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The big issues: GCSB, Dotcom

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, July 5th, 2013 - 60 comments
Categories: accountability, capitalism, john key, slippery, Spying, telecommunications, trade, us politics - Tags:

In Question Time, yesterday, Bill English, speaking for PM John Key, responded to questions about Key’s knowledge of the big German, by saying that Key was more focused on “the big issues”.

What bigger issue is there than the the role of the GCSB in spying on NZ citizens and the continual undermining of democracy by John Key and his government?

Dotcom, while politically being more or an entrepreneurial capitalist than a left winger, has managed to focus public attention on issues that John Key would most likely have let slide by with little media attention.

The mere presence of Dotcom at the public hearing on Wednesday ensured far closer media and public scrutiny than would otherwise have happened.  With 2 TV channels live streaming Wednesday’s proceedings, the PM made an effort to engage, and some of his participation was quite telling.

And as a result, we now have videos of all Wednesday’s oral submissions  online.  Thomas Beagle from Tech liberty made an important point about why people want to keep some of their (perfectly legal) activities private.  They may not want people close to them to know they have been having an affair.  A closeted gay person may not want people at work to know they are gay.

Compare this with the comments by Penny Bright at Tuesday’s hearing, in which she highlights John Key’s preference for secrecy in his own dealings.  Audrey Young reports that,

Bright started with a lecture about how Key does deals like the Sky City convention centre – “your deals over dinner, deals over the phone – that might be customary practice in how you do things as a foreign exchange dealer or the head of derivatives for Merrill Lynch but that is no way to run a country”.

On the spy bill, she wanted him to open up all his trust accounts, bank accounts, Swiss bank accounts, tax havens. “Nothing to hide, nothing to fear, come on Prime Minister; you show me yours and I’ll show you mine.”

And consider how the TPP negotiations are being kept secret from New Zealanders, giving priority to the secrecy of foreign corporate power.

Jordan Carter, from Internet New Zealand, highlighted the way the GCSB’s role is being extended so that commercially sensitive cyber security is becoming increasingly integrated with national security matters.   Internet NZ makes a very good recommendation that these two security roles be separated. In point 7 of their written submission they state (link accompanying their video):

As to the first principle, InternetNZ supports the spirit of those provisions of the Bill
that address information assurance and cybersecurity. New Zealand’s information
infrastructure must remain secure. The information assurance and cybersecurity
functions however, need not necessarily be housed alongside intelligence gathering
and analysis operations, foreign or domestic. InternetNZ has long called for a
Computer Emergency Response Team or “CERT” for New Zealand and invites the
Committee to consider this option in lieu of expanding the Bureau’s role as
proposed.

Such a separation of activities would ensure more democratic processes.

The submission from nuclear disarmament and peace activists, Kate Dewes and Rob Green provided dramatic and worrying evidence of the way state surveillance of citizens can be used to suppress dissent and subvert democracy.

They argue that, in view of the kind of harassment via surveillance that they have experienced, the Bill needs to provide much greater oversight of the GCSB by a committee that includes a diverse group of independent New Zealanders. Over the last few decades, law abiding Dewes has been collecting evidence that her communications via phone, letter and email have been interfered with by surveillance services in NZ and internationally, as well as having evidence of stakeouts by people in cars watching her house.  She says:

We don’t know if it is the GCSB that has been illegally monitoring our family and sharing information with foreign powers. Or whether it is another foreign power gathering information – either with permission from this government or not but it continues to this day.

Some of the PMs responses at Wednesday’s hearings sounded like a school boy’s response to challenges to his self-esteem.  Some (like his questions about submitters’ views on a neighbour possibly looking at bomb-making instructions online) seemed like prepared questions, unrelated to any specific submission.

Underlying Dotcom’s media-savvy theatre, there are big issues: the trustworthiness of the PM, and the role the PM has had in over riding the GCSB law in order to collaborate with foreign (US) agencies in support of US (Hollywood) corporate interests.

The PM seems worried enough that there may be a smoking gun somewhere, to have all relevant material looked at carefully to ensure that there is no documentary evidence of him lying about his prior knowledge of Kim Dotcom.

Last night on TV3 News, Key said:

We’ve gone extensively through every record my office holds.  There is no evidence that we can point to that we heard of the guy prior to the 19th of January 2012.

Clearly opposition MPs seem to think there is such evidence, as indicated in Question Time, yesterday. As well as being aware of English’s attempts at diversion and evasion, it is interesting to note Winston Peter’s final, and very specific supplementary question here.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Does the Prime Minister still stand by his statements—numerous statements—that none of his ministerial colleagues talked to him about Kim Dotcom before the raid?

Hon BILL ENGLISH: The Prime Minister stands by his statements.

It is worth keeping in mind bad12′s comments on the specificity of the question and the silent response in the House to this supplementary, while viewing the entire video for Question 2 (wrongly labelled in the video subtitle).

The following are among the relevant Big Issues:

  • the trustworthiness of our PM
  • the possibility John Key has colluded with US agencies to spy on Kiwis in the interests of US corporates
  • the blurring of boundaries between commercially sensitive cyber security and state and national security
  • the use of the GCSB to suppress democratic processes, including the democratic right of protest and dissent
  • the use of the extended GCSB powers to collaborate with foreign agencies to suppress democracy in NZ

 

 

60 comments on “The big issues: GCSB, Dotcom”

  1. Rogue Trooper 1

    pays to watch Parliament (including QT) closely.
    The spooks have just been really blatant in there harassment of Kate Dewes and Rob Green

    • Anne 1.1

      It’s overt intimidation Rogue Trooper – an attempt to frighten them so that they fear for their safety, and stop their investigations into the death of Rob Green’s aunt. It will be coming from a non NZ agency. I can’t believe our intelligence gathering agencies would behave in such a thuggish way.

      Having said that, it looks like someone in the GCSB has been providing a foreign operative with information. It suggests a rogue element within the agency that needs to be fully investigated, but it won’t happen under the proposed legislation.

  2. Sable 2

    Yes, they used to have a word for people who betrayed their country, they called them traitors. Now we call them the National Party.

  3. Steve 3

    Re the quote: “We’ve gone extensively through every record my office holds. There is no evidence that we can point to that we heard of the guy prior to the 19th of January 2012.”

    Clearly, the evidence has been deleted.

    • James N 3.1

      I agree…

      “We’ve gone extensively through every record my office holds, there is no evidence we can point to that we’ve heard of the guy prior to January 19, 2012.”

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/8881342/Key-to-Dotcom-Make-my-day

      Does anybody else find the way this is framed intriguing? First of all, the first person plural – the we – as if there were some collective responsibility involved; but more significantly the implication that if there’s “no evidence” then somehow there’s no case. It’s something of a playground argument: you can’t prove it, so there!

      • AmaKiwi 3.1.1

        It’s an old lawyer’s trick. “We can find no evidence that . . . . (because we shredded it).

    • aj 3.2

      His office records have been cleaned but that doesn’t mean that dotcom hasn’t got evidence

    • georgecom 3.3

      But, ‘you know I know…Why are you turning red Prime Minister’.

    • Murray Olsen 3.4

      This could mean that the records are held by another office. Or that it’s been deleted. Or that Key is telling the truth. 2 outta 3 ain’t bad.

  4. Veutoviper 4

    Good post, Karol.

    Re Peters’ question yesterday, this appeared to me to be a follow-on from the very specific questions he asked of Key in Q1 of Tuesday’s Question Time. In my response to bad12′s comment, I said that I thought Peters was very careful to stick to his script, not make any asides or other comments or raise any matters following each of the PM’s answers. Most unlike Peters, normally.

    IMO. Peters was very much in ‘barrister’ mode that day – setting out to get answers for use later on. For example, his use of “was he telling the truth …”

    http://inthehouse.co.nz/node/19552

    Well worth reading is Gordon Campbell’s blog this morning where he sets out three reasons for questioning Key’s ignorance response

    http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2013/07/05/gordon-campbell-on-john-keys-proud-claim-to-being-the-village-idiot/

    Re Key’s attempt to get KDC to put up or shut up, KDC has now tweeted

    “Part of our extradition hearing: Political interference. Legal team: No release of key evidence until we’re in court.”

    KDC has tweeted on several past occasions that he would love to release details, but his legal team is adamant that details come out in court.

  5. AmaKiwi 5

    “The following are among the relevant Big Issues:

    - the trustworthiness of our PM

    - the possibility John Key has colluded with US agencies to spy on Kiwis in the interests of US corporates

    - the blurring of boundaries between commercially sensitive cyber security and state and national security

    - the use of the GCSB to suppress democratic processes, including the democratic right of protest and dissent

    - the use of the extended GCSB powers to collaborate with foreign agencies to suppress democracy in NZ”

    EXCELLENT! SUPERIOR! OUTSTANDING!

    A succinct list of the big issues we must keep the MSM focused on.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      But just in in the nick of time Labour will come out with an appropriate diversion. Another corporate box? Another out of touch gender equality initiative?

      • AmaKiwi 5.1.1

        I despair at how poorly Labour does public relations these days.

        Elections are won and lost on perceptions, not policies.

        • Winston Smith 5.1.1.1

          How can that be? Wasn’t Claire Curran some sort of PR type? Surely with that kind of experience on board it should be smooth sailing for Labour :)

          • vto 5.1.1.1.1

            Winston Smith, why do you so happily support the politics that has driven so many New Zealanders to a worse positon over the last 30 years?

            Do you enjoy seeing people suffer? Does it give you a warm glow?

            • Winston Smith 5.1.1.1.1.1

              I think thats a few people on here who like having poor people to champion, whos lives would be meaningless without some down-trodden worker to look after

              • vto

                That doesn’t even remotely answer the question.

                But it is very revealing, thanks. You are clearly part of the other part of the population who just likes to get ahead no matter what. And if it is at other people’s expense then tough shit. If the poor go nowhere while you race ahead then that’s just life. Isn’t it. This is John Key’s approach to life too.

                … scrambling over ageing bones ….

                ugly
                ugly
                ugly

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                Whereas you aren’t happy unless you have someone to tread down?

                Assuming you are correct and the Left represents “downtrodden” workers, can you explain why the Right is always so keen to swell their ranks? It seems quite the low-intelligence thing to do if you ask me.

              • chrissy

                WS Do people fight NOT to sit next to you at dinners, social functions, on the bus, walking down the street, are you lonely, are you sad? If so why? Just wondering.

      • Rogue Trooper 5.1.2

        fill that glass box.

  6. Sanctuary 6

    Kim Dotcom is an actual libertarian, as opposed to the crony authoritarians in disguise that pretend to be libertarians in NZ, a la David Farrar.

  7. vto 7

    Listening to Key at that hearing, he comes across as a smart-arse schoolboy. Nothing more and nothing less. The way he speaks, the way he asked questions, the way he responded to Dotcom’s “why are you red”…… “I’m not, why are you sweating?” What a frikkin’ child.

    Key the smart-arse schoolboy.

    • karol 7.1

      Exactly how he seemed to me. And particularly with the bit you quoted, VTO. A case of arrested development? Never got past schoolboy competitiveness, where he can’t admit any weakness?

      Will be his downfall?

      • Rogue Trooper 7.1.1

        Downfall you say?

      • Winston Smith 7.1.2

        No and it won’t because the people of NZ like John Key so they see him through different eyes then yours.

        They see someone they’d like to be like, successful career, happy marriage and family, reasonably down to earth and running the country well

        This big fantasy the left have that one day the people of NZ will see John Key how the left see him is just that: a fantasy.

        • karol 7.1.2.1

          he people of NZ like John Key

          Which people of NZ? Of the 65%-ish that rate him as preferred PM, according to polls? Meaning there’s already a sizable number who don’t rate him. And there’s those that didn’t choose a preferred PM in the polls?

          Because I know quite a lot of people who don’t like him at all.

    • Huginn 7.2

      Key is so-o-o passive aggressive

  8. karol 8

    Frank Macskasy fronts the hearing (John key absent – hope he’s got a sick note)

    Earlier, another activist Frank Macskasy told the committee the existing oversight of intelligence agencies hadn’t worked.

    Mr Macskasy said he was concerned that within a few years the GCSB and other intelligence agencies would be seeking additional powers.

    He warned the expanding powers of intelligence agencies spy on New Zealanders was creating a society similar to those in Soviet era Eastern Europe.

    “There’s no just reason for spying on New Zealanders it should be taken off the books, it’s as simple as that.”

    He made an appeal to committee members Labour Leader David Shearer and Greens Co-leader Russel Norman to review the law and hold a wide ranging independent inquiry should they form the Government in 2014.

    Go, Frank!

  9. TruthSeeker 9

    Excellent post, Karol. This isn’t over by a long-shot. I can’t wait to see what evidence the extradition hearing brings up.

    I find it really fascinating how Key’s story has evolved from “I didn’t know the guy’s name was Kim Dotcom” (24 January 2012) to “I didn’t know about him” (3 July 2013).

    See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHoHqZdZDLA

    He has already admitted to knowing about the presence of a “German resident” (i.e. Dotcom) living in the Chrisco mansion “some time in 2011″.

    See: http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Business/QOA/6/6/e/50HansQ_20121024_00000007-7-Dotcom-Case-Prime-Minister-s-Awareness.htm

    As Key himself observes:

    “…when I was told in 2011 that there was a German living in the Chrisco mansion, that was well and truly before there was a raid on Kim Dotcom…”

    • Anne 9.1

      I find it really fascinating how Key’s story has evolved from “I didn’t know the guy’s name was Kim Dotcom” (24 January 2012) to “I didn’t know about him” (3 July 2013).

      It’s obvious what his line is going to be when KDC finally reveals the evidence he clearly has – at his extradition hearing next year?:

      I knew of him by his German name and didn’t know that the Kim Dotcom living in my electorate was the same person. Nobody told me.

      And the awful thing about it is the MSM will probably let him get away with it.

      • karol 9.1.1

        Grant Robertson did ask that specifically in Question Time yesterday, at the link in my post:

        Grant Robertson: By that answer, does he mean that it was simply the name Kim Dotcom that he had not heard but that he was aware of a person in New Zealand whom the FBI and other American authorities had an interest in pursuing over copyright-related issues?

        Hon BILL ENGLISH: I can only repeat that the Prime Minister stands by his statement. If the member wants to know what was in the Prime Minister’s mind, he would need to ask the Prime Minister directly.

        Will it be possible to put that question to John key, or will he dodge it?

        • chrissy 9.1.1.1

          John Key “I do not cut and run” Waitangi day, can’t remember the date.

    • Georgecom 9.2

      If Key has to do some dancing on a pin head to try explain away some lies, it will do him far more harm than good. If it is clear Key did not know, then people will support him. If it turns out Key has to rely on semantics, he’ll look like a shify liar. Key will be really really stupid to get himself into that position.

      • Anne 9.2.1

        He might have no choice Georgecom – if he’s already put himself in the position as he appears to have done. Serves him right. Sooner or later one of his many lies was going to come back and bite him.

      • Follow-the-money 9.2.2

        Are you suggesting he won’t, though?

      • tracey 9.2.3

        Hard to put it to him directly when he runs from question time where it can be put to him

  10. aerobubble 10

    So a very rich foriegner moves into the largest mansion
    in the PM’s own electorate and the representative of the
    richest people in NZ, always in donation drive, doesn’t
    know. Okay, let’s given him the benefit of the doubt
    that John Key is lazy and wants to send the message that
    he doesn’t listen to the richest in NZ.

    Now we find out that KimDotCom has funded Banks, that’s
    strange, why would he have done that, why wouldn’t have
    KimDotCom have funded the National party? Well someone
    must have informed him how helpful it would be to the National
    party to have funding given to Banks(and also distances
    the alledged copyright pirate from the National party).

    Now sure, Key may not have know, but also DotCom would
    have been atleast been led to believe his efforts for the
    National party were noted (and maybe just maybe have evidance
    Key did know, phone records maybe? with the PM office????).

    And when will Key be sending thanks to the US for bailing out
    the world economy through its QE policy, and applogize to
    Obama for calling his policy wacky.

  11. Huginn 11

    ‘the blurring of boundaries between commercially sensitive cyber security and state and national security’

    Eg the conflation of ‘national security’ with copyright protection.

    • UglyTruth 11.1

      The boundary merges with fair use. Both the copyright industry and govcorp act as if fair use does not exist, i.e. fair use of a creative work and fair use of a public resource like roads and radio spectrum. It is a national security issue because it is a case of organised injury of public rights.

  12. ropata 12

    Dotcom’s associate Bram van der Kolk proves Key lied about their time allocation
    https://twitter.com/bramosnl/status/352303475297755137

    • Huginn 12.1

      Yes, telling them that they had 25 minutes and then cutting that back to 15 minutes at short notice was petty.

  13. Yes 13

    Why are you supporting dot com..he is a capitalist and trying to rob artists that Helen Kelly was defending..you guys are seriously deluded.

    This is not about spying..this is about a guy who wants to steal off our artist.. I really challenge you to support Helen Kelly and say dot com is a rogue.

    Gscb stuffed up e all know that..let’s be honest and now you want him to continue to download all our artist work and make millions…swallow some pride and unit under left and right and say no to downloaders.

    I don’t think anyone on here have the balls to agree with me.

    • Murray Olsen 13.1

      When he’s appearing in front of Key to make a submission on the spying bill, it is about spying. Not even a good try. Maybe it’s about morbid obesity and diabetes instead? Say no to diabetes. Where are your balls?

    • Chris 13.2

      Bollocks…Dotcom supplied a place to store stuff (files) no different to the owner of a storage locker hiring it out or a landlord whose tenant uses the place as a p lab. Dotcom is no more responsible for what people stored than the landlord or locker owner.

  14. Follow-the-money 14

    Spot the other clanger.

    Kim Dotcom, the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the Helensville electorate. Huge in size and profile. Living in what must be on of the top houses in the electorate. Prepared to fork out cash to panhandling politicians. On the US spy agency’s watch list. etc etc

    Key, meanwhile, is the MP for the Helensville electorate.

    But Key hasn’t known Dotcom until 3.5 years after being elected PM.

    I know Key has memory loss challenges, but he must pay scant regard to the people in his electorate, if he really didn’t know Dotcom before.

  15. Shaz 15

    Karol,
    More excellent public interest research – thank you!

    The whole process is bizarre it would be comical if it were not so sinister.

    A point I haven’t seen made is that the function of the Bureau is to co-operate with, and provide advice and assistance to not only the police,defense force and SIS but also any government department covered by the Public Finance Act. This would potentially mean the outsourcing to the GCSB of WINZ and tax investigations, government employment security clearance work, in fact investigations related to the provision of any government service because the government department making the request are legally empowered to undertake whatever activity is in question.

    The Bill doesn’t take any steps to avoid unintended consequences. For example as it stands it massively increases the likelihood of corruption – both blackmail of employees or payments for intelligence gathering – of either public employees or the commercial third parties who supply and support the GCSB’s monitoring tools.

  16. BLiP 16

    The Prime Minister stands by his statements . . . lets have a look at some of those statements:

    Iain Rennie came to me and recommended Fletcher for the GCSB job

    I told Cabinet that I knew Ian Fletcher

    I forgot that after I scrapped the shortlist for GCSB job I phoned a life-long friend to tell him to apply for the position

    I told Iain Rennie I would contact Fletcher

    for 30 years, or three decades, I didn’t have any dinners or lunches or breakfasts with Ian Fletcher

    I did not mislead the House (9)

    I have no reason to doubt at this stage that Peter Dunne did not leak the GCSB report

    first I heard I heard about Kim Dotcom was on 19 January 2012

    first I heard about the illegal spying on Kim Dotcom was in September

    I did not mislead the House (6)

  17. clubconnecter 17

    Key is full of shit.

    JK knew of KDC when KDC attempted to purchase the Helensville mansion, ya know, it his own electorate?

    I really do hope that KDC does have evidence that Key did in fact know about KDC/Mega etc. If he does my bet is he’ll sit on it until closer to next years election – then the bullshit bombshell will be dropped.

  18. Martin 18

    I seem to remember a certain ship being bombed up in Auckland once. GCSB/SIS were certainly useless then. Some even said they knew ahead of the event. Are they worth the money we pay in taxes?

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    Today, the Green party's Kennedy Graham made a heartfelt speech concerning the immediate cease fire in Gaza and called on Israel to withdraw it's military forces. The Green party MP also read out the names of children already killed in...
    The Jackal | 22-07
  • Seal of approval – How marine mammals provide important climate data
    Understanding what is happening in the oceans is crucial since 90% of global warming is going there and attempts to measure temperatures at various depths go back to the 1960s. But, what does this Weddell seal have to do with this...
    Skeptical Science | 22-07
  • Taskforce to Tackle Loopy Rules
    The National Party have announced that if they’re re-elected they’ll form a taskforce to tackle loopy rules and regulations. Local Government Minister Paula Bennett today announced the establishment of a new Taskforce to rid New Zealand of loopy rules and...
    Transport Blog | 22-07
  • Manufacturing dissent
    So, it turns out that almost all US "domestic terrorists" are created and directly incited by the US government:Nearly all of the highest-profile domestic terrorism plots in the United States since 9/11 featured the "direct involvement" of government agents or...
    No Right Turn | 22-07
  • Minimum wage rises don’t lift unemployment, analysts agree
    More than 600 US Economists, including 7 nobel laureates, assert that increases in the minimum wage have little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum wage workers ...
    Closing the Gap | 22-07
  • The NZ First conference: policy highlights
    What were some of the policy announcements that came from the New Zealand First conference?...
    Imperator Fish | 22-07
  • Saved
    The Basin Reserve has been saved: Controversial plans to build a flyover next to the Basin Reserve in Wellington have been killed off by a board of inquiry. In a stunning move today, four commissioners declined resource consent for the...
    No Right Turn | 22-07
  • Not serious
    That's John Key's assessment of his government's failure in the Tania Billingsley case:"I don't make apologies unless there's a serious reason for me to do that." Except apparently it is serious enough to justify an independent inquiry (though one which...
    No Right Turn | 22-07
  • Vote Choice: John Key – the Fence Sitter
    Welcome to ALRANZ’s Vote Choice series, where we offer you our views on candidate’s opinions on abortion and reproductive justice, so that you can make an informed decision on 20 September. We encourage members to go along to candidate forums...
    ALRANZ | 22-07
  • Barry Brill and Anonymous: U R A Fraud
    People send me things. Brightening my email inbox last week was a pithy little email, headed U r a fraud. It didn’t have much to say. Here it is, in its entirety, exactly as it appeared: Please take down your...
    Hot Topic | 22-07
  • Access: Power to (all) the people!
    The society we live in today has been shaped by many struggles, social movements, and revolutionary forces, most aiming to create a more egalitarian existence.  Women, indigenous peoples, LGBT communities, and even animals have secured hard won recognition of their...
    Public Address | 22-07
  • Up Front: Tomorrow Lives Forever
    A while back, I promised you that next time I wrote, we'd have more fun. In that time, the world in general and my life in particular have become much grimmer. Therefore, in my opinion, the Fun is even more...
    Public Address | 22-07
  • More Australian torture
    Successive Australian governments have systematically dehumanised and demonised asylum seekers as part of their war on refugees, and the results have been predictable: torture, murder, and ill-treatment. And now they're torturing refugees to cover up their crimes:Two asylum seekers in...
    No Right Turn | 22-07
  • Petrol price elasticity, and supermarket vouchers
    As we all know, when the price of something goes up, we buy less of it. For some products, we’ll change our behaviour significantly (holidays or books, perhaps). For other products, we just grit our teeth, hand over the credit...
    Transport Blog | 22-07
  • Claudette Hauiti doesn’t wait for a third strike
    National Party list MP Claudette Hauiti has this morning announced her retirement from politics. It’s safe to say that since she came in to Parliament as Aaron Gilmore’s replacement, back in May last year, her career as a backbench MP...
    Occasionally erudite | 22-07
  • Who Shot Down MH17?
    Killing Fields: The tragedy of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 is amplified by the Western news medias' refusal to either contextualise the airliner's destruction, or provide its global audience with any explanation other than Russian guilt and perfidy. As if historical events have...
    Bowalley Road | 22-07
  • Good riddance
    Last week we learned that National MP Claudette Hauiti had been stealing from the taxpayer by rorting her expenses. Today, she decided to quit:National list MP Claudette Hauiti has decided to withdraw from the election and politics altogether. She has...
    No Right Turn | 22-07
  • Those Left Standing: The Town Hall
    It depresses me to be writing this piece again. I thought we had put all of this to bed last year. Unfortunately, after the council suggested that the project was on hold, the opinion pages of the Press were once again...
    Rebuilding Christchurch | 21-07
  • Juxtaposition
    First, the spin, courtesy of US Secretary of State John Kerry: Israel is under siege from a terrorist organisation... Then, the on the ground report, fromThe Guardian: As the sun begins to sink over the Mediterranean, groups of Israelis gather...
    Polity | 21-07
  • MH17 Routing
    In amongst all the bungling and politicking around a global tragedy, Joe Connell at The Silk Road (And Other Detours) has some solid, evidence-based work on the question of whether Malaysia Airways "made an error" or "cut corners" by flying...
    Polity | 21-07
  • Winston on GST off food
    I, for one, an really pleased that New Zealand First is proposing to take GST off most food. I think it is an overall good policy, and one Labour should support post-election. Here is Campbell Live's take from yesterday. Yes,...
    Polity | 21-07
  • John Key weak on Gaza
    If you're not aware of the situation in Gaza whereby the Israelis are murdering innocent civilians, many of the women and children, then you bloody well should be. The Zionist's attacking Palestine is the biggest story going, with every news...
    The Jackal | 21-07
  • Gordon Campbell on the non-apology to Tania Billingsley
    The refusal by Prime Minister John Key to issue a personal apology to Tania Billingsley has been accompanied by an array of excuses. Yes, there are judicial proceedings to be considered, as well an “independent inquiry” into how the incident...
    Gordon Campbell | 21-07
  • MANA Tamaki send a challenge to Labour
    “Labour should set the agenda and purposely do something positively controversial once a week”, said MANA candidate for Mt Albert, Joe Carolan. “A good start would be for all Labour Auckland MPs and members to join the Justice for Palestine...
    Mana | 23-07
  • We must act to save our dolphins
    A new report makes it clear for the urgent need to protect Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins while arguing  it is clear that there is no need for further research, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson.  “Labour backs the public call...
    Labour | 23-07
  • School told to manipulate national standards data
    Parents can have little confidence in the Government’s National Standards after an Auckland school was told to manipulate its data so it added up, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “Valley School in Pukekohe was advised in an email from the...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Regional economies must have tailored plans
    News that up to 114 jobs could be lost from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton reinforces the need for a government plan to build resilient regional economies, Labour’s MP for Hauraki-Waikato Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Canpac site has effectively responded...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Auditor General slams Shared Services project
    The Auditor-General’s Office could not have been more damning about the 18 months spent on the Central Agency Shared Services (CASS) project at the Finance and Expenditure Committee this morning, says Maryan Street, Labour’s State Services spokesperson.  ...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Fonterra job losses a massive blow to Waikato
    The potential loss of up to 114 jobs from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton is a massive blow to the Waikato region which has already lost hundreds of jobs, Labour says. Labour’s Social Development spokesperson and Hamilton-based list MP Sue...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Basin flyover decision an opportunity for capital
    The decision to reject the proposed flyover at the Basin Reserve must be taken as an opportunity to properly fund Wellington’s transport future and must not be used as an excuse to take resources away from the capital, Wellington Labour MPs...
    Labour | 22-07
  • National out of touch with the regions
    John Key is out of touch with regional New Zealand if he believes tinkering with council regulations will restore opportunities to small towns, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “While the regions are crying out for sustainable growth and job opportunities,...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Flyover rejection a victory for sustainable transport
    The rejection of the proposed Basin Reserve flyover by a Board of Inquiry is a victory for sustainable transport in Wellington and paves the way for other alternatives to be given a fair hearing, Wellington Labour MPs Grant Robertson and...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Reo Māori Policy Launch
    MANA will be launching its Reo Māori policy at 10am Thursday 24 July, at Matangireia (the old Māori Affairs Select Committee room at Parliament). We will also be addressing our concerns regarding the Minister of Māori Affairs Māori Language Strategy...
    Mana | 22-07
  • Basin Flyover decision victory for common sense
    The Green Party welcomed the Environmental Protection Authority's draft decision announced today not to allow the $90 million Basin Reserve flyover in Wellington to proceed."Both popular and expert opinion opposed the flyover. The proposal was expensive, unnecessary and would have...
    Greens | 22-07
  • Loss Leading could destroy Kiwi lamb’s reputation
    Meat companies that supply supermarkets and sell New Zealand lamb as a loss leader in the United Kingdom should lose their access to this valuable quota market, said Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor. “Our reputation as a Lamb producer...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Ae Marika! 22 July 2014
    The big storm has gone, but the damage that it did and the saturation levels that it reached meant that smaller storms quickly overwhelmed roading, and water-flow systems again in the north. And although certain individuals are talking up the...
    Mana | 21-07
  • 2014 Roger Award nominations now open
    The Roger Award is for The Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand in 2014 Nominations are now open please visit the website to nominate the worst TNC in Aotearoa. You will need to include reasons why you think your...
    Mana | 21-07
  • Labour will revive the regions with new fund
    The next Labour Government will co-develop Regional Growth Plans for every region of New Zealand and will invest at least $200 million in a fund to create breakthrough opportunities for jobs and sustainable growth, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says....
    Labour | 21-07
  • Speech to Local Government New Zealand
    Speech to the Local Government New Zealand Conference 2014 Read our full regional development policy Download Introduction Early in my time as an MP I went for a long walk on a windswept Kare Kare beach with Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey. We talked...
    Labour | 21-07
  • Stop Israeli State Terror – Rally and March this Saturday 26th July, Aote...
     The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is getting much worse and the world is marching in unprecedented numbers. New Zealanders spoke out strongly last Saturday with a march of 5,000 people in Auckland (see picture below) – the biggest march ever...
    Mana | 21-07
  • NZ needs to assist UN with aid for Gaza
    The New Zealand Government should support the United Nation's efforts to raise money to assist humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza, the Green Party said today.The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has made a...
    Greens | 21-07
  • INTERNET MANA ROAD TRIP- LEG 2
      WAIKATO / TARANAKI / MANAWATU-WANGANUI  Tuesday July 29th, 6pm | RotoruaDistinction Hotel, Fenton Ballroom, 390 Fenton Street, Rotorua  Wednesday July 30th 6pm | HamiltonWaikato University, Price Waterhouse Coopers Lecture Theatre, Gate 7, Hillcrest Rd Hamilton  Thursday July 31st, 6pm |...
    Mana | 21-07
  • Road fix needed now, not later
    Northland’s roading system is in chaos and needs fixing fast, Labour List MP Kelvin Davis says.  “According to NZTA’s 10 year funding data every area of Northland has had a decrease in NZTA funding since 2008...
    Labour | 20-07
  • KiwiSaver innovations needed to build wealth
    The innovative changes to KiwiSaver suggested by the Financial Services Council today will be seriously considered by Labour as part of plans to make KiwiSaver universal, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says. “Universal KiwiSaver is an essential part of Labour’s...
    Labour | 20-07
  • Greens announce 20 hours free ECE for two year olds
    The Green Party today announced that its key social platform for this election will be to tackle child poverty and inequality by ensuring every child in New Zealand has enough to thrive.The Green Party will make a series of policy...
    Greens | 20-07
  • MANA Pasifika Says NO To Discrimination
    Vice Chairperson of MANA Pasifika James Papali’i  feels for Ms Tupou and her children after they were served with trespass orders from their  local swimming pool in new market. With no warning or explanation from the pool staff Police ordered...
    Mana | 20-07
  • MANA Movement policy release – Economic Justice – John Minto
    Address notes from Mana Economic Justice Spokesperson and co-vice President John Minto to Economic policy launch in Kelston – 2pm, Sunday 20 July 2014. Reducing inequality and giving everyone a fair go MANA Movement’s policy prescription for a rich man’s...
    Mana | 20-07
  • One-sided reporting on the Middle East Conflict
    The following was sent to New Zealand Herald, Fairfax Media, Radio New Zealand, Television New Zealand, TV3, Radio Live and ZB Network. We are writing to all of you because there are well established patterns of reporting which seem to have been adopted by New Zealand...
    Mana | 20-07
  • New President for MANA Movement
    Lisa McNab, MANA President, and Annette Sykes, outgoing MANA President and candidate for Waiariki Lisa McNab was officially passed the mantle of MANA President in a special ceremony at Potahi Marae in Te Kao this week, following her unanimous election into the...
    Mana | 20-07
  • Te Reo Māori a doorway to opportunity
    A Labour Government will ensure more of our children have the opportunity to learn te reo Māori by encouraging the learning and use of it in schools, Labour’s Māori Affairs spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says....
    Labour | 19-07
  • Work numbers not all they’re cracked up to be
    The Government's figures on the numbers of beneficiaries don't add up, Labour's Social Development spokesperson Sue Moroney says."Paula Bennett keeps saying 1500 people are going off the benefit into work every week, yet today she announced just 16,000 fewer people...
    Labour | 18-07
  • Flood relief for National voters first
    “The flooding in Tai Tokerau has hammered the north and impacted hundreds of families right across the region,” said MANA Leader and Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira. “It’s bitterly disappointing to see that the first response from this National government...
    Mana | 18-07
  • Don’t contract out your loyal cleaners SkyCity3
    SkyCity should put aside its proposal to contract out its cleaning staff and not be lured by the prospect of washing their hands of these essential jobs and leaving them to the world of third party contracting, Labour’s Associate Labour...
    Labour | 18-07
  • Green Party statement on tragedy of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17
    The Green Party conveys its condolences to the families of the victims of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.The Ukrainian Government has accused pro-Russia rebels in the east of the Ukraine of shooting down the Malaysia Airlines jet with a ground-to-air missile,...
    Greens | 18-07
  • Gaza ground offensive can only result in more deaths
    Israel’s decision to continue with a ground offensive into Gaza can only result in more civilian deaths and push a ceasefire further beyond reach, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “There is no such thing as a surgical strike...
    Labour | 18-07
  • Tackling childhood obesity is not rocket science Minister, but it is scienc...
    The Government's latest snub of scientific evidence - this time about its failure to address childhood obesity - is another example of National's reliance on 'tobacco science' to justify its denial agenda, the Green Party said today. An Auckland University...
    Greens | 18-07
  • Paying patients to go away not a solution
    A voucher system being used by emergency departments in Southern DHB - which pays patients to see a GP – is designed to skew figures to meet Government targets, Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson and Dunedin North MP David Clark says....
    Labour | 18-07
  • Common sense a better response
    The actions of two police officers who walked into a marae's wharenui in the early hours of the morning to search and photograph a group of children in their pyjamas are deeply concerning, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says....
    Labour | 18-07
  • Taxpayer cash to plug Chorus copper hole
    The Chief Executive and Board of Chorus must be held accountable for striking a deal that uses taxpayer money that was intended to build a new fibre network to instead plug the company’s revenue gaps, says Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare...
    Labour | 18-07
  • Labour won’t abandon regional New Zealand
    Labour will ensure no regions in New Zealand are ‘red-zoned’ by tailoring Regional Growth Plans for each province as part of our Economic Upgrade, Labour’s Finance spokesperson and Deputy Leader David Parker says. “The Royal Society of New Zealand’s Our...
    Labour | 17-07
  • Minister must come clean on amalgamation
    The Minister of Local Government is telling porkies to its supporters on local government amalgamation, says Labour’s Local Government spokesperson Su’a William Sio.   National’s arrogance on amalgamation was all too clear when the Minister shut down Napier’s deputy mayor...
    Labour | 17-07
  • Labour sends condolences to families of MH17
    ...
    Labour | 17-07
  • IPCA report proves need for full review of spy agencies
    A report into the Police decision not to prosecute the Government Communications Security Bureau over its unlawful spying of 88 New Zealanders proves the need for a full review into our security agencies, Labour’s Associate Security and Intelligence spokesperson Grant...
    Labour | 16-07
  • New Zealanders will never get justice over spying saga
    New Zealanders who were illegally spied on by the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) will probably never get their justice, said the Green Party today.The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) today released its findings on whether the Police were negligent...
    Greens | 16-07
  • National issues mineral mining permits in Maui’s sanctuary
    The Government has issued mineral mining permits in one third of the endangered Maui's dolphin sanctuary, the Green Party has revealed today.This follows revelations that permits have also been issued for oil exploration in the sanctuary.There have been 254 Maui's...
    Greens | 16-07
  • No cosmetics tested on animals under Labour
    A Labour Government will help protect animals from harm by prohibiting the sale of cosmetics that have been tested on animals.  Labour’s Animal Welfare spokesperson Trevor Mallard today launched the initiative at an event organised by Labour’s Ōhariu candidate Ginny...
    Labour | 16-07
  • Bridges cannot argue with the CPI –electricity prices are up
    Today’s CPI gives the lie to Simon Bridge’s claim that power prices only rose by 2.3 % in the last year. Labour’s Energy spokesperson David Shearer says. “Its official; the CPI index says power prices increased by 4.2% in the...
    Labour | 16-07
  • Parata ploughs ahead with anti-democracy plan
      Hekia Parata is ignoring overwhelming opposition by ploughing ahead with plans to gut the political independence of the teaching profession and stifle democracy on tertiary institution councils, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “It is no surprise a massive...
    Labour | 16-07
  • Greens announce $1 billion additional investment in R&D, including busi...
    The Green Party has announced today that its economic priority for the election is building a smarter greener economy that benefits every New Zealander.In the Party's headline economic announcement, the Greens have launched their plan to build a smarter, more...
    Greens | 15-07
  • Families under more pressure as power, food prices rise
    Higher power prices, housing costs and food prices are behind today's inflation rise, putting already stressed families under renewed pressure, the Green Party said today."Families are facing rising costs from food, power, and mortgages, or rents; and most are getting...
    Greens | 15-07
  • Goverment drops recreational river reporting
    The Government pulled the plug on cleaning up our dirty rivers so they are safe for swimming, and now it has given up on annual reports about the problem, the Green Party said today. Two weeks ago the Government released...
    Greens | 15-07
  • Ae Marika! 15 July 2014
    It ain’t over by a long shot, but I can’t help feel good about Northlanders response to the week from hell. This last week has seen the worst weather over a larger region of the north, for a longer period...
    Mana | 15-07
  • Latest power price data shows National has failed families
    Latest data showing New Zealanders' power bills have risen 2.3 percent in the last year show National has failed families and households, the Green Party said today.Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment data issued today shows average residential electricity prices...
    Greens | 15-07
  • Dear Seven Sharp – I have little interest in appearing on your show so th...
    After savagely critiquing Seven Sharp for trying to whitewash the repulsive history of a far right hate speech merchant like Cameron Slater yesterday, Seven Sharp have contacted me and offered to do a profile on me. Here is their email…...
    The Daily Blog | 23-07
  • Basin Flyover decision victory for common sense
    MIL OSI – Source: Green Party – Headline: Basin Flyover decision victory for common sense Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 | Press Release “Both popular and expert opinion opposed the flyover. The proposal was expensive, unnecessary and would have undermined the...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • CPAG Newsletter July 2014
    MIL OSI – Source: Child Poverty Action Group – Headline: CPAG Newsletter July 2014 22 July 2014 New child poverty data nothing to celebrate New data released by the Ministry of Social Development  indicates people living below the poverty line are worse...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Hotel ordered to pay $80,000 in outstanding wages
    MIL OSI – Source: Unite Union – Headline: Hotel ordered to pay $80,000 in outstanding wages An Auckland hotel has been ordered by the Employment Relations Authority to pay nearly $80,000 in outstanding wages to two employees. Filipino couple Abraham...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Rising interest rate and dollar driving manufacturing exports back to Globa...
    MIL OSI – Source: CTU – Headline: Rising interest rate and dollar driving manufacturing exports back to Global Financial Crisis levels The Council of Trade Unions is calling on the Reserve Bank not to raise interest rates on Thursday. “Another...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Israel/Gaza: Attacks on medical facilities and civilians add to war crime a...
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Israel/Gaza: Attacks on medical facilities and civilians add to war crime allegations The continuing bombardment of civilian homes in several areas of the Gaza Strip, as well as the Israeli shelling...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Central African Republic: Brazzaville talks should not lead to amnesties fo...
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Central African Republic: Brazzaville talks should not lead to amnesties for war crimes Amnesty International called on delegates to the Central African Republic (CAR) National Reconciliation talks due to take place...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Russia increases stranglehold on dissent as five more NGOs named ‘foreign...
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Russia increases stranglehold on dissent as five more NGOs named ‘foreign agents’ The Russian Ministry of Justice today registered four more Russian human rights organizations and one environmental group as “foreign...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Nigeria: World Bank panel turns its back on forcibly evicted community
    MIL OSI – Source: Amnesty International NZ – Headline: Nigeria: World Bank panel turns its back on forcibly evicted community The decision by a World Bank Inspection Panel to refuse to investigate a complaint about forced evictions linked to a...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • National out of touch with the regions
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: National out of touch with the regions John Key is out of touch with regional New Zealand if he believes tinkering with council regulations will restore opportunities to small towns, Labour Leader...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Flyover rejection a victory for sustainable transport
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Flyover rejection a victory for sustainable transport The rejection of the proposed Basin Reserve flyover by a Board of Inquiry is a victory for sustainable transport in Wellington and paves the way...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Loss Leading could destroy Kiwi lamb’s reputation
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Loss Leading could destroy Kiwi lamb’s reputation Meat companies that supply supermarkets and sell New Zealand lamb as a loss leader in the United Kingdom should lose their access to this valuable...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Labour will revive the regions with new fund
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Labour will revive the regions with new fund The next Labour Government will co-develop Regional Growth Plans for every region of New Zealand and will invest at least $200 million in a...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Speech to Local Government New Zealand
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Speech to Local Government New Zealand Speech to the Local Government New Zealand Conference 2014 Introduction Early in my time as an MP I went for a long walk on a windswept...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Chris Perley – Confessions of an ex-Public Servant watching t...
    Back in the 16th century, good Queen Bess said to her Privy Council of advisors something along the lines of: “I want your free, frank advice, without consideration of fear or favour.”  In other words, tell me what you think,...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • The rise of the Internet/Mana phenomenon
    Commentators seem surprised at the popularity of the Mana/Internet phenomenon. The ultimate ‘odd coupling’ is doing reasonably well in the polls at over 2% support, and Right Wing pundits are guessing that the Party might even reach 5% by the...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Which Party Would (not) Walk Away from a Crap TPPA?
    Trick question.  Any TPPA would be crap. But a future government will try to sell it to us anyway. It is clear that there won’t be any deal until well after the election and the new government is installed. So...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Te wiki – Maori Language Week
    Maori Language Week has become an entrenched feature of New Zealand.  New Zealanders have come to accept that for one week a year the normal institutions of the white settler society will make some attempt to engage their stakeholders using the...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • A brief word on Cunliffe saying sorry for a 3 day holiday
    I’m not sure who the bloody hell is advising Cunliffe to apologise about a 3 day holiday, but it’s stupid. If you want to know what angry white reactionary NZ thinks about anything, go to a stuff.co.nz poll. Here’s their...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • Seven Sharp – The day public broadcasting died
    I rarely watch Seven Sharp because it’s bullshit and sums up all that is wrong with current affairs in NZ, but even I can’t believe that Seven Sharp have stooped to being an apologist for Cameron Slater on this evenings show. This...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • ….except Israel
    ….except Israel...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • NZIFF Review: The Dark Horse – 6 stars
    This year’s opening New Zealand International Film Festival offering was a couple of nights ago, and I still feel this incredible NZ movie reverberating inside me. The Dark Horse is heartbreaking, heartwarming and terribly raw. Director James Napier Robertson has...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • TDB New Zealand International Film Festival 2014 picks
    NZIFF is here, our picks this season are… The Dark Horse Boyhood Leviathan Is the man who is tall happy?  Hot Air Maps to the Stars Snowpiercer Toons for Tots InRealLife Print The Legend E-Team The Internet’s Own Boy: The...
    The Daily Blog | 22-07
  • A tale of two men: Cunliffe’s apology for rape culture vs Key’s dismiss...
    The manner in which Cunliffe has sought to address rape culture vs Key’s dismissal of it yesterday is a remarkable contrast as stark as the bias over Cunliffe’s holiday vs Key’s holiday. Key takes weeks off to pose for selfies...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • MANA Pasifika Says NO To Discrimination
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: MANA Pasifika Says NO To Discrimination  Posted on July 20, 2014 by admin in James Papali’i’Vice Chairperson of MANA Pasifika James Papali’i  feels for Ms Tupou and her children after they were...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • MANA Movement policy release – Economic Justice – John Minto
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: MANA Movement policy release – Economic Justice – John Minto  Posted on July 20, 2014 by admin in John Minto, Press ReleasesAddress notes from Mana Economic Justice Spokesperson and co-vice President John...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • New President for MANA Movement
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: New President for MANA Movement  Posted on July 20, 2014 by admin in Lisa McNab, NewsLisa McNab, MANA President, and Annette Sykes, outgoing MANA President and candidate for Waiariki Lisa McNab was officially...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • Flood relief for National voters first
    MIL OSI – Source: Mana Movement – Headline: Flood relief for National voters first Posted on July 18, 2014 by admin in Hone Harawira, Press Releases“The flooding in Tai Tokerau has hammered the north and impacted hundreds of families right...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • Te Reo Māori a doorway to opportunity
    MIL OSI – Source: Labour Party – Headline: Te Reo Māori a doorway to opportunity A Labour Government will ensure more of our children have the opportunity to learn te reo Māori by encouraging the learning and use of it...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – National Party thugs destroying Internet MANA b...
    Last Saturday morning the volunteer brigade of Internet Mana  went out in the freezing cold to deploy Internet Mana billboards. They braved the cold weather of that icy cold morning only to have National party thugs destroy the billboards and...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • Amnesty International: War crimes against innocent civilians – Why is his...
    27 December 2008, 11:30. Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) commence military airstrikes on a list of 603 targets believed to house suspected Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip. In just three weeks, the devastating Operation ‘Cast Lead’ claimed approximately nine Israeli...
    The Daily Blog | 21-07
  • Rape Culture is not blah blah blah
    To some of our politicians and commentators, ‘rape culture’ has already become blah blah blah. A meaningless and overstated slogan to roll their eyes at and derisively joke about and deny. It’s something the &ls