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The Global Financial Crisis 10 Years On

Written By: - Date published: 11:19 am, September 11th, 2018 - 32 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, Economy, Financial markets, International, us politics - Tags:

Ten years ago this week massive financial businesses in the United States started collapsing.

In New Zealand, the Global Financial Crisis was a short term catastrophe that caused many people to lose their jobs, trade to fall, business confidence to plummet, and real fear that we were about to be plunged into the same cruel poverty we had witnessed after the Great Depression of the early 1930s. But it was more.

Ten years after the Global Financial Crisis, the world is rather different. Interest rates are much lower. In most advanced countries since the crisis, real GDP capita growth has been insipid at best.

Global spending and investment appear very cautious, and seem likely to remain so for some time given the overhang of debt before the crisis. In advanced economies, deleveraging the private sector appears to have stared, but it will take a generation. Very cautious households are a large part of the slow and fragile recovery. They have been hit hard by sustained labour market weakness, and in the U.S. and some other advanced economies this has been compounded by loss of housing wealth and balance sheet weakness. It is only now, in 2018, that we are seeing – still unevenly – a full throated recovery in the U.S.

A decade later since these events, very few people are financially stronger.

New Zealand has since 2008 also experienced a city-levelling earthquake, major drought, another earthquake snapping the nations’ transport spine and damaging another city, and our two largest local businesses in significant trouble (Fletchers is known, Fonterra result on this Thursday).

But the GFC still stands out.

Now, after 9 years in which there was no active economic management or state assistance as a development partner in the economy or in society, few believe things are going to get better for them.

There’s an economic historian called Charles Kindleberger who did a great book if you’re keen on a history of financial disasters called Manias, Panics and Crashes (1978). Roughly, it goes, new financial techniques always overreach themselves, and always burst.

Marxist economists love crises because economic crisis is supposed to be where revolutions start that will overcome capitalism and usher in a communist order.

My personal favourite, though, is Crisis and Leviathan by Robert Higgs, which shows how after each crisis, the state grows in power and in regulatory force, and retains and constantly ratchets up its power even when the crisis recedes. What we resolutely did not see, however, after this GFC crisis, was a return of the Keynsian state in which huge borrowing takes places in order to support damaged people and damaged lives.

Instead, particular large financial and insurance companies were bailed out, and huge quantities of fresh money were pumped into the system which is known as quantitative easing.

Sometimes what gets lost is the long term damage. The families whose house equity was destroyed when they lost their job and could not afford the mortgage will be affected for generations because there is no equity to hand down. That’s the equity that could have supported a child or two through university, or got them a deposit into a starter-home: gone.

Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff did a history of financial crises spanning eight centuries. From their work the lesson was clear: recessions initiated by financial crises tend to cut deeper and produce a long “hangover” period of slow growth.

Instead of the post-1929 Depression, New Zealand and much of the developed world mirrored the late 1870s to 1890s with a similar long stagnation.

That is exactly what we still see in much of the developed world over the last decade – particularly the E.U.

The crisis of 2008 was not sufficient to smash institutions or make fresh new ones. Ratings agencies are still doing the same old thing, as are mortgage brokers, as are governments. Regulations of financial institutions remain weak here. Australia had a massive and public banking investigation, where so many of the cruelties of the finance industry were laid bare. Barely a peep here. Apart from greater assurance that banks will not fall over, little has changed here either.

New Zealand will continue to have external financial crises and international trade crises, and local environmental catastrophes. We need a state with the foresight and the capacity to prepare and withstand them. We don’t have it yet. We need a business community who can prepare for their own resilience instead of being bailed out. We need a society with the strength to do the same. We sure don’t have either of those. We remain, most of us, so brittle that we couldn’t afford a month without the pay of a good job.

Some, like conservative historian Niall Ferguson has said, say that money drives the course of history.

More accurately, as the GFC showed us, it is the history of debt and the force of its collected instruments to repay debt.

But even if there really were a Great Jubilee and all debts were wiped off the face of the earth, what the legacy of responding to the GFC with a long term mismanagement by those in power has caused, is a strong sense something is missing.

What is missing is: people have simply lost belief that things will get better for them.

32 comments on “The Global Financial Crisis 10 Years On”

  1. Bill 1

    What is missing is: people have simply lost belief that things will get better for them.

    I think that goes in tandem with believing things will get worse. And that’s where liberalism gets squeezed between two opposing reactions.

    On the one hand, there’s the push towards social democracy (often mislabeled as “socialist” – Corbyn, the Progressive’s challenge to “accepted” Democrats in the run up to the mid-terms. Melenchon, SNP, Podemos, Die Linke etc)

    On the other is the likes of the Swedish “we need to take a breather” on immigration Democrats and whatever.

    What I find interesting is that the ‘squeezed’ liberalism always talks up the “threat” from the likes of the Swedish Democrats (as though that will send voters flooding back to the safe arms of parties wedded to liberal orthodoxy), while it relentlessly hammers the social democratic alternatives as being irrelevant and stupid.

    The next phase of this merry-go-round will be the (finally) triumphant social democratic politicians looking to convince everyone that social democracy is the long term answer to societal woes. It isn’t. It’s only a good stop-gap.

    • Nic the NZer 2.1

      The elementary errors, fudged results and dubious data manipulation in that paper should hardly have undermined Reinhart and Rogoff’s credibility (any further). They already gave that away by not considering the causality and therefore that high government debt and/or slow economic growth may obviously follow an economic crisis. They ignored causality entirely and decided to conclude instead that high levels of government debt cause slow economic growth. Then they whipped around publicizing their fantasy conclusions and various governments responded by cutting spending and substantially damaged their economic recoveries.

  2. tc 3

    Can you blame them ? The system is like a leaky tyre that goes down and gets more money to keep it up rather than a new tyre.

    We need a new way rather than this fractional reserve inevitability. People aren’t stupid, the games rigged with the socialised losses from the ‘too big to fails’ feeding the cycle knowing they’ll be bailed out.

    • greywarshark 4.1

      The link that Pat has put up at 4 is Rod Oram and he is especially incisive and thoughtful and all TS who want to be informed will find it valuable info.

  3. Dennis Frank 5

    “Global debt has now passed its 2008 level — US$250 trillion at last count.”
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12120975

    “today’s expansion, currently in its 111th month (approaching twice the 58-month average length of post-1945 expansions), has gone on long enough, the contraction probably will begin with the annual US budget deficit exceeding US$1 trillion.”
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12109580

    “Publicly held US government debt has tripled in a decade.” “Jerome H. Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, says fiscal policy is on an “unsustainable path,”… The word “unsustainable” in fiscal rhetoric is akin to “unacceptable” in diplomatic parlance, where it usually refers to a situation soon to be accepted.”

    “Despite today’s shrill discord between the parties, the political class is more united by class interest than it is divided by ideology.” Damn right!

  4. Stuart Munro 6

    It’s an interesting subject – not least because a precipitous decline of any local sector is wont to affect so many of us. What we don’t seem to see from the feckless financiers of Treasury is the kind of measures that would increase the robustness of our economy – greater diversity, provision for longer contract or employment periods, recognition that casualization in as small a market as ours can result in sector-crippling skill losses.

    There’s plenty of concern – but the political will to move away from the worst aspects of the neoliberal model seems to have been successfully suppressed by well-paid morons like Garner and Hosking.

    • Jum 6.1

      And when we don’t have people-centred activists in the public eye to call these cretins to account for their fakery and their absolute hatred for working people that actually make this country run, unlike those wasters of the public purse, who have we got to blame – not only ourselves but those that have the money and the truths to take back the communication lines with the public. i.e. public figures with the ability to tell the story of hope and future.

      Yet they’re lost in translation and sooner, rather than later, people will just ignore the better part of their humanity and go for the greed.

      We already know what political dark web controls that in NZ.

  5. Blazer 7

    ‘What we resolutely did not see, however, after this GFC crisis, was a return of the Keynsian state in which huge borrowing takes places in order to support damaged people and damaged lives.

    Seems to me we did see huge borrowing.The Key/English administration borrowed more in 7 years than the cumulative total of NZ’s entire history.

    And got knighted for it.

    • Ad 7.1

      Their first big step in response to the GFC was the large personal tax cuts for the rich.

      The big borrowing kicked in to respond tot he Christchurch earthquake rebuilds.

      • Nic the NZer 7.1.1

        Most of the ‘borrowing’ was automatically caused because the economy stopped paying so much tax when activity and employment dropped. In response to these changes in government income its costs often increase and it has limited discretion over its spending. Actively implementing government austerity would have risked exacerbating any economic recession, causing tax income to fall harder (and it did in many countries where this was tried).

        The main implication of this should be that the borrowing profile would have been similar regardless of who was in office at the time.

        • Ad 7.1.1.1

          Well, I’d challenge you on that.

          We had a lukewarm government from 2008. They were neither ‘actively implementing government austerity’ nor were they an active developmental state.

          And you can see the kind of government we could have had that would lead us through the impact of the GFC, because it’s the kind of government that we have now.

          A different kind of government in late 2008 could have:
          – Stopped the income tax cuts
          – Increased HNZ developments using their books rather than raising public money
          – Not sold the half of the electricity companies
          – Increased public works in other areas to soak up unemployment
          – Rapidly implemented ‘bright line’ tests and first-time mortgage bank percentages to reign mortgage debt in
          – Immediately brought in first year tertiary free policies.
          – Etc
          You can run a full counterfactual, because this is roughly what it looks like now.

          Some of the policies would have increased the government budget, some would have increased consumer spending and GST tax, and also increased other government income.

          So no, yo don’t need too much imagination to see an alternative scenario in which there was quite a different government debt position as a result of reacting to the GFC.

          • Nic the NZer 7.1.1.1.1

            Is that right.

            So real world example. As you will know Australia avoided recession entirely by implementing a broad tax cut (and benefiting from export boom). Never the less here is a link demonstrating government revenue falling sharply and expenditure rising sharply just the same.

            https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BriefingBook45p/DebtPosition

            Another thing is Australia didn’t reign in mortgage debt at the same time (they extended subsidies to first time buyers in fact), and had they done so this would have reduced spending and required even more stimulus to generate the same path they actually took.

            Now I totally agree that raising GST in revenue neutral exchange for PAYE decreases was probably economically contractionary. And I can suggest numerous policies which would likely have shortened the recession but the example above shortened the recession so much it didn’t record one and the Australian government never the less faced large changes in income and expenditure which were clearly out of its hands.

            • Ad 7.1.1.1.1.1

              In 2009 the National government budget surplus record was -8.64b
              In the 2010 year it cut its income severely by reducing income tax.
              With the tax cuts and the impact of the Christchurch earthquakes, by 2011 its budget deficit was -$13.34b.

              It really thought that providing tax income back to the rich, and weakening the state, would make us all better off.

              They were wrong, and they were wrong in such a way that they had less capacity to deal with Christchurch and successive crises that they would have otherwise.

              And of course, with that combination their government debt went through the roof.

              Now look at the Labour-led governments either side of it.

              Helen Clark government reduced deficit from 2001 -$386m, to $2.8b surplus in 2008. Also reduced public debt from 22.6% of GDP in 2000, to 5.5% in 2008.

              Ardern government spending like there’s no tomorrow, but keeping debt in check and budget already in minor surplus … while also reinventing the developmental state.

              The Key government made the wrong moves, weakened the country’s ability to respond to shocks, and went into major debt.

              The better counterfactual is our own country’s actual experience.

              • Nic the NZer

                As far as it was claimed and modeled the official line remains that increasing GST at the same time as PAYE reductions (and cancelling some expenditure) was fiscally neutral. I didn’t really see any quality analysis which challenged that (though I think it was a pretty stupid economic policy).

                The example I gave demonstrates pretty clearly that even if you can generate enough stimulus to counteract the recession (which would be a success story for any counterfactual you want to raise) you won’t avoid the automatic impacts on the governments own finances.

                Its really easy to understand there is not really such a thing as more ‘smart’ spending because mostly what is going on just follows from the government and economy being on opposite sides of a balance sheet. Most of the issue is the economy decides it now wants to do a bunch of saving of its income (repaying debt), when it does this it either reduces consumption (which is directly part of GDP so falls in this are synonymous with recession) or some other thing needs to provide increased income to it so it can save. Occasionally that may be the external sector, but usually its going to have to be the government, and usually its just going to happen.

                There is an accounting identity related to GDP which shows that, (S – I) = (G – T) + (X – M) and that is true by accounting at all times. NB S is saving, I is investment, G is govt spending, T is tax, X is exports, M in imports
                and the C from GDP doesn’t show up here but counts in GDP as what happens is a net increase in (say) T is subtracted from C and GDP or a net increase in G is added to C and GDP. This is why the government deficit is not really discretionary and should never be a policy target of the government.

                • corodale

                  Well, its a global market. Our productivity hasn’t risen as well as other countries. They use QE, we don’t. I’m agreeing with Nic, it was only ever going to bad like this, and it’s the same story the whole world over. This is the end phase of the fiat-money debt bubble.

                  Hey Nic, if you vote Green, just a quiet word. The party could sure use someone who can talk economics n finance. I could talk to some of my Russian Muslim friends if you want to be sorted with a few solid body guards.

    • Jum 7.2

      Yes, Blazer, and I remember the nats borrowing much more than they needed to at the time, knowing it would put all New Zealanders into debt to those that like weakened countries.

  6. gsays 8

    Thanks advantage for that.
    “Instead, particular large financial and insurance companies were bailed out, and huge quantities of fresh money were pumped into the system which is known as quantitative easing.”

    I heard a cool analogy for QE, how it works best compared with what happened. For maximum effect the billions of $ are taken high up in a chopper and shaken out of a bag to the population.
    Instead what happened was the $ were loaded onto a pallet and delivered to the back door of the banks and financial institutions that caused the mess in the first place.

    • Liberal Realist 8.2

      +100 Exactly!

      Had the currency created from Fed QE been directed at main street as opposed to the banksters the outcome would have been very different.

      Alas the money-go-round is a rigged game and always was. The plebs are there to be milked, and to die as fodder in imperial resource wars.

  7. Ngungukai 9

    Is NZ in a better financial position now than b4 the GFC ?

    We keep hearing how good JK and Bill English were as financial managers and saved us from the GFC ?

    Fact or Fiction ?

    • Stuart Munro 9.1

      Fiction.

      No capacity building – just lots of cheese paring.

    • Nic the NZer 9.2

      “Is NZ in a better financial position now than b4 the GFC ?”

      Probably, prior to the crisis there was a significant financial problem with the finance company sector in NZ. The collapse of this was a cause of the recession in NZ. Since this happened the RBNZ has started regulating this sector.

      “We keep hearing how good JK and Bill English were as financial managers and saved us from the GFC ?”

      The government manages its spending via it’s own institution the RBNZ. As a result of this its borrowing is not risky (and the interest rate on lending to the government is sometimes referred to as the ‘risk free rate of return’). The fact that all this government debt stuff adds up to a largely meaningless game of political charades (at least in countries which operate their own currency) is also the reason you have been presented with the impression that JK and Bill English (and Michael Cullen for that matter) are good financial managers.

  8. Exkiwiforces 10

    But on the other hand we are not too far away from the next big prang either.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-11/global-debt-looms-as-major-risk-ten-years-after-gfc-machin/10230538

    I did see another article saying we won’t be so lucky next time when the next big happens as interest rates are already at record lows worldwide and there is too to easy (QE) money flowing about which is causing record levels of debt worldwide in private and public sectors.

    • Liberal Realist 10.1

      I’m in agreement that there is another market crash on the horizon akin to the GFC of 2008. IMO the next event will surpass 2008 in terms of impact on ordinary people around the world.

      Crystal ball gazing, my pick is the bull market in the US will continue until after the 2020 election cycle in the US. Regardless of which side (of the same coin) takes the executive, the crash will be triggered.

      What I’m saying is I think the next crash will be engineered (by the Fed). All they’ll have to do is raise interest rates slightly more aggressively than they’ve signaled and over leveraged markets will start to drop.

      Then panic will set in, sentiment will drive wave after wave of sell-offs. Those in the know will short the hell out of the most vulnerable stocks etc. etc. Market turmoil will spread across the world, the Chinese markets will tank (due to oodles of shadow banking debt). Central Banks, with no levers to pull will spin on the spot watching unable to act. And so on. Hell it might only take a couple of days for the whole house of cards to collapse!

      Who knows what the final outcome will be? Who knows, perhaps a new system will emerge from the ashes of neo-liberal capitalism? Or more likely, the banksters will start us down the same old tired path of fakery and exploitation.

      • Exkiwiforces 10.1.1

        Yes, I agree the next the big pang is going to be will ugly as the central banks can’t really do anything with low interest rate or with low inflation rates atm, so they have to up something else and that’s to start rising interest rates. But even then most of worlds economies are not in that great of shape once you start looking at the stats and going with past tends it’s even uglier still.

        I have think the 2020- 2025 time fame is about right for the next pang.

  9. Dennis Frank 11

    “The global financial crisis shattered many people’s faith in unregulated markets. However, there has been no corresponding swell in enthusiasm for more active government, partly because its effectiveness has been widely denigrated in recent decades. Max Rashbrooke’s eagerly awaited new book challenges the assumption that government is inefficient or less effective than private markets.”

    “Government for the Public Good: The Surprising Science of Large-Scale Collective Action”, by Max Rashbrooke, published today. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1809/S00115/government-for-the-public-good.htm

    “It outlines how New Zealand could create more ways in which people can intelligently discuss issues and directly shape policy. The book presents evidence that this is not fanciful and is already taking place around the world, creating better governments that are truly fit for the twenty-first century.”

    Max Rashbrooke is a journalist, author and research associate of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, and was a 2015 Winston Churchill Fellow.

  10. Incognito 12

    Nothing much has changed since the GFC, I agree.

    The large Finance and Insurance Institutions still have large slave armies toiling away for them on a daily basis, spending the most precious resource available to man: time. The irony is that this is an untradeable resource; nobody owns is, everybody has it, and though it’s finite it opens up endless possibilities.

    Governments ensure that the large citizen armies don’t rebel and act in precisely confined ways. They also legitimise the existence and actions of the large Finance and Insurance Institutions and act as an arbiter when these institutions are having a scrap with each other or occasionally with a hapless citizen-slave.

    Money (credit & debit) makes the money go around, goes the cliché. This is blatantly untrue; it is people spending their time & energy that makes it all happen.

    People firmly believe they need finance & insurance as well as governments, preferably democratically-elected ones. This is the way the system is set up and how & why people are indoctrinated (conditioned).

    It is imperative for this system’s survival that people are kept in a dream-like state – a reference to a movie comes to mind.

    Nothing much will change any time soon unless people start waking up.

    I’ll cut short my rant here …

    • corodale 12.1

      Well, all the BRICS Plus are selling US bonds, and it can only the the US Fed buying them back. I suspect, even if we do keep on sleeping, heavy breathing in the region of Kurdistan may be enough to crash this train.

  11. R.P Mcmurphy 13

    its all abut the golden rule. he who has the gold makes the rules and thats that.

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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 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 ...
    2 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 ...
    2 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
    2 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
    2 days ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    3 days ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    3 days ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    3 days ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    3 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    4 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    4 days ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    4 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    4 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    6 days ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    6 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    6 days ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    6 days ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    7 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    7 days ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    1 week ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    1 week ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    1 week ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    1 week ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week 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
    2 hours 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
    6 hours 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
    12 hours 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
    24 hours 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    2 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
    2 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
    3 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
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