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Trading away our rights

Written By: - Date published: 3:38 pm, November 15th, 2010 - 32 comments
Categories: Economy - Tags:

The dark side of the current much-heralded free trade talks is that New Zealand could end up letting foreign firms dictate how the country is run, from quarantine rules to local content laws, unless it learns the lessons of previous trade deals.

A new book edited by Auckland academic Jane Kelsey, No Ordinary Deal, points out that free trade deals are now about far more than just tariffs. In the name of freeing up markets everywhere, they tend also to prevent governments from taking any steps that might harm foreign businesses – even basic measures that democratic societies take for granted, like controlling tobacco sales.

The result, the book warns, is that foreign companies can often sue governments for millions of dollars simply for carrying out the anti-poverty, communitarian policies that their electorates want.

The background to all this is the latest round of trade talks, scheduled for Auckland next month, in which New Zealand will be talking about extending a current free trade agreement, with Brunei, Chile and Singapore, to cover other Pacific Rim countries including, crucially, the United States. These talks – known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement or TPPA – have, by holding out the prospect of free trade with the US, got ministers all excited.

No Ordinary Deal, however, warns that that hope may prove illusory. The US has almost certainly no intention of dropping barriers to New Zealand dairy farmers. As economist Joseph Stiglitz said of previous trade talks, ‘One can’t think that New Zealand would ever get anything it cares about.’ We, having removed almost all our tariffs, have no negotiating power; and the US very rarely gives away any significant concessions.

A wider Pacific trade deal that included Japan, say, could bring benefits for New Zealand by cutting import tariffs. But even those benefits may be less than expected, the book warns. The IMF has predicted that Australia’s 2004 free trade deal with the US, for instance, will actually shrink its economy by 0.03 per cent a year.

Since 2004, Australia’s trade deficit with the US has widened from US$6.4bn to US$11.6bn. Free trade deals often allow the bigger country to import more into the smaller than vice-versa. They also make it easier for companies to move offshore, knowing they will face no barrier to entry, rather than stay in their home country. Advocates of free trade usually rely on the abstract idea that it automatically gives the economy more dynamism and makes investment less risky – an assumption not backed up by any evidence, the book argues. (It is surprising, the book argues, that no formal study of the TPPA’s benefits to New Zealand has been carried out.)

But if the benefits are small, the dangers are great, No Ordinary Deal warns. It is not clear just what the current talks will mean, because – in a fundamentally undemocratic move – the text of any trade deal remains secret until after it is signed. But judging by previous deals, the US will exert enormous pressure to include clauses that prevent any policies harmful to foreign companies – even if they might be justified socially.

Such provisions in past trade deals have forced countries to abandon quotas for local content, weaken policies that give citizens cheap generic medicines, and drop controls on tobacco advertising. More seriously, some countries have even given foreign companies the right to sue them if they feel disadvantaged by law changes. This extraordinary move, which puts companies on the same legal footing as democratically elected governments, has already cost countries hundreds of millions of dollars in court cases worldwide.

However, the book also highlights how Australia resisted most US attempts to include these dangerous provisions – partly thanks to a huge lobbying campaign by leftwing groups, trade unions and charities. The argument is not against trade: almost everyone accepts that increased trade between nations is a good idea. The point is the terms of that trade. New Zealanders should be very concerned if, in order to gain some potentially quite small benefit, the National government signs away our right to protect local communities, take public health measures that may hurt tobacco companies, and, in the most fundamental sense, organise our society the way we want it.

32 comments on “Trading away our rights”

  1. On one side of this debate you have the elites, supported by a few prominent necromancers (aka economists), for who any expression of an opinion that we should adopt a position short of pantsless ankle-grabbing toward foreigners sees the holder denounced as a xenophobe and a racist.

    If the criticism is merely pointing out, for instance, that the “Australian” banks have no real interest in Australia and even less in NZ, then condescension is the de facto reponse: we simply don’t understand the intricate complextities of international finance; we don’t comprehend the horrific implications of any attempt to control their rapacious and unprincipled behaviour; we’re simply simple economic Luddites, who need to shush and leave the important decisions to our betters.

    Meanwhile Australians themselves express exactly the same concerns about their country:

    Concern is growing in rural areas as foreign government-backed entities buy up significant parcels of agricultural land.

    More than $9 billion of prized agricultural assets have been sold to offshore interests in the past two years alone, The Daily Telegraph said on Monday.

    Nations leading the charge are predominantly Asian and Middle Eastern and include the economic powerhouse of China.

    A NineMSN online poll running today (admittedly not scientific, but a large sample size) asking “Should foreigners be stopped from buying prime farmland?” is running 62,420 “Yes” to 6017 “No” – a margin of roughly 10:1.

    And the elites wonder how NZ First gained traction… People don’t have to read Kelsey’s book to instinctively know something is amiss. They need only look at their own attitudes and know that the only country they love is their own; that if they owned large tracts of another then they’d exploit it without concern for what was best for its inhabitants, with whom they have no connection and feel no empathy, and at least to the full extent permitted by local laws.

    And they know that if they’d do it, then it is most certainly being done to them.

    Unless a major party repositions its stance to reflect this, then third parties who do – notably the Greens, at this point, though there will be others – will end up relegating them to the second tier of politics.

    • Richard 1.1

      A NineMSN online poll running today (admittedly not scientific, but a large sample size) asking “Should foreigners be stopped from buying prime farmland?” is running 62,420 “Yes” to 6017 “No” – a margin of roughly 10:1.

      It’s all in the wording, of course.

      I think that you might get very different answers to questions such as:

      – Should foreigners be allowed to buy marginal farmland?
      – Should Australians be able to borrow money from foreigners to buy land in Australia?
      – Should foreigners be prevented from investing in Australia?
      – As they Share Our Cultural Values are English investors better than Asian ones?
      – Should immigrants to Australia be able to buy land in Australia?

      • I think that you might get very different answers

        The last one asks a very different question to to the others and so I think you’d get a very different answer. Most people accept that if someone wants to come to their country and embrace living there, then they ought to be accorded the same rights and opportunities as anyone else who lives there.

        It’s the faceless offshore residents (in which description I include companies) that quite legitimately concern people. They have no ties to nor interest in the country in which they’re buying up land, other than maximising the profit they can extract.

        On that basis I think you’d be told no; possibly (depending on the terms); depends (on how you define “investment” for a start); usually (though some Asian investor may not share those values they’re still willing to respect them); and yes.

        At least that’s my read of it, from talking to a large number of Australians from all walks of life (no merchant bankers or directors of foreign multinationals were included in my sample, however).

        • Richard 1.1.1.1

          The last one asks a very different question to to the others and so I think you’d get a very different answer. Most people accept that if someone wants to come to their country and embrace living there, then they ought to be accorded the same rights and opportunities as anyone else who lives there.

          There only seems to be thin semantic difference between a property owner in, say, Sydney but who lives in Brisbane, and one who lives in New Zealand.

          It’s the faceless offshore residents (in which description I include companies) that quite legitimately concern people. They have no ties to nor interest in the country in which they’re buying up land, other than maximising the profit they can extract.

          The same holds true for many of the Australians who own land in Australia.

          The problem is the sorts of people who have access to the resources to enable them to “own” large tracts of land, and how they are permitted to use that ownership. The problem is nothing to do with the “nationality” of those people.

          • Rex Widerstrom 1.1.1.1.1

            There only seems to be thin semantic difference between a property owner in, say, Sydney but who lives in Brisbane, and one who lives in New Zealand

            I’m a NZer presently living in Perth. I like Australia, and Australians. I certainly wish them no harm. But do I care about them in the way I do NZ and NZers. Not even close. Maybe I’m an anomaly?

            If I owned property in Sydney and lived in NZ, why would I care about the quality of life of Sydneysiders? I’d want the Australian government to do whatever was best for my property interests, nothing more nor less.

            The problem is the sorts of people who have access to the resources to enable them to “own” large tracts of land, and how they are permitted to use that ownership. The problem is nothing to do with the “nationality” of those people.

            I’m not sure what you’re suggesting (if anything) here? We can’t start choosin g who we sell assets to on the basis of “suitability”, surely? It’s too subjective. We can, however, assume – and reasonably so, IMHO – that someone who doesn’t live in the country in which they own land won’t care about that country beyond whatever affects their capacity to maximise the value they extract from that land.

  2. Bill 2

    What about pharmac? My understanding is that foreign pharmaceuticals have been wanting it gone for some time now. Under a free trade deal, pharmac could, probably would, be deemed to be a trade barrier.

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      Yeah, that’s my biggest fear with any free trade deals. I don’t want to see our public health care system, and I’m including ACC there, be impacted negatively in any way by a free trade deal. Getting a deal with the US is almost certain to see discussions around those areas, however.

    • Vicky32 2.2

      I heard something about Pharmac on the politics programme on RadioNZ this morning – the right guy (Mathew Hooton?) foaming at the mouth as usual, and Andrew Campbell being rather concerned about Pharmac’s fate …
      Deb

    • Rosy 2.3

      It seems Germany is planning legislation that seems very much like Pharmac. That will have a really big impact on drugs companies if it goes ahead.
      http://www.pharmatimes.com/Article/10-11-15/German_pharma_price_cut_plans_move_closer.aspx

  3. BLiP 3

    National Ltd™ has already proved that its willing to sell legislation that removes the rights of citizens to the benefit of foreign corporations.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    Trade is a good idea but land is not trade-able and neither is sovereignty. It should, quite simply, be limited to completed products only.

    • Bill 4.1

      Like blue eyed babies?

      • Joachim's 4.2.1

        Where services are not things like tap water, electricity, internet, basic banking, phones, prisons and sewage treatment.

        • Rex Widerstrom 4.2.1.1

          Indeed. In fact calling electricity, water, sewage etc “services” is stretching the term to breaking point considering the turbines, dams, pipes etc etc that are required to manufacture them, let alone the infrastructure required to deliver them, which is why I wasn’t even thinking of them when I wrote the above. They’re selling a product, not a service.

          Banking is more a service, but it’s importance to national stability puts it into a category of its own IMO. Internet, well… I think the delivery pipes are on the verge of expanding to such an extent that, for once, genuine competition might do the job it’s sold as doing for all the above, but doesn’t.

          My views on private prisons don’t accord with yours (or indeed most people who comment here) because I’ve seen state and private prisons at work and the private one is superior in almost every respect. However they’re not all that way of course… my position is simply that they don’t have to be a bad thing, give the right contract, the determination to enforce it, and attitude by the operator.

          • Joachim's 4.2.1.1.1

            Perhaps a prison where the hardware is owned by the Government and then it is maintained and run by a private firm? That way the private firm can be sent packing if required and a new crew brought in very quickly.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.1.2

            In fact calling electricity, water, sewage etc “services”…They’re selling a product, not a service.

            They’re not a product either, they’re a public utility. Essential and/or a natural monopoly.

            Banking is more a service,

            Banking is a service. The problem I have with the present banking system is that the private banks print the money which should be a government monopoly. But some of the services also happen to be an essential service in today’s world (EFT-POS etc) which should be done by a government department rather than the private banking system.

            Internet, well… I think the delivery pipes are on the verge of expanding to such an extent that, for once, genuine competition might do the job it’s sold as doing for all the above, but doesn’t.

            Local internet/telecommunications is a natural monopoly as multiple networks cost a hell of a lot and you don’t get true competition anyway as it’s a losing business proposition. Transnational telecommunications cables can be competitive but I do recall what happened with the cabling between England, the US and Europe – they ended up with so much competition that the companies that put in the cables were losing money. Competition reduces profit – not costs.

            I’ve seen state and private prisons at work and the private one is superior in almost every respect.

            So if you put in all the necessary regulations to produce a better outcome then you get one.

            That’s really all you’re saying and that could have been done with a state prison without the dead weight loss of profit thrown in.

            • Joachim's 4.2.1.1.2.1

              I believe that basic banking should be treated as a utility and run not for profit. You cannot function in a modern society nor collect your pay without the use of a bank account and an ATM/EFTPOS card. You cannot pay for your water, your electricity, your phone or your rates.

              You essentially have no choice but to use banking services to access every other necessity and utility in society, and banking should not make a profit on that basis.

            • Rex Widerstrom 4.2.1.1.2.2

              So if you put in all the necessary regulations to produce a better outcome then you get one.

              That’s really all you’re saying and that could have been done with a state prison without the dead weight loss of profit thrown in.

              Absolutely… if you could get past the entrenched “we’ve always done it this way… I came up through the ranks… who do you think you are?” attitude you find in state prison administration (at least in NZ and Austrlaia, the two I’ve experienced).

              And then apply the same recruiting standards (retrospectively) to state prison officers to get rid of the small minority who are unsuitable. And probably clean out the superintendents of most prisons.

              If a party proposed a clean slate review of prisons I’d be all for it. And I’d then be saying private prisons are an unnecessary burden.

              The reason I want them at present is to have a real world example of how it can be done better, on the same budget (or actually less of one, if you take the profit factor out). Because the state employees will tell you it can’t.

              Broadly agreed re power and banks etc, BTW.

    • Nick C 4.3

      If you accept the rational for trade then what distinction can you draw between \’completed\’ products and uncompleted products? As an example: Consider a market with 2 countries and 2 goods: Japan and New Zealand, and computers and milk. You would accept that NZ has a comparitive advantage in producing milk and Japan in computers. presumably you support trade on the grounds that it leads to specialisation is mutually beneficial.

      Why cant that specialisation apply to primary production (producing uncompleted products) and then completing those products?

      • Colonial Viper 4.3.1

        Specialisation leads to additional economic fragility and is going to be less and less of a good thing going forwards. Especially as the price of transport oil skyrockets, each country is going to have to be able to manufacture a more complete portfolio of goods itself.

        Also you are changing the proper usage of the economic concept of ‘comparative advantage’. NZ may have some advantage in the production of milk, but Japan has no inherent nature given advantage in the production of PCs (unlike woollen textiles in England and wine in Portugal).

        Why cant that specialisation apply to primary production (producing uncompleted products) and then completing those products?

        Because although specialisation and technology can of course be applied to the production of primary commodities, the level of specialisation and technology measured in terms of commercial value added per unit of product remains relatively low. Grass to spray milk powder. Yes some value add. Sand and bauxite to an iPad. Huge value add.

        • Nick C 4.3.1.1

          “Specialisation leads to additional economic fragility and is going to be less and less of a good thing going forwards.”

          You are possibly correct, however that isnt a reason for intervention in the market or to not sign free trade deals. If high transport costs in the future means that imports become more expensive then that will incentivise businesses to produce those goods here. Its a question of who has better information about exactly to what extent it is efficient to produce those goods here vs overseas; the government or the market.

          “Also you are changing the proper usage of the economic concept of ‘comparative advantage’”

          No, comparitive advantage doesnt have to be a ‘natural advantage’, it just means you can produce a good at a lower relative cost than another country.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.3.2

        You would accept that NZ has a comparitive advantage in producing milk and Japan in computers.

        No I wouldn’t. NZ would have an absolute advantage in milk due to access to land and anyone can make a factory. If Japan wasn’t so over-populated they would have the same advantage in milk production as we do, ergo, no advantage either way and so trade would bring no benefit.

        presumably you support trade on the grounds that it leads to specialisation is mutually beneficial.

        Nope, I support trade because it allows for transfer of technology/knowledge until such time as both traders have the knowledge and technology to produce the products themselves (Which is what China’s doing BTW). Specialisation works at an individual level but not at a society level. As I’ve said before, not everyone wants to be a farmer. Given that fact those people who don’t want to be a farmer and who want to make computers instead, specialisation of the country will force them to leave. These are likely to be our best and brightest.

        Specialisation of a society harms that society by preventing it’s development.

        • Nick C 4.3.2.1

          “Specialisation works at an individual level but not at a society level”

          I guess thats where we differ: I’m quite happy to view the entire globe as a society for economic purposes. Which seems to make more sense: with your argument for example why shouldnt Wellington or Auckland be self sufficient? Also, the transfer of knowledge and technology is an ongoing process as new technology is constantly being developed. You cant just decide “Ok we have all the technology we want, lets shut up shop” because thats when you fall behind everyone else.

          “Given that fact those people who don’t want to be a farmer and who want to make computers instead, specialisation of the country will force them to leave”

          Well specialisation has never occured to that extent. If you want to work with computers in New Zealand its not like you cant.

          • felix 4.3.2.1.1

            And that’s exactly the problem with your approach, Nick. You see the whole world as a single economic entity so you think that as long as overall profits are increasing, the world as a whole is better off.

            Of course reality proves this not to be the case as these profits are heavily concentrated and becoming more and more so.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.3.2.1.2

            I’m quite happy to view the entire globe as a society for economic purposes.

            Which doesn’t work either as each country is different and each has to live within it’s own Renewable Resource Base. NZ already doesn’t live within that base, especially in regards to farming, as can easily be seen by the state of our rivers and lakes. The pollution from farming far exceeds what nature can clean up (i.e, we don’t even have the absolute advantage there either). Then add in the cost of transportation and you’ll find that the “global economy” is pure delusion. Trade between countries will still occur but it won’t be as large as it is now.

            Well specialisation has never occured to that extent. If you want to work with computers in New Zealand its not like you cant.

            If it’s not occurring then what’s the argument for it?

  5. I’m concerned that our communities haven’t really had the information with which to engage with our politicians on the issue of this free trade agreement, so on my blog I’m doing some ‘demystifying the TPPA’ discussion to help raise awareness of the types of things that are at stake. I’ve spent the last couple of days blogging on some of the issues identified in Jane Kelsey’s book on my blog ‘Kate’s Online http://katekennedyonline.blogspot.com. Please feel free to drop by, and if you’re interested check out my Facebook Group discussion as well. Knowledge is power, but only until the deal is signed and sealed.

    • jimmy 5.1

      Great blog Kate (and Guest for that matter), I especially liked that bit about the investor-state complaints process, I have a section of my masters on that sort of carry-on so I will be Google Scholaring that up tommorrow morning!

      On that note, in International Relations the anti-democratic tendencies of these free-trade deals is called ‘New Constitutionalism’ as they are essentially constitutional documents limiting the soverignty of states to the terms of the agreement and empowering a closed-door juristocracy to make sure they dont try thinking of an intervention in the market.

      Thatcher, Reagan, and Douglas were roll-back neoliberals in that they wanted the state out, what we have now is roll-out neoliberals making sure we dont have any movement towards ameleorating any negative side-effects of the market utopia they have created.

  6. The Pacific trade deal with the US won’t happen as the US is in full crisis mode. It’s trying to roll back history but won’t succeed. Economics speaks louder than politics. China is buying the loyalty of the Pacific countries and the US can only scramble its diplomacy and military in a futile gesture to bolster its waning economic power.
    Ironically China is the only country that has allowed the US to enter and screw it but on its own terms. No FTA which allows the US to impose conditions on China. US is allowed to super exploit Chinese workers but China gets the technology, the markets and accumulates capital in its own right. Major capital controls, limits to foreign ownership. No land sales. No way China will be bullied over its currency.
    Meanwhile China expands at phenomenal rate accounting for half of world growth. The NZ and Aust bosses know this and are have survived the recession so far on the strength of trade with China. So the circus around the Pacific FTA is nothing but a rev up to prepare for war as its economic interests begin to be seriously threatened by China. NZ workers should reject US imperialist sabre rattling and at the same time align themselves with the Chinese working class to oppose the interests of China’s new imperialist class.

  7. Carol 7

    Jane Kelsey was detained entering Aussie on Sunday because of past criminal convictions. She says she has done many trips to Aussie in recent years and usually only has a slight delay, checking her convictions. She doesn’t know if it was a particular officer being a bit finnicky, or due to her going to Aussie to promote her book on the TPP:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/4351076/Protest-conviction-causes-trouble-for-Kiwi-academic

    “I always tick the box about criminal convictions, which relate to the Springbok tour and Bastion Point in the early 1980s. They have the list on record at Australian immigration. Usually I wait 10 or at most 15 minutes and they wave me on. This twist came completely out of the blue.”

    She has complained to the Australian High Commissioner.

    “It is possible it is an ill-judged over-reach by super-officious immigration officials at Sydney,” she said.

    “However it is equally likely that my name has recently been flagged, presumably linked to my role in promoting critical debate on the TransPacific Partnership negotiations. Requiring me to apply for a visa each time I go to Australia would make it easier to monitor and restrict my movements. At the very least it sends an intimidating message to me and to others.”

    Prof Kelsey previously said the SIS was keeping tabs on her because of her criticism of neo-liberalism and free trade agreements.

  8. Frank Macskasy 8

    John Key recently warned New Zealand against over-reaction regarding foreign investment. He said, in part;

    “Because it will always be here, the use of that land will always be subject to New Zealand laws and regulations. And ultimately we as New Zealanders get to determine what those laws and regulations will be.” ” – http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/4354966/Key-warns-about-foreign-investment-fears

    Are these the same laws and regulations that he and his mates recently changed, under “urgency”, for the benefit of Warner Bros?

    Mr Key – your BS is starting to catch up with you.

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    This is a re-post from Carbon Brief by Dr. Richard Wood and Dr. Laura Jackson Generally, we think of climate change as a gradual process: the more greenhouse gases that humans emit, the more the climate will change. But are there any “points of no return” that commit us to irreversible ...
    3 days ago
  • The biggest challenge for a generation ahead – covid-19. Defeat and Recovery
    Last month I wrote my blog on covid-19 pointing out the in our pre Alert Level 4 days that a subject no one had heard here months ago was now dominating the media. An amazing feature of this crisis is how quickly it has swept every other issue aside worldwide. ...
    PunditBy Wyatt Creech
    3 days ago
  • Testing for COVID-19 in NZ to Achieve the Elimination Goal
    Nick Wilson,1 Ayesha Verrall,1,2 Len Cook,3 Alistair Gray,3 Amanda Kvalsvig,1 Michael Baker,1 (1epidemiologists, 2infectious disease physician, 3statisticians) In this blog, we raise ideas for how New Zealand might optimise testing to both identify cases in the community as part of the COVID-19 elimination strategy, and to confirm when the virus ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    3 days ago
  • Should we all be wearing face masks to prevent Covid-19 spread?
    Maybe you’ve seen the graph that says those countries where everyone wears a mask are the ones that have managed to keep Covid-19 under control? The first thing to say about that claim is that those countries also did lots of other things, too – they acted fast, with intense ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    3 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #14
    Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... North Atlantic's capacity to absorb CO2 overestimated, study suggests Research into ocean’s plankton likely to lead to ...
    4 days ago
  • The Americans are trying to kill us all again
    The Treaty on Open Skies is one of the most effective mechanisms for preventing war curently in force. By letting countries make surveillance flights over each others' territory, it eliminates fears that they are secretly preparing for war. So naturally, the US is planning to withdraw from it: The Trump ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 11
    . . April 5: Day eleven of living in lock-down… My one day of rest for the week, and an opportunity to mow my lawns – which I’d been delaying for about three weeks. (On the plus side, the damp micro-climate in my back yard yielded three lovely fresh mushrooms ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Now we know what the rules are
    As the lockdown has gone on, disquiet about what the rules were and the police's enforcement of them has grown. On Friday, Police admitted that they were abusing routine traffic stops to effectively set up illegal checkpoints, and on Saturday Stuff revealed internal police advice saying that they actually needed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 2: Green et al (2019)
    Paul Connett is putting all his eggs in one basket. He says “you only have to read four studies” to find community after fluoridation harmful. Image credit: Fluoride Action Network newsletter. For part 1 of this series see Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018). Paul Connett, ...
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: Splore Listening Lounge 2020: the road to a “yes” vote
    As far as anyone can say, New Zeaand still has a general election scheduled for September 19 this year. The election will be accompanied by two referenda, one of which will ask voters:Do you support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill?The official campaign period for the cannabis referendum begins ...
    4 days ago
  • Obituary for The New Zealand Listener (1939-2020)
    The vast majority of tributes to the Listener hearken back to its glory days, with little reflection on the magazine as it was at its end.I wrote for it, for half the Listener’s life; I have known personally all the editors except the first (mythical) three. From 1978 to 2014 ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    4 days ago
  • Universal income – a challenge to capitalism or a crutch?
    As the world economy slides rapidly towards deep recession there are growing calls for a Universal Benefit coming from some leftists and rightists. Now Finance Minister Grant Robertson is saying it is on the table.  This article by a French party Workers Struggle provides analysis of various forms of universal ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Anti-fluoridation propaganda now relies on only four studies. 1: Bashash et al (2018)
    This is the advice from the very top of the anti-fluoride movement – Paul Connett, director of the Fluoride Action Network (FAN). Don’t worry about reading  up on all the scientific information “You only have ...
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 10
    . . April 4: Day 10 of living in lock-down… I wake up to a fine Saturday morning which normally would be like an early Christmas. But it’s Day 10 of Level 4 Lock Down. What  will my fellow New Zealanders be doing on a day like this – staying ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Redline reaching out to more writers & readers
    Some time during the night we went over the 850,000 views mark. We might have had our millionth view by the end of this year – certainly by early next year. Most of the people involved in Redline spent years and years producing various small left-wing papers and selling them ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Keir Starmer elected
    Comfortably, in the very first round, with an impressive 56% of the votes.I wonder, did members of the Shadow Cabinet start tweeting their resignations during Starmer's victory speech, or is that only a trick the right pull?It is odd how all the talk of how the next leader "needs to ...
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: Michael Baker and the Big House
    One of the key voices in this extraordinary time in which we live is that of University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker. Philip Matthews did an an excellent job this weekend of capturing the way he became the man for this moment in a profile for The Press.But one ...
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand Gives up on Trying to Save Daylight
    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern addressed the nation today about the decline in daylight New Zealand has been experiencing over the previous few months. She said “As many of you will notice, our attempts to stem the dwindling of the daylight over the last few months have been completely ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    5 days ago
  • A bulletin from Greece
    Redline received this article from the KOE a Marxist party in Greece Our friends in the KOE describe here the mounting crisis in Greece and tensions on the Turkish border. As desperate people flee from their homelands which have been ruined after decades of imperialist wars and interventions the people ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
    As the first week of Level Four lockdown unfolded, mounting questions grew as to just what was (and was not) allowed under its “rules”. Partly these were driven by some apparently contradictory messages from different authority figures and explanations carried in the media. Partly they reflected a somewhat sketchy legal basis ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    7 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

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

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

  • Decisions made on urgent turf maintenance
    The Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson has announced that urgent maintenance of turf and care for plants in non-plantation nurseries will soon be able to go ahead under Level 4 restrictions. “The Government has agreed that urgent upkeep and maintenance of biological assets will be able to go ahead ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Acknowledging an extraordinary te reo champion
    E tangi ana a Taranaki iwi, e tangi ana te ao Māori, otirā e tangi ana te motu. Mōu katoa ngā roimata e riringi whānui ana, mōu katoa ngā mihi.   E te kaikōkiri i te reo Māori, e Te Huirangi, takoto mai. Takoto mai me te mōhio ko ngā ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Prime Minister’s remarks halfway through Alert Level 4 lockdown
    Today is day 15 of Alert Level 4 lockdown. And at the halfway mark I have no hesitation in saying, that what New Zealanders have done over the last two weeks is huge. In the face of the greatest threat to human health we have seen in over a century, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Licenses, WoFs and regos extended under lockdown
    All driver licences, WoFs, CoFs, and some vehicle certifications, that expired on or after 1 January 2020 will be valid for up to six months from 10 April 2020, Transport Minister Phil Twyford has announced. “People shouldn’t have to worry about getting fined for having an expired document if driving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Inquiry report into EQC released
    The Government has today released the report from the Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission chaired by Dame Silvia Cartwright.  Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission Grant Robertson says the Government wants to learn from people’s experiences following the Canterbury earthquakes and other recent natural disasters. “Dame Silvia’s report documents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • More time for health workers and elderly to get flu vaccine
    The Government has extended by two weeks till April 27 the amount of time priority groups, such as health workers and those aged over 65, have to get their flu vaccine before it is made available to the wider public. This year’s vaccination campaign is a key component of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Communities step up to help New Zealanders stay connected and fed during lockdown
    Communities stepping up to help New Zealanders stay at home to break the transmission of COVID-19 and save lives have received Government support, said Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. “Delivering groceries for the elderly who can’t shop online, providing data packs for low income families to keep them connected, and being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • 120 COVID-19 testing centres now operating
    Across New Zealand 120 sites are taking samples to be tested for COVID-19.   68 community based assessment centres (CBACs) have been established to take samples from people with COVID-19 symptoms. Alongside this, 52 other centres including designated general practices, swabbing centres, and mobile clinics are now testing people for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Covid19: Government moving quickly to roll out learning from home
    The Ministry of Education is working with partners to develop a package of options so that students can learn at home when Term 2 begins on 15 April, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Supports are also being prepared for households with children under five, to help parents and whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Making learning from home accessible to Māori learners and whānau
    Māori Television to begin educational te reo programmes Ki te Ao Mārama – a new online learning space Thousands of hard copy learning packs ready for distribution Helpdesk and advice service for kōhanga, kura and wharekura Television, the internet and hard copy learning packs are some of the ways whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand to provide assistance to Vanuatu following Tropical Cyclone Harold
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced an initial package of support to help the people and the Government of Vanuatu respond to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Harold. “Our Pacific neighbours have been hit by a Category 5 Cyclone at the same time as dealing with the economic impacts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Planning for the future of tourism
    Tourism New Zealand to lead work reimagining the way tourism operates in post-COVID-19 world. Ministers to review International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy investment plan. The Government, industry and business are working together to develop a plan for how tourism will operate in a post-COVID-19 world, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ horticulture sector feeding Kiwis and the world during COVID-19
    More New Zealanders are taking up the chance to work in horticulture as the sector keeps New Zealanders fed and in jobs during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown. “Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Work to repurpose PGF funds begins
    The Provincial Development Unit is working through applications and projects to see where Provincial Growth Fund money can be repurposed for initiatives deemed more critical to fighting the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “We need to be throwing everything we have at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • A million workers supported by Govt wage subsidy
    The Government’s wage subsidy to protect jobs and keep workers and businesses connected during the lockdown has now supported over a million New Zealanders, with $6.6 billion already paid out. “We’re supporting businesses to pay wages, and stay connected with their workers so that we are all in a better ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government helps Pacific communities fight COVID
    The Government is stepping up efforts to help protect New Zealand’s Pacific communities in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet has agreed that $17 million will be allocated to support a COVID-19 Pacific Response Package, which will: Support Pacific health and disability services facing increased demand; Ramp up public health messaging ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark
    “Yesterday evening the Health Minister advised me of his trip to a beach during the lockdown and offered his resignation,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses.  “But right now, my priority is our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Statement from David Clark
    Last night as part of my preparation for the Epidemic Response Committee, I provided the Prime Minister with a complete picture of my activity outside my home during Alert Level 4.  That included the fact that on the first weekend of the Alert Level 4 lockdown I drove my family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • COVID-19 mental health support begins
    A range of support is being rolled out across New Zealand to help people look after their mental health during COVID-19 Health Minister David Clark said this morning. “COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives and many of us will be feeling some level of distress or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government supports air services to offshore islands
    The Government has stepped in to support vital air links to our offshore islands, the Chatham Islands, Great Barrier Island and Motiti Island, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. “As part of our $600 million support package to minimise the impacts of COVID-19 on the aviation sector, the Government has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
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    1 week ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
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    1 week ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
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    1 week ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
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    1 week ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
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    1 week ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
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    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
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    1 week ago