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Welfare for whom?

Written By: - Date published: 9:28 am, September 11th, 2009 - 61 comments
Categories: housing - Tags:

Remember the iconic photos of the first Labour Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage and his cabinet celebrating the introduction of State Housing by carrying furniture into the first home at 12 Fife Lane, Miramar?

State housing in New Zealand was set up to provide relief for low income tenants, from insecurity and rack renting by private, profit driven landlords, during the original housing crisis of the Thirties. (The principle being, to remove the profit motive from housing, and provide decent housing at a low prices as a basic human right).

How things change!

ad for HNZ landlords

Who knew that over the decades it would morph into an organisation that provides relief for private landlords, suffering from falling private profits and tenancy rates due to the housing crisis of the Noughties? (The principle being to protect the profit making in housing, and keep prices up).

Housing New Zealand, in a perversion of its founding principles, now provides Social Welfare for private landlords, and wealthy private realtors.

[the story of 12 Fife Lane, as told here, is a microcosm of the history of state housing and social welfare]

61 comments on “Welfare for whom?”

  1. Remember the iconic photos of the first Labour Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage and his cabinet celebrating the introduction of State Housing by carrying furniture into the first home at 12 Fife Lane, Miramar?

    No, but what a clever PR stunt.

    • Bright Red 1.1

      God you’re a bore Danyl. Some people do things because they believe in them. Of course the PM is going to show up at the opening of the first State House, a project he believed in passioanately, and as he was there why wouldn’t he help the people move into to a house they had thanks to his party?

      Clark and Neilson 50 years later – that was pure PR.

  2. BLiP 2

    Housing is just one area – look what’s happening in health: money set aside to assist the poor is being used to subsidise a multinational. Corporate welfare is this government’s “New Deal”.

    Thanks National Ltd, I’m lovin’ it.

    • Tim Ellis 2.1

      As opposed to those very small locally owned New Zealand companies, Labtests and Diagnostic Medlabs, who have and had laboratory testing functions.

      Thanks Labour.

      • Bright Red 2.1.1

        The whole shebang should just be state-owned. Why are state-run medical providers permanently buying part of the service they provide from a private, profit-driven company?

        • burt 2.1.1.1

          Probably because the state ideology refuses to pay internationally competitive salaries (because it is an obscene amount of meney..) so the state can not retain the resources to provide the service.

  3. ieuan 3

    Interesting that the first state house was actually purchased by the first tenants.

    It seems to me that the writers at ‘the Standard’ have an aversion to anything being in private ownership.

    • burt 3.1

      When people are dependent on the state for everything they vote for a state that owns everything.

      • burt 3.1.1

        Wake up call, shortage of state houses will not be solved by ideology. (repeat for hospital waiting lists and educations standards)

    • Bright Red 3.2

      That was a National Party programme in the 1950s to run down the number of state houses.

      Think about this: why is Housing NZ leasing from private landlords now? Because in the 1990s, National sold thousands of its houses and now it doesn’t own enough to provide housing for those in need.

      • Swampy 3.2.1

        No, it was National Party policy to give people a helping hand into their first own home, at the same time it changed the social balance in the housing estates and that was a very good idea because home owners make a much bigger contribution long term into their communities than tenants do.

        I have known over the years, innumerable people living in former state houses that they own, surrounded cheek by jowl with numerous still-state-owned rentals, long term having people living in their own houses that they own is vastly beneficial to these neighbourhoods.

  4. burt 4

    Wake up call, the current shortage of state houses will not be solved by ideology. (repeat for hospital waiting lists and educations standards)

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      No, it will be solved by practical work that pretty much precludes anything done by NACT because everything they do involves giving even more money to those who don’t need it and didn’t do anything to earn it.

    • burt 4.2

      Draco

      9 years of Labour didn’t solve the probelm of housing waiting lists (or hospital waiting lists) and to be honest if private owners profit saving lives in hospitals or getting people into houses then that is the price we pay today for Labour’s inaction.

      • Bright Red 4.2.1

        labour wasn’t inactive, it did a lot but no it didn’t solve the problems. Social problems aren’t like that you don’t suddenly solve them once and for all, you make incremental steps to reduce and minimise them and it’s always a contest fight just to sustain the stats quo.

        is this really the height of rightwing argument, burt’s bollocks?

        • burt 4.2.1.1

          So creating more available properties by encouraging more landlords to offer them up for state tennants is an incremental step….

          The problem Bright Red is that the lovers of big govt have got ideological issues with anyone making a profit from provision of social services. They would rather see people on waiting lists than see public money used to provide services through non state providers. It’s not about the people who need the services is it – it’s about the ideology.

          State funding and state provision need not be one in the same. Personally I’m proud to be called a twat by people who would rather see overcrowded state housing than see a few private landlords lease their houses to the state.

          Disclaimer: I have no plans to rent houses to the state and have no vested interest in this – only an interest in seeing waiting lists diminish.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.1.1

            They would diminish faster burt if those private profits weren’t taking up resources that could be used to build more houses/hospitals etc etc.

            Profit is a dead weight loss.

            • Swampy 4.2.1.1.1.1

              The cost of capital is a major consideration, through this policy the government is not made to stump up that cost in advance.

              For every scenario in which the government could save money by building the houses itself and owning them for decades, there is a corollary of the government being left with houses that no one wants to live in, in out of the way places where the industry has closed up and left town. All those electricity towns served their purpose, and then the state either paid to move the houses somewhere else or sold them off at rock bottom prices.

          • burt 4.2.1.1.2

            Draco

            And profit is a motivator.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1.1.2.1

              But not one that’s good for society.

            • Maynard J 4.2.1.1.2.2

              Yes – for cheap service, and a prepetuation of a problem that needs a (paid) solution.

              I have no problem with private ownership, unless it is touted as an ideal but in reality means that a service is being provided at a greater cost than it could otherwise be.

              I have no doubt that with proper investement, the government could contract the construction of state houses to preculde the necessity for private investors to make money out of them – and this would be cheaper in the long run. So my problem is not with the private investors, but them making money when it could be better used – like bringing down hospital wait lists.

    • Bright Red 4.3

      burt, the shortage of state houses can only be solved by a government that commits to building more, that is an ideological policy (indeed all policies are ideological)

      • burt 4.3.1

        Bright Red

        Building more is a long term plan, that is unless the state wants to get all 1930’s and employ all the builders available today so it can corner the market and ultimately create a bigger shortage of builders and push build prices through the roof for themselves and everyone else.

        But hey – keep the waiting lists if you think it is better than having more houses available because hell we wouldn’t want a single person to profit from providing social serices would we.

        • Maynard J 4.3.1.1

          burt, that is a false dichotomy. There is no choice between the two apart from in your head. The chioce is not a black and white one between wait lists or private landownders providing the capital. That is what is happening now, but would you not say the entire point of this post is to agitate for change on the issue?

          I.e. agitating for a future when there is no wait list (or at least a more reasonable one) and decent state owned stocks of state houses (built by anyone – will not bother justifying that petty strawman with a response, and you know full well why) that cost less to maintain since the government does ot have to fork out profits to owners.

          • burt 4.3.1.1.1

            It is not a strawman at all. An ideology that private landlords should not profit from leasing houses to the state is the same issues as private building companies building for the state. Either the state funds and provides or there is a funder/provider split. As soon as we have a split between the funder and the provider we have made a mockery of the ideology that says private landlords must not profit from provision of state housing. Or is it OK for private enterprise to profit when on the surface it looks like the ideology is still intact ?

            But if you want a strawman – Next someone will say the state can only use state owned land because private land owners must not profit from selling land for state house development . Change a few laws and we could build state houses in National parks and on DOC land to make sure no private land owners profit from provision of state housing.

            Yes I would rather my tax payers money we spent as frugally as possible providing social services. However IMHO the first priority is that they (social services) are delivered and the second priority is the ideology of how we split funding and provision.

            • Maynard J 4.3.1.1.1.1

              Yes it is. The difference between people using spare capital to make a buck off the government and people using their labour to earn a living escapes you?

              If so, then I can see why you would say that it looks like it is ok only “on the surface”.

            • burt 4.3.1.1.1.2

              Maynard

              The difference between a building company (EG: Fletcher Construction, Lockwood Homes) and a Builder escapes you.

              Let me explain, one is a person who sells their labour and the other is a company that profits from the labour of people they employ.

              Was it where I said ‘building companies’ that I confused you !!!!

              Sheeesh.

            • Maynard J 4.3.1.1.1.3

              Whatever burt. We are talking about the ownership of the capital, not about the construction thereof, but if you want to conceed or abandon the argument about ownership to try and score petty points on the finges, be my guest.

              G’Weekend t’ya…

            • burt 4.3.1.1.1.4

              meeeeooooow.

      • burt 4.3.2

        Bright Red

        And that is employ the builders not contract them. Can’t have private building comntractors profiting from state house building contracts because that would be the same as private landlords profiting.

        Bright…. I wonder.

        • felix 4.3.2.1

          Not sure why you have a problem with the state employing/contracting builders.

          Plenty of builders needing work. Plenty of homes needing building. Why does it matter if it’s the state employing them or someone else?

          Also, the distinction between employing/contracting is pretty vague in the building industry. Many are technically contractors when it comes to being responsible for their own administration, holiday pay, tax, acc, gst etc but are essentially just employees in terms of self-determination, decision making, actual workplace autonomy. Probably wouldn’t hurt to have a few more people with steady full time work in the industry IMHO.

          • burt 4.3.2.1.1

            felix

            Contracting a building firm will provide profit to the shareholders of that firm, the only way to avoid this is for the state to employ the builders directly.

            I’m simply pointing out that allowing private landlords to lease houses to the state thereby providing profit via provision of social services is the same (but different) to contracting a building company to build houses.

            • felix 4.3.2.1.1.1

              I suppose you’re just trying to be consistent, and fair enough.

              What’s wrong though with the state directly employing builders and owning houses?

            • Draco T Bastard 4.3.2.1.1.2

              the only way to avoid this is for the state to employ the builders directly.

              Nothing stopping them doing that and it would be cheaper – no worthless shareholders to pay off.

              I’m simply pointing out that allowing private landlords to lease houses to the state thereby providing profit via provision of social services is the same (but different) to contracting a building company to build houses.

              No need to contract a building company either. Directly employ the project managers and builders and all the dead weight loss of profit is removed.

            • burt 4.3.2.1.1.3

              felix

              There is nothing stopping the govt from directly hiring builders if they want to be in the business of building houses. Just like there is nothing stopping the govt from owing all means of production. Hell some people even think this is efficient. Ask a person in a communist country what they think, plenty of time to talk to them while they stand in bread queues, but hell at least the capitalist pig dog bakers are not making profits from peoples need to eat.

            • felix 4.3.2.1.1.4

              burt,

              It seems you are taking a principle (broadly, people investing money to make a profit tend to run things more efficiently than the state) and trying to apply it evenly to every possible situation, and therefore you assume that others are equally trying to apply an opposing principle to every situation.

              This makes it a bit difficult to have any kind of discussion with you. Suddenly we’re talking about making bread in communist countries – I thought we were talking about building houses in capitalist ones.

              I’m a bit like John Key in a way – I just like things that work.

              There’s no reason I can see that because the state might arguably have an interest in being involved in one sector of the economy (i.e. building, where they could use a labour surplus to build some much needed infrastructure) that they automatically have to get involved in the breadmaking industry.

              Perhaps you could explain why the state, if involved in one industry, must involve itself in another. To me that seems like an absurd subservience to principle, a triumph of theory over practicality.

              Anyway, have a good weekend.

            • burt 4.3.2.1.1.5

              felix

              IMHO the state should be involved in governance. This thread is about how the state renting houses from private landlords is wrong and I have pointed out that if that is wrong (on principle – which is what this thread is about) then using private construction firms would also be wrong (on principle). Some people clearly didn’t want to hear that.

              As I questioned earlier – is an ideology (private enterprise must not profit from state provision) only bad when it is obvious that is happening ?

              If you just like things that work, then surely you would think the state leasing existing properties to provide houses for people on state house waiting lists is a good idea?

          • felix 4.3.2.1.2

            Yes I do, as a short term measure.

            I think that if the state is to provide low-cost housing then it’s better that the state owns the houses, but if leasing some is necessary for the time being, then so be it.

            I don’t subscribe to the idea that every action must adhere to the same principle. Do you?

            • burt 4.3.2.1.2.1

              felix

              No I don’t think every action should adhere to the same principle.

              But on a thread premised on the idea that it is wrong for private enterprise to profit from state funding of social services then the principle is that private enterprise must not profit from the state funding social services.

            • felix 4.3.2.1.2.2

              And I’m suggesting that in principle it’s generally not desirable for the state to be paying out extra money (as profit) for services it could provide itself.

              In practice you do what you have to do, with what you have available, to achieve what you want to achieve.

              I don’t have any problem with the state leasing houses if that’s what’s needed – I do have a problem though if there’s no long term goal to build or buy more houses and we’re expected to keep paying out those profits indefinitely.

            • burt 4.3.2.1.2.3

              felix

              That’s fair.

  5. Chris 5

    To be pedantic, this advertisement started making its appearance about 3 – 4 years ago – under a Labour Government.

    The intention behind the ad is obtain leasehold property for state housing tenants, which is no bad thing.

    • burt 5.1

      Chris

      Bugger – I was getting to that once I had enough of the lovers of waiting lists calling me all the names under the sun.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      You can be as pedantic as you like. The fact that it happened under Labour still doesn’t make it right or cost effective. Labour themselves are still under the delusion that capitalism works.

      • Swampy 5.2.1

        Labour are the democratic reflection of the electorate, the people that vote for them who all believe the same. Why is it necessary in c_mm_n_st countries that there is a one party state, no free and fair elections in any of them. You are on a hiding to nothing here.

    • burt 5.3

      Draco

      Providing houses as a social service is either good or bad. How it is achieved is secondary to the desire/requirement to do so.

      • Maynard J 5.3.1

        Have you just nuremburged your defence?

        • burt 5.3.1.1

          I was following orders and killing a failing ideology was a cost of delivering a service your honour.

          • Maynard J 5.3.1.1.1

            lol

            BTW, shall I read your 1:01 comment as a demand that The State nationalise those houses owned privately…or did you mean it otherwise?

          • burt 5.3.1.1.2

            If the state wants to buy existing houses rather then lease them then fine. But wait for *some* people to complain that private owners got market value by selling them to the state….

      • Draco T Bastard 5.3.2

        How it is achieved is of primary importance because that determines if it can be afforded. The addition of profit means we can afford less.

        • burt 5.3.2.1

          So would you suggest that the state should not house public servants in building not owned by the state ? Would you be happy if state employees were on waiting lists for office space while the state pontificated about what to do rather than lease private buildings for them ?

          • Draco T Bastard 5.3.2.1.1

            If it can be done economically then sure, lease them from private owners. But it can’t be maintained because it costs too much reducing the amount that can be provided by those same government employees. It’s cheaper to own the building by the amount of profit the private owner would take.

          • Swampy 5.3.2.1.2

            Better still, the State doesn’t employ any more bureacrats until they have spent years planning and constructing the buildings they will work in.

            This ideology I could agree with, if it acted as a proper check on the growth of the public sector.

          • burt 5.3.2.1.3

            swampy

            I’m with you all the way on that one.

            captcha: hopes

  6. George D 6

    It doesn’t even make economic sense. The Govt can build and own houses more cheaply by doing so on a large scale, than private landlords. The Government also has much much cheaper access to capital raising than do private investors.

    It can only be seen as a method of preventing the Government’s increased ownership of state housing. And that way they have less to privatise when that comes around.

  7. Pete 7

    FWIW I used to work in this area in the last government and have a few facts for the debate.

    HNZC has a stock of around 86,000 properties but a waiting list of close to 10,000. A good third of these are people already in HZNC properties and awaiting transfer to a more appropriate accommodation however it does leave a large number of people seeking HNZC accommodation especially those in the A and B category signifying urgent housing need.

    The last government did indeed utilise the leasing of private rentals on a long term basis for the simple reason that the waiting list was growing faster than HNZC could acquire properties. Problem was in the housing boom years it was very hard for the Corporation to get builders at a decent price to make it economically viable in relation to the build/acquisition budget HNZC had per year, verses the governments five year acquisition targets as specified in the Statement of Intent. Aside from a shortage of builders, another problem with HNZC constructing their own dwellings was planning permission and the time it took to get consent.

    So that leaves two other methods of meeting the ambitious acquisition target as set by the govt securing leases on a long term basis from private landlords, or purchasing already constructed homes. HNZC did a mix of all these three to try and achieve the acquisition targets and still fell short.

    I guess one could say in this period of a housing build slump there is a ready availability of builders and the government through HNZC could embark on building programme which would have the twin benefit of boosting the stock, whilst having the associated economic and employment spin offs.

    However a further point of consideration is that HNZC no longer constructs on mass large housing estates of cookie cutter housing we have learnt the lessons of Tamaki and Cannons Creek. So the economic virtues of large scale building, like the first estates, that some people have cited in this thread is somewhat dissipated.

    One of the big advantages of leasing or buying existing properties is that it fulfils HNZC’s and successive government’s policy of “pepper potting’ I.e integrating state housing with private housing creating mixed neighbourhoods thus avoiding the social and economic problems that arise from mass housing estates.

    I’m not arguing for or against any of these methods of acquisition, I’m just pointing out all have their benefits and drawbacks and personally I’d be more concerned with solutions that get vulnerable people into housing as quick and as efficiently as possible than debates about the purity of method.

    • burt 7.1

      Well said Pete.

    • Swampy 7.2

      Good call, I have lived more than thirty years close to several different large estates with dubious reputations.and right now I live in a HNZC property. It is just a pragmatic decision to have taken the policy that Labour did in their last term of office.

  8. Swampy 8

    You guys are really stooping low on this one. The Labour Government of the 1930s bought the land and everything they needed to get the houses built, on the market, paying people a profitable return of course. As did they with the private construction firms that built the houses.

    The lease policy is about HCNZ getting houses right now, where they are needed, according to where the demand is. It means they don’t have empty houses in out of the way places that no one wants to live in, which is a waste of funds. Think all those ex railway and electricity towns as examples. It means they can cater to the waiting list by getting houses for people who need them, right now, not years away. At the end of the day it gets people who need the houses the most, into a house that they can afford, right now, and that must be what matters the most, you can’t eat ideology.

    This present policy was introduced by the Clark Labour government. Since you guys won’t identify a party affiliation most of the time I’ve got no idea whether you have waited for Labour to lose the election so as to try embarrassing National or tried to marginalise Labour for this pragmatic decision – the tenants will not care as they find rhetoric doesn’t pay the bills.

  9. Jasper 9

    This policy was implemented by the 5th Labour Government as a way of reducing the waiting lists for state house tenants.

    Nothing to do with National.

    IMHO – it’s actually a good policy as HNZ have a set criteria for the standard of the properties they rent to tenants. So shite landlords with crap housing won’t get the HNZ lease until their property is up to scratch.

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    2 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    3 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    3 days ago
  • The police and public trust
    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
    3 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
    3 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 ...
    3 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 ...
    3 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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, ...
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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 ...
    5 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    7 days 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
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    1 week ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    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 ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    1 week 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 hours 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
    4 hours 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
    4 hours 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
    5 hours 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
    5 hours 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
    8 hours 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    2 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
    3 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
    3 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
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