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What should Clark do?

Written By: - Date published: 11:10 am, November 18th, 2008 - 28 comments
Categories: activism, helen clark, labour - Tags:

There’s a lot of talk about Helen Clark leaving Parliament in a year or so to head for an international role. While Clark would obviously be more than capable of performing well at that level, I would prefer to see her do something completely different.

Labour needs to build its membership and its connections with the communities of South and West Auckland in particular. It is a disgrace that they are losing seats and party vote support in the heart of working class New Zealand. Labour needs to rebuild itself as the people’s party and build the popular demand for an improved social democracy. I would like to see Clark, MP for Mount Albert, lead that effort.

Now, some will say that if Labour has lost some connection with the working class it is the fault of Clark and her top-down leadership style. And I think there’s some truth to that. Certainly the Fifth Labour Government failed to take its opportunity to build political consciousness, public demand for improved social democracy. But she is still the person for the job of fixing that. She has the mana, she has the leadership and organisational skills. We also saw in the final days of the campaign that underneath the tough exterior, underneath the ‘strong leader’ image, that Clark needed to win and keep her positions as Labour leader and PM there is still an idealist very much connected to her social democratic principles.

Such a role might not have the profile of a senior UN position but it is just as important. If Labour can build and extend its base, raise the political consciousness of the working class, our social democracy will be protected against whatever populist rubbish the Right can throw at it. Now, that would be a truly great legacy for Clark.

28 comments on “What should Clark do?”

  1. Carol 1

    I think Labour does need to rebuild its base as you outline. But I think Clark can do more good in an international role. I think her support for a UN direction towards a Green New Deal, perhaps in line with some of the direction the US takes under President Obama, will be good for the world, and indirectly for NZ. This could also help in a positive but indirect way for Labour, taking the same direction, while re-building its grass-root support.

  2. I think Aunty Helen would fit in with the UN, she should be given a plane ticket to New York right away.

  3. Joe Blogger 3

    Just leave.

    I don’t care where she goes or what she ends up doing but the sooner she leaves the country the sooner the Labour Party can begin repairing the damage she and her inner circle has inflicted upon the party’s supporters.

  4. Stephen 4

    Dunno bout carting Clark around south and west auckland…you seem to discount any possibility that Labour lost seats because people didn’t like the Labour/Clark combination…? I know you have anecdotal evidence that people didn’t really feel like voting Labour ‘just cos’, but still. If she does do that, her first job might be to explain to people what the hell ‘social democracy’ is.

    She’d do a fine job overseas, if so inclined. One thing one can’t argue with is how well she has handled herself and represented NZ overseas.

  5. Ianmac 5

    Joe and Brett: Sounds like you are suffering from fear and doubt. Mostly ex-Prime Ministers fade away after losing the Benches, and you add credence to the belief amongst most New Zealanders that Helen is still a credible powerful and respected person.
    W’da’ya scared of?

  6. MikeE 6

    As much as I don’t like Clark’s policies there is no doubt in my mind that she has an immense love for New Zealand and would always go into bat for the good of the country on the international stage.

    I think the international stage option is good for NZ, your suggestion is potentially good for the Labour party. You make the assumption that what is good for the labour party is good for NZ, which might not be the case.

    NZ would be far better off if she chose an international posting, similar to that that Mike Moore or others have done in the past. Above all though, the choice should be hers, she has earn’t a well deserved break.

  7. Felix 7

    Well if all these righties want her to leave…

  8. gingercrush 8

    Interesting idea, certainly has its merits. Don’t wish to talk about Helen Clark since its a good idea but I can’t see it happening. But its the other stuff you mentioned. That being rebuilding membership and connections. Which I think is really pivitol.

    South Auckland except for Maungakiekie went to Labour. Maungakiekie has had some major electoral shifts and much of it went into areas that typically vote National. So while its a seat Labour can win, I suspect its a seat that if largely stays in the same area, will swing left to right depending on who looks to be leading the polls.

    Mangere the real problem was a significant drop in voter turnout. Manukau East and Manurewa also was plagued by drops in voter turnout. Therefore, South Auckland is an area where you have to get people to go out and vote. In 2005 they came out largely in fear of what a Don Brash led National would deliver. 2008 its likely that Key wasn’t someone to be feared like Don Brash and National looked far more likely to form a government and as such the voters decided not to vote. Critically though, that meant Labour lost more votes and thus they could not even come up with the numbers to form a government.

    Waitakere too had a seemingly smaller voter turnout compared to 2008. It went to the right this time but not by much. Some suggestions were made over talkback and the mass media that the anti-smacking bill upset voters there. Such an argument I would suggest is too simplistic. I don’t know West Auckland very well at all. Is there a shift in who is living there? Are the demographics more conservative? In 2005 Labour won that electorate but its an electorate that I though had a real chance to turn blue in 2008. In fact I’m quite surprised but my opinion of what was likely to happen between 2005 and 2008 turned out to be rather accurate. Its the same idea Manning over at the news website Scoop also had.

    New Lynn and Te Atatu however were complete surprises and I did not expect those electorates to have National leading the party vote. Its not an area I know terribly well so I’m not quite sure what type of people live there. They don’t seem to necessarily have the same values as South Auckland but still looks to be working class suburbs.

    So I certainly agree with your assertion that in West and South Auckland Labour needs to engage much more in its people.

    But where I have problems is that you center on West and South Auckland and don’t look at other more significant electorates.

    South Auckland is not going blue its a matter of getting people out to vote. West Auckland does seem to be having slight shifts to the right but I don’t think is yet in danger for Labour.

    I think there are questions over certain electorates in Auckland city itself. Those being Mt. Roskill, Mt. Albert and Auckland Central. Two of those went blue. Now one reason I argue Mt. Roskill did not go more blue was due to the strength of Phil Goff. Had he not been there I would think that would have been a much larger swing to the right. Likewise without Helen Clark being the electorate MP for Mt. Albert, there’s a question as to how that could shift to the right. Auckland Central in terms of red/blue went blue. But if you look at Labour-Green and National-Act votes. Labour-Greens are ahead by 2000 and that surely should increase with the special votes counted. So its not an electorate that went to the right. But I dont think its an electorate where Labour would want to lose the party vote to National. Those three electorates can expect further changes in the future when Helen Clark and Phil Goff eventually go and right now I would say its shifting right.

    But more critically I think is Christchurch. Christchurch you saw National swallow up large chunks of votes in Christchurch Central and Wigram. Ilam extended to the right. Port Hills went to the right. Waimakariri went to the right. And even in the more solid Labour electorate of Christchurch East significantly closed up with a difference of just 4000 votes. Christchurch has working class elements but is a complete different city than South and West Auckland. There isn’t a huge Maori population nor are there many Pacific Islanders. There’s a number of Asians and Indians however. I’m not sure what you could do in Christchurch. But to ignore Christchurch which is growing pretty fast and has become New Zealand’s second largest city is something that could do significant damage to Labour in the future. Also potentially in the long-term due to new housing developments Wigram could prove to become blue. Port Hills and Christchurch Central have a few areas that are set to really start pushing out working class homeowners.

    Dunedin and Wellington have shown that they continue to and will always be Labour unless a complete catastrophe takes place. Likewise,while you didn’t win the vote in Hamilton. I still see Hamilton as largely swinging left/right depending on who is leading. But at the same time I think Hamilton may ever slightly be shifting towards the right.

    But Labour’s most pressing issue are the provinces. North to South they went Blue. And while some like Clutha-Southland, Kaikoura, Rangitikei, Taranaki-King Country you expect to go blue there are several electorates that shouldn’t be that Blue and really should be red.

    Nelson and Invercargill both went blue this time. Invercargill is extending out and included areas such as Riverton and due to population growth is likely to extend further into Southland so its got potential long-term problems for Labour. Nelson if you crunch the numbers Labour-Greens got about 500 votes more than National. Suggesting its still likely to tend red and certainly centre-left. But likewise there is a chance shifting boundaries may bring in more National supporters.

    Other electorates where I think the party votes should be much closer if not red would be: Napier, New Plymouth, West Coast-Tasman, East Coast and Rotorua.

    The provinces are pointing to increasingly favour the right.

    —–

    Yes South Auckland and West Auckland are critical to the long-term success for Labour and ultimately the centre-left. But to ignore Christchurch, Auckland City and certain provinces in the North and South and you’re looking at real potential long-term problems.

    And for that it needs more than an inspiration leader such as Helen Clark. It means real grass-root organisations and different ideas and policies that are not just about the working class. Especially when Urban working class are very different to other blue collar workers.

    —-

    I know I’m often just talking about National and Labour and not thinking about voting blocs. Those being centre-right and centre-left but besides a few electorates the Greens and Act votes don’t make much difference.

  9. gobsmacked 9

    Clark should do whatever she wants. She owes the Labour Party nothing. She did more in nine years than Labour managed in the previous fifty.

    Labour voters will return because of what this government does, and because Goff is smart enough to know when to hit and when to hold off. National will lose 10% in the polls in six months, and never regain that support.

  10. Kerry 10

    Im torn somewhat……i think what you suggest is perfect for the future of the Labour party…but wonder whether it would be enought for Helen.

    Either way she was a person of morals and a bloody good leader…both of which we dont have under this shonk Nat/Maori/Act/United Future government with old “ï’ll say anything and smile at anything to be your PM Keys”.

    Shallow as puddles whose right wingers…..

  11. I have no fear or doubt, I just think Aunty Helen would fit in perfectly with the UN, it’s her type of people.

    Where else would she go? and what else would she do?

  12. gingercrush 12

    gobsmacked sorry but where do you see that 10% coming from? 2005 election Labour/Greens won 46% of the vote. 2008 Labour/Greens won 40%.

    2005 National ran a right-wing campaign and the left here including you are saying National is exactly that this year. But then a 10% can’t be possible. Even if you include those who chose not to vote and would have voted Labour/Greens you’re still missing about 2%.

  13. gobsmacked 13

    Gingercrush

    Lose 10% = National 35%, give or take.

    5% is natural drop-off, from people who just projected their own vague wishes onto the ballot paper. It happens to most incoming governments. It’s even more likely to happen when the Change message is so soft, that reality can’t hope to match it.

    5% is the economy. And lose an extra 5% if they stuff up badly on presentation and disunity (I think they probably will, but I’ve generously left that out of my numbers!).

  14. gingercrush 14

    I don’t really see how that works. And you haven’t included the change in leadership within Labour. Helen Clark always polled better compared to what Labour polled as a party. I’m not saying Goff and King are going to do much damage to Labour. I don’t expect much change. But I have to believe at least some Labour supporters remained loyal due to the Helen Clark factor.

  15. Felix 15

    gc,

    I think National ran a fairly left-wing public campaign (by promising to keep most of Labour’s policies and programs) with a simultaneous right-wing dog whistle campaign (hinting that they’d prefer to get rid of many of those policies given half a chance).

    The question is who do they stay true to – the traditional right-wing or the “Labour Plus” voters?

    I don’t see how they can maintain the support of both groups.

  16. gingercrush 16

    Well where are the traditional right-wing meant to go?

  17. gobsmacked 17

    GC

    Well, time will tell. We’ll discuss it in six months!

    John Key, yesterday: “We have to do more with less and that is the practicality of the economic circumstances we face. Every minister in my government has to front up to that.”

    This was not the message to voters before November 8. He didn’t “front up” himself. Now he has to deal with the consequences of raised expectations, for which he is personally responsible.

  18. randal 18

    gingacrucnh
    I read your material but there is never any conclusion
    are you just filling in space or do you have something positive to contribute
    ditch the waffle and lets hear it

  19. I know I would be very proud were Helen to be in a senior position in the UN, after all we’re going to need someone decent representing us what with Murray McCully just being appointed Foreign Affairs Minister.

  20. Felix 20

    gc,

    “Where are the traditional right-wing meant to go?”

    That is exactly my point – they go further to the right, to ACT – and giving ACT more power pulls National further to the right thus alienating the “Labour Plus” voters.

  21. gingercrush 21

    We’ll see though good point.

    The left thinks John Key and the National-led government has gone too far to the right and not nearly as moderate as they claimed to be. Thus they are questioning why mass media are ignoring what this government is doing. The right generally thinks so far Key is doing a job well done and some Act supporters are having orgies.

    And the ones who swing left/right are so far a mystery. Do they fall asleep after an election or keep following things?

    I only know one person who changed their party vote this time. Went from Green to Progressive. Reason was Kiwibank. We tend to forget Kiwibank was Anderton’s project.

  22. the bean 22

    god I am with gobsmacked on this one! Steve, I normally think you are pretty spot on but in this instance I have to strongly disagree.

    Firstly let Helen, and Peter for that matter, get on with the rest of their lives minus large burden of Labour party. I am sure Helen will always be involved in some capacity but she needs to move on to doing something totally different where she won’t have the abusive crap that has been leveled at her from some sectors in the electorate.

    Secondly the best way for Helen to retain her mana is to go gracefully- as she has- not to stick around and try to carry the Labour banner further. It is up to others in the party now and Helen shouldn’t sully her legacy by being a core organiser of a Labour renewal.

    Thirdly- and as already hinted at- reconnecting and renewing should be done by the new base (or the old new base depending on who you are talking about). There is major talent at all levels of the party and it is time for the work to be done by others precisely to ensure the future of Labour. If Helen keeps doing everything then the young talent will lack exposure and experience once she really is gone.

  23. ak 23

    Right on, bean. Hels has sacrificed more, worked harder and achieved more real gains for kiwis than any politician in living memory, and her legacy and stature will ensure that she stays right up there with Michael Joseph for eternity.

    And her reward? The most vicious, filthy, unfounded media-abetted campaign of personal attack and demonisation ever seen in this country, coupled with relentless and traitorous back-stabbing from former friends – the Moores, Ralstons, Shadbolts, Woodhams, Tamiheres, and their craven, egotistical ilk – culminating in the abject failure of those she has worked so tirelessly for to even get off their arses and vote.

    Her disappointment at the public’s reaction to the disgusting Orewa One racism was palpable at the time: its tacit acceptance of the disgraceful low-level misogynic “nanny state” campaign and their willingness to replace her with a grinning lobotomised car salesman should convince her that it’s now time for Helen.

    More than any other kiwi right now, she owes this country nothing. Your talent and dedication will forever be acknowledged Hels, but right now we’re still insufficiently mature to deserve you. Go and enjoy yourself girl, you’ve earned it.

  24. randal 24

    I think she should hang around till the snap election next november when natoinal will bite the dust

  25. Akldnut 25

    Yeah I agree with Randal. She should just “Hang with the peeps” and step in to cleanup the mess with Goff and crew in 12 months or so.

    Why go overseas and cleanup shit for Nat after all the bs and spinning!!!

    Nah! stay home and have a break.

  26. Sarah 26

    Oh the UN can have her. Hopefully it’ll bring down both of ’em at the same time.

  27. Felix 27

    gc,

    “And the ones who swing left/right are so far a mystery. Do they fall asleep after an election or keep following things?”

    Yeah I wonder that too.

    My feeling (and it’s just a feeling) is that swing voters are fairly apolitical most of the time and decide pretty late based on a range of emotional and brand-driven factors.

    Of course there are plenty who shift between Nat and ACT or between Labour and Green etc but those who actually swing between left and right surely can’t be too interested in politics generally.

    For example I heard tonight from a usually Labour voting friend who voted National for the reason that Helen Clark doesn’t have children. Whether she wasn’t aware of this salient fact at the last 3 elections or it suddenly became important to her I have no idea.

  28. Spectator 28

    Randal: don’t hold your breath waiting for an early election. Remember that turkeys don’t vote for an early Christmas. Unless Obama pulls off a financial miracle and staves off the looming recession in America, our economy will flounder along with theirs; and you can expect to see mass disaffection from people who notice that this Government will have promised much but delivered little.

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    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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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 ...
    6 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
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    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 ...
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    1 week ago
  • An equitable way to support business
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
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    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.
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    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • What about renters?
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Living within our means.
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    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 ...
    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
    3 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
    6 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
    16 hours 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
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day 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
    2 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    6 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    2 weeks ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
    Four stage Alert System for COVID-19 announced New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 – Reduce Contact New Zealanders over 70 and those with certain medical conditions told to stay at home as much as they can to reduce risk of contact with the virus Workplaces to implement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago