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The strategy is to eliminate

Covid and protect lives

Michael Wood

As I wrote this article, Auckland

shifted down to Level 2 after

about three weeks of significant

restrictions at Level 3.

The recurrence of Covid-19

in the community has been

very challenging for people, but

overwhelmingly the response has

been very encouraging as people

have rallied themselves again to take

collective action, and stamp out a

Virus that threatens the health and

lives of our fellow New Zealanders.

Over the course of Level 3, I have

been reflecting on why it is that New

Zealand has done so well in the battle

against Covid-19 in comparison to

most other countries.

Human beings come first

Clearly, the government’s strategy

of eliminating the Virus by going

hard and early has been important.

So too has been the decisive

leadership and clear communication

of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

But most important I believe has

been the ‘team of five million’

approach – a belief that we are all in

this together.

Critically, this approach is founded

on the principle of service to others.

It means that even though many

of us as individuals may not be

especially vulnerable to the Virus,

that we have made the sacrifices and

followed the guidelines in order to

serve and protect other people in our


This is really the best of human

nature, and is the polar opposite

of the “herd immunity” approach

advocated by a vocal minority, which

would see us sacrifice the lives of the

elderly and unwell to minimise any

impact on our own lives.

I am pleased that we have taken

an approach which prioritises the

value of human life.

Samaritans in the community

During the challenges of

Level 3 and 4 restrictions I have also

observed this concept of service to

As people returned to their offices in Auckland,

so have traffic delays (File Photo)

others in the way that many people

and organisations have reached out

to help others.

Food parcels have been organised

for people who are struggling, neighbours

have reached out to check

on one another, and communities

have rallied around small businesses

who have been doing it tough. As a

government, we have been working

hard to provide as much support to

people as possible through measures

such as the Wage Subsidy Extension,

Small Business Loans, and Covid

Relief Payments, but it takes all of us

working together to get through a

challenging situation like this one.

I want to especially acknowledge

the New Zealand Indian community

for their service to the community

at this time. Time and again I have

seen groups within the community

mobilise to provide support and

meet the welfare needs of people in

need. I thank and salute every group

who has provided this service.

Together we have made good

progress. Through our shared work

we have saved many lives in New

Zealand, and our very strong testing

and contact tracing system is currently

doing a great job of isolating

cases from the recent recurrence.

Simple precautions

As we move into Level 2, it is very

important that we do not let our

guard down.

Covid remains a very tricky Virus

and further cases are possible. We

can all minimise the chances of this

happening by following the rules.

In particular (a) While we can leave

home now, use common sense and

limit unnecessary movement (b)

Consider working from home if you

are able to do so (c) If you are going

out, you are strongly encouraged

to wear a mask. It is a requirement

to wear a mask on public transport

or on a place (d) Maintain physical

distancing of two metres. If you

have to be in closer contact, ensure

that you wear a mask (e) If you are

unwell, you must stay at home.(f)

If you have any symptoms or have

been in contact with any known

cases of Covid, get a test taken as

soon as possible.

Remaining restrictions

In Auckland, you cannot attend

gatherings of more than 10 people

(or 50 for funerals and tangihanga).

Gatherings are restricted to 100

people across the rest of the country.

Full guidance is available at www.


Thank you everyone for your

work and sacrifices so far.

By working together, following

the rules, and caring for others in

our community in a spirit of service,

we can and will get through.

Michael Wood is Member of Parliament

elected from Mt Roskill and Senior

Government Whip.

Watch a unique documentary on TV Three On Demand

Watch a unique documentary on TV Three On Demand

Mark Jennings

Fresh from his successful documentary

on cannabis, Television journalist

Paddy Gower, has brought his unique

style to the issue that has dominated

life in New Zealand recently – Lockdowns.

From New York via Los Angeles to New

Zealand and Bluff. The original path of

the virus that resulted in the country’s

second worst Covid-19 cluster to date, is

a central theme in Paddy Gower’s latest


The Bluff Cluster

The Bluff cluster, which saw 98 people

infected with the virus, could have been a

lot worse.

In the film, Gower introduces us to Adrienne.

The Auckland mother of two had just

cycled the length of the country and asked

a guest from a large wedding party having

its photo taken at Bluff’s iconic world travel

signpost to also take a photo of her.

They obliged but with the photo came

the Coronavirus. A potential timebomb

was soon on its way back to Auckland.

Adrienne’s job meant that up to 2000 people

could have quickly been exposed if she

returned to work. The city sat on the edge of

a very big outbreak.

In the end, only her immediate family

of four contracted the virus from Adrienne

because the day after she returned from her

cycling adventure was the day New Zealand

went into Level 4 lockdown.

Narrow Escape

Gower thinks the “narrow escape” was

mainly due to the urging of Professor

Michael Baker, the public health specialist

who had been pushing the Government to

impose a lockdown.

Gower’s interview with Baker, at his

home during the lockdown, is one of the

most fascinating parts of the documentary.

Tracing to New York

In the documentary Gower talks to a

Genomicist who traced the Bluff cluster

Patrick Gower during the assignment

back to New York.

An Air New Zealand flight attendant, a

friend who attended the couple’s wedding,

caught the virus off a passenger who had

travelled from New York to Los Angeles and

then on to New Zealand.

A tearful Gower asks the couple if they

wish they could have their wedding all over


They both say ‘Yes.’

The fact that Gower and most of those

interviewed in the documentary shed tears

does not mean that the emotion is mawkish

or contrived.

Gower’s empathy feels genuine and his

“grass roots” style sits easily in the narrative.

He greets Manoli with “Yeah, yeah, how

are you mate, yeah” and somehow it does

not feel clumsy or inarticulate.

Gower and Director-Editor Justin Hawkes

have emerged as probably the country’s

best exponents of the modern commercial

television documentary.

Hawkes’ ability to keep a story moving

and add a sense of drama with his editing

and soundtracks give his docos a very

contemporary, almost Netflix, feel.

Jake Bryant’s cinematography (there are

lots of city skylines and drone shots) add to

the international flavour of the film.

On Lockdown | Monday, August 31, 2020

at 830 pm | Three

Mark Jennings is Co-Founder and Co-Editor of

Newsroom. The above article, which appeared on

their website has been reproduced here under a

Special Arrangement. This is a highly edited version.

For full text of the above article, please visit www.


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Christchurch massacre terrorist gets life without parole

Warning: This story

carries details of the

Mosque shootings and

can be distressing

‘Harshest sentence in

New Zealand’s history’

Tim Brown

The man who carried out the

Mosque attacks in Christchurch

on March 15, 2019 has been sentenced

to life in prison without

the possibility of ever leaving jail.

Australian Brenton Tarrant (29) had

earlier admitted 51 charges of murder,

40 charges of attempted murder and

one charge of terrorism.

Justice Cameron Mander this

afternoon imposed the sentence - the

harshest available to the Court.

It marks the first time a convicted

person has ever been imprisoned with

no possibility of parole.

Tarrant murdered 51 worshippers at

Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic

Centre in Christchurch on March 15,


He also shot and injured 40 more in

an attempt to murder them.

Sentence unopposed

Tarrant was also sentenced to

life imprisonment on one count of

engaging in a terrorist act.

It marked the first time anyone was

sentenced for offending under the

Terrorism Suppression Act.

The terrorist did not oppose being

jailed without the possibility of parole.

A packed public gallery and seven

other courtrooms filled with victims,

their families and supporters watched

RNZ Picture by Vinay Ranchhod Brenton Tarrant at the Sentencing (Stuff/Pool Photo) Prosecutor Mark Zarifeh

as the sentence was handed down.

They shared hugs and tears after

court was adjourned.

Before handing down the sentence,

Justice Mander read through the names

of the murder victims, relaying details

of their lives and the shattered families

they left behind to the terrorist.

He then detailed the injuries of the 40

survivors of the attack.

Trauma of survivors

The survivors had to endure

long-lasting and deep-seated trauma

as a result of the attack, Justice Mander


“The Mosques were places of

sanctuary, this country too ... was also

seen as a place of refuge and safety by

many of those you targeted. I have no

doubt you came to New Zealand and

targeted its Muslim community for that

very reason. The attack was inhuman.

You showed no mercy. You ignored the

pleas of the wounded to be spared. You

advanced on them, stood over them

and shot them,” Justice Mander said.

The terrorist was motivated by a

“base hatred of people perceived to be

different from yourself.”

“It is not apparent that you are

genuinely remorseful for your actions

apart from the circumstances in which

you now find yourself,” Justice Mander


The terrorist’s hateful ideology

was anathema to the values of New

Zealand’s society.

“It has no place here. It has no place

anywhere. Even if you are detained

until you die, it would not exhaust

the requirements of punishment and

denunciation. A painful and harrowing

mark in New Zealand’s history,” he said.

New Zealand’s worst murderer

Prosecutor Mark Zarifeh told

the court Tarrant was “clearly New

Zealand’s worst murderer.”

“He has caused permanent and

immeasurable suffering and harm to

the victims’ families, the Muslim community

and to the rest of New Zealand,”

Mr Zarifeh said.

Describing the terror attack as a

‘painful and harrowing mark in New

Zealand’s history,’ he said that it was

premeditated, extremely violent, brutal,

cruel and callous.

“The offender demonstrated calculated

and militaristic determination in

carrying out this plan. The significance

of the location of the offending - two

places of worship - to the victims cannot

be overlooked. The calculated sadism

and depravity exhibited by the offender

cannot be overstated,” Mr Zarifeh said.

Tarrant’s offending had caused real

fear of similar terror attacks in the

future and imposing life imprisonment

without parole was a necessary


Tarrant’s actions were designed to

“inflict extreme fear, horror and loss

to the Muslim and non-Caucasian

population of Christchurch.”

Offender in ‘poisoned emotional


Zarifeh detailed a report from April

following the terrorist speaking to


“The offender’s statements are often

paradoxical in the report. He is noted

by the report writer as showing no remorse,

talking about his victims in the

abstract, showing no concern for the

families of those affected and speaking

in a matter of fact manner about the

offending,” Mr Zarifeh said.

Terrorist admits he had a “poisoned

emotional state.’

“However, the offender himself goes

onto describe the offending as unnecessary,

abhorrent and irrational, and that

nothing good came from the offending.

The offender told the report writer that

the political and social views he had to

justify the offending were not real. He

said that he had a poisoned emotional

state and was terribly unhappy. He said

he felt ostracised by society and wanted

to damage society as an act of revenge.

“Yet at the same time, the offender

described the offending as definitely an

act of terrorism and he goes onto state

that he was not racist or xenophobic

and did not target his victims based on

their ethnicity. He said that he targeted

a religion but then claimed he had no

issue with Islam. Similar changes in

view and disavowing his previously

held ideology have also been expressed

to a psychologist and psychiatrist

recently. However, the reliability of this

in their view remains questionable,” Mr

Zarifeh said.

Tim Brown is a Radio New Zealand Reporter

based in Christchurch. The above Report and

Picture have been published under a Special

Arrangement with www.rnz.co.nz, published

under a Special Arrangement with www.rnz.

co.nz is an edited version. For full text, please

visit www.indiannewslink.co.nz

Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi

National List MPbased


Manukau East






1/131 Kolmar Road, Papatoetoe, Auckland

09 278 9302

09 278 2143





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Complexity shrouds extradition of mass murderer to Australia

Venkat Raman

New Zealand First Party

Leader Winston Peters

wants Brenton Tarrant to

be sent back to Australia

but Prime Minister Jacinda

Ardern said that extradition is a

complex process and that there is

no legal framework at present.

The terrorist was sentenced

for life without parole at the

Christchurch High Court on

Thursday, August 27, 2020 after

three days of victims’ statement.

Tarrant, who had pleaded guilty

earlier to 51 charges of murder, 40

charges of attempted murder and

one charge of terrorism, declined

to make any statement in the


Crimes against Muslims

Mr Peters, who is also Deputy

Prime Minister and Foreign

Minister, welcomed the sentencing,

stated to be the harshest in

the history of New Zealand and

hoped that it would help to heal

the families of victims and others

affected by the massacre.

“The judgement is the only one

that matched the depravity of

the terrorist’s crimes against the

Islamic community, and it’s devastating

effect on all people living

in this country. New Zealand First

also believes this terrorist should

be returned to the country that

raised him,” he said.

He called on Australia’s Home

Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to

‘receive and carry out the terrorist’s

sentence in his country.’

“The Islamic community and

all of New Zealand has already

suffered enough without having

to pay astronomical prison costs

New Zealand First Leader Winston

Peters (File Photo)

Jacinda Ardern and Scott Morrison in Sydney (PMC Photo)

to keep him safe in our prison

system,” he said.

Trauma hard to heal

Ms Ardern said that the wishes

of the families of victims should

be held paramount, while Justice

Minister Andrew Little said that as

per the existing law, an Australian

can be sent back to their country

only after they have completed

their sentence.

Ms Ardern said that she wanted

to acknowledge the strength of

our Muslim community who

shared their words in court over

the past few days.

“You relived the horrific events

of March 15 to chronicle what

happened that day and the pain

it has left behind. Nothing will

Police Commissioner Andy Coster

(File Photo)

take the pain away but I hope

you felt the arms of New Zealand

around you through this whole

process, and I hope you continue

to feel that through all the days

that follow. The trauma of March

15, 2019 is not easily healed but

today I hope is the last where we

have any cause to hear or utter

the name of the terrorist behind

it. His deserves to be a lifetime of

complete and utter silence,” she


Mr Peters’ suggestion of

extradition was instantly watered

down across the Tasman.

‘No Agreement’ says Australia

A spokesperson for Attorney

General Christian Porter said that

there was no agreement between

New Zealand and Australia for

transfer of any prisoners from

New Zealand.

He said that under the

International Transfer of

Prisoners Act, the Australian

Government can only transfer

prisoners from a country which

is recognised as a ‘transfer

country’ under the ITP Act.

“New Zealand is not a ‘transfer

country’ under the ITP Act as

it does not have any agreement

or arrangement for prisoner

transfers with Australia,’’ the

spokesman said.

Earlier in the day, Australia’s

Prime Minister Scott Morrison

said that he believed Tarrant

should serve his sentence in

New Zealand.

He said that New Zealand had

not raised the issue with him.

Milestone Judgement

On another note, Police

Commissioner Andy Coster

described the sentencing as ‘a

milestone in the judicial process

in New Zealand.’

But is should not overshadow

the incredible stories of

determination and survival of

victims, heard over the course

of this week.

“It is those people I wish to

acknowledge and pay tribute.

While this is an unprecedented

sentence, it will not ease the

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grief of the victims, their

families and communities, nor

will it erase the abhorrence

we felt as a nation. While this

will be recorded as an historic

sentence, it is the impact on

victims and their stories of

survival, strength, humility

and forgiveness that we must

remember,” he said.

Hateful and senseless

Commissioner Coster said

that New Zealand and the

world has felt the pain of the

Muslim community and the

horror of such a hateful and

senseless act committed in our

own backyard, against our own


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Unity helps Auckland fight Covid again

Testing and social

distancing must continue

Phil Goff

Celebrations for Indian

Independence Day this

year were unfortunately

interrupted by the recent

resurgence of Covid-19 and Auckland’s

return to Level 3 Lockdown.

As ever, I had been looking

forward to attending events to

mark this special occasion, and

was disappointed that they were

not possible this year.

To all members of our Indian

community, a belated best wishes

for the National Day—Jai Hind!

Celebrating Indian partnership

Indian Independence Day

is an opportunity to celebrate

the contribution our Indian

community makes to the diversity,

vibrancy and success of Auckland.

Members of the Indian community

are achieving growing success as

business leaders, entrepreneurs,

community workers, and sportspeople,

and events such as the

upcoming Diwali Festival (October

31 and November 1, 2020) are an

increasingly important part of the

cultural fabric of our city.

Independence Day is also a time

to acknowledge those who led

India to independence, foremost

of whom was Mohandas Karamchand

Gandhi, a man whose vision

inspired and continues to inspire

us with his commitment not only

to independence but also peaceful

activism, social justice and a world

without conflict.

Gandhi’s commitment to

his community is a strong

example to follow as we

confront the second wave

of Covid-19. Earlier in the

year, we were successful

in defeating the first wave

of the Virus, something

we achieved by working


That is exactly how we

will defeat Covid-19 a second

time: by following the rules,

looking out for each another

and doing our part to keep

ourselves and our families


Get tested please

We have seen some

success already, with health

authorities agreeing that it is

safe for Auckland to move to

Level 2 from Monday, August

31, 2020; however, Covid-19

may still be in the community

and hence it is important

to remain vigilant.

If you experience

symptoms of the virus, call

your doctor or Healthline on

0800-358-5453 and follow the

advice given. If you are asked

to take a test, please do so.

Regular and widespread

testing is one of the most

effective ways we have to

combat Covid-19.

Other things you should do

include downloading the NZ

Covid Tracer App and using

it to track your movements,

and registering your ‘AT HOP’

Card with updated contact


This will enable you to be

easily contacted if required.

Face covering mandatory

From August 31, 2020, it

is mandatory to wear a face

covering when on public

transport, and strongly

recommended that you

also do so in other situations

where physical distancing

is difficult, such as at the


It is also important that we

keep up with the good habits

we have learned over the

past few months.

Remember to wash your

hands regularly, sneeze and

cough into your elbow and

maintain physical distance

when out and about.

Finally, please be careful

about the information you

share, especially if it come

via social media.

Already, we have seen

harmful and unsubstantiated

rumours spreading.

These create fear and

mistrust among our communities,

and ultimately make

it harder to fight Covid-19.

Please only trust information

from approved government

sources or reputable media

outlets. The best source

of up-to-date and reliable

information about Covid-19

is the government’s website

at www.covid19.govt.nz

For Auckland Council

news and updates, please

visit www.ourauckland.nz

By working together and

following health guidelines,

we can beat Covid-19 again,

just as we did last time.

Phil Goff is Mayor of Auckland.

He writes a regular Column in

Indian Newslink.

Christchurch judgement sends a

strong message of solidarity

Khalyd Baloch

It has been decades since the

word ‘terrorist’ has been

associated with a single religion

due to the sovereignty of White


Many Non-Muslim terrorist

activities have taken place in the

Western world that were recorded

and openly publicised but none

of them was considered religious

fanatics or acts of White terrorists.

They have either been labelled

as ‘mentally ill’ or their acts have

been pushed under the carpet and

constrained from media projection.

Judgement in Christchurch

On Thursday, August 27, 2020,

White Australian terrorist Brenton

Tarrant (29), responsible for the

massacre of 51 innocent and

vulnerable Muslims at Al Noor and

Linwood Mosques during their

segregated prayers on March 15,

2019 in Christchurch was sentenced

to life imprisonment without parole

at the Christchurch High Court.

This could have easily played

down, or Tarrant could have been

prosecuted behind closed doors

like how many countries that have

covered up men like him with the

excuse of insanity.

But not in New Zealand.

It was not an easy task for New

Zealand to get to this end.

Easy assumptions

It seems very straightforward to

the world that Tarrant committed

murder and got imprisonment. It is

easy to imagine that Muslims were

brutally murdered, but no agitations

and reactions took place. It is

easy to accept that the families of

the victims are normalised without

any grief and mourning.

It was not easy. It was not

painless to go through the process

to reach the justice.

Solidarity and empathy

Since the first day, we as nation

stood together to confront the

challenges and bear the pain.

Instead of following a hypocritical

approach, our leaders, communities,

media groups, financial

institutions - everyone in country

fought with stress and anxiety that

a White supremacist gave us in the

name of hatred.

We amended the gun laws,

provided financial support to the

families of victims, banned hate

speeches on mainstream and social

media, organised community counselling

programmes, acknowledged

the community’s presence and

culture, promoted our interfaith

harmony and developed the

brotherhood and so forth.

We stood side by side with the

victims, their families, and with

each other as a nation.

Salutations to a Nation

I salute the great leadership of

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and

her brave and wise decisions.

I salute Kiwis for their honest

and unbiased support throughout

the ordeal.

I salute the fairness of media and

anti-racist organisations for their

prominent voices.

I salute the human instinct of

people living around the globe who

stood against brutality.

Today, it has been made crystal

clear that religion has nothing to do

with the act of terrorism.

Today, it has been proved that

humanity has not been completely


Today, world has seen that Justice

prevails no matter what.

Today, it has been acknowledged

to the world that killing does not

justify your inner feelings, emotions

and sentiment against others.

Today, New Zealand set a precedent

that terrorists do not belong to

any race, ethnicity or religion.

Lessons to the world

The world needs to learn from

us to be brave to make decisions

when it comes to righteousness and

humanity. The world needs to take

more step against Islamophobia

and come to up with solid concrete

resolutions and legislation to

avoid Brent Tarrant mindsets that

prevails in our beautiful world.

I am proud of being a member of

New Zealand Whānau. I am proud

Kiwi and I am proud Muslim.

It is just a beginning of Aroha

to develop whakaute (respect)

to establish peaceful interfaith

communities where our generation

cherish without a fear of anti-racist

emotions and insecurities. This

struggle of our nation would

continue every moment with every

breath we are taking.

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in Auckland. He contested for membership

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local government elections in 2019.

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Overstayers can take

Covid test without fear

Venkat Raman

Overstayers have

been advised to

undergo Covid-19

tests without fear of

‘any repercussions.’

Many of them have been

contacting us since the novel

Coronavirus entered New

Zealand on February 28,

2020, asking us if they would

be ‘exposing themselves’ to

the authorities.

Health Minister Chris

Hipkins encouraged them to

go ahead and get themselves

tested, promising that none

of their details will be used

for immigration purposes.

No joining dots

“I want to make it absolutely

clear that if people

are here on an expired visa,

they can go and get a test. We

will not join those two dots

together. Regardless of your

personal circumstances, if

you are asked to get a test or

you are in that group that

is at greater risk, please get

the test. We will not use that

information to punish you in

some other way and I cannot

state that enough,” he said

during a press briefing on

August 26, 2020.

Immigration Minister

Kris Faafoi reiterated that

assurance, saying that the

government had taken the

decision to allay the fears of


“We want to encourage

Health Minister Chris Hipkins

people, especially in the

Pacific community to go and

get a test, because that is the

predominant community

being affected in Auckland

at the moment. So, if there

is any fear that Immigration

might take any action on

them as a result of taking a

Covid test, it will not happen.

People did not need to have

a National Health Index

number in order to get a test,”

he said.

The plight of overstayers

Most overstayers lead a

life of uncertainty and do not

move about freely.

The number of overstayers

is anyone’s guess but it is

understood that people of

Indian origin are significantly

represented in this segment

of New Zealand’s population.

Thousands of people have

gained legal status- with

work visas later converted

to permanent residency and

citizenship over the last 25


In most cases, perseverance

has paid.

Almost 20 years ago, the

Helen Clark government offered

amnesty to ‘well-settled

overstayers,’ providing them

an opportunity to legalise

their status.

The quarantine process

On a related note,

Director-General of Health

Dr Ashley Bloomfield has

given assured people who

test positive for Covid-19 are

not moved into managed

isolation and quarantine

facilities immediately.

“The first priority would

be to find out who their close

contacts were and to isolate

and test them. Health officials

will then work to move

people to quarantine facilities

but people are given ample

opportunity to get their

affairs in order first. There

is no suddenly a van arrives

at someone’s house and carts

people off. That is not how

the process works,” he said.

Officials help people to

ensure their income or

welfare needs are met during

their stay in quarantine, as

well as sorting care for pets,

he added.

If you have symptoms of

the coronavirus, call the NZ

Covid-19 Healthline on 0800-

3585453 (+64 9 358 5453 for

international SIMs) or call

your GP. Please do not show

up at a medical centre.

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Contrary to expectations,

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investing in property.

If anything, in an uncertain

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Key factors to explore

As a developer, one

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What conditions would

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Hidden costs:

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The other very important

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Covid spread pushes General Election to October 17

Venkat Raman

Prime Minister Jacinda

Ardern has postponed the

General Election to Saturday,

October 17, 2020 to

allow for campaigning by political

parties disrupted by the Covid-19

lockdown Alert 3 restrictions in the

greater Auckland region.

Stakeholders consulted

Announcing this at a media conference

on August 17, 2020 at the

Beehive Theatre in Wellington, she

said that she spoke to important

stakeholders including the leaders

of other political parties, the Electoral

Commission, BusinessNZ and

Trade Unions and others before

deciding to postpone the date of

the Election.

In New Zealand, it is the prerogative

of the Prime Minister to decide

on the date of the General Election

without any consultation but Ms

Ardern said that her decision is

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announcing the postpone of

General Election at her media conference in Wellington about

an hour ago (Screenshot)

not seen as partisan but as a fair move, taking

into account all factors, including the possibility

that some candidates may have taken leave from

their current jobs for campaigning.

She said that everyone she contacted said

that General Election 2020 should be delayed;

Lowering voting age improves participation rates

Nick Munn

The recent decision to delay

the 2020 general election

has given thousands more

New Zealand citizens the

opportunity to vote for the first


But while it is wonderful for

those who turn 18 between the

original election date and the new

one, it does shine a spotlight on

an ongoing source of inequality

among New Zealand citizens: the

voting age of 18 itself.

If these young people are

capable of voting on October 17,

they were probably capable of

voting on September 19. Those

four weeks are not going to be

the difference between making

reasoned or random choices when

casting a vote.

Current disadvantages

The current system disadvantages

an already vulnerable and

powerless group – the young.

Lowering the voting age would

address this. And we could start by

listening to the young Kiwis who

have taken their age discrimination

campaign, Make it 16, to the

High Court.

It is important to recognise the

voting age limit of 18 for what it

is – a procedural decision: 18 is a

convenient number that happens

to coincide with some (but not all)

other age limits for the granting of

rights in our society.

Procedural decisions are not

necessarily bad. It might, for

Political theatre gets crowded with new players in climax

Danielle van Dalen


side effect of New Zealand’s election

delay is that every political party

now has an extra four weeks to

campaign. This means that not

only an extra four weeks to capture public

attention but also that every political party

has to scramble to adjust and sustain their

campaigns for longer than expected.

For the minor parties in particular, I am

sure that this news was a mixed blessing as

they work to navigate the already tough path

to Wellington.

Benefit of multiparty system

One benefit of New Zealand’s multiparty

political system is that it encourages a range

of voices to contribute to the governing of

our country, and in coalition governments,

minor parties can provide a check on the

decision-making powers available to larger

governing parties.

Of course, depending on your perspective,

this can sometimes seem frustrating rather

than a helpful aspect of our political system.

But that is the point, having minor parties

within Government ensures that negotiation

and compromise are at the core of our


United Future and Maori Party

The ousting of both United Future and the

Maori Party in the 2017 general election,

however, highlighted how difficult it is for

minor parties to survive, even if they have a

history in Parliament.

To claim a seat in Parliament each party

must either reach the 5% threshold or win an

electorate seat. As current polling suggests,

this is not easy.

that included her coalition

partners New Zealand First

and the Green Party.

Electoral Commission


“The Electoral Commission

had been planning since

April for a range of scenarios

including the Election being

held with the country being at

Alert Level 2 and parts of the

country being at Level 3.

The Commission has

advised me that it would be

able to organise polling and

provide revised information

to voters and book venues for

voting,” Ms Ardern said.

Following community transmission

cited in Auckland,

the country’s largest City was

moved to Alert Level 3 from

12 pm on Wednesday, August

12, 2020. This Alert Level

will be lifted at midnight on

example, make sense to limit the ability to gain a driver’s licence to those

16 years of age or older.

This is not to claim that no-one under 16 could ever be capable of driving.

Rather, the age limit of 16 is a reasonable imposition on an activity

and can be justified by appeal to the development of certain capacities.

Age limits are arbitrary

But voting is not like driving. Political participation, of which voting is

the prime example, is a human right, and protected as such. Driving is

not. So the standard for justifying not letting someone vote is and should

be higher than the standard of justification for not letting someone


Why then don’t we let people vote until they are 18?

Some might say younger citizens are not capable of voting well and

so should not be entitled to vote. Maybe under-18s do not pay enough

attention to political news, or maybe they just cannot make political


Wednesday, August 26, 2020.

In view of this move, all political

parties have suspended

campaigning in Auckland.

No further change

Ms Ardern said that there is

no further postponement of

the Election Day.

“I am absolutely no intention

of changing this (new

date of Election),” she said.

Parliament, which was

actually prorogued on August

6 will now reconvene and will

be dissolved on September

6, 2020. Ms Ardern said

that Labour MPs based in

Auckland would be able to

participate in the proceedings

online in view of movement


“However, it would up to

the Leaders of other parties to

decide what they wish to do.

I want to provide Parliament

Multiple problems

This line of reasoning runs into

multiple problems.

If we really care about people

being capable of voting well, then

an age limit of 18 does not provide

sufficient guidance. Young people

do not receive powers of political

reasoning as a magical 18th-birthday

gift. In reality, they develop the

skills over time and 18 is merely

when we recognise them.

So, even if it is true that some

people cannot vote well and

therefore should not vote at all, this

line of reasoning begs the question

about the voting age.

It assumes, wrongly, that 18 is a

good place to draw the line.

That is not the only problem. We

should and do allow those with

severe cognitive disabilities to vote

once they are 18, despite many

of these people having demonstrably

less capacity for political

decision-making than teenagers. If

capacity to vote matters, it matters

for everyone, not just for young


Others may argue that turnout

among young voters is low compared

to voters in general.

They are right – but so what? It

is not clear to me that participation

rates are the most important metric

here. But even if we think they are,

there is no reason to believe that

letting younger citizens vote will

cause overall rates to drop.

The Austrian example

On the contrary, there is reason

to think the opposite. Evidence

from Austria, which lowered the

voting age to 16 for its 2008 elections,

suggests that enfranchising

very young voters improves their

Of the current minor parties in Parliament,

New Zealand First and ACT are consistently

polling below the 5% threshold, and even the

Greens who have been polling above 5% are

campaigning hard to win an electoral seat

that would safeguard their survival in the

next Parliament.

Tough for newcomers

For new political parties who do not

already have representation in Parliament,

winning those seats is even more difficult. As

political commentator Alex Braae said, “Since

MMP was introduced in 1996, successful

upstart political parties in New Zealand have

tended to rely on electorate MPs branching

off to form their own parties, or join others

– think Winston Peters forming NZ First, for

example, or Richard Prebble joining ACT.”

Without the attention and credibility

that Parliament brings, it can be hard to get

access to the platforms like tv debates and

media coverage that more established parties

and the public certainty, a

sense of fairness, and a sense

of comfort to voters that this

will be a safe election,” she


Election 2020 Key Dates

August 17, 2020: Business

Committee of Parliament

meets this afternoon to

prepare a Timetable

August 18, 2020: Parliament


September 6, 2020: Dissolution

of Parliament

September 13, 2020: Writ

Day (Nominations close on

September 18, 2020)

October 3, 2020: Advance

Voting begins (Last day

for return of the Writ is

November 12, 2020)

October 17, 2020: Election


participation rates.

Importantly for the long-term

health of our democracy, once very

young voters have voted, they are

more likely to continue voting than

those who could not until they

were 18.

Lowering the voting age may,

in fact, benefit turnout. Voting is a

habit which, once formed, is harder

to break. If 16-year-olds have

the desire but not the opportunity

to vote, by the time they can, some

percentage of them has become


Voting young builds the habit

By contrast, if the development

of the desire to vote coincides with

the ability, they are more likely to

act on that desire in the moment –

and to continue voting in future.

This also helps dissolve a further

objection, that young people are

not interested in politics and so are

less likely to make good choices.

A legitimate reason for young

people not to care about politics is

that they cannot participate in the

first place. Being able to vote is an

incentive for younger people to

learn about politics in ways they

otherwise might not.

So spare a thought for those who

will turn 18 just after October 17,

who miss out simply because of

when the election falls. We can and

should do better by recognising this

inequity and working to change the

voting age for 2023.

Nick Munn is Senior Lecturer in

Philosophy, University of Waikato. The

above article has been published under

Creative Commons Licence.

receive on a regular basis.

For new ideas and movements to thrive

in a healthy democracy all of us need to get


This could mean going along to a local meet

the candidate event, or simply being friendly

and listening to the candidate who knocks on

your door, no matter their party.

It is possible for people to be heard, but

that requires the rest of us to listen and


And so, as the election campaign grinds on

with its slogans and hoardings for another

month, spare a thought for the people behind

those campaigns, whether you agree with

their politics or not.

They are playing a difficult role by trying

to bolster the range of voices heard in New

Zealand’s political theatre.

Danielle van Dalen is a Researcher at Maxim

Institute based in Auckland.


Media Literacy Strategy imperative to dispel misinformation

Ximena Smith

In the fight against misinformation,

who is worse - the conspiracy

theorist, or the general public?

It is the latter, and the government

needs to adopt a nationwide

media literacy strategy in order to

remedy this.

A wave of Covid-19 cases. A deluge

of Covid-19 misinformation on social

media. A spate of media articles pondering

the reasons why misinformation

spreads so easily online and how to

combat it. We have been here before,

and we will be here again.

It is clear from the widespread

sharing of the latest Covid-19 cluster

rumour that vast improvements need

to be made when it comes to more

New Zealanders being able to critically

analyse information they see.

Combating misinformation

But the urgent need for a comprehensive,

nationwide media literacy

strategy in New Zealand to combat

misinformation is noticeably absent

from the discussion so far.

The concept of media literacy is one

that has largely disappeared from New

Zealand’s policy agenda, with the last

significant government publication on

After over 100 days of no

community transmission of

Covid-19, we have cases in

the community again. The

Government has always been clear that

this was a possibility as the pandemic

has continued to surge overseas and we

have had about 40,000 New Zealanders

return from countries where the Virus

has continued to be rampant.

Resurgence Strategy

That is why our Government has had

a Covid-19 Resurgence Plan in place for

some time now.

In July, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

delivered a speech that included a

clearly outlined plan in the event of new

community cases of Covid-19 in New


She had emphasised that even

countries like Singapore, Hong Kong

and South Korea and Australian states

like Victoria and New South Wales

where the first wave of the virus was

under control, saw a resurgence. She

had specifically mentioned Victoria as

a cautionary tale for New Zealand to

learn from as their second outbreak was

linked to a managed isolation facility

and that the entire outbreak was seeded

by just two cases.

When the first cases of Covid-19 were

reported outside of a managed isolation/

quarantine facility, the Prime Minster

activated the government’s Resurgence


Strong health response

The Plan, once again, is to go hard and


A strong health response continues to

be the strongest economic response, and

this is now backed by domestic evidence

that going hard and early when we had

our first cases of community transmission

of Covid-19 enabled our economy to

bounce back quickly after we progressed

to Alert Level One.

International evidence also clearly

shows that the economic benefits of

the government’s strategy to manage

Covid-19 are significant. Countries that

have implemented a successful lockdown

generally have better economic

indicators of success compared to those

that have not done so.

Another Wage Subsidy

In a bid to further support businesses

affected by the current move to Alert

it being written by the Broadcasting

Standards Authority in 2007.

It seems to have been diluted to become

a much narrower concept, digital

literacy, which is not directly defined

in the government’s Digital Inclusion

Blueprint, but appears to primarily be

focused on technical know-how, such as

knowing what to do if your password

gets stolen.

However, if we are serious about

tackling the proliferation of misinformation

on the internet, we will need a

much more ambitious media literacy

strategy than this.

Empowering people

As UK Media Literacy expert David

Buckingham argues, media literacy for

the digital age must be much more than

just teaching people how to operate

software and hardware, or providing

people with simplistic checklists that

claim to help ‘spot’ the difference

between true and false information.

Instead, media literacy must be far

more wide ranging: it must empower

people to know their rights when it

comes to privacy and the commercial

use of their data; it must teach people

how algorithms and search engines

shape the information we see; it must

enable people to use digital media to

its full potential in relation to self-expression,

collaboration and collective

organisation; and it must cultivate a

healthy scepticism when it comes to

reading and interpreting online and

offline information.

Fostering questioning attitudes is perhaps

the most important, and the ability

to critically analyse and ask questions

about the context of information must

Comprehensive Plan will see us out of crisis

Priyanca Radhakrishnan

Levels Three (Auckland) and Two (the

rest of New Zealand), Finance Minister

Grant Robertson recently announced

another extension to the wage subsidy


The criteria for the new wage subsidy

are similar to the current extension.

In particular, a business must have

had, or is predicting to have, a revenue

drop due to Covid-19 of at least 40%.

For this new scheme, the revenue drop

applies for any consecutive period of

at least 14 days within August 12 and

September 10 compared to last year.

The new Wage Subsidy Scheme will

be open for applications from Friday

August 21, 2020.

Leave Support Scheme

The Leave Support scheme has also

been simplified to encourage people to

get tested.

This means businesses with workers

who have been told by health officials or

their medical practitioner to self-isolate

will receive the equivalent of the wage

subsidy to help cover that person’s wages

for the time they cannot be at work.

Other lessons from the countries that

are deemed to have dealt with the virus

well include the use of technology, using

alert systems to provide clear guidance

to members of the public, using contact

tracing apps, locking down public spaces

and the routine use of masks.

We also know that a stronger Police

presence during lockdown and a strong

border regime are also important.

We have also learnt, from other

countries, that shutting down hotspots

rather than implementing a nationwide

lockdown can also be successful if the

community cases are regional.

The Government’s Resurgence

Strategy seems to be working, but it is

still early days.

Election postponed

Given the disruption that Covid-19

resurgence has caused, the Prime

Minister made the call to postpone the

election date, which is now on October

17, 2020.

While the decision is traditionally

that of the Prime Minister, Ms Ardern

contacted the Leader of every Party

represented in Parliament to find out

their views (that were unsurprisingly


She also canvassed the views of

BusinessNZ and the Council of Trade

Unions to ensure that her decision was

as fair as possible.

The Prime Minister’s decision also

took into account the time that the

Electoral Commission needs to re-book

polling venues, print materials with the

new date and organise their staff (that

includes about 25,000 staff members on

Election Day).

The Electoral Commission has been

working for some time now, to ensure

that the Election can go ahead at various

scenarios – that includes the country

being at Alert Level two and some areas

at Alert Level three.

As such, the dissolution of Parliament

will happen on September 6, 2020.

Advance voting will start on October 3,

Election Day is on October 17 and the

last day for the return of the Writ will be

November 12, 2020.

Testing and Contact Tracing

Our Resurgence Plan is well underway

with high levels of testing and rapid

contact tracing in place.

Unlike the previous time when

we had community transmission,

confirmed cases currently isolate at government-managed

quarantine facilities

that are designed and resourced for this


Many families, especially larger

families, prefer this option as it limits the

spread of the virus to family members

who have been tested negative.

Covid is the world’s new normal.

In New Zealand, we are all working

as hard as we can to make sure that our

new normal disrupts as little as possible

our lives and our businesses.

As a team of five million, we have

done it before, and together, we will do

it again.

Priyanca Radhakrishnan is a Member of

Parliament on Labour List for Maungakiekie

and Parliamentary Private Secretary to the

Minister for Ethnic Communities.

apply to all information, including news


Trustworthy media

It is not controversial to say that

mainstream media outlets are certainly a

more trustworthy source of information

than that Facebook post from your

mum’s friend’s aunt.

But journalists and officials can still

get stuff wrong too. They’re not immune

to inherently human tendencies such as

bias, and the tight time constraints and

pressures of busy newsrooms and wings

of government can sometimes result in

mistakes being made.

But there are nevertheless much more

stringent verification measures that take

place in newsrooms and government

before information gets published, and

so a wider understanding of how these

verification measures work is a crucial

aspect of media literacy too.

The development of a comprehensive

media literacy strategy is far from easy.

In order to have any substantial impact,

media literacy interventions must be

sustained over a long-term period of

time, which inevitably makes them

expensive, especially if they are to reach

adult populations as well.

Evidence-based approach

And while contemporary media

literacy interventions have shown

positive outcomes when it comes to

increasing people’s ability to critically

assess information, not all interventions

are inherently beneficial, so it’s



crucial to move forward with a careful,

evidence-based approach, rather than a

hasty, feel-good campaign.

Despite these complexities, the planning

and roll-out of a nationwide media

literacy strategy can be done, and it’s

already underway elsewhere.

The UK government, for example,

has outlined in numerous publications

the potential for media literacy to

combat ‘fake news’ and disinformation,

and last year they announced that they

would develop a new online media

literacy strategy, while the European

Commission requires all Member States

to promote and implement measures

to foster the development of media

literacy skills among their respective


“There have always been and

will always be rumours,” the Health

Minister said at the weekend. Indeed,

it is unrealistic to expect media literacy

to quash misinformation entirely - conspiracy

theories will always exist.

But a comprehensive, nationwide

media literacy strategy would help

nurture a more empowered, resilient

population that knows how to critically

read, analyse and evaluate online

information, and would hopefully go a

long way in keeping conspiracy theories

out on the fringes, where they belong.

Ximena Smith is a Kiwi journalist

who recently returned from living

and working in London and was a

Producer on Radio New Zealand

Morning Report. The above Report

has been published under a Special

Arrangement with www.rnz.co.nz.

New Wage Subsidy Scheme to cover 470,000 jobs

Government to spend extra $510 million as Covid-19 returns

Venkat Raman

Finance Minister Grant Robertson

unveiled another Wage Subsidy

Scheme saying that it will support

people who are at the risk of losing

their jobs because of the re-emergence of


New Zealand was now in renewed

state of Alert, with Auckland, the biggest

City placed under Lockdown Level 3 with

movement and other restrictions from

August 11 to 26, 2020.

The rest of the country was on Alert

Level 2.

Nationwide applicability

The latest round of Wage Subsidy

will be applicable to all eligible persons

throughout New Zealand.

Mr Robertson said that making the

scheme nationwide recognises the

specific nature of the current outbreak and

Auckland’s position in the New Zealand


“Tourism operators expecting visitors

from Auckland, companies that supply and

trade with Auckland businesses and hospitality

and retail businesses around the

country are all affected by the measures to

fight the virus,” he said.

Employers, including those self-employed

will be able claim cash payment

equivalent to two weeks pay for their

full-time or part-time employees on the

same formula as done over the past two

Wage Subsidy payments.

The latest scheme opened on August 21,


It is forecast to cost about $510 million

and cover 470,000 jobs.

Mr Robertson also announced implementation

of a simplified Leave Scheme,

removing the -Revenue-Drop Test.

Supporting cashflow, confidence

“The new Wage Subsidy will help

support cashflow and confidence. Along

with the existing wage subsidy extension,

which is open until September 1, 2020 for

eligible businesses, the Treasury estimates

that about 930,000 jobs will be covered by

the two schemes.

“We know in New Zealand that the

best economic response is a strong health

response. We have seen the benefits to the

economy by going hard and early to get on

top of the virus, with activity in June and

July running above levels seen last year as

the economy reopened after lockdown and

business got going again,” Mr Robertson


Eligibility criteria

The criteria for the new wage subsidy

are similar to the current extension: In

particular, a business must have had, or is

Finance Minister Grant Robertson at the media

conference on August 17, 2020 (Screenshot)

predicting to have, a revenue drop due

to Covid-19 of at least 40%. For the new

scheme, the revenue drop will apply for

any consecutive period of at least 14 days

within August 12 and September 10, 2020,

compared to the same period last year.

The Treasury also estimates that a

number of businesses that were not able

to access the extended wage subsidy

before it expires on September 1, 2020,

will now become eligible to do so. This is

expected to cover about 460,000 workers,

at $1.1 billion.

Strong health response

Mr Robertson said that the ‘Revenue-Drop’

had impacted negatively for

Covid-19 Leave Support Scheme and

hence has been removed.

Therefore, businesses with workers

who have been told by health officials or

their medical practitioner to self-isolate

will receive the equivalent of the Wage

Subsidy to help cover that person’s wages

for the time they cannot be at work.

“Our focus is on doing everything we

can to support our strong public health

response. That means removing barriers

to a person getting tested, including fears

that a positive result would put their

employment at risk or that they would

not receive income while they could not

work because they had used up their sick

leave,” Mr Robertson said.

Mortgage Deferral extended

He also announced that the Mortgage

Deferral Scheme, which had currency

until September 27, 2020, has been

extended up to March 31, 2020. Further

details will be made available by the

Reserve Bank and the retail banks.

Mr Robertson also confirmed that

further work is being done to ensure

support continues to be adaptable and

flexible for alert level movements. This

includes work on the Small Business

Cashflow Loan Scheme and potential

further changes to the Leave Support


“At the same time as putting these

measures in place to cushion the blow, we

are continuing to roll out our comprehensive

recovery and rebuild plan around

New Zealand by investing in training,

creating jobs through infrastructure

investment and supporting businesses

through the tax system,” he said.




Small businesses offered cash grant, employment law changes

Venkat Raman

Cash grants for creating jobs,

repealing sections of the

Employment Relations Act, capital

injection for investments and

reducing tax compliance costs are a part

of the business package offered by the

National Party for small businesses.

Leader Judith Collins said that New

Zealanders need a government with

the experience, the competence and

the vision to rescue the economy, save

businesses and protect jobs, launching

National Party’s ‘Small Business Plan’ in

Wellington on August 27, 2020.

Paul Goldsmith and Andrew Bayly,

respectively Finance and Small Business

spokespersons were among those

present at the launch.

Empowering growth, success

Describing New Zealand’s entrepreneurs

as critical to economic recovery,

Ms Collins said that National Party will

empower small businesses to grow,

thrive and succeed.

“The only sustainable way to create

new jobs is to reduce barriers, costs and

uncertainty for the private sector, and in

particular small businesses,” she said.

There are four main components to

the Small Business Plan. These include

(a) Encouraging small businesses to

invest in new equipment and machinery

by allowing them to immediately deduct

new capital investments up to $150,000

(b) Encouraging job creation by providing

a $10,000 cash grant for new hires

with its JobStart policy (c) Repealing

changes to the Employment Relations

Act (ERA) enforced by the current

government (d) Providing up to $30,000

as capital to New Zealanders who have

lost their job to invest in a new business

idea through National’s ‘BusinessStart’


“New Zealand is facing its worst

economic downturn in 160 years.

More than 200,000 New Zealanders are

now on unemployment benefits and a

further 280,000 jobs are being kept alive

by wage subsidies,” Ms Collins said.

Flexible and productive

The Party’s Business Policy said that

National believes in a flexible, productive

workplace in which workers get a

National Party at the risk of failing the test

David Hall

It is not easy being a political

Opposition in the midst of a


The volatility within New

Zealand’s National Party, which

has had three leaders in as many

months, is a case in point.

Advantage for Labour

Some argue this is circumstantial.

The Covid-19 crisis has benefited

the incumbent government

or, more precisely, Prime Minister

Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party.

Of course, that public support

could easily vanish in the event of

a mismanaged outbreak, because

voters don’t respond to a crisis

itself, but to the competency of

its handling. Yet the government

appears to have won public

confidence – and so, for now, the

electoral advantage.

But there is more going on. Under

pressure, the Opposition risks

sabotaging itself by failing in its

role as Opposition – that is, failing

in the duties and responsibilities

that accompany this office.

Formally, this role is titled “Her

Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.” Her

Majesty, of course, refers to Queen

Elizabeth II, still officially the

Sovereign of New Zealand.

The meaning of Opposition

is also intuitive to grasp. As

the largest party that is not in

government, its job is to oppose

– to challenge, to test, to needle, to

inquire. The Opposition ought to

hold the government to account.

Opposition is a recent invention

This role has not always existed

in parliamentary systems; it was a

19th century innovation.

But it enriched democracy by

guaranteeing a space for dissent,

for formal disagreement with the

government of the day.

It meant that the losers of the

political competition would not be

turfed into the wilderness, bitter

and disenfranchised. Rather, they

would remain in the fold, able to

contribute to the political process

through confrontation, critique

and even collaboration.

This gets us closer to the odd

word ‘loyal.’ It implies that the

Opposition should be loyal to

the democratic institutions that

protect its right to criticise.

Judith Collins with her Deputy Gerry Brownlee

and other MPs (AAP Picture)

It need not take the government

line on any issue, but it should

be loyal to the rules of the game,

precisely so that it can continue


Consider, by contrast, the

one-party state, where the losers

in the political competition are

shut out of public decision-making.

In such circumstances, loyalty

is pointless. The ruling party only

wants to expel or silence detractors,

to cancel their voice.

Consequently, the Opposition

has no duty of loyalty, and instead

a strong incentive to influence

public decisions by seizing power

– by coup, revolt or revolution.

Constructive Opposition

In this we see the distinction

that political theorist Chantal

Mouffe makes between “antagonistic”

and “agonistic” politics.

Antagonistic politics are where

opposing parties treat each other

as enemies, to be vanquished or

exiled. With agonistic politics,

on the other hand, parties treat

each other as noble adversaries,

worthy of challenge but also


The institution of the loyal Opposition

facilitates a constructive


As New Zealand-born

political philosopher Jeremy

Waldron argues, it instructs the

government to assume the loyalty

of the Opposition, not treat it as

treasonous merely because it

voices disagreement.

Meanwhile, the Opposition

must oppose, but it must do so

without burning down the house.

Yet the Covid-19 crisis is seriously

straining this loyalty.

A dangerous game

It started out well with New

Zealand’s Epidemic Response

Committee, a cross-party vehicle

of agonistic democracy, where

the Opposition could openly hold

the government to account, even

under a state of emergency.

But the subsequent leaking of

sensitive information for political

fair deal and businesses are productive.

“National supports an approach

where employees and employers are

trusted to work out employment matters

themselves in good faith,” the Policy


Ms Bayly said that New Zealand’s

businesses deserve better employment

law and incentives for growth, creating

new jobs and take people away from

unemployment benefits.

“Kiwi businesses are struggling

under the weight of poor regulation and

mounting costs. We will simplify industrial

relations legislation to reduce red

tape and encourage businesses to create

new jobs by repealing the Government’s

changes to the Employment Relations

Act,” he said.

Union objects to ERA repeal

National’s plan of removing the

90-day trial period will not be relevant

gain by National Party members

betrayed a lack of loyalty to

government institutions, and

to New Zealanders who entrust

them with private information.

Now, the Opposition is insinuating

that the government publicly

withheld information about the

present outbreak.

Given how swiftly this coronavirus

spreads, and how much

the government has to lose from

its spreading, it is not politically

rational for the government to

cover it up.

It is a cynical suggestion, and

the Opposition risks that many

voters will see it as such.

This is a dangerous game. The

Opposition is undermining trust

at a time when trust is incredibly

important. New Zealand’s strong

levels of social and institutional

trust are a key factor in our

relatively successful pandemic


Its degradation, a loss of trust

in official medical advice, for

example, or the authority of lockdowns

– diminishes the country’s

capacity to fend off Covid-19.

It further diverts attention

away from more credible

shortcomings in New Zealand’s

pandemic response, such as

contact tracing and quarantine


A noble calling

And it feeds into the paranoia

that crises conjure up. Social

media platforms such as Facebook

and YouTube are revealing

themselves as effective engines

of conspiracy and indoctrination,

with implications we are still

coming to understand.

The Opposition’s appeals to

paranoia only add more fuel to

the online inferno.

Yet the electoral gains, if there

are any, are liable to spill toward

minor parties, such as the New

Zealand Public Party, which make

conspiracies their forte.

Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition

has a noble function, all the more

important in this volatile political

moment. Upholding rather than

denigrating that office is what

will reinvigorate the loyalties of


David Hall is Senior Researcher

in Politics at Auckland

University of Technology

(AUT). The above article has

been published under Creative

Commons Licence.

to small businesses since this clause in

the Employment Relations Act will be

applicable only to larger companies

hiring more than 19 persons as full time


New Zealand Meat Workers Union

said that its members were ‘horrified,’

and described the proposal to repeal the

ERA as ‘mean-spirited and backwards.’

The Policy seeks to remove breaks

including lunch breaks, the Union said.

“Working people have fought long

and hard for fair breaks and welcomed

the return to scheduled breaks under

Labour’s amendments to ERA. National’s

proposal to take smoko and lunchtime

away from people is absurd and out

of touch,” Daryl Carran, the Union’s

National Secretary said in a statement.

High performance culture

Mr Bayly said that if elected to form

the next government, National Party

will review WorkSafe and improve its


“We will deliver a high performance

culture, with an emphasis on a

collaborative and reasonable approach

to health and safety improvement. National

will also require all government

departments and agencies to pay their

contractors on time and within seven

days,” he said.

Mr Bayly said that cashflow is critical

to small businesses but only half of all

businesses are cashflow positive at any

given time.

“When large businesses do not pay

their bills on time or in a timely manner,

then small businesses with limited working

capital are the ones who suffer,” he


Tax system changes

Mr Goldsmith said that his Party in

government will introduce changes

to the tax system aimed at reducing

compliance costs for small businesses.

“Our Party has been very clear, we

will not be increasing taxes or introducing

any new taxes. Businesses need

confidence to invest and create more

jobs, the last thing New Zealand needs

right now is higher taxes,” he said.

Mr Goldsmith said that his government

will lift the threshold to expense

new capital investment from $5000

to $150,000 per asset and increase the

provisional tax threshold from $5000 to

$25,000 and raise the compulsory GST

threshold from $60,000 to $75,000.

“We will allow businesses to expense

an asset once its depreciated value falls

below $3000, as opposed to having to

continue to depreciate it until its depreciated

tax value equals zero,” he said.

Compulsory testing for all travellers promised

Border and Covid-19 Management Policy announced

Venkat Raman


negative Covid-19 test before arrival,

compulsory contract tracing and a teston-demand

system are some of the major

changes to border control promised

by the National Party if elected to power in the

ensuing general election on October 17, 2020.

Announcing the Border and Covid-19 Management

Policy, National Party Leader Judith Collins

said that the threat of Covid-19 will linger long

and that her Party is committed to safeguarding

the health of all New Zealanders.

She said that if her Party forms the next government,

she will establish the ‘New Zealand Border

Protection Agency’ (Te Korowai Whakamaru) to

provide comprehensive management.

Stringent requirements

“We will require all international travellers

to provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test

before arriving in New Zealand. Employees of

the Agency, border facility workers and District

Health Board staff who treat or test patients will

be compelled to use contact tracing technologies,”

she said.

Attacking the government as disorderly, leading

to confused response, Ms Collins described the

current system as ‘ad hoc,’ putting the health and

livelihoods of five million New Zealanders at risk.

“More than 1.6 million Aucklanders are

locked down right now because the Government

dropped the ball on testing, tracing and managing

people in isolation. It is not good enough. The

expensive and ineffective systems we have now

are not up to scratch. National will manage the

border effectively to keep New Zealanders safe,”

she said.

Covid-Card to be introduced

The Party’s Border control policy provides

for rapid deployment of Bluetooth applications

to enhance contact tracing while also exploring

alternative technologies, such as a Covid Card.

Striving towards a test-on-demand system with

a waiting time target of no longer than 60 minutes

for a Covid-19 test.

The Party’s Covid-19 Border Response

Spokesperson Gerry Brownlee said that the

Crown-owned Agency dedicated to defending

New Zealand from the virus would be established

within National’s first 100 days in Government.

“This Agency will be resourced to act as a centre

of expertise. It will have the personnel, technology

and capability to provide a world-class defence

against Covid-19. In the medium-term, technological

advancements will improve our ability to

test and track the virus. National will immediately

invest and seek to rapidly deploy Bluetooth

technologies to enhance contract tracing, making

these mandatory for border facility workers

and District Health Board staff who treat or test

patients,” he said.

Mr Brownlee said systems should be continuously

improved in order that lockdowns are

better managed and made more effective.

Second line of defence

Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti said that his

National Party Leader Judith Collins with Deputy Leader

Gerry Brownlee and Health Spokesperson Dr Shane Reti

(New Zealand Photo by Mark Mitchell)

Party recognises the need to prepare a second line

of defence, behind our border, to identify, trace

and quickly isolate any intrusions.

“The first line of defence must be strong border

management, but a high-quality contact tracing

system is a vital second line. With strong contact

tracing systems and a more sophisticated testing

and compliance structure we can minimise the

impact of further incursions and protect those

vulnerable to the disease,” he said.

Dr Reti said that National will follow

international models and require people coming

into the country to not only quarantine but also

test themselves for Covid-19 three days before

departure, and provide the results of that test to

airline staff before boarding their plane.

Key features of Policy

1. Establishing Te Korowai Whakamaru/NZ

Border Protection Agency to cut through the

confused response from Labour.

2. Require people travelling to New Zealand to

provide evidence of a negative

3. Covid-19 test before arriving.

4. Deploy compulsory contact tracing technol

ogy for Agency workers, workers in border

facilities and points of entry, and District

Health Board staff treating or testing


5. Ensure new arrivals can be adequately

contact traced by requiring compulsory use

of contact tracing technology.

6. Immediately invest and seek to rapidly

deploy a Bluetooth application to enhance

contact tracing capability.

7. Explore alternative contact tracing technol

ogies to add more tools to the contact-tracing

system (eg: Covid Card).

8. Widen the availability of testing throughout

the country, making sure there are readily

deployable mobile testing stations in

each main population centre as well as

any population centre where there is a

quarantine facility.

9. Implement a target for test waiting times of

no longer than 60 minutes for a test.

10. Require regular testing of aged care


11. Have regular opportunities for testing

within retirement homes.


Decision on grades leaves UK varsities in the lurch

Catherine Carroll-Meehan

The UK government has

performed a U-turn on A

level exam grades, awarding

students in England the

marks given by teacher assessment

where they are higher than the

moderated grades adjusted by what

the government now admits was a

flawed algorithm.

While this is a source of relief for

many students, it leaves many universities

facing more uncertainty

about student numbers and their

financial future, with ramifications

that may last for years.

On the morning of Thursday,

August 13, many students, in many

cases from disadvantaged backgrounds,

woke up to find results

that did not reflect their mock

exam results or grades predicted by

their teachers.

Students disadvantaged

The algorithm developed by

Ofqual to prevent grade inflation as

a result of teacher-awarded marks

resulted in nearly 40% of marks

being lowered. For some students,

this meant that they had failed to

meet the entry requirements for

their preferred university course.

As soon as the A level results

were out, universities opened

phone lines for the clearing

process, as they do every year,

offering remaining places on under-subscribed

courses to students

who missed out due to lower than

expected grades.

Thousands of disappointed students

began to contact universities,

hoping to salvage their dreams

of higher education. Universities

responded to students’ clearing ap-

Altered results may mean students will look to attend their first-choice

university. SpeedKingz (Shutterstock)

plications by looking at individual

profiles, awarded marks, predicted

grades and personal statements to

make a judgement about offers.

Universities are keen to make

offers to students that match their

aspirations, as well as using their

academic achievements as a guide

for engagement and success with

their studies.

The Scotland Example

Then, on Monday, August 17, after

a weekend of pressure, Education

Secretary Gavin Williamson

announced that England would

follow the example of Scotland and

award grades based on teacher

assessment. Northern Ireland and

Wales also made the same move on

August 17.

But the university places that

were decided in the five days before

this reverse, when the government

declared that there would be no

U-turn in England, have now been

thrown into doubt.

Challenges for universities

Universities are already suffering

the effects of the coronavirus


Across the higher education

sector, universities have been

bracing for the expected reduction

of international students.

An over-reliance on international

students to balance budgets has left

some gaping holes.

In the past six months, there have

been warnings that the financial

viability of some universities is at

risk. Some institutions have taken

extreme measures, such as largescale

redundancies, to avoid going


‘Demographic Dip’

At the same time, the sector in the

UK was preparing itself for the lowest

point of what is known as the

“demographic dip.” The population

of 18 year-olds has been decreasing

since 2017 and 2020 is predicted as

the lowest point before a predicted

Clearing allows students another route into university. BonNontawat


increase in 2021 and again in 2022.

The population of 18 year-olds is

expected to steadily increase until


Now, the U-turn on A level

results has created unprecedented


The late decision, five days into

the clearing process, has meant

that offers that were confirmed

following results day may now be


Disappointed students accepted

places, selected accommodation

and had begun to adjust to their

choice at universities that may not

have been their first preference.

They now have the option to revisit

their first choice.

The dilemma

Universities do not know what

impact this will have. Many top-tier

universities are fully subscribed

and students are being told that

their offer will be honoured, but not

until 2021. This presents a challenge



to offer holders: whether to accept

a place at an institution that wasn’t

their first choice, so that they can

start university now, or wait 12

months with limited employment

prospects and no gap-year travel.

Some students may even elect to

take exams in the autumn rather

than taking the teacher-assessed

grades they have been given, looking

to win entry to their first-choice

university in 2021.

Winners and losers

There will be some winners and

losers in the A level debacle. The

Department of Education has opted

to remove student number caps,

introduced by the government

during the coronavirus pandemic

to stop universities making unconditional

offers and to ensure a fair

distribution of students across the


This means that some universities

will be able to over-recruit, and

others will lose students to more

“prestigious” institutions. This may

result in smaller student cohorts at

some universities and non-viable

numbers for some courses, putting

jobs at risk.

For some universities this may be

catastrophic. The UK government

needs to ensure that universities

are funded appropriately at this

time to ensure their continued

financial viability – especially for

those in towns and cities where the

presence of a university is a way to

support social mobility and aspiration

for the whole community.

Catherine Carroll-Meehan is Head of

School of Education and Sociology (ED-

SOC) at the University of Portsmouth,

Hampshire, England. The above article

and pictures have been published under

Creative Commons Licence.


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Ratna Krishnan, an icon of Orewa passes on

Dr Rajen Prasad

Standfirst: We regret report

the passing away of Ratna

Krishnan, known to the

Indian and other communities

as a compassionate,

endearing and helpful human

being. She passed away in Orewa

on Wednesday, August 19, 2020.

She would have been 82 years

old on September 8, 2020. She

left behind her two daughters

Naleen Mudaliar and Jaya Krishnan,

daughter-in-law Teresa

Krishnan, and six grandchildren.

Ratna’s husband Purshottam

Krishna passed away on October

3, 2019.

The following is a tribute by

former Member of Parliament

(Labour) Dr Rajen Prasad who

has known the family for several


Enduring image

Our enduring image of Ratna

Krishnan of Orewa will be her

sense of giving to others.

Both through her own vigilance

and thoughtfulness as well as her

reputation for “making things happen,”

she was able to bring relief

and joy to a long list of individuals

and causes in New Zealand and

Fiji, throughout her life.

Ratna was born in Fiji about 82

years ago (on September 8, 1938)

and was the eldest in a family

of eight siblings. Growing up in

Labasa was never easy but Ratna

recalled her maternal grandfather

Ratna with her husband Purshottam Krishnan

in Rarotonga

with affection, especially his

personality as a giver, his kindness

and generosity, his attitude to hard

work and his love of teaching.

Ratna must have internalised

these characteristics because they

were powerfully telegraphed in her

contributions throughout her life.

Passion for education

As an Indian woman from Fiji,

Ratna had many firsts in her life

but education had always been a

very significant part. She left Labasa

aged 13 years for schooling at the

Ram Krishna Mission and attended

Vivekananda College before taking

up teacher training at the Nasinu

Teachers Training College. She

taught at the Sangam Primary

Ratna and Purshottam Krishnan soon after

their marriage on 12.05.1962

School in Labasa and, in 1962, married

Purshottam Krishnan and lived

in an extended family household

there before taking up a posting in

Lautoka where their son Sri Rama

Krishnan and daughter Jaya were

born. Their eldest daughter Naleen

was born in Labasa.

Commonwealth Scholarship

While teaching in Lautoka Ratna

was offered a one-year Commonwealth

Scholarship to study Home

Economics in England which she

took up with encouragement from


Ratna recalled this as a wonderful

time of her life despite missing the

family in Fiji.

At the end of her scholarship,

Purshottam insisted that she travel

to India, Hong Kong, Thailand,

Australia and New Zealand on her

way home. Such characteristics

were typical of Purshottam’s relationship

with Ratna and included

his insistence that she learn to drive

a car in order to avoid reliance on

others for transport.

Staunch Rotarians

In 1975 the Krishnan family migrated

to New Zealand and settled

in Orewa. While the choice was

determined by Purshottam’s work

as an Environmental Health Officer

for Rodney District, the family

embraced the Orewa community,

and they lived here all their lives.

Ratna and Purshottam were

Rotary “junkies” in a sense, an

association that had started in

Fiji many years ago. Their Rotary

family was very important to them

and it provided a key platform for

Ratna to cement her most endearing

characteristic for unconditional

giving and for taking up causes of

all kinds. Her impact as a Rotarian

even extended to Vanuatu.

Any acquaintance or friend

of Ratna will vouch for her

tirelessness when it came to take up

causes. She was the “go-to” person

to fund raise for a just cause whether

it was to help a young person

realise a dream or to celebrate the

artistic skills of an individual she

had met. The model her maternal

grandfather has provided endured

throughout her life and she perfected

it considerably.

As the eldest member of a large,

extended family, she appreciated

the responsibilities that came with

this role and kept an eye on all their

interests. She was successful in

facilitating many of them in their

migration to New Zealand and

successful settlement.

Ratna even had the foresight to

purchase land and establish premises

for businesses in Silverdale so

that the family would have work.

Mission and Vision

Ratna was tireless in her mission

and fearless in her resolve.

Throughout her life, she was

able to amalgamate her organising

ability with her resourcefulness

to bring relief and entertainment

to many in her ethnic and local

communities even at the expense of

her own interests.

She adored her six grandchildren

and was looking forward to her

first grandson’s wedding next

year. When her son Sri had a fatal

accident in Indonesia in 2012,

Ratna was devastated. Even as

she carried on with her focus on

others the impact of her loss was


With Purshottam she had moved

to Evelyn Page Retirement Village

in Orewa in 2017.

Purshottam lost his battle barely

10 months ago.

On leaving North Shore Hospital

Ratna received nursing care at Evelyn

Page and was regularly visited

by her children, their families and

friends although in the last Covid

19 months this was made more


Rest in peace Ratna. You will

be missed but you have left many

memories and much for us to

celebrate in your name.

(Pictures from INL Library)



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Ten steps help small businesses to face current challenges

Saurav Wadhwa

Covid-19 and the subsequent

lockdowns at various levels

have affected the global economy

and New Zealand is not

immune to the adverse effects of the

pandemic. The measures announced

by the government have had some

softening impact, but small business

owners are among the worst hit and

will continue to face tough challenges

for a length of time. The following

ten steps should help them to revisit

their financial position.

Wage Subsidy: Round Two of Wage

Subsidy is available until September

1, 2020.

If you meet the criteria and have

not already applied, then, please do


Round Three of Wage Subsidy

(called Resurgence Wage Subsidy)

is for two weeks of payment and is

open till September 3, 2020.

The criteria are similar to the

previous one, the main being a drop

in revenue.

A revenue drop of at least 40%

because of Covid-19 for a 14-day

period between August 12 and

September 10, 2020, compared to a

similar period in 2019.

The scheme of Wage Subsidy is

being administered by Work and

Income Department.

Small Business Cash Flow Loan

Scheme: If you meet the criteria for

Wage Subsidy, you are also eligible

to apply for the small business loan.

This loan is provided by the Inland

Revenue Department (IRD). Application

are open till 31.12.2020. The

maximum amount loaned is $10,000

plus $1800 per full-time-equivalent

employee. The annual interest rate

will be 3% beginning from the date

of the loan provided. Interest will

not be charged if the loan is fully

paid back within one year.

Estimate Provisional Tax- Tax

year 2020 might have been a good

year for you. It also means that your

provisional tax due on 28.08.2020

(first installment) will be 5% up on

2020 tax. Review your numbers and

estimate Provisional Tax for 2021 to

ensure that you are not burdened by

unnecessary tax bills. For example,

in 2020, your taxable income was

$200,000 on which, $56,000 (28%)

was paid as Income Tax. However,

the last five months of results show

that you have experienced a drop in


Thus, it should coincide with the

Income Tax for 2021. Perhaps you

need to estimate the tax bill 2021 to

be 40% below in 2020 to $33,600. It

means that your P1 payment due

on 28.08.2020 will be $11,200 as

opposed to $19,600.

Contingency Cash Reserve:

You should ensure that you have

minimum of three months of Cash

Reserve. In order to build your

Contingency Fund, look at all your

business and personal expenses for

Restaurant Association President Hagen Hopkins with Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister

Kris Faafoi outside Parliament on August 25, 2020 (Picture by Hagen Hopkins)

Restauranteurs want ‘Eat

Out Help Out Scheme’ here

Sourced Content

The Restaurant Association wants

the country to adopt a scheme

similar to the UK, which would

see the government subsidise

meals at eateries.

The Association has delivered a 4000

signature petition to Parliament on

August 25, 2020, for MPs to consider

adopting the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

being practiced in the United Kingdom.

Under the Scheme, the government

foots half of the bill for a meal eaten at a

cafe, restaurant or pub from Monday to

Wednesday until the end of August, with

a limit of £10 or NZ$ 20.

Wider benefits

Restaurant Association President Mike

Egan said that the Scheme has wider

benefits than just the hospitality sector.

“If we are buying food for our customers,

then we are buying off farmers and

producers, then we are paying our wages

and our laundry bills, so the money goes

a long way, whereas if they just gave us

a grant we would probably just pay our

rent just to get through,” he said.

He said that the Wage Subsidy was not

providing enough support.

“The wage subsidy is fantastic, but it is

all the rest of the costs we have to work

out to get through this period,” Mr Egan


Restaurant Association CEO Marisa

Bidois said that to date, there has been no

targeted support for the industry through

the pandemic, despite being one of the

worst affected.

“Our Dine out to Help out initiative

will put much needed cash back into the

pockets of hospitality businesses that

are really struggling whilst also helping

Kiwis to get a freshly prepared meal at a

discounted price,” she said.

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister

Kris Faafoi and National’s Economic

Development Spokesperson Todd McClay

received the Petition in Wellington, with

a contactless lunch delivery of curry and


Heavy price

Mr McClay said that New Zealand’s

hospitality sector was paying a heavy

price for the government’s “bungling of

the border.”

“Today’s petition is a plea for help

from a sector on its knees. Hospitality,

tourism and travel agents have been hit

the hardest by the government’s border

failure and they need more targeted

assistance from the government to save

businesses, jobs and livelihoods,” he said.

Mr Faafoi said that the initiative was

an interesting idea, but the government

was not making a commitment to adopt

it, as it was more focused on the wage


“That is not to say that we will not

keep the dialogue open with the likes

of the Hospitality Association and the

Restaurant Association. They are very

important sectors to New Zealanders,”

he said.

a month. These expenses should be

fixed in a nature that is not related to

the proportion of income.

It means that you should calculate

your expenses against no sales for

three months; multiply that number

by three. The sum that you get is the

amount you should have in your

Cash Reserve Fund available on


Review of Insurance Policy: Insurance

is a very complex area. The

insurance industry is under fear.

You can easily under or over-insure

yourself. Look at what Risk you

are insuring (Life, Health, Car, Fire,

Theft). Then look at what is the

realistic probability of it happening.

What is the insurance expense vs

your business or household income?

Perhaps this is the time to do comprehensive

review of your insurance


Review of Personal/Business Debt

Structure: Some small business

owners are too busy to review their

finances. You can make a list of all

your debt, including car loan, home

loan, business loan and others.

Include the principal amount owing,

interest rate and time left on the


Do a comprehensive review of

your loans. The idea is to shift the

high interest rates loans to the low

interest rate. For example, look at

ways how can you shift credit card

balance or car loan to the home

loan rate. For your home loan we all

are in highly volatile interest rates

situation. You can divide your home

loan into three parts, then fix them

for six months, one year and two

years. By doing so, you will diversity

your risk and hedge yourself from

up/down in interest rates.

Property Investment: This depends

on your personal financial position.

If you own three to five properties,

you may want to consider selling

a property. Currently, the market

is very hot. You can sell a property

and reduce your lending. However,

if you do not own a property, it may

be a good idea to invest now. Basic

financial principles are a key in

making right decision.

Diversification is important- do

not put all your eggs into one basket.

If all your investment is tied into

financial markets (KiwiSaver, Stocks,

Bank Deposit), then you should

diversify into property.

Look at the yield percentage,

rental demand in the area and other

important factors.

Hedge yourself from any volatile

financial set back: Review all your

assets. Only look at income-earning

assets. Divide them into three categories,

namely Cash (Bank Deposits,

Term Deposits), Paper Assets (Stocks,

KiwiSaver, Managed Funds) Real

Assets (Land, Building). Include all

assets that you own in New Zealand

and Overseas.

Make a list of these assets including

market value, date of purchase

and the net yield percentage. Then

look at financial principle that how

you can hedge your assets from any


Customer Services: As a small

business owner, Customer Services



is a key to your business success.

You need to communicate with your

customers. If they are struggling

offer them ways you can serve

them better. Help them. Offer them

multiple ways they can contact you.

Offer them various payment options.

Remember the most important thing

is we are all in this together.

Investment in IT: Investment not

only means investing your money

but also investing your time.

You must learn new things such

as use of online meetings, digital

paperwork, virtual collaboration

and so on. You need to ensure that

you have a policy against fraud,

spam and any unauthorised use of

your emails, phone and websites.

A simple, two-factor authentication

which is offered by most providers

can add an extra layer of security.

You can install two factor authentications

on your online software,

Emails and Websites.

Saurav Wadhwa is a Chartered Accountant

and a Tax Specialist. He is the Managing

Director of the Auckland based firm IBBZ

Accounting Limited. He can be reached

on 027-5555458. Email: saurav@ibbz.co.nz;

website: www.ibbz.co.nz. The above article

should be treated as general information

and not as specific advice. Please contact

your professional accountant for advice

related to your company. Saurav Wadhwa,

his firm and Indian Newslink absolve

themselves of all liabilities in this


Court says first nine days

lockdown ‘unlawful but justified’

Supplied Content

The High Court released its

judgment on August 19,

2020 in the Borrowdale v

Director-General of Health

and the Attorney-General case.

It is a significant judgment in

which all the Health Orders issued

under the Health Act Alert Level

3 and 4 lockdown that started in

March were lawful.

Attorney General David Parker

said that the challenges that the Orders

made to close premises New

Zealand wide, except for essential

services, to prohibit congregating

in outdoor places and to require

people to self-isolate and stay at

home have all failed.

The current lockdown orders

made under the Covid-19 Public

Health Response Act 2020 are not

affected by this judgment, he said.

The Verdict

The Court found that the March

25 Order closing premises providing

non-essential services and

prohibiting outdoor congregating

was lawful. It also found that the

Alert Level 4 Order on April 3 to

stay at home and in our bubbles,

and the Alert Level 3 order on

April 24 were also lawful.

The Court also dismissed the

argument that the list of essential

services was unlawfully delegated

to the Ministry of Business, Innovation

and Employment.

It found that MBIE and

other agencies were not defining

essential businesses, but were

assessing whether businesses met

the criteria defined by the Order.

Bill of Rights breached

“It is very satisfying that these

orders have been upheld. We can

be confident in the Orders made

and enforced. However, the Court

did find that there was a breach

of the Bill of Rights Act in the first

nine days of the Alert Level 4

lockdown, because the original oral

Attorney General David Parker

request for people to stay home

and in their bubbles was not put in

a formal order until April 3, 2020,”

Mr Parker said.

He said that importantly the

Court found that the requirement

to stay home and in their bubbles

was a necessary, reasonable and

proportionate response to the

Covid-19 crisis at that time.

The Court stated that the question

was finely balanced. While it

found an unlawful limitation on

rights and freedoms for nine days

it said, “that must be seen in the

context of the rapidly developing

public health emergency the nation

was facing.”

Mr Parker said that the Court

found the imperfection from March

25 to April 3 was cured by the April

3, 2020 Order,” Mr Parker said.

State of National Emergency

The Court also made the point

that its findings have to be kept in

perspective: the situation lasted

for just nine days and occurred

when New Zealand was in a state

of national emergency fighting a

global pandemic.

The Court also rejected the

challenge that the Prime Minister

had attempted to suspend the law,

saying that the power to require all

New Zealanders to stay at home was

a power that could have been (and

was, from April 3, 2020) exercised

by a Health Officer under the Health


Mr Parker said that the government

was trying to educate people

about the health risks and transition

them quickly to take actions that

curtailed normal freedoms like

staying at home to stop the spread

of the virus.

“In the end, the measures taken

by the Government worked to

eliminate Covid-19, save lives and

minimise damage to our economy.

Since April 3, 2020, orders implementing

the Alert Levels have been

made under the Health Act or under

the new Covid-19 Public Health

Response Act. The Court has not

said that all urgent Covid-related

restrictions to individual rights will

be in breach of the Bill or Rights,”

Mr Parker said.

He pointed to the Courts’ own

decision on March 18, 2020, before

the Alert Level system, to suspend

all new jury trials “out of an

abundance of caution” in the face of

the Covid-19 threat.

“No decision on a possible appeal

has yet been taken,” Mr Parker said.

Source: Office of Attorney General,





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The English Fortnightly (Since November 1999)

ISSUE 445 | SEPTEMBER 1, 2020

Sentencing of terrorist

ends a tragic chapter

In sending terrorist Brenton

Tarrant to jail for life without

parole, New Zealand

created for itself legal

history and delivered justice, not

just to the victims of the tragedy

or the Muslim community, but

to the entire population of the


The 29-year-old Australian

terrorist, who received the

verdict at the Christchurch High

Court on Thursday, August 27,

2020, pleaded guilty to the 51

charges of murder, 40 charges

of attempted murder and one

charge of terrorism.

That was the ‘harshest sentence’

served in New Zealand

because the murderer will

not have the right to apply for

parole during his life.

Hard to fight tears

It also brought some solace to

the grieving families which lost

their husbands, brothers, sons,

daughters, children and other

relatives as the terrorist mercilessly

shot them while they were

at their Friday prayers on March

15, 2019. Many of us who have

seen the horrors of war during

our journalistic career could not

hide our tears as we heard the

Victims Impact Statement over

three days in the Court.

No one, least of all, a

peace-loving and law-abiding

community, deserved such a

terrorist act.

As Paul Spoonley,

Distinguished Professor at

Massey University in Auckland

said, “Anything less (of the

Sentencing) would have been

a disappointment to most New

Zealanders. Ever since, we have

been looking for a degree of


We are a tolerant society,

home to more than 200 ethnicities

speaking 160 languages

and there has never been any

sign of intended harm; we may

have occasionally felt a tinge

of racism here and there, but

never to a scale that would lead

to massacre.

Communities come together

The incident took away

the innocence to which New

Zealand was once famous. It has

also brought us all closer together.

We have begun to speak, in

one tone, that there should be

no room for such terrorists on

our soil.

We believe that diversity

enriches and should not divide

us. Equally, it is a time to assert

zero tolerance for racism. When

people abuse, demean and

ridicule Muslims or any other

faith or ethnicity, we cannot be

passive observers on the side


We must work to

dis-spell misinformation

In her article appearing in

this issue’s Electionlink,

New Zealand journalist

Ximena Smith has

underscored the need for a

comprehensive, nationwide

media literacy strategy to

combat misinformation.

She said that even a discussion

on the subject is absent in

New Zealand thus far.

“The concept of media

literacy is one that has

largely disappeared from New

Zealand’s policy agenda, with

the last significant government

publication on it being written

by the Broadcasting Standards

Authority in 2007,” she said in

the article.

Politics out of pandemic

While mischief-mongers social

media activists are the largest

contributors of fake news

and misinformation, politicians

have joined the bandwagon in

recent months. In their desire

to win in the ensuing general

election (October 17, 2020), they

seem to dig political capital out

of every situation- the worst of

all the current pandemic.

As the Economist observed,

it is particularly abundant and

influential on the web, since

it is less expensive and easier

to reach people, and artificial

intelligence methods like

Deepfake make it simpler to

doctor video and audio.

Manipulation and deception

have always been a part of


Regulatory framework


“This is not a time when an

ambitious politician will want

to take a back seat, let alone be

secluded in full quarantine and

bed rest. Public service, after

all, can have no nobler aim

than to lead at a time of such

menace. And, as the pandemic

spreads, the number of capable

stand-ins well enough to take

over may dwindle. More

cynically, who would want to

give a deputy the chance to

outshine the boss?” asked the


To prevent targeted attacks

and defamation campaigns

against the most vulnerable,

we must create regulations

and policies that protect

minority classes from online

manipulation. New laws should

make it more clearly illegal

for social media firms to sell

advertisements that target

these groups with politically

charged misinformation or

disinformation. Mainstream

social media platforms should

provide safe spaces online for

these groups and facilitate their

day-to-day use by protecting

and moderating them.

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

UAE deal is a symbolic win for Benjamin Netanyahu

(EPA Picture by Abir Sultan)

Israel hugs United Arab Emirates as the rest shrug

Simon Mabon

Israel and the United Arab Emirates

(UAE) have signed a historic agreement

which makes the Emirates

only the third Arab state to recognise

Israel after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in


As part of the deal, dubbed the

‘Abraham Accord,’ Israel has suspended

highly controversial plans to annex

the West Bank. But it has been viewed

as a treacherous betrayal by many


For Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin

Netanyahu, the normalisation of diplomatic

ties between the two countries

is hugely symbolic, leaving him as one

of only three Israeli leaders to have

brokered a peace agreement with an

Arab state.

Since the deal was signed on August

13, a flurry of activity has already taken

place, both building on existing ties

as well as opening up new economic

opportunities heralded by many in Israel

and the Emirates.

Geopolitical Earthquake

But though some have described the

accord as a “geopolitical earthquake,”

the reality is that it changes very little.

Despite Palestinian anger, the Emirati

decision to sign the accord has been

met with a collective shrug from most

states in the region, perhaps reflecting

the shifting sands of regional security

in recent years. Some Arab states may

even be pleased at the deal, and Israel’s

withdrawal of its threat to annex the

West Bank.

This apathy is not surprising. In

late 2017, the Trump administration

recognised Jerusalem as the Capital of

Israel. In previous years, this would

have prompted widespread protest

and strong rebukes from leaders in the

region, yet there was little by way of


Looking back, it is clear why the

Trump administration, particularly the

President’s son-in-law and aide Jared

Kushner, portrayed the recognition of

Jerusalem as a symbolic step in their

Palestinians burn photos of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al

Nahyan, who they have dubbed a ‘traitor.’ (EPA Photo by Alaa Badarneh

broader efforts to cultivate a realignment

in the Middle East, in which Israel

and the UAE have increasingly found

themselves on the same side.

Common enemy

Clandestine relations between Israel,

the UAE and Gulf Arab states have

existed for decades – driven by shared

security concerns about Iran.

But in recent years an informal

normalisation between Israel and these

states has also taken place through

cultural, political and economic

exchanges – perhaps most visibly in an

Israeli invitation to the 2020 Dubai Expo.

Although relations had improved

from the 1990s, they picked up pace with

the emergence of Iran as a common enemy.

The rivalry between Saudi Arabia

and Iran has been at the forefront of

regional politics since the 1979 Iranian

revolution. Although the two countries

experienced an apparent period of

rapprochement in the decade before

the US-led War on Terror, the toppling

of Saddam Hussein in Iraq opened up a

new front in their rivalry.

After the US-led invasion of Iraq,

Iranian actions in the region became

increasingly belligerent, much to

the chagrin of Gulf Arab leaders and

their Israeli counterparts. During the

presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

between 2005-13, rhetoric from Gulf

rulers often matched that of Israel in

calls for strikes against Iran.

Realpolitik Issues

Israel fought a war with an Arab

group, Hezbollah, as recently as 2006,

and continues to exert control over Palestinian

territory. But the shift brought

by the formalisation of ties between

the UAE and Israel has sacrificed some

Palestinian grievances on the altar of


Alliances have long been burgeoning

between the Gulf monarchies and Israel.

The WikiLeaks cables revealed that in

2006, King Hamad of Bahrain spoke of

the need for “real peace” with Israel so

“we can all face Iran”. The new Israel-UAE

agreement will do little to change

Wage Subsidy does not go far enough

The hospitality and retail sectors

are calling for more targeted aid

to help them survive a second


Hospitality NZ and Retail NZ both

welcomed the announcement of the

third extension of the wage subsidy

scheme across New Zealand amid the

decision to prolong the Covid-19 alert

level changes.

Right decision

Hospitality New Zealand Chief

Operating Officer Julie White said it was

the right decision and took into account

the importance of the Auckland market to

the whole country.

She said Queenstown was particularly


Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, who also

welcomed the extension, acknowledged

the impact that the City and its people had

on the whole country.

“Queenstown is full of Aucklanders, or

was full of Aucklanders, over the last few

weeks and it will hammer them,” he said.

However, Ms White said that the

scheme fell short of providing long-term

security to business owners who had

lost all their income, such as those in


“They have fallen short, we will need

to step up and recognise the impact on

the income to hospitality; so, we will be

touching base and asking them to re-look

at a sector-specific package,” she said.

Sharp decline in retailing

Retail NZ Chief Executive Greg

Hospitality New Zealand Chief Operating

Officer Julie White (Website Photo)

Hadford said that the retail economy

was forecast to suffer a 40% hit over the

lockdown period.

He said that most retail businesses

would struggle without government


“We will see a massive reduction in

retail spending nationwide over the

next 12 days. Retail businesses typically

operate on very low margins, and are

critically reliant on cashflow coming in

the door,” he said.

Cafe owner Roz Cattell, who is on the

board of The NZ Specialty Coffee Association,

said that they were anxious while

waiting for the news about whether the

lockdown would be extended.

Heart of the City Chief Executive Viv

Beck told Kim Hill that it was not going

to be easy for the hospitality sector to get

through this.

“I think overall it is probably a little

bit better than some had speculated, but

I think for us it recognises the impact

on the variety of businesses. We are

the construction of this alliance against

Iran, but it could open up broader

intra-Sunni rivalries in the region, most

notably with Turkey. Ankara has begun

to play a more assertive role in regional

politics and is increasingly positioning

itself on the other side of issues to Israel

and the UAE, notably in Libya.

No expectations for Saudi Arabia

Many expect Bahrain, Morocco and

Oman to follow the Emirati lead but do

not expect Saudi Arabia follow suit quite

yet. This is despite claims by Kushner

that it would be “very good” for Saudi

Arabia to normalise relations with


Unlike the UAE, the Saudi state

derives a great deal of its legitimacy

from being the protectors of Muslims

across the world.

The Palestinian cause has occupied

a central, if superficial, role in the

kingdom’s regional activity since before

the establishment of the state of Israel.

This has not stopped Saudi Arabia

from engaging with Israel in a clandestine

manner, but broader engagement

will not be forthcoming until there is a

peace accord with the Palestinians.

Tensions in the region

This points to perhaps the most serious

tension across the region, between

rulers and ruled.

While rulers may be open to formal

relations with Israel, there remains a

widespread perception among people

in the region that it is Israel, and not

Iran, which poses the greater threat to

regional security.

The Coronavirus pandemic has

exacerbated existing political, social and

economic pressures across the Middle


With these tensions straining relations

between rulers and ruled, it is likely

that many rulers will be cautious about

following the Emirati lead, out of fear

that it may provoke unrest at home.

Simon Mabon is Professor of International

Relations at Lancaster University based in

Lancashire, England. The above article and

pictures have been published under Creative

Commons Licence.

working through that now and seeing

how we can assist as much as we can.

But I think it is a bit of a perfect storm

for us in the City centre and we are

going to do everything we can to at least

make sure people are familiar with the

click and collect services,” he said.

Clarity needed

Mr Beck said that it was good to at

least have clarity on the timeframe of

the lockdown and for the wage subsidy

to be extended, but the impact would

be “massive” if the lockdown was


“I do feel for the people in the City,

because a lot of my hospitality friends,

they are hurting. It is a hard road for a

lot of people out there,” he said.

Earlier, Julie White of Hospitality NZ

spoke about the initial lockdown on

August 12, 2020, saying that the uncertainty

of when Auckland businesses

could reopen would result in a huge

loss of working capital.

“Bars will have to pour their kegs

down the drain and restaurants will be

working out what fresh produce can

be saved - it’s not as simple as turning

the lights off and locking the doors,”

she said.

While Level 2 restrictions were also

limiting for key hospitality operators,

they came with additional staffing costs

as well as potentially reduced income,

Ms White said.

Published under a Special Agreement

with www.rnz.co.nz


Epidemiologists suggest new Pandemic Plan

Ben Strang

Epidemiologists say that New Zealand

needs a new, more generic

Pandemic Plan which caters to

worst-case scenarios.

The Ministry of Health national Pandemic

Plan did not properly account for

a non-influenza outbreak, and was not

fit for purpose, according to experts.

The Ministry first drafted a Pandemic

Plan in 2004, called the ‘National Health

Emergency Plan: Infectious Diseases.’

An Advisory Group that helped form

the Pandemic Plan did not feature any


The Plan was tailored to an influenza

pandemic, because officials said that

was the most likely pandemic to hit.

SARS had struck just one year earlier,

a coronavirus pandemic that killed 774

people globally, but was not very contagious.

Since then, the Plan has only

been tweaked, and in depth planning

for a response to other diseases has not


Two major issues

Professor Nick Wilson, who works

in public health with the University of

Otago, said that there were two major

issues with the current Plan.

One, it made assumptions about

vaccines that do not fit other diseases,

Covid-19 testing at Eden Park (AFP Photo)

and two, it did not properly consider

what is needed at the border if a deadly

disease hits. The Plan assumed that a

vaccine will be available within about

six months, which Wilson said was a

major flaw.

In turn, the whole plan appeared

set out for little more than a six-month


But the bigger issue was how it

approaches the border, he said.

“In the extreme situation, you need

the capacity to actually block New

Zealanders from coming home for some

time so that you can maintain protection

of the country. It is just not feasible if

there was a terrible bioweapon in one

Job opportunities for disadvantaged New Zealand imperative


Karanina Sumeo

The ongoing impact of Covid-19 on Kiwis’

wages revealed by the latest labour

market survey are a grave concern.

Labour market statistics for the June

quarter revealed that median incomes falling for

the first time since records began in 1998, with

Kiwis’ take home pay down 7.6% to $652 a week.

The income measure captures income from

wages and salaries, government benefits such

as superannuation and Jobseeker Support, and


Downward trend worries

These figures confirm what we already know:

many workers from lower-income industries are

reporting lower earnings, working fewer hours,

or are out of work completely.

The data reveals that 76,300 people have been

away from their jobs due to Covid-19. It is our

women, youth, Māori, Pacific, self-employed

and disabled workers who are undoubtedly the

worst affected.

I am concerned with the persistent growth in

the underutilisation rates which rose to 12.0%

part of the world to say New Zealanders

must all come home, and you have to

deal with up to a million people wanting

to return. We just have to have the

mechanism to have complete border

closure until we assess the situation and

gain control,” Mr Wilson said.

Reality of bioweapon

While a bioweapon may sound like

science fiction, it was a very real and

growing possibility, be it a deliberate

act, or through accidental release from a

laboratory, he said.

Mr Wilson warned that smallpox

would be a potentially devastating

pandemic, far worse than coronavirus

or influenza.

this quarter. These are our people who want to


They are potential jobseekers, mums and dads

working part-time that want their hours increased,

young people out of tertiary institutions,

and disabled and older workers who are waiting

on opportunities to enter the job market. We are

actively leaving them behind.

We need to accept that Covid-19 has changed

the way we work.

Relying simply on job growth is not going to

shift the imbalance and inequalities that the

pandemic has worsened.

Innovative measures needed

Government and employers must get creative

and innovative to ensure our vulnerable workers

don’t fall through the cracks.

I call on the government to introduce targets

for job opportunities for those most disadvantaged

in its duty to ensure everyone has a decent

standard of living, decent work, and freedom

from discrimination.

We really need to see an alignment between

public investment, apprenticeships, tertiary

education, and the job need to ensure there is

inclusive economic recovery from Covid-19. otherwise

we will continue to leave our vulnerable

workers behind.

Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo is Equal Employment

Opportunities Commissioner. The above was sent to us

as a Media Release.

Professor Nick Wilson (RNZ Insight Photo by John Gerritsen)

Another epidemiologist, Dr Jennifer

Summers from the University of Otago

and King’s College London, said that the

plan New Zealand had was not designed

for anything other than the flu.

“There are definitely lessons to be

learnt from Covid-19 in terms of New

Zealand’s preparations for ongoing

outbreaks of Covid-19 and for future

disease outbreaks. One of those lessons

is that we need a generic Pandemic

Plan,” she said.

Opportunity to learn

Dr Summers said that New Zealand

has the opportunity to learn from recent

pandemics other than influenza (such

as the SARS pandemic in 2003, along


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Exit of Watercare Chief Executive should have flow-on effect

Thakur Ranjit Singh

As a senior alumni of former

National Minister Steven Joyce

at Massey University, and an

MBA postgraduate student at

Palmerston North campus in 1982, I

consider myself more than qualified

to comment on the governance issue

of Auckland Council, dubious events at

Watercare and questions on fiduciary

duties of its Board.

As somebody who sat on boards of

a Bank, Suva City Council and a Media

organisation in Fiji, among others. I

consider myself more than qualified to

comment on this issue.

With my past trade, commerce,

industry and real-life experience, I was

saddened to see fellow Fijian, Chief

Executive of Watercare Raveen Jaduram

made a fall guy of a dysfunctional organisation,

a questionable Board and support

leadership from Auckland Council.

From the thick smoke emitting

from Watercare crisis, the only light

seems to be coming from a brave and

conscientious Councillor who seem to

have conscience and guts to say that the

emperor has no clothes on.

Councillor Daniel Newman, who had

worked at the Watercare praised Mr

Jaduram for a grand job he had done in

the past. While the fall guy was primarily

Raveen Jaduram

targeted for his huge salary, however the Mayor, Council Chief

Executive and the Board of Watercare are equally to blame for

planning failures. Ultimately, Watercare Chief Executive is not

accountable; the ball stops at the Mayor of Auckland and the Chair

of the Board.

Pertinent questions

As a migrant from Fiji who attended university in New Zealand

in 1980s, I was perturbed at the lack of any academic teachings of

my time in the current management of Auckland Council.

Have good management theories of yesteryears gone obsolete

now? Are overpaid and highly qualified officials and board members

at Auckland Council and Watercare so blatantly clueless,

incompetent and ignorant about good management practices in

strategic management, forward planning and good perceptive


Boards in Fiji required visionary short-term (current year)

mid-term (five years) and long-term (ten years) plans with proper

brainstorming and assessment of exhaustive environmental


Among others, this included SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses,

Opportunities and Threats) for strategic planning. The fact

that the big brains in Auckland’s main city failed these basics in

management shames their universities and business schools for

having alumni with questionable qualifications and aptitude for

the respective positions.

This applies to the Mayor, the Chairwoman and

board members of Watercare and former Chief

Executive of Auckland Council who all revealed

very wanting management and leadership skills

and aptitude in letting down Watercare.

Appalling and disgraceful

What is further disgraceful and appalling is

the manner in which poor Kiwi Fiji Indian was

thrown in front of a bus by the people who all

deserved to go under the same bus. The career and

professional Chairwoman Margaret Devlin and her

Board owed a fiduciary duty of care to safeguard

interests of Auckland ratepayers.

Together with the Mayor and (former) Chief

Executive of Auckland Council, they all failed us.

Were they sleeping on the job while Auckland

drowned in a drought?

I suggest that the Chamber of Commerce, the

Institute of Directors or the relevant organisation

to audit the action, or lack of it, of the Board of

Watercare, and its dereliction of its fiduciary duties.

And business schools in Universities need to use

this debacle at Watercare as a case study on how

not to run such a crucial organisation.

In fact Councillor Newman very aptly described

the Watercare Board:

The board has been as active as an Easter Island

statue. There has been a complete absence of

energy and it’s been left to the governing body of

council to work with senior management within

Watercare to fill the gap

Did the Board and Auckland Council ask and

seek the right and prudent questions and answers?

Newman has also questioned the suitability of this

Hamilton-based professional Board Chair who

he claims had no interest in Auckland and sits on

many other boards outside Auckland.

Multiple roles

New Zealand Herald reported in its August 19,

2020 issue that Ms Devlin is paid $108,000 when

the median of similar Chair of Director’s fee is

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with Covid-19), to prepare better New

Zealanders for future pandemics.

“Having a national Pandemic Plan

currently based on just influenza is a

weak point in New Zealand’s Pandemic

Planning, which impacted our initial

response to Covid-19 and this now needs

to be addressed,” she said.

New Zealand is not the only country

that was solely focused on influenza.

The United States also drafted a new

Pandemic Plan after the SARS outbreak,

which largely ignored SARS and diseases

that were not influenza.

It is a familiar story across the globe.

The Taiwan example

A country that did learn from SARS

was Taiwan.

Taiwan had almost 84 deaths from

almost 700 cases of SARS, which was

very difficult to transmit.

Fast forward 18 years and a far more

infectious coronavirus has hit, but

Taiwan has had less than 500 cases and

only 7 deaths among a population of

almost 24 million.

They have been touted as a world

leading example of pandemic preparedness.

Ben Strang is a Reporter at Radio New

Zealand. The above Report and Picture have

been published under a Special Arrangement

with www.rnz.co.nz

$60,000. It also reported that this professional

Board Chair is also involved with some other ten or

so organisations:

As well as chairing Watercare, Ms Devlin is a

director of Waikato Regional Airport, MetService,

IT Partners Group, Aurora Energy, independent

chairwoman of Waikato District Council’s Audit

and Risk Committee, Chairwoman of Women in

Infrastructure Network Advisory Board, Councillor

at Waikato University, Deputy Chairwoman of

Wintec, Chairwoman of Lyttelton Port Company,

Director of Infrastructure New Zealand and

Chairwoman of Hospice Waikato. Last month, the

Tasman District Council appointed her to the board

of Waimea Water.

Perhaps ratepayers of Auckland City need to ask

the mayor how could a person involved with so

many organisations with so many diverse interests

be depended on to look after such a major City

portfolio? And how could she do justice to this

highly paid directorship with so many roles away

from Auckland?

New Board for Watercare

Aucklanders would be justified to seek

immediate removal of the whole Watercare Board

which could not now be trusted to provide prudent

direction to the incoming Chief Executive.

They already failed us miserably.

In other civilised City Councils, the poor-performing

Chairperson and the Board, with the Chief

Executive and the Mayor of Council would have

lost their jobs.

Unfortunately, in a wanting culture at Auckland

Council, a lesser Chief Executive is made the fall

guy of an organisation where the overseers were

all sleeping on the job while the dams ran dry.

Thakur Ranjit Singh is a media commentator, a journalist

and community worker. He runs his blog, Fiji Pundit.’

Email: thakurji@xtra.co.nz. The above article reflects the

personal views of the author.


AUGUST 1, 2020


Stop the spin and keep moving on the testing regime

Peter Dunne

The World Health Organisation

has been telling us for most of

this year that the key to getting

on top of the Covid-19 pandemic

is constant and thorough testing of any

and all potential at risk patients.

Yet, in spite of managing many other

aspects of Covid-19 well, New Zealand

still seems to be having difficulty with

its testing regime, and it is becoming

increasingly difficult to get clear

and consistent answers from those

responsible about what is happening

and why it is so.

Encouraging response

We know that after a slow start testing

levels in the general community and

in managed isolation and quarantine

facilities are picking up, in part due to

a concentrated focus on border control

and our approach to managed isolation

and quarantine; in part because of the

recent community outbreak in Auckland;

and, in part because of continued

calls from epidemiological experts for

a greater focus being placed on testing.

That is good, and to be encouraged.

But the official message is not always

as definite as it should be.

For example, the Director General of

Health keeps urging people to submit

to a test if they feel they should, while

in the next breath saying that to ease

pressure on the system, only people

showing clear symptoms of the virus

should seek to be tested.

Such mixed messaging is hardly

conducive to encouraging people who

feel they should, to go for a Covid-19

test. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister

and the Health Minister keep giving

assurances about the availability of

testing opportunities that are just not

being borne out by the reality of what is


Assurances breached

We have been assured that everyone

entering managed isolation or quarantine

is subject to testing on days 3

and 12 of their isolation. That seems a

reasonable position, yet the Minister of

Health told Parliament earlier this week

that the day 3 test was not mandatory.

This was despite earlier assurances

from the Director General in early

June that “from today, everyone in

managed isolation will be tested twice

for Covid-19.”

Indeed, as Newshub has revealed, it

now appears thousands of persons in

isolation and quarantine have not been

subject to day three tests, even though

it has been the day three tests that have

revealed the majority of positive cases.

We all know of the delays there have

been in testing those border control and

other personnel involved in managing

the isolation and quarantine process.

Belatedly, in just the last couple of

weeks the Cabinet decided that all such

personnel should be routinely tested.

But, as Radio New Zealand revealed

earlier this week, the new border testing

regime has only just been finalised and

is still at least a fortnight away from

being put in place.

This is despite assurances from the

Prime Minister over six weeks ago in

early July that “frontline workers at the

border” were “getting regularly tested,”

and Cabinet having ordered at the end

of July that testing for all border and

isolation personnel be mandatory.

The harsh reality

The question that arises from all

these inconsistencies is where does the

truth lie? On the face of it, it appears the

public has been spun a line by senior

Ministers and officials that they now

are admitting has not been borne out

by reality.

What is not so clear is whether there

has been a deliberate policy of obfuscation

initiated at the highest levels

to overcome the shortcomings that

have become apparent, and reassure

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the public that all has been well; or,

whether the fault lies with inadequate

and inaccurate information about what

actually has been happening in the

testing space being reported to those in


Either way, it is a poor although not

unexpected reflection on the Minister of

Health’s supervision, and the role of the

Minister of Managed Isolation, Megan


Over-burdened Minister

Minister Chris Hipkins is simply

over-burdened, already serving as Leader

of the House, Minister of Education

and Minister of State Services.

It is sadly now clear that he just does

not have the time to do justice to the

Health portfolio and the extraordinary

demands dealing with Covid-19 has

imposed, as well. And, after a promising

and energetic start, Minister Woods

seems to have run out of steam, so much

so that she has almost disappeared from

public view. The consequence has been

that the integrity of the testing system,

so much at the heart of our Covid-19

response, has been severely compromised,

leading to the establishment of a

new, separate task force to review what

has been going on at the border and

with the testing process.

PM’s chagrin

The Prime Minister has correctly

KiwiSaver fees unmatched by level of management

Independent Report advises FMA

of ‘low value’ of some providers

Supplied Content

The Financial Markets Authority

(FMA) has published

an independent Report

into the passive and active

investment management styles

used by KiwiSaver providers.

The FMA commissioned

MyFiduciary to test the extent that

KiwiSaver providers were active

or passive managers of their funds,

whether this aligned with any

claims to be “active” or passive”

managers, and how this compared

with the fees being charged.

The Report found that most KiwiSaver

providers’ funds are ‘true

to label’ in terms of their approach

to investment management.

No relationship with fees

FMA Director of Regulation

Liam Mason said: “The Report

found that there is not a significant

relationship between the level of

active management employed by

providers and the fees they charge.

The Report shows there are a small

number of funds where the high

price does not necessarily match

the level of active management

being claimed.”

This Report is a part of FMA’s

broader focus on value for money

FMA Director of Regulation Liam Mason

(Picture Courtesy: Stuff)

in KiwiSaver.

KiwiSaver providers have told

the FMA that the way they manage

their investors’ money is a critical

part of their value proposition for

their members.

In assessing the level of active

management delivered among

the 26 schemes considered, versus

what was promised, two-thirds

described themselves as mainly

active but varied considerably in

how active they were, with some of

these appearing relatively passive.

The remaining schemes

described themselves as mainly

passive or mixed and were generally

true to label.

Poor value for money

The Report shows that active

management can be offered

without higher fees.

It also highlights that some providers

are offering expensive funds

that are not actively managed.

Given this, there are a small number

of providers that appear to be

Chart from MyFiduciary Report

Table from MyFiduciary Report

poor value for money relative to

other providers, based solely on

activeness and fees charged.

There are however aspects

of “value” to customers beyond

levels of active management.

MyFiduciary established their

own criteria, in consultation

with the FMA, for assessing the

levels of active management.

The Report helps provide an

independent measure and

assessment of whether active

management is a key factor in

how managers determine their


FMA response

The Report raises a number

of issues that the FMA will

be following up through its

supervision and monitoring of

providers, and by producing

new guidance for the industry

to improve disclosure and

outcomes for investors.

The FMA will engage with

made clear her disdain for New Zealand

yo-yoing in and out of lockdowns every

time there is an outbreak of community


Short of acquiescing to the virus

being a fixture in the community,

something that she has thankfully never

advocated or had on her agenda, the

major response tool left open to the

country in the absence of a vaccine

has to be a credible testing regime at

the border and in the community to

identify outbreaks of the virus as they

occur, backed up by robust isolation and

quarantine regimes for those identified

with the virus.

The blunt reality is that despite the

herculean efforts of those involved

in conducting and processing tests,

and those managing the isolation and

quarantine systems, our Covid-19

testing regime is currently the weak link

in our response chain, at the very time

we need it to be at its strongest and most


Ministers’ simple and overriding

responsibility now is to make the testing

system work, and to stop the spin and


Peter Dunne was a Minister of the Crown under

the Labour and National-led governments

from November 1999 to September 2017. He

lives in Wellington.

those managers where fees were

high and the level of active management

was relatively low.

The FMA will produce industry

guidance covering expectations

around KiwiSaver fees and the

statutory requirement for fees not

to be unreasonable.

The requirement for KiwiSaver

fees to not be unreasonable is an

ongoing obligation that providers

should periodically review, to

ensure compliance and that they

are acting in the best interests of

their members from a value for

money perspective.

The FMA has regulatory tools

available to take action in this

space, including consequences under

KiwiSaver manager licences.

Insufficient information

The FMA has separately considered

where and how information

on investment style is being

disclosed and if that information is

sufficiently accessible to KiwiSaver


There is a requirement in the

regulations to disclose investment

strategy to investors in important

documents such as Product

Disclosure Statements (PDS),

Statement of Investment Policy

and Objectives (SIPO) or other

communications materials.

The FMA’s view is that there is

insufficient information readily

available in the PDS for investors

to make meaningful decisions

about their funds based on whether

they are actively or passively

managed. The FMA will consider

covering this aspect in its planned


Mr Mason said, “We were

pleased to see the Report showing

a wide variety of choice available

to investors and that in a number

of cases there are passive funds

offering a lower cost product,

and in other cases that active

management is being offered at a

competitive price.

“From the information in this

Report, it appears that investment

management style is not necessarily

a key factor in how providers,

or consumers, are determining

value for money for the majority

of funds on offer. We’ll be doing

further work in the future to

explore how KiwiSaver providers

are delivering value for money.”

Source: Financial Markets Authority,


AUGUST 1, 2020



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Government guarantee up to 80% of bank loans

Scheme to help companies

out of Covid-19 pandemic

Venkat Raman

The New Zealand government will

guarantee bank loans up to 80%

of the amount lent by commercial

banks in the latest of measures to

revive the economy.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson

announced on August 20, 2020 an expanded

version of the ‘Business Finance

Guarantee Scheme,’ under which the

maximum loan limit will increase from

$500,000 to $5 million and the term from

three years to five years.

He said that the revision to the Scheme,

which will be available up to December

31, 2020, is based on the feedback from

Finance Minister Grant Robertson

the banks, the Treasury, Reserve Bank of

New Zealand and customers.

Banks and criteria

Commercial banks participating in the

Scheme are ANZ, ASB, BNZ, Heartland

Bank, Kiwibank, SBS Bank, TSB, Bank of

China and Westpac.

The criteria for borrowing has been

extended from liquidity support/bridging

finance to enable general purpose borrowing,

including for capital investment,

businesses affected by Covid-19.

Loans under the Scheme can be used

to re-finance up to 20% of a borrower’s

existing indebtedness.

The Scheme will allow more medium-sized

companies to access loans with

revenue limits extended from $80 million

to $200 million per annum.

“The Government has put a number of

measures in place to support businesses

to invest as the economy recovers from

the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The Business Finance Guarantee

encourages banks to support their customers,

by offering an 80% Government

guarantee over the loans issued under

the scheme,” he said.

Flexibility extended

Mr Robertson said that the government

was aware that the original scheme

had a lower uptake with just $150 million

lent to 780 customers to date.

The changes should allow the banks

to be more flexible with the scheme, he


“Changes needed to be made and

banks have come to the table and agreed

to the modifications. Extending what the

loans can be used for, including capital

investment, means banks can use the

scheme to help more viable businesses

respond to this 1-in-100 year shock. While

banks will still have their own lending

requirements and make their own

lending decisions, the government has

clarified that the Crown does not require

New Zealand must sign UN Anti-Corruption pledge

Suzanne Snively

Transparency International New

Zealand (TINZ) has urged and

continues to encourage government

watch dogs to keep vigilant

while the coalition Government is

spending rapidly to buffer the economic

impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on

households and business.

With the uncertainties of the virulent

pandemic – highlighted by the latest

outbreaks – watchdog roles are essential.

The right to know

More than ever, we need transparent

information while unprecedented

amounts of public money are being

spent or lent and government bonds

being issued.

The public has a right to know about

how funding requests are assessed, how

money is allocated, and demonstration

that the outcomes achieved are supporting

employment and ensuring the

vulnerable are as protected as possible

against the spread of the virus.

This transparency is important for the

prevention of corruption.

A challenge for government officials

is communicating in ways that are

transparent, not only to experts but also

to the wider public.

OAG reports released

In addition to its Covid-19 related reviews,

the Office of the Auditor-General

(OAG) recently published four reports,

all of which are available on the OAG


Managing the Provincial Growth

Fund; New Zealand Transport Agency:

Maintaining state highways through

Network Outcomes Contracts; Inland

Revenue Department: Benefits management

for the Business Transformation

programme; Using information to improve

public housing services – Progress

in responding to the Auditor-General’s


While these reviews were underway

prior to the Covid-19 lock downs,

the OAG made recommendations to

strengthen transparency, reporting, and

evaluation pertinent to the crisis.

Transparency essential

Transparency is essential to preventing

corruption. In general, the reports

show solid performance and progress

in the areas audited. They also report

the need for more transparency, both

about financial accountability and about

determining the value of outcomes.

Regarding the Provincial Growth

Fund (PGF), the impact of Covid-19 is

making it more difficult to obtain consistent

data to evaluate the effectiveness

of the Fund’s investments.

There is risk that officials will not now

be able to identify the extent to which

the $3 billion of investment represents

value for money or contributes to improved

regional and national outcomes.

As part of its multi-year examination

of the PGF, the OAG will next focus the

Cabinet decision to redirect up to $600

million from the PGF to the COVID-19

response package.

Another part of the PGF, $70 million

related to the Coalition Government’s

manifesto to commitments, was centred

on by the Auditor General as being

particularly lacking in transparency and


UNCAC Review

He said, “In my view, in the interests

of transparency of the overall process,

it is important for the public and Parliament

to have better visibility of how all

the parts of the Fund operate.”

The Auditor General also found that

Inland Revenue needs to achieve a

significant benefit from its Business

Transformation programme between

now and 2023/24, when its monitoring

of the programme’s benefits is due to finish.

The OAG will not be able to say with

certainty that the significant investment

in the programme represents value

for money until the benefits from the

completed project are measured.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Justice

has been coordinating New Zealand’s

South Korea on the brink of nationwide Covid-19 outbreak

Laura Bicker

South Korea, a country held up

as a model for its response to

Covid-19, is on the brink of a new

nationwide outbreak, according to


The latest outbreak of Coronavirus

cases centred around a right-wing

Presbyterian Church has spread to all 17

provinces throughout the country for the

first time.

Each day brings a new three digit

virus total.

Stepped up measures

Social distancing rules have been

stepped up. Masks are now mandatory

in Seoul. The government is also considering

whether to close schools and


Infectious diseases experts in the

country have called on the government

to step up social distancing measures

even further, warning that “hospital beds

are quickly filling up and the medical

system is nearing its limits.”

The Korea Centres for Disease Control

and Prevention (KCDC) has admitted

that about 20% of all new cases are of

unknown origin - despite the country’s

efficient contact tracing system which

can track down around 1000 potentially

infected patients in an hour.

South Korea’s fight against Covid-19

began in February after an outbreak at

a Christian cult called the Shincheonji

Church of Jesus in the city of Daegu,

about 200 km (124 miles) south of Seoul.

Within weeks, the outbreak was under


But things are different this time.

Mistrust and conspiracy theories

A majority of new cases are all close to

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (AFP Photo)

Pedestrians wearing face masks walk on a street in

Seoul on August 24, 2020 (AFP Photo)

the heavily populated capital city which

is home to more than 10 million people.

And one of the biggest concerns is that

many of the far-right worshippers who

are potentially infected believe the virus

was planted as part of a conspiracy to

close it down.

Many are refusing to be contacted, let

alone tested.

And there is also one other major

risk factor. Infected members of the

Shincheonji Church were mostly young

- in their 20s. But the current outbreak is

affecting a much older age group.

Members of the Sarang Jeil Church,

which roughly translates as “Love Comes

First,” are right-wing conservatives and

maintain that President Moon Jae-in is

a communist and a puppet of China and

North Korea.

Before the Coronavirus outbreak, they

would gather in their hundreds in the

centre of Seoul each Saturday loudly rallying

and marching past the Blue House

to denounce the South Korean leader.

One of the Church’s pastors, Lee

Hae-suk, told my colleagues at Reuters

last week - after she tested positive for the

virus - that this was a plot to “kill Sarang

Jeil Church by increasing the number of

confirmed cases.”

When asked who she thinks is behind

the “plot,” she said: “Moon Jae-in.”

Virus Terror sneaking inside

Controversial Pastor Jun Kwang-hoon

issued a statement on YouTube claiming

that he had “five different tip-offs that

there was a virus terror that sneaked

through the Sarang Jeil Church.”

Other members claimed it had

been spread by tainted bottles of hand


At a press conference last week a

Church spokesperson claimed that

pro-North Korean sympathisers had

infiltrated the Church and deliberately

spread the virus.

South Korea confirms second wave of


How South Korean life changed to

contain the virus

Lessons for the world from Asia’s new

virus spikes

Ten countries kept out Covid. But did

they win?

The conspiracy theories are making it

difficult for South Korea’s contact tracers.

In total, more than 875 members have

so far tested positive, but health officials

believe hundreds more could be infected

and potentially spreading Covid-19 to


Church members took part in a huge

rally on August 15, 2020 in the centre of

response under the United Nations

Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)

Review Mechanism.

The delay of over 10 years before

New Zealand finally joined the rest

of the world in ratifying UNCAC, was

explained as the cost of participating in

these regular reviews and actioning of

resultant commitments. Nobody would

have envisaged the huge benefits of

this anti-corruption mechanism for this

virulent Covid pandemic.

Signing Coalition Transparency Pledge

TINZ is advocating for New Zealand

to sign up to the UNCAC Coalition

Transparency Pledge.

This important pledge reaffirms: the

importance of transparency and public

consultation in addressing corruption.

Civil society can play a crucial role in

preventing and combatting corruption.

It can also make a contribution as an

observer of the UNCAC review, holding

briefings and public debates aimed at

successful implementation of the UNCAC


The challenge under the current

pandemic time and resource constraints

is for the Government to make the

time to meaningfully engage with civil

society about the role and value of this

convention in protecting New Zealand.

Anti-Corruption Leadership

With the closing of the 52nd session

of Parliament, I would like to especially

Seoul along with tens of thousands of

others, most of whom were more than 50

years old.

About 200 people have now tested

positive for the virus after the rally.

The government said it had asked the

Church for a full list of members who

attended, but they did not get it. It led to

the Police asking for a search warrant on

Friday night.

They eventually raided the Church

headquarters to find a full list of members’

names to try to contact them.

Accusations denied

The Church denies these accusations.

“Sarang Jeil Church and Pastor Jun

Kwang-hoon have been compliant to

the current government’s prevention

measures. We closed the Church as soon

as there was a confirmed case. We told

all Church members to not attend Church

and to get tested for the virus,” lawyer

Kang Yeon-jae said.

But domestic media showed footage

of what they claim are Church members

shouting and swearing at contact tracers.

Meanwhile, the virus continues to

spread, including among seven police

officers who were at the August 15, 2020

rally to maintain order.

Churches across the country were

urged to hold services online on Sunday,

but Seoul city government said 17 did not


President Moon has called for penalties

for those deliberately obstructing anti-virus

measures, including those conducting

“all-out misinformation campaigns.”

The peak is yet to come

New virus cases with unknown infection

routes continue to emerge and health

officials are stepping up the warnings and

the preparation for an outbreak within

the country.

a personal guarantee on lending made

under the Business Finance Guarantee

Scheme,” he said.

Despite the government guarantee,

the participating banks will have the

discretion to grant loans under the


Watchlist criteria relaxed

Mr Robertson clarified that the Crown

would not require Personal Guarantee

under the Scheme.

“The Crown will pay a claim in event

of default where no personal guarantee

has been provided. The Business

Finance Guarantee Scheme supports

the provision of bank loans to viable

businesses, encouraging banks to lend

where otherwise they may not, by the

Government taking on the default risk

for the bank of up to 80% of the loan.

Borrowers are still liable and must pay

the debt back, with interest, in the usual

way,” he said.

acknowledge three parliamentarians

who have made a huge difference to

prevention of corruption in New Zealand

through building stronger integrity


As Deputy Speaker, Anne Tolley led

the development of a code of conduct

for Parliament and progressed the

Global Organisation of Parliamentarians

Against Corruption (GOPAC), achieving

significant progress in both areas.

Clare Curran showed strong

leadership with the Open Government

Partnership, which resulted in New

Zealand’s National Action Plan 3 leaping

ahead with 12 solid commitments. These

include: the School Leavers (Civics) Tool

Kit and initiatives towards a more accessible

Parliament; and a policy to ensure

the algorithms used by government

agencies meet standards that protect the

interests of New Zealanders.

Amy Adams stewarded the passage of

omni-bus anti-corruption legislation that

included extensive anti-money laundering

provisions. With this, she achieved

a unanimous vote from Parliament in

November 2015 to ratify the United

Nations Convention Against Corruption.

This now provides a form of

protection for small countries like New

Zealand from the inevitable activities of

the corrupt given the massive flows of

international funds intended to buffer

the impact of the virus.

Suzanne Snively is Chair of

Transparency International New Zealand Inc.

The above articles appeared in the August

issue of Transparency News.

KCDC Director Jeong Eun-kyeong has

said that the peak of this outbreak is yet

to come.

She pleaded with people to comply

with social distancing measures to keep

infection rates as low as possible.

“Please stay home and wear a mask

if you do go out. Please join us in this

social distancing campaign once again

so that we can continue educating our

students, supporting our local economy,

and preventing the medical system from

collapsing. And so that we keep our

patients away from danger,” she said.

Dr Ju Young-Su at the National Medical

Centre in Seoul told us that his aim was

to keep the death rate as low as possible.

His job is to allocate critical beds to

patients. He is preparing for the worst

case scenario - that the rally could have

infected more than 2000 people.

“The Korean medical teams will put

our best efforts into keeping them all

alive,” he told us.

In total, 309 people have died in South

Korea as a result of Coronavirus, one of

the lowest death tolls in the world.

This country has been well prepared.

It has a renowned test, track and trace


For months health officials have

managed to stamp out small clusters and

prevent the virus from spreading.

But this latest outbreak shows just how

difficult Coronavirus can be to contain.

The case numbers are still much lower

than elsewhere in the world, but the fear

and alarm in Seoul is higher than it has

ever been.

This could prove to be South Korea’s

biggest Covid-19 test yet.

Laura Bicker is a BBC News Reporter based in

Seoul, South Korea.



Covid-19 enhances the spirit of Ganesh Chaturthi

Venkat Raman

The disastrous spread

of Novel Coronavirus

worldwide has restricted

the movement of people

in many countries, locking them

down either to their homes or their

limited bubbles.

Therefore, Ganesh Chaturthi this

year was somewhat subdued – to

the extent that there will be no

mass gatherings at Temples and

homes, which is a traditional way

of marking the Prime God of the

Hindus, venerated as ‘The Remover

of All Obstacles.’

However, millions of Hindus

all over the world celebrated the

Birthday of Lord Ganesha on

Saturday, August 22, 20202, with

the same spirit of love and respect,

although confined to their homes.

Festivities were also subdued in

India, the country which normally

sees the largest and most colourful

event on Ganesh Chaturthi,

followed by 11 days of prayers and


Special Poojas at Temples

In South Auckland suburb of

Papakura, which houses the Deity

of ‘Pillayarpatti Vinayagar,’ or the

Deity of Lord Ganesha as ‘found’ in

‘Pillayarpatti, a small town about

12 Kms from Karaikudi and about

70 Kms from Madurai in Tamil

Nadu, a Special Pooja was held

early on August 22, 2020.

Thiru Subramaniyar Aalayam in

Mangere, Auckland also celebrated

‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ with special

Poojas throughout the day.

Similar reports were received

from the ‘New Zealand Thirumurugan

Temple’ in Otahuhu, and other

Karpaga Vinayagar at Pillayarpatti Temple in

Tamil Nadu

Temples throughout New Zealand.

Epitome of admiration and


Lord Ganesha is an epitome

of love, respect, friendship,

admiration and adoration. He is an

important member of every family

and is the first Lord of Prayer.

Vedic scriptures describe Lord

Ganesha as the Most Merciful

of Gods and hence, prayers are

offered before the start of any

venture. Similarly, all prayers – at

home, at temples and at other social

and community gatherings, begin

with obeisance to this God, the first

son of Lord Shiva and Goddess


Ganesh Chaturthi, marking

the Birthday of Lord Ganesha is

celebrated by Hindus everywhere.

Ganesha Chaturthi Special Pooja at Papakura

(Auckland) (Facebook)

This year’s celebration starts today-

August 22, 2020.

While Temples and social groups

will perform special Poojas (mostly

as private events), Ganesh Chaturthi

will be marked by thousands of

people in their homes throughout

New Zealand and other parts of the

world. Unlike the past, evenings this

year will be sans visits by relatives

and friends, which, apart from the

religious aspect, also serve to foster

goodwill and understanding.

The Pooja

Writing in Indian Newslink

September 15, 2015 issue, Sai

Bedekar, one of our photographers,

had said that Ganesh Pooja involves

the ‘Panchamrut’ or ‘five nectars,’

including milk, curd, ghee, honey

and jaggery, with which the idol is

Ganesha Chaturthi Special Pooja at Papakura

(Auckland) (Facebook)


He is then soiled with sandal

paste and cleaned with water.

“The Lord is then adorned by

a red cloth called, ‘Vastra’ and

the sacred thread. He is offered

red flowers, ‘durva’ (grass), red

hibiscus and food and smeared

with ‘kumkum.’ A lamp is lit and

Pooja bells ring while reciting Aarti.

The main sweet-dish presented as

‘nevedya’ through this period is

Modakas (Modagams in South India)

and Karanjis. A Modaka is like

a dumpling made from rice flour

with a stuffing of fresh coconut,

jaggery and dry fruits and is either

steam-cooked or fried. Karanjis are

half-moon shaped and taste like


On the last day, following the


Pooja, rice grains are placed on the

head of the idol.

At sunset, the idol is immersed

in a well or a river, with the recitation

of ‘Ganapati Bappa Moraya,

Pudchya Varshi Lawkar Ya,’ inviting

Him to return next year.”

Auspicious Day

Ganesh Chaturthi is observed

on the fourth day of the bright

fortnight of Bhadrapada and is

observed by devoted Hindus all

over the world from two to 11 days.

Maharashtrians, like their Hindu

compatriots worldwide, induct

their children into learning with

‘Om Sri Ganeshaya Namaha.’

Several Names

Ganesha is known by a variety

of names including Aumkara,

Balachandra, Dhoomraketu, Ekadantha,

Gajakarnaka, Gajanana,

Heramba, Kapila, Lambodara,

Siddhivinayaka, Skandapurvaja,

Sumukha, Surpakarna, Vakratunda,

Vignaraja, Vigneshwara and Vinayaka.

He is also known by many as


There are also public celebrations

called ‘Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav’

of this Festival in various parts of

cities, with the local communities

(mandals) with contributions from

residents. It is common for groups

to compete in creating the biggest

and best idol and in presenting

cultural programmes after dusk.

But these may not be held this year

because of Covid-19.

Radical nationalist Bal Gangadhar

Tilak organised Ganesh Utsav in

1893 and since then, the Festival

is held throughout Maharashtra,

evincing widespread community



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Community leaders stand for solidarity, shun hate speech

“This is the time to stand

united, in solidarity with the

government and officials”

Venkat Raman

Cultural diversity has made New

Zealand a colourful and vibrant

society, which must be preserved and

promoted, two community leaders

have said.

New Zealand Indian Central Association

(NZICA) President Paul Patel and Federation

of Islamic Associations of New Zealand

(FIANZ) former President and current

Spokesperson Dr Anwar Ghani said that

while social media has created new avenues

for freedom of expression, these should not

be allowed to be breeding grounds for hate


Solidarity and Understanding

They were responding to the concerns

expressed by the members of their

respective organisations on the disparaging

remarks made against some communities in

recent times.

“We are a part of Team Five Million fighting

to remove Covid-19 from our country.

This is the time to stand united, in solidarity

with the government and officials. This is

also the time to show patience, understanding

and kindness. There is no room for any

kind of hate speech,” they said.

NZICA President Paul Patel

Telangana Rashtra Samithi NZ elects new President

The Team features business, professional

and community leaders

Venkat Raman

The New Zealand Chapter of

Telangana Rashtra Samithi

(TRS), elected Aucklander

Jagan Mohan Reddy Vodnala

as its President at a meeting

held last week.

The Party was established

by Telangana Chief Minister

Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao

(KCR) 2001 to make Telangana a

separate State. It took 13 years of

discussions, debates and demonstrations

to achieve the objective.

Mr Vodnala succeeds Vijayabhaskar

Reddy Kosna, who held

the post since the Samithi was

launched in this country in 2016.

TRS Non-Resident Indians

(NRI) Wing Coordinator Mahesh

Bigala said that the appointment

followed discussions held with

former Member of Parliament and

Founder-President of Telangana

Jagruthi Kalvakuntla Kavitha in


The New Team

Among the other new

office-bearers are Narsinga Rao

Enaganti (Chairman), Rama

Rao Rachakonda, Abhilash Rao

Yachamaneni, Kiran Kumar

(Vice-Presidents), Arun Prakash

Reddy (General Secretary), Varun

Rao Mechineni (Treasurer), Sunita

Vijay (Women’ Affairs Chairperson),

Indra Sirigiri (Business

Affairs Chairperson), Sujith Singh

(Immigration Advisor), Srihari Rao

Banda (Youth-in-Charge), Mohan

Reddy Beerapu (North Island In-

Charge), Srinivas Panuganti (South

Island In-Charge), Rajeshwari

Kondagari (Events In-Charge) and

Ash Vodnala (Sports In-Charge).

Mr Vodnala said that he was

honoured to lead TRS in New


“I deem it a privilege to serve

the people of Telangana and the

members and supporters of the

Telangana Rashtra Samithi. The

New Zealand Chapter will not only

work to promote the interests of

our community but also try and

address issues of concern to them.

We have a strong team to connect

to the governments of Telangana

and New Zealand and assist in

matters relating to business, immigration,

women, youth, sports

and events,” he said.

Progressive State

The State of Telangana was

FIANZ Spokesperson

DR Anwar Ghani

Dr Ghani said that Muslims in New

Zealand understand the importance of

halting hate speeches, and promoting

peace, tolerance and social harmony.

Muslims in New Zealand

“There are about 63,000 Muslims,

drawn from about 40 different nationalities,

of which about 20% are of Indian

origin. All of us are hard-working

and law-abiding people and are true

partners in the economic and social

development of New Zealand. As victims

of hate speech and the massacre in

Christchurch on March 15, 2019 and its

aftermath, our community welcomes all

efforts to eliminate discriminatory and

defamatory comments and actions and

promote social and religious tolerance,”

he said.

Strong Indian community

Mr Patel said that people of Indian

Telangana Rashtra Samithi New Zealand Chapter

President Jagan Mohan Reddy Vodnala

formed on June 2, 2014 after 60 years

of struggle and it now stands among

the leading States in India in economic

growth and social development.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi played

a lead role in the formation of the State.

Located at the Centre-South stretch of

the Indian Peninsula on the high Deccan

Plateau, Telangana is the 11th largest

and the twelfth most populated State in

India with a geographical area of 112,077

kms. As per 2011 census, the population

of the State was 350 million.

According to available figures, Telangana’s

Gross Domestic Product during

the past financial year (2019-2020) is

expected to have reached US$ 140 billion,

the eighth largest in India. The State

economy is expected to grow at 7.2%

with per capita income of US$ 2700.

Services dominate

The Services Sector continues to the

largest in the State economy, accounting

for 65%, followed by Agriculture (18%)

and Industry 16%.

However, Agriculture has the largest

labour force at 55.6%, while the Services

Sector has only 26.6%, indicating the

high level of technology being used. The

State’s Industrial sector has only 17.8%

of the total workforce.

Rice is the major food crop and staple

food of Telangana. Other important

crops include tobacco, mango, cotton

and sugarcane.

Telangana is blessed with good water

resources with the Godavari and Krishna

Rivers flowing through, along with

smaller Rivers such as Tungabhadra,

Bima, Dindi, Kinnerasani, Manjeera, Manair,

Penganga, Pranahitha, Peddavagu

and Taliperu.

Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, built across the

Krishan River is the biggest in the world.

‘Promise’ fulfilled

Telangana was ruled by the Nizam of

Hyderabad. It joined the Union of India

Ethnic Communities Minister

Jenny Salesa (INL Picture)

origin have been in New Zealand for

more than 100 years and have come a

long way, having endured social and

political discrimination.

“Established in 1926, NZICA has been

representing the Indian community

in New Zealand and has championed

their cause. We encourage healthy and

informed debate,” he said.

Dr Ghani and Mr Patel said that

their respective organisations

requests people to desist from making

comments on social and other media or

promote activities that may impact and

disturb the peace and harmony in New


Impact of offshore events

Although they did not mention,

Indian Newslink is aware of the

tensions among communities over

the developments that occurred in

Jagan Vodnala with Mahesh Bigala and

Kalvakuntla Kavitha

in 1948 after an Indian military invasion.

The ‘Promise’ of a separate State

for the people of the Telangana goes

back to August 15, 1947 when India

became independent. The ‘Promise’

was not fulfilled even in 1957 when the

‘Linguistic Reorganisation of States’ was


Since then, the people of Telangana

have been demanding delivery of

that ‘Promise’ peacefully. It became

a reality in February 2014, one of the

major acts of the outgoing government

of Dr Manmohan Singh. Telangana is an

independent State today with Hyderabad

as the Capital.

Andhra Pradesh (AP) continues as an

independent State sharing Hyderabad as

the de jure Capital, while Amaravathi is

its de facto capital.

The promulgation of a Statute declaring

Telangana as an independent State

provided for such sharing for ten years.

‘Telangana Formation Day’ is therefore a

very important and emotional event for

the people of Telangana.

Tributes by Jacinda Ardern

Last year, Prime Minister Jacinda

Ardern paid tributes to the people of Telangana,

while participating in the ‘Maha

Bathukamma Festival’ organised by the

Telangana Association of New Zealand

on October 12, 2018 in Auckland.

She said that hard work and penchant

for progress of Telanganites were


“I have heard a lot about the people

of this great State in India and I have

witnessed their unity and loyalty. I

remember (the then) TANZ President

Kalyan Rao Kasuganti waiting at the

steps of Parliament Buildings to greet me

as I drove to the Beehive from the Residence

of Governor General after being

sworn in as the Prime Minister about a

year ago (October 26, 2017),” she said.

India last year, especially abrogation of

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that

removed the special status accorded to

Jammu & Kashmir and the developments

that followed.

“We realise that overseas geopolitical

situations may put pressure to support

or oppose particular issues. NZICA and

FIANZ stand together against discord

and disharmony; we also stand together

against hate speech. We encourage greater

empathy and dialogue to strengthen

the bonds of unity,” they said.

The New Zealand government is

supportive of ethnic communities and has

taken a number of measures in recent

years to promote inclusion and religious

and social harmony.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and

Ethnic Communities Minister Jenny

Salesa worked closely with the Muslim

community and various agencies to

assure New Zealanders that acts of

terrorism and hate speeches will not be

tolerated in New Zealand.

Ms Salesa said that the government

will work with all communities to achieve

social cohesion.

Ethnic Communities Development


“We have invested $7 million towards

‘Safer Communities’ and we have made

available additional sum $4 million every

year towards the Ethnic Communities Development

Fund. New Zealand values all

peoples, irrespective of their country of

origin, religious or other beliefs, language

and all other considerations. We value

our Muslim people and I have engaged

with Muslim women and Muslim youth

to assure them that we as a government

will not tolerate hatred or hate speeches,”

she said speaking at a Conference earlier

this year.

Ms Salesa had said that the government

will host a Conference or Seminar

involving four major religions and other

groups this year, as a measure of fostering

the spirit of unity and compassion.

However, the spread of Covid-19 has

prevented the event from occurrence.

Social evils

Following is Indian Newslink


Social media may have brought

millions of people together, but it has

torn many others apart. Once, bullies

taunted their victims in the playground;

today they use smartphones to do so

from afar. Media reports of “Facebook

suicides” caused by cyberbullying are all

too common.

Character assassination on Twitter is

rife, as are malicious Emails, texts and

other forms of e-torment. A recent review

of the academic literature on cyberbullying

suggests, conservatively that at

least a quarter of school-age children are

involved as either victim or perpetrator

Bupa presents

4000 locally made

masks to staff

Bupa New Zealand has

supported a local business

by buying more than 4000

fabric masks for all their

staff across the country for their

personal use outside of work time.

The individually sealed MEO

Lite masks come complete with

filters and are made by Healthy

Breath Limited located in Mount

Wellington, Auckland.

Enhancing personal safety

Bupa Remuera Care Home Clinical

Manager Angela Ortinero said

that while they have a stockpile

of clinical masks for the team

to wear inside their care home

while working, the fabric masks

enhance personal safety outside

of work time.

“These masks will help to

relieve any anxiety the team

might have when they are moving

around the community outside

of their work hours. It’s really

thoughtful to give these to us for

use in our personal lives,” she


The masks have been distributed

to each of the 48 care homes,

34 retirement villages and seven

rehabilitation sites across New

Zealand, with enough for every

staff member.

The reusable masks are easily

washable and include an outer

fabric to repel droplets, a filter

cover, and an inner fabric to

absorb droplets. Based on emerging

evidence, the World Health

Organization (WHO) has updated

its guidance to recommend people

who are well should wear masks

in situations where they aren’t

able to stay physically distant.

Additional incentives

Ms Ortinero said that as one of

the largest aged care providers,

Bupa is offering other additional

support initiatives to all team

members such as a special

Covid-19 leave, if needed,

All Bupa care homes are

currently closed to visitors and

infection, prevention and control

measures have been in place

since Alert Levels were restored at

midnight on August 11, 2020.

Healthy Breath Ltd General

Manager Cherie Chen said

that masks help to reduce

The MEO Lite masks come with repel

droplets and a filter cover

Caregiver Krishna Patel with Clinical

Manager Angela Ortinero and

Registered Nurse Maria Visitacion

transmission of Covid-19 in the


“We are pleased to work with

Bupa New Zealand and wish to

thank them for their support

of New Zealand business, New

Zealand made products, and Kiwi

creatives,“ she said.

The Health Ministry is now

recommending people to wear

face coverings in public places

where physical distancing cannot

be observed.

About Bupa

Bupa is a diverse health and

care group, which has been

committed to a purpose of longer,

healthier, happier lives for more

than 70 years.

In New Zealand, Bupa supports

thousands of residents and clients

through a range of health and

care services including aged care,

independent living, rehabilitation

and dental services.

Employing more than 4000

people in New Zealand, the Group

believes that it can make a real

difference to the lives of New

Zealanders through its values,

purpose and the way that its

delivers personalised care.

For more information about

Bupa visit www.bupa.co.nz



Christchurch Indians mark Independence Day with gusto


Shirish Paranjape

The Indian community

was joined by many

others in marking the 74th

Independence Day of India,

on Saturday, August 15, 2020)

braving the sub-zero temperature

in Christchurch.

About 60 persons, including

women and children were present

at the flag-hoisting ceremony,

exchanging greetings, singing the

National Anthem of India and other

patriotic songs.

The event was organised by

Hitesh Sharma at the car park of an

Indian grocery store.

Hitesh Sharma and Dr Surinder Tandon hoisting the

Indian National Flag

Maori blessing, Unity song

Sally Pitama of Ngai Tahu blessed

the Ceremony with a Maori ritual,

while community leaders including

Christchurch Central Labour MP

Dr Duncan Webb and Christchurch

Multicultural Council President Dr

Colonel Navjeet Dhillon (Retired) greeting the gathering

Surinder Tandon were among the


It was great to see families

including children participate with

fervour. Among the others who

attended the event were Retired

army personnel Navjeet Dhillon

and his wife Raminder, who arrived

in New Zealand before the Covid-19

pandemic began to spread in New


Radio Sadeaala and Jalsa Fiji

Radio covered the Independence

Day Celebration and Natu Rama

Pursuit of meaning and purpose is not defeatism

Rowan Light

With the sudden return

to lockdown, it makes

sense that many New

Zealanders are experiencing

anxiety and despair.

Hoarding or panic-buying food,

conspiracy theories proliferating

online, and the public vilification of

people walking without masks – all

point to an insight by Viktor Frankl:

“An abnormal reaction to an abnormal

situation is normal behaviour.”

Provisional Existence

Frankl, an Austrian psychoanalyst

and Holocaust survivor,

described such sentiments in his

classic book, ‘Man’s Search for


Although first published in 1946,

Frankl’s mix of autobiography and

existentialist psychology reads like

a book for our times.

The abnormality of our life under

lockdown is the uncertainty of the


Because it is hard to focus on

where we are heading, with no definite

end in sight, we lose the inner

structure of our lives and, instead,

lead a “provisional existence.”

In response, Frankl proposes the

‘Art of Living.’

Our lives are defined not by

material comfort and pleasure,

or control over the direction of

our life; rather, it is the search for

logos – Greek for “reason” – that

defines us.

We can live with reduced freedoms

and luxuries, but without a

sense of purpose and meaning then

we become paralysed, anxious, and

unable to meet challenges present

and future.

Meaning of Life

Bringing together his psychiatry

and experience in the concentration

camps, Frankl developed a

unique form of psychanalysis called

“logotherapy” – meaning-making –

as a key response to suffering.

To Frankl, “the new normal” of

the pandemic provides the crucial

arena to make meaning out of our

lives. It is a moment when, having

been stripped off many freedoms

and day-to-day comforts, not least

the security of the future, all we

have left is our response to these

circumstances, to choose meaning.

People “can preserve a vestige of

spiritual freedom, of independence

of mind, even in the most terrible

conditions.” When a Holocaust

survivor writes these words, it is

worth listening.

Humour adds spice

To this end, Frankl offered strategies

for a life – and politics – under

lockdown. One is cultivating an

appreciation for beauty; another is

seeing the humour in our situation.

Above all, he pointed to “the

greatest secret that human poetry

and human thought and belief have

to impart: The salvation of man is

through love and in love.”

Our response must be to endure

small sufferings for the sake of

others: our loved ones, and our

fellow New Zealanders. A person

Cyberbullying increases risk of depression and suicide

Rowena Singh

Cyberbullying is becoming

rampant in Australia, New

Zealand and other parts of

the world during the Covid-19

pandemic. The menace has

witnessed an increase in suicides

among youngsters and accelerated

other social problems.

Glen Campbell, Founder of Billy-

Guard, an organisation that fights

cyberbullies and trolls, attributes

the reason for the increase of

the problem during the Covid-19

to forced work from home and

learning online.

Australia recorded and increase

of 40% in cyberbullying, according

to its E-Safety Commissioner.

Inciting tangential discussion

Tolls, an Internet slang for

offenders who start flame wars, intentionally

upset people by posting

inflammatory and digressive, extraneous,

or off-topic messages online

(a newsgroup, forum, chat room or

blog). The intention is to provoke

readers to emotionally respond and

normalising tangential discussion,

either for the amusement of trolls

or for a specific gain.

Field day for trolls

Both the noun and the verb

forms of ‘troll’ are associated with

Internet discourse.

However, the word has also been

used more widely. Media attention

in recent years has equated trolling

with online harassment. For example,

the mass media have used troll

to mean “a person who defaces

Internet tribute sites with the aim

of causing grief to families.”

Mr Campbell said that cyberbullying

uses mobile phones,

computers, tablets, laptops and

other devises to send, post, or share

negative, harmful, false, or mean

things about people.

“It can include sharing personal

or private information about someone

that causes embarrassment or

humiliation. Some of the common

places where it happens are (a)

social media such as Facebook,

Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok

(b) Text messaging and messaging

apps on mobile or tablets (c) Instant

messaging, direct messaging, and

online chatting over the internet

(d) Online forums, chat rooms, and

message boards, such as Reddit

(e) Through e-mail and (f) Online

gaming,” he said.

Experience in Australia

In its 2019 Report, the Australian

Competition Consumer Commission

said that cyberbullying

recorded 32% increase over the

past decade.

The Report, based on a Survey of

2360 Australian parents conducted

by the Office of the E-safety Commissioner

in 2016, found that 29%

of youth had been bullied online;

36.5% of people felt that they were

cyberbullied; 17.4% experienced it

over the last 30 days.

“These figures have doubled

since 2007. Both figures are larger

than the figures reported in 2018-

2019. In Australasia, 1 in 5 children

report being cyberbullied in the

past 12 months. The disturbing

figure is that only 1 in 10 children

tell their parents about it,” the

Report said.

Mr Campbell outlined the impact

of cyberbullying on children, citing

it as the cause of at least three

suicides per week in Australia, the

highest among Australian youth

between 5-17 years of age.

“There is possibly up to 10 suicide

deaths per week in Australia

Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

BillyGuard helps people from all over the

world everyday (BillyGuard Picture)

across all ages due to cyberbullying.

Under 25s who are cyberbullied are

more than twice likely to self-harm

and enact suicidal behaviour,” he


He said that LGBT teens are at

five times higher risk of being

abused on Facebook.

High incidence in New Zealand

“In New Zealand, women aged

18-19 are the most cyberbullied

victims. About one in three children

are affected by it. Older New

Zealanders are also affected – 27%

of 20-24 year old, 22% of 25-29

year old, 13% of 30-59 year old.

1 in 10 Kiwi adults are attacked

Bullying in New Zealand schools is among

the worst in the world (BillyGuard Picture)

online. 68% of educators believe

that bullying begins very early

(between pre-school and year 4),”

Mr Campbell said.

Bullying in schools in New

Zealand is one of the worst in the

world and suicide rates are at their

worst levels recorded, he said.

Mr Campbell said that there

was evidence linking bullying and

suicides and attempted suicides and

that Maori and Pacifica are highly

represented in suicide statistics.

According to him, there are a

number of ways in which children

kept be protected from cyberbullying.

Since a lot of cyberbullies are

also physical bullies, it is important

to keep a distance from them, he


“Bullying is often antagonistic by

nature; do not be tempted to reply

or retaliate on the same forum. Tell

the bullies that what they are doing

is not ok, and that it hurts you. The

victim needs to know that there

are people who they can go to and

report it. They need to tell someone

else who they trust to help them, Mr

Campbell said.

He said that services of

professional organisations such as

BillyGuard are central to limit the

ability of bullies to offend.

“Unfortunately, cyberbullying

will never be eradicated; however

we can minimise it and have consequences

in place for bad behaviour.

Children in various costumes at the Independence Day


filmed the proceedings for Indian

Social & Cultural Club.

Shirish Paranjape is Indian

Newslink Correspondent based in


“who has a why to live for can bear

almost any how.”

The search for meaning during

the lockdown is not an argument

for defeatism. Nor is it a matter of

nostalgia or “positive thinking.”

At the heart of the book, Frankl

writes that “Life ultimately means

taking the responsibility to find the

right answer to its problems and so

fulfil the tasks which it constantly

sets up for each individual.”

We are all going to have to make

decisions about how we as individuals

respond to extraordinary

circumstances. But if we start with

our logos, we will go forward not

crippled with fear and anxiety but

in hope and love.

Rowan Light is a Researcher at Maxim

Institute based in Auckland.

Bullies should know that there

will be a zero tolerance policy for

cyberbullying. This is important

because one of the consequences

of cyberbullying is suicide,” Mr

Campbell said.

About BillyGuard

He said BillyGuard fights bullies

on behalf of victims.

“When you report bullying on

our platform, we will start a process

of stopping it at its source. We

take a world-first approach to tackling

cyberbullies and trolls because

it makes it difficult or impossible

for them to use social media and

other technologies. While the likes

of Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok

and Telcos allow users to report

abusive behaviour, bullies typically

create new email and social media

accounts and simply continue the

harassment almost immediately.”

The death of a teenager due to

bullying encouraged Mr Campbell

to establish the Company.

He is of Ngapuhi descent from Mt

Maunganui. For the past 15 years

he is based in Sydney where he

has led multinational technology

companies in the APAC region. The

business now has 33 employees

from 12 countries, including

Australia, Bangladesh, Egypt, India,

Macedonia, New Zealand, Pakistan,

Palestine, Sri Lanka, UAE, UK and


The Company plans to become

multilingual, using at least six

languages in the near future.

BillyGuard helps people from all

over the world everyday.

With experience and expertise in

the technology sector and connections

with significant technology

skills Mr Campbell hope to ‘change

the world.’

“It has been a hard and

expensive journey but every cent

invested is worthwhile,” he said.

Please visit www.billyguard.com for

more details




Labyrinth of suspense and drama thrills Auckland theatre

Venkat Raman

Agatha Christie would have

been proud of a group of

Auckland based thespians for

their proficiency in theatre and


They staged ‘The Bridge-Game of

Death,’ a murder mystery filled with

suspense, including an obsessive search

for unearthing the truth about the real


Preetha Vyas, a member of the

production team who sent us this report,

said that the labyrinth of lanes and

by-lanes traversed through the process

of unravelling the mystery sent shudders

through the spines of the audience.

Rollercoaster ride

“It was yet another rollercoaster ride

organised by Euphoria Entertainment

Inc for theatre enthusiasts this year.

Inspired by Agatha Christie’s “The Cards

on the Table,” it was staged on August 8

and 9, 2020 as a part of our multicultural

and multilingual fest called, ‘Utopia.’

The performances carried Euphoria’s

Vijesh and Nirmita Gosh from a scene in

‘The Bridge-Game of Death’

quintessential charisma and panache,”

she said.

Written by Swastika Ganguli, the play

revolves around a celebrity psychiatrist

party host, Dr Gomes, who gets murdered

in full view of a roomful of eight

Bridge players.

Murder that he never wrote

“Mr Gomes was famous as a flamboyant

party host. But he also invoked fear

Preeta Vyas Ruzbeh, Bikram, Devdatta Swastika Ganguli, writer and lead

artiste of ‘The Bridge-Game of Death’

in people. So, when he starts boasting

to his guests that he is writing a book

on a perfect murder, a perfect crime

with an unquestionable alibi, and that

he considers murder an art form, the

invitees start feeling uncomfortable and

unnerved. They start thinking about the

possible revelations of their deepest,

darkest secrets through the novel,” Ms

Vyas said.

Quoting Ms Christie, she said that

‘Speech is the deadliest of revelations.’

“What began as an absorbing evening

of Bridge turns out to be a sinister

drama, a game of death,” Ms Vyas said.

The Stars of the Show

‘The Bridge-Game of Death’ was

directed by Anirban.

The cast included Bikram and

Swastika in the lead roles with Vijesh,

Paranjape, Ruzbeh, Chirag, Nirmita

Gosh, Vijayendra, Amit, Santanu, Saswata,

and Shivaji in supporting roles.

The crew included Preeta Vyas, Malisha,

Ryan, Siddish, Chinmoy, Dipankar,

Gaurav, Madhurima, Aritra and others.

Editor’s Note: We are sorry to carry to only the

first names of many artistes- as provided.

Telugu Association marks another milestone in Auckland

Venkat Raman

The New Zealand Telugu

Association (NZTA), one of

the oldest organisations of its

kind, completed 22 years of its

establishment on August 18, 2020 but

celebrations could not be held because

of gathering restrictions imposed by

Covid-19 Lockdown Level Three.

Association President Srilatha Magatala

said that the Executive Committee

will plan a fitting festivity to celebrate

the milestone when the current health

crisis is over.

“NZTA events are always well

attended and as such, we await the best

available opportunity. We continue

serving and supporting the Telugu

Community in New Zealand. We have

always concerted efforts to promote

New Zealand Telugu Association President

Srilatha Magatala

‘Corporate Ola’ promises flexibility and reduced costs

The Company rides home $10 million savings for customers

Venkat Raman

Ola New Zealand has just launched

‘Ola Corporate,’ a travel solution to

support businesses emerging from

Covid-19 lockdown.

Managing Director Brian Dewil said that

the initiative will facilitate convenient and

cost-effective business travel, reducing

employee travel expenses up to 25%.

“Centralised billing and customised ride

policies help businesses organise safe and reliable

travel for their employees as they return

to work. This is a cost effective, flexible, and

easy-to- use solution for their mobility needs

including our safety and customer support

features,” Mr Dewil said.

He said that companies are looking to reinvent

business practices to help them through

the ongoing economic impact of Covid-19.

Changing mobility needs

“The launch of Ola Corporate demonstrates

our ability to grow and diversify our offering

in New Zealand. We are excited to work

with businesses across the country to help

their employees travel easily and safely and

continue to meet changing mobility needs of

all types of users, particularly now, as Kiwis

navigate their return to the office,” Mr Dewil


Ola Corporate offers businesses flexibility

and ease of booking as and when required for

business travel with the ability to pay from

their company’s centralised account.

“With wait times of less than five minutes

on average and high standards of safety and

hygiene, Ola provides a quick, convenient,

safe, and reliable mode of transportation

for businesses. Centralised billing makes

the entire process of applying for transport

reimbursements redundant for corporate

travellers and organisations resulting in

improved business productivity,” he said.

Automatic billing

Ola Corporate clients will operate the service

through a new, personalised dashboard

where they can add and manage employees.

Employees then book their own rides as they

would for personal journeys and simply tag

the ride as an Ola Corporate trip.

The fares are paid automatically through

the company’s Ola Corporate balance and

reports can be accessed at any time from the

dashboard. Clients will also have access to

a specialised account management support

team at Ola to ensure convenient and smooth


Significant savings

Mr Dewil said that New Zealanders using

Ola have saved about $10 million since it was

launched in this country in November 2018.

He said that company rewards customers

with discounts and special offers, thereby

increasing their savings.

“Riders receive a statement at the end of

each month advising how much they have

saved on their rideshares. Thus far, Ola

drivers in New Zealand have now logged over

21 million kilometres of Ola rides, with riders

spending close to 700,000 hours using Ola to

one place to another,” he said.

According to Mr Dewil, the increasing

demand for Ola in New Zealand over the past

two years demonstrates the Company’s ability

to grow and meet mobility needs across the


“With hundreds of thousands of Kiwis benefitting

from riding with Ola, we are proud

to offer New Zealanders a safe, high-quality

rideshare experience for both riders and

drivers,” he said.

For more information, visit ola.co.nz/


our rich cultural and social heritage,

encourage the younger members of the

community to learn Telugu and achieve

better connectivity among the people

resident in New Zealand, India and

other countries of the world. These have

remained our priorities,” she said.

Enterprising population

Ms Magatala said that the Association

honours and thanks all members,

sponsors, the core Committee, other

associated communities and New

Zealanders in general who have stepped

up to volunteer their time, efforts and


“They have been undoubtedly the

backbone and life blood of NZTA. On

behalf of our Executive Committee, I

extend our special appreciation to our

former Presidents, Vice-Presidents

and General Secretaries for leading

their respective teams and keeping the

Association progressive with impressive

and inspiring programmes and projects,”

she said.

There are about 10,000 Telugu-speaking

people in New Zealand, from the

two States of Andhra Pradesh and

Telangana, engaged in various sectors

of the economy – as manufacturers, scientists,

engineers, doctors, accountants,

software specialists, retailers and other


About New Zealand

Telugu Association

Established in 1998, NZTA conducts

and participates in a number of Indian

observances. These include the Kite

Festival, Rangoli, Holi, Ugadi, India’s

Independence Day, Vinayaka Chaturthi,

Bathukamma Festival (seven days by

Hindu women) and Dassera and Diwali.

“The Association also organises Blood

donation camps, ‘Go Green Plantation’

and the Big Day Out. Our members and

volunteers planted more than 1000 of

trees in Auckland in recent years. We are

keen to be seen as a responsible organisation

that cares for the environment

and our people,” Ms Magatala said.

Community care

She said that NZTA members are

known for compassion and the ability

to rise to the occasion to discharge their

community and social obligations. Such

a spirit is tested when someone is in

distress or dies suddenly. The executive

team and other members are always

quick to act, contacting law enforcement

agencies, government departments,

the Indian High Commission and the

families of the concerned in India to

comply with the formalities.

Female authors with male pseudonyms appears anachronistic

Eleanor Dumbill

In a letter to James AH Murray in

1879, the writer ME Lewes wrote

”I wish always to be quoted as

George Eliot.” She perhaps would

not have been pleased by a new

campaign from The Women’s Prize for

Fiction and its sponsor, Baileys called

Reclaim Her Name campaign.

Marking the 25th anniversary

of The Women’s Prize, under the

bold tagline of “finally giving female

writers the credit they deserve,” 25

novels have been reprinted using the

real names of 26 writers who used male


The scheme may have some positive

outcomes, such as introducing readers

to writers and works they might not

have otherwise discovered. However,

whether it gives female writers the

credit they deserve is up for debate.

Mary Ann, Marian and George

The collection’s lead title, touted

in all press coverage of its release, is

George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1872), now

published with the author’s name given

as Mary Ann Evans. Though this was

the name given to her at birth, Eliot’s

“real name,” or the name by which we

should refer to her, has been a matter of

debate by researchers for years.

She experimented with alternative

spellings like Marian and with completely

different names like Polly, used

her common-law husband’s surname,

Lewes, for much of her literary career,

and was known as Mrs Cross at the

time of her death. 19th-century readers

would have known exactly to who

credit must be assigned. Her true

identity was revealed shortly after the

publication of her second novel, Adam

Bede (1859), and at the height of her literary

fame she signed correspondence

ME Lewes (Marian Evans Lewes).

Complicated question

Eliot’s own consideration of the

George Eliot (Wikimedia)

name she should be known by is

as complicated a psychological and

moral question as any depicted in

her novels. However, her wish to be

known professionally as George Eliot

is resolute and clearly articulated.

It helped her separate her personal

and professional personas. Choosing a

name to publish under is an important

expression of agency and using a

different name without the author’s

input and consent deprives them of

that agency rather than reclaiming it.

It is also important to debunk a

common misconception to understand

why this campaign is misguided. In

George Eliot’s time, women did not

have to assume male pseudonyms to

be published. Writers who opted to

use pen names tended to choose ones

that aligned with their own genders.

In fact, in the 1860s and 70s men were

more likely to use female pseudonyms

than vice versa. William Clark Russell,

for example, published several novels

under the name Eliza Rhyl Davies.

Women dominated the literary

marketplace as both readers and

writers for the majority of the 19th

century. Of the 15 most prolific

authors of the period 11 were women,

according to the At the Circulating


The need to project modern gender

imbalances that exist in publishing

today onto 19th-century authors is

understandable but anachronistic.

Katherine Harris Bradley and Edith Emma

Cooper (Wikimedia)

Obscuring queerness

There are further issues with how

this campaign depicts LGBTQ+ writers

and its inclusion of Vernon Lee’s A

Phantom Lover (1886) and Michael

Field’s Attila, My Attila! (1896).

There has been much discussion

among scholars concerning Lee’s

gender identity, with many believing

that in a 21st century setting, the

author may have identified as a trans

man. This makes the inclusion of

Lee’s birth name (also known in the

trans community as a deadname)

particularly troubling.

Meanwhile, Field was the pen name

for a pair of writers — Edith Cooper

and Katharine Bradley.

The name Michael Field represented

their collaboration, with Michael

representing Bradley and Field

representing Cooper.

Bradley’s name is misspelt (with

an “e”, rather than an “a”) in the

collection, another indication that this

project may not have been completed

with the degree of care one might

expect from a literary prize. Like Lee,

the pair expressed discomfort with

being seen as women as authors.

Eleanor Dumbill is Doctoral Research

at Doctoral Researcher, Loughborough

University in the market town of

Loughborough, Leicestershire, in the East

Midlands of England. The above story has

been published under Creative Commons







Bringing the politicians to you in


election coverage.






Promoting female leaders in the heart of our sports

Suzanne McFadden

In a $2.7 million pilot project

to help balance gender equity,

female coaches and leaders

have been injected right into

the high performance heart of New

Zealand’s top sports.

When former New Zealand cyclist

Michelle Wood went to apply

for a job at Snow Sport NZ, she felt

uncomfortable putting her name

forward for a role specifically

targeted at women.

Fair and Square selection

“The competitive, proud side of

me was saying ‘I do not need men

taken out of the equation. I can get

a role fair and square,” she admits.

But now that she is in that role

of Performance Services Manager,

a position funded by a new High

Performance Sport NZ (HPSNZ)

initiative to help more women into

leading sports roles - Wood can

see why it was ‘women only need


“The more I get into it, the more

I understand why we needed to do

something drastic to make change

quicker,” she said.

The change Wood refers is

having more women in coaching

and leadership roles in high performance

sport in New Zealand.

The statistics driving this change

are sad. Across 28 targeted sports

in New Zealand, there are only

four women appointed as high

performance directors or managers.

And less than a quarter of

the country’s 114 carded coaches

(who get support from HPSNZ) are


Opportunities for women


Last October, Sports Minister

Sonia Boland, HPSNZ’s Women in High

Performance Sport project lead

Jenny Armstrong coaching at last year’s 420

world champs in Portugal

Grant Robertson announced a

$2.7 m pilot project, Women in

High Performance Sport, aimed

at creating the right environment

and opportunities to get more

women in leadership and coaching

positions at the pinnacle end of


Michelle Wood in her new role as performance

services manager at Snow Sport NZ

It was another prong in the

government’s strategy to improve

gender equity in sport in New


Through that pilot project, there

are now eight female coaches and

leaders who have been placed

directly into the high performance

programmes of national sports


And another 12 emerging women

coaches will be paired up with

experienced mentors as part of Te

Hāpaitanga, a development project

to expand the female coaching

talent pool.

No talent shortage

The woman leading the Women

in High Performance Sport project,

Sonia Boland, said that there is no

shortage of talented and capable

females wanting a career in high

performance sport, but there is

a failure within the system to

support their progression through

the ranks.

“We need to look at what, as

a system, needs to change, not

to only attract women into high

performance sport but also how

to keep them there, which is really

critical,” she said.

“The challenges for women

getting into coaching roles, and

staying in them, are really complex.

There are things around societal

expectations, how do you raise

a family and work as a high

performance coach? And there’s

the shoulder tapping and the ‘old

boys’ culture that’s endemic.”

Michelle Wood has one of the

eight residency positions funded by

HPSNZ for 18 months.

Once her elite cycling career

ended, Wood moved to the United

States to do her Master’s degree in

physical education at Indiana State

University. She became a volunteer

Assistant Coach of the track and

field squad (she was a New Zealand

junior 400 hurdles champion

before taking up cycling).

Moving up steadily

Back at home, she spent almost a

decade with Athletics NZ, first with

the athlete performance support

programme and then as high

performance Coach Manager.

“I had started thinking maybe

post-Tokyo [2020 Olympics] I’d

look around and see what else was

out there for me. When the role at

Snow Sports NZ came up, I thought

if ‘I’m going to leave athletics, this

is the role I’d do it for’,” she says.

The Performance Services

Manager position was created with

the help of the Women in High Performance

Sport residential fund.

Hand-up, not handout

“We wanted national sports

organisations [NSOs] to come to

us with proposals. So, we assessed

the need, the potential for growth

in the role and the ability for that

sport to support and nurture the

development of a female colleague.

We then asked the NSOs to do a

recruitment process. You cannot

just shoulder tap for these roles; we

wanted women to be competing for

it. Women don’t want a handout -

they want a hand-up,” Boland said.

The job was to be at Snow Sports

NZ’s Wanaka base, but Wood,

who lives with her young family

in Auckland, has been able to do

it remotely since she began in


Her role is leading athlete

performance support – “linking

support staff with the coaches and

making sure everyone is clear on

their roles and where they can best

have impact,” she said.

It extends through to the 2022

Beijing Winter Olympics.

She loves the job, but the “bonus”

has been connecting with the other

four female leaders in the residential

project. They meet virtually

each fortnight: “We never set an

agenda; the conversation just flows.

We have all got similar issues we’re

working through. I’ve never had

a group to share that practical

on-the-job stuff with before. We

bounce ideas off each other in a

safe, non-judgmental environment,

where you can ask questions and

show vulnerability,” Wood said.

Suzanne McFadden is the Editor of

LockerRoom, dedicated to women’s

sport. The above article and pictures

have been published under a Special

Arrangement with Newsroom. This is an

edited version. For full text, please visit





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