GCSB- Questions?

Written By: - Date published: 2:31 pm, August 20th, 2013 - 56 comments
Categories: accountability, david shearer, democratic participation, internet, john key, Spying, winston peters - Tags:

This afternoon in Question Time, John Key has refused to answer Russel Norman’s supplementary to Question One, asking if the GCSB has received any funding from the US.

Key says it’s not in the country’s interest to answer.

This question follows revelations in the UK Guardian that the US spy agency, NSA has provided secret funds to the UK branch of echelon – the GCHQ:

The US government has paid at least £100m to the UK spy agency GCHQover the last three years to secure access to and influence over Britain’s intelligence gathering programmes.

[…]

Ministers have denied that GCHQ does the NSA’s “dirty work”, but in the documents GCHQ describes Britain’s surveillance laws and regulatory regime as a “selling point” for the Americans.

The papers are the latest to emerge from the cache leaked by the American whistleblower Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who has railed at the reach of the US and UK intelligence agencies.

Snowden warned about the relationship between the NSA and GCHQ, saying the organisations have been jointly responsible for developing techniques that allow the mass harvesting and analysis of internet traffic. “It’s not just a US problem,” he said. “They are worse than the US.”

Also during the same question, John Key did his slippery contortions around apparently contradictory statements:

1) Content of New Zealanders’ emails won’t be accessed

2) “In principle” it is possible for the content of New Zealanders’ emails to be accessed by the GCSB.

I will update with full transcripts when they become available.

Now Shearer is questioning Key on the same points.

And then Key goes into attacking the opposition – divert, attack, prevaricate – standard Key MO.

[Update] Question One video from this afternoon’s Question Time:

Question Three – asked by David Shearer

[Update]: Question time Qu 1 transcript:

1. Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader—Green) to the Minister responsible for the GCSB: Will the Government Communications Security Bureau be able to access the content of any New Zealander’s communications under the cybersecurity provisions of the Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Minister responsible for the GCSB) I am advised that a combination of the provisions in the bill, specifically sections 8A, 15A, and 15C, means that the answer is no, not in the first instance. However, approval will be considered for the GCSB to access content if a specific and serious cyber-intrusion has been detected against a New Zealander. In those circumstances, the Commissioner of Security Warrants and I will need to be convinced that the action is necessary, falls within the function of protection, and will be limited to content that is related to the cyber-attack. The cyber-security function of bill clearly states that it is to protect the security and integrity of communications. It is not for spying or putting people under surveillance.

Dr Russel Norman : So is it correct to paraphrase the Prime Minister’s answer as: “No, it cannot access the content of New Zealanders’ communications, but, yes, it can access the content of the communications under certain circumstances.”, and how are those two answers compatible?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : In principle, yes, but it is worth remembering that in the event that content was looked at, it would require another warrant. It would be highly specific, it would be for the purposes of protection, and it would almost certainly be with the agreement of the New Zealander.

Dr Russel Norman : As he has now admitted that in principle, yes, the GCSB will be able to access the content of New Zealanders’ emails, did he tell New Zealand on Campbell Live last week that “they would not have access”—

Hon Gerry Brownlee : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I would just ask you to consider the supplementary question that is being asked, because it makes a strong assertion at the beginning of what we hope will become a question. That is outside the Standing Orders, and I think it is not appropriate for a matter like this to have such gross misrepresentation allowed in the House.

Dr Russel Norman : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER : I will hear from Dr Russel Norman.

Dr Russel Norman : As I am sure you have realised, the difficulty is that the answer to the primary question originally was “no”, but then the Prime Minister went on and said: “But, in principle, yes.” The problem that we are dealing with is that the Minister’s answer is incoherent, so we are trying to deal with that.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! No, well, I certainly do not think that last point of order was helpful. If I go back to the very first answer to the supplementary question, the member’s interpretation of that answer is incorrect, and I think that is the point that Mr Brownlee is now raising about the continued paraphrasing of the answer in the opinion of the member. I do not agree with the way that it has been paraphrased. I ask the member to continue asking supplementary questions but to bring them within the Standing Orders.

Dr Russel Norman : Why did he tell New Zealanders on Campbell Live last week, his sole substantial television interview on this issue, that the GCSB would not have access to the content of their emails—to quote the Prime Minister—when he has just told us, just now, that in principle, under certain circumstances, it would?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : Well, the member should stand corrected, because it is not my only television appearance on the matter. Secondly, the answer is correct that I gave on Campbell Live : no, it is not possible, but it would be possible to go and get a further warrant and do some work if required.

Dr Russel Norman : OK. Then is the Prime Minister prepared to consider an amendment to make it abundantly clear to everybody, including those of us in the Opposition who struggle to understand these things, that the bill will not allow access by the GCSB to the content of the communications?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : It is not necessary. It is already in the law. In fact, the function of cyber-security is clearly to protect, not spy. If the member wants to know what spying looks like, which is the claim he is making, he needs to go and look at section 8B, where the GCSB work is all about gathering intelligence, and the capabilities, intentions, and activities of people. Of course, that is in relation to foreigners. The member should tell me where he can see those provisions in the cyber-security. He cannot. The truth is that no one on that side of the House understood the legislation. That is why they spend so much time filibustering and wasting time instead of understanding the law. The people who look like fools are on that side of the House—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The answer is quite sufficient.

Louise Upston : Has the Prime Minister seen any reports about the importance of security legislation like the GCSB legislation?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I have. I have seen a report stating that “… the security of the realm should transcend party politics.” and: “… I recognise the support that members of the Opposition are giving to the passage of this bill.” That statement came from none other than David Cunliffe during the debates in 2003 on the GCSB. They are the leadership qualities the Labour Party—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! That is not in order. [Interruption ] Order! I have an interruption coming from Grant Robertson. Does the member want to take a point of order?

Dr Russel Norman : Does the GCSB receive funding directly or indirectly from the Government of the United States?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : It is not in my interest or the national interest for me to answer that question. I do not think any Minister responsible for the GCSB would do so.

Hon Trevor Mallard : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. There is a long-term tradition in this House that a member’s interests—and the Prime Minister has said it is not in his interests to answer the question. He can say it is not in the national interest, but we know it is not in his interests already.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The Prime Minister, I think, stumbled over the first words as he started that answer. He said that it is not in the country’s interest for him to continue to answer that question, and that is a perfectly satisfactory answer.

Dr Russel Norman : Does that mean that the Prime Minister will not deny that the GCSB has received funding from the Government of the United States?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : No. It means that it is not in the national interest for me to discuss those matters.

Louise Upston : Can the Prime Minister outline for the House the increasing threat that the National Cyber Security Centre has reported on?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I can. The National Cyber Security Centre reported that in 2011 it had 90 incidents lodged with it. These constitute serious incidents that do damage or compromise the target or company involved. In 2012 that number increased from 90 to 134. The number this year is already standing at 204, and we are not even near the end of the year. These attacks are steeply rising and putting at risk our Government and our private sector security. The GCSB has a vital role to play in combating this, and that is why it is crucial the legislation is passed by the House.

Dr Russel Norman : Does the Prime Minister believe it is right or, indeed, lawful for the GCSB to receive funding from a foreign Government without informing this Parliament?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : Firstly, the member should be very careful about jumping to any conclusions. It is not in the national interest for me to discuss those kinds of matters. But what is really interesting is that 24 hours before we finally pass the GCSB legislation, that member does not even have a question on the matter.

Louise Upston : Has the Prime Minister seen any other reports relating to the process under which the GCSB legislation is passed?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I have. I have seen the criticism from Sir Geoffrey Palmer of the process the bill has gone through. I have also seen a report that the State-Owned Enterprises Bill, which was passed in Sir Geoffrey’s name in 1986, had all of its final stages after the select committee stage taken in one day, including Sir Geoffrey’s reading the third reading on a Saturday. That was a bill that completely redefined the Government’s role in business and corporatised Government State-owned enterprises and set them up to be privatised, including the sale, under Labour, of New Zealand Steel, Petrocorp, the Post Office, Air New Zealand, State Insurance, and Telecom. If he wants to know about process, clearly he is an expert in the matter. [Interruption ]

Mr SPEAKER : Order!

Dr Russel Norman : Does the Prime Minister believe in the basic principles of parliamentary responsibility for the Government’s finances—that is, Parliament must know when the Government receives funding—if so, how can an agency like the GCSB receive money from a foreign Government without Parliament knowing?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I am not saying it is, or it is not.

And that last point is important: funding of the GCSB by the NSA would undermine  New Zealand’s democracy and sovereignty.  Such funding needs to be transparent.

Question Three transcript.

56 comments on “GCSB- Questions?”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    Ve akse ze qvestions greenman!

    How dare a leader of the NZ parliamentary opposition enquire whether Uncle Sam has been sloshing the dosh to our local runners for the NSA. Someone has to pay for the ‘big balls’ at Waihopai one supposes Russell.

    It will be hilarious in many respects if the nats do go out next election. Some of these new surveillance powers could be turned on people that definitely have stuff to hide–corporates, bankers and the military before being “disconfigured” for good.

  2. gobsmacked 2

    Norman skewered Key (as usual).

    Shearer let Key escape (as usual).

    Seriosuly, is there nobody in Labour who can think on their feet? Norman created the openings, but the Greens have a limited number of questions, Labour have heaps. I was shouting questions at the radio*, while Shearer was playing with … a fish.

    (*e.g. Louise Upston asked a patsy which got a detailed answer – immediately after Key had said he couldn’t answer Shearer’s Q on the same issue, citing “national interest”. Crying out for somebody to point out the contradiction).

    • gobsmacked 2.1

      Another example: Quote Key directly and immediately back at him …

      “So they can’t read NZers’ e-mails, but if necessary they could?” Which is what he said.

      Listen and attack, FFS.

  3. Anne 3

    John Key indulged in the most blatant lying today we have yet seen from him. I recall David Shearer publicly declaring he had asked the PM for a meeting to discuss the GCSB bill with a view to a bipartisan approach being taken. Does anyone else remember that? In answer to a question by Shearer, Key declared he asked for the meeting, and he proceeded to make up a load of bullshit around David Shearer and what he was supposed to have said at the meeting. I know enough about Shearer to know he would never have behaved in such a way. It’s the classic situation where the bully and the [psychopath] can claim what he likes… knowing he can get away with it because there were no witnesses – or at least no-one who will dare contradict him.

    • gobsmacked 3.1

      The liar gets away with it because Shearer lets him.

      If anything happens that hasn’t been prepared in advance, Shearer can’t cope. Key knows this so he just bullies his way through. He won’t get called on it by Shearer at the time, but there will eventually be a press release from Shearer’s office when it’s too late. Hopeless.

    • Linz 3.2

      I saw that. Shearer didn’t come out of it very well at all. Key made him look stupid and devious. Key is a really slippery son of a bitch, and much as I think Shearer’s a good guy, he’s no match for Key. I also saw Trevor Mallard introducing Shearer’s ammendment or something. Jeeeeeeeeeeeesus! Is this the best Labour can do at the very time when we really need a really strong, coherent opposition? Is there no hope? I think I’ll go off to a cave somewhere and become a Zen Buddhist monk.

    • leftbutnotdeluded 3.3

      Calling Key a psychopath is covering up a fail of epic proportions once again Shearer has let Labour and the left down he should fuck off ASAP !

    • Wayne 3.4

      Anne,

      Remember the answer was about a specific meeting, not meetings in general.

      Now I know you always want to characterise the PM as not telling the truth.

      But you need to think of the circumstances of how this sort of meeting would take place. It was after the Intelligence Committee meeting. The PM is not going to be the one to offer the meeting, it will be the other way round.

      And it has not really been contradicted by DS (from what I can read of the event from Singapore).

      • Anne 3.4.1

        Remember the answer was about a specific meeting, not meetings in general.

        What are you talking about. I made it clear it was a specific meeting.

        Now I know you always want to characterise the PM as not telling the truth.

        Don’t patronise me Wayne. I was not born yesterday either chronologically or in terms of experience and knowledge. Your beloved PM is a pathological liar. I have come across such individuals before.

        But you need to think of the circumstances of how this sort of meeting would take place. It was after the Intelligence Committee meeting. The PM is not going to be the one to offer the meeting, it will be the other way round.

        Patronising again. Someone correct me if I heard incorrectly, but Shearer said he asked for the meeting in an attempt to obtain a cross party agreement. Your beloved PM claims he initiated the meeting not the other way around. I’m sure you’re correct. Key is not going to be the one to offer the meeting in those circumstances so that serves to confirm he was lying.

        • Wayne 3.4.1.1

          Actually Anne, you are right that the PM did say he asked DS to go up to his office (now that I have read the transcript of Q3). Which I had not done when I made my prior comment. Kind of goes to show that one should not make assumptions without first viewing the evidence.

          So I don’t think you have any evidence that the PM is a liar. He was not contradicted by DS. And Grant Robertson would not know what happened, not withstanding his interjection. Your assertion is therefore just that.

          • North 3.4.1.1.1

            So you DO agree with Anne’s assertion then Wayne. Key DID NOT ask for the meeting and when he tells Parliament he DID he IS NOT reporting the truth of it, as Anne asserted. Beats me how a glib minimalising retreat by you somehow exculpates Key. To the contrary your initial point plus glib retreat conclusively inculpates him in the very misrepresentation Anne points to.

            Anyway, now that we’ve dealt with the reality of the matter, congratulations on the magnificent non-sequitur in your final paragraph. “So, Anne, ……you are right, …….but you are wrong. The Prime Minister the Right Honourable John Key misrepresents…….but he does not lie.”

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead 3.4.1.1.1.1

              Psychopaths don’t have friends, they have enablers and victims. The latter are usually drawn from the ranks of the former. Poor Wayne.

          • karol 3.4.1.1.2

            Shearer raised the meeting in the House because he was pointing out that Key had done nothing to work towards a cross-party consensus on the GCSB Bill – something required for such an important and controversial state operation. So the crucial point is about who initiated the meeting.

            Key tried his attack and divert strategy, with his ad hominem about how Shearer tried to keep the meeting quiet.

            This is how Andrea Vance is reporting it this morning (in an article focused on a Fairfax poll showing the general public is concerned about the Bill):

            Mr Key accused Labour leader David Shearer of creeping up Beehive stairs to his office to keep secret a meeting about the law change.

            “We sat down and had about a 30-minute discussion where Mr Shearer said ‘keep this confidential. If you come out and say we’ve done it that won’t look good and I don’t want you shouting it about the House’.”

            Mr Shearer does not deny the meeting, or trying to hush it up, but he insisted that it was not initiated by Mr Key.

            “This is the Government’s bill, the Government did not do anything to try and initiate a sit-down with other parties in order to get broader consensus across the House,” he said.

            • Tracey 3.4.1.1.2.1

              ““We sat down and had about a 30-minute discussion where Mr Shearer said ‘keep this confidential. If you come out and say we’ve done it that won’t look good and I don’t want you shouting it about the House’.””

              Mr Key can remember all those words, in order, word for word??? My his memory is suddenly improving.

          • Tracey 3.4.1.1.3

            Wayne wrote

            “you are right that the PM did say he asked DS to go up to his office (now that I have read the transcript of Q3).”

            See how much better it is when you fire shots at somebody after you know something about it?

  4. amirite 4

    Shame that the latest poll has lulled labour into a false sense of security in regard to Shearer’s leadership. If Labour is going to lose the next election, it’ll be most likely Shearer’s fault.

    • Mary 4.1

      Yes, we run the risk of Shearer limping along to the next election with everyone hoping “he’ll come right” but he never will. Key et al know this and are happy Shearer stays. Shearer needs to fall on his sword for the sake of rigourous opposition and for the good of the country.

      • JonL 4.1.1

        All the members of my greater family say theywon’t vote Labour while he and his crew are in charge…….Shearer – currently national’s greatest asset!

        • yeshe 4.1.1.1

          Listen to David Cunliffe from the House today, about 5 pm .. capable of oratory and quick thinking. He, and only he, in Labour, can bring down Key from his slimy summit.

      • Don't worry be happy 4.1.2

        And Fran ( ye of the Dark Arts and all) for the love of God don’t let Shearer work with animals in front of a camera…even dead fish look positively charismatic and courageous by comparison.

  5. gobsmacked 5

    Today’s political strategy question …

    There is a packed meeting in Auckland. There is a wide range of voices on the issue. There is extensive media coverage. It is fundamentally important. There is a bill going through Parliament this very week.

    Do you …

    a) attack and attack and attack on that issue?

    b) do this?

    https://twitter.com/MutchJessica/status/369651315170746368/photo/1

    Answers to: Labour leader’s office, ASAP.

    It’s Key’s job to divert and distract. So incredibly, Shearer is doing it for him. (Watch the TV news tonight, I guarantee it.)

    • Mary 5.1

      David Carter is stomping on the opposition and giving the government free reign even more than usual today. It’s disgusting.

      • Linz 5.1.1

        That’s no excuse, Mary. Labour are letting us down.

        • Mary 5.1.1.1

          I agree completely and what Carter’s doing was still appalling.

          • Anne 5.1.1.1.1

            There’s one aspect you are all ignoring. When you have a prime minister who lies through his teeth all the time and a Speaker who is as biased as hell and lets him get clean away with it plus a lily livered media pack (with one or two exceptions) then you have little choice but to shut up and say nothing. As has been expressed many times here… explaining is losing. It wouldn’t matter who was the opposition leader – be it Cunliffe or whoever – the same thing would happen albeit perhaps for different reasons.

            • Linz 5.1.1.1.1.1

              I have to disagree, Anne. If you know you have a lying son of a bitch for a PM, you never, ever, ever create a situation where it’s his word against yours. You never have a meeting with him in private. Big Mistake. If you go and see him, you take a whole heap of aids and witnesses wired up if necessary with recording devices. You expect him to lie every time and you get ready for it. If necessary, find a tame psychopath and run everything past him to identify any possible pitfalls.
              I agree the speaker is bent and the questions don’t stick. Most frustrating, but you don’t ask questions to get answers in the House anymore. You ask questions that will get coverage on TV. And you don’t use props for god’s sake. Whose stupid idea was that?
              Use the media creatively. If the MSM is right-wing, use the Internet.
              Find someone who can make people laugh at the government’s expence. Ridicule is a great weapon. At the moment it’s all turned on Shearer. Study David Lange very, very carefully.
              We’ve tried Shearer. It’s been disastrous. Time to set loose Cunliffe. He can’t possibly do worse.
              One more thing, to the ABCs in the Labour Party, remember this: most of the Conservatives hated Churchill in 1939 – 40, no doubt with good reason, but he was the man for the hour. At present, we’ve got a Neville Chamberlain; we need a Churchill. Time to try out Cunliffe. If he doesn’t do it, I’ll definitely become a Zen Buddhist monk.

              • Anne

                I have to disagree, Anne. If you know you have a lying son of a bitch for a PM, you never, ever, ever create a situation where it’s his word against yours.

                Yes, you’re right Linz. Once again Shearer’s lack of political experience. I foresaw it from day 1 as did many others who comment here regularly, but of course we were not listened to… because the ABCers knew so much better than we did.

              • yeshe

                1000% linz. It’s time.

  6. grumpy 6

    Great from about the 6.25 mark.

    • tinfoilhat 6.1

      Labour – useless bunch of has beens and hacks !

      Vote Green !

    • BM 6.2

      Defiantly the best part of that vid.

      What a sneaky two faced shit Shearer is, as well as a complete idiot, unreal.

      • Tracey 6.2.1

        On the strength of a couple of instances? You must be REALLY PISSED OFF at the Pm then for the number of times he has been caught in lies, oh sorry, “misleading” NZers. I’ve tried to find your posts where you express this sentiment, but can’t.

    • infused 6.3

      holy cow. shearer went full retard.

  7. wyndham 7

    Russel Norman had Key on the ropes today at question time.

    Along comes Shearer waving dead snapper about (in the House of Representatives) thus giving Key the best let-out possible. Naturally, he demolished Shearer but more importantly, got himself off the hook. (So to speak.)

    Prior to that Key, who had all the facts at his fingertips, was able to destroy Shearer’s attempt at suggesting the National Party had not attempted to contact Labour over “security matters”.

    I cringe. I despair. Shearer has to go. Please!

    • Linz 7.1

      Russel Norman has every right to be furious.

    • chris73 7.2

      No, for the sake of NZ Shearer has to stay

    • yeshe 7.3

      He can stay, but not as leader … Cunliffe, come in please, your time is up ….

      • Craig Glen Eden 7.3.1

        Shearer was terrible today in question time just a bloody disaster. His speech at the GCSB meeting was also the worst of the night. The content was ok but his delivery is shit. Brian Edwards has no show of getting Shearer in any state to take on Key. Shearer has to go and those that are keeping him there are enabling National. That video with the Billy brag song sums it up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUArGWZ3A7w

        • Huginn 7.3.1.1

          Shearer’s speach at the GCSB meeting was good and to the point. The delivery was straight forward.

          Russell Norman was incandescent.

          Winston Peters interesting too, for his assurance that Key is lying about Kim Dotcom and that this will come out.

  8. tracey 8

    its not hard to see why lockwood had to go.

  9. Richard Christie 9

    Key keeps accusing others of not understanding *the law* (i.e. his Bill) yet his bill is not yet law.

    • felix 9.1

      Yeah I noticed that too.

      Also when he accuses others of not understanding, he seems really gleeful. He’s not really putting them down for being stupid, he’s bigging himself up for being so tricky.

      His bill is convoluted and full of concealments and trapdoors, and he’s super stoked about it.

      • karol 9.1.1

        His bill is convoluted and full of concealments and trapdoors,

        Yes. I’ve tried reading and making sense of the Bill and it is just thoroughly confusing – all those reference to other clauses. And some of them don’t say what the referring point claims they say.

        Terrible Bill. The amendments need to be scrapped and a more explicit and straightforward set of amendments created.

        In the end I rely more on how it’s interpreted by some expert legal people.

    • You_Fool 9.2

      When he says that he is talking about the current law, which is reasonably clear.

  10. Tanz 10

    maybe there is info we don’t know about. Key’s hands could be tied, what are we not being told.

  11. infused 11

    It’s a rather stupid question, since we are part of 5 eyes, of course we get funding.

    • felix 11.1

      Pretty stupid answer then, eh?

      • North 11.1.1

        And in the matter of sovereignty principle, Key’s beholdeness to foreign spy agencies, on account of which New Zealanders are offered up by our prime representative, does not concern you Infused ? You, the very type to whom the word Comintern and variants was always blood curdling ?

    • Tracey 11.2

      then being honest does no harm. But as he said it’s not in his interests to say.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 11.2.1

        The chance of a shooting war between the USA and China is fairly close to zero. Conflict between them is confined mostly to trade and cyber-space. In this context, New Zealand fully participates in the conflict, not as a result of foreign policy decisions made by Parliament, but as a consequence of secret activity that is barely discussed let alone ratified.

        Whether this undermines our security or enhances it is debatable, but I doubt it bodes well for trade with China.

        • Colonial Viper 11.2.1.1

          The chance of a shooting war between the USA and China is fairly close to zero.

          Yes that is quite correct. Also consider financial potshots: China boycotting US Treasuries or pushing ahead with increased convertibility of the Yuan.

          Then there are the chances of a US armed Japan and a newly equipped Chinese PLAN making hostile military manuoevers against each other. The classic proxy conflict.

          They pretty much do that month to month now anyway eg over the Senkaku islands.

          Or a US armed Taiwan with US patriot missiles and a Chinese missile command running military exercises clearly aimed at sending ‘messages’ to each other?

          And US expansion of Pacific bases and the addition of a further carrier group to the Pacific. That’s more none-to-subtle messaging there.

  12. Colonial Viper 12

    Alan Rusbridger, Guardian editor, speaks about the detention of Glenn Greenwald’s partner, the destruction of The Guardian’s hard drives, and the surveillance security state

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    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: Strike!
    Today is the first day of the global climate strike. Led by schoolkids, people all around the world are going to protest to demand action on climate change. New Zealand isn't doing it till next Friday (join us!), but if you want to get active early, there's plenty to do ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: Squandering our opportunity?
    The Herald has a story today about the 400 MW of wind power currently under construction. Good news, right? Except that none of it is being driven by policy (instead, its about replacing Contact Energy's Taranaki Combined Cycle gas-fired power plant, due to shut down in 2022), and most of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Protect The King!
    To Protect and Serve: When the Prime Minister finds herself enmeshed in the coils of a full-blown political scandal, her colleagues and party comrades have only one priority: to release her as swiftly – and with as little lasting injury – as possible. Is this what Jacinda Ardern’s colleagues and ...
    4 days ago
  • The rot at the top.
    When military leaders cover up and lie to elected civilian authorities, the foundation of democratic civil-military relations is undermined because it is those authorities who are entrusted to hold the military accountable to the public that they mutually serve. But this is only true if civilian political authorities take their ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • Challenging the voting age in court
    The Make It 16 campaign to lower the voting age is launching this afternoon, and they have already announced plans to challenge the law in court:The campaign, named "Make it 16" will launch at Parliament on Friday, with plans to take their case to the High Court, testing the rights ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Israel’s elections herald a long siesta
    by Daphna Whitmore The long years of Netanyahu’s reign are drawing to an end. For years he has epitomized reactionary zionism as he oversaw hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers seize land in the West Bank. There are now 700,000 settlers, putting an end to the myth that Israel was ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Petrol companies promise prices will come back down once peace is restored to the Middle East
    BP, Z and Mobil all insist that petrol price hikes are temporary, “in a very literal sense.” The nation’s major petrol providers are trying to allay customer fears over prices, promising that they’ll move to lower them again “immediately” when the Middle East is returned to its formerly peaceful state. ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    4 days ago
  • All Blacks unveil boat for Rugby World Cup 2019
    South African coach Rassie Erasmus says he has no idea what they’re going to do about the boat. In a highly anticipated press conference this afternoon, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has finally unveiled the team’s boat for its Rugby World Cup 2019 campaign. In a press conference that went ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • An increasingly shoddy coverup
    The Operation Burnham inquiry continued to question senior NZDF staff today, and their shoddy coverup over their knowledge of civilian casualties continue to fall apart. If you recall, first, we were asked to believe that it was all a series of "mistakes and errors": a senior officer with multiple degrees ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • If we are to avoid making the earth uninhabitable, we need to rapidly decarbonise our civilisation, and cut emissions to zero as quickly as possible. This seems like an impossible task, but its not. Pushing hard on a few technologies and trends will let us halve emissions in a decade:Greenhouse ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A further attack on transparency
    The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) had part of its committee stage yesterday. its a generally tedious bill about the nitty-gritty of local government reorganisation. But it includes a clause making the Local Government Commission subject to the Ombudsmen Act, and hence the OIA. Great! Except of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Ihumātao and Treaty settlements
    Yesterday Ihumātao's mana whenua reached a consensus that they would like their land back, and asked the government to negotiate with Fletcher's for its return. The government's response? Try and undermine that consensus, while talking about how doing anything would undermine existing Treaty settlements. The first is just more bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Protecting our history
    Its Suffrage Day, the 126th anniversary of women winning the right to vote (but not stand in elections) in New Zealand. And to celebrate, the government has bought Kate Sheppard's house in Christchurch:The government has bought Kate Sheppard's former home in Christchurch for more than $4 million. The Ilam villa ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Ostracising the coal-burners
    The UN climate summit is happening in new York next week, and unlike previous years, coal-burners and denier-states are not being invited to speak:Leading economies such as Japan and Australia will not be invited to speak at next week’s crunch UN climate change summit, as their continued support for coal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Jojo Tamihere Salutes Herr Goff.
    Get Back Jojo! The elation in Mayor Phil Goff’s camp may be easily imagined as they watched social media light up in indignation at challenger John Tamihere’s "Sieg Heil to that" quip. Just when JT’s notoriously right-wing, sexist and homophobic stains were beginning to fade back into his ‘colourful’ past, ...
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary
    Patrick Gower is good value when he's high. Not that I've ever, you know, got stoned with him. But in the second part of his documentary Patrick Gower on Weed, he does what you'd expect in a modern weed documentary and immerses himself – first with a doctor, then a ...
    5 days ago
  • Candidate Survey: Western Bay of Plenty – Local Body Elections 2019
    We surveyed candidates on their attitudes to issues facing the Western Bay Region, find out what they think: “Closing the Gap” Tauranga, one of the area groups of Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc., has surveyed all candidates in the three local body elections to discover attitudes to some basic issues ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    6 days ago
  • Project Nettie calls on scientists to defend biology
    Please spread widely, and sign, to support science and rationalism over the new irrationalism sweeping universities and institutions.  PROJECT NETTIE Sexual reproduction, the generation of offspring by fusion of genetic material from two different individuals, evolved over 1 billion years ago. It is the reproductive strategy of all higher animals ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland
    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    6 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    1 week ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    1 week ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    1 week ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    1 week ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    1 week ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago

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