A double standard for Saudi Arabia

Written By: - Date published: 7:06 am, April 28th, 2015 - 119 comments
Categories: International, trade, war - Tags: , , , ,

Andrea Vance wrote yesterday on Key’s current trip to Saudi Arabia (all quotes from this piece). It’s a country with a deeply troubling record on human rights:

Amnesty International’s New Zealand executive director Grant Bayldon said Saudi Arabia’s justice system was “a sham.”

Research published by Amnesty International last month found human rights activists were routinely harassed and ill-treated in detention and the use of torture by the security forces was widespread.

“The Saudi Arabian disrespect for human rights is absolutely breath-taking. People are held without trial, they are tortured into confessing crimes. They are convicted in shameful trials without legal support and those trials regularly end in horrific floggings, amputations and public beheadings,” Bayldon said.

More than 50 people have this year been killed by the regime, which leaves corpses on public display as a gruesome crime deterrent. … Floggings and the amputation of limbs are used as punishment.

In January, footage showing Burmese woman Layla bint Abdul Mutaleb Bassim dragged down the street to her death shocked the world. Accused of killing her six-year-old stepdaughter, Bassim was thrown to the ground in the holy city of Mecca. As she screamed her innocence, a curved sword, swung by an executioner in traditional white robes, severed her head.

Of Islamic State Key said “I will not, will not, stand by while …people are out there being beheaded”, but he is in Saudi Arabia looking for a trade deal. So why the double standard? Key’s reasoning:

“…In the case of ISIL they don’t act within the laws of their country, they are not a country. Indonesia, they have the death penalty. United States, they have the death penalty. They have a judicial process,” he said. “That’s just not the case with ISIL, they are terrorists who undertake murder against people.”

Being a country with a “judicial process” doesn’t make wrong right. Iraq was a country with a judicial process that the “coalition of the willing” invaded and destroyed (John Key cheered them on) – incidentally creating the power vacuum that spawned ISIL. If Saudi Arabia’s justice system and human rights record is as bad as Amnesty says it is, then this is not a country that we should be seeking closer economic ties with.

119 comments on “A double standard for Saudi Arabia ”

  1. ropata 1

    human rights, environmental destruction, social costs, are not accounted as any value in the capitalist imperative

    • Grace Miller 1.1

      That’s right. As long as they have the oil, the West grovels.

      Shameful, AND shameless. That’s quite a coup, Dunnokeyo.

  2. vto 2

    John Key’s dirty reasoning again highlights the sole difference between terrorists and warmongering countries – and that is nothing but semantics.

    Acts on the ground are the same by both ISIL and by Saudi Arabia. Both behead, both torture, both abuse human rights, both are disgusting pigs

    The sole difference is words – and the words legitimise the terrorist acts.

    That sole difference is meaningless.

    ISIL and Saudi Arabia are the same

  3. vto 3

    It is just like WWI and the bloody gallipolli bullshit again – we are fighting a war between empires. We are not fighting for what is right and wrong.

    Just like WWI when we fought to expand and protect Britains empire and its stormtroopers, right now today we fight to expand and protect the US empire and its stormtroopers

    We should be ashamed.

    The men who died at gallipolli would be appalled at John Key

    The men who died at Gallipolli died for nothing.

  4. felix 4

    “They have a judicial process,” he said. “That’s just not the case with ISIL, they are terrorists who undertake murder against people.”

    Sadly it actually gets far worse in terms of justification.

    Corrin Dann interviewed Key on q+a this Sunday, and actually asked some very good questions.

    When challenged on the hypocrisy of condemning beheadings by ISIL while kowtowing to the Saudis, Key started answering with a ‘yeah but we trade with lots of states we don’t approve of’ line.

    To which Dann followed up: “On the logic of that argument, does that mean that if ISIL became a state and somehow formed a proper government, we could do trade with them?

    Key: “With the greatest disrespect[???] to Saudi Arabia, um, they are taking those kinds of steps and where I utterly reject them and don’t believe they should do that, but they’re taking against their own citizens

    Get that? The Saudis chop peoples’ heads off too, but they own those people so they can do what they like to them. The trouble with ISIL is that they don’t own any people.

    • vto 4.1

      ha ha poor old john key – has no idea whatsoever

      somebody posted that the ice of john key has started to melt away

      I think you just witnessed another drip melting away

      • felix 4.1.1

        And like those old veges frozen to the back of the fridge, they really start to stink when they thaw.

    • TheContrarian 4.2

      Makes my head spin (pun intended)

    • dukeofurl 4.3

      Their own citizens ??

      Pull the other one – maybe not.

      A lot of those beheaded can be migrant workers

    • I thought the problem with Saddam was that he gassed ‘his own citizens’.

      But now doing horrendous things only to your domestic population is what makes it ok??

      • Murray Rawshark 4.4.1

        Nah, they loved him when he was doing that. They went right off him when he started to talk about selling oil for euros.

    • Tracey 4.5

      What about something simple, like letting women, vote… (so theirs can matter as little as everyone elses), … :we: invaded Iraq so the kuwaitis could give their women the vote! 😉

      Of course, we will trade with them, like China, cos by trading we bring the light of revelation to them, China no longer abuses human rights aye?

  5. Dave_1924 5

    Amnesty decides who is a recognised state and who has a functioning justice system? So Amnesty Intl decides who NZ trades with?

    Interesting.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      Interesting facile gibberish, in the sense that it provides a brief glimpse into how twisted a person’s thought process can be.

      • Dave_1924 5.1.1

        OAB – your usual response to anyone who thinks differently to you. Attack the messenger…

        We have an elected government… they make decisions. Not Amnesty International.

        Should we stop trading with China, where things are as the party says and people lose their properties to developers who are connected to the ruling party? Where executions happen regularly and organs are harvested from the executed for sale? Where access to the internet is dictated by what the state says is ok? Where a whole separate country is annexed and its people harshly suppressed [Tibet]

        How about Australia? Second biggest market for us… Aboriginal rights issues

        We traded freely with the Soviet union and its satellite states …. gulags, disappearances, show trials and executions for impure political thought.

        How about trade with Switzerland – who give shelter to monies generated from tyranny, slavery and drugs via its banking privacy laws

        Where does it stop?

        I take it we should stop trading with the world unless we have an independent ethical committee telling us a country is approved…

        Its a big bad world, if we stop trading we can all kiss a large amount of our jobs goodbye and ratchet our economy back to an agricultural based economy with little modern tech. Sounds wonderful…. /sarc

        • les 5.1.1.1

          thats a great post.It begs the question about the morality of mankind….is life just a big ‘magic show’?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.2

          That’s exactly what I’m talking about: you’re so busy telling everyone what they think, you’ve no room to hear what they actually think.

          I note you have gone from claiming no-one raised China’s human rights record, to claiming that we want to stop all international trade.

          That’s an attack upon your gibberish, and the political point-scoring thought process that spawned it. As distinct from an attack on you personally. Please try and learn the difference, you fucking idiot.

          • Dave_1924 5.1.1.2.1

            Actually OAB I asked a question in my first post. In response I have stated my position and why I think it – i.e. where does it stop and the consequences.

            Think what you want to think OAB…. and as for this

            “I note you have gone from claiming no-one raised China’s human rights record, to claiming that we want to stop all international trade.”

            No OAB I did not. You understand what a question mark means at the end of a sentence? It means its a question…. Nice attempt to divert by claiming I have made a declaration when in fact I asked a set of questions…

            So where does it end OAB? Do we stop trading with everyone that a self appointed group like Amnesty Intl don’t think fit their world view?

            I say no we trade and reap the benefits of economic activity. your free to think what you like, I have no desire to control you whatsoever.

            What do you say on trade OAB?

            • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.2.1.1

              I like to know something about the folk I’m doing business with. If they routinely murder people the deal is off.

              What’s with you and Amnesty International? Got you all bent out of shape have they?

              • Dave_1924

                Amnesty… they do some good work OAB. But international trade is not their specialty.

                I look at their statements of don’t trade with the Saudi’s because they are barbarians and think according to who’s standards? And who gets to judge? Are Amnesty saying Western ideals needed to be held by all the world regardless of their culture/religion/worldview??? Sounds Cultural Imperialist of Amnesty to me…..

                I look and see the world is full, chocka, replete with regimes I don’t like from the business backed gangsters running things in Central America to the repressive supposedly communist regime in China to the strongman regimes of Africa to elected repressions of Western Europe where a non PC word is almost a hanging offence.

                Trade generates economic benefits and as long as we want a certain level of life style in NZ we need to engage in trade. And as my previous post stated there seem to be human rights issues scattered around virtually any country you care to name

                Again I say trade and change the world slowly through personal contact and opening a window on a slightly more enlightened society like ours… where at least we are free enough to have each other on in political debate with thinking we will be sent to a gulag in the sub Antarctic islands…

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Sure, do business with cartels, thugs, mass murderers and thieves as much as you like. Just watch out for the Proceeds of Crimes Act as you raise the double standard.

                • Tracey

                  How’s that window going in China?

        • Tracey 5.1.1.3

          “Should we stop trading with China, where things are as the party says and people lose their properties to developers who are connected to the ruling party? Where executions happen regularly and organs are harvested from the executed for sale? Where access to the internet is dictated by what the state says is ok? Where a whole separate country is annexed and its people harshly suppressed [Tibet]”

          Yes

          Your list shows that what makes it a bad world is good people lining their own pockets because (shrug) there’s nothing else for it.

          • Dave_1924 5.1.1.3.1

            Nice argument Tracey. So you’re the government and you decide to stop trading with China based on their appalling human rights records. Which other countries do we stop trading with?

            A lot of them have dodgy ethical business going on including the Swiss and their banking system, Sweden with its wealth partially built on its trading activies during the 2nd World War. How far back do we look for moral/ethical dodginess in a country?

            And do you think our withdrawal from a large chunk of our current trading relations on ethical and moral reasons will have no negative consequences for the most vulnerable in our society? Because a systematic withdrawal as you seem to suggest we should do would leave us unable to support the current welfare state, would impact on our public healthcare system [loss of access to pharmaceuticals, medical equipment etc which we could no longer pay for].

            • Tracey 5.1.1.3.1.1

              Ah, so your argument is that we are actually helping the vulnerable in NZ by trading with, and lining the pockets of people in other countries who treat people appallingly.

              I am guessing you are not vulnerable Dave, to be so blase about their lives, here and abroad.

              I wonder why Saudia Arabia signed up to the Convention of Human Rights.

              But you are right (shrug), there is nothing we can do, just keep being complicit to appalling human rights practices so the vulnerable in NZ can live well.

              • Draco T Bastard

                +1

                As I say. We don’t need FTAs, we just need to define the conditions under which we will trade. IMO, those conditions should stop us from trading with quite a few countries including the US because of their appalling records of abuses.

            • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.3.1.2

              Because a systematic withdrawal as you seem to suggest we should do would leave us unable to support the current welfare state

              Of course, we probably wouldn’t need a welfare state as the chances are that we’d have more work to do than we have labour to do it while we bring our economy up to speed.

              would impact on our public healthcare system [loss of access to pharmaceuticals, medical equipment etc which we could no longer pay for].

              We do, as a matter of fact, produce pharmaceuticals in NZ. No reason for that to change. It just means that it would all be produced for NZ rather than for export. F&P NZ is also one of the worlds best producers of medical equipment as well.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.4

          Its a big bad world, if we stop trading we can all kiss a large amount of our jobs goodbye and ratchet our economy back to an agricultural based economy with little modern tech.

          Actually, the exact opposite would happen. We have both the resources and capability to produce our own high tech right here in NZ and we’d be incentivised to do so because of that lack of trade.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2

      Do you have any opinion at all of Key’s reasoning that Saudi citizens (as well as Houthi rebels) are fair game whereas ISIS’s victims are not?

      Does his weasel sophistry move you in any way? Apart from the reflexive atavistic urge to attack the Left, that is?

      • Dave_1924 5.2.1

        I don’t like the Saudi regime. I don’t like repression whether its Islamic, Communist, Fascist, Socialist, Capitalist in its ideology OAB.

        Is Key right in his logic that ISIL needs opposing, not sure on his logic its pretty tenuous… But he has to look after the countries interests and for NZ that means maintaning and growing trade to create/support jobs here in NZ. Rock and a hard place where pure political theory doesn’t always help much

        But I do think ISIL need opposing. They are openly avowing war on our Western Society and are openly slaughtering people for what ever reason they think is justified at the time, referencing the Qu’ran.

        Is there a case to pressure Saudi about its treatment of its citizens – yeah there is. Its a medieval absolute monarchy with a lashing of religious zealotry thrown in. But it does have authority based on the the fact the House of Saud established the country and it has a set of published laws.. much as I think those laws are crap. And its authority as a sovereign state is recognised international.

        As for the Saudi action in Yemen its just standard geopolitics – another chapter in Sunni v Shia, Saudi v Iran clash about who will dominate the Arabian peninsula and the Persian gulf. Blood and Iron in action – ethics and morals don’t count in real world real politik.

        None of that will please use OAB, but there it is… Have a nice day

        • Puddleglum 5.2.1.1

          HI Dave_1924,

          If ISIL were willing to buy our dairy products would it be ok for us to trade with them?

          Also, I think the point is not so much with whom we should be trading but whether our decisions about who to declare war against (and who not to declare war against) are on matters of moral principle – as John Key seems to be claiming in the case of ISIL – or on purely pragmatic matters with no reference to any ethical or moral principles.

          If the latter, then ISIL are just ‘unlucky’ at the moment in terms of the approach that the current government is taking to them. In different circumstances what they are doing would not prevent the current government doing deals with them.

          Also, if the latter that would be ‘fine’ (in one sense) if it weren’t for the fact that the government would then be publicly lying about the reasons for its decisions about ISIL.

          If the former then the question remains – why is Saudi Arabia an exception to this moral principle, given the similarity between its behaviour and ISIL’s?

          • Dave_1924 5.2.1.1.1

            ISIL and Trade – no. Recognised terrorist group. But I am sure that indirectly we are trading with them anyway, the black market will be supplying them and doubtless some NZ goods will be in there somewhere anyway

            Declaring war. War in most instances is morally indefensible. Moral justifications are woven out of a framework of usual suspect stock phrases.

            Ultimately its matter of national interests. The Key government has made a decision that they see it in NZ’s national interests to support the war on ISIL.

            Making war on ISIL given there declaration of Jihad on the West seems to be in our national interest to me, so I’m not concerned by it

            As for Saudi…. again a recognised state with a lot of power. its real politik. So yes ISIL is “unlucky” to use your terms

            • Tracey 5.2.1.1.1.1

              oh so there is a line that can be drawn. I am confused, above you specifically asked where the line could be drawn, almost as if it couldnt. But now you have. I hope the vulnerable of NZ don’t suffer too badly for this new line.

            • Puddleglum 5.2.1.1.1.2

              Thanks Dave_24 for the reply.

              Yes, no doubt it’s ‘real politik’ which is why it would be useful to grill the government about the particular calculations that went into the decision to send troops.

              Otherwise they get away with fatuous declarations about being offended by brutality which would be ok except for the fact that some people (perhaps even the soldiers) appear to believe those declarations and so remain ignorant as to why young New Zealanders are being sent into a dangerous situation.

              It is perfectly possible to present a ‘real politik’ case for going to war. This effort to hitch a ride on particular horror stories of beheadings and burnings is condescending and shows no respect for New Zealanders.

              And I don’t care that it may well be ‘business as usual’ to trot out these kinds of excuses – in fact, if it is BAU then that is an even stronger reason to keep calling governments on this kind of deceit.

  6. mary_a 6

    Saudi Arabia has the dollars and oil.

    ISIS does not.

    Saudi Arabia finances ISIS, thereby assisting the organization to carry out violence against humanity!

    Saudi Arabia is up to its obscenely wealthy neck in human rights abuses and atrocities!

    Key turns a convenient blind eye.

    Key wants to trade with Saudi Arabia!!!!!

    Key is a hypocrite of the worst possible kind.

  7. ICD 7

    Where was your outrage when the Labour government under Helen Clark reached a free trade agreement with China? Their human rights record at the time wasn’t exactly something to write home about and they executed thousands every year back then…

    • vto 7.1

      Go back and have a look. It was right there. Same. Egg

    • But was the Helen Clark government also going to war against a regime that acted in a similar way to China and justifying that war on the basis of such behaviour?

      The question is about the inconsistent application of principles in justifications for serious matters like sending troops to a theatre of war.

      The public should not be fed false reasons for such serious decisions.

      • alwyn 7.2.1

        The Clark Government did go to war against such people actually. They sent troops to Iraq didn’t they?. The announced reason was humanitarian aid by “non-combat” engineers but that wasn’t the truth was it?

        The evidence is that their main reason for sending these troops to Iraq was to improve the trade prospects for Fonterra.
        Thus they appear to have “fed false reasons for such serious decisions” to the New Zealand public.

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10695490

        Just how different is that to us sending troops to help train the Iraqi army?

        • Puddleglum 7.2.1.1

          Hi alwyn,

          From your link:

          One of hundreds of leaked diplomatic cables, the information from the US Embassy in Wellington said the identities of the unnamed defence staff should be “strictly protected”, after they briefed embassy staff on a Cabinet meeting in which Miss Clark’s government did an about turn on sending troops to Iraq, the Dominion Post reported.

          The sources for the information appear to be defence staff in the MOD whose names needed to be “strictly protected” in the cables (rather than, e.g., a direct cable from the government). If we can assume that what these unnamed MOD staff members said is correct then the stated reasons for sending engineers to Iraq – clearly a dangerous situation – were false.

          I have no particular reason to defend the foreign policy decisions of the Clark government.

          One difference between that case and this, of course, is that the reasons given (humanitarian, etc.) to send engineers to Iraq mean that the equivalent accusation that could be made against the Clark government would be “Why are you still trading with places that also need army engineers to help rebuild?” It doesn’t really make sense as an accusation.

          Compare: “Why are you trading with a places that commit the same atrocities as those whose actions you are responding to by sending trainers to train those who might wish to fight them?” (a bit clumsy but hopefully you see the point)

          That is, the accusation that could be made against the Clark government doesn’t have quite the same moral ‘heft’ as the accusation that could be laid at the door of the current government.

          • RedBaronCV 7.2.1.1.1

            So unnamed defence staff told the US embassy about a cabinet meeting discussion. That’s pretty close to treason isn’t it? nact supporters?

    • Tracey 7.3

      Mine was there, and still is. Trade is not proven to improve human rights records. Giving the Olympics hasn’t improve human rights records. IN the case of Australia and Beijing it worsen it during the “sanitisation” period of the actual games.

  8. cogito 8

    Quite obviously none of those posting the above comments have ever been to Saudi Arabia, nor have actually ever engaged with Saudis.

    • vto 8.1

      Nor met with h1tler, had a cup of tea with Genghis Khan, invited George Bush over for dinner, ran on the grass with …… (insert favourite fuckwit) …..

      a no point post cogito

      • cogito 8.1.1

        ignorant peasant.

        • vto 8.1.1.1

          just what is your point cogito?

          • cogito 8.1.1.1.1

            Saudi was my stomping ground for years. I know it well. It is not as portrayed above. When I was working there, there were eg 20,000 Brits living and working just in Jeddah, not to mention the rest of the country . Saudis are cultured and polite, many are very well educated. I never had any problems whatsoever with them. I could walk down the street at 2am and feel completely safe. I very much enjoyed my time in Saudi, and it upsets me somewhat when I see the country slammed by people who have no knowledge of it at all.

            • vto 8.1.1.1.1.1

              but none of that lines up against the beheadings and torture and ritual abuse of human rights…. where is all of that cogito? did you not see it when there? does it not exist?

              still don’t get your point

              • cogito

                It is a conservative Islamic country that works under sharia law. It places all sorts of restrictions on people and enforces some severe punishments. Every time I flew into Saudi I had to sign a declaration that I understood that I was liable to capital punishment if I was found guilty of certain offences. That said, it was a well ordered country where it was possible to conduct business, meet people and engage positively. It was nothing like eg Iraq (where I have also spent time) which felt like a police state.

                • vto

                  so what do you think of those fine upstanding Saudis beheading 50 people so far this year? And leaving their corpses in the street for others to see as a deterrent? And dragging women through the streets? Is that what you signed up to? Clearly it was …….. how do you feel about supporting that?

                  • cogito

                    That has been going on for years. Executions take place in public after Friday prayers. Believe it or not, executions are a crowd puller.

                    I do not agree with sharia law, but I also do not agree with people being imprisoned in China, or with the forthcoming executions in Indonesia.

                    All I am saying – and know – is that Saudi is not a country that is well understood in NZ, and a bit less stone throwing and a bit more learning would not go amiss.

                    • vto

                      Yes well your comments can be applied to pretty much any similar regime in the world ….. but your last line ….. “a bit less stone throwing ”

                      do they stone people to death as well? you would be better to suggest a bit less stone throwing to the Saudis not us

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Exactly which stones are being thrown?

                      The “gender equality” stone.

                      The “summary execution” stone.

                      The “freedom of speech and assembly” stones.

                      Hey, wait a second, those aren’t stones, they’re legitimate criticisms.

                      I need freedom, I need democracy … the whole country is a prison,

                      Khalid Muhammad al Jahani,

            • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1.1.1.1.2

              In fact, criticism is being aimed at their judicial system and practice of executing people. If we’re going to have a go at the National Party for attacks on freedom of speech, I don’t see why the House of Saud should get a free pass because you had a nice time there.

            • dukeofurl 8.1.1.1.1.3

              What a twat.

              You well know that most expats live in gated compounds, both for the security and that the religious police cant enter. So no worry about being whipped for not wearing habib or mixed gender groups.

              This comment about expat life style is interesting:
              “I would not recommend living off compound if you have a wife and children, at least within the compound they have relative freedom.”

            • joe90 8.1.1.1.1.4

              Cultured and polite.
              /

              Ali AlAhmed
              ‏@AliAlAhmed_en

              Our oil revenues since 1936 are over $5 trillion but this is how #Saudi Moanrchy make our black kids live @rhodes44

              https://twitter.com/AliAlAhmed_en/status/584918040661385216

              edit: cultured and polite
              /

              li AlAhmed
              ‏@AliAlAhmed_en

              #Saudi Monarchy religious police arrests expat woman for possessing “magic spells”. She faces beheading @JohnKerry

              https://twitter.com/AliAlAhmed_en/status/573848397574180865

              • greywarshark

                Joe90 I’m glad you put up an answer to cogito. While it is good to put up that one has had only good experiences in a certain case, it shows a lack of intelligence and awareness to criticise others who think differently especially when there are many reliable examples in the negative.

                And especially, more, when coming onto a discussion blog like TS where we try and discuss truth and reality rather than people’s cloudy opinions whether pretty pink or dirty soil-coloured (you will notice that I have picked my colours carefully so that I don’t offend anyone.) It’s hard to discuss reality rationally without someone who has had a Disney experience dissing well-known facts.

                • cogito

                  No Disney experience. Just FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE, unlike anyone else so far that I have read on this thread. If NZ wants deal in the Arab World, it needs to learn to understand it and respect it. So many of the problems in the Arab World these have been due to Western countries thinking that they know better, without stopping, listening and wanting to understand…. and see where things have got to.

                  • greywarshark

                    @ cogito
                    But you don’t stop and understand yourself! By saying a Disney experience I didn’t say that you weren’t there. I wasn’t saying that you were lying and didn’t know what you were talking about. Keep to the point can’t you. I said that you were dissing other people’s comments that were based on fact, because of the fact that you had been there and NOT experienced any problems or unpleasantness yourself. And it is not surprising because you don’t seem to understand what goes on around you, or is in words that are available for you to read, though you apparently only choose to see what suits you.

                    • cogito

                      Saudi is a very conservative Islamic state and operates accordingly. I do not support the excesses one little bit.

                    • Tracey

                      cogito

                      How long were you there and why Not asking for personal details, just generally.

                  • Tracey

                    INterestingly when Saudi delegations came to NZ, my partner was given a protocol sheet covering what she could wear, say and how to act. They came to NZ remember. When we went to Dubai (yes Dubai, a very westernised nation by middle east standards) we were moved from a room with a double bed to one with two single beds.

                    My point is that when I go to someone else’s country I expect to have to behave according to their laws, but how does that learning get reciprocated (the learning by exposure argument) when they travelled here we had to meet their cultural requirements?

                    • cogito

                      I worked in Saudi and elsewhere in the Middle East for eight years. I mostly worked for a major UK educational publishing company supplying institutions and distributors, and working with Ministries of Education. It was big business.

                      I take your point re cultural requirements.

                      When people come over here they are our guests and it is therefore our responsibility to make them feel welcome and cater to their requirements. This can involve quite a lot of thought especially when their requirements do not fit the standard pattern! When going over there, my experience was always that – once relationships had been established – I was welcomed extremely warmly and nothing was ever too much trouble for them (obviously bearing in mind the cultural context).

            • Chooky 8.1.1.1.1.5

              @ cogito ….are you a woman?….women may have a different view eg NZ nurses working there…in fact I know they do

              • cogito

                Good question, and I agree entirely.
                That said, things are changing, albeit slowly, and plenty of Saudi women are well educated and study overseas. Things have to be understood in context.

            • Murray Rawshark 8.1.1.1.1.6

              I’ve had Saudi students. They tried to bribe me. Yeah, lovely people.

    • dukeofurl 8.2

      Same old bullshit was said about South Africa under apartheid.

      “you have never been there”

      • freedom 8.2.1

        Hi dukeofurl, hate to be a pest and am really tiring of nipping at your heels but unless you like being seen as someone who simply ‘dumps n’ runs’ you do have a question to respond to if you don’t mind, regarding your comment about the Grow grants.
        I for one am still confused as to what you meant by “it’s not true” http://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-23042015-2/#comment-1004556

        • dukeofurl 8.2.1.1

          I cant be bothered, but it was made clear in Heralds ‘later versions’ of the story.

          Look it up yourself.

          • freedom 8.2.1.1.1

            Thank you for your most informative and illuminating reply. [eyeroll emoticon]

            • rawshark-yeshe 8.2.1.1.1.1

              what’s happened to our favourite emoticons ? are we being censored ? eeek!

              :eyeroll if I could eyeroll:

              • freedom

                I think it’s some wordpress upgrade – +I doubt there is anything lPrent can do. Rumour is the new ones ( those blurry ill defined squashed blotchy things) look better on new hitech phone screens – so, as usual, some boffins in an office sat around their ice cream cone board table after a morning playing with their SIRI controlled coffee makers and made a boneheaded decision.

    • Tracey 8.3

      I haven’t been there, but I have been involved in teaching their students who come to NZ…

      • cogito 8.3.1

        That’s interesting.

        I haven’t checked the stats recently, but I believe that there are increasing numbers of Saudi students coming to NZ. They would be facing quite a culture shock…. and quite possibly a fair bit of misunderstanding.

    • Tracey 8.4

      The South Africans under apartheid were nice people too.

  9. Joe 9

    Felix @ 8.01 +100

    Dave_1924 “We have an elected Govt, they make decisions …” – not sure what this means? Any decision by an elected Govt is therefore fine? Even the last Labour Govt?

  10. Paaparakauta 10

    John Key “understands” the bombing of Houthis – like photos of adolescents
    with intestines spilling out after another ‘clinical’ bomb attack ?

    lprent: I hope that’s not too graphic for our gentle readers, but I’ve seen the images.

  11. dukeofurl 11

    It gets worse, Key while meeting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi “understands” their invasion of Yemen.

    Whats was his reaction to the Ukraine crisis?. of course he told Putin to get out!

    • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1

      Taking sides in the internecine conflict between Sunni and Shia. He’s out of his depth.

      • Tracey 11.1.1

        He did confirm the money already offered to that kiwi family would be, offered… You know as a trade for the death of their triplets. It’s the market baby.

  12. rawshark-yeshe 13

    TV3 Newsnad Paddy Gower informed me yesterday that one of the reasons for the six year delay in this agreement was because one Saudi businessman was furious that live sheep shipments were stopped.

    Is this the price for a so-called free trade deal with these cruel human and animal rights monsters. No. Not in my name.

    We must not let this terrible trade be resumed, please.

    Bloody John Key; he who will stop at nothing if it means dollars at the end of it. He turns a blind eye so often he deserves to lose his sight, imho.

    • Chooky 13.1

      +100

    • veutoviper 13.2

      Believe it or not, this morning on Nine to Noon or RNZ National radio, Matthew Hooton gave a good and reasonably unbiased explanation of the reasons for the delays in the trade agreement going ahead and put the blame of the delay on Key – not Clark as Key has claimed. Hooton’s explanation aligns with what I remember.

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201752162/politics-with-matthew-hooton-and-mike-williams

      According to Hooton, the Saudi businessman lost about $100M he had invested on the understanding that the agreement and live sheep shipments would go ahead. I cannot confirm the amount, but recall this being a big issue with the Saudis. I was active fighting against live sheep shipments at that time and will certainly again become active if this cruel practice is resumed.

      I have no reason for thinking this, but my instincts suggest that this agreement will not go ahead at this time, but only time will tell.

      I presume Key will be under strict instructions to keep his hands firmly in his pockets while he is in SA, otherwise …..

      • rawshark-yeshe 13.2.1

        Thx vv .. I will join you again in the battle if they attempt to resume those vile and in humane shipments.

        Hope your instincts are right.

      • Murray Rawshark 13.2.2

        Inside the palaces, honoured guests are probably allowed to play with the hair of the servants. The servants would get flogged if they complained. I suspect it really is FJK’s kind of country.

        • veutoviper 13.2.2.1

          LOL! And yes, I agree. Perhaps he sees himself as having outgrown the western millionaire league and worthy of the Arabian Prince billionaire league..

          • rawshark-yeshe 13.2.2.1.1

            oh goodness me, Key was so outclassed on TV3 news tonight in Dubai .. what a giggling twit with all the Arab masters in one room and later no real answers to anything except that they are very rich people. Even Paddy Gower was quizzical about him later at the end of the piece.

  13. Sable 14

    Saudi is one of the US”s little pet dictatorship’s. Even the MSM in the US kowtow to them in the same way they curry favour with the apartheid state of Israel.

    We are not the USA. Keys should be ashamed of going anywhere near Saudi. Its a genuine A grade hell hole for a lot of its citizens.

  14. Sable 15

    Keys shames us by taking actions like this one. Saudi is an absolute hell hole in every sense of the word. We should have nothing whatsoever to do with them.

  15. rawshark-yeshe 16

    If you haven’t seen the documentary Fahrenheit 911 by Michael Moore, you are missing critical, salient infomation that is quite astonishing.

    Maori TV played it last week and it is free to view on their website now — Bushes 1 and 2 and the Saudis in all their greedy decadence. Remarkable doco.

    http://www.maoritelevision.com/tv/shows/tuesday-festival-documentaries/S01E001/fahrenheit-911

  16. Draco T Bastard 17

    The War Nerd: Bentleys for Houthis!

    Of course that doesn’t make for Prussian military discipline, or PLA-level morale. If the Yemeni Shia ever crossed into Najran or Jizan provinces, the Saudi Army would probably execute a tactical withdrawal, using their ultimate weapon, the Smartphone, to order some air-to-ground takeout from the USAF.

    Any ground combat between the Saudis and Houthis would be, as they say, one-sided. The Yemeni highlanders have been fighting all their lives, and have very little to lose, while the typical Saudi officer has way too much.

    This jumped out at me because of something I read about the fall of the Roman Empire. What happened there, according to what I read, was that the barbarians were on the borders being threatening and the rich in Rome decided to bribe the chieftains because it was cheaper for them than mounting a military campaign. The barbarians accepted the bribes and then invaded anyway.

    It seems that the House of Saud is now in the same position as the old Roman aristocracy.

    • GregJ 17.1

      In essence correct – In the West the Romans increasingly used “Barbarian” mercenaries – Feoderates – as military forces on the borders (limes) – the distinction between those “outside” and “inside” increasingly became blurred. There are complicated economic and demographic reasons why this happened in the West of the Empire but not in the East and hence why the Western part “fell” (really it disintegrated) but not the Eastern half – which lasted another 1000 years.

      • GregJ 17.1.1

        I agree though the Saudis don’t really don’t want to engage in a ground war if at all possible. They’ll use their air power to support their local proxies.

  17. cogito 18

    Some of the following BBC series would make useful watching for those wishing to have a better understanding of Saudi Arabia….. and it is presented by a WOMAN.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00mfcf9

  18. It comes down to the United States. If it did not waste billions trying to placate a region that hates it, both America and the Middle East would be a better place.

  19. Kriss X 20

    The people who planned and executed 911 were Saudis. So the Yanks attacked the Afghans and remain close friends with Saudi Arabia. You could not make it up, could you ?

    Saudis run a brutal Sharia law state that crushes any reformist uprising. All done with the full support of the USA, while they support other uprisings under the banner of ” regime change”

    Look how that worked out for the Syrians and others !

  20. cogito 21

    From The Arab News (Saudi Newspaper)

    Visit of New Zealand PM to cement ties
    http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/737521
    Interestingly, Key is quoted as saying:
    “New Zealand stands ready to reinvigorate the Middle East peace process,” he said.
    As New Zealand prepares for its presidency of the UN Security Council in July, it must set an example by focusing particularly on regional turmoil that has hampered peace and security of the Middle East, including the Gulf states….”

    **So look out for Key’s roadmap to Middle Eastern peace!**

    Also in the Arab News:
    New Zealand launches education website in Arabic aimed at Saudi students
    http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/735046

    Countrywide job fairs for women big hit – attended by 38,000 women
    http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/738926

  21. Melanie Scott 22

    This great champion of the wonderful enlightened and civilised Saudia Arabia makes me want to throw up.
    1. I have very good friends (not Westerners, some nominally muslims) who have been senior dipolmats in Saudi Arabia, a couple have done several tours there. Their descriptions of the hypocrisy (boozing, huge wine cellars under houses, etc) at the highest levels of govt and business) are mind boggling.
    2. The daughter of a friend who had the misfortune to live in Riaddh for a while found that they could not use the roof top terrace of their apartment in the evenings because the sound of women screaming coming from houses all around them was too distressing.
    I often meet people from the Indian subcontinent, on my business visits to Delhi (well educated, middle class, young men) who arrive home feeling traumatised by their experiences working in Saudi Arabia.
    And those are just a few examples. This is a sick, evil state and we should have nothing whatsoever to do with it.

    • cogito 22.1

      ” I often meet people from the Indian subcontinent, on my business visits to Delhi (well educated, middle class, young men) who arrive home feeling traumatised by their experiences working in Saudi Arabia.”

      Ah Delhi…. that great place where innocent women get gang raped by the dozen. Should “we” have nothing to do with India because of that? Or are those women not traumatised?

      What about Indonesia? How about “we” stop dealing with them? Or do you not have a problem with corruption, hypocrisy, human rights etc in that country?

      Personally, I would dearly love to see NZ take a moral and ethical stand on a whole range of issues and against a whole list of countries, but that is sadly fanciful.

      Are you honestly saying that Saudi Arabia is worse than so many other countries that NZ deals with? If you are, then try walking to work this morning as you support Saudi Arabia every time you fill your car.

      • Melanie Scott 22.1.1

        Saudi Arabia is definitely worse. For years I have walked around Delhi on my own many times, for hours. I always feel safe, even when I’m lost and need to ask directions in quite shady looking back alleys.
        Of course the rape culture in parts of India is dreadful, as it is in many other countries, including Western ones. However, in India women are able to vote, drive cars, travel, have equal access to education, even have children out of wedlock as quite a few middle class Delhi women do nowadays. They do not get drowned in swimmingpools by their own fathers or decapitated in carparks.
        And yes we should also stop dealing with Indonesia. I use a car as little as possible and as I am now 65 I don’t need to drive to work all that often as I only work park time, and I work a lot from home.
        I long for the day when much more money and effort is put into developing oil free modes of transport.

  22. Sable 23

    Disgraceful but hardly surprising.

  23. Paaparakauta 24

    http://www.almasdarnews.com/article/saudi-fighters-bomb-sanaa-airport-yemeni-army-advances-in-maareb/

    “Simultaneously with the landing of an Iranian Red Crescent plane carrying food and medicine in Sana’a Airport, Saudi fighter jets breaching all international norms bombed the airport to prevent the IRI civilian plane’s landing on Tuesday evening.

    The Saudi jets also bombed the control tower of the airport in their inhumane war crime, but the brave Iranian pilot completed its landing successfully before taking off again due to the inappropriate conditions of the airport and heading back towards Iran.

    The illegal and inhumane Saudi war crime took place under such conditions that Riyadh had under the pressure of the world public opinion and international organizations earlier announced that it had halted its cruel air raids against Yemen.

    The Saudi army also launched a rocketry attack against al-Jadida province in Yemen, targeting the residential areas.

    In response, the Yemeni army, backed by the popular committees, clashed fiercely with al-Qaeda takfiris, killing a number of terrorists and advancing in Maareb province.

    A Saudi security source announced that a KSA Army soldier was killed in clashes at the border with Yemen.

    9 Saudi soldiers have been killed in clashes at Yemen border, according to KSA official reports.”

  24. Chauncey Gardiner 25

    Anyone seen the latest Adam Curtis video – Bitter Lake… Gives a great back story to this whole sordid Saudi business…. who are the real villains?

    Oh, sorry for cut and paste, had too much wine to really care…. lazy me… been watching too much of the gerbil twins on TV (aka Paul Henry and Paddy .. I’m so uptight Gower… Henry is I admit rather funny… Gower… Yawn):

    Heres Adam Curtis in Bitter Lake
    http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2015/jan/26/bitter-lake-review-adam-curtis-afghanistan

    “Bitter Lake of the title refers to an actual saltwater lake through which the Suez canal flows, and presumably also to what you would find inside Adam Curtis’s head if you were to cut it open. In 1945 President Roosevelt met King Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia (whose son Abdullah died last week, to be replaced by yet another son, Salman) on board a warship on the Great Bitter Lake. It was a meeting that would have extraordinary, far-reaching and unintended consequences, for the west, for the world.

    Curtis’s story unfurls from there, taking in America, Saudi Arabia, Britain, the Soviet Union. And Afghanistan, which found itself not just at the centre of the world, but the centre of a snowballing – and ongoing – international scandal. It’s a story that includes the spread of Wahhabism (no wasabi jokes, thank you); the oversimplification of the world, by Reagan and Bush (Sr) and Bush (Jr) and Blair, into a kind of fairytale of good v evil; the banks, inevitably; Bin Laden and 9/11 too, also inevitably; and now Islamic State, who want pretty much exactly what the Wahhabists wanted over half a century ago.

    It’s a story full of violence, bloodshed, and bitter ironies, mainly about how the west, through misunderstanding and oversimplification, repeatedly achieved pretty much the opposite of what it was trying to achieve. America protected Wahhabism through its thirst for Saudi oil, and in doing so helped sow the seeds of radical Islam today. In Afghanistan they built dams to irrigate the Helmand valley, making it perfect to sow actual seeds, opium poppy seeds. The past is strewn with patterns, and warnings, if only anyone had bothered looking and tried to understand. But history is a bit too complicated for today’s politicians.”

    Who is the bad guy here? Heard on the Grape Vine that “Wahhabism” was a construct or at the very least “elevated” by “foreign concerns”

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    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • A blanket of misinformation

    Two old sayings have been on my mind lately. The first is: “The pen is mightier than the sword”, describing the power of language and communication to help or to harm. The other, which captures the speed with which falsehoods can become ingrained and hard to undo, is: “A lie can ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 7:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 are:Scoop: Government considers rolling back home insulation standards RNZ’s Eloise GibsonNews: Government plans tree-planting frenzy as report shows NZ no longer ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 , the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day were:Simon Watts released the Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP), which included proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • “Shhhh” – National's 3 Waters is loaded with higher costs and lays a path to ...

    This is a long, possibly technical, but very, very important read. I encourage you to take the time and spread your awareness.IntroductionIn 2022, then Labour Party Prime Minister Jacinda Adern expended significant political capital to protect New Zealand’s water assets from privatisation. She lost that battle, and Labour and the ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Plugging a video channel: Dr Gilbz

    Dr. Ella Gilbert is a climate scientist and presenter with a PhD in Antarctic climate change, working at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Her background is in atmospheric sciences and she's especially interested in the physical mechanisms of climate change, clouds, and almost anything polar. She is passionate about communicating climate ...
    5 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” again

    Back in 2022, in its Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, the government promised to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation. Since then they've run a secret "consultation" on how to do that, with their preferred outcome being that agencies will consult the Ministry of Justice ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Crashing New Zealand's health system is not the way to prosperity, Prime Minister

    Another day, and yet another piece of bad news for New Zealand’s health system. Reports have come out that General Practitioners (GP) may have to close doors, or increase patient fees to survive. The so-called ‘capitation’ funding review, which supports GP practices to survive, is under way, and primary care ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Closer Than You Think: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.

    Redefining Our Terms: “When an angry majority is demanding change, defending the status-quo is an extremist position.”“WHAT’S THIS?”, asked Laurie, eyeing suspiciously the two glasses of red wine deposited in front of him.“A nice drop of red. I thought you’d be keen to celebrate the French Far-Right’s victory with the ...
    5 days ago
  • Come on Darleen.

    Good morning all, time for a return to things domestic. After elections in the UK and France, Luxon gatecrashing Nato, and the attempted shooting of Trump, it’s probably about time we re-focus on local politics.Unless of course you’re Christopher Luxon and you’re so exhausted from all your schmoozing in Washington ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • How the Northwest was lost and may be won

    This is a guest post by Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which we encourage you to check out. It is shared by kind permission. The Northwest has always been Auckland’s public transport Cinderella, rarely invited to the public funding ball. How did ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Tuesday July 16

    Luxon has told a Financial Times’ correspondent he would openly call out China’s spying in future and does not fear economic retaliation from Aotearoa’s largest trading partner.File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Tuesday, ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 16

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 16 are:PM Christopher Luxon has given a very hawkish interview to the Financial Times-$$$ correspondent in Washington, Demetri Sevastopulu, saying ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Tuesday, July 16

    Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 6:00 am are:BNZ released its Performance of Services Index for June, finding that services sector is at its lowest level of activity ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The second crisis; assumption was the mother

    Late on the night of July 16, 1984, while four National Cabinet Ministers were meeting in the Beehive office of Deputy Prime Minister Jim McLay, plotting the ultimate downfall of outgoing Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, another crisis was building up in another part of the capital. The United States ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • Can we air condition our way out of extreme heat?

    This is a re-post from The Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler Air conditioning was initially a symbol of comfort and wealth, enjoyed by the wealthy in theaters and upscale homes. Over time, as technology advanced and costs decreased, air conditioning became more accessible to the general public. With global warming, though, ...
    6 days ago
  • Review: The Zimiamvian Trilogy, by E.R. Eddison (1935-1958)

    I have reviewed some fairly obscure stuff on this blog. Nineteenth century New Zealand speculative fiction. Forgotten Tolkien adaptations. George MacDonald and William Morris. Last month I took a look at The Worm Ouroboros (1922), by E.R. Eddison, which while not strictly obscure, is also not overly inviting to many ...
    6 days ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on the Trump assassination attempt.

    In this episode of “A View from Afar” Selwyn Manning and I discuss the attempt on Donald Trump’s life and its implications for the US elections. The political darkness grows. ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Law & Order: National Party 1, Police 0, Public -1

    What happened?Media is reporting that police have lost in their pay dispute with the Coalition Government.Some of you might remember that the police rejected Labour’s previous offer in September, 2023, possibly looking forward to be taken care of by the self-touted ‘Party of Law and Order’ - National.If you look ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the Trump shooting and a potential hike in fees for visiting the doctor

    Having watched Donald Trump systematically exploit social grievances, urge people not to accept his election loss and incite his followers to violent insurrection… it is a bit hard to swallow the media descriptions over the past 24 hours of Trump being a “victim” of violence. More like a case of ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Monday July 15

    The exploitation of workers on the national fibre broadband rollout highlights once again the dark underbelly of our ‘churn and burn’ economy. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:An extraordinary Steve Kilgallon investigation into ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Monday, July 15

    Photo by Jessica Loaiza on UnsplashTL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last three days to 9:00 am on Monday, July 15 are:Investigation: Immigration NZ refused to prosecute an alleged exploiter despite a mountain of evidence - ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • City Centre Rebuild: How Soon Is Now?

    Patrick Reynolds is deputy chair of the City Centre Advisory Panel and a director of Greater Auckland There is ongoing angst about construction disruption in the city centre. And fair enough: it’s very tough, CRL and other construction has been going on for a very long time. Like the pandemic, ...
    Greater AucklandBy Patrick Reynolds
    7 days ago
  • Peril, dismay, resolution

    This afternoon we rolled into Budapest to bring to a close our ride across Europe. We did 144 km yesterday, severe heat messages coming in from the weather app as we bounced along unformed Hungarian back roads and a road strip strewn with fallen trees from an overnight tornado. Somewhere ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    7 days ago
  • Bullet the Blue Sky

    In the locust windComes a rattle and humJacob wrestled the angelAnd the angel was overcomeYou plant a demon seedYou raise a flower of fireWe see them burnin' crossesSee the flames, higher and higherBullet the blue skyBullet the blue skyThe indelible images, the soundtrack of America. Guns, assassinations, where-were-you-when moments attached ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    7 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Monday, July 15

    TL;DR: The top six announcements, rulings, reports, surveys, statistics and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the three days to 6:00 am on Monday, July 23 are:University of Auckland researcher Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy published an analysis of the impact of Auckland's 2016 zoning reforms.BNZ's latest Performance ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • The Kākā’s diary for the week to July 23 and beyond

    TL;DR: The six key events to watch in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy in the week to July 23 include:PM Christopher Luxon has returned from a trip to the United States and may hold a post-Cabinet news conference at 4:00 pm today.The BusinessNZ-BNZ PSI survey results for June will be released this ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • Was The Assassination Attempt Fake?

    Hi,It’s in incredible photo, and we’re going to be talking about it for a long time:Trump, triumphantly raising his hand in the air after being shot. Photo credit: Evan VucciYou can watch what happened on YouTube in real time, as a 20-year-old from Pennsylvania lets off a series of gunshots ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    7 days ago
  • 40 years ago, inside the crisis that made modern NZ

    It had rained all day in Auckland, and the Metro Theatre in Mangere was steamed up inside as more and more people arrived to celebrate what had once seemed impossible. Sir Robert Muldoon had lost the 1984 election. “Piggy” Muldoon was no more. Such was the desire to get rid ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    7 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #28

    A listing of 34 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, July 7, 2024 thru Sat, July 13, 2024. Story of the week It's still early summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The season comes as our first year of 1.5°C warming ...
    1 week ago
  • Unsurprising, but Trump shooting creates opportunity for a surprising response

    I can’t say I’m shocked. As the US news networks offer rolling coverage dissecting the detail of today’s shooting at a Donald Trump rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, and we hear eye-witnesses trying to make sense of their trauma, the most common word being used is shock. And shocking it is. ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Escalation in the States as Trump is shot and his allies capitalize on the moment

    Snapshot summary of the shooting in the States belowAnd a time to remember what Abraham Lincoln once said of the United States of America:We find ourselves in the peaceful possession of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Bernie Sanders: Joe Biden for President

    I will do all that I can to see that President Biden is re-elected. Why? Despite my disagreements with him on particular issues, he has been the most effective president in the modern history of our country and is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump — a demagogue and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Questions from God

    Have you invited God into your online life? Do you have answers for his questions? Did I just assume God’s pronouns?Before this goes any further, or gets too blasphemous, a word of explanation. When I say “God”, I don’t meant your god(s), if you have one/them. The God I speak ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The politics of money and influence

    Did you know: Four days ago, the CEO of Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), David Zaslav, opined that he didn’t really care who won the US Presidential election, so long as they were M&A and business friendly. Please share my Substack so I can continue my work. Thank you and happy ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Auckland & Transport Minister Simeon Brown's insanity

    Excuse me, but I just don’t feel like being polite today. What is going on with Simeon Brown? I mean, really? After spending valuable Ministerial time, focus, and government resources to overturn tailored speed limits in school and high fatality zones that *checks notes* reduces the risk of deaths and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago

  • Oceans and Fisheries Minister to Solomons

    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is travelling to the Solomon Islands tomorrow for meetings with his counterparts from around the Pacific supporting collective management of the region’s fisheries. The 23rd Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee and the 5th Regional Fisheries Ministers’ Meeting in Honiara from 23 to 26 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government launches Military Style Academy Pilot

    The Government today launched the Military Style Academy Pilot at Te Au rere a te Tonga Youth Justice residence in Palmerston North, an important part of the Government’s plan to crackdown on youth crime and getting youth offenders back on track, Minister for Children, Karen Chhour said today. “On the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Nine priority bridge replacements to get underway

    The Government has welcomed news the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has begun work to replace nine priority bridges across the country to ensure our state highway network remains resilient, reliable, and efficient for road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“Increasing productivity and economic growth is a key priority for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Update on global IT outage

    Acting Prime Minister David Seymour has been in contact throughout the evening with senior officials who have coordinated a whole of government response to the global IT outage and can provide an update. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has designated the National Emergency Management Agency as the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand, Japan renew Pacific partnership

    New Zealand and Japan will continue to step up their shared engagement with the Pacific, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “New Zealand and Japan have a strong, shared interest in a free, open and stable Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.    “We are pleased to be finding more ways ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New infrastructure energises BOP forestry towns

    New developments in the heart of North Island forestry country will reinvigorate their communities and boost economic development, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones visited Kaingaroa and Kawerau in Bay of Plenty today to open a landmark community centre in the former and a new connecting road in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • 'Pacific Futures'

    President Adeang, fellow Ministers, honourable Diet Member Horii, Ambassadors, distinguished guests.    Minasama, konnichiwa, and good afternoon, everyone.    Distinguished guests, it’s a pleasure to be here with you today to talk about New Zealand’s foreign policy reset, the reasons for it, the values that underpin it, and how it ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Delivering 24 hour pothole repairs

    Kiwis and freight operators will benefit from the Coalition Government delivering on its commitment to introduce targets that will ensure a greater number of potholes on our state highways are identified and fixed within 24 hours, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Increasing productivity to help rebuild our economy is a key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Peer Support Specialists rolled out in hospitals

    Five hospitals have been selected to trial a new mental health and addiction peer support service in their emergency departments as part of the Government’s commitment to increase access to mental health and addiction support for New Zealanders, says Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Peer Support Specialists in EDs will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Consultation opens for the Emissions Reduction Plan

    The Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows we can stay within the limits of the first two emissions budgets while growing the economy, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “This draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows that with effective climate change policies we can both grow the economy and deliver our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Benefit stats highlight need for welfare reset

    The coalition Government is providing extra support for job seekers to ensure as many Kiwis as possible are in work or preparing for work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “While today’s quarterly data showing a rise in the number of people on Jobseeker benefits has been long ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • School attendance continues to increase

    Provisional school attendance data for Term 2 2024 released today has shown more students are back in class compared to last year, with 53.1 per cent of students regularly attending, compared with 47 per cent in Term 2 2023, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. “The Government has prioritised student ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • $22.7m of West Coast resilience projects underway

    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed news of progress being made by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) on the first of several crucial resilience projects underway on the South Island’s West Coast.“State highways across the West Coast are critical lifelines for communities throughout the region, including for freight and tourism. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Migrant school leavers to get part-time work rights

    The coalition Government is providing migrant school leavers with greater opportunities, by increasing access to part-time work rights for those awaiting the outcome of a family residence application, Immigration Minister Erica Stanford has announced.  “Many young people who are part of a family residence application process are unable to work. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Funding to support use of NZ Sign Language

    Seven projects have received government funding totalling nearly $250,000 to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Initiatives that received an NZSL Board Community Grants this year include camps that support the use of NZSL through physical and sensory activities, and clubs where Deaf people and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Inflation data shows progress in economic recovery

    Today’s Consumer Price Index data which has inflation at 3.3 per cent for the year to July 2024, shows we are turning our economy around and winning the fight against rampant inflation, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “While today’s data will be welcome news for Kiwis, I know many New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Experts to advise Minister on Oranga Tamariki

    The Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board has been re-established by the Minister for Children, Karen Chhour. “I look forward to working with the new board to continue to ensure Oranga Tamariki and the care and protection system, are entirely child centric,” Minister Chhour says. “The board will provide independent advice ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Expectations set for improved medicines access

    Associate Health Minister David Seymour says he has set clear expectations for Pharmac around delivering the medicines and medical technology that Kiwis need.  “For many New Zealanders, funding for pharmaceuticals is life or death, or the difference between a life of pain and suffering or living freely. New cancer medicines ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Regional Development Minister to host summits

    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will hold a series of nationwide summits to discuss regional priorities, aspirations and opportunities, with the first kicking off in Nelson on August 12. The 15 summits will facilitate conversations about progressing regional economic growth and opportunities to drive productivity, prosperity and resilience through the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government delivers new school for Rolleston

    The Coalition Government is addressing growing demands on Canterbury’s school network, by delivering a new primary school in Rolleston, Education Minister Erica Stanford says. Within Budget 24’s $400 million investment into school property growth, construction will begin on a new primary school (years 1-8) in Selwyn, Canterbury.  Rolleston South Primary ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New speed camera signs to improve safety

    The Government is welcoming the rollout of new speed camera signs for fixed speed cameras to encourage drivers to check their speeds, improving road safety and avoiding costly speeding tickets, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “Providing Kiwis with an opportunity to check their speed and slow down in high crash areas ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ, Korea strengthen relationship

    New Zealand and the Republic of Korea continue to strengthen their relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “New Zealand and Korea have a long history – from New Zealand soldiers fighting in the Korean War, through to our strong cooperation today as partners supporting the international rules-based order.    ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Investing for future growth in tourism and hospitality

    The Government is moving forward with recommendations from the Tourism Data Leadership Group, beginning with establishing a Tourism Data Partnership Fund says Tourism and Hospitality Minister Matt Doocey. “The Tourism Data Partnership Fund is funded through the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) and will provide up to $400,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • 4000 more job seekers to get case managers

    A new over-the-phone employment case management service will see thousands more job seekers under the age of 25 supported to find work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston has announced. “MSD case managers provide valuable support to help people into work, but less than a third of those receiving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Trade Minister to attend G7 meeting in Italy

    Trade Minister Todd McClay will attend the Group of Seven (G7) Trade Ministers meeting in Reggio Calabria, Italy next week. This is the first time New Zealand has been invited to join the event, which will be attended by some of the world’s largest economies and many of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministers reveal consequences for unruly Kāinga Ora tenants

    Ministers are pleased to see Kāinga Ora taking a stronger approach to managing unruly, threatening or abusive tenants, Housing Minister Chris Bishop and Associate Housing Minister Tama Potaka say.    “For far too long, a small number of Kāinga Ora tenants have ridden roughshod over their neighbours because, under Kāinga ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up US visit in California

    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has finished a successful four-day visit to the United States with meetings in California on his final day focusing on innovation and investment.  “It has been fantastic to be in San Francisco today seeing first-hand the deepening links between New Zealand and California. “New Zealand company, EV Maritime, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister leads Indo-Pacific Four at NATO

    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today chaired a meeting of the Indo-Pacific Four (IP4) countries – Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand. The IP4 met in the context of NATO’s Summit in Washington DC hosted by President Biden. “Prosperity is only possible with security,” Mr Luxon says. “We need ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • District Court judges appointed

    Attorney-General Hon Judith Collins today announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges.   The appointees, who will take up their roles in July and August at the Manukau, Rotorua and Invercargill courts, are:   Matthew Nathan Judge Nathan was admitted to bar in New Zealand in 2021, having previously been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Urgent review into Wairoa flood response begins

    Environment Minister, Penny Simmonds today announced the terms of reference for a rapid review into the Wairoa flood response. “The Wairoa community has raised significant concerns about the management of the Wairoa River bar and the impact this had on flooding of properties in the district,” says Ms Simmonds. “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZDF’s Red Sea deployment extended

    New Zealand has extended its contribution to the US-led coalition working to uphold maritime security in the Red Sea, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The decision to extend this deployment is reflective of the continued need to partner and act in line with New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government provides support to tackle tax debt and compliance

    New compliance funding in Budget 2024 will ensure Inland Revenue is better equipped to catch individuals who are evading their tax obligations, Revenue Minister Simon Watts says. “New Zealand’s tax debt had risen to almost $7.4 billion by the end of May, an increase of more than 50 per cent since 2022. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Taking action to reduce road cones

    The Coalition Government is taking action to reduce expenditure on road cones and temporary traffic management (TTM) while maintaining the safety of workers and road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  Rolling out a new risk-based approach to TTM that will reduce the number of road cones on our roads.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Celebrating 100 years of progress

    Te Arawa Lakes Trust centenary celebrations mark a significant milestone for all the important work done for the lakes, the iwi and for the Bay of Plenty region, says Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka. The minister spoke at a commemorative event acknowledging 100 years ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Foreign Minister to travel to Korea and Japan

    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to the Republic of Korea and Japan next week.    “New Zealand enjoys warm and enduring relationships with both Korea and Japan. Our relationships with these crucial partners is important for New Zealand’s ongoing prosperity and security,” says Mr Peters.    While in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government creates MAG for retail crime victims

    The coalition Government is establishing a Ministerial Advisory Group for the victims of retail crime, as part of its plan to restore law and order, Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee says.  “New Zealand has seen an exponential growth in retail crime over the past five ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Huge opportunity for educators and students as charter school applications open

    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says today is another important step towards establishing charter schools, with the application process officially opening.  “There has already been significant interest from groups and individuals interested in opening new charter schools or converting existing state schools to charter schools,” says Mr Seymour. “There is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Decreasing gas reserves data highlights need to reverse oil and gas exploration ban

    MBIE’s annual Petroleum Reserves report detailing a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural gas reserves shows the need to reverse the oil and gas exploration ban, Energy Minister Simeon Brown says.“Figures released by MBIE show that there has been a 20 per cent reduction in New Zealand’s natural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Providers of military assistance to Russia targeted in new sanctions

    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced further sanctions as part of the Government’s ongoing response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.    “Russia’s continued illegal war of aggression against Ukraine is a direct and shocking assault on the rules-based order. Our latest round of sanctions targets Russians involved in that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • OECD report shows New Zealand is a red tape state

    Minister for Regulation David Seymour says that the OECD Product Market Regulation Indicators (PMRI) released this morning shows why New Zealanders sorely need regulatory reform. “This shocker result should end any and all doubt that the Government must go to war on red tape and regulation,” says Mr Seymour.  “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago

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