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Questions mount over Nats’ red zone plan

Written By: - Date published: 10:04 am, June 27th, 2011 - 30 comments
Categories: disaster, Gerry Brownlee, john key - Tags: ,

As has been said since before the announcement, Option 1 isn’t enough to get people back into the situation they were in before the quake – which Key and Brownlee promised. A hell of a lot of land was valued well below market price. Not to mention un-notified or post-2007 upgrades to houses. Those aren’t caught by the 2007 GVs.

Brownlee simply refuses to acknowledge there is a problem. CERA boss Roger Sutton says “we haven’t written the rules yet” around these issues. What the hell? Govt has had months to come up with these rules. The hard part, surely, is the geotechnical work, not the buy-out rules. Can understand that there’s a big ‘orange/white’, actually ‘grey’, zone of houses that are in the ‘don’t know’ category. Can’t understand that the rules for each category aren’t in place.

Sutton also says: “There are only about 50 people uninsured among 5000, but you have to be careful. There are sad stories but you can’t start paying out to the uninsured.” Simple question: why not? The buy-out isn’t an insurance payment.

Next: problem with Option 2. Insurers refusing to payout for replacement on red zone houses that aren’t write-offs. Some red-zone homeowners are looking at suing the insurance companies. Might feel good. Wouldn’t work. Insurers are within their rights. They’ll argue a) the homeowners have the choice not to sell their land to the government’s or b) force majeure. Homeowners’ beef is with the govt, which should have fixed this obvious problem. How? By telling insurers to payout for replacement and then making up the difference between actual insured damage and that payout.

Government can’t argue they were ignorant of this issue. Not just because I thought of it straight away or because actual examples came out within a day of the announcement. Brownlee had been told about it by insurers: ‘insurance companies had been “quite clear about their position” during several months of discussions with the Government’ – according to The Press.

Get that clear: Brownlee knew about this issue for months and has done nothing about it. Sutton says “Decisions were only made two days ago and we haven’t written the rules yet”. But Brownlee has been sitting on this info for months doing nothing.

What happens if you refuse to be ripped off under options 1 or 2? The government will wait you out, then buy you out compulsorily. Andrew Geddis explains:

Let’s say you are unlucky enough to be in the “Red Zone” (which likely will expand, note, as the “Orange Zone” and “White Zone” land gets looked at more closely). And let’s say neither of the Government’s two offers work for you … in that you think they leave you in such a bad financial state that you can’t afford to take them. What then?

Well, one prospect is that you will end up as a lonely hold-out in a largely deserted area of demolished houses with little in the way of services. That in itself will be enough, I suspect, to get most people moving out irrespective of the financial hit they have to take.

But let’s say that, although it is in the Red Zone, your house is in reasonable shape, it still has services, and you just don’t want to (or really feel you can’t) leave. What then?

Well, at the moment, the Government is speaking the language of offers. According to the press release, “Residents will then have nine months to consider the offer of purchase.” Which may make it sound like the decision rests with the land owner – if you don’t like the offers, then you can just stay on living there.

Except … probably not. Because lurking behind the Government’s offers is the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011, and in particular section 54. Under that section, “The Minister may acquire land compulsorily by causing a notice of intention to take land in the name of the Crown to be published in the Gazette and twice publicly notified … .”

Now, we can’t say for absolute certain, and the Minister himself may not yet know for sure, but I think it’s pretty clear that there won’t be anyone allowed to stay living in the Red Zone. That’s certainly the implication of this news story. So folks who won’t sell voluntarily will, I suspect, find themselves selling involuntarily after 9 months.

Except, here’s the rub. If your land is acquired compulsorily under the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011, you get compensation under subpart 5. And that compensation is determined by the Minister in accordance with s.64.

And s.64 makes it crystal clear that “in the case of the compulsory acquisition of land, [compensation is determined] as at the date of the compulsory acquisition”; meaning “the Minister must determine compensation having regard to its current market value as determined by a valuation carried out by a registered valuer.”

It’s amazing how quickly this has gone from ‘we’ll stand beside you’, ‘no-one will be worse off’ to ‘screw you, take the crappy offer, or we’ll take the land at our own price’. But that’s what you get with a Tory government and an incompetent, non-empathetic minister.

30 comments on “Questions mount over Nats’ red zone plan”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    “the Minister must determine compensation having regard to its current market value as determined by a valuation carried out by a registered valuer.”

    So I guess the important question is, what’s the likely “current market value” of fraked liquefaction strewn land that no one can build on again?

    Oh, right.

    “There are only about 50 people uninsured among 5000, but you have to be careful. There are sad stories but you can’t start paying out to the uninsured.” Simple question: why not? The buy-out isn’t an insurance payment.

    Translation: Uninsured = Second class citizen in the event of a major natural disaster.

    • Adolf Fiinkensein 1.1

      CV, don’t get too carried away with vituperation, now.

      In my view the uninsured should be treated in exactly the same way as the insured. That is to say, they should receive from the government what used to be known as the ‘unimproved value’ of their land as it was before the earthquake. Furthermore, I’d be interested to see if you can verify the claim that Messrs Brownlee and Key promised to “get people back into the situation they were in before the quake.”

      It is very easy for a competent registered valuer to establish such a figure.

      You guys really are pushing shit uphill on this one.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        Funny, asking that those who are uninsured do not lose all the equity they had saved up in their homes hardly seems to be pushing shit up hill. Those people are not shit, and they are not second class citizens.

        The Govt paid out $4M on an uninsured sports field for goodness sakes.

        Their position needs to be formally declared by the Government so they have certainty and that they aren’t bankrupted by any mortgage they might still hold.

        • Blue 1.1.1.1

          Isn’t the question WHY aren’t they insured? God, what is the point of getting insurance for just such an occurrence if you think the Govt should pay (with money they don’t have) for those that didn’t bother to insure their own house FFS. They gambled, for reasons i cannot understand and chose not to insure their biggest asset against loss, and they lost big time. Perhaps everyone should get a refund form their insurers and just send the rebuild bill to our broke Government.

          • Blighty 1.1.1.1.1

            “God, what is the point of getting insurance for just such an occurrence”

            your insurance doesn’t cover the government buying your entire neighbourhood and declaring it uninhabitable. That’s force majeure.

            Are the buy-outs of insured people tied to how much the government expects to recover from insurers? No, they are not. If you have home insurance and in the red zone, you can get full rates value on the property whether your house and land are a complete write-off and every cent is covered or if there is no insured damage at all.

      • Bright Red 1.1.2

        Adolf, if you want the uninsured to be treated the same as the insured, then they should have option 1 open to them – ie. they could sell their property to the govt at 2007 rateable value.

        That option isn’t open to them currently, and it’s not the option you have described.

        “He repeated that the Government would protect the equity in people’s homes.”
        http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch-earthquake-2011/4745884/Real-prospect-of-large-scale-shifts

        amongst others.

        • grumpy 1.1.2.1

          Read what he said, then look up what “unimproved value” means.

          • Blighty 1.1.2.1.1

            unimproved value doesn’t count the value of any buildings. Adolf said:

            “In my view the uninsured should be treated in exactly the same way as the insured. That is to say, they should receive from the government what used to be known as the ‘unimproved value’ of their land as it was before the earthquake.”

            But, Option 1 gets people the value of their land and buildings:

            “the Crown makes an offer of purchase for the entire property at current rating value (less any built property insurance payments already made), and assumes all the insurance claims other than contents;”

            So, what Adolf is suggesting for the uninsured is not what the insured are able to get.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 1.1.3

        What happened to the uninsured part of Lancaster Park?

        Unlike other sports grounds they werent insured for the playing surface.

        No problem, Brownlee /Key said ‘we will pay to have it fixed ‘, even though it wont be used for RWC

        Then there is the $4.1 million pledged to fix AMI Stadium’s turf. The government stepped in because the turf was uninsured and it would take too long for the stadium owners, V-Base, to get the cash together. Apparently it’s not unusual not to insure the turf of a sports ground, but V-Base had never even looked into the cost despite the ground having scraped through a 7.1 quake unscathed.
        http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/opinion/4784931/Austerity-applies-everywhere-but-elite-rugby

        • Chris 1.1.3.1

          I still don’t understand why people on this site (really just CV and apparently you) are so upset at the government paying money for a council owned asset. I really don’t see how it is a big deal.

          • Colonial Viper 1.1.3.1.1

            Its a useless uninsured piece of property in the middle of a wrecked stadium which is getting no use in the Rugby World Cup.

            Yet the Government is happy to throw in a $4M bailout no questions asked while citizens living in filth and about to lose all the equity in their uninsured homes after losing their jobs due to the earthquake are told “no dice for you, just our rugby mates”.

            Its punitive and its BS.

            Shows who this Govt’s mates really are and the different treatment they get.

            • Chris 1.1.3.1.1.1

              Your anti-rugby bias is showing. Whether you like it or not many people in Christchurch do like rugby so they need a stadium.

              Additionally it’s not their rugby mates who are getting the bailout -they wouldn’t be paying for it. It is the people who own the stadium who have to pay for it i.e. the council.

              So yes the government’s mates the Christchurch City Council gets a bailout – not a big deal.

              • Colonial Viper

                Your anti-rugby bias is showing. Whether you like it or not many people in Christchurch do like rugby so they need a stadium.

                Yeah but I bet they love flushing toilets more than they love rugby.

                Plus that stadium is screwed, it won’t be operational for over a year. Those funds could be used to help people now.

                $4M for a sports field which isn’t even going to be used in the RWC, what a waste.

                • Chris

                  That’s all well and good except the $4 million has not detracted from the amount spent on other things in Christchurch. As you will be aware it is not $4 million which has already been spent. That is the amount they will pay overall not how much they have paid now. I get that you don’t like rugby and don’t see the need for the stadium but that doesn’t mean it should just be left alone.

                  Plus according to this the total estimated bill for the quake will be $8.8 billion:

                  http://www.starcanterbury.co.nz/business/news/quake-bonds-to-help-with-christchurch-rebuild/3952591/

                  Now I’m happy to admit the government has probably inflated this so even if we say the bill is $6 billion. You are upset because 0.0666% is being spent on a sports stadium?

                  Keeping in mind this is a sports stadium which when it is not broken runs at a profit (based on the fact that in 2010 VBase contributed around $1,000,000 to the Council).

  2. tsmithfield 2

    “Option 1 isn’t enough to get people back into the situation they were in before the quake – which Key and Brownlee promised. A hell of a lot of land was valued well below market price.”

    I have seen this repeated a lot here. Any evidence to back it up? Because my wife who is a real estate agent for Harcourts has been regularly selling properties in ChCh under the 2007 GV in the last several years. It has been a bonus for sellers if they have been getting over GV.

    “Brownlee simply refuses to acknowledge there is a problem. CERA boss Roger Sutton says “we haven’t written the rules yet” around these issues. What the hell? Govt has had months to come up with these rules.”

    Brownlee has said on TV a number of times that the government is willing to negotiate informally where for various reasons the GV is inequitable. Sure, a formal process would be good. However, the problem with a formal process is that people would be queued up for years waiting for justice.

    “Sutton also says: “There are only about 50 people uninsured among 5000, but you have to be careful. There are sad stories but you can’t start paying out to the uninsured.” Simple question: why not? The buy-out isn’t an insurance payment.”

    But under the rules, EQC payouts for both land and buildings are only for insured owners. The governments offer is simply an extension of what exists, and what Labour didn’t bother changing in 9 years.

    “Next: problem with Option 2. Insurers refusing to payout for replacement on red zone houses that aren’t write-offs. Some red-zone homeowners are looking at suing the insurance companies. Might feel good. Wouldn’t work.”

    Agreed it won’t work. Insurance policies have an exclusion clause for where the government acquires the land or orders destruction of buildings. Anyway, the two options give the most equitable solution. Essentially it puts owners into the same position as those in the green zone. If the same property was in the green zone, it would either be an old house fixed up or a completely new house in the case that the damage was not repairable. Thus, for both red zone and green zone houses, you are much better off if the house is totaled rather than repairable.

    “What happens if you refuse to be ripped off under options 1 or 2? The government will wait you out, then buy you out compulsorily…”

    I don’t think the government is interested in pissing around. They want things to happen so they will probably err on the side of generosity.

    Also, many people have a false idea of being ripped off. For instance, the government is not going to give full compensation where a property has been over-capitalised. Neither should it. Neither will it rescue people from their own stupidity, like in the case my wife tells me of, of a mortgagee sale in process at the moment where the owners paid $400000 for a house GV’d at $300000. She thought the paid a ridiculous price for it at the time and wasn’t surprised that it came up as a mortgagee sale.

    • vidiot 2.1

      For improvements to property post 2007 pre 09/10, the council will have records of these improvements and Bob was saying (TV3 press conference) they would be factored in to the option 1 settlements. I guess if the improvements were done on the sly and lack official recognition, this might bite a couple of the home owners.

    • Blighty 2.2

      Here’s one example of people who had a 2009 valuation that was more than their 2007 GV http://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-express/news/5190284/Red-zone-ruling-shatters-nest-egg-plan

      If this situation didn’t exist, there would be no need for option 2.

    • It looks like the government actually is happy to be ‘pissing around‘. Also, it will be a funny feeling for those reluctant to leave once new houses with new residents take over the area in ‘seven years’ or so on the remediated land:

      The Government is stopping short of compulsory acquisition, relying instead on the lack of infrastructure.
      Brownlee said: “Why would you want to stay if there’s no infrastructure in there for you? And there won’t be.”
      He was confident “safe and adjacent” properties to the so-called “residential red zone” would retain their value.
      It was suggested at yesterday’s press conference that nearby property owners would have to look towards a wasteland, but Brownlee said the abandoned areas would end up being “relatively attractive”.
      Government-contracted engineers have suggested some areas may have to be raised two metres before being remediated.
      Brownlee said it would be “at least seven years” before houses could sit on that land again.”

      • Puddleglum 2.3.1

        Also, not much chance of trying to recoup losses by ‘salvaging’ property from your ‘once was home’. Apparently, it’s more important that salvage firms get their bonus after presumably already being paid for the demolition work.

        Best not to try and take that door jarm (sp?) with your childrens’ heights marked on it, or the cooker you baked those savouries in for your husband’s funeral reception, etc….

  3. vto 3

    Oh deary me. Being in a whitey zone I have not followed the detail closely (too much more important stuff to attend to like making a dollar, keeping the family sanity bells alive, repairing the house and removing things from above our heads for the next quake).

    Seems like an instant quagmire, which was my initial reaction too. Too complex. And why the hell should the insured get paid out for uninsured components of their property and the uninsured not get paid out for uninsured components of their property?

    National are out come November.

    Also, initial thoughts re Roger Sutton are coming to pass. He is too personable and open and quick to verbalise for a job position which requires some considerable political skills. He lacks them and is already stepping in do-do up to his knees.

    Youch this is getting prickly.

    The biggest mess in New Zealand’s history is what we are witnessing.

    2c and out.

  4. tc 4

    This whole sad and sorry tale sums up sideshow John and his hollow backers better than Homer J could ‘just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand’.

    Chch my heart goes out to you, looks like another one of those ‘choices’ our aspirational govt has made, shame on all you heartless moral vacuums led by the biggest leadership vacuum of all.

  5. Chris 5

    And Labour and Goff could do better ? Dreaming is free.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Fuck yeah Labour and Goff would do better.

      For starters an annual levy for the rebuilding of Christchurch. Each year of the next 5 years on all those earning over $55,000 p.a.

      That would raise funds to immediately greenlight a massive replanning and rebuilding effort in Christchurch, independent of the bullshit manoueverings of the insurers and re-insurers.

      It would also be enough to quickly recharge the EQC.

      Too bad Brownlee, English and Key are just clue-less and plan-less.

      • MarkM 5.1.1

        Colonial Viper

        How many people in Christchurch earn over $55k p.a and how much are you proposing to tax them.
        How much are you proposing to give to EQC and how much to the massive ” planning and rebuilding effort” ?
        What will these funds be spent on?

        You have obviously thought this through based on your comments on others being cleless and planless

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          Hey mate a levy exclusion zone around the worst hit areas of Christchurch would be implemented.

          As would reinstatement of the unemployment assistance to Christchurch workers made unemployed by the quake, through to Jan 1, 2012.

          You have obviously thought this through based on your comments on others being cleless and planless

          Hey give me Gerry Brownlee’s Ministerial job for $240K p.a. and i’ll sort it. Next.

          • Craig Glen Eden 5.1.1.1.1

            It wouldn’t take much to come up with some thing better than this, I wont call it a plan because it isn’t. I would bet Gerry’s lunch money CV could do a way better job than Gerry.

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    As the world economy slides rapidly towards deep recession there are growing calls for a Universal Benefit coming from some leftists and rightists. Now Finance Minister Grant Robertson is saying it is on the table.  This article by a French party Workers Struggle provides analysis of various forms of universal ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018)
    This is the advice from the very top of the anti-fluoride movement – Paul Connett, director of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN). Don’t worry about reading  up on all the scientific information “You only have ...
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 10
    . . April 4: Day 10 of living in lock-down… I wake up to a fine Saturday morning which normally would be like an early Christmas. But it’s Day 10 of Level 4 Lock Down. What  will my fellow New Zealanders be doing on a day like this – staying ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Redline reaching out to more writers & readers
    Some time during the night we went over the 850,000 views mark. We might have had our millionth view by the end of this year – certainly by early next year. Most of the people involved in Redline spent years and years producing various small left-wing papers and selling them ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Keir Starmer elected
    Comfortably, in the very first round, with an impressive 56% of the votes.I wonder, did members of the Shadow Cabinet start tweeting their resignations during Starmer's victory speech, or is that only a trick the right pull?It is odd how all the talk of how the next leader "needs to ...
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: Michael Baker and the Big House
    One of the key voices in this extraordinary time in which we live is that of University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker. Philip Matthews did an an excellent job this weekend of capturing the way he became the man for this moment in a profile for The Press.But one ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand Gives up on Trying to Save Daylight
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the nation today about the decline in daylight New Zealand has been experiencing over the previous few months. She said “As many of you will notice, our attempts to stem the dwindling of the daylight over the last few months have been completely ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    5 days ago
  • A bulletin from Greece
    Redline received this article from the KOE a Marxist party in Greece Our friends in the KOE describe here the mounting crisis in Greece and tensions on the Turkish border. As desperate people flee from their homelands which have been ruined after decades of imperialist wars and interventions the people ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
    As the first week of Level Four lockdown unfolded, mounting questions grew as to just what was (and was not) allowed under its “rules”. Partly these were driven by some apparently contradictory messages from different authority figures and explanations carried in the media. Partly they reflected a somewhat sketchy legal basis ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    7 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

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

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

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