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Transmission Gully PPP

Written By: - Date published: 10:46 am, May 7th, 2020 - 56 comments
Categories: corruption, Politics, Public Private Partnerships, Simon Bridges, transport, uncategorized - Tags:

No Right Turn has a piece on the Transmission Gully project – which appears to be turning into mush. The title “A death-knell for PPPs?” says it all.

When the then-National government approved a public-private partnership (PPP) funding model for Transmission Gully, it claimed it was all about building it quicker and cheaper. Paying a private company’s profit margin would supposedly give “certainty of delivery and… better value for money”. So how has it turned out? The cost has blown out by $191 million, a third of the road has failed quality checks and needs to be torn up and re-laid, the project is now delayed until 2021, and rather than face these costs, the PPP contractor is planning to walk away and dump everything back on the government:

That last NewsHub link indicates that NZTA said in February that a cost overrun of more than a fifth would push the total cost up to over a billion dollars and have a delay in completion from May to December. Now, presumably as a result of missing crucial periods during lockdown before the winter months and the inability to fly staff back in from overseas, they appear to be saying that it will complete some time in 2021.

But the NewsHub article also suggests that the primary contractor CPB HEB may be looking to pull out of the contract. That it has already dropped sub-contractors and that equipment is already being moved off-site. The urgent negotiations could be that or or could be who is going to have to pay for the costs related to the pandemic.

No Right Turn’s conclusion is that..

The entire project looks to be an expensive failure. Rather than transferring risk to the private sector, it turns out to be the usual scam of privatising profits and socialising losses. And its hard to escape the impression that we could have built it quicker and cheaper and without the quality issues caused by the contractor shaving costs and using substandard materials to increase its profits by just getting the government to do it in the first place. And hopefully it will be a death knell for PPPs in this country.

It is hard to disagree about the lack of public value with PPPs. At least if you aren’t a blind ideological idiot with delusions that the private market is always more efficient. While there must have been the mythic ‘good for the public’ PPPs. But I have never observed them when looked retrospectively from 20 years in a developed non-corrupt country. The best that I have seen have been ones that would be about the same what would be expected if the government agencies built it themselves. Except those always look like lowball build to get higher toll profits.

I’d also observe that just having PPPs appears to correlate pretty well with increases in public servant corruption – even if you just look at aussie. The way that PPPs cover themselves in ‘commercial sensitivity’ and highly prejudicial contract clauses disguises from the public the true risk costs of public projects.

The worst one I saw was for a toll motorway in Sydney that if the toll revenue wasn’t sufficient, would cause the state government to close the free roads to drive revenue to the private operators of the toll road – the roads that were meant to provide a non-tolled alternative. There are quite a few examples listed in this NSW state government report in particular Chapter 3.

When you look at the cost overruns and delays on commissioning projects compared to the government builds after the fact. It’d be interesting to find if any one has done a decades after analysis of comparable projects. But to my eye the results really don’t look different, and certainly don’t indicate any real advantage in private involvement.

In effect, as No Right Turn states PPPs seem to be designed to “be the usual scam of privatising profits and socialising losses”. They also seem to be perfectly designed for politicians to take lowball bids and push the true costs into the future. But which also allow them to view with alarm at a later date. Cue our ex-minister of transport Simon (no) Bridges.

While the current circumstances with the pandemic of this PPP are pretty unusual for NZ, I suspect that we’re going to see the other unfortunate effect of PPPs. A discontinuity in the build whilst the parties have a legal obligation and who bears the costs disagreement – that further delays the project.

As Jenny Michie said here back in 2011 in “Are PPPs the best we can do?

PPP is privatisation with a better name. It’s no surprise that National is in favour of them: getting rich on the public purse is in their DNA. What is more concerning is that people like Len Brown want to use them to help build infrastructure in Auckland.

Are we really so bereft of ideas as a nation that PPPs are the best we can come up with?

56 comments on “Transmission Gully PPP ”

  1. Dukeofurl 1

    Wasnt the situation the Same for the PPP for the Holiday Highway project north of Auckland , Fletchers were the main contractor partner but its was turning out to be an expensive mistake for them (like a lot of their other big jobs.)

    This was 2018

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/04/17/105267/more-bad-news-as-fletcher-plans-750m-raising-asset-sales

    In a real world , the contractor losing money is only a problem for the PPP partners including the financial backers, who have a very long term out look.

    One thing made me smile about Transmission Gulley , was the comment of one commuter 'who had sold up and moved to Otaki on the prospect of a quicker run on the motorway driving into Wellington'. This is exactly why these sorts of projects dont stack up as commuters move further out negating the 'saving time cost benefit' in BCR

  2. Andre 2

    Here's the Treasury sales weasel snow job on how PPPs are supposed to work.

    The Greater Auckland piece linked below includes a good graph on how the payments are supposed to work. (h/t Ad)

    https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2020/05/06/times-up-for-ppps/

    • RedLogix 2.1

      Maybe the devil was in this not so little detail:

      The contract guarantees unprecedented certainty for a highway project, as Transmission Gully must be delivered for a set price, and must perform to measurable performance standards for the full 25 years.”

      Maybe someone decided that the road was never going to go the distance and the potential maintenance costs were going to blow any potential profit into the weeds.

      • Ad 2.1.1

        25 years uninterrupted use and access on a fault line with a major event return period of, shall we say, Wellington, is bodaciously bold.

  3. Pat 3

    PPPs nothing more than a pointless accounting trick that fools nobody….the problem is we have reduced state capability so much over the decades we have almost removed alternatives.

    • Andre 3.1

      It doesn't look like a pointless accounting trick to me.

      It looks like a very successful accounting trick to transfer more public money to private interests in a hidden fashion while allowing devious weasel politicians to lie that they've improved the country's financial situation through innovative financing of major projects.

      Reduced state capability is a separate issue to PPPs. Getting rid of PPPs and going back to old-skool procurement of paying private contractors for a project as its built would give much better outcomes by improving transparency on how much it really costs and possibly get pollies to think a bit harder about which projects actually deliver value.

      • Pat 3.1.1

        Its a pointless accounting trick in terms of the justification used for it…..reduced gov debt.

        Reduced state capability is not separate issue to PPPs….that lack of capability directly impacts the governments ability to assess any proposal, any design, and any costings….not to mention quality control and oversight once contract is awarded, PPP or not.

      • Gabby 3.1.2

        Egg Zachary, best siphon ever.

    • Tricledrown 3.2

      Subsidizing donors of the National Party kick backs and graft.

    • Marcus Morris 3.3

      Bring back the Ministry of Works

      • Pat 3.3.1

        Yes…except to rediscover that which was lost will take many years…the problem is sadly more immediate

  4. Ad 4

    The Ministry of Transport Value For Money composting unit is going to sprout the stinkiest shitflower bouquet delivered for the Minister of Transport to clasp to his electoral chest.

    Betcha the new Infrastructure Commission runs a mile from the ppp turdblossoms that many in there advocated nurturing.

    I smell High Court for damages against NZTA on Transmission Gully, and High Court for Judicial Review against the Minister for light rail.

  5. Dennis Frank 5

    No problem. Twyford will just bang a few heads together, everyone involved will gulp & get things back on track. In an alternate universe.

    It's also possible there’s a taniwha hidden there, and the local Maori haven't noticed. Te Ara says they have lairs in "pools, caves, or dangerous waterways". Any of those in the gully? If it got word of how successful its colleague was in the Waikato it may be using the same strategy.

    • Incognito 5.1

      Why are you mocking Māori culture and beliefs?

      • Dennis Frank 5.1.1

        Didn't realise I was, actually. `Tis true that I've always been non-pc tho, so it wouldn't surprise me at all. Did you notice that I was mocking Twyford? Perhaps you think it's okay to mock some folk & not others??

  6. Gabby 6

    What's the liability of the ceo and board when things are managed so incompetently? Is it fraud to use materials of lower quality than specified for instance?

    • Dukeofurl 6.1

      You seem to be mistaken , the CEO and Board of NZTA are hands off , the design , construction and financing is in the hands of the PPP

      " The contract will see WGP design, build and finance the project, as well as operate and maintain the road for 25 years after the expected five-year build finishes in 2020.

      The Wellington Gateway Partnership consists of:

      • HEB Construction Ltd
      • Leighton Contractors Pty Ltd
      • Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)
      • InfraRed Infrastructure General Partner Ltd
      • Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd (BTMU)

      • Ad 6.1.1

        While that's true in theory Duke, if Transmission Gully does go tits up, the restructures inside NZTA will come thick and fast. It's the public service way.

      • Gabby 6.1.2

        I meant the ceo and board of each of the private 'partners'.

  7. I imagine that the Nat administration treated this project like they did Novapay — by ignoring quality concerns, cutting corners, slashing key public servants, pressuring management to hit unrealistic deadlines. Result: burned out staff, half-arsed job, waste of public money, endless litigation

  8. Dean Reynolds 8

    And National are whining about the Transmission Gully outcome, having set up the fiasco in the first place. Another example of 'free market' failure.

    FFS, re-establsh the Ministry of Works & just bloody get on with it!

  9. Gosman 9

    Where was the government oversight on this project? This should not be a surprise to the Ministry of Transport. They should be all over this.

  10. There is silence from the national self entitled politicos about this debacle. I wonder why?

    Whose idea was it for ppp?

    Simon has some bridges to cross.

    • Sacha 10.1

      Some in Labour also favour PPPs. This is not a partisan thing, more of a neoliberal one.

    • infused 10.2

      Because it's nothing to do with the PPP as to why this has gone to shit.

      • KJT 10.2.1

        Sure.

        Have I got a bridge to sell you!

        • infused 10.2.1.1

          its mostly weather related. look into it

          • KJT 10.2.1.1.1

            Contractors that didn't realise there is such a thing as weather.

            Give me a break!

            They underbid to get the contract, knowing that the dimwits in the National Government and NZTA, would pay for the overruns.

  11. Sacha 11

    PPPs are very popular with global financiers and their lackeys in the ratings agencies. That's who this sort of rort is designed to suck up to, in exchange for letting us borrow so much beyond our means.

  12. Wayne 12

    Going by the rest of the big roading and infrastructure projects, an increase in cost by 20% does not seem so extraordinary. The CRL has just about doubled price in the last four years. Most of the other big projects have cost overruns in the order of 20% and take at least a year longer to complete. For instance the southern motorway has taken more than 2 extra years to complete. A lot of them have do over work.

    The PPP aspect does not seem to be the problem, rather New Zealand contractors have generally not had sufficient experience to properly manage and cost projects of this scale. They have had to learn on the way. And the longer a project takes, the more it is affected by things such as increased cost of materials and increased wage costs.

    As I recall (and I am old enough to do so) the MoW was beset by these kinds of issues as well. Over time it got worse rather than better, so that by the 1980's the MOW was the byword for inefficiency.

    • Ad 12.1

      It's not led by local contractors. They are in the mix but not the leads.

      I'm mulling a post about this romantic notion of bringing back the Ministry of Works.

      • roblogic 12.1.1

        The private construction sector in NZ hasn't exactly covered itself in glory. Leaky homes, corporate collapses, cosy cartels, crappy materials, lowball quotes followed by doubling the price later down the road.

        A few shareholders are laughing while subbies and muggins taxpayers are left with a mess to clean up.

        NZ to too small for some markets to operate properly, hence the need for proper state oversight or even ownership. The Rogernomics notion of private sector efficiency is a shoddy scam exploited by grifters

        • Ad 12.1.1.1

          There are no shareholders laughing now at anything. Even our largest remaining construction corporations have been brought low.

          It was the private construction sector that built all those state houses you still see around the place in the 1940s and 1950s. The state specified them.

          Lowball quotes are generated by the entire public sector preferring the "lowest cost conforming" bid for decades. That's the fault of the public sector, and that's still the case mostly. There's a big Construction Accord in place trying to shift these past sins.

          The public client binds itself in the same jam with respect to quality and price: everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die.

          • roblogic 12.1.1.1.1

            Glad to hear the public sector is re-thinking its approach. The cost cutting mentality costs lives. e.g. Cave Creek tragedy

          • RedLogix 12.1.1.1.2

            Lowball quotes are generated by the entire public sector preferring the "lowest cost conforming" bid for decades.

            I remember getting a RFI over my desk from a district council for an upgrade and consolidation of their existing water supply control system. Now most council staff had the wit to try and minimise the different generations of equipment and vendors they used … but these guys (and I recall counting them with incredulity) had no fewer than 34 different and mostly incompatible platforms.

            All installed by the contractor who'd made the biggest fuckup on price that day.

            We looked at it closely, talked to the client, decided their lowest price mentality hadn't changed much … and figured we didn't have a barge pole long enough to touch this one with. Sure enough one of our competitors went on to lose a satisfyingly large sum of money pursuing it.

            About a decade later my successor went in and cleaned up nicely … but only after certain senior council staff underwent radical face transplants.

    • ScottGN 12.2

      The CRL hasn’t just about doubled costs actually. The 2014 estimate was 3.4 billion dollars. That’s increased to 4.4 billion by last year. Almost all that increase is due to the common sense decision to lengthen the platforms at the new stations to accommodate longer trains and provide an alternative entry for K Rd station at Beresford Sq. These were included in the original designs for the line but were stripped out at the insistence of the National govt when they finally agreed to allow the project to progress. Typical National penny pinching a la the Harbour Bridge design shortfalls. The CRL, alone, of all the big projects underway is actually pretty much being delivered on its time line and within its budget.

      • Sacha 12.2.1

        The cost figures bandied about by the previous govt for CRL were all in future dollars whereas the roading ones were not. Never a level playing field and no agencies resisted the lying.

      • Wayne 12.2.2

        The revised design also drops out the station at Eden Terrace on the grounds of costs. Yes, stations have lengthened, but a whole station (1 of 3 underground stations) was dropped.

        There is no way it is being delivered on the original time line. It was originally going to be built by 2021/22, and by that I mean after work started in 2016. Now that is more like 2024/25. They have not even built and delivered into NZ the tunnel boring machine.

        • Sacha 12.2.2.1

          The Mt Eden Station replaces the former Eden Terrace one a few hundred metres away. That design change was ages ago. However the delays in starting were caused by the government of which you were part. Only lobbying by business interests overturned Joyce, Brownlee and English’s resistance.

          • Wayne 12.2.2.1.1

            Sacha,

            You are mixing up the timing of the original decision to proceed with the CRL with the delays once the contract was commenced.

            Yes, it took time for National to be convinced that the CRL was a good idea. The government formally agreed with the Auckland Council to go ahead with the CRL around 2014. The agreement with the Council meant the govt would pay 50%.

            The construction contracts were completed around 2015 and work started in 2016. It was expected to take 5 years to do the whole job. Instead it will take a minimum of 8. I personally think it will take 10 years, given that the boring machine has yet to be delivered to NZ.

            What do you think that the Albert St retailers have been complaining about? It is the fact they have had to suffer disruption for twice as long as they were originally told. As a consequence some of them went broke.

    • KJT 12.3

      Even a cursory Google this morning, showed up the myriads of problems with PPP, projects all around the world.

      Some of the worst, have been with contractors who were, supposedly, experienced, like Serco in the UK.

      Almost all PPP, projects have ended up costing more than other models.

      In New Zealand, we also have the issue of lack of skills and competency in the State agencies managing it. With the deliberate, " shrinking of the State sector" in years of privatisation mania.

      The MOW, may have been famous for shovel leaners. But now we have simply transferred the inefficiency to invisible ticket clippers, in back offices.

      • JO 12.3.1

        And the famous shovel leaners of the MOW will be there for all those shovel-ready projects – as if it's been decreed, cometh the need, cometh the deed.

      • Dennis Frank 12.3.2

        The MOW, may have been famous for shovel leaners. But now we have simply transferred the inefficiency to invisible ticket clippers, in back offices.

        Which hits the nail on the head. Everyone agreed socialism had discredited itself via bureaucratic bungling & bloating back then. Now everyone will be obliged to agree that the alternative we switched to has failed due to the various reasons given (bureaucratic bungling being the common factor).

        Caveat: someone may be able to identify ppp models that have actually worked according to plan. Analysis must then identify the factors present that weren't in the other models – if we are to proceed with usage confidently by means of trial & error.

    • left_forward 12.4

      Haha, right Wayne good try- the neolib / PPP / LATE / privatisation stuff was meant to be, according to the RW rhetoric, significantly better, not as bad as it used to be under the ol' MOW. If there was ever any public value in adding private profits on top of the cost of public works, it was to be that PPPs were able to give price certainty, efficiency, and risk management.

      Now you are defending this disaster by desperately calling equivalence with the ol' days!

      Rational dissonance!

  13. Wensleydale 13

    Can you trust the private sector to not attempt to enrich themselves by cutting corners wherever possible? Probably not. ("It's not enough that we're being paid millions of dollars to do something! We'll use cheap labour and substandard materials to do it, because… money!") If the profit motive is their only real consideration, as opposed to, you know, building a decent fucking road for the taxpayers of the nation to drive on… then yeah, that seems to be a problem right out of the gate. The ONLY thing you can trust the private sector to do in situations like this, is to make a ton of money for themselves. It's pretty much their sole reason for being.

    • Ad 13.1

      If you want the work done you haven't got any choice.

      We make 5-6% margin if we're lucky on the big jobs if we're lucky, which is a couple of points above inflation.

      And no, profit isn't the only consideration, but it comes in handy if you want to get paid.

  14. Damn. The Herald published this at 6:15 pm today (26 May)

    Almost 100 redundancies proposed at Transmission Gully

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    The Invisible Man: Where has the NZ Council of Trade Unions been during the Covid-19 Pandemic? Why hasn’t its current president, Richard Wagstaff (above) become a household name during the pandemic? Up there with Ashley Bloomfield, Michael Baker, Shaun Hendy and Siouxsie Wiles? WHERE HAVE THE UNIONS BEEN during the Covid-19 ...
    5 days ago
  • “Go West, Young Virus”
    The Auckland Coronavirus Outbreak potters along, not helped by the perception that the Government is disturbingly enthusiastic about “managing the virus” or loosening the border. Health Minister Andrew Little said today he envisages 90% vaccination rates (which we don’t have) eventually leading to 5,000 cases in Auckland a week… ...
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #41, 2021
    How to fill a glass and thereby drink— from a fire hose So far this year, New Research has published listings for 3,291 papers concerning climate change from one aspect or another. Each edition includes two dozen or so articles describing freshly and directly observed effects of global waming. These ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: UKanians supports cuts
    The Guardian reports a study on emissions reduction policy from the UK, which found that UKanians overwhelmingly support stronger action than their government: The UK public backs a carbon tax on polluting industries, higher levies on flying and grants for heat pumps in order to tackle the climate crisis, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Media Link: “A View from Afar” on PRC-Taiwan tensions.
    In this week’s podcast Selwyn Manning and I discuss the upsurge in tensions between the PRC and Taiwan and what are the backgrounds to and implications of them. You can check the conversation out here. ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Labour’s 2023 election manifesto
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Don't Blame James.
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    6 days ago
  • The “Pulpit of Strewth”
    Barry Soper is one half of one of one of those right-wing husband-and-wife duos in which the Herald seems to specialise. In today’s issue, he has a piece that doesn’t quite reach the heights (or depths) of a Hoskings-style anti-government hostility, but which does provide an interesting example of the ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the epic fails of Kris Faafoi
    Ever since Winston Peters first breathed life into this government in 2018, its own branding has been all about social justice and how we all need to be “kind” to each other. Somehow, Kris Faafoi must have missed the memo. His performance in the immigration portfolio (in particular) has neither ...
    6 days ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 14 October 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Mike Treen, Advocate, Unite Union “Please continue your incredible work compiling these news digests. As someone operating in the fields of advocacy for workers and the broader social justice areas it is invaluable to be able to check what is happening in the media relating to the issues I have to deal ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    6 days ago
  • Overconfident Idiots: Why Incompetence Breeds Certainty
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    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: Abandoning ambition
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Many e-cigarette vaping liquids contain toxic chemicals: new Australian research
    Alexander Larcombe, Telethon Kids Institute   From October 1, it’s been illegal to buy e-liquids containing nicotine without a prescription from a doctor everywhere in Australia, except South Australia. But vaping with nicotine-free e-liquids is not illegal in Australia (though in some jurisdictions the e-cigarette devices themselves are illegal). Vaping ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Young adults worldwide have blunt message for governments: ‘We don’t trust you.’
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    1 week ago
  • Making ‘Second Age’ Hobbits Work: Amazon Series Speculation
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    1 week ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 13 October 2021
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    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • The Data and Statistics Bill and the OIA
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Graham Adams: The debate over the $55 million media fund erupts again
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    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Multiple sclerosis: the link with earlier infection just got stronger – new study
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Hit hard by the pandemic, researchers expect its impacts to linger for years
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Covid and free speech
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    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • “Angry Blowhards”
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    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Looking Forward To 2022.
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    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Covid mandates, and the Covid pill
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    1 week ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 12 October 2021
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    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Legal Beagle: A submission on the COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill (No 2)
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    1 week ago
  • Hard News: More tales from the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme
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    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Real action requires government
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Not doing our bit
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Delta’s Week Of Doom.
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    1 week ago
  • Urgent measures needed to allow the safe re-opening of Auckland schools
    Dr Rachel Webb, Dr Jin Russell, Dr Pip Anderson, Dr Emma Best, Dr Alison Leversha and Dr Subha Rajanaidu* In this blog we describe the range of urgent measures that are needed to facilitate a safe return to schools in Auckland and other regions of the country where there is ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Children live online more than ever – we need better definitions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ scree...
    Kathryn MacCallum, University of Canterbury and Cheryl Brown, University of Canterbury   The pandemic has fundamentally altered every part of our lives, not least the time we spend on digital devices. For young people in particular, the blurred line between recreational and educational screen time presents new challenges we are ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Putting Aotearoa on the map: New Zealand has changed its name before, why not again?
    Claire Breen, University of Waikato; Alexander Gillespie, University of Waikato; Robert Joseph, University of Waikato, and Valmaine Toki, University of Waikato   Our names are a critical part of our identity. They are a personal and social anchor tying us to our families, our culture, our history and place in ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Yes, of course festival organisers will follow the law on vaccination
    On Tuesday 5 October the New Zealand Government announced that proof of COVID-19 vaccination would be a requirement to attend large events this summer.It took a few days for event owners to absorb the information and understand the implications. By the end of the working week, most of the big ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 11 October 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Jim Hubbard, Cartoonist “NZ Politics daily is a go to for cartoonists, or should be.  Political reporting enmasse like this gives cartoonists and political junkies a smorgasbord to get their teeth into. Essential and I daresay vital reading for those who care about the future of NZ.” Anyone can sign ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • 2021 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #41
    Listing of articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, October 3, 2021 through Sat, October 9, 2021 The following articles sparked above average interest during the week: VFX Artist Reveals how Many Solar Panels are Needed to Power the ENTIRE World, Will you fall ...
    1 week ago
  • The Night of Parmenides: accepted
    A bit of good news on the writing front. My 3900-word short story, The Night of Parmenides, has been accepted by SpecFicNZ for their upcoming Aftermath anthology, to be published in early 2022. This is my first published short story to be explicitly set in my home-town of ...
    1 week ago
  • The Virus, the Politician, and the gang member
    . . . . . References Newshub Nation: Gang leader Harry Tam denies Winston Peters’ claims he helped infected woman breach COVID boundary, sparking Northland lockdown Te Ao News: ‘Apologise!’ Mob leader slams Peters’ Covid, Northland allegations Stuff media: Covid-19 – Search for contact of Northland case ‘extraordinarily frustrating’ CNBC: ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Rapid kits, responses, and openings: watch motivations, or catch something worse with Covid…
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    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Bollocks
    It would appear we have an unwelcome presence in town.Positive wastewater results had been detected in Hamilton and Palmerston North on October 6 and 7. There are 26 cases in hospital, seven of these are in ICU or high dependency units (HDU).One of the people in hospital is in Palmerston ...
    2 weeks ago
  • World-leading?
    So, the Herald has found someone, as we can see from today’s issue, who is able to explain why we should not claim to have been “world-leading” in our response to the covid epidemic. It seems that we have been kidding ourselves when we celebrated our low total number of ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Why Is Labour So Frightened Of “Mr Stick”?
    Force Multiplier: Why are Ardern and her ministers so loathe to put a bit of stick about? The “emergency” legislation eventually enacted to authorise the measures needed to combat the Covid-19 pandemic failed to confer upon the New Zealand Government the unequivocal authority that subsequent events showed to be so ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The Need for an Updated Strategic Approach to Covid-19 Control in Aotearoa NZ
    Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Jennifer Summers, Prof Michael Baker* The NZ Government appears to have drifted into an unclear strategic approach to Covid-19 control. In this blog we outline one potential way forward: a regional strategic approach that considers “regional suppression” and “regional elimination”. To maximise the success of this ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Mairon: The Actual Source for the Blasted Name
    Long-time Tolkien geeks – or those bemused enough to run across a certain internet phenomenon – might know that ‘Sauron’ is not actually the real name of the Lord of the Ring. ‘Sauron’ is just an abusive Elvish nickname, meaning ‘the Abhorred.’ Sauron’s actual name, at least originally, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Forced Re-entry
    The elimination of Covid strategy is not so much defeated but changing circumstances means that policy has to evolve. Our elimination stance was never sustainable or at least it would not be until the rest of the world also eliminated Covid-19. Elimination of the virus was a strategy we adopted ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago

  • Health reforms bill introduced to Parliament
    Legislation central to fixing the health system has been introduced into Parliament by Health Minister Andrew Little. “Rebuilding the public health system is critical to laying the foundations for a better future for all New Zealanders,” Andrew Little said. “We need a system that works for everybody, no matter who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • NCEA and NZ Scholarship Exams to proceed
    NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship exams will proceed, including in areas where Alert Level 3 has been in place, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health have been working together to ensure exams can be managed in a safe ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Limited change to onsite learning – for senior secondary students – in Level 3 regions
    Onsite learning at schools in Level 3 regions will start from next week for senior secondary school students to prepare for end of year exams, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Secondary schools in these regions will start onsite learning for years 11 to 13 on Tuesday 26 October,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Guaranteed MIQ spots for health workers
    The Government is changing the way managed isolation is co-ordinated for health workers, guaranteeing 300 spots a month for the health and disability sector. “Our world-class workforce is vital in rebuilding the health system and dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Andrew Little said. “Whether it’s bringing doctors or nurses in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Govt helps to protect New Zealanders digital identities
    Making it easier for New Zealanders to safely prove who they are digitally and control who has access to that information is one step closer to becoming law, Minister for Digital Economy and Communications, Dr David Clark said. The Digital Identity Services Trust Framework Bill passed its first reading today ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Red tape cut to boost housing supply
    New building intensification rules will mean up to three homes of up to three storeys can be built on most sites without the need for a resource consent New rules will result in at least 48,200 and as many as 105,500 new homes built in next 5-8 years Bringing forward ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Nationwide business partnership grows conservation jobs
    Further Government support for New Zealand’s longest-standing sustainable business organisation will open up opportunities for dozens of workers impacted by COVID-19 to jump start a nature-based career, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. Partnering to Plant Aotearoa, led by the Sustainable Business Network (SBN), is a collaboration with iwi, hapū and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand increases climate aid contribution
    Government commits $1.3 billion over four years to support countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change At least 50 percent of funding will go to the Pacific as it adapts to the impacts of climate change The increase means New Zealand now meets its fair share of global ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Super Māori turnout for Super Saturday
    Māori have put a superb effort into mobilising to get vaccinated over Super Saturday, with thousands rolling up their sleeves to protect themselves, their whānau and communities from COVID-19, Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare says. “It was absolutely outstanding that 21,702 Māori got vaccinated on this one day alone with 10,825 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Language assists Tagata Niue to thrive
    Despite the uncertain times we face with the challenges of COVID-19, our cultural knowledge, values and language remain constant, helping us progress towards goals in life, said  the Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio. This year, the Niuean community in New Zealand decided on the theme, “Kia tupuolaola e ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand Ambassador to France announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Caroline Bilkey as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to France and the OECD. “Aotearoa New Zealand and France have a shared history, and enjoy a strong, collaborative partnership. This includes a strong trade and economic relationship, a shared commitment to support ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt welcomes nurses’ pay settlement
    The Government is welcoming news that a new employment agreement for nurses working in public hospitals has been settled. “I am very pleased that the hard work of the Nurses Organisation and District Health Boards has led to a settlement that both can support,” Health Minister Andrew Little said today. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Judge of the High Court appointed
    Māori Land Court Judge Layne Harvey has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Harvey graduated with an LLB from the University of Auckland in 1992 and commenced employment as a law clerk with Simpson Grierson in Auckland that same year. In 1997 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Kiwis to have their say on plan to reduce waste
    New Zealanders are invited to have their say on proposals for a new waste strategy and options for new waste legislation. “Reducing waste is one of the issues all New Zealanders – especially younger Kiwis - care deeply about,” Environment Minister David Parker said today “New Zealand is one of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Next steps in action plan for indigenous rights kicks off
    Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson has today meet with more than 30 national Māori organisations in an online hui, kicking off the process to develop a plan for New Zealand to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration). The previous National Government signed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Iwi-led housing solutions build homes for the future
    Whai Kāinga, Whai Oranga will open on 20 October, to receive applications for investment through Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga – Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and Te Puni Kōkiri The $730m fund combines investment from Budget 2021 ($380m) and the Māori Infrastructure Fund ($350m) - the largest investment seen ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • E whakarite ana Te Kāwanatanga i ngā tūāpapa mō twhakamaumahara ki Te Petihana Reo Māori ka t...
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    6 days ago
  • E whakarite ana Te Kāwanatanga i ngā tūāpapa mō tewhakamaumahara ki Te Petihana Reo Māori ka t...
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government green lights rapid antigen testing
    Some of the country’s largest businesses have put in an order for 300,000 approved rapid antigen tests for their workforce, after working at pace with the Government on a new scheme unveiled by Associate Minister of Health and Research, Science and Innovation Ayesha Verrall. A coalition of around 25 businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government lays foundations as Māori Language Petition commemorations take shape for 2022
    Taiaha hā! Taiaha hā! - Te kairangi o te reo hoki mai ki taku tikanga, ki taku taumata, ki taku reo, ki taku ao. He reo whai tikanga, he reo whai mana, he reo whai tangata koe. Ki te whāngaihia te reo Māori he ao tēnā, ki te kore he ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major contract awarded to power NZ Battery investigation
    A consortium of specialist firms has been awarded a major contract to advance the New Zealand Battery Project’s feasibility investigation into a pumped hydro storage scheme at Lake Onslow, the Minister of Energy and Resources Megan Woods has announced. “This contract represents a major milestone as it begins the targeted ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Additional Funding for Foodbanks and Social Agencies
    The Government has approved $13.55m from the Covid Response and Recovery Fund to support foodbanks and social sector agencies, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni has announced. “Foodbanks and social agencies across Auckland are doing a great job supporting their communities and the Government is today providing them with more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Generating a new generation of guardians
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Parts of Waikato, Northland staying at Alert Level 3
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    1 week ago
  • New courthouses for Tauranga and Whanganui
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    1 week ago
  • Speech on the launch of the consultation on the development of the Emissions Reduction Plan
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Opportunity to shape NZ’s first Emissions Reduction Plan
    The Government is inviting New Zealanders to inform the country’s first Emissions Reduction Plan with the release of a consultation document containing a range of policy ideas to decrease the country’s emissions, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced today. The Emissions Reduction Plan will set ...
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    1 week ago
  • Convention on Biological Diversity COP 15, Virtual High-Level Segment
    Kia ora koutou katoa. I want to thank China for hosting this critically important Conference of the Parties. We are all here for the same reason. Biodiversity loss, and the ongoing degradation of nature, are accelerating at an unprecedented rate. These losses are causing irreparable harm to our planet’s ability ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government books show resilient and strong economy
    The end of year audited Crown accounts released today show the Government’s health led approach to the COVID-19 pandemic has protected New Zealand’s economy. “On almost every indicator the accounts show that the New Zealand economy has performed better than forecast, even as recently as the Budget in May. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • ​​​​​​​Health system is ready for assisted-dying law
    The health system is ready for the implementation of the End of Life Choice Act when it takes effect next month, making assisted dying legal in New Zealand, Health Minister Andrew Little said today. The law received 65.1 per cent support in a public referendum held alongside last year’s general ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Taking a lead in threat to curious kea
    Reducing lead poisoning of kea, the world’s only alpine parrot and one-time New Zealand bird of the year winner, is the goal of a two year project being backed by the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says.  “Lead poisoning is a serious threat to this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government provides certainty to working holiday and seasonal visa holders and employers for summer
    The Government will extend Working Holiday visas and Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) work visas for six months to provide more certainty to employers and visa holders over the coming summer period, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi has announced. “This offers employers and visa holders the certainty they’ve been asking for going ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Lower card fees good for businesses, consumers
    The Bill to help lower the cost of the fees retailers get charged for offering contactless and debit payment options is another step closer to becoming law, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Dr David Clark said today. “COVID-19 has changed the way we spend our money, with online and contactless ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Mandatory vaccination for two workforces
    High-risk workers in the health and disability sector to be fully vaccinated by 1 December, 2021, and to receive their first dose by 30 October School and early learning staff and support people who have contact with children and students to be fully vaccinated by 1 January, 2022, and to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Fund allows more Pacific community led vaccinations
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