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The problem is child poverty not CYF

Written By: - Date published: 1:49 pm, September 28th, 2015 - 33 comments
Categories: benefits, child welfare, class, class war, Deep stuff, national, same old national, welfare - Tags:

 

child poverty a national disgrace

The Government is busily trying to blame Child Youth and Family for its inability to handle the tsunami of social problems caused by child poverty.

It clearly wants to make dramatic change to the Service and then claim that it has done something.  Earlier this year it handpicked a review panel led by Paula Rebstock and the results of the panel were recently published.

The Herald has provided this synopsis:

A review panel is scathing of Child, Youth and Family’s performance, saying the current system is focused on immediate risks and containing costs at the expense of tackling harm and supporting long-term outcomes.

The panel, led by economist Paula Rebstock, has recommended CYF should adopt an “investment approach” to needy children, intervening earlier in partnership with other agencies.

The funny thing though is that between all the bluster the report could be read as stating that a lack of resources and the ability only to “fight fires” and take urgent action is the root cause for the problem.

But it is critical about the performance of the current system, saying it was “focused on managing immediate risk and containing short-term costs”.

“This focus has come at the expense of the prevention of revictimisation, remediation of harm and supporting long-term outcomes,” the panel says.

An investment approach would “take a lifetime view of costs and benefits and direct effort and capability towards earlier intervention for vulnerable children”.

But the report repeats the myth that societal harm is because of public servants not doing their job properly and not because we have rampant and long term deprivation and poverty in this country.

The panel says the approach would “provide incentives to intervene with the right service as early as practicable with the right children, young people and families, by ensuring that agencies and non-government providers are accountable for achieving improved outcomes which will reduce costs in the longer term”.

The report itself reinforces the belief that current resources are inadequate as can be shown by these passages from the report:

  • the current service does not provide enough regular engagement with children, families or caregivers, or understanding of their needs.
  • Agencies do not prioritise work with vulnerable children ahead of their general accountability for universal services, despite the fact that vulnerable children are harder to reach and have more complex needs.
  • A high proportion of caregivers are in low income households and 42 per cent of the caregiver population are on a current Work & Income benefit.
  • Front-line child protection and youth justice workers need better support, training and a full range of skills to be able to make a lasting difference in the lives of vulnerable children.

So from the report itself there was a lot that progressives could agree with.  And the panel is engaged in ongoing work to prepare “a plan for detailed design and implementation, and the likely cost-envelope and cost-benefits of the proposed changes.”  As far as I am concerned if it costs more to do the job better then so be it.

The Government has chosen to present the findings of the report as evidence of CYF failing as well as bad families.  For instance there is this passage from Anne Tolley’s interview by Lisa Owen on the Nation last weekend:

We’ve put more money into more social workers, because they were overworked and overstretched. What the review panel has found is that now almost two-thirds of those children are now known to CYF already, and they’ve been churning back through the system, so we’ve been creating that extra workload by not dealing with those children well and their families in the first place.

And she is ruling out a significant increase in resources, preempting the work of the review committee and the need to work out what a properly functioning system may look like.

Tolley also regurgitates the myth that there are too many “back room” public servants and not enough working on the front line.  This is a line we hear repeatedly and is clearly a tory reflexive philosophical grunt bereft of actual real world analysis.

Well, what I’ve said is when I’ve been asked, ‘Will social workers lose their jobs?’ We need those social workers. I can’t see that we would need viewer social workers. But actually, the report tells you only about 25 percent of the workforce are actually working directly with children. We’ve got lots of managers and supervisors and people who are filling in forms.

Those forms are filled in because of an increasing demand of data from the Government.  And every form filler that loses their job means that a social worker has to work that much harder to make sure that demands are met.

Tolley was also asked about Carmel Sepuloni’s private member’s bill that would require all social workers to hold a current practising certificate.

[Lisa Owen] Okay. Well, the report indicated you also need better social workers, so Labour’s got a private member’s bill would register all social workers, which means they would be police-checked, they would be professionally-trained. Are you going support that bill?

No, I’m not supporting that bill, and I’ve talked to Carmel. It’s not that I don’t support it. I’ve said to her that her timing is wrong. So I have asked the Social Workers Registration Board to do a review of their Act and to match with the final report that I get from the expert panel. They’re reporting back to me in December. So they are looking exactly at what do we mean by a social worker, what’s the career path. There’s a lot of people who work in the social sector that call themselves social workers, but what should a qualified, registered social worker look like?

It is strange that what appears to be a worth while proposal is not supported because of a timing issue.

Of course this further review is missing the point in so many ways.  The reason why there is such a tremendous need for state resources to handle children in crisis is because child poverty is epidemic.  Back in the 1970s it was almost unheard of in New Zealand.  With mass unemployment in the 1980s it appeared and it ballooned in the 1990s after the mother of all budgets meant that families were expected to exist on 80% of the income needed to address their basic needs.  Labour thought it could solve the situation by full employment which helped but did not solve the problem.  And the issue is now again worsening as the gap between the rich and the poor escalates and housing needs skyrocket.

And in terms of CYF’s functionality it is all about resources.  A recent story by Anna Leask highlighting that a young girl was held in police custody because of a lack of CYF beds can only be cured by providing more beds, not by blaming social workers.

The Government’s approach is all supply side analysis presuming that current hardship is a result of incompetent bureaucrats and bad families.  If National was actually concerned at the plight that too many children find themselves in it would be addressing the causes, not working out what sort of band aid should be applied and who to blame.

33 comments on “The problem is child poverty not CYF”

  1. Paul 1

    The National Party have set up a predictable diversion to knock the TPP off the headlines just as Groser is being taken to court to release the text.

    • shorts 1.1

      TPP or whatever other time bomb is set to blow…

      Needless to say any report by rebstock will come back with recommendations that were pre-set, some of which might be beneficial to those in need and others that won’t

      Our social problems including poverty can only be managed by throwing loads of money, time and skilled people at them… any other solution is destined to lead to the same place they started – over stretched services not coping

      • The Chairman 1.1.1

        “Once we have gained the confidence of the people, we’ve got more chance of doing more things” – Lockwood Smith.

        He went on to talk about doing things in government that you could not talk about before an election.

        Setting up independent (but ideologically aligned) panels helps Governments distance themselves from raising the more publicly sensitive issues. Namely, issues they wouldn’t be elected upon.

        Moreover, an independent panel’s recommendations helps give the said recommendations far more weight in the general public’s eye.

        As for solutions, How more money is spent and how skills and time are utilized are also vital to outcomes.

        I have an uncomfortable feeling if more money is recommended, it will largely go to the private sector to help combat the problem, opposed to dealing to one of the main causes of the problem (poverty).

  2. heather 2

    Everything you say is correct, there has never been proper resources to fund CYPS and Child Welfare before it.
    The social workers have struggled against a rising tide of poverty, lack of housing, under or not employment, cheap liqour and a general feeling of hopelessness. This Government should be ashamed and hang their head in shame at the child poverty.
    Families reach the end of what they can cope with and children and women sadly, are the first people that suffer.
    Loss of dignity is a terrible thing to cope with.
    It is a disgrace that our Primie Minister will not recognise poverty and address the issue with compassion.
    But no, he and his cronies still deny that poverty and hopelessness lead to abuse, neglect and family violence, They are unable or do not want to join the dots.
    This Government has stripped community groups from funding, these groups have been trying to fill in the gaps left by under funding from the National government. Now they are running out of money and are unable to continue providing services.
    How many more children will have to die before they join the dots?

  3. Mike the Savage One 3

    We get endless drivel, about CYFS being the problem, while all they are is an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. Yes, the real cause may not be CYFS and their admitted failures, the real cause lies somewhere else. But having watched Tolley on The Nation and on Q+A, the blame seems to go simply on CYFS and their staff, underfunded and over administered for years, while the real cause lies with social failure where many parents have not got the means to survive and to care about their kids, even if they honestly want to.

    The damned MSM makes me furious and sick, how they simply perpetuate the mantra that this crap government repeats, and prepares us all for privatisation of more social services. The government we have is criminal in the way they do things, they are hell bent on serving the vested interest private and commercial parties they love, and care a damned shit about the kids and benficiaries in general.

    They do not even conduct proper oversight, and that is intentional:
    http://publicaddress.net/speaker/how-is-government-evaluating-its-welfare/

    FFS, wake up people, we are being taken for a huge ride again, this government is like a damned dictatorship, in cooperation with a complicit media, to propagate all is best dealt with commercialising it.

    Shame on NZ, for being a total sell out nation.

  4. Mike the Savage One 4

    And while I am at it, when does the useless Labour Party expel this Mike Williams from the membership, who openly supports Matthew Hooton of all in a panel discussion?

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201772367/politics-with-mike-williams-and-matthew-hooton

    I cannot believe where “politics” in this small and isolated little place is heading. It is a damned disgrace what goes on.

  5. Michael 5

    I think we’d help more children if we sacked Paula Rebstock from every taxpayer-funded job she has and spent the money on school breakfasts instead.

  6. Detrie 6

    My neighbour worked on the front line of CYF for over ten years in south auckland. He loved the job and was good at it. His own workload and expectations was typical for his office, being 2-3x higher than the internal guidelines for max number of cases staff can work on at one time. And, there was no room for errors, least it caused a review, which then just added further to the workload and the massive backlog. After ten years it all took its toll physically and emotionally and he reluctantly left last year.

    It was mentioned in that TV interview over the weekend of a shortage of 300+ staff for CYF across NZ and has been this way for many years. The needed funding to expand frontline resources was never made available. This minor fact was brushed aside by the minister as not important. My neighbour who worked there, disagrees.

    But, CYF is still the ambulance and as long as current staff are always in reactive mode putting out fires, instead of have the resources to look deeper, nothing will change.

  7. The Chairman 7

    Good thread, good points, good comments thus far.

  8. the pigman 8

    You hear the word “business case” being bandied about in reference to managing vulnerable children. The semiotics (“investment approach”) tell you all you need to know about the shit that’s coming.

    Bonus points to those who picked up on Tolley’s eugenics dog whistling over the weekend and quiet backtrack today.

    • I didn’t see anything from Tolley about eugenics, but “eugenics” is lazy, bullshit shorthand for “I don’t have an argument so I’m going with just like the nazis!“, so it could have been anything.

      • The Chairman 8.1.1

        Tolley acknowledged it would be a “huge step” for the state to start telling people that they could not have another child, but said it was “a conversation that New Zealanders, perhaps, need to have”.

        Tolley did not rule out limiting or preventing some families from having another child.

        http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/72451962/state-may-try-to-stop-some-families-having-more-children

        Tolley’s suggestion that state forced sterilization is a discussion the country may need to have indicated she believes their could be legitimate merit in the notion (state forced sterilization).

        Within 24 hours and once public disdain became clear, she quickly retreated from that position.

        • the pigman 8.1.1.1

          Thank you the chairman. You’re right, Psycho Milt, when Tolley starts dog-whistling to state enforced sterilisation of a particular demographic, there’s absolutely no valid comparison to be made. I think it’s people like you, who stand on the sidelines shouting “oh no, you’re Godwinning it!”, as if politicians would never behave like that again, who are the lazy ones.

        • Psycho Milt 8.1.1.2

          Exactly. Nat MPs like to raise this one every now and then as a dog-whistle to their talkback radio constituency. They’re well aware most of the country would be as dubious about trusting the state to sterilise people as they are about trusting the state to execute people, and it doesn’t get any traction. That alone makes the cries of “Eugenics!” ridiculous.

          But it’s even more ridiculous than that. Even if a suicidally-reckless Nat government were to try and implement this, their wildest redneck-appealing anti-waster pronouncements don’t go further than dealing with people who would have their kids taken from them immediately by CYF anyway, which is a very small number of people not large enough to dignify with the term “demographic.” Calling something like that “eugenics” is like calling that trellis you put up “civil engineering.”

          • The Chairman 8.1.1.2.1

            The issue does get raised from time to time, but its more a testing of the waters.

            Support for these things (the death penalty, state forced sterilization) can change over time.

            The cries of eugenics is merely calling it for what it is.

            Step by step is how it would be done. It would start with those having had kids removed, then to those charged with child abuse. Which is a rather wide term. Some consider smoking around kids as abuse. Others consider overweight kids as being abused. Therefore, it wouldn’t take long before coverage would be expanded.

            Legislative change coming into effect next year would see the onus placed on parents to prove they were fit to keep their children, if they already had a child abuse conviction.

            Additionally, there is talk of policing child abuse through predictive algorithms and on the balance of probability. No doubt leading to increasing the numbers being charged.

            • Psycho Milt 8.1.1.2.1.1

              Ah, I see. I hadn’t realised there was a top secret dastardly government plot to implement eugenics, one that’s so secret no-one knows about it except particularly astute observers such as yourself, and one that involves the somewhat counter-intuitive approach of allowing abusive parents to have children but then removing the children and having them raised by others.

              • The Chairman

                It was merely an example of what is currently taking place coupled with its logical progression.

                It’s no secret,Tolley publicly floated the notion.

                Public disdain soon became apparent and she retreated to what she considers to be a safer position.

                The approach should be focusing on the causes of child abuse and why some struggle to raise a child, thus reducing the need to remove children.

                Removing children is evidence of failing to turn families around – and removed children also don’t fair too well. Hence, the call to overhaul the system.

          • the pigman 8.1.1.2.2

            Actually, a restriction on breeding/procreation with the aim of altering the composition of the genetic stock that comprises a population is eugenics, Psycho Milt.

            But you’d rather have a screech about people trivialising the Holocaust, right?

            • Psycho Milt 8.1.1.2.2.1

              A government that put a restriction on breeding/procreation for a few chronic child abusers with the intent of altering the composition of the breeding stock or a population the size of NZ’s would be a very silly government. Alteration at the population level requires significant numbers and a lot of time.

              Still, you must be livid that successive governments have arranged things so the educated middle class is discouraged from having more than one or two children while wasters are encouraged to add children to a benefit to maintain their income stream – it’s eugenics, I tells ya!

              • the pigman

                “educated middle class is discouraged from having more than one or two children while wasters are encouraged to add children to a benefit to maintain their income stream”

                Citation needed. I know you won’t waste your time though because you’ve gone full derp and are now just t*olling. But these incentives that are, for some inexplicable reason, “educated-middle-class-disincentivising”, are addressed in parallel threads.

                “wasters” – charming.

                • Funny how you can instantly see just how obnoxious and stupid this “eugenics!” stuff is when I frame it like that, isn’t it? Consider the possibility that it might be just as “full derp” and t*olling when you frame it your way.

      • the pigman 8.1.2

        You must be furious at Danyl and everyone else calling it for what it is then: https://dimpost.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/clickbait-government/

  9. texmex 9

    I was a senior social worker for twenty years the problem lies deep in the nz culture there will be no change until kiwis admit that they are very racist and extremely violent society the children will continue to die and no amount of money or government reports will stop it,

    • Bill 9.1

      There is the violence and the poverty and the racism etc, but the ‘War Against Children’ began a few decades ago….

  10. Rosemary McDonald 10

    No poverty here….

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11520406

    “Seizures at the age of 18 months put him in hospital. Both parents had been drinking when they arrived – there was “little confidence in parents’ ability to care especially if Benjamin turns out to have medical needs”, a social worker wrote.

    Benjamin would be diagnosed with high needs, and that was before autism emerged. A social worker recorded that his mother was found to be repeatedly drunk during the hospital stay – there was “no guarantee of baby’s safety if he was returned to parents’ care”.

    Money appears to have not been an issue. Benjamin’s maternal grandfather owned the house in which they lived and “funded” the continued presence of his father. There was even talk of hiring a nanny to get around his mother’s drunkenness and father’s inability to care for both.”

    and so on.

    Read it and weep.

    • The Chairman 10.1

      Alcohol was clearly a factor in this one. So was the father’s inability (lacking the life skills) to care for both, compounded by a disintegrating, physically abusive relationship.

      Severely stretched resources, miscommunication, coupled with high staffing turnover negatively impacting outcomes were also factors.

      Although poverty generally plays a leading role (and can add or be an underlining factor to a number of the pressures above) it’s not the sole contributing factor that requires addressing.

      • Rosemary McDonald 10.1.1

        EVERYBODY (sorry to shout) involved with this child failed him.

        Add him to the ever lengthening list.

        He will probably never trust anyone ever again.

  11. Heartbleeding Liberal 11

    This is really confusing, why is an economist involved at all, let alone being the head of the review?

  12. ZTesh 12

    This is a simplistic, naive and very unsophisticated opinion, written by someone, who I expect, lives in a very sheltered bubble.

    If poverty was a causative factor in child abuse, then child abuse would be absolutely rampant in the poorest nations on earth, such as the slums of India or Asia and virtually non-existent in wealthy Western nations with social security that ensures even the poorest members of society are comparatively wealthy with slum dwellers and the like. Only the opposite is true.

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  • New Zealand Gives up on Trying to Save Daylight
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the nation today about the decline in daylight New Zealand has been experiencing over the previous few months. She said “As many of you will notice, our attempts to stem the dwindling of the daylight over the last few months have been completely ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    5 days ago
  • A bulletin from Greece
    Redline received this article from the KOE a Marxist party in Greece Our friends in the KOE describe here the mounting crisis in Greece and tensions on the Turkish border. As desperate people flee from their homelands which have been ruined after decades of imperialist wars and interventions the people ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
    As the first week of Level Four lockdown unfolded, mounting questions grew as to just what was (and was not) allowed under its “rules”. Partly these were driven by some apparently contradictory messages from different authority figures and explanations carried in the media. Partly they reflected a somewhat sketchy legal basis ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

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

    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    6 days ago
  • Maybe axing Clark would be unfair. But what about any of this is fair?
    Yesterday was the day the consequences of the lockdown suddenly got very real for many. Firms have been closing and laying people off since the outset of the quarantine but this has mostly been happening out of the public eye. The mass closure of a number of iconic New Zealand ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    6 days ago
  • Might a ‘Coasean’ social contract mitigate overall societal harm from COVID-19?
    Brian Williamson1, Prof Nick Wilson2 (1Economic consultant, UK; 2University of Otago Wellington) In this blog, we outline how a win-win social contract could be forged to address the major dimensions of response to the COVID-19 pandemic when using a mitigation strategy: the particular need to protect older people from high ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
    Resuming Normal Service: The Republican Party's nominee for in 1920, Warren Harding, promised the American people: “not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration”. If she wishes to remain our prime minister, then Jacinda Ardern will offer New Zealanders the same.HOW EDUCATED AMERICA snickered when the ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
    No Free Society Without A Free And Functioning News Media: If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating Covid-19, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders simply because it improves their bottom line.I’M ...
    6 days ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Lockdown day 8
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    7 days ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    7 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    7 days ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    7 days ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    7 days ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    7 days ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    1 week ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing or ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    1 week ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    1 week ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    1 week ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    1 week ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago

  • More time for health workers and elderly to get flu vaccine
    The Government has extended by two weeks till April 27 the amount of time priority groups, such as health workers and those aged over 65, have to get their flu vaccine before it is made available to the wider public. This year’s vaccination campaign is a key component of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 hour ago
  • Communities step up to help New Zealanders stay connected and fed during lockdown
    Communities stepping up to help New Zealanders stay at home to break the transmission of COVID-19 and save lives have received Government support, said Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. “Delivering groceries for the elderly who can’t shop online, providing data packs for low income families to keep them connected, and being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • 120 COVID-19 testing centres now operating
    Across New Zealand 120 sites are taking samples to be tested for COVID-19.   68 community based assessment centres (CBACs) have been established to take samples from people with COVID-19 symptoms. Alongside this, 52 other centres including designated general practices, swabbing centres, and mobile clinics are now testing people for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Covid19: Government moving quickly to roll out learning from home
    The Ministry of Education is working with partners to develop a package of options so that students can learn at home when Term 2 begins on 15 April, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Supports are also being prepared for households with children under five, to help parents and whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Making learning from home accessible to Māori learners and whānau
    Māori Television to begin educational te reo programmes Ki te Ao Mārama – a new online learning space Thousands of hard copy learning packs ready for distribution Helpdesk and advice service for kōhanga, kura and wharekura Television, the internet and hard copy learning packs are some of the ways whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • New Zealand to provide assistance to Vanuatu following Tropical Cyclone Harold
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced an initial package of support to help the people and the Government of Vanuatu respond to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Harold. “Our Pacific neighbours have been hit by a Category 5 Cyclone at the same time as dealing with the economic impacts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Planning for the future of tourism
    Tourism New Zealand to lead work reimagining the way tourism operates in post-COVID-19 world. Ministers to review International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy investment plan. The Government, industry and business are working together to develop a plan for how tourism will operate in a post-COVID-19 world, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • NZ horticulture sector feeding Kiwis and the world during COVID-19
    More New Zealanders are taking up the chance to work in horticulture as the sector keeps New Zealanders fed and in jobs during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown. “Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Work to repurpose PGF funds begins
    The Provincial Development Unit is working through applications and projects to see where Provincial Growth Fund money can be repurposed for initiatives deemed more critical to fighting the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “We need to be throwing everything we have at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • A million workers supported by Govt wage subsidy
    The Government’s wage subsidy to protect jobs and keep workers and businesses connected during the lockdown has now supported over a million New Zealanders, with $6.6 billion already paid out. “We’re supporting businesses to pay wages, and stay connected with their workers so that we are all in a better ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government helps Pacific communities fight COVID
    The Government is stepping up efforts to help protect New Zealand’s Pacific communities in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet has agreed that $17 million will be allocated to support a COVID-19 Pacific Response Package, which will: Support Pacific health and disability services facing increased demand; Ramp up public health messaging ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark
    “Yesterday evening the Health Minister advised me of his trip to a beach during the lockdown and offered his resignation,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses.  “But right now, my priority is our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Statement from David Clark
    Last night as part of my preparation for the Epidemic Response Committee, I provided the Prime Minister with a complete picture of my activity outside my home during Alert Level 4.  That included the fact that on the first weekend of the Alert Level 4 lockdown I drove my family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 mental health support begins
    A range of support is being rolled out across New Zealand to help people look after their mental health during COVID-19 Health Minister David Clark said this morning. “COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives and many of us will be feeling some level of distress or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago