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Which Deficit?

Written By: - Date published: 4:08 pm, April 12th, 2015 - 64 comments
Categories: Economy - Tags:

So, the much-touted and long-awaited government surplus looks unlikely to arrive this year. Is that a surprise? No. Does it matter? Not much.

The only reason for sparing much time on the failure to eliminate the government deficit is that it relates to a target that the government itself identified as the crucial test of its ability to manage the economy. In doing so, it exploited the confusion in most people’s minds – and that includes the minds of many media commentators – as to what deficit we are really talking about.

Just a few days ago, in reporting the probability that the government would remain in deficit, Radio NZ news described it as “the country’s deficit” as though the two deficits were the same thing. Sadly, the government deficit, about which so much fuss is made, is only a minor factor in an economy which continues to remain in substantial deficit in its total operations.

Far from running the economy in a prudent fashion, the government presides over a New Zealand economy that continues to chalk up foreign payments deficits, year after year. We continue, in other words, to go on spending well beyond our means. We fill the gap by selling assets to foreigners and by borrowing at high interest rates to overseas lenders – a classic instance of a rake’s progress that makes a day of reckoning eventually inevitable.

That foreign payments deficit is about to get a lot worse, as the overvalued dollar (about which so much jingoistic celebration was enjoyed) makes it more and more difficult for us to pay our way. Those cheaper Aussie holidays today are bought at the cost of Kiwi jobs and living standards tomorrow.

So, let us be clear about the deficit we are talking about – the country’s deficit, the one that matters, the one that is getting worse all the time, or the government’s deficit, that simply defines how much the government takes in tax revenue from the rest of the economy by comparison with how much it spends.

Is there are any link between the two? Yes – the priority given by the government to its own deficit has almost certainly made the country’s deficit worse. This is because, in a recession, which by definition arises when people (that is, households and corporations) are earning and spending and investing less, the slow-down can only deepen if the other major sector – the government – also cuts its spending.

Our recession was longer and deeper than it should have been, in other words, because the government gave priority to balancing its own books, and ignored what was happening to the whole economy. An economy that went backwards for several years was even less able than usual to pay its way in the world when the world economy began to improve.

But surely, many will say, it must be a good thing for the government to tighten its belt when the economy slows down? That would be true if the government were a business, but running an economy is not the same as running a private business. The paradox is that the government’s preoccupation with its own finances has meant a more sluggish economy and reduced tax revenue so that it becomes more and more difficult for the government to balance its books.

This is the lesson taught by both history and recent experience. It is a lesson that has now been painfully learnt all over again by the world’s central banks, some of which – the European Central Bank, in particular – wasted six or seven year insisting on austerity as the proper response to recession. The people who paid the price for that mistake were Europe’s poor and unemployed; we were saved from worse only because our Australian-owned banks remained relatively stable and because our main export markets in Australia and China remained until recently reasonably buoyant.

If the government’s finances are only a small part of the picture, why have they attracted so much attention? It is worth noting in passing that, while the Labour government of 1999-2008 recorded a surplus in eight of its nine years, the current government has now chalked up six successive deficits. So why focus on this particular factor?

The answer is that focusing on the government deficit has been driven by political rather economic considerations. It has served the government very well as the justification for policies that come straight from the neo-liberal handbook. We can be sure that the next round of cuts in the level of public services will be misleadingly explained as “necessary to eliminate the deficit”.

In the end, in any case, facts cannot be denied. As any accountant will tell you, borrowings and lendings must, as a matter of accounting identities, match each other. Our perennial foreign payments deficit – what we need the rest of the world to lend to us – must be matched by the borrowings our economy makes in total. If the focus is entirely on achieving a government surplus, that makes it inevitable that the private sector (households and corporations) must borrow even more.

The truth is that, by looking only at the government deficit and ignoring the country’s deficit, we create an unbalanced and broken-backed economy that will survive only as long as overseas peddlers of “hot money” are willing to go on lending to us.

Bryan Gould

12 April 2015

 

 

 

64 comments on “Which Deficit?”

  1. Colonial Rawshark 1

    Bryan Gould gets it. This analysis revolves around sectorial money balances. A government gets into “surplus” by taking more from the private sector – companies and households – than it spends back into the nation. Voila – the mysterious and much-sought after “surplus” is created.

    If you think that Government surpluses are a good thing, then you better think that forcing NZ’s private sector (households and businesses) into deficit is also a good thing. Because the two go together hand in glove in an environment where we are in constant deficit as a country overall to the foreign sector.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      If you think that Government surpluses are a good thing, then you better think that forcing NZ’s private sector (households and businesses) into deficit is also a good thing.

      The few people who get rich from these destructive policies think it’s a great idea as they get to buy up a nations assets that it’s spent decades building on the cheap.

      • Colonial Rawshark 1.1.1

        Exactly. They cloak their narrow self interest in theoretical goobledegook trying to make out that these policies are in the general interest. Recent history has shown us that nothing could be further from the truth.

    • DH 1.2

      I don’t think you’re on the right track with this argument, you seem to be saying there’s a see-saw effect between private & public sector borrowing. That doesn’t add up for me. Most private sector debt is for capital purchases, ie housing, whereas the present Govt debt is largely to fund operating expenses.

      If the Govt were to pull more tax revenue out of the private sector, and reduce its own deficit & borrowing, that should reduce private sector debt because people would have less disposable income to pay off their loans.

  2. Pat 2

    “….The people who paid the price for that mistake were Europe’s poor and unemployed; we were saved from worse only because our Australian-owned banks remained relatively stable and because our main export markets in Australia and China remained until recently reasonably buoyant.”
    …..and dont forget the huge influx of reinsurance dollars these past 4 years and the economic activity associated with the Christchurch “rebuild”…..an economic stimulus forced on this cut mad administration by circumstance.

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    Far from running the economy in a prudent fashion, the government presides over a New Zealand economy that continues to chalk up foreign payments deficits, year after year. We continue, in other words, to go on spending well beyond our means.

    And, boy, do the RWNJs really hate it when you point that out and that the NZ$ should be reflective of those accumulated deficits as the present economic free-trade theory calls for.

    The truth is that, by looking only at the government deficit and ignoring the country’s deficit, we create an unbalanced and broken-backed economy that will survive only as long as overseas peddlers of “hot money” are willing to go on lending to us.

    And there’s a hell of a lot of those as the large nations of the world engage in massive amounts of Quantitative Easing.

    • David H 3.1

      NZ is being run like a business. And ALL the valuables are being sold off, and the loose money and spoils are shared around the management. So the Business goes broke and the big wigs piss off overseas with all our money.

      Yep just like a badly run business.

  4. Incognito 4

    I believe that this is one of the “deficits” Brain Gould was referring to:

    http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/economic_indicators/balance_of_payments/BalanceOfPayments_HOTPDec14qtr.aspx

  5. fisiani 5

    I believe that Bill English knows more about economics than Bryan Gould

    • Paul 5.1

      Really…

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      I believe that you’re a sycophantic idiot who hasn’t got a clue at all. You certainly don’t know anything about economics or reality.

    • KB 5.3

      You’re a dreamer!
      Unfortunately for New Zealand there’s room for dancing upstairs with regards to English .
      You’ve clearly bought the bullshit !

    • Macro 5.4

      You really are in fine form today fisi! I spilt my coffee on that one. lol

      Tell me Fisi have you been to the ‘Temple of the Hidden Hand’ today? – tell me you are a true believer.

    • les 5.5

      Bill English knows how to run deficits,that much we do know.

      • Weepus beard 5.5.1

        He knows about promoting tobacco lobbyists to parliament too. And he knows about ripping the taxpayer off with housing fraud. He’s a 10 kid farmer, not an economist.

    • In Vino 5.6

      I would have more confidence in Fisiani’s assessment if Bill English did not persistently speak like a plodding, semi-literate mutton-brain. He could not even work out what was fair to claim for his accommodation.

      • McFlock 5.6.1

        Mistaking a slow rural drawl for stupidity is a common mistake, and one that has resulted in many a surprise comeuppance.

        And, like his mismanagement of the economy, I suspect he could indeed work out what was a fair claim for accommodation, and also knew how much in addition to that he could rort and get away with scot-free.

        I reckon English fancies himself in the running for being the next PM when key gets knifed post-sabin revelations. He might well be able to sneak in between the other cabinet ministers whose incompetence has been a bit more obvious. He only needs it for a few months to do a Mike Moore and get a conservative sinecure to sit in for the remainder of his career.

        Basically, “placeholder pm” is about as high as he’ll get, career-wise.

    • b waghorn 5.7

      He might know more about it but it doesn’t mean he’s got it right ,
      When ever I see English on TV and this goes back to the run up to the election I see a man who ether knows he’s failed or has been over ridden and is just seeing his time out .

    • emergency mike 5.8

      “I believe that Bill English knows more about economics than Bryan Gould”

      Well this fizzy assurance certainly trumps any word thingies from Gould. Why dispute points rationally when you can just disagree on faith? Despite the fact that everything this govt has ever touched has turned to shit. They did crush that wrong car pretty good though.

    • Andrea 5.9

      fisiani: Your faith does you credit but it won’t get you credit…

      Mr English may know a little more – yet it is clearly insufficient for the purpose of restoring enough belief in his fellow New Zealanders to get their hands out of their pockets, clutching money, to expand enterprise and paid employment in this country.

    • logie97 5.10

      … Bryan Gould, the Rhodes Scholar and former deputy leader of the British Labour Party? Remind us what English’s pedigree is again Fisiani.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.10.1

        He’s from a farm in Southland, got raised by a private school in Wellington and has rorted the NZ taxpayers.

      • David H 5.10.2

        “He completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree at Otago University, followed by a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in English Literature at Victoria University in Wellington”

        http://www.billenglish.co.nz/pages/about.html

        And he’s in charge of the country’s finances. More like Key tells him what to do And Key is even less skilled.

        He later studied accounting at the University of Canterbury, from which he graduated with a degree in commerce in 1983,

        https://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1375215/John-Key

        All i can think of after looking that up is FFS incompetents everywhere.

    • Is that you Bill ?

  6. Brian Smith 6

    @fisianus- I believe that you believe anything that Bill English (or John Key) says. Moron!

  7. Lanthanide 7

    My only real question is – what is this supposed day of reckoning going to look like?

    Imagine a future which is business as usual, say the current conditions carry on more or less for 50 years. Will the day of reckoning come in those 50 years, and what will it look like?

    Now, lets face reality, where the world is likely to face oil shortages within 5 years and almost certainly within 10. Then throw in climate change and associated food shortages for good measure. Lets not even include a pandemic.

    Is our bad balance of payments history going to come back to haunt us in such a future? I’m not sure that it will.

    • Weepus beard 7.1

      And I’m not sure what you are talking about.

      Are you saying western civilised structure is going to collapse in the next 10 years and all government debt will be wiped?

      • Lanthanide 7.1.1

        It’s going to look very different in 10 years, but probably not collapsed completely.

        I suspect that pretty much all countries will be in recession / downwards spiral, so historical accounting won’t mean a lot.

        • Sacha 7.1.1.1

          When the global economy collapses, historic genuine willingness and ability to repay debt will count for an awful lot. Joyce, Key and English’s con game will be over. Good luck paying for those oil imports with a smile and a golf handicap.

          • Lanthanide 7.1.1.1.1

            Oil won’t be traded on the open market, instead trades will be done between countries.

            New Zealand grows more food than it needs to eat…

        • b waghorn 7.1.1.2

          Please excuse my financial illiteracy but what would happen if a govt just decided to cancel there foreign dedt obligations

  8. Weepus beard 8

    The enduring image I have of Bill English is the televised message he gave explaining to the nation that he’d just paid some hick-town SCF investors 700 million of our money in the dead of the night.

    That was a dark day in our history.

  9. Herodotus 9

    http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/statistics/key_graphs/current_account/
    One day NZ will face the consequence of these continual current account deficits.
    Over the last few years the consequence of the cross rate on the nz$ Or interest rates has been reported from the position of winners losers. Such reporting is so short term. In the end 99.9% of kiwis will be losers.
    IMO very few realise what we face, perhaps it is better to be oblivious to it 🙂

  10. Reddelusion 10

    Bryan Gould is a lawyer I had a 33pc chance of guessing that with Bryan been an ex labour mp ( he could have been a teacher or a trade union offical) thus he has no claim to been and expert on economics over bill English. Bryan played a part in some pretty average labour governments in the uk in regard to economic performance thus hardly and oracle on these matters. Bill English in turn is an accountant so he can count ( unlike much of labour) and has led nz though the gfc and chc earthquake, achieved one of the highest growth rates in the oecd, with falling unemployment. I know who I would back and thankfully so did the nz electorates

  11. Nic the NZer 11

    While Brian Gould’s analysis of the government deficit is quite correct, concern about the current account deficit should largely be understood on the same basis.

    The fact that NZ records a current account deficit means that (in excess of our exports on the reverse basis) some overseas enterprise has traded their goods and services for NZ$ and retained those $ saved overseas. It provides no particular concern, or threat to NZ, that people overseas might be willing to trade their produce for our NZ$ and then hold onto them. At some point they might want to use them to buy goods and services from NZ, which will reduce the trade deficit, or might lead to a trade surplus.

    It should also be noted that the ‘borrowing’ NZ does from overseas is simply the by product of the fact people are holding funds overseas. This is like how the bank borrows funds off someone when they deposit them.

  12. Stuart Munro 12

    A seventh consecutive deficit is important because it demonstrates Bill English’s gross incompetence unequivocally.

    Six consecutive deficits apparently might be mistaken for bad luck – but seven is a confirmed statistical trend.

    English will NEVER get the books back to black – not even by the bizarrely selective criteria he pretends are meaningful.

    • Nic the NZer 12.1

      I am afraid English and co are far, far too bright for you. The goal of getting the books back in the black is, as Brian Gould says, entirely a political point scoring game it doesn’t have significant consequences for the country in and of itself. Never the less they managed to have this as the only economic game in town, so they can justify all kinds of cuts to the public sector, and sales of assets to bolster government books all in the name of political point scoring contest. And you just keep on asking and demanding it, where’s the surplus you promised, keep on going we want to see the surplus promised, it’s pathetic.

      • Stuart Munro 12.1.1

        Compliments already 🙂 – no, neo-con’s capacity for self delusion seems to be practically infinite – and it is important to remind them and less educated readers that they are not achieving their supposed goals.

        Yes, I want English to produce his promised surplus, but more importantly, journalists need to start asking him “If you’re such an economic rockstar, where the f**k is this surplus you’ve been promising?”

        Until they do Bill gets a free pass with the media. Seems he gets a free pass with you too…

        • b waghorn 12.1.1.1

          Key was on tv1 this morning burbling some shit about how realistically we only missed surplus by $5 if you compare it to Aussie s debt problems and it was all caused by labours unfunded programme’s any way.

          • Stuart Munro 12.1.1.1.1

            Yeah – he lies too easily – and economics actually is fairly important. His government has done nothing sensible, and the world economy is stalled in spite of massive middle eastern subsidies in the form of cheap oil and extra low interest rates. The next big piece of world economic news will be bad because no-one is generating healthy real growth – limits upside potential. If a real crisis develops NZ’s foreign lenders will be gone faster than you can say knife.

            • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1.1.1.1

              The next big piece of world economic news will be bad because no-one is generating healthy real growth

              That might be because a) there’s no such thing and b) we’ve hit physical limits to growth.

              • Stuart Munro

                I can’t agree – there will always be growth in some sectors as it is an expression of change.

                Under Key we’ve had growth in bankruptcy and corruption for example.

                Real measures to improve local economic performance, and a move away from non-contributing sectors like finance, gambling, and real estate would result in growth. We have abundant underemployment in New Zealand even a 1-2% improvement in that area would dwarf Bill English’s much touted air-guitar act.

                There is always a way to improve.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  IMO, the problem is partially, or even mostly, the use of the word ‘growth’. It has the implication of getting bigger and so growth in the economy is measured measured as GDP getting bigger and making more of the same is seen as good.

                  What we really need to do is development, where we, as productivity increases, produce different stuff.

        • Nic the NZer 12.1.1.2

          “Yes, I want English to produce his promised surplus”

          The cutting of government spending in an attempt to achieve surplus is a major causal factor in many of the economic problems NZ faces. These include but are not limited to,
          * Low levels of funding for public sector programs (education, health care, public transport infrastructure).
          * Income inequality (and low paying jobs, with poor rewards).
          * High levels of personal indebtedness (and of course low levels of personal savings, including retirement savings).
          * High levels of unemployment.
          * High house prices.
          Why on earth do you still want him to contribute to these problems?

          “and it is important to remind them and less educated readers that they are not achieving their supposed goals.”

          No, its important to explain to the less educated readers that their goals are destructive, on their own terms.

          “Seems he gets a free pass with you too…”

          Yep, accusing the finance minister of causing harm to the economy in order to engage in political point scoring, that’s obviously what we call a free pass.

          • Stuart Munro 12.1.1.2.1

            My object is not point scoring but removal.

            We’ve seen he doesn’t have a clue. A seven year record of non-performance is something the public can understand. Was Cullen a better finance minister? I’m inclined to think that he was, and that running surpluses did not invalidate his performance.

        • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1.3

          Want to know what would be a better question Blinglish and Key? Where’s the 170, 000 jobs that they promised?

  13. ropata 13

    Thank goodness we have luminaries like fisiani and re-delusional to provide informed academic critiques. :eyeroll:
    We need better tr0lls

  14. tricledrown 14

    Fishy and Blue Looney Double Dipper has had the luck of the Irish with record prices for Dairy a CH CH rebuild causing an immigration boom.
    Dairy prices are falling rapidly the property bubble is going to burst .
    Then double dipstick will be exposed.

  15. MrSmith 15

    Very good Brian.

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    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    3 days ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
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    3 days ago
  • A Government System That Works
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    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    3 days ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
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    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    4 days ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
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    4 days ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
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    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    4 days ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
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    4 days ago
  • Saving lives
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
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    4 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
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    4 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
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    5 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
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    5 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
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    5 days ago
  • The police and public trust
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
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    5 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
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    5 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
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    5 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
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    6 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    6 days ago
  • Rāhui day 3
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    7 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
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    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    1 week ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    1 week ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
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    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
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    1 week ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
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    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
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    1 week ago
  • After the Pandemic
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    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week 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 ...
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    1 week ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
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    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
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  • 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
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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

  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 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
    5 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
    1 week ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago