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Rebuild better post COVID

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, May 2nd, 2020 - 46 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, class war, economy, employment, uncategorized, Unions, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

Guest blog from E tū Assistant National Secretary, Annie Newman

Author Arundati Roy has described the pandemic as a forced break with the past, “a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.”

If we are indeed moving from one world to the next, the question is, who will shape that new world?

The battleground of COVID-19 has done many things. One thing is certain. It has exposed failures in our fragile democracy. As a society, we need courage to face those failures and build something new. Ensuring that new is also better depends on including the voices of workers.

The COVID battleground left the voices of community carers out of the decision-making that would ensure safety for both them and us.

The battleground provided no just transition to much needed front line positions for workers made redundant in aviation.

It offered no protection for cleaners whose near minimum wage incomes were slashed to the 80% subsidy levels, creating deep hardship for families.

As our nation emerged from another battleground, between 1942 and 1949, an Economic Stabilisation Commission was put in place to recommend economic measures to Government, including industry development and transition to a post-war economy. This commission brought together the Secretary of the Treasury, a representative of NZ producers, and a representative of the union movement.

We have developed inclusive strategies in the past and, when we cross the threshold into the post COVID world, we can and must do it again.

The role of the state in safeguarding our wellbeing, the role of the funder of services in taking responsibility for the lives of those delivering services, and the role of workers in contributing to the new economy are all critical to real and positive change.

The state can act now to safeguard the wellbeing of workers. Our government can ensure a just transition for redundant aviation workers and a bright future for our national carrier. 

Currently our “Air New Zealanders” wait at the gates to see if the planes will ever fly again while the CE and his board scratch out their vision. A vison for what? A low-cost domestic airline where workers receive Walmart wages?

We can only safeguard the wellbeing of these workers by including them in the shape of the future of their much-loved airline. Doing so is good for them and all New Zealanders.

The state can ensure workers are given a voice through industry agreements that not only set standards for employment but which also ensure an inclusive approach to the development of sectors, such as cleaning and care work.

New Zealand has already started this discussion with Fair Pay Agreements. Workers have knowledge that can contribute to wise decision-making and if their voices had been heard in the current crisis, the battle for personal protective equipment in care and support services, for example, would have been resolved long ago.

Funders of services can start taking responsibility for the lives of those delivering services now. The thousands of contracted cleaners delivering “essential services” under COVID-19 can be valued with the Living Wage, instead of  abandoned by government in the contracted economy, paid 80% of their near minimum wage, and left to struggle to feed themselves and their families.

This can only be achieved in the post-COVID economy when funders of services are bolted to the supply chain for which they are responsible, with a policy of social procurement.

Transparent processes and inclusion of all stakeholders in the procurement arrangements of the state is what protects the most vulnerable on the frontline.

Democracy creates a space for the market, civil society and the government but it doesn’t guarantee a balance between these spheres.  That is government’s role. Right now, there is an opportunity for our government to do more than protect the future of business; it can address the imbalance in our democracy where the market dominates the agenda. It can value the contribution of ordinary people and their organisations to the future of our nation by seating them at the top table of business, industry and government.

Nothing is really future proofed in a democracy, given we vote every three years. But let’s prove that out of the ashes of COVID-19, there is a future for democracy and that we can create a new consensus around the role of the state.  That for all its faults, it is there to safeguard the wellbeing of the citizenry because that is exactly what we have looked to it to do in this crisis. 

Let’s have a consensus that a civilised society is one where workers’ knowledge is valued at the board table, where public money always provides for a Living Wage and decent work, and where government is responsible and accountable for those they fund to work on our frontline. 

Kindness is not absent in the current management of this crisis, but neither should it be absent in the construction of our future.

Kindness is not just a feeling though. It is action that delivers equity, justice and hope as we step though the portal between one world and the next.  Let’s rebuild better – and start now.

46 comments on “Rebuild better post COVID ”

  1. Ad 1

    Great to hear a solid union voice here at TS.

    I want to see this government build upon the consensus that they have started.

    Even in the course of the last three decades, many new enduring public institutions and frameworks have been formed which have improved New Zealand. There is no reason that there cannot be more – particularly for workers.

    My concern with the commentary is that it leans too hard on the organizing capacity of the state. That's usual for left commentary. Business and civil society can and do organize themselves, coming up with movements and organization and plans that government needs to then respond to.

    If we want a new country out of this, it's up to us to organize.

    • Dennis Frank 1.1

      Dunno about the civil society bit, Ad. Hasn't been much noticeable in my lifetime. When I see the self-employed form a political org to represent them in the body politic I will believe you.

      "We have developed inclusive strategies in the past and, when we cross the threshold into the post COVID world, we can and must do it again." That's the guts, really. I totally agree with the sentiment, but the essay seems just a wish & a hope.

      Unions lack much relevance in the current political scene. Even Labour merely pays them lip service. Think of the huge portion of the electorate that doesn't vote. Mostly lower class, right? Not surprising that Labour pursues a middle class agenda.

      • G'day, Dennis, while I believe that all waged workers are working class, and have been since the Lange Government, I think you'll find that most union members are what you might well define as middle class. Many being home owners, with income at average or above. The biggest unions (with the worthy exception of E Tu) are in the public service.

        • Dennis Frank 1.1.1.1

          I guess you're closer to the action, TRP. If that transformation has occurred, it has done so since the mid-'80s I presume. Since progress is more likely to be driven by the middle class than the apathetic, the thesis seems valid to a point. That point will be the hinge where those who make a psychological return to bau get out-numbered by those motivated to co-create a better world. We await evidence of a zeitgeist produced by the weight of those numbers…

      • Ad 1.1.2

        Civil society is in good heart. People got together in all sorts of forms after the Christchurch earthquake, and the Kaikoura earthquake, and indeed right now. The entire medical and carer staff of New Zealand are being lauded for saving us – moreso than any NZDF manoeuvre has since WW2. Who would have thought that possible? We will never look at them the same.

        That is just a new form of civic society standing up.

        It's also grown massively online through people being sequestered at home.

        Given that this government has managed to pass the biggest piece of tax relief through Parliament – unanimously – there's good odds that they can build on that. You can't get more inclusive than unanimity in Parliament.

        Note also unions like the three teachers unions worked their asses off to get Labour in power, and they in turn were well rewarded for it in pay deals. I'm all in favour of long term compacts that are rewarding. Deals bind us together.

        There's no shortage of ambition right across the governmental parties, as we've seen recently. Though with only four and a half months before election, I fear the Big Plan is going to be tested through the electoral manifesto rather than being brought together in the weeks after budget 2020.

        • Dennis Frank 1.1.2.1

          Nicely positive framing. I just hope we do actually get to see a Big Plan. Wouldn't surprise me if Labour makes its run without one. What's missing is the leftist think-tank that ought to be producing it and lobbying for it. Yeah I know Sue Bradford is meant to be doing that, but the years keep on rolling by with no result…

        • Craig H 1.1.2.2

          The public sector unions (including teaching and police in this) aren't affiliated with any political parties – no doubt a number of members are politically involved, but that is not the same as the union being involved.

    • RedLogix 1.2

      Good OP and a fine response Ad. I can think of little to extend it, except maybe this. Absolutely COVID 19 has shifted the ground under us, and we had to change many of the settings that many people thought were set in stone.

      It's incredibly heartening to see just how well our small and relatively isolated society has adapted. We moved mostly in lockstep at just the right moment; it's been beautiful to watch.

      And it opens up the vision, one that I believe Annie is speaking to, that maybe we could keep this dance going. Maybe we can take this new found skill and build on it, as we navigate our way around what is going to be a very confused dance floor this decade.

      And maybe as we pay attention to this learning moment, we need to set aside the heat of our old quarrels and bickering, and with a singular focus learn to trust ourselves as a society at a whole new level.

      OK so it's lazy Saturday morning ….

  2. bill 2

    Let’s have a consensus that a civilised society is one where workers’ knowledge is valued at the board table, …

    How's about the board table is simply turned into a dining one, and those involved with an enterprise or business all contribute to decisions in an environment that no longer contains the various narrow biases that come with our current vertical divisions of labour?

    • Ad 2.1

      Agree.

      Imagine all that $25b+ wage subsidy, "loans", and tax breaks turned into worker equity. And boardroom voting power.

      • RedLogix 2.1.1

        Worker equity is a theme I used to talk to here all the time, thanks for reminding me.

        In the 80's I worked 7 years for a mid-sized (>500 employees), family owned, US based company that did a genuine 10% annual profit share. Interestingly it excluded all executive staff and any sales people already on a bonus.

        One year I got a $7000k bonus. It worked incredibly well; there was always the thought in the back of my mind that every dollar I put on the company bottom line, 10 cents was going into my pocket.

        Profit shares are just one form of worker equity, but yes I see them as a very powerful tool uniting both the power of labour and capital in a manner that builds collaboration and trust.

        • Tricledrown 2.1.1.1

          Red Logic companies like the one you describe,Cadbury's,Stafford Ellison etc.Get bought out and gutted for more profit by vulture capitalist's.

          • Graeme 2.1.1.1.1

            Companies like RL described are structured in a way that the vultures can't get in because the shares are held within a family and there would be rules within the constitution that the shares can't be traded.

            We have similar structures in New Zealand with co-operative companies, some of which are rather large in a NZ context. Sure there's considerable pressure to open some of these up to outside capital, from both sides, but most function pretty well and are able to keep share ownership controlled within the group.

            • Tricledrown 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Looking back at history most get bought out by fair means but mainly fowl.

              Cadbury had a Nigerian scammer take millions taking reserves designed to stop a predatory takeover.Circling vulture capitalists will use any trick to get hold of these highly profitable companies.4 square shops are an example in NZ of a cooperative being stolen from the cooperative owners.

  3. Wayne 3

    The recession will put huge pressure on wages. For the next two or three years, no-one will be getting wage increases. The biggest challenge will be just keeping people in work. Obviously the state will be involved in that with wage subsidies (on a reducing basis as a percentage) being required for up to a year.

    However, many people are going to lose their jobs, maybe 200,000 people. How are they going to be helped? Surely not just welfare.

    I actually like the Green package of $1 billion. However, at 7,000 jobs it is only 3% of the total likely unemployment. So huge amount of thinking yet to be done.

    • Dennis Frank 3.1

      huge amount of thinking yet to be done

      By all political players. I envisage a political paradigm shift away from neoliberalism. Market forces will continue to be the main driver of the macroeconomy, but resilience design will loom larger for small/medium business I expect, and for households and self-employed even more so.

      More political collaboration ought to be incorporated to reduce the toxic effect of partisan stances and beliefs. That would transform our political ecology for the better.

      Ideology is likely to decline even further in influence. Imagine someone silly enough to try & advocate the principle of small govt now: "stop interfering with business!" When businesses are getting govt subsidies to survive. Poor old Roger, out of time.

      That said, an ideology based on sustainability could be a goer. It would be more likely to succeed if the principle of equity participation is factored in. Catering to the right by incorporating enterprise as collective motivation.

    • Nic the NZer 3.2

      How about a job guarantee, Wayne. In a job guarantee scheme WINZ collects up all the socially amenable demands for work from the community these are then given to anybody who wants a full or part-time job paying the minimum wage. This will soak up pretty much all the excess unemployment without relying on any estimates of how many jobs will be required and how much spending will generate that employment. When the private sector has work available again then this pool will shrink back again and rather rapidly as the people involved have an on going work history.

    • Incognito 3.3

      Initial estimates suggest it would create 6000-7000 jobs (FTEs) directly with many more through flow on support to local suppliers and contractors.

      https://thestandard.org.nz/green-party-covid-19-recovery-and-investment-in-people-and-nature/

      Obviously, this is not the silver bullet that will kill all unemployment.

      • pat 3.3.1

        @nic and incognito….the second could be part of the first …and it would remove unemployment.

        Only question is will business protest?…most gov work initiatives have to avoid impinging (or even the perception of) private enterprise which always restricts the options available.

        • Nic the NZer 3.3.1.1

          The Green's infrastructure program should be a permanent part of the economy, not something which only kicks in responding to a recession. Though I would say that initially treating certain kinds of work as a temporary part of the program and then moving to make them more permanent might occur. The other issue is if we are asking for any level of expertise, training and skill for these Green infrastructure workers then they may warrant higher than the minimum wage.

          If the private sector wants these people employed its welcome to make them an acceptable offer at any time.

          • pat 3.3.1.1.1

            "If the private sector wants these people employed its welcome to make them an acceptable offer at any time."

            Lol..that would be my response however i simply recall the chorus of objections over the years whenever gov work programmes come up….it has historically been a productive political strategy that impedes implementation.

            Maybe things will be different this time….certainly if things get bad enough I can see those arguments being ignored

    • Poission 3.4

      There will be a large number of people losing jobs,many on temporary work visas,such as the tourism industry.There will also not be significant immigration into nz for non residents,or nz citizens.(170000 on temporary visas last yr)

      Agriculture has a shortage of around 50000 staff ,as does forest rehabilitation,and fisheries.Investment in human capital is required by the productive sector.

      • Craig H 3.4.1

        Hard to tell – students, working holidaymakers and partners make up a lot of visas and are largely unaffected by unemployment in terms of visa availability.

    • SPC 3.5

      There is also the unspent money in the PGF (water storage for drought years, safe water supply and sewage systems in the provinces).

      I would suggest interest free loans to farmers (repaid on farm sale) to upgrade their farm environment standard – being rated first class in land and stock management is going to be important to exporters supplying the increasingly nationalist market place.

      Management/refinancing of council debt would free up money for infrastructure renewal – waste water/pipes.

    • Chris 3.6

      "However, many people are going to lose their jobs, maybe 200,000 people. How are they going to be helped? Surely not just welfare."

      No, you're dead right there. Your lot fucked welfare well and truly a long time ago, so welfare helps very few these days.

    • Foreign waka 3.7

      Looking at my grocery bill right now I estimate that the cost has risen by nil (sweets, sugary drinks), 5-10% veges, fruit, bread, cheese and meat and curiously 20% or more for fish. From the ocean right in front of us no less. We have yet to look at local rates and utilities. At that rate it will not only be the people on any kind of benefit but literally everybody that cannot be classified as a millionaire that will be lining up at the Salvation army. This in turn can and will most likely show the underbelly of society with some serious social unrest to boot. It will be interesting to see whether we witness a return to 1900 or consensus by employers, government and banks to get a new balance worked out. Interesting times ahead.

    • millsy 3.8

      I guess your dream of no wage increases for anyone ever, people working their whole lives on the same rate of pay becomes a reality.

      Just like when the ECA was imposed. Workers spent the next 10-15 years stuck on the same rate of pay,

  4. Bazza64 4

    The bit about protecting the laid off airline workers by ensuring they are part of Air NZ’s future is wishful thing at best. I have massive sympathy for all those people that have lost jobs at Air NZ, but if flights are down 90% & are probably going to be down for a while, then a lot of those people are going to have to find other work. They can’t just be kept on the payroll of a company that is now facing big financial losses.

    The government should offer the staff support in retraining in other possible industry jobs, but the economic reality can’t be forced onto Air NZ. I agree we can’t just throw these workers on the scrap heap, they have to have government support for an extended period of time.

    And I know – what jobs are around at the moment!

    • Craig H 4.1

      Saw an ad on Facebook for Canterbury University engineering department offering fast-tracked degrees for airline staff with at least 3 years technical experience, so there's some good thinking already happening.

    • RedBaronCV 4.2

      Some of the freight subsidies are being paid to airlines that are not Airnz. But I've been pretty disappointed in the government response to employment arrangements. As we have seen a lot of businesses think they can just basically ignore employment law as they have done for so long. Sure there has been a subsidy but it hasn't come with any "best behaviour " conditions or any consulting of the unions particularly.

      It's also shown the lack of capacity, innovation or creativity of the overpaid management. Firstly most management have taken only a nominal dollar reduction. Few if any have tried to pro rata the cuts so that everybody has some work/income even if it is reduced hours on a defined pattern so that staff can use the extra time to minimise costs or look at other income prospects and remain eligible for the in work subsidies and keep up skills.

      • Craig H 4.2.1

        Why does the government specifically have to say "don't break the law or breach employment agreements?" Seems self-evident.

        • RedBaronCV 4.2.1.1

          Enforcement of employment law depends on low paid (frequently) stressed individuals who often don't have the knowledge or background to take action. Plus if they had it rules then out for future jobs- discrimination over this is endemic. If it was part of the money hand out then the prospect of enforcement and loss of the subsidy from the government would help throttle back some of the employer excesses

          • Craig H 4.2.1.1.1

            It's a tough environment for that – cancel even bad employers' subsidies and it risks those companies closing down completely and making everyone redundant. Likewise taking ERA action – the risk of the company going under trying to defend it is higher than it normally would be.

    • millsy 4.3

      No point training people for jobs that don't exist.

      • SPC 4.3.1

        Given how many migrant workers we take in each year (and choose to give permanent residency to, or not), this may not be as severe an unemployment outcome as is feared.

        One factor will be how many feel the need to return from Oz because of their unemployment and no welfare support (for mine there is a case for paying basic benefit $250/$400 couple etc so that they stay over there – if we pay foir this off the credit card and throw it away).

  5. SPC 5

    Yep sure the government could/should have had a wage subsidy scheme where employers paid 80% of the wage, or the MW whichever was higher, to receive the wage subsidy.

  6. georgecom 6

    Democracy creates a space for the market, civil society and the government but it doesn’t guarantee a balance between these spheres. That is government’s role.

    nicely stated Annie. As well as ensuring the needs of good business is sustained there is also a need for a post covid 'recovery' which pays close focuses on the good of the planet as well as a need to ensure that those who are thrust to the margins of society, or were already there, are adequately taken care of. There is also the need to ensure that those who have work are organised and have a voice. Building fair pay agreements might be delayed but shouldn't be forgotten.

  7. SPC 7

    I would suggest that welfare has its part in our recovery.

    1. It is long past time to bring in individual entitlement to income support on losing a job (including leaving work to have children).

    The options range from one year only to open ended. From tax funded welfare tlevel support to a one year ACC level payment financed by Unemployment Insurance (the two could run alongside each other) – compulsory rather than optional Income Insurance.

    2. A UI (low rate dole level) for those under 25 IF they are not working FT or in full-time study. This supports gig workers (part-time and casual and piece rate – uber drivers./scooter collectors), those in internships and less formal apprenticeships and would be entrepreneurs.

    • Salsy 7.1

      AND.. how about use this break to allow women struggling in jobs where pay equity is just too much to bear to live on a UI until they are able to survive on freelance or build their own companies. Its a win win, we force organisations to take pay equity and pay transparency seriously and give women a chance to stand up for themselves.

      • SPC 7.1.1

        The first step would be to allow those on income support to earn a days pay ($160) before any abatement. This was the case in times past but the abatment level has not increased with wage rates for some time.

  8. Thanks Annie! A great antidote to the endless market evangelism we get on commercial media. The invisible hand of the market will not save us. Free market Capitalism has a tendency to irrational ponzi schemes and crashes every 10 years or so, unless it's properly regulated

    • Poission 8.1

      The problem with the evangelists from the church of the hidden hand forget that Adam Smith said that higher profits,not higher wages are ruinous to the economy.

      “In regards to the price of commodities, the rise of wages operates as simple interest does, the rise of profit operates like compound interest.

      Our merchants and masters complain much of the bad effects of high wages in raising the price and lessening the sale of goods. They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits. They are silent with regard to the pernicious effects of their own gains. They complain only of those of other people.”

  9. millsy 9

    My great idea is to accept that there are some older workers are never going to be re-employed, so drop the Super age back down to 60. It really is unfair to expect 60-64 year olds to live on $250 a week.

    Any other ideas can be thought up by some kind of Post Covid taskforce or summit.

    • SPC 9.1

      And pay super to those 60-64 still working?

      Better to pay super rate benefit for those unable to work 60-64 because of ill -health but not covered by ACC (and all those on disability 18-64 as well).

      As for the unemployed 60-64 (a $25 increase already and a bump in the power income supplement to boot) it is a matter of cost down the line. And many will have KS accounts and some rentals as well as their home ownership.

      It's an option, albeit via means test, if there was non payment of super to those working over age over 65 to afford it.

      • Craig H 9.1.1

        Agree, and I would expand ACC to include illness and disability from causes other than accidents.

  10. Janet 10

    Just Lift off with UBI

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    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Dr Lara Greaves, Political scientist, University of Auckland: “I love the NZ Politics Daily emails as they help me to keep on top of current events. It’s incredibly easy to skim through and follow the links. I really appreciate these as it means that I am exposed to a ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    3 days ago
  • The Data and Statistics Bill and the OIA
    The government introduced a new Data and Statistics Bill today to modernise and replace the 45-year old Statistics Act. Part of the Bill re-enacts the existing confidentiality regime (with one exception), which while a secrecy clause isn't an especially controversial one. Another part is aimed at removing "outdated" (inconvenient) limits ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Graham Adams: The debate over the $55 million media fund erupts again
    RNZ’s Mediawatch and a video clip viewed 42,000 times keep the topic of the Public Interest Journalism Fund fizzing. Graham Adams reports.   A week ago, the NZ Taxpayers’ Union posted a short video clip of the exchange in Parliament between Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins in which the National ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    4 days ago
  • Multiple sclerosis: the link with earlier infection just got stronger – new study
    Scott Montgomery, UCL For most of the time since the first description of multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1868, the causes of this disabling disease have remained uncertain. Genes have been identified as important, which is why having other family members with MS is associated with a greater risk of developing ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    4 days ago
  • Covid and free speech
    by Don Franks Some commentators have likened the struggle against Covid 19 to the world war experience. To those of us not alive in those times, that comparison can only be academic. What the anti virus battle reminds me of much more is an industrial strike. In my twenties and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • “Angry Blowhards”
    In today’s Herald, their excellent columnist, Simon Wilson, takes to task those “shouty” people whom he further describes as “angry blowhards”. They are those whose prime reaction to the pandemic is anger – an anger they seamlessly (and perhaps unwittingly) transfer from the virus to the government. The basis for ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • Looking Forward To 2022.
    Future Tense? Okay, so that’s where we are in 2022. Living in a New Zealand where all the usual rules of politics once again apply. And, guess what? Jacinda’s government, once again, isn’t doing very well – not very well at all.LET’S PLAY A GAME. Let’s pretend we’re half-way through ...
    4 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Covid mandates, and the Covid pill
    The cliché about “living with Covid” will not mean life as we’ve known it, Jim. Vaccination is fast becoming a condition of employment, and also a requirement to participate in aspects of social life, such as travel, attending bars, cafes, and concerts etc. These protective measures enjoy a high level ...
    4 days ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 12 October 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Prof Alan Bollard, Professor of Practice at the School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington; Chair of the Infrastructure Commission: “NZ Politics Daily” provides a great public service – a quick and unbiased way to check policy announcements and analysis every morning.” Anyone can sign up to NZPD ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    4 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: A submission on the COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill (No 2)
    I have made a submission on the COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill (No 2).In preparing it, I looked at the Hansard for the first reading debate, and got name-dropped as someone likely to make a submission. So, of course I did. I focus on a small bit of the ...
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: More tales from the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme
    You may have read last week that two years after the publication of regulations for medicinal cannabis – and three years after the enabling legislation – two local products from a local manufacturer have finally met the minimum quality standards for prescription. You may also be interested to know that ...
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Real action requires government
    Over the weekend someone pointed me at a journal article on "The Poverty of Theory: Public Problems, Instrument Choice, and the Climate Emergency". Its a US law journal article, so is a) very long; and b) half footnotes (different disciplines have different norms), but the core idea is that the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Not doing our bit
    Last month the US and EU announced they would push an agreement to cut methane emissions by 30% (from 2020 levels) by 2030 at the upcoming climate change conference in Glasgow. The good news is that New Zealand is looking at joining it. The bad news is that that won't ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Delta’s Week Of Doom.
    Classic Shot: Are the Prime Minister’s formidable communication skills equal to the task of getting her government’s anti-Covid campaign back on track?IF JACINDA ARDERN thought last week was bad, the week ahead promises to be even worse. Sixty community cases of Covid-19, one of the highest daily totals so far ...
    5 days ago
  • Urgent measures needed to allow the safe re-opening of Auckland schools
    Dr Rachel Webb, Dr Jin Russell, Dr Pip Anderson, Dr Emma Best, Dr Alison Leversha and Dr Subha Rajanaidu* In this blog we describe the range of urgent measures that are needed to facilitate a safe return to schools in Auckland and other regions of the country where there is ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • Children live online more than ever – we need better definitions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ scree...
    Kathryn MacCallum, University of Canterbury and Cheryl Brown, University of Canterbury   The pandemic has fundamentally altered every part of our lives, not least the time we spend on digital devices. For young people in particular, the blurred line between recreational and educational screen time presents new challenges we are ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Putting Aotearoa on the map: New Zealand has changed its name before, why not again?
    Claire Breen, University of Waikato; Alexander Gillespie, University of Waikato; Robert Joseph, University of Waikato, and Valmaine Toki, University of Waikato   Our names are a critical part of our identity. They are a personal and social anchor tying us to our families, our culture, our history and place in ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Speaker: Yes, of course festival organisers will follow the law on vaccination
    On Tuesday 5 October the New Zealand Government announced that proof of COVID-19 vaccination would be a requirement to attend large events this summer.It took a few days for event owners to absorb the information and understand the implications. By the end of the working week, most of the big ...
    5 days ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 11 October 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Jim Hubbard, Cartoonist “NZ Politics daily is a go to for cartoonists, or should be.  Political reporting enmasse like this gives cartoonists and political junkies a smorgasbord to get their teeth into. Essential and I daresay vital reading for those who care about the future of NZ.” Anyone can sign ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    5 days ago
  • 2021 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #41
    Listing of articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, October 3, 2021 through Sat, October 9, 2021 The following articles sparked above average interest during the week: VFX Artist Reveals how Many Solar Panels are Needed to Power the ENTIRE World, Will you fall ...
    6 days ago
  • The Night of Parmenides: accepted
    A bit of good news on the writing front. My 3900-word short story, The Night of Parmenides, has been accepted by SpecFicNZ for their upcoming Aftermath anthology, to be published in early 2022. This is my first published short story to be explicitly set in my home-town of ...
    6 days ago
  • The Virus, the Politician, and the gang member
    . . . . . References Newshub Nation: Gang leader Harry Tam denies Winston Peters’ claims he helped infected woman breach COVID boundary, sparking Northland lockdown Te Ao News: ‘Apologise!’ Mob leader slams Peters’ Covid, Northland allegations Stuff media: Covid-19 – Search for contact of Northland case ‘extraordinarily frustrating’ CNBC: ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Rapid kits, responses, and openings: watch motivations, or catch something worse with Covid…
    Last week was probably a high point for many armchair “experts”, fresh from their high after some deep inhaling of the various musings and fumings, of an actually very smug, and very insualted John “Things all work for me…” Key, former Prime Minister and FOREX trader, had blitzed the ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    7 days ago
  • Bollocks
    It would appear we have an unwelcome presence in town.Positive wastewater results had been detected in Hamilton and Palmerston North on October 6 and 7. There are 26 cases in hospital, seven of these are in ICU or high dependency units (HDU).One of the people in hospital is in Palmerston ...
    1 week ago
  • World-leading?
    So, the Herald has found someone, as we can see from today’s issue, who is able to explain why we should not claim to have been “world-leading” in our response to the covid epidemic. It seems that we have been kidding ourselves when we celebrated our low total number of ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Why Is Labour So Frightened Of “Mr Stick”?
    Force Multiplier: Why are Ardern and her ministers so loathe to put a bit of stick about? The “emergency” legislation eventually enacted to authorise the measures needed to combat the Covid-19 pandemic failed to confer upon the New Zealand Government the unequivocal authority that subsequent events showed to be so ...
    1 week ago
  • The Need for an Updated Strategic Approach to Covid-19 Control in Aotearoa NZ
    Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Jennifer Summers, Prof Michael Baker* The NZ Government appears to have drifted into an unclear strategic approach to Covid-19 control. In this blog we outline one potential way forward: a regional strategic approach that considers “regional suppression” and “regional elimination”. To maximise the success of this ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Mairon: The Actual Source for the Blasted Name
    Long-time Tolkien geeks – or those bemused enough to run across a certain internet phenomenon – might know that ‘Sauron’ is not actually the real name of the Lord of the Ring. ‘Sauron’ is just an abusive Elvish nickname, meaning ‘the Abhorred.’ Sauron’s actual name, at least originally, ...
    1 week ago
  • Forced Re-entry
    The elimination of Covid strategy is not so much defeated but changing circumstances means that policy has to evolve. Our elimination stance was never sustainable or at least it would not be until the rest of the world also eliminated Covid-19. Elimination of the virus was a strategy we adopted ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Repeal this unjust law
    Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled on National's unjust "three strikes" law, and found that the sentence it required was (in the case in question) so disproportionate as to "shock the conscience" and violate the Bill of Rights Act ban on disproportionately severe treatment or punishment: The Supreme Court has ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Preparing for the flood
    The Christchurch City Council has published new "coastal hazards" data, indicating which places are under threat from sea-level rise. And its not good news: Parts of Christchurch and Banks Peninsula are likely to become unhabitable [sic] as the city council figures out how to adapt to sea level ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Virus, Not The Government
    I wonder if Mike Hosking ever reads the paper in which he appears so regularly? If he does, he might have noticed a report in today’s Herald about the problem that could face churches in Auckland if a vaccine passport becomes mandatory for those wishing to attend church services. The ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 8 October 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Bill Ralston, Media consultant and columnist: “NZ Politics Daily provides an invaluable service for journalists, politicians, businesspeople, decision makers and the public at large by providing an easily accessible, exhaustive, link to every significant political story in the country’s media that day. It’s a gem of a service ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Open letter to Michael Barnett, Julie White, et al
    . . Congratulations,  Mr Barnett, Ms White, and your business colleagues. It appears that we will end up having to “live” (ie, get sick, end up in hospital, perhaps in ICU, intubated on ventilators, and possibly dying as our lungs fail) with covid19. But at least businesses will open up. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Introducing Mr Stick.
    MR STICK: You media types think the people of this country have changed, but you’re wrong. We’re the same tough bastards we’ve always been. Put a bit of stick about – and listen to us cheer!JOSEPHINE MUCH-ADOO: Kia ora, everyone, and welcome to “Introducing”. Today we are very pleased to ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #40, 2021
    "Old" research There's little point in trying to best this excellent article describing the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics by Ars Technica authors Jennifer Ouelette and John Timmer, each having a gift for concisely on-target, accessible science journalism. Here at New Research we'll punt and quote the The Royal Swedish Academy of ...
    1 week ago
  • Standing on one leg is a sign of good health – and practising is good for you too
    Dawn Skelton, Glasgow Caledonian University Research shows that people’s ability to stand on one leg is an indicator of health and that getting better at standing on one leg can add to fitness and potentially lifespan. Being able to stand on one leg is linked to increased levels of physical ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: More dishonesty over the CCR
    Last month the Emissions Trading Scheme turned into a farce, when the government flooded the market with credits in a failed and wasteful attempt to Keep Carbon Prices Low. When I asked about the background of this policy Climate Change Minister James Shaw sent me one of the most egregious ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Schrödinger’s Wraith: The Status of the Witch-King of Angmar, 15th-25th March, T.A. 3019.
    My recent re-read of The Lord of the Rings reminded me of one of the vaguer head-scratchers in Tolkien. The status of the Witch-King of Angmar between his death at the Battle of Pelennor Fields and the Destruction of the One Ring ten days later… was he, in the ...
    1 week ago
  • How rainbow colour maps can distort data and be misleading
    Philip Heron, University of Toronto; Fabio Crameri, University of Oslo, and Grace Shephard, University of Oslo   The choice of colour to represent information in scientific images is a fundamental part of communicating findings. However, a number of colour palettes that are widely used to display critical scientific results are ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Korea’s march to global cultural domination, plus a K-pop playlist
    So far, South Korea’s culture industries seem to be pandemic proof. They’re also winning huge global audiences, and not merely large domestic ones. In recent years, South Korea’s TV series (Squid Game, Descendants of The Sun) and movies ( Parasite, Oldboy, The Handmaiden) have become global hits. However, it has ...
    1 week ago
  • In a lockdown, where does work end and parenting begin? Welcome to the brave new world of ‘zigzag...
    Candice Harris, Auckland University of Technology and Jarrod Haar, Auckland University of Technology   All parents work. The difference lies in the breakdown between their paid and unpaid workloads. That equation is influenced by many things, including education, qualifications, age, ethnicity, financial status, number and age of dependants, gendered and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Using Rapid Antigen Tests to Improve COVID-19 Control in Aotearoa NZ
    Figure 1: Rapid Antigen Test kit given out freely from the NHS in the UK Dr Jennifer Summers, Assoc Prof James Ussher, Assoc Prof Nikki Moreland, Dr Leah Grout, Prof Nick Wilson, Prof Michael Baker* Most COVID-19 testing aims to identify infected people. To date, Aotearoa NZ has relied almost ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 7 October 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Dr Liz Gordon, Former MP, researcher and blogger I just hate NZ Politics Daily. I get settled in to do a good day’s work and ZAP, it arrives in my inbox like a little shiny gift.  I try to ignore it but my cursor creeps inexorably towards the ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Bryce Edwards: Political Roundup – Will electoral and political finance law reform succeed this ti...
    It’s welcome news that the Government has announced this week that they intend to improve how elections work in this country, including fixing the political finance rules. Justice Minister Kris Faafoi has announced that major reforms will be investigated in the areas of political donation rules, promising changes that will ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Will Jacinda Stand? Or, Has She Already Fallen?
    Free Falling? New Zealanders needed to hear Jacinda take a firm line on vaccination, issuing stern warnings to those who declared their intention to refuse. Kiwis just weren’t in the mood to let lockdown evaders and anti-vaxxers free ride on their good citizenship. Google’s IT wizards confirmed that Kiwis were, overwhelmingly, ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The CCR was a huge waste of money II
    Last month, in the wake of the September carbon auction, I talked about how the government's policy of flooding the market with a "cost containment reserve" of an extra 7 million tons of pollution in an effort to keep carbon costs low was a huge waste of money. Ministry for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Celebrating Women in Space
    Beautiful, Inspiring, Mysterious!  How do you describe space?  What do you think when you look up at the stars?  The United Nations General Assembly certainly knew how beautiful, inspiring, mysterious, and important space is when they designated a week to be World Space Week.  That’s this week, and the theme for this year is ...
    SciBlogsBy John Pickering
    1 week ago
  • COVID Clusterfuck
    Well it has been fun living in the safest country in the world for a year and a half, but a combination of cynical politics from the right, and dithering incompetence from the left, and selfish sociopathy or ignorance on the part of the population , means New Zealand is ...
    1 week ago
  • Unsurprising
    Former rugby league star Manu Vatuvei has admitted importing methamphetamine. The Warriors icon was charged in December 2019 with possessing methamphetamine for supply and importing the Class A drug. He previously denied the charges and earlier this year said he would “fight for his innocence” after he outed himself as the sportsman ...
    1 week ago
  • Bond, Wokeness and Representations in Cinema
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh The latest James Bond film has come out.  It is apparently to be Daniel Craig’s last incarnation as the Spy Who Loved Me, or raped me as some have pointed out.  There has been much discussion about how woke the new James Bond is and how ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • The Virus, the Bubble, and the Trap
    . . . . . References National Party: Open the Trans Tasman Bubble Now (archived) Twitter: National Party – Sign the Trans Tasman bubble petition Twitter: Judith Collins – Sign the Trans Tasman bubble petition RNZ: Tourism New Zealand forecasting billion-dollar economy boost if trans-Tasman bubble opens Stuff media: Crack ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Not keeping their promises
    One of the big steps forward in climate change policy was when cabinet started demanding climate change assessments of policy, so when they built that road or changed energy or farm policy, they'd know what they were doing and be able to make an informed decision (and if not, one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A useful ruling
    As readers may be aware, I (and everyone else) have been having a growing problem with OIA extensions for "consultations". They're being used by agencies to juke the stats, scam extra time, and cover up administrative failure. So I've taken up complaining about them. And last night, I got a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago

  • New Zealand Ambassador to France announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Caroline Bilkey as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to France and the OECD. “Aotearoa New Zealand and France have a shared history, and enjoy a strong, collaborative partnership. This includes a strong trade and economic relationship, a shared commitment to support ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Govt welcomes nurses’ pay settlement
    The Government is welcoming news that a new employment agreement for nurses working in public hospitals has been settled. “I am very pleased that the hard work of the Nurses Organisation and District Health Boards has led to a settlement that both can support,” Health Minister Andrew Little said today. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Judge of the High Court appointed
    Māori Land Court Judge Layne Harvey has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Harvey graduated with an LLB from the University of Auckland in 1992 and commenced employment as a law clerk with Simpson Grierson in Auckland that same year. In 1997 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Kiwis to have their say on plan to reduce waste
    New Zealanders are invited to have their say on proposals for a new waste strategy and options for new waste legislation. “Reducing waste is one of the issues all New Zealanders – especially younger Kiwis - care deeply about,” Environment Minister David Parker said today “New Zealand is one of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Next steps in action plan for indigenous rights kicks off
    Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson has today meet with more than 30 national Māori organisations in an online hui, kicking off the process to develop a plan for New Zealand to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration). The previous National Government signed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Iwi-led housing solutions build homes for the future
    Whai Kāinga, Whai Oranga will open on 20 October, to receive applications for investment through Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga – Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and Te Puni Kōkiri The $730m fund combines investment from Budget 2021 ($380m) and the Māori Infrastructure Fund ($350m) - the largest investment seen ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • E whakarite ana Te Kāwanatanga i ngā tūāpapa mō twhakamaumahara ki Te Petihana Reo Māori ka t...
    I te rā nei, i pānuihia e te Minita mō Manatū Taonga, ko Carmel Sepuloni, rāua ko te Minita Whanaketanga Māori, ko Willie Jackson, ā tērā tau, ka whakanuia rawatia te 50 o ngā tau mai i te whakatakotoranga o te petihana mō te Reo Māori me te huanga mai ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • E whakarite ana Te Kāwanatanga i ngā tūāpapa mō tewhakamaumahara ki Te Petihana Reo Māori ka t...
    I te rā nei, i pānuihia e te Minita mō Manatū Taonga, ko Carmel Sepuloni, rāua ko te Minita Whanaketanga Māori, ko Willie Jackson, ā tērā tau, ka whakanuia rawatia te 50 o ngā tau mai i te whakatakotoranga o te petihana mō te Reo Māori me te huanga mai ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government green lights rapid antigen testing
    Some of the country’s largest businesses have put in an order for 300,000 approved rapid antigen tests for their workforce, after working at pace with the Government on a new scheme unveiled by Associate Minister of Health and Research, Science and Innovation Ayesha Verrall. A coalition of around 25 businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government lays foundations as Māori Language Petition commemorations take shape for 2022
    Taiaha hā! Taiaha hā! - Te kairangi o te reo hoki mai ki taku tikanga, ki taku taumata, ki taku reo, ki taku ao. He reo whai tikanga, he reo whai mana, he reo whai tangata koe. Ki te whāngaihia te reo Māori he ao tēnā, ki te kore he ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Major contract awarded to power NZ Battery investigation
    A consortium of specialist firms has been awarded a major contract to advance the New Zealand Battery Project’s feasibility investigation into a pumped hydro storage scheme at Lake Onslow, the Minister of Energy and Resources Megan Woods has announced. “This contract represents a major milestone as it begins the targeted ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Additional Funding for Foodbanks and Social Agencies
    The Government has approved $13.55m from the Covid Response and Recovery Fund to support foodbanks and social sector agencies, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni has announced. “Foodbanks and social agencies across Auckland are doing a great job supporting their communities and the Government is today providing them with more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Generating a new generation of guardians
    The Government is supporting a Whakatōhea-led project undertaking landscape scale restoration in forests and around vulnerable rivers within the Eastern Bay of Plenty, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says. “The Whakatōhea Tiaki Taiao project will employ four people to undertake pest and weed control, ecosystem restoration and monitoring over three ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Parts of Waikato, Northland staying at Alert Level 3
    The parts of Waikato that have been in Alert Level 3 and Northland will remain in Alert Level 3 for a few more days, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Auckland remains at Alert Level 3, Step 1. “Based on the latest public health information, ministers have decided that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New courthouses for Tauranga and Whanganui
    The Government is moving ahead with new courthouses in Tauranga and Whanganui, which the Justice Minister says provide an opportunity to redesign court facilities that help put victims at the heart of the justice system. “These courthouses are part of the 10-year infrastructure investment plan to restore and modernise Ministry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech on the launch of the consultation on the development of the Emissions Reduction Plan
    Tēnā koutou katoa. Ngā mihi o te ata. Earlier this month Save the Children wrote to me with their most up to date analysis on the impact of climate change. What they said was that children born in Aotearoa today will experience up to five times as many heatwaves and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Opportunity to shape NZ’s first Emissions Reduction Plan
    The Government is inviting New Zealanders to inform the country’s first Emissions Reduction Plan with the release of a consultation document containing a range of policy ideas to decrease the country’s emissions, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced today. The Emissions Reduction Plan will set ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Convention on Biological Diversity COP 15, Virtual High-Level Segment
    Kia ora koutou katoa. I want to thank China for hosting this critically important Conference of the Parties. We are all here for the same reason. Biodiversity loss, and the ongoing degradation of nature, are accelerating at an unprecedented rate. These losses are causing irreparable harm to our planet’s ability ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government books show resilient and strong economy
    The end of year audited Crown accounts released today show the Government’s health led approach to the COVID-19 pandemic has protected New Zealand’s economy. “On almost every indicator the accounts show that the New Zealand economy has performed better than forecast, even as recently as the Budget in May. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • ​​​​​​​Health system is ready for assisted-dying law
    The health system is ready for the implementation of the End of Life Choice Act when it takes effect next month, making assisted dying legal in New Zealand, Health Minister Andrew Little said today. The law received 65.1 per cent support in a public referendum held alongside last year’s general ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Taking a lead in threat to curious kea
    Reducing lead poisoning of kea, the world’s only alpine parrot and one-time New Zealand bird of the year winner, is the goal of a two year project being backed by the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says.  “Lead poisoning is a serious threat to this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government provides certainty to working holiday and seasonal visa holders and employers for summer
    The Government will extend Working Holiday visas and Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) work visas for six months to provide more certainty to employers and visa holders over the coming summer period, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi has announced. “This offers employers and visa holders the certainty they’ve been asking for going ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Lower card fees good for businesses, consumers
    The Bill to help lower the cost of the fees retailers get charged for offering contactless and debit payment options is another step closer to becoming law, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Dr David Clark said today. “COVID-19 has changed the way we spend our money, with online and contactless ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Mandatory vaccination for two workforces
    High-risk workers in the health and disability sector to be fully vaccinated by 1 December, 2021, and to receive their first dose by 30 October School and early learning staff and support people who have contact with children and students to be fully vaccinated by 1 January, 2022, and to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Fund allows more Pacific community led vaccinations
    The Government has made $1.1 million available through ‘The Prepare Pacific Community Vaccination Fund’ to directly support Pacific community-led initiatives towards increasing vaccinations, said Associate Minister of Health, Aupito William Sio. “The best way to protect our communities from COVID-19 is through vaccination. “We need to explore every avenue to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Small business at heart of economic recovery across APEC region
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