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Shifting the centre

Written By: - Date published: 8:05 am, November 30th, 2009 - 51 comments
Categories: national/act government, superannuation - Tags: , , ,

Well the productivity task force is reporting back today and some of their ideas have been forward released.

As we expected they are a grab-bag of unpalatable, short-sighted and frankly mad measures from the loony right including putting interest back on student loans, flat tax and means testing free childcare. As the official announcement comes I expect we’ll also see the stripping of work rights on the list as well.

What was completely unexpected for me was the plan to cash up the super scheme. Between that and destroying the tax base I can’t see how we could afford to pay any superannuation at all. But then again maybe the plan is to increase productivity by forcing the elderly to work or starve. Ironically that would probably increase productivity by lowering wage inputs. Which just goes to show what a slippery notion productivity is.

Of course Key won’t run on much of this at all and any measure his government does implement will be watered down considerably.

But that’s the point. This carefully picked task force was never about increasing productivity but about pushing previously discredited and politically poisonous fringe ideas back into the discourse and allowing the government to pitch slightly less poisonous right wing ideas as moderate and centrist by comparison. They’ll also want to test to see which of the crazy measures garners the least outrage.

So while the media are screaming about flat-tax and scrapping the Cullen fund it might pay to look to the fine-print. There will be plenty of nasty stuff that creeps under the radar that may well end up as legislation.

51 comments on “Shifting the centre”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Which just goes to show what a slippery notion productivity is.

    The Arch Druid Report

    Economists rely implicitly on the claim that those numbers have some meaningful relationship with what’s actually going on when potato farmers get their hair cut and hairdressers order potato salad for lunch. As with any abstraction, a lot gets lost in the process, and sometimes what gets left out proves to be important enough to render the abstraction hopelessly misleading. That risk is hardwired into any process of mathematical modeling, of course, but there are at least two factors that can make it much worse.

    Consider the fuss made in economic circles about productivity. When productivity goes up, politicians and executives preen themselves; when it goes down, or even when it doesn’t increase as fast as current theory says it ought, the cry goes up for more government largesse to get it rising again. Everyone wants the economy to be more productive, right? The devil, though, has his usual residence among the details, because the statistic used to measure productivity doesn’t actually measure how productive the economy is.

    Check out A Concise Guide to Macroeconomics by Harvard Business School professor David A. Moss: “The word [productivity] is commonly used as a shorthand for labor productivity, defined as output per worker hour (or, in some cases, as output per worker).” Output, here as always, is measured in dollars usually, though not always, corrected for inflation so what “productivity” means in practice is dollars of income per worker hour. Are there ways for a business to cut down on the employee hours per dollar of income without actually becoming more productive in any more meaningful sense? Of course, and most of them have been aggressively pursued in the hope of parading the magic number of a productivity increase before stockholders and the public.

    Economics and economists lost the plot when they started measuring everything in monetary terms which led to the delusional belief that money is actually a resource. We need our economists and our politicians to start measuring in real terms as continuing to measure in money will only bring about more poverty as the resources that maintain life and prosperity are used up under the no holds bared free-market economy.

    • rainman 1.1

      To those who don’t already know about John Michael Greer, I’d recommend his entire series of recent posts on matters economic. He is a very smart man indeed – although I suspect mainstream economists might develop a headache reading him!

      You’re spot on about the “money as a resource” fallacy. Unfortunately by the time this is commonly understood it will be too late, I fear.

      • Peter Wilson 1.1.1

        I must agree. Reading JMGs weekly posts has both seriously challenged and informed my worldview. I’d go as far to state that it is timely to question some of our most fundamental assumptions, given that the environment that formed them is so rapidly changing as key resources become scarce.

  2. Eddie 2

    A very transparent tactic from Key. The interesting thing is the tactic is already becoming the story, rather than the contents of the report.

    • Tigger 2.1

      Hopefully these repeated trips to the well will wear thin soon – it’s become tedious seeing National use this tactic. Nothing worse than a magician who only has one trick.

  3. ben 3

    increase productivity by forcing the elderly to work

    Actually that would probably lower productivity. Not that you have any clue what you’re talking about. Just another mindless post.

    • IrishBill 3.1

      Nah, a massive influx of desperate workers to the labour market would drive down wages and conditions across the board, thus making labour cheaper and dropping labour inputs. A similar thing happened in the 90’s with increased unemployment and removing of workrights, long term all you get is a failure to invest in productive capital which in turn cripples you in a boom/tight labour market.

      I should also mention that if you keep trolling I’ll ban you for a month.

  4. vto 4

    Imagine if it did actually work. You know, low taxes, less govt, and a wealthier and contented populace. Sounds mighty fine to me..

    Which reminds me – what was Clark’s actual plan to lift us to the top half of the oecd again?

    • IrishBill 4.1

      It didn’t work in the eighties and nineties. In fact all it did was massively grow the wage gap and increase income disparity enormously within NZ.

      • vto 4.1.1

        Mr Bill, it was not tried in the eighties and nineties, it was a partially attempted. Problem, obviously, is the time it takes for the effects to come through. People on this site seem to think everything happens immediately – like claiming Clark should get the credit for the drop in unemployment during her reign.

        Anyway, its all been argued before and we can go back and forwards all day. From my position, low taxes and less govt make it easier for me to operate in business. This has very direct consequences for our lcoal economy, in terms of activity generated and employment created, and is one of the biggest factors in a happily active society. Why is this dismissed so glibly?

        • Pascal's bookie 4.1.1.1

          “Why is this dismissed so glibly?”

          Because it’s glib.

          If the answer really was just ‘Cut taxes! Shrink teh guvmint!!’ it would have been done already. Afterall, it’d be popular as all hell if it worked. Everyone hates tax. But no govt really wants to go there. I suspect they suspect something that you don’t.

          • vto 4.1.1.1.1

            You dismissed it so glibly..

            But no worries – just as long people appreciate that a consequence of higher taxes and fatter govt is less activity and less jobs.

            • Pascal's bookie 4.1.1.1.1.1

              How glib.

            • vto 4.1.1.1.1.2

              Maybe it appears glib because it is such a given. And hence not dismissed so glibly.

            • Pascal's bookie 4.1.1.1.1.3

              No, it’s glib because it has no content to address.

              What parts of govt do you want to eliminate?

              What parts need to be retained?

              Of the parts we get rid of, what will be the effects of that?

              Will the money saved be adding more costs to governent, or society, somewhere else?

              How much money will actually be saved from the cuts?

              Untill the answers to those questions get at least hinted at, then there is nothing there.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1.1.4

              Maybe it appears glib because it is such a given.

              It’s not a given though – it’s complete bollix.

              Cut taxes and government spending and all you’ll end with is a failed state with high poverty, massive inequality and people leaving for Australia. Government and taxes are needed to maintain society and as society becomes more complex taxes need to go up.

              One of the lessons that’s observable from the global neo-liberal reforms is everyone’s distinct unwillingness to pay the full cost of doing anything.

            • vto 4.1.1.1.1.5

              Draco “Cut taxes and government spending and all you’ll end with is a failed state with high poverty, massive inequality and people leaving for Australia. Government and taxes are needed to maintain society and as society becomes more complex taxes need to go up.”

              Now that is glib. And full of fundamental error. But to avoid being stuck on a tangent… my proposition above was that lower taxes and less govt mean it easier for me to be active in business and to employ people. This is a fact. Unless somebody can demonstrate that this is not true, which nobody has yet.

              It is just one the points to be taken into account in the debate of course. Others include for example the favourite hobby horse of govt spending and effect that changes there will have. Of course they require some balance, but my point is one of the main factors. And it seems forgotten amongst all the wailing and screaming about the other points.

            • Pascal's bookie 4.1.1.1.1.6

              It’s not one of the main factors vto, it’s one side of one of the main factors.

              Lets get rid of the courts and the criminal and civil legal systems and use the money saved to cut your taxes.

              How’s biz?

              And yes, that’s glib. But only to try, once gain, to show why your complaint is glib.

              I’ll happily concede that all else being equal, giving you a great big tax cut would be good for your business. But so what? All else isn’t equal, and wishing it were so doesn’t help. If you are wishing it were so, you may as well also imagine yourself a free pony, with whatever other features you want to go with it.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1.1.7

              my proposition above was that lower taxes and less govt mean it easier for me to be active in business and to employ people. This is a fact

              No it doesn’t and no it’s not.

              Lower taxes removes the infrastructure and other government services like health care that your business depends upon to do business.

            • vto 4.1.1.1.1.8

              So it is only a minor matter P’s B? Strange that, given that the entire report is about lifting incomes to par with Oz. The only way that will happen is with increased jobs and incomes. Which come from business.

              Oh, except in Draco’s world where the govt has created our entire society …

              talk about imagination …

            • Pascal's bookie 4.1.1.1.1.9

              What?

              My problem with your comments isn’t that it is a minor issue. It’s that it’s only one side of an issue. It makes no sense whatsoever to talk about cutting taxes and shrinking govt without identifying what it is that you are cutting.

              It’s like a cost benefit thing. Do just one side of the analysis and it’s useless.

            • vto 4.1.1.1.1.10

              yes I agree it is jut one side of the issue p’s b and if you look back you will see that I acknowledged that other factors need to be taken into account also. I even suggested the effects of changing govt spend as one.

              But my original point still stands – that the fact that lower taxes and less govt make it easier for people in business to generate economic activity and create jobs is one of the main factors in a debate about how to generate economic activity and create jobs. It should be given greater weight in the great balancing act. That is why I bemoaned its frequent glib dismissal. I think that dismissal is short-sighted.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1.1.11

              Oh, except in Draco’s world where the govt has created our entire society

              Where did I say that?, Oh, that’s right – I didn’t.

              I did point out that we gave money to the government so that they could then do what was needed to be done to allow our society to prosper ie, build roads and hospitals. I also pointed out that those people who always call for tax cuts, such as yourself, are the type of people who don’t like paying the full costs of the resources and services that they use and need such as roads and hospitals.

            • vto 4.1.1.1.1.12

              Draco, you said it here “Government and taxes are needed to maintain society ”

              and here “Cut taxes and government spending and all you’ll end with is a failed state ”

              Both statements describe a fundamental belief that govt is the overarching benevolent entity and that society is a subset of govt. It is in fact the exact reverse. Govt is a subset of society. That is why I do not understand the pedestal that standardites put the govt on – too much looking after govt at the expense of society. Cullen was a classic for this approach.

              The cry in this debate is “oh no, what about the health, what about the dole, what about this and that?” whereas the cry should be “oh no, where are the jobs and economic activity going to come from to pay for the health, pay for the dole, pay for this and that?”

              its all arse about…

            • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.1.1.13

              Draco, you said it here “Government and taxes are needed to maintain society ‘

              and here “Cut taxes and government spending and all you’ll end with is a failed state ‘

              Neither of those equate to what you said I said.

              Govt is a subset of society.

              This is closer to what those two sentences of mine say.

              whereas the cry should be “oh no, where are the jobs and economic activity going to come from to pay for the health, pay for the dole, pay for this and that?’

              Why is it, with the massive amounts of productivity increases we’ve had, that we’re still doing 40+ hours per week each?

              In reality, all we need are the resources to do all that and we have them. Our capitalist socio-economic culture is actually getting in the way of achieving them though as the majority of the wealth goes to the few. It’s a massive misallocation of resources – exactly the opposite of what neo-liberal economics said it would do.

        • IrishBill 4.1.1.2

          According to the World Bank New Zealand is the second best country in the world for doing business. I’d suggest that if you’re have a hard time running a business here then you should probably chuck it in and take a job with someone who can run a business properly.

          • vto 4.1.1.2.1

            I referenced it to improving relative to current situation IB. I dont find it overly difficult – what I said is it could be improved. After all there are still plenty unemployed and impoverished. Smartypants.

            • roger nome 4.1.1.2.1.1

              Exposing a small boat like NZ to the stormy seas of the unregulated international market did us a lot of good hey?

              Also – cutting social services and benefits only creates poverty and the many related social problems. Just because they’re hard to quantify, doersn’t mean they don’t exist and impact on productivity (i.e. someone with a p addiction, or sitting in prison doesn’t contribute much to society, nor do they raise productive members of society).

              That’s the problem with the egg-heads like Brash – they only measure what is easily quantifiable, and in doing this, the exclude the most important issues from their thinking.

          • Lanthanide 4.1.1.2.2

            I’ve always kept that fact in mind, but I don’t know why Labour doesn’t make it more widely known. It seems the righties always bang on about how hard it is to do business and the need to “cut red tape”, when apparently it is actually already very easy here?

            That would tend to indicate that “red tape” really isn’t the root cause of any perceived “problems”, I should think.

            • vto 4.1.1.2.2.1

              lanthanide, it is relative to the current situation. If it is not so difficult at the moment so what? If it can be improved and more people employed then why would you not?

    • Lanthanide 4.2

      Yes, pity that we have to imagine that it works.

      Bit of an own-goal there, vto.

    • lprent 4.3

      …what was Clark’s actual plan to lift us to the top half of the oecd again?

      Not a short-term kludge that does nothing. Education and upskilling of the workforce into a higher wage economy. It takes a lot longer (and more work) than crashing down into a low wage economy which is the right appears to want to do by their actions.

      Why do I get the impression that Brash, English, and Hide want to stride strongly into a failed past? This stuff all looks like deja vu to me.

      As you say, you’d have to imagine it working. It hasn’t for more than a decade anywhere.

      • Tim Ellis 4.3.1

        LP, then why did Labour set 2011 as the date for reaching the top half of the OECD? And how well did they perform in that measure?

  5. Tanya 5

    Can we have Don Brash as leader? At least he is a true Conservative, and not a neo-liberal. Honest too.

    • Bright Red 5.1

      Key rolled him

      • The Voice of Reason 5.1.1

        The electorate rolled him first, BR!

        I’d take issue with your deciption of Brash as a true conservative, Tanya, though that’s an admittedly hard concept to pin down. He is a economic dry, in the Chicago school/Thatcherite mould and that is not true conservatism in any way I’m familiar with. In fact, I would have thought neo-Liberal is closer to the mark, surely?

  6. ben forcing the elderly back to work could do a number of things that the right wing might enjoy but it would do nothing to grow the NZ pie. It could be argued that by forcing the elderly back to work it would increase the numbers inthe Labour force. When you have more unemployed,. people get payed less and so that would effect productivity in the longer term.

    The next time you post you might actually want to add something to the discussion rather that be seen to be a arrogant dick head!

  7. outofbed 7

    If the centre is shifted, does that mean that Russel Norman is back to being a left winger ?

  8. randal 8

    this task force is peopled by accountants who call themselves businesmen.
    so where is the new business?
    by definiton new zealand is one of the most productive countries on the earth.
    if it were not then nobody would buy our goods.
    but these accountants are sort of like human leeches.
    they know when to get into new service industries like video shops or garden franchises but they have absolutely no ability whatsoever to create anything except rakeoffs for themselves and ill will and disharmony amongst those who actually do the WORK that produces the income that keeps the system going.

  9. Bill 9

    Don Brash and his team are have obviously taken inspiration from Le Van

    Meanwhile, John and the Nats lurk in the background not going there, but so, so wanting to.

    edit. The same cmment above with the duff link should have been deleted

  10. Zaphod Beeblebrox 10

    Its striking how far left the electorate is moving. In 2005 Brash was within a whisker of being our PM. At the same time Key is signing NZ up for climate change obligations. How Ironic!

    Now he’s being treated as a bit of joke. Whenever RadioNZ want a bit of light relief they call up Roger Douglas.

    Good to see the Nats moving to the centre- though I suspect eventually they will suffer the fate of the Australian Liberal Party which is hopelessly split between the ideologs and pragmatists.

    Now would be a good time for Key to jettison the ideolog old guard for his own good.

    • Bill 10.1

      So the right wing are engaged in desperate, scrabbling nail scraping at the top of a cliff drop to oblivion rather than pushing the center to the right by over calling it?

      hmm.

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 10.1.1

        Depends on your interpretation. This is certainly the lightest blue National government I can remember.

  11. Just been reading the summary of the initial 2025 Task Force report from M. Hooten’s “Exceltium’ .com and about to delve (lightly) into the 700 plus page main course. It is not a barrel of fun for a unionist90 day probationary period extended out to 12 months, youth rates at the ratio present in 1999 to be reinstated “as a matter of urgency’. Property “rights’ to be included in the Bill of Rights Act, water to be a tradable etc. etc.

    • roger nome 12.1

      haha – sounds like a barrel of laughs to me. i just hope they implement it all in election year so the the left can get on with running the country competently and responsibly.

  12. gingercrush 13

    Pretty shitty report. But the left needs a new focus. Instead of calling it a waste of time and how National will implement some of the things and whatever else they’re saying. All of which is highly predictable. Why doesn’t Goff just pump up his speech on Reserve Bank Act changes and how that would be much more valuable than the nonsense Brash spouted.

    That was a good speech and much better than his “Nationhood speech”. Its also the issue where Goff should keep pressing. Another thing I don’t quite understand is the report talks about cutting government debt something National is also repeating. Though not anywhere the size Brash etc would like. Yet the ETS National implement goes against that. Labour should be highlighting that instead of simply scoffing at everything Brash’s report has to say.

    The way to respond s highlight the speech put to Federated Farmers and how the ETS goes against reducing government debt rather than simply attacking Brash’s report. Much more interesting and does much more to highlight that National isn’t doing anything (as Goff says in his pres release)

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    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
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    3 days 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 ...
    3 days 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 ...
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 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
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    5 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 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?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    6 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
    6 days ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 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 ...
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    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
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    1 week ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    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 ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week 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
    5 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
    7 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
    7 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
    8 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
    8 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
    11 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
    1 day ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    3 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 days 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 ...
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