Wednesday, September 22, 2021
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GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – Don’t be a scab get the jab

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On the news that a violent gang of anti-vaxxer thugs attacked the CFMEU trade union office in Australia.

Construction to shut down in Victoria after violent protests at CFMEU office

‘It was orchestrated by rightwing extremists and that is something that we’ve seen – the targeting of other blue-collar unions over the last few months,’ ACTU president Michele O’Neil says

Behind the attack on the CFMEU office

it “didn’t get violent until a few hours in and it continued to escalate when anti-lockdown ‘celebs’ showed up”.

After trying, but failing, to talk to the protesters about their concerns, the CFMEU officers were forced to take cover as the mob threw crates and other objects.

Vaccination against Covid-19 is a health and safety in the workplace issue. To protect our fellow workmates, and vulnerable members of society, as union members and especially leaders we need to be pro-active.
We can’t leave it up to the bosses and government.
Trade Unionists need to take a lead around the vaccine roll-out.
We can’t leave it up to the bosses to mandate what we do.
That will just disempower and divide us.
We need to take our destiny back into our own hands.
As unionists we believe in democracy. To put an end to division, to sort this issue out, we need to put it to the members for a vote.
The same way we decide to go on strike. The majority decide by voting. If one individual decides that he isn’t bound by the majority decision and decides to work during a strike.
They are a scab.
We will not be dictated to by a violent minority of thugs.
Every union in New Zealand needs to put this issue to their members for a binding vote.

The Motion:

This union [insert union name] by a majority democratic vote of the members, decide that for the health and safety in the workplace of all working people that we all agree to abide by this collective decision, (barring legitimate health reasons),  that we will all be vaccinated as a condition of our union membership and support.

For

Against.

Abstentions

Carried/Lost

To beat covid-19 the medical experts tell us we need to reach a vaccination rate of over 90% of the population
If we want to protect each other, If we want to stamp this contagion out. We have to be united, as a nation and as trade unionists.

Unions have always been at the forefront in the support of progressive social movements, this is one of those times.

If you have ever stood on a picket line shoulder to shoulder with your fellow workmates against an unfair employer.
If you have ever given a Koha to a worthy cause, or volunteered your time for free.
If you have ever donated blood, or helped out a stranger.
Get the Jab.
Don’t be a scab.

 

Pat O’Dea is a unionist and human rights activist.

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Political Caption Competition

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I wear a stethoscope around Parliament so Judith doesn’t mistake me for Chris Bishop and starts punching me by accident.

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The Daily Blog Open Mic – Wednesday – 22nd September 2021

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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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Why James Shaw going to Glasgow is a hollow virtue signalling joke

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Shaw says COP26 conference most important since Paris Agreement

Climate Minister James Shaw’s trip to the COP26 conference and his delegation’s use of MIQ spaces upon their return is again being criticised by the opposition.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has strongly backed the move and specifically set aside places for the group in MIQ, but that decision is also under fire.

The annual conference is being held for the 26th time this year, in Glasgow, after it was cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

ACT leader David Seymour has previously taken Shaw to task over the trip, and returned to the topic today.

“He said he doesn’t want to go to COP26, I think he should take his own advice and not go to Glasgow … he’s actually flying into a Covid hotspot boots and all and facing a Scottish pack which is ridden with Covid,” Seymour said.

Seymour said that after 25 such conferences, he did not believe the value of New Zealand attending was worth the risk.

“I don’t think the benefits of New Zealand being at the 26th Conference of Parties is going to outweigh the costs of our very very scarce MIQ space, especially if you’re taking nine – or is it 15 – people over there.

 

The Right are attacking Shaw for going to the Glasgow Climate Change Jamboree. They jeer it is hypocrisy to travel there and cause more climate change pollution & they sneer at the use of MIQ spaces.

James going to Glasgow is a hollow virtue signalling joke but not for these shallow reasons. Glasgow 2021 is to hammer out carbon neutral by 2050, but being carbon neutral by 2050 is bullshit!

By 2030, over 50% of the oceans will be collapsing as bio-habitats.

By 2030, East Coast cities in the U.S. can expect to see two to three-times as many flooding incidents.

By 2030, 122million will be driven into extreme poverty as  direct result of climate change.

By 2030, 100million will die as a direct consequence of climate change.

By 2030, even if the Paris Agreement is actually implemented, we will see a planet warm to 3.4 degrees by the end of this century meaning there will effectively be no future civilisation capable of surviving on a planet that warm.

By 2030, the global annual cost of global warming will be $3trillion.

2030, the number of extremely hot days — classified as maximum temperatures of more than 35C — are tipped to climb in all capital cities.

Oh.

And by 2050 we might be carbon neutral.

Yay!

See, when you actually compare what the planet will look like by 2030, being carbon neutral by 2050 looks meaningless doesn’t it?

The magnitude of what we need to do to adapt to counter the nightmare unending capitalism has wrought upon the planet is simply beyond the capacity of the current political establishment and that is most apparent with the Greens.

This is less transformative and more glacial, except there won’t be any glaciers by 2050.

If you think being carbon neutral by 2050 is a solution, you are part of the problem.

Like the NZ Green Party, Glasgow 2021 is too little, too late.

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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Rushing through thought crime terror powers is a really really really bad idea

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Anti-terror law back before Parliament, but faces opposition

The bill will also:

    • Criminalise travel to, from, or via New Zealand with the intention to carry out a specified offence in the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002
    • criminalise planning or preparation for a terrorist act (and apply warrantless powers of entry, search, and surveillance to that offence)
    • more clearly criminalise weapons training or combat training for terrorist purposes
    • criminalise wider forms of material support for terrorist activities or organisations
    • extend the control orders regime so that individuals who have completed a prison sentence for specified offences related to terrorism may be subject to the regime if they continue to present a real risk of engaging in terrorism-related activities.

The government plans to have the bill passed by the end of the month.

The shock wave caused by the ISIS terrorist attack in West Auckland has frightened us all and while that fear is legitimate, it must not cloud our judgment.

We all want answers as to how an extremist who was on the Government’s radar managed to manipulate the refugee protocols to the point they were able to commit their violence while the rest of the security apparatus sat on their hands.

But the rush to pass the new anti-terrorism laws is the exact same fear that drove us to enact the original terrorism legislation that has proved to be so hopeless.

The Urewera terror raids show us how easy it is to abuse terror powers and how they inevitably end up being used against Maori.

These new terror powers enable the State to arrest and prosecute you for thinking about planning a crime, that’s an enormous empowerment of the State and with our previous history of how those terror powers get misused, I want to see the checks and balances before we hand over such enormous thought crime powers.

Let’s not forget that even if was illegal to plot a terror attack, this ISIS extremist was charged with a weapons crime which was longer than that charge so the issue is how did he manage to manipulate the refugee laws.

This was a bureaucracy screw up, handing the State even more terror powers won’t solve that.

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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Judith promises to never, ever, ever, ever, ever resign as National Leader & we on the Left are thrilled

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Judith Collins won’t resign as National leader – even if polls slip below 20 per cent

National leader Judith Collins says she does not intend to ever resign, even if her party’s polling slips below 20 per cent.

Collins was speaking to media before attending a National Party caucus meeting on Tuesday, following a dire week that saw two bad poll results and widespread criticism of her decision to attack Siouxsie Wiles for not wearing a mask while outdoors.

The National Party leader herself has admitted to getting the level 2 rules wrong while visiting Queenstown, with her mask off while ordering an ice cream at a cafe.

National hit 21 per cent support in an early-September poll from Curia – its own traditional pollster.

Wow.

She loves power the way a Great White Shark loves blood.

She’s finally reached Hitler in the bunker level crazy and is vowing to raze National to the ground just so she can hold onto the Leadership.

I mean you gotta hand it to her, girlfriend just wants it more!

To rouse the corpse of Don Brash, to cavort with the fallen one Cameron Slater and to declare that there is no poll number too low for her to manically cling to power, she’s riding the atomic bomb all the way to ground zero.

I haven’t seen self mutilation like this outside a BDSM club in Amsterdam.

To declare that you will never ever, ever, ever, ever resign is bewilderingly brave, she’s telling her cowardly National Party MPs that she expects them to fight or die.

I don’t think National Party MPs have that level of decision making or courage which is why they don’t have the bottle to take Judith out.

She is promising to sabotage who ever attempts to take her out. She has total loyalty from National’s most talentless MPs and rules by pure fear now.

It feels very scary inside the National Party now.

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GUEST BLOG: Ross Meurant – TARGET ZERO = ZERO NEXT ELECTIONS

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Mike Hosking exposed the parody being played out by the Prime Minister of New Zealand when he clashed with Dr Bloomfield over target zero. (1)

As the celebrated medical mouth piece prevaricated, obfuscated and spluttered his way through the tsunami of relentless demands for a straight answer, Hosking finally nailed him with:

“And in not tolerating the virus, you need to get rid of the virus and to get rid of the virus you need some zeros. You haven’t got zeros, you’re not going to get zeros. Elimination doesn’t work.”

Labour picked up a lifebuoy Denmark threw New Zealand’s way, saving Jacinda’s mob from having their lack of covid management plan completely expose, when the Danes supplied 500,000 doses of Pfizer. (2) 

The missing covid management plan, is also available from Denmark where their Prime Minister has announced that they are learning to co-exist with Covid.

Other European countries are moving along the same road and is America is easing its coronavirus travel restrictions, re-opening to passengers from the UK, EU and other nations.  From November, foreign travellers will be allowed to fly into the US if they are fully vaccinated, and undergo testing and contact tracing. (3)

Back here, it is my assessment that Dr Bloomfield is being used as the stooge to allow Labour to change their language over the next few weeks (as we have seen to have been their strategy in the past) and redefine “elimination” as meaning what the government wants it to mean – depending on the political polls rather than medical reality.

Level 4 under covid-19 was to prevent hospitals being overloaded.  That never happened and in spite of many health workers NOT vaccinating.

Delta was sold as the killer of all killers- yet one dead since its arrival, does tend to expose that line as more political posturing performances before a disappointingly gullible mass, but which may well shrink as clarions like Hosking champion the causes of economic reality and mental madness.

Oh!  And, bring back Sean Plunket

Ross Meurant, graduate in politics both at university and as a Member of Parliament; formerly police inspector in charge of Auckland spies; currently Honorary Consul for an African state’ Trustee and CEO of Russian owned commercial assets in New Zealand and has international business interests.

  1. https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/covid-19-delta-outbreak-ashley-bloomfield-mike-hosking-clash-on-his-relationship-with-government/3OEQE5C773QAW7KYYGI26UFMZI/
  2. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/126357276/covid19-500000-pfizer-vaccine-doses-to-come-from-denmark
  3. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-58628491  
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NZ Politics Daily – 21st September 2021

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Today’s NZPD testimonial from Ros Rice, Executive Officer Community Networks Aotearoa

“Community Networks Aotearoa has been subscribed to NZ Politics Daily for some time now, and it is one of the most regularly read items in the office.  It enables us to instantly get feedback on media views on topics of the day.  Also, we can see by the number of links, if a subject of interest to us, is receiving much attention by media and politicians or not. Bryce and his team do a fantastic job of collating media and political commentary and we already recommend it to other NGOs on a regular basis.”

Anyone can sign up to NZPD for free at: https://democracyproject.nz/nz-politics-daily/

Today’s content

Government gambles with Level 3 move
Matthew Hooton (Herald):  Jacinda Ardern rolls the dice on level 3 (paywalled)
Marc Daalder (Newsroom): Level 3 ‘till Christmas’: Government’s great gamble
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): Jacinda Ardern’s elimination gamble, as 300,000 people head to work (paywalled)
Luke Malpass (Stuff): If Auckland isn’t in level 2 in two weeks, elimination will have all but failed
Barry Soper (Stuff):  Don’t expect Govt to admit elimination strategy has been scrapped
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Whole country could see restrictions until Christmas if virus isn’t stamped out in Auckland
Michael Plank and Shaun Hendy (The Conversation): New Zealand government takes a calculated risk to relax Auckland’s lockdown while new cases continue to appear
Jamie Ensor (Newshub): Jacinda Ardern says it’s ‘within our power’ to ensure freedom from tight COVID-19 restrictions at Christmas
Rowan Quinn (RNZ): Experts say Auckland moving to alert level 3 is a risk – but PM says Covid-19 can be eliminated
Hannah Martin (Stuff): Moving Auckland to alert level 3 a ‘calculated risk’ – experts
Emma Russell (Herald): Experts on Auckland’s move to alert level 3
Michael Neilson (Herald): Auckland moves to level 3, PM Jacinda Ardern urges ‘caution’
Danielle Clent (Stuff): Eliminating Delta from community hard but still feasible, experts say
1 News: ‘Only takes one case’ – Michael Baker issues warning as Auckland eyes Level 3
1 News: Dropping Auckland to Level 3 ‘a calculated risk’ – Covid-19 modeller
Herald Editorial: A measure of relief for Auckland, but Waikato was let down
Heather du Plessis-Allan (Newstalk ZB): This lockdown isn’t working
Todd Niall (Stuff): Aucklanders show the power of community commitment
Ben Leahy (Herald): Mayor says move to level 3 relief for strained Aucklanders
Ben Leahy (Herald): Auckland’s lockdown compared to Sydney and Melbourne
RNZ: What you need to know: Updated alert levels for Auckland, Waikato, rest of NZ
Toby Manhire (Spinoff): Auckland is heading into alert level three. How do the rules change?
Emma Russell (Herald): Auckland moves to level 3 – what does that mean for you?
RNZ: Covid-19 wrap for 20 September: Auckland to leave alert level 4
—————
Philip Hill, Tony McFall and Kurt Krause (Newsroom): A ‘next level’ plan for Covid in 2022
Richard Harman (Politik): Government reviewing Covid strategies (paywalled)

Waikato outbreak
George Block (Stuff): Corrections deemed Black Power member who caught Covid-19 unsuitable for bail
Katie Scotcher (RNZ): Timeline: How Covid-19 left Auckland with a man on bail
Michael Morrah (Newshub): Prisoner at centre of Waikato COVID outbreak appears to have breached multiple bail conditions
Herald: Infected prisoner made four stops before arriving at bail address
George Block (Stuff): Covid-positive prisoner made four stops on way to bail address, Corrections says
RNZ: Remand prisoner likely infected en route to Firth of Thames residence
RNZ: Evidence Waikato Covid-19 cases likely linked to current cluster – Robertson
RNZ: Bailing prisoner outside region ‘totally irresponsible’ – Waikato District Mayor
Lawrence Gullery (Stuff): Waikato leaders angry at Government officials for allowing man to bring coronavirus across border
Taroi Black (Māori TV): ‘Man did not have Covid-19 while he was in prison’ – Correction says
Herald: Ministry of Health believes prisoner was infected in Auckland
John Weekes (Herald): Mt Eden prisoner mysteries continue – but Auckland infection likely, officials say
1 News: ‘How the heck?’ Mayor frustrated after Covid case let out of Auckland
Newstalk ZB: How did this happen? Waikato Mayor and Corrections Vice President both have questions on how a remanded prisoner got Covid across the border
Amy Williams (RNZ): Waikato community waiting anxiously for Covid-19 test results after remand prisoner crosses Auckland border
1 News: Strong testing turnout in northern Waikato after Covid cases detected
Mina Kerr-Lazenby (Stuff): Mangatangi School is Waikato location of interest in Delta outbreak
Lana Andelane and Lydia Lewis (Newshub): COVID-positive remand prisoner likely not isolated on arrival, immediately isolating prisoners ‘ideal’ but not ‘practical’ – CANZ
—————
Robb Kidd (ODT): Report finds multiple Covid protocol failures at Otago Corrections Facility

Border, MIQ, immigration
RNZ: Checkpoint: Thousands more MIQ vouchers to come – MIQ deputy CEO
RNZ: Tears and cheers as thousands miss spots in MIQ offering
Tom Hunt and Charlie Gates (Stuff): November and December MIQ spots gone in 67 minutes, thousands miss out
Marty Sharpe (Stuff): One of the lucky ones – Napier man secures one of 3000 MIQ spots for his wife 
Luke Robinson (Newshub): Frustration sets in for Kiwi athletes after missing out on MIQ spaces
Brent Melville (BusinessDesk): MIQ system ‘solves nothing’: 25k people for 3,200 rooms (paywalled)
Brittney Deguara (Stuff): MIQ booking system a ‘joke’, leaving family in Melbourne heartbroken, hopeless
Miriam Burrell (Herald): Queue for ‘virtual lobby’ MIQ booking system tops 22,000
Daniel Faitaua (1 News): Massive demand for MIQ lobby system: ‘Bloody nightmare’
Matthew Scott (Newsroom): The desperate 27,000 in the MIQ lobby
Brent Thomas (Herald): Fixing the MIQ booking system – let’s use more of travel agents’ expertise (paywalled)
Anne Gibson (Herald): 18,500 extra NZ hotels rooms should be used – expert (paywalled)
Chris Keall (Herald): Boss of Larry Page-based air taxi startup Wisk has answer to MIQ scramble
1 News: MIQ spot granted to family of man whose daughters were killed in Timaru
Daniel Smith (Stuff): MIQ difficulties forcing workers out of the country
Herewini Waikato (Māori TV): Whakarewarewa Village Rotorua: ‘No MIQ on our back door-step thanks’  
Michael Gebicki (Stuff): The countries where unvaccinated travellers are banned
Alan Granville (Stuff): Air New Zealand’s Australian quarantine flights sell out in three minutes
Dan Lake (Newshub): Australian MIQ spots sell out in three minutes, with some flights only having 10 seats available

Vaccine rollout
Stephen Croucher, Doug Ashwell, Jo Cullinane (The Conversation): New Zealand has ramped up vaccination rates, but too many people remain concerned about vaccine safety
RNZ: Auckland could reach 90 percent first dose vaccination milestone in two weeks – Ardern
Bridie Witton (Stuff): 90 per cent or higher vaccination coverage will bring fewer restrictions, Jacinda Ardern says
Hannah Martin (Stuff): Fewer than 27k doses given on Sunday amid push to get Akl jabbed
RNZ: Māori King and other leaders endorse Pfizer vaccine
Oriini Kaipara (Newshub): Māori King Kīngi Tūheitia, Sir Tumu Te Heuheu join chorus for Māori to get vaccinated amid efforts to lift Māori vaccination rates
Māori TV: Waikato-Tainui, Tuwharetoa leaders call for Māori to get the jab
Troels Sommerville (Stuff): Unvaccinated over-65s asked to stay home when Auckland drops alert levels
Rod Jackson, David Thomason and Paul Catmur (Herald): The 90% Project – Behaviour change experts: 21 tips to help NZ get vaccinated
Herald: One Auckland councillor’s finger lickin’ idea to get Aucklanders vaccinated
Karina Cooper (Northern Advocate): Northland doctors sign letter alongside 5000 Kiwi health experts backing vaccine
RNZ: Mandatory vaccination order under spotlight in High Court
Stuff: Sacked border worker didn’t give a reason for not having vaccine 
Herald: New vaccination bus Shot Cuzz hits Auckland streets
Lucy Craymer (Stuff): Vaccine diplomacy swings in Pacific nations’ favour

Contact tracing, testing
Herald: Waikato DHB to fast-track Covid test results
Jo Lines-MacKenzie (Stuff):  ‘Level 4 anxiety’ as Waikato residents line up to be tested

Alert level rules, compliance, enforcement
RNZ: Gang associates nabbed by cops on border run with cash and KFC
Herald: Gang members caught at Auckland border with $100,000 cash – and KFC
Dubby Henry, Zoe Holland and Craig Kapitan (Herald): Judith Collins filmed without mask at Queenstown business
Tom Hunt (Stuff): Face mask exemptions ignored in their hundreds due to ‘lack of awareness’
Katie Harris (Herald): Pair who allegedly absconded from Auckland to Wellington granted interim name suppression
Stuff: Man charged over travel from Auckland to Wellington in lockdown denied bail
Vera Alves (Stuff): Neighbours dob in family over gathering that turned out to be Zoom birthday party
Sarah Templeton (Newshub): Wellington homewares store owner says sign ‘welcoming’ maskless shoppers wasn’t ‘discouraging’ mask use
RNZ: Cutting through the back paddock – ‘isolated’ border breach attempts
Amy Wiggins and Zoe Holland (Herald): Grieving aunt told she would be arrested if she attended niece’s funeral
Stuff: Anger over Auckland students heading to class in Tauranga
Liz McDonald (Stuff): Police investigating door-to-door vaccination scam 

Business, economy
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Business leaders should be cautious giving prescription for Delta 
Dan Satherley (Newshub): Business leader calls for ‘flexible’ level 3 in Auckland to boost economy, experts wary
Liam Dann (Herald):  Level 3 brings big drop in economic cost … and a lifeline for business (paywalled)
Jason Walls (Newstalk ZB): Not a single cent more for podcasts, poetry and picture books in the name of ‘Covid recovery
Rahul Bhattarai (Herald): Business groups welcome Level 3 in Auckland
Daniel Smith (Stuff): Business: ‘Relief cannot be overstated’
Andre Chumko and Nadine Porter (Stuff): Hospitality, arts sectors breathe ‘sigh of relief’ as 50-person cap raised to 100
Nadine Porter (Stuff): New gathering limit under ‘Delta level 2’ a mixed bag for businesses 
Verity Johnson (Stuff): No one can afford to be complacent about helping Hospo 
Herald: Level 4 has been a ‘nightmare’ for small businesses
Anne Gibson (Herald): Auckland construction workforce back on tools by Wednesday (paywalled)
Louisa Steyl (Stuff): Alert level changes bring little relief to Southland
Justin Connolly (Newsroom): Wellbeing budgets not a PR exercise
Susan Edmunds (Stuff): Commerce Commission charges against Bunnings dismissed
Jonathan Milne (Newsroom): The battle of Highland Park: Supermarkets in stand-off despite public promise
Marine Lourens (Stuff): Booze baron Harjit Singh’s company stripped of liquor licences after underpaying staff

Housing
Rebecca Macfie (North & South): The Great Divide
No Right Turn: Expropriate the house hoarders
Cass Marrett (Renews): How the housing market got so cooked
RNZ: Hundreds apply for fixed-price homes at Wainuiomata housing initiative
RNZ: Hastings state housing project delayed by squeeze on construction supply chain
Carmen Hall (Herald): Rising cost of Tauranga land, higher materials prices add $130k to average new home cost (paywalled)
RNZ: Unconsented work being overlooked in hot property market
Jenny Ruth (BusinessDesk): RBNZ to clobber first-home buyers with new LVR restrictions (paywalled)

AUKUS, foreign affairs, trade
Chris Trotter (Interest): A coalition of the waning
Robert G Patman (Stuff): Why Aukus is unlikely to halt China’s assertive foreign policy
Robert Scollay (Herald):  China and the CPTPP – right move, wrong timing? (paywalled)
Charles Finny (BusinessDesk): China’s CPTPP bid: What is Beijing up to? (paywalled)
Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom): The quiet figure behind New Zealand’s APEC success

National Party
1 News: Judith Collins ‘on her way out’ as National leader – commentator
Herald Editorial: Collins is an uneasy fit for National in these pandemic times
Henry Cooke (Stuff): Three senior staffers departing Judith Collins’ office
Claire Trevett (Herald): National MP Todd Muller on a ‘tough period,’ Judith Collins and his return to Parliament (paywalled)

Parliament
Bridie Witton (Stuff): Grant Duncan, the academic behind Stuff-Massey University Election Survey, wins top Australasian award
Piers Fuller (Stuff): Labour MP Kieran McAnulty’s famous old red ute put out to pasture 

Afghanistan
1 News: Families of Afghan interpreters ‘scared and in hiding’
Thomas Manch (Stuff): Desperation grows as Government yet to make decisions on plight of Afghans 
Thomas Coughlan (Herald): David Seymour leads accidental ice cream-centred anti-Taliban protest

Health
Janine Rankin (Stuff): More than one in 10 emergency department patients do not wait
Stuff: Waikato DHB taking ‘cautious approach’ restricting visitors and services

Inequality
Susan St John (Daily Blog): Working for Families isn’t working for poor families
Justin Latif (Local Democracy Reporting): Closing the digital divide requires ‘constant attention’, say education experts

Justice, corrections
Anusha Bradley (RNZ): Judges can be appointed without ever attending an interview
Anusha Bradley (RNZ): Fears more judges presiding over cases of people they know
RNZ: The Detail: When Name Suppression Plays Favourites

Environment, Climate change
Lizzy Carmine (Guardian): New Zealand is not as clean or green as we think – plastic waste is polluting our land
RNZ: NZ criticised for abstention in vote on deepsea mining
Newstalk ZB: Disbelief from National that James Shaw intends to travel to Scotland
Rachael Kelly (Stuff): Water takes on the upper Mataura River are over-allocated
ODT: Mataura River above Gore over-allocated, ES says
Andrew Wilks (Newsroom): Three lockdown lessons for the environment
Maja Burry (RNZ): Invasive seaweed detected on Aotea/Great Barrier Island

Media
Chris Trotter (Daily Blog): Outdated Views? Andrea Vance On Sean Plunket
Gavin Ellis (Knightly Views): Trashing journalists is not in the public interest

LynMall attack
Jane Patterson (RNZ): Anti-terror law back before Parliament today, but faces opposition
Jennifer Foster (Herald): New Zealand should reflect on why it tried to deport the LynnMall terrorist (paywalled)

Education
Julie Bennett (Spinoff): Why improving air quality is key to preventing Covid outbreaks in schools
Daisy Hudson (ODT): OUMSA apologises for offensive jokes

Primary industries
RNZ: Ikea owner buys 5500ha of Otago farmland for forestry
Gianina Schwanecke (Herald): Forestry leaders slam study of impact by Wairoa and Tararua councils (paywalled)
Chloe Ranford (Local Democracy Reporting): Waste ‘footprint’ concern sees NZ King Salmon farm request rejected
Sally Murphy (RNZ): Lack of immigrant workers leaves farmers to rely on family
Sally Rae (ODT): Mother of All Protests on November 21

Local government
Tina Law (Stuff): Council seeks clarity over Government plans to manage three waters debt
Grant Miller (ODT): Gathering thoughts on water a struggle
Mike Yardley (Stuff): Suspend the Three Waters reforms. The numbers look ropey
Brianna Mcilraith (Stuff):New Plymouth District Council to consider feedback over Government’s Three Waters reforms
Paul Mitchell (Stuff): Tararua council working to resolve erosion and resource consent issues with Mangatainoka weir
Hamish McNeilly (Stuff): The council, the killer worm, and the legal stoush
Logan Savory (Stuff): Controversial recycling contract back on table for Invercargill City Council
Rachael Kelly (Stuff): Federated Farmers lays complaint with the Ombudsman over Environment Southland rates increase
Adam Burns (Local Democracy Reporting): ‘My kids work hard’ – Ashburton deputy mayor defends district’s young people
Moana Ellis (Local Democracy Reporting): Whanganui film office set up to boost economy, support local talent
RNZ: Destination Wairarapa stays put
Andrew Marshall (ODT): Dunedin’s heritage buildings receive $763,855 in funding
Andrew Marshall (ODT): Parking tickets earn council a pretty penny
ODT: Responding to public submissions
Craig Ashworth (Local Democracy Reporting): Iwi signs up with South Taranaki council for better relationship

Transport
Dave Armstrong (Stuff): The future is not more parking 
Jake Kenny (Stuff):Campaign for discounted student bus fares in Christchurch gathers pace
Adam Jacobson (Stuff): Auckland light rail: Trackless trams, rapid buses ‘not right’ for CBD to Māngere route
Simon Wilson (Herald):  Government’s really hard call for Auckland light rail (paywalled)

Other
Christina Stringer (Newsroom): Modern slavery: Time for NZ legislation
Melanie Carroll (Stuff): Demand jumps for job applicants who can speak te reo Māori
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Big power users turn up heat on Electricity Authority to deliver lower prices
Liu Chen (RNZ): Auckland single mum loses $200k to scammers posing as Chinese officials
Emma Hatton (RNZ): More supply chain woes as ferry capacity shrinks
RNZ: Man convicted of people trafficking and slavery takes case to Supreme Court
Hamish Rutherford (Herald): America’s Cup defence campaign: Mark Dunphy sees $40m shortfall part filled by more Government cash
Pattrick Smellie (BusinessDesk): America’s Cup: details of the Dunphy deal emerge (paywalled)
Craig Ashworth (Local Democracy Reporting): Cameras set to catch Pukerangiora Pā raiders

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China’s property meltdown – here comes the next external shock to NZ

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10 years ago analysts were warning that China’s largest property investment company, EverGrande, was a basket case of Frankenstein ideology spawned between the Communist Party and the market forces of Chinese Capitalism.

The analysts warned the insane amount of debt wracked up was utterly unsustainable and if it collapsed billions would be lost.

That was 10years ago.

Now EverGrande has $300billion in debt and the implosion is likely to cross a debt black hole threshold and drag China and the globe into an event horizon of recession at a time when Covid is still being fought.

I think if EverGrande implodes it will trigger a mass liquidation of external property holdings and businesses meaning the Chinese investor will dump property assets in the West to shore up the domestic Chinese economy.

We can see this with WasteManagement up for sale now (an asset the Regional Council should buy). If EverGrande spreads expect the contagion to hit property prices hard as a glut of sales extinguish demand.

Expect higher interest rates as house values plummet. Watch how quickly NZ Middle class kindness evaporates when they lose 40% of their fake housing wealth.

This type of economic carnage in the West would suit China’s diplomatic goals in the wake of AUKUS.

I have argued that China’s recent crackdowns on screen times, effeminate men and Chinese Tech Tzars is driven by a paranoid and frightened authoritarian State not the bold moves of an optimistic new SuperPower.

When the economic sugar rush of fake growth passes its first bloom, the dark tyranny of war quickly angers into those hollow promises.

Pandemic + economic strife = war.

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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Outdated Views? Andrea Vance On Sean Plunket

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IT’S ONE OF THOSE throwaway lines which, precisely because so little conscious thought was given to it, tells us so much. The author, Andrea Vance, is an experienced political journalist working for Stuff. The subject of Vance’s throwaway line, Sean Plunket, is an equally experienced journalist. It was in her recent story about Plunket’s soon-to-be-launched online media product “The Platform”, that Vance wrote: “Plunket’s dalliances with controversy make it easy to paint him as a two-dimensional character: a right-wing, shock-jock with outdated views on privilege and race.”

It’s hard to get past those first four words. The picture Vance is painting is of a dilletante: someone who flits from one inconsequential pursuit to another, taking nothing seriously. And, of course, the use of the word “dalliances” only compounds this impression. To “dally” with somebody it to treat them casually, offhandedly – almost as a plaything. Accordingly, a “dalliance” should be seen as the very opposite of a genuine commitment. It smacks of self-indulgence. A cure, perhaps, for boredom?

To dally with controversy, therefore, is to betray a thoroughly feckless character. Controversies are all about passion and commitment. Controversies are taken seriously. Indeed, a controversy is usefully defined as a dispute taken seriously by all sides. And yet, according to Vance, Plunket has only been playing with controversy: trifling with it, as a seducer trifles with the affections of an innocent maid.

In Vance’s eyes, this indifference to matters of genuine and serious concern distinguishes Plunket as a “two-dimensional character”. It reduces him to a cardboard cut-out, a promotional poster, a thing of printer’s ink and pixels – insubstantial. Or, which clearly amounts to the same thing as far as Vance is concerned: “a right-wing, shock-jock with outdated views on privilege and race.” Dear me! The scorn dripping from those words could fill a large spittoon!

As if the holding of right-wing views somehow renders a person less than three-dimensional. As if conservative thinkers from Aristotle to Thomas Hobbes, Edmund Burke to Carl Schmidt haven’t contributed enormously to Western political thought. As if Keith Holyoake, Jim Bolger and Bill English aren’t respected by New Zealanders of all political persuasions for their rough-hewn dignity and love of country. To hold right-wing views isn’t a sickness, It doesn’t make you a bad person. It merely denotes a preference for the familiar; a wariness of the new; and a deep-seated fear of sudden and unmandated change.

As for “shock-jocks”: well, that is the sort of broadcasting talent commercial radio producers are constantly searching for. People of energy and enthusiasm, with a way of communicating both qualities to the radio station’s listeners. And if they also have a talent for decoding the zeitgeist on air: for tapping into the audience’s anger and frustration; and giving voice to their hopes and their fears? Why, then they are worth their weight in gold – and usually get it. The more people a “shock-jock” glues to the station’s frequency, the more the advertisers will be prepared to pay. That’s the business.

Perhaps Vance should have a word with the people who pay her salary: perhaps they could explain where all that money comes from.

The most important words, however, Vance saves for last. What really confirms Plunket’s lack of three dimensions are his “outdated views on privilege and race”. It is with these six words that Vance betrays both herself and her newspaper.

Who says Plunket’s views on privilege and race are “outdated”? According to whose measure? After all, his views on privilege and race correspond closely with those of Dr Martin Luther King. Is Vance asserting that Dr King’s view that people should not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character, is outdated? Is she suggesting that a poor white man has more in the way of privilege than Oprah Winfrey? Or that the privileges which flow from superior economic power and social status count for less than those attached to race, gender and sexuality?

The answer is Yes. Those who declare such views to be “outdated” are, indeed, making all of the claims listed above. This locates them among a relatively narrow section of the population: highly educated; paid well above the average; more than adequately housed; and enjoying all the “privileges” accruing to those who manage the bodies and shape the minds of their fellow citizens.

Andrea Vance is a member of this truly privileged group, and so, at one time, was Sean Plunket. So, why the sneering condescension? Why the scorn? The answer is to be found in the new priorities of the truly privileged; the people who actually run this society. They have determined that their interests are better served by fostering the division and bitterness that is born of identity politics. Rather than see people promote a view of human-beings that unites them in a common quest for justice and equality, they would rather Blacks assailed Whites, women assailed men, gays assailed straights, and trans assailed TERFS. In short, the “One Percent” have decided that their interests are better protected by corporations, universities and the mainstream news media all promoting the ideology of identity politics.

By setting his face against this new “Woke” establishment, Sean Plunket the conservative poses as large a threat to the status quo as Martyn Bradbury the radical. On the one hand stand those who question the necessity and morality of changes now deemed essential by persons no one elected. On the other, those who insist that such divisive policies will produce results diametrically opposed to their promoters’ intentions. Right and Left, joined in an “outdated” search for the common ground that makes rational politics possible. The place where both sides are willing to acknowledge and agree that, in the words of John F. Kennedy:

“[I]n the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

 

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Working for Families isn’t working for poor families

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Chris Trotter reaffirms his deeply cynical views of  a Labour government pandering to its  shallow  voting base ruled by self- interest and ignorance.   He infers that efforts by myself and activist groups like CPAG to highlight the plight of the poor and how to fix it may be worthy but are ultimately pointless. 

Despite this I can’t stop myself writing about something truly enraging that just arrived via a CPAG OIA of more than 90 pages on the Working for Families (WFF) review. I hope my efforts are not completely fruitless.  

What is fundamentally wrong with WFF goes to the heart of Labour’s framing of issues to appeal to its voting base.  According to Chris Trotter this base comprises flighty, disaffected refugees from National; Labour party intellectuals who “inhabit the leafy suburbs” to whom more tax is an anathema; male working-class laborites who don’t want ’handouts to the poor’; and “kind Labour women” who want Labour to talk about poverty so long as they don’t actually do anything. This voting base is donkey deep in neoliberal thinking about the supremacy of paid work. That has not changed for two decades.  

In Australia, tax credits for children are simply about children and their basic needs.  But not here. Oh no, child tax credits have to be tied to getting those feckless sole mothers back into the paid workforce regardless of how many children in her care, how disabled or how young they were, whether she was herself sick or disabled, or whether full time paid work was even a remote possibility.

The long promised WFF review has been conducted under wraps, all discussion and meetings in secret and with no consultation, least of all with those affected.  While we can now see from the OIAs the direction of bureaucratic thinking, between the annoying redactions that is, it does not impress with either its vision or basic logic.

The OIA shows that the original framing is being taken as the starting point for the current review.

The essential inconsistency in these two objectives is not discussed although it is acknowledged that the work incentive aspect has not worked out well.  But neither has the poverty reduction goal.

Make no mistake, WFF has nothing to do with ‘low-income earners’ who do not have children. Of course, this group should be encouraged to retrain and get worthwhile employment. WFF is about children and is not for the young unemployed.

If a payment for children in poverty (ie the In Work Tax Credit IWTC worth $72.50/week or more for larger families) is designed to reduce child poverty, then, by definition, children in poverty who are denied the payment must remain in poverty (to give their parents an incentive).  

Thus for 17 years the numbers of children under the lowest of the low poverty lines (about 170,000) has barely budged. Year after year the MSD has drawn attention to the fact that the WFF made no difference to the levels of child poverty in workless families. But ideologues can’t hear that. They believe, as expressed in Michael Cullen’s memoirs, that WFF was an unqualified success, “reducing child poverty by 30-70% [depending on the measure]” and that those (i.e. CPAG) who say otherwise “misrepresent “and engage in downright falsehoods.”

The confusion of objectives has led to a desperate muddle.  The IWTC is not about rewarding an extra hour of paid work.   Children of parents who work part-time while on a benefit are still deemed unworthy- their parents will have to find a paid job that lifts them out of the benefit system before they qualify for the IWTC. Ironically, if a sole parent got a part time job, the consequent vicious abatement of the core benefit has been a very real and punishing disincentive. 

In 2004 David Craig and I wrote a blistering critique of Working for Families for CPAG called Cut Price Kids calling out this stupidity. Over the years the IWTC has had to be modified as its grotesque unfairness became clear to even the ideologues in Wellington captured by the third way mantra that paid work is the [only] way out of poverty.

In the first Christchurch earthquake, the government allowed parents who lost jobs to keep the IWTC for 16 weeks even when they weren’t working. In the last lockdown, the government removed the unjust rules for the IWTC that required 20 hours of paid work for a sole parent (30 for a couple) to get the IWTC. But government couldn’t let go completely of the paid work requirement, creating a further muddle. Today a parent still has to be off a benefit and provide evidence of some paid work or a wage subsidy to qualify.

Getting rid of fixed hours of paid work took far too long and while it was essential in today’s fragmented and precarious labour market, the fundamental requirement that the parent does not access any kind of benefit remains. As we emerge tentatively from the latest lockdown the true extent of the damage to businesses and livelihoods will become clear. The families in most need who have had to go onto a benefit because they are now so poor will also lose this critical payment that is supposed to protect their children from child poverty.

Oh, and let’s not forget the pathetic attempt to make work pay with Minimum Family Tax Credit (MFTC). A family has to be both off the benefit and meeting fixed hours of work to have their incomes topped by the IRD with this oxymoron of a work incentive.  The MFTC can be a very significant state payment worth more than a part welfare benefit, however as it is paid by the IRD is not called a benefit, therefore the family can have the IWTC too.     As if it couldn’t get more bizarrely convoluted, this ‘work incentive’ MFTC has a 101.3% abatement- so the family makes itself worse off by working more.    

There is much more to say about this promised WFF review that now seems to be on hold. But what needs to happen first is a redefinition of the purpose of this highly important redistributive programme for children.  It should have a single objective – ie “to support income adequacy and reduce child poverty”.   

The design of tax credits should be cognizant of effects on work incentives but not assume a primary role for the tax credits is to provide a work incentive. And WFF must be renamed so that is clear it is about support for our precious tamariki, not about paid work.

The review should be aware of the wide effect on work incentives for the working poor. Because of the muddled policy framing this is never done.  If we care about making work pay, then why do low income parents struggling to get ahead in a hostile business world face such severe work disincentives?  First, student loan repayments at 12% above the low threshold of $20,000. That plus tax, ACC, and KiwiSaver means an effective tax rate of 34.8%. Then, from a gross income of $42,700, the 25% abatement of WFF kicks in, lifting the effective tax rate to 58.8%, rising to 71.3 % above $48,000.  Oh, and for those unfortunate enough to need an accommodation supplement (ie most sole parents)- you can add another 25% to those EMTRS.  

Until the review committee rejects the idea that WFF tax credits for children should themselves operate as a work incentive we will continue to wallow around in this morass.  

To close on a positive note, congratulations to Chris Trotter for his insightful assessment of the Cullen legacy including the failure of Working for Families for the poorest children:

“Who was he? This son of a London artisan who won a scholarship to the upper-class Christ’s College? This radical history lecturer … who was willing to sell Rogernomics to a confused and dismayed Labour Party? This Labour Finance Minister who left state housing underfunded and beneficiaries’ children unassisted by Working For Families?”

  

 

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GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – Kabul war crime Bullsh*t

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Following the Kabul airport suicide bombing. After almost a week and increasing revelations that civilians were killed, in a revenge attack, ordered by US President Joe Biden. Top US General Frank McKenzie came out and confirmed the revelations, and apologised for killing ten innocent Afghanistan civilians including children, claiming it was a mistake.
This is the very first time that the US military have ever apologised for killing civilians in a drone strike.

But Frank McKenzie’s apology was bullshit. It wasn’t a mistake, it was how the US drone program works. According to leaked US Airforce documents 90% of those killed in US drone attacks are civilians. When you are hitting something 90% of the time that is your target.

Pat O’Dea is a unionist and human rights activist.

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Whanganui racetracks sees half a dozen greyhounds injured in one day – SAFE For Animals

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At a racing meet last Wednesday, six dogs were injured at the Whanganui greyhound racing track. Two of the dogs suffered broken legs, with a third suspected. Two of the dogs are undergoing x-rays to confirm.
The last four races of the meeting were eventually abandoned due to poor weather.
SAFE spokesperson Will Appelbe said the Whanganui track has a terrible record.
“It was another shocking day on a dangerous track,” said Appelbe
“It’s appalling that dogs are still suffering from serious injuries and broken bones, essentially for gambling purposes. Any time dogs are raced they are at risk of serious injury and death.”
Racing Minister Grant Robertson recently put the greyhound racing industry formally on notice following the release of the greyhound racing review. In his review, Sir Bruce Robertson reiterated that by its nature, greyhound racing is inherently dangerous. This was a point also made in the 2017 Hansen Report.
“This latest round of injuries is indicative of an industry that puts profit ahead of the welfare of dogs.”
“It’s good to see the Government is taking dog racing seriously by putting the greyhound racing industry on notice. Until they take the next step and ban greyhound racing, dogs like the ones raced in Whanganui will continue to suffer .”
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Helius celebrates female leadership in cannabis sector

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Helius Therapeutics is taking time to reflect on Suffrage Day. On 19 September 1893, New Zealand became the first nation in the world to grant women the right to vote.

Now 128 years on, New Zealand has its third female Prime Minister, and almost half of its Members of Parliament are female. Women leaders are also significantly represented across the business sector, with more playing leading roles in science and healthcare.

The country’s largest licenced medicinal cannabis company, Helius Therapeutics, is no exception. Not only is it New Zealand’s first medicinal cannabis business to gain a GMP Licence to Manufacture Medicines, but Helius is led by chief executive, Carmen Doran.

“Helius values diversity of thinking, backgrounds and experiences. This has led to us building a strong team with a very good gender balance at all levels of the business. What’s more, our sister company, Hale Animal Health, is led by Leila de Koster,” says Ms Doran.

Recent Helius appointments include Joanna Perry MNZM to its board, and Mary Alice Simon as chief operating officer.

With studies showing that women make 80% of all healthcare decisions for their families, Helius is determined to ensure females, or wahine, are a key part New Zealand’s newest health journey which sees local companies about to manufacture medicinal cannabis products.

“Given medicinal cannabis is only available on prescription, doctors are also critical. That workforce too has experienced a big shift in recent years, with new doctors now predominantly female,” she says.

Ms Doran says it’s an exciting time for New Zealand’s newest sector, with opportunities to expand, employ, and export significant.

“All of the industry players are working well together to shape our sector, and yes, we all want to see more women leading the development of medicinal cannabis here in New Zealand. So far, when it comes to gender representation our sector is off to a good start,” she says.

Helius is focused on developing novel therapeutics which are safe and efficacious, with a highly experienced team to deliver. Kiwi patients have long wanted access to both quality and affordable local medicinal cannabis products. In the coming months, their patience will be rewarded.

Suffrage Day comes just days after Helius announced a collaboration with Auckland University of Technology (AUT). It will see Helius working with AUT, researching and developing advanced medicinal cannabis products.

“We are delighted to sponsor three AUT PhD students to work on the next generation of cannabis therapeutics. All three are female, and it wasn’t by design. Rather, all three just happen to be highly talented young women, the perfect fit, and with the R&D passion we need to succeed for patients,” says Ms Doran.

The chief executive of Helius is often called upon to present at industry and healthcare events, and to speak at secondary schools for girls. More recently, this has included speaking to Dunedin’s Columba College Year 12 AgriBusiness class about the medicinal cannabis sector, with the students curious about future opportunities in the new industry.

“We’re definitely seeing a gender switch in the STEM subjects, with more young women taking up science, technology, engineering and maths. Like doctors, more female scientists are now coming through, but New Zealand needs to keep that up,” she says.

Ms Doran is no stranger to science herself. As well as a Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering and a degree in Mechanical Engineering, she has 15 years’ experience in the global pharmaceuticals and animal health industries.

“Just as Helius is now building an R&D pipeline to deliver new and exciting therapeutics, New Zealand needs to build pipelines of talent, starting in our primary schools. That is how we will keep moving the dial,” she says.

Last year Helius announced it was launching a second innovative business: New Zealand’s first medicinal cannabis company for animal health.

The establishment of Hale Animal Health was driven by Leila de Koster, the company’s co-founder and managing director. This business operates alongside Helius Therapeutics at its East Auckland headquarters.

“Hale now has premium supplement products on the market, all made from natural ingredients. Next, we will move to delivering cannabis focused products, including clinically proven animal medicines. It sure is an exciting and fast-moving sector,” says Ms de Koster.

For Carmen Doran, diversity and inclusion encompass diversity of thinking and experiences.

“At Helius, we’re bringing people together with many varying backgrounds from cannabinoid manufacturing and research to pharmaceutical systems and commerce. Diversity and inclusiveness are how we will deliver the most innovative solutions for Kiwi patients and beyond,” she says.

Helius Therapeutics is the foundation sponsor of MedCan Summit 2022, which will take place on 10 and 11 February next year at the Cordis hotel in Auckland.

www.helius.co.nz

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Political Caption Competition

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ACT explains to beaten down National voters why they should vote for David Seymour

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