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Welfare working group follows the formula

Written By: - Date published: 1:17 pm, November 25th, 2010 - 33 comments
Categories: benefits, class war - Tags: ,

I’m not going to waste a lot of time on the Welfare Working Group’s report. It follows the Brash-esque formula of mis-representing the issue as some massive problem and then presenting ‘solutions’ that have failed overseas. Like the Brash reports, it will be used by the Nats for bait and switch, making their actual cuts seem moderate by comparison.

The report harps on about 338,000 working age people getting benefits as if these are all fit, young people who just can’t be arsed getting a job.

Of course, we know the truth is different:

85,000 are invalids, meaning they have severe physical or mental disabilities

58,000 are sick and are required to have medical certificates to prove it (if people are getting certificates they shouldn’t be, that’s not a reason to get rid of the benefit, it’s a problem with GPs)

112,000 are raising young children alone

65,000 are unemployed and required to be looking for work to get their benefit. And we know that, if the jobs are out there, unemployment beneficiaries are more than willing to take them. Before the recession there were as few as 17,000 on the dole and 70% of them got it for less than a year as they transitioned from one job to another.

In fact, when there were jobs for nearly everyone there were just 1,700 long-term unemployed who had been on the dole for over 4 years. If there are any bludgers they are a subset of those 1,700. Hardly worth turning the lives of 338,000 people and their families upside down over.

A good proportion (I think its 50% from memory) of beneficiaries actually work a bit as well, and take a reduced benefit as a result. The marginal tax rate for beneficiaries is enormous, at least 80.5% due to benefit abatement and income tax for people getting over $80 a week from work income, but they still want to work.

And let’s not forget that our society manages to support, via the benefit system, 12% of the working age population and their families by expending less than $5 billion on those benefits. That’s less than the income of the wealthiest 13,000 New Zealanders.

So, having misconstrued the problem, the Welfare Working Group presents all kinds of extreme solutions:

work for the dole (where’s the work going to come from?)

time limited benefits (what happens to families who can’t find work during the recession?)

individual unemployment insurance (shifts the cost on to low-income workers, who are most likely to lose their jobs)

forcing solo mums to look for work even earlier (who will look after the kids?)

Surprisingly, a universal minimum income is also among the proposals. And that’s the one good idea there is.

As with Brash’s reports before it, this paper will be dumped in the bin without being read and be used by National to make its next round of benefit cut backs appear moderate. That’s all this expensive game is really about. The suckers are those, on both sides, who think that the paper is anything other than a neoliberal fantasy.

33 comments on “Welfare working group follows the formula”

  1. M 1

    ‘time limited benefits (what happens to families who can’t find work during the recession?)’

    Drug dealing and prostitution?

    Will we now become Mexicans with cellphones touting for business on street corners?

    Anti-spam: Ship – yeah, ship of NACT fools.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      I’m still trying to figure out how to stop otherwise intelligent nice ordinary income earning people for voting for a Tory party which is only out to burn them. Illogical but that is what has been happening.

      • Vicky32 1.1.1

        When they get burned it will be too late – worse, some of them are past masters at rationalisation – or they blame themselves, which is the really sad part.
        Deb

    • RobertM 1.2

      They seem intelligent and useful occupations – sex work, drug selling and street entrepenuers and those available for casual employment in the film and bar industry. Far more so than half the jobs in outer roa. Here half the jobs are padded and created. I’m sure the nation would be more productive and happier if only half the present jobs were done. Getting out of bed to go to work uses energy and fuel, space and paper. What a waste.
      Any human society of intelligence would realise that l8 year old solo mothers should be having vigorous sex all the time to keep fit, enjoy and relax. In many respects there offsprings should be looked after by their grandmothers or great grandmothers or other grandmothers. People like Coddington, Newman and Rankin would be far more useful if they spent their time looking after their grandchildren. Even recreational cougar sex would be far more healthy than their embittered right wing spiels- which just reflects that it was too hard climbing the food chain for these girls and they should have just stuck to something respectable like recreational sex. And I mean it.
      Rebstock is beyond contempt barking the Act, talkback line. And just how likely is a Macjob to take you up the food chain and housing market if your an adult. Such jobss are for the under 25s , teenagers, students etc to earn dress, booze and cosmetic money.
      The likes of Rebstock are pathetic barking the male fuddy duddy line. She calls herself a feminist.

      • Vicky32 1.2.1

        “Any human society of intelligence would realise that l8 year old solo mothers should be having vigorous sex all the time to keep fit, enjoy and relax.”
        Yes, you’re the guy who’s got an obsession with sex and teenagers, hey?
        How many 18 year old solo mothers do you think there are? Clue – about 90% fewer than you imagine! 😀
        Deb

  2. Jim Nald 2

    Yep, not worth wasting too much time.
    Even comparing at a basic level, this paper can’t measure up to your toilet paper which can be flushed away and doesn’t clog the sewers.

  3. KJT 3

    A universal minimum income is almost a no brainer. Even the most rabid RWNJ can see the benefits.

    As for the rest of it. It is so predictable as to be a total waste of money.

    These working groups and commissions have become unemployment benefits for ex politicians and party hacks.

    • Pascal's bookie 3.1

      These working groups and commissions have become unemployment benefits for ex politicians and party hacks.

      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Wingnut_welfare

    • TightyRighty 3.2

      I wouldn’t mind a universal minimum income, but only if it was accompanied by an absolutely flat tax rate on every dollar earnt over it. otherwise we’ll just raise another generation of people accustomed to looking to the state to solve their every issue.

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.1

        the state is the only way certain issues can be solved, and the state needs a high level of funding to do it.

  4. belladonna 4

    They are targeting Invalid Beneficiares with a view to transferring them to an Unemployment Benefit which is a lot less than an Invalids Benefit – the jobs aren’t there but what a great way to cut costs – vile really.

  5. Bored 5

    What f**k knuckles like Bennett and Rebstock dont stop to ask is, “What happens to us (as in themselves persoanlly) should we succeed in getting rid of welfare (which is their ultimate goal)?

    The answer is simple, the people get angry and rebel, and if they get overly hungry they foment revolution. This is the primary reason why we have welfare systems, dont ever kid yourself it is because the political classes really care, it is a palliative method to avoid their overthrow.

    • Carol 5.1

      Well, people have to have a certain amount of resources in order to rebel. Why for instance hasn’t there been a major underclass rebellion in the US?

      OTOH, David Cameron & Nick Clegg in the UK probably should be congratulated for starting to politicise a large section of young people in the UK. These young people (probably ones with just enough resources at the moment) are learning the ways, means, and power of collective organisation, and how the media responds to it.

      • Bored 5.1.1

        There have been US underclass rebellions, the best example I can think of is the Civil Rights movement. There has also been massive violent repression of what once once the largest Communist party in the world, and the breaking of a substantial Union movement. Patton and Eisenhower before their wartime fame made their names breaking up an unemployed workers campaign in Washington.

        US politics is characterised by a massive divide and rule campaign by the wealthy at any one moment, the propaganda of which stifles any real debate, or any unity toward rebellion. This has always been backed up by massive force where necessary.

        On the subject of Cameron and Clegg I have the impression that activism in the streets scares them shitless. The “Black Bloc” methodology has demonstrated that the policing power of the state has no answer to common cause that has no central links or leadership to nip off at the head. When a protestor joins a Black Bloc he /she has no idea who he/she is standing alongside, you cannot incriminate the person you do not know. You can however show common cause, and act with a known tactical method to which the authorities have little answer.

        • Carol 5.1.1.1

          Well the police in London are using the same tactics as in the poll tax demos (sometimes described as riots). eg Kettling (trapping the protesters in a crowded space, and scaring them with police on horses). But the poll tax protesters were older and included more seasoned protesters.

          Now they’ve got a lot of young people acting with a relative amount of sponataneity – plus I gather parents collecting outside the kettled area asking them to let their kids come home. But, it seems to me to be a whole new generation are out on the streets in numbers. I’m sure that does scare them a bit.

          • Bored 5.1.1.1.1

            Nice observation Carol, there have been two apolitical generations raised since the neo lib revolution of the eighties, succoured by consumerism and techno gimickry. It gives me hope that there are numerous young people re engaged in street protest. Black Bloc makes this more effective, the tactics described here are very difficult to counter, have a read of this for basics http://www.solarstormtechnologies.com/radish/discontents/blackbloc.htm and this for advanced http://www.sheffieldmayday.ukf.net/articles/blackbloc.htm

            I have noticed that the sites change a lot which may be down to the authorities or perhaps pre-emptive movement to avoid authority. Either way if protesters had used these tactics in 1981 I suspect the authorities would not have coped.

    • RobertM 5.2

      Its the same with libraries. But like the benefits they can be turned to advantage to give time and money for research etc, The advantage of an Invalids benefit is you could partly fund a university enducation on it or do what you want, because it was assumed you were hopeless by social welfare. Doctors are usually keen to maximise peoples income. But the assumption psych patients are hopeless and won’t return to productivity is nonsense if modern drugs were used intelligently and people given a chance and left alone by society and the police. To get well, people need to control there own lives and drugs- which is why I favour a GMI and people writing their own perscriptions- because only the person themselves and their lovers will get them across the bar. Paternalitic and patronising relations and alturism are never helpful.
      Really anybody over 28 should just be guaranteed a floor income of about $350 with the only add on a supplement for up to 4 children. . More and the state would tie your tubes or your partner would get a little cut. Everybody should experience work for a few years, but I really think that much of the present workforce isn’t suited or efficient in much of the work they do in the NZ economy and the increasing shophistication of modern so called productive jobs will make this even more true. So I doubt if we need an income support dept, just do it thru the IRD.
      In my mothers opinion work was a privilege not a right

  6. freedom 6

    Is this a good time to mention the best and fairest way to get the local economy moving is introduce a tax free allowance of $10,000 before income tax is applied.

    It is the most universally fair base to a tax system as everyone has the same starting point and with few exceptions the first $10,000 of any person’s income is spent solely on living costs in their local economy

    Or would the corresponding drop in Income Tax revenue only highlight a disproportionate volume of tax is paid by those who earn the least in our society

  7. kriswgtn 7

    yeah nacts make out beneficiaries dont pay tax on anything – they pay tax on their benefits,they pay gst on everything.

    And theyre tryin to pass of that the world ‘s fukup on debt is because of beneficiaries
    what a fukin joke and the thing is ,is that joe public believe it

    sheep f***uckers

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Yeah its a bit of a problem, to be sure, to be sure.

    • Jim Nald 7.2

      the nacturds are very quick to accuse others of not paying taxes .. and, in another context, of corruption

      why are they so familiar with not paying taxes and corruption?

  8. B 8

    Read welfare article in Listener today in which Rebstock makes all kinds of false assumptions and claims about beneficiaries and the system -saying things like “you hear it from everyone” rather than offering actual evidence. The one comment she made which I thought was the most blatantly manipulative was -after making a big deal out of how benefit dependency causes poverty- “…in fact in most other countries the employment rate is aligned with or higher for sole parents than for partnered women”. Rebstock says that making sole parents work would improve our child poverty rate. In fact many countries with high (sole)maternal employment rates have higher levels of poverty than here eg Canada and the US where sole parents have no choice but to work because of policies such as those Rebstock advocates. Having just done a paper at uni on this where we looked at welfare regimes across the OECD its pretty clear what works and what doesnt. Or rather who benefits: the models she advocates eg insurance are of greatest benefit to the middle classes whereas systems such as the one we currently have benefit those on low incomes.

    • Puddleglum 8.1

      Did you like her phrase “the medicalisation of labour market dislocation”?! I’m not sure how to take that.

      It means one of two things, so far as I can tell:

      1. That the ‘dislocation’ has been medicalised (well, I guess I’d agree that there’s a certain psychological pathology behind the policies that have thoroughly dislocated work and workplaces – is that what she means?)

      2. Or being made redundant, having your relationship and family break up, being seriously injured, etc. has, inexplicably, been claimed to make some people depressed, anxious and unable to cope when ‘WE’ all know that that wouldn’t make ‘US’ depressed, anxious and unable to cope … SO, they must all be bludgers. But we can’t say that – wink, wink – so I’ll just say that ‘labour market dislocation has been medicalised’ cos I know all those lefty types use ‘medicalisation’ as a big, bad bogey word.

      Either way, that phrase alone disinclines me to take her views seriously. It’s a sign of poor thinking or deceptive rhetoric – I’m not in favour of either of those traits.

      • Roger 8.1.1

        Possibly an extension of 2. She also uses the term “hidden unemployment” and asserts that the numbers on the Sickness or Invalids’ benefits “simply cannot be explained by the population generally becoming less healthy”. The “hidden unemployment” with the as she terms “the medicalisation of labour market dislocation” suggests collusion between the previous government and the medical profession to unjustifiably remove people from the labour market to doctor the numbers. It also suggests as you said that the recipients are all bludgers.

        Her statement about the numbers is her flimsy ‘proof’ of her initial assumption. It is presented in a way that suggests a wide scope of health causes for the larger numbers of sickness and invalids beneficiaries do not exist but is actually very narrow in focus to easily promote her argument. It excludes for example better recognition and diagnosis of mental health problems and a greater focus of patients to be integrated or reintegrated into society rather than incarcerated in medical facilities or prisons. It excludes aging population, higher recognition of childhood deficiencies or diseases, reduced working conditions and safety that results in accidents and injury. It excludes the negative social impact of moving towards a 24-7 business and working roster.

        It is well presented but unquantified idealogical nonsense presented as expert opinion and designed in a way to attack left leaning policy ideas and the previous Labour government. But what else would you expect.

        • Carol 8.1.1.1

          And yet a recent OECD report says NZ’s rate of disability benefits is below the OECD average, and the unemployment rate of people with chronic health problems or disability was a lot lower than the OECD average, and other things show we tend to work more of our sick & disabled, but for less pay:

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/4389217/NZ-below-OECD-benefit-average

          However, despite that continual increase the number of people of working age in New Zealand who received a disability benefit was below the OECD average. In 2008 it was 3.8 percent, compared to the OECD’s 5.7 percent.

          Other findings included:

          * New Zealand’s rate for older people (50-64-years) on a disability benefit was among the lowest in OECD but the country had the fifth-highest rate for young adults aged 20-34;

          * Public spending on sickness and disability as a share of GDP was lower in New Zealand than the OECD average;

          * The unemployment rate for people with chronic health problems or disability in 2006 was around half that of the OECD average – 7.4 percent compared to 13.7 percent. But it was more than twice New Zealand’s unemployment rate for people without health problems;

          * Employment rates of people with health problems or disability in 2006 were among the highest in the OECD, 59.5 percent compared to 43.6 percent. However, incomes of those employed are lower than for the general population of New Zealand.

        • Rosy 8.1.1.2

          “the numbers on the Sickness or Invalids’ benefits “simply cannot be explained by the population generally becoming less healthy””

          yeah, well, there would be even more on the invalid’s benefit if there was not an obligation for partners of invalids to provide for them.

          • B 8.1.1.2.1

            Perhaps it could be explained by the growing gap btw rich and poor in nz which has been shown to be linked to poor health? In other words neoliberal policies from this and the previous govt.

            And yes – partners& family of invalids pick up a lot of slack for the govt- yet get zero recognition or support

      • B 8.1.2

        @Puddleglum Yeah i noticed that one… I reckon its code for ‘lazy people who dont want to work faking mental illness so they can get on the bene’

  9. Drakula 9

    Thank you Carol I am in a position where the figures you quoted may come in handy.

    As for the above paper I agree with Nald it isn’t even as usefull as toilet paper.

    Bennett and co are going to do what they are going to do, so I think that this working groups paper is just window dressing.

    If I remember correctly the Green Party member Catherine Delahunty was invited to contribute to that group to at least give it the appearance of neutrality.

    Then she was uninvited; OK now go and figure that one out!!!!!!!!

  10. Sean 10

    Thanks for this piece Marty. For me, this is the key passage.

    In fact, when there were jobs for nearly everyone there were just 1,700 long-term unemployed who had been on the dole for over 4 years. If there are any bludgers they are a subset of those 1,700. Hardly worth turning the lives of 338,000 people and their families upside down over.

    One of the tragedies of this whole story is that if you and I can find the is information on the Ministry of Social Development’s website. Why can’t a professional journalist?

    I expect misrepresentation, and outright distortion from the NACT government – but what is the media’s excuse? If this information is available at anyone’s desk top, why aren’t editors demanding that their journalists locate available information, and understand it?

    It isn’t that hard, the core of the story the media should be able to find is this. A miniscule fraction of people could be exploiting the system, just like a fraction of people exploit any system. What is needed is a process that finds people in that fraction, prosecuting them if necessary. Instead the government is going about to go with the beat-on-all beneficiaries method, which did not work in the 90s, and won’t work now.

    I know, the media won’t find this story, they will just go with the line the NACT government hands them. If only they had a little professional pride.

    • kriswgtn 10.1

      “If this information is available at anyone’s desk top, why aren’t editors demanding that their journalists locate available information, and understand it?”

      Cos theyre thick inbred bastards

  11. tc 11

    Par for the course, Rebstock continues to be a waste of time and space as under her watch the ComCom rubber stamped increased consolidation/decreased competition across the board her finest achievement being allowing a supermarket duopoly….bravo paula.

    So she’s hardly on the side of consumers getting a fair deal be that of any product/service including gov’t delivered ones like benefits.

    This is classic ‘yes minister’ stuff, appoint a committee who’ll generate the recommendations you want rather than objectively derived ones…..can’t have that now, basher needs her fix.

  12. Drakula 12

    tc which is why they uninvited Catherin Delahunty!!!!

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  • 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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 ...
    5 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 ...
    5 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
    6 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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? ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
    This has been a terrible summer for Hector’s dolphins. The first indication was very low numbers of dolphin sightings during late spring and early summer. The Otago University Marine Mammal Research Team has carried out routine dolphin surveys at Banks Peninsula for more than 30 years. In all that time, ...
    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    1 week ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    58 mins 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
    3 hours 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
    9 hours 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
    24 hours 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    2 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago