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Why National had to settle the Pay Equity case

Written By: - Date published: 10:19 am, April 19th, 2017 - 45 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, class war, Economy, employment, minimum wage, tax, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, Unions, wages, workers' rights - Tags:

As reported by Anthony Robins yesterday the Government has flipped on the pay equity issues raised by the case of Service and Food Workers Union Nga Ringa Tota Inc v Terranova Homes and Care Ltd. The case started five years ago when Kristine Bartlett and the Service and Food Workers Union lodged a claim against her employer the basis of which was that she was working in an industry dominated by female workers and because of this she was being paid less than she would have been if the industry had equal numbers of male and female workers. From this you can understand how significant the case was and why the claim, if successful could have major repercussions on many industries.

As summarised by the Court of Appeal in its decision:

The case has potentially far-reaching implications, not only for the residential aged care sector, but for other female-intensive occupations as well. It raises important issues about the scope of the Act, in particular whether it was intended to provide for pay equity (meaning equal pay for work of equal value) or whether it is limited to requiring equal pay for the same (or substantially similar) work.

In the original decision of the Employment Tribunal it held that the Equal Pay Act requires that equal pay for women for work predominantly or exclusively performed by women is to be determined by reference to what men would be paid to do the same work abstracting from skills, responsibility, conditions and degrees of effort as well as from any systemic undervaluation of the work derived from current or historical or structural gender discrimination.

Terranova sought leave to appeal the decision to the Court of Appeal and this leave was granted. The decision is here.

Note that the Attorney-General took part in the Appeal case as an “intervener”. This means that he was granted leave to appear because even though the Crown was not an original party to the litigation it had a significant interest in the case, given its role in funding the industry. His position basically was that the Employment Tribunal got it wrong, that the EPA did not mandate the decision that had been reached. If the Attorney General’s argument succeeded then the whole case would have failed and the Government would have been off the hook, at least for now.

Thankfully the Court of Appeal saw it differently and ruled that the EPA should allow a Court to look at different industries and rule that workers in one industry are being underpaid and therefore discriminated against.

The Law Society’s website has this description of what happened next:

The Court of Appeal was careful to state that, as it had only been asked to determine preliminary questions about the operation of s3 of the EPA, it would not go further and attempt the practical task of identifying appropriate comparators to the rest home workers role, or to even give guidance on how the evidence of other comparator groups or systemic undervaluation should be adduced.

The Court of Appeal did, however, offer its view that “the best way forward would be for the Employment Court to be asked to state the principles under s9 before embarking on the hearing of Ms Bartlett’s substantive claim. … As mentioned the Court may for example in its statement of principles identify appropriate comparators and guide the parties on how to adduce evidence of other comparator groups or issues relating to systemic undervaluation.” ( CA at 239)

In December 2014, the Supreme Court announced that it would not grant Terranova leave to appeal the Court of Appeal decision, as the appeal is considered substantially an appeal on preliminary questions. The Court effectively endorsed the Court of Appeal’s view that the next logical step appeared to be that the Employment Court set the principles under s9 of the EPA.

Since December 2014, there has been no further progress in the Terranova litigation. However, it has emboldened parties in other female-dominated professions to issue equal pay proceedings. In 2015, the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) issued proceedings on behalf of education support workers against the Ministry of Education in the Employment Relations Authority. In 2016, the New Zealand College of Midwives filed a claim in the High Court against the Ministry of Health for breach of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, alleging gender discrimination in rates of pay for midwives.

The issue had clearly developed a great deal of steam and all parties realised that some day at some time the issue would be resolved and from the looks of things so far the care workers had a strong case.

Clearly the Government has been looking to resolve the matter. It could have changed the Equal Pay Act but such a move would have been deeply damaging and made a mockery of its attempt to portray itself as a woman friendly party.  And just in time for the election the Government has agreed to do what is right, and that is increase the pay of three government-funded service sectors which employ mainly women on low rates. The workers in these sectors, aged residential care, home support, and disability services, are saints and deserve every cent of the increase.

The basic structure of the industry is the problem. The Government has contracted out to the private sector the provision of services which can be provided publicly. The bulk funding of these services allowed the private sector to grind down wages and conditions of workers in the industries in the pursuit of profit.  Neoliberalism then takes over.

The Government is celebrating its backflip. But just to remind everyone it should be remembered that in the Court of Appeal it sought leave to take part in the case and argued in support of Terranova’s position and against the Union’s claim.  This resolution has occurred because the Union had to play hard ball and litigate and negotiate every step of the way over the past five years.  If the Government wanted to do something about pay equity it should have done so years ago.

It should also be remembered that the deal represents a compromise. The increase will not be back dated and there was a reasonably significant risk this would have happened if the Court process was seen to its conclusion.

Audrey Young in the Herald summarized the situation well (yes you read that right):

The Government was driven by the reality that if it did not reach a settlement with the unions, the courts had given every indication they would. They would not only impose a settlement in the Bartlett case, but would come up with criteria to assist future cases.

Governments do not like relinquishing control to the courts.

The alternative would have been to legislate away any such judicial expansion of the Equal Pay Act. That would have been unacceptable to many in the Cabinet, not least because of the essential truth of the claim.

Women’s work is low paid because it is women’s work and the market values it less than men’s.

Some on the right are not so happy that some of our poorest paid yet most dedicated workers are now being paid a better although not necessarily a living wage. They are upset that the decision is “inefficient”.  The logical conclusion of this is everyone, or at least workers, should be paid peanuts then we will have peak efficiency.  Long may they squirm.

But basically through gritted teeth and in election year National has chosen to celebrate doing that which it should have accomplished years ago.

At least it appears that tax cuts will now be off the table. Although the reality is that the so called fiscally neutral tax cuts National gave in 2009 were paid for by the underpaying of women performing that most important of jobs, caring for those of us who need it.

45 comments on “Why National had to settle the Pay Equity case”

  1. Ross 1

    Some on the right are not so happy that some of our poorest paid yet most dedicated workers are now being paid a better although not necessarily a living wage.

    True but I bet if you asked David Farrar whether carers of his elderly mother or father, bedridden and requiring around the clock care, deserve a mere $15.75 an hour, he’d probably say “no fucking way”. Although he can be a dick, I’d say he isn’t a principled dick.

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    The only thing Tory scum understand is force. The only way they will ever acknowledge human rights is when they are compelled by force (in this case the power of the judiciary) to do so.

    All history shows this.

  3. Ad 3

    Who needs the NZLS when Mickey can set it all out like this?

  4. tc 4

    This cuts them in many ways the opposition can leverage. The adequate remuneration of dedicated souls who care for those less fortunate cuts right across all demographics.

    The arrogance knows no boundaries and who is lining up that twat coleman as he personifies nationals intransigence.

    This provides a nice segway into the wrecking ball they’ve run through health.

  5. The Chairman 5

    So contracted providers get to maintain profits as taxpayers are looking at a potential increase in ACC levies to cover the cost.

    Meanwhile, those in private run rest homes or those that don’t have subsidised care are potentially looking at fee increases.

  6. Antoine 6

    I will stick in my oar as a Tory scum,

    I am very pleased with the result, a good outcome, well done to all those who contributed.

    I also do have a certain unease with the possibility of wages being decided by the courts at an industry level, and I wonder where this will all lead.

    Still mostly I’m pleased.

    A.

    • mickysavage 6.1

      The problem with the system that has operated over the past 9 years is that the pay rates of these workers has lagged further and further behind where they should be. If the Courts rather than the Government are needed to correct the situation then so be it and all strength to them.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2

      I wonder where this will all lead

      One thing it’s going to do is prove that when Tory scum claim that higher wages cause unemployment, they are lying.

      With any luck it will help increase wages across the board, as more normal law-abiding New Zealanders realise that the courts can protect their human rights too.

      • NZJester 6.2.1

        This also shows how important Labour Unions are to low paid working people to help with negotiations. Without them, the government would have likely steamrolled her.

        • Antoine 6.2.1.1

          Very true.

          Dumb question, do non union members get the award?

          • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2.1.1.1

            Dumb? Looks more like flame bait.

            • Akldnut 6.2.1.1.1.1

              A better question would be “Should they be getting the union awarded rates.
              I think Labour might have a coat tailing policy to stop that from happening and the employers using it to depower unions.

          • Michael 6.2.1.1.2

            Of course you would, I’d like to see an employer not pay a non union member.

    • DoublePlusGood 6.3

      Do you think it is quite possible that you are mistaken, kind citizen, and that you are, in point of fact, one of those socialists everyone complains so much about?

    • Except the court isn’t simply setting wages, it just decided that the wages were determined as a result of gender discrimination in accordance with existing law. I agree that centralised setting of wages is a bad idea but that’s by no means what’s going on here. It’s the same principle of looking at comparable industries in terms of skills and job requirements that feminists have been talking about since forever. Aged care workers are essentially just a slightly less skilled version of nurses, who, coincidentally, are also probably paid less than they’re worth.

      If employers want to avoid having judges overturn their wage decisions then they should pay women (and men in female-dominated industries) a fair wage and it will never need to go to court in the first place. 🙂

  7. John up North 7

    Big thing that annoys the shit out of me is the likes of Coleman crowing what a wonderful person he is (and by proxy the Nats). Quite normal for these clowns…..sigh.

    The line Campbell should have pursued is to question why is Coleman claiming credit for something that the govt were dragged kicking and screaming to the negotiating table after realising the courts were gonna force them to pay up.

  8. Michael 8

    At least the Nats did apply the principle of pay equity to this dispute, even if forced to by the Courts. It’s still a lot more than “Labour” ever did, something we’ll hear a lot more of between now and September (as we will about the Nats raising core benefit rates for the first time in 43 years).

    • Anthony Rimell 8.1

      Michael

      You’re kidding, right???

      You have to be.

      Let’s have some true facts; not made up stuff from the right’s false facts files.

      It was Labour who enacted the legislation that enabled this case. Had they still been in power in 2008 it is clear they intended to see this type of issue promoted: on the basis of fairness and equity.

      One could argue they could have taken it further and enacted said pay equity directly. But the squeals of the Right would have been heard in Tokyo and beyond.

      This outcome is both thoroughly deserved by the women in the industry AND five years late; the latter due to the reluctance of the Nats and employers to recognise this basic equity right.

      Well done Kristine and her fearless colleagues!

    • mickysavage 8.2

      How do you feel Michael about National doing its best to mimic Labour values? I mean I am happy whenever they do so but it feels a bit weird.

      Does it upset you that National actually did something right for poorly paid workers? Even if it did so realising that it had no choice?

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    The Government has contracted out to the private sector the provision of services which can be provided more cheaply with better services and with better wages publicly.

    FTFY

    The bulk funding of these services allowed the private sector to grind down wages and conditions of workers in the industries in the pursuit of profit. Neoliberalism then takes over.

    Which, of course, was the whole point of privatisation – higher profits for the private sector which has cost us billions in dead-weight loss since the 1990s.

  10. John 10

    All power to the unions and their members for standing up and fighting for a decent wage. Hope all other workers on minimum wages can see what can be achieved by sticking up for whats fair and just. A living wage with dignity. Kia kaha

    • mickysavage 10.1

      Aye and some of the workers still are not on a living wage. The struggle continues …

  11. timeforacupoftea 11

    HipRay !!
    At last that dirty word – INFLATION INFLATION INFLATION
    HIGHER INTEREST RATES
    Higher NZ superannuation
    Higher deposit rates just when I need to retire !
    Snowball snowball snowball
    The handbrake is OFF !
    I’ve been waiting for this for 25 years or more.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1

      That’s an interesting prediction.

    • mickysavage 11.2

      There does not need to be higher inflation. Just no tax cut for the wealthy in the next couple of years.

      • timeforacupoftea 11.2.1

        I wrote this ramble the other day to prove what has happened in New Zealand in the past.

        18 April 2017 at 7:39 pm
        Congratulations !
        This is fantastic for these workers.

        Heres my story !
        I remember a way back in 1971 ( Holyoake / Marshal GVT when my husband, a A grade mechanic and I working as a student in the hospital health profession, when our unions got us major increases to our award wages. He got a 42% wage increase and I got a 46% wage increase, I was still earning more than him even though I was a student.
        Things were very tight before the increase our rent was $12 per week for a one bedroom flat with kitchen dinning room and large lounge all open living and a very large bathroom/toilet, never seen one since so large and a large bath to equal the room size, so we looked for a boarder. We found a man through the church 20 years older than myself he was waiting for his devorce to come through ( I think they took 6 years back then ) he paid our rent. We ran into hot water problems though, as the water heater only held 20 gallons and with such a large bath we decided that the three of us would bath together so the water level would rise. So set bath times every night, 9.30pm unless we were going out which was 7pm. haaaaa such trivia but great fun times for me “blush”.

        Moving on.
        Anyway we saved like mad and had enough for a deposit for a brand new house by late 1973.
        But then, INFLATION took off, INFLATION INFLATION INFLATION that dirty word through the Kirk GVT house trebled in value, Inflation continued under Muldoon GVT etc etc until 1986 and then the sharemarket crash.
        Is this the start to high interest rates again ? I hope not but would help me now as I will retire when I feel like it but not now.

        • Nic the NZer 11.2.1.1

          The cause of the inflation in the 1970’s was well known (at the time). The root cause was OPEC raising the price of Oil (it doubled around 1973) in a political protest. This caused inflation the world over, primarily as the oil price increases left no room for both wages and capital to receive the same income share. This then resulted in wage/price inflationary spirals as both workers and capital tried to maintain their share of income. That kind of thing seems unlikely to repeat at present, with workers having no where near the bargaining power of those times.

          In line with economic theory the inflation was combated at the time by the RBNZ setting high interest rates (supposed to slow borrowing and supposed inflationary pressures due to increases in the money supply), though this didn’t work. What did work was abandonment of full employment as a policy goal and the use of unemployment as a policy tool to discipline wage increases.

          This agreement is a very small improvement in the situation of only some sectors of the economy, after decades of wages running well behind productivity increases due to a (entirely intentional) lack of worker bargaining power. Its highly unlikely that such a wage increase will be inflationary as the government is the primary employer in these sectors so its not introducing significant cost competition onto the private sector (which is how inflationary pressures work, the happen where there is competition for resources).

          It also seems unlikely the RBNZ can raise interest rates much without seriously damaging the balance sheets of commercial banks with significant numbers of loan defaults. The other thing which indicates inflation will pick up slowly at fastest is that one of the better indicators of the future inflation rate is the present inflation rate. Inflation seems to be somewhat driven by some form of inertia of expectations.

          @mickysavage, how would a tax cut influence inflation?

          • mickysavage 11.2.1.1.1

            Only that if the increase was paid by running a deficit the effect would probably be inflationary.

            • Nic the NZer 11.2.1.1.1.1

              Ok, given you qualify that statement with the condition, if we assume the economy is presently fully employed. Otherwise the deficit spending does not have to compete for real resources avoiding the inflation risk in that situation. Further any other spending, including exporting and totally non-government carries the same inflation risk in every situation.

  12. Skeptic 12

    I wonder if cleaners and garbage collectors and maintenance people can use the same principle to force an increase in their wages – most are on the minimum. After all, there is a very long tradition of such occupations being prized above public servants – in ancient China that is.

    If I’ve got my history correct, one of the things Marco Polo commented on was the wealth of the street cleaners in Imperial China’s cities, and the state of (relative) cleanliness of China’s cities (compared to Europe at that time). It seems the Chinese prized their cleaners as they kept disease and fifth from spreading – which prevented the growth of vermin populations – which of course was one of the root causes of plague.

    Might our cleaners, handy people and rubbish collectors not be similarly prized in an enlightened NZ society? And be put on par with nurses and carers as specialists?

    But then maybe I have read too much into it.

    • mickysavage 12.1

      They should be but for the EPA to apply discrimination on the basis of sex has to be shown. Discrimination against poorly people in an industry with not dissimilar numbers of males and females will not qualify …

    • timeforacupoftea 12.2

      Get yourselves a very very strong Union.

      As much as I hated unions all my life I was astonished how powerful, horrible, nasty, arrogant huge men with enormous forceful power.
      At meetings in front of 700 members they would spit vile at us and our employers.
      My husband and I rented a flat above the union office and if you forgot to pay your monthly rent by cash by 5pm Thursday they would open your door with there keys walk in and demand rent immediately, to bad if you were in some stage of undress.
      I was frightened sick incase my husband had not paid at lunchtime.

  13. Cricklewood 13

    Just wait until its pubicly announced that the massive supercity infrastructure maintenance contracts have been awarded to an offshore company and that they are planning to pay staff subsantially less than current NZ based contracters.
    In my industry we are preparing for 100s of redundancies. Whilst the new contract will pay living wage most affected are already paid above this.

    Its a fucken disaster for Auckland.

    • tc 13.1

      Super city is keys enduring gift to Jaffas.

      An almighty cluster of cronyism and unnecessary costs that stopped short of flogging the assets and settled for just buggering up our major city and economic hub.

      Take a bow national, bravo. They only settled this to avoid the bad pr and attempt to swing the terminally stupid into thinking it was out of their warmth and humanity.

    • Antoine 13.2

      If this happens you should blame the Left controlled council

  14. Incognito 14

    If you want better conditions for the working class, you have to be populist right wing.

    https://qz.com/896463/is-it-ok-to-punch-a-nazi-philosopher-slavoj-zizek-talks-richard-spencer-nazis-and-donald-trump/

  15. Tanz 15

    I have worked in a job placing nurses/caregivers into shifts, and I think it sucks
    that they were on a low rate. Any job these days should pay twenty dollars an hour, and care giving is really hard work (close family member does it), challenging and very physical. About time they all got a pay rise, at long last. So should other low paid workers, also all the old benefits such as holiday pay and sick leave have now been written out of contracts, so wrong!!
    The unions were a strong voice once, now they mostly just seem to cave in to employers demands. Good on them here though. In this day and age, and especially in super rip-off Auckland, $15 bucks an hour is an absolute joke.

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  • 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 ...
    5 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 ...
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    6 days ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    6 days ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    6 days ago
  • What about renters?
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    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
    7 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 ...
    7 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
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
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    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
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    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 ...
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    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 ...
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    1 week ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
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    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
    2 weeks ago
  • The Only Way Through This Crisis Is Together.
    Together: In leading New Zealand through the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Prime Minister could do a lot worse than allow herself to be guided by the spirit of collective sacrifice and co-operation that animated the New Zealanders of 80 years ago. Most Kiwis alive today have had no opportunity to prove their ...
    2 weeks ago
  • GFC vs Covid-19
    It is said that generals fight the last war. In the case of the early stages of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) they had learned from the Great Depression of the 1930s and they fought intelligently and successfully. Later their advice would be ignored in favour of the Austerians who ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • Nobody Left Behind.
    Solidarity Forever: All over the world, the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has exposed the fragility of the walls we erect around ourselves and our loved ones. It has shattered our illusions of autonomy and revealed to us how utterly dependent we all are on other human-beings. Finally, we see ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rebuilding a truly “Democratic” counter, or a “moderate Republican” bolt-hol...
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    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Abortion law reform a win for women
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    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
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    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

  • 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
    6 hours ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 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
    3 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    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
    4 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    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
    5 days ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    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
    7 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
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
    The Government has asked the Commerce Commission to take account of the exceptional circumstances created by COVID-19 when monitoring business behaviour in coming weeks.   “The purpose of my request to the Commerce Commission is to make sure businesses can work together in ways that will allow them to provide ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
    The New Zealand Government has temporarily closed its High Commission in Bridgetown, Barbados and its Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Due to the increasing scarcity of air links in and out of Bridgetown and Yangon, and the pressure COVID-19 is placing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PM Address – Covid-19 Update
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ and Singapore commit to keeping supply and trade links open, including on essential goods and med...
    New Zealand and Singapore have jointly committed to keep supply chains open and to 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 welcomed the commitment. “This is an important collective response, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Joint Ministerial Statement by Singapore and New Zealand -Covid-19 situation
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Transit between Australia and New Zealand
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $100 million to redeploy workers
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • More support for wood processing
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