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World class education

Written By: - Date published: 10:41 am, October 31st, 2012 - 34 comments
Categories: class war, education, Maori Issues, poverty, schools - Tags: , ,

The comments of Secretary for Education Lesley Longstone, have provoked some discussion recently:

“The system is still underperforming for Maori learners and Pasifika learners, and learners from communities with significant social and economic challenges. While our education system continues to underperform for these learners, we are not entitled to call ourselves world class.”

Commentators have been quick to defend or criticise the “education system” – a storm in a teacup that probably would have received much more attention without the somewhat bigger storm going on elsewhere.

Some of the commentary has been nonsense, and this anonymous editorial in The Herald is particularly egregious:

Educators exposed as guilty of complacency

Secretary for Education’s comments must be heard.

Education commentators have been aghast this week that the Secretary for Education does not consider our education system “world class”. .. When she signed off those bloated sentences she might not have foreseen the fury they would arouse. After all, it is hardly news that Maori and Pacific Island children are not doing well enough. And the idea that this means the system is less than “world class” is not entirely hers. It reflects the ministry’s stated goal: “A world-leading education system that equips all New Zealanders with the knowledge, skills, and values to be successful citizens in the 21st century.”

But it is refreshing to have a recruit from England in charge.

“Refreshing”? Huh?

Ms Longstone will know our education establishment regards itself as second to none in the world. The practitioners pride themselves on the equity of the system, its flexible, non-prescriptive curriculum, its examinations that let pupils advance at their own pace and give them second chances.

They tell us our system is admired worldwide for these features and that our catch-up programmes such as reading recovery are particularly envied and copied. If these programmes have not improved the performance of some groups sufficiently, that must be a measure of the disadvantage these children have to overcome, not a failure of the education system.

Yes, the anonymous author’s dripping sarcasm aside, that is the case. Poverty and educational under-achievement go hand in hand the world over (much as the Nats would like to deny it). Here in NZ report after report after report – not from educators but from those concerned with child welfare – have all made the same points. Here’s one from the Children’s Commissioner, which begins its “executive summary” as follows:

Children have the right to a decent standard of living; a standard of living that allows them to live healthy lives free of hardship, to achieve their full potential and to participate fully in society. Poverty limits children’s daily lives and their opportunities and exposes them to the risks of illness, social and emotional damage, and poor educational attainment. Poverty experienced in the early years or for long periods casts a shadow over the future …

The sad fact of the matter is that educational achievement in NZ is very much a matter of race / socioeconomic status:

We come seventh in the world in the PISA (Programme for International Student Achievement) rankings that compare national performance in reading, science and maths. But Parata says that once you disaggregate the PISA scores, Pakeha students are second in the world and Maori are 34th and Pasifika are 44th.

It isn’t the education system that is failing Maori and Pasifika kids – it is society, it is politics, it is all of us. It is idiot commentators who would rather scapegoat “complacent” teachers than confront the real issues. We certainly have a world class education system. The fact that not every child can take advantage of it is our real failing and our shame.

34 comments on “World class education ”

  1. ianmac 1

    Our tail is 5% smaller than the OECD average.
    But let’s accept that we have this tail. 2 or 3 years ago Tolley promised $50million to spend on improving the lot of those in the tail.
    “Show us the money honey!”
    Parata, Longstone, Tolley have whipped the teachers but have offered no solutions.
    So, “Show us the money honey!”

  2. One Tāne Huna 2

    Longstone is a political refugee, reliant on right wing governments to provide her with asylum.

    • Jim Nald 2.1

      That is correct.

      I have had a few UK visitors in recent months who have asked why the NZ government puts into the most senior and high-paying offices of the NZ public service such kinds of UK neolib, right-wing rejects.

      Has someone done a roll of dishonour for these kinds of appointments?
      A few names come to mind.

      Re “But it is refreshing to have a recruit from England in charge” –

      this should read: But it is reprehensible to have a reject from England in charge.

      • insider 2.1.1

        Brits in the civil service is not a new thing. There was a general love-in under Labour with the British civil service. Their research, models and reforms were hugely influential on NZ policy analysis and politicians. So it’s plus ca change (as we say in English).

  3. Matthew 3

    Honestly, as a secondary teacher in a decile one school, I can tell you the main reason for the continued failure of Maori & PI students. It is attendance & attitude. They simply dont see education as important, their parents dont push them to succeed, they see the likes of Longstone & Parata slagging off teachers & they bring that attitude to school. I had a student quote me, almost word for word, Anne Tolley’s statement that teachers were greedy, lazy, & the cause of all ills. Needless to say, I didnt get much work out of that student that day. Tolley also vowed to do something about poor attendance in lower socio-economic areas with a hiss & a roar & so far absolutely nothibg has been done about that.

    • One Tāne Huna 3.1

      Try and look beyond your ethnic blinkers, Matthew. “Attendance and attitude” – and what is it that drives these qualities?

      Get a clue: it isn’t skin colour.

      • insider 3.1.1

        you should tell Anthony Robins that too. From the above post: “The sad fact of the matter is that educational achievement in NZ is very much a matter of race / socioeconomic status”

        Matthew said that the issue affecting his M&PI students was attendance and attitude, not that that was the result of their skin colour.

        • r0b 3.1.1.1

          In NZ race and socioeconmic status are closely intertwined. It is poverty that does the damage, not race, but because the educational data are about “Maori and Pasifika” not “the poor” I needed to make that connection.

          • BM 3.1.1.1.1

            A lot of Maori and Polynesian parents see no value in education, it’s a sad fact.

          • insider 3.1.1.1.2

            Don’t disagree about the entwining but there is debate about the linkages.

            https://www.victoria.ac.nz/education/pdf/whakapiki/ethnicity_school_achievement_nz_harker_2006.pdf

            “It is clear from the data presented here that any uni-causal explanation based on socio-economic circumstances is inadequate to explain ethnic differences, thus supporting the caution
            expressed in the Biddulph BES. The most likely explanation would seem to lie in the interaction between school environments and the values, attitudes, motivations that under-pin the school “culture”, and the culture of home and community environments and the values, attitudes and motivations on which they are based.”

            For the PI group I wonder if there is a growing cultural element because other equally poor immigrant groups don’t seem have the same entrenched underachievement. And I wonder if it is increasingly cultural for some parts of the Maori community too

            • r0b 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Valid questions, but it’s never going to be easy to separate out “cultural elements” from a long history of poverty and disadvantage.

              • insider

                And as a result debates either become frustratingly circular or we retreat into our predefined analytical framework corners 🙂

                Me, I blame the parents.

                • One Tāne Huna

                  Perhaps you meant that as a joke, but it pretty much sums up the right wing response.

                  Family income is the largest single determining factor in how children perform at school; the left wing response to this is coherent and effective, if anathema to those who prefer to maintain their privilege.

                  Where is the equivalent from the right? Blame the parents? Is that it?

                  Blame is useless and prejudice is stupid and both are toxic.

                  • insider

                    But you are solely blaming income, and expressing toxic prejudice. Yet immediately below you quote that income only explains some of the gap.

                    We can see daily vastly differing outcomes for families with very similar backgrounds, particularly in the immigrant communities. The proportion of reecent Asian migrants on low family incomes is much higher than any group in NZ yet their educational outcomes are far from determined by that – just go to a school prize giving or look at the annual top scholars list in your local paper.

                    Poverty alone does not prevent you reading to your kids (unless illiterate as result) or encouraging them to go to a library or do better than you do. So I don’t blame the parents, but it would be foolish to ignore the significant role they can play.

                  • M Steinberg

                    ***Family income is the largest single determining factor in how***

                    That isn’t the case in the US.

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1995-SAT-Income.png

            • One Tāne Huna 3.1.1.1.2.2

              Insider: this from the summary of the paper you cite:

              It is clear that relatively crude measures of socio-economic status such as family income or parent occupation, considered along with ethnicity, can account for some of the variance found in an ethnicity-only explanatory model. However much remains to be accounted for. The addition of more educationally relevant variables (such as level of parents’ education (Wylie, 2001), literacy related practices within families and communities (Nash, 2004)) reduces the explanatory power of ethnicity as a direct effect to very low levels or eliminates it entirely.

              Research from overseas strongly supports these conclusions.

              Our baseline estimates imply that a $1,000 increase in income raises math test scores by 2.1 percent and reading test scores by 3.6 percent of a standard deviation. The results are even stronger when looking at children from disadvantaged families who are affected most by the large changes in the EITC(Earned Income Tax Credit), and are robust to a variety of alternative specifications.

              BM: in short, ethnicity has nothing to do with it.

      • Matthew 3.1.2

        I never said it was exclusive to those ethnic groups. We have pakeha kids whos attitude is the same, & they are failing too.

        • One Tāne Huna 3.1.2.1

          “…relatively small estimated income effects can lead to large amounts of educational inequality when income inequalities are wide…”

          Blanden & Gregg, London School of Economics, 2004

          “family income has roughly similarly sized effects on economic inactivity, early parenthood and leaving education without a formal qualification.”

          Ministry of Social Development NZ quoting Tim Maloney, Associate Professor, Economics Department, The University of Auckland.

          In an international analysis published in Lancet, and an analysis of the 50 US states published in Social Science and Medicine, we have shown that scores in maths and reading are related to inequality. In addition, the percentage of children dropping out of high school in each of the 50 states of the USA is…also linked to inequality.

          R Wilkinson, K Pickett, quoted by the Equality Trust.

          Attempts to address the “tail” that do nothing to reverse the current trend towards greater economic inequality are doomed to failure.

    • Zorr 3.2

      I would say the issue is proving to these children that education will change their lives for the better because the current societal situation is such that they can’t expect social mobility in exchange for blood, sweat and toil. When you feel that the ceiling to your career achievement might be making manager level at The Warehouse on, at best, $15 per hour, then where is the impetus to strive? At that point, you’re just making things harder on yourself…

  4. Peter Martin 4

    Perhaps if ‘World class education’ was defined, we would be in a position to assess if NZ indeed did measure up.And the English.
    As for the tail …I’m pretty sure when there where a few more jobs around, folk didn’t worry quite so much about the fifty percent tail School Certificate caused…of those kids who stayed that long at school of course…nor the growth of the tail in the UE exam…

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      As for the tail …I’m pretty sure when there where a few more jobs around, folk didn’t worry quite so much about the fifty percent tail School Certificate caused…of those kids who stayed that long at school of course…nor the growth of the tail in the UE exam…

      Actually, that was back when people could get a good paying job without having an education. This is effectively impossible today.

  5. Dv 5

    So what was Langstone’s solution?
    Did she have one?

    Descriptions of the problem are NOT solutions. They certainly are the first step.
    Was there ANY analysis of what the tail of achievement appart from Maori and PI.
    Was there any analysis on how the tail was measured?

    AND how does her ministry measure up?
    Wasn’t it named as one of the worst recently?

    Lets look at their “successes” this year
    Class sizes
    National Standards
    Novapay
    Closure of special schools
    Christchurch Restructure

  6. Mike Steinberg 6

    The US has the same issue. People should be a bit more realistic.

    Gottfredson, L. S. (2005). Implications of cognitive differences for schooling within diverse societies. Pages 517-554 in C. L. Frisby & C. R. Reynolds (Eds.), Comprehensive Handbook of Multicultural School Psychology. New York: Wiley.

    http://www.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/reprints/2005cognitivediversity.pdf

  7. irascible 7

    I seem to recall that Parrotta had gone on the defensive over the socio-economic issues affecting educational outcomes and the need for adequate nutrition of the students by releasing some research that demonstrated there was no correlation between lack of good nutrition (regular meals) and educational achievement. She or her minion was responding to the concerns raised by David Shearer and the follow up Campbell Live stories about the issue.
    The NACT spin machine will, in well proven KeY fashion, find a talking head that will disagree with any accepted and evidential viewpoint and promote that as gospel. I’m waiting for Parrotta to use Ken Ring as a reliable source to support Longstone et alia.

  8. irascible 8

    Here are some of the articles that appear to support the NACT anti-poverty/poor nutrition affects education outcomes spin:
    http://clearinghouse.missouriwestern.edu/manuscripts/202.php
    researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/127/2/02Whole.pdf
    It was the Australian paper that was seized on by the spinners.

  9. tracey 9

    I think what she has said has been blown out of proportion. I believe she is on the same side as those criticising her (Principals/teachers). I took her to be saying we can’t sit back and brag about a world class education system when certain folks are being let down badly by it.

    Surely this was an opportunity for teachers/principals to take her statement and demand better resourcing etc to bring those particular kids up to world class standard?

  10. fabregas4 10

    Tracy, the point is it is not the education system that they are being let down by (in the main) but THE SYSTEM. Parata acknowledges that poverty and inequity influences learning but instead of this causing her to do something about these things her response is usually to say “yes it does, but its no excuse for kids failing” as though teachers and schools can make all this stuff go away.

    Look when NZ was the world leader in egalitatrianism we didn’t have this problem to teh same extent (Yes, the world was different I know). We didn’t have so much murder either, nor crime, people leant over the fence and helped each other because their livelihoods didnt depend on them beating the others. The Spirit Level is right – everyone suceeding is best for us all. Simply cutting up the pie so most of us don’t get much is sure as hell going to make many of us hungry, and angry and unable to learn, and eventually give up trying.

    In education the mantra has been from the top that teachers must have high expectations for the children- my experience is that they do and that often it is the folk closest to them that doesn’t.

    This though too isn’t where it stops. Because the live that many of our mums and dads live now isnt that crash hot. They are working too long and too hard to make ends meet to give adequate time to their kids. They see the unfairness of the world and spend their lives pissed off.

    We need systematic change to bring fairness back to our country- give everyone a chance at a happy decent dignified life then maybe things would change.

    rant Over.

  11. Don’t dare mention the heresy that ‘free education works’, it is the nations with free education that have the highest rates of educational achievement; but the Herald and other papers refuse to stand up for a decent Education system because they believe the mantra ‘it is too expensive’.

    It is too expensive to wait and do nothing about the quality of Education, it is that ‘leave it to the market’ mentality that has loaded students with debt, kept people out of higher Education; and forced New Zealand students overseas to pay back their loans. With Free Education New Zealanders would stay here and contribute to the economy, right now Education is a business rather than a human right or a social responsibility.

    Imagine a New Zealand where everyone gets a fair go, where New Zealanders don’t get Education based on how much their parents earn, where everyone can get a good paying job and where everyone succeeds.

  12. karl sinclair 12

    Its all based on relativity my friends.

    If you wake up and really take a look at the countries with the best education systems in the world you need to compare and contrast to the elite/private school systems around the world. The real ones, were the 1% of the worlds richest go… then youll work out how average the status quo is in NZ….That does not even include the old boys/girls clubs that are created.

    Isnt insulting that even in Finland the best teachers are paid crap compared to their businessmen budiies. Alturisim… so useful when wanting cheap, but really qualified labour…..

    All the best…..

  13. millsy 13

    Of course, it doesnt help that the Tomorrow’s School reforms, and the opening up of education to international students, and the overriding belief that schools must compete with each other for students, all reinforce a system where the so-called tail of underachivers are ever so subtly pushed into the shadows and in some cases, out the door. I saw it all the time, with a select group of students dumped into dead end ‘alternative’ subjects and then shunted out the door.

    • karl sinclair 13.1

      Makhlouf (The Carpenter) aka Secretary to the Treasury NZ may have point about teachers not being good enough… but this is no more than a witch hunt. From an intelligent man, rather dissapointing no?

      Note the way Treasurey dodge the class size debate and go for the quality debate. A bit like Bill Hicks on Marketers….

      God these people are average….. Nationals Research supposedly says that increased classs size does not effect educational outcome…. No crap… if you have a class size of 25 and increase it to 30… I suspect not much diffference. If you decresase the class size to say 10-15, then yeah maybe you would. Also provide poor performing teachers with mentors and actual time and practice and pragmatic method to get bettter, reduce lessons to the key subjects aka maths english (not god dam kiwiana or the olympics)… but hey… cant do that… The Treasury and NZ co aka Nats want to FOG your brain with crap…. essentailly privatise and make money…. produce an ‘average kiwi’ that does has he/she is told…

      Dull, Dull, Dumb and dumber… John you know what your up to… keep your god dam hands off my kids…..

      Treasurey dribble below… what the hell does this mean:

      The Treasury will not ignore the compelling evidence on where we should spend our
      precious educational dollar. That is our knitting. We know class size matters but the
      quality of teaching matters more. We absolutely recognise the significant role education
      plays in the economy and it is for precisely that reason that we want to give teachers
      more support to do their jobs. We will not ignore the role education can play in raising
      all our living standards. We welcome the debate but we want it based on research and
      hard evidence. We are seeking intelligent evidence-based and non-ideological
      progress. We make no apologies for being in the room on education. I urge all
      interested people to check out the Treasury website for more information on our views
      on education.

      Well why don’t you go check out the top 1% of private schools in the world (is it Eaton thats produced more priminsters in the uk?). Duh…..
      Check out this http://www.attainmagazine.co.uk/politics/the-public-school-prime-minister/

      In the first sixty three years of the twentieth century, there were 14 Prime Ministers of Great Britain. Of these, ten had been to public school, five to Eton alone. It was the era of Tory grandees and of well-heeled Labour leaders. Clement Atlee, creator of the New Jerusalem, was at Haileybury. Hugh Gaitskell, whose untimely death prevented him from becoming Prime Minister, was a Wykehamist. Of the Prime Ministers that were not public school educated, they were either exceptional, such as David Lloyd George or Ramsay MacDonald, or came from the Scottish grammar school tradition, like Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman. The figures that bestrode the political world revelled in their social status. Winston Churchill lived at Chartwell, Lord Curzon (that ‘most superior person’) lived at Kedleston.

      Still not seeing a decent distrbution of computers/software supporting kids… yeah… lets blame those pesky teahers… the ones the state (business) created in the first place….

      Makhlouf is currently responsible for the National Infrastructure Unit, the Financial Operations group, the Strategy and Performance team and the Finance team

      GFY

  14. Karl Sinclair 14

    The Carpenter (Makhlouf) is advocating selling off the green renewable energy Assets. No Science and Technological innovation, no RONs, nothing Mr choice Joyce, no education reforms (in an econmy that is primary industry driven) are even going to come close to the future economic benefits of these renewable assets. Its all about the long game (whoes side are you really on…. )

    http://topnews.net.nz/content/216238-gabriel-makhlouf-treasury-s-new-chief-executive-and-secretary

    Before taking the post of Treasury’s Chief Executive and Secretary, Mr. Makhlouf has worked as Deputy Chief Executive for a year. During the one-year tenure, he worked towards removing the obstacles that where preventing foreign ownership of New Zealand assets and highlighted the difficulty of funding as an ageing population

    So taking this, then relating it to this:

    Treasury secretary Gabriel Makhlouf says Treasury’s evolving to deal with a new world and will become ‘an exciting and energetic hothouse of ideas’

    http://topnews.net.nz/content/216238-gabriel-makhlouf-treasury-s-new-chief-executive-and-secretary

    Naa…. you guys are average, A+++ for financial alchemy, F— for looking out for NZ inc…..

    What half wit couldnt come up with this….. YAAAWWWWWWNNNN….

    GFY

  15. Karl Sinclair 15

    Sorry one last thing:

    http://leading-learning.blogspot.co.nz/2012/03/another-expert-on-teacher-quality.html

    I think Makhlouf’s views on education reflects his British boarding school background

    What boarding school, university did he go to and what family did he come from??????????

    Also to add, remember Robert McNamara (the eighth Secretary of Defense, serving under Presidents John F. Kennedy), a wonderfully intelligent and brialliant numbers man (well abit like Mahlouf). Really he feel in love with the idea that numbers and not an actual understanding of the real data on the ground.

    Makhlouf (aka the Carpenter) is this going to be your legacy to:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08/10/magazine/robert-mcnamara-and-the-ghosts-of-vietnam.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

    Not long after dawn, Robert S. McNamara set out on a rapid walk through the half-light of Hanoi. A steamy drizzle soon soaked his dark blue jogging shorts and shirt. He stared intently ahead, barely glancing at the Vietnamese along the way as he marched in a loping stride through the city he ordered bombed some 30 years ago. He walked too quickly for the beggars or the barefoot children selling postcards to keep up with him. He did not seem to notice a boy hawking copies of ”The Quiet American.” He raced across currents of whizzing motorbikes and bicycles laden with impossibly huge bundles of fruit and shoes and large tin boxes, balanced as ingeniously as weapons had once been on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

    Peasant women in conical hats crisscrossed in front of him, moving gracefully beneath shoulder poles slung heavily with round baskets of bananas and litchi nuts. One woman squatting at the curb made an enticing gesture toward her pile of reddish litchis but got no reaction.

    He did not look into the faces of the people. He did not linger to gaze at their colorful wares. He was driven by another agenda, a mission he talked about incessantly as he walked.

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    This is a re-post from the Citizens' Climate Lobby blog Several clean energy technologies like solar panels have become consistently cheaper year after year as the industries have benefited from learning, experience and economies of scale. Falling solar costs are described by “Swanson’s Law,” much like Moore’s Law described the rapid and consistent ...
    4 days ago
  • Abstraction and Reality in Economics
    Sometimes high theory loses the human point of the exercise.One of the joys of teaching is you learn from your students. When fifty-odd years ago, I was at the University of Sussex, a student doing our first-year economics course, Jim, came to me, saying he was pulling out because it ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    4 days ago
  • What Happened to the Team?
    Last year, in the early stages of the pandemic, the Prime Minister’s “team of five million” performed well; team discipline was maintained and we all worked well together. This year, however, has been a different story; team discipline has weakened, and many people have on numerous occasions behaved badly and ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: Another legal victory
    Across the world climate change activists have been going to court, seeking to make their governments act to protect future generations. And hot on the heels of victories in the Netherlands and Germany, there's been another one in France: A French court has ordered the government to make up ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Invasion Of The (Covid) Body Snatchers.
    It's Here! They're Here! We're Here! Help! It’s as if we’re all living through a Covid version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. What has become of Jacinda? Where have they taken her closest Cabinet colleagues? The people on the stage of the Beehive Theatrette look the same, but they ...
    4 days ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 15 October 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Associate Professor Grant Duncan, Massey University, Auckland “The NZ Politics Daily email is very helpful in giving me a quick overview of current events and opinion. It allows me to pick out important or informative columns that I may otherwise have missed. I recommend NZ Politics Daily to anyone ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    4 days ago
  • Missing From The Anti-Covid Action.
    The Invisible Man: Where has the NZ Council of Trade Unions been during the Covid-19 Pandemic? Why hasn’t its current president, Richard Wagstaff (above) become a household name during the pandemic? Up there with Ashley Bloomfield, Michael Baker, Shaun Hendy and Siouxsie Wiles? WHERE HAVE THE UNIONS BEEN during the Covid-19 ...
    5 days ago
  • “Go West, Young Virus”
    The Auckland Coronavirus Outbreak potters along, not helped by the perception that the Government is disturbingly enthusiastic about “managing the virus” or loosening the border. Health Minister Andrew Little said today he envisages 90% vaccination rates (which we don’t have) eventually leading to 5,000 cases in Auckland a week… ...
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #41, 2021
    How to fill a glass and thereby drink— from a fire hose So far this year, New Research has published listings for 3,291 papers concerning climate change from one aspect or another. Each edition includes two dozen or so articles describing freshly and directly observed effects of global waming. These ...
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: UKanians supports cuts
    The Guardian reports a study on emissions reduction policy from the UK, which found that UKanians overwhelmingly support stronger action than their government: The UK public backs a carbon tax on polluting industries, higher levies on flying and grants for heat pumps in order to tackle the climate crisis, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Media Link: “A View from Afar” on PRC-Taiwan tensions.
    In this week’s podcast Selwyn Manning and I discuss the upsurge in tensions between the PRC and Taiwan and what are the backgrounds to and implications of them. You can check the conversation out here. ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • Labour’s 2023 election manifesto
    This morning Health Minister Andrew Little effectively unveiled Labour's 2023 election manifesto: 5,000 cases a week in Auckland alone: Thousands of people will be infected with Covid-19 every week even with vaccination levels at 90 per cent, and hospitals face being overwhelmed once restrictions are eased and borders opened, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Don't Blame James.
    Emissions Impossible! So, don’t be too hard on poor James Shaw. His pathetic little To-Do list is, indeed, totally inadequate to the crisis. But, you know what? He’ll be lucky to get half of the items ticked-off. There’s just too many entrenched interests – not the least of whom are ...
    5 days ago
  • The “Pulpit of Strewth”
    Barry Soper is one half of one of one of those right-wing husband-and-wife duos in which the Herald seems to specialise. In today’s issue, he has a piece that doesn’t quite reach the heights (or depths) of a Hoskings-style anti-government hostility, but which does provide an interesting example of the ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    5 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the epic fails of Kris Faafoi
    Ever since Winston Peters first breathed life into this government in 2018, its own branding has been all about social justice and how we all need to be “kind” to each other. Somehow, Kris Faafoi must have missed the memo. His performance in the immigration portfolio (in particular) has neither ...
    5 days ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 14 October 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Mike Treen, Advocate, Unite Union “Please continue your incredible work compiling these news digests. As someone operating in the fields of advocacy for workers and the broader social justice areas it is invaluable to be able to check what is happening in the media relating to the issues I have to deal ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    5 days ago
  • Overconfident Idiots: Why Incompetence Breeds Certainty
    This is a re-post from the Thinking is Power website maintained by Melanie Trecek-King where she regularly writes about many aspects of critical thinking in an effort to provide accessible and engaging critical thinking information to the general public. Please see this overview to find links to other reposts from Thinking is Power. ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Abandoning ambition
    When Labour was first elected to power in 2017, they promised us "[an] ambitious plan to take real action on climate change". Four years and a lot of foot-dragging later, they've finally released that plan. And its not what was promised. Where to begin? Firstly, they've taken the Climate Change ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Many e-cigarette vaping liquids contain toxic chemicals: new Australian research
    Alexander Larcombe, Telethon Kids Institute   From October 1, it’s been illegal to buy e-liquids containing nicotine without a prescription from a doctor everywhere in Australia, except South Australia. But vaping with nicotine-free e-liquids is not illegal in Australia (though in some jurisdictions the e-cigarette devices themselves are illegal). Vaping ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • Young adults worldwide have blunt message for governments: ‘We don’t trust you.’
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Karin Kirk Elizabeth Marks describes herself as “a psychologist who works on difficult problems.” Her past research aimed at helping people cope with challenging health conditions, apt training, it appears, for taking on climate change issues. A few years ago, she altered ...
    6 days ago
  • Making ‘Second Age’ Hobbits Work: Amazon Series Speculation
    Time for a good old-fashioned fandom furore. The Tolkien fandom hasn’t had a proper one of those since the Great Nudity Scandal of October 2020… so it clearly must be time to pontificate from on-high about a television series we still know vanishingly little about. This time the subject ...
    6 days ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 13 October 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Dr Lara Greaves, Political scientist, University of Auckland: “I love the NZ Politics Daily emails as they help me to keep on top of current events. It’s incredibly easy to skim through and follow the links. I really appreciate these as it means that I am exposed to a ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    6 days ago
  • The Data and Statistics Bill and the OIA
    The government introduced a new Data and Statistics Bill today to modernise and replace the 45-year old Statistics Act. Part of the Bill re-enacts the existing confidentiality regime (with one exception), which while a secrecy clause isn't an especially controversial one. Another part is aimed at removing "outdated" (inconvenient) limits ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Graham Adams: The debate over the $55 million media fund erupts again
    RNZ’s Mediawatch and a video clip viewed 42,000 times keep the topic of the Public Interest Journalism Fund fizzing. Graham Adams reports.   A week ago, the NZ Taxpayers’ Union posted a short video clip of the exchange in Parliament between Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins in which the National ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Multiple sclerosis: the link with earlier infection just got stronger – new study
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Hit hard by the pandemic, researchers expect its impacts to linger for years
    Sora Park, University of Canberra; Jennie Scarvell, University of Canberra, and Linda Botterill, University of Canberra   The impacts of COVID-19 on Australian university researchers are likely to have consequences for research productivity and quality for many years to come. According to an online survey of academics at the University ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Covid and free speech
    by Don Franks Some commentators have likened the struggle against Covid 19 to the world war experience. To those of us not alive in those times, that comparison can only be academic. What the anti virus battle reminds me of much more is an industrial strike. In my twenties and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • “Angry Blowhards”
    In today’s Herald, their excellent columnist, Simon Wilson, takes to task those “shouty” people whom he further describes as “angry blowhards”. They are those whose prime reaction to the pandemic is anger – an anger they seamlessly (and perhaps unwittingly) transfer from the virus to the government. The basis for ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Looking Forward To 2022.
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    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Covid mandates, and the Covid pill
    The cliché about “living with Covid” will not mean life as we’ve known it, Jim. Vaccination is fast becoming a condition of employment, and also a requirement to participate in aspects of social life, such as travel, attending bars, cafes, and concerts etc. These protective measures enjoy a high level ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 12 October 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Prof Alan Bollard, Professor of Practice at the School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington; Chair of the Infrastructure Commission: “NZ Politics Daily” provides a great public service – a quick and unbiased way to check policy announcements and analysis every morning.” Anyone can sign up to NZPD ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Legal Beagle: A submission on the COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill (No 2)
    I have made a submission on the COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill (No 2).In preparing it, I looked at the Hansard for the first reading debate, and got name-dropped as someone likely to make a submission. So, of course I did. I focus on a small bit of the ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: More tales from the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme
    You may have read last week that two years after the publication of regulations for medicinal cannabis – and three years after the enabling legislation – two local products from a local manufacturer have finally met the minimum quality standards for prescription. You may also be interested to know that ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Real action requires government
    Over the weekend someone pointed me at a journal article on "The Poverty of Theory: Public Problems, Instrument Choice, and the Climate Emergency". Its a US law journal article, so is a) very long; and b) half footnotes (different disciplines have different norms), but the core idea is that the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Not doing our bit
    Last month the US and EU announced they would push an agreement to cut methane emissions by 30% (from 2020 levels) by 2030 at the upcoming climate change conference in Glasgow. The good news is that New Zealand is looking at joining it. The bad news is that that won't ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Delta’s Week Of Doom.
    Classic Shot: Are the Prime Minister’s formidable communication skills equal to the task of getting her government’s anti-Covid campaign back on track?IF JACINDA ARDERN thought last week was bad, the week ahead promises to be even worse. Sixty community cases of Covid-19, one of the highest daily totals so far ...
    1 week ago
  • Urgent measures needed to allow the safe re-opening of Auckland schools
    Dr Rachel Webb, Dr Jin Russell, Dr Pip Anderson, Dr Emma Best, Dr Alison Leversha and Dr Subha Rajanaidu* In this blog we describe the range of urgent measures that are needed to facilitate a safe return to schools in Auckland and other regions of the country where there is ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Children live online more than ever – we need better definitions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ scree...
    Kathryn MacCallum, University of Canterbury and Cheryl Brown, University of Canterbury   The pandemic has fundamentally altered every part of our lives, not least the time we spend on digital devices. For young people in particular, the blurred line between recreational and educational screen time presents new challenges we are ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Putting Aotearoa on the map: New Zealand has changed its name before, why not again?
    Claire Breen, University of Waikato; Alexander Gillespie, University of Waikato; Robert Joseph, University of Waikato, and Valmaine Toki, University of Waikato   Our names are a critical part of our identity. They are a personal and social anchor tying us to our families, our culture, our history and place in ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Yes, of course festival organisers will follow the law on vaccination
    On Tuesday 5 October the New Zealand Government announced that proof of COVID-19 vaccination would be a requirement to attend large events this summer.It took a few days for event owners to absorb the information and understand the implications. By the end of the working week, most of the big ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 11 October 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Jim Hubbard, Cartoonist “NZ Politics daily is a go to for cartoonists, or should be.  Political reporting enmasse like this gives cartoonists and political junkies a smorgasbord to get their teeth into. Essential and I daresay vital reading for those who care about the future of NZ.” Anyone can sign ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • 2021 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #41
    Listing of articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, October 3, 2021 through Sat, October 9, 2021 The following articles sparked above average interest during the week: VFX Artist Reveals how Many Solar Panels are Needed to Power the ENTIRE World, Will you fall ...
    1 week ago
  • The Night of Parmenides: accepted
    A bit of good news on the writing front. My 3900-word short story, The Night of Parmenides, has been accepted by SpecFicNZ for their upcoming Aftermath anthology, to be published in early 2022. This is my first published short story to be explicitly set in my home-town of ...
    1 week ago
  • The Virus, the Politician, and the gang member
    . . . . . References Newshub Nation: Gang leader Harry Tam denies Winston Peters’ claims he helped infected woman breach COVID boundary, sparking Northland lockdown Te Ao News: ‘Apologise!’ Mob leader slams Peters’ Covid, Northland allegations Stuff media: Covid-19 – Search for contact of Northland case ‘extraordinarily frustrating’ CNBC: ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Rapid kits, responses, and openings: watch motivations, or catch something worse with Covid…
    Last week was probably a high point for many armchair “experts”, fresh from their high after some deep inhaling of the various musings and fumings, of an actually very smug, and very insualted John “Things all work for me…” Key, former Prime Minister and FOREX trader, had blitzed the ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Bollocks
    It would appear we have an unwelcome presence in town.Positive wastewater results had been detected in Hamilton and Palmerston North on October 6 and 7. There are 26 cases in hospital, seven of these are in ICU or high dependency units (HDU).One of the people in hospital is in Palmerston ...
    1 week ago
  • World-leading?
    So, the Herald has found someone, as we can see from today’s issue, who is able to explain why we should not claim to have been “world-leading” in our response to the covid epidemic. It seems that we have been kidding ourselves when we celebrated our low total number of ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Why Is Labour So Frightened Of “Mr Stick”?
    Force Multiplier: Why are Ardern and her ministers so loathe to put a bit of stick about? The “emergency” legislation eventually enacted to authorise the measures needed to combat the Covid-19 pandemic failed to confer upon the New Zealand Government the unequivocal authority that subsequent events showed to be so ...
    1 week ago
  • The Need for an Updated Strategic Approach to Covid-19 Control in Aotearoa NZ
    Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Jennifer Summers, Prof Michael Baker* The NZ Government appears to have drifted into an unclear strategic approach to Covid-19 control. In this blog we outline one potential way forward: a regional strategic approach that considers “regional suppression” and “regional elimination”. To maximise the success of this ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Mairon: The Actual Source for the Blasted Name
    Long-time Tolkien geeks – or those bemused enough to run across a certain internet phenomenon – might know that ‘Sauron’ is not actually the real name of the Lord of the Ring. ‘Sauron’ is just an abusive Elvish nickname, meaning ‘the Abhorred.’ Sauron’s actual name, at least originally, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Forced Re-entry
    The elimination of Covid strategy is not so much defeated but changing circumstances means that policy has to evolve. Our elimination stance was never sustainable or at least it would not be until the rest of the world also eliminated Covid-19. Elimination of the virus was a strategy we adopted ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • Repeal this unjust law
    Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled on National's unjust "three strikes" law, and found that the sentence it required was (in the case in question) so disproportionate as to "shock the conscience" and violate the Bill of Rights Act ban on disproportionately severe treatment or punishment: The Supreme Court has ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Preparing for the flood
    The Christchurch City Council has published new "coastal hazards" data, indicating which places are under threat from sea-level rise. And its not good news: Parts of Christchurch and Banks Peninsula are likely to become unhabitable [sic] as the city council figures out how to adapt to sea level ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Virus, Not The Government
    I wonder if Mike Hosking ever reads the paper in which he appears so regularly? If he does, he might have noticed a report in today’s Herald about the problem that could face churches in Auckland if a vaccine passport becomes mandatory for those wishing to attend church services. The ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 8 October 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Bill Ralston, Media consultant and columnist: “NZ Politics Daily provides an invaluable service for journalists, politicians, businesspeople, decision makers and the public at large by providing an easily accessible, exhaustive, link to every significant political story in the country’s media that day. It’s a gem of a service ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    2 weeks ago
  • Open letter to Michael Barnett, Julie White, et al
    . . Congratulations,  Mr Barnett, Ms White, and your business colleagues. It appears that we will end up having to “live” (ie, get sick, end up in hospital, perhaps in ICU, intubated on ventilators, and possibly dying as our lungs fail) with covid19. But at least businesses will open up. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 weeks ago

  • Red tape cut to boost housing supply
    New building intensification rules will mean up to three homes of up to three storeys can be built on most sites without the need for a resource consent New rules will result in at least 48,200 and as many as 105,500 new homes built in next 5-8 years Bringing forward ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Nationwide business partnership grows conservation jobs
    Further Government support for New Zealand’s longest-standing sustainable business organisation will open up opportunities for dozens of workers impacted by COVID-19 to jump start a nature-based career, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. Partnering to Plant Aotearoa, led by the Sustainable Business Network (SBN), is a collaboration with iwi, hapū and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand increases climate aid contribution
    Government commits $1.3 billion over four years to support countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change At least 50 percent of funding will go to the Pacific as it adapts to the impacts of climate change The increase means New Zealand now meets its fair share of global ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Super Māori turnout for Super Saturday
    Māori have put a superb effort into mobilising to get vaccinated over Super Saturday, with thousands rolling up their sleeves to protect themselves, their whānau and communities from COVID-19, Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare says. “It was absolutely outstanding that 21,702 Māori got vaccinated on this one day alone with 10,825 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Language assists Tagata Niue to thrive
    Despite the uncertain times we face with the challenges of COVID-19, our cultural knowledge, values and language remain constant, helping us progress towards goals in life, said  the Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio. This year, the Niuean community in New Zealand decided on the theme, “Kia tupuolaola e ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand Ambassador to France announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Caroline Bilkey as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to France and the OECD. “Aotearoa New Zealand and France have a shared history, and enjoy a strong, collaborative partnership. This includes a strong trade and economic relationship, a shared commitment to support ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt welcomes nurses’ pay settlement
    The Government is welcoming news that a new employment agreement for nurses working in public hospitals has been settled. “I am very pleased that the hard work of the Nurses Organisation and District Health Boards has led to a settlement that both can support,” Health Minister Andrew Little said today. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Judge of the High Court appointed
    Māori Land Court Judge Layne Harvey has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Harvey graduated with an LLB from the University of Auckland in 1992 and commenced employment as a law clerk with Simpson Grierson in Auckland that same year. In 1997 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Kiwis to have their say on plan to reduce waste
    New Zealanders are invited to have their say on proposals for a new waste strategy and options for new waste legislation. “Reducing waste is one of the issues all New Zealanders – especially younger Kiwis - care deeply about,” Environment Minister David Parker said today “New Zealand is one of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Next steps in action plan for indigenous rights kicks off
    Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson has today meet with more than 30 national Māori organisations in an online hui, kicking off the process to develop a plan for New Zealand to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration). The previous National Government signed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Iwi-led housing solutions build homes for the future
    Whai Kāinga, Whai Oranga will open on 20 October, to receive applications for investment through Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga – Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and Te Puni Kōkiri The $730m fund combines investment from Budget 2021 ($380m) and the Māori Infrastructure Fund ($350m) - the largest investment seen ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • E whakarite ana Te Kāwanatanga i ngā tūāpapa mō tewhakamaumahara ki Te Petihana Reo Māori ka t...
    I te rā nei, i pānuihia e te Minita mō Manatū Taonga, ko Carmel Sepuloni, rāua ko te Minita Whanaketanga Māori, ko Willie Jackson, ā tērā tau, ka whakanuia rawatia te 50 o ngā tau mai i te whakatakotoranga o te petihana mō te Reo Māori me te huanga mai ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • E whakarite ana Te Kāwanatanga i ngā tūāpapa mō twhakamaumahara ki Te Petihana Reo Māori ka t...
    I te rā nei, i pānuihia e te Minita mō Manatū Taonga, ko Carmel Sepuloni, rāua ko te Minita Whanaketanga Māori, ko Willie Jackson, ā tērā tau, ka whakanuia rawatia te 50 o ngā tau mai i te whakatakotoranga o te petihana mō te Reo Māori me te huanga mai ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government green lights rapid antigen testing
    Some of the country’s largest businesses have put in an order for 300,000 approved rapid antigen tests for their workforce, after working at pace with the Government on a new scheme unveiled by Associate Minister of Health and Research, Science and Innovation Ayesha Verrall. A coalition of around 25 businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government lays foundations as Māori Language Petition commemorations take shape for 2022
    Taiaha hā! Taiaha hā! - Te kairangi o te reo hoki mai ki taku tikanga, ki taku taumata, ki taku reo, ki taku ao. He reo whai tikanga, he reo whai mana, he reo whai tangata koe. Ki te whāngaihia te reo Māori he ao tēnā, ki te kore he ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Major contract awarded to power NZ Battery investigation
    A consortium of specialist firms has been awarded a major contract to advance the New Zealand Battery Project’s feasibility investigation into a pumped hydro storage scheme at Lake Onslow, the Minister of Energy and Resources Megan Woods has announced. “This contract represents a major milestone as it begins the targeted ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Additional Funding for Foodbanks and Social Agencies
    The Government has approved $13.55m from the Covid Response and Recovery Fund to support foodbanks and social sector agencies, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni has announced. “Foodbanks and social agencies across Auckland are doing a great job supporting their communities and the Government is today providing them with more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Generating a new generation of guardians
    The Government is supporting a Whakatōhea-led project undertaking landscape scale restoration in forests and around vulnerable rivers within the Eastern Bay of Plenty, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says. “The Whakatōhea Tiaki Taiao project will employ four people to undertake pest and weed control, ecosystem restoration and monitoring over three ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Parts of Waikato, Northland staying at Alert Level 3
    The parts of Waikato that have been in Alert Level 3 and Northland will remain in Alert Level 3 for a few more days, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Auckland remains at Alert Level 3, Step 1. “Based on the latest public health information, ministers have decided that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New courthouses for Tauranga and Whanganui
    The Government is moving ahead with new courthouses in Tauranga and Whanganui, which the Justice Minister says provide an opportunity to redesign court facilities that help put victims at the heart of the justice system. “These courthouses are part of the 10-year infrastructure investment plan to restore and modernise Ministry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech on the launch of the consultation on the development of the Emissions Reduction Plan
    Tēnā koutou katoa. Ngā mihi o te ata. Earlier this month Save the Children wrote to me with their most up to date analysis on the impact of climate change. What they said was that children born in Aotearoa today will experience up to five times as many heatwaves and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Opportunity to shape NZ’s first Emissions Reduction Plan
    The Government is inviting New Zealanders to inform the country’s first Emissions Reduction Plan with the release of a consultation document containing a range of policy ideas to decrease the country’s emissions, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced today. The Emissions Reduction Plan will set ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Convention on Biological Diversity COP 15, Virtual High-Level Segment
    Kia ora koutou katoa. I want to thank China for hosting this critically important Conference of the Parties. We are all here for the same reason. Biodiversity loss, and the ongoing degradation of nature, are accelerating at an unprecedented rate. These losses are causing irreparable harm to our planet’s ability ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government books show resilient and strong economy
    The end of year audited Crown accounts released today show the Government’s health led approach to the COVID-19 pandemic has protected New Zealand’s economy. “On almost every indicator the accounts show that the New Zealand economy has performed better than forecast, even as recently as the Budget in May. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • ​​​​​​​Health system is ready for assisted-dying law
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