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International reaction to our spying

Written By: - Date published: 8:37 am, March 28th, 2015 - 77 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, accountability, International, Spying - Tags: , , , ,

How are other nations going to react to our spying on them? Key’s response when the question arose in Korea was very typical of him – bullshit and bluster:

Mr Key says the Koreans simply do not care, “because they wouldn’t give a monkey’s and they probably wouldn’t believe it”.

Korea may or may not care, they have kept their cards to themselves. But Brazil cares:

NZ ambassador hauled before Brazilian foreign minister

New Zealand’s ambassador to Brazil, Caroline Bilkey, has been called upon to explain leaked documents showing New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) spied on rival candidates for the top job at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

And Fiji cares:

Fiji to take action against phone tapping

This comes in the wake of allegations made against the New Zealand government of listening in on Fiji’s military, police and government calls made on a particular network.

Mr Natuva says the government would not be writing to New Zealand on allegations about it spying on Fiji.

Latin America cares:

WTO spy revelations blow to NZ’s image

Repercussions likely in Latin America where New Zealand is attempting to build new trading relationships

The notion that New Zealand – a member of the “Anglo-Saxon” camp – had employed the US secret service (this is how it is being written up in San Paulo) to try and foil the Latin American emerging countries bloc from achieving its rightful elevation in geo-trade relationships will take a while to settle.

Whether they say so or not, it seems likely that other nations will care as well – to suggest otherwise is breathtaking arrogance. What will be the long term cost?

77 comments on “International reaction to our spying”

  1. Tracey 1

    But…but… BUUUUUUUUUUUT look!

    Blackcaps in the word cup final

  2. felix 2

    The reality is, at the end of the day, my statement that other countries don’t care about us spying on them needs to be understood in its full context, which is that what I akshully meant was that white people don’t care.

  3. mickysavage 3

    The Brazilian response was well up there in terms of showing diplomatic displeasure. To summons the diplomat for a please explain session AND to put out a press release shows how peeved off they are.

    And the Government’s only excuse (repeated in the Herald) is that the spying is legal. They should have a read of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations before passing judgment. I am no expert but article 40.3 may apply. It requires third party states to accord to official correspondence and other official communications in transit the same freedom and protection as is accorded by the receiving State. So anything sent to a Brazilian embassy in, for instance, the United Kingdom should not be spied on.

    http://www.corpsdiplomatique.cd/VIENNA_CONVENTION_1961_ON_DIPLOMATIC_RELATIONS.pdf

    • Paul 3.1

      Maybe Key’s solution is for us to join America as the 51st state.
      Unbelievably dumb foreign policy.
      No wonder the civil servants are so disaffected.

    • Tracey 3.2

      in the corporate world you are at war with everyone. everyone is your enemy. your friends are enemies that havent shafted you yet. spying in the corporate world is R and D. Despite your dislike for government regs you love that they will be your anti virus and competition eliminator for you.

      This is why you need a benign dictatorship. cos those idiots with votes dont even recognise we are at war.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.3

      And the Government’s only excuse (repeated in the Herald) is that the spying is legal.

      Pretty sure that we would find that spying on those countries is not legal in those countries.

      As an example the Israeli attempts to get NZ passports. It’s illegal in NZ but obviously legal in Israel.

    • Macro 3.4

      I made this comment on another thread – but it is equally pertinent here:

      Objectives of the GCSB

      Objective of Bureau

      The objective of the Bureau, in performing its functions, is to contribute to

      (a) the national security of New Zealand; and

      (b) the international relations and well-being of New Zealand; and

      (c) the economic well-being of New Zealand.

      http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2003/0009/latest/DLM187828.html?search=ta_act_G_ac%40ainf%40anif_an%40bn%40rn_200_a&p=1

      Yep! Seems like the GCSB have done amazingly well at contributing to the international relations of NZ. Well done them.

    • Murray Rawshark 3.5

      My lay opinion is that it’s totally illegal. Brazil will be filthy about this, and just when a few people had done some good work in bettering relations with them. I can imagine the Polícia Federal selecting a few Kiwi tourists for a bit of a going over at airports as well. They have a unique manner of expressing diplomatic displeasure.

      The argument that our regime made is that it’s legal because foreigners aren’t Kiwis. Our country is a joke appendage of the US and A. Bugger that.

  4. vto 4

    John Key’s government is clearly a cavalier and loose unit running amok with decades of NZ hard-earned reputation and action.

    Poor. Very poor.

  5. The Chairman 5

    Can anybody point me to where the Koreans have actually been asked for comment?

    • Sable 5.1

      Do they need to be?

      • The Chairman 5.1.1

        @ Sable

        Of course they do.

        Key doesn’t officially speak for South Korea .

        The allegations were they were spied upon, therefore comment from them should have been sought.

        • emergency mike 5.1.1.1

          SK kisses US butt harder than 100 John Keys. They are a country where democracy is just a few decades old – their media makes ours look very good. “Today the government said this, the government said that…” The chances of them kicking up any kind of stink about a US five eyes partner operation are low. When Key says the Krns don’t care he means that the Krn public will never know, and the Krn government doesn’t care – they are corrupt and self-serving and the FT deal will somehow benefit them and their rich mates directly. I.e. these are John ‘deals over dinner’ Key’s kind of people.

    • Tracey 5.2

      no. despite being in their country our press corp couldnt bring themselves to ask. i think they would have to leave the comfort of the 5 star hotel.

      • Macro 5.2.1

        And the answer might not have been one that would have supported “dear leader”.. so best not to ask.

  6. Sable 6

    Given China plans to spend millions in Latin America in the coming years in light of amoungst other things its mineral resources Keys behaviour amounts to yet another example of economic suicide for NZ.

    The US is defunct. Its 18 trillion in debt projected to blow out to 25 trillion in the next five years. Its time we stopped being the US’s puppet/stooge and stood up for our own people before we are dragged down to their level.

    • Paul 6.1

      Spying on China, Vietnam and other South East Asian countries for the Americans when we rely on selling dairy products to their countries.
      Now that’s a plan, Mr Key!

      • Sable 6.1.1

        Yes. Take the most vibrant country with the most prosperous economy in the world and poke it with a stick. Keys is an utter plonker.

        • Paul 6.1.1.1

          Or worse…
          The definition of treason.

          trea·son (trē′zən)
          n.
          1. The betrayal of allegiance toward one’s own country, especially by committing hostile acts against it or aiding its enemies in committing such acts.
          2. The betrayal of someone’s trust or confidence.

          • saveNZ 6.1.1.1.1

            @Paul

            In my view John Key and those who have aided him are guilty of treason. He has done nothing for the long term interests of NZ citizens and us as a country. He has instead gambled and speculated our assets and sovereignty away for games of golf, and being part of an ‘in’ group and future job prospects and wealth.

            Soon he will be in his new cushy job probably related to his current job of chairing the The International Democrat Union (IDU) is a conservative international alliance of political parties. Headquartered in Oslo, Norway.

            The IDU provides a forum in which political parties holding similar beliefs can come together and exchange views on matters of policy and organisational interest. From this, they act cooperatively, establish contacts, and present a unified voice toward the promotion of centre-right policies around the globe.

            My view is that John Key is more interested in furthering the centre right interests of International Democrat Union than actually do anything for NZ citizens.

        • tc 6.1.1.2

          He’s not a plonker, he’s a puppet of US interests with the Machiavellian skills and deviant behaviour perfected in merchant banking to a fine art.

          Underestimate him at your peril the force is strong in that one.

          • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.2.1

            +1111

            Precisely. Key knows exactly what he’s doing and the damage and poverty that it will cause NZ but he’ll get another few million out of it so he just doesn’t care.

      • Chooky 6.1.2

        +100

      • Macro 6.1.3

        But – but – but… Key was not responsible for the GCSB! His office is – or was.

        No Key had nothing to do with any spying. EVER!

        He knows nothing about it. And if he ever did – he can’t remember.

  7. Pasupial 7

    That Fiji quote accuses the; “New Zealand government of listening in on Fiji’s military, police and government calls made on a particular network”. It’d be good to know what network, though my guess would be:

    Vodafone, one of the world’s largest mobile phone groups, has revealed the existence of secret wires that allow government agencies to listen to all conversations on its networks, saying they are widely used in some of the 29 countries in which it operates in Europe and beyond…

    The company said wires had been connected directly to its network and those of other telecoms groups, allowing agencies to listen to or record live conversations and, in certain cases, track the whereabouts of a customer…

    In about six of the countries in which Vodafone operates, the law either obliges telecoms operators to install direct access pipes, or allows governments to do so…

    Governments count warrants in different ways and New Zealand, for example, excludes those concerning national security.

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jun/06/vodafone-reveals-secret-wires-allowing-state-surveillance

  8. Olwyn 8

    This might be a weird or naive question, but are we paid to do this spying? I ask because it looks comparable to a bar that gets pokies in. The pokies provide a fixed income that covers a percentage of the costs, protecting the bar owner to some extent from the variability of food and drink sales. I wonder if our spying follows a similar pattern. If so, we are committing offences against other countries in order to pay our bills.

    • saveNZ 8.1

      @Olwyn

      My impression is that the NZ taxpayers pay for the spying, but the information goes directly offshore to the US. It is processed and stored in places unknown.

      So not only do NZ taxpayers pay for it, we actually don’t even do if for ourselves but for the club. My understanding is that the NZ GCSB then has to request it back so NZ does not have any control over the information that the NZ taxpayers pay to collect.

      If you have some country like NZ doing your bidding and you just have to have a few rounds of golf with the PM, and then set him up in some sort of cushy job later via connections and ‘help’ him get re elected to keep the gravy train rolling, why wouldn’t you?

      Not ethical in my view or a good way for the NZ citizens who are being told they can’t afford social spending but can afford to enrich and dubiously spy on individuals and neighbours.

      Before the Internet, they used to have the Stasi who did a similar thing.

      Is this Kiwi values?

  9. The government cannot say that it was not warned. Here is a little blast from the past: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11165857

      • Ad 9.1.1

        I agree with your points – sorry should have read them earlier.

        But I don’t think you are arguing against state-sponsored spying for economic defense purposes.

        I think you are more arguing against clumsy spying for economic defense purposes. It’s quite defensible, so long as you don’t get caught. That’s the only problem here.

        • I think that threats to economic security are worth including among the intelligence community’s concerns (for example, beyond what Bill mentioned below at 12.2.1 as a defense against physical threats to critical infrastructure, to include spying in defense of NZ corporate secrets against outside cyber attack, against corporate sabotage or in defense of trade negotiation strategies that are being spied on by foreign governments). But I draw the line on things such as spying on rival candidates of a Kiwi for an international economic organisation position or spying on allies or trade partners just to secure economic advantage. Of course it is done by many other nations as well, but few of them proclaim so loudly about having an independent and autonomous foreign policy or acting as honest brokers in international affairs. And if only some countries are spying in pursuit of trade advantage, then that is not really allowing market forces to prevail is it?

          The focus of the two articles that I linked to is that what is done is done and NZ better have prepared contingency plans for the inevitable backlash that is coming its way. We have no seen the end of it by a far stretch.

          Via the likes of Glenn Greenwald and Nicky Hager, Mr. Snowden has opened a window of opportunity for the NZ public and political class to debate the nature and intent of NZ’s role in Western espionage circles. With a parliamentary review coming up, perhaps this is the time for a full reconsideration of the how and why of NZ’s spying with an eye towards redrawing the terms and conditions governing it.

          And then there is the issue of domestic surveillance…

    • r0b 9.2

      Prescient – full marks.

  10. ianmac 10

    Surprised?
    “John Roughan: Spying on WTO justified by economic ambitions……
    Keeping tabs on candidates for director general job the best way to protect New Zealand, and the world’s trade interests….
    The revelation that New Zealand has used its external intelligence agency to tap the communications of candidates for the top job at the World Trade Organisation posed the question: is this a proper use of spies? The answer, I think, is hell yeah.”
    What happened to our mana ?

  11. greywarshark 11

    I like that term for Key’s approach Anthony – bullshit and bluster. Neat, precise, says it all.

  12. Ad 12

    The question a future government will have to commit to, is the purposes of the relevant Acts that enable collection for this purpose in the first place.

    In this case, the purpose for protecting the “economic interests” of New Zealand have proven a gate big enough for a semi truck-and-triler unit. This is where it turns.

    A future government must commit to reviewing not just the operations of the intelligence agencies, but the purposes for which they are set up to spy in the first place: the law itself.

    They need to be cut off at this primary source by deleting the “economic interests” clause in its purpose, because it is no longer possible to trust them to reform on simply an operational basis.

    If a progressive government is not prepared to do that, then they have implicitly opened up a whole ‘economic nationalism’ argument for the continued use of this legal purpose that goes fairly fast down the French route of explicit ties between the military system, the innovation system, and state entities. Not sure we are ready for that.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1

      Neo-liberalism is against New Zealand’s economic interests. Why no GCSB attacks on the National Party?

    • Ad: Very good points and well worth debating when the parliamentary review of the intelligence community begins later this year. But the issue extends further. Not only does the scope of intelligence collection need to be reviewed, but the very definition of threats to national security also needs reappraisal. As things stand today in NZ threats to the “economic well-being” of the nation are defined as national security threats. That means that under the law someone sitting in a tree to protect it from commercial export logging can be classified as a threat to national security (if not a terrorist) and treated accordingly. Likewise for opponents of the TPPA, which is one reason why Jane Kelsey gets the run around on “national security grounds” every time she files an OIA requesting release of any files held on her by the intelligence services.

      • Bill 12.2.1

        I’m guessing – only guessing, mind – that the “economic well-being” was originally intended to refer to any disabling, eg – blowing up of – pipelines, electricity supply lines etc, and that the term has suffered from ‘interpretation creep’ so that it no longer merely refers to threats to ‘economic well-being’ occasioned by the knobbling of basic infrastructure?

        • Paul G. Buchanan 12.2.1.1

          That is a generous interpretation that could well be correct. However, as far as I can tell the broad definition of national security and the intelligence agencies’ scope of responsibilities (as per section 7 of the GCSB Act) were introduced post 9/11 (when both the SIS and GCSB Acts were amended and the new definition of threats to national security introduced). I am not sure if there was anything on “economic well-being” before that. Whatever the case, we need to debate the necessity and strict meaning of economic security as an intelligence priority.

          • Tracey 12.2.1.1.1

            Outside of critical infrastructure (what qualifies btw?) do you support taxpayers being the de facto anti virus/web security and R and D for corporations big enough to get in Government’s ears but essentially driven by the profit motive and a requirement to return money to select shareholders?

            • Paul G. Buchanan 12.2.1.1.1.1

              In short: No.

              But that is why public debate is needed. If the majority of the informed public accept the argument that the majority of of NZ’s GDP is derived from the export/import sector, and if it is accepted that the benefits accrued “trickle down” to derivative and tangental industries as well as to the general public through corporate taxation, then an argument might be made that it is in the national interest to offer intelligence support to the private firms involved in such a strategic part of the national economy.

              I have my doubts about such rationales but I can see them offered as a defense that is accepted by many. Ad at 12.2.2 offers some plausible others.

              • Tracey

                My problem is the profit of such companies. Some doesn’t come to NZ society via profits (e.g. Banks) and in addition making billions. I have no idea whether our data trawling is of advantage to banks, or not. Just using that as an example. Our critical infrastructure is well on the way to full privatisation, so again, the best way to preserve that infrastructure is to have it 100% n public hands and then any GCSB resource used to its benefit can be justified?

                Public debate is only of use if all cards are on the table. But under this government that is unlikely. While it will declassify at its convenience and leak at its convenience it blocks anything to query its preferred agenda, main public debate difficult.

                This government seems to live by the mantra made famous by Ms Gattung

                “the chief executive admitting to the company “not being straight up” with customers.

                “Think about pricing. What has every telco in the world done in the past? It’s used confusion as its chief marketing tool. And that’s fine,” said Gattung in a speech recorded on March 20.

                “You could argue that that’s how all of us keep calling prices up and get those revenues, high-margin businesses, keep them going for a lot longer than would have been the case.”

      • Ad 12.2.2

        And just to open that debate up just a fraction, if I were a government arguing to keep that “economic interest” threat, I would go like this:

        1. New Zealand will remain for the foreseeable future reliant on just a handful of domiciled bulk-commodity exporters. Our entire exporting and Balance of Payments situation is utterly vulnerable to their performance. That degree of national interest intersection means the state should seek their advantage with state interests, overt and covert.

        2. It’s not enough to depend on the rule of inter national law. We are so small that we have to play by the rules of international trade, and encourage more of those rules to proliferate. But it is precisely New Zealand’s vulnerability in trade to the rule of international law that means we need to have that Plan B. That Plan B is to know what our competitors are doing.

        3. China and India will keep New Zealand’s export economy afloat with their receipt of our export goods, for decades. They are both only making slow steps to obey common trade rules. We’ve made good steps with them, but our competitors are gaining traction where we once had advantage. We need to use the state’s instruments to sustain that advantage as long as possible, even knowing it is being eroded. Our competitors sure the hell don’t hold back when stuff-ups occur.

        Finally, Five Eyes is at base a thin and deeply unequal alliance for New Zealand, which will not protect our economic interests. We need to use our spy network, because for economic purposes, we are completely on our own, and we are a weak, small state and economic force in every way imaginable.

        • Tracey 12.2.2.1

          fair points but ultimately whatever our spy capability, our bigger trading partners will have the same or better…

          • Ad 12.2.2.1.1

            All the more reason to get into it.
            They brought sabers, so don’t jump into the fight with a stick.

            • Tracey 12.2.2.1.1.1

              you get the world you deserve Ad, in small ways and big. The problem with secret services is they are, well secret. the deal in lies and duplicity. Assessing their value therefore, is a quagmire.

              • Ad

                Sadly government is not a binary information world.

                The idea of a day/night open state v “deep state” is a myth. There is of course always a sliding scale – as there must be.

                New Zealand is already one of the most open and transparent democracies in the world. The intelligence gathering services that we have are well and truly small by any stretch of the imagination.

                And no, this is not the world we deserve. We should always expect more.

    • Macro 12.3

      The main problem with this whole sorry event is that it had nothing to do with advancing NZ economic interests but everything to do with advancing the career prospects of Tim Groser.

      That is simply CORRUPTION, and that is why the GCSB cannot be trusted.

  13. freedom 13

    Here is a ssdd piece that got buried soon after being published yesterday afternoon,
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11424168

    and a ssdd follow up this a.m.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11424409

  14. outofbed 14

    http://www.seek.co.nz/job/28395513?pos=17&type=standout
    Manager, Intelligence Coordination pm’s office

    • Tracey 14.1

      PM’s office doesnt have anything to do with Intelligence. Literally or figuratively, he abdicated responsibility, remember?

  15. emergency mike 15

    “What will be the long term cost?”

    For us? Our image is tarnished in certain countries, those stains don’t come off.

    For John Key? Not much. When his political time is up in NZ, he’ll just pack his bags and move on the the next corporate money making scheme.

  16. fisiani 16

    Nobody who matters cares. Just another petty post desperately trying to discredit Honest John yet again. When will the Left ever learn that repeating the same mistake over and over will only result in the same outcome.
    I will concede that once Honest John chooses to retire after perhaps six terms in office people may well have forgotten how truly awful is was during the Helengrad years and repeat the error of having a Labour government. When Chris Bishop becomes leader in 2025 the Left may have a chance.
    Who then will remember this storm in a D Cup?

  17. dave 17

    brazil is a huge market in a time when our exports are falling this town clown wreaks relations the Americans lost multi billion dollar fighter deal because of spying John key is a stupid ass he is wreaking this economy.

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    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    3 days ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    3 days ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    4 days ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    4 days ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    4 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    4 days ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    5 days ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    5 days ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    5 days ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
    by Equipo Jurídico Pueblos and Gearóid Ó Loingsigh (25/03/2020) An escape plan in question On the night of March 21st and the early morning of the 22nd, the forces of the Colombian state stormed into the Modelo prison in Bogotá, murdering 23 prisoners and injuring 83, in response to the ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • We are not America
    When the government banned semi-automatic weapons in response to a terrorist atrocity, gun-nuts were outraged. Mired in toxic American gun culture, they thought owning weapons whose sole purpose was killing people was some sort of "constitutional right", a necessity for "defending themselves" against the government. Now, the Court of Appeal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
    Just before midnight on Wednesday March 25, Aotearoa New Zealand entered a countrywide alert level four lockdown. For at least the next four weeks, everyone who isn’t an essential worker is confined to their bubble. We are doing this to stop the explosive growth in people contracting and dying from ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    5 days ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
    . . Lock Down: Day 1 – A photo essay with observations . Day one of the Level 4 nationwide lock-down (or, DefCon 4 as I sometimes cheekily call it) started at 11.59PM on 25 March. For a moment, most of the nation held it’s collective breath. In that brief ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    5 days ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
    Broad, Sunlit Uplands: How those words fired my young imagination! Or, perhaps, it is more accurate to say: how those words fused, in my young mind, with the image printed on every packet of Fielder’s Cornflour. Always fascinated by history, especially modern history, I cannot hear Churchill’s wonderfully evocative words, even ...
    6 days ago
  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
    . . 24 March 2020 9.46AM Number of covid19 cases in Aotearoa New Zealand: 102 . As of 11.59 on Thursday, most of New Zealand will go into “lock down”. People will be expected not to travel to work; not to socialise; and to stay home. I will not be ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections A respected research group, Project Drawdown, finds that deploying solutions consistent with meeting the Paris climate targets would cost tens of trillions of dollars globally. But crucially, those outlays would also yield long-term savings many times larger than the up-front costs. The new 2020 Drawdown ...
    6 days ago
  • After the Pandemic
    It will pass. What happens next? Not immediately, but longer term. There are many opinions, fewer certainties. Will it “change everything!” as many confidently, and contradictorily predict? In this post I look at how foresight can help bound some of the uncertainties so you can more objectively consider the future. ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    6 days ago
  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
    We’ve been meaning t write something on Cuba and the coronavirus but have just discovered a very good article on the subject in the US left publication Jacobin.  The article looks at how Cuba, a poor country but one where capitalism has been done away with, is leading the way ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
    In 2018, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey - two British citizens who had purportedly been stripped of their citizenship by the British government - were captured while fighting for Isis in Syria. The British government then conspired to hand them over to the US, and agreed to provide evidence ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
    Transformers: The disaster of the Great Depression was transformed into a new and fairer society by the democratic socialism of the First Labour Government. The disaster of the Covid-19 Pandemic offers a similar transformative possibility to the Labour-NZ First-Green Government. Seize the time, Jacinda! You will never have a better ...
    7 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
    Tamper with The System? Well, we already are. But there's a difference between accidentally trickling sand into a precision gearbox versus formulating a plan to alter it on the fly with improvements in mind. One action is more or less innocently unscrupulous, the other amenable to earning an easy ...
    7 days ago
  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
    Associate Prof George Thomson, Louise Delany, Prof Nick Wilson While it is possible that New Zealand can use intense public health controls to eradicate COVID-19 from the country – we must also plan for other scenarios where thousands of New Zealanders are sick – including many urgently hospitalised.1 Better resilience ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or being ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • An equitable way to support business
    The Herald reports that the government is planning to lend billions of dollars to large businesses to keep them operating during the pandemic. As with mortgage relief, this is necessary: we need companies to stay in business, to reduce the economic damage and help things get restarted again when this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Together Alone
    We're about to do something unprecedented as a nation. We hope that by taking this extraordinary action before a single life in New Zealand has been lost to the deadly novel virus we will save tens of thousands of lives. Our  lives. We'll do it together, in households, in isolation ...
    1 week ago
  • Why timing is everything: ‘A time to refrain from embracing’ starts today
    “There is a time for everything,    and a season for every activity under the heavens.”So writes the author of Ecclesiastes, a book in the Old Testament that’s counted as a ‘wisdom’ book and written as if by an unnamed king of Jerusalem. But who would have thought there would be a time ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • Dealing with the Covid-19 Tsunami.
    I was surprised when the prime minister described the Economic Response to Covid-19 package as the ‘largest peacetime government spend in New Zealand's history’. Reflecting – checking through history – I realised that the term ‘spend’ was crucial and the package had no income tax cuts. Even so, it has ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • What about renters?
    The government today announced the latest part of its pandemic relief package: a six-month mortgage holiday for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic. Which is great, because these people are going to need help, and that's what the government should be doing. At the same time, it ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Living within our means.
    Years ago the Argentine sociologist Carlos Weisman wrote a book titled “Living within our Means.” It was a critique of Argentine society that focused on the paradoxical question of why, in a land of plenty, there was so much economic instability, inequality, corruption and political turmoil. His conclusion was basically ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Transparency and the pandemic
    Parliament will be leading by example and adjourning tomorrow after a special sitting to consider an epidemic notice and state of emergency. Day-to-day oversight of the government will be delegated to a select committee. But that's not the only overight mechanism. The OIA will still be law, and (so far) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • ‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown, and the challengin...
    Michael Baker, University of Otago Overjoyed. That’s not a word epidemiologists normally use, but that’s how I felt after hearing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s announcement about New Zealand’s COVID-19 shutdown of everything except essential services for at least four weeks from midnight on Wednesday. More than anything, I just ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • One way to solve the housing crisis
    How much homelessness is caused by house hoarding? We're about to find out. The pandemic has destroyed tourism, which means that house hoarders who put their hoarded properties up as short-term tourist rentals are now offering them on the ordinary rental market:Property investors are pulling properties from Airbnb to offer ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The pros and cons of planting trees to address global warming
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bruce Lieberman It seems like such a simple, straightforward, empowering idea: plant trees – a lot of trees – all over the world, and watch the planet’s temperature fall. Who doesn’t love a tree or two, even far more – the right ...
    1 week ago
  • Not a grand coalition, but a government of national salvation
    According to Newshub, Simon Bridges is open to joining a “grand coalition” with Labour as we hunker down to go into a month long lockdown. The idea is sound. Before now, the role of the opposition was to scrutinise and oppose. In the context of what almost amounts to a ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: hospitality workers & wage subsidy entitlements
    Kia ora my name is Chloe Ann-King* and I am the founder of Raise the Bar, a campaign and non-profit that gives free legal aid, advocacy and tautoko to hospitality workers in Aotearoa. Right now all over our country hospo workers are being fired at will, having shifts cut or ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago
  • Lifting our game against COVID-19
    We need to be lifting our game against COVID-19. You and I need to help those working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while they’re trying to lift the testing and treatment efforts. We don’t want to be playing this game running backwards. Best to play it solidly forward, from ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • The maths and ethics of minimising COVID-19 deaths in NZ
    Prof Tony Blakely, Prof Michael Baker, and Prof Nick Wilson The NZ Government must do more to clearly articulate its COVID-19 strategy: eradication or ‘flattening the curve’ mitigation. But to do so means understanding the maths and ethics of both these strategies. In this blog, we adapt our work for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • All aboard the Covid Train
    A few days ago I was starting to write something about the pandemic, which now seems unconscionable. It took the form of a letter to an agony aunt:“Dear Deidre, I have an ugly confession. I am quite excited by Covid-19.”This is how the piece went:“I’m not a psychopath, honest. Although the ...
    PunditBy Phil Vine
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #12
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Climate Feedback Article Review... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters The likelihood of extreme events ...
    1 week ago
  • We are all socialists now
    Last week, the government announced a $12 billion initial package to support people during the pandemic. Today, the Reserve Bank is buying government bonds - effectively printing money - to keep up the money supply during the crisis. Normally such moves would have the right apoplectic. Instead, the National Party ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A plea to experts: safeguard your role in public life
    I am a pundit, somebody who opines and comments on the news. There are no real qualifications to punditry though having a rudimentary way with words and good general knowledge helps. That is one reason there is a constant oversupply of would-be pundits and why it is quite hard to ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Enlightenment when?
    I recently encountered the following prescription from a Faculty of Education at a leading New Zealand University. At first I wondered if it was another product of the postmodern generator (http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/), designed to create gibberish in the postmodern form, but I’m told it is real: The “schooled” society: Towards the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Corballis
    1 week ago
  • What the Crisis Can teach Us
    The coronavirus pandemic has of course had a major impact on individual lives and on societies as a whole. But, long after the crisis has passed (assuming it does), we will begin to realise that its real and lasting significance lies in the lessons it has taught us, if only ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Hammering home measures to stop COVID-19
    COVID-19 has plunged Aotearoa New Zealand (indeed, the world) into territory that, while maybe not totally unprecedented, certainly hasn’t been seen during the lifetimes of most of us here today. Our borders are closed to non-citizens, we’re being told not to gather in groups of more than 500 outside/100 inside, ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • What does ‘level two’ mean – and why does it matter?
    For the last few weeks, I’ve been urging you to prepare yourself, your family, business, and community for Covid-19. Now it’s time for real action.  Yesterday the director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield announced another 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand, bringing our total to date to 52. ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 15, 2020 through Sat, Mar 21, 2020 Editor's Pick Now Isn’t the Time to Forget About Our Climate Change Efforts   Tasha Tilberg, Lindsey Wixson, and Liu Wen photographed ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Is the Guardian becoming  a real newspaper again?
    by Jan Rivers The article has been corrected to show that it was Ewen MacAskill, former Guardian journalist and not Luke Harding who travelled to meet Edward Snowden with journalist Glenn Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras.  Some of the Guardian’s well-known journalists who did not sign the protest letter are ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Life asserts itself regardless
    by Cultural Worker Late March 2020 amidst the virus. With gigs crashing and burning all around it was without much hope that I called a long standing rest home booking: “ Hi, I’m supposed to be entertaining at your place this afternoon – is it still on?” “”If you don’t ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics, the possible, and the pandemic
    Whenever people demand real change from their politicians, we're told that "politics is the art of the possible". The implication is that change isn't possible, so we'd better just get used to the sucky status quo. But now that there's a pandemic, a lot of things we were previously told ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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