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Goff calls for SAS to come home

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, March 3rd, 2010 - 48 comments
Categories: afghanistan, war - Tags:

As the SAS get into their first gunfight and criticism emerges that their LAVs aren’t armoured enough to resist IEDs, John Key shrugs his shoulders and says there may be casualties. Phil Goff, on the other hand, is calling on the PM to do something before it’s too late and bring the SAS home.

Yeah, Labour deployed the SAS three times to Afghanistan. I didn’t support that decision at the time but anyone can see that a lot has changed between then and now. When Labour deployed the SAS the Taliban was all but vanquished and there was real hope for building a stable, democratic government. I never believed it would happen but if you did think it was possible then sending our SAS to help protect that fledgling democracy made sense.

But what are our SAS doing over there now? Whose interests are they fighting to protect? Hamid Karzai has proven to be completely corrupt and repressive. His government is losing security even in once relatively safe Kabul and its authority is only propped up by a loose and shifting alliance of warlords and drug dealers, all protected by foreign soldiers. On the other side is another loose alliance of warlords, grouped around the name Taliban. There’s little fundamental difference between the two.

The SAS aren’t protecting a legitimate government anymore – Karzai cheated his way back into power. Instead, they’re fighting for one side that is pretty much as bad as the other, fuelling a civil war. It is not worth risking casualties for that. That’s why Labour stopped deploying the SAS.

What we should be doing is peacebuilding, like the Provisional Reconstruction Team in Bamyan. The dumb thing is that National is going to pull out the PRT that has been so enormously successful and keep the SAS in. That doesn’t stem from any sensible thinking. It comes from the Right’s Boy’s Own worldview that glamorises war and violence by authority.

[btw. On the topic of the LAVs, I could never understand why we bought so many but they were a good choice of vehicle at the time before IEDs became the main threat in warzones our military faces. The US operates them calling them Strykers. The Stryker is one of only a handful of non-US made pieces of equipment the Yanks use and they’ve performed well in Iraq]

48 comments on “Goff calls for SAS to come home ”

  1. war on you and me 1

    the Afghan war is not about stability in the region, finding the Taliban or helping bring Democracy to the Middle East. It is about a right flank manouveur to balance the left flank of Iraq. It is about securing Oil transport. It is about keeping an eye on Russia and China. Mostly though it is about securing billions of dollars of opium production for Pharmacutical companies and the ever growing drug trade.

    since America went in to save the world from the Taliban the poppy production has increased at an alarming rate and is now higher than at any time in recent history.

    The war is illegal and our soldiers should not be there

  2. Neil 2

    I think Key’s paying more attention to Obama than Goff. And Obama’s not realy in keen on abandoning Afghanistan to the Taliban.

  3. open your eyes 3

    the u.s built up the taliban, they gave them their weapons, they trained them, they have supported them for over fourty years. do you really believe a bunch of guys in caves are able to resist a billion dollar a day military occupation. wake up people, and smell the oil pipelines.

    our government is in bed with these occupiers and the real lovin is yet to come

    • prism 3.1

      oye – As you say the Afghanis have been fighting invaders successfully for many years and with the help of the USA kept Russia out. Its strange to hear how USA have to train fighters now, as if Afghanis didn’t know anything.

      When we were in the province helping build and keep the peace we did something positive – now its a save face offense by the USA and its great for them to be able to spread the casualties to other troops. With luck they might be able to withdraw and leave the rest of the world fighting on as ‘the cause’ turns gangrenous and stinks.

      But running down Afghani leader Hamid Karzai or any other is a waste of time, as the leader and the country have to creak on day after day the best way it can including corruption. No leader could contain the forces against good government.
      The Afghanistan mess follows too closely the Iraqi debacle and the way that advisors’ opinions were ignored by political manipulators. Quote from yahoo news – “Campbell, Downing Street’s former director of communications and strategy, resigned in August 2003, the month after Ministry of Defence weapons expert Dr. David Kelly was found dead near his home with slashed wrists.

  4. Lew 4

    Marty, if you think this is the first firefight the SAS have gotten into in Afghanistan, you might need to rethink how much you know about the conflict and the media stance of the government until a few weeks ago.

    Anyway, the argument doesn’t hold water: continued involvement was a better decision when it looked comparatively easy and straightforward, but it’s a worse decision now that it looks more difficult and complicated? NZ has a duty of care to Afghanistan; as the US and other members of the coalition do to Iraq. By their initial involvement they contributed to the mess as it is now (as opposed to the mess it was then) and they now have a responsibility to see things through to some sort of a conclusion.

    This doesn’t mean he has to be happy about it, but it means he ought to sustain the commitment he initiate. A flip-flop like this makes Goff vulnerable on defence issues, which ought to be one of his strongest suits. Also, from his prior positioning on these topics, it doesn’t ring true to me — looks like he’s been handled and is taking popular positions rather than principled positions. Like his switch on the foreshore and seabed; he runs the risk of being seen as an adapter rather than a leader.

    L

    • Bright Red 4.1

      There are right wars and wrong wars.

      Fighting to protect a nascent democracy is one thing. Fighting to prop up a corrupt regime is another.

      Yes, we have a duty to the Afghani people but that duty is best carried out with the PRT.

      • Neil 4.1.1

        our ability to carry out the PRT relatively free from attacks by the Taliban is due the fact that the troops of other countries, our allies, are risking their lives fighting the Taliban. I doubt we would be very popular if we cherry-picked safe missions.

      • You are right Bright Red , Most wars can and should be avoided . The only war in modern history that was justified was the Spanish Civil War.
        If the Fascists had been defeated then the educated opinion is that there would have been no WW2.However the political Right in NZ and the UK backed Franco.As a matter of fact even the future king of England supported Mussolini and Franco.
        The republican returned heros were blacklisted here and the UK . Many remained unemployed until the start of the second world war.when once again they had to fight Fascism . Afghanistan is another war we should not be involved in .Bring our force home now.

    • Neil 4.2

      Goff’s position is really weird. He never addresses any of Obama’s points in support of continuing involvement.

  5. tc 5

    I’m not getting into the should/shouldn’ts but raising another issue being the loose and unecessary statements Johnny Clown makes about our troops/where they are/what they’re doing.

    This raises the risk of specific targetting by the taliban to weaken our resolve/remove us and reduce their opposition……it’s not like they don’t read/follow the world media.

    Yet another case of opportunistic/PR motives trampling common sense and the basic premise of ‘need to know’…..guess he’s relaxed about it….wonder how many SAS voted for their brighter future under their supremely comfortable commander.

  6. Lew 6

    Yes, BR, and there is legitimate discussion as to which Afghanistan is. I side with it being legitimate, but I have some sympathy for some of those who don’t. However, I have no sympathy for those who thought it was legitimate when they were in charge of committing troops, but now that the other lot is doing so they want to claim it’s illegitimate. It looks like political point-scoring. If it’s not, let’s hear a full and robustly-justified defence of the U-turn from Goff, rather than waffly populist soundbites. We both know he’s got the depth of understanding needed to justify such a move, if the reasons he made it are sound.

    The regime’s corruptness is in no small part the responsibility of the ISAF involvement — it’s an omelette/eggs situation. The only thing which is sure to make corruption more entrenched is to leave it to the warlords. That’s what pulling out troops would mean — not ours alone, of course, but if we pull ours, what keeps Turkey there, or Portugal, or Sweden?

    L

    • Captain Rehab 6.1

      He has made the argument at length. I heard it on a long-format piece on RNZ but no other media will cover in-depth argument. That’s why you haven’t heard about it Lew. Rather than blaming Goff for your ignorance you should blame the media for not telling you or your own laziness for not seeking out the rare cases where he has been quoted at length. Goff’s soundbite will satisfy 99% of the population. If it doesn’t satisfy you you should seek out a more thorough answer yourself rather than crying to be spoon fed like a little baby.

      • Lew 6.1.1

        I’ve searched the Radio NZ site for the past year, and found a four-minute report defending the proposal from August last year — before the elections which demonstrated how corrupt the Karzai government was and is, and before the substantial escalation of hostilities which has been observed recently. If things changed so much in the last few years of his government, how haven’t they changed sufficiently to require a restatement now?

        I’m open to the argument of focusing on the PRT rather than involving the SAS — but the argument needs to be made, and at present it’s not being.

        L

        • Daveo 6.1.1.1

          Goff made an extensive argument about it in a feature piece in the Dom Post at the time National decided to deploy the SAS. He made the argument in other media too. You’re simply wrong about this Lew.

  7. ghostwhowalksnz 7

    Remember how it was ‘only’ a training mission- In Kabul- so there wasnt any problems with civilians or road side bombs.

    Foolish Key has to admit its not like what he was lead to believe- hello they never are- yet some say we have to stay to look tough ?

    Weaken our resolve ?.
    Thats the whole idea of the Taliban/Mujahadeen as they cant win by overwhelming force.
    Since its their country their only aim is to get the west to leave.
    Which will happen so the sooner the better

  8. Bill 8

    Oil.

    Oh, and Lew, how’s a duty to Afghanistan performed by supporting one set of warlords over another, by terrorising the populace and bombing their weddings and other festivities, by trundling troops and vehicles up and down their streets and through their houses and villages, by arresting, detaining and torturing young men or civilian survivors of these firefights that John Boy finds so panty wetting?

    No fan of Goff, but 9 or 10 years late is better than never.

    And did I mention oil?

    Which oil extraction companies and pipeline construction companies are the SAS fighting for again? And why? Will it secure affordable oil for me and you? The answer is no. Will the US backed corporate adventurism in Afghanistan be a success? Probably not. Smart money is on China and/or Russia.

    Will it take a US military invasion of oil rich nations in S. America after their failed effort to tie up the middle east to get your head out of those grossly misleading orthodox textbooks that shrill how we are all benevolently in this together and only ever guilty of innocent mistakes in our quest to share our higher purpose with the worlds’ ingrates?

    And did I mention oil?

    • Lew 8.1

      When it’s warlords or warlords, Bill, I’ll pick the ones which are in the full glare of the world view, and whose actions are governed by civilian commanders accountable to civilian populations.

      Oil is a red herring. It’s a factor, but it’s not the factor.

      L

      • Bill 8.1.1

        Democracy is the red herring Lew…dehydrated, dead possibly smoked.

        And the Taliban was, as far as the people of Afghanistan were concerned, preferable to the Northern Alliance that preceded them. Check out the RAWA archive.

        But you believe the Bin Laden crap, don’t you? You believe the Taliban harboured him and encouraged him, don’t you? Which means that the Taliban are somehow responsible for terrorist activities in the US or wherever, right? Which justifies pulverising a country that had already been bombed back to the stone age into dust, right?

        You really need to do some reading on what the actual situation was in Afghanistan with regards the relationships between the US and the Taliban, what their discussions were about and what the relationship between the Taliban and Bin Laden was and the sanctions placed on him by them and why. Seriously.

        • Lew 8.1.1.1

          Ah, Bill. The situation in Afghanistan is one of the few foreign affairs topics I do actually know a bit about. Let’s just say that, for now, we’re going to have to disagree. I’ll keep my faith in the horrible charade of democracy, and you can keep your wacky shadow-puppet conspiracy theories. Cool?

          L

          • Bill 8.1.1.1.1

            No Lew, not ‘cool’.

            Just another instance of you laying claim to some superior but unstated perspective while throwing unsubstantiated demeaning shit by way of a parting shot as you disappear back up your own arse.

            Such a talent.

            • Lew 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Aww, piss off, Bill. I’ve got work to do and I’m not spoiling for the intractable quagmire which is arguing Afghanistan with people who simply don’t believe there’s a difference between flawed democracy and theocratic warlord dictatorship.

              L

              • Bill

                Gee.

                “..flawed democracy and theocratic warlord dictatorship.” ?

                And here was me thinking the comments were about whether all this shit is about controlling resources (gas and oil) on the one hand or whether it was about ‘a duty of care’ and , presumably as an unavoidable adjunct, ‘gifting’ them a version of ‘our’ (read ‘corporate’) preferred system of governance on the other.

              • SPC

                Some need to move onto post Cold War thinking. Both by those in Washington and their critics.

  9. tc 9

    Why does goff have to take a position on anything ?

    The last leader of the opposition never did aside from a cheesy grin and going ‘…yeah what he said….’ why can’t he be aloof and non-commitall….worked for the last guy.

  10. bought and paid for 10

    the way you talk about the influence of politics is hilarious, the only real influence comes from a truly corrupt regime of warlords that we shall umbrella title as AmeriCorp. Afghanstan and Iraq have a very real purpose. It is not the Democracy for Everyone purpose. It is not some Humanitarians’R US purpose and it is decidely not political.

    Every single day these wars contribute billions of dollars of income to private companies. These monies are taken from taxpayers all over the world and the only thing [AmeriCorp] want to see happen is more of the same

    these billions are not from sales of stereos and new cars. These are from bombs and bullets and the accountancy is proven with corpses. Regardless of whether you, or I, believe our country should be there, we should have left the bullets at home.

  11. Scott 11

    I support Goff on most things, but Goff’s position on this issue is disappointing. I’ve heard the arguments why we shouldn’t be in Afghanistan, and they don’t stack up. The fact of the matter is the West helped create the mess in Afghanistan, so we owe it to the people there to fix it.

    Walking away from the country will only leave power in the hands of the Taliban. However corrupt members of the current Afghani government are, they are positively angelic compared to some of the worst elements of the Taliban.

    We also have international commitments to keep, and we have to do our share if we want to be taken seriously by other countries.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      The problem is that we can’t actually do anything. The people of Afghanistan need to agree on the governance of their country and, ATM, they don’t have that agreement and they’re not likely to get it as the warlords control everything.

      • The Baron 11.1.1

        Yes, we can – we can try and keep those warlords in check while the people of Afghanistan make those decisions – i.e. exactly what we are doing.

        To leave them to it is to invite those same warlords to answer those questions in a violent manner. That would be a far worse outcome for the people of Afghanistan.

        I’m happy to have our professional soldiers working to protect that – its the least bad outcome, and is what we have these guys for.

        • Draco T Bastard 11.1.1.1

          That’s a nice idea but we’re talking inter-generational change. It’ll take decades until their society is stable enough that we could leave without the present warlords just turning round and taking control again and we just don’t have that long.

          • Neil 11.1.1.1.1

            the Obama plan is to strengthen civil govt so that a troop draw-down can happen within the next few years. we can probably hang around for that long. And the Afghanis don’t get a choice about hanging around.

            that might all be deluded wishful thinking, but judging by how he’s handling Iraq I think there’s good grounds to believe he knows what he’s talking about and that he’s acting in good faith.

            Now if Goff has a problem with that then he’s had plenty of opportunity to say “I disagree with Obama because…”. But he hasn’t. He’s either stupid or a cynical opportunist. Given how he’s acted towards Maori, I’d go for the latter.

  12. poor lew 12

    i really worry when intelligent sounding people say stuff like

    “I’ll pick the ones which are in the full glare of the world view, and whose actions are governed by civilian commanders accountable to civilian populations.”

    who the hell is he talking about. not America i tell you that for free
    they invade two countries on illegal terms and torture and bomb and corrupt and lie and steal and so on and so on

    how naive can a citizen be? how low is a shadow in a coal pit?

    [Ed: Please stick to one handle when commenting.]

    • Lew 12.1

      I worry when people see the shadow and jump, because it looks like a scary conspiracy monster.

      L

      • poor lew 12.1.1

        please try to inform yourself with resources other than the daily papers and Television

  13. BLiP 13

    For purely pragmatic reasons, it might be better if we just leave our soldiers over there, provided they volunteer. I’m as unhappy as the nest person about Kiwis spilling blood in a needless corporate war, but it might just have to be the price we pay to keep the US from meddling even more in our domestic politics.

  14. SPC 14

    Our position is irrelevant to what has happened, what is happening and what will happen in Afghanistan. So righteous positioning is only for selfish reasons – and so is ascribing motives for others (those others involved are so and so and why should we be associated with them).

    So the real issue for us is, whether we want to take an independent position on this issue, or be part of a collective contribution.

    Our tradition is multi-lateralism, so it’s no surprise we are involved already and the PRT contribution is foreign aid to a country which needs it and thus is rightly uncontroversial.

    The SAS work in developing a local capability to combat terrorism (killing civilians etc is not liberation fighting) is part of developing a nations ability for self-defence. It is both a part of a fight with those who resort to terrorism and also to allow an earlier departure by foreign forces.

    It also supports a policy of a show of committment by foreign forces and negotiation with Taleban, which is the only constructive option available.

    But it’s no surprise that Labour is adopting the less “involvement of fighting forces” option, and given Giff has personal experience with loss of life in such fighting it’s no surprise. However it can be argued that Labour is differentiating itself from the government more for political reasons than because they see the current course as being wrong.

    Of course when National does bring the SAS home, after having completed the training role and a participation in a collective work and Labour becomes the next government they will be able to draw on that (even while opposing any further role by the SAS at the moment). And let’s note NATO is involved, not just the Americans.

  15. Darel 15

    On the LAV question:

    The AG’s report is here: http://www.oag.govt.nz/2001/lav-lov/docs/lav-lov.pdf

    Cab approval for $ to construct a capability was granted in May 1999, but not the number of vehicles (para 2.12)

    MoD sought a tender for 2 battalions without authority. Cabinet had rejected the two batt idea (para 3.46)

    Cab approves 105 LAVIII (para 3.60) for 2 batts.

    I think the army obfuscated until they got what they wanted

    The AG comments include a section entitled :
    Pursuit of the project diverged considerably from Cabinet approvals in a number of respects

  16. BLiP 16

    There’s the LAV’s – and then there’s the helicopters.

    • The Baron 16.1

      Not often you and I agree, BLiP, but it certainly appears that our military has a pretty shocking record when it comes to military procurement – and you can add the Upham and the Canterbury to this list too of course.

      It appears we tend to buy over-priced, over-specced kit that matches well with allies that don’t play with us; and that are pretty damn useless for the scenarios that our troops need them for (i.e. the primary peacekeeping missions). And my, the numbers are astronomical too.

      Who is responsible for these recommendations?

      • Rascally_Rabbit 16.1.1

        I can’t fathom it either – for instance with the 757’s why not lease a passenger jet? (I understand this may present complications for military use but I am sure it wouldn’t be out of the realms of possibility) and purchase a heavier military lift aircraft? (C17’s may be too expensive but there are alternatives…C130J’s or the under-development A400m and KC-390)

        Now that the 757’s have purchased why not make as many small adjustments for improved capability as possible (on top of the ones already made) such as blended winglets? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_757#Winglet_upgrades – reminiscent of not fitting IED protection to LAV’s maybe?!

        Similar winglet upgrades on AirNZ’s 767’s have worked remarkably well http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/SC0910/S00034.htm

        Taken at face-value defence procurements seem about finding the best option at the time and then proceeding to cock it up over the coming months and years of endless reviews….

    • Draco T Bastard 16.2

      So, a report that’s just been released makes a decision based on best previous information bad?

      • The Baron 16.2.1

        Our processes “based on best previous information” seem to unwind in this manner quite regularly, Draco. Hence my listing of similar errors.

        I wonder about your comprehension sometimes – though I appreciate that for once you didn’t launch into some bizarre, misinformed rant about your favourite aspect of anarcho-communism.

        • Draco T Bastard 16.2.1.1

          I suspect that’s the nature of military spending and not the total incompetence that you seem to imply. The US uses the LAVs as well – Are they incompetent? Did they have to do the IED modifications as well? Did they have the budget to do it immediately or was it put off for a bit like the HMMWV?

          You make decisions on what you know now projected into the future. Some things just can’t be foreseen and some things, even if they are foreseen, aren’t economically viable to do.

          As for the price, well, there’s not that much demand for military stuff so the price is going to be higher.

  17. poor lew 17

    the same people year after year after year after year, they are called The Armed Forces and should never be trusted to recommend a ham sandwich without independant scutiny. Many agencies in this world slaver for new gear but none do it quite so strongly, or as badly as the military

  18. Bill 18

    Just watched that TVNZ link.

    What a disgusting piece of pro war prop!

  19. Of course we should get out of Afghanistan there is no chance of winning this war .Why should we be invoved.? its time we cut our so called defence bill .For over a hundred years we have been fighting other peoples wars.We have done more than our fair share in wars .Every town in Aotearoa has a memorial to its “Glorious Dead” Its time to call time.
    Spend the savings on a Peace Force used for civil defence and disaster aid and overseas aid. After all the fact remains that if any country decided to invade us we would have no chance because of our small population . So let’s do what we do best give aid when its needed

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    Time for a good old-fashioned fandom furore. The Tolkien fandom hasn’t had a proper one of those since the Great Nudity Scandal of October 2020… so it clearly must be time to pontificate from on-high about a television series we still know vanishingly little about. This time the subject ...
    3 days ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 13 October 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Dr Lara Greaves, Political scientist, University of Auckland: “I love the NZ Politics Daily emails as they help me to keep on top of current events. It’s incredibly easy to skim through and follow the links. I really appreciate these as it means that I am exposed to a ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    3 days ago
  • The Data and Statistics Bill and the OIA
    The government introduced a new Data and Statistics Bill today to modernise and replace the 45-year old Statistics Act. Part of the Bill re-enacts the existing confidentiality regime (with one exception), which while a secrecy clause isn't an especially controversial one. Another part is aimed at removing "outdated" (inconvenient) limits ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Graham Adams: The debate over the $55 million media fund erupts again
    RNZ’s Mediawatch and a video clip viewed 42,000 times keep the topic of the Public Interest Journalism Fund fizzing. Graham Adams reports.   A week ago, the NZ Taxpayers’ Union posted a short video clip of the exchange in Parliament between Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins in which the National ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    4 days ago
  • Multiple sclerosis: the link with earlier infection just got stronger – new study
    Scott Montgomery, UCL For most of the time since the first description of multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1868, the causes of this disabling disease have remained uncertain. Genes have been identified as important, which is why having other family members with MS is associated with a greater risk of developing ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    4 days ago
  • Covid and free speech
    by Don Franks Some commentators have likened the struggle against Covid 19 to the world war experience. To those of us not alive in those times, that comparison can only be academic. What the anti virus battle reminds me of much more is an industrial strike. In my twenties and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • “Angry Blowhards”
    In today’s Herald, their excellent columnist, Simon Wilson, takes to task those “shouty” people whom he further describes as “angry blowhards”. They are those whose prime reaction to the pandemic is anger – an anger they seamlessly (and perhaps unwittingly) transfer from the virus to the government. The basis for ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • Looking Forward To 2022.
    Future Tense? Okay, so that’s where we are in 2022. Living in a New Zealand where all the usual rules of politics once again apply. And, guess what? Jacinda’s government, once again, isn’t doing very well – not very well at all.LET’S PLAY A GAME. Let’s pretend we’re half-way through ...
    4 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Covid mandates, and the Covid pill
    The cliché about “living with Covid” will not mean life as we’ve known it, Jim. Vaccination is fast becoming a condition of employment, and also a requirement to participate in aspects of social life, such as travel, attending bars, cafes, and concerts etc. These protective measures enjoy a high level ...
    4 days ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 12 October 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Prof Alan Bollard, Professor of Practice at the School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington; Chair of the Infrastructure Commission: “NZ Politics Daily” provides a great public service – a quick and unbiased way to check policy announcements and analysis every morning.” Anyone can sign up to NZPD ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    4 days ago
  • Legal Beagle: A submission on the COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill (No 2)
    I have made a submission on the COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Bill (No 2).In preparing it, I looked at the Hansard for the first reading debate, and got name-dropped as someone likely to make a submission. So, of course I did. I focus on a small bit of the ...
    5 days ago
  • Hard News: More tales from the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme
    You may have read last week that two years after the publication of regulations for medicinal cannabis – and three years after the enabling legislation – two local products from a local manufacturer have finally met the minimum quality standards for prescription. You may also be interested to know that ...
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Real action requires government
    Over the weekend someone pointed me at a journal article on "The Poverty of Theory: Public Problems, Instrument Choice, and the Climate Emergency". Its a US law journal article, so is a) very long; and b) half footnotes (different disciplines have different norms), but the core idea is that the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Not doing our bit
    Last month the US and EU announced they would push an agreement to cut methane emissions by 30% (from 2020 levels) by 2030 at the upcoming climate change conference in Glasgow. The good news is that New Zealand is looking at joining it. The bad news is that that won't ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Delta’s Week Of Doom.
    Classic Shot: Are the Prime Minister’s formidable communication skills equal to the task of getting her government’s anti-Covid campaign back on track?IF JACINDA ARDERN thought last week was bad, the week ahead promises to be even worse. Sixty community cases of Covid-19, one of the highest daily totals so far ...
    5 days ago
  • Urgent measures needed to allow the safe re-opening of Auckland schools
    Dr Rachel Webb, Dr Jin Russell, Dr Pip Anderson, Dr Emma Best, Dr Alison Leversha and Dr Subha Rajanaidu* In this blog we describe the range of urgent measures that are needed to facilitate a safe return to schools in Auckland and other regions of the country where there is ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • Children live online more than ever – we need better definitions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ scree...
    Kathryn MacCallum, University of Canterbury and Cheryl Brown, University of Canterbury   The pandemic has fundamentally altered every part of our lives, not least the time we spend on digital devices. For young people in particular, the blurred line between recreational and educational screen time presents new challenges we are ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Putting Aotearoa on the map: New Zealand has changed its name before, why not again?
    Claire Breen, University of Waikato; Alexander Gillespie, University of Waikato; Robert Joseph, University of Waikato, and Valmaine Toki, University of Waikato   Our names are a critical part of our identity. They are a personal and social anchor tying us to our families, our culture, our history and place in ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Speaker: Yes, of course festival organisers will follow the law on vaccination
    On Tuesday 5 October the New Zealand Government announced that proof of COVID-19 vaccination would be a requirement to attend large events this summer.It took a few days for event owners to absorb the information and understand the implications. By the end of the working week, most of the big ...
    5 days ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 11 October 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Jim Hubbard, Cartoonist “NZ Politics daily is a go to for cartoonists, or should be.  Political reporting enmasse like this gives cartoonists and political junkies a smorgasbord to get their teeth into. Essential and I daresay vital reading for those who care about the future of NZ.” Anyone can sign ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    5 days ago
  • 2021 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #41
    Listing of articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, October 3, 2021 through Sat, October 9, 2021 The following articles sparked above average interest during the week: VFX Artist Reveals how Many Solar Panels are Needed to Power the ENTIRE World, Will you fall ...
    6 days ago
  • The Night of Parmenides: accepted
    A bit of good news on the writing front. My 3900-word short story, The Night of Parmenides, has been accepted by SpecFicNZ for their upcoming Aftermath anthology, to be published in early 2022. This is my first published short story to be explicitly set in my home-town of ...
    6 days ago
  • The Virus, the Politician, and the gang member
    . . . . . References Newshub Nation: Gang leader Harry Tam denies Winston Peters’ claims he helped infected woman breach COVID boundary, sparking Northland lockdown Te Ao News: ‘Apologise!’ Mob leader slams Peters’ Covid, Northland allegations Stuff media: Covid-19 – Search for contact of Northland case ‘extraordinarily frustrating’ CNBC: ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Rapid kits, responses, and openings: watch motivations, or catch something worse with Covid…
    Last week was probably a high point for many armchair “experts”, fresh from their high after some deep inhaling of the various musings and fumings, of an actually very smug, and very insualted John “Things all work for me…” Key, former Prime Minister and FOREX trader, had blitzed the ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    7 days ago
  • Bollocks
    It would appear we have an unwelcome presence in town.Positive wastewater results had been detected in Hamilton and Palmerston North on October 6 and 7. There are 26 cases in hospital, seven of these are in ICU or high dependency units (HDU).One of the people in hospital is in Palmerston ...
    1 week ago
  • World-leading?
    So, the Herald has found someone, as we can see from today’s issue, who is able to explain why we should not claim to have been “world-leading” in our response to the covid epidemic. It seems that we have been kidding ourselves when we celebrated our low total number of ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Why Is Labour So Frightened Of “Mr Stick”?
    Force Multiplier: Why are Ardern and her ministers so loathe to put a bit of stick about? The “emergency” legislation eventually enacted to authorise the measures needed to combat the Covid-19 pandemic failed to confer upon the New Zealand Government the unequivocal authority that subsequent events showed to be so ...
    1 week ago
  • The Need for an Updated Strategic Approach to Covid-19 Control in Aotearoa NZ
    Prof Nick Wilson, Dr Jennifer Summers, Prof Michael Baker* The NZ Government appears to have drifted into an unclear strategic approach to Covid-19 control. In this blog we outline one potential way forward: a regional strategic approach that considers “regional suppression” and “regional elimination”. To maximise the success of this ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Mairon: The Actual Source for the Blasted Name
    Long-time Tolkien geeks – or those bemused enough to run across a certain internet phenomenon – might know that ‘Sauron’ is not actually the real name of the Lord of the Ring. ‘Sauron’ is just an abusive Elvish nickname, meaning ‘the Abhorred.’ Sauron’s actual name, at least originally, ...
    1 week ago
  • Forced Re-entry
    The elimination of Covid strategy is not so much defeated but changing circumstances means that policy has to evolve. Our elimination stance was never sustainable or at least it would not be until the rest of the world also eliminated Covid-19. Elimination of the virus was a strategy we adopted ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Repeal this unjust law
    Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled on National's unjust "three strikes" law, and found that the sentence it required was (in the case in question) so disproportionate as to "shock the conscience" and violate the Bill of Rights Act ban on disproportionately severe treatment or punishment: The Supreme Court has ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Preparing for the flood
    The Christchurch City Council has published new "coastal hazards" data, indicating which places are under threat from sea-level rise. And its not good news: Parts of Christchurch and Banks Peninsula are likely to become unhabitable [sic] as the city council figures out how to adapt to sea level ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Virus, Not The Government
    I wonder if Mike Hosking ever reads the paper in which he appears so regularly? If he does, he might have noticed a report in today’s Herald about the problem that could face churches in Auckland if a vaccine passport becomes mandatory for those wishing to attend church services. The ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 8 October 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Bill Ralston, Media consultant and columnist: “NZ Politics Daily provides an invaluable service for journalists, politicians, businesspeople, decision makers and the public at large by providing an easily accessible, exhaustive, link to every significant political story in the country’s media that day. It’s a gem of a service ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Open letter to Michael Barnett, Julie White, et al
    . . Congratulations,  Mr Barnett, Ms White, and your business colleagues. It appears that we will end up having to “live” (ie, get sick, end up in hospital, perhaps in ICU, intubated on ventilators, and possibly dying as our lungs fail) with covid19. But at least businesses will open up. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Introducing Mr Stick.
    MR STICK: You media types think the people of this country have changed, but you’re wrong. We’re the same tough bastards we’ve always been. Put a bit of stick about – and listen to us cheer!JOSEPHINE MUCH-ADOO: Kia ora, everyone, and welcome to “Introducing”. Today we are very pleased to ...
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #40, 2021
    "Old" research There's little point in trying to best this excellent article describing the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics by Ars Technica authors Jennifer Ouelette and John Timmer, each having a gift for concisely on-target, accessible science journalism. Here at New Research we'll punt and quote the The Royal Swedish Academy of ...
    1 week ago
  • Standing on one leg is a sign of good health – and practising is good for you too
    Dawn Skelton, Glasgow Caledonian University Research shows that people’s ability to stand on one leg is an indicator of health and that getting better at standing on one leg can add to fitness and potentially lifespan. Being able to stand on one leg is linked to increased levels of physical ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: More dishonesty over the CCR
    Last month the Emissions Trading Scheme turned into a farce, when the government flooded the market with credits in a failed and wasteful attempt to Keep Carbon Prices Low. When I asked about the background of this policy Climate Change Minister James Shaw sent me one of the most egregious ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Schrödinger’s Wraith: The Status of the Witch-King of Angmar, 15th-25th March, T.A. 3019.
    My recent re-read of The Lord of the Rings reminded me of one of the vaguer head-scratchers in Tolkien. The status of the Witch-King of Angmar between his death at the Battle of Pelennor Fields and the Destruction of the One Ring ten days later… was he, in the ...
    1 week ago
  • How rainbow colour maps can distort data and be misleading
    Philip Heron, University of Toronto; Fabio Crameri, University of Oslo, and Grace Shephard, University of Oslo   The choice of colour to represent information in scientific images is a fundamental part of communicating findings. However, a number of colour palettes that are widely used to display critical scientific results are ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on Korea’s march to global cultural domination, plus a K-pop playlist
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    1 week ago
  • In a lockdown, where does work end and parenting begin? Welcome to the brave new world of ‘zigzag...
    Candice Harris, Auckland University of Technology and Jarrod Haar, Auckland University of Technology   All parents work. The difference lies in the breakdown between their paid and unpaid workloads. That equation is influenced by many things, including education, qualifications, age, ethnicity, financial status, number and age of dependants, gendered and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Using Rapid Antigen Tests to Improve COVID-19 Control in Aotearoa NZ
    Figure 1: Rapid Antigen Test kit given out freely from the NHS in the UK Dr Jennifer Summers, Assoc Prof James Ussher, Assoc Prof Nikki Moreland, Dr Leah Grout, Prof Nick Wilson, Prof Michael Baker* Most COVID-19 testing aims to identify infected people. To date, Aotearoa NZ has relied almost ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 7 October 2021
    Today’s NZPD testimonial from Dr Liz Gordon, Former MP, researcher and blogger I just hate NZ Politics Daily. I get settled in to do a good day’s work and ZAP, it arrives in my inbox like a little shiny gift.  I try to ignore it but my cursor creeps inexorably towards the ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Bryce Edwards: Political Roundup – Will electoral and political finance law reform succeed this ti...
    It’s welcome news that the Government has announced this week that they intend to improve how elections work in this country, including fixing the political finance rules. Justice Minister Kris Faafoi has announced that major reforms will be investigated in the areas of political donation rules, promising changes that will ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • Will Jacinda Stand? Or, Has She Already Fallen?
    Free Falling? New Zealanders needed to hear Jacinda take a firm line on vaccination, issuing stern warnings to those who declared their intention to refuse. Kiwis just weren’t in the mood to let lockdown evaders and anti-vaxxers free ride on their good citizenship. Google’s IT wizards confirmed that Kiwis were, overwhelmingly, ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The CCR was a huge waste of money II
    Last month, in the wake of the September carbon auction, I talked about how the government's policy of flooding the market with a "cost containment reserve" of an extra 7 million tons of pollution in an effort to keep carbon costs low was a huge waste of money. Ministry for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Celebrating Women in Space
    Beautiful, Inspiring, Mysterious!  How do you describe space?  What do you think when you look up at the stars?  The United Nations General Assembly certainly knew how beautiful, inspiring, mysterious, and important space is when they designated a week to be World Space Week.  That’s this week, and the theme for this year is ...
    SciBlogsBy John Pickering
    1 week ago
  • COVID Clusterfuck
    Well it has been fun living in the safest country in the world for a year and a half, but a combination of cynical politics from the right, and dithering incompetence from the left, and selfish sociopathy or ignorance on the part of the population , means New Zealand is ...
    1 week ago
  • Unsurprising
    Former rugby league star Manu Vatuvei has admitted importing methamphetamine. The Warriors icon was charged in December 2019 with possessing methamphetamine for supply and importing the Class A drug. He previously denied the charges and earlier this year said he would “fight for his innocence” after he outed himself as the sportsman ...
    1 week ago
  • Bond, Wokeness and Representations in Cinema
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh The latest James Bond film has come out.  It is apparently to be Daniel Craig’s last incarnation as the Spy Who Loved Me, or raped me as some have pointed out.  There has been much discussion about how woke the new James Bond is and how ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • The Virus, the Bubble, and the Trap
    . . . . . References National Party: Open the Trans Tasman Bubble Now (archived) Twitter: National Party – Sign the Trans Tasman bubble petition Twitter: Judith Collins – Sign the Trans Tasman bubble petition RNZ: Tourism New Zealand forecasting billion-dollar economy boost if trans-Tasman bubble opens Stuff media: Crack ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Not keeping their promises
    One of the big steps forward in climate change policy was when cabinet started demanding climate change assessments of policy, so when they built that road or changed energy or farm policy, they'd know what they were doing and be able to make an informed decision (and if not, one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A useful ruling
    As readers may be aware, I (and everyone else) have been having a growing problem with OIA extensions for "consultations". They're being used by agencies to juke the stats, scam extra time, and cover up administrative failure. So I've taken up complaining about them. And last night, I got a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago

  • New Zealand Ambassador to France announced
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Caroline Bilkey as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to France and the OECD. “Aotearoa New Zealand and France have a shared history, and enjoy a strong, collaborative partnership. This includes a strong trade and economic relationship, a shared commitment to support ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Govt welcomes nurses’ pay settlement
    The Government is welcoming news that a new employment agreement for nurses working in public hospitals has been settled. “I am very pleased that the hard work of the Nurses Organisation and District Health Boards has led to a settlement that both can support,” Health Minister Andrew Little said today. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Judge of the High Court appointed
    Māori Land Court Judge Layne Harvey has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Harvey graduated with an LLB from the University of Auckland in 1992 and commenced employment as a law clerk with Simpson Grierson in Auckland that same year. In 1997 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Kiwis to have their say on plan to reduce waste
    New Zealanders are invited to have their say on proposals for a new waste strategy and options for new waste legislation. “Reducing waste is one of the issues all New Zealanders – especially younger Kiwis - care deeply about,” Environment Minister David Parker said today “New Zealand is one of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Next steps in action plan for indigenous rights kicks off
    Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson has today meet with more than 30 national Māori organisations in an online hui, kicking off the process to develop a plan for New Zealand to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration). The previous National Government signed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Iwi-led housing solutions build homes for the future
    Whai Kāinga, Whai Oranga will open on 20 October, to receive applications for investment through Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga – Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and Te Puni Kōkiri The $730m fund combines investment from Budget 2021 ($380m) and the Māori Infrastructure Fund ($350m) - the largest investment seen ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • E whakarite ana Te Kāwanatanga i ngā tūāpapa mō twhakamaumahara ki Te Petihana Reo Māori ka t...
    I te rā nei, i pānuihia e te Minita mō Manatū Taonga, ko Carmel Sepuloni, rāua ko te Minita Whanaketanga Māori, ko Willie Jackson, ā tērā tau, ka whakanuia rawatia te 50 o ngā tau mai i te whakatakotoranga o te petihana mō te Reo Māori me te huanga mai ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • E whakarite ana Te Kāwanatanga i ngā tūāpapa mō tewhakamaumahara ki Te Petihana Reo Māori ka t...
    I te rā nei, i pānuihia e te Minita mō Manatū Taonga, ko Carmel Sepuloni, rāua ko te Minita Whanaketanga Māori, ko Willie Jackson, ā tērā tau, ka whakanuia rawatia te 50 o ngā tau mai i te whakatakotoranga o te petihana mō te Reo Māori me te huanga mai ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government green lights rapid antigen testing
    Some of the country’s largest businesses have put in an order for 300,000 approved rapid antigen tests for their workforce, after working at pace with the Government on a new scheme unveiled by Associate Minister of Health and Research, Science and Innovation Ayesha Verrall. A coalition of around 25 businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government lays foundations as Māori Language Petition commemorations take shape for 2022
    Taiaha hā! Taiaha hā! - Te kairangi o te reo hoki mai ki taku tikanga, ki taku taumata, ki taku reo, ki taku ao. He reo whai tikanga, he reo whai mana, he reo whai tangata koe. Ki te whāngaihia te reo Māori he ao tēnā, ki te kore he ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Major contract awarded to power NZ Battery investigation
    A consortium of specialist firms has been awarded a major contract to advance the New Zealand Battery Project’s feasibility investigation into a pumped hydro storage scheme at Lake Onslow, the Minister of Energy and Resources Megan Woods has announced. “This contract represents a major milestone as it begins the targeted ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Additional Funding for Foodbanks and Social Agencies
    The Government has approved $13.55m from the Covid Response and Recovery Fund to support foodbanks and social sector agencies, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni has announced. “Foodbanks and social agencies across Auckland are doing a great job supporting their communities and the Government is today providing them with more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Generating a new generation of guardians
    The Government is supporting a Whakatōhea-led project undertaking landscape scale restoration in forests and around vulnerable rivers within the Eastern Bay of Plenty, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says. “The Whakatōhea Tiaki Taiao project will employ four people to undertake pest and weed control, ecosystem restoration and monitoring over three ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Parts of Waikato, Northland staying at Alert Level 3
    The parts of Waikato that have been in Alert Level 3 and Northland will remain in Alert Level 3 for a few more days, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Auckland remains at Alert Level 3, Step 1. “Based on the latest public health information, ministers have decided that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New courthouses for Tauranga and Whanganui
    The Government is moving ahead with new courthouses in Tauranga and Whanganui, which the Justice Minister says provide an opportunity to redesign court facilities that help put victims at the heart of the justice system. “These courthouses are part of the 10-year infrastructure investment plan to restore and modernise Ministry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech on the launch of the consultation on the development of the Emissions Reduction Plan
    Tēnā koutou katoa. Ngā mihi o te ata. Earlier this month Save the Children wrote to me with their most up to date analysis on the impact of climate change. What they said was that children born in Aotearoa today will experience up to five times as many heatwaves and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Opportunity to shape NZ’s first Emissions Reduction Plan
    The Government is inviting New Zealanders to inform the country’s first Emissions Reduction Plan with the release of a consultation document containing a range of policy ideas to decrease the country’s emissions, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced today. The Emissions Reduction Plan will set ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Convention on Biological Diversity COP 15, Virtual High-Level Segment
    Kia ora koutou katoa. I want to thank China for hosting this critically important Conference of the Parties. We are all here for the same reason. Biodiversity loss, and the ongoing degradation of nature, are accelerating at an unprecedented rate. These losses are causing irreparable harm to our planet’s ability ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government books show resilient and strong economy
    The end of year audited Crown accounts released today show the Government’s health led approach to the COVID-19 pandemic has protected New Zealand’s economy. “On almost every indicator the accounts show that the New Zealand economy has performed better than forecast, even as recently as the Budget in May. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • ​​​​​​​Health system is ready for assisted-dying law
    The health system is ready for the implementation of the End of Life Choice Act when it takes effect next month, making assisted dying legal in New Zealand, Health Minister Andrew Little said today. The law received 65.1 per cent support in a public referendum held alongside last year’s general ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Taking a lead in threat to curious kea
    Reducing lead poisoning of kea, the world’s only alpine parrot and one-time New Zealand bird of the year winner, is the goal of a two year project being backed by the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says.  “Lead poisoning is a serious threat to this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government provides certainty to working holiday and seasonal visa holders and employers for summer
    The Government will extend Working Holiday visas and Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) work visas for six months to provide more certainty to employers and visa holders over the coming summer period, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi has announced. “This offers employers and visa holders the certainty they’ve been asking for going ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Lower card fees good for businesses, consumers
    The Bill to help lower the cost of the fees retailers get charged for offering contactless and debit payment options is another step closer to becoming law, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Dr David Clark said today. “COVID-19 has changed the way we spend our money, with online and contactless ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Mandatory vaccination for two workforces
    High-risk workers in the health and disability sector to be fully vaccinated by 1 December, 2021, and to receive their first dose by 30 October School and early learning staff and support people who have contact with children and students to be fully vaccinated by 1 January, 2022, and to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Fund allows more Pacific community led vaccinations
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