GCSB: They do listen

Written By: - Date published: 5:40 am, January 4th, 2014 - 36 comments
Categories: election 2014, internet, john key, Politics, Spying - Tags:

This year the biggest burst of political knowledge for me last year has been the role that the GCSB has in NZ (and security services elsewhere) and how pathetic the political and legal oversight of their role currently is.  In NZ it is a self-supporting club of the heads of the security services, a pliant Prime Minister, and a Inspector-General who appears to not prepared to do much of the oversight that their role is meant to perform.

In view of the revelations about the depth of surveillance by the US and its allies (like us) over citizens coming out of the whistle-blowers overseas, you’d have to wonder how far our own paranoid individuals in the security organisations have been extending themselves into the local polity.

While I’ve been travelling over Xmas, I’ve been using various political quips as an informal way of identifying political topics that have penetrated into the political conciousness of voters. This one has been the obvious winner.

The GCSB – the only government department that really listens.

To date, I’ve been getting a 100% response rate from everyone. Left, right, green, and apolitical. Moreover, virtually no-one seems to comfortable about what they’ve been hearing.

With the ever increasing information coming from Snowden and other whistleblowers from the surveillance community, I’d say that this political hot potato has a whole lot further to run over the current year. It would not surprise me if it becomes a major election topic.

gcsb-scum

36 comments on “GCSB: They do listen”

  1. karol 1

    Yes. And it links to a lot of other important issues, e.g. the TPP. One of the crucial aspects of the TPP is the digital copyright issue, and the role of corporates aligned with or linked to the US-dominated surveillance services – and that goes back to Nicky Hagar’s original expose (exposeh – with an accent on the e) of the echelon network – he claimed that 5 eyes were being used to gain commercial advantages.

    And, also, back to NZ and the current state of the GCSB – the recruitment of Fletcher to head the GCSB was related to the shift of the GCSB to focus on so-called “economic security”.

  2. RedLogix 2

    If we really want to stop crime and corruption we can do it. Within a decade we will have the technology to record every moment 24/365 of every person’s life, everywhere they go, who they meet, what they see (thing google glass), what they say and write.

    And it can all be securely stored on a government database. No exceptions, no gaps. Zero privacy.

    Think what a great thing this will be. For a start it will eliminate rape of any kind – never will there be any question of consent anymore. No violence, it will be recorded. Obtaining evidence of discrimination, abuse or exploitation will be easy. No corruption, no cheating, no lying – all criminal or civil proceedings will be a simple matter of searching for and reviewing the relevant moments as recorded. Any gaps in the record will mean a presumption of guilt.

    Sure it’s a bit authoritarian – but with the right safeguards in place only those with something to hide could possibly object.

      • RedLogix 2.1.1

        xark makes two pertinent points:

        1. That the NSA system is “Got it? The system isn’t designed to care about you and your private data. It’s designed to efficiently eliminate anything it determines to be not-bad-guy. “

        True – that is it’s current mission. Now ask yourself how easily future administrators of the NSA system could reconfigure it to something closer to the Chinese system.

        2. But the day is coming when corporate control over our information will produce a civil liberties crisis that will make our NSA worries look quaint by comparison

        The distinction between corporate and government ‘big data’ is critical, inasmuch as there is zero oversight and accountability around how corporates use personal information.

      • weka 2.1.2

        Yeh, but it also doesn’t help to frame the NSA as not a serious problem because they’re really only after the bad guys. Try telling that to Tuhoe. Or anyone who looks like a muslim travelling in the US.

        Plus I’m sick of some geeks and commentators telling everyone they’re stupid for using google, without offering any useful solutions (and by useful I mean ones that can be used or done by lay people).

        He also doesn’t make a case for this beyond his assertion that it will happen

        “But the day is coming when corporate control over our information will produce a civil liberties crisis that will make our NSA worries look quaint by comparison”

      • RedLogix 2.1.3

        The real value of metadata to the government doesn’t lie in its ability to single people out for investigation.

        The real value of the metadata is that it makes propaganda techniques more effective because messages can be targeted more directly.

    • Will@Welly 2.2

      As Napoleon said, “Some pigs are more equal than others.” So my friend, while any misdemeanors the “average joe” .gets up to, may recorded and exposed, corruption at the top will no doubt be covered up.
      And do you really want your most intimate thoughts and conversations shared with the world?
      What about the person who is working on a project, that long-term they stand to make a make a fortune out of, who sees their idea “stolen” and either “gifted” or “sold” to some identity that is in the pocket of the Government. Intellectual theft will become common place.
      As for “safeguards” – you have to have money – most working class people don’t have access to the amount of money required to afford proper legal representation at the upper echelons..

    • QoT 2.3

      For a start it will eliminate rape of any kind – never will there be any question of consent anymore.

      Um, I’m going to have to call bullshit on that, RL. Right now, rapists manage to successfully argue that they had consent, even if their victim was literally unconscious or saying “no” in a loud clear voice. Because the victim was a sex worker, or a woman of colour, or had previously had consensual sex with the rapist, or was 12 years old but “mature for their age”.

      It’s great how far we’ve come in terms of the discussion around consent, but the fact is that rape culture is about a hell of a lot more than just “did they say yes or not”.

      • RedLogix 2.3.1

        Well with the video evidence to hand women will have the unchallenged opportunity to call bullshit on all of those evasions.

        After all if the victim did scream ‘no’ – there would be no quibbling with this. No more ‘he said, she said’.

        Besides the system would work very powerfully for women as they could use it to explicitly record their consent before each and every sex act. No nonsense about ‘previous consensual’ sex or not.

        It’s great how far we’ve come in terms of the discussion around consent, but the fact is that rape culture is about a hell of a lot more than just “did they say yes or not”

        Yes that’s the more pervasive and difficult issue. I suppose with time we could construct a really good ‘meta-rape’ system that monitored and analysed real-time social interaction for evidence.

        • Will@Welly 2.3.1.1

          Question R.L. – if someone from the GCSB was “listening in” and heard some Polly raping a young “thing” – you pick the sex – would they intervene? Probably not!
          Yet if they heard two kids “skylarking”, chances are, the cops would be there quick as you could count to two.
          And remember, R.L. it was only fairly recently that rape within marriage was outlawed. Even then, it’s still bloody hard to prove. That’s why National has hated the DPB from Day 1. It gives women a choice.
          And why is it that in so many cases the victim becomes the focus of the trial for all the wrong reasons? Do you really think the GCSB will “hand over” tapes in such cases?

          • RedLogix 2.3.1.1.1

            if someone from the GCSB was “listening in” and heard some Polly raping a young “thing” – you pick the sex – would they intervene? Probably not!

            I wasn’t thinking specifically GSCB, but you are right – that it’s not you who gets to define what is right or wrong, what is of ‘interest’, nor what information is made available or not.

            Beyond this, into a future of ubiquitous surveillance, the argument remains. When I said 24/365 recording of everything, I meant just that. It would make, to use your for instance, proving rape in marriage easy – assuming the Court system had routine access to the data.

            • weka 2.3.1.1.1.1

              There is not way to record everything 24/365, short of implanting chips in our bodies that we can’t remove (and that won’t be happening in the next ten years). Even then there will be ways to subvert the technology.

              I find the rape example weird, and think you could have used something far less messy to illustrate your point that wouldn’t have lead into a complicated discussion about consent (which we know from past discussion we don’t have a consensus on here). Then there is the matter of the difference between what the law says about rape, what people within the law say, and what women say…. probably better to not have gone there.

              • RedLogix

                There is not way to record everything 24/365,

                An increasing aspect of my work role involves system security – from a somewhat different perspective to the usual IT concerns. From my reading it seems we are remarkably closer to recording everything than most people think.

                short of implanting chips in our bodies that we can’t remove (and that won’t be happening in the next ten years)

                The UK already has extensive CCTV coverage in public spaces; and there are other ways to cover the private spaces other than embedded chips.

                Well yes I could have used another example – but the point should be obvious. If hypothetically someone could give you a tool that would eliminate virtually all rape (or any other equally worthwhile goal) in this manner – would you use it?

                • weka

                  “From my reading it seems we are remarkably closer to recording everything than most people think.”

                  How?

                  “The UK already has extensive CCTV coverage in public spaces; and there are other ways to cover the private spaces other than embedded chips.”

                  Do you live in a city? If so I can see why you would give that example. There are still many places in NZ that are going to be impossible to install cameras that work 24/365.

                  Plus, people will always develop resistances.

                  “If hypothetically someone could give you a tool that would eliminate virtually all rape (or any other equally worthwhile goal) in this manner – would you use it?”

                  Ok, so it’s eliminate virtually all rape now, rather than eliminate rape of any kind. Even so, I don’t accept the basic premise so can’t answer your question. I think the standard response is to point out that any govt that thinks in such absolutes is deluding itself and its people.

                  • RedLogix

                    weka,

                    No software or hardware can be trusted. Certainly nothing past about 2005. All electronic communication is recorded. All recorded information is analysed and will remain available for analysis by anyone, at anytime in the future, for any purpose.

                    People are still working through Snowden’s material and are still uncovering gobsmacking stuff – and some of it dates back to 2003 or earlier. All we can be sure of is that their capability has advanced since then.

                    All the assumptions I make about security turn out to be way too optimistic. Even fully air-gapped systems (ie not physically connected to the internet in any fashion) can be compromised.

                    The hardware I buy from Dell, HP or Cisco is compromised. Only the most advanced techies have the capability of keeping themselves secure. I’m not one of them.

                    So they can get data from more or less any electronic source they want. They can certainly store it. They only lack the ability to analyse it all in real-time – and even that is only a matter of time.

                    And it’s not necessarily your personal info that’s important, as I mentioned earlier – it’s the social meta-data that’s really valuable to them.

                    I don’t accept the basic premise so can’t answer your question.

                    I’ll take it on trust that you gave that response in good faith. It’s an iccky question though isn’t it?

                    • karol

                      But maybe it also depends on how they interpret what they are seeing.

                      Brecht, I think, said on stage, you can’t show a political riot/rebellion as it really happens, because all people will see is a load of folks running around breaking shop windows.

                      Watching some rapes in real time (and sound recording?) maybe to some spies/cops it’ll just look like sex as usual?

                    • weka

                      Red, I pretty much know all that. Maybe I misunderstood, I thought you were meaning that we will be tracked 24/365 in our whole lives. If you mean our electronic lives I agree more, but still think there is the possibility of tech being undermined (have you read Little Brother?).

                      Yes, my reply was in good faith. I think framing things in absolutes is problematic because it shuts down some creative solutions and can scare people too much (they go into denial instead of action).

    • Foreign Waka 2.4

      “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”
      ― Noam Chomsky

  3. tricledrown 3

    Joe 90 yes not only knowing everything you search.
    But the data could be used like retailers do by political parties to profile how the masses can be manipulated.
    VPN might be a short term way of getting around this.
    But recent news reports show the nsa are building an even bigger monster computer.

  4. Philj 4

    Xox
    ‘We’ don’t want to stop crime. Crime is good for bizness. Plus, crime is only what ‘we’ determine it to be. A bit of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Ed Snowden – BAD, Kissenger /Obama/ any USA President – GOOD!
    James Cameron’s (Avatar) and family, moves to NZ, tells me he is looking forward to surviving in the Wairarapa.

  5. uke 5

    While I approve of much more scrutiny of the GCSB’s activities, that “The GCSB – the only government department that really listens” line is a bit of a cheap shot.

    It harks back to a whole lot of NR myths about the public service being inefficient and public servants having a “job for life” mentality, etc. While the services may sometimes be hamstrung by political decisions, I think government departments and the people in them do try and be responsive. In my experience, the public service is no less responsive than the private sector – and has sometimes been far far better.

    I wonder what the PSA would say about this joke?

    • RedLogix 5.1

      All humour is founded in a twist, disconnect or distortion of our current point of view.

      It’s really good at making us look at things differently – a powerful tool. Throw in a chuckle or belly laugh and it’s memorable. Reflect on the twist itself and it transforms.

      • uke 5.1.1

        Of course humour is way of engaging people with pressing issues. But this in itself does not justify the specific humourous content used, which may – as in this case – happen to reinforce negative stereotypes.

    • lprent 5.2

      I did say why I was using these quips didn’t I? Trying to get people to engage on almost any political topic works best when you lead into with humour.

      • uke 5.2.1

        Yes, and please see my reply above.

        I would also remark that the content of jokes may both engage and disengage people, depending on their what is being used as the comic grist of the matter. This joke initially made me laugh, then cringe when I thought about it more, despite my sympathy for the cause. And I find it sad that the notion the public service doesn’t listen to the public, resonates with so many people.

        Maybe I lack a sense of humour, but I think it pays to be careful about what you joke about. Plenty of politicians have been rightly criticised for their insensitive little comic asides – including on this site.

        • RedLogix 5.2.1.1

          You have a point uke – a good one that I strongly agree with. We treat our public service with far too much disdain, from Gliding On to, well – onwards.

          Humour though serves a different purpose, and it’s not a bloodlessly objective sifting of facts.

  6. Tracey 6

    It wouldnt be an end to rape and violence. It might be an end to unsolved rape and violent crimes.

  7. Tracey 7

    Simon bridges says the increase in those opposed to mining means national has to work harder to “persuade” them. I wonder how much more they could do in this regard?

    Does it mean the nats will stay away from it as an economic silver bullet. With only 27 strongly opposing mining bridges doesnt really need to spend time or energy persuading does he?

  8. BLiP 8

    John Key’s lies in relation to his GCSB portfolio . . .

    Iain Rennie came to me and recommended Fletcher for the GCSB job

    I told Cabinet that I knew Ian Fletcher

    I forgot that after I scrapped the shortlist for GCSB job I phoned a life-long friend to tell him to apply for the position

    I told Iain Rennie I would contact Fletcher

    I haven’t seen Ian Fletcher in a long time.

    I did not mislead the House (13)

    I have no reason to doubt at this stage that Peter Dunne did not leak the GCSB report

    I called directory service to get Ian Fletcher’s number

    the new legislation narrows the scope of the GCSB

    the GCSB has been prevented from carrying out its functions because of the law governing its functions

    because the opposition is opposed the GCSB law ammendments, parliamentary urgency is required

    the increasing number of cyber intrusions which I can’t detail or discuss prove that the GCSB laws need to be extended to protect prive enterprise

    it was always the intent of the GCSB Act to be able to spy on New Zealanders on behalf of the SIS and police

    National Ltd™ is not explanding the activities of the GCSB with this new law

    cyber terrorists have attempted to gain access to information about weapons of mass destruction held on New Zealand computers

    the law which says the GCSB cannot spy on New Zealanders is not clear

    it totally incorrect that the Government effectively through GCSB will be able to wholesale spy on New Zealanders

    we self identified that there was a problem with the GCSB spying on Kim Dotcom

    the illegal spying on Kim Dotcom was an isolated incident

    The advice I have had in 4 years as a Minister is that in no way ever has there been an indication of unlawful spying

    the Ministerial Warrant signed by Bill English did not cover anything up

    first I heard I heard about Kim Dotcom was on 19 January 2012

    first I heard about the illegal spying on Kim Dotcom was in 17 September

    I did not mislead the House (14)

    I won’t be discussing Kim Dotcom during my Hollywood visit.

    The Human Rights Commission couldn’t get its submission on the GCSB legislation in on time.

    it would cost too much to for the police and SIS to carry out the spying on New Zealanders that this new legislation will permit

    critics of the GCSB legislation, including the Law Society, the Human Rights Commission, and the Privacy Commission, are all uninformed

    no, I did not mislead the House (15)

    . . . whatta guy.

    • Anne 8.1

      critics of the GCSB legislation, including the Law Society, the Human Rights Commission, and the Privacy Commission, are all uninformed.

      That was the one that gobsmacked me!

  9. Huginn 9

    Yes, the discomfort is very broadly based.

    The spying is so extensive as to suggest a deep, generalised mistrust – they really don’t trust any of us. And the awareness that we are all being spied on, all the time, is incredibly intrusive – really chilling – so it destroys our trust in turn, and so it goes.

    I’ve spent the Festive Season mulling whether this mistrust of the population is related to the general disengagement from politics that we’re seeing in NZ, but also in places like this:

    Nearly half of Britons say they are angry with politics and politicians, according to a Guardian/ICM poll analysing the disconnect between British people and their democracy.

    The research, which explores the reasons behind the precipitous drop in voter turnout – particularly among under-30s – finds that it is anger with the political class and broken promises made by high-profile figures that most rile voters, rather than boredom with Westminster.

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/dec/26/fury-mps-not-voting-poll

  10. Tracey 10

    Oh what a surprise… breaches of privacy by government departments…

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/9578640/Agencies-too-slow-in-destroying-shared-data

  11. dave 11

    it will be very intresting to see what snomden releases on nz

  12. Aaron Livingston 12

    One solution! Destroy the NSA and any Totalitarion, Corporate, Privatisation policies and control.

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    The last decade has seen a trend of increasing weapons availability to police. Assault rifles. Tasers on every hip. Guns in cars. And following the march 15 massacre, pistols on every hip, all over the country. At the same time, its also seen an increase in the abuse of force: ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • If you can’t measure it, does it exist?
    In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been busy preparing for our summer paper on Science Communication. Looking for something amusing about ‘risk’ in science, I came across this neat xkcd.com cartoon about why so many people come knocking on my door (or phoning me, or emailing me) desperately wanting ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    6 days ago
  • Swinson’s swithering
    Jo Swinson is doing even worse at this Being Sensible lark that I'd thought.  I've just become aware of the following utterance
    .@KayBurley presses Lib Dem leader @joswinson on whether she would agree to a #Brexit deal 'no matter how bad a deal it is' as long as it had ...
    7 days ago
  • Women’s rights, trans ideology and Gramsci’s morbid symptoms
    by John Edmundson The International Socialist Organisation (ISO) have recently reposted a February article, by Romany Tasker-Poland, explaining ISO’s position in the “trans rights” debate.  It is available on their website and on their Facebook Page.  The article sets out to explain why “socialists support trans rights”.  It reads more ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    7 days ago
  • We need to take guns off police
    Today's IPCA report of police criminality: a police officer unalwfully tasered a fleeing suspect who posed no threat to anyone:The police watchdog has found an officer unlawfully tasered an Auckland man who broke his ankle jumping off a balcony to escape arrest. [...] To avoid arrest, the man jumped over ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • “Bringing kindness back”
    "Auckland City Mission: 10% of Kiwis experiencing food insecurity", RNZ, 16 October 2019:About half a million people are experiencing food insecurity, according to new research from the Auckland City Mission. Food insecurity, or food poverty, is defined as not having enough appropriate food. The City Mission said over the last ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Press Release: “Fake News” from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance b...
    Media Statement for Immediate Release 16th October 2019 “Fake News” from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance bonuses for top managers Despite comments from Auckland City Council CCOs Board Chairs re pay and performance bonuses for top managers—Herald Newspaper Tuesday Oct 15th–there is very little evidence ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    7 days ago
  • Ever-So-Slightly Bonkers: Simon Bridges Plays To His Base.
    Would You Buy A Used Propaganda Video From This Man? Bridges and the National Party’s strategists have discovered that the ideas and attitudes considered acceptable by today’s editors and journalists are no longer enforceable. The rise and rise of the Internet and the social media platforms it spawned means that ...
    7 days ago
  • Asking for food
    There is plenty of evidence of the way the business mentality has permeated every level of society since the recrudescence of market liberalism 35 years ago. You only need to think of how citizens in need of help from their government, their state, their country, are now routinely described as ...
    Opposable ThumbBy Unknown
    7 days ago
  • Forty years of change in the jobs Kiwi do and the places they call home
    John MacCormick Over the last 40 years, New Zealanders – and people in other countries – have experienced big changes in the jobs they do and where they live and work. These changes include: a decline in manufacturing jobs an increase in jobs in ‘information-intensive’ industries (which are better paid ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • Protecting Fresh Waterways in Aotearoa/NZ: The Strong Public Health Case
    Nick Wilson, Leah Grout, Mereana Wilson, Anja Mizdrak, Phil Shoemack, Michael Baker Protecting waterways has the benefits of: (1) protecting water from hazardous microbes; (2) minimising cancer risk and other problems from nitrates in water; (3) avoiding algal blooms that are hazardous to health; (4) protecting mahinga kai uses (cultural ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Massey University triggered to rebrand
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In a press release today Massey University announced it has decided to rebrand and reorientate after struggling to be a University for grown-ups. For some time the University has wanted to be a safe play space for wee-woke-misogynists who have been really badly triggered ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Swinson backing calls for a second referendum (again)
    After a brief dalliance with 'hard Revoke' it looks like the Lib Dems are changing ground on on Brexit, with leader Jo Swinson reverting to calling for a second referendum on Johnson's deal.The party has tabled an amendment to the Queen’s speech requesting that any deal brought back from Brussels ...
    1 week ago
  • An odious bill
    The government has decided that someone has done Something Bad. But despite their belief, there seems to be no evidence that they have actually broken the law. So the government's solution is to pass a retrospective law allowing them to be punished anyway, on a lower standard of proof. If ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • National is now the party of climate arson
    So, Judith Collins has done a Facebook rant about climate change, peddling the same shit National has been shovelling for the past twenty years: the impacts are overstated, there's no need to do anything about it, and its too hard anyway (oh, and its so unfair that people who peddle ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The environmental footprint of electric versus fossil car
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz There is a lot of discussion on the benefits of ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • “Manifest” by Andrew Bird – A Song For The Times.
    I came across this song quite by accident. If it isn't one of Greta Thunberg's favourites - it should be.Video courtesy of YouTube.This post is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    1 week ago
  • Passing the buck
    Last month, NZDF's shoddy coverup of what it knew about civilian casualties in Operation Burnham began to fall apart, with the revelation that a report on the matter, which NZDF claimed not to have, had been sitting in an NZDF safe for the past nine years. Yesterday, the man responsible ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • India a major player in Earth observation satellites
    While many imagine that countries like the USA and Europe dominate space activities, in fact India is now a major player on this stage. It launches satellites for its own purposes and also commercially, and has constellations orbiting our planet and returning data of vital importance to that nation in ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • The rot at the top (2).
    Thanks to a report from the Acting Inspector General of Intelligence and Security following a complaint by Nicky Hager, we have come to find out that the SIS illegally spied on Mr. Hager on behalf of the NZDF after publication of Hager’s 2011 book, Other People’s Wars. The NZDF justified ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Common misconceptions about “Global Warming”
    COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING MYTH 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate. FACT: The HadCRUT3 surface temperature index, produced by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, shows warming to 1878, cooling to 1911, ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    1 week ago
  • A climate of tyranny
    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    1 week ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    1 week ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    2 weeks ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
    Overruled: The joint decision of Finance Minister, Grant Robertson (Labour) and his Associate Minister, David Parker (Labour) arguably the two most powerful ministers in Jacinda Ardern’s government, to grant OceanaGold the consents which Land Information Minister, Eugenie Sage (Greens) had earlier denied them, offers bitter proof of how hard fighting ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
    A Statement on Abortion Law Reform by the Council of Disobedient Women   On the eve of bringing an end to antiquated, anti-women abortion laws Green MP Jan Logie intends to write women out of the Bill. With a stroke of the pen, the woke are aiming for total erasure ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Is this study legit? 5 questions to ask when reading news stories of medical research
    Hassan Vally, La Trobe University Who doesn’t want to know if drinking that second or third cup of coffee a day will improve your memory, or if sleeping too much increases your risk of a heart attack? We’re invested in staying healthy and many of us are interested in reading ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
      “There can be no such thing as kaupapa Māori political parties or politics in Aotearoa” (Willie Jackson, Labour Party (2017). Māori TV, General/List Election Special) I begin with that claim because at the time, I was confounded at first that it fell out of Willie Jackson’s mouth, and then ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    2 weeks ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

  • More homes where they are needed
    More houses for homeless New Zealanders are being opened today in Tauranga by Associate Housing Minister Kris Faafoi. Six 2-bedroom quality units are being opened at 878 Cameron Road by Minister Faafoi and Accessible Properties, a local Community Housing Provider (CHP). Accessible Properties now provides more than 1,700 community housing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Minister of Finance and Sport and Recreation to visit Japan and Vietnam
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson departs tomorrow for events and meetings in Japan and Vietnam.  While in Japan, he will discuss economic and fiscal issues including meeting with the Minister of Finance, Taro Aso, and Minister of Economic and Fiscal Policy, Yasutoshi Nishimura. He will meet with the Minister of Education, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Dashboard tracks housing progress
    The Government’s Housing Dashboard released today confirms record numbers of state houses are under construction and shows the Government build programme is gaining momentum.  “After nine years of inaction, and a hands-off attitude from the previous government we’re starting to see things move in the right direction for housing,” says ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Ministerial Statement on the International Convention Centre fire
    Mr Speaker, I wish to make a ministerial statement relating to the Auckland fire. The Government is closely monitoring the situation with the fire at the NZ International Convention Centre and is thankful that everyone is now safe. Firefighters are doing an incredible job managing the fire and bringing it ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Government invests in Te Reo, environmental data research
    The Government is investing in ambitious research that will digitise Te Reo, grow the low-carbon protein efficient aquaculture industry, help interpret environmental trends, and large data sets says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. The four projects range from teaching Siri to speak Te Reo to crunching large environmental ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government announces next steps as part of a comprehensive plan to fix skills gap
    A new education-to-employment brokerage service to strengthen connections between local employers and schools. Funding for more trades focused ‘speed-dating’ events to connect schools with employers. Promotional campaign to raise profile of vocational education. The Government is taking action to increase the number of young people taking up vocational education and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Corrections Amendment Bill passes third reading
    A Bill to improve prison security and ensure the fair, safe, and humane treatment of people in prison while upholding public safety has passed its third reading. Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says the Corrections Amendment Bill makes a number of changes to ensure the Corrections Act 2004 is fit for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Ngāi Tahu CEO appointed to NZ-China Council
    Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, has selected Arihia Bennett MNZM, Chief Executive Officer of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, as the Te Puni Kōkiri appointed representative on the New Zealand-China Council. The New Zealand-China Council (the Council) was established in 2012 as a New Zealand led and funded organisation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Southern Response claims move to EQC
    Responsibility for processing the small number of Southern Response claims still to be settled will be transferred to EQC by the end of the year. “As claim numbers reduce, it no longer makes sense for the Crown to have two organisations processing the remaining Canterbury claims,” Grant Robertson says. “Since ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Bowel screening starts in Whanganui
    Health Minister David Clark is encouraging Whanganui residents to take up the opportunity for free bowel screening, which can detect cancer early when it’s easier to treat.   Over the next two years 12,000 Whanganui locals, aged 60 to 74 will be invited to participate in the National Bowel Screening ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Pacific Peoples Minister to attend Our Ocean Conference in Norway
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, heads to Oslo today to represent New Zealand at the sixth Our Ocean Conference, which is being hosted by the Norwegian Government from the 23-24 October. “The Our Ocean Conference mobilises real action on issues like marine plastic pollution and the impacts of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government announces 27 percent increase in Trades Academy places
    Two secondary-school initiatives are being expanded as part of the Government’s plan to see more young New Zealanders take up a trade to help close the skills gap.   This includes the largest single increase in Trades Academy places in recent years. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures Conference: Connection...
    Session 4: Pacific Connectivity – Youth, Media and New Opportunities   Kia ora tatou katoa and Warm Pacific greetings to one and all. Representatives of Tainui, the local people of the land, or manawhenua – the indigenous peoples of this area – have welcomed you this morning in accordance with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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