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#Sheepgate – Key’s cheerleaders are sent in

Written By: - Date published: 9:06 am, August 7th, 2015 - 62 comments
Categories: john key, national, national/act government, same old national, trade, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: ,

P

National must be hurting over this issue.  Yesterday morning we had contributions from two of this Government’s strongest leaders saying there is no issue here and we should just move on.

John Armstrong says that National has outmanoeuvred the opposition parties by saying it was all Labour’s fault and sticking to that line.  Memo to John, Key does this all the time.  He is like a child saying that he is innocent and someone else is to blame for something when clearly he is responsible.  The issue is focus grouped to an inch of its life and then Key sticks to the settled line mercilessly.  He does not budge no matter how implausible the line is.

The job of an investigative reporter should be to investigate that line and report on its accuracy, not repeat the line and then say Key won because he kept repeating the line.

So where is the evidence that it is all Labour’s fault?

There is none.

Where is the evidence that the claim was to settle a legal threat created by Labour?

Nope, no evidence of this either unless he is referring to the 2003 suspension of trade in live sheep.  If this is what he is referring to then the Saudis could not sue because amongst other things too much time had elapsed and in any event the decision was well within the New Zealand Government’s authority.

Was it National’s fault?

I believe so.  National has renewed the ban of the export of live sheep since coming to power.  Following the election National commenced negotiations with the Saudis to establish a Memorandum of Understanding to resume the trade in sheep.  The course of the negotiations have been described by Richard Harman as deceitful.

The background is described in this article from Stuff:

In May 2010, MFAT officials reported back to Wellington that the dealings between the New Zealand Government and Al Khalaf group were being watched at the highest levels “possibly even by the King and Crown Prince”.

Saudi investors at that time had written to Prime Minister John Key, asking him to intervene on the issue.

“Their letter notes an increasing sense of injustice and frustration, of the New Zealand Government acting in bad faith; of being stringed along for seven years and incurring significant losses while a phantom [memorandum of understanding] negotiation was undertaken; of having their positions misrepresented; of being denigrated by animal welfare groups…

“They raise serious allegations about New Zealand imposing conditions in the negotiations that questionable under international law,” officials in Riyadh warned.

And National has refused to release the letter itself.  I wonder why?

Of course Armstrong could have analysed the background and made a judgment on the claims.  Rather than repeating parrot like that it was all Labour’s fault.  But don’t believe me.  Have a read of the comments to Armstrong’s article which are almost universally scathing of his idolatry.

The second National cheerleader, Mike Hosking has said (video embedded here) that there was nothing to see and we should all move on.  He also said there was no smoking gun.  He does not refer to the duplicitous MOU negotiations or the attempts to hide the payment.  He also thinks the payment was fine because there was a good business case.

If this is true you have to wonder at the extreme measures McCully took to hide the payment.  And if there is a threat of legal action McCully has not extinguished it and worked to keep lawyers away from the deal.  If New Zealand Inc can be sued then the payment has not taken this possibility away.

Richard Harman has gone through the recently released papers and described McCully’s behaviour in this way:

Foreign Minister Murray McCully wanted to set up his deal over the Saudi Arabian farm so lawyers and bureaucrats would not be involved.

He did not want the payments to the Al Khalaf Group called “compensation” for the losses they suffered as a result of New Zealand’s ban on the export of live sheep for slaughter.

And his aides were busy instructing the Al Khalaf Group what wording to use on their invoices even before the Cabinet had approved the project.

Harman also theorises, correctly in my opinion, that “what Mr McCully appears not have bargained on was that all these papers would become public.”

Hosking’s reasoning fails in one important particular.  Despite the expenditure of $11.5 million of New Zealand taxpayer’s money we do not have a completed trade agreement with Saudi Arabia.  Not only does the payment have all the hallmarks of a bribe it also appears to have failed in its objective.

As for Hosking’s comment that no one is talking about sheepgate I disagree.  Every time I say to someone that the government has spent $11.5 million of our money setting up a sheep farm in a Saudi desert and flying a flock of pregnant ewes to Saudi Arabia and that most of the lambs subsequently died the usual response is to laugh.  The proposition is pythonesque in its idiocy.

So we have the payment of a failed bribe, a sheep farm in a Saudi desert where most of the lambs died, negotiation of a MOU with a foreign state where National’s behaviour has been described as duplicitous and an active attempt to avoid legal and bureaucratic oversight.  And Armstrong and Hosking think that National is on the right side of this issue.

Harman thinks that a privilege complaint alleging Mr McCully has misled Parliament cannot be out of the question.  I could not agree more.

62 comments on “#Sheepgate – Key’s cheerleaders are sent in”

  1. repateet 1

    Armstrong doesn’t want to talk about the real issue and then we have “Hosking’s reasoning.”

    Cheerleaders? Cheersheep.

  2. Charles 2

    Labour, Labour, it’s their fault

    If they dropped the ball…

    …we can too!

    Gimme a K,

    Gimme an E,

    Gimme a Y,

    Why?

    As

    pir

    National!

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay KEY!

  3. Stuart Munro 3

    I may be in Dammam again shortly – might try to get a look at this agrihub. 2 million sheep per year is surely achievable, but probably not by flying ewes business class. I wonder what degree of Agresearch participation there has been – I expect they know a thing or two about sheep farming – though not so much about bribery.

  4. Karen 4

    Thanks for this Mickey. I was astonished by Armstrong’s piece – I would have expected a bit better from him, in spite of his Nat bias.

    Brent Edwards has posted an excellent summation this morning.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/280707/woolly-claims-about-questionable-deals

    • dukeofurl 4.1

      Well Armstrong is now second fiddle to Hosking with NZME. They are combining the two operations newsrooms, NZ Herald and ZB.

      It looks like the new Herald editor is just assigning a background piece from Armstrong ( written mostly from nationals press release/backgrounder for the day) while Mikes Minute video was the main item- (cant have anyone disagree with magic Mike !)

    • tc 4.2

      Smellstrong is a major nat sycophant and a perfect example of the resident bias of the NZ herald.

    • aidan 4.3

      yeah same. i wonder how he feels when he publishes these pieces. i can only assume he is payed well as a sop to his pride. actually it would be interesting to find out if these cheerleaders are getting facilitation payments for there published opinions

      • dukeofurl 4.3.1

        Not a peep out of him during the “Sercus” debacle ?

        I sometimes wonder if he did write one or more articles but the editors didnt publish

      • Oh he probably feels like a winner and doesn’t give a crap about the actual facts because he’s WINNING. lol.

  5. DH 5

    I must admit I’ve had a little trouble following all the threads but my reading of it was that the Saudis weren’t upset at the Labour Govt rather they were pissed because National Party representatives had promised the Saudis to repeal the ban on live shipping when National next came into power and had failed to keep that promise.

    Is that how others read it or have I interpreted it wrong?

    • mickysavage 5.1

      My take as well. The MOU that was going nowhere seemed to be the main irritant.

      • aidan 5.1.1

        same. its wierd that i have to read all these things here or tdb, since all the msm articles keep repeating the same things bout labour doin it etc, even when this information has come to light

    • Karen 5.2

      I agree DH.
      Al Khalaf was annoyed with Labour for stopping live sheep exports, but it was the Nats promising to change the law when they got in and then reneging that made him really angry.

      I’d love to know what donations to the Nats he made. The fact he wanted to get the wording right for the invoice suggests maybe he had had some previous experience with the Nats of having to change details to cover something up – perhaps changing the name of the recipient and/or amount on a cheque?

    • John Shears 5.3

      Agreed DH

    • mary_a 5.4

      @ DH (5) No, you are correct, I read and heard it as well. David Carter was well involved with this one, because he was expected to be agriculture minister in the next NatzKEY government (which was the case when NatzKEY was elected in 2008).

      As he is implicated in this issue up to his eyeballs, it will be interesting next week when Parliament (conveniently) resumes, to see how far he allows Opposition questioning of NatzKEY over the corrupt Saudi sheep dag deal!

      Carter’s position is now compromised. I think he should temporarily (depending how things pan out, perhaps permanently) step down as Speaker, to allow some unchallenged questions to be asked!

  6. Matthew Hooton 6

    The way the invoice was prepared could draw the attention of the Serious Fraud Office.

    • mickysavage 6.1

      Agreed and it certainly is inconsistent with his claims that the payment was compensatory in nature. McCully seems to have had different versions of what was happening depending on who he was dealing with at the time.

    • Tracey 6.2

      have you laid a complaint with them?

    • freedom 6.3

      Returning to a question from the other day Matthew. As you saw, Macro posted the ex-Hansard answers I was referring to and I am sure you know I knew what you knew the Government had and had not said about any legal advice they had sought.

      I am sure you would agree a Ministry’s in-house legal department are no replacement for the authority and the accountability of The Crown Law Office. Seeing as the Government admits they did not seek any advice from Crown Law, what do you consider the proper action should be against a Government who claims they are facing a legal threat of $30 million dollars, pays out $11 million dollars to the people making the alleged threat, yet at no time seeks the advice of the Crown law Office?

    • Macro 6.4

      “The way the invoice was prepared could draw the attention of the Serious Fraud Office”.Absolutely agreed. It smells to high heaven.

  7. Brendon Harre 7

    Murray McCully has to go before he destroys NZ’s entire foreign policy.

    We all know he is a devious conniving little s…. and to have him representing us kiwis in an official capacity is not acceptable.

    Meanwhile John Key’s time will come, when we eventually get around to cleaning up shop the sycophants will be cleared away too. Can’t come soon enough for me.

  8. aidan 8

    just wondrin bout the legality bout the whole thing (not just the facilitation payments) i mean isn’t live exports illegal? thats the whole point of this thing

    • freedom 8.1

      I understand they were legal exports because they were exported as ‘breeding stock’ not slaughter fodder. The fact most of the lambs are reported to have subsequently died in circumstances that differ depending upon who is reporting what happened, and any evidence of the differing circumstances is apparently protected/lost/unimportant is obviously just a left wing conspiracy but it’s okay because look a flag!

      • John Shears 8.1.1

        @freedom, “Most of the lambs died” that seems to be all we get.
        A NZ Farmer would be able to quote you his lambing percentages
        for a season. That is, how many live lambs were docked, the number varies but more than 60% of NZ Farmers will achieve between 120- 140%.
        Can anyone find out what the % was for the Saudi ewes? then we might have a real discussion as to the merits or otherwise of this venture.

        • Macro 8.1.1.1

          You completely mis-understand the nature of this “deal” John. This “deal” turns out to be nothing more nor less than a sweetener to a Saudi businessman who is miffed about not being able to import some sheep for the Haj and threatens to interfere in negotiations. In most countries (including NZ) it would be called a bride.
          It is worsened by the fact that the “deal” entails setting up some “model farm” to be owned by the Saudi businessman in the middle of a desert without any irrigation and little shelter from the sun for the animals. The export of “breeding ewes” gets around the problem of exporting live sheep for slaughter, but the animals arrive – coincidentally – just in time for – wait for it -The Haj! I doubt you will find one animal alive today.
          The fact that the FTA failed to eventuate makes the “deal” even more of a failure. That’s $11m of your money and mine misused by a minister who it appears failed to inform his Cabinet colleges of what he was up to. Is this the sort of “deal” you can be happy with John?

          • greywarshark 8.1.1.1.1

            That sizes it up well Macro. I hope that we don’t run out of sheep to sacrifice soon because he might replace them with us, the sheeple.

    • Skinny 8.2

      The $11 million compo deal was a sloppy backhander to keep the door open for trade. Typical loose behavior by McCully Even though he was given a cushy number out of the Country by Key & Joyce, still embarrassedly causes National grief. Key’s creds take another hit as he lies through his teeth buckpassing to the long forgotten Clark Government. An excuse which is wearing pretty thin with public opinion.

      • Rozgonz 8.2.1

        You should wait for the next poll before you make statements like that

        • freedom 8.2.1.1

          and when they publicly release the questions and methodology employed in the creation of the polls as standard procedure,
          they might be worth paying attention to

          • Matthew Hooton 8.2.1.1.1

            They do.

            • Skinny 8.2.1.1.1.1

              A lot of these pollsters frame questions misleadingly, influencing those being surveyed. Bet you know all the tricks there Hooton lol.

            • freedom 8.2.1.1.1.2

              Sorry Matthew, that was very unclear on my part. I meant alongside wherever they publish/use results of the polls in any public arena, ie newspapers radio TV etc. Yes, the polls themselves have a report released that those who are so inclined can spend time looking for. The media today [more often than not] do not bother to even mention the pool polled or the margin of error as standard procedure these days. It’s completely understandable of course. Reminding millions of people that the [manipulated] opinions of a few hundred are being used to leverage how they react to a situation is terribly inconvenient. Pesky details so often get in the way of a good soundbite.

              I am sure there are many opinions written about why this is so, but like your opinions on the Government not approaching Crown Law for advice on the Sheep deal, perhaps they are also locked away behind paywalls.

  9. roy cartland 9

    – “He is like a child saying that he is innocent and someone else is to blame for something when clearly he is responsible.”

    Heh, my 6yo does this all the time. Whenever he shits his pants, he blames it on his 3yo brother right up to the point where he is entering the shower. I THOUGHT he reminded me of someone…

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    Harman thinks that a privilege complaint alleging Mr McCully has misled Parliament cannot be out of the question. I could not agree more.

    And either should charges of bribery and corruption and a long prison sentence. This type of behaviour should not be allowed.

  11. lprent 11

    Old Mickey just got a permanent full ban for a defamatory comment

    I was considering what to keep from the comment, but decided there were everything except the first sentence was stated as fact and had no backing.

    The final sentence shifted from politicians to someone outside of the range of the protection of Lange vs Atkinson, was quite clearly defamatory, and went well beyond the material that was published.

    Besides, I’d already warned him a month ago about this kind of behaviour.

    If anyone else cares to follow him, I will be happy to accommodate them. It is your responsibility to make sure that you do not put this site in danger. If you do then I will make sure that it never happens again.

  12. hoom 12

    Its unashamably the Chewbacca Defense

  13. adam 13

    I don’t want to take this off topic, as I think this is an important issue. Mickey if you think this is, please move it with my apologies.

    New Zealand has a truly odd relationship with Saudi Arabia. One one hand we are doing all we can to get a free trade deal – I would have thought as we move through the 21st that co-operative deals would be better for many countries. Rather than our fetish over free trade. Working on ways to co-operate in trading environment, rather than some sort of open slather dog eat dog approach that the free trade merchants have inspired.

    More about our odd relationship. Are we comfortable with the fact that Saudi nations were the bulk of the pilots at 9/11? Or the fact that ISIS gets money from people inside this country? And the fact they cut the heads off people, and call that a justice system? Lets leave that aside – because I’m sure it will inflame some.

    Another problem we have is over refugees. We have many Saudi Arabian refuges here, who have fled Saudi Arabia because if they stayed they would in all probability, be imprisoned, tortured or die. We now have one less. Khalid Muidh Abudulla Alzahrani. http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/ mentioned him the other day from two pieces that appeared on stuff.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/70485868/fears-saudi-refugee-who-left-new-zealand-may-have-been-executed

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/70751149/new-zealand-government-has-moral-obligation-to-help-saudi-refugee

    The sheep droppings of McCully are effectively corruption. Lets be honest about that – political in nature and probably driven by a desire to get a free trade deal. Murry, you got caught – you thought you were slick, and you got caught.

    But, now we have another situation with this, dear I say – theocratic state. Maybe it’s because I’m a Catholic, but I feel really uncomfortable us dealing with any theocratic states. I want Mr Khalid Muidh Abudulla Alzahrani to be all right, but my gut is telling me, like this sheep deal – it is not all right.

  14. Stuart Munro 14

    I don’t think NZ is doing all it can or all it should. We’ve furnished livestock & agricultural expertise to many countries but usually not with bribery on top – and we usually made sure the farms worked. A genuine relationship with Saudi would mean we did no less for them – and only a genuine relationship would enable us to advance human rights concerns – or be a reasonable basis for an FTA.

  15. Rozgonz 15

    I think the question the left needs to ask itself on this issue is – WHO REALLY CARES?

    • freedom 15.1

      I think you got sent the wrong crib sheet.
      The “who cares?” line was for the Amanda Bailey situation.
      For the Saudi farm deal its ‘blame it on Labour!’

  16. ianmac 16

    Bryce Edwards ‘ Opinion
    Political roundup: “Guilty or not? The Saudi sheep scandal.”
    A pretty good roundup though he does put the case for the Government first.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11493647
    The Crosby effect has worked so far. Just slide over crisis. Move on.

    • Putting the Government’s case first is actually really bad journalism. If you can verify something’s false you should report on people saying it after you’ve talked about verifying it’s false.

  17. Irascible 17

    http://photobucket.com/images/lieagra

    Armstrong and Hosking have been prescribed this drug from Key’s doctor and CT pharmacy.

  18. Tracey 18

    John Roughan takes up the cheerleading today… with

    mccully clumsy not corrupt.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 18.1

      Clumsy as in “oops, this bribe just fell out of my pocket. Would you pick it up for me please?”

      • tracey 18.1.1

        or clumsy as in

        mccully just sustained serious injuries falling down the stairs

        • Macro 18.1.1.1

          He tripped, or fell. I wasn’t anywhere near him at the time.

          • Macro 18.1.1.1.1

            The fact that he landed some distance from the stairs has nothing to do with it – no way can you accuse Key of “dropping” him.

  19. Rakuraku 19

    The fact is McCully is an absolute clown, always has been, wouldn’t know the first thing about a sheep.

  20. Rakuraku 20

    Armstrong and Hoskings are John Key cheerleaders they wouldn’t know the front end of a sheep from the back end of the sheep.

    This deal is an absolute cock up from woe to go. Clowns at work.

    Key will be getting right up McCully over this one.

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    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    5 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

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

    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    5 days ago
  • Maybe axing Clark would be unfair. But what about any of this is fair?
    Yesterday was the day the consequences of the lockdown suddenly got very real for many. Firms have been closing and laying people off since the outset of the quarantine but this has mostly been happening out of the public eye. The mass closure of a number of iconic New Zealand ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    5 days ago
  • Might a ‘Coasean’ social contract mitigate overall societal harm from COVID-19?
    Brian Williamson1, Prof Nick Wilson2 (1Economic consultant, UK; 2University of Otago Wellington) In this blog, we outline how a win-win social contract could be forged to address the major dimensions of response to the COVID-19 pandemic when using a mitigation strategy: the particular need to protect older people from high ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
    Resuming Normal Service: The Republican Party's nominee for in 1920, Warren Harding, promised the American people: “not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration”. If she wishes to remain our prime minister, then Jacinda Ardern will offer New Zealanders the same.HOW EDUCATED AMERICA snickered when the ...
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
    No Free Society Without A Free And Functioning News Media: If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating Covid-19, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders simply because it improves their bottom line.I’M ...
    5 days ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 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
    5 days ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    6 days ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    6 days ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    6 days ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    6 days ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    7 days ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days 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 ...
    7 days 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
    7 days 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 ...
    7 days 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 ...
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    1 week ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    1 week ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    1 week ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    1 week ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    1 week ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week 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, ...
    1 week 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
    17 hours 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
    18 hours 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
    22 hours ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark
    “Yesterday evening the Health Minister advised me of his trip to a beach during the lockdown and offered his resignation,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses.  “But right now, my priority is our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Statement from David Clark
    Last night as part of my preparation for the Epidemic Response Committee, I provided the Prime Minister with a complete picture of my activity outside my home during Alert Level 4.  That included the fact that on the first weekend of the Alert Level 4 lockdown I drove my family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • COVID-19 mental health support begins
    A range of support is being rolled out across New Zealand to help people look after their mental health during COVID-19 Health Minister David Clark said this morning. “COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives and many of us will be feeling some level of distress or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 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
    7 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
    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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago