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The Pike River Supreme Court decision – Helen Kelly would be pleased

Written By: - Date published: 8:41 am, November 24th, 2017 - 19 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, disaster, health and safety, Mining, national, Politics, same old national, Unions, workers' rights - Tags: , , ,

I thought the Supreme Court judgment released yesterday that the decision to allow Peter Whittall to walk away from prosecutions relating to the death of the 29 miners in Pike River was completely just.  I can understand the rationale of the original decision in a try and fix things up sort of way.  But a properly functioning Justice System needs to put those considerations to one side.

I thought I would go through posts on this website and I discovered this absolute gem written by Helen Kelly at the time that Whittall was acquitted.  Helen was instrumental in this particular case proceeding.  She is probably looking down and smiling.  And knowing that one of the battles that she fought with passion has been resolved in favour of the workers.

I will repeat it in full.  Just to make sure that the chances of it being read in full are maximised.  From Helen’s post:

The decision announced today (but made when?) to withdraw the charges against Pike CEO Peter Whittall cannot be left to rest.

When did a Judge of a New Zealand Court participate in a deal where criminal charges were dropped and money paid.  It is insufficient to say the two are not connected.  The money has been paid into the Court today.  The Judge should have had nothing to do with this part of the agreement nor used the Court to collect the cash, and she seemed in her comments to support the deal saying it was “a good outcome”.  This is my view is highly inappropriate.

The precedent is huge.  The Health and Safety in Employment Act forbids insurance being taken out to cover for penalties.  The “arrangement” reached with Whittall and his insurers with the Crown, bypasses the intention of the Act and allows a fine already ordered to be paid against the Company in one case, to be paid to escape the possibility of a conviction and fine in another, and by insurance.

If the charges could not be made to stick then it is my view, they must have been poorly laid, poorly investigated and again point to a lack of capacity and rigour in the Department.  When a Royal Commission finds as strongly as it, systematic failings in management at the mine, the test of failing to “take all practicable steps” in regards health and safety should have been proved.

Clearly the Department itself would have been a focus of this case if Whittall had continued to defend himself.  It’s failings would have been re-canvassed and its direct dealings with Whittall exposed which was not done in the Royal Commission.   The Cabinets decision not to pay reparations to the families despite agencies like ACC receiving insurance payments for the mine, left the families in a precarious financial position and opened the door for this offer to come in.  Everyone wins here except the families and most importantly except the men killed in the mine.  It is the Crowns job to represent them.  They cannot seek justice themselves.  When someone is killed like this, we hand the responsibility to the Crown to seek justice – it has failed in every way for the men at Pike.  The Cabinet should continue to be pressured to compensate for the Crowns role.

In this case, MBIE are saying the case was a waste of money given it would be complex and long.  It is saying spending the money is not in the public interest.  This is in contrast to the Cabinet Decision to allow the families to sue the Crown if they so wish, rather than seek to compensate on agreed terms – leaving the responsibility for justice to sit on the families shoulders.

We are up to our eyeballs in legal expenses around health and safety.  While money pours in from Government Agencies  to help industries run health and safety initiatives, we are fighting on all fronts using the money paid in union fees by shop workers that stack supermarket shelves at night,  to try and be the counter-voice here.  Be it cases for Security Guards killed on their first night at work on Fulton Hogan Building sites, the families of forest workers appearing at Coronial hearings or for seeking advice on what happened today in Christchurch District Court.  It sometimes feels unsustainable against all the lawyers that corporations can afford, and with a Department which does not consult or work with us on these issues.  I hope the new Worksafe will be better and we are positive about it and its new leadership but that does not release us from seeking justice in the present situation.   We are thinking how we can challenge this decision.  It’s a big job.  All ideas welcome.

And here is something I wrote 4 years ago.

The Government appointed Royal Commission concluded after hearing considerable evidence that “even though the company was operating in a known high-hazard industry, the board of directors did not ensure that health and safety was being properly managed and the executive managers did not properly assess the health and safety risks that the workers were facing. In the drive towards coal production the directors and executive managers paid insufficient attention to health and safety and exposed the company’s workers to unacceptable risks. Mining should have stopped until the risks could be properly managed.”

In the prosecution of Pike River Ltd under the HSIE Act Judge Farrish slammed the company for a “total lack of remorse” because of claims that it could not afford to pay reparation to the families.  She is quoted as saying “It is not often a company steps back and holds its hands up and says ‘I have nothing’. Even a company in a fragile state usually comes forward and offers reparation, but here nothing has been forthcoming.  I am satisfied the company has the means to pay either by existing shareholders or a combination of the shareholders and directors. I note that the directors have significant insurance.”  Despite the claims of poverty Judge Farrish ordered payment of reparation of $110,000 to each of the deceased’s families and to the two survivors.  The total of these payments is $3.41 million.

The compensation was not paid.  David Cunliffe took up the cause and asked in Parliament why the Government did not contribute to these payments, after all it had indirectly received as shareholders of the companies involved an insurance payout.  His questioning of John Key was the first time that I have seen Key completely and utterly embarrassed in the house.

This was increasingly becoming an issue of deep embarrassment to the Government.

Yesterday’s bombshell announcement that charges were being withdrawn and that the insurance company was going to pay $3.41 million compensation has caused increasing disquiet.  Helen Kelly and the CTU are thinking about seeking a judicial review of the case.  Bernie Monk on behalf of the families has called the payment “blood money”.  I presume the payment is to satisfy the order of compensation originally made by Judge Farrish.

I am sure that Judge Farrish has acted with the best of intentions.  She is obviously deeply concerned for the families and wants to do the best for them.  But the coupling of the payment with the withdrawal of the charges creates the unfortunate impression that payment of money in this case may have avoided a prosecution.  And besides it was money that should have been paid anyway.

This neatly solves a political problem for the Government.  Instead of being open to criticism for not paying its share of the $3.41 million one of its departments agrees not to prosecute and magically the payment is made and a particular political wound is cauterised.

For the sake of the sanctity of our justice system this needs to be investigate fully.

I think the background is important.  The Crown received insurance money paid after the explosion because of its shareholding in the parent company of Pike River through ACC and the Cullen Fund but walked away from the obligation to pay court ordered compensation.  Then Whittall managed to avoid prosecution by getting insurance to make the payments the Government had a moral if not legal obligation to pay.  This is banana republic stuff.

And the Supreme Court has agreed that the coupling of the payment with the withdrawal of the charges did create the unfortunate impression that payment of money avoided a prosecution.  The Court thought the circumstances of the offence to be breathtakingly bad.  From the Judgment:

Twenty-nine men died following explosions at the Pike River coal mine on 19 November 2010. Two others were injured but survived. WorkSafe described what happened as “the employment related disaster of a generation.” At the sentencing of the mine owner, Pike River Coal Ltd, for breaches of the Health and Safety in Employment Act, WorkSafe submitted that the case was “as serious as one can contemplate … not only with regard to the breath taking omissions and failures at the mine but also in terms of the number of men killed”. The view that the omissions and failures in safety at the mine were “breath taking” is also substantiated by the 2012 report of the Royal Commission into the explosions.

The Court decision is that the conditional offer of payment by Whittall was a bargain to stifle a prosecution and therefore illegal.  Attempts to suggest that the payment, expressed from the start to be a conditional payment, was not part of a deal failed.  If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck …

This does not mean Whittall will face prosecution.  The only prospect of this happening is if further evidence linking him to the disaster is discovered.  Which is why an investigation of the mine, the largest crime site in the country, has to be a priority.

19 comments on “The Pike River Supreme Court decision – Helen Kelly would be pleased”

  1. dv 1

    That is why the Natz wanted the mine concreted up!!!

  2. tracey 2

    Was Joyce still Minister for MBIE at this time? Who was Solicitor General?

    ” Discussions with an ad hoc panel assembled by Mr Stewart (which included senior managers from
    WorkSafe, counsel and representatives of the Solicitor-General) were held during the week of 18 November and the matter was considered further at meetings on 26 and 28 November. At the 26 November meeting it appears that concerns were expressed about the “legality and propriety of considering an offer of a voluntary payment in the context of the public interest component of the prosecution decision”. Mr Stewart
    acknowledged in his evidence that there were concerns expressed at the meeting as to the propriety of considering an offer of voluntary payment.

    Who on earth was advising the group this was not a contravention? The same person who told Cabinet they legally had to pay the Saudi businessman? And who is this very bush lawyer from the last government?

    For the record, the last Labour govt also has culpability in the lack of oversight of safety at this mine but not, obviously, for this decision.

  3. james 3

    Indeed she would.

    I heard one of the families being interviewed yesterday and they gave a really touching summary about Helen Kelly and the work she did to help them.

    • tracey 3.1

      Sad that she was so demonised by the Right. Demonised by a myth about her ,not reality. She turned out to be “right” a lot of the time… The Hobbit, Pike River, even medical marajuana debate has shifted demonstrably and she had a part in that.

      • adam 3.1.1

        But the right hate working people, how else can it react to a smart, intelligent, and articulate women who defends the right of working people, except to vilify and deride?

        • tracey 3.1.1.1

          As the media seem to be doung now with Ardern. Could Tim Murphy be more vacuous than his loose lips BS?

          • the pigman 3.1.1.1.1

            Poor Tim has gone full crusade mode since being named in the proceedings filed by Winston. He obviously had minimal notice of it as the night before he rushed out an article on how Winston was Muldoon Bogeyman 2.0.

            His twitter feed has become a cesspit of borderline-defamatory stuff… hell hath no fury like a middle-class white man scorned. He is quite a good investigative journalist so it’s a pity for the government.

  4. Gristle 4

    Okay, we have finally got to the stage that the SC has ruled that It was unlawful for WorkSafe to withdraw its prosecution of Pike River mine boss Peter Whittall, in exchange for payments to the victims’ families.

    The current Government has the opportunity to set a direction and tone of how the Government/Crown/government interact with the people of Aotearoa. It is time for an inquiry looking into why the Ministry got to the point of agreeing to not submit evidence in the court case. What was the process, who was involved, what was Ministerial involvement (you remember that “no surprises policy”), who made the decision? And then, how to approach this in type of even in the future.

    The argument that this is a long and complicated and expensive set of litigation has not deterred the Crown from pursuing Kim Dotcom or various criminals through 3 sets of trials. As to the unavailability of witnesses…… I am sure that the public would brand these people as immoral, untrustworthy and accomplices for for decades.

    (Have you noticed how DOC has also decided not to submit evidence in some Environment Tribunal hearings? Do you think that this approach comes from a political directive?)

    • tracey 4.1

      Yes I was wondering about No surprise policy too and who had the final legal word on what to do, from above.

  5. SpaceMonkey 5

    Where’s the Board of Directors in all this? It’s not just Peter Whittall at fault. The Royal Commission found the Chief Executive AND the Board at fault for not ensuring health and safety standards. Who were they? It’s like they’ve crawled under a rock. Bet they were happy to collect their fees though.

  6. CLEANGREEN 6

    I love all my west coast cousins, as they showed us ‘true grit’ and inspired us East coasters how lazy we were not to stand up against the beaurocratic bullshit we all face every day under the last nine years of torment under those repressive National mobsters, so hopefully we are now in a “warmer more caring society” as we need to be.

  7. patricia bremner 7

    Helen, you are remembered with love and gratitude. You lit a path to truth.

    All the barbs sadness and road blocks have been overcome because of you.

    This is one of many victories you began. Rest in Peace good and loyal friend.

  8. Nzsage 8

    This is an incredibly interesting article and the comments equally so.

    The frustrating thing is the fact Pike River is not the topic of conversation around every water cooler in the country. If NZ had any credible investigative journalist e.g Pilger-esk it certainly would be.

    The whole saga reeks of corruption and white washing driven from the very top.

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
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  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
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  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
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  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
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  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
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  • An equitable way to support business
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
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  • Hard News: Together Alone
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  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
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  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
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    PunditBy Brian Easton
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  • What about renters?
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
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  • Living within our means.
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    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
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  • Transparency and the pandemic
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
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  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
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  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
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  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
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    PunditBy Liam Hehir
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    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
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  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
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    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
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  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
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  • All aboard the Covid Train
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  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
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  • We are all socialists now
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
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    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    2 weeks 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 ...
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  • 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
    3 hours 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
    3 hours 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
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
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    6 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
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    1 week ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago