Auckland lockdown is extended – but the Govt’s only press statement is about wage subsidies (and it’s short on detail)

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Yes,  we all now know Auckland must spend another fortnight at level 3 lockdown while the rest of New Zealand continues under level-2 restrictions.

Until 11:59pm on August 26 Aucklanders are expected to stay home in a bid to stamp out what has been identified as a new strain of Covid-19.

According to the New Zealand Herald:

“Ardern said the alternative to a longer lockdown could have led to a “potential explosion in cases” and would be the worst thing for Auckland and the wider New Zealand economy.

“She also revealed some new information about the Auckland cluster – it was made up of a new strain of Covid-19, not seen in the country’s first wave.

“This means that Covid-19 has not been lying dormant in the community since the last outbreak.

“Ardern said this discovery showed Covid was not a “burning ember in our community – it appears to be new to New Zealand.”

But when Point of Order paid its daily visit to the Beehive website to learn from primary sources what’s up in the war on Covid-19, we could find no written  statement from the PM.  What she had to say is contained – according to our search – in a video recording to the PM’s media conference at 5.30pm.  Continue reading “Auckland lockdown is extended – but the Govt’s only press statement is about wage subsidies (and it’s short on detail)”

Taumarunui looks more alluring, now the housing shortage has been tackled – but don’t fall ill there

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Cabinet’s preoccupation with the re-emergence of Covid-19 in the community – we suppose – explains why there has been a lack of pronouncements from the Beehive over the past day or two.

We found only three new posts on the Beehive website since we last reported.  The  Deputy PM released two of them.

The other announced government help to deal with the housing shortage in Taumarunui.

Taumarunui?  A housing shortage?

We went looking for media reports to give us an idea of the extent of it.

True, our googling was somewhat cursory.  But we learned only that a Taumarunui landlord in September last year had been ordered to pay almost $6000 to tenants from two separate tenancies after evicting them both when they complained about mould and a woman was being evicted from her Taumarunui home in January after illegally renting out the garage to a man who allegedly had frequent visits from gang members.

More to the point of the wellbeing of the good people of Taumarunui,  we learned that getting medical treatment might be more challenging than finding a home.

A retired doctor said people in Taumarunui were waiting three or four weeks to see a GP.  Continue reading “Taumarunui looks more alluring, now the housing shortage has been tackled – but don’t fall ill there”

Billions are injected into developing a Covid-19 vaccine – here’s hoping NZ can secure a supply when it is produced

New  Zealanders are still  reeling from  the  shock   they  didn’t  succeed  in  suppressing Covid-19, let  alone  eliminate it.   Having  convinced  themselves  after  100  days  without  community transmission that economic recovery, too, was  moving ahead,  the  stern  reality  is  the  country  faces  new  challenges.

These   challenges  may  not  be  overcome until  a  vaccine  becomes   available.  But news that  Vladimir Putin   claims   Russia  is the  first  nation  to produce  an  effective  vaccine   should not inspire  confidence  of such a  vaccine becoming available  any times  soon.

The  problem   is that whenever  a  safe and  effective  vaccine  is  on  the  global  market,  NZ  may well be  far down  the  queue   to  receive   it.  This may  compound   the  economic  hardship  for  NZ,  as  we will be late back into  the  international  tourism  market. Continue reading “Billions are injected into developing a Covid-19 vaccine – here’s hoping NZ can secure a supply when it is produced”

When the Greens press party leaders to continue commitment to science, we wonder if they include themselves

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We drew a blank, when we paid our morning visit to the Beehive website.  Nothing had been posted since Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced the Government’s plans to phase out more single-use and problem plastics to reduce waste and protect the environment.

Hmm.  Let’s check our email in-tray.

This contained advice about the PM’s next media conference – in tandem with the DG of Health – on the virus thing that has thrown politics and politicking into a bit of a tizz. The conference is at 1pm today.

Our email also brought statements (all Covid-related) headed  – Continue reading “When the Greens press party leaders to continue commitment to science, we wonder if they include themselves”

The Govt goes gunning (again) for Covid-19 – but Sage is stepping up the war on plastics, too

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While the PM has declared a renewal of the war against Covid-19 and activated the government’s resurgence plan (watch this space for more), the Greens’ Eugenie Sage is stepping up the war on plastics.

The phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags had been successful, she declared. The Government now has plans to phase out more single-use and problem plastics to reduce waste and protect the environment.

The proposals are part of a consultation document ‘Reducing the impact of plastic on our environment’ launched today. This opened public consultation (until 4 November) on measures to to phase out –

  • some hard-to-recycle PVC and polystyrene packaging and oxo-degradable plastic products
  • seven single-use plastic items, including plastic straws, drink stirrers, produce bags, tableware (e.g. plastic plates, bowls, cutlery) and non-compostable fruit stickers.

Continue reading “The Govt goes gunning (again) for Covid-19 – but Sage is stepping up the war on plastics, too”

John Bolton’s White House memoir requires conservatives to do some thinking

John Bolton’s book on his time as Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser – The Room Where it Happened –  is worth reading.  His forensic training means he sets out clearly his own actions and their motivations.  His recording of the responses of others appears scrupulous, albeit disputed. Failings of omission or judgement in the record seem more probable than failings of accuracy. Continue reading “John Bolton’s White House memoir requires conservatives to do some thinking”

ANZ Truckometer points to an economy humming along at an encouraging pace

NZ’s  domestic  economy is  tracking  much  better  than  many predicted, as  it  adjusts  to  something closer to normality   after  the Covid-19  lockdown.  Just  how  well  may  emerge   when  the  Reserve Bank  delivers its  verdict  this  week on  whether   there is  any  need for  new  monetary  policy  moves.

Bank  economists  are  divided  on   the  issue:   some  argue   it  needs  to apply  more  stimulus  through  its  quantitative  easing programme,  others   that  because  the  economy is  doing better than  anyone expected,  there is  no  compelling reason  to  lift the cap  on QE  just yet.

The  most recent  data  on  how the  economy  is  performing  came    from  the  ANZ’s Truckometer,  which   underlines  how  NZ   is  back in business.

ANZ  chief  economist  Sharon  Zollner  reported the Light Traffic Index lifted 5.6% in July, while the Heavy Traffic rose 2.7%.

Light traffic in the month of July was 9.5% higher than the same month the previous year while heavy traffic is up 10.2% on year-ago levels. Continue reading “ANZ Truckometer points to an economy humming along at an encouraging pace”

Booking the Cooks – taking a holiday in a Pacific islands bubble has become a question of when

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It’s been a quiet day in the Beehive with nothing particularly potent to emerge – in terms of lifting our general wellbeing – than the news we may soon be able to holiday in the Cook Islands.

The PM’s press statement kicked off with the revelation that she and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Henry Puna, have welcomed the completion of phase one in the establishment of a travel bubble between New Zealand and the Cook Island.

Great – but when can we take our holiday there?

The answer was to be found a few paragraphs down the press statement and was a master of vagueness:

Both Governments are hoping to have a travel bubble in place before the end of the year, and as soon as it can be safely achieved. Continue reading “Booking the Cooks – taking a holiday in a Pacific islands bubble has become a question of when”

Scientists and their microscopes have a place in Govt programmes – but a Māori world view will help monitor the mauri

It looks like science has come off second best in government considerations during the development of Te Mana o te Taiao, the Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy, which envisions New Zealand as a place where ecosystems are healthy and resilient, and people embrace the natural world.

The press statement announcing the strategy says the Science Reference Group provided information that underpins many of the key decisions about the way forward for prioritising the recovery of biodiversity. But it also says:

The Te Ao Māori Reference Group was responsible for getting a Māori world view to form the basis of the strategy structure.

We should not be surprised.  Politicians in recent years have striven or been pressed to ensure a Māori world view is more firmly accommodated in governance and decision-making, including the development of New Zealand’s algorithms charter.

In mathematics and computer science (according to Wikipedia), an algorithm is a finite sequence of well-defined, computer-implementable instructions, typically to solve a class of problems or to perform a computation.

“Algorithms are always unambiguous and are used as specifications for performing calculations, data processing, automated reasoning, and other tasks.” 

But in this country, te ao concepts must be incorporated in the rules that will govern the preparation of algorithms. Continue reading “Scientists and their microscopes have a place in Govt programmes – but a Māori world view will help monitor the mauri”

Northland doesn’t reject the millions Jones brings to his home patch – but polls suggests it will reject him

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Here’s hoping the hundreds of millions of dollars pumped into Northland from the Provincial Growth Fund and other government programmes do much more to promote the region’s economic and social wellbeing than they are doing to enhance Shane Jones’ election prospects.

He is bound to be disappointed.  Besides channelling substantial loans and grants into his home patch, Jones has staunchly championed the region in other ways – by promoting the proposal to move Auckland’s port to Whangarei, for example.

But a new Q+A/Colmar Brunton poll suggests Jones is running a distant-third behind the incumbent National MP Matt King and Labour’s Willow-Jean Prime.  It showed King on 46 per cent support for the seat vote, Prime on 31 per cent, and Jones on 15 per cent.

Labour was ahead in the party vote within the electorate at 41 per cent, with National not far behind at 38 per cent, ACT next at 8 per cent, and NZ First at 7 per cent.

How much more money (we wonder) would make Jones a shoo-in? Continue reading “Northland doesn’t reject the millions Jones brings to his home patch – but polls suggests it will reject him”