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What should Auckland Council do about begging

Written By: - Date published: 9:51 am, April 7th, 2016 - 54 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, local government - Tags: , , ,

beggar-1

A couple of Mayoral candidates on the right of politics have recently proposed that Councils should take punitive steps to stop begging.

In Auckland Mark Thomas wants a tougher bylaw to end street begging for good although he admits that the problem is complex and needs Central Government action.  From One News:

Mark Thomas says the issues of begging and homelessness is not a problem for the council to solve alone, and labelled Len Brown’s 10-year plan “ineffective”.

“Auckland Council is not making fast enough progress,” he says.

“It’s not fair that some people use our streets and public places for their own ends, even if they clearly need help.”

The current bylaw, enforced in 2013 by Len Brown, requires beggars to intimidate or cause a nuisance in order to be removed.

Mr Thomas says the government needs to “meet its responsibility” to end the issue of begging, while the council focuses on ensuring “streets and public places are respected”.

 Temporary shelters such as vacant government and council houses could be a solution, he says.

“Police and other groups can take homeless people there and make it easier for government and other support agencies to reach them.”

In Wellington his National Party Counterpart Nicola Young is suggesting that begging in the CBD should be banned.  Again from One News:

Begging is often driven by addiction (drugs and alcoholism) and crime; sadly mental health issues complicate matters further. People assume beggars are homeless, but that’s rarely the case” Ms Young posted.

She then went on to explain the increase in numbers was partly due to Wellington’s relative wealth and blamed current Mayor Celia Wade-Brown for not developing real solutions, instead making the situation worse.

“As Mayor I will introduce a by-law banning begging in the CBD and near cash machines – the most lucrative spots in our city – as part of a larger strategy involving the Police, WINZ, the DHB and charities,” she said.

It is good that they both agree that the causes of homelessness are complex.  But thinking that a by law, where the usual sanction is a fine, is a potential solution ignores the fact that poverty and an associated inability to pay fines is a significant contributor to the problem.

It is good that the approach of the conservatives is being moderated and they want to address causes of homelessness.  Previously the approach adopted was less worried about causes and more about taking punitive action.  For instance in 2008 then Auckland City Councillor and current Minister of the Crown Paul Goldsmith championed a bylaw under which someone found begging without a permit could be required to leave the area.  Failure to do so would constitute an offence punishable a fine of up to $20,000.

At the time the Council budgeted $220,000 for security guards to move the homeless on.  The problem was not huge at the time and this sum could have provided shelter for many of them.  As noted at the time by current Councillor Cathy Casey,

For as long as there has been a city here there have been rough sleepers. The problem is not huge. The latest count found 91 people sleeping rough within 3km of the Sky Tower – down from the 120 the year before.

A few years ago Palmerston North thought about a bylaw but its staff did something quite innovative.  They interviewed the local homeless people to try and determine what the causes of their being homeless were.

As I noted previously the staff report recorded that most were on benefits and that all but one had mental health problems.

What are the current dynamics at play?  Clearly there is a housing affordability crisis in Auckland which a bylaw has no hope of addressing.  And there are concerning signs that the social welfare net is not working as well as it should do.  Last quarter the Labour Market Statistics released by the Government showed a reduction in the Labour force participation rate for the third quarter in a row.  Instead of looking for work this suggests that more people are giving up looking for work.

And what can a Council do?  Imposing fines will not work.  As stated in that famous saying by Anatole France that “[t]he law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich and the poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread”.  The best a Council can do is address poverty and its causes.

Reprinted from gregpresland.com.

54 comments on “What should Auckland Council do about begging”

  1. NoThanks 1

    Sitting on the footpath with legs stretched nearly to its middle, shovelling one’s hands in pedestrians’ faces intimidatingly in the CBD is not acceptable. Auckland should not tolerate what is happening in San Francisco.

    • weka 1.1

      I’m kind of curious how someone can be sitting on the ground and shovelling their hands in pedestrians’ faces. Except I’m not really, because your just expressing your bigotry.

      I would have thought the CBD was entirely the appropriate place to beg. Not much point in doing it out in the country.

      • adam 1.1.1

        The could ask the dairy cows for some some change weka.

        Oh wait, they are broke to.

        • saveNZ 1.1.1.1

          Ha Ha, with Fonterra and neoliberalism some parts of Fonterra are broke (the farmers and producers) but others surprise surprise are posting 123% profits (even though that is the bit that seems to have been forgotten by Fonterra management in their quest to produce as much commodity as possible). Always good to have 2 sets of data so you can use it to management advantage.

      • greywarshark 1.1.2

        You are right. Auckland should not be following what San Fransisco does if they have beggars, we should be providing them with shelter and some place they can drop into and perhaps spend some time doing something with a team, making something useful. And have a place to stay, and some decent food to eat. Then they can busk or learn music so they can busk to get some pocket money. Because music is good for the soul. You should learn to play music too No Thanks, and discover if you have a soul.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2

      Sounds to me like the problem is pedestrian intellect.

  2. adam 2

    The people running for mayor sound like members of the T4 programme to me.

    • weka 2.1

      what’s T4?

      • adam 2.1.1

        https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=T4+programme&oq=T4+programme&aqs=chrome..69i57&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

        This mayoral candidates are using some of the same arguments which helped get the T4 programme off the ground. I’m just making a historical comparison, with some justification.

        Before Gosman, or another person tries to derail what I have said – this programme is what is being compared and I’m not calling anyone a fascist. Even if the policies just happen to look and sound similar, and the rhetoric and intent beg the question about making comparisons. I’m doing nothing more than pointing out that the T4 programme was the place where many of these ideas gained traction into policy.

  3. roy cartland 3

    Nicola Young is the most hateful of the bunch. Banning begging – why doesn’t she just ban poverty or mental health? As ludicrous as it is cruel.

    • weizguy 3.1

      What we need is a progressive mayoral candidate with a little bit of compassion. I wonder if any other candidates have anything to say about this issue?

  4. The Chairman 4

    Wellington considers making it illegal to give money to beggars.

    One suggestion was launching a “kindness can kill” campaign that links begging to drug use and deters the public from giving.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/78590288/wellington-considers-making-it-illegal-to-give-money-to-beggars

    • weka 4.1

      That’d be one law I’d be pretty happy to break.

      Wellington City Council will consider next week whether to outlaw begging by either banning the act itself or fining those who open up their wallets.

      They are two of the ideas mentioned in a $50,000 report on the state of begging in Wellington, which proposes dozens of solutions to the growing problem.

      oh ffs. Use the $50,000 to pay homeless people to sort their own problems out. You people obviously have no fucking clue on what to do.

      • The Chairman 4.1.1

        “That’d be one law I’d be pretty happy to break.”

        And with the increasing amount of cameras coupled with facial recognition it will become an easy law to police.

        • weka 4.1.1.1

          Brilliant opportunity for some civil disobedience. I’m sure the judges will love people being brought up on charges for refusing to pay fines for donating $1 to a homeless person.

          Besides, there will be many ways around this. Ask the beggar to do something (sing a song, give me directions) and it becomes payment for services or a gift of gratitude. Would love to see them outlaw that. Really really stupid, and like I said, they should hand over the funding to the people who are affected because the office-bound consultants who came up with this crap have no clues.

        • Mike S 4.1.1.2

          Very much doubt it would be an easy law to police. Who’s gonna police it for a start? If anyone other than a police officer asks for your name and details so they can fine you are you going to give them this info? i certainly wouldn’t. I can’t imagine the police walking around giving people fines for giving people money.

          Effective facial recognition for the purposes of administering such fines is a long way off yet.

          Then of course, a person could say they were paying the person for a service such as carrying their bag or giving them some directions, etc, etc, etc.

          Not a hope in hell that this would be an effective bylaw

          • The Chairman 4.1.1.2.1

            “Who’s gonna police it for a start?”

            Councils or a private contractor.

            It would go something like this. Cameras coupled with facial recognition will identify you and record the crime. An algorithm will then send you a fine in the mail.

            Like most fines you would have the right to take it to court if you wished.

            Some cases may be harder to prosecute, but chucking money into a hat would be rather straight forward.

            SkyCity casino uses facial recognition technology to pluck banned gamblers out of a crowd.

            • AB 4.1.1.2.1.1

              The Chairman is keen to criminalise charity.
              Interesting – normally conservatives LOVE charity because with enough spin and bullshit it can be made to seem like a viable alternative to government-funded social welfare systems.
              It’s not viable of course, but if people can be persuaded and social services can be run down, it might just mean a tax-cut for them. Yippee!

              Actually I think it is really healthy to see beggars. Their presence or absence is simply a reflection of the sort of society we all choose to create. If they are tidied away their is nothing to prick our consciences.

              • The Chairman

                I’m not keen to criminalise charity. I was merely highlighting what is being considered and how such a proposal could be policed.

      • greywarshark 4.1.2

        The homeless people need sustenance and a safe place to sleep while they sort themselves out so fund some food vans selling pies hot soup and hot buttered and vegemite rolls and an apple and to stay the night in, simple concrete pink painted rooms, (pink supposedly being both soothing and positive feeling), lockable, separate shower boxes, roll up mattresses aired every day. Breakfast muesli or muesli bar, drink of water, then cup of tea etc.

        That would take away some of the miserableness, or would until the snarky councillors come along to despise them because they aren’t scenic or trendy.
        edited

  5. Bastables 5

    “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

    Anatole

    Fuck the poor……. What an awful sentiment.

  6. Rosie 6

    So Auckland mayoral candidates are feeling affronted by witnessing dirty poverty in their faces too? It must be National Local Body Hate On The Poor Week.

    Make them live the lives of a homeless person for a week. No money, no safety, no access to health care, families gone awol, a frightening and hostile world all around all the time, body pain, hunger, a public toilet as your bathroom and see if they begin to get the picture after that.

    Nicola Young, btw, has been hating on the poor for some time now. This is the councillor that opposed paying a living wage to council workers because “the low waged can get help from the government”. National Party councillor logic. Use taxes to subsidise worker’s living costs.

    She also has no idea of the intense ongoing work of local NGO’s in recent years in addressing homelessness. Her statement highlights her ignorance on the matter.

  7. Anno1701 7

    This kind of policy is the early signs of our society starting to crack IMO

    nothing is going to be done to improve these peoples live so lets just shuffle them off so we dont have to be reminded how badly neo-lib capatilism has failed, cos we kinda put all our eggs in one basket now and dont want to be confronted by he hard hard evidence it is failing’/failed…

    debtors prisons next ?

  8. maui 8

    Yeah let’s talk about anything except addressing the actual problem. These councillors make me sick.

  9. alwyn 9

    How on earth are you supposed to decide who is allowed to ask for money?
    Will the Police arrest collectors for the Wellington Free Ambulance? Perhaps those asking for money for a Woman’s Refuge can be packed of to the cells and then fined in the Courts?
    Some I wouldn’t mind of course. Personally I would be only too happy if we could get rid of the Sea Shepherd lot who turn up at the Newtown fair. I rather like those collecting for the Mary Potter Hospice though. I’m sure others will have different opinions.
    Who is going to choose though, and how are they going to do it?
    It would get particularly interesting if you made it an offense to give anything to a beggar. Would every single person collecting for the Red Cross have to have a personally issued permit, with photo-id, so that donors could check that it was legal to give them a couple of dollars?

  10. shorts 10

    banning begging and banning windscreen washers

    the two big policy platforms of every single local body political who has nothing to offer

    Now if one of these heartless sods would put forward a motion to ban chuggers I’d strongly support them

  11. James 11

    Working in the city – I agree that there are some “beggars” that obviously need help.

    And more should be made available to help them. Begging is not the solution for them, but I can understand how they get there.

    As a general rule – and I see them every lunchtime, these people are quiet, sit there and never cause any issues.

    However on the other hand – there are a log of economic beggars also who are very clearly just doing this for some “easy” money.

    They are rude and aggressive at worse, and taking the piss at best.

    I think something needs to be done about both. Get rid of the people just scamming some extra coin. Stop the anti social behaviour, and make the CBD a better place.

    But even more importantly – we have to do more to help the people in genuine need. They often fall outside “the norm” in the help that they require – be it for drugs, or mental health issues. The best way to stop them begging is to get them in a position where they do not need to.

    • mickysavage 11.1

      Have you thought the the Government’s push to get people off the benefit and being seen to being tough on beneficiaries may be contributing to the problem?

      • The Chairman 11.1.1

        “Have you thought the the Government’s push to get people off the benefit and being seen to being tough on beneficiaries may be contributing to the problem?”

        Exactly.

        And is the increase in begging a further sign that benefit payments are insufficient?

        Beneficiaries overwhelm support event in Mangere

        http://www.newshub.co.nz/politics/beneficiaries-overwhelm-support-event-in-mangere-2016040517#axzz451x8lzSn

        • International Rescue 11.1.1.1

          “And is the increase in begging a further sign that benefit payments are insufficient?”

          No. When families access their full entitlement and exercise sound judgement the quantum of support available to sufficient.

      • International Rescue 11.1.2

        Unlikely. This is more likely a mental health issue, and goes back to the failed integration policy begun decades ago where we put mentally ill people into the community without adequate support.

    • Colonial Viper 11.2

      there are a log of economic beggars also who are very clearly just doing this for some “easy” money.

      Fuck you’re a laugh.

      We’re all economic beggars.

      It’s just that some have learnt to kiss ass and steal billions from society while wearing a suit and tie, and somehow consider themselves better than others.

      • crashcart 11.2.1

        The “Economic Beggars” term reminds me of the “Economic Refugees” distinction a lot of people make. It is stupid because it ignores the fact that what these people refer to as economic beggars are still in need and still have valid reasons for what they are doing. But because they aren’t mentally ill or sleeping under a bridge they obviously shouldn’t be there.

        When it comes down to it if I became unemployed and didn’t have the money to feed my family because the benefit is too low I would do every thing I could to make sure food was on the table. That would include ditching false self esteem and asking for the help of strangers. Far better my humiliation than my children’s hunger.

        • Gangnam Style 11.2.1.1

          “Far better my humiliation than my children’s hunger.” – +1000

      • Puckish Rogue 11.2.2

        You’re an economic beggar?

        • maui 11.2.2.1

          You haven’t heard about the large numbers who go to a tower most days, find their spot at 9am, then the cap goes out. Cap retrieved at 5pm, it’s time to go home. Hopefully they get enough to live on.

    • Richard Christie 11.3

      Ah, the deserving vs undeserving poor.

      The favourite meme of RWNJs

      • AB 11.3.1

        I’ve seen some ‘economic beggars’ – some of them looked like ‘nutrition beggars’, and I sure a couple were ‘alcohol beggars’. There were “sad, mad and lonely” beggars whom I lump together as “psychological beggars”. Also some who looked like “accommodation beggars”.
        God it was confusing and way too hard to do anything about. Best if we tidy them away, maybe a field out near the airport or something like Mumbai? Or a shallow grave?

  12. saveNZ 12

    How about redirecting some ‘trust’ monies into homelessness and mental health.

    Not giving Sky City more pokies.

    Maybe making global companies pay corporate tax locally?

    Putting royalties on bottled water being harvested and flogged off.

    Getting rid of ‘social bonds’ that look to make corporations and individuals more profits by profiting off the poor further.

    BTW – CYFS have now apparently been banned from looking after children. ‘Private’ including a UK based company providers are going to be doing this work now in NZ.

    • joe90 12.1

      Private’ including a UK based company providers are going to be doing this work now in NZ

      Outside of statuary social work NGO’s have been providing child welfare services for quite some time.

      • saveNZ 12.1.1

        Personally find it all shocking. This government hates children for a start. There is absolute penny pinching for anything to do with kids especially young ones. For a start once you give birth to a baby you are shuttled out with new born within a few hours if possible from hospital, forget about an obstetrician unless you are private, (if you are poor, pray you don’t need a doctor), plunket is a charity not a government run organisation, there is zero help until 20 ‘free’ childcare hours at 3 years old (which you have to top up often). Feel even more sorry for the CYPS kids who are just fodder for a grotesque system that does not put their needs first and have appalling outcomes.

        I saw the other day that there are more migrants coming into NZ than NZ babies being born (including migrant babies). So therefore I guess goodbye native Kiwi babies and good luck to the new babies having to somehow look after the massive social engineering of NZ so we will have a massive old age population from adding so many middle aged and old people into the mix so someone can pay someone less than the living wage.

        (Retirement homes are being built as we speak in dodgy council sell off land deals to foreign buyers).

        The homeless are fucked but so are we with these insane brainiac decisions.

        Even hopefully John Key will get his comeuppance as Max gets struck down by affluenza and the billions of Panama tax papers still being examined starts popping out the truth – how do people get so rich while doing everything to rip off and blame someone who gets below a living wage each week?

  13. Dialaey 13

    how about stinging some of those offshore, shell companies with a special beggar tax to pay for initiatives to help them

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

    The best a Council can do is address poverty and its causes.

    The cause of poverty is capitalism and we can be pretty sure that neither the council nor the government will be doing anything about that.

  15. greywarshark 15

    Young says that Celia Ward Brown has been in Council for 17 years and done nothing!

    Young’s father, Bill, was a National Party Cabinet minister.
    “Most of local government is not about left or right. It’s about getting stuff done,” she said.
    (About Councillor Eagle who is Maori and Labour and who she likes for Deputy if she gets in.)
    “We’re both committed to Wellington and are looking for what’s good for all Wellingtonians.
    “There is often a bit of a trade-off there, but it’s about fairness and being aspirational for the city.
    “For me, economic growth is hugely important because it feeds the things Paul feels particularly strongly about, all the social justice stuff.”

    She ran for mayor in 2013, the year she first ran for council.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/wellington/67647846/Wellingtons-odd-couple-Young-and-Eagle-plan-tilt-at-mayoralty

  16. UncookedSelachimorpha 16

    A big increase in funding for mental health and addiction services (including that rarest of things – residential care) is what is needed. The people who want to ban begging are a disgrace. Don’t want to fund services, and also don’t want to see the results of the lack of funding. We are a wealthy country that can easily afford to do much better.

    The whole mantra of pushing the mentally ill and vulnerable into the streets (“community care”) was motivated by cost-cutting (cuts have to be made somewhere, if the rich are to pay no tax).

    As someone with close links to people with drug addiction and mental health issues – I can vouch that the available free resources are very thin on the ground. Safe, supervised housing, with a program to address trauma, addiction and mental health, is necessary for some people, and gives better results than any ban on begging.

  17. Ad 17

    On Queen Street you have both beggars every 10 meters, and overseas charities also begging.

    Ironic, sure, but they’re making us embarrased and uncomfortable for a reason: conscience.

    For irrational reasons I tend to donate to those who are doing something for it.

    I was in Prague 10 years ago just after Christmas, and the entrances to Stephens dom bridge was totally crowded. I just hope we don’t get to a state of DickensIan petty crime illustrated in Oliver.

    It would not be too big a step for Tolley’s big social welfare reforms announced today to include embracing beggars. Surely.

  18. One Anonymous Bloke 18

    What should Councils do about begging? Inflict harsh penalties upon those who vilify beggars. Fund research to establish the economic causes of homelessness and poverty, then prosecute the right wing trash who inflict them upon society.

  19. Macro 19

    Now that Bill E will have around $350 mill from the “deal” with KiwiBank sell off to ACC and the Super fund to play with – I guess he plans to use this to alleviate poverty and the need to beg.
    Oh no! I forgot the rich pricks are getting a tax cut.

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    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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 ...
    4 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
    5 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 ...
    5 days ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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 ...
    5 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 ...
    6 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    7 days 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
  • The Only Way Through This Crisis Is Together.
    Together: In leading New Zealand through the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Prime Minister could do a lot worse than allow herself to be guided by the spirit of collective sacrifice and co-operation that animated the New Zealanders of 80 years ago. Most Kiwis alive today have had no opportunity to prove their ...
    2 weeks ago
  • GFC vs Covid-19
    It is said that generals fight the last war. In the case of the early stages of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) they had learned from the Great Depression of the 1930s and they fought intelligently and successfully. Later their advice would be ignored in favour of the Austerians who ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • Nobody Left Behind.
    Solidarity Forever: All over the world, the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has exposed the fragility of the walls we erect around ourselves and our loved ones. It has shattered our illusions of autonomy and revealed to us how utterly dependent we all are on other human-beings. Finally, we see ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rebuilding a truly “Democratic” counter, or a “moderate Republican” bolt-hol...
    Looking across the various arguments for/against the leading candidates to take the Democratic Nomination, you might honestly be very hard pressed to tell. There are a number of things that have now started happening since Amy Klobuchar and “Mayor Pete” Buttigieg both threw the towel in and immediately (and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion law reform a win for women
    by Daphna Whitmore Abortion is no longer in the Crimes Act in New Zealand. The law reform passed yesterday and now abortion is a medical matter between a woman and her doctor. Many women’s groups and progressive people have campaigned for reform for decades. The women’s liberation movement and some ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • How to spot bogus science stories and read the news like a scientist
    Doug Specht, University of Westminster and Julio Gimenez, University of Westminster When fake news, misreporting and alternative facts are everywhere, reading the news can be a challenge. Not only is there plenty of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other scientific topics floating around social media, you also ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Why New Zealand needs to continue decisive action to contain coronavirus
    Michael Baker, University of Otago and Nick Wilson, University of Otago With some of the toughest border restrictions and a newly-announced NZ$500 million boost to health services, New Zealand is among a small number of countries with a strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. New Zealand is also fortunate in ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Parliament and the pandemic II
    As expected, the government has introduced a sessional order to allow Parliament to operate during the pandemic. You can read it on the Order Paper here, but the short version is that questions and motions can be filed electronicly, select committees can work remotely, and the the Business Committee can ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • When a virus goes viral: pros and cons to the coronavirus spread on social media
    Axel Bruns, Queensland University of Technology; Daniel Angus, Queensland University of Technology; Timothy Graham, Queensland University of Technology, and Tobias R. Keller, Queensland University of Technology News and views about coronavirus has spread via social media in a way that no health emergency has done before. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • How to survive 14 days of self-isolation
    So you’ve recently returned from overseas, come into contact with someone who tested positive, got a bit of a dry cough yourself or perhaps just want to self isolate for 14 days to avoid other people who might have COVID-19. Here are a few tips and tricks to help get ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion Legislation Bill passes third reading
    Some fave speeches:     ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    2 weeks 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 hour 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
    4 hours 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
    7 hours 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
    8 hours 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
    10 hours 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 day 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 day 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
    3 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
    3 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
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