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Cameron Slater makes valuable contribution to blog defamation jurisprudence

Written By: - Date published: 9:04 am, October 5th, 2017 - 55 comments
Categories: blogs, Deep stuff, Dirty Politics, making shit up, Media, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: ,

Spare a thought for poor Cameron Slater.

He is currently involved in a High Court defamation case.  Three medical researchers, Doug Sellman, Boyd Swinburn and Shane Bradbook are suing Slater, Carrick Graham, former National front bencher Katherine Rich and the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council for comments made on Slater’s website.

The details of the alleged defamatory comments have been suppressed but it has been reported that Slater has been alleging that Sellman Swinburn and Bradbook are “troughers” “rorters” and have been “ripping off” the public purse.  Sellman and co are public health professionals engaged in research concerning the adverse effects that too much sugar is having on our diets.  For previously unknown reasons this attracted Slater’s attention and he made all sorts of allegations about their competence and motivation in a number of blog posts.

The book Dirty Politics suggested that this was no random drive by smear but a professional hit paid for by Rich and the Food and Grocery Council.

A recent hearing involved an application by the defendants to strike claim out.  Four different issues were raised:

  1. Were the proceedings filed out of time.  There is a two year limitation period for defamation and the defendants said that the relevant date was the date the post was published, even though the posts remain visible on the site.
  2. Should they be struck out as an abuse of process because there has been no substantial or significant tort and the cost of the proceeding is disproportionate to its benefit. In other words should the plaintiffs just toughen up.
  3. Should they be struck out because the publications involved vigorous discussion of public issues.
  4. Were the claims against Rich and the New Zealand Grocery Council self-evidently speculative or false or that procuring defamation in the way alleged is incapable of founding legal liability.

But in a detailed decision Judge Palmer has declined to strike out the proceedings.

The limitation period argument failed and this is a valuable lesson for blog sites.  If something may be defamatory take it down.  The limitation clock then starts ticking.  The Judge said:

A statement is considered to be published to the person by whom it is read or heard each time it is read or heard. The law presumes it is read, and damage to reputation occurs, on production to the public. In relation to a blog, that is while it is posted. The presumption is rebuttable but has not been rebutted here. So I do not strike out the claims as being time-barred.

I take it if Slater could show that the posts had not been read for a number of years then he may have been able to argue that the presumption should be rebutted.

The second issue, that the Plaintiffs should just toughen up also received short shrift.  From the Judgment:

I do consider the law of defamation includes a requirement for a minimum threshold of harm to reputation. The law presumes harm to reputation to have occurred on publication of a defamation. But a defendant may rebut the presumption by showing any harm to reputation is less than minor. I apply that threshold to the meanings pleaded here as outlined in the annex to this judgment.

The details have been suppressed but the Judge struck out some of the pleaded meanings in whole or in part on the basis the threshold of harm to reputation had not been reached.

The third issue also received short shrift.  The Judge said:

Blog posts are subject to the same legal tests as other media though they must be read in context. The law of defamation must not be applied so enthusiastically as to chill genuine political and policy debate. Those who engage in public political and policy debate must expect robust public responses. But defendants cannot expect to make false unsubstantiated personal attacks with legal impunity. In particular, here, the terms “trougher”, “rorter” and “ripping off” have pejorative connotations of wrongdoing in the use of funding that are capable of being defamatory.

So if you are going to engage in attack blogging argue the issue and don’t make claims about the motivation.  Unless there is solid proof.

The Judge also refused to let Rich and the New Zealand Grocery Council off the hook.  From the Judgment:

I do not consider the pleadings against Ms Rich and the NZFGC are self-evidently speculative or false, on the basis of the little information before me. Neither do I strike out the claim against them on the basis that procuring defamation in the way alleged is incapable of founding legal liability. Procuring defamation can attract liability. The allegations will need to be considered at trial.

Interestingly Dirty Politics was offered up as evidence of the link between Rich and the NZFGC and the posts.  From the judgment:

[100] The plaintiffs say chapter seven of Dirty Politics and Mr Slater’s leaked emails support a number of inferences:

(a) Each of the plaintiffs was engaged in research or advocacy that was contrary to the interests of FGC and its members. FGC and its environment (Nelson, Craig Potton Publishing, 2014). Citations to the affidavit omitted. members stood to benefit from publications that attacked the plaintiffs and damaged their reputations.

(b) Mr Graham was a public relations professional. He and FCL must have been paid by their clients for the services they provided, including writing the Blog Posts, paying Mr Slater to publish them, and posting the Comments. Mr Graham and FCL would not have been working for free.

(c) Ms Rich and FGC were clients of Mr Graham and FCL’s. Indeed, Ms Rich and FGC have specifically confirmed in correspondence that FGC paid FCL for (unspecified) services and attendances on a variety of issues.

(d) Ms Rich and FGC would have known what services their agents Mr Graham and FCL were carrying out on their behalf, including writing and publishing the Blog Posts. As such, they would have procured or authorised those publications.

[101] I have examined chapter seven of Dirty Politics and Mr Slater’s leaked emails, as exhibited to the January 2017 affidavit. I agree Dirty Politics makes the allegations the plaintiffs say, above, it does. I agree Dirty Politics and the emails could support the inferences the plaintiffs say, above, they do. The most tenuous part of the plaintiffs’ pleadings, on the basis of the information before me, is whether there is a link between Ms Rich and the NZFGC and Dr Swinburn and Mr Bradbrook. But, on balance, I consider the allegations in Dirty Politics are capable of supporting an inference they were.

The Judge did say that he was not finding that these particular allegations are correct or that the causes of action will succeed.  That is a matter to sort out at the trial.

And as a friendly warning do not speculate on what exactly was said or how it will work out in Court.  The Judge has made an order that the contents of the allegations in pleadings should not be publicly reported.

55 comments on “Cameron Slater makes valuable contribution to blog defamation jurisprudence ”

  1. Steve Alfreds 1

    Good things come to those who wait. Maybe he needs to do a refresher course on NZ media law and defamation.

  2. I remember all this happening. I am pleased the case continues.

  3. james 3

    Good to see the wheels of justice moving – even if slowly.

    If he did what he is accused of – they should be held to account.

    • tracey 3.1

      Like when Collins breach the privacy act leading to a death threat against an innocent man and here she is on a Cabinet Salary and went on to be Minister of Corrections and now Revenue

  4. tc 4

    Run baby run…..the longer the better.

  5. red-blooded 5

    Whale oil beef hooked! It’s good to see that Whale Oil is finally being (f)hooked for what was a really nasty, malign, targeted campaign against people who were trying to do a good thing.

  6. Adrian Thornton 6

    I love that photo…I fuckin’ love it.

    • edgil 6.1

      That photo is iconic; just like the Ali knockout of Liston shot.
      “First minute, first round”
      Jesse Ryder; a great citizen of this fine land.

      • Mickey Boyle 6.1.1

        Think what you want, but he put his body on the line for a good charity, he has my respect for that at least.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1.1

          Are you familiar with the fact that charity is regarded as an obscenity by many? Would you like to know why?

          • Mickey Boyle 6.1.1.1.1

            No.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Stay ignorant then.

              • Mickey Boyle

                Oh sorry, I didnt realize you were a “Man of importance”, how dare I not listen to a full explanation, please enlighten me with your knowledge, im sure I will find it appealing and full of facts…..

          • Baba Yaga 6.1.1.1.2

            The charity was [deleted]. Why would anyone consider that an obscenity? Unlike Mickey, I genuinely am curious.

            [lprent: That relates to an outstanding defamation case where Cameron Slater was made allegations about the association between the person he was defaming and that organisation. In my opinion he was probably just doing his usual at that time and simply lying. However I’m not interested in getting involved in any of Cameron Salters’s large numbers of very stupid cases that he is defending.

            Banned for 1 month for apparently trying to drag us into on ongoing defamation case. ]

            • McFlock 6.1.1.1.2.1

              In your own words, what sort of things do [deleted] do?

              • Baba Yaga

                I’m wanting to know why [deleted] could be considered an obscenity. Not what it does, but the charity itself. That’s the question I was asking. If you know, just spell it out.

                • McFlock

                  Once I know pretty much what they do, I’ll be able to put it into very small words for you.

                  What do they do?

                  • Baba Yaga

                    Not interested in playing games. I asked a simple question. I’ll wait for an answer from the author of the original post.

                    • McFlock

                      Meh. I thought they were a cancer thing, but apparently not: “[deleted]“.

                      A very worthy cause indeed.

                      The obscenity is that they even have to exist. [deleted] People do longer than that for fun, ffs.

                      The existence of private charity is an obscenity. It’s like the community-minded soul who puts a bucket of gravel in a pot-holed road, or picks up litter from the road 50 yards either side of their house and pays for a private wheelie bin. Their acts are good, but are only needed because society has neglected essential services.

                      That’s the obscenity of charity.

                    • Baba Yaga

                      “The obscenity is that they even have to exist. ”

                      That’s utter nonsense. And it’s shallow. All societies have people in need. Charity is a private response to that need. What’s wrong with that?

                      “Their acts are good, but are only needed because society has neglected essential services.”

                      Aren’t we all ‘society’? Can’t we all play a part at a private level if we wish?

                    • McFlock

                      If all societies jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?

                      It’s a private response to a need that should not exist. There should be systems in place to address need. Children shouldn’t have to rely on the caprice of donors in order to go to school with food in their bellies, for crying out loud.

                      Do you really not see any problem with that, just because other societies have kids going hungry, too?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      While you’re enjoying your month break, contemplate the word “Dickensian”.

                    • McFlock

                      great.
                      Now I need an indepth knowledge of however many court cases are going on relating to a particular individual, or avoid using pronouns altogether. What a tangled web they wove…

      • Adrian Thornton 6.1.2

        @edgil, Well except Liston was a great boxer, and although I am a big Ali fan, I still think he (Ali) was lucky that the 2 fight was postponed, and Liston lost his peak condition.

  7. RedLogix 7

    But defendants cannot expect to make false unsubstantiated personal attacks with legal impunity.

    mmm …. possibly quite a LOT of deleting might have to happen.

    • lprent 7.1

      Agreed. But Whaleoil always used to be a complete shit hole for violating legalities. And it has already had a whole lot of revising of the posts and comments for various court cases.

      But usually not here after they get through the initial moderation sweeps. In the last decade I have revised a few posts for humanitarian reasons and a few tens of defamatory comments that the moderation missed and were drawn to my attention within days or weeks.

      We’re pretty careful about distinguishing between fact and opinion – which Whaleoil didn’t used to distinguish between at all most of the time.

      We’re also pretty careful about distinguishing between people who are in public life and part of the public debate; politicians, political candidates, bloggers, journalists, senior public servants at the policy or governing level, etc – Whaleoil wasn’t.

      We don’t take payment for anything on this site. Hell, I promise nothing except privacy and that any money donated will go to keeping the site hardware and software running – see the donations page where I say:-

      We provide no acknowledgement of people who contribute because that would violate our standards on privacy. If you make a contribution then only the sysop will know, and he doesn’t tell anyone anything that he considers should be private.

      and I don’t write anything for pay apart from code and documentation for code. It is a struggle to find time to have fun writing my fun rants carefully considered opinions.

      We also tend to ‘beat up’ hard on people who leave comments that are defamatory or criminal. It tends to leave an impression that reduces the probability of subsequent work to educate the perps.

      But we’re also pretty nice people on this site most of the time (apart from me of course).

      • RedLogix 7.1.1

        Thanks for that. I’ve often looked at many comments over the years and wondered if they might come back to bite us.

        It’s usually easy to spot something criminal, but TBH I’ve seen a lot of material, particularly directed towards public figures on the right which leave me unhappy from a defamation perspective. No-one wants to chill robust debate, but frankly I think we’re too lenient on ‘pointless abuse’ and ‘personal attacks just because this is the internet and I believe I can get away with it without getting my face renovated’.

        Am I safe in assuming that when something potentially defamatory is directed at someone with a pseudonym, that because it’s not directed at a ‘real person’ this also offers some level of protection? Or is this a faulty assumption?

        • Thinkerr 7.1.1.1

          You just need to confirm fact from opinion.

          If you knew and had proof that Joe Bloggs stole money from Jill Blaine, then you can call him a thief.

          But, if it is only your opnion he stole money, then say “In my opinion…”. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion, and if you say so, you’re not saying something is fact when it isnt.

          That’s my opinion, anyway 🙂

          • lprent 7.1.1.1.1

            Ah no. You’d also have to show at least in part why that is your opinion.

            Otherwise (for instance) I could claim in my opinion that you (giving your name) were deliberately infecting pigs with HIV because you were a bastard male.

            There are a series of facts in that ‘opinion’ that are being asserted and that are verifiable and need to have some instantiation, basis of fact or even a source for my ‘opinion’. I have absolutely no idea of your gender, your specific birth status, your HIV status, if you had access to pigs, or were deliberately infecting them. Of course there is an implied suggestion in there that you may be a pigfucker.

            Around here that I would give that paragraph an abrupt edit, and a ban.

            And of course I do say things like that, usually when moderating people making defamatory statements. But I do it for effect by speculating in exactly the manner of the person I’m moderating what they are like inventing ‘facts’ as required. Except I increase the ‘opinion’ by several orders of magnitude to demonstrate how I ‘see’ their comment. I call that ‘net education’.

        • lprent 7.1.1.2

          From the decision (nice document) my emphasis..

          [4] Third, a statement is defamatory if it causes a reasonable person reading or hearing it to think worse of the person concerned, in a more than minor way. Blog posts are subject to the same legal tests as other media though they must be read in context. The law of defamation must not be applied so enthusiastically as to chill genuine political and policy debate. Those who engage in public political and policy debate must expect robust public responses. But defendants cannot expect to make false unsubstantiated personal attacks with legal impunity. ….

          Which is pretty much what we run, except we’re usually somewhat more restrictive.

          Before we allow potentially defamatory statements, it usually has to be someone involved in the expression of opinions in public debate about politics or policy.

          So (for instance), family are usually off the table. People simply reporting facts like researchers usually are as well. You can argue about how the facts were collected, methodology, things that are missing, funding sources etc, but you can’t directly attack the authors.

          Of course if there is a pattern of behaviour and probable bias over time – for instance the “Taxpayers union” being a good example – then bringing those up and expressing speculation and opinions is entirely appropriate. That is a proper part of public debate, but ultimately I’d have to be prepared to defend that as being part of public debate and to justify why the trust allowed it.

          If someone asserts specific verifiable facts, then they are expected to be able to back them with something substantive, credible, and verifiable when they make the comment or post. Otherwise we’ll just kill that part of their comments or post and ban them for a long time. Somehow expressing them as an unsubstantiated opinion or as a speculation simply isn’t sufficient or strong enough for some people – so they lie. That means that pattern of behaviour gets chopped.

          As this case demonstrates, words are important. Calling someone a neo-liberal doesn’t indicate a criminal intent. But calling someone a ‘thief’ without context sure as hell is because there are large sections of the Crimes Act and Summary Offences Act related to crimes associated with that word. I really don’t care if they meant ‘a thief of the public attention’ if whoever made it didn’t make that absolutely clear.

          Similarly for some of the words like trougher, rorter as in this case or corrupt can carry particular meanings, and without clear context you’d have to assume that a good proportion of the people reading will take the worst possible connotation. As is often deliberately intended to happen. Especially, in my opinion, when Cameron Slater used them in his halcyon dirty days, the nuances of words were designed to dog whistle to his audiences whilst trying to have some plausible deniability.

          But as the judge in this decision points out; that with BORA with other legislation sections does as well, and a host of previous decisions on both legislation and common law; there is a balance between open public debate and the suppression of public debate using laws like defamation as a chilling effect.

          But ultimately, we decided when starting this site to have “robust debate” and that meant we tend towards the open public debate side where the words that were used mattered less than clearly stating why

          Am I safe in assuming that when something potentially defamatory is directed at someone with a pseudonym, that because it’s not directed at a ‘real person’ this also offers some level of protection? Or is this a faulty assumption?

          Generally safe according to previous legal decisions (most from the 20th), and especially the way that we operate here. It at least shows the intent to have less personal constraints and a freer debate. Of course if someone could show that their identity under the handle was well known and that the damage to the reputation was deliberate then it is a different story.

          However you will notice that I am very deliberately coy about confirming who people really outside of the guest posters are even if they are using ‘real names’.

          Just claiming that your name is ‘John Key’ or ‘Helen Kelly’ when it doesn’t look likely to me would usually result in a forced handle change on the basis of probable identity theft. There are only a few usually allowed, as much as anything else because we have to take extra care with and of them. Which adds to the moderating burden on a robust debate site.

    • taxicab 7.2

      yesterday for a time Whaleoil had a front page with the message “the content you are seeking is not available ” there was no content at all , I guess they were sanitizing the site after the court determinations .

  8. tracey 8

    MS in a strike out application does not a Judge have to assume stuff pleaded as fact is true and then apply the legal test on that basis? Of my memory is correct, it means a prima facie case, at best, is confirmed but the veracity of the “facts” as pleaded by the Plaintiffs are as yet untested by the Court?

    • Frida 8.1

      @tracey yes that’s exactly right. The statement of claim is taken as if true and the merits are then evaluated on that basis for strike out. The actual facts don’t need to be proven by the plaintiff until trial.

      The exception to this is if the statement of claim makes an allegation that is patently and demonstrably untrue the defendant can file an affidavit proving this. But that hardly ever happens.

      • tracey 8.1.1

        Thanks Frida. It has been a long time. Mind you it going on to Court will ratchet up potential costs for both sides. I doubt these Plaintiffs will settle for anything but a strongly worded backdown and apology cos their reputations have been trashed.

        • Frida 8.1.1.1

          @Tracey, agreed. Often an unsuccessful strike out does trigger a settlement by a plaintiff but in this case, the stakes would be high for the defendants for the reasons you mention!

          Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people eh….!

    • mickysavage 8.2

      in a strike out application does not a Judge have to assume stuff pleaded as fact is true and then apply the legal test on that basis?

      Generally yes he does Tracey and he mentions this in his judgment. The third and fourth defendants sought to try and challenge the case on the basis the evidence was untenable. The plaintiff replied by filing chapter 7 of Dirty Politics.

      • Chris 8.2.1

        You’d think after DP the likes of Graham would’ve learned their lesson, but these people do it for living. It’s unbelievable.

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11899963

        • lprent 8.2.1.1

          This was all prior to Dirty Politics getting released.

          Your link was in 2012.
          The case that is going through now was somewhere around 2013 (??)

        • weka 8.2.1.2

          I’m guessing the lesson the smarter ones have learnt is how not to get caught.

        • Thinkerr 8.2.1.3

          Time was, I believe, when this sort of thing was more tolerated – dare I say even accepted.

          Dirty Politics didn’t turn people’s heads overnight, but I think it acted as a guidebook for the uninitiated, who could then see these things for what they were, and how they impacted on people.

          As a boy, my father picked apples from a farmer’s tree on his way to the cinema. I think I can now confess to occasionally throwing jaffas at the screen in my own youth. In their own times, neither caused more than a telling off. Judged in retrospect, by the different standards of today, my father and I might well have been considered delinquent.

          The Whaloil site was getting awards when judged by pre-Dirty-Politics times. In post-Dirty-Politics times, the same material may be seen in a different light.

          During a golden age, Unwritten rules are broken, and I guess some forget that when the cycle turns, the standards become more conservative.

          • reason 8.2.1.3.1

            Getting awards before the nasty dishonesty was exposed …..

            In the Golden shower age as delivered by Cam Slater ….

            A group piss from the Prime Minister down ….

            Rat Urine…. and bullshit.

  9. Michael 9

    Slater’s rich mates will look after him. Evidently, Palmer J does not expect promotion under any government run by, or on behalf of, those mates.

    • mickysavage 9.1

      I would not be surprised although he has been an exceptional academic and has a real quality pedigree.

  10. Eco maori 10

    I looked at whale oil site could see it was run by a ______________ and closed the window lol

  11. Delia 11

    So how is that working for these people, most people have reduced sugar and are very aware of not overdoing their intake. So much for the smear campaign.

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    2 days ago
  • COVID: Back to Level 1
    After stamping the Coronavirus out via strict lockdown between March and May, New Zealand went through a good three months without any community cases. Then a local outbreak in Auckland rather buggered things up last month. Auckland’s been in level 3 and level 2.5 for the past six weeks. ...
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Climate injustice
    Who's causing our skyrocketing emissions? As with most of our other problems, It's the rich: The wealthiest 1% of the world’s population were responsible for the emission of more than twice as much carbon dioxide as the poorer half of the world from 1990 to 2015, according to new ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Good riddance
    The border closure and resulting lack of foreign slave-workers is driving the fishing industry out of business: One fishing company is effectively out of business while others are bracing for large financial hits as the deepwater New Zealand industry, unable to get skilled foreign workers into the country, have ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #38
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... The tipping points at the heart of the climate crisis Many parts of the Earth’s climate system have been destabilised by ...
    3 days ago
  • Anyone for Collins?
    In the absence of national public opinion polls, we have had to make do in recent weeks with other guides to voter intentions. Those guides, such as the Auckland Central poll, the incidence of google enquiries and the responses to Vote Compass questions, have suggested, not unexpectedly, that Labour is ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    3 days ago
  • Crusher’s fiscal malfunction
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    3 days ago
  • Much of the commentariat’s reporting of the most recent GDP figure was misleading and unhelpful. The prize for the stupidest remark about the GDP figure for second quarter 2020 (2020Q2) released on Thursday (17 Sept) goes to Judith Collins, whose response to Grant Robertson’s comments indicated she did not ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    3 days ago
  • Love and Hate as Complementary Revolutionary Acts
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    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #38
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Sep 13, 2020 through Sat, Sep 19, 2020 Editor's Choice Get to Net-Zero by Mid-Century? Even Some Global Oil and Gas Giants Think it Can Be Done A report by a ...
    4 days ago
  • Tax cuts for all!!! (except you, you, and you)
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    My ThinksBy boonman
    5 days ago
  • Great Waves Washing Over New Zealand
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    PunditBy Brian Easton
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand has role to play in resolving crisis on ‘geopolitical fault line’, Helen Clark says
    By Geoffrey Miller New Zealand should continue to champion human rights in Belarus amidst an ongoing crackdown on protests by the country’s regime, former Prime Minister Helen Clark says. Protests in the country often referred to as ‘Europe’s last dictatorship’ erupted after the country’s disputed presidential elections on August 9 ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    5 days ago
  • Euthanasia referendum: How to cut through the emotions
    Jacqui Maguire, registered clinical psychologist This podcast episode highlights how difficult it is to have effective conversations about euthanasia due to how polarised people’s views are. I’m a clinical psychologist, with a passion for science communication. In early 2020 I founded the podcast Mind Brew, with an aim to make psychological ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Why we need cameras on boats
    In case anyone needed further convincing, there's another example today of why we need cameras on fishing boats: reported seabird bycatch doubled during a camera trial: Commercial fishers operating off Auckland's coast around vulnerable seabirds are twice as likely to report accidentally capturing them when cameras are on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Graham Adams: The religious right’s campaign to spike the euthanasia referendum
    In the leadup to the euthanasia referendum, an array of conservative Christian political organisations is running an expensive campaign to sow doubt about the safety of assisted dying. Graham Adams argues that these religious forces know that Christian arguments aren’t convincing the public, but that it is in the public ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    6 days ago
  • Opportunistic looting
    The National Party has spent the last six months acting horrified at the cost of supporting people through the pandemic and banging on about how the debt must be repaid. So what was their economic policy released today? Massive tax-cuts for the rich, of course! National has walked back ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Uncomfortable Choices.
    Dangerous Times: This will be the choice confronting those coming of age in the 2020s. Embrace Neoliberalism’s belief in racial and sexual equality; adopt its secular and scientific world view; and cultivate the technocratic, multicultural, global outlook required of those who keep the machinery of hyper-capitalism humming. Or, throw your ...
    6 days ago
  • Tony Burton: Covid and benefit payments
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    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    6 days ago
  • Talking tax: How to win support for taxing wealth
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    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    6 days ago
  • Getting Tough.
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    6 days ago
  • Media Link: Nuclear strategy, then and now.
    Although I had the fortune of being a graduate student of some of the foremost US nuclear strategists of the day (1970s) and later rubbed shoulders with Air Force and Naval officers who were entrusted with parts of the US nuclear arsenal, I seldom get to write or speak about ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • The Chinese List.
    News that Zhenhua Data, an arm of China Zhenhua Electronics Group, a subsidiary of the military-connected China Electronic Information Industry Group (CETC), maintains a list of 800 New Zealanders on a “Overseas Key Information Database” that contains personal information on more than 2.4 million foreign individuals, has caused some consternation ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • Things that grow fast, and things that surprise us
    Marie Becdelievre January 2020. The number of news article mentioning coronavirus exploded and anxious voices whispered about a global pandemic. Whisper? To me, it was only a whisper. I tend to learn about the world through non-fiction books, conferences, and academic research rather than news and social media, so ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #37, 2020
    2,082,476,000,000,000 Viability of greenhouse gas removal via the artificial addition of volcanic ash to the ocean  (not open access, unfortunately) walks us through the numbers on a particular means of CO2 removal, addition of volcanic tephra to the ocean. The mechanism is straight chemistry and the cost is fully an order of ...
    1 week ago
  • Barbados to become a republic
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Party Like It’s 1989: Bait and Switch is a Bad Look, Mr Hipkins
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    1 week ago
  • Will the tropics eventually become uninhabitable?
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • A first-hand look: What it’s like to live in a 2020 California wildfire evacuation zone
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    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 is not the only infectious disease New Zealand wants to eliminate, and genome sequencing is...
    Nigel French, Massey University Genome sequencing — the mapping of the genetic sequences of an organism — has helped track the spread of COVID-19 cases in Auckland, but it also plays an important role in the control of other infectious diseases in New Zealand. One example is Mycoplasma bovis, a ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • A flaw in our electoral transparency regime
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Don’t Steal This Book
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Carbon prices must rise
    When Parliament introduced the Emissions Trading Scheme, it was worried that carbon prices might get too high. So it introduced a "fixed price option", allowing polluters to pay the government $25 in the place of surrendering credits. The result was predictable: after we were thrown out of international carbon markets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Disclosure
    The government will finally be requiring large New Zealand companies to disclose their climate change risks: New Zealand finance companies will be made to report on climate change risk, Climate Change Minister James Shaw has announced. The policy will force around 200 large financial organisations in New Zealand to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Tackling the hard issues – trust and relationships
    By Claire Grant, Genomics Aotearoa Communications Manager Community consultation is becoming an increasingly important aspect of research programmes in New Zealand, and with that comes the art of relationship building. Engagement between scientists and user-groups is certainly nothing new. But as stakeholder involvement becomes more of a requirement for science, ...
    SciBlogsBy Genomics Aotearoa
    1 week ago
  • Equality Network – September Newsletter
    Read the Equality Network newsletter here ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • The Left’s Lost Allies.
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    1 week ago
  • Legal Beagle: Low-Hanging Fruit
    In a couple of months, the 53rd Parliament will meet in Wellington, and approximately 120 MPs will be sworn in, many of them for the first time.They will all have political goals, some aligning with their party platforms, some not, some complex, and some simple, but they will gain one ...
    1 week ago
  • Closing the Gap thinks that Labour’s proposal to raise the top tax rate is great but………
    Media Statement For Immediate Release 10th September 2020 The income and wealth inequality lobby group, “Closing the Gap” thinks the Labour proposal a great start says Peter Malcolm, a spokesperson for the group. But they need to be aware of what many of the rich do and of what do ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: No nonsense
    ACT is pushing a "no-nonsense climate change plan". What does it involve? Repealing the Zero Carbon Act and Emissions Trading Scheme, reversing the fossil-fuel exploration ban, and allowing mining on conservation land. In other words, repealing any policy which might actually reduce emissions. Which is the very definition of nonsensical. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • My Climate Story: Coming full Circle
    This blog post is a follow up to my recap of Al Gore's Climate Reality Leadership Training I recently participated in. One of the exercises we were asked to complete was to write about our respective "Climate Story". This is a slightly updated version to the one I had submitted during ...
    1 week ago
  • A bill to criminalise wage theft
    Wage theft is a problem in New Zealand, with a widespread practice of forcing employees to work without pay, and regular cases of underpayment and exploitation. One reason why its such a widespread problem is impunity: rather than a crime, wage theft is merely a tort, dealt with by the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Liam Hehir: What the voting age debate tells us about our disconnected political media
    New Zealand’s media and online politics often reflect the values of liberal and progressive agendas. According to Liam Hehir, the current proposals to lower the voting age to 16 years – which the media overwhelming supports – is indicative of a wider mismatch with society, which is not good for ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Why Pay Taxes?
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    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Now everyone’s a statistician. Here’s what armchair COVID experts are getting wrong
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • More timid bullshit from Labour
    Over the weekend, Labour released its welfare policy: an increase in benefit abatement thresholds. And that's it. Faced with clear evidence of ongoing hardship among beneficiaries and a call from its on Welfare Expert Advisory Group to raise core benefits by between 12 percent and 47 percent, Labour's response is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Police Kill as Part of their Social Function
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (Bogota; 09/11/2020) The murder of Javier Ordoñez in the neighbourhood of Villa Luz in Bogotá, Colombia at the hands of two policemen brings to the fore the issue of police violence and its function in society. First of all we should be clear that we are ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #37
    Story of the Week... La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS...  Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... Story of the Week... Humans exploiting and destroying nature on unprecedented scale – report Animal populations have plunged an average of 68% ...
    1 week ago
  • The 2019 measles epidemic in Samoa
    Gabrielle Po-Ching In November 1918, the cargo and passenger ship Talune travelled to Apia, Samoa from Auckland, carrying a number of passengers who had pneumonic influenza. From these passengers stemmed the biggest pandemic Samoa had ever seen. With around 8,500 deaths, over 20% of the country’s population at the ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Shifting all Isolation/Quarantine Facilities to a Single Air Force Base: The Need for a Critical Ana...
    Prof Nick Wilson*, Prof Michael Baker In this blog the arguments for and against shifting all COVID-19 related isolation/quarantine facilities to a single air force base at Ōhakea are considered. The main advantage would be a reduction in the risk of border control failures, which can potentially involve outbreaks ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • The difference between Green and Labour: a tale of two Finance Ministers
    So the Greens co-leader James Shaw recently made a mistake. In his role as Associate Finance Minister approving funding for “shovel-ready” projects, he fought hard for a private “Green school” to get funding to expand their buildings and, therefore, their student capacity. There are many problems with what he did: ...
    Cut your hairBy calebmorgan
    1 week ago
  • Bryce Edwards: Political Roundup – The missing election policy on free dental visits
    Over the last three years there have been growing calls for the government to provide dental services under the health system – universal free dental care. This is because at the moment there’s an anomaly in which teeth are regarded as different from the rest of the body which means ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    2 weeks ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #37
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Sep 6, 2020 through Sat, Sep 12, 2020 Editor's Choice With California ablaze, Newsom blasts Trump administration for failing to fight climate change Trinity River Conservation Camp crew members drown ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Letter to the Editor
    Dear Sir, As we head into the run up to the upcoming election I feel it is my duty to draw your attention to the lack of fun we are currently forced to ensure by the Adern regime. In their efforts to keep the nation’s essential workers, health compromised people, ...
    My ThinksBy boonman
    2 weeks ago

  • Support for innovative Pacific education responses to COVID-19 needs
    Supporting new and creative Pacific education practices as part of our COVID-19 response and recovery is the focus of a new $28.5 million Pacific Education Innovation Fund announced today by Associate Minister of Education Jenny Salesa.  “There is already an incredible amount of innovative and creative work going on in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Eligibility expanded for COVID-19 leave support
    The expanded scheme will cover: People who have COVID-19 like symptoms and meet the Ministry of Health’s criteria, and need to self-isolate while awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test. People who are directed to self-isolate by a Medical Officer of Health or their delegate or on advice of their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Seasonal work visa available to more people
    The Government is putting in place a range of immigration policy changes to help fill labour shortages in key industries while ensuring New Zealanders, who have lost jobs due to COVID-19, have the chance to find new employment. “Two key sectors we are moving to help are horticulture and wine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • More border exceptions for critical roles
    The Government has established class exceptions for border entry for a limited number of veterinarians, deep sea fishing crew, as well as agricultural and horticultural machinery operators. “Tight border restrictions remain the backbone of the Government’s border strategy to protect New Zealand against COVID-19 and ensure New Zealand citizens and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Crown will not appeal Dodds v Southern Response decision
    The Crown will not appeal the Court of Appeal decision in the Dodds v Southern Response case, Grant Robertson announced today. “Southern Response will be paying the damages awarded by the Court to Mr and Mrs Dodds shortly. The Crown was already meeting their legal costs for this appeal. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Crucial PGF investments for Northland
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing nearly $30 million in a diverse range of projects that will create immediate and long-term jobs and lift economic and social outcomes for Northland and its people. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones made the announcement today in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • $27million investment in global vaccine facility
    The Coalition Government has committed to invest $27 million in COVID-19 vaccine development through the global COVAX Facility, Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The COVAX Facility is a key part of our COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy to obtain safe and effective vaccines. It allows us to invest in a high-quality, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government backing Māori landowners
    The Government will provide up to $1.69 million through the One Billion Trees programme to Māori landowners to make their whenua more productive through the planting of forests, both native and exotic, and improve economic and environmental outcomes, Forestry Minister Shane Jones has announced. “Around 1.5 million ha of land ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New tools to make nature more accessible
    People planning to head outdoors now have a resource that lets them know how accessible an area is for people with varying levels of mobility, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. The Halberg Foundation, Sensibel, and the Department of Conservation (DOC) have launched Accessibel, a new tool which helps ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • PGF makes Māori history more accessible
    One of the most significant battle sites of the 1860s Land Wars will receive $2.96 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to improve the site and help tell the New Zealand story to visitors, Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. Nanaia Mahuta ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Making it official: The journey of te reo Māori | Kia whakapūmautia: Ngā piki me ngā heke o te r...
    The journey towards recognising Māori as an official language and taonga has been captured as a web series and launched today during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, announced Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “Te reo Māori is a living language, and understanding its significance, and pathways to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Better-than-forecast GDP reflects decision to protect New Zealand
    Today’s better-than-forecast GDP figures show the expected impact of the decision to act quickly to protect New Zealanders from the global COVID-19 pandemic. GDP fell 12.2% in the June quarter from March, reflecting decisions to close New Zealand’s borders and enter Alert Level 4. “This result was better than the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Boost for COVID-19 related Pacific education needs
    The Government is investing $39.7 Million over four years to support the educational needs of Pacific learners and families in the regions hardest hit by COVID-19, with Auckland getting an immediate boost, Associate Minister of Education Jenny Salesa says.   “Like all New Zealanders Pacific families want learners to do well ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • More resources for kiwi conservation
    New Zealand’s goal of 100,000 kiwi by 2030 is being helped by an extra $19.7 million in funding to accelerate iwi and community efforts to protect kiwi, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced. “$19.7 million of Jobs for Nature funding is being invested in kiwi conservation activities including increased predator ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Improving access to affordable electricity
    Ensuring New Zealanders can get the best deal on their electricity takes a step in the right direction today with the South Island launch of the EnergyMate pilot run by the Electricity Retailers’ Association, says Minister of Energy and Resources, Dr Megan Woods. EnergyMate is an industry-led programme providing coaching ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government achieves 50 percent women on state boards
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter announced today that the Government has reached its target of 50 percent on women on state sector board and committees – setting a new record level of women on state sector boards. “This Government is committed to having more women in leadership roles - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Record transport investment to help economic recovery and save lives
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford released today the final Government Policy Statement on land transport (GPS) 2021 which outlines the planned $48 billion investment in services and infrastructure over the next decade. “The final GPS supports our Government’s five-point plan for economic recovery by confirming our record investments in transport infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Advancing clean energy technology
    Three ambitious and cutting-edge research programmes that will lift New Zealand’s advanced energy technology research capability over seven years, have been supported by Government today, says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. The projects will each receive a share of $40.7 million investment from the Strategic Science Investment Fund. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Major milestone reached in Pike River Re-entry
    The critical area for forensic examination known as Pit Bottom in Stone has been reached in what is a major milestone for the Pike River re-entry project, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little announced. “The infrastructure located in Pit Bottom in Stone is of very significant interest in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Economic recovery guides Govt response to retirement income policy review
    The Government is working on how New Zealand’s retirement income policies and settings can best support Kiwis in light of the COVID-19 economic recovery, with the help of the Retirement Commissioner’s latest review, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said. “The Retirement Commissioner’s three-yearly review into New Zealand’s retirement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Iwi community hub opens in Murupara
    A new digital hub and development centre in Murupara will be instrumental in growing the region’s productivity, said Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau at the official opening of two community initiatives today. “I’m pleased to be here celebrating a significant milestone for two projects set to make a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PREFU shows economy doing better than forecast
    PREFU shows economy doing better than forecast Unemployment to peak at 7.8%, down from 9.8% forecast in the Budget Year-to-June accounts show tax revenue, debt and OBEGAL better than forecast Global forecast downgraded as COVID-19 second waves and uncertainty grows Balanced plan to support critical public services, manage debt and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Spruce-up for Ōtaki community facilities
    The Kāpiti Coast town of Ōtaki will receive $1.4 million in Government funding for two projects providing scores of jobs for locals while improving community facilities, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The Māoriland Charitable Trust will receive a $900,000 Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) grant to upgrade the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PGF funding for Jobs for Nature programme
    The Provincial Growth Fund will provide $11.88 million to fund fencing and waterway projects nationwide that will improve the environment and create jobs in their communities, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. “These projects will create more than 100 jobs nationwide with work starting within the next couple ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Procurement to promote jobs, Māori and Pasifika businesses and sustainability
    As part of the COVID-19 recovery, the Government has strengthened its procurement rules to ensure its annual $42 billion spend creates more jobs, uses more sustainable construction practices and results in better outcomes for Māori and Pasifika, Government Ministers announced today.   Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford says the $42 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Timaru’s Theatre Royal to be upgraded and new heritage facility built
    The Government is supporting a major upgrade of Timaru’s iconic Theatre Royal and the construction of a new connected Heritage Facility museum and exhibition space with $11.6 million from the Government’s Infrastructure Fund, Jacinda Ardern announced today. “We heard the call from the community and the council. The Theatre Royal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • District Court judge appointed
    Chrissy Montague (formerly Armstrong), barrister of Auckland has been appointed as a District Court Judge with Family Court jurisdiction to be based in Wellington, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Ms Montague commenced practice in Auckland in 1987 and went into general practice dealing with Wills, Estates, Trusts, Conveyancing, Relationship Property ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Approval given to Commercial Film and Video Production Proposal
      A Proposal to provide for the development and operation of commercial film and video production facilities in areas of Christchurch has been given the go ahead. Hon Poto Williams, Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, has approved the Proposal, which was prepared and submitted by Regenerate Christchurch. Minister Williams ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting a thriving wānanga sector to benefit Māori learners
    As part of the Government’s focus on building closer partnerships with Māori and enhancing the quality of, and access to, Māori medium education, a payment of $8 million will be made to Te Wānanga o Raukawa in partial recognition of its Waitangi Tribunal claim (WAI 2698), Associate Education Minister Kelvin ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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