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Taxpayers support Mr “Small Government”

Written By: - Date published: 9:15 am, October 5th, 2014 - 48 comments
Categories: act - Tags: , , , ,

If ACT were made up for a show like “The Thick of It”, or “Veep”, they would be dismissed as too ridiculous and extreme for the audience to swallow. “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver would surely ask, “How is this still a thing?” And yet the good folk of Epsom keep on conspiring with the savvy but manipulative Key government to inflict this farce with a constantly revolving (and always revolting) cast on the rest of us, year after year.

Here we are in 2014 and the fierce proponents of Small Government, tax cuts and cutting government expenditure seem perfectly happy to take the $500,000 of taxpayers’ money that comes with the (invented) roles of Under-Secretary to the Minister of Educations and to the Minister for Regulatory Reform. As soon as he hits parliament, David Seymour has shown himself to be a true ACTite, in the tradition of Rodney Hide, David Garrett, John Banks et al. They talk up the benefits of cutting government expenditure and making people stand on their own two feet but just can’t quite seem to get the irony of the position from which they preach to the rest of us…

Let’s remind ourselves that this cult of free-market extremists has had 5 leaders in the last 3 years, won only 0.7% of the Party vote nationwide (on par with the Bann 1080 Party and fewer than the Legalise Marijuana Party) but is a convenient excuse for some of Team Key’s more aggressive attacks on core NZ values. Charter Schools are for-profit businesses, raking in government resources but not accountable the Teachers’ Council (they don’t require qualified teachers) or the requirements of the Official Information Act. When Seymour says (on The Nation yesterday) that he wants all schools to have the option of becoming charter schools and argues that they are a lot more accountable than other schools, it’s time to really worry about the influence this Right-Wing Think Tanker is being empowered with by this “We can do anything now” team. Similarly, he sees the Resource Management Act as putting too much emphasis on the environment, and believes it’s time to start completely again.

Seymour argues that policy and parties should be “(From the) ground up, not driven by Wellington.” YES! So, David, listen to your own words and think about your position. Who put you in power? Having done so, who gave you a ridiculous level of power and resources for a first term MP (and a practically non-existent Party)?

While she and I are not often on the same wave-length, this time I’m with Lisa Owen when she asks, “Is that how you cut government spending? Are you the best use for that money?” – (Lisa Owen, The Nation 4/10/14)

 – red blooded

48 comments on “Taxpayers support Mr “Small Government””

  1. BM 1

    As Key said he believes there’s a group of voters out their that supports a more rightist view point.

    Just like the other side with it’s hard left block of the greens and mana, key thinks there’s a potential 5-10% of the electorate that could fit into that block, that’s why he keeps act alive, in the hope that one day they get their act together and provide that extra % of votes.

    • Hanswurst 1.1

      As Key said he believes there’s a group of voters out their that supports a more rightist view point.

      If he thinks they’re so worthy of representation as to wield influence on the government, why doesn’t he own it and represent them himself, rather than hiding behind a merry-go-round of proxy clowns?

      • BM 1.1.1

        Key is center right.

        • adam 1.1.1.1

          If Key is centre right, why has he not repealed the reserve bank act? BM the lie is in the telling, keep telling yourself you’re not a VRWNJ, and you may just believe it.

        • Richard 1.1.1.2

          Key is centre right eh? Tell me that after they rewrite the RMA to let business walk all over the environment. Tell that to Nick Smith minister of mining protected reserves, Tell that to the Maui Dolphins.

          Tell that to your kids when they are paying down 200 billion dollars which is where borrowing will climb to when dairy prices keep dipping the dollar plumets, inflation sky rockets and Bills careful and esteemed running of the economy comes crashing around his double dipping backside.

          Tell that to yourself when you fork out 40k a year to charter schools for your kids but are still paying the same tax rate.

          Tell that to yourself when the ambulance that takes you to hospital charges you for the ride and the Dr hands you a bill for 150k for the repairs to the damage the truck did when you suddenly realized I am right and stood in the middle of the road dumbfounded over your Foolishness.

          • BM 1.1.1.2.1

            Bit over the top there, Richard.

            • Richard 1.1.1.2.1.1

              But that’s the agenda BM, Key shelved the RMA rewrite as he couldn’t get the numbers, now he can, Seymor stated it on the Nation to boot, charter schools are happening, Hospital privatizations happening. Nick Smiths already doing it and I still can’t figure out how he can be kicked out yet get back in to a Cabinet position that gave the business friendly freak an environment job. It’s like slapping the greens with the Maui Dolphin.

              I am just telling you what I see to try to make you think outside your comfort zone buddy.

              • BM

                Nothing wrong with Charters schools, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

                Same with Hospital privatizations, could save quite a bit of tax payer coin and who knows maybe they’ll find a few surgeons willing to work for less than a million per year.

                The Maui dolphin is thought to be an inbred variety of the Hectors dolphin.

                • dv

                  ‘Same with Hospital privatizations, could save quite a bit of tax payer coin and who knows maybe they’ll find a few surgeons willing to work for less than a million

                  We had a conversation with a US hospital manager recently.
                  The reason why US care is so expensive is the Dr salaries!!!

                  ‘Nothing wrong with Charters schools
                  How about the failing one in Northland?
                  Read some of the US data.

                  ‘The Maui dolphin is thought to be an inbred variety of the Hectors dolphin.
                  Bit like humans inbred neanderthals. (Temped to suggest rw, but that is rude.)

                • Richard

                  Man that’s sad BM, Have you thought through the consequences of that? Really and properly.

                  Then the poor won’t be able to afford schooling or medical care.

                  What’s your tax rate currently? lets guess 25% as a rough figure plucked out of the air, how many years of paying less tax say it dropped to 12 % would it take for you to have saved on tax payments for 1 year of schooling or one hospital visit.

                  Oh whatever BM keep your head in the sand can’t be bothered you obviously are so well off it’s just never going to make you sweat in the slightest. It’s Sunday time for a you tube clip to cheer me up. If people out there have your rationality it’s time I sold the house and moved oversea’s I give up.

                • fender

                  ” ……….could save quite a bit of tax payer coin and who knows maybe they’ll find a few surgeons willing to work for less than a million per year.”

                  Yeah cos privatising power companies has produced a multitude of CEO’s willing to work for less than a million per year 🙄

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Nothing wrong with Charters schools

                  This is a great example of someone holding on to belief against the evidence.

                  Same with Hospital privatizations, could save quite a bit of tax payer coin

                  It may save taxpayer coin while costing society more. That extra cost will come out of private pockets making people worse offf. We know this from the failed private system in the US which costs three time as much per capita than our own system and isn’t as good and most of their bankruptcies are private people brought low by medical bills.

                  Privatisation is the worst thing to ever happen to essential services.

                  • Hanswurst

                    Yup. This weasel spin has been pissing me off for years. In this context, “the taxpayer” effectively means “the wealthy”, because such privatisations mean that the poor (also taxpayers) end up paying closer to the full cost of treatment, rather than a tax which is (in part) effectively health insurance in a proportion that is commensurate with their income.

                    It makes me almost physically sick how those on the right can peddle such intellectual dishonesty in promoting a view of society as a group of entirely separate individuals with diverging interests, then suddenly appeal to a nebulous concept of “the taxpayer” as though we were suddenly all exactly the same and working shoulder to shoulder.

                • repateet

                  If there’s nothing wrong with Charter schools I expect Seymour to put our money where his mouth is and let all of his Epsom electorate schools became charter schools. Will he have the courage of the ACT convictions? (Sorry John Banks, pun intend.)

                • Murray Olsen

                  If the Maui dolphins were inbred, ACT would want to save them. I think you mean genetically isolated, which is a different thing, but then you can probably find another scientist.

          • Lanthanide 1.1.1.2.2

            “Tell that to yourself when the ambulance that takes you to hospital charges you for the ride ”

            That is already the case. St John’s ambulence is a charity and does not receive any government funding.

            In CHCH, it is (or was, anyway) $50 a trip.

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.2.2.1

              Yep, been $50 per trip for about 20 years or more.

              And they do receive some government funding:

              St John Ambulance Services are not fully funded by the government. Contracts with the Ministry of Health, ACC and District Health Boards (DHBs) fund just under 80% of the direct operating costs. The shortfall is made up from payment of part charges, community donations, fundraising and revenue from our commercial activities.

              Which is, of course, why there’s a $50 per trip cost which I know causes poor people not to call the ambulance even though they should.

              • George Hendry

                Now between $87 and $88 ( citation: my trip from Christchurch to Christchurch hospital, April 2014).

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  You can buy St Johns membership which for yearly cost covers hospital trips.
                  ACC funds accident callouts, same goes for helicopter pickups. Im not aware of any charge for accident victims going to hospital.

                  They have annoying habit of pressuring accident victims to take the ride to hospital even if not necessary- to get the funding

            • Murray Olsen 1.1.1.2.2.2

              In Brisbane they used to put an ambulance charge on the power bills. I’ve used an ambulance once in ten years, and I never missed the money. Hopefully I paid for a few pickups for people less well off.

              The charge seems to have disappeared now, so I don’t know how they fund it, but when you call, they come.

          • Murray Olsen 1.1.1.2.3

            They can’t see ahead. They’ll say it’s ridiculous saying debt will get to $200 billion, but 5 years ago they were probably saying it would never get to $60 billion.
            They’ll say NAct cares for the environment at the same time as they ask who wants to swim in rivers anyway? If you’re too lazy to have a swimming pool………..

            The fools either want what’s coming or they can’t see it.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.3

          No he’s not – he’s radical right-wing. The problem is that the centre has been moved to radical right over the last thirty years so Key, and other RWNJs, can claim to be centrist while being completely delusional.

          Reality has a radical left bias.

          • Kiwiri 1.1.1.3.1

            the centre has been moved to radical right over the last thirty years so Key, and other RWNJs, can claim to be centrist while being completely delusional

            +1

            The parties in opposition, separately as well as collectively, need to pull the ‘centre’ back to issues that concern the interest of median wage workers. That is only the first step. Much more work needs to be done. There are those who are excluded from the workforce in this ‘uneconomic’ system, as well as those who are marginalised, impoverished and vulnerable.

            Thanks and kia kaha to Hone Harawira. Looking forward to him and representatives like him being back contesting at the next election.

          • Tracey 1.1.1.3.2

            and 17% of ACT MPs have been convicted of fraud or deception…

            doesnt matter tho cos Key is comfortable with at least 17% of members having criminal behaviours

        • Tracey 1.1.1.4

          yet they barely muster 1% of the vote making them nothing like the greens

        • JonL 1.1.1.5

          Key has never been centre right! Most people under 50 have no conception of what a centre right government is like – the same people who call Labour centre left? Labour hasn’t been a leftist government since douglas and co knifed it in the back!

    • r0b 1.2

      So Key is picking winners (that turn out to be losers), state funding a hunch (that keeps turning out to be wrong), and using taxpayer funds to try and tilt the political playing field to his advantage? Thanks for explaining that to us BM.

      • BM 1.2.1

        I’m just going on what he said on 7 sharp and extrapolated it out a bit.
        He didn’t actually come out and say

        there’s a potential 5-10% of the electorate that could fit into that block, one day Act could get their act together and provide that extra % of votes.

        that was me doing a bit of mind reading.

        Anyway, I would have thought you guys would be all about as much representative democracy as possible.

        • Richard 1.2.1.1

          I think the fallacy that labour want an over inflated government with more democratic representation is a stereotype painted by the right. Same as nanny state and other fallacies.

          The truth is I think and always have that Labour is the party of common sense vs the party of pleasing corporate donors quite frankly.

          I will never ever vote for a party who’s funding comes from corporates as they just do not care about anything other than shareholders.

          When you look at both parties actions in Parliament when running the show, for the most part Labour do far, far better, in even the economy, because they work for ALL NZ not just SkyCIty and every other freak show corporate.

          • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.1.1

            I will never ever vote for a party who’s funding comes from corporates as they just do not care about anything other than shareholders.

            That means that you won’t vote for any party as they all get corporate donations. The decline of the mass party ensured that and so it also ensured that parties work for the corporations.

            IMO, donations to political parties from any legal entity need to be banned and only donations from individuals be allowed. This would force parties to become representative of the people again.

            • Richard 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Excellent proposition. In fact stunning, chuck a bill in the box for it.

            • Murray Olsen 1.2.1.1.1.2

              Dotcom isn’t a corporate. As far as I know, his donations to Mana and that other thing were personal. I’m not aware of any other corporate donations to them.

        • felix 1.2.1.2

          BM you’re a moron.

          We just had a general election to determine the exact size of the support blocks for the various parties.

          Result: ACT = 0.7%.

          According to your approach we needn’t bother having another one in 2017 because we can just ask Key how many seats he reckons each party should get and be done with it.

          Fucking idiot. And everyone else, stop arguing with him as if he didn’t just advocate abandoning democracy.

          Sheesh.

          • ghostwhowalksnz 1.2.1.2.1

            Llets not forget the internal battles of the Actoids, made it seem like reruns of ‘I Claudius’.
            The roll call of ‘perps’ make interesting reading still.

            Donna Awatere, David Garrett, John Banks.

            And still they think they will increase their Mps by means of ‘policy’. They are too stupid to see that backroom twerps like Seymour should stay in the backrooms, its time for a party leader from central casting. It matters much more than they think for minor parties, and is Colin Craigs biggest hurdle to getting over 5%

        • ghostwhowalksnz 1.2.1.3

          The 5% doesnt come out of thin air, they came out of Nationals vote. So there is no advantage to national letting a fringe party grow ( as though its plant you water and it will grow).
          A credible party needs credible people and ACT never will attract the best, they are mostly swivel eyed loons anyway, prone to the most viscous infighting, supposedly about policy purity but really because they are dickheads. Don Brash being an obvious example.

          Labour understood this about the maori party, why let them flourish, ignore them so they walk into the arms of national, then their supporters abandon them for Labour again. Game. Set. Match.

        • Thinker 1.2.1.4

          Labour and the Greens will potentially hold a majority in parliament, eventually, but I don’t see Key making room for them right now.

          You can’t have a democratic election, where 0.7% vote for a party, and then the incoming government decides it should have been more like 5-10%, so treats them on that basis. (Actually, it seems you can, but you know what I’m trying to say).

          Voters rated them 0.7%, they got 0.7% and that’s where they ought to sit until/unless things change in 2017.

    • Lanthanide 1.3

      No, Key wants all of the votes for himself. That’s why they didn’t give Conservatives a seat, and he came up with the weird “if you want a steak you buy a steak, not lamb” in the final leaders debate – he was talking about the Conservatives.

      Edit: Just realised I said, without thinking, “they didn’t give Conservatives a seat”, as if National are in a position to give seats to whomever they want. And yet that actually is the reality.

      • ma rohemo 1.3.1

        What sort of security is involved in the electoral counting system? Do they cross check the votes in a thorough way? Audit standard type of checks to make sure that simple things such as the lines ruled on the list across voters names is the same tally as the number of votes counted?

        I would like to think so, but I somehow doubt it is totally foolproof.

        The seat allocations were uncanny. One seat only for each of their allies, total elimination for their most feared opposition, and underwhelming power by having an even split in the two middle ground parties.

        The results looked a bit strange as GP sat at exactly 10.00% for quite some time. It was as though someone directing then decided that it didn’t look real so they tacked a few points on.

        The enormous surge in Labour – electorate/ National – party combination votes, regardless of all the public expression of displeasure towards JK, was the final touch in giving National the perfect win.

        It was one of the most surreal nights of my life. I still find it hard to believe.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 1.3.1.1

          TV was using info from electoral commission but wasnt live feed. Manual updates.

          The real data from EC website was more useful and updated consistently, as well the data.herald.co.nz website was automated data in a graphical format so you could see actual polling booth data on a map.

          As well most larger partys have representatives at polling booths watching vote counting and seeing it all tallies up.

      • Tom Jackson 1.3.2

        He wouldn’t because it would lose National Voters to Labour. People in NZ can stomach economically far right parties being in parliament, but they won’t stand for far right religious kook parties.

        This is a secular country. Religious parties are a turn off to the vast majority of voters (including the vast majority of religious voters).

    • He’s deluded if he believes that. The number of potential voters who will vote either National or Act (or switch between the two) is essentially fixed.

      Over the last three elections it has been consistent with voters switching from National to ACT and not doing anything to increase the total National/ACT vote.

  2. red blooded 2

    “Just like the other side with it’s hard left block of the greens and mana, key thinks there’s a potential 5-10% of the electorate that could fit into that block, that’s why he keeps act alive…”

    A few responses:
    1) Let that (supposed) block organise themselves, either within his own right wing National Party or with their own resources, like other parties have to.
    2) Stop pretending ACT are anything more than a label and convenient excuse for extremist policies.
    3) I don’t see how this addresses the main point of the post, which was about hypocrisy, or the secondary point, which was about a scarily inexperienced MP being given ridiculous status and potential power in this parliament.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      3) I don’t see how this addresses the main point of the post, which was about hypocrisy, or the secondary point, which was about a scarily inexperienced MP being given ridiculous status and potential power in this parliament.

      As far as I’m concerned, that’s the best point about all this. An inexperienced MP could break the mold and make things better but in this case I suspect that Seymour will be ridden hard by National and just do what he’s told.

  3. Mooloo magic 3

    The Right are only against Social welfare they are big believers of Corporate welfare. Irony and hypocrisy has always escaped the intellect of the main stream media who continue to ignore and fail to hold the government to account.
    Post-election the media has been on feeding frenzy as the Labour caucus implodes whilst ignoring the bizarre and cynical decision to appoint Seymour as an undersecretary for Education who has no background or experience in Education.
    The Key government due to a compliant and lazy if not inept media continues to escape scrutiny.
    Bizarrely the media ( and Gareth Morgan) seem hell bent in trying to convince the Greens to become Blue/Green which again demonstrates that these so called journalist are indeed extremely ignorant and do not understand that National’s environmental policies and lack of Social justice are totally alien to the Greens values.
    The media are doing the Right’s work in trying the weaken Left wing parties and if we are not careful we are going to be turned into a plutocracy.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      The Key government due to a compliant and lazy if not inept media continues to escape scrutiny.

      The MSM isn’t lazy or inept – they’re doing their job wonderfully it’s just that that job is supporting a National government and not holding them to account as everyone thinks it is.

  4. coaster 4

    Although I dislike act policys and ideals they are important in the big picture, as are the far left. The problem we have at the moment is a big party that is trying to be a little bit left (national have kept alot of labours popular left policys), a little bit centre by having so policy that appeal to swing voters , and then taking up a huge chunk of the right. This has sqeezed labour thus increasing green and nzf as average jos dont know where labour fits anymore. Act and greens should sit between 5 to 7% each, national and labour between 75-80% between them and the balance amongst other centre /special interest groups.
    Normal voters are confused which has allowed 6 years of an incremental movement of the centre to the left without the public realizing.

    although I hate to say it, I think it would be better for labour if act took back there part of national.

    my opinion only

    • Hanswurst 4.1

      Act and greens should sit between 5 to 7% each, national and labour between 75-80% between them and the balance amongst other centre /special interest groups.

      Why? Parties are there to propagate ideas, not simply to make up some ideal numbers.

  5. Jrobin 5

    Seymour could turn out to be a useful Achilles heel. He has already contradicted John Key and his mantra of Textor speak” on message, collegial, disciplined ” has all the originality and charm of a really poorly written script. He also gets angry quite quickly when needled by Winston. Jane Clifton is predicting key will have difficulty keeping his larger group of Mps disciplined , are they larger now? This could be a year of disunity for the right, as the dairy collapse bites and the economy contracts things will get tetchy. Mr Seymour will be one to watch his inexperience is embarrassing and he has a handy streak of arrogance. Aaron Gilmore mark II. I’m looking forward to his first real interview once policy starts to be enacted. With Espiner if possible.

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days 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 ...
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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 ...
    5 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • The Only Way Through This Crisis Is Together.
    Together: In leading New Zealand through the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Prime Minister could do a lot worse than allow herself to be guided by the spirit of collective sacrifice and co-operation that animated the New Zealanders of 80 years ago. Most Kiwis alive today have had no opportunity to prove their ...
    1 week ago
  • GFC vs Covid-19
    It is said that generals fight the last war. In the case of the early stages of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) they had learned from the Great Depression of the 1930s and they fought intelligently and successfully. Later their advice would be ignored in favour of the Austerians who ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Nobody Left Behind.
    Solidarity Forever: All over the world, the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has exposed the fragility of the walls we erect around ourselves and our loved ones. It has shattered our illusions of autonomy and revealed to us how utterly dependent we all are on other human-beings. Finally, we see ...
    1 week ago
  • Rebuilding a truly “Democratic” counter, or a “moderate Republican” bolt-hol...
    Looking across the various arguments for/against the leading candidates to take the Democratic Nomination, you might honestly be very hard pressed to tell. There are a number of things that have now started happening since Amy Klobuchar and “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg both threw the towel in and immediately (and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Abortion law reform a win for women
    by Daphna Whitmore Abortion is no longer in the Crimes Act in New Zealand. The law reform passed yesterday and now abortion is a medical matter between a woman and her doctor. Many women’s groups and progressive people have campaigned for reform for decades. The women’s liberation movement and some ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • How to spot bogus science stories and read the news like a scientist
    Doug Specht, University of Westminster and Julio Gimenez, University of Westminster When fake news, misreporting and alternative facts are everywhere, reading the news can be a challenge. Not only is there plenty of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other scientific topics floating around social media, you also ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus
    Michael Baker, University of Otago and Nick Wilson, University of Otago With some of the toughest border restrictions and a newly-announced NZ$500 million boost to health services, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand is also fortunate in ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the pandemic II
    As expected, the government has introduced a sessional order to allow Parliament to operate during the pandemic. You can read it on the Order Paper here, but the short version is that questions and motions can be filed electronicly, select committees can work remotely, and the the Business Committee can ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When a virus goes viral: pros and cons to the coronavirus spread on social media
    Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology; Daniel Angus, Queensland University of Technology; Timothy Graham, Queensland University of Technology, and Tobias R. Keller, Queensland University of Technology News and views about coronavirus has spread via social media in a way that no health emergency has done before. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • How to survive 14 days of self-isolation
    So you’ve recently returned from overseas, come into contact with someone who tested positive, got a bit of a dry cough yourself or perhaps just want to self isolate for 14 days to avoid other people who might have COVID-19. Here are a few tips and tricks to help get ...
    1 week ago
  • Abortion Legislation Bill passes third reading
    Some fave speeches:     ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    1 week ago
  • Why Leadership Matters – More Than Anything.
    Our Good Fortune: Precisely because she has never been an ideologue (she calls herself a “pragmatic idealist”) Jacinda Ardern has a political nimbleness and spontaneity which, when infused with her exceptional emotional intelligence, produces spectacular demonstrations of leadership. Jacinda's empathic political personality contrasts sharply with the less-than-sunny ways of her ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #11, 2020
    1 week ago
  • 68-51
    The Abortion Legislation Bill has just passed its third reading, 68-51. NZ First MPs bailed because their referendum amendment didn't pass, but there were plenty of MPs to provide a majority without them. The bill is a long way from perfect - most significantly, it subjects pregnant people who need ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The ‘herd immunity’ route to fighting coronavirus is unethical and potentially dangerous
    As most of the world tries to suppress the coronavirus spread, some countries are going it alone – trying to manage the pandemic through so-called “herd immunity”. Herd immunity means letting a large number of people catch a disease, and hence develop immunity to it, to stop the virus spreading. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Eight new COVID-19 cases today. It’s no surprise when you look at some numbers
    So, as I sit at home with a very, very slight headache (i.e. not at work when I would otherwise be so), the now familiar figure of Ashley Bloomfield reports eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19  including two in Waikato. A surprise, given that we had just twelve yesterday? No. ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • The WINZ Paradox versus the new COVID-19 Reality: Get real people, seriously…
    Many who advocated for, and voted for, the current Coalition – particularly those who voted Labour and the Green Party – expected to see a sea change in the reality of social services. A real, deep change of attitude, approach of process through which the system negotiates the difficult and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • The Air New Zealand bailout
    Stuff reports that the government is going to have to throw $2 - 3 billion at Air new Zealand to get it through the pandemic. Good. While international routes are basicly closed, Air New Zealand is a strategic asset which is vital to our tourism industry, not to mentioning airfreight. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Why NZ’s tough coronavirus travel rules are crucial to protecting lives at home and across the Pac...
    New Zealand’s border restrictions will come with significant job and business losses in the tourism sector, both at home and in the Pacific. But the new travel rules are absolutely necessary to protect the health of New Zealanders and people right across Pacific Islands, because New Zealand is a gateway ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The tiniest of teeth
    Back in early 2018, as a shoddy legal tactic to try and avoid the prisoner voting ban being formally declared inconsistent with the BORA by the Supreme Court, Justice Minister Andrew Little floated the idea of greater legal protection for human rights. When the Supreme Court case didn't go the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • One simple, common factor to success against COVID-19
    Professor Philip Hill and Associate Professor James Ussher Most infectious diseases have an Achilles heel, the secret is to find it. The question is if we don’t have a drug or a vaccine for COVID-19, is there something else we can do to beat it? Some people estimate that, without ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • National should isolate Simon Bridges
    The Coalition Governments $12.1 billion economic package to help combat the financial effects of COVID-19 was generally well received across the board, even amongst many business leaders who would normally be critical of a Labour led Government.However there was one glaringly obvious exception, Simon Bridges. The so-called leader of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • How testing for Covid-19 works
    With confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand up to 12, many influential people are writing open letters and opinion pieces and doing press conferences asking why we aren’t pulling out all the stops and testing thousands of people a day like they are in South Korea. The thing is, ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    2 weeks ago
  • The COVID-19 package and the limits of capitalism
    by Daphna Whitmore The willingness to put human life before business shows that sometimes capitalism is capable of suspending its relentless drive for profit. For a short time it can behave differently. Flatten the curve is the public health message since COVID-19 suddenly overwhelmed the hospital system in northern Italy. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Black April, May and June?
    Worldwide, the 1918 influenza epidemic – wrongly called ‘Spanish’ flu – lasted about two years. However, it lasted about six weeks in New Zealand (remembered as ‘Black November’, because the dead turned a purplish-black). It is thought about 7000 Pakeha died and 2,500 Maori. The population mortality rate was about ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID 19 has struck… as has a lot of terrible ineptitude from far too many
    In a world and a time when the worst off and most vulnerable have been asked, time and again, to foot the bill for the complete subjugating to the will of the 1% thanks to the GFC, at a point where the world as a whole is now seeing quite ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • What’s in the Coronavirus Package?
    With the economy already reeling from a crisis that’s barely begun, the Government today sought to provide reassurance to workers and businesses in the form of a massive phallic pun to insert much-needed cash into the private sector and help fight the looming pandemic. Here are the key components: $5.1 ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • I just had my benefit suspended during a fucking pandemic
    I am a member of the working poor and so still need state welfare to make rent. So I had booked an appointment for yesterday with my caseworker at Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) to apply for a transition to work grant. However the current health advice in New ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    2 weeks 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 day 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
    1 day ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
    The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks.   “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to make sure businesses can work together in ways that will allow them to provide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
    The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
    Associate Health and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare has today announced the Government’s plan to support Māori communities and businesses in the face of COVID-19. “Our Government’s $12.1 billion economic package will help many Māori whānau, workers and businesses, whether it’s through wage subsidies, income support and worker redeployment, or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
    The Government and the hospitality industry have worked together to produce guidelines to assist with managing and reducing transmission of COVID-19, Health Minister David Clark announced today.  The guidelines developed between the Government, Hospitality New Zealand and SkyCity Entertainment Group, set out how the new restrictions on physical distancing and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
    Four stage Alert System for COVID-19 announced New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact New Zealanders over 70 and those with certain medical conditions told to stay at home as much as they can to reduce risk of contact with the virus Workplaces to implement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM Address – Covid-19 Update
    Kia ora koutou katoa I’m speaking directly to all New Zealanders today to give you as much certainty and clarity as we can as we fight Covid-19. Over the past few weeks, the world has changed. And it has changed very quickly. In February it would have seemed unimaginable to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
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  • Joint Ministerial Statement by Singapore and New Zealand -Covid-19 situation
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