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GCSB changes – outrageous anti-democratic

Written By: - Date published: 6:13 pm, April 15th, 2013 - 42 comments
Categories: accountability, class war, democracy under attack, International, john key, slippery, Spying - Tags: , ,

Key has announced  major changes to the GCSB roles that will include assisting business, the SIS and the police in spying against Kiwis.

This is outrageous.  There are good reasons why there has previously been a separation of the roles of the GCSB (spying on non-Kiwis), the SIS (surveillance of NZ residents and citizens), and the investigations into crime by the police.  It is a check against consolidation of power, and against the NZ intelligence services assisting foreign governments in surveillance of NZ citizens, in their own interests.

Using the GCSB to assist the corporates will give further strength to the war on the poor.

42 comments on “GCSB changes – outrageous anti-democratic”

  1. felix 1

    Centralisation of power. Let’s see who’s really a fan of bigger, stronger government.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    and help to both public and private sector organisations

    So, we get our own intelligence spying on us for the benefit of foreign corporations – great.

    Well, if you had any doubt about who this government was governing for they should now be well and truly buried. This government is governing for the corporations and against NZers.

  3. Red Rosa 3

    No need to re-invent the wheel.

    A quick trip to the old East Germany should do it. Their Stasi worked just fine, kept the population in line. Employed a lot of people, too. Intercepted all letters and listened to all phone calls… well, as many as they could. Plenty of ex-Stasi people around, they could pop over and help set it up.

    This is truly outrageous.

    More than ever, we need an effective leader of the opposition. But Russel Norman is doing OK.

    • ghostrider888 3.1

      Russell Norman certainly is an effective thinker and articulate communicator with some Excellent people on his team.

      • Rhinocrates 3.1.1

        Agreement squared. This is outrageous indeed, and the crisis now could just provoke Key’s mob into truly repressive action.

        we need an effective leader of the opposition. But Russel Norman is doing OK.

        Right on with the explicit and implicit points. Russel Norman is doing a good job alright, and the “official” “opposition”, Labour In Name Only, is already telling us to bend over and saying that with enough lube it’ll be OK.

        The Greens know what they stand for.

        … and I guess LINO does too – their meal tickets at Bellamy’s.

        If Mumblefuck had an iota of principle, a mere mote of foresight and a splinter of a backbone, he’d be screaming his outrage, but he’s too terrified of offending the Talkback Taleban, because somehow, they’re the key to electoral victory, and principles be damned, he’s all for it with a few weasel remarks about enquiries and controls.

        • RedLogix 3.1.1.1

          he’s all for it with a few weasel remarks about enquiries and controls.

          I’ve tried to refrain from banging on about Shearer; but yes. Another grey moment from the grey man.

        • ghostrider888 3.1.1.2

          crossing over to you Rodeo Live

          • ghostrider888 3.1.1.2.1

            wow, how do you like them shiney green apples in the summertime. heehee

        • Mary 3.1.1.3

          Russel Norman was great today the way he said that any minister who’s performed as badly as Key has over the GCSB kerfuffle would be sacked for being so useless. It came across really well and so effectively. Opposition MPs need to say these sorts of things more often instead of pussyfooting around saying things like “If the PM was really serious about X he’d be doing Y”. The opposition need to start saying things how they are and be far more dismissive of what Nact’s doing, especially now when the attacks on the poor and on democracy are in overdrive.

          • felix 3.1.1.3.1

            Matthew Hooten said much the same thing on radio nz this morning.

            He reckons whoever came up with the wording for John Key’s answer to Robertson’s supplementary about the GCSB appointment ought to be sacked.

        • Jenny 3.1.1.4

          But Russel Norman is doing OK.

          Red Rosa

          Russel Norman is doing a good job alright,….

          Rhinocrates

          If Russel Norman was doing a good job, he would be calling for all New Zealanders who are concerned about civil liberties and the right to protest, to rally on the steps of parliament. And he would be challenging the Labour leaders to call out all their members and supporters too.

          No doubt we will hear that protest doesn’t work, from all the usual right wing sources.

          But it is the only thing proven to work when every other democratic outlet has failed.

          It worked over Schedule 4 land. The government quickly did a U turn.

          It worked over Nuclear Ships and apartheid.

          The massive numbers who rallied to support those causes are still there. They must be very concerned at the attacks on civil liberties and the right to protest that allowed them to achieve their victories.

          ….they need to be hammered hard over this – by the Opposition, media and public.

          GregJ

          2, 4, 6, 8,

          We Are All, “The 88”

  4. ianmac 4

    Be interesting to know just how long this has been planned. If it goes back say 3+ weeks then it might mean that Mr Key engineered the fuss.
    But the proposition seems outrageous misfortune to most NZers.
    The ODT Editorial seems even more urgent:
    “….Certainly, there seems much to answer for, which is why changing the law before a proper investigation of process has been carried out would be a gross abuse of power – and could have a gross impact on the average New Zealander. “

    http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/editorial/252936/spectre-big-brother

  5. Arfamo 5

    This is a serious development, especially given the proposed extension to private sector of some involvement there as well. Really need some leadership from opposition parties in loudly questioning everything about this idea.

  6. GregJ 6

    This is indeed outrageous – it needs widespread critical analysis, comment & condemnation. I would expect all the Opposition parties to oppose this loudly and vociferously.

    All parties with the exception of the Greens* voted for the GCSB Act in 2003 which made it clear that GCSB was not permitted to intercept domestic communication (with an exception when conducting surveillance on a NZ national who may be spying for a foreign power). Serious questions need to be asked on why National has now changed its position & why this situation has changed. It seems National is prepared to throw out the consensus between the major parties that normally works around intelligence and security matters – they need to be hammered hard over this – by the Opposition, media and public.

    *NB. I want to make it clear I’m not saying that the Greens were opposed to the idea of not spying on domestic comms by GCSB by opposing the bill – their objections were about the whole role and raison d’etre of GCSB.

  7. RedLogix 7

    More than ever before I can’t help but imagine the insane jibbering, in four inch high black headlines, from the media if Helen Clark had proposed this.

    This extraordinary power is to be given to a secret government organisation whose ONLY democratic accountability is to the Prime Minister.

    It was not decided whether the changes would retrospectively effect the more than 80 New Zealanders believed to have been illegally spied on.

    Paging burt….

    • ianmac 7.1

      RL: Or the illegality of the Dotcom spying. Maybe that is why the crisis has been set up now to avoid accountibility and Dotcom’s defence..

    • karol 7.2

      On only being accountable to the PM: key has included this:

      There would also be enhanced oversight arrangements, including a wider pool of candidates able to perform the role of inspector general of security and intelligence, meaning they do not have to be a retired high court judge; the inspector general’s office would be more pro-active, rather than review focused, and able to launch its own inquiries more easily; extra staff and resources; legislation expanding the inspector general’s work programme, and more transparency.

      But I’d like to see the small print . Will it still be under the PM’s ultimate authority? Will it include a bunch of people who Key shoulder tapped?

      • ghostrider888 7.2.1

        been consuming a lot of caffeine karol? you have been Mighty productive.

      • RedLogix 7.2.2

        Yes I was thinking of that point when I said democratic accountability. Beefing up the role of the Inspector General is plainly long overdue; that’s nothing more than what probably should have been done 20 years ago. But from a civil rights perspective it means little if the Inspector General is still essentially a creature of the PM.

        That’s the reason why other democracies have been so careful to separate these powers; so that state organisations which can spy on it’s own citizens are subject to substantially greater Parliamentary/Senate oversight than those focussed on ‘external’ threats.

        Now while there is good argument to suggest that in the modern world even that model has broken down somewhat as the whole “Five Eyes” and Dotcom debacle have shown … but Key is proposing to dismantle even that flimsy protection.

    • ghostrider888 7.3

      he and ernie top and tail

  8. weka 8

    What is ‘information assurance’?

    • karol 8.1

      Information assurance? Ask WINZ, the EQC, teachers, ACC…. etc, etc.

    • Huginn 8.2

      From the GCSB’s website, at the top of the list of jobs that it does, comes . . .

      Information Assurance (IA)

      ‘As communications technologies advance, the need to protect information carried by those technologies also grows.

      There are two main reasons to protect information. Firstly the confidential information of the Government of New Zealand needs to be protected from unauthorised disclosure. This means that Government departments can communicate information securely. Secondly there is a requirement to protect information and infrastructure from corruption by malicious ‘attack’, the most common form of which is the humble computer virus.’

      http://www.gcsb.govt.nz/our-work/ia.html

  9. Jenny 9

    Not only did the GSCB illegally spy on New Zealand citizens. It looks very likely that they passed the information they gleaned onto foreign powers. A double crime. One of the prime reasons that the GSCB, an agency charged with Foreign Intelligence, was never given power to spy on New Zealanders was to prevent this very occurrence.

    They may claim, that they didn’t know that what they were doing, in spying on New Zealanders was illegal. But the GSBC would have known that supplying that information to foreign powers was illegal and way beyond their brief.

    For this there can be no excuse.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10877535

    The Government Communications Security Bureau yesterday refused to say whether personal data known as “selectors of interest” about the 88 New Zealanders was passed to foreign intelligence.

    John Key is contemplating giving the GSCB more powers, even when they publicly and defiantly refuse to divulge the full extent of their current illegal activities.

    With more powers, the law breaking by this spy agency will not only likely continue. But with further powers, the opportunities to commit further illegal acts against New Zealanders will also be extended.

    Before the GSCB are given one more single power…..

    So That we can judge for ourselves whether their law breaking was justified;

    The GSCB should be forced to reveal the names of the victims of their illegal acts, and the extent of the spying engaged against them.

    Based on this evidence, we can judge for ourselves whether, or not, the GSCB can be trusted with even more powers and opportunities to break the law.

    Make no mistake these are law breakers, and as such they need to come clean on their past and current illegal activities. Before they are given even more powers and responsibilities the GSCB need to demonstrate that they have responsibly used the powers that they already have.

    As well as revealing the names of those they illegally spied on the GSCB need to answer the question of whether or not they they illegally passed on the information illegally gained about New Zealanders, to foreign agencies or powers.

    Until these two minimum conditions are met. NO extra Powers can even be contemplated for a not only a secret but an unaccountable organisation.

    • Murray Olsen 9.1

      Law breaking by an intelligence agency cannot be justified. No way José. Never. When information gathered illegally is handed over to foreign interests, both private and public, I think treason is not too strong a word to use.
      The GCSB should be disbanded and anyone involved should be thrown in prison. If this doesn’t happen, how long before they assume that they have a licence to kill? Will Obama return the Dot Com favour by murdering a holidaying Kiwi left winger with one of his beloved drones?
      This world is a nightmare and we must stop this crap. I feel sick.

      • Jenny 9.1.1

        Law breaking by an intelligence agency cannot be justified.

        Murray Olsen

        Indeed Murray. But will anyone be held accountable?

        No. In fact the very same people will be given even more opportunities to break the law.

        • Murray Olsen 9.1.1.1

          That’s why any party which has any attachment to democratic freedoms needs to stand on dismantling the GCSB and starting again. Why should we pay cold war desk warriors whose first allegiance is to Team America: World Police? If we have security needs, let’s define them very strictly and find new people to look after them. This lot has failed hopelessly.

    • Jenny 9.2

      The new powers give an incredible amount of power to an unaccountable secret agency. That has shown an arrogant disregard for the law.

      People may rightfully ask; “What other laws could the GSCB break if they were given the power to spy on New Zealanders?”

      The most obvious one, is, the law that makes it illegal for our internal secret service, the SIS to covertly spy on our legislators.

      On becoming an MP the SIS are required by law, to close any active file that they may have on that MP.

      The reasons for this prohibition are obvious.

      Legislators who make the laws of the land may be vulnerable to unwarranted pressure and blackmail from the secret authorities, who if they were enabled to snoop on the private lives of MPs would have the power to threaten them with leaking of any of their private and human frailties.

      Things that are not illegal in law, but that MPs may not want revealed. Adultery for instance. Or out of the ordinary personal habits that though not illegal, might be embarrassing if revealed publicly.

      So should the GSCB be given the power to snoop on our MPs as well?

      And what would this mean for our democracy?

      Would the GSCB gaining powers to spy on our legislators, pass on any private and sensitive or salacious information they gleaned on our MPs, to foreign agencies to the possible detriment of this country?

      Even if the new laws being proposed actively proscribed this type of spying, and forcefully declared such activities illegal,would the GSCB respect these laws?

      Going on their past record, the obvious answer is: No, they would not.

      The new powers being proposed for the GSCB give an incredible amount of power to an unaccountable secret agency. That has shown an arrogant disregard for the law.

      As such they should be opposed at every stage of their enactment.

    • RobertM 9.3

      Is the CGSB a Railway’s guard organisation. In 1977 the NZR under Robert Muldoon government ( Colin McLachlan was the rail minister, but signed the papers clearing his desk in half an hour before retreating to best bets and members bar) ordered 75 luxury guards van for one man to ride around the country in first class seating, doing nothing.Just like the CGSB staff, Guards were the lowest order in the rail, military, police, intellectual hierarcy and Rob thought he had to provide for them. Most of the international rail press thought it unbelievable a modern government could order guards vans, but Muldoon declared new rail carriages for Auckland commuters and long distance travellers were unaffordable and not a priority.
      I mean what do the 500 GCSB staffers do. It is obvious all the echelon targets are selected and studied in USA and Canada and that anything interesting is leaked to the Russians by Canadian spies.
      Ask JONKEY what information the latest Canadian traitor gave Moscow from NZ intelligence and miltary dat.a

    • Buunykinz 9.4

      Interesting to note (sorry if any already has) is that GCSB already has the ability to spy on “people in New Zealand”. They are just not allowed to spy on New Zealanders. We all now how tricky John Key can be with language in order to create plausible denial at a later stage. I believe that his refusal to use the word “New Zealander” points to the fact that there are no New Zealanders involved in any of his claims, and therefore current laws more than amply cover these scenarios.

      The GCSB can spy on foreign nationals with links to terrorist groups in New Zealand to their hearts content, either for their own purposes, or to assist external agencies.

      Looks like the media are being dozy as usual and not challenging John Key regarding his use of the phrase “people in New Zealand”, a phrase which in no way justifies these suggested changes.

  10. RedBaronCV 10

    The man must be brain dead. Apart from the fact it is a truly disgusting idea, does this mean we can vote his lot out and then tap Nact phones when Lord Ashcroft comes to visit him or run surveillance over John Bank’s property ( or has somebody done this already?) Tap a cellphone left on the table at a meeting or tap the NzHeralds phone’s instead of getting them turned over in election week.Check up and see what Banks really said about his election expenses?
    How do you think it would be before we put them out of business completely?

    • Murray Olsen 10.1

      The type of people that are in the agencies would probably refuse orders to spy on the right. I don’t think there’s anything for Key et al to worry about.

      • RobertM 10.1.1

        Well of course Air Marshall Ferguson can recall only one case of Terrorism in NZ. The mining of Rainbow Warrior by a weapon of mass destruction, a French naval mine. The terrorist- French military and intelligence officers were captured by Inspector Galbraith. Every western intelligence agency including the partners of GCSB refused to assist us.
        Clearly the GCSB bases are most likely attraction for a terrorist, spy or foreign military power.
        Like the nuclear power submarines Muldoon invited, they invite superpower interest.

  11. ruuptoit 11

    When did we last have Democracy in New Zealand…if ever?

    Key needs to able to spy on his colleagues…

    Shearer needs to be leading the charge against this…really when will we ever get a REAL Government of the people and FOR the people? Do we deserve less?

  12. emergency mike 12

    Yeah but… terrorists… WMDs…

    Think of the children. The children.

  13. Rodel 13

    I knew a supermarket owner in a northern south island town who years ago was paid by the SIS to report on students who agitated. He was asked to mix with students and protest groups and was paid (part time) to report on them.
    As a right winger and active in the local National Party, he had no qualms about his part time ‘spying’ in fact he spoke rather proudly of it, saw it as a noble patriotic activity and genuinely thought he was doing a service to the country and getting a bit of pocket money in the meantime. He was otherwise a nice guy but with the usual right winger’s blinkered and limited inability to see the social picture beyond his own profits.. I was interested when he went bankrupt. His right wing mates didn’t support him then.
    He is still active in the National party but his days of espionage are behind him.

    Heard someone of experience on radio the other day who said it’s not nice to live in countries where governments may always be spying on you. Thanks John for the expanded powers of the GCSB.

  14. Daveosaurus 14

    Does NZ even need two discrete bunches of spooks anyway? Get rid of the SIS (they’re nothing but a laughing stock), give the GCSB their job, tell them they aren’t going to get any more money and will have to make do. The rest of the country has had to deal with that sort of ‘management’ over the last few years.

  15. harpooner 15

    Key mentioning WMD and boat people landings in NZ shows he is taking advice direct from the CIA’s how to guide.

  16. johnm 16

    “New Zealand government to extend spy agency’s powers”

    “New Zealand’s National Party-led government is preparing to use a report into illegal activities by the secretive Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) to hand the agency previously prohibited powers to spy on citizens and residents.”

    “According to defence policy analyst Paul Buchanan, the GCSB is an integral part of Echelon, a network of signals interception facilities run by UK and US agencies, which shares global electronic intelligence among security agencies of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The GCSB receives “considerable” funding from the US—the exact amount is classified—as well as most of its technical equipment.

    The bureau operates the Waihopai satellite communications monitoring base in the South Island and the Tangimoana radio interception facility near Palmerston North. Waihopai, which opened in 1989 and expanded in 1998, continued its operations despite a 20-year defence rift with the US over NZ’s anti-nuclear legislation. The GCSB’s listening posts are staffed by US personnel as well as New Zealanders. New Zealand has access to “5-Eyes” signals intelligence, unique among small countries.”

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/04/30/nzin-a30.html

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    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    4 days ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    4 days ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    4 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    4 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    4 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    5 days ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    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
    5 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
    6 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
    6 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 ...
    6 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 ...
    6 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
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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 ...
    7 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
    7 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks ago

  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours 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
    2 days 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
    2 days 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
    2 days 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    4 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
    4 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
    6 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
    6 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
    7 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
    7 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
    7 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
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  • 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
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