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We All Have Our Vices

Written By: - Date published: 11:13 am, June 30th, 2011 - 31 comments
Categories: crime, drugs, law and "order" - Tags:

We all have our vices: some of us enjoy the occasional cigarette; others prefer a nice beer after a hard week at work. These vices have developed as a way of dealing with the realities of life, allowing us to escape our often stressful and challenging daily challenges.

We often look at our vices and excuse ourselves from the negativity that comes from it; we allow our moment of sin. Yet we often forget that by allowing ourselves this vice we contribute to a negative factor within our community and the wider society. We find comfort that by purchasing our vice from a legal vendor and contributing in a positive way we help balance the negative consequences that may arise from the said vice. In the case of alcohol we pay significant tax, and most of us understand that this is for good reason.

Alcohol causes hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to our health every year, it causes serious harm within family environments and much crime within our society stems from the overindulgence of this vice. Yet the tax we pay from purchasing our alcohol goes toward an attempt to create equilibrium with this harm, because of course none of us would be able to live without our vice, right?

We also live within a society where we believe in freedom of speech, freedom of expression, of liberty and progression. We see the harm caused by our vice as acceptable because we feel that as individuals we should be allowed to make decisions that affect our own health. We also don’t appreciate being told that we can’t smoke inside; but we appreciate that because other people have the right to avoid second hand smoke, we inevitably go outside.

Yesterday, Dakta Green was jailed for eight months on drugs charges. The judge held that the law must be followed, and I agree. That is what makes this situation so much more tragic. Our laws should represent our belief structures, they should recognise that as a democratic society, we should be entitled to our individual vices if they can be controlled and the harm minimised. Yet today we have failed ourselves; we have failed because we’ve created laws to imprison a 61 year old man for enjoying his vice that arguably causes little harm to those around him while we continue to see no issue with the uncontrollable harm that our own vices cause.

Isn’t there an ingrained hypocrisy that we have laws forbidding people like Mr Green from enjoying their vice, while the majority of us have no problem with allowing our own vice to cause serious damage?

What is wrong with debating this issue like any other in our society? Is it because the ignorant reply is always that ‘you’re just a stoner’ when a person raises the point? As if everyone out there with a reasonable view on progressive drug reform must be a crazed user like an out of control drunk demanding everyone see their idiocy as just them joking around the next day? Are most people simply too afraid to challenge this view?

I wrote this article because after hearing of Mr Green’s sentence I spoke with a friend in her 50’s who enjoys a glass of wine every evening; I asked her what defines her position on the issue. Her reply was that ‘marijuana is illegal’ and managed to back this up with a comment that she had seen some ‘spaced out’ people high. Is that really the only argument those supporting reform have to fight against; and doesn’t that go against her own position that alcohol is acceptable?

I wrote recently about Kronic and the disturbing consequences of it on our society, and I feel now that we must start some rational debate on the issue of broader drug policies. The focus needs to move from being removal to control, from having a legal objective to one centred on health. How much money could be made from taxing Mr Green’s café? Could that tax be then used to reduce harm caused by marijuana and educate our children to avoid it? It seems that a tax would be more appropriate than spending thousands of dollars keeping this harmless man in prison in any case. States in America and other countries around the world are beginning to have a progressive approach to drug laws, what is stopping us?

Rijab

31 comments on “We All Have Our Vices”

  1. I think we should tax the rich to compensate for the damage capitalism does to us all. Better still let’s expropriate them so they can’t do more damage. As for Dakta Green, let’s give him a knighthood for his services to the community. No that would make him no better than the booze barons. Let’s make him the patron saint of freedom of expression.

    • ZeeBop 1.1

      The rich aren’t the problem. Rich people (the good kind) know their wealth is earned, not won by corruption, not won by speculatively excesses, and they will only remain rich if they stay competitive. Just as in any social situation you have cheaters and short-cutters, who seek economic and social recognition at the expense of their own ethics and morals. Wannabes rich, who want to have hundreds of millions in the bank and be PM, but actually have no social platform and so are tools for those who want to cheat to get rich. The wealthy and poor alike know that true prosperity comes of tangible generous spirit. Now National have none, and Labour had little for 9 years, their goal seems to play along. The question for me is where is the social justice debate, why is the political wealth and history denied us? Why? Because Labour introduced the Human Rights Act partially, and created an organisation too close to government (they actively advise government departments!) so the immediacy of their relationship, snotty better than everyone attitude having every branch of government potentially available to their decisions, becomes yet another barrier to Human Rights. As human rights are essentially breach by governments. So yes, we should be compensated for poor government, the poor and the rich, the rich also stand to lose massively from the neo-liberal paradigm when oil, climate crisis, resource wars and food spikes perpetually. So I ask where is the social justice debate on our MSM, where are the independent Human Rights lawyers the hounders of the oppressed? Gone because the Human Rights Commission serves its own and its paymaster role, to hide human rights abuses, loss of political depth, loss of economic rights, loss of social integrity. I am astonished how poor our laws are, that a person can say have a truck hub land next door to them and they have no real recourse! Articulated trucks are horrendously noisy, in any first world economy they are placed well away from homes since the throbbing of them warming up causes heart murmurs and worse. So to hear that a council just dropped a truck hauler next to a home without any noise abatement breaches the human rights of the surrounding property owners. And all the hauler needs to have done is put up some massively large walls and sound protections. Has NZ forgotten how to build substantial walls of breeze blocks, its a half a day process for the price of a roof!
      (this story was on TV last night). There was adequate room in the program for a social justice debate about how residential areas have exclusions against such trucks parking over night.

      Hey, this is the 21st century and we still get this crap happening, those poor folks who were forced to risk being hauled away themselves by police when they blocked the entrance.

      So where are the social justice, and why are they so put down by the likes of Holmes or Henry, if they do show up. Moustache! I think the blind worship of God, Communism, or Profit at the expense of anything else is dangerous and we need to rain them in. The Profit God must be brought back down to size and fast, like the religious and commies in the past.

  2. SHG 2

    What’s the marketing budget of the alcohol and tobacco industries again?

  3. Rusty Shackleford 3

    All forms of coercion must be destroyed if we wish to pretend to live in a liberal society. Throwing a non-violent person in prison is the lowest of the low.

  4. zug zug 4

    Bomber Bradbury: Overnight former world leaders have called for a decriminilization of marijuana pointing out that the war on drugs has failed with devestating consequences. Isn’t it time we stopped arresting people for pot and tax the industry Mr Goff? In tough economic times couldn’t Obama’s the audacity of hope become the audacity of dope?

    Phil Goff:(laugh) Look for the person who is a user few should be locked up for smoking but I don’t want to encourage it either. I don’t want to make criminals out of smokers. Labour won’t legalize dope, but you also won’t see a movement to criminalize people for being users.

    With old fogies like Goff, Dunne and Anderton around spouting hypocritical garbage like the above we will never get progressive drug reform and will always be treated as a ‘third rail’ issue.

    “I don’t want to make criminals out of smokers.” – Then how can you support the status quo?

    “Labour won’t legalize dope” – but you won’t have an adult discussion with us on the issue and will completely ignore the findings of the latest drug law reform report, pathetic…

    “but you also won’t see a movement to criminalize people for being users” – There doesn’t need to be a movement towards this because it’s already the case, NZ has one of the highest cannabis incarceration rates in the world

    How the fuck could Bomber let him get away with such a piss weak answer?

    • The Voice of Reason 4.1

      Ummm, I would have thought we have bugger all dope smokers in prison. Plenty of dope growers and sellers, though. The police appear to have adopted the line that as long as you do it in the privacy of your own home, they won’t do anything about it. That’s pretty much the same as in Amsterdam, last time I heard.

      • Rusty Shackleford 4.1.1

        Even growing and supply is still a non-violent act. Who exactly are they hurting? I’m sure the buyer said “Thanks” when the dealer handed him his weed.

        • The Voice of Reason 4.1.1.1

          The point I was making is that most dope arrests are for commercial activity, not smoking. For mine, I’d legalise collyweed and tax it as we do for tobacco. By the way, if you don’t think anyone should be imprisoned for non-violent offences, would you mind giving me your address and a list of the times you’ll be away from home? I need a new telly and laptop.

          • Rusty Shackleford 4.1.1.1.1

            Actually, I don’t think you should be imprisoned for burglarizing my house. You should have to pay me restitution. If I come upon you and ask you to stop and you don’t, then violence may ensue. For which you should have no recourse and for which you should be imprisoned if you cause violence to me.

  5. higherstandard 5

    Pointless waste of time and money, haven’t the courts and jails got better things to do with their resources.

  6. Rusty Shackleford 6

    Actually, I don’t think you should be imprisoned for burglarizing my house. You should have to pay me restitution. If I come upon you and ask you to stop and you don’t, then violence may ensue. For which you should have no recourse and for which you should be imprisoned if you cause violence to me.

  7. Bored 7

    WTF, what a day….I find myself in agreement with HS and Rusty….

    • Rusty Shackleford 7.1

      I’m liberal on most issues. There is bound to be some overlap between hard core lefties and liberals.

  8. tsmithfield 8

    I agree that the current laws with respect to weed aren’t working.

    However, legalising seems to be even worse, judging by the huge social costs that alcohol and tobacco have on society.

    • The Baron 8.1

      But I don’t know whether this paternalistic “harm minimisation” goal is the most sensible; or the most rational reason for not allowing legalisation.
      You can lament the human condition as much as you like, but the original poster is correct – we all have our vices. Yes, they shorten our lives; but they also make our lives a little bit more enjoyable too.
      Maybe you don’t like them – but the harm I do to myself if I drink and smoke is not really any business of yours, is it? So who are you, the PM, parliament, ALAC etc to tell me that I may not indulge? I see marijuana as fitting in exactly the same category.
      There are however two vital caveats to this:
      1. The only real harm I can see is in the costs to society of the secondary effects of these substances – I.e. Repairing busted lungs; treating busted livers etc. You can easily argue that this is a “harm” that indulgers are passing onto everyone else. But the solution is simple – tax these products at a level that recovers the costs that they create ( and not a cent more, mind – that’s paternalism again). This is why we have excise taxes, and how they should be used.
      2. Ensure that customers are fully informed about the risks of the substances that they take. Cigarette packet labelling is a good case in point – factual statements that allow rational adults to make informed decisions.
      Weed can be regulated on the same basis as this – particularly since I’ve also just solved your problem with booze and smokes. Simply pit, you, and a whole pile of our politicians and others, need to stop telling me what I can and can’t do with my body, and start allowing us to act and behave safely with these substances.

  9. tsmithfield 9

    Your argument would be correct if the only harm was only to the individual partaking in the substance. However, in the case of alcohol, tobacco, and probably weed as well, there is harm not only to the user, but also to other innocents.

    I am not arguing for prohibition or anything. Just saying that the way that alcohol and tobacco is legalised doesn’t lead to a Nirvana of moderate use and zero consequences. Rather, very often, there is considerable harm to the individual and others. Thus, if you are trying to argue for legalising weed in the same way, then don’t expect anything different than alcohol and tobacco.

    • The Baron 9.1

      Oh, so because drunk driving and second hand smoke exists, we should ban another wholly different substance?
      We have laws against both of those last time I looked, and proactive strategies that have worked to reduce the harm of these secondary impacts. You can do the same with marijuana by including the cost of these secondary harm minimisations in excise tax calculations too – just like cigarette taxes help pay for secondary lung cancers, and alcohol taxes help pay for the police costs that they create.
      Now that’s not to say that I deny there will be secondary harm from marijuana – there will inevitably be some. But firstly, every piece of research I have seen estimates that secondary harm as significantly less than that caused by booze and smokes; and secondly, legalization would allow taxation mechanisms to fund and proactively reduce the risk of those secondary harms.
      A final thought too TS – you can’t pretend that marijuana consumption isn’t occurring anyway. All of your concern about harm isn’t going to be realized by legalization – in fact, when over half the population has used marijuana ( I think that’s right?) then surely all of these horrible negatives that youre relying on to justify prohibition are occurring NOW regardless. In fact, because prohibition effectively pushes the trade underground, unregulated, un-quality controlled, untaxed, un-policed and in the hands of criminal gangs, then surely that’s way more bloody harmful than being able to buy it on regulated terms.
      I’m sorry TS, but your “harm-minimization” platform just doesn’t make sense at all.

      • The Baron 9.1.1

        Double post is a fuck up. On a device that doesn’t allow comment deletion (that I can work out, anyway). If a mod feels kindly, can you ditch the second of these?

        [lprent: Ditching the first (you replied to the second). Mobile devices don’t have the deletion for real estate reasons. If you have a larger form factor mobile device like an iPad, then you can set it to standard mode – which does. But the mobile theme is really for phones and smaller android screens. ]

    • bbfloyd 9.2

      one impoertant point to remember is that 100% of tobacco smokers are addicted to the nicotine in the tobacco, and that of all drinkers, there is a guaranteed level of addiction amongst the total numbers.

      if there is anyone around who has a physical addiction to thc then i havn’t met them, or heard about them. cannabis users can, and at least till they learn what their limits are, do, get emotionally and psychologically reliant on it.

      the process of learning self control, or accepting that cannabis may be something you shouldn’t use, doesn’t have the level of difficulty and pitfalls that alcohol and nicotine addicts have to negotiate.

      i might hazard a guess that cannabis would start to drop off the radar as a social and moral issue the first three to five years after the profit motive has been removed from the dealers who were selling to your kids. the changed paradigm would force a shift in approach helping to remove cannabis as a “tool” of rebellion.

      in a similar vein, banning advertising of alcoholic beverages would be a sensible start to creating a more sensible approach to how our kids learn to deal with their own vices as they grow into adulthood…

  10. prism 10

    I’m surprised at so many usual RWNJ commenters having an objective opinion about this. I thought the number of comments indicated there was some intelligent discussion going on and there is. Though a few of the usual bunch of suspects are parading their prejudices and crowing their opinions. I thought it would be the opposite, so sucks I was wrong. What a pleasant situation.

    If we changed our cannabis policy to control and quality instead of simple illegality, charged tax on it and got some of the growers to go into hemp, using the knowledge of the crop they already have, we could make money to keep DOC people continue doing their useful work that has a positive outcome. Not like the police who are doing not much good for a great lot of money. A complete change would cost less and this pointless quixotean quest would stop and should stop because it is NOT WORKING. It also breeds criminals on both the people and policing side – the police by corrupting them or corrupting the way that they go for convictions, and on the people side we have become accustomed to all sorts of drugs, and many accept marijuana as just another one.

    M doesn’t have the social standing that alcohol has, but could have. If we ever got some thoughtful politicians who explained themselves to those in the nation who still have a brain that hasn’t seized up from drug overuse, or frozen from years of underuse.

  11. MrSmith 11

    legalize the lot please.
     
    Unfortunately the greatest drug in my humble opinion “Ecstasy” (not that I have taken it of-course that’s illegal) is now hard to come by in NZ, as the fun Police have cracked down on it. Now we have a P epidemic, Fucken morons, people were dancing all night, and having great sex!. But we can’t have that now can we, instead now we have a lot of people getting paranoid and psychotic smoking something that is highly toxic and killing people, not to mention giving them thoughts of killing themselves and others.

  12. millsy 12

    The way I see it, is that if a couple of guys (or gals) want to have a few cones or whatever they are at home on a Saturday night (and as long as they are over 21 and dont have work involving heavy machinery next morning), then I dont really think rhat the cops should be breaking down doors and hauling people into custody.

    Likewise people who want to grow a few plants at home for personal use and for sharing with their mates.

    Not too sure about ecstasy or LSD though. But mainly because they are made from industrial/phamaceutical chemicals and the effects are unpredictable. Too many people wind up in emergency rooms and worse after taking that stuff.

    It doesn’t help that both red and blue teams took it upon themselves to close treatment centres (such as Queen Mary hospital), as well as our mental hospitals, and then wonder why the number of people on the sickness benefit skyrocket.

  13. jackal 13

    New Zealand would be a far better country if they legalized the herb and taxed booze and tobacco more to pay for drug education. We would save a shit load of money, being that the Police spend a lot of time chasing small time dope dealers and it costs nearly $100,000 per year to keep a person in jail. Not to mention the reduction in harm caused by a proper education process.

    I can’t recall ever seeing any Government produced literature informing people of the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol. Although I am aware of the harmful effects of the gangs who in the main control the drug trade.

    The information the Government is basing its decision to not legalize the herb on is questionable… Being that many people have a predisposition to such things as schizophrenia, the taking of a physically harmless drug is not proven to be symptomatic of the advent of the condition. The effect of calming people down that Marijuana has is an advantageous thing, especially when you compare it to the negative effects of methamphetamine based drugs.

    The Government really need to refocus the effort to reduce our excessive drinking culture, prioritize the war on drugs that are proven to cause harm and reduce punitive measures that are shown to not work in reducing drug dependency. The current dynamic is clearly not working, so it’s time to adopt a new approach. Somehow I don’t think National are listening though.

  14. felix 14

    TS – you can’t pretend that marijuana consumption isn’t occurring anyway. All of your concern about harm isn’t going to be realized by legalization – in fact, when over half the population has used marijuana ( I think that’s right?) then surely all of these horrible negatives that youre relying on to justify prohibition are occurring NOW regardless.

    ^ This, TS.

  15. Lord Zealand 15

    Top of my reasons not to vote labour:
    Labour = Actively prohibiting cannabis everytime they have got into government, regardless of what they say before hand, they will make another “agreement” with United future which will, as the past shows, allow this gross violation of human rights to continue in this country.

    Dunne is done, Phil better sort out his shit pretty quick before he really starts to alienates the rest of the voting public under 45. (and yes this is a policy which could turn the election for a Labour win, IMHO and I can’t think of a single issue apart from cannabis regulation that could!)

    So Phil, stop being a prohibitionist, listen to the youth speak their mind about this, these attitudes you carry are the reason no one will stand behind you with a vote! I would pefer an open and honest government, one not afraid, but proud of it’s freedom, one that wont fuck around writing “aspriational” policy but actually make the lives of New Zealands better, not just for NOW but for the generations coming!

  16. randal 16

    my commiseratons to dakta green. the herb needs legalising asap but the tight underpants brigade not only dont whnt you to know anything they dont want you to have any fun either.

  17. Tim 17

    The daktory was the most peaceful place I have ever been to in Auckland. The vibe in the place was delightfully tolerant and patient, multi-cultural and all ages,it was a great market place and then they lock Dakta up, for delivering a peaceful , intelligent hall in west auckland. It’s just plain wrong peolpe. Free Dakta Green, you got the wrong man.

  18. Craig 18

    Cannabis reform will only happen when the pot decriminalisation lobby ditch the ALCP, forge a proper strategic alliance with mainstream scientists and medical practitioners and convince the general public that pot is nowhere near as toxic as P/crystal meth. Much the same will have to happen with the associated greater debate about drug policy liberalisation. That’s what happened in the Netherlands and Switzerland and the same has to happen here in order for there to be progress on this particular issue.

    I feel a bit sorry for poor old Dak but the problem is that his movement needs to get its ducks in the proper row before change can finally happen.

    • Lord Zealand 18.1

      @Craig – Sorry Mate, but you don’t know what you are talking about –
      NO mainstream scientist/doctor in this country will still be on the up and up if they were to speak out about cannabis, they would be assasinated in their sleep.
      There is no pot decriminalisation lobby in NZ – you are making stuff up! NORML wants cannabis to be legal in a regulated market so alcohol stops killing our kids – decrim is seen widely as a ‘cop-out quick fix answer’, as it only make the countries drug problems worse, it doesn’t tackel the issues of supply.
      The general public (or the 52% of Kiwi’s who admit the’ve charffed a fattie) are well aware that Pot is a harmless and non toxic recreation when compaired to everything else avalible.
      Only the over 45’s stand in the way, but “WE” are quite happy to wait them out – they’re too busy chasing whoever it was that didn’t pay for their retirements anyway.
      We live like its legal – for us the law and what is legal are two different things and until they join up, I will follow the law and leave what is legal for the dead.
      Fear not for Dakta, he is v.very busy proving that the harder you push prohibition the more and more drugs become avalible – kinda like Peter Dunne is proving on the outside wif Kronic- but more like a “Here Dakta, this is for you in thanks!”.

  19. Craig 19

    And yet, it is a fact of political life that social movements succeed when they rope in medical or scientific expertise to corroborate their case. Look at the medicinal cannabis derivative case in the United States for example. If the pot lobby were more scientifically rigorous and strategically oriented, smoking weed would no longer be a criminal offence if one were over the age of eighteen.

    I support *decriminalisation* of pot because legalisation would be too risky. Legalisation tends to mean that a few big corporates monopolise the marketplace and get in the way of issues like harm minimisation and risk reduction (ie the tobacco industry and breweries). I think the Dutch route is probably the way that we’ll eventually go.

    Incidentally, I’m 45+ and I support reform!

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

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

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

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