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The economics of the Christchurch earthquake

Written By: - Date published: 1:00 pm, September 7th, 2010 - 27 comments
Categories: Economy - Tags:

There’s been some frankly bizarre talk about the earthquake being an economic boon for the country. I guess the Right is just desperate for anything to improve the economy under National. So, I thought it would be worthwhile going through the economic ramifications of the earthquake from the immediate effects to long term:

Initial effects: The economic heart of Christchurch is shut down. About $2 billion worth of damage has been done, much of this damage will impede economic activity. Infrastructure is damaged as are buildings and factories. People are dislocated, injured, or busy trying to get their personal lives together. People needing elective surgery are unable to get it. In economic terms, the large parts of both the capital and labour needed for production are out of action.

Westpac, using a model derived from the Los Angeles and Napier earthquakes, estimates that $300 million of economic activity will be lost (0.2% of GDP). ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley puts the hit at 0.6% of GDP. NZIER was already forecasting that growth in this December quarter would be -0.2%. That’s likely to be much worse now.

The damage will include businesses that are already on the brink thanks to the recession going to the wall and hundreds if not thousands of job losses. Those workers who lose their jobs will flood an already bad jobs market. The government will lose tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue and face big increases in costs from emergency benefits, ACC claims, and its share of the cost of rebuilding local infrastructure before we even get to the EQC payouts. The added borrowing needed to fill the gap will probably mean the government has to pay more interest on its debt.

The Earthquake Commission, logically, has most of its assets offshore, and so do the insurance companies. To make the payouts, they’re going to have to buy a lot of New Zealand dollars – higher demand equals higher exchange rate. Offsetting this, possibly, is that it just became much less likely the Reserve Bank will increase interest rates again, which should dampen demand for the dollar. Overall, the effect is that we haven’t seen a sharp fall in the currency, which would have been a boon for exporters, that you might expect from a disaster like this.

Medium term: EQC and insurance companies will begin making payouts within weeks but it will be months before the big rebuilding starts. The rebuilding will increase GDP by about 1% of a year’s output when it is spent because GDP simply reflects economic activity in a given time period not accumulated wealth. But that will only be returning the country’s physical wealth to where it was before, it will not be real economic gain.

If I break my cellphone and have to dip into my savings to replace it, I am not better off, I am worse off – even if the new phone is better because obviously I had preferred to have my old phone and my savings rather than the new phone. The same is true of the need to spend our savings on rebuilding. People who say it’s good for the economy are forgetting that the rebuilding is funded by giving up our savings and the option to spend them elsewhere. That’s the broken windows fallacy – it mistake of seeing what is gained but not what is lost, or mistaking temporary economic activity for economic wealth.

It is good timing, however, in one sense. The slow-down in commercial construction was about to put 20,000 jobs at risk. At least they’ll have something to do for a while now, and the construction industry has the spare plant and equipment for the rebuilding task. Of course, that’s just jobs that would otherwise be lost saved, not new jobs created.

Longer term: once the rebuilding is over, there will be little to show for it. The boost of the rebuilding itself will not be permanent and will contribute little to long-term production capacity. Once the rebuilding is over, the GDP boost will disappear. That’s true of a stimulus package too, of course. But the idea is that a stimulus package gets the economy revved up again and builds up its production capacity. The rebuilding of Christchurch will not be like that it’s not going to create sustainable economic momentum or add greatly to the productive capacity of Christchurch.

As Westpac noted “This will boost national GDP by far more than the initial income loss, with a corresponding letdown once the reconstruction boom ends.” Just as with the Rugby World Cup, the one-off up-tick in GDP will be matched by a corresponding downwards movement when the spending stops. This is not a permanent increase in economic output.

This boom and bust might further damage business confidence and, with it, longer-term growth.

Ultimately, about $2 billion of capital from the government and private insurers will be converted into expenditure to rebuild the capital that was lost. In the end, we replace the physical assets by running down our financial assets via a temporary increase in economic activity but our national wealth is decreased – that can’t be forgotten.

Of course, I and others have been arguing for some time that the government should decrease its net assets to more economic activity. Of course, we meant by borrowing, rather than selling assets like the EQC will but essentially it’s the same thing from the perspective of the government books. The difference is that, without the earthquake, we could have spent that money on re-igniting the economy and making a wealthier country for the future. Now it needs to be spent just on what was lost.

We’re going to be left with higher net debt, which we will either pay interest on or pay down – either option means less consumption/lower economic standard of living in the long term

27 comments on “The economics of the Christchurch earthquake”

  1. Richard 1

    I agree with all that.

    However, there will be a boom for individual businesses, particularly those in construction. It is for the economy as a whole that there is a net loss.

    As you note, there will be in some cases some marginal benefit, in that when something is rebuilt it could be “better” than what existed previously. For example, when considering energy efficiency, it is often uneconomic to retro-fit energy efficiency measures to a built structure, whereas it is quite economically viable to incorporate energy efficiency into a new build. Likewise, replacement buildings are likely to have better earthquake strengthening incorporated (or you’d like to think so).

    • ZB 1.1

      I disagree. A sustainable economy requires a working ChCh. The argument basically seems to
      be that its a cost, but actually its more like a reinvestment. Companies, Households, Nations,
      all have crisis that hit them, if they are governed well they have stores of money to cover the
      re-investment. Government runs a EQC for this, has insurace for this, has a low govt debt for
      this reason. We’ve already saved to pay for disasters. We’ve already had some of the pain.

      The economy needs a kick in the teeth, if the ChCh Quake makes manufacturing exporters
      jobs harder, if it puts money into tradespeople in ChCh, if we build new quake resistent
      buildings, and stop new subsections on sand (like on that beach subsection in the Coromandal,
      because its now a huge insurance risk to build so close to the sea, on sand.

      Sorry, we live in interesting times and we should beware because simple analysis doesn’t work.
      We are rebuilding! Rebuilding with savings! We saved for the purpose! At the bottom of the
      market, not the top! Not when every developer shister is selling crap – like that subsection in
      ChCh built on SAND! Nobody knows if this is a good thing, I think sometimes you get lucky
      with a early morning quake removing a lot of previously buildings needing expensive
      quake resistent upgrades without any loss of life.

      And the Quake just keeps giving, dispelling the impression of the loose financal era,
      that we can trust big business, that markets will save us not good regulation.

      It could have be so much worse. Imagine the quake with Key in charge in 2006-7,
      and the whole developer speculator class lining up for handouts to rebuild ChCh,
      the debt Key would have run up with tax cuts to the few would have made NZ
      a Greece, Ireland, Spain.

  2. Zaphod Beeblebrox 2

    I was under the impression that for economic stimulus to be effective it had to be spent quickly so that the money recycled through the economy immediately for short periods of economic downturn. Given how long it takes it get building permits, import building materials (which adds to the current account deficit) and get a builder, I would have thought the stimulus effect would be extremely diluted by the anticipitated time this money will be spent over.

    • Blighty 2.1

      to make a measurable difference, you would have to spend it quickly but it would just be quicker up, quicker down.

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 2.1.1

        But whats the point of stringing it out? In 12 months time the recession may be a distant memory and all you will end up doing is stoking inflation, higher interest rates and government debt. Economic cycles move a lot quicker than decision makers apparently which renders a lot of these decisions irrelevant.

    • Loota 2.2

      The stimulus effect is a lost cause – yes firms and contractors are going to get big injections of Govt and insurance money – but they are probably going to direct it to paying off debt (household and company) and saving reserves for (the next) rainy/shaky day.

      They are not going to spend up large.

      Trickle down is dead.

      • nzfp 2.2.1

        “They are not going to spend up large” maybe, maybe not – but it doesn’t matter because the Government could spend up large and should – we need soo much infrastructure built and repaired in our nation and that doesn’t include the lack of investment in human infrastructure such as health and education. You’ve seen my other posts so you know where the money can come from tax free – without interest or debt.

  3. nzfp 3

    But why stop at Christchurch Marty, and why stop at rebuilding what exists. Economic activity can be stimulated by something as simple as a bridge in the right place which reduces the cost of transport for products from A to B.

    Why not use this stimulus to build a high speed rail network with Christchurch as the nexus throughout the entire South Island, couple this with building Fiber to the home and improved telecommunications. Both of these suggetions would reduce the cost of transport of goods and improve the Online economy – both would boost sustainable economic productivity.

    The only problem we have is creating the necessary funds and putting the money to use fueling the labour necessary to produce the necessary infrastructure. Make the infrastructure green while you’re at it and you reduce the environmental impact.

    The Earth Quake represents the single best opportunity for real economic progress for our country. Yes what I’m saying is Pie in the Sky but as you well know this was the policy of Sir Michael Joseph Savage so it’s happened before.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 3.1

      What a sad reflection upon our government.

    • Rex Widerstrom 3.2

      I find myself nodding in agreement with what seems like the common sense of much that you say above nzfp (with the exception of handing out a knighthood to Savage, whom I’m pretty sure never got, nor probably wanted, one – a recolelction his official biography seems to confirm).

      However, how would you respond to the coventional wisdom that what you’re proposing would be inflationary and thus damaging?

      • nzfp 3.2.1

        Hey Rex,
        “how would you respond to the coventional wisdom that what you’re proposing would be inflationary and thus damaging”

        Great question as it is the question that is always raised when public credit is proposed in opposition to private bank credit.

        In short public credit is no more inflationary then credit created as a result of foreign borrowing (debt). In fact it is less inflationary as it doesn’t include the requirement to service interest on debts denominated in foreign currency.

        When the Government borrows 200 Million dollars as a result of the sale of NZ Bonds, the Governments receives 200 Million dollars in foreign currency. The 200Million in Foreign Currency was created out of nothing at all by foreign banks – an exercise the Government could do itself.

        However, the foreign currency cannot be spent into the NZ economy so the Government converts the 200 Million into NZ Dollars. To do this they park the foreign currency in a foreign currency account and create an equivalent 200 Million NZD out of nothing.

        Already you can see the injustice and fraud of this system:

        NZ Govt sells 200 Million in NZ bonds -> Foreign Bank creates 200 Million from nothing to Buy Bonds -> NZ Govt creates an equivalent 200 Million against the 200 Million in Foreign currency created by foreign banks out of nothing -> NZ Govt spends or lends the new money into the economy -> NZ Govt taxes NZr’s to service the interest on the foreign debt (GST increases).

        To counter this the Government has two options:

        1. Keynesian – the Government issues 200 Million in NZ Bonds -> The RBNZ creates 200 Million out of nothing to Buy the NZ Bonds -> The Govt spends or lends the money into the economy -> NZ Govt taxes NZr’s to service the interest on the debt to ourselves. This is also part of the State Theory of Money. The Tax ensures the velocity of money – that it circulates. However the level of tax could be set a lot lower then the neo-liberal monetarist model and in many cases most taxes could be eradicated.

        2. Public credit – the Govt issues 200 Million in money and spends or lends it directly into the economy. Essentially it is the same as pure Keynesian theory with the exeption that we don’t borrow from our own bank but have the Treasury create the money directly – otherwise the rules apply.

        In both cases there is no need to service foreign interest debts and no need to pay money back to foreign banks in a currency we have no control over. If interest rates increase our interest and repayment burdens increase – it only takes a little war in Iran to cause interest rates to sky rocket.

        Remember that either of these methods are required to pay for infrastructure that cannot be paid for out of current taxes – and shouldn’t be.

        Remember that inflation of the money supply is only inflationary if there isn’t an equivalent increase in products and services including human services such as health and education. Infrastructure improvements by definition are an increase in products and services and have the benefit of improving commerce which stimulates productivity increasing products and services.

        It is better explained by Professor Michael Hudson in an earlier post of mine here and on his website here.

        Radio NZ reported this morning that the Govt was selling 200 Million in NZ Bods today (this afternoon). Rather then sell 200 Million – since they obviously need the money – they could create 20 Million via the RBNZ or Treasury. The net effect would be a reduction in inflation due to the fact that we don’t need to service foreign interest debts. Any foreign capital that comes into our nation for investment of purchases of NZ products could be used to service current debts – while the Govt creates credit to fuel infrastructure instead of borrowing.

        The overall effect would be hugely beneficial to our economy and would result in a net lowering of all taxes.

      • nzfp 3.2.2

        Thanks for the correction and the Savage BIO Rex. I never knew Savage was a Georgist although in hindsight it seems obvious. George was one of the “Renegade Economists” – a term coined by SMH and TheAge columist and economist “Ross Gittins”.

        By the way:
        “200 Million in NZ Bods” should be “200 Million in NZ Bonds
        And
        “they could create 20 Million” should be “they could create 200 Million”

  4. Armchair Critic 4

    The difference is that, without the earthquake, we could have spent that money on re-igniting the economy and making a wealthier country for the future. Now it needs to be spent just on what was lost.
    I thought the EQC funds were set aside specifically for post-disaster rebuilding. On this basis, how could the money have been spent re-igniting the economy etc.? It’s set aside for a specific purpose, not for politicians to spend on whatever whim takes their fancy, even if their fancy happens to be a good idea.

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      Essentially the EQC money has been saved previously. So instead of spending $50 back in 1990, the government spent $40 and banked $10. Now we’re getting access to that $10 again, but it isn’t new money magicked out of nowhere, but deferred spending from 1990.

      • Armchair Critic 4.1.1

        Yeah, I got that bit. And I agree with most of the post. The bit I don’t get is where Marty G says:
        …we could have spent that money on re-igniting the economy…
        I understood that the money (especially from EQC) to be spent rebuilding is dedicated to rebuilding. As it was deliberately set aside for a specific purpose, it can’t be used for another purpose.
        anti-spam: following. Not at the moment; I’ve tried following the logic and I’m missing out somewhere.

    • Bright Red 4.2

      yeah but one pot of government money is the same as another in reality. And borrowing is pretty much the same as selling an asset

  5. Grant M. McKenna 5

    I’ve missed the bit where “the Right” said that the earthquake would be good for the economy. Where and when was that averred?

  6. aj 6

    No matter what way you look at this, in human terms it is far less than a zero sum game. A small number may have short term gain through the economic boom as a consequence of repairs. The cost in human terms will be long lasting and greatly outweigh simple $$ calculations. Stress over the long term, that is within families and individuals will result in many problems further down the track for health authorities, social services, etc.

  7. Kleefer 7

    Once again you are labouring under the misapprehension that, while an earthquake destroying buildings is bad for the economy, the government spending money to “stimulate” the economy is good. Both are bad for the economy but due to the visual impact of buildings literally being destroyed it is easier for the layman to identify the economic damage from an earthquake than from government “stimulus”.

    Advocates of government spending fall prey to the same broken window fallacy that afflicts those touting the supposedly stimulatory effects of the earthquake. In both cases they think only of one side of the transaction, those who financially benefit from the broken window/government spending, while forgetting those who are worse off, the person with the broken window/less money because the government has taken it to give to someone else.

    What the broken window fallacy is really about is opportunity cost. While we can see the benefit to the glazier from repairing the window (or in this case the contractors for repairing the buildings) we can’t see what the person with the broken window would have done with the money if he hadn’t had to pay for the repair.

    We can see the results of government stimulus such as school buildings, roads and poorly-fitted insulation but we can’t see what wasn’t made as a result of resources being diverted by the government to these uses. So while the government isn’t necessarily knocking things down (although wars do plenty of that), it is still fallacious to tout the results of stimulus without thinking about the other side of the ledger.

    Henry Hazlitt, the former New York Times economics editor, wrote in his book Economics in One Lesson that when assessing the economic impact of a policy we must look not just at its immediate effect on one group but on its long-term effect on everybody in society. I applaud the writers of The Standard for taking on the idiots saying the earthquake will be good for the economy. Now you just need to apply economic principles consistently.

    • nzfp 7.1

      Henry Hazlitt is credited with bringing Austrian economics to an English-speaking audience, he secured a position at New York University for the economist Ludwig von Mises, and he introduced the novelist Ayn Rand (Alisa Zinolev’yevna Rosenbaum) to Mises. His influences included: Frédéric Bastiat, Philip Wicksteed and Ludwig von Mises. He opposed Karl Marx, Thorstein Veblen, Major Douglas (Major Clifford H. Douglas), John Maynard Keynes and Alvin Hansen. He influenced Milton Friedman.

      Milton Friedman gave us the Washington Consensus and the Chicago School of Economics which in turn gave us Rogernomics and Ruthenasia in the 80’s and 90’s. Friedman also gave Chile Augusto Pinochet and the Chilean deathsquads and disappeared.

      Von Mises gave us Ayn Rand and Libertarianism. However, the Austrian School of Economics defines money as a commodity with intrinsic value, which is contradictory to historical and empirical evidence. Aristotle best defines money in Ethics 1133 where he states “Money exists not by nature but by law”.

      Hazlitt opposed Major Douglas – Major Clifford H. Douglas the founder of the Social Credit school of economic democracy.

      Considering these points it makes it difficult to take seriously the economic theory of somebody who is unable to correctly define money and who’s economic theories influenced the architect of Washington Consus neo-liberal monetarist policy – the fruits of which are evident in the current Global Financial Crises.

  8. Bright Red 8

    Patrick Smellie agrees with you, Marty http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/4107029/Shaky-times-for-the-economy

    good work on forcing this argument. the msm would just have blindly followed the stupid ‘silver lining’ angle otherwise.

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    So, breaking news is that the estimate for rebuilding Christchurch has increased to $4b. At the same time there’s some question about availability of resources. This is where the government really needs to step in an ban all exports of building and construction materials. We’re going to need those ourselves for the foreseeable future (It’s going to take years to get Christchurch back to the same level that it was).

  10. Too much coffee man 10

    Well said. I remember when that visionary leader George Dubbyerbush decided to dump billions of dollars of bombs on Iraq and Afghanistan the right crowed with delight about the benefits to the US economy that would entail. Dropping a million dollar bomb doesn’t result in a million dollars worth of production, it results in a million dollars with of destruction, and that million dollars has gone for good.

    When a building gets replaced at a cost of a million dollars, that million dollars is also lost forever.

  11. Anthony 11

    Dear Marty

    I must say that this is a very critical analysis.

    But one thing I would like to ask how does an increase in interest rate will dampen the demand for kiwi dollar?

    As you pointed out in the last paragraph, “Offsetting this, possibly, is that it just became much less likely the Reserve Bank will increase interest rates again, which should dampen demand for the dollar.”

    Because an increase in interest rate will lift up the return for every dollar overseas investors invest in New Zealand relative to other countries’ interest rates, therefore the demand for kiwi dollar should have increased rather than decreased.

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    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 ...
    6 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 ...
    6 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
    7 days ago
  • How plant-based meat is stretching New Zealand’s cultural and legal boundaries
    Samuel Becher, Victoria University of Wellington and Jessica C Lai, Victoria University of Wellington Earlier this year, the New Zealand-based pizza chain Hell Pizza offered a limited-edition “Burger Pizza”. Its customers weren’t told that the “meat” was plant-based. Some customers complained to the Commerce Commission, which enforces consumer law in ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 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 ...
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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 ...
    7 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, ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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

  • Surgical mesh restorative justice report received
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter has received the report back from a surgical mesh restorative justice process undertaken by Victoria University. The process heard stories, either in person or online submission, from more than 600 people affected by surgical mesh. “The report made for heart-breaking and confronting reading,” says ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    29 mins ago
  • The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai a milestone for drinking water safety
    The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai , introduced to Parliament today, is a milestone for drinking water safety in New Zealand and will help improve environmental outcomes for urban waterways, rivers and lakes.  “This is a breakthrough for New Zealanders in terms of providing safe drinking water throughout ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Speech to new direction for criminal justice reform announcement
    Kia ora koutouE ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā matā wakaTēnā koutou katoaHaere ngā, moe maiKoutou ma ngā Rangatira Ko Anaru ahauKo au te Minita mo ngā TureHe Honore tino nui kei roto I ahau No reira tena koutou katoa Today, we are releasing two reports that are the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • New direction for criminal justice reform
    The Government is looking to turn around the long-term challenges of criminal justice by taking a new approach to break the cycle of offending to ensure there are fewer victims of crime. Justice Minister Andrew Little released two reports today, Turuki! Turuki! from Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • New law sets up $300m Venture Capital Fund
    New Zealand firms expanding beyond the start-up phase are set for more support after today’s passage of the Venture Capital Fund Bill, Associate Finance Minister David Parker said. The Bill, which establishes a $300 million Venture Capital Fund, puts in place a key initiative of the Wellbeing Budget’s economic package. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • New Zealand’s National Statement to COP25
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, e ngā rau rangatira mā. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Señora Presidenta, Excellencies, Delegates. International action A common thread that runs through the Paris Agreement is the commitment we have made to each other to do what we can to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours 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
    22 hours 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
    22 hours 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
    22 hours 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
    23 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    2 days 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
    2 days 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
    2 days 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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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