New Zealand lifted restrictions on social distancing and public gatherings after reporting no new cases for 2 weeks. They are also keeping their borders closed.
How did New Zealand managed to contain the virus, when so many others, most notably the United States, have failed miserably? Pretty simple, they agree to take the necessary precautions to keep the disease from spreading. From the BBC:
New Zealand first went into lockdown on 25 March, setting up a new four-stage alert system and going in at level four, where most businesses were shut, schools closed and people told to stay at home.
After more than five weeks, it moved to level three in April, allowing takeaway food shops and some non-essential businesses to re-open.
As the number of community cases continued to decline, the country moved into level two in mid-May.
The move to level one comes ahead of time - the government had originally planned to make the move on 22 June, but it was brought forward after no new cases were reported for 17 days.
Image: Devonport, NZ in 2003 by Mark Frauenfelder Read the rest
‘Quite A Decent Shake Here'
Crafted from four fake Christmas trees, chicken wire, green mesh, and a fog machine, Treezilla -- a smoke-breathing Godzilla tree -- is really something to behold! Its creator, Steven Newland of New Zealand, recently sold it in auction for $415 NZD (approx. $269.58 USD). A bargain!
It's really something. Watch it in action:
And, apparently, Steven is going to reveal his latest Christmas tree masterpiece soon, according to the questions and answers section of the auction.
We have a xmas revealing party at mid December with mates for this years tree. I don't want to give it away, but we now have a 10month baby so now I have a prop?
Color me intrigued.
Related: There's a car horn that roars like Godzilla
screenshot via Steven Newland Read the rest
NZ Green Party MP Chlöe Swarbrick was giving a speech in favour of stricter carbon emissions standards when the 50-year-old National Party Climate Critic Todd Muller heckled her; without missing a beat, she fired back "OK Boomer" and moved on to making a rather good and eloquent point about need for intense action on climate.
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New Zealand is one of the Five Eyes countries (UK, USA, Canada, Australia, NZ) who collaborate on mass surveillance, and it has a notoriously off-leash, invasive surveillance apparatus that has been caught spying on NZ Greenpeace, the NZ Green Party, the Mana Movements and anti-TPP activists; the state was also caught giving private corporate spies access to its national surveillance data to help them hunt down and neutralize activists; unsurprisingly, the NZ police also abused these records, accessing them without a warrant on thousands of occasions (NZ also recruited the NSA to spy on kiwi activists).
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It's been 20 years since Napster burst on the scene, and after decades of lawsuits, draconian criminal penalties, even no-knock gunpoint search warrants, there remains no evidence that "copyright enforcement" has a measurable impact on copyright infringement -- and at the same time, there's persistent, credible evidence that infringement goes down when product offerings get better and prices get more reasonable.
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Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Read the rest
Perpetual Guardian is a 250-person New Zealand investment company specialized in trusts, wills and estate planning; this March and April, the company experimented with a four-day work-week, and based on independent academic assessment of the program, they've decided to make it permanent.
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The Lord of the Rings and Kim Dotcom put New Zealand on the map for wealthy tech moguls seeking a safe space to hole up when disaster strikes. The Trump presidency kicked the bolt-hole craze to levels where Kiwi lawmakers had to put the brakes on the trend among the ultra-wealthy. Read the rest
July 29-August 2, 2020: even the (no-foolin' awesome) Prime Minister is getting in on the act!
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With today's passage of the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill, the Parliament of New Zealand has banned nonresidents from buying most residential property in the country, in an effort to end the skyrocketing housing expenses (Auckland is one of the world's least-affordable cities) by freezing out overseas speculators, though these account for less than 3% of total real-estate transactions, with the majority coming from China.
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The damage done by domestic violence doesn't stop when a victim finds the strength and support system needed to escape physical or emotional abuse at home. Breaking the cycle of abuse inflicted by the hands of someone you once trusted can send shock waves into every facet of your life: shared friends may turn against you, individuals you called family may disbelieve your claims of abuse and the time and energy it takes to break ties with an abuser can take a toll on your professional life. Happily, with a piece of policy that every nation on the planet should copy, New Zealand is taking steps to ensure that the latter won't be something that those looking to escape domestic violence will have to worry about any longer.
According to The New York Times, members of New Zealand's parliament have voted to approve a bill which states that individuals feeling domestic violence in their country must be given a 10-day leave of absence from their jobs--time to care for children, seek out assistance in setting up a new life and find shelter--in addition to whatever paid vacation days the victim's job comes with. The Domestic Violence Victims’ Protection Bill will go into effect in 2019.
From The New York Times:
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Jan Logie, a lawmaker for the left-leaning Green Party who proposed the bill in 2016, said gender-based violence had become “entrenched” in New Zealand and “reaches into workplaces,” with victims often turning up late or missing work altogether.
Ms. Logie said that existing leave allowances were not enough for victims to “deal with the courts, find a new house, go to counseling or support their children dealing with trauma.”
Following the smash success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, New Zealand's actors' union pushed for similar compensation and benefits as American actors. This detailed autopsy of how their demands were met with fierce studio lobbying that ended with politicians changing New Zealand's law in favor of the studios. Read the rest
Great news from New Zealand this morning. According to the BBC, the nation's government has passed legislation that will allow individuals who were charged under the country's old laws against homosexuality to have their records wiped clean.
Homosexuality was illegal in New Zealand up until 1986. Up until that time, it was possible for men who wanted nothing more than to express their love or to enjoy one another to be slapped with charges with names such as "sodomy, indecency between males and keeping a place of resort for homosexual acts." Anyone charged with these offense before 1986 still has the charge on their official police records. According to the BBC, around 1,000 individuals will have the option to scrub these bullshit charges from their records next year:
Justice Minister Andrew Little said the legislation "sends a clear signal that discrimination against gay people is no longer acceptable, and we are committed to putting right wrongs from the past".
"I would like to apologize again to all the men and members of the rainbow community who have been affected by the prejudice, stigma and other negative effects caused by convictions for historical homosexual offenses," Mr Little said.
In instances where an individual charged under the old laws has passed away, the New Zealand government is making it possible for the families of the deceased to apply to have their charges expunged as well.
Given that New Zealand passed laws banning discrimination against homosexuals in 1993, the official apology from the government and the olive branch of purging the records of those charged under the country's old discriminatory laws has been a long time coming. Read the rest
New Zealand set about expelling any Russians who might be spies, but couldn't find anyone who fit the profile. Apropos of nothing, there is a subreddit called "Maps Without New Zealand" dedicated to world maps that omit the island nation, as if the creator simply forgot that it existed or never knew in the first place. Read the rest
Online privacy is pretty much a dumpster-fire, but it's a funny dumpster fire in the world of Kiwi editorial cartoonist Chris Slane, whose one-panel strips are hilarious in a kind of oh-shit-we're-doomed kind of way.
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When a beloved teacher at Palmerston North Boys' High School in New Zealand passed away in 2015, young men from the school -- both past and present -- performed a rousing haka in his honor. Powerful, literally gave me chills!
A commenter explains:
A little background to this haka I'm apart of the school and new mr tamatea better than most at the school. He was originally one of the creators to this haka and this is our school haka. Only our school and the old boys of the school perform this haka so it is unique to us. Mr tamatea was the head of Maori achievement in our school and he would always try (and successfully so) uphold the Maori traditions not within our school but the entire community. He was involved in one of the leading kapa haka groups in the country i.e the world ( kapa haka group being a group in which perform traditional Maori songs and Hakas) and I believe the Maori culture and maintaining the culture was engrained in his life. So to farewell this awesome teacher we did this haka and the significance of this haka as a farewell and the passion in which the boys performed it with can only be understood by the people who really knew him. But I hope that this helps others around the world understand how fitting that we perform this haka for him.
The teacher, 55-year-old Dawson Tahana Tamatea, was head of Te Reo Maori and Dean of Student Achievement at the school and died in his sleep. Read the rest