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Serco – the company that fails at providing public services

Written By: - Date published: 11:55 am, August 30th, 2015 - 34 comments
Categories: Kelvin Davis, national - Tags: , , , , , , ,

They were, until a few months ago, the biggest company you’d never heard of. Well, that’s not entirely true. In New Zealand Serco are not a big company. They have two public sector contracts, just two. Unfortunately, you already know about those two contracts. Because they’re in New Zealand’s prisons.

It would be nice to say that this was a unique set of circumstances, that the fact that Mt Eden Corrections Facility is a remand prison meant that there were always going to be problems. I say that because that is exactly what the Minister for Corrections said when he was challenged on the rates of violence at Mt Eden on TV3’s The Nation. That was in May, before the Fight Club allegations had surfaced.

It would also be nice to dismiss Serco overcharging the UK Government by NZD $164,776,181 for tagging ex-offenders who had either returned to prison, left the country or were dead. As well as their chronic mismanagement of Fiona Stanley Hospital in Australia. Not to mention forgetting that Serco only managed to make a profit in 2014 from the lucrative nature of their contracts with the Australian Government and their deeply awful refugee policy. Actually, no, it wouldn’t.

The Department of Corrections is currently investigating the fight clubs, arrests of prisoners for managing a meth ring, the guards offering ‘sparring tips’, and much more. What was supposed to take a month is now going to take four, with Phase 1 reporting October 30th and Phase 2 on November 30th. If you’re seeking the way to minimise the impact of what is clearly a catastrophic systemic failure, punting that far down the line and breaking up the report is definitely one way of doing it.

But basically, it’s just not thorough enough. Prison officers don’t have faith in Corrections to conduct their investigation with integrity. Ex-inmates fear speaking out, in case of retribution if they end up back inside. And while Serco have mismanaged Mt Eden, surely some questions need to be put to Corrections and the Minister for Corrections about exactly why they needed leaked videos on YouTube to let them know one of their prisons was failing’

And boy have they failed. They failed in the UK, they failed in Australia and they’ve failed here. But the investigation isn’t focusing on the systemic problems caused by a company who slash staff numbers to make a profit. It’s not recognising the tragic history of Serco involvement in overseas public services. The problem isn’t fight clubs, it’s not prisoners. It’s Serco.

What’s needed is an independent inquiry. Labour’s Kelvin Davis has called for one as this whole mess unfolded. David Clendon of NZ Greens has also called for their contract to be cancelled. The idea of an independent investigation is supported by the Howard League For Penal Reform, the Corrections Association of New Zealand and the PSA. Because unlike many, many other countries New Zealand lacks a truly independent inspectorate of prisons. Say No To Serco Aotearoa is joining the politicians and the unions in calling for an independent inquiry.

Despite all the failures, Serco will continue to make money from Mt Eden. Because their contract ensures they will. The fines that Sam Lotu-Iiga has talked about aren’t fines, they’re just not paying them their performance bonuses. Bonuses which make up 10% of the contract. The other 90% is, contractually, untouchable.

There’s obviously more to do here. In New Zealand Serco are not a big company. Sure, they have a $300,000,000 contract for Mt Eden. Yes, they’re expecting $30,000,000 a year in profit from South Auckland Wiri prison. But that’s just two contracts. With social impact bonds and social housing up for privatisation in the future, you can bet Serco will express an interest.

Why? Because that’s what they do. Serco don’t stop just because they’ve been a catastrophic failure in one part of the public sector. They’re dedicated, it seems, to making a profit while failing to deliver lots of different public services. Right now, we’re in a good position to ensure that Serco don’t make a first class profit, while New Zealand gets second class services.

So, while we’re asking for an independent inquiry into the Mt Eden fiasco, we’re also demanding a moratorium on Serco being considered for any further public sector contracts. It makes sense. Why would you give them a second chance in New Zealand, when the number of chances and failures globally far exceed that number.

With help from the wonderful ActionStation, we’ve started a petition calling for an independent inquiry and a moratorium on Serco bids for New Zealand’s public services. You can sign up, here. Our campaign is in its early stages, and your support is vital You can find us on Facebook here, or track the hashtag #NoToSerco on twitter.

Thanks,
John Palethorpe
No To Serco Aotearoa

34 comments on “Serco – the company that fails at providing public services”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    What was supposed to take a month is now going to take four, with Phase 1 reporting October 30th and Phase 2 on November 30th. If you’re seeking the way to minimise the impact of what is clearly a catastrophic systemic failure, punting that far down the line and breaking up the report is definitely one way of doing it.

    With phase three, the actual release to the public, being on December 30th?

    The problem isn’t fight clubs, it’s not prisoners. It’s Serco.

    And the absolute bollocks idea that the private sector can always do it better.

  2. RedBaronCV 2

    I spend my time wondering just what Serco would have to do to get sacked.

    Any employee who did or facilitated a fraction of the behaviour that Serco has enabled would be down the road in seconds. So why is it so hard just to simply sack this mob.
    Am I also the only one that gets the feeling that Corrections (and a lot of others) had a pretty good idea of what was going on in Mt Eden ( look how quickly the takeover team was organised) but were tied until the publicity grew beyond what their political masters could brush aside .

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Any employee who did or facilitated a fraction of the behaviour that Serco has enabled would be down the road in seconds.

      And on their way to jail. So, why aren’t we jailing these fuckers?

  3. sack shane reti 3

    The report comes out on the day before the rugby world cup final. Cynical much? Also, off topic here, but is it normal to announce the All Blacks from the fucking Beehive? Fuck the All Blacks, keep sport out of politics!

    • whateva next? 3.1

      “The report comes out on the day before the rugby world cup final.”
      standard tactics and could say that Serco were bringing back executions to cut costs, and no-one would bat an eyelid if the All Blacks are still in at that point.
      NZ is known for it’s sheep, sadly it’s probably deserved

  4. Bill 4

    On one level I’ve never understood any of this. It doesn’t matter whether we’re looking at prisons or aspects of health care or other social provisions, the picture’s the same.

    Take a state run service, that because it isn’t being run for profit, means that 100% of monies from the public purse provide the service. Hammer on about inefficiencies and whatever clap trap. Sell the service to an entity, that will of necessity, ‘raid’ the institutional knowledge of those who (allegedly) ran the state entity into the ground or whatever. Celebrate claimed upticks in efficiency and ‘value for money’ as the new entity splits monies from the public purse into operational streams and profit streams. Sit back and wonder why shit degenerates.

    I can’t get my head around why any population anywhere ever bought into or allowed such obvious ideological and wrong-headed shit to get any traction.

    One claim in the post that I’d disagree with. Serco haven’t failed anywhere. They have made money everywhere they’ve operated. So by their own terms and by the terms of the fuck-knuckle politicians who cram this shit down our gullets, they’re a success.

    • dukeofurl 4.1

      Prisons get to dish out ‘management punishments’ for small scale offences while inside.
      The idea that business is doing something that should be reserved for the state- without any of the checks and balances is another of the features that make this a no go .

  5. Treetop 5

    Serco got handed a brand new prison to run, this would have increased the profits.

    What next, robots to guard the inmates or mannequins dressed up as correction officers?

    Serco’s CEO was here to also talk about an interest in running rail and social housing. How audacious.

    • Once was Tim 5.1

      “Serco got handed a brand new prison to run……..”
      And that’s EXACTLY why they (and the politicians) have been able to make the false claim that this prison is being run better (i.e. from one of the worst – to one of the ‘better’ ones). They’re not comparing apples with apples but I guess we shouldn;t let those little details get in the way of a Natzi tall story.
      …. oops I wasn’t going to comment here, but since I’ve typed a few lines, what’s a return button between frenz?

      • Treetop 5.1.1

        The Shit is going to hit the fan and who ever is next to the fan is going to wear it.

  6. Bill 7

    Labour MPs calling for an inquiry…is that some kind of implicit acceptance that this privatised shit is the ‘the way things are now because that’s how things have been and so as things always will be’?

    Seriously, why are they bothering with all this ‘let’s have an inquiry’ civil politeness?

    Why aren’t they out there calling dog-shit on the whole ideological basis of this rabid nonsense?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1

      +1

      Labour could probably prevent each and every asset sale by simply stating that all our property will be returned without compensation, by lunchtime. No matter how much you pay the National Party, you will lose the lot.

  7. Keith 8

    Based on all other Key government enquiries the purpose of this collection of inquiries will be:

    1 To hide the blindingly obvious wrong that is privatised prisons.
    2. To take the most if not all the heat off National.
    3. To formulate a strategy to allow SERCO to carry on as per normal after the dust settles.
    4. To be done in such a way as to bury the information from the public (hence the broken up nature of this white wash).
    5. Possibly the most important, to NEVER get to the truth!

    And to save the taxpayers a lot of money here’s the likely outcome:

    1. Throw a few “rogue” SERCO employees under the bus and blame them.
    2. Claim it was an isolated case of “coincidences” and definitely not systemic.
    3. Release relevant hand picked bits of information on a Friday sometime around a rugby test or flag referendum or just before Christmas. Redact everything else and if by some slim chance inappropriate questions are asked, LIE!
    4. Fine SERCO for having rogue workers and make a big song and dance about it with sundry final warnings and other hollow gestures.
    5. Ensure cell phones never ever get into Mt Eden again, not because it is bad for the public but because it was so bad for National and SERCO.

    But what really worries me with a government like ours, who launders donations through restaurants, who does shady deals with SkyCity for convention centres that make share prices fluctuate at a whim, who pays off Saudi millionaires millions with taxpayer money for reasons we may never know, is how much money is changing hands as we speak to make this all go away to the shareholders satisfaction?

    • sabine 8.1

      …… is how much money is changing hands as we speak to make this all go away to the shareholders satisfaction?

      as much money as is needed.

  8. Rail user 9

    I’m surprised the media hasn’t picked up on the disturbing fact Serco is on Auckland Transport’s shortlist to run Auckland’s electric trains and rail service next year.
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1504/S00727/short-list-for-aucklands-passenger-rail-contract.htm

    • maui 9.1

      Come on, don’t you want prisoners riding ontop of moving carriages in gladiatorial fights with the ever present threat of electrocution or dropping onto the ground below. This is the 21st model on how we cut down on reoffending….

  9. sack shane reti 10

    FFS & this http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/71343144/international-embarrassment-as-foreign-inmate-bashed-in-troubled-prison “The family of an injured Mt Eden prisoner called in diplomats for help, after Serco wrongly reported the attack as an ‘accident’.”

  10. Rodel 11

    Listening on radio to Soames (Churchill’s grandson) who is the boss of Serco is sickening. Saying how Mt Ede is now a good prison. Almost expected him to come out with..”we shall fight them on the..cellblocks..we shqll nevah surrendah..blah blah.” British aristocrat rubbish…humbug!

  11. gsays 12

    good post however i am with bill on this,

    it isnt that serco are bad, the second or third pick company would have behaved in a similar way.

    its the vulgar notion that there is a profit found in keeping people in detention.

    as to the call for an inquiry, bill says it well:
    “Why aren’t they out there calling dog-shit on the whole ideological basis of this rabid nonsense?”

    this is a stake in the ground issue. demonstrate you are not national lite.

    • miravox 12.1

      “demonstrate you are not national lite”

      Echoing this piece by Andy Beckett

      …Yet unnoticed by such political obituarists, Britons far outside the usual Tory circles were becoming Thatcherites or Thatcher beneficiaries, consciously or not. The Maggie-mockers of Spitting Image Productions, many of them lefties, used the enterprise zone the Thatcher government had created in London’s Docklands, with its deliberately relaxed health and safety laws, to make their latex puppets out of dangerous chemicals. The Sheffield musician and declared Tony Benn supporter Martyn Ware of Heaven 17 told the New Musical Express in 1982 that “the best and least hypocritical” way to behave as a band was “to act as a business”.

      Once the Conservatives’ huge election victories in 1983 and 1987 had made the pervasiveness of Thatcherite ideas unmistakable, the other parties adjusted accordingly. Labour under Neil Kinnock and Tony Blair, the SDP under David Owen, the Liberal Democrats under Nick Clegg – for a quarter of a century until the financial crisis of 2008, British politics was full of left-of-centre figures accepting weaker trade unions, broader property ownership and a stronger free market…

      I agree, it’s the acceptance of the ideology of privatisation of public services that is stake in the ground issue. Serco is the (very expensive, incompetent) mask.

    • Rodel 12.2

      “It isn’t that Serco are bad” They are! ….and I also agree with you about the vulgar notion. Any company that runs on that premise is by definition bad.

      Private companies and especially foreign owned ones have no place in the incarceration of citizens no matter how bad they are.

    • JanM 12.3

      It is vulgar but no worse than making a profit from the education of young children or the care of the elderly. All very wrong

      • Rodel 12.3.1

        Jan M
        respectfully disagree with you especially care of the elderly.Incarceration is the key issue for me. Only an elected body should have that function.. The elderly can escape- my dad did.

  12. infused 13

    The funny thing is this all happens in rimutaka if not worse.

    • sack shane reti 13.1

      Thats funny? weird sense of humour you got there mate.

    • North 13.2

      “The funny thing is this all happens in rimutaka if not worse”.

      Oh really Infused ? Link please. I expect you’ve not had the personal experience as have I of seeing a 19 year old turn up at court after two weeks in Serco Mt Eden his previously unblemished face gang-tattooed. Physical resistance to that ‘branding’ rendered too dangerous by the clear and present prospect (?) of grievous bodily harm at the hands of many, had he offered it.

      Infused you really are a mouthy, know-nothing, “I don’t give a fuck !” troll. Inhumanly energised by the financial interests of upper middle-class Serco shareholders from Manchester to Kent, “…..if not worse”. A pox on you and your inhumanity !

  13. Mike the Savage One 14

    While I never had that much of a positive impression of Kelvin Davis, he did though seem to be doing quite well with raising the Serco Mt Eden Prison issues in the media.

    But whether this is just another Paddy Gower sabotage effort, or not, it raises questions about his true position on privatisation and the benefits of it.

    Going to a meeting that appears to have been held to promote Charter Schools, while Labour does generally oppose them, that is not a good look, I fear.

    http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/kelvin-davis-defies-labour-policy-in-charter-school-support-2015083017#axzz3kIfduu4d

    Are we seeing another repeat of the conduct of some in caucus like it happened when David Cunliffe was leader, or is this something that can be explained with good reasons? I will look forward to some explanations by the Te Tai Tokerau MP in the coming days.

    • North 14.1

      Understandable that Kelvin Davis advances the rationalisation that “whanau kaupapa” demanded his attendance at this glittering knees-up for Key-proxies Seymour/ACT.

      Not understandable that uncaringly he walks right into the hands of Key/Seymour/ACT, especially since non-attendance would not have impacted one iota on his embrace of whanau kaupapa.

      Not understandable on an even greater scale when one considers that in the last election Davis had not a shred of concern for whanau kaupapa when with alacrity he disrespected/mocked/abused whanaunga Hone Harawira……with the result that the wickedly depressed Far North now has ONE Maori parliamentary representative when it might have had TWO.

      Anyone else suspect that Davis has ‘asprayshuns’ centred on a ‘whanau-of-one’ ?

  14. Stuart Munro 15

    SERCO is the model for National governance from here on out – pitifully incompetent and seething with corruption. Labour’s election promises should include a regimen of punishments for this kind of corruption:

    [deleted]

    The Mongol Khans had many humorous ways of eliminating entrenched corruption and were considered remarkably enlightened in their day. It would be tragic if the incoming left government were any less inventive.

    [lprent: I have that kind of system too. Banned for 2 weeks for advocating violence. Don’t do it again or next time I will start at 2 months. ]

    • Draco T Bastard 15.1

      Sam Lotu Liga should be raped in the shower by Mr Big who’s in with the warders (a la the Young Ones).

      There’s no need for that.

  15. save NZ 16

    +1
    Signed.

  16. JanM 17

    A friend just sent me this on Facebook – cool 🙂

    Raybon Kan
    16 hrs · Twitter ·
    “I’m fine with Serco running everything, as long as we get Novopay to pay them.”

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    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 ...
    4 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
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    4 days ago
  • The police and public trust
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
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  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
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    4 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
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  • Rāhui day 4
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    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    5 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    5 days ago
  • Rāhui day 3
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    6 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
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    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    6 days ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    6 days ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
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    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    7 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    7 days ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
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    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • We are not America
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
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    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    7 days ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    1 week ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    1 week ago
  • After the Pandemic
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    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    1 week ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    1 week ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week 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 hours 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
    18 hours 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
    20 hours 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
    20 hours 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
    20 hours 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
    20 hours 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
    23 hours 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
    2 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago