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NRT: For a drone-free New Zealand

Written By: - Date published: 11:31 am, May 27th, 2014 - 171 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags: , ,

It is difficult to describe just how abhorrent that I find the concept of the US military murdering the many bystanders and even targets with drone strikes and then trying to justify their illegal actions (under both US and international law) by labelling all of those killed, injured, and maimed as enemy. It reeks of the counting the body bags of civilians mentality that has been losing them wars during my lifetime.

I suspect that many other people with military backgrounds like myself would feel the same thing. In the aftermath of the Vietnam war, the consequences of such indiscriminate targeting of civilians around targets was quite apparent. It was highly counter-productive and more likely to create civilian support for insurgents than to terrorise them.

It sounds like time for New Zealand to deal with this rogue state mentality that the United States has fallen into. To do it before the stupidity spreads to states with even less compunction that the US. And to do it the way we do best – internationally.  No Right Turn on an idea from KiwiPolitico..

Over on KiwiPolitico, Pablo suggests a good idea: that New Zealand take a leadership role in the fight against US drone-murders by unilaterally renouncing the use of lethal drones:

At the end of my remarks I proposed that we debate the idea that New Zealand unilaterally renounce the use of lethal drones in any circumstance, foreign and domestic. I noted that the NZDF and other security agencies would oppose such a move, as would our security allies. I posited that if implemented, such a stance would be akin to the non-nuclear declaration of 1985 and would reaffirm New Zealand’s independent and autonomous foreign policy.

Alternatively, New Zealand could propose to make the South Pacific a lethal drone-free zone, similar to the regional nuclear free zone declared by the 1985 Treaty of Rarotonga. I noted again that countries like Australia and Chile would oppose the move (both have drone fleets and do not discount using them in anger), but that many of the Pacific Island states would likely welcome the idea.

(Note: lethal drones. Unarmed drones are a different matter, and have countless civilian applications)

He also suggests extending the ban to intelligence cooperation, and letting the New Zealand public decide the matter through a referendum.

I support this idea. Armed drones are used to murder people without trial. In Pakistan and Yemen, they are basically being used to indiscriminately wage war on civilians. We should have no part of either. New Zealand should renounce these weapons, ban our intelligence services from passing information to countries which use them, and organise the world against them. Obviously, that’s not going to happen under our current extrajudicial-murder-supporting government. But surely one of our opposition parties could make it policy?

171 comments on “NRT: For a drone-free New Zealand”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Lprent, do you oppose their use altogether? No military purpose at all?

    • RJL 1.1

      For lethal drones? Of course, there is a military purpose for lethal drones. The point is to renounce that lethal use (for military purposes, or police purposes, or any other purposes).

      Non-lethal use of drones by the military (or others) — i.e. surveillance — is fine; assuming legal legitimate surveillance targets, of course.

      The tricky bit might come down to adjudicating cases like when a surveillance drone is used to provide live targeting information to something like an independently launched cruise missile. Is that a lethal drone? Common sense would probably say it was a lethal drone. Legal technicality might argue otherwise. On the other hand, assassinating people via cruise missiles is just as much of a war crime as using a drone — so maybe a moot point.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1

        The problem becomes defining the “battlefield” if one side hasn’t got never has any boots on the ground.

        • RJL 1.1.1.1

          If you are renoucing the use of lethal drones the definition of battlefield doesn’t matter.

          Battlefield or supermarket you are still renoucing the use.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1.1.1

            The thing is, I’m not renouncing their use for “military purpose”, and neither are you.

            But the “war” isn’t a conventional one with discreet territory and battlefields and lines of engagement. The US isn’t going to put boots on the ground when they control the skies, and the battlefield is wherever the enemy is.

            The problem is that it’s the wrong question. Dignifying these nitwits with a military response was always a bad idea.

            Q: Should the police be able to deploy lethal drones when pursuing terrorism suspects?

            A: No.

            • RJL 1.1.1.1.1.1

              The thing is, I’m not renouncing their use for “military purpose”, and neither are you.

              The proposal is to renouce lethal drones; i.e. drones directly armed with weapons.

              There would then perhaps be a grey area around using non-lethal drones to guide “independent” weapons. But that is a side-issue.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Um, I hope that our soldiers are trained or at least resourceful enough to add lethal capacity to their non-lethal drones if any battlefield situation dictates it. Oh, and since that means they can engage their targets remotely I also expect them to offer every opportunity to surrender before deploying lethal force, but I’m pretty sure they know that already.

      • Ad 1.1.2

        So what then would the moral difference be between a Cruise missile and a lethal drone?

        • RJL 1.1.2.1

          Little moral difference in the device.

          Tends to be moral difference in what they are used for. But that probably just comes down to the practical difference that a drone can loiter for a long time.

          • Ad 1.1.2.1.1

            Hovering is hardly enough to justify a global ban.
            After all on that basis you would ban all helicopters with guns or missiles on them.

            • Colonial Viper 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Hi Ad,

              These things don’t just “hover.” They are able to intercept signals, surveilling and recording the environment beneath them in a multitude of ways and spectrums. Say good bye to privacy.

              Also imagine the psychological effect of a near permanent armed presence 500 metres above you, with munitions capable of levelling your entire house within seconds, or if you just happen to be travelling by the wrong place at the wrong time. That my friend is psychological warfare and terrorism, defined.

              There is one last difference between a cruise missile and a drone. Cruise missiles target GPS co-ordinates. Drones target people, and give operators to pick and choose who they kill throughout an entire 30+ duration on station.

              One is therefore designed as a military weapon. The other is an assassin’s tool.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Dispersal is one of the inevitable (military) responses to full spectrum dominance. A laser guided bomb is just as much an assassin’s tool as a drone. Both are military hardware.

                Deploying military resources against a civilian population in peacetime is a war crime. It doesn’t matter what the hardware does or how many bells and whistles it has. If it was bows and arrows it would still be wrong.

        • lprent 1.1.2.2

          There isn’t one when there is no war. It is exactly the same act as flying a plane into a building. It is an act of stupid terrorism.

          • Ad 1.1.2.2.1

            So your complaint is about declaring war, not drones.

            • Colonial Viper 1.1.2.2.1.1

              Why the hell would you want unaccountable armed F-16’s cruising the skies above your work place or your home, capable of monitoring all your movements and intercepting your communications, knowing that overseas that same weapon system has been used to kill hundreds or thousands of civilians including children?

              And why the hell would you want these fighter jet weapon systems deployed over your own civilian population in peace time, and just think about why the power elite might want that too.

              Then think hey – what if these F-16s were piloted by foreigners from anywhere else in the world and you would not even know. In 2-3 years time, the sensor packages on these things will be so advanced that they can pick up an individual out of a crowd, and using automated facial recognition systems, match them against a wanted list, and launch a lethal strike on the target – with no human intervention at all. Just happens.

              Why would you back that?

    • lprent 1.2

      Lprent, do you oppose their use altogether? No military purpose at all?

      Hell no. But they are like every other weapon of war, they need to be subject to rules on their usage and to follow the conventions and agreements on the waging of war.

      Imagine the artillery equivalent. In a declared state of war at a range of 100’s or kilometres, I am going to drop some shells on a building because I have some reasonably vague intelligence that they are storing arms there (I am actually thinking of certain cases in military history here). Turns out it is full of refugees. Courts-martial will follow and did.

      What the US is doing is exactly the same, except it isn’t in a declared state of war.

      They aren’t something that you should be using against civilians and deliberately causing civilian collateral damage even in a war without strong rules about their usage.

      To do it without a declaration of war and arbitrarily ignoring the deaths of “collateral” damage is a act of simple murder, deserving of dragging those doing it and ordering it to the world court in the Hague.

      From a point of pure practicality, it is a completely idiotic activity because all they do is to increase the number of enemies you have – ask the Israelis what deliberately killing kids does to the hostility levels of the families they came from.

      • Colonial Viper 1.2.1

        To do it without a declaration of war and arbitrarily ignoring the deaths of “collateral” damage is a act of simple murder

        To fire a pistol into a crowd is murder.

        Firing a Hellfire II missile into a civilian apartment building or village centre is a massacre, and a crime against humanity.

        And it hardly matters what your justification is for hunting down bad bad human beings who may indeed be dangerous rabid animals…when you have become one yourself on the way.

  2. shorts 2

    Totally support the idea too… could it be our no nukes independent action of this century?

  3. Sounds like a no-brainer. It’s not like we were going to be operating lethal drones against anybody anyway.

    Of course, within a short time these things are going to be normal battlefield equipment, and the idea of committing your armed forces to regular combat without lethal drone support will be as insane as committing combat forces without artillery or air support – we’d want to be able to yank that commitment immediately if we found ourselves having to fight a war.

    • Macro 3.1

      ” It’s not like we were going to be operating lethal drones against anybody anyway.”

      In effect we are when we supply information, via the GCSB, to the US. Without that “information”, the drone strike does not happen. By being a member of the “5 eyes” we effectively align our foreign policy with the major power the US. This will not go well for us. The “Ugly American” and all that implies now includes all NZers traveling abroad. This stupid act of sucking up to the US by the Key Govt has just made all NZers less safe.

    • lprent 3.2

      Of course, within a short time these things are going to be normal battlefield equipment, and the idea of committing your armed forces to regular combat without lethal drone support will be as insane as committing combat forces without artillery or air support – we’d want to be able to yank that commitment immediately if we found ourselves having to fight a war.

      Of course and that is simply part of a war and what soldiers expect. It is no different to artillery. However these strikes are against a civilian population without a declaration of war.

      Even so (for instance) would you consider that in the time of war, it’d be a violation of the international rules of war to destroy civilian building well behind the lines with a missile from a drone because a soldier (say a general) was billeted there with a family? Because that is what is what the US is claiming as happening now.

      • Ad 3.2.1

        Surely there is nothing specific to drones about calling for thier non-use outside of a declaration of war?

        Why would that not apply already to every other military weapon – making a specific lethal drone ban pointless?

        Or is your point to seek to outlaw lethal drones entirely from all human activity – like nerve gas or germ warfare?

        • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1

          Use of chemical and biological agents as weapons is already banned.

          • Ad 3.2.1.1.1

            Precisely. So what criteria were used to ban them that are applicable to proposing to ban drone strike aircraft? If none, what criteria are being deployed here?

            • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1.1.1

              The criteria was simple – it was the indiscriminate way that they kill. Chemical warfare will kill or maim everyone within the area and germ warfare could easily go global.

              A number of people who support drone attacks for taking out militants argue that drones are precision machines and thus aren’t covered by the rules of warfare. The fact that the number of civilian deaths far exceeds the number of militant kills doesn’t seem to get through to them.

              • Ad

                Got through to me.
                Name me a weapon bigger than a rifle that doesn’t have large civilian deaths.
                There is no principle operating here to ban lethal drones. See comment 13.

                • Colonial Viper

                  The simple principle that we don’t need them, or want them Ad.

                  What are you going to do next? Justify the use of landmines and the booby trapping of enemy weapons caches?

      • Psycho Milt 3.2.2

        Even so (for instance) would you consider that in the time of war, it’d be a violation of the international rules of war to destroy civilian building well behind the lines with a missile from a drone because a soldier (say a general) was billeted there with a family?

        Personally, I’d like it to be. The idea of W sitting in the dock at the Hague trying to explain why it was OK to destroy an apartment block full of people because he had some intelligence that someone important was there… that idea definitely appeals. But in reality, WW2 put it very clearly within the rules, because the victors were guilty of exactly that kind of thing and weren’t about to hang themselves. Same applies here.

        • lprent 3.2.2.1

          W?

          The purported excuse that the allies (and for that matter the germans) gave for their atrocities was that they were trying to hit military targets with imperfect weapons and accidentally destroying the city through inaccuracy (eg especially the german and english night bombing) and/or they were involved in close quarters urban fighting.

          That was why I used the example of single artillery round at long range which even in WW2 or Korea didn’t have either of those issues.

          • Psycho Milt 3.2.2.1.1

            Sorry – ‘W’ was one of many colloquial names for George W. Bush, presumably intended to distinguish him from his dad.

            Re the WW2 comparison, I think air and naval actions cover it. For example, the British sent a bunch of RAF Mosquitos to attack the Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen to try and kill various Gestapo officers, and a few of the pilots mistook a school for the Gestapo building and killed some Danish schoolchildren.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.2.2.1.2

            That was why I used the example of single artillery round at long range which even in WW2 or Korea didn’t have either of those issues.

            Artillery

            The Wiki disagrees with you.

            • lprent 3.2.2.1.2.1

              You’re right. Interesting. I’d thought that the reasonably accurate artillery was from a lot earlier.

              I’ll try to remember to look at the generational accuracy in the morning. I had the impression that ww2/korean war arty was small 10’s of metres accuracy, and that the warhead was dangerous for 10’s of metres. Which was sufficient for most targets.

              From memory the laser guided stuff like the copperhead required a laser painted at the target by an observer and that was accurate within metres.

              • Colonial Viper

                I’ll try to remember to look at the generational accuracy in the morning. I had the impression that ww2/korean war arty was small 10′s of metres accuracy, and that the warhead was dangerous for 10′s of metres. Which was sufficient for most targets.

                They had that level of accuracy once accurately ranged and sighted.

                Also, artillery (as you no doubt know) is used in several different ways and many different and complex firing plans, patterns and barrage types can be ordered and accurately delivered even using only standard shells.

              • Draco T Bastard

                I’d thought that the reasonably accurate artillery was from a lot earlier.

                They seem to have got unguided artillery accurate to “some tens of yards” by 1918 using air-photography and other methods. The problem really being wind shifts during the flight of the shell and there’s not much you can do about that. Even with modern computers that shell isn’t going to be overly accurate. Certainly not something that I’d fire in the general direction of a civilian population. Probably good for bases, camps and factories that are away from the population centre but anything close will result in civilian deaths.

                From memory the laser guided stuff like the copperhead required a laser painted at the target by an observer and that was accurate within metres.

                Yep. Lot easier to hit the target when you can see it and the shell can be guided on to it.

    • RJL 3.3

      Psycho Milt: “– we’d want to be able to yank that commitment immediately if we found ourselves having to fight a war.”

      The same argument applies to any other banned weaponry (nukes, cluster munitions, depleted uranium munitions, chemical and biological weapons). It hasn’t proven a problem in those cases.

      • Psycho Milt 3.3.1

        Soldiers do sometimes find themselves having to fight without air support – the Germans fighting the western Allies in 1944/5 for instance. However, it amounts to condemning them to wholesale slaughter and certain defeat, which is not something I’d encourage the NZ government to plan for its soldiers…

        • Colonial Viper 3.3.1.1

          Although in recent wars, it’s allied air support which has been most dangerous to western soldiers, not enemy air support…

          • One Anonymous Bloke 3.3.1.1.1

            That’s because the enemy hasn’t had any air support at all.

            • Colonial Viper 3.3.1.1.1.1

              Just watched video of Ukranian airforce gunships attacking a Ukranian army checkpoint.

              A very nasty whoops.

  4. Ok, It’s very simple. If you think that hunting animals with drones is abhorrent and prohibit them then you should declare them abhorrent when they are used on unsuspecting villagers in mountainous areas ore anywhere else for that matter.

    Every European country has rejected the use of Drones and the fact that the prime minister of New Zealand finds them acceptable and finds nothing wrong with the extrajudicial killing of one of its citizens simply because he accused of perhaps having to do something with terrorism is something that should worry every Kiwi.

    • Will@Welly 4.1

      100%

      You summed up my thoughts and feelings succinctly, John Key has no moral fibre. He might be Prime Minister, but he is not a leader, nor a statesman.

    • Ad 4.2

      “In the proposed regulation, remote-controlled aircraft are listed with unlawful hunting methods including the use of poison, bombs, radio communication or exploding salt licks, among other things”

      Crikey, we poinson the heck out of whole bunches of pests – admittedly I haven’t heard of DoC using exploding salt licks however (!)

      Can’t see the moral or ethical point that Alaska is making. If they are opposed to the mechanised killing of animals as a whole, they open a can of worms worth a Peter Singer-scale debate. In reality they’re just keeping things sweet for the rifle hunting fraternity.

      • Colonial Viper 4.2.1

        In war, fighting (and hunting) there used to be a concept of what was honourable or what was sportsman-like. Often it was very arbitrary.

        You don’t attack someone from the back.

        You don’t kick someone when they are down.

        In medieval times the outcomes of battles would sometimes be declared by ‘referees’ on the field without requiring the wholesale slaughter of all on the other side, and reagents would abide by the decisions.

        These days, any government can with intellectual sophistry and PR justify all kinds of immoral and amoral activities and technology.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.1.1

          :roll:

          Gosh, yes, jolly unsporting, what what.

          • Colonial Viper 4.2.1.1.1

            Take it as a joke if you like. A global hyper-power can do whatever the fuck it likes. A nation like NZ on the other hand has to make its way using its independence, its soft power and by setting a moral example.

            Too quaint an attitude for you no doubt.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2.1.1.1.1

              Your notions of Medieval chivalry are romantic drivel. Just saying.

  5. hoom 5

    An International treaty regulating/limiting use of lethal drones is a really bloody good idea.

  6. Pablo 6

    As the person who first put the idea out in the public domain (at a meeting last week in Wellington and then on KP), let me clarify that my proposal was for there to be public debate about NZ’s possible unilateral renunciation of lethal drones or the construction of a regional lethal-drone free zone in the South Pacific. I noted some pros and cons by way of introducing argumentative points that would emerge in such a debate and speculated that the it would be good to have in the lead up to a referendum on the subject. NRT was kind enough to support the proposal and is clearly for unilateral renunciation, as are Lynn and many others.

    There are practical arguments in favor of retaining the right to deploy lethal UAVs in and over the battlefield (since the trend in UAVs is towards nano technologies). If that were to occur the conditions governing their deployment would require many strictures regarding the rules of engagement, choice of targets, nature of the conflict etc., which would be the subject of further discussion. The immediate point is that these issues need to be aired more broadly and not left to government interpretation.

    I believe that it is time for open and reasoned discussion of where we as a polity stand on the subject of lethal drones. Given their myriad non-lethal applications, the issue is not whether there will be drones in our future, but when and what kind will be allowed to operate at home and abroad, and under what conditions. A referendum on the subject would clarify the issue and could help policy approaches towards it.

    • RJL 6.1

      Pablo: “…since the trend in UAVs is towards nano technologies…

      Is the trend towards nano manifest in lethal drones too?

      At some point, with a lethal drone, some munitions need to arrive at the target. Munitions tend to be macro.

      Or do you just mean a whole swarm of tiny “sensor nano-drones” that network to a large lethal drone. The lethal drone can loiter some distance away and then launch munitions according to targeting information provided by the swarm?

      Can’t see a good reason to not renouce that potential tech.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1

        How about that a tiny robot can deliver a single lethal dose with no other loss of life?

        • RJL 6.1.1.1

          Would still be an extra-judicial assassination; so still a war crime.

          Also, while that may reduce collatoral damage, it can’t eliminate it: tiny robot may dose the wrong person.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1.1.1

            You have to think harder: that drone on your neck toe is one of a hundred within striking distance of you right now. Surrender or die.

            • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1.1.1

              No doubt you also approve of the use of assassin drone technology, as long as the target is a suitable non-civilian one.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                No doubt you’re such a fuckwit that you will continue to misrepresent my views on this subject, you unelectable failure.

                • Colonial Viper

                  An “unelectable failure”? Like I said before, at least I’m not a Drone Democrat making excuses for the latest automated weapons platforms that money can buy.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    What part of the fact that control of the air disperses the enemy can’t you grasp? What part of the consequences of that dispersal are you having trouble with?

                    Fuck you’re a moron.

    • Ad 6.2

      Would you mind providing a link to your arguments so I can get my head around them?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.3

      Pablo a referendum are you serious?

      Shall we allow soldiers the right to kill engage the enemy by remote control?

      Or

      Shall we cede the right to life to the US administration?

      What yes/no question did you have in mind?

      • Pablo 6.3.1

        Actually, since referenda are non-binding and have been ignored by arrogant governments (e.g. asset sales), a Royal Commission would be a preferable alternative. Draw up a panel of experts, hold public hearings, then write up recommendations. They might be harder to ignore.

    • lprent 6.4

      If that were to occur the conditions governing their deployment would require many strictures regarding the rules of engagement, choice of targets, nature of the conflict etc., which would be the subject of further discussion. The immediate point is that these issues need to be aired more broadly and not left to government interpretation.

      Exactly. Especially as the way that the US appears to be currently deploying drones closely resembles simple acts of terrorism

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.4.1

        The main reason to deploy drones is to limit casualties. What costs more, a drone or a platoon?

        The deployment of drones effectively scatters the enemy, forcing them to hide among the civilian population.

        At that point it makes far more sense to return jurisdiction to the civilian authorities than to bomb weddings.

        • Colonial Viper 6.4.1.1

          The main reason to deploy drones is to limit OUR casualties. The coloured bad guy ragheads who speak a different language can go get fucked.

          Clarified it for you.

          What costs more, a drone or a platoon?

          I love the moral measure you bring to bear here. What’s the cheaper way of killing other people.

          God I hate lefties some days. Drone Strike Democrats the lot of ya.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 6.4.1.1.1

            Yes, because costs are only ever measured in money, you blinkered twit.

          • Draco T Bastard 6.4.1.1.2

            Generally speaking there shouldn’t be way at all. Unfortunately, there’s a few psychopaths in power in a few places around the world some of those places happen to be powerful nation states.

  7. Chaff 7

    What makes a drone and how does it differ from any other weapon? Fine, you don’t like the idea that the US targeted and killed someone who they perceived to be a terrorist with whom they are at war with. Perhaps that is a matter of perspective. This idea that a drone is somehow indiscriminate, automated etc, implied very much by the silly term ‘drone’ in the first place, is wrong.

    Someone is flying that aircraft, making the same decisions anyone else is. The idea that warfare is somehow ‘fair’ and unmanned weapons are wrong is about 150 years out of date, and irrelevant.

    Now if you want to argue collateral, sure, but the use of a ‘drone’ is irrelevant to the subject of collateral.

    • Ad 7.1

      Retired US Air Force General Charles Dunlap:
      “It’s not particularly new to use long-range strike. David defeated Goliath with a long-range strike with a missile weapon. At Agincourt, the English bowmen destroyed the flower of French knighthood with long-range strikes… and we have had long-range strike bombers for some time. This really is not new conceptually.”

      Debating Drones, In the Open, New York Times, Feb 10, 2014

      Possibly drawing too long a bow there (sorry)

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        Big difference between one guy being armed with a long sword and the other being armed with a dagger; to one guy being armed with an AK47 and the other guy shooting at him from 5,000km away in a secure base in Texas.

    • Macro 7.2

      “Fine, you don’t like the idea that the US targeted and killed someone who they perceived to be a terrorist with whom they are at war with. Perhaps that is a matter of perspective.”

      Every NZer is entitled to a fair trial. NZ has abolished capital punishment – even for crimes against the state. Supplying information that leads to a drone strike on his cell phone, is tantamount to being an accessory in his murder. Being “relaxed” about it compounds the crime. There is no state of war declared by NZ against Pakistan. The so called “war against terrorism” is not a state of war against innocent people, and it draws a long bow to think that that includes legitimacy to perform acts of assassination against anyone. And the last time I read the principles of justice every NZer is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.

    • lprent 7.3

      What makes a drone and how does it differ from any other weapon?

      No different. In most militaries in peacetime having a soldier lob a shell into a civilian town would constitute a civil crime. Doing the same as a drone operator firing a missile into a building or street deserves the same treatment regardless if it is in Yemen or Pakistan or NZ or Mexico.

      • Ad 7.3.1

        Then, again, your problem is with the US not declaring war, not drone deployment.

        • Macro 7.3.1.1

          Oh finally you got it! This has been the argument all along – but some have taken all day to work out the moral basis. There is a huge difference between declaring war on a country and sending ad hoc drones into Pakistan to kill persons who may or may not be members of an organisation you happen to disagree with.

          Tit for tat gets us no where, indeed it merely escalates into all out conflict. Just because suicidal maniacs hi jacked some plane and flew them into the Twin towers and the Pentagon killing several thousand innocents in the process doesn’t automatically make it right for the US and NZ to continually fly drones into Pakistan killing thousands more. Repeating a wrong doing does not make it right. All these drone attacks do is to harden the anger against USA and its allies, and create more desire to “get back”. Rather than reduce the threat to US civilians it has increased it. They feel more threatened now than before. It is a stupid policy which the States and those countries associated with them (including NZ) will ultimately loose, as the so- called war in Afganistan is proving.

  8. Populuxe1 8

    ….Or we could completely and cost effectively replace our long lost air force by defending our coastal and ocean territories with drones. Babies and bathwater.

    • lprent 8.1

      With effectively no international rules on their use and violating international laws? What are you going to do.

      What are you planning to do? Fire a hellfire missile into a korean fishing boat full of filipino semi-slaves because you think that there might be a al-qaeda operative on board?

      That is roughly what the US does. Then they claim guilt by association and call the other victims enemies.

      I’m afraid that you’d have a hell of a hard time getting our military happy with it. Besides have you looked at the costs of something that could stand our offshore weather?

      • Populuxe1 8.1.1

        With effectively no international rules on their use and violating international laws? What are you going to do.

        How does one violate laws that don’t exist then?

        What are you planning to do? Fire a hellfire missile into a korean fishing boat full of filipino semi-slaves because you think that there might be a al-qaeda operative on board?

        Do we do much of that now, then? More to the point as the world turns to shit, in 20-50 years the Pacific will likely be a whole lot less pacific.

        That is roughly what the US does. Then they claim guilt by association and call the other victims enemies.

        I didn’t say anything about deploying them overseas. I said quite clearly “defending our coastal and ocean territories”.

        I’m afraid that you’d have a hell of a hard time getting our military happy with it. Besides have you looked at the costs of something that could stand our offshore weather?

        Well until someone asks them, we won’t know, although it’s actually up to the government rather than the military. The US Navy already has ship-launched drones that would work just fine in our offshore weather.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      We didn’t lose the air force – it’s still there. We just got rid of the rather useless air-combat wing.

      The monitoring of our waters has always been sub-par and will probably remain so until we develop our own space program. There’s no way that I would trust a satellite built by another country for our defense. Actually, I apply that to all of our defense forces weapons.

      • TheContrarian 8.2.1

        “The monitoring of our waters has always been sub-par and will probably remain so until we develop our own space program”

        This is what I love about Draco, the blanket “All we need to do is <insert lofty goal that must only be achieved using the resources we have at hand because Draco also believes we don’t need to import anything either.>”

        Never change, you’re a peach.

  9. Chooky 9

    +100 …Great Post …Totally agree “Armed drones are used to murder people without trial. In Pakistan and Yemen, they are basically being used to indiscriminately wage war on civilians. We should have no part of either. New Zealand should renounce these weapons, ban our intelligence services from passing information to countries which use them, and organise the world against them. Obviously, that’s not going to happen under our current extrajudicial-murder-supporting government. But surely one of our opposition parties could make it policy?”

    Armed drone attacks make war into a boys computer game …there is no honour here….the murder of innocent civilians will encourage greater resentment and risk of a greater and dirtier war …the assassination of the suspected terrorists without fair and proper international trials propels the world into a state of permanent war and lawlessness

    • Populuxe1 9.1

      And while we’re at it we should ban our military from having guns because they might kills someone with them.

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        Hey Pop. You gotta draw the line somewhere when it comes to weapons technologies. Anti-personnel mines, cluster munitions, white phosphorus munitions in the anti-personnel role, there are good military uses for those weapons. But we don’t want them.

        • Populuxe1 9.1.1.1

          I’d agree on the mines, cluster bombs and white phosphorus, but drones are a bit more multipurpose than that and I don’t see the difference between having Penguins on our Naval helicopters and Sea Sparrows on Te Kaha, and a hellfire on a drone to be used only in the defense of our territorial sovereignty.

          • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.1.1

            I have little problem with sensor only unarmed drones being used solely in military ops. Problem is, once they have them, they’ll want to expand their use to ordinary civilians eg law enforcement, spying etc.

            • Populuxe1 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Let me know when our plods start using LAVs and I’ll concede the point.

              • Colonial Viper

                Ok, sure. NZ is usually about 15 years behind US implementation, so at a guess it should happen in about 12-13 years time.

                By the way, I heard something about drones being used to assess Christchurch earthquake damage recently…

                • Populuxe1

                  By the way, I heard something about drones being used to assess Christchurch earthquake damage recently…

                  The New Zealand government actually doing something proactive about Christchurch?! Dear boy, that is positively something to CELEBRATE!

                  Here’s a funny story. You know how in New Zealand is only separated by two degrees? Yeah. So actually I knew quite a few people killed in various collapsing buildings, so just perhaps the thought of checking earthquake-damaged buildings without risking human life doesn’t worry me so much as you arguing that makes you a horrible, horrible person.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    yes sireee I guess a massive citizen facing security and surveillance state is needed to protect us from terrorists and now also earthquakes too

                    BTW bringing up the deaths of people you know in Christchurch as some kind of justification for military drone usage is pathetic. (I have no issues with non-military non-intelligence gathering non-armable drones for legit civilian use).

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      (I have no issues with non-military non-intelligence gathering non-armable drones for legit civilian use).

                      So, that would be recreation only?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hey I hear that the Pentagon is developing humanoid robotic systems solely for use in “humanitarian and rescue missions”. Hope you become a big supporter of this important and useful technology.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Yes I will be supportive of such technology. Same as I’m supportive of drones that can fly up the sides of buildings and test if they’re likely to fall down in an earthquake or not.

                      I’m not supportive of drones being used as assassination weapons in a war with no boundaries that causes massive civilian deaths that are then written off as collateral damage rather than being prosecuted for the war crimes that they represent.

              • felix

                “Let me know when our plods start using LAVs and I’ll concede the point.”

                …after it’s too late to do anything about it.

                • Populuxe1

                  Oooh, what a pickle of a paradox!

                  • lprent

                    They used them in Bosnia. Borrowed them from the English as I remember it.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    I seem to recall the military, complete with a LAV, being called in because of a gunman in Christchurch a few years ago.

                  • felix

                    “Oooh, what a pickle of a paradox!”

                    It’s not really a pickle. It demonstrates that you’re being dishonest so you can be safely ignored.

                    Oh yeah there was that incident near the hospital in Napier a couple of years ago too, but I guess that doesn’t count unless the cops were using LAVs to issue speeding tickets, due to the position of the new goalposts.

                    (of course if they were, you’d just say “the key word is SPEEDING”)

                    • Populuxe1

                      Please do ignore me, Felix, you have nothing to contribute. Of course, I’ll just leave you the last word – it seems as effective as a baby’s pacifier where you’re concerned.

                      And no, I’d say the key word is “Molinaar”

  10. Steve Wrathall 10

    So you’d prefer hand-to-hand combat? You volunteering?

    • Macro 10.1

      Typical idiotic comment from an idiot.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        If two nations decide to go to war why not…give the leadership ranks of each government knives and lock them together in a meeting room. Something will get sorted out, quickly, cheaply, and without the loss of valuable civilian lives.

        • Macro 10.1.1.1

          yes i agree! but i don’t quite think that is what the idiot was referring to

  11. Hennie van der Merwe 11

    I would propose that these strikes only be allowed on foreign soil (territory) if the operator has officially declared war against that foreign territory.
    What gives any country the right to “invade” another and kill its citizens or residents by any means except in an officially declared war.
    In my mind a country cannot declare war in its essence against an ideology or terrosism and use this to legalise their actions.
    Just my penny’s worth.
    PS Something that I have never been able to get my mind around is the fact that in most countries it is a serious offence to take another’s life, however, once two (or more) politicians decide that war is on, then it is a crime punishable by death if one does not kill.

    • Ad 11.1

      Have a read of the Geneva Conventions – you will figure out the difference betwen war and killing. In fact have a look at coverage of the Nuremburg Trials – you will get the idea.

  12. Pablo 12

    The conversation so far demonstrates why a public debate is needed.

    R&D on larger drones such as the Reaper, Predator and Global Hawk (to say nothing of Israeli, Chinese and Russian models, among many others) has largely leveled off (besides the usual payload, stealth, speed, maneuverability and survivability upgrades), with the focus shifting to miniaturization designed for tactical contexts (urban in particular). The US military is hard at work designing and trialling automated squad weapons platforms in the air and on land, and robotics of all sorts are now designed with at least half an eye towards weapons applications. Whether using swarm or stealth tactics, armed unmanned platforms are seen by military planners and weapons designers as having high utility in future battlefields, conventional as well as unconventional.

    These can and will eventually be used in domestic as well as foreign contexts. Police already use robots for EOD and forced entry work, some with non-lethal weapons deployed (e.g. tear gas). The array of land-based robotics in development is staggering, and naval UAVs are in the pipeline (all of these with lethal potential). I think that it would be wise to reflect on these future applications with an eye towards developing legal and operational frameworks governing their use (or non-use). Among other things, that is where the rubber will meet the road when it comes to the balance of realism and idealism in NZ foreign, defense and domestic security policy.

    Kiwipolitico has a series of posts that mention various aspects of drone warfare. NRT has a link (above) to the post proposing that unilateral renunciation be debated.

  13. Ad 13

    I don’t see any argument to ban them other than some conflation with a general hating of United States’ surveillance techniques. Separate issues.

    David Remnick in The NewYorker earlier this year says “we are in the same position now, with drones, that we were with nuclear weapons in 1945. For the moment, we are the only ones with this technology that is going to change the morality, psychology, and stratgegic thinking of warfare for years to come.”

    I would argue, in contrast, that they have no unique features to other kind of military technology.
    – Like armed heilcopters, they hover
    – Like guided missiles, they are deployed from afar
    – Like many weapons systems of this decade, they are very precise
    – Like many missile and large gun systems, they are human-guided from afar

    If we wanted to get to the heart of it and vent our frustration at the US choosing not to be subject to international law because they go at it with or without declaring war, well great.
    But outlawing lethal drones won’t get near that.

    • lprent 13.1

      The biggest issue I see with them is the question about who you charge for killing civilians with them in a time of war or in peace. At present the US is dodging that and pretty much ignoring all international rules about atrocities, war crimes, and civilian on their use. That is because they appear to be the only forces actively using them against targets outside of the battlefield

      They are effectively defining the doctrines of their use. At present, that doctrine appears to be that they are used purely for the purpose of terrorism.

      Problem then is that every tinpot dictator who gets them now has a perfect example to point them at as the assassinate their dissident groups in other countries, ignoring “collateral damage” of the deaths of bystanders.

      For that matter, the US is in effect validating their use as terrorist weapons by terrorist groups. What is the difference between driving a plane into a building with hated enemies and firing a missile into a building with a hated enemy?

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

    I’m thinking that this is the wrong discussion. Drones obviously come under existing rules as they’re nothing more than military aircraft.

    The discussion we really need to have is about the legality of the War on Terrorism, how the US is using that to engage in acts of terrorism and how the Rest of the World isn’t willing to hold the US to account for those acts.

    • lprent 14.1

      That I’d fully agree with. Currently the US is acting like a rogue state employing terrorist techniques.

      It is going to be a bastard when other states start following their example.

    • Ad 14.2

      Fully agree.

    • Colonial Viper 14.3

      I’m thinking that this is the wrong discussion. Drones obviously come under existing rules as they’re nothing more than military aircraft.

      And what about the use of military aircraft for law enforcement, intelligence purposes? Or for spying on your own citizens?

      • Draco T Bastard 14.3.1

        Already against the law.

        • Colonial Viper 14.3.1.1

          Even if that were true. Who audits and enforces those laws. And where is the budget to do that coming from? No where, right?

          • Draco T Bastard 14.3.1.1.1

            I agree that the laws governing intelligence gathering and enforcement of those laws need to be updated.

          • Populuxe1 14.3.1.1.2

            Who audits and enforces any of our laws?

      • Populuxe1 14.3.2

        …or a bored teenager attaching a smart phone to a remote control model helicopter…

        • Colonial Viper 14.3.2.1

          That’s the difference between an airsoft pistol and an anti-materiel gun. Although the spooks have been known to use their technology to get their jollies off as well.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 14.4

      DtB exactly. Everything about the use of drones is fucked because the war on terror is an oxymoron.

      • lprent 14.4.1

        The problem is that how the US has deployed their drones on the “war on terror” has been to use them as a weapon of terror without significiant regard to casualties or national bounds..

        That is going to reflect now in how all nations who have such weapons or nations who get them in the future will operate them as a relatively cheap weapon of state or (just as bad) private terrorism.

        Wait until the terrorists buy and use them…

        That is the problem.

        • Draco T Bastard 14.4.1.1

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbITzCI2AU0
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elfj4ytDAJc
          http://diydrones.com/

          If I had built either of those remote controlled planes they would have been drones. It really can’t be that long until the terrorists make them.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 14.4.1.2

          The whole topic is soaked in morbidity, but for what it’s worth, terrorists are generally interested in soft targets. Why are drones a more effective delivery method than (say) car bombs?

          • Colonial Viper 14.4.1.2.1

            This is just nonsensical and ignorant a question.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 14.4.1.2.1.1

              Cars are cheap. They draw no attention, they require no special skills or cell-phone coverage, and if you think driving a truck bomb into the front of an embassy somehow sends less of a message than a missile attack inside the perimeter you’re a fool, but I already said that.

              • Colonial Viper

                Yes I may be a fool, but your suggestion that a successful car or truck bombing requires “no special skills” is nothing short of ignorant.

          • Colonial Viper 14.4.1.2.2

            Regardless of that, here’s your fucking answer Armchair General Lefty

            http://www.usembassymanilavisa.com/usembassymanilabuilding.jpg

            • One Anonymous Bloke 14.4.1.2.2.1

              Looks like a soft target to me, armchair MP.

              • Colonial Viper

                You made an assumption right at the start which I don’t think holds – that terrorists are mainly interested in soft targets. Just think about the USS Cole, or the suicide bombing of dozens of US marines in Beiruit. You don’t get harder targets than that.

                A more solid assumption would be this – that terrorists go for the most effective targets that their capabilities allow.

                And drone tech significantly extends those capabilities.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  They were soft targets too: “…a visibly low state of situational awareness”; very little military advantage gained.

                  A bit like drones really.

    • Colonial Viper 14.5

      I’m thinking that this is the wrong discussion. Drones obviously come under existing rules as they’re nothing more than military aircraft.

      I really hate this kind of naive carry on from lefties.

      All you guys seem bedazzled with the superficial idea that the thing looks like an aircraft and flies like an aircraft, so its just like any other military aircraft.

      In reality drones are advanced weapon and sensor platforms with capacity for massive levels of future automation and autonomous mission execution. They bring advanced new capabilities to military operators and make feasible the kinds of operations which would otherwise be impossible.

      • Draco T Bastard 14.5.1

        In reality drones are advanced weapon and sensor platforms with capacity for massive levels of future automation and autonomous mission execution.

        Except for the automation modern military aircraft are exactly the same.

        Oh, wait, that one’s 50+ years old.

        They bring advanced new capabilities to military operators and make feasible the kinds of operations which would otherwise be impossible.

        Not really unless you’re looking solely at cost and I really don’t believe that would make any difference either.

        • Colonial Viper 14.5.1.1

          love these lefties. you might as well go work for lockheed martin.

          • Draco T Bastard 14.5.1.1.1

            I just pointed out that your assertions were bollocks.

            • Colonial Viper 14.5.1.1.1.1

              Nah you just pointed out that you don’t understand what fundamentally new capabilities modern drones bring to battle space operations, and in fact you probably think that an Enfield rifle and a Phalanx CIWS are basically the same class of weapon because they both fire bullets.

              • Draco T Bastard

                /facepalm

                • Colonial Viper

                  Go weaponise the NZ airspace, what the fuck do I care, turns out this site is full of socially liberal Drone Democrats which is an informative discovery.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    You’re confusing my knowledge of weaponry with agreement that it should be used as you describe.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      +1

                      Oh, and being a prize asshole to boot.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      You just compared Predators and Reapers to a 1960’s Cold War U-2. I’m surprised you didn’t compare Predators and Reapers to the WWI tri-planes they used to recon enemy positions.

                      After all they are ‘exactly the same, except for the automation’.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Oh, there’s one other way in which two pieces of military hardware are exactly the same. Deploying either against civilians in peacetime is a war crime.

                      What part of this isn’t getting through to you?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Which part of ‘the nature and history of military drone use has been one against civilian populations and with many civilian casualties’ isn’t registering with you?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      None. It’s a war crime. Discussing the ramifications of this somehow equates to supporting it, in your fevered imagination.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      “It’s a war crime”

                      Do keep saying that. It’ll help salve your conscience as yet another Drone Democrat.

                      Fact of the matter is of course, while we know that there have been many civilians killed by drone strikes in Iraq, Afghanistan, and very likely in Palestine/Lebanon ZERO CHARGES have been brought against those drone operators, and that is the way it is likely to stay.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      If you’re going to persist in the delusion that I support their deployment I’m going to treat you with contempt and ridicule, armchair MP.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      You just compared Predators and Reapers to a 1960′s Cold War U-2.

                      I compared two aircraft that do the same job and are in use today. One just so happens to have been around for 50+ years but you’re not complaining about it. This denotes a serious case of double standards on your part.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I support a ban on armed military drones as well as drones designed to unaccountably surveil the general population; on the other hand I don’t give a fuck about U-2’s and U2 deployment in NZ or the Pacific.

                      If that’s a “double standard” so fucking be it.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      The double standard undermines any argument that you make.

    • Phil Sage 14.6

      For the last few hundred years wars have been between states. The war on terror is a clash of civilisations. Why should one side tie both hands behind their back. Your logic suggests that the intervention in Afghanistan was “illegal” because it was not preceded by niceties of a formal court of law. That is war.
      The West is perfectly justified in using weaponised drones to visually identify and eliminate targets in the war on terror. Collateral damage is being reduced by the use of drones with higher accuracy and a consequently lower explosive force.

      If you argue that there is no war on terror is that because you think the islamists are not dedicated to a global caliphate, you think it is bad tactics and worse strategy or you think we should give in?

      • Draco T Bastard 14.6.1

        The war on terror is a clash of civilisations.

        Don’t kid yourself – the War on Terror is the US Empire attacking a marginalised religious group. A group that would likely have gone the way of the dodo decades ago if the West hadn’t kept attacking and holding back the M.E.

        Collateral damage is being reduced by the use of drones with higher accuracy and a consequently lower explosive force.

        Actually, the collateral damage done by the US is a why crime as it far exceeds the damage done to the militants. The US is engaging in more terrorism than the militants.

  15. RedLogix 15

    I’m surprised no-one has brought up the next shoe – autonomous killing machines.

    It would appear that at least one especially objectionable aspect of lethal drones is that they allow their operators to be entirely removed from the killing zone, comfortably in a dark ops center with zero personal risk or physical involvement. It’s this ‘killing at a distance’ which disconnects and insulates the machine operator from any sense of their consequences which essentially cheapens the price of a human life to essentially zero.

    At least the weapons officer of a nuclear armed ICBM sub went about his duties vividly aware of the extremely high price of a mistake – a lethal drone operator not nearly so much.

    Which is of course only one relatively small step away from removing the operator from the transaction altogether, and unleashing autonomous carnage machines with murderous intent – and zero conscience.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      Bunch of pro-military Drone Democrats on this site. Let’s end child poverty but have Reapers flying overhead their kindergartens.

      Waste of fucking time even talking to these morally confused individuals.

      • Draco T Bastard 15.1.1

        Let’s end child poverty but have Reapers flying overhead their kindergartens.

        Last time I looked children didn’t eat either aluminium nor silicon.

        You’re confusing money for resource.

        • Colonial Viper 15.1.1.1

          I said morally confused Draco, that should give you a fucking clue as to what I meant – it’s not a point to do with either money or resources.

        • RedLogix 15.1.1.2

          I think the point is DtB that immensely cheap computing power has placed us on a remarkably parallel precipice to the same one Europe was perched upon exactly 100 years ago.

          They all knew war could be hard, brutal business – but conducted according to the rules as they understood them at that time it could also be a useful, morally justified tool for a nation. Indeed serving in the military came with a considerable degree of honour and social respectability.

          They had absolutely no inkling of the mass horrors of mechanised trench warfare that lay just months into their future. They had no idea that in less than a year, 20,000 troops would be wiped out in a matter of minutes in a futile bid to gain mere yards of useless mud. High rate machine guns existed, but they had been used in far-off lands against peoples no-one cared about. Tanks were still lumbering toys of dubious utility and while poison gas sounded unpleasant – the nightmare of it’s mass impact remained unimagined.

          But at least it was all conducted on a battlefield and you could tell mostly who was a combatant and who was not. These future autonomous, remote killing machines will care not a jot about any of that. There will be no battlefields – anyone, anywhere, anytime will be a target.

          • Colonial Viper 15.1.1.2.1

            New Pentagon robots are designed only for “humanitarian” service and rescue. LOL

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TE3CJfgaLQ

            • RedLogix 15.1.1.2.1.1

              I’m thinking in terms of ‘full spectrum dominance’. How layers of sensors weapons based in space, air, subsea and cyber will be used to build a complete picture of operations and optimal targeting strategies using hardened, ultra-secure networks and supercomputers.

              There will be nowhere to hide.

              The robots will be mainly used to mop up the last most stubborn resistance.

              • Colonial Viper

                At least you’ve been paying attention RL. BTW I’m pretty sure that Russia and China have both analysed this US doctrine and have decided that EW/cyberwarfare, anti-satellite and EMP weapons are perfect for targetting the weak points in the technology.

                Iranians demonstrating their ability to ‘midair hijack’ US military drones, for instance.

                • RedLogix

                  And there you have put your finger on the proximate cause of WW1.

                  The Germans faced two potential fronts, one from the Russians the other from France and Britain. Despite having the best army in Europe conventional wisdom was that they could not win a war on both fronts at the same time. But they considered that the Russians would take at least 100 days to mobilise, much less advance through Poland into Germany.

                  On the other hand a fast lightening strike against a weaker France, concluded within a few months would shut down that front – freeing up the German army to swing about and fully engage Russia – against whom a victory was considered probable.

                  When the Czar implemented a preparatory partial mobilisation, the window of opportunity on this asymmetric tactical advantage began to close rapidly, forcing Germany to invade Belgium. The whole plan unravelled at Marne – bogging the Germans down in trenches and forcing the Germans into an defensive posture they could never recover from. It was in many ways a war no-one really wanted – but one they felt forced into for fear of losing the strategic advantage.

                  The same logic will apply if the USA begins to believe it’s strategic advantage is about to be lost.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    And failing empires do not do nice, rational things. In fact, a collective insanity can and usually does take hold.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                The fact that full spectrum dominance leaves nowhere to hide makes hiding pointless and leads directly to “collateral” murder.

                If they can hit me anywhere I may as well go to that wedding.

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    DimPost | 30-10
  • Climate change and New Zealand cities
    Environmentalists sometimes have an uneasy relationship with cities. Because they concentrate a lot of people and economic activity in relatively small places, they also concentrate a lot of negative environmental effects. All that concrete, all that energy being consumed, the...
    Transport Blog | 30-10
  • Got a mystery? Just ask John!
    Tuesday, November 24, 2009John Key has learned the identity of the entertainer guilty of an indecency charge through the grapevine of people circumventing the suppression order....
    Pundit | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD....
    CTU | 30-10
  • Blocked
    It is safe to say before the election last month I was fairly prolific in the blogosphere as we headed to an election. Was it because there was a glimmer of hope for we on this side of the coin?...
    My Thinks | 30-10
  • Blend with the Bruntletts Group Ride
    While Vancourerites Chris and Melissa Bruntlett are here for their Auckland Conversation talk, Generation Zero, Frocks on Bikes and TransportBlog have organised a slow, family friendly ride around the city centre. The map is below. The ride is designed to be self-directed so...
    Transport Blog | 30-10
  • Rawshark – Is she Maori or Pakeha?
    Cameron Slater blamed someone for being behind the hacking of his emails and passing them on to Nicky Hager. And then he named someone he thought was Rawshark. John Key says someone told him who Rawshark is but he ain’t telling. @B3nRaching3r is...
    Te Putatara | 30-10
  • Employment law: it’s toasted
    In an early episode of Mad Men, when the company’s going for the Lucky Strike account, sleazebag antihero Don Draper asks the client exactly how cigarettes are made. They talk through the process, mentioning the tobacco is toasted – and...
    On the Left | 30-10
  • Owners of the wind
    Thirty-odd years ago in the Kingdom of Denmark lived some brave people who disliked nuclear power and loved renewable energy. Determined to keep their country clean and safe, they began building their own wind turbines. Today, thanks to these passionate...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 30-10
  • Te Wakaputanga – What we did not learn at school
    This week saw the 179th anniversary of the signing of Te Wakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of Niu Tireni. Most of us did not learn about this fundamentally critical document at school, we barely learned about...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • TPPA Bulletin #58
    NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION 8 NOVEMBER 2014 Auckland, Hamilton, Raglan, Tauranga, Rotorua, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Levin,Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru, Dunedin,Invercargill. REGIONAL UPDATES Auckland (1:00 pm at Aotea Square): speakers include Robyn Malcolm (Actors Equity), Bunny McDiarmid (Greenpeace), Dayle Takitimu...
    NZ – Not for sale | 30-10
  • Seabed mining: drums in the deep
    Out on the Chatham Rise, the ridge jutting into the waters off Christchurch and extending out beyond the Chathams, Chatham Rock Phosphate has a mining permit and is now seeking EPA approval for its project to mine phosphate for fertiliser,...
    Pundit | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today.“Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so again...
    CTU | 30-10
  • An unmanaged conflict
    Katherine Rich is a member of the government-appointed Health Promotion Agency, responsible for (as it says on its website) "inspiring all New Zealanders to lead healthier lives". Katherine Rich is also Chief Executive of the New Zealand Food and Grocery...
    No Right Turn | 30-10
  • Robert Fisk
    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default...
    No Right Turn | 30-10
  • A stretch
    This morning the Herald revealed that Kim Dotcom had been convicted and fined for dangerous driving in 2009, but had not declared it on his application for residency. Immigration is now talking about deporting him. So, this is what we...
    No Right Turn | 30-10
  • Tauranga port happy to take the money – but not happy to accept responsib...
    Comments from a Port of Tauranga manager about deaths and injuries in their port during a Radio New Zealand interview are unacceptable....
    MUNZ | 30-10
  • New Ebola Toys for Xmas. Yay?
    From the "too soon?" file, here are two oddly successful exercises in niche marketing. First, the molecularly-sort-of-correct ebola plush toy. Apparently it has sold out: And, of course, the sexy ebola nurse outfit: Ebola, as everyone knows, ignores cleavage. And...
    Polity | 30-10
  • Temporary, discriminatory and an admission of Faliure
    The PM says that the legislation his government proposes to pass under urgency allowing for the confiscation of passports of NZ citizens in order to combat the threat of returning foreign fighters will be “tightly focused” on those traveling to...
    Kiwipolitico | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • Experiment-gate update
    Readers may recall the saga around an experimental mailer some Stanford / Dartmouth researchers sent into the state of Montana. In a randomised trial, it provided voters with some added information about two candidates running for a judicial election, and...
    Polity | 30-10
  • Why are our Politicians Auckland Toll Chickens?
    Yesterday both the National Government and Green Party opposed the suggestion to place a toll on Auckland’s roads, but for completely different reasons. The Government opposes it because they see it as a new tax. The Greens because they would...
    Gareth’s World | 29-10
  • The obvious question
    John Key says he knows who the hacker Rawshark is. So, will the police be raiding his home for ten hours and taking all his data, or is that something they only do to enemies of the National Party?...
    No Right Turn | 29-10
  • Guest post: Living with a criminal conviction
    What happens when one moment of bad judgement changes everything anyone ever thinks about you? Mike Jones* used a weapon to defend his girlfriend from an aggressive man at a party seven years ago. He’s still paying for that choice....
    On the Left | 29-10
  • Famous Kiwi Radio Host Invites Rapists To “Call In and Defend Yourselves...
    [This post is now being live-blogged. Please check back periodically for updates. The amazing header image is by Occupy Auckland media team co-ordinator @Redstar309z and features an artistic impression of two alleged #Roastbusters serial rapists - Joseph Levall Parker (left)...
    Spin Bin | 29-10
  • Famous Kiwi Radio Host Invites #Roastbusters Rapists To “Call In and Defe...
    [This post is now being live-blogged. Please check back periodically for updates. The amazing header image is by Occupy Auckland media team co-ordinator @Redstar309z and features an artistic impression of two alleged #Roastbusters serial rapists - Joseph Levall Parker (left)...
    Spin Bin | 29-10
  • James Shaw speaks on the four Bills formerly known as the Accounting Infras...
    The assurance industry is a critical component of our economic framework. The idea that there is a trusted independent watchdog of the public interest underpins investor confidence and ensures financial probity on behalf of our country's leading institutions. New Zealand...
    Greens | 31-10
  • ANZ needs to look after its workers after another super profit
    The ANZ bank needs to acknowledge the super profits it makes are coming at the expense of its workers, the Green Party said today.Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) 2014 full year results show a lift in performance...
    Greens | 31-10
  • James Shaw’s maiden speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 31-10
  • Feed the kids members bill
    Education is the best route out of poverty. But hungry kids can't learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle. Let's break that cycle lunchbox by lunchbox. We can feed the country's hungry kids, if we work together.I have...
    Greens | 31-10
  • Feed the kids members bill
    Education is the best route out of poverty. But hungry kids can't learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle. Let's break that cycle lunchbox by lunchbox. We can feed the country's hungry kids, if we work together.I have...
    Greens | 31-10
  • National’s “Auckland housing boom” a fizzer
    Falling Auckland consent numbers show the Government’s housing policy is going backwards contrary to wild claims by Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith that we are on the cusp of a massive construction boom, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Job losses major blow to Bay community
    Job losses at Wattie’s Hastings plant will hit families and the community hard, Hawke’s Bay-based Labour MP Stuart Nash and MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti Meka Whaitiri say. “I know a number of the Wattie’s staff and these job losses will be...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Local job losses major blow to Bay community
    Job losses at Wattie’s Hastings plant will hit families and the community hard, Hawke’s Bay-based Labour MP Stuart Nash and MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti Meka Whaitiri say. “I know a number of the Wattie’s staff and these job losses will be...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Zero tolerance for forestry accidents a must
    The Government must adopt a zero tolerance approach to workplace accidents in the forestry sector to stop people being killed, Labour’s Forestry spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “It is time for the Government and the forestry sector to put an end...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Return to less holidays on the cards?
    John Key needs to lay his cards on the table regarding the Government’s intentions around holiday pay and annual leave entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “A day after National pushed through laws that take away the legal...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Forest Safety report first step in making our forests safe to work in
    Our forests are a very dangerous place to work. Between 2008 and 2013 there have been 32 fatalities and more than a thousand serious harm incidents in this industry. The Council of Trade Unions and First union have been doing...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Catherine Delahunty Speaks on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill
    Kia ora, Mr Assistant Speaker. He mihi nui ki te Whare Paremata. Welcome to the glorious 19th century, dressed up in the not-so-new flexibility-speak. At the final moment of this bill, let us drop the charade. The Government has a...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Ruataniwha Feds refuse to present a balanced view
    A bid to sell the Ruataniwha water project to Hawkes Bay farmers has turned in to an incredibly one sided affair, says Labours spokesperson on Water Meka Whaitiri.  “It’s being promoted as ‘Ruataniwha it’s now or never’ and it promises...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Worker’s rights dealt severe blow with Bill’s passing
    The passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill is another blow to workers' rights in New Zealand, the Green Party said today.This afternoon, National's Employment Relations Amendment Bill passed with the support of Act and United Future."This bill will force...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Barriers to reporting sex crimes must go
    Both the Government and police need to take action to ensure that, in future, sexual abuse victims know they will be taken seriously, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “The young women involved in the Roast Busters case, and...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Te Wakaputanga – What we did not learn at school
    This week saw the 179th anniversary of the signing of Te Wakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of Niu Tireni. Most of us did not learn about this fundamentally critical document at school, we barely learned about...
    Greens | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Kevin Hague questions the Minister of Health on management of Katherine Ric...
    Is he satisfied that all conflicts of interest that arose by the head of Food and Grocery Council Katherine Rich being a member of the Health Promotion Agency were managed in accordance with the provisions of the Crown Entities Act...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Bennett parks numbers on social housing
    Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett admitted today that well over 1000 families have been subsidised through the accommodation supplement to stay in the Ranui campground, somewhere she has previously described as not the right place for children to be growing...
    Labour | 30-10
  • 50,000 sign petition against anti-worker law
    More than 50,000 Kiwis have signed Labour’s petition against the Government’s scrapping of tea break entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “That’s the equivalent of five people signing our petition every minute for a week. It shows the...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Address in Reply Debate – Dr Kennedy Graham on UN Security Council- 2...
    In the Speech from the Throne last week the Prime Minister identified the usual domestic goals for his Government. I counted 17. They are not my subject today. I wish instead to focus on matters beyond our shores. In the...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Key misled public over Jason Ede
    Information contained in a new chapter of the book Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, that Jason Ede stopped working for the National Party on the night the book Dirty Politics was released, shows Mr Key and senior ministers hid...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Greenpeace report highlights better path for NZ agriculture
    A Greenpeace International report highlights a better way forward for New Zealand agriculture than the GE and chemical mutation technologies supported by Federated Farmers, and the National Government through its research funding packages, the Green Party said today. "This report...
    Greens | 29-10
  • BNZ post record profits while leaving savers vulnerable
    A small part of the $850 million record profit posted by the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) today needs to be set aside to protect savers' deposits in the future, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today.Dr Norman was...
    Greens | 29-10
  • RBNZ U-turn shows monetary settings were wrong
    The Reserve Bank's U-turn on interest rates today shows monetary policy settings were wrong and New Zealanders have suffered unnecessarily through the loss of jobs and having to pay higher interest rates, the Green Party said today.Reserve Bank Governor Graeme...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Ports must take responsibility for shameful death toll
    Port companies must step up and take responsibility for a shameful toll of seven deaths and 133 serious accidents in the past three years, Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says. The frightening figures – released by the Rail, Maritime and Transport...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee
    Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are...
    Greens | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 5AA Australia – NZ on UN Security Council + Dirty Politics Lingers On
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin Across The Ditch. General round up of over night talkback issues: Thongs, Jandals and flip-flops… ISSUE 1: New Zealand has been successful in its campaign to become a non...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • When I mean me, I mean my office & when I call whaleoil I mean not as m...
    This. Is. Ludicrous. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman put the first of what are likely to be many questions about Mr Key’s relationship with Slater, asking him how many times he had phoned or texted the blogger since 2008. “None...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • A brief word on describing the Government as ‘boring and bland’
    The narrative being sown is that this Government will be a boring and bland third term. Boring and bland. Since the election, Key has announced he is privatising 30% of state houses without reinvesting any of that money back into housing society’s most...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • Roast Busters: Turn Indignation into Action
    People raged about the Roast Buster case. The indignation was justified – it was horrible. “Where were their parents!?” Fair question. I am sure the Roast Busters’ parents and the victims’ parents all wish they had been more proactive in...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Stats NZ only have themselves to blame for postponement
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ only have themselves to blame for the indefinite postponement of the release of the Food Price Index: November 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • NZ Diversity Survey – benchmarking workplace diversity
    AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released a report on diversity in New Zealand workplaces....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill
    Tutehounuku Korako, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, is inviting further public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 5 December 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • ERA amendments a mixed bag
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act has the potential to put vulnerable workers in a more precarious position, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue. However, the commissioner says the right for all to request flexible work hours is...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Sensible Sentencing calls for appeal of judicial activivism
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity, Nov 1
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan as part of the “GLOBAL RALLY AGAINST ISIS – FOR KOBANÊ – FOR HUMANITY” on 1 November 2014, 2pm....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Safer roads are better for everyone
    Recent pedestrian versus vehicle incidents highlight the real issues being addressed by delegates as the 2Walk and Cycle conference concludes....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Law change creates more flexible labour market
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act, passed yesterday, will bring new flexibility to the labour market and will reduce the ability of unions to organise and to recruit....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Bumper ANZ profits mean no excuse for insecure hours
    A big rise in profits at New Zealand's largest bank needs to be reflected in a better pay offer and more security around hours of work, the bank workers’ union said today....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Count down to lowered alcohol limit
    With just a month to go until a new lower alcohol limit for adult drivers comes into effect, Police and road safety agencies are reminding drivers of the impending change....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • WorkSafe Supports Forestry Review Findings
    WorkSafe NZ says the Independent Forestry Safety Review has clearly identified the problems facing an industry in which ten workers were killed last year. “The Review’s analysis matches our own view and leaves no doubt about the need for comprehensive,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Activists will confront animal abusers
    Today animal rights activists will confront a group of wealth advisers who want to build the biggest egg factory-farm in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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