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Fletcher GCSB Change manager – and QLD

Written By: - Date published: 10:38 am, April 5th, 2013 - 84 comments
Categories: accountability, australian politics, corruption, john key, Spying - Tags: , , , ,

Yesterday, Iain Rennie as reported by Brent Edwards on RNZ responded to criticisms of Ian Fletcher’s appointment as head of the GCSB. RNZ report.  Later on Campbell Live Rennie did a very good job in damping down criticism of Key’s intervention in the appointment.  Rennie shifted the focus from Key to himself, in keeping with his brief to be non-political.

Campbell started by quoting from the SSC website about Rennie’s role.

The current office of State Services Commissioner descends directly from that of the Public Service Commission. The Public Service Commission was established in 1912 to employ all public servants, so protecting the Public Service from political interference and enabling the preservation of the political neutrality of the Public Service.

Campbell then said that Rennie thought Key’s role in the appointment process didn’t amount to political interference.

Rennie showed himself to be very adept at avoiding political statements.  For instance, Campbell asked about whether Fletcher’s background in intellectual property made him a good person to be dealing with intellectual property issues re-Dotcom and TPP. Rennie replied that was not in his (Rennie’s) mind when he was considering Fletcher for the GCSB job. Rennie claimed Fletcher was the ideal person to manage the required changes to GCSB. But, that doesn’t mean the intellectual property issue wasn’t forefront in Key’s mind.

I previously made similar connections in relation to Fletcher’s jobs in intellectual property in the UK, in my post: The CV of a Spy Boss.

Last night, on TV3 News, with Key now shown to have been economical with the truth about his intervention in Ian Fletcher’s appointment, resorting to his usual defense – attack Labour.  And further to this, an unnamed government minister extended the defensive attack to Ferguson, claiming an upcoming report will show the GCSB was in a poor state under his watch.

So, this provides the rationale for employing Fletcher to “professionalise” and improve the functioning of the GCSB.  Key and Rennie have referred to Fletcher’s stint as head of Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation.

Yet, Fletcher’s term in this job was not without criticism, which cause a certain amount of controversy in the Queensland MSM.  Fletcher’s management of his department was called into question over the health and safety of horses.  In an article in the Courier Mail of 4 November 2011, referred to a  report by Ombudsman Phil Clarke, which had been released the previous day.  This report was quite damning of Fletcher’s department:

The report savaged the Government for systemic failures, including dated laws, poor training and inadequate communication with vets and horse owners….

The report focused on the handling of six Hendra incidents between 2006 and 2009, in which 18 horses died or were destroyed. Two vets died and one vet nurse contracted the virus but lived. The report did not consider later outbreaks.

Fletcher, using the MO of the best defense is attack, was highly critical of the Ombudsman’s report:

THE bureaucrat charged with tackling Hendra virus complained Queensland’s Ombudsman botched a report into the Government’s response to a series of outbreaks.

Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation boss Ian Fletcher said the report by Ombudsman Phil Clarke, released yesterday, had inaccuracies and outdated information, quoted officers out of context and misconstrued evidence.

Mr Fletcher admitted there were “lessons to be learnt” but said his department could not be too rigid because it had to adapt to fast-moving and highly variable outbreaks.

Fletcher came under criticism on an another issue, which also was reported in the MSM.  It involved leases to trade headquarters in Los Angeles and Latin America, resulting in unnecessary costs to taxpayers. It shows that Fletcher was criticised for giving inaccurate information to a Queensland government estimates hearing.  According to the Courier Mail of 19 July 2011:

THE Bligh Government was already considering shifting Queensland’s trade headquarters to Latin America when it signed a 10-year lease on a plush Los Angeles office.

Internal emails obtained by The Courier-Mail contradict the Government’s claims that the LA lease was signed before the move was contemplated.

Senior bureaucrat Ian Fletcher told an estimates hearing last week that the move to Latin America was considered only after the lease was finalised in December 2009.

But the email trail shows then LA-based trade commissioner Peter Beattie warned in August 2009 against signing the lease as the move to Latin America was being contemplated.

But bureaucrats pushed for the lease to be signed, arguing the savings generated from the new deal could be used to help pay for Premier Anna Bligh’s “completely unfunded” Latin America trade trip.

 Taxpayers now remain lumbered with the lease costs on the vacated LA office – 9000km from the new trade headquarters in Santiago, Chile.
However, the Government yesterday maintained Mr Fletcher’s comments to the hearing were accurate.
There’s a more detailed record of the case in this pdf file.
Professor Ross Fitzgerald, on his blog, is critical of Fletcher’s role in the case:
Now the Campbell Newman government is accusing the [corruption fighting] watchdog of wrongly injecting itself into the political arena and has announced an independent review of the [Crime and Misconduct Commission] CMC. A nasty case involving the former Bligh government may just prove that Newman is right and justify changes to the law. In 2010 and 2011 The Courier-Mail’s political reporter, Steven Wardill, published a series of stories from leaks within the Queensland government’s export arm, Trade and Investment Queensland. The leaked stories were an embarrassment to Anna Bligh and her state Labor government and in particular to Ian Fletcher, then director-general of the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, and his deputy, Mark Birmingham. Both men were responsible for the supervision of Trade and Investment Queensland.
So this is the person who Key and Rennie decided is the best person to professionalise and “change manage” the GCSB?  Maybe they were impressed by his management of potentially damaging accusations?

[update

Apologies to Instauration who yesterday evening posted some links related to this issue, including one I used to the same article above, under my post on The CV of a Spy Boss. Sorry I didn’t see it earlier.

Instauration wrote (on the issue of the Queensland government buying cheap imported t-shirts to promote a “buy local” campaign, resulting in Fletcher being hauled over the coals by state Development Minister Andrew Fraser):

Oh dear

Mr Fletchers judgment has been questioned in April 2011;

“I considered this to be misleading, and would serve only to compound the gross error of judgment.”

84 comments on “Fletcher GCSB Change manager – and QLD”

  1. r0b 1

    Great research Karol. With so much attention on the case right now, you’re the first to report this angle.

  2. ianmac 2

    Yes Karol. Great stuff.

    • Instauration 2.1

      If I was Matt Lee I’d be claiming Karols ray of sunshine;

      The CV of a Spy Boss

      But I’m not – so thanks for the continuing in-depth research Karol

      • karol 2.1.1

        Sorry, Instauration. I hadn’t seen you comment, but will add it to my post above. It would have saved me some time too.

  3. chris73 3

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Former-GCSB-head-Sir-Bruce-Ferguson-speaks-out/tabid/367/articleID/292879/Default.aspx

    Sounds like sour grapes, maybe he reapplied for the job and was told he wasn’t up to it

    • karol 3.1

      chris, do you have anything to say about Fletcher’s suitability for the job? Diversions aren’t an argument.

      • chris73 3.1.1

        Not really a diversion because he agreed to b e interviewed and its common knowledge hes Labours man

        Maybe National want to clean out the spy service, get shot of “the old boys” network, theres been a few cock ups of late so maybe this is a way to clean out the house

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1

          If you’d read what Karol wrote you’d see that Fletcher’s appointment was most likely due to “the old boys” network. It certainly wasn’t for his competency.

          • chris73 3.1.1.1.1

            Maybe Key bought him in to clean up the old boys military network…or more likely clean out Labours appointments

          • Tigger 3.1.1.1.2

            Maybe a unicorn fell from the sky into a sea of chocolate and mind controlled Key into appointing his man. Stop the diversion, c73.

            Great stuff Karol. Cronyism tends to put inappropriate people in sensitive positions. This tends to end badly. Reports at the GCSB are that it’s in disarray. Expects leaks soon, whistleblower and staff exiting en masse to follow.

            • chris73 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Oh please, this is what happens when governments are in power they appoint the people they think will do the job they way they want it done or are you going to suggest Labour never appointed their own people to positions…

              • Draco T Bastard

                No, I’m going to suggest we need a better system. One that doesn’t allow ministers to, even indirectly, appoint the people doing the job so as to prevent the cronyism.

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  Thats not the problem.

                  Only a few are ministerial appointments anyway.

                  Its the lies about handpicking the guy you want, who doesnt seem to have outstanding credentials.
                  Doesnt seem to have risen through the bureacracy , rather seems to have got the nod in various jobs in various places. Never stood out in any particular place he was working

                • chris73

                  I’d agree with you on that, any ideas on how this could happen?

              • framu

                while youve got a point – dont you think that they should be a bit more capable of making it look like the correct process was followed?

                this is amateur hour stuff from the nats. “hey guys – watch me blatantly mess with things then make up conflicting stories when challenged on verifiable facts”

                • chris73

                  I’d agree and go along with draco, we need a better systems but what system could be put in place that isn’t open to coercion or cronyism?

                  Does the chief of defence force automatically become the head of the GCSB but then the promotion to chief of defence force becomes open to messing about…

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Just need the PM to stop shoulder tapping rookies for top jobs.

                    • Bob

                      I don’t think he was a rookie
                      He was Key’s fall guy when they went to school and this is pay back

              • Huginn

                Apart from all the lying and the lack of transparency and the breach of trust . . . I’m not that worried about the PM shoulder tapping someone he thinks might be good for a particular job.

                But if he’s going to do that, he has to show that he will fire his buddy when that buddy screws up.

                Fletcher found out that the GCSB was outside the law with Dotcom soon after he started in February.

                However . . .

                ‘Mr Key ordered the inquiry after being told on September 17 by the GCSB that it had been unlawfully monitoring Mr Dotcom’s communications.’

                So lets look forward from this – and ask Key when he is going to ask Fletcher to resign for running a cover-up

                Source:
                http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10836884

        • Pascal's bookie 3.1.1.2

          “common knowledge hes Labours man”

          is it?

          Links referencing same plz or kindly to be withdrawing the slur.

          • Anne 3.1.1.2.1

            … its common knowledge hes Labours man.

            Ferguson was the best man for the job. He was recommended for the position by the (then) States Services Commissioner. Helen Clark accepted the recommendation. She didn’t interfere in the process. She didn’t try to gerrymander the process. She had faith in the integrity of the commissioner and faith in the integrity of their recommended candidates. I actually recall her saying as much during a TV interview around the time of the appointments. It included the present Director of the SIS, Warren Tucker.

            You may not understand Chris 73, but this is how you go about such appointments to ensure fairness and impartiality. To suggest as Key and his sidekick Ian Rennie (who is busy trying to safeguard the likelihood of another term as S.S. Commissioner) are suggesting that the GCSB is in serious disarray is an excuse and a diversion. Sure there are problems… caused by political interference I think you will find. What’s more, their claims are a contradiction in terms. On the one hand they’re saying the GCSB is in disarray due to supposed poor, past management, but on the other hand Rennie claims the staff are right behind Fletcher and morale is high.

            Morale is hardly high if the bureau is in the disarray being claimed!

            • chris73 3.1.1.2.1.1

              I was referring to his promotion to chief of defence force when he was promoted above the heads of the Navy and the Army.

              He was never air vice marshall (top dog in the air force) yet he was promoted above the heads of the army and the navy so somethings a bit fishy there

              • Anne

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Ferguson

                It’s normal practice for the the three arms of the Defence Force to each take a turn in the role of Chief of the Defence Force. There may have been the odd exception to this rule, but that’s the way it normally goes.

                somethings a bit fishy there

                You’re the one whose fishy!

                • chris73

                  Its nothing to co with whos turn it is, its do with the fact three men held higher ranks than Ferguson and were passed over but if you’re going to go on whos turn it is you’ll note the previous chief was from the air force…

                  The head of the army, navy and air force were all passed over so the no. 2 of the air force could leap frog those and become chief of defence force and that makes it very fishy indeed

                  • McFlock

                    Well, it would if the prime minister had thrown out the shortlist with the names of the three superior officers and then the PM (not the SSC) personally phoned the chap who had been a personal friend for years with connections going back to school.

                    Basically your allegation is that the public service is biased and consistently shortlists Labour’s preferred applicants for senior posts without prompting, meaning Key has to look to personal networks for apolitical applicants. Which is stupid to the point of being self-contradictory.

                    • chris73

                      So you dont think that there was nothing fishy about Ferguson being promoted to the top rank in the nz military ahead of three other guys who were higher ranking (including his boss at the air force) and in higher positions of importance

                    • McFlock

                      I have no idea whether that was the correct decision or not.
                      But unless Clark personally suggested fletcher apply for the job after rejecting everyone on the shortlist supplied by the public service, it seems the correct process was followed.

                      So you seem to be arguing that Key was taking on the appearance of corruption in order to balance the concealed corruption inherent in the normal HR process. And your basis for this is that your wikipedia-based impression of the CVs of those you feel would be competing applicants leads you to conclude that the best applicant for the job was not chosen.

                      But here’s the thing: you can’t polish a particular turd, so you sling shit at everyone in the vicinity. You could just admit the truth: Key, once again, seems to have forgotten that he is a prime minister and not a feudal king.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      that doesn’t really justify saying “common knowledge hes Labours man” though Chris. That’s a whole ‘nother implication.

                  • GregJ

                    @Chris 73 – Complete bollocks. You clearly have no idea of what was going on at the time of the appointment of Ferguson in late 2001.

                    Of the three Service Chiefs at the time Major General Maurice Dodson (Chief of the General Staff) (who had also already had his appointment extended one year) and AVM Don Hamilton (Chief of Air Staff) were due to retire in February 2002. The Chief of Naval Staff, Rear-Admiral Peter McHaffie was due to retire at the beginning of 2003 (although subsequently his appointment was extended in late 2002 by one year).

                    There was a new procedure adopted for appointment of the Chief of the Defence Force that year – the new appointment was to be on the recommendation of the State Services Commissioner & was to be for four years (i.e. going on into 2006). Under the old system where the outgoing CDF recommended their successor it is possibley that McHaffie may have been appointed but certainly not Dodson who had already been extended as CGS and had been involved in a minor controversy earlier in 2001 over shredding of documents and not Hamilton either who was due to retire. There was approximately 16 officers at the time who were senior enough to be considered as CDF. The other possible front runner was Major-General Martyn Dunne who had commanded NZ forces in Timor and in June 2001 was appointed to the new role of Commander, Joint Forces New Zealand but clearly it was seen as important to leave him in it to establish that new role.

                    If anyone inside the military establishment was seen as being “Labour’s man” it was Dodson not Ferguson. Most speculation at the time was that Ferguson got the job partially to placate the RNZAF who had just had their strike role taken off them.

                    So nothing “fishy” about his appointment – he was one of the 3 most likely at that time (and if you discount McHaffie one of the 2 most likely). The only thing unusual was the change in selection process and the fact that he hadn’t been a service chief already but then it is just as likely that that would have been the case for anyone else appointed.

                • GregJ

                  Hi Anne,

                  I know most people believe it is rotated (including many in the Services) but that is simply not the case. Since the post of Chief of Defence Forces was established in 1963 (as Chief of Defence Staff) it has been:

                  1963–1966 Rear-Admiral Sir Peter Phipps
                  1966–1974 Lieutenant-General Sir Leonard Thornton
                  1974–1976 Lieutenant-General Sir Richard Webb
                  1976–1980 Air Marshal Sir Richard Bolt
                  1980–1983 Vice-Admiral Sir Neil Anderson
                  1983–1986 Air Marshal Sir Ewan Jamieson
                  1986–1987 Air Marshal David Crooks
                  1987–1991 Lieutenant-General Sir John Mace

                  Chief of Defence Force

                  1991–1995 Vice-Admiral Sir Somerford Teagle (first, from 29 March 1991)
                  1995–1999 Lieutenant-General Anthony Birks
                  1999–2001 Air Marshal Carey Adamson
                  2001–2006 Air Marshal Sir Bruce Ferguson
                  2006–2011 Lieutenant-General Sir Jerry Mateparae
                  2011–present Lieutenant-General Rhys Jones

                  It was certainly the original intention that the NZ Chief of Defence Staff was meant to follow the UK model (established in 1959) which did follow a strict service rotation policy (although that policy has been less adhered to since the 1980’s). However it hasn’t really ever been the case in NZ that rotation has happened.

              • dumrse

                Perhaps the fishy bit is… The three service chiefs, by coincidence, weren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer at that time. Aside from that, what did he do wrong during his time as CDF. Remember, the military lost the privilege of promoting their own, the SSC took that task.

            • Bob 3.1.1.2.1.2

              Will Rennie want his job if Grant Robertson is looking down his face as DPM?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 3.2

      Reapplied ?
      What planet are you on. Hes had the job why would we want it back . His full time career is over

      How do explain once Fletcher is in the job- the awesome bureaucrat he is- they bring in an outside person to sort out their administrative issues
      .
      Sounds like someone who isnt up to it

      • chris73 3.2.1

        “How do explain once Fletcher is in the job- the awesome bureaucrat he is- they bring in an outside person to sort out their administrative issues”

        Never a bad idea to bring in outside help to clean a major mess of an organisation

        • ghostwhowalksnz 3.2.1.1

          So you are saying that Fletcher needed outside help, despite being an outsider because he was out of his depth ?
          After all the Cabinet secretary is not experienced in spycraft but knows the bureaucracy inside out- hang on wasnt that Fletchers skill set?

          Oh dear, only in the job six months and not up to it, but we cant say that as he was specially selected by the Recruiter in Chief

          • chris73 3.2.1.1.1

            So you are saying that Fletcher needed outside help, despite being an outsider because he was out of his depth ?

            – No

            After all the Cabinet secretary is not experienced in spycraft but knows the bureaucracy inside out- hang on wasnt that Fletchers skill set?

            – Nobody knows everything, Graham Henry brought in specialists to help the all blacks, Warren Buffet goes out of his way to talk to experts in their fields, only a coward or a fool pretends they don’t need help from time to time

            Oh dear, only in the job six months and not up to it, but we cant say that as he was specially selected by the Recruiter in Chief

            – The Recruiter in Chief appears to be happy with his performance so on that basis he must be up to it

            • Huginn 3.2.1.1.1.1

              That’s right, chris73, six months into the job and not up to it.

              Starts in February and almost immediately finds out that the GSCB has acted outside of the law in a place that is drawing global attention. Instead of sorting it out and drawing a line under it, i.e. Bureaucratic Management:101, Fletcher ran a ham fisted cover-up and worst of all, kept Key in the dark until September 17th.

              Key can hire his friends, but he’s got to fire them when they screw up.

    • North 3.3

      Chris73, your comment re Ferguson – “Sounds like sour grapes to me, maybe he reapplied for the job and was told he wasn’t up to it”.

      Clearly you’ll stoop to any risible speculation to distract from concern that jokey stuff about Key’s “forgetfulness” is trending towards seriously voiced questions in the MSM about Key’s credibility. If you’re not satisfied as to that have a look at Bryce Edwards’ compilation in the Herald this morning of various writers’ efforts on the very point.

      I might just as risibly speculate that Rennie is personally concerned to protect Key because he is near the end of his contract and is in discussion about where he Rennie fits in the scheme of things in the future. Safe pair of hands etc etc.

      What are the likes of you gonna do if the credibility question – in other words “Oh, he ‘s just a bullshitter” – get’s locked in ? Tell me that won’t happen and why (with no resort to idolatry or “popularity” please).

      Interesting to note on RNZ yesterday afternoon that while John Armstrong analysed the whole business as essentially beltway stuff he did volunteer that Key’s carry on is “corrosive” and that it will cause concern in the National Party heirarchy.

      • chris73 3.3.1

        “Clearly you’ll stoop to any risible speculation”

        Clearly you haven’t read most of the posts on the standard, its mostly speculation or haven’t you been paying attention

        Thats what makes this such a fun and interesting blog, you want hard facts go to redalert (just kidding) this site is mostly speculation and opinion and its all the better for it

        • North 3.3.1.1

          There’s a clear distinction between one’s opinion which might quite reasonbly have a mildly speculative edge, and patently wild speculation which is then invoked as a foundation reality in the debate.

          You engage the latter in your attempt to minimise and discredit Ferguson’s interesting and very significant input.

  4. Treetop 4

    How closely was Key watching Fletcher’s career?

    Key probably rang Fletcher up about the GCSB job when he knew that Fletcher was being publicly criticised as this would sway Fletcher.

    Courier Mail of 19 July 2011. Fletcher criticised

    21 July list was scrapped.
    26 July Fletcher interviewed.

  5. CnrJoe 5

    Anyone know what Ian Fletchers brother – John Keys mate – does for a crust?

    • Treetop 5.1

      I somehow think that Fletcher’s brother is no longer a mate of Key’s. Fletcher is probably weighing up whether or not he should resign from the GCSB because Key may ruin Fletcher’s career for good. At this point Fletcher has a bit of leeway as the public know that either Fletcher told Key in February 2012 about the illegal spying or he with held this. Either way this shows loyality to your boss by protecting him. If Key keeps Fletcher there it looks as though he owes Fletcher a favour or he is worried that Fletcher will SQUEAL.

      • freedom 5.1.1

        In my world the word friend still means a lot, probably everything.

        Fletcher and Key are still people and I do assume still have human emotions. So when Key said in plain english that Fletcher “is not a friend” it would have a reaction one way or another.

        If however he is and has been a friend to Key over the years, then the public denial must sting a bit. If Fletcher swallows treatment like that from his friends it exposes some pretty heinous character defects which certainly makes me question his suitability for a job where trust and integrity and leadership are crucial

    • karol 5.2

      I found it hard to find anything on Alistair. I was actually looking to see who he is, and what his job is, when failing to find anything, I switched to Ian. I was hoping to find something on Alistair through Ian, but came across this Queensland stuff – all sitting there well above the surface.

      So I think Alistair isn’t that high profile.

    • Pete 5.3

      I couldn’t find him on LinkedIn (there were 15 results, none seemed likely) nor on a director search on the New Zealand Companies Office. The dates seem to be about right for him to be on the winning team in University Challenge for Canterbury in 1981. Here he is in the 1981 semifinal. He studied history and geography.

      • karol 5.3.1

        Yes, that Uni Challenge one on Wikip was about the only thing I came up with as well. I didn’t follow it up to get the video: Peter Sinclair…. and, oh, the hair cuts.

        • Pete 5.3.2.1

          I don’t think it is. There’s a picture of him in this report from Curtin University (he’s an adjunct professor). That Alistair Fletcher has a cleft chin, which the one in the University Challenge footage doesn’t have. Also his first degree is listed as a BSc(Hons). I searched the Canterbury University library for any dissertations done by Fletcher, there were no results.

    • toad 5.4

      The only Alistair Fletcher on the electoral roll is unemployed and Maori so I suspect the one who is Key’s mate lives overseas.

      • DavidW 5.4.1

        Classmate please Toad, pay attention. It has never been suggested (except by Grant Robertson who is rapidly making a joke of himself) that either Fletcher was John key’s “mate” or even a friend. But keep on spreading BS, the more you repeat it, the more people will believe it to be true.

        • Treetop 5.4.1.1

          It is a fact that Fletcher has had breakfast with Key while Key has been PM and that Key had Fletcher’s number.

          I wonder what phone records/emails would reveal?

        • Blue 5.4.1.2

          Actually, Key himself said Alistair Fletcher was his friend, during one of the media standups. He denied that Ian Fletcher was his friend, then said ‘I was friends with his brother’. Back to the dunce’s chair for you.

          • Treetop 5.4.1.2.1

            I am aware that Key has stated he is friends with Alistar Fletcher and not Ian Fletcher.

            The one person Ian would confide in would be his brother Alistar as family usually look out for one another and are loyal to one another.

        • freedom 5.4.1.3

          David W
          John Key: ” I am friends with his brother” from one of the press huddles, sorry i cannot be bothered searching a bunch of videos for a two second admission that you choose to forget.

          It has also been widely reported and admitted that the older Fletcher and Key were mates, at least at school.

          maybe you should try repeating the facts awhile yourself, it might help you to remember them.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    Sounds like he reached his level of incompetence a long, long time ago. Was wondering why he wasn’t still working for a rather higher paying job in London. Reading that I’d say that he’s been managed out of his previous positions.

    Maybe they were impressed by his management of potentially damaging accusations?

    Yeah, which probably means that there’s further cover-up going on.

  7. yeshe 7

    Wonderful research, thanks Karol. What salary does head of GCSB receive — do we know ?

  8. Tim 8

    I probably shouldn’t even make a comment on here, if ONLY because NONE of the above SHOULD surprise anyone. ALLLLLLLL of it is symptomatic of the corporatization of a Public Service – and there’s even a foreskin of the State Service Commission (a rennie) who’ll attempt to legitimize the happenings in anything that goes down. (Under his ‘watch’ [HE – i.e the ALMIGHTY Rennie] is quite obviously now wedded to the notion that Public Service really means an ‘economically viable State service’ where the State is representative of is Public, and all is only viable under the validity of a dollar, as opposed to the ‘will’ of a PEOPLE. IT’s a bit reminiscent of a Ralston who once (in all his egotistically inspired cleverness) used to refer to TVNZ as “state TV” right up until it would provide him with an earn.

    Perhaps that’s the problem in a nutshell though. Our State has never been a representation of its Public since the corporatists gained momentum in the 1980’s. There’s this idea that NZ (or elsewhere) is a company – or a corporation – as in “NZ Inc.”

    Our ‘Public Service’ is a State-owned entaproise (or a set of Entaproises) where the definition of State and its relationship to a ‘Public’ that it purportedly represents has been, entirely corrupted.

    It’s become a system where middle and upper MENidgeMUNT seek ways to justify their position – often based on the spin of commercial realty [NOT reality], such that those ‘under’ – deluding theirselves that public good is at stake, toil away IN SPITE of their hoighly paid “CEO’s” rather than BECAUSE of them. (@ Karol – you could do an in-depth of those that have risen to power in MOST ceo-type PS positions, and I’ll put my house on it that the common denominator in their success would be their ability to bullshit – whether or not their aided and abbetted by a cast of
    Those of us as old as I could remember all that shit about Ministry of Works labourers leaning on shovels and being on the pig’s back.
    Fushinsy in Fectivness, rrrrrreeeee-strukcha,……. ALLLLLL the kaka that pillocks like Douglas, Fay, Ritchwite – the fucking load of them successfully conned us (well them anyway) that market forces applied to gubbamint admunstration was going to see us all through to a Utopia.

    It really just makes me heave.
    I Heave because there is a Proim Munsta – whose lying comes to him as naturally as it does as his need to have a shit. Btw…. as those running a record of his lois exibited elsewhere on this site have noted – he shits in copious quantities.
    I Heave because sweat FA ever seems to get learned from a 1/4 century of BS:
    – Trickle down never did
    – Dawn Raids are now back in favour (now there’s a story in itself, but rest assured there’s a band of Immigration officials backed up by Tazer weilding Polis cancelling visas and deporting people because the promises made to them in the privatised education environment that didn’t get delivered, have become an embarassment. Far easier to deport potential complainants and get them out of the picture than it is to hold those that promised the world to account.
    – The effect of ‘influence’ exerted over an NZBC is now just handled in a different way. IF the regime is allowed to continue – don’t hold your breathe as to the long term prospects for RNZ.

    – ……
    – ……

    It really is a shame we don’t have an opposition. We have a couple of entities trying to do their best – but the supposedly dominant entity (a Labour Party) is now UTTERLY munted.

    The silly thing is though that we’ll all be expected to feel outrage and sympathy when any and all of these fuckwits (whether the current ruling regime, OR their supposed opponents) receive their just deserts from a ‘PUBLIC’ that eventually wakes from it’s slumber and mesmorisation of 730 Sharps, Garners, Moras, Oifones, Wade-Browns that didn’t, ……… gets really really pissed off.

    • @ Tim,
      I agree with your sentiments

      “…and I’ll put my house on it that the common denominator in their success would be their ability to bullshit.” ~Tim

      This is what the real issue, for me is, in all the variety of incompetent events that have been occurring on a regular basis since this GovernMunt has come to power.

      The impression I’m getting with the vast array of privacy breaches, bankruptcies, job losses and now down right corruption, is that it is not going down as “wrong’ or “incompetent” because of Key (&co)’s ability to slither out of these issues through lying. I agree Tim, bullshitting is apparently the ability most revered in big business/high powered jobs. This is a real eye opener for me.

      “..and there’s even a foreskin of the State Service Commission (a rennie) who’ll attempt to legitimize the happenings in anything that goes down”

      I very much don’t appreciate Mr Rennie (Or Mr Robertson) coming out on TV and stating that the problem was that he should have made the phonecall, not the PM & then this would have avoided the appearance of political interference/cronyism.

      Actually Mr Rennie, you are telling the public what to believe here and this answer does not suffice.

      It is simply a clear attempt at fudging the issue and calming any “hysteria” out there. It doesn’t answer why it occurred that Mr Key’s mate was the only one to get an interview. And doesn’t answer any questions re competence or suitability of skills of the one who got the job. Whether Mr Rennie, Key or even Mr David Shearer made the call, there remains many questionable aspects to this event that need to be answered.

      “Rennie shifted the focus from Key to himself, in keeping with his brief to be non-political.”~ Karol

      What Mr Rennie has done is a very political move. Defending incompetent and corrupt behaviour of a current PM is a very political act.

      nb (Unsure if my request for deletion of the response at 9 is going to be deleted or not, if repetition occurs, I made an error.)

      [karol: blue leopard, I deleted your #9 comment, as requested – it did look like a repetition of your comment here]

  9. Kea 9

    From what I saw briefly on TV, Fletcher’s body language does not show a happy man.

  10. ianmac 10

    Dr Brian Edwards on the Panel totally agreed with Michelle Boag that the whole fuss about Mr Key was absolutely ridiculous. Should never have happened. He thinks that the behaviour of John Campbell in his interview with Mr Rennie was a disgrace. There was no story here and John Key should get tough and tell ’em like it is. It is totally understandable for a very busy PM to forget things. After all both Michelle and Brian forget things so why shouldn’t the PM?

    I think that the issue was really about how Mr Key handled or mis-handled the situation.

    Brian Edwards has been captured by the Dark Side!

    • Rhinocrates 10.1

      Edwards? He’s a privileged old man; a suburban liberal who’s more concerned with manners than justice.

      Russell Brown’s headed the same way. Public Address is passing from critical through solipsistic on the way to reactionary.

    • Plan B 10.2

      Hi
      I heard the Brian Edwards comments on National Radio the afternoon. At first I was kind of taken in a bit. Not really,I thought he was totally wrong, but rather I was sort of taken in in the sense that that he was spinning a valid argument. A moments thought had me thinking otherwise. I would really like to hear other thoughts on the Edwards comments because of the spin he adopted.
      My thoughts on his spin, detailed by ianmac above is that he is wrong because the governance of New Zealand operates with some legislation, some regulation and a whole lot of conventions. Conventions in New Zealand really matter because we don’t have much other the other two and no real constitution.

      Convention says that while the PM appoints the three jobs indicated really he doesn’t, we all know he doesn’t and he knows he doesn’t. If he appointed, his wife or brother, mother or cousin, (which according to Brian Edwards he could go ahead and do and tell us all to get lost) he would get slaughtered because he would have broken with convention. Our convention on these sorts of matters is that there is a whole process that is followed to make sure that the PM does not appoint his cat, or a mate from school who might need a job or anything other than the best person for the job that can be found who will take the job. John Key knows all about this that is the most likely reason for him forgetting stuff.

      My problem is that Brian Edwards should have engaged his brain on this matter rather than repeat the nonsense spin that Michelle Boag was spouting, she had a good reason to say what she did, what was Brain Edwards excuse.

      • geoff 10.2.1

        These old sad fucks like Brian Edwards and Bill Ralston, they’ve all spent so many years on the good paddocks, getting pickled on expensive plonk and sniffing each others farts while they bore everyone to death by reliving their glory days in the back of the Listener or on RNZ. They’ve now lived for so long in very comfortable bubbles that they’ve completely lost perspective with with how the country has changed. They are the clueless, but they’ve got mouthpieces and they chime in with the reptiles that still run the show, those who are running around desperately trying to resuscitate the corpse that is the laissez faire NZ economy.

    • freedom 10.3

      Dr Brian Edwards has been lost a long time, he thinks all public libraries should be privatised ffs 🙁

  11. Rhinocrates 11

    I guess that the Indricotherium in the room is the fact that Robertson has been tasked with this and not Mumblefuck. Finally, it seems, the ABC Club can no longer deny the fact that he’s hopelessly compromised. Hopefully they’ll move from “compromised” to “liability” and ditch him.

    I’m no fan of Robertson, but at least he’s been competent in his handling of this.

    I rather liked seeing that Bryce Edwards thought initially that the accusations were “lame”, but this seems to be running as a classic scandal, with all the “it’s not the lie, but the denial that gets you”.

    Finally, finally Labour could be on form. Possibly.

    Swallows, summer and all that…

    • Rhinocrates 11.1

      I rather liked

      EDIT – I mean, I rather liked seeing the slow growth from “lame” to “the story that won’t go away”.

      • Galeandra 11.1.1

        Yeah Robertson’s coup worked a treat, didnit? An he’s rilly really sure there’s a corkus there fut to lead in ’14, isne? Just goddo mallow the excent a but.

  12. Lloyd 12

    Has Fletcher had a Cup of Tea with John Key?

  13. xtasy 13

    “Rennie showed himself to be very adept at avoiding political statements. For instance, Campbell asked about whether Fletcher’s background in intellectual property made him a good person to be dealing with intellectual property issues re-Dotcom and TPP. Rennie replied that was not in his (Rennie’s) mind when he was considering Fletcher for the GCSB job. Rennie claimed Fletcher was the ideal person to manage the required changes to GCSB. But, that doesn’t mean the intellectual property issue wasn’t forefront in Key’s mind.”

    Karol, we know Rennie’s job is on the line anyway, especially if he dares criticising the government and Key. All this talk about independence in the public service is a bit of a have on. Honestly, also did Labour favour their heads and spokespeople, now do National and Key, very unashamedly, and you just need to go through the whole list of re-appointments and so forth, for commisisoners, CEOs and the likes. What NZ lacks is more controls, like a second house to keep Parliament as the Commons more under check.

    We have none of that, all we have is some Governor General, who always does what his ministers tell him, we have an overworked, over stressed and under resourced Ombudsman, we have various Commissioners to just off-load cases so they do not go to court and cost the taxpayer money, we have a tighter legal aid scheme now, where most, even when well justified, do NOT get a shit chance to have a lawyer to be represented and to get justice, we have a system more akin to a modern day, soft style DICTATORSHIP.

    I do NOT like it, I am angry, and I wish at times I never came back to little back stop post colonial “developing story”, but hey, you still have a chance to wake up enough minds and souls to stir something up and change things (back) to a more just and decent system. But then “find” the minds and heads, where brainwashing and commercialisation and envy and division are RAMPANT. I am NOT kidding, I see and hear it every day here in megalopolis Auckland, that Len Brown wants to “grow” into a close to 3 million city. Whoa, get off my back thanks!

    • dumrse 13.1

      Well there’s an invite that can’t be left unanswered….
      “and I wish at times I never came back…”
      So, if NZ politics are so bad as to make you “angry” why don’t you just head straight back to wherever it was!

      • xtasy 13.1.1

        dumrse:

        “So, if NZ politics are so bad as to make you “angry” why don’t you just head straight back to wherever it was!”

        Before I go, I feel I have a duty to make sure, that people with a mindset resembling twisted thinking – like some of what I have detected in certain comments from you, get the message about what the truth in their own country is.

        Do not shoot the messenger, start sorting out the crap that goes on in NZ.

        And if you cannot be bothered, then perhaps face the music from critics who raise what is rotten here.

        But sad thing is, some have the ostriches “head in the sand” attitude, see no evil, hear no evil, know no evil, show no responsibility.

    • Wairua 13.2

      Xtasy, t’was ever thus. Have you talked to Tangata Whenua recently ?

      It is just that the worm has turned and that many people in the Antipodes (yep that’s us)
      are living their lives as if nothing has changed in the last few years.

      Your cognitive model may be akin to that of a Rhodesian settler, but our reality is approaching
      that of the the Phillipines (or Hawai’i ?)

      It should be no surprise that the economic elite, accurately described as as an oligarchy (see Aristotle) has given us the choice between an accountant who ran a boom-time currency trading floor and emulates Muldoon, and a former international public servant named after an indispensible trade in the early days of our colony

      http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_is_Waltzing_Matilda_so_important

      who helped privatise Iraq and advocated mercenaries

      http://www.fafo.no/pub/rapp/531/531.pdf
      http://www.operationspaix.net/DATA/DOCUMENT/5217~v~The_Impact_of_Private_Security_Companies_on_Somalias_Governance_Networks.pdf

      The CV of a Spy Boss

      and is understandably finding it difficult to adjust as leader of the Labour party.

      In the meantime the amount of private sector debt linked to property speculation exposes us to
      the same fate as Cyprus. It seems we are in for interesting times, whoever is in power.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_you_live_in_interesting_times

      We need good government, irrespective of party or personality.

  14. Johnny 14

    here’s the contempt of parliament paperwork

    http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/Documents/TableOffice/TabledPapers/2011/5311T4802.pdf

    lucky he didn’t tell the NZ parliament Dotcom was the only case of illegal spying (just the media) now that it appears there might be 85 plus cases

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  • Abortion Legislation Bill passes third reading
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  • The ‘herd immunity’ route to fighting coronavirus is unethical and potentially dangerous
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  • One simple, common factor to success against COVID-19
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  • Week That Was: COVID-19 Alert Level 4
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  • SPEECH: Green Party Co-leader James Shaw – Ministerial statement on State of National Emergency an...
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  • Winston Peters urging New Zealanders overseas to stay put
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  • New Zealanders overseas encouraged to shelter in place
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  • Ground-breaking abortion law passes, giving NZers compassionate healthcare
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  • Package supports Kiwis to put collective health first
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  • Winston Peters: COVID-19 rescue package ‘more significant’ than any worldwide
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  • Our response to COVID-19
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  • ‘Demerit Points System’ will address youth crime
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  • Investment in kingfish farming
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  • 1BT grants for Northland planting
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  • New Zealand reaffirms support for Flight MH17 judicial process
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  • PGF investment in green hydrogen
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  • Coronavirus support for Pacific
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  • Green Party passes landmark law to ensure deaf and disabled voices heard equally in democracy
    Chlöe Swarbrick's Members Bill to support disabled general election candidates has passed into law. ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
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  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
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  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
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    3 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
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    3 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
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  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
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  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
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  • COVID-19 updates
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  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
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    4 days ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
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  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
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  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
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  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
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  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
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  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
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  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
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  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
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  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
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    6 days ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
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    6 days ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
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    7 days ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
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    7 days ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
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    7 days ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
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    7 days ago
  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand temporarily closes diplomatic posts in Barbados and Myanmar due to COVID-19
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    1 week ago
  • Supporting Māori communities and businesses through
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Guidelines for hospitality establishments released
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    1 week ago
  • Nation steps up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2
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    1 week ago
  • PM Address – Covid-19 Update
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    1 week ago
  • NZ and Singapore commit to keeping supply and trade links open, including on essential goods and med...
    New Zealand and Singapore have jointly committed to keep supply chains open and to remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the commitment. “This is an important collective response, and ...
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    1 week ago
  • Joint Ministerial Statement by Singapore and New Zealand -Covid-19 situation
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    1 week ago
  • Transit between Australia and New Zealand
    Travel restrictions, closing our border to almost all travelers came into force from 23:59 on Thursday 19 March 2020 (NZDT).  All airlines were informed of these restrictions before they came into force. Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says “The transit of passengers between Australia and New Zealand has been agreed upon and ...
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    1 week ago
  • $100 million to redeploy workers
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More support for wood processing
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt steps in to protect Air New Zealand
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Stronger border measures to protect NZers from COVID-19
    The Government has taken further measures to protect New Zealanders from the COVID-19 virus, effectively stopping all people from boarding a plane to New Zealand from 11:59pm today, except for returning New Zealanders, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.  New Zealanders’ partners, legal guardians or any dependent children travelling with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Action on indoor gatherings and events to protect public health
    The Government has reinforced its commitment to protecting the health of New Zealanders from COVID-19 through the cancellation of indoor events with more than 100 people.  “Protecting the health of New Zealanders is our number one priority, and that means we need to reduce the risks associated with large gatherings,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealanders advised not to travel overseas
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt announces aviation relief package
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today outlined the first tranche of the $600 million aviation sector relief package announced earlier this week as part of the Government’s $12.1 billion COVID-19 economic response. The initial part of the aviation package aims to secure the operators of New Zealand’s aviation security system, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago

  • ICYMI Business: Chorus and Stride hopeful
    ASB sees 6 percent GDP fall in 2020; Chorus, King Salmon and Stride reassure their profits are still on track; Augusta withdraws fund on rent relief fears; US stocks slide again; US jobs data looms ...
    10 mins ago
  • The Bulletin: When are we getting out of lockdown?
    Good morning and welcome to The Bulletin. In today’s edition: Conditions for leaving lockdown explored, nation’s first death from Covid-19 reported, and Australian govt continues to discriminate against NZers.When will the Covid-19 lockdown across New Zealand end? Short answer – when it’s actually safe to do so. Officially, the current state ...
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    28 mins ago
  • Covid-19 live updates, March 30: Australia bans gatherings of more than two as it nears 4,000 cases
    For all The Spinoff’s latest coverage of Covid-19 see here. Read Siouxsie Wiles’s work hereNew Zealand is currently in alert level four. The country is shut down, apart from essential services. For updated official government advice, see here.The Spinoff’s coverage of the Covid-19 outbreak is funded by The Spinoff Members. To support this work, join The ...
    The SpinoffBy The Spinoff
    46 mins ago
  • Coronavirus: PM backs families battling to keep seniors in their bubble
    People over 70 and those with underlying health conditions faced the lockdown four days before the rest of the country - but some of the elderly still aren't taking any notice. ...
    46 mins ago
  • A photo essay on the one thing to keep you sane in the lockdown: bookshelves
    Steve Braunias presents a photo essay of the one thing that New Zealanders are holding close to their hearts during the Lockdown: their bookshelves. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's bookcase at Premier House in Wellington. The photograph which she posted this weekend on her Instagram page reveals two novels by Elizabeth ...
    1 hour ago
  • Glimmer of hope for Lake Alice victims
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    1 hour ago
  • Emma Espiner: Sunday at Countdown
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    2 hours ago
  • Society’s ‘invisible bonds’ come into the light
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    2 hours ago
  • Practise, practise, practise: The Black Fern and the law
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  • Like being randomly pricked with a pin … and worse
    Having toughed it out alone with Covid-19 and survived, one Kiwi man learned the hard way how self-isolation really can save lives, writes Jill Herron Choosing to self-isolate early with only Sophie the spaniel as company led to a lonesome, rough ride through Covid-19 for a Christchurch asthmatic – but ...
    2 hours ago
  • Love in the times of Covid-19
    As we begin what could become a long period of self-isolation, we encounter a dilemma. On the one hand, epidemiological research and recent global events show us the dangers of not responding swiftly to Covid-19. With community spread now within our shores, it is critical that we follow government orders ...
    2 hours ago
  • The fears of community health and care workers
    Community health and care workers talk of their fear of infection  -  for themselves, their vulnerable clients and New Zealand Over the last few days, Newsroom has written several articles about the fact that thousands of home and community health care workers, who care for elderly, disabled and sick people, have ...
    2 hours ago
  • Covid-19: Petitions launched demanding ‘hazard pay’ for essential workers
    Calls are growing for extra payment for those who continue to head out to work every day, including many on very low wages.The Spinoff’s coverage of the Covid-19 outbreak is funded by The Spinoff Members. To support this work, join The Spinoff Members here.Two petitions have been circulating over the weekend ...
    The SpinoffBy Toby Manhire
    2 hours ago
  • History, hope, and Covid-19
    Covid-19 will transform society, just as the plague and smallpox transformed nations centuries ago. This time, however, we have something they didn’t, writes historian Ayelet Zoran-Rosen.Throughout history, epidemics and pandemics have been a threat to people and states. They strike societies with little or no notice, upend their social and ...
    The SpinoffBy Ayelet Zoran-Rosen
    2 hours ago
  • Christchurch, coronavirus and the ‘new normal’
    The Covid-19 epidemic is only the second time New Zealand has entered a state of national emergency. Newsroom’s Sam Sachdeva had first-hand experience of the first  - the devastating Christchurch earthquakes - and tries to make sense of how the two compare. There is so much that is new about New ...
    2 hours ago
  • The virus as a Vector for power use switch
    In another of his interviews with key industry CEOs on their response to the Covid-19 crisis, Rod Oram talks with Simon Mackenzie of lines company Vector, who expects permanent changes in where and why people consume electricity even once the lockdown ends At mid-afternoon on Wednesday, nine hours before New ...
    2 hours ago
  • Facebook hires AAP for NZ fact-checking
    In the lead-up to the general election, Facebook has launched a fact-checking service for New Zealand and the Pacific, Marc Daalder reports Facebook has contracted the Australian Associated Press' fact-checking division to serve as a certified agency to review content pertaining to New Zealand and the Pacific and rate its ...
    2 hours ago
  • Govt’s ComCom Covid-19 directions illegal and irrational
    The Consumers' Union of Aotearoa has issued a challenge against Kris Faafoi's ministerial press statement which instructed the Commerce Commission to relax its standards for supermarkets and telecommunications companies[*]. ...
    3 hours ago
  • Public gatherings restricted to two people and all foreign investment proposals scrutinised, in new ...
    Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra No more than two people are to gather together in public spaces, and playgrounds will be closed in the latest restrictions in the coronavirus crisis. Meanwhile the government will now scrutinise all foreign investment proposals ...
    Evening ReportBy The Conversation
    7 hours ago
  • Give people and businesses money now they can pay back later (if and when they can)
    Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Linda Botterill, Professor in Australian Politics, University of Canberra The novel coronavirus sees Australia facing major unprecedented health and economic crises. The key to preventing a downward spiral of the economy is to avoid a collapse in incomes of newly laid-off workers ...
    Evening ReportBy The Conversation
    9 hours ago
  • How Ardern’s coronavirus kindness theme can become contagious
    The South African ‘Don’t Panic Buy’ jingle. Video: ENCA/PickNSave PACIFIC PANDEMIC DIARY: By David Robie, self-isolating in Auckland under New Zealand’s Covid-19 lockdown as part of a new Pacific Media Watch series. A South African celebrity jingle that has gone viral at the end of this week could easily ...
    Evening ReportBy Asia Pacific Report
    11 hours ago
  • Government says Australia’s coronavirus curve may be flattening
    Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra The federal government says there are signs the coronavirus curve may be flattening in Australia. Scott Morrison told a Sunday news conference the rate of increase in cases had fallen to about 13-15% a day ...
    Evening ReportBy The Conversation
    13 hours ago
  • Broadband and data usage surges as New Zealanders reach out
    Whether to connect with friends and colleagues, catch up on news, or stave off the boredom with bingeable TV, we’ve all been on our devices a lot more than normal.Vodafone has released a summary of its traffic stats for the past six days, which compares phone calls, broadband, and mobile ...
    The SpinoffBy Michael Andrew
    15 hours ago
  • Rushed Vaping Bill During Covid-19, Grossly Unfair
    New Zealand vaping representatives have joined forces to condemn the Government continuing with its plan to rush legislation through Parliament to regulate vaping despite the Covid-19 lockdown. The Vaping Trade Association of New Zealand (VTANZ), ...
    15 hours ago
  • Locked down and locked out in Australia
    Celebrated Kiwi author and expat Ian Brodie adds his voice to pleas for the Australian government to relax welfare rules and help more than half a million vulnerable New Zealanders, writes Jill Herron. Brothers in arms, we are not. That’s the call from award-winning Kiwi author, photographer and film tourism ...
    16 hours ago
  • Review: Netflix’s addictive Tiger King will leave you feeling grubby for watching
    The new true crime documentary sensation shares many of the flaws of its own subject, writes Sam Brooks.Joe Exotic, the man at the centre of Netflix’s new documentary series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, is a star. There’s an unnerving charisma that burns through the tattooed eyeliner, the sickly ...
    The SpinoffBy Sam Brooks
    16 hours ago
  • NZ lockdown – Day 4: First death in New Zealand from coronavirus
    By RNZ News New Zealand’s Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have confirmed the country’s first death from the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Dr Bloomfield said New Zealand had its first death today, after a woman who was initially diagnosed with influenza died. The woman ...
    Evening ReportBy Asia Pacific Report
    16 hours ago
  • Covid-19 in NZ – Sunday’s numbers charted
    How is Covid-19 spreading within the country? Newsroom is collating information as it's available to paint a picture of what's happening. There were 63 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, down from the previous day's 83 new cases. Details of how many tests have been completed are now being released ...
    16 hours ago
  • PNG’s Health Minister Jelta Wong ‘sidelines’ Kramer in virus briefings
    Papua New Guinea will have only one press release in the afternoons at 4:00pm daily to give updates on the Covid–19 in the country in a reshuffle of information briefings. Health Minister Jelta Wong announced this when visited the office of the PNG Nurses Association accompanied by his department’s ...
    Evening ReportBy Asia Pacific Report
    17 hours ago
  • First Covid-19 death in New Zealand
    New Zealand has had its first death linked to Covid-19. The patient, a woman in her 70s on the West Coast, was admitted to hospital with what was thought to be influenza complicated by underlying health conditions. She was later diagnosed with Covid-19. The woman's family has asked for privacy ...
    18 hours ago
  • President Lú-Olo declares Timor-Leste state of emergency over coronavirus
    Pacific Media Watch The President of Timor-Leste, Francisco Guterres Lú-Olo, has declared a state of emergency to enable the government to address the global Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. The state of emergency started last night at midnight and it will run until the night of April 26. Timor-Leste’s National Parliament ...
    Evening ReportBy Asia Pacific Report
    18 hours ago
  • Cut Traffic Speeds To Reduce Pressure On Hospitals, Say Cycling Advocates
    It’s time to lower traffic speeds to reduce crashes and free up hospital beds, say cycling advocates. "This will reduce harm and ease the burden on our health workers and emergency services," says Patrick Morgan from Cycling Action Network. ...
    18 hours ago
  • Pacific coronavirus: French Polynesia Covid-19 tally rises to 34
    By RNZ Pacific The number of people testing positive for Covid-19 in French Polynesia has risen by four to 34. The update from the government said the hospitalisation rate is unchanged with one person in care. Last night a curfew was declared for the first time, forcing residents across ...
    Evening ReportBy Asia Pacific Report
    19 hours ago
  • Ohura Medieval Market Day, and the fight to keep a small town standing
    It’s a town where people often feel the rest of the country has given up on them, in the middle of a region where every place feels isolated. So how did Ohura become an unlikely centre of Medieval Combat sports in New Zealand? Alex Braae spent three days there finding ...
    The SpinoffBy Alex Braae
    20 hours ago
  • Coronavirus – analysing the data makes you think we could do with more of it
    If you want to understand some of the thinking behind the policy response to the spread of coronavirus, you might want to read the paper from the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team, which is credited with accelerating the introduction of the current lockdown measures in the UK. The paper builds ...
    Point of OrderBy xtrdnry
    20 hours ago
  • The Pink Jumpsuit: An essay about the bubbles we live in
    ‘It seems like someone else’s dream of my past.’ For Emma Neale, the painting ‘Wanderlust’ by Dunedin artist Sharon Singer stirs memories of her childhood, and new understandings of guilt and forgiveness.There were gifts from my father when he came home from overseas trips. Love offerings; a bit like those ...
    The SpinoffBy Emma Neale
    20 hours ago
  • Māori Party delay launch to fight Covid-19
    The Māori Party is delaying the launch of its new-look party to fight Covid-19 in Māori communities. ...
    21 hours ago
  • Resuscitating a virus-ravaged economy – the answer lies in the soil and the exports it generates
    Westpac is forecasting 200,000 jobs will be lost in NZ as a result of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.  Chief economist Dominick Stephens estimates economic activity during the four week lock-down would decline by a third, despite the government and the Reserve Bank having “done a lot to calm ...
    Point of OrderBy tutere44
    22 hours ago
  • Renée, the Lockdown Letters #3: Help yourself to my rhubarb
    In our new series The Lockdown Letters, some of New Zealand’s best writers tell us what they’ve been up to in the days of Covid-19 alert level four. Today, Ōtaki author Renée.I have a wild tomato flopping all over the path down the back of the veg garden. I picked a ...
    The SpinoffBy Renée
    22 hours ago
  • Covid-19 live updates, March 29
    For all The Spinoff’s latest coverage of Covid-19 see here. Read Siouxsie Wiles’s work here. New Zealand is currently in alert level four. The country is shut down, apart from essential services. For updated official government advice, see here. The Spinoff’s coverage of the Covid-19 outbreak is funded by The Spinoff Members. To support this ...
    The SpinoffBy Toby Manhire
    24 hours ago
  • Covid-19 scams: Here’s what you need to look out for
    Online criminals have been making the most of Covid-19 by preying on people’s fear and doubt. Here are some of the calling cards of these con artists.With most New Zealanders tucked up at home, digital devices are proving to be critical tools for staying connected with each other, making good ...
    The SpinoffBy Michael Andrew
    24 hours ago
  • A visit to the supermarket
    Author and illustrator Sarah Laing draws a rite of passage in The Lockdown. Reprinted with the permission of the author from  Let Me Be Frank, Sarah Laing's blog devoted to "Reading. Writing. Parenting. Angsting." Let Me Be Frank is also the ...
    1 day ago
  • Life on paws: How to deal with your pets during lockdown
    As New Zealand adjusts to a month of lockdown, many pet owners have questions about their furry friends. Alex Casey had a chat with the SPCA – here’s what she learned. AC: My cat had a disgusting abscess on his tail and now has to get his stitches out. ...
    The SpinoffBy Alex Casey
    1 day ago
  • No shops, no launches – but the NZ book scene is finding new ways to reach people under lockdown
    Books editor Catherine Woulfe takes an energising walk around the lockdown block of New Zealand books. When the bubbles settled over us they settled over the books too. Libraries were the first to shut down, then the physical bookstores and finally, the hammer blow: online sales and indeed any notion of ...
    The SpinoffBy The Spinoff Review of Books
    1 day ago
  • Fiji: A paradise under pandemic rules
    Convincing its citizens to take lockdown seriously will be a major challenge for Fiji’s government, writes Mandy De Vries. My husband, Howie, and I are lucky enough to live on the beautiful Coral Coast in Fiji. We started a tourism operation here two years ago which was, until recently, booming. ...
    1 day ago
  • We’re better placed now than GFC or 1987
    New Zealand’s businesses and government are far better prepared for the rapidly escalating global health and economic crisis than they were for the Global Financial Crisis in 2008-09 or the stock market crash in 1987, says Rob Campbell, one of the country’s most experienced corporate leaders. “Executive teams and boards ...
    1 day ago
  • Gavin Ellis: Time for adversity journalism
    Journalism commentator and former editor Gavin Ellis says media organisations play a vital role in keeping the community informed and, if possible, safe. They also have a crucial part to play in the maintenance of public order and morale, ­ just as they did in the 1940s. With the country in ...
    1 day ago
  • We’ve been forgotten: midwife
    The country has millions of protective gowns, gloves and eyewear – midwives ask: Where are they? David Williams reports Two days into a national lockdown some midwives didn’t have any protective equipment, adding to concerns about safeguards for frontline health workers. On Friday, announcements were made by the Health Ministry ...
    1 day ago
  • What lockdown could do for your business idea
    Covid-19 lockdown provides valuable time for planning a new business, as Dr Mary-Ellen Gordon explains You have a great idea for a business. You’ve been working to get it up and going. Then, just as you were starting to gain traction, the entire country and much of the rest of ...
    1 day ago
  • Covid-19: A catch-22 for our most vulnerable
    Low-income workers whose jobs have disappeared thanks to Covid-19 will increasingly need to access benefit income. When this happens, however, they lose a tax credit for their children. As a direct result of the Covid-19 crisis, the Government has improved its rescue policies for business. We now need to see urgent ...
    1 day ago
  • First boredom, then fear
    The strange energy of preparing for level four is over, now the dystopian reality has kicked in. Danyl Mclauchlan writes an essay about home life during a ‘cosy catastrophe’.We start by setting up our home workspaces, covering the kitchen table with such a thick mass of black cables and USB ...
    The SpinoffBy Danyl Mclauchlan
    1 day ago
  • All Australians will be able to access telehealth under new $1.1 billion coronavirus program
    Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra Scott Morrison will unvieil on Sunday a $1.1 billion set of measures to make Medicare telehealth services generally available during the coronavirus pandemic and to support mental health, domestic violence and community services. The “Medicare ...
    Evening ReportBy The Conversation
    1 day ago
  • Covid-19 in NZ – Saturday’s numbers charted
    How is Covid-19 spreading within the country? Newsroom is collating information as it's available to paint a picture of what's happening. There were 83 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, down from the previous day's 85 new cases. Details of how many tests have been completed are now bing released ...
    1 day ago
  • NZ lockdown – Day 3: PM Ardern chats with followers on Facebook
    By RNZ News New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke to her followers on Facebook today from her office in Premier House. Her chat lasted about 15 minutes and garnered more than 310,000 views. She discussed wage subsidies for full-time and part-time workers, personal protection equipment (PPE) supplies for ...
    Evening ReportBy Asia Pacific Report
    1 day ago
  • Effective coronavirus messages and fake news: Can we do better?
    COMMENTARY: By Bob Howarth (self-isolating in Australia after his latest trip to Timor-Leste) After days of web surfing for Covid-19 coronavirus news around the Asia-Pacific, two areas that appear to need improving in some countries are official communication and fact checking. So here’s my two cents, rupiah, kina or ...
    Evening ReportBy Asia Pacific Report
    2 days ago
  • The best binges on NEON for these extraordinary times
    Whether it’s a robot uprising, a woman catfishing into the publishing world or a bunch of lovestruck islanders, NEON has you covered. Here’s what we’re bingeing on NEON for the foreseeable future.WestworldJust in time for lockdown, there’s a buzz-worthy show with endless discussion points coming out on a weekly basis. ...
    The SpinoffBy The Spinoff
    2 days ago
  • Covid-19: Who really needs to be wearing protective gear?
    There’s been a lot of talk about PPE of late – do we have enough, is it getting to the right people, and who exactly are the right people, anyway? Here’s the latest official advice.The Ministry of Health has now circulated updated advice on the appropriate use of PPE (personal ...
    The SpinoffBy Leonie Hayden
    2 days ago
  • The face of the Covid-19 response: Who is Ashley Bloomfield?
    A month ago, not many had heard of Ashley Bloomfield. But as the Covid-19 response has ramped up, the director-general of health has become a calm, reassuring presence in a time of uncertainty and fear. Rachel Thomas profiles him, in a piece first published on RNZ.Today, Saturday, director-general of health ...
    The SpinoffBy Rachel Thomas
    2 days ago
  • To fish or not to fish – that is the question
    Jim Kayes tests the waters of social media to see how people are coping with being told to avoid their favourite pastime. “There is something ridiculously exhilarating about catching a fish. The thrill might have faded for the salty angler, but for this rookie, the novice still snagging fish hooks ...
    2 days ago
  • New PPE plan leaves community care workers without masks
    The Government yesterday reassured us there are plenty of masks for front line staff dealing with the public. Yet it seems home care workers, who provide up-close personal care for tens of thousands of people every day, won’t be given them. Yesterday two documents hit my inbox. One was a ...
    2 days ago
  • Don’t fret, folks – Hone’s sweet with the mayor so long as he sets up checkpoints and doesn’...
    Hobson’s Choice spokesman Don Brash (a former leader of the National and ACT Parties) is not alone in challenging the justification for tribes claiming to have closed roads to protect their people against Covid. Deputy Prime Minister and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters – his remarks apparently ignored by ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    2 days ago
  • Manaaki Key For Getting Though COVID-19
    Preliminary results from a survey investigating how well-equipped Māori whānau in the South Island are to stay at home for extended periods show that the majority are prepared to manage their short-term needs, but have increasing anxiety about ...
    2 days ago
  • Parliamentary Monitoring And Reporting Is Critical In Dealing With COVID-19 Responses
    "The risk of fraud and corruption is compounded during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. When quick decisions are necessary to move vast amounts of resources, bribery, fraud and corruption abound," says Suzanne Snively, Chair of Transparency International ...
    2 days ago
  • Pacific coronavirus: Guam still region’s hot spot with 51 plus cases
    By RNZ Pacific Guam remains the Pacific pandemic hot spot with the number of Covid-19 coronavirus cases climbing above 50. On Friday six people tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total to 51. Thirteen of the cases are currently in hospital. READ MORE: Al Jazeera live updates – ...
    Evening ReportBy Asia Pacific Report
    2 days ago
  • Outrage after Indonesian politicians get priority testing for Covid-19
    By Mong Palatino Many Indonesian internet users have expressed anger over the decision of the House of Representatives (DPR) to test its 575 members for Covid-19. Indonesia has a population of more than 260 million. As of today, the country has 913 Covid-19 positive cases with 87 deaths. But ...
    Evening ReportBy Asia Pacific Report
    2 days ago
  • Latest numbers: 83 new cases, two in ICU
    New Zealand has 78 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 and five probable cases, the Government has announced today, taking the total to 451. Civil Defence Emergency Management director Sarah Stuart-Black said 12 people are in hospital and two are in intensive care, including one on a ventilator. Twelve are in ...
    2 days ago
  • Covid-19: Total tops 450
    New Zealand has 78 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 and five probable cases, the Government has announced today, taking the total to 451. Civil Defence Emergency Management director Sarah Stuart-Black said 12 people are in hospital and two are in intensive care, including one on a ventilator. Twelve are in ...
    2 days ago
  • ‘We’re ready,’ says NCD chief Parkop with Port Moresby locked down
    By Michelle Steven in Port MoresbyPacific New Guinea’s National Capital City Covid-19 Task Force team is preparing ahead should there be a possible coronavirus case during the 14-day lockdown. NCD Governor Powes Parkop told a media conference that the capital city would be in total lockdown with no public ...
    Evening ReportBy Asia Pacific Report
    2 days ago
  • Automatic 3-month Visa Extension Granted For Every Migrant
    Leading immigration lawyer Aaron Martin assesses the impact of the announcement of the epidemic notice for migrants. Immigration New Zealand announced that the government epidemic management notice relating to immigration matters comes into effect on 2 ...
    2 days ago
  • Government rules magazines and community newspapers aren’t an essential service
    Just a tiny handful of print publications will continue through the lockdown, with only daily newspapers specifically identified as being able to continue. Duncan Greive spoke to publishers of magazines and community newspapers about the impact on them and their communities.Publishers of magazines and community newspapers are reeling, after a ...
    The SpinoffBy Duncan Greive
    2 days ago
  • Magazines and community papers aren’t an essential service, leaving some small towns and elderly w...
    Just a tiny handful of print publications will continue through the lockdown, with only daily newspapers specifically identified as being able to continue. Duncan Greive spoke to publishers of magazines and community newspapers about the impact on them and their communities.Publishers of magazines and community newspapers are reeling, after a ...
    The SpinoffBy Duncan Greive
    2 days ago
  • Coronavirus: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says no change in Australia’s stance to New Zealand...
    Jacinda Ardern has pleaded with the Australian Prime Minister to make an exception to the rule that bars many of the 650,000 New Zealanders there from receiving a benefit. ...
    2 days ago
  • Morgan Godfery, The Lockdown Letters #2: I’m never sleeping
    In our new series The Lockdown Letters, some of New Zealand’s best writers tell us what they’ve been up to in the days of Covid-19 alert level four. Today, political commentator and essayist Morgan Godfery.I’M TWEETING AT 2AM.The responsible part of my brain is sending sleep signals. Inconvenient yawns. The ...
    The SpinoffBy Morgan Godfery
    2 days ago
  • A review of Attraction, the road trip novel we need right now
    Take a vicarious roadie via Attraction, the novel by Ruby Porter that was longlisted for the country’s biggest fiction prize. Released last year, it’s now a slightly eerie snapshot of Aotearoa as we were. Attraction is a New Zealand road trip novel with a heavy dose of postcolonial guilt. Whitewashing, cultural ...
    The SpinoffBy Emma Gattey
    2 days ago
  • Iwi do their thing: helping those in need
    Iwi everywhere put support plans into action, focusing on their  kaumātua, writes Kayne Ngātokowhā Peters. Iwi are ramping up support services to assist their people in need following the closure of Ministry of Social Development offices and the move to online and phone assistance from Work and Income. Central North Island ...
    2 days ago