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The Standard

Death by remote drone

Written By: - Date published: 1:32 pm, May 22nd, 2014 - 202 comments
Categories: john key, national, war - Tags:

Pakistan drone killing picture of child

So John Key is relaxed about the possible role that New Zealand has in extra judicial killing via drones that is occurring far too often.

He was asked yesterday in Parliament about the subject.

David Cunliffe asked if he had “sought or received any advice on whether remote operations such as drone strikes against non-combatants or in non-declared conflicts are compatible with international law?”  Key’s response was a terse “no”.

Key said earlier this week that he was totally comfortable with the GCSB passing on intelligence which led to drone attacks on foreign soil because it was in the pursuit of “very bad people”.  The Herald article by Issac Davidson then says this:

The Prime Minister said he was not briefed about the drone strike which killed New Zealander Daryl Jones in Yemen last year.

“I wasn’t aware of … and didn’t have any involvement or prior knowledge of that particular strike.

“What I can say is that New Zealand has internationally in the past … gathered information, Afghanistan is an example of that, and that information is given to ISAF [International Security Assistance Force].

“What ISAF used that information for and how it’s actually used, I don’t know but I can’t rule out that that isn’t used for activities undertaken by the Americans.”

Asked whether this information could have led to drone strikes, he said: “It’s possible. I can’t rule that out.”

He added: “It would be in the pursuit of trying to hold to account very bad people.”

Key’s candour is unusual.  Normally you would think that he would avoid the subject by claiming the issue related to an operational matter.  Martyn Bradbury has suggested that Key knows what sort of information is going to be released by Edward Snowden in due course and is getting ready for it and I suspect that Martyn is right.

Idiot Savant and Gordon Campbell have both expressed misgivings as to the legality of what is happening.  It is difficult to understand how International Law could sanction the indiscriminate killing of children in third world countries.

And this brings into strong focus the importance of metadata.  As said by David Cole:

Of course knowing the content of a call can be crucial to establishing a particular threat. But metadata alone can provide an extremely detailed picture of a person’s most intimate associations and interests, and it’s actually much easier as a technological matter to search huge amounts of metadata than to listen to millions of phone calls. As NSA General Counsel Stewart Baker has said, “metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life. If you have enough metadata, you don’t really need content.” When I quoted Baker at a recent debate at Johns Hopkins University, my opponent, General Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and the CIA, called Baker’s comment “absolutely correct,” and raised him one, asserting, “We kill people based on metadata.”

John Key’s indifference to all of this is plain to see.  Holding to account “very bad people” by extrajudicial killing of civilians, including a New Zealander is something that a civilised nation should not countenance.

202 comments on “Death by remote drone”

  1. Enough is Enough 1

    Hear Hear

    Key should be held liable for war crimes for his actions and admissions this week.

    Bush (both of them), Blair and Obama should be in the dock with him

    • Gosman 1.1

      What war crime would they have committed? As far as I know attacking enemy targets from the air and killing people isn’t a war crime. Even causing civilian casualties is not a war crime if you haven’t deliberately targetted them (i.e. made the purpose of the attack the destructions of civilians).

      • mickysavage 1.1.1

        So which countries is America at war with. For instance does this justify drone strikes in Pakistan?

        • Gosman

          Interestingly, when it comes to fighting insurgencies, cross border raids into nations that you are not formally at war with are the norm rather than exception. This occured in places like South East Asia, Southern Africa and obviously in Afghanistan. The British (and others) used to do it frequently in colonial times as well.

          • RJL

            Interestingly, murdering people in countries that you are not at war with is a war crime.

            Yes, Britain frequently committed war crimes during the colonial period. Or at least she would have if war crimes were an international legal instrument at the time. International law around war crimes was, of course, more recently formulated; in the aftermath of the American Civil War and again after WW1 and after WW2.

            • Gosman

              I’m not sure that is accurate. What convention states you cannot target enemy combatants in another country that you are not at war with?

              • framu

                whats the ratio of death of combatant to death of the innocent in drone strikes?

                notice how your deliberately only talking about combatants when everyone else is talking about, well, the people that get killed?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Which country is the US at war with?

                • Gosman

                  You can fight combatants even if you aren’t at war with a country. The US was never formally at War with North Vietnam for example.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    See my comment

                    • Gosman

                      The Korean war is another example. The UN forces were basically fighting the troops of a country they didn’t even recognise formally.

              • RJL

                It’s the one of the main principles of international law. You cannot invade another country.

                As minarch notes see the Kellogg–Briand Pact, and equivalent statements in the UN charter, etc.

                Also, even if you are at war with a country you cannot murder either soldiers or civilians.

                • Gosman

                  How can you avoid trying to murder a soldier you are fighting against in a war? I thought that was the whole point of war.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    You stupid bastard, the objective in war is to win while leaving the enemy’s armies and property completely intact.

                  • RJL

                    For somebody who seems convinced that drone murders are not war crimes, you seem to know fuck all about war crimes.

                    Read up on the difference between a battlefield fatality and murder.

                    • Gosman

                      For someone trying to tell me about war crimes you don’t seem to understand that invading another country is not necessarily illegal and is certainly not a war crime.

                    • Hi Gosman,

                      Invading another country when it is not an act of direct self-defence is a supreme war crime:

                      The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, which followed World War II, called the waging of aggressive war “essentially an evil thing…to initiate a war of aggression…is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”[2] Article 39 of the United Nations Charter provides that the UN Security Council shall determine the existence of any act of aggression and “shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security”.

                      The example given in the link of when invading another country might be illegal but not a war crime is when there is an ongoing border dispute and the land claims are contested.

                      Your claim that invasion is not only sometimes not a war crime but can also not be illegal just seems unsupported.

              • Draco T Bastard

                That would be the protocol against starting a war in the first place. Attacking inside another nation is an act of war and so attacking inside a nation that you’re not at war with is starting a war.

                The correct protocol is to get the nation where the combatants are to deal with the combatants.

                What we see as the US kills people around the world is a rogue nation in action. As such the UN should be putting in place sanctions against them. Funny how the only people who end up with such sanctions is those the US doesn’t like.

                • Gosman

                  Attacking inside another nation is not necessarily an act of war. It certainly doesn’t mean you are formally at war with that nation. There are lots of exanples of countries (e.g. Pakistan and India) having exchanges of artillery fire but the nations still being formally at peace. Deaths caused as a result are not classified as war crimes either.

              • the pigman

                They’re not enemy combatants if you’re not at war with them.


                You could argue they’re unlawful combatants (a line the U.S. has tried) if, well, they were actually engaging in acts of war. But there you are, defending the indefensible, claiming that indiscriminate murder of another country’s civilians is totally cool, man.

            • Gosman

              The Geneva convention and the Hague conventions are actually more a product of the 19th Century. Although admittedly the Hague convention was put out in the early 20th but before WWI.

            • Populuxe1

              Not if you have the permission of the legitimate government it apparently isn’t

          • Travellerev

            For those of you interested in the legality of even the Afghan war waged since 2011. Waged to catch Osama bin Laden, Liberate women, Help innocent people, GOD (Gold, Oil and Drugs) here is a good case being made for it to be illegal even if you’re still stupid enough to believe that two planes can collapse three steel reinforced buildings in free fall speed with one of them (not hit by a plane) reinforced twice against a close up nuclear blast.

            And while you ask yourself if it is OK to bomb people with a drone here is what an ex drone operators have to say about it and here is what the European countries think of it.

            John Key is a callous, shameless liar and war criminal who happily admitted to it. He should be send to the Hague with his war criminal friends Bush, Blair, Cameron, Obama et all.

            • Travellerev

              And am I the only one who thinks that John Key is behaving like a father explaining to his children there are very bad people and we should all be very scared here?

              FFS, I remember the tone of my father giving me the very bad people schpiel. It wasn’t until I was about 45 when I had to deal with some really, really bad people and you know what? They where the ones in the Paunamu stone washed suits and white as freshly fallen snow! Smarmy, callous and arrogant. Oh oops, I just described our dear leader!

              • Oh, and did I mention that preparing for a war of aggression in and of itself is classified as crime against humanity according to the principles set during the Nuremberg trials.

                This makes the Southern Katipo military exercises which we hosted for NATO criminal in and of itself. The scenario was after all invasion of a country to remove a “rogue” politician.

                John Key hosted it, he owns it.

                No wonder Obama loves his creamy whit tush! He’s one of the boys now!

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      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2

        Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977.
        Protection of the civilian population

        4. Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. Indiscriminate attacks are:

        (c) those which employ a method or means of combat the effects of which cannot be limited as required by this Protocol; and consequently, in each such case, are of a nature to strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction.

        5. Among others, the following types of attacks are to be considered as indiscriminate:

        (b) an attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.

        So simple even a RWNJ should be able to understand them.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          One of the defining characteristics of a RWNJ is that, given the opportunity, they will have to have that distinction made clear to them by their lawyer at The Hague.

        • Gosman

          I would argue that a drone attack is far less indiscrininate than alternatives such as an all out invasion.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            “Less indiscriminate” ≠ we’re all good here.

            • Gosman

              Agreed but if we were to take the letter of the law in the way Draco is implying it applies then War itself becomes a war crime. Some may argue that it is but international diplomacy doesn’t regard it as such.

              When it comes down to it whether something is a war crime or not is mainly related to intention or deliberate negligence. If you ignored the massive risk to civilians or deliberately targetted them then that is likely a war crime. However it is difficult to prove especially in relation to drone strikes I would suggest.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Oh gosh, difficult. I expect the nations that give a fuck should probably retain some shit hot lawyers then.

                • Gosman

                  Or refuse to even participate in the whole international set up for war crimes as the US has done.

                  • Richard Christie

                    or refuse to even participate in the whole international set up for war crimes as the US has done.

                    lol. – why would the US avoid such a forum do you wonder?

              • Draco T Bastard

                Agreed but if we were to take the letter of the law in the way Draco is implying it applies then War itself becomes a war crime.

                Moron, it is:

                The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, which followed World War II, called the waging of aggressive war “essentially an evil thing…to initiate a war of aggression…is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

                If you ignored the massive risk

                Which, of course, is what the US does.

                However it is difficult to prove especially in relation to drone strikes I would suggest.

                Nope. Using explosives where civilians are likely to be constitutes a war crime.

          • joe90

            I would argue that a drone attack is far less indiscrininate than alternatives such as an all out invasion.


            The stupid is strong.


            Larry Lewis, a principal research scientist at the Center for Naval Analyses, a research group with close ties to the US military, studied air strikes in Afghanistan from mid-2010 to mid-2011, using classified military data on the strikes and the civilian casualties they caused. Lewis told the Guardian he found that the missile strikes conducted by remotely piloted aircraft, commonly known as drones, were 10 times more deadly to Afghan civilians than those performed by fighter jets.


      • Huginn 1.1.3

        extra-judicial killings are, by definition outside of the law – and therefore criminal

  2. shorts 2

    I can see how key is comfortable sharing information with his, opps I mean our, allies on these matters… what I don’t understand is if we’re actually seriously trying for a non permanent seat on the UN Security Council, as we’re lead to believe, then surely this sort of thing might be quite important to those we are asking to vote for us and a threat to us gaining many much needed votes

    All leads to the thought that Mr Key doesn’t take his job or the implications of that which he is involved with very seriously at all – I guess if he’s not clipping the ticket financially its all just boring to him

  3. Philj 3

    Doesn’t Key realise that Uncle Sam is the pariah of the world?Any friend of his is . . .

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      Easy to say, the US is a pariah, until you consider the facts. How long is that queue for green cards?

      In other news, a Mr. Phil J today turned down an invitation to the White House saying “I’m not dining with those pariahs!”

  4. Gosman 4

    Why is a drone strike any difference to a traditional airstrike or artillery attack?

    • Dave 4.1

      It isn’t different, but what you have in this current situation is a police action being carried out by a military, in a non declared war, killing people indiscriminately, because the American public cannot handle more deaths of service men and women. A conventional explosion is an explosion, regardless of where it came from. Nice attempt at a diversion there Gossie.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2

      Gosman, the issue is legality, not method. Please try and keep up.

      • Gosman 4.2.1

        Did you disagree that with the US operation that led to Osama Bin Laden’s death then?

        • RJL

          Depends on the specifics of that case doesn’t it.

          If Bin Laden was unavoidably killed while in the process of apprehension by special forces engaged in a “police” action, then it would be “fine”. Alternatively, if Bin Laden was executed by a special forces assassination team, then that would be murder and a war crime.

          In either case, Pakistan is free to complain/take-action over US agents penetrating their air-space, etc.

          • Gosman

            Agreed to an extent. Soldiers are often given a large anount of lee way to determe if an enemy combatant is a threat or not and how to eliminate that threat. It is likely that they were under orders to eliminate the threat posed by Bin Laden without having to capture him alive. Bin Laden would have had to have been explicitly surrendering to avoid being killed on that operation I suspect.

            • RJL

              Open literature is ambigious as to whether it was a “kill” mission or a “capture or kill” mission.

              The US has no motivation to clarify, and presumably never will (or at least not for 100 years or whenever the relevant documents are declassified).

              • Colonial Viper

                Open literature is ambigious as to whether it was a “kill” mission or a “capture or kill” mission.

                And where does dumping the body into the sea instead of returning it to relatives or to Saudi Arabia come into it?

                Basically everything we know about the op was a lie for media purposes from minute one.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  It “comes into it” in terms of Hector and Achilles, and stupidity, and macho posturing.

                • RJL

                  Dumping the body at sea seemed to be very sensible, and I don’t think it was illegal (regardless of whether the kill itself was legal).

                  It was very sensible because it prevented Bin Laden’s burial / tomb becoming some sort of pilgrimage site. It minimised the capability of Al Qaeda to turn Bin Laden into a martyr with broader appeal.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Please explain to me how you believe Fort Meade could become a Jihadist pilgrimage site. Also please explain to me why Bin Laden’s body was not returned to Saudi authorities.

                    The more inhumanely the Americans treat the bodies of their enemies the more their dead and wounded servicemen are likely to pay the price in the field…put it this way, with this the US set the bar very low.

                    BTW in the US it is now legal to detain a US citizen without charge, indefinitely, in a military detention facility. Legal is not the same as moral, as you well know.

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Fort Meade isn’t in Saudi Arabia, cv. If the yanks had returned the body to the Saudi’s, as you suggest, then there was a chance his burial site would have become a shrine, so the burial at sea seems reasonable in the circs. At least he got a formal burial, a lot of his victims never had that option.

                      Regarding the legality of his killing; he declared war on the states, killed thousands of their citizens, and was armed when confronted. He got what he deserved.

        • framu

          do ends justify means?

          serious question

          • Colonial Viper

            In this case the ends being to kill a crippled old man with chronic kidney disease who was stuck under virtual house arrest, and whose organisation had done fuck all with him for the years after 9/11.

            • Populuxe1

              Oh sorry, where did I put my tiny violin. He wasn’t old, he was 54. Nor is there any real evidence for any of that except that put out there by al-Qaeda. Of course we know you’ll believe anything fed to you provided it’s by a critic of the Great White Satan.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          I don’t support the death penalty. I think the US does a perfectly good job of making its own enemies with or without bin Laden’s enthusiastic assistance.

          • Gosman

            Would you have supported it if the US went in to capture him to bring him to trial?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              That’s what they should have done from the start. Routine police work would have captured him long before 2011.

              PS: that also presupposes a world in which they hadn’t used the people of Afghanistan, Palestine, etc as pawns in their proxy wars against imaginary bogeymen, and it’s never too late to start.

              • Colonial Viper

                CIA used senior doctor in fake vaccination programme to try and capture Bin Laden

                Basically there’s no low step the security and intelligence services won’t stoop to.

                The U.S. government will no longer use vaccinations as a front to obtain intelligence, according to a newly-released letter from the White House

                How fucking reassuring.

                In March 2012, Dr. Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani doctor involved in the operation, was convicted of high treason…By that time, at least 16 Pakistani aid workers had been killed in attacks blamed on vaccine suspicion.

                Ah well a bit of collateral damage from that op, a few healthcare and aid workers killed, too bad, spook central business as usual.


                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  The art of warfare is deception.

                • srylands

                  Which part of “the U.S. government will no longer use vaccinations as a front” didn’t you understand?

                  Anyway I thought you hated vaccinations on account they are not alternative, they don’t work, and the companies that make them are owned by foreign rich pricks (or words to that effect)?

                  You should be really into fake vaccination programmes.

                  • Tracey

                    problem is that fake vaccination programmes in africa and other places to gain dna in the ‘war on terror” mean that next time vaccination programmes are run in those countries the civilians will be reluctant to sign up because they were duped last time. They differ from you slylands, in that when they are fooled once, they are wary… you have been duped over and over by the Keyster and keep going back for more

    • David H 4.3

      You really want to know that Gosman? Money! The almighty Dollar that says that it’s cheaper to have some gum chewing kid on about 15 bucks an hour, in bumfuck Arkansas, push a button on a drone and kill some poor sod and all those in close proximity to him/her. Than it is to fire up 80 million dollar jets and all the other shit that goes with them, same with the Artillery. Cheaper at 500k per missile.

      • Gosman 4.3.1

        It is more cost effective then. Surely that is a good thing.

        • framu

          seriously? Just how low does your lack of morals go?

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            If the story is war, the moral of the story is make it short and cheap.

            • framu

              to be the “winner” – sure.

              • framu

                sorry not “to be the winner” – i meant “for the winner”

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Yes well if the choice is between Sociopathic Uncle Sam and sociopathic bigot armed with a sword cutting heads off in the public square I’m still rooting for Uncle Sam.

                  • Populuxe1

                    Pretty much. I’ve never understood the logic of whining “but America…” when discussing the perfidies of other states and organisations.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Oh, well I can explain: it’s because having ethics is piss-easy in peacetime. If we (or our allies) abandon them in response to hardship we don’t have anything to fight for.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Yes well if the choice is between Sociopathic Uncle Sam and sociopathic bigot armed with a sword cutting heads off in the public square I’m still rooting for Uncle Sam.

                    Even if Uncle Sam put in power the “sociopathic bigot armed with a sword cutting heads off in the public square” in the first place?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Yes, because Uncle Sam is the worst sociopath we know apart from all the other ones, and Uncle Sam is elected (by arguably the worst system apart from all the other ones).

                      Not to say we don’t demand the stupid asshole improve his behaviour, but.

            • Pascal's bookie

              “If the story is war, the moral of the story is make it short and cheap.”

              This presupposes some wonky things when you apply it to the current drones operations.

              Like, ‘there is x number of enemies and when we kill enough of them the war is over’

              that’s daft. All having cheap attacks available has done, is lower the cost of attacks. What that means is that the threshold for ‘worthwhile target’ has dropped. The cost of deploying naval assets to send tomahawks into Yemen would make it not worthwhile. Drones make it worthwhile because the cost has dropped, not because the value of the targets has changed

              The strategic value of killing those people hasn’t changed. It remains at ‘fuck all’. The war hasn’t become shorter because they killed yet another guy whose metadata showed he had x links to suspected AQ organisers or what-have-you.

              This war can go on, literally, forever. There will never be zero targets ‘worth’ hitting when the cost of hitting them is ‘fuck all’. You may as well hit people who could concievably be a threat at some point in the future, maybe. Why not? You get the political benefit of ‘killing AQ’ with essentially no cost whatsoever when in seen in the context of the US military budget.

              yay freedom.

              • +1

                Drones reduce the cost of killing; they also reduce the cost of bad PR (‘we’re not really at war and, look, none of our boys are dying’).

                At what frequency does the intensity of drone strikes start to look less like ‘surgical targeting’ and more like conventional war at a distance?

                • Colonial Viper

                  Hellfire II missile system


                  Thermobaric version of the Hellfire

                  Hellfire thermobaric warhead using a metal augmented explosive charge is used primarily in urban warfare, against bunkers, buildings caves and other concealed targets. This warhead is designed to inflict greater damage in multi-room structures, compared to the Hellfire’s standard or blast-fragmentation warheads. The Metal Augmented Charge or MAC (Thermobaric) Hellfire, designated AGM-114N, has completed rapid development cycle in 2002 and was deployed during OIF by US Marines Helicopters in Iraq. The new warhead contains a fluorinated aluminum powder that is layered between the warhead casing and the PBXN-112 explosive fill. When the explosive detonates, the aluminum mixture is dispersed and rapidly burns. The resultant sustained high pressure is extremely effective against enemy personnel and structures. The AGM-114N is designed for deployment from helicopters such as the AH-1W or UAVs such as the Predator drones.

                  This is what they are putting on Predator and Reaper drones nowadays. Read up all the technical specs, features and options.

                  How is mankind so ingenious, politicians so willing to fund these weapon programmes, yet child poverty and illiteracy is still rife?

                  As Commander Adama himself once questioned…do we really deserve to survive.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                PB: my point is that a war without end (like this one) is neither short nor cheap.

          • Gosman

            I remember the 1980’s. The left was always banging on how much defence was costing countries like the US.

            • Colonial Viper

              “Defense” You idiot, it’s the US Department of War. “Defense” is the PR term.

            • Draco T Bastard

              The mistake you make is that you believe things like aircraft carriers and the aircraft on them have anything to do with defense. They’re designed to project military power across the globe which means that they’re designed to prosecute offense against other nations.

              • Populuxe1

                I am not familiar with this magical approach to engineering – that’s like saying a gun can be specially defined for offense and defense. Engineering doesn’t recognise your ideological distinctions, it just does its job. If anything aircraft carriers exist to reduce the need to for any physical altercation through the implied threat of overwhelming force. Certain countries with border difficulties with China – Taiwan and the Philippines come to mind – find it reassuring.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Really, you can’t see any difference to a defensive installation that can’t be moved or has limited movement and something designed to cruise the entire world?

          • thatguynz

            Seemingly about as far as his lack of intelligence.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Nah Gossie, war without end is not cost effective. cf Sun Tzu.

          • Gosman

            I actually agree with you. I’m not a fan of the War on “Terror”. It just provides an excuse for dodgy practices and excesses by the State. However that doesn’t mean the actions carried out are illegal though. They certainly don’t constitute a war crime in my mind.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              They’re too stupid to be wrong.

              • Gosman

                Like most things in war (and life) some are and some aren’t. Aggressive military action against an insurgency can achieve the aim of reducing the effectiveness of that insurgency but usually only if coupled with political/diplomatic action. This is the part that tends to be lacking somewhat in these sorts of actions.

  5. captain hook 5

    I know what you mean about drones micky.
    gosman is boring me to death!

  6. One Anonymous Bloke 6

    Killing “bad people” doesn’t “hold them to account”. That would involve a judicial process.

  7. Gosman 7

    Killing one’s enemies certainly removes them from the equation going forward.

    • mickysavage 7.1

      Killing the children of people who were otherwise neutral about you creates enemies.

      • Gosman 7.1.1

        Most likely. Hence why that should be avoided.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          So, you’re arguing that this “good thing” “should be avoided”? Or are you simply providing evidence of your personal ethical poverty and confusion?

          • Gosman

            I’m agreeing that killing of non combatants such as children breeds greater resentment against the forces who carried out the attack and should be avoided for military as well as for the obvious ethical reasons.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              This could lead to OAB’s first law of assymetric warfare: thou shalt not attack thine martyr-fetishing religious enemy with explosives at a large family wedding, you stupid bastard, what were you thinking.

    • fender 7.2

      Those innocent children aren’t enemies you dropkick.

    • framu 7.3

      gosman – trooling so hard (as youve being doing so much of the last few days) to the point where youve basiclly thrown your humanity out the window to keep your sordid game going isnt a very good look

  8. Will@Welly 8

    Let’s look at the legalities of this. Daryl Jones was a New Zealander living in Australia. He had gone off and joined the Taliban. Essentially he was a mercenary, a ‘free agent’ fighting abroad. He was not ‘fighting’ against the New Zealand Government.
    The last ‘crime’ still to be punishable by capital punishment was treason, but even that has been abolished.
    So what ‘crime’ was Daryl Jones committing? For the GCSB to track him, then to hand that information over to another Government’s agency, that led to his death, is truly astounding.
    He was a private individual.
    If you or I take exception to what this Government decrees, are we likely to suffer similar retribution?
    John Key’s answer is yes!

    Thanks Micky for a great post. This has weighed heavily on my conscience for sometime. This shows how corrupt our Government has become.

    The killing of children is a consequence of these actions. As can be seen here in New Zealand with child poverty, John Key neither cares nor worries about future generations. Shonkey is all about the money

    • Gosman 8.1

      Mercenaries aren’t protected by the same set of conventions as other combatants.

      • Johnm 8.1.1

        For f’s sake someone put some pet food down for Gossy so he’ll calm down for awhile and give us peace! Our very own right wing pussy :-)

      • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1.2

        It would be “interesting” to see a lawyer make a case that Daryl Jones was a mercenary. Mercenaries get paid, not indoctrinated.

      • Populuxe1 8.1.3

        Nor for that matter are terrorists, especially terrorists and mercenaries in active hostilities with our nominal allies.

        • Colonial Viper

          Meh, more Pentagon legal fictions to get around whatever international law and human rights conventions there are in order to do whatever the fuck they want, when they want, how they want.

          • One Anonymous Bloke


            People in the CIA, for example, know this shit. They know what the current ruling cabal is doing is illegal. Look at the power struggle going on over torture, as though the stupid bastards learned nothing from Salem.

            Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens. Schiller.

            • Populuxe1

              Unsere Freunde zeigen uns, was wir tun können; unsere Feinde uns lehren, was wir tun müssen. Goethe.

              • felix

                Could you please walk me through what that quote means in terms of us, our friends, and our enemies in the current context?

  9. A.Ziffel 9

    Micky, does Labour have a policy on this subject?

    • mickysavage 9.1

      There is nothing specific in the policy platform but from the comments made by various Labour MPs I am sure that they will be opposed. There is a general statement that “Our international vision is for a peaceful, nuclear weapon-free, prosperous, and interconnected world where … human rights and differences are respected …

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        Just playing devils advocate. How about a more specific question Mickey: “would Labour support the use of US military drone strikes in carefully vetted and legal operations designed to help safeguard the safety and security of NZ and allied soldiers in Afghanistan? If not, why not?”

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          What will the sixth Labour government do to realign foreign policy? Will such realignment be a part of the review of the GCSB? What if any changes will be made to agreements with Five-Eyes partners in this regard?

  10. Johnm 10

    NZ and the U$ are not in a state of war with Yemen. Therefore the killing of a New Zealand citizen is murder by Shonkey’s U$ bosses. Is that not clear? Shonkey has endorsed murder.What is not crystal clear about that I ask?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1

      They could attempt to make a case for justifiable homicide. I’d still like to see them hauled before a judge so their sorry-ass lawyer can try it.

    • Populuxe1 10.2

      Al-Qaida declared war on the US rather spectacularly and have not ever, as far as I am aware, pressed for peace talks. They are therefore enemy combatants and the Yemeni government has given the US permission to pursue them on their territory. You don’t have a case.

      • Colonial Viper 10.2.1

        Meh. How can a bunch of people the US insists are non military enemy combatants “declare war”? How can that declaration possibly justify the US invasion of countries who had nothing to do with 9/11? And how is it that Saudi Arabia, where the vast majority of 9/11 attackers came from, was not attacked by the US itself?

        • thatguynz


        • Populuxe1

          Meh. Empty rhetoric. Paramilitary if you insist – they inflict targeted strikes, are organised, have funds, have weapons, seek more weapons, and god help us if they get their hands on a Pakistani or North Korean nuke. If it walks like a duck it can declare war.

          The second Iraq war was wrong. Not arguing it. Red herring on your part, though I’m not particularly sad to see Saddam gone. However it’s quite a different thing if you have the permission of the legitimate government as in Afghanistan or Yemen. Pakistan is murkier, but then again given the stupid games their generals were playing, who knows.

          Saudi. Given that you seem to be under the impression that Johnny al-Qaeda’s vague one time NZ citizenship somehow makes him our responsibility, I’m pretty fucking glad it doesn’t work that way. Given that the US once funded Osama themselves, perhaps they should blow themselves up. Unless Al-Qaeda is acting on the direct orders of the Saudis, which I doubt, I don’t see what you’re on about except to perhaps draw attention to the need to change your nappy.

  11. Wayne 11

    On last Tuesday, Diplosphere, a new think tank in Wellington, held a forum on this subject in the Beehive Theater. It was Chatham House rules but I am sure they have a summary on their website. About 150 present.

    The speakers were Paul Buchanan, Nicky Hagar, Professor Jackson of Otago, Professor Costi of VUW, Professor Campbell McLachlan of VUW and myself.

    A range of views of the legality of drone strikes. Pretty much everyone agreed they were legal in an armed conflict, as in Afghanistan, though for some that was a pretty reluctant agreement. It was generally accepted that international law allows enemy combatants to be engaged by military means. I would note that an armed conflict has different rules to the use of force that could be used by police.

    Much less agreement on their use in say Yemen, even if it is proved the targets were Al Qaeda leaders running training camps in the desert beyond the jurisdiction of the Yemen govt, but where the Yemen govt has given the green light for their use. The majority view was they were illegal in all circumstances, but there was a range of views if there is actual evidence of Al Qaeda planning a specific attack from their base.

    A bit of discussion on the Bin Laden raid. Some were of the view that it was illegal. Others, including myself, accepted that it was legal. All agreed that the US forces should have tried to arrest him (if that was reasonably practicable) and try him in a court.

    • Gosman 11.1

      The question though is if they are illegal does being involved with an attack mean you have committed a specific war crime (i.e. one that would carry a penalty at say the Hague War Crimes Tribunal) and if so what would the crime be exactly?

      • Wayne 11.1.1

        Well, you would have to do a lot more than simply being a member of “5 eyes” and advising that a New Zealander had joined Al Qaeda.

        If that was all that was required, just about every democracy, and quite a few other nations would be at risk of being declared complicit, since most democracies share intelligence on who is active in Al Qaeda. And so they should.

        An interesting comparison can be made between the Somali pirates and Al Qaeda. There is an international maritime mission against the pirates. It involves all sorts of nations. Usually the pirates are arrested and tried.

        But in some instances there will be a battle. It always turns out bad for the pirates – see the Tom Hanks movie as an example.

        What is the difference between pirates and Al Qaeda? Well the pirates are not planning to blow up the international flight you might want to travel in, or the hotel you intend to stay in. So there is a different risk assessment of impact of loosing track of pirates and of Al Qaeda operatives.

        But that begs the question of whether the threshold for attacking Al Qaeda with airstrikes (which is what drones strikes are) should be higher, i.e. be shown to planning an actual terrorist attack, as opposed to simply be training in explosives, weapons etc at the terrorist camp.

        International law requires that the threat of attack has to be imminent, and real, and that there is no other alternative. Does training of itself meet that requirement?

        • Colonial Viper

          International law requires that the threat of attack has to be imminent, and real, and that there is no other alternative. Does training of itself meet that requirement?

          Brilliant Wayne, I’m looking forward to yet another NZ militarised police action on some rural iwi “terrorist” group that’s in “training”. All cleverly justified up to and after the point, in front of cameras even. And that went so well, didn’t it. Don’t forget that not all Al Qaeda is bad Al Qaeda; apparently if you are Al Qaeda looking to take out Assad, you are good Al Qaeda and will get weapons and funding to continue war in Syria. And Iraq is now crawling with Al Qaeda ever since the US got rid of Saddam Hussein under the pretext that he was in with Al Qaeda but of course he was a secular leader who never permitted them in Iraq. FFS.

          Frankly, you keep talking as if ordinary people continue to trust the interpretations and judgements of ‘the powers that be’ in these matters. Do you hear that dripping tap? That’s social trust in the political elite going away in the USA and in other western countries. (As an aside, just wait for the anti-Europe brigade to gain dozens more MPs in the European Union elections next week. Political irony 101). Closing in on single digit approval of Congress. Obama’s approval rating remains in the 40% range – mainly because he still gives a good speech. Where the latest Amnesty International survey found that 66% of Americans believe that if held by their own authorities they could, or would probably be tortured by their own government. No doubt it would be completely justifiably and legal, if it happened.

          In 2011 the US extrajudicialy droned Anwar al-Awlaki, a US born muslim, in Yemen, for being a terrorist (a label which in NZ got applied to people supposedly dressing up in surplus army fatigues and playing pretend war-games with .22s).

          Two weeks later they also drone killed his 16 year old son, a boy that was a US citizen who was not on any terrorism list. A US official later justified this killing as ‘well the kid should have had a more responsible father’.

          This is one case we know of. There will be many others that we don’t.


          Fuck this Wayne. The US Gov also has a bunch of very cleverly written memos justifying how all this activity is above board and necessary and of course, legal. And it’s a billion dollar business backing it all up and making it happen. But it is still wrong. I suppose if it ever gets found that NZer got killed unlawfully the NZ government could open up its wallet and offer his family US$100 in compensation and funeral costs.

          I hear that’s what they give Afghani relatives when drones happen to take out their family members by accident.

          • Gosman

            The West is not providing weapons to Al Qaida in Syria. They have taken great pains to try to ensure support is directed to other forces.

            • Colonial Viper

              Oh right. That kind of thing works really well, like providing the Iraqi army with thousands of light arms…which ended up in the hands of Shia and Sunni insurgents.

              Of course, the Saudis and the Qataris have no problem using money given to them from the US, to support Muslim jihadists in Syria. It’s nice how having “intermediaries” can keep ones own hands clean.

              • Gosman

                I agree it is very difficult to control once the weapons and other support is out of your hands but the West has made efforts to direct support to groups that are not linked with Islamic extremists. The Qataries on the other hand are not so discerning.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 11.2

      How do we persuade the US to give up their stupid illegal activities then? By shrugging our shoulders and passing the buck to them, as McCully did recently in the House? By shrugging his shoulders and offering us up for sale, like your party’s fuck-awful “Prime Minister™”, Dr. Mapp?

      Grow a pair man.

  12. JAK 12

    “It would be in pursuit of trying to hold to account very bad people”

    A line fed to the PM of New Zealand by his minders

    “would be” is a fail

    “trying to hold to account” not a legal concept, as far as I know

    “very bad people” resonates

    John does populist sound bites

  13. fisiani 13

    Please campaign on this at the election.
    Labour supports and hugs terrorists and their friends.
    National protects NZ from terrorism.
    Gee -that will lots of votes for Labour.

    • Naturesong 13.1

      National Government rips up the obligations New Zealand has under multiple international treaties and is complicit in war crimes.
      Resulting in increased risk of terrorism against New Zealand citizens.

      If assassination programs now win votes in New Zealand, our society is at grave risk.

      Don’t they teach history at school anymore?

    • Bearded Git 13.2

      Sounds like a pretty good thing to campaign on to me fizzy. I would rather lose the election than campaign on a shrug of the shoulders at indiscriminate killing of civilians. Key makes me sick.

      BTW IMO the terrorist threat is much over-hyped (like the so-called war-on-drugs). My guess is that more kids will die from polio in Pakistan due to the CIA hunt for Osama than were killed on 11/9/01 (about 2900).

      • fisiani 13.2.1

        Attitudes seen here regarding hugging the terrorists are typical of the McCarten style extreme Left that will make Labour unelectable. Carry on comrades. Better to lose with your ideals pristine than win with populism. On a 0-100 political Left-Right scale Labour/Greens are currently 10-55 whilst National are 40-85. Draw up a mean distribution graph and measure the area under the curve. In 2011 I calculated Labour/Greens as 15-60 That’s why it was so close. It will still be close in 2014. If NZF are not in Parliament then John Key will be PM. If NZF are in parliament then Winston will choose who is PM. Simple.

        • Pascal's bookie


          1st, why a normal distribution?

          2nd, if Nat is 40-85 why is there no party getting significant support to their right

          3rd You’re an idiot.

          • fisiani

            There is no right wing element to politics in NZ of any significant size. 95% of New Zealanders including ACT and the Conservatives would fit within the Democrat Party in the USA. No Party in NZ is compatible with Republicans and certainly only a few crackpots that would be Tea Party in style and content.

            • Pascal's bookie

              Still makes no sense fis.

              Coz if you’re talking about some spectrum of universally available political opinions, then all nz parties would be within a 5-10% band at the very outside.

              • fisiani

                All NZ political opinions do not extend to 0-10 and 90-100. NZ is essentially a Centre Left country which currently supports a Centre Right Government because the far left government in unacceptable.

  14. captain hook 14

    gee whiz; Labour supports detaining raving lunatics. up against the wall and spread ’em fishyannie!

  15. srylands 15

    These are seriously bad people. They deserve to die. I just do not see what the issue is. Anyway the USA will not give a toss what New Zealand thinks.

    What is your alternative? Arrest them? If there is clear evidence that these people are a danger to civilians in free countries, I have no issue with the USA military killing them. If New Zealanders get caught up in supporting terrorists then silly them.

    You will get zero traction on this as an election issue except amongst the loony left, and their votes are already set.

    Go after mainstream New Zealand.

    • mickysavage 15.1

      Do you include the kids who have been killed and who are referred to as “bug splats”?

      • felix 15.1.1

        You heard him micky. They are seriously bad kids and they deserve to die.

        • Colonial Viper

          And mainstream NZers apparently don’t care about a few kiddie “bug splats.” Shitlands said so, so it must be trues.

    • Naturesong 15.2

      Assassination = Good
      Rule of Law = Bad

      Yup, we understand your argument. It’s one of moral and ethical bankruptcy.

    • Kaplan 15.3

      Would you feel the same if drones were flying over your neighbourhood picking of ‘seriously bad people’ and the occasional innocent bystander?

      • Tracey 15.3.1

        slylands would never be around “those” kinds of people… he hangs with rich folks and they dont never do nottin bad, or at least dont get randomly bombed for it.

    • Pascal's bookie 15.4

      “If there is clear evidence that these people are a danger to civilians in free countries”

      Good for you. And I suppose you’re also happy to just take Mr. Anonymous Official’s word as evidence for that being the case too huh.

      What a fine citizen of a free country you are sry. Doubleplusgood, have a Victory gin.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 15.5

      “…they deserve to die…”

      “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them?”

    • Tracey 15.6

      The market says yeeeeeeeeeees

  16. Martin 16

    Goering was quite relaxed too at Nuremburg War trials

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      And shipping Jews and gypsies off to concentration camps was made entirely legal at the time, approved by the German courts, even. So, no problem.

      • Tracey 16.1.1

        and the us made quite alot of money staying out of that war…

        • Colonial Viper

          The US made quite a lot of money selling machine tools and technology to German factories before the war, as well as providing finance to German industry.

          • Populuxe1

            And…. Godwin

            • Tracey

              do you mean the US didnt make lots of money selling stuff to the germans which was used in part to keep jews, communists, the disabled, gypsies, homosexuals in camps and experimented on and executed?

              Otherwise your “godwin” is just a lazy way to try to shut down an argument you don’t care for.

  17. hoom 17

    There are a lot of bad guys in the world perpetrating crimes that have massive real effect on economies & peoples lives, but those guys tend to get short sentences that are reduced on appeal if they don’t get let off on technicalities, if they ever even get taken to trial.

    Why do those guys get proper finicky legal procedure but its OK to just blow these other guys up?

    I say governments should try applying the same standard of evidence & level of punishment to Corporate fraud, Tax Avoidance & similar ‘white collar’ type crimes for a while.

    Lets see just how ‘comfortable’ these guys are with it then.

  18. Clemgeopin 18

    Another serious worry is this :
    Today, USA has the ability to go to any country it chooses and kill any person it chooses for any reason it chooses.
    In the not too distant future, what is there to stop any other country or countries to develop even more powerful, more sophisticated, radar undetectable drones, satellites and stuff and cause havoc to US and other countries and to their civilians either to avenge all this or as a new kind of terrorist for new kind of misadventure?
    Isn’t US by its actions unwittingly sowing the seeds of unimaginable consequences for all of us?

    • Draco T Bastard 18.1

      Who said that they were unwitting?

      • Clemgeopin 18.1.1

        Are you saying that US is wittingly sowing the seeds of unimaginable consequences for all of us? Is sowing the seeds of unimaginable consequences their actual ‘intention’?

        • Draco T Bastard

          I’m not saying it, I’m suggesting it as a possibility.

          A few studies and books have outlined that atrocities committed by one society in another tends to get blow back in the initiating society. It is unlikely that the US Administration is unaware of these findings and fear has been used as a form of societal control before.

          • Colonial Viper

            US specialists know full well the dynamics of arms races. They may not be “intentionally” creating ‘unimaginable consequences’ but arems races are highly predictable – they know that the more they visibly arm themselves up the more it will also happen internationally.

            BTW this is not a negative; it is in fact a most profitable state of affairs for companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

    • Gosman 18.2

      The US doesn’t have the ability to go to any country it likes and carry out drone attacks. It couldn’t do this in China or Russia for example and it is unlikely to do do in places like Japan or Australia.

      • Colonial Viper 18.2.1

        Gossie you have no fucking idea what US and Israeli made drones are or aren’t capable of, and with hundreds of bases on foreign soil right around the world, plus global US mil satellite comms, I would say the reach of these drones is far and wide.

        Nice though you think that Russian and Chinese civilians may be the ones who are safest from being droned.

      • Tracey 18.2.2

        Of course they have the ability to go to china or russia with their drones, and they could. They don’t because of the level of retaliation… you know, some of their civilians might die in a retaliatory attack.

        • Colonial Viper

          uh, they don’t care what happens to their own civilians in any kind of retaliatory attack (after all lack of public healthcare in the USA kills tens of thousands a year at a minimum, but so what?); but they definitely don’t want US banking and corporate interests in China or Russia to be damaged.

          • Tracey

            You know, look what happened when 2000 died on their shores, imagine if they lost the numbers that others have lost in wars in the 20th century alone…

            • Colonial Viper

              Paying honour to 2000 dead by killing a million more (not hyperbole, direct and indirect deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere).

              • Tracey

                that was my point. Look at their reaction to losing (relatively speaking) only 2000 civilians on their home soil. They know China and Russia have the ability and ideological will to do severe damage on US soil.

          • Populuxe1

            Actually they kind of do – in case you haven’t noticed, the drive to use drones and remote warfare in the first place is because the domestic US population is over the whole thing of their kids coming home in body bags. That may not penetrate the tinfoil hat of your confirmation bias, but I’ll leave it there anyway.

      • Clemgeopin 18.2.3

        The reason US may not attack such countries is not because it does not have the capability to do so, but because of political, economic, military and PR considerations. China and Russia are capable of counter attack in various ways while Japan and Australia are allies.

        US does not have similar restrains in engaging with nations such as Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

        In my opinion, US has escalated the future danger to all of us. They must find a better more intelligent way of making this world a better place.

        • Populuxe1

          The US isn’t engaged with Yemen, Afghanistan or Pakistan. There is no state of war.

  19. Lloyd 19

    Lets ignore the morality of killing people who associate with people who are probably involved in organisations that bomb or shoot other people. Lets look at the real and potential collateral damage of what US military and CIA have done .

    Bombing someone in the midst of a populated area with occasional random civilian deaths means that the bombed person (“terrorist”) and the surrounding population are seen by the surrounding population as the common target. (Ask New Yorkers, did they feel targeted after 9-11?). Each drone strike in Pakistan probably generates several future jihadists for each “terrorist” killed. Drone strikes must be a failing policy as it means that the US is not reducing the number of people willing to take violent action against the US (and any Kiwi), but is increasing the threat.

    Using polio vaccination as a means of spying just gives a real reason for negative attitudes of ignorant mullahs to oppose polio vaccination programmes. The lack of elimination of polio in the world is probably a much greater threat to residents of both the USA and New Zealand than being killed by a terrorist. Tourists or refugees can pick up the disease from the Muslim areas that still have the disease endemic in some parts of the population and cause an outbreak in the western world fairly easily. Considering the 60 or so medical workers in Pakistan who have been killed attempting to eliminate polio as the only collateral damage is simplistic and ignorant.

    You and I are both potential collateral damage from the US drone killing and the polio vaccination spying programmes.

  20. Colonial Viper 20

    The most advanced military drones and operational doctrine came from…ISRAEL

    This is where the US got it all from. Israel developed an extensive military drone capability to take on the Palestinians and passed it all on to the USA for millions in profits.

    • Draco T Bastard 20.1

      And they got Shock & Awe from Germany.

      Failure to learn from enemies and allies is a quick way to being overwhelmed.

      Now, if they’d just learn from history.

      • Gosman 20.1.1

        Blitzkrieg is not the same as Shock and awe. There are quite major differences.

        • Colonial Viper

          Please list 4. Doctrinal differences please, not technological or tactical ones.

          • Gosman

            Shock and awe is based on ovewhelming dominance, especially in airpower, theatre wide whereas Blitzkrieg is more about the selected use of firepower at a local level to achieve temporary dominance to overwhelm the enemy in that location.

            Shock and awe is aimed at destroying the enemy’s comand and control infrastructure up front and lower their fighting effectiveness before the use of ground forces by dominating the airspace. Blitzkrieg is utilising ground forces to break through and bypass main areas of enemy resistance and then sew confusion amongst the enemy by attacking the main lines of communication.

            Blitzkrieg was designed to counter an enemy that was around equal strength. Shock and awe does not work against an enemy that has parity in strength.

            Blitzkrieg is about rapid movement of forces away from contact with the enemy. Shock and awe is about application of firepower against that enemy.

            • Draco T Bastard

              The first time I read about the Blitzkrieg it described it exactly the same way as you’ve just done. It was a while ago and the book was old even then.

              And, after all that, what makes you think that the US didn’t get the idea of Shock and Awe from Germany’s use of Blitzkrieg?

              Silly question of course as all you’re doing is engaging in diversion.

  21. felix 21

    Couple of years ago we had “good intel” that there were “terrorists” in NZ running “training camps” with “weapons and explosives”.

    Good to see all these righties – including John Key – would have supported drone strikes in the Ureweras.

    Sure a few kids might’ve died, but these were very bad people.

    • Colonial Viper 21.1

      And the kids should have had more “responsible parents”…(link in a comment I have in moderation)

    • One Anonymous Bloke 21.2

      Nah, the righties know they wouldn’t get away with it unless there’d been some actual terrorism…

      • Colonial Viper 21.2.1

        While the lefties thought they could get away with a simple police/SIS/special forces op.

  22. tricledrown 22

    Shocl awe different than blitzkreig.
    Yeah right only for marketing purposes.
    Droning on gos.
    Drone killings are turning more and more people into terrorists.
    Formet CIA intelligence officers have complained while it may be a good shory term solution longterm the resentment built up by indiscriminanent killings is encouraging more terrorists to take up arms.
    Its Lazy warfare.
    Of course the Right wing war mungers love it as right winger only can think shorterm and simple solutions.
    The US empire is desperately trying to hold on to its dominant position at all costs bringing home body bags is not a popular political solution.

  23. Tracey 23

    Did the herald and stuff online miss the Banks trial yesterday? can’t find their summaries in today’s front pages.

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    1 week ago
  • Nats still dragging feet on GST after 7 years
    National is still dragging its feet on applying GST to products bought from overseas and not giving small business a fair go, despite being in government for seven years, says Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “The best Todd McClay can… ...
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  • Ministry covers up damning NCEA report
    New documents show the Education Ministry succumbed to political pressure and covered up an attempt to help hundreds of special needs students at our poorest schools during their NCEA exams, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. "Figures just released show… ...
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  • Ministry covers up damning NCEA report
    New documents show the Education Ministry succumbed to political pressure and covered up an attempt to help hundreds of special needs students at our poorest schools during their NCEA exams, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. "Figures just released show… ...
    1 week ago
  • Ratepayers ripped off to support Ruataniwha
    The decision by the Central Hawkes Bay Council to abandon their present free water supply and buy water from the controversial Ruataniwha dam is a disgrace, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.  “This is nothing less than an attempt to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ unemployment now worse than Australia
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    2 weeks ago
  • It’s black and white: National caught out
    The Government has been caught red-handed trying to hide the fact its MPs have been using taxpayer money for political campaigning, says Labour’s State Services spokesman Kris Faafoi. Documents released to Labour under the Official Information Act reveal National List… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Independence of the ERO called into question
    The independence of the Education Review Office has been seriously called into question following news they re-wrote a damning report on the state of early childhood education following pressure from the government, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “The Education… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Hardship tailored to suit government coffers
    The Government appears to have magic-ed a figure out of a hat to base its child poverty policy on, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Official figures show there are 305,000 New Zealand children now living in poverty, based on… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ falls down OECD unemployment ranks
    New Zealand is now 15th in the OCED for unemployment – a big drop from first ten years ago, Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Our current OECD ranking is the equal worst we have had since the 1990s. The two… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Foreign buyers ban will achieve what Govt failed to
    Labour’s Member’s Bill to ban foreign buyers from purchasing existing homes will achieve what the Government failed to in its Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Government should adopt the Overseas Investment (Protection of New… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Christchurch build a joke
    Housing New Zealand has built just one house in the past month in Christchurch, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams.  “If Housing New Zealand continues to only build one house a month it will be 2050 before the Government… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Detainees belong in Australia, not New Zealand
    The detainees from Christmas Island and those being held in detention centres throughout Australia belong in that country and should not be returned to New Zealand, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “John Key wants to have these people back in… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour backs gender equal New Zealand
    The Government must reverse the trend of women going backwards and immediately implement the National Council of Women’s recommendations for a gender equal New Zealand, Labour’s spokesperson for Women Sue Moroney says. “National’s disregard for the experiences of women has… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joy on streets but challenges ahead for Myanmar
    With Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition party looking to have won a landslide victory in Myanmar’s first proper democratic election in decades the next big challenge will be the smooth handing over of power by the current military-backed government, Labour’s… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Patients waiting in more pain for operations
    Kiwis needing hip or knee replacements continue to face a postcode lottery when it comes to levels of care with more than half the country’s DHBs increasing surgery pain thresholds over the last three years, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ratepayers could subsidise Ruataniwha dam after secret meeting
    A secret meeting tomorrow of the Central Hawkes Bay District Council may foreshadow a council bid to abandon their current town water supply and buy water from the Ruataniwha project, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.  “This appears to be… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • No Plan B for Southern Response
    Gerry Brownlee has no Plan B for cost overruns in Southern Response’s repair programme, says Labour’s Canterbury Issues spokesperson Megan Woods. “Earlier this year, Southern Response warned their balance sheet was being put at risk by higher than expected numbers… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Increasing risks as housing contagion spreads
    Bill English’s failure to diversify the economy or control the housing bubble is increasing the risks to financial stability identified by the Reserve Bank Governor today, Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Graeme Wheeler must be getting sick of sounding like… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Enough is enough as dam deadline looms
    Today is D Day for assessing the viability of the Ruataniwha Dam and its backers still have to offer up some concrete answers on the future of the scheme, says Labour’s Spokesperson for Water Meka Whaitiri.   “The Hawkes Bay Regional… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Groser bungle means Koreans can ban NZ buyers but we can’t ban theirs
    Trade Minister Tim Groser has been forced to admit in Parliament that South Korea can ban New Zealanders buying Korean homes after refusing to acknowledge this previously, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker says “National has blundered badly… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PM has lost his moral compass over Christmas Island
    John Key is showing his weak leadership and refusal to do what is morally right by not raising human rights abuses of New Zealand born Australians on Christmas Island with Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition leader Andrew Little says. “This was a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Private tertiary education in freefall under National
    A major private tertiary education group now being investigated for providing false data to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) shows the sector is in freefall, says Labour’s Tertiary Education Spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “Quantum Education Group QT Limited, a subsidiary of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Public health about people not headlines
    The health sector is at breaking point with DHBs looking to cut services as they struggle to balance their books, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “National has underfunded health to the tune of $1.7 billion over six years. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour will use buying power to create jobs
    Labour will use the government’s $40 billion in buying power to create jobs and back local businesses by requiring suppliers to make job creation in New Zealand a determining factor for contracts, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. "Since I became… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Millions of hours owed in annual leave compromising patient care
    Health workers, struggling with heavy workloads and under pressure to do more with less, are owed almost $500 million in overdue annual leave, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. "Figures released to Labour under the official Information Act show staff… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ground-breaking new policy to make homes cheaper
    Labour’s ground-breaking new policy on reforming planning rules will make housing more affordable, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Labour will free up density and height controls to allow more medium density housing and reform the use of urban growth… ...
    2 weeks ago

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