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Wait, what’s the RSE?

Written By: - Date published: 3:46 pm, October 22nd, 2008 - 38 comments
Categories: economy, election 2008, national, racism, workers' rights - Tags:

OK, we’ve reported on, given historical context to, and mocked Lockwood Smith’s racist comments about seasonal migrant workers. Now, to the substance of what Smith as saying, ie that fewer permits issued under the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme (RSE) should be allocated to people from the Pacific Islands (because, he says, other people are smaller and more hygienic). That’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what the RSE is for.

As it happens, I was working in the Diplomatic Corp when the RSE was being developed and am more familiar with multilateral temporary migration agreement negotiations than I care to be.  It was pushed by the Pacific Island countries who wanted more remittances and to up-skill their work-force, and by the agriculture industries here and in Aussie, who want more labour but are too cheap to pay decent wages. 

Basically, what happens under the RSE is Australia and NZ take a bunch of seasonal workers, primarily from the Pacific, for agricultural work (with protections that are meant to make sure domestic labour isn’t displaced by the migrant workers). Eleven Pacific Island nations from the Pacific Islands Forum organise pools of workers to come over under the RSE. Workers from other countries only get permits when there are not suitable workers available from the Islands.

 It is essentially an aid programme for the Pacific (‘our’ payoff being cheap labour) and that’s why most of the workers are from the Islands. Change that, as Smith is proposing, and you take away the point of the scheme. It then becomes just a way for agriculture to undercut local workers.

38 comments on “Wait, what’s the RSE?”

  1. vidiot 1

    Ahh this would be the aRSE scheme that came under fire earlier this year when it was found that some of the employers were abusing the RSE program.

    “The Department of Labour says the case of 22 Kiribati workers living in one house while working in Marlborough vineyards was the worst overcrowding it has come across. The workers were among 70 Pacific Islands workers who arrived in New Zealand under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme in May to work on vineyards, but they were sent home early when the work finished – leaving them out of pocket.”

    Source: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10529512

    iirc the net take home pay for the workers once they left NZ worked out to be around 50 cents an hour – nothing to be proud of in that scheme.

  2. yeah, it has been abused in some cases.. that’s always the concern when yo’re dealing with employers who are too cheap to pay market rates in the first place

  3. Ben R 3

    “It is essentially an aid programme for the Pacific (‘our’ payoff being cheap labour) and that’s why most of the workers are from the Islands. Change that, as Smith is proposing, and you take away the point of the scheme. It then becomes just a way for agriculture to undercut local workers.”

    Well, the benefit would presumably then be shared with Asian workers who did the jobs prior to the scheme being introduced?

  4. National devising new ways to push down the wages and conditions of the already low-paid is nothing new.

    All spin aside, this example is as good a definition of what that party is REALLY all about as one could hope to find.

  5. randal 5

    why dont they just share the jobs out to people with the smallest hands. thye have the smallest bodies. they eat less and therefore need less money. q.e.d.

  6. Prior to the scheme being introduced, I thought that a lot of the labour in the orchards came from itinerant backpackers working for cash under the table.

    When I worked in Tasman picking apples, backpackers looking for a cash top-up appeared to be a big part of the work force.

  7. Ben R 7

    “When I worked in Tasman picking apples, backpackers looking for a cash top-up appeared to be a big part of the work force.”

    That’s true.

    “National devising new ways to push down the wages and conditions of the already low-paid is nothing new.”

    But the existing scheme already does that? It already undercuts local workers? Also, there are already statutory protections for wages and working conditions (however, as the first post above notes this isn’t necessarily being complied with). Will opening it up to Asian workers change this?

  8. Janet 8

    Are those same employers squashing the workers into unsuitable housing etc the same ones making the racist comments to Lockwood ie the local National Party members and supporters? Perhaps we could boycott their wines?

  9. Felix 9

    randal I reckon midgets might be a good way to go. Might have to get them something to stand on so they can reach the fruit though.

  10. Ben R 10

    “Are those same employers squashing the workers into unsuitable housing etc the same ones making the racist comments to Lockwood ie the local National Party members and supporters? Perhaps we could boycott their wines?”

    Janet, if they find the Asian workers are more productive what are they meant to do? Just avoid the topic?

  11. Daffodil Gal 11

    Ben R:

    “Janet, if they find the Asian workers are more productive what are they meant to do? Just avoid the topic?”

    Actually Ben, yes.

    You see there’s this piece of legislation, I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it, called the Human Rights Act 1993. Among other things, it prohibits discrimination of the basis of “ethnic or national origins, which includes nationality or citizenship”. By favouring “asian” workers, you’re both discriminating unlawfully, AND directly compromising the original intent of Recognised Seasonal Employer policy.

    Policy WH1.1.1 of Immigration New Zealand’s Operations Manual states:

    The objectives of the RSE Policy are to … …

    encourage economic development, regional integration and good governance within the Pacific, by allowing preferential access under RSE Policy to workers who are citizens of eligible Pacific countries;

    So yeah, they avoid the topic. By law.

  12. Sarah 12

    This whole thing with Lockwood Smith is such a beatup. The guy is obviously a git, but what he says is not wrong.

    Asians do on average have smaller hands than polynesians. That is definitely going to help with grape-picking and other tasks of the same sort. I was just watching TV3 and an owner of a vineyard said as much. I don’t know how anyone could honestly be offended by his comments.

    And the comments about the Polynesians are completely true. The sort of people who they bring in from Tonga and Fiji to complete this sort of work are primarily from the rural areas of the pacific islands, and as a result they are not up to date at all with western customs. They live in huts, and are completely isolated from the western world. The employer as a result has to teach them basic western customs, such as how to use a toilet, and how to use a dishwaher.

    Yes his comments were very blunt, and a little stupid in that regard, but they were true nonetheless. But I personally love how this site has supplied multiple postings on this one particular issue, but when the same issues arise for labour, there are barely any posts at all. I only have to think back to the days where we would get one posting a day on the Winston Peters saga when it was at its height, when there were direct calls for his resignation. Instead, we get four posts in one day over such a minor issue as this. Talk about being in Labour’s pocket.

  13. Hey “Sarah” – when you pretend to be a girl do you like, y’know pretend to be a hot girl?

  14. Ben R 14

    “Janet, if they find the Asian workers are more productive what are they meant to do? Just avoid the topic?’

    Nonsense. They are not silenced from expressing an interest in expanding the RSE to include Asian countries (although you appear to favour a kind of Soviet style thought control).

  15. sweetd 15

    “Hey “Sarah’ – when you pretend to be a girl do you like, y’know pretend to be a hot girl?”

    Hey Sod, does that get you hard at night?

    So on topic eh.

  16. Steve Pierson: “It then becomes just a way for agriculture to undercut local workers.”

    Lockwood Smith: “Er, well yes. That’s the idea. What’s your point?”

    Hey, Sarah – was there some post somewhere in the blogosphere that your comment was actually in response to? It doesn’t seem to be answer this one at all.

  17. Daffodil Gal 17

    Ben. People from “asian” countries can already get work permits under TRSE and be recruited for RSE work. The scheme simply favours certain Pacific countries, and RSE employers wanting an Agreement to Recruit (ATR) have to either go to a pacific country to recruit workers, or provide a good reason why they are recruiting from somewhere else. And personally, I don’t think a good reason is “they got little hands”.

    Should the border officers measure the hands of prospective horticulture/viticulture workers? Should Immigration decline applicants with big hands? Perhaps there should be a “western lifestyle competency test” to ensure that employers don’t have to show someone how to flush the dunny? Should New Zealand citizens and residents who are willing to do the work be denied employment because their hands are relatively larger?

    I’d love to see the statistics regarding the relationship between hand size and labour productivity in the horticulture and viticulture industries… Anyone?

    ‘Sod: LMAOROFL

  18. Sarah 18

    “mocked Lockwood Smith’s racist comments about seasonal migrant workers”

    I thought it was in response to that particular comment Psycho Milt.

  19. sweetd 19

    “I’d love to see the statistics regarding the relationship between hand size and labour productivity in the horticulture and viticulture industries Anyone?”

    Further more, asian against pacific islands? Or is that non PC?

  20. Or they could get more workers the traditional way, pay higher wages.

    Its stupid really, they haven’t got a shortage of workers, its that at the wages offered and the labour they can get for those wages, the equilibrium is to not pick all the fruit. Pretty simple, if they want more workers, then they should pay them more, how ever with the price they get for the fruit they are better off not picking all the fruit.

    The problem occurs when a loud group of farmers gets the ear of the media, who can’t resist a “fruit rotting on the trees” story.

  21. randal 21

    Sarah how do you know that people with smaller hands are better grape pickers?

  22. Sarah 22

    I don’t know from personal experience, but there have been accounts in the media (TV3) where wine-growers have supported this theory. And if you have smaller hands then presumably you’ll be more nimble with smaller items.

  23. Ben R 23

    “Should the border officers measure the hands of prospective horticulture/viticulture workers? Should Immigration decline applicants with big hands? Perhaps there should be a “western lifestyle competency test’ to ensure that employers don’t have to show someone how to flush the dunny? Should New Zealand citizens and residents who are willing to do the work be denied employment because their hands are relatively larger?

    I’d love to see the statistics regarding the relationship between hand size and labour productivity in the horticulture and viticulture industries Anyone?”

    Well, I have very large hands and was terrible at pruning & thinning kiwifruit (although that was partly due to sheer laziness). You’re kicking a strawman though. I think one of the points is that previously (based on North & South article from earlier this year) there were Asian workers filling a number of these roles. They came over regularly, so shouldn’t be overlooked particularly as they apparently did an excellent job.

    Another issue is whether the government, seeing it is restricting the source of employees to assist certain countries, should provide more assistance with helping the new recruits adjust to what maybe quite a different culture to what they’re used to.

  24. Ben R 24

    “Sarah
    October 22, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    I don’t know from personal experience, but there have been accounts in the media (TV3) where wine-growers have supported this theory. And if you have smaller hands then presumably you’ll be more nimble with smaller items.”

    I posted this partly tongue in cheek, but in a sporting sense there is actually a view that Asians do have better dexterity:

    “The excavation of an abundance of precise tools in Asia, including needles for sewing clothes to survive cold winters, has led scientists to speculate that Asians were “programmed’ over time to be more dexterous. Studies indicate that East Asians do have the quickest reaction time, which some have speculated may play a role in Asian domination of Ping-Pong.’

    http://www.jonentine.com/reviews/straw_man_of_race.htm

  25. Lampie 25

    Thought it was the National party of New Zealand not the National KKK party of New Zealand

  26. Ben R 26

    “Thought it was the National party of New Zealand not the National KKK party of New Zealand”

    Why would the KKK care whether Asian’s work in Orchards?

  27. Lampie 27

    Why would the KKK care whether Asian’s work in Orchards?

    Give the Nats a chance to get to that next week, Lockwood is bound to think something up

  28. randal 28

    sarah read your adam smith where he compares the large man doing the sewing while a little man does the lugging. every case is different and as most wine growers are tories they will say anything to support lockwood ‘the dork’ smith. so your assertion is just hearsay.

  29. Lampie 29

    if nats get, hope lock’dead’wood is no where near foreign ministry, we be screwed if we did

  30. Felix 30

    Sarah has tiny little dainty nimble hands.

  31. Johnty Rhodes 31

    [troll warning]

    Talking about racism, what about the Maori seats? Enshrined into law even.

    LS is a dick but what he said was what growers told him. Amazing how the truth is considered racist.

    And you know what, Asians have smaller hands on average and some Melanesians would not know a shithouse even if they slept on the crapper!!!!

    [lprent: Ah my mindless troll I’m having fun with at present. Lets try a bit of common sense (well sarcastic – it may penetrate the bone around the brain).

    Actually I suspect what the growers were really asking for was a government handout. There is probably nothing stopping them getting temporary workers from anywhere – provided that they did the work (and cost) of organizing them. The RSE is easier because it largely gets organized by the various (what would you call it) gummint’s. This is provided as part of our aid programmes, and not as a service to some lazy employers who don’t want to spend the effort on their workers.

    So like you they drew out all of the ignorantly stupid stereotyping of the past to try and justify a gummint handout. Of course Lockjaw was (like you) a bit too simple to understand this.

    BTW: Have you read the Policy yet?]

  32. I’m sorry Sarah, but what if the boot was on the other foot, i.e. that young ex-pat Kiwis weren’t employed in bars and pubs in the UK because of their excessive tendency to get over liquored and violent?, and that Asian and Central Europeans were preferred due to their more constructive relationship with alcohol?

    You are missing the boat. By discriminating on race or nationality, noone has to prove that someone is less desirable except by looking at their skin/passport. Racism is racism. Locksmith either personally holds racist views, or endorses the opinions of those who do. In a similar manner, by not punishing him more severely, National is allowing this statement to be a legitimate part of its discourse.

  33. Ben R 33

    “Locksmith either personally holds racist views, or endorses the opinions of those who do.”

    The scheme itself discriminates on the basis of nationality against the Asian workers who previously were involved in this work. They obviously earned a good reputation so it’s not surprising employers would like be able to hire them again.

  34. Johnty Rhodes 34

    Ah yes Iprent, yet another sector wanting a govt handout, we are so conditioned to that now, arn’t we. With still a load of un-employed (and it will grow) maybe we should send those lazy pricks to do the jobs we import labour for. Or is it the average unemployed person in NZ is thicker than the average Malanesian, so they will need to be taught to pick the fruit as well as be taught to have a proper shit.

    Question – where is the new govt going to get the dosh for the handout when the money dries up?

    Ironic Catcha below, corrupt sher, there is no r in she

  35. vidiot 35

    “…and some Melanesians would not know a shithouse even if they slept on the crapper!!!!”

    I remember an excerpt from Eric Rushes Biography (Gold Rush) about Amasio Valance and not knowing what a toilet was. Same book, also had stories of Glen Osborne having a bubble bath with ‘Sunlight’ dish-washing detergent. Was it made up of was it the truth ? Is it racist or is this just the state of our people ? Uneducated, Illiterate, etc etc etc.

  36. Lampie 36

    Pansy Wong must do friut picking as a fund raiser

  37. Ben R 37

    “Pansy Wong must do friut picking as a fund raiser”

    You’re attacking a strawman. No one said that Asians proper role is picking fruit. The point is that workers who previously did the job seem to be shut out under the current scheme.

  38. Lampie 38

    Not me on TV eating humble pie Ben

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    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    5 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    5 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    5 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    6 days ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    6 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    7 days ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    1 week ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    1 week ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    1 week ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    1 week ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    1 week ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago

  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago