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Former Defence Minister Wayne Mapp: “As a nation we owe it to ourselves to find out”

Written By: - Date published: 12:26 pm, March 30th, 2017 - 45 comments
Categories: accountability, afghanistan, war - Tags: , ,

Former Defence Minister Wayne Mapp, who was one of the sources for Hit and Run, has written more on Operation Burnham on Pundit this morning:

Operation Burnham
by Wayne Mapp

We can honour both our soldiers and the Afghans, but only by finding out what really happened on that August night in 2010… though that may not require a full inquiry

I have no doubt that New Zealand soldiers act to the highest ethical standards. That is why it has always been clear to me that the actions of our soldiers on the operation were done with honest intent and professionally. Lt Gen Keating’s press conference on Monday 27 March more than amply confirmed that.

But that is not the end of the matter. I knew that the operation had not achieved its stated aims of arresting or otherwise dealing with the people who had been identified as leading and organising Taliban operations against the PRT (Provincial Reconstruction Team). I knew this because I was formally briefed on that fact at the time. I also knew that other people had been killed. As I have said in interviews, these people were acting as insurgents, in effect acting as enemy combatants.

As in all guerrilla war, it is often a case of villagers by day and insurgents by night. It was a reasonable and appropriate decision to engage them as they looked to be attacking the New Zealand soldiers on the ground. In such a case we have an absolute right to defend ourselves.

But it became clear later that it was also possible that were other casualties. In particular, the death of a three year-old girl.

This emerged in a television documentary in 2014. Stephenson also told me enough about what had happened for it to be believable that this could have occurred, even if it was not fully proven.

The law of armed conflict accepts that civilian casualties might occur in military operations, and in many cases there is no legal liability for them, particularly if they were accidental.

But for New Zealand, is that the end of the matter? Do we hold ourselves to a higher standard?

For me, it is not enough to say there might have been civilian casualties. As a nation we owe it to ourselves to find out, to the extent reasonably possible, if civilian causalities did occur, and if they did, to properly acknowledge that.

This does not necessarily require an independent inquiry, such as lawyer Deborah Manning wants. In fact we are most likely to get this sort of information through diplomatic approaches to the Afghan government, and trusted NGO’s on the ground.

Part of protecting their reputation is also finding out what happened, particularly if there is an allegation that civilian casualties may have been accidentally caused. In that way we both honour the soldiers, and also demonstrate to the Afghans that we hold ourselves to the highest ideals of respect of life, even in circumstances of military conflict.

Read the full piece on Pundit, and further coverage on The Spinoff.

45 comments on “Former Defence Minister Wayne Mapp: “As a nation we owe it to ourselves to find out””

    • reason 1.1

      Wayne has been far to vocal in his Pro war history for the ledger to be anywhere near paid on his part ….

      When watching Dirty Wars again I noticed something both chilling and so very very sad at the ending of this documentary movie …….

      At 1 hour 18 mins I believe we get a brief glimpse of the poor little girl who is the little sister of Abdulrahman al-Awlaki …… the 16 year old boy killed in the documentary.

      Making her the 8 year old girl murdered by one of Donald Trumps first goes in charge of green lighting of these special forces assassination teams ….

      Its so far beyond wrong to see a beautiful but sad child destined for death because of where she was born.

      Why do we let politicians like Mapp, Key etc get away with their warmongering ??

      Wayne was call us “standardistas” the other day … guess what the Contras did to them.

      Salvador option …

  1. bwaghorn 2

    wow well done Mr Mapp

    • Thinkerr 2.1

      “The true sign of a [person of integrity] is how [they] treat someone who can’t possibly do [them] any good”

      Can’t remember who said it, but it’s true.

  2. McFlock 3

    Yeah I thought it was a good, well-considered article

  3. One Two 4

    Our spieces must demand ‘truth’ on each and every aspect of ‘life’…

    Anything less forces each and every soul to live inside of a manufactured lie

  4. SpaceMonkey 5

    I agree. Well done Wayne Mapp and I agree with his overall stance here. But I read that he is still referring to the villagers “acting as insurgents” and that they “looked to be attacking” our soldiers.

    This runs counter to what Hager and Stephenson have recorded and I accept that this may be what Mapp believes, I assume based on his briefing from his Defence officials, which suggests that the NZDF may have misled their Minister.

    This further underscores the need for an inquiry. And it is simply due to the nature of the allegations and the Ministry at the centre of those allegations, in what is looking more and more to be a political cover-up, that the inquiry be full and independent.

    • John up North 5.1

      Yes! there needs to be a full and independent inquiry. I’m sure we’ve all seen enough of the current govts pretend inquiries with shoulder tapped members and terms so restrictive as to hobble and predetermine the outcome from the get-go.

      Full and Independent inquiry or we’re just getting more shit shoveled our way.

  5. Bill 6

    For me, it is not enough to say there might have been civilian casualties. As a nation we owe it to ourselves to find out, to the extent reasonably possible, if civilian causalities did occur, and if they did, to properly acknowledge that.

    Acknowledge. Is that it?

    Maybe I missed something, but to call for ‘acknowledgement’ is a big fat zero in terms of accountability, reparation, or potential culpability.

    Am I right in getting the sense, that the minister of the time saying some nice sounding stuff is enough to mollify people?

    • DoublePlusGood 6.1

      Well, he doesn’t want to end up in the Hague now, does he?

    • bwaghorn 6.2

      no but it’s a good start , how many nats have you ever seen show even an ounce of courage.

    • Wayne 6.3

      Bill,

      You should read the full item on Pundit. Only part of it is included in this “Notices and Features” article.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.3.1

        It was a reasonable and appropriate decision to engage them as they looked to be attacking the New Zealand soldiers on the ground. In such a case we have an absolute right to defend ourselves.

        I’ve read the whole article and various bits stick out – the above for example. I understand that the rules of engagement were such that “anyone who isn’t us” could be considered an enemy and engaged without further orders.

        Rules of engagement (pdf).
        Before each deployment the New Zealand Defence Force establishes rules of engagement, which set out when and to what extent force can and cannot be used. These rules are based on principles of New Zealand law and New Zealand’s international treaty obligations.

        The NZDF and SAS are fully aware of their obligations.

        SAS commanders warned the troops leaving for Afghanistan to obey the law. “Just because there’s a war,” one said, “doesn’t mean there are no rules. Whatever you do on the ground, imagine there’s a New Zealander over your shoulder looking at that.”

        For troops going into an area where the enemy mix with civilians, at night, with the acknowledged limitations of night-vision equipment, the rules of engagement in this case strike me as taking a cavalier attitude towards the safety of non-combatants.

        • exkiwiforces 6.3.1.1

          Welcome to my to world OBA, there has countless night raids that been conducted in Gan and they are still happen at this very moment. They are night time ops in a urban environment of any type of operation is most complex operation that anyone like me to going to experience in his or her (yes women are now in All Arms units) military career.
          I Can a sure you WE DON’T HAVE “a cavalier attitude towards the safety of non-combatants” it a risk we have take in knowing we must face in a urban environment and we must have a plan in orders to deal possible non-combatants.
          Each building, door, room etc we face we don’t know what’s on the other side and we have split seconds to decide what course of action to take. Once the shoot starts it fast, violent, incredible noisy and lots and lots yelling. Its the quick or the dead this isn’t door knocking for a election or asking a donation here, this is close and personal as you get to see the eyes of your enemy/ foe/ enemy combatant.
          You can have all the night fighting gadgets in the world on hand, but you always going to have the risk of non- combatants regardless where you are on this planet.

          • Cinny 6.3.1.1.1

            Question please ExKiwiForces

            If a person were to be taken down, no matter if they were a combatant or non combatant. Would the unit upon securing their own safety, go to assist the injured? And does that actually happen please? Thank you

            It would be very difficult to have control in such a stressful situation, control of ones reaction in split seconds, life or death moments. I guess that’s the reason they send in the elite, the SAS, because they would be trained to have such control. I still don’t understand why we have been in Afghanistan for so long.

            There seems to be major blurred lines between whether those killed/injured were combatants or not. By doing such it changes the narrative as to what is acceptable to the public. Another reason for an independent inquiry,

            • exkiwiforces 6.3.1.1.1.1

              To answer your first Question: Yes and its after the event/ operation and if its me it’s find cover if possible, apply self aid, if your buddy is close and is not too busy he might come over and help you or else you are on own until the area is secure. Please Note: I’m only using our units TTP’s or in old money SOP’s and i’m not speaking on behalf of anyone else’s TTP’s.

              Afghanistan was your classic COIN operation and this type of warfare by nature if its done right from the get go is a long one about 10 to15 yrs plus and if you balls it up during any part of it then becomes a right mess. Best way to describe COIN I’ve found its like playing chess as you have to think 3-4 moves ahead of your opponent. Peacekeeping is the same approach its a long game not a short one. Everyone need to understand from the get go, you need to be in it for the long haul and if you are not committed for the long haul don’t do it as you are wasting time, putting peoples lives at risk and above all taxpayers money which could better spent on something else.

              I think I’ve mention it here on the Standard before or somewhere else a long time ago. The United States Military did not have a Counter Insurgency doctrine/ manual since Vietnam and from what David Kilcullen has said the US Military wanted to avoid this type of warfare since Vietnam. David has also said they were making Counter Insurgency policy up as they went all trial and error stuff.

              • Cinny

                Thank you ExKiwiForces, much appreciated, helps me to get my head around things. Thanks again for your insight.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 6.3.1.1.2

            I understand that there’s a risk. I’m saying the rules of engagement for this op made civilian casualties inevitable.

            • exkiwiforces 6.3.1.1.2.1

              Rules of engagements when operating in a urban environment at night such as that SAS raid are real bitch because there is one thing you can’t do is predict human reaction. Having all the night fighting gadgets in the world on hand doesn’t make it any easily and some guys will say it makes life harder for them.

              Depending on the type of mission you are on civilian casualties are going to inevitable if the civilians haven’t moved out regardless if day or night. For example just look at the fighting in Mosul ATM.

      • Bill 6.3.2

        Fair enough. I’ve just this minute read it.

        What I’m getting (correct if I’m wrong) is an attempt to reify this thing we call New Zealand. That may be entirely unconscious or ‘natural’ on your part. But the effect is to ‘shield’ or distances soldiers from their actions and likewise politicians from their decisions.

        So right from the get go, we are being asked to consider (in relation to military conflict) – that New Zealand’s “conduct is weighed in the balance” …not soldiers and politicians either individually or collectively.

        From that starting point, you then go on to…well, I’ll just quote you (and add reasonable emphasis)

        I have said in interviews, these people were acting as insurgents, in effect acting as enemy combatants.

        Also noting the use of the pejorative or dismissive phrase “these people” in addition to stating as a fact that NZ soldiers were confronted by people acting as an enemy.

        It was a reasonable and appropriate decision to engage them as they looked to be attacking the New Zealand soldiers on the ground

        Again the bias. The claim is being made that soldiers thought they were under attack. It’s not an established fact. (I’m sure you can see the same ugly path opening up before us as I can if that claim happens to be false)

        Interestingly, when you move on to the killing of a wee girl, your language changes. Now it’s all couched in qualifiers like “possible” and “believable” and “could have occurred” being stacked against “even though not proven”.

        So villagers (these people in you words) were acting as enemy combatants. That’s presented as a bald fact.

        A wee girl is dead and that’s a humming and harring ‘possibly maybe’ slipped between gooey wrappers of apparent reasonableness. To be honest, that’s where my sense of disgust kind of rears up.

        And then your ‘piece’ wraps up nicely with reassurances of NZ’s higher or superior morality and its sense of ‘fair play’ (the reification again)….before pointing to out to any remaining skeptics that the evil the soldiers faced…well, and this doesn’t actually make any sense, but you wrote “The risk of capture of our soldiers by the Taliban would be beyond contemplation.”

        So I could look at all you’ve written and reasonably conclude (not that you’d want me to conclude this) that villagers got shot up in the middle of the night because NZ soldiers couldn’t contemplate being captured by Taliban, and that level of fear and paranoia turned every Afghan into a Taliban combatant (and all combatants always attack) and it’s not any NZ soldier’s fault that a wee three year old lass was ‘possibly’ or ‘believably’ or ‘perhaps just maybe’ in the vicinity of NZ soldiers’ imaginary bogey men and women who were, rather incidentally as it turns out, real people…villagers…these people.

        And anyway, what the hey, it’s all about this thing called New Zealand and nothing to do with soldiers and guns and orders and dead people.

        That’s my first impression. I may go back and give it a closer second read. I doubt it though – feeling like I’ve read enough.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 6.3.2.1

          “…villagers were acting as enemy combatants.”

          According to the rules of engagement for Operation Burnham, potential threats were considered real per se.

          People moving into ‘strategic positions’ at night are indistinguishable from civilians fleeing for their lives.

          Once the villagers fled their homes and moved for better cover, they were inevitably targeted by the troops following the rules of engagement. It’s one thing for civilian casualties to be inevitable in war, it’s quite another to plan an operation that makes them inevitable.

          Underlying this fiasco is another issue: Parliament put our troops in harm’s way, lacking a clear military objective, and reliant on dubious “intelligence”.

          War! What is it good for? Several things, but not this crap.

        • In Vino 6.3.2.2

          Well said, Bill

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.4

      It makes a change from the combination of denial and personal attacks from the NZDF and the National Party.

      It’s encouraging rather than mollifying.

  6. xanthe 7

    looking back now that the dust has settled a bit is it fair to say that the only confusion around which villages comes to their “geolocation” ie lat and long on whatever earth model is accepted. not which villages actually were attacked.?

    or is the idea that the “NZDF wasnt at the villages named in the book” still being promoted?

  7. ianmac 8

    I suppose polls are showing largely disinterest from the population. So English has decided to sit tight and let it fade to be overtaken by more pressing matters like who is more popular than Andrew, or will we buy more tanks, or how swimmable water is in NZ, how Labour caused the Wellington fog or…….

  8. Anne 9

    Thank-you Wayne Mapp. You’re showing a level of sophisticated thinking that has yet to be accomplished by most of your former Govt colleagues – including Prime Minister, Bill English.

    However I disagree with you on two points:

    First, the Chief of Defence Forces, Tim Keating came across to me as obfuscating and attempting (subtly) to discredit the painstaking work of the two authors who put the story together in what was an exemplary fashion. He was also unable to acknowledge the fact that both of these authors are internationally highly regarded for their journalistic work. He even went so far as to suggest (sarcastically) there must have been two raids that night… one which the NZSAS were at… and another one which ‘goodness knows who’ were at. (I paraphrase.) A rather silly approach in my view when it is clear there was only one raid.

    Second, any investigation most definitely needs to be independent of all the parties involved. They can be called as witnesses etc. of course but neither they nor the govt. should be setting the terms of references. The reason is simple. None of them can be trusted to be fully impartial re-any Inquiry. And I would be saying the same thing if a Labour-led government was in power!

    • the pigman 9.1

      Obfuscating is putting it lightly, Keating was treating the media who were asking him legitimate, truth-seeking questions with utter disdain. Like naughty schoolchildren while he pulled his stern headmaster routine.

      If people would take off their Wayne-tinted glasses for a second, you’d realise that Wayne is engaging in more obfuscation by rubbishing the idea that an independent inquiry is necessary. The fucking eyewitness whisteblowers need to be spoken to by a judge-led inquiry knowing they’re not going to get the same treatment from Keating.

  9. millsy 10

    Should never have gone there in the first place. Only way to not get incidents like this.

    • In Vino 10.1

      Despite claims that Iraq/Afghanistan was “nothing like Vietnam”, it appears that none of these idiots learnt anything from Vietnam. Neither Kiwis nor Americans.

      “We learn from history that no one learns from history.” Hegel, I think.

  10. the pigman 11

    Total whitewash. More undeserved praise.

    Wayne expresses total pre-determination as to the issue of whether those killed were distinguished as enemy combatants/illegal combatants rather than civilians. The information is that one of them were fucking armed, for a start.

    As for putting the need for an inquiry on the Afghan government, my understanding is (and I haven’t got my copy of the book in hand yet) is that the local government already records these as civilian casualties.

    There are eyewitnesses who have dispelled the official NZDF/Keating account and spoken to Hager. They need to be spoken to by an NZ-led independent inquiry.

    The fawning and slobbering over Wayne’s 1-inch compromise is sickening. Gessumgussuhngetontheroightsoide.

    • Bill 11.1

      Guessing that last bit isn’t an articulated ‘doffing of the cap’ then pigman? 😉

      • the pigman 11.1.1

        The Right Honourable 38th Prime Minister of New Zealand came out with some good stuff occasionally 😉

        I was disappointed his frothy warmongering and throat-slit performances didn’t make it into any of the Keys “best-of” retrospectives. There’s always time for that at the John Keys: This is Your Life dinner.

    • Anne 11.2

      Yes I, for one, may have been too lenient… Time will tell the pigman. I hope you’re wrong but fear you might be right.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 11.3

      “sickening”

      Will you be ok?

      After all, it’s the first public indication that anyone outside of the SAS is prepared to stand up and be counted at all. To put it military terms, Mapp brings actionable intel from the enemy* camp and you want to punish him?

      *the enemies of human rights and the rule of law: that camp.

  11. Anne 12

    You won’t find a better overall view than this one from Paul Buchanan.

    Recorded on Morning Report:

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/201838494/security-analyst-paul-buchanan-sifts-through-hit-and-run-claims

  12. Sacha 13

    http://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/30-03-2017/as-a-nation-we-owe-it-to-ourselves-to-find-out-former-defence-minister-wayne-mapp-admits-he-was-a-source-for-hit-and-run/

    “He goes on to argue that irrespective of fault, compensation should be paid by New Zealand to the Afghan victims”

    Good suggestion but does not remove the need for a proper inquiry.

  13. xanthe 14

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1703/S00363/further-information-on-operation-burnham.htm

    well this is the latest position of the lawers acting for the victims. would seem to show the NZDF position to be simple obfustication (but hey they held back the tide for a few hours so i guess thats a sucess in their books)

  14. Tamati Tautuhi 15

    At least Mapp has an open mind on NZ’s operations in Afghanistan, if you do not look at the past you do not understand the future. After all he was Minister of Defence.

    Obviously some questions need to be asked and clarification sought. Fighting in these countries is extremely difficult especially when it is difficult to distinguish who the actual enemy is. They don’t have fluoro jackets on with Taliban written on them in black writing?

  15. esoteric pineapples 16

    The problem was that this was a “revenge” mission. Before it ever happened I remember the government/military talking about revenge and thought this was wrong at the time. What happened next was that innocent people died, just like they usually do when people take revenge.

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    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    4 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    5 days ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    5 days ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    5 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    6 days ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    6 days ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    6 days ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    6 days ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    7 days ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    7 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    7 days ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    1 week ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    1 week ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    2 weeks ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    2 weeks ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
    The coronavirus pandemic has of course had a major impact on individual lives and on societies as a whole. But, long after the crisis has passed (assuming it does), we will begin to realise that its real and lasting significance lies in the lessons it has taught us, if only ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
    COVID-19 has plunged Aotearoa New Zealand (indeed, the world) into territory that, while maybe not totally unprecedented, certainly hasn’t been seen during the lifetimes of most of us here today. Our borders are closed to non-citizens, we’re being told not to gather in groups of more than 500 outside/100 inside, ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    2 weeks ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been urging you to prepare yourself, your family, business, and community for Covid-19. Now it’s time for real action.  Yesterday the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced another 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing our total to date to 52. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    2 weeks ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020 Editor's Pick Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts   Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
    by Cultural Worker Late March 2020 amidst the virus. With gigs crashing and burning all around it was without much hope that I called a long standing rest home booking: “ Hi, I’m supposed to be entertaining at your place this afternoon – is it still on?” “”If you don’t ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
    Whenever people demand real change from their politicians, we're told that "politics is the art of the possible". The implication is that change isn't possible, so we'd better just get used to the sucky status quo. But now that there's a pandemic, a lot of things we were previously told ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and 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 today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government working to keep air freight moving
    Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has today announced details of the Government’s support package to keep key air freight moving and ensure New Zealanders retain access to essential goods during the four-week level 4 lockdown. “The Government is working with airlines and air freight operators to ensure New Zealand’s key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, then Level 4 in 48 hours
    New Zealand moved up to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict New Zealand to move up to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate, in 48 hours Two-staged approach to give people and businesses time to prepare  Level 3, from tomorrow Non-essential businesses must close All events and gatherings must be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister: COVID-19 Alert Level increased
    Good afternoon  The Cabinet met this morning to discuss our next actions in the fight against COVID-19.  Like the rest of the world, we are facing the potential for devastating impacts from this virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, do we have a small window to get ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt takes significant economic decisions as NZ readies for Alert Level 4 in COVID-19 fight
    The Government is announcing significant further support for the economy, workers and businesses as the country unites to prepare for Alert Level 4 in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet today agreed to remove the cap on the Government’s wage subsidy scheme, which will inject a further $4 billion into the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt backs RBNZ move to support economy with lower interest rates
    The Government is backing the Reserve Bank’s latest action to support the economy by reducing longer-term interest rates, meaning lower costs for businesses and mortgage holders, and a lower currency to help our exporters. The Minister of Finance has signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of indemnity with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Government statement on commercial cooperation during COVID-19
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