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NRT: The NSA spies on its own government

Written By: - Date published: 11:11 am, January 8th, 2014 - 51 comments
Categories: International, Spying, us politics - Tags: , ,

no-right-turn-256No Right Turn asks the question.

Since Edward Snowden leaked proof of widespread NSA spying on US citizens, people have been wondering who exactly they’re spying on. Are they spying on their own government? Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders wanted to know, so he asked them directly. The response was not reassuring:

“Has the NSA spied, or is the NSA currently spying, on members of Congress or other elected officials?”

That’s the question Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) put to the National Security Agency’s chief in a bluntly worded letter Friday. It seems, however, that the agency cannot categorically say no.

Sanders didn’t use the word “spy” lightly. He was careful to define his terms, indicating he meant the collection of phone records from personal as well as official telephones, “content from Web sites visited or e-mails sent,” and data that companies collect but don’t release to the public.

When asked by The Washington Post, an NSA spokesman said that the agency’s privacy safeguards are effective at covering all Americans.

“Members of Congress have the same privacy protections as all U.S. persons,” the spokesman said.

Which means “none”. But think about this for a moment: Congress is meant to oversee the NSA, setting its budgets, regulating its powers, and holding its management accountable to the people. And the NSA is basically trawling them for blackmail material on their movements, relationships, and web-surfing habits. Even if they never use it (something we’ll never be able to prove), the potential is there. Which is a strong disincentive to effective oversight.

Or we can look at it another way: spies are supposed to protect their governments against enemies. The NSA clearly thinks Congress and by extension, elected representatives in general) are an enemy of the US.

Meanwhile, its worth asking: is this happening here? John Key has said that the GCSB is not engaged in the “wholesale” collection of metadata. But even if you believe him, there’s another problem: the NSA is using the data-exchange agreements that make global roaming work to
track everyone’s cellphones (which can reveal all sorts of interesting secrets). New Zealand data is almost certainly included, and almost certainly includes MPs. And it all goes into the same spy-cloud, to which the GCSB has access… Even if they’re not abusing it, their mere ability to access this data is a danger to our democracy. If MPs want to be safe from spying and spy-blackmail, they need to shut down the GCSB or sever its links to the American panopticon.

gcsb-scum

51 comments on “NRT: The NSA spies on its own government”

  1. karol 1

    This seems to be partly to do with the fact that 5 eyes, the NSA, etc have shifted their focus to strongly protecting commercial (corporate) interests and “economic” threats – and that could then be in conflict with elected representatives opposed to the corproate plutocracy.

  2. One Anonymous Knucklehead 2

    What it comes down to is this:

    How gutless are our MPs? Are they going to go along with this like good little authoritarians? Perhaps they could negotiate special privileges for themselves. The rights to privacy and freedom of speech and association, for example.

    Or are they going to grow a collective spine?

    PS: and if our parliament proves craven, a bought government, will the judiciary lie down too?

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.1

      PPS: now idly speculating on whether anyone has had a peek at Justice Winklemann’s illegally collected meta-data…and what she’d do if evidence of said collection were presented to her…ah well, a Knucklehead can dream.

  3. adam 3

    Spying has always been part of authoritarianism – they have done it since the dawn of time. The left should know, being spied on is common – hell we have case histories of it in this country. This is normal for them.

    Do I think it is wrong and kinda sick? – yeap. Do I think it is anti-democratic? Hell yes! So what do we do, be paranoid and freak out – or go out and keep doing what we do?

    I say keep doing what we do, and ignore the spies. Essentially, at the end of the day they have information which is dated, – yesterday. And if they going to use it – then they are the enemy and we know they are. And who cares – seriously – they are the ones with the problem – there wasting our money, and yes, we need to get to power – so it’s bye bye money for the spy freaks.

    So spy on you little authoritarian asses, masturbate at the same time if you must (yes I’m implying there is something patriarchal about this) . I’m right, your wrong. I’m a human being your a scum sucking freak.We will beat you in the end, and put all that data through the shredder.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      I’m sure you have already come across LOVEINT

    • Chooky 3.2

      @adam….Yes there have always been spies and spying but this time it is different….in Snowden’s words:

      “There is a huge difference between legal programs, legitimate spying … and these programs of dragnet mass surveillance that put entire populations under an all-seeing eye and save copies forever … These programs were never about terrorism: they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power.”[145]

      “I acted on my belief that the NSA’s mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts. Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans’ rights. It is the first of many.”[299]

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

      This post raises the very serious question of who is in control of the NSA…because the elected USA govt does not seem to be…and this has very serious implications for the elected NZ govt and for New Zealanders living in a democracy

      • adam 3.2.1

        I don’t live under the illusion of living in a democracy Chooky. I think we live in a benign dictatorship with the illusions of power/a say.

        Yes Viper I have :) I also spend time on right wing blogs, they are foaming at the mouth at the moment, especially the ones in the US. They can’t decide to tip their cap to there masters at these obvious intrusions to there lives, or be mighty upset – makes for fun reading – also creates a confused web footprint.

        On creating confusing foot prints – people are doing that right? Going to web sites you disagree with, extreme or otherwise. You don’t have to post or anything, just go – makes it harder for them to get a clear picture of who you are. Tea party web site is a good one – funny too – they are being attacked by traditional conservatives by being upset about this issue.

  4. Philj 4

    Xox
    WHAT does this mean for the legality of the undertaking of lawyers and doctors to safeguard our privacy?

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 4.1

      It means said privacy doesn’t exist, especially when (their clients) we find ourselves in positions of commercial sensitivity where export markets are involved.

    • Colonial Viper 4.2

      You have to understand that the literal goal of the Five Eyes system is to eliminate all human privacy, everywhere, all the time.

      If you use a smartphone, you are carrying a combination tracking device, human relationship monitor, and hot mic/hot camera which can turned on at any time without you knowing.

      From this, it should be easy to conclude what lawyers and doctors can do to maintain client confidentiality is very limited.

      HOWEVER, use of strong database, txt and email/IM encryption*, TOR for browsing*, simple precautions like fully shutting down and powering off computers when you are not using them and ensuring that people leave their mobile phones, tablets and notebooks at home when they go for meetings, are just some of the practical steps which make surveillance harder, slower and more costly to carry out.

      *This will get you noticed on any network analysis, but it is a type of civil peaceful resistance and if you were going to say it anyway, why not.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 4.2.1

        That’s the story from a political perspective. From an economic perspective it isn’t going to happen. Most engineering software, for example, requires an internet connection. Bye bye commercial sensitivity.

        • Colonial Viper 4.2.1.1

          Also, trying to “air gap” devices like PCs, tablets and notebooks by unplugging network cables and turning off the wi-fi can finally be defeated by the silent turning on of your devices wifi/wireless circuits.

        • Colonial Viper 4.2.1.2

          STUXNET

      • Tracey 4.2.2

        ” txt and email/IM encryption*, ” this requires those you communicate with to encrypt too?

        • Colonial Viper 4.2.2.1

          Often it means they have to use the same secure communication application as you e.g. OTR for instant messaging. Or the same encryption application eg Pretty Good Privacy (PGP).

          With PGP the way I understand it works is that you make a ‘public (encoding) key’ available to everyone. With it they can encrypt files which can then only be decrypted with the ‘private (decoding) key’ that only you have.

          Keith Ng for instance puts a pointer (finger print) to his ‘public key’ on his twitter account.

          https://twitter.com/keith_ng

          btw I’m not really a tech guy, lprent and others will have much more idea than me…

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead 4.2.2.1.1

            GPG (Gnu Privacy Guard), open source and backed by strong German privacy legislation, is a safer option even than PGP.

  5. fender 5

    With the amount of information available through tracking cell phones highlighted by the reveal all sorts of interesting secrets link I wonder how long it will be until it’s illegal to not carry at all times a functioning tracking device (cell phone).

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Don’t need to go to such lengths. Consider banking: At one point it was possible to get by without a bank account, now it’s impossible (and that’s another reason why I think banking should be a public service instead of private).

      • fender 5.1.1

        True, only there’s not the same detail available by tracking bank accounts, unless we all make eft-pos transactions everywhere we go/visit.

        Authorities must love being able to follow people around and see who they mix with, I guess soon those without cell phones will be assumed to be up to no good.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          They can track many different dimensions of your activity via analysis tools called “graphs.” One graph might contain all your bank transactions. Another might contain all your card transactions. A third might contain all your mobile phone GPS readings. A fourth might contain lists of all your phone contacts, FB friends, etc. A fifth might contain all the electronic and text messages you send and receive.

          What they then do is layer all these graphs on top of each other on top of public information like google maps, etc. to understand in detail your entire day. They can then answer in detail: where did you go? Who else was there? Did you spend or receive money there? How long did you stay? Who did you communicate with at the time? Who communicated with you? And where were those people?

          If you are a person of interest and you then go to a town hall community meeting (say on the GCSB legislation), they can then identify all 2,000 other mobile phones which are in the same location, their relationship to you, and add those numbers to their target list. Using such a newly gained phone number as a “selector” they can they pull out all the graphs relevant to that phone number, and so on.

          • fender 5.1.1.1.1

            Very intrusive stuff even for law abiding citizens (like us) with ‘nothing to hide’.

            By the way, it’s good to have you “home”. 😀

  6. Chooky 6

    chookies don’t have cell phones….so that is why i have seen those ferrets lurking around

    • fender 6.1

      Glad to hear you keep your eyes on the job of ferret lookout, but are those ferrets finding chookies via leg ring tracking? 😉

  7. Chooky 7

    no leg rings!….but maybe they have the chook house rigged…where do you get those bug finding devices?

  8. Philj 8

    Xox
    Good to see you CV. I didn’t support the flamers. Your insight and persistence was too much for some. Take care and Kia Kaha

  9. burt 9

    Draco

    Don’t need to go to such lengths. Consider banking: At one point it was possible to get by without a bank account, now it’s impossible (and that’s another reason why I think banking should be a public service instead of private).

    Well having a state run banking system would save the government a lot if time legislating to be allowed access to commercial banking systems.

    Let me guess… The glorious government should have full access to its citisens financial transactions but government run spy agencies getting access to the same for government is bad – how’s that working for you ?

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 9.1

      Full access to citizens financial transactions?

      Is that what authoritarian gimps think of as governance or something? Why would anyone here vote for anything of the kind? Reality really is a bit much for you, isn’t it?

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        The intel services (and the IRD) already have this.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 9.1.1.1

          Perhaps, but Burt is indulging a fantasy of a right wing government keeping tabs 24/7, not the IRD processing tax returns. The “intelligence” services are acting illegally.

  10. burt 10

    Knucklehead

    One of the basic issues of how government works seems to have escaped you. You might trust the party you blindly serve and that’s fine but you do know don’t you that your team aren’t perpetually in power to ensure the great powers they have are never abused.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 10.1

      What great powers? Be specific. I note recent surveillance has made the news because it is illegal.

      Your feeble misinterpretation of DtB’s remarks doesn’t mean shit, Burt, just like your ludicrous notion that I have blind faith in anything, let alone a political party.

      You failed (like a miserable failure) to argue coherently yesterday, preferring to sit in a corner and throw faeces. Are we going to see more of the same today? Or are you capable of conducting a rational discussion?

  11. burt 11

    Knucklehead

    Is it too much for you to grasp that in a parliament such as our half Westminster system the government of the day passes pretty much any law it wants. Hell some self serving governments have even used parliament in urgency to kill off a court case against a PM.

    Access to health records, banking transactions, cellphone meta data and message content are only ‘illegal’ if the government of the day don’t legislate to say its legal. Remember the biggest threat to democracy is a government arrogant enough to declare that the business of government is whatever government define it to be.

    • Access to health records, banking transactions, cellphone meta data and message content are only ‘illegal’ if the government of the day don’t legislate to say its legal.

      Not to mention, if the government of the day doesn’t legislate to retrospectively declare its previously-uncovered illegal activity legal – Labour and National both have form for this.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 11.2

      So, nothing specific, just false notions of my “grasp” of the situation, and vague bogeymen. This from a person who prefers the small government Pike River approach to work safety.

      • burt 11.2.1

        I bet you were glad when Pike River happened so you could stop using Cave Creek as your whacking stick to support big bureaucracy.

        FFS Knucklehead, this is the second time in 2 days I’ve seen you reference the size of government in terms of Pike River. How bloody insensitive of you.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 11.2.1.1

          The policies you support killed them. It’s that simple. Blood on your hands.

          PS: that would be a good job change for the “intelligence” services. Identifying the enemies of New Zealand who advocate for “small government” (ie: deaths at work) and destroying them.

          • Colonial Viper 11.2.1.1.1

            Court. Help take them to court (criminal or civil). Rule of valid, legitimate law is going to be very important going forward.

          • burt 11.2.1.1.2

            You are an idiot OAK

            See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pike_River_Mine

            Now tell me it’s the current governments cutbacks that created this situation. You might want to read the ‘Approvals history’ and ‘Mine operation’ paras.

            On 12 March 2004, Minister of Conservation Chris Carter approved the access arrangement for Pike River Coal Ltd. The arrangement included four 1.5-metre (4.9 ft)-wide emergency escape shafts within the boundaries of Paparoa National Park and a requirement for Pike River Coal Ltd to spend NZ$70,000 annually on conservation projects. Carter stated that the “safeguards and compensation” outweighed the inconsistencies with objectives of the Conservation Act 1987 and the relevant management plans.[8]

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 11.2.1.1.2.1

              No, Burt, I am not criticising an individual government, I am criticising the policy of the “high trust model” – what you call “small government”. The policies that increase the child mortality rate, that destroy wealth – especially the value of work – that cause workplace “accidents”.

              How do you propose New Zealand should defend itself against this hateful, wilful incompetence?

              • Colonial Viper

                The alternative model with small government would be with worker owned, co-operative and democratically managed mines, and strong national based mining unions. Govt intervention and oversight could be fairly minimal in that case.

          • burt 11.2.1.1.3

            First they came for the supporters of small government.

            • Colonial Viper 11.2.1.1.3.1

              Who ironically seem to love massive expensive government surveillance apparatus and over-reach.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 11.2.1.1.3.2

              Oh get over yourself. The whole reason to have security or intelligence services – spies – in the first place is to help defend the nation. That means defending it against physical threats, obviously (and what a fine job they did when France committed an act of war on our soil.) but it also means defending our democracy, because while we have few physical threats, democracy is alive because strong arms keep it that way. Do you honestly believe that organised crime will not infiltrate the law-makers were it not for these rules of law and strong arms to enforce them?

              Perhaps you believe market fundamentalism presents no such threat, as the infectious disease admission rate climbs higher and higher, and forestry deaths continue apace.

              • burt

                Knucklehead

                How would you suggest dissenters of big government are ‘destroyed’ ?

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  Burt, the alternative to “small government” isn’t “big government”, it’s just “government”.

                  I’d go after their ideology. Win the economic argument with cold hard facts. Implement stronger rules of evidence at a select committee level, initiate judicial review of evidence-free legislation, that sort of thing.

                  Once people stop paying attention to you, and you go back to just being a bunch of breathless Rand enthusiasts, I reckon the attention desert will take care of the rest.

  12. Clifford Pain 12

    Lesson 101: From George Orwell

    (taken from http://www.openculture.com/2014/01/george-orwell-explains-in-a-revealing-1944-letter-why-hed-write-1984.html )

    Asked by Noel Willmett “whether totalitarianism, leader-worship etc. are really on the up-grade” given “that they are not apparently growing in [England] and the USA”:

    George replied with consummate balance:

    ” I must say I believe, or fear, that taking the world as a whole these things are on the increase. Hitler, no doubt, will soon disappear, but only at the expense of strengthening (a) Stalin, (b) the Anglo-American millionaires and (c) all sorts of petty fuhrers of the type of de Gaulle. All the national movements everywhere, even those that originate in resistance to German domination, seem to take non-democratic forms, to group themselves round some superhuman fuhrer (Hitler, Stalin, Salazar, Franco, Gandhi, De Valera are all varying examples) and to adopt the theory that the end justifies the means. Everywhere the world movement seems to be in the direction of centralised economies which can be made to ‘work’ in an economic sense but which are not democratically organised and which tend to establish a caste system. With this go the horrors of emotional nationalism and a tendency to disbelieve in the existence of objective truth because all the facts have to fit in with the words and prophecies of some infallible fuhrer. Already history has in a sense ceased to exist, ie. there is no such thing as a history of our own times which could be universally accepted, and the exact sciences are endangered as soon as military necessity ceases to keep people up to the mark. Hitler can say that the Jews started the war, and if he survives that will become official history. He can’t say that two and two are five, because for the purposes of, say, ballistics they have to make four. But if the sort of world that I am afraid of arrives, a world of two or three great superstates which are unable to conquer one another, two and two could become five if the fuhrer wished it. That, so far as I can see, is the direction in which we are actually moving, though, of course, the process is reversible.

    As to the comparative immunity of Britain and the USA. Whatever the pacifists etc. may say, we have not gone totalitarian yet and this is a very hopeful symptom. I believe very deeply, as I explained in my book The Lion and the Unicorn, in the English people and in their capacity to centralise their economy without destroying freedom in doing so. But one must remember that Britain and the USA haven’t been really tried, they haven’t known defeat or severe suffering, and there are some bad symptoms to balance the good ones. To begin with there is the general indifference to the decay of democracy. Do you realise, for instance, that no one in England under 26 now has a vote and that so far as one can see the great mass of people of that age don’t give a damn for this? Secondly there is the fact that the intellectuals are more totalitarian in outlook than the common people. On the whole the English intelligentsia have opposed Hitler, but only at the price of accepting Stalin. Most of them are perfectly ready for dictatorial methods, secret police, systematic falsification of history etc. so long as they feel that it is on ‘our’ side. Indeed the statement that we haven’t a Fascist movement in England largely means that the young, at this moment, look for their fuhrer elsewhere. One can’t be sure that that won’t change, nor can one be sure that the common people won’t think ten years hence as the intellectuals do now. I hope they won’t, I even trust they won’t, but if so it will be at the cost of a struggle. If one simply proclaims that all is for the best and doesn’t point to the sinister symptoms, one is merely helping to bring totalitarianism nearer.

    You also ask, if I think the world tendency is towards Fascism, why do I support the war. It is a choice of evils—I fancy nearly every war is that. I know enough of British imperialism not to like it, but I would support it against Nazism or Japanese imperialism, as the lesser evil. Similarly I would support the USSR against Germany because I think the USSR cannot altogether escape its past and retains enough of the original ideas of the Revolution to make it a more hopeful phenomenon than Nazi Germany. I think, and have thought ever since the war began, in 1936 or thereabouts, that our cause is the better, but we have to keep on making it the better, which involves constant criticism.

    Yours sincerely,
    Geo. Orwell”

    Goes to show, not much has changed in the human Zoo

  13. Chooky 13

    @ Clifford Pain….very interesting on Orwell thanks!

    I know this is completely frivolous but don’t you think Edward Snowden looks a bit like George Orwell?

    …..reincarnation anyone? ( smirk)

  14. Clifford Pain 14

    Chooky, yes Snowden does look at little like George Orwell (if you squint a bit). Consider this:

    GOLDILOCKs and the 5 Eyes – Its hard to get it just right:

    This quote for me is pivotal in the debate about the GCSB & NSA and their respective powers:

    “Hence it comes that all armed prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed prophets have been destroyed” – Niccolò Machiavelli (substitute Orwells fuhrers or your favourite spy agency for prophets if need be).

    In his writings Orwell makes the point

    “But one must remember that Britain and the USA haven’t been really tried, they haven’t known defeat”

    Maybe, with expanding power of certain countries with their new technological warfare capabilities the time is coming when the USA & England Inc. will be sorely tried. The job of Government/Business will be increasingly to manage public opinion. One cannot have public discontent with a “caste system” (Orwell phrase). One must give the illusion all is well, the die is fair (i.e. united we stand). On the other hand countries will manipulate information in order to conquer (divided we fall). This is where the problem sits. The fog of information, who is telling the truth, what system gives the better deal, how can one be informed such that one can vote with ones feet?

    For the individual, when do you start to take action, if it appears that all other systems are worse, you will just shut up and obey, if it’s a case of into the firing pan out of the fire, you’ll just shut up and obey. Or more insipidly, we just don’t have time to consider the options because we are all, to some degree, working the economic handle for utopia (in reality most of the analysis is not really that hard). Maybe that’s the job of Government/Business to keep you in the washing machine of perpetual apathy, to maintain the status quo. NZ inc and its media outlets occasionally casts its eyes to alternative systems in countries like Sweden and Norway, however, they remain firmly fixed on the USA and UK style of economics. Sweden and Norway give us an alternative (biodiversity) upon which we can see how systems can be run differently. Will it be that even these are eroded (wiped from history) in order that status quo is maintained?

    If you look at statistics New Zealand, in the latest census, they call us the “Village”. It is not a pretty picture. We see a few muted attempts at physical protest, that are although do not appear to come from an analysis of such figures still show discontent. For example, a man in wellington set a car alight protesting the banking system. The way it was reported seemed dismissive of his concerns and further hit home the point, that the Panopticon is watching and you shall obey. (http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/6040675/Car-set-on-fire-in-Cuba-Mall-protest). Was this guy nuts, I doubt it. Was he just unable to articulate it and so went off in frustrated fury, I suspect so. Odly, in Cities around NZ when protests are conducted, the workers (business men, shop assistances, government workers etc) appear to ignore protestors of assets sales, as if they were somehow unclean.

    Coincidently the term “Village” was used in the series the Prisoner 2009. Some great dialogue here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4etGIGRqNk):
    No.2 “For people like 6, life is not enough, they want to escape”
    No. 6 “Where is the road out of here?”
    No.2 “ There is no out, there is only in”
    No. 2. If you truly want to go, you must find the open door rather than the beast that keeps you here.

    So the question remains for me is, does the surveillance system empower me or bind me (i.e. what’s the cost benefit in this multi dimensional process)? Can another ideology offer me a better deal? Under current commercial media programming how would I know? Why would I bother with a system that gives children a mediocre education (training kids to obey rather than think and only perform to their social status or function).

    New Zealand is supposedly one of the least corrupt countries in the world yet a cursory look will show anyone that soft corruption (i.e. cliques working on public boards) is alive and well.

    Is it simple a case of “The Strong Do What They Can, And The Weak Suffer What They Must”

    George Dyson article “NSA: THE DECISION PROBLEM” seems to present similar views as to Orwell

    “We are much, much deeper in a far more complicated matrix now. And now, more than ever, we should heed Eisenhower’s parting advice. Yes, we need big data, and big algorithms—but beware.”
    http://www.edge.org/conversation/nsa-the-decision-problem

    So just as Goldilocks wants her porridge to be just right, how do people want their surveillance system? One that is there for the good of the many, not just the few?

    No. 2, Time to wake up now, 6, I give you the village.

  15. Chooky 15

    Thanks again!….wow food for thought there…it will take a bit of time to read and digest it…

    I suspect many don’t want to think about the implications too much of what Snowden is talking about ….because it has such Orwellian implications, which were fine in Orwell’s books, but way scarier to contemplate as a reality in the present..

    However this is a very good forum for the sharing of information…and knowledge is power and forewarned is forearmed to some extent

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    Last week we called for mandatory child safety investigations in domestic violence cases. This came after the coronial inquiry into the deaths of Bradley and Ellen Livingstone and the verdict in the trial of the west Auckland boys charged with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 days ago
  • Backers banking on social bonds cash?
    The Government is refusing to say what the $29 million it has set aside for its controversial social bonds programme is for, raising suspicions it is an upfront payment to the project backers, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A… ...
    6 days ago
  • Plastic Free July
    Today is the start of Plastic Free July. Since its inception in Perth, Western Australia four years ago, more and more people and organisations from around the world have joined the call to refuse single use plastic products. Nearly all… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    6 days ago
  • State house sell off Bill gives extraordinary powers
    The Government is about to give Ministers extraordinary powers to take direct personal control of selling state houses, exempting Ministers from normal legal requirements and leaving the sale process wide open for corruption, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The… ...
    6 days ago
  • Cash for charter schools, mould for state schools
    At a time when state schools are struggling in old, cold, mouldy buildings and can barely make ends meet, the National Government is shovelling cash at charter schools which aren’t even spending the funding on kids’ education, Labour’s Education spokesperson… ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand needs a wise response to climate change
    Today in Parliament I got to hear from a group of New Zealanders who are concerned for the future of our country. Called Wise Response, the group is a broad coalition of academics, engineers, lawyers, artists, sportspeople and others who… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    6 days ago
  • No alternative as waste scheme trashed
    Nick Smith must explain how he is going to prevent contamination of New Zealand’s ground and water with liquid and hazardous waste after scrapping the only monitoring scheme and offering no replacement, says Labour’s Environment Spokesperson Megan Woods. “From today,… ...
    6 days ago
  • Flawed system rates death traps as safe
    ACC Minister Nikki Kaye needs to come clean about what really lies behind the reclassification of 18 vehicles in her new motor vehicle registration system introduced today, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. "New Zealanders deserve the truth about the… ...
    6 days ago
  • Tiwai Smelter and 800 workers left in limbo
     Workers at Tiwai smelter and the people of Southland have once again been left in limbo over their future in the ongoing debacle over whether the plant stays open, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little.  “It’s not good enough that after two years of… ...
    6 days ago
  • New twist in state house sell-off saga
    The Government has opened the door to buyers of state houses simply being landlords and not required to provide social services, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The Prime Minister said at his post-Cabinet press conference buyers would not “have… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government fees will hit charities hard
    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams. “National’s… ...
    7 days ago
  • Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges
    The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After one by-election poll showed they… ...
    7 days ago
  • Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes
    Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford “The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the… ...
    7 days ago
  • So Mr English, do you have a plan?
    DIpping confidence about jobs, wages and shrinking exports are highlighting the lack of a plan from the government to diversify the economy and build sustainable growth, Grant Robertson  Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said. " Data released over the last week… ...
    7 days ago
  • Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off
    Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing –… ...
    1 week ago
  • Land of milk and money
    Kiwi families are paying over the top prices for their milk and someone is creaming off big profits, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 2011 the Government told us high New Zealand milk prices were a natural result… ...
    1 week ago
  • MoBIE largesse doesn’t stop with TVs and hair-straighteners
    The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says. Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly… ...
    1 week ago
  • English wants to flog state houses to Aussies
    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    1 week ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Banks enter Dragon’s Den in pitch for Government’s mental health experi...
    Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Global Mode bullying won’t stop people accessing content
    It’s disappointing that strong-arm tactics from powerful media companies have meant Global Mode will not get its day in court. Today a settlement was reached terminating the Global Mode service, developed in New Zealand by ByPass Network Services and used… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago
  • More questions – why was the Former National Party President involved wit...
    Today in Parliament Murray  McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister must explain Maori TV interference
    Te Ururoa Flavell must explain why he told Maori TV staff all complaints about the CEO must come to him – months before he became the Minister responsible for the broadcaster, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Sources have told… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • KiwiSaver takes a hammering after the end of kick-start
    National seems hell bent on destroying New Zealand’s saving culture given today’s news that there has been a drop in new enrolments for KiwiSaver, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “New enrolments for the ANZ Investments KiwiSaver scheme have plunged… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Straight answers needed on CYF role
    The Government needs to explain the role that Child, Youth and Family plays in cases where there is evidence that family violence was flagged as a concern, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “The fact that CYF is refusing to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister confuses his political interests with NZ’s interest
    The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament yesterday that a Minister who paid a facilitation payment to unlock a free trade agreement would retain his confidence is an abhorrent development in the Saudi sheep scandal, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • #raisethequota
    Last Saturday was World Refugee Day. I was privileged to spend most of my day with the amazing refugee communities in Auckland. Their stories have been inspiring and reflect the ‘can-do’ Kiwi spirit, even though they come from all different… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Dairy conversions causing more pollution than ever, report shows
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released two reports on freshwater quality and management last Friday. The water quality report shows that dairy conversions are hurting water quality and says that despite great efforts with fencing and planting, large… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Employers want urgent action on health and safety
    Moves by National to water down health and safety reforms have been slammed by employers – the very group the Government claims is pushing for change, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway. “The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association has… ...
    2 weeks ago

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