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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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    On the Left | 21-10
  • Video Against Poverty
    Schoolgirls in Kalimpong, West Bengal, India.  Photo / Julie Zhu This is week two of my givealittle.co.nz campaign Video Against Poverty and I'm more than 2/3 of the way to my goal of $2600.00.  This has been totally unexpected and is a really...
    Notes from the edge | 21-10
  • Why I’m Left
    I’m Left all the way down to my bones. My bone marrow is made up of lots of microscopic Karl Marx mustaches. It’s partly why I’m so curmudgeonly. When I was born I was brought home from the hospital to...
    Tangerina | 21-10
  • Gordon Campbell on Pharmac, Gough Whitlam and Sleater-Kinney
    Column – Gordon Campbell Ridiculous reported comments on RNZ this morning by Trade Minister Tim Groser, as he sought to dampen down concerns about yesterdays leaked draft of the IP chapter of ther Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations.Gordon Campbell on Pharmac,...
    Its our future | 21-10
  • Don’t cough on me
    It used to be acceptable to go to work or travel with a cough or the flu. That’s been changing over the last 10-20 years, and people who cough and sniffle in public are increasingly treated like people who smoke in the...
    Lance Wiggs | 21-10
  • Some might just come by train.
        As a Waikato girl by birth, Aucklander by nature, and living in Hamilton by choice, I’ve long being a supporter a regular train gig chugging the willing and the weary between the hustle and pace of Auckland and...
    Politically Corrected | 21-10
  • Why I’m Left: happiness, solidarity and community
    (For our opening week, we asked all our contributors to think about why they’re On The Left, and what the next three years holds for the left, the government, and New Zealand.) I’m Left all the way down to my...
    On the Left | 21-10
  • Curiosity’s historic comet photo
    Photo Credit: Curiosity on Mars – NASA Rover Opportunity Views Comet Near Mars. According to NASA: NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity captured images of a comet passing much closer to Mars than any previous known comet flyby of Earth or Mars....
    Open Parachute | 21-10
  • Ireland in the 21st century – Christchurch WEA course, Sat, Nov 1, 1-4.30...
    One of Ireland’s many ‘ghost estates’, built during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ fake-boom; these buildings are a haunting symbol of early 21st century Ireland Saturday 1 November, 1 – 4.30 pm The twenty-first century began with, officially at least, a great...
    Redline | 21-10
  • Ireland in the 21st century – Christchurch WEA course, Sat, Nov 1, 1-4.30...
    One of Ireland’s many ‘ghost estates’, built during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ fake-boom; these buildings are a haunting symbol of early 21st century Ireland Saturday 1 November, 1 – 4.30 pm The twenty-first century began with, officially at least, a great...
    Redline | 21-10
  • Gough Whitlam: 1916 – 2014
    A Mighty Totara has Fallen: Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam paying his respects to the late NZ PM, Rt. Hon. Norman Kirk, during his Lying-in-State at Parliament Buildings, Wellington. Wednesday, 4th September, 1974. (Photo by John Miller.) A BIG MAN IN EVERY...
    Bowalley Road | 21-10
  • DAY OF ACTION 8 NOVEMBER 2014
    Auckland, Hamilton, Raglan, Tauranga, Rotorua, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Levin,Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru, Dunedin, Invercargill. Need a reason to march on 8 November? Check out Professor Jane Kelsey’s latest blog. Updates on what is on where: Auckland – speakers include...
    NZ – Not for sale | 21-10
  • The Security Council and free trade
    Last week, New Zealand won a seat on the United Nations Security Council. And over the weekend the New Zealand business community made it clear what they wanted from the position:A business director says New Zealand's new seat on the...
    No Right Turn | 21-10
  • World News Brief, Tuesday October 21
    Top of the AgendaU.S. Army Drops Weapons to Kurdish Forces...
    Pundit | 20-10
  • National’s failure on housing
    A year ago National passed the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act 2013. In his speech introducing the bill, then-Housing Minister Nick Smith laid down some clear targets: It is an ambitious agreement, and sets out a plan to...
    No Right Turn | 20-10
  • Life isn’t fair. But it should be.
    (For our opening week, we asked all our contributors to think about why they’re On The Left, and what the next three years holds for the left, the government, and New Zealand.) I was not an angelic child. My mother...
    On the Left | 20-10
  • ECAN, Fed Farmers and Dairy NZ – Plotting to reduce water quality
    What does National’s resounding election win mean for our rivers? As we found in our review of the Government’s water quality framework, we have serious reasons to doubt their commitment to ‘maintain or improve our waterways’. Our concerns are growing...
    Gareth’s World | 20-10
  • A new left-leaning blog
    I am pleased to announce the launch of a new blogsite catering for those who want something more than the fare currently being offered by left-leaning sites like The Daily Blog and The Standard....
    Imperator Fish | 20-10
  • Ebola and the criminal passivity of the Great Powers
    The presidents of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, three Ebola-stricken West African nations, made urgent pleas for money, doctors and hospital beds.  The UN Ebola envoy said 20 times more was needed to counter the epidemic.  The U.S. director of...
    Redline | 20-10
  • New Zealand, ISIL, and suspicious behaviour
    The government has announced a review of how New Zealand might deal with foreign fighters in the future in response to what is happening currently in Iraq and Syria. There are some interesting titbits in the press release in terms...
    On the Left | 20-10
  • Out of Zionism: interview with Israeli anti-Zionist historian Ilan Pappé
    One of our links is to the excellent Le Mur des Oreilles site, which contains interviews with Palestinian figures, Israeli anti-Zionists and a range of cultural and political figures talking about the Palestinian cause and the importance of actions such...
    Redline | 20-10
  • Out of Zionism: interview with Israeli anti-Zionist historian Ilan Pappé
    One of our links is to the excellent Le Mur des Oreilles site, which contains interviews with Palestinian figures, Israeli anti-Zionists and a range of cultural and political figures talking about the Palestinian cause and the importance of actions such...
    Redline | 20-10
  • Swearing about swearing the oath
    Yesterday, I was swearing. Swearing the Parliamentary oath, that is. But, under my breath, I was also quietly swearing about the archaic, colonial form of that oath and its inappropriateness for today’s Aotearoa New Zealand. To be permitted to speak...
    frogblog | 20-10
  • Gordon Campbell on the latest TPP leaks
    The release by Julian Assange on Wikileaks of the draft Trands Pacific Partnership chapter on intellectual property – including drug patents – contains some pretty disturbing evidence about what’s still on the table. The leaked drafts pertain to the May...
    Gordon Campbell | 20-10
  • Access: Art and disability: a festival
    The three-day InterACT 2014 Disability Arts Festival kicks off tomorrow at Auckland's Corban Estate and, in its fourth year, provides an intriguing mix of established artists and joyous, unbridled inclusion.One one hand, there are the gala nights on Thursday and...
    Public Address | 20-10
  • Prison abolition – part of creating a just, equal, peaceful society
    Protest at Paremoremo in 2012 over what lawyer Peter Williams described as ‘inhumane’ conditions by Val Morse I want to acknowledge all the people who have done time inside, been arrested or assaulted by the police, whether here or elsewhere....
    Redline | 20-10
  • EPA finds Shell Oil illegally drilled two wells
    The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded that Shell Todd Oil Services (STOS) broke the law by drilling two wells without a marine consent off the coast of Taranaki, the Green Party said today. The EPA conducted an inspection of...
    Greens | 22-10
  • Soaring rail use in Auckland shows need for rail link now
    News that Aucklanders overtook Wellingtonians as the biggest train users is further evidence the Government needs to start work on the Auckland City Rail Link now, the Green Party said today.Auckland Transport said today that in the year to September,...
    Greens | 22-10
  • Tea breaks gone by lunch time
    Labour is calling for an eleventh hour reprieve to employment law changes which could see thousands of Kiwi workers not covered by collective agreements lose their smoko breaks, its spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.“How cynical that on the...
    Labour | 21-10
  • Metiria Turei to lead fight on feeding hungry children
    Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira.Mrs Turei, who leads the Green Party's work on child poverty, will pick up Mr...
    Greens | 21-10
  • Otago dairy farms fail basics
    I’m really privileged to take on the responsibility of the water portfolio. Eugenie Sage has done excellent work in this area in the last term of parliament and provided a great platform for further work. Last Parliament my bill to...
    Greens | 21-10
  • A mighty totara has fallen across the Tasman
    The New Zealand Labour Party expresses deep sadness at the death of former Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam, aged 98. “Today a great totara has fallen across the Tasman,” Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says....
    Labour | 21-10
  • Note to National: Must deliver on child poverty
    John Key and his Government will be held to its promise to make child poverty a priority, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “In its priority-setting speech today the Government stated child poverty would be a major focus for...
    Labour | 21-10
  • New Analysis show Government cut tertiary education funding
    New analysis done by the Green Party today shows the Government has made cuts to funding of tertiary education since 2008.Figures compiled by the Parliamentary Library show that between 2009 and 2015 Government funding to Tertiary Institutions dropped by 4...
    Greens | 21-10
  • Students doing it tough as fees rise again
    The Government is making it increasingly difficult for Kiwis to gain tertiary education as fees continue to rise and access to student support becomes even more restricted, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Steven Joyce is shutting a generation...
    Labour | 20-10
  • Key misled New Zealand on Iraq deployment
      John Key was misleading New Zealanders prior to the election when he ruled out New Zealand special forces being deployed to Iraq, says Labour Defence Spokesperson Phil Goff.  “Post-election he has cynically disregarded that by saying that deployment of...
    Labour | 20-10
  • Swearing about swearing the oath
    Yesterday, I was swearing. Swearing the Parliamentary oath, that is. But, under my breath, I was also quietly swearing about the archaic, colonial form of that oath and its inappropriateness for today’s Aotearoa New Zealand. To be permitted to speak...
    Greens | 20-10
  • Damning report on Ruataniwha dam numbers
    When I presented my submission to the Board of Inquiry on the Tukituki Catchment Proposal I compared the proposed 83 metre high Ruataniwha dam with the Clyde Dam and noted the risk of cost blowouts in the construction process.  The...
    Greens | 20-10
  • Church congratulated on child poverty stand
    The efforts by the bishops of the Anglican Church to ensure that the issue of child poverty is not forgotten is a call to all New Zealanders to take action, says Labour’s Interfaith-Dialogue Spokesperson, Su’a William Sio.   “I think...
    Labour | 19-10
  • Labour names Review Team
    Labour’s New Zealand Council has appointed Bryan Gould as Convenor of its post-General Election Review.  He will be joined on the Review Team by Hon Margaret Wilson, Stacey Morrison and Brian Corban (see further biographical details here). The Review Team...
    Labour | 19-10
  • Labour backs urban development plans
    Auckland Council’s plan to set up an urban development agency is to be applauded and central government should get behind it to make it a success, Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Auckland Council CEO Stephen Town has indicated plans...
    Labour | 18-10
  • New Zealand can be rightly proud of seat on Security Council
    Gaining a seat on the United Nation’s Security Council shows the sort of standing that New Zealand has in the world and the quality of the long campaign that we ran over nearly a decade, says Foreign Affairs spokesperson David...
    Labour | 16-10
  • NZ has opportunity on UN Security Council
    New Zealand has an opportunity to make a major contribution to the strengthening of international law and institutional capacity through its upcoming two-year tenure on the United Nations Security Council, Green Party spokesperson on global affairs, Dr Kennedy Graham said...
    Greens | 16-10
  • MPI still dragging the chain over causes of food bug
    The Ministry of Primary Industries’ release of Environmental Science and Research’s initial reports regarding the sources of a nasty stomach bug will be little comfort to the 127 people affected by it, Labour’s Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “This...
    Labour | 16-10
  • Treasury officials should try working without food
    The Green Party is challenging Treasury officials to work for a week without eating properly, in light of their advice to Government that a food in schools programme is not needed."Treasury's advice was that providing food for children in schools...
    Greens | 15-10
  • Councils need to better protect our drinking water
    Environment Canterbury (ECan) is proposing several variations to its regional land and water plan that will allow for increased nutrient and other pollution from irrigation and intensive agriculture on the Canterbury Plains. Commissioners are hearing submissions on Variation 1 to...
    Greens | 15-10
  • National needs to commit to making NZ workers safe
    The National Government must do more to help make New Zealand workplaces a safer place to work in, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today.Data released by Statistics New Zealand today showed that workers in the fishing and...
    Greens | 15-10
  • Key commits to deployment before consultation or analysis
    John Key’s offer to consult Opposition parties on whether to deploy New Zealand forces against ISIS looks increasingly like a PR exercise only, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson, Phil Goff. “The presence of New Zealand’s Chief of Defence Force at a...
    Labour | 15-10
  • National must end ideological opposition to raising income
    If John Key is serious about tackling child poverty he must approach it with an open mind, and overcome his ideological block to raising incomes as a solution, the Green Party said today.Papers released to Radio New Zealand today show...
    Greens | 14-10
  • Pentagon links climate change and terrorism
    Yesterday the Pentagon launched a plan to deal with a threat that “poses immediate risks to national security”; one that “will affect the Department of Defense’s ability to defend the nation”. It wasn’t referring to Ebola or ISIS. It was...
    Greens | 14-10
  • Four Nominees for Labour’s Leadership
    As at 5pm today four valid nominations had been received for the position of Labour Leader, as follows: Andrew Little(nominated by Poto Williams and Iain Lees-Galloway) Nanaia Mahuta(nominated by Louisa Wall and Su’a William Sio) David Parker(nominated by Damien O’Connor...
    Labour | 14-10
  • Green Party calls for consultation over terrorism law changes
    The Green Party has today written to the Prime Minister asking him to engage in wider consultation prior to changing any laws as a result of the recently announced terrorism law reviews, said the Green Party today. In a letter...
    Greens | 14-10
  • MPI must name product and supermarket chain
    The Ministry of Primary Industries must name the product responsible for severe gastroenteritis affecting people around the country, and the supermarket chain distributing it, Labour’s Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The Ministry seems to be more concerned about protecting...
    Labour | 13-10
  • John Key dishonest about reasons for wanting to change terrorism law
    John Key is misleading the public to push through terrorism law changes under urgency, the Green Party said today. On Sunday, John Key stated that it is not illegal for someone to fight overseas for a terrorist group, such as...
    Greens | 12-10
  • Law changes shaping up to be worse than first thought
    The Prime Minister needs to be up front about exactly what changes he is planning to make to the Employment Relations  Amendment Bill, Labour's spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.Interviewed on Q&A yesterday John Key said he did not...
    Labour | 12-10
  • Rapists, not Tinder, the threat to women
    Blame for rape and sexual assault should only ever be laid at the door of the perpetrator, not dating services or the actions of women themselves, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “Tinder is not the problem and women...
    Labour | 09-10
  • Safer Journeys For People Who Cycle
    You have a rare opportunity to tell the people who are making the decisions on cycling how to make it better. The Cycling Safety Panel is seeking feedback on their draft recommendations for improving the safety of cycling in New...
    Greens | 08-10
  • Subsidising more pollution will undermine water clean-up plan at Te Waihora...
    In 2010, NIWA found Canterbury’s Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere had the worst nutrient status of 140 lakes around New Zealand that it measured. In 2011, the National Government committed to spending $15 million across the country through the Fresh Start for...
    Greens | 08-10
  • Adding value not herbicides
    The HT swedes, and other brassicas, might seem like a good idea to farmers struggling against weeds but like the GE road, is this the path we want our agriculture to be treading? The Federated Farmers President, Dr William Rolleston...
    Greens | 07-10
  • ‘Blame the Planner’ bizarre approach to child poverty
    The National Government is stooping to a bizarre new low in blaming "planning processes" for poverty and inequality, after spending six years doing nothing about either the housing market or child poverty, the Green Party said today. Finance Minister Bill...
    Greens | 07-10
  • Media Advisory
    MANA Leader, Hone Harawira will not be available to speak with media today regarding his release “Recount Just One Step To restoring Credibility”. He is however available for media comment tomorrow, Tuesday the 8th of October, all media arrangements are...
    Mana | 07-10
  • RECOUNT JUST ONE STEP TO RESTORING CREDIBILITY
    “I have applied for a judicial recount of the votes in the Tai Tokerau election because it is one step in trying to restore credibility to the electoral process in the north, and, I suspect, in all other Maori electorates...
    Mana | 07-10
  • MANA SEEKS TAI TOKERAU RECOUNT
    The MANA Movement is supporting Leader Hone Harawira’s application for a judicial re-count in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate for the 2014 general election. President Lisa McNab says there are a number of serious issues of concern regarding the ability...
    Mana | 07-10
  • MANA to fight mass privatisation of state housing
    Announcements over the past 12 hours from the Minister responsible for Housing New Zealand, Bill English, and Minister for Social Housing, Paula Bennett, make clear the government’s intention for the mass privatisation of state housing. This comes during the middle...
    Mana | 07-10
  • Journalists have right to protect sources
    Legal authorities must respect the right of journalist Nicky Hager to protect the source of his material for his Dirty Politics book under Section 68 of the Evidence Act, Acting Labour Leader David Parker says. “It is crucial in an...
    Labour | 06-10
  • It shouldn’t take the Army to house the homeless
    National’s move to speed up its state house sell-off shows it is bankrupt of new ideas, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “National has been in office for six years, yet the housing crisis has got worse every month and...
    Labour | 06-10
  • Government must lift social housing supply, not shuffle the deck chairs
    National's decision to shift the state provision of housing to third parties is a smokescreen for the Government decreasing the provision of affordable housing, the Green Party said today."What National should be doing is increasing the supply of both social...
    Greens | 06-10
  • Election 2014 – the final count
    While we have to wait for the final booth level counts we can now see how well we did in the specials and look at electorate level data. First off special votes (and disallowed/recounted votes etc). There was a change...
    Greens | 06-10
  • We need more houses, not Ministers
    The Government’s decision to have three housing Ministers will create a dog’s breakfast of the portfolio and doesn’t bode well for fixing the country’s housing crisis, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “New Zealanders need more houses, not more Ministers....
    Labour | 05-10
  • MANA’S CHALLENGE TO THE 51st PARLIAMENT
    Ten years ago I led 50,000 Maori on the historic FORESHORE AND SEABED MARCH from Te Rerenga Wairua to the very steps of this parliament, in a march against the greatest land grab in the history of this country –...
    Mana | 03-10
  • Is this really necessary?
    No one denies chief executives should be well paid for their skills and experience, but it is the efforts of all employees which contribute to company profits, Labour’s Acting Leader David Parker says. “Salaries paid to chief executives come at...
    Labour | 02-10
  • Lyttelton Port workers also deserve pay rises
    Hard slog by Lyttelton Port workers contributed to strong financial growth for the company and they deserve to be rewarded for their work as much as its chief executive, says Labour’s Acting Leader David Parker. “Lyttelton Port chief executive Peter...
    Labour | 02-10
  • Māori Party must seek guarantees on Māori seats
    Labour is calling on the Māori Party to ensure protection of the Māori seats is part of its coalition deal with National which is being considering this weekend, Labour’s Māori Affairs spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “For the third consecutive term,...
    Labour | 02-10
  • Donaghys job losses another blow to Dunedin
    The loss of 30 jobs from Donaghys rope and twine factory is yet another blow to the people and economy of Dunedin, says Dunedin South Labour MP Clare Curran. “Donaghys was founded in 1876; the company has survived two world...
    Labour | 02-10
  • Dairy price fall shows urgent need to diversify
    The overnight drop in milk prices shows New Zealand’s overreliance on the dairy industry puts our economy in a vulnerable position, says Acting Labour Leader David Parker. “Dairy prices fell 7.3 per cent overnight and have almost halved since February....
    Labour | 02-10
  • Tasks aplenty for new Health Minister
    One of the first jobs for the new Minister of Health must be to provide an honest and transparent report into surgery waiting times and exactly how many Kiwis are not having their health needs met, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette...
    Labour | 02-10
  • About Curwen Ares Rolinson
    Curwen Ares Rolinson – Curwen Ares Rolinson is a firebrand young nationalist presently engaged in acts of political resistance deep behind enemy lines amidst the leafy boughs of Epsom. He is affiliated with the New Zealand First Party; although his...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kelly Ellis
    Kelly Ellis.Kelly Ellis – As a child, Kelly Ellis didn’t so much fall into the cracks, but willfully wriggled her way into them. Ejected from Onslow College – a big job in the 70s – Kelly worked in car factories,...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kate Davis
    Kate Davis.Kate Davis – Having completed her BA in English and Politics, Kate is now starting her MA. Kate works as a volunteer advocate at Auckland Action Against Poverty and previously worked for the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective. Kate writes...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Parker does a Shearer – oh for a Labour Leader who can challenge msm fals...
    Sigh. It seems David Parker has done a Shearer… Like a cult and too red – Parker on LabourLabour leadership contender David Parker says Labour borders on feeling like “a cult” and must look at its branding – including its...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • A brief word on the hundreds of millions NZ is spending on the secret intel...
    The enormity of the mass surveillance state NZ Government’s have built carries a huge price tag… Kiwis pay $103m ‘membership fee’ for spyingThe $103 million taxpayer funding of New Zealand’s intelligence agencies is effectively a membership fee for joining the...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Where. Is. Jason. Ede?
    Where. Is. Jason. Ede?...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Labour’s Din of Inequity
    Watching Labour’s leadership candidates on Q+A on Sunday, I noticed the ongoing use of terms like “opportunity” and “aspiration”, and “party of the workers”. What do these mean? We glean much from Labour, and from the media about Labour, but not...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • “Blue-Greenwash” fails the test when it comes to endangered dolphins
    National’s pre-election promises saw some wins for the environment – perhaps as the party sought to appease its “Blue-Green” voters and broaden its popular appeal. Some of the ecological gains were a long time in the making, overdue even– such...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Reasons not to be cheerful, Part #272b
    Why don’t you get back into bed? The next few years — the rest of this century — are not going to be pretty. There is an obvious disconnect between any remaining political ambition to fix climate change and the...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • OIA protocols and official advice ignored to hide Child Poverty
    It might not seem so now, but child poverty was a major election issue. What a pity we did not have the full debate. In that debate it would have been very helpful to have seen the Ministry of Social...
    The Daily Blog | 20-10
  • Previewing the 4 candidates for Leader of the Labour Party
    The extraordinary outbursts by Shearer last week highlights just how toxic that Caucus is. Shearer was on every major media platform as the ABC attack dog tearing into Cunliffe in the hope of diminishing Cunliffe’s support of Little by tearing...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – the sudden explosion of ‘left’ blogs
    Time to Teach or more people will suffer from P.A.I.D. Political And Intellectual Dysmorphia.I was on the Twitter and a guy followed me so of course I did the polite thing and followed him back. He wrote a blog so...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Ego vs Eco
    Ego vs Eco...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • We can’t let the Roastbuster case slip away
    Those of us (like me) left with hope that the police would aggressively follow through on the large amount of evidence on offer to them (let’s not forget they forgot they even had some at one point) in the Roastbusters...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Food, shelter and medicine instead of bombs and bullets
    The on-going conflict across the Middle East – due in large part to the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq – has created another humanitarian crisis of biblical proportion. The essentials of life are desperately needed in Iraq and Syria...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • The politics of electorate accommodations
    National’s electorate accommodations with ACT and United Future were a big factor in it winning re-election. Interestingly, there is another electorate accommodation scenario whereby the centre-left could have come out on top, even with the same distribution of party votes....
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Why you should join the TPPA Action on 8 November
    On 8 November 2014, thousands of Kiwis will take part in the International Day of Action to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). The rally cry for us is TPPA – Corporate Trap, Kiwis Fight Back. Why should you join...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • GUEST BLOG – Patrick O’Dea: no new coal mines
    Green Party and Mana Party policy is “NO NEW COAL MINES!” Auckland Coal Action is trying to put this policy into action on the ground. ACA after a hard fought two year campaign waged alongside local residents and Iwi, in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Comparing Police action – Hager raid vs Roast Buster case
    This satire had the NZ Police contact TDB and threaten us with 6months in prison for using their logo.   The plight of Nicky Hager and the draconian Police actions against him has generated over  $53 000 in donations so...
    The Daily Blog | 18-10
  • Malala Yousafzai, White Saviour Complexes and Local Resistance
    Last week, Malala Yousafzai was the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Since her exposure to the worldwide spotlight, her spirit, wisdom and strength have touched the hearts of people everywhere. However, there have been cynics who have argued that...
    The Daily Blog | 18-10
  • Jason Ede is back – but no media can interview him?
    Well, well, well. Jason Ede, the main figure connected to John Key’s office and the Dirty Politics black ops is back with a company with deep ties to the National Party. One thing you can say about the right –...
    The Daily Blog | 18-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – Leadership Transitions In Other Parties: A ...
    As cannot have escaped anyone’s attention by now, the country is presently in the grips of an election and campaign that will help determine the fate of the nation for years to come. It’s gripping stuff – with clear divides...
    The Daily Blog | 17-10
  • SkyCity worker says she faces losing her house
    SkyCity worker Carolyn Alpine told the company annual shareholder’s meeting today that she faced the prospect of losing her house because the company had cut her shifts from two a week to one without consultation. The solo mother, has worked...
    The Daily Blog | 17-10
  • Greg O’Connor’s latest push to arm cops & 5 reasons not to
    I was wondering at what point within a 3rd term of National that Police Cheerleader Greg O’Connor would start trying to demand cops be armed. O’Connor must have thought to himself, ‘if bloody Key can get us and the GCSB vast new...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • You can’t have crisis without ISIS
    So the new scary bogeyman ISIS might have chemical weapons that the US secretly found in Iraq, but America didn’t want to expose this find because the WMDs were actually built and made by the US and Europe, the two powers...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • NZ WINS UN SPIN THE BOTTLE! Privately sucking up to America for a decade me...
    Oh, we are loved! Little old NZ, the 53rd state of America after Israel and Australia, gets to sit at the adults table for the special dinner party that is the UN Security Council. How delightful, a decade of privately...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • MEDIA BLOG – Myles Thomas – A World Without Advertising
    Non-commercial broadcasting and media. It’s a solution for all manner of problems ailing our tender nation… voter engagement, unaccountable governance, apathy, stupefaction, public education, science in schools, arts appreciation, cultural cringe… But no-one could’ve guessed that non-commercial media might solve...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • March against war – 2pm Saturday 25th October
    March against war – 2pm Saturday 25th October...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • Whack a mole as US govt foreign policy
    Whack-A-Mole was a popular arcade game from my youth.  It consisted of a waist high cabinet with holes in the top. Plastic moles seemingly randomly pop out of these holes. The purpose of the game was to hit as many...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • In Paean of Debt
    This week is ‘Money Week’. It’s an opportunity to promote to the middle classes, and anyone else who will listen, the virtues of wise ‘investment’. The aims are to promote the mystical (and indeed mythical) virtues of saving for the...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • The last 48 hours – Poverty denial, war denial and unapologetic abuse of ...
    The bewildering speed of events that simply end in Key shrugging and proclaiming he doesn’t really give a shit is coming think and fast as the Government suddenly appreciate the full spectrum dominance they now enjoy. Here is Radio NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – Mana 2.0 Rebooted
    Internationally the news is that Evo Morales of Bolivia won big with Left Wing policies But what are the chances that the Left will make a resurgence in this country? As the internecine struggles between the Left and the Right...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • The Blomfield IPCA letter – Has Dirty Politics leaked into the NZ Police ...
    It’s difficult to know what to make of the IPCA letter to Matthew Blomfield over Slater’s continued insistence that the hard drive taken from Matthew wasn’t stolen.  Slater has selectively cherry picked the Police referring back to his claim that Blomfeild perjured...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • ​Media release: Rail and Maritime Transport Union – Auckland move for K...
    The Rail and Maritime Transport Union is questioning a KiwiRail proposal to progressively relocate its Zero Harm personnel from Wellington to Auckland. “The purpose of the Zero Harm team is to drive KiwiRail’s performance in health and safety.  Rail is a...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • Amnesty International – Friend request from an IS militant
    There’s always that one person, that one Facebook friend, usually a musician or event promoter, who, when you so foolishly accept their friend request, will completely inundate your news feed with copious event invitations and promotions. The person who, despite...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • NZ should follow the UK and recognize the Palestinian state
    Over the past two weeks, the United Kingdom and Sweden have made headlines through their decisions to recognize the state of Palestine. They are hardly the first nations to do so. Indeed, 134 countries have, in various ways, given formal...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • The Discordant Chimes of Freedom: Why Labour has yet to be forgiven.
    WHY DOES THE ELECTORATE routinely punish Labour and the Greens for their alleged “political correctness” but not National? It just doesn’t seem fair. Consider, for example, the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007 – the so-called “anti-smacking legislation” –...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • Hosking or Henry – Which right wing crypto fascist clown do you want to w...
    So Mediaworks are finally going to make some actual money from their eye watering contract with Paul Henry by launching a new multi-platform Breakfast show over TV, Radio and internet. This is great news for Campbell Live who have dodged...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Families need more money to reduce child poverty
    Prime Minister John Key is mistaken to rule out extending the In Work Tax Credit to all poor children (The Nation 11th Oct) and Child Poverty Action Group challenges government advisors to come up with a more cost effective way...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Kelly Ellis – Don’t shit on my dream
    Once were dreamers. A large man, walks down the road and, even from 200 yards there’s light showing between his big arms and bigger body. It’s as if he’s put tennis balls under his arms. Two parking wardens walk out...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Labour and ‘special interests’
    The media narrative of Labour is that it is unpopular because it’s controlled by ‘special interests’. This ‘special interests’ garbage is code for gays, Maoris, wimin and unionists. We should show that argument the contempt it deserves. The next Labour...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Ru...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Tahi) . National’s housing development project: ‘Gateway’ to confusion . Perhaps nothing better illustrates National’s lack of a coherent housing programme than the ‘circus’ that is...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Here’s what WINZ are patronisingly saying to people on welfare when they ...
    Yesterday, a case manager from WINZ called to tell me that I needed to “imagine what I would do if I did not have welfare”. I replied “Well, I guess if I couldn’t live at home, I would be homeless.”...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • David Shearer’s ‘no feminist chicks’ mentality highlights all that is...
    Mr Nasty pays a visit Shearer’s extraordinary outburst last night on NZs favourite redneck TV, The Paul Henry Show, is a reminder of all that is wrong within the Labour Caucus right now… He said the current calls for a female or...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Greenpeace 1 – Shell 0
    Greenpeace 1 – Shell 0...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – A Tale Of Two Cities
    Sunday was surreal. I went for a drive and ended up in a different country. It wasn’t intentional but those days of too many literally intertextual references seldom are. There is no doubt that the Sunday drive this week had...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Key raises terror threat level to justify war in Iraq and now the SIS need ...
    Have we learned nothing from rushing into war? It’s embarrassing Key has raised our terror threat from ‘very low’ to ‘low’ so he can justify military action in Iraq. Watching him pimp for an American war is as sick as...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • Socialism? in France; Austerity in Europe
    On Sunday I stumbled upon this recent New York Times column The Fall of France by Paul Krugman. Then I caught BBC’s Newsnight interview with France’s ‘Socialist’ Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Krugman notes that the Socialists came to power on an anti-austerity mandate, but completely squandered their opportunity...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • So Snowden and Greenwald were right – again – NZ Embassies spying for A...
    Well, well, well. What do we have here… NZ embassies involved in covert intelligence work for US – reportsNew Zealand’s embassies have been involved in covert intelligence gathering work on behalf of the United States, a fresh batch of classified...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – Why David Parker *isn’t* a credible choic...
    The one electoral contest this year that a Labour leader is sure to win heated up over the weekend with the late entry of Finance Spokesman (and interim caretaker leader) David Parker into Labour’s leadership race. I’d blogged late last...
    The Daily Blog | 13-10
  • DIA undercover investigation leads to jailing
    An undercover Internal Affairs investigation has led to a Hastings man being jailed for three and half years....
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Call on Minister McCully to pursue the case of Balibo Five
    Media Information: Call on Minister McCully to pursue the case of journalist Gary Cunningham and the Balibo Five...
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Australia and NZ actions on press freedoms alarming
    Global support for investigative journalism in Australia and New Zealand is a welcome response to law changes and a police raid, says the Pacific Freedom Forum...
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Call for release of French journalists in West Papua
    West Papua Action Auckland, the EPMU Print and Media Council and the NZ Media Freedom Network call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs to speak out in support of the two French TV journalists whose trial has just begun in...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Court of Appeal: Dotcom v 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
    A The appeal is dismissed. B The 20 August 2014 order of the High Court dealing with confidentiality and the 29 August 2014 order of this Court dealing with confidentiality are set aside. C The confidentiality orders set out in...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Glassons Blasted For Glamourising Animal Cruelty
    Clothing brand Glassons have found themselves embroiled in another controversy after launching a new advert featuring a girl riding a bull. Animal advocacy organisation SAFE have asked them to remove the ad immediately as it glamourises animal cruelty....
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Smuggling honey into New Zealand isn’t sweet
    Smuggling honey into New Zealand isn’t sweet Federated Farmers Bee Industry Group applauds the tough line taken by Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Border Staff at Auckland Airport. In deporting the couple found trying to smuggle bee products...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Taxpayers’ Union Responds to Joyce on Corporate Welfare
    Responding to Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce’s defence of corporate welfare , Jim Rose, the author of Monopoly Money , a Taxpayers Union report on corporate welfare since 2008, says:...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Speech from the Throne brings welcome focus on children
    Today’s speech from the Throne confirms the Government’s focus on children, youth and their families in the areas of health, education, youth employment, poverty alleviation and Whānau Ora; now the challenge is to ensure every child in New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • John’s Job Fairs no fix for unemployment and poverty
    “John Key has clearly been looking to the US for his latest bright idea on dealing with employment issues,” says Auckland Action Against Poverty coordinator Sue Bradford. “Job fairs where the desperately unemployed queue in their corporate best to compete...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Speech From the Throne Foreshadows More Corporate Welfare
    Responding to the Governor General’s Speech from the Throne, which outlined that the Government’s intentions for the next Parliamentary term would include further Business Growth Agenda initiatives, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Green MP to speak at panel on Rainbow Mental Health
    Hamilton, New Zealand: Recently re-elected Green Party MP Jan Logie will be a guest speaker at a panel on the mental health of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trangender, Takataapui and Intersex people taking place on November 1st as part of the...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Evidence Supports GE Moratorium
    Federated Farmers spokesman Graham Smith's call for a 'rethink' on release of GeneticallyEngineered organisms is misguided, and instead it is time for a formal moratorium on GMOs in the environment.(1)...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Chatham Rise mining could have impact on whales and dolphins
    Wellington, 21 October 2014--Mining phosphate on the Chatham Rise, off the east coast of New Zealand’s south island, could potentially have many impacts on marine mammals like whales and dolphins, the Environmental Protection Agency was told today....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Council endorses Nanaia Mahuta as the next Labour leader
    Te Kaunihera Māori, the Māori Council of the New Zealand Labour Party, have passed a resolution to endorse the Hon Nanaia Mahuta as the next leader of the Labour Party...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Kaumatua to organise petition to end Maori seats
    Ngapuhi kaumatua David Rankin has announced that he will be organising a nationwide petition to seek support from Maori voters to end the Maori seats. “These seats are patronising”, he says. “They imply we need a special status, and that...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Announcing a New Voice for The Left
    Josh Forman is pleased to announce the creation of a new force on the Left of politics in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Public services held back by poor workplace culture
    A new report by Victoria University’s Centre for Labour, Employment and Work shows that public servants are working significant unpaid overtime to ensure the public services New Zealanders value are able to continue....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • iPredict New Zealand Weekly Economic & Political Update
    Andrew Little’s probability of being the next leader of the Labour Party has reached 70% and Jacinda Ardern is favourite to become his deputy, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Prison Drug Treatment Unit marks a milestone
    Christchurch Men’s Prison’s Drug Treatment Unit (DTU) celebrated the completion of its 50th six month Drug and Alcohol Programme today, with the graduation of a further twelve offenders....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Security Council seat a chance for NZ to empower women
    The UN Women National Committee Aotearoa New Zealand (UN Women NCANZ) welcomes New Zealand winning a seat on the United Nations Security Council and is calling on New Zealand to use its position to proactively promote effective implementation of the...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Waipareira and ACC sign Partnership
    Waipareira and The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding at Whanau Centre, Henderson – marking a special day for the West Auckland Urban Maori organisation....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Humanitarian aid desperately needed in Iraq and Syria
    Global Peace and Justice Auckland is calling on the government to provide humanitarian funding for non-aligned NGOs (non-governmental organisations) in the Middle East rather than give any support whatever for the US-led military campaign in the area....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Court Judicial Decision: Dotcom v The USA: 17 October 2014
    The United States of America is seeking the extradition of Messrs Dotcom, Batato, Ortmann and Van Der Kolk. The matter has been before the Courts on numerous occasions, and no further recitation of the facts is needed....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Marshall Island poet speaks at UN climate summit
    “The fossil fuel industry is the biggest threat to our very existence as Pacific Islanders. We stand to lose our homes, our communities and our culture. But we are fighting back. This coming Friday thirty Pacific Climate Warriors, joined by...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Many tourist car accidents preventable
    Simple steps could dramatically reduce the number of accidents involving tourists, says the car review website dogandlemon.com ....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • RainbowYOUTH: 25 Years, 25 More
    In 1989, a group of young people in Auckland got together to form a support group for LGBTIQ youth. They called it Auckland Lesbian And Gay Youth (ALGY). After 25 years, several location changes, a name change, a brand reboot...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Outdated Oath shows need for Kiwi Head of State
    MPs are sworn in today and New Zealand Republic has written to MPs asking them to talk about why 121 New Zealanders elected by the people of New Zealand and standing in the New Zealand Parliament swear allegiance to another...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Council shouldn’t revenue grab from windfall valuations
    Auckland Council should state clearly they will not try and capture revenue as a result of the latest valuations and needs reminding that the City’s skyrocketing property values doesn’t change the level or cost of Council’s services, says...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • EPMU endorses Andrew Little for Labour leadership
    The National Executive of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union unanimously endorsed Andrew Little for the role of Labour leader, at a meeting held yesterday. “I have been speaking to our workplace delegates at forums across the country over...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • World Food Day promotes Agroecology not GE technology
    The UN has stated that agroecology is a major solution to feeding the world and caring for the earth....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Labour Names Review Team
    Labour’s New Zealand Council has appointed Bryan Gould as Convenor of its post-General Election Review. He will be joined on the Review Team by Hon Margaret Wilson, Stacey Morrison and Brian Corban....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Contenders for Labour leadership debate for first time
    The contenders for the leadership of the Labour Party debated for the first time on TV One’s Q+A programme today....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • UN Ambassador Jim McLay on TV One’s Q+A programme
    New Zealand's United Nations Ambassador Jim McLay on TV One’s Q+A programme....
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • The Nation: RSA President BJ Clark & Ian Taylor, New NZ Flag
    Lisa Owen interviews RSA President BJ Clark and tech innovator Ian Taylor about changing the NZ flag...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • The Nation: RSA President BJ Clark & Ian Taylor, New NZ Flag
    Lisa Owen interviews RSA President BJ Clark and tech innovator Ian Taylor about changing the NZ flag...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • Lisa Owen interviews Foreign Minister Murray McCully
    Murray McCully says New Zealanders can expect a 5-10 year engagement against Islamic State if we join military action in Iraq and the government will take that “very carefully into account”...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • Lisa Owen interviews Julia Gillard
    Julia Gillard says there is “sufficient evidence” to fight Islamic State and does not think it will increase the risk of a domestic attack...
    Scoop politics | 18-10
  • NZ businesses to make child abuse a priority conversation
    Many leading New Zealand businesses have partnered with national child advocacy organisation Child Matters to participate in the fourth annual ‘Buddy Day’ - New Zealand’s only child abuse prevention awareness day....
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • Tribunal decision significant for SMEs
    The Human Rights Review Tribunal decided this week in favour of an employee’s right not to work on Saturdays for religious reasons. The decision may still be appealed but the Director of the Office of Human Rights Proceedings, Robert Kee,...
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • On The Nation this weekend
    This weekend on The Nation… New Zealand has been elected to the United Nations Security Council, but what happens next? Lisa Owen interviews Foreign Minister Murray McCully from New York about our goals for reform, what America wants from us...
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • 1000+ supported by Te Arawa Whanau Ora
    Over 1000 individual whānau members are leading happier, healthier, more successful lives as a result of eight passionate and committed Māori organisations working at the coalface to help whānau find success....
    Scoop politics | 17-10
  • Nomination for Board Members Now Open
    CRF’s objective is to create opportunities for people from refugee backgrounds to lead fulfilling lives and contribute to every area of New Zealand society. It is an organisation that undertakes advocacy work using the strengths-based approach,...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Anglican Family Care Otago staff to take industrial action
    Social workers, family workers and support staff working for Anglican Family Care in Dunedin and South Otago will take industrial action after their employer refused a pay increase that would keep up with the rising cost of living....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Use UN Security Council role to overcome inaction and injust
    Amnesty International welcomes New Zealand winning a seat on the UN Security Council and is calling on New Zealand to use the role to ensure the body lives up to its role of safeguarding global peace and security....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Grisham’s ‘child porn’ comments ignorant
    World-renowned author John Grisham has come under fire by advocacy group Stop Demand Foundation, for comments it says trivialises the global child sex abuse trade....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Latest leak of TPPA intellectual property text confirms risk
    On the eve of the latest (non)round of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) yet another version of the intellectual property has found its way to Wikileaks ....
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • New Zealand awarded UN Security Council seat
    International aid agency Oxfam New Zealand welcomes New Zealand’s election to the United Nations Security Council, saying it gives an extraordinary opportunity to make a lasting contribution to international peace and security and improve the lives...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • 40 more jobs lost to cheap imports
    40 more jobs lost to cheap imports Another New Zealand manufacturer is closing its doors, giving the lie to the idea that we have a “rock star” economy or any strategy for jobs growth. Wellpack is a paper bag manufacturer...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
  • Pink Batts manufacturer to cut Christchurch jobs
    Pink Batts manufacturer to cut Christchurch jobs 29 roles are to be cut at the Christchurch manufacturing facility of Tasman Insulation, the company which manufacturers the iconic Pink Batts brand of products. The company is proposing to consolidate its...
    Scoop politics | 16-10
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