More race-based spending on education and job training but Govt’s vaccine plan aims to ensure we will all get our shots eventually

Our Beehive Bulletin

More information about the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out plan emerged from the Beehive today along with announcements of the Government’s further ventures into positive discrimination, which means funding will be doled out or privileges granted on the basis of the beneficiary’s race.

Associate Minister of Education Aupito William Sio could not disguise his delight as he issued invitations to sup (or slurp) from a trough in his bailiwick.

“It’s great to make available another 12 million dollars to  communities, providers and educators looking to develop solutions for Pacific learners and families through the Pacific Education Support Fund and Innovation Funds. I am excited that already more than 330 applications totalling 23.3 million were applied for last year and it looks like the next round will be just as big.

“I encourage our Pacific providers, community based-organisations, churches, schools, families and groups to submit applications for round two funding to support the needs of our aiga and their families.” Continue reading “More race-based spending on education and job training but Govt’s vaccine plan aims to ensure we will all get our shots eventually”

Vaccines for all are promised by the PM (which means the anti-vaxxers can change their minds) under NZ’s deal with Pfizer

Having taken care of International Women’s Day with Beehive announcements early yesterday and children the previous day, the government refocused on Covid-19 and the wellbeing of all of us.

It has established an advisory group to help keep Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins  on top of his game  – and to review the consequences of past reviews – and the PM  has guaranteed that every New Zealander will have access to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, after securing an additional 8.5 million doses. Hurrah.

Covid-19 came into considerations, too, when the government announced its intention to legislate to steer funding into support services for mariners.  This involves the collecting and directing of levies.

The only other Beehive announcement since we last reported is that candidates working towards becoming part of a specialist rapid emergency response team are being put through their paces at an intensive 13-day training course, attended by Minister for Emergency Management Kiri Allan.

The Emergency Management Assistance Team is a squad of specially trained emergency managers who can go wherever needed at very short notice to assist and support local teams to manage emergencies across all hazards and risks. Continue reading “Vaccines for all are promised by the PM (which means the anti-vaxxers can change their minds) under NZ’s deal with Pfizer”

New law will ease the supply of state aid to firms floundering in lockdown – another funding option is to produce propaganda

LATEST FROM THE BEEHIVE

Uh, oh.  More urgency is afoot in the law-making department.

But the latest one is not as egregious as the urgency given to the passage of legislation to facilitate the introduction of Maori wards in local government.

Legislation will be introduced under urgency today to set up a new Resurgence Support Payment for businesses affected by any resurgence of COVID-19.

There has been a resurgence of COVID-19.  There no longer is an issue around the under-representation of Maori on local authorities (although the facts are scandalously ignored by leftie MPs who parrot canards to the contrary).

The Resurgence Support Payment for businesses scheme was announced in December.

The government aims to reduce the time over which a revenue drop is assessed from 14 days to seven.

Among other new announcements from the Beehive:

  • Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor has congratulated Nigeria’s Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her “ground-breaking” selection as the next Director General of the World Trade Organisation.
  • From 1 April, people getting a benefit will be able to earn more through work before their benefit payments are affected. Around 82,900 low-income people and families will be better off by $18 a week on average.
  • The first batch of COVID-19 vaccine – around 60,000 doses – arrived as airfreight at Auckland International Airport yesterday.

With regard to the legislation to be given urgency, Robertson explained:

“We acknowledge the concerns of the business community about Alert Level rises and have made this change as we want to get money out the door quickly to affected businesses.”

Firms that experience a 30 per cent drop in revenue over a seven-day period will be eligible. The payment would include a core per business rate of $1500 plus $400 per employee up to a total of 50 FTEs ($21,500).

This payment recognises that some businesses face one-off costs or impacts to cashflow when the government stepped up an Alert Level to follow public health advice. The payment is structured to provide most support to smaller firms who are most likely to face cashflow issues but will be available to all businesses and sole traders.

“A decision on whether this support will come into effect will be made if there is an extension to the seventy-two hour increase in alert levels announced on Sunday night. If it does come into effect it will cover the initial 72 hour Alert Level rise as well,” Grant Robertson said.

The Government has a package of support available, in addition to this payment, including:

  • A new ShortTerm Absence Payment to cover eligible workers needing to stay at home while awaiting a COVID19 test result. This is a one-off payment of $350 to employers to pay workers who need to stay home while awaiting a test or while someone who is their dependent is doing so, in accordance with public health advice. Further information about this payment is available on the MSD website.
  • The Leave Support Scheme helps businesses to help pay workers (including selfemployed) told to self-isolate because of COVID-19. It’s paid as a lump sum and covers two weeks per eligible employee at the rates of $585.80 for each employee working 20 hours or more a week and $350 for each employee working less than 20 hours a week. Information is available here.
  • The Wage Subsidy Scheme will also be available nationally when there’s a regional or national move to Alert Levels three and four for a period of seven days. The support will be provided in two weekly payments for the duration of the alert level period, rounded to the nearest fortnight.  The Wage Subsidy Scheme has been very effective in keeping people in work so far with more than $14 billion paid out to protect 1.8 million jobs.

Other support includes the enhanced loan products Business Finance Guarantee Scheme, which is available to June 2021 and Small Business Cashflow Scheme.

More information can be found on the COVID-19 website: https://covid19.govt.nz/

And if you can’t get the money you need from those sources, you can always shut up shop as a business and turn to the art of propaganda.  Creative NZ is a generous funder, as the Taxpayers Union pointed out today after a play, named “Transmission”, received a $57,000 grant.  According to co-director Miranda Harcourt,

It is a verbatim stage-show drawn from our interviews with NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Finance Minister Grant Robertson & leading epidemiologist Michael Baker around last year’s decision to lock down NZ in response to Covid-19 & its targeted elimination. It is a behind the scenes glimpse into how these remarkable people were thinking and feeling at the time. And into the life events that have shaped them as leaders.

Taxpayers Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says our  playwrights are welcome to produce obsequious propaganda, but taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to fund it.

He reckons this reeks of  a state-supported cult of personality that you’d expect in Kazakhstan or North Korea, not an egalitarian society like New Zealand.

He also notes that Creative NZ has previously handed out grants to commission poems on Newsroom attacking centre-right politicians, and opinion pieces on soft-socialist blogsite The Spinoff agitating for the Government’s Māori wards legislation. He is sure we have yet to see Creative NZ fund a single project that doesn’t fit “its politically correct, Wellington-centric, left-wing world view.”

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Covid-19 drug trials: Remdesivir shows promise in treatment of patients in US

As  the world  awaits  the  development of  a  vaccine  for  the  novel coronavirus causing Covid-19,  reports   in the past week   of  successful  treatment of severely ill patients at  a Chicago  hospital  with the antiviral  medicine  Remdesivir   were headlined in the US  and  caused a bounce on global sharemarkets.

Remdesivir was one of the first medicines identified  in lab tests as having the potential to impact SARS-CoV-2.  Results from US  biotechnology firm Gilead  Science’s  clinical trials  have been  eagerly  expected  as the  world looks for  positive outcomes which could  lead to fast approvals by the Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies.

If safe and effective, it could become the first approved treatment against the disease.

The University of Chicago Medicine recruited 125 people with Covid-19 into Gilead’s two Phase 3 clinical trials.  Of those people, 113 had severe disease.

All the patients have been treated with daily infusions of Remdesivir. Rapid recoveries were  observed in fever and respiratory symptoms, with nearly all patients discharged in less than a week, Continue reading “Covid-19 drug trials: Remdesivir shows promise in treatment of patients in US”

Here’s hoping Big Pharma come up quickly with something to beat Covid-19

Stuff’s  headline   ran “Vaccine  hopes  push sharemarket   higher”.

An  intriguing  one,  and sure  enough  Wall St had  rallied  on  news  the   drug  giant  Johnson & Johnson had   reported it  expects to begin human clinical tests  on a  vaccine  candidate  for  Covid-19  by  September.

Point  of Order  went in search  of  other  international  developments  being reported in the battle against  the Covid-19 pandemic.

In  the  UK,  the BBC reported  a breathing aid that can help keep coronavirus patients out of intensive care has been created in under a week.  University College London engineers worked with clinicians at UCLH and Mercedes Formula One to build the device, which delivers oxygen to the lungs without needing a ventilator.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices are already used in hospitals but are in short supply. China and Italy used them to help Covid-19 patients.

The  BBC   said  40 of the new devices have been delivered to ULCH and to three other London hospitals. If trials go well, up  to 1,000 of the CPAP machines can be produced per day by Mercedes-AMG-HPP, beginning in a week’.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK has already given its approval for their use. Continue reading “Here’s hoping Big Pharma come up quickly with something to beat Covid-19”