The pandemic is resiliency training

Written By: - Date published: 12:17 pm, December 24th, 2021 - 12 comments
Categories: covid-19, health and safety, long covid, workers' rights - Tags: ,

The pandemic shows no sign of ending. There are some hopeful signs with the idea that omicron will turn out to be a milder illness and once it becomes the dominant strain we will be able to adapt to a different, kinder kind of pandemic response. Big ifs in that, with scientists, doctors, politicians and the public all jumping to their own conclusions before we have solid data.

I will always argue the precautionary principle for the New Zealand pandemic response. We are in a unique position with having low community rates contained within distinct parts of the country, and omicron is still only knocking at the border. We have time to wait and see how this plays out overseas. We are incredibly fortunate, and much of that is due to the early advisors who at the start of 2020 told the government to go for elimination rather than simply flattening the curve and having a Labour government that understood the value of valuing people.

The rest of the world was mostly unable to try that (for a range of geographical and political reasons), and we got to witness just how bad free covid is.

So here we sit and wait. The government has sensibly delayed the changes at the international border that were due to start mid January. By then we should have solid and a better range of data from a number of countries with different geographical, socioeconomic, population density and political factors, upon which to make decisions.  This isn’t about fearfully retreating from the rest of the world in the hopes that omicron never arrives. As Lprent said so succinctly a few days ago,

I don’t think we can keep it out.

But we do need to throttle the number of sources of import (ie the start points of the geometric progression) for the moment until we do understand how it spreads and what effects it has on the medical system.

Looks like the government has pushed everything out for about a month – seems about right. Let SA, UK, USA and Aussie test it for us.

I would add to this, that we cannot know how omicron will impact on long covid, because of the longer term nature of that post-viral syndrome. I argued in Long covid, omicron and the precautionary principle the rationales for taking a conservative approach and why we should be taking long covid very seriously.

It seems prudent to point out the differences between abstract data and theories about covid and how things play out in the real world. Data when looked at in isolation might be suggesting that we can loosen restrictions because omicron looks milder, but meanwhile, in Australia and the UK, both with high omicron rates, systems are struggling.

A good overview in the Guardian of the complexities of omicron meets real life. Hospitalisation rates are lower (“a  moderate reduction”), but other factors come into play

  • reduced efficacy of vaccines against omicron
  • overrun of health systems as omicron rates increase
  • shorter hospital stays overall, but omicron is less prevalent in older people currently and more data is needed on the impact on them (that’s a clear example of why raw data and theory can fail in real life)

And this (my emphasis),

It is too early to assess the risk of admission to intensive care and death, but the researchers say greater reductions in risk are possible.

We’re just not there yet. There is also the issue of less severity being offset by greater number of infections (lesser severity doesn’t necessarily equate to fewer serious infections).

In Australia where the federal government appears to be moving to a ‘let it rip’ approach, New South Wales is already struggling. This from the Sydney Morning Herald this morning,

NSW hospitals are facing looming staff shortages, with hundreds isolating and others asked to reconsider taking Christmas leave as the Omicron surge forces the state government to reintroduce mask mandates and density limits.

With about 1500 hospital workers across the state’s health system in isolation due to COVID-19, some staff have been asked to reverse holiday leave to bolster the workforce as the outbreak grows.

NSW COVID-19 restrictions are returning for the holidays, just days after being scrapped, as new cases today surged above 5000.

NSW reported a record-breaking 5715 new cases on Thursday, prompting Premier Dominic Perrottet to impose tighter restrictions.

While Mr Perrottet said the “key indicators” of success for the state were not based on pure case numbers, his biggest concern was the impact the rapid spread of infections was having on health workers, with thousands forced to isolate recent weeks.

“While we are seeing low numbers in [intensive care], very manageable numbers in ICU, it is more in relation to making sure that our health system can be well-manned during the summer period,” Mr Perrottet said.

Maybe the ‘let it rip’ people think hospital staff should just not get tested or self-isolate. If hospitalisation is lower with omicron, then won’t natural immunity just sort of sort everything out eventually? She’ll be right once everyone has had the virus. I’m sure hospital staff would love to be at the forefront of that that particular experiment. There are all sorts of risks associated with this apporach, including staff burnout and the impacts of long covid that only become apparent in 6 months time.

Meanwhile, we should remember that hospitals become dysfunctional if they can’t be cleaned and serviced, let alone medically staffed. And because this won’t be obvious to many, this flows on to other health care services. Think elderly care homes not being able to get staff as they’re shifting to hospital work. Read the SMH piece for details.

The rapid rise in cases comes as the state’s paramedics report record numbers of triple zero calls, with wait times of up to an hour for the highest level life-threatening emergencies.

Screenshots of NSW Ambulance’s control centre status board, seen by the Herald, show that on Wednesday the average response time for P1, or potentially life-threatening cases, was 58 minutes across the Sydney metropolitan area.

P1 category cases include unconscious patients, people having an acute heart attack or choking.

My emphasis again.

I feel like I’ve just named a few of the issues here. The bigger picture is complex. It’s a novel virus that recreates itself and we are still trying to figure how to adapt.

So, just in case it doesn’t end soon. What if we are in a long emergency? Should we be thinking about medium and long term adaptation rather than holding out for a reprieve that might be just around the corner or might never come? How does this relate to the other long emergencies rolling in, the climate and ecological crises? How resilient are we in the face of a global financial crisis or a big earthquake in New Zealand? How do we think about and prepare for compounding crises?

I think it’s fair to say that a lot of people don’t have good capacity for thinking about such things because the pandemic stress is already more than enough. But climate and ecology tell me that covid is resiliency training. Personal and community. This is something we can try and hide from, or it’s something we can front up to and engage with that helps us cope now and prepare for the future. If that sounds too grim, to my mind it’s not. I’ve spent most of my life around people who build systems that are both life affirming and resilient and future proofing. In those circles it’s normal to take both into account.

This is similar to what I write about the Powerdown (and not coincidentally, there is much in the powerdown knowledge base that can help us with covid adaptation). We can set up new systems with the tools we currently have that provide both a response to the situation we are in now, as well as basing how society organises around the age of uncertainty rather than some unreal neoliberal idea of perpetual BAU safety.

To give a really simple example of how to use crisis as opportunity, and to solve multiple problems in ways that enhance rather than simply mitigate. The point was raised yesterday that people rely on public libraries and making them inaccessible (through lockdowns or mandates) can have big impacts on those that need those spaces. The solution here isn’t to not have a pandemic response that includes restrictions, but to look at how to make the lives of people better who are unduly affected by the response.

Do they need access to books? New Zealand libraries already have book buses and homebound services that can be adapted. Do they need internet access? The government, or even local government should be looking at making sure everyone in New Zealand has affordable internet access in whatever way that works for them. Do they need a place to socialise? Create more outside urban spaces suited to the local climate.

Whole systems design also means that multiple functions and needs meet. Outside spaces with good airflow limit covid spread, create micro-climate cooling for overheated days, help people feel better (forest bathing), give kids more access to nature, and help biodiversity and carbon sinks.

How we respond to the pandemic is on all of us.

Front page image from the BBC video How trees secretly talk to each other

Shout out to the Standaristas who’ve been putting up such good covid explaining links and synopses.

12 comments on “The pandemic is resiliency training ”

  1. Ad 1

    Once I got hopeful again I was going to write something similar.

    But not yet.

    The 17-minute interview below with Yale Sociology Professor Nicholas Christakis going through many of the permutations that previous plagues have placed upon us and societal reactions to them.

    There are a lot of similarities to this current state, which he sets out in Apollo's Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Effect of Covid on The Way We Live

    Yale Sociologist: COVID-19 Will Reshape Humanity | Video | Amanpour & Company | PBS

    We are not at the beginning of the end, but we are at the end of the beginning.

    We are still in the beginning. We have years to go.

    But rather than teaching us all international cooperation, it has instead made each border of each nation-state ever-more defensive.

    Those rich countries that have been able to, have simply redistributed wealth not through tax cuts but through asset inflation: to housing and the stock exchanges.

    This is the largest K-shaped recovery we've had in New Zealand.

    Little of that which has inflated the assets of the rich will go towards resilience in any form.

    We're certainly tougher here with all of the crises since the 2009 GFC and then the Christchurch Earthquakes and each successive crisis that followed

    I fear rather that the state has made our skin tougher and more brittle, but otherwise our actual selves this Christmas and into 2022 are mostly poorer and weaker.

    • weka 1.1

      Once I got hopeful again I was going to write something similar.

      I'm probably more hopeful because I'm immersed in sub cultures that have long been developing responses based in resiliency, and they tend towards a proactive, this is the way out, we can make this ok kind of approach. There's a lot of really cool stuff going on and generally people are on board with the idea of collapse or constraint

      Whereas you are at the hard end of business and industry, and while I think there are cool things happening there too, it's a different mindset and is caught between the rock and hard place of BAU and the incoming crises.The wealth and power issues are huge.

      Would love to see a post from your perspective and experience when the time is right.

      Disability has also made me much more comfortable with restriction than most people, and by necessity survival involved building resiliency skills.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Here's a corporate view of the global resilience scene:

    omicron is fast becoming dominant in the U.S. and Europe, out-competing delta with unprecedented speed. That’s seen the 53 economies scored in Bloomberg’s Covid Resilience Ranking become generally stricter with restrictions in the last month of the year, reducing people’s movements as cases spiked from London to Sydney.

    Most major economies, nevertheless, are refraining from returning to the economically crippling measures used to contain the virus in 2020, relying instead on accelerated booster drives to fight the new variant.

    In December, places in South America and the Asia Pacific gained ground, helped by warmer weather and a slower onset of omicron.

    Chile dethrones the United Arab Emirates to take the No. 1 spot. It’s summer now in Santiago, tourism has restarted and Chileans are the second-most vaccinated population in the world among countries bigger than 1 million people, reflecting a turnaround seen across a region that was devastated by the original virus but largely left unscathed by delta.

    Just a coincidence that Chile just produced a leftist political victory? Perhaps not. The left does well when it demonstrates competent governance. But how credible is this ranking system??

    The Covid Resilience Ranking is a monthly snapshot of where the virus is being handled the most effectively with the least social and economic upheaval. Compiled using 12 data indicators that span virus containment, quality of healthcare, vaccination coverage, overall mortality and progress toward restarting travel, it captures how the world’s biggest 53 economies are responding to the same once-in-a-generation threat.

    Not very helpful. Explanation more evident in the lack thereof! Especially since Aotearoa is half-way down the pack, coming in @ #25. Here's where we get a hint of corporate bias:

    Big shifts upward in December:

    • Singapore jumps 19 spots after a sharp drop in cases over the past month, along with a significant easing in hospital loads
    • Austria vaults 17 positions as it lifted a national lockdown and resumed tourism after infections halved from their peak
    • Australia climbs 16 places after areas including its biggest state of New South Wales removed almost all restrictions
    • New Zealand advances 11 rungs as its largest city of Auckland came out of lockdown and the country shifted to a new alert system which allows businesses to operate for vaccinated people

    So their resilience framing is based on proximity to BAU. They don't get it yet…

    https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/covid-resilience-ranking/

  3. Dennis Frank 3

    Ellen H. O’Donnell, Ph.D., is a pediatric psychologist at MassGeneral Hospital for Children and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. A year ago she made these points about pandemic resilience:

    Unfortunately, people tend toward homeostasis. We want to go back to normal, not to a “new normal.” Ask the average person what it means to be “resilient” and they’ll say some version of “bouncing back” from adversity. We want our economy to bounce back and we want to get back to our jobs, schools and routines. Except that’s not actually resilience.

    Resilience is not a state of being but a set of skills honed through adversity. To be resilient isn’t to go back to being the way one was before. It’s to allow oneself to be changed, to see the cracks in the self or the system, let the light shine through and to become (in the words of Hemingway and a million memes) stronger at the broken places.

    Resilience doesn’t mean bouncing back to normal. It means being transformed toward a new normal. https://www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2020/09/14/resilience-pandemic-covid-19-summer-ellen-odonnell

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    Gardeners will achieve resilience if they adapt to climate change.

    Climate change has already changed what foods can grow in New Zealand, as shown by a trial of peanuts grown in Northland for Nelson company Pic’s Peanut Butter, said Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research senior scientist Dr Nicholas Cradock-Henry​. “Pic's is growing peanuts in Northland – that in itself would've been probably regarded 10 years ago as either highly unlikely or totally unfeasible.”

    Niwa climate scientist Gregor Macara agreed climate change will result in higher temperatures, which will both increase the growing season and enable faster crop development. While New Zealand’s weather will always remain variable, climate change will shift the average weather conditions expected for a given time of year, he explained.

    But climate change is not all good for the garden, as it also increases the number and severity of both floods and drought, Macara said. While there is not a lot gardeners can do about floods, other than installing raised garden beds, in times of drought or prolonged dry periods, watering and irrigation is critical, he said.

    Climate change means droughts will become more of a problem, especially in east coast areas such as Northland, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Canterbury, Cradock-Henry said. In a recent study, Growing Kai Under Increasing Dry, he found droughts cost New Zealanders about $720 million between 2007 and 2017 – six times the figure for flood damage.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/climate-news/127250508/how-climate-change-impacts-what-fruit-and-vegetables-we-can-grow-in-our-gardens

  5. adam 5

    I think the first step should be to stop empowering the largest corporations with our tax money.

    The second should be to cut off the same corporations from owning the media, either directly or indirectly.

    It's not the only solution. But the corporations have a vested interest to keep making ridiculous amounts of money off Sars-covid2.

    I wonder if that why their vaunted vaccine is so bloody useless? Six months cover, inbuilt obsolescence so you can beg the corporations for your shot. Anyone would think we were slaves.

  6. Dennis Frank 6

    I was sceptical of the neopagan thing back in the '90s despite having been on the same track most of my life. Fashion trends are usually created by folk obsessed with trivia.

    This young woman gets the authenticity angle:

    I focused on spending time outside, soaking up the pale fractions of vitamin D that the sun would allow, and sitting under the trees to feel their deep-seated power thrumming directly below me in the ground. I gave myself time to just be in nature and connect with its sounds and feelings, allowing it to trigger the healing processes in my brain.

    I breathed deeply; I smiled when I saw a flash of a plump, pink bullfinch in the hedgerow. Witchcraft is so intensely wrapped up in nature that the link to mental health is clear. The benefits of spending time outdoors are well-documented, with one study reporting that spending at least two hours outside every week could boost physical and mental wellbeing significantly… Slowing down and appreciating the magic of the cycles of life again opened up my sense of wonder for the natural world that had been lacking for so many years.

    The pandemic gave some of us a few moments to sit back and reflect on our priorities. Research showed that 46% of people were looking to quit their job this year and do something different

    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/dec/26/healing-myself-the-pagan-way-how-witchcraft-cast-a-spell-on-me

    Of course magic is therapeutic and a pathway to resilience when it is anchored in nature, whereas magic as a cultural taboo in western civilisation promotes illusion to distract folks from what is really going on.

    Astrologers use a traditional metaphysical framework to get an angle on this. Too bad the tradition contains so much crap! So one must try to validate the scheme somehow. A scientific education helps with that task – provided the user is capable of transcending its inherent limitations. Naturally most astrologers don't have what it takes to regenerate the antique belief system. Equally, few scientists have proven themselves able to transcend their belief system.

    One who did was co-creator of quantum mechanics Wolfgang Pauli, who collaborated with Carl Jung on his investigation into synchronicity (a consequence of holism in nature). They eventually co-authored a book: The Interpretation of Nature and the Psyche (1955).

    Einstein declared Pauli his "spiritual heir". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Pauli

    If her citation of 46% is indicative, half of western civilisation is unsatisfied with neoliberal normality. Reconnecting to nature is the best way forward for that half. The more of them that go deeper into it, the better…

    • RedLogix 6.1

      half of western civilisation is unsatisfied with neoliberal normality

      Might I suggest to change the loaded and narrow word 'neo-liberal' for the broader term 'materialist'? And then I'd wager that at some level it would be way more than half would agree with you.devil

      • Dennis Frank 6.1.1

        I have no conceptual problem with your favoured reframe. However it would only seem catchy to older folk I suspect – whereas neoliberalism retains cultural currency due to being the prevailing economic & political ideology.

        Marx was big on promoting communism as materialistic, eh? Yet in the mid-19th century when he launched that intellectual enterprise, romanticism had embedded as the prevalent cultural trend in the west. The word scientist had only recently been invented then and the hegemony of science was unanticipated.

        It's like a cyclic tidal pull, the back-to-nature thing. Constable's landscapes & Wordsworth's poetry were just the obvious signals at that time.

        But yes, materialism rendered nature as resource to be plundered, rather than ecosystem to be stewarded & Jesus as shepherd didn't tend the flock & rescue the lamb who got lost as an agent of the company operating the freezing works.

        Focus on the pandemic alerts us to our microbiome as internal ecosystem. Not us vs the germs; that was the medical paradigm of the 1950s my generation got brainwashed with as children. Life now hinges on our interaction with our smaller components. Holism, applied, can keep us alive. Reductionism, sustained as ideology, will kill us. It’s even worse than materialism.

    • weka 6.2

      Cool. I'm slow writing a post about how we could adapt positively to the pandemic. Will have a read of the article.

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    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Thursday, July 18, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:Verbatim: Climate Change Minister Simon Watts held a news conference in Auckland to release the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan, including ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • The politics of managed retreat

    Climate change deniers are now challenging the Government over a key climate change adaptation policy. That begs the question of whether New Zealand First will then support Government moves to implement processes to deal with a managed retreat for properties in danger of flooding because of sea level rise and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    3 days ago
  • Some changes are coming

    Warm welcome again to those who are here. The Mountain Tui substack was officially started on the 2nd of July. I wrote about what led me here on this post. Since then, it’s been a learning to navigate the platform, get to meet those in the community, and basically be ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • About fucking time

    The US Supreme Court has been rogue for years, with openly corrupt judges making the law up as they go to suit themselves, their billionaire buyers, and the Republican Party. But now, in the wake of them granting a licence for tyranny, President Biden is actually going to try and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: False accounting and wishful thinking

    National released their draft 2026-2030 Emissions Reduction Plan today. The plan is required under the Zero Carbon Act, and must set out policies and strategies to meet the relevant emissions budget. Having cancelled all Labour's actually effective climate change policies and crashed the carbon price, National was always going to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • The Enemies Of Sunshine And Space.

    Our Houses? The Urban Density debate is a horrible combination of intergenerational avarice and envy, fuelled by the grim certainty that none of the generations coming up after them will ever have it as good as the Boomers. To say that this situation rankles among those born after 1965 is to ...
    4 days ago
  • Still the 5 Eyes Achilles Heel?

    The National Cyber Security Centre (NZSC), a unit in the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) dedicated to cyber-security, has released a Review of its response to the 2021 email hacking of NZ members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC, … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • Britain's Devastating Electoral Slip.

    Slip-Sliding Away: Labour may now enjoy a dominant position in Britain’s political landscape, but only by virtue of not being swallowed by it.THE BRITISH LABOUR PARTY’S “landslide victory” is nothing of the sort. As most people understand the term, a landslide election victory is one in which the incumbent government, or ...
    4 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why right wingers think all governments (including their own) are incompetent

    Since open denial of climate change is no longer a viable political option, denial now comes in disguise. The release this week of the coalition government’s ‘draft emissions reductions plan” shows that the Luxon government is refusing to see the need to cut emissions at source. Instead, it proposes to ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy this morning are:Chris Penk is set to roll back building standards for insulation that had only just been put in place, and which had been estimated to save 40% from power costs, after builders ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Open Letter to Pharmac

    All this talk of getting oldIt's getting me down, my loveLike a cat in a bag, waiting to drownThis time I'm coming downAnd I hope you're thinking of meAs you lay down on your sideNow the drugs don't workThey just make you worse but I know I'll see your face ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • A blanket of misinformation

    Two old sayings have been on my mind lately. The first is: “The pen is mightier than the sword”, describing the power of language and communication to help or to harm. The other, which captures the speed with which falsehoods can become ingrained and hard to undo, is: “A lie can ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 7:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 are:Scoop: Government considers rolling back home insulation standards RNZ’s Eloise GibsonNews: Government plans tree-planting frenzy as report shows NZ no longer ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 , the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day were:Simon Watts released the Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP), which included proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • “Shhhh” – National's 3 Waters is loaded with higher costs and lays a path to ...

    This is a long, possibly technical, but very, very important read. I encourage you to take the time and spread your awareness.IntroductionIn 2022, then Labour Party Prime Minister Jacinda Adern expended significant political capital to protect New Zealand’s water assets from privatisation. She lost that battle, and Labour and the ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Plugging a video channel: Dr Gilbz

    Dr. Ella Gilbert is a climate scientist and presenter with a PhD in Antarctic climate change, working at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Her background is in atmospheric sciences and she's especially interested in the physical mechanisms of climate change, clouds, and almost anything polar. She is passionate about communicating climate ...
    5 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” again

    Back in 2022, in its Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, the government promised to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation. Since then they've run a secret "consultation" on how to do that, with their preferred outcome being that agencies will consult the Ministry of Justice ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Crashing New Zealand's health system is not the way to prosperity, Prime Minister

    Another day, and yet another piece of bad news for New Zealand’s health system. Reports have come out that General Practitioners (GP) may have to close doors, or increase patient fees to survive. The so-called ‘capitation’ funding review, which supports GP practices to survive, is under way, and primary care ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Closer Than You Think: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.

    Redefining Our Terms: “When an angry majority is demanding change, defending the status-quo is an extremist position.”“WHAT’S THIS?”, asked Laurie, eyeing suspiciously the two glasses of red wine deposited in front of him.“A nice drop of red. I thought you’d be keen to celebrate the French Far-Right’s victory with the ...
    5 days ago
  • Come on Darleen.

    Good morning all, time for a return to things domestic. After elections in the UK and France, Luxon gatecrashing Nato, and the attempted shooting of Trump, it’s probably about time we re-focus on local politics.Unless of course you’re Christopher Luxon and you’re so exhausted from all your schmoozing in Washington ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • How the Northwest was lost and may be won

    This is a guest post by Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which we encourage you to check out. It is shared by kind permission. The Northwest has always been Auckland’s public transport Cinderella, rarely invited to the public funding ball. How did ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Tuesday July 16

    Luxon has told a Financial Times’ correspondent he would openly call out China’s spying in future and does not fear economic retaliation from Aotearoa’s largest trading partner.File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Tuesday, ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 16

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 16 are:PM Christopher Luxon has given a very hawkish interview to the Financial Times-$$$ correspondent in Washington, Demetri Sevastopulu, saying ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Tuesday, July 16

    Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 6:00 am are:BNZ released its Performance of Services Index for June, finding that services sector is at its lowest level of activity ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The second crisis; assumption was the mother

    Late on the night of July 16, 1984, while four National Cabinet Ministers were meeting in the Beehive office of Deputy Prime Minister Jim McLay, plotting the ultimate downfall of outgoing Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, another crisis was building up in another part of the capital. The United States ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • Can we air condition our way out of extreme heat?

    This is a re-post from The Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler Air conditioning was initially a symbol of comfort and wealth, enjoyed by the wealthy in theaters and upscale homes. Over time, as technology advanced and costs decreased, air conditioning became more accessible to the general public. With global warming, though, ...
    6 days ago
  • Review: The Zimiamvian Trilogy, by E.R. Eddison (1935-1958)

    I have reviewed some fairly obscure stuff on this blog. Nineteenth century New Zealand speculative fiction. Forgotten Tolkien adaptations. George MacDonald and William Morris. Last month I took a look at The Worm Ouroboros (1922), by E.R. Eddison, which while not strictly obscure, is also not overly inviting to many ...
    6 days ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on the Trump assassination attempt.

    In this episode of “A View from Afar” Selwyn Manning and I discuss the attempt on Donald Trump’s life and its implications for the US elections. The political darkness grows. ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Law & Order: National Party 1, Police 0, Public -1

    What happened?Media is reporting that police have lost in their pay dispute with the Coalition Government.Some of you might remember that the police rejected Labour’s previous offer in September, 2023, possibly looking forward to be taken care of by the self-touted ‘Party of Law and Order’ - National.If you look ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the Trump shooting and a potential hike in fees for visiting the doctor

    Having watched Donald Trump systematically exploit social grievances, urge people not to accept his election loss and incite his followers to violent insurrection… it is a bit hard to swallow the media descriptions over the past 24 hours of Trump being a “victim” of violence. More like a case of ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Monday July 15

    The exploitation of workers on the national fibre broadband rollout highlights once again the dark underbelly of our ‘churn and burn’ economy. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:An extraordinary Steve Kilgallon investigation into ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Monday, July 15

    Photo by Jessica Loaiza on UnsplashTL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last three days to 9:00 am on Monday, July 15 are:Investigation: Immigration NZ refused to prosecute an alleged exploiter despite a mountain of evidence - ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • City Centre Rebuild: How Soon Is Now?

    Patrick Reynolds is deputy chair of the City Centre Advisory Panel and a director of Greater Auckland There is ongoing angst about construction disruption in the city centre. And fair enough: it’s very tough, CRL and other construction has been going on for a very long time. Like the pandemic, ...
    Greater AucklandBy Patrick Reynolds
    6 days ago
  • Peril, dismay, resolution

    This afternoon we rolled into Budapest to bring to a close our ride across Europe. We did 144 km yesterday, severe heat messages coming in from the weather app as we bounced along unformed Hungarian back roads and a road strip strewn with fallen trees from an overnight tornado. Somewhere ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • Bullet the Blue Sky

    In the locust windComes a rattle and humJacob wrestled the angelAnd the angel was overcomeYou plant a demon seedYou raise a flower of fireWe see them burnin' crossesSee the flames, higher and higherBullet the blue skyBullet the blue skyThe indelible images, the soundtrack of America. Guns, assassinations, where-were-you-when moments attached ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Monday, July 15

    TL;DR: The top six announcements, rulings, reports, surveys, statistics and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the three days to 6:00 am on Monday, July 23 are:University of Auckland researcher Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy published an analysis of the impact of Auckland's 2016 zoning reforms.BNZ's latest Performance ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s diary for the week to July 23 and beyond

    TL;DR: The six key events to watch in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy in the week to July 23 include:PM Christopher Luxon has returned from a trip to the United States and may hold a post-Cabinet news conference at 4:00 pm today.The BusinessNZ-BNZ PSI survey results for June will be released this ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Was The Assassination Attempt Fake?

    Hi,It’s in incredible photo, and we’re going to be talking about it for a long time:Trump, triumphantly raising his hand in the air after being shot. Photo credit: Evan VucciYou can watch what happened on YouTube in real time, as a 20-year-old from Pennsylvania lets off a series of gunshots ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • 40 years ago, inside the crisis that made modern NZ

    It had rained all day in Auckland, and the Metro Theatre in Mangere was steamed up inside as more and more people arrived to celebrate what had once seemed impossible. Sir Robert Muldoon had lost the 1984 election. “Piggy” Muldoon was no more. Such was the desire to get rid ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #28

    A listing of 34 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, July 7, 2024 thru Sat, July 13, 2024. Story of the week It's still early summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The season comes as our first year of 1.5°C warming ...
    7 days ago
  • Unsurprising, but Trump shooting creates opportunity for a surprising response

    I can’t say I’m shocked. As the US news networks offer rolling coverage dissecting the detail of today’s shooting at a Donald Trump rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, and we hear eye-witnesses trying to make sense of their trauma, the most common word being used is shock. And shocking it is. ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Escalation in the States as Trump is shot and his allies capitalize on the moment

    Snapshot summary of the shooting in the States belowAnd a time to remember what Abraham Lincoln once said of the United States of America:We find ourselves in the peaceful possession of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Bernie Sanders: Joe Biden for President

    I will do all that I can to see that President Biden is re-elected. Why? Despite my disagreements with him on particular issues, he has been the most effective president in the modern history of our country and is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump — a demagogue and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Questions from God

    Have you invited God into your online life? Do you have answers for his questions? Did I just assume God’s pronouns?Before this goes any further, or gets too blasphemous, a word of explanation. When I say “God”, I don’t meant your god(s), if you have one/them. The God I speak ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The politics of money and influence

    Did you know: Four days ago, the CEO of Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), David Zaslav, opined that he didn’t really care who won the US Presidential election, so long as they were M&A and business friendly. Please share my Substack so I can continue my work. Thank you and happy ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Auckland & Transport Minister Simeon Brown's insanity

    Excuse me, but I just don’t feel like being polite today. What is going on with Simeon Brown? I mean, really? After spending valuable Ministerial time, focus, and government resources to overturn tailored speed limits in school and high fatality zones that *checks notes* reduces the risk of deaths and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Were scientists caught falsifying data in the hacked emails incident dubbed 'climategate'?

    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by John Mason in collaboration with members from the Gigafact team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Were scientists caught falsifying data in the ...
    1 week ago

  • Oceans and Fisheries Minister to Solomons

    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is travelling to the Solomon Islands tomorrow for meetings with his counterparts from around the Pacific supporting collective management of the region’s fisheries. The 23rd Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee and the 5th Regional Fisheries Ministers’ Meeting in Honiara from 23 to 26 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government launches Military Style Academy Pilot

    The Government today launched the Military Style Academy Pilot at Te Au rere a te Tonga Youth Justice residence in Palmerston North, an important part of the Government’s plan to crackdown on youth crime and getting youth offenders back on track, Minister for Children, Karen Chhour said today. “On the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Nine priority bridge replacements to get underway

    The Government has welcomed news the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has begun work to replace nine priority bridges across the country to ensure our state highway network remains resilient, reliable, and efficient for road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“Increasing productivity and economic growth is a key priority for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Update on global IT outage

    Acting Prime Minister David Seymour has been in contact throughout the evening with senior officials who have coordinated a whole of government response to the global IT outage and can provide an update. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has designated the National Emergency Management Agency as the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand, Japan renew Pacific partnership

    New Zealand and Japan will continue to step up their shared engagement with the Pacific, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “New Zealand and Japan have a strong, shared interest in a free, open and stable Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.    “We are pleased to be finding more ways ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New infrastructure energises BOP forestry towns

    New developments in the heart of North Island forestry country will reinvigorate their communities and boost economic development, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones visited Kaingaroa and Kawerau in Bay of Plenty today to open a landmark community centre in the former and a new connecting road in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • 'Pacific Futures'

    President Adeang, fellow Ministers, honourable Diet Member Horii, Ambassadors, distinguished guests.    Minasama, konnichiwa, and good afternoon, everyone.    Distinguished guests, it’s a pleasure to be here with you today to talk about New Zealand’s foreign policy reset, the reasons for it, the values that underpin it, and how it ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Delivering 24 hour pothole repairs

    Kiwis and freight operators will benefit from the Coalition Government delivering on its commitment to introduce targets that will ensure a greater number of potholes on our state highways are identified and fixed within 24 hours, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Increasing productivity to help rebuild our economy is a key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Peer Support Specialists rolled out in hospitals

    Five hospitals have been selected to trial a new mental health and addiction peer support service in their emergency departments as part of the Government’s commitment to increase access to mental health and addiction support for New Zealanders, says Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Peer Support Specialists in EDs will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Consultation opens for the Emissions Reduction Plan

    The Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows we can stay within the limits of the first two emissions budgets while growing the economy, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “This draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows that with effective climate change policies we can both grow the economy and deliver our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Benefit stats highlight need for welfare reset

    The coalition Government is providing extra support for job seekers to ensure as many Kiwis as possible are in work or preparing for work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “While today’s quarterly data showing a rise in the number of people on Jobseeker benefits has been long ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • School attendance continues to increase

    Provisional school attendance data for Term 2 2024 released today has shown more students are back in class compared to last year, with 53.1 per cent of students regularly attending, compared with 47 per cent in Term 2 2023, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. “The Government has prioritised student ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • $22.7m of West Coast resilience projects underway

    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed news of progress being made by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) on the first of several crucial resilience projects underway on the South Island’s West Coast.“State highways across the West Coast are critical lifelines for communities throughout the region, including for freight and tourism. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Migrant school leavers to get part-time work rights

    The coalition Government is providing migrant school leavers with greater opportunities, by increasing access to part-time work rights for those awaiting the outcome of a family residence application, Immigration Minister Erica Stanford has announced.  “Many young people who are part of a family residence application process are unable to work. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Funding to support use of NZ Sign Language

    Seven projects have received government funding totalling nearly $250,000 to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Initiatives that received an NZSL Board Community Grants this year include camps that support the use of NZSL through physical and sensory activities, and clubs where Deaf people and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Inflation data shows progress in economic recovery

    Today’s Consumer Price Index data which has inflation at 3.3 per cent for the year to July 2024, shows we are turning our economy around and winning the fight against rampant inflation, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “While today’s data will be welcome news for Kiwis, I know many New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Experts to advise Minister on Oranga Tamariki

    The Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board has been re-established by the Minister for Children, Karen Chhour. “I look forward to working with the new board to continue to ensure Oranga Tamariki and the care and protection system, are entirely child centric,” Minister Chhour says. “The board will provide independent advice ...
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    5 days ago
  • Expectations set for improved medicines access

    Associate Health Minister David Seymour says he has set clear expectations for Pharmac around delivering the medicines and medical technology that Kiwis need.  “For many New Zealanders, funding for pharmaceuticals is life or death, or the difference between a life of pain and suffering or living freely. New cancer medicines ...
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    5 days ago
  • Regional Development Minister to host summits

    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will hold a series of nationwide summits to discuss regional priorities, aspirations and opportunities, with the first kicking off in Nelson on August 12. The 15 summits will facilitate conversations about progressing regional economic growth and opportunities to drive productivity, prosperity and resilience through the ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government delivers new school for Rolleston

    The Coalition Government is addressing growing demands on Canterbury’s school network, by delivering a new primary school in Rolleston, Education Minister Erica Stanford says. Within Budget 24’s $400 million investment into school property growth, construction will begin on a new primary school (years 1-8) in Selwyn, Canterbury.  Rolleston South Primary ...
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    5 days ago
  • New speed camera signs to improve safety

    The Government is welcoming the rollout of new speed camera signs for fixed speed cameras to encourage drivers to check their speeds, improving road safety and avoiding costly speeding tickets, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “Providing Kiwis with an opportunity to check their speed and slow down in high crash areas ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ, Korea strengthen relationship

    New Zealand and the Republic of Korea continue to strengthen their relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “New Zealand and Korea have a long history – from New Zealand soldiers fighting in the Korean War, through to our strong cooperation today as partners supporting the international rules-based order.    ...
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    6 days ago
  • Investing for future growth in tourism and hospitality

    The Government is moving forward with recommendations from the Tourism Data Leadership Group, beginning with establishing a Tourism Data Partnership Fund says Tourism and Hospitality Minister Matt Doocey. “The Tourism Data Partnership Fund is funded through the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) and will provide up to $400,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • 4000 more job seekers to get case managers

    A new over-the-phone employment case management service will see thousands more job seekers under the age of 25 supported to find work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston has announced. “MSD case managers provide valuable support to help people into work, but less than a third of those receiving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Trade Minister to attend G7 meeting in Italy

    Trade Minister Todd McClay will attend the Group of Seven (G7) Trade Ministers meeting in Reggio Calabria, Italy next week. This is the first time New Zealand has been invited to join the event, which will be attended by some of the world’s largest economies and many of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministers reveal consequences for unruly Kāinga Ora tenants

    Ministers are pleased to see Kāinga Ora taking a stronger approach to managing unruly, threatening or abusive tenants, Housing Minister Chris Bishop and Associate Housing Minister Tama Potaka say.    “For far too long, a small number of Kāinga Ora tenants have ridden roughshod over their neighbours because, under Kāinga ...
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    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up US visit in California

    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has finished a successful four-day visit to the United States with meetings in California on his final day focusing on innovation and investment.  “It has been fantastic to be in San Francisco today seeing first-hand the deepening links between New Zealand and California. “New Zealand company, EV Maritime, ...
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    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister leads Indo-Pacific Four at NATO

    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today chaired a meeting of the Indo-Pacific Four (IP4) countries – Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand. The IP4 met in the context of NATO’s Summit in Washington DC hosted by President Biden. “Prosperity is only possible with security,” Mr Luxon says. “We need ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • District Court judges appointed

    Attorney-General Hon Judith Collins today announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges.   The appointees, who will take up their roles in July and August at the Manukau, Rotorua and Invercargill courts, are:   Matthew Nathan Judge Nathan was admitted to bar in New Zealand in 2021, having previously been ...
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    1 week ago
  • Urgent review into Wairoa flood response begins

    Environment Minister, Penny Simmonds today announced the terms of reference for a rapid review into the Wairoa flood response. “The Wairoa community has raised significant concerns about the management of the Wairoa River bar and the impact this had on flooding of properties in the district,” says Ms Simmonds. “The Government ...
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    1 week ago
  • NZDF’s Red Sea deployment extended

    New Zealand has extended its contribution to the US-led coalition working to uphold maritime security in the Red Sea, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The decision to extend this deployment is reflective of the continued need to partner and act in line with New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government provides support to tackle tax debt and compliance

    New compliance funding in Budget 2024 will ensure Inland Revenue is better equipped to catch individuals who are evading their tax obligations, Revenue Minister Simon Watts says. “New Zealand’s tax debt had risen to almost $7.4 billion by the end of May, an increase of more than 50 per cent since 2022. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Taking action to reduce road cones

    The Coalition Government is taking action to reduce expenditure on road cones and temporary traffic management (TTM) while maintaining the safety of workers and road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  Rolling out a new risk-based approach to TTM that will reduce the number of road cones on our roads.  ...
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  • Celebrating 100 years of progress

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