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What does National do about English?

Written By: - Date published: 8:45 am, March 27th, 2017 - 51 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, bill english, election 2017, jacinda ardern, john key, labour, national, Politics, same old national - Tags:

John Key has claimed that the transfer of power from himself to Bill English was flawless and designed to ensure continuation of National’s rule.  Based on the last couple of opinion poll results he should reconsider his optimism.

And National caucus members must be thinking about 2002 when English led National to its worst ever electoral result when it achieved 21% of the party vote.  Sure things are not that bad right now but National’s hold on power has always relied on third parties support and it tends to shed support during a campaign.

At this stage the situation as far as party support appears to be stable.  Last night’s Colmar Brunton poll suggests that apart from a shift from New Zealand First to the Maori Party everything is stable, at least as far as the parties are concerned.

But the interesting feature of the poll is Bill English shedding 56% points in support for preferred Prime Minister since February.  He is now 10 % below John Key’s ratings in both the Colmar Brunton and the Reid Research polls.

The right will try and present the poll as some sort of crisis for the left in that Jacinda Ardern is now ahead of Andrew Little.  But Little’s support is steady and Ardern’s surge appears to be at English’s cost.  Give me surging support for Labour MPs as potential leaders and declining support for the National Prime Minister any day.

National’s basic problem is that Bill English is no John Key.  I have seen him recently at two public events.  On both occasions he was totally underwhelming.  There was no excitement surrounding him.  People were courteous to him and that was all.

And his approach to politics matches his personality.  Putting off action for decades on important issues such as climate change and clean rivers and rail to the airport suggests a completely faltering will to achieve anything.  This is a major weakness for National.

The circumstances exist for a fascinating election campaign.  Where National is unable to do anything about its slowly ebbing support because its leader is so Meh.

National looks tired and out of ideas.  I suspect that more and more of the electorate will realise this is the case as the election approaches.

51 comments on “What does National do about English?”

  1. Things are lookin up then , – despite the one liners the RWNJ’s will no doubt offer on this post and the following as it slowly dawns on them and NZ that the Nats reign is coming to an end.

    I hope Farrar will be happy… he needs a break after all that spinning .

    He must dizzy.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    National looks tired and out of ideas.

    No, they’ve definitely got ideas – they’ve just slammed up against the wall of reality and the realisation that the electorate won’t take any more of their ideas because they don’t work as National tries to tell us that they do.

    • Mordecai 2.1

      Really? With National on 46% and Labour on 30%, what does that say about Labours ideas?

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        Have you noticed that 46% is still less than a majority?
        Have you also noticed that National are dropping even in the polls?
        Have you noticed that people really are starting to get pissed off with the increasing homelessness?
        Have you noticed that people are concerned about the housing bubble that National has been propping up?

        And I’ll refer you back to that ex-National MP John Banks: If I wear my policy on my sleeve, I won’t get elected.

        That’s where National is always – where they can’t tell people their policies and they have to implement Labour Lite ones to get elected and to stay there. Thing is, they’re now at the point where they actually have to tell people their policies and they have to start implementing them.

        But their Labour Lite ones are crashing the economy and people are noticing the difference between what the government are saying and what’s actually happening and all they see is increased poverty while the bludging rich make out like the bandits they are.

        • Not a Nat 2.1.1.1

          46% may as well be a majority. It only takes a few crumbs to get to a governing majority and even if they were to dip to 43% at election time it would be a hard to see anyone else take government.

          If the Labour – Green coalition is going to have any legitimacy they’ll need at least 45% on their on. I’m not saying that’s impossible but on current polling it’s unlikely.

          The key for Labour is to actually provide an alternative view that is distinct from National’s (that’ll require some courage) instead of just relying on the Greens to be the point of difference. Whereas National just needs to ensure that its disaffected voters don’t drift too far away; they can go to ACT, United, Maori or even NZF.

          • Matthew Whitehead 2.1.1.1.1

            Oh this rot about minority coalitions yet again. My eyes still haven’t stopped rolling since last time I heard it in 2014.

            Firstly, 46% is not “[essentially] a majority.” It translates into about 56 seats with the current 1.5-2% wasted party vote, (it only looks close when you have a big failure like the Conservatives wasting a lot of Party Votes) which means it can’t be done purely with one-seat parties, and therefore takes more than “crumbs” to get it over the line. You would need one of the undeclared parties- ie. NZF or the MP, in order to govern in such a situation.

            Secondly, coalitions and other support arrangements aren’t less legitimate than an outright majority or a near majority that needs only a couple of extra seats. Not only have we never had an outright majority under MMP, and it’s entirely possible we never will. An outright majority is a huge landslide, and in fact single parties with more than 40% of the vote in any list system is hugely atypical, and it seems to be based entirely on National’s tendency to eat into the party votes of their support partners. Iceland, for instance, uses a list system, and the coalition leader won only 29% of the vote, less than Labour is polling now. (They have a higher wasted vote than we do though, so the coalition maths would be a bit similar to needing both the Greens and NZF) Germany regularly returns a Bundestag that requires a Grand Coalition to govern, because the left-wing parties refuse to work together.

            I’m going to be charitable and assume you’re not arguing that National has a right to govern because they’ll be the largest single party, because we all know that’s outdated FPP thinking and completely illogical. In a majoritarian parliamentary system like ours, what confers the right to govern is securing a majority, and if nobody has it outright, any path above 50% is just as legitimate as any other.

            And hell, I will point you back to Iceland again, where after the 2016 election, the third largest party, the Pirate Party, got a crack at trying to form a majority thanks to their president, (they had the equivalent of 20 seats) so in list-based systems like ours, even parties composing less than a third of Parliament can be potential coalition leaders if there are enough seats from smaller parties up for grabs in coalition talks.

            Legitimacy in any democratic system is down to whether the government as a whole respects the institutions of democracy, (eg. free and effective media, free and fair elections, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, etc…) forms a government legally, retains enough political power to effectively govern, and retains enough public support for the government as a whole to credibly claim to represent the people. It’s not about where their party ranked in the popular vote (although if there’s a big disparity between the popular vote and the share of seats in parliament, that goes against credibility of representation. Arguably parties polling at 3 or 4% and not getting into Parliament represent a problem in this regard, even if it’s a small one) or how close to a majority they came, as both those ideas are FPP-era leftovers.

            • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Not only have we never had an outright majority under MMP, and it’s entirely possible we never will.

              Didn’t have them often under FPP either – if you track the popular vote the last government under FPP that actually had a majority was late 40s or early 50s.

              • I was referring to a majority of seats under MMP, rather than a popular majority, but you’re absolutely correct to point out that the popular majority matters just as much as the majority of seats, as it goes to credibility of representation, and that many of the “majority of seats” situations under FPP had in fact lost the popular vote. Whereas all a “majority of seats” gets you is “legally forming a government,” which is arguably the least important criteria of legitimacy in a democracy, as it’s the one that even dictatorships can meet with sham elections.

                If your MMP coalition didn’t at least get close to a majority of the party vote, it’s hard to talk about having a mandate to pass laws, even if you campaigned on them specifically. And oh look, coincidentally, under MMP National has been the party more likely to not have a majority of the party vote when forming governments, just like it often didn’t have a majority of the popular vote under FPP. Fancy that. Maybe people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

        • Mordecai 2.1.1.2

          National is not dropping in the polls. The CM poll under discussion here has them unchanged. But keep you head firmly embedded in the sand.

      • Please remember little minion that Labour and the Greens are campaigning together, and the two blocs are basically equal at this point, with National having actually slipped behind Labour and the Greens at one point.

        • Mordecai 2.1.2.1

          Basically equal? Not according to today’s Colmar Brunton. There is only one poll I can remember that has them equal.

  3. AB 3

    “National looks tired and out of ideas”
    Is this the only way a government gets changed in this country nowadays – because they look tired and out of ideas?
    Never because their ideas are actually toxic crap? Because National are far more dangerous to the majority of people when they’re not tired and out of ideas.
    It’s sort of depressing if peoples’ votes are driven by vague perceptions about personalities and feelings of how energised a government is, irrespective of what they actually do.

  4. Rightly or wrongly 4

    Saying that Little’s support as PM is ‘steady’ is a wonderful take on the reality.

    You could say that Trevor Mallard, Judith Collins, and Meteria Turei also enjoy steady support on 0%.

    The issue is the level of support. There must always be a hope amongst pundits that their leader’s leadership qualities assist the party attract support.

    Little at 7% is considerably behind the old geriatric Peters and his own deputy. This is despite getting significant publicity from his position as LoO.

    Why don’t voters prefer Little as PM? Would be a good subject for internal polling I would have thought to try and attempt to fix any perceived issues.

    • Cinny 4.1

      However the fact remains that English is on a steady decline, Rightly or Wrongly why do you think that is please ?

      • Rightly or wrongly 4.1.1

        Its too early to say.

        Prior to becoming PM English never featured as prefered PM.

        Since then there has been a Christmas break and 2-3 polls giving English ratings around 25-30%.

        I suspect that this is residual support left over from Key.

        The first major event for English will be the budget.(barring natural disasters)

        I suggest that PM ratings after the budget will show English’s true personal support.

        • Psycho Milt 4.1.1.1

          Prior to becoming PM English never featured as prefered PM.

          Since then … 2-3 polls giving English ratings around 25-30%.

          Which suggests that incumbency is worth around 25-30%.

    • Labour leaders generally don’t become popular in the PPM metric until after they start implementing their agenda, so it’s kinda expected that he’s not doing so hot there. That doesn’t actually mean people won’t like him once he’s appointed.

      Honestly, it’s a pretty useless metric for anything but measuring the popularity of National Party leaders, as the left tends to split a lot more than the right, and it’s structured as an open question. If it were about more than interesting news headlines when some new MP shows up on the PPM poll, then they’d be doing approval ratings for the Leaders of major parties instead. (and by that I mean all five- both the Greens’ leaders and Winston, too)

  5. What does national do about English? Get nick smith to tell us how wonderful english is. -See sorted –next problem?

  6. roy cartland 6

    I’d quite happily see English tank the Nat party to an historic low. Again. I wonder if he’d get the message this time?

    • The issue is that English is basically their best choice anyway. If they can’t win with him, they really can’t win at all. Who else would their caucus elect? Paula Bennett? That’s not gonna work. Judith Collins? LOL, they know that’s a terrible idea. Jonathan Coleman? Simon Bridges? Yeah, you can see why they went with Boring Bill, right?

  7. DoublePlusGood 7

    Honestly, I think that the preferred prime minister poll is thoroughly useless in giving us a lot of useful information on the state of things.
    The various polls are still showing some minor variation around a -7 swing to the right, as has been approximately where things have been for the last three elections. There isn’t anything yet to indicate that the country will swing more to the left.

    • Sacha 7.1

      ‘Preferred prime minister’ is utterly pointless in a system where we can’t select that person, only their whole party. When did it start to be part of polls?

      • It’s also a terrible metric to ask an open question in a system with discrete choices. (ie. the only valid choices are actual party leaders, similar to how the only valid choices for the Party Vote are registered political parties. Even then, arguably only parties likely to lead a coalition are likely to ever be Prime Minister, and so far only Labour and National have been large enough for that)

        It is a sop to presidential-style campaigning, but it’s also a reality that some people award their party vote that way anyway. (Voters also do a similar thing in reverse in actual presidential systems, where other candidates often get a boost when that party’s presidential candidate is more popular) As such, leaders can and do give a boost or exhibit a drag on a party’s vote.

        If they’re going to ask questions like this, they should be doing one of two things:
        a) Closing up the question and asking people to choose from the current leader of a political party, and providing the choices if asked,
        or
        b) Instead of treating it as a zero-sum game, offer approval ratings on the leaders of every party over the threshold, or at least the largest two parties.

        Both these options address the issue that certain parties are more likely to “split” their vote than unite around a single candidate, making slumps for their leaders look worse than they actually are, and would give us an actual metric. It would be of debatable use given we don’t vote for Prime Minister, but it would still help us judge a bit better that issue of boost-vs-drag. Option (a) tells you more about comparative popularities of various parties, but option (b) tells you more about whether a party leader is likely to be challenged.

  8. Bearded Git 8

    It is really interesting because I can’t see English getting more than 40% as a leader for the Nats if he is lucky. This leaves the scenario (with 2% odds and sods):

    Lab 34+Gr 13+NZF 11=58%
    Nats 40%

    or:

    Lab 34+Gr 13=47%
    Nats 40+NZF 11=51%

    In this scenario Peters would be justified going with the Left in order to promote stable government. The 51% he could argue was a bit shaky.

    (He would also love to keep the Greens out of cabinet which he may well demand as his price of support)

      • They have been polling higher than that, so it’s not impossible. They tend to overpoll early in the campaign, so if they’re managing 14.5% later on too, it’s possible they’ll get a bump like that.

        I actually think the really unrealistic part there is Labour at 34%. XD There’s no indication they’re on track for that, it looks like if the government’s gonna change it’s going to be the support parties that deliver it.

  9. Ad 9

    Key has given English enough cushion to keep his party at 40%: still plenty for a + United 1 MP1 Act 1 + Confidence and Supply arrangement with NZF .

    But it’s spooky that we have had little by way of pre-budget announcements.
    Usually we are through most of the pre-announcement by now.

    That tells me English is preparing something big to go into election with.

  10. Bob 10

    Let’s have a poll on why Andrew Little is lagging behind Jacinda.
    NZ POLITICS is becoming fickle, if people vote for faces……..rather than policy!

    • Bearded Git 10.1

      The Nats have been trying to destabilise Little’s leadership for two and a half years and failed miserably-time to give up.

      Of course after the election all bets are off, but that is likely to be English stepping down after his second election debacle.

  11. SpaceMonkey 11

    I don’t want National to do anything about Bill English. I’d be very happy for them to go into the next election with him as their leader.

  12. EE 12

    First time mistake. Second time choice

  13. Enough is Enough 13

    I think preferred Prime Minister polls are reasonably irrelevant, but in any case the spin of the day award must go this beauty:

    “But Little’s support is steady…”

    That made me smile

  14. Rightly or Wrongly 14

    I personally think that English is slow to think on his feet.

    Also he never really comes up with solutions – just looks for compromises to make problems go away.

    When the pressure comes on in a genuine crisis or political storm I suspect that he is going to be somewhat of a possum in the headlights and this is where Labour can do real damage.

    The thing Labour need to be a little careful of is if they try and turn every little drama into a crisis (cars and barking) then the danger is the voters will be turned off – think boy who cried wolf.

    If I were Little I would leaving the daily sniping to my caucus members, and wait until the main crisis comes. (which it will) When it hits and English is floundering around, then come out with a good, practical, solution to deal with it.

    The voters will be listening and they will get the message that Little has some measure of competence – will change a few % to consider Little as a realistic alternative to the English double mindedness.

    • Wensleydale 14.1

      He’s not glib enough. He doesn’t have the veneer of superficial charm that so successfully masked Key’s lack of substance. He’s an accountant — one of the beige men of politics. A bit like a pot plant. You don’t really notice it until someone points it out to you.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 14.2

      Yep Labour and Winston NZF needs to make sure they don’t fall into the trap of barking at car tyres this coming Election as it just turns the educated voter off and they stick with the status quo.

    • Richard McGrath 14.3

      I agree. Too many of Little’s comments are knee jerk reactions to gummint policies or statements. He should pick his battles.

  15. Heather Tanguay 15

    English is very slow on his feet, he is a boring man with boring outdated ideas.
    People all over NZ have had enough of his ultra conservative ideas.
    Yes he will come out with tax breaks before the election, we all know that!

  16. greywarshark 16

    National and Blinglish are singing nostalgic songs with a sad note in a minor key since Johno has gone.

  17. Tamati Tautuhi 17

    I think National should seriously consider making Paula Bennett the PM for the coming Election, she would attract more of the female vote and may attract some of the Maori vote seeing as she has some Maori roots?

    • Richard McGrath 17.1

      That would make it interesting. To use the words of Nigel Farage, Bill English has the charisma of a wet dishrag. Bennett has a bit more mongrel.

  18. Tamati Tautuhi 18

    Mention tax cuts and its a done deal, New Zealanders like having the wool pulled over their eyes.

  19. In the image at the top of the post, Key sits exposed by his mien; those who were and are repelled by him can see it, those who worshipped him, cannot. They look at the image and sigh with longing.

  20. Tanz 20

    As long as they have Winston waiting in the wings, they will be fine. He will be Kingmaker, he is the only politician who actually listens to Joe public, he has suloutions on housing, immigration tidal waves, and oh yes, repealing that unpopular and largely unwanted, anti smacking law, which of course, the majority were given the fingers on.When govts become arrogant they soon get booted out, and Winston is such a savvy player. Brexit and Don Trump are signs of the times – the electorate at large frigging fed up with arrogant and deaf elite.

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  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    5 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    6 days ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    6 days ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    6 days ago
  • After the Pandemic
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    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    7 days ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    7 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    7 days ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    1 week ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    1 week ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    2 weeks ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
    The coronavirus pandemic has of course had a major impact on individual lives and on societies as a whole. But, long after the crisis has passed (assuming it does), we will begin to realise that its real and lasting significance lies in the lessons it has taught us, if only ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
    COVID-19 has plunged Aotearoa New Zealand (indeed, the world) into territory that, while maybe not totally unprecedented, certainly hasn’t been seen during the lifetimes of most of us here today. Our borders are closed to non-citizens, we’re being told not to gather in groups of more than 500 outside/100 inside, ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    2 weeks ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been urging you to prepare yourself, your family, business, and community for Covid-19. Now it’s time for real action.  Yesterday the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced another 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing our total to date to 52. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    2 weeks ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020 Editor's Pick Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts   Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
    by Cultural Worker Late March 2020 amidst the virus. With gigs crashing and burning all around it was without much hope that I called a long standing rest home booking: “ Hi, I’m supposed to be entertaining at your place this afternoon – is it still on?” “”If you don’t ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
    Whenever people demand real change from their politicians, we're told that "politics is the art of the possible". The implication is that change isn't possible, so we'd better just get used to the sucky status quo. But now that there's a pandemic, a lot of things we were previously told ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks 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
    13 hours 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
    15 hours 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 day 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 day 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 day ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
    The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks.   “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to make sure businesses can work together in ways that will allow them to provide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
    The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
    Associate Health and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare has today announced the Government’s plan to support Māori communities and businesses in the face of COVID-19. “Our Government’s $12.1 billion economic package will help many Māori whānau, workers and businesses, whether it’s through wage subsidies, income support and worker redeployment, or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
    The Government and the hospitality industry have worked together to produce guidelines to assist with managing and reducing transmission of COVID-19, Health Minister David Clark announced today.  The guidelines developed between the Government, Hospitality New Zealand and SkyCity Entertainment Group, set out how the new restrictions on physical distancing and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
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