DIA Is Not Short For Diablo

Written By: - Date published: 3:29 pm, June 4th, 2023 - 96 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, censorship, Media, spin - Tags: , , , ,


Last week the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) released a consultation document entitled Safer Online Services and Media Platforms (https://www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/Files/online-content-regulation/$file/Safer-Online-Services-and-Media-Platforms-Discussion-Document-June-2023.pdf) to help making the current antiquated regulatory framework more contemporary. Given the recent rapid developments in AI tools that are available to anybody with a device that connects to the internet, this is overdue and already behind the facts – artificial intelligence is only mentioned once in the context of being a source & spreader of harmful content.

A robust constructive and respectful public debate is the only way ahead. Unfortunately, some self-proclaimed stakeholders & spokespersons have different ideas or agendas and seem hell-bent on derailing the debate before it gets off the ground.

For example, the chief executive of the Free Speech Union, who seems to oppose any & every censorship and speech regulation, wrote an opinion piece that was published by Stuff (https://www.stuff.co.nz/opinion/132215055/media-regulation-plan–a-censors-greatest-dream) that can be best described, with a heavy dose of irony, as an attack on mature constructive debate.

As you might expect from a chief executive of the Free Speech Union he is a master of persuasion who relies heavily on rhetoric.

He uses hyperbole and exaggerates the scope and impact of the proposed law, claiming that it will cover “pretty much everything” and that it will subject “your tweets, comments on Facebook, and waxing-lyrical on LinkedIn” to oversight by a government watchdog. He also calls the proposed structure of a regulator “a censor’s greatest dream” and implies that it will “silence certain perspectives, views or beliefs”.

He uses strawman arguments and misrepresents the proposed law and its intentions, suggesting that it is about regulating “harmful ideas that make individuals feel unsafe” and “silencing Kiwis online”. He also ignores the fact that the public consultation document states that the codes will be based on existing standards and principles, such as accuracy, fairness, balance, privacy, et cetera.

He appeals to emotion and uses emotive language and phrases to elicit fear and anger in the readers (aka scaremongering), such as “new scrutiny”, “propensity to censorship”, “reach for a bit more than they should”, “no democratic accountability”, “don’t you dare actually trust them”, “weaponised to suppress”, “inelegant solution”, and “breed suspicion and division”.

He also appeals to authority and cites his own organisation, the Free Speech Union, as a source of support for his argument, claiming that they have 80,000 supporters nationwide. He also refers to history as a justification for his scepticism of government regulation of speech although he does not specify which or what history, e.g., New Zealand history.

What irks me immensely – I consider it a lack of good faith – is that Mr Chief Executive does not provide any evidence or data to back up his claims or to counter the arguments in favour of the proposed law. He does not acknowledge any potential benefits or positive outcomes of the law, such as protecting vulnerable groups from online abuse or misinformation, or promoting responsible and ethical journalism. He also does not address any possible challenges or limitations of his preferred approach of free speech and counter-speech, such as the power imbalance between different speakers, the difficulty of reaching diverse audiences or the risk of amplifying harmful content. His opinion piece was completely void of balance and objectivity and is as one-eyed as they come.

The chief executive’s tone is dismissive, sarcastic and confrontational. He does not engage with the public consultation document in a constructive or respectful way. He does not invite dialogue or feedback from the readers or other stakeholders. He does not offer any alternative solutions or suggestions for improving the proposed law. As such, it does not meet the criteria of informed commentary. It does not contribute to a healthy and democratic debate on this important issue. In summary, and in my opinion, the chief executive of the Free Speech Union should STFU! \sarc

Although I do not want this Post to become too long, I should really try to briefly summarise some of the aims in the DIA discussion document that are part of the proposed new & modern approach to regulating online content:

  • Protect New Zealanders from harmful content that can cause distress, fear, anxiety or other negative impacts on their wellbeing.
  • Ensure that online services and media platforms are accountable for the content they host or distribute, and that they have effective processes for identifying, moderating and removing harmful content.
  • Provide clear and consistent standards and expectations for different types of content and platforms, based on existing principles such as accuracy, fairness, balance, privacy, et cetera.
  • Empower New Zealanders to make informed choices about the content they consume and create, and to seek redress if they are harmed by content or have their rights violated.
  • Uphold New Zealanders’ rights to freedom of expression and access to information, as well as the freedom of the press and the principles of The Treaty of Waitangi.

The proposed new approach involves establishing a single regulator that would oversee all types of content and platforms, regardless of whether they are online or offline, domestic or international. The regulator would have powers to:

  • Set and enforce codes of practice for different types of content and platforms, based on existing standards and principles. The codes would be developed in consultation with industry, civil society and the public, and would be subject to review and approval by the regulator.
  • Investigate complaints and breaches of the codes, and impose sanctions or remedies such as warnings, fines, take-down orders or referrals to other agencies.
  • Provide guidance and education to content providers and users on their rights and responsibilities, and promote good practice and innovation in content moderation.
  • Monitor trends and developments in the content landscape, and advise the government on policy issues and legislative changes.

The proposed new approach would apply to all types of content that are publicly available in New Zealand, including The Standard.

In a follow-up Post, I will delve a little deeper into what all this could mean for The Standard.

96 comments on “DIA Is Not Short For Diablo ”

  1. Anker 1
    • “Protect New Zealanders from harmful content that can cause distress, fear, anxiety or other negative impacts on their wellbeing.”
    • . A quote from your article Incognito

    • who decides what is harmful content? Is harmful content that which can cause distress, fear and anxiety? That becomes a very broad, very subjective view of harmful content if that is the case. I might feel that realistic information on the impact of climate change causes me distress, fear and anxiety (this is already happening with kids). Does that mean we should stop publishing stuff on CC?

    or the scenes recently at Oxford University where students tried to stop Kathleen Stock from speaking. Said students were so distressed at Stock even being on the campus, they were offered special support and counselling. It is more than possible that the new regulator would ban or use other powers to stop gender critical speech. The young people at Oxford need to learn that you can’t go through live without being offended and then taught emotion regulation skills, then skills of how to rigorously debate ideas you don’t agree with

    I welcome any input from anyone on this site who can reassure me that this won’t happen. Remember Kathleen Stock is a very reasonable woman. What she is saying is that it’s not possible to change your sex (factually correct) and that in some cases female based spaces are important and part of women’s sexed based rights.

    I am also curious to know examples of speech that should be shut down? We already have legislation to stop defamation and speech that incites violence. I understand there is also a law against racist speech that has never been used, but correct me if I am wrong about that.

    I understand there were conspiracy theories both during and after the pandemic (conspiracy theories have always been around). Regarding covid conspiracy theories, the vast majority of NZders lined up for the jab, so their impact wasn’t significant

    • tsmithfield 1.1

      …who decides what is harmful content? Is harmful content that which can cause distress, fear and anxiety? That becomes a very broad, very subjective view of harmful content if that is the case.

      I agree with you so far as subjectivity is concerned. The problem I see is that there could be a slippery slope in this respect, with the loop becoming progressively tighter. Or, what is acceptable with one regulator my suddenly become unacceptable if the regulator changes.

      Also, the stated objective with respect to the treaty is also troubling. Not because we shouldn't be concerned about the treaty. But, more because, the new legislation could be use to shut down reasonable or justified criticism with respect to applications of the treaty.

      I think the first question that needs to be answered is if there is actually a problem that needs solving, or are we trying to solve problems that are adequately captured by existing legislation.

    • weka 1.2

      I have similar questions, but take the position that SM currently does a lot of harm because of how is it moderated. Where you ask who decides what is harmful content, well at the moment it's Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg and other socially illiterate men who have a great deal of power and their own personal positions on freedom of expression. There is little public input into that.

      Much of the content on https://terfisaslur.com/ comes from twitter when twitter had an active policy to allow male threats of violence against women, often sexualised violence. It took MPs in the UK parliament to bring a Twitter bod in to be questioned about this before twitter would stop allowing anti-terf violence tweets aimed at women.

      My question for you is do you see the need for *any regulation of SM, and if you do where do you draw the line? Should those terf is a slur tweets be allowed? Why or why not?

      • tsmithfield 1.2.1

        Weka, if you are referring to international social media, the only way a NZ regulator could regulate those for kiwis would be to block internet access to them. That would be akin to cracking a nut with a sledgehammer.

        Also, motivated kiwis would simply purchase a VPN to access them.

        I guess the simple answer is that if we find particular social media outlets to be offensive, then simply do not visit them, or lodge complaints directly with the site moderators.

        • weka 1.2.1.1

          This presumes the problem is 'offensive' content. It's not about being offensive, it's about whether social media causes social harm.

          Two of the issues being raise by the DIA is content children are exposed to, and material that is overtly violent against women.

          Children accessing porn for instance is a societal harm that isn't addressed by 'just don't look' positions.

          Violence against women content by MRAs is for MRAs and is part of the political culture that for instance wants rape to be legal. This isn't about being offended.

          Weka, if you are referring to international social media, the only way a NZ regulator could regulate those for kiwis would be to block internet access to them

          Afaik, social media companies already respond to legal requests from police/justice in nation states. I don't see why blocking internet access is the only way to regulate.

          • tsmithfield 1.2.1.1.1

            Children accessing porn for instance is a societal harm that isn't addressed by 'just don't look' positions.

            There are lots of things that children could access that could cause them harm. Some of those things are appropriate for adults to view. So, the issue would be, how to block access to these sort of sites for specific age groups.

            I guess some sort of "family filter" could be applied to internet providers by legislation, requiring users to register and provide age verification for their login. The problem would be how to enforce the filter, because, children will soon work out how to access their parent's login details or whatever.

            Afaik, social media companies already respond to legal requests from police/justice in nation states. I don't see why blocking internet access is the only way to regulate.

            So, I don't see why new laws are needed if there is already processes to deal with this type of issue on an international scale.

            So far as children are concerned, responsible parents will find ways to control access to this sort of material already. In families where parents are irresponsible, there is probably lots of stuff going on that is harmful to children already, and the access to internet content may well be one of the least harmful factors in their lives.

            • weka 1.2.1.1.1.1

              afaik the intention is to put responsibility onto the owners of internet platforms (thus not relying on parental control). Have a read of the discussion document.

              I'm not sure that new laws are intended. I think they want a centralised regulatory who will work within existing laws.

              It's naive to think that it's mostly children who come from violent homes that are accessing porn online. But let's say it is kids in a stereotypical deprived household. If it's a boy whose being beaten or watching his mother being beaten, do you really want him to grow up with access to porn that degrades women or children?

              • tsmithfield

                afaik the intention is to put responsibility onto the owners of internet platforms

                That sounds like some sort of required family filter will be implimented by the providers in order to comply. Our provider, Orcon, already has a family filter option. So, a lot of that is already available. The regulator may simply require that it is kept turned on.

                It's naive to think that it's mostly children who come from violent homes that are accessing porn online.

                I didn't suggest they were. Irresponsible parents are in many income brackets.

                But let's say it is kids in a stereotypical deprived household. If it's a boy whose being beaten or watching his mother being beaten, do you really want him to grow up with access to porn that degrades women or children?

                Of course not. But, the problem is that parents that are irresponsible are likely to be creating multiple issues for their children, and likely to be leaving their computer logged on at their adult logon, or leave password details lying around etc as well.

                So, unless the government insists that providers filter the internet for everyone, which would have huge pushback I expect, then their will be a lot of children who can access the harmful material regardless of government controls.

                And, responsible parents will be controlling what their children watch anyway.

                So, any new law is likely to have little effect. Because responsible parents won't be allowing their kids to watch that sort of stuff. And irresponsible parents will have such messy lives that they don't effectively control access.

                • weka

                  That sounds like some sort of required family filter will be implimented by the providers in order to comply. Our provider, Orcon, already has a family filter option. So, a lot of that is already available. The regulator may simply require that it is kept turned on.

                  ISPs and platforms aren't the same thing. I haven't read the whole doc yet, but the bits I saw were talking about platforms.

                  The rest of your comment appears to be arguing about something that's not being proposed. What new law is in the proposal? Why would everyone have to have their internet filtered?

                  Please, read some of the document.

                  • tsmithfield

                    Please, read some of the document.

                    I have read it. And, I actually share similar concerns to you. And valid concerns are certainly raised in the document. It is more the method for dealing with this that concerns many of us.

                    But, a lot of the issues so far as children are concerned really come down to bad parenting, and I think the state has been increasingly replacing the role of parents, thus diminishing parents’ perceived responsibility even further. And, I just question the ability of the state to stop children viewing this sort of stuff.

                    SPs and platforms aren't the same thing. I haven't read the whole doc yet, but the bits I saw were talking about platforms.

                    I understand that. But, I am thinking in terms of international platforms such as twitter and youtube. What will happen if the "regulator" tells these platforms that they must moderate their content to be available in NZ, and they just flip the bird to the regulator, and say they will not make their platforms available in NZ anymore? This would just punish a lot of responsible users for the sake of a few irresponsible ones.

                    I think the biggest issue for those of us concerned about freedom of speech is the appointment of an independent regulator, independent from government etc. So, essentially a law unto themselves.

                    They will be able to decide, for instance, how "harm" is defined. And, that definition might change from regulator to regulator. For example, a regulator may forbid you from speaking up about the rights of biological women because it is "exclusionary" to trans people, and may "hurt" their feelings.

              • The Chairman

                It seems this new regulator is seeking a lot of power.

                Not only is it seeking power to set and enforce new codes of practice, it is also seeking the power to ensure the new codes that are developed are ultimately subject to review and approval by the regulator. Despite the consultation with industry, civil society and the public.

                As for new laws, it mentions this above:

                The regulator would have powers to monitor trends and developments in the content landscape, and advise the government on policy issues and legislative changes.

                It also talks of innovation in content moderation (above). Could this potentially be AI moderation?

    • The Chairman 1.3

      Good points, Anker.yes

  2. Stuart Munro 3

    As is generally the case with new law, I hope they approach the issues with decent prudence. We've seen some sketchy definitions of hate speech from time to time, and some of the want-to-haves associated with the Treaty are due quite robust rebuttal, insofar as they conflict with democratic principles like equal representation.

    I don't imagine it will be disastrous – but contemporary parliament often reminds me of the line from The Chrysalids:

    there was the power of gods in the hands of children, we know: but were they mad children, all of them quite mad?

    I suppose time will tell.

  3. Anker 4

    quoting from Stuart “We've seen some sketchy definitions of hate speech from time to time,” Yes to quote Jacinda Ardern “you know it when you see it”

    “and some of the want-to-haves associated with the Treaty are due quite robust rebuttal, insofar as they conflict with democratic principles like equal representation.”

    it is quite possible one side of the debate about the Treaty would be shut done

  4. Anker 5

    Having had my speech curtailed in this country (a hell of a shock) when

    1 SUFW had to go to the High Court to be allowed to hold their public meetings in libraries

    1. Let Women Speak in Albert Park was shut down by violent thugs, I am deeply mistrustful of anything with the potential to curtail free speech.
    • Visubversa 5.1

      Absolutely. We see enough capture of Government Departments and agencies by gender ideology as it is. Staff have "pronouns" in their email signatures, and the addition of "gender identity" or "gender expression" to Bills such as Conversion Practices legislation shows the determination to smuggle this ideology into Law (as per the Dentons advice) by all means possible.

      This has been the problem with Canadian anti discrimination legislation which has meant that "Kayla Lemieux" could show up to teach High School woodwork in size ZZ prosthetic breasts and tight shorts with a "camel toe" insert and the school could do nothing about it for some time. Tell me that this is not a fetish!

      https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11770463/Canadian-teacher-size-Z-breasts-Kayla-Lemieux-claims-real-denies-dressing-like-man.html

    • SPC 5.2

      Let Women Speak in Albert Park was shut down by violent thugs called off because of crowd kettling and noise.

      • Anker 5.2.1

        SPC, "called off because of crowd kettling and noise".

        If kettling means the assault of the organiser of LWS i.e. Posie Parker, and then an angry mob of mostly men pushing through a barrier and surrounding the band rotunda, with no police available to contain the angry mob; then the marshalls deeming that the situation was so volitile they had to get PP to safety, which involved the marshalls and private security surrounding her to protect her from the crowd; liquid being poured over PP and an intimidating mob (mainly men) kicking and atttempting to trip up PP marshalls (successfully) tripping one up; meanwhile the GC of peaceful women being spat at, hit with placcards some pushed to the ground oh and the 70 year old woman being repeatedly punched by a young thug, who concussed her and fractured her skull, then "kettling" it is.

        I prefer to call it was it was violence and intimidation against women. It was an utter disgrace and anybody condoning, minimizing or ignoring it by failing to condemn it (including on this site) should be bloody ashamed of themselves

        • weka 5.2.1.1

          Kettling has a meaning, and it's normally associated with police actions. It's a useful concept to understand because of its use in a protest by protestors. For instance, how much of the kettling was organised and intentional as opposed to a consequence of the landscape and positioning of various people? Can the latter be called kettling? Is there precedent for protestors using kettling?

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kettling

        • SPC 5.2.1.2

          Very few people there committed any violence.

          She did not speak because of the noise.

          She had difficulty getting through the crowd when leaving.

          The only assault on her was the pouring of tomato juice.

          Her name is Kellie-Jay Keen.

          I use my free speech to note the facts.

          Kettling is a well known term for problems that occur when people are crowded together, more so when a counter-protest group is also involved.

          anybody condoning, minimizing or ignoring it by failing to condemn it (including on this site) should be bloody ashamed of themselves

          Do you think the people running this site should censor alternative perspectives on what happened, because it offends your sensibilities and that makes this place unsafe for you?

          • Visubversa 5.2.1.2.1

            The Police have arrested 2 people for assault over that demonstration. Both were arrested for acts of violence against women who were there to speak about their sex based rights and protections.

          • weka 5.2.1.2.2

            why are you asking that? Anker didn't say anything about being offended or feeling unsafe.

          • Belladonna 5.2.1.2.3

            "Very few people there committed any violence."

            More to the point, neither the organizers of the protest, nor the politicians who supported them, have condemned the violence which, undoubtedly, did occur.

            By their actions shall you know them.

          • Anker 5.2.1.2.4

            I absolutely don't think people should censor this site because it "offends your sensibilites and that makes this place unsafe for you?"

            I have know idea how you inferred this from what I said.

            "the only assault on Posie Parker" (until she tells people she doesn't want to be called this name I will refer to her as this). So you agree she was assaulted. Assaulting someone is against the law.

            "she did not speak because of the noise". Can you provide a link for this please?

            "she had difficulty getting through the crowd when leaving". yes because she and her marshalls, all women, were surronded by a group of men who were trying to stop them leaving, by kicking the security guards and attempting to trip them up (one did trip one of the marshalls up), Posie Parker was doused with water as she was trying to make her way to safety, and either she or her entourage were hit with placcards. The baying crowd surrounded the group and if you look at the video recording it is perfectly obvious they were threatening and intimidating.

            I have no idea why you are trying to present a sanitized view of Albert Park ("they didn't speak cause of the noise"). Perhaps you never looked at any of the video clips from the day?

            I have also seen a face book page entry by the camera man who helped women stuck on the rotunda (including a pregnant women )get to safety. His camera was damanged in the fracca.

            • Incognito 5.2.1.2.4.1

              I strongly favour & encourage robust debate. However, I don’t like my Post being hijacked & derailed into yet another episode of the Posie Parker saga. See also my reply to you here: https://thestandard.org.nz/dia-is-not-short-for-diablo/#comment-1952667.

              Please stay on-topic and address & discuss the content of the Post. If you want to talk about something different (but related) then write a Guest Post and/or take it to Open Mike.

    • Incognito 5.3

      Public meetings, protests, demonstrations, and strikes, for example, are outside the scope of the proposals in the discussion document, which is about online content & services and media platforms.

      These are enshrined in the BORA:

      16 Freedom of peaceful assembly

      Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.

      https://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1990/0109/latest/DLM225515.html

      The BORA is not subject at all of the discussion document!

      Please stay on-topic and address & discuss the content of the Post, thanks.

  5. Visubversa 6

    Thanks to Harry Miller and his "Fair Cop" work there has been some progress on the recording of so called "non crime hate incidents.

    From The Times – unfortunately paywalled.

    [unlinked quotes deleted]

    • weka 6.1

      feel free to repost the quotes when you provide a link. All quotes from online have to have a link.

  6. Corey 7

    One of the things that I find hard to reconcile as someone economically left wing whose political awakening was as a preteen during the Bush years:

    During my formative years the left were champions of free speech against moralistic puritan conservatives who so often used the power of the state to silence critics, artists and activists it didn't like…

    In NZ, the left far too often champions the side of state censorship and attacks activists and organizations that oppose it as right wing. It's deeply concerning.

    The state does not know best when it comes to peoples right to express themselves and considering how often the left is out of government in NZ, you'd think the left would understand this…

    Im a gay mixed race man of the ACLU school of free speech. A very left leaning organization (unless you listen to NZ lefty's) Like the ACLU I would march in the street for the rights of people to express their opinions and their beliefs even if I find them abhorrent.

    I always thought the NZ left was on the side of the artist, the critic, the abstainer, the moaner, the subversive the activist but the last six years have proven otherwise.

    On speech and censorship, the NZ left is on the side of the state, considering how often the left is out of government we might want to rethink this position.

    Where is the libertarian left in this country? We are politically homeless, there is no longer a party of the left fighting for the subversive. Distressing.

    We need the bill of rights to hold the same weight as the constitution in the united states of America, free speech must be enshrined, period.

    The government can NEVER be allowed to be tell media what it can and cannot say

    And if the left thinks otherwise, the left needs to be as far away from the levers of power for as long as it takes for the left to stop being boot lickers to the neoliberal state.

    The left in NZ is not interested in poverty, fair taxation, increasing state housing stock as percentage of overall stock, it is not interested in drug reform, tax reform, housing reform, universalism, keynesian,social democracy, climate change, income inequality.

    If the NZ left continues being the side of censorship on top of not advocating a single left wing ideal …. Bugger the left… Long may it be in opposition and roll on the election.

    • tsmithfield 7.1

      While we are on different sides of the political fence, there is not much I find myself in disagreement with what you have posted.

    • Anker 7.2

      Nailing it yet again Corey. And I share the sentiments of your last sentence entirely.

      The left have become quite authoritarian and they don't even realize it.

      I had the pleasure of hearing Nadine Strousman an American Law Professor who was here recently thanks to the FSU. Her father was a holocaust survivor. She gave a compelling talk about how shutting down free speech doesn't work (she applied this to Nazi Germany). She made the very important point if people have hateful ideas we need to know about them.

      It surely isn’t hard to imagine a very right wing Government shutting down information about CC because it causes harm and anxiety (I am not saying Act or Nats would do this).

      • weka 7.2.1

        It surely isn’t hard to imagine a very right wing Government shutting down information about CC because it causes harm and anxiety (I am not saying Act or Nats would do this).

        can you please explain how a right wing government could do that using the proposed regulatory framework?

        It's not hard to imagine a hard right government doing quite a lot of terrible things, but we still have to explain how they get there from here.

        And, the easiest way to open the door to them doing those terrible things is to vote on the right, not vote, or oppose the election of a centre left government. All of which are a gift to the right and to the proto-fascists waiting in the wings.

    • weka 7.3

      from the discussion document,

      The overarching objective must be consistent with the various rights set out in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, Human Rights Act, and Privacy Act. These include freedom of expression, non-discrimination, and privacy rights.

      Corey, you say,

      The government can NEVER be allowed to be tell media what it can and cannot say

      true, but the regulatory body would be independent of the government. Like the Broadcasting Standards Authority. Do you consider BSA decisions to be the government telling the media what it can and cannot say?

      • The Chairman 7.3.1

        2 Where there is a potential clash between different rights, our proposals look to strike an appropriate balance and to ensure that all responses are proportionate to the risk of harm.

        So there is no guarantee all rights will be fully upheld at all times.

    • SPC 7.4

      The left in NZ is not interested in poverty, fair taxation, increasing state housing stock as percentage of overall stock, it is not interested in drug reform, tax reform, housing reform, universalism, keynesian,social democracy, climate change, income inequality.

      Arrant nonsense and trite are words that come to mind.

      You can question if the Labour Party represent the left, but the words written have no basis in reality.

      And if you cannot identify the positive differences between a Labour government rather than NACT, despite them not being left wing, that's on you.

      If the FSU has managed to convince you to single issue cause, defence of free speech, and enable the class war – so be it. For others it's the threat of the Maori to settler majority democracy, or gender ID politics.

      Just do not pretend to be left wingers while doing it.

  7. Ad 8

    Censorship is a basic part of a functioning democracy. Our state through its regulators already control expression about:

    product advertising, sex depictions, violence depictions and incitement, election advertising, parliamentary speech, age appropriateness of all kinds of things, road safety, social good advertising, medical accuracy and effectiveness and indeed bans much medical advertising, financial information, consumer guarantees, terms and conditions of credit, information about gambling, information about smoking, huge ranges of security information, incitement to all kinds of violent acts, slander, educational qualifications, right down to the regulated published terms and conditions for parking in a car park …

    …and vast reams more kinds of expression, which all adds up to what New Zealand is which is a highly integrated, low accident, high trust, highly democratic, low corruption country that lots of people want to move to and most thoroughly love its way of life.

    And because I can say so on this site, the Free Speech Union can go fuck itself.

    • tsmithfield 8.1

      And because I can say so on this site, the Free Speech Union can go fuck itself.

      Aaah, but you might not be able to say that if the regulator deems you are causing harm to them because you might be injuring their feelings.

      • Ad 8.1.1

        Mate not in the country where Nicky Hagar gets an ONZM.

        Feelings my ass.

      • weka 8.1.2

        Aaah, but you might not be able to say that if the regulator deems you are causing harm to them because you might be injuring their feelings.

        Please cite the relevant information that supports the idea that the regulator would prevent people from saying something that hurts other people's feelings. I want actual quotes and links. Because while I appreciate there are issues here, it appears some people are misrepresenting the intention and structure of the proposal.

        • tsmithfield 8.1.2.1

          Just from overseas experience. For instance in Great Britain. We certainly don't want to be heading in that direction, or we will be breeding a generation of fragile snow flakes. From the article.

          Reformers want section 5 of the act amended so that the offence of using "insulting words and behaviour" should have the vague and subjective word "insulting" removed while upholding protection against threatening and abusive speech

          • weka 8.1.2.1.1

            please cite something from the NZ proposals.

            • weka 8.1.2.1.1.1

              Also, please show where the government wants to create public order legislation using terms like 'insulting'.

            • Anker 8.1.2.1.1.2

              In my comment at no 1, I quoted Incognito

              • weka

                from the discussion document,

                Defining unsafe or harmful content

                10. We talk in this document about both ‘harm’ and ‘safety’. Our proposed consumer protection approach emphasises keeping people safe by reducing the risk of harm occurring, and it also has measures to respond when harm has occurred.

                • Content is considered harmful where the experience of content causes loss or damage to rights, property, or physical, social, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Being harmed is distinct from feeling offended (although content that is harmful will often also cause offence).
                • Unsafe content is where there is a risk of harm occurring if that content was experienced by a person. Everyone’s risk profile is different. Safeguards can be put in place to help to reduce risks.

                quoted here,

                .https://thestandard.org.nz/dia-is-not-short-for-diablo/#comment-1952586

        • Anker 8.1.2.2

          I don't pretend to be either left or right wing. I voted and supported Labour because I wanted them to fix housing and inequality. They have failed to do both imo and have really pushed the health system into a state of catastrophe. I happen to have an number of people I am close to at the moment who need health care. The wait times for basics are truly shocking. I will need cataract surgery soon and asked my optician recently about getting it done on the public health. She said the wait times were pretty reasonable 5 years ago, but nowadays it was virtually impossible to get the surgery and she has to coach people to say the right things so they are even considered. Labour have failed, are failures.

          Unfortunately the only way to get rid of them is to vote in a centre right government. I am under no illusions about what this will mean, but at least it will stop the wasteful spending on things such as polytech mergers, new health authorities (meanwhile back at the hospitals the ship has all but sunk). I could go on.

          [I have replied twice to you, asking you to stay on-topic and not divert from the content of the Post.

          You made a duplicate comment (again), one to SPC (which I trashed) and one to weka (which appears to be the wrong comment and presumably, your reply should have been to this comment by weka: https://thestandard.org.nz/dia-is-not-short-for-diablo/#comment-1952594).

          Your reply doesn’t seem to address anything in/of the Post nor does it address weka’s question to you, which was actually relevant to the Post.

          Please stick to the contents of the Post and (relevant) comments) or I will start removing your comments to Open Mike with a ban warning – Incognito]

    • The Chairman 8.2

      Censorship is a basic part of a functioning democracy

      Censorship is also a part of non democratic nations such as North Korea.

      • weka 8.2.1

        people breath in both kinds of nation states as well. So?

        • The Chairman 8.2.1.1

          Just because we have some forms of censorship doesn't necessarily mean we require more. Moreover, that it would ultimately be good for democracy.

          • weka 8.2.1.1.1

            just as well the proposal isn't to give government powers to impose more censorship at will then.

    • Anker 8.3

      Well of course your are free to say the FSU can go and fuck themselves Ad.

      But under speech regulation you might not be.

      I do agree about regulating the internet for children and under 18s. We have always had R 16 and 18 for kids, so that should be appled to the internet. This would include porn of course and also internet chat rooms where teenaged girls are being encouraged to develop trans gender identites (why do you think there has been a 4000 % increase in this cohort, when previoulsy female to males were exceedingly rare. It is because it is now more acceptable to be trans, because we are seeing no change in women in their 40s, 50's 60s etc coming out as trans). It is a social media phenomena.

      Yes but I am all for controlling the content availabe to young people. I also don't think primary school children should be receiving (false) information about the existence of gender identities and sex being "assigned" at birth etc.

      • weka 8.3.1

        Well of course your are free to say the FSU can go and fuck themselves Ad.

        But under speech regulation you might not be.

        Please quote the mechanisms in the proposal that you believe would stop Ad from telling the FSU to go fuck themselves.

  8. tsmithfield 9

    It all depends on how words such as "harmful" are operationalised in practice.

    From the document:

    Unintentional exposure to the most harmful content on online platforms should be far less common

    Overseas experience in places like GB has been that "insulting words and behaviour" have been considered as harmful by regulators. Given the lack of clarity and scope for interpretation to concepts such as "harmful" there is definitely the potential for the same to be happening here.

    • higherstandard 9.1

      This might be useful for your argument TS

    • weka 9.2

      this is still very vague and cherry picks a single sentence from the Snapshot precis without looking at the detail of intent or proposed mechanisms.

      If you keyword search 'harmful', there is this,

      This risky content includes age-inappropriate material, bullying and harassment, and promotion of self-harming behaviours. Instances of harmful content on mainstream social media sites, such as influencers promoting dangerous disordered eating to teenage girls, have become too common

      That's a clear precis of a range of harmful content with a specific example given on eating disorders.

      The point here is that we don't have good tools for responding to such content online. If it were in a newspaper for instance, there are already avenues for such content to be dealt with.

      Here's the definition of harmful from page 18,

      Defining unsafe or harmful content

      10. We talk in this document about both ‘harm’ and ‘safety’. Our proposed consumer protection approach emphasises keeping people safe by reducing the risk of harm occurring, and it also has measures to respond when harm has occurred.

      • Content is considered harmful where the experience of content causes loss or damage to rights, property, or physical, social, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Being harmed is distinct from feeling offended (although content that is harmful will often also cause offence).
      • Unsafe content is where there is a risk of harm occurring if that content was experienced by a person. Everyone’s risk profile is different. Safeguards can be put in place to help to reduce risks.

      My bold.

      Notice with the unsafe content they are talking about risk reduction no elimination.

      Because this is a discussion document, and they want the public and consumers of online content to have a say, they have a section asking questions specifically about how they should determine what is harmful content. eg,

      Definitions in the proposals

      1. What do you think about the way we have defined unsafe and harmful content? (page 18)
      2. Does the way we have defined unsafe and harmful content accurately reflect your concerns and/or experiences relating to harmful content? (page 18)

      How would they regulate harmful and unsafe content?

      1. Our work to design a new framework is guided by this overarching objective, nine secondary objectives for addressing harmful or unsafe content, and a set of principles that promote shared responsibility for consumer safety and protection of human rights.

      They also note,

      1. Freedom of expression includes the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form. It is protected in domestic
        law and through international conventions and commitments. The principle of freedom of the press is important in holding government and those who exercise public power to account. It also supports democracy by keeping the public informed on important issues.

      and,

      1. The overarching objective must be consistent with the various rights set out in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, Human Rights Act, and Privacy Act. These include freedom of expression, non-discrimination, and privacy rights.
      2. Where there is a potential clash between different rights, our proposals look to strike an appropriate balance and to ensure that all responses are proportionate to the risk of harm.

      and so on. I don't know if you just skimmed the document, or are ignoring what it is actually saying, but we really need to understand what the proposal is in order to critique it.

      • Anker 9.2.1

        "Content is considered harmful where the experience of content causes loss or damage to rights, property, or physical, social, emotional, and mental wellbeing."

        Quoted from your comment above Weka. I think it is very easy to see that Trans rights activists will say that GC speech e.g its not possible to change your sex or trans women aren't women, causes social and emotional and mental loss of well being. It is blindingly obvious to me that this is what will be claimed. Afterall many trans rights activists claim that GC views are actuall violence.

        I would be interested to hear your opinion on this Weka.

        • weka 9.2.1.1

          the whole quote, because cherry picking leads to poor arguments,

          10. We talk in this document about both ‘harm’ and ‘safety’. Our proposed consumer protection approach emphasises keeping people safe by reducing the risk of harm occurring, and it also has measures to respond when harm has occurred.

          • Content is considered harmful where the experience of content causes loss or damage to rights, property, or physical, social, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Being harmed is distinct from feeling offended (although content that is harmful will often also cause offence).
          • Unsafe content is where there is a risk of harm occurring if that content was experienced by a person. Everyone’s risk profile is different. Safeguards can be put in place to help to reduce risks.

          My thoughts. They are asking for public input on this. So this is the time to give them feedback about concerns.

          One of the main purposes of the proposed regulatory body is to bring social media and other online content in line with existing legacy media regulation. I'll note that various media bodies have taken an even handed approach on gender critical positions, and we have at least one high court case where the judge said SUFW couldn't reasonably be considered a hate group.

          How well the regulator would act will determine who is involved, so looking at that mechanism matters too. Can TRAs stack the regulator with TAs? Or is it more likely the be representative of NZ. First thing I would look for is how women's positions would be represented or if they are subsumed into rainbow representation like is happening elsewhere.

          I think the debate around the regulatory proposal is a good time to lay out clear arguments for how we can protect society from harm, including women and gender critical beliefs and expressions, rather than knee jerking to US style free speech positions. In other words, now is the time to get good regulations in place.

          • The Chairman 9.2.1.1.1

            Everyone’s risk profile is different.

            Indeed. But, in the confines of current law, shouldn't adults be allowed to determine what they do and do not want to see online?

            Therefore, shouldn't this proposal be confined to protecting the young?

            • weka 9.2.1.1.1.1

              good to know your position is that promoting eating disorders to young women, or misogynistic threats directed at women, is simply content that adults can somehow not see even when it is delivered to their screen.

              • The Chairman

                Good to know your position…

                I asked you two questions. I didn't give a position.

                Just because content can pop up on the screen, it doesn't mean one has to fully view or read it all.

                Do you not support adults having that freedom of choice?

          • tsmithfield 9.2.1.1.2

            Weka, I understand the points made about consistency with the NZ bill of rights etc.

            That is all fine in theory. But, I think the problem arises when we consider competing rights. A given regulator may decide that trans groups are a minority and need to be protected. Thus may view speech from women's groups as harmful to that protected minority.

            So, what is considered merely insulting to one group, say women, may be considered as harmful to another group, say the trans community.

            • weka 9.2.1.1.2.1

              what would be a couple of real life examples of the kind of content you think the regulator might consider harmful to trans people?

              Regarding women's right to speak, we have case law where a judge said that Speak Up For Women couldn't reasonably be described as a hate group, and we have prior decisions made on MSM coverage of gender critical perspectives (that supported the right to GC expression). From the Press Council I think, but maybe the BSA too. I will go find the links.

              • weka

                But a High Court ruling on Friday determined the group was allowed to hold their meeting since Speak Up for Women "cannot rationally be described as a hate group".

                https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2021/06/speak-up-for-women-to-hold-auckland-event-after-high-court-legal-drama.html

                • tsmithfield

                  Weka, it shouldn't have been necessary to go to the High Court in the first place IMO. But, at least it was possible to do that.

                  I am not sure whether it will be easier or harder to challenge that type on decision under the proposed model.

                  • SPC

                    I would doubt the new model for social media platforms (regulator of their codes of practice) has anything to do with freedom of assembly, or right to organise.

                    The DIA has already indicated their new set-up would change nothing legally in terms of freedom of expression.

                  • Incognito

                    The proposed model is for regulation of online services and media platforms and, as such, has no implications for the right of and official permission (e.g. by the authorities) for public meetings.

                    Please stick to the content of the Post, thanks.

                    • weka

                      I should have made my point more clear.

                      I was trying to point out that the people appointed or hired to do the regulating will have as much to do with how the regulation happens as the structure in the proposal.

                    • SPC

                      The issue could come down to the extent to which regulators inform "editors" on social media platforms what decisions to make to conform to the (ir) "code of practice" (the more this is the case the more relevant the make-up of personnel).

                      The other factor is the extent to which groups that make complaints for editors to act on and then if there is not the moderation desired go to the regulators to determine a failure to comply with the code of practice.

                • Anker

                  Weka for those two decisions there are scores of media complaints going in to the media council. Including a complaint about Newshub claiming Kellie Jay was using the white supremicist hand signal, which ridiculously they blacked out. (she was in fact playing with her zipper).

                  Many major news outlets in NZ are in part funding by the NZ Broadcasting fund. They have to sign a contract that has some stipulations about how they report news.

                  • weka

                    I've just searched the MC and the BSA websites and can't find a complaint about Newshub and KJK. Can you please link to what you mean?

          • Anker 9.2.1.1.3

            "I'll note that various media bodies have taken an even handed approach on gender critical positions"

            Can you name some or provide some links to this Weka. I haven't experienced this as the case at all.

            , "and we have at least one high court case where the judge said SUFW couldn't reasonably be considered a hate group".

            SUFW should never have been in the position where they had to pay a lot of money and go to court to have their meetings at public facilities go ahead. Can you think of any other groups this has happened to?

            [I have trashed yet another duplicate comment from you. Please stop cluttering this site with duplicate comments all over the place – Incognito]

      • The Chairman 9.2.2

        Notice with the unsafe content they are talking about risk reduction no elimination.

        Could that not merely be an admission they can't eliminate it all due to the vast amount of online communication?

        • weka 9.2.2.1

          possibly, but also it's an acknowledgement that there is a balance between protection and freedom. This is normal in our society.

          • The Chairman 9.2.2.1.1

            Possibly, but also it's an acknowledgement that there is a balance between protection and freedom. This is normal in our society.

            We've recently been down that path as a nation – re the covid response. And we've seen the polarisation that created.

            Therefore, it highlights when heading down that path one needs to ensure the public are largely on board.

            Has there been any polling done on this proposal and not just the notions it puts forward?

            A number of kiwis opposed the hate speech law changes

            https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/AK2107/S00224/kiwis-opposed-to-hate-speech-changes-according-to-recent-polling.htm

            And yet there is this below from the proposal:

            87. The Law Commission has been asked to explore whether this recommendation should fall within the scope of its new reference (which also includes the issues of hate speech and hate-motivated offending). We expect that any law change coming out of that review would likely need to be worked into the legislation we
            are proposing as an amendment bill at a later stage.

      • tsmithfield 9.2.3

        I will come back to you later. We have our two year old twin grandchildren here at the moment. So, not a lot of time for blogging. Lol.

  9. The Chairman 10

    What do our political leaders/parties think?

    Winston Peters says:

    The govt is proposing a new ‘media regulator’ to act as big brother to monitor all media, platforms, organisations, & individuals to censor what they deem to be ‘harmful content’. If you pull back the curtain you will see the beginnings of the “Ministry of the Podium of Truth”.

    https://twitter.com/winstonpeters/status/1664486398269997056

    Dave Seymour is not in favour of it.

    https://youtu.be/-76vouDpcG4

    At this stage, I'm unaware of the stance of the other parties. Perhaps others can inform us?

    • weka 10.1

      Peters is doing classic Peters politicking in an election year. He's also lying about the proposal (or, grossly exaggerating so as to distort the truth. /irony). Why are you quoting him seriously?

      • The Chairman 10.1.1

        Why are you quoting him seriously?

        Because he is a political party leader.

        Would you happen to know the Green's stance?

    • SPC 10.2

      DIA said freedom of expression would be protected, and there would be no powers over editorial decision-making or individual users who shared legal content.

      We want to create safer platforms while preserving essential rights like freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and the benefits of media platforms.

      How the safer social media platforms then.

      Sector or industry organisations would help come up with enforceable codes of practice. DIA said the proposal was a deliberate shift away from the status quo of regulating content, towards regulating platforms.

      Oh it's about regulating social media platforms

      Codes of practice would cover:

      • processes for platforms to remove content and reduce the distribution of unsafe content;
      • accessible processes for consumer complaints for particular content;
      • support for consumers to make informed choices about potentially harmful content;
      • how platforms would report on these measures, including on transparency; and
      • how they were reducing the impact of harm from content, and their performance against codes

      https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/491136/consultation-opens-on-proposals-to-make-online-spaces-safer

      • The Chairman 10.2.1

        Oh it's about regulating social media platforms

        Forcing them to comply with content regulation

        Freedom of expression would be protected

        Isn't that until it clashes with another right?

        • SPC 10.2.1.1

          It would seem the real issue would be what happened when a social media platform management received reports of unsafe content and it was not removed.

          Scenario 1

          Presumably that would have to be in the annual report to the regulator (either in aggregate or each case)? Would they want to then adjudicate on whether the platform had kept to the code of practice in not agreeing to remove the particular content (or just assess based on the number of cases)?

          Scenario 2

          A person/group could directly appeal the lack of removal of content on their complaint to the regulator – thus diminishing editorial independence in real time.

        • weka 10.2.1.2

          Forcing them to comply with content regulation

          is there some reason you think online platforms should not be regulated in the same way that other publishing media is?

      • SPC 10.2.2

        Short version.

        It's about using the code of practice to influence editorial decisions on content on the social media platform.

        To identify and remove "unsafe content" – with accessability for complaints about content. And annual reporting focused on their performance in reducing harm from content.

        • Anker 10.2.2.1

          But who deams what is unsafe content in this age when misgendering someone can be described as violence?

          • SPC 10.2.2.1.1

            At first the editor decides, the real issue is what and when a challenge to that editorial decision can be made.

            Is it at the point of a complaint about content has been made and it has not been removed, or is it in the annual review of the platforms compliance with code of practice for the year?

            These will be among the key issues to be determined by feedback presumably.

  10. Incognito 11

    It’s entirely possible of being critical of and even (slightly?) biased against the proposals and still write a proper and constructive analysis of what’s being proposed in the discussion document.

    This opinion piece by a retired District Court judge makes good points that are helpful in and for the public debate.

    https://adls.org.nz/govt-proposes-content-regulator/

    Unfortunately, it does not include a link to the actual document, as far as I can tell.

    It is also a little one-sided and skewed to negative criticism. For example, it fails to mention the role & involvement of the new proposed regulator in “educating and supporting people to keep themselves safe” (cf. #40 in the discussion document).

    The last paragraph is telling:

    These proposals are unwise, ill-considered and vague. They suggest the creation of a new uber-regulator – an online services regulatory tsar – under the guise of platform regulation and unclear and as-yet unexpressed codes. I have no doubt there will be pushback from the platforms. There should be pushback from any citizen who may be concerned about yet another encroachment upon freedom of expression.

    Besides the emotive rhetoric, it fails to mention & acknowledge that many New Zealanders have been worried & concerned about inappropriate online content.

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/dont-turn-online-safety-into-a-new-culture-war

    It ignores the likelihood that undoubtedly some Kiwis will actually be supportive of at least parts of what’s in the discussion document and may even make positive submissions to the DIA in the consultation process. The last sentence is misleading and manipulative – one would expect better from a former judge.

    All in all, a much better and more constructive piece than from the chief executive of the Free Speech Union.

  11. Anker 12

    I support regularting content for chidren and young people up to the age of 18 years old.

    RE your point Weka about mysogynistic threats, well absolutely that should be regulated. Threats of any kind fall within the current law as I understand it

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  • Consumer confidence collapses after Budget, in contrast with rest of world
    The first widespread survey of consumers and voters since the Budget on May 30 shows a collapse in confidence. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The belt-tightening and tax-cutting Budget delivered on May 30 has not delivered the boost to confidence in the economy the National-ACT-NZ First Government might have ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The end for the Air Force 757s
    The Air Force 757 that broke down with the Prime Minister on board in Port Moresby on Sunday is considered so unreliable that it carries a substantial stock of spare parts when it travels overseas. And the plane also carries an Air Force maintenance team on board ready to make ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • At a glance – Was 1934 the hottest year on record?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    6 days ago
  • It's not New Zealand they've never heard of, it's him
    Sometimes you’ll just be so dog-tired, you can only keep yourself awake with a short stab of self-inflicted pain.A quick bite of the lip, for instance.Maybe a slight bite on the tongue or a dig of the nails.But what if you’re needing something a bit more painful?The solution is as ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” II
    Last month I blogged about the Ministry of Justice's Open Government Partnership commitment to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation", and how their existing efforts did not give much reason for confidence. As part of that, I mentioned that I had asked the Ministry for its ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why the Biden “peace plan” for Gaza is doomed
    After months and months of blocking every attempt by the UN and everyone else to achieve a Gaza ceasefire, US President Joe Biden is now marketing his own three-stage “peace plan” to end the conflict. Like every other contribution by the US since October 7, the Biden initiative is hobbled ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    6 days ago
  • Raised crossings: hearing the voice of vulnerable pedestrians
    This is a guest post by Vivian Naylor, who is the Barrier Free Advisor and Educator at CCS Disability Action, Northern Region, the largest disability support and advocacy organisation in Aotearoa New Zealand. She also advises on AT’s Public Transport and Capital Projects Accessibility Groups. Vivian has been advocating and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    6 days ago
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane
    So kiss me and smile for meTell me that you'll wait for meHold me like you'll never let me go'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet planeDon't know when I'll be back againOh babe, I hate to go“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Tuesday, June 18
    The election promises of ‘better economic management’ are now ringing hollow, as NZ appears to be falling into a deeper recession, while other economies are turning the corner. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The economy and the housing market are slumping back into a deep recession this winter, contrasting ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Scrutiny week off to rocky start
    Parliament’s new “Scrutiny” process, which is supposed to allow Select Committees to interrogate Ministers and officials in much more depth, has got off to a rocky start. Yesterday was the first day of “Scrutiny Week” which is supposed to see the Government grilled on how it spends taxpayers’ money and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • The choice could not be more stark’: How Trump and Biden compare on climate change
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Barbara Grady Illustration by Samantha Harrington. Photo credits: Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, European Space Agency. In an empty wind-swept field in Richmond, California, next to the county landfill, a company called RavenSr has plotted out land and won ...
    7 days ago
  • Differentiating between democracy and republic
    Although NZ readers may not be that interested in the subject and in lieu of US Fathers Day missives (not celebrated in NZ), I thought I would lay out some brief thoughts on a political subject being debated in the … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 17
    TL;DR: Chris Bishop talks up the use of value capture, congestion charging, PPPs, water meters, tolling and rebating GST on building materials to councils to ramp up infrastructure investment in the absence of the Government simply borrowing more to provide the capital.Meanwhile, Christopher Luxon wants to double the number of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • You do have the power to change things
    When I was invited to come aboard and help with Greater Auckland a few months ago (thanks to Patrick!), it was suggested it might be a good idea to write some sort of autobiographical post by way of an introduction. This post isn’t quite that – although I’m sure I’lll ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Turning Away – Who Cares If We Don't?
    On the turning awayFrom the pale and downtroddenAnd the words they say which we won't understandDon't accept that, what's happeningIs just a case of other's sufferingOr you'll find that you're joining inThe turning awayToday’s guest kōrero is from Author Catherine Lea. So without further ado, over to Catherine…I’m so honoured ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Dissecting Tickled
    Hi,Tickled was one of the craziest things that ever happened to me (and I feel like a lot of crazy things have happened to me).So ahead of the Webworm popup and Tickled screening in New Zealand on July 13, I thought I’d write about how we made that film and ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Webworm Popup + Tickled!
    Hi,I’m doing a Webworm merch popup followed by a Tickled screening in Auckland, New Zealand on July 13th — and I’d love you to come. I got the urge to do this while writing this Webworm piece breaking down how we made Tickled, and talking to all the people who ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • What China wants from NZ business
    One simple statistic said it all: China Premier Li Qiang asked Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell what percentage of the company’s overall sales were made in China. “Thirty per cent,” said Hurrell. In other words, New Zealand’s largest company is more or less dependent on the Chinese market. But Hurrell is ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Review: The Worm Ouroboros, by E.R. Eddison (1922)
    One occasionally runs into the question of what J.R.R. Tolkien would have thought of George R.R. Martin. For years, I had a go-to online answer: we could use a stand-in. Tolkien’s thoughts on E.R. Eddison – that he appreciated the invented world, but thought the invented names were silly, and ...
    1 week ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24
    A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 9, 2024 thru Sat, June 15, 2024. Story of the week A glance at this week's inventory of what experts tell us is extreme weather mayhem juiced by ...
    1 week ago
  • Sunday Morning Chat
    After a busy week it’s a good day to relax. Clear blues skies here in Tamaki Makaurau, very peaceful but for my dogs sleeping heavily. In the absence of a full newsletter I thought I’d send out a brief update and share a couple of posts that popped up in ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The Book of Henry
    Now in the land of Angus beef and the mighty ABsWhere the steaks were juicy and the rivers did run foulIt would often be said,This meal is terrible,andNo, for real this is legit the worst thing I've ever eatenBut this was an thing said only to others at the table,not ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Fact Brief – Is ocean acidification from human activities enough to impact marine ecosystems?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from the Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is ocean acidification from human ...
    1 week ago
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
    She's not a girl who misses muchDo do do do do do, oh yeahShe's well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet handLike a lizard on a window paneI wouldn’t associate ACT with warmth, other than a certain fabled, notoriously hot, destination where surely they’re heading and many would like them ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Still doing a good 20
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Coalition of the Unwilling?
    What does Budget 2024 tell us about the current government? Muddle on?Coalition governments are not new. About 50 percent of the time since the first MMP election, there has been a minority government, usually with allied parties holding ministerial portfolios outside cabinets. For 10 percent of the time there was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
    Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based ...
    1 week ago
  • All good, still
    1. On what subject is Paul Henry even remotely worth giving the time of day?a. The state of our nationb. The state of the ACT partyc. How to freak out potential buyers of your gin palace by baking the remains of your deceased parent into its fittings2. Now that New ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • The looting is the point
    Last time National was in power, they looted the state, privatising public assets and signing hugely wasteful public-private partnership (PPP) contracts which saw foreign consortiums provide substandard infrastructure while gouging us for profits. You only have to look at the ongoing fiasco of Transmission Gully to see how it was ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Illusion of Power: How Local Government Bureaucrats Overawe Democratically-Elected Councillors..
    The Democratic Façade Of Local Government: Our district and city councillors are democratically elected to govern their communities on one very strict condition – that they never, ever, under any circumstances, attempt to do so.A DISINTEGRATION OF LOYALTIES on the Wellington City Council has left Mayor Tory Whanau without a ...
    1 week ago
  • Lowlights & Bright Spots
    I can feel the lowlights coming over meI can feel the lowlights, from the state I’m inI can see the light now even thought it’s dimA little glow on the horizonAnother week of lowlights from our government, with the odd bright spot and a glow on the horizon. The light ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Weekly Roundup 14-June-2024
    Another week, another roundup of things that caught our eye on our favourite topics of transport, housing and how to make cities a little bit greater. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday, Connor wrote about Kāinga Ora’s role as an urban development agency Tuesday’s guest post by ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    1 week ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 14
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s moves this week to take farming out of the ETS and encourage more mining and oil and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Climate policy axed in broad daylight, while taxpayer liabilities grow in the dark
    In 2019, Shane Jones addressed the “50 Shades of Green” protest at Parliament: Now he is part of a government giving those farmers a pass on becoming part of the ETS, as well as threatening to lock in offshore oil exploration and mining for decades. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Here’s the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Rage Bait!
    Hi,Today’s newsletter is all about how easy it is to get sucked into “rage bait” online, and how easy it is to get played.But first I wanted to share something that elicited the exact opposite of rage in me — something that made me feel incredibly proud, whilst also making ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Friday, June 14
    Seymour said lower speed limits “drained the joy from life as people were forced to follow rules they knew made no sense.” File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Friday, June 14 were:The National/ACT/NZ First ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Friendly but frank talks with China Premier
    It sounded like the best word to describe yesterday’s talks between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and his heavyweight delegation of Ministers and officials and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and New Zealand Ministers and officials was “frank.” But it was the kind of frankness that friends can indulge in. It ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #24 2024
    Open access notables Wildfire smoke impacts lake ecosystems, Farruggia et al., Global Change Biology: We introduce the concept of the lake smoke-day, or the number of days any given lake is exposed to smoke in any given fire season, and quantify the total lake smoke-day exposure in North America from 2019 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Mathias Elle on UnsplashIt’s that new day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for our chat about the week’s news with special guests:5.00 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: China’s message to New Zealand – don’t put it all at risk
    Don’t put it all at risk. That’s likely to be the take-home message for New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in his meetings with Li Qiang, the Chinese Premier. Li’s visit to Wellington this week is the highest-ranking visit by a Chinese official since 2017. The trip down under – ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    2 weeks ago
  • The Real Thing
    I know the feelingIt is the real thingThe essence of the soulThe perfect momentThat golden momentI know you feel it tooI know the feelingIt is the real thingYou can't refuse the embraceNo?Sometimes we face the things we most dislike. A phobia or fear that must be confronted so it doesn’t ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 weeks ago
  • Gordon Campbell on how moderates empower the political right
    Struth, what a week. Having made sure the rural sector won’t have to pay any time soon for its pollution, PM Christopher Luxon yesterday chose Fieldays 2024 to launch a parliamentary inquiry into rural banking services, to see how the banks have been treating farmers faced with high interest rates. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Thursday, June 13
    In April, 17,656 people left Aotearoa-NZ to live overseas, averaging 588 a day, with just over half of those likely to have gone to Australia. Photo: Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Thursday, June 13 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Our guide to having your say on the draft RLTP 2024
    Auckland’s draft Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) 2024 is open for feedback – and you only have until Monday 17 June to submit. Do it! Join the thousands of Aucklanders who are speaking up for wise strategic investment that will dig us out of traffic and give us easy and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • The China puzzle
    Chinese Premier Li Qiang arrives in Wellington today for a three-day visit to the country. The visit will take place amid uncertainty about the future of the New Zealand-China relationship. Li hosted a formal welcome and then lunch for then-Prime Minister Chris Hipkins in Beijing a year ago. The pair ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    2 weeks ago
  • Fossil fuels are shredding our democracy
    This is a re-post of an article from the Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler published on June 3, 2024. I have an oped in the New York Times (gift link) about this. For a long time, a common refrain about the energy transition was that renewable energy needed to become ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Life at 20 kilometres an hour
    We are still in France, getting from A to B.Possibly for only another week, though; Switzerland and Germany are looming now. On we pedal, towards Budapest, at about 20 km per hour.What are are mostly doing is inhaling a country, loving its ways and its food. Rolling, talking, quietly thinking. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 weeks ago
  • Hipkins is still useless
    The big problem with the last Labour government was that they were chickenshits who did nothing with the absolute majority we had given them. They governed as if they were scared of their own shadows, afraid of making decisions lest it upset someone - usually someone who would never have ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Exercising with the IDF.
    This morning I did something I seldom do, I looked at the Twitter newsfeed. Normally I take the approach of something that I’m not sure is an American urban legend, or genuinely something kids do over there. The infamous bag of dog poo on the front porch, set it on ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 weeks ago

  • Reserve Bank chair reappointed
    Professor Neil Quigley has been reappointed as Chair of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Board for a further term of two years, until 30 June 2026.  “Professor Quigley has played a key role in establishing the new Board after the commencement of the new RBNZ Act on 1 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • School attendance increases
    School attendance data released today shows an increase in the number of students regularly attending school to 61.7 per cent in term one. This compares to 59.5 per cent in term one last year and 53.6 per cent in term four. “It is encouraging to see more children getting to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Record investment in public transport services
    The Government has announced a record 41 per cent increase in indicative funding for public transport services and operations, and confirmed the rollout of the National Ticketing Solution (NTS) that will enable contactless debit and credit card payments starting this year in Auckland, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“This Government is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy
    GDP figures for the March quarter reinforce the importance of restoring fiscal discipline to public spending and driving more economic growth, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  Data released today by Stats NZ shows GDP has risen 0.2 per cent for the quarter to March.   “While today’s data is technically in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Women continue to make up over 50 per cent on public sector boards
    Women’s representation on public sector boards and committees has reached 50 per cent or above for the fourth consecutive year, with women holding 53.9 per cent of public sector board roles, Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston says. “This is a fantastic achievement, but the work is not done. To ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government supporting Māori business success
    The Coalition Government is supporting Māori to boost development and the Māori economy through investment in projects that benefit the regions, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka say. “As the Regional Development Minister, I am focused on supporting Māori to succeed. The Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Better solutions for earthquake-prone buildings
    Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk has announced that the review into better managing the risks of earthquake-prone buildings has commenced. “The terms of reference published today demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring we get the balance right between public safety and costs to building owners,” Mr Penk says.  “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has just finished a successful three-day visit to Japan, where he strengthened political relationships and boosted business links. Mr Luxon’s visit culminated in a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio followed by a state dinner. “It was important for me to meet Prime Minister Kishida in person ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
    The Department of Internal Affairs [Department] is making a significant upgrade to their Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “The Department will incorporate the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
    A vaccine to prevent an infectious disease that costs New Zealand cattle farmers more than $190 million each year could radically improve the health of our cows and boost on-farm productivity, Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard says. The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project that aims to develop ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Government House in Wellington today.  “I was pleased to welcome Premier Li to Wellington for his first official visit, which marks 10 years since New Zealand and China established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Luxon says. “The Premier and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government and business tackling gender pay gap
    The coalition Government is taking action to reduce the gender pay gap in New Zealand through the development of a voluntary calculation tool. “Gender pay gaps have impacted women for decades, which is why we need to continue to drive change in New Zealand,” Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
    The coalition Government is boosting funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide more help to farmers and growers under pressure, Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson announced today. “A strong and thriving agricultural sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy and one of the ways to support it is to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Latest data shows size of public service decreasing
    Spending on contractors and consultants continues to fall and the size of the Public Service workforce has started to decrease after years of growth, according to the latest data released today by the Public Service Commission. Workforce data for the quarter from 31 December 23 to 31 March 24 shows ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Law Association
    Thank you to the Law Association for inviting me to speak this morning. As a former president under its previous name — the Auckland District Law Society — I take particular satisfaction in seeing this organisation, and its members, in such good heart. As Attorney-General, I am grateful for these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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