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Savings based recovery nonsense

Written By: - Date published: 3:38 pm, November 18th, 2010 - 45 comments
Categories: bill english, Economy, national - Tags: , , ,

Bill English is always busy trying to put lipstick on the pig of our moribund economy. We’ve told him off before for fiddling his figures. But now he’s transcended mere lying with numbers. Now he’s invented a whole new economic theory:

English: Savings-Based Recovery Set To Pick Up In 2011

A sustainable economic recovery is underway and will pick up momentum next year as the Government continues to roll out its economic plan, Finance Minister Bill English says. … “This trend towards increased household saving creates a strong platform for faster economic growth in the medium and longer term. That is the only way we can create the jobs, higher incomes and the better living standards Kiwis deserve.

Savings based recovery? Savings based recovery? I’ve never heard of a savings based recovery — have you? I ran it through Google first thing this morning and the phrase generated exactly 5 hits. It’s generating more now (15) as coverage of English’s announcement spreads. In short, it looks like the double dipper has invented the whole notion of a “savings based recovery” all by himself.

I wondered if Google was being unfair to Bill, so I wandered off the check the academic literature with Google Scholar. A bit of messing round showed that phrases relating to X based or led growth or recovery were most productive, where X was replaced by various words of interest. (The exact queries entered, including quotes, were for example “export (based OR led) (growth OR recovery)”, “investment (based OR led) (growth OR recovery)”, and so on.) Here are the results:

  • export — 19,500 hits
  • private sector — 1,510 hits
  • investment — 1,500 hits
  • demand — 1,190 hits
  • knowledge — 1,110 hits
  • finance — 668 hits
  • trade — 515 hits
  • productivity — 330 hits
  • tourism — 249 hits
  • industry — 183 hits
  • savings — 8 hits

So – export based or led growth or recovery the clear winner. Private sector, investment, demand, knowledge, also seen as very important factors in the academic literature. Savings? Bill English’s new theory? Not so much. 8 hits. And most of those are reference to foreign savings. In other words, in terms of economic theory, English’s idea of a “savings based recovery” has a fan club of one.

What’s really going on here is another coat of lipstick. English is trying to make excuses for the fact that due to his brilliant handling of the economy, no one has any money to spend. Those that do have a bit of excess are desperately trying to pay down debt in these uncertain times. He’s tried such tactics before, arguing that anaemic growth and falling household spending on big ticket items are actually good things.

Enough with the lipstick. English needs to face up to his miserable economic record. And stop making empty promises. From the first quote:

A sustainable economic recovery is underway and will pick up momentum next year as the Government continues to roll out its economic plan…

What economic plan? What momentum? English has been promising “jam tomorrow” since before the election. He is never going to deliver.

45 comments on “Savings based recovery nonsense”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    The spin goes like this:

    1.) Point out the lower spending
    2.) Suggest, without any evidence, that this lower spending is from higher savings
    3.) ???
    4.) Profit

    So, what he’s trying to spin as good news is the falling wages which is the real cause of the lower spending. And I suppose it is from NACTs PoV – they did, after all, promise to lower wages. And, hey, at least the banks have record profits….

  2. Macro 2

    “And, hey, at least the banks have record profits….”
    and that’s all we need to know!

  3. Jeremy Harris 3

    I find the duplicity on this site curious to say the least…

    The message seems to be contradictary:

    1). Consumption is killing Mother Gaia – we must force people to stop
    2). English didn’t give tax cuts to people to consume – it’s his fault the economy is kaput

    I personally think introducing a tax free threshold was right move, not percentage based tax cuts – I think consumption is good – but seriously which is it; tax cuts should have been for consumption or Mother Gaia is dying..?

    • r0b 3.1

      Can I rephrase slightly?

      1). Overconsumption is killing Mother Gaia — we must convince people to change.
      2). Actually no I can’t rephrase 2, I can’t make sense of it.

      So big picture, yes, we need to change the fundamentals of the economy to something much greener and more sustainable. That’s what I want to see both major parties working towards. National are never going to do it. Labour I still have hope.

      But that’s a bigger topic than this post. The point of this post is that even by their own standards National are useless, and making excuses for being useless. Once we get rid of National we can start work on what the new, better standards on which we judge an economy should be.

    • Bunji 3.2

      One may not think that growth is the only way forward and indeed we need sustainability, but when the government’s only economic plan is:
      1) tax cuts
      2) ???
      3) Growth!

      it’s surely fair to point out that 1 & 2 aren’t working.

      I’d rather they worked on a sustainable, happy future for all of us (which may include some economic growth, but not growth in our consumption of resources), but if they can’t even give us their promised increased wealth with their consumption is the way to happiness philosophy I don’t think we should hold back from pointing that out.

    • Lanthanide 3.3

      I think it goes like this:

      National promised X. We don’t particularly agree with X, but National promised it. X comes at the expense of Y, which we actually wanted to keep and don’t like National cutting it. Now National are failing to deliver on X and have still slashed and burnt on Y as well, so all the pain for none of the gain.

    • Pascal's bookie 3.4

      Cites for either 1 or 2 would be nice. Presumably from the same poster, unless you think it is duplicitous for people to disagree with each other.

  4. Carol 4

    I think it became evident somewhere recently, that when the government talks about a savings-based recovery they tend to refer a lot to savings the government makes by cutting back on the public sector. But then they blur this kind of saving, with statistics about individuals saving more in their bank accounts etc.

  5. burt 5

    Yes it’s so much easier when Labour are in charge, Tax the rich pricks and stop them saving so the govt can have a surplus and spend it on…. middle class welfare for the people you tax so heavily they can’t save…. Oh yeah – churn baby churn. Churn our way into the hearts and minds of the people who have never saved – that will fix the economy.

  6. burt 6

    rOb

    One more thing, remind me again how although NZ was in recession before the global crisis how it wasn’t Labour’s economic policies that caused the trouble we now have.

    • nzfp 6.2

      Hey burt – talking about when NZ went into the recession – have a look at Wikipedia – but be prepared to laugh your socks off.

      Wikipedia have an entry for “The Great Recession” under “Late-2000s recession”

      Wikipedia states:

      The late-2000s recession, or the Great Recession,[1][2] was a severe economic recession that began in the United States in December 2007[3] and ended in June 2009 (as determined by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research).[4]

      … “ended in June 2009” … what a laugh – tell that to the people going through FRAUDclosure, the QE2, the Irish bailout, the riots in France, Germany, UK, Portugal, Spain, Greece…

      However, all that aside it should be noted that according to the New Zealand Treasury Department:
      The recession in New Zealand began in the March 2008 quarter, before any OECD nation, as a result of domestic factors.

      Which is odd, because according to the OECD:

      The United States, along with 19 other countries, signed the Convention founding the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development on 14 December 1960, thereby pledged its full dedication to achieving the Organisation’s fundamental aims.

      So someone is telling porkies, because according to a December 1, 2008 article by Bloomberg:

      The U.S. economy entered a recession a year ago this month, the panel that dates American business cycles said today, making this contraction already the longest since 1982.

      The declaration was made by a committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private, nonprofit group of economists based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The last time the U.S. was in a recession was from March through November 2001, according to NBER.

      Which means the US entered the recession well before we did, and since the gobal crisis was caused by Wall Street, that means the global crisis started before we went into the recession.

      • Pascal's bookie 6.2.1

        And we’ll not talk about how the US staved off recession for so long leading up to the downturn.

        What was fed reserve doing Burt?

    • roblyn 6.3

      Burt, you should stop looking to the past and think a bit more about the future. The global recession was exacerbated by the neo-liberal monetary consensus that existed prior to 2008. Labour was signed up to that consenus along with National. The challenge ahead of us however is moving away from that crisis prone paradigm to creating a more stable economic model. National is determined to try and replicate the failed model. Labour at least is prepared now to step away from the failure and debate what a better model must look like. That is why Labour represents a far brighter future than National can, unless it too is prepared to jettison failed neo-liberal ideology.

  7. Pascal's bookie 7

    Does anyone care to defend, or even explain Mr English’s ‘savings based recovery’?

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      There is a little bit of logic in it. That once households have paid back debt, they’ll be in a better position to increase consumption again. If you’re not paying $50 on CC interest any more, you can save $20 of that and spend $30 on a dinner out, for example.

      Of course if the economic environment isn’t right, people won’t spend that extra $30 on dinner, instead they’ll save it. That’s assuming they are still earning that $50 anyway – they might be down to $30 because of job loss.

      It seems more like firming up the foundation for future growth, but the not the impetus for growth itself, IMO.

      • r0b 7.1.1

        If it was genuine savings I would agree that it was a good thing — a useful contribution. But savings alone will never be enough to cause recovery or growth. For that the savings must be put to good, productive use, they must be part of a bigger economic picture, and that simply isn’t happening.

        Also, I’m not convinced that we are in fact saving. We’re not spending as much, but then we’re not getting as much income either. And as for debt reduction – a drop in the bucket. We’ll be many a long year if we wait for a “debt reduction based recovery”.

        I stick to my theory, we’re stalled, and English is looking for new ways to explain it away. We need a new, sustainable. green economy, and the Nats are never going to deliver it.

        • clandestino 7.1.1.1

          Are you advocating for people not to pay down debt, but to allow the government to take that money and invest on our behalf in…..?

    • Jeremy Harris 7.2

      Savings are important for productivity gains, a country where indivduals aren’t saving cannot increase productivity, efficiency or compete without selling assets (where we are now)…

      But a strategy for a quick recovery it is not… I think if this saving trend continues that’s great, Chinese residents save up to 40% of their salaries…

      • Colonial Viper 7.2.1

        There is a little bit of logic in it. That once households have paid back debt, they’ll be in a better position to increase consumption again.

        So somewhere between 5 and 10 years then? Another ‘lost decade’ in the making.

        (Sorry Jeremy this was supposed to be in reply to Lanth)

      • Maynard J 7.2.2

        Wow, Jeremy, I think you’re right.

        This is English’s new ’10 Year Plan’. Next he’ll tell us to melt down everything we own to make iron, and we’ll have a Smelting Based Recovery, followoed by a Great Leap Forward!

      • Jeremy Harris 7.2.3

        My spidy sense is picking up traces of sarcasm…

        I don’t think English meant for an increase in savings or that what he has done is a good plan or even a plan at all…

        So not really sure what your cheap dig is trying to prove… That English is a c*mmunist..? He maybe many things but c*mmie ain’t one of them…

        That savings are essential for future growth and prosperity shouldn’t really even be an issue for debate though, just an obvious truism…

  8. jcuknz 8

    Bill English may well be telling porkies, but it is in a good cause. If he can convince us to save more, that is either knocking down our credit card totals or actually putting some money in the bank or savings union if it is a small amount. I doubt if anyone in the country couldn’t save, even if only a few cents a week, by forgoing something that is not absolutely essential.

    Politicians often tell us what they hope is happening and sometimes it happens. It is disgusting that people have nothing better to do than make fun of those trying to lead the recovery.

    I think it is, or going to be, a hard row to hoe … the adjustment which keeps the consumption of earth’s resources down without putting even more people out of work. I doubt if capitalism will survive the process but it has got to happen if the human race is to survive. Other earth type planets are a long way away and could only be reached by a select few, so the rest of us have to learn to survive on Earth with what is here.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      It is disgusting that people have nothing better to do than make fun of those trying to lead the recovery.

      I think its OK to make fun of people leading us around the merry-go-round however.

      the adjustment which keeps the consumption of earth’s resources down without putting even more people out of work.

      Didn’t you notice? Capital markets have no interest in whether or not people are out of work. It is irrelevant as the only matter of importance is the rate of return on investment. If pushing more people out of work generates an improved return on investment and improves the financials, that is what the capitalist system will do.

      I doubt if capitalism will survive the process but it has got to happen if the human race is to survive.

      What a frakin joke, capitalism != human civilisation. Check out the Romans, the Greeks and the Mesopotamians for starters. Trading yes. Capitalism as a form of government, no.

    • r0b 8.2

      It is disgusting that people have nothing better to do than make fun of those trying to lead the recovery.

      How is English trying to lead the recovery jc? What is he doing? Economically, the Nats are a one trick pony. Tax cuts. They did it. Didn’t work. Now what? What are they doing?

      • jcuknz 8.2.1

        It is creating an attitude to life and it took me a long time to learn it despite it being ancient history and related in a popular book of a previous century with a Mr McKiber going own about “Income one pound … spend 19/6d is happiness, spend 20/6d is misery”. It is as true today as ever in history and other nations seem to have got the message while Kiwis are spendthrifts as ever. You don’t need a wage rise to correct matters just some self discipline.

        What is the point? capital gives one a feeling of security, and everything is relative to one’s position in society. A few cents over time becomes a few dollars which helps when one is at or near the bottom of the pile … been there … so save those idiot’s remarks about me being all dollars and no cents. Blogs are full of smart alex’s with limited intelligence.

        CV … I think you mis-read my comment, I had a feeling that some might.Try the other that we have to find a system that doesn’t include capitalism.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.2.1.1

          You don’t need a wage rise to correct matters just some self discipline.

          You do if the amount you’re getting isn’t enough to live on which is where most people in NZ exist. No amount of self-discipline can change that.

          But in that is the problem .. we don’t want more consumption, wasting earths resources. We have to work out a way of improving peoples lives without increasing consumption.

          This bit I agree with. I think a well defined Renewable Resource Base that everyone then has an equal say in how it’s used would be the best option.

      • jcuknz 8.2.2

        rOb … perhaps if you stopped to think for a moment about what I suggested you would appreciate that English is trying to lead New Zealand out of its spendthrift ways by suggesting something which may not be true but would be good if it were true and definitely doesn’t deserve your ridicule. But such is the stupidity and petty mindedness of our politicians and their lapdogs that it is the norm rather than exception. I’m sure that you got considerable enjoyment from your research and writing the article but you missed the final important stage of asking yourself was it reasonable to publish.

        While just about everybody got a tax cut, or an increase in their pension, it was not targeted to do the most good. To do this it should have been given to those with the least, because they would spend it quicker. But in that is the problem .. we don’t want more consumption, wasting earths resources. We have to work out a way of improving peoples lives without increasing consumption. I don’t know the answer but I hope others will find it, and it certainly isn’t by poking fun at Bill English which helps nobody.

        • r0b 8.2.2.1

          English is trying to lead New Zealand out of its spendthrift ways by suggesting something which may not be true but would be good if it were true and definitely doesn’t deserve your ridicule.

          That’s the lamest attempted rationalisation for incompetence that I’ve ever heard. Plus, Bill double dipping English is the last one to have any credibility preaching restraint. That hypocritical idiot deserves all the ridicule he gets.

    • Marty G 8.3

      you just can’t bear to hear the truth about the losers you worship.

    • pollywog 8.4

      I doubt if anyone in the country couldn’t save, even if only a few cents a week, by forgoing something that is not absolutely essential.

      dunno bout that eh…

      …and whats the point in saving a few cents a week ?

    • handle 8.5

      “make fun of those trying to lead the recovery”? Only if not doing anything counts as ‘lead’

  9. ghostwhowalksnz 9

    Looks like English will join Ruth Richardson and become a one term Finance Minister.

    And after all the trouble he went to to engineer Don Brashes downfall ( leaked emails ) and save his career, he wasnt up to the job and will get dumped by Key, who will give the job to Joyce

    • Marty G 9.1

      I think the govt’s agenda would grind to a halt without English. He does all the heavy-lifting for the half-wits like Tolley.

      Joyce is capable and English’s record on finance is awful but could Key really afford to lose English’s ability and leave him embittered on the backbenches (and talking to mates like Nick Smith)?

      For mine, the housing rort issue showed how indispensable English is. He got no reprimand at all for far worse than what got Wong the shove.

  10. roblyn 10

    I attempted to put the comments from English in some context, for my own understanding, this afternoon. English seems to trying to take claim that the govts tax cuts is moving us toward a ‘recovery based on savings and investment rather than borrowing and consumption, the present economic slow down was because people are moving from a consumption based phase to a saving based phase and that this switch to savings will provide higher economic growth’.

    That seems like a really desperate attempt from English to try and extract any good news out of a dire situation. I would strongly suggest that the present lack of spending is not due to savings but rather people paying down debt. This has little to do with what English has attempted and much to do with the high debt levels people have taken on.

    What the government has done is push through a round of tax cuts that will fill the pockets of high income earners but do not very much at all for lower income earners. That was the whole aim of the exercise, to cut taxes. Any perceived automatic flow on through to higher savings and higher growth is a matter of neo-liberal ideological faith rather than empirical fact. Treasury themselves state that any economic growth, as a result of the tax cuts, is margin of error stuff.

    If English seriously did want to move from a consumption based, speculative based economy to one based on savings there were a range of options he could have chosen such as a CGT and progressive improvements to Kiwisaver. Instead he wanted, for largely ideological reasons, reduce tax rates for the high income earners.

    The result is the government books in a worse state and borrowing for the tax cuts.

    • NickS 10.1

      You know it might be an idea to not use your email address as a user-name as even with a decent anti-spam system, you will still get swamped if the bots can find it. And screen-names are very, very visible…

      Not to mention ye olde flood of gay horse pr0n, lemon party (google not, since I wont give you eye bleach), [insert favourite shock image(s) here] as soon as someone takes a disliking to you* **…

      *welcome to the internet
      **I’m a bio-geek, and thus immune to even the all-glorious “offended” page, your reactions may vary though …

      [Agreed – tidied up the username(s) – thanks. — r0b]

  11. djp 11

    More savings means there is more capital available for “investment” in “private sector” “export” industries? (which ticks the top three in your google scholar list)

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      There will be no more capital available for investment as you described UNLESS the banks get it into their heads to lend to startup businesses operating in the ‘real (tradeables) economy’ instead of always lending to people trying to build the next apartment block or flip an investment flat.

  12. prism 12

    I like to refer to my economics textbook by Blaumol and Blinder 4th edn – handy to keep grounded. In their section on the Paradox of Thrift –
    “This last example of multiplier analysis teaches us an important lesson. It shows that an increase in the desire to save will lead to a cumulative fall in GNP. And, because saving depends on income, the resulting decline in national income will pull saving down.”

    English must know this – wasn’t he the clever farm boy who got into Treasury. Cullen was always on about saving too. Neither of them seemed to care enough to back their empty words with encouragement like stopping double taxing on people’s savings, first on the original earnings and then from interest paid, taking even single cents from the miniscule amount that small savers manage to earn. Is it total wage taxing, first on a percentage of wages (say 20%) second on spending GST (15%), and third on interest if you have any left over with just a few items GST free. Seems quite heavy tax if you’re low waged.

    It’s not a simple solution to having more national investment. And when there has been investment by NZs’ with some wealth, the government haven’t had sufficient nous to encourage it to productive entities rather than consumer ones, with spectacular magic shows of disappearing money. It seems that more savings and liquidity may result in negative total investment and unhealthy growth for the economy because of spending on personal indulgences.

    I’m just a learner but experts don’t seem to make their theories work for our good so maybe my ideas are as valid as theirs.

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    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 ...
    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
    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
    5 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
    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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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 ...
    6 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 ...
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 days 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
  • 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

  • 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
    8 hours 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
    8 hours 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
    9 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
    10 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
    11 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
    13 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
    19 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
    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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    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
    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
    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
    7 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
    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
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
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