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The Dear John Letter

Written By: - Date published: 2:02 pm, May 13th, 2011 - 36 comments
Categories: class war, don brash, john key - Tags: ,

This letter is getting more media attention than it deserves, because its basically Brash regurgitating his 2025 task force stuff. Key and the Nats have, quite rightly, ignored it once, and they’ll ignore it this time too. But I guess it’s fun how it has the right wing “true believers” all hot and bothered. So, for what it’s worth, here is Don Brash’s letter to Dear John…


Rt Hon John Key
Prime Minister
Parliament Buildings
Wellington

12 May 2011

Dear John

It was with a very heavy heart that I felt obliged to resign my membership of the National Party and to seek the leadership of the ACT Party.

I reached my decision after watching with mounting dismay the performance of your Government.

You made great play of your ambition for New Zealand, and your determination to close the trans-Tasman wage gap and staunch the flow of our best young minds to more successful countries.

Yet you have done almost nothing to fulfill that ambition, and now appear to have given up on that goal.

I have not.

Why are you continuing Labour’s wasteful spending?

In Opposition, we both railed against the Clark Government’s squandering of our people’s hard-earned resources:
– the waiving of interest on student loans, which Bill English rightly called “an election year bribe on an unprecedented scale”
– the way the high marginal tax rates of Working for Families create an incentive not to work harder
– the exorbitant cost of KiwiSaver subsidies
– the unaffordable move from subsidizing doctors’ visits for the poor and chronically ill to subsidizing higher earners’ visits as well.

Yet your Government has done almost nothing to wind back this spending. Two and a half years on, the ratio of government spending to the size of the economy is higher now than it ever was under Labour.

As a result, the Government is borrowing over $300 million a week. That’s $300 added to the debt of every New Zealand family, every week.

That is totally irresponsible. It’s what Labour voters voted for, not National voters.

Why are you stopping young people from working?

In Opposition, National opposed getting rid of the minimum youth wage. One member, I recall, went so far as to suggest this was the route to communism.

You knew the worldwide pattern, as I did – that most employers will not hire teenagers if they’re forced to pay them the same as adults.

Yet in Government, you actually voted against a bill to bring back youth rates. You deprived another 12,000 young people of the chance to get a foot on the job ladder. Instead of allowing them to work for $10 an hour, you consigned them to the dole for $4.50.

That’s what Labour voters voted for, not National voters.

Why did you change your position so completely on the Emissions Trading Scheme?

In Opposition, we both hammered Labour for seeking to be world leaders in combating greenhouse gas emissions. We argued on behalf of our farmers – the lifeblood of this nation – that instead we should be fast followers.

Yet in Government, you’ve introduced the world’s first all-sectors, all-gases Emissions Trading Scheme, sending farmers the message to turn wealth-generating farm land into idle forests.

That’s what Green voters voted for, not National voters.

Why are you ignoring reality on superannuation?

In Opposition, I argued the crucial need to gradually raise the age of eligibility for New Zealand Superannuation, so that it will still be there when people need it.

Every informed observer agrees with me on this. Many other developed countries, including Australia, have already bitten the bullet and announced plans to raise the age of eligibility.

Yet you have promised to resign as Prime Minister rather than face up to this need to secure New Zealanders’ future.
This is just as irresponsible as Labour’s interest-free student loans or middle-class welfare. You are condemning older workers to a sudden shock, or younger workers to intolerably high taxes.

That’s what New Zealand First voters voted for, not National voters.

Why are you widening, not closing, the trans-Tasman wage gap?

In Opposition, we both expressed grave concern about the widening wage gap between New Zealand and Australia.

You gave an excellent speech just before the 2008 election committing any government which you led to bridging that gap.
After the election, you agreed to set up a Taskforce to advise how best to achieve that goal by 2025. You appointed me as chairman of that Taskforce.

Yet to date, you’ve dismissed virtually every recommendation the Taskforce has made. I’ve asked several times if we could meet and discuss our two reports. Each time you’ve declined to meet me.
From time to time, you’ve reaffirmed your commitment to the goal. But there’s not the slightest sign that you’re taking it seriously.

Now you’ve abolished the Taskforce. And of course, the gap continues to grow.

Nobody voted for that – certainly not National voters.

Why did you abandon National’s commitment to equal citizenship?

In Opposition, successive leaders of the National Party have argued for treating all New Zealanders as equal before the law, and for abolishing separate Maori electorates.

Most of your voters would have assumed that a National Government would take those policies seriously.

Yet in Government, you have:
– retained the privileged position of Maori under various statutes
– ratified the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (which even Helen Clark refused to do)
– created an unelected Maori Advisory Board for Auckland
– created a special Maori advisory committee for the Environmental Protection Authority
– made no moves to abolish separate Maori electorates
– pushed through the Marine and Coastal Area Bill, despite having pledged to pull the Bill if it did not have broad public support – which it certainly did not.

That’s what Maori Party voters voted for – certainly not National voters.

Why are you running New Zealand for our opponents?

And so John, I’m forced to agree with those who say you are not running the country for the benefit of all New Zealanders, but for the former Labour and Green voters who crossed over to you in 2008 for, effectively, a three year trial.

And, of course, for the Maori Party MPs, for whose support you seem prepared to trade away a vast treasure chest of our nation’s coastal mineral wealth.

Needless to say, honouring some of your commitments would have required courage. Reversing Labour’s immoral election bribes would not have been easy.

But you have spent the last three years building up probably the greatest reserves of prime ministerial popularity in New Zealand history. What’s the point of cultivating such influence unless you plan to use it to help our country?

And if you won’t use it now, in this time of crisis, when will you?

So many people hold you in high esteem. Surely you should easily be able to convince them of the urgent need for responsible economic management. After all, every New Zealand household is having to tighten its belt at the moment.

I’m sure they’d support the need to cut wasteful spending, given that we’ve suffered the worst international economic crisis in three generations and two devastating earthquakes.

To be borrowing more than $300 million every week – most of it from foreign lenders – is unconscionable right now. New Zealand’s total overseas debt is already up there with that of Spain and Portugal, and continues to rise.

The electorate gave you a mandate to reverse the excesses of the Labour Government. You had an international environment which demanded firm action.

With ACT’s five MPs, you had a comfortable majority in Parliament. You could have implemented all your pre-election policies.

And so, with deep regret, I felt I had no alternative than to resign my membership of the National Party.

Sincerely,
Don Brash

36 comments on “The Dear John Letter”

  1. tc 1

    exit stage right…..next up the rt hon shonkey will read the next chapter of the business rountables script for the 2011 election.

    The hollow men pretend they don’t love each other…..do me a favour, it’s all an act, pardon the pun.

  2. Interestingly the pdf information indicates that the letter was written by someone called “John”.  I wonder what this can mean?
     
    At Red Alert Trevor Mallard has posted on Simon Lusk and the takeover of ACT.  National’s fingerprints, particularly Banks’ and Joyce’s are all over it.
     
    This letter is IMHO the start of the PR job to distance the two parties and obliterate the impression that ACT has been taken over by National.  It probably also represents the continuation of infighting within National about why it has not gone as far as some think it should.  ACT is merely a front for the hard right in National who want to implement right wing policies but are frustrated at the lack of progress.

  3. toad 3

    Dear Don

    Why don’t you just fuck off and stop pushing your RWNJ dogma onto us?

    Sincerely,
    Toad

    • Peter Rabbit 3.1

      Don’t see Don pushing anything on you or NZ. He is simply putting forward an alternative position to the the other political parties. Voters will either accept it or reject it in November.

      Like the Mana party the way I see it the more political parties and viewpoints that end up on Parliament the better for the NZ public.

      • Jim Nald 3.1.1

        From the HardTalk interview, I had observed John Key would perform better being interviewed on SoftCo*k.
        From Don Brash’s letter, the content can be regarded as TalkCo*k.
        They must think voters really stupid to fall for this hard right – soft right poppycock.

        So Brash is taking up letter-writing and penpalling with his political sockpuppet in public while they are in cahoots out of the public eye? Puh-leazze

  4. HitchensFan 4

    That racist old fool John Ansell surely?

  5. HitchensFan 5

    Dear Don

    Thanks for your letter.

    I hereby advise you that I will be standing in Epsom in November.

    I look forward to seeing you on November 27th at the ACT disestablishment function.

    Yours,

    JK

    • RobertM 5.1

      An act part disestablishment function on 27 Nov. It would be thrilling- the new puritans are incapable of drowning their sorrows. I once attended a Roger Douglas function- a ticket only, charged political gathering with half the current act caucus. Them seemed to find even my consumption of a single Heinekin shocking. As for the ex members- the party old boys are doddering – on the Radio NZ National 4pm chat session,Stephen Franks expressed outrage that his enjoyment of functions, marriages etc was ruined by the modern music ( invented about 1963!) they played, drowning out the old boys conversation. Franks favourite memories seems to be watching large rabid eels feed at the Taumaranui sewer outlet. Despite the talk of Foreman and Dons love child the act party are about 15 years past there wife and husband swapping days.

  6. All this letter will do is bring the very red-neck vote from the Nat’s thus the Nat’s can then move a bit more to the Left (on paper) so as to pick up some Labour votes. This has Crosby -Textor written all over it.
    I just hope the voting public does not fall for this , but I worry that they may.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Vote for John, get Don for free.

      • Jim Nald 6.1.1

        Hate to contradict you but when it comes to donkey, it won’t be free but will come at a price.
        A big price that taxpayers will be paying for.

    • Tangled up in blue 6.2

      Or . . . some of the moderate National voters who shifted from Labour circa 2008 are scared back to Labour.

  7. Anne 7

    There’s more to this than meets the eye. Read Mallard’s Red Alert posts on the topic over the past week including today’s..

    The key sentence:
    The prize now is the anti MMP campaign for which resources are now being organised. $100k +.

    I’m sure that’s the current aim of the exercise. Discredit MMP and get rid of it. Replace with a supplementary voting scheme which will be set up in such a way it will, in practice, be a return to an FPP-type election. That gets rid of the the pesky small parties like the Greens, Maori Parties and ACT. Then National – with the financial support of the rich pricks – will reign supreme forever.

    Now what are the MSM media going to do about it? Put NZ and it’s democratic processes first – or themselves? I hope it is the former but fear the latter.

  8. tc 8

    Anne, there is no media of note anymore in NZ simply mediums for delivering the owners message.

  9. Pascal's bookie 10

    John Campbell on the twitter:

    Parties Dr Brash doesn’t like: National, Labour, Maori, Greens, NZ First. But United Future escaped his wrath. Grr! The Don Dunne coalition!

    Also, this picture of “Don, with all the folk he likes:”

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/112/286182283_a39cf845f2.jpg

  10. Treetop 11

    Just heard Brash on Newstalk zb. Pretty much said that National is a defacto Labour government as they have continued with Labours main policies. The reason for continuing Labour policy is because if they do not they will not get voted back in. Labour increased public spending by 43 % in their last four years according to Brash.

    Brash did not raise the cost of tax cuts for the top 20 % who really don’t need it. Every time Brash is interviewed lately he mentions the $300 million being borrowed every week.

    • Carol 11.1

      Treetop @5.46pm: In which Brash shows his utter contempt for democracy!

    • Lanthanide 11.2

      Wonder how much Brash’s/National’s 2005 election tax cuts would have cost us?

      • Treetop 11.2.1

        I have to wonder how much the public spending would have been in 2005 under Brash?

        To me the real difference between Labour and National is that Labour improve the cost of living across the board due to reaching the mass with public spending and National improve the cost of living for the top 20 % by reducing public spending to pay for their (top 20 %) tax cuts.

  11. Dear Don:
    Go away. You’re in charge of an electorally unviable political party, prone to dysfunctional outbursts of fratricidal infighting.

    Moreover, you are an inflexible ideologue and your hardline neoconservatism is not what New Zealand needs right now. Newsflash, you bald bozo- New Zealand’s population is a fraction the size of Australia, we don’t have access to their abundance of mineral resources, and the sort of low wage, non-unionised economic prescription that you favour will result in accelerated outflow to Australia, Western Europe and North America.

    Furthermore, your populist Maori-bashing drivel loses sight of one important fact of electoral arithmetic. ACT only has one pinion seat, Epsom. If somehow Richard Worth had retained the seat in 2005, ACT would have been obliterated altogether. As matters stand, at least Turia and Flavell will be returned to Parliament, providing me with an insurance policy should your extremism succeed in denying the centre-right majority government in its own right.

    Added to which, you’re only doing this out of sour grapes because I displaced you as National leader. I think you need to have a good hard look at our counterpart Cameronian Tories and Harper’s Canadian contingent. Incrementalism and stealth win elections. That’s why I’m PM and you’re just a divorced baldie languishing on the sidelines these days.

    Push off and don’t slam the door on your way out.

    Yours in annoyance,
    HRH John Key.

  12. >And, of course, for the Maori Party MPs, for whose support you seem prepared to trade away a vast treasure chest of our nation’s coastal mineral wealth.<

    Maori would be lucky to get tailings, the so called mineral wealth would* be going to Don and John's mates.
    Except peak oil is going to put all those plane in the WPB 😉

    Some of what Don is proposing is from someone who has a slightly better understanding of what peak oil and total global economic collapse is all about, as opposed to smile and wave, at least Don has some idea this picnic can't continue.

    Unfortunately Don doesn't quite get it. but so few of us do.

  13. Georgecom 14

    Don castigates National for running the country to suit Labour and Green voters. Agreed Don, totally unacceptable. Key should be running NZ to suit the 2.5% of voters who voted for ACT.

    Or, you are an arrogant man pushing failed policies which are 2 decades old.

    • Aye.

      Although two decades or two centuries?

      • Draco T Bastard 14.1.1

        When was the Han Dynasty?

      • Carol 14.1.2

        I saw, but didn’t have time to listen to, Brash on the Beatson interview this morning on Stratos while I was getting ready for work. He looks like a relic from a bygone era – like an old British colonialist, for instance, or maybe an antipodean version of Boris Karloff. Brash was sitting upright and stiff, looking awkward but kind of smug. He does look weird and out of place in contemporary NZ – like he’s parachutted in from somewhere else.

        Goff was the second person interviewed. I hope it shows again, I’d like to hear the interviews.

  14. Armchair Critic 15

    Dear Don

    Thank you for resigning as a member of the National Party. You were not a hit as the leader of the party, you will not be missed as a member of the party.

    You have asked a series of questions that demonstrate, at a fundamental level, why National were doomed to failure under your leadership.

    Spending
    One of the reasons National won the 2008 election, under my leadership, is that we promised not to change many of Labour’s flagship policies. We had to swallow a few dead rats to get into government, but at least we managed to form a government.
    Many people wh voted National did so because we promised to be Labour-lite – these people are National voters.
    Your failure to understand this is why you were such a poor leader of the National Party. Or are you just jealous that you didn’t think of it?
    Youth Unemployment
    You say you believe in one law for all, yet you believe that young people should not be subject to the same legal protection as adults.
    Through a combination of poor economic management by Dr English and the global financial crisis, unemployment is high at the moment. All you are really suggesting is that some adults should be unemployed so some teenagers can have a job. These adults are more likely to vote National than the youths. Our majority is small enough and we can’t afford to lose to many votes or it will be 2005 all over again, and you know that didn’t turn out good for National.
    NOTE TO SELF – rely less on people with PhDs for economic advice.
    ETS

    We mostly argued with Labour about how to manage climate change, not whether it should be managed. Because we know that the vast majority of scientists agree that climate change is occurring. Unlike the vast majority of economists, who have trouble agreeing on anything.
    The emissions trading scheme was necessary, because National signed up to the Kyoto Protocol in the 90s, and it’s a good way to direct subsidies to farmers. A fair bit of National’s vote comes from farmers, so we need to keep them on side and a handout from the government goes a long way, as you may recall from your recent work on the 2025 taskforce. Thugh it appears that that sop wasn’t enough to keep you on side.
    Superannuation
    Reality on superannuation is that old people vote, and superannuation is important to them. Crap on them at your own risk.
    Catching Australia
    The 2025 Taskforce report wasn’t worth the paper it was written on, and none of the suggestions would have helped NZ catch Australia. Ever. It was widely panned and it would have been political suicide for National to endorse it.
    Equal Citizenship
    Hone Harawira, who is not famous for his tact or diplomacy, walked all over you on Close Up, and made you look like an uninformed bigot. Many New Zealandes see straight through your racism, many of them vote National.
    Your trick of linking issues to parties look at things the wrong way. A party that does not appeal to Labour voters, NZ First voters, Green voters, Maori Party voters and appeals to a small minority of National voters is doomed to irrelevance. I wish you all the success you deserve as the leader of that party.
    The Armchair Critic
    pp John Key

  15. Mike 16

    Hey but for a bit of fun value, why not publish all the remaining ‘open/secret’ letters doing the rounds in ACT?

    Chris Simmons
    ACT Party President
    Friday 13 May 2011

    Dear Don

    Your letter to the Prime Minister today entitled “Dear John” inspired me to write this to you.

    Since you’re a new member, you might not know that I only recently became the ACT Party President after the former President, Dr Michael Crozier, resigned in curious circumstances shortly after defending Peter Tashkoff’s right to remain a member after publicly calling Rodney Hide to account for the same things that you’ve since stated in the media (like he was toxic and his brand was tarnished etc). I guess your ascent to the leadership has now proved these things to be fundamental truths which we all agree with. I hope that Peter isn’t too peeved because we really need some quality candidates right now! Actually any members would be good but Winston and Kyle are squeezing our market a bit since David Garrett cocked his leg on ACT.

    Anyway, I can understand why you might be a bit wary of me at the moment. After all, in response to your audacious public loss of internal monologue to Tracey Watkins, I was compelled (some have said scripted) to say that you were just playing to your own ego and that you were an old man that has been passed over by the National Party previously, have not had your words heard on the 2025 taskforce by the Prime Minister… angry, … grumpy and this is your attempt to try and destabilise ACT.

    But I want to go to Parliament as an MP and so I can’t do the honourable thing and fall on my sword because of those words. I know there’s a clear conflict of interest in being President and wanting a top list placing but I was told it would be OK (before you came along anyway).

    So no hard feelings huh? And you are top of my priority help list after Rodney OK? BTW if there’s anything that you are still really peeved about like the love child rumours, the baseless Heather Roy rumours that caused you to change your mind to Boscawen at the last minute or the Hide ministerial warrant games; you should ask someone who might know more than me like Bruce Haycock, Brian Nicolle, Stuart Wilson or Chris Diack (I have a few more names and some emails and texts if that will help!). There were also a couple of staffers in Bowen House who used to talk pretty freely (if inaccurately) to the media over the last couple of years but I understand that they lost their jobs when Boscawen ceased to be a Minister.

    You’ll appreciate that, as a business consultant, I would be in big trouble financially if you and your extensive business networks blackballed me. So, in a way, I guess I’m begging for my income as well as my list placing.

    The rest of the Board and Caucus are going to write to you separately over the next little while.

    Best Regards,

    Chris.

  16. Tanz 17

    Agree with Don’s letter, entirely. If Don had become PM instead of John, the country would be in recovery mode. All John wants is popularity and the status quo, exactly what he has.

    But Don is right –

    John is not implementing any of his pre-election promises, he basically has betrayed the people who voted National in 2008. Labour go soft on John, I’d say, because he pretty much fits their mould, and hasn’t dismantled anything they put in place, and is basically just coasting along. No smiling assassin, after all. Where’s the courage?

    Don, in my view, he wanted the job for the status and glory, but not to actually change anything, or to honour his pre-election promises.

    I’ll not vote National as long as John remains the leader, I’m so disappointed witih the result. Smile and wave, nice man, but watery weak.

    In it for the popularity. How sad is that.

    History will be the judge. NZ continues to spiral into the mire. Scary. Holyoake would be aghast, as would Muldoon. National voters betrayed and lied to, anything for perks and puff. Yikes. Now that’s hollow.

    Go Don. My vote goes to Act. I kn ow other former Nat voters who feel pretty much the same. Despair.

  17. randal 18

    looks like old don has gone to warp 11 on the di-lithium drive.

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    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    4 days ago
  • A bulletin from Greece
    Redline received this article from the KOE a Marxist party in Greece Our friends in the KOE describe here the mounting crisis in Greece and tensions on the Turkish border. As desperate people flee from their homelands which have been ruined after decades of imperialist wars and interventions the people ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
    As the first week of Level Four lockdown unfolded, mounting questions grew as to just what was (and was not) allowed under its “rules”. Partly these were driven by some apparently contradictory messages from different authority figures and explanations carried in the media. Partly they reflected a somewhat sketchy legal basis ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    5 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

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

    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    5 days ago
  • Maybe axing Clark would be unfair. But what about any of this is fair?
    Yesterday was the day the consequences of the lockdown suddenly got very real for many. Firms have been closing and laying people off since the outset of the quarantine but this has mostly been happening out of the public eye. The mass closure of a number of iconic New Zealand ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    5 days ago
  • Might a ‘Coasean’ social contract mitigate overall societal harm from COVID-19?
    Brian Williamson1, Prof Nick Wilson2 (1Economic consultant, UK; 2University of Otago Wellington) In this blog, we outline how a win-win social contract could be forged to address the major dimensions of response to the COVID-19 pandemic when using a mitigation strategy: the particular need to protect older people from high ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
    Resuming Normal Service: The Republican Party's nominee for in 1920, Warren Harding, promised the American people: “not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration”. If she wishes to remain our prime minister, then Jacinda Ardern will offer New Zealanders the same.HOW EDUCATED AMERICA snickered when the ...
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
    No Free Society Without A Free And Functioning News Media: If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating Covid-19, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders simply because it improves their bottom line.I’M ...
    5 days ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Lockdown day 8
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    6 days ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    6 days ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    6 days ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    6 days ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    6 days ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    7 days ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing or ...
    7 days ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    7 days ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    7 days ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    1 week ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    1 week ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    1 week ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    1 week ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    1 week ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago

  • NZ horticulture sector feeding Kiwis and the world during COVID-19
    More New Zealanders are taking up the chance to work in horticulture as the sector keeps New Zealanders fed and in jobs during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown. “Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Work to repurpose PGF funds begins
    The Provincial Development Unit is working through applications and projects to see where Provincial Growth Fund money can be repurposed for initiatives deemed more critical to fighting the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “We need to be throwing everything we have at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • A million workers supported by Govt wage subsidy
    The Government’s wage subsidy to protect jobs and keep workers and businesses connected during the lockdown has now supported over a million New Zealanders, with $6.6 billion already paid out. “We’re supporting businesses to pay wages, and stay connected with their workers so that we are all in a better ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Government helps Pacific communities fight COVID
    The Government is stepping up efforts to help protect New Zealand’s Pacific communities in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet has agreed that $17 million will be allocated to support a COVID-19 Pacific Response Package, which will: Support Pacific health and disability services facing increased demand; Ramp up public health messaging ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark
    “Yesterday evening the Health Minister advised me of his trip to a beach during the lockdown and offered his resignation,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses.  “But right now, my priority is our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Statement from David Clark
    Last night as part of my preparation for the Epidemic Response Committee, I provided the Prime Minister with a complete picture of my activity outside my home during Alert Level 4.  That included the fact that on the first weekend of the Alert Level 4 lockdown I drove my family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • COVID-19 mental health support begins
    A range of support is being rolled out across New Zealand to help people look after their mental health during COVID-19 Health Minister David Clark said this morning. “COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives and many of us will be feeling some level of distress or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
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