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Suing the taxpayer

Written By: - Date published: 8:06 am, March 30th, 2012 - 42 comments
Categories: Judith Collins, radio - Tags:

Now I think suing 2 Labour MPs isn’t the smartest political move. It keeps your scandal in the spotlight for months, reminding the public about the affair, and have them sour on you. You might win, in theory, so you might make Mallard and Little look bad and you a little less bad at the end of it all – it’s almost certainly not worth it, and a high stakes game if you lose (if you haven’t already lost by then).

But suing Radio New Zealand? Now who will be paying the legal fees for Judith Collins? And who will be paying the fees for Radio NZ? And who will pay the court costs and settlement should there be one?

Yes, that would be us, the taxpayers paying every little bit.

It seems like a Minister feels like she isn’t getting enough money from the taxpayer and is trying to squeeze a bit more out.

Now how does that make me feel about Judith?

42 comments on “Suing the taxpayer”

  1. That’s exactly what I thought, Bunji. The extent of public support for Radio NZ, last time they were threatened, make this a really dumb idea.

  2. Agreed Bunji although Collins will need to do a lot more if she expects the taxpayer to pick up her legal tab.

    Clauses 4.54 and 4.55 of the Cabinet Manual state:

    4.54A Minister may contemplate taking a suit as a plaintiff in a personal capacity to uphold his or her integrity as a Minister, for example, in a defamation suit. In such a case, the Minister may wish to be indemnified against the costs of the proceedings. Paragraphs 4.34 – 4.53 do not apply in these circumstances.
    4.55Any intention to take proceedings as a plaintiff must first be discussed with the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General (who will usually consult the Solicitor-General). The Attorney-General will then ask Cabinet to agree that the matter should be investigated by the Solicitor-General or by private counsel to determine whether it would be in the public interest for the Minister to take a personal action in the courts at the Crown’s expense to resolve the matter. An opinion on the merits of the claim, prepared either by the Solicitor-General or private counsel, will be provided to the Attorney-General, together with the Solicitor-General’s views on the public interest aspect. On the basis of this advice, the Attorney-General may seek Cabinet’s authorisation for the Minister to pursue the claim at the Crown’s expense.”

    So the decision is not and should not be clear cut.

    One thing I do not understand is why Collins is not suing the Herald.

    Fran O’Sullivan said six days ago:

    “[Collins] would quickly have reached the conclusion that all Boag’s email did was to compromise her.  Hence she sent it to the ACC. 

    Collins’ fingerprints will not be directly attached to the copy of the Boag email that was later leaked to the Herald on Sunday. 

    But the ACC Minister, who is a former Law Society president, will not be shedding any crocodile tears over Pullar’s predicament. Nor will she be concerned at Boag’s embarrassment after she was hung out to dry.”

    The reference to fingerprints not being directly attached to the Boag email is a pretty clear suggestion of the extent of Collins’ involvement.

    • Blue 2.1

      Crusher doesn’t want to buy herself a fight with Fran, clearly. Which makes her defamation action against RNZ and the Labour MPs look even more empty and pathetic.

      • tc 2.1.1

        Also granny’s been very good to the NACT at NZ’s expense so it’s a bridge that if she crossed would be blown to pieces behind her by both party and benefactors/backers.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 2.2

      Next week is just before Easter, so hopefully questions in Parliament will be asked about the above ‘advice’ by then.

  3. tracey 3

    What I object to is politicians making issues about them, whether it is Collins or Mallard or whoever. It’s NOT about them or their precious reputations it’s about serving the people.

    Creating sideshows wastes time and money. This country has neither to spare. There are many hundreds of thousands of kiwis out there working damned hard and struggling, they don’t need the people who can most influence that situation behaving as though they are the rightful centre of the universe.

    Interestingly POA and MUNZ get vilified for their actions which have ramifications for all of NZ. Yet getting the police to investigate tapes, issuing defamation proceedings, and so on and so forth from all major parties through time is childish and self serving and draws vitriol only from one side of the spectrum.

    • Generally good comment but I’m puzzled by “draws vitriol only from one side of the spectrum.”

      • Akldnut 3.1.1

        “draws vitriol only from both sides of the spectrum.”

      • tracey 3.1.2

        Cameron Slater is very upset but is ok about turning on National cos his heart’s with ACT and if ever a party could be helped by a scandal, it’s ACT by these.

        Other than that is Farrar outraged at all? Other National folks who voted for the higher standard of MP behaviour than they felt Labour showed? The police being used to halt the teapot tapes, was that widely vilified by those supporting national?

  4. Tom Gould 4

    This silly knee-jerk ploy by Collins simply proves she is unfit for higher office, unable to see the bigger picture or play the long game. She has out smarted herself. An ‘own goal’ against her own career, in my view.

  5. Tiger Mountain 5

    Is this how it is going to be from now on? National Ministers to attack media outlets everytime they deviate from the “party line”?
    ShonKey led by (bad) example with the “teapot tapes”.

    Trev and Andrew are skilled enough to look out for themselves to a large extent, but RNZ is hated with a vengeance by the torys, still under a funding sinking lid and vulnerable to political pressure.

  6. ianmac 6

    4.55Any intention to take proceedings as a plaintiff must first be discussed with the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General (who will usually consult the Solicitor-General). The Attorney-General will then ask Cabinet to agree that the matter should be investigated by the Solicitor-General or by private counsel to determine whether it would be in the public interest for the Minister to take a personal action in the courts at the Crown’s expense to resolve the matter.
    That’s odd. Judith declared her intention to sue for Defamation within a couple of hours of Mallard/Little broadcast. Be pretty hard to get through all of section 4.55 in that time frame!

    • Aye and I cannot see, for the reasons set out by Bunji, how it could be in the public interest for the Crown to pay for this.

      I get the strong impression this is a gagging action.

    • Frida 6.2

      Agreed ianmac. I would have thought that the Solicitor-General would have to prepare a briefing paper, which went to the Attorney-General with a recommendation and then went to Cabinet (on Monday?) Seems extraordinary timing to have had all those steps ticked off within a couple of hours!

      • Pascal's bookie 6.2.1

        Does indeed.

        As far as I know from media reports, it’s just been lawyers letters sent to people so far, threatening action.

        Wonder what happens if the legal advice to Cabinet is that the case is weak. Maybe Collins will have to fund the suit herself, if she wants to proceed.

        But if she backs down—> eaten alive. So she might have to fund a case that she has been told is weak, and could well lose 😮

    • tracey 6.3

      She was very quick to defend herself as opposed to the 6000 clients of ACC, etc etc

  7. ianmac 7

    I have listened to the broadcast several times and cannot see where the defamation is.
    Broadcast is still up which would be surprising if there was substance to the complaint?

    • deuto 7.1

      I listened at the time but have not yet relistened, and certainly in the interviews themselves, I don’t recall anything that I would consider (as a non-legal) to edge on defamatory.

      But I did have an instinctive feeling of “disquiet” once or twice in the wording of the short lead-ins that Morning Report uses to inform listeners what is coming up. I can’t remember the exact wording – and don’t want to put my faulty recall in writing for obvious reasons! – but it was much more definite than the ensuing interviews as to what Labour (or possibly it was Mallard they referred to) had stated re Collins’ involvement. Thought at the time that it was sloppy wording on the part of the programme. These lead-ins don’t usually get included in the replays on the website.

  8. Tigger 8

    All Labour has to do is remind everyone who is footing the bill and appear reasonable. Clearly Collins has a lot to hide because she’s too canny to do something like this without a reason, a big, dirty reason.

    • Jim Nald 8.1

      Yeah, can we hear the damning comment, made in the Ryall kind of snotty screechy sour tone, saying “what a waste of taxpayers’ money!” ?

      Tony can remind Judith that at the next meeting with their cabinet colleagues.

  9. deuto 9

    Latest contract on iPredict – Judith Collins to sue the Standard. Just gone up today and no bets so far.

    https://www.ipredict.co.nz/app.php?do=contract_detail&contract=COLLINS.STANDARD

    Should we all be very scared? NOT.

  10. tracey 10

    I notice to date Boag aint suing no one for defaming her!!!!!

  11. captain hook 11

    this national government is a congeries of venal imbeciles who are there solely for peculation and self aggrandisement.
    it is no wonder that their edifice is crumbling when there was nothing there in the first place.

  12. mikesh 12

    Winning the case and settling for an apology plus costs would appear to be a good outcome for Ms Collins since it would appear to exonerate her of any leaking, and would not cost the taxpayer much. And if the matter was settled out of court it would be even better since she then gets what she wants without risking a courtroom battle.

    • ianmac 12.1

      Are you real mikesh or just being ironic? I fear for Judith. She is looking desperate and a little foolish. Not a good way to go.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.2

      Why would it settle out of court?

    • mikesh 12.3

      I don’t see how winning in court would not be good for her. Perhaps you and I should be aware of our bias and consider how the proverbial man in the street would view such an outcome. Surely he would see it as exonerating her.

      • lprent 12.3.1

        She won’t win…

        Given the current defamation law in NZ, a politician trying to make a case against anyone would have to prove that the people she is accusing made a statement of fact about her that they knew at the time was certain to be false. It doesn’t matter that she says that it was. the only thing that will matter is that they didn’t.

        I do find your simple minded faith in some mythical legal position of Ms Collins rather touching, considering that damn near everyone else views it as a device of Ms Collins to try to gag debate.

        • Pascal's bookie 12.3.1.1

          I’ve not seen that it’s gone further than lawyers letters yet.

          And according to the cabinet manual, to take a suit as plaintif and have the tax payer foot the bill, she has to jump through a number of hoops;

          getting advice from the government leagal beagles on the likleihood of success, and then submit that advice to cabinet and get cabinet approval to go ahead.

          Given she sent out the press release (a ‘NZ Govt’ press release, written as minister) within a day of the alleged defamation, I strongly suspect she jumped the gun.

          That puts her in the position of having to decide whether to back down completely and drop the suit (which would be politically disastrous), launch the action now (and pay for the suit herself), or wait around for the legal beagles and cabinet to make their minds up and hope thye say she has a good case and that the taxpayer will pay for it (all the while listening to Little and mallard asking when the suits coming).

          It’s a tight spot.

  13. The Stepper 13

    Agree that Collins probably jumped the gun. Strongly defensive response, possibly (probably) disproportionate. Being overly defensive often indicates guilt of some kind.

    The thing is though, what if being overly defensive is actually the result of being offended other people’s statements, questioning your integrity and harming your future employment prospects/leadership ambitions? I think we can all agree that Mallard shoots from the lip frequently, and Little has long experience in the art of making someone look morally suspect. That’s what a good union leader does.

    What if the conspiracy theories re. Collins are entirely inaccurate? I might very well have to eat my words, but it seems like no-one is willing to consider that Collins might just have a point. Can you, best beloved, imagine if someone was accusing you of gross dereliction of duty/negligence/being generally evil when you knew you hadn’t? Wouldn’t you go after them (particularly when you probably won’t have to pay the legal bills) with all the means available to you?

    As far as I am aware, Collins has no history of dodgy dealings. She’s certainly ambitious, and ruthless up to a point, but a hamfisted attempt at smearing a former fringe National supporter for no tangible gain seems to go against the grain. There have been comments about this being a way to discredit various factions of National, but Collins has far more effective means up her sleeve. Why resort to this?

    • ianmac 13.1

      Not sure that they are smearing her. They ask the questions which is their right and responsibility and She chooses to not answer or she deflects the answer. What if it turns out to be say an ACC staffer? Can’t see how the defamation action would rebound on Tevor or Andrew.
      What would help is a proper enquiry from a credible QC. Then all the flim-flam would disappear.

    • felix 13.2

      “As far as I am aware, Collins has no history of dodgy dealings.”

      Wasn’t there something to do with her and her husband scamming a free car or free petrol or some such?

      • The Stepper 13.2.1

        Agree ianmac. A proper enquiry from a credible (let’s not get into the argument about what credible means) QC would clear it up. Apart from the fact that whichever side didn’t ‘win’ would argue the toss incessantly. Ombudsman? Not familiar enough with the machinery of government to know if that’s realistic.

        As stated, I think the response has been disproportionate at best, but possibly understandable if Collins has nothing to hide. It might lead to nothing, but if she is innocent of the allegations it’s something of a line in the sand, both to Labour and to National.

        felix – no idea. Something rings a bell, but that’s as far as I get. A very lazy google search doesn’t reveal anything, but then it was very lazy!

        • ianmac 13.2.1.1

          Ministers get a chauffeur Government car and unlimited use of a self drive car. The tax-payer petrol for her self drive car was somewhere around $400 per month. A huge mileage there perhaps from her husband. Judith was challenged by a reporter and she very quickly put the reporter in his place. It is legal and within the rules.
          What bothered me was the rude arrogant response Judith handed out. I bet the reporter remembers that put-down!

          • Pascal's bookie 13.2.1.1.1

            It was Paddy Gower: http://bit.ly/GZXyCl

          • Draco T Bastard 13.2.1.1.2

            A huge mileage there perhaps from her husband.

            A huge mileage when it was obvious that she wasn’t using the car and thus we were paying for her husband to go to work. Sure, it was legal, just not right.

        • Pascal's bookie 13.2.1.2

          I hear what you are saying Stepper, and I’m not without sympathy for her if she is, in fact, innocent of being at all involved in the leaking of the Boag letter.

          But in a way, that’s irrelevant.

          She is the Minister, and the letter only went, by her reckoning, into 3 hands. The other two people who legitimately have it are within the organisation she is responsible for. There is no real escaping the fact that she is responsible for the letter’s safekeeping. Therefore, as Kevin Hague says, she actually does need to have a bit of a thick skin about questions and allegations with regard to things she is responsible for when things go pear shaped. Especially when someone, somewhere, is actively doing things wrong. These are not accidents that are happening.

          If she is innocent, the refusals to answer questions in the house about seemingly trivial details like ‘when was the email printed?’, and ‘who did she give it to?’, do nothing but wind the opposition up and foster suspicion.

          And given that her opponents will be well enough aware of her temperament, a failure to keep a control of her own reactions to their subsequent goading isn’t something I have a lot of sympathy for.

          I freely admit my own bias. I don’t like her politics.

          I was appalled, quite frequently, at her performance and comments as Minister of Police, and of Corrections. It often seemed that she was the minister *for* police, and her double bunking comments about post earthquake looters in christchurch were beyond the pail. I simply don’t accept that she didn’t know exactly how what she said would be interpreted by a large swathe of the country. Prison rape jokes are not that uncommon.

          So while, like I said, I can feel for her if she has genuinely been accused of doing something of which she is entirely innocent, I won’t be pretending to shed a tear if her recklessness and pride end up costing her politically.

          • The Stepper 13.2.1.2.1

            Yep, agree (far too much agreement on here I think!).

            That said, I think Collins is far more calculating than you give her credit for. She made provocative comments when she was trying to make her name (and everyone knows her name – even before this) and those comments appealed to the ever capricious general public. She, to be completely fair, portrayed the uncompromising, stern Minister that people respond to.

            I entirely appreciate your comments with respect to her comments about prison rape. But it was appealing in a visceral way to the ‘man on the street’.

            What I’m trying to say is I don’t think she has a hair-trigger temperament. I don’t think she does or says things things without thinking them through. For example her comments in the House – that seemed to me (happy to be proved wrong) that it was a quite deliberate wind up. Start Labour frothing and making unsubstantiated comments, and then prove yourself completely right. Nothing like the moral high ground as a basis to become Prime Minister (sidenote: the fight for the leadership between Parata and Collins will be fascinating. Joyce won’t compete. Far better to be the power behind the throne than have to justify yourself in public, and Joyce will back his ability to manipulate whichever of Parata or Collins would win. A tough, uncompromising woman vs a tough uncompromising yet slightly more appealing Maori woman. Pure theatre).

            • Adele 13.2.1.2.1.1

              The Stepper,

              The only contrary view I have with the analysis you paint is that Joyce does not have sufficient juice to manipulate either woman.

            • Pascal's bookie 13.2.1.2.1.2

              Right, wellpurely for the sake of disagreement, here’s an alternative theory of what’s going on:

              (Warning: may contain traces of assumption)

              On the friday before all this blew up, (the first leak in the Sunday Herald about the mass privacy breach), the NBR ran a story saying there were tensions in cabinet and Collins was’ livid’ with Smith about being handed a ‘Lemon’ with ACC. The story described the whole thing with the levies being at a level that private co’s couldn’t compete, effectively scuttling the opening up to competition.

              A suppososition that this wasn’t all Collins was upset with Smith about re ACC doesn’t seem like a stretch in hindsight. She may have been made aware, to some extent, of the Pullar business before it became public

              After that first leak, presumably from Pullar/Boag, ACC made the claims about ‘blackmail’ and the Boag letter was leaked.

              Concurrently to this going on, the Smith letters came out and he resigned after a day.

              So here’s the theory. (Capital T theory, plz don’t sue me Judith, it’s not even opinion, it’s speculation, probably not true at all no sir).

              The story is spiralling out of control, and the ninth floor weighs in. We’ve got police investigations into the matters stemming from the Boag letter leak (the ‘blackmail’) and privacy comm. investigations into the privacy breach. Smith falls on his sword.

              This tidies up* everything except the leak of the Boag letter.

              Now what if Key says asks Collins how the Boag letter got out, and she denies knowledge. Key wants assurities on this before he’ll publically go into bat for her. He got burned taking Worth’s word on the fact that there was nothing to an allegation.

              So he gets a letter of resignation from Collins, puts it in a drawer, and says if I suspect you lied, then this letter admitting you leaked it, goes into effect.

              Or something along those lines.

              Worth promised Key an affidavit, and defamation suits against anyone who went public with the accusations. He got neither.

              Key might have learned something from that.

              Might maybe etc.

              *for certain definitions of ‘tidy up’ only.

              • The Stepper

                While I hate to disperse the air of agreement, to follow your lead I’m not sure if I agree. To be fair, it’s a bit of stretch, for the following reasons:

                1. I imagine Key has had a written, signed but undated letter of resignation from every Minister (if not MP) in his drawer since 2008.

                2. I really don’t see a ninth floor flavour in most of this. I think that this is Collins acting off her own bat. The ninth floor would have handled it much more smoothly. Collins is asserting her own authority, in her inimitable ‘crusher’ style. This is a message as much to ninth floor and to the rest of Cabinet as to the public.

                3. Didn’t read the NBR article, though I would be angry at anyone who handed me the ACC lemon should I (heaven forfend) become a Minister. With privatisation in the wind, there will be few portfolios come next election that could prove more of a poisoned chalice. Might not have blown up now, but it will. The way I read this situation is that Smith kept the ‘Pullar Affair ™’ to himself, hoping it would go away (or more likely never thinking that this formerly friendly woman would turn on him so).

                My theory: the entire matter spills from Smith acting foolishly. Collins may have been made aware of the matter, but certainly not to the point that she thought she would have to do anything about it. I don’t think she would be stupid enough to compound her mistake (her mistake being accepting the portfolio, though how much choice she had is debatable) by leaking any email for scant, if existing, gain.

                I think Mallard and Little have reacted too quickly, and overzealously. I suspect they egged each other on. Backpedalling (or more wisely dead silence) when the outcome of the investigation starts to become apparent. Collins seems to be expecting to emerge from this as the moral (if not legal) victor, which will stand her in good stead come 2014-7. Your move Hekia.

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    . . 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, ...
    4 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
    4 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 ...
    5 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 ...
    5 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
    5 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 ...
    6 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
    6 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 ...
    6 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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 ...
    7 days 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 ...
    7 days 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
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    2 weeks ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    2 weeks ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
    The coronavirus pandemic has of course had a major impact on individual lives and on societies as a whole. But, long after the crisis has passed (assuming it does), we will begin to realise that its real and lasting significance lies in the lessons it has taught us, if only ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
    COVID-19 has plunged Aotearoa New Zealand (indeed, the world) into territory that, while maybe not totally unprecedented, certainly hasn’t been seen during the lifetimes of most of us here today. Our borders are closed to non-citizens, we’re being told not to gather in groups of more than 500 outside/100 inside, ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    2 weeks ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been urging you to prepare yourself, your family, business, and community for Covid-19. Now it’s time for real action.  Yesterday the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced another 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing our total to date to 52. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    2 weeks ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020 Editor's Pick Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts   Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
    by Cultural Worker Late March 2020 amidst the virus. With gigs crashing and burning all around it was without much hope that I called a long standing rest home booking: “ Hi, I’m supposed to be entertaining at your place this afternoon – is it still on?” “”If you don’t ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
    Whenever people demand real change from their politicians, we're told that "politics is the art of the possible". The implication is that change isn't possible, so we'd better just get used to the sucky status quo. But now that there's a pandemic, a lot of things we were previously told ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks 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
    14 hours 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
    16 hours ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day 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
  • 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
    2 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
    2 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
    3 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
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