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Q&A with Scoop’s Alastair Thompson

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, October 30th, 2015 - 47 comments
Categories: journalism, news - Tags: , , ,

For 16 years Scoop has been making an enormous contribution to the NZ media landscape. They reckon that “the news is broken”, and they want to build a sustainable independent news organisation for the people of New Zealand.

Scoop’s Alastair Thompson will be joining us around 10am – comments will be moderated live from that time.

Do you have questions on the future of the media, public service journalism, or plans for the Scoop Foundation? Ask them here!

47 comments on “Q&A with Scoop’s Alastair Thompson ”

  1. Steph 1

    It’s clear to me that if we want high quality, independent and honest journalism, we (the readers) need to contribute to it financially. Good quality journalism does not make any sense in a media environment that is funded by very cheap (Google) advertising.

    I guess the problem is that there is a widespread expectation in the internet age that journalism (whether quality or not) should be free.

    I’m interested to read what Alastair has to say!

    • Hi Steph,

      In the Internet Age you are obviously correct that people expect the news to be free. And two decades of practice – where publishers have given their news away online – has reinforced that perspective.

      And as you say there is no longer a viable economic engine to pay for news.

      Unfortunately in discussions about the “Future of News” the discussion tends to move inevitable towards talking about what content we should or shouldn’t have rather than how to pay for it.

      Scoop has been grappling with the issue of how to sustain ourselves since we launched in 1999. For us online advertising only became an important source of revenue for us in around 2004, peaked in 2007 and then disappeared at the end of 2014.

      And at that time we decided to make an active decision to chart a new course – which we revealed on April 29th with the public launch of our “Ethical Paywall”.

      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1504/S00198/why-scoopconz-can-no-longer-be-free-chrysalis-update-5.htm

      This changed everything for us as it has proved to be a viable and much better alligned method to finance what we do.

      Al

  2. r0b 2

    “The news is broken”.

    How is it broken?

    Why is it broken?

    Is there any way of fixing it, or do we just give up on the “mainstream media”?

    • >> How is it broken?

      News companies have been in a continual cycle of retrenchment for nearly 30 years now. There was a hope that new forms of “digital revenue” would emerge to replace the rivers of gold in terms of print advertising (especially classified) which used to finance news. The news you see now is produced by a workforce of largely inexperienced people operating in sweatshop conditions and tasked not with delivering “news” to consumers, but rather with delivering “eyeballs” to marketers.

      >> Why is it broken?

      In the last decade and a half no viable digital revenue model has emerged and the situation is now rapidly getting worse. Without experienced news professionals on the job – the task of producing quality news, news which effectively curbs the excesses of the powerful, cannot exist.

      >> Is there any way of fixing it, or do we just give up on the “mainstream media”?

      Yes.

      1st we (Society) need to acknowledge the problem – that digital disruption has rendered journalism increasingly trivial, shallow and ineffective in holding the powerful to account.

      2nd we need to agree that Journalism is something that society needs to function (like what Russel Norman said last week).

      and then

      3rd we need to actively try to direct the mainstream media back onto the path that it should be on. This can be done in several ways:
      – An NZ On Air for news;
      – Boosting public broadcasting funding, or
      – Wholesale adoption of the new Scoop model of “Ethical Paywalls”
      – As consumers donating to, subscribing and buying services from the ethical news companies whose product we value.

      • r0b 2.1.1

        >> tasked not with delivering “news” to consumers, but rather with delivering “eyeballs” to marketers.

        Yes – and ad blockers are going to damage even that revenue stream.

        >> 1st we (Society) need to acknowledge the problem

        We the people don’t seem nearly interested enough. I don’t think we’re going to get past step 1. Are you more optimistic?

        >> Wholesale adoption of the new Scoop model of “Ethical Paywalls”

        Great to hear that is working for you!

        I think “micro-payments” is another interesting technology in this space.

        • >> We the people don’t seem nearly interested enough. I don’t think we’re going to get past step 1. Are you more optimistic?

          I think the media’s own silence on this is beginning to break. And I think interest by the Government, institutions and businesses in this issue is beginning to register. At least I hope it is.

          >> I think “micro-payments” is another interesting technology in this space.

          Micro-payments have been discussed and tried (like paywalls) for more than a decade. We tested an early version. They work best at scale and like advertising rely on mass public interest. Practically speaking that means that they are unlikely to be viable in a place like NZ – especially for public interest journalism. Simply because (as you point out) the general public aren’t nearly interested enough for the old method of media holding power to account to work effectively.

          I think the next age of media is one which involves more soft power and diplomacy than shock and awe.

  3. ianmac 3

    Can’t quite see where to ask a question.
    Anyway.
    “What will guide your choice of topic to explore given the limited extent of your resources? Will it be around Demoracy, Government, Sport, Entertainment or what?”

    [r0b: This is the place to ask!]

    • >> “What will guide your choice of topic to explore given the limited extent of your resources?

      The Scoop Foundation intends to support good journalism by:
      – Supporting the efforts of new emerging publishers to get themselves established. In 16 years of operations Scoop.co.nz has been linked to by Fairfax and NZME on a handful of occasions if that – these publications are monopolistic in their outlook and to date have tended not to support the good emerging grass roots journalism efforts of others.

      Scoop has and will continue to run headline feeds powered by RSS from blogs such as The Standard, Dimpost, Pundit, Public Address and other contributors to those who are engaging in constructive discussions.

      – Running crowd-funding appeals and doing direct to donor fund-raising activities to fund grant based investigative and public interest journalism projects.

      – Maintaining Scoop.co.nz as a hub for and publisher for quality independent journalism about all manner of subjects.

      – Helping future of news entrepreneurs set up businesses and business models to support quality public interest journalism.

      >> Will it be around Demoracy, Government, Sport, Entertainment or what?”

      Government and Democracy is our focus. We publish content about sport and entertainment but what is of interest to the public is not the same as what is in the public interest.

  4. savenz 4

    There is clear and sustained media attacks smears against the opposition members on parliament – what should they do about it, can the media be held legally accountable if MSM for example have a conflict of interest and sustained attacks for no reason are being repeatedly made on opposition members of parliament?

    • Freedom of speech is a double edged sword.

      You have the right to express your view.

      &

      you have to accept that others have the right to express theres.

      There are methods of dealing with journalism that you do not approve of when it is from reputable publishers via the OMSA (online media standards authority), the BSA and the Press Council. They are not perfect but they work.

      Finally I would encourage you to expect this sort of thing to get worse. Unfortunately that appears to be the trajectory we are on with public discourse in NZ.

  5. vto 5

    Alastair, one thing I have never understood is why the media is not required by law to disclose its interests so conflicts can be deciphered and accounted for.

    After all, our main media are owned by very wealthy foreign interests who take strong partisan political stands around the globe. As such, they are far from objective. Given the power the media has, this is crucial in a functioning democracy I would have thought.

    Why are they permitted to present themselves as objective when they are not? (also a breach of the Fair Trading Act, being misleading and deceptive conduct…?)

    Why are they not required by law to declare who they are and what their interests and positions are?

    They should be required to place a disclosure statement on the front page every day.

    Seems a massive flaw in our system

    • Your dissatisfaction with mainstream publishing is clear.

      I do not share your view that the mainstream media is completely onesided but I do accept that you are entiitled to that view.

      As I said to the previous question the flipside to your right to free speech for example here on The Standard is that others also have a right to free speech.

      The issue of media ownership is important. As mainstream private media companis; profitability and revenue collapses they are increasingly being controlled not just by their shareholders by the institutions which own their debt – e.g. Mediaworks has been taken over the the “Vulture Fund” Oaktree Capital. That said their editorial team is still one of the better ones in the country and their news service is a lot better than say “Fair and Balanced” Fox News.

      • vto 5.1.1

        Thanks Alastair but when it comes to the principles that surround the application of conflict of interest, it is the perception and not the reality that drives the rules of disclosure and the like. I think you have answered on the basis of your view of the reality and missed the perception.

        As to your point on the right of free speech, sure and that is accepted of course, but it is irrelevant to the question of conflict and disclosure.

        Your last paragraph hints at the problem “they are increasingly being controlled not just by their shareholders by the institutions which own their debt – e.g. Mediaworks has been taken over the the “Vulture Fund” Oaktree Capital.” You even state “The issue of media ownership is important”. Yet ownership of media features pretty much nowhere in the media (certainly nowhere useful for the reader). How does that work?

        I think you have carefully avoided the issue.

        • Hi VTO,

          I am not trying to avoid the question, and am sorry if that was the impression I left you with.

          You are right that the media is not at all transparent about: the problems it is facing; nor about the impact of ownership; nor about its economic performance; nor about its cutbacks.

          I wrote about this at the beginning of the year in my Reinventing the News piece under the heading “Whatever you do don’t mention the war.”>> http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1501/S00058/reinventing-news-as-a-public-right-a-public-conversation.htm#6

          News organisations always project themselves as authoritative, strong, powerful. Media delivery and advertising sales are both confidence tricks. The media is the expert in seeming much bigger and looking far more powerful than it really is and talking about their agony doesn’t fit this narrative.

          When Mediaworks was agonising through the Campbell Live axing stuff it dawned on me that for readers/viewers the non-discussion of newsroom cutbacks comes across as very discordant. News institutions which demand transparency of others failing to be transparent themselves and being silent on stories which are everywhere else in the media is a very bad look.

          Plus it creates a vacuum for the socialverse, blogosphere and water cooler gossip to fill and people love talking about these things almost as much as the media hate reporting their own struggles. That said they seem to be able to report each other’s problems in a sort of competitive white-anting manner quite effectively.

          Similarly the absence of clarity around thge recent high profile restructurings at Fairfax and NZME has also resulted in people filling in the gaps for themselves, publications of leaked memos etc.

          I know this is not addressing the question of disclosure statements directly. But if anything the issue of editorial interference – which is what you want transparency about – is even more sensitive than redundancies.

          Finally ownership issues related to the media are addressed in only two places that I know of. Changes in that area are best reported probably by MediaWatch on Radio NZ and by the media team at NBR (with much of the best content on this behind the paywall.)

          Bill Rosenberg wrote this a while ago now but it shows the trajectory >> http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1501/S00089/news-before-profits-bill-rosenberg.htm

          And there is the JMAD reports of Merha Mehrlati >> http://search.scoop.co.nz/search?q=merja%20JMAD&sort_by=date

          Happy to address other questions you have.

          Al

          • RedLogix 5.1.1.1.1

            Alistair,

            Much admire your contribution here. Your professionalism stands out and leaves me a little envious in the best possible way 🙂

            Have already contributed to Scoops fundraising and will continue to do so. I only wish I could think of some other way to lend your campaign a little more momentum.

            Best wishes.

          • vto 5.1.1.1.2

            Thanks Alastair, helps greatly to get the perspective of those at the helm. It seems complex, interwoven and politically (office and otherwise) sensitive.

            But, from the perspective at this end of the sector (the reader), things appear more simple and are taken that way when reading. As such, a front page listing or link to the ownership of the publication and its interest (political and commercial etc) is simple to place and of great benefit.

      • Grant 5.1.2

        “Mediaworks has been taken over the the “Vulture Fund” Oaktree Capital. That said their editorial team is still one of the better ones in the country and their news service is a lot better than say “Fair and Balanced” Fox News.”

        I think that is referred to as damning with faint praise..

        • I didn’t mean that to come across like that.

          I really rate the journalism of the team at TV3. Mark Jennings is one of the best news bosses in the business and provides a very strong firewall between his staff and corporate bosses as far as I am aware. This is one of the most important roles of a good editor – to act as a buffer to manage dealing with issues which are “sensitive” for proprietors.

          I might add to that the observation that I often get into trouble on twitter defending my colleagues when there are social media storms in play about this or that story. The realities for pretty much everybody operating in the news space these days is that you are required to do too much with too little with too little support and you have to be self-motivated in your work.

          The fact that the results of this are disappointing to readers is understandable, and is distressing for those who are producing the shows and publications which are criticised (often justifiably) for their mistakes.

          Pretty much anyone who is still in a senior journalistic role these days is doing so out of a sense of vocation or compulsion rather than because of the rewards that the industry delivers. There are still wonderful things about being in the news business, it is a privilege to do this work, but it is also a constant struggle.

          And the fact that so many readers/viewers/listeners appear to be so angry about what is happening, but do not understand the reasons behind the things that make them angry, makes it all the harder for those who are working hard and doing their best in very difficult circumstances.

          Al

          • Grant 5.1.2.1.1

            In that case maybe the industry should be much more transparent in its communication with the public about the difficulties they are having providing a quality in depth news/ current affairs service. One of the reasons people are angry, especially those of us who have lived as adult news consumers through the ongoing decline over the last thirty years is that it is a rare day indeed that any such admission of a decline is made. Instead we too often get the self aggrandizing promotional puffery followed by shallow gimcrack churnalism which simply doesn’t pass the bullshit test.

            Bottom line, yes, many of us are angry, both at the quality of news / current affairs, and at being treated like mushrooms.

            Thanks at least for being honest about the state of play.

  6. weka 6

    Hi Alaister, some of Scoop’s descriptions of what it is trying to do are a tad overlong and complex. Can you describe Scoop’s new organisation in two paragraphs, maybe bullet pointing the different structures within it? I’m thinking the more practical side rather than the ‘news is broken, we aim to fix it’ side (which is already clear).

    • Anne 6.1

      I concur with weka’s comment. Make it simple. 🙂

      Also can you supply a suitable address so that I can send a donation by cheque? Yes, some of us still use them from time to time. Thanks.

    • Scoop is now owed by a charitable trust (the Scoop Foundation) which has as its purpose supporting public interest journalism. This trust will raise money to help it achieve this purpose.

      Scoop.co.nz is still a company and once it returns to profitability it will pay dividends to the Foundation which will then be able to use that money to pursue its purposes.

      In the meantime Scoop.co.nz – thanks to its huge reach and influential audience – is in a position to assist public interest journalism activity being undertaken by third parties and will do so.

  7. Wainwright 7

    Alastair: The trust infographic is too complicated and unclear. Is New Scoop a news site, or an NZ on Air for journalism, or something else? How do you describe it in one sentence for a n00b who doesn’t get how the media works?

  8. Hi, sorry I am so late…… I will start answering questions now.

  9. r0b 9

    Unlike our Q&A’s with politicians the questions are all reasonable and interesting, so I will turn off moderation and comments will just go through.

  10. ianmac 10

    I wonder if we should pay a subscription to Scoop (and the Standard) in lieu of a sub to MSM. What do you think Alastair?

    • Hi Ian,

      I would definitely encourage you to do so. The most effective way you can support and encouragement the kind of media you want is to subscribe to and pay the providers of services which you value.

      Alastair

  11. whateva next? 11

    Under National government, Crosby Textor have a sophisticated strategy of undermining any opposition in the media.
    It seems that trying to counter there propoganda is endless and exhaustive, and always on a backfoot. The narrative is set by them, and the readers have already lost interest after the sensational and mostly ridiculous, headlines slating any opposition actions.
    Given that we understand what the strategies are now, could we front foot and point this out to public? as was done in UK? thereby neutralising the strategy?

    https://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CBwQFjAAahUKEwjUyer81ujIAhWC2qYKHQ0ICBc&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fpolitics%2F2015%2Fmay%2F08%2Flynton-crosby-wedge-politics-general-election-tories&usg=AFQjCNGlJPIWoluiT3HB0RIR63Hr27i2gg

    • Hi Wateva,

      The meta narrative behind the propaganda efforts which are being employed against the electorate is a particularly fascinating subject.

      Scoop has covered Crosby Textor extensively in the past. Particularly back around the time of the 2005 and 2008 elections.

      https://www.google.co.nz/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&rlz=1C1SNJF_enNZ590NZ590&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=site:scoop.co.nz+crosby+textor

      Since then they have gone from strength to strength and the reporter that we had who was focussed on the subject then has moved on.

      I agree very much that Crosby Textor deserves a lot of attention in NZ. They are almost certainly responsible for the elevation of Max Key into the public eye and the Flag debacle IMO. The fact they now have an office in Auckland suggests to me that they will also be involved in the “dark arts” work around next years local body elections.

      No doubt there will be some mainstream reporters who take an interest in this – as it is interesting – however given the parlous state that the news media is in I would think it far more likely that the readers and contributors to The Standard would be able to mount a more effective counter to this than anything the MSM can do.

      Plus what happens in the blogosphere tends to bleed into the MSM over time. So I would encourage you to dig in, be the media and publish the truth.

      Al

      • whateva next? 11.1.1

        “Plus what happens in the blogosphere tends to bleed into the MSM over time.”
        That is reassuring, rather than two separate worlds which is what I have been thinking.
        Thanks Al, and thanks for your response. I guess a “multi-pronged approach” is the way to go, including an anchor in Scoop. I will get onto this tonight. I will even squeeze in a quote to galvanise me!
        “Between the idea
        And the reality
        Between the motion
        And the act
        Falls the Shadow”
        ― T.S. Eliot

  12. maui 12

    This isn’t really a question, but more a comment.

    I don’t know a lot about scoop, but find my impression of it is a place where a range of organisations issue press releases. I don’t go there for news, and still use mainstream sources even though I know bias or lack of quality is an issue there. If others feel similarly, how does scoop get more on people’s radar as a legitimate news source?

  13. r0b 13

    I’m not sure how long Alastair is planning to stay, but I have to go now.

    So I’ll take this opportunity to thank him for joining us here today, and for his detailed and thoughtful answers!

    I’ve promoted this link several times on TS, but once more won’t hurt. If you want to donate to Scoop you can do so here:

    https://www.pledgeme.co.nz/projects/4175-establishing-the-scoop-foundation-for-public-interest-journalism

    • Hi rOb,

      Thankyou very much for your kind invitation to answer TS questions, and also for your support for our campaign. It is massively appreciated by myself and the entire Scoop Team.

      I will be here for another 10 minutes before I have to head away to do something for a bit. However I would be happy to continue to answer questions about anything – and will come back later today to do so.

      Scoop is linking to this thread on our Front Page so there maybe some new people joining you here through that route.

      Alastair

    • left for deadshark 13.2

      Thanks for this post rob, good luck Alastair.

  14. Hi Maui,

    I am going to cut and paste a description from this piece which explains in some detail what Scoop has been doing and why. Yes we publish Press Releases, no that is not journalism, but yes it is a legitimate news source. We are the news source that news makers rely on to know what is going on. Press Releases are unusually actionable pieces of information.

    The quote below comes from >> http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1508/S00016/scoops-futureofnews-challenge-solution-a-new-scoop.htm

    About Press Releases

    Press releases which form the bulk of Scoop’s content are a very useful form of communication.

    For starters it is clear who they are from. You can also be certain that the person who is quoted in them will stand by what they are saying (i.e. they haven’t been trapped into saying something silly, what they put in a press statement it is their considered opinion, and not just the first two paragraphs but in all likelihood every word carries some meaning otherwise it wouldn’t be there.) And, most probably, anything in a press release has not only been signed off by the people quoted in it, but also by a range of other stakeholders and governance people involved in the announcement.

    From an economic perspective Press Releases often have a team involved in their preparation including often the CEO of the organisation. They are therefore expensive to produce.

    Yes press releases are a subjective view of reality from a perspective of a particular organisation or person, but they are one which can be relied upon in most cases to be an accurate and often nuanced reflection of that subjective view.

    By contrast these days if you read something in a news article that has been written by a journalist there is a transformation process involved. Facts and assertions are interpreted, supplemented, checked and sometimes critiqued. This is also useful but in a different way.

    What Scoop’s professional users tell us consistently is that what they value about Scoop is the fact that they are able to read all the information from the source and draw their own conclusion about what is important and what it means.

    And from the perspective of a legal profession which deals in facts. Press releases are of course particularly useful, there is little danger that remarks contained in a press release will be later disavowed.

    Scoop’s Audience – Influential Professional Users At Work

    Scoop’s audience is remarkably large given that the content on Scoop is by and large pretty serious . We reach roughly 20,000 people per day, 100,000 per week and 300,000 per month. Scoop is used predominately 9am to 5pm, at work by people who are working.

    Firstly Scoop does not publish very much sports or celebrity news. Most of what is on Scoop is pretty serious. And we can also see from use patterns that a lot of Scoop usage is research based. Last week for example 30,000 different items were read by roughly 120,000 users. In the same week we would have published around 1000 items – so it is clear that use of historical material is significant.

    In addition 5000 different search queries were run on the search.scoop.co.nz search engine in the week, and Google Webmaster Tools shows us that Scoop results appeared in Google search queries between 300,000 and 500,000 times each day.

    We have extensive research into Scoop’s audience which shows that it is particularly strong among the Media, Finance and Public Administration sectors. This research also shows it includes a lot of CEOs, directors, managers and decision makers. Scoop’s audience is particularly strong in both news-makers and those who are paying close attention to what is going on.

    Many Voices Informing Influencers

    Recently as we were trying to figure out how we should evolve to survive we came up with the catch phrase “Many Voices Informing Influencers” to describe what Scoop does.

    Scoop provides a voice to all-comers across the political spectrum to debate business, social and cultural issues and we allow the community to respond in real time. Media commentator and Scoop collaborator Russell Brown has described us as “the home of the national argument”, another way of saying roughly the same thing.

    When people send material to Scoop they know they can reach an influential audience – including the media. As a result Scoop acts as a magnet to content from people who are seeking to be heard. And as mentioned earlier, for many of these would-be news-makers Scoop’s publication of their contribution to the debate is often the most high profile and important outlet for their material .

    When an item is published in Scoop it is almost instantaneously indexed by Google. And because of Scoop’s high level of authority the Scoop page results features high when people are searching for news about specific things. This enables people and organisations to ensure that their version of what is happening to them can be found alongside the interpreted views relayed via the media.

    Conclusion

    In Summary then Scoop is a piece of much used information infrastructure which has reliable served the NZ information system for a generation – and for that reason we think it is worthwhile making some effort to keep it alive and kicking and informing the people of New Zealand.

  15. Tracey 15

    I note more layoffs of journalists today and the constant refrain of lack of resources for reporting. if we count up the number of media in england for the wod cup final, there is no lack of resources.

    my question which is loosely related to the above

    By your observations are editors calling the shots on what msm choose to publish or are their hands tied by policy/edict from higher up?

    eg hagers info being releasex so easily to the police took a few days to reach msm and not until it included a loosely associated SC decision which enable more focus on potential criminalisation of hager and journos

    • >> By your observations are editors calling the shots on what msm choose to publish or are their hands tied by policy/edict from higher up?

      Editors call the shots. But they have performance objectives – eyeballs and audience engagement – which drive their choice of stories. When it comes to serious reporting – Press Gallery, Business Desk, Investigative and Round Reporters the reporters tend to be responsible for what they choose to work on. They have to justify time to editors and request space (for print) etc.

      IMO everybody is doing the best they can within the current system, but what you the readers do not appreciate is how constrained things are. If you are expected to produce 2 stories are day you have to take less time and challenge less complicated stories. If you have less time then doing challenging or novel work is more difficult.

      Human interest stories, sick baby, clever dog, angry house owner are easy. One interview, nice picture bobs your answer. Trying to understand a 300 page report into decile funding and its impact on educational outcomes takes time, experience and the product is not as appealing to the average reader. The solution for reporters facing this situation is to piece together comment from the experts/interested parties to whatever the debate is – which can also work within the timeframes and resource constraints.

      But subtle, important news is hard.

      >> eg hagers info being releasex so easily to the police took a few days to reach msm and not until it included a loosely associated SC decision which enable more focus on potential criminalisation of hager and journos

      Scoop coordinated release of the documents with NZ Herald Journalist David Fisher who I knew had great knowledge and interested in the case. We also offered the documents to Radio New Zealand who picked the story up on Saturday (the day we released the papers) to.

      I don’t think there is any connection between the Dixon case and the Hager case. I could be wrong but in the unlikely event that Clifford J rules against Hager this judgement will almost certainly be appealed.

      That said in the event that Clifford J rules against the Police it is certainly possible that they too may decide to appeal. Either way the law around police responsibilities towards protecting journalistic privilege are about to be clarified that will be helpful and important to us all.

      This is the reason Scoop requested access to the file.

      We are still hoping that the affidavit evidence of the police officers involved in the raid will be released to us and have asked for it. When/if we receive it then we will be sharing it with our media colleagues and trying to coordinate high quality coverage of the material contained within. A cooperative approach to news reporting is very much what Scoop hopes to be able to model now that it is a charitable entity. Afterall we are no longer in competition for advertising dollars with anyone.

  16. Rosie 17

    Thank you to Alistair for coming along to speak with readers today and thank you to The Standard for hosting him. It was interesting and insightful reading the questions and answers. Interesting too, on a day when I hear NZME are “merging their news departments” and approximately 15 journalists will lose their jobs.

    These days I’m relying on RNZ and Scoop for news, having almost given up on The Dominion Post and stuffed.co.nz. I also make sure I never miss The Scoop Report on Radio Active with Alistair Thompson and Grant Robertson. It’s during this interview on a Thursday morning that I get questions answered about “why” this is happening or “why” did such and such say that or whats behinds that story. etc. Sometimes Alistair and Redbird Jnr keep Grant Robertson on his toes 🙂

    The Scoop Report discussion around politics naturally flows into issues within society. This week Grant Robertson talked about his observation of how deep and widespread our issue with mental health is NZ and what little resources we have to truly improve people’s well being, and address it’s causes. Alistair followed on with his observation of causes of poor mental health within the workplace, including the public service.

    Just fascinating listening. Often candid and always honest. I will miss him when he leaves these shores in a few weeks.

  17. vto 18

    hmmmph… disappointing he hasn’t returned to flesh out his weaker pov’s

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    At this early stage, the Omicron variant seems to be more infectious, and more able to bypass the protection offered by vaccines and by the antibodies generated by previous infection. The fact that it is being spread around the globe by travellers who were all presumably fully immunised and had ...
    6 hours ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 29 November 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Dr Kevin Moore, Associate Professor in Psychology & Tourism, Lincoln University: “For me, the big advantage of NZ Politics Daily is the breadth of opinion and sources it gathers. Together. There is always a mix of news reporting, news analysis, opinion pieces and blog posts. That breadth ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    7 hours ago
  • National is still very much the same Party even without Collins leading it… that’s the real issu...
    Judith Collins regarded Thatcher as “a personal hero” of hers. But like her hero though, it took the UK Conservative Party and their ideological counterparts here to get rid of both of them, from the inside. There’s a sort of bizarre symmetry to that really. Both were rather messy ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    18 hours ago
  • 2021 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #48
    Listing of articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, November 21, 2021 through Sat, November 27, 2021 The following articles sparked above average interest during the week: To Breed or Not to Breed?, The Vaccine for Fake News, Ten ways to confront the climate ...
    19 hours ago
  • A professor without honour in his own country
    Michael Corballis just three months before his death appeared in an interview on the Hui with Mihirangi Forbes. She made no effort to conceal her disdain for his defence of science and proceeded to lecture him on not knowing enough about mātauranga Maori to comment on it and accused him ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    19 hours ago
  • Businessman – and Political Novice
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    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 day ago
  • No, Elizabeth Stuart Would Not Have Stopped the English Civil War (Probably)
    As you might have noticed, A Phuulish Fellow is a fairly eclectic blog. Even an organic one. I have my interests, and write about them as the fit takes me. And sometimes I stumble across an article I feel the need to comment on. Today, I ran across a ...
    2 days ago
  • Rumour Has It: A Númenórean Character List?
    Today we have another Amazon rumour on our hands. And for a change, it is not coming out of Fellowship of Fans. No, instead we have the following tweet doing the rounds, ostensibly listing (mostly) Númenórean characters and their code names. It’s an interesting leak, if true. And that’s ...
    3 days ago
  • Covid as Warriors
    The book I am currently working on – tentative title ‘In Open Seas’ – looks at the current and future New Zealand. One chapter describes the policy towards Covid using the trope of warfare. It covers an important period in our history but show how policy evolves and why, as ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    3 days ago
  • COVID-19: the B.1.1.529 variant – what do we know?
    There’s a lot of news about a new variant originally reported in southern Africa. Early signs have prompted calls for immediate precautionary blocks on travel from the region to restrict its spread. The WHO has called an emergency conference on this variant. Here’s a round-up of what we know so ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    3 days ago
  • National Party board denies it unanimously agreed to Collins’ Faustian bargain with Satan
    Sources close to party president Peter Goodfellow say he was totally blindsided by Collins’ claims he was party to this particular satanic ritual. National Party president Peter Goodfellow is today issuing a strong denial on behalf of the party’s board, saying they did not, at any point, agree to the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    3 days ago
  • The cost of optimism
    Yesterday the National Party imploded in a messy knife-fight that cost it its leader and probably one of the contenders. So naturally, the government has taken the opportunity to do a dump of its pandemic advice, including the Cabinet papers on its controversial decisions to repeatedly lower the Auckland alert ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on National’s less than stellar choices
    Amid all the jostling in the National caucus ranks, spare a thought for Andrew Bayly. Who? Well might you ask. Plucked from obscurity by Judith Collin, elevated from number 18 to number 3 in the caucus rankings and given the Finance portfolio – a role in which he has been ...
    3 days ago
  • Are New Zealand’s universities doing enough to define the limits of academic freedom?
    Matheson Russell, University of Auckland   The news last week that University of Auckland public health researcher Simon Thornley was retracting a co-authored paper about supposed vaccination risks during pregnancy raised deeper questions about the limits of academic freedom. Thornley’s own head of department had called for the paper to ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 days ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 26 November 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Jean Drage, Political scientist specialist in local government: “With 78 local authorities and central government currently intent on reform, local government is a challenging area of research to keep on top of. Thank goodness for Bryce’s NZ’s Politics Daily. It is a gem, especially as it also ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    3 days ago
  • Josh Van Veen: Bridges is not the one
    Simon Bridges failed to bluff Judith Collins out of the leadership. A campaign to rehabilitate his image began shortly after the election and culminated in the publication of a memoir in August. There were persistent rumours of a deal with rival Christopher Luxon and MPs from the ‘liberal’ wing of ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    3 days ago
  • Smokefree cars – an important step towards protecting children from the hazards of smoking
    Richard Edwards, Jude Ball, Janet Hoek, George Thomson, Nick Wilson*  On November 28 new legislation to protect children from smoking and vaping in cars will come into force. This blog sets out the background and rationale for the new law, and discusses implementation, evaluation and the next steps to protect ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    3 days ago
  • Judith's Last Stand.
    Going Out With All Guns Blazing: Why didn’t Judith Collins stick with the strategy that had kept her, National’s most improbable of leaders, in power for more than a year? One might just as well ask why Rob Muldoon (that other unforgiving right-wing populist National Party leader) got drunk and ...
    3 days ago
  • Act’s Precarious Ascendancy.
    On The Lookout: It is easy to imagine how closely Seymour has been watching the National Opposition for the slightest sign of a Clark figure emerging. A respected politician, who enjoys broad support across the party and, much more importantly, who impresses the ordinary centre-right voter as having what it ...
    3 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #47, 2021
    104 articles by 574 contributing authors Physical science of climate change, effects Delayed impacts of Arctic sea-ice loss on Eurasian severe cold winters Jang et al. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 10.1029/2021jd035286 Observations of climate change, effects Divergent responses of terrestrial carbon use efficiency to climate variation from 2000 ...
    3 days ago
  • Labour’s Eyes Wide Shut To “Unruly Tenants”.
    Not Seeing The Problem: They say there are none so blind as those who will not see. And, right now, Kāinga Ora is studiously not looking. It is clear to everyone that the Minister responsible, Poto Williams, has (like so many of her colleagues) been entirely captured by her officials. ...
    3 days ago
  • Is the mob coming for Charles Darwin?
    Richard Dawkins recently noted the giants of the past are being sanctimoniously judged by nonentities of the present whose only qualification is still being alive to do so. How will the future judge our own time when we are not around? Peter Franklin from Unherd examines whether the woke can ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Blowing a Hole in Your Own Wall: Idiotic Tampering with MIQ
    Managed Isolation/Quarantine has been a fact of life for New Zealand for eighteen months. It’s not popular – there are only so many spaces available at any given time, and the process is famously opaque – but it is the key to saving New Zealand from rampant Coronavirus. That, ...
    4 days ago
  • Now Labour wants secret trials
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • The end of a toxic leader
    If there's one thing that Judith Collins is usually good at, it's using scandalous information about other people to her advantage. Not above undermining her own political party, Collins has been known to even leak against her own fellow MPs, particularly those who posed a threat to her as the ...
    4 days ago
  • A transformative government in Germany
    Back in September Germans went to the polls, and handed the politicians a tough job, with no easy majorities for anyone. The Social Democrats, Free Democrats, and Greens agreed to work together in a "traffic light" coalition, but given their political differences (its basicly ACT/Greens/Labour), expectations for real change were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Political Harakiri
    The National party must always have known that they were taking a risk when they elected Judith Collins as leader. There were, after all, good reasons why they repeatedly declined to accept her candidature when she offered herself – as she frequently did. She was always an inappropriate person to ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • Thanksgiving advice, 2021: How to deal with climate change-denying Uncle Pete
    This is a re-post from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists by Richard Somerville “Birds of a feather flock together,” so I am sure that nearly all of those reading this article accept the main findings of climate science. Yet many people don’t. Instead, they believe a variety of climate ...
    4 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the demotion of Simon Bridges
    So Simon Bridges has been bounced from the front bench and stripped of his shadow portfolio responsibilities for the crudely “inappropriate” comments that he allegedly made to a female colleague, Jacqui Dean – and personally apologised for – about five years ago. After years of mocking Labour for its supposed ...
    4 days ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 25 November 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Dr Rosemary Wette, Associate Professor, Applied Linguistics, University of Auckland: “I’ve been browsing regularly through NZ Politics Daily for several months now. It gives me access to a range of views on current issues (helpfully organised by topic) that I wouldn’t otherwise have time to look up, or ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    4 days ago
  • The bizarre case of the Royal Society investigating academics defending science
    The Royal Society has begun a disciplinary investigation against a group of academics. The academics were defending science and in the past would have expected support from the Royal Society. The Free Speech Union has launched a campaign to defend the academics and academic freedom. Māori professor under investigation for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Ian Powell: Unionism and nursing in New Zealand
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    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    5 days ago
  • Bryce Edwards: Today’s constitutional disgrace in Parliament
    This Government has a problem with urgency. Critics from both left and right have long complained about their lack of urgency on issues such as climate change, housing, and inequality. Likewise, in terms of the Covid response, there’s been a chorus of criticism that Labour has been complacent and sluggish ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    5 days ago
  • Vaping needs much tighter regulation as we approach Smokefree Aotearoa 2025: Two new studies
    Nick Wilson, Janet Hoek, Jennifer Summers, Driss Ait Ouakrim, Andrew Waa, Richard Edwards, Tony Blakely* Two recent studies provide new insights into the impact vaping may have on public health. The first estimates that use of modern vaping devices could be around a third as harmful to health as smoking. ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • Strange Defeat: A Guest Post By Dr. Chris Harris.
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    5 days ago
  • More than 147km – the transformative potential of the Wellington bike network plan
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    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 24 November 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Liz Brown, Senior communications advisor, Association of Salaried Medical Specialists: “The NZ Politics Daily is a fabulous resource providing a comprehensive one stop shop on what’s making news and how stories are being covered. I look forward to seeing it pop into my inbox every morning.” Anyone can sign ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Taking us for a ride
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: An industry in denial
    Over the past few years it has become clear that coal has no future in Aotearoa. Rising carbon prices, a ban on new boilers and a legislated phase-out for existing infrastructure are going to drive it out of the market. To reinforce this, the government signed up for an anti-coal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The “most open and transparent government ever” again
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on farmers playing the victim, plus Chile’s right turn
    Among the farming lobby groups, the good cop/bad cop routine has been working a treat. It suits Federated Farmers to keep daylight between itself and the Groundswell movement. Month in, year out the Federation continues to engage with the government over the very same water degradation/climate change regulations that Groundswell ...
    6 days ago
  • Important People
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    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    6 days ago
  • Parliament, the Courts and the end of three strikes (for now)
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    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    6 days ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 23 November 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Martyn Bradbury, Editor, The Daily Blog “’NZ Politics Daily’ is one of the most important news and political resources run in New Zealand. The expert collation of opinion and news makes it an invaluable day to day resource as well as an incredible treasure for researchers in the future. ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Emission Reduction Plan
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • Dissing The Farmers.
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    6 days ago
  • How will carbon pricing impact inflation?
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    7 days ago
  • (Lack of) Public Service Announcement: The National Library of New Zealand, Internet Archive, and Al...
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    7 days ago
  • Game over for the HRPP
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Chinese influence and American hate diffusion.
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    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • The Real Interests Of The Country.
    Off Message: Into the extremely fraught relationship between Town and Country, the Groundswell organisers have blundered like an Aberdeen-Angus steer in an organic vege-shop. Unreasonably proud of their rural economic virtues, and dangerously forthright in their enumeration of the cities’ political vices, these Kiwi equivalents of America’s “good ole boys” ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 22 November 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Minna Reid, Law student, Victoria University of Wellington “As a Uni student, staying up to date with current affairs is always important. The Daily Politics & Democracy Project by Bryce Edwards is of great service for this. It offers varying news sources I would not have found myself ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Free speech is a people’s frank confession to itself
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    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • 2021 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #47
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    1 week ago
  • The F Words, by Barbara Gregorich
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    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • The Scourge of the Aimless Kick
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    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Delta Rocks Gibraltar: Lessons to be learned from Covid-19’s global resurgence.
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    1 week ago
  • I’ll take the masks and vaccines, thank you
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    1 week ago
  • Hell To Pay: The alarming similarities between the Anti-Vaccination Movement and the creators of the...
    Never Let Go: If the violent prejudices of the Jim Crow South, echoing through contemporary struggles, teach us anything, it is that the defence of rationality, science and progressivism must never be allowed to falter. Those pre-modern night-riders, filled with unrelenting hate, are still out there. If the troops of ...
    1 week ago
  • A Peak Out of Auckland? + Other Covid Musings
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    1 week ago
  • Sing Song about Hard Times
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    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • A good problem to have
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the politics of anger, plus a music playlist
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    1 week ago
  • No, vaccinated people are not ‘just as infectious’ as unvaccinated people if they get COVID
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Electric cars alone won’t save the planet. We’ll need to design cities so people can walk and cy...
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Worn down by bad news? You’re not alone…
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Alexander Gillespie, University of Waikato   Last week’s COVID protest outside parliament served as a warning that New Zealand is not immune to the kinds of anger seen overseas. As Labour Party whip Kieran McAnulty put it, “I think everyone needs to be aware that things are starting to escalate.” ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 19 November 2021
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    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Buying Back The Whenua.
    Dangerous Visionaries: Rex Connor wanted to “buy back the farm” (i.e. nationalise Australia’s mineral wealth) and ended up bringing down the government of Gough Whitlam. Nanaia Mahuta’s Three Waters Project is seen by many as a first step to “buying back the whenua” (repatriating Māori lands and waters). A policy which threatens the longevity of ...
    1 week ago
  • nuremberg, and history
      There’s a lot been said recently about the Nuremberg code. So what is it, and why is it popping up now? As described in this excellent NEJM article, the Code was developed over 80 years ago in August 1947, by judges involved in the “Doctors Trial” at Nuremberg. There were ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #46, 2021
    Housekeeping: New content New Research is primarily focused on reports published in "the academic literature." Thanks to a diversity of publishers, journals, editors, reviewers, researchers and institutional affiliations, such publications are statistically highly successful at approximating and reflecting our best dispassionate understanding of research topics. Any given personal agenda not ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another OIA horror-story
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Traffic light levels announced
    The levels at which different parts of New Zealand will move forward into the COVID-19 Protection Framework this Friday have been announced. Northland, Auckland, Taupō and Rotorua Lakes Districts, Kawerau, Whakatane, Ōpōtiki Districts, Gisborne District, Wairoa District, Rangitikei, Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts will move in at Red The rest of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 mins ago
  • New Ambassador to Russia announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Sarah Walsh as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Russia. “Aotearoa New Zealand and Russia have a long-standing relationship, engaging on a range of regional and global interests including disarmament and Antarctica issues. We also work together as members of the East ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • New Permanent Representative to the UN announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Carolyn Schwalger as Permanent Representative to the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. “Aotearoa New Zealand is a founding member of the UN and we have worked hard to ensure our stance on human rights, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 hours ago
  • Further COVID-19 economic support for Cook Islands and Fiji announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced a further package of support for the Cook Islands and Fiji for COVID-19 economic support and recovery. “Aotearoa New Zealand remains committed to supporting our Pacific fanau and vuvale to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 on their economies, and move towards long-term ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New law will clear the air for tamariki in vehicles
    From today, it’s illegal to smoke or vape in most vehicles carrying children aged under 18 years old - whether the vehicle is moving or not. “Second-hand smoke poses an unacceptable risk to our tamariki and rangatahi,” Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall said. “We know children in vehicles ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Nine countries designated very high risk
    Nine southern African countries are being added to the very high risk countries list following public health advice around the newly discovered COVID-19 variant Omicron, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said. This afternoon, a public health risk assessment was carried out to assess the emerging evidence and any risk to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Foreign Affairs Minister concludes final stage of world trip
    Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today departed North America to return home to Aotearoa, concluding the last stage of her 17-day world trip. The final leg of her trip saw her visit the United States of America and Canada for a number of high-level discussions. While in Washington D.C., ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Milestone launch of Pacific Languages Unit
    Today’s official launch of the Pacific Languages Unit is a milestone for our Pacific communities, the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio said. The Pacific Languages Unit brings together a new set of language supports within the Ministry for Pacific Peoples to provide advice, commission research, maintain standards, promote ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Public Health Lecture – University of Otago
    Public Health - Lessons from New Zealand’s COVID-19 response and opportunities for the future E nga mana, E nga reo,                                          E nga iwi. Tēna koutou katoa. Ka huri ki nga mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēna koutou. He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei I raro I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand statement on situation in Honiara, Solomon Islands
    Aotearoa New Zealand is deeply concerned by the events which have been unfolding in Honiara, Solomon Islands, since Wednesday. “New Zealand is a long-standing partner of Solomon Islands, and there are deep and enduring connections between our two countries,” Acting Foreign Affairs Minister David Parker said. “Our engagement in Solomon ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Nailed it! Over 500 apprentices get jobs boost
    Over 500 apprentices and cadets have been placed into work across New Zealand thanks to the Government’s booming build programme, that’s both constructing public houses, and maintaining older homes. Housing Minister Megan Woods announced the milestone today at a public housing construction site in Riccarton, Christchurch. “This Government’s investment in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Investment to support maternal mental health
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    ...
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