web analytics

The human Pangaea

Written By: - Date published: 8:10 am, December 9th, 2020 - 16 comments
Categories: covid-19, Environment, health, science, tourism - Tags: , ,

Wikipedia describes the last super-continent as

Pangaea or Pangea (/pænˈdʒiːə/[1]) was a supercontinent that existed during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras.[2][3] It assembled from earlier continental units approximately 335 million years ago, and it began to break apart about 175 million years ago.[4] In contrast to the present Earth and its distribution of continental mass, Pangaea was centred on the Equator and surrounded by the superoceanPanthalassa. Pangaea is the most recent supercontinent to have existed and the first to be reconstructed by geologists.

Wikipedia: “Pangaea

However that last statement isn’t really correct. Humans have created the most recent virtual super-continent. At least as far as species movement has been concerned world wide. We’ve picked up species from around the world and transplanted them almost everywhere else.

My dinner last night consisted of a beef steak (probably from domestication of wild aurochs in the mid-east) , Kumara (originally from South America), and broccoli (probably originally the Mediterranean). All were carried to New Zealand by humans. The Māori brought a kumara with then, and then took up the much larger cultivars after European settlement. The rest of my delicious meal (says the cook) were brought in by settlers.

Humans are effectively camping in NZ and outside of the natural ecology of our islands. Outside of survival exercises, in my 60 odd years living here, I’ve never eaten food that is native to NZ. Fern root is edible – but only if you’re starving. Native birds are protected because almost all of them can be regarded as close to extinction. With berries, between that native birds and the Australian possums, competition is too fierce for mere humans to get any.

New Zealand is probably an extreme example because of the way that the Zealandia continent plate is largely submerged and has been down to very small islands several times over the last 65 million years. Our ecological diversity is that of small islands.

Most of this is well known. What is less well obvious are the consequences at the micro-biological level – for humans and for entire genera of species.

For instance read a 2018 National Geographic article on frogs and other amphibians.

MANY OF THE world’s amphibians are staring down an existential threat: an ancient skin-eating fungus that can wipe out entire forests’ worth of frogs in a flash.

This ecological super-villain, the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, has driven more than 200 amphibian species to extinction or near-extinction—radically rewiring ecosystems all over Earth.

“This is the worst pathogen in the history of the world, as far as we can tell, in terms of its impacts on biodiversity,” says Mat Fisher, an Imperial College London mycologist who studies the fungus.

Now, a global team of 58 researchers has uncovered the creature’s origin story. A groundbreaking study published in Science on Thursday reveals where and when the fungus most likely emerged: the Korean peninsula, sometime during the 1950s.

From there, scientists theorize that human activities inadvertently spread it far and wide—leading to amphibian die-offs across the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Australia.

National Geographic: “Ground Zero of Amphibian ‘Apocalypse’ Finally Found

The significance of this is that amphibians have a significiant but still poorly understood effect on local ecosystems. They were almost everywhere, so much part of the background that it took some time to realise that there was a massive dieback going on.

In person, Bd infestations can look like biblical plagues. Each August, adult midwife toads in the French Pyrenees climb out of their birth lakes for the first time. The infected toads barely make it to shore. “They’ll do one last hop, and then they’ll expire in your hands,” says Fisher, one of the study’s coauthors. “You can walk the lakes—it’s just carpets of dead frogs.”

Similar die-offs started popping up in the 1970s, but researchers didn’t realize these “enigmatic declines” were a global phenomenon until the 1990s. In 1997, researchers first described Bdand within a decade, they had connected it to the slaughters. Meanwhile, Bd‘s killing spree continued. From 2004 to 2008, one site in Panama lost 41 percent of its amphibian species to the fungus.

Most of the once-mysterious slaughters are now attributed to the “Global Panzootic Lineage,” a lethal strain nicknamed BdGPL.

National Geographic: “Ground Zero of Amphibian ‘Apocalypse’ Finally Found

And there are potentially worse species of Bd from the same previously geographically limited area. There these diseases are in balance – probably because the affected species evolved alongside the pathogens. The problem is when they get moved by, usually by humans, into ecosystems that they didn’t evolve in and jump species.

In 2013, researchers identified B. salamandrivorans, a sister species of Bd known as Bsal. Its name translates to “salamander-devouring” for a reason. From 2009 to 2012, the fungus slashed Dutch fire salamander populations by more than 99 percent.

National Geographic: “Ground Zero of Amphibian ‘Apocalypse’ Finally Found

If all of this sounds horribly familiar to us these days – then it should. Humans are suffering the consequences of our virtual Pangaea super-continent of the rapid transit. A localised disease or one that jumps species gets spread by rapid travel and then causes pandemics.

The spread of species jumping Covid viruses across multiple species, including humans, is exactly the same wholesale killing process as Bd and happening for the same reasons. So far we have seen several closely related Covid diseases from SARS, MERS, and now Covid-19.

If this follows the course of pandemics in our history like smallpox or black death, we will probably see several more before the human population worldwide develops a population level immunity to that family of pathogens over the coming decades.

The problem is that there are a lot of families of viruses, fungi, bacteria, and prions around, and that is before getting into trying to count the species. As a species who appears to be committed to going everywhere and sticking our noses into everything, we’ve just been damn lucky over the last century.

Perhaps it is time to start thinking about what kinds of precautions we should be taking to prevent the currently inevitable pandemic repeats. Like getting really serious about border controls (and ignoring our tourism addictions). Or spending more money on preemptive discovery of potential threats.

16 comments on “The human Pangaea ”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    I guess the situation we find ourselves in now (as described by LPRENT) was inevitable; how could it have been otherwise – we're clever devils, us humans and can't/didn't resist the temptation to try everything, go everywhere. We've forced enormous change across the globe and beyond; from dead-frog-filled ponds to junk-littered space and the issue is an on-going, cumulative, worsening one.

    I was particularly hard-hit when the chytrid fungus was first reported, having been fascinated by frogs for as long as I can remember, catching and keeping them, crouching beside ponds watching them for hours on end, reading about them, collecting models of them and so on, and on, and on (my parents would have said) but only now learned of the "salamander-devouring" fungus (thanks, LPRENT!) and so am absorbing that bad news now. When I go out into my forest garden, I thrill to the birds there; tui, bellbird, fantail and others, but wonder, why are there so few? Where are the kokako, the huia, the laughing owl, the pouaki? That's not even thinking about the gecko that once would have been prolific here, perhaps living alongside of the tiny, silent native frogs that now eke out their existence on a few off-shore islands. Bats, tuatara; don't even think about it, I tell myself.

    I guess the question is, was the game lost the moment we started down this track of expanding our interests in the world, or are we enabled, by the same braininess that brought us here, to do something about the seemingly deadly situation we've created?

    And I wonder too, where the answer to that question comes from; our heads or our hearts?

    Presuming, of course, there is an answer.

  2. WeTheBleeple 2

    The palette of plants at our disposal has greatly increased our potential to create human inhabited paradise, while the invasives that arrived alongside more desirable species threaten to make any effort at 'taming nature' an arduous task.

    While a concerted focus on the natural world is desirable, I'm sure nature would prefer to avoid the gaze of man and his machinations right now.

    We have Eden at our fingertips and accountants on our backs.

    The price of ecosystem services must be factored into accounting, as it stands industries accounting of their activities is dishonest and skewed to support more destruction.

    Only when people and planet are more important than celebrity and money will we solve our problems (in a sustainable manner).

    • kejo 2.1

      The clash between the laws of Physics (fixed) and the seemingly more powerful laws of commerce (ever manipulated) is not much recognised. It seems to me that the laws of ..natural systems should be taught as a foundation subject at university. I have never met anybody with a double degree in Physics and Commerce. They could be a severely conflicted person. Regards, Keith

      • WeTheBleeple 2.1.1

        I do like this thinking. Environmental science was the closest I saw to common sense at uni, where they looked at ecology with mankind as a component. I also liked that they sourced information widely rather than peer reviewed work only.

        Environmental science mostly churns out advisors for larger scale construction and industrial efforts. These advisers might slow, but rarely halt, environmental destruction.

        The person with the knowledge is rarely ever the boss. Only laws can stop bosses from making final calls that go against wiser employees.

        Or, as you suggest, wiser bosses. If only.

  3. Craig H 3

    A reduction in international travel looks essential to me and international tourism should be first cab off the rank in that.

  4. JanM 4

    "I’ve never eaten food that is native to NZ". I grow and eat NZ spinach and occasionally drink kawakawa tea

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 4.1

      A lot of fish and shellfish consumed in NZ are also native species.

      But a good observation that there is very little native terrestrial food consumed. Pukeko are an exception, as are muttonbirds (only sort of terrestrial!).

  5. cathy-o 5

    i went to the Mary Dreaver lecture in Onehunga a couple of weeks ago or so. Siouxsie Wiles was the speaker. Totally fascinating, i would never have imagined anything like Bioluminescent Superbugs, but that is her field.

    as many people have warned us, more pandemics are inevitable. and as we have also been warned we are running out of antibiotics.

    a thing that stayed with me from the lecture is the chronic underfunding of Infectious Diseases research. seems a bit odd doesn't it, given Covid-19 and so on

    here's the link for donations

    https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/giving/donate/a-z-list-of-funds/new-medicines-to-kill-superbugs-fund.html

  6. greywarshark 6

    Myrtle Rust – part of the march of diseases that are killing off us and various of our icon species.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/country/432493/myrtle-rust-infection-kills-mature-tree-on-east-cape
    "The disease is a threat to the important and substantial mānuka and kānuka honey industry. Using the new app to accurately identify species of Myrtaceae in New Zealand will make it easier to monitor and report cases of myrtle rust.

    "By using the key, anyone, from farmers and trampers to gardeners and park users, will be able to identify plants to check for and report the tell-tale yellow spores, and diseased leaves," said Dawson.

    The NZ Myrtaceae Key is available from the Google Play store and the iPhone app store as a mobile app suitable for undertaking identifications in the field, or through a web-based browser hosted by Manaaki Whenua.
    .

    War of the Worlds H G Wells? Are the tiny things more fitted to survive than we bigger things?

    The Martians (also known as "Molluscs" or "Sarmaks") are a race of aliens from the planet Mars, who tried to invade Earth when their own homeworld became an inhospitable, frozen desert. Despite their primitive appearance, their intelligence and technology far exceeded our own prior to the invasion…

    The Martians on Earth are eventually killed by earth-borne bacteria, of which their immune systems couldn't cope due to having destroyed diseases on their home world of Mars. https://waroftheworlds.fandom.com/wiki/Martian

  7. Stuart Munro 7

    It's been going on for awhile – most folk aren't aware of the keystone role chestnuts once played in US forest ecology – again, wiped out by human introduced fungal disease from Asia. There is some hope of a GE'd cure, but we ain't there yet.

    • Robert Guyton 7.1

      For the chestnuts, more hope from the very, very few trees that survived and the "minders" who are quietly multiplying them again. I suspect our kauri will need that some sort of saving. Localisesd seed saving and propagation is the longer-lasting insurance against extinctions; ge just doesn't cut it for me, nor do cryogenic seed vaults. Give the people the material, let them weave stories around them and coupled with the plants will to survive, we'll enjoy success.

      • Stuart Munro 7.1.1

        GE may be appropriate in this case – Asian chestnuts resist the blight. There are reports of centuries old ancient chestnut groves with surviving roots, perenially losing fresh foliage to the blight as they put them out. The Asian chestnut is a much smaller tree, not the forest giant. There are other efforts to breed resistance – thus far not successful. It's like they lost their kauri.

        American Chestnut Recovery Strategy | Ontario.ca

    • WeTheBleeple 7.2

      In NZ we have the Kauri under threat, also a keystone species. However, the phytophthora responsible may have been here for some time. This lends weight to the theory some environmental factor is responsible. Some aspect of land use change to pasture and pine favors the pathogen compared to kauri forest soils. Then we traipse it in.

      https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/efp.12502

      Plants are not the only species affected by imbalances in soil microbes. The practice of ingesting small amounts of soil microbiota from our air and diet is considered an immune primer, but what manner of soil is being ingested by humans today?

      Invasive organisms only arise when they have a niche to get a foothold in. Often they'll sit till something disturbs the environment and then they proliferate. Ploughs, salts, cides, clearance all disturb microbial communities.

      It stands to reason part of the solution to microbial invasion is ecosystem restoration.

  8. Phillip ure 8

    sometimes the body of a post does not appear on my phone..

    this is one of those times..

  9. RedLogix 9

    From a strict evolutionary perspective maybe as many of 99% of all creatures who ever lived are extinct. Change is the constant feature of this landscape, and disease an ancient enemy; this human pangea being but one very recent event. There are two broad responses to change; one is to avoid it, the other to confront it. Each carries it's own risk/reward.

    Avoiding change, attempting to withdraw and isolate is an excellent short-term strategy. Initially at least, any new threat is poorly understood therefore minimising engagement is the correct action. But longer term it's a very poor response, the lack of learning and adaptation leads to stagnation and increasing vulnerability over time.

    Confronting change is of course the high risk option initially; one never knows whether something new is benign or deadly, so losses will be inevitable. Yet longer term the survivors of this strategy will learn and adapt sooner, will become more competitive and less vulnerable over time.

    (Ideally a species will combine the best of both strategies, and in a very broad sense this is part of why humans have been so successful, the feminine tends toward avoiding risk, the masculine toward confronting it, so in combination we adapt quickly with minimal losses … but this is a tangent to my point.)

    In essence this acknowledges the OP's core argument, that all change and in this instance an anthropomorphic one induced by the human propensity to travel across otherwise relatively isolated biological zones, is inducing entirely unintended pandemics with a largely unknown threat potential.

    The 'avoidance' strategy here would be to confine humans to cities, minimise our contact and impact on the wild world, allowing it time to find a new ecological balance. The 'confrontation' strategy would have us fully embrace a 'survival of the fittest' paradigm and accept that the anthropocene era we are in will mean both losses and victories, that sustaining a 'pristine natural world' in some sort of permanent stasis is an illusory goal.

    Without attempting any kind of prescriptive solution, I suggest that the intelligent approach would engage the best of both strategies; reducing and decoupling human dependency and impact on the natural world of photosynthesis, and invoking a transformation of our agricultural processes toward a more sophisticated harmonisation with living processes.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Strong Pipeline for Construction Sector
    Strong pipeline ahead for the construction sector Infrastructure activity forecast to reach $11.2 billion in 2026 Construction sector now the fourth biggest employer with more than 280 000 people working in the industry Residential construction the largest contributor to national construction activity. Minister for Building and Construction Poto Williams says ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • Regenerative agriculture research receives Government boost
    The Government continues to invest in farm sustainability, this time backing two new research projects to investigate the impacts of regenerative farming practices, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced today. Soil health and regenerative agriculture “We’re contributing $2.8 million to a $3.85 million five-year project with co-investment by Synlait Milk and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • David McLean appointed as KiwiRail chair
    David McLean has been appointed as Chair of KiwiRail Holdings Ltd, the Minister for State Owned Enterprises Dr David Clark and Minister of Finance Grant Robertson announced today. “Minister Clark and I are confident that David’s extensive business knowledge and leadership experience, including his time as former Chief Executive and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Ambassador to Turkey announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Zoe Coulson-Sinclair as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Turkey. “Aotearoa New Zealand and Turkey’s relationship is one of mutual respect and underpinned by our shared Gallipoli experience,” Nanaia Mahuta said. “Turkey is also a generous ANZAC Day host and has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Announcement of new Consul-General in Guangzhou
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Rachel Crump as New Zealand’s next Consul-General in Guangzhou, China. “China is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most significant relationships – it is our largest trading partner, and an influential regional and global actor,” Nanaia Mahuta said. “As the capital of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities
    The Government joins the disabled community of Aotearoa New Zealand in marking and celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Minister for Disabilty Issues Carmel Sepuloni said. The theme for this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities is “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Deputy Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, and Advisory panel member appointed
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced the appointments of Graeme Speden as the Deputy Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, and Ben Bateman as a member of the Inspector-General’s Advisory Panel.  “These are significant roles that assist the Inspector-General with independent oversight of New Zealand’s intelligence agencies,” Jacinda Ardern said. “While ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Five million COVID-19 tests processed
    Associate Minister of Health, Dr Ayesha Verrall has congratulated testing teams right around New Zealand for reaching the five million tests milestone. Today, an additional 31,780 tests were processed, taking the total since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 to 5,005,959. “This really is an incredible and sustained team ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Funding for extra ICU capacity
    Care for the sickest New Zealanders is getting a major boost from the Government, with plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on expanding intensive care-type services, Health Minister Andrew Little announced today. “Through good planning, we have avoided what the COVID-19 pandemic has done in some countries, where ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • “THE LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF NEW ZEALAND’S FIGHT AGAINST COVID.”
    Speech to the New Zealand Centre for Public Law Tēnā koutou katoa Thank you for providing this opportunity to speak with you today as Attorney General. I’m here to talk about the constitutional consequences of Covid -19. I love the law. The way it exists with the consent of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • The legal and constitutional implications of New Zealand’s fight against COVID
    Speech to the New Zealand Centre for Public Law Tēnā koutou katoa Thank you for providing this opportunity to speak with you today as Attorney General. I’m here to talk about the constitutional consequences of Covid -19. I love the law. The way it exists with the consent of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pharmac Review interim report released
    Health Minister Andrew Little has released an interim report by an independent panel reviewing the national pharmaceuticals-buying agency Pharmac. Pharmac was established in 1993 and is responsible for purchasing publicly funded medicines for New Zealanders, including those prescribed by GPs or administered in hospitals. The review, chaired by former Consumer ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Appointment to Network for Learning board
    Former MP Clare Curran has been appointed to the board of Crown company Network for Learning (N4L), Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. Hon Clare Curran served as a Member of Parliament for Dunedin South from 2008-2010. During this time, she held a number of ministerial portfolios including Broadcasting, Communications and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Putting home ownership within reach of Pacific Aotearoa
    Pacific community groups and organisations will get tools to help them achieve home ownership with the implementation of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) Pacific Housing Initiative, said Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio. In July 2021, MPP launched the Pacific Community Housing Provider Registration Support programme and the Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Coastal shipping will help keep New Zealand’s supply chain buoyant
    Transport Minister Michael Wood today welcomed the release of the Coastal Shipping Investment Approach State-of-Play report as an important step towards a more sustainable coastal shipping sector, which will further diversify New Zealand’s supply chain. “This Government is committed to strengthening our domestic supply chain by making coastal shipping a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Response to Human Rights Commission's reports into violence towards disable people
    Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.   Thank you for that introduction Hemi and thank you for inviting me to respond on behalf of Government to the release of these two important reports (Whakamanahia Te Tiriti, Whakahaumarutia te Tangata -Honour the Treaty, Protect the Person and Whakamahia te Tūkino kore ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Law change strengthens petroleum decommissioning regulation
    Petroleum permit and licence holders operating in New Zealand will now have an explicit statutory requirement to carry out and fund the decommissioning of oil and gas fields after a new law was given Royal assent today, says Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods. Once in effect The Crown ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand Response to assist peace and stability in Solomon Islands
    The New Zealand government has announced that it will deploy Defence Force and Police personnel to Honiara to help restore peace and stability. “New Zealand is committed to its responsibilities and playing its part in upholding regional security,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.  “We are deeply concerned by the recent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Continued growth in volume of new home consents
    In the year ended October 2021, 47,715 new homes were consented, up 26 per cent from the October 2020 year. In October 2021, 4,043 new dwellings were consented Canterbury’s new homes consented numbers rose 31% to higher than post-earthquake peak. New home consents continue to reach remarkable levels of growth, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Saddle up for summer with cycle trail funding
    New investment will keep the best of New Zealand’s cycle trails in top condition as regions prepare to welcome back Kiwi visitors over summer and international tourists from next year. “Cycle tourism is one of the most popular ways to see the country ‘off the beaten track’ but the trails ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand provides additional funding to COVAX for vaccine delivery
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced additional funding will be provided to COVAX to support vaccine delivery in developing countries. “New Zealand remains cognisant of the dangers of COVID-19, especially as new variants continue to emerge. No one is safe from this virus until we all are and this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19 Community fund providing support for 160 organisations focused on women and girls
    Minister for Women Jan Tinetti today announced financial support will be allocated to the 160 successful applicants for the COVID-19 Community Fund, to support organisations helping women/wāhine and girls/kōtiro in Aotearoa New Zealand affected by the pandemic. “COVID-19 has had a disproportionate effect on women around the world including in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government delivers reactivation package as Aucklanders reconnect for summer
    A new support package will help revive economic, social and cultural activities in our largest city over summer, and ensure those in hardship also get relief. The Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni and the Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash have announced a Reactivating Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Mobile services and broadband come to Chatham Islands for first time
    World class mobile and broadband services have been switched on for the 663 residents of the Chatham Islands, Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications, David Clark and Minister for Economic and Regional Development, Stuart Nash announced today. “This eagerly awaited network will provide fast broadband and mobile services to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Crown accounts reflect strong economy amid pandemic
    The Government’s financial accounts continue to reflect an economy that has performed better than expected, despite the latest Delta COVID-19 outbreak. The Crown accounts for the four months to the end of October factors in the improved starting position for the new financial year. Core Crown tax revenue was $2.5 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Applications open for new 2021 Resident Visa
    The first round of applications for New Zealand’s new 2021 Resident visa open today (6am). “This one-off pathway provides certainty for a great many migrant families who have faced disruption because of COVID-19 and it will help retain the skills New Zealand businesses need to support the economic recovery,” Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More Vietnam Veterans to receive compensation for Agent Orange Exposure
    Minister for Veterans, the Hon Meka Whaitiri announced today that two new conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure have been added to the Prescribed Conditions List. Under the 2006 Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Crown and representatives of Vietnam veterans and the Royal New Zealand RSA. Vietnam veterans in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government commits to international effort to ban and regulate killer robots
    Minister of Disarmament and Arms Control Phil Twyford announced today that New Zealand will push for new international law to ban and regulate autonomous weapons systems (AWS), which once activated can select and engage targets without further human intervention. “While the evidence suggests fully autonomous weapons systems are not yet ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New freedom camping rules – right vehicle, right place
    Tougher freedom camping laws will be introduced to prevent abuse which has placed an unfair burden on small communities and damaged our reputation as a high quality visitor destination. Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has confirmed that new legislation will be introduced to Parliament following an extensive round of public consultation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government invests to support a classic Kiwi summer
    Vaccinated New Zealanders can look forward to Kiwi summer events with confidence, while artists and crew will have more certainty, following the launch of details of the Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni announced today. “The Government recognises that the arts and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Grace period for expired driver licences cruises into 2022
    Due to the ongoing Delta outbreak and extended lockdowns, all New Zealand driver licences and licence endorsements that expired on or after 21 July 2021 will now be valid until 31 May 2022, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today. “This further extension to the validity of driver licenses recognises that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Delivered: 1,000 extra transitional homes
    A further 1,000 transitional homes delivered  New housing development starts in Flaxmere, Hastings  The Government has delivered the next 1,000 transitional housing places it promised, as part of its work to reduce homelessness. Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods is marking the milestone in Hastings at a new development that includes ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Traffic light levels announced
    The levels at which different parts of New Zealand will move forward into the COVID-19 Protection Framework this Friday have been announced. Northland, Auckland, Taupō and Rotorua Lakes Districts, Kawerau, Whakatane, Ōpōtiki Districts, Gisborne District, Wairoa District, Rangitikei, Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts will move in at Red The rest of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Financial support to move to traffic light system
    A new transition payment will be made available particularly for affected businesses in Auckland, Waikato and Northland to acknowledge the restrictions they have faced under the higher Alert Levels. Transition payment of up to $24,000 as businesses move into traffic light system Leave Support Scheme and Short Term Absence Payment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Ambassador to Russia announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Sarah Walsh as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Russia. “Aotearoa New Zealand and Russia have a long-standing relationship, engaging on a range of regional and global interests including disarmament and Antarctica issues. We also work together as members of the East ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Permanent Representative to the UN announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Carolyn Schwalger as Permanent Representative to the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. “Aotearoa New Zealand is a founding member of the UN and we have worked hard to ensure our stance on human rights, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further COVID-19 economic support for Cook Islands and Fiji announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced a further package of support for the Cook Islands and Fiji for COVID-19 economic support and recovery. “Aotearoa New Zealand remains committed to supporting our Pacific fanau and vuvale to respond to the impacts of COVID-19 on their economies, and move towards long-term ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New law will clear the air for tamariki in vehicles
    From today, it’s illegal to smoke or vape in most vehicles carrying children aged under 18 years old - whether the vehicle is moving or not. “Second-hand smoke poses an unacceptable risk to our tamariki and rangatahi,” Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall said. “We know children in vehicles ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Nine countries designated very high risk
    Nine southern African countries are being added to the very high risk countries list following public health advice around the newly discovered COVID-19 variant Omicron, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said. This afternoon, a public health risk assessment was carried out to assess the emerging evidence and any risk to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Foreign Affairs Minister concludes final stage of world trip
    Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today departed North America to return home to Aotearoa, concluding the last stage of her 17-day world trip. The final leg of her trip saw her visit the United States of America and Canada for a number of high-level discussions. While in Washington D.C., ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago