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Hurry up and slow down! OPINION: We have good friends from way back who had lived in one of our major cities for many years. Talking rural health As the National Rural Health Conference 2024 approaches, Fiona Bolden, chair of Hauora Taiwhenua, and Grant Davidson, chief executive of… Editorial: Passage to India OPINION: Even before the National-led coalition came into power, India was very much at the fore of its trade agenda.

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One dead after serious crash near Blenheim

One person has died following a serious three-vehicle crash which closed State Highway 6 near Blenheim this afternoon. Police said they were called to the crash at Okaramio, between Leslies Rd and Mt Riley Rd, at 2:28pm. One person died at the scene and two others sustained multiple injuries. The Serious Crash Unit attended and inquiries into the circumstances of the crash are ongoing. Motorists are advised to avoid the area and expect delays. Police would also like to speak to anyone who witnessed the crash, or saw an olive-coloured Nissan Maxima travelling along State Highway 6 between 2pm and the time of the crash. — contact 105 by phone or online at 105.police.govt.nz, using “Update report”, and reference event number P058280167

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Open mike 17/03/2024

Peters holds his ground on co-governance, but Willis wriggles on those tax cuts and SNA suspension l…Buzz from the Beehive Here’s hoping for a lively post-cabinet press conference when the PM and – perhaps – some of his ministers tell us what was discussed at their meeting today. Until then, Point of Order has precious little Beehive news to report after its latest monitoring of the … Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin7 mins ago Labour’s final report cardDavid Farrar writes – We now have almost all 2023 data in, which has allowed me to update my annual table of how labour went against its promises. This is basically their final report card. The promise The result Build 100,000 affordable homes over 10 … Point of OrderBy poonzteam54433 hours ago “Drunk Uncle at a Wedding”I’m a bit worried that I’ve started a previous newsletter with the words “just when you think they couldn’t get any worse…” Seems lately that I could begin pretty much every issue with that opening. Such is the nature of our coalition government that they seem to be outdoing each … Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel3 hours ago Wang Yi’s perfectly-timed, Aukus-themed visit to New ZealandGeoffrey Miller writes – Timing is everything. And from China’s perspective, this week’s visit by its foreign minister to New Zealand could be coming at just the right moment. The visit by Wang Yi to Wellington will be his first since 2017. Anniversaries are important to Beijing. … Point of OrderBy poonzteam54433 hours ago Gordon Campbell on Dune 2, and images of IslamDepictions of Islam in Western popular culture have rarely been positive, even before 9/11. Five years on from the mosque shootings, this is one of the cultural headwinds that the Muslim community has to battle against. Whatever messages of tolerance and inclusion are offered in daylight, much of our culture … Gordon CampbellBy lyndon4 hours ago New Rail Operations Centre Promises Better Train ServicesLast week Transport Minster Simeon Brown and Mayor Wayne Brown opened the new Auckland Rail Operations Centre. The new train control centre will see teams from KiwiRail, Auckland Transport and Auckland One Rail working more closely together to improve train services across the city. The Auckland Rail Operations Centre in … Greater AucklandBy Matt L6 hours ago Bernard’s six newsy things at 6.36am on Monday, March 18Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Retiring former Labour Finance Minister Grant Robertson said in an exit interview with Q+A yesterday the Government can and should sustain more debt to invest in infrastructure for future generations. Elsewhere in the news in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy at 6:36am: Read more … The KakaBy Bernard Hickey8 hours ago Geoffrey Miller: Wang Yi’s perfectly-timed, Aukus-themed visit to New ZealandTiming is everything. And from China’s perspective, this week’s visit by its foreign minister to New Zealand could be coming at just the right moment. The visit by Wang Yi to Wellington will be his first since 2017. Anniversaries are important to Beijing. It is more than just a happy … Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller8 hours ago The Kaka’s diary for the week to March 25 and beyondTL;DR: The key events to watch in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy in the week to March 18 include:China’s Foreign Minister visiting Wellington today;A post-cabinet news conference this afternoon; the resumption of Parliament on Tuesday for two weeks before Easter;retiring former Labour Finance Minister Grant Robertson gives his valedictory speech in Parliament; … The KakaBy Bernard Hickey8 hours ago Bitter and angry; Winston FirstNew Zealand First Leader Winston Peters’s state-of-the-nation speech on Sunday was really a state-of-Winston-First speech. He barely mentioned any of the Government’s key policies and could not even wholly endorse its signature income tax cuts. Instead, he rehearsed all of his complaints about the Ardern Government, including an extraordinary claim … PolitikBy Richard Harman9 hours ago 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #11A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, March 10, 2024 thru Sat, March 16, 2024. Story of the week This week we’ll give you a little glimpse into how we collect links to share and … Skeptical Science10 hours ago 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #11A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, March 10, 2024 thru Sat, March 16, 2024. Story of the week This week we’ll give you a little glimpse into how we collect links to share and … Skeptical Science10 hours ago Out of Touch.“I’ve been internalising a really complicated situation in my head.”When they kept telling us we should wait until we get to know him, were they taking the piss? Was it a case of, if you think this is bad, wait till you get to know the real Christopher, after the … Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel1 day ago Bring out your DadHappy fourth anniversary, Pandemic That Upended Bloody Everything. I have been observing it by enjoying my second bout of COVID. It’s 5.30 on Sunday morning and only now are lights turning back on for me.Allow me to copy and paste what I told reader Sara yesterday:Depleted, fogged and crappy. Resting, … More Than A FeildingBy David Slack1 day ago Bring out your DadHappy fourth anniversary, Pandemic That Upended Bloody Everything. I have been observing it by enjoying my second bout of COVID. It’s 5.30 on Sunday morning and only now are lights turning back on for me.Allow me to copy and paste what I told reader Sara yesterday:Depleted, fogged and crappy. Resting, … More Than A FeildingBy David Slack1 day ago Bring out your DadHappy fourth anniversary, Pandemic That Upended Bloody Everything. I have been observing it by enjoying my second bout of COVID. It’s 5.30 on Sunday morning and only now are lights turning back on for me.Allow me to copy and paste what I told reader Sara yesterday:Depleted, fogged and crappy. Resting, … More Than A FeildingBy David Slack1 day ago The bewildering world of Chris Luxon – Guns for all, not no lunch for kids.“$10 and a target that bleeds” – Bleeding Targets for Under $10!.Thanks for reading Frankly Speaking ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.This government appears hell-bent on either scrapping life-saving legislation or reintroducing things that – frustrated critics insist – will be dangerous and likely … Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy2 days ago Expert Opinion: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.“It hardly strikes me as fair to criticise a government for doing exactly what it said it was going to do. For actually keeping its promises.”THUNDER WAS PLAYING TAG with lightning flashes amongst the distant peaks. Its rolling cadences interrupted by the here-I-come-here-I-go Doppler effect of the occasional passing car. … Bowalley Road2 days ago Manufacturing The Truth.Subversive & Disruptive Technologies: Just as happened with that other great regulator of the masses, the Medieval Church, the advent of a new and hard-to-control technology – the Internet – is weakening the ties that bind. Then, and now, those who enjoy a monopoly on the dissemination of lies, cannot and will … Bowalley Road2 days ago A Powerful Sensation of Déjà Vu.Been Here Before: To find the precedents for what this Coalition Government is proposing, it is necessary to return to the “glory days” of Muldoonism.THE COALITION GOVERNMENT has celebrated its first 100 days in office by checking-off the last of its listed commitments. It remains, however, an angry government. It … Bowalley Road2 days ago Can you guess where world attention is focussed (according to Greenpeace)? It’s focussed on an EPA…Bob Edlin writes – And what is the world watching today…? The email newsletter from Associated Press which landed in our mailbox early this morning advised: In the news today: The father of a school shooter has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter; prosecutors in Trump’s hush-money case … Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin2 days ago Further integrity problems for the Greens in suspending MP Darleen TanaBryce Edwards writes – Is another Green MP on their way out? And are the Greens severely tarnished by another integrity scandal? For the second time in three months, the Green Party has secretly suspended an MP over integrity issues. Mystery is surrounding the party’s decision to … Point of OrderBy poonzteam54432 days ago Jacqui Van Der Kaay: Greens’ transparency missing in actionFor the last few years, the Green Party has been the party that has managed to avoid the plague of multiple scandals that have beleaguered other political parties. It appears that their luck has run out with a second scandal which, unfortunately for them, coincided with Golraz Ghahraman, the focus … Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards2 days ago Bernard’s Dawn Chorus with six newsey things at 6:46am for Saturday, March 16TL;DR: The six newsey things that stood out to me as of 6:46am on Saturday, March 16.Andy Foster has accidentally allowed a Labour/Green amendment to cut road user chargers for plug-in hybrid vehicles, which the Government might accept; NZ Herald Thomas Coughlan Simeon Brown has rejected a plea from Westport … The KakaBy Bernard Hickey2 days ago How Did FTX Crash?What seemed a booming success a couple of years ago has collapsed into fraud convictions.I looked at the crash of FTX (short for ‘Futures Exchange’) in November 2022 to see whether it would impact on the financial system as a whole. Fortunately there was barely a ripple, probably because it … PunditBy Brian Easton3 days ago Elections in Russia and UkraineAnybody following the situation in Ukraine and Russia would probably have been amused by a recent Tweet on X NATO seems to be putting in an awful lot of effort to influence what is, at least according to them, a sham election in an autocracy.When do the Ukrainians go to … Open ParachuteBy Ken3 days ago Bernard’s six stack of substacks at 6pm on March 15TL;DR: Shaun Baker on Wynyard Quarter’s transformation. Magdalene Taylor on the problem with smart phones. How private equity are now all over reinsurance. Dylan Cleaver on rugby and CTE. Emily Atkin on ‘Big Meat’ looking like ‘Big Oil’.Bernard’s six-stack of substacks at 6pm on March 15Photo by Jeppe Hove Jensen … The KakaBy Bernard Hickey3 days ago Buzz from the Beehive Finance Minister Nicola Willis had plenty to say when addressing the Auckland Business Chamber on the economic growth that (she tells us) is flagging more than we thought. But the government intends to put new life into it: We want our country to be a … Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin3 days ago National’s clean car tax advancesThe Transport and Infrastructure Committee has reported back on the Road User Charges (Light Electric RUC Vehicles) Amendment Bill, basicly rubberstamping it. While there was widespread support among submitters for the principle that EV and PHEV drivers should pay their fair share for the roads, they also overwhelmingly disagreed with … No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant3 days ago Government funding bailoutsPeter Dunne writes – This week’s government bailout – the fifth in the last eighteen months – of the financially troubled Ruapehu Alpine Lifts company would have pleased many in the central North Island ski industry. The government’s stated rationale for the $7 million funding was that it … Point of OrderBy poonzteam54433 days ago Two offenders, different treatments.See if you can spot the difference. An Iranian born female MP from a progressive party is accused of serial shoplifting. Her name is leaked to the media, which goes into a pack frenzy even before the Police launch an … Continue reading → … KiwipoliticoBy Pablo3 days ago Treaty references omittedEle Ludemann writes – The government is omitting general Treaty references from legislation : The growth of Treaty of Waitangi clauses in legislation caused so much worry that a special oversight group was set up by the last Government in a bid to get greater coherence in the public service on Treaty … Point of OrderBy poonzteam54433 days ago The Ghahraman ConflictWhat was that judge thinking? Peter Williams writes – That Golriz Ghahraman and District Court Judge Maria Pecotic were once lawyer colleagues is incontrovertible. There is published evidence that they took at least one case to the Court of Appeal together. There was a report on … Point of OrderBy poonzteam54433 days ago Bernard’s Top 10 @ 10 ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ for March 15TL;DR: My top 10 news and analysis links this morning include:Today’s must-read: Climate Scorpion – the sting is in the tail. Introducing planetary solvency. A paper via the University of Exeter’s Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.Local scoop: Kāinga Ora starts pulling out of its Auckland projects and selling land RNZ … The KakaBy Bernard Hickey3 days ago The day Wellington up-zoned its futureWellington’s massively upzoned District Plan adds the opportunity for tens of thousands of new homes not just in the central city (such as these Webb St new builds) but also close to the CBD and public transport links. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Wellington gave itself the chance of … The KakaBy Bernard Hickey3 days ago Weekly Roundup 15-March-2024It’s Friday and we’re halfway through March Madness. Here’s some of the things that caught our attention this week. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday Matt asked how we can get better event trains and an option for grade separating Morningside Dr. On Tuesday Matt looked into … Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland3 days ago That Word.Something you might not know about me is that I’m quite a stubborn person. No, really. I don’t much care for criticism I think’s unfair or that I disagree with. Few of us do I suppose.Back when I was a drinker I’d sometimes respond defensively, even angrily. There are things … Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel3 days ago The Hoon around the week to March 15Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The five things that mattered in Aotearoa’s political economy that we wrote and spoke about via The Kākā and elsewhere for paying subscribers in the last week included:PM Christopher Luxon said the reversal of interest deductibility for landlords was done to help renters, who … The KakaBy Bernard Hickey3 days ago Labour’s policy gapIt was not so much the Labour Party but really the Chris Hipkins party yesterday at Labour’s caucus retreat in Martinborough. The former Prime Minister was more or less consistent on wealth tax, which he was at best equivocal about, and social insurance, which he was not willing to revisit. … PolitikBy Richard Harman3 days ago Skeptical Science New Research for Week #11 2024Open access notables A Glimpse into the Future: The 2023 Ocean Temperature and Sea Ice Extremes in the Context of Longer-Term Climate Change, Kuhlbrodt et al., Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society: In the year 2023, we have seen extraordinary extrema in high sea surface temperature (SST) in the North Atlantic and in … Skeptical Science4 days ago Melissa remains mute on media matters but has something to say (at a sporting event) about economic … Buzz from the Beehive The text reproduced above appears on a page which records all the media statements and speeches posted on the government’s official website by Melissa Lee as Minister of Media and Communications and/or by Jenny Marcroft, her Parliamentary Under-secretary. It can be quickly analysed … Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin4 days ago The return of MuldoonFor forty years, Robert Muldoon has been a dirty word in our politics. His style of government was so repulsive and authoritarian that the backlash to it helped set and entrench our constitutional norms. His pig-headedness over forcing through Think Big eventually gave us the RMA, with its participation and … No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant4 days ago Will the rental tax cut improve life for renters or landlords?Bryce Edwards writes – Is the new government reducing tax on rental properties to benefit landlords or to cut the cost of rents? That’s the big question this week, after Associate Finance Minister David Seymour announced on Sunday that the Government would be reversing the Labour Government’s removal … Point of OrderBy poonzteam54434 days ago Geoffrey Miller: What Saudi Arabia’s rapid changes mean for New ZealandSaudi Arabia is rarely far from the international spotlight. The war in Gaza has brought new scrutiny to Saudi plans to normalise relations with Israel, while the fifth anniversary of the controversial killing of Jamal Khashoggi was marked shortly before the war began on October 7. And as the home … Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller4 days ago Racism’s double standardsQuestions need to be asked on both sides of the world Peter Williams writes – The NRL Judiciary hands down an eight week suspension to Sydney Roosters forward Spencer Leniu , an Auckland-born Samoan, after he calls Ezra Mam, Sydney-orn but of Aboriginal and Torres Strait … Point of OrderBy poonzteam54434 days ago It’s not a tax breakEle Ludemann writes – Contrary to what many headlines and news stories are saying, residential landlords are not getting a tax break. The government is simply restoring to them the tax deductibility of interest they had until the previous government removed it. There is no logical reason … Point of OrderBy poonzteam54434 days ago The Plastic Pig Collective and Chris’ Imaginary Friends.I can’t remember when it was goodMoments of happiness in bloomMaybe I just misunderstoodAll of the love we left behindWatching our flashbacks intertwineMemories I will never findIn spite of whatever you becomeForget that reckless thing turned onI think our lives have just begunI think our lives have just begunDoes anyone … Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel4 days ago Who is responsible for young offenders?Michael Bassett writes – At first reading, a front-page story in the New Zealand Herald on 13 March was bizarre. A group of severely intellectually limited teenagers, with little understanding of the law, have been pleading to the Justice Select Committee not to pass a bill dealing with ram … Point of OrderBy poonzteam54434 days ago Gordon Campbell on National’s fantasy trip to La La Landlord LandHow much political capital is Christopher Luxon willing to burn through in order to deliver his $2.9 billion gift to landlords? Evidently, Luxon is: (a) unable to cost the policy accurately. As Anna Burns-Francis pointed out to him on Breakfast TV, the original ”rock solid” $2.1 billion cost he was … Gordon CampbellBy lyndon4 days ago Bernard’s Top 10 @ 10 ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ for March 14TL;DR: My top 10 news and analysis links this morning include:Today’s must-read: Jonathon Porritt calling bullshit in his own blog post on mainstream climate science as ‘The New Denialism’.Local scoop: The Wellington City Council’s list of proposed changes to the IHP recommendations to be debated later today was leaked this … The KakaBy Bernard Hickey4 days ago No, Prime Minister, rents don’t rise or fall with landlords’ costsTL;DR: Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said yesterday tenants should be grateful for the reinstatement of interest deductibility because landlords would pass on their lower tax costs in the form of lower rents. That would be true if landlords were regulated monopolies such as Transpower or Auckland Airport1, but they’re not, … The KakaBy Bernard Hickey4 days ago Cartoons: ‘At least I didn’t make things awkward’This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Tom Toro Tom Toro is a cartoonist and author. He has published over 200 cartoons in The New Yorker since 2010. His cartoons appear in Playboy, the Paris Review, the New York Times, American Bystander, and elsewhere. Related: What 10 EV lovers … Skeptical Science4 days ago Solving traffic congestion with Richard PrebbleThe business section of the NZ Herald is full of opinion. Among the more opinionated of all is the ex-Minister of Transport, ex-Minister of Railways, ex MP for Auckland Central (1975-93, Labour), Wellington Central (1996-99, ACT, then list-2005), ex-leader of the ACT Party, uncle to actor Antonia, the veritable granddaddy … Greater AucklandBy Patrick Reynolds4 days ago I Think I’m Done Flying BoeingHi,Just quickly — I’m blown away by the stories you’ve shared with me over the last week since I put out the ‘Gary’ podcast, where I told you about the time my friend’s flatmate killed the neighbour.And you keep telling me stories — in the comments section, and in my … David FarrierBy David Farrier4 days ago Invoking Aristotle: Of Rings of Power, Stones, and ShipsThe first season of Rings of Power was not awful. It was thoroughly underwhelming, yes, and left a lingering sense of disappointment, but it was more expensive mediocrity than catastrophe. I wrote at length about the series as it came out (see the Review section of the blog, and go … A Phuulish FellowBy strda2215 days ago Van Velden brings free-market approach to changing labour laws – but her colleagues stick to distr…Buzz from the Beehive Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden told Auckland Business Chamber members they were the first audience to hear her priorities as a minister in a government committed to cutting red tape and regulations. She brandished her liberalising credentials, saying Flexible labour markets are the … Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin5 days ago Why Newshub failedChris Trotter writes – TO UNDERSTAND WHY NEWSHUB FAILED, it is necessary to understand how TVNZ changed. Up until 1989, the state broadcaster had been funded by a broadcasting licence fee, collected from every citizen in possession of a television set, supplemented by a relatively modest (compared … Point of OrderBy poonzteam54435 days ago Māori Party on the warpath against landlords and seabed miners – let’s see if mystical creature…Bob Edlin writes – The Māori Party has been busy issuing a mix of warnings and threats as its expresses its opposition to interest deductibility for landlords and the plans of seabed miners. It remains to be seen whether they follow the example of indigenous litigants in Australia, … Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin5 days ago There’s a name for thisEvery year, in the Budget, Parliament forks out money to government agencies to do certain things. And every year, as part of the annual review cycle, those agencies are meant to report on whether they have done the things Parliament gave them that money for. Agencies which consistently fail to … No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant5 days ago Echoes of 1968 in 2024? Pocock on the repetitive problems of the New LeftMike Grimshaw writes – Recent events in American universities point to an underlying crisis of coherent thinking, an issue that increasingly affects the progressive left across the Western world. This of course is nothing new as anyone who can either remember or has read of the late … Point of OrderBy poonzteam54435 days ago Two bar bluesThe thing about life’s little victories is that they can be followed by a defeat.Reader Darryl told me on Monday night:Test again Dave. My “head cold” last week became COVID within 24 hours, and is still with me. I hear the new variants take a bit longer to show up … More Than A FeildingBy David Slack5 days ago Bernard’s Top 10 @ 10 ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ for March 13TL;DR: My top 10 news and analysis links this morning include:Today’s must-read: Angus Deaton on rethinking his economics IMFLocal scoop: The people behind Tamarind, the firm that left a $500m cleanup bill for taxpayers at Taranaki’s Tui oil well, are back operating in Taranaki under a different company name. Jonathan … The KakaBy Bernard Hickey5 days ago AT Need To Lift Their GameNormally when we talk about accessing public transport it’s about improving how easy it is to get to, such as how easy is it to cross roads in a station/stop’s walking catchment, is it possible to cycle to safely, do bus connections work, or even if are there new routes/connections … Greater AucklandBy Matt L5 days ago Christopher’s Whopper.Politicians are not renowned for telling the truth. Some tell us things that are verifiably not true. They offer statements that omit critical pieces of information. Gloss over risks, preferring to offer the best case scenario.Some not truths are quite small, others amusing in their transparency. There are those repeated … Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel5 days ago Funding hole for tax cuts growing by the dayThe pressure is mounting on the Government as it finalises its Budget Policy Statement, but yet more predicted revenue ‘goes missing’. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The Climate Commission has delivered another funding blow to the National-ACT-NZ First coalition Government’s tax-cutting plans, potentially carving $1.4 billion off the ‘climate … The KakaBy Bernard Hickey5 days ago Luxon’s brave climate change promiseThe Government now faces the prospect of having to watch another tax raise the price of petrol when, only six days ago, it abolished the Auckland Regional Fuel tax. Prime Minister Christopher Luxon argued that the regional fuel tax imposed costs on lower-income people with less fuel-efficient vehicles and that … PolitikBy Richard Harman5 days ago At a glance – The albedo effect and global warmingOn February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added “At a glance” section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a … Skeptical Science6 days ago The Library of the Ratio: PublishedNew story out, as part of the Winter 2024 edition of New Maps Magazine: https://www.new-maps.com/news/2024/03/spring-2024-announcement/ You may recall that The Library of the Ratio is the one set in Central Otago, focussing on the preservation of knowledge in a deindustrial environment. So this one is uncharacteristically local. It’s … A Phuulish FellowBy strda2216 days ago Lifting the lid on advice given to Melissa Lee – or rather, lifting a small bit of itLet’s play “spot the difference”. Above this text, you can see a copy of one small part of a briefing paper prepared for the Incoming (but not very outgoing) Minister for Media and Communications, Melissa Lee. The amount of enlightenment which resulted from Point of Order’s request to have a … Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin6 days ago Govt will consider advice to cut the numbers of ETS units being traded – it has already decided to…Buzz from the Beehive The settings for New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme – a tool intended to help meet the country’s climate goals – need adjusting and the number of ETS units reduced, Climate Change Commission Chair Rod Carr says in a report released today. There are too many units … Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin6 days ago The boy is home.It a remarkable turn of events my son is home 8 days after surgery. The contrast with his September surgical and post-operation experience is stark: what too 5-7 days in September (removal of most IVs and draining tubes, catheter, getting … Continue reading → … KiwipoliticoBy Pablo6 days ago TV layoffs not a threat to democracyBarrie Saunders writes – A few weeks ago I joined some contemporaries by abandoning the near sixty year habit of watching nightly TV news. I dropped it because I felt it did not give me real information that I had not acquired from other media sources, including some … Point of OrderBy poonzteam54436 days ago How strangling housing supply is killing our capital cityIs Wellington absolutely, positively ensuring it has enough housing supply? Yeah, nah …. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Wellington faces an existential threat from NIMBYs, land-bankers and politicians of all shapes, colours and sizes who have successfully strangled housing supply until now.This week may well be the capital’s last … The KakaBy Bernard Hickey6 days ago Manufacturing the truthChris Trotter writes – HISTORICAL PARALLELS between the impact of the printing press and the impact of the Internet are not new. Both inventions almost immediately began to undermine the command and control hierarchies of their respective societies. In the case of the printing press, the reimposition of … Point of OrderBy poonzteam54436 days ago Climate Change: A test for NationalHe Pou a Rangi Climate Change Commission has released its latest advice on NZ ETS unit limits and price control settings for 2025–2029. This is, in theory, technical advice on how many units the government should allow to be auctioned. But because the ETS system is under pressure due to … No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant6 days ago

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Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust Celebrates 20th Birthday

Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust (RMTT) today celebrates 20 years of providing life changing music therapy services to those who need it most. The Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust was co-founded in March 2004 by singer and songwriter Dame Hinewehi Mohi, naming the Trust after her daughter. Hineraukatauri was born with severe cerebral palsy and received music therapy for the first time while on a family trip to London in 1999 to promote Hinewehi’s album. During these sessions, Hineraukatauri was able to engage and communicate in ways not previously thought possible, making her family determined to bring the life changing benefits of music therapy home to Aotearoa. From its early beginnings in Auckland, the charitable trust has since established Centres across the Upper North Island, responding to need and targeting underserviced areas. The first Regional Centre opened in Hawke’s Bay in 2019, swiftly followed by Northland in the same year, and more recently Bay of Plenty in 2022. Its team of Registered Music Therapists deliver services to approximately 1,000 clients per week, ranging in age from infants to those in their 90s. These clients have a range of needs, including cerebral palsy, autism spectrum, developmental disabilities, genetic conditions such as Down syndrome, acquired brain injuries, mental health challenges, dementia, and complex trauma. “One of Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust’s fundamental values is that we never want finances to be a barrier to accessing music therapy. With that in mind, we subsidise every therapy session that we provide, despite receiving no direct government funding,” shares Rachel Farrell, General Manager, Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust. “The remaining costs of delivering music therapy must be raised through grant applications, fundraisers, donations, and our monthly giving program.” With an increase in the cost of living, and a decrease in funding, the Trust is facing the reality of a reduction of services. To ensure that the Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust can continue to provide quality, accessible music therapy services to all people, whatever their needs, it is announcing its biggest fundraiser yet. Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust will bring home the record for the official Guinness World Record for the Largest Haka at Eden Park on Sunday 29th September 2024. The official Guinness World Record for the Largest Haka is currently held by 4,028 men and women performed 10 years ago in France. Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust’s attempt will be adjudicated through Guinness World Records, with an estimated 10,000 – 15,000 to perform the haka on the grounds that has helped to drive it to global infamy. The most recent attempt to bring this record home was staged in Rotorua in 2017, but due to administrative delays, unfortunately this attempt was not officially verified by Guinness World Records. Tony Molloy, the organiser of the 2017 event, has offered his full support to the Trust at this year’s event. “The Haka, is an iconic symbol of Aotearoa, that is undeniably ours,” shares Dame Hinewehi Mohi. “The growth and interest in haka shows the collective efforts for the reclamation and revitalisation of our unique heritage. It also reflects the partnership between Māori and Pākehā, in expressing cultural pride and nationhood.” “Just as music therapy allows our clients to express themselves, the Haka is a way of expressing a range of emotions, in an unequivocal display of aroha and kotahitanga/unity.” “On Sunday 29th September 2024, we will stage a spectacle, to bring our nation together, to set the record straight, and raise funds for the Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust to continue to transform lives through music.” More information on how to register to take part in the official Guinness World Record will be announced in the coming months. For more information on Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust, and learn how to donate, please visit www.rmtc.org.nz. ENDS About Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust The Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust was established in March 2004 by singer Dame Hinewehi Mohi, who named it after her daughter, Hineraukatauri who has severe cerebral palsy. Hineraukatauri and thousands of other New Zealanders, have found a way to express themselves through music therapy. RMTT services are delivered via a clinical practice rooted in the humanistic model of music therapy which recognises each individual client’s uniqueness and worth. Their mission is to work with any person in need, to enrich and develop their lives through music. Nā Puoro, ko taurikura / Music transforms us © Scoop Media

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SNA rules suspended – farmers happy, environmentalists outraged

The Coalition Government has suspended the controversial Significant Natural Areas (SNA) rules, bringing joy to farmers and an angry reaction from environmental watchdogs. Associate Environment Minister Andrew Hoggard says the Government has agreed to suspend the requirement for councils to comply with the Significant Natural Areas (SNA) provisions of the National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity for three years, while it replaces the Resource Management Act (RMA). The SNA provisions relate to the protection of areas of significant indigenous vegetation and significant habitats of indigenous fauna. The Resource Management Act (RMA) 1991 Section 6 requires that they are protected. Councils are responsible for identifying SNAs in their territory. “As it stands, SNAs identified on private property limit new activities and development that can take place on that property. In their current form they represent a confiscation of property rights and undermine conservation efforts by the people who care most about the environment: the people who make a living from it,” says Hoggard. “As part of the ACT-National coalition agreement the Government committed to ceasing the implementation of new SNAs. This work will be carried out as part of the Government’s RMA reforms. For now, the Government has agreed to suspend the obligation for councils to impose SNAs under the NPS Indigenous Biodiversity, and we’re sending a clear message that it would be unwise to bother. Federated Farmers biodiversity spokesperson Mark Hooper says the suspension of SNA rules is a positive step forward for both farmers and New Zealand’s biodiversity. “These unworkable rules were universally despised by farmers, and we’re pleased to see the back of them,” says Hooper. “Farmers opposed these rules because they infringed on our property rights and added endless layers of unnecessary complexity, compliance and cost – for very little environmental gain. “They risked driving perverse outcomes where farmers actively choose to plant exotic species instead of natives because the Government have just made everything too hard.” The simplification of SNA provisions was one of Federated Farmers’ top priorities in their 12-point plan for restoring farmer confidence. But the Environmental Defence Society describes the move as the latest in a rolling maul of attacks on the constitution and environment by the Government. “Today’s announcement is driven by a minor party. It represents Executive overreach in a way not seen since the 1970s,” said EDS chief executive Gary Taylor. “Minister Hoggard is showing a reckless disregard for the rule of law. He is directing councils to break the law. “The proper way to suspend work on SNAs is to change the National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity through the legal process set out in the Resource Management Act. That process allows for public engagement and ensures evidenced-based decision-making. “Ministers do not have power to suspend legal requirements by Executive fiat. Councils must ignore this latest directive.” But Hoggard says the Government is firmly committed to protecting property rights. He points out that New Zealand currently has 180,000 hectares of privately-owned land in QEII covenants. “The impressive engagement and growth of QEII covenants – all voluntary – shows that private landowners do care about conservation. This Government will be taking a collaborative approach with them, rather than undermining their rights. “This Government is firmly committed to protecting New Zealanders’ property rights. If government takes away property rights, there’s no incentive to be a conservationist. Ill-conceived regulations such as SNAs and the NPS Indigenous Biodiversity put roadblocks in place and turn biodiversity and conservation efforts into a liability.”

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The challenges of land use change

“I just scratch my head in wonderment when people say to farmers, ‘just change what you farm’.” Leading AgResearch scientist Dr Robyn Dynes says such comments completely fail to recognised that changing land use is a very complex matter. Speaking at a recent Massey University conference dealing with land use, Dynes said that while NZ aspires to grow the value of land-based exports, societal expectations are that this shouldn’t happen at the expense of wider social, cultural and environmental well-being. She says one of the problems in accurately determining the best options for land is that information is fragmented, not easy to obtain and not holistic in nature. Over the past 50 years there have been huge land use changes within NZ, which has seen for example the growth of the wine and kiwifruit industries. Forestry has also grown, but with pressure for the expanse of urban areas, highly productive land is facing challenges. Dynes says the motivation for change now is different to what it was many years ago. “As we move into a future world where we have a change in climate and we have regulations, business as usual will not work in some parts of the landscape, so to meet regulatory requirements we will need change,” she explains. But Dynes quickly points out such changes will also bring opportunities, as has happened in the past. One interesting driver is consumer preferences, which have and will lead to new crops being grown. However, she adds that trying to second guess consumer preferences decades out is somewhat problematic. Dynes says to some extent it’s not about what can we grow, it’s where the markets are, because we are a ‘discerning market supplier’ and that is the challenge. “But we do know that if we grow high quality food there is a market demand. Then we can grow that market as we have seen through out cooperatives, in the likes of Fonterra and Zespri. “Looking into the future, NZ will still have a livestock sector because much of our landscape is best suited to livestock and the dairy and red meat sectors will continue to be a significant part of our economy. We will see change, and this will be driven by opportunity and need,” she says. According to Dynes, our mixed cropping farmers will keep evolving where there are markets. She says in terms of perennial crops, a big capital investment will be required. Technology Driving Change NZ farmers have a proud history in adopting science to drive production, productivity and community outcomes. Today, for example, most dairy sheds have a computer in them and farmers will say they spend many hours inputting and analysing data. One of the emerging items on dairy farms now is wearable technology, such as collars on cows that can measure a multitude of factors – including whether or not a cow is in heat, but also other factors such as feed intake. These also measure aspects of an animal’s behaviour and other key insights which have potential to save time and deliver benefits. According to Dynes, such technology enables farmers with large herds to easily monitor individual animals like they did in the past. She believes precision agriculture is one tool that has a lot to offer in dealing with the complexities of land use change. She says it’s a big interest of hers and should help find more efficiencies. But Dynes adds, like all technologies, the users have got to see value in using it and it has to fit in with their business systems. She says right now people are capturing the advantage of precision agriculture. “Let’s face it, every farm has biological variability. I think that in terms of meeting our environmental expectations on things like greenhouse gases, precision agriculture can offer an enormous amount,” she says. Dynes says getting greater uptake of science and technologies is something that is still a work in progress. She says AgResearch is taking the question of itself as to whether it is sufficiently connected to farmers and rural advisors. While she personally has many opportunities to engage with farmers, many staff in AgResearch have fewer opportunities, and we need to understand the importance of this connectivity to end-users in growing the impact of our science.

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‘BeMinded’ to launch in New Zealand to boost tech productivity

Anna Bojlert, with expertise in management, human resources, neuroscience, and behaviour science, developed BeMinded in 2013 to enhance human capabilities in the technological world. Now, the training programme is set to launch in New Zealand this month, focusing on utilising technology as a complementary tool rather than a replacement for human skills. According to the NZ Productivity Commission, New Zealand suffers from woeful productivity performance in comparison with other OECD countries. BeMinded aims to revolutionise this statistic in the tech industry by implementing an innovative productivity training programme that emphasises the importance of working smarter and not harder. The productivity training programme, focusing on the prefrontal cortex and how brains operate in an information-heavy world, provides techniques designed to enhance focus, engagement, and productivity while mitigating the effects of stress. Offering insights into triaging information streams and minimising distractions, the programme assists participants to manage their mental space effectively and maximise cognitive thinking for superior performance and results. The programme is specifically tailored to New Zealand organisations, companies, and workplaces that yearn for increased productivity and performance. Having trained over 4,000 participants from 50 different companies across 11 countries, the programme has proven its efficacy globally. Equality weighted on humans and technology, BeMinded gears towards recognising the symbiotic relationship between the two. Tech-focused businesses and organisations can benefit immensely from the programme, striking a balance between human cleverness and technological advancement. Nat Milne, Auckland business owner and HR specialist, is rolling out the programme around New Zealand after experiencing life-changing results upon completion of the productivity training. She states “I was busy, stressed, tired, and high-functioning, but I wasn’t really productive, which is similar to a lot of workplaces and businesses in NZ”. Having seen an improvement in her productivity of around 25% and an increase in business turnover back to pre-COVID-19 levels within two months, she’s confident about the positive impact BeMinded can have. “Now I never check work emails in the evening, or first thing in the morning. I’ve stopped letting lots of information and electronic alerts interrupt my focus and attention. I’m a different person now, at work and more present at home with my children.” To further enhance productivity in New Zealand, Milne urges the need to treat skilled staff as knowledge workers, focusing on results rather than office hours. Emphasising the BeMinded approach, she believes in the power of teaching smarter and stress-free ways of operation to staff and workplaces in New Zealand. BeMinded will initiate training workshops across New Zealand in March and June 2024. Expressions of interest to join the training programme are now open.

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Driving change within Fonterra fleet

Today is International Women’s Day, and this year Fonterra wants to shine a light on the women who defy stereotypes and prosper in traditionally male-dominated fields. Erin Wootten, a tanker operator out of the Fonterra Reparoa Site, is doing just that. “I always knew I would drive trucks at some stage,” says Erin, reminiscing about her childhood spent on her parents’ dairy farm. The arrival of the tanker to pick up their milk was always a highlight, initiating her to pursue a career behind the wheel. However, her path to becoming a tanker operator took a detour through the tourism industry, where she managed resorts and drove tour coaches. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Erin found herself at a crossroads, prompting a career change. “The opportunity to join the Co-op as a tanker operator seemed like fate, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.” Despite this, Erin acknowledges the scarcity of women in her industry, something she would love to see change. “My work colleagues and the management team are so supportive,” she says, highlighting the sense of camaraderie and willingness to help among her peers at Fonterra. “Whether you are having a good day or a bad day, there is always someone to yarn to,” she says. The evolving landscape of women’s roles in various industries reflects a positive trend towards inclusivity and equal opportunities. “Now it seems to be the new normal that both a female and male can both do the job,” Erin states, emphasising the importance of breaking down gender barriers. Looking to the future, Erin hopes future generations of women have even greater opportunities and unwavering confidence in their abilities. She draws inspiration from strong women like Sasha Bond, a world-record-breaking shearer, whose determination, and skill defy the norm. Outside of work, Erin enjoys spending time with her friends, revelling in adventures like river float trips and exploring exotic destinations with her husband. She believes International Women’s Day serves as a reminder of how far women have come and the endless possibilities that lie ahead. “It’s a celebration of resilience, achievements, and the collective strength of women breaking barriers and shaping the future.” Fonterra currently has 5% females in their fleet and are investing in increasing this number. The co-op’s general manager national transport and logistics, Paul Phipps says empowering women in transport is a good thing for the industry. “Diversity behind the wheel not only brings fresh perspectives but also enhances safety and efficiency on our roads. Embracing women in tanker driving roles not only empowers individuals but strengthens our entire transport sector, fostering innovation, inclusivity, and driving positive change for the future of logistics,” says Phipps.

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Christchurch Hospital ED swamped with patients

Te Whatu Ora Waitaha group director of operations Jo Gibbs said more than 100 people were being cared for in the ED at 9.15pm on Tuesday. “There is no single reason for high numbers of patients attending at present, but we are currently seeing patients with a range of complex conditions.” Gibbs said the hospital’s ED is one of the busiest in the country and, at its peak, will see up to 430 people in a 24-hour period. “The usual number of attendances is between 330 and 370 people every day,” Gibbs said. “To have more than 100 people being looked after at this time is a large number of unwell people to assess and care for.” The high number of presentations at ED is expected to continue until this morning. “As always, patients are prioritised soon after arrival and seen in order of urgency,” Gibbs said. If it is not an emergency, patients are encouraged to seek alternative health advice and are advised they may be in for a long wait at ED. “Free health advice is available from a range of providers, including free health advice over the phone by calling Healthline on 0800 611 116 – they are available 24/7 or consider a virtual telehealth consultation with a registered New Zealand health practitioner for non-urgent health issues.” Anyone experiencing a medical emergency should still call 111 immediately. “Thank you for keeping the emergency department free for those who have no alternative and need life-saving emergency care,” said Gibbs. “And thank you for your patience if you do have an extended wait, we know it can be stressful and frustrating if you’re not feeling well.” The options for patients with non-urgent health issues are: Minor injuries and illnesses like colds, coughs, fevers and mild Covid-19 can be treated safely at home. Check out the free advice available on Healthify in the Health A to Z https://healthify.nz/health-a-z/You can visit https://yourbestcare.co.nz/ to learn more about the healthcare choices availableConsider a virtual appointment with a NZ-registered Doctor who can give advice and prescriptions etc online via phone, laptop or other device, from the comfort of your own home (https://healthify.nz/apps/v/virtual-consult-apps/)Your local pharmacy can advise on over-the-counter medications and treatments including pain management.Many GPs can issue repeat prescriptions over the phone or onlineIf you have a sprain or injury, you can go straight to a physio without a referral – they can register an ACC claim, and organise X-rays and specialist referrals.

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Dates confirmed for annual hunting competition

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has announced that its annual Pureora Hunting Competition will open on 16 March. The competition, which started in 1988, will run until a prizegiving at the DOC Pureora Field Base on 28 April. DOC senior ranger community Ray Scrimgeour says the long-running event is popular among the central and upper and central North Island hunting communities, with a strong focus on participation and camaraderie. “Although the weight or size of the animals is a key feature of the competition, we always like to ensure every hunter has a chance to win, so there are plenty of spot prizes, average weight divisions, and prize draw categories too,” says Scrimgeour. Focusing on pigs and deer taken from the Pureora Forest, the competition is free to enter for any hunter with a current DOC permit to hunt in the area. Scrimgeour says NZ Deerstalkers Association and the NZ Pig Hunting Association are crucial to the success of the event. “They are key hunting community stakeholders and provide us with excellent advice and support, as well as carrying out the official Douglas measuring at the prizegiving,” he says. There are four competition categories – deer, pigs, a new junior category (focusing on rats, mustelids and goat tails), and the ‘roaring’ competition. Entries can be sighted at one of 13 recording centres throughout the competition and all entries registered at the prizegiving are eligible to win category and spot prizes. Free kiwi aversion training for dogs will be offered at the prizegiving, and DOC is urging hunters to take up the opportunity to help protect kiwi in the wild and contribute to the preservation and protection of Pureora Forest. Anybody interested in training should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register a place. Hunters putting their dogs through kiwi aversion training can also win a family pass to the Otorohanga Kiwi House. For more information on the Pureora Hunting Competition, including competition categories and rules, visit https://www.doc.govt.nz/pureora-hunting-competition

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