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CTU President: All the way for equal pay

Written By: - Date published: 10:01 am, August 12th, 2017 - 29 comments
Categories: national, same old national, Unions, workers' rights - Tags: , , ,

A week of action on equal pay starts today – there are events all around the country. We’d love to see you there

Watching the Minister for Workplace Relations, Michael Woodhouse, introduce the Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill, it struck me that the fightback against equal pay has now started in earnest.

The Government finds itself in a sticky situation. The ground-breaking legal victory that E tū won in the Court of Appeal on behalf of Kristine Bartlett was an affront to their pro market conservative instincts. They want to use their power to change the law, to stop it happening again, but they worry that some of their voters are… well, women.

Women who appreciate the right to legal recourse, appreciate the occasional need for apparent judicial activism and appreciate the Kristine Bartlett decision in particular. So the Government have cooked up something pretty special.

Because it’s not been going their way recently.  Once the Government ran out of legal options or couldn’t support any more legal appeals (a story in itself), they were on the back foot from the start when they sought to negotiate a settlement.

From a union point of view, if we couldn’t get a decent outcome at the negotiating table, we would simply head back to court and let them decide. The more the court was asked to rule, the harder it would be and the worse it would look for the Government to change the law retrospectively.

We quickly succeeded in broadening the settlement to include disability and home support workers. The Ministry of Health baulked at extending it to mental health support workers,  but the deal still swelled to $2 billion, spread over 5 years, to cover 55,000 low paid, woman (mainly) workers.

There was also a Joint Working Group (JWG) established, that was a tri–partite process, chaired by Dame Patsy Reddy, and including union (CTU), Business NZ, and Government (MBIE and SSC) representatives, to set principles for all future equal pay cases.

While not perfect, all parties in the JWG signed off on principles in May 2016 (PDF) – they reflected the Court of Appeal judgement and were consistent with the 1972 Equal Pay Act. There were some robust conversations in the JWG but we agreed we wanted an easy, accessible process that would enable further successful claims.

We also discussed at length whether the 1972 Act should remain. There were a variety of views but we settled on advising the Government that the 1972 Act should be amended to accommodate the JWG principles.

At the 11th hour, government representatives in the JWG proposed that the principles should include a limit for choosing job comparators, restricting the choice of comparators to jobs in the same enterprise in the first instance. We couldn’t reach an agreement on that and, while the JWG’s covering letter to Paula Bennett refers to this disagreement, the Principles themselves do not include any suggestion or reference to a hierarchy of comparators.

And now, having not got what they wanted, National are back for a third bite of the cherry. It appears they will not rest until they paid full and final lip service to equal pay.

Despite what National say, Minister Woodhouse’s bill breaks the JWG’s principles in at least five critical ways.

First, the JWG only ever suggested amending the 1972 Act, not completely repealing it as they now intend.  During the negotiations we were extremely concerned that, given the chance, the Government and their allies would love nothing more than to pick apart the Equal Pay Act and ultimately undermine its purpose.

Secondly, the Government has re-introduced a hierarchy of comparators (previously knocked back at the 11th hour). Instead of the current 1972 Act, which promotes the idea of finding relevant and appropriate comparators, this bill forces women to compare their jobs with others nearby – firstly in the same enterprise, secondly sector, thirdly industry and finally the wider economy. It’s a scheme they couldn’t get over the line in the JWG, and it will  severely curtail the ability of women to take a claim – because enterprises (and sectors or industries for that matter) who employ historically low paid female labour tend to pay all of their staff poorly and won’t provide fair comparators.

This problem explicitly played out in the Terranova Bartlett case, where the employer tried to compare the Kristine Bartlett’s role to that of a male gardener Terranova employed. The employment court, under the 1972 Act ruled this comparison out.

Thirdly, in contrast to the Principles, the new Bill creates a further barrier for anyone making a claim. Instead of a simple two stage process, the Bill sets up a list of tougher criteria that must rather than may be met, including the introductions of completely new hurdles pertaining to the operation of the free market.

Fourthly, the JWG did not in any way propose any reduction in a claimants rights to backpay. It was never discussed and it would never have been agreed. Yet the Bill does just that and only allows pay equity claims for unlawful and discriminatory pay to be backdated to the time the claim is raised. This is at odds to other laws which enable back pay for up to 6 years when the law has been broken.

And finally, the transitional provisions in the Bill mean that any existing claims lodged in the Courts and any new claims lodged between now and the Bill becoming law will be scrapped and have to be restarted under the new weaker law. In other words, they have effectively suspended existing legal claims.

So the Minister can say in Parliament that his Bill is based on the JWG – but that is false. What is true is the current Minister and his National Government cannot seem to bring themselves to accept equal pay.  They have had an extraordinary opportunity to make good on the historical Court of Appeal judgement, and finish the job by amending the 1972 Act properly and consistently with the JWG principles and the Court of Appeal Judgement.

This week the National Governments Employment (Equal Pay and Pay Equity) Bill passed its first reading by the hair of its teeth – a single vote.

But when tested they’ve been exposed yet again. Making our country a more equal place has never been in National’s DNA. And so they have responded to an historic Court of Appeal judgement, with a historic judgement of their own, one that missed a great opportunity and confirmed National’s brand as conservative and reactionary. History will not judge them and their supports well.

Sign the equal pay pledge here

29 comments on “CTU President: All the way for equal pay”

  1. Adrian Thornton 1

    Thanks for that informative piece Richard, I have been following this whole sad affair pretty closely, and of course been unsurprised at Nationals underhand tactics, and the lack of media coverage, let alone them digging down on this.

    I would also like to point out that while we all know that National are naturally ideologically opposed to workers rights and conditions, however we should remember that Labour is also guilty of defending the rights of a free market over worker rights.

    Here in the Hawkes Bay Labour actively promote the RSE scheme which is being used cynically by the booming orchard industry to suppress any natural wage growth.
    Apple pickers haven’t had a increase in bin rates for something like 15 years, meaning that most pickers will average out earning LESS than minimum wage…the pack houses are full of workers, all on minimum wages.

    Seems like a real workers party does not exist in NZ today…maybe the Greens might morph into one?, Labour certainly show no signs of being that party.

    https://www.immigration.govt.nz/employ-migrants/hire-a-candidate/options-for-repeat-high-volume-hiring-new/recognised-seasonal-employer

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/hawkes-bay-today/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503459&objectid=11720136

    • lprent 1.1

      You’re comparing a government that didn’t make it worse and seemed to at least make it better with one that is attempting to make it a lot worse.

      Yeah – I can see how a lack of perspective could make that comparison… 😈

      If you look at who voted against this bill in its first reading, I think you have a selection of parties opposed to making it worse to select from,

      • Adrian Thornton 1.1.1

        Labour did not make it better for orchard workers, they made it worse, they introduced the RSE scheme.
        It’s not a lack of perspective, it is a view from the perspective of a citizen who is seeing his some of his friends, family and large parts of his community being turned into some sort of low wage labour camp solely to facilitate increased profits for the orchard industry, with the active support of The Labour Party.

        my point is, yes we know National is fucked, but to a lesser degree so is Labour, and I for one am sick of supporting the lesser of two evils.

        Was hoping that the Greens where going to go into the election, expanding it’s narrative to include giving voice to the working poor, renters etc… fighting hard against the man with it’s two leaders side by side….now that sounded like a fight worth getting into the trenches for, maybe the Greens will still take up that gauntlet?

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1

          now that sounded like a fight worth getting into the trenches for, maybe the Greens will still take up that gauntlet?

          They have.

          Or, if we’re really going to get in to the chivalrous duelling mode, then we can say that it was the Greens that threw down the gauntlet. It was National, the MSM and even Labour who then attacked without picking it up and thus defending the status quo.

  2. Upnorth 2

    I agree labour had nearly a decade to sort this mess out. Good on national to at least be trying

    • National are purposefully making it worse.

    • lprent 2.2

      It wasn’t like National had any choice about trying to fix this “mess”. They fought against it in the courts for most of this decade in one form or another, eventually losing.

      Now they are trying to do an end run around the principle that the courts recognised with an appalling bit of legislation that doesn’t affirm that principle of equal pay for equal work. It appears to be designed to use the statutory powers of parliament to override the courts by selecting strange comparisons for the ‘equal work’. The effect is to put working woman in their place – badly paid and at the bottom of the heap and under misogynist pricks.

      Your pitiful spinning hardly conceals that. Eh – dickhead?

    • greywarshark 2.3

      Yes National and you Upnorth are VERY trying.

    • weka 2.4

      “I agree labour had nearly a decade to sort this mess out. Good on national to at least be trying”

      That would have to be one of the stupidest comments I’ve seen here lately. National have done everything they can to resist sorting it out.

      Further where do you think that National is going to get the money from to pay for govt funded workers? Seen a good plan on this? Want to start making connections between the immediate rise in pay rates and the cap on the Health budgets? What do you think is going to happen next?

      National are not only ideologically fucked in the head, but they’re basically incompetent to run a country now. Removing homehelp from the elderly or feeding cheapshit meals to hospital patients is not going to save them from the god almighty mess they’ve created here.

  3. Sounds like when National said that they were going to make zero hour contracts illegal and then went and tried to entrench them.

    • lprent 3.1

      Same principle. The tactic is pretty similar. Convene a panel to look for a way forward. Then write some legislation that ignores most of the panel’s recommendations and claim that it was done by a wide selection of people rather than some dick in cabinet,

      Exactly the same procedure as the total screwup that was the Auckland supercity legislation where the royal commission’s rational decisions were almost totally ignored.

  4. Incognito 4

    Good post albeit a little technical for me.

    Who voted in favour at the first reading: National, Te Ururoa Flavell & Marama Fox, Peter Dunne, and David Seymour?

    • lprent 4.1

      Can’t see the Hansard?

      However E tū says just National, Peter Dunne and David Seymour voted for it. Everyone else including the Maori party voted against.

      http://www.etu.nz/article.php?group_id=1322

      E tū says the government will face strong opposition to its Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill which had its first reading in parliament today.

      The bill passed with the support of National MPs, Peter Dunne, and David Seymour, but Labour, the Greens, New Zealand First and the Maori Party all voted against it.

      E tū Assistant National Secretary, John Ryall says the voting shows opposition to the bill across a broad spectrum of political parties and the citizens they represent.

      He says E tū expects a strong response, as women fight back for equal pay.

      “The care and support workers equal pay settlement gave tens of thousands of low-paid women workers hope that after 45 years of the Equal Pay Act they would finally have their work valued and paid properly,” said John.

      “This bill, if passed in its current form, will make it very difficult for these women to ever get justice.”

      John says the bill would also nullify the Equal Pay case for mental health support workers, which E tū and the PSA have lodged with the Employment Relations Authority.

      “The bill means they would have to start again through a long and complex process to prove they have a pay equity case, and secondly to find appropriate comparators to make their case,” says John.

      Mental health support worker, Sandra Rawenata says: “It will make it tougher for us. It means a lot more work, a lot more campaigning and another five-year run by the looks of it and that’s not fair.”

      John says the bill is incompatible with the principles and processes agreed by the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity, as well as the Court of Appeal ruling in Bartlett v Terranova, which resulted in the Equal Pay Settlement.

      He says E tū wants to retain the Equal Pay Act 1972, though it would need updating and would need to include the Joint Working Group principles.

      “Instead, we’ve got a bill that looks designed to ensure no other women get a fair pay day in the way care and support workers have. This is a poor law from a government which has made it clear it doesn’t care about equal pay for women.”

      • Rosemary McDonald 4.1.1

        “Everyone else including the Maori party voted against.”

        Hah!

        Back in 2013 the Maori Party voted with the government to tell disabled people and their chosen family carers to fuck off.

        But then…they had a $1.2 billion sweetner.

        Sigh. 🙁

        The cupboards are bare, so cynical Mother Hubbard needs to go shop. Pity…this is just getting interesting.

  5. greywarshark 5

    Seems predictable. A chicken entrails diviner could have foreseen all this decades ago. Time for a change of government. All this predictability makes a majority of us sad and that’s bad. There will be Nats who do agree that the care workers should be paid more, but they don’t have the freedom or the strength of mind to change horses from conformist to ‘gasp’ rebel.

  6. Rosemary McDonald 6

    Firstly Richard, you have big shoes to fill. Helen set a very high bar.

    Fearless, loud and repeated advocacy requires deep commitment and/or personal experience of the issue at hand.

    What you describe here is neither new or novel in the New Zealand arena of human rights and employment cases.

    The original claim, the ensuing court cases and the celebratory headlines heralding victory and then the growing shock when one finally realizes that the Government has managed to snatch victory from the jaws of their defeat.

    I won’t ( and I have time commitments that also prevent it) contribute the many column inches I’d need to educate you on the previous case where there has been this atrocious and vindictive reaction from Government to having lost in the Courts.

    Instead I’ll donate a few links for you to read, or ignore.

    Geddis describes it best here….https://www.pundit.co.nz/content/i-think-national-just-broke-our-constitution

    and again….https://www.pundit.co.nz/content/theres-none-so-deaf-as-they-that-will-not-hear

    and again, here….https://www.pundit.co.nz/content/a-little-something-for-the-weekend-now-with-pictures

    and over on Public Address…..https://publicaddress.net/onpoint/what-andrew-geddis-said-but-shorter-and-with/

    and from a personal point of view, here…https://publicaddress.net/access/paying-family-carers-what-was-all-the-fuss/

    and here…..https://publicaddress.net/access/family-carers-case-five-years-on/

    and here….https://publicaddress.net/access/the-family-carers-case-here-we-go-again/

    and also here….https://publicaddress.net/access/funded-family-care-from-a-recipients-perspective/

    It is very possible that you will take the line that I am not a disability support worker in the real sense….and I might have time later on to debate that with you.

    The Miserly of health would agree…..http://www2.nzherald.co.nz/northland-age/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503402&objectid=11845201

    The parent carer in the above article attended the meeting in Kaitaia to discuss the Pay Equity decision and was unfortunately made to feel by the organisers there was no place for her and her issues in that environment.

    We family carers have no union.

    We have no organisation/NGO/advocacy group supporting us.

    The Human Rights Commission and the Office of Human Rights Proceeding have been staunch…but have sometimes been broadsided by the sheer….shittiness, for want of a better word…of the Misery of Health and Crown Law.

    The disability advocacy groups have largely ignored us and Carers NZ failed to come on board until the 2013 legislative atrocity. Even then it was short lived noise making…. dependency on continued government funding has ensured that those groups who should back us, won’t.

    Don’t even think about giving me a lecture on neo liberalism….the NZ Government cut its neo liberal teeth on NZ disabled. Privatising out all levels of support…even assessments…and throwing the disabled into the jaws of the ravening beasts of profit driven providers.

    Who failed…many many times.

    They neglected and abused, and in more cases than you’d probably believe, killed the vulnerable persons they were paid shitloads to support.

    • Acting up 6.1

      Crikey, Rosemary McDonald – condescending much? Richard Wagstaff, before becoming CTU president, was a leader of another union that has fought hard for equal pay – the PSA.

      I don’t think there is much more education on this matter, and on how the Nat govt responds to challenges, that Richard needs. He has very strong commitment to this issue; as does the entire CTU.

      • Rosemary McDonald 6.1.1

        I was not intending to be condescending.

        I am merely pointing out that none of what Richard writes is not new to those of us who are considered to be the lowest of the low or no pay workers.

        Family carers of non ACC disabled Kiwis with high, very high and complex care needs who have chosen to live in their own homes with loving , trusted and (most importantly) skilled family as their carers.

        I could, if I wanted to inflame this, spend hours searching for the instances where the PSA have actually put the rights of their members before the rights and safety of disabled people.

        Or try to find one, just one public statement from any union supporting the Family Carers case.

        Richard has to focus on the paid up members of his union. Fair enough.

        But be historically correct and acknowledge that before the Government shafted them…they shafted us.

        The government was always going to want the narrative out there that the elderly and those who are paid to care from them deserve, yes deserve to be valued and properly remunerated.

        But disabled people, or those suffering from mental illness living in the community (where let’s face it its cheaper)….????

        Not quite so much public sympathy there.

        We really need to be able to see past the tribal boundaries and acknowledge how close our issues are, and who the real enemy is.

      • Chris 6.1.2

        Rosemary’s right. It was also a Labour government that was around when both the carers and the sleepover cases first arose. In the latter case Labour stepped back and let IHC turn it into an employment matter. Then after how ever many years when IHC went down Labour MPs celebrated by saying “we won”. Absolutely sickening.

        • Rosemary McDonald 6.1.2.1

          “sleepover cases…”

          I was going to include that case Chris…but felt it was not my place.

          Anecdotally…weren’t a whole lot of night care workers denied back pay because they were not members of the union and were not informed of the deadline to apply?

          My first hand knowledge of this issue is sketchy…but at the time I commented somewhere that a shit ton of legal wrangling and backroom finagling could have been avoided if the MIserly of Health had taken a look at what ACC was funding for sleepover care (about quadruple what IHC and others were paying)
          and matched it.

          Now, both MOH and ACC have to pay an hourly, taxed rate.

          I doesn’t have to be so hard to sort this shit out fairly and sustainably.

          In our case…it boiled down to entitlement to funding for care to meet support needs and the right to live where you choose.

          Big issues there.

          • Chris 6.1.2.1.1

            IHC fought it as an employment case when they should’ve gone back to government saying the contracts were shonky because both parties weren’t aware of the true costs of providing the care. If both parties to the contract weren’t aware of the facts then surely those contracts can’t stand. Instead IHC tried to bully its way out of it in its usual corporate attack way of doing business. It’s not surprising IHC is now colluding with its filthy right wing mates by buying up every bit of state housing it can. IHC has become the most evil and hypocritical NGO in the history of this country.

  7. Eco maori 7

    Those Muppets in Power haven’t figured it out that it’s better for the country and economy to pay more money to the lower classes informs of benefits and equal pay for women and a living wage $20 hour.
    They gave tax cuts to the rich expecting the tax cuts to stimulate the economy the wealthy invest all there money . The lower classes spend most of there money and that boosts tax revenue not rocket science is it

    • tc 7.1

      No they gave tax cuts so the rich would have more money to Hoover up investment property, take a bigger overseas holiday and buy more imported luxury goods.

      None of that stimulates the economy. They ain’t stupid, ‘trickle down’ is a debunked theory they told their MSM puppets to sell it as.

      Blinglish got hung out to dry by Beatson on this point, they knew the GST lift would adversely impact the lower classes. As such zero analysis on it was done so there’s no research just conveniently suitable rhetoric.

  8. Karen 8

    I was at the Auckland rally today along with about 300 others – a few men but nearly all women.

    Michelle A’Court was the MC then speeches from Jan Logie (Greens), Cinnamon Whitlock (Māori Party), Jo Goodhew (Nats) ,Tracey Martin (NZF). finishing with Jacinda Ardern.
    This is the TVNZ report:
    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/labour-not-rest-until-we-have-pay-equity-jacinda-ardern-gives-passionate-speech-equal-auckland-rally-v1

    Jan Logie and Jacinda gave by far the best speeches, though Tracey was okay. Jo Goodhew was listened to respectfully until she said she was there on behalf of Paula Bennett – cue loud booing. Tracy intervened and said Jo had been brave to turn up to what was obviously going to be a hostile crowd and everyone (mostly) listened in silence until she said that the legislation had passed the first reading but couldn’t be passed into law before the election. This was greeted by calls to change the government.
    Cinnamon made some good points about Māori and Pasifika pay rates being low for men and women but it felt like she was reading out an essay on the subject rather than delivering a speech. More worrying was that she indicated the Māori Party were only opposing a couple of aspects of the legislation but didn’t say what they were or what the party would do to increase equity.

  9. Read a few articles about this briefly , and smiled when I read the one about Jacinda Adern in Auckland today.

    Now I am not a treehugger, I am not a feminist , – but I sure as bloody hell support any move that gives women equal pay / equitable pay . Especially so when doing the same work as a man. And as Adern said – work of the same value. I have just never understood the logic of that mentality that says its OK to rip someone off because they are male or female. Bloody pisses me right off tbh.

    And while we are at it , – that support extends to raising the minimum wage to the point where it actually becomes the Living Wage. Tied in with the old cost of living index and adjusted biannually for inflation .

    The way I see it, there’s been a free lunch for big business for the last 33 years , paying substandard wages, having their tax steadily decreased by increments , laws loosened to enable hijacking our natural resources etc etc… and its time these scumbags paid their dues.

    The carefully laid plans of the New Zealand Initiative are going to come back in time to bite them up the arse.

    The louder the scumbags squeal , the broader my smile.

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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
    2 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
    3 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 ...
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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 ...
    3 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 ...
    3 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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 ...
    5 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 ...
    5 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
    6 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
    6 days 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
    6 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    6 days ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    6 days ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    6 days ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    6 days ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    7 days ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    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
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    1 week ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    1 week ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    1 week ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week 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
    39 mins 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 hour 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
    2 hours 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
    3 hours 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
    4 hours 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
    6 hours 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
    12 hours 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    2 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    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
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  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
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