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Shock Last Roy Morgan Poll for 2021 – Labour in danger


The last Roy Morgan Poll is out for 2021 and it shows National, ACT & Maori Party ahead of Labour/Green coalition for the first time.

Labour – 36%

National- 26.5%

ACT – 17.5%

Greens – 10.5%

Maori Party – 3%

NZ First – 2.5%

The question as Auckland finally gets out of lockdown is if voter grumpiness will dissipate and what impact Luxon will have at taking voters off ACT.

The insane support ACT has with men is a backlash response to wokeness so I’d suggest Seymour has that vote tied up leaving Luxon to chase centrist female voters.

The Maori Party’s genocide hyperbole is working for them while burning bridges with the Labour Party Maori caucus.

This Christmas will be the most politically important one of Jacinda’s career.

Increasingly having independent opinion in a mainstream media environment which mostly echo one another has become more important than ever, so if you value having an independent voice – please donate here.

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Hospo workers need to put safety ahead of business as usual with Vaccine Passes

Unite Union is advising all hospitality workers to put the safety of workers and customers ahead of business as usual or expediency.
“If not following your employers instructions is what it takes to stay safe then so be it” said National Secretary John Crocker.  “The Health and Safety at Work Act is very clear – employees do not have to follow orders that are not safe. Currently, hospitality workers are expected to follow stringent guidelines to provide safe service for their customers. Unite expects employers to exercise the same care and consideration in providing a safe workplace for their staff”
Unite has two major concerns over the use of the Vaccine Pass in hospitality from tomorrow – dealing with aggression from customers who get denied entry without a vaccine pass and keeping workers safe from exposure to covid from those same people.
There is a consensus between unions, government and employers that staff who are not trained security professionals should not try to confront unvaccinated customers who refuse to show their pass. Unite’s view, however,  is that no employee should be forced to check passes if they don’t feel safe doing that.
“But the real problem is that just letting unvaccinated people inside to avoid confrontation actually creates more problems than it solves. You then have an aggressive, unvaccinated, likely unmasked person in the workplace, who is also not likely to follow safe social distancing.”
There is a very real risk both of further physical and verbal aggression and, of course, of exposure to covid.
“We are concerned that employees will be forced to serve these customers in the name of expediency. Not only will that put employees and customers at risk, but it will only take hours for word to get around the anti-vax online groups that just pushing through at that place will get you served without showing a vaccine pass.”
“If that happens we advise workers to simply withdraw to a safe distance or place and call the police or whatever other professional security is available. If employers find that too disruptive then they should either pay for security guards at the door or stand there themselves, rather than put their employees at risk.”
Unite’s specific advice for hospo workers is:
1. If you don’t feel safe checking vaccine passes for entry you should tell your manager and ask for a different job assignment.
2. If you encounter any aggression from a customer (physical OR verbal – you do not have to put up with verbal threats or abuse) you should withdraw immediately to a safe area.
3. If an unvaccinated customer (and/or unmasked, and/or not observing required social distancing) is not able to be stopped from entering your workplace then you are entitled to protect yourself both from aggression and the risk of being exposed to covid. Remove yourself to a safe place or distance and advise workmates and customers to do the same.
4. You do not have to follow an instruction from a manager that is unsafe (e.g. “just serve them so they will go away” – that places you at immediate risk and just encourages more of the same behaviour).
5. Very important – make sure any incident is recorded as a Health and Safety incident in writing (the same as if someone is injured at work). Make a copy of the incident report for yourself ( a photo of it on your phone is fine).
6. It is more important than ever that the proper processes are followed, especially on drive-thru and other contactless services, as unvaccinated (and potentially covid positive) people will be using those services. If you are not able, or being instructed not to use the proper precautions you are entitled to refuse to undertake the tasks involved.
Some general tips for dealing with any issue at work:
  • stay calm – don’t get angry or aggressive yourself.
  • do only what is needed to resolve the problem and then return to work (eg don’t walk out on a whole shift if removing yourself from your workstation for a short period is all that is required).
  • keep a good record – your smartphone is also a photocopier, camera, video recorder, sound recorder, email, text and DM recorder. Make use of it, especially to keep records of how your managers respond to the problem. Follow up any verbal discussions with written confirmation – even if it is only a short text message.
  • use the magic words if asked to do something that you think is wrong: “please put that in writing”. If a manager refuses to confirm their instructions in writing (again a simple text message is fine) then you are probably right. If it is a health and safety issue you can simply refuse to put yourself in harms way – it’s the law.
Hospitality workers can get advice from Unite’s HospoHelp service:
Free Phone: 0508 467 764
Text: 022 564 3577
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Late Stage Capitalism Lockdown: And we are free?

Late Stage Capitalism in 3 shots


The boot of the State is finally off my throat, Big Sister is out off my grills, the Police State we agreed to because of the pandemic is finally forced to stop strangling our liberty and the anarchist in me is delighted and thankful.

Rolling back the Police powers is an important step back towards a Democracy and must always be pushed once the public health emergency abates.

I’m still deeply concerned who gets all this data and demand specific legislation that safeguards it only for the Ministry of Health.

But in terms of avoiding mass deaths and hospitalization, we accepted de facto house arrest and it’s paid off thanks to our collective will.

The academics and woke activists who have cried genocide were wrong. The Death Cult Capitalists who screamed open the borders were wrong.

Jacinda’s 90% vaccination plan was right.

Both sides of the spectrum will squeal in frustration at the loss of life to prop up their worldview.

To all the AntiVaxxers who refuse to get vaccinated, meet Covid. It’s going to be a bumpy ride, but don’t complain you weren’t warned.

Alongside the sickness and the death of the AntiVaxxers will be the social ostracisation and their inevitable nose dive into an act of political violence that will see the majority of Kiwis turn on them in a gruesome purge.

Until then let us dance madly on the lip of life’s volcano until the next mutation cripples us.

And here’s Tom with the weather.

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Preparing To Enter The Traffic Light System – Expert Reaction – Science Media Centre


How can New Zealanders make good decisions to lower risk and keep safe when we enter the new Traffic Light framework on Friday?

The SMC asked experts to share the latest on how public health measures can help to keep the coronavirus at bay, and to give practical tips for navigating the new landscape.

Dr Amanda Kvalsvig, Epidemiologist and Senior Research Fellow, Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington, comments:

Note: Dr Kvalsvig was co-author on a recent editorial in the New Zealand Medical Journal, which includes discussion around the role of public health and social measures as part of NZ’s pandemic response. You can read the editorial here.

“Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and they make a tremendous contribution to pandemic control, but the protection isn’t total and it’s possible to be vaccinated but infectious. The traffic light system puts a very high dependence on vaccination. That’s concerning because as we’ve seen repeatedly in other countries, vaccination alone isn’t enough to stop outbreaks when there are cases in the community. And of course, vaccine percentages aren’t quite as good as they appear. Children under 12 years aren’t eligible so they aren’t counted in the vaccine statistics, but they can develop Covid-19 infection and can pass the infection on.

“What this means is that we need a layered approach to protection that will keep people safe over the holidays. With a new variant on the horizon, this summer should be the one when New Zealanders start to take air quality seriously. Summer weather gives us so many opportunities to stay connected and stay safe. It would be good to see clear messaging from Government about exercising and meeting up outdoors, and when indoors, keeping doors and windows open as much as possible. Where that isn’t feasible, as is the case in many classrooms and workplaces, good ventilation systems and HEPA filters can help sustain air quality. Wearing masks adds another layer of protection both for the wearer and those around them. This NHS video is a great example of the kind of public health messaging that we could be using here.

“All of these measures work together to reduce the amount of virus that people are breathing in. Importantly, they’ll continue to work regardless of which Covid-19 variant is circulating.”

No conflict of interest.

Dr Joel Rindelaub, Aerosol Chemist, University of Auckland, comments:

“There is no doubt that our understanding of COVID-19 transmission has shifted since the beginning of the pandemic. We now know that transmission of the virus is dominated via inhalation of airborne aerosols rather than contact with surfaces (fomites). While fomite transmission is still believed to be possible, recent real-world investigations have not been able to conclusively identify surface contact as a route of transmission, meaning the occurrence is likely rare.

“With airborne transmission in mind, the current data suggest that both the use of face masks and physical distancing can help reduce community transmission of the virus while the benefit of hand washing is less certain. Importantly, there is currently limited rigorous data quantifying the exact impact of ventilation, which is expected to be one of – if not the most – important factors in reducing the spread of the virus. In well-ventilated outdoor locations, COVID-19 transmission occurs roughly 20 times less frequently than in indoor areas. Fresh air is vital to keeping us safe from respiratory viruses, yet the response to create better ventilated indoor environments has been behind that for other non-pharmaceutical interventions.

“The most important thing we’ve learned from this pandemic is that clean air is vital to keeping us healthy, and it should be the pandemic’s lasting lesson that helps inform future planning and policy.

“With COVID-19 in the community, limiting time indoors is a good way to reduce potential exposure to the virus. When visiting locations where the removal of masks is common, such as eating and drinking establishments, it is best to use outdoor seating areas whenever possible.”

No conflict of interest.

Dr Amanda Wallis, Research Lead, Umbrella Wellbeing Ltd, comments:

“The new traffic light system may create uncertainty for people around Aotearoa as we are forced to determine our own comfort levels with mingling with others, travelling and using public spaces. When socialising with loved ones, for example, choosing in the moment whether to mask up, physically distance, and meet inside or outdoors may be cognitively taxing, as well as potentially costly to our own wellbeing. Social norms inform our behaviour to a large extent, and research shows that navigating public health measures may contribute to feelings of social anxiety through fear of norm violation.

“To combat this, people could try to prepare for upcoming events by establishing their intentions and crafting social norms ahead of time. Consider messaging family members or friends a few days prior to the event and let them know you plan on wearing a mask, for example, and create a psychologically safe discussion around how you might keep each other safe. Try to centre the focus of this conversation on COVID-19 as the threat, rather than each other. For example, ‘I know this is new territory for all of us but I’m quite scared about catching COVID-19 – do you mind if we catch-up outside to play it safe?’”

No conflict of interest

Dr Melanie Woodfield, The Werry Centre, Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Auckland, comments:

“Holding child development in mind can help parents respond effectively this summer, when differing family norms and values will be busily intersecting with public health guidelines at the beach or the campground.

“For example, in terms of moral development, young children tend to determine whether someone is good or bad based solely on whether they follow the rules: for example, ‘Uncle Bob is bad because he’s not wearing his mask.’ As they develop, children increasingly understand that it’s possible to be a good person, and not follow a rule. Subtleties such as intentions come into play – there’s a difference between deliberately not washing your hands, versus carelessly forgetting.

“It can help parents to stay calm and effective if a child development lens is applied where possible –‘she’s just little, and didn’t know’ versus ‘how can she think that?’ or ‘she’s unkind’ if a child asserts that their cousin is naughty for not washing hands. Or the child seems confused that their lovely best friend (who is ‘good’) is not following the rules (which is ‘bad’). Steer clear of who is right, and emphasise that different people make different choices, and some people have fewer choices available to them. An opportunity to seed ideas that’ll serve them well as they grow – how to be respectful, while staying true to their own values. How to like someone yet disagree with their decisions.

“On another note, the UK government’s Behavioural Insights Team “EAST” acronym is a useful way of summarising how to nudge kids toward public health behaviours. Try to make the hand washing, or mask wearing:

  • Easy (reduce the hassle, have lots of masks available),
  • Attractive (scented bubbly soap),
  • Social (model hand washing; kids can take a socially distanced friend to the tap at the campground)
  • Timely (prompt at natural transition times, create new habits through daily rhythms).”

Conflict of interest statement: Dr Melanie Woodfield is employed part-time as a Clinical Psychologist in government-funded Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. She receives research funding from the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

Dr Kirsty Ross, Senior Clinical Psychologist and Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, Massey University, comments:

“This summer will have felt like a long time coming for many people; a chance to reconnect and have some normality after another period where things have felt quite unpredictable and uncertain. We will have to navigate a new set of rules and guidelines, which will take some getting used to. People may also be feeling a bit nervous about how to manage situations that may arise, such as when people around you are not socially distancing, wearing a mask or scanning in – all public health measures we know are important in keeping the SARS-CoV-2 virus at bay.

“Assertive communication is the boundary where you can take care of yourself and your needs, and care for others in the situation as well. When we sit back passively, we can often feel frustrated (and sometimes even guilty) that we haven’t spoken up, and anxious about the consequences of not doing so. When we speak too aggressively, this can harm the relationship we have with the person we are talking to, and may even mean getting into an argument, or having our message and needs lost as the other person defends their position as they feel under attack.

“Being assertive takes practice and often a good place to start is to place the relationship first. For example, if you are with your family and another group of friends, and someone is not wearing a mask, start by saying how much you enjoy their company, and that you are glad you are finally getting to spend some time together. Then move on to speaking about what is concerning you and what you would like to change: ‘I’m so glad we can finally meet up again as we have really missed seeing you and we have been looking forward to catching up. But when you are not wearing your mask, I feel uncomfortable and worried, as I really want to make sure that we keep well and safe. So, while I respect your right to make your own choices, when we are out together as a group, I would really appreciate it if you could wear your mask around me and my family. Then I will be able to relax and really enjoy myself.’

“Assertive communication is really valuable when you are wanting to preserve a relationship with someone you care about or need to have ongoing involvement with. If you are in a situation where someone you don’t really know well and don’t need to see again is not making choices that make you feel comfortable, then placing your own needs first and leaving the situation is totally understandable and okay! We cannot control what others do, and we are only responsible for our own choices; but we can control how we respond to people. We have a responsibility to ensure that we let them know our needs rather than hoping they can read our minds.

“If communicating assertively is hard for you, don’t worry – it can feel uncomfortable at first until we become skilled. It can help to practice with people you know well! But having tools and strategies to stand up for our needs (and those of people we love such as our children and family) can be empowering and help alleviate some anxiety as we enter this new phase of the pandemic. And what a wonderful model for our children about how to navigate difficult conversations!”

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The Liberal Agenda – 7pm tonight MagicTalk Radio THUNDERDOME OF TALKBACK


7pm on MagicTalk Radio

Graeme Hill vs Damien Grant vs Bomber


First week analysis of Luxon as leader

Time to arm Police as gun violence spikes

It’s freedom day for Aucklanders – did we beat Delta?


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Political Caption Competition


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces a shocked spider monkey will be the new Minister of Health.

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Dr Liz Gordon: Our road to mediocrity


“We have a choice: a choice between our current road to mediocrity, or a pathway to a more confident, aspirational and prosperous future” – Christopher Luxon MP.

Roads, and travelling, and seeing things with a different view, pepper the literature of many cultures.  The notion of setting out on a journey is quite an appropriate metaphor for a new leader of a political party.

The key to a political road-poem is having three elements:  a way to go, the right attitude in getting there, and a destination.

The following poem has two important elements but is rather alarmingly lacking in the third:

The Road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say. 

That may do very well as a metaphor for Bilbo Baggins, signalling the eagerness with which the Hobbit sets out on his journey, and the likely new things he will encounter along the way.

But it is a terrible one for a new political leader, for whom having a command on the seminal event (taking the leadership), the attitude (hopeful, perhaps a bit fundamentalist, leaderishness) (oh yay, haven’t had a neologism for weeks) and a known destination are equally important.

Not for Christopher Luxon the joys of a carefree heart, which may explore the paths and errands with abandon and hairy feet.  No, Mr Luxon’s task, as he clearly outlined in his opening speech, is to reset the National Party.

One can ponder all the moments that need resetting, perhaps using the structure of Bilbo’s timeless song:

The Road goes ever on and on,
And some will fall along the way
They seek the glory of the trail
But end up lost in disarray.
Scandal, sex and mouthy men

And prayerful moments on one’s knees

And hubris and vainglory then

‘Til one gives back those hallowed keys.

Well, yes, we can agree I am no Tolkein, but to be fair I have abandoned work to have my say on the week’s events. This is not a paid position, you know!

What spurred me on to write this blog was Mr Luxon’s speech. Not the scandal issues or the Christian right wingness of it all.  Actually, I was most interested in his statement that New Zealand was following a path to mediocrity and that he wanted to make us all more aspirational and ambitious.

It struck me how very old-fashioned the language of personal aspiration was.  I was brought up, mumble years ago, on the notion that you could do anything you wanted if you only did your best and worked hard.  Meritocracy was a really big thing in my middle-class English childhood, but has not been so much in more recent times. 

(And avid readers will know that both my aspirational parents succumbed to the ambitious delights of unlimited alcohol, thus destroying, through their own successful travails, all they aspired to).

The reason for that is that we have recognised, and have shown through the work of people such as Max Rashbrooke and Susan St John, that there are barriers all over the place that prevent people, most people, from achieving all or often even some of their aspirations.

This does not mean that the majority of us who are in that position consider ourselves mediocre.  If Christopher Luxon views people who do not scale the heights of running Air New Zealand as being swathed in mediocrity, then I have a real problem with him.

So Christopher Luxon’s end goal is to make people more ambitious and aspirational, just like him.  He holds his own career up as a shining light: “you too could be like me if you tried”.  The question is whether he is prepared to enter into the battle of removing the barriers that lead people into the dark halls of Shelob’s lair – the road to mediocrity.  The poverty, oppression, cultural error, sexism, violence, harassment, pay inequity, unequal education, lack of good housing, environmental degradation and oh dear, the list goes on and on.

Because without that plan, he may set out with hopeful heart and purpose in his step, but even if he overcomes the forces in his own caucus, the ravages of Covid and the many pitfalls of opposition, the chances of his journey there and back again being successful, meeting his own aspirational goals for the nation, are very, very slim.


Dr Liz Gordon is a researcher and a barrister, with interests in destroying neo-liberalism in all its forms and moving towards a socially just society. She usually blogs on justice, social welfare and education topics.

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The Daily Blog Open Mic – Friday – 3rd December 2021


Announce protest actions, general chit chat or give your opinion on issues we haven’t covered for the day.

Moderation rules are more lenient for this section, but try and play nicely.

EDITORS NOTE: – By the way, here’s a list of shit that will get your comment dumped. Sexist language, homophobic language, racist language, anti-muslim hate, transphobic language, Chemtrails, 9/11 truthers, Qanon lunacy, climate deniers, anti-fluoride fanatics, anti-vaxxer lunatics, 5G conspiracy theories, the virus is a bioweapon, some weird bullshit about the UN taking over the world  and ANYONE that links to fucking infowar.

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GUEST BLOG: Ian Powell – The truth behind the Government’s delta reversal in New Zealand


On 2 November BusinessDesk published my article on the politics of pandemic traffic lights:

At the time I thought that the traffic lights system had been initiated by the Ministry of Health (experts outside the Ministry were not supportive). Subsequently, however, according to senior Health Ministry officials privately, it came from the Prime Minister’s department.

This helps explain the working it out as you go along approach that is causing confusion among many. Jacinda Ardern’s claim of the system being world leading is overcooked.

The traffic lights system, commencing on 3 December, was described by me as a form of branding for a new narrative to justify the Government’s surprise abandoning of the elimination strategy towards the delta variant of Covid-19.

I attributed the abandonment decision to government over-confidence over the effectiveness of the progress towards elimination of delta. Despite contrary advice from its modellers, this led to the earlier than expected lowering of Auckland’s alert level from 4 to 3. This was followed by political panic when, surprising to government but unsurprisingly to experts, daily infections quickly surged upwards.

My analysis was based on the data and the absence of evidence to confirm an alternative credible explanation. Now Newsroom investigative journalist Marc Daalder has published an excellent article (29 November) based on official documents about the decision-making process that reinforce but provide more context to my my conclusion:


20 September and 4 October – what went wrong

In his words, Daalder describes “what went wrong” between 20 September and 4 October when New Zealand went from being on the verge of eliminating Delta to admitting defeat.

On 19 September Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield optimistically advised Covid-19 Minister Chris Hipkins that infection numbers in Auckland “were falling steadily” and almost all of the clusters had been ringfenced. This was just over a month after the whole country had moved to Level 4.

Bloomfield was confident that the outbreak in Auckland was contained. Peaking on 28 August, “…daily numbers [were] generally decreasing or remaining static at low levels as the expected tail of the outbreak manifests.” Out of the 19 known clusters, all but two of were considered dormant or contained.

The two clusters of concern were “complex and need to continue to be monitored closely, particularly with respect to welfare and social compliance issues”. However, this did not deter Bloomfield from comfortably recommending a move to Level 3 for Auckland (and from Level 3 to 2 for the rest of New Zealand).

At this point the Director-General and Cabinet were expecting a long delta tail but was confident of returning to zero cases. Further, they expected the elimination strategy to continue after border reopening in 2022 (remembering that elimination is zero tolerance, not zero cases).

Two weeks later “Cabinet threw in the towel on elimination.”

Bloomfield’s triumphant paper was taken by Hipkins to Cabinet the same day. The Minister did concede to Cabinet it was “theoretically possible” that elimination might not be achieved. However, elimination would continue to be maintained into the future including in a new protection framework that was being considered by officials.

So the objective was to eliminate the Auckland outbreak and then move to the new framework once vaccinations were sufficiently high.

As an afterthought it was noted that officials were also working on a transition scenario where the current outbreak was not eliminated and there was a gradual move into the new framework while vaccination rates increased.

But everything pointed to a diminishing outbreak that was fully under control. Cabinet believed delta elimination was at its “fingertips”. Consequently it was confident about lowering Auckland to Level 3. After all, this is what had happened in Australia outside New South Wales and Victoria.

Ignoring red flags

But Daalder points out that there red flags were raised. The Ministry’s Director of Pacific Health warned a parliamentary select committee on 28 September that the virus was settling into “a gang environment and the homeless” which were less likely to be trusting of the health system.

Daalder correctly observes that if, as it appeared, the albeit declining daily infections were in transitional housing and gangs, it should have suggested possible more widespread and undetected transmission.

Separately there was also a warning from an independent advisory group chaired by Sir Brian Roche in a 23 September letter and report to government. While focused more on safely reopening the country’s borders, Roche also highlighted were shortcomings in the outbreak response. These included a shortfall in proper engagement of Māori and Pacific providers.

Cabinet and the Director-General had forgotten their previous powerful and evidence-based message to the public that people movement is critical to eliminating, containing or spreading Covid-19. Level 4 was about minimising people movement as much as practical; Level 3 allowed for a reasonable amount of increased people movement.

From optimism to pessimism: a new narrative

Unfortunately the Government was slow to realise what was happening. On 29 September, five days before the Prime Minister ambiguously abandoned it for Auckland, her Director-General told Newsroom that zero cases were still possible. That same day the unexpected shuddering spike of 45 infections occurred.

In the subsequent days before 4 October, Bloomfield’s narrative changed to a pessimistic tone. He referred to the risk of South Auckland sub-clusters not being contained, delta’s circulation in communities that face complex socio-economic issues, and possible slowing down of contact tracing.

The rest as they say is history. On 4 October Ardern was ambiguous about the future of elimination in Auckland. Presumably her ambiguity was because she and her cabinet colleagues were still trying to work out how best to publicly explain the sudden reversal. Its abandonment was confirmed seven days later.

Falseness of public non-compliance

Daalder makes several other pertinent observations. These include increasing pressure by some businesses to lower to Level 2 (the Government’s response was to gradually reduce restrictions under Level 3), increased daily infections were greater than Government expected, increased sub-clusters and unlinked cases, public health teams were “run into the ground”, and a workforce that was “stretched, tired and fatigued.”

He then addresses the claim now being made for the first time by Hipkins and others that public sentiment may have been turning against the lockdown. He concludes that the evidence for this claim was “thin”. Polling from the Government at the time found common emotions had gone from “neutral” and “joy” in July to “neutral” and “sad” in September, though “neutral” was still the most common.

Further, actual compliance had increased within Auckland. Aucklanders were more compliant than the rest of the country when it came to staying home when sick and to using the tracer app. There was also broad support for masks.

Following its abandonment of elimination in Auckland, the Government claimed that lockdown breaches were behind the decision to lower its alert level and the subsequent delta upsurge. But, according to Daalder, the evidence says the opposite. Instead, lowering Auckland’s alert level thereby increasing people movement was largely responsible for the upsurge.

Joyless vindication

If the Government had stuck to their modellers advice Auckland would have been in Level for two weeks or so longer but most likely out of Level lockdown by the end of October.

As a result much fewer Aucklanders would have been infected and hospitalised (to a lesser extent fewer deaths). There would have been much less stress and pressure on hospitals and the health workforce.

Do I feel joy in this vindication of my analysis published by BusinessDesk? Absolutely not! Am I disappointed by the Government’s duplicity in obscuring its error? Very much so!


Ian Powell was Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, the professional union representing senior doctors and dentists in New Zealand, for over 30 years, until December 2019. He is now a health systems, labour market, and political commentator living in the small river estuary community of Otaihanga (the place by the tide). First published at Otaihanga Second Opinion

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Onward Luxon’s Soldiers


Onward Luxon’s soldiers

Marching to class war

With the lust for profit

Going on before.

Chris the new ringmaster

Leads against the foe

Forward into battle,

Goes this C.E.O!


Onward Luxon’s soldier’s

Marching to class war,

With the lust for profit,

Going on before.


At Luxon’s religion

Voters may yet flee

Surely someone’s focused-grouped

His Christianity?

Bottom lips may quiver

When the news is shared

From bible-bashing Tories

The country would be spared.


Onward Luxon’s soldier’s

Marching to class war,

With the lust for profit,

Going on before.


The Nats were once a party

Inspiring fear and dread

In every street, in every town

They left the Reds for dead.

Now a fractious rabble

Of vicious smears and leaks

An off-putting selection

Of circus clowns and freaks.


Onward Luxon’s soldier’s

Marching to class war,

With the lust for profit,

Going on before.


Leader follows leader

Factions rise and fall

But the pollsters’ numbers

Hardly change at all.

Weary of the slaughter

Caucus takes a punt

Pins their hopes

just one more time

on one more rich white … man


Onward Luxon’s soldier’s

Marching to class war,

With the lust for profit,

Going on before.


Gleeful sits Jacinda

Among her happy throng

Struggling to believe that

Her luck could last so long.

Covid won the last fight

Unleashing the Red Tide

Does Luxon prove that Labour

Has God upon its side?


Onward Luxon’s soldier’s

Marching to class war,

With the lust for profit,

Going on before.


Chris Trotter

2 December 2021


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Reserve Bank Responds To Climate Consultations – The Reserve Bank of New Zealand


To better understand and help mitigate financial risks of climate change, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand – Te Pūtea Matua has made submissions to two climate-related consultations. The External Reporting Board (XRB) is seeking feedback on the Governance and Risk Management sections of its proposed New Zealand Climate Standard 1 while the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) is seeking views on its Emissions Reduction Plan Discussion Document.

“We welcome the opportunity to provide feedback on these consultations and support New Zealand’s path to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy,” Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr said.

“As we outlined in our Climate Changed report, our role as kaitiaki requires us to understand, mitigate, and manage climate-related risks to financial stability and our economy. We are one of over 100 central banks collaborating internationally on climate change through the Network for Greening the Financial System. We also recognise the primary role the Government has in leading emission reduction and adaptation as part of a collective response and aligned approach.”

The Reserve Bank is supportive of XRB’s work in implementing climate-related disclosures.

“We are pleased to be engaging closely with XRB and we will continue to do so. Regulators are important users of the climate disclosures, and our submission is driven by our desire to see alignment in climate-related risk reporting. Our goal is to see entities manage their own climate-related risks in a transparent manner that ensures these risks and opportunities are incorporated into business decisions.”

Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank’s submission to the MfE consultation focuses on climate finance and funding.

“Securing investment at an appropriate scale and pace is critical to shifting New Zealand’s Emission Reduction Plan beyond a policy framework to actual emission reduction,” Mr Orr said.

More information

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Modern Slavery Exists In New Zealand – But This Revolutionary Tool Helps Flush It Out


On the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, Ethical VOICE, powered by AskYourTeam, launches to replace “broken and dangerous” worker social practise accreditation systems

· 100% anonymous participation – workers simply need a smartphone to access the platform

· Over 1500 seasonal workers in the horticulture industry pilot the programme with positive results

Dozens of industries are set to benefit from a simple yet sophisticated tool combatting modern slavery in New Zealand, officially launching today – the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

Modern slavery exists when workers are subjected to unethical, unsafe working conditions, bullying, sexual abuse, humiliation, coercion, and entrapment. Recent high-profile examples include liquor store baron Harjit Singh, who was found guilty of paying employees on work visas tied to the job less than minimum wage, and horticulture contractor Joseph Matamata who was convicted of human trafficking and slave trading in 2020.

Until now, New Zealand businesses have been reliant on self-assessments or conducting social practise audits to weed out unethical practices. But both methods are open to corruption – self-assessments are inherently subjective, and social practise audits provide just a snapshot in time of a tiny portion of a business’s activity, with business owners able to manipulate results by selecting staff to take part in the programme. “Not only is this method ineffective and open to influence, it’s broken and it’s dangerous,” says Chris O’Reilly, whose company – AskYourTeam – has developed the solution, Ethical VOICE.

Ethical VOICE identifies modern slavery by providing true transparency throughout a supply chain. A mobile-first online platform, it protects our most vulnerable workers by ensuring 100% privacy.

With Ethical VOICE, every single worker within a company structure has the opportunity to give feedback, “which means no stone is left unturned within an organisation,” says Chris. “Ethical VOICE allows every worker the freedom to tell the truth in a safe, totally anonymous way, providing powerful data and insights to good employers. Employers can then work out how to improve worker wellbeing and measure progress by diving back into the tool, which is accessible anytime, anywhere.”

Eventually, members of the public will be able to log on to see how their favourite winery, fashion retailer or mobile service provider stacks up when it comes to treating their labour force fairly and with respect.

And the tool’s already being used successfully.

With concerns about the potential for manipulation and abuse among seasonal workers, who often live on-site in shared accommodation, AskYourTeam partnered with NZ Apples and Pears to pilot the Ethical VOICE tool across five apple companies in Hawke’s Bay. “This sector – along with many other sectors that rely on migrant labour – is at high risk for exploitation,” explains Chris. “Often, a company will be doing all it can at head office level to maintain a safe working environment throughout the business, yet at lower levels of the supply chain, pockets of exploitation exist. There are well documented issues both here and overseas where workers are bullied by other workers, forced to work in substandard conditions, and there is intimidation and sexual violence within the workforce.

“In order to create a safe working environment free of corruption, we need to ensure our New Zealand employers are looking after every single person in the supply chain – and Ethical VOICE provides the means to do just that.”

The fruit industry pilot took place during peak harvest season, with 1524 respondents across a raft of countries, including Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Tuvalu – along with New Zealand seasonal workers. Questions were translated into Bislama, Samoan, Tongan and Pijin, seeking anonymous information about pay, recruitment, raising problems and treatment at work. RSE workers were asked additional questions to cover accommodation and transport.

Gary Jones, Manager Trade Policy & Strategy at NZ Apples and Pears, deems the pilot a huge success. “We were pleased to see that the mean score across all questions was 84% satisfaction” he says. “Overwhelmingly, workers expressed how happy they were to be working for their employer and contributing to their family’s income in the Pacific. However, there was some very specific feedback around accommodation and employment conditions that Ethical VOICE was able to help uncover in a way that both protected the workers involved from any risk of speaking out, and allowed the employer to correct those issues.”

Now, Chris sees a bright future for the platform across a number of other sectors where modern slavery has been evident – viticulture, cleaning, and the contractor supply business within infrastructure and telecommunications.

“But any industry benefits from Ethical VOICE,” he says, “because it takes a deep and wide look at what’s going on under the skin of a business and identifies any ‘toxic pockets’ that exist. Often these exploitative pockets occur within otherwise great companies. Ethical VOICE can solve that problem.”

As an export nation, and with legislation expected mid-2022 intended to protect workers from modern slavery, Chris predicts we’ll increasingly need to prove to international buyers that our fresh produce, goods and other commodities are being grown, processed, picked, packed and shipped by workers who are safe, secure, and treated fairly at every point in the supply chain.

“Why stop there?” asks Chris. “We envisage a day where our own major retailers insist on similarly high standards when it comes to modern slavery. We’d absolutely love to see Kiwi supermarkets and major retailers use Ethical VOICE so that consumers can check – and demand – that the items they purchase every day are produced without exploitation of any kind.”


More on the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery: https://www.un.org/en/observances/slavery-abolition-day

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Youth Unemployment Rate Three Times National Average – Statistics New Zealand


The unemployment rate of young New Zealanders has decreased following initial COVID-19 impacts but is three times the national average, Stats NZ said today.

In the September 2021 quarter, the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) for people aged 15–24 was 9.6 percent, compared with a national rate of 3.2 percent and a rate of 2.3 percent for people aged 25–64.

“Young people play a vital role in the labour force, but our data shows that they experience much higher unemployment rates than people aged 25-64 and the overall population,” labour market manager Andrew Neal said.

Visit our website to read this news story: Youth unemployment rate three times national average

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Giant Crowdfunded Note To PM On Climate Emergency Anniversary – Greenpeace


On the one-year anniversary of Jacinda Ardern’s Climate Emergency declaration, Greenpeace has positioned a cheeky, four storey high, crowdfunded “climate emergency to-do list” on a wall near Parliament in Wellington.

“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern seems to have lost her climate emergency to-do list, so we’ve written it out for her, made it ginormous, and put it somewhere it can’t be missed,” says Greenpeace Aotearoa campaigner Christine Rose. “The climate to-do list is urgent: a cleaner, low-emissions Aotearoa is still possible, but only if we act now.”

The giant hand-written note signed ‘Aroha, Greenpeace’ acknowledges the Labour-led Government’s 2018 decision to end new offshore oil exploration and gives a wry nod to Ardern’s claim that climate change was her generation’s nuclear free moment. It then lists three key climate actions the Government has failed to implement: cutting synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, reducing cow numbers and backing farmers to shift to regenerative organic farming.

“The recent ‘COP26’ climate change conference came with stark reminders that, as bad as the COVID-19 pandemic is, the impacts of runaway climate change will be far worse,” says Rose.

“We recognise that the Prime Minister has had a lot on her plate, but it’s also clear that New Zealand is a global laggard on climate, mostly because this Government has failed to tackle our biggest climate polluter: intensive dairy and the synthetic nitrogen fertiliser companies – Ravensdown and Ballance – that drive it.

“Four years into this Labour Government, we’re still waiting for the climate leadership that was promised. The Zero Carbon Act is toothless, the Emissions Trading Scheme still gives agriculture a free pass, and synthetic nitrogen fertiliser that drives intensive dairying still hasn’t been phased out. Instead of doing what is needed to reduce emissions in Aotearoa, the Government has earmarked billions of dollars for offshore carbon offsetting scams that do little more than kick the climate can down the road. And the draft, long-delayed Emissions Reduction Plan isn’t worthy of its name: instead of a real plan with the obvious policies that are needed to reduce emissions, it just asks us all for more ideas for reducing emissions.

“It’s not more ideas that we need – it’s action – and for New Zealand, action on climate means action on the dairy industry: our biggest polluter. We have to cut synthetic nitrogen fertiliser and we have to reduce cow numbers.”

The note ends with a footnote saying that the billboard is Greenpeace’s submission on the draft Emissions Reduction Plan.

“The Ardern government acknowledged a year ago that we’re in a climate emergency but has continued to give the dairy and chemical fertiliser companies a free pass to profit from pollution. To regain any credibility on climate change, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern must take urgent action to reduce dairy emissions by banning synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, reducing cow numbers and backing farmers to shift to regenerative organic farming,” says Rose.

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Have Your Say On The Māori Purposes Bill


The Chairperson of the Māori Affairs Committee is calling for submissions on the Māori Purposes Bill.

This omnibus bill would amend the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993, Maori Purposes Act 1959, Maori Trust Boards Act 1955 and the Maori Community Development Act 1962.

Firstly, the bill aims to propose amendments to the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993 to enable the continued existence of the Ruapuha Uekaha Hapū Trust and to enable it to exercise the powers, rights and duties consistent with the 1990 Waitomo Claims settlement. It also proposes technical amendments.

Secondly, the bill proposes amendments to the Māori Purposes Act 1959 to enable increased flexibility in managing Lake Rotoaira and its trout fisheries.

Thirdly, it would provide for technical amendments to be made to the Maori Trust Boards Act 1955.

Lastly, the proposed amendment to the Maori Community Development Act 1962 would require District Māori Councils to provide their financial statements to the New Zealand Māori Council rather than the chief executive of Te Puni Kōkiri.

Tell the Māori Affairs Committee what you think

Make a submission on the bill by midnight, Wednesday 26 January 2022.

For more details about the bill:

· Read the full content of the bill

· Follow the committee’s Facebook page for updates

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