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Operation 8: Deep in the Forest

Written By: - Date published: 8:46 pm, April 19th, 2011 - 15 comments
Categories: activism, books, film, human rights, law, law and "order", Maori Issues, Media, police, racism, Spying, suppression orders - Tags: ,

I want to write a review of “Operation 8: Deep in the Forest“, but also just some thoughts on some of the criticisms and reviews of the film which relate to issues involved in the case.

Last night walking into the film screening in Auckland I was a bit apprehensive about how it would all be put together. Fortunately my fears were unfounded and the film did justice to the complex issues involved. I was impressed by how clearly the narrative came across with cuts of interviews with people of Tuhoe, other political activists, ex-police officers, and media, law, and security experts. Every little piece of the film was well-placed – it must have been a nightmare of a job to put it all together and edit and cut it into such a beautifully told story. The film made me laugh and cry in various parts.

Some gems of original footage were used, a highlight for me being the footage of a man working for either the police or a private intelligence group challenged after being caught taking photographs of protesters, who instead of responding to questions, pulled out a balaclava, put it on, and walked away. Likewise I laughed when watching footage of one of the defendants, Urs Signer, opening up some property returned by the police. One paper envelope labelled “War Document” was revealed to contain a Wellington Indymedia newsletter.

Well done to Errol Wright and Abi King-Jones for their amazing commitment in seeing this film through to completion. I really hope “Operation 8: Deep in the Forest” makes it into the film festival and is at some point screened on mainstream television.

I’d like to tackle the accusation that the film makers have blurred the line between activism and journalism. The two are not mutually exclusive – look at the Hollow Men or Someone Else’s Country or many other examples of the like that I’m sure you can all think of. Examples of brilliant journalism, but nonetheless carried out by people who have their own political biases and agendas.

Also think about the film makers as they came into this project. Their last film was “The Last Resort”, a documentary about the sell-off of prime New Zealand land to private entities, using the Mahia camp-ground as their central example. The film makers obviously had a left bias, but neither had really been involved with the “activist scene” before. In the journey to make this documentary, they were faced with a stone wall of silence by the police. In interviewing and following the stories of many people, the film makers would have come to know and really feel some of the injustices perpetuated by the New Zealand Police against the people of Tuhoe, and many political activists including the defendants in Operation 8 and other activists interviewed like John Darroch and myself.

Last night at the film screening Errol Wright and Abi King-Jones revealed that they too have discovered they’ve been under surveillance during the making of the film. Abi King-Jones says:

We have just taken the view that we expect there will be surveillance [of us] and we carry on. It’s not a very nice feeling, but it brings you closer to the world of the people you are documenting.

I’m not sure that the biases shown in this film would have been any less apparent if made by any other film makers.

I think the original intention was for this film to come out after the trial and to include footage from it and its outcome, but nearly 4 years on with little prospect of the trial happening any time soon, I think they made the right decision to just finish it now. The trial is set down for May 30th, but it wouldn’t be the first time the trial date has shifted, and before it goes ahead all the appeals on pre-trial issues will have to be finished. The defendants have just sought leave from the Court of Appeal to appeal the decision for the case to be heard by judge alone to the Supreme Court. Another much simpler case I am aware of that was heard in the Supreme Court last October is yet to have a decision.

The suppression orders are a major obstacle in discussing the case. In many of the reviews of the film, issues are raised which could easily be countered by information relating directly to the case, but cannot be discussed without being in breach of those orders. I will stick to only really discussing and expanding a little on the issues raised in the film itself, as the film was vetted by a couple of very experienced lawyers who obviously don’t think anything in the film would constitute a contempt of court.

Russell Brown has some valid criticisms of the film and I agree with most of what he has said, but I feel that some of the criticisms should really be put in a better context.

Several interviews in the film unabashedly invite the audience to suspect a police agent provocateur in the ranks of the activists, or the fabrication of evidence, on the basis of past police actions. But the police, too, will argue propensity when they get their turn in court. Their case, too, will be selective.

I can understand how Russell came to this conclusion – one of the interviews in the film was with an ex-undercover policeman who claims that his job was to lie, fabricate, and plant evidence. He also claims to have contact with many recent undercover policemen, and from those discussions claims to know that nothing much has changed since his time in the force. While things may have been taken a little too far in attempting to relate the issues raised back to the case at hand, other parts of the film are clearer on this point.

Another key interview in the film was with Ross Meurant – ex second in command of the Red Squad during the Springbok Tour, who coins the term “deep in the forest” to explain the mindset of the specialist policing units. I have a copy of Meurant’s book on the Red Squad, and last night it was revealing to see how much his views have changed as he has distanced himself further from his time in the police. Meurant claims that as police officers move through the ranks and into the specialist units such as the Team Policing Unit, the Armed Offenders Squad, and the Special Tactics Group, they find themselves deeper in the forest of intense paranoia, and adopt a very much us v them attitude. This fits very well with my personal experience of senior police officers involved with the Threat Assessment Unit – they didn’t want to believe that our actions in protesting for animal rights were simply that and didn’t really involve any hidden agenda. They seemed determined to believe that there was some hidden terrorist conspiracy. I recently had a chat with one of the detectives involved in raiding my house who has now left those units, and he said a big part of his reason for leaving is that he doesn’t want to be arresting people like myself who he actually likes and respects.

The term “deep in the forest” that Meurant adopts is one I can well understand – it’s a term that I feel is equally applicable to some of the activists I know who also adopt very much an us v them mentality. What I find concerning about this attitude within the police however, is that if you come to be on one side versus another, how do you maintain any semblence of impartiality? How easy is it to keep your actions ethical when you genuinely believe that the terrorists (activists) need to be stopped and find yourself in difficulty trying to do that through the proper means?

The allegations of an agent provocateur in this case are not unfounded. Police informant Robert Gilchrist acted as exactly that in many scenarios, and was also as an informant part of the Operation 8 case. The film shows footage of Gilchrist filming himself doing a “reconnasaince mission” breaking into a mainland poultry farm in the South Island. Gilchrist used that footage to try to incite activists into breaking into that farm. Many a time over the years Gilchrist tried to incite myself and others into reckless and illegal activities. Personally at the time I wasn’t interested but didn’t hold it against him as I presumed it came down to a genuine frustration with the lack of progress on issues we felt very strongly about. Now of course I know there were much more sinister intentions behind his actions.

In Christchurch Gilchrist talked a couple of young activists in the early 2000’s (who had previously only engaged in lawful protest activity) into forming a covert cell to break into factory farms in the dead of night and liberate animals. Those activists could have been charged with offences like burglary with a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.

In 2005/2006 Gilchrist ran direct action training camps near Wellington which were attended by many animal rights and environmental activists. At the camps Gilchrist taught people how to walk silently down a gravel road in the middle of the night, how to use police scanners, how to escape from police dogs, and how to use camoflauge in both an urban and rural setting. Gilchrist was always trying to incite other activists to take part in more reckless and more illegal activities. Fortunately most people didn’t take it all very seriously.

I was also interviewed for the film – and I wasn’t talking about “past police actions”. The day I was interviewed was the day that the story of Rob Gilchrist as an informant was exposed in the Sunday Star Times. The part of my interview that was used in the film was where I talk about how scary it is that informants such as (and quite possibly including) Gilchrist are being used in the Operation 8 case, but that Public Interest Immunity (PII) is used to prevent their identity becoming known, and they are therefore being allowed to give evidence behind a screen without any of the defendants having a clue who they are. What that means of course is that the defense will have no opportunity to challenge the credibility of the evidence. If Gilchrist or someone like him is an informant in the case, no one will be able to raise his history of lying to the police (in writing) about activist activities because they won’t be allowed to know who he is.

I shudder to think what could have happened to me had the camps I attended run by Gilchrist been held in the Ururewas where guns are a part of every day life. If someone had brought out a couple of .303s would I have been locked up for a month under the Terrorism Suppression Act and faced a 4 year long court battle with the whole country believing I was a terrorist? In actual fact, the only activist I have ever known to possess firearms is Gilchrist himself, who claimed to have them because he was ex-military.

Finally, I want to talk a little about “The Day the Raids Came” – a book of oral history interviews conducted by Valerie Morse, one of the defendants in Operation 8. I meant to write a review of it at the time it came out but didn’t get around to it. “The Day the Raids Came” is the powerful stories of many people both right in the middle and on the peripheral of the events on October 15 2007. It doesn’t try to take a position on the charges but simply shows the deep impact of October 15 2007 on the Tuhoe and activist communities. The book is available to purchase or for free download from Rebel Press.

While I’m sure that “Operation 8: Deep in the Forest” and “The Day the Raids Came” will both historically be looked upon as useful accounts of Operation 8, I’m not sure their distribution will reach far enough in the present. I firmly believe that both will stand true regardless of the outcome of the trial – they show the far-reaching consequences of the police actions on innocent parties unrelated to the case – remember over 60 houses were raided and only 18 people charged. Likewise, they show the ongoing punishment of the defendants before they even go to trial – house raids, children being terrified by armed policemen, prison remand, inability to find work, being forced to drop everything and move to Auckland for weeks at a time during court appearances, and much much more.

For those of you who may want to do something to support the defendants in Operation 8 and their families, please visit the October 15 Solidarity Group website and donate some money or find some other way to give your support.

15 comments on “Operation 8: Deep in the Forest”

  1. George D 1

    There’s not much I can add, other than to say that I agree completely.
    I’ve heard it came down rather hard on the last Government. I certainly hope that in their process of renewal Labour decide that human rights, even those of scruffy people with political opinions they don’t care for, are worth upholding.

    • rocky 1.1

      Yeah the film showed a lot of excerpts from Parliament question time post October 15 – they were all pretty disgusting. I found it quite interesting that only really Annette King and some older lowly ranked MPs were willing to defend the issue. Here’s hoping it’s because the rest were smart enough to know their position wouldn’t be looked upon favourably in history.
      The film was also critical of Labour passing the Terrorism Suppression Act (TSA) and the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill post Oct 15, and played a great clip of Rodney Hide giving a speech about how awful it was that the Prime Minister under the TSA would be able to designate anyone a terrorist and seize their assets without even giving a reason. It was pretty funny when the shot of Rodney Hide in parliament widened to show that almost all the seats were empty behind him – clearly MPs thought this was a very important issue!
      Last on the Labour Party front I think was that often used clip of Helen Clark at the Labour Party conference in 2007 making those stupid and massively prejudicial comments about people running around in the Ururewas with guns.

  2. Drakula 2

    Some of my friends from the Green Party were raided; I mean I ask you what is
    so terrorist about the Green Party?

    I would like to see this film.

  3. lprent 3

    Damn. The two screenings on the 18th are only ones listed for Auckland. When is the DVD release?

    • Jim Nald 3.1

      Can some organisations, eg Labour, Greens or human rights group, organise screenings in other centres? With plenty of publicity and notice in advance, this could also be an opportunity for fundraising.
       
      Would like to see more publicity of this for 15 Oct this year but I see that evening at 9pm will be the first of the RWC semi-final games.

    • John Darrochq 3.2

      I’m sure there will be more screenings over the next few months in Auckland and elsewhere before it is released on DVD. I will make sure Rocky posts the details for upcoming screeenings. It really is a must see.

      • lprent 3.2.1

        Sounds like a good idea. I knew it was on the way out, but wasn’t even aware when it was screening.

        • Jim Nald 3.2.1.1

          In addition to details of upcoming screenings posted online, please also circulate an email that people can forward on (not too fancy and not too big an email). Make it go viral!

        • rocky 3.2.1.2

          Sorry Lynn – I presumed you would see details about the screening on my facebook. I’ll post on here when I know when more screenings are – the film makers did promise lots more soon the other night.

          Even I want to see the film again right away. It was so good, both John & I thought we could just sit down and re watch it all the way through without getting bored.

          • lprent 3.2.1.2.1

            There are about 300 people fiended (the correct verb?) on my facebook. I only tend to scan it whenever I’m quite bored and stuck on code so there are routinely 300+ updates whenever I look at it. :twisted: 

            Squirting through an event  tends to work better. The number of those is small enough that I actually read them all.

            But doco’s really need a better generic publicity system to get the word out because they don’t have long sessions at the theaters. Lyn’s doco had the same issue despite all of the promotion that was done for it in various places (including here).

  4. graeme 4

    Very well written.

    Thanks, that was eye opening.

  5. I’ve written to the film makers to see if we can’t get copies over to Australia for screening. There’s enough expats + people concerned about civil liberties to make it viable, I think, depending on what sort of royalties they may want. I know it’s hard to balance your desire to do endless amounts of pro bono work against your very real need to survive (I do it every day!) but hopefully we can work something out.

    What I find concerning about this attitude within the police however, is that if you come to be on one side versus another, how do you maintain any semblence of impartiality? How easy is it to keep your actions ethical when you genuinely believe that the terrorists (activists) need to be stopped and find yourself in difficulty trying to do that through the proper means?

    I’m probably one of the harsher critics of the police but I’d have to say I think it’s asking the impossible for someone to become involved in intelligence / counter-intelligence and remain impartial.

    That’s not to say the cop who pulls you over for speeding should treat you like a cross between the Medellin cartel and Fred West – as many do – but when, to use Meurant’s phrase, you’re “deep in the forest” you need a very deep-rooted belief in what you’re doing simply to be able to summon the energy required to maintain the deception. Plus you are, by necessity, forming relationships with people that can colour your judgement one way or the other.

    The answer, I feel, lies in proper oversight. NZ needs an Anti Corruption Commission, truly independent, reporting only to a cross-party Parliamentary oversight committee and monitored by a Parliamentary Commissioner (who in turn can investigate complaints against the ACC).

    Such a Commission should have absolute power to turn up at any police station at any time and have complete access to all records.

    A Police Code of Ethics should be promulgated and widely known by officers and public alike. 

    And it goes without saying (or it should) that the Minister should make very plain to the Commissioner that any transgression of the Code ought to be treated very seriously, with significant departures resulting in the departure of the officer concerned from the ranks of Police.

  6. Greetings . . .

    I am the former undercover police officer and agent-provocateur who, as this article puts it, “claims” that his job was to lie, fabricate, and plant evidence.

    Differing shades of meaning can be derived from our nomenclature. The police department, for example, say I have made “allegations” — whereas, in my words, I have confessed to committing these offences.

    Readers may draw their own conclusions:

    Here is my original letter to the Chief Justice confessing perjury; a video and transcript of an interview on Campbell Live admitting evidence tampering; my correspondence with the police department’s “independent” investigator; and a transcript of an evidential interview with police.

    Interestingly, the police department have refused to release their findings following their investigation into my “claims” / “allegations” / “confession”.

    Thank you

    Patrick O’Brien
    X-Constable 3667

  7. Max Simpson 7

    Operation 8: Deep in the forest – A very well written piece of journalism. I have watched this story unfold since the raids in 2007 and it has left me feeling disgusted by the conduct of Police and those responsible within Govt and the various informants who obviously lied in an attempt to undermine and denigrate the Tuhoe Nation and destroy the ‘mana’ of the people.

    The legal wrangling and tactical manoeuvring has already prejudiced a just and fair outcome already. The denial by jury is not only insane but deeply concerning regarding civil liberties and definitely civil rights and I for one believe Tuhoe are indeed the victims of a case riddled with lies, innuendo and gross incompetence.

    The Tuhoe Nation have been stigmatised with the unfair and unjust pain, suffering and not to mention the vast legal costs that have been incurred and imposed on them and my heart is with the people of Tuhoe as is my deepest aroha and respect in support of your hikoi. 

    To the New Zealand Govt and the perpetrators of this deceitful episode – I send this message my father the late Whainoa Te Aurere Simpson spoke at the Waitangi Tribunal: Ngati Awa Raupatu Trials at Wairaka Marae.

    ‘Whakatika hia nga he!!!’ Right the Wrongs!!!

  8. @ Pat.

    Cheers, man. :)

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    Yesterday John Key began laying the groundwork to deploy kiwi troops to Iraq to fight in another pointless American war. And with the Labour Party distracted by its autocannibalism, its left to Winston Peters to stand up for democratic values...
    No Right Turn | 30-09
  • The problem with warmongers
    The problem with warmongers is they appear to have no empathy for their fellow human beings. That's because war, and the industrial complex behind it, is invariably built upon people's prejudices.History is littered with examples of prejudice being used as...
    The Jackal | 30-09
  • Australia to criminalise journalism
    Imagine this scenario: Australian spies seeking to fight domestic terrorism borrow the tactics of their American counterparts and start running agent provocateurs to "flush out" those with terrorist leanings. But an operation goes horribly wrong, and actually results in a...
    No Right Turn | 30-09
  • School funding failing vulnerable students – time for a better way?
    1 October 2014 Schools with the greatest needs get too little to meet those needs, says PPTA president Angela Roberts. The current school funding system is failing to support our most vulnerable students and this morning delegates at PPTA’s annual...
    PPTA | 30-09
  • Waiho Papa Moana Hikoi
    More than 1,000 people marched up Queen Streen in Auckland yesterday, as part of the Waiho Papa Moana Hikoi, to protest outside Sky City at the New Zealand Petroleum Summit against plans to begin deep sea oil drilling in the...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 30-09
  • Hold fast to your Mana – Harawira
    Hone Harawira today called on the voters of Tai Tokerau to hold fast to their mana, and not be dictated to by those party leaders who have ganged together to tell them how to vote. “I call on our people...
    Mana | 18-09
  • Media Advisory – Interview availability
    This is to advise all media that Hone Harawira will be available in Auckland tomorrow, Friday the 19th of September from 7am to 4pm for interviews relating to his recent press releases. If you are interested in interviewing Mr Harawira on...
    Mana | 18-09
  • Labour stands on proud record on Suffrage Day
    Women have come a long way in the 121 years since New Zealand became the first country to give them the vote on September 19 1893, but there is still more to do, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Carol Beaumont says....
    Labour | 18-09
  • Polling Booths asked to treat Maori voters with respect
    “Polling booths without Maori roll voting papers, Maori people not being offered assistance to vote, people getting sent from Whangarei to Wellsford to vote, Maori people getting turned away from voting because they didn’t have their ‘easy vote’ card, Maori...
    Mana | 17-09
  • Aussie Liberals embroiled in Key campaign
    John Key needs to explain why Australia’s Liberal Party is interfering in New Zealand domestic politics and is encouraging Kiwi voters across the ditch to vote for National just days out from the election, Labour’s campaign spokesperson Annette King says....
    Labour | 17-09
  • The MANA Plan for Beneficiaries and Income in Waiariki
    Median Personal Income for Waiariki is $21,700. Over 13,000 Maori who live in Waiariki rely upon a form of government benefit including the Unemployment Benefit, Sickness Benefit, Domestic Purpose Benefit and the Invalids Benefit. “If you’re lucky enough to have...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Māori development crucial to New Zealand’s future
    Labour recognises the concern of Māori about child poverty and the rising costs of living, and in Government will make a real difference to the wellbeing of whānau and iwi, Labour’s Māori Affairs spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “As our Māori...
    Labour | 16-09
  • MAORI PARTY – DON’T COMPLAIN … WALK
    “If the Maori Party are serious about stopping government spying on NZ citizens then they should tell the Prime Minister to either stop doing it or they will walk away” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira, on...
    Mana | 16-09
  • JOHN KEY SUPPORTING LABOUR
    “There is something really sick about a National Party Prime Minister coming out in support of a Labour candidate” said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira, after hearing that John Key is urging voters to back Labour in...
    Mana | 16-09
  • SHUT DOWN THIS GOVT NOT KAITI WINZ – Nikora
    “I’m going to make it as hard for you to get help as I can” is Paula Bennett’s message to the people of Kaiti  said MANA candidate Te Hāmua Nikora today in response to the news that National will close...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Winegums make for better polling – Harawira
    I wanted to laugh when I saw the Native Affairs poll the other night (Hone Harawira 38%, Kelvin Davis 37%) because it was almost the same as the one they did back in 2011”, said MANA leader and Tai Tokerau...
    Mana | 16-09
  • The Leadership of MTS Lied – Harawira
    “Normally I’m happy to tell people that I was right but when I received the news about the staff cuts at Maori Television, I had nothing but sympathy for the three Maori media leaders who are going to be made...
    Mana | 16-09
  • Privileges Complaint Laid against Prime Minister – Harawira
    MANA Movement Leader and Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira has today lodged a Privileges Complaint with the Speaker regarding the Prime Ministers denials in parliament that he knew anything about Kim Dotcom before 2012. “Information made public today appears...
    Mana | 15-09
  • Sharples’ new appointments are out of order
    The new appointments to the Waitangi Tribunal announced by Dr Pita Sharples this morning are completely out of order given the election is just five days away, says Labour's State Services spokesperson, Maryan Street. “This Government continues to show disdain...
    Labour | 15-09
  • MANA Movement Housing Policy
    “When families are living in cars, garages, cockroach-infested caravans and three families to a house then we have a housing crisis”, said MANA leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau, Hone Harawira. “When you have a housing crisis for low-income...
    Mana | 15-09
  • Bigger than the Foreshore and Seabed – Sykes
    “Over the past week I have received some disturbing information that has led myself and a number of Maori lawyers to conclude that this National - Maori Party - ACT and United Future Government are going to put an end to both...
    Mana | 14-09
  • MANA wants Te Reo Māori petition fulfilled
    Hone Harawira, MANA Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Annette Sykes, MANA candidate for Waiariki Te Hāmua Nikora, MANA candidate for Ikaroa Rāwhiti  “More than four decades have passed and the petition calling for Te Reo Māori in schools...
    Mana | 14-09
  • Primary focus on the critical issues
    A Labour Government will prioritise New Zealand’s agricultural sectors by recreating a Rural Affairs Minister and appointing a Primary Industry Council and a Chief Agricultural Adviser. Releasing Labour’s Primary Sector and Rural Affairs policies today, spokesperson Damien O’Connor says the...
    Labour | 12-09
  • Maori Television fears confirmed – Harawira
    ...
    Mana | 12-09
  • More ghost houses from National
    The Government’s desperate pre-election announcement of more ghost houses won’t fool Aucklanders wanting action on the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “These are ghost houses, to go with National’s ghost tax cut. Families cannot live in ghost...
    Labour | 12-09
  • National bows to union pressure over travel time
    National has reluctantly bowed to pressure from unions and adopted Labour’s fair and sensible policy to pay home support workers for the time they spend traveling between clients, Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “This decision is long overdue...
    Labour | 12-09
  • I feel sorry for Labour Party members and supporters
    I feel really sorry for the members and supporters of the Labour Party as they watch their caucus tear itself to shreds. And no matter what the outcome of the coming leadership race Labour members and supporters will be the...
    The Daily Blog | 01-10
  • Ummmm, why is Auckland Transport spying on Aucklanders?
    Ummm. What? Sophisticated surveillance coming to Auckland Surveillance technology that uses high definition cameras and software that can put names to faces and owners to cars is coming to Auckland. The surveillance has the capability to also scan social media...
    The Daily Blog | 01-10
  • It. Is. About. The. Economy. Stupid.
    Liam Dann does a good job of explaining the positive and negative issues looming for the NZ economy and as dairy prices plunge again overnight alongside a large Wall st sell off  and China Bank rumours begin, his case for the negative...
    The Daily Blog | 01-10
  • Don’t think of it as reinvading Iraq, think of it as redecorating Iraq
    I think some NZers view Iraq like an episode of The Block. Yes Iraq is the worst country on the street, but with a bit of elbow grease by our SAS and some great deals down at Bunnings, hey presto we...
    The Daily Blog | 01-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Mana Maori alliance
    Most Maori you speak to on the street can’t understand why Mana movement and  Maori Party don’t combine it confuses them why Maori are divided cross benches in Parliament instead of a unified political power that represents 15% of the...
    The Daily Blog | 01-10
  • Party members and affiliates – the real losers in Labour’s leadership f...
    Hey, wanna do a back room deal that cuts the members and affiliates out? Cunliffe must be reeling. He has lost failed Ilam candidate James Dann. It must cut as deep as the loss of Steve Gibson. Apart from providing Claire...
    The Daily Blog | 30-09
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, the election res...
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, the election result...
    The Daily Blog | 30-09
  • The rich get richer
    Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman highlights the growing inequality in this article in the New York Times. The left wing slogan that the “the rich get richer” is a fact of almost perverse power. The most recent period of expansion in the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-09
  • A brief word on reinvading Iraq
    So after telling the country before the election that NZ would not send forces to Iraq, lo and behold now he’s won the election with a full spectrum dominance political majority, Key is suddenly now looking to join the re-invasion of...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • A brief word on the importance of ACT, Maori Party and United Future to Nat...
    I’m a far right wing clown who attacks tax money going on anything collective, gimmie some cash and privilege.  One of the great successes of National has been to implement hard right policy but have it sold as moderate. For some NZers,...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • Labour’s Angst
    Was Labour’s predictably low vote David Cunliffe’s fault? Was it policy? Was it something else that has aroused perceptions of electoral carnage? My analysis of the numbers suggests that, as uncertain voters made up their minds, there was a late...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • Information wars: Gaza as “the last taboo”, the threat of mass surveill...
    “When the truth is replaced with silence” wrote the soviet dissident Yevgeni Yevtushenko, “the silence is a lie.” There has been a silence these past months full of noise, static and sound bites of those in power justifying their violence,...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • When the media say they covered Dirty Politics – did they?
    I was watching The Nation in the weekend, and watched the defenders of NZ media up against Minto telling him he was wrong in his claims of media bias and that the media covered Dirty Politics. I laughed. When the...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG – P Campbell – To the Left with love
    A week after the general election results I feel wrung out emotionally, having been through the disappointment, depression and anger of seeing  another right wing government elected overwhelmingly by winning support from the parts of NZ that will never benefit...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – I will be the new Labour Leader!
    One week after the election, while I was still waiting to be consulted about contributing to the review on what went wrong, what do you know? There is a leadership challenge. So instead of opting for a united, thoughtful and...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – A Prescient Post
    A very prescient pre-election post by Martyn Bradbury tells us why the Labour Party are at war now. “The NZ First-Labour Party attack strategy against Internet MANA better work” Despite Martyn Bradbury warning them this Right Wing strategy “Better Work”...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – W(h)ither Labour (!/?)
    There’s an old saying that success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan. Not so in the Labour Party, wherein soul-crushing defeat on a scale unseen since 1925 definitely has many fathers (and more than a few mothers and...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • At the end of the day…
    At the end of the day…...
    The Daily Blog | 29-09
  • Cynicism towards Key’s sudden desire to help children in poverty
    Cynicism towards Key’s sudden desire to help children in poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • Internet MANA the election and the media
    I’ve been very critical of media reporting of Internet MANA during the election campaign and not surprised at the predictable response from representatives of the corporate media establishment. I wasn’t going to carry this further but was asked at the...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Rachel Jones – A superficial discourse analysis of a superfic...
    On Sunday there was a story about Paddy Gower and his detached retina in the Herald on Sunday. Really? I hear you ask. Really? Yes, really. Pam Corkery will have sprayed toast crumbs over her dressing gown. The reporter has become...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • Terrorising Australia’s Muslim population
    We should be suspicious when 800 police conduct “terror” raids across Australia, but only one person is charged with a relevant terrorism offence (of which we know few details). We should be suspicious of the lurid tales of terrorists planning...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • Another Labour leader has resigned and as per usual, the media lost its min...
    Another Labour leader has resigned and as per usual, the media lost its mind. I know the Labour party has its problems and I’m not even going to try to prescribe what should be done about it. But what I...
    The Daily Blog | 28-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – Loyalty, Leadership and the Labour Party
    My first after the election and I can only say I’m feeling pretty sad.  It was a terrible result, and feels even more so knowing the number of volunteers hours, hard work & sacrifice made by so many people who...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • A Study in Party Stability
    . In terms of long-term stability, one party above stands above all others, with the exception of personality-driven groups such as NZ First and United Future. That party is the Greens. If the Labour Party wants to look elsewhere for...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • Cunliffe vs Robertson – Round 2
    Much to the disappointment of the NZ Herald and other right wing pundits who have decided they would like to appoint the next Labour leader, Cunliffe has surprised by deciding to damn the Caucus and appeal directly to the members...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • The tasks before the left and labour movement
    Anyone on the left would have been disappointed at the result of the election. There was an opportunity to win, but that got lost through a combination of factors. There were tactical decisions made by Labour, the Greens and Internet-Mana...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • From Fiji’s dictatorship to ‘democracy’ – the AUT student team on t...
    Mads Anneberg’s profile on Ricardo Morris and Repúblika. David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific. THREE STUDENTS from AUT University covered Fiji’s historic “from dictatorship to democracy” general election this month. While the election arguably legitimised Voreqe Bainimarama’s so-called 2006...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • David Cunliffe Resigns As Labour Leader – Forces Robertson Out of the Bel...
    David Cunliffe has made a smart move, resigning as the leader of the Labour Party so as to force a leadership primary campaign. The move draws rival Grant Robertson out of the beltway to parts of the country where he...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • Deep thought vs Deep prejudice
    . . This letter to the editor appeared in The Listener, on 27 September, and caught my attention; . . Mr Dawson wrote in response to one of those typically unthinking comments which  condemned the poor for their “unbridled, reckless...
    The Daily Blog | 27-09
  • The NZ National voters elected
    The NZ National voters elected...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – The post election postmortem is giving me post p...
    I feel the need to contribute to the discourse. This is a new experience for me. Not having an opinion, but expressing it on a popular forum in a public sphere. That’s why I have waited till now and put...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • A dictionary of education terms and definitions, brought to you by the let...
    Free to all TDB readers, please enjoy your very own cut-out-and-keep handy primer of terms that I predict you will need to know over the next three years… Achievement Gap (noun) Synonym for wealth gap. ACT (abstract noun) Intangible. Reported to exist in...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • A Mines Rescue brigadesman’s perspective on the Pike River Mine
    My husband and I lived in Greymouth in 2010, we were a coal mining family.  The day Pike River Mine blew up and the days following changed us profoundly, as it did for so many.  This is a Mines Rescue...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • The Left Triumphant! A Counterfactual History of the Last Twelve Months.
    DID IT REALLY HAVE TO END LIKE THIS? Reading through the commentary threads of the left-wing blogs it is impossible to not feel the anger; the sense of betrayal; the impression of having had something vital ripped from their grasp;...
    The Daily Blog | 26-09
  • GUEST BLOG – Myles Thomas: The media won it!
    Make no mistake, John Key is a clever communicator – reasonable, authoritative and relaxed – but without the media he wouldn’t be PM. Depending on your viewpoint, New Zealand’s news media are either a bunch of Grey Lynn lefties or...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Not Learning Lessons Past: the West’s Response to IS
    In an earlier posting Ukraine, United Kingdom, Ireland, Scotland, I noted that the first lesson of conflict learned by Robert McNamara was “understand your adversary”. If we have honourable objectives, our first and most important weapon is empathy. In the Vietnam War,...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • GUEST BLOG: Dr Jarrod Gilbert – Proof of David Farrar’s deception: my ...
    In the lead up to the election the Minister of Corrections Anne Tolley launched a gang policy. In order to justify the government’s approach she used gang figures that overstated the gang problem. Not by a little bit, but a...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • SPECIAL FEATURE: Stuart Nash – Red To The Rescue?
    SPECIAL FEATURE by Selwyn Manning. IF THE ELECTION RESULT which was dished out to Labour was not enough to incite an immediate leadership primary, then the caucus’ refusal to recognise David Cunliffe as the leader should cement it. Now is...
    The Daily Blog | 25-09
  • Has the one party state crackdown begun already? Left wing NZ activist grou...
    Well known left wing activist social media group, ‘John Key Has Left Down NZ’ has been shut down on Facebook. At 11.40pm last night, Facebook, without any warning shut the group down siting a breach of terms of service as...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Why Cunliffe should probably just let Nash & Robertson win
    We have to face some very unpalatable home truths. If you are a left wing political person, best you put your vote now to the Green Party, although you’ll have to do that all the while the Greens frantically tell you...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • The graceless win of Kelvin Davis
    The graceless win of Cameron Slater’s mate in the North, Kelvin Davis is difficult to swallow. Here Cameron Slater’s mate in the North is shitting on Hone Harawira by calling Hone all steam, no hangi as Kelvin rubs his ganged up win into...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So Labour shifted too far to the left?
    So Labour shifted too far to the left?   Here’s the ill-judged view of Josie Pagani in the Pundit “Labour must change”: “At the last election I made myself a heretic when I wrote a column mentioning how unpopular the...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • Uncomplicated Loyalties: Why Cunliffe and the Labour Left Cannot Win
    THE STORY of David Cunliffe’s leadership of the Labour Party has been one of missed opportunities and unforced errors. That he was the only choice available to those who wanted to rid the Labour Party of its neoliberal cuckoos is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-09
  • So we can expect this now?
    So we can expect this now?...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Can Labour be saved? Why Whaleoil & National won and why we need a new ...
    As the shock of my optimism that NZers would recoil from the real John Key as exposed by Dirty Politics and mass surveillance duplicities wears off, I am surprised to find that the right in NZ are not content with...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Three more years (up shit creek and paddling hard)
    “If the future is not green, there is no future. If the future is not you, there is no future”. Emma Thompson’s stirring words to the climate marchers in London last Sunday are worth considering in the aftermath of the...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • One Party State
    In years to come this election will be seen as a historic turning point towards one party rule. I don`t mean this literally, absolute single party dictatorship is not in prospect. In the New Zealand context though, one party has...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • No More. The Left Falls.
    . We cannot be beaten down Because we are down already. We can only rise up and if you should beat us down, We will rise again. And again. And again… And when you tire of beating us down, We...
    The Daily Blog | 23-09
  • Hang tight everyone – Marama Davidson campaign reflection
    To the many people who had expressed their overwhelming support for me to enter Parliament this election – thank you. That the Greens held steady in a big loss for progressive politics is an achievement. We are hopeful that after...
    The Daily Blog | 22-09
  • How You Can Help the Homeless
    At any one time, there are an estimated 357 homeless people in Central Auckland alone, many enduring hardships beyond the rain, wind and cold of sleeping rough. October 10 is World Homeless Day when the public are invited to learn...
    Scoop politics | 02-10
  • Over 20% of Gold Production Now Pledged to Kiwifruit Claim
    Kiwifruit growers representing over 20% of New Zealand gold kiwifruit production have already pledged to join The Kiwifruit Claim, the chairman of the claim’s grower committee, John Cameron, said today....
    Scoop politics | 02-10
  • ‘Creepy’ Decision on Up-Skirt Filming Slammed
    Family First NZ says that a discharge without conviction given to a man who filmed up a woman's dress in a Wellington department store is a ‘creepy’ decision that should concern all people who value their privacy. “This decision by...
    Scoop politics | 02-10
  • Speaker leads delegation to CPA Conference
    Strengthening New Zealand’s ties with parliaments from across the world will be the focus of the upcoming delegation to the 60th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Conference in Yaoundé, Cameroon from 4-10 October and the 131st Inter-Parliamentary...
    Scoop politics | 02-10
  • Response to Russell Brown and Tertiary Education Union
    The allegation that I have worked with others to discredit public health efforts is wrong. My public comments in relation to public health researchers have been where academics have mislead the public about official support or endorsement, and where...
    Scoop politics | 02-10
  • 17 jobs lost as Bridon/Cookes reaches the end of its rope
    Seventeen workers at the iconic Bridon/Cookes wire rope company in Auckland are to be made redundant as the company ceases production in New Zealand. The company has blamed the high New Zealand dollar for making it uncompetitive to keep the...
    Scoop politics | 02-10
  • Slip in University Rankings – Funding Not the Problem
    Responding to the slippage of New Zealand universities' rankings , Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says:...
    Scoop politics | 02-10
  • Time to rethink police chases, says safety campaigner
    Police chases are dangerous and generally unnecessary, says the American Federal Bureau of Investigation....
    Scoop politics | 02-10
  • Robertson now expected to be Labour leader by Xmas
    Grant Robertson is now overwhelmingly picked to become the next leader of the Labour Party by the end of the year, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict. Another potential Labour...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Documenting historic Māori land law cases for the first time
    A new book from Victoria University of Wellington’s Faculty of Law will continue to put the spotlight on Māori Land Law judgments which have never before been published....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • ‘Oily’ people greet Petroleum Summit diners
    Greenpeace activists smeared in fake oil have greeted guests arriving at the part-Statoil sponsored Petroleum Summit dinner this evening....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Key Decisions Made About Labour’s Leadership Election
    Labour’s New Zealand Council has made the key decisions about the timetable and process around the election of Labour’s Party Leader. The result will be announced on Tuesday 18th November, following a comprehensive and extensive process unique...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Suspected $6 Million Dollar Wananga Fraud Alarming
    The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on on the Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi to front up over claims the Wananga has pocketed government overpayments amounting to $6 million of taxpayers' money. Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Submissions sought on herbicide for weed control in maize
    The Environmental Protection Authority is calling for submissions on a herbicide to improve broadleaf weed control in maize. The substance CADET contains 100g fluthiacet-methyl in the form of an emulsifiable concentrate and would contain a new active ingredient...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Jesse Mulligan Lives Below Poverty Line
    Jesse Mulligan Lives Below Poverty Line TV personality Jesse Mulligan will live on the equivalent of the extreme poverty line this October in order to raise awareness of sex trafficking. Mulligan will survive on $2.25 for his food from October...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Narratives from the 2014 Election: What do we learn?
    Narratives from the 2014 Election: What do we learn? - Sue Bradford, Russell Brown & Kirk Serpes discuss....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Voices from Oceania to speak out on climate change
    Voices from Oceania to speak out on climate change at launch of Pacific environment report...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Changes to Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre messages
    The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management advises that while changes to Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre messages come into effect from today (Wednesday 1 October), the Ministry has been, and remains, the authoritative voice for tsunami...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Police remove banner at Statoil Offices in Wellington
    Oil Free Wellington hung a banner at 9:30 this morning at the Statoil office headquarters in Wellington as the Petroleum Summit opened in Auckland. The banner, which read 'Statoil out of Northland: Stop Deep Sea Oil', has now been removed...
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Mixed massages raise concerns
    Mixed massages raise concerns for Te Taumata Kaumatua Ngapuhi nui tonu, and Te Wakaminenga O nga Hapu Ngapuhi....
    Scoop politics | 01-10
  • Union Slams Port Boss’s Pay Rise
    The Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) says Lyttelton Port CEO Peter Davie’s 18% wage rise, taking his pay packet to $1.24m, is unjustified and inflammatory. ‘Lyttelton port has an appalling health and safety record, with three deaths on...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Prisons expert Ron Nikkel to speak in Auckland October 15
    Prison Fellowship NZ and JustSpeak have the privilege of hosting the former president of Prison Fellowship International, Ron Nikkel....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Hundreds of educators protest IES in Rotorua
    Four hundred educators from around the country took their opposition to the Government's controversial Investing in Educational Success policy to the public today....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Crime drops by 3.2 % in the 2013 / 2014 financial year
    Criminal offences dropped by 3.2 % in the last financial year according to figures released today through Statistics New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Narratives from the 2014 Election: what do we learn?
    I would like to invite you to a Fabians Reflection on "Dirty Politics, Dotcom and Labour’s worst result" with Colin James, Keith Ng, Stephanie Rodgers and Richard Harman. They will provide a debrief of analysis and lessons from the 2014...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Oil Free Wellington drops banner from Statoil headquarters
    Today members of Oil Free Wellington have targeted the offices of Statoil, by attaching a banner reading 'Statoil out of Northland: Stop Deep Sea Oil' to the entrance of Vodafone on the Quay Midland Park, where Statoil's New Zealand office...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Media Statement from Karen Price
    “After a period of intense media attention and scrutiny of our family, I set up and used an anonymous Twitter account over the weekend and made a number of comments that I deeply regret....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Greenpeace disrupts Simon Bridges’ speech to oil industry
    Greenpeace activists have disrupted the opening speech by Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges at the Petroleum Summit in Auckland this morning....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • New Zealand Red Cross Responds to Drought in Tonga
    New Zealand Red Cross has sent an aid worker and two desalination units, to turn seawater into safe drinking water in the drought-hit Ha’apai islands of Tonga....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Can you ever tell if an email is real or forged?
    Computer industry veteran Brian Eardley-Wilmot warns that we should never take claims about stolen emails at face value....
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • NZ MPs to attend the ASPG Annual Conference in Sydney
    New Zealand MPs to attend the Australasian Study of Parliament Group Annual Conference in Sydney...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Independent Maori seats still needed in Parliament
    “He’s got to be joking!” is the reaction of the president of the Maori Party, Rangimarie Naida Glavish to a call by a former Labour Minister of Maori Affairs, Dover Samuels, for debate by Maori on whether the Maori electorates...
    Scoop politics | 30-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    Rallies supporting the rights for universal suffrage will take place all over New Zealand today and tomorrow...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand
    Trout Mass-Poisoned in New Zealand The Graf Boys New Zealand has some of the best trout fishing in the world! Every year thousands of international visitors wade pristine rivers in search of the freshwater game fish....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New Zealand’s 2014 Hottest Vegetarians Crowned
    With winter gone things are heating up, and things just got even hotter with the crowning of New Zealand’s hottest vegetarians, says animal advocacy group SAFE. Marking World Vegetarian Day, 1st October, director James Napier Robertson and actor...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • A day to remember our duty to look after our senior citizens
    Human Rights Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue says International Day of the Older Person (1 October) is a United Nations day to celebrate our senior citizens, but also acknowledge the need to protect our kaumatua, or older people from abuse and...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Clear data needed on impact of benefit sanctions on children
    A lack of data on benefit sanctions means there is no way of knowing whether welfare reform is helping or harming children, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The socialist alternative to austerity and war
    Public meeting: After the New Zealand election—the socialist alternative to austerity and war By Tom Peters 29 September 2014...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • New recruits to boost border protection
    Twenty six new recruits began an intensive nine-week training course in Auckland today that will see them graduate as Customs officers in time for the busy summer season....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Dwindling Mallard population shows up ‘pest’ myth
    The pro hunting organisation Fish & Game is researching the causes of the decline of the mallard duck population, upset at the prospect of fewer ducks to kill....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Support for Democratic Rights in Hong Kong
    New Zealanders in Auckland will gather on Wednesday to support the rights for universal suffrage in Hong Kong....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Campbell Live Exclusive Interview with David Cunliffe
    David Cunliffe resigned as leader of the Labour party on Saturday; but he still wants the top job....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Action needed on cycling safety
    “Clearly we aren't doing enough to protect the 1.5 million New Zealanders who ride bikes,” said Mr Morgan....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • World Rivers Day Passes Without A Whimper
    Sunday 28 September was World Rivers Day to celebrate clean, flowing rivers and caring about them. But a recreation-conservation advocacy the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ (CORANZ) says the day seems to have slipped by without...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • The Kiwifruit Claim: Q&A
    1. Who is running The Kiwifruit Claim? The Kiwifruit Claim was founded by kiwifruit growers representing well in excess of 10% of the industry. 2. Why are you running this claim? The introduction of Psa into New Zealand had devastating...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Fed Farmers Need to Be Weaned
    The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on Federated Farmers to make a firm commitment to reject any future Government funding, after it was revealed that the lobby group had received over $200,000 of payments in recent years....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Children paying the price for charter school stitch up
    New Zealand children will be paying a high price for a one-seat deal between ACT and National, with an expansion of the beleaguered charter school system says education union NZEI Te Riu Roa....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Hikoi From North Reaches Oil Conference Tomorrow
    Today: The Hikoi opposing Statoil plans for seismic testing and deep sea oil drilling has marched through Dargaville and later be welcomed to Piringatahi Marae, West Harbour,Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Communities Still Count
    The efforts of many organisations to influence the electorate and the political parties they voted for in the lead up to the 2014 Election is over. The voting public has spoken and provided a strong endorsement to the centre-right National...
    Scoop politics | 29-09
  • Eleven social enterprises get ready to take off
    Eleven teams from across the country will take part in the Launchpad, Ākina’s programme to get social enterprise ideas off the ground....
    Scoop politics | 29-09
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lprent: At the request of Tim Barnett, Labour's returning officer, the Karen Price/Clayton Cosgrove post has been withdrawn during the primary.