Written By: - Date published: 11:37 am, May 23rd, 2013 - 82 comments
Categories: accountability, capitalism, Conservation, democracy under attack, Mining, same old national, sustainability - Tags:

It looks like Nick Smith will today grant access to West Coast conservation land, with high conservation values, for open cast mining.  This looks like a cynical attempt to enforce the government’s anti-conservation agenda by avoiding the need for public consultation.

He is travelling to Denniston Plateau for his announcement at 12.30pm on Australian mining company Bathurst Resources’ bid to establish its Escarpment Mine on the plateau.

He invited Bathurst staff to attend but not conservation groups opposing the mine, but they planned to go regardless.

Mining companies need a mining permit, resource consent and an access agreement to start a mine. Today’s political decision does not mean the mine has the green light, that is being appealed through the courts, but part of the approval process is whether the Government would allow access to conservation land.

”Nick Smith is going to say yes to mining our high-value conservation land today,” West Coast Environment Network spokeswoman Lynley Hargreaves said today.

NickSmith forked tongue

Hargreaves of the West Coast Mining network claims that the announcement will come the day before Smith is legally required to open up the proposal for consultation.

“Nick Smith is going to say yes to mining our high-value conservation land today,” said West Coast Environment Network spokesperson Lynley Hargreaves. “And he doesn’t want you or I to have any say in that.”

“Three years ago the National Government ceded to public outrage, after 40,000 marched down Queen Street in Auckland. They promised public consultation for significant mining proposals on conservation land,” she added. “That legislation will finally come into force on Friday, a lone positive change in the environmental disaster that was the Crown Minerals Act review.”

“Nick Smith’s decision today will obviously be a rushed decision made simply to avoid public consultation,” she adds. “Open cast mining on high-value conservation land is not something the public of New Zealand support, and the Government knows that.”

Add this to the long list of actions by John Key’s government that cynically disregards or otherwise avoids democratic processes that should be part of The Rule of Law, as posted by Michael Valley on The Standard today.

democracy under attack thumb


[Update]  This afternoon, Nick Smith announced the approval of the mining on the Denniston Plateau. The news reports have created some confusion as to the status of the land.  Some are calling it “conservation land”.  Nick Smith says it has “conservation values”.  Regardless, the deal involves the mining company paying compensation for loss of “compensation values”.  The Otago Daily Times, reports the following:

Australian mining company Bathurst Resources has passed a crucial hurdle to establishing an open cast coal mine on the West Coast’s Denniston Plateau near Westport.

Conservation Minister Nick Smith this afternoon he had approved the company’s access agreement for the mine on conservation land.

However the mine still requires consents under the Resource Management Act which remains subject to a pending Environment Court decision.

Environment groups this morning accused Dr Smith of rushing the access approval before new Crown Minerals Act measures requiring public consultation come into effect on Friday. …

“The loss of conservation values is compensated by a $22 million package by Bathurst Resources. This will fund pest and predator control over 25,000 hectares of the Heaphy River catchment in the Kahurangi National Park, 4500 hectares on and around the Denniston Plateau, as well as for historic projects on the Plateau itself.

It still looks to me like a cynical move on Dick Smith’s part, whatever way you look at it.

[Update] The NZ Herald report this afternoon, identifies the fine differences in conservation status, which seems to point to Nick Smith’s previous statement on the land not being “conservation land”,as being diversionary:

Dr Smith said the approval was for an open-cast mine on 106 hectares of the 2026 hectares that comprise the Denniston Plateau.

“This area is not National Park, nor Conservation Park nor does it have any particular reserve status. It is general stewardship land, which is the lowest legal status of protection of land managed by the Department of Conservation.”

The area does have conservation values, although there has been some disturbance from previous mining including roads, bulldozer tracks and an artificial reservoir, Dr Smith said.

This afternoon’s press release by Green MP Catherine Delahunty, also designate the land as “conservation land”.  She also accuses Nik Smith of rushing the approval to avoid the public consultation process that would occur after the amendments to the Crown Mineral Act come into affect tomorrow.

The Labour Party’s press release states that the government has ridden “rough shod” over the process, preventing a compromise being reached between the mining company and conservation groups.

“Labour wants to see an agreement reached where mining can go ahead, allowing for the creation of new jobs, but where precious land is also protected. While the compensation package from Bathurst is welcome, our laws and access to the conservation estate should never be dictated by money,” said Ruth Dyson.

West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor says the mining industry needs security now more than ever but there is a real risk that this deal will create further legal action because it cuts across negotiations between the parties.

82 comments on “Cynical”

  1. Macro 1


    • Paul 1.1

      You’re using understatement. There are more grievous words one could use, but then these comments are moderated.
      I assume none if them have grandchildren.
      We know how we are raising the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. We now can the consequences of that.
      Short-sighted, greedy, genocidal to the future…………….but as long as my generation’s alright…
      Some people are utterly contemptible.

  2. tarkwin 2

    The sooner they start the better. Plenty of work for West Coasters. The added bonus will be Forest and Bird and the Greens will hate it.

    • karol 2.1

      So that’s alright then, tark?!

      Democratic process is a minor consideration for you.

      And thanks, micky, for the legal info below.

      • tarkwin 2.1.1

        Plenty of land down there and not enough jobs. Sometimes you have to give a little to gain a lot.

        • Colonial Viper

          Bullshit mate, why should Australians be given the lions share of the profits, if it is our conservation land being destroyed.

          • Tim@tarkwined in the toolshed

            Well err… doh! gee C.V.! When I can get out from under my leftie-baiting ideologically-driven stance, I didn’t think of that

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          The ends justify the means, just like in aggravated burglary.

        • Macro

          do you even know or understand just what is being “given up” in this instance? Bet you have no idea nor even care.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          Plenty of jobs on the West Coast.

          But if the local community wants to form a company and mine the hills I think we should at least consider it.

          What’s this proposal again?

    • Colonial Viper 2.2

      You’re OK with prime NZ conservation land being destroyed and most of the profit going to Australians (yet again?)

      • Kiev 2.2.1

        Conservation – Not Preservation – look it up some time.

        “I have approved this mine because the loss of conservation values is compensated by a $22 million package by Bathurst Resources. The compensation will fund pest and predator control over 25,000 hectares of the Heaphy River catchment in the Kahurangi National Park, 4,500 hectares on and around the Denniston Plateau, as well as for historic projects on the Plateau itself. This is the largest ever compensation package negotiated by DOC for a mine or other commercial venture.

        Sounds like by allowing this to go on in one area, other conservation areas will benefit.

        • mickysavage

          Interesting that the Government guts DOC funding so it cannot do the job it should then bingo with the help of corporate sponsorship work can be performed. They just have to wreck the conservation estate bit by bit to save the rest which will inevitably get smaller and smaller.

      • Rich the other 2.2.2

        30% of NZ land is conservation land , wha’ts 150h ?
        I see the company has pledged to spend $9 million on pest control on the west coast.

      • Andrew 2.2.3

        “This approval is for an open-cast mine on 106 hectares of the 2026 hectares that comprise the Denniston Plateau. This area is not National Park, nor Conservation Park nor does it have any particular reserve status. It is general stewardship land, which is the lowest legal status of protection of land managed by the Department of Conservation.”

        So hardly “prime NZ conservation land being destroyed”. It actually looks like the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

      • Rich the other 2.2.4

        Colonial V,
        It gets worse, the damage the greens /forest and bird are doing to communities.

        Quote Nick Smith.
        (( “This area is not national park, nor conservation park, nor does it have any particular reserve status,” he said ))

        What the hell is going on ,what have these organisations cost our economy?


        • karol

          The information so far is confusing as to the status of the land. The Stuff article I link to in my above post says that it is “conservation land”, as does the press release I link to. The stuff article then quotes Nick Smith as saying it’s not conservation land.

          So, while awaitng confirmation as to the exact status of the land, I’ll go with the lesser term & have amended my post accordingly. Also, the Stuff article says:

          Bathurst will provide $22 million as compensation for loss of conservation values.

          So, whatever the status of the land, the mining will undermine the conservation of it, and the move to allow the mining the day before the act comes into force, requiring consultation, does look cynical.

          • Rich the other

            The local residents were one of the first objectors ,consultation took place with the locals , an agreement reached and the objections were withdrawn.

            If they had of waited it would have just replicated a process that had already taken place.

            • karol

              According to the sources linked in my post, the government promised “public consultation”, not just with people in the local area. This is land that we all have an interest in.

          • Chris

            The land is conversation land – but under the banner conservation land there are several classifications (with national park being highest, then conservation park down to a stewardship area. As Nick Smith said this area is a stweardship area.

            Also to clear up Nick Smith said it wasn’t a conservation park not that it wasn’t conservation land.

            • karol

              The earlier version of the Stuff article quoted Smith as saying “conservation land”. His quotes have now changed in the latest version of the Stuff article. I have updated my post with that quote from the NZ Herald.

  3. Wow. Right you are Karol.

    The Crown Minerals Amendment Act 2013 comes into force on May 24 (

    I have only had a quick squiz at the act itself ( but there are some obligations for the Minister to consult with affected parties.

    As Macro said, Bastards.

  4. King Kong 4

    About fucking time

    • Macro 4.1

      The primitive ape speaks again – and once again it is all about self! KK you impress me as one fucking selfish bastard! You will leave this world a poorer place, and your children and grandchildren will hate you for it.

      • Paul 4.1.1

        Yup, folk like KK they only care for themselves. They haven’t even developed the empathy gene for their own grand kids , let alone a general care for society.
        Quite sad really.

  5. Tigger 5

    We’re well overdue for a daily Democracy Under Attack banner in every media outlet. Herald? You used to be so worried about this stuff? Why so quiet?

  6. Rich the other 6

    Go NICK.
    I know a couple of forest and bird members who have had enough of the political agenda behind of this.
    The green party’s influence on forest and bird needs to be exposed.
    These people joined f&b in good faith but had no idea they would be so negative towards peoples needs.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 6.1

      Stop your whining and harden up, it’s just the way things are: Kiwis value New Zealand more than they value your back pocket.

    • lprent 6.2

      They can vote and organise right? Are they too lazy to get actively involved? That is what you do inside organisations you can join as a member. When you don’t like their direction what you have to do is to convince a *significant* number of members to change it’s direction. Or you leave and start another organisation.

      But simply whining about it is lazy, stupid and usually ineffectual. However I do notice that the RWNJ’s do seem to think it is the route to everything – look at the history of the Act party for instance. Or some of the idiots that think that whining about how we run this private site here.

    • We don’t need coal. We do need to leave it in the ground.

      • Populuxe1 6.3.1

        We’ll need it soon enough when we hit peak oil. I expect a lot of people will be changing their tune when they come to understand the brutalities of living with irreversable climate change and not being able to power the technologies that will help us survive it.

    • BLiP 6.4

      Like “Forest and Bird” is all about “people”.

    • prism 6.5

      Rich t’other Did your friends think that forest and bird was about having a high time with the opposite sex in a sylvan setting? They must have been drunk when they joined up.

    • Clockie 6.6

      “I know a couple of forest and bird members who have had enough of the political agenda ”

      Had they never heard of the Save Manapouri Campaign? Did they think they were joining a bird watching club?

  7. tarkwin 7

    Why are so many people here anti jobs here?

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 7.1

      Why can’t you engage with the arguments they are advancing rather than making up puerile strawmen? Are you twelve?

      • tarkwin 7.1.1

        Heres a good idea, why don’t we ask the people of the West Coast what they want?

        • Macro

          because the denniston plateau does NOT belong to the citizens of the west coast any more than it belongs to Nick Smith. It belongs to EVERY citizen of this country.

    • framu 7.2

      why do so many people here hate puppies? Surely thats a much more pertinent question

      • handle 7.2.1

        When did the snail-lovers stop beating their wives, you mean? Quality argument.

  8. kahu 8

    Excellent news! Jobs and a $22m compensation package. “The compensation will fund pest and predator control over 25,000 hectares of the Heaphy River catchment in the Kahurangi National Park, 4,500 hectares on and around the Denniston Plateau”. Fantastic, have to hand it to the Nats on this one.

    [lprent: Read the policy. Looking at your three comments to date, you read like a particularly stupid astroturfing spambot. Display that you’re human with some actual thought rather than mindlessly reading from a PR wanklist or you will be treated as a misbehaving bot. In the meantime I’ll add you to auto-spam and I’ll keep an eye out to see if you start looking like a human. ]

    • Macro 8.1

      Have you any idea of what you are saying? This will come back to bite you hard.

    • kahu 8.2

      Whoa! Easy on the aggression there Lynn. Just had a read of the policy. Would love to know where I’ve overstepped the mark? “We encourage robust debate and we’re tolerant of dissenting views”.

      Don’t quite understand the auto-spam thing but presume this is some sort of ban? Any response appreciated. Thanks.

      [lprent: You might notice that everyone writes their thoughts here reasonably freely, and there is usually a pretty wide range of views. There isn’t a pile of a short canned comments trying to look like a twitter feed.

      There is a reason for that. We’re interested in your views. We’re not interested in comments that look like they been regurgitated out of list of pithy PR lines. The site has a number of ogres acting as moderators (including me) and we get bored with unoriginal unthinking twaddle cluttering up the thousands of comments per week.

      My personal approach is to either dump first comments until we get something indicating intelligence. If an apparent loss of intelligence occurs later then I tend to run a turing test to find out if there is any sign of sentience..

      So it tends to be inadvisable to write comments that don’t look like any thought went into them and/or to treat comments as being fire and forget and not reply to responses. Either tends to make me think you might not be sentient and start treating you as bad code.

      Happens too often and I consider that you aren’t worth my wasting precious time (a cardinal sin) backchecking recent comments. After you’ve been around a wee while I might remember that I have seen you before not bother backchecking. Until then it is inadvisable to write things that trigger my troll/bot moderating instincts.

      You may not like this approach. But as you might have figured out from the policy, we really don’t care what you think when we are moderating. You task is not to attract moderator attention by using your brain to express your own views.. Those we are mostly tolerant of (unless they get too offensive). ]

  9. Pete 9

    The Labour movement was born in the mines. A lot of us aren’t against mining, but there’s got to be a fair return in royalties to the public purse and an appropriately balanced assessment of the risks to the environment.I would be loathe to see mountaintop removal mining gain traction in NZ.

    • tarkwin 9.1

      Pretty much what I was getting at Pete. I’m not suggesting wholesale destruction of the conservation estate, but the people down there need jobs. Many of them are miners, mining is what they know and in the mine is where they want to be. As Rich pointed out earlier Forest and Bird is becoming more like the Greens by the day. That’s up to them but as a registered charity they should be careful. If they cared as much about people as they do about their cause they would accomplish a lot more and alienate a lot less.

      • karol 9.1.1

        Well, the Labour Party seems to agree with you. I have added the main content of their press release to the bottom of my post. They say the government has destroyed the opportunity for the mining company and conservation groups to reach a compromise, and provide secure jobs.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 9.1.2

        Yeah, you should start up a right wing forest and bird and you could all go and look at stuffed animals in museums together.

        • tarkwin

          I’m trying to have a reasonable conversation with a couple of people here – it’s nice to see we do have some things in common, thanks Karol and then we get a neanderthal fuckwit like yourself who can do no better than make stupid irrelevant comments that aren’t even funny – loser.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead

            I should try scrolling up the page if I were you: you’ll find comments by some twit with the same name as you, saying how great it is that people will hate this, and how they hate jobs.

            Then you could reflect on how you present yourself, and on how people could easily take you for an asshole.

            • tarkwin

              No, it’s just you. Most people are happy to engage, we may not always agree but at least I try – something you could never be acused of.

              • Clockie

                “The added bonus will be Forest and Bird and the Greens will hate it.”

                That right there is a deliberately targeted and provocative remark of the “arsehole” variety.

                I for one don’t engage with people who start conversations like that.

              • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                Probably better to accuse me of not engaging in a thread I haven’t, y’know, engaged in. I’m starting to wonder if you’re “scroll-up” challenged or something.

                For you, the ends justify the means, for example, and democracy and due process can get fucked. For you, temporary jobs are more important than the CO2 content of the atmosphere.

                I’ll engage all you like. What I’m not prepared to do is compromise with you, because that way you just get everything you want and New Zealand ends up a worse, poorer place as a result. In short, rejecting your witless drivel with contempt is in the national interest.

                • tarkwin

                  I think it’s best if I leave you to sit in your cave talking to yourself. Abusing and chasing people away won’t improve this site. I saw mickysavage get a load of crap poured on him on whale oil the other day, it was embarrassing to watch and totally uncalled for. A little tollerance goes a long way.

                  • One Anonymous Knucklehead

                    Oh, did you mistake my criticism of your opinion for a personal attack? I am sorry for the pain in your mind.

      • Draco T Bastard 9.1.3

        …but the people down there need jobs.

        Are you sure about that? How much work would actually be required if we only provided what we needed?

        I think you’ll find that it’s far less than what we do now. The only reason why we have as much work as we do isn’t because we supply what we need but because a few parasites want to be even richer usually at everyone else’s expense.

        BTW, people actually need the environment and so conserving it is part of looking after them.

        • McFlock

          From what I gather from friends in the industry, many of those folk would still be employed if the nats hadn’t run Solid energy into the ground [ba-dum- tcsh. But it is a serious point].

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead

            Yeah, good point, where are the 170,000 jobs? If these toxic (tailings run-off) Tories gave a toss about employment levels they’d be voting for a party with a better track record.

            Hypocrisy and conservatism in bed together again. Yawn.

  10. fambo 10

    There was once a great big pie. Someone thought “If I eat a piece, there will still be plenty over for the future.” But after a while their tummy started to rumble so they thought “If I have another piece, there will still be lots pie left for the future.” Sometime after that their tummy was rumbling again so once again they had another piece of pie. In no time at all, there was no pie at all.

  11. BLiP 11

    ” . . . the Beehive, the Beehive, where everyone gets a bargain . . . ”

    Yes, that’s right folks, we have special deals on values and rights and justice for sale. Ask our friendly salesman John Key and he’ll show you the latest range available. New Zealand has on special human rights, employment rights, copyrights, and conservation values just waiting to fly out the door at these ridiculour prices.

    35 year guarantee!!!!!OMG!!11!!!

    • GregJ 11.1

      Must be a travelling salesman at that – not only Hollywood but downtown Wellington (Willeston Street) when he opened Bathurst’s new operations office in March 2012.

      I note that Bathurst is also looking to re-incorporate as a New Zealand company (not that the majority of the ownership won’t still be overseas of course – Bank of America & JP Morgan Chase own about 16% and Australian L1 Capital Pty Limited about 11%).

  12. It’s a funny old world

    solid energy may go belly-up

    “Stricken state owned coal miner Solid Energy’s future appears bleak according to a recently completed report on the company, Prime Minister John Key indicated yesterday.

    Key said corporate advisers KordaMentha had just completed their report on the company which is on the brink of collapse after being crippled by low coal prices and almost $400 million in debts.”

    Bathhurst know that the price of coal is low but

    “It [coal] has come off the highs of the last 18 months quite considerably but you have to run your business so that in the bad times you’re holding your nose above water and in the good times you’re making good money for investors and the nation.”

    “Uncertainty hangs over more than 200 workers at Solid Energy’s Spring Creek mine but Bathurst’s Escarpment Mine on the plateau would provide 225 direct jobs.”

    wow what a great plan – switch the workers from solid energy to bathurst – there’s economic growth for you.

    DoC don’t care – or do they?

    “A Department of Conservation briefing paper to the Minister, released under the Official Information Act, is more realistic about the mine’s likely impacts. It states:

    • “The proposed open cast mine and consequent over burden dumps would permanently alter the landscape through the removal of a natural ridgeline; leaving post rehabilitation in the vicinity of 75% of the altered landscape unrevegetated.”

    • “The profound change in substrate and hydrology would alter the vegetation associations post-mining and reduce the current ecological integrity of the elevated Denniston Plateau.”

    • “The applicant makes much of the fact that they would be removing existing sources of acid mine drainage (Wharetea Plateau and Birchalls Co-operative mines); however, 156 hectares of exposed potentially acid forming rock would likely create a far more significant acid mine drainage problem.”

    The paper also notes:

    • “The entire Denniston Plateau lies within the “West Coast Kawatiri Place” and is identified as a “Priority Site for Biodiversity Management. It is also described as a nationally outstanding landscape…”

    I’ve blogged on this in the past and my point is simple – the proposed financial benefits are fanciful and the devastation is factual.

    • karol 12.1

      Interview with Lynley Hargreaves on Checkpoint tonight. She said DOC has been trying to get the Deniston Plateau declared schedule 4 land, but have been hindered by being under funded and under staffed.

      [audio src="" /]

      She said it’s not “low value” land as suggested by Nick Smith, but high value land that should be protected.

    • Rich the other 12.2

      Marty mars.
      Correction , try to be honest.
      Solid energy’s problems are more about debt than the lower coal price.
      Solid energy has under an ground under ground operation and Elder stated it was getting more costly to harvest.
      Bathurst is low cost open cast operation and produces a premium product ,used only for steel production.

      Good news from China ( yesterday) ,they are proposing to import only a higher grade of thermal coal for power generation from around the world ,the impact of this will be an estimated overall 8% lift in the coal price.

      Please don’t quote the greens , they are a poisonous and destructive influence on to many issues.

      This is a great deal , if anything a little to generous from Bathurst.

      • marty mars 12.2.1

        well rich this is what key said the expert report said “after being crippled by low coal prices…” get it?

        I’m quoting the Greens because they are quoting the advice to the Minister from DoC released under the Official Information Act – get it?

        You say, “This is a great deal…” – I think you are thick – get it?

        • Rich the other

          Marty mars,
          They were crippled not knocked out.
          The problem was financing a very high debt level created by trialing to many new projects at once.
          If they hadn’t tried to diversify and just sold coal they would have been fine.

          This is a very very good look for the Nat’s, labour has again failed miserably and the greens/forest&bird just continue to on there destructive way.

          • marty mars

            yes Rich we are in agreement on that point – I didn’t say they were knocked out which is why I put the quote in.

            The high debt contributed too as you outline.

            Not sure about the look for the gnats considering key has been caught out lying again but we shall see, after all there have been quite a few straws now and that camel’s back can only take so much before it breaks.

      • Draco T Bastard 12.2.2

        This is a great deal , if anything a little to generous from Bathurst.

        We have the lowest royalties in the world and the company won’t even have to pay those royalties on the world market price but on the price they sell it to their mates in Australia.

        As for the $22m – I’ll be surprised if we ever see any of it and does the deal have them cleaning up afterwards?

        What happens if they go into receivership before they clean up the mess?

  13. karol 13

    And 3 News has just reported that Nick Smith admitted he pushed the deal through the day before the law goes live that would require them to consult with the public.

    PS; Smith said on RNZ’s checkpoint tonight that the law that comes in tomorrow would result in a worse deal, because, under tomorrow’s law it would give more weight to economic benefits and there’d be less conservation benefits.

    [audio src="" /]

  14. tc 14

    See why Nick Smith was brought back now can’t we, a complete and utter disregard for anything other than fulfilling the Hollowman script.

    They had to cool his heels otherwise he’d be beyond toxic by now, give him another 6 months and they’ll throw him away but leave all his work in place.

    • Nordy 14.1

      Exactly tc….sadly this will not register with many outside the so-called ‘beltway’. One of the achievements of the hollowmen is make politics a game of little importance and relevance.

      The apathy and the distain for principled discourse on any important political subject is a sad reflection on society and the MSM.

      marty mars – nice work….not really that difficult to bring some reality to the discussion – well done!

    • karol 14.2

      Nick Smith is a nasty piece of work. Interesting though to listen to his interview (as in my comment @ 13 (6.17pm) above.

      Mary Wilson keeps prodding and Smith then admits that the law that comes into being today will mean mining will be permitted on more of the conservation estate, and that it has been the governments intention for a while to enable that.

  15. swordfish 15

    Presumably designed in part to cause a split – or at least a sense of uneasiness – between Labour and the Greens and to lose Labour a few Party-Votes on the West Coast. He’s a cunning little minx, that Hone Key.

  16. Benjamin B. 16

    Doesn’t John Key have Bathurst shares?

    • Benjamin B. 16.1

      OK he has shares in the Bank of America which owns part of Bathurst. And he attended Bathurst’s Wgtn office opening. Conflict of interest anyone. No question mark.

      • felix 16.1.1

        I’d guess he’s pretty relaxed about it.

        Key doesn’t really understand “conflict of interest.” It’s just a competitive advantage. It’s how you get things done. It’s how you get ahead.

        Like so many thing we take as read, he knows that it’s not acceptable to other people and so it’s best to keep quiet. But that’s just a learned response. At a fundamental level he simply doesn’t understand why it’s wrong.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          I think it’s inevitable that democracy will throw up these types from time to time. The system should be robust enough to cope with them.

          I don’t think ours is.

        • Benjamin B.

          Yes, I get your point, but that of course doesn’t make things any better, does it.

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    To Protect and Serve: When the Prime Minister finds herself enmeshed in the coils of a full-blown political scandal, her colleagues and party comrades have only one priority: to release her as swiftly – and with as little lasting injury – as possible. Is this what Jacinda Ardern’s colleagues and ...
    2 days ago
  • The rot at the top.
    When military leaders cover up and lie to elected civilian authorities, the foundation of democratic civil-military relations is undermined because it is those authorities who are entrusted to hold the military accountable to the public that they mutually serve. But this is only true if civilian political authorities take their ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 days ago
  • Challenging the voting age in court
    The Make It 16 campaign to lower the voting age is launching this afternoon, and they have already announced plans to challenge the law in court:The campaign, named "Make it 16" will launch at Parliament on Friday, with plans to take their case to the High Court, testing the rights ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Israel’s elections herald a long siesta
    by Daphna Whitmore The long years of Netanyahu’s reign are drawing to an end. For years he has epitomized reactionary zionism as he oversaw hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers seize land in the West Bank. There are now 700,000 settlers, putting an end to the myth that Israel was ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • Petrol companies promise prices will come back down once peace is restored to the Middle East
    BP, Z and Mobil all insist that petrol price hikes are temporary, “in a very literal sense.” The nation’s major petrol providers are trying to allay customer fears over prices, promising that they’ll move to lower them again “immediately” when the Middle East is returned to its formerly peaceful state. ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 days ago
  • All Blacks unveil boat for Rugby World Cup 2019
    South African coach Rassie Erasmus says he has no idea what they’re going to do about the boat. In a highly anticipated press conference this afternoon, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has finally unveiled the team’s boat for its Rugby World Cup 2019 campaign. In a press conference that went ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    3 days ago
  • An increasingly shoddy coverup
    The Operation Burnham inquiry continued to question senior NZDF staff today, and their shoddy coverup over their knowledge of civilian casualties continue to fall apart. If you recall, first, we were asked to believe that it was all a series of "mistakes and errors": a senior officer with multiple degrees ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • If we are to avoid making the earth uninhabitable, we need to rapidly decarbonise our civilisation, and cut emissions to zero as quickly as possible. This seems like an impossible task, but its not. Pushing hard on a few technologies and trends will let us halve emissions in a decade:Greenhouse ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • A further attack on transparency
    The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) had part of its committee stage yesterday. its a generally tedious bill about the nitty-gritty of local government reorganisation. But it includes a clause making the Local Government Commission subject to the Ombudsmen Act, and hence the OIA. Great! Except of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Ihumātao and Treaty settlements
    Yesterday Ihumātao's mana whenua reached a consensus that they would like their land back, and asked the government to negotiate with Fletcher's for its return. The government's response? Try and undermine that consensus, while talking about how doing anything would undermine existing Treaty settlements. The first is just more bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Protecting our history
    Its Suffrage Day, the 126th anniversary of women winning the right to vote (but not stand in elections) in New Zealand. And to celebrate, the government has bought Kate Sheppard's house in Christchurch:The government has bought Kate Sheppard's former home in Christchurch for more than $4 million. The Ilam villa ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: Ostracising the coal-burners
    The UN climate summit is happening in new York next week, and unlike previous years, coal-burners and denier-states are not being invited to speak:Leading economies such as Japan and Australia will not be invited to speak at next week’s crunch UN climate change summit, as their continued support for coal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Jojo Tamihere Salutes Herr Goff.
    Get Back Jojo! The elation in Mayor Phil Goff’s camp may be easily imagined as they watched social media light up in indignation at challenger John Tamihere’s "Sieg Heil to that" quip. Just when JT’s notoriously right-wing, sexist and homophobic stains were beginning to fade back into his ‘colourful’ past, ...
    3 days ago
  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary
    Patrick Gower is good value when he's high. Not that I've ever, you know, got stoned with him. But in the second part of his documentary Patrick Gower on Weed, he does what you'd expect in a modern weed documentary and immerses himself – first with a doctor, then a ...
    3 days ago
  • Candidate Survey: Western Bay of Plenty – Local Body Elections 2019
    We surveyed candidates on their attitudes to issues facing the Western Bay Region, find out what they think: “Closing the Gap” Tauranga, one of the area groups of Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc., has surveyed all candidates in the three local body elections to discover attitudes to some basic issues ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    4 days ago
  • Project Nettie calls on scientists to defend biology
    Please spread widely, and sign, to support science and rationalism over the new irrationalism sweeping universities and institutions.  PROJECT NETTIE Sexual reproduction, the generation of offspring by fusion of genetic material from two different individuals, evolved over 1 billion years ago. It is the reproductive strategy of all higher animals ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland
    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    5 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy
    5 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    5 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    6 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    7 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago

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