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VSM – why it needs to go.

Written By: - Date published: 8:35 am, August 2nd, 2018 - 62 comments
Categories: act, community democracy, democracy under attack, education, greens, labour, nz first, roger douglas, tertiary education - Tags: , , , ,

In 2010 the ACT Party with the help of National managed to pass a piece of legislation that damaged student democracy, and blatantly ignored public opinion. Voluntary Student Membership or VSM sounds like a horrendous STI, and its impact has been to screw student democracy.

Prior to 2010 students had a choice as to whether membership of their students’ associations at tertiary institutions would be universal or voluntary. This was due to New Zealand First who in coalition with National in 1998, could see the contribution democratically elected students’ associations make. In 1999 all campuses had a vote on whether students’ association membership should be universal or voluntary. In the University sector all but Auckland and Waikato voted to retain universal membership, and Waikato voted to return to universal membership shortly.

Students’ Associations provided democratic representation at all levels of tertiary institutions. They represented students who faced difficulties with the institution and provided support for dealing with agencies like Studylink. They lobbied institutions for welfare services like foodbanks and hardship grants, and in many cases helped provide these services directly.

When ACT put forward the bill to make all students’ associations voluntary, the National Party said it would listen to submission at select committee and then make a decision. Over 90% of submissions were against this bill sponsored by Roger Douglas. Students from around the country highlighting importance of democratic representation.

More of Roger's harmful policies

Roger Douglas did the same to Students’ Associations in 2010 as he did to the NZ economy in the 1980s. In both cases his polices have done lasting damage.

Recently on my blog I have been talking about my time on the students’ association exec. Looking back much was achieved. Students’ Associations provide strong representation on campus and valuable services to students. The student movement struggled for nearly 30 years to end crippling student fees, and in 2017 a Labour led government was elected on the promise they would do just this. Students’ associations continue to play an important role. Sadly after half a decade of VSM many of them are now struggling to survive.

The legislation NZ First got National to pass in 1998 putting the question of membership of Students’ Associations to a democratic vote of all students work well. NZ First, now in coalition with Labour and the Greens should unlike national, listen to the 90% of submissions on the current law and repeal Roger Douglas’s 2010 VSM legislation.

By Nick Kelly

62 comments on “VSM – why it needs to go. ”

  1. Gosman 1

    If you are correct and student Associations achieve a lot then there should be no problem attracting members. I am not sure why you would worry about forcing people to join an organisation that gives them lots of benefits.

    Your argument would equally apply to membership of ANY Trade Union so does this mean you support compulsory Trade Union membership as well if it is accompanied by a similar democratic vote of all workers in a business or sector?

    • ianmac 1.1

      A hard up student would not sign up because it costs money. By the time an issue did become urgent and relevant, there would be too few to fight it because the union would hardly exist. Many unions are sort of dormant but arise when there is an issue. Teachers are very non militant and most of the time branches have trouble gaining a quorum. About every 20 years the dragon stirs.
      Everyone should belong to a union. (The National Party is a Union which jealously guards its interests sometimes with devious actions. Dirty Tricks?)

      • Gosman 1.1.1

        The National party does not force people to join it.

        • lprent 1.1.1.1

          From what I have heard the membership fee is the cost of raffle ticket – about 2 dollars. And that is how most ‘members’ are signed up.

          And they have no objection to people buying raffle tickets for others. Usually you know from the type of junk mail they start to pester you with.

          Unfortunately that doesn’t pay for real services. Unlike the National Party which tends to rely on few wealthy donors who pay for the services to themselves (and run raffles to get “members” as a figleaf), student unions are real world organizations trying to provide a widespread service.

          Of course that could be just a rumour. Albeit a remarkably persistent one.

          But in any event, if university students were able to sign up for a two dollar raffle ticket to get free junk email then I suspect that they would do so.

        • DS 1.1.1.2

          Wake me up when the National Party finds itself as a service-provider for 20,000 students.

    • DS 1.2

      Ever heard of the free-rider problem in economics?

      VSM is basically like trying to run a government based off voluntary taxation.

      • Brwildered 1.2.1

        Went to a number of universities found most student union where simply there as first rung of the lefty ladder In politics, big waste of time and more of a left “””” fest

    • Draco T Bastard 1.3

      Student Associations are a lot like unions in that they provide essential services that are almost never seen or felt by the people in them – until they no longer exist. At that point we see wages and conditions deteriorating but nobody connects it to the loss of the unions/student associations.

      The truth goes the other way. The rise of unions and student associations saw a rise in wages and conditions in both places. It’s the better conditions that come with being a democracy rather than a top down dictatorial entity such as a business.

  2. millsy 2

    I actually favour a system in which we have student ‘councils’ that do the same things that associations do, only you are not a ‘member’ of them. Seems less messy.

    In any case, VSM is just another part of the commodification of tertiry study,in which the life and culture is sucked out of our universities and the only say that students have is ‘if you don’t like it, vote with your feet and go elsewhere’.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 2.1

      Strongly agree re commodification of the tertiary sector.

      https://jacobinmag.com/2017/08/grade-inflation-corporate-university

      Neoliberalism is recognized as the dominant political and economic philosophy across the globe, and new managerialist, corporatized practices, as its “organizational arms,” are ubiquitous within the higher education sector worldwide.

      “Do You Want Fries With That?”: The McDonaldization of University Education—Some Critical Reflections on Nursing Higher Education

      http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2158244018787229

    • Ed1 2.2

      I am not sure whether we want a “less messy” system – if it meant a student “Council” appointed by the University, or with no ability to levy fees, it could not “so the same thing that associations do” – would they have any power, or any authority?
      You do however raise an important point – receiving legislative power to levy all students should needs perhaps some philosophical reason to pass a bill. I believe life and culture is what it is about – students should be joining an institution of learning that goes beyond the narrow confines of courses in which they are enrolled – they should be able to represent their own interests, but they should also realise that what they are learning relates to a world around them, and that they have a place in that world as part of a generation that will be in a position to make decisions that change that world – for many, through becoming eligible to vote, but hopefully also for calling out wrongdoing, hypocrisy, and abdication of stated ideals of a university. Let us at lest have one time in the life of our idealistic students when they feel that ideals do matter, that collectively they can make a difference, that some traditions should be supported, and that there is more to life than . . . ..
      What reason do others have for giving effectively the power to tax students, and what restrictions should such an association have on its activities?
      Are student associations in any way equivalent to those organisations such as professional associations that retain similar (or arguably more coercive) powers? Should the law society become a voluntary body without power to regulate its members?

  3. R.P Mcmurphy 3

    The people who destabilised the student unions were mad ideologues who did not care about anything except their own stupid ideas. They tried to bugger everything just to justify their inanity.

    • Phil 3.1

      mad ideologues who did not care about anything except their own stupid ideas. They tried to bugger everything just to justify their inanity.

      That also describes the people who I saw run for student union positions
      (hashtag anecdote is not data).

      • ropata 3.1.1

        Sure student councils are colourful but the important thing is they are a powerful voice representing all students, and they can mobilise a lot of people if necessary

        • Phil 3.1.1.1

          If you’re using ‘colourful’ as a euphemism for ‘inexperienced groups often completely unaware of basic governance oversight principles, and exposed to a wide array of risks without any real robust mitigant processes in place’, then I agree with every single part of your comment 100%.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1.1

            Sounds like a really good place for inexperienced people, such as students, to get a better understanding of politics then.

  4. Anne 4

    That must have been Roger Douglas’ last hurrah under a neoliberal/corporate backed banner. He retired permanently from politics in 2011 since when he must have had a bit of an epiphany because last year he was reported to have said he was backing a Labour led government again.

  5. Tuppence Shrewsbury 5

    Still trying to win the war you lost?

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/17/hiroo-onoda-japanese-soldier-dies

    Student unions are suffering because they are stacked with incompetents, the majority of whom then normally go on to the labour party and sometimes wind up running countries.

  6. Chris T 6

    The important bit of your article is here

    “In the University sector all but Auckland and Waikato voted to retain universal membership, and Waikato voted to return to universal membership shortly.”

    Students democratically voted they didn’t want compulsory Union membership.

    Why do you want to go against the democratic choice of students?

    As and aside, I find it funny how when this topic is brought up the anti-VSM people have this severe aversion to using the word compulsory and keep using the weasle word “universal”

    • McFlock 6.1

      Because it wasn’t compulsory. If someone had genuine objections to membership, they could opt-out.

      And the situation we have now is that the democratic choice of students has no power – VSM is forced upon them no matter how they would vote.

      • Chris T 6.1.1

        And it is opt in now

        What is the difference?

        It is the same argument as the religion in schools argument

        I personally think that should be made opt-in. You presumably disagree and want to keep opt-out?

        • McFlock 6.1.1.1

          The difference is that there’s little to no direct incentive for people to sign up for a service that they receive anyway. Even if declining membership rates will affect that service in the future.

          Whereas if they sign in automatically and then have to expend effort to leave, only the ones who give a shit will expend that effort.

          And wtf has the religion in schools argument got to do with anything?

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      Students democratically voted they didn’t want compulsory Union membership.

      Two student bodies did and then one went back.

      Why do you want to go against the democratic choice of students?

      The choice was actually taken away from them by central government in a dictatorial manner.

      • JohnSelway 6.2.1

        Um no – it was taken away because it violates the NZ Bill of Rights

        • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1.1

          [citation needed]

          • JohnSelway 6.2.1.1.1

            Well, let me put it another way. I don’t know if that was specifically the reason but it does violate the BoR which guarantees freedom of association

            • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1.1.1.1

              Freedom of association was maintained. You didn’t have to study at that particular tertiary institution but in doing so you do actually do become a student that associates with the other students.

  7. JohnSelway 7

    Freedom of association is an important freedom and compulsory student membership actually violates the NZ Bill of Righs

    • DS 7.1

      Except that the old system wasn’t compulsory. It was universal, with a provision to opt-out (I actually signed off the last opt-out request at Otago).

      • JohnSelway 7.1.1

        Some years ago I opted out from Massey but I still had pay each year.

        So yes you could “opt-out”….sort of…

        • DS 7.1.1.1

          You paid because otherwise you get the Free Rider problem. You benefited from the existence of services that would not otherwise exist. Again, VSM is basically trying to run a government based off voluntary taxation.

          Meanwhile, nothing was stopping you opting out.

    • McFlock 7.2

      Well, if that were the case they wouldn’t have had to amend the law in 2010.

      • JohnSelway 7.2.1

        Bill of Rights specifically states freedom of association.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for associations/unions not for them to be compulsory

        • McFlock 7.2.1.1

          Between depending on institution service agreements for income and the freeloader problem, making them opt-in is killing them by a thousand cuts.

          But if universal membership were against the NZBoR, this would have been unnecessary.

          Nobody forced you to join a specific students’ association. Even if you hadn’t been able to opt out as you did (cry me a river about your hundred bucks or whatever which probably went to charity anyway), nobody forced you to study at that institution. That was your choice.

          • JohnSelway 7.2.1.1.1

            So what your saying is that I can get fucked and not study at my local uni I I don’t want to join the union?

            People have many reasons to not want to join a union. If a union started getting right-wing or religious I don’t want to find them or be a part of it

            • Draco T Bastard 7.2.1.1.1.1

              So what your saying is that I can get fucked and not study at my local uni I I don’t want to join the union?

              By going to that tertiary institution you become a student that associates with the other students and you did so voluntarily. At that point you owe it to those other students to put some effort into that association.

              If a union started getting right-wing or religious I don’t want to find them or be a part of it

              That would only happen if it was democratically decided to do so which would probably never happen.

              • JohnSelway

                Actually you don’t owe it to anyone if, like I did, actually studied abroad and didn’t associate with anyone.

                And the point I was making was that of a union started going religious people of other religions or atheists shouldn’t have to support it. Whether it is likely or not is irrelevant. It’s a hypothetical

            • McFlock 7.2.1.1.1.2

              Does the BoR require every service you desire to be available locally?

              Is there some legislative requirement that every school and university within 10km of your residence fully complies with your political and religious ideals?

              What makes you so special?

              • JohnSelway

                Im no more special than anyone else.

                Look man, I don’t get the attitude you are hitting me with – I support unions etc but I support the greater laws of freedom to associate, speak and the like

                • McFlock

                  Freedom to associate doesn’t mean that you get to choose the terms on which someone associates with you.

                  If I want to socialise with particular people, I know I’ll also have to put up with their annoying partners from time to time. Otherwise I can choose to not associate with both people.

                  And the attitude is because while you might support unions, you’re spouting the exact arguments that ACT on campus used to weaken them.

                  • JohnSelway

                    No that’s right but it gives me the freedom to chose whether I not I want to join, participate or fund an organization or association based on its policies or beliefs.

                    If a stupid union started doing things I was unhappy with I can withdraw support and others can join or vice versa.

                    It might have been ACTs idea but it is still in accordance with the Bill of Rights

                    • McFlock

                      Nobody forced you to join in the first place, any more than I’m forced to associate with my friend’s annoying spouse.

                      But a consequence of my choice to not associate with that spouse is that I need to not associate so much with my friend, if at all.

                    • JohnSelway

                      Indeed – so compulsory union membership or student association membership conflicts with the Bill of Rights.

                      I’m not quite what you are arguing for or against

                    • McFlock

                      my friend is the university
                      my friend’s spouse is the students’ association.

                      If I associate with my friend, I have to associate with their spouse.
                      But I’m not forced to associate with my friend, so I’m not forced to associate with their spouse.

                      No conflict with BoR.

                    • JohnSelway

                      Would be interesting to see the challenged in court actually using that example because I understand the point you are making but wonder what legal basis/precedent has been set

                    • McFlock

                      The fuckers tried everything back in the day. When democracy didn’t work, they needed to change the law to suit themselves.

                      Says it all really.

    • SPC 7.3

      It’s not compulsory to go to university and be a student.

      And if one does, to become a professional, then one becomes (no opt in or out) and be part of the professional body’s code of behaviour, or be struck off – doctor, lawyer, teacher etc.

      Also as a citizen you have no opt out, and you pay tax accordingly. A university is just a subset of this.

  8. Stuart Munro 8

    Not sure the student associations can compare themselves to unions. In my time they were characterized by self-aggrandizing individuals who inspired universal apathy.

    • McFlock 8.1

      I’ve known one or two workplace unions like that, though 🙂

      But the thing about my old students’ association was that in my time there we lobbied for and got blind marking of exams (the student name wasn’t on the paper above the marks tally if the student so desired), formalised assessment of papers that included student opinions, a food bank, lockers on campus, and a variety of other support services for students. None of which were restricted to the membership rather than all students.

      Fuck the student politicians. The ones who really made a difference were the advocates, the coordinators, the admins – most of whom were part-time staff paid minimally.

      The biggest change I observed from VSM is that student advocacy, from issues with papers to more strategic issues like divisional restructuring, has taken a back seat and is largely delivered as a supplicant to the university on the occasions it does happen. Because if the association pisses off the institution, the service contract takes a hit, just to send a wee message about the power dynamic at play. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

      • Ed1 8.1.1

        I raised a few issues above which have been at least partly answered in the 7 and 8 post numbers. I see a student association as acting partly as an advocacy group for student interests (fees, loans, services from the university etc), and also partly as a proxy for the professional associations that many students will find themselves members of later in life. I recall student associations speaking out on a range of issues, including academic freedom, the place of universities in our society, and also on moral issues such as ensuring that students are informed on issues such as drugs, alcohol, rape (prevention and related laws), foreign affairs, integrity of government. rental laws and requirements, human rights, employment law, etc . . .

        Some of these are of course directly of interest to students, but many are a-political. While Student Associations are often linked with the left of politics, I know there are a number of students who come from the dark side and remain there while contributing to the affairs of the association.

        As far as legislation to bring back strong / compulsory with opt-out associations, there will never be support from some who see no problems with legislative recognition of compulsory associations for doctors, lawyers and accountants – can they be justified?

  9. Jum 9

    I submitted against this bill back then, in the secure knowledge, apart from researching and finding the bill’s inadequacies and separatism, that whatever Roger Douglas (and his fan Roger Kerr) wanted to do was never for the benefit of all New Zealanders, only a few.

    He was a nat party construct, knowing that nats were on the political wane and invented to pretend empathy for the low wage workers and beneficiaries of New Zealand, to get into power again and continue nat’s destructive people policies. The proof of that was always in the eventuating act party.

  10. Philj 10

    Compulsory unionism no. Freeloaders Benefiting from union negotioations, no.

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    This morning Health Minister Andrew Little effectively unveiled Labour's 2023 election manifesto: 5,000 cases a week in Auckland alone: Thousands of people will be infected with Covid-19 every week even with vaccination levels at 90 per cent, and hospitals face being overwhelmed once restrictions are eased and borders opened, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Don't Blame James.
    Emissions Impossible! So, don’t be too hard on poor James Shaw. His pathetic little To-Do list is, indeed, totally inadequate to the crisis. But, you know what? He’ll be lucky to get half of the items ticked-off. There’s just too many entrenched interests – not the least of whom are ...
    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
    This is a re-post from the Thinking is Power website maintained by Melanie Trecek-King where she regularly writes about many aspects of critical thinking in an effort to provide accessible and engaging critical thinking information to the general public. Please see this overview to find links to other reposts from Thinking is Power. ...
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: Abandoning ambition
    When Labour was first elected to power in 2017, they promised us "[an] ambitious plan to take real action on climate change". Four years and a lot of foot-dragging later, they've finally released that plan. And its not what was promised. Where to begin? Firstly, they've taken the Climate Change ...
    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
    7 days ago
  • Young adults worldwide have blunt message for governments: ‘We don’t trust you.’
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Karin Kirk Elizabeth Marks describes herself as “a psychologist who works on difficult problems.” Her past research aimed at helping people cope with challenging health conditions, apt training, it appears, for taking on climate change issues. A few years ago, she altered ...
    1 week ago
  • Making ‘Second Age’ Hobbits Work: Amazon Series Speculation
    Time for a good old-fashioned fandom furore. The Tolkien fandom hasn’t had a proper one of those since the Great Nudity Scandal of October 2020… so it clearly must be time to pontificate from on-high about a television series we still know vanishingly little about. This time the subject ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 13 October 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Dr Lara Greaves, Political scientist, University of Auckland: “I love the NZ Politics Daily emails as they help me to keep on top of current events. It’s incredibly easy to skim through and follow the links. I really appreciate these as it means that I am exposed to a ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • The Data and Statistics Bill and the OIA
    The government introduced a new Data and Statistics Bill today to modernise and replace the 45-year old Statistics Act. Part of the Bill re-enacts the existing confidentiality regime (with one exception), which while a secrecy clause isn't an especially controversial one. Another part is aimed at removing "outdated" (inconvenient) limits ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Graham Adams: The debate over the $55 million media fund erupts again
    RNZ’s Mediawatch and a video clip viewed 42,000 times keep the topic of the Public Interest Journalism Fund fizzing. Graham Adams reports.   A week ago, the NZ Taxpayers’ Union posted a short video clip of the exchange in Parliament between Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins in which the National ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Multiple sclerosis: the link with earlier infection just got stronger – new study
    Scott Montgomery, UCL For most of the time since the first description of multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1868, the causes of this disabling disease have remained uncertain. Genes have been identified as important, which is why having other family members with MS is associated with a greater risk of developing ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Hit hard by the pandemic, researchers expect its impacts to linger for years
    Sora Park, University of Canberra; Jennie Scarvell, University of Canberra, and Linda Botterill, University of Canberra   The impacts of COVID-19 on Australian university researchers are likely to have consequences for research productivity and quality for many years to come. According to an online survey of academics at the University ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Covid and free speech
    by Don Franks Some commentators have likened the struggle against Covid 19 to the world war experience. To those of us not alive in those times, that comparison can only be academic. What the anti virus battle reminds me of much more is an industrial strike. In my twenties and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • “Angry Blowhards”
    In today’s Herald, their excellent columnist, Simon Wilson, takes to task those “shouty” people whom he further describes as “angry blowhards”. They are those whose prime reaction to the pandemic is anger – an anger they seamlessly (and perhaps unwittingly) transfer from the virus to the government. The basis for ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Looking Forward To 2022.
    Future Tense? Okay, so that’s where we are in 2022. Living in a New Zealand where all the usual rules of politics once again apply. And, guess what? Jacinda’s government, once again, isn’t doing very well – not very well at all.LET’S PLAY A GAME. Let’s pretend we’re half-way through ...
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Covid mandates, and the Covid pill
    The cliché about “living with Covid” will not mean life as we’ve known it, Jim. Vaccination is fast becoming a condition of employment, and also a requirement to participate in aspects of social life, such as travel, attending bars, cafes, and concerts etc. These protective measures enjoy a high level ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 12 October 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Prof Alan Bollard, Professor of Practice at the School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington; Chair of the Infrastructure Commission: “NZ Politics Daily” provides a great public service – a quick and unbiased way to check policy announcements and analysis every morning.” Anyone can sign up to NZPD ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Legal Beagle: A submission on the COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill (No 2)
    I have made a submission on the COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill (No 2).In preparing it, I looked at the Hansard for the first reading debate, and got name-dropped as someone likely to make a submission. So, of course I did. I focus on a small bit of the ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: More tales from the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme
    You may have read last week that two years after the publication of regulations for medicinal cannabis – and three years after the enabling legislation – two local products from a local manufacturer have finally met the minimum quality standards for prescription. You may also be interested to know that ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Real action requires government
    Over the weekend someone pointed me at a journal article on "The Poverty of Theory: Public Problems, Instrument Choice, and the Climate Emergency". Its a US law journal article, so is a) very long; and b) half footnotes (different disciplines have different norms), but the core idea is that the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Not doing our bit
    Last month the US and EU announced they would push an agreement to cut methane emissions by 30% (from 2020 levels) by 2030 at the upcoming climate change conference in Glasgow. The good news is that New Zealand is looking at joining it. The bad news is that that won't ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Delta’s Week Of Doom.
    Classic Shot: Are the Prime Minister’s formidable communication skills equal to the task of getting her government’s anti-Covid campaign back on track?IF JACINDA ARDERN thought last week was bad, the week ahead promises to be even worse. Sixty community cases of Covid-19, one of the highest daily totals so far ...
    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…
    Last week was probably a high point for many armchair “experts”, fresh from their high after some deep inhaling of the various musings and fumings, of an actually very smug, and very insualted John “Things all work for me…” Key, former Prime Minister and FOREX trader, had blitzed the ...
    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
  • Repeal this unjust law
    Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled on National's unjust "three strikes" law, and found that the sentence it required was (in the case in question) so disproportionate as to "shock the conscience" and violate the Bill of Rights Act ban on disproportionately severe treatment or punishment: The Supreme Court has ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Preparing for the flood
    The Christchurch City Council has published new "coastal hazards" data, indicating which places are under threat from sea-level rise. And its not good news: Parts of Christchurch and Banks Peninsula are likely to become unhabitable [sic] as the city council figures out how to adapt to sea level ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Virus, Not The Government
    I wonder if Mike Hosking ever reads the paper in which he appears so regularly? If he does, he might have noticed a report in today’s Herald about the problem that could face churches in Auckland if a vaccine passport becomes mandatory for those wishing to attend church services. The ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 8 October 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Bill Ralston, Media consultant and columnist: “NZ Politics Daily provides an invaluable service for journalists, politicians, businesspeople, decision makers and the public at large by providing an easily accessible, exhaustive, link to every significant political story in the country’s media that day. It’s a gem of a service ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    2 weeks 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
    21 hours 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...
    I te rā nei, i pānuihia e te Minita mō Manatū Taonga, ko Carmel Sepuloni, rāua ko te Minita Whanaketanga Māori, ko Willie Jackson, ā tērā tau, ka whakanuia rawatia te 50 o ngā tau mai i te whakatakotoranga o te petihana mō te Reo Māori me te huanga mai ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • E whakarite ana Te Kāwanatanga i ngā tūāpapa mō tewhakamaumahara ki Te Petihana Reo Māori ka t...
    I te rā nei, i pānuihia e te Minita mō Manatū Taonga, ko Carmel Sepuloni, rāua ko te Minita Whanaketanga Māori, ko Willie Jackson, ā tērā tau, ka whakanuia rawatia te 50 o ngā tau mai i te whakatakotoranga o te petihana mō te Reo Māori me te huanga mai ...
    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
    The Government is supporting a Whakatōhea-led project undertaking landscape scale restoration in forests and around vulnerable rivers within the Eastern Bay of Plenty, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says. “The Whakatōhea Tiaki Taiao project will employ four people to undertake pest and weed control, ecosystem restoration and monitoring over three ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Parts of Waikato, Northland staying at Alert Level 3
    The parts of Waikato that have been in Alert Level 3 and Northland will remain in Alert Level 3 for a few more days, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Auckland remains at Alert Level 3, Step 1. “Based on the latest public health information, ministers have decided that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New courthouses for Tauranga and Whanganui
    The Government is moving ahead with new courthouses in Tauranga and Whanganui, which the Justice Minister says provide an opportunity to redesign court facilities that help put victims at the heart of the justice system. “These courthouses are part of the 10-year infrastructure investment plan to restore and modernise Ministry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Speech on the launch of the consultation on the development of the Emissions Reduction Plan
    Tēnā koutou katoa. Ngā mihi o te ata. Earlier this month Save the Children wrote to me with their most up to date analysis on the impact of climate change. What they said was that children born in Aotearoa today will experience up to five times as many heatwaves and ...
    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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    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
    The Government has made $1.1 million available through ‘The Prepare Pacific Community Vaccination Fund’ to directly support Pacific community-led initiatives towards increasing vaccinations, said Associate Minister of Health, Aupito William Sio. “The best way to protect our communities from COVID-19 is through vaccination. “We need to explore every avenue to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Small business at heart of economic recovery across APEC region
    The Minister for Small Business says support for small and medium enterprises will remain ongoing as the Asia-Pacific region moves through response and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Stuart Nash today chaired a virtual summit from Wellington for the APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting (SMEMM). “APEC Ministers responsible ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Restrictions on abortion medication lifted for health practitioners
    Abortion services can now be provided in primary care, meaning people can access this care from someone like their trusted GP and in a familiar setting, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today. “By lifting some restrictions on the funded medications used for early medical abortions, more health ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Record day for Māori vaccinations
    More than 10,000 vaccinations were administered to Māori yesterday, the highest number in the vaccine campaign so far, Associate Minister of Health (Maori Health) Peeni Henare announced. There were 10,145 doses administered across the motu yesterday this is almost equivalent to the population of Hāwera. The doses are made up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Statement on Joint Cooperation in Agriculture between Ireland and New Zealand
    8 October 2021 - Dublin, Ireland Agriculture plays an important role in the economic, social, environmental, and cultural wellbeing of Ireland and New Zealand. We are focused on increasing the productivity, inclusivity, and resilience of our respective primary sectors. As agri-food exporting nations, we also share a commitment to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Northland to move to Alert Level 3 tonight
    Northland will move to Alert Level 3 restrictions from 11:59pm tonight following recent information on the risk presented by the positive case initially tested in Whangarei earlier this week and confirmed in Auckland yesterday, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said. The person is now in an Auckland Managed Isolation Quarantine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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