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After Homs

Written By: - Date published: 11:04 am, March 5th, 2012 - 39 comments
Categories: human rights, war - Tags:

In my previous post I laid out the reasons why a NATO/US intervention in Syria is unlikely, even though the alternative will almost certainly be defeat of the freedom fighters and even more mass murder by the regime. There’s no strategic gain from the Right’s perspective and many on the Left would rather see a massacre than US military action. Homs has fallen. So, what next for the rebels?

The fracturing of a regime’s monopoly on violence is a necessary precursor to a successful revolution. Often, particularly in modern times, this will mean part of the security forces will go over to the other side or refuses to fight. Syria has that with the mass desertion of Sunni conscripts, many of whom have joined the Free Syrian Army or other local groups.

Sometimes, that is enough to break the regime’s resolve (eg Ukraine’s Orange Revolution and the overthrow of Milosevic) if the regime is decrepit and can’t face an internal military confrontation. The Syrain people weren’t so lucky – their tyrant has plenty of fight in him.

The Free Syrian Army’s initial strategy was very sound, classic guerrilla warfare. They launched hit and run attacks on elements of the special security forces and left the regular army alone, apart from some ambushes where they shot officers and invited the conscripts to join them or desert. They didn’t seek to hold land or cities, they sought to do damage and then disappear. And they didn’t bring the wrath of the regime on civilians

It’s a good strategy. One that’s worked numerous times over thousands of years – slowly ebbing away the regime’s strength and isolating it, while keeping the population onside and gaining their trust. Like Mao says, the guerrilla must swim in the people as the fish swims in the sea.

But there’s a classic counter-strategy to this that a regime which is willing to play sufficiently hardball will employ: identify a civilian well-spring of the rebellion and pound the shit out of it. Unless they are extraordinarily disciplined and well-led (eg the Viet Cong), the rebels can be drawn into trying to defend their civilians and fighting in the regime’s terms – a classic face-to-face battle where heavy weapons excel, rather than light infantry shoot and scoot, which is where the rebels have a natural advantage.

That’s what happened at Homs. The deployment of the regime army around what was already a centre of the rebellion drew in more and more rebel fighters. Satellite imagery compiled from Human Rights Watch shows 1000s of shells were fired into the Baba Amr quarter killing hundreds of rebel fighters and civilians before the Free Syrian Army withdrew. In the aftermath, there are reports of summary executions and the Red Cross/Red Crescent has been denied access (hey, conspiracy theorists – I’m sure they’re all part of the conspiracy that is inventing this whole thing for no reason too).

So the Free Syrian Army as been given a hiding. What now? It could well be that the groundswell of support for overthrowing the regime will diminish now that the rebel fighters have been seen to be defeated, and as word of the regime’s atrocities spreads with the clear rider: you could be next. That’s what happened after Assad’s daddy did the same thing to Hama 30 years ago.

But, if we want to see the murderer Assad gone, then the Free Syrian Army could still pull it off, if they go back to the tactics that work. They will need to be disciplined about refusing to take the regime forces on in front-on combat. Instead, fight by ambush and gradually weaken until the regime’s ability to project its power and enforce its rule fades. Don’t try to take or hold land, just make it impossible for the regime to do so. It’s a long-term strategy and it means not being drawn into defending cities – when the Vietnamese did it the cost was appalling.

But, if the rest of the world is going to sit on its chuff and let Assad murder his people, slow and bloody is the only way that the Syrian people will win their freedom.

Frankly, it looks like Assad’s going to crush the rebels now and Syrians will suffer greatly without gaining self-determination. I understand the realpolitik of letting these people die but let’s not pretend that we aren’t turning our backs on them.

39 comments on “After Homs”

  1. Conal 1

    I can’t help feeling that another motive for the rebel strategy was to provoke a decisive NATO intervention on their side as was done in Kosovo and Libya.

  2. muzza 2

    Can anyone from The Standard please explain why the site is letting this unblanced writing about such a sentitive topic, continue to be published with seemingly no QA, or factual research by the author?

    Can the author at least list the sources he is using to substantiate his views?

    • Te Reo Putake 2.1

      The posts are intended to start discussion, Muzza. It’s an opinion, which we’re all free to counter (or agree with).

      • muzza 2.1.1

        So you think that opinion pieces are appropiate when talking about a war zone Voice?

        While I concur about the discussions part relating to the articles on the site, those written about the ME, have been heavily lacking in any attempt to bring balance for such subject matter.

        The readers on this site are possible rather more decerning than say the NZH, where I have seen a more balanced point of view than this drivel!

        I do not buy your rationale on this at all!

        • Te Reo Putake 2.1.1.1

          Yes, muzza, I do think opinion pieces are appropriate when talking about war zones. It would be very strange if that were not the case! Indeed, the anti-war movement have used opinion pieces to make their point since at least the Vietnam war, to my certain knowlege.
           
          Opinion pieces are not required to be internally balanced, because they represent an individual’s view of a subject. They can, however, be externally balanced by having an alternative POV also presented, if the publisher feels that is appropriate. That works in, say, Time magazine, or the Listener, but it’s hardly needed on a blog.
           
          In this case, MV’s opinion seems to have some substance. It’s a well presented picture of the situation there, as he sees it. I don’t agree with all he says, but I haven’t seen any serious rebuttal of it yet, either. If their needs to be balance, then by all means provide it. But I would still encourage MV to continue posting, because these are issues that need to be talked about.
           
          My quick summary of the Syrian situation: Assad should be captured or killed as soon as possible. But that won’t happen because the Syrians don’t have much oil.

    • Conal 2.2

      Yes It’s interesting how completely this toes the official NATO line, albeit with a “left” tinge. It’s not something isolated though; I’ve seen the same thing on social-democratic blogs a number of times, backing NATO against the governments of Yugoslavia and Libya, in particular. Let’s not underestimate the ideological power of the mass media to justify wars!

      A couple of major points to note:

      There’s an absolute dichotomy presented between Assad the Tyrant on the one hand, and the entire Syrian People on the other, apparently fully represented by the FSA Freedom Fighters. Does Assad’s regime not have considerable popular support? Actually it does, but you would never guess it from this article. It’s very much a cardboard cut-out picture of Syria.

      Another interesting point is how it identifies with Western imperialism. The talk about “getting off your chuff” is I suppose code for a NATO bombing campaign or even invasion. The identification of “us” with NATO is astonishing. Are “we” really turning our backs on the Syrian people? I don’t even have a single drone, fighter bomber, or cruise missile (and NZ as a whole is not much better equipped in that respect, actually). Am I in charge of NATO? Is NZ? Are the populations of the countries who actually make up NATO? Hardly. So hho exactly is this “we”?

      Note also that other countries (in the Arab League for instance, and also Russia) got “off their chuffs” to try to organise peace talks between the warring sides. Isn’t that a commendable effort? Why is war apparently the only option? And why did the Syrian opposition refuse to negotiate with Assad? They thought they could triumph militarily by themselves? Unlikely! They thought NATO would intervene to assure their victory? Perhaps if NATO had been less bellicose they might have considered a negotiated solution instead.

      • Blighty 2.2.1

        Assad represents the ruling Alawite elite, which maintains its power through secret police, repression and bombardment of cities that rise up. If you call that ‘popular support’, well, good for you.

    • Blighty 2.3

      write a guest post if you want to offer a counter view.

      You could title it: Why the Syrian rebels deserve to die

      • Conal 2.3.1

        Yes, because what I really want to do is to buy into a mirror image of the same simplistic and naive view presented here.

        This isn’t “Cowboys and Indians”, Blighty.

        [edit] whoops I think Blighty’s snide comment was actually to someone else.

    • lprent 2.4

      All posts written by our authors are their opinions. That is why their names or pseudonyms are attached to the posts. There is no editorial policy (apart from “I don’t want to be sued” or “all the other authors are up in arms”) for authors that we give logins to. Neither is the case with these posts. Commentators are up in arms usually doesn’t rate because you usually find a wider range of opinion…

      If you disagree then comment on why you disagree (just don’t personally attack the author because I grant holidays from commenting for that). If you want to make it more prominent then write a guest post and send it in. We will usually post anything that is coherent and argues an opinion.

      BTW: It is reasonably comment to find other authors disagreeing in comments, and sometimes even getting wound up enough to write opposing posts. The most recent I remember is Zet? writing something sarcastic about Shearer, and then Mike writing something complimentary.

  3. coolas 3

    A link to The Independent and Robert Fisk – thanks to NoRightTurn – gives a broader point of view

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-the-fearful-realities-keeping-the-assad-regime-in-power-7534769.html

    Sickening to read the comments about Falluja in 2004 where US forces killed thousands of civilians and left a toxic legacy by using white phosphorous. The US target weren’t ‘freedom fighters’, of course. They were ‘rebels’ or ‘terrorists.’ So that’s okay!

    • SpaceMonkey 3.1

      Add to the white phosphorous the copius amounts of DU the US have littered around Iraq (some 1,000 tons within the first 3 weeks) and now Libya.

      http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=3116
      http://www.voltairenet.org/NATO-War-Crimes-Depleted-Uranium

      • coolas 3.1.1

        Thanks for links. But shocking, eh. I just can’t get my head around how this is allowed to happen.

        • Conal 3.1.1.1

          It’s shocking alright. But to drag the topic of conversation back to this post about the Syrian conflict, I would argue that this kind of post is itself very much part of how Western aggression is allowed to happen. Western imperialists have learned from the failure of their war against Vietnam that they need to exert more effective ideological control over their own populations when waging wars overseas. Especially in left forums like the Standard, actually, since this is the kind of place where anti-war positions might be expected. The ideology of “humanitarian intervention” is a useful tool for war-mongers who are happy to use it as a fig-leaf for wars which they actually wage for very different reasons, and with very different results.

          There’s a standard pattern in psyops of this type: firsts demonise the enemy-of-the-day, white-wash their opposition, and hand-wringingly ask “why won’t someone intervene for humanitarian reasons?” There’s a lot of talk about law and morality and responsibility to protect.

          Then when the imperial powers start their military campaign, there’s a psyops campaign to white-wash it; all ordnance used are “smart bombs” incapable of killing civilians; all the dead are deemed to have been legitimate targets; all the country’s destroyed infrastructure turns out to have been military in nature; enemy journalists killed were actually propagandists who deserved death; etc. Contradictory reports are deemed to be enemy propaganda. Contradictory reports that are too well-attested to be denied are deemed to be highly exceptional “collateral damage” which is regretted but sacrifices have to be made, etc.

          A few weeks later the whole thing can be forgotten. The new rulers can commit all kinds of crimes, including ethnic cleansing, torture and assassination. The gaze of the world’s media has moved on to yet another benighted third world country ruled by an “evil tyrant” who must be killed for the sake of humanity. “Mission Accomplished”.

          • Morrissey 3.1.1.1.1

            The ideology of “humanitarian intervention” is a useful tool for war-mongers…

            Quite true. The call for “humanitarian intervention” might carry some moral weight if it were not led by the likes of Hillary Clinton, William Hague and Nicholas Sarkozy. Not one of these human rights champions uttered a single word in favour of “humanitarian intervention” during Israel’s bloody invasions of Lebanon or Gaza. In fact, they all applauded the killing.

          • coolas 3.1.1.1.2

            Interesting – Evil Saddam v’s the Liberators, Evil Gaddafi v’s Democracy warriors, Evil Mubarak v’s People Power .. now .. Evil Assad v’s the Freedom Army. It reads like advertising (and comics) which is what you’re saying it is really. And I get your point that this post panders to that simplistic idea. Good v’s Evil. Got it. Where’s the remote?

  4. Kevin 4

    Assad has a lot of external support from Iran and also has been materially equipped with weapons and munitions from Russia and to a lesser degree China.
    Without that support Assad’s regime would struggle in a long drawn out civil war where the opposing forces, the Free Syria Army, with support from Nato, could mount a sustained and co ordinated response to the brutal regimes crackdown on democratic reforms.
    Assad realises that he is a marked man, and will always be a potential assassination target, a dead man walking. He won’t be able to maintain his hard line position over the long term.
    The Free Syria Army looks to have lost this initial battle, no doubt the recriminations against the organisers will be severe and brutal, however the seed of democracy has been planted and will grow over time especially with support from Nato agencies.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      however the seed of democracy has been planted and will grow over time especially with support from Nato agencies.

      Sure, every time NATO gets involved this is exactly what happens. What’s happening now in Libya BTW after NATO involvement? Any more Al Qaeda flags appearing on the government buildings there + declarations of Sharia law?

      You guys gotta be dreaming. Look how well the installment of the Shah of Iran or supporting the ‘freedom fighters’ in Afghanistan has gone for the west. Its like everyone has memories like sandflies.

  5. house 5

    Whilst I don’t want the Free Syrian Army to die (moreover I don’t want the civilians surrounding them to die), I’m not sure I want them to win either. Too often for the past 200 years Westerners have assumed the position of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. As the current mess in Libya illustrates (as equally messy situations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Cambodia, etc have in the past) sometimes overthrowing bad results in worse.

    Anyway Fisk wrote a reasonable piece on the issue of the Free Syrian Army:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-could-there-be-some-bad-guys-among-the-rebels-too-6719999.html

  6. prism 6

    Conal and muzza are against the post it seems. But I still don’t understand what they think are the problems facing Syrian anti-government fighters. Are they wrong to oppose the government?
    Are they unreasonable malcontents?

    And why does each theatre of war have to drag all the others along on its back – Syria seen in connection with Gaddafi, with Saddam, with Israel etc. Almost the USA domino theory relating to Vietnam over again. It will be easy to say crushingly to me, that all these ME conflicts are related, but Syrians still have their own nation to contend with. Lecturing commenters isn’t talking about Syrians and why a significant group might, do, want to change governance.

    What role does religion play? There was a mention that Sunni fighters withdrew from the government army. Is there a split along these lines? I’ll see what Robert Fisk says from house link above.

    • Conal 6.1

      Just a quick answer, from my perspective.

      I deliberately didn’t give an opinion on the rights and wrongs of the Syrian uprising. I’m absolutely sure that the opposition has valid reasons for discontent with the Baath Party regime. No doubt about it. But I’m not going to presume to lecture them on how to carry out their political struggle. That’s their business.

      Which brings me to the crux of my opposition to this post. The key point of this post, it seems to me, is to attempt to justify Western military attacks on a sovereign state, through a spurious appeal to humanitarianism, whereas in fact the benefits of these attacks flow primarily to elite sectors within the Western powers themselves.

      I say “spurious” because the military establishments of the Western “great powers” don’t intervene for humanitarian reasons. That’s just not how they roll. If that were the real motive, then they would have intervened in a much larger number of dire humanitarian crises, which I’m not going to list; suffice to say that if you look at the record, it’s more than a bit patchy.

      When the Western powers do intervene, there’s typically another rather obvious self-serving motive to be seen. In the Middle East, strategic control of the world’s major oil reserves is the most obvious consideration. Imperialism is a real phenomenon in world politics; the elites of the Great Powers know what they want and they’ll lie and bully and go to war at the drop of a hat if it looks necessary.

      That’s the thread that links all these wars together.

      • MValley 6.1.1

        the rebels are asking for help to stop them being slaughtered by the regime’s heavy weapons so that they can win their freedom. We would ask for (and get because most of us are white) the same help if it was us.

        As for ‘you can’t a attack a sovereign state no matter what they do to their people’, that’s a notion that I would have hoped went out in 1945.

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1

          Starting an unwinnable and widespread war against a regime with heavy weapons and then asking for help afterwards from outside is a low quality, untenable, non-military strategy.

        • Con 6.1.1.2

          So if NZ was languishing under some cruel tyranny, NATO would come to our aid because we’re white? Like how NATO came to the aid of those Chileans during the years of Pinochet’s dictatorship? Or how NATO overthrew the fascist regime of Generalissimo Franco? No, because NATO doesn’t work like that. They’re not some kind of international humanitarian aid agency, no matter what they’d like you to think.

          It beggars belief the illusions some people harbour about NATO and US imperialism generally! You only have to look at what they actually do. If they invade a country, it’s to subordinate it to their rule. That’s what they’re paying good money for; not to make the world a happy place. And that’s why, if NATO were to attack Syria, no matter what high-sounding motives and goals they claimed to have, it would not produce a good outcome for Syrians, or for other countries in the region.

    • muzza 6.2

      My isue is with the article at this stage, as the author is IMO responsible for propagating a so called point of view which reads as ignortantly unresearched. Some seem to think that opinion pieces are ok on such suvject matter, but that is weak and a cop out! When you are talking about war, at least have the depth to give it some serious balanced thought. Yes its a blog, but what is the difference between this space or a similar piece of nonsene in the MSM? Actually the difference is that I would expect better from this site!

      Writing from an angle which seems to want to induce the thoughts of the reader into reasons why the west should intervene, is simply not good enough. If the writer gave some sort of balance then came up with the conclusions the west should intervene, I would still disagree., but at least it would be balanced.

      Syria is a complicated situation, and that is why I am have not given opinions, as I have not spent the time researching it enough. So far as events in Libya which is did comment on in the authors Iran piece, as I had taken time to try to understand the happenings, and also had first hand information from people who were inside Libya, and who are from that country.

      An article like this should have links, and so far Michaels writings have not given a single one! Having read Fisks articles, it is clear that MV would do well do leave this subject matter alone until he has some very sound knowledge on the situation, either that or just simple ak for peoples opinions, instead of writing his own, which looks to be very wrong!

      • MValley 6.2.1

        yeah. you got me. it’s all made up. I’m listening to audio of refugees from Homs on Radio NZ now about how their men are being executed. But it’s clearly all a fabrication. The ‘refugees’ are in on it. So is the BBC. So’s Radio NZ.

        Why would they all conspire to invent this? Don’t ask stupid questions. ‘They’ want to slander that nice man Assad and justify an intervention.

        But everyone knows Assad and his father have ruled by murder and terror for 45 years, there’s no strategic value in Syria for the West and they clearly don’t want to intervene or they would have done so already.

        Trust me. I’ve done plenty of research on the Middle East.

        • Colonial Viper 6.2.1.1

          Trust me. I’ve done plenty of research on the Middle East.

          I mean, this is the nub of the issue. Chechnya, Tibet, Sudan, East Timor plenty of places in the world where govts oppress and kill civilians via secret police and military means for years and decades, yet its whoever the “Allies” are interested in for whatever particular geopolitical priorities they have on a particular day which are deemed important.

      • lprent 6.2.2

        It doesn’t indicate unresearched to me. It sounds like a continuation of the depressing pattern that Syria has displayed over the last 30 years that I have watched and read about it. The main difference this time is how widespread the rebellion is. That will constrain the regime on their usual divide and conquer tactics and require occupation forces across much of the country. But they probably don’t have enough supporting populations to do it this time.

        I think that this time there is going to be enough porosity on neighboring borders to sustain a internal guerrilla war. And an unwillingness on the part of conscripts to get conscripted.

  7. Pascal's bookie 7

    Not entirely sure if I can be bothered engaging with this, (particulary on a dodgy connection the back up PC), but it really is some pretty superficial and intellectually dishonest dreck.

    Rather than just characterising the opinions of those with whom you disagree, why don’t you link to them?

    I’ve read pretty widely on this, and I’ve not seen anyone say that the west shouldn’t charge in because “America”. Maybe I don’t read the things you read, but you clearly don’t read what I’ve been reading either, so we are at a match there.

    The case against intervention is based on realism. The regime is much better equiped than that in Libya was. They are not going to be running short on heavy armour, artillery, or missiles for a long time unless we are prepared to go with some very heavy bombardment with all that entails.

    You just can’t wave your hands around the question of what our intervention will do in terms of the regime’s reaction. If we intervene, we will be bound to the ongoing conflict, we will be bound to react to the reaction from the regime’s supporters in Iran, and so on. We will be responsible for the regimes reaction insofar that if/when they step up their response in terms of death squads summary executions and what not, we will have to do something about that. Boots on the ground cannot be taken off the table. If you take them off the table, you give the regime obvious moves to make.

    On the self determination question, it’s apple pie. But to be worth eating, it has to be cooked right. If the regime has lost the monopoly on the use of force, and a civil war is in place that will result in the fall of the regime, then good, as far as I’m concerned. But that is a far call from saying that any and every uprising against tyrants is something we should get involved in. Civil wars are awful business. Making them worse is not a liberal thing to do unless you are very clear about the chances for victory, the nature of the opposition, the depth of it’s support, and the brittleness of the regime’s domestic and international support.

    Everything I’ve seen, (and I read mostly from places like Foreign Policy, hardly hotbeds of handwringing leftist anti americanism) indicates that it really is a lot more complicated than supporters of intervention make out. The results in Libya should at least give some pause. Our responsibility 2 protect seems to have stopped somehow, though I’ve not had it explained to me why.

    Afghanistan and Iraq also give us lessons about self determination, if we care to look.

    One lesson is that when countries, any countries, jump in to0 deliver self determination to struggl;ing people, they seem to have a feeling that they should get a say in what the determination looks like. That’s only natural, and also, in many respects fair.

    You say that I need to front to the fact that I’m just letting people die. fairly haevy shit, but fair enough if you accept certain presuppositions.

    You need to explain though why you are so certain that intervention does not have a high chance of making things worse, if only because that’s the argument that actually out there. The argument is that a high chance of many casualties and a slim chance of victory, is better than a high chance of many many more casualties, a broadened conflict, cross border refugees and paramilitary action with only an arguably better chance of victory.

    You might dispute that ‘arguably’, but would you support NZ troops on the ground fighting hizbollah cells in two years time? If not then define victory, and define at which points you’d cut and run.

    Sorry about the rantish nature, but throw stones, get blowback 😉

  8. MValley 8

    yeah. I know there’s a realist argument against intervention in Syria. Realism is inherently about self-interest and there’s more self-interest for the West’s elites in letting the people of Syria be murdered than answering their cries for help.

    It’s some on the Left’s position I have more trouble with. Like I say, only a neo-con thinks you go around ‘saving’ every country from dictatorship and we’ve seen the results when they try. But that’s a very different situation from when a people are trying to overthrow their tyrant but are getting slaughtered (willing slaughtered, which tells you something about their determination) because only one side has the heavy weapons.

    I don’t know why some in the Left (and you can see the comments in the Syria post) are willing to turn a blind eye to people fighting for the rights we have who are just asking for a bit of help. We would expect the same.

    • Pascal's bookie 8.1

      Realism is inherently about self-interest and there’s more self-interest for the West’s elites in letting the people of Syria be murdered than answering their cries for help.

      Well, it’s about self interest insofar that a realist approach says that nations will tend to act towards their self percieved best interests. It’s an decsriptive idea, not a normative statement about what nations ought to do.

      Frinstance, if the west believed that the opposition in Syria were democratically minded types likely to move Syria away from it’s confrontational stance towards the west say, or likely to be less problematic in Lebanon, or likely to otherwise being democracy sexy freedom to the area, and likely to win if we just gave them a little help; then it would be ‘realistic’ to predict that they would indeed help them.

      If your analysis of what is happenning in Syria is correct, then it would be in the wests interests to help the opposition out.

      And just to be a tad snide, you can’t really talk about murder when you are also talking about the brave revolutionary. Declare war; get warred on. You don’t get to cry murder at the same time you are challenging the state’s monopoly on the use of force.

      • MValley 8.1.1

        assad was a murderer long before this. that’s why there’s an uprising. people don’t mind benevolent dictatorships, and they certainly don’t have to die fighting to overthrow them.

        The point is the realist analysis for intervention doesn’t stack up because of the regional and military complications. Democracy for Syrians, and their lives, just don’t factor high enough in the ‘West’s’ calculations.

        • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1

          Using phrases like “freedom fighters” smacks of propaganda scripting.

          Avoiding discussions on the geopolitical self-interest of NATO and the US in the region (and hence their motivation to get involved now when Assad has been a killer for many years already – you said so yourself) while focussing purely in-country on Syria removes context. Also smacks of propaganda scripting.

          Would you call on NATO and the US to threaten Israel if Israel was bombing and shelling civilian houses in Palestine? Israel has done that before and I didn’t hear nary a peep from the US President or the UK PM. Because it wasn’t in the geopolitical interests of NATO and the US to get involved, of course.

          Basically Syria would be better off with true democratic rule for the people and by the people, and Assad gone, out of the picture. But your narrative scripting is rubbish.

          • rosy 8.1.1.1.1

            Avoiding discussions on the geopolitical self-interest of NATO and the US in the region …and hence their motivation to get involved

            From where I am, in Europe, there doesn’t seem to be an official appetite for involvement in Syria. There is no high value reason – no grudge against the leader, like Gaddafi, for example. But there are high value losses – like annoying the Russians (who do have naval base in Tartus). I just can’t see a NATO intervention happening. I think they’ll be leaving this to the regional powers. While hoping that Russia and China take on some of the diplomatic talks.

  9. Quay 9

    “There’s no strategic gain from the Right’s perspective and many on the Left would rather see a massacre than US military action.” ?

    There’s a massive gain for the right, bombing Iran’s only real ally would be hugely advantageous in the current climate, hence the rhetoric coming from Iraq war architects. That the left would rather see a massacre is an absurd comment, unless you’re referring to conspiracy-driven leftists.

  10. Rich 10

    I suspect that one issue behind this is that one thing Israel is really scared of is the outbreak of legitimate Arab governments. Despots like Assad can be dealt with secretly, maintain their countries in relative poverty, don’t have international support and have a military focused on internal repression.

    If Assad were deposed and replaced by a democratic government which ran a sound economy, had popular and international support and a military that could fight if called on, that would be bad news for Israel.

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    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. But those targets are insufficient. Meanwhile, Denmark is showing us how its done:Denmark’s parliament adopted a new climate law on Friday, committing to reach 70% below its 1990 emissions in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    20 hours ago
  • Public sector dysfunction should not be allowed to undermine freedom of information
    Another day, another piece of legislation with a secrecy clause. This time its the innocuous-seeming Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill, which (after establishing a new body and making it subject to the OIA in three different ways) includes the rapidly-becoming-standard clauses enabling it to request information from other public ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    22 hours ago
  • “This is England, this knife of Sheffield steel…”
    The state of the United Kingdom is fractured, torn up, shredded. The Empire is gone, it died a long time ago. And yet, the country is still tracking with a lead in favour of the ones who play to the ingrained, class-bound division for political gain. It is a disgrace ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    3 days ago
  • CORSIA, coming soon to an airport near you
    On 27 September, Greta Thunberg addressed a crowd of 500,000 at the School Strike for Climate in Montreal, saying: “You are a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And Sweden is also a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And in both cases, it means absolutely nothing. Because ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    3 days ago
  • Cloaking hate speech and fake news in the right to free expression.
    It should be obvious by now but let’s be clear: The same folk who regularly traffic in disinformation, misinformation and “fake news” are also those who most strongly claim that their freedom of expression rights are being violated when moves are made to curb hate speech (as opposed to protected ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    3 days ago
  • The Physics (and Economics, and Politics) of Wheelchairs on Planes
    Michael Schulson When Shane Burcaw flies on an airplane, he brings along a customized gel cushion, a car seat, and about 10 pieces of memory foam. The whole arsenal costs around $1,000, but for Burcaw it’s a necessity. The 27-year-old author and speaker — who, alongside his fiancée, Hannah ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 days ago
  • To Advance Civil Rights, Oppose Transgender Extremism
    We are very pleased to publish this submission is from Lucinda Stoan. She is a social justice activist, mother, and educator, based in Washington State in the  US.   This detailed and comprehensive source-linked overview of trans issues and what is at stake will be useful for many people, especially in ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Faafoi should be fired
    Newshub last night reported that Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi had apparently promised to help out a mate with an immigration issue. While its normal for people to approach MPs for assistance in this area, when you're a Minister, the rules are different: as the Cabinet Manual says, Ministers must "at ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Adrian Orr – The Reserve Bank’s Revolutionary Governor?
    New Zealand's Underarm Banker: It bears recalling that the “independence” of the Reserve Bank Governor was for decades held up by neoliberal capitalists as the most compelling justification for passing the Reserve Bank Act. Interesting, is it not, how the ruling class’s support for the Bank’s independence lasted no longer than ...
    4 days ago
  • Driving Us Up The Poll.
    Rubbish In, Rubbish Out: Put all this together, and it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that anyone who responds positively to a pollster’s request to “answer a few questions” is just ever-so-slightly weird. Desperately lonely? Some sort of psephological train-spotter? Political party member primed to skew the poll for or against ...
    4 days ago
  • Jordan Williams, Colin Craig podcast series announced
    “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.” ― Martin Luther King Jr. A long and bitter court feud between former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig and Jordan Williams has been settled, with an apology and compensation from Williams. On Tuesday, Craig sent out ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    5 days ago
  • Scientific integrity requires critical investigation – not blind acceptance
    Some people seem to want to close down any critical discussion of the current research into the relationship between water fluoride and child IQ. They appear to argue that claims made by researchers should not be open to critical review and that the claims be accepted without proper consideration ...
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: The shameful reality
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. Meanwhile, Climate Action Tracker has the shameful reality: those targets are insufficient:While New Zealand is showing leadership by having passed the world’s second-ever Zero Carbon Act in November 2019, under ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • More secrecy
    The government introduced a Racing Industry Bill today. As an urban who horse racing as pointless-to-cruel, and gambling as a tax on stupidity and/or hope, this isn't normally a bill which would interest me in the slightest, beyond grumpiness at more government money for a dying industry. But there is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Unlikely online bully, Liam Hehir
    Check. Check. One, two, three, four. Is this thing ON? Hello readers, I logged in last night (yeah, it’s been a while) to mark THE END of the landmark legal case, Jordan Williams v Colin Craig, which (gulp) reached The Supreme Court, in which New Zealand’s most-defamed man was suing the politician he ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    5 days ago
  • The Birth Of Israel: Wrong At The Right Time.
    Before The Birth: Israel’s most fervent supporters set their clocks ticking in Biblical times. They cite the kingdoms of David and Solomon as proof that, in the words of the Exodus movie’s theme-song: “This land is mine.” The majority of Israel’s backers, however, start their clocks in 1933 – the year Adolf ...
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2019: Korero phase
    In an unreliable, strange and confusing world, Public Address is proud to present a measure of comfort and stability by annually asking everyone what words or phrases sum up the year that's been – and then giving some of them consumer goods as prizes for being clever or simply lucky.Well, ...
    5 days ago
  • Generalist to specialist
    Both my parents are pretty handy – and they seem to have the right tools for most jobs in the garage and they know how to fix practically anything. A similar story could be told about their generation’s experience in the workforce – being a generalist was not unusual and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • A “coincidence”
    When it was revealed that NZ First had tried to enrich itself from public office via the Provoncial Growth Fund, the Prime Minister assured us that everything was OK as Shane Jones, the Minister responsible for the fund, had recused himself. Except it seems that that recusal came very late ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, and probably the last one of the year. After the marathon of the End of Life Choice Act, most of the bills up for debate today are uncontentious. First up is the second reading of Chlöe Swarbrick's Election Access Fund Bill. This will be followed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Worse than I thought
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has reported back on the government's odious and tyrannical control orders bill. As expected, the fraudulent select committee process has made no significant changes (partly because they couldn't agree, but mostly because it was a stitch-up from the start, with no intention of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The cannabis bill and the referendum
    Yesterday, the government released its draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which will be put to a non-binding referendum at the next election. I'm not a drug policy expert, but Russell Brown is, and he thinks its pretty good. And pretty obviously, it will be a massive improvement on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Hard News: The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far
    As you're probably aware, the draft bill outlining the proposed legal cannabis regime to be put to a referendum late next year was published yesterday, and has already attracted a flurry of comment. It's notable that a good deal of the comment is about proposals that aren't actually new.A minimum ...
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Alignment
    One of the big problems in New Zealand climate change policy is the government working at cross-purposes with itself. It wants to reduce fossil fuel use, but encourages oil and gas exploration. It wants to reduce transport emissions, but then builds enormous new roads. The problem could be avoided if ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • How climate change will affect food production and security
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz According to the United Nations, food shortages are a threat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • More bad faith
    Last year, the government announced it was ending offshore oil exploration by no longer issuing new permits. The idea was that the industry would then die off as permits expired. Except almost immediately the government revealed its bad faith, by saying they would extend permits and alter conditions to keep ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Banning foreign money from our elections
    The government has said it will ban foreign donations to political parties and candidates, and will be introducing legislation to be passed under all-stages urgency this afternoon. While I agree with the goal, I don't see a particular case for urgency, unless the government is concerned about a flood of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Reforming the Education Acts
    The government introduced the Education and Training Bill to Parliament yesterday. Its a massive bill, which replaces both existing Education Acts, as well as various other bits of legislation (including some which are still proceeding through the House). I'll leave the serious analysis to teachers and people who actually know ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Bite-sized learning
    Amelia SharmanThere’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to micro-credentials, those bits of bite-sized learning that can help workers stay on top of technological change.  What’s a micro-credential? While definitions vary, micro-credentials can be understood as short courses that allow people to learn new skills or have an existing competency recognised. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • “Not The Labour Party We Once Knew.”
    All Smiles Now: Claire Szabo is taking up her presidential role after serving as the CEO of Habitat For Humanity. Which is absolutely perfect! After KiwiBuild was so comprehensively mismanaged by Phil Twyford, the party has not only elected a new president from a thoroughly respectable not-for-profit, but one who ...
    1 week ago
  • Marxist versus liberal methodology on transgender ideology/identity politics
    While much of the NZ left has transitioned to postmodern and identity politics in relation to transgender ideology, there are some very good articles about that deploy Marxist methodology in relation to this subject.  The one below is from the British marxist group Counterfire and appeared on their site here ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Book review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos
    by Daphna Whitmore At Golden Oaks, a luxurious country retreat in the Hudson Valley, pregnant women have the best care money can buy. From the organic food, personalised exercise programmes, private yoga instruction and daily massages Golden Oaks looks like a country lodge for the upper class. Set some time ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
    When Labour was running for election in 2017, it felt it needed to demonstrate "fiscal responsibility" and signed itself up to masochistic "budget responsibility rules". It was a fool's errand: the sorts of voters who demand fiscal responsibility are also the sorts of voters who believe that labour can never ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: How to get there
    Writing in Stuff, Joel MacManus looks at what we need to do to meet the Zero Carbon Act's targets. The core of it:1. Convert 85 per cent of vehicles on the road to electric. 2. Eliminate fossil fuels from all industrial heating up to 300 degrees Celsius. 3. Double our ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • anti-vaxxers in a measles epidemic: so many ways to be untruthful
    “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa over the past twenty-four hours. “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    1 week ago
  • Is Youth Vaping a Problem in New Zealand?
    Professors Janet Hoek and Richard Edwards, Emeritus Professor Phil Gendall, Jude Ball, Dr Judith McCool, Anaru Waa, Dr Becky Freeman Recent media reports have presented conflicting evidence on youth vaping in NZ. While some NZ school principals report concerns about increasing vaping on school grounds and confiscating vapes, ASH Year ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • In pursuit of “Freedom and Democracy”: Forever Wars in “America’s backyard”.
    “America the Beautiful!”, staunch defender of democracy, freedom and… a whole lot of despotic tyrants that play nice with what is called “the Washington Consensus.” America is indeed capable of immense good, but like any Nation, and most assuredly any aspirant to the mantle of Empire, great, immense evil. All ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • November ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: The beginner’s guide to blogging I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is ...
    1 week ago
  • Whodunnit? Finding the mystery 1080 testing lab
    1080 is used to control pests in NZ. Its use is contested by a noisy few. A new report claims high levels of 1080 in rats washed up on a beach. Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa (F&F) won’t name the laboratory that did their testing. It has sparked a hunt ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Authoritarian Friends, Democratic Enemies.
    What Kind Of Empire? The thing for Kiwis to decide is what kind of empire they want to belong to. The kind that, while offering its own citizens democratic rights, demands absolute obedience from its “friends”? Or, the kind that, while authoritarian at home, takes a relaxed attitude to the ...
    1 week ago
  • Boris Johnson Goes Down
    It hasn't been a good week for the Conservatives, pollwise.  All major recent polls are showing their lead shrinking.Comparing each pollster's current (between 29/11 and 22/11) and previous most recent poll.Com Res - Conservative lead down 3 points.You Gov - Conservative lead down 1 point.Kantar - Conservative lead down 4 ...
    1 week ago
  • Interesting
    Within quick succession, Countdown maths wizard and twitterer Rachel Riley, alleged comedian David Baddiel and prominent lawyer Andrew Julius have all expressed very similar opinions / ideas:
    These #3billboards are going round London today, organised by ex-Labour people, horrified by what their party has become. Their principles haven’t changed, they’re ...
    1 week ago
  • Damn the Polls
    So, there have been a bunch of bad polls out for Labour, and even the Leftie's friend, Survation, have recently given the Conservatives a rip-snorting 11% lead.  You Gov's much vaunted MRP poll - which pretty much nailed the result in 2015 - is currently predicting a comfortable majority for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Europe declares an emergency
    The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to declare a climate emergency:The European parliament has declared a global “climate and environmental emergency” as it urged all EU countries to commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The vote came as scientists warned that the world may have already crossed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Bi-Partisan Commitment To X-ing “P”.
    Pure Fear: Worse than Heroin, this drug’s addictive power was terrifying. People under its influence didn’t drift off to Elysium. Nor did it persuade inadequate individuals that they could conquer the world. No, this drug – pure crystal methamphetamine, “P” for short – unlocked the gates of Hell itself. It ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Advice about measles: when ignorance is definitely not a virtue
    As the rate of measles infection, and of deaths, continues to climb in Samoa, antivaccination activists infectious disease proponents seem intent on doubling down on their claims about vaccination. (Check pretty much any news-media FB post about measles & you’ll see exactly what I mean.) Unfortunately, some of them have ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Samoa’s devastating measles epidemic – why and how bad?
    Samoa are experiencing a devastating measles epidemic. It is possible that 2-3% of the population will ultimately be infected by the time it is over. Hopefully the mass immunisation campaign currently under way can mitigate some of this, for many it is too late. The first question many people ask ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • “It’s basic rights we are defending”: the Meghan Murphy interview
    Meghan Murphy is a Canadian writer and journalist She runs the Feminist Current website which she founded in 2012.  She was a keynote speaker for the Feminism2020 conference in Wellington this month. When Massey University cancelled the original venue booking Feminism2020 was hosted in Parliament by MP David Seymour. Meghan ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • A week of protests in Colombia
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh Colombia has lived through one week of protests against the economic measures taken by president Duque. What looked like a protest that would fizzle out after its first day on November 21st is still going strong. Part of the reason for the continuance ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Anti-neutrinos–When you are your own opposite
    Around a million billion pass through you each second, almost all originating from our sun, but few of them are likely to interact with you enroute. I was reading in a physics magazine earlier in the week about the nature of neutrinos. These are extremely numerous elementary particles, but only ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • Exoplanets, life, and the danger of a single study
    By Pallab Ghosh There’s value in covering new research advances, even when the underlying science is unsettled. But there are also risks. The recent announcement that scientists discovered water on the planet K2-18b, 110 light years away, prompted a media swoon. News stories, including a piece written by me, billed ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • The Intersex Continuum
    I wrote this review a couple of years ago when I was still in the process of getting my head around the politics of transgenderism, and specifically the claim that intersex conditions lend support to the notion that sex is ‘socially constructed’. Since writing this review I have come across ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Leaving us with the bill
    Two weeks ago, Malaysian-owned oil company Tamarind declared it was insolvent and went into administration after a failed offshore drilling campaign. Tamarind apparently specialises in buying oil fields at the end of their life and trying to squeeze out the last few drops of pollution. But part of their scam ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • How much does flying contribute to climate change?
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz How much does our use of air travel contribute to the ...
    SciBlogsBy Shaun Hendy
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The task before us
    Two weeks ago, the Zero Carbon Act became law. Right this moment, the Climate Change Commisison will be working on its initial budgets for 2022-25 and 2026-2030, and the UN has just given them a very clear steer:Countries must make an unprecedented effort to cut their levels of greenhouse gases ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2309) Mr. Spock
    Minor planet/asteroid (2309) Mr. Spock is named not for the character in Star Trek, but for a cat that was itself imperturbable, logical, intelligent and had pointed ears In a preceding blog post I introduced one of my favourite asteroids, (2472) Bradman, and also mentioned (6581) Sobers amongst a few ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Measles deaths and antivax misinformation
    Today the death toll from measles in Samoa rose to 32. All but four of the dead were less than 5 years old. Absolutely terrible, heartbreaking, news. That statistic alone should be enough to give the lie to the common claim by antivaccination activists plague enthusiasts that “measles is a ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Colombia: the state murder of Dilan Cruz
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh It is late here in Bogotá, almost 11.30pm on Monday the 25th of November as I write this. The day began full of hope with yet more massive marches throughout the country, a mix of the International Day of Non-Violence Against Women and the National Strike. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Anti-fluoride propagandists appear not to read the articles they promote
    Anti-fluoride activists are rubbing their hands in glee over what they claim is “yet another study” showing fluoride harms the brains of children. But their promotion relies on IQ relationships which the paper’s authors acknowledge disappearing when outliers or other factors are considered. And they completely ignore other relationships ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The rise and collapse of classical political economy
    The feature below is the conclusion of A History of Economic Thought, whose author was a leading Marxist economist in Russia in the early 20th century, Isaac Ilyich Rubin.  The book arose from a course he ran at Moscow University following the Russian Revolution.  First published in Russian in 1929, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Among my favourite asteroids: (2472) Bradman
    There are many thousands of asteroids with formal names, some humdrum but other more noteworthy (depending on your predilections). One of my favourites, the name of which I was involved in suggesting, is (2472) Bradman, named for the Australian cricketing great.  As a minor planet (synonym: asteroid) spotter, I have ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Some cheap soundbites i thought up while reading about the underwhelming Conservative manifesto
    Tory manifesto: big on austerity, low on promise, non-existent on delivery. The Tories: the party so big on ambition they couldn't be arsed writing a manifesto. MLK: "I have a dream!"BJ: "I'll just have a nap." Labour: Broadband!Tories: Narrow minds! Labour have hope, dreams and ambition. The Tories will save ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Measles vaccination required to travel to islands and Phillipines
    The Ministry of Health has announced that “people under the age of 50 travelling from New Zealand to Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji” are now on the list of national priorities for MMR vaccination. Given the outbreaks of measles in Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji, the Ministry of Health is ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    2 weeks ago
  • Giving the finger to Beijing
    Hong Kong has been protesting for six months for, demanding democracy, human rights, and an end to police violence. Today, they went to the polls in district council elections - a low-level of government with virtually no power, similar to community boards in New Zealand. But while the positions themselves ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Colombia’s national strike
    Text and photos by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On Friday 22nd of November a curfew came into effect and troops were deployed on the streets, here in Bogota. It was the first time since September 1977 that a curfew had been imposed on the city. The decision was a cynical pre-planned ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • National supports slavery
    Meanwhile, while the government is planning to restore voting rights to prisoners, National is promising to turn our prisons into US-style slave-labour camps:The Opposition is proposing compulsory education, training or employment for prisoners who are serving sentences of two years or more. [...] On Sunday, National Party Leader Simon Bridges ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Erasing the infamy
    Last year, the Supreme Court confirmed that National's prisoner voting ban - a law so shoddily passed that it brought Parliament into disrepute - breached the Bill of Rights Act. This year, the Waitangi Tribunal added that it also breached the Treaty of Waitangi. And now, the government has finally ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Trade unions that never fight the sex industry bosses
    Excerpts from Being and Being Bought, by Kajsa Ekis Ekman Spinifex Press, 2013. Ekman, a Swedish journalist and critic, brings together a Marxist and feminist analysis of prostitution and surrogacy in this groundbreaking book. This is the second part of a synopsis and brief commentary of the book by Daphna ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • A Team Approach to Tackling the Psychology Replication Crisis
    Dalmeet Singh Chawla In 2008, psychologists proposed that when humans are shown an unfamiliar face, they judge it on two main dimensions: trustworthiness and physical strength. These form the basis of first impressions, which may help people make important social decisions, from who to vote for to how long a ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Big Pharma has failed: the antibiotic pipeline needs to be taken under public ownership
    Claas Kirchhelle, University of Oxford; Adam Roberts, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, and Andrew Singer, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Antibiotics are among the most important medicines known to humankind, but we are running out of this crucial resource. Decisive action is needed if we are to retain access to ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago

  • Government to fund lion’s share of Ohakea water scheme
    The Government will fund the bulk of the cost of a rural water supply for the Ohakea community affected by PFAS contamination, Environment Minister David Parker announced today at a meeting of local residents. This new water scheme will provide a reliable and clean source of drinking water to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Prime Minister statement on White Island eruption
    I have had the opportunity to be briefed on the details of the volcanic eruption of Whakaari/White Island, off the coast of Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty.  The eruption happened at 2.11pm today.  It continues to be an evolving situation.  We know that there were a number of tourists ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Govt funds $100k for weather-hit communities
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare have today confirmed initial Government support of $100,000 for communities affected by the severe weather that swept across the South Island and lower North Island over the weekend. The contribution will be made to Mayoral relief funds across the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Death of NZ High Commissioner to Cook Islands
    New Zealand's High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, Tessa Temata, died in Palmerston North over the weekend, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today. Ms Temata, 52, had recently returned to New Zealand for medical treatment. "On behalf of the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, we extend ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Wellington rail upgrade full steam ahead
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced construction is underway on Wellington commuter rail upgrades which will mean more frequent services and fewer breakdowns. The upgrades include converting the Trentham to Upper Hutt single track section to a double track, with a new signalling system, upgraded stations and level crossings, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Defence Climate Change Implementation Plan released
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark and Minister for Climate Change James Shaw have announced the release of a Defence Climate Change Implementation Work Plan, titled Responding to the Climate Crisis: An Implementation Plan.  The plan sets out a series of recommendations based on the 2018 New Zealand Defence Assessment, The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Govt releases funding to support South Canterbury
    A medium-scale adverse event has been declared for the South Canterbury district, which will see up to $50,000 in funding made available to support farming communities which have been significantly affected by recent heavy rain and flooding in the area, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “Two weeks of solid rain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech at launch of Rethinking Plastics Report
    Thank you Professor Juliet Gerrard and your team for the comprehensive and extremely helpful report and recommendations. Thank you too to all the stakeholders and interested parties who have contributed ideas and thinking to it. “Making best practice, standard practice” is a great framework for change and the action plan ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt pledges next steps on plastic waste
    The Government will phase out more single-use plastics following the success of its single-use plastic bag ban earlier this year and the release today of a pivotal report for dealing with waste. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed the Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealandreport, released by her Chief Science Advisor ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • International student enrolments grow in universities and the regions
    International education continues to thrive as the Government focuses on quality over quantity, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. The tuition revenue from international education increased to $1.16 billion last year with the average tuition fee per student increasing by $960. The total number of international students enrolled in New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • DHB leadership renewed and strengthened
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says new appointments to DHBs represent a significant changing of the guard, with 13 new chairs including four Māori chairs. Today 76 appointments have been announced to complement elected board members, as well as eight elected members appointed as either chair or deputy chair.  Four ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Tabuteau to advance New Zealand’s trade and political interests with European partners
    Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Fletcher Tabuteau, is travelling to Germany, Poland, Austria, and Spain next week to bolster New Zealand’s political and trade relationships in Europe. While in Spain, Mr Tabuteau will represent New Zealand at the 14th Asia-Europe (ASEM) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Madrid. “New Zealand strongly supports ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Kris Faafoi
    “I’ve spoken to Minister Faafoi, who has apologised for his poor handling of this issue,” Jacinda Ardern said. “I have confidence in Kris as a hardworking and effective Minister, but this should have been dealt with in a much clearer manner, and I’ve made my views on that very clear ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Tonga-New Zealand Joint Ministerial Forum
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters met with Tongan Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa in Wellington today. The pair signed a Statement of Partnership setting out joint priorities for cooperation out to 2023.  “We welcomed Prime Minister Tu'i'onetoa on his first visit to New Zealand as Prime Minister. Tonga ...
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    4 days ago
  • Shooting in Kurow
    The Minister of Police Stuart Nash says his sympathies are with the family of a man who died after being shot by Police in Kurow. “Initial reports are that Police were called by a family member to help the man who was threatening to harm himself,” Mr Nash says. “However ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government delivers funding boost for ethnic communities
    Ethnic communities will be able to plan and deliver more community initiatives thanks to an increase in Government funding, Minister for Ethnic Communities Hon Jenny Salesa said today. “Ensuring Aotearoa New Zealand is a place we can all be proud to call home has been a key priority of our ...
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    4 days ago
  • Govt supports Southland farmers in sustainability
    Healthier waterways, better productivity and farmer wellbeing are front and centre in a new project involving more than 1000 Southland farmers and growers. Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor today announced that the Thriving Southland Change and Innovation Project is the first region-wide extension programme supported by the $229 million Sustainable ...
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    4 days ago
  • Flood of support for Top of the South catchment
    Work to look after nature and restore freshwater quality in Te Hoiere/Pelorus River catchment is getting a significant boost, thanks to new Government funding support Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage announced in Canvastown today. “Every New Zealander should be able to swim in their local river without getting sick, and ...
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    4 days ago
  • Eight Queen’s Counsel appointed under new criterion
    Eight Queen’s Counsel have been appointed under a process that includes the new criterion of a commitment to improving access to justice, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. “The new criterion was included this year. It emphasises that excellence and leadership in the profession can be seen through a wider, community ...
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    5 days ago
  • Major expansion for Wellington’s Onslow College
    Onslow College in Wellington will get 20 new classrooms for more than 400 students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. The much-needed investment will relieve growth pressure the school has been experiencing for some time. Seven existing classrooms which have deteriorated over time will also be replaced, bringing the total ...
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    5 days ago
  • Talented young Kiwis awarded PM’s Scholarships to Asia and Latin America
    More than 250 young New Zealanders will add international experience to their education, thanks to the latest Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia (PMSA) and Latin America (PMSLA), Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. This round of scholarships supports 252 recent graduates or current students to undertake study, research or internships ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government to improve competitiveness and transparency in the retail fuel market
    Consumers will benefit from a more competitive, transparent retail fuel market as a result of changes the Government will be making in response to the findings of the Commerce Commission’s study of the fuel sector. “We accept the Commission’s findings and, as the Prime Minister has said, we’re ready to ...
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    5 days ago
  • More cancer medicines for more people
    Five new cancer medicines have now been funded this year, meaning thousands of people have more treatment options PHARMAC has today announced that it has approved two new medicines for funding – fulvestrant for breast cancer and olaparib for ovarian cancer. This follows earlier decisions on advanced lung cancer treatment alectinib, ...
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    5 days ago
  • Government acts to sort out electoral ‘coin toss’ problem
    The Minister of Local Government, Hon Nanaia Mahuta says the Government will consider making changes to local electoral legislation before the 2022 elections to fix the problems that have arisen where elections are settled by a coin toss.  The Minister says the recount process in the Murupara- Galatea ward at ...
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    5 days ago
  • NZ to Join IMO Convention to Reduce Ship Emissions
    New Zealand will sign up to new international maritime regulations to reduce ship emissions and lift air quality around ports and harbours, Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced today. Subject to completion of the Parliamentary treaty examination process, New Zealand will sign up to Annex VI of MARPOL, an ...
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    6 days ago
  • Bill to empower urban development projects
    New legislation to transform our urban areas and create sustainable, inclusive and thriving communities will tomorrow be introduced to Parliament, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said. “The Urban Development Bill gives Kāinga Ora-Homes and Communities the tools it needs to partner with councils, communities, mana whenua and private developers to ...
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    6 days ago
  • Early Learning Action Plan to kickstart long term change
    Today’s launch of He taonga te Tamaiti: Every child a taonga: The Early Learning Action Plan 2019-2029 provides the foundation for long-lasting changes to early learning, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.   “Early learning will be one of the Government’s top education priorities going into 2020,” Chris Hipkins said.   ...
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    6 days ago
  • Climate change lens on major Government decisions
    Major decisions made by the Government will now be considered under a climate change lens, Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. “Cabinet routinely considers the effects of its decisions on human rights, the Treaty of Waitangi, rural communities, the disability community, and gender – now climate change will ...
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    6 days ago
  • New Tertiary Education Commission Board announced
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins today announced the appointment of Māori education specialist Dr Wayne Ngata and Business NZ head Kirk Hope to the Board of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). Dr Alastair MacCormick has been reappointed for another term. “Wayne Ngata, Kirk Hope and Alastair MacCormick bring a great deal ...
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    6 days ago
  • Next phase of Pike River recovery underway in time for Christmas
    The next phase of the Pike River Re-entry project is underway, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little says. “Fresh air will be pumped into the Pike River Mine drift this week, following acceptance of the plan for re-entry beyond the 170m barrier by New Zealand’s independent health and ...
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    6 days ago
  • Insurance contracts to become easier to understand and fairer for consumers
    New Zealand consumers will have greater certainty about their insurance cover when they need to make claims as a result of proposed government changes. “Insurance is vitally important in supporting consumers and businesses to be financially resilient when unexpected events happen,” Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi said. ...
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    6 days ago
  • A new opportunity for Ngāpuhi collective and regional negotiations
    The Crown is providing an opportunity for the hapu of Ngāpuhi to rebuild its framework from the ground up for collective negotiations to deal with its historical Treaty claims, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little and Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The Crown is also ...
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    6 days ago
  • Referendums Framework Bill passes third reading
    A Bill enabling referendums to be held with the 2020 General Election has passed its third reading. Justice Minister Andrew Little says the Act is important for upholding the integrity of New Zealand’s electoral process. “The Government has committed to holding a referendum on legalising recreational cannabis at the next ...
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    7 days ago
  • Referendums website and initial cannabis Bill launched
    The first release of public information on the two referendums to be held at next year’s General Election was made today with an informative new Government website going live. Additionally, the draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill has been released, showing the strict controls on cannabis that will apply if ...
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    7 days ago
  • Government to ban foreign donations
    The Government is taking action to protect New Zealand from foreign interference in our elections by banning foreign donations to political parties and candidates, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. Legislation will be introduced to Parliament this afternoon and passed under urgency. “There’s no need for anyone other than New ...
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    7 days ago
  • Governments and tech converge to strengthen joint response to online terror events
    Governments and tech companies are holding a two-day workshop, hosted by YouTube/Google in Wellington, to test the Christchurch Call Shared Crisis Response Protocol. The workshop aims to refine and strengthen the response in the event of a terrorist attack with online implications. Companies, governments, civil society experts and NGOs will ...
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    1 week ago
  • Cancer Control Agency to drive improved care
    The new independent Cancer Control Agency has formally opened today, delivering on the Government’s plan to improve cancer care in New Zealand.         Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Health David Clark marked the occasion by announcing the membership of the Advisory Council that will be supporting ...
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    1 week ago
  • Supporting small business to prosper
    Small businesses who deal with government departments are set to be paid faster and have improved cash flow as a result, under a new strategy released today. The Government is backing recommendations from the Small Business Council (SBC) and has agreed to implement three initiatives immediately to support business and ...
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    1 week ago
  • Bill has biggest education changes in decades
    The Education and Training Bill 2019, introduced in Parliament today, proposes the biggest education changes in decades and is an important step towards improving success for all our learners, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “The Bill’s rewrite of education legislation is long overdue. Indeed one Education Act, parts of which ...
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    1 week ago
  • Bali Democracy Forum to focus on democracy and inclusivity
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will travel to Bali to represent New Zealand at the 12th Bali Democracy Forum that will be held on the 5-6 December. “The Forum is a valuable opportunity for Asia-Pacific countries to share experiences and best practice in building home-grown democracy and fostering ...
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    1 week ago