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‘What crisis?’ Rudderless ship, stormy seas

Written By: - Date published: 8:03 am, October 14th, 2012 - 132 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, david parker, david shearer, economy, employment, exports, greens, jobs, labour, monetary policy, nz first, russel norman, vision, winston peters - Tags:

The EPMU Job Crisis Summit provided ample evidence that there is indeed a crisis. In the delusional world of Planet Key it doesn’t exist, while the country drifts.  Russel Norman quoted Brian Easton who likened the New Zealand economy to a sailing ship In Stormy Seas.  Norman said the storm has intensified recently, and no-one is at the tiller.

I’m really pleased to see such enthusiasm for co-operation and dialogue across many kinds of organisation. There was widespread agreement at the summit that leaving it to the markets has failed.  Rachel McIntosh, political panel chairperson, summed up:

  • There is a crisis
  • There is an alternative
  • It is political
  • And it involves policy settings

This summit brought people together, opened a conversation, launched a Joint parliamentary inquiry into the crisis in manufacturing and invited us to participate.  The EPMU look to be trying very hard to get as many organisations as possible focused on finding solutions.

It’s extremely heartening that the EPMU has stepped up in the face of devastating job losses, and I was expecting the workers’ struggle to be at the centre of the day’s discussions. However, the summit mainly focused on economics and financial policy, which still seems to be predominantly men’s business: the tough and powerful framing of contemporary politics. While my knowledge of economics and finance is pretty limited, I do recognise that, for the workers’ situation to improve, the wider industry also needs to be re-invigorated.  And in doing this, the broader economic, monetary, fiscal and social policies need attention.

(Part of) Business Panel: Peter Conway, Nick Inskip, Prof Hugh Whittaker.

The speakers in both panels stressed the necessity of boosting exports in order to stop the decline of manufacturing and “rebalance” the NZ economy.  Once the rot sets in, it will be harder to re-build important manufacturing industries.   Furthermore, to rebalance the economy, it was argued, it’s the high value end of the manufacturing industry that needs to be developed. One speaker argued that this would benefit from attention being given to the needs and desires of high value consumers, for instance in South East Asian markets.  However, I still don’t follow the logic that the route to a more sustainably productive, fair and inclusive society, is through every country selling stuff to each other.

Business Panel: Conway, Inskip, Whittaker, Selwyn Pellett, John Walley

Many at the summit argued that, to stop the rot, the unfavourable exchange rage needs to be addressed.  For them as Sel Pellet said,  “It’s the dollar stupid.”  There was much talk about the Reserve Bank, it’s role, and whether the government needs to take more direct control over the economy and monetary policy.

Politics Panel (not Peters’ wine box, but an improvised lectern)

Even though this was a job crisis summit, the workers that keep the manufacturing industry going seemed to get limited mention. An exception was the chairwoman for the first (Business) panel who expressed concerns for workers in her union who get dealt the redundancy card: something that she is witnessing too often these days. The most powerful voice for ordinary workers, was Trevor Bolderson (about 50 seconds into this One News video), who had traveled up from Greymouth to speak for the Spring Creek miners.  The EPMU had worked hard on a plan to keep the mine open, and went to the government for funding. The government didn’t look at the plan.

While several participants said they are open to exploring all possible solutions,  many at the summit, including Labour and the Greens, do not seem to have the courage to fully jettison the neoliberal agenda.  Many were talking about the old paradigms of “growth”, rather than changing course towards a steady state economy.

For many, a new direction seemed to be to follow the recent interventionist, but ultimately still market-driven, and bankster-friendly policies of other countries (David Parker mentioned the UK, US, Germany, China and Switzerland).  They seem to be resigned to NZ always being at the mercy of turbulent storms generated elsewhere on the globe. Maybe they are right…?  Is it possible for NZ to decouple from this system, and develop a new direction, independent of the main havoc wreaked by the international capitalist elite?

The summit ended with the EPMU saying they want to talk with the government, to take a participatory approach, and to carry on talking to people around the country.  They outlined a 3 point plan:

  • a government led strategy to act on the high dollar
  • an active procurement policy (e.g. re- tendering contracts locally or internationally)
  • call on the government to actively support manufacturing and keep jobs

In spite of my misgivings, I am glad the conversations begun on Friday open up the possibility of input from ordinary people: workers and unemployed. And I do hope some of their ideas will be taken up.

And (to the MPs) what of beneficiaries who very often contribute to the economic and social well-being of the country in ways that are rarely calculated?

If you want to participate in developing solutions, see here for information on making submission to the parliamentary inquiry on the crisis in manufacturing.

132 comments on “‘What crisis?’ Rudderless ship, stormy seas”

  1. Ad 1

    This an unalloyed joy to read.

    Such a practical relief from the sideshows of late.

    Looking forward to writing a submission.

    Just fantastic to see the prominence of that EPMU banner in the media – they so deserve it.

    Agree about Parker. Need a really thorough alternative economy to survive the next 2 decades of really low growth.

    Congratulations to the organisers.

  2. just saying 2

    Thanks for this report Karol.

    Is it possible for NZ to decouple from this system, and develop a new direction, independent of the main havoc wreaked by the international capitalist elite?

    I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure that, if we continue leaving all the power in the hands of those of the comfortable middle-class and above, with their vested interest in the status quo, however noble their expressed, and maybe heartfelt egalitarian sentiments, things, (for them anyway) will continue to be pretty much the same. While the lives of working class get progressively harder, and our democratic rights and freedoms are dismantled before our (mostly unseeing) eyes.

    I was reading a backlog of columns by Owen Jones (when ‘the Independent’ changed its format I couldn’t find him anymore). He, probably naively, believes that the British Labour Party can be changed though pressure from the bottom up.

    ….That is no reason to despair. It is up to Labour party activists, trade unionists and a broader movement to flesh out this coherent alternative, and build pressure from below on the leadership to accept it. Since World War II, we have had two transformative governments that forced their oppositions to accept their fundamental key tenets: one led by Clement Attlee, the other by Margaret Thatcher. This historic and never-ending crisis demands a new, radical Labour government to establish a new settlement. Ed Miliband is more likely than not to end up in Number 10 – but it is up to us to make sure he leads a genuine break from the national tragedy of Tory austerity….

    Here,while the Greens hold out a bit more hope than Labour, to the likes of me, I don’t believe either will change much more than the window dressing without a major powerbloc of the silenced majority, forcing their every step in the right direction.

  3. lprent 3

    I am getting more and more glad that I didn’t have time to go. The release phase of 2 and a half year projects is one that you spend time on. – I was revising the 2 hour build process for the code.

    Karol went instead and is doing a better set of posts than I would. Such interesting questions.

    Personally because of my background, I am into building new markets offshore seeking the incredible oddball ideas that our people seem to generate and selling into global micro niches. This generates the income to purchase resources that NZ either doesn’t have or where the economies of scale make it difficult to produce here at an required quality level or price.

    Massively multilayered tiny PCB boards for instance. Quite simply what we can get from China or Taiwan or one of the countries that is geared up for producing this type of gear in quantity is just outstanding in all respects. Same with the chips that populate the boards.

    But assembling here makes a lot of sense. Just about everything we do is at the near custom run level. Production runs of a mere thousands need to be as close to the testers and the design engineers as possible. It may require actual production hardware hacks for the parts that the software can’t fix.

    But to do that requires an infrastructure of local companies that can provide those flexible services. That base of skills is steadily disappearing mostly because of politicians and economists who appear to not understand that manufacturing is an integrated ecosystem. Letting capabilities die because of mere economic vagaries and then expecting them to reappear under the magic invisible hand is simply daft. They don’t.

    Skills and equipment either atrophy into uselessness or they leave the country. It isn’t like real estate or money laundering or graphics design which can startup rapidly after a downturn. Once a manufacturing industry cluster dies here, then it usually takes decades to get back if it ever recovers. But you sure as hell can’t build new manufacturing based industries including hitech ones when you don’t have the local precursor industries to draw on. You may as well find somewhere else that does.

    • Ad 3.1

      Well fair enough LPrent, Pye isn’t going to set up onWaihi again anytime soon and make complex boards.

      But altnative histories indicate that alternative futures are possible. Let me turn you back to the late1990s with Porter, then to the early years of the Clark government and Skilling and the Growth and Innovation Framework. For a time, all major budget bids had to show how they contributed to this framework. Niche manufacturing in specific sectors was confirmed, including screen production, and of course food and beverage (witha large task force of its own).

      Government and business agreeing on sectors that would get most support, and ignoring those we had no forecast competitive advantage in.

      The results of manyof the programmes from GIF as sectors and as manufacturers, have been strong. Of course the Clark government had its faults particularly with regulating overseas investment. But the main problem to growing these manufacturers here egboatbuilding was not not lack of industry will, it was the gradual decrease in commitment to the GIF plan politically.

      Rod Oram’s previous book showed examples of some of the results. Even in its weak and uneven form, GIF made a lasting difference. Alternative futures for manufacturing are possible.

      In an alternative world, what we could have seen on Friday was the stirrings of another GIF.

    • geoff 3.2

      I used to work for a company that did short runs of custom electronics assembly. The changes in production volume across a single year were large. Around 80% of the labour force were on temp contracts. People were treated poorly and the work was tedious and repetitive and everyone was worried each week that it would be their turn for their respective temp agency manager to sidle up to them and and have a quiet word about not bothering to turn up the following week.

      I really didnt like those work conditions but in retrospect I’m not sure how you could operate such a business without the ability to hire and fire people as the demand lifted and fell.

      What’s your idea for handling the labour for this sort of work?

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1

        I really didnt like those work conditions but in retrospect I’m not sure how you could operate such a business without the ability to hire and fire people as the demand lifted and fell.

        That’s one of the benefits of a Universal Income and a lot of state housing that I see. It allows people to be more creative with their time than the old fashioned 40 hours per week in the same job. I’m not a fan of permanent work.

        Besides, WTF is electronics assembly still done manually?

      • lprent 3.2.2

        The biggest thing to do would be to increase the numbers of companies needing the work done. Ultimately that is what smooths out all oft this type of work. It was the same in injection moulding shops back in the 60’s and early 70’s

    • Draco T Bastard 3.3

      Massively multilayered tiny PCB boards for instance. Quite simply what we can get from China or Taiwan or one of the countries that is geared up for producing this type of gear in quantity is just outstanding in all respects. Same with the chips that populate the boards.

      Bollocks

      If we did (Yes, I’m talking about government here) the same amount of investment in the factories that China or Taiwan did then we’d be able to produce them for the same price. And remember, they’d be fully automated factories so the labour requirements would be minimal.

      • lprent 3.3.1

        A. They aren’t fully automatic for anything we would want to do. You can only do that for really long runs for which there is no local demand and crazy offshore competition to compete against.

        B. It is a myth that such plants are full automatic anyway. They may have minimal production staff. However they have a lot of maintenance and quality testing staff. They also have a lot of staff working on upgrades.

        C. Building a local plant makes no sense. They are essentially uncompetitive within a few years as the layers in the PCB’s increase and the densities get tighter. Thye are headingbthe same way as chips did. You’d only do it for strategic reasons – if we wound up in a cuba situation.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.3.1.1

          A) Then we need to develop better factories

          B) That’s what I would expect. The total would be far less than a fully manual factory though.

          C) See A) and your B).

          You’d only do it for strategic reasons – if we wound up in a cuba situation.

          At some point in time every country in the world is going to realise that they don’t need to trade and that they can get a better living standard for their people if they don’t (well, minimise it anyway). This is going to be especially true of the countries which presently have huge amounts of resources and poverty. They will realise that if they processed those raw resources into computers/copper wire, etc and then exported the finished product that they’re going to be better off. At that point the world will be massively over supplied with everything and there’s no way you’ll be able to compete anyway.

          You’re still thinking in a capitalist/growth mindset where we need to make a financial surplus rather than in real terms where we need to supply our society with what it needs from the limited resources we have to maintain a reasonable living standard for everyone.

          • Colonial Viper 3.3.1.1.1

            DTB

            You’re still thinking about having access to the latest and greatest during decline. Not going to happen, sorry.

            The washing machines of 2060 aren’t going to be gee-whiz made in NZ F&P and Samsung style models with clever microprocessors and circuit boards and LED lights.

            They are much more likely to be similar to the old fashioned F&P ones of the 1970’s and early 1980’s, with a spring loaded timer mechanism ticking away to progress through the stages of the cycle.

            I believe Lprent is correct. We’re not going to have state of the art SMT lines, but we could run some smaller scale older lines very economically. For CPUs and microprocessors the capital cost of 130nm design and fabrication tools (what the Pentium III and IV were made on) is fuck all on the secondary market.

            And when we make stuff onshore it’s much more likely to be of the older washing machine variety (because they are easy to make, easy to fix, and can last for decades) rather than the new beeping flashing all gizmo type.

            • prism 3.3.1.1.1.1

              CV
              Our old ‘analogue’ FP washing machine was better than the new FP one on a number of points.

              • Colonial Viper

                Yep. You’re seeing it in a number of areas. “Improvements” which aren’t really improvements. “Progress” which isn’t really progress. “Growth” which isn’t really growth.

                Some people, still not enough, are starting to see beneath the societal hype and marketing.

            • Draco T Bastard 3.3.1.1.1.2

              We’re not going to have state of the art SMT lines, but we could run some smaller scale older lines very economically. For CPUs and microprocessors the capital cost of 130nm design and fabrication tools (what the Pentium III and IV were made on) is fuck all on the secondary market.

              Why would we use old, inefficient tech like that when we can produce newer more efficient stuff more efficiently? Really do wish I could find that article that came out a few years ago about Canterbury Uni manipulating atoms/molecules with lasers.

              And when we make stuff onshore it’s much more likely to be of the older washing machine variety (because they are easy to make, easy to fix, and can last for decades) rather than the new beeping flashing all gizmo type.

              Actually, it’s more likely to be the new flashy stuff cheaper to produce, maintain and still lasts decades. Advantage of all that metallurgy and learning stuff between then, now and later.

              The only thing we won’t have is oil and that’s not a problem. All that does is get of the bloody cars.

              • “The only thing we won’t have is oil and that’s not a problem. All that does is get of the bloody cars.”

                Wow, I didn’t know that the only that required oil were cars. Here I was stupidly thinking that trucks, ferries and most every fucking mechanical device we utilise in daily life to supply us with the things we need used oil.

                Silly me. Lucky NZ has ample supplies of pixie dust.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Trucks can use electricity. Ferries can use bio-diesel. Most other mechanical devices can use vegetable oil.

                  For what’s left we may have to pull up uneconomic oil or look to refining mineral oils from coal.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Still too complicated mate. Plus biofuels are only good if you have organic material going to waste anyways. We certainly don’t want to go down the wasteful, inefficient US route of converting food to liquid fuels.

                    Yes there will be plenty of electric transport but for the really big stuff: coal and wood powered steam.

                    You can build a steam engine these days which is as efficient as the most modern diesel engine. Except the steam engine will last 50 years.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Still too complicated mate.

                      Not necessarily. If we only produce what we need then the complexity shouldn’t be an issue.

                      Plus biofuels are only good if you have organic material going to waste anyways.

                      I’m not fond of bio-fuels and would prefer not to use them but I think we may have to in some limited places. Ferries are likely to be one of those places. All other shipping would be sail.

                      Yes there will be plenty of electric transport but for the really big stuff: coal and wood powered steam.

                      Nope, electric trains. Just need those wind farms and solar panels.

                      You can build a steam engine these days which is as efficient as the most modern diesel engine. Except the steam engine will last 50 years.

                      Actually, that’s the other way around. Steam engines have always been more efficient than diesel (the efficiency of heat engines has to do with the temperature ratio between the engine and the atmosphere). Diesel is easier to store than wood or coal which is why diesel won out over steam. Diesel engines are also safer (less likely to explode).

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Nope, electric trains. Just need those wind farms and solar panels.

                      only good on flat land and lower loads unfortunately. Remember, with steam you get maximum torque at zero RPM. That’s how you move ten thousand tonnes of shit up a hill with rail and back down again. You can’t do that with electric.

                      Diesel is easier to store than wood or coal which is why diesel won out over steam.

                      That and the fact the IMF would only give us a development loan in the 1970’s if we agreed to scrap a fleet of perfectly good steam engines to go with diesel.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Remember, with steam you get maximum torque at zero RPM.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torque#Machine_torque

                      Steam engines and electric motors tend to produce maximum torque close to zero rpm…Reciprocating steam engines can start heavy loads from zero RPM without a clutch.

                      Steam engines have the advantage but I suspect it’s not as much as you think.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_locomotive

                      This system is particularly advantageous in mountainous operations, as descending locomotives can produce a large portion of the power required for ascending trains.

                      Can’t do that with steam.

                      That and the fact the IMF would only give us a development loan…

                      The only question we need to ask there is WTF were we taking out a development loan in the first place?

                      In fact, I’m pretty sure we never did take out such a loan.

    • karol 3.4

      Thanks, Lynn.  Not being an economist or a business person, I tried to flag up the main areas of discussion, while also trying not to make the post too long.  People here clearly know more about a lot of these issues than I do, and have been able to explain them far better.
       
      I think I understand how specific niche products are best traded with other  countries.
       
      John Walley was big on the serious difficulty withing to re-build areas of manufacturing once the skills and products/technologies have been lost.  It takes decades to get the investment required for rebuilding. And Walley claimed that we will lose the necessary elements quicker now than at the beginning of the GFC.  In fact several speakers reckoned we have worse yet to come from the GFC.
       
      Walley reckoned that in the last decade the growth has been in post primary production and skills.  Whereas, the areas we need to develop are in simple and elaborate production. (I’m not sure what sort of manufacturing that would be – I take pretty good notes, but not always that detailed. 🙂

      • Colonial Viper 3.4.1

        “Simple production” probably refers to activities such as the assembling of prefabricated parts, or the manufacture of items requiring only one or two special relatively well understood processes, using relatively few materials and commodity components. Making a plastic bucket, stamping and bending sheet steel, drawing wire, extruding plastic pipe etc.

        “Elaborate production” likely refers to production requiring highly designed, highly specified inputs, multiple complex components/components, precision manufacturing processes, integrated software/firmware, and significant ongoing R&D.
        Look to Tait, PEC, Scott Automation and F&P Healthcare as examples.

    • RedLogix 3.5

      Letting capabilities die because of mere economic vagaries and then expecting them to reappear under the magic invisible hand is simply daft. They don’t.

      That is SO damn true.

  4. BM 4

    So lots of gas bagging, no solutions.
    What a waste of time.

    • Te Reo Putake 4.1

      You’re remarkably self aware this morning, BM!

    • ianmac 4.2

      BM. Are you talking about Steven Joyce’s often given contribution to non-policy or Bill English’s habit of talking in circles. Please do be more polite about these two because they do not know how to care for the people.

    • freedom 4.3

      BM
      why bother commenting if that is all you have? Does it satisfy some inane ego issue? Do you get a purile emotional kick that you have just wasted zero point two seconds of people’s lives making them skim your contribution?

      At least the project is starting a dialogue, which is more than the big blue gnats are willing to attempt.

      !!! NZ NEEDS JOBS !!!
      DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT?

      Seriously BM you are becoming the new Pete George but without the sense of depth and reason

      • BM 4.3.1

        Off course NZ need jobs, bit of a no brainer that one.
        How we create those jobs is another matter.
        Personally the idea of the government creating a huge widget factory that employs 100,000 people doesn’t really appeal to this voter.

        • muzza 4.3.1.1

          I think the real question is

          “Will NZ be allowed to create any jobs”

          The answer of course is, NO!

        • freedom 4.3.1.2

          so BM, instead of being monotonously derisive of the efforts of others . . . suggest something

          • BM 4.3.1.2.1

            Rejoin with Australia.
            Power in numbers.

            • felix 4.3.1.2.1.1

              Re-join? Eh?

              • BM

                Rejoin, as in become a state of Australia again.

                • lprent

                  We never have been a state of Aussie. You have to look back past 1840 for any kind of governance from Aussie, and that was largely a diplomatic job from new south wales – not from any other part of Aussie.

                  • BM

                    Back in the 1820’s I thought we were, could be wrong though.

                    • mike e

                      Blind Monetarist your always wrong!

                    • felix

                      You would be.

                      NZ was for a time treated by the British as part of the colony of NSW (which was also not part of Australia at the time) until around the time of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi when NZ officially became a distinct colony (yay! a colony of our own!)

                      In fact there was no such country as “Australia” until about 1900, over half a century later.

                • OneTrack

                  Sounds good BM but I doubt the aussies would have us.

            • TheContrarian 4.3.1.2.1.2

              Rejoin with Australia?

              Would this be via plate tectonics?

              • lprent

                +1
                I was going to answer that. But yours was so much better…

                And shorter – which appears to be what BM requires. But I have to ask, while he appears to have calcite in his brain and probably is rocky in parts of his anatomy, do you think he will know what plate tectonics is? Maybe a link o Wikipedia.

              • Might be the “Trans Tasman highway” idea re surfacing 🙂

            • Colonial Viper 4.3.1.2.1.3

              “power in numbers” is your strategy for taking on China (pop 1300M) and Indonesia (pop 238M)?

              Maybe you should rethink that.

              You haven’t even added in the fact that Australia has started a prolonged economic downturn and are becoming increasingly unfriendly towards Kiwi workers.

        • felix 4.3.1.3

          “Personally the idea of the government creating a huge widget factory that employs 100,000 people doesn’t really appeal to this voter.”

          And I’m not overly keen on the government turning all the red-haired children into sausages.

          So?

          • BM 4.3.1.3.1

            So, we’re relying on the market to create these jobs?

            • felix 4.3.1.3.1.1

              What, the jobs in the giant widget factory?

              Why on earth would we want anyone running such a pointless enterprise when there is plenty of real work to be done?

              • freedom

                staggering isn’t it felix

                we have all the wood ( and once had all the wool) in the world , all the tradespeople you could need, a housing crisis, technical ability to create new products and train new people, a local market hungry for the result and a global market that would readily take whatever we can muster . . . We used to build things, remember.

                add to this a sea of unemployed people desperately needing a new direction . . . yet . . . the halls of power are filled with windbags of self interest that were duped into thinking Dairy and the destruction of our primary industries was going to help NZ
                Well thirty years on i think we can safely say they fucked it up, they fucked it up big time. Now before the ” well come up with something then ” brigade harp on i do have an idea: Use kiwi wood to make kitset homes that kiwis build and then when kiwis have enough we can sell more to the world. We used to build things, remember.

                With minimal revison we revert to farming sheep instead of poisoning our country and prostituting our land growing dairy. Wool becomes insulation and fuel and clothing etc. We have a current glut in woodchips, with a bit of Plant rejigging Wood becomes wallboards. Using a generic range for the kitset system ( that a first year design student could work out) we have a smooth running high-productivity factory within a year that would employ a few hundred people, that ships product ( another few hundred ) to the builders ( a few thousand there) then the decorators etc ( thousand more) and the sparkies and plumbers etc etc etc . We would quickly produce a range of associated products the world would want. It used to be what we did. We used to build things, remember.

                as i said , it is just one idea, and as i am at work a very quickly thrown together one. The Government has had four and a half years and has nothing even close to a coherent practical plan. It may only be one step but that is what you do when starting a journey. You take one step, then when the foot is stable, you take another, before you know it you are running towards horizons you only imagined.. There are so many reasons that NZ know-how should be at the front of the queue instead of selling assets and importing second rate crap and sentencing kiwis to retail and hospitality jobs. We used to build things, remember.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.3.2

        Seriously BM you are becoming the new Pete George but without the sense of depth and reason

        QFT (I LOL’d :twisted:)

  5. freedom 5

    Billy Bragg talked strongly about these subjects just last night in Wellington, and did so with such mirth you almost forgot how dangereous a concept it is to some and why big business has worked so very hard to destroy them . .

    Unions of the people are the only way to achieve any prosperity for the many. Unions of the people are the only way to wrestle back the leashes held by the few.

    p.s. The Woody Guthrie set was a giant super sundae of amazinglygreat topped with fanbloodytastic !

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Unions of the people are the only way to achieve any prosperity for the many. Unions of the people are the only way to wrestle back the leashes held by the few.

      QFT

    • Jokerman 5.2

      🙂 X 2

    • tc 6.1

      Rebbit rebitt says the frog, just stay in that water like the hollowmen want there’s a good leeming.

      • BM 6.1.1

        I thought it was the Lizard men, have they been replaced?

        • muzza 6.1.1.1

          9.3bn deficit….

          Where would you like the funding to come from

          1: Cutting of essential services
          2: Higher taxes on the poor/middle class
          3: Off-shore borrowing at undisclosed rates of interest

          Whats your thoughts on the foreign owned RBNZ/OoDM – Do you understand basics, or are you as asinine as your words indicate!

          • BM 6.1.1.1.1

            Offshore oil drilling
            Mining
            Cuts to the public service.
            Tax breaks for businesses that take on more staff.

            • muzza 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Offshore oil drilling – How will that fund the deficit?
              Mining – I doubt it
              Cuts to the public service.- You like that one?
              Tax breaks for businesses that take on more staff.- How will that fund the deficit?

              The deficit has happened, and needs funding now, try again!

            • chris73 6.1.1.1.1.2

              Sounds like a good start. I’d add getting tough on welfare fraudsters (no we aren’t tough enough not even close) and targeting and slamming tax evaders

              • Colonial Viper

                Raise income taxes on the top 5%, institute an asset tax, FTT and CGT. Reintroduce an estate tax (formally death duty).

                And a corporate supertax of 59% on any company making more than $100M pa.

              • felix

                Anyone who thinks the 9 billion dollar deficit will be addressed in any way whatsoever by “getting tough on welfare fraudsters” is drunk.

                • Bloody well said Felix.

                • chris73

                  Too early in the day for that.

                  I don’t think there is any one policy that can fix the deficit and increase jobs, however I do believe that there is a number of policies that can.

                  Cracking down on welfare fraudsters and tax dodgers is one of those policies that can help.

                  There ain’t no magic bullets.

                  • “There ain’t no magic bullets.”

                    Yet you keep looking for them, by judging others.

                    The total welfare budget for nz is approx 287.5Million.

                    Lets say using statistical analysis that 5% are fraudulent …..

                    14.15Mill max buddy.

                    Which means bad economic policy is 620 times more important and costly.

                  • Poission

                    Cracking down on welfare fraudsters and tax dodgers is one of those policies that can help.

                    There ain’t no magic bullets.

                    Globally there is not a monetary crisis,the money is just in the vehicles,and in the wrong areas for all the wrong reasons.

                    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-18944097

                    If we observe the above example,most of the developing countries would move from being net debtors to net creditors.

                    If the benefits from trusts removed there would be increased transparency,and greater opportunity to audit.This was where Dunnes defense of funny money needs to be clearly identified.The foreign tax haven status we provide is essentially only an offshore coin operated laundry-mat.

                    The NZ local trusts are more a relic of the past (to avoid inheritance tax),now they are being used to minimize risk for bad or criminal decision making eg Petrovich.

              • Foreign Waka

                Chris we are not talking about the “small fry” here. Corporate Welfare, guaranties for Banks to bail them out with taxpayer money and yet the bonuses paid to Excecs make your eyes water. In fact it was just a few days ago reported that banks are back where they were but the general population has been left in the dust.
                International Companies taking profits offshore without reinvestment and improvement of NZ interest required (don’t get me wrong, but it is not oil companies as they do reinvest – funny that!) Third world country wages being used to peg pay rates in regards to manufacturing (Fisher & Pykel will be the next one). Treaty claims that are logged with some sinister undertones and ever more inventions to make NZlanders pay (ownership of the water, air).
                The general support of the mentality that someone owes one a living etc…. And yet, the ones who really (really, really) need help and have earned their keep (pensioners) are being constantly marauded. Manipulation at its finest.This has not been a NZ tradition until the recent past. Perhaps people won’t like what I say here, however it will not diminish the underlying causes for the distinct problem NZ is facing and the challenges that will not go away.
                http://www.treatyofwaitangi.net.nz/ReadtheTreaty.html

            • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1.1.3

              Tax breaks for businesses that take on more staff.

              Wages paid are exempt from company tax already, moron.

              • BM

                Aren’t we trying to create more jobs?.
                More carrot less stick, anything that encourages employers to take on more staff is good.

                • Colonial Viper

                  I agree. A super tax on corporates should create funds to help NZ based SMEs.

                  Your idea that cutting taxes has anything whatsoever to do with new jobs is just stupid, however. All it does is put more money into owners’ pockets for doing nothing different than today.

                  • BM

                    Creating incentives for small business to take on more staff, that has legs.
                    Your idea is pie in the sky and is never going to happen

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Of course it will happen. Have more faith. NZ can do a better job of selling and implementing it than Gillard did.

                    • Although the rates CV states are high, and would kill most businesses overnight, they are a worthy goal.

                      If things go well, then we’ll never need too approach those high levels, but the turnover/stability/options they’d create would be phenomonal.

                      Companies pay 28% at the mo, they can’t afford anything over +0.25% a year, CVs’ plan is a long one.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      BM

                      Companies take on more staff when they are expanding right? Due to not being able to meet market demand for their products?

                      Otherwise, are we saying that currently they are not taking on staff even though there is demand not being met?

                      So the problem is not enough demand. We have excess labour because there is not enough demand for goods and services. Why is that? Is it because companies are paying too much tax? Is it because wages are too high? Is it because the govt is spending tooo much money?

                      So where does demand come from? And how can the Government encourage it?

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Re tax rates.

                      It’s worth bearimg oin mind that taxes act in unusual ways.

                      If profits at a certain level are taxed highly, or income over a e certain amount, that can effect decisions around investment in staff and expansion. ie, paying your staff more can become a more attractive proposition when high taxes on the alternative are taken into account.

                      Or to look at the same thing another way, the incentive to pay lower wages and scimp on investment in productivity increasing plant, can be reduced by taxing the alternatives.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      And PB has hit the nail on the head. Thanks mate.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      PlanetOrphan said

                      Companies pay 28% at the mo, they can’t afford anything over +0.25% a year, CVs’ plan is a long one.

                      No, implement it tomorrow, actually.

                      I’d propose dropping the company tax rate for small businesses down to 26% (profits < $500K pa).

                      For medium sized companies keep the rate at 28% (profits <$10M).

                      For largish companies raise the rate to 33% (profits < $100M).

                      For major corporates, introduce the super-profits tax of 49% (profits over $100M pa).

                      In other words, progressive taxation for businesses.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    A super tax on corporates should create funds to help NZ based SMEs.

                    Nope. Just put businesses and trusts on PAYE and make dividends (also on PAYE) tax deductible for businesses. The resultant increase in the tax take could be used to boost SMEs as well as pay for the very large, very expensive factories that the SMEs need.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      yeah could do. Going to a Greens system and scrapping GST for SMEs would be good to.

                • Foreign Waka

                  BM unfortunately, empirical evidence does not support your argument. Any tax break is used to give some hefty bonuses to the shareholders as they expect ROI in line with profitability. Less tax means more profit and only a few will benefit and they may not even be in NZ. We should start restricting raw material being shipped out without being processed at its point of origin. I think this would create jobs, income, tax and well being for a lot of people.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    We should start restricting raw material being shipped out without being processed at its point of origin.

                    Yep. A complete ban on the exportation and importation of raw resources is needed.

                    • “Yep. A complete ban on the exportation and importation of raw resources is needed.”

                      Ban importation? Going to have a hard time getting by without any zinc.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      It’s the same coin. If we ban exportation of raw resources then we have to ban importation as well.

                    • Foreign Waka

                      Just something to make you think: we logging trees and send these unprocessed overseas to produce: wait for it! – toothpicks. So who says we cannot produce these here? Same with wood pallets for heating. Export them and you have one of many possibilities of a value added business. Ooops, too much work I hear? Bucks not coming quick enough (for some)?

                    • “If we ban exportation of raw resources then we have to ban importation as well.”

                      Going to have a hard time getting by without any zinc.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Why, doesn’t it come in a processed form?

                    • NZ has small amounts of Zinc but in no economic quantities. Mining it would be counter productive. So we have to import it.

                      What’s the difference between importing processed zinc, ready for use, and raw zinc? Why does it matter?

                      You seem to think, Draco, that NZ can be self-sufficient, but we don’t have enough of some minerals to be able to be so and still keep our current way of life.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Why does it matter?

                      Because it’s the processing that adds value which means a greater return for processed resources. That would be both for us and the other resource exporting countries. Also, it gives cause for the importing countries to look for other solutions.

                      You seem to think, Draco, that NZ can be self-sufficient,

                      I tend to go for minimalist trade rather than maximising it as the current failed paradigm calls for.

                    • So you agree then that NZ can’t be self-sufficient while keeping the same quality of life due to us lacking the necessary minerals?

                      Or are you still going to maintain your weird delusion that we can make everything here and still have plasma screens and a laptop/PC in every home?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      yeah because everyone having a new laptop and a new flat screen TV is what determines the “quality of life” in our society.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Or are you still going to maintain your weird delusion that we can make everything here and still have plasma screens and a laptop/PC in every home?

                      I’m pretty sure that we can make PCs and LED screens from resources here in NZ.

                      Steel – got it
                      Ceramics – got it
                      Silicon – got it
                      Gallium – got it
                      Copper – got it
                      Aluminium – yep, got that too (although, it’s possible we actually have more titanium)

                      There is some stuff we don’t have or, rather, have very little of, which it would be worth trading for.

                      yeah because everyone having a new laptop and a new flat screen TV is what determines the “quality of life” in our society.

                      Everyone having access to a computer and the internet is what helps maintain our democracy. Maintaining our democracy helps maintain our quality of life, ie, not as slaves or serfs.

                    • McFlock

                      don’t we import the bauxite for the aluminium?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      yeah we do

                      and DTB 100% import substitution is not going to work. Some shit we are either going to have to go without, still source from overseas and use sparingly, or simply recondition/repair/salvage what we already have here.

                    • “There is some stuff we don’t have or, rather, have very little of, which it would be worth trading for.”

                      So then banning imports/exports of materials won’t work

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      don’t we import the bauxite for the aluminium?

                      Yep, we do but there’s a 20 million tonne deposit of the stuff up in the north.

                      So then banning imports/exports of materials won’t work

                      /facepalm

                      I said raw materials. Example: We produce ~1m tonnes of steel annually of which we export most but we export 40 million tonnes of raw iron sand. The latter export would be banned but not the former.

    • Jim Nald 6.2

      “No crisis here”
      And don’t forget to pair that up with “There is no alternative”!!

      That brings to mind this recent piece from the UK:
      (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/30/miliband-has-got-answers)

      “[UK] Labour is talking of a badly damaged economic system which requires not just a leader, and not even just an election, but a national transformation to put it right. It needs companies run more democratically, rather than by a tiny clique of bonus-addicted executives. It needs banks that go back to their main social function – protecting savers’ money and lending to productive businesses. It needs public sector institutions such as hospitals to be more responsive to their users. …

      “It also needs a lively sense of the changing priorities and demographics of the country. That means shifting attention and resources to older people and those who care for them …

      “Starting to shift Britain in the right direction isn’t a matter of taking over ministries and nudging policy, or even just rewriting departmental budgets. Instead, it’s about changing the institutions people work in and rely on in their daily lives.

      “It’s about pushing and cajoling companies to pay their workers a decent wage, rather than depending on the state to make up the difference through tax credits – a corporate dependency culture allowed to flourish in the good years, when the tax receipts flowed in, but not affordable now. It’s about helping consumers to band together to force energy prices down by buying in bulk. It’s a vision of government as the reshaper and enabler of corporate responsibility, rather than as doler-out.

      “As one shadow minister put it to me yesterday, “Our model of capitalism has broken but, rather than abolish capitalism, we have to reform it, remake it, and democratise it.” That’s why so many of the lazier expectations of what a Labour opposition should be – laundry-lists of new spending pledges and detailed promises about tax – are simply beside the point. …

      “Almost everywhere one looks at this conference, one sees new thinking about how to reform the economic system without radical new spending commitments. Don’t get me wrong. It will be confrontational and sometimes scary. When the big corporate tycoons threaten to clear off, Miliband and the rest of the team cannot flinch. When executives on millions warn that they can’t pay decent wages without harming profits, there will be arguments to be had.

      “Obviously, there is still a long, long way to go. But you can see the ground plan for a new centre-left politics taking shape, and a few lines of brick rising from the mud. We don’t yet have the language to describe it properly – civic socialism?

      “… none of it will come to anything if millions of people cannot be persuaded that a better economy and society are possible. The quiet despair about anything ever really changing is the single most lethal threat to British democracy.

      “Ed Miliband’s biggest task will be to shift that, to convince the disillusioned that Britain can develop a less short-term, less unequal economy, in which companies can again be admired. Simply voting Labour, and expecting Miliband to fix it for us, isn’t grown up. He has got answers for those who will listen, but only for reasonable questions.”

      p.s. Apologies if the excerpts are a bit long but I have edited most out to leave these in. Moderators are welcome to remove as much as they wish since the link is already there. Cheers.

      • Colonial Viper 6.2.1

        Ah very nice, I’m liking Ed Milliband more and more.

      • Ad 6.2.2

        It’s really good to hear language changing like that.but what Labour UK might find is what Labour found in 1999: the public sector and the sum total of direct levers to pull has substantially shrunk. Labour governments need to be able to coordinate levers to increase their economic agency. But with the telco’s gone, banks gone, and soon power companies gone from state control, it will take more than changes in descriptors to change the economy.

        As the state and public service continues to shrink fast, actual bully-pulpit leadership becomes the main lever left. Does Miliband have that force of will? Does Shearer? They can’t be worse than the Tory Prime Ministers. just remember how hard it was to breakTelecom – they were happy to help betray the whole of Cabinet.

        This sounds a bit messianic I know, but it will take at least a whole term to develop and operate the new required levers of power over capital. I sincerely hope this will exists.

        • Colonial Viper 6.2.2.1

          This sounds a bit messianic I know, but it will take at least a whole term to develop and operate the new required levers of power over capital. I sincerely hope this will exists.

          Yeah don’t see much of that will around currently.

          • Ad 6.2.2.1.1

            Agreed, but one either works with the redeemable bits of the current leadership as EPMU has done, or be consigned to a further decade of stagnation as a new generation of leadership ascends. Nasty choice but opposition politics shouldn’t ever be about waiting for the other lot to fail.

          • Jim Nald 6.2.2.1.2

            Shearer is, I must admit, so anaesthetically pleasant. I might not even bother to get out of bed to vote, come election day.

            At least the comical pair of Johns would get my moral fibres fired up, thanks to their convenient memory loss, selectively characterised ignorance, and resistance to reading vital reports.

    • Poission 6.3

      As one of the commentators posed,( it is the dollar stupid ) the problem is reduced to a statement where debate is required.

      As we need a trade surplus to pay for imported goods and services,an accumulated debt we can identify that a high TWI (trade weighted index) does seem to decrease our Balance of payments eg.

      http://s1250.beta.photobucket.com/user/Poission/media/a984d297.gif.html

      If as a number of analysts suggest,the sept deficit (trade balance) is looking to be around 800m-1.1 billion it may be time to look at what we can do soon rather then later.

      When the Govt spokesman Joyce,tries to distort the problem and suggest that it is endogenous problems mostly to do with policy eg.

      “There is no doubt that economic conditions in the post GFC- world are challenging for some firms. The role of Government is to do things that help make firms more competitive and that is what our Business Growth Agenda is all about.

      “The Government would welcome opposition support in areas that make a real difference for firms – thinks like reforming the RMA, supporting employment law changes to increase flexibility, and controlling ACC’s costs.

      If we examine the last 2 points,labour flexibility bears NO relation to productivity growth anywhere in the world during economic contraction anywhere on this planet ie a fallacy eg Broadbent 2012 Bank of England.

      During the 61 banking crises covered by Bordo and Eichengreen’s dataset[ across 35 countries since 1980] , annual productivity growth is on average 1.4% points lower than at other times. Table 1, which plots the results of a regression on the same dataset, shows that, for given output growth, inflation is higher during financial crises

      The second point is also a fallacy as the independent review on NZ osh tells us that NZ has accidents rate around 4x the UK and Aus.ie a systemic problem with a no fault system.

      It is increasingly obvious that Joyce is a bit thick.

      • PlanetOrphan 6.3.1

        Very well said poisson,

        Those people that say “post GFC” should be saying “Post Iranian Oil Embargo”

        Which they new about, and did nothing about.

    • lprent 6.4

      BM: Tell me, do you ever read past the headline? Or are short sentences your limit? In which case even the following from that same article am be too long.

      Core Crown debt increased by $10 billion to around $50 billion…

      Despite the nice headline, all that meant was the rate of increase in debt was slowed. If you looked you will find that most of the better tax take was attributed to last years prices for agriculture. That is hardly likely to continue after the bump in the exchange rate.

      Everyone I run across in business is expecting a much harder year to June 2013, we’re a already seeing it.

    • Dr Terry 6.5

      BM – I am reluctant to waste time and space on one of your king, only to repeat “there are none so blind as those who will not see”.

  6. Great Article Karol 🙂
    How about we introduce Salary caps ? (Thanks QoT)
    (We’ll have too legislate, the Unions can’t enforce it anymore)

    The Gnats’ “Free Market” is bleeding us dry.

  7. Dr Terry 8

    Thanks Karol. I can see that, for all the good things about this conference (like Russell Norman!), you would have a few reservations. Men must learn that their interests are more than financial and economic. Men too, like women, must look hard toward the human issues and the humane. Once we are “back in surplus”, what marvels are likely to happen then? All government energies will likely go into maintaining the status quo. Nobody, other then the already well-off, is going to receive any hand-outs, for sure! A “steady state economy” will probably offer no promise to those in poverty, or the poor. Somehow it will have to be maintained that way. No hand-outs!! Again, forget not humanitarian concerns.

  8. Draco T Bastard 9

    However, I still don’t follow the logic that the route to a more sustainably productive, fair and inclusive society, is through every country selling stuff to each other.

    That logic is based upon the micro economic principle of specialisation. An individual can’t learn everything and so they specialise. Unfortunately, the mainstream economists have taken that principle and applied it to whole societies which shows the total stupidity of mainstream economics. It’s obvious that a society always has enough people in it to cover everything that the society needs. What happens when a society specialises in a limited number of areas is a) the people who don’t want to work in those areas have to leave to work where they want and b) the society actually stops changing and thus becomes a backwater with limited culture (which probably encourages even more people to leave).

    While several participants said they are open to exploring all possible solutions, many at the summit, including Labour and the Greens, do not seem to have the courage to fully jettison the neoliberal agenda.

    People tend to be afraid of change even when it’s obvious that change is needed.

    Is it possible for NZ to decouple from this system, and develop a new direction, independent of the main havoc wreaked by the international capitalist elite?

    Yes, it’s possible but it’s going to take more input from the general populace rather than just listening to the capitalists and the politicians who want to keep the present system.

  9. karol 10

    People tend to be afraid of change even when it’s obvious that change is needed….

    Yes, it’s possible but it’s going to take more input from the general populace rather than just listening to the capitalists and the politicians who want to keep the present system
     
    Yes, that’s what I thought.  This was indicated to me when some speakers referring to countries like the US and UK providing “new” interventionist models that NZ should either follow or respond to.  Also there was a question/suggestion from the floor that I didn’t catch (lousy hearing?), but that the (politicians’?) panel said would be a “step too far”. 
     
    It might have been this one as mentioned by Bomber:
     

    The Financial Transaction tax was discussed at length and best question of the day had to go to economist Dr Ganesh Nana who wanted to know that if the panel was serious they should be advocating politicians taking the levers of power off the faceless technocrats and make political decisions with the economy.

     
    I thought the question might have been about totally doing away with the Reserve Bank – but I could be wrong.
     
    I didn’t think the FTT was discussed extensively, or at least, not more than some other stuff.  I thought it was Minto that asked the Business Panel about an FTT.  Walley said half a % would raise more than GST.
     
     
     

  10. karol 11

    Another couple of points that I didn’t fit into my post (as it was already quite long).
     
    Peter Conway was keen on the “Manufacturers’ Strategy” that South Australia is about to launch. (I know nothing about this, but would be interested to learn.)
     
    Chris Trotter asked the Business Panel if they thought now was the time for politicians to re-look at the policies of 80 years ago.  He asked if we should go back to politics leading over economics?  Something that has been reversed since the 1980s.
     
    Whittaker said, “Yes”.  Walley said, “It’s a political issue…. the GFC will get worse.”
     
    Conway said ,”Yes”, there should be a political economy approach, not a market approach.

    • Jokerman 12.1

      oh Joe, always sobering.
      (sooner “they” get over themselves and their blind hypocrisy in this country, the sooner we can all eat a ‘banquet’ )

  11. karol 13

    And Mana is a late entry in publicly supporting the Parliamentary Inquiry:
     

    “MANA fully supports a parliamentary inquiry into manufacturing” says MANA Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Hone Harawira.
     
    “MANA did attend the manufacturing summit on Friday, but due to a communication error that did not see us included in the political press conference it was reported that we were absent. MANA accepts the invitation that was issued by the Greens, Labour and NZ First to participate in the inquiry. We believe the initiative is desperately needed to save an important sector in our economy and we look forward to exploring solutions with other political parties”.
     
    “One solution that could assist with the crisis is the Hone Heke Tax (Financial Transaction Tax).

     
    Good to see so many opposition parties working together.
     
     

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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 days ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
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    4 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
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    4 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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 ...
    5 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
    5 days ago
  • Outsiders.
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    5 days ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 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
    5 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
    5 days ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    6 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
    6 days ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days ago
  • Saving lives
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    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
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  • 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
    1 week ago
  • Letter to a friend
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
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    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, ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week 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
    3 hours 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
    6 hours 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
    6 hours 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
    7 hours 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
    20 hours 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
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  • COVID-19 updates
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