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Snowden on US-NZ intelligence

Written By: - Date published: 9:51 pm, July 8th, 2013 - 87 comments
Categories: accountability, democracy under attack, john key, slippery, Spying, telecommunications, us politics - Tags:

This just up on Stuff, about Edward Snowden making links between US and NZ intelligence services, as well as between other “5 Eyes” participants.  The article, taken from The Sydney Morning Herald, begins:

United States whistleblower Edward Snowden has disclosed a link between New Zealand and US global surveillance, identifying the Waihopai spy base as a contributor to a key American intelligence collection programme.

Classified US National Security Agency maps leaked by Snowden and published by US journalist Glenn Greenwald in the Brazilian O Globo newspaper reveal the locations of dozens of US and allied signals intelligence collection sites that contribute to interception of telecommunications and internet traffic worldwide.

The New Zealand Government Security Communications Bureau facility at Waihopai near Blenheim contributes to the NSA’s collection programme codenamed X-Keyscore.

X-Keyscore! Ripe for puns about a big time gambler!

Today Bomber Bradbury highlighted a comment by Kim Dotcom in the last week, andspeculated that it may indicate Dotcom had been in contact with Snowden.  Bomber suggested that this was Dotcom’s source for the (alleged) evidence that Key had lied about having prior knowledge about Dotcom before the raid on his mansion.  Bradbury pointed out:

On Campbell Live last week, John asked Kim about Edward Snowden. Kim replied that he didn’t know Snowden personally and that he’d rather leave it at that with a large wry smile.

In the above linked Stuff article, there’s this bit:

Snowden also argued that the “Five eyes” partnerships are organised so that authorities in each country can “insulate their political leaders from the backlash” when it became public “how grievously they’re violating global privacy”.

So what evidence does Snowden have on such insulation, and is it as specific as Bradbury suggests?  However it plays out, there’s a lot more mileage in this issue yet.

87 comments on “Snowden on US-NZ intelligence”

  1. Bill 1

    Well, seeing as how echelon would allow NZ (say) to ask the US for any info it has on NZ citizens…and seeing as how all the info is collectively collected…. and so circumventing any laws disallowing spying on ones own nationals is a dawdle….

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 1.1

      So why did the GCSB break the law and spy on Kiwis?

      Is it that they thought the cops and SIS weren’t secure enough to handle the information (that the NSA/CIA/MI6/by-this-point-it-leaks-like-a-sieve-so-what-does-it-matter-who-else are doing it anyway)? Or that they weren’t important enough to need to know? Or because they thought they wouldn’t get caught in the act?

      Or are they just stupid and incompetent?

      • McFlock 1.1.1

        because the folk who wanted the data had no idea how to activate protocols implemented 30 years ago? But the spook at the embassy is real nice when he pops by to say how professional and smart they all are…

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.2

        You need to think about the model of intelligence collection now being led by the USA. Which is to be able to understand everything about the behaviours, interests, contacts and motivations of every single person in the world.

        So why did the GCSB break the law and spy on Kiwis?

        Given the above model of intelligence gathering, this question is irrelevant.

        The only relevant question is how seriously the USA respected the privileges that NZ has as a “2nd party” intelligence partner.

        • McFlock 1.1.2.1

          irrelevant from the US perspective, maybe.

          But a valid question as to what NZ gets in a supposedly “reciprocal” organisation. Especially considering the Rainbow Warrior. the wise oppressor throws some crumbs to their serfs – bread and circuses, etc.

          • Colonial Viper 1.1.2.1.1

            The Rainbow Warrior occurred in a different era, when the geopolitics and technology of the world were immensely different. Further, it was not, except in a peripheral way, an attack against NZ.

            • McFlock 1.1.2.1.1.1

              [splutters coffee] you forgot the sarc tag?

              • Colonial Viper

                I’m serious. Don’t make the mistake of every armchair general – and most real ones. Making preparations to fight the last war.

                • felix

                  Fair ’nuff re:- last war.

                  But the bombing of the RW was most definitely an attack on NZ. It was an act of terrorism against a small nation who dared to take an independent stance in the face of the nuclear establishment.

                • McFlock

                  Oh well then, drone strikes aren’t attacks against the nations they occur in. /sarc

                • Colonial Viper

                  Oh well then, drone strikes aren’t attacks against the nations they occur in. /sarc

                  They are certainly an attack on the sovereignty and independence of those nations, particularly if they have not freely given the US authorisation to conduct the operations.

                  • McFlock

                    But sending in troops to carry out a similar strike is only an attack in “a peripheral way”.

            • AmaKiwi 1.1.2.1.1.2

              But the Rainbow Warrior is the ONLY terrorist attack to have taken place in NZ (and was by an allied government!)

              The Law Society criticized Key for giving no reasons to justify increasing GCSB’s powers. In the USA and UK they can only justify their Big Brother spying because of “the threat of terrorism.”

              So Key’s GCSB empowerment is NOT about national security. What is it about, Mr. Key? It’s about spying on you and me for commercial and political purposes.

              • Populuxe1

                Neil Roberts blowing himself up at the Whanganui Computer?

                • McFlock

                  Ernie Abbott being murdered.

                  • felix

                    The constant threat of another “Fly My Pretties”.

                  • Anne

                    Ernie Abbott

                    May 1984. The Wellington Trade Union building caretaker killed by a bomb. Pat Kelly and other unionists were domiciled there – all prominent anti nuclear campaigners. The Lange govt. elected about a month later… anti nuclear sentiment reaches its zenith. A year later the Rainbow Warrior bombing. French Secret Service the culprits.

                    Anti nuclear legislation passes in parliament. The majority of NZers rejoice. The UK/USA indulge in petty tantrums.

                    The police close file on Ernie Abbott murder.

      • Geoff Dunbar 1.1.3

        Or is it that they are confident (with historically justified reason) that the NZ PUBLC is “stupid and incompetent” enough to continually fail to ascertain when it is being royally screwed by its own “representatives” (which is just about all of the time)?

  2. You know if this base, was what they say it was, I doubt two people would’ve got anywhere
    near it.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.1

      That’s because you’re cherry-picking what they say it is and who “they” are.

      • Brett Dale 2.1.1

        Not much of a spy base if protestors can walk up to it, take their shoes off and scream shame shame for seven hours.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1

          Why not? Were actual data collection and signal operations interrupted in any way?

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.1.1.1.1

            Tinfoil strips and a lemon cannon might. Just saying :)

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.1.1.1.1.1

              On reflection, I realise that this comment could get people into trouble. If you’re going to test this hypothesis, please conduct test trials in open ground, work out a way to weave tinfoil strips together so that they unravel for maximum effect, that sort of thing. If you’re going to get arrested at least demonstrate some bloody competence!

              PS: and lemon cannons are dangerous: treat all equipment with respect.

              • Lanthanide

                Never heard of a “lemon cannon” before, apparently it’s just a potato cannon though.

    • tracey 2.2

      I see Mr Key has messed up facts again… this time over MRP…

      Having accused Cosgrove of making it up… he then backtracked and fell back on olf faithful.

      “”I haven’t actually seen those myself, well I can’t recall them.”

      You must feel so proud Brett

  3. Wouldnt it be like fort knox, no matter what?

    • weka 3.1

      Brett, if you are going to take over another thread, can you please at least use the reply button so that your comments appear in some kind of context?

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 3.2

      Brett, while you’re figuring out how to use the reply button, ask yourself what would Waihopai gain by “being like Fort Knox”. Are protesters, for example, unable to stand outside Fort Knox?

      Then ask yourself what you look like.

      • Brett Dale 3.2.1

        Knucklehead.

        Its simple if this was real spy base, people would not get close enough to cause damage to it. I think some people have watched to many movies.

        • karol 3.2.1.1

          And yet, Nicky Hager was able to talk to members of NZ’s branch of Echelon (GCSB) and to use that information to publicly Out the network. This resulted in the “5 Eyes” governments publicly confirming it’s existence. Hager was able to do this because of the low key approach in NZ, making it a weak security link in the system.

        • felix 3.2.1.2

          Brett, it happened.

          You’re arguing that the sun didn’t come up this morning.

          • Brett Dale 3.2.1.2.1

            Felix:

            Its not what you think it is.

            President Obama is not saying, “Wow some guy from Hornby, did a post
            on the website the standard, then he went to the library and got out
            Alex Jones’s book, then he went to the University cafe coffee shop
            with members of socialist aotearoa and made jokes about John Key.

            I think he has more important things to do with his time.

            • framu 3.2.1.2.1.1

              so if its not a real spy base brett – what is it?

              come one lets hear it – whats your oh so logical explanation for its existence (considering what is already in the public domain)

              wind farm?
              geodesic dome for woofers?
              brettstock2014?
              what exactly?

              • Framu:

                Not a spy base in terms of finding out what the average kiwi is doing, library records, how many cups of coffee you buy, what cds you listen to.

                If you think they’re spending hundreds of millions to find out what youtube videos
                of cats tap dancing people are watching, then your sadly mistake.

                Perhaps they’re looking for certain phrases? to see what the international crims are up to, terrorists, child traffickers, global drug rings.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  And to find those phrases and patterns, Brett, they grab everything.

                  • Pascal:

                    I think not, if they looking for a certain phrase, they looking for that phrase, not
                    innocent phrases. Now if they find a sinister phrase from someone, they may
                    then grab everything, but not the other way around.

                • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                  As usual, Brett adopts a position bereft of the most basic thought or consideration. He cannot, for example, imagine what the United States would look like now if King George had had PRISM.

                  I can only hope that in the future he falls foul of the authorities, thus serving the dual purpose of educating himself and sparing us his feeble offerings.

                  • Knucklehead?

                    What is wrong with what I said? You think the US Government cares
                    about if Joe Bloggs is watching clips of the Sopranos on youtube?

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Not particularly, but they don’t know that Soprano clips is what Joe Bloggs is looking at until they have a look at what he is looking at.

                    • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                      You don’t think at all, do you?

                      I harbour too much contempt for you to bother spending too much time explaining this, so if this is too cryptic tough shit.

                      It’s 1960. You’re gay. The government has PRISM. Think about it.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Or it’s 1937 Nazi Germany and you are Jewish.
                      Or it’s 1950 Tibet and you are a supporter of the Dalai Lama.
                      Or it’s 1959 USA and you’re a negro in Louisiana.
                      Or it’s 1980 South Africa and you’re white while your lover is black.

                    • McFlock

                      Or “the government” (or eager prosecutors therein) think you’re the “prime suspect” in a murder, so use your youtube records because the sopranos was violent, therefore watching the sopranos “shows a fascination with violence”. Top ten grossest clips shown in succession to the jury? Character sorted.

                      Or maybe he pissed off someone, so the chached video becomes “publishing/pirating” and copyright violation.

                      Or you have a VOIP phone, so the traffic interception is as good as a wiretap.

                      The police already have a very good computer forensics unit. They don’t need warrantless wiretapping. And we as a society don’t need it, either.

  4. Wayne 4

    Karol,

    One of your assertions in this piece is that Kim Dotcom is correct about the PM’s knowledge. But you also know that the PM emphatically denied any such knowledge on TV immediately after the hearing. There was no doubt or hesitation. And he knows what is at stake in making that statement.

    Now in my experience when a politician makes such a statement in these circumstances they are correct. For instance if he had any doubt he may have met Dotcom or heard about the Police operation earlier than the day before, he would have qualified his answer, something like,”I certainly don’t recall”.

    Remember nothing actually hangs on whether the PM knew earlier to when he has previously said he first knew about the police operation, except his credibility.

    It is not like Peter Dunne, who knows a leak is a career killer, or President Clinton who was covering up something that was extremely embarrassing

    And it is not surprising the PM did not know about Dotcom. I have friends who live opposite the Dotcom mansion, and they never told me about him, and they are in the IT business. I guess they just assumed that Dotcom’s world and mine would never intersect. They may have said a rich guy lived there, since I knew the owner of Chrisco had left, but of course only a rich guy could live there.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 4.1

      Wayne, did you wake up from a ten-year sleep or something? The Prime Minister has form we can go on. There were fifty thousand shares yeah a hundred thousand shares. His lies are always delivered with “sincerity”.

    • karol 4.2

      Wayne, John Key backed up that “emphatic” denial by saying that they had done a thorough search of his office’s records and found no evidence of any such prior knowledge.

      But the new slant provided by the Snowden comments, is that there is something built into the Echelon system to “insulate political leaders from any backlash” from Echelon’s “grievous” violation of “global privacy”.

    • Pascal's bookie 4.3

      Wayne, the PM has couched many of his claims in terms of ‘proof’. And Polioticians make bold claims that are false, all the time. Surely you remember Winston’s NO sign? Or the PMs quick reversal on his claims about how many tranzrail shares he owned? It’s not a short list.

      And if Key knew about the raid earlier, it brings all sorts of things into play. Like his extent of knowledge about GCSB/SIS activity, particularly his awareness about the questions of illegality, and what he did about it. If Key was involved earlier in discussions about the DotCom raid than he has been letting on, then he is in the frame over the illegality of the GCSBs involvement in those raids.

      • Wayne 4.3.1

        The PM has been consistent on this one for many weeks. As you say he has checked his files, and seemingly rechecked them. I am sure he has thought about this a lot, to try and remember if someone may have said him something about Dotcom. And the PM remains adamant.

        Your proposition now is that he has to continue with a falsehood, and restate it many times because to do otherwise “brings all sorts of things into play”. But that would be truly playing with fire. Exposure in that case would bring about the John Armstrong scenario (usually a hated pundit for Standardnistas). If you were right the PM would say nothing more on the subject, because to say more, digs the hole deeper.

        Well, I just don’t buy that.

        Most of the so called “lies” you raise occur when he answers something on the fly.

        He is an extremely accessible PM by any reasonable standard, and answers all sorts of questions on a vast range of topics. It is hardly surprising he does not immediately recollect everything and sometimes has to amend answers after he has had time to think about it. I am sure we have all been in that situation, and we don’t have to deal with, and remember the range of things the PM does.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 4.3.1.1

          😆 Just, by an amazing coincidence, his brain fades always manage to cast him in a good light, and the corrections always come with caveats where apologies belong.

          Dr. Mapp and the invisible bias.

        • Anne 4.3.1.2

          …he has checked his files, and seemingly rechecked them. I am sure he has thought about this a lot, to try and remember if someone may have said him something about Dotcom. And the PM remains adamant.

          You are an ignorant bunny aren’t you Wayne.

          Of course he and his staff didn’t find anything. He knew they wouldn’t find anything. There are other ways to communicate information without leaving a paper, electronic or some other visible trail. These ‘ways’ are not available to ordinary citizens, but many people know they exist. For example I worked for a few years on a Defence Force base and picked up on a few security of information techniques. I never knew how they worked, but the results were a big eye-opener.

          • Wayne 4.3.1.2.1

            Anne, You may know my prior role. I know a bit about the relevant organisations.

            • Anne 4.3.1.2.1.1

              So do I Wayne.

              And if you are who I suspect you are, then I know well (or in one case knew) a couple of others who were in the same role as yourself. They didn’t have rose tinted spectacles on their noses like you. Take them off Wayne and perceive John Key for what he is – a pretender who really works for offshore networks and not NZ. He doesn’t give a damm about ordinary people. I look forward to that zany individual Kim Dotcom putting him in his place once and for all.

        • Pascal's bookie 4.3.1.3

          Your proposition now is that he has to continue with a falsehood, and restate it many times because to do otherwise “brings all sorts of things into play”. But that would be truly playing with fire. Exposure in that case would bring about the John Armstrong scenario (usually a hated pundit for Standardnistas). If you were right the PM would say nothing more on the subject, because to say more, digs the hole deeper.

          It’s not my proposition ‘now’, it’s simply obvious. If the PM lied when first asked about this, then he needs to keep lying about it. Those other things are in play whether or not he says anymore on the subject. They were set in play when/if first lied; if it was a lie.

          Assuming for the sake of argument that it was a lie, he wouldn’t have lied for no reason. If he lied, it was to keep something that might have costed him the job from us. For example, that he knew the spying was possibly illegal and did nothing not knowing it was going to come out due to a judge’s ruling. Perhaps.

          The “John Armstrong scenario” (although I think Armstrong is weak on this*) has therefore always been in play. Right when he told the supposed lie. The thesis is that Key knew something about this earlier than he has been letting on, and that he has taken steps to be in a position of plausible deniability. That may or may not be true, but if it isn’t true, then it seems like either gross incompetence or a freakish series of coincidences that kept him out of the loop.

          How would him saying nothing more on the subject make his initial denials go away? They wouldn’t. So either his story will hold, or it will not. His comments range from outright denial, which was his initial position, to ‘You can’t prove it’.

          He also claims that DotCom is a fantasist and blah blah who isn’t worth discussing, and yet he also seems to have been through Mr DotCom’s filings for the extradition case looking for evidence of something he claims not to exist. Now that doesn’t mean anything at one level, it could also suggest that he isn’t sure that actual documents might exist.

          There were a lot of very close calls when Key might have found out about DotCom. And some very odd things later when nobody talked to him about failings in the GCSB, or signing unusual documents on his behalf, or having electorate matters handled by Simon Power without the PM being told, all while the PM was having discussions with US people who also had an interest in DotCom.

          None of that proves anything. But it does look odd, and it requires some sort of explanation.

          The current potential explanations are, as far as I can see; slack oversight combined with series of coincidences and poor cabinet communication leading to the PM being out of the loop, slack oversight combined with a deliberate attempt to genuinely keep the PM out of the loop, plausible deniability of the PM being in the loop, or the PM lying about being in the loop.

          ——————

          *Armstrong seems to think that Key would have to resign just because he was busted lying about knowing about DotCom. I think it would take a few dots being joined. He’d probably survive something that he could claim was something he didn’t pay attention to, or could have forgotten.

    • tracey 4.4

      “PM emphatically denied any such knowledge on TV immediately after the hearing. There was no doubt or hesitation. And he knows what is at stake in making that statement.”

      yea but wayne yesterday he said cosgrove was making up the allocation of 100 to Soolid energy from MRP sale… but by today he is saying this

      “”I haven’t actually seen those myself, well I can’t recall them.”

      • Wayne 4.4.1

        And that is the point. He has not had different views. He has got more emphatic about Dotcom, especially after he checked.

        • felix 4.4.1.1

          Nonsense. His denials have become more specific and limited in their scope.

          Saying “to the best of my recollection” means fuck all when you have the brain of a goldfish. He can’t remember the Springbok tour FFS!

  5. framu 5

    “PM emphatically denied any such knowledge”

    yeah wayne – good one. Its not like our PM has never, ever been caught out bullshitting with gay abandon in front of the press before is it?

    you must be a real hoot down the cossie club mate with jokes like that

  6. Anne 6

    Snowden also argued that the “Five eyes” partnerships are organised so that authorities in each country can “insulate their political leaders from the backlash” when it became public “how grievously they’re violating global privacy”.

    So where was Ian Fletcher in August of last year when Key flew off to America to watch his son play baseball and disappeared into the bowels of Hollywood for a couple of days first? Did Fletcher have a little private holiday at the same time too?

    Key was up to shonky business that is a given, and its long been my view it was to do with Dotcom – an update where things were at… and what do do about it? Shonky John still thinks any comms with the FBI/NSA is as safe as houses. Perhaps that has given him a false confidence.

    Whatever, as tempting as it is to want to know what Dotcom knows… Dotcom will not release it until the time is exactly right for him. Fair enough. He’s the bloke in the firing line.

    • MrSmith 6.1

      Kim.com’s extradition is a political decision yes? and so if I had the goods then I would let the other party know somehow then sit on it. Call it what you like but after I had had my home invaded illegally the gloves would be off.
      And so we may never know what he has.

  7. Sable 7

    Both Labour and National are selling out our country to foreign interests. Based on how things have progressed its clear they have been for quite a while. Time to put these political dinosaurs out of their misery and look at other alternatives.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      The man is good, that’s for sure.

      Greenwald, although not out on a limb as far as Snowden, must know that him and everyone he comes in contact with is under round the clock surveillance.

  8. Knucklehead

    1960 Gay Prism:

    Its not 1960, its 2013, maybe 50 odd years ago, they would use
    it to spy and take away gay people, in 2013, they’re dont care.

    Too hard for you too understand?

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 9.1

      Obviously far too hard for you to grasp, Brett, that there might be an analogous situation today. What a waste of oxygen.

  9. GUYS,

    It’s 2013 now.

    Yes, in the past some Governments would of used it for the
    wrong reasons.

    In 2013, they dont give a fuck if some tosser is watching
    Hamster on a mother fukin piano.

    Oh bTW if some green party hacker, hacked into say
    Cameron Slater’s email and got some juicy information,
    you guys would be cheering them on.

    • karol 10.1

      Did you see the oral submission from the anti-nuclear and peace activists at the GCSB hearing? Been under surveillance for decades – still happening.

      • insider 10.1.1

        So they say. They appeared to me to have fairly active imaginations and revel in their self proclaimed victim hood.

        • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1

          There are many many instances now internationally of ordinary political activist groups being blacklisted as “extremists” and targetted by government surveillance and pressure.

          Yes, in the past some Governments would of used it for the
          wrong reasons.

          What’s this “in the past” business?

          This is what is happening every day and in every way internationally, and NZ’s spymasters are learning the same tricks from the US and the UK.

    • Pascal's bookie 10.2

      Nothing bad happens today Brett, it’s ok.

      Sleep well young fella.

      http://t.co/d84SQlIS4f

  10. pascal:

    If a terrorist at gitmo had of died because of a hunger strike,
    people would’ve said “They should’ve forced feed him”

    • Pascal's bookie 11.1

      Do you know how many people in gitmo aren’t terrorists Brett?

      Also, what they doing in that video. Comfortable watching it mate?

      And too, I wouldn’t being saying “They should’ve forced feed him”, nor would Amnesty, or any civil liberties group I can think of.

      And as an aside, your comment there. Reckon it would be out of place on Fox News? Hannitty maybe?

      • Brett Dale 11.1.1

        Pascal:

        I Loathe Faux News:

        No that statement would’nt been said on faux news, they would say.

        “That guy is a known terrorist who taught all the other terrorist, he should
        be billed for the food down the tube, and his family should all be read the
        bible, while shown a big picture of George W Bush,and tvs should be put
        in his cell, so he can watch fox news, because we are fair and balance, unlike
        the LIBERAL MEDIA. (and they would say liberal media in a real scary voice)
        while flashing a picture of jane fonda on the screen.

        • Pascal's bookie 11.1.1.1

          Nah, that’s a cartoon version.

          They’d just imply that everyone in gitmo is a terrorist, and that they are being treated well, and that people complaining are just dishonest liberals doing so for political reasons and would complain anyway. Like you did.

  11. Pascal:

    No one has any idea the level that faux news will go to.

    Hell to see rove on election night, was just so bizarre, what was
    more bizarre is that they showed it.

    • Pascal's bookie 12.1

      No more bizarre than many other things said on Fox. But there are levels of bizarre. And a common level on fox is that one you ran with. Responding in that way you did to what was in that clip.

      • Brett Dale 12.1.1

        Pascal:

        You dont let the person die, its ugly I know, its looks terrible. but what else do you do?

        • Pascal's bookie 12.1.1.1

          Not lock them up in a legal blackhole Brett. It’s not difficult mate.

          • Brett Dale 12.1.1.1.1

            Pascal:

            Ya can blame Bush for that, believe me President Obama will do his best to close it buy the end of his term.

            • Pascal's bookie 12.1.1.1.1.1

              Why should I believe you Brett?


              The Obama administration had argued the court did not have jurisdiction. Under federal law, civilian courts do not have jurisdiction to hear cases concerning the detention, treatment or conditions of confinement of any enemy combatant, Kessler wrote, citing a 2009 court decision. Government lawyers said the government had well-established legal authority to force-feed hunger-striking detainees.

              Read more: Guantanamo Inmates Request To Stop Force Feeding Denied – The Gitmo Torture Obama Is Ignoring – Esquire
              Follow us: @Esquiremag on Twitter | Esquire on Facebook
              Visit us at Esquire.com

              That’s Obama using Bush era legal arguments in court in order to what? Hold people in gitmo even if that means torturing them.

              • He cant do nothing while the repugs control the house.

                • When I saw you’d commented on a post about intelligence, Brett, I decided it was time to call it a day. Then curiosity got the better of me (I really wanted to know whether “Brett Dale” and “intelligence” weren’t an oxymoron) and to my surprise I found a little gem. “…repugs control the house”. Brilliant.

                • felix

                  The legal opinion above doesn’t come from the the house, Brett. It comes from the executive.

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    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… ...
    4 days 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… ...
    4 days 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
    4 days 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… ...
    5 days 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
    5 days 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… ...
    5 days 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… ...
    5 days 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… ...
    5 days 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… ...
    5 days 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
    5 days 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’… ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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… ...
    6 days 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… ...
    6 days 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… ...
    6 days 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… ...
    6 days 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.  ...
    6 days 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
    7 days 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
    7 days 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… ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour calls on all parties to end coat-tailing
    Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway is encouraging all parties to support his Bill to end the coat-tailing provision when it is debated in Parliament this week.  “New Zealanders have sent MPs a clear message. An opinion poll found more than 70… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government social sector reforms
    I’ve written previously about the major shake-up that is happening in the provision of government and community services. Yesterday, the Minister of Social Development spoke publically about what these reforms are likely to look like within MSD. There are major… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • PM must explain Saudi sheep scandal backflips
    John Key’s explanations of the Saudi sheep scandal continue to be riddled with inconsistencies and irreconcilable backflips, Labour’s Trade Spokesperson David Parker says. “Either he has been misled by his Minister Murray McCully or the Prime Minister is deliberately obfuscating… ...
    1 week ago
  • Independent investigation needed into claims scientists gagged
    Steven Joyce must launch an independent investigation into claims that scientists are being gagged, says Labour’s Science and Innovation spokesperson David Cunliffe. “When 40 percent of scientists say they are being gagged and can’t speak out on issues of public… ...
    1 week ago
  • Swamp kauri mining and exports should stop
    Seeing swamp kauri mining for the first time this week was a shock. Dark peaty soil had been stripped of its plant cover and giant excavators were digging into wet, swampy soil to unearth logs that had been buried for… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • MSD going down wasteful spending track
    The Ministry of Social Development is paying big salaries and forking out hundreds of thousands of dollars on management courses while at the same time looking to hand some services over to a multinational outsourcing company with an appalling track… ...
    1 week ago
  • South Auckland housing meeting highlights stark realities
    The stark realities of life for South Aucklanders in substandard Housing New Zealand and private rental homes were fully exposed at a South Auckland housing meeting today, Labour’s MP for Manukau East Jenny Salesa says. “Local people generously shared their… ...
    1 week ago
  • The Pope, the scientists, and the diplomats: getting there on the climate ...
    The Pope’s Encyclical on the climate: ‘On Care for Our Common Home’, has finally been released. Evoking St Francis before him, the Pope reminds us that “our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life, and… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party supports Gifted Kids Awareness Week 2015
    Providing high quality teaching that caters to the specific needs of every child is an enormous challenge, but there is no investment more rewarding for society. Gifted Awareness Week gives us a chance to think about how diverse the needs… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Truck sellers still getting away with rip-offs
    The Government has admitted its brand new lending rules are already inadequate, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesman David Shearer. “Gaping holes in the Responsible Lending Code – which came into effect this month -- mean the vulnerable will not be… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government Screws the Lid Down On Raw Milk Access
    The Government’s raw milk policy announced yesterday will make it more difficult for many consumers to access the quality product of their choice, and may even be setting up the raw milk sector to fail. The Government, in its paranoia… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Operation Desert Storm
    Blaming Saudi sand storms for the deaths of 70 per cent of Kiwi lambs born on a model farm meant to showcase New Zealand agricultural expertise is another part of the ludicrous attempt to disguise buying the cooperation of a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister, your expensive slip is showing
    A Minister's comments at a press conference in Dunedin today show just how easily costs can blow out at the Southern DHB, Labour's Acting Health spokesman David Clark says. "Fresh from criticising everyone from members of the Board that his… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bridges of Northland on backburner
    Transport Minister Simon Bridges today admitted no progress has been made towards his Northland by-election bribe of 10 new bridges and could only say they would be funded sometime in the next six years, Labour's transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says.… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • MP lets down Cook Island community
    The Cook Island community has been let down by National List MP Alfred Ngaro’s decision not to support a proposal that would have removed a restrictive residency requirement, Labour says. An amendment to the Social Assistance (Portability to Cook Islands,… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for a moratorium on all live sheep exports
    The events of the last two weeks have highlighted how weak our regulations around live exports are, particularly in relation to live sheep exports. We urgently need a moratorium on live sheep exports until they’ve been significantly strengthened. We have… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Weak growth highlights lack of economic plan
    Today’s weak growth figures are less than half of what was forecast in last month’s Budget and signal rough weather ahead, Labour’s Finance spokesman Grant Robertson says. “GDP figures showing the economy grew just 0.2% in the first three months… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori TV editorial interference scandal deepens
    The Maori Development Minister has misled a select committee and appears to have broken the law through editorial interference in Māori Television, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran said today. Labour has released emails between Te Ururoa Flavell’s press secretary and… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister must act on energy CEOs salaries
    Energy Minister Simon Bridges must send a message to the Boards of the nation’s power companies that astronomical CEO salaries are not appropriate, Labour’s Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says.  “The CEOs are earning from $ 2.1 million to $1.3 million… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Black Caps backs South Dunedin flood recovery
     People dealing with the aftermath of the Dunedin floods will be supported by the boost from Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum and coach Mike Hesson who have put their weight behind the Dunedin Flood Appeal in a  video released this… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Continued pressure at heart of sacking
    News that the Government has appointed a Commissioner to replace the Southern District Health Board is hardly a surprise given the mounting pressure it has been under to do more with a lot less, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson David… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A whale of a spend-up at MoBIE
    The latest revelations of extravagant spending at Steven Joyce’s Super Ministry are just the tip of a very expensive iceberg, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. "New information shows the building comes kitted out with hair straighteners, while the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Will the Super Fund now follow its own advice and divest from coal?
    Whenever we’ve asked the New Zealand Superannuation Fund what they’re doing about climate change, they’ve said they’re waiting for the Mercer report they’d backed to come out. Well it’s now out and it’s unequivocal about the impact of climate change… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 weeks ago

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