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Recession’s causes still not fixed

Written By: - Date published: 9:28 am, November 16th, 2009 - 41 comments
Categories: economy - Tags:

Recessions are meant to be about fixing economic problems that built up during the previous boom – unwinding imbalances in the parlance. Higher unemployment, with all its consequences, business failures, and higher government debt are the price of putting the economy on a more sustainable platform for the future.

But it’s not happening. All the problems are re-emerging.

The currency is back in the mid-70s US. That’s devastating for all exporters except dairy, which is riding the international price boom just as it was before the global recession. House prices are back to the peak of the bubble.

house price

We’ve got the same problems we had two years ago but now we’ve got higher unemployment and government deficits too.

Internationally, nothing has fundamentally changed regarding the causes of the crash. The banks are still unregulated, the toxic assets are still on their books, and the price of oil is marching relentlessly upwards.

It’s looking evermore certain that the world is only lifting out of recession because of governments’ stimulus but that’s not a sustainable solution. It’s like using a defibrillator to get a person’s heart beating again – it might work in the short-term but, unless you use that opportunity to fix the underlying causes, there will just be another crash.

We were told that there would be no return to the past. That in getting through this crisis we would reform the international economy on a more sustainable footing. It hasn’t happened. The problems haven’t disappeared, they’ve just been temporarily masked. Sooner or later, we’ll face the consequences of the governments’ failure to act.

41 comments on “Recession’s causes still not fixed”

  1. Craig Glen Eden 1

    So before the election National said Government Spending was the problem and tax cuts was the other half of the solution. I AM STILL WAITING?

    Do they not believe in their own solution when will the plan start. When will the groupy tourist start doing something to grow the pie.

  2. prism 2

    There’s talk about taking our exchange rate out of the hands of speculators who are playing havoc with our overseas export returns. I am sick of having our cream skimmed off in this way, leaving the skim. There is another way, there must be. Someone mentioned Singapore’s system. Then an economist says better would be more Reserve Bank position in maintaining the currency. But doesn’t that just give the speculators another opportunity to play us like caught minnows?

    Can the USA clean itself up? Its financial industry’s laxity of trading standards is at the base of the worldwide meltdown.Over there big business has taken over the country, everything is up for grabs, even religious groups teach how to manage finances. The principles needed to enforce controls preventing shonky trading don’t seem to be there. And their celebrity leaders such as Reagan, playing the greatest role in their lives, opened this Pandoras box. A lot is expected of Obama to impose integrity on this bent system.

    • Deus ex Machina 2.1

      “There’s talk about taking our exchange rate out of the hands of speculators who are playing havoc with our overseas export returns.”

      From whence is this talk coming? Don’t forget, the Prime Minster himself owes everything he has – everything he is – to a spell as just such a speculator.

      There should be more than talk about it. The Kiwi dollar is so small in International terms that a single fund can hold enough of it to influence its value, and can apply pressure to NZ’s supposedly sovereign economic policy just as the Credit Rating agencies do.

      We need a common currency with Australia – but politicians are so afraid of this being wrongly seen as a ‘surrender’ to those the media thinks we love to hate, and that standing by the “Kiwi’ is a sign of loyalty and strength rather than stupidity that it’s not going to happen until we’re forced to go to the Australians to get us out of bankruptcy.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 2.2

      And disenchantment of the rural poor in the US is fuelling right wing redneck fervour. The same thing is not happening here yet- if it does you may not want to be a minority group living in NZ.

  3. tsmithfield 3

    A lot of the reason for the strong NZ and AU currencies is that a lot of the major powers (e.g US & UK) are in much worse shape than us. They are trying to reduce their own liabilities by monetizing their debt away. This serves to inject funds into their own economies by printing more currency, and simultaneously reduces the value of their own currencies, thus reducing the amount of international debt they owe.

    However, it is not all candy and roses for them. For instance, the US has just had a major widening of their current account deficit. Even though their exports are much more competitive (due to the low US dollar), their import costs for oil etc are much higher.

    The problem of the NZ currency is exacerbated by the carry-trade in the US dollar. Financial institutions are able to buy US currency and re-invest it in risky assets and stronger currencies with higher interest rates such as NZ & the AU.

    My view for the NZ economy is that we will progressively lose more and more manufacturing to the likes of China where the labour rates are much lower. Our emphasis in NZ is going to be progressively more and more on food production which we are good at, and tourism. The various free-trade agreements we have been signing with Asia is going to intensify this trend IMO.

    This could be seen as a negative or a positive.

    • Bright Red 3.1

      the NZD is the strongest performing currency in the world vs the dollar.

      This is not just a weak dollar story.

      The US inflating away its debt is going to be a big problem in years to come.

  4. tsmithfield 4

    Why are my comments awaiting moderation? I don’t think I have been saying anything particularly controversial lately.

  5. burt 5

    Sooner or later, we’ll face the consequences of the governments’ failure to act.

    That actually is what we are seeing now. The domestic recession that the NZ economy slipped quietly into even before the sub-prime crisis and the subsequent global economic crisis is exactly that a failure to act by the socialist Labour muppets who though they could just spend like drunken sailors buying votes forever. For years the opposition were screaming that the policies of the Labour party were reducing productivity and entrenching welfare dependency in the middle income brackets.
    Families suddenly flush with cash which they were incapable of earning through their own efforts also started spending up other peoples money like there was no tomorrow and we then wondered why when we threw money at people who would not be able to earn it themselves that they just spent it on new shiny consumer good and houses that before middle class welfare were beyond their reach.

    The policies of vote buying and feel good welfare that as a country we can’t afford will take years to ripple through the economy and years to reverse. ( remember how long Labour blamed the failed policies of the 90’s for everything bad while claiming credit for all the good stuff well you reap what you sow when you take all the credit and refuse to take the responsibility .. )

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 5.1

      Yes agreed- government surplus was result of bouyant debt filled economy. But quick question- what did you think of Key and Brash’s rabid desire to spend the govt surplus on tax cuts? What effect do you think that would have had on property prices? Remember when Cullen was lampooned as Dr Scrooge?

      Agreed govt debt doesn’t help us- but the real enemy is the easy money borrowed to support our property boom. Do you see English and Key interested in doing anything about that?

      • burt 5.1.1

        Zaphod

        Do you see English and Key interested in doing anything about that?

        Short of National passing a law that stipulates that people need [x%] deposit to buy a house what can they do ? This is a bigger question than National vs Labour.

        The same thing that preceded this housing bubble burst preceded every other housing bubble burst. People borrowed heavily while interest rates were low then got stuffed up when the rates climbed because there was insufficient margin between their earnings and the expenses. People borrowed (close to) 100% of the current property value then when values fluctuated down they were holding mortgages bigger than the property value.

        Fashion said ‘you must own a house’ so people risked everything to get on the ladder even when logic and reason said the market was over heated . The govt is not to blame when people behave in ways that wisdom tells us lead up to pain the people who made bad decisions need to face the consequences.

        Controlling property values is not a role of the state teaching people to not taking foolish risks is the key to this and that unfortunately is something that some socioeconomic groups do a better job of than others.

        • Zaphod Beeblebrox 5.1.1.1

          People will act in a way that they believe will benefit them financially. If the govt acts in way that perpetuates high property values, you cannot blame people for acting accordingly.

          I’d hazard to guess that in western societies, there is hardly an aspect affecting property that is not affected by govt policy. If there is, let me know.

          • burt 5.1.1.1.1

            People will act in a way that they believe will benefit them financially.

            Well that is how it works in a perfect world. In the real world they act according to a mix of emotion and logic and they convince themselves that what they are doing will benefit them financially.

            They don’t always get it right and they don’t always listen to salient advice when that advice conflicts with their emotional desires.

            Govt policy cannot counter human desire for sparkly new shiny stuff or the desire to keep up with the neighbours.

    • Bored 5.2

      Burt, there may be some merit in your views on how people who dont earn spend this ill gotten gain. A true socialist would never try and spend money on welfare for the middle classes, which begs the question of how you equate Labour with socialist policies?

      • burt 5.2.1

        Bored

        A true socialist would never try and spend money on welfare for the middle classes, which begs the question of how you equate Labour with socialist policies?

        You have nailed it here, dim-bulb Cullen said ‘we are socialists and proud of it’ then went about implementing polices that were only about being popular and getting re-elected. This is exactly the ‘consequences of failing to act’ that Marty G wants to talk about but of course he blames National for the bad stuff. (Probably because Labour had no choice due to the failed policies of the 90’s hell for socialists it is like the years 1999-2008 didn’t happen isn’t it. National were to blame during 9 years of Labour and now they are to blame again Either Labour did nothing for 9 years and the 90’s are still to blame today or it is just possible that a decade of blaming the other team is a sword that cuts both ways )

        • Bored 5.2.1.1

          You have missed a corollary to the argument, if Labour were not acting like socialists, then socialism can hardly be blamed for the mess. By attacking Labour you also attack National, the two are indistinguishable in terms of their slavish adherence to a failed economic project.

          • burt 5.2.1.1.1

            OK, so ‘socialist and proud of it’ Cullen didn’t even know what socialism was… He knew how to buy votes though.

            • Bored 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Whats so surprising there? Its what all politicians do, promise and if possible deliver. And by the way, just as there are many types of capitalists, so too there are many types of socialist etc. I might have been a bit harsh on that count to Cullen, its the sort of dry versus wets equivalent of the left.

        • Craig Glen Eden 5.2.1.2

          Or Burt Labour ( Cullen) did a lot, paying back National Debt, rebuilding infrastructure, increasing personal savings and decreasing unemployment after National had stuffed the country getting rid of trade apprenticeships, destroying heath and education and not supporting research and development .

          So Burt what has National done to change things so far? Bloody nothing! They will do what they always do sell off anything to their mates that is currently making money and rort the tax payer.

          They create nothing never have never bloody will because they have no vision they take no risks and all they operate on is old money!
          You are getting what you voted for Burt nothing, a shell of a man who is running round shaking celebs hands.

          • burt 5.2.1.2.1

            Craig

            In the context of the pretty blue line graph supplied by Marty G – Labour did nothing. But suddenly national are to blame if it all happens again. Let me know if labour are ever responsible for “nothing” because so far – waaa waaa waaa – It’s all National’s fault ….

            • Craig Glen Eden 5.2.1.2.1.1

              No Burt things have happened that are out side this Governments control as was out side of Labours.The difference was that National was going to be different.
              They were going to give us tax breaks like it was the answer, National was going to cut Government spending because it was so out of control, but nothing that they have done has done anything to change anything regarding our economy. The pie is shrinking still, thats the point of the post. while National does nothing much, the economy still struggles along.

              Burt as I have said Labour was responsible for lowering Government Debt, reducing unemployment, increasing savings. What have National done Burt in the last 12 months, nooothing.

          • Herodotus 5.2.1.2.2

            So Labour reduced Govt (Head Office) debt yet the debt of NZ as a whole is about the size of out GDP check graphs/data on Labours banking review and see the graph follow an esculator.
            Debt per se is not always bad, it is what is done with that debt.
            We could do something re the banks leading by requiring ofr increasing the reserves that trading banks are required to hold. At the beginning of the recession I think the Res Bank allowed for the reserves held by banks to be reduced to allow increased liquidity. A small one would for the IRD to set rules for -vely funded investment properties to fall within existing capital gain/trading in property tax. As by definition if it cannot trade profitable then the purpose of purchase was for capital gain, and not to allow offsets in losses from proerty with other incomes for individuals.

  6. vto 6

    Had always felt this would a double-bottomed bottoming. First one pushed away by people in govt spending our childrens future to avert meltdown and so safe-guard their own ‘watch’.

    Second one, when the people in govt’s measures inevitably fail, the economies will fall to their natural equilibrium (well, short term equilibrium). Hopefully it wont be heavy but methinks it will be heavier than the first bottoming.

    And mine own thoughts put this down to not just recent actions of govts and regulations and sub-primes and etc, but down to a natural and longer cycle in human activity. It is due.

    • Zorr 6.1

      A lot of people out there have been predicting since the beginning of the recession that it would be “W” shaped. What we are looking at now is our modern equivalent of the failure of the New Deal. There has been a lot of talk about what is needed to be done to prevent it happening again and a lot of digging out of holes but no concrete solutions put in place to prevent us just falling in to one of the other holes we have dug.

      As the saying goes, the next steps a doozy.

  7. infused 7

    I always said there will be a second crash. Will be smaller though. Let it come.

  8. ben 8

    Marty, excuse the ad hominem, but it’s precisely because you are saying there’s a problem that I can breath a little easier that in fact everything may end up being all right. You are so infrequently right that this post lets me relax a little.

    On to substance: your post doesn’t have any. A chart with a blue line (nice touch) and no analysis. A repeated complaint that the sitting government didn’t do more.

    • Bored 8.1

      I too would be interested in some real analysis of why house prices inflated by 300% in 17 years during which time the Reserve Bank was charged with control of inflation. What was their inflation figure for this period?

      Other nice graphs to overlay on this one might be banking ratios outlining risk profiles, banking and finance bad debts, bank profits, rental house ownership ratios, tax subsidisation of second properties, actual capital available for productive activities, number of state houses built, housing demand etc.

      I suspect that in your call for real analysis any one of the above might prove acutely embarressing for any number of parties.

  9. millsy 9

    Hey burt,

    Unlike you I am glad we dont have an American style health system, and poor people dont have to live on the street.

  10. burt 10

    Hey millsy

    You display a fine appreciation of red wine.

    Love that ACC eh, levies (premiums) are going up, cover is going down and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Choice is such a nasty word for socialists isn’t it – it undermines the idea world where one size fits all and administrators are more important than patients.

  11. millsy 11

    Fuck off burt.

    Choice means that shareholders are more important than patients.

    Go to hell you money loving fuckhead.

    [Deep breaths before typing… we’ve all been there millsy. RedLogix]

    • burt 11.1

      [Deep breaths before typing… we’ve all been there millsy. RedLogix]

      Not everyone has been incapable of understanding how competition sharpens prices which subsequently reduces shareholder profits. Not everyone thinks state run monopolies deliver better value than competitive markets.

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 11.1.1

        Straight out of the mouth of Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin. With such a perfect market in health care- no wonder US consumers are so happy paying $7-10K per year for health insurance. Nothing like a bit of free market (not) to ensure a cut for everyone except the end user who has no choice but to pay up.

        I hear the US military provides the most fantastic and affordable socialist health care system for ex-GIs, not bad for a state monopoly.

        • Daveosaurus 11.1.1.1

          “I hear the US military provides the most fantastic and affordable socialist health care system for ex-GIs”

          You hear wrong. I’ve got a friend who’s an ex-soldier in America (10 years’ service, served in Iraq) who’s been ripped off spectacularly by the health system once he retired. The American system can’t even look after their own servicemen – one more reason why it has to be dismantled and rebuilt from scratch.

          • burt 11.1.1.1.1

            We have no need to rebuild our monopoly system from scratch – the consumers have no choice so they can just take what is on offer or leave the bloody country. According to lefties – when costs go up and service levels go down – that is the sign of a healthy system. (IE: Working perfectly for the administrators who are after all more important than patients and that is why we have a one size fits all system)

            • Daveosaurus 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Costs go up and service levels go down when sectors are split up, deregulated and privatised. Just look at the electricity sector.

            • burt 11.1.1.1.1.2

              Daveosaurus

              ACC has not been split up (yet), privatised (yet) or deregulated (yet) Levies have gone up and services are being cut.

              And while we are on service levels, where do I find the service levels for hip operations? What sort of wait would I expect for getting a child’s tonsils out if they were problematic but not life threatening? And what is the current state of child oncology in Wellington at the moment? How many hospitals were already at (or close to) full capacity just managing BAU when the first Swine flu scare hit?

              Just what are we paying for Daveosaurus?

        • burt 11.1.1.2

          How much are you paying in ACC levies Zaphod Beeblebrox? Do you even know all the places where it is collected ?

          I never said I wanted a US style system, millsy made that up. It seems that when you have a brain as weak as millsy’s that there are two options only. What we have (good) and what the US have (bad) and any discussion about changing our system must therefore mean we will have a system exactly like the US system. I don’t get where that kind of thinking comes from but then I suspect I don’t have as good a knowledge of red wine as millsy either.

          • Zaphod Beeblebrox 11.1.1.2.1

            Thanks Burt
            Don’t argue that ACC is expensive to run, but that’s because it tries to insure for every ankle sprain, bee sting or idiot who writes his car off or dare I say it, Graeme Burton’s new prosthetic leg!! And yes I’m sure they have found lots of ways of covertly funding it. Why they sting you per vehicle registered, not just per litre of fuel purchased is beyond me.

            Not sure that leaving it to the private sector is the answer though, the dysfunctional US health insurance market shows how the insuree can become susceptible to overcharging if you are seen as a health risk and paying for kickbacks to insurers.

            So I say- stop making the catch all for everything, open it up to scrutiny, but keep it so that everybody can have equal access.

  12. burt 12

    millsy

    Choise means that shareholders are more important than patients.

    Classic, only a complete dim-bulb socialist would think competition is good for shareholders rather than consumers. It would take a dim-bulb socialist who has never had any experience running a business to not understand that choice (competition) is the worst thing for shareholders and the best thing for consumers (patients). Oh, except when the monopoly is govt eh millsy… then it’s different and its good that one organisation can charge whatever they want for any level of service they see fit at the time. (as demonstrated by ACC).

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    The vast majority of tributes to the Listener hearken back to its glory days, with little reflection on the magazine as it was at its end.I wrote for it, for half the Listener’s life; I have known personally all the editors except the first (mythical) three. From 1978 to 2014 ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    3 days ago
  • Universal income – a challenge to capitalism or a crutch?
    As the world economy slides rapidly towards deep recession there are growing calls for a Universal Benefit coming from some leftists and rightists. Now Finance Minister Grant Robertson is saying it is on the table.  This article by a French party Workers Struggle provides analysis of various forms of universal ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018)
    This is the advice from the very top of the anti-fluoride movement – Paul Connett, director of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN). Don’t worry about reading  up on all the scientific information “You only have ...
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 10
    . . April 4: Day 10 of living in lock-down… I wake up to a fine Saturday morning which normally would be like an early Christmas. But it’s Day 10 of Level 4 Lock Down. What  will my fellow New Zealanders be doing on a day like this – staying ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Redline reaching out to more writers & readers
    Some time during the night we went over the 850,000 views mark. We might have had our millionth view by the end of this year – certainly by early next year. Most of the people involved in Redline spent years and years producing various small left-wing papers and selling them ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Keir Starmer elected
    Comfortably, in the very first round, with an impressive 56% of the votes.I wonder, did members of the Shadow Cabinet start tweeting their resignations during Starmer's victory speech, or is that only a trick the right pull?It is odd how all the talk of how the next leader "needs to ...
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: Michael Baker and the Big House
    One of the key voices in this extraordinary time in which we live is that of University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker. Philip Matthews did an an excellent job this weekend of capturing the way he became the man for this moment in a profile for The Press.But one ...
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand Gives up on Trying to Save Daylight
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the nation today about the decline in daylight New Zealand has been experiencing over the previous few months. She said “As many of you will notice, our attempts to stem the dwindling of the daylight over the last few months have been completely ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    5 days ago
  • A bulletin from Greece
    Redline received this article from the KOE a Marxist party in Greece Our friends in the KOE describe here the mounting crisis in Greece and tensions on the Turkish border. As desperate people flee from their homelands which have been ruined after decades of imperialist wars and interventions the people ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
    As the first week of Level Four lockdown unfolded, mounting questions grew as to just what was (and was not) allowed under its “rules”. Partly these were driven by some apparently contradictory messages from different authority figures and explanations carried in the media. Partly they reflected a somewhat sketchy legal basis ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    7 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

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

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

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