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The lucky country: Aussie tax system more progressive than NZ’s

Written By: - Date published: 10:25 am, January 21st, 2010 - 55 comments
Categories: im/migration, International, tax, wages - Tags:

It fascinates me that in all this talk about ‘catching up with Australia’ via tax cuts, nobody bothers to look at the Aussie tax system to see what they’re doing.

Keith Ng has a cool interactive graph on the portion of all income earnt by different income groups and the tax they pay. He compares what we have now with Australia, a flat tax, and if income was shared equally. I can’t copy over the interactive part which gives a lot more detail but here are the NZ and Australian graphs side by side – the width of the wedges is their share of earnings, the area of the wedges shows the share of income tax they pay (eg. the bottom 50% have 17% of earnings and pay 12% of tax in NZ, in Aussie they have 25% of earnings and pay 12% of tax):

Keith’s conclusions:

* Rich people have a very big slice mainly because they have a very broad slice. That is, they pay a lot of tax because they make a lot of money. Duh.
* Rich people get taxed more on their income (their slice sticks out more). That’s because we have progressive tax systems. Duh.
* How progressive? At the top end, New Zealand’s tax system is less progressive than Australia. Rich peps in Australia pay more than they do in New Zealand, both proportionally and in absolute terms.
* At the bottom end, New Zealand’s tax system is *far* less progressive than Australia. If you zoom in to the bottom 50% (you need to go to the original graph for that) , you’ll see that Australia curves in very quickly that’s because the first $6,000 of income is tax free, which means that poor pricks pay very little tax.
* On top of this, Australia’s bottom 50% have a bigger share of the total income. This is not a tax issue, nor about the income disparity between New Zealand and Australia. Income is more equitably distributed in Australia, even before tax is taken into account.
* It’s not some kind of tricky accounting. Australia has a tax-free bottom bracket, and at the top end, it goes all the way up to 45% (New Zealand’s top rate is 38%). Australia’s tax system is simply more progressive. This means it’s low income earners who have a tax incentive to move to Australia, and rich peps who don’t.

Add to that the minimum wage in Australia is $14.31. Surprise, surprise, the people going to Aussie are not rich people going to tax advantages. It’s mostly low-income workers in jobs like construction who get better pay and have less tax, as well as professions like medicine that pay a whole lot better. Tax cuts for the rich isn’t going to change that, only higher wages and a fairer tax system will.

ps. Keith, could you email us your source data?

55 comments on “The lucky country: Aussie tax system more progressive than NZ’s”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    SO we are going to match the Aussie rate of 45% ?

    Yet the clamour for the business tax rate to match 30% is coming for the people who fund National ( & ACT)

  2. BLiP 2

    Makes me wonder what that tax working group was really doing before sending some minion down to the archives to fish out and dust off the failed 1980’s “chicago” manifesto.

  3. burt 3

    SO we are going to match the Aussie rate of 45% ?

    Only if we have the same rich prick threshold – theirs is currently over 2x ours. Hard to argue $150K AUD is a good income, easy to see that high school teachers in NZ are not earning that sort of money but our tax system calls them rich.

  4. burt 4

    A junior Dr in NZ is paying the top threshold, they earn almost twice as much in Aussie but still don’t qualify as rich. Can anyone remind me again why we have such a low perspective of rich in NZ other than to ensure the middle earners shoulder an unreasonable burden of taxaton to keep them poor.

    • Pascal's bookie 4.1

      So what rate are they paying in Australia?

    • Sam 4.2

      So it’s acceptable if you’re a wingnut to blame the system for making you poor, but if you’re not a wingnut then it’s not? Is that like how Garrett says his upbringing made him a bigot, totally at odds to ACT party policy?

      You really need to have a look at the real world, dude, you’re completely deluded.

  5. burt 5

    Pascal’s bookie

    Roger Douglas wants to set the rich prick threshold at $31200.

    http://www.rogerdouglas.org.nz/?p=425

    Is it the tax free up to that level that upsets you ? Would you like to keep the status quo where low income earners pay tax from the first dollar they earn or would you rather I didn’t highlight that because the selective representation of what Douglas has written makes a good sound bite against a backdrop of “rich prick” thresholds ?

    • Pascal's bookie 5.1

      No burt, just pointing out that if “rick prick thresholds” means anything, (clue: I don’t think it does), then Douglas wants a much lower one.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      RDs proposals are exactly the same as they were 30 years ago – become wealthier by being more expensive.

    • felix 5.3

      Isn’t “rich prick threshold” just your name for the top threshold, burt?

      If not, then what is it?

  6. burt 6

    felix

    Yes I guess calling the threshold applied to the top end of the income scale a rich prick threshold is too confusing for some. Pointing out that high earners in Aussie pay more tax than NZ and low earners pay less is also something that was highly unpopular when Cullen was steering the economy to the rocks. But now it seems to be the rage. It is hard to keep up some times and especially so when the principle of an issue is less important than who said what about it.

    Perhaps you could help me come up with a new name ‘top tax rate threshold’ is just missing that Je ne sais qua.

    • Pascal's bookie 6.1

      You mistranslated ‘spin’ there burt.

    • felix 6.2

      I don’t know burt, “top tax rate threshold” seems to work for most people.

      Pointing out that high earners in Aussie pay more tax than NZ and low earners pay less is also something that was highly unpopular when Cullen was steering the economy to the rocks.

      Strange, I don’t recall you screaming that from the rooftops.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.3

      Pointing out that high earners in Aussie pay more tax than NZ and low earners pay less is also something that was highly unpopular when Cullen was steering the economy to the rocks.

      I seem to recal that that was said quite a lot of times – especially on this blog. It was the RWNJs that were trying to say such differences didn’t exist.

  7. tsmithfield 7

    If increasing the tax rates on the rich is so cool, why not tax at 100% on the wealthy?

  8. burt 8

    Why stop at 100%, if you make it 400% then you will get everyone earnign the same very quickly. The overalls will be made in one size, grey for normal and red for special ocassions (like when standing in bread queues etc).

    The great socialist dream of nobody earning too much and nobody earning too little will never be achieved while people are allowed to keep their own income rather than receive a standard allowance from the glorious state.

  9. tsmithfield 9

    felix “If a glass of wine is enjoyable then why not drink it all day?

    If swimming is healthy then why not live in the ocean?”

    You didn’t actually answer the question. Why not tax the wealthy at 100%?

    Answer that, then you may also answer why it is equally stupid to tax the rich at other high rates.

  10. burt 10

    felix

    I did a post about it in March 2006, and did reference it a lot around that time.
    http://burtnz.blogspot.com/2006_03_01_archive.html

    Sadly the original stuff links are gone.

    Just popping back to this one. I had hoped that after a whole page of stuff feedback about this there would be some more information put out by the Govt to justify it’s potential caught with a good spin on.

    “Thinking about a move to Australia? Think again, warns Prime Minister Helen Clark.
    Because across the ditch you’ll run into higher taxes, higher property prices, higher unemployment, plus compulsory medicare and superannuation, she said in Palmerston North yesterday. ”

    See stuff : http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3597243a10,00.html

    I also borrowed an official avg household income figure of $65,5209 from here.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3603795a6160,00.html

    I postulated that as the tax rates had different graduation points and rates, I would need to calculate both the tax on the income as if was earned by a single person as well as splitting the income between two people. To give a fair comparison for the average NZ household income.

    Australian tax rates from here were used:
    http://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/content.asp?doc=/content/12333.htm

    And NZ rates are from here:
    http://www.ird.govt.nz/income-tax-individual/itaxsalaryandwage-incometaxrates.html

    As an Individual an Australian pays $15,516 as tax on a gross income of $65,520.
    An Individual in NZ pays $16,822.80 as tax on a gross income of $65,520.

    The Aussie pays $1,306.80 less tax on an income $65,520

    As an Individual an Australian pays $5,688 as tax on a gross income of $32,760.
    An Individual in NZ pays $6,388.20 as tax on a gross income of $32,760.

    The Aussies pays $698 less tax on an income of $32,760.

    So that was the averages disposed off, how about the lower incomes.

    Lets say Joe earns $18,000 a year.
    In Aussie the tax is $1,800
    In NZ the tax is a whopping $3,510

    The Aussie is paying $1,710 less tax on an income of $18,000.
    In NZ you pay almost twice as much tax when you earn $18,000. a year. It’s just my opinion but I think this a very bad look for a Govt that claims it represents the lower to average income working people of NZ.

    So I also looked at a reasonably large salary.
    Lets say Joe earns $100,000
    Aussie: $30,550
    Kiwi: $30,270

    The Kiwi pays $280 less here on an income of $100,000.

    So the cross over point in the progressive models used is somewhere close below $100,000.

    A quick look at massive income of $280,000
    Aussie: $115,150
    Kiwi: $100,470

    Kiwi pays $14,680 less tax on an income of $280,000. Once again it’s just my opinion but I think this a very bad look for a Govt that claims it represents lower to average income working people of NZ.

    So the truth of the matter would appear to be, that the average Kiwi is better off in Aussie tax wise. Lower income earners are a lot better off in Australia tax wise and high income earners pay more tax in Australia.

    I wonder was she using a large dollop of spin or was she thinking of her own income when she made the statement. Perhaps she thought she was addressing the business round table.

    • snoozer 10.1

      your numbers ignore the other taxes aussies pay – complusory super, medicare, stamp duty, capital gains.

      you’re comparing apples with half a banana

      look at the tax wedge to see how much of the money an employer pays for labour gets taken in tax before the employee gets their net income – http://jimdonovan.net.nz/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/oecd-tax-wedge.jpg

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 10.1.1

        You don’t pay the super- your employer does. If you want to you can top it up yourself, you can- tax free. I call that a government gift.

        • snoozer 10.1.1.1

          if you imagine the supply and demand graph for labour complusory super is part of the cost the demander pays for labour but it doesn’t get to the supplier. in theory if it weren’t there people would get higher gross wages instead.

          Not that I’m against it, mind. I’m just pointing out the tax situation in Aussie comapred to NZ isn’t how burt imagines it.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 10.2

      Remember also that in Oz GST is 10% and food attracts no GST. Electricity, Gas, Phones are considerably cheaper over there. If you are poor you are much better off over there

  11. burt 11

    snoozer

    Keep up, now Cullen & Clark are not trying to say taxes are higher in Australia there is no need to run that interference. It is OK now to speak the truth about relative income taxes.

    • felix 11.1

      I suppose if you’re just going to ignore all the other taxes as snoozer points out you’re doing then you might have a point.

      Meanwhile back in reality…

  12. Sam 12

    It’s always amusing to see how the tories cope when presented with actual facts rather than Crosby-Texter spin. Oh so many tears.

  13. tc 13

    This whole catching up with Oz is a strawman so the Nat’s can reward their backers (the wealthy) off the back of the everyday low/middle income earners.

    Oz has a CGT on a sliding 7 year basis to ping those caught investing in property to make a buck…..it gets taxed, unlike here where it fuels house prices and those doing it pay no tax.

    Oz has compulsory super (employer and employee contributions) which is Pre tax, can be self managed and allows you to increase the pretax contribution toward retirement so they have an enforced savings regime and a generation now retiring with no State assistance required.

    Oz is a resource economy with enough oil/gas/minerals to export forever with a broad tax system underpinned by these self managed super schemes.

    this was mostly created by the Hawke/Keating admin however unlike here the right in Oz are far more pragmatic and rational so they left it alone knowing it was the way forward unlike the idelogical luddites in NZ’s right wing NACT vehicles.

    Oz is a lucky country indeed, blessed with resources the world demands and visionaries like Keating back in the 80’s who made the hard calls and an opposition not bound by ideology that reverse what the last lot did……simply because they can.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 13.1

      I remember when CGT was introduced by Keating. A few rich people squealed but no one really cared. Why is itthat its is the first thing rejected by Key?

  14. burt 14

    Sam

    It’s always amusing to see how the tories cope when presented with actual facts rather than Crosby-Texter spin. Oh so many tears.

    It is interesting you use the word ‘tory’ in this thread. The post I pasted in before was in response to the labour dim-bulbs talking about Aussie tax cuts in 2006 as “tory tax cuts for their rich’ which when actual facts were applied (IE: actually looking at the rates in use and the nature of the progressive models between Aussie and NZ) showed how Labour in NZ were ‘tory’ compared to the govt in Aussie of that time which was being called a ‘tory’ govt. This thread shows that taxation is more progressive in Aussie and the truth is that it has been that way throughout the entire Labour govt rule of 1999-2008. The whole 9 years of Labour we had a less progressive tax system than Aussie had and the whole time our Labour apologists were calling Aussie a tory govt.

    Needless to say when Labor took over in Aussie the taunts of “tory’ stopped and now that we have a National govt the Labour apologists feel secure enough to actually face the fact that we have a less progressive tax system. It’s not the tories who are running from the facts.

    • Sam 14.1

      Why yes, I too like to prattle on about completely unrelated things so as to avoid talking about things that make me uncomfortable.

  15. burt 15

    felix

    I suppose if you’re just going to ignore all the other taxes as snoozer points out you’re doing then you might have a point.

    Meanwhile back in reality this thread is about income tax thresholds, which I was adressing much to the displeasure of people who still want to believe that NZ isn’t a tory tax model by comparison.

    I’ve said I would rather see flat taxes, but I have also said over and over – if we have a rich threashold then aim it at the rich – not the bulk of tax payers.

  16. roger nome 16

    “if we have a rich threashold then aim it at the rich not the bulk of tax payers.”

    Yo Burt – about 80% of tax payers earn below $50,000 in NZ. That’s how unequal the income distribution is. Feel free to plant your face in your hand now.

    Here are the stats:

    http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/2006CensusHomePage/QuickStats/quickstats-about-a-subject/incomes.aspx

  17. burt 17

    Sorry guys it is time you faced the hard cold reality; Clark & Cullen overtaxed low-middle income NZ while giving a free ride to their rich mates. The gullible supporters of their redistribution rhetoric totally ignored the fiscal reality of what was actually occurring, totally ignored who was most hurt by fiscal drag and totally ignored that our Tory neighbours were taxing low income workers less and high income workers more than our socialist and proud of it govt.

    OK, if we can accept that we can then open our minds to how we can improve the tax system rather than just argue for status quo because we were misled by people who we though were telling us the truth.

    What is it going to be; live in the distorted view of the past your previous masters sold you or face the reality that they lied to you and fix it ?

    • snoozer 17.1

      “Clark & Cullen overtaxed low-middle income NZ while giving a free ride to their rich mates. ”

      evidence?

      I thought you were crying because Clark and Cullen put the top tax rate up to 39%, hardly a free-ride for the rich (and I can tell you, one thing Labour doesn’t have a lot of is rich mates)

      And clark and Cullen gave low and middle income NZ a 410 a week tax cut by cutting the bottom rate. What did National do? Oh, tax cut for the rich.

      • Herodotus 17.1.1

        Tha C&C couple also inferred that a single income family can survive on less money than a doulble income family on the same gross wage
        So for case study a family income $95k with 3 16-18 year olds you are entitled to $55/week FTC and In work $60/week and after tax of $95-20=$75k + benefits
        Single income same family structure
        $95-27.6= $67.4k
        Both get the same WFF, why does it cost less for 1 earner in a family to live than 2?
        Same family but all 3 children are under 12, WFF is $0/week,In work =$42/week but the after tax figures are the same.
        Nice to see what is valued within this society!!

        • Descendant Of Smith 17.1.1.1

          That reflects the point I made elsewhere. Once the baby boomers had raised their families and their kids were leaving home and mum could go out to work income splitting was no longer needed.

          I had 3 kids under 5 when that was removed and I know it made life much more difficult at the time – as did the removal of universal family benefit and high mortgage interest rates.

          I’m more than happy for families to have the choice to combine incomes for tax purposes or have them assessed separately depending on whether they have children or not.

          Universal Family Benefit in my view should never have been thrown out, would clearly reduce bureaucracy and avoidance and benefit envy by the better off.

          Income splitting also gives more choice and support for those where only one partner can find work or one partner has to look after children with disabilities for instance. This would more than likely result in a reduction in DPB numbers or at least new cases coming on.

          Socially these options are both more acceptable to the general public as well. I’m sure people hate having to apply for the current forms of assistance through WFF.

          I know there are arguments against both these things but both seem to resolve many of the issues that emotionally people are finding difficult with the current systems.

          • Descendant Of Smith 17.1.1.1.1

            Just curious now: Do the well off front up to apply for WFF like normal people or do their accountants send in the forms?

            • Herodotus 17.1.1.1.1.1

              Apparently you can apply on line, but some friends I know have been caught out by being eligible when applying but with promotions, bonus, change of jobs exceed the income levels then have to refund the money. No time is a good time to repay an overpayment. What got them was that they were unaware of such things until when the books were balance after the fin year, and many still have from these experiences feel in a similar vein as the free pre school. Oversold and under delivered. My personel feelings for families earning over $80k was that they should not have been eligable and the money to those closer to the poverty line and unable to utilise WFF, but that is a lossing personal oponion !!

              • Descendant Of Smith

                I was just thinking that given you can’t remove emotion from decisions (including political ones) that if we were going to give more to the well off bringing back those two policies would meet that need, simplify things for everyone and probably have some quite good social outcomes.

                There’s also a deep seated emotional attachment to the universal family benefit that we were once proud of. The reduction in bureaucracy for most people would be welcome – maybe a few less public servants even.

                I would think given the reduction in real wages for many people over the last 20 odd years that there might still need to be some targeted assistance at the bottom but this type of policy would take care of that middle group who are more than likely resentful of being made to feel like bludgers by having to apply.

                It’s probably quite easy to consider that tax cuts at the top are attractive as a better option for people when they resent having to put their hands out for WFF even when they are on a good income.

                I do think that is something Labour got wrong – while moving the entitlement thresholds up may have made good fiscal sense and no doubt has plenty of economic and policy analysis behind it it doesn’t resonate at an emotional level.

                People feel much better getting something that everyone is entitled to ( in this instance everyone with kids).

      • burt 17.1.2

        snoozer

        Was the bit where I said; ” live in the distorted view of the past your previous masters sold you or face the reality that they lied to you and fix it ?” completely lost on you ?

        Under Labour we ended up with 75% of high school teachers paying the top tax threshold and now we hear that of a selection of the 100 most wealthy people in NZ about half are not paying the top threshold.

        Think carefully then see if you can reconcile the concept of fairness with that situation.

  18. RedLogix 18

    now we hear that of a selection of the 100 most wealthy people in NZ about half are not paying the top threshold.

    Invariably because they diverted income to companies or trusts. Is there anything in this report that tackles that issue burt? Or have I missed something?

    • burt 18.1

      RedLogix

      You probably only though about the property tax in terms of it being passed on to people paying rent. The reality that some of the most exclusive properties in this country sit quietly empty between visits from the top threshold dodging owners is something to ponder.

      • RedLogix 18.1.1

        The reality that some of the most exclusive properties in this country sit quietly empty between visits from the top threshold dodging owners

        Sounds like a certain residence in Dipton…but I digress..in this sort case the rules don’t need changing, merely enforced.

      • burt 18.1.2

        That being the case my statement that Labour didn’t take the steps required to address it are even more valid….

        Umm, we had the tools to address that but it wasn’t politically expedient to use them – Perhaps it was not in the public interest to prosecute.

        • RedLogix 18.1.2.1

          This is true, but perhaps they already had enough powerful people lined up against them.

          Funny how even mention of a CGT was ‘political suicide’ in Cullen’s time, but somehow it all became acceptable talk once the govt was changed.

          • Zaphod Beeblebrox 18.1.2.1.1

            Except for the PM- he’s been treating CGT like it was the plague.

            Did you read Mallard’s blog where he claimed Cullen offered English a CGT if he gave bi-partisan support? Bet English wished he took up the offer now!

  19. Herodotus 19

    It was never politicial suicide, there was no conviction on their behalf, just like giving the IRD added resources at an appripiate time to chase those who speculated on property ( in some cases putting the property on the market before completing the S&P agreement to purchase). Sure there was some cases in Queenstown and a few other isolated cases. Now the rush is over the IRD are now becomming over aggressive in their approach to land transactions within the last year, yet they appear gun shy to review anything within the 2002-6 period.

  20. RedLogix 20

    Actually it was the National govt of the 90’s that directed IRD to quietly leave the distinction between an investor and a trader deliberately left so unclear that it many people even forgot that the rule existed. (A trader’s capital gain is treated as taxable income, whereas an investor’s isn’t.)

    I believe that it was some years before this massive loophole came to Cullen’s attention, and it was only in Labour’s third term that IRD was directed to aggresively pursue the rorters.

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    . . April 6: Day 12 of living in lock-down… Another day of a near-empty Park N Ride carpark; . . And another day of near-empty Wellington streets; . . . Light traffic on the motorway. No apparent increase in volume. Commercial vehicles sighted; a gravel-hauling truck; McAuley’s Transport; a ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • A Lamentable Failure of Imagination.
    Imagination By-Pass: Had the Communications Minister, Kris Faafoi (above) taken a firm stand with Bauer, reminding them of their obligations to both their staff and the wider New Zealand public, then a much more favourable outcome may well have ensued. He should have made it clear to the Bauer board ...
    3 days ago
  • Simon Bridges can’t connect
    We all know that Simon Bridges has, at the best of times, an intermittent relationship with the truth. However you would think that during a pandemic and economic crisis the current opposition leader would pull his head in and start to do the right thing.Obviously leading by example should be ...
    3 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 3: Riddell et al (2019)
    Connett promotes Riddell et al (2019) as one of the only four studies one needs to read about fluoridation. But he misunderstands and misrepresents the findings of this study. Image credit: Fluoride Action ...
    3 days ago
  • Could the Atlantic Overturning Circulation ‘shut down’?
    This is a re-post from Carbon Brief by Dr. Richard Wood and Dr. Laura Jackson Generally, we think of climate change as a gradual process: the more greenhouse gases that humans emit, the more the climate will change. But are there any “points of no return” that commit us to irreversible ...
    3 days ago
  • The biggest challenge for a generation ahead – covid-19. Defeat and Recovery
    Last month I wrote my blog on covid-19 pointing out the in our pre Alert Level 4 days that a subject no one had heard here months ago was now dominating the media. An amazing feature of this crisis is how quickly it has swept every other issue aside worldwide. ...
    PunditBy Wyatt Creech
    4 days ago
  • Testing for COVID-19 in NZ to Achieve the Elimination Goal
    Nick Wilson,1 Ayesha Verrall,1,2 Len Cook,3 Alistair Gray,3 Amanda Kvalsvig,1 Michael Baker,1 (1epidemiologists, 2infectious disease physician, 3statisticians) In this blog, we raise ideas for how New Zealand might optimise testing to both identify cases in the community as part of the COVID-19 elimination strategy, and to confirm when the virus ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    4 days ago
  • Should we all be wearing face masks to prevent Covid-19 spread?
    Maybe you’ve seen the graph that says those countries where everyone wears a mask are the ones that have managed to keep Covid-19 under control? The first thing to say about that claim is that those countries also did lots of other things, too – they acted fast, with intense ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    4 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #14
    Story of the Week... Editorial 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... North Atlantic's capacity to absorb CO2 overestimated, study suggests Research into ocean’s plankton likely to lead to ...
    4 days ago
  • The Americans are trying to kill us all again
    The Treaty on Open Skies is one of the most effective mechanisms for preventing war curently in force. By letting countries make surveillance flights over each others' territory, it eliminates fears that they are secretly preparing for war. So naturally, the US is planning to withdraw from it: The Trump ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 11
    . . April 5: Day eleven of living in lock-down… My one day of rest for the week, and an opportunity to mow my lawns – which I’d been delaying for about three weeks. (On the plus side, the damp micro-climate in my back yard yielded three lovely fresh mushrooms ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Now we know what the rules are
    As the lockdown has gone on, disquiet about what the rules were and the police's enforcement of them has grown. On Friday, Police admitted that they were abusing routine traffic stops to effectively set up illegal checkpoints, and on Saturday Stuff revealed internal police advice saying that they actually needed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 2: Green et al (2019)
    Paul Connett is putting all his eggs in one basket. He says “you only have to read four studies” to find community after fluoridation harmful. Image credit: Fluoride Action Network newsletter. For part 1 of this series see Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018). Paul Connett, ...
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: Splore Listening Lounge 2020: the road to a “yes” vote
    As far as anyone can say, New Zeaand still has a general election scheduled for September 19 this year. The election will be accompanied by two referenda, one of which will ask voters:Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?The official campaign period for the cannabis referendum begins ...
    4 days ago
  • Obituary for The New Zealand Listener (1939-2020)
    The vast majority of tributes to the Listener hearken back to its glory days, with little reflection on the magazine as it was at its end.I wrote for it, for half the Listener’s life; I have known personally all the editors except the first (mythical) three. From 1978 to 2014 ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    4 days ago
  • Universal income – a challenge to capitalism or a crutch?
    As the world economy slides rapidly towards deep recession there are growing calls for a Universal Benefit coming from some leftists and rightists. Now Finance Minister Grant Robertson is saying it is on the table.  This article by a French party Workers Struggle provides analysis of various forms of universal ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018)
    This is the advice from the very top of the anti-fluoride movement – Paul Connett, director of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN). Don’t worry about reading  up on all the scientific information “You only have ...
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 10
    . . April 4: Day 10 of living in lock-down… I wake up to a fine Saturday morning which normally would be like an early Christmas. But it’s Day 10 of Level 4 Lock Down. What  will my fellow New Zealanders be doing on a day like this – staying ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Redline reaching out to more writers & readers
    Some time during the night we went over the 850,000 views mark. We might have had our millionth view by the end of this year – certainly by early next year. Most of the people involved in Redline spent years and years producing various small left-wing papers and selling them ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Keir Starmer elected
    Comfortably, in the very first round, with an impressive 56% of the votes.I wonder, did members of the Shadow Cabinet start tweeting their resignations during Starmer's victory speech, or is that only a trick the right pull?It is odd how all the talk of how the next leader "needs to ...
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: Michael Baker and the Big House
    One of the key voices in this extraordinary time in which we live is that of University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker. Philip Matthews did an an excellent job this weekend of capturing the way he became the man for this moment in a profile for The Press.But one ...
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand Gives up on Trying to Save Daylight
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the nation today about the decline in daylight New Zealand has been experiencing over the previous few months. She said “As many of you will notice, our attempts to stem the dwindling of the daylight over the last few months have been completely ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    6 days ago
  • A bulletin from Greece
    Redline received this article from the KOE a Marxist party in Greece Our friends in the KOE describe here the mounting crisis in Greece and tensions on the Turkish border. As desperate people flee from their homelands which have been ruined after decades of imperialist wars and interventions the people ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
    As the first week of Level Four lockdown unfolded, mounting questions grew as to just what was (and was not) allowed under its “rules”. Partly these were driven by some apparently contradictory messages from different authority figures and explanations carried in the media. Partly they reflected a somewhat sketchy legal basis ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

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

    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Maybe axing Clark would be unfair. But what about any of this is fair?
    Yesterday was the day the consequences of the lockdown suddenly got very real for many. Firms have been closing and laying people off since the outset of the quarantine but this has mostly been happening out of the public eye. The mass closure of a number of iconic New Zealand ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Might a ‘Coasean’ social contract mitigate overall societal harm from COVID-19?
    Brian Williamson1, Prof Nick Wilson2 (1Economic consultant, UK; 2University of Otago Wellington) In this blog, we outline how a win-win social contract could be forged to address the major dimensions of response to the COVID-19 pandemic when using a mitigation strategy: the particular need to protect older people from high ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
    Resuming Normal Service: The Republican Party's nominee for in 1920, Warren Harding, promised the American people: “not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration”. If she wishes to remain our prime minister, then Jacinda Ardern will offer New Zealanders the same.HOW EDUCATED AMERICA snickered when the ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
    No Free Society Without A Free And Functioning News Media: If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating Covid-19, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders simply because it improves their bottom line.I’M ...
    1 week ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Lockdown day 8
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    1 week ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    1 week ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    1 week ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    1 week ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago

  • Decisions made on urgent turf maintenance
    The Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson has announced that urgent maintenance of turf and care for plants in non-plantation nurseries will soon be able to go ahead under Level 4 restrictions. “The Government has agreed that urgent upkeep and maintenance of biological assets will be able to go ahead ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Acknowledging an extraordinary te reo champion
    E tangi ana a Taranaki iwi, e tangi ana te ao Māori, otirā e tangi ana te motu. Mōu katoa ngā roimata e riringi whānui ana, mōu katoa ngā mihi.   E te kaikōkiri i te reo Māori, e Te Huirangi, takoto mai. Takoto mai me te mōhio ko ngā ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Prime Minister’s remarks halfway through Alert Level 4 lockdown
    Today is day 15 of Alert Level 4 lockdown. And at the halfway mark I have no hesitation in saying, that what New Zealanders have done over the last two weeks is huge. In the face of the greatest threat to human health we have seen in over a century, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Licenses, WoFs and regos extended under lockdown
    All driver licences, WoFs, CoFs, and some vehicle certifications, that expired on or after 1 January 2020 will be valid for up to six months from 10 April 2020, Transport Minister Phil Twyford has announced. “People shouldn’t have to worry about getting fined for having an expired document if driving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    24 hours ago
  • Inquiry report into EQC released
    The Government has today released the report from the Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission chaired by Dame Silvia Cartwright.  Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission Grant Robertson says the Government wants to learn from people’s experiences following the Canterbury earthquakes and other recent natural disasters. “Dame Silvia’s report documents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • More time for health workers and elderly to get flu vaccine
    The Government has extended by two weeks till April 27 the amount of time priority groups, such as health workers and those aged over 65, have to get their flu vaccine before it is made available to the wider public. This year’s vaccination campaign is a key component of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Communities step up to help New Zealanders stay connected and fed during lockdown
    Communities stepping up to help New Zealanders stay at home to break the transmission of COVID-19 and save lives have received Government support, said Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. “Delivering groceries for the elderly who can’t shop online, providing data packs for low income families to keep them connected, and being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • 120 COVID-19 testing centres now operating
    Across New Zealand 120 sites are taking samples to be tested for COVID-19.   68 community based assessment centres (CBACs) have been established to take samples from people with COVID-19 symptoms. Alongside this, 52 other centres including designated general practices, swabbing centres, and mobile clinics are now testing people for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Covid19: Government moving quickly to roll out learning from home
    The Ministry of Education is working with partners to develop a package of options so that students can learn at home when Term 2 begins on 15 April, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Supports are also being prepared for households with children under five, to help parents and whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Making learning from home accessible to Māori learners and whānau
    Māori Television to begin educational te reo programmes Ki te Ao Mārama – a new online learning space Thousands of hard copy learning packs ready for distribution Helpdesk and advice service for kōhanga, kura and wharekura Television, the internet and hard copy learning packs are some of the ways whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand to provide assistance to Vanuatu following Tropical Cyclone Harold
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced an initial package of support to help the people and the Government of Vanuatu respond to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Harold. “Our Pacific neighbours have been hit by a Category 5 Cyclone at the same time as dealing with the economic impacts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Planning for the future of tourism
    Tourism New Zealand to lead work reimagining the way tourism operates in post-COVID-19 world. Ministers to review International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy investment plan. The Government, industry and business are working together to develop a plan for how tourism will operate in a post-COVID-19 world, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ horticulture sector feeding Kiwis and the world during COVID-19
    More New Zealanders are taking up the chance to work in horticulture as the sector keeps New Zealanders fed and in jobs during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown. “Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Work to repurpose PGF funds begins
    The Provincial Development Unit is working through applications and projects to see where Provincial Growth Fund money can be repurposed for initiatives deemed more critical to fighting the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “We need to be throwing everything we have at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • A million workers supported by Govt wage subsidy
    The Government’s wage subsidy to protect jobs and keep workers and businesses connected during the lockdown has now supported over a million New Zealanders, with $6.6 billion already paid out. “We’re supporting businesses to pay wages, and stay connected with their workers so that we are all in a better ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government helps Pacific communities fight COVID
    The Government is stepping up efforts to help protect New Zealand’s Pacific communities in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet has agreed that $17 million will be allocated to support a COVID-19 Pacific Response Package, which will: Support Pacific health and disability services facing increased demand; Ramp up public health messaging ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark
    “Yesterday evening the Health Minister advised me of his trip to a beach during the lockdown and offered his resignation,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses.  “But right now, my priority is our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Statement from David Clark
    Last night as part of my preparation for the Epidemic Response Committee, I provided the Prime Minister with a complete picture of my activity outside my home during Alert Level 4.  That included the fact that on the first weekend of the Alert Level 4 lockdown I drove my family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • COVID-19 mental health support begins
    A range of support is being rolled out across New Zealand to help people look after their mental health during COVID-19 Health Minister David Clark said this morning. “COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives and many of us will be feeling some level of distress or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government supports air services to offshore islands
    The Government has stepped in to support vital air links to our offshore islands, the Chatham Islands, Great Barrier Island and Motiti Island, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. “As part of our $600 million support package to minimise the impacts of COVID-19 on the aviation sector, the Government has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 week 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 week 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
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  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
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