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Theorising the Labour leadership selection

Written By: - Date published: 11:55 am, December 16th, 2011 - 78 comments
Categories: accountability, labour, Politics - Tags:

We have great expectations of our members of parliament. They are there to represent our views as citizens of New Zealand, as members of our own little town or big city, perhaps as women or liberals or environmentalists. To manage those expectations our politicians are members of political parties to provide signposts of their main values. We presume that if we vote National we will get members of parliament that advocate for smaller governments and big business; Labour will aim for collective action and market regulation; the Greens will prioritise our lakes, land and skies.

Our assumptions however, of how members of parliament will reach their decisions, differ and this shapes how we judge their performance. Judgement is what I was considering when reflecting on the Labour leadership selection process. Many people have been discussing and evaluating the decisions of the Labour caucus on this blog. I was interested to reflect on the philosophical assumptions that underlie the judgements members may have made about their caucus representatives.

British philosopher Edmund Burke termed two different modes of viewing representation as the trustee and delegate models.

Under a delegate model we see politicians as purely a mouthpiece for us as citizens. Accordingly they should reflect the views of their constituents and keep their own perspectives on the sidelines. In a modern setting this could mean running polls in the electorate before voting on an issue or gaining a mandate on all policies prior to election. If you consider this view of how politicians should act it seems pretty untenable. Within a community it’s going to be impossible to get full agreement from all voters so naturally many will feel let down no matter the decision. It would also be incredibly expensive to canvass substantive opinions on all issues that politicians have to vote on and it’s a pipe dream to imagine you can gain a mandate for all policies in your election campaign. It would also be pretty restrictive to government progress if politicians weren’t able to act/react to the fluidity of governing because they hadn’t gained a mandate for each decision. Still, there are many people out there who view politics in this way. “Politicians never do what I want” they complain, “We should have binding referenda for everything!”

The trustee model characterises politicians as people who have been elected to represent the best interests of their community but this could be what people need not what they want. This perspective views politicians as having more time to research and consider the issue at hand as well as life experience or specialist expertise that will aid their decision. If you view representation through a trustee lens you trust your politician to use their judgement on issues and believe they have an edge on the common person to make the right decision (whether it’s because they are immersed in information via their job or because of the skills/qualifications they hold).

So I’ve been thinking a bit about these two perspectives in the wake of the Labour leadership selection.

I think the expectations we have of our parliamentarians and the nature of the relationship is slightly different with party members than with voters. There is perhaps more of a requirement for a delegate model in this relationship as politicians depend on their members to get them selected, to fundraise or donate and to campaign and ultimately get elected. While we have many excellent members in the Labour caucus I don’t think any of them imagine they would be members of parliament without the volunteers that work to get them there. There is perhaps the presumption that MPs ‘owe’ it to their members to consult them and to try and reflect their views. This expectation is obviously more applicable to decisions made within the party as members of the Parliamentary wing of Labour than to all their votes in the House.

I think some of the anger and upset I’ve seen on this blog and others over the Labour leadership is because many members are holding to a delegate model of how their MPs should act and feel betrayed if they perceive the caucus haven’t acted accordingly. This is understandable if members had the mistaken view that the leadership road show was opening up a delegate relationship with the caucus but I think most Party communication was clear that MPs had the final say.

Ultimately, I prescribe to a trustee view of the relationship in this instance. I put my trust in our 34-member caucus to make the right decisions for our party primarily because this is what has been asked of them. Our constitution asks them to act as trustees not as delegates. Therefore it asks them to use their insights, on the job experience and qualifications to decide what the party needs in a leader. We were asked to express our opinions on the leadership but now we must trust they have made the right decision.

I think theoretically this is actually the best way for the Party’s decision making around parliamentary leadership to be structured. The caucus is in the best position to judge the character of leadership contenders and to assess their ability to work in the desired role. We also are supporting them as parliamentarians because we believe they have particular skills that make them worthy of their roll and part of that roll is selecting the person that will lead them. We cannot trumpet their skills with the selection and campaign process but then dismiss them when it comes to the leadership decision. Lastly I am not a fan of majority or popular opinion always being the right decision. This caution of ‘mob rule’ is why there are checks and balances in the US political system, why countries aren’t run purely on referenda and why we have voted to support MMP over FPP.

If you are philosophically opposed to this mode of governance then I would be interested to hear your reasoning. It seems relevant in light of the upcoming review* of the Labour Party constitution to get these expectations clear in our minds.

 Pointy

* Clarification: The upcoming review is organisational rather than constitutional.  See Moira Coatsworth’s speech earlier this year. There is an expectation of a constitutional review afterwards because the constitution and organisational structures are so intertwined.  lprent

78 comments on “Theorising the Labour leadership selection”

  1. Ant 1

    There is so much wrong with this post it’s not funny.

    Ultimately, I prescribe to a trustee view of the relationship in this instance. I put my trust in our 34-member caucus to make the right decisions for our party primarily because this is what has been asked of them. Our constitution asks them to act as trustees not as delegates. Therefore it asks them to use their insights, on the job experience and qualifications to decide what the party needs in a leader. We were asked to express our opinions on the leadership but now we must trust they have made the right decision.

    Oh dear.

    • The Voice of Reason 1.1

      Best you say what you think is wrong with it then, Ant, and put up some alternatives. From my perspective, the post does an excellent job of explaining the difference between the two models of representation and why that analysis is apt in light of the Labour party leadership change. 
       
      Pointy has correctly identified an issue that many supporters struggle with; the difference between the wider membership role and that of the paid reps. Or, to put it another way, what we expect from our MP’s versus what we should expect from our MP’s.

      • lprent 1.1.1

        It gets even more ambiguous than that. Consider this….

        MP’s are elected and paid for by the voters. It is pretty easy to argue that they are actually largely responsible to the voters. So how are they responsible to members?

        Members are members of a party that is in theory made up of branches. The branches have the ability to send policy remits through regional conferences, policy committees, to a national conference to become party policy that binds the parliamentary MP’s..

        Now I’ve never bothered to put in a remit because I looked at the procedures and what was involved long ago.

        Now I haven’t seen what I’d consider to be a working branch in a while. Mostly they can’t make the minimum attendances, and I pretty much stopped attending them a decade ago because all they did was chew up time. But lets ignore that reality intrusion.

        What remits do go through the system and survive filtering and eventually get passed are as far as I can tell are simply ignored by the parliamentary team. As far as I can see the parliamentarians make most of the policy up based on focus groups and polling. Now someone show me a contrary example in say the last 15 years?

        But assume I am right. So what is the role of members?

        Well they don’t contribute that much to the nation-wide party finances from what I remember of the last set of accounts I saw. They are good for the local electorate campaign costs – the $20k max per electorate. They are useful for candidates for campaigns for leaflets, hoardings, canvassing etc.

        Someone here the other day said that members were just viewed as being MP fan clubs. That statement has been weighing heavily on my mind… It sounds about right. The question in my mind after seeing the number of dysfunctional electorates around is that correct? But it pretty much explains the attitudes of the MP’s – especially the ones high on the list or list only ones.

        The operational review had better start by looking at what is the purpose of members?

        Update: I forgot selection!

  2. Pointy 2

    Hi Ant

    You are welcome to engage on the ideas raise in the post and indeed I’d like to hear some other options for viewing the relationship. Sanctimonious crap isn’t welcome so come up with something other than ‘Oh dear’ or bugger off.

    Pointy 

    • lprent 2.1

      Hi Pointy, I added the clarification at the end of the post because otherwise I’d be be correcting people forever. What Moira actually said in May was 

      As your president I will ensure we have a strong 21st century party organisation.   We need to be relevant and engaging to people in the 21st century. This means a bigger and more open Labour Party that attracts more thinkers and activists who are committed to our values and to responding to the great issues of our time. It means a party that drives political and social change towards a strong sustainable and just society.

      I am committed to us reviewing our organisation and rebuilding. Your advice on what our 21st century Labour party needs to be will be critical to this. After the election we will complete an organisational review. Chris Flatt and I are determined that this will inform a 3 year programme of rebuilding and strengthening our party.

      Some organisational priorities are very clear. Building sustained fundraising is one. We now have operational budgets running consistently within budget but we need long term fundraising for our campaigns. (This afternoon we are talking to you about our campaign fundraising this year and how you can help.)

      Another priority is enhancing communication and involvement. Like most voluntary organisations our members and supporters are our strength and we need to work together in ways that recognises this –communicating more effectively through a range of media and empowering our members to act locally. We are also strengthening our ties with sister parties including the Australian Labor Party. This weekend we welcome Tegan Gilchrist, Matt Burne and Sandy Rippingale from the ALP and we thank them for their solidarity and support.

      Ongoing renewal of very skilled men and women to serve in parliament is most important.  This means we will work systematically over the next three years to attract, develop and support a diverse pool of skilled women and men who aspire to be MPs. This is particularly important for candidates with potential who do not have strong regions or sectors behind them. The women’s leadership conference held last year was an example of a systematic effective strategy to attract and support a particular group of candidates.

      It cannot come soon enough for me, and I rather suspect may be coming too late. I’m finding it very difficult to raise any enthusiasm for it. Why?

      Well I didn’t really notice too much of the renewal coming through in the list. Offhand I’m struggling to see many new Labour MP’s actually in parliament (Carmel and… who?). I also couldn’t even find any information about the organisational review online apart from inside this speech, a post Mike Smith did here, and a few mentions in leadership candidates speeches.

      I get the impression that we will be two thirds of the way towards the election before anything happens which is far too late. I feel that membership ideas will just disappear down a blackhole as per normal because it is something that should be being discussed now in the LEC’s but there is bugger all information about scope, procedure, options, or anything else – not even in my e-mail box. That is the fastest way I know to get badly thought out and quite ignorable suggestions is to do everything without time to ponder and discuss. It all sounds like yet another Wellington only jackup.

      I’m just damn well cynical. I don’t expect MP’s to be delegates. However I also don’t expect them to be so incestuous that they appear to listen to each other and their wellington flunkies more than their members. Which is what they appear to do.

      I’m not interested in being viewed a member of a MP’s fanclub. That wasn’t why I got involved in
      politics.

      • rocky 2.1.1

        I like this comment. I guess that means I’m as cynical as you are 🙁

      • Fieldwest 2.1.2

        Agree. I’m too very cynical now. I don’t expect MPs to be so insightful that can make all correct decisions for memebers.

        • Pointy 2.1.2.1

          I agree too. And actually in the post I say in this specific instance that is the power the constitution affords the caucus (to pick the leadership) and that I think it’s probably the right division of responsibility. But I have also said in the comments that I would be happy to hear arguments to the contrary and be convinced otherwise.

          There is no where that I have said, or even contemplated, that the caucus should make decisions on everything for us as members. 

           

    • Ant 2.2

      I have some pretty big problems with putting trust in people just because it is their job to be trusted. Who are they accountable to if their decision making or insights are deemed flawed? It’s no longer purely the electorate due to the party list under MMP. The party, and by this I mean its members, should form an additional level of accountability to those who are supposed to represent us.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2.1

        Frankly I think the idea that an MP’s job is to “represent” is ludicrous – which is probably why so many people agree with it. We elect them to govern.

        • Ant 2.2.1.1

          We elect them for both reasons. If they fail to represent their constituency then generally they don’t get elected and don’t govern.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2.1.1.1

            I don’t see how they can but fail to represent their communities. Take climate policy, for example. We need our government to do the right thing, but if they do they won’t be returned. The notion of “representation” is partly to blame for this.

            OAB’s democratic model has a civil service that proposes viable evidence-based policies, and a parliament that gets to choose which version is adopted, with no other alternatives to be considered.
            Or something! Probably be a bloody disaster but…

            • Ant 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Yeah definite headache to address, there are issues like climate change which are in the greater good, but how do you get a mechanism to address these without leaving open the door to abuse?

              I sometimes wonder if a constitution that can be amended by a citizen’s quorum would be the answer on the big issues. They could make the decisions based on presentations of reliable evidence without the fear of losing their livelyhood that a politician has, I wonder if this would let them make the hard decisions?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                In the specific example of climate change, I think it’s quite clear that most would prefer to sacrifice the future than risk their “livelihood”, but even if that were not the case, I have spent the last three years reading almost everything published by Real Climate, and I’m still nowhere near competent to judge good policy.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    The (relatively recent) historical context is that when caucus goes off too far from the party and its membership, bad things happen.

    A lot of Labour Party members remember this all too well, and it likely colours some responses.

    An organisational review with no constitutional review. I guess that means the membership won’t be voting on future leadership changes quite yet.

  4. Olwyn 4

    I will reply because these things have been very much on my mind in the past few days. Firstly, someone becomes a trustee in relation to a truster, or a group of trusters, as in payee-payer, etc. And that, for me is where the issue lies. The delegate model would require members that are more fully informed than is possible; I accept that. The parliamentary party, however, has in my eyes behaved in a way that has done little to inspire trust on the part of the members.

    One suspects, for instance, that the “meet the candidates” event essentially combined a membership drive with a PR stunt, and that the members were “listened to”far less than they were led to expect. After all, the broad direction of the party would seem to me to involve a consensus between members and representatives, even if the the way in which that cashes out involves the members trusting the representatives. Then there were the media releases designed to undercut the candidate that appealed to many members, and who seemed to accord with the direction the members hoped the party would take: the affirmation of the so-called ABC club, for instance, and the fudging of numbers, so as to signal where to vote if you were still undecided. Finally, there was the choosing of two relatively inexperienced people, at a time when financial catastrophe threatens and a snap election could be called before the term is up.

    There is something quite sad too about Labour MP’s and right wing propagandists high-fiving each other while the members console themselves. On the two times I have met David Shearer I thought he seemed an OK guy. But after this performance my eye is still too jaundiced to see him in such a way that I can join in the general rejoicing. Does that answer your question?

    • Pointy 4.1

      Hi Olwyn

      I think I largely agree with you and perhaps that is why I’ve turned to something theoretical to try to nut out how I’m feeling. As there is obviously some doubt from the way I’ve presented myself I was a clear Cunliffe supporter and let caucus know. I agree with many of the concerns you’ve raised about the process and the spectrum of the political voices that seemed to influence it.

      I guess what I’m trying to do is look forwards and say ok ‘what are my expectations of caucus’, ‘what can I reasonably ask of them’ ‘would I want the whole party to have a say on the leadership anymore than caucus?’. My knee-jerk reaction last week was very pro members having the vote for leadership but then I guess I started to think about the differences between the president and the parliamentary leader etc and that led me to this piece.

      I think I would also be happy to be led to different conclusions!!

       

      • Olwyn 4.1.1

        I think the trust issue is the important one, which can perhaps be bolstered by constitutional clarity (I have to admit that I am not knowledgeable about such matters). Where the members have the say, trust is open to failing in the other direction. Labour is probably too big to be subverted by its membership, but one can imagine the Greens getting flooded by blue-greens who want to keep the conservation bit and drop the social bit, and voting accordingly between elections (say after a defeat), when its MPs have been voted in on other grounds. Trust and genuine connection are needed, though it is difficult to see how you would legislate such things. I guess there are three parts: the caucus, the members and the voting public, and how they fit together. In a healthy party, the members are more than fans, and in many ways form an important interface between caucus and the voting public. They create the enthusiasm that others want to be a part of, the bit that may prove to be a missing link in the recent selection of a leader. Unless they are able to win back the members’ trust.

  5. Southern Labourite 5

    G’day I’m a member of the Labour party.

    The two key principles of democracy are:
    # People have the right to a controlling influence over public decisions and decision-makers. This is the principle of popular control
    # People be treated with equal respect and as of equal worth in the context of such decisions. This is the principle of political equality.
    Source: Human Rights Commission http://www.hrc.co.nz/report/chapters/chapter06/democratic01.html#ide1

    The trustee model does not follow these principles.

    Cacucus has their own experiences and this is invaluable. But this doesn’t mean they’re in the best posistion to judge the character of leadership contenders. As an example from the Christchurch earthquake, it is hard to see the cracks outside the house when the inside looks spick and span. If they want to inform members of who they think should be the leader then they could tell their members. They can support leaders in their campaign to be leader.

    There maybe MPs that say members should not know what happens in Caucus. I don’t agree with that. Openness, accountability and transparency are cleanders that ensure our MPs are not corrupt by power. This didn’t happen in the 80’s. Majority opinion isn’t always right, but neither is minor opinion.

    Thanks for reading.

    • Pointy 5.1

      Southern Laboruite,

      We are a representative democracy. That is why we elect people to represent us and we all have an equal right to vote those representatives in. Under a representative democracy the trustee model fits just fine. If we had a direct democracy then that would be a different story…but we don’t.

      The caucus is a different matter and their relationship with the party is governed by the constitution.

      • Southern Labourite 5.1.1

        Hi Pointy,

        Of course the practicalities of direct democracy don’t make it so viable. But what makes you think the trustee model fits just fine? We still don’t get to elect our leader under the current model. That is not representative democracy in that regard.

        The caucus is a very important matter Pointy in regards to democracy as well as leadership. I challenge you to think about who the caucus and constitution are meant to serve.

        Regards, Southern Labourite.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.1

          “what makes you think the trustee model fits just fine?”

          Who said it “fits just fine”? I think it’s the worst possible fit apart from all the other ones.

          • Ari 5.1.1.1.1

            So you think a caucus vote is better than a vote including all members? Why?

            I trust members a lot more than I do the caucus.

  6. Blue 6

    It’s not really about ‘trustee vs delegate’ Pointy. It’s about asking 34 people who have their own interests at stake to make the decision.

    Bottom line is, the party leader controls the porfolio allocation and rankings.

    Maybe we’d all like to think that all MPs are selfless creatures who will do what’s best for the greater good even if it significantly disadvantages them personally, but that’s a bit optimistic.

    People have egos, and they do let them get in the way.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      “People have egos, and they do let them get in the way.”

      This is also true of science, and it is worth remembering that science works in spite of the humanity of scientists. We can learn a lot from the adversarial aggression that is peer-review, especially in the context of evidence based policy.

      • newsense 6.1.1

        yeh to me this trustee model comes across a bit like an economic decision making theory.

        I remember some one in the education profession telling that those in charge of professional courses were not trusted to define what to teach because they had an interest or something like that. Agency theory or something?? bit of a vague recollection sorry.

        I find it difficult in this case to allow for a behavioural model of the trusted policitian with the best information making the best decision for the electorate. Surely self interest does get heavily heavily involved, though I have heard depending on who they supported that both sides were terrible because they were self interested!

        • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1.1

          You missed the point. You can’t trust people, period; we’re all biased. You have to figure out a way to balance competing biases so as to allow evidence and remove anecdotes or advocacy. I appreciate that this will leave the National Party with no policy at all, but fuck them.

  7. Who would ‘trust’ Edmund Burke, the man who condemned the French Revolution and disqualified himself from the bourgeois parliamentary democracy?

    Trust is fine when you are a member of the ruling class and trust your parliamentary representatives to protect your private property. Occasionally a coup is necessary but that is a mere circulation of elites. (Montesquieu to Michels)

    When you are a member of the working class you cannot trust your parliamentary delegates not to be bought off by those who own and control the means of production and exercise the power of the state. (Marx to Gramsci)

    Thus a healthy distrust is the midwife of revolution. (Fukuyama to Fukushima)

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    It would also be incredibly expensive to canvass substantive opinions…

    Not any more. As one example we have Surveymonkey. Sure, when it comes down to actual voting we need to be able to verify the people voting but even that’s not hard and is reasonably secure. Doing so also gets rid of the “Politicians never do what I want” as everyone will be able to see the result. Not always getting what you want is part of the democratic process.

    It would also be pretty restrictive to government progress if politicians weren’t able to act/react to the fluidity of governing because they hadn’t gained a mandate for each decision.

    But they would have that mandate. In an emergency they could pass legislation and then come to us about it and we could validate their actions or tell them to go back to the drawing board. Under normal conditions they should be coming to us anyway – in fact, they do but select committee process is very limited.

    If you view representation through a trustee lens you trust your politician to use their judgement…

    Ah, the old Authoritarian, leader knows best view.

    This caution of ‘mob rule’ is why there are checks and balances in the US political system…

    The US constitution was written to produce a US aristocracy. It didn’t quite pan out how the Founding Fathers wanted it to as everyone else wanted democracy. Of course, now that the corporates and the 0.1% have total control of the government anyway they got what they wanted – it just took a bit longer. Considering that most people are decent people and are reasonably well educated now the mob rule scaremongering should be thrown out as the BS that it is.

    From what I’m seeing coming out of the Labour party since the new leader took over Labour is heading even more to the right. Why are they doing this? Because the MPs are not listening to their members but to themselves. ATM, I’ll be surprised if they have 20% of the vote next election.

    • Pointy 8.1

      Draco, I don’t think you can advocate surveymonkey as a way to canvass voter opinion without alienating a whole section of society who are already alienated enough.

      As for the strawman authoritarian argument…we have many ways to curb those that govern with the most obvious being a vote. With a population that could be barely bothered to do that I find it hard to imagine they would engage enough on each policy issue to have a valid response either. Hence why we have representatives in the first place.

      Again, as I’ve said, the Labour caucus’ relationship with the party is a different matter.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1

        I don’t think you can advocate surveymonkey as a way to canvass voter opinion without alienating a whole section of society who are already alienated enough.

        SurveyMonkey was an example of a way to do so, ie, online and electronically.

        As for the strawman authoritarian argument…

        So decades of research is a straw-man argument?

        With a population that could be barely bothered to do that [vote]…

        Have you considered that people can’t be bothered to vote because the political parties aren’t talking or listening to them. People are being alienated from politics and, IMO, it’s the authoritarian mindset that’s doing it.

        Again, as I’ve said, the Labour caucus’ relationship with the party is a different matter.

        No, it’s not. The Labour caucus is, IMO, not listening to the party’s members.

        • Craig Glen Eden 8.1.1.1

          Exactly DTB I agree with all your points here. The truth is many Labour MPs told their LECs that they were going to vote a certain way after consulting with them clearly they didn’t do as they said as we got the inexperience and poorly performing ( based on Member Meetings and TV presentation) Shearer.

          Pointy argues that the member’s have put the MPs up for their skills and we have to trust that they know best, past experience ( Douglas, Prebble) shows thats a fallacy. Also I suspect after such a poor electoral performance many members are seriously evaluating just how good our MPS are because clearly they are not that good, and with regards to the leadership vote members cant trust them.
          I honestly believe we ( Labour ) would be better to trust the collective wisdom of the membership with regards to future leaders than the current model in which MP’s vote in their vested own self interest.

          If we are to continue as a Party ( which is getting smaller) members have to have more direct say and MPs have to be held accountable ( no secrete voting) every card carrying members vote should be worth the same in my view regardless of what position you hold in the Party.

          The whole I know best stuff because of my position is total crap and is used to hide total self interest.

          • Pointy 8.1.1.1.1

            Ok, so how are you going to argue for that change? I think the vested self-interest thing also plays out amongst the membership although members don’t necessarily have as much to lose in the parliamentary leadership battle. I just don’t see it as being a line to promote change ‘we don’t trust you as MPs because you’re all just self-serving unlike us members’. 

            I think the whole ‘we can’t trust politicians because their selfish wankers’ thing is also crap. There needs to be a balance. 

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    I’m neither a LP member nor a voter so I won’t say anything beyond the following question:

    Who does the parliamentary caucus represent? LP members, or LP voters?

    • The Voice of Reason 9.1

      Both, bookie. And one more, as well. MP’s have a responsibility to party, voters and caucus. All 3 stakeholders have the ability to endorse or sanction the MP by voting him or her in or out.

    • lprent 9.2

      Yep that is the real question….

      I suspect that the best way to make that clear is to force a contested selection in every electorate including that of sitting MP’s and making sure that at least a few of them result in sitting MP’s not getting selected each election cycle. Probably help with the renewal as well.

      Remove the current list selection process and make it something like a STV process without regional divisions or any favouritism for sitting MP’s. After all the list is meant to reflect the party right?

      Both of those would probably concentrate MP’s and members minds a lot

      • Colonial Viper 9.2.1

        I suspect that the best way to make that clear is to force a contested selection in every electorate including that of sitting MP’s and making sure that at least a few of them result in sitting MP’s not getting selected each election cycle. Probably help with the renewal as well.

        Wow you are cruel and unusual. Not saying that I disagree, mind you.

        • Pointy 9.2.1.1

          Not a bad idea Lynn!

          • lprent 9.2.1.1.1

            Well if we are having an organisational review, then I think that the organisation of MP’s should be in the mix as well. It isn’t even part of the constitution, although embedding it there would be useful.

        • lprent 9.2.1.2

          I think that members are taken far too much for granted. But I’m also concerned about MP’s getting too embedded in the Wellington beltway matrix.

          I was digging through some material looking at new Labour MP’s per election. The turnover is far too low.

          Perhaps we should look at a term limit for MP’s as well – say 3 elections and then they have to take one off. That’d encourage them to keep their external skills sharpened as well. It’d also make the selections more interesting with ex-MP’s wanting to get back in.

      • Pundit X 9.2.2

        Its a little like a labour movement groundhog day for me watched all of this debate taking place in the eighties in the UK Labour Party although even then it was far more democratic. Even at that point a member could indeed move a resolution at ward level and wind up seeing it composited into policy at annual conference which I did. Problem was the MP’s ignored conference policy. Selection and reselection of MP’s along with the enfranchisement of the membership in electing the leader and deputy brought about significant change for party members but Labour remained out in the cold electorally throughout the Thatcher years. Along came Blair who introduced reforms which separated the party from effective policy making and did away with mandatory reselection of MP’s. The election of the leader and deputy is still done by electoral college which includes the membership the affiliated organisations and the MP’s themselves. A UK labour leader can at least claim a mandate.

        Labour does have a mountain to climb here. The party is as I have said a fan club for MP’s and exists to provide them with job security. Fine if you don’t mind being National lite (the direction Shearer will almost certainly take the party) and are comfortable with paying lip service to heroes of the past: Savage; Kirk. But the judgement of caucus is now and has been for a long time fatally flawed and inspite of all the talk of renewal the party is circling the drain.

        Then there are the Greens a modern, democratic and inclusive party that involves the membership. They certainly won’t be waiting for Shearer to get his act together but siezing the initiative. Its likely for the forseeable future they will become the opposition party. If I hadn’t left Labour in despair six months ago and joined the Greens I certainly would have now. I think Team Shearer is about to throw the car in reverse.

    • Carol 9.3

      Who does the parliamentary caucus represent? LP members, or LP voters?

      And how much much does the current Labour Party confuse engaging with the voters with engaging with the media?

  10. Very good post Pointy, interesting.

    Whatever type of representation is used it comes down to the how well informed the people involved are and how reasoned their decisions are. From what I have seen of the recent Labour leadership process I think I’d rely more on caucus to come up with the best decision, despite their personal interests.

    I’m very interested in delegate versus trustee. I think in practice we need to rely mostly on trustee but we do need a better balance with some level of delegation, our referendum options are to limited, too slow and too expensive.

    I’m establishing a trial exploring how all constituents (not just party members) can have more input into our political process while avoiding bogging it down with too much.

    Time will tell how much involvement people will actually want, there tends to be a moaning apathy prevalent. But if a better balance with more constituent involvement can be established then it should encourage more engagement between people and politicians.

  11. Uturn 11

    “Under a delegate model we see politicians as purely a mouthpiece for us as citizens. Accordingly they should reflect the views of their constituents and keep their own perspectives on the sidelines.”

    In a consultative environment it doesn’t mean that at all, in fact, it would be silly to exclude representatives from a consultative process. How is the party to communicate with the people if the reps are not present or engaged? To suggest a purely theoretical delegate model is possible in our existing style of politics is not a genuine proposition.

    “In a modern setting this could mean running polls in the electorate before voting on an issue or gaining a mandate on all policies prior to election. If you consider this view of how politicians should act it seems pretty untenable.”

    That’d be a clumsy way of doing it, but far from untenable. You’re not exploring the idea, just saying what could be the most backward or theoretically pure application to forward your point of view.

    “Within a community it’s going to be impossible to get full agreement from all voters so naturally many will feel let down no matter the decision.”

    This is not necessarily the case with true consultation, unlike the stuff we just saw in the Labour Party leadership “consultation”. Or even local body council “consultation”. When small groups discuss the issue, they understand the issue and are more likely to explore options, or worse case, chose the lesser of the evils. See OWS movement for current evidence of this process – not a pollie or party in sight. How did those dumb people do it, eh?

    “It would also be incredibly expensive to canvass substantive opinions on all issues that politicians have to vote on and it’s a pipe dream to imagine you can gain a mandate for all policies in your election campaign.”

    Expensive, no, not if a modern civilian version of a political commissar office or similar existed already. Organisational skill needed? Yes. Failing that, if you have a local hall, park or venue, you have a cheap meeting house. Auckland was once divided on boroughs and county councils. It hasn’t always been a super city. The idea that large and centralised is better democracy than scattered local groups simply isn’t true. If it were, then MMP would fail. While politics will always attract flaws in decision making, better forms of representation cannot be ruled out simply because they are not tidy. Every time someone discards another facet of true democracy for tidy hierarchy and ease of rule for the party, the people suffer. What your argument denies is that a system could be put in place to support better representation. Just bloody well come out and say you support Labour’s latest decision and help me to help myself not waste my fudgin’ lunchtime!

    “It would also be pretty restrictive to government progress if politicians weren’t able to act/react to the fluidity of governing because they hadn’t gained a mandate for each decision.”

    This needs expansion. Is your “fluidity” the same as John key’s “dinnemic” environment? Are you saying a government has no obligations to its people – that overseas influence must always come first? That a nation cannot be protected in any way?

    “Still, there are many people out there who view politics in this way. “Politicians never do what I want” they complain, “We should have binding referenda for everything!”

    Then it is up to the party to engage the people on their terms, not on the party’s terms. Talk to the freekin’ people for godssake. Discuss things, instead of trying to screw them and build your own career!

    What I’m getting most from your post is that politics should be for politicians; people are too busy being good consuming school fish to consider their future, and should be kept that way. Well, have a look at voter turnout this time round and see where that attitude ends up. Ruling would be easy if there were no people to rule. Inspect your attitudes and you’ll see that centre left is really just Right and it won’t come as such a surprise that Labour were so easily infiltrated by Prebble and Douglas et. al. .

    • Pointy 11.1

      Thanks for your substantive comment. 

      You have critiqued my description of the theory as not reflecting the modern reality. That’s because I was outlining the basic principles of the theory not discussing how the theory plays out/could be re-worked/is irrelevant to modern situations. I like that you have presented ways that people/voters are consulted but ultimately that is still a trustee model, isn’t it? Part of a politicians job is to gather all the information available which definitely includes consulting their members, stakeholders, communities etc. But, and it’s a big but, the expectation is that they will assess all the information to hand and decide. Or do you really believe the process is one where pure agreement on all consulted must be reached and then voted on accordingly?

      As for attacking the use of the word fluid I think you are reading what you want to read. 

      Lastly I would love a direct democracy. That isn’t really what the post is about. If we could get citizens to vote in general elections at levels consistently higher that 78% that would be heavenly. If anyone would turn up to vote in local body elections I would die of happiness. I advocate participation in all levels of democracy including questioning the democracy itself.

      So back to the issue at hand. What should we expect from the Labour caucus? Why? 

  12. Uturn 12

    “As for attacking the use of the word fluid I think you are reading what you want to read.”

    Then define your understanding of it. I cannot of the top of my head think of a situation where the unavoidable slow machinations of central government are somehow so agile in reality that they could react to “fluid” anything. So define “fluid” for me.

    “…but ultimately that is still a trustee model, isn’t it? Part of a politicians job is to gather all the information available which definitely includes consulting their members, stakeholders, communities etc. But, and it’s a big but, the expectation is that they will assess all the information to hand and decide.”

    Your post moves the default setting of trustee model right out to closed-doors decision making by the party, letting people in as a nice afterthought. I say the delegate model can be practically expanded to include some trustee features – to meet modern realistic operational demands – without ever risking the closed-doors of purely theoretical trustee modelling. The implication of the “big but” of considering all information to hand and then deciding, is that it is largely undesirable and too hard. This is not the attitude of a party that is focussed on improved systems of democracy.

    “Or do you really believe the process is one where pure agreement on all consulted must be reached and then voted on accordingly?”

    As explained, if true consultation takes place, unanimous agreement is not possible, expected – or desirable. Any party needs healthy desenters to encourage prudent self-awareness in the party.

    “Lastly I would love a direct democracy. That isn’t really what the post is about.”

    So tell us all what the post is about. I think it is you wholeheartedly support your party and you found a reason to match – evidenced by your question of expectation from the current Labour leadership. If my manner seems terse, it’s because I’ve read so many multi-post revelations of the flippin’ obvious from many an intransient poster that could be circumvented by a simple two line statement that’s it’s driving me nuts. If you find it offensive, I apologise. Don’t let it influence your decision to award any further contributions to this site.

    “What should we expect from the Labour caucus? Why?”

    We cannot expect anything while there is little to no engagement with or communication with the average voter. We’d just be projecting sweet nothings onto disembodied words and figureheads. They do not care what I or anyone on this site thinks because there is a major power imbalance in the theoretical relationship until around 2014. We cannot change that from here and we cannot begin the process unless Labour starts it. My wish is that they make up their friggin’ minds as to who they represent: workers, or aspirant classes. Once that happens, which model they use to engage the voter will be clear.

  13. Pointy 13

    Uturn, I don’t believe it is possible for a party to ask for a mandate before they are elected on every piece of policy that they will need to enact or every law they will need to pass. This is why I’ve used the word fluid to describe the contextual factors that people have to govern . National didn’t predict the Chch earthquake for instance. Or the Peter Jackson’s employment law problems. What part of this is contentious to you? 

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      Uturn, I don’t believe it is possible for a party to ask for a mandate before they are elected on every piece of policy that they will need to enact or every law they will need to pass.

      Not every piece of policy. Just very major decisions. Like leadership selection.

      BTW Peter Jackson’s employment law problems were contrived and planned in coordination with National. The only people surprised there were the workers, unions and the public.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.2

      “Peter Jackson’s employment law problems.” There weren’t any. Except for the exploited workers. And they got shafted, and now they have to pay for their own vaseline.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.3

      What part of this is contentious to you?

      The fact that the MPs just changed the law without consulting with the people of NZ.

      • Pointy 13.3.1

        So you think they need a mandate prior to governing or that they must go back to the people for each decision? Your issue seems to be with representative democracy not with me suggesting two ways to view representation. 

        • Draco T Bastard 13.3.1.1

          So you think they need a mandate prior to governing or that they must go back to the people for each decision?

          Not each decision but each policy change. Note also that no single party has a mandate. It could be said that a government has a mandate if several parties that belong to that government or even just parliament were elected on similar policies. If they’re looking at changing policy that they weren’t elected on then they should go back to the people for a referendum.

          Your issue seems to be with representative democracy not with me suggesting two ways to view representation.

          You gave two options:
          1.) Where the MPs did as they chose
          2.) Where the MPs actually discussed things with the voters/party members and then did what the majority of them wanted which may or may not be what the MP would choose.

          Obviously I’m in favour of the second.

          • Pointy 13.3.1.1.1

            So you didn’t support Civil Unions or the repeal of section 59 of the crimes act then? Neither of them would have passed if politicians had gone to their individual constituencies and been bound by their views. Indeed I think Jackie Blue voted in support of the repeal of section 59 under the first reading but the death threats got her a bit down (along with the majority of her voters objecting) so she ceased to support the bill. 

            • Draco T Bastard 13.3.1.1.1.1

              So you didn’t support Civil Unions or the repeal of section 59 of the crimes act then?

              Where do you get that idea from? Just because it’s likely that they wouldn’t have passed a referendum doesn’t mean that people wouldn’t support that change and keep pressing for it.

              The s59 referendum is an example of needing rules about clarity for referendums. That question was designed to get the response that it did.

              Neither of them would have passed if politicians had gone to their individual constituencies and been bound by their views.

              They may not have passed at that time but would have done so eventually.

              • Pointy

                Rule by referendum is a really bad idea but that is a whole other post in it’s self. You’ll find that the only parties that call for constant referenda are right-wing populist parties of the vain of Le Pen and Pauline Hanson.

                Is that what you actually think is warranted in order to make representative democracy work? You have no faith in politicians to make decisions on our behalf at all? That’s fine if it is but that difference is greater than the difference between the two models I’ve described (even in the simplistic terms you’ve paraphrased them in). 

                • Referenda are good for a limited number of issues, like electoral reform.

                  Otherwise I think the best approach is for ‘the people’ to make themselves better informed and to do more to lobby their representatives. Polls or referenda could be used to add weight to the lobbying. The more compelling the argument the more likely it will work.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    1) You said referenda have limited uses.
                    2) Then you said: but most of the time its better for people to lobby their representatives instead…
                    3) …Perhaps using referenda to add weight.

                    WTF Pete G.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Rule by referendum is a really bad idea but that is a whole other post in it’s self.

                  Only according to the authoritarians who don’t want the system, which rewards them so handsomely, changed.

                  You’ll find that the only parties that call for constant referenda…

                  ZOMG, I’ve morphed into a right-wing hate group and didn’t even notice :O

                  You may not have noticed but over the last 40 odd years the right have taken the language of the left and subverted it. If they’re calling for referendums then it’s because they think that they can control the message and thus how people vote. Considering how much the MSM is biased in favour of the right they have a fairly good reason to believe that as well.

                  I’m for giving people the actual information rather than spin.

                  You have no faith in politicians to make decisions on our behalf at all?

                  Did I say that? hmmm, nope. I actually expect them to make decisions on a day to day basis (I expect to see those decisions as well) but when it comes to policy changes I expect to be consulted.

                  • Pointy

                    Draco, I think someone may have mistakenly told you your points are more valid if you deliver them with snarky enthusiasm. They’re not.

                    Referenda aren’t a democratic magic bullet. They even more prone to being subverted by lobby groups than most other political decision making. They definitely have their place for citizens to have their say on major constitutional changes or to provide a government with a clear mandate on a contentious issue. But as a constant toll for governance they are majorly flawed. I’m happy to haul you out some proper references but I get the feeling you don’t really care what I say. What ever it is is wrong or ‘authoritarian’. If you actually want to discuss DIRECT democracy that is another issue entirely and one where citizens are directly involved in policy decision making at all levels at all times. A very worthy system but quite different from rule by referenda.

                    As for ‘policy changes’ I don’t think I’ve talked about those as explicit ‘changes’ but rather referenced events when policy has to be designed to suit the circumstances. The general manifesto of a party should let you know what their values are but, as I’ve said repeatedly, you can’t cover every event in your pre-election manifesto. 

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Referenda aren’t a democratic magic bullet.

                      Never said they were but they’re a hell of a lot better than the MPs doing what they want and not listening to the people.

                      I’m happy to haul you out some proper references but I get the feeling you don’t really care what I say.

                      I’m quite aware of some of the downfalls – California constantly voting to lower taxes and going deeper and deeper into debt is one example. Most of them seem to be in the US where Atlas Shrugged was a best seller and they’re constantly told that lowering taxes on the rich will improve tax returns even though it’s obvious that that doesn’t happen.

                      Oh, wait, that shit happens under representative governments as well.

                      Good education and reporting of facts by the MSM is required rather than continual reporting of myth from the Business Roundtable. Would help if the economists had a theory based in reality rather than delusion as well.

                      I’d prefer direct democracy – still thinking on how to work it though. We need the administration that government represents so how do you hold government departments accountable in a non-hierarchical system?

                      …as I’ve said repeatedly, you can’t cover every event in your pre-election manifesto.

                      And as I said the government can make a law change that wasn’t in their manifesto and then go back to the public to get it validated.

  14. Pointy 14

    Hi CV yep…Draco seemed to be talking about voters not members of a party. And yes I know all about Peter Jackson’s ‘issues’ with NZ employment law, perhaps a little tongue in cheek. 

  15. strategos 15

    A progressive alternative to Obama ?

    Link: http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/12/15/at-last-a-progressive-alternative-to-obama/?utm_source=rss&utm_medi
    um=rss&utm_campaign=at-last-a-progressive-alternative-to-obama

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      Ronald Reagan would be a progressive alternative to Obama.

      • The Voice of Reason 15.1.1

        Steady on, old chap!

      • strategos 15.1.2

        Some would argue that the financial rot set in under Reagan with the ‘Star Wars’ initiative threatening to bankrupt the USA.

        • Sam 15.1.2.1

          Well it did result in the probable bankrupting the USSR?Eastern Europe and all it stood for.
          Thus the fall of Communism was triggered by Reagan talking about “star wars”, not actually implementing it at the time.

  16. dancerwaitakere 16

    Theorising the reform needed within the party is easy.

    The Labour Party was established with the premise that it is the party of the people, by the people, for the people.

    So it goes like this.

    Once Card. One Vote.

    Every member of the Labour Party gets their card that entitles them to vote on the Leadership (President and Parliamentary), the Party List and the Policy. Simple.

    Reform the Labour Party so that after almost a century the party is finally accessible.

    • Blue 16.1

      This year’s leadership contest was compared to the US primaries. Unlike those, however, the rank and file of the party did not get to actually vote.

      How hard would it have been to have ballot boxes at the door after one of those meetings, and everyone in the room could cast a vote for either Shearer or Cunliffe?

      Instead the contenders went around the country to those meetings and tried their best to win over the party members, which was totally pointless because only the 34 MPs got to vote.

      Now we have a dissatisfied activist base who don’t agree with the decision. It will be interesting to see what that means for the party.

  17. Anne 17

    Now we have a dissatisfied activist base who don’t agree with the decision. It will be interesting to see what that means for the party

    It means there is going to be dissension and probably some rebellion in the ranks. For example, I see Stuff is reporting that Shearer has offered Cunliffe a place on the front bench but it’s at the lower ranking end. Ahead of him are 2008 first termers who, while they may have political potential, are not deserving or ready for such high ranking at this point in their careers. I read that as petty mindedness on Shearer’s part, and shows just how low some of Cunliffe’s detractors were – and still are – prepared to go.

    In the two weeks leading up to the vote Shearer claimed time and again he had not thought about the portfolio distribution, nor had he discussed it with anyone. That was a lie. It is obvious the Finance portfolio has been promised to Parker – the price Shearer had to pay to get Parker to step down and have his supporters line up behind Shearer. Lets face it, had that deal not been struck then Cunliffe would be the Labour Party leader today.

    The ‘membership base’ were taken for a ride and I predicted as much right at the start of the process.

    Yeah I know… I’m a very modest person. 😎

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      Shearer has offered Cunliffe a place on the front bench but it’s at the lower ranking end. Ahead of him are 2008 first termers who, while they may have political potential, are not deserving or ready for such high ranking at this point

      This is a very big risk that this caucus is playing.

      It sends a number of wrong messages to the party members, including the importance of meritocracy vs political patronage. And if the vote againt Cunliffe was indeed along the lines of 19/15 or 20/14, then whoever holds the current balance of power in caucus appears willing to explicitly show disregard to a large number of colleagues.

      Of course, Cunliffe may actually end up being offered a no. 3 or no. 4 spot, what would the MSM know.

      • Anne 17.1.1

        Of course, Cunliffe may actually end up being offered a no. 3 or no. 4 spot, what would the MSM know.

        As you know someone is leaking like a sieve to the MSM and the consensus of opinion is that it is Trevor Mallard. Some of the info. has been (suspiciously) incorrect I’ve been told, so you may be right CV. Anyway, if Parker is able to negotiate a deal then I’m sure Cunliffe is equal to a similar task. He must know where a few skeletons are buried.

        • Colonial Viper 17.1.1.1

          All in all, my taste for this kind of politics is seriously waning.

          Storm clouds are not just gathering on the horizon, the first warning spatters have struck the windshield. This country must be ready.

    • Sam 17.2

      But if Cunliffe is now in the process of publicly “spitting the dummy” before any announcement on
      jobs by Shearer, isn’t Shearer justified in dropping Cunliffe down the rankings or ignoring him altogether?

      • The Voice of Reason 17.2.1

        He’s not publicly spitting the dummy at all, Sam. There is just a lot of vacuous speculation about what is going on (cf Anne above and ad nauseum), and no actual facts. Shearer will pick a team around him based on his own judgement as to their individual qualities. Cunliffe will be offered a post and he can either accept or decline. I hope he accepts, whatever the ranking, because he has some real talent and Labour needs all the firepower it can muster.

        • Colonial Viper 17.2.1.1

          Don’t you normally put the most capable heaviest firepower towards the top end of the front bench? Let’s see if it happens.

    • Sam 17.3

      Now we hear that well before the election, Phil Goff was talking to David Shearer about taking over the leadership. This means then that Phil Goff had already given up on his leadership before the election. How poor was that.

  18. Colonial Viper 18

    Bernie Sanders rocks – Millionaires must pay their fair share; Citizens United decision must be overturned (Corporations are not people and should not have constitutional rights)

    Bloody hell the US is a mess. Good on Sanders. I wish there were a dozen of him in the US Congress.

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    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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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 ...
    4 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 ...
    4 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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 ...
    5 days 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
    5 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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 ...
    6 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 ...
    6 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
    7 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
    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
  • 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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

  • 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
    9 hours 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
    20 hours 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
    20 hours 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
    22 hours ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day 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
    2 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
    2 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago