COVID-19 cases today. It’s no surprise when you look at some numbers
    So, as I sit at home with a very, very slight headache (i.e. not at work when I would otherwise be so), the now familiar figure of Ashley Bloomfield reports eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19  including two in Waikato. A surprise, given that we had just twelve yesterday? No. ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • The WINZ Paradox versus the new COVID-19 Reality: Get real people, seriously…
    Many who advocated for, and voted for, the current Coalition – particularly those who voted Labour and the Green Party – expected to see a sea change in the reality of social services. A real, deep change of attitude, approach of process through which the system negotiates the difficult and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago

  • 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
    3 hours ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 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
    2 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
    2 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
    3 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
    3 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
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 days ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 days ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
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    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
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
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    1 week ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
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    1 week ago
  • PM Address – Covid-19 Update
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    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 ...
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    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
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $100 million to redeploy workers
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More support for wood processing
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    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