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Where is National on house prices?

Written By: - Date published: 10:04 am, January 16th, 2013 - 41 comments
Categories: economy, housing, labour, national - Tags: , ,

Plenty has been written on the damaging effects of NZ’s house price inflation. It prices young families out of owning their own home (slowly destroying what has been part of the social fabric of the country), it sucks investment out of more productive sectors of the economy, and so on. And – it’s out of control again:

$389,000 to buy a Kiwi dream

House prices have reached new heights, with the median price for a Kiwi home $389,000 – but to buy your dream home for that amount, you may need to move to Oamaru.

Latest data from the Real Estate Institute shows the national median house price reached a record $389,000 last month, up almost 10 per cent from the previous year.

Ten percent in one year is insane! It’s a massive increase in a cost that every new family faces, and it isn’t reflected in the (therefore artificially low) CPI and the linked measures that depend on it.

Just as a reminder, Labour has policies which address the most damaging aspects of the house price binge. KiwiBuild, to increase the supply to first-time buyers. Capita gains tax, to redirect investment. So where exactly is National on this issue? What is their policy? I know I know, leave it to the market. That worked so well in America…

41 comments on “Where is National on house prices?”

  1. Mike 1

    House prices are included in the CPI – ‘Purchase of newly constructed dwellings (excluding land)’ makes up around 4% of the ‘basket’
    Arguably this isn’t fully representative of house price change though

    • DH 1.1

      What do you mean ‘arguably’. It’s not arguable, it doesn’t represent house price changes. That covers only the material & construction cost of building a new house and tells us only that house prices have been rising considerably more than the cost of building them.

      The 4% weighting is a good indicator of how useless the CPI is for measuring real inflation too. If the cost of building a house doubled in a year it would add only 4% to the CPI.

  2. vto 2

    National leaves everything to the market, except the following;

    1. Property owners in central Chch.
    2. Farmers in greed of more water.
    3. Hollywood and Peter Jackson.
    4. Stephen Joyce’s ex-business Mediaworks.
    5. Quota issue in the fishing sector.
    6. The New Zealand sharemarket.
    7. (please add as appropriate)

    They are a fraud.

  3. vto 3

    Every time house prices rise so too does the amount that our economy pays to the banks. I don’t see no benefit to it.

    Should take a leaf out of Foodstuffs book and work to limit the capital value of pretty much everything. High capital values have no benefit, except to the banks

  4. Pascal's bookie 4

    “So where exactly is National on this issue? What is their policy? ”

    I seem to recall that they fixed this shortly after being elected by step-changing the economy with some tax changes or somesuch.

    • QoT 4.1

      I remember that, it was completely fiscally neutral and took the sharp edges off the recession.

      • tracey 4.1.1

        LOL @ Pascal’s bookie and QoT

        It’s okay though, English says there isn’t a crisis and they will build a thousand houses in a year or two. Can’t get much more detailed on policy than that!

        Interestingly when Labour announced their housing plan the Nats criticised it by saying where will these houses be, on the outskirts of Auckland (insert scoff here). Yet the “opening up of greenspaces” will also be n the outskirt, unless he means Cornwall Park???

  5. bad12 5

    There are 2 housing problems inherent in the New Zealand economy, one is of affordability for first home owners, the other is the cost of rental accommodation in the private sector sucking 50%-80% of income from the pockets of tenants thus denying those monies their normal transit through the economic cycle of the local economy,

    The answer to the first problem of ‘ownership’ has been addressed by Labour and we await the ‘numbers’ to be provided by Labour to address the second problem of ‘rental costs’,

    As far as National goes we await nothing as that is what National has as policy and Hell will freeze over before we see National adopt any rational solution to either of the housing problems facing us be that in the owenrship or rental market,

    The answer to both of the housing problems, rental and ownership, is of course to build, such building to address both issues creates employment and economic activity of an ongoing nature as the number of households increases and rentals decrease more monies are released to the local economy…

  6. DH 6

    Gareth Morgan has quite a good article on it here;

    http://garethsworld.com/blog/economics/rigging-of-housing-market-is-deliberate-policy/

    The major problem with housing is successive governments have allowed the market to go down a one way street and turning it around isn’t going to be easy. From an investment perspective a rental property has to return more than a term deposit and without capital gain and/or tax breaks rents would need to go up a hell of a lot (or house prices fall considerably)

    At current term deposit rates a $389,000 house needs to return an investor about $450 per week after expenses & before tax so if they got rid of capital gain & removed all the tax concessions you’d be looking at rents of over $500 a week on that median house. Labour & National have both really made a mess of it.

    • bad12 6.1

      This is the basic math at the heart of the housing ‘problem’,

      At it’s height HousingNZ had 75,000 rental units it rented out to tenants for a cost of 25% of the tenants income with a New Zealand population of some 3.3 million souls,

      For a population of 4.4 million of us HousingNZ now has only 69,000 homes to rent,

      Just those numbers alone would suggest a demand for low cost rental accommodation of at least 100,000 HousingNZ rental’s,

      the fact that Governments both Labour and National have not kept building HousingNZ homes at the pace the population has risen and instead relied upon the market to provide such housing is the root cause of the current housing ‘problem’…

      • DH 6.1.1

        Yep. They’ve let house prices rise so much that capital gain & tax breaks have become an entrenched component of the return on investment. If the market was forced back to a standard investment portfolo where rents comprised the sole return on investment we’d see a massive increase in rents well beyond what many people can afford to pay. That would drive low income earners further into poverty.

        Labour’s housing policy won’t help much there. A $300k house still has to return a good $450 week and $450 in rent is far too much relative to real wages in this country. It’s not solving the core problem.

        • bad12 6.1.1.1

          You seem there to be suggesting that Labour’s ‘fix’ Kiwibuild will simply become rental accommodation????,

          The ‘fix’ for affodability of housing is as it always was, State Housing en masse rented out to the tenants at 25% of income, build enough of them and demand for rental accommodation will drop like a stone as will the actual price of housing for those wishing to buy,

          As Gareth Morgan has pointed out, the ‘investment in private rentals’ is suppressing any investment in private sector business,

          The higher rents payed by tenants in the private sector (50%+ of income), as opposed to what they would pay as State tenants (25% of income) is also acting as a major factor in the local economy where as demand increases for rental property more monies are diverted from consumption to pay rents,

          Bill English on RadioNZ News at 3 o,clock made the laughable assertion that National is doing it’s bit to alleviate housing inflation as it will have in a year or 2 according to Bill built the huge total of 1000 State houses in Auckland,

          That’s more than pathetic from the Finance Minister who has overseen the dismantling of parts of the Governments housing estate in Auckland leading to a loss of at least 500 State owned rentals…

          • DH 6.1.1.1.1

            No I don’t think they’ll end up as rental properties. I just agree with Karol’s assertions that a $300,000 house is still well beyond the reach of many NZers. The policy is an appeasement to the better-paid middle class.

            I do think it’s a given it will be watered down anyway once people realise the impact it will have. Houses don’t sit empty, 100,000 houses will need some 250-300,000 people to fill them. Unless they’re planning on ramping up immigration to match the increase in housing stock the property market would hit a seriously big wall if they put that many extra houses on the market in such a short space of time.

    • bad12 6.2

      We have to remember also that ‘investors’ in rental property are acting as agents for the banks which are the ultimate beneficiaries of the ‘Accommodation supplement’ paid to many individuals in private rental to the tune of $1.2 billion annually,(a quarter of the profits taken off-shore by banking organizations annually),

      I only disagree with Gareth Morgan on one point of His excellently written article, there is one fundamental driver in housing besides tax breaks as an ‘investment’ and that of course is demand for rental accommodation,

      My other comment covers the root cause of that demand…

  7. Tiresias 7

    Labour’s “policies which address the most damaging aspects of the house price binge” are a disgrace for any supposed Left-wing party, and simply buys into the ‘property-owning is king’ fixation of the Right.

    Let’s say it’s implemented. Is there to be any cap on the price to be paid for the land required? Presumably this will have to be close to town and cities, where any land with even the potential for building on is already worth more than if it had oil under it. Or is the labour Government going to push through re-zoning of green-belt and good agricultural land and then have to pay the new market-price for it in competition with private developers?

    Let’s say it’s implemented. Are you going to stop these new, low-price houses being gobbled up by private investors for rent by saying they’re only for “new families”, or “deserving Kiwis” or “persons approved by local screening panels” or can jump through whatever hoops the Govt of the time imposes? How are you going to deal with parents who might want to help their kids make such a purchase but want to hold the title against the possibility of future break-ups, or the death of their own kid and the re-marriage of their partner?

    Let’s say it’s implemented. Let’s say they’re all bought by honest, deserving Kiwis who do their best to service their affordable mortgages, and the rates, and adequate property insurance, and all the little costs of proper property maintainence, but lose a job, or have to take a pay cut, or Mum gives up her job to bring the kids up and suddenly there isn’t the money there was. What goes first? Repairs and maintenance? Insurance? What happens to the neighbourhood when even one property grows shabby and badly-kept, or is damaged by fire not covered by insurance?

    Let’s say it’s implemented. How are you going to stop these ‘new families’, deserving Kiwis’ or the locally approved poor flicking their nice new houses on to private investors for a small profit after six months – or putting them onto the market because job-loss makes it impossible for them to maintain even a modest mortgage, or their job/work prospects requires them to move, or they split with their partners, &tc?

    A socially responsible Government should be providing quality houses for rent so that it can set the rent appropriate to the occupier’s particular situation and social needs, incidentally driving down rentals in the private sector, and making property available where it’s needed so that when necessary to follow a job people can move with minimal difficulty and expense, and should maintain and insure the property out of the rent so that the ‘new family’ occupying it should be able to devote all their time, energy and efforts to keeping and improving their jobs and bringing up the kids instead of worrying about keeping a roof over their heads.

    When I grew up on a ‘Council Estate’ in the UK there was no stigma attached to renting. It was something you did while you got established and gave you a stable base to do it from. Going ‘upmarket’ and buying your own home was something you did when you had climbed the employment ladder far enough to earn a solid wage and the kids were no longer costing you a fortune. Now tho’ “owning your own home’ is apparently every Kiwi’s dream – a dream sold by estate agents, property developers, mortgage-selling banks and the Right. It’s Napoleon selling the cart and its harness to Boxer.

    Labour’s “policies which address the most damaging aspects of the house price binge” should be repugnant to everyone on the Left.

  8. tc 8

    Gareth Morgan’s got some good points, that one way street Oz blocked off with a CGT on a sliding scale along with compulsory super.

    We’ve allowed housing to become easy tax free wealth storage for the few who can get onto it and stopped building State houses.

    NACT have helped this along, Labour have looked good by default with their policy which is just left of centre enough without really fixing much.

  9. Fortran 9

    The problem with a CGT is the years it will take to be effective. The idea is good in principle but needs to be explained as to how it is to work.
    A start up Department will be required which over the first 10 years will cost far more than it gets. The starting date and database is the critical factor from where and when the tax can start.
    I remember when a CGT was introduced in UK many years ago, it took well over 15 years to balance income over expenditure, and the businesses started up to circumvent the tax did a roaring trade.
    It sounds good – a Capital Gains Tax but some explantion will be needed as to what and how it is to be covered, and the taxes implemented, and where this additional tax is to be spent.
    However, we need it to start asap.

    • Rich 9.1

      You wouldn’t need a new department, IRD would handle it. With all transactions (going back a long way) in LINZ, checking the capital gain would be fairly straightforward.

      However, I’d agree that CGT is an incomplete solution. What’s actually needed is a (negative) inflation target for house prices as we have for general inflation, and a range of control/revenue measures:
      – tax on mortgage interest
      – land value tax
      – transfer tax (aka stamp duty)
      – LVR maximums

      • Herodotus 9.1.1

        Just what these 100k new Kiwibuild owners want to see their investment into home ownership worth less than what the paid for, it what you are saying regarding -ve inflation for houses then should the govt then promote private landlords as they will be paying the cost and with property dropping also having to battle reducing rents?

        • just saying 9.1.1.1

          The idea is supposed to be that the buyers would be buying a home to live in rather than “making an investment” If they move home, the next home will likely be equally affected by deflated prices.

          It irks me that every aspect of life has been transformed into a function of the market, as opposed (in this case) to housing being primarily about, say, housing.

          • Herodotus 9.1.1.1.1

            The Kiwibuild IMO now fills is hole that has been created by the “market”. That being how to introduce new players in, as 1st home buyers are for all intense purposes excluded. (This os also the failure for the ability to earn a fair wage, as our pay packs have been suffering for many many years)So what happens ? there is govt intervention to fix this. So govt money is transferred to private coys and this neoliberal monster is feed.
            No I understand all the positive aspects that owning your house has (connection to a community, the feeling or worth etc)

  10. Chris 10

    I don’t agree with really any of that except your last point:

    – there already is tax on mortgage interest?
    – rates are a land value tax – if you mean additional levies from the government there is no way that will hurt anyone other renters or people on low – middle incomes
    – CGT essentially will be a transfer tax, having both will just confuse things. Far more effective and efficient just to have a higher CGT
    – Agree with this.

    • tracey 10.1

      Rates are pretending to be a land value based tax. I have a piece of land in Marlborough which I can’t sell, not even for 50% less than its rateable value. Yes, we have tried to sell it far lower than we purchased and its rated value. Rated values are a joke.

      Can people explain how to address the rental prices in Auckland without building more houses? I am genuinely interested in this.

  11. bad12 11

    The latest from Bill English on housing affordability is that Len Brown should commit political suicide by using the Auckland City Council’s planning procedures to restrict the size of houses built in that city,

    Your the f**king Government Bill, present the Auckland City Council with Legislation requiring them to restrict house sizes,

    Even if the Dull one from Dipton did that it would make not an iota of difference, the first home buyers would still be out-bid by the ‘rental investors’,

    There is in fact only one means of ensuring that first home ownership is affordable and there is only one means of making sure that rents become affordable and that’s for Government to simply by-pass the market and build the size and type of property that is needed for either sale or rental…

  12. bad12 12

    Bill, the dull one from down Dipton way who just happens to be masquerading as the Minister of Finance just makes things worse every time He opens His mouth,

    This time on Prime TV News Bill says there is no housing crisis despite what the Salvation Army say, Bill also says that He and the Salvation Army worked out ‘a plan’ for accommodation 3 years ago,

    Yeah sure Bill, you would know sitting in your ivory tower whether there was a crisis or not wouldn’t you, if the same bloke you were working with 3 years ago who being ‘on the ground’ would see the problem far better than you in your ivory tower says there is one then i for one am more inclined to believe Him,

    PS Bill, who would have thunk it, not you obviously, but, it appears ‘the plan’ hatched 3 years ago just hasn’t worked has it….

    • tracey 12.1

      Yes, Major Campbell seemed like a liar and a fraudster in the that piece, a guy with a vested interest to talk up a non existent crisis…

      Oh, and so much for keeping central govt out of local govt following the Super City creation. Now we see why they needed a supercity, they only have to bully one body instead of 8 councils.

  13. Housing is cheap anywhere in NZ compared to many places in the US. As for property tax, you can multiply by a factor of ten over what you pay in NZ. Pay $1,600 in NZ, you’d pay 16,000 in San Francisco Bay Area. You don’t have a housing crisis but you sure as shit do have an infrastructure crisis and a land supply crisis.

    • higherstandard 13.1

      Frankly that’s rubbish Monique – housing in many parts of the US is very much cheaper than NZ both in terms of new builds and existing stock.

      http://www.trulia.com/home_prices/

      • Colonial Viper 13.1.1

        Did Monique also just miss the US$2T – $3T infrastructure run down which currently exists in the US? Power grid, roads, schools, subways falling apart and unused?

        I read that Eddie Murphy did recently sell his home for US$12M so maybe that proves that housing is more expensive in the USA than in Mt Wellington?

    • tracey 13.2

      I think using San Francisco’s Bay area as your example of american costs is drawing a longish bow.

      Do you also suggest that if some children are not living off garbage dumps (as in some poorer nations) they are not really poor or in need of help, until they are living off a garbage dump?

  14. infused 14

    Labours policy is yet to be seen.

    10% where? I’d say Auckland is pushing that up. It hasn’t moved around Wellington.

    • tracey 14.1

      …and National’s policy? Over 4 years now… they are anti assisting Auckland transport issues (other than more motorways) but now say they want to build on green spaces… that’s not policy that’s a cynical nothing masquerading something in response to labour focusing on housing and transport infrastructure.

  15. MrSmith 15

    People pump money into domestic housing because it’s a safe bet, we need a roof over our heads along with food and water.

    Over here on my ‘Right’ tho you have some other options, the share market, finance companies, businesses, spin the wheel, you can’t lose, huge profits, this is a once in a life time opportunity, all our investments are guaranteed.

    Until there is a safer place to put our money we’ll probably have to put up with high house prices, and the Right will have to put up with high finance rates for there ponzi schemes, unless they can find any more suckers.

    • tracey 15.1

      that’s why the Govt brings you an exciting opportunity to invest… in 4 power companies…

  16. Herodotus 16

    http://www.qv.co.nz/onlinereports/propertyvaluemap.htm
    http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/Pacific/New-Zealand/Price-History
    http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/keygraphs/Fig4.html
    So the increase of prices just returns the average house price to we’re it was ore GFC, some analysist could refer to this as a correction.
    “isn’t reflected in the (therefore artificially low) CPI and the linked measures that depend on it.” Glad someone else has spoofed this, pity this has been lost on all those who cheerleed the past govts performance!!
    And you are wrong in that the 2 policies of labour will address the issue. CGT as others have mentioned will take 10 + years to take effect (and what is thhe money raised to be put to ? As the $5k tax free threshold has Ben eliminated. And for Kiwibuild policy this will take the best part of the 1st term for any houses to be built, and that $300k build in today’s $ will be in 5 years time incur another 10% cost increase due to inflation-far better as many other thoughtful people have mentioned to increase HNZstock and reverse the dreadful labour policy of guaranteed rents to private landlords to cover the deficient HNZ investment.
    http://www.hnzc.co.nz/about-us/our-publications/factsheets/guaranteed-rent-through-home-leasing/guaranteed-rent-through-home-leasing.pdf

    • tracey 16.1

      and how would you address the “issue”? For what it’s worth we should be applauding a party prepared to look at long term policy instead of knee-jerk poll driven policy… not that I am saying this isn’t just that… But ten years to begin to impact shouldnt be the only reason to dismiss something.

      • Herodotus 16.1.1

        What has been suggested is part of a long term fix. But for the next 5-10 years there will be little to be seen.
        Build more HNZ stock. All those school closures that mallard and co announced use that land to build HNZ.( also any other govt closures that have a land component) (Unless there are treaty clauses to use this land to compensate for past wrongs)
        Reduce the banks ability to “create” money with capital controls, limit the amount of interest that can be deducted for rentals, if as some have commented that rates are a land tax, then do not allow this also as a tax deduction.
        John key is doing some of what he can to reduce the cost of property by having policies that result in 50k emigrating to Aussie ( from all over nz) problem is that these are replaced by 50k immigrants all wanting to reside in Auckland, which is where there is severe shortages and this is being reflected IMO stupid prices being paid(but then in 2004 I thought the same thing)and since the early 70’s nz has never felt any property downturn for any length of time.

  17. tracey 17

    “Build more HNZ stock”

    That will also take time, but I agree.

    There are also over 80,000 homes effectively out of the Auckland housing market because they leak, badly, and the owners cant afford to repair them or sell them, they canmaybe rent them but have to live somewhere themselves. That’s a lot of homes to take out of the equation.

  18. kiwi_prometheus 18

    Good stuff from Gareth Morgan:

    “…property prices here remain massive compared to household incomes on any international comparison.

    The two questions of course are whether our property prices should or will fall (or in economics parlance, “correct”)?

    When in Opposition the politicians are more prone to advocate the tax loopholes on capital ownership be closed, but when in power their conviction evaporates…

    …everybody is agreed about the disease, even on the causes of the disease. But we are either too intellectually lazy or politically cowardly to fix it.

    It will persist until this crisis manifests itself in a form that cannot be avoided…”

    http://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/62695/gareth-morgan-says-everybody-agreed-about-disease-are-too-politically-cowardly-fix-it-

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    . . 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
    3 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 ...
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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 ...
    4 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 ...
    4 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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 ...
    5 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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
  • Why Leadership Matters – More Than Anything.
    Our Good Fortune: Precisely because she has never been an ideologue (she calls herself a “pragmatic idealist”) Jacinda Ardern has a political nimbleness and spontaneity which, when infused with her exceptional emotional intelligence, produces spectacular demonstrations of leadership. Jacinda's empathic political personality contrasts sharply with the less-than-sunny ways of her ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #11, 2020
    2 weeks ago
  • 68-51
    The Abortion Legislation Bill has just passed its third reading, 68-51. NZ First MPs bailed because their referendum amendment didn't pass, but there were plenty of MPs to provide a majority without them. The bill is a long way from perfect - most significantly, it subjects pregnant people who need ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The ‘herd immunity’ route to fighting coronavirus is unethical and potentially dangerous
    As most of the world tries to suppress the coronavirus spread, some countries are going it alone – trying to manage the pandemic through so-called “herd immunity”. Herd immunity means letting a large number of people catch a disease, and hence develop immunity to it, to stop the virus spreading. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Eight new COVID-19 cases today. It’s no surprise when you look at some numbers
    So, as I sit at home with a very, very slight headache (i.e. not at work when I would otherwise be so), the now familiar figure of Ashley Bloomfield reports eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19  including two in Waikato. A surprise, given that we had just twelve yesterday? No. ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • The WINZ Paradox versus the new COVID-19 Reality: Get real people, seriously…
    Many who advocated for, and voted for, the current Coalition – particularly those who voted Labour and the Green Party – expected to see a sea change in the reality of social services. A real, deep change of attitude, approach of process through which the system negotiates the difficult and ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • The Air New Zealand bailout
    Stuff reports that the government is going to have to throw $2 - 3 billion at Air new Zealand to get it through the pandemic. Good. While international routes are basicly closed, Air New Zealand is a strategic asset which is vital to our tourism industry, not to mentioning airfreight. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Why NZ’s tough coronavirus travel rules are crucial to protecting lives at home and across the Pac...
    New Zealand’s border restrictions will come with significant job and business losses in the tourism sector, both at home and in the Pacific. But the new travel rules are absolutely necessary to protect the health of New Zealanders and people right across Pacific Islands, because New Zealand is a gateway ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The tiniest of teeth
    Back in early 2018, as a shoddy legal tactic to try and avoid the prisoner voting ban being formally declared inconsistent with the BORA by the Supreme Court, Justice Minister Andrew Little floated the idea of greater legal protection for human rights. When the Supreme Court case didn't go the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks 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
    5 hours ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 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
    2 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    5 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    7 days 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 ...
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    1 week ago
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