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Summer rerun: Deserted cities

Written By: - Date published: 8:28 am, January 11th, 2015 - 50 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, Environment - Tags: ,

Is it too late for a summer holiday rerun? I read this stunningly depressing piece last night, and was pondering a post, when I realised that I’d written it already, or something very much like it, back in 2009. So in the spirit of recycling…


I think it is a pity that the currently dominant country / culture in the world, America, has had such a short history. Pakeha history in New Zealand suffers from the same limitation. All of our history has been about expansion and growth. “Progress”. It seems to us to be the natural state of affairs.

In many other countries people grow up in the shadow of a much longer history. Sometimes literally amidst the ruins of once great cities and empires. I visited a few many years ago. Vijayanagar, for example, was the seat of a South Indian empire from 1336 to 1646. The ruins of the city today are spread over 26 sq km. Temples, palaces, stables, tanks, siphons and pipework, chariots, markets – much of it still well preserved, much of it fading back into the harsh, red, rocky landscape.

Vijayanagar

Fatehpur Sikri was the capital of a Mughal empire, founded in 1570. It is a smaller site, and so perfect that it might have been abandoned just yesterday. This city was never sacked by war, it was simply evacuated by its people, abandoned just 15 years after it was built when the water supply failed. No water no people, just an empty city.

Fatehpur-Sikri

Such places impressed on me, in a way that growing up in NZ never had, that our civilisations and their works are both fragile and temporary. And I think the fact that too many people in the world today are missing this gut level understanding is one of the things that makes it so hard for us to address the global challenge of climate change. Too many people simply can’t believe, can’t even imagine, that the world that they see around them could suddenly and catastrophically change. It seems ludicrous, impossible, so those who say it is going to happen simply must be wrong. Because I have never broken my leg, my leg is unbreakable!

Well. Just rambling on a Sunday. But I wish that folk who can’t or won’t believe in the threat of global warming could spend time wandering in some of the ruined cities of the world. Or perhaps even just read Collapse (by Jared Diamond). I can’t help but wonder sometimes (when I am in a city) whether 500 years from now the people will be exploring our ruins. And if so, what they will think of us.

50 comments on “Summer rerun: Deserted cities”

  1. Jenny Kirk 1

    Hey – thanks for this ! Its a bit depressing as you say, but worth keeping in mind for when we’re ready to turn to more sobering activities after we’ve enjoyed our summer – which up here in the north – is worth celebrating about, right now. Its the best we’ve had for quite a few years ! (which is probably a reminder about climate change anyway).

  2. OhMyGodYes 2

    The meaning and the power we have given money has desensitized us to our own needs, the needs of others, and the need to care for the environment which sustains us.

    Our relationships with technologies have also disconnected us from each other and our natural environment.

    We are sleep walking our way into oblivion.

    What we are doing, and the way we are doing it, is in many ways utterly unsustainable.

    Our social fabric and our environment are increasingly being torn apart.

    When Mahatma Gandhi was asked what he thought of western civilisation, he said “I think it would be a good idea”.

  3. Ad 3

    One of the points for comparison is New Zealand in the period 1974-1985. New Zealand responded to a series of crises with permanent results. The series of crises was in part from imported activist movements, in part form the oil crisis, and in part form reaction to Think Big and the Muldoonist state.

    Many different kinds of spatial order altered fast. Transistor radios, tape machines and amplifiers amplified and democratized aural space as never before. That includes Nambassa and other festivals.

    Motorways expanded massively enabling the quick acceleration of suburbanization in to the permanent periphery. Kawasaki motorbikes and other farm mechanization pushed the periphery of land use far deeper into the hinterland than ever before.

    Agrarian and feminist communes sprang up as retreats from the machine of the City.

    Civic activism itself became its more professionalized and effective, from the land marches, anti-war protests and Springbok Tour marches.

    Just to name a few. The major activist energies to this collapsed fast after the Lange government was installed in 1984 and after the blowing up of the Rainbow warrior in 1985.

    Our culture has shown in the past that it can respond to growing crisis, and take on wholly innovative forms in doing so. We don’t have to be pessimistic about the changes on our horizon.

    • Ad 3.1

      Also I forgot: every single car trip was regulated, through car-less days. Quite some National government!

      • Maui 3.1.1

        You’re talking about how we addressed single crises over that period. What we have to think about now is how we are living as a whole, which is exponentially harder. How do we change our food production, energy sources, personal transport, consumerism… This I think is a completely different ball game as we have to simultaneously look at all of these issues, and some.

        Also what change did we get from the 70s oil crisis, have car-less days become the norm today? No. It was a reactionary response. We still have the think-big projects in this era called the RoNS, showing us people at the top are quite willing to put our civilisation under threat, undoing any good work made by activism.

        • Ad 3.1.1.1

          The change we got from 1970s and 1980s activism is a permanent understanding that whole cultural change is possible across massive fields of human activity and social structure. And we could do it in a different way to 1930s left activism.

          There is a distinct shorthand we have now when we say “that’s so seventies” that is both nostalgic and utopian. We still need the utopian impulse – the one where the Left gets to show clearly: this is what we need aim for together.

        • Murray Rawshark 3.1.1.2

          Carless days can backfire. In Auckland they didn’t worry me because I rode a motorbike. In São Paulo they have a rodizio, where you can’t drive at certain hours one day a week, depending on the last digit of your number plate. Those who were rich enough bought a second car for that day. Because they didn’t want to spend their hard stolen (not usually earned) money, it was usually cheap and polluting. Air pollution was a shocking problem.

  4. JMG series of posts is about to move into what WE can do.

    You can’t be part of the solution if your lifestyle is part of the problem. I know that those words are guaranteed to make the environmental equivalent of limousine liberals gasp and clutch their pearls or their Gucci ties, take your pick, but there it is; it really is as simple as that. There are at least two reasons why that maxim needs to be taken seriously. On the one hand, if you’re clinging to an unsustainable lifestyle in the teeth of increasingly strong economic and environmental headwinds, you’re not likely to be able to spare the money, the free time, or any of the other resources you would need to contribute to a solution; on the other, if you’re emotionally and financially invested in keeping an unsustainable lifestyle, you’re likely to put preserving that lifestyle ahead of things that arguably matter more, like leaving a livable planet for future generations.

    … An acronym I introduced a while back in these posts might well be worth revisiting here: LESS, which stands for “Less Energy, Stuff, and Stimulation.” That’s a convenient summary of the changes that have to be made to move from today’s unsustainable lifestyles to ways of living that will be viable when today’s habits of absurd extravagance are fading memories.

    http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.co.nz/2015/01/a-camp-amid-ruins.html

    “Too many people simply can’t believe, can’t even imagine, that the world that they see around them could suddenly and catastrophically change.”

    Yes that is true – this is the boiling frog stuff and the water is already hot. For those who can see it the time to change was yesterday and now the focus must be on creating resilience and community. Collapse is often slow and non-linear with periods of plateau before slides – any preparation is better than no preparation and the megadeath sudden collapse idea imo often creates a rabbit in the headlight explosion as “what the hell do I do, what can I do” stiffens us into inactivity.

    The Standard is a valuable resource for us to share ideas and create hope, create resilience and create community. Kia kaha

    • Colonial Rawshark 4.1

      Yep I reckon this will be a very important series of posts from Greer.

    • gsays 4.2

      you are right marty.
      a few years back when self employed in hospitality i learnt (after a while) that the more money you have the more you need. it was never quite enough.

      recently we have been trying to make do on one wage coming into the house. while building resilience in the house hold and community. (gardens, we are off-grid, heat our water with firewood and solar, volunteer community work etc).

      it is a long slow road but ultimately rewarding. the biggest hidden benefit is the other people and their journey and experiences.

      i think it was matt johnson of the the: only a rat can win the rat race.

  5. The lost sheep 5

    America has no awareness of the past, so we should read an American author in order to enlighten us on the lessons the past offers?
    Can’t help thinking you have undermined your own lead thesis there Anthony!

    But agree completely that ‘Collapse’ is an essential read for anyone with a genuine concern for the future.

    And as your post was prompted by a ‘stunningly depressing’ article you read last night, it’s worth pointing out that ‘Collapse’ is not a fatalistic work.

    Diamond not only discusses examples of successful cultural adaption to potentially lethal environmental factors, but his last chapter is entitled ‘Reasons for hope’, and in it he puts forward an optimistic view of our chances of avoiding catastrophe.

    Equally good reading for the ‘doom-sayers’ as the ‘deniers’ IMO.

  6. saveNZ 6

    Solar and renewable energy is so much cheaper and can be individualised (i.e. you own your own panels etc), it is no wonder the energy producers are fighting to keep the status quo. Here is an article about how the oil companies are fighting back…

    http://www.salon.com/2015/01/10/we_dare_you_to_stop_us_inside_big_oils_sinister_plan_to_derail_the_anti_carbon_movement_partner/

    extract …But this vision, like so much contemporary advertising, is based on a lie: in this case, on the increasingly bizarre idea that, in the twenty-first century, humanity can burn its way through significant parts of the planet’s reserves of fossil fuels to achieve a world in which everything is essentially the same — there’s just more of it for everyone. In the world portrayed by Exxon, it’s possible for a reassuring version of business-as-usual to proceed without environmental consequences. In that world, the unimpeded and accelerated release of carbon into the atmosphere has no significant impact on people’s lives. This is, of course, a modern fairy tale that, if believed, will have the most disastrous of results.

    Someday, it will also be seen as one of the more striking lies on whatever’s left of the historical record. In fact, follow this vision to 2040, burning through whatever fossil fuels the energy companies and energy states can pull out of the earth and the ballooning carbon emissions produced will ensure planetary warming far beyond the two degrees Celsius deemed by scientiststo be the maximum that the planet can safely absorb without catastrophic climate effects.

    In fact, those dreamy landscapes in the new pro-carbon version of the planetary future will, in reality, be replaced by burning forests, flooded coastlines, and ever-expanding deserts. Forget the global rise of the middle class, forget all those cars and trucks and planes and resorts, forget the good life entirely. As climate conditions deteriorate, croplands will wither, coastal cities and farmlands will be eradicated, infrastructure will be devastated, the existing middle class will shrink, and the poor will face ever-increasing deprivation.

  7. What a staggeringly pointless summer brainfade.
    For a start the US does not have a short history.
    It began as a colony of European powers, specifically Britain and France.
    The current US territory also included part of a Spanish colony, Mexico.
    The settlers came into collision with indigenous peoples who originally migrated from Asia with a history going back millennia.

    If you are going to throw into your speculative meanderings the Mogul empire and Jared Diamond, then at least have an attempt at evaluating his historical overview and look for a general pattern in the spread of civilisations and their capacity to survive.

    The problem with Diamond’s theory is that he focusses on effects and not causes.
    If he puts up a cause its is overpopulation.

    However overpopulation is an effect of social organisation.

    The most parsimonious theory of long-term societal change is Marxism.
    Societies organise to produce to meet their needs. This becomes increasingly efficient (saving of labor time) as new technology is invented. The ability to create a surplus avoids extreme dependency on ‘nature’ (though humans are also part of nature). It also allows population planning as labour becomes more productive (the demographic transition).

    The accumulation of surplus into the hands of a ruling classes introduces exploitation, inequality and hence imposes a relative scarcity on the producers with some of the effects Diamond lists (having more children to subsist, intensive exploitation of nature, scarcity of resources and so on) none of which are ‘natural’.

    This class exploitation of humans/nature puts a limit on growth and motivates the historical revolutionary turning points when they remove the existing ruling class.

    The whole of the recent history which passes for ‘history’ of the mindless variety, is the history of capitalism. Capitalism imposes an artificial social barrier to the efficient reproduction of humanity/nature because it subordinates it to the profit motive. The 1% lives in fantastic luxury while most of the 99% barely subsist.

    This social determination of life as we know it today manifests itself in an existential crisis of ecological disaster and human extinction.

    One would think that this would induce a pessimistic torpor if it were not for the long history of revolutionary changes that enabled humanity to respond to crises of ‘breakdown’ by rising up and throwing out the parasitic ruling classes and so take control of the means of subsistence.

    I don’t see the masses who are protesting the destructive drive of capitalist breakdown lying down and submitting to extinction do you?

    Revolution is our task and cause for optimism today.

    • r0b 7.1

      What a staggeringly pointless summer brainfade.

      Yeah I know, but that’s kinda what I do here.

      The problem with Diamond’s theory is that he focusses on effects and not causes.

      I think you need to read the book again. He sets out his five-point framework of contributing causes in the prologue, and that thinking underlies his whole analysis. Chapter 14 draws together further thoughts about causes.

      Revolution is our task and cause for optimism today.

      A revolution in thinking is needed yes.

      • RedLogix 7.1.1

        And indeed Diamond concludes that one of the most toxic ’causes’ of collapse – the one that inevitably results in the fall – is the presence of a tiny, privileged elite who are insulated from what is going on for the ordinary people.

        And for this reason, coddled in luxury and immune to consequences, they are utterly unaware of the warning signs until far too late. Their final remaining privilege is to be the last to starve – grim witness to their fecklessness.

        • r0b 7.1.1.1

          Thanks goodness that sort of thing couldn’t possibly happen in these enlightened times.

          • RedLogix 7.1.1.1.1

            Yeah – apparently this time it will be different.

            • Colonial Rawshark 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Their final remaining privilege is to be the last to starve – grim witness to their fecklessness.

              Actually, history shows that well before it comes to that, many members of the self-styled elite end up swinging from lamp posts, or dulling guillotine blades.

            • The lost sheep 7.1.1.1.1.2

              It is completely different this time around, as Diamond points out.

              The fact that we are conducting a world wide debate on this issue, at all levels of our societies, driven by hard science based predictions of the consequences of our actions is just one of those differences.

              There are many concrete reasons to be optimistic we are perfectly capable of a successful adjustment to the Climate Change issue.

        • dave brown 7.1.1.2

          Nevertheless for Diamond the role of elites is secondary to an environmental determinism.
          The historic role of ruling classes in actively exploiting humans and nature is reduced to biology motivating individuals in the market.
          Similarly solutions are to be found only by means of the profit motive. eg Chevron as the model of green capitalism.
          No mention of the need for the people to rise up and kick out the murderous bastards who are profiting from destroying the world.

          http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/mydocs/ecology/JaredDiamond1.htm
          http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/mydocs/ecology/JaredDiamond2.htm
          http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/mydocs/ecology/JaredDiamond3.htm
          http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/mydocs/ecology/JaredDiamond4.htm

          Which concludes:
          “If Chevron in Papua New Guinea is supposed to be a model for enlightened corporate management, then perhaps the fate of the earth is that which befell the Mayans and Easter Islanders. Contrary to Jared Diamond, the best hope for humanity is in the youth who threw a cream pie in the face of the Chevron CEO and the indigenous people of Nigeria, Papua New Guinea and elsewhere who are resisting the incursions of mining and drilling companies. With their efforts and the efforts of working people in the industrialized world, a global struggle against capitalism has the potential to remove the greatest obstacle to environmental sustainability: the private ownership of the means of production.”

  8. The lost sheep 8

    “The 1% lives in fantastic luxury while most of the 99% barely subsist.”

    No overstatement there then!!!!

    • Paul 8.1

      Recommended read on this topic
      End Game by Derrick Jensen.

      From wiki
      ‘Endgame is a two-volume work by Derrick Jensen, published in 2006, which argues that civilization is inherently unsustainable and addresses the resulting question of what to do about it.’

      • The lost sheep 8.1.1

        All very well Paul, but the point I was making was that Dave’s claim that ‘ the 99% are barely existing’ is a gross exaggeration of the current reality.

    • Macro 8.2

      Not at all!
      http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2014/10/daily-chart-8
      read and learn.
      You might well be in the 1% – I know I am.

      • weka 8.2.1

        Yes, but surely those figures need to be understood in the context of the cost of living of different places?

        • Macro 8.2.1.1

          You obviously did not read the link! To suggest that NZ is representative of a cross section of the world’s population is nonsense. If you read the link you would be astounded to learn that NZers, by and large, would be represented in the top 10% – a “mere” $77,000, and many are 1%ers (Just $800,000 qualifies one for that).
          Half the world’s population have less than $3,700 in assets – now there are some in NZ, I will grant you, who fall into this category. But not half the population.

          When we talk of the 1% ers we are indeed talking about a world wide grouping. So yes NZers are a major part of the problem of world inequality and injustice.

          Yes costs of living do vary around the world weka, but not significantly in the western world. For instance, there is cheaper buying in the States than in Canada, but the Canadians earn substantially higher wages than the those in the States.

          • weka 8.2.1.1.1

            I did read the link, in the context of lost sheep’s comment,

            “The 1% lives in fantastic luxury while most of the 99% barely subsist.”

            No overstatement there then!!!!

            In fact I read the link a couple of times because I couldn’t make sense of it. What I saw were figures that talk about money as if money is worth the same thing everywhere.

            I am in no way disputing that there is gross inequality of wealth, and I haven’t said anything about NZ being representative of the world (nor has anyone else that I can see). The original comment by dave brown doesn’t appear to be about NZ either, so not sure where you got that from.

            What I don’t get is how that link demonstrates that 99% of the world’s population barely subsist. Your comment hasn’t made it any clearer I’m afraid.

            When I first read the lost sheep’s comment I went and looked for figures myself but gave up because I couldn’t find the analysis that put world percentages in the context of subsistence vs whatever is above subsistence. I couldn’t find what I was looking for.

            edit, ok, I’ve just seen the lost sheep’s comment below about NZ. That’s not where I was coming from at all.

            • Macro 8.2.1.1.1.1

              What I am saying is simply this:
              “You cannot extrapolate from the situation in NZ onto the rest of the world. We are a very unrepresentative sample.”
              Yes poverty exists in NZ. I’m not saying that.
              What I am saying is – from the figures given by a reputable economic source – a very high proportion of the world’s population struggle to exist. I think that is obvious from the figures given as to just how little the majority have when compared to the 1 %. But returning to NZ, even if one has $500,000 in assets (and that would put you close to the 1% ile) – it doesn’t mean that one is not struggling to make ends meet. Ask any food bank volunteer about the cross section of people who have turned up in need this xmas!

              • weka

                Ok, but I don’t know why you are saying that to me, because I’m not talking about NZ, and it still doesn’t address the issue I raised of wealth being relative to cost of living.

                Poverty isn’t about how little one has in relation to other people. It’s about how little one has in relation to one’s needs.

                The problem with the 1% is that they acrue and use their wealth at the expense of other people and the planet. Plus the whole overshoot thing.

      • The lost sheep 8.2.2

        To ‘Barely subsist’ is to have the absolute minimum amount of the necessities of life. To suggest that 99% of NZ’ers are in that situation is complete nonsense.

        The analysis of world wide wealth is an interesting one indeed, because most drivers of the ‘inequality’ debate here in Aotearoa have been very careful to limit their concept of poverty to the comparison of wealth within individual countries.

        It puts a whole different perspective on things when you place an equal value on people regardless of borders.
        Many people on benefits here in Aotearoa would actually belong to the top 20% of wealth worldwide?

        • weka 8.2.2.1

          “To suggest that 99% of NZ’ers are in that situation is complete nonsense.”

          Who apart from you has made that suggestion?

          • The lost sheep 8.2.2.1.1

            Dave Brown said “The 1% lives in fantastic luxury while most of the 99% barely subsist.”

            I am saying that to say that of NZ is a gross exaggeration. (Nobody is claiming that poverty is higher than 20%?).

            Macro’s figures show that it is also untrue of the world as a whole. At least 20% are actually quite wealthy.

            So whatever the actual numbers might be on ‘barely subsisting’ in either Aotearoa or worldwide, and however you feel about that, Dave’s statement is clearly untrue.

            • Colonial Rawshark 8.2.2.1.1.1

              I think the top 1/3 of NZers do relatively OK. And many in the bottom 2/3 are economically sheltered by parents, friends, family members or spouses who do own their homes and have good incomes.

            • weka 8.2.2.1.1.2

              “I am saying that to say that of NZ is a gross exaggeration”

              Yes, but Dave’s comment is quite clearly about the situation globally (whether we agree with that or not).

        • greywarshark 8.2.2.2

          @ the lost sheep
          Many people on benefits here in Aotearoa would actually belong to the top 20% of wealth worldwide?

          It’s that sort of statement that sounds like a RW spreading the usual sort of misinformation about benefits.remembering that for rational discussion to ensue we must remember that poverty is relative, and RW like to argue the level of deprivation that signals the poverty label.

          If you had just pointed out that the comment about 99% barely subsisting is exaggeration and a load of poppycock and that Dave Brown (at No. 7) should supply a link to a reliable source of statistics it would have shortened your comment satisfactorily.

          • The lost sheep 8.2.2.2.1

            See that now Greywarshark.
            That was purely my point, but obviously I over complicated it.

  9. Murray Rawshark 9

    An interesting point of view, basically saying that the cultural hegemony comes from a country with a short history. I hadn’t thought of that before, but it makes a lot of sense. Of course, it can only happen when Native American history is ignored. Or in our case to a lesser temporal extent, Maori history.

  10. Macro 10

    I can’t help but wonder sometimes (when I am in a city) whether 500 years from now the people will be exploring our ruins. And if so, what they will think of us.

    Most of our major cities will be underwater by then Rob.

    Sorry – just saying. 🙂

    Last time the earth had 400ppm CO2 sea level was around 10m higher than today.

    The last time the concentration of Earth’s main greenhouse gas reached this mark, horses and camels lived in the high Arctic. Seas were at least 30 feet higher—at a level that today would inundate major cities around the world.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2013/05/130510-earth-co2-milestone-400-ppm/

    But I agree with your post – thanks.

  11. vto 11

    New Zealand peoples’ history is not short at all, it is exactly the same length as every other peoples …… all people go back to common ancestors don’t they, so this idea that we have short history is just bunkum, and it annoys me when others suggest such.

    The idea that we have short history is obviously due to a shallow thought that history is limited to geographical location or the currently existing culture. Those Indian cities you cited r0b are a good example of this – likely entirely different culture than today’s India yet still accepted as part of India’s history. We can apply the same – our past includes entirely different cultures than today’s NZ yet they are legitimately part of our history.

    The problem of course is our lack of awareness of such, which you allude to. Lack of awareness due to geographical reasons ….. funnily enough

  12. disturbed 12

    OhMyGodYes said on blog# 2,

    “The meaning and the power we have given money has desensitized us to our own needs, the needs of others, and the need to care for the environment which sustains us.”

    FJK is a money worshipper and has no God, so he is systematically polluting our entire society with his vision of a “Money God” using the MSM as his messenger.

    This reminds us of the fall of the Roman empire after years of absolute decadence and worshipping false Gods right?

    Funny how history is repeating itself again now.

    Remember back in August 7th 2014 when the blog said what key was sending us to as he is relying to heavily on Dairy as the Money God?
    Here’s a reminder of the thread prediction of an 8% decline in a week in August Dairy has now slid to un-economic production levels now in Dairy prices.
    Quote’
    “Falling milk prices highlight danger of National’s economic strategy” Written By: notices and features – Date published: 7:11 pm, August 6th, 2014 – 39 comments
    Categories: China, Economy, election 2014, exports, farming, greens, International, national, same old national – Tags:
    dairy
    “This press release from the Greens pretty well sums up the situation that National have left the economy in.
    Once you remove the rebuild effects from the Christchurch earthquakes, our increasingly undiversified economy is looking in pretty poor shape for the decade ahead.
    ________________________________________

    Falling dairy prices are highlighting the danger of National’s economic strategy that focuses on the export of a few, simple commodities, the Green Party said today.
    Dairy prices are down 8.4 percent this week – a 41 percent fall from their highs in February. Whole milk prices are down 11.5 percent largely due to weaker demand from China.
    “National’s economic strategy has simplified our economy and concentrated our exports on a few, low-value-added commodities,” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.
    “National has bet the farm on the farm and it isn’t working. A growing reliance on one or two commodity exports has made our economy more vulnerable to commodity price swings.
    “Producing increasing amounts of milk powder also has huge, downstream environmental impacts. We need to build a smart green economy with much lower carbon emissions and water pollution.”
    “A smarter way forward is to invest in innovation and policies that support our manufacturing and ICT export sectors.
    “National is not building a strong, resilient export sector.”
    Unquote.

    .

  13. Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 13

    I can’t help but wonder sometimes (when I am in a city) whether 500 years from now the people will be exploring our ruins. And if so, what they will think of us.

    What they will think of us?

    They will uncover – from the earlier layers to the more recent – a series of large ruins from churches to palaces, then to banks and to shopping malls, stadiums, convention centres and casinos.

    Oh, let’s also not forget prisons.

  14. Anyone here know the poem “Ozymandias”, by Percy Bysshe Shelley?

    “I met a traveller from an antique land
    Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
    Nothing beside remains: round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

    What’s the relevance? The ideas that civilisations rise and fall, that we are all mortal no matter how we try to deny it, that nature is more powerful than humanity and that we should look to our history and learn from it (but that we don’t). A meditation on human arrogance.

    Of course, it’s about other things too (the power of art), but this post and discussion line evoked thoughts about a lot of the things Shelley was thinking about 200 years ago. Maybe I’m being loose, too, but I prefer the word philosophical.

  15. Sable 15

    The US is a lame duck that is barely managing 5% growth and even then only be robbing everyone else. The real dominant country in the world today is China. I just got back and the growth there is phenomenal if very dirty. Currently sitting on 7% growth and showing every sign of rising In spite of US rhetoric to the contrary.

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    Some time during the night we went over the 850,000 views mark. We might have had our millionth view by the end of this year – certainly by early next year. Most of the people involved in Redline spent years and years producing various small left-wing papers and selling them ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    16 hours ago
  • Keir Starmer elected
    Comfortably, in the very first round, with an impressive 56% of the votes.I wonder, did members of the Shadow Cabinet start tweeting their resignations during Starmer's victory speech, or is that only a trick the right pull?It is odd how all the talk of how the next leader "needs to ...
    18 hours ago
  • Hard News: Michael Baker and the Big House
    One of the key voices in this extraordinary time in which we live is that of University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker. Philip Matthews did an an excellent job this weekend of capturing the way he became the man for this moment in a profile for The Press.But one ...
    18 hours ago
  • New Zealand Gives up on Trying to Save Daylight
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the nation today about the decline in daylight New Zealand has been experiencing over the previous few months. She said “As many of you will notice, our attempts to stem the dwindling of the daylight over the last few months have been completely ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    1 day ago
  • A bulletin from Greece
    Redline received this article from the KOE a Marxist party in Greece Our friends in the KOE describe here the mounting crisis in Greece and tensions on the Turkish border. As desperate people flee from their homelands which have been ruined after decades of imperialist wars and interventions the people ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 day ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
    As the first week of Level Four lockdown unfolded, mounting questions grew as to just what was (and was not) allowed under its “rules”. Partly these were driven by some apparently contradictory messages from different authority figures and explanations carried in the media. Partly they reflected a somewhat sketchy legal basis ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    2 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 days ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
    Resuming Normal Service: The Republican Party's nominee for in 1920, Warren Harding, promised the American people: “not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration”. If she wishes to remain our prime minister, then Jacinda Ardern will offer New Zealanders the same.HOW EDUCATED AMERICA snickered when the ...
    3 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 ...
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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 ...
    3 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
    4 days ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    4 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
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    4 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
    5 days ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 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 ...
    5 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
    5 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 ...
    5 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 ...
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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 ...
    7 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    7 days ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    7 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    7 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    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
  • 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    1 week ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    1 week ago
  • After the Pandemic
    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
    2 weeks 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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 ...
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    6 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
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    6 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 ...
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    6 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 ...
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    6 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 ...
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    6 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, ...
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    6 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 ...
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    7 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
    1 week 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 ...
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    1 week 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 ...
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    1 week 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. ...
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    1 week 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 ...
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    1 week ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    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, ...
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    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 ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks ago