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Reaching out to the ‘No’ vote

Written By: - Date published: 12:21 pm, August 27th, 2009 - 40 comments
Categories: child discipline - Tags:

I must confess that Key’s position on the repeal of s59 has puzzled me from the moment he started cooperating with the Labour government to get it passed. It’s a principled and evidence based position in stark contrast to his usual ideological blinders and populist posturing. Or perhaps it’s based on a deeply personal conviction. Whatever the reason, on this issue Key has made the right decision, in the face of considerable pressure, and I applaud him for it.

In the aftermath it’s obvious that there’s a lot of irrational anger and bluster out there — on both sides of the Yes No fence. While it’s tempting to sit back and enjoy the spectacle of John Key getting lambasted by much of his support base (and a small but highly visible nutjob fringe), fanning the flames in any way is actually not doing the country any favours. Time to cool things down, if we can. So this is my appeal for us leftie Yes vote activists to make peace with the other side.

I have never been comfortable with characterising the No vote as “beaters” or “monsters”, labels that rightly apply to only a tiny minority. 1.4 Million people voted No for a range of reasons. One of those reasons was the unfounded fear and distrust whipped up by the American fundamentalist funded No campaign, seeds sown in the fertile soil of “Nanny State” hysteria that National worked so hard to cultivate for the last several years. Another significant reason was that the leading question invited a No vote (prior to the referendum the question that was used polled 86% No, while a neutral question polled 50% No). There will be many other reasons for No votes, and very few beaters or
monsters among them.

So if we leftie activists can dial back the rhetoric a bit, that might help grieving and agitated right wing activists calm down, and speed the process of putting all of this behind us. Then one day we might be able to have a rational discussion about the causes of child abuse, and what to do about it.
— r0b

40 comments on “Reaching out to the ‘No’ vote”

  1. Mark M 1

    “I have never been comfortable with characterising the No vote as “beaters’ or “monsters’, labels that rightly apply to only a tiny minority.”

    excellent comment guest poster and the most sensible comment thats come out of the yes side.

    Im sure a lot of people voted no simply because they were irritated by the constant carping that, vote no and you become a child beater / molester.
    Another large proportion probably voted no , as I did , not because I want to smack my children , but because I dont need to be told how to raise my family.

    The law as it is dosent seem to have prevented a host of child murders either.
    We need to have a law that is clear and enforceable and comes down like a ton of bricks on any one who breaks it.

    Having a law that we are told will only be enforced at the ” discretion” of others is hardly a good way of instilling respect and perhaps a little fear of the law

    • r0b 1.1

      Thanks for the kind words Mark M. One thing:

      but because I dont need to be told how to raise my family

      Are you comfortable with laws that require you to provide appropriate levels of care, send your children to school, use child restraints or seat belts in cars, or not supply them with restricted drugs? Are you comfortable with restrictions imposed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (to which NZ is a signatory)? Are you comfortable with laws that impose restrictions on families that aren’t like yours – is it time to do away with the restriction on gay couples adopting?

      • Swampy 1.1.1

        Are you comfortable that the UNCROC convention was signed without any electoral mandate?

        Are you comfortable that the Labour Party and fellow travellers take contradictory 180 degree positions on the Auckland supercity proposals (Must have a binding referendum etc etc) and the Section 59 issue (must be able to completely ignore public opinion, including a referendum)

        It’s extremely obvious that in the case of the Auckland Supercity, the issue is about Labour’s political power base, while in the Section 59 issue, the party ideology is sacrosanct and can’t ever be challenged or revoked regardless of what the electorate thinks.

        • BLiP 1.1.1.1

          Its extremely obvious that it is The Goober himself who is saying Section 59 is sacrosanct and can’t be revoked and, in fact, National Ltd are trying to undermine the Labour voter base in Auckland with its ACT-driven Super City asset stripping.

        • Pascal's bookie 1.1.1.2

          Another one that’s not too clear on the meaning of ‘Non binding’.

          It’s extremely obvious that in the case of the Auckland Supercity, the issue is about Labour’s political power base,

          is that so? If true then it must equally be true for National and ACT. Are you saying that Nact’s policy is specifically aimed at weakening Labour’s power base? Shocking.

          while in the Section 59 issue, the party ideology is sacrosanct and can’t ever be challenged or revoked regardless of what the electorate thinks.

          There is nothing Labour or the Greens or the mP can do to stop Nact + Dunne from changing the law swampy.

          John Key and National think the policy is working, that’s the standard he set before the election, and that’s the mandate he’s got. If you have a problem with that, take it up with national. It’s got nothing to do with labour or the left. The left lost the election last year, remember?

          • kaya 1.1.1.2.1

            The unelected, no mandate marxist Bradford introduced it, Labour supported it to hang onto power. The insipid Key tried to please everyone by brokering a compromise and failed miserably. (and will suffer for it) It is all to do with Labour and the left, it is why I didn’t vote Labour for the first time in almost 30 years.
            The Labour movement I knew has been hijacked by ideologues and academic idiots. It has forgotten it’s traditional working class roots. Many will not come back until they sort this out.

      • kaya 1.1.2

        WTF is this rOb, “good cop, bad cop” routine? You wrote a sensible piece at the start and then totally undid your good work with the next comment. As for the UN, that is the most corrupt waste of space we have ever seen. Anything they say should be completely ignored.

  2. hear hear!

    I’ll avoid the dig at Key at the top but you are on the lolly elsewhere.

    I haven’t yet had a reply to the comment that most here demand that the Govt listens to the “people” on the super city yet conversely demand (and IMO rightly so) that Key ignores the clamour over the No vote.

    I think you last comments are particularly valid. Those who “lightly” smack are outraged that their generally positive parenting is being linked to the extreme cases that hit the media. I realise it’s not black and white and it is much easy to legislate no smacking than some. As such, this issue has been more about perception than anything else.

    Likewise, as you note, people can be against something for many different reasons but not agree on what they are for.

    Nice job r0b

    • felix 2.1

      “I haven’t yet had a reply to the comment that most here demand that the Govt listens to the “people’ on the super city yet conversely demand (and IMO rightly so) that Key ignores the clamour over the No vote.”

      You’d have to pose an equivalent hypothetical supercity question to measure the response though Dave – what question are you suggesting we compare it to? I can’t imagine many here suggesting that the govt should take note of a supercity referendum if the question were to be framed in a similar way to that of the smacking one. Probably quite the opposite.

      e.g. the smacking equivalent of “Do you support the supercity proposed by the govt?” would be “Do you support the S59 Amendment Act 2007?”

      Apples with apples.

      Ask a straight question on either issue and I expect you’d see a wide public consensus that the govt should take note of the result.

    • r0b 2.2

      Cheers Daveski.

      I’ll avoid the dig at Key at the top

      Sorry – contractual obligation – you understand…

      I haven’t yet had a reply to the comment that most here demand that the Govt listens to the “people’ on the super city yet conversely demand (and IMO rightly so) that Key ignores the clamour over the No vote.

      I tried to answer that question (as put by Rex) over here.

      Likewise, as you note, people can be against something for many different reasons but not agree on what they are for.

      Now ain’t that the truth!

      • Rex Widerstrom 2.2.1

        r0b:

        I missed your reply to that, sorry. I’m glad we can continue the debate here. First, congratulations on not only avoiding the rhetoric spouted by the majority of people in favour of the retention of Bradford’s amendment, including Bradford herself.

        Second, I agree with you completely — it’s time to reach out to the “No” vote because, as I pointed out yesterday, if you combined it with the people who want a referendum on the “supercity” (and aspects thereof, like Maori seats) I suspect you’d have a clear majority of NZers ranging from dreadlocked hippies to pinstriped businessmen and every cliche in between.

        The simultaneous refutation of the “No” vote and refusal to even have a referendum on the “supercity” offers a unique opportunity to form a coalition of groups and individuals to demand that their voices be heard, and heeded, on these and other issues. If that means swallowing a dead rat (or perhaps half of one — support the Borrows/Boscawen amendment as a compromise) — then IMHO it’s worth doing if the result is we gain greater input into the political process.

        felix:

        the smacking equivalent of “Do you support the supercity proposed by the govt?’ would be “Do you support the S59 Amendment Act 2007?’

        Agreed entirely. But for either of those questions to produce an intelligent result still requires an understanding of the underlying issue(s).

        No referendum question can ever explain the issue at stake and encompass the arguments for and against. To produce well-reasoned and thus intelligent result requires that those voting have taken the trouble to inform themselves adequately and at least considered the point of view opposed to the one which they’re first inclined to take.

        So, while I do think most people who voted on S59 knew roughly effect they wanted a “no” vote to have — overturning Bradford’s amendment in some way — regardless of the imprecision of the question, I would grant you that only a portion of them had gone through the thought processes I’d hope they’d have gone through before voting.

        So I come back to my “multi-choice non-partisan questionnaire before voting” idea. Perhaps it’s time to disenfranchise the indolent and the stupid?

        [I’ll go hide now]

    • nic 2.3

      Hear hear on [the writers on] The Standard’s cognitive dissonance towards democracy concerning the Super City and democracy on the “smacking” debate. Like you, I strongly oppose the idea that parents should be free to beat their children.

      Still, I’d like someone to lay out what the rules are for whether or not a governmen has to respect the voice of the majority.

  3. Ianmac 3

    I guess some of the anxiety is not just the YES/NO vote but my perception that we ordinary folk are being manipulated by “the unfounded fear and distrust whipped up by the American fundamentalist funded No campaign” or the Textor mob for that matter. Is it possible that the flow on effect of the election tactics is still visible, but not now directed against Helen but ironically John.
    Quite happy to back off from an admittedly moderate position thanks Rob.

    • r0b 3.1

      Cheers Ianmac.

      Is it possible that the flow on effect of the election tactics is still visible, but not now directed against Helen but ironically John.

      I think that’s dead right. It’s poetic justice in one sense (and I feel guilty for enjoying the irony), but in my opinion these tactics are a step backwards for democracy in the bigger picture. Look to America.

      • Swampy 3.1.1

        The American states have binding referenda for significant issues, much more democratic than NZ. The courts can even challenge the government’s laws.

    • Swampy 3.2

      This is typical xenophobic hysteria (especially against Americans) being whipped up by the usual sources.

  4. greenfly 4

    Tempting to say “No”.

  5. bobo 5

    I take it the majority of Labour voters voted no like I did? The party needs to accept the view of the general public on this and move on. I like Sue Bradford as she has done alot for NZs most vulnerable but I disagree with her on this issue in the same way I disagree with her on hers parties view on legalizing cannabis, but it’s wrong to call people monsters for lightly smacking and laying on some guilt trip.

  6. RedLogix 6

    Those who “lightly’ smack are outraged that their generally positive parenting is being linked to the extreme cases that hit the media.

    Which while it’s perfectly understandable, still seems to me a less than self-honest response. I’ve always tried to use the word ‘hitting’ because it’s a more or less neutral term that covers the whole spectrum from the trivial and tolerable smack, all the way through to the most horrendous abuse that we all universally condemn.

    It’s more or less the same with say alcohol. We all recognise the enormous harm and costs the abuse of alcohol imposes on us as a society, yet whether it’s one harmless glass of red with dinner, through to a rage fueled blind-bender… it’s still the same thing. Most people can drink responsibly, but some cannot, and the two groups are indissolubly linked. As long as the majority continue to assert their ‘right’ to a few harmless drinkies, then we will always have with us the alcoholics who will cause so much grief.

    When the Americans imposed a Prohibition on alcohol (because of the enormous harm it caused), it didn’t work because so many people were not ready to admit to the connection between their casual acceptance of getting a little bit drunk and destuctive alcoholism… and carried on obtaining alcohol anyway. In many ways the reaction to the S59 repeal has been very similar, because so many ordinary people are not ready to honestly examine the role of violence and abuse in our society… in ALL it’s forms.

    It was of course always wrong to label as ‘child beaters’ ordinary parents who smacked their kids from time to time, equally as it was counterproductive to label the S59 repeal the “Anti-Smacking Bill”. Neither label was ever accurate or fair.

    Yet in all the shouting past each other, I would dare say we have all learnt a thing or two, and maybe been forced to be a little more honest with ourselves. I know for certain that there were a couple of incidents with my own children, that in retrospect were mistakes. Just as I think all sides in this fractious debate have made some bad mistakes.

    Time for a bit of graciousness, and some proper listening.

    • Daveski 6.1

      If i start agreeing with r0b and redLogix, i should be banned 🙂

      I had the same views on alcohol which I was thinking of adding and came to similar conclusion.

      I largely agree with your other comments particularly the use of labels which turned the whole thing into an emotional charade rather than an attempt to improve the way we parent. There are serious issues which the charade is covering over.

      I’ll ban myself for the rest of the day to protect the credibility of r0b and RL!

      • r0b 6.1.1

        I’ll ban myself for the rest of the day to protect the credibility of r0b and RL!

        Well goodness yes, we don’t want peace and goodwill breaking out all over, wherever would it end???

        • RedLogix 6.1.1.1

          Well r0b, there is no end anytime soon, as it fairly puts the onus back on the left to re-frame this whole ’emotional charade’… as Dave accurately puts it… into terms that the majority of people will accept.

          Until then all this pointless policy squabbling about bottom spanking won’t get us very far.

  7. toad 7

    Yeh, I agree rOb that Idiot/Savant probably went a bit far with that post.

    But I also know how easy it is to get wound up by the vitriol and disinformation spewed by Baldock, McCroskie & Family Fist, and their wingnut supporters over at Farrar’s troll farm.

    I agree that we can make peace with the middle ground of the No voters, but not with those who argue that parents have a duty to beat the sin out of their children with the rod of correction. They must be marginalised as the extremists.

    • r0b 7.1

      You’ll notice in the call for peace missive I did still call Farrar’s crew the “nutjob fringe”. I was expecting to have been called on my inconsistency by now.

      So I agree, there are some who are beyond reason and their extreme views should be pointed out. It’s the angry alienated middle ground no voters – as you say – that we should be reaching out to. That didn’t come out right in the last paragraph of the original post.

      • So Bored 7.1.1

        I for one never thought that the ‘smacking issue” was ever a left / right division across the board. There are control freaks with punative mentalities living at the extremes of both left and right, and if one side percieved the other to be telling it what to do it was always going to start a fire.

        And I have never thought that the majority of “no” voters want to beat their children. They just dont want the state interfering in what they percieve as their domain as parents.

        If the majority on both sides might agree that assaulting children is totally unnacceptable in any context (in the same way that assaulting adults is) then the views of punative control freaks at both ends of the spectrum can be marginalised. And we can get on with giving our children the expectation of a safe and loving environment free from adult violence.

  8. the sprout 8

    that’s a very generous stance you’re taking r0b, good for you.
    i think a lot of the animosity has been fuelled by a great deal of misinformation and ignorance.
    a softer approach would probably be helpful for reaching some kind of resolution. from my experienc of talking to a LOT of people who were very upset about the s59 amendment at the time, once they understand a bit more of the arguments for and against they do calm down and see things differently.

  9. randal 9

    I wanna give bosco a few taps around the chops to see if he likes that.
    okay?

  10. Jeremy 10

    I actually never got a ballot, but then I’ve actually never seen any evidence at all that the local postie can read.
    I think the amended section 59 is about as confusing as anyone ever claimed the referendum question was. Hence so many people thinking it outlaws things that it probably doesn’t. Even without that confusion, most people don’t like letting facts get in the way of a good rant.

  11. “Time to cool things down, if we can. So this is my appeal for us leftie Yes vote activists to make peace with the other side.”

    Sorry r0b i don’t agree with you on this one. Any slippage will be pounced on by the opposition. The debate is a personal freedom debate now, hopefully us left/yes advocates will be able to be more successful on this battlefield but i don’t really believe it.

    Why are you suggesting this? for the good of the country?

    Try to get the left to take their foot off the maori party throat would be a better way to go ‘for the good of the country’ IMO

  12. BLiP 12

    Yeah – what is the Goober up to with this one? It gets curiouser and curiouser. The performance of Crusher, Basher, Chopper, Folly Acid, and We’llmissya Lee indicates that National Ltd are not in anyway interested in attracting the female vote.

    Given that Key’s a money-changer, there’s little room in his psyhe for humanitarian principles, let alone morals. This smacking position and his “Prime Ministers Fund For Unfortunate Children” is getting more than just a little creepy. But, rather than assume the most sinister, on this occasion, I will take it that Key realises most people didn’t understand the referrendum question or the existing law and, further, that the upcoming holiday camps for kiddies will be good for tourism and assist greatly in the transfer of the provision of social services to the private sector. Plus, the Old-Testament-spouting knuckle dragging testicle bearers really don’t have anywhere to go if they spit the dummy at National Ltd.

    As an aside – while its good to see young Patrick Gower doing a half-decent job on covering Crusher’s attempt to bully the unions, what a shame to see Armstrong on the same page is running his “dolla-a-tug-job” franchise from that grotty little caravan he’s got parked up permanently at Premier House.

  13. roger nome 13

    “So if we leftie activists can dial back the rhetoric a bit, that might help grieving and agitated right wing activists calm down, and speed the process of putting all of this behind us.”

    You’re assuming that these right-wing activists are against violence and abuse. I’m not so sure that they all are. Many of them may crave the power they feel when throttling a defenseless child. Many more may feel that some things written in the bible give them the right too abuse, while still more may just find it too hard to change their behaviors.
    They’d rather cling on to harmful practices than admit that they are wrong and change their ways. There are a hell of a lot of people out there that just can’t admit that they way they’ve been living is wrong. You see this particularly on the conservative right with issues like climate change and smacking these conservative, macho types so often see admitting mistakes as a sign of weakness.

    • kaya 13.1

      and any possible consideration I had thought of giving to the original piece has just slid down the toilet bowl along with that dribbling shite, just reminded me that there are jsut as many nutjobs on the left as on the right.

  14. side show bob 14

    “”There are a hell of a lot of people out there that just can’t admit that the way they’ve been living is wrong”, well done roger spoken with the authority of a true socialist. The world will be a much better place when you tell us all how to live, just don’t get do you. Sad really.

  15. ak 15

    Then one day we might be able to have a rational discussion……

    ahhh, rational….that’s the trouble r0b: we’re not talking about rational adults here. And in this busy world of shiftwork, mortgages etc (and often with both standardistas working), there’s often simply not the time, and a good sharp clip round the ears of these commenters is exactly what’s called for. Never did me any harm.

    But seriously folks, this entire issue is quite simply the ugly, straggling tail of an insane hysteria that has gripped this country since 2005. How such “issues” as “speedgate”, “paintergate”, “bulbgate”, “EFAgate”, “NOcardgate” etc could have gained political traction at all – let alone provoked the reaction they have – is utterly surreal. Practical, down-to-earth kiwis reduced to a paranoid stocking up on incandescent light bulbs. A loving smack.
    The extreme of what we have witnessed over the last four years is currently on display in the US: apparently rational and intelligent individuals openly labelling Obama a N*zi. Conspiracy whackjobs and the poison-pen letter gone mainstream.

    And as in the current melee here (over an “issue” the almost exact equivalent of the law forbidding driving over 100k), the finger can be pointed directly at the media. Talkback and shallow sensationalism are our own petit – Fox News: spewing fear and confusion into the void created by increasing societal anomie. For many, “their” talkback host is quite literally their best friend.

    So sure, r0b, time out and talkies for behaviour correction. But for insanity, strong medicine is sometimes needed to stall the metastasis. I’ve found the “Baby-bashers-for-Jesus” pill shakes up the grey matter of all but the terminal quite nicely – with intriguing side effects.

  16. JD 16

    “Many of them may crave the power they feel when throttling a defenseless child. Many more may feel that some things written in the bible give them the right too abuse, while still more may just find it too hard to change their behaviors.”

    Did you glean this insight from your upbringing?

  17. Swampy 17

    You could start by dropping all the claims against the referendum question. It apparently took Sue Bradford over a year to decide that the question was confusing or inappropriately worded, and that the matter only surfaced on the eve of the referendum itself appears to be a late smear tactic by her camp.

  18. BLiP 18

    Do you live under a rock? The Green Party has been calling that duplitious question “confusing” since it was formulated.

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    PunditBy Brian Easton
    3 days 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 ...
    3 days 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
    3 days 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? ...
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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 ...
    4 days 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
    5 days 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 ...
    5 days 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 ...
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    5 days ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    5 days ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    6 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    6 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    6 days ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    7 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    7 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    1 week ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    1 week ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    1 week ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    1 week ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    1 week ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week 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
    2 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
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