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Arab revolt round-up

Written By: - Date published: 1:50 pm, March 21st, 2011 - 41 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags: , , ,

There’s a hell of a lot happening in the Middle East right now, with protests and violence from Morocco to Bahrain. It seems likely that more governments will fall in coming days. In every instance, these revolts appear to be genuinely grassroots movements. The West is turning a blind eye to some government crackdowns. Its support for democracy is overridden by the need for stability to secure its oil supply.

Libya: Acting on the UN mandate, US, Britain, France, and other countries have attacked the Gaddifi regime’s air defences and armoured forces. A French squadron destroyed up to 70 Gaddifi-loyalist armoured vehicles in a pre-dawn attack on their encampment near Benghazi, forcing the loyalist forces into retreat. The rebels say 8,000 of their people have died in the fighting. Undoubtedly, if those armoured forces had been allowed to attack Benghazi today, the city would have fallen and there would have been a bloodbath. But what happens now if Gaddifi’s forces retreat into the towns they hold? Air power alone can’t dislodge them and bombing in built-up area risks civilian causalities. It will come down to the rebels becoming a more effective fighting force (probably with the assistance of Western special forces, which aren’t barred by the UN resolution) and the loyalist leadership fracturing.

The US has signalled it doesn’t want to lead the UN force and, having supplied the cruise missiles for the initial assault, is handing over to NATO. Obama clearly wasn’t keen to get involved in this and I still think intervention was left too late.

Bahrain: Hypocrisy is the meat of realpolitick and while doing the right thing, eventually, in Libya, the US is turning a blind eye to what is happening only kilometres away from the base of the US 5th fleet in Bahrain. Last week, the Saud monarchy sent in troops to defend the Al Khalifa monarchy from the growing Shi’ite uprising. With this new firepower behind it, the monarchy imposed martial law and cleared the streets of protesters. There have been a number of deaths on both sides and many opposition leaders have been arrested. The US has called for calm but it won’t intervene to protect the Shi’ites. The stark reality is the US needs Saudi oil and the Saudis want the Shi’ites in Bahrain repressed so that their own Shi’ites (who live in the oil-making regions of Qatif) don’t get inspiration from their neighbours.

Yemen: violence in Yemen stepped up a notch with government snipers killing at least 52 protesters at a university on Friday. In recent days, soldiers have been ambushed and killed, apparently by Al Qaeda members who have bases in the country. President Ali Abdullah Saleh has fired his cabinet and pledged some reforms but the opposition, including his own tribe, say he must resign. The US has been training the Yemeni military to fight Al Qaeda and that assistance, apparently, has still not been cut off despite teh use of the military against civilians.
UPDATE: It would seem the tide is turning against the president, three top generals have come out in support of the protesters taking 60% of the military with them. Mummybot

Syria: thousands took to the streets on Friday in the largest protests since the Ba’ath Party (cousin of Saddam’s Ba’ath party) took power in 1963. Security forces tried to disperse protesters, killing several. As so often happens in these revolts, the funerals the next day became protests of their own and in turn came under attack from the police. The Syrian government is keen for this to not get out of hand and have sent a governments commission to the hot spot of Deraa to apologise for the deaths. The strength of Syria’s regimes means a serious uprising is not expected but the whole arab revolts have been one surprise after another.

Oman: in a move that is sure to set the oil markets aflutter, refinery workers have gone on strike, shutting in up to 200,000 of oil barrels a day (more than NZ’s consumption).

There are also reports of protests in Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Iraq (Shi’ites protesting Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Bahrain), Lebanon (this one was against secularism, gulp), and Jordan. In fact, the only Arab countries that appear completely calm are Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE, the last two of which are involved in the campaign against Gaddifi.

41 comments on “Arab revolt round-up”

  1. grumpy 1

    Sounds like a good place to keep out of. I think it will turn out to be a bad mistake going into Libya, the outlook for Egypt does not look promising.

  2. Irascible 2

    Sorry about the length of this paste but the Muscat Daily doesn’t have a web site. I received this from a colleague working in Sohar where the demonstrations appear to have begun.
    The Omani papers are reporting unrest in the Health Service with Doctors threatening to take action to improve conditions as well.

    Elsewhere in Oman the unrest of the industrial coast appears to be passing them by.

    Muscat Daily: 28 February

    Protests in Salalah: What do we want?

    On most days my office windows look out onto beautiful mountains, palm trees, pretty government buildings, and quiet Salalah traffic. This week, however, the view is a little more interesting. It includes protesters, banners, tents and police vehicles..
    .
    A few weeks ago I would have laughed off the mere thought of an uprising in Oman, let alone the peaceful town where I live. Nonetheless, on Friday hundreds of protesters marched from the Grand Mosque in Salalah to the central area of town where most government offices are.
    .
    Banners with clear demands were plastered to the gates of the Minister of State’s headquarters and the protesters set up camp for the night opposite the gates. It has been four days already and from what I can see it doesn’t look like they’re going anywhere soon. Not only have they increased in numbers, but they’ve actually set up one of the most organized protest camps I have ever seen. The quiet collection of donations and the distribution system for food and water is something to be admired. When I drove by last night, the protesters were sitting in groups, talking quietly.
    .
    So what is it that they want? Well, some of the demands seem perfectly realistic and feasible to me, whereas others may seem a little ambitious for the time being (canceling all personal and housing loans?). First and foremost, protesters are demanding an end to administrative and financial corruption in the government and private sector. Believe it or not, Omanis finally want to crack down on wasta (influence). I never thought I’d see the day.
    .
    Other major demands include the need for more jobs, higher wages, and lower prices for basic commodities such as water and electricity. Do I blame them? No. I live a comfortable life but all around me I see people who live from paycheque to paycheque. Most people I know are in debt, and by the end of the month many of them don’t have money to even buy petrol or groceries. Countless young people I know with university degrees are unable to find employment anywhere. Other demands include better healthcare and a complete revamp of the public schooling system. The list has been posted on every local internet forum and is being sent around in the form of emails and SMS.
    ..
    Before getting all excited about the protest drama, I find it’s extremely important to make a clear distinction between the situation in Oman and recent events that have taken the Middle East by storm. We cannot in any way compare ourselves to the people of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. It’s completely irrelevant. Omanis have much to be thankful for. We live in peaceful country which has come a long way since His Majesty took over 40 years ago and we are truly blessed. With these current protests, Omanis are simply demanding changes to a few government policies.
    .
    The exaggeration I’ve seen in the international media regarding the protests in Oman is uncalled for. Simply put, Omanis are peaceful people who have recently discovered that protests actually work. Does that mean our protesters should become violent? No. Should we drop everything and go out into the streets? Absolutely not!
    .
    I’m a young Omani woman with very little experience in politics or anything of the sort, but I do know one thing; if we establish clear goals and collectively work towards them, they can be achieved. I’m hoping Oman can become a shining example of how protests should end up; in a win-win situation. We can’t demand an end to government corruption unless we as individuals stop depending on wasta ourselves on a much smaller scale. We cannot demand more jobs unless we prove that we are willing to really go out and work. There are definitely jobs out there but in many cases Omanis are too proud to go out and become shopkeepers or join other occupations which they consider to be beneath them. The age of comfortable office jobs for everyone is over.
    .
    Oman is not a huge country with an overwhelming population. With less than two million citizens, it’s definitely possible to work together in order to make positive changes. If we have the right attitude, change can happen. It’ll be interesting to see how the situation unfolds, but deep inside me I hope Omanis realize that by being proactive, lots can be achieved. Fingers crossed.

    by Susan Al Shahri

  3. Con 3

    What will really happen in Libya now? Will the Gaddafi regime (the “Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya”) be overthrown? It seems unlikely to me that airstrikes will bring that about. It seems likely that NATO bombings will destroy much of the country’s infrastructure, the civil war will be prolonged, and may lead to a partition of the country into two states. Even if the rebels triumph, there will certainly be considerable unrest into the forseeable future. Whether this amounts to an effective “protection of civilians” remains to be seen, whatever pro-interventionists might wish.

    Interesting to see today the Arab League decrying the NATO missile attacks and saying that there were outside the scope of the UN resolution (and incidentally killing dozens of civilians already). But hey! When you give NATO a free hand, you get whatever NATO feels like doing, not necessarily what you had in mind when you asked for their “help”. Because let’s face it, the “responsibility to protect” is not the real reason NATO has intervened; if it were the real reason, NATO would have intervened in a number of other situations. The real reason, as usual, comes back to oil, and the “responsibility to protect” is a political fig leaf (at least for NATO politicians – there are plenty of well-meaning liberals in the Western public who take it seriously). Hence NATO’s activities shouldn’t be expected to protect civilians, expect where this can be achieved as “collateral” to their real aim, which is to weaken and subjugate Libya.

    • Bright Red 3.1

      there’s been no evidence of any civilians killed. Have you seen the wounded and dead ‘civilians’ that were shown on Libyan state TV? All military age men. funny that.

      I don’t get why you would think that NATO wants to “weaken and subjugate Libya”. If they wanted to overthrow Gaddifi with overwhelming and indiscriminate force they could, at any time.

      Instead, they have belatedly and limitedly reacted to the pleading of the rebels (are you anti the rebels?) to try to avert a massacre.

      • Con 3.1.1

        Red, weakening and subjugating nations in the middle east has been all the rage for hundreds of years. Especially since oil has been discovered, Western imperial powers have been at it every chance. What’s happened now is that the following the examples of other uprisings, Libyans have rebelled and this rebellion, and the repression of it, is an opportunity for the West to overthrow Gaddafi and even partition Libya, much more easily, and with less fuss being raised about it, than would have been the case otherwise.

    • Blighty 3.2

      Please explain how attacking a friendly dictator when he was on the verge of destroying a rebellion that had taken half of Libya’s oil offline, in the hope that the friendly dictator will be overthrown by unknowns with unknown objectives gets the West more oil.

      • Lanthanide 3.2.1

        “in the hope that the friendly dictator will be overthrown by unknowns with unknown objectives gets the West more oil.”

        Because the West know who the unknowns are and have made sure that their unknown objectives match their own.

        Brings Rumsfeld’s little quote to mind: known known, known unknowns and unknown unknowns.

        • clandestino 3.2.1.1

          Where’s the evidence for this though? We know the British sent diplomats with an SAS crew on a bungled entreaty to the rebels, and I’ve seen the Germans made contact. The French must know who the ‘other side’ is, as they’re so keen. But really, I haven’t seen one figurehead or General who’s come out as the spokesman of this thing. I’ve been following it pretty close and haven’t even seen a good analysis of the tribal/clan factor or military players in online media….
          As for the price(supply) of oil, do you really believe the oil market cares who’s in charge? Supply doesn’t mean shit if the images are of war and destruction.

      • David 3.2.2

        Because this is not just about Libya. The politics of the whole region is being reconfigured by the actions of masses of people. Until recently the US dominated the region through the threat of open intervention, either by Israel or itself, and its relationships with local dictators. Some of these were close allies, like the Saudis, some merely people they could do business with, like Gaddafi over the last 10 or so years.

        Now things are changing as the regimes fall. Would a democratic Saudi Arabia sell its oil so cheaply? Would it spend so much on US and UK arms?

        The US and its allies are desperate to regain control? The intervention in Libya is about taking back the initiative, legitimizing both military intervention in general and the West’s role in picking and choosing who rules which country. The “pleading of the rebels” has given that opportunity.

        Whatever we may think about the justification of the initial air strikes (and I suggest people take the question of depleted uranium into consideration), if it’s true that the assault on Bengazi has been stopped and a massacre prevented, then surely we can all agree that it’s time for the bombing to stop and the fight left up to the Libyan people themselves.

      • Con 3.2.3

        By joining in the civil war on the rebels’ side, the US gets to end up in control (assuming the rebels win). The rebels will be assisted just enough so that they do take control of the oil, but not so much that they can maintain control without US backing.

        Enough infrastructure will be destroyed so that the new regime will require massive international assistance to rebuild. That assistance will be performed by Kellogg Brown Root, and security will be provided by Blackwater. Funding will come from Libyan oil sales.

        That’s how it’s done; that’s how it’s always been done.

  4. joe90 4

    What if Arabs had recognized the State of Israel in 1948?

    I have seen and read about the lives of the Palestinians in the US and other places. They are very successful in every field. And at the same time I saw the Arab countries at the bottom of the list in education and development. And I always ask the question: What if the Palestinians and the Arabs accepted the presence of Israel on May 14, 1948 and recognized its right to exist? Would the Arab world have been more stable, more democratic and more advanced?

    • joe90 4.1

      Tariq Ali

      New Zealand has no foreign policy but is simply a vassal of the United States, he says, and there is no point in having a standing army.

      … It is the elites, and the reason they do it is they are tied to the tail of the only imperial power in the world.”

  5. Pascal's bookie 5

    Some other datapoints.

    Gaddifi has handed out arms to a million odd Libyans. This is a canny bloody move, long game it poisons the well. I’ll ask again, is the west prepared to fight an insurgency against whatever replaces the regime?

    He’s called another bs ceasefire and called for a peaceful civilian march on rebel held cities. A moving human shield in other words. Can the west bomb this when the UN res calls for protecting civilians? If so, how will that play throughout the middle east?

    Related question, if he pulls back and more army units defect to the rebels, (which western laeders are asking them to do) how wil the west react when rebel forces move on Gaddifi loyalist cities? Does the d2p extend to those cities as well?

    Unrelated question, how about that time when Gaddifi gave up his nuke program and now we are bombing him like we won’t bomb Korea and we did bomb Iraq and do you reckon Iran has noticed?

  6. Drakula 7

    Joe 90; ‘If they [Arab League] had recognised Israel in in 1948?’

    It would not make any difference to the economic advance to the Arab world. Would Israel be more leanient to the Arab nations after Ben Gurion’s terrorists had those massacres on his hands?

    No being ‘Gods chosen’ they would only be interested in looking after their own.

    The only difference that the immediate recognition of Israel would have on the Mid-East situation today is that it would have radically speeded up Israel’s Zionist agenda of expelling all Palestinians from their homeland.

    The biggest mistake the Arab world ever made was losing the war against Israrel in 1966!!!!

    • davidr 7.1

      1967 Genius!!!! (and 1948, 1973, etc, etc).

      Pity that Hitler didn’t finish what he started, eh? They encouraged him enough. (vis. Arafat’s uncle, the Mufti).

  7. What nobody seems to notice is that the reasons for the unrest in the Arab countries is not so much against their rulers as such but the fact that food prices have risen so dramatically that most can’t make ends meet any more. That coupled with an increase in suppression and anger against what a lot of people see as kowtowing to the US empire is what finally broke the camels back.

    What is interesting is that someone like Gerald Celente the face of the trend journal institute an institute predicting trends in the future points out that this is the beginning of a world wide trend. He says that with the US over stretching itself in ever expanding wars running up debts like there is no tomorrow and the worlds population being sucked dry ever more by the ruling elite and unable to earn a crust there will be more and more revolts world wide.

    In other words this is not an Arab thing so much as the beginning of a world wide anti globalist revolution.

    I wonder with John Key, a Wall street henchman after all, squeezing the lifeblood out of NZ’s population with ever increasing cuts in whatever social services are left how long it will take before people here will revolt and what and if the “government will do to maintain control over its angry population.

    • Rosy 8.1

      It might translate as anit-globalism in the long-term, but it might have an awful lot to do with knowing how the dictators live in the short-term. Bankers, industry leaders and politicians should keep their accumulation of wealth very low key in the short-term.

      Refreshing to read the CEO of Glaxosmithkline rail against companies moving offshore to avoid tax. Saying that they should be part of society, not that he’s a good guy but at least they paid their tax.

  8. Afewknowthetruth 9

    The oil-addicted nations of the western world will do whatever it takes to keep the oil flowing to western refineries ….. supporting despotic regimes like Saudi Arabia, no fly zones for nations whose leaders who don’t tow the line, military invasions, toppling nationalisitic governments…… Meddling in order to obtain cut-price resources has been going on for centuries and isn’t going to stop soon.

    However, the effects of Peak Oil are becoming more apparent by the day. Complele collpase of present economic arrangements is now more or less certain before 2015.

    • Rosy 9.1

      The problem with this arguement is that Gaddafi was toeing the line, as far as allowing private companies to exploit oil. The west would have been better off with him there, especially as the rebels and their aims are unknown. I think the balls up with the SAS ill-thoughtout attempt to contact them makes it quite clear that the UK at least didn’t know what was going on. I also don’t think Libyan oil is a big deal for the U.S (which might account for the Pentagon’s reluctance to get in to this).

      Saudi Arabia…. same but different story… The U.S. will be anxious to keep the dicators in power because they really are important to the U.S oil supply, and maybe the royals have been encouraged to use a few of those oil $$$ to buy their people’s complicity in their lack of democracy.

  9. joe90 10

    More defections.

    Several top Yemeni army commanders have declared their support for anti-government protesters seeking the resignation of the country’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

  10. uke 11

    Question that has not been asked: Why are France and Britain so prominent in the foreign coalition attacking Libya?

    Those I have been talking to surmise that these attacks are partly designed to boost the current French and British leaders’ domestic popularity. They are “doing a Thatcher”. Sarkozy, for example, is currently suffering severe local election defeats to the Socialist Party with Marine Le Pen’s National Front almost on a level pegging:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-21/merkel-sarkozy-punished-by-voters-questioning-their-leadership.html

    “Dissatisfaction with Sarkozy rose to the highest level since his election almost four years ago in an Ipsos institute poll published March 14. Sixty-eight percent of respondents disapproved of Sarkozy’s leadership, 5 percentage points more than in February, the survey for Le Point magazine said. His approval rating dropped three points to 31 percent.”

    • Rosy 11.1

      Yep that makes a lot more sense that the oil conspiracies. Libya = Argentina, just cause fell in to their laps.

      • Con 11.1.1

        Except that of the two politicians in the article, Sarkozy is into the war, yet Merkel is not. So that’s not a great strike rate for that particular hypothesis.

        The next elections in the UK aren’t for years are they? Shouldn’t Cameron be waiting a bit for his Thatcher moment, if it’s just electioneering?

        • Rosy 11.1.1.1

          No, Cameron needs it now to try and head-off the protests about service cuts and the bankers have just hit the headlines again and the Lib Dems just got trounced in a bye-election.
          Al power the Merkel if she kept out of it.

        • uke 11.1.1.2

          The hypothesis is that Sarkozy is reacting to his election losses by attacking Libya. Merkel has simply decided the other way and – the pollsters predict – her popularity will consequently continue to decline.

          “Shouldn’t Cameron be waiting a bit for his Thatcher moment, if it’s just electioneering?”

          Gotta take your chances when you can get them. Remember Cameron & co. are pretty unpopular at the moment for cutting all those public service jobs, student fee rises etc.

    • Interesting observation.

      Rosie,

      The one doesn’t preclude the other though.

      • uke 11.2.1

        “The one doesn’t preclude the other”

        Indeed, just ask George W. Bush.

      • Rosy 11.2.2

        Yeah, I just don’t get the oil thing between Libya and the U.S. Libya supplies 20% EU oil – and their big companies were doing nicely out of it under Gaddafi.

        • David 11.2.2.1

          20% of EU oil seems like a valuable prize to me. Gaddafi is not a dependable puppet, and if the rebels continued to fight him even after he retook Bengazi oil supplies would be disrupted. A new government dependent on Western support controlling either part or all of Libya would be a better bet. But this is bigger than just Libyan oil.

          It’s about relegitimising Western military intervention, both in the minds of the people at home and in the Arab world. And ensuring that the West has a degree of control over at least one of the new governments emerging from the revolts.

          • Rosy 11.2.2.1.1

            Yes, but that may explain the EU’s willingness to go if – IF they didn’t already have good access, but they do. It doesn’t at all explain why the US might want to. Because Gadaffi appeared a happy puppet since he was brought back from isolation it’s costing the EU more to control oil this way than by their successful buying Gadaffi.

            I’ll be thinking that the uprising came from grassroots – influenced by regional unrest and success in Egypt and Tunisia – that the lack of resources to the people and observing the huge amounts of money coming into the country and knowing it stayed at the top. (That’s what will start ‘reform’ in the west too, when the people get angry enough and have nothing left to lose and if the elites don’t sort their stuff out).

            The big question for me was why France and the UK got involved – it doesn’t seem in their financial and diplomatic interests – I’m quite convinced that the Thatcher moment explains it really well.

            • Carol 11.2.2.1.1.1

              Actually, to me it seems to be the other way around. The US seems to have been a reluctant participant in the UN action. They are in quite a contradictory position & probably over-stretched militarily. I have seen some reports in the US news media, saying that it was Hilary Clinton who convinced Obama to join the UN resolution & its implementation. I don’t know if that is totally accurate, or if it is just part of the way Obama has supported the action on Libya in a muted way.

              Cameron, is having a Thatcher moment, but also, he has the motivation to stop the mood of reform also spreading to the UK – maybe more so than the US, because Cameron has faced stronger left wing protests against his economic policies than Obama eg UK Uncut.

              On France 24 (on Stratos) I’ve seen French commentators drawing parallels between the Arabic uprisings and the French Revolution. france sees itself as a leader in that kind of thing,.

  11. joe90 12

    More unrest in Syria.

    Syrians chanting “No more fear!” held a defiant march Monday after a deadly government crackdown failed to quash three days of massive protests in a southern city – an extraordinary outpouring in a country that brutally suppresses dissent.

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    From the "too soon?" file, here are two oddly successful exercises in niche marketing. First, the molecularly-sort-of-correct ebola plush toy. Apparently it has sold out: And, of course, the sexy ebola nurse outfit: Ebola, as everyone knows, ignores cleavage. And...
    Polity | 30-10
  • Temporary, discriminatory and an admission of Faliure
    The PM says that the legislation his government proposes to pass under urgency allowing for the confiscation of passports of NZ citizens in order to combat the threat of returning foreign fighters will be “tightly focused” on those traveling to...
    Kiwipolitico | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • Experiment-gate update
    Readers may recall the saga around an experimental mailer some Stanford / Dartmouth researchers sent into the state of Montana. In a randomised trial, it provided voters with some added information about two candidates running for a judicial election, and...
    Polity | 30-10
  • Why are our Politicians Auckland Toll Chickens?
    Yesterday both the National Government and Green Party opposed the suggestion to place a toll on Auckland’s roads, but for completely different reasons. The Government opposes it because they see it as a new tax. The Greens because they would...
    Gareth’s World | 29-10
  • The obvious question
    John Key says he knows who the hacker Rawshark is. So, will the police be raiding his home for ten hours and taking all his data, or is that something they only do to enemies of the National Party?...
    No Right Turn | 29-10
  • Guest post: Living with a criminal conviction
    What happens when one moment of bad judgement changes everything anyone ever thinks about you? Mike Jones* used a weapon to defend his girlfriend from an aggressive man at a party seven years ago. He’s still paying for that choice....
    On the Left | 29-10
  • Famous Kiwi Radio Host Invites Rapists To “Call In and Defend Yourselves...
    [This post is now being live-blogged. Please check back periodically for updates. The amazing header image is by Occupy Auckland media team co-ordinator @Redstar309z and features an artistic impression of two alleged #Roastbusters serial rapists - Joseph Levall Parker (left)...
    Spin Bin | 29-10
  • Famous Kiwi Radio Host Invites #Roastbusters Rapists To “Call In and Defe...
    [This post is now being live-blogged. Please check back periodically for updates. The amazing header image is by Occupy Auckland media team co-ordinator @Redstar309z and features an artistic impression of two alleged #Roastbusters serial rapists - Joseph Levall Parker (left)...
    Spin Bin | 29-10
  • Lower Hutt scientists win right to be academics
    Tertiary Update Vol 17 No 37 Lower Hutt scientists are joining TEU in large numbers after the union successfully argued that they should be classified as academics in Victoria University of Wellington’s new collective agreement. TEU members at Victoria recently...
    Tertiary Education Union | 29-10
  • Ex-TEU member heads Parliament’s education committee
    Former TEU member Dr Jian Yang will chair parliament’s Education and Science Select Committee. Elected to parliament only three years ago directly from his job in the political science department at the University of Auckland, Yang has risen quickly to...
    Tertiary Education Union | 29-10
  • Cabinet focuses tertiary education on economic growth
    The government has signalled again that it views tertiary education primarily as an economic tool rather than a tool for social opportunity and equity as well. The government has shifted tertiary education out of its Cabinet Social Policy Committee to...
    Tertiary Education Union | 29-10
  • Aged care worker wins historic pay equity case
    Aged Care worker and union member Kristine Bartlett won an historic legal case for pay equity this week. Bartlett’s employer, Terranova Homes & Care Ltd had appealed to the Court of Appeal against an Employment Court ruling that the wages...
    Tertiary Education Union | 29-10
  • Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee
    Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are...
    frogblog | 29-10
  • Look to international students for funding says Joyce
    Tertiary education minister Steven Joyce says universities need to expand overseas and recruit more international students to boost their income. Joyce told TVNZ’s Q+A programme that New Zealand universities are not doing enough to generate income from international students. “If...
    Tertiary Education Union | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s “NoahR...
    An Heretical Work: Darren Aronofsky's Noah is an attempt to reconstruct from the ill-fitting fragments of the much older and more finely textured myth of the Great Flood, a religious homily about human power, human guilt, and human redemption. That he...
    Bowalley Road | 29-10
  • World News Brief, Thursday October 30
    Top of the AgendaIraqi Kurdish Fighters Enter Syria...
    Pundit | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    frogblog | 29-10
  • Gordon Campbell on the links between bad labour laws and poor safety practi...
    By co-incidence, one of the prime dangers of the government’s new employment relations law has been underlined by the release of the death and injury statistics among workers at New Zealand ports. These are highly profitable enterprises for the port...
    Gordon Campbell | 29-10
  • How Labour’s ballot paper works
    Some weeks ago, I promised not to post about the Labour leadership election. I am going to break that promise today, but only because some of the people I have talked with appear a bit confused about Labour’s preferential ballot....
    Polity | 29-10
  • UKIP’s apostrophe fail
    The venerable institution that is the United Kingdom Independence Party wanted a hoodie for young patriots, so they can proudly declare how great Britain remains. For UKIP, the sun has never set on the British Empire of Awesomeness. Until this...
    Polity | 29-10
  • Understanding climate science in 10 easy steps
    The latest United Nations report on climate change is about to be finalised, written by thousands of scientists. The report is VERY important, but also a bit dull.What we really want to know is: How bad is climate change? And what can...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 29-10
  • Random thoughts on the Labour Party leadership contest
    Some thoughts on the leadership contest, and a puzzling mystery at the end....
    Imperator Fish | 29-10
  • Auckland Transport’s 30 Year Project List
    As part of the discussion on Alternative Transport Funding, which was launched yesterday, the Council also released a copy of Auckland Transport’s entire 30 year transport programme which includes the cost of projects and seemingly ranked according to some combination of criteria....
    Transport Blog | 29-10
  • Questions and Answers – October 30
    Press Release – Office of the Clerk EconomyInterest Rates and Inflation 1. ALASTAIR SCOTT (NationalWairarapa) to the Minister of Finance : What reports has he received on the economy, particularly on the direction of interest rates and inflation?QUESTIONS TO MINISTERS...
    Its our future | 29-10
  • Storm surge: Hurricane Sandy
    On the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy making landfall, we are running an extract from a new book by Adam Sobel “Storm Surge: Hurricane Sandy, Our Changing Climate, and Extreme Weather of the Past and Future”. It’s a great read...
    Real Climate | 29-10
  • Zero tolerance for forestry accidents a must
    The Government must adopt a zero tolerance approach to workplace accidents in the forestry sector to stop people being killed, Labour’s Forestry spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “It is time for the Government and the forestry sector to put an end...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Return to less holidays on the cards?
    John Key needs to lay his cards on the table regarding the Government’s intentions around holiday pay and annual leave entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “A day after National pushed through laws that take away the legal...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Catherine Delahunty Speaks on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill
    Kia ora, Mr Assistant Speaker. He mihi nui ki te Whare Paremata. Welcome to the glorious 19th century, dressed up in the not-so-new flexibility-speak. At the final moment of this bill, let us drop the charade. The Government has a...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Ruataniwha Feds refuse to present a balanced view
    A bid to sell the Ruataniwha water project to Hawkes Bay farmers has turned in to an incredibly one sided affair, says Labours spokesperson on Water Meka Whaitiri.  “It’s being promoted as ‘Ruataniwha it’s now or never’ and it promises...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Worker’s rights dealt severe blow with Bill’s passing
    The passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill is another blow to workers' rights in New Zealand, the Green Party said today.This afternoon, National's Employment Relations Amendment Bill passed with the support of Act and United Future."This bill will force...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Barriers to reporting sex crimes must go
    Both the Government and police need to take action to ensure that, in future, sexual abuse victims know they will be taken seriously, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “The young women involved in the Roast Busters case, and...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Te Wakaputanga – What we did not learn at school
    This week saw the 179th anniversary of the signing of Te Wakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of Niu Tireni. Most of us did not learn about this fundamentally critical document at school, we barely learned about...
    Greens | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Kevin Hague questions the Minister of Health on management of Katherine Ric...
    Is he satisfied that all conflicts of interest that arose by the head of Food and Grocery Council Katherine Rich being a member of the Health Promotion Agency were managed in accordance with the provisions of the Crown Entities Act...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Bennett parks numbers on social housing
    Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett admitted today that well over 1000 families have been subsidised through the accommodation supplement to stay in the Ranui campground, somewhere she has previously described as not the right place for children to be growing...
    Labour | 30-10
  • 50,000 sign petition against anti-worker law
    More than 50,000 Kiwis have signed Labour’s petition against the Government’s scrapping of tea break entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “That’s the equivalent of five people signing our petition every minute for a week. It shows the...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Address in Reply Debate – Dr Kennedy Graham on UN Security Council- 2...
    In the Speech from the Throne last week the Prime Minister identified the usual domestic goals for his Government. I counted 17. They are not my subject today. I wish instead to focus on matters beyond our shores. In the...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Key misled public over Jason Ede
    Information contained in a new chapter of the book Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, that Jason Ede stopped working for the National Party on the night the book Dirty Politics was released, shows Mr Key and senior ministers hid...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Greenpeace report highlights better path for NZ agriculture
    A Greenpeace International report highlights a better way forward for New Zealand agriculture than the GE and chemical mutation technologies supported by Federated Farmers, and the National Government through its research funding packages, the Green Party said today. "This report...
    Greens | 29-10
  • BNZ post record profits while leaving savers vulnerable
    A small part of the $850 million record profit posted by the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) today needs to be set aside to protect savers' deposits in the future, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today.Dr Norman was...
    Greens | 29-10
  • RBNZ U-turn shows monetary settings were wrong
    The Reserve Bank's U-turn on interest rates today shows monetary policy settings were wrong and New Zealanders have suffered unnecessarily through the loss of jobs and having to pay higher interest rates, the Green Party said today.Reserve Bank Governor Graeme...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Ports must take responsibility for shameful death toll
    Port companies must step up and take responsibility for a shameful toll of seven deaths and 133 serious accidents in the past three years, Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says. The frightening figures – released by the Rail, Maritime and Transport...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee
    Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are...
    Greens | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Bartlett case means Govt must act on equal pay
    The Court of Appeal victory for Lower Hutt caregiver, Kristine Bartlett demonstrates that both the Government and employers have been ignoring and not fully implementing equal pay law, the Green Party said today.The Court of Appeal today upheld earlier rulings...
    Greens | 27-10
  • Rotorua shift for Maori TV a bizarre move
    The bizarre idea to move Maori TV to Rotorua is either poor planning or possible political interference that adds to the perception of a service in crisis, says Labour MP for Tamaki Makaurau Peeni Henare. “Moving Maori TV to Rotorua...
    Labour | 27-10
  • Second rate deal a no go – Goff
    A second rate deal on dairy in the TPP would totally contradict the agreed purpose of the Pacific trade agreement, Labour’s Trade spokesperson, Phil Goff says. “Both the origin of the trade negotiations and leaders’ statements on its objectives emphasise...
    Labour | 27-10
  • Legal victory a boost for all working women
    Today’s legal victory for equal pay is a much-needed boost for working women at a time when the Government is pushing through reforms which will make it harder for them to get pay rises, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney...
    Labour | 27-10
  • National’s failed commodities export strategy exposed
    National's strategy to rely on commodities such as milk powder and logs has been exposed in the September trade figures released today, the Green Party said."National's strategy to hang all economic hope on exporting ever-increasing volumes of milk powder and...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Caution needed on calls to arm police
    There is no justification for routinely arming our police and doing so would change forever the way officers interact with their communities, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “As one of the few organisations distinguished by its unarmed status,...
    Labour | 23-10
  • Govt strains to get tea break law through
    The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.“National desperately...
    Labour | 23-10
  • How low can you go? Mining the depths
    The company says there will be economic benefits, which the EEZ Act says the EPA must consider, but even these benefits are in doubt. The royalties while not set will be tiny, the profits will flow offshore, and whatever phosphate...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Fed Farmers defend GE Agriculture
    Federated Farmers, which represents a minority of farmers, appears to be captured by a pro-GE clique hell bent on increasing unsustainable technologies for the benefit of the herbicide and patent controlling seed companies. That there are better more sustainable farming...
    Greens | 23-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 5AA Australia – NZ on UN Security Council + Dirty Politics Lingers On
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin Across The Ditch. General round up of over night talkback issues: Thongs, Jandals and flip-flops… ISSUE 1: New Zealand has been successful in its campaign to become a non...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • When I mean me, I mean my office & when I call whaleoil I mean not as m...
    This. Is. Ludicrous. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman put the first of what are likely to be many questions about Mr Key’s relationship with Slater, asking him how many times he had phoned or texted the blogger since 2008. “None...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • A brief word on describing the Government as ‘boring and bland’
    The narrative being sown is that this Government will be a boring and bland third term. Boring and bland. Since the election, Key has announced he is privatising 30% of state houses without reinvesting any of that money back into housing society’s most...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Invercargill
    The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Invercargill on Friday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting Meetings being held nationwide as...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Public now needs to have its say over new tolls
    “I welcome the likes of new tolls and fuel taxes going out for public consultation after these matters have been talked about for 20 years. However the timing is not ideal as it comes on top of the likes of...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis to fight back against TPPA ‘corporate trap’
    New Zealanders in at least sixteen different locations around the country are organising for an International Day of Action against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on 8 November, co-ordinated by It's Our Future NZ. This is part of an international...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Taxpayers’ Union Welcomes NZ First MP’s Resignation
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming NZ First MP, Clayton Mitchell’s resignation from the Tauranga City Council, despite Party Leader Winston Peters' public comments in July that Mr Mitchell would do both jobs if elected to Parliament. The Union's...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Stopping unnecessary roading projects solution to transport
    Today Auckland Council released the Funding Auckland’s Transport Future report which claims Aucklanders need to choose higher rates, petrol taxes or tolls to pay for future transport projects, when the real issue is the prioritisation of unnecessary...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Fixing Auckland’s transport
    Today marks a critical step in the most important funding debate Auckland has ever had: whether or not Aucklanders are willing to pay for the transport system this city desperately needs to keep it moving, says Mayor Len Brown....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • The New Zealand Gazette Moves into the Digital Age
    On Monday 20 October, the New Zealand Gazette was published completely online bringing to a close 173 years as a purely printed publication. First published in 1841 as the official government newspaper, the Gazette website gazette.govt.nz , replaces...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • International report shows NZ struggling with child poverty
    A report by UNICEF International shows that child poverty rates in New Zealand have scarcely changed since 2008 – this stands in contrast to a number of other countries that managed to significantly reduce child poverty in this time, including...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Dunedin
    The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Dunedin on Thursday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting Meetings being held nationwide as...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF Report a Waste of Paper
    In response to the hysteria coming from the far left, Josh Forman of slightlyleftofcentre.co.nz writes the following:...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Press Council opens doors to digital media
    The New Zealand Press Council, the body which handles complaints against newspapers and magazines and their websites, is offering associate membership status to news and commentary-oriented digital media including bloggers....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Tolls Should Be for New Roads, Not Old Ones
    The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming Auckland Council for wanting to introduce a motorist tax under the guise of ‘tolls’. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Media freedom in West Papua: Protest at Indonesian embassy
    Today, Wednesday 29 October, there will be a peaceful protest at the Indonesian Embassy in Wellington to call on new Indonesian President Joko Widodo to honour his election promise to ensure greater media freedom in West Papua....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Lack of leadership blamed for decline in Gender Equity
    BPW NZ challenges NZ’s lack of leadership with the decline in Gender Equity Ranking...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Richard Falk visit to NZ
    Professor Richard Falk, who recently completed a six-year term as United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, will deliver a public lecture in Dunedin on Monday 10 November....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
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