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The Sallies do not like Government’s housing policy

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, February 10th, 2015 - 61 comments
Categories: class war, housing, john key, national, quality of life, Social issues - Tags:

John Key’s state of the nation announcement of the Government’s intention to divest itself of state houses to help social housing providers has struck a problem.  The Salvation Army, touted as one of the likely recipients, has expressed significant reservations.  From the Herald:

A charity tagged as a likely buyer of state houses says it is reviewing its involvement unless it can get either more capital from the Government or a very low price for the houses.

Salvation Army social policy director Major Campbell Roberts says the army has brought in consultants to crunch the numbers and found that it could not do any better than Housing NZ unless the Government put up some of the capital required to bring state properties up to acceptable living standards.

What is encouraging is that the Salvation Army has also expressed concern for the tenants and thinks it be desirable that they be involved in management of the housing.

[Roberts] says it would be morally wrong for the army to force tenants out for redevelopment without their consent, and that any state houses that are sold should go to genuine local community organisations part-governed by the tenants themselves.

“I think it’s essential … tenants are engaged in this whole exercise. If [not] it’s going to be a disaster.”

The article also contains some historical and international information which provides valuable context to the debate.

New Zealand’s social housing sector is small, with only 5 per cent of all occupied homes owned by Housing NZ, councils or community groups. That is the same share as in Australia, and double that of the United States, but far below some European countries such as England (18 per cent), France (19 per cent) and Sweden (21 per cent).

A 2010 report said 32,000 of what were then 69,000 state houses were built between 1937 and 1949, and the state funded two-thirds of all house-building via state housing and cheap home loans into the 1970s. In 1960, 64 per cent of new homes were priced below the median value of existing homes.

However state home-lending ended in the 1990s. The Productivity Commission says new homes priced below the median value of existing homes plunged from 51 per cent in 1989 to 15 per cent in 2011. We virtually stopped building houses for the poorer half of the population.

So historically the State has constructed a huge number of homes and internationally state ownership of housing is not unusual.  Yet this Government refuses to even think about doing something active to address our significant and growing housing crisis.

61 comments on “The Sallies do not like Government’s housing policy”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Well, this will make it a lot easier for the National Party to ‘decide’ to give sell to SERCO.

    • adam 1.1

      Military industrial housing. Serco could just add bars and guards – and bang more private prisons.

      Love our ideologically run government – why bother with reality or facts – when you can just let ideology guide you.

      Sheesh at least in East Germany – they were honest about it.

  2. freedom 2

    In the four years since this animation was made, imagine how much Serco has grown.

  3. SaveNZ 3

    Hopefully this will clear up the propaganda that ‘greedy landlords’ are the problem with housing which is a huge MSM discourse to put the blame on ‘the other guy’ and not the government. The reality is there is a shortage of rentals in Auckland and Christchurch so blaming the landlords which seems to be a popular pastime for many is actually just adding to the problem. Auckland and Christchurch need more rental properties and lower priced housing.

    The problem is that there is not enough low cost housing being built.

    “The Productivity Commission says new homes priced below the median value of existing homes plunged from 51 per cent in 1989 to 15 per cent in 2011. We virtually stopped building houses for the poorer half of the population.”

    Currently the old and new RMA are actually making that worse. They are making sure that houses are getting bigger as developers and owner occupiers are doing their own spec housing and with compliant councils, an ‘anything’ goes policy. The RMA means it is building and development no matter what. Amenity and any social good is outside and discriminated against, with development the main gain. The government seems to be selling off government land to developers, who then profit and sell back at market rates. Just another way to rip off the country.

    Who is buying these spec houses? Foreigners and ex pats and current home owners trading up. This is often their family home so the miracle cure ‘capital gains’ tax will not only not work, it will incentivise people to have a greater level of wealth in their family home.

    Bigger houses, more cost to build, higher rents and house prices. .

    All the ‘figures’ showing all the new consents that are supposed to be easing the housing shortage are a joke. Houses being built are often mansions and certainly not for poor or even middle class people. Councils are getting into risky development projects like in Auckland – Westfield which the rate payers are funding. Again the risks are for the ratepayers, and the rewards are for the developers.

    The poorest people should be in state housing and there should also be a mature debate based on real evidence not hysteria, about why there is very little affordable housing being built (cos it is not cost effective) and what needs to be done about it.

    The obvious thing is that some way to make houses smaller and energy efficient with outdoor space for gardens etc so that people can have more quality of life. At present there seems to be mostly apartments being proposed as cheap housing, which has more long term cost for Body corp fees, more risk of leaky failure, and less suitable for children. There needs to be more of a design focus so that cheap does not mean ugly.

    In the UK a percentage of new developments must be low cost. This idea, is not only ensuring lower cost houses are being built, but also meaning rich and poor ghettos are not being created. As usual the devil will be in the detail but this one way to help the problem.

    • Sacha 3.1

      The Hobsonville Point redevelopment project was planned with a proportion of housing for poorer families. One of the first things our glorious PM did when he gained power was scrap that, calling it “economic vandalism”.

      A real solution requires changing the government.

    • Macro 3.2

      Very good points made here SaveNZ.

      The market will not solve the problem. There needs to be Government regulation. That will not happen with the current regime. I have worked in the civil construction industry for a number of years. Over recent years only one development I worked on has been for low cost housing, and it was very small.

    • Sabine 3.3

      when it is more lucrative to not rent than to rent you have an issue.

      I have lived next to a house for three years that was un- occupied for all but three month – the last expat couple that bought the house only stayed for that long before going back overseas.
      the house sold like clockwork every 6 – 8 month, every time for a few then thousand dollar more despite the fact that nothing was done to it.

      currently in my street there are several houses empty after they have been sold.

      the neighborhood where I have my shop, we have now seen the third lot of tenants come through – we see them come and go.

      there is a housing crisis in Auckland, but unless the residential rental market is not regulated nothing will get done.

      If I am land banking, or buying on speculation that after 6 – 8 month I can flip the property with a profit why would I put a tenant in? that is just an unpleasantness that I’d rather not have to deal with.

  4. vto 4

    Yesterday on te radio I heard John Key claim that NZ needs more social housing and that using charities will help with this….

    but this is complete bullshit.

    How does this increase the housing stock? It doesn’t. John Key simply lies again.

    F%$#^&g two more years of Key lies – I cant stand it. Just as well Andrew Little is becoming relentless in his pursuit of Key’s bullshit. First on “cut the crap” re dirty politics, and now on Key’s bullshit on maori sovereignty discussions.

    John Key – Minister of Bullshit

    • mac1 4.1

      It increases the housing stock if the houses sold remain and are not removed for up market housing. It also requires for Key to be right in his assertion by his government spending the income from the sales on new housing stock.

      He however has stated that part of the money will be spent in other ways. That is, as a cash cow for other government expenditure which allows the tax breaks for the wealthy to continue at the expense of the housing of the poor. The amount for other spending has not been quantified. I bet that down the track there will be found less need for state provided housing so that more can go to mitigate this governments’ debt problem of $100 billion.

      It is Grey Power policy to oppose the sale of state housing if the money is not put back into new housing. Grey Power also seeks the new provision of good quality, low maintenance small housing units, outside of the retirement homes which provide most of this.

      If local governments were able to be re-involved in the provision of social housing, this might also be a way to give tenants a say in the running of their housing, as the Salvation Army seeks.

      • vto 4.1.1

        Couple of big ‘ifs’ there mac1.

        You know I just cant understand why the government doesn’t just start building houses……

        Good for the housing crisis. Good for the economy. Good for peoples body and soul. Just good all round… what is there that is bad?

        Does anyone know why they don’t just start building houses (other than dogma and ideology)?

        • framu 4.1.1.1

          i think if you stick this policy, the rma “reforms” and all the noise theyve been making about housing development together, you can see what the game plan is – and its got nothing to do with helping poor people

        • mac1 4.1.1.2

          Yeah, ‘ifs’ are also to be seen as suggestions for improvement. They also indicate a decision to be made by Key as to how much of the proceeds from housing sales will be hijacked to fund other non-housing government spending.

          I agree, VTO, with your puzzlement. I remember very well listening as a young student to John A Lee talk about building houses as a good way to boost the economy. Good for the late Sixties, still good now.

          However, our beloved neo-liberals would say that the private sector should be those doing the building, and not a minimalist state. So, dogma and ideology rule.

      • Murray Rawshark 4.1.2

        “It increases the housing stock if the houses sold remain and are not removed for up market housing.”

        How? Selling a house to a social housing provider doesn’t increase the number of houses available. It stays exactly the same.

        • mac1 4.1.2.1

          It increases the ‘Money’ available for housing stock as the government says it will spend the money (in part) in building new houses. The end result is more housing, surely? My argument is that Key will (mis-)appropriate this money for other government spending, as he has stated.

          • Sacha 4.1.2.1.1

            They have left a lot of wriggle room about how much of the sale proceeds they will spend on housing. The rest will prop up Blinglish’s deficit.

            All I’ve seen them say so far is that HNZ’s new builds will increase from 500 to 1000 per year. Not going to make much of a dent.

            • mac1 4.1.2.1.1.1

              500 extra new builds funded by the sale of up to 8000 houses. How do those numbers stack? Genuine question- no idea of building costs at this scale.

          • Murray Rawshark 4.1.2.1.2

            In part? Like FJK giving part of his salary to charity?

            There are too many things to be worried about in this. Firstly, what is to stop “social housing providers” from selling some of the houses? Who would buy them besides developers? IF the government builds more houses, what’s to say they’ll be for those most in need? We all saw what happened with the proposed affordable housing in Hobsonville. The final numbers were insignificant.

            This plan deserves nothing but contempt. It’s just another way to shovel more money into the pockets of landlords. Hubris is such that they barely try to conceal this any more.

            • mac1 4.1.2.1.2.1

              Oh, I share your concerns, Murray Rawshark. There’s money to be made in this deal, for National’s mates and for English’s treasury spending.

          • Lanthanide 4.1.2.1.3

            “It increases the ‘Money’ available for housing stock as the government says it will spend the money (in part) in building new houses.”

            Most, if not all, of the proceeds will be used to eek out a budget surplus, not build new houses.

            Furthermore, if the money is coming from the Salvation Army, to the government, to allow the government to build houses, then why couldn’t the SA build the houses themselves with that same money they just gave to the government?

            Fundamentally this policy is just playing money-go-rounds and not actually achieving anything.

            In Australia when the state and federal governments divested themselves of social housing, they gave it to private providers free of charge, who were then able to use the equity to take out loans and build new houses (or renovate the ones they received from the government). This policy does have utility, in that the private providers may have more manpower or local knowledge to deal with the houses in a more effective way than the government did – but that small gain is only realised when the houses were provided free-of-charge to the providers. Such a policy won’t be happening in NZ because that doesn’t get the budget out of the red.

            • mac1 4.1.2.1.3.1

              “Most, if not all, of the proceeds will be used to eek out a budget surplus, not build new houses”

              That is on what Key needs to be pinned down. As I say above, Grey Power policy is to oppose purely revenue gathering sales without the money going to new builds. What percentage does Key wish to allocate to the budget surplus?

              At the moment, it’s trust John Key smoke and mirrors.

            • Tracey 4.1.2.1.3.2

              and what services will sallies drop to fund the new housing initiative?

          • framu 4.1.2.1.4

            i think the key bit there is that what the nats are saying is..

            sell house = more house

            not

            sell house + reinvest in more house = more house

            what your saying is correct – but its not the argument being put forward by JK and co

            • Lanthanide 4.1.2.1.4.1

              It’s exactly the same argument they used during the SoE asset sales, and not a single idiot in the media tried to pull him up on it.

              That is, Key said that selling assets to the public raised revenue for the companies so they could use it to grow and expand. Except the government put all of the money into the “future investment fund” instead.

              It’s exactly the sort of thing that someone could say “You’re being tricky Prime Minister, you’re trying to have your cake and eat it to. When will you be upfront with the New Zealand public?”.

    • Hayden 4.2

      How does this increase the housing stock?

      They don’t do “how”. They state something they (or their sponsors) want to do, tell us it’s going to fix something, then we’re expected to believe that the dots will join themselves, somehow.

      • vto 4.2.1

        Yep. To be expected though. Remember that the nats are conservatives and they never pioneer, break new ground, or in fact do much of anything at all…. they like to think of themselves as doers and action men but the reality is that conservatives are conservative.

        Of course society needs conservatives as much as it needs liberals willing to break new ground – I just wish each lot would recognise their true character and stop pretending they are something else.

    • Tracey 4.3

      community providers who cant sell without government permission…

      1. define community provider
      2. is that the only envisioned category of state house purchaser
      3. what criteria proposed for govt approval for on selling.

      funny how onky the opposition get pushed for detail.

  5. Philip Ferguson 5

    Politicians get houses, we get bullshit:
    https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/10809/

  6. Sabine 6

    the poorer half is supposed to rent from the richer half the crappy, leaking, mouldy, drafty slums that the richer half will provide. If the poorer half does not have enough money to rent, the state will provide Accommodation Benefits paid directly to the richer Slumlord half as this is more efficient and market friendly than building social housing and renting it directly to the poorer half.

    See….its not that hard to understand.
    As for the Sallies…does really anyone believe that they were to get those houses for cheap? or on government loans? Or both?
    Really?

    look over there, I have a bridge to sell.

  7. Sacha 7

    PM now says govt have allocated $100m to subsidise community housing providers like the Sallies. http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/national/govt-paying-providers-to-buy-social-housing/

  8. vto 8

    John Key will use taxpayers money to build more casinos but not to build more homes for the less fortunate.

    says it all

    • mac1 8.1

      Very telling comparison, vto.

      So, it could be argued that Key intends to allocate money from the sale of state houses which house the poor to build a casino and then allow that casino to provide more gambling tables and machines to fleece the poor and the addicted?

      I wonder if the Salvation Army, that wonderful organisation which does great work with the poor and the addicted, understands that and is a reason why it is unhappy with the deal that Key is offering.

      It surely taints the deal.

      • vto 8.1.1

        It more than taints things – it is disgusting and no decent human should put up with it (or turn a blind eye).

        Disgusting.

  9. fisiani 9

    The Salvation Army are simply good negotiators and you have fallen for the oldest trick in sales. Feign lack of interest and see if the price falls. Keep feigning interest till the price falls even more, then step in and buy.
    God how gullible can you guys be?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1

      That must be why Trust House is so keen. No, wait, it’s another example of your limitless ignorance, eh.

    • vto 9.2

      Fuck, talk about brainless people on the right. Your brain fart there may well apply to neo-liberal, profit-obsessed, shallow and money hungry people, but you can rest assured this is not how good people like the Sallies go about things.

      Completely neo-liberal
      Completely profit-obsessed
      Completely shallow
      Completely money hungry

      Completely failed. Idiot. You should get out more.

    • framu 9.3

      Once inside a home, he would sniff or lick the occupants for signs of stress or unhappiness.

    • mac1 9.4

      FFS, you ask that question, Fisiani, you of the “Honest John” belief?

      Aaaaaahargh!

    • tc 9.5

      Diversion Alert….look away please this is not an issue say Fisi the neo lib parrot.

      • fisiani 9.5.1

        So when the Salvation Army buys some houses later this I hope you will all step up and apologise for playing the man again. I won’t hold my breath waiting. Fairly obvious you have no idea how the Savation Army have become so wealthy and cash rich.

    • Murray Rawshark 9.6

      “God how gullible can you guys be?”

      About 3% as much as you on my worst day.

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    Yet this Government refuses to even think about doing something active to address our significant and growing housing crisis.

    There’s a huge amount of profit to be made by the rentiers if demand for housing is kept high.

  11. Maui 11

    This is classic! The sallies were hailed as the answer to the social housing problem by both National and a lot of their supporters. This just shows the Government has barely talked it through with them. diabolical. The tenants in Pomare were kicked out atleast a couple of years ago, shows the gov never entertained working in a partnership at all.

  12. alwyn 12

    Does anyone here know the source of the report referenced in the original post? I would like to see the source of the bit that says, as quoted –

    “The Productivity Commission says new homes priced below the median value of existing homes plunged from 51 per cent in 1989 to 15 per cent in 2011. We virtually stopped building houses for the poorer half of the population.”

    This could very easily be true but totally misleading. After all I think everyone would agree that the cost of a property in Auckland, including the land, is much more than it is anywhere else in New Zealand.
    It is also possible, and probably likely to be the case, that most of the new state houses built between 1990 and 2010 were in Auckland. After all that was where the population growth was.
    The median house value of existing houses however probably represents a property not in Auckland, as there are probably 65% of New Zealand’s houses outside Auckland.
    Hence the statement could easily be true but not the final conclusion which need not logically follow. We may have built houses for those members o the poorer half of the population who were living in Auckland.

    • Lanthanide 12.1

      Unless of course they were using the median for each local market. Slightly more work, of course, but makes a hell of a lot more sense.

      Also completely demolishes your argument.

      • alwyn 12.1.1

        “Also completely demolishes your argument.”

        Yes it would, if they did that, and it would make more sense but did they look at individual markets?
        That is why I would like to find a reference to the report that is quoted. I have seen some things about it but I haven’t found this bit of any report.

        Do you know what they did or, like me, are you just hypothesising?

  13. Chooky 13

    “What is encouraging is that the Salvation Army has also expressed concern for the tenants and thinks it be desirable that they be involved in management of the housing”

    i agree with the Sallies on this….they are taking a moral stand….many of those in State Housing are already those most in need …there just needs to be MORE State Houses

    ….if anyone is to buy State houses the existing tenants (Maori or Pakeha or Polynesian) should be enabled to buy …and the Government must not abdicate from its responsibility for providing State housing .

  14. Heather 14

    I am relieved that the Salvation Army has taken a moral stand on this.

    One can only hope that other community providers adopt the same stance and do not weaken to meet the end result the National Government wants.

    Key is daily becoming more and more out on a limb by himself, people are distancing themselves from him and his punitive policies.

  15. SHG 15

    I for one am glad that we look to an organisation of child rapists for advice on social issues.

    • McFlock 15.1

      To be fair, I reckon about the only organisation that hasn’t had a similar scandal these days might be the Automobile Association. Unless historic cases involving driving instructors or towies come out.

    • That is some sick shit SHG. Way more offensive than whatever Stephanie Rodgers was moaning about this morning. Why don’t you make similar comments about teachers, police, homosexuals?

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    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    5 days ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • 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 ...
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    5 days ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • 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 ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    6 days ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    6 days ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days 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 ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    7 days ago
  • 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
    7 days ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    7 days ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    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
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
    The coronavirus pandemic has of course had a major impact on individual lives and on societies as a whole. But, long after the crisis has passed (assuming it does), we will begin to realise that its real and lasting significance lies in the lessons it has taught us, if only ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
    COVID-19 has plunged Aotearoa New Zealand (indeed, the world) into territory that, while maybe not totally unprecedented, certainly hasn’t been seen during the lifetimes of most of us here today. Our borders are closed to non-citizens, we’re being told not to gather in groups of more than 500 outside/100 inside, ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been urging you to prepare yourself, your family, business, and community for Covid-19. Now it’s time for real action.  Yesterday the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced another 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing our total to date to 52. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020 Editor's Pick Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts   Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed ...
    1 week ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
    by Cultural Worker Late March 2020 amidst the virus. With gigs crashing and burning all around it was without much hope that I called a long standing rest home booking: “ Hi, I’m supposed to be entertaining at your place this afternoon – is it still on?” “”If you don’t ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
    Whenever people demand real change from their politicians, we're told that "politics is the art of the possible". The implication is that change isn't possible, so we'd better just get used to the sucky status quo. But now that there's a pandemic, a lot of things we were previously told ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Only Way Through This Crisis Is Together.
    Together: In leading New Zealand through the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Prime Minister could do a lot worse than allow herself to be guided by the spirit of collective sacrifice and co-operation that animated the New Zealanders of 80 years ago. Most Kiwis alive today have had no opportunity to prove their ...
    2 weeks ago
  • GFC vs Covid-19
    It is said that generals fight the last war. In the case of the early stages of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) they had learned from the Great Depression of the 1930s and they fought intelligently and successfully. Later their advice would be ignored in favour of the Austerians who ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • Nobody Left Behind.
    Solidarity Forever: All over the world, the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has exposed the fragility of the walls we erect around ourselves and our loved ones. It has shattered our illusions of autonomy and revealed to us how utterly dependent we all are on other human-beings. Finally, we see ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rebuilding a truly “Democratic” counter, or a “moderate Republican” bolt-hol...
    Looking across the various arguments for/against the leading candidates to take the Democratic Nomination, you might honestly be very hard pressed to tell. There are a number of things that have now started happening since Amy Klobuchar and “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg both threw the towel in and immediately (and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion law reform a win for women
    by Daphna Whitmore Abortion is no longer in the Crimes Act in New Zealand. The law reform passed yesterday and now abortion is a medical matter between a woman and her doctor. Many women’s groups and progressive people have campaigned for reform for decades. The women’s liberation movement and some ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • How to spot bogus science stories and read the news like a scientist
    Doug Specht, University of Westminster and Julio Gimenez, University of Westminster When fake news, misreporting and alternative facts are everywhere, reading the news can be a challenge. Not only is there plenty of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other scientific topics floating around social media, you also ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus
    Michael Baker, University of Otago and Nick Wilson, University of Otago With some of the toughest border restrictions and a newly-announced NZ$500 million boost to health services, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand is also fortunate in ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Parliament and the pandemic II
    As expected, the government has introduced a sessional order to allow Parliament to operate during the pandemic. You can read it on the Order Paper here, but the short version is that questions and motions can be filed electronicly, select committees can work remotely, and the the Business Committee can ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • When a virus goes viral: pros and cons to the coronavirus spread on social media
    Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology; Daniel Angus, Queensland University of Technology; Timothy Graham, Queensland University of Technology, and Tobias R. Keller, Queensland University of Technology News and views about coronavirus has spread via social media in a way that no health emergency has done before. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • How to survive 14 days of self-isolation
    So you’ve recently returned from overseas, come into contact with someone who tested positive, got a bit of a dry cough yourself or perhaps just want to self isolate for 14 days to avoid other people who might have COVID-19. Here are a few tips and tricks to help get ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion Legislation Bill passes third reading
    Some fave speeches:     ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    2 weeks ago
  • Why Leadership Matters – More Than Anything.
    Our Good Fortune: Precisely because she has never been an ideologue (she calls herself a “pragmatic idealist”) Jacinda Ardern has a political nimbleness and spontaneity which, when infused with her exceptional emotional intelligence, produces spectacular demonstrations of leadership. Jacinda's empathic political personality contrasts sharply with the less-than-sunny ways of her ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #11, 2020
    2 weeks ago
  • 68-51
    The Abortion Legislation Bill has just passed its third reading, 68-51. NZ First MPs bailed because their referendum amendment didn't pass, but there were plenty of MPs to provide a majority without them. The bill is a long way from perfect - most significantly, it subjects pregnant people who need ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The ‘herd immunity’ route to fighting coronavirus is unethical and potentially dangerous
    As most of the world tries to suppress the coronavirus spread, some countries are going it alone – trying to manage the pandemic through so-called “herd immunity”. Herd immunity means letting a large number of people catch a disease, and hence develop immunity to it, to stop the virus spreading. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Eight new COVID-19 cases today. It’s no surprise when you look at some numbers
    So, as I sit at home with a very, very slight headache (i.e. not at work when I would otherwise be so), the now familiar figure of Ashley Bloomfield reports eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19  including two in Waikato. A surprise, given that we had just twelve yesterday? No. ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • The WINZ Paradox versus the new COVID-19 Reality: Get real people, seriously…
    Many who advocated for, and voted for, the current Coalition – particularly those who voted Labour and the Green Party – expected to see a sea change in the reality of social services. A real, deep change of attitude, approach of process through which the system negotiates the difficult and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks 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
    9 hours 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
    19 hours 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    4 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
    The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks.   “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to make sure businesses can work together in ways that will allow them to provide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
    The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
    Associate Health and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare has today announced the Government’s plan to support Māori communities and businesses in the face of COVID-19. “Our Government’s $12.1 billion economic package will help many Māori whānau, workers and businesses, whether it’s through wage subsidies, income support and worker redeployment, or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
    The Government and the hospitality industry have worked together to produce guidelines to assist with managing and reducing transmission of COVID-19, Health Minister David Clark announced today.  The guidelines developed between the Government, Hospitality New Zealand and SkyCity Entertainment Group, set out how the new restrictions on physical distancing and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
    Four stage Alert System for COVID-19 announced New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact New Zealanders over 70 and those with certain medical conditions told to stay at home as much as they can to reduce risk of contact with the virus Workplaces to implement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM Address – Covid-19 Update
    Kia ora koutou katoa I’m speaking directly to all New Zealanders today to give you as much certainty and clarity as we can as we fight Covid-19. Over the past few weeks, the world has changed. And it has changed very quickly. In February it would have seemed unimaginable to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ and Singapore commit to keeping supply and trade links open, including on essential goods and med...
    New Zealand and Singapore have jointly committed to keep supply chains open and to 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 welcomed the commitment. “This is an important collective response, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Joint Ministerial Statement by Singapore and New Zealand -Covid-19 situation
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