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Networks of influence: Key, Peter Thiel & the GCSB

Written By: - Date published: 9:21 am, June 13th, 2013 - 69 comments
Categories: accountability, capitalism, copyright, democracy under attack, greens, john key, russel norman, same old national, slippery, Spying, telecommunications - Tags: ,

So, there is now further exposure of the networks of influence that connect John Key and his government with crony capitalists and spy networks.

It’s not enough that Key intervened in the appointment of the GCSB that resulted in the recruitment of his long time Ian Fletcher, a man with a strong background in intellectual property.  It’s not enough that the Kim Dotcom saga keeps giving information on the links between Hollywood corporates and pressure on the government with respect to copyright legislation.  It’s not enough to learn about the US metadata spy programmes like Thin Thread and Prism.  It’s not enough that we learn that the developers and managers of Prism, Palantir are operating in NZ and working with Key’s government.  Many claim Palantir designed the Prism system used by the US NSA spying agency and the FBI. Palantir deny it, but others claim it is too much of a coincidence, given the systems Planatir have claimed to have developed.

Now it is becoming clear that Palantir’s co-founder, Peter Thiel has had extensive involvement in NZ since at least 2009, the first year of Key’s government.

Yesterday Russel Norman asked questions in the House about Palantir and Key’s relationship with Peter Thiel.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I would describe my relationship as cordial. I have met Mr Thiel on a few occasions—I would have to go to check exactly, as I said, if the member wants to ask me. I have never had a discussion with Mr Thiel about Palantir or about intelligence matters. He is someone who happens to live a certain period of time in New Zealand. He was extremely generous after the Christchurch earthquake, as is a matter of record, and just because “Noddy” over there does not seem to—

Same old attack and divert line from Key at the end there.

In this morning’s NZ Herald, Adam Bennett shows some of Thiel’s involvement in NZ:

Mr Thiel, a billionaire Silicon Valley entrepreneur and former PayPal chief executive, was “extremely generous after the Christchurch earthquake”, Mr Key said. …

Mr Thiel’s Valar Ventures and Matrix Capital Management hold 7 per cent of Mr Drury’s Xero software company. Mr Drury did not respond to the Herald’s calls yesterday.

It’s not necessary to research very far or deep online in order to find out quite a bit about Peter Thiel:

Business Insider Australia has a 2011 article on Peter Thiel and his involvement in NZ, entitled, “Billionnaire Facebook Investor, Petere Thiel Pours Money Into His “Utopia” New Zealand“.

Peter Thiel, famous for making billions off Facebook, tells us he’s finally found “utopia” – New Zealand.Thiel has been investing heavily in the country.

He’s already made two noteworthy venture investments there in the space of a few months. In October 2010, he invested $3 million in online accounting firm Xero, which is based (and publicly traded) in New Zealand. Then he invested $4 million in Pacific fibre, an ambitious company that is building a fibre-optic cable from Australia to New Zealand to the US and is raising $300-400 million more to do so.

These investments aren’t just one-offs. Thiel has set up a local venture firm called Valar Ventures. Valar Ventures LP was registered in New Zealand in July 2009, more than a year before Thiel’s first known New Zealand investment, and is managed by Valar Capital Management LLC, based in San Francisco, according to official records. Valar Ventures LP’s offices are at prominent New Zealand law firm Bell Gully, which suggests it doesn’t have full time staff yet. Peter Thiel founded two other companies in New Zealand: Second Star Limited, where he is sole shareholder, and Silverarc Advisors.

The people associated with these New Zealand companies, all of them close associates of Thiel at his hedge fund Clarium Capital, show how serious Thiel is about New Zealand. Valar Capital Management is managed by Nathan Linn, VP of Finance at Clarium. On the boards of Thiel’s New Zealand companies are Matt Danzeisen, Principal at Clarium, James Fitzgerald, COO and General Counsel at Clarium, and Andrew McCormack, VP Corporate Development at Clarium and previously Thiel’s assistant at PayPal.

The article also reports on the libertarian philosophy that underpins his business operations. It seems that he can’t set up the libertarian state he wants in the US, so has looked to NZ with it’s open door, “free-market” legislation.

Thiel is very libertarian, and New Zealand already has some of the most free-market policies in the world. Thiel is also a donor to the Seasteading Institute, a foundation that wants to create libertarian self-sustaining colonies out at sea. A popular libertarian cause is the “Free State Project” to get tens of thousands of libertarians to emigrate to New Hampshire and take over the government democratically to reshape the state according to libertarian ideals.

Thiel also has given promising young people financial incentives to drop out of college, in the form of Thiel Foundation Fellowships, as reported in the Huffington Post‘.

Thiel and Palantir (whose software customers include “many branches of the US government, especially in the intelligence community, and recently JP Morgan“) were also in the spotlight for having contributed to a plan to oppose Wikileaks back in 2011.  Thiel rebutted the claims that he was involved in developing cyber attack systems:

[Palantir CEO] Karp also personally apologizes to Glenn Greenwald, a Salon.com journalist who is a noted supporter of Wikileaks and who is specifically named by the document as a potential target.

Palantir cyber-technologies have also been used by the US military in places like Afghanistan.

It didn’t take me long to find this stuff online.

What more is there to learn about the person, who John Key praises for his philanthropy, and who, as with pre-GCSB Ian Fletcher, John Key has met once or twice, but can’t remember exactly when and where?

How much more are we yet to learn about Key and his government’s interwoven US-focused, cyber-spying, intellectual property and wealthy “neoliberal” corporate networks of influence?

69 comments on “Networks of influence: Key, Peter Thiel & the GCSB”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    Has any government body ever been asked to produce a report or briefing on Thiel and if so, let’s see it.

  2. freedom 2

    do we get to know the manner of his generosity after the quakes?

  3. Pasupial 3

    Seriously: Valar Ventures? Named after the angel/gods of the Silmarillian. And that’s on top of Palantir…

    Yep. Also: Mithril Capital Management. I suspect a link between the two Peters (Jackson & Thiel). Especially given that a; Catherine Thiel (or; Carrie Thiel?), was involved in the CGI of LOTR, haven’t been able to find if she is a relation yet. Googling now.

    • Pasupial 3.1

      Here’s something linking Thiel & Weta: “…[The Booktrack] startup has raised $2 million in Series B funding from Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, Park Road Post Production, Weta Digital GM Tom Greally, Sparkbox Ventures, New Zealand Venture Investment Fund, EFU Investments Ltd., Stephen Tindall’s K One W One, and others”. Link: http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/17/booktrack-2m-series-b/

      Also interesting is this speech to the 2011 ICI Ideas conference: URL: http://www.celebritynetworth.com/watch/cpyBYsGQWUE/peter-thiel-paypal-talks-new/
      Much of it is typical conference speak (can anyone identify the host speaker, he looks familiar; but I can’t say from where). But once we get past the gushing over NZ adventure tourism, there’s some intriguing comments – the focal refrain is: “Globalisation is about copying things that work, technology is about doing new things” (e.g. 6:43, but he says it a few times).

      More fascinating is near the end (starting 11:49): “…If I had to give one broad theme that we are most focused on; is this idea of computer technology being applied to everything else. And so we’ve had this computer revolution that’s gone on for forty years – it’s been incredibly powerful and robust. But there’s a question’s whether the time’s starting to come to apply information processing to other domains. So; bio-informatics, robotics, [then a couple of less creepy sounding examples]… That’s probably the one overarching theme we’ve been focused on in the last three to four years…”

  4. “Ian Fletcher, a man with a strong background in intellectual property”

    Ian Fletcher, a man with a strong background in intellectual property while working for the British government and oh oops being investigated for contempt for the government of Queensland!

    Thiel just had a nice tète a tète with his Bilderberger buddies in Watford including one of John Key’s soul mates George Osborne.

    But no conspiracies here!

  5. erentz 5

    “It’s not enough that we learn that the developers and managers of Prism,Palantir are operating in NZ and working with Key’s government.”

    When were Palantir identified as the developers and managers of PRISM? Or are you accidentally (or perhaps purposefully) conflating the different Prism application they produce with the PRISM spying system that was made public by Snowden?

    (I suspect Palantir are dodgy as heck. But please stick with facts on this subject lest it be used to paint the left as conspiracy nuts who make things up and so on.)

    • karol 5.1

      Thanks, erentz.

      I was going on my memory that the NSA Prism system had been associated with Palantir on the TV3 news a couple of nights ago.

      I did some checking, and it seems Palantir designed a similar system, and Russel Norman is asking if Palantir are designing such a system for NZ spy agncies. . Palantir deny they designed Prism, others say that previously Palantir had claimed to have designed a system used by intelligence agencies that sounds very much like Prism.

      But hold on a second. This is the same Palantir that the Wall Street Journal wrote in 2009 had “designed what many intelligence analysts say is the most effective tool to date to investigate terrorist networks.” The article describes how Palantir made a tool that can easily scan multiple sources and has been used by the CIA, the Pentagon and the FBI. In fact, the CIA’s nonprofit venture-capital firm, In-Q-Tel, invested about $2 million in Palantir, which is now worth about $5 billion. So in other words, the CIA-backed Palantir is saying its Prism is not in any way related to the NSA’s PRISM, even though Palantir’s Prism software would be perfect for collecting massive amounts of data from outside servers, which is what the NSA’s PRISM is being accused of.

      I’ve amended my post accordingly.

    • BLiP 5.2

      Hard to say, at this stage, exactly what Palantir is up to. At the moment, the firm is saying its just a coincidence that one of its products is called “Prism” and its PR marchants are spinning like tops to distance the company from the recent revelations. Still, as the Wall Street Journal reported a while ago . . .

      . . . Palantir’s software has helped root out terrorist financing networks, revealed new trends in roadside bomb attacks, and uncovered details of Syrian suicide bombing networks in Iraq, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with the events. It has also foiled a Pakistani suicide bombing plot on Western targets and discovered a spy infiltration of an allied government. It is now being used by the Central Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon and the Federal Bureau of Investigation . . . One of the venture firms that rejected Palantir’s overtures steered the company to In-Q-Tel, a nonprofit venture-capital firm established by the CIA a decade ago to tap innovation that could be used for intelligence work . . .

      . . . given the level of deceipt and obfuscation we’re witnessing internationally, along with the fact that Palantir is looking to embed an operative in the New Zealand government, excuse me if I find it a little disconcerting that concern trolls who are “Green voters, but. . . ” and who are concerned about valid questions being painted as those of “conspiracy nuts”.

  6. Populuxe1 6

    Does it not strike you as improbable that an out and proud extreme Libertarian like Thiel would be actively enabling a government to have more control over the private lives of its citizens?

    • karol 6.1

      Contradictory, but not improbable. Neoliberal calling themselves “liberterian” often have such contradictions. Thiel’s “liberterian” values ultimately seem to serve his own wealth accumulation, and freedom from regulations. Thiel certainly has a curious mix of interests, as reported by The New Yorker. He doesn’t want government or state restrictions, but aims to be the one with most control. Some snippets from a long article that needs to be read in its entirety:

      As a teen-ager, his favorite book was “The Lord of the Rings,” which he read again and again. Later came Solzhenitsyn and Rand. He acquired the libertarian faith in high school and took it close to the limit. …

      Thiel liked to quote Margaret Thatcher: “There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women.”

      That year, he was interviewed by Reason, the libertarian magazine. “My optimistic take is that even though politics is moving very anti-libertarian, that itself is a symptom of the fact that the world’s becoming more libertarian,” he said. “Maybe it’s just a symptom of how good things are.”

      In 2009, Thiel posted an essay, “The Education of a Libertarian,” on the Cato Institute’s Web site. Sounding even more like an Ayn Rand hero than usual, he wrote, “In our time, the great task for libertarians is to find an escape from politics in all its forms—from the totalitarian and fundamentalist catastrophes to the unthinking demos that guides so-called ‘social democracy.’ . . . We are in a deadly race between politics and technology. . . . The fate of our world may depend on the effort of a single person who builds or propagates the machinery of freedom that makes the world safe for capitalism.” There was little doubt who the single person might be.

      The fortune that Thiel has since accumulated has given him an influential role in Republican Party politics. During the primary phase of the 2008 Presidential campaign, he gave money to Ron Paul, the libertarian representative from Texas; during the general election, he gave money to John McCain. He has raised funds for Senator Jim DeMint, of South Carolina, and Representative Eric Cantor, of Virginia—both champions of the anti-government Tea Party.

      Thiel himself, perhaps out of sheer contrarianism, is uncertain about Darwinian evolution. “I think it’s true,” he said, “but it’s also possible that it’s missing a lot of things, and it’s possible it’s not the most important thing.” Global warming is also “probably true,” but the matter is too clouded by political correctness to be properly assessed. The closer science gets to politics, the more vague and less convincing Thiel’s thinking becomes….

      No technological change would have more effect on the living standards of struggling Americans than improvements in energy and food, which dominate the economy and drive up prices. “That’s not one I focus on as much,” Thiel admitted. “It is very heavily politically linked, and my instinct is to stay away from that stuff.” Such oversights are telling. In Thiel’s techno-utopia, a few thousand Americans might own robot-driven cars and live to a hundred and fifty, while millions of others lose their jobs to computers that are far smarter than they are, then perish at sixty….

      So we see the true limits of Thiel’s commitment to freedom for all and ends to income inequalities.

      This reported by Slate;

      His belief system is based on unapologetic selfishness and economic Darwinism. His most famous quote—borrowed from Vince Lombardi—is, “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.” In a personal statement produced last year for the Cato Institute *, Thiel announced: “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.” The public, he says, doesn’t support unregulated, winner-take-all capitalism and so he doesn’t support the public making decisions. This anti-democratic proclamation comes with some curious historical analysis. Thiel says that the Roaring 20s were the last period when it was possible for supporters of freedom like him to be optimistic about politics. “Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women—two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians—have rendered the notion of ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron,” he writes.

      The technologies that Thiel’s company has been involved in developing for, or with help from, the CIA, etc, are very much capable of being used to intrude on the privacy of individuals, albeit in the name of protection from “terrorism”.

      .

      • Rogue Trooper 6.1.1

        Excellent overview karol, can see where Thiel would like society to head (down); it is becoming increasingly apparent that democracy as practiced in the modern world is incompatible with freedom, while intellectual dwarfs like Thiel & Key et al; want to “make the world safe for (unbridled) capitalism”.

        In Q.4, QT,11.6 Shearer came close to successfully pinning Key on PRISM / Palentir. I believe Key implied that international data exchanges have ocurred, if signed off on, warrants, etc.
        (Shearer really hooked into Key when beginning the Urgent Debate into the Henry Report into Dunne and the leaks.)
        I also believe that in QT 12.6 Key implied that Palentir are assisting moving the government of NZ towards greater surveillance of it’s citizens; Palentir to data-mine like PRISM at a national level.
        Great speech from Norman in miscellaneous business about “putting the security services back into the box”.

        On RNZ, Sir Bruce Ferguson stated (domestic security services) “not knowingly” exchanged intell obtained by NSA / PRISM, that such would occur “on a need to know basis” and that he could not “recall and confirm in the affirmative or negative”, echoing Clapper in the senate committee hearing using the terms “not wittingly” spied on domestic US citizens.

      • emergency mike 6.1.2

        “The fate of our world may depend on the effort of a single person who builds or propagates the machinery of freedom that makes the world safe for capitalism.”

        FFS. So he’s a rabid black or white thinking ideologue with messiah complex. I’m sure this will end well.

      • Populuxe1 6.1.3

        Karol, I think you may be reading the Libertarian fan-boy jargon rather too literally. Their understanding of certain very ordinary words is very different to that of normal, non-sociopathic people.

    • Galeandra 6.2

      No, not if it’s a low tax, in-the-bathtub sort of government which gets out of the way of wealthy/powerful/ ‘self actualising’ elites while keeping the masses quelled so that things can stay as they are. Libertarians like that sort of government

      • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1

        +1

        Haven’t net a libertarian yet that like democracy and the general populace having a say in their own lives. Their all for the rich having a say in everyone else’s though.

  7. Rich 7

    …get tens of thousands of libertarians to emigrate to New Hampshire

    That’s actually an awesome scheme. NH is very cold in winter with lots of snow. Once their new propertarian government gets in and stops clearing the roads, food deliveries won’t get through and the propertarians will all starve to death).

  8. Chooky 8

    Thanks Karol! great investigation.

    Re the 2 Peters connection:- It would be ironic if filming of the Lord of the Rings in NZ ( which incidentally I thought should have been filmed in Grt Britain….Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, by a much more subtle director) should have attracted and unleashed a real live Sauron force into our fair countries midst!

    SPOOKY! ( It sent shivers all down the perches…Where is Winnie?)

    RISE UP THE HOBBITS!

  9. muzza 9

    Excellent article on this subject, again, Karol. Your analysis is outstanding, and like other authors here, what potential might exist, if such insight was available in the MSM!

    Key, Thiel et al, and the ideology these people revere, is not one which folk are keen to acknowledge, or accept, but slowly, the layers are peeling back, and the alter, at which they kneel, will become undeniable!

    NZ is getting a front row seat to the *experiment*, past, present and future!

  10. URGENT!

    No apologies for the length of this post – it contains research which may help in the making of submissions. (If you think it’s too long – don’t bother reading it :)

    ‘Drop dead’ TIME for submissions on both the following Bills is MIDNIGHT (not 5pm) TODAY Thursday 13 June 2013!

    (I’ve checked with the appropriate Parliamentary staff for both Bills).

    Today, Thursday 13 June 2013 is the closing date for submissions on both the –

    GCSB – Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill

    http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Legislation/Bills/f/b/f/00DBHOH_BILL12122_1-Government-Communications-Security-Bureau-and.htm
    Submissions would be accepted up until midnight.

    Please email to GCSB.Bill@parliament.govt.nz

    _________________________________________________________

    AND the –

    Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill
    http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/SC/MakeSub/0/e/d/50SCLO_SCF_00DBHOH_BILL12123_1-Telecommunications-Interception-Capability.htm
    Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill

    Public submissions are now being invited on the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill. Submissions can be made through the link at the bottom of this page.

    The closing date for submissions is Thursday, 13 June 2013
    The bill seeks to repeal and replace the Telecommunications (Interception Capability) Act 2004

    The bill is available for download from the `Related documents´ panel. Print copies can be ordered online from Bennetts Government Bookshops.

    The committee requires 2 copies of each submission if made in writing. Those wishing to include any information of a private or personal nature in a submission should first discuss this with the clerk of the committee, as submissions are usually released to the public by the committee. Those wishing to appear before the committee to speak to their submissions should state this clearly and provide a daytime telephone contact number. To assist with administration please supply your postcode and an email address if you have one.

    Further guidance on making a submission can be found from the Making a Submission to a Parliamentary Select Committee link in the `Related documents´ panel.

    ______________________________________________________________________________

    For background info which may help you make a submission – here you go!

    Reported comments at the ‘post-cabinet press conference’ held on 10 June 2013, regarding the expectation of the Prime Minister for the GCSB to act within the law:

    “The PM was asked if he there was any chance that the National Security Agency of the United States had collected in information on New Zealanders.

    It has been revealed that The United States intelligence agency have been engaged in widespread secret interception of internet communications.

    Mr Key said he could not go into the operational techniques of either the GCSB or New Zealand’s security partners but he expected the GCSB to act within the law. The GCSB did work with other intelligence agencies from time to time but New Zealand did not have a “wholesale reciprocal”of information exchange.”

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1306/S00064/pm-post-cabinet-press-conference-10-june-2013.htm

    In New Zealand, citizens have LAWFUL rights to privacy under the NZ Privacy Act 1993:

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1993/0028/latest/DLM297038.html

    ‘Principle 1′, of the above-mentioned Privacy Act 1993:

    “Personal information shall not be collected by any agency unless—
    (a) the information is collected for a lawful purpose connected with a function or activity of the agency; and

    Principle 4:

    “Personal information shall not be collected by an agency—
    (a) by unlawful means; or
    (b) by means that, in the circumstances of the case,—
    (i) are unfair; or
    (ii) intrude to an unreasonable extent upon the personal affairs of the individual concerned.”

    s.5 of the Privacy Act 1993
    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1993/0028/latest/DLM297036.html

    5Act to bind the Crown
    This Act binds the Crown.

    ______________________________________________________________________________

    http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Legislation/Bills/f/b/f/00DBHOH_BILL12122_1-Government-Communications-Security-Bureau-and.htm

    Compare the growing attacks on the lawful rights of citizens to privacywith the lack of accountability at the highest levels of Government- Cabinet!

    How can you have ‘transparency’ and ‘accountability’ without proper WRITTEN RECORDS?

    Why isn’t the Public Records Act 2005 being applied in a proper way to Cabinet, regarding the CREATING of records?

    http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2005/0040/latest/DLM345729.html

    17. Requirement to create and maintain
    records

    (1)Every public office and local authority must create and maintain full and accurate records of its affairs, in accordance with normal, prudent business practice, including the records of any matter that is contracted out to an independent contractor.

    (2)Every public office must maintain in an accessible form, so as to be able to be used for subsequent reference, all public records that arein its control, until their disposal is authorised by or under this Act or required by or under another Act.

    http://www.cabinetmanual.cabinetoffice.govt.nz/8.86

    Ministerial records
    General

    8.86During their time in office, and on leaving office, Ministers will need to consider how to store or dispose of the papers created or received in their capacity as Ministers of the Crown (“ministerial records”).

    These papers fall broadly into the following three categories:

    Cabinet and Cabinet committee records (agendas, papers, and minutes);ministerial papers and files;departmental papers and files.

    8.87 The following paragraphs provide guidance on the storage and disposal of ministerial records. The Cabinet Office and Archives New Zealand are able to provide additional advice.

    8.88Ministers also receive and hold papers in their non-ministerial capacity; for example, correspondence with constituents and private or personal papers.

    (These papers are referred to as “non-ministerial records”.) Archives New Zealand is also able to provide guidance on the storage and disposal of these papers.

    (See paragraphs 8.98 and 8.99.)

    Cabinet and Cabinet committee records
    Disposal or storage

    8.89 By convention, Ministers are permitted to retain personal copies of Cabinet records on leaving office. The documents,
    however, are not their personal property. The licence to retain Cabinet records continues only for a Minister’s lifetime, after which the records should be returned to Archives New Zealand

    ______________________________________________________________________________

    MORE BACKGROUND INFORMATION!

    http://techliberty.org.nz/gcsbs-new-powers-for-wide-spread-spying-on-new-zealanders/
    GCSB’s new powers for wide-spread spying on New Zealanders
    Posted on June 9, 2013

    There have recently been a number of revelations about the US government spying on its citizenry and other people around the world (a good summary). Many people have been shocked to find out the extent of the US’s spying and access into theoretically private systems.

    What many New Zealanders don’t realise is that the NZ government is currently changing both the GCSB Act of 2003 and the Telecommunications Interception Capability Act of 2004 to allow similar levels of access to New Zealand communications for the GCSB (Government Communications Security Bureau).

    Current law

    The current TICA law already gives the GCSB, Police or SIS the technical capability to intercept all NZ communications if they have a valid warrant.

    The GCSB can get warrants to spy on the communications of foreign people and organisations, although they can spy without a warrant if it doesn’t require the installation of any device (e.g. wireless/satellite/radio/mobile).

    TICS – Telecommunications Interception Capability and Security Bill

    The new TICS Bill clarifies and expands on these interception capabilities. It also allows them to be extended to service providers (people who offer “goods, services, equipment, and facilities that enable or facilitate telecommunication”) such as email providers, Trademe forums, Mega, etc.

    TICS continues the existing regime where these interception powers can only be accessed with a valid warrant, but keep reading for the new exceptions to this in the GCSB Bill.

    Furthermore, the TICS Bill also creates a new role for the GCSB, ensuring the security of New Zealand’s telecommunications infrastructure. This includes wide powers of oversight and control of how communications networks are managed and implemented in order to “protect New Zealand’s national security or economic wellbeing”.
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    GCSB – Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment William BrownThe new GCSB Bill gives the GCSB three purposes (we’ll come back to these):

    8A – Information assurance and cybersecurity. (Expanded from protecting government communications to a much wider responsibility for New Zealand’s communications.)
    8B – Intelligence gathering, analysis and sharing. (Similar to the existing law except that it adds “gathering information about information infrastructures” to the existing spying on foreign people/organisations.)
    8C – Helping the Police, SIS and Defence Force by providing advice and assistance in helping them execute their own legally obtained warrants. (This is entirely new.)
    The bill doesn’t significantly change how the GCSB can apply for an interception or search warrant, but it does add a whole new class of “access authorisation”. To quote section 15A(1)( b)

    The Director may apply in writing to the Minister for the issue of an access authorisation authorising the accessing of 1 or more specified information infrastructures or classes of information infrastructures that the Bureau cannot otherwise lawfully access.

    These authorisations are granted at the whim of the Minister (although see below) and are incredibly wide-ranging and open-ended. There are no recommendations of limits (other than what the Minister sees fit to impose) and there is no automatic expiry. And just in case you thought that the TICA/TICS law might provide some protection, the GCSB Bill goes on to add section 15A(5):

    …………………….

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1306/S00357/industry-groups-concerned-at-prism-implications.htm
    Industry groups concerned at PRISM implications.

    Wednesday, 12 June 2013, 9:10 am
    Press Release: Internet NZ

    Industry groups concerned at PRISM implications. Call for TICSA/GCSB Bills submission extension.

    ______________________________________________________________________________

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption / anti-privatisation’ campaigner
    2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate

  11. tracey 11

    Sorry karol but I don’t quite see how this is proof that key has a relationship with Thiel which could then be construed as meaning that Key has invited or knows of a contract within the realms of Prism. I may have misunderstood, happy to be corrected and unconfused.

    • karol 11.1

      Tracey, and Wayne below, it’s just an indication of the networks Key is involved in. We all interact with a range of networks, but it’s telling the kinds of networks that Key inserts himself into most regularly. It’s not about some organised and planned conspiracy, Wayne. It’s more subtle than that.

      It may not seem like much to the likes of Wayne, but for us less powerful folk, it highlights the networks of like-minded influential people who have a major influence on the NZ government, and in Thiel’s case, the US government and its spy agencies.

      In response to Russel Norman’s question this week, Key adopted the same vagueness over his contacts with Thiel as with his contacts with Ian Fletcher prior to shoulder-tapping Fletcher for the GCSB job.

      Thiel’s involvement with Key and the NZ government goes back a way.

      Hamish Fletcher reported this in an article on Thiel in the NZ Herald back at the beginning of 2011:

      Thiel has another connection to New Zealand – the Herald understands he has purchased an exclusive Parnell property through Auckland real-estate agent Graham Wall.

      It is also believed Thiel has privately met Prime Minister John Key.

      In March 2012, ironically in defending the decision to allow Kim DOtcom residency in NZ, John Key said:

      Key said it was “not for me to opine” on whether Dotcom had broken American law by establishing Megaupload, but that the Investor Plus category of migrant had been, on the whole, valuable to New Zealand.

      He cited New York billionaire Julian Robertson, who has developed tourist resorts in New Zealand and made the largest single art collection donation in Australasia, film-maker James Cameron and Paypal founder Peter Thiel, an investor in kiwi accounting software company Xero, as examples.

      Key elaborated on this in his post cabinet press conference, as reported by NBR:

      “Having high net worth individuals come here is a positive, in my view,” he said at his weekly post-Cabinet press conference. “There will never be massive numbers. There aren’t that many of them.

      “The vast bulk of people don’t come in the super-rich category, if you’re talking about how people get citizenship,” Key said.

      A little later in the same month Stephen Joyce announced:

      Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce today announced that United States investor Peter Thiel has established a New Zealand venture capital fund alongside the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund and private investors.

      This promotion of, and networking with, such individuals investing in NZ seems Key pre-occupation. I don’t see him mixing so much with those on low incomes or groups who promote their well-being, except when there’s a photo op in it.

      On Prism, there have been reports that Thiel’s company Palantir, with PRISM-like systems, is now operating in Wellington, is recruiting for work involving the government.

      • Anne 11.1.1

        This promotion of, and networking with, such individuals investing in NZ seems to be a Key pre-occupation. I don’t see him mixing so much with those on low incomes or groups who promote their well-being, except when there’s a photo op in it.

        Precisely the point. Everybody aspires to reach a higher level on the class human scale than they actually are…

        This is Key’s desired level – a wannabe filthy rich corporate internationalist. He’s actually using NZ and New Zealanders to achieve his aim. It’s not about Key wanting to do his best for the country as he claims, but rather wanting the country to do its best for him. As soon as he thinks he’s made it, he will shoot through and we won’t see him again.

  12. Huginn 12

    Key was talking about contracting out government business to Google a few years ago. I found this while I was looking for it:

    15/07/2011
    ‘Prime Minister John Key will meet with the top brass of internet giants Google and Facebook, as well as Hollywood bosses on a visit to the United States next week.

    But before the political talks, Key will make stops on the American west coast for meetings with representatives of The Hobbit co-producer New Line Cinema and senior executives at Facebook and Google.

    Key confirmed the Tuesday meetings were on the agenda in his weekly newsletter to voters, sent this afternoon.

    “The meetings were arranged to talk about technology and innovation issues, areas of co-operation between these two important companies and New Zealand, and whether opportunities exist for investor interest in New Zealand,” a spokesman for Key said.

    “As a Government we are very focused on trying to lift New Zealand’s technological capability. Google and Facebook represent real opportunities to keep and grow our on-line connections to the rest of the world.”

    “I think without doubt both Google and Facebook are very influential in shaping how we work and play.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/5292868/John-Key-to-meet-with-Google-Facebook-and-movie-bosses

  13. Wayne 13

    Karol, As you say it is easy to find all these links of the various people and their activities on the Internet. They don’t exactly try to hide it. In fact they go out of their way to promote it. For instance Derek Handley has just written a very interesting book.

    So why is it a problem that all these people know each other. Of course they do.

    As a former Minister of Science and Innovation I met them all. And some of the initiatives now coming about have their origins from those discussions, especially the ICT Innovation Hub associated with Callaghan Innovation, plus The Base in San Francisco.

    Anyone working in this sector, whether in governement or the private sector, will know all about these links. And a lot has been done to cultivate them to get better connections for the NZ ICT sector with the West Coast of the US.

    And yes they are often quite libertarian, since they all have total self belief in their ability to succeed by their efforts. But so what. Their political beliefs do not come into what govts do. You would be hard pressed to see any NZ science or innovation initiative that has some sort of libertarian tone to it.

    So really your conspiracy theory simply does not add up.

    • Rogue Trooper 13.1

      really, Libertarians and Conservatives.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarians
      reads like anarcho-capitalism. let the anarchists from both ends of the political spectrum face-off = the rise, and rise,of terrorism. The RAF flies underground.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baader-Meinhof_Gang

    • karol 13.2

      Wayne, see my reply to Tracey above. Also, if it were merely about these people being involved in Science and Innovation, then I wouldn’t be so concerned.

      But all these connections are happening in a context were the GCSB & Echeolon network, plus the kind of surveillance systems Palantir is involved with, are raising serious questions and concerns internationally. Added to this is the Key government anti-democratic processes, and the legalising of GCSB surveillance of NZ citizens, plus the way the GCSB under Key’s watch has shifted more towards protecting economic interests and intellectual copyright in ways that favour corporates over the less powerful.

      Thus, in view of all these happenings, I think it is important to to question the connections and roles of the likes of Thiel in NZ. Key is not doing anything to damp down such questioning with his obfuscations, vaguenesses and diversions.

      • Wayne 13.2.1

        Karol, two interesting posts.

        Yes the PM does interact with this group of people. In many respects they are his generation or close to it. He is much more networked into this global group than any other prior NZ PM. His prior job and the level he rose to ensures that. He was involved in the most globally networked part of the economy; global finance and IT. The latter by degrees of connection and their need for huge infusions of capital in order to grow at often exponentional rates

        And a significant number of them are really interested in NZ, often for quite eccentric reasons – the billionaires who visit NZ in their private jet and then bike around NZ as an expression of their oneness with nature – work that one out if you can!

        So he is certainly going to know those who come to NZ especially if they are from the US, where he PM did a lot of his work. In Peter Theil’s case he has actually become a citizen.

        There are quite a few who have exclusive hideaways in Queenstown area and Bay of Islands.

        Yes, it is a bit of an unusual part of the zeitgist, but there you are.

        • karol 13.2.1.1

          Well, Wayne, your acceptance of Key’s key’s nurturing of those kinds of networks is a little unsettling, and doing nothing to lessen my concerns.

          Thiel is an NZ citizen? great.

          • Colonial Viper 13.2.1.1.1

            We’re just so lucky that such a mighty job creator has chosen our little hobbit shire.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 13.2.1.2

          “Eccentric” – that’s a new word for “government policy for sale”.

    • Tom Pained 13.3

      Wayne, it worries me that this infatuation with information technology tends to overshadow small concerns such as checks and balances of power.

      A small country without an upper house [abolished by the Holland government the day before the waterfront lockout after a personal visit from the US Secretary of State not long after General MacArthur considered using nuclear weapons against Chinese/Nth Korean interiors with the intention that radioactive fallout zones would interrupt their supply chains] is easy to influence by people wielding the charisma of a new technology and .. apparently .. a fountain of wealth.

      There has long been a meme on the net about finding a ‘lifeboat economy’ in case of a north american economic implosion, and for many that has been NZ. If I were in their shoes I would be doing the same.

      Are you familiar with Melanesian cargo cults following the Guadacanal and Papuan campaigns? My hypothesis is that something similar is happening here, and, in the spirit of open inquiry, I offer that as a research topic to anyone who may be interested.

      Advanced algorithms are now involved in film-making, innovation, and surveillance. Our relaxed and friendly south pacific democracy suddenly has pretensions of playing with the heavy hitters in the northern hemisphere. Those pretensions may be rudely exposed if there are any sudden geopolitical shifts.

      Karol and others have raised legitimate questions about networks of influence which need answering.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_War#Stalemate_.28July_1951_.E2.80.93_July_1953.29
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1951_New_Zealand_waterfront_dispute
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Thiel

      • Anne 13.3.1

        And here’s another little conspiracy theory that may exercise Wayne’s brain.

        Remember the three (not one but three) soldiers who died in Afghanistan around the 20th August of last year? John Key was due to leave a few days later for a private trip to America to watch his son play baseball. He chose not to delay his flight to the USA by one day so he could attend the official memorial service. This, despite the fact his son was not due to play his game for another 4 days. We later learned he had dinner with some Warner bros. executives in Hollywood en-route to his son’s game.

        I remember wondering at the time if that dinner was being used as a smokescreen for something else – something he deemed more important than attending the military service. Key’s demeanour during that period was odd. His reluctance to alter his travel plans so he could attend the service was odd. The fact that the MSM didn’t have that much to say about it was odd. Quite a few things seemed a bit odd. But of course if you’re planning to have a top secret meeting with say… a group of intelligence operatives affiliated to the NSA, then you are going to behave in a slightly odd way.

      • Wayne 13.3.2

        Very interesting comment Tom.

        Yes, I have seen a bit about the idea of the “lifeboat economy”. I suspect that is part of the answer, judging by the way some of them talk. An english speaking country a long way from anywhere has appeal. And being libertarians, some of them do have a bit of an apocalyptic (spelling!) view of the world.

        Had not thought about the commonality of film, innovation and surveillance, only of the first two. You may recall that Weta Digital got quite a bit of govt support around advanced digital imagery, which I very much encouraged. Mostly about the technology around CGI and the film”Avatar”, and of course the “Hobbit”, but it is a universal film technology. And NZ is now a centre of global expertise in this area, so not really cargo cult, but real value being added. And around 1500 high value jobs in Wellington, which presumably support another 3000 jobs in the general Wellington economy.

        One of the studies I initiated was about the characteristics of high tech firms that stay, and those that leave. It is very much about the inclinations of the founder. As yet I don’t think we have got to the point where these firms will stay, irrespective of the decisions of the founder. The clusters of firms (except for diary technology and maybe high tech yachts) are not yet deep enough.

        And the truth is there are only a very small number of tech clusters in NZ.

        By the way I don’t really buy into Anne’s conspiracy theory!

        • karol 13.3.2.1

          I have long linked film, IT technologies and surveillance. They all link up with the Kim Dotcom saga.

          I think Weta and Weta digital are the big success stories. Jackson’s movies ride on those capabilities.

          PS: And those 3 areas are all part of my academic background, which is why I tend to write posts on them. Manuel Castells is one writer I have attended to quite a bit, on the “Information Age”, “Network Society”, “Internet Galaxy”, etc.

        • Anne 13.3.2.2

          By the way I don’t really buy into Anne’s conspiracy theory!

          Yeah… but the two words got you reading it Wayne and I had fun puttng it together. :)

          • Anne 13.3.2.2.1

            Addendum: you see you tried to fob off karol’s post as a “conspiracy theory” Wayne when it clearly is an excellent piece of analysis work that we have long since come to expect of her…

            I thought I would give you a real one to exercise your mind -one that was good enough to be plausible.

  14. Tigger 14

    Utopia? Not under this government…

  15. tracey 15

    Thanks karol

  16. Jenny 17

    What gets me is that the media, in a campaign that went on for weeks, whipped the public into a lather with hysteric claims of a “Nanny State” over Labour’s attempts to bring in a very mild law to mandate energy saver light bulbs.

    And now we have an administration that is hard spying on everyone and even condoning illegal actions by the GCSB to do it. Treating the whole population of New Zealand as criminals to be kept a close eye on. Intruding into our living rooms room through our computers and into our pockets through our cell phones, silently listening at every conversation. Remotely and illegally monitoring every thing we do. And storing and passing on this “meta-data” as they see fit.

    Not a murmur from the talking heads in the media. No condemnations from ringing editorials in the major newspapers. No stern faced TV reporters interviewing worried citizens in the streets for their views.

    No devastating satire, mocking the spies and the supine government lackeys who give the spies free reign to run amok.

    No instead we are all told it is nothing major, a “storm in a teacup” and other such soothing platitudes.

    And the news cycle moves on. “Nothing to see here folks.”

  17. Mr Interest 18

    http://www.muckety.com/Palantir-Technologies-Inc/5071273.muckety

    Palantir Technologies Inc.

    Areas of interest: politics & government

    People related to Palantir Technologies Inc.:
    Alexander C. Karp – co-founder & CEO
    Joe Lonsdale – co-founder
    Peter A. Thiel – co-founder

    Other current Palantir Technologies Inc. relationships:
    ATS Communications, Inc. – lobby firm
    Becker & Poliakoff, LLP – lobby firm
    Cassidy & Associates – lobby firm
    Central Intelligence Agency – contractor
    In-Q-Tel – investor
    major defense contractors – contractor
    U.S. Department of Homeland Security – contractor
    U.S. Department of Justice – contractor

    Palantir Technologies Inc. past relationships:
    Center for a New American Security – contributor
    Kadesh & Associates – lobby firm
    Patton Boggs LLP – lobby firm

    Additional Muckety map information sources:
    U.S. Department of Defense

  18. Descendant Of Sssmith 19

    Reading this, computers, rand, Silicon Valley……. Just constantly reminds me of this

    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/all-watched-over-by-machines-of-loving-grace/

    • Rogue Trooper 19.1

      Excellent series DOS (could use that OS, let down by the fraudulent again; pirated OS in my ‘gift’ computer).

  19. David H 20

    And it seems that the NSA even ‘stole’ their Prism logo.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/06/12/nsa_logo_scandal/

    • BLiP 20.1

      Heh! That’s hillarious. I actually miscontrued your comment, thinking to my silly self that NSA had stolen Palntir’s logo for its Prism product. It appears not . . . but in double checking, I stumbled across this . . .

      . . . The Prism logo is slightly more opaque than the one used by the US government’s Information Awareness Office, which boasted an all-seeing eye atop a pyramid, casting a golden light across an adjacent planet Earth. They might just as well have used the motto “We Spy on Absolutely Everybody” . . .

      . . . seems the geeks might be well able to keep John Key posted on my activities by the hour, but lack a certain finesse when it comes to graphic design. As odd as it sounds, I don’t hope the same lack of design skill applies to the PRISM programme for fear that the innocent could end up facing real world consequences of false-positives turning up in some AOS briefing folder. If the fuckers are going to spy on us the least they can do is get accurate data.

  20. Jenny 21

    In 1948 George Orwell had to imagine the technology that would make this level of surveillance possible.

    “You had to live – did live, from habit that became instinct – in the assumption that evey sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every moment scrutinized.”

    George Orwell From the novel 1984

  21. Wairua 22

    Tarpley: “Rand Paul – No Unions, No Social Security, No Medicare, No Medicaid, No Employment Benefits, because that violates the Austrian School” ..

    34:47 at

    http://tarpley.net/2013/06/18/tarpley-at-new-york-left-forum/

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    A “Jobs That Count” campaign has the full support of Labour, the party’s Labour Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. Organised by the Meat Workers Union, the campaign aims to put the spotlight on job insecurity in the meat processing industry....
    Labour
  • Biosecurity it’s everyone’s responsibility
    Biosecurity costs New Zealand millions of dollars in attempting pest eradication and much more in ongoing management of pests in farming, horticulture, beekeeping and conservation, as well as in our own backyards and recreation areas. More work must happen at...
    Greens
  • Failure to diversify puts prosperity at risk
    Beyond the news that a long-promised surplus is unlikely, further embarrassment is hidden in the fine print of the half year economic and fiscal update, Labour says. "National’s failure to rebalance the economy is further exposed in projections from its...
    Labour
  • Ombudsman probe targets Ministerial integrity
    John Key is on notice that the entrenched cynical and manipulative abuse of official information requests by his Government will no longer be tolerated, Labour’s Open Government spokesperson Clare Curran says. “The announcement by the Ombudsman of a wide-ranging review...
    Labour
  • Bill English’s face is redder than his books
    The Government owes New Zealanders an apology for failing to deliver the surplus it spent four years and two election campaigns promising, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Bill English’s face is redder than the Crown accounts. This is the...
    Labour
  • Is the Health Minister accountable to the public? He doesn’t seem to thin...
    Lately I’ve been involved in a sort of farcical standoff with the Health Minister, who seems to be under the illusion that I have no right to ask questions about conflicts involving Health Promotion Agency Board member Katherine Rich, and...
    Greens
  • Irresponsible tax cuts lead to seventh successive deficit
    National's borrowing to pay for cutting the top tax rate was irresponsible and will likely lead to a seventh successive deficit, the Green Party said today. Treasury have forecast a $572 million deficit this year in its Half Year Economic...
    Greens
  • Minister closes down dissent on climate change
    Minister closes down dissent on climate change In a threatening letter to Maori leaders, Minister for Climate Change Tim Groser says he will be requiring future international delegations to toe the party line, Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says. “In...
    Labour
  • Heartfelt sympathy for Sydneysiders
    The Labour Party has offered its heartfelt sympathy to the people of Sydney after the hostage situation in the city, says Labour’s Acting leader Grant Robertson.  “Our thoughts are with all those who went through this horrific and traumatic experience....
    Labour
  • Farewell at Phillipstown
    Last Wednesday, I attended the farewell for Tony Simpson, Principal of Phillipstown School. It was a very emotional event where many of us in the large crowd shed tears. Bagpipes and tiny tamariki performing kapahaka brought the house down and...
    Greens
  • The CIA Torture Report
    Earlier this week, the United States Select Committee on Intelligence released the Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program.  The report, which was five years in the making, looked into the CIA’s interrogation techniques from 2001...
    Greens
  • Haere Rā 2014
    We’ve almost reached the end of the Parliamentary year so I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of my highlights of the term in this blog post. It’s been an absolutely hectic year juggling an election campaign...
    Greens
  • Labour applauds High Court decision on Ruataniwha
    Today’s decision by the High Court on the Ruataniwha scheme is a victory for NewZealand’s environmental groups, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson RuthDyson....
    Labour
  • A welfare system for the 21st Century
    Today Child Poverty Action Group released a background paper on ‘The complexities of ‘relationship’ in the welfare system and the consequences for children.‘ The report includes 16 recommendations to modernise our welfare system which is no longer fit for the...
    Greens
  • Welfare system out of date and out of touch
    A new Child Poverty Action Group report released today highlights another example of how our outmoded social welfare system is harming kids, says Labour’s Social Development Spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The complexities of how a ‘relationship’ is defined in the welfare...
    Labour
  • NZ should formally recognise Palestine
    New Zealand should follow the lead of Sweden, and now recognise Palestine as a separate state On 30 October, Sweden’s new government formally recognised the state of Palestine, only the second Western country to do so, after Iceland. Down here...
    Greens
  • James Shaw’s adjournment speech on behalf of the Green Party
    It is a great honour for me to speak on behalf of the Green Party in this adjournment debate. I thank my colleagues for the privilege. I became a MP only 12 weeks ago, a period of time that seems...
    Greens
  • Time to end legalised cruelty of factory farms
    We can ensure that animals are kept in safe and ethical conditions. Claims of economic impact and practicality as justification for animal cruelty just don't stack up.Use our easy e-letter to write to the Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy...
    Greens
  • Government can’t rely on geothermal to grow itself
    While Electricity Authority figures showing geothermal has risen from the fourth to the second highest source of power generation are a promising sign for a geothermal renaissance, there can be no cause for complacency, Labour’s Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says....
    Labour
  • Big bickies for bosses despite subpar performance
    While public service workers are experiencing Grinch-like wage increases state sector bosses have pocketed early Christmas presents in the form of whopper pay hikes, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Unbelievably State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie got an additional...
    Labour
  • Consent should come before research grants for phosphate mining
      The Government’s decision to make a grant by Callaghan Innovation to Chatham Rock Phosphate is highly questionable, says Labour’s Science spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “The fact is that the company still has to get a marine consent to mine the Chatham...
    Labour
  • A Tale of Two Farms
    Pig farming has yet again been thrust into the public view with two programmes this week on Campbell Live highlighting the very different conditions for pigs on two very different farms. The first programme exposed the awful conditions on a...
    Greens
  • Dirty Dairy Accord failing to clean up rivers
    The first monitoring report of the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord fails to show progress on cleaning up our rivers since the Accord was introduced, the Green Party said today. The Accord's targets for stock exclusion are weaker than the previous...
    Greens
  • The Indignant Kiwi: Why we need to do more to protect our national bird
    A kiwi, about to be released into the wild, was first introduced to Prime Minister John Key and German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel on her recent visit to New Zealand. By all reports, Dr Merkel was delighted to meet the rather indignant...
    Greens
  • Conflicted interests and health promotion; my opinion.
    As it happens, I know quite a bit about health promotion. It was an area I worked in prior to becoming an MP. What differentiates health promotion from the strict biomedical model, or from health education, for example, is its...
    Greens
  • Transparency on foreign buyers register needed
    News that Overseas Investment Office officials have been working on a register of foreign buyers of New Zealand homes is a welcome surprise, but Land Information Minister Louise Upston now needs to be clear on the details of the project,...
    Labour
  • National moves on state house sell off
    The Labour Party understands the Government has decided to move ahead with a mass sell-off of state houses. Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says he has been told by sources that Cabinet agreed the plan for their sell-off this week....
    Labour
  • Back-down on expert teacher plan welcomed
    News that the Government has backed down and returned to the drawing board on its flagship ‘expert teacher’ policy will come as a welcome Christmas present to schools and teachers, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Teachers throughout New Zealand...
    Labour
  • John Key can’t duck the blame for internet and phone price increases
    Shareholders are winning out over Kiwi households in the latest episode of the long-running fiasco on copper network phone and internet prices, Labour ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said today. “As predicted last week hundreds of thousands of Kiwi households now...
    Labour
  • An astounding disregard for Māori Affairs
    I have sat on the Māori Affairs Select Committee for most of the last 12 years. I love the committee, its work, its constituency and I especially love how it works differently than other committees, with a strong commitment to...
    Greens
  • Plunging dairy payout will hit regions hard
    The plunging dairy payout will hit New Zealand’s provincial towns and farm service industries hard, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Farmers have been bracing themselves for this expected announcement but it will be small towns and those who...
    Labour
  • Reducing inequality creates a stronger economy
    An OECD report finding New Zealand has one of the fast growing rates of income inequality shows “trickle down” economics has failed and that everyone is better off under a stronger economy, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “The Government should...
    Labour
  • Government surplus target turning sour
    The Government’s golden surplus target is under threat with today’s Crown accounts showing the deficit is $260 million worse than expected, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is two blows in one morning for the Government’s economic credibility after...
    Labour
  • Greens call for end to cruelty of factory farming
    The Government must end the legalised cruelty of factory farming, the Green Party said today.Footage shown on Campbell Live this week revealed yet again the appalling, but legal, conditions pigs are routinely kept in on factory farms. The conditions the...
    Greens
  • Milk price plunge creates $6b economic black hole
    The plunge in Fonterra’s forecast dairy payout to a seven-year low for farmers will create a $6 billion economic black hole, showing yet again that National’s failure to diversify is hurting the economy, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The...
    Labour
  • Gender Pay Gap: It’s a Matter of Leadership
    The State Services Commission’s annual Human Resource Capability report for the public sector shows the gender pay gap has not decreased since at least 2010. The gap is 14% across all management roles – a slightly bigger gap than for...
    Greens
  • Pardon me Minister, but the cracks are showing
    Cracks are appearing in Cabinet ranks with the Minister of Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, throwing his predecessor under the bus over a huge spike in spending by advisers, Labour's State Services spokesman Kris Faafoi says. "Spending to 'staff the...
    Labour
  • Confirmation of no confidence in schools plan
    That just 90 of the country’s 2500 schools have signed up to the Government's one-size-fits all performance pay scheme confirms a wide-spread lack of confidence in it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The scheme, which creates ‘executive’ and ‘lead...
    Labour
  • John Key’s secret foreign buyers register
    John Key has been secretly planning a register for foreign buyers without telling New Zealanders, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Last week Andrew Little called on John Key to adopt the Australian policy on foreign buyers....
    Labour
  • Another kick in the guts for Christchurch
    The government has walked away from the people of Christchurch with Cabinet’s decision today to cut funding available through local Members of Parliament offices to assist people with their earthquake related issues, says Labour’s Earthquake Recovery Spokesperson, Ruth Dyson.  “Over the...
    Labour
  • State house sell off will make transience worse
    The National Government’s plans to sell off state housing will increase the rate of transience among the poorest families, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. The Growing Up in New Zealand study released today reveals families with children under two...
    Labour
  • Report shows need for independent food safety agency
    The inquiry into the botulism botch-up shows the decision to merge the food safety authority into the Ministry of Primary Industries was a failure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI has been severely criticised in this report for...
    Labour
  • National needs to pull their head out of the sand on climate change
    Green MPs were out across the country attending Heads in the Sand events this weekend. I spoke at the Christchurch event where a couple of hundred people mimicked the Government’s climate policy by burying their heads in the sand. It...
    Greens
  • Claims of pumping up the volume all noise
    New manufacturing figures from Statistics NZ reveal a further decline in New Zealand's export performance, highlighting the Government's ongoing failure to rebalance the economy, Labour's Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says."The National Government has adopted a volume-based approach in an...
    Labour
  • Mediation Between Lyttelton Port and Union Fails
    The Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) has opted to continue its overtime ban indefinitely after mediation with the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) failed to progress collective bargaining.   “There was no substantial shift in LPC’s position today so the...
    The Daily Blog
  • Letter from Pakistan
    I was in Peshawar last week. It is a vibrant city with a real energy to it. It is my favourite place to be in Pakistan. You feel the energy as you drive around the city. I am in an...
    The Daily Blog
  • Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban
    Media Release: Rail & Maritime Transport Union Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban Workers of Christchurch Rail and Lyttelton Port have begun an indefinite ban on overtime, according to the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. The ban was announced at...
    The Daily Blog
  • So the United States of Torture is the ally we are supporting to re-invade ...
    How easy is it to con the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind? Very. The despicable means by which this corrupt dirty politics Government have gone about trying to use the fear and anger caused by the Sydney hostage situation...
    The Daily Blog
  • A tale of two gunmen – how the media spins
    A tale of two gunmen – how the media spins...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Jill Ovens – Auckland Hospital worker cuts – Democracy the ...
    Auckland Hospital kitchen workers tell CEO Ailsa Claire (far right) a week ago that they did not want to be contracted out. Such was the arrogance that no contingency plans were made in the event that these workers would be...
    The Daily Blog
  • Political opportunists out in force over Sydney hostage crisis
    It hasn’t taken long for supporters of New Zealand’s so-called “anti-terror” legislation passed last week through parliament to try and justify it in the wake of the Sydney hostage crisis. Before we even knew much about the gunman or hostage...
    The Daily Blog
  • NZs new hobby – hating the poor
    Last week people queued at the doors of the Auckland City Mission. They are people that are living without enough income to afford the basics let alone the extras we as a society have come to expect at Christmas. Extras...
    The Daily Blog
  • The only people who believed National’s surplus illusion were voters
    Sigh – the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind are pretty easy to con aren’t they? National’s surplus was always a joke that would never happen, but in every single focus group, voters believed by overwhelming numbers that National were...
    The Daily Blog
  • Key’s crocodile tears over dirty politics
    John Key: Bloggers ‘not big part of my day’ Prime Minister John Key says bloggers are not a “big part of his day” but he lives in a world where he can’t ignore them. Speaking on TVNZ’s Breakfast programme today,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why we are in inequality denial and climate change denial
        We are a country in denial over our inequality and climate change. Both issues have the same thread that runs through them. 30 years of neoliberalism has generated its own cultural narratives and myths. We have been taught that...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Why proclaiming Key as the Politician of ...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Why proclaiming Key as the Politician of the Year is ethically bankrupt...
    The Daily Blog
  • Britomart violence raises questions over rail staff safety
    Media Release: Rail and Maritime Transport Union   Britomart violence raises questions over rail staff safety   The Rail and Maritime Transport Union is raising serious questions over the safety of the staff on Auckland’s train network after violent incidents on...
    The Daily Blog
  • Australia stares down Siege – National Party politicise tragedy
    The Sydney siege has finished, from the reports that are breaking the gunman, Man Haron Monis is dead and one of the hostages has also been killed. The Australian Police seem to have acted incredibly professionally and the real Australian...
    The Daily Blog
  • The termination of the Internet Mana alliance
    Last week the Mana Movement and Internet Party wrote to the Electoral Commission to cancel the registration of the Internet-Mana political party. It was a decision which brought the arrangement between the parties to a natural end after failing to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Peace breaks out between Greens and Labour
    Finally some good news for the Left. Peace has broken out between the Greens and Labour. One of the greatest barriers to a real relationship between the Greens and Labour has been the uncompromising arrogance of the Labour Party Caucus...
    The Daily Blog
  • Little keeps it stupid, simple
    Labour MP drops euthanasia billA bill which would legalise voluntary euthanasia has been dropped by Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway at the request of his leader Andrew Little. Mr Lees-Galloway had been canvassing support for his End of Life Choice Bill...
    The Daily Blog
  • Dear Ministry for Social Development,
    Dear Ministry for Social Development, I realise you probably already know this, but just a wee reminder of REALITY. You know – the reality of the vast majority of us who aren’t making ends meet and are struggling to live...
    The Daily Blog
  • Social Policy still in the dark ages when it comes to relationships
    Two years ago I became aware of the work of two very able barristers who defend low income women accused of relationship fraud. CPAG then began collecting cases and stories of horrendous misery and victimisation. Then penny was slow to...
    The Daily Blog
  • The truth about inequality
      The truth about inequality...
    The Daily Blog
  • Rather Than Sending Troops To Iraq … Brownlee May Wish To Consider Better...
    There’s something a little unsettling going on at the moment. Ok, many somethings. Of particular concern is the fact that right now, New Zealand troops are training at Waiouru for deployment to Iraq – and, assumedly, the ongoing war against ISIS. Brownlee,...
    The Daily Blog
  • West Papua’s Saralana Declaration most vital unity development for 52 yea...
    Newly elected spokesman for the unified West Papuan movement Benny Wenda is treated to a chiefly welcome at the opening ceremony of the “unity” meeting in Port Vila. Photo: © Ben Bohane/wakaphotos.com David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific. A...
    The Daily Blog
  • Helen says it all
    Helen says it all...
    The Daily Blog
  • When Fran O’Sullivan, John Armstrong and Cameron Slater are singing Andre...
    The mainstream media of NZ will never allow a Labour leader who threatens the bastions of neoliberalism from ever taking power. David Cunliffe found that out. So when the mainstream media establishment from Fran O’Sullivan to John Armstrong to even...
    The Daily Blog
  • Wisdom’s Mirror: Can Grant Robertson Slay the Neoliberal Gorgon?
    HOW TO ELIMINATE one’s rival without getting one’s hands dirty? It’s a problem with a prodigious political pedigree. King David’s lust for Bathsheba drove him to order Uriah, her unfortunate husband, placed in the front line of battle – where...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Miriam Pierard – Sweet Sixteen and able to vote?
    The level of voter participation in elections is an indication of the health of a democracy. Declining turnout across the democratic world, particularly among young people, has led to questions about the legitimacy of our governing institutions. It is time...
    The Daily Blog
  • Public Equity and Progressive Politics
    We heard from the OECD on Wednesday morning (10 Dec) [Focus on Inequality and Growth] that inequality suppresses economic growth. (Here are Radio New Zealand’s morning reports on this.) This is hardly a surprise to many economists and non-economists alike. The key point in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Analysis: Final Across The Ditch Bulletin for 2014 – Lorde Help Us!
    Analysis (Text & Audio): Across The Ditch – Selwyn Manning & Peter Godfrey Headline: Final Across The Ditch Bulletin for 2014 – Lorde Help Us! 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.FiveAA’s Peter Godfrey and MIL’s Selwyn Manning present their last...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sharing intelligence with CIA torturers
    New Zealand’s spy agencies have long presented intelligence sharing with their US counterparts as mutually beneficial and benign. That stance has always lacked credibility and is now its impossible to justify. The just-released US Senate Intelligence Committee report shows that...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour votes for Surveillance State. NZ First Opposes!
    A few weeks before the election, the New Zealand Labour Party decided to cash in on simmering popular discontent with the state of the surveillance state that National’s set up. Never mind their own previous and well-publicized brushes with egregious state-surveillance … they wanted people to know that...
    The Daily Blog
  • Economic ideology destroys us all
    The OECD’s latest report says “The biggest factor for the impact of inequality on growth is the gap between lower income households and the rest of the population. The negative effect is not just for the poorest income decile but...
    The Daily Blog
  • 3 simple words for the Labour Party
    I have 3 very simple words for all those Labour Party apologists who are trying to rinse Labour clean here. Get. A. Warrant. You can all try and spin this any way you want, but Labour voted for 24 hour...
    The Daily Blog
  • 2014 – Year of the angry white knuckle
    I knew Internet/MANA would have to fight National, ACT, Conservative Party, United Future, Maori Party and the mainstream media. I didn’t think they would also have to fight Labour, the Greens and NZ First as well. Apparently feeding hungry kids in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Chris Rock on cop shootings
    Chris Rock on cop shootings...
    The Daily Blog
  • Bank Lending: Restrictions and Favourites
    An important story in 2014 has been the Reserve Bank’s ‘loan-to-value ratio’ restrictions, which have made it extremely hard for first-time house buyers to get sufficient finance to buy a house. Corran Dann in TVNZ’s  Q+A (7 Dec) suggested that...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – How should Waitangi Tribunal ruling on S...
      This weeks Waatea news column - How should  Waitangi Tribunal ruling on Sovereignty be implemented?...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour sell us out on warrantless surveillance
    Isn’t it depressing that Labour are selling us out by voting for warrantless spying by an agency caught out smearing them? Last night Labour do what they always do, over compensate on Security issues. So terrified are Labour at being...
    The Daily Blog
  • This Is The Headline For Test Post
    This Is The Headline For Test Post Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut eget neque facilisis sapien laoreet volutpat. Nulla vel nisl nec purus interdum tincidunt. Phasellus orci sapien, vestibulum et pulvinar non, pellentesque eget leo. Sed...
    The Daily Blog
  • Question Time in Parliament Today – National Party MPs cheer graph that s...
    This is the graph the National Party were shown by Russel Norman in Parliament today and they all cheered…     …they cheered?!?!?!? That’s beyond denial, that’s just gleefully suicidal....
    The Daily Blog
  • NZ Pastor Prays For Homosexual Author To Kill Himself
    By Jayden Jameson and Jessie Hume If we ever needed a reminder that homophobia is alive and kicking in New Zealand we have Pastor Logan Robertson from the Westcity Baptist Church. The Westcity Baptist ministry could apparently be described as New...
    The Daily Blog
  • Political Journalism in the South-Pacific – a new direction for NZ influe...
    Last week, the incredible Pacific Journalism Review celebrated 20 years of promoting and supporting and standing up for Journalism in the South-Pacific. The conference at AUT featured journalists from around the pacific who have battled and fought and been punished...
    The Daily Blog
  • Antarctica minus the ice – welcome to your future
    Antarctica minus the ice – welcome to your future...
    The Daily Blog
  • REAL LIFE GUEST BLOG: Lou – 15 shifts in 12 months……permanently homel...
    This is Key’s real life – other NZers aren’t so privileged    15 shifts in 12 months……permanently homeless since May. I went to the Salvation Army yesterday on advice for emergency housing as my temporary accomodation had turned volatile. Just...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour Party Members should be furious at reviews findings
    Let’s see The Standard use this image Well, well, well… Labour’s election review: What went wrongLabour’s review panel has reported its findings back about the party’s election campaign and the reasons for the low 25 per cent result, identifying problems...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins joins the Sunday Star Times and cements the Rights dominance...
    “I am not a Monster”, hissed Judith Collins   I don’t read the Sunday Star Times, so had no idea that they had just decided to make Judith Collins of all people a new columnist. Her appointment cements into place...
    The Daily Blog
  • Grey Lynn Festival – very Grey – Art in the Dark – very Dark
    The battle of Helm’s Deep from the Two Towers would have had better OSH conditions than Art in the Dark   Grey Lynn Festival – 2 stars So the Grey Lynn Festival happened last weekend. It’s a day where the good liberal...
    The Daily Blog
  • ‘Stalking’ Ede
      Tau Henare accuses TV3 of stalkingA former National MP has accused TV3 of stalking after one of its journalists attempted to question a former Beehive spin doctor. Today’s episode of The Nation featured an unsuccessful attempt to question former...
    The Daily Blog
  • Taxpayer Union, the NZ Herald and Len Brown’s secret hidden love den
    I love the way the NZ Herald introduced the discredited Taxpayer Union in their bullshit story about Len Brown’s secret hidden love den… ‘Secret room’ spending shows need for recall electionsA lobby group says revelations Auckland Council spent $30,000 on...
    The Daily Blog
  • Eric Garner killed by NYPD original footage
    The horror of a ultra militarised and racist American Police Force who can kill with impunity. Obama claims cameras on every office would stop this type of brutality, these cops knew they were being filmed and killed him anyway. In...
    The Daily Blog
  • Unjust to imprison us for crimes we haven’t yet committed
    Once again National and Labour have succumbed to the “law and order” brigade enabling the passage of a Bill imprisoning people for crimes they might commit in the future. The Public Safety (Public Protection Orders) Bill allows the Court to...
    The Daily Blog
  • SPCA welcomes glueboard traps ban
    The Royal New Zealand SPCA applauds the ban on the sale and use ofglueboard traps in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics
  • Mediation Between Lyttelton Port and Union Fails
    The Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) has opted to continue its overtime ban indefinitely after mediation with the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) failed to progress collective bargaining. “There was no substantial shift in LPC’s position today...
    Scoop politics
  • Review into Phillip Smith’s escape submitted to Government
    A multi-agency review on the escape of Phillip Smith to South America has submitted its initial report to the Government today....
    Scoop politics
  • Len Brown gets haybales from giant chicken and Ms. Santa Cla
    Today at 10.30am, Ms. Santa Claus and a giant chicken delivered haybales to Len Brown’s office, urging Auckland City Council to decline a resource consent application sought by cage egg producer Craddock Farms....
    Scoop politics
  • Increased Abuse of Parents A Predicted Outcome
    Family First NZ says that the increasing level of parental abuse , especially towards mothers, is an unfortunate but expected outcome of the rise of children’s ‘rights’ and the undermining of parental authority....
    Scoop politics
  • Brownlee’s Misplaced War on Acronyms
    The beleaguered Minister of Defence who reportedly cannot tell an RFL (required fitness level) from an AWQ (annual weapons qualification) has declared war on military acronyms while proving the proverb about those in glass houses....
    Scoop politics
  • Fluoride risks whitewashed in rushed consultation
    Ministry of Health propose to exempt toxic industrial waste products used in water fluoridation from the Medicines Act 1981...
    Scoop politics
  • Practical Tips on Working and Living in New Zealand
    JUANderful Juan” in 7-Minute Migrante Video Project Shares Practical Tips on Working and Living in New Zealand...
    Scoop politics
  • Christmas Day in Prison
    Christmas Day in prison this year will involve swapping the main meal of the day, so that dinner will be served at lunchtime, leaving the evening meal to be sandwiches. This is standard practice for this day....
    Scoop politics
  • Alcohol advertising bans need stronger evidence
    Wellington (18 December 2014): The New Zealand Initiative’s Head of Research, Dr Eric Crampton, today urged Cabinet to look to the evidence before banning alcohol advertising and sponsorship. The Ministerial Forum on Advertising and Sponsorship...
    Scoop politics
  • EPA grants marine consent to OMV NZ Ltd
    The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has granted a marine consent to OMV NZ Ltd to continue its development drilling programme in the Maari oil field in the South Taranaki Bight....
    Scoop politics
  • DHB puts staff and patients at risk in order to save money
    The Public Service Association (PSA) is alarmed that the Waikato District Health Board (WDHB) is proposing to cut the 4 and 2 roster system, established nationally, for mental health nurses. The PSA represents more than 210 mental health nurses working...
    Scoop politics
  • Ambivilence about alcohol marketing recommendations
    Ministers Adams and Dunn issued a media release yesterday nearly two months after receiving a final report from their Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship, and four years following an original announcement to review alcohol...
    Scoop politics
  • Alcohol forum recommendations: a step in the right direction
    The Forum has stated clearly that that it accepts alcohol marketing plays a role in heavy alcohol consumption and subsequent harm, and that young people need to be protected from it by regulation....
    Scoop politics
  • Court Judgment: Nicky Hager v Police on Dirty Politics Raids
    Mr Hager alleges that steps taken by the second respondent (the Police): first, in deciding to apply for a search warrant in respect of Mr Hager’s premises; secondly, in applying for the warrant; and thirdly, executing the warrant at his...
    Scoop politics
  • Holiday home hazards revealed
    Common sense ways to look after your property this summer Auckland, 18 December 2014 – Burglars aren’t the only threat to your home during the holiday season, says AA Insurance. It’s more likely to be broken water pipes, burst hot...
    Scoop politics
  • Grieving families should be able to scatter ashes in peace
    Grieving families should be able to scatter ashes in peace 18 December 2014 Funeral directors are relieved that Wellington City Council has finally dropped plans to charge families for permits to scatter ashes in public places. Funeral Directors...
    Scoop politics
  • RSA Offers Condolences To Victims Of Sydney Siege
    As an organisation representing over 100,000 New Zealanders, the RSA has today condemned the actions taken by Man Haron Monis during his siege in a Sydney café, and offered their deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Tori Johnson...
    Scoop politics
  • Kiwi activists crowdfund billboard for Simon Bridges
    Almost seven thousand New Zealanders have taken part in a crowdfunding campaign, and have raised enough money to put a billboard up in Tauranga that is directed at Simon Bridges, the Minister of Energy and Resources....
    Scoop politics
  • Leaked TISA text exposes US threat to privacy, data security
    ‘The US is demanding that New Zealand and other countries accept sweeping rules that would override privacy protections for digitised personal and other data’, according to Professor Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland....
    Scoop politics
  • Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban
    Workers of Christchurch Rail and Lyttelton Port have begun an indefinite ban on overtime, according to the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. The ban was announced at a mass meeting at the Port after negotiations between Lyttelton Port of Christchurch...
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  • Ban on Alcohol Advertising Could Cost Taxpayer
    Responding to yesterday's release of the report of the Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship, Jordan Williams, the Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says:...
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  • Farm safety isn’t helped by punitive fines
    Federated Farmers Health and Safety spokesperson, Katie Milne says she is concerned about the impact of the $40,000 fine for a Marlborough farm couple, who weren’t wearing helmets and carrying children as passengers. The Court case, and subsequent...
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  • New online guide to NZ’s environment goes live
    The Environment Foundation* has launched a new web-based guide to the management of New Zealand’s natural environment....
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  • Ban On Alcohol Advertising Just One Step
    Family First NZ says that a proposed ban on alcohol advertising at sports events as recommended by a ministerial forum is an important move, but will not solve the binge drinking and alcohol abuse issue on its own....
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  • CLANZ scholarship winner to examine legal services to Crown
    Wellington in-house lawyer Tania Warburton is the inaugural winner of the research scholarship established by the Corporate Lawyers Association of New Zealand (CLANZ)....
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  • Joint Australasian operation dismantles drug syndicate
    The Joint Organised Crime Task Force (JOCTF), leading a multi-agency team, has smashed a multi-million dollar international organised crime network following raids across Melbourne this morning....
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  • Video: Meet Mark Gilbert, U.S. Ambassador-Designate to NZ
    Join us in welcoming Ambassador-Designate Mark Gilbert and his wife Nancy. They are arriving in New Zealand shortly and wanted to introduce themselves. Watch this video to learn about his connections with Aotearoa, and why he thinks the partnership between...
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  • MIA Welcomes Review Findings
    The MIA welcomes the findings of the Health Quality & Safety Commission into child and youth mortality arising from the use of motorcycles, quads and other agricultural vehicles....
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  • Quads Bikes Not for Under 16s
    Safekids Aotearoa strongly supports recommendations made in a report released today highlighting the dangers posed by quad bikes when ridden or controlled by children who are under 16 years of age....
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  • Inquiry on Parliament’s legislative response to emergencies
    Public submissions are being invited on Regulations Review Committee’s Inquiry into Parliament’s legislative response to future national emergencies. The closing date for submissions is Sunday, 1 March 2015....
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  • Switch off on the beach NOT at level crossings
    KiwiRail and TrackSAFE NZ have launched a new summer rail safety campaign with a message to motorists to stay focused and always look for trains at level crossings over the holidays. December is known as the month for family, festivity...
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  • Report on child and youth deaths from vehicle use
    Quad bike and other off-road vehicle accidents second largest cause of child recreational deaths...
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  • Inspector-General accepts apology for leak of report
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, has accepted an unreserved apology from Hon Phil Goff MP for disclosing some of the contents of her recent Report into the Release of Information by the NZSIS in July and August...
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  • Santa’s naughty list shows NZPork in trouble
    Santa has provided animal advocacy organisation SAFE with an early copy of this year’s naughty list , as it prominently features many animal-abusing industries and businesses, with NZPork topping the list....
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  • WWI veterans had persisting higher risk of early death
    New research on the impact of the First World War on participating New Zealand soldiers shows they typically lost around eight years of life and had an increased risk of early death in the post-war period....
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  • Rainbow Wellington urges further change from Blood Service
    This week the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) announced the implementation of the agreed changes to blood donor deferral. For men who have sex with men (MSM) this primarily involves a reduction of the deferral period from five years to...
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  • New Zealand Government signals reversal of fortune
    The Government’s robust $372 million forecast surplus from Budget 2014 will turn into a $572 million deficit, according to the 2015 Half-Yearly Economic and Fiscal Update and the Budget Policy Statement. Imports are cheaper and good export prices...
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  • Time for Jobs that Count in the Meat Industry
    The NZ Meat Workers Union will launch a new national campaign to highlight job insecurity in the Meat Industry this afternoon in Palmerston North....
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  • Protest at killing of schoolboys – Vigil 17/12/14
    A peaceful vigil will be held in Downtown Square opposite Britomart station – cnr of Queen and Customs St from 11-45 am: Wednesday 17 December 2014....
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  • Social housing provider opens development in Johnsonvillle
    Social housing provider, Accessible Properties, will be opening eight new social housing units in a new housing development in Johnsonville tomorrow....
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  • NCWNZ Wins Court Case
    ComVoices welcomes and celebrates the news that the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) has won its High Court case against Inland Revenue and the Charities Registration Board....
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  • Cut Taxes + Cut Waste = Surplus
    Responding to the Treasury's Half Year Fiscal and Economic Update, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
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  • Cuts in public services likely fromBudget Policy Statement
    The horizon for workers looks gloomy with the release today of the Budget Policy statement. “Continuing real cuts in Government funding of public services are inevitable as a result of today’s Budget Policy Statement. The policy ignores the social,...
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  • Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2014
    The Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) 2014 provides the Treasury's latest economic forecasts and the forecast financial statements of the Government, including the implications of Government financial decisions....
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  • Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2014
    The Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) 2014 provides the Treasury's latest economic forecasts and the forecast financial statements of the Government, including the implications of Government financial decisions....
    Scoop politics
  • Chief Ombudsman launches major review of OIA practices
    The Chief Ombudsman, Dame Beverley Wakem, has today begun a wide ranging review of Official Information Act (OIA) practices in the public sector....
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  • The Tasman Sea got a little smaller this morning
    “Our hearts and minds are with the people of Sydney: the Tasman Sea got a little smaller this morning,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy....
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  • A safety message for the festive season from Housing NZ
    Batteries may be required for some of the best toys under the tree this year, but they are just as essential to enjoying the greatest gift of all, says Housing New Zealand General Manager of Property Services, Marcus Bosch. “Smoke...
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  • Charity Wins in the High Court
    The National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) is delighted that the High Court has found in its favour in its case against Inland Revenue and the Charities Registration Board....
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