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The English Fortnightly (Since November 1999)

Issue 438 | May 15, 2020 | Free

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Budget creates $50 billion Response and Recovery Fund

Business Support,

Apprentice Training,

Wage Subsidy and more

Venkat Raman

The New Zealand government has

unveiled an expansionary fiscal

policy with a multi-layer investment

and expenditure as its first

response, post-Covid-19 economy.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has

put together Budget 2020, which Prime

Minister Jacinda Ardern said will see

the economy ‘better and stronger than it

was before the Coronavirus outbreak.’

“This Budget shows how we are positioning

New Zealand for an economic

recovery that will make New Zealand

the best place it can be to live, study and

work. All of this work has been done

through a wellbeing lens that considers

the needs of New Zealand’s people and

environment alongside our economy,”

she told Parliament on Thursday, May

14, 2020.

The government has created a

whopping $50 billion Response and

Recovery Fund, which will be spent on

health, education, tourism, training and

apprenticeship and infrastructure.

More help to businesses

Companies that can proved that they

have lost at least 50% of revenue since

the lockdown (that started on March

25, 2020) will be eligible for second

instalment of Wage Subsidy equivalent

to eight weeks of pay of their employees.

This is estimated to cost an additional

$3.2 billion to the exchequer, as an

overall effort to encourage employers to

retain their staff.

The government will also spend $1.4

billion on Training and Apprenticeship

Programme.

“Our focus on the things we know

matter - our people, our jobs, our education,

our health, our environment - has

not dimmed, it has grown. The process

for the Budget may have changed, but

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Finance Minister Grant Robertson with Deputy Prime Minister

and Climate Change Minister James Shaw on their way to the Budget Session of Parliament on

Thursday, May 14, 2020 (RNZ Picture by Dom Thomas)

these things are now more important

than ever,” Ms Ardern said.

Public spending forms the core of

Budget 2020, with $6.3 billion going to

health and education ($3.3 billion) and

infrastructure development including

construction of 8000 homes.

“Budget 2020 package focuses on

support for public services and key

infrastructure. This builds on the record

investment made in the past two years,

rebuilding services after a decade of

underfunding. It remains critical we

maintain the vital public services New

Zealand needs to overcome COVID-19,”

Mr Robertson said.

Lower GDP growth

The economic debacle will hit

real GDP growth, which will enter the

negative territory- to -4.6% in the year

ending June 2020, revised from 2.8%

during the same period in 2019.

New Zealand has resorted to heavy

borrowing, taking its net debt to about

53.6% of GDP.

Mr Robertson said that others have

higher stakes. United Kingdom started

with net debt above 75%, the USA 90%,

and Ireland 40%.

“Many countries are already well

over 100% as they respond to the virus.

New Zealand’s annual average GDP

growth is forecast to return to positive

from the year ending September 2021

onwards,” he said.

Unemployment is forecast to increase

significantly, rising to 8.3% in the year

ending June 2020, before peaking at

9.8% in September 2020 and then

recovering thereafter.

National slams Budget

National Party Leader Simon

Bridges criticised the Budget saying

that it lacked direction and will lead to

‘tsunami of debt.’

He said that the Crown debt will rise

to $140 billion by 2024. That is $80,000

per household, a second mortgage for

New Zealanders,” he said.

Mr Bridges said that that on an

average, 1000 people a day are lining

up for unemployment benefit since the

lockdown began seven weeks ago.

“One thousand people a day face a

very uncertain future. ‘The Covid-19

Response and Recovery Fund is not a

plan for jobs and growth,” he said.

Paul Goldsmith, National’s Finance

Spokesperson described the Budget as

‘too vague.’

“We need to remember this is

the Government that promised us

Kiwibuild and talked about light rail in

Auckland, and nothing has happened

with that. It is great to announce stuff

but you actually have to deliver it,” he

said.

Goldsmith says his party would

have, of course, had to borrow as well.

Social Services Sector

Notwithstanding these comments,

Budget 2020 has provided almost 250

million in additional funding to the

Social Services Sector.

Family Violence Services segment

gets $183 million, the largest funding

boost in a decade, followed by Community

Services ($43.3 million).

Mr Robertson said that providers of

services to address Family Violence will

be able to recruit and develop highly

capable staff.

“They will be able to respond to

the demands that they face, provide

support to safe houses, resource crisis

response services for victims of family

violence and those experiencing elder

abuse and support treatment and help

for family violence perpetrators,” he

said.

Additional Reading: Finding jobs for

New Zealanders a priority and our

Leader on Page 8.

Finding jobs for New Zealanders a priority

Venkat Raman

Unemployment is a major

problem all over the world, as

major companies and small and

medium enterprises cut back

on jobs and make a large number of

people redundant.

The US has more than 22 million people

on the dole on the face of Covid-19,

while Europe, Asia and Australia are

reporting massive unemployment.

In India for instance, ‘migrant workers,’

(Indian nationals from other States)

who have lost jobs are being asked to go

back to their home States because they

cannot sustain themselves.

New Zealand is not immune to the

problem.

Rising unemployment

The country’s unemployment rate is

expected to reach 9.8% over the next

few months.

Budget 2020 focuses on encouraging

employers to retain staff and helping

those in the market to find jobs.

The case of New Zealanders shying

away from performing certain jobs are

over.

Today, airline pilots, marketing managers,

security personnel – to name just

a few – are working in supermarkets,

rest homes and as assistants to truck

drivers.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni

Times are a changing and how!

New jobseekers

Social Development Minister

Carmel Sepuloni said that almost

40,000 new job seekers are now in the

market, about half of them are not

beneficiaries.

“They were high earners. More than

4700 New Zealanders have returned

home after the virus swept the globe.

About 65% of them are New Zealand

Europeans,” she said.

The government’s expanded services

to support people into jobs will help an

emerging cohort of New Zealanders

impacted by Covid-19.

The impacted group are relatively

younger.

Indian Newslink will shortly write

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02

MAY 15, 2020

Homelink

Electoral Commission sets procedures for polling

Staff Reporter

The Electoral Commission has

announced a series of new

safety measures that would

be in force for General

Election and Referendums 2020 due

to be held on Saturday, September

19, 2020.

As well as choosing the next

government, New Zealand will be

asked to express their opinions

on the Cannabis Legalisation and

Control Bill and the End of Life

Choice Act 2019.

Chief Electoral Officer Alicia

Wright said that these measures

would reflect the risks posed by

Covid-19 which compelled the

government to issue Epidemic Notification

and invoke the provisions

of the Health Act and four Alert

Levels.

New Zealand will enter Alert

Level Two on Thursday, May 14,

2020.

Health requirements

Mr Wright said that changes

will comply with the public health

requirements of Coronavirus.

“Safety measures at voting places

will be based on advice from the

Ministry of Health. They include

queue management and physical

distancing, as well as the use of

hand sanitiser and protective gear,”

she said.

While the actual polling is on

Saturday, September 19, 2020,

advance polling will he held two

days earlier instead of September

5, 2020 planned earlier, mainly to

reduce congestion.

Ms Wright said that some people

will not be able to go to a voting

Alicia Wright, Chief Electoral Officer

place, but will able to vote.

Seniors and unwell people

Voters who are older or have a

medical condition that places them

at high risk from Covid-19 can

choose to vote at a voting place or

register for postal voting and have

their voting papers sent to them in

the mail.

“Voting services can also be

delivered to small clusters of

voters who are in isolation during

the voting period using takeaway

voting, which is when voting

papers are delivered and picked

up. It is important for people to

enrol early and keep their details

up to date so that they receive

information about the election and

referendums in the mail including

an EasyVote card which makes

voting faster,” Ms Wright said.

For more information on

Covid-19 and the Election, please

visit vote.nz/covid19.

Safety factors

Following are key points of the

Electoral Commission Circular:

(a) There will be measures in

place at voting places to help keep

voters and election workers safe

(b) Queues will be managed to

maintain physical distancing (c)

Voters will be asked to use hand

sanitiser when they enter and leave

the voting place (d) Voters can

bring their own pen to mark their

voting papers but pens available

(e) Election staff issuing votes will

wear protective gear (f) Voting for

people who need to stay at home (g)

In-person voting may not be suitable

for voters who are older or have a

medical condition that places them

at high risk from Covid-19. Instead,

they will be able to choose to vote at

a voting place or register for postal

voting (h) Voting papers will be sent

to them in the mail which they will

be able to return by post or to a

nearby voting place.

People who go into isolation during

the voting period will be able to

use takeaway voting, where voting

papers are delivered and picked up.

Rest Homes And Hospitals

The Electoral Commission is

working on the assumption that it

is unlikely that people will be able

to visit rest homes or hospitals to

provide voting services.

The officials will work with managers

at hospitals and rest homes

to arrange delivery and pick-up of

voting papers (takeaway voting).

Voting in Prisons

Election Commission officials

will work with the Department

of Corrections to provide voting

services either in person, through

mobile teams, or by delivering and

picking up voting papers (takeaway

voting). Voting services will be

provided to prisoners on remand

and, if the Electoral (Registration of

Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment

Bill is passed, prisoners sentenced to

less than three years will be eligible

to vote.

Overseas Voters

The easiest way to vote from overseas

is to download and print voting

papers and return them by upload.

The service is only available to

people outside New Zealand who

are correctly enrolled.

Voters who are overseas may also

be able to vote at an overseas voting

place, depending on the availability

of overseas posts and the situation

with Covid-19 in that location.

The Electoral Commission will

provide information about overseas

voting places in early August. Overseas

voters will have the option of

receiving and returning their voting

papers by post.

The Election and Referendums

will be held on September 19,

2020, as announced by the Prime

Minister. If there is a change, the

Electoral Commission will reschedule

various tasks.

Covid-19 Alert Levels

Planning for the election is based

on meeting the requirements of

a nationwide Alert Level 2 for

Covid-19. Voting services can be

delivered to small clusters of up to

500 voters affected by local Alert

Levels 3 or 4, to a maximum of 5000

voters nationwide, using takeaway

voting.

If an outbreak occurs in a large

area of the country during the

voting period, there are emergency

powers available to the Chief

Electoral Officer to delay election

day voting by up to seven days at

a time. The safety of delivering an

election at a nationwide Alert Levels

3 or 4 is a public health decision

that would need to be taken by the

Government.

Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi

National List MPbased

in

Manukau East

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MAY 15, 2020

Government-assisted flights for stranded Indians

But details of cost and

schedule yet to be

determined

Venkat Raman

The Indian government

is considering operating

Air India flights

to transport stranded

Indians from New Zealand,

High Commissioner Muktesh

Pardeshi told a media conference

last week.

He said that while the

schedule is yet to be finalised,

the High Commission is

currently gathering information

about Indian nationals

interested in utilising the

facility.

The best source of updated

information would be the

High Commission’s Facebook

page, which currently has

notification regarding the

Standard Operating Petrol

(SAP).

The media conference was

attended by Doss Jeyakumar

(Head of Chancery) and

Paramjeet Singh (Second

Secretary) of the High

Commission.

Mr Pardeshi said that that

about 2200 people have thus

far registered but not all of

them may qualify or would

want to return to India in the

government-assisted flights.

Vande Bharat Mission

The flights, called, ‘Vande

Bharat Mission,’ will be

operated by Air India and its

subsidiary Air India Express.

According to the Press

Muktesh Pardeshi, High Commissioner

of India

Information Bureau (PIB) a

government agency, the two

airlines will operate 64 flights

to bring back more than

14,800 Indians stranded in 12

countries.

PIB said that 300 people

will be coming back from

the US, 250 each from the

UK, Singapore, Malaysia

and the Philippines, and 200

each from Abu Dhabi, Dubai,

Riyadh, Doha and Dhaka.

Air India will operate

the Delhi-Singapore flight

from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi

International airport, while

Air India Express will operate

Cochin-Abu Dhabi-Cochin and

Kozhikode-Dubai-Kozhikode

services.

“Besides one-way ferry

service, Air India has invited

passengers, who qualify

under the government’s new

international travel norms, to

apply for passage from India

to various destinations the

airline will send its aircraft

to conduct evacuation flights.

Overall, more than 190,000

Indian nationals, who would

have to pay a one-way ferry

service charge, are expected

to be brought back in the airlift

operation,” the notification

said.

Criteria for travel

Mr Pardeshi said that

he was expecting further

information about flights

from New Zealand.

“These flights will be only

for Indian nationals- those

holding Indian passports. The

selection criteria will include

Indians who face deportation

because of expiry of their

visas, migrant workers who

have lost their jobs, non-permanent

residents from India

whose visas have expired

or about to expire, people

needing medical treatment,

elderly persons and pregnant

women and those who had

arrived in New Zealand as

tourists,” he said.

Mr Pardeshi said that

consideration will be given

to those who wish to visit bereaved

relatives and students

who have completed their

education courses, but these

will not be on priority.

Overseas Citizen of

India (OCI) cards have been

temporarily suspended, and

hence holders of these cards

must obtain special visas to

travel to India. These will be

need-based visas, subject

to fulfilment of other

conditions and subject to

availability of air services.

Quarantine in India

Mr Pardeshi said that all

arriving passengers will

be obliged to undergo a

fourteen-day quarantine

period at various district

health centres or similar

authorised locations.

They would be obliged to

follow the regulations of the

State governments at the

destinations.

“We have not yet been

informed of the cost

per ticket but since the

flights are operated by Air

India, which is a government-owned

company, it

would be reasonable. We

also await details of how

and when these flights will be

operated. There are a large

number of Indians in countries

such as United States of

America, United Kingdom and

other parts of Europe which

have been severely impacted

by Covid-19. They have to be

transported on priority. New

Zealand is a safe country,” he

said.

India’s Mobile App

Mr Pardeshi encouraged all

travellers to India to download

the Mobile App developed by

the Indian government on

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03

their smartphones.

Called, ‘Aarogya

Setu’ (Health Bridge’), it is

based on the GPS System

developed by the National

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free to install.

The government has clarified

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04

MAY 15, 2020

Homelink

Non-Bank development finance in post Covid-19 environment

Parash Sarma

The Covid-19 outbreak will

continue to cause significant

adverse economic

effects that will almost inevitably

impair borrowers’ abilities to

obtain and service mortgages and

other financing.

And unlike the mainstream

banks, which can access new Zealand

Reserve Bank liquidity and

funding support, non-bank lenders

have limited tools to combat

economic shocks.

Billion dollar initiatives to

encourage lenders to provide cash

flow support to small business

have emerged, but they have not

Winter Energy Payment to benefit 850,000

Carmel Sepuloni

More than one million

New Zealanders will

have more to spend on

warmer homes today as

the Government’s doubling of the

Winter Energy Payment kicks in to

keep people well and stimulate the

economy.

brought salvation for all sectors of

the market.

In particular, the Non-Bank sector

will be feeling pain as wholesale

funders and investors reduce their

risk appetites and, in some instances,

pull funding altogether.

A different model

The model for ASAP Finance

is different- it is a family-owned

business and private equity is

supported by fixed-term funding

lines from mainstream banks.

This means, we do not rely on

wholesale funders or investors

which provides us with cashflow

certainty. However, there are

other sector specific risks which all

developers should consider when

choosing their funding partner.

On an ongoing basis, development

finance companies have an

added layer of complexity when it

comes to managing cashflow.

Development funding requires

lenders to make progress payments

to the developer/or contractor

generally on a monthly basis for

completed works.

During the Global Financial

Crisis (GFC), many developers were

caught out when their financier

failed to make those progress payments

ultimately spelling disaster

for their project.

This is because development

finance companies rely on recycled

cashflow from mortgage repayments

to fund progress payments.

Mortgage repayments issue

Mortgage repayments can come

from selling down completed stock

once the project is complete, or by

way of refinance once the construction

risk has eliminated.

During times of crisis, low

The Winter Energy Payment for

2020 runs for 22 weeks from May

1 to October 1, 2020 and doubles

to $1400 for couples and $900 for

single people this year.

About 850,000 people will benefit

from it with more than one million

kept warmer once children and other

household members of recipients

are included.

The Winter Energy Payment

started as part of the Government’s

December 2017 Families Package

designed to help older New Zealanders

and many of our poorest

families heat their homes over

winter.

When the impact of Covid-19 first

hit, the Government set out a $12.1

billion dollar support package for

New Zealanders and business. It

was within this package that we

increased benefits by $25 and doubled

the Winter Energy Payment.

A core part of the Government’s

response to Covid-19 is to ensure

families stay healthy and focused

on their wellbeing which is good

transaction volumes decrease the

frequency of repayments; similarly

the refinance market experiences a

decline in liquidity as other lenders

become less willing to take on new

debt.

Simple strategies such as

switching from loan origination

to servicing existing clients can

provide immediate cashflow relief

during times of crises and could be

considered best practice for even

the most well capitalised development

lenders. The Catch-22 being

that it decreases overall liquidity

in the economy and can ultimately

worsen the impact of a crises.

At ASAP Finance, we endured

the Global Financial Crises and

are aware of the perils that can

result from being unprepared for

external shocks.

We emerged strongly from

the GFC and the lessons learned

continue to be implemented in the

business today including always

operating with sufficient margin of

safety.

Over the past two weeks, we

have visited over 80 construction

sites with more sites to be

visited over the coming weeks. Our

commitment to our clients during

these time remains unchanged; our

success is inextricably linked to the

success our clients.

Parash Sharma is Client Services

Director at ASAP Property Finance

Specialists based in Auckland.

Phone 021-864730. Email:

parash@asapfinance.co.nz

for them and good for our health

service.

Those on lower incomes

generally spend any extra money

on household items that keep their

families well, and so doubling the

Winter Energy Payment will act

as an immediate stimulus in local

economies.

The increase to main benefits, in

addition to the benefit rate being

indexed to the net average wage

rather than the Consumer Price

Index, is the largest across-theboard

increase in several decades

and is estimated to help support

350,000 low-income individuals and

families.

The efforts of our team of five

million helped to get us in a good

position to tackle the virus and we

each continue to have a role to play

as we begin to reboot our economy

for the good of all New Zealanders.

The Government is here to

support those who need it.

Carmel Sepuloni is Minister for

Social Development.

Smart money choices made simple.

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MAY 15, 2020

Restrictions reflect Water

crisis in Auckland

Phil Goff

After seven weeks

in lockdown, it is

good to have greater

freedom that the

move to Alert Level 2 brings

us. It is good too for the

businesses that will now be

able to reopen.

But with freedom comes

responsibility.

We still need to observe

the physical distancing and

heightened focus on hygiene

that we have learned over

recent months. And we need,

all of us, to avoid reckless behaviour

that might increase

the risk of transmitting

Covid-19.

South Korea, Germany

examples

The risk at Level 2 is much

higher, as we have seen from

countries that managed containment

of the disease better

than most, like the Republic

of Korea and Germany.

In both countries there has

been a spike in new cases as

restrictions have been eased.

Here in New Zealand, with

a few exceptions, people have

cooperated and been responsible,

which has helped us

succeed in containing the

virus to a low number of

cases and people needing to

be hospitalised.

We have, according to

health experts, saved hundreds

of lives and stopped

our hospital system from being

overwhelmed, as hospital

systems have been in Europe

and the United States.

Care and Caution

By exercising proper care,

we can go about life in a

more normal fashion and

embark on the big challenge

ahead, which is achieving

economic recovery after

the huge losses incurred

by lockdown and by the

international recession.

At Alert Level 2, most businesses

will be able to reopen

with physical distancing and

health and safety provisions

in place. Remote working

is still encouraged where it

is an option, and people at

higher risk of severe illness

are encouraged to stay home

as much as possible. People

are still advised to avoid

non-essential travel out of

their home region and are

encouraged to stay local.

Re-opening facilities

At Auckland Council, we

continue to follow the advice

of the government and health

authorities, and we will

notify you of which Council

facilities will reopen as soon

as the updated guidelines are

confirmed.

While the Covid-19 pandemic

has been dominating

the news, Auckland Council

has also been responding to

the growing challenge of the

ongoing drought, which is set

to become the most severe in

our history.

Since the start of the year,

Auckland has received only

36% of its usual rainfall, and

total water storage in our

dams has fallen to less than

46%, significantly lower than

the 76% average.

Recent rainfall in May has

been welcome, but has made

little difference to overall

supply, with weeks of heavy

rain required to bring us back

to normal levels.

Mandatory water

restrictions

To ensure that we can

maintain our water supply

if the drought continues, we

have introduced mandatory

water restrictions that will

come into force from Saturday,

May 16, 2020.

These restrictions initially

ban the use of outdoor hoses

and water-blasters.

They will place strong

restrictions on the watering

of sports fields, plants or

paddocks, and require car

washes to operate only if they

use recyclable water.

Further restrictions will

be implemented if our water

storage levels continue to fall.

Please continue to save water

where possible elsewhere,

by keeping showers brief and

using dishwashers and washing

machines only when they

are full. Visit watercare.co.nz

for more information about

how you can save water.

Phil Goff is Mayor of Auckland.

He writes a weekly

column in Indian Newslink.

Homelink

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18 MAY

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MKT245_5h1


06

MAY 15, 2020

Educationlink

Elimination and Eradication are two different things

Adrian Esterman

Compared to many other

countries around the world,

Australia and New Zealand

have done an exceptional job

controlling COVID-19.

As of May 7, 2020, there were

794 active cases of COVID-19 in

Australia. Only 62 were in hospital.

The situation in New Zealand is

similar, with 136 active cases, only

two of whom are in hospital.

If we continue on this path,

could we eliminate COVID-19 from

Australia and New Zealand?

Control –> elimination –>

eradication

In order to answer this question,

we first need to understand what

elimination means in the context

of disease, and how it differs from

control and eradication.

Disease control is when we see a

reduction in disease incidence and

prevalence (new cases and current

cases) as a result of public health

measures. The reduction does not

mean to zero cases, but rather to an

acceptable level.

Unfortunately, there is no consensus

on what is acceptable. It can

differ from disease to disease and

from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

About Measles

As an example, there were only

81 cases of measles reported in

Australia in 2017.

Measles is considered under

control in Australia.

Conversely, measles is not regard-

We have successfully flattened the curve. But what comes next?

(AAP Picture by James Ross)

ed as controlled in New Zealand,

where there was an outbreak in

2019. From January 1, 2019 to

February 21, 2020, New Zealand

recorded 2,194 measles cases.

For disease elimination, there

must be zero new cases of the disease

in a defined geographic area.

There is no defined time period this

needs to be sustained for – it usually

depends on the incubation period of

the disease (the time between being

exposed to the virus and the onset

of symptoms).

For example, the South Australian

government is looking for 28 days

of no new Coronavirus cases

(twice the incubation period of

Covid-19) before they will consider

it eliminated.

Even when a disease has been

eliminated, we continue intervention

measures such as border

controls and surveillance testing to

ensure it does not come back.

For example, in Australia, we

have successfully eliminated

rubella (German measles). But we

maintain an immunisation schedule

and disease surveillance program.

Finally, disease eradication

is when there is zero incidence

worldwide of a disease following

deliberate efforts to get rid of it. In

this scenario, we no longer need

intervention measures.

Other infectious diseases

Only two infectious diseases

have been declared eradicated by

the World Health Organisation –

smallpox in 1980 and rinderpest

(a disease in cattle caused by the

paramyxovirus) in 2011.

Polio is close to eradication with

only 539 cases reported worldwide

in 2019.

Guinea worm disease is also close

with a total of just 19 human cases

from January to June 2019 across

two African countries.

The stage of Covid-19

In Australia and New Zealand

we currently have Covid-19 under

control.

Importantly, in Australia, the

effective reproduction number

The development of a vaccine can help control and eliminate a disease

(Shutterstock)

(Reff) is close to zero. Estimates

of Reff come from mathematical

modelling, which has not been

published for New Zealand, but the

Reff is likely to be close to zero in

New Zealand too.

The Reff is the average number of

people each infected person infects.

So a Reff of 2 means on average,

each person with COVID-19 infects

two others. If the Reff is greater

than 1 the epidemic continues; if

the Reff is equal to 1 it becomes

endemic (that is, it grumbles along

on a permanent basis); and if the

Reff is lower than 1, the epidemic

dies out.

So we could be on the way to

elimination.

In both Australia and New

Zealand we have found almost all

of the imported cases, quarantined

them, and undertaken contact tracing.

Based on extensive community

testing, there also appear to be very

few community-acquired cases.

Sentinel Surveillance

The next step in both countries

will be sentinel surveillance,

where random testing is carried

out in selected groups. Hopefully

in time these results will be able

to show us COVID-19 has been

eliminated.

It is unlikely that Covid-19 will

ever be eradicated.

To be eradicated, a disease

needs to be both preventable and

treatable. At the moment, we

neither have anything to prevent

Covid-19 (such as a vaccine) nor

any proven treatments (such as

antivirals).

Even if a vaccine does become

available, SARS-CoV-2 (the

virus that causes Covid-19)

easily mutates. So we would be

in a situation like we are with

influenza, where we need annual

vaccinations targeting the circulating

strains.

The other factor making

Covid-19 very difficult if not

impossible to eradicate is the

fact many infected people have

few or no symptoms, and people

could still be infectious even with

no symptoms. This makes case

detection very difficult.

At least with smallpox, it was

easy to see whether someone was

infected, as their body was covered

in pustules (fluid-containing

swellings).

So while we may well be on the

path to elimination in Australia

and New Zealand, eradication is a

different ball game.

Adrian Esterman is Professor of

Biostatistics, University of South

Australia based in Adelaide. The

above article and pictures have

been published under Creative

Commons Licence. Picture

Courtesy: The New Daily

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MKT245_5g1


MAY 15, 2020

Priyanca

Radhakrishnan

Labour List MP based in Maungakiekie

Maungakiekie Office

09 622 2660

priyanca@parliament.govt.nz

Level 1 Crighton House,

100 Neilson St, Onehunga

(entrance via Galway St)

| | priyancanzlp

Fijilink/Businesslink

Obeisance to Girmityas for their fortitude and sacrifice

Salutations to the forgotten

generations in Fiji

Thakur

Ranjit Singh

As we approach yet another

Girmit Day and

May 14, we are forced

to ask: why despite

enormous contributions to

Fiji’s development, Fiji Indians

escaped the history books?

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru,

the first Prime Minister of

Independent India, very aptly

summed up this phenomenon

in his book, The Discovery of

India: “History is almost always

written by victors and conquerors

and gives their viewpoint;

or, at any rate, the victor’s

version is given prominence

and holds the field.”

Deliberate cover-up

Therefore, in case of

Fiji Indians, history was

deliberately concealed to cover

up the crimes of British and

the Colonial Sugar Refining

Company. Since British were the

colonial rulers of Fiji for around

a century, they had a distinct

advantage in manipulating

history.

Those of you who came

through Fiji’s education system

would recall that in primary

and secondary school history,

you learnt about early history

of indigenous Fijians, about

provincial tribal wars and their

legends. You would have also

Some of the Girmityas (Picture Courtesy: Jocket2.org)

Women workers in the Girmit system

(Photo Courtesy: girmit.org)

learnt about the prowess

and courage of various

European explorers and

seamen.

You must have also read

the history of British Royal

Family, contributions of the

British in developing and

civilising the earth, virtues

of the Commonwealth, the

penal history of Australia,

and so on about the glory of

White men’s contributions

to carving out the destiny of

the world.

Some writers have likened

indenture or Girmit to

slavery. In fact, some have

dubbed slavery as being

better, because, at least in

slavery, people got better

food and shelter.

Wounded community

Why is there lack of

history of Fiji Indians?

The supposedly

custodians of Girmityas, the

British owed a duty of care

to record history as it really

and actually unfolded rather

than how they wanted it

to be told. They abrogated

their responsibility by

manipulating history of

Girmityas, thus leaving a

community wounded.

On this Fiji Girmit Remembrance

Day, we salute

the sacrifices and vision of

our Girmitya forebears.

Their resolve ensured

that the plan of British to

keep Girmitya children

uneducated failed.

They pooled their own

resources and built primary

schools in the villages.

They felt a strong conviction

in their hearts that

education of their children

would liberate them from

servitude and poverty. That

is what exactly happened.

Today, we are the beneficiaries

of that vision.

Unrecorded violent era

Girmit was a very violent

era which went unrecorded.

The British only told their

good tales and swept the

villainous acts and atrocities

under the carpet.

Author Rajendra Prasad

lifts this carpet in his epic

book on forgotten Girmit

history, Tears in Paradise. He

reveals: “The woman turns

around in fear, and puts her

hands in entreaty. The whip

comes down upon her half

naked back and legs. The

child is struck also. Both are

crying and screaming and the

mounted brute almost puts

his horse’s hoofs upon her….”

The Girmityas endured

their suffering and captured

them in different ways. This

‘Bidesia,’ a deep lamentation,

was composed in the

sugarcane fields of Fiji by an

unknown Girmitya.

It captures their helplessness,

anguish, anxiety and

pain.

Kali kothariya ma biteye

nahin ratiyaan ho

Kiske batayee ham peer re

bidesia.

Din raat hamri beeti

dukhwa mein umariya ho

Sukha re naynwa ke neer

re bidesia.

Translated, it says, “In the

dark rooms of the coolie

lines, the nights are difficult

to endure. Who do we tell

the depth of our pains? Day

and night of our lives are

consumed in suffering. Tears

have dried from our eyes.”

Consolation in solitude and

groups

When the cruel masters

ignored their pleas and

justice system failed them,

they found relief and comfort,

capturing their emotions in

their own mysterious ways.

In groups, they gathered,

shared, consoled and wiped

each other’s tears.

‘Bidesia’ was a common

song that Girmityas sang

and shared. It was a folksong

that captured the longing

and lament of the heart of

the victims and the singer,

usually a woman, sang with

tears streaming down.

May we be thankful to the

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sacrifices of our forebears.

Let us remember them on

May 14, in some small way,

as we mark other memorial

days.

Let us remember them by

dedicating May 14 every year

as ‘Girmit Remembrance Day.’

I dedicate this article to the

memories of my Aaja Bansi,

through whose sacrifices

and vision, I got educated

to the level that I could tell

their untold stories to the

new generation, who may,

hopefully be more thankful

to their sacrifices which gave

them this life of comforts.

Shat Shat Naman-our

salutation to their memory.

Om Satgati - May their souls

attain salvation.

And may we become a

more caring people towards

the memories of our departed

forbears.

Thakur Ranjit Singh is

a journalist and media

commentator. He is a third

generation of Fiji Girmitya.

He lives in Auckland.

SFO to investigate relief funds misuse

Supplied Content

Serious Fraud Office Chief Executive

Julie Read (Website Picture)

The Serious Fraud

Office (SFO) is

working with

other government

departments to prevent

Covid-19 relief funds from

being defrauded.

The SFO is providing

guidance to ensure counter-fraud

measures across

government are aligned to

international best practice

in terms of the provision

of emergency relief and

associated services.

The agency is also establishing

an advisory group

made up of fraud experts

within agencies to support

the government’s Covid-19

counter-fraud response.

Collective experience

pooled

The counter-fraud

guidance the SFO has been

sharing is based on its

expertise in investigating

and prosecuting public

sector fraud and from its

membership of the International

Public Sector Fraud

Forum, where the agency has

access to the collective experience

of its Five Eyes partners.

SFO Chief Executive Julie

Read said, “We are aware from

our international counterparts

that other countries have

seen a significant rise in

fraudulent activity generally as

a result of Covid-19. This has

reflected both the opportunistic

targeting of those in need

and the redeployment of

established criminal activity

to defraud government

relief programmes. There

is no reason to believe that

New Zealand would be any

different in this regard.”

Risk assessment

The SFO understands

that the government

agencies responsible for

disbursement of relief

funds are aware of the

risks and have in place

measures to counter them.

“In times of emergency

it is particularly important

to ensure that every

dollar of public funding

reaches the intended

beneficiaries not those

who would fraudulently

line their own pockets.

New Zealand government

agencies are generally well

placed to restrict any rise

in fraudulent activities by

being alert to the risks.

However, the SFO is under

no illusion that financial

crime will almost certainly

increase as a result of

Covid-19,” Ms Read said.

For quality paint, colour and advice, come in to your local Resene ColorShop today!

Authorised by Priyanca Radhakrishnan

Labour List MP, 100 Neilson St, Onehunga

0800 RESENE (737 363)

www.resene.co.nz


08

MAY 15, 2020

Viewlink

Media confusion-NZME: Yes; Stuff: No

The English Fortnightly (Since November 1999)

ISSUE 438 | MAY 15, 2020

An excellent fiscal policy

at the worst of times

In his speech to Parliament

in 1953, the late Sir Winston

Churchill, defending

his government’s budget,

said, “In finance, everything

that is agreeable is unsound

and everything that is sound is

disagreeable.”

No Finance Minister before

or after that statement has

ever been so popular as to be

left unscathed during a budget

session.

Viewed thus, opposition

parties and adversaries of the

Coalition Government were

quick to slam Budget 2020 as

sinking the country in debt

and that unemployment will

skyrocket.

Recovery from Covid-19

Finance Minister Grant

Robertson, in presenting

his Budget on May 14, 2020,

has in fact set the pace for

post-Covid-19 economy with

a provision of $50 billion for

Response and Recovery, with

financial boost for various

sections of the economy to

stimulate their activities and

retain jobs.

In many ways, the Budget

is a short-in-the-arm for the

wounded economy. In fact,

the New Zealand economy is

expected to recover faster and

Better to remain

Alert at all times

New Zealand became

the envy of the

Western world as

the country lowered

its lockdown regulations

to Alert Two (from May 14,

2020), which has allowed

most businesses to reopen.

There is a sigh of relief as

entrepreneurs plan their

future and as people return

to their jobs.

There will inevitably job

losses but as a few have said,

they will find alternate employment

or start something

of their own.

New Zealand are known

for their innovative and

sporting spirit.

Impatient politicians

There have been angry

calls on talkback shows on

radio, and postings on social

media over the government’s

decision to retain social

distancing norms and have

new regulations at bars and

restaurants. Opposition Parties-

National and ACT – have

also shown their impatience,

quoting job losses, businesses

going under and the general

stronger than most other OECD

countries.

As he said, economic forecasting

is more of an art than a

science at the best of times, but

more so than ever now.

The full impact of COVID-19

around the world is still being

seen. The depth and duration

of the pandemic means that

the economic outlook is highly

uncertain and forecasts will

change as more information

comes to light. But what they

do clearly show is the scale of

the economic challenge that

lies ahead.

A unique situation

Experts would agree that

Budget 2020 was delivered

in the shadow of a one in 100

year threat to the wellbeing of

New Zealanders.

Arguably, Mr Robertson

would have liked to present

a different budget during the

election year.

He was obliged to maintain

the best economic response

to Covid-19 as a strong health

response, and as such, difficult

calls had to be made.

With no prior experience anywhere

in the modern world,

we commend Mr Robertson

for an excellent piece of fiscal

policy.

gloom and doom.

Politicians on the opposing

side and people in general

must hold the government to

account but in times of war,

they should exercise restraint

and consider the larger

interest of the country.

The world is in a state of

war with Covid-19 pandemic.

Wrong references

It is wrong to quote

countries that have opened

up their economy or never

closed it as examples for New

Zealand to open up. Most

of these countries, which

relaxed rules, have had a

surge in the number of cases

and deaths. New Zealand

cannot at any time take such

a risk.

As Prime Minister Jacinda

Ardern and Director General

of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield

have repeated said,

“We should not squander

the gains that we have made

over the past few weeks. We

went hard and we went early

and all of us together have

done well. This is not the time

to take hasty decisions.”

Indian Newslink is published by Indian Newslink Limited from its offices located at 299A Riddel Road,

Glendowie, Auckland 1071. All material appearing here and on our web editions are the copyright

of Indian Newslink and reproduction in full or part in any medium is prohibited. Indian Newslink and

its management and staff do not accept any responsibility for the claims made in advertisements.

Managing Director & Publisher: Jacob Mannothra; Editor & General Manager: Venkat Raman;

Production Manager: Mahes Perera; Accountant: Uma Venkatram CA;

Phone: (09) 5336377 Email: info@indiannewslink.co.nz

Websites: www.indiannewslink.co.nz; www.inliba.com; www.inlisa.com

Tim Murphy

Three years of attempts to merge

our largest publishers might

have been extinguished in 90

chaotic minutes.

Media heavyweights NZME and

Stuff have long courted each other in

a volatile, stop-start relationship, but

when NZME finally brought out the

ring and publicly declared its undying

commitment, Stuff revealed it had

moved on.

Within 90 minutes of NZME seeking

the Government and Commerce Commission’s

blessing, and publishing its

banns of marriage on the New Zealand

and Australian stock exchanges about

930 am, Stuff’s owner, Australia’s

Nine Entertainment, issued a “We are

finished” and “Don’t call me” response.

It had, it said, “terminated” its engagement

with NZME on Stuff.

NZME persists in relationship

NZME insisted the couple were still

an item, telling the stock exchanges

before midday that it had exclusive

rights to its intended.

But even if it somehow persuades

Nine back to the table, its crucial wish

for urgent political and regulator permission

to join in unholy mediamony

will almost certainly go unheeded.

It had asked the Government to

pass a law allowing the Commerce

Commission to speed up its processes to

let it conclude the deal by May 31, 2020,

a mere 20 days.

Neither Communications Minister

Kris Faafoi nor the Commission itself

can entertain such urgent change when

one party to the deal is at best uncertain

and at worst expressly unwilling to

be bought.

Nine may close Stuff

It remains a possibility that Nine is

contemplating closing Stuff rather than

bothering with a regulatory process

and sale and it is that which prompted

NZME’s desperation to force everyone’s

hand.

But how NZME could have gone

public without agreeing with Nine to do

so simultaneously, or how it could hope

to win political backing for something

as untidy and now controversial as

this, will be a subject for study at future

business school courses on governance

and deal-making.

Even if it is right and its binding and

exclusive negotiating period is intact,

no government would surely entertain

passing a law change when the two

parties are at odds.

Ned for competition

In itself, allowing two big media

companies previously denied merger by

the Commission, then High Court and

Court of Appeal, to join would have been

a difficult policy call.

MPs are as aware of the need for

plurality of voices, and ownership, in the

news media as anyone.

Then for the proposal to be presented

as so urgent it must be concluded - not

initiated, but concluded - within 20

days, was enough for judicious political

minds to take fright. No one likes being

stampeded, even during an economic

and media industry crisis.

Then for it to unravel within 90

minutes of being announced; for the

supposed agreed $1 purchase of Stuff by

NZME to not actually be ‘live’ according

to Stuff and its owner, would surely

have seen this May 31 proposal dead on

arrival at Faafoi’s desk.

More than one bidder?

Faafoi is saying nothing and his

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was at

pains to offer no view at her afternoon

press conference, citing commercial

confidentiality when the issue was really

political taste for the principle of what is

proposed.

Interestingly she implied more than

one bidder for Stuff was in play.

Stuff says it is surprised that NZME

went public with its plan after Nine had

told it last week it had terminated not

just the talks but “future engagement”

Online traders breaching Fair Trading Act warned

Supplied Content

On the back of increases in online

shopping in New Zealand

in recent weeks, the Commerce

Commission is reminding

retailers of their obligations when they

sell products online.

Rising complaints

The Commission has received a

significant increase in consumer

complaints about retailers selling online

in the last month.

Complaints include traders advertising

goods that are no longer available,

claims about delivery timeframes that

are not being met, cancelled orders,

general frustration about lack of

communication and extensive delays

in getting a refund, processing orders

and receiving goods, including click and

collect orders.

Commission Chair Anna Rawlings

said that many retailers have had a rush

of sales through their existing websites

and apps while others have set up

online purchasing for the first time.

“We recognise that both retailers and

consumers are facing challenging times

as a result of Covid-19 restrictions but

the online marketplace is not a free for

all where anything goes. The same rules

prohibiting misleading conduct that

apply to physical stores also apply to

online retail,” she said.

Stock and website management

“It is important that retailers have

good systems in place to manage stock

and their website so that they don’t

mislead consumers by continuing to

advertise and sell items online that are

no longer available or are unable to be

delivered within a specified timeframe.

In the event that they do sell something

they can no longer provide, they need

Commerce Commission Chairperson Ann

Rawlings

to provide a refund to the consumer in a

reasonable timeframe,” Ms Rawlings said.

Key factors

Key things that retailers need to

remember: (a) You must not offer to sell

goods that you do not reasonably believe

you will be able to supply on the terms

offered (b) Clear and accurate information

should be provided to consumers

about the availability of goods and when

they can expect to receive them (b) If you

do not specify timeframes for delivery

then the law requires delivery within a

reasonable timeframe (c) Goods should

arrive within the time frame stated, if

that doesn’t happen consumers may be

entitled to reject the goods and ask for a

full refund (d)

If there are known delays with courier

deliveries, you should reflect that in

your stated delivery timeframes so that

consumers can make fully informed

purchasing decisions (e) You can sell

products with a future delivery date as

long as you are clear about when they

will be dispatched and at the time the

order is made you reasonably believe

that you can fulfil the order on the future

delivery date you have promised.

Impact on trading

“Restrictions on trading and supply

chain disruptions due to the response to

with NZME.

In a note to staff, Stuff chief executive

Sinead Boucher said: “There is no deal

between NZME and Nine. ...We are

really not sure why NZME took this step,

given the clear message from our owners

that there would be no transaction.”

NZME’s emphasis in its second,

rushed, statement to the stock exchanges

that its ‘exclusivity’ in negotiating to buy

Stuff was still intact seemed to hint at a

suspicion Nine could be entertaining an

offer from a third party.

Double purchase in Australia

In Australia, there had been word in

the market that a private equity player

had in recent weeks been sounding

people out about a possible purchase of

both NZME and Stuff.

Here, the ever-ambitious publisher

of the business website NBR has been

claiming to have funding through a

private equity fund and a strategy to buy

and run Stuff.

Another possibility is that of Nine

closing the business altogether and

exiting New Zealand.

Politicians would not have wanted

the responsibility of denying a possible

deal and then watching as hundreds of

jobs - in journalism and support areas

- were lost.

The corporate omnishambles that

eventuated Monday morning, with

someone formally seeking permission

to buy something that the other party

was no longer prepared to sell to it, has

relieved the politicians and regulator of

that burden.

Concern over the fate of Stuff, in

particular, and its hundreds of staff will

remain.

Credible information is crucial in a

crisis.

Tim Murphy is Co-Founder and

Co-Editor of Newsroom. The above

article has been published under a

Special Agreement.

Covid-19 can have an impact on the

availability of goods, a retailer’s ability

to fulfil orders, and delivery timelines

for courier companies. We encourage

consumers to pay attention to any

messaging on a website about delivery

timeframes before making a purchase.

If anything is unclear, contact the

retailer directly. If you need something

urgently, or within a particular

timeframe, check with the retailer that

they can meet your timeframe before

purchasing.”

Overseas traders

“We have also received complaints

about consumers shopping from websites

that use a .co.nz web address, and

expecting their goods to be despatched

from within New Zealand, when in

fact the trader is based overseas. We

encourage consumers to do their

research before using an online store

for the first time. Check the ‘contact us’

information on the site for a physical

address and phone number and do an

internet search to look for comments

or reviews from others who have used

the website,” Ms Rawlings said.

Commission guidelines

Consumers can find more about

their rights when buying online in

general and when their plans or

purchases are affected by COVID-19 on

the Commission’s website.

Retailers can find more information

about their obligations when selling

online on the Commission’s website.

Retailers who are new to online selling

should take time to read the guidance

and seek independent legal advice.

All traders must adhere to the Fair

Trading Act and Consumer Guarantees

Act when selling goods and services in

New Zealand regardless of the method

of sale.

Source: Commerce Commission,

Wellington.


MAY 15, 2020

I

saw 33 Budgets and many other

financial statements introduced

during my years in Parliament.

Each had their own drama

attached to them, some much more

than others.

The 1984 “Rogernomics” Budget

of Sir Roger Douglas and Ruth

Richardson’s 1991 “Mother of All

Budgets” were probably the most

sensational.

However, none of them was

developed and introduced in quite

the dramatic circumstances of this

year’s Budget.

Unusual Document

For that reason alone, it is a

remarkable yet most unusual

document.

No government has ever

announced a spending package

remotely approximating $50 billion

over a four-year period, yet never

before, not even in wartime, has a

government had to deal with such

a rapidly emerging and pervasive

crisis as Covid-19.

To its credit, and despite the obsequious

obligatory references to the

now canonised first Labour Government,

the Minister of Finance

resisted the urge to delve into

Labour’s ideological back-pocket

to fund his solutions (although that

day may well come when the time

comes to pay for all the spending he

has announced).

Rising debt and unemployment

Rather, with unemployment

projected to rise to almost 10% by

election time, he has focused on

trying to save up to 140,000 jobs

over the next two years, and the

various means by which that can

be achieved. And he has shown

himself unafraid to run massive

deficits - $28 billion in the coming

financial year; almost $30 billion

the following year, dropping to

$16 billion by the time of the 2023

election – to achieve that.

Resisting tax raise

The immediate urge to turn to

Budget 2020: Analysis and Comments

Businesslink

Remarkable balancing act, not the time to be adventurous

Peter Dunne

Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (Screenshot)

more taxes to fund those deficits

has been resisted for the time being

(the months before the election) but

cannot be ruled out in the future.

In the meantime, the government

is relying on the strong balance

sheet it inherited to bridge the gap

through borrowing, increasing the

debt to GDP ratio from around 19%

at present to almost 54% by 2024.

Even that figure is low by current

comparable standards in other

countries – Australia’s current debt

to GDP ratio is around 42%, which

they laud as low by world standards,

and which will undoubtedly rise as

a consequence of Covid19, Britain’s

debt to GDP ratio is predicted to

be 95% by the end of the year, and

Germany’s is projected to be at 75%.

So, the Prime Minister was right to

an extent when she spoke of being

able to spend the money previously

set aside for a rainy day, assuming

another does not come along in the

meantime.

Capital and other spending

Along the way, the government

has been able to commit spending

on a mix of capital and other

projects that will fix infrastructure

deficits (upgrades to the rail network

and new interisland ferries,

for example) – although its record

to date on delivering major projects

leaves considerable doubt whether

these will happen – and packages to

protect and create jobs.

The extension of the Wage

Subsidy Scheme for a further eight

weeks will be welcomed by many

businesses, although there must be

big questions about what happens at

the end of that period.

Especially since the election will

then be right upon us, and the

combined effects of a cold winter

and consumer demand perhaps

becoming a little more restrained

will be putting even more pressure

on business and employment than

is happening already. Maybe that is

what a fair chunk of the currently

unallocated $20 billion additional

expenditure is being held for.

Overall, the government appears

to have front-ended much of its

response to get the economy ticking

over as soon as possible.

It must be hoping that the uptake

and forecasts of strong economic

growth from 2022 will provide

much of the revenue to sustain its

future spending projections.

Clearly, mounting international

demand for loan finance from other

countries seeking to rebuild their

own Covid19 shattered economies

will make it harder for the government

to raise funds offshore in

the years ahead, despite currently

historically low international

interest rates and the government’s

strong balance sheet.

Shaky ground

Here is where the overall methodical

nature of the Budget’s provisions

starts to look shaky.

While much activity has been

announced or foreshadowed, it

has been done in the absence of

any demonstrable strategy for the

journey ahead.

The commitment to keeping jobs

is certainly a laudable objective, but

it is no substitute for a forward-looking

view about how the New

Zealand economy might develop

sustainably and prosperously in the

changed international environment

now facing us.

To that extent, it is a very introverted

document, sadly at a time

of international crisis when New

Zealand needs to be looking as much

to its future trading prospects as it

does to protecting the current jobs of

so many.

Common criticisms

Budgets have often been criticised

for being long on ambitions, and

short on practical policies to achieve

them.

This Budget goes almost to the opposite

extent. It is not obvious where

the government wants to see New

Zealand by the end of the decade,

when it is clear worldwide that a

lasting consequence of Covid19 will

be a profound change in the way

economies operate and interact.

In the absence of even a mere

inkling in the Budget of the government’s

thinking in this regard, it is

hard to escape the conclusion the

Budget is primarily a marking-time

document, aimed first at getting

through the coming election, and

then buying a little time thereafter to

consider wider future implications.

There is perhaps another explanation

for this pedestrian aspect of the

Budget.

Parties each to their own

This is, after all, a government of

three parties facing an election in a

few short months. Each therefore

needs to be able claim some achievements

in the budget as its own.

For New Zealand First, the already

announced rescue package for the

Racing sector, and the big increase

Fiscal response inevitable in an uncertain world

Dominick Stephens, Michael Gordon and Satish Ranchhod

The 2020 Budget was dominated

by the government’s

response to the Covid-19

pandemic.

With the world economy facing

its biggest shock since the Great

Depression, the required fiscal

response was inevitably going to be

well beyond anything seen in our

lifetimes.

Indeed, it turned out to be even

larger than we had allowed for.

With the Budget 2020 announcements,

the government has

committed a total of $62 billion for

economic support and recovery,

equivalent to around 20% of annual

GDP.

Of this, around $26 billion had

already been announced before

today’s Budget, another $16 billion

was unveiled today, and the remaining

$20 billion will be allocated to

specific programmes at a future

date.

Lift in borrowing

The package will require a significant

lift in government borrowing

over the coming years.

The bond issuance programme

has been expanded to $190 billion

over five years, compared to $42

billion in the Half-Year Update in

December 2019.

Net core Crown debt is expected

to rise from around 20% currently

to a peak of 53.6% of GDP, close to

the record high that New Zealand

reached in the early 1990s.

The government has chosen to go

hard and go early in its response.

On the whole, we think this was

the right thing to do; the economy

needs support, and the Reserve

Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) is

struggling to provide it.

This Budget will reduce the risk

that Covid-19 causes permanent

damage to the economy, and

opens a much clearer path to

recovery.

Mounting risks

But this approach is not without

its risks.

New Zealand has long been

staring down the barrel of massive

increases in government spending

due to the aging population. That

means, future governments will

either have to spend less or

tax more, which could sap the

economy’s dynamism.

Taking on more debt now puts us

in an even weaker position to deal

with this challenge.

We, and most other economists,

expect interest rates to remain low

for some time.

But if interest rates were to

unexpectedly rise, the debts being

taken on the Budget Day could

become a very heavy burden to

future taxpayers.

A general risk with using fiscal

policy to provide stimulus to the

economy is lack of flexibility.

If RBNZ finds it has overstimulated

the economy, it can easily reverse

courseby increasing interest rates.

Governments cannot fine-tune in

this way.

09

in New Zealand assistance to the

Pacific stand out.

The Greens are laying claim to

the billion dollar “Jobs for Nature”

package.

Labour will no doubt focus on

the wage subsidy extension and

the commitment to building 8,000

homes as part of its public housing

programme. With each party having

its own audiences to appeal to, it

makes the task of presenting an

overall coherent Budget theme that

much more difficult.

The balancing act

The Minister of Finance faced

a uniquely difficult balancing act

in bringing this Budget together.

Typically, the budget process begins

around the end of the previous year

and comes to fruition in late March

to early April, just after the time the

Covid19 crisis hit here. So, rather

than finalising a generous election

year Budget at that time, as had

been widely expected, the Minister

and his officials virtually had to go

back to scratch and start almost all

over once again. He has therefore

done extraordinarily well in

bringing such a full Budget together

in just a few weeks.

In these circumstances, his

lack of boldness for the future is

understandable.

At first glance, his critics on

both the left and the right seem

disappointed by various aspects of

the Budget, for different reasons.

The Minister may therefore be

tempted to conclude he has got it

“about right.”

The team of five million, the

ones who made the real sacrifices

of recent weeks, may well agree, at

least in the short term.

But as things get worse before

they start to get better the question

will be asked whether this

essentially conservative Budget has

done enough to secure the country’s

longer-term future.

Peter Dunne is a former Minister

of the Crown under the Labour

and National governments

between November 1999 and

September 2017. He lives in

Wellington.

Uncertain times

The current economic situation

is especially uncertain. While we

and most other economists believe

that the size of the impending economic

downturn requires massive

stimulus, we could be wrong. If the

economy does prove surprisingly

resilient, the government could

find that it has overstimulated the

economy.

Leaving $ 20 billion of the support

and recovery fund unspent does

mitigate this risk; in theory, some of

that spending could be cancelled.

But if the government did end up

providing too much stimulus, RBNZ

would have to run with tighter

monetary policy than otherwise.

The overall size of the stimulus

measures announced was larger

than we expected, and larger than

what RBNZ assumed in this week’s

Monetary Policy Statement.

That casts some doubt on our

forecast of a negative OCR, for two

reasons.

First, more fiscal stimulus means

less need for additional monetary

stimulus.

Second, more government debt

issuance gives the RBNZ more

scope to buy government bonds

and expand its quantitative easing

programme rather than lowering

the OCR.

Dominick Stephens is Chief

Economist and Michael Gordon

and Satish Ranchhod are Senior

Economists at Westpac. The above

is an edited version. For full text

of the above article, please visit

www.westpac.co.nz


10

MAY 15, 2020

Businesslink

Social media allows fake news travel faster, farther

Ximena Smith

Opinion: An open letter to

the Prime Minister written

by independent journalist

Peter Drew, questioned the

projected World Health Organisation

(WHO) death figures and suggested

that the New Zealand government’s

response to the Covid-19 crisis

was excessive and not based on

evidence.

Ironically, a number of the letter’s

assertions were backed up by referencing

less-than-reputable sources,

such as Dailywire.com (which the

fact-checking website Snopes says

‘has a tendency to share stories

that are taken out of context or not

verified’) or were based on Drew’s

own interpretation of evidence.

WHO claims and WHO didn’t

For example, he accused the

WHO of fraudulently exaggerating

the Covid-19 death ratio by only

considering the number of deaths

in relation to cases that had tested

positive and excluding the infected

who had not been tested.

However, the WHO have never

claimed to know a definitive death

ratio among all infected with the

coronavirus. In March, they said

about 3.4 percent of reported confirmed

Covid-19 cases around the

world had died, but that the death

rate among all those infected will be

lower and the true mortality rate of

Covid-19 will take some time to fully

understand.

Wrong on Sweden

Drew also held up Sweden as an

example of where lockdown measures

had not been implemented at

all and was experiencing low death

rates. This simply is not true - the

New Zealanders trust mainstream news more than others (RNZ Picture)

country has had a death toll of over

3000, a much higher figure than

the combined toll of Scandinavian

neighbours Denmark and Norway,

which have both taken stricter

lockdown measures and have

recorded fewer than 1000 deaths

between them.

Nevertheless, the letter has been

shared widely on social media by

New Zealanders, with one instance

of it being shared 20,000 times on

Facebook alone.

What can we make of the fact that

the widespread sharing of this letter

on social media occurred during

the same week as the publication

of research that found 53% of New

Zealanders agreed they can trust

news ‘most of the time?’

When I contacted Drew to ask

him about why he thought the letter

was spread so widely, he said that

people were no longer confident

that they were getting independent

and unbiased information from

the media, so instead were looking

elsewhere to try to find alternative

reliable sources of information.

People of all takes

But Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw,

author of ‘A Matter of Fact: Talking

Truth in a Post-truth World,’ told me

that it was not as simple as assuming

the sharers of Drew’s open letter did

not trust the media at all.

“In any one issue, there are

groups of people who don’t have

particularly strong views on that

issue. It’s a little bit like a bell curve

really - there are people who feel

very strongly that we are doing the

right thing, like epidemiologists,

down one end, and then there’s

people who feel very strongly

anti-government, ‘conspiracy’-type

people, and then there’s everybody

else who sit in the middle.”

It was the openness and curiosity

of people that filled the middle

ground that might read this open

letter and wonder if there were elements

of truth to it, which could lead

them to share it in a well-meaning

way, Dr Berentson-Shaw said.

“That is how you see misinformation

being spread in a digital age.

People are sitting in the middle, they

Communication Studies Research Fellow Dr Merja Myllylahti

are like ‘hmm, I am kind of concerned

about this, this is interesting,

I will share it’, and then one of the

things that we see happening with

that is that it amplifies incorrect

information.”

Misinformation mimics

It is particularly difficult when

misinformation mimics markers of

legitimacy.

One of the co-authors of the trust

in news research, AUT’s Dr Merja

Myllylahti, said that the letter is

dressed up as a news story in a

number of ways, such as through its

reference to multiple sources.

“The structure of these stories

might be misleading for a lot of

people. A news story normally has

evidence or facts, so when these

stories also refer to ‘evidence’ and

‘facts’, it is really confusing for

readers. A lot of people do not have

fact-checking tools or the capability

to actually check those facts. When

you have an avalanche of misinformation,

it is very, very difficult then

for individual people to go and sort

out what is fake and what is not.”

Indeed, the letter frequently

mentions the importance of “facts”,

“evidence” and “rational thinking,”

which Dr Berentson-Shaw said

could appeal to people’s “value sets”

that might prioritise the idea of

intelligence and cleverness.

Interest and curiosity

“Assuming that these people are

stupid is part of the problem. People

are interested, they are curious. Often

for people sitting in the middle,

they are wanting to be persuaded

about an argument, and they are

often engaged,” he said.

The issue is that while the internet

has democratised information availability,

it has not democratised the

ability to identify good information

from bad information, he said.

“For lots of people, knowing what

a trustworthy source or a good

source is really difficult. And that

is not because people are stupid.

It is because the structures of the

internet make it really difficult to

tell,” Dr Berentson-Shaw said.

While a number of measures

have been taken by online platforms

to reduce the spread of misinformation

about the coronavirus, such as

Facebook redirecting users away

from false information to authoritative

health sources and YouTube

deleting channels of high-profile

users who have been repeatedly

publishing misleading information

about Covid-19, Dr Berentson-Shaw

said tackling misinformation was

not as straightforward as simply

replacing false information with the

truth.

Ximena Smith is a Kiwi journalist

currently living and working in

London. The above Report (an

extract only) and Picture have

been published under a Special

Arrangement with www.rnz.co.nz.

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MAY 15, 2020

Businesslink

11

Playing it safe at

Alert Level 2

We are now at Alert Level 2. This lifts many

restrictions, but means we all now have more

responsibility too. It’s up to all of us to ‘play it safe’

so we can stop the virus from spreading again.

Keep track of where you go

Health services use contact tracing to reach

people quickly when there is a risk they have

been exposed to a case of COVID-19. This helps

stop any further spread.

To help them do this effectively you should keep track of the three

Ws: Where you went, When you went there, and Who you met.

Socialise small

You can now socialise with up to 10 friends and

whānau. All groups should be 10 people or less,

whether you’re catching up at home, or out

and about.

Make the space

Keep a 2-metre distance from anyone you

don’t know in public or in retail stores including

supermarkets. Keeping people separated in

this way helps stop any new transmission.

Allow extra time

Allowing extra time for your journeys is

very important.

More people will be travelling again, and more

cars will be on the road. Public transport has reduced capacity

as people try to keep their distance, so stay calm and be kind.

If you can, try to take public transport at off-peak times, and make

a note of the service you were on and where you were sitting.

As we all work together to ‘make the space’ around us, there may

be queues at places where you didn’t need to queue before –

including public places like libraries. Remember to remain patient.

Plan ahead as much as possible and allow extra time if you can.

Thanks for playing it safe New Zealand

Now is the time to finish the job we’ve started. If we all play our part,

we’ll lower our chances of spreading the virus again.

You should also keep a 1-metre distance from other groups when

you’re in an environment where further controls are in place –

such as work, or a café or cinema. Further controls might include

contact recording, limits to the numbers of people allowed on

the premises, and other public health measures.

Find out more at Covid19.govt.nz


12

MAY 15, 2020

Businesslink

Debate on legality of lockdown starts

Kris Gledhill

As New Zealand approaches

the end of its strictest

lockdown period, a debate

has begun about whether it

was legal in the first place.

This is important because people

are being prosecuted for breaching

the lockdown.

Naturally, lawyers are getting

involved, so things are going to get

technical.

Magna Carta and Rule of Law

Some lawyers tend to speak in

hyperbolic terms about the “Rule

of Law.”

Invariably they will go back to

1297 because the Magna Carta of

that year, obtained as a concession

by the landed gentry of England

from the King, required that imprisonment

be regulated by law.

That provision of English law still

applies in New Zealand. Its modern

consequence is that public officials,

whether the police or the director

general of health, can only detain

us if they act within statutory

powers.

A more recent declaration of

principle is found in section 22 of

the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act

1990, which says, “Everyone has the

right not to be arbitrarily arrested

or detained.”

When judges interpret other

laws, they must try to make sure

that the Bill of Rights is met.

So, if a statute contains a power

of detention, it will be construed

that it does not allow arbitrary

detention unless Parliament has

been clear that it does not mind

arbitrariness.

Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield

Three Questions

At a broad-brush level, there are

three main legal questions.

Was there detention? If so, was

there a law in place that allowed

detention? And did the law allow

arbitrary detention?

Let us look at those three key

questions in turn and why this

debate could all come down to the

week between March 26 and April

3, 2020.

Is lockdown a form of detention?

Detention is a step up from restrictions

on freedom of movement

(also protected by the New Zealand

Bill of Rights Act). And an important

question is when do we cross the

legal threshold from restriction

to detention? This is significant

because of the protections in international

human rights law, which

the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act is

designed to secure.

At the international level, it is

made clear that wrongful detention

requires compensation.

Various courts and international

human rights bodies have examined

where to draw the line.

In essence, they have decided

that “detention” does not require

being put under lock and key.

Rather, it turns on whether the

Facebook erodes media efficacy

Danielle

van Dalen

It is easy to complain

about the news and

its stories of political

mayhem, tragedy, and

messy world affairs. It is also

easy to forget the importance

of the news media industry

to maintaining a strong

democratic society.

Government to account

Media are referred to as

the “fourth estate“ because

of their role in holding the

government accountable.

Their role is to help balance

the power of information

between politicians (who

usually hold important

information) and the rest

of us.

That is, with their knowledge

and understanding

of the political system and

proximity to Parliament,

reporters are able to ask

politicians the tough questions,

challenge mistakes or

explanations, and highlight

issues that you or I might

have missed.

The Government currently

holds more power than it

did just a few months ago

through the emergency

powers enacted in response

to Covid-19.

The other side of social

media

These powers mean that

Government must be even

A deserted Wellington street on April 4, the day after isolation and quarantine

were mandated under the Health Act (Photo: www.shutterstock.com)

restrictions are more intense than

mere restrictions on freedom of

movement. This includes house

arrest accompanied by limited

movements outside. This supports

the view that anyone other than

essential workers was “detained” at

level 4 and possibly most people at

Alert Level 3.

Legalistic review

Was there a law allowing

New Zealand to detain people in

lockdown?

This question requires a legalistic

review.

The lockdown rested on directives

from the Director General

of Health (presumably drafted by

government lawyers, who are the

ones who should face any criticism

should the lockdown prove to be

open to legal challenge).

Under section 70 of the Health

Act 1956, the Director General can

issue directives with various aims.

One power is to close premises and

prevent people congregating in

public places.

This was used at the outset of

the lockdown, but the directive

did not specify house arrest and

it is difficult to see that this power

would allow that.

If the courts agree that people

more accountable, transparent,

and trustworthy than on

any normal day. But for this

to be done well, the media

must participate.

While it is nice to see

politicians in a relaxed

environment, when the

Prime Minister jumps online

for an impromptu Facebook

Live about the Governments

response to Covid-19, it

creates a problem for the

proper functioning of the

fourth estate, just as it is

when the President of the US

posts policy positions on his

Twitter page.

Social media gives

politicians the power to

speak directly to the people,

but it also allows politicians

to promote their version

of events and frame their

decisions the way they want

to, circumventing traditional

platforms that come with

reporter’s challenges.

Without questioning like

this, mistakes, misinterpretation,

and bungling of policy

decisions can be ignored.

Which means that when the

media does have the opportunity

to ask about discrepancies

in the Government’s

definition of elimination,

for example, they need to

make the most of it, or face

weakening their own role

and responsibilities.

A recent critique that the

media “seem far too chummy

with the Prime Minister

instead of fulfilling their role

as the watchdog for society”

from Senior Journalism Lecturer

at Massey University

Steve Elers, should concern

us.

Challenging the PM

To the Government’s

credit, the Prime Minister

maintained her Tuesday

morning media interviews

throughout lockdown. The

often-tense engagement

between the Prime Minister

and radio hosts as they

debate different policies is

encouraging.

It is in these moments that

she is challenged, or has to

talk out the nuance of policy

that previously might not

have been so clear, that our

democracy is strengthened.

However, these Tuesday

morning media interviews

are not required by law. If

it’s too difficult, or unhelpful,

it could easily be suspended

– as other methods of

accountability already have

been.

Social cohesion

The importance of social

cohesion has been highlighted

during this lock down.

This is generally a good

thing, but when effective

media questioning and challenging

of the government is

forgotten in favour of social

cohesion we need to ask if

we are going too far.

The cost to the functioning

of our democracy is too great

to simply ignore the weakening

of the fourth estate and

its role in our democracy.

Danielle van Dalen is a

Researcher at the Auckland-based

Maxim Institute.

were placed in detention, government

lawyers may have an uphill

struggle to show that the law used

allowed this.

Another section 70 power of

the Director General is to require

isolation and quarantine. T

This more obviously allows

detention, but a directive under this

power was not issued until April

3, 2020. It made the house arrest

scenario clear.

The Health Act

But a separate question is whether

the directive can cover all people

or whether individual orders have

to be made. Given that people can

be infectious without symptoms,

the public health basis for group

detention is fairly strong.

In addition, the Health Act

powers can be contrasted to powers

to quarantine under the Tuberculosis

Act 1948, which required an

individualised court order.

So, assuming detention, there

are good arguments that it was not

based in law until April 3. Even

after that date there is the third

question: was it arbitrary?

Did New Zealand allow arbitrary

detention in lockdown?

Many cases have discussed the

meaning of arbitrariness, but the

core idea is that detention must

be the last step, namely, that other

options are inadequate. This will

depend on the evidence as to the

state of knowledge about Covid-19

when the lockdown was imposed.

Importantly, the government has

a duty to protect lives, and pandemic

situations can be very dangerous,

particularly for vulnerable people,

as has been demonstrated in New

Zealand, and more so in countries

that took a lax approach.

Summarising this, first there are

good arguments that most of New

Zealand was in detention.

The government seems to have a

good prospect of showing that this

was not arbitrary, given the risks of

the disease spreading and causing

death and misery.

Probable claims

But there is a clear problem with

a failure to use the proper law from

midnight on March 25, when Level

4 lockdown began, until April 3,

2020.

This is not just an academic

question. People were arrested,

prosecuted and in some cases

imprisoned for breaching the

lockdown rules.

If the lockdown was not lawful

until part-way through, people

arrested in the week between

March 26, 2020 and April 3, 2020

should not have been. And if,

despite the strong arguments of

the government, the lockdown was

arbitrary, even arrests after April

3, 2020 will have been improper.

Those people will have a pretty

clear claim for unlawful detention

and compensation, despite their

selfish actions.

Kris Gledhill is Professor of Law

at Auckland University of Technology

based in Auckland. The

above article and pictures have

been published under Creative

Commons Licence.

Digital platform to see future Auckland

Supplied Content

Auckland’s City Centre

Masterplan, the

visionary document

to guide the City

Centre’s development for

the next 20 years, is now

accessible to all via a new

digital platform.

The Masterplan, which

was endorsed by Auckland

Council’s Planning Committee

in March, sets out a vision

for a greener, safer, and

better-connected city centre

that celebrates our unique

Māori identity.

Councillor Chris Darby,

Planning Committee Chair

acknowledged the changes

that Covid-19 is having on

our City Centre and the way

we view street space.

City Centre Masterplan

“The adoption and

digitisation of the City Centre

Masterplan comes at a time

when we are more focused

on how our streets can

function to allow people to

physically distance. Being

able to move around the city

safely is a focus for those

that live and work in the city

centre.

“During Alert Level 4,

Aucklanders have enjoyed

having more space to walk

and cycle and it has given us

a glimpse of what it is like

to have streets focused on

the wellbeing and safety of

people.”

Of the 542 Aucklanders

who submitted feedback during

public consultation, 76%

A digital view of Queen Street in perspective

supported the overall direction

of the Masterplan. The

most frequently mentioned

theme was the Masterplan’s

direction towards greater

pedestrian friendliness in the

city centre.

Tim Fitzpatrick, City Centre

Design Manager at Auckland

Council said that he is proud

of the work they have

done with the City Centre

Masterplan and said the plan

has proved very useful in

formulating Auckland Council

and Auckland Transport’s

Covid-19 response.

An excellent alternative

“The extensive work on

the City Centre Masterplan

and its access planning has

been invaluable in allowing

us to roll out an emergency

response that ensures

physical distancing can be

maintained on Queen Street

in Covid-1919 Alert Level 3.

“Although this work is

temporary it will give us an

opportunity to move seamlessly

from streets designed

for physical distancing

during COVID-19, to streets

that reflect our City Centre

Masterplan and the vision to

reallocate more street space

for people,” Mr Fitzpatrick

said.

Councillor Pippa Coom said

that the Digital Plan gives

people a fantastic preview

of what our city could look

like following the City Centre

Masterplan.

“The online plan is easy to

navigate with exceptional visuals

showing exciting opportunities

for the city we want

Auckland to be, including

plans for the revitalisation of

long-neglected areas such as

Grafton Gully and realising

the full potential of the

waterfront.”

Collaborative Plan

The City Centre Masterplan

presents a collaborative

vision. This refresh of the

original 2012 plan has been

developed in close collaboration

with independent

membership organisations

representing city centre

residents, businesses, transport

and the environment,

through a programme of

targeted engagement.

Source: Auckland Council


MAY 15, 2020

Businesslink

13


14

MAY 15, 2020

Communitylink

Healthcare workers scared of contracting Coronavirus

Sourced Content

Health care workers are

experiencing an “almost

post-traumatic stress” after

feeling terrified in the face

of the Covid-19 pandemic, a leading

anaesthetist has said.

Dr Vanessa Beavis was on the

frontline of the planning and

preparation that took place in New

Zealand hospitals as they readied

themselves for Covid-19 patients.

A consultant for Auckland hospital,

she was tasked with preparing

the staff there for the pandemic.

She is the President of the

Australian and New Zealand College

of Anaesthetists (ANZCA).

Staff were extremely anxious

about getting sick themselves, and

the stress was amplified by all the

planning and uncertainty involved,

she told Kim Hill on ‘Saturday

Morning.’

Healthcare workers terrified

“[The] healthcare workers themselves

were terrified that they were

going to catch this bug, which was

the experience from overseas and

terrified that they were going to take

Dr Vanessa Beavis (Picture Courtesy: Australian

and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists)

it home as well. Many people have

young children.

“We have had people who were

afraid, for example, that they were

going to end up as single parents

because they, their partner was one

of our workers, or people who had

people in the vulnerable age group

that they lived with, or looking after

elderly parents, something like that,”

she said.

Auckland DHB ramped up its

Covid-19 preparation in mid-March

after seeing the effect the virus was

having overseas, she said.

“Tales from our colleagues

overseas and our formal and

informal networks from UK, you

know, America all over, [were] just

completely overwhelming.

“One morning everything looked

kind of under control. And by the

end of the afternoon, 18 patients

had to be intubated, and overnight,

another 50. And so we thought we

were facing the apocalypse. And we

had to start, you know, trying to get

our systems in place for that,” Dr

Beavis said.

Tsunami of information

But a “tsunami” of conflicting

information from credible sources

made it hard to know what to believe.

Dr Beavis said it was “almost

paralysing” how much work needed

to go into getting the hospital ready

for an influx of patients.

They had to ramp up personal

protective equipment (PPE) training,

including making YouTube videos,

in case not everyone could be

trained in person, turn operating

rooms into training rooms, and then

also work out the logistics of where

staff could stay if they had to go in

isolation.

While some staff had tested

positive, hundreds who had been

tested returned negative results.

Indian Association Manukau gets new team

Its Diversity Centre a

great, cost-effective

alternative for events

Venkat Raman

Members of the Indian

Association Manukau

New Zealand (IAMNZ)

elected Dr Primla Khar

was their President for 2020-2021

along with a refreshed Executive

Committee.

Her election was unanimous at

the ‘virtual, web-based meeting’

held on May 2, 2020.

She was the second woman to occupy

the high office in the 41-year

history of the Association.

Energy and Enthusiasm

Dr Khar said that the meeting

was a ‘great test of the will and

inclination of the members to move

forward with technology during

uncertain times.’

“It was heartening and encouraging

to witness the energetic and

enthusiastic participation of the

senior and elder members of the

Association,” she said.

The New Committee

Following are the members of

the new Executive Committee:

Dr Primla Khar (President);

Keshav Govind, Suresh Ramji (Vice

Presidents); Aman Kharbanda

(General Secretary), Vasanti Govind

(Assistant Secretary) Surjeet Singh

Suchdeva (Treasurer) Monark

Panchal (Assistant Treasurer).

Arvind Patel, Bhavna Moral,

Gagan Deep Gupta, Hansa Naran,

Harjit Dhaliwal, Hira Dahya, Irvin

Govind, Jatinder Pal Kaur Sidhu,

Kailash Govind, Kokila Patel, Padma

Patel, R P S Bajwa, Roy Kaunds, Sanjay

Moza and Veer Khar (Executive

Committee Members).

A report from General Secretary

Aman Kharbanda said that the

meeting discussed the impact of

Covid-19 on the economy, on social

gatherings and the activities of the

Association.

Adverse impact of Covid-19

IMANZ Solicitor and Patel

Nand Legal Partner Radhe Nand

emphasised the need to manage

the financial stress as the world in

general faces uncertainty.

He said that financial discipline

and collective efforts of the Executive

Committee and the support

of the members will help the

Association to tide over difficulties.

Dr Primla Khar, new President of Indian

Association Manukau New Zealand

Mr Kharbanda said that the

meeting acknowledged the progress

of the Association over the past 40

plus years and said that its Diversity

Centre is a landmark in Auckland.

“The Diversity Centre, with its

multi-layer and multiple facilities

is open to all organisations and

individuals for their conferences,

meetings and social gatherings.

The election of Dr Primla Khar as

President reinforces our vision

of women’s empowerment. The

Meeting nominated Joel Ram as the

Honorary Auditor while Mr Nand

was re-nominated as the Solicitor,”

he said.

Dr Khar said that the first

programme of the new team was

‘Kavi Sammelan,’ held as a virtual

meeting on Facebook on Sunday,

May 10, 2020.

About the Diversity Centre

Located at 25 Tui Road (off Great

South Road) in the South Auckland

suburb of Papatoetoe, the Diversity

Centre boasts of a number of facilities

and amenities that rivals some

of the larger, opulent and ‘branded’

venues in and around Auckland.

The property, constructed on

land area of 2000 Sq Mts, owned

and managed by the IMANZ, towers

over four floors, with the built-in

possibility of rising higher as needs

grow in the coming years.

Four Floors of Excellence

The ground floor will accommodate

offices or showrooms, lobby,

gymnasium and space for up to

70 cars to park. The First Floor,

accounting for about 500 Sq Mts, is

an ideal venue for entertainment,

cultural and social programmes

seating 500 people (Theatre Style)

or cater to 280 diners at their tables.

As well as a modern kitchen, this

floor has the latest multimedia

technology. This is a self-contained

area, with access to Restroom and

other facilities.

A meeting in progress at the Diversity Centre of IAMNZ in

Papatoetoe, Auckland

The new Diversity Centre (of IAMNZ in Papatoetoe, Auckland) is

good for religious, social and other gatherings as well

Education and Training Centre

The Second Floor (400 Sq Mts) offers several

possibilities.

With flexible partitioning, this floor can at once

be an education centre, training school, and a venue

for small conferences, board meetings or lectures.

Communities can conduct language and other

classes for children, youth and adults if they so

desire. This floor is also self-contained with kitchen,

restroom and other facilities. Any event for about

200 persons can be conducted on this floor.

Apartments for Visitors and Refugees

The Third Floor was of special interest to us.

As Mr Khar explained about two years ago, this

floor would lift IMANZ into an elevated level of

service, not just for the Indian community but for

anyone who seeks to use the facilities.

“Seven Independent Units for use as apartments

for couples, shared accommodation for visitors to

Auckland or for those who wish to hire them on

long term basis will be the feature of this floor. This

could also be a centre for refugees. We propose

to discuss these possibilities with our Members of

Parliament and see if they could be of help,” Mr

Khar said.

All the floors are served by an elevator.

About IAMNZ

IAMNZ has come a long way from humble

beginnings in 1979 when it started, in hired rooms,

as an informal school to teach Indian children their

mother tongue. Then known as the South Auckland

Indian Cultural Society Inc, the main aim was to

preserve and promote Indian culture, hold language

classes, celebrate festivals and pass this heritage on

to a new generation.

“The world around us, the diaspora and our

original name has changed, but not our original

objectives remain the same. Our Association is

perhaps the only community entity that has people

from all religious beliefs. This is reflected in our

Executive Committee,” Mr Khar said.

“The existing building of the Association (57 Hillside

Road, Papatoetoe) will continue to be available

for hire for various activities,” he added.

Enormity of tasks

Dr Beavis said that an enormous

amount of work has been done

to prepare for Covid-19, which

will hopefully be useful if there is

another pandemic in the future.

Thankfully, the situation in New

Zealand did not turn out to be

anything like they feared it could

become.

“We had just been working in

such a fluid environment and now

it is almost like post-traumatic

stress; although it is not over, the

level of anxiety has gone down or

frenetic activity, but people are still

extremely anxious, and it’s a very

fragile workforce,” she said.

Fears over drug shortages

While Auckland DHB had enough

PPE for now, there were concerns

it could run short of some drugs, Dr

Beavis said.

The general anaesthetic propofol

and painkiller fentanyl were among

the drugs that could potentially be

harder to get, she said.

Global shortages were a part of

the problem.

“We cannot manufacture because

our workforces had to be in

isolation. And some of it is supply

chain problems. And then, some of

it is because other people are better

payers and bigger markets than us.

But Pharmac, I have to say, is on top

of it and are working really, really

hard to give us a secure supply. So,

if they cannot do it, it is not for the

want of trying, that is for sure,” Dr

Beavis said.

Drug shortages were a particular

concern as the hospital was trying

to catch up on elective surgeries –

which will take a long time, she said.

“We are probably about 2000 patients

behind on elective patients. If

you think that we do approximately

1000 general anaesthetics a week

or provide anaesthesia for about

1000 patients a week. Theoretically,

that would be about two to three

weeks, full time 41 operating

rooms working just on the catch up

numbers. Now clearly, we are not

going to be able to do that it will just

be a question of expanding what

we already do. So it is going to take

some time,” Dr Beavis said.

Published under a Special

Agreement with www.rnz.co.nz

Sanjay Badakere passes

away in Auckland

Body donated for medical research

Venkat Raman

It is with great regret

that we report the

passing of popular

community man Sanjay

Badakere at the Hospital

in West Auckland on May

5, 2020.

He was 68 years old

and fought a brave battle

against odds.

There was no funeral

service since Mr Badakere

has donated his body for

medical research.

He left behind his wife

Sandhya Rao Badakere (a

popular Hindustani Music

Teacher and performer at

concerts), their daughters

Priyanka and Ritika and

their respective husbands

Siddharth and Jatin Puri.

Priyanka and Siddarth live

in the US.

Disciplined accountant

The Reporter has known

the members of the

Badakere family since their

arrival in New Zealand

about 17 years ago. Mr

Badakere is a qualified

accountant who worked in

a number of commercial

establishments, before

establishing franchise

offices of SBA Small Business

Accounting in Mount

Roskill and Pakuranga

about ten years ago.

Soft and extremely

gentle in his manners, he

was known for choosing

his customers and keeping

them ‘clean and disciplined.’

His forgiving approach

and affable manners

endeared him to colleagues

and a large circle of friends

in New Zealand and India.

His life would be a model

for those seeking finesse

and high values.

Artistic proclivities

Mr Badakere was

an ideal husband and

father, and encouraged

Sandhya to establish her

Swar Sadhana Academy

of Indian Music, which

today has three branches

in Auckland conducting

Sanjay Badakere

musical classes, voice

training and other forms

of performing arts.

He personally chose

the songs for the annual

programmes conducted

in the ‘Suneheri Yaadein’

series, the last of which

was held as at tribute to

Rahul Dev Burman on

May 25, 2019.

He had selected the

songs for this year’s

programme (Tribute

to Shankar Jaikishan),

which has been postponed

to 2021 in view of

Covid-19 lockdown.

Mr Badakere’s gesture

of donating his body for

medical research is considered

noble. Five years

ago, Sandhya’ mother

Sudha Rao also donated

her body for medical

research following her

death on April 25, 2020

(ANZAC Day).

Sanjay had always

adopted a philosophical

approach to life.

“Do not pause to

mourn. The world must

go on. Forget all the

harm that anyone could

have caused to you or to

someone known to you.

Everything is a part of

life,” he would say.

Indian Newslink

conveys its heartfelt

condolences to Sandhya,

Priyanka, Ritika and their

respective families on this

loss. We stand by them in

their bereavement.

We pray that the

departed soul should rest

in peace.

Sanjay Badakere was

one of a kind.


MAY 15, 2020

As the world comes to grips

with the “new normal”

that Coronavirus has

wrought on our towns,

cities and communities, society

faces the challenge of figuring out

how to talk about the impact the

virus is having on our everyday

lives.

Coronavirus has led to an explosion

of new words and phrases,

both in English and in other

languages. This new vocabulary

helps us make sense of the changes

that have suddenly become part of

our everyday lives.

Established terms such as

“self-isolating,” “pandemic,”

“quarantine,” “lockdown” and

“key workers” have increased in

use, while Coronavirus/Covid-19

neologisms are being coined

quicker than ever.

These include “covidiot” (someone

ignoring public health advice),

“covideo party”(online parties via

Zoom or Skype), and “covexit” (the

strategy for exiting lockdown),

while Coronavirus has acquired

new descriptors – including “the

‘rona” and “Miley Cyrus” (Cockney

rhyming slang).

Metaphors galore

Other terms deal with the

material changes in our everyday

lives, from “Blursday” (an unspecified

day because of lockdown’s

disorientating effect on time), to

Communitylink

Neologisms and metaphors emerge from the global pandemic

Coronavirus brings forth

‘Covidiots,’ ‘Covideo

Parties’ and more

Robert Lawson

“zoombombing” (hijacking a Zoom

videocall). “WFH” (working from

home) and “quaranteams” (online

teams created during lockdown) are

helping people deal with changing

work circumstances.

This is to say nothing of the

metaphors people are using to talk

about our response to Coronavirus,

from war metaphors – for example,

Boris Johnson’s briefing where he

stated that: “This enemy can be

deadly, but it is also beatable” – to

sports, storms, monsters, natural

disasters, and more.

Linguists are already starting

to analyse these metaphors, while

Veronika Koller of Lancaster

University is crowdsourcing the

non-war metaphors that people

use (readers can contribute to this

repository via Twitter using the

#ReframeCovid hashtag).

Attention has also been paid to

how effective different metaphors

are in encouraging compliance

with public health advice, as well as

issues of translation, interpretation

and access to healthcare.

The language of social crises

While the scope of lexical innovation

in relation to coronavirus

ANZ Increases donation to

Community Law special fund

Staff Reporter

ANZ Bank has announced

an increase in the proportion

of its donation over

the next few months to the

Lawyers and Conveyancers Special

Fund.

The Bank will provide 35% of

the interest it earns on licensed

conveyancers’ nominated trust accounts

held by ANZ to Community

Law, up from 20%, according to

about $270,000 based on current

interest rates and economic

activity.

ANZ donated more than $920,000

between March 2019 and February

2020 to Community Law.

About the Fund

The Fund, vested in the New

Zealand Law Society and the New

Zealand Society of Conveyancers,

collects interest from the nominated

trust accounts of Solicitors and

Licenced Conveyancers.

The Fund is governed by the Law

Practitioners Act 1982 and helps

run 24 Community Law Centres,

which provide service in about 140

locations throughout New Zealand.

The Community Law Centres can

be accessed by all residents in the

country and is rendered free.

Community Law Chief Executive

Sue Moroney said that the increase

will help Community Law to

sustain free legal support to communities

as they battle the impact

of Covid-19.

”While it is likely that the overall

value of the Special Fund donation

from five banks will suffer because

of economic conditions, ANZ’s offer

to lift the proportion it donates

Community Law Centres o Aotearoa

CEO Sue Moroney

to fund our services will help to

mitigate this,” she said.

Surging demand

Ms Moroney said that Community

Law has already seen a surge of

people needing employment law

support about their jobs, even

though they have only been able to

offer services remotely since Alert

Level 4 came into force.

”We expect to see this increase

substantially when Community

Law Centres open for face-to-face

services again. Sadly, even more

people will be eligible for our free

legal services because they have

lost their income. They are likely

to need help with employment

law and then because of their new

financial position they may have

landlord problems, WINZ issues

and debt problems they need legal

support with too,” she said.

Ms Moroney said that Community

Law needs increased funding to

support those affected by the

epidemic response and ANZ’s

increased support will help us

is unprecedented, we only need to

look to other periods of history to

see how such linguistic creativity

manifests itself in times of serious

social crisis.

World War II gave us “radar”

(RAdio Detection And Ranging) as

well as “fubar” (F***ed Up Beyond

All Recognition), “snafu” (Status

Nominal: All F***ed Up, although

Situation Normal All F***ed Up is

also a common interpretation).

From Vietnam we got both

“clusterf***” (a mishandled

or disorganised situation) and

“fragging” (the deliberate killing of

an unpopular member of one’s own

fighting unit, from the shortening of

fragmentation grenade).

More recently, the UK’s departure

from the EU (colloquially known

as “Brexit”) gave us a variety of

terms including “brexiteers”,

“remoaners”, and “regrexit” – while

conversations were dominated by

new concepts such as “backstops”,

“hard borders”, and “cliff edges.”

Lasting effects

For major health pandemics, the

lasting effect on language is usually

that the name of the disease enters

common parlance, as happened

respond to community needs.

Despite the challenges, Community

Law has continued to provide

access to justice while the country

battles Covid-19, she said.

“I am proud that 24 Community

Law Centres made a quick pivot

to remote services, while keeping

up to speed with rapidly-changing

laws and taking on complex cases.

Supporting people to keep their

jobs, their homes, their families and

their livelihoods is our priority right

now,” she said.

ANZ initiative

ANZ New Zealand Chief Executive

Antonia Watson said that many

New Zealanders were experiencing

hardship and changes to their circumstances

as a result of Covid-19.

“ANZ has supported the

important work of Community Law

for many years. As the effects of

Covid-19 reach into the lives of so

many people, it is more important

than ever for them to have access

to legal support and services,” she

said.

About Community Law Centres

Twenty-four Community Law

Centres work out of over 140 locations

across New Zealand to provide

free legal help and advice to those

who are unable to pay for a private

lawyer or who do not have access to

legal aid. This advice covers all aspects

of New Zealand’s legal system,

including family law, employment

issues, housing problems, consumer

advice and criminal law.

As well as around 170 staff, Community

Law’s services are boosted

by over 1200 volunteer lawyers who

run clinics and deliver free advice

and assistance.

with Human Immunodeficiency

Virus (HIV), Acquired Immune Deficiency

Syndrome (AIDS), Spanish

Flu (1918-1920), SARS (2002-2004),

Swine Flu (2009) and others. But

Coronavirus has flipped the script

and appears to be influencing public

discourse beyond simply adding

a new disease to the dictionary.

Given this process of lexical

innovation, there are two questions

worth asking: why are new Coronavirus-inspired

terms coined in

the first place? And why have these

terms found purchase in our lives

so quickly?

After all, new words are introduced

all the time, but few of them

enter the wider public consciousness

in the way we’ve seen with

coronavirus terminology.

Language unites

In his widely cited article on

linguistic creativity, Ronald Carter,

former Professor of Modern English

language at the University of

Nottingham, makes the point that

“verbal play is often undertaken for

humorous purposes, serving in part

to bring people closer together,” as

well as challenging the “normal”

view of things.

Carter goes on to argue that

inventive language is not just

ornamental, but practical.

In a mere three months, Coronavirus

has fundamentally changed

our ways of living.

It has closed businesses and

transformed our working patterns.

This new vocabulary has come

to be a utilitarian shorthand for

talking about Coronavirus-related

issues – from the impact the virus

has had on our working lives, to the

influence of the lockdown measures

– or even just a way to poke fun and

laugh at the world around us.

The outpouring of metaphors, neologisms

and lexical innovations we

have seen in the past few months

15

points to the fact that linguistic

creativity is a key part of language,

reshaping our ways of engaging

with the world.

This new vocabulary also helps

people articulate their worries

about the biggest health crisis we

have seen in generations.

Collective cultural references

It brings people together around

a set of collective cultural reference

points – a kind of lexical “social

glue”. In the absence of the regular

social contact, shared talk is an

important part of helping people

feel connected to one another.

Perhaps one of the biggest factors

in the spread of Coronavirus terminology

is the fact that we are more

digitally connected than ever before

– in a way we were not during the

SARS outbreak in 2002 or the Swine

Flu outbreak in 2009.

Instant access social media is now

an integral part of our lives – and

we share content with friends and

family through a variety of social

media outlets.

The scale of our online connections

means that there are now far

more opportunities for individuals

to coin a new term and share it

beyond their immediate local

communities.

In times of significant social or

civic change, linguistic creativity

not only reflects the major preoccupations

of the time, but also shows

how people gather to talk about

new challenges and contexts.

As Coronavirus rages on, understanding

the language surrounding

it will be ever more important.

Robert Lawson is Associate

Professor in Sociolinguistics at

Birmingham City University, Birmingham,

United Kingdom. The

above article and pictured have

been published under Creative

Commons Licence.

Accountant jailed for

defrauding $1 million

Supplied Content

A

former chartered accountant

has been sentenced to three

years and nine months’

imprisonment for stealing

approximately $1.01 million from his

clients.

Christopher George Wright (64)

misappropriated refunds from his

clients on whose behalf he filed tax

returns and received refunds.

The tax refunds intended for Mr

Wright’s clients were deposited in his

accounting practice’s trust account.

He spent the refunds on gambling,

friends and family, school fees and

loan repayments. He defrauded about

245 clients over a six-year period from

January 2010 to April 2016.

Mr Wright was sentenced today

(May 13) at the Auckland District Court.

He had pleaded guilty previously to

one representative charge of ‘Theft by

person in special relationship’ brought

by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

SFO Chief Executive Julie Read said,

“The sentence reflects the seriousness

of offending, which was premeditated,

repetitive and long running. Mr Wright

breached his professional duties and

deceived his clients for personal gain

of more than $1 million. His offending

was a significant breach of trust and

he will now suffer the consequences

of his actions. The prosecution of such

matters is an important aspect of

protecting New Zealand’s reputation as

a safe place to invest and do business.”

The investigation

Following a complaint made to

New Zealand Institute of Chartered

Accountants (NZICA), Christopher

Wright’s membership of the institute

was suspended on April 26, 2016.

The Professional Conduct

Committee subsequently filed charges

alleging ‘professional misconduct’

and ‘negligence or incompetence’ that

where heard by NZICA’s disciplinary

tribunal in December 2016. Mr Wright

pleaded ‘guilty by correspondence’

to those charges brought before the

disciplinary tribunal.

The disciplinary tribunal removed

Mr Wright’s name from the register of

NZICA members and imposed costs of

$56,853.


16

MAY 15, 2020

Sportslink/Communitylink

Speedshow merges with Big Boys Toys

Staff Reporter

CRC Speedshow, New

Zealand’s largest

automotive event, will

form the motorsport

arm of the Big Boys Toys expo

in November 2020.

The show scheduled for

July 2020 has therefore been

cancelled.

The two shows will be held

under the overarching Big

Boys Toys brand after both

were purchased by lifelong

motorsport enthusiast Shaun

Varney.

Varney competed in motorsport

for more than ten years,

including the NZV8s and a

number of GT championships.

Last year, he finished third in

the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour

Race, racing behind the wheel

of a Holden Commodore.

Strategic amalgamation

Varney said that the amalgamation

is strategic as well as

practical, with many exhibitors

and attendees forgoing one

show for the other in recent

years due to their similar

offerings.

The new format will

accrue better value for 45,000

attendees across both shows,

he said.

“Big Boys Toys will now

effectively be two shows for

the price of one. By bringing

Speedshow into the format, we

will be able to offer punters,

sponsors and exhibitors much

better value for money. In all

likeliness, we would have had

to cancel or postpone a standalone

Speedshow in July as a

Action gets above the ground

(Jess Mayhew/Undertow Media)

Ferrari would be a major attraction

(Jess Mayhew/Undertow Media)

result of Covid-19. Therefore,

we are confident that the new,

combined mid-November

expo will provide the public

an opportunity to enjoy an

epic event after the various

cancellations over winter,”

Varney said.

The change of ownership

also sees a shift in vision for

Big Boys Toys, to make it more

diverse and inclusive, with

more pockets of interest in

2020 and beyond.

Varney said that Big Boys

Toys and CRC Speedshow have

amazed crowds of Kiwis for a

combined period of 34-years.

Elevated offering

But in a new social climate,

the time is right to shake

things up with a bigger, better

and more elevated offering, he

said.

“We are looking to invest

in fresh features to deliver a

premium event that appeals to

everyone, not just the blokes,

and is fun for the whole family.

Planning is still in the early

stages, but we are excited to

announce more information on

the format and exhibitors later

in the year,” Varney said.

Previously owned by SMC

Events, Big Boys Toys roared

into New Zealand’s cultural

consciousness in 1997 with a

goal of providing face-to-face

interaction between Kiwi males

and their favourite brands.

Attracting more than 30,000

people, past shows have seen

halls packed with classic and

contemporary cars, innovative

electronics and gaming, food

and entertainment.

About Speedshow

Created by Auckland race

driver Keith Sharp, CRC

Speedshow first ran in 2007

and was the largest automotive

and motorsport event in New

Zealand.

Prior to Varney’s acquisition

it was owned by businessman

Bruce Anderson.

The new look Big Boys Toys

is scheduled to take place at the

ASB Showgrounds, Greenlane,

Auckland from November 13 to

November 15, 2020 (subject to

the public health conditions).

Tickets go on sale June 1,

2020.

For more information, please

visit www.bigboystoys.co.nz

Interest-free loans for SMEs from IRD

Supplied Content

The Government will provide

interest free loans to

Small and Medium Businesses

(SMEs) impacted by

the Covid-19 economic shock.

Finance Minister Grant

Robertson and Small Business

Minister Stuart Nash announced

the new initiative to support

these businesses to meet their

immediate cashflow needs and

fixed costs.

The scheme is being implemented

from May 12, 2020.

The initiative, called, ‘Small

Business Cashflow Loan Scheme’

will provide up to $100,000

to companies employing 50

or fewer full time equivalent

employees.

Mr Robertson said that the

support extended by commercial

banks to SMEs is neither meeting

the needs nor expectations of the

government.

The loan terms

“The government has therefore

decided to provide $100,000

to every firm and in addition

$1800 per equivalent full time

employee. Loans will be interest

free if they are paid back within a

year. An interest rate at 3% for a

maximum term of five years will

be charged thereafter,” he said.

Mr Robertson said that the

firms would not be expected to

make any repayments for two

years.

Mr Nash said that the

government recognised that

many businesses had little or no

revenue accruing to them during

Alert Level 4 and Alert Level 3.

Ministers Stuart Nash and Grant Robertson (INL File Picture)

“The Small Business Cashflow

Loan Scheme’ will give these

companies access to cashflow to

meet fixed costs on concessionary

terms. The eligibility criteria will

the same as the Wage Subsidy

Scheme. Businesses must declare

that they are a viable business,

that they will use the money for

core business operating costs and

enter into a legally binding loan

contract,” he said.

Unique to NZ businesses

Mr Robertson said that the

Scheme is meant for firms that

have not generated any revenue

during the Covid-19 lockdown

period.

“These kinds of terms are not

available anywhere else. We are

committed to sharing the burden

of the impacts of Covid-19. As a

responsible government, we must

ensure that we are using taxpayer

money carefully as we provide

support for business,” he said.

Mr Nash said that Inland

Revenue Department (IRD) will

accept applications from May 12,

2020 and commence payments

thereafter.

“By helping SMEs to pay

their fixed costs, in addition to

the tax changes, wage subsidy,

commercial property measures

and consultancy support already

available, we now have a

substantive package to help these

firms and sole traders get through

this phase and into recovery,” he

said.

Mr Robertson also announced

changes to the criteria for the

previously announced Business

Finance Guarantee Scheme

effective immediately.

These include removing the requirement

for a General Security

Agreement.

“Further changes to the scheme

will also be considered to ensure

it plays a useful part in providing

support to businesses,” Mr

Robertson said.

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