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Time to allow death with dignity

Written By: - Date published: 12:06 pm, March 25th, 2010 - 38 comments
Categories: death with dignity, Social issues - Tags:

Why should we force someone to live who wants to die? Why can’t a person have the right to choose euthanasia?

Why is Margaret Page, a woman who has been effectively paralysed since 1991, being forced to starve herself to death over weeks? Why can’t she have death with dignity if she, in sound mind as assessed by three psychologists, has decided that she doesn’t want to live in that condition any longer?

Imagine the determination it must take to starve yourself to death – to not eat for weeks on end as your body cries out for food. That is the measure of how sure Page is of her decision.

What right do we have to say ‘if you pass out, we’ll come in and try to save your life against your wishes’ and yet not give her the option of a humane way to end her life?

It is time to change the law so that New Zealanders are permitted what should be a basic and unquestioned right. The right to choose to end their lives when they choose by a humane method and with dignity.

I challenge an MP, perhaps Page’s electorate MP, to put up a private member’s bill and I challenge Parliament to back it, so that people no linger have to go through what Page is going through.

We wouldn’t force a life of terminal illness, constant pain, or paralysis on a dog. We should give ourselves the choice.

38 comments on “Time to allow death with dignity”

  1. deemac 1

    or perhaps she would not be suicidal if the help she needed to live with dignity was provided?

  2. Peter 2

    My Dad died of Smoking related diseases, the last 3 months of his life you wouldn’t have wished on your pet ! In fact if you let your pet suffer as he hid, you’d probably have wound up on the 6 o’clock news for causing suffering to animals !

    It is time for a rational debate on this issue, give people the choice, after all they are the ones suffering ….

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    An existential issue most of us manage to avoid confronting too often. A lot of human energy is put into distracting ourselves from the end that awaits us all, and fair enough too, enjoy it while you can. Which is partly why the left does what it does, to make that maximum enjoyment possible ultimately for all. Nice post Eddie.

    I spared my best 4 legged friend from a gruesome death recently via euthanising her, the vets supportive attitude was great in a difficult situation where the affected ‘person’ could not talk. People can usually relay their wishes. The will to live is strong and if people want to go to the wire fine. Those that don’t want to go on should have a free choice of a painfree dignified exit (with the expected legal and medical caveats).

  4. Bright Red 4

    This needs to be sorted out.

    The last time a bill came to Parliament it was narrowly defeated. (anyone remember by how much?)

    I would like to think that we’ve progressed since then but it’s hard to be sure. The Maori Party can be quite reactionary on social issues. ACT is no liberal party. And the Nats are stuffed full of reactionary/religious types

    • Pascal's bookie 4.1

      NZFirst are gone, and Dunne is on his lonesome so that’ll help.

      Also, National doesn’t care so loudly about ‘culture war’ issues when they are in government.

    • gingercrush 4.2

      Is this the 2003 one? That was 60 against and 57 for. Labour was split evenly, far more National MPs were against than for (and generally this National Party seems more conservative). Greens were mostly in favour as was Act (though who knows with two of the new Act MPs) and NZ First actually were very for the bill.

      I’m sure there was another attempt after 2003 though.

    • Ari 4.3

      You know, I always find it amazing that people who believe in souls find it less acceptable for a person to die to escape pain and indignity. You would think that they’d be more understanding of the viewpoint. 😉

      (Of course, this is probably more about the liberal/conservative divide than the religious/secular one)

  5. A Nonny Moose 5

    *awaits the usual Slippery Slope arguments*

  6. BLiP 6

    Wait no more, A Nonny Moose.

    This is a tricky one. From what I have seen, there already exists an unofficial “easing out” already being practised in hospitals. As far as I’m concerned, someone not already at death’s door who wants to die is in need of psychological care. I cannot imagine the despair Margaret endures but I feel that it is this which needs attention and not her “right” to die. Further, legislating for euthanasia and putting a formal structure for such in place is altogether far too much power for the state and a slippery slope when you have such a cost-focussed National Ltdâ„¢ type government in power. How long before it becomes mandatory?

    Oh, I don’t know . . . what a horrible situation for all concerned.

    • Bright Red 6.1

      but she has been assessed and been foudn to be mentally competent… if she wasn’t they would force-feed her.

      and, yeah, doctors and nurses do help people die. It would be better if that happened in an open and formal manner.

      • BLiP 6.1.1

        Yeah, I know but . . . where there’s life, there’s hope and all that.

        I’m stuck in middle in that I agree with both sides of the argument. The only way through, for me, would be a barrage of safeguards and a long, drawn out process, but is instituting such a pathway not just adding further suffering to the person concerned? The existing unofficial policy works well except when there are significant others opposed – in that case, I would say the person suffering should be able to have their wishes carried out. And, sure, have a formal process but I would insist on it being a public process whereby exercising the right to die removes the right to privacy.

        And then there’s the “resources” component: – is deemac right in that if Margaret had the means to life with dignity would her decision be different – should medical resources be consumed in extending an already full life at the detriment of saving/improving a youngster’s life?

        As you can see, I haven’t given much thought to this and am just taking the liberty of “brainstorming”.

        Too hard . . . brain hurts . . . lets have a vote.

        • QoT 6.1.1.1

          The existing unofficial policy works well

          Sure it does … if you’re able to convey your wishes, if you have medical staff willing to help you die, if you’re able to comply with that help (where, say, a nurse may give you enough painkillers to overdose, but you have to take them yourself). There’s a lot of assumptions there, and if this “unofficial” system is failing significant numbers of people, we are very unlikely to know about it because the media only focus on cases worthy/scandalous enough to get ratings.

    • NickS 6.2

      As far as I’m concerned, someone not already at death’s door who wants to die is in need of psychological care.

      Develop clinical depression then come back to me.

      Because sometimes it doesn’t go away, regardless of treatment, and the personal suffering etc that can cause is too much for some people to bear, and when all evidence-based treatments fail, I see no moral reason to force someone in such a situation to keep living if they choose to die.

  7. Good post Eddie. I agree. Dignity New Zealand has a thoroughly researched and workable legislative draft for voluntary euthanasia. This is the result of ten years of research. Contains the checks and balances people often ask for. http://www.dignitynz.co.nz/

  8. ropata 8


    Terry Pratchett Lecture about Alzheimer’s and assisted dying. Read by Baldrick!

  9. prism 9

    Why should people not have the right to decide when they don’t want to battle with illness, pain or decrepitude any more? Extending the life of someone who is not able to live life for themselves but through the agency of others is not right if the person wants to stop life, and can convey this to a reputable body.

    Many people talk about easing difficulties, making things better and more pleasant, pain can be managed etc. But others forcing their control over another adult’s right to decide when they have lived their life to the full is imposing their idea of rights over the others, it reduces their humanity not enhances it. It is something that must be talked about to the requester to ensure that there is no way that life can be improved for them. We should face up to the fact that some people will want to draw things to an end in a way and time of their own choosing.

    We don’t like to look at the hard facts of our existence and the over-populated condition of our lovely blue ball of earth floating in space. We avoid difficult decisions like this and throw a fog of ethics and dogma and historic extremes at them. We need to look at limiting births also. But we turn away from our consciousness and intelligence and revert to trying to be simple animals or children who can leave some greater, wiser being to tell us how to cope. I think most of us know that isn’t going to happen. We need to bring our ethical and moral focus on how to manage our problems to high standards.

    • drooping 9.1

      “We need to look at limiting births also.”

      Have fun with that.

    • Bright Red 9.2

      I think you want to steer right away from any kind of ‘people dying earlier is good’ argument. It’s not true that a small number of elderly people choosing to die slightly sooner would make a difference to our environmental footprint and all it does is give a toehold for opposition.

      Stick to the moral case.

      • prism 9.2.1

        BR Where did I say that people dying earlier is good? The whole argument I
        made is intended to be that people should be able to decide for themselves generally. If I seemed to make the above point, I have worded it wrongly. Many would choose to live to the last second available. However knowing that one could request an agreed process, and keep each step of the decision making in one’s own hands and in conjunction with loved ones, would be a great thing.

        Limiting births huh. We intelligent people don’t want to take responsibility for our numbers. The churches that are against contraception may bring about our early end. I read about the South American woman who set the record for most children, 52 it was. But I think a Russian woman may have topped that. Quite a lot of multiple births.

        If you work out the multiplication of large families having large families you can see they will soon populate their own cities if they all live and stay in the neighbourhood. The number of humans is forcing the animal populations into extinction, and using up their land and food resources while uncertain weather patterns are ruining human food crops more often. All we need is a potato fungus like Ireland had. We don’t have much time, so we have to think.

  10. Name 10

    “We need to look at limiting births also.’

    This and the resistance to euthanasia are hold-overs from a Christian-based culture which is so deeply ingrained in consciousness that it’s seen as an fundamental truth, beyond question like the seven-day week including a ‘day of leisure’, and the nuclear family.

    Just as the randomness of conception was seen as an expression of God’s will – babies are only born when he decides – so life is seen as something ‘from God’ which man shall not take away.

    This is why abortion and suicide were actually criminal offences for so long, and euthanasia still is.

    Interesting that one can cause a million dollars worth of pointless damage to a plastic bubble and escape conviction claiming it to be ‘for the public good’ even when no actual good was ever likely to come from it, but you can’t help anyone escape the agony and degradation that accompanies some deaths on a claim of private good.

    • prism 10.1

      Name I think that the bubble damage was a symbolic strike against a power that hypocritically invades at will and maims and kills and then claims the high moral ground, and says that it’s for the people’s good or some other elevated goal. A Buddhist monk setting himself on fire in protest is doing this as a symbolic act also. It is a difference of degree.

      We all can be hypocritical, just the way we are. We need to be committed to thinking and planning rationally but at the same time showing more respect for each other and the planet and I wonder if we have left a place in our society for that. Something that isn’t taken up with ‘looking stylish’, ‘my rights’,’the church/bible says that’, ‘we have always done things this way’ and ‘it’s never going to happen so stop being a stupid …whingeing …’. Quite a few of the possible defences against planning for the future.

  11. Sanctuary 11

    The reason why people cannot be allowed to die with dignity is because fundamentally the state has no business intruding into this area of society and making rules that set out when it is and is not OK to kill yourself.

    To do so is to automatically create a benchmark against which peoples continued existence will be measured against. Families can as cruel as they can be kind, and one can imagine the pressure that may be put on Granny to agree to the paper work for a “death with dignity” once she is in the old people’s home and spending the inheritance.

    Death is one of those things that cannot and should not be regulated or legislated by the state, and the potential evils of trying to do far, far outweigh any supposed benefits that derive from attempting to do so.

    Sometimes people have to die beastly, painful or untimely deaths. That is the way it is.

    • B 11.1

      how about the state has no business intruding into what people want to do with their own life including ending it if they want to?

      • prism 11.1.1

        Try and think pragmatically as well as ideologically. The state is useful in that it can set procedures that protect the steps needed from being abused, or forced instead of being a determination by the person concerned. Others in the thread are concerned about pressure, and that needs to be guarded against. The watchdog state would be useful.

        The idea that the state has no business intruding…. is laughable as we are born into a a certain culture and find it very hard to live alone. We are always affected by the actions of others whether its the state or a posse from the ‘hood. We have to manage the state’s powers and make sure it doesn’t turn to the dark side that’s all.

        • B 11.1.1.1

          “The idea that the state has no business intruding . is laughable as we are born into a a certain culture and find it very hard to live alone.”

          The operative words here being born and live – Dying however, is a fundamentally personal issue. We do not have a choice as to whether we are born or the society we are born into therefore it is essential that we have the choice to end our life without society (which we did not choose to be born into- remember) intervening to prevent us from doing so.

  12. Trasparent 12

    Death is one of those things that cannot and should not be regulated or legislated by the state, and the potential evils of trying to do far, far outweigh any supposed benefits that derive from attempting to do so.

    If this is true then there should be no law against or regulating euthanasia

    Sometimes people have to die beastly, painful or untimely deaths. That is the way it is.

    Why should there be when there another way?

    • Marty G 12.1

      so… you’re for allowing people to choose assisted suicide?

      You don’t honestly think that if you allow that then it can be unregulated. You have to have checks on the mental capability of the person to make the choice, on the actions of the doctor etc.

  13. prism 13

    Quote – Sanctuary
    “Sometimes people have to die beastly, painful or untimely deaths. That is the way it is.”
    Quote – Transparent
    “Sometimes people have to die beastly, painful or untimely deaths. That is the way it is.”

    Sounds nastily ideological. The person must be subservient to the non-compromising law. Also – strange – the two quotes above are the same. How can that be, a quantum mind?

  14. Bill 14

    You know, insofar as when there is death there is no me, death either with or without dignity is just whatever.

    How’s about life with dignity? And when that is not happening, then hey…bye,bye.

    And here’s the rub.

    If you, or anyone, or anything tries to lay down what is or should be dignity for me, then you, or they, or ‘that’ has already robbed me, or sought to rob me of my dignity. And in that instance, you or they ought to have their attitude eliminated and in the instance of a ‘that’ then the ‘that’ ought to be eliminated.

    So what’s all that add up to? Obstinance, revolution or failing both of those, death?

    Something like that I guess.

    • prism 14.1

      Bill my head isn’t up to much at the moment, too near to sleeptime. I will save it for tomorrow, bright and shiny.

    • Marty G 14.2

      yeah, good anarchism but right now we get to choose whether we make people like page starve themselves to death or allow them a more decent choice.

      “insofar as when there is death there is no me, death either with or without dignity is just whatever. ”

      it’s not the after that matters, it’s the time before.

      • Bill 14.2.1

        I think if you reread my comment, you’ll see that we are saying the same thing Marty.

        I was simply exploring the issue from a living perspective as opposed to a dying one. Dignity seems a reasonable measure for whether a life is worth living.

        The question is who or what gets to decide this dignity question. I think it can only be the individual in question.

        But what if they are ignored until or suddenly become, incapable of deciding? Maybe…and I mean this tentatively ’cause it’s all off the cuff, at that point there is no question insofar as if you cannot discern dignity, it is gone. So either it does not matter one way or the other at that point and anyone can make whatever decision, or a default position containing a predetermined decision ( palliative care or euthanasia being the two possible defaults) is arrived at.

        And I’ve watched people with debilitating and fatal conditions have their dignity stripped by the thoughtlessness of those around them. Or that was my interpretation. Should I then be in a position to decide a matter of life and death? No. Should the ones who are accused of stripping dignity away? No. So should the person at the centre of it who is, after all, the only one who knows whether a sense of dignity remains intact decide? Yes.

        It’s their decision in the same way that it is my decision as to which socks I put on this morning. You might have an opinion on it, but should have no expectation of assuming executive powers over the decision.

        Having made the decision to cease living, the individual ought to be aided and abetted to whatever extent they desire.

        Will there be instances of people being killed against their will? Yes. It happens all the time right now in all manner of ways and in all manner of situations…just put on the 6 O’Clck news or read a paper. Will euthanasia change that? Of course not.

  15. prism 15

    Words Bill, ideas, they swirl round and endless discussion can be circular or turn meaningless. The point I am trying to make is that you and anybody else should be allowed to decide when you don’t want to carry on living, and start a process that will ensure your wishes are followed with you making the decisions yourself the whole way. Which would include putting on the brakes if desired, postponing till further notice etc.
    When I am closer to dying I would like to know how long the process would take. I would like to have the option of making a decision to set a date, following established guidelines and careful procedures. I won’t want arguments about whether dignity is the right word to describe anything,
    I would like the practical caring that hospice can offer to be echoed in the end-of-life care I have prior to my dying, on my chosen day – which I might extend on if I wish. The days might be beautiful and sunny, and I might want to enjoy them for some more times.

    The lady latest in the news has been disabled since 1991, and doesn’t want to carry on her life. She has probably done everything, seen everything, that she wants to and the world and her family can’t compensate her for her loss of abilities and freedom to live an active life. Her children are grown and she can’t help with their lives. Her husband talks about her objectively – ‘she’ has this, does that. He does not have the work of looking after her as she is in a nursing home being cared for by others. Now he is trying to take away what she has left, her essential right to decide her future for herself. Like all practical older people she knows that death is coming closer, she has decided to hasten it, ‘bring it on’ she thinks. Loving nursing and care is what is needed now in her last days not controversy and argument, treating her as a problem not a loved family member.

  16. the sprout 16

    Opposition to death with dignity comes from a confused theological perspective that we don’t have a right to life, but rather a duty to life.
    If we had a right to life, that would also imply the choice to not excercise that right, ie. self-termination.
    Anyone that’s nursed a loved one through a terminal illness would not think twice about the morality of granting the right to an assisted death.

  17. jcuknz 17

    As one who doesn’t expect to have much more than another twenty years, if not half that, I say the crux of the argument from a moral point of view is quality over quantity. The only person who can make that descision is the person waiting for death.

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    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 ...
    5 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
    7 days ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    7 days ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    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
  • Nobody Left Behind.
    Solidarity Forever: All over the world, the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has exposed the fragility of the walls we erect around ourselves and our loved ones. It has shattered our illusions of autonomy and revealed to us how utterly dependent we all are on other human-beings. Finally, we see ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rebuilding a truly “Democratic” counter, or a “moderate Republican” bolt-hol...
    Looking across the various arguments for/against the leading candidates to take the Democratic Nomination, you might honestly be very hard pressed to tell. There are a number of things that have now started happening since Amy Klobuchar and “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg both threw the towel in and immediately (and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion law reform a win for women
    by Daphna Whitmore Abortion is no longer in the Crimes Act in New Zealand. The law reform passed yesterday and now abortion is a medical matter between a woman and her doctor. Many women’s groups and progressive people have campaigned for reform for decades. The women’s liberation movement and some ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • How to spot bogus science stories and read the news like a scientist
    Doug Specht, University of Westminster and Julio Gimenez, University of Westminster When fake news, misreporting and alternative facts are everywhere, reading the news can be a challenge. Not only is there plenty of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other scientific topics floating around social media, you also ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus
    Michael Baker, University of Otago and Nick Wilson, University of Otago With some of the toughest border restrictions and a newly-announced NZ$500 million boost to health services, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand is also fortunate in ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Parliament and the pandemic II
    As expected, the government has introduced a sessional order to allow Parliament to operate during the pandemic. You can read it on the Order Paper here, but the short version is that questions and motions can be filed electronicly, select committees can work remotely, and the the Business Committee can ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 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
    14 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
    16 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
    20 hours 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
    20 hours 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
    22 hours 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
    7 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    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
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