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Towards a metric for Prime Ministerial decision-making

Written By: - Date published: 10:37 am, August 21st, 2012 - 72 comments
Categories: afghanistan, Minister for Overseas Holidays - Tags:

So, a pre-planned trip to watch a son’s baseball and a week’s holiday in the States is more important than attending 2 soldiers’ funerals. But attending 3 soldiers’ funerals outranks attending the Pacific Island Forum attended by the region’s leaders. A question for the reader: how many Little League games beats a pull aside with Julia Gillard on boat people?

And, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out these very powerful and sad comments from one of the soldiers killed yesterday about Key’s decision to miss the funeral of the previous two soldiers killed:

One of the New Zealand soldiers killed in Afghanistan yesterday had slammed Prime Minister John Key just days before his death for not attending the funeral service of two slain soldiers.

Corporal Luke Tamatea, 31, and colleagues Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker, 26, and Private Richard Harris, 21, died when their Humvee was hit by a bomb at 9.20am on Sunday (4.50pm NZT).

Less than two weeks before his death, Tamatea posted criticism of Key on Facebook over the Prime Minister’s decision not to attend the funeral service of Lance Corporals Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone, who died earlier this month.

The 26-year-olds, who were part of the same deployment as the latest soldiers to die, were killed by insurgents in Bamiyan Province on August 4 after a fierce three-minute gun fight.

Key was not in attendance at Malone’s and Durrer’s funeral on August 11 as he had a pre-arranged trip to the United States to watch his son Max play in the first New Zealand under-17 baseball team to ever play in the World Series.

Tamatea posted on his Facebook page on August 9: “If i was a leader of a country i would attend the funerals of our fallen soldiers….. i wouldnt be at a f****** baseball game!!”

He then commented on August 10: “Baseball….. i think i have a new sport i hate.”

The Prime Minister earlier said going to his son’s baseball game instead of attending the funeral service was a “difficult decision”.

“I’ve got to let somebody down, but my son makes huge sacrifices for me and my job,” Key said.

Key has said today that he will attend the funerals of the latest soldiers to die even if it clashes with Pacific Island Forum.

72 comments on “Towards a metric for Prime Ministerial decision-making”

  1. Dr Terry 1

    Oh yes, after the flak he received last time, he will attend hell or high water!! He cannot risk letting his popularity stakes slip. Who is responsible for sending soldiers to that corrupt country in order to risk their lives for America? I hardly need to tell you.

    • chris73 1.1

      Labour under the auspices of the UN and carried on by National

      • Kotahi Tāne Huna 1.1.1

        Earth to Chris – Labour are no longer the government. As explained here yesterday.

        • chris73 1.1.1.1

          Reality to Kotahi. Did you perhaps not read the part of the sentence that said “carried on by National”

          What part of what I wrote is incorrect?

          Did Labour first send the troops to Afghanistan: Yes
          Was it under the UN: Yes
          Has it been followed on by National: Yes
          Am I criticizing Labour for sending troops in the first place: No (I agree with the troops being there and I believe they shouldn’t be brought home early)

    • Tom Gould 1.2

      Why has no one taken issue with Key equating the “sacrifice” his boy has made for his career with the “sacrifice” of a fallen soldier in a war zone? Disgraceful.

      • Hami Shearlie 1.2.1

        Just what I’ve been thinking Tom. For Key to have the gall to mention the word “sacrifice” in connection with his own son is laughable and really sick. When others have lost their beloved children in Afghanistan FOREVER, it is outrageous and insulting for Key to claim that Max Key makes sacrifices!! Is this the same Max Key who lives in a mansion complete with huge pool, (and games room and media room no doubt), goes to a very expensive private school in NZ, and has several holidays in Hawaii every year? No-one I know could say something so unbelievably crass and unfeeling – not to mention STUPID!! Maybe Key is channelling Whaleoil these days!!!

    • Rupert the Beer 1.3

      What flak?

  2. Roy 2

    “…how many Little League games beats a pull aside with Julia Gillard on boat people?”
    Hard to say. It’s a dinnamic situation, doncha know.

  3. chris73 3

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Three-Kiwi-soldiers-dead-in-Afghanistan/tabid/423/articleID/265979/Default.aspx#ixzz243uTzRS5

    R.D wrote:

    As a former NZ infantry soldier and having deployed to Afghanistan I believe I can comment on this thread. This year alone I have lost 4 friends in Afghanistan, having served closely with 3 of them, most recently Corporal Tamatea. As sad as the situation is the consensus among all my mates still serving is that the last thing they want is to be withdrawn from theatre. As far as they’re concerned they have a job to do and a duty to uphold which they haven’t fulfilled. To them, 2013 is to soon to come out.

    All this talk about John Key having no respect? He went to the homes of my friends(Durrer and Malone) and offered his personal condolences then, remember he also has a family and an obligation to them.

    Ask anybody serving now and they’ll tell you that’s how they feel.

    On backing Labour because they would prefer that our troops were withdrawn sooner rather than later. We were sent in by labour in the first place, I served in Afghanistan under a Labour government.

    In summary, as soldiers they know the risks of deploying to such environments as Afghanistan, they know there is a chance they could pay the ultimate price. As a former infantryman I know that Luke would be happy that he died doing what he loved to do- soldiering. He was an excellent operator, with exceptional “soldier skills”. Today there are a lot of heavy hearts in the NZDF because of this tragedy. Mourn for them and their families, and pray that nothing else happens to the rest of our brave men and women serving there but know that they would all rather be there making a difference than here. All my currently serving friends want to deploy to do there part(some again).

    This is what others feel as well.

    • Tiger Mountain 3.1

      Sadly deceased Corporal Luke seems to make his views about Key pretty clear here.
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/7516169/Killed-soldier-criticised-PMs-funeral-no-show

      ShonKey usually doesn’t like to “rule it in, or rule it out” but he seems to be able to with soldiers funerals, kids baseball and Pacific Forums.

    • prism 3.2

      The ability of soldiers to carry on is determined by their determination to stick to the mission and not question it. In the World Wars people who lost their ability to carry on fighting were severely dealt with. I wonder what would happen now?

      It is hard for an individual to have a flash of alternative thinking, such as what the hell is this about/for? Any withdrawal from the plan means he/she is letting down comrades who rely on each other. So they mourn losses and carry on. That’s their job and theirs not to reason why, theirs just to do or die. They have trained for it and believe that they are making a useful contribution. The intentions and actions can be very noble. I just hope that we can bring back all left stay alive and in at least reasonable health, and return soon for good.

      A speaker on radionz this morning said that we shouldn’t be taking on patrolling outside our location. I think he first considered this dangerous with too much risk ratio to return, and that we would not be able to achieve anything worthwhile, and that it wouldn’t make our own location safer to pursue further away, and that the area was near enough to the border for men and weapons to be able to retaliate against any strikes made further away. That’s how I heard it anyway.

    • Murray Olsen 3.3

      I somehow doubt that the TV3 News piece was actually written by an infantry soldier. It has the style and sentimentality of someone working in PR all over it.

    • prism 3.4

      chris 73
      Who is RD? A relative, friend? Where did you see the piece?

  4. vto 4

    .
    Could this be the defining moment for Mr Useless?

  5. Richard 5

    This sort of post is why no one has any respect for this site. Disgusting.

    • deano 5.1

      Key did decide that watccing a children’s baseball game was more important than soldiers’ funerals.

      Now, he’s decided that soldiers’ funderals are more important than a major international conference.

      It’s valid to point out the inconsistency.

    • Bored 5.2

      And who, Richard is this no one?

    • tc 5.3

      Speak for yourself Richard and exercise your democratic right to stay away if it offends you so much.

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 5.4

      An authoritarian lemming. Repugnant.

    • Te Reo Putake 5.5

      The thousands of daily page views and hundreds of daily comments disagree with you, Richard. Could I recommend you try YourNZ instead? That’s a site dedicated to dissecting everything that is wrong with the Standard; you’ll feel right at home there.
       
      And now, a word from Woody Allen:
       
      “There’s an old joke – two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of them says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.”
       
      The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.”

      • weka 5.5.1

        Hey, PG is good for something after all!

        • Te Reo Putake 5.5.1.1

          Yeah, gotta feel sorry for Pete. Since his banning he’s been fixated with TS and hardly has room to post on anything else. Sadly, since Pete started playing the race card on the site a few weeks ago, the rather thin comments section is now dominated by the happy go lucky racist John Ansell, who must sense a kindred spirit in PG.

          • chris73 5.5.1.1.1

            Poor form slagging someone whos not allowed to defend themselves.

            • lprent 5.5.1.1.1.1

              He isn’t exactly constrained about being able to defend himself – he has his own blog site, and any number of other ones that he can use.

              He just can’t respond it here because he wastes moderators valuable and voluntary time. We expect people to learn from their previous errors, just like you did (I seem to remember giving you a few warnings and a single ban long ago). He didn’t.

              I’m afraid that I have a low toleration in having to repeat myself. Doing it to the same person too frequently as they try to explore the boundaries of the permissible reeks far too much of hand-holding to me. I’m afraid that I don’t like acting as judge delineating the bounds of the law and social behaviour..

              I’d do it for a child, but not for an purported adult.

              I have been letting through the trackbacks to his whine posts in case people want to voluntarily subject themselves to a ‘debate’. Of course it causes problems with having an interactive debate if people don’t go there. But he is rather fond of not listening much anyway.

            • Te Reo Putake 5.5.1.1.1.2

              Er, he’s got an option for that, Chris. It’s called YourNZ (see comments above). And he still has a wee cry on the sewer from time to time.
               
              It’s hardly my fault that Pete can’t post here, is it? If he hadn’t got his well deserved ban, we’d still be plagued with his inanities from sunrise to sunset. Now we just have to settle for teasing his intellectual inferiors, such as your good self.

            • felix 5.5.1.1.1.3

              Fuck Pete George, he had a couple of years commenting here in which he could have decided to conduct himself honestly and he failed miserably to do so at every turn.

              Fuck him and the Tory Horse he rode in on.

    • Colonial Viper 5.6

      This sort of post is why no one has any respect for this site. Disgusting.

      I always laugh at how easily people like Richard are “disgusted”. And the BS reasons they come up with for it.

      Instead of say something real…like the leader of a country ignoring his duty to those who have paid NZ the ultimate service.

    • prism 5.7

      Thanks Richard. Your comment is important to us.

    • David H 5.8

      Horseshit I have immense respect for the authors and participants on this site.. Trolls and eejuts well…

    • fisiani 5.9

      People pop on to this site to see if if it can possibly sink any lower. Using such sad events to attack John Key, The Prime Minister of New Zealand hits yet another low.
      I think of The Standard as merely the Limbo Blog of the Left.
      Posters actually believe that the lower they go they win……
      I keep waiting for some genuine posts on improving life in New Zealand.
      The economy has been steered off the rocks, the brighter future beckons.
      We have the best PM and Finance Minister in at least 50 years.

  6. Glg 6

    Three dead soldiers (and one of them a woman, as the press feels it needs to remind us) outranks one live (also a woman) Aussie PM. Since there was time to attend previous funerals and his sons games, I can only assume either he couldn’t be buggered changing his plane tickets (and considering his love of good PR one might think this unlikely) or, as someone tweeted, perhaps he had scheduled some overseas meetings with his American overlords as well. I bet John boy got a bit of a spanking over the Kim Dotcom issue, perhaps he was taking advance orders for our asset sales.
    Don’t worry, maybe he will make up for it by squeezing out a tear this time.

  7. Anne 7

    how many Little League games beats a pull aside with Julia Gillard on boat people?

    I suspect the real reason he didn’t change his schedule and attend the memorial service is because he had a pre-arranged pull aside prior to the start of the baseball tournament concerning his future ‘career’ post prime-minister of NZ.

  8. bad12 8

    My advice to anyone serving in Afghanistan would be to neither post criticism of any of those ‘in command’ or details of any of what happens on the ground in Afghanistan on the internet,

    In war the truth goes out the window first, there is at least 2 good reasons with reference to historical events that have me proffering such advice…

    • RedBlooded 8.1

      A very good point, because also Paula “Basher” Bennett will be sent to “leak” all your personal details over the media.

      • bad12 8.1.1

        Aha, there are 2 wars currently being waged in Afghanistan, the first being the ‘straight’ war where there is an enemy, the Taliban, to be defeated in the name of democracy,apple pie, big Mac’s, coca cola and all things that glitter as if made of gold,

        The second, the Opium war, is an ongoing struggle between the multi-factions involved in the international trade in Heroin,

        The combatants in the second war may also be involved on either side of the first conflict, sometimes being involved on behalf of both sides at the same time, just as ‘for political reasons’ US ground troops have found themselves guarding Opium crops on behalf of the growers who are in turn providing both intelligence and active military support to the US in other areas of the conflict,

        There are then also the ‘regional conflicts’ to have to consider, where part of the International force interacts with the local population from province to province in totally differing models of engagement,

        In such a conflict, an armed contingent such as say the Kiwi’s may seem to have got involved in an effort to back up the armed police of the regime as they attempted to ‘arrest’ a bomb-maker, as the current fairy-tale would have us all believe, (as if bomb-makers take up residence in the local suburb putting out their shingle of business and thus inviting arrest),

        In reality tho, the regime police are just as likely to have been attempting to ‘arrest’ the head of a contingent of local smugglers for not having paid their ‘tick’ bill having been supplied the product, (Heroin),and duly smuggled this into Pakistan while not paying the supplier and thus New Zealand troops may have been caught up in the second part of the Afghan conflict as opposed to the first,

        It is obvious from the nature of the conflict in Afghanistan that ‘the locals’ are fully aware of the nuances of commitment of the various international forces operating within their differing tribal areas and seem to have been treating the New Zealand contingent appropriately up to this point as being in place for the first reason, that of the defeat of the Taliban and the installation of democracy, big macs and stuff,

        Which brings us to the recent use of the roadside bombs,(i use the word bombs as there appears to have been 2 of them), the obvious assumption is that angered by the New Zealand intervention in what ‘the locals’ see as none of their business and the casualties ‘these locals’ have suffered as a result of this intervention revenge has been extracted via the use of the 2 roadside devices,(a common tool as 10,000 or so of them are set each year in Afghanistan),

        That’s the ‘logical explanation’ but in war logic like the truth goes out the window as fast as the bath water along with the baby in the next explosive drone strike ordered and watched by the Prez thousands of kilometers away, and if i wish to slip for a moment into such insanity where there is little logic less truth and honor is something bandied about by TV commentators we may assume that, and i only go here with the advice that our Prime Minister ‘shut His f**king mouth’, that the bomb that killed the 3 Kiwi soldiers was made and sourced in the neighbouring Baghlan Province and although there is nothing to suggest this, (except the insanity of war), may have been an actual answer to an implication made by out very own Prime Minister about others serving in that theatre,

        Yes, i am the first to agree,that the above is way past a little far fetched, but then, how far fetched is it to have Kiwi soldiers serving in a conflict which upon the surface has some stated aim of democratization as the intended out-come while all around them a different war centered upon control of the Global Heroin trade is being waged and while the Kiwi’s might know in what war they are engaged telling just who is engaged in what war is impossible…

        • bad12 8.1.1.1

          And as a PS:, i am lead back to my original comment about those who have or are serving at present in Afghanistan, where my advice is to say as little as possible about events on the ground and about those who direct such warfare right up to the office of Prime Minister,

          There are the reported ‘facebook’ comments, and then there are stories told within my own family where both uncles,fathers and grandfathers served in various conflicts, there is an underlying commentary where those who died ‘could have’ been so proscribed by those in powerful positions from the level of Battalion right on down to the company they served and even to the individual,

          That’s a bold assertion made without ‘factual’ basis except for the discourse in our family of those who served in previous wars and feel free to slag me off for making it…

  9. gobsmacked 9

    I don’t have a problem with Key going to watch his son play baseball in the USA. As has been pointed out numerous times, he could have done that AND gone to the memorial service. But he didn’t.

    I do have a problem with Key using the word “huge sacrifices”, to describe his son’s life. That’s an appalling choice of words. Going to King’s College isn’t a “huge sacrifice”. Dying is.

    And I have a big problem with anyone (like Richard) who fakes “disgust” when this is pointed out.

    • Murray Olsen 9.1

      When I was at school, gobsmacked, and we played rugby against King’s College, there were often “huge sacrifices” on their side. Of course, this was back in the days before the “elite” schools offered academic scholarships to giant sized South Aucklanders who just happened to play rugby.

  10. tracey 11

    maybe but dont under estimate the problems young men with absentee fathers go through. his son hasnt made the sacrifices his fathers choices have .

  11. Populuxe1 12

    For the record I think Key should have attended the funerals, but I think it’s bullshit to attack someone in the public eye for being a good father, and now that I know he went to the families and gave his personal condolences I am perfectly satisfied Key’s duty was discharged. Key has made many peripheral fubars around these events – more silly than evil – by all means continue to cover yourselves in ordure, but it really doesn’t look pretty.

    • Tracey 12.1

      Actually he seemed to be admitting to being a bad father… Mr key used his fatherhood as an excuse to avoid funerals he had previously been “happy” to attend, with press gallery in tow. He is the leader of the nation first and a parent second. IF he wanted it another way, he stood for the wrong position.

  12. Anne 13

    ….I think it’s bullshit to attack someone in the public eye for being a good father,

    Nobody is attacking him for being a good father. What they are attacking him for is:

    the timeline between the memorial service and his son’s first game (three days) meant he could easily have attended both.

    He saw the families because he hoped to avoid criticism by doing so… not because he particularly wanted to see them. It’s pretty obvious he had a pre-arranged appointment ahead of his son’s game which didn’t have anything to do with the running of the country. So he embarked upon a load of tripe about his son’s supposed “sacrifices” as an excuse for not being at the service.

    • Sid Holland 13.1

      What an [sid – don’t start your first comment here with nasty personal abuse, thanks. r0b] you really are Anne. What makes you say he didn’t particularly want to see the families?

      • Anne 13.1.1

        Your problem Sid Holland if you can’t face the truth. I never said John Key did not feel sympathy for the families, but it doesn’t exonerate him one iota from making the call that he did. He had to visit the families for political reasons.

        Your pseudonym would seem appropriate.

        It was the former NZ prime minister, Sid Holland who tried to break the spirit of ordinary working people in 1951. The blood ran in the streets! He used the state apparatus to injure and destroy all those who stood up to him. He was a bully. Interesting that all the prime ministerial bullies we have had the misfortune to endure in this country have been from the National Party.

  13. terryg 14

    I dont seem to recall Afghanistan launching a war of aggression against NZ. Which IMO gives us no mandate whatsoever to be there.

    In which case I am unable to care on bit about the deaths of nz soldiers there.

    Did these fools not read their employment contracts?

    Unless defending ones country against wars of aggression, soldiers are part of the problem – these are people who decide to get paid to kill when ordered to, without asking why.

    [last comment deleted – way over the top. r0b]

    • Sid Holland 14.1

      So I can’t call Anne mean spirited about her comment but Terry’s one about [deleted] is entirely reasonable?

      [You called Anne much more than that. But you are correct that Terry’s last comment went way too far. r0b]

      • felix 14.1.1

        I agree Sid, terryg’s last sentence is pretty poor taste (at best).

        However, I can’t fault the reasoning of the rest of his/her comment. Can you?

        Why are we waging war on Afghanistan? When did we decide to be an aggressor?

        • Sid Holland 14.1.1.1

          I’m not convinced we are waging war on Afghanistan, Felix. It’s predominantly a peacekeeping force but I wouldn’t expect them to turn the other cheek when attacked. I don’t recall Nazi Germany launching a war of aggression against NZ, or the Boers, North Koreans and North Vietnamese but our soldiers went there as well – as an Allied partner. While the Green Party defence policy probably consists of growing a large hedge, in the real world you have to pull your weight and we can be justifiably proud of the actons of our men and women in overseas conflicts – both in combat and peacekeeping. Never forget kiwi’s are targets for terrorism; be it on the battlefield or a tropical island resort.
          Terry is right though – joining the army is not remotely similar to Volunteer Service Abroad and our soldiers accept that there are risks in being deployed.

          • felix 14.1.1.1.1

            “I don’t recall N@zi Germany launching a war of aggression against NZ.”

            Sorry, I’m not quite following your mental leap there. Are you saying Afghanistan has declared war on one of our allies?

            And if so, who?

            • Populuxe1 14.1.1.1.1.1

              I’m sorry – did you miss the bit where Al-Qaida flew two passenger jets into the WTC etc etc, declared war on the west, and then went and hid with the Taliban in dum-dum-DUM Afgahnistan?
              Of course, you might be a Truther…

              • mike e

                Popuganda So GW bush used a sledge hammer to crack a walnut and look how its turned out.
                Shoot first and ask questions later, watching to many old westerns.
                Why not just volunteer for service in afghanistan their are plenty of soldiers of fortune their already nothing stopping you.
                Blindly following like a sheep.

              • felix

                Oh yeah I remember now, it was all about catching a guy in a cave in Afghanistan. Bin Liner or something.

                Guess once they catch him it’ll all be over and we can pull out.

                Of Afghanistan.

          • fatty 14.1.1.1.2

            ‘Peacekeeping’ is nothing more than code for a neo-colonial pawn. NZ soldiers are just in another phase of combat and we use the term peacekeeping to make ourselves feel better. Rebuilding bridges and hospitals is a key part of modern day war…we build them so the Afghan leaders will side with the USA and resources can be secured.

            • Populuxe1 14.1.1.1.2.1

              Ooooooooh Imperialism! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!
              Peace is not, as it turns out, the natural default state of humankind – it’s just a highly desirable one.
              Tellingly, however, widescale peace has only ever been brought about by imperialism as easily demonstrated by Pax Romana and various other examples. It might not fit your fantasy of rainbow-pooping unicorns, but it’s the pragmatic fact

              • fatty

                Populuxe1…is that a response to my post @4.47, or did you put it in the wrong place?
                I’m unsure of what point you are challenging, and what point you are trying to make

                • Populuxe1

                  No fatty – it’s the right place. I’m mocking your assumption that peace just ‘happens’. Peace inevitably has to be enforced by one means of imperialism or another. You say “neo-colonial pawn” and wring your hands, I say “strategic defence relationship” and think of the big picture.

                  • fatty

                    “I’m mocking your assumption that peace just ‘happens’.”
                    Now I see why I was confused….you are mocking an assumption that I never made.

                    “You say “neo-colonial pawn” and wring your hands”
                    I also don’t remember wringing my hands.

                    “Peace inevitably has to be enforced by one means of imperialism or another”
                    This is your only sentence that is remotely coherent, and its only saved by the last 2 words.

                    Have you been drinking? Knocked you head or something?

            • McFlock 14.1.1.1.2.2

              ya gotta admit that “we had to build infrastructure and heal the sick in order to take the country” as a few light-years on from “we had to destroy the village in order to save it”.

              • fatty

                no, I consider them the same, but you worded the first one nicely by forgetting to mention that destruction comes first.
                they are both destroy, then rebuild

                • McFlock

                  Um – Afghanistan was already bust. Soviet invasion and civil wars will do that.

                  • fatty

                    What do you mean “Afghanistan was already bust”?

                    The US bombed the hell out of the place. Just cause their schools didn’t have a science wing, or a computer lab, it doesn’t mean its OK to destroy it, and then put up something ‘better’.
                    People’s identity’s were tied to those places, regardless of what occurred in past invasions, and regardless of how ‘limited’ their schools, towns etc may seem to us. Their place, their home, their life, and their identity is worth no less or more than ours. I don’t think we can justify bombing a place cause we rebuild it ‘better’?
                    (if that’s what you were implying)

    • terryg 14.2

      censorious asshat. I stand by that comment. unless defending ones country against a war of aggression (should it occur I’d volunteer in a heartbeat), soldiers are a menace – they are, after all, nothing more than hired killers (in exactly the same way that police are hired thugs).

      It can be a tragedy for a member of the military to die – eg the NZRAF folks who died in the helicopter crash last year. It is NOT a tragedy for military personnel to die in combat operations – it quite literally is part of the job. And when there is no justification for the military presence (if you think its justified i’d suggest you study geopolitics a bit harder, we’re really only there to suck up to the US), I fail to see how it can possibly be considered a “bad thing”.

      I’m not surprised at the rah-rah nationalism though, given that this country exalts grown men who play childrens games. morons.

      [lprent: Avoid attacking the moderators or authors of posts personally. I consider it to be a symptom of futile terminal stupidity to attack someone on their own site. Just disagree with authors and say why. Disagreeing with moderators is of course just idiotic. And read the policy – especially those about self-martyrdom offenses.

      Btw: I believe that we were requested to act in Afghanistan by the UN. What limited role that we took in Iraq by the EME’s was also requested by the UN. Ditto Timor. Perhaps you should look up from your geopolitics for long enough to look at the actual politics. ]

      • Populuxe1 14.2.1

        It’s a tragedy when anyone dies, dickhead. Even you.

      • terryg 14.2.2

        thats better than censorious asshattery. I reiterate: there is nothing whatsoever wrong with dead soldiers. Yes its tragic for their families, but what do they expect? hugs from irritated afghanis? here’s a helpful hint: if you dont want being killed to be part of your job description, dont join the military.

        • Populuxe1 14.2.2.1

          Well I can hardly better you in censorious asshattery, because you are clearly my superior in that regard. Defence forces do considerably more than killing people – the NZ Forces in particular prefer to avoid killing people unnecessarily, and of course would be protecting vicious skid marks like you in the event this country was attacked. Our army in particular has long been responsible for reconstruction and aid work in the Pacific and elsewhere.

  14. Anne 15

    I was present at the RNZAF Base Whenuapai at the time of the Bola storm which almost wiped out Hawkes Bay – 1987 I think. I witnessed the planes carrying equipment and soldiers going to and fro 24hrs a day for weeks on end. My admiration and respect for the military rose accordingly.

    Yes, they do far more than killing people.

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    The Commerce Select Committee is currently hearing submissions on the Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Amendment Bill. This bill worries me. I flagged some major concerns during its first reading.   I am now reading submissions from NZ Steel, ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    1 day ago
  • Just 8 per cent of work visas for skills shortages
    Just 16,000 – or 8 per cent – of the 209,000 work visas issued last year were for occupations for which there is an identified skills shortage, says Labour Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The overwhelming majority of the record number ...
    1 day ago
  • Hard won agreement shouldn’t be thrown away
    The Government should ignore talk across the Tasman about doing away with the labelling of GM free products, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “Labelling of genetically modified products was a hard won agreement in 2001 by Australian and the ...
    1 day ago
  • National’s privatisation Trojan horse
     The National government is using the need to modernise the school system as a Trojan horse for privatisation and an end to free public education as we know it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “There is no doubt that ...
    1 day ago
  • Shameless land-banking ads show need for crackdown
    The fact that more than 300 sections are shamelessly being advertised on Trade Me as land-banking opportunities during a housing crisis shows the need for a crackdown on property speculators, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “Of the 328 ...
    1 day ago
  • Standard and Poor’s warning of housing crisis impact on banks
    The National Government’s failure to address the housing crisis is leading to dire warnings from ratings agency Standard and Poor’s about the impact on the strength of the economy and New Zealand banks, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Standard ...
    1 day ago
  • Ihumatao needs action not sympathy
    The Petition of Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) calling on Parliament to revoke Special Housing Area 62 in order to protect the Ihumatao Peninsula and Stonefields, has fallen on deaf ears, says the Labour MP for Mangere Su’a William Sio.  ...
    1 day ago
  • Student visa fraud & exploitation must stop
    The Government must act immediately to end fraud and exploitation of international students that threatens to damage New Zealand’s reputation, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. ...
    2 days ago
  • Government needs to show leadership in reviewing monetary policy
    The Reserve Bank’s struggles to meet its inflation target, the rising exchange rate and the continued housing crisis shows current monetary policy needs to be reviewed - with amendments to the policy targets agreement a bare minimum, says Labour’s Finance ...
    2 days ago
  • Slash and burn of special education support
    Slashing the support for school age children with special needs is no way to fund earlier intervention, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “National’s latest plan to slash funding for children with special needs over the age of 7 in ...
    3 days ago
  • National’s Pasifika MPs must have free vote
      Pacific people will not take kindly to the Government whipping their Pacific MPs to vote in favour of a  Bill that will allow Sunday trading  at Easter, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “We are seeing ...
    5 days ago
  • Maritime Crimes Bill – balancing security and free speech
    Parliament is currently considering the Maritime Crimes Amendment Bill, which would bring New Zealand up to date with current international rules about maritime security. The debate around the Bill reflects two valid issues: legitimate counter-terrorism measures and the right to ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    6 days ago
  • Teachers’ low wages at the centre of shortages
      Figures that show teachers’ wages have grown the slowest of all occupations is at the heart of the current teacher shortage, says Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  In the latest Labour Cost Index, education professionals saw their wages grow ...
    6 days ago
  • Government’s Tax Law undermines common law principles
    A tax amendment being snuck in under the radar allows changes to tax issues to be driven through by the Government without Parliamentary scrutiny, says Labour’s Revenue spokesman Stuart Nash. “The amendment allows any part of the Tax Administration Act ...
    7 days ago
  • Government slippery about caption funding
      The Government has refused to apologise for taking the credit for funding Olympic Games captioning when the National Foundation for the Deaf  was responsible, says Labour’s spokesperson on Disability Issues Poto Williams.  “This shameful act of grandstanding by Ministers ...
    1 week ago
  • Default KiwiSaver investments should be reviewed
    The investments of the default KiwiSaver providers should be reviewed to make sure they are in line with New Zealanders’ values and expectations, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Most New Zealanders would be appalled that their KiwiSaver funds are ...
    1 week ago
  • New ministry should look after all children
    The Government has today shunned well founded pleas by experts not to call its new agency the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Labour’s Spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern says.  “Well respected organisations and individuals such as Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft ...
    1 week ago
  • Ratification okay but we need action
    Today’s decision to ratify the Paris agreement on Climate Change by the end of the year is all well and good but where is the plan, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Government’s failure to plan is planning ...
    1 week ago
  • Stats changes can’t hide unemployment reality
    Today’s minor drop in unemployment numbers is nothing to celebrate given the changes made to the official numbers that cut thousands of people looking for work out of the jobless rate, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Making any comparisons ...
    1 week ago
  • Stats changes can’t hide unemployment reality
    Today’s minor drop in unemployment numbers is nothing to celebrate given the changes made to the official numbers that cut thousands of people looking for work out of the jobless rate, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Making any comparisons ...
    1 week ago
  • Auckland’s affordable homes plummet 72% under National
    Comprehensive new data from CoreLogic has found the number of homes in Auckland valued at under $600,000 has plummeted by 72 per cent since National took office, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This data tracks the changes in ...
    1 week ago
  • Govt should face the facts not skew the facts
    National appears to be actively massaging official unemployment statistics by changing the measure for joblessness to exclude those looking online, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Household Labour Force Survey, released tomorrow, no longer regards people job hunting on ...
    1 week ago
  • More voices call for review of immigration policy
    The Auckland Chamber of Commerce is the latest credible voice to call for a review of immigration and skills policy, leaving John Key increasingly isolated, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister is rapidly becoming a man alone. He ...
    1 week ago
  • Better balance needed in Intelligence Bill
    Labour will support the NZ Intelligence and Security Bill to select committee so the issues can be debated nationwide and important amendments can be made, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little. ...
    1 week ago
  • Serco circus has no place in NZ
    A High Court judgment proves National’s private prison agenda has failed and the Serco circus has no place in New Zealand correctional facilities, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • State house sell-off a kick in the guts for Tauranga’s homeless
    The Government’s sale of 1124 state houses in Tauranga won’t house a single extra homeless person in the city, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Tauranga, like the rest of New Zealand, has a crisis of housing affordability and homelessness. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Axing Auckland’s affordable quota disappointing
    Auckland Council has given away a useful tool for delivering more affordable housing by voting to accept the Independent Hearing Panel’s recommendation to abolish affordable quotas for new developments, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ae Marika! Māori Party Oath Bill fails
    The Māori Party must reconsider its relationship with National after they failed to support Marama Fox’s Treaty of Waitangi Oath bill, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Police Minister all platitudes no detail
    The Police Minister must explain where the budget for new police officers is coming from after continuously obfuscating, Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash says. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Lost luggage law shows National’s lost the plot
    The Government has proven it can’t address the big issues facing the tourism industry by allowing a Members Bill on lost luggage to be a priority, Labour’s Tourism spokesman Kris Faafoi said. “Nuk Korako’s Bill drawn from the Members’ Ballot ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Hiding behind the law – but can’t say which law
    National is refusing to come clean on what caused the potential trade dispute with China by hiding behind laws and trade rules they can’t even name, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Clark. “National admitted today that an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Work visas issued for jobs workless Kiwis want
    Thousands of work visas for low-skilled jobs were issued by the Government in the past year despite tens of thousands of unemployed Kiwis looking for work in those exact occupations, Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “A comparison of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis nationwide now paying for housing crisis
    The Government’s failure to tackle the housing crisis is now affecting the entire country with nationwide house price inflation in the past year hitting 26 per cent, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “None of National’s tinkering or half-baked, piecemeal ...
    2 weeks ago
  • OCR cut piles pressure on Government
    Today’s OCR cut must be backed by Government action on housing and economic growth, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler’s monetary policy statement underlines the limits of Bill English’s economic management. He says growth is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government must explain the McClay delay
    Todd McClay must explain why it took two months for him to properly inform the Prime Minister about China’s potential trade retaliation, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Clark. “This may be one of the most serious trade ...
    2 weeks ago
  • OCR cut would be vote of no confidence in economy
    If Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler cuts the OCR tomorrow it would show that, despite his loudly-voiced concerns about fuelling the housing market, the stuttering economy is now a bigger concern, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Bill English and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Leading medical experts back Healthy Homes Bill
    Leading medical experts have today thrown their weight behind my Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill, saying it will improve the health of Kiwi kids, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “The Bill sets minimum standards for heating, insulation and ventilation ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister, it’s time to listen to the Auditor General
    Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman needs to listen to the independent advice of the Auditor General and review the capital charge system imposed on District Health Boards, says Labour’ Health Spokesperson Annette King.  “The capital charge on DHBs has been ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Peas explain, Minister
    The Minister of Primary Industries needs to explain how the failure of its biosecurity systems led to the Pea Weevil incursion in the Wairarapa, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says “The decision to ban the growing of peas in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PM’s police numbers wrong
    The Prime Minister has said that police numbers will increase in-line with population growth, however, the Police’s own four year strategy clearly states there are no plans to increase police numbers for the next four years, Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministerial double speak on GP Fees
      The Associate Health Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga was simply making it up when he claimed today that General Practitioners had been given money in the Budget to lower fees, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “In a reply to a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government must close loophole in LVR rules
    The Government must urgently close a loophole in loan to value ratio mortgage restrictions which are stopping homeowners from buying new houses before they sell their old one, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank was forced to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bulk funding means bigger classes
    National’s plan to bulk fund schools can only result in bigger class sizes and a reduced range of subject choices, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for John Key to sack his Housing Minister
    It is time for the Prime Minister to take serious and meaningful steps to address the housing crisis – and start by sacking Nick Smith as Housing Minister, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “Clearly whatever it is National ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Coleman puts skids under cheaper GP visits
      Hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders with high health needs are missing out on cheaper GP fees as the cost of going to the doctor hits $70, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.  “The number of practices subsidised to ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Police indifference over dine-and-dash appalling
      The fact that the police couldn’t be bothered investigating a dine–and-dash in Auckland is appalling and shows an indifference that is unacceptable, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “The way it stands these men have got away scot free ...
    3 weeks ago

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