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The Big Auckland Transport announcement

Written By: - Date published: 1:30 pm, April 26th, 2018 - 39 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, labour, local government, phil goff, phil twyford, public transport, supercity, transport - Tags:

Minister Phil Twyford and Mayor Phil Goff announced the ATAP, the transport programme for Auckland for the next ten years.

At $28 billion it is the largest civil infrastructure programme since World War II.

That $28 billion comes from:

– $8.45 billion of borrowing and rates from Auckland Council

– $1.5 billion fuel tax (which also attracts FAR subsidy, so there’s
more in that)

– $16.3 billion NLTP

– $1.4 billion City Rail Link contribution

– $ .36 billion from Crown Infrastructure Partners

And that $28 billion is about 38% of the National Land Transport Fund
– just a fraction above Auckland’s national share of the population.

That goes to:

– $8.1 billion in operational costs (especially more for public transport subsidy as more people take public transport)

– $3.3 billion in asset renewals

– $8.4 billion in rapid transit, which covers busways, rapid rail, and light rail

– $3.8 billion on strategic and local roads

– $1.3 billion on roads etc for green fields areas

– $ .9 billion safety improvements, targeting a 50% reduction in death and injury

– $ .9 billion walking and cycling

– $ .7 billion bus and ferry improvements

– $ .7 billion network optimization

You will see more of the detail debated on GreaterAuckland, but I’m
keen to see how this lands politically, which is our speciality here.

Whangaparoa’s Penlink will be done as a ppp, and will also include busway improvements to Silverdale

Mill Road gets $.5 billion.

A busway to the airport from Puhinui will be very fast off the rank, with bus lanes to start, then full busway separation.

AMETI busway Panmure to Botany gets full funding.

There’s $1.8 billion in seed funding for light rail for both SH16 and first stage of light rail to airport. More on that later.

This Lake Taupo-sized volume of money will be difficult for both AT and NZTA to spend (AT rarely spends the capital it has in any year, and NZTA are full of motorway-heads resisting this Minister and are poorly led by their CE: let’s see if the new Chair makes a difference).

It will also be difficult for the infrastructure construction industry, especially with Fletcher Building not bidding for anything major in infrastructure any more. And skilled people very very hard to find. Let me know if you’re qualified and interested.

This is what transformation looks like.

Plenty will argue that this is a supply-driven response, not a demand-driven response to Auckland’s transport constraints. The same number of cars will be imported every week. Except, the fuel tax move is a pretty big demand lever.

Others will say it’s taking too much time. Or it’s somehow not enough. Or what about the … (insert special interest group). Worth checking the public transport stats in case you’re skeptical about spending on public transport.

My view is: this smells and looks like leadership.

It’s what they both campaigned on, so it tastes like Good Old Fashioned Politics.

It unites central and local government on transport like we haven’t seen before in this country.

It taxes, it spends, and spends to tilt Auckland’s future the right way.

This is as big as when they tore up the tram tracks and started building motorways in the 1950s.

It’s a really big deal.

39 comments on “The Big Auckland Transport announcement”

  1. Adrian 1

    This is a once in a century opportunity to resurrect a form of Ministry of Works.
    I drove north from Christchurch yesterday and while there was no actual work going on ( Anzac Day, and the workers do need a break ) everywhere there were signs of provider capture, ticket clipping and for want of a better word profiteering.
    An example, on a several sort sections of roadworks a pilot truck and driver and half a dozen lollipop holders a at guesstimate cost on figures given unofficially to me,
    of over 1000 dollars an hour.
    For no obvious reason that a few restricted speed signs etc could control.
    And then there is the ubiquitous road cones. God knows who has cornered this scam but figures of up to $4 a day for every one have been bandied about. The total for the Kaikoura Coast must be in the millions a year. Once again I have heard of 25 million for a year.
    I’m sure the old MOW didn’t get anywhere near this for tea and biccies in its entire life.

    • Ad 1.1

      NZTA will already be massively strengthened over this announcement, and will need to be hugely transformed and geared up.

      I am also seeing NZTA take more of the major works off Auckland Transport, and as a result no major CAPEX within AT.

      But don’t for a moment think that everything is going to be brought back in-house again. It isn’t.

      • Adrian 1.1.1

        Don’t expect everything Ad, just enough to keep the bastards honest and put a lot of pressure on the cartelering ( if that’s even a word ) and the collusion. Yeah, it happens, a lot of it happens.
        Getting the money back for all those fucking roadcones would be a good start.

    • patricia bremner 1.2

      True Adrian. I always think of that song ” You don’t know what you’ve lost ’till it’s gone”

      Someone smarter than me will do a link to utube !!

    • Halfcrown 1.3

      “And then there is the ubiquitous road cones. God knows who has cornered this scam but figures of up to $4 a day for every one have been bandied about. The total for the Kaikoura Coast must be in the millions a year. Once again I have heard of 25 million for a year.
      I’m sure the old MOW didn’t get anywhere near this for tea and biccies in its entire life.”

      Well said Adrian. As Arther Daley would say ” A nice little earner”

    • Macro 1.4

      It’s not just road cones! Think of those movable barriers – put up to protect workers, and a legal requirement under OHS. One company has the rights for those in Auckland, and they charge megabucks to hire.

    • Wayne 1.5

      I think you will find modern health and safety rules explain a lot of modern practices. The look of construction sites is very different to what it was even 10 years ago. Makes no difference if it is state provided or private provided. Also modern roads are way flasher than those of 30 years ago, and a whole lot more expensive as a consequence.

  2. Tuppence Shrewsbury 2

    looks good. Cohesive regional policy built on community needs and facts, not just hopes regarding peoples behavior. Clever use of PPP’s and Tolls too. Maybe some changes to the RMA to make it happen in a more timely fashion could be next? But then waterview was done pretty quickly without any changes

  3. Stunned Mullet 3

    Yes good – now enough waffle get on with it.

  4. Cinny 4

    Really hope it works out for those who live there. Auckland traffic sounds like a daily nightmare at present, was bad enough when I was living there.

    Girls made a new friend at Kaiteriteri yesterday, she was from Auckland. Girls asked what it was like up there….. ‘lots and lots of roads, cars and houses’ was the reply. Made for a great conversation on the short drive home about the importance of public transport in cities, especially rail, especially to the airport.

    • Bewildered 4.1

      The nightmare is over played Cinny , normally your moving, waterview tunnel has made difference, as they say at least the roads in Auckland lead somewhere: in contrast to empty roads going no where😀 a great city to work and play

  5. Grafton Gully 5

    Advantage wrote in the above article –

    “It will also be difficult for the infrastructure construction industry, especially with Fletcher Building not bidding for anything major in infrastructure any more.”

    This only applies to the Buildings and Interiors Divisions.

    The Fletcher CEO was reported in the Herald today as saying –

    “Fletcher was interested in the two big Auckland roading projects announced today.

    “It’s in our sweet spot,” he said of Penlink north of the city and Mill Rd in south Auckland.

    “We do big road infrastructure projects and we have Higgins which is a roading specialist, so we had a large amount of capacity.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12039869

    The end of the media conference video says the company’s Buildings and Interior Divisions will complete existing projects but won’t be bidding for new projects in the foreseeable future.

    • Ad 5.1

      Yes it was good to hear a bit of life left in the old dog.
      The industry needs to stay competitive; it needs Fletchers to be in there keeping each other major player sharp.

      But when they first announced they were in trouble this year, they quickly pulled out of AMETI, then City Rail Link C3, and then pulled out of a bunch of other live bids, then didn’t even get onto the main AT contractor panel, it really did look like they were no longer in the big game.

      Even in the Americas Cup job a couple of months ago with Auckland Council they were wiped out fast.

      But when they took over Higgins in 2016 they got some good business development people. Regrettably Higgins have done roading and motorway jobs, and honestly after today the motorway budget is fucked.

      Fletcher are good for the remaining medium-scale road operations and safety improvement jobs. And through Brian Perry Civil they will have a shot at some Watercare jobs. But so far that’s their ambit. They are retreating to New Zealand and Australia, a long, long way up from where they were.

  6. Adrian 6

    After Fletchers are sued for a billion bucks for Chch maybe the Govt just takes whatever is left of one of the worst run companies in the country and nek minit there’s our new MOW. Now that’s shadenfrude .
    Saw the smug CEO on the news tonight, now there’s a dodgy looking Bugger if I ever saw one.

  7. Jenny 7

    Weird that the Mill Road motorway gets half a $billion, when there is no bus service from Papakura down this route, and Clevedon commuters, who also use this route, don’t even have a bus service at all. Putting public transport on this route would be a far cheaper and sustainable way of relieving traffic congestion during rush hour on Mill Road than turning it into a motorway.

    The new mill road motorway which will connect with the Southern motorway at Wiri has the potential to deliver thousands of more cars to the Southern motorway at a junction that barely moves now, this is a recipe for gridlok.

    This is completely crazy.

    Just because Judith Collins (with the aid of the developers, who hope to make a killing out of the opening up of the Greenfield sites around Papakura), ran a petition calling on the government to build this boondoggle?

    Judith Collins has even told locals that she wants this new motorway to continue straight through the heart of Papakura to join the Southern at Drury. That this will bowl hundreds of low cost housing is no matter. They are all renters they can move, she said. And Twyford goes along with this?

    • Molly 7.1

      I was wondering about the Mill Road connection too Jenny.

      The fairly newly built Manukau overpass/junction has been a disaster from the word go, and the design seems to have come from people that would never use it. I have seen no improvement in the traffic flow at all.

      The landbankers seem to have a hefty say out this way, and none of them like public transport.

    • Ad 7.2

      I have a sneaking suspicion that the Minister will require them to significantly down-scope it. I also see a fair bit of delay as the job shifts from AT to NZTA.

      The big one to watch for is the revival of the big East-West expressway, There’s still quite an allocation set aside for that. The debate will come back to whether sufficient gains can be made rebuilding Neilson Street for the freight fleet. I strongly prefer Neilson Street because East-West simply ruins much of the remaining connection between Onehunga and the foreshore – such as it is.

  8. cleangreen 8

    Goodbye to climate change emission targets; – and the much muted “zero carbon” idea!!!

    More roads for trucks and cars simply put.

    Labour are simply just another “populist” Government ‘driven by polls’.

    There should have been a ‘real switch to rail freight and passenger services country wide beginning in Auckland here as a message as to where we are headed as is happening around the world!!!!

    And not just continuing to carry on building just more roads for trucks and cars.

    So much for Jacinda’s “climate change is her generation nuclear moment.”

    Labour in their very first term between 1936- 42 built the Gisborne rail and now it was closed under National (due to them dropping any rail maintenance) Labour still has not advanced the regional rail freight and passenger services as they promised in 2016 to Gisborne that they would restore the gisborne rail again “when next in Government”

    http://gisborneherald.co.nz/localnews/2535803-135/three-parties-say-fix-rail

    • crashcart 8.1

      Agree CG. I drive from Glenfield to Devonport each day. Takes just over 30 mins in the morning and 45 to an hour home in the afternoons. I would love to take public transport and just relax maybe even make a start on work emails on the way. Unfortunately I would have to take at least 3 busses and leave far earlier getting home far later to make that journey. It would cost more than twice as much per week.

      Serious priority needs to be given to providing cheap reliable public transport across all Auckland or we will forever be confined to our cars.

      • indiana 8.1.1

        Anyone that has ever worked in a network planning role, you will understand that “providing cheap reliable public transport across all Auckland” is a myth. In your example, it just show how inefficient public transport is in a wide metropolitan area can be – the fact that you would need to make 6 connections for a return journey and the cost.

      • Stunned Mullet 8.1.2

        Is cycling an option ? Great cycling routes in place down to Devonport now.

      • Anne 8.1.3

        So crashcart, you’re one of the people who clog up our Devonport isthmus roads every morning and night and we locals can’t even get out of our driveways. 😉 I tell a lie, they are courteous drivers who allow us in to be part of the twice daily gridlock we have to endure every day of the week and all weekend!

    • Ad 8.2

      This is the Auckland package not the Napier-Gisborne package.

      And this package will do more for rail in the Auckland region than anyone has done in a century.

  9. Anon 9

    Ok but public transport in christchurch is fucked, and Labour haven’t restored ecan to a democratic regional government nor have they restored public transport funding cut by National.

    • Ad 9.1

      The announcement had nothing to do at all with Christchurch.
      Focus.

      • Anon 9.1.1

        Exactly. NZTAs fairbox requirements affect all regions and makes even bus travel unaffordable to run. Labour want to spend billions on trains and let bus service further degrade – urgh.

  10. Tracey 10

    At last something the whole parliament will agree on. Whodathunkit?

  11. Paul Campbell 11

    I’m looking forwards to the announcement for the rest of the country, here in Dunedin we’re hoping to get rid of the traffic lights in the middle of the Southern motorway ….

  12. UncookedSelachimorpha 12

    While National are being disingenuous and don’t give a damn about the poor – they are factually correct when they say the petrol tax is mostly a tax on the poor.

    It is a flat consumption tax, like GST. The car Graeme Hart (with USD10.3b wealth) travels in probably uses a similar amount of fuel as that driven by a person going to work at MacDonalds for poverty wages.

    With 60% of NZ’s wealth owned by just 10% of the population, this entire project could be funded without any taxes on 90% of the population at all – while still leaving the top 10% very wealthy.

    Neoliberal Labour – talking about inequality but not doing anything very concrete about it.

    • The Chairman 12.1

      “With 60% of NZ’s wealth owned by just 10% of the population, this entire project could be funded without any taxes on 90% of the population at all – while still leaving the top 10% very wealthy.”

      Indeed, UncookedSelachimorpha

      Placing more fiscal burden on the poor is counterproductive to addressing poverty and inequality.

      It’s also something Labour’s tax working group need to keep in mind. Taxing the top 10% will be a far easier sell come election time.

  13. Rob 13

    Advantage, lets get this correct.

    Fletcher Building are seriously in the business of infrastructure development with their Higgins business. What they have exited out of is vertical building projects which are not roads or bus lanes or electric light rail. But you know that right?

    You were going quite well till that point.

    • Ad 13.1

      What I know is a whole bunch more about Fletchers and infrastructure in Auckland than you do.

      You need to dig deeper than the ce’s comments.

  14. Rob 14

    Pfffft , geez you are very quick on the assumptions.

    Where has Fletchers ever stated that they were not entering into further infrastructure projects. Vertical building projects, convention centres, fixed price design & build projects all stopped, but not infrastructure. Its a real shame as many of us cut our teeth at Fletchers, but you know that right.

    So as you claim to be a great expert on construction and infrasture I am sure you will be telling Ken L at Higgins that he wont be tendering on any of these infrastructure projects. I am sure that would be news to him.

  15. savenz 15

    I wish I could get more excited about our public transport being potentially fixed. But because it seems to have the same people in charge with the same ideologies of taking public money and transferring it to the public sector, and the same stupid decisions, intentional complexity and lack of practicality, so I can’t.

    Just some information about PPP’s. They don’t work and are death, they cost more, they are unwieldy, the risk transfer doesn’t work because when the private sector screw up and goes bankrupt, the public still has to use the roads and public transport, so there is no risk transfer.

    Essentially we are paying more hard earned money so that companies like Fletchers and Finance companies, many already on the ropes or earning excessive profits being shipped offshore, can wallow in more public funds, import more low wage people and go as slow as possible before ultimately screwing up and then the rate/tax payers pick up the bill and contribute to more inequality and lack of working public assets.

    If you want something done, do it yourself and if you can’t do it yourself, then you should not be in the job!

    • savenz 15.1

      “UK PFI debt now stands at over £300bn for projects with an original capital cost of £55bn”

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/30/pfi-britain-hospital-trust-debt-burden-tax

      “Conservatively estimated, the trusts appear to be paying a risk premium of about 30% of the total construction costs, just to get the hospitals built on time and to budget, a sum that considerably exceeds the evidence about past cost overruns.”

      For roads:

      This report: https://image.guim.co.uk/sys-files/Society/documents/2004/11/24/PFI.pdf

      found that PPP “contracts are considerably more expensive than the cost of conventional procurement”, resulting in higher returns for the companies running the PPP’s compared to their industry peers.

      While hard to compare because of the opaque nature of many contracts and large amounts of subcontracting out, it looked like the actual cost of capital of the PPP’s was 11% compared to Treasure borrowing of 4.5% i.e. 6.5% higher. This is supposed to represent the cost of risk transfer but in practice there was no risk transfer so it’s money for nothing.

      “In conclusion, the road projects appear to be costing more than expected as reflected in net present costs that are higher than those identified by the Highways Agency (Haynes and Roden 1999), owing to rising traffic and contract changes. It is, however, impossible to know at this point whether or not VFM (value for money) has been or is indeed likely to be achieved because the expensive element of the service contract relates to maintenance that generally will not be required for many years.”

      Overall, for both roads and hospitals they concluded there was no risk transfer and not value for money.

      “The net result of all this is that while risk transfer is the central element in justifying VFM and thus PFI, our analysis shows that risk does not appear to have been transferred to the party best able to manage it.

      Indeed, rather than transferring risk to the private sector, in the case of roads DBFO has created additional costs and risks to the public agency, and to the public sector as a whole, through tax concessions that must increase costs to the taxpayer and/or reduce service provision. In the case of hospitals, PFI has generated extra costs to hospital users, both staff and patients, and to the Treasury through the leakage of the capital charge element in the NHS budget. In both roads and hospitals these costs and risks are neither transparent nor quantifiable.

      This means that it is impossible to demonstrate whether or not VFM has been, or indeed can be, achieved in these or any other projects.

      While the Government’s case rests upon value for money, including the cost of transferring risk, our research suggests that PFI may lead to a loss of benefits in kind and a redistribution of income, from the public to the corporate sector.

      It has boosted the construction industry, many of whose PFI subsidiaries are now the most profitable parts of their enterprises, and led to a significant expansion of the facilities management sector.

      But the main beneficiaries are likely to be the financial institutions whose loans are effectively underwritten by the taxpayers, as evidenced by the renegotiation of the Royal Armouries PFI (NAO 2001a).”

  16. savenz 16

    Nobody can borrow money cheaper than the government and so it any scheme relies on borrowing off financial markets aka the private sector then you are already wasting money and adding to complexity…. it’s margins on margins… and when you are talking billions off the backs of people of probably on less than $30p/h (since poorer people are more likely to live further out and therefore need to drive more, the richer people will be more centrally located to their work) to be take as profits for the construction and finance industries, that’s where I’m not sold.

    And of course the people further out seem to be getting less public transport, than those who live closer to the centre…

    So good news they have a transport plan, bad news is that they are relying on the private sector which is why they need so much extra money for their profits and there is plenty of evidence around in the UK and NZ on why that does not work aka leaky buildings and the housing market in general, finance sector and the massive bail outs etc.

  17. Philg 17

    Migrants are swamping Auckland, boosting property values and the economy, and locals who can are leaving. This is not the brighter future.

    • savenz 17.1

      I agree too much immigration and work permits being handed out like candy, as well as not adjusting for the change of asset ownership in the last decade and thinking tourism is such a boom for everyone (those were the days when locals owned and worked in the hotels so benefited from tourism, not any more, they are subsidising other people’s businesses by paying for the upgrades needed for the roads and wastewater and increased pollution and diseases like Kauri die back).

      It is the government’s fault through and through with by far the majority of blame going to National for handing out the work permits, bringing in low waged low skilled people and allowing it to get out of control and then trying to cover it up and make other people pay for it.

      I’m starting to wonder if we are going to end up like the Philippines in the next decade, a poor low waged country where it’s people go overseas to escape the low wages, a huge focus on overseas trade and currently being run by a crazy right winger whose getting the military to go around and assassinate ‘drug dealers’ for the ‘war on crime’. (Because it was not the overpopulation, lack of jobs and having outward migration of skilled people that led to the drug issues.)

      At least under Helen, they at least acknowledged the ‘brain drain’, under National that issue, has completely disappeared because who needs them, when there a truck full of dirt to transport or a coffee to be made by minimum waged, zero hour contract type workers who are no longer students but actually expected to survive on that type of work.

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  • Adrian Orr – The Reserve Bank’s Revolutionary Governor?
    New Zealand's Underarm Banker: It bears recalling that the “independence” of the Reserve Bank Governor was for decades held up by neoliberal capitalists as the most compelling justification for passing the Reserve Bank Act. Interesting, is it not, how the ruling class’s support for the Bank’s independence lasted no longer than ...
    5 days ago
  • Driving Us Up The Poll.
    Rubbish In, Rubbish Out: Put all this together, and it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that anyone who responds positively to a pollster’s request to “answer a few questions” is just ever-so-slightly weird. Desperately lonely? Some sort of psephological train-spotter? Political party member primed to skew the poll for or against ...
    5 days ago
  • Jordan Williams, Colin Craig podcast series announced
    “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.” ― Martin Luther King Jr. A long and bitter court feud between former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig and Jordan Williams has been settled, with an apology and compensation from Williams. On Tuesday, Craig sent out ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    6 days ago
  • Scientific integrity requires critical investigation – not blind acceptance
    Some people seem to want to close down any critical discussion of the current research into the relationship between water fluoride and child IQ. They appear to argue that claims made by researchers should not be open to critical review and that the claims be accepted without proper consideration ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: The shameful reality
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. Meanwhile, Climate Action Tracker has the shameful reality: those targets are insufficient:While New Zealand is showing leadership by having passed the world’s second-ever Zero Carbon Act in November 2019, under ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • More secrecy
    The government introduced a Racing Industry Bill today. As an urban who horse racing as pointless-to-cruel, and gambling as a tax on stupidity and/or hope, this isn't normally a bill which would interest me in the slightest, beyond grumpiness at more government money for a dying industry. But there is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Unlikely online bully, Liam Hehir
    Check. Check. One, two, three, four. Is this thing ON? Hello readers, I logged in last night (yeah, it’s been a while) to mark THE END of the landmark legal case, Jordan Williams v Colin Craig, which (gulp) reached The Supreme Court, in which New Zealand’s most-defamed man was suing the politician he ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    6 days ago
  • The Birth Of Israel: Wrong At The Right Time.
    Before The Birth: Israel’s most fervent supporters set their clocks ticking in Biblical times. They cite the kingdoms of David and Solomon as proof that, in the words of the Exodus movie’s theme-song: “This land is mine.” The majority of Israel’s backers, however, start their clocks in 1933 – the year Adolf ...
    6 days ago
  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2019: Korero phase
    In an unreliable, strange and confusing world, Public Address is proud to present a measure of comfort and stability by annually asking everyone what words or phrases sum up the year that's been – and then giving some of them consumer goods as prizes for being clever or simply lucky.Well, ...
    6 days ago
  • Generalist to specialist
    Both my parents are pretty handy – and they seem to have the right tools for most jobs in the garage and they know how to fix practically anything. A similar story could be told about their generation’s experience in the workforce – being a generalist was not unusual and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • A “coincidence”
    When it was revealed that NZ First had tried to enrich itself from public office via the Provoncial Growth Fund, the Prime Minister assured us that everything was OK as Shane Jones, the Minister responsible for the fund, had recused himself. Except it seems that that recusal came very late ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, and probably the last one of the year. After the marathon of the End of Life Choice Act, most of the bills up for debate today are uncontentious. First up is the second reading of Chlöe Swarbrick's Election Access Fund Bill. This will be followed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Worse than I thought
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has reported back on the government's odious and tyrannical control orders bill. As expected, the fraudulent select committee process has made no significant changes (partly because they couldn't agree, but mostly because it was a stitch-up from the start, with no intention of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The cannabis bill and the referendum
    Yesterday, the government released its draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which will be put to a non-binding referendum at the next election. I'm not a drug policy expert, but Russell Brown is, and he thinks its pretty good. And pretty obviously, it will be a massive improvement on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far
    As you're probably aware, the draft bill outlining the proposed legal cannabis regime to be put to a referendum late next year was published yesterday, and has already attracted a flurry of comment. It's notable that a good deal of the comment is about proposals that aren't actually new.A minimum ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Alignment
    One of the big problems in New Zealand climate change policy is the government working at cross-purposes with itself. It wants to reduce fossil fuel use, but encourages oil and gas exploration. It wants to reduce transport emissions, but then builds enormous new roads. The problem could be avoided if ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How climate change will affect food production and security
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz According to the United Nations, food shortages are a threat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • More bad faith
    Last year, the government announced it was ending offshore oil exploration by no longer issuing new permits. The idea was that the industry would then die off as permits expired. Except almost immediately the government revealed its bad faith, by saying they would extend permits and alter conditions to keep ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Banning foreign money from our elections
    The government has said it will ban foreign donations to political parties and candidates, and will be introducing legislation to be passed under all-stages urgency this afternoon. While I agree with the goal, I don't see a particular case for urgency, unless the government is concerned about a flood of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Reforming the Education Acts
    The government introduced the Education and Training Bill to Parliament yesterday. Its a massive bill, which replaces both existing Education Acts, as well as various other bits of legislation (including some which are still proceeding through the House). I'll leave the serious analysis to teachers and people who actually know ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Bite-sized learning
    Amelia SharmanThere’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to micro-credentials, those bits of bite-sized learning that can help workers stay on top of technological change.  What’s a micro-credential? While definitions vary, micro-credentials can be understood as short courses that allow people to learn new skills or have an existing competency recognised. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • “Not The Labour Party We Once Knew.”
    All Smiles Now: Claire Szabo is taking up her presidential role after serving as the CEO of Habitat For Humanity. Which is absolutely perfect! After KiwiBuild was so comprehensively mismanaged by Phil Twyford, the party has not only elected a new president from a thoroughly respectable not-for-profit, but one who ...
    1 week ago
  • Marxist versus liberal methodology on transgender ideology/identity politics
    While much of the NZ left has transitioned to postmodern and identity politics in relation to transgender ideology, there are some very good articles about that deploy Marxist methodology in relation to this subject.  The one below is from the British marxist group Counterfire and appeared on their site here ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Book review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos
    by Daphna Whitmore At Golden Oaks, a luxurious country retreat in the Hudson Valley, pregnant women have the best care money can buy. From the organic food, personalised exercise programmes, private yoga instruction and daily massages Golden Oaks looks like a country lodge for the upper class. Set some time ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
    When Labour was running for election in 2017, it felt it needed to demonstrate "fiscal responsibility" and signed itself up to masochistic "budget responsibility rules". It was a fool's errand: the sorts of voters who demand fiscal responsibility are also the sorts of voters who believe that labour can never ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: How to get there
    Writing in Stuff, Joel MacManus looks at what we need to do to meet the Zero Carbon Act's targets. The core of it:1. Convert 85 per cent of vehicles on the road to electric. 2. Eliminate fossil fuels from all industrial heating up to 300 degrees Celsius. 3. Double our ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • anti-vaxxers in a measles epidemic: so many ways to be untruthful
    “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa over the past twenty-four hours. “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    1 week ago
  • Is Youth Vaping a Problem in New Zealand?
    Professors Janet Hoek and Richard Edwards, Emeritus Professor Phil Gendall, Jude Ball, Dr Judith McCool, Anaru Waa, Dr Becky Freeman Recent media reports have presented conflicting evidence on youth vaping in NZ. While some NZ school principals report concerns about increasing vaping on school grounds and confiscating vapes, ASH Year ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • In pursuit of “Freedom and Democracy”: Forever Wars in “America’s backyard”.
    “America the Beautiful!”, staunch defender of democracy, freedom and… a whole lot of despotic tyrants that play nice with what is called “the Washington Consensus.” America is indeed capable of immense good, but like any Nation, and most assuredly any aspirant to the mantle of Empire, great, immense evil. All ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • November ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: The beginner’s guide to blogging 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 ...
    1 week ago
  • Whodunnit? Finding the mystery 1080 testing lab
    1080 is used to control pests in NZ. Its use is contested by a noisy few. A new report claims high levels of 1080 in rats washed up on a beach. Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa (F&F) won’t name the laboratory that did their testing. It has sparked a hunt ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Authoritarian Friends, Democratic Enemies.
    What Kind Of Empire? The thing for Kiwis to decide is what kind of empire they want to belong to. The kind that, while offering its own citizens democratic rights, demands absolute obedience from its “friends”? Or, the kind that, while authoritarian at home, takes a relaxed attitude to the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Boris Johnson Goes Down
    It hasn't been a good week for the Conservatives, pollwise.  All major recent polls are showing their lead shrinking.Comparing each pollster's current (between 29/11 and 22/11) and previous most recent poll.Com Res - Conservative lead down 3 points.You Gov - Conservative lead down 1 point.Kantar - Conservative lead down 4 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Interesting
    Within quick succession, Countdown maths wizard and twitterer Rachel Riley, alleged comedian David Baddiel and prominent lawyer Andrew Julius have all expressed very similar opinions / ideas:
    These #3billboards are going round London today, organised by ex-Labour people, horrified by what their party has become. Their principles haven’t changed, they’re ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Damn the Polls
    So, there have been a bunch of bad polls out for Labour, and even the Leftie's friend, Survation, have recently given the Conservatives a rip-snorting 11% lead.  You Gov's much vaunted MRP poll - which pretty much nailed the result in 2015 - is currently predicting a comfortable majority for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Europe declares an emergency
    The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to declare a climate emergency:The European parliament has declared a global “climate and environmental emergency” as it urged all EU countries to commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The vote came as scientists warned that the world may have already crossed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Bi-Partisan Commitment To X-ing “P”.
    Pure Fear: Worse than Heroin, this drug’s addictive power was terrifying. People under its influence didn’t drift off to Elysium. Nor did it persuade inadequate individuals that they could conquer the world. No, this drug – pure crystal methamphetamine, “P” for short – unlocked the gates of Hell itself. It ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Advice about measles: when ignorance is definitely not a virtue
    As the rate of measles infection, and of deaths, continues to climb in Samoa, antivaccination activists infectious disease proponents seem intent on doubling down on their claims about vaccination. (Check pretty much any news-media FB post about measles & you’ll see exactly what I mean.) Unfortunately, some of them have ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Samoa’s devastating measles epidemic – why and how bad?
    Samoa are experiencing a devastating measles epidemic. It is possible that 2-3% of the population will ultimately be infected by the time it is over. Hopefully the mass immunisation campaign currently under way can mitigate some of this, for many it is too late. The first question many people ask ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • “It’s basic rights we are defending”: the Meghan Murphy interview
    Meghan Murphy is a Canadian writer and journalist She runs the Feminist Current website which she founded in 2012.  She was a keynote speaker for the Feminism2020 conference in Wellington this month. When Massey University cancelled the original venue booking Feminism2020 was hosted in Parliament by MP David Seymour. Meghan ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • A week of protests in Colombia
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh Colombia has lived through one week of protests against the economic measures taken by president Duque. What looked like a protest that would fizzle out after its first day on November 21st is still going strong. Part of the reason for the continuance ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Anti-neutrinos–When you are your own opposite
    Around a million billion pass through you each second, almost all originating from our sun, but few of them are likely to interact with you enroute. I was reading in a physics magazine earlier in the week about the nature of neutrinos. These are extremely numerous elementary particles, but only ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • Exoplanets, life, and the danger of a single study
    By Pallab Ghosh There’s value in covering new research advances, even when the underlying science is unsettled. But there are also risks. The recent announcement that scientists discovered water on the planet K2-18b, 110 light years away, prompted a media swoon. News stories, including a piece written by me, billed ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The Intersex Continuum
    I wrote this review a couple of years ago when I was still in the process of getting my head around the politics of transgenderism, and specifically the claim that intersex conditions lend support to the notion that sex is ‘socially constructed’. Since writing this review I have come across ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Leaving us with the bill
    Two weeks ago, Malaysian-owned oil company Tamarind declared it was insolvent and went into administration after a failed offshore drilling campaign. Tamarind apparently specialises in buying oil fields at the end of their life and trying to squeeze out the last few drops of pollution. But part of their scam ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How much does flying contribute to climate change?
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz How much does our use of air travel contribute to the ...
    SciBlogsBy Shaun Hendy
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The task before us
    Two weeks ago, the Zero Carbon Act became law. Right this moment, the Climate Change Commisison will be working on its initial budgets for 2022-25 and 2026-2030, and the UN has just given them a very clear steer:Countries must make an unprecedented effort to cut their levels of greenhouse gases ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2309) Mr. Spock
    Minor planet/asteroid (2309) Mr. Spock is named not for the character in Star Trek, but for a cat that was itself imperturbable, logical, intelligent and had pointed ears In a preceding blog post I introduced one of my favourite asteroids, (2472) Bradman, and also mentioned (6581) Sobers amongst a few ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Measles deaths and antivax misinformation
    Today the death toll from measles in Samoa rose to 32. All but four of the dead were less than 5 years old. Absolutely terrible, heartbreaking, news. That statistic alone should be enough to give the lie to the common claim by antivaccination activists plague enthusiasts that “measles is a ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Colombia: the state murder of Dilan Cruz
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh It is late here in Bogotá, almost 11.30pm on Monday the 25th of November as I write this. The day began full of hope with yet more massive marches throughout the country, a mix of the International Day of Non-Violence Against Women and the National Strike. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Anti-fluoride propagandists appear not to read the articles they promote
    Anti-fluoride activists are rubbing their hands in glee over what they claim is “yet another study” showing fluoride harms the brains of children. But their promotion relies on IQ relationships which the paper’s authors acknowledge disappearing when outliers or other factors are considered. And they completely ignore other relationships ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The rise and collapse of classical political economy
    The feature below is the conclusion of A History of Economic Thought, whose author was a leading Marxist economist in Russia in the early 20th century, Isaac Ilyich Rubin.  The book arose from a course he ran at Moscow University following the Russian Revolution.  First published in Russian in 1929, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2472) Bradman
    There are many thousands of asteroids with formal names, some humdrum but other more noteworthy (depending on your predilections). One of my favourites, the name of which I was involved in suggesting, is (2472) Bradman, named for the Australian cricketing great.  As a minor planet (synonym: asteroid) spotter, I have ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago

  • $12 billion in extra infrastructure investment
    The Government is lifting capital investment to the highest level in more than 20 years as it takes the next step to future-proof New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced $12 billion of new investment, with $8 billion for specific capital projects and $4 billion to be added to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    36 mins ago
  • Strong economy, careful spending gives $12bn of surpluses
    The Government is forecast to run $12 billion worth of surpluses across the four years to 2023/24 as the economy continues to grow. The surpluses will help fund day-to-day capital requirements each year. These include fixing leaky hospitals, building new classrooms to cover population growth and take pressure off class ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    36 mins ago
  • Priorities for 2020 Wellbeing Budget outlined
    Budget 2020 will continue the Coalition Government’s focus on tackling the long-term challenges facing New Zealand while also investing to future-proof the economy. When the Government took office in 2017 it was left with crumbling infrastructure, severe underinvestment in public services, degraded rivers and lakes, a housing crisis and rising ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    36 mins ago
  • Minister welcomes data-rich coastline mapping tool
    The Minister responsible for the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 (te Takutai Moana Act 2011), Andrew Little has welcomed the launch of an online geospatial tool that provides data-rich, dynamic coastline maps that will significantly boost research and evidence-gathering under the Act. Te Kete Kōrero a Te ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Chief Victims Advisor reappointed for a further two years
    The Chief Victims Advisor to Government Dr Kim McGregor, QSO, has been reappointed in her role for a further two years. Dr McGregor has held the role since it was established in November 2015. She provides independent advice to government on how to improve the criminal justice system for victims. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • New Zealand tsunami monitoring and detection system to be established
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare have today announced the deployment of a network of DART (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami) buoys. “New Zealand and the Pacific region are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. It is vital we have adequate warning systems in place,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • DART Buoys Announcement
    DART Buoys Announcement Aotea Wharf, 9.30am 11 December 2019   Acknowledgements Acknowledgements to Minister for Civil Defence Hon Peeni Henare also here today. White Island It is with regret that this event shadows the tragic natural disaster two days ago. The volcanic eruptions on White Island have claimed 5 lives, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Final steps for racing industry reform
    Racing Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the first reading of the Racing Industry Bill in parliament today. This is the second of two Bills that have been introduced this year to revitalise New Zealand’s racing industry. “Our domestic racing industry has been in serious decline.  The Government is committed to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Funding to promote New Zealand Sign Language initiatives
    Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni, is pleased to announce that $291,321 is to be awarded to national and local community initiatives to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). “New Zealand is one of the few countries  in the world where Sign Language is an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • How New Zealand defines and recognises veterans
    Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has announced today the Coalition Government’s initial response to work completed by the independent statutory body, the Veterans’ Advisory Board. “When Professor Ron Paterson completed his review of the Veterans’ Support Act in 2018, he made a number of recommendations, including one which I referred ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Government to fund lion’s share of Ohakea water scheme
    The Government will fund the bulk of the cost of a rural water supply for the Ohakea community affected by PFAS contamination, Environment Minister David Parker announced today at a meeting of local residents. This new water scheme will provide a reliable and clean source of drinking water to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister statement on White Island eruption
    I have had the opportunity to be briefed on the details of the volcanic eruption of Whakaari/White Island, off the coast of Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty.  The eruption happened at 2.11pm today.  It continues to be an evolving situation.  We know that there were a number of tourists ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt funds $100k for weather-hit communities
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare have today confirmed initial Government support of $100,000 for communities affected by the severe weather that swept across the South Island and lower North Island over the weekend. The contribution will be made to Mayoral relief funds across the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Death of NZ High Commissioner to Cook Islands
    New Zealand's High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, Tessa Temata, died in Palmerston North over the weekend, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today. Ms Temata, 52, had recently returned to New Zealand for medical treatment. "On behalf of the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, we extend ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Wellington rail upgrade full steam ahead
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced construction is underway on Wellington commuter rail upgrades which will mean more frequent services and fewer breakdowns. The upgrades include converting the Trentham to Upper Hutt single track section to a double track, with a new signalling system, upgraded stations and level crossings, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Defence Climate Change Implementation Plan released
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark and Minister for Climate Change James Shaw have announced the release of a Defence Climate Change Implementation Work Plan, titled Responding to the Climate Crisis: An Implementation Plan.  The plan sets out a series of recommendations based on the 2018 New Zealand Defence Assessment, The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt releases funding to support South Canterbury
    A medium-scale adverse event has been declared for the South Canterbury district, which will see up to $50,000 in funding made available to support farming communities which have been significantly affected by recent heavy rain and flooding in the area, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “Two weeks of solid rain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech at launch of Rethinking Plastics Report
    Thank you Professor Juliet Gerrard and your team for the comprehensive and extremely helpful report and recommendations. Thank you too to all the stakeholders and interested parties who have contributed ideas and thinking to it. “Making best practice, standard practice” is a great framework for change and the action plan ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt pledges next steps on plastic waste
    The Government will phase out more single-use plastics following the success of its single-use plastic bag ban earlier this year and the release today of a pivotal report for dealing with waste. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed the Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealandreport, released by her Chief Science Advisor ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • International student enrolments grow in universities and the regions
    International education continues to thrive as the Government focuses on quality over quantity, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. The tuition revenue from international education increased to $1.16 billion last year with the average tuition fee per student increasing by $960. The total number of international students enrolled in New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech to Government Economics Network 2019 Conference
    I want to talk about one of the most pressing issues in our national life: the housing crisis and the poor performance of our cities. The argument I want to make to you is that generations of urban land use policy have lacked a decent grounding in economics. The consequences ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • DHB leadership renewed and strengthened
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says new appointments to DHBs represent a significant changing of the guard, with 13 new chairs including four Māori chairs. Today 76 appointments have been announced to complement elected board members, as well as eight elected members appointed as either chair or deputy chair.  Four ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tabuteau to advance New Zealand’s trade and political interests with European partners
    Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Fletcher Tabuteau, is travelling to Germany, Poland, Austria, and Spain next week to bolster New Zealand’s political and trade relationships in Europe. While in Spain, Mr Tabuteau will represent New Zealand at the 14th Asia-Europe (ASEM) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Madrid. “New Zealand strongly supports ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Kris Faafoi
    “I’ve spoken to Minister Faafoi, who has apologised for his poor handling of this issue,” Jacinda Ardern said. “I have confidence in Kris as a hardworking and effective Minister, but this should have been dealt with in a much clearer manner, and I’ve made my views on that very clear ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Tonga-New Zealand Joint Ministerial Forum
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters met with Tongan Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa in Wellington today. The pair signed a Statement of Partnership setting out joint priorities for cooperation out to 2023.  “We welcomed Prime Minister Tu'i'onetoa on his first visit to New Zealand as Prime Minister. Tonga ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Shooting in Kurow
    The Minister of Police Stuart Nash says his sympathies are with the family of a man who died after being shot by Police in Kurow. “Initial reports are that Police were called by a family member to help the man who was threatening to harm himself,” Mr Nash says. “However ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government delivers funding boost for ethnic communities
    Ethnic communities will be able to plan and deliver more community initiatives thanks to an increase in Government funding, Minister for Ethnic Communities Hon Jenny Salesa said today. “Ensuring Aotearoa New Zealand is a place we can all be proud to call home has been a key priority of our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt supports Southland farmers in sustainability
    Healthier waterways, better productivity and farmer wellbeing are front and centre in a new project involving more than 1000 Southland farmers and growers. Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor today announced that the Thriving Southland Change and Innovation Project is the first region-wide extension programme supported by the $229 million Sustainable ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Flood of support for Top of the South catchment
    Work to look after nature and restore freshwater quality in Te Hoiere/Pelorus River catchment is getting a significant boost, thanks to new Government funding support Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage announced in Canvastown today. “Every New Zealander should be able to swim in their local river without getting sick, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Eight Queen’s Counsel appointed under new criterion
    Eight Queen’s Counsel have been appointed under a process that includes the new criterion of a commitment to improving access to justice, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. “The new criterion was included this year. It emphasises that excellence and leadership in the profession can be seen through a wider, community ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Major expansion for Wellington’s Onslow College
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