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The Sword of Damocles Budget

Written By: - Date published: 11:22 pm, May 16th, 2011 - 40 comments
Categories: budget 2011, slippery - Tags:

John Key is fond of saying “there is a constituency for every dollar you spend”. So, having borrowed to the hilt for tax cuts for the rich, and refusing to reverse that folly, how can Key cut enough to satisfy the credit ratings agencies without pissing off too many voters? He can’t, but he’s gonna say he can and leave the hard choices to his successor.

Trev reports:

When I was Associate Minister of Finance cuts had to be confirmed before they were booked in the budget. Looks like the rules have changed to the extent that cuts aren’t even allocated to individual departments, that’s a long way away from saying where the money is coming from.

And this was the government that campaigned on increasing transparency.

So the new policy is – pretend you have reduced the deficit but wait until after the election to say what the cuts are.

Will be interesting to see the media and especially the financial medias take on this.

Also interesting will be whether the Brash/Douglas party will vote for it.

Report from Key’s presser today :-

Targets for individual agencies would be finalised after the Budget and it would then be up to chief executives to identify how to meet them.

“We believe people who understand their own operations are in the best position to make financial tradeoffs and to introduce innovation which genuinely improves public services.”

I guess Trev is quoting newsroom. Stuff has the same thing:

He said the budget would set an overall saving target for the Government which would start to be realised over the three years beginning on July 1, 2012.

”I think you will be surprised by how much we are looking to save overall from a couple of public sector initiatives,” he said.

”Targets for individual agencies will be finalised after the budget based on size and current funding, then it will be over to chief executives to identify how exactly to meet these targets.”

What this tells us, in essence, is that Key and English couldn’t work out how to get the deficit reduction track they need to avoid a credit downgrade without making politically impossible cuts. But decided to promise big enough cuts to reduce the deficit anyway without saying where the money would be cut from.

I’m no expert on the Budget but according to what is still laughingly called our constitution, the Crown cannot raise or spend money without the authority of Parliament, which is sovereign.

(in fact, as every schoolchild knows, an obese former woodwork teacher is actually sovereign now, but that’s by the by)

So, every year, the government lays out in mammoth detail in the Budget howmuch money it intends to raise and how it will spend it – $70,000,000,000 of spending broken down into thousands of appropriations, some as small as a couple of thousand dollars.

Given all that detail, how do they account for cuts that aren’t allocated? I’m guessing here but maybe at the end of all those books with the carefully worked out spending plans for exactly how much will be spent on everything from “Invalid’s Benefit” to “Administration of Part II Tariff Concessions” there will be a single line saying something banal like “unallocated baseline reductions” with a very big number beside it.

Basically, they’re going to ask us and our international creditors to accept a promise that they have the solution to cutting without causing pain and they will sort out the details later to everyone’s satisfaction.

Yeah, I don’t believe it either.

All we’ll really get out of this Budget is more uncertainty. If the credit ratings agencies buy Key’s line, they’ll still be hovering to see if the cuts eventuate. And every person with an interest in a programme or service that breaths a sigh of relief when its still there in the Budget better not relax too much, because the Sword of Damocles will still hang over them.

40 comments on “The Sword of Damocles Budget”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    There’s been a spate of government department CEO’s resigning in the last few months. I think something like 5 of them, and a bunch of other top executives have left too. Can’t find any stories on it (google is failing me), but it was on TV 1 news 2 or 3 weeks ago I think.

    There was speculation at the time that the budget has something to do with it. This outline would tend to reinforce that idea.

  2. Afewknowthetruth 2

    1. All money creation in western societies is a giant pyramid scheme, due to fractional reserve banking and the fraud associated with the international bond market. Like all pyramid schemes it must collapse. In fact it is in the process of collapsing right now.

    2. Oil extraction peaked 2005-2006 and is falling. Industrial activity cannot be sustained on a declining energy supply, so it’s curtain for the industrial economy fairly soon …. substantail collpase by 2015. Game over by 2020.

    It will make no difference who is in charge at this late stage in the game. The clowns and criminals we’ve had as leaders for the past 3 decades have ensured that appropriate strategies were not followed and that all our resources were squandered.

    Anyone with any sense will be looking to provide food for themselves. People with sense currently seem to comprise about 1% of the population.

  3. ZeeBop 3

    If you ask the same question over and over eventually you’ll get the answer your looking for. A false positive, but then all you wanted was a reason to do want you wanted anyway.

    It was easy to spin false positives when the economy was growing and voters were happy, oil was cheap credit easy to come by, who was listening to the cranks who rightly pointed out the policy was flawed. Industry just kept asking the same question of government, help us grow, help us grow, so government created bad policy that let them grow.

    Mad cows, one of countless examples of deregulation, the markets need government out of the way, so what’s the problem having cows eating cows brains! Even when the boffins said its a bad idea, still Thatchers government went ahead.

    Same can be said for Rogernomics, the wealth created went overseas, and we never stored it up like a mining boom built lavish solid buildings, we just let it go overseas without a word.
    Our homes leak, our children live in poverty, diseases like rheumatic fever should not be occurring here.

    The NZ tax regime is failing to collect taxes to cover the needs of society, Key does not care, the NZ economy is failing to keep wealth here (we need investment capital), Key does not care, and the budget is not going to do anything but more of the same ‘keep digging’ theirs gold in them their cupboards.

    National are unlikely to win the next election, even business voters don’t want asset sales.
    The lie that tax cuts help make fitter capitalists is wrong, it makes lazy capitalists who have
    farmed capital growth bubbles rather than build a strong NZ economy. What’s worse is the tax cut was actually a tax hike for most, compounded with oil and food price rises, it dragged many who thought they were wealthy into worrying about how to just stay where they are.
    Whatever happened to being able to get ahead? Why isn’t Key worried about that?

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    Whatever happened to being able to get ahead? Why isn’t Key worried about that?

    Well, John Key’s manage to get ahead in the last couple of years and since he doesn’t care about you, why would he be worried?

    • Kevin Welsh 4.1

      Exactly CV, in fact John Key has gotten (a)head very nicely for the last two-and-a-half years and the New Zealand public has foolishly given it.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    It seems that Blinglish went to the departments and asked for savings and got told that there wasn’t any and that if NACT cut the budget government services were going to collapse the same way that they did last time National were in power. As NACT had already promised their base (the 20% of the population that make up the psychopaths and their direct supporters) cuts to government spending so that they could have more tax cuts later. This left them in a bit of a bind – they had to make the cuts that they’d promised but there was no way to that without damaging government services and they’d promised (to the general population and not their base) not to do that either.

    So they’re going to go into the new year with promises of cuts to keep their base and the credit rating agencies happy but no plans to make any and probably lots of plans for retrospective validation as “budgets” blow-out all over core government services. This is most likely to cause some sort of financial crises within the next year as the government books sink further and further into the red. If NACT are still in power they’ll probably use it as an excuse to urgently sell the power generators – and that’s 100% of them and not 49% – and probably Kiwibank as well. On top of that they’ll probably blame the departments for not finding the necessary savings that they demanded when there was no savings available. That would be why Key came out and said that the savings would be up to the departments – covering their own arse.

    If this is their plan, and I can’t see any other possibility, it’s a desperate gamble on timing as the crisis can’t happen before the election because if it did there’s no way NACT would get back in. Of course, NACT can always, and probably will, try to keep the books hidden before the election so that the crisis can happen just after.

  6. PeteG 6

    It’s the “we’ll have to wait until Thursday to find out” budget. Speculation like this – Budget cuts set to hit big families (“experts” believe) – is pointless until we know the detail.

    Colin James has a reasonable general idea…

    This encapsulates the politics of Thursday’s election-year Budget: to trade simultaneously on toughness and hope.

    …but if standard pre-budget procedure has been followed it probably won’t be as tough as has been intimated, the old “phew, it’s not as bad as we thought” trick.

    In the end it will probably all be based on hope. National will be hoping the now more frequently predicted recovery will be underway (big hopes that it’s evident by November) – Budget will forecast wage and job growth: PM – and Labour will hoping that the economy dives further, their dire warnings are proven correct, and they will be given back the government reins by an electorate desperate for a noble rescue – or bigger handouts.

    • RobC 6.1

      “Labour will hoping that the economy dives further”

      What a retarded statement. You’re suggesting that opposition politicians want the country to get into an even bigger mess than we are currently in, just to gain power??? LOL

      • PeteG 6.1.1

        So I may have exaggerated, that’s normal on blogs – but do you think Labour want to see an economic recovery under way by November? They certainly won’t be trying to raise economic confidence before then, they will still be doom and glooming for all they’re worth.

        • mickysavage 6.1.1.1

          So the fact that the economy is tanking because of the current clueless mismanagement is all Labour’s fault.  ALL LABOUR’s FAULT HEAR ME, ALL LABOUR’s FAULT.

          So PeteG how about commenting on National’s strategy to get us out of the mire.  I will give you a hint.  It goes like this:

          1.  Give tax cuts to the wealthy.
          2.  Build a cycleway.
          3.  Hope.

          • PeteG 6.1.1.1.1

            Calm down MS, I don’t think it’s all Labour’s fault.

            • billy fish 6.1.1.1.1.1

              But the “NactNarrative” is “Its all Labours Fault”
              So you are wrong, so there, but thats Labours fault

        • RobC 6.1.1.2

          Who gives a fuck what “Labour wants to see”? I think 99.9% of the country would be glad to see an economic recovery by November but on the balance of probabilities the ship ain’t going to turn around that fast.

          PeteG, all Labour are doing is expressing “doom and gloom” that some of us feel. Or do you think all is rosy and the lack of “economic confidence” is a figment of their imagination?

          • PeteG 6.1.1.2.1

            I don’t think everything is “rosy” but neither do I share your feelings of doom and gloom. Trying to continually talk down the population and promoting hard-done-by-ness risks portraying the messengers as pessimists, and that’s not a good look for leadership out of recession.

            • mickysavage 6.1.1.2.1.1

              Do you know any poor people PeteG?
               
              Have you talked to someone on the minimum wage or a solo mum lately to see how they are coping?
               
              John Key certainly has not.
               
              Remember him visiting McGehan Close before the election and making such a major fuss about the under class?  I bet he has not been back there recently.
               
               

            • RobC 6.1.1.2.1.2

              LOL. Using overly-bullish forecasts as a basis for optimism isn’t necessarily good leadership either.

              “We now have our debt under control and unemployment is beginning to fall. We will emerge as one of the countries that other nations aspire to be more like” – Bill English, Budget Speech 2010

              He also projected a $6.8 billion deficit for 2010/11 (now looks like $16 billion) and said there’d be 170,000 new jobs over the next 4 years. And other rose-tinted statements that bear little resemblance to reality. Keep believing the bullshit PeteG, we know how gullible you are.

              • PeteG

                Using overly-bullish forecasts as a basis for optimism isn’t necessarily good leadership either.

                I agree, which makes your closing snipe look a bit silly.

                We’ll see what this budget actually says. In contrast to nine years of strong leadership Key has been leader lite. I’ve cut him some slack becasue he inherited a tough economic situation and we’ve had some abnormally adverse events since, but I this budget will influence his first term legacy a lot – will he end up having been a limp leader or a growing leader.

                He also gets some help from Goff who provides another contrast, less leadership, more bleeding worship. He is going to have a tough job convincing enough voters that he can suddenly transform from “bile and rave” into leading us to a bright future if he wins in November.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Goff who provides another contrast, less leadership, more bleeding worship. He is going to have a tough job convincing enough voters that he can suddenly transform from “bile and rave”

                  Fuck you make some shit up.

                  Goff nails Key in the House on National’s lies and general smarmy ignorance and disrespect of the rapidly growing underclass in this country.

                  Confidence in the Key led Government is going to continue to decline, Labour is going to continue to push National’s buttons and the NATs are going to continue their long slow decline below levels which lost Helen Clark 2008.

  7. KJT 7

    I expect the budget will be milder than forecast. National will not want to scare the horses before the election while still nodding towards the extreme side of their support.
    With some doubt now about the seats ACT and the Maori Moneyocracy party will pick up they cannot rely on ACT mopping up the nut job votes to get support from the right.

    • RobC 7.1

      It will appear mild because it will be based on aggressive growth assumptions in future years. Assumptions that, as Mr Key acknowledges, are “a degree of putting one’s finger in the air when it comes to these things”.

      PeteG is right about one thing, it will be a budget of hope, in the “close eyes, pray everything will turn out OK” hope.

      • joe90 7.1.1

        aggressive growth assumptions in future years.

        I hope they’re not relying on a continuing commodities boom.

        The commodity boom may seem like a recent phenomenon, but in fact, it started 115 months ago, in 2001, according to Michael Darda, chief economist and chief market strategist at MKM Partners.

        That time frame is worth noting, because it’s about how long the tech boom lasted (114 months) and how long the housing boom lasted (113 months), Darda said in a Friday research note.

        “Most observers think ‘it’s different this time’ for commodity prices,” Darda said. And while it may be, he cautions that, in the past, “’it’s different this time’ has proven to be a costly mantra.”

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1

          Australia is on the verge of a downturn. Job growth strength there is seriously down compared to 12-18 months ago.

  8. Colonial Viper 8

    English and Key are brilliant.

    Can we be clear that their method of not specifying the exact programmes where cuts will be made is not lazy, or cowardly, its smart. Very smart.

    They will be making deep cuts in the budget – satisfying their base. But because those cuts have not be figured out in terms of detail – they will only be enacted slowly – sparing people pain for now.

    Elections Nov 26, and only ***then*** the full effects of the cuts comes in.

    Fraking smart Key and English, well played.

    • Armchair Critic 8.1

      It’s a tactic they’ve used successfully before – the full cost impacts of the reorganisation of local government in Auckland won’t come through until after the 26 November 2011 election.
      Will Labour find a way to counter it? I’m not holding my breath.

      • PeteG 8.1.1

        Fran frowned on this approach – Ministers deaf to cocktail circuit chatter:

        It’s notable that the only serious revenue-raising measures which Key and Finance Minister Bill English have been talking about – such as the partial privatisation of state-owned power companies – are also consigned to the post-election basket.

        Yet, despite the fact that Key says the Government lacks the mandate to implement these big ticket policy changes – they are still expected to feature in the Budget rhetoric.

        I think this is wrong.

        Budgets should surely be based on what a Government knows it can implement. Not measures for which it says it first needs to first gain another electoral mandate.

        But going down this route, the Government is shifting the Budget dangerously close to being a party manifesto.

        The telling point will be whether the Budget does include Treasury forecasts which take into effect the impact on the Government’s finances if it implements these changes in a post-election environment.

        Budgets do have to take into account what may happen after elections, and seeking mandates isn’t a bad idea, but if there’s too much future fluff it may be a fizzler.

        • Armchair Critic 8.1.1.1

          Thanks for the link. Things can’t be good when the cheerleaders aren’t cheering.

  9. vto 9

    I think you’re all deluded. World growth will pick up further as the people of the world become weathier and are able to buy more and more goods and services that various industrious and innovative business people produce thereby filling their homes and lives with lots of goods and services. In fact probably so full of goods and services that the innovative and industrious business people produce that they will have to buy more storage and houses. This will allow people and governments to both create further wealth through innovative and aspirational financing structures and also to reduce debt to manageable levels. John Key understands all of this with his experience in the innovative and industrious money manufacture industry. John Key approves of all of this and correctly suggests that the world will continue to grow and grow and grow and grow… so much so that John Key believes there is no end in sight.

    The world is not coming to an end, it is merely doing a little bump across some rocks. It is about to surge forward again in another golden era of growth and prosperity based on innovation, aspiration and industry. Shame on you doubters.

    Meantime, we are making sure we have crops and shelter at the ready and out of sight. Good luck everyone…

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      I’m really not quite sure how to take that 🙂

      • PeteG 9.1.1

        I wondered a bit too – but it illustrates the kack that Key and English aren’t the only ones who hope that future growth will miraculously sort things out, there is a general tendency for everyone to hope there problems will be resolved by someone or something else.

        Lotto Of Life Syndrome.

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1

          there is a general tendency for everyone to hope there problems will be resolved by someone or something else.

          Yeah and people are slowly figuring out that that’s not really working out 🙂

      • Puddleglum 9.1.2

        I am. It was ironic/sarcastic.

        It is one thing to ‘hope’ that human ingenuity will save the day – it’s another thing altogether to blithely assume it will without trying to be – or showing how you will be – ingenious.

        • terryg 9.1.2.1

          Yep, I reckon you’re right Puddleglum.

          everything but the last sentence is a Poe

  10. aj 10

    My pick is that economic growth will be strangled so far as the masses are concerned, by an ever rising trend to fuel prices…

  11. randal 11

    hey Eddie if he is going to leave the hard choices to his successor then I would say that will be on November the 26th.

  12. Craig Young 12

    Does the econometric data substantiate his claims of a ‘recovery’ or is it another piece of media hype from “Spinning Johnny?”

    • Puddleglum 12.1

      “Spinning Johnny” – brilliant. This is what the original ‘Spinning Jenny’ achieved:

      The device reduced the amount of work needed to produce [a] yarn, with a worker able to work eight or more spools at once.” (brackets added).

      John Key of course leaves it in the dust – it could only spin eight yarns at a time onto endless spools but a good ‘worker’ of Key can more than double that using the photo-op accessory tool.

  13. neoleftie 13

    The poor bumbling duo, we have as pressie and finance mucker upper, cant get the mandate for what needs to be done – sell assets and slash and burn services – or national will lose the election, but must do something drastic to cut the deficit. More smoke and mirrors from the patrons of spin.
    Seriously this recession we are in, has if anyhting got worse now, things are extremely tight in the deep south, retail struggling with margins slashed.
    This lets hide the concequences until after the election is surerly the last gasp of a failed and badly tarneshed govt.
    I’ll say it again, no cash to spend after 2008 period as all locked up and a very bad thirple dip economic recession has created the situation where if the public actaully saw our emperors and jesters all dressed up and honest like then bye bye national come november.
    That leaves us with labour under Goff – Where’s the Plan boys i wana see the plan, the vision and sheer guts it will need the next govt as some seriously hard decisions will need to be made.
    1) reign in govt borrowing real soon.
    2) generate some productivity and investment
    3) big picture stuff like a ten year plan.

    Commodity prices will only get worse when more demand come on stream after the downturn.

  14. MrSmith 14

    Cuts, will we be seeing a cut the the treasuries budget, the treasury that employed Brash to spin the bottle for years, the treasury that couldn’t predict the sun coming up in the next 24 hours.

    These useless stuffed suits at treasury need to be sacked and their work passed on to a Philippines call centre at-least they can speck “some” english.

  15. Afewknowthetruth 15

    One only need read about what is happening in Greece, Spain, Ireland etc. right now (20%+ unemploymnet, collapsing property values, no capacity to repay overseas loans) to see where NZ will be two or three years from now.

    There is a kind of inevitablity about it all at this stage, since the opportunity to prevent economic collapse has been squandered by successive Labour-National governments (that’s asuming there is any diffence between Labour and National: I’m not sure on that point) working in the best interests of global corporations and money lenders.

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    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 ...
    3 days 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
    3 days 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 ...
    3 days 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 ...
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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 ...
    4 days 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
    5 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    5 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    5 days ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    5 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    5 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    6 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    6 days ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    7 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    7 days ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    1 week ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    1 week ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    1 week ago
  • After the Pandemic
    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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    18 hours 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
    22 hours ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    3 days 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
    3 days 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
    3 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days 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
    5 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 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
    7 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
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