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Key-Fletcher nexus: anti-democratic ‘Intelligence communities’

Written By: - Date published: 11:36 am, May 23rd, 2014 - 47 comments
Categories: accountability, democracy under attack, john key, slippery, Spying, telecommunications, us politics - Tags: ,

The Campbell Live programme this week on John Key’s relationship with the GCSB focused on some very interesting themes, issues and people.  It points to a massive change in direction of government, and the NZ intelligence agencies under John Key’s watch. It focused specifically on NZ-US relations, and Ian Fletcher’s appointment as head of the GCSB, at a time when the surveillance of Kim Dotcom was initiated in NZ. The programme focused on some developments in 2011 and beyond.

campbell-live-gcsb-10-july-2013a

From an earlier Campbell Live programme: bottom right, Eric Holder next to Chris Finlayson at a Sydney meeting.

Massive changes began soon after John Key took office in 2008-9.  At the centre of this change is a shift in focus towards international trade and business that has extended to NZ’s intelligence services. It has involved increasing collaboration with the US, and to a lesser extent the UK governments, and all of the 5 Eyes intelligence partners.

Campbell Live 20 May 2014: “Key’s meeting with GCSB boss revealed

The headline puts Key and Fletcher center stage.  The programme begins with reference to the Kim Dotcom-GCSB saga, with a focus on the appointment to the GCSB of Ian Fletcher. Campbell begins by saying that the GCSB’s illegal surveillance of Kim Dotcom began in December 16th 2011. Campbell then goes on

Neither the Prime Minister nor the incoming GCSB head Ian Fletcher were told about it at the time.  But tonight, for the first time anywhere, we can reveal that Ian Fletcher had taken leave from his job in Queensland to be in Wellington that week.

Following this framing, the programme  shifts towards setting the story within the past and current context of US-NZ government relations.  With this shift, Campbell identifies the significance of the timing of this programme, by saying:

But as we learn the Prime Minister has again been invited to Washington, and as we learn more and more about the GCSB and 5 Eyes, we begin with how the organisation, and our relationship with America, has changed.

On CL, this story begins with John Key’s sudden shift  of Lt General Jerry Mateparae, from head of GCSB to Governor General in May 2011.  This is followed by a chain of events which includes the following: James R Clapper, US Director of National Intelligence (DNI) visiting NZ, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully fronting an announcement, by then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, of stronger ties between the NZ and US.

The CL programme also highlights the way the GCSB, with the appointment of Ian Fletcher, moved away from the primary focus on physical threats to national security, to inorporating a strong focus on “economic threats” and protection for commerce and trade.

Key leads change in NZ “intelligence community”

On checking on Clappers role, I found this description of his brief:

The Honorable James R. Clapper was sworn in as the fourth Director of National Intelligence (DNI) on August 9, 2010. As DNI, Mr. Clapper leads the United States Intelligence Community and serves as the principal intelligence advisor to the President.

full+spectrum dominanceThe term “Intelligence Community” reminded me of Chris Trotter’s post about the shift in the role of NZ intelligence services (April 11, 2013), as indicated by the Kitteridge Report:

The first clue Ms Kitteridge supplies is her reference to something called the New Zealand Intelligence “Community” (NZIC). This new kid on the national security block is the sum arrived at by adding the parts known as The NZ Security Intelligence Service, The GCSB and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC).

This, increasingly co-ordinated and integrated, community includes a massive range of people, ultimately answerable to the Prime Minister, who is currently John Key.  This stretches to include the operative national security component of the DPMC, the Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Co-ordination (ODESC), which includes

the Chief of Defence Force (Lt-General Rhys Jones), the Commissioner of Police (Peter Marshall), and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade (John Allen). The Directors of GCSB (Ian Fletcher) and NZSIS (Dr Warren Tucker) are not members, but attend most meetings.

Early after he first took office as PM, Key has led a shift to bring the vast array of services included under the “intelligence community” umbrella together under his control.

In an article on 36th Parallel earlier this month, Paul Buchanan explained the importance for democratic governance, of the separations of the powers of the state intelligence apparatus: the opposite of what John Key has been actioning.

The Bigger Picture

Here the whole story gets scarily massive, with too many threads to explain in detail in one post. I have posted before on how Key and Fletcher began meeting after Fletcher moved from the UK to work in Queensland in 2009; of how US Attorney General Eric Holder met with his 5 Eyes counterparts met with Chris Finlayson in Sydney in 15 July 2011 – focused on international and cyber crime.

People at meetings that were reported in this week’s Campbell Live programme, include the John Allen, Head of MFAT (Ministry of Foreign affairs and Trade); Chief of Defense Forces, Lt General Richard Rhys Jones; AND the British High Commissioner Vicki Treadell.

John Allen’s highly paid appointment in 2009, was part of a shift in MFAT away from the democratic principles of governance, towards the PM as CEO of NZ Inc, as spelled out by Fran O’Sullivan at the time.

He will also be a key driver in a huge transformational programme designed to leverage “New Zealand Inc”, so New Zealand’s vital economic and business interests are better projected offshore.

He oversaw a huge restructuring of MFAT, that resulted in large numbers of people losing their jobs.

NZ British High Commissioner since 2010, Vicki Treadell, came from a diplomatic background with a focus on international commerce and trade. (Also part of Fletcher’s UK  roles when working in the UK and Australia).

Ian Fletcher Vicki Treadell

Ian Fletcher Vicki Treadell: Image from The Daily Blog

Lt General Richard Rhys Jones, originally in NZ forces, also is a graduate of

The United States Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) educates and develops leaders for full spectrum joint, interagency and multinational operations; acts as lead agent for the Army’s leader development program; and advances the art and science of the profession of arms in support of Army operational requirements.

He suffered a career set back in 2000, was resurrected by John Key as Chief of NZ Defense Forces in 2010, then took the fall for safety failures in September 2013.

In summary

The Campbell Live programme pointed to shifts towards NZ Inc, closer ties with the US, and an invasive state surveillance apparatus. At the centre of the shifts  is the relationship between John Key and Ian Fletcher.   The programme features clips showing how Key tried to avoid admitting to the extent of this relationship; especially with regard to Key’s role in appointing Fletcher to the GCSB job. (See my summary of the programme here.)

Brighter future for key and pals

 

47 comments on “Key-Fletcher nexus: anti-democratic ‘Intelligence communities’”

  1. ianmac 1

    The CL program covered a lot of ground. The difficulty is coping with that breadth. I like what Grant Robertson is doing in Question Time. He is focussing in on one small part at a time and getting better answers from Key. In spite of the Speaker blocking where he can.
    So well done Karol. A monumental task to sort the chaff.

    • Anne 1.1

      Thank-you karol for your herculean efforts on the subject. I think your readership will be going far beyond the standardista community. There would seem to be few other people publicly subjecting this matter to the intense scrutiny it deserves.

      There is only one MSM outlet -apart from TV3- who has reported any of this story and that was Stuff yesterday. Within hours of the report appearing, Cunliffe’s references to “lies” and “Key being a liar” were expunged.

      I note the following claim now at the bottom of the article:

      This story has been edited to provide background and balance. An earlier version was published before these steps were taken.

      Bullshit and Jellybeans!! Those of us who saw the original will appreciate it is LESS balanced than before. 1/3rd of the story is now devoted to Cunliffe’s speech, and 2/3rds to Key’s responses to the CL programme. The previous was half in half.

      What I take from karol’s post is that Key has been quietly gathering more and more power to himself. And he is using it in the most despicable way. He bullies… he threatens… and almost certainly is using blackmail against those he knows have knowledge of his questionable dealings. His proud boast in the latter months of last year about his top drawer was a direct threat to them.

      He has the MSM exactly where he wants them, and most are too wimpish to stand up to them him. 1984 is here!!

      • Anne 1.1.1

        …. most are too wimpish to stand up to him. (karol maybe you could correct in last line?)

      • Chooky 1.1.2

        +100 Anne …and great post Karol

        I would like to know more about the American Intelligence Community and how it differs from the CIA

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Intelligence_Community

        Are intelligence services being privatised?…If so it very dangerous imo because they will no longer be under the jurisdiction of democratically elected governments…room for fifth columns and all that…and shadowy control from outside/foreign intelligence cabals

    • karol 1.2

      Thanks, ianmac. And yes, Cunliffe and Robertson have focused on the Key’s role in appointing Fletcher.

      That was clearly signalled in the CL programme. Many have seen the CL programme as a fizzer. But, CL needS to tread carefully with the allegations they make. They did put the Key-Fletcher relationship in centre focus, and used those clips of Key clearly evading or being misleading about his meetings with Fletcher.

      The new information in the program emphasized the extent of Fletcher’s involvement with the GCSB, and Key, prior to his appointment – being given leave from his Queensland job, and coming to NZ laregly funded by the NZ government.

      • Sacha 1.2.1

        “Key clearly evading or being misleading about his meetings with Fletcher” – lying, yes.

  2. Wayne 2

    Honestly Karol,

    All your speculation on this is starting to look ridiculous. Yes, New Zealand has a variety of intelligence agencies and co-ordinating committees, but so what. And the people in them regularly meet, including with their international counterparts. What is new here?

    As an example of your devotion to conspiracy theories, it seems to be significant to you that Lt Gen Jones went to CGSC for his senior staff course.

    This is something that New Zealanders have done for many decades (there was bit of a hiatus with the US following 1985). Our senior officers either go to the UK, Australia, Canada or the US for their senior course, since our defence force is too small to run a senior staff college. The course is a year long and is typically undertaken by Army Colonels, Navy Captains, and RNZAF Group Captains.

    Sure the Key government has put in the effort to improve New Zealands relations with the US – I was part of that. But that was intended to be all about normalisation of the relationship.

    As part of your spooky conspiracy theories, you could also add the fact that in 2012 I was a Senior Fellow at the Centre of Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC. They have now published my paper entitled “The New Zealand Paradox; Adjusting to the Change in the Balance of Power in the Asia Pacific over the Next 20 Years.”

    Happy to send you a copy by email.

    • Anne 2.1

      This is something that New Zealanders have done for many decades (there was bit of a hiatus with the US following 1985). Our senior officers either go to the UK, Australia, Canada or the US for their senior course, since our defence force is too small to run a senior staff college. The course is a year long and is typically undertaken by Army Colonels, Navy Captains, and RNZAF Group Captains.

      And what dear chap, has that got to do with the price of fish? OR to spell it out for you – karol’s post? NOTHING. The post is nothing to do with the normal, run-of-the-mill military courses and exchange of personnel. You won’t fool anyone here with that nonsense.

      Are you concerned as to the quality of karol’s investigative skills so you seek to undermine them?

      • the pigman 2.1.1

        It’s a curious mixture of scarcely relevant rambling and self-promotion, isn’t it? Breaking press release from Wayne Mapp: “The U.S. is undertaking a pivot to Asia in its foreign policy, I know this because I am kind of a big deal.”

        Designed to distract. Best treated as white noise.

        • Anne 2.1.1.1

          It’s a curious mixture of scarcely relevant rambling and self-promotion, isn’t it?

          It is indeed.

          Wayne thinks because he gained some fellowship from somewhere or another – and he was once Defence Minister – that he is very important and clever. Well I’ve got news for him. In the course of a past career, I worked with some highly qualified people in the academic sense. I was initially in awe of them until I discovered some of them actually had very poor reasoning skills. They got their quallies by rote learning and were actually a bit dumb. :)

          • karol 2.1.1.1.1

            To me, it’s not so much about the smarts, but about people’s underlying values – that’s where there’s a fundamental difference between many of us on the left, and many on the right of politics.

            I think for many that participate within Key and National’s networks in politics and the corporate and financial worlds, they share some underlying values that lead to views that just seem common sense to them. For many, within their world view, the things that are happening probably just seem sensible and accepted by a wide range of people.

            Many of the criticisms we make, just don’t match up with their world view – or the views of those struggling to survive, and whose voices just don’t get heard very clearly in the MSM.

            • Tracey 2.1.1.1.1.1

              do you mean like regarding people who dont agree with them as bags of skin just getting in the way of their business?

              • karol

                Probably more benignly neglectful than that – that they don’t think so much about the people at the bottom of the heap at all – everything must often look good when the focus is on GDP, and business endeavours – the conventions and meetings of people focused on the reports of the CEOs and top diplomats. A world of its own, far removed from the struggle streets of many Kiwis.

                • JAK

                  There is a border between your two worlds. John Key crossed it.

                  • karol

                    Yes, and pulled up the ladder. He also aimed to leave his childhood life behind and aim to hob nob with those with power and money: his aim to be to succeed in the business world and to be PM. He learned early to play golf because he recognised that being a successful business person, meant participating in the “right” kind of social networking.

                    And the struggles of many relatively powerless Kiwis have changed from Key’s childhood days, as the shifts he has been part of have changed the whole context. It’s fairly easy to get out of touch.

                    • JAK

                      “pulled up the ladder”

                      Do you mean that John Key has made it more difficult for children growing up in New Zealand to:

                      -desire to hob nob with those with power and money
                      -succeed in the business world
                      -be PM ?

                    • Will@Welly

                      Aorangi School – part of John Key’s past, gone. Part of the master plan, eradicating his past. Soon all that will remain will be the immediate past – money trader, wealthy, and the present – influential, statesman, Prime Minister.
                      Orwellian.

                    • karol

                      Key lived in a state house when his mother encountered hard times. He was able to go to uni, and get a job in finance trading.

                      His government has been doing way with state houses, and training/education allowances for beneficiaries. Young people have been hard hit by unemployment – few jobs, let alone ones that would lead to high incomes.

                      People can desire whatever they want – achieving it is another matter.

            • Anne 2.1.1.1.1.2

              I agree with you karol but my comments were in relation to their general reasoning not their political leanings. Having said that, I wasn’t suggesting they were inbeciles – just that they weren’t as clever as they thought they were.

          • Wayne 2.1.1.1.2

            Read the paper and make your own assessment of it. But you can hardly do so without reading it.

          • Chooky 2.1.1.1.3

            +100 Anne….lol

    • karol 2.2

      Wayne, you have picked on a minor element in the post – Rhys Jones background, while ignoring more major details. It wasn’t so much that Rhys Jones did a course in the US, but that is was one focused on full spectrum joint, interagency and multinational operations

      Where am I “speculating” on major shifts that have occured under John Key’s oversight?: the amalgamation of the “intelligence community” as a more integrated body under the oversight of the PM – and following the model used in the US for its “Intelligence Community”; the shift of the GCSB (and 5 eyes) from focusing on physical/material security, to a focus on economic and commercial security; and the strongly aligned structural change in MFAT.

      Such things were indicated in the Campbell Live programme, and have been commented on by many others.

      Paul Buchanan’s piece on the need to keep the separation of intelligence powers as a check against anti-democratic intitiatives, is also very significant, as was Trotter’s piece on the shifts under Key’s watch to a more integrated “intelligence community”.

      • Wayne 2.2.1

        Karol,

        So what if that was his area of study, it is pretty important for senior officers. For the last 20 years defence doctrine has been all about multinational joint operations. A recommendation of the Select Committee Report in “Defence Beyond 2000″, was for a Joint Headquarters, in fact a specific suggestion by myself. The Clark govt implemented it around 2001.

        And the same logic has driven a closer integration of intelligence agencies with other parts of govt, including defence.

        It is largely driven by synergies of IT technology – everything can be joined up in a way that was not possible in the past.

        As noted above it has been happening for a while. It is not a secret. Over the last twenty years there have been hundreds of specialist defence books and articles on it.

        Probably the concept had its first big operational deployment in the Gulf War of 1991.

        • Anne 2.2.1.1

          I believe you are deliberately missing the point Wayne. Here is karol’s summary at the end of the
          post:

          The Campbell Live programme pointed to shifts towards NZ Inc, closer ties with the US, and an invasive state surveillance apparatus. At the centre of the shifts is the relationship between John Key and Ian Fletcher. The programme features clips showing how Key tried to avoid admitting to the extent of this relationship; especially with regard to Key’s role in appointing Fletcher to the GCSB job.

          The concern is not so much the changing nature of intelligence gathering apparatus and technological advances associated with it, but rather the profoundly invasive way they are being used. It is unnecessary, immoral and unethical that millions of individuals around the world are having their privacy invaded for no justifiable reason. It is dangerous and will ultimately destroy the democratic governing practices to which all peoples are entitled.

          Yes, you’re right. The concept did have its first operational deployment in the first Gulf War of January/February 1991. No problems with that. The problem lies with the massive upgrading of the surveillance undertaken since then – a surveillance that smells strongly of excess power plays and paranoia.

          That can only lead in one direction – death and destruction.

          • Tracey 2.2.1.1.1

            Wayne cherrypicking? Say it isnt so.

          • Chooky 2.2.1.1.2

            +100 Anne..”The concern is not so much the changing nature of intelligence gathering apparatus and technological advances associated with it, but rather the profoundly invasive way they are being used. It is unnecessary, immoral and unethical …”

            ….and I suspect Dotcom and his so-called “misdemeanors” in New Zealand (there are far bigger cloud storage systems in the USA which Hollywood moguls are not going after) is being used as a scapegoat and a pretext for this intrusive spying and violation of New Zealanders civil liberties…

            ie John Key and mates are arguing that they need to spy on New Zealanders and persecute Dotcom to stop infringement of copyright ( pull the other one!)

            New Zealand is a peaceable country and New Zealanders are a peaceable people…we dont deserve this!…..There is something rotten going on in the State of New Zealand

            • Anne 2.2.1.1.2.1

              +1 Chooky.

              And Key is leading the charge from the NZ end. No prizes for guessing why… he thinks its in his best interest.

        • karol 2.2.1.2

          Yes, I realize there’s a background of shifts in a particular direction. Key has followed it much more enthusiastically than Clark. The likes of Goff are more supportive of it than many others on the left.

          The changes in digital technologies have been incorporated into the mix.

          As part of my research for this post, I looked at this pdf document, published by James Clapper in March 2011.: “Statement for the Record on the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community for the Senate Committee on Armed Services ”

          There’s a lot about the threats posed from countrie outsoutsidee 5 Eyes, Western sphere: Iraq, Chine, etc.
          Then there’s this section:

          Intelligence Threats and Threats to US Technological & Economic Leadership Intelligence Threats and Threats to US Technological & Economic Leadership
          […]
          We are also undergoing a phenomenon known as “convergence,” which amplifies the opportunity for disruptive cyber attacks, including against physical infrastructures. This phenomenon means that the same networks and devices are processing a full range of data and support a full range of applications, from banking to social networking, from supply chain management to patient health records. This convergence adds much convenience, but it poses new security challenges across a swath of our government and economy.

          It covers “cyber threats” and later goes on to export controls and economic imbalances.

          And this was at the same time, as now revealed by the Snowden material, the NSA was developing a whole range of powerful and invasive digital capabilities.

          It is of extreme concern to many of us, that very powerul systems of control and devastation, are being incorproated in the intelligence services and related government structures usually more focused on physical threats, , in ways that undermine democracy. And in doing this, wealthy corporates are being empowered and US coproates are being protected and promoted internationally.

        • Robert M 2.2.1.3

          It would be difficult to see any merit in the term as MOD Wayne Mapp or his ridiculous deputy the actor Private Heather Roy. During Wayne Mapp’s term, Defence spending was cut significantly, as was the RNZN fuel allocation, leaving much of the fleet laid up, most of the time. Defence wages for ratings remained far below those of the police, even for far more able and qualified military personel and the inadequate officer pay and fuel allocation mean many mid rank officers deserted the services for Australian industry or its military.
          The excuse was made that the RNZAF Aermacchis could not be returned to service because their engines were no longer servicable. Hower 8/9 of MB339Cs are now being used for military training in the United States and it is unlikely that the cost of refitting 10/12 Aermacchis with new engines and provision for light armament for training with the Navy or Army would have been prohibitive. I would suggest a light armament of a 30mm gun, rocket laucher attachment and ability to carry 2/4- 500/1000lb bombs would have been all that was required of for coastal intervention against say a boatload of gureillas has been heading towards our coast, say if in 1998 Clinton had directed the US and Australia to pressure Indonesia with Economic sanctions and economic pressure through the banking system which seems to be part of the reason we were offered the FFGF-7s and F-16s second hand.
          The current Nationals defence programme remains very light with the proposal for extensive furthur refitting of already 14/16 yr old Anzacs unlikely to be completed until they have been 20 years in the water, an age usually considered unsuitable for modernisation given structual deterioration after significant year at sea. The extra third hand RAN/USN Seasprites seem only suitable for training and training maintenance crews and some spares. The Penquin helicopter anti ship missiles may be useful but the long range British Sea Ceptor anti aircraft missiles seem a bizarre acquisition in this part of world.

    • Tracey 2.3

      Honestly Wayne

      how often as a minister did you get briefed on, and involved in, the appointment of someone to head your ministry, suggest someone, then agree to contact them, contact them, appoint them, and within months forget all about your role in the hiring but wrongly “remember” it was the other guy at your meeting who did what you did?

      misleading the public of nz a or lying to them, may not matter to you, but dont belittle those who do care.

    • Tracey 2.4

      by key govt you mean winston peters under the last coalition labour govt… god, the way you guys twist things is incredible. its like you all have selective amnesia. let me help… condoleza rice and winston made the big thaw.

      • karol 2.4.1

        I think Wayne would agree with you – ie that Key’s government hasn’t been doing anything much that Labour hasn’t been doing, bar in the Rogernomics/Lange period.

        The Clark government did oversee some thawing of US-NZ relations. As Hagar has often pointed out, even under wher watch, when she was putting breaks on getting involved in the Iraq etc., the GCSB happily collaborated with US initiatives.

        The resort to dismissing an overview of the way things have shifted under under Key as “conspiracy theory” is frustrating.

        I’m not talking about a carefully planned and orchestrated conspiracy, but networks of people, with similar views, drawing on various resources within their networks when necessity and/or opportunities arise.

        I have little evidence of the details of how some things happened, or the motivations of various players. I am mapping the changes I can see from the publicly available evidence.

        under Clark, there was a bit of a holding pattern, not getting too far into the “neoliberal” way of doing things, as led by the US.

        Under Key, there have been clear structural shifts in the likes of MFAT and the intelligence services, towards systems and structures that favour international trade and commerce as dominated by big corporates.

        • Tracey 2.4.1.1

          well put.

          greens have caught the pm making stuff up in parliament again…

        • Robert M 2.4.1.2

          We will never know, as the tapes of the Clark conversations with Condi and W43 and his inner Cabinet are never likely to have been released, but it is certainly the case that Clark has been quite a strong acceptor of the GCSB and an expanded role for it , for a long time, ie as early as 30 years ago. I happen to know that shortly after Owen Wilkes on a butterfly collecting mission discovered Tangimoana , that Clark after considering the issue and Muldoons statement on the station, Clark decided it was OK ( I talked to her on the phone several times about this at the time). Also plenty of sources will tell you that Clark was a stong supporter of the establishment of Waihopai and a great enthusiast for the intelligence input and discussions with her Generals.

  3. Tigger 3

    Karol, I want you to know your work on these sorts of things is very appreciated. Great post.

  4. repateet 4

    The use of the Maxwell Smart on here is totally uncalled for! It brings to mind the image of Judith Collins as Agent 99. Calling from somewhere in China too. Hiding under a table ( of the private dinner sort), reporting to the chief.

    • karol 4.1

      I’m not sure how that image got there. I may have omitted to put an image in, and someone else added that one.
      Changed it.

  5. Charlieboy 5

    Karol, great post, and great additional from Anne. I get the feeling,that with this sort of digging down, sooner or later the dam will burst.The Right is certainly worried, as is seen by their ridicule attacks . Anne is right, there is a level of fear out in the media, and you do have to applaud Campbell for his efforts. Where is that really brave deep throat out there in the hinterland, we need you now.

  6. fisiani 6

    Karol Great post. Keep up the great work. This is truly resonating with voters everywhere. Everywhere I go I hear people telling me that they cannot trust John Key after the astonishing Campbell Live revelations of something about spying. The next polls will see National plummet to below 40% and John Keys rating to fall to single figures to match The Cunliffe. Keep up the digging for another 17 weeks.

  7. Charlieboy 7

    Bingo!

  8. Lou 8

    GREAT, thought-provoking post, Karol. My heart sank as I watched CL, as it laid out the worst of my fears. BUGGER, I came to this fair country to get away from this sort of CRAP!!

  9. Tanz 9

    Under Key’s watch, beneficiaries can no longer study full time. He has certianly pulled up the ladder up and he does all he can to eradicate his less than glossy childhood. He worked for the corrupt co of Merryl Lynch, that was the platform to his ill-gained fortune.

    He is a liar and a theif and worst of all, an arrogant show pony. Ego driven. He is startiing to lose a lot of credibility. The MSM are drones though.

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    . . It’s not often that Ministers of this increasingly desperate and inept government make a statement that is unerringly accurate – but on Friday 15 May, on Radio  NZ’s Morning Report, GCSB Minister, Chris Finlayson did just that. Minister… ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    11 hours ago
  • Truly Depressing
    Yesterday a thought crossed my mind that was so appalling that I decided not to mention it to anyone for at least 24 hours so I could b sure it was a real notion and not just an emanation from… ...
    11 hours ago
  • Document Shows Elizabeth Warren Is Right About TPP
    Article – Zaid Jilani As opponents and advocates of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) continue to battle it out, the debate over the agreement has largely focused on the issue of trade whether jobs will be lost or gained, what the… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    20 hours ago
  • Singing the Budget Blues
    Despite our 'rock star' economy over the past three years it has not increased Government income to the level expected and the Government has not been able to deliver its promised surplus. If income doesn't change, but priorities shift, then the… ...
    22 hours ago
  • Submit on Mill Rd
    Julie-Anne Genter, the Transport spokesperson of the Green Party has put out the following press release on the Mill Rd project that we have written about here, and here: Take 5 minutes and make a submission on Mill Road Auckland Transport is… ...
    Transport BlogBy Patrick Reynolds
    1 day ago
  • Budget Blues
    Twenty five dollars a week can’t be bad, can it? For families on the breadline, it’s surely better than nothing and every little helps. And when the total spend is $790 million, that’s not peanuts, is it? – even if… ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 day ago
  • Punakaiki Fund and Snowball Effect
    22 May 2015 Punakaiki Fund will soon be presenting an offer through the Snowball Effect platform. We are pleased to announce that we have selected Snowball Effect to present our fund raising offer to members of the public. Equity crowdfunding… ...
    Lance WiggsBy Lance Wiggs
    1 day ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    frogblogBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 day ago
  • Game review: Republique
    Score: 6/10 Republique is an episodic stealth game set in a dystopian society. You play a hacker who is aiding the escape of Hope, a young woman trapped in this world. Though the games attempt to deal with heavy themes… ...
    1 day ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    frogblogBy Mojo Mathers
    1 day ago
  • Labour MPs are taking it to the Government in the House over their destruct...
    ...
    1 day ago
  • The price of rotten cops IV
    Remember the Nelson Red Devils case? Back in 2012, drugs and firearms charges against 28 alleged gang members were thrown out because police abused the court process by forging a search warrant and an arrest warrant to build the credibility… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Best and worst New Zealand flag designs
    Dan Taipua, Dave Bell and Lucy Zee review some of the designs submitted for the for the new New Zealand flag. Check out the full gallery of designs here. ...
    1 day ago
  • World News Brief, Friday May 22
    PunditBy Daily Digest
    1 day ago
  • A hard rain is a’gonna fall.
    Although I am loathe to prognosticate on fluid situations and current events, I have been thinking about how the conflict in Iraq has been going. Although I do not believe that the Islamic State (IS) is anywhere close to being… ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 day ago
  • Got business out of town? Need a hire car?
    Whether you are heading of town for a conference or taking a break and need a hire car, your TEU Member Advantage program has you covered.  Use your member benefits to access either reduced car hire rates or excess on… ...
    1 day ago
  • An abuse of the OIA
    In the wake of revelations that Prime Minister John Key had systematically and repeatedly bullied, sexually harassed and assaulted a cafe waitress, the New Zealand Herald published a piece exposing the victim. It seemed like retribution, and the involvement of… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    frogblogBy Eugenie Sage
    1 day ago
  • Calling Peak Car?
    There’s often a lot of discussion around the future of transport – particularly in cities. We’ve talked many times before about how transport trends are changing, how we’re seeing people drive less and catch PT more, how changing preferences amongst younger people in… ...
    1 day ago
  • Australia’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on...
    The prohibition against torture is one of the cast-iron features of international law. You're not allowed to torture people, and you're not allowed to return or extradite people to a country where there are substantial grounds to believe they will… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Fiji: Removing the opposition
    Last year, Nauru's government abused its parliamentary majority to suspend the opposition from Parliament on a spurious privilege motion. Its a disease which is spreading: last night, Fiji's "democratic" regime did the same, suspending an opposition MP for making a… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2015: Don’t worry about the surplus, worry about this… Whiteboar...
    Bill’s budget put a bit of extra change in the pocket of poor families, but that came at the cost of the promised surplus. But should you be worried about it? With government debt still only at 25%… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Gareth Morgan
    1 day ago
  • The productivity trap – heads they win, tails we lose
    The article below was written in 2006, so some of the stats are a bit dated.  However the fundamental argument remains.  For instance, NZ productivity growth continues to be poor and NZ capitalists remain behind most of the OECD in… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • Attention leftie campaigners: Watch Lynton Crosby
    This is a video of Lynton Crosby, of Crosby/Textor fame and infamy, talking about how he approaches campaigns. It is well worth an hour of any serious campaigner's time - whether they're of the left or the right. I've… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Hard News: Friday Music: Out there in the world
    Friday Music posts here don't generally have much to do with my day job helping make a media TV show, but next week's Media Take is an exception. We're putting together a New Zealand music month-themed programme and one of the… ...
    1 day ago
  • Government announces plan to grow Auckland housing bubble
    The key initiative in yesterday’s budget is a plan to grow Auckland’s housing bubble. Auckland’s housing bubble is projected to take over from dairy farming as the fastest-growing sector of the New Zealand economy. Consider a typical Mangere housewife. For… ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    1 day ago
  • Paul F Tompkins: The undisputed king of podcasts
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    1 day ago
  • Budget 2015: What does it mean?
    ...
    1 day ago
  • What next?
    It feels really, really surreal to nearly be done with my degree. And terrifying, mostly. Right now I have a single 2000 word essay remaining for Politics of Protest and then three exams mid-way through next month, and… that’s it.… ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 day ago
  • Solo parents forced to work; but where are the quality jobs?
    The Government is increasing the expectations of paid work from solo parents without any thought as to where the jobs will be, the Council of Trade Unions said today. “There are already 100,000 part time workers who are wanting more secure… ...
    CTUBy andrew.chick
    1 day ago
  • April-15 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    2 days ago
  • April-14 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    2 days ago
  • Children and steady-as-you-go – but how steady?
    There are three political dimensions to the budget’s star “children in hardship” item. One is John Key’s ownership. That fits his protestations of concern about disadvantaged children — though action has been slow coming. He made his pile in… ...
    Colin JamesBy Colin James
    2 days ago
  • Thoughts on budget 2015
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    DimPostBy danylmc
    2 days ago
  • What if your MP was decided on the flip of a coin?
    The provincial election in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island finally came to an end a couple of days ago when its last MLA was declared elected following a judicial recount.(What - you didn't know that Prince Edward Island… ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    2 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Budget 2015
    From the outset, the slogan for yesterday’s Budget – “The Plan Is Working” – begged to be mocked. There’s actually a plan for the national economy? Who knew? And its been working for whom, exactly? Not for families in poverty,… ...
    2 days ago
  • Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific
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    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    2 days ago
  • Budget 2015: Media releases and tertiary education coverage
    We will update this page over the next few days with media releases and news stories on Budget 2015 and its effect on tertiary education and on employment. Radio NZ: Govt tightens education purse strings The Government is expecting fewer… ...
    2 days ago

  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    1 hour ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    1 hour ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    5 hours ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    8 hours ago
  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    1 day ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 day ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    1 day ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    1 day ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    1 day ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    1 day ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 day ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    1 day ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    1 day ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    1 day ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    2 days ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    2 days ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    2 days ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    3 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    4 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    4 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    4 days ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    5 days ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    5 days ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    5 days ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    5 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    5 days ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    1 week ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    1 week ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • False figures cloud Auckland transport facts
    The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Both John Key and Simon Bridges have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt books confirm National can’t post surplus
    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
    2 weeks ago

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