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The CV of a Spy Boss

Written By: - Date published: 5:14 pm, April 3rd, 2013 - 85 comments
Categories: accountability, capitalism, iraq, john key, slippery, uk politics - Tags: , ,

What was it about the short listed candidates for GCSB boss that was lacking?  And what was it about Ian Fletcher that made him a more suitable candidate?

The cronyist element of Key’s role in his appointment is very concerning, as Eddie shows.  This suggests that Fletcher was someone he knew and felt he could trust. But it is also necessary to look at why Key and Rennie considered Fletcher to be a more suitable person.  Chris Trotter argues that a change under Key award from the low profile grey men, towards more high profile men which began with the appointment of Jerry Mateparae.

Fletcher’s background is also worth looking at.  His profile on the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation’s website says he began his career in the NZ diplomatic service in 1989. Until 1991, he was in the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

He then worked in Trade Policy at the end of the GATT Uruguay Round, and continued this work during a secondment with European Commission, negotiating in the World Trade Organisation on Free Trade Agreements.

Mr. Fletcher returned to the UK in 1998 and, after working in DTI’s HR area, he joined the then Overseas Trade Services organization at the time the Wilson Review of Export Promotion was being finalized and British Trade International was being established, working on finance HR and corporate policy issues. In 2000, Mr. Fletcher undertook a secondment with the UN Administration in Kosovo as Head of the Customs Service and Department of Trade & Industry. He returned later that year to head DTI’s Directorate responsible for electricity and gas policy.

During 2002, he moved to the Cabinet Office as Principal Private Secretary to Sir Andrew Turnbull, the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service.

Since 2004, Ian had been Managing Director, International in UKTI, managing the UK’s foreign commercial service.

Following that,

Mr. Fletcher was appointed as Chief Executive of the UK Office of Intellectual Property in March 2007.

So, he has experience in patents and intellectual property issues as well as free trade.  This is very relevant to the Dotcom case that was becoming particularly significant just before Fletcher was appointed.  This is also strongly connected with the TPP negotiations currently in progress.

This was said about his role when he was appointed chief executive for the UK patents office:

“I am pleased to welcome Ian to the Patent Office at this exciting time. The recent Gowers Review of Intellectual Property redefines the Patent Office’s role both in the UK and abroad, seeing intellectual property rights as vital for British businesses. I look forward to working with him and the Office as it develops in the light of the planned name change to UK Intellectual Property Office on 2 April.”

Ian Fletcher said;

“I am delighted to be joining the Patent Office. It already plays a vital role in the UK’s economic prosperity, its scientific excellence and its innovation system. As the Office moves on to tackle to challenges set out in Andrew Gowers’ review, the Office’s role will become even more central to the UK’s response to the challenges of globalisation.”

It’s interesting to look at what Sir Andrew Turnbull was up to when Fletcher was his private secretary (2002-2004). According to the Wikipedia page on Turnbull, there was the small issue of Turnbull and the Blair government’s role in Iraq:

Turnbull became involved in controversy when on 28 February 2004 he wrote a formal letter admonishing ex-minister Clare Short for making media statements alleging that British intelligence had intercepted communications from (amongst others) Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan. Short made the confidential letter public, and in turn rebuked Turnbull for allegedly allowing the government decision-making machinery to crumble in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war. Short suggested that the government’s legal expert, Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, had been “leant on” to provide advice that war would be legal.[1] She argued that Turnbull had been responsible for what she alleged was inadequate Cabinet scrutiny of the legal advice, of the basis for the decision to go to war and the alternatives:

“He allowed us to rush to war in Iraq without defence and overseas policy meeting, looking at all the military options and the diplomatic options and political options. (He) allowed the Joint Intelligence Committee to meet with Alastair Campbell chairing it.”[2]

 

In March 2005, Lord Turnbull revealed that Lord Goldsmith’s opinion on the legality of the Iraq War was only one page long.

So, not only has Fletcher got an NZ background but he has been involved in overseas operations involving intellectual property, globalisation and business.  He also was working for Turnbull in the period when he mislead the public about the UK’s decisions to go to war in Iraq.  There’s also the issue of intercepting UN communications.

85 comments on “The CV of a Spy Boss”

  1. seeker 1

    Wow! Fantastic investigative work Karol. if only our msm were up to the same standard!.
    What a right couple of little unsavoury so and so s Key’s old school was unwittingly nurturing. Yuk.

  2. xtasy 2

    Karol, great that you picked this up! I read the CV of Fletcher somewhere else before, I am not sure whether it was on the NZ Herald online or idiot Kiwiblog, but yes, some things in it struck me.

    He worked in diplomatic posts, in trade and negotiations on it, he worked for the UN and in other jobs. NONE of his previous jobs would appear to make him qualified to run a “spy agency” or investigating agency.

    One might have looked at a former senior cop, or one from SIS or whatever, to qualify, not someone with Fletcher’s background. It is really odd. And this is where the appointment and selection become unstuck. There is clearly insufficient evidence that Fletcher was the “best suited” person for heading GCSB. And for those saying a foreign person would not be suited, we had top jobs given to UK persons before, and that was due to them having particular qualifications that was asked for.

    So the question arises, very justifiably, why did Fletcher get the job, lacking intelligence and investigation experience, was it not perhaps, because he had mates or friends in high places?

    There is nothing else that shows me, why he would have got the top job in that agency.

    Key has a damned lot to answer to, after inviting him to apply, so to say. This is a huge scandal, if only useless NZ media would realise and accept it. I am waiting for them to do their bloody job now!

    • karol 2.1

      Yes, xtasy. I first saw Fletcher’s previous jobs listed on NZ news sites – articles back when he was appointed. This was before the Dotcom story got big, so it probably didn’t really compute with many of us.

      seeker, the research was easy. I just googled to get more detail on his jobs and the ones I linked to were among the first up.

      • seeker 2.1.1

        It is still great that you bothered karol. Thanks. The way I ‘m feeling at the mo I just would not have got round to it and besides I would probably have had to return this computer to my son just in the middle of links. Am having to borrow his machine when I can, as mine has finally had it. Am hoping that the same can soon be said of mr key.

  3. yeshe 3

    Thanks Karol .. xclnt. Seems as though he might have been a ‘spook’ for quite a while if one reads between the various lines … and I didn’t know he is now “Lord Turnbull’ !! Cronyism of the most egregious kind !

  4. Huginn 4

    Thanks, Karol. That’s a very useful background.

    Andrea Vance has reminded us that:

    ‘Fletcher was appointed in September 2011 and took up the position early in February last year.

    One of his first jobs was to attend a joint police-GCSB briefing about the raid on Kim Dotcom’s rural Auckland mansion.

    At that briefing the bureau learned it may have illegally spied on the internet mogul, who is accused by the US of internet piracy.’

    Which puts Key’s ‘glittering’ civil servant in charge of the GCSB at the time that it was covering up its illegal actions.

    This raises so many ugly questions.

    Source:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8500613/What-did-Key-know-about-spy-boss-appointment

    • The industry position against piracy has its own dark side. In a nutshell companies like CBS and Disney have been involved with distribution of file sharing software for the distribution of their own digital media, and then pushing for legislation to punish file sharing.

      In 2009 the Obama administration had appointed five RIAA lawyers to the US department of justice.
      http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/04/obama-taps-fift/

  5. xtasy 5

    Yes, ok, he is supposed to be an expert on intellectual property, but one would think that to run a spy agency, more is needed, which Fletcher lacks.

    • karol 5.1

      I think, as Trotter points out, the appointment involves a shift to someone who has a public political profile. Key has effectively politicised the role, and recommended someone who is sympathetic to his & US intellectual property policies and free trade policies.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        Exactly what the US corporates and banksters wanted.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1

          Exactly. Reading what Karol has quoted it seems obvious to me that he was chosen because of his political reliability and not because of any ability to do the job.

          • UpandComer 5.1.1.1.1

            Haha! No ability to do the job, why because that very long list of major responsibilities is public sector?!

            • One Tāne Huna 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Baby steps, UpandNohesfallenoveragain, the point being made is that Fletcher has the political skills required, as opposed to the practical or operational. Do I need to use fewer syllables?

              • Colonial Viper

                But good manager leaders can run any kind of outfit. You can move a good manager between a nuclear power plant, MI5, a chocolate biscuit factory, a Formula One team and a Hollywood movie set in turn and they’d good results at everything they touched! No prior industry experience needed.

                Yay for the wealth creators!

                • Colonial Weka

                  So true! Look how well that has worked in health, welfare, ACC etc.

                  • xtasy

                    It is going to work even “better” soon with outsourcing work capability assessments from WINZ, so turnover, profit and gains will set the agenda to get the lazy layabouts in wheel chairs and without sight off their bludged benefits and get real jobs, right?

            • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.1.2

              Where did I say that he had no ability to do the job?

              • xtasy

                He did the job just fine, exactly as the master expected, so he even shot over target, by not listening to stupid Police advice that Dotcom and his Dutch colleague were NZ residents, supposedly not to be spied on by GCSB.

                Doing the job is one thing open to interpreation DtB.

                Whether rules are followed or not, the target and goal may become more important than abiding by small print and the law.

                That would be a job well done, same as Putin would see it in Russia.

      • Huginn 5.1.2

        Trotter also points out that the focus of the GCSB itself has shifted, and that it has been politicised as a result of that shift.

        By the way, if we take Key at his word, and accept that he and Fletcher weren’t close, then we should be asking who recommended Fletcher to Key – who brokered those breakfast meetings? And whether Key still rates that person’s advice because Fletcher truly cocked it up for Key when he green-lighted the GCSB’s cover-up.

        And whether Key has asked Fletcher to resign for the GCSB cover-up.

  6. xtasy 6

    Having watched the news on ONE and 3News, I already see that the ground is laid to let Key off the hook again. It was just brief mention, although amongst the top topics, but they did present it as not to question Key’s words. It was Robertson against Key so to say, and then the public will again think, oooh, John Key is such a nice face, he is smart, he has “business experience”, I’d rather trust him. Forget it, this will again lead to nothing, the screwed up media in NZ NOT doing their jobs again!

  7. ianmac 7

    Campbell Live tonight for his take on the issue.

    I thought that Mr Fletcher had been recently working in Queensland?

    • karol 7.1

      Yes, he was. I left that bit out, but it is in the news articles.

      Fletcher will quit his post as the Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Queensland State’s Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation and take over running the GSCB early next year, for five years.

      • xtasy 7.1.1

        Employment and Trade, yeah those are core areas that offer skills to lead a spy agency, for sure???!

        • handle 7.1.1.1

          Spying is also about corporate interests these days. Fletcher might be a good manager for the job, but why would Key tell porkies about the recruitment process if it was all above-board?

          • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1.1

            Spying is also about corporate interests these days

            It always has been partly about commercial interests. And if you use facilities like gmail and facebook, consider everything you’ve ever entered as open access.

          • Ugly Truth 7.1.1.1.2

            Fletcher spent about three years as comptroller of the UK Intellectual Property Office. Copyright enforcement can be used as a cover for internet espionage.

    • Anne 7.2

      Further to ianmac’s comment:

      Watch Campbell Live tonight! In a brief excerpt I recognised an interviewee, Sir Bruce Ferguson.

      A former Air Force chief who became Chief of the Defence Services during Helen Clark’s era. He went on to become Director of the GCSB and – if my memory serves me correctly – followed that with a short stint as Director of the SIS. I think he retired before his term was complete.

      I knew Ferguson (slightly) when he was in the RNZAF. As a civilian on base, it was part of my job to give weather briefings. He came across to me as a man of honesty and integrity. Since that time nothing has happened to cause me to change my mind. Whatever he has to say it will be straight-forward and well worth listening to…

    • karol 7.3

      So a short list was drawn up. The candidates were notified, then one of them was notified to say not to come to interview because they’d chosen someone.

      Key says Rennie came to him with a shortlist but they weren’t up to scratch. Rennie wouldn’t recommend any of them. I thought if no applicants were suitable, the employers wouldn’t draw up a short list …. ?

      And on CL, when Key said he was totally happy with the process he was slightly shaking his head in contradiction…. some say that is a tell a person is lying.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    So, not only has Fletcher got an NZ background but he has been involved in overseas operations involving intellectual property, globalisation and business. He also was working for Turnbull in the period when he mislead the public about the UK’s decisions to go to war in Iraq. There’s also the issue of intercepting UN communications.

    It appears that he can see immoral actions and not be bothered by them – the right background for helping to screw over NZ.

    • emergency mike 8.1

      Yep now it becomes clear that Key chose him for the job because of his proven immoral weasel experience.

  9. gobsmacked 9

    Bruce Ferguson’s interview on Campbell Live is one of the most damning indictments of a PM ever seen on NZ television. All the more so for being restrained, authoritative and to the point.

    It’s a must-see, and should lead to resignation(s) forthwith. Should, but I’m guessing, won’t.

    • karol 9.1

      Yes. the fact that Ferguson has come forward is significant. Plus he reports that morale at the GCSB is quite low right now, mainly due to the Dotcom case.

      Key says 4 candidates were short listed but, presumably after the candidates had been notified, Rennie went to Key and said the candidates weren’t up to it. So Ferguson’s contact was then told not to come to interview because a candidate had been chosen…. strange.

      • Pascal's bookie 9.1.1

        It’s all on.

        Let’s not forget that the report into the GCSB was handed to the PM a few days ago, and now we have a former head spilling the beans on the PM in public.

        Frankly, at this point, citizens are fucked if they know what to think. It’s an omnishambles, fucked that it was allowed to get this bad.

        • andy (the other one) 9.1.1.1

          when insiders like Duncan Garner are calling it a major hit on Key’s credibility, it tells us mere mortals that shit has gone seriously sideways.

          I got the impression from the Ferguson interview that the convention of the past of high up old school military types running the GCSB had been shit canned by Key and his shoulder tap of Fletcher, putting NZ spy agency and our collective interests in harms way.

          Also from Ferguson, he looked ashamed and disgusted by the current ‘Omnishambles’..

          Drip, drip, drip…

          • Pascal's bookie 9.1.1.1.1

            Almost forces one to ask questions about why the recently appointed Mateparae was ‘promoted’ over to Government House doesn’t it?

            So soon after the DotCom raids, not that the PM knew anything about that of course, yet.

            All just a big co-inky-dink.

            • andy (the other one) 9.1.1.1.1.1

              promoted to a position where he only answers to the Queen, can’t answer questions because he works for House of Windsor…

              Not the highest court in NZ can make him testify, and Lizzy is least likely to ask questions next to Larry Williams…

              Be interested to know, does the GG become an automatic British citizen with diplomatic status??

              • karol

                This guy reckons that it is the responsibility of the Governor General to appoint the head of GCSB – which would mean Mataparae was the person to appoint Fletcher.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  It’s appointment on recommendation though, like with Ministers etc.

      • Anne 9.1.2

        Plus he reports that morale at the GCSB is quite low right now, mainly due to the Dotcom case.

        He followed that up by saying its the lowest it’s ever been.

        Ferguson chose his words carefully but he was obviously appalled and disgusted at the process that was followed. The whole mess tells me that Rennie was effectively told who to appoint to the position.

        Key thinks he owns this country!

        • Treetop 9.1.2.1

          The GCSB will probably spy on Ferguson to keep one step ahead of being exposed or having Key exposed.

          • karol 9.1.2.1.1

            But that would be illegal – Ferguson is an NZ resident/citizen, isn’t he?

            • Anne 9.1.2.1.1.1

              Ahh yes karol but there’s four other ‘eyes’ in the Echelon spy system – Australia, Britain, USA and Canada. Any one of them can do the spying with relative impunity. I mean I’m sure Warner Bros. will have already been in touch with the FBI, NSA, CIA whoever… 😎

            • Treetop 9.1.2.1.1.2

              Yes I know that spying would be illegal, it would not be the first time.

      • geoff 9.1.3

        mainly due to the Dotcom case.

        Is it just Dotcom or has the GCSB suffered the same cuts that all the other departments have?

        • karol 9.1.3.1

          Ferguson said it was mainly Dotcom but also the Fletcher case a bit too. He didn’t say anything about cuts.

          • geoff 9.1.3.1.1

            So many of the other government departments have had staff and funding cut, I would be suprised if the GCSB has been untouched. Speaking from personal experience, from my time at the MOH a few years ago, I can say that the process of cleaning out a department is, unsuprisingly, very harmful to morale.

            Look what happened to McCully after he tried to muck with MFAT. Those bureaucrats are connected and McCully had to retreat significantly. Perhaps Key will face a similar situation?

            • Arfamo 9.1.3.1.1.1

              The whole thing stinks. Ministers and Senior appointees to government departments have no loyalty to their staff. So staff are proving quite quick to reciprocate. Will be interesting to see if the GCSB winds up in the news a bit more often now.

      • Shane Gallagher 9.1.4

        That does not make sense to me… why would you shortlist people who were not up to the job? You only shortlist people you think are good enough. You would just re-advertise the position and get a bigger candidate pool if no-one was up to the criteria stated…

        • Colonial Weka 9.1.4.1

          The headhunters gave Rennie a list of people they thought were suitable. That’s what is being called teh shortlist. Rennie thought none of the names were suitable, and presumably didn’t want to interview them because of that.

          • karol 9.1.4.1.1

            But already at least one candidate seemed to know they had been shortlisted. Then this candidate was contacted and told they wouldn’t be interviewed, according to Ferguson.

            Key is trying to pass it off as though the process hadn’t got beyond a short list list of names drawn up by the agency. Actually, I think Rennie could have been involved in drawing up the shortlist. His statement from a few days ago says this:

            “The position of GCSB was advertised in May 2011. In addition, a recruitment consultant was appointed to assist me,” Mr Rennie said.

            “Mr Fletcher was interviewed by a selection panel in July 2011, chaired by me. The other members of the panel were Mr Maarten Wevers (now Sir Maarten), the Chief Executive of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; Mr John McKinnon, the Secretary of Defence; and Ms Helene Quilter, a State Services Deputy Commissioner.”

            Why did he omit to mention the recruitment consultant drew up the shortlist list?

            There seems to be some fudging going on.

        • Blue 9.1.4.2

          It seems to be a product of the way Key views government agencies. The shortlist drawn up was no doubt composed of the usual suspects – the people who actually have the military experience that is the worldwide standard prerequisite for this type of role.

          The reason none of these candidates was considered ‘suitable’ (without even bothering to interview them) obviously stems from the fact that Key was looking for a manager, not a spook. (For ‘manager’ substitute ‘cost-cutting bureaucrat’).

          It’s quite an embarrassing spectacle, really, thinking about our ‘top spy boss’ communicating with other spy bosses around the world. They’re probably thinking ‘who the fuck is this guy?’ and wondering why they are dealing with a civilian paper pusher.

          • Yorick 9.1.4.2.1

            +1

            • Anne 9.1.4.2.1.1

              Exactly right Blue.

              Setting aside what we already know about him, there are two things about Key that have been revealed over this Dotcom/spy saga.

              1) His approach is so one eyed and immersed in a wheeler/dealer mindset that he is oblivious to other essential considerations. In this instance he doesn’t really understand the nature of the position and the kind of specialist qualities and experiences that are required for such a high tech/sensitive area. It may well be this Ian Fletcher comes with brilliant CVs and is very competent, but not in the sphere of activity commensurate with a govt. spy agency.

              2) He thinks he’s above the law of the land and doesn’t have to follow due processes, especially if it means he mightn’t get his own way. That these processes have been developed over many decades and are tried and true methods mean nothing to him. The spy agencies belong to him and he’ll do what he likes with them. The last PM who operated like that was Rob Muldoon and in the end it did him no good.

              I don’t know what’s going to happen over this affair, but full credit to Sir Bruce Fergusson for having the courage and tenacity to stand up and be counted.

      • xtasy 9.1.5

        Ferguson will soon be summonsed to answer to the PM, and agencies, I suppose, that is how dictators work, I think.

    • Colonial Weka 10.1

      The reporter Dan Hunter was interesting to watch. I don’t see much TV, is he who TV3 usually use? Loved the smirk.

      • xtasy 10.1.1

        He’s recently been doing more jobs for Campbell Live, and so far, I think much has been useful and good. I just wonder, where does this leave our “publicly owned” state media for independent reporting and asking the harder questions?!

  10. trcaey 11

    Is anyone suggesting that his IP experience was important because of the Dotcom investigation? Remind me of the dates again of his appointment and the timeline of the spying on Dotcom?

  11. Bob Tambling 12

    I would be well fucked off if I was on the short list and just heard the PM saying I wasn’t up to it. I would be even more fucked off that the PM then gets his mate appointed. who clearly isn’t (if the stories about morale are to be believed)
    Be really good to know who the four people were . I bet they regret they didn’t go to school with the right people..
    Be a great job though just think of all those emails and phones you could tap with no oversight
    or maybe a lot of oversight, thinking about it :-)

    Jeez so many targets for Labour like shooting fish in a barrel, and yet…
    I bet Key goes up in the next round of polls

  12. Major stink 13

    Hello I am one of the persons who was on the shortlist. I believe that I was ‘unshortlisted’ because of a particular question on the application form

    Would I continue managing the spy that had been put in a “very high position ” in the NZ Labour Party. whose principal aim is to prevent Labour from being elected in the foreseeable future?

    I now know that this was a trick question and I should have answered “yes” instead of the no which was obviously the wrong answer.

    I guess to be the top spy you have to be devious and cunning . Thats why I then applied for the job as the race relations commissioner.
    I was obviously not devious enough this time around,as I didn’t get the job because apparently “I really didn’t have the knowledge ,experience and suitable sporting achievements”
    Where to now? Any suggestions?

  13. Major stink 14

    Dear John,
    How I hate to write
    Dear John
    I must let you know tonight
    that my love for you is gone
    so I’m sending you this song
    tonight I’m with another
    you went to school with his brother
    Dear John

  14. xtasy 15

    Just get rid of this democracy rubbish, we need order and obedience, now, right now.

    Judith or John, the agenda is set, for more ORDER.

    Bring in the stiff medicine and resolute hit troops, to “protect” us from disorder. That is most important. Democracy is making us ill, it is not good, same as human rights stuff. And the media better keep it up, they are doing a good job now, so says Hone Key and Judith, the next leader.

  15. Murray Olsen 16

    That CV says to me that Fletcher has been appointed to make sure the TPAA goes through without significant opposition. He has already shown that he has as much loyalty to our country as Key does. The unsuitable people probably believed in something outdated such as sovereignty.

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      yeah this too.

    • Treetop 16.2

      Birds of a feather flock together. Throw in the TV 3 reporter (Hunter) that Cambell uses and those birds just might have their wings clipped.

  16. AmaKiwi 17

    Our top military spy has no investigative, military, or spying experience.

    We ask our soldiers to risk their lives for us. Then the PM gets a blind man guide them through the dark.

    The PM has intentionally put our military personal in danger.

    Main stream media (except TV3). Do any of you give a damn?

  17. joe90 18

    Bloody marvellous post Karol, thanks.

  18. Populuxe1 19

    His expertise is relevant to electronic espionage which is how most of it is carried out these days.

  19. Instauration 20

    Oh dear
    Mr Fletchers judgment has been questioned in April 2011;

    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/sunday-mail/queenslands-buy-local-t-shirts-made-in-bangladesh-and-the-us/story-e6frep2f-1226040191601

    “I considered this to be misleading, and would serve only to compound the gross error of judgment.”

    And then the wrath of the Ombudsman’s report in November 2011;

    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/row-over-claims-in-hendra-judgment/story-e6freoof-1226185213963

    He was probably quite pleased to escape the Sylvanic-Waters of Brisbane

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    Although I am loathe to prognosticate on fluid situations and current events, I have been thinking about how the conflict in Iraq has been going. Although I do not believe that the Islamic State (IS) is anywhere close to being… ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    23 hours ago
  • Got business out of town? Need a hire car?
    Whether you are heading of town for a conference or taking a break and need a hire car, your TEU Member Advantage program has you covered.  Use your member benefits to access either reduced car hire rates or excess on… ...
    23 hours ago
  • An abuse of the OIA
    In the wake of revelations that Prime Minister John Key had systematically and repeatedly bullied, sexually harassed and assaulted a cafe waitress, the New Zealand Herald published a piece exposing the victim. It seemed like retribution, and the involvement of… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    24 hours ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    frogblogBy Eugenie Sage
    1 day ago
  • Calling Peak Car?
    There’s often a lot of discussion around the future of transport – particularly in cities. We’ve talked many times before about how transport trends are changing, how we’re seeing people drive less and catch PT more, how changing preferences amongst younger people in… ...
    1 day ago
  • Australia’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on...
    The prohibition against torture is one of the cast-iron features of international law. You're not allowed to torture people, and you're not allowed to return or extradite people to a country where there are substantial grounds to believe they will… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Fiji: Removing the opposition
    Last year, Nauru's government abused its parliamentary majority to suspend the opposition from Parliament on a spurious privilege motion. Its a disease which is spreading: last night, Fiji's "democratic" regime did the same, suspending an opposition MP for making a… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2015: Don’t worry about the surplus, worry about this… Whiteboar...
    Bill’s budget put a bit of extra change in the pocket of poor families, but that came at the cost of the promised surplus. But should you be worried about it? With government debt still only at 25%… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Gareth Morgan
    1 day ago
  • The productivity trap – heads they win, tails we lose
    The article below was written in 2006, so some of the stats are a bit dated.  However the fundamental argument remains.  For instance, NZ productivity growth continues to be poor and NZ capitalists remain behind most of the OECD in… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 day ago
  • Attention leftie campaigners: Watch Lynton Crosby
    This is a video of Lynton Crosby, of Crosby/Textor fame and infamy, talking about how he approaches campaigns. It is well worth an hour of any serious campaigner's time - whether they're of the left or the right. I've… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    1 day ago
  • Hard News: Friday Music: Out there in the world
    Friday Music posts here don't generally have much to do with my day job helping make a media TV show, but next week's Media Take is an exception. We're putting together a New Zealand music month-themed programme and one of the… ...
    1 day ago
  • Government announces plan to grow Auckland housing bubble
    The key initiative in yesterday’s budget is a plan to grow Auckland’s housing bubble. Auckland’s housing bubble is projected to take over from dairy farming as the fastest-growing sector of the New Zealand economy. Consider a typical Mangere housewife. For… ...
    Can of wormsBy Can of Worms, Opened
    1 day ago
  • Paul F Tompkins: The undisputed king of podcasts
    When Paul F Tompkins got into comedy in the mid 1980s, the formats with which he’s achieved most renown and popularity didn’t actually exist. “None of them did!” he yells, laughing, into the phone during an interview about stage… ...
    1 day ago
  • Budget 2015: What does it mean?
    ...
    1 day ago
  • What next?
    It feels really, really surreal to nearly be done with my degree. And terrifying, mostly. Right now I have a single 2000 word essay remaining for Politics of Protest and then three exams mid-way through next month, and… that’s it.… ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 day ago
  • Solo parents forced to work; but where are the quality jobs?
    The Government is increasing the expectations of paid work from solo parents without any thought as to where the jobs will be, the Council of Trade Unions said today. “There are already 100,000 part time workers who are wanting more secure… ...
    CTUBy andrew.chick
    1 day ago
  • April-15 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    1 day ago
  • April-14 Patronage
    Another month and another good patronage result from Auckland Transport – particularly for rail. Patronage in April is naturally down on the madness that is March due to the combination of a 30 day month, ANZAC day, Easter and School Holidays/Uni holidays.… ...
    1 day ago
  • Children and steady-as-you-go – but how steady?
    There are three political dimensions to the budget’s star “children in hardship” item. One is John Key’s ownership. That fits his protestations of concern about disadvantaged children — though action has been slow coming. He made his pile in… ...
    Colin JamesBy Colin James
    1 day ago
  • Thoughts on budget 2015
    There’s a Herald summary here. I’ve been saying for a while that ‘neoliberalism’ – ie a belief in the efficacy of free markets, the distortionary evil of taxes and benefits and the minimalisation of the state – is dead. There… ...
    DimPostBy danylmc
    1 day ago
  • What if your MP was decided on the flip of a coin?
    The provincial election in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island finally came to an end a couple of days ago when its last MLA was declared elected following a judicial recount.(What - you didn't know that Prince Edward Island… ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    2 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Budget 2015
    From the outset, the slogan for yesterday’s Budget – “The Plan Is Working” – begged to be mocked. There’s actually a plan for the national economy? Who knew? And its been working for whom, exactly? Not for families in poverty,… ...
    2 days ago
  • Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific
    Speech – New Zealand Government I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak at this International Conference on the Future of Asia.22 May 2015 Building better connections between Asia and the Pacific (speech delivered to 2015 Nikkei Forum, Tokyo,… ...
    Its our futureBy ScoopBlogPush
    2 days ago
  • Budget 2015: Media releases and tertiary education coverage
    We will update this page over the next few days with media releases and news stories on Budget 2015 and its effect on tertiary education and on employment. Radio NZ: Govt tightens education purse strings The Government is expecting fewer… ...
    2 days ago
  • Helping Our Heritage Come Alive – Mt Eden Rd
    This is an image from Mark Bishop. Here are the previous posts: Queen and Wellesley, Newton Rd, Kingsland These images were developed by merging together various historic black and white photographs (all from the “Sir George Grey Special Collection” –… ...
    2 days ago
  • Budget 2015 shows no plans for public sector wages
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says this budget does not address the wage rises needed across the public sector. ...
    2 days ago
  • Don’t expect to see chemical safety data sheets in restaurants
    I keep coming across this very naive form of chemophobic scare-mongering – the use of safety data sheets to frighten consumers about trace chemicals in their environment, food and drink. Here is an example anti-fluoridation propagandists continually use – safety data… ...
    2 days ago
  • World News Brief, Thursday May 21
    PunditBy Daily Digest
    2 days ago
  • Hard News: Mediaworks: The only horizon they see
    When it emerged last month that Campbell Live was facing the axe, I ventured that Mediaworks had become far more Julie Christie's company than it was John Campbell's. And I think that's the reality behind the news that Campbell Live… ...
    2 days ago
  • Andrew’s little Poem
    by Don Franks Twas the night before Budget When just for a change Andrew Little’s thought’s did more widely range Labour’s leader cast round in his mind for an angle On which a publicity moment might dangle Some little device… ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • One good thing
    Today's budget is a dismal affair, as the government shuffles money around and announces new spending while conveniently forgetting to mention that its a sub-inflation rise and that health and education are going backwards - as they have every year… ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Budget tougher for students – NZUSA and TEU media release
    Lowering the annual fee increases for students from 4 percent to 3 percent means universities, polytechnics and wānanga will have less money, say national student and staff unions NZUSA and TEU. Slightly slower fee rises are no good if the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Lala-land forecasts on housing investment
    Some of the forecasts in the Budget beggar belief, and when they almost inevitably turn out wrong they spell disaster for New Zealand families. Here’s the clearest example. In the last year, investment in residential property ballooned by 16%. In… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Cynical bribery on the horizon
    Bill English has said time and again that new spending initiatives of around $1 billion each year are the responsible thing to do, and are the new normal. And, in the next two years, he is as good as… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Share of the economy going to workers continues to fall
    The BEFU documents today have unwelcome news for workers. Over the next four years, the share of the economy that ends up in the hands of workers through their wages will fall by around 1.3%. That 1.3% of GDP,… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago
  • Bill English’s Budget illustrates complexity in welfare system
    Budget 2015 has been touted as a package for the poor. And it certainly delivers them more money. However, it gives with one hand and takes away with the other, revealing the confusing and perverse nature of our welfare system.… ...
    Gareth’s WorldBy Geoff Simmons
    2 days ago
  • Blah Budget: Pathetic half-measure on housing
    Yesterday, Paddy Gower thought he had a big scoop. He had leaked Budget docs alluding to a big government-lead house-building programme in Auckland. Today, the pathetic truth is revealed. The Budget puts only $52.2m – as a one off –… ...
    PolityBy Rob Salmond
    2 days ago

  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    21 hours ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    21 hours ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    21 hours ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    21 hours ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    22 hours ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    22 hours ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 day ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    1 day ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    1 day ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    1 day ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    2 days ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    2 days ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    2 days ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    3 days ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    4 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    4 days ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • House prices to a crack $1 million in 17 months
    The average Auckland home is on track to cost $1 million in 17 months’ time if nothing substantial is done to rein in soaring price rises, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Auckland’s house prices have skyrocketed 63 per cent… ...
    4 days ago
  • Vital support services can’t be left in lurch
    The National Government has big questions to answer about how a provider of services to thousands of vulnerable New Zealanders is set to fold, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. Relationships Aotearoa which provides support and counselling to families, individuals… ...
    5 days ago
  • Treasury and IRD on a capital gains tax
    Both the Treasury and IRD have been advising the National Government on the benefits of a capital gains tax. Documents released to the Green Party under an Official Information Act request show that John Key has been selective with the… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    5 days ago
  • Charity legislation needs review
    It is unacceptable that the big corporate based charities claim  millions in annual income tax exemptions, while small community based and operated non-profit organisations  struggle to gain official charity status, Labour’s acting spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community Sector Louisa… ...
    5 days ago
  • John’s panic-Key response to housing crisis
    John Key needs to tell New Zealanders what caused his sudden change of heart that led to the Government’s scrambled and last-minute housing measures, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The Prime Minister’s sudden rush of blood to his head followed… ...
    5 days ago
  • Keep our Assets Christchurch Campaign: An update
    I recently presented my submission to keep Christchurch Council assets at the Christchurch City Council’s public hearings on its 10 year plan on 13 May. The hearings are live-streamed and recorded so you can watch them on www.ccc.govt.nz. The Council’s… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    5 days ago
  • John Key finally admits there’s a housing crisis
    John Key’s weak measures to rein in the astronomical profits property speculators are making are an admission – finally – that there is a housing crisis, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “But yet again National is tinkering with the housing… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government stifles voices in CYFs review
    The Government’s exclusion of the Māori Women’s Welfare League in a panel on the future of CYFs is a cynical ploy to stifle views, says Labour’s Māori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “It's unbelievable that a significant review on the future… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce
    Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. It’s a pleasure as always to be back in the town that raised me. Growing up in St Kilda meant that there was one thing that was a big… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key can’t just be Prime Minister for Parnell
    John Key must show New Zealanders in next week’s Budget that he is more than the Prime Minister for Parnell, and is also the Prime Minister for Pine Hill, Putararu and Palmerston North, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. In… ...
    1 week ago
  • Stop the conversions
    This week, some Waikato locals took me and intrepid photographer Amanda Rogers on a tour of some  lakes and waterways in their region, and up to the massive dairy conversions in the upper catchment of the Waikato River. It… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • More regional jobs go in Corrections reshape
    News that 194 Corrections staff are to lose their jobs will have ramifications not only for them and their families but for the wider community, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. Prison units at Waikeria, Tongariro and Rimutaka face closure… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s climate meetings off to a bumpy start
    On Wednesday, I attended a hui and an evening meeting that the Government had organised in Nelson as part of its climate change consultation tour, to support the Nelson community telling the Government to take meaningful action on climate change.… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers the only ones left feeling blue
    Ministry of Social Development bosses could have saved themselves thousands of dollars in consultants’ fees by providing staff with rose-tinted spectacles, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. A report out today reveals the Ministry is spending over half a… ...
    1 week ago
  • Why are the regions still facing restrictions?
    Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is questioning why the regions should continue to be saddled with LVR lending restrictions announced by the Reserve Bank today. “Labour has been calling for the regions to be exempted from LVRs for the best… ...
    1 week ago
  • The high costs of weak environmental regulation
    Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere is described on the Department of Conservation website as “Canterbury’s largest and New Zealand’s fifth largest [lake], and an internationally important wildlife area.” But the lake is also polluted by nutrients leaching from farms in the catchment.… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Submissions to Wellington City Council on their Gambling Venues Policy
    Every three years Councils across the country are required to check that their gambling venue policies are still fit for purpose and they can choose to consult on their policy if they are thinking of making changes. Councils don’t have… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank action shows Govt out of touch and out of ideas
    The Reserve Bank’s unprecedented measures today show it understands the serious risks of the overheating housing market – in complete contrast to John Key’s refusal to acknowledge the crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The Bank is right to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Send us your snaps: 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year we've hit a milestone. We're turning 25.To help celebrate a quarter of a century, please send us your photos from the last 25 years of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand! Note: Photos must be jpg, gif or… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 25 Years of the Green Party
    This year the Green Party sends 25. To help us celebrate a quarter of a century please send us you photos of 25 years of the Green Party!Photos must be jpg,gif or png and smaller than 2MB. If you are… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay growth plan too little too late
    Today’s Bay of Plenty growth study from MBIE is another example of Government spin - lots of talk but little action, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “This is a region that desperately needs to develop the downstream processing… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government bows to ACC pressure
     The Government has finally buckled to pressure from Labour and the New Zealand public in making a half billion dollar cut to ACC levies, but the full benefits are two years away,” says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “$500 million over… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • False figures cloud Auckland transport facts
    The Prime Minister should apologise and issue a correction after both he and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have been caught out misrepresenting facts on Auckland’s transport spending, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Both John Key and Simon Bridges have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt books confirm National can’t post surplus
    The last publication of the Government’s books before the budget shows National will break its promise of seven years and two election campaigns and fail to get the books in order, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • US state joins NZ with GE food labelling
    New Zealand has a similar law making the labelling of many GE foods compulsory, but the Government seems to let it slide.  Because the government has not monitored or enforced our GE food labelling laws since 2003, it seems the… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour Pays Tribute to Erima Henare
    “E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.” ...
    2 weeks ago

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