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“He Toki Huna New Zealand In Afghanistan” – Maori TV

Written By: - Date published: 8:49 am, April 25th, 2013 - 34 comments
Categories: accountability, afghanistan, International, Maori Issues, news, spin, us politics, war - Tags: , , ,

Last night Maori TV screened an excellent documentary He Toki Huna New Zealand in Afghanistan (by Kay Ellmers and Annie Goldson).  It is now available for viewing on Maori TV’s website.

It explores the role of NZ in Afghanistan, particularly through following the investigations of jounrlait Jon Stephenson.  The camera goes with him around the streets and in the living areas in Afghanistan. It looks beyond the US-supporting government PR.  Afghanis tell of exactly how useful they see the role of the Kiwi forces there.

The documentary is as much about investigative journalism as it is about Kiwis in Afghanistan.  Mike McRoberts talks in a low key, down-to-earth way about Jon Stephenson’s work and about travelling with the NZ services in Afghanistan.  Nicky Hager and other Kiwis provide commentary in between the footage shot in Afghanistan: footage that tends to have the raw immediacy of foreign correspondents, following the story in the field.

Sally Woodfield provides a review and some background to the documentary in this Scoop article.

He-Toki-Huna-military-425wide

Scoop article caption: “The SAS on patrol somewhere in Afghanistan during the making of the documentary He Toki Huna. Image: Lionel de Coninck”

Commissioned by Māori Television and directed and produced by award-winning filmmakers Annie Goldson (Brother Number One, An Island Calling) and Kay Ellmers (Canvassing the Treaty, Polynesian Panthers) through Occasional Productions, the documentary gives an overview of the engagement, and backgrounds some of Afghanistan’s turbulent history to provide context to the post 9/11 invasion.

Dr Goldson said the documentary sheds light on our recent past and holds valuable lessons for the future.

“By joining in the war post-911, have we been ‘good global citizens’ fighting the good fight against international terrorism? Or did New Zealand enter into an alliance that has meant our soldiers have been actively and militarily involved in a complex conflict that most of us know little about and have not agreed to participate in?” …

Māori Television general manager of programming Haunui Royal said He Toki Huna: New Zealand in Afghanistan is an important documentary that all New Zealanders should see.

Powerful reminder
“We hope that it will generate meaningful discussion and encourage Kiwis to talk about the reasons behind New Zealand’s decision to send troops to Afghanistan.

“Many of those who died while serving in Afghanistan were Māori so the documentary will also serve as a powerful reminder of the huge sacrifices our soldiers and their whanau have made over the past 10 years.”

Well worth a watch.  I will view it more than once, as an example of, by and about excellent Kiwi journalism.

34 comments on ““He Toki Huna New Zealand In Afghanistan” – Maori TV”

  1. Paul 1

    I agree- an excellent documentary. It’s heartening to see such great journalism still.
    Does anyone know if it can be purchased?

  2. ianmac 2

    Sobering but a must watch. Probably there has always been a gap between the image for the home audience and the grim reality. But you weep for the people of Afghanistan.

  3. Morrissey 3

    He Toki Huna: New Zealand In Afghanistan
    by Kay Ellmers and Annie Goldson

    Maori Television, 8:30 p.m., Wednesday 24 April 2013

    Some impressions and jottings from a cursory first viewing….

    1.) Instead of the usual assortment of political deadbeats, professional time-servers, paid liars and mealy-mouthed “comedians” that usually comment on our “involvement” in Afghanistan, this documentary went to people who really know what they are talking about. So during the hour, we were privileged to hear the insights of such people as James Fergusson, the author of an acclaimed history of the Taliban; Donald Matheson, senior lecturer in journalism at Canterbury University; journalists Nicky Hager, Jon Stephenson, Mike McRoberts and Ali Safi; and even the odd honest New Zealand soldier, namely the Army patrol man Alpha Kennedy.

    2.) Of course, to balance out the rigorous analysis and honesty, Goldson presented us with a gruesome line-up of liars and scoundrels, but they were shown up for what they are, rather than being treated seriously as they usually are in the obedient corporate media. These liars and scoundrels included: the new NZ Defence Force chief Dave Gawn; the “civilian director” of the Provincial Reconstruction Team, Richard Prendergast; U.S. General John R. Allen; NZ Chief of Defence Rhys Jones; former Defence Minister Wayne “Inane” Mapp; Commander Shaun Fogerty of the NZDF; and “Not So Honest” John Key.

    3.) Nicky Hager revealed a leaked internal memo that set out the government’s and army’s PR strategy: “simply repeat at all times that we are not going to war in Afghanistan, we are going there to assist in reconstruction.”

    4.) When NZDF chief Dave Gawn was confronted with this, he blithered: “I’m not familiar with the document he’s talking about. But consistent messages are important. Otherwise you’re all over the show.”

    5.) Jon Stephenson actually did something radical: he went out and interviewed some Bamiyan locals. Their responses completely undermine what our Government and Army officials have been saying for ten years. While the Hazara people in Bamiyan acknowledge the NZ soldiers have done some effective security work, they dismissed the idea that the Kiwis have done any useful reconstruction—which is what they are supposed to be doing there. The verdict of the young men being interviewed: “It’s a joke. Their reconstruction efforts were of no use.” ….. “They built my school, badly. It’s falling down already.” The projects were damned as piecemeal, and amateurish.

    6.) New Zealand soldier Alpha Kennedy: “We have to ask ourselves: would we tolerate the presence of foreign soldiers in New Zealand? The Afghan resistance is very similar to the Maori tribes fighting the British invaders in the nineteenth century.”

    7.) Mike McRoberts: “Our presence in Bamiyan attracts resistance. We draw fighters into Bamiyan by the very fact we are there.”

    8.) Television footage of street demonstrations following the Qu’ran burnings by U.S. troops. Major General Gawn has an answer ready: “There are a hundred thousand American troops in Afghanistan. There will always be a few bad apples.” Gen. John R. Allen tries to muster up every bit of gravitas he can as he assures the U.S. television audience that those responsible for the Qu’ran burnings “will be tracked down.”

    9.) The Taliban are far more popular than the foreign press would have us believe. Even the many Afghans who do not care for the Taliban admire them for taking the fight to the occupation forces. Even in Kabul, support for the Taliban is open and widespread. Major General Dave Gawn acknowledges the frustrations of fighting against guerrillas: “They are an insurgency. They don’t wear a uniform. They live amongst the population.” Such frustration was also voiced by the Germans in Yugoslavia in the 1940s, by the Americans in South Vietnam in the 1960s, and the Russians in, errrr, Afghanistan in the 1980s.

    10.) Nicky Hager: “The Taliban is the name for anyone who doesn’t like us.”

    11.) Footage of Rhys Jones and Wayne “Inane” Mapp blithering confusedly about SAS troops being there to “mentor” the Afghan “forces”, and then being immediately undercut by the infamous photo of Willie Apiata and an SAS comrade striding through Kabul, with guns smoking. Commander Shaun Fogerty sounds off about the publication of the photo: “very disappointing.”

    12.) New Zealand has little history of journalists confronting official lies. Nicky Hager: “The ideology of the heroic soldier is almost beyond question. To even question the mission—not the soldiers, but the mission—is heresy.”

    13.) The documentary effectively and damningly shows the hurried official attempt to cover up the truth of the botched mission that led to the death of SAS Corporal Douglas Grant. Lt. Gen. Rhys Jones comes across as particularly dishonest, but he is the embodiment of Truthfulness when compared to Prime Minister John Key, who reiterates obvious lies at a press conference, then refuses to answer any questions.

    14.) Another damning clip of Key, this time spinning his lies on TV One’s Breakfast programme, while interviewer Corin Dann sits mute and bewildered, as usual.

    15.) As the documentary nears its end, even Major General Dave Gawn allows himself to acknowledge reality: “I’d be very guarded about whether the insurgency is growing.”

    16.) James Fergusson: “We are pursuing exactly the same strategy as the Russians did.”

    17.) Donald Matheson: “It is the job of New Zealand journalists to help us work out what has happened.”

    18.) Jon Stephenson: “It’s the job of journalism to hold the powers-that-be to account.”

    19.) Interestingly, this documentary was preceded by a warning that it contained language that could offend. There was actually no swearing at all on the programme, so I presume this was a sly critique of what we were about to hear from Gawn, Jones, Allen, Prendergast, Fogerty, Mapp and Key.

    20.) I’ll leave the last word to an honest soldier, Alpha Kennedy: “The future is very, very grim.”

    • ghostrider888 3.1

      Thanks Morrissey; that is the Best precis of yours I have read yet; makes for “grim” reading indeed.

      • Morrissey 3.1.1

        Thank you, my friend. I thought the documentary was just excellent; I wonder if any other TV station will ever show it.

    • ianmac 3.2

      My summary of New Zealand In Afghanistan:
      The Russians came and when they went all hell let loose. Tribes fighting tribes . Mayhem.
      The Taliban asserted control Afghanistan style. Cruel but order restored.
      USA + allies invade. Taliban is the enemy and use arms that had been supplied by CIA . The population torn apart and punished by the bombs.
      NZ and other allies leave. Money dries up. Tribal forces rule.
      What will happen next?
      Chaos. The Taliban will step in and the awful cycle begins again

      • Morrissey 3.2.1

        Very good work, Ian. I disagree with just one thing: you write that the Taliban “will step in” once the “allies” leave. That implies that the Taliban is not already firmly in control of Afghanistan.

  4. Murray Olsen 4

    I was in Brazil when the government decided to commit to invading Afghanistan. I sent a few emails off to various politicians. In reply, I received one from Keith Locke’s deputy vice under temporary secretary acknowledging receipt of my message. I stated that I didn’t think we should be helping the Americans secure land to build a pipeline, that invading a country was not a proper response to an attack by a few fanatics who the Americans had used against Russia, and that the Taleban government had offered to turn Osama over for trial anyway.
    Helen Clark did not cover herself in glory by joining this adventure.

    • karol 4.1

      I remember going on the demonstrations in Auckland against Clark’s government committing to Afghanistan. The protest didn’t stop it happening.

      • Morrissey 4.1.1

        …demonstrations in Auckland against Clark’s government committing to Afghanistan.

        I think you meant to say “committing to the United States.”

        • karol 4.1.1.1

          Both – 2 in one. Committing to the US in Afghanistan… while the US moved on to Iraq.

  5. Wayne 5

    I realise that most people who read the posts here will have quite specific views of the reasons why New Zealand went to Afghanistan, but since I have had a direct involvement, and thus remain accountable I will give you my view.

    September 11was caused by Al Queada and their base was in Afghanistan. The Taliban Government was requested to remove them and turn over the leadership to US authorities. They were under clear notice that if they refused there was UN sanction to go and get them. As we know they did refuse and Afghanistan was invaded. New Zealand was involved from the outset.

    I recall Deputy Prime Ministers Andertons speech in Parliament in Sept 2001 committing New Zealands support. Given the history between the US and NZ (and I am not primarily considering the nuclear issue – the relationship is deeper than that) I do not think that NZ could have simply stood on the sidelines.

    Of course once the invasion had occurred and the Taliban government was removed, a new govt had to be established – not an easy task given the history of Afghanistan. This has all been authorised by UN resolutions. Could it have been done better – yes. The US diversion to Iraq meant the effort needed to successfully establish the new govt of Afghanistan during 2003 to 2007 did not really take place.

    ON my visits to the PRT it was obvious that NZ had not done enough civil aid work, yes some had been done, but soldiers are not really the best people to undertake long term reconstruction. Since 2008 permanent roads have been built linking the main towns, a hospital has been built, a Polytech has been built, and at long last permanent electricity systems are being established. Some of these things had started in 2007. Quite a lot of this has been done by partners, South Korea, Singapore and Saudi Arabia.There is now a lot more basic economic activity and more children go to school, basic health services are better. The Province has a vastly better infrastucture than ever before.

    Bamyan is mostly Hazara, and they have welcomed NZ, but the north east corner are Tajik and they have not. All our deaths have occurred up there. This will be a permanent challenge in Afghanistan, how to reconcile tribes that have historic deep enmities.

    The SAS contribution was to deal directly with establishing the authority of the central Govt. The prime way to do this was to train the Afghan Police Crisis Police Unit. This involved very comprehensive training, and effectively working directly with them on their missions in and around Kabul. That inevitably put the SAS in the direct line of fire and on occasion they had to take over the lead when events got too much for the less well trained CRU.

    Gen Mateparae and I knew that this would mean more SAS publicity than historically the case. The General authorised TV programmes on the SAS and also a book, so that New Zealanders had a better understanding of what the SAS does.

    As we know there were high profile events in Kabul and I gave interviews on all of them. It did not seem to me the option of “No Comment” would be credible, even though various defence commentators thought that should be the approach.

    When families have suffered the loss of a loved one they need to know what happened and how it happened. New Zealand needs to know that as well since service people serve on behalf of us all.

    As for the future of Afghanistan, well I don’t think the Taliban will simply takeover, but they will become involved in the governance. They seem to recognise they cannot be a base for international terrorists. Afghanistan will have a form of democratic govt supported financially for at least a decade to come. But is a tribal society and the tribes expect a large measure of local autonomy. It is also likely to remain a place where India and Pakistan will compete for influence and that will challenge stability in the region.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      You didn’t mention the major oil and gas pipelines planned to run through Afghanistan, needed to avoid routes involving Russia and Iran.

      Also that estimates suggested that there were 100 or fewer actual Al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan, most of the other fighters involved were there for tribal or family reasons.

      September 11was caused by Al Queada and their base was in Afghanistan.

      Levelling those bases is what standoff weapons like cruise missiles are for.

      As for the future of Afghanistan, well I don’t think the Taliban will simply takeover, but they will become involved in the governance. They seem to recognise they cannot be a base for international terrorists.

      How much heroin was produced in Afghanistan in 2012? Where did the money go?

    • Morrissey 5.2

      Maybe you would like to comment on the documented instances of New Zealand soldiers being bullied and harassed by U.S. goons into handing over captives to possible torture and/or summary execution, in violation of international law.

    • karol 5.3

      You write as if you were a main player, giving statements to the press, yet speak here anonymously. Puzzling.

    • freedom 5.4

      Thank you Wayne,

      That is a very pro forma statement that unsurprisingly ignores nearly every major point of conflict in the story. CV raises perhaps the most important questions, regarding oil and opium. I would like to add one:

      Do you have a comment on the statement from former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook that AlQaeda is little more than a fabrication of Government Intelligence Services and is controlled mainly by the CIA and its alphabet of international associates.

  6. Annie 6

    Maori TV have posted the film on their site and have the rights to show it 5 more times — we will at some point, release the film on DVD as it has strong educational potential. However, if I can eke out the time! we intend to edit a feature version for the NZ International Film Festival (about 70 mins). As always making documentary, one always has heaps of footage left on the cutting room floor and it would be good to incorporate more aspects of the story, and let it breathe a little more. TV tends to clip along at the faster pace while cinema can take its time.
    Thanks for all the support.

    • karol 6.1

      Thanks, Annie, for that info. A feature version would be great.

      The TV version is excellent and the release was very well timed.

  7. Wayne 7

    Karol, I understood that the readers of this site know that I am Wayne Mapp, given the nature of my previous contributions to various threads over the last twelve months and I certainly thought that you knew this. I have made it specifically clear in previous posts that I used to be the MP for North Shore.

    • Morrissey 7.1

      Good to see you on The Standard, Dr. Mapp. Now might be the perfect time for you to comment on the documented instances of New Zealand soldiers being bullied and harassed by U.S.soldiers into handing over captives to possible torture and/or summary execution, in violation of international law.

      • Wayne 7.1.2

        I have publicly spoken about this before. The NZ SAS protested about the treatment of the detainees by US forces (this was 2003 – I think). As I understand it this led to changes in procedures. The fact that NZ soldiers filed formal complaints reflected extremely well on them, they did not simply acquiesce in the situation.

        I would note that the documentary did not go over the material in the Metro article. Perhaps John Stephenson recognized that some of the material was wrong. For instance there was an allegation that NZ soldiers (in 2009 as I recall) handed detainees over to the Afghan police who were then mistreated by the Afghan police. The NZDF carefully checked this out (as with all the incidents in the article). NZ forces were not even in the area.

        It is possible that it was British SAS. Quite a number of NZ’ers have joined the British SAS, and the local Afghans could have thought it was the NZ SAS. John is heavily reliant on his Afghan sources, and as he said has had pretty limited resources, so it is a mistake that could easily occur. But this is really speculation on my part.

        The documentary relied pretty heavily on Nicky Hagars view of the Afghan situation. It is not a view held by successive NZ Govts. As I have stated, the Afghan Taliban Govt had the opportunity to hand over Al Quaeda, (or least facilitate their handover). This was a requirement of international law. Their failure to do so led to the invasion.

        And I don’t think cruise missiles would have worked. This had been tried by President Clinton and failed. As you saw with the Osama raid, success requires actual boots on the ground.

        Of course as Colin Powell has said “if you break it you have to fix it”. The Taliban Govt was removed by end of 2001. But a sustainable democratic Afghan Govt has been hard to achieve, given the history of the country.

        • Morrissey 7.1.2.1

          One would have thought that, as a cabinet minister, you would have acquired a degree of caution, and a modicum of judgement, and even a lick of common sense. I am sure that I am not the only person who will consider your choosing to quote someone as discredited as Colin Powell, and with apparent approval, as a troubling sign.

          I’ll deal with your claims about the SAS actions, or lack thereof, in detail later.

    • karol 7.2

      Thanks for clarifying, Wayne. Sorry I had missed picking up on your past references to your identity.

      Thanks for contributing your views on the issues.

    • lprent 7.3

      I’d have to admit that I wasn’t sure if you were “out” or not. I’ve seen you hinting at who you are and obviously I can see your e-mail*. We view that the only way that someone should or can be outed is if they explicitly do it themselves. So we act as if they have not until they explicitly out themselves.

      Anyhow, I’ll note that you’re now out with a semi-public handle.

      * At least until a certain bill gets close to passing in anything like its proposed form. At which point at an overseas server, the logs stop being collected. And all incoming and stored IP numbers and e-mail addresses get automatically and non-reversibly hashed. It will make it more of a pain administering this site as I’d have no idea who people are or where they’re coming in from. However it is a choice of doing that or having an essentially unconstrained anti-privacy law overriding our site rules. But you know that.. Right?

  8. ghostrider888 8

    US drone strikes make al-qaeda stronger.

  9. ianmac 9

    US drone strikes make al-qaeda stronger. ghostrider888
    And the awful truth is that distant pilots would never know what destruction they cause. Chilling.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Conduct a drone strike on a Khandahar village, then drive 15 minutes back home off base to have tea with the family and kids.

      That’s what I call civilised warfare.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 9.1.1

        Bzzt! Wrong.

        On top of being a war crime, drone strikes are a strategic blunder, but then US foreign policy has been a strategic blunder for decades.

  10. Peter Martin 10

    ‘September 11was caused by Al Queada and their base was in Afghanistan. The Taliban Government was requested to remove them and turn over the leadership to US authorities. They were under clear notice that if they refused there was UN sanction to go and get them. As we know they did refuse and Afghanistan was invaded. ‘

    Hmmm my recollection is along the lines that the Taliban were still engaged in the middle of a civil war against several remaining warlords and it is arguable,I think, that they were even in a position to hand over Bin Laden and his mates. However they did offer at least, if they could get them…to deliver them to a third country where due process of law could begin. In the first instance the Taliban wanted to see what evidence the US had that made Bin Laden guilty. I understand that at that stage..none was forthcoming from the US.

    As for the SAS ‘establishing the authority of the central Govt.’ I understand that Karzai would be lucky to have control over the suburb he lives in in Kabul.

    What a waste.

  11. George D 11

    Interesting comments from Wayne. I think that there was a fundamental failure of New Zealand to be able to understand the situation, and the consequent reliance on US intelligence and interpretations of that intelligence.

    This can be attributed in part to limited expertise in New Zealand on what Wayne notes is a complex part of the world that can be read in many different ways; and this in turn results from the parochialism and profit-focused nature of NZ universities, which have not been able to develop the comparable centres of expertise present in Australia, and a fundamental distrust within elite circles of critics and ‘outsiders’ with expertise.

    If NZ ever decides to invade Indonesia*, call me.

    *This is an impossibility, I’m joking.

  12. Jez 12

    Fascinating and brutally honest. It reminds me of NZs participation in the Vietnam war. I think we are here for the right reasons- to give the people a chance to have their voice heard

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  • Polity: Mike’s minute: Mike’s maths!
    Today, media ubiquity Mike Hosking took to nzherald.co.nz to vent his frustration at Labour for suggesting that it would re-convene the same Tax Working Group first used by National. He was clearly very upset.For Mike, Auckland’s housing crisis is a… ...
    17 hours ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    frogblogBy Denise Roche
    17 hours ago
  • Helter smelter deja vu: Tiwai Point uncertainty stalls NZ renewables
    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    18 hours ago
  • Helter smelter deja vu: Tiwai Point uncertainty stalls NZ renewables
    Simon Johnson looks at how New Zealand Aluminium Smelter Limited is behind the Meridian/Genesis deal keeping the Huntly Thermal Power Station burning coal as the threat of closing the Tiwai Point smelter is stalling the construction of consented renewable energy… ...
    Hot TopicBy Mr February
    18 hours ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    19 hours ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    frogblogBy Jan Logie
    19 hours ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    19 hours ago
  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.
    It's eight days since the Prime Minister airily assured Guyon Espiner on Morning Report that "in my experience with Work and Income", homeless people could go along to their local office and get sorted with some emergency housing.We now know… ...
    19 hours ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    frogblogBy Catherine Delahunty
    19 hours ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    frogblogBy Gareth Hughes
    20 hours ago
  • What we are expected to believe
    In recent months I have become increasingly concerned at the state of bullshit in this country. Bullshit, as Harry Frankfurt famously wrote, is distinguished not by its intentionally negative truth value (those are lies) but its absence of intentional truth… ...
    20 hours ago
  • The end of Auckland’s old growth model
    The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s public shark-jumping exercise the other week got me thinking. While their flagship policy of a new megabillion eastern tunnel project is a bit mad, their report does a reasonable job of diagnosing one… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    21 hours ago
  • The end of Auckland’s old growth model
    The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development’s public shark-jumping exercise the other week got me thinking. While their flagship policy of a new megabillion eastern tunnel project is a bit mad, their report does a reasonable job of diagnosing one… ...
    Transport BlogBy Peter Nunns
    21 hours ago
  • Why are whistleblowers being prosecuted as spies?
    Whistleblowers are a ‘check’ on government, corporate or organisational secrecy and malfeasance. I recently read Tim Shipman’s preview of the Chilcot report into the origins of the Tony Blair-led UK engagement in the US’s invasion of Iraq, which looked at… ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    21 hours ago
  • Spend and Tax
    As a general rule, New Zealanders want more public spending. Surveys (such as the 2014 Election Survey) show consistent support for increases in spending, particularly in the areas of health, education, housing, law enforcement, public transport and the environment (in… ...
    Briefing PapersBy Brian Easton
    22 hours ago
  • The birth place of the artist
    It may not be the best reason to fund the arts. It’s certainly not the only one. But travelling to the small city of Rovereto, at the feet of the Italian dolomites, reminded me of the lasting influence that a… ...
    Bat bean beamBy Giovanni Tiso
    1 day ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the rise of the far right, and battle bots
    In his victory speech at the Cannes film festival this week, the British film director Ken Loach warned that the rise of far right parties in Europe was being fuelled by the economic policies of austerity, and manifested in a… ...
    1 day ago
  • Why Corrections prevented Tony Robertson from getting treatment in prison
    Tony Robertson was sentenced to eight years in prison for indecently assaulting a five year old girl in 2005. He was considered a high risk prisoner and the parole board declined to release him on four separate occasions.  He was… ...
    PunditBy Roger Brooking
    1 day ago
  • Have We a Housing Policy?
    The Prime Minister’s announcement that there is nothing new about homelessness is both an example of his strengths in reassuring the public that there is never really a problem and the weaknesses of the government’s policy approach..read more ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 day ago
  • Have We a Housing Policy?
    The Prime Minister’s announcement that there is nothing new about homelessness is both an example of his strengths in reassuring the public that there is never really a problem and the weaknesses of the government’s policy approach..read more ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 day ago
  • Climate denial arguments fail a blind test
    As we saw in the recent legal ruling against Peabody coal, arguments and myths that are based in denial of the reality of human-caused global warming rarely withstand scientific scrutiny. In a new study published in Global Environmental Change, a team led by Stephen Lewandowsky… ...
    1 day ago
  • Palmerston North librarians gather to support UCOL colleagues
    At 5pm today at the UCOL Library, representatives of library staff from the City Library, Massey, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, and local schools will meet in a show of support for UCOL Library staff whose jobs are threatened. “We all… ...
    1 day ago
  • Accountability for Iraq?
    Six years after it was established, the Chilcot Inquiry into the UK's involvement in the Iraq war is finally about to report back. And from the sound of it, its going to pin the blame squarely where it belongs: on… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Accountability for Iraq?
    Six years after it was established, the Chilcot Inquiry into the UK's involvement in the Iraq war is finally about to report back. And from the sound of it, its going to pin the blame squarely where it belongs: on… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Not Quite But Getting There
    It seems that Labour might have finally gotten the memo about getting it’s A into G but perhaps not quite digested the content. Still it’s a start. The last month has seen a steady stream of both Labour and Little… ...
    2 days ago
  • Climate change: The latest inventory
    The annual inventory report [PDF] of our greenhouse gas emissions was released on Friday. The headline data: emissions are still increasing: There's been another "recalculation" in the last 12 months, making year-to-year comparisons difficult. Naurally, this seems to have shifted… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Climate change: The latest inventory
    The annual inventory report [PDF] of our greenhouse gas emissions was released on Friday. The headline data: emissions are still increasing: There's been another "recalculation" in the last 12 months, making year-to-year comparisons difficult. Naurally, this seems to have shifted… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Australia lets kiwi detainees literally rot
    What are our "closest friends" Australia doing to kiwis awaiting deportation? Letting them literally rot away in prison due to substandard medical care:A New Zealander held at an Australian immigration detention centre will find out today if his leg has… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Australia lets kiwi detainees literally rot
    What are our "closest friends" Australia doing to kiwis awaiting deportation? Letting them literally rot away in prison due to substandard medical care:A New Zealander held at an Australian immigration detention centre will find out today if his leg has… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • CRL already impacting land use on city fringe
    The City Rail Link will be one of the most transformational projects Auckland has ever seen. Perhaps nowhere else will see experience that transformation more than the inner west of the isthmus which effectively gets picked up and moved much closer to… ...
    2 days ago
  • CRL already impacting land use on city fringe
    The City Rail Link will be one of the most transformational projects Auckland has ever seen. Perhaps nowhere else will see experience that transformation more than the inner west of the isthmus which effectively gets picked up and moved much closer to… ...
    2 days ago
  • National should give us our $13,000 back
    We all know that National works for the rich and screw over ordinary New Zealanders to funnel wealth upwards into the pockets of its rich mates. But how bad have they been? $13,000 bad:Yesterday, Mr Little said that since National… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • National should give us our $13,000 back
    We all know that National works for the rich and screw over ordinary New Zealanders to funnel wealth upwards into the pockets of its rich mates. But how bad have they been? $13,000 bad:Yesterday, Mr Little said that since National… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Access: The Universal Basic Income and its implications for citizenship
    The suggestion about a possible Universal Basic Income (UBI) was only one of numerous suggestions to come out of Labour’s Future of Work initiative. This a wide-ranging policy discussion that the Party’s economic development spokesman, Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson,… ...
    2 days ago
  • Access: The Universal Basic Income and its implications for citizenship
    The suggestion about a possible Universal Basic Income (UBI) was only one of numerous suggestions to come out of Labour’s Future of Work initiative. This a wide-ranging policy discussion that the Party’s economic development spokesman, Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson,… ...
    2 days ago
  • Review: The Block Party
    Did New Zealand’s 'premier urban music' event live up to the hype?   Photo: Nicole Semitara Hunt ‘Old school’ was the name of the game on Friday night at The Block Party, where several thousand converged on ASB… ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: The media awards are dead – long live the media awards!
    Friday's Canon Media Awards was the most interesting instance of the long-running national ceremony in a long time, maybe ever. There were notable insurgencies – The SpinOff took two awards from 11 first-time nominations, Radio NZ's The Wireless won Website… ...
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: The media awards are dead – long live the media awards!
    Friday's Canon Media Awards was the most interesting instance of the long-running national ceremony in a long time, maybe ever. There were notable insurgencies – The SpinOff took two awards from 11 first-time nominations, Radio NZ's The Wireless won Website… ...
    2 days ago
  • New research confirms water fluoridation does not cause bone cancers
    The most common type of bone cancer is Osteosarcoma. Image credit:  Osteosarcoma This time for Texas. A new study confirms what other researchers have found elsewhere. It is reported in this recent paper: Archer, N. P., Napier, T. S., & Villanacci, J. F. (2016).… ...
    2 days ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • Selfie-takers think they’re the greatest
    Science says otherwise.  “People often perceive themselves as more attractive and likable than others [perceive them to be].” This is the cutting conclusion from a new study that has found you're probably not as great as you think you… ...
    2 days ago
  • UCOL cutting the staff who lifted student results
    UCOL needs to halt its proposed cuts to student support services now that it knows those services are improving student outcomes. On Friday, in an email to all staff, UCOL released its provisional 2015 Educational Performance Indicator (EPI) results which… ...
    2 days ago
  • Another Road Only Harbour Crossing on the Cards?
    The absence of rail as well as walking and cycling options to the North Shore has been considered an oversight by many probably ever since the Harbour Bridge was first approved for construction over 60 years ago. While Skypath will… ...
    2 days ago
  • Leaked UK Briefing Shows NZ-EU Trade Deal is a Sham
    Press Release – New Zealand First Party Rt Hon Winston Peters New Zealand First Leader Member of Parliament for Northland 23 MAY 2016 Leaked UK Briefing Shows NZ-EU Trade Deal is a Sham The Prime Ministers EU trade deal… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    2 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on bank scandals and air crashes
    Libor. It stands for the London Interbank Offered rate. Back in 2012, Libor became synonymous with a scandal involving the dodgy manipulation of how interest rates were fixed – during the years before and after the Global Financial Crisis –… ...
    2 days ago

  • Key’s “brain fart” on tax cuts news to English
    John Key didn’t tell his own Finance Minister he was about to go on radio and announce he wanted $3b of tax cuts, just days after Bill English ruled them out, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “In Parliament today… ...
    12 hours ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    13 hours ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    13 hours ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    17 hours ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    19 hours ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    19 hours ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    19 hours ago
  • Budget building materials policy backfires
    On the eve of this year’s Budget official figures show Nick Smith’s Budget 2014 centrepiece to reduce the cost of building materials has backfired, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials have spent the… ...
    19 hours ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    20 hours ago
  • Govt must come clean on tax cuts in Budget
    National is making a mockery of the Budget process by dangling the promise of tax cuts but failing to include them in the Budget, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “National’s tax cut promises have turned into a farce. One… ...
    2 days ago
  • Grant Robertson Pre-Budget Speech
    Today I want to talk about success. As we know success can come in many different forms, from the fact you all made it here at such an early hour on a Monday, for which I am very grateful, to… ...
    2 days ago
  • Budget must deliver for middle New Zealand
    The Government must ensure next week’s Budget stops the squeeze on middle New Zealand and delivers shared prosperity for all New Zealanders, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. The call follows new research commissioned by Labour that shows working… ...
    3 days ago
  • Our housing emergency – why we have to act
    Marama and Metiria at Homes Not Cars launch On Thursday, Metiria Turei announced the Green Party’s plan to start addressing the emergency housing crisis facing our country. Too many people are without homes right now – homeless. It is the… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    4 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    4 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    4 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    5 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    5 days ago
  • Car rego victims must get a refund
    Motorists who have been overcharged for their car registration should get a refund, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “Minister Nikki Kaye’s ‘faulty risk’ rating scheme has blown up in her face with over 170 different models of car having… ...
    5 days ago
  • Council statement shows they just don’t get it
    The Auckland Council’s statement today shows they don’t understand the problems created by the urban growth boundary, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “I have been the first to defend the Auckland City Council when Bill English has been blaming… ...
    5 days ago
  • Inspecting electronic devices a potential privacy threat
    Labour is expressing concern for New Zealanders’ privacy rights as the Government signals Customs will have the power to inspect electronic devices coming across the border, says Labour’s Customs Spokesperson Rino Tirikatene. “We agree that customs officers should have the… ...
    5 days ago
  • The Price of Water
    This week I hosted a public meeting at EIT in Hawkes Bay to discuss how we might put a price on the commercial use of water, so that water may be valued and treated more sustainably. I invited a… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    5 days ago
  • Caption It NZ!
    Today I received a petition from the NZ Captioning Working Group urging the government to legislate for accessibility via closed captioning for deaf and hard of hearing New Zealanders. It was timely because today is the fifth Global Accessibility Awareness… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    5 days ago
  • Older Kiwis to miss out on electives
    The Government is not doing enough elective surgery to keep up with New Zealand’s ageing population, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “It’s damning that the targeted national intervention rate for cataract and knee and hip surgery is the same… ...
    6 days ago
  • Most principals say their college is underfunded
    The Government must substantially increase funding for secondary schools in next week’s Budget after a new survey found 86 per cent of principals consider their college under-resourced, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Just 14 per cent of secondary principals… ...
    6 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    6 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour calls for independent inquiry into illegal fish dumping
    The Labour Party is reiterating its call for an independent inquiry into New Zealand’s fishing industry after two reports revealed the Ministry for Primary Industries turned a blind eye to widespread fish dumping in New Zealand waters, says Labour’s Fisheries… ...
    6 days ago
  • Mt Karangahake and Newcrest Mining
    On Wednesday and Sunday of last week the local residents of the Karangahake mountain in the Karangahake gorge of Hauraki/Coromandel peacefully protested against a gold mining drill rig on private land adjacent to the DOC land. The drilling rig was… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • Robbing Aucklanders to pay Rio Tinto
    New Zealand’s national electricity grid stretches the length of the country and contains some 11,803 kilometres of high-voltage lines and 178 substations. It wouldn’t make sense for competing power companies to duplicate and build their own expensive electricity transmission system… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    7 days ago
  • Government should abolish Auckland urban growth boundary
    The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Over 25 years the urban growth boundary hasn’t… ...
    7 days ago
  • Kiwis don’t want iPads for Land deals
     It is outrageous that schools are relying on money and iPads from foreign land investors to meet the learning needs of their students, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Several OIO land applications by offshore investors have claimed that without… ...
    7 days ago
  • Homelessness – National has failed all of us
    A young South Auckland Māori woman recently tried to get hold of me around midnight. I missed her call. The woman wanted me to know the sharp reality facing too many families looking for a stable place to live. Things… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Moko case should never have been manslaughter deal
    Confirmation again yesterday that the manslaughter charge in the Moko Rangitoheriri case was a deal done by the Crown Prosecution Service is justifiably the cause of outrage, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.“This should never have been a case where… ...
    1 week ago
  • Overseas investor funds school’s digital devices
    The Government must address the inequality laptops and tablets in classrooms are causing after a Queenstown school was forced to use a donation from an overseas investor to get their students digital devices, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “Documents obtained… ...
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Key plucks $3b out of thin air – reckless and irresponsible
    John Key refuses to give up on his dream of tax cuts to the wealthy, despite being shot down by Bill English, and is resorting to plucking numbers out of thin air, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “On radio… ...
    1 week ago
  • John Key woefully out of touch on homelessness
    John Key is completely out of touch if he thinks desperate South Auckland families forced to live in cars can simply go to Work and Income for help, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Many of these families are working and… ...
    1 week ago
  • Under-reporting shows need to review quota system
    The Government must launch an independent review into New Zealand’s 30-year-old Quota Management System following a new report suggesting gross under-reporting of catch in the New Zealand fishing industry, Labour’s Environment spokesperson David Parker says.  “The Auckland University report found… ...
    1 week ago
  • Investigations into tertiary institutions overdue
    A Tertiary Education Commission investigation into the Tai Poutini Polytechnic is overdue and should have been launched last year, Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe says. “Labour has been calling for an inquiry into potential rorts at Tai Poutini… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Investigations into tertiary institutions overdue
    A Tertiary Education Commission investigation into the Tai Poutini Polytechnic is overdue and should have been launched last year, Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe says. “Labour has been calling for an inquiry into potential rorts at Tai Poutini… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where is the fair share for most New Zealanders?
    Most New Zealanders reading the news that chief executive pay has risen 12 per cent in the last year will be wondering when they are going to get their fair share, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “More and more… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where is the fair share for most New Zealanders?
    Most New Zealanders reading the news that chief executive pay has risen 12 per cent in the last year will be wondering when they are going to get their fair share, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “More and more… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Mega media merger is bad news
    Some people call newspapers “tomorrow’s fish and chips” but this week’s news around a mega media merger is not an issue we should discard. Media giants Fairfax and APN News & Media announced they were in discussions to merge their… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • Mega media merger is bad news
    Some people call newspapers “tomorrow’s fish and chips” but this week’s news around a mega media merger is not an issue we should discard. Media giants Fairfax and APN News & Media announced they were in discussions to merge their… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • National puts Easter trading in the too hard basket
    All Labour MPs will vote against National’s move to leave Easter trading laws up to councils, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain-Lees Galloway says.  “Despite this being a conscience vote, Labour MPs are united in their opposition to the Government’s moves… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National puts Easter trading in the too hard basket
    All Labour MPs will vote against National’s move to leave Easter trading laws up to councils, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain-Lees Galloway says.  “Despite this being a conscience vote, Labour MPs are united in their opposition to the Government’s moves… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Law Commission speaks up for domestic violence survivors
    I want to give kudos to the Minister for Justice for getting the Law Commission to review options for how our justice system responds when victims of domestic violence kill their partners. This is a relatively discrete piece of work… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago

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