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Social housing providers

Written By: - Date published: 9:08 am, November 12th, 2014 - 46 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, class war, housing, Privatisation - Tags: , , ,

Key is trying to frame flogging off much of the state housing asset as a move to “social housing”. When he does so, he likes to use the Salvation Army as an example of a possible provider:

State house could be sold to community housing groups – Key

Prime Minister John Key says state houses could be offered to community housing groups at a discount price as part of Government’s plan to sell off part of its housing stock.

Mr Key said providers such as the Salvation Army might not have the money to provide more houses for needy tenants.

To help them increase their housing stock, the Government could sell them some of its 69,000 state houses at a cut price, he told TVNZ’s Breakfast this morning.

Asked about the cost to the public of selling houses for less than their value, Mr Key said taxpayers would be “better off over all”.

Questions. (1) How exactly will we the taxpayer be “better off over all” for flogging state assets at cut prices? (2) Will the cut price offer apply to other providers – why or why not?

The second question is especially pertinent because your typical social housing provider is more likely to be a liquor company than the Sallies. “A liquor company???” I hear you cry? Why yes:

Liquor firm eyes more state houses

A liquor company that bought about 500 state houses under the last National Government wants to buy a further 1500 now that state houses are up for sale again.

Masterton-based Trust House bought all 541 state houses in the Wairarapa and Tararua districts, keeping on their tenants, for $10.5 million in a 1999 deal that current chief executive Allan Pollard describes as a discount of “probably 50 per cent” off market value.

He says the company now wants to buy 1500 more state houses “anywhere in the lower North Island”. It is looking “from New Plymouth and Hastings down to Wellington”.

So if history is a guide then the answer to the second question is yes, flog off state houses at half price to a liquor company. As a taxpayer I just can’t wait to be “better off over all” in that world.

46 comments on “Social housing providers”

  1. b waghorn 1

    Here’s a idea why not sell them to there tenants for a cut price get some good people in to advise the prospective owners about the in s and out of mortgage’s . these houses were probably built and payed for at pre 1970 s prices. Although I doubt national can get there head around putting people ahead of buisness’s

  2. RedLogix 2

    Nah – that was a rather unfair line in the Herald

    A quick look at their site strongly suggests that they are a bit more than just the “liquor company” you characterise them as.

    And one that has operated a pretty good social contract for a long time now. Most people living in the area regard them as a positive (or a least bad) presence in the community. A Licensing Trust is not really a company in the ordinary sense:

    Licensing Trusts, a form of community enterprise, were given a unique mandate when they were formed in the 1940s. Today that translates into:

    A primary responsibility to enhance the well-being of their defined community;
    The distribution of (surplus) profits back to their communities;
    The provision of good, ‘model’ facilities;
    Accountability back to the communities who own them.

    In addition, there is an inherent responsibility to efficiently operate commercial businesses profitability.

    And from experience I know they are a reasonably decent landlord operating consistent policies. There are way worse private landlords about.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.1

      It would be better to describe them here:

      “Sixty years after its formation the Masterton Licensing Trust remains the governing/controlling organisation of the group as 75% owner of Trust House Limited, which was formed in 1998 to better co-ordinate and operate the diverse business enterprises of the Trust.

      Two sister licensing trusts, Rimutaka and Flaxmere, which became closely linked with Masterton in the 1980s, were formed in 1963 and 1975, and like Masterton, are actively involved in their communities.

      We began life by building and operating bars, restaurants, and hotels. Of those first businesses, only the recently refurbished Horseshoe remains today. But there is much more diversity today with a housing estate of 528 houses, three supermarkets joining the eleven cafes, restaurants and bars, six bottle stores, and two hotels. The organisation also covers a wider geographic area, with interests in Hawkes Bay, Manawatu, and Wellington as well as the Wairarapa towns.
      As licensing trusts they have regular elections the same time as councils.

      Whether to sell off state houses is one thing , but the stuff story is inaccurate as it sounds like a private liquor company, when its a community owned charitable enterprise.

      • RedLogix 2.1.1

        but the stuff story is inaccurate as it sounds like a private liquor company, when its a community owned charitable enterprise.

        It’s either a good example of a journo not knowing a basic fact about the story they are writing – or they did know – but chose to distort the facts to fit into today’s spin cycle.

        • tracey 2.1.1.1

          The Salvation Army keeps being mentioned by Key and others in his Government. Is this going to be like offering shares to “mums and dads first” knowing, or not bothering to find out, that they can’t afford them and the shares will go to companies?

          WHY has no one asked him why he thinks the Sallies can afford the homes? Have they told him? Where will they get the money?

          It’s just odd that our PM is now placing such faith in the SA…

          “Rt Hon JOHN KEY: If the author of that report really meant what they said, then the author actually needs to get out a bit more, because this is a Government that has done in Auckland a housing accord…. By the way, the officials who used to advise Helen Clark are some of the same officials who advise me, and they spent virtually their entire time in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet giving her advice on housing, for which she did absolutely nothing. So if the author does not understand—” February 2014

          Twyford speaking to May budget 2014

          “The NGOs—the Salvation Army, VisionWest Community Trust, and all the others—are waiting for capital grants to help them get going so that they can build houses, ”

          rather suggests that at cut price or any other price the Sallies cant afford to get skin in this game.

      • millsy 2.1.2

        Anyone know who owns the other 25%?

        • RedLogix 2.1.2.1

          The other 25% consists of three sister Trusts which amalgamated with the Masterton one decades ago. While they retain their legal existence – for all practical business purposes it’s just one big entity.

        • tracey 2.1.2.2

          Total Number of Shares:10637000 Extensive Shareholding:No
          Shareholders in Allocation:
          Allocation 1:8000000 shares (75.21%)

          863969 MASTERTON LICENSING TRUST

          The Offices Of Masterton Licensing Trust, Level 1 4 Queen Street, Masterton, 5840 , New Zealand
          Allocation 2:2150000 shares (20.21%)

          MASTERTON LICENSING (CHARITABLE) TRUST

          The Offices Of Masterton Licensing Trust, Corner Chapel And Russell Streets, Masterton ,
          Allocation 3:337000 shares (3.17%)

          FLAXMERE LICENSING TRUST

          16 Swansea Road, Flaxmere, Hastings, 4120 , New Zealand
          Allocation 4:150000 shares (1.41%)

          FLAXMERE LICENSING (CHARITABLE) TRUST

          C/- Flaxmere Licencing Trust, Swansea Road, Flaxmere, Hawkes Bay ,

  3. greywarshark 3

    Just a thought on the lack of housing for the needs of the present. I understand the situation in housing insurance policies causes problems for those claiming after disaster or destruction. I have heard that though insurance is prepared to pay out on it, they demand that you build again in that place a house to the equivalent of what was there before. But that is not helpful for the housing market.

    If someone has to rebuild to past norms then the opportunity to use that space and building for modern requirements is lost. And it might be better to sell the land and build elsewhere. I suppose everyone else knows about this but it has just occurred to me.

    And it would explain why insurance in Chch, when an area is zoned for no rebuilds, won’t pay out for building elsewhere. The people, after paying insurance all the years, would find refusal to help them after all. These would be some of the people who could need social housing.

    • tracey 3.1

      If you are atalking about a new house then I am surprised Council will issue a CCC (Code Compliance Certificate) based on prior, not current regulations?

      • greywarshark 3.1.1

        @ tracey
        I am thinking about the need for more concentrated housing. It might be that an innercity house could have a duplex put on the site so there are two dwellings where there were one. Or it may be suitable for light industrial or retail while the person buys their housing elsewhere. More along those lines than the details of some compliance code.

        And Ad yes, our NZ world is being dissolved in the acid rain of NACT’s determined attacking spray that undermines any defences.

        And RedLogix I have wondered about the Housing Associations that they have in Britain. We are slow to pick up on ideas here, I feel there must be a place for them and now would be it. How would line start and carry out useful stuff?

  4. Ad 4

    This is doing to housing what Max Bradford did to electricity in the 1980s.

    Within two terms of this kind of government we will have very little public housing left (perhaps other than in Christchurch).

    What we will have is a series of massive trusts – some with public good intent, others as tax minimising instruments – who will control most of the 60+% of New Zealand who cannot afford to buy their own house.

    This means the owners of those trusts don’t get to be held to parliamentary scrutiny, have no rent controls, no specific ethical codes in common, and whose sole regulator is the Tenancy Tribunal.

    Their next goals will be to do this to our entire public schooling system.

    New Zealand’s entire public realm is being dissolved before our eyes.

    • RedLogix 4.1

      Or we could consider it an opportunity to move towards the Housing Association model – which provides a space in the market somewhere between social housing and ownership that is an alternative to private sector renting.

      Of course it’s wrong that National are dismantling our social housing system in order to achieve a change. That’s their usual ideological stupidity and laziness in action.

      • tracey 4.1.1

        Agree with this IF there are genuinely players in the market who are not looking to make profit but fill a social need, who can actually afford to buy the houses OR raise a loan to buy the houses.

        • RedLogix 4.1.1.1

          It’s not hard. Here’s the website for Community Housing Federation Victoria

          Housing Associations manage a combination of DHS properties and/or own other properties. They range in size from 400 properties to as large as 2000+.

          More like a traditional rental option, these organisations manage and maintain the property using their own staff. Housing Associations are eligible to receive Government funding to build or acquire new properties. In the past the state government has transfered a small number of properties to Housing Associations.

          And this is just one model.

          Personally I’m thinking that rather than trying to hold back the tide on National flogging off the State Housing asset – that Labour would be smarter to be pushing for more transparent and socially acceptable alternatives around who actually finishes up purchasing them.

          • tracey 4.1.1.1.1

            is that one of the options our Government has in mind red? I haven’t seen any detail on what models they have in mind.

            • RedLogix 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Hence my concerns around transparency.

              The very, very worst thing that could happen is another free-for-all fire-sale that happened in the 90’s when the Nats last did this.

              Lots of speculators made out like bunnies on that one.

              • Tracey

                i am with you 100%.

                based on past behaviour the nats have little or no intention of doing anything other than selling to developers…

          • Ad 4.1.1.1.2

            What is missing is a proper price regulator for rents.

            Back in the day there were rent controls. No more.

            For both lines companies and generators, the Electricity Authority sets very clear controls on the amount these privatised utilities can charge, against the assets they hold. There are of course expensive court cases about this, but that’s natural when there’s such a huge amount of revenue at stake.

            Currently there is nothing to hold these massive private landlords to account.

            Of course there are a few good trusts operating housing at the moment. But what is there to stop there charging full market rents, for example? Nothing.

            This debate occurred over the last five years for example in the Community of Refuge trust, one of central Auckland’s largest landlords who bought a significant amount of housing stock from Auckland City Council – and are already in partnership with central government for a major housing development in Weymouth.

            • RedLogix 4.1.1.1.2.1

              First of all I’m not sure it’s fair to label a Trust or Community charity as a ‘private landlord’. We get all wound up when the right distort meanings to put their spin on it – it’s no prettier when we do it.

              But I do agree with the need for better regulation in the whole rental sector. I’ve argued for this many times previously – while wearing my hats as both a landlord and a tenant at the same time.

              I’m not sure that just straight rent controls are the whole answer. Overseas experience shows that they can badly distort the market with quite perverse outcomes. If for example rental incomes are fixed too low – then landlords simply stop maintaining or improving their properties. That’s not greed – it’s just cash flow.

              What I would prefer to just straight rent controls is a well resourced system that worked to protect the rights of both good tenants and good landlords. And made life harder for the bad ones.

              If you do that then the price thing tends to sort itself out. The DBH site already gives excellent transparency for rents – which has helped market efficiency a lot.

              • Ad

                I am not proposing any solution.
                But this is what you can expect in a few years, as corporations break open the public sector properly, trading on extracting about 1/3 of people’s income for a place to live:

                http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11357109

                Nor am I imputing that all private landlords are bad. After all, I’m one.

                We have corporatized housing, out-sourced, it, and now privatised it. Even within Trusts there is zero public accountability. I am simply stating that only a strong public housing sector can best guarantee a house over my head at a reasonable cost, and further degrading this part of the public realm degrades society as a whole.

              • Ergo Robertina

                And there’s loads of genuine charities and community organisations involved in providing social care, such as DHB home help, which don’t pay a living wage, provide job security, professional development, or decent mileage rates.
                Their argument is they work with funding parameters set by the government, and if they relinquish the work it will all be left to corporates. But it’s made hypocrites of them.
                The state housing selloff will create a similar situation of lower standards and entrenched exploitation.
                Read David Harvey’s book on neoliberalism in respect of the role of NGOs as enablers.
                A good rental WOF as proposed by the Greens will prevent the perverse outcome you conjured in regards to rent controls. They are needed urgently.

                • RedLogix

                  I agree that becoming the defacto agents for the state does create issue for many social providers, mainly because as individual operations they lack negotiating clout with the govt.

                  Problem might go a long way toward being solved if they formed an umbrella organisation that is willing to fight for minimum standards on their collective behalf. Somewhere above I linked to a similar sort of entity that represents all the many dozens of social housing associations here in Victoria – so it can be done.

                  A good rental WOF as proposed by the Greens will prevent the perverse outcome you conjured in regards to rent controls.

                  Couldn’t agree more. All our units would fly through the Greens WOF proposal I saw with room to spare. Bring it on.

                  But you can’t really implement a WOF and the rent controls Ad was suggesting at the same time.

                  • Ergo Robertina

                    ‘But you can’t really implement a WOF and the rent controls Ad was suggesting at the same time.’

                    Why not?

                  • Ergo Robertina

                    ‘Problem might go a long way toward being solved if they formed an umbrella organisation …’

                    My point is the real world outcomes of the system that’s been in place for 20 years.
                    And what you suggest is likely to fall foul of the terms of tender processes anyway.

                    • RedLogix

                      Professional and trade bodies exist for this exact purpose all over the place.

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      Yes.
                      But you touted your ‘umbrella organisation’ as a solution to the problem of worker exploitation and low ball contracting, thus I assumed you meant something different.
                      Existing bodies like the NZ Home Health Association appear to have been ineffective, despite making submissions etc about the problems of low funding and worker pay.
                      What will your organisation do differently?

                  • Ergo Robertina

                    ‘But you can’t really implement a WOF and the rent controls Ad was suggesting at the same time.’

                    In the absence of an answer to my question above I will infer you mean that without the cashflow of high rents landlords can’t afford to get their properties up to scratch.
                    Thing is though good landlords like yourself would ‘fly through’ the Greens’ WOF scheme now.
                    Why should the bad ones get longer to gouge tenants just because they made poor choices and haven’t maintained their properties?
                    If a few decide it’s not worth their while and sell their ‘investments’ to first home buyers, that’s a good outcome. Same with the reduction in hospital admissions caused by respiratory illnesses from substandard housing.

            • Tracey 4.1.1.1.2.2

              average rent increase of $24 a week. …

        • minarch 4.1.1.2

          “Agree with this IF there are genuinely players in the market who are not looking to make profit but fill a social need’

          the two aren’t mutually exclusive you know ?

  5. NZJester 5

    The Salvation Army will be very unlikely to be able to afford any of the houses without cutting back on other important services they currently offer to the sick and needy groups such as food and clothing. Things that a lot of people they help can no longer count on the government for. Now they want the Salvation Army to also try and supply the poor with houses on the existing budget they have?
    Using the Salvation Army name is just a big lie unless they are willing to give them the houses for free.
    Even given free to them the Salvation Army might find the cost to high as a lot of the houses need a large injection of cash to be repaired as the government has been very lacking on the maintenance needed on a lot of them to keep them in a habitable condition.
    I can see a lot of the sick and needy people going without food and clothing if the Salvation Army did take the government up on the offer of taking over those houses.

    • Ad 5.1

      Oh, they can afford them.

      Check out the Salvation Army properties on the Ak Council website. Whether developers are inside a trust or charity or a business, banks understand equity wherever it is.

      • RedLogix 5.1.1

        Agreed. Banks look at three main criteria – equity, serviceability and credibility.

        If the Sallies buy them for 50% of market value that takes care of the equity and serviceability.

        And as a sound organisation with decades of social work experience – they also have the credibility to manage the loan. Something many social housing tenants on their own simply do not have.

    • greywarshark 5.2

      ! NZ Jester
      And the poor are being bled more for second hand clothes and other things. The SA prices have been going up for some time. Also other well known charities, St Vincent de Paul, Red Cross. Anything really cheap or free is likely to need sewing, mending, or is marked, spotted, or the surface rubbed and worn. The government loves to tell us there is no free lunch. But then it wants to operate in denial of that basic truth itself.

    • Treetop 5.3

      I’m with the free concept (capped at 20% of homes), but with a gradual increasing dividend paid to the government dependent on profit.

  6. Penny Bright 6

    Let’s get it right.

    State Housing is public – Social Housing is PRIVATE!

    Beware the use of charities and Iwi as Trojan horses for the PRIVATISATION of State Housing – the sell off of this major State asset for which there is NO electoral mandate!

    The simple answer is for State tenants to stay put – refuse to accept 90 day eviction notices – refuse to budge – and for those who are opposed to the privatisation of State Housing to support them.

    As has happened with Niki from the Tamaki Housing Group in Glen Innes.

    Penny Bright

  7. coaster 7

    If a liquor trust has a chance to buy a half price house, why cant mum and dad investors.
    I would like a half price house.

  8. A voter 8

    Easy money, no morals ,wont sell or mortgage to tenants cant be bothered ,Im here to tell you the Mickey Savage history is over you idiots, Im the Capitalist Antichrist of the socialist history of NZ and any hope the poor have will be lost
    I ONLY CAME BACK TO RUN THIS COUNTRY TO THE GROUND
    And turn it into another American military base like Hawaii you know its about the same strategic position in the Pacific but south
    Cheers NZ I will stay pissed for you
    JK

  9. Treetop 9

    The government are not interested in housing. They need to stop their STALE bullshit and just hand over 20 % of the state homes to the Salvation Army. Then some people with families living rough, just may get a decent roof over their head. Instead the government just piss about trying to sell precious assets which can be made over by more intelligent management which actually cares about housing.

    A lot has been handed over by this government already e.g. partial privatization.

    Some sort of dividend could be paid to the government.

  10. Religious groups are the last people who should be in charge of social housing ,
    The are judgemental and biased .
    If in their narrow minds you have been naughty then no house.
    Dickens must be turning in his grave.
    Just imagine those Tory religious Blue Rinses deciding who is deserving of a social house . I shudder , and I wonder just what has happened to our lovely egalitarian country . I cannot believe we have allowed our country to have such a ghastly right-wing government ,

    However on a brighter note it was good to meet Penny last Saturday at the protest meeting in Hamilton. Nice to have meet you Penny .

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    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    5 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

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

    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    5 days ago
  • Maybe axing Clark would be unfair. But what about any of this is fair?
    Yesterday was the day the consequences of the lockdown suddenly got very real for many. Firms have been closing and laying people off since the outset of the quarantine but this has mostly been happening out of the public eye. The mass closure of a number of iconic New Zealand ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    5 days ago
  • Might a ‘Coasean’ social contract mitigate overall societal harm from COVID-19?
    Brian Williamson1, Prof Nick Wilson2 (1Economic consultant, UK; 2University of Otago Wellington) In this blog, we outline how a win-win social contract could be forged to address the major dimensions of response to the COVID-19 pandemic when using a mitigation strategy: the particular need to protect older people from high ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
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    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
    5 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 ...
    5 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
    5 days ago
  • Outsiders.
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    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
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    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
    6 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
    6 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
    12 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
    13 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
    17 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
    20 hours 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
    20 hours 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
    21 hours 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
    1 day 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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 ...
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    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
    6 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
    6 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
    7 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
    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
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