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Key’s Venezuelan snub

Written By: - Date published: 8:07 am, March 8th, 2013 - 277 comments
Categories: International, john key, Minister for International Embarrassment, Minister for Overseas Holidays - Tags:

John Key’s decision to not attend Hugo Chavez’s funeral is a snub of a major trade partner at a crucial time. Remember, this junket’s justification is that, for some reason, Key’s presence in these countries will improve trade. But, in snubbing Venezuela, he is insulting our largest export destination in South America – our second largest export destination for milk powder. Venezuela matters more than all the countries Key is visiting combined.

And it is a snub that will be noticed. It’s not like Key is in Wellington doing his job. While the funeral is on, Key will be kicking his heels in a hotel somewhere while the people he is there to meet are at the funeral. Isn’t that weird?

Key will arrive to visit the Chilean President but he’s off to Venezuela that day and says to Key ‘why don’t you come to – they’re a much more import trade partner for you and, as a more centralised economy, staying the good books of their government matters?’ and Key’s like ‘nah, I’ll just wait in your country until you get back’.

The only reason Key wouldn’t go is because Chavez was a successful Left leader and Key can’t see beyond their ideological differences.

And, as for the claims that Chavez was some kind of dictator. He’s more a democratic than Key – who’s imposed dictatorship in Canterbury. The Independent notes:

Over the coming days, you will be repeatedly told that Hugo Chavez was a dictator. A funny sort of dictator: there have been 17 elections and referenda since 1998. Perhaps you think they were rigged. When he won by a huge margin in 2006, former US President Jimmy Carter was among those declaring he had won “fairly and squarely”.

At the last election in October 2012, Carter declared that, “of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored, I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.” I was there: perhaps you think I was like those hopelessly naïve Western leftists who visited Potemkin villages in Stalinist Russia.

I was with a genuinely independent election commission, staffed with both pro-Chavez and anti-Chavez sympathisers, who had previously been invited by the opposition to run their own internal elections. We met with senior opposition figures who railed against Chavez, but acknowledged that they lived in a democracy. When they lost the election, they accepted it.

Indeed, Chavez himself has had to accept defeat before: back in 2007, he lost a referendum campaign, and did not quibble with the results. Until he came to power, millions of poor Venezuelans were not even registered to vote: but dramatic registration drives have nearly doubled the electorate. There are 6,000 more polling stations than there were in the pre-Chavez era.

On the other hand, the democratic credentials of many of his opponents can certainly be questioned. In 2002, a Pinochet-style coup was launched against Chavez, and was only reversed by a popular uprising. Much of the privately owned media openly incited and supported the coup: imagine Cameron was kicked out of No 10 by British generals, with the support and incitement of rolling 24-hour news stations. But Venezuela’s media is dominated by private broadcasters, some of whom make Fox News look like cuddly lefties. State television could rightly be accused of bias towards the government, which is perhaps why it has a measly 5.4 per cent audience share. Of seven major national newspapers, five support the opposition, and only one is sympathetic to the government.

The truth is that Chavez won democratic election after democratic election, despite the often vicious hostility of the media

Or maybe Key just doesn’t want to be reminded what a real leader can do:

his policies transformed the lives of millions of previously ignored Venezuelans. Poverty has fallen from nearly half to 27.8 per cent, while absolute poverty has been more than halved. Six million children receive free meals a day; near-universal free health care has been established; and education spending has doubled as a proportion of GDP. A housing programme launched in 2011 built over 350,000 homes, bringing hundreds of thousands of families out of sub-standard housing in thebarrios. Some of his smug foreign critics suggest Chavez effectively bought the votes of the poor – as though winning elections by delivering social justice is somehow bribery.

Speaking of smug critics, you would think this next passage was satire, but it actually shows the mindset of the elite:

Chavez invested Venezuela’s oil wealth into social programs including state-run food markets, cash benefits for poor families, free health clinics and education programs. But those gains were meager compared with the spectacular construction projects that oil riches spurred in glittering Middle Eastern cities, including the world’s tallest building in Dubai and plans for branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums in Abu Dhabi.

Here’s the response to that nonsense from Jim Naureckus of fair.org:

That’s right: Chavez squandered his nation’s oil money on healthcare, education and nutrition when he could have been building the world’s tallest building or his own branch of the Louvre. What kind of monster has priorities like that?

Venezuelan Poverty Rate

In case you’re curious about what kind of results this kooky agenda had, here’s a chart (NACLA, 10/8/12) based on World Bank poverty stats–showing the proportion of Venezuelans living on less than $2 a day falling from 35 percent to 13 percent over three years. (For comparison purposes, there’s a similar stat for Brazil, which made substantial but less dramatic progress against poverty over the same time period.)

Of course, during this time, the number of Venezuelans living in the world’s tallest building went from 0 percent to 0 percent, while the number of copies of the Mona Lisa remained flat, at none. So you have to say that Chavez’s presidency was overall pretty disappointing–at least by AP‘s standards.

 

Make no mistake, Chavez wasn’t perfect. In a country like Venezuela, where the monied elite are willing to resort to armed coups to get rid of anyone who stands up for the poor, you can’t be angel if you’re going to survive (remember Allende). But he did more good for more people in a month than Key will do in a lifetime.

Maybe its ideological opposition or maybe its shame that’s keeping Key away. Maybe he doesn’t want to be forced to see that a leader can be more than a clown in a silly hat, much, much more.

277 comments on “Key’s Venezuelan snub”

  1. Of course Key was going to snub Chavez’s funeral. After all Chavez showed what a leader with backbone and determination and the desire to help all the people he ruled can achieve.

    The PR onslaught on Chavez that he was “undemocratic” was because he insisted that the proceeds from his country’s resources be shared equitably.

    Key as a former merchant banker is at the opposite end of the spectrum to Chavez. He and his ilk have much to fear from the example that Chavez has made.

    • prism 1.1

      ms
      Exactly. Chavez was not One of Us of the Movers and Shakers In-Group playing Big Numbers at the top of the Sky Tower or any other building distant from ‘ordinary’ people with the buckets of money extracted from the system. So why should Jokey Hen bother about his funeral. There was probably a better photo op already organised.

      And last night I listened to a story from Kenya – people being evicted from their humble homes and bits of land by police and young male helpers (were called thugs) on the authority of a Court order from a different jurisdiction, four months old, over another piece of land. The people’s democratic representatives are enriching themselves by all means now at their disposal while they remain in power. And though it was said that it is usually Coast people being ejected, one also said that it’s not simply Outsiders ousting the Coast people ‘It’s the rich against the poor’.

      Humans everywhere seem to share this problem – that they can’t share their prosperity and want to aggregate it from others with less. Chavez made the effort to break through this process. He would have had feet of clay probably, that’s human. But the people believed him to be the sort of person who could deliver fair treatment and opportunities for a life. So he would not be a person King John of Charmalot would want to be involved with. He wouldn’t have good deals that would enrich his contacts. Better look at Mexico and Colombia Johnboy.

      Perhaps we will follow Colombia’s path under the rule of the NACT oligarchy. If we could get an illegal drug culture established that needed police state methods to control it, and it was in the interests of the USA to facilitate this control, it would help to keep the NACTs in power for practically ever.
      (From the USA State Department)
      Colombia is a middle-income country and one of the oldest democracies in Latin America. It has seen nearly half a century of intense armed conflict with insurgent and paramilitary groups perpetuated by their involvement in widespread illegal drug production and trafficking, along with criminal and narcotics trafficking organizations.

      Peace talks between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) began in Oslo, Norway on October 18, 2012 and negotiations will move to Havana, Cuba in November 2012. Long-term U.S. interests in the region include promoting security, stability, and prosperity in Colombia, and Colombia has made progress in addressing its security, development, and governance challenges.

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Key is short sighted. He has proven that he is not a leader with NZ’s interests at heart. Just his own. A weak leader more concerned with how he would look to his American mates than ensuring our status amongst a dozen Latin American nations.

    • felixviper 2.1

      Exactly.

      My first reaction to this was “Key is a fucking idiot” but that’s wrong, he’s not doing this out of blind stupidity, he made a deliberate decision. He calculated that his own selfish interests are more important than ours.

      Once again he shows that in negotiations, he’s not really sitting on our side of the table.

      • geoff 2.1.1

        Yup, John Key doesn’t appear to have ideology beyond self-interest.

        • John 2.1.1.1

          Come on guys. No free press in Venezuela, economic meltdown due to Chavez’s economic illiteracy. You are hypocrites, you wouldn’t stand for his authoritarian excess if it was John Key doing it.

          • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1

            Given that Chavez reduced outright poverty in Venezuela by roughly 70% in 10 years, and reduced unemployment by approx 50% in the same time, I’ll just conclude that you don’t understand what is coming out of your mouth.

            Success, by not following the advice of USA economists.

          • IrishBill 2.1.1.1.2

            On the matter of the free press I suggest you watch the film in the “recommended viewing” post.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    The Revolution will not be Televised

    I’ve posted this before but I think it’s suitable again: an irish doco crew were doing a “fly on the wall” special on Chavez in 2002 when the foreign supported coup against him and the Venezuelan people unfolded.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      There’s a marvellous scene where the coup leaders and their wealthy elite supporters cheer the dissolution of the peoples assembly, the dissolution of the supreme court, the firing of the Attourney General.

      • woodpecker 3.1.1

        Watched every minute of it…Brilliant. Worth every mg!

        • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.1

          Yep haha. Great counter-revolutionary event. The shooting of civilians to create a pretext to depose Chavez was chilling.

    • RedLogix 3.2

      That’s the point when you realise that it really is a class war in the most visceral sense.

  4. Ennui in Requiem 4

    Had to laugh, Key probably turned down the opportunity afforded to make NZ visible at an event all of Latin America will be represented at….probably because he thought his buddies in the USA would be offended. Now the United States say they are going to be in attendance. Smacked by his “friends”, lovely.

    • Toby Manhire tweeted well about the need for NZ to have someone at the funeral …

      “If only NZ had some senior statesman in the area …”

    • Colonial Viper 4.2

      The USA wants influence in the next Venezuelan government – and note – they are still coming immediately after Venezuela expelled a number of top US diplomatic officers.

      Key is a fuckwit and I bet members of MFAT are apoplectic.

    • Joe Bloggs 4.3

      Dollars to donuts it won’t be Obama attending though – probably some minor diplomatic presence. As McCully is currently planning attendance at a similar level, I don’t see any smack-down here.

      • prism 4.3.1

        So you consider Obama of the USA and John Key (who) of NZ to be of the same importance and standing! Obama might choose to send a worthy proxy, Jokey Hen sending McCully is sending a minor official from our minor country. Let’s Limbo – how low can you go! Do they do that in Venezuela or was that the Carribean or Jamaica? Down here at the bottom of the world we don’t know too much and get a strange, perverted view of the world, like looking up women’s skirts.

        • Populuxe1 4.3.1.1

          Um, how exactly is the Minister for Foreign Affairs a “minor official”? Oh wait, you’re a nutter.

          • Colonial Viper 4.3.1.1.1

            Given that Key is in the immediate region, it’s a snub to a major trading partner, plain and simple.

            • Populuxe1 4.3.1.1.1.1

              Or a diplomatic dance to allow two significant strategic partners to save face. Just because you hate America, ignoring the fact that it’s a major trade partner and the world’s apex superpower would be an act of courageous stupidity.

              • Colonial Viper

                Seems like the heads of Brazil, Mexico and Argentina are all courageously stupid then, more so than our little US pocket politician John Key.

                • Populuxe1

                  Possibly that might have a little bit to do with regional posturing – that and they’re geographical neighbours, so it makes more sense for them to be there.

                • Murray Olsen

                  That would make Lange and our nuclear free policy courageously stupid as well. Since when is anything except slavish bootlicking of State Department officials regional posturing?
                  About the only question I have now is what pseudonym Pop uses on WhaleSpew. I suspect Joe Bloggs above has dropped in from there as well. One of sleaze boy’s favourite sayings is “dollars to a knob of goat poo”, which only needs a slight change to get “dollars to donuts”, which actually makes no sense because a dollar and a donut have similar values.

            • Shaz 4.3.1.1.1.2

              Perhaps there is a concern that Foreign Affairs no longer has the capacity pull together a briefing on all the people the PM might have met at the funeral what with the back office having been decimated and the remaining diplomats under pressure to rebuild the knowledge base that has so recently walked out the door. 😉

      • North 4.3.2

        NZ to be represented by Sir Les McCully Patterson ?

    • felixviper 4.4

      “Smacked by his “friends”, lovely.”

      Nah, his friends are Goldman Sachs and BoA. They won’t be there.

      • Puddleglum 4.4.1

        But they will be doing more than watching passively from the sidelines, I imagine.

        After all, there’s a lot of petro-money in this game and they have a duty to their shareholders …

        • felixviper 4.4.1.1

          I imagine you’re right.

          Perhaps I should’ve said they won’t be there to pay their respect

          • Draco T Bastard 4.4.1.1.1

            They don’t have any respect for people who help others, only respect for those like themselves.

    • Dr Terry 4.5

      Key’s enormous grandiosity causes him to think he is leader of a massive and mighty nation on par with the U.S. He is a politically piddling little nothing and keeps causing this country’s image to deteriorate in front of the world.

      I trust Shearer has grabbed this opportunity to attend the funeral? Am waiting to hear.

      • felixviper 4.5.1

        Shearer wouldn’t be seen dead at the funeral of a high profile left-winger.

  5. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5

    And if he’d gone, you’d be all “try hard wanna be trying to muscle in on the limelight”.

    • higherstandard 5.1

      Keith Locke thinks Key should’ve gone….nuff said.

    • freedom 5.2

      there is a little thing called protocol, it tends to be associated with heads of state,
      if you are a leader, and are ‘there’ when a tragedy befalls a nation, you attend
      there is no discussion

      perhaps he was worried they would turn him away at the door

      • Populuxe1 5.2.1

        Yeah, because no one in Ireland is still slightly embarrassed that Éamon de Valera and Douglas Hyde offered condolences to Nazi Germany’s representative in Dublin over the death of Hitler…

        • felixviper 5.2.1.1

          Oh, he’s a H1tler now.

          Cool.

          • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5.2.1.1.1

            ..and we are Irish.

            • felixviper 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Well yeah, that’s how the analogy works. Or doesn’t as it happens.

              • Populuxe1

                If the point hadn’t gotten across, you wouldn’t be rustling your jimmies now.

                • felixviper

                  Err, you realise it’s possible to understand the intention of a particular analogy without agreeing that it succeeded, don’t you?

                  Actually no, going by your usual displays of lolgic you probably don’t.

          • Populuxe1 5.2.1.1.2

            No, but it;s an answer to what I think of the protocol argument

    • Colonial Viper 5.3

      We’ll never know, will we? All we can see now is that he’s snubbed a major trading partner, seemingly to curry favour with his US bankster mates.

      My bet: a report will come out that Key was feeling ill and couldn’t travel.

      • Dr Terry 5.3.1

        What, another dread “fainting” fit?

      • felixviper 5.3.2

        Maybe he was tired and emotional…

      • Don't worry be happy 5.3.3

        Key came down with a virulent attack of amnesia from which he has been increasingly affected…clean forgot who he was, what he was doing in South America and if he had a mistress…that sort of thing, No fit state to go to a funeral.

        By the way, Hugo, not sure if it matters to you now but “What you do for these the least of my brothers you do for me” Jesus.

  6. quartz 6

    So the same guy who changes laws and throws public money at a few hobbit contract jobs won’t take a one hour plane ride and attend a funeral to protect nearly half a billion dollars worth of trade???

    What a munter.

  7. johnm 7

    John Key represents: The 1% and antidemocratic Corporate control of our lives.
    “Neoliberal governments are blind to the emerging world of degrowth and continue apace facilitating the 1% to impoverish and cannibalize widening segments of the 99%, in essence producing more and more socioeconomically and politically superfluous people in the process. Neoliberalism can only operate in a social world where as the economy contracts -for thermodynamic reasons- wealth and other economic benefits continue to flow upwards, while the costs and burdens fall upon those outside the tiny elite.” Key represents the United Banana States of America. Where wealth inequality of the most extreme forms is the norm. See following short video.

    While Chavez represented the complete opposite of sharing all of Venezuela’s wealth with especially the poor. To acknowledge such a leader and his socialist policies would probably have caused severe physical symptoms of rejection, perhaps another black out and visit to a hospital, his wife Bronwyn holding him as he falls to the Church floor and he’s stretchered out to an ambulance. 🙂

    • higherstandard 7.1

      By all accounts Chavez certainly shared a lot of Venezuela’s wealth with himself and his family.

      • Sweetd 7.1.1

        According the ZB yesterday, he stole about $2 billion

        • quartz 7.1.1.1

          That’s a discredited claim from a front group. Tell me, did you hear it on the newes or on LArry Williams’ right-wing talking points show?

          • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1.1

            Remember, only theft from the country by Exxon Mobil, Bechtel and Goldman Sachs is acceptable.

        • prism 7.1.1.2

          What’s this ZB. Is it an echo of what comes out of the Beehive? Who said what, and what was their knowledge level and base? What a dopey reference Sweetd, can’t you keep your mind open for long enough to catch some facts as they come sparsely in on our media? And then think about those facts and why those ones get featured over others.

      • Puddleglum 7.1.2

        By all accounts …

        I think you’ll find it’s by one account.

        Specifically, it’s by one Jerry E. Brewer Snr, CEO of ‘Criminal Justice International Associates, USA’.

        They are a ‘Global Threat Mitigation’ firm, whatever that means, and Brewer, ‘by his own account’, is a “U.S. Government- trained COUNTERTERRORISM EXPERT and practitioner, with extensive service to Latin America and the Middle East as an intelligence community operative.

        You should try reading his ‘blurb’ about what the firm does. Pretty impenetrable gobbledygook.

        It’s amazing what wacky outfits you can find on the internet. Still, he certainly gets himself on lots of radio and tv shows.

        He must know the right people.

        Perhaps not so odd then that, suddenly, Brewer’s ‘estimates’ make global headlines the day after Chavez dies.

      • Murray Olsen 7.1.3

        By all accounts? Not even close. By the accounts of Fox News, the opposition thieves who’ve had their hands slapped, and a few right wing wank tanks. Maybe all the accounts you listen to, but far from all accounts, HS.

    • johnm 7.2

      He’d never have been able to hold his head up again with his Merrill Lynch mates.(Who would enquire; “You haven’t gone soft on commie bastards, have you John? Don’t forget your masters who made you rich and it wasn’t useless poor people Bud?! Hilary will give you a good talking to!”) This is traumatic stuff! 🙁

  8. RedLogix 8

    Yes I can see that’s a valid point hs. All political leaders should live as ordinary people on the median income.

    • higherstandard 8.1

      Yep nothing wrong with that.

      • felixviper 8.1.1

        lol, you’re such a c0mmie at heart hs.

        In seriousness though, do you have any ideas about how we could structure things so the PM and Cabinet, in their private lives, actually have to deal with a few of the day to day hassles that they rule on for the rest of us?

        • TightyRighty 8.1.1.1

          like lightbulbs and shower pressure? 5 star hotels don’t stay 5 star for long with piss poor shower pressure. The last labour government of course would not have realised till to late.

  9. Blue 9

    Key’s first reaction was ‘Ugh, he was a dirty leftie and the US never liked him. Not worth my time.’

    Born diplomat, he is. Then came the really funny part – that NZ would ‘send someone’ but of course, that person would be way below PM level, because you know, Venezuela wouldn’t expect the PM to come in person.

    They usually wouldn’t – if Key had been here in NZ. But he was in the area and his schedule had been cleared. Now they know that he’s avoiding them, any prospects he had in South America are down the gurgler.

    And the media continue to babble about sombreros and hot Presidential wives and ‘behind the scenes’ stories where they are the story. Key blundering his way through international relations with no fucking idea what he’s doing just passes them by.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Key is going to get to meet with mid-level aides for the rest of his latin american trip.

    • Rosie 9.2

      Oh dear God. Hot Presidential wives. It was yet another head in hands moment watching their (Shonkey and Nathan Guy) boyish giggley red faced expressions in response to a reporters comments about how “attractive” the wife of the Mexican President is. Nathan Guy had a particularly predatory smug look on his face. Pass the vomit bucket!!!

      As for Key’s rude non attendance at Chavez’s funeral, you’re right, it wasn’t worth his time in his mind. It was an ideological snub. He is way too scared of catching Socialist germs. He might come home with some silly ideas about developing an equitable society or some other nonsense.

  10. Smith 10

    – Homicide rate tripled in 14 years, only 11% lead to a conviction

    – 30 radio and television stations shut down for being anti-government. Our Bomber has carte blanche.

    – Leopoldo Lopez banned from running for office. Was never condemned by the courts but he used money from the wrong allocation to pay firefighters and teacher’s salaries. Why? Because government had withheld the appropriate funds

    – Oil profits that flowed to the U.S. now line Chinese pockets, not Venezuelan ones!

    John Key has nothing on this guy. You’re acting as if Chavez walked on water – he’s not a hero for chrissakes! Just another tinpot el jefe in a long line of them, and yet accolades are heaped upon him because his allegiance to this side of the spectrum means his crimes can be selectively overlooked.

    I don’t contest he got results when it came to literacy or poverty but come on, this slavish worship of his populism is utterly demeaning.

    • Lightly 10.1

      i don’t think anyone is arguing Chavez met the standards of a leader in a liberal democracy. But look at the reality he was facing. What he did do was halve poverty while under constant threat of an armed coup from the elite backed by the media and the USA.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        When you look at the coup documentary above, you can see that all the private TV stations in the country co-operated with the coup ring leaders in an attempt to misinform and misdirect the Venezuelan public.

        It’s no surprise that a lot of them were shut down afterwards.

        Hey Smithy

        – Homicide rate tripled in 14 years, only 11% lead to a conviction

        Link please!!!

        Or are you talking about killings of international banksters?

          • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.2.1

            Sorry mate, those TV stations and their owners were key elements of a coup to take down a democratically elected government.

            It was THEY who were on the side of Bainimarama. Funny that you are defending them.

            As for the violent crime rate – it appears it is a real problem with no one understanding the causes.

            • Populuxe1 10.1.1.2.1.1

              Riiiiiight, so those TV stations armed themselves and marched on the Presidential Palace? Or did they blow up all the pro-Chavez broadcasters? Did they do anything illegal or unconstitutional? Hmmmmmm.

              • felixviper

                No that’s not quite how it worked, but they were working on the same side as (owned by) the people who did all of those things. You’re closer than you think, especially with regard to the taking out of the only reliable sources of information during the coup.

                The film mentioned earlier documents all of this quite well.

                • Populuxe1

                  So they were still shut down not because they committed any crime, but because they were owned by people and broadcasted things Chavez didn’t like.

                  • Morrissey

                    So they were still shut down not because they committed any crime, but because they were owned by people and broadcasted things Chavez didn’t like.

                    No, they were shut down because they advocated, repeatedly and systematically, the assassination of the democratically elected president.

                    Now, either you know that and are simply playing silly games, or you are utterly ignorant. Either way, you have really disqualified yourself from being taken seriously by anyone on this forum.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Sigh. I only wish the same justification could be used to shut people like Michael Laws and Ann Coulter up. But unless the law is broken…

                    • TheContrarian

                      “they were shut down because they advocated, repeatedly and systematically, the assassination of the democratically elected president. ”

                      Got a link for that?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    So they were still shut down not because they committed any crime, but because they were owned by people and broadcasted things Chavez didn’t like.

                    No, they were complicit and co-operative in the execution of a military coup d’état overthrowing a popular democratically elected government, and replacing it with a self-appointed regime.

                    Chavez was taken prisoner by rebel military forces for 2 days, and held at a secret location where he was kept out of touch with the outside world and from his family.

                    This was a little bit more than simply broadcasting things that “Chavez didn’t like”.

                  • North

                    Under New Zealand law complicity in the unlawful overthrow of a duly elected government would be treason, if not as a principal then ceratinly as a party. Have a look at s 66 of the Crimes Act.

                    So there’s your crime, idiot.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      damn there’s some smart people in this country (that’s you mate)

                    • Populuxe1

                      There are quite specific conditions as to what constitutes being an active complicit party to treason.

              • Daveo

                Which TV stations were shut down? Name them.

                • TheContrarian

                  Here is a handy link for you Daveo.

                  http://www.rsf.org/34-broadcast-media-shut-down-at.html

                  • Daveo

                    There are no TV stations listed there.

                    What is listed is 32 radio stations (out of the country’s 870) being pulled off air because they couldn’t demonstrate a right to the publicly owned frequencies they were broadcasting on. Many of these stations were critical of Chavez, but then nearly all private media are critical of Chavez.

                    Have you been to Venezuela? The vast majority of the media is stridently critical of the Government. For you to claim that it’s some kind of caribbean gulag where there’s no free speech just shows your ignorance. If anything it’s quite the opposite – most media outlets in Venezuela make Fox News look reasonable.

                    Of course, it’s not the smartest strategic move for the Government of Venezuela to pull any station off air when there’s such a clear global campaign to tar Chavez as a dictator, but the fact remains it’s a country with a vibrant democracy despite its corrupt moneyed elite and staunchly partisan private media.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Well let’s start with Radio Caracas TV (RCTV). They “couldn’t demonstrate a right to the publicly owned frequencies” because Chavez withdrew their broadcasting licence.

                      “The vast majority of the media is stridently critical of the Government.” Shit, that’s very different to here isn’t it. Here you all bitch and moan that the media isn’t CRITICAL ENOUGH of the government. You are such a bunch of hypocrites sometimes. The mental gymnastics you must go through just to get out of bed in the morning.

                    • TheContrarian

                      There are several TV stations listed. Look again.

                    • Daveo

                      There are several TV stations listed. Look again.

                      Ah, two small regional TV stations that couldn’t demonstrate ownership of the publicly owned airwaves they were operating on. You still haven’t shown how this represents a clampdown on dissenting voices. The 34 stations were not all anti-Chavez, and there are 30 times as many still in operation, most of them stridently anti-Chavez. I know, I’ve spent time in Venezuela and I’ve heard them myself.

                      I’m happy to be corrected, but this smells like the usual bullsh*t.

                    • TheContrarian

                      As Colonial Viper says below:

                      “He curtailed judicial and press freedoms. Opposition groups and parties were frequently harrassed. Institutions were weakened, and law and order issues and corruption became increasingly disruptive.”

                      That isn’t bullshit. I am not anti-Chavez by any means…I don’t think he had dictator status but I don’t pretend he wasn’t an autocrat who centered power around himself.

                    • Daveo

                      Well let’s start with Radio Caracas TV (RCTV). They “couldn’t demonstrate a right to the publicly owned frequencies” because Chavez withdrew their broadcasting licence.

                      Yes, he did that quite openly. RCTV helped organise a violent coup, which involved the massacre of civilians, then continued to lie repeatedly in order to keep the dictatorship that replaced Chavez’s government in power. This is all on record. Rather than shut them down, he allowed them to continue to operate a cable channel (nearly half of Venezuelans have cable TV, and it’s available in most public places). What he did was remove their right to publicly owned airwaves. Personally, I don’t think he went far enough. He should have shut them down and put them in prison. How do you think CNN would fare if it participated in a violent coup against the US government that involved the massacre of civilians and then helped install a dictatorship?

                      “The vast majority of the media is stridently critical of the Government.” Sht, that’s very different to here isn’t it. Here you all btch and moan that the media isn’t CRITICAL ENOUGH of the government. You are such a bunch of hypocrites sometimes. The mental gymnastics you must go through just to get out of bed in the morning.

                      An independent and critical media is a crucial part of any democracy. That’s not what Venezuela has – it has a a corporate-owned propaganda service that opposes democracy and routinely uses lies and slander to advance the political and economic agenda of its owners. It’s in desperate need of reform. Having spent time in Venezuela and seen the reality I think Chavez is a saint for the restraint he has shown.

                    • Daveo

                      I am not anti-Chavez by any means…I don’t think he had dictator status but I don’t pretend he wasn’t an autocrat who centered power around himself.

                      There was certainly a lot of Chavez in Chavismo, and we’d be naive to deny he has a complex legacy, but it’s a strange sort of autocrat who introduces a new law that allows a minority of citizens to demand a presidential recall election provided they can gather enough signatures. Chavez in fact faced one of these recall elections under the law he introduced and won handsomely.

                      Sure, he ain’t perfect, but he’s trying to run a country brutalised by 500 years of slavery, feudalism and oppression, with a legacy of being an economic colony of the US, a moneyed elite that doesn’t respect democracy, a history of violence and human rights abuses (google ‘Caracazo’ for an example – 3000 civilians massacred, it’s Venezuela’s Tienanmen Square) and a media that refuses to accept basic journalistic norms. I’d say given all that he’s done bloody well.

                    • felixviper

                      “Here you all bitch and moan that the media isn’t CRITICAL ENOUGH of the government. You are such a bunch of hypocrites sometimes. The mental gymnastics you must go through just to get out of bed in the morning.”

                      Yeah, but even a brisk walk looks like gymnastics to a man with no legs.

                      You’ll note that no-one was complaining that the media was too critical of his govt. It’s just being pointed out that they are very critical, which is a fact, and it makes a mockery of any claims that he shut down all dissenting voices.

                      Really, it’s not that complicated to follow, Pop. No gymnastics required.

                  • Daveo

                    This might provide some context. Sounds like it’s part of a general law to limit concentration of media ownership. No surprise this wasn’t reported in the western press:

                    Nelson Belfort, the president of the Chamber of Radio Broadcasters and the Caracas-based Circuito Nacional Belfort, which owns five of the closed radio stations, described the move as a government “attack” that aims to limit freedom of expression. He said the CNB would appeal the decision.

                    However, Cabello explained that the measure is fully within the framework of the law and that the licenses are being revoked for violating regulations.

                    “I challenge those who operate the Circuito Nacional Belfort to provide a document showing that CONATEL has authorized them to operate the 102.3 frequency. They are saying that the station is theirs and it’s not true,” Cabello declared.

                    “They have started to say that we are revoking concessions and that is not true. The state is simply recovering the concessions that were being used illegally for more than 30 years. It is an act of justice that has to do with giving power to people,” he said.

                    The minister denied the government is trying to limit freedom of expression, saying those affected can continue transmitting their programs through the internet as the measure only applies to the use of the state-owned airwaves.

                    Cabello said that powerful families in Venezuela, who had “swindled” the people, had acquired many of the radio stations illegally and constituted “media latifundios” (a reference to large, privately-owned estates), whereby 27 families controlled more than 32% of the radio and television waves. Many of those affected own ten to twenty or stations, the minister added.

                    Telecommunications Law

                    New reforms to the Telecommunications Law aim to break up the “media latifundios” by limiting ownership of radio or television stations to three per private owner, according to Cabello. Under the reforms broadcasting concessions are designated as un-inheritable property, and are therefore non-transferable to family or colleagues in the event of the death of a concession holder.

                    The minister warned that those who continue to operate illegally without permits will be subject to sanctions under the Telecommunications Law. “There are various penalties, including confiscation of equipment and secondly they will be subject to suspension, for five years, of activity in telecommunications and can go to jail if they repeat these actions. We will apply the law regardless of their surname, regardless of who their families are”, he said.

                    http://venezuelanalysis.com/print/4683

                • quartz

                  The leaders of the 202 right-wing coup shut down channel 8 (the only public TV station).

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Yep…all the private corporate media kept broadcasting just fine, cheering on the self appointed coup leaders.

                    • Murray Olsen

                      I think Chavez was too lenient with the right wing coupist media that continually called for the “death of the monkey in the President’s palace”. Meanwhile, in Aotearoa we throw people in prison for joking about catapulting a cow at George Bush.

        • TheContrarian 10.1.1.3

          And this one specifically address the tripling claim:

          http://www.insightcrime.org/news-briefs/venezuelan-government-recognizes-record-murder-rate

        • Dr Terry 10.1.1.4

          Our PM is not only worse than was the constantly wanted and loved Chavez, he is not even equal to Chavez’ little toe nail (even if it is painted!) How dare anyone speak disparagingly of the Chavez wealth when our miserable little leader is himself so hugely wealthy (but cares not for the poor).

          Chavez had faults? So he was a member of the human race – stand up all you perfect people!
          In the meantime look up some of the incredible sayings of Chavez, such as “No part of the human community can live entirely on its own planet, with its own laws of motion and cut off from the rest of humanity.” (Something for Key to ponder while he sits out the funeral). Also: “We must confront the privileged elite who have destroyed a large part of the world.”

          Even America will be represented at this funeral and probably well represented at that. But Key is above it all.

  11. Nicolas 11

    This was a billionaire, a guy whose fortune was similar to what was amassed by the Castro brothers in Cuba.
    This was Venezuela for those who don’t know, a country amongst the 10 MOST corrupt countries in the planet. What do you suppose being a billionaire in one of the most corrupt countries in the world means? Hard work? Championing for the poor?
    New Zealand is ranked first alongside Denmark and Finland, according to Transparency International. Not saying I approve of Key (I won’t vote for the prick), but saying our prime ministers is actually WORSE than Chávez was?

    Wake up, people…

  12. Draco T Bastard 12

    The only reason Key wouldn’t go is because Chavez was a successful Left leader and Key can’t see beyond their ideological differences.

    Actually, there’s one other reason why JK won’t go – he’s trying to butter up the US.

    • felixviper 13.1

      Key prolly wouldn’t be standing in the middle of the crowd in the street though dontchareckon?

      Oh also it’s his fricking job, not a question of where he wants to go for his holidays.

      • freedom 13.1.1

        “Oh also it’s his fricking job,” that’s what sticks in my craw, he has no choice, who ever thought he did is a fool, is strategically ignorant bordering on treasonous and quite possibly unstable, ah so it could have been any number of his current advisors then 🙁

  13. Nick 14

    Let’s see how Venezuela is actually doing today

    http://www.transparency.org/country#VEN

    Rule of law: Lowest 1% of all the worlds nations, -1.64 out of possible scores between 2.5 and -2.5. Probably something to do with having one of the highest murder rates and Chavez systematically ignoring the Constitution

    Judicial Independence: The lowest score out of 142 countries ranked. Again, probably something to do with Chavez firing all the judges who disagreed with him

    Press Freedom: 117/179 countries ranked: Probably something to do with Chavez systematic attacks on independent media: http://cpj.org/reports/2012/08/after-years-of-assault-venezuelas-independent-pres.php

    Global Competitiveness: 126/142 Countries ranked

    Open Budget Index: Ranked as having ‘minimal’ budget openness

    What about corruption? Transparency International has a Global Corruption Index

    Corruption Perception Index: 165 out of 176 Nations measured

    • quartz 14.1

      You’re citing the work of a neo-liberal think tank.

    • rosy 14.2

      On the other hand

      Of course, the most important source of Chávez’s continued electoral success has been the improvements in living standards that the majority of Venezuelans have experienced over the past decade: poverty reduced by half, extreme poverty by more than 70%, unemployment cut by half, a tripling of people eligible for public pensions and vastly increased access to healthcare and education.

      A man of contrasts. Looking for a villian or hero in Chavez doesn’t really make a lot of sense. Could the lives of the poor be improved without his autocratic bias? Is the economy on it’s knees? Obviously the people thought he was doing a good job, compared to whoever else was on offer. As the Nact supporters in NZ have said many times – an electoral win equals a mandate.

      I also reckon it’d help to be a poor South or Central American to fully understand the anti-imperialist and anti-US line that he played so loudly.

      • Murray Olsen 14.2.1

        The really poor in those countries often don’t think much about the US, Rosy. They’re too busy thinking about their next meal or drink of water. It’s often when they can take the necessities of life a little bit for granted and have the time, energy and literacy to look around that they begin to see it. As far as I’m concerned, this is the real reason why the imperialists and their apologists hate people like Chavez. They don’t give a stuff about his autocratic rule, or about any corruption that went on with him in charge, or even the increasing lawlessness in Caracas. They care about having a subservient and illiterate population under the thumb of a vicious ruling elite that sends its army officers to Fort Benning, its children to Harvard and Yale, and spends its holidays in Miami.

    • Colonial Viper 14.3

      Shame the commoners really like him and his policies though. It’s unacceptable to spend oil wealth on your own citizens eh?

      • Monique Angel 14.3.1

        Except he didn’t. He spent it on his re-election campaigns

      • Nick 14.3.2

        Yes, clearly when looking at a bunch of human rights measures what I really meant was that the real problem I have with Hugo Chavez was that he cared too much about poor people.

        Seriously though, I thought that the left believed that things like press freedom, judicial independence and ending corruption were important?

        • rosy 14.3.2.1

          ” I thought that the left believed that things like press freedom, judicial independence and ending corruption were important?”

          I agree they’re incredibly important. But it’s hard for me to damn the man’s legacy by ignoring the poverty reduction, health improvements, educational improvements and increased democratic participation. I also feel it’s wrong to praise him absolutely because he was unable to string together the democratic institutions that we take for granted.

        • Populuxe1 14.3.2.2

          Yeah, funny how Hitler or Peron did much the same to secure populist support.
          Panem et circenses, people. Get the mob behind you with sops and then eliminate all constitutional restraints on your powers as the first step to being President For Life….

          • Colonial Viper 14.3.2.2.1

            Yes, disadvantaged people in poverty = the mob

            Good on you P1. Only well educated banksters should be in charge, not leaders who pander to the unwashed filth.

            • Populuxe1 14.3.2.2.1.1

              Here everybody, have some bread and circuses while I give myself sweeping authority to do what I like…. No you sad fool, the Banksters should not be in charge, nor should leaders who centralise power on themselves and favour specific demographics over the country as a whole, because that’s not governance, it’s the road to dictatorship.

          • Murray Olsen 14.3.2.2.2

            “poverty reduction, health improvements, educational improvements and increased democratic participation”

            Which of these did Hitler provide for the German people? I’m beginning to think you’re a badly written bot.

              • Colonial Viper

                Leaders have to serve their people P1, otherwise they tend not to hang around very long.

              • Murray Olsen

                Poverty reduction – runaway inflation was stopped and there was more manufacturing as they prepared for war. However, workers had less rights and unionists were imprisoned.
                Autobahns – built for the military. Most Germans didn’t have cars.
                Bread and circuses – German bakers have always been good, but the circuses would have been a lot better with you as clown.

                I hope that if you ever get hungry and poor enough to not know when you’ll eat next, you’ll insist that any food comes from some organisation that meets your high standards.

                • Populuxe1

                  I have been hungry and poor enough, you patronisng fool, that’s why constitutional law and transparent democracy should be sacrosanct, not a privilege or a bribe.

                  By the way, Chomsky has some interesting things to say about Saint Hugo

                  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/03/noam-chomsky-hugo-chavez-democracy

                  • Murray Olsen

                    Chomsky is another idealist, just like yourself. At best he’s an anarchist who thinks people should just start being nice to each other. Criticism is easy; actually improving the lives of millions can be a little more difficult and people can get their hands dirty.
                    You’re sounding more and more like a tool of the US State Department. I’ve never seen you so upset as you are with Chavez, a guy who made the thieving elite and foreign oilmen take a bit of a back seat in his country. You refuse to consider the conditions that Chavez worked under, with the owners of the media constantly fomenting coups and assassination attempts. They closed down the Supreme Court, they tried to install an American puppet in an unsuccessful coup, and all you can worry about are their bourgeois democratic rights. They’re bloody lucky they weren’t used as lamp post decorations.

    • Dr Terry 14.4

      The whole point is that Venezuela has improved VASTLY when compared to what it was prior Chavez. Can as much be said for New Zealand since coming under the sway of Key?

    • ordinary_bloke 14.5

      .. apologies for double-posting, but the point has to be made.

      Transparency International uses a Corruption Perception Index (CPI) to compare levels of economic crime in different countries and has consistently ranked New Zealand as one of the least corrupt countries in the world. However the rankings are primarily based on opinion surveys rather than empirical evidence – and Transparency acknowledges that corruption is “to a great extent a hidden activity that is difficult to measure”.[3] Notwithstanding the subjectivity of its corruption scale, it has ranked New Zealand as one of the least corrupt out of 183 countries since 2003.[4]

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corruption_in_New_Zealand#cite_note-51

  14. One Tāne Huna 15

    That our Prime Minister has declined to attend Hugo Chavez’s funeral is simply shameful. Not to mention stupid and gratuitous.

    Goodness knows what the motivation is for the snub. It’s a monumental blunder in foreign policy terms – not to mention trade policy. I hope the next government can mend the damage Key has done in South America.

  15. fenderviper 16

    Truth be known Key is probably in S.America to secure the cocaine required by the high-flying bankers and hangers-on to give them the drive to rob the nation of its wealth and keep the smile and wave roadshow operating.

  16. Bill 17

    Thankyou Eddie and Karol for penning these posts.

    On the topic of this one – (but putting the economics aside): Has there been a more important political leader on the American continent? Maybe. But Hugo Chavez was certainly one of its most important political leaders. And NZ, through JK has snubbed any recognition of that fact. And that’s both stupid and shameful.

    I’m no uncritical sychophant, but on what I regard as the idiotic vilification and damning faint praise being meted out to Chavez (and by extention the Bolivarian Revolution) by the usual suspects on this blog and by the msm ( the reporting by the Guardian’s Rory Carroll being just one example of many) I really only have a simple observation to make – and then I’ll leave the discussion because I can’t be bothered with the ill informed and infantile bullshit that is bound to keep flying around.

    For years our (il)liberal media have propagated a negative stereotype of Chavez as a dictator and a clown. Well, the proof or otherwise of that line will become evident in the near future. If he was as most of ‘our’ western media have consistently claimed, then affairs in Venezuela will naturally and quickly default back to pre-Chavez ways. But if there have been genuine seeds of revolution planted deeply enough and dispersed widely enough then, barring the very real possibility of interference or deliberate disruptions designed to roll back any gains, all the years of reporting by ‘our’ media is going to be exposed as utter bullshit and Chavez’s legacy will be a progressive deepening of a revolution informed by democratic ideals and values.

    It really is that simple.

    • That’s because by most civilized measures he was a dictator and a clown. Traits that some commentators here seem to appreciate but don;t expect the rest of the general populace to fall prey to the religion of socialism.

      • Dr Terry 17.1.1

        Monique – may I suggest that you drop the title “Angel” from your pseudonym, instead think about a man who is somewhat close to being a “Saint”. Read Bill – he is rational and he has got it right.

      • Murray Olsen 17.1.2

        Try to keep up, Monique. This thread isn’t about Brownlee or Key, nor is it about Brash or Banks.

    • johnm 17.2

      Hi Bill
      Here’s an article on Chavez by another man who knows and tells the truth instead of lies and spin, Steven Lendman:

      “Media Scoundrels Pillory Chavez Before He’s Buried”
      http://sjlendman.blogspot.co.nz/

      ” Chavez used Venezuela’s oil wealth responsibly. Everyone benefitted. Populism replaced neoliberal harshness.
      Bolivarianism prioritizes vital needs. Living standards improved remarkably. Disadvantaged Venezuelans benefitted most.
      Child mortality fell from 20 per 1,000 to 13. Unemployment dropped from 14.5% to 6.4%.
      Income inequality is Latin America’s lowest. Poverty was cut in half. Extreme poverty fell over 70%. Economic growth in 2011 was 4.8%. In 2012, it was 5.6%. Forecasts estimate 6% in 2013.
      Hundreds of thousands of new homes were built. Commerce grew 9.2%. Communications advanced 7.2%. Manufacturing increased 2.1%. Oil sector production increased.
      Growth created jobs. Millions got free healthcare and education. They did so for the first time. Pension eligibility tripled.
      Pre-Chavez years were disastrous.” From 1980 – 1998, per capita income fell. Chavez turned disaster into success. Venezuela’s future looks promising. Give Chavez the credit he deserves.”

    • Murray Olsen 17.3

      Bill,
      ” barring the very real possibility of interference or deliberate disruptions designed to roll back any gains”
      It is a 100% certainty that there will be interference and deliberate disruptions. There already is, so why would they stop now? There is too much oil for the Empire to leave alone, even if they were willing to take the chance of having a significant population that had some idea that they should have a few human rights and a bit of self determination.

      My fear is that the “Bolivaran revolution” may have been too much of a one man band, relying on the charismatic leadership of Chavez, and may not endure. I hope I’m wrong, but I think the last thing the situation is there is simple.

    • mario 17.4

      Lucid as ever Bill, I believe changes were deep enough to have a lasting impact and continue. Disruptions were always there and will surely continue, but I don’t see despair in millions of supporters (great sadness is naturally there) and they seem radicalised enough to continue strongly. Maduro should win and stay on Chavez course. Regarding the governing leadership overall, although there are reasons for legitimate criticism importantly there seems to be much genuine action arising from self criticism.

      Take for example those last elections for governors where in spite of the huge victory the strongest criticism from grassroot organisations was that their voices were mostly ignored with candidates being handpicked and imposed by the party line. Well for upcoming mayoral elections it seems there will be much better cooperation with the grassroots to address this. I picked up on it from several articles on venezuelanalysis.com and remains to be seen to what extent they will go with it, but to me it seems like a huge progress in thinking and a crucial piece of any revolution. It reminded me of something Chomsky said in some interview long ago – that in a normal functioning democracy you would have communities organising to decide on the platform (priority of issues) and selecting best candidates to represent it, instead of having platforms and candidates imposed on the public from the top like is usually the case.

  17. Believe whatever you want to believe cultists. The truth is Chavez was barking mad and presided over the ruination of his country.

    And Key won’t attend the funeral because of the socialist taint. Why would you? Chavez trampled out most trade – and lack of trade is what keeps the poor, poor. His time was much better spent on relations where the trade outcomes could be improved.

    Venezuela is the only member of OPEC that suffers from shortages of staples such as flour, milk, and sugar. Crime and violence skyrocketed during Chávez’s years. On an average weekend, more people are killed in Caracas than in Baghdad and Kabul combined. (In 2009, there were 19,133 murders in Venezuela, more than four times the number of a decade earlier.) When the grisly statistics failed to improve, the Venezuelan government simply stopped publishing the figures.

    Socialist dictatorships are generally not nice places to live. And if any of you Chavez supporters were over the age of 30 you’d know that. That’s why, the older you get, the more right wing you get. Don;t fight it luvs. A need for collectivism (aka Jacinda Ardern) is a sign of immaturity. Aka Jacinda Ardern

    • felixviper 18.1

      Oh grow up, you’re an embarrassing little upstart trying to teach your grandparents to suck eggs.

      • Dr Terry 18.1.1

        Well Monique it is true that “it takes all kinds (and perspectives) to make a world.” Regrettably, we must reconcile ourselves to residing with the likes of you with your horrendous views.

      • Colonial Viper 18.1.2

        Interestingly, it’s Monique who is the (neo-liberal) cultist.

    • johnm 18.2

      Hi Monique
      If you want the truth about Chavez you should read the following link:
      http://sjlendman.blogspot.co.nz/
      The countries facing ruin now are the U$ and the U$K there people are being mercilessly being impoverished with austerity to bail out banksters and the wealthy elite.

      “He achieved impressive economic growth and prosperity. Britain’s government pales by comparison. It’s lawless, corrupt, dysfunctional, and hugely unequal. BBC’s its propaganda mouthpiece. Don’t expect it to explain.
      Chavez used Venezuela’s oil wealth responsibly. Everyone benefitted. Populism replaced neoliberal harshness.

      Bolivarianism prioritizes vital needs. Living standards improved remarkably. Disadvantaged Venezuelans benefited most.
      Child mortality fell from 20 per 1,000 to 13. Unemployment dropped from 14.5% to 6.4%.
      Income inequality is Latin America’s lowest. Poverty was cut in half. Extreme poverty fell over 70%. Economic growth in 2011 was 4.8%. In 2012, it was 5.6%. Forecasts estimate 6% in 2013.
      Hundreds of thousands of new homes were built. Commerce grew 9.2%. Communications advanced 7.2%. Manufacturing increased 2.1%. Oil sector production increased.

      Growth created jobs. Millions got free healthcare and education. They did so for the first time. Pension eligibility tripled.
      Pre-Chavez years were disastrous.” From 1980 – 1998, per capita income fell. Chavez turned disaster into success. Venezuela’s future looks promising. Give Chavez the credit he deserves.

      Carter Center representatives monitor Venezuelan elections. Jimmy Carter calls its process “the best in the world.” He does for good reason. It’s open, free and fair.
      It shames America’s sham process. Duopoly power runs things. Republicans and Democrats replicate each other. They’re two sides of the same coin.
      They’re beholden to monied interests. They sold their souls for power.

      People have no say. Voters get the best democracy money can buy. Neoliberal harshness, permanent wars, and police state repression follow.

      Venezuelan democracy is genuine. Voters need no persuasion. Chavez instituted the real thing. Venezuelans want it no other way.

      Expect what he began to continue. It’s hardwired to stay. It’s part of Venezuelan culture. It won’t fade and die.”

    • johnm 18.3

      Hi Monique
      “The truth is Chavez was barking mad and presided over the ruination of his country. ”

      unadulterated garbage! 🙂

    • scotty 18.4

      Thanks for being so open as regards your bigotry, no wonder you are so bitter.

    • freedom 18.5

      if ideas were people then your ignorance would no doubt be surpassed by your loneliness

    • halfcrown 18.6

      Try not seeing Fox News too much, Try reading and seeing other sources of information, you may learn something.

  18. Dr Terry 19

    Has anybody heard yet from Shearer, not words, I am talking about deeds!

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      I can’t see any press release from Labour re: Hugh Chavez’ passing away. Maybe I missed it?

  19. johnm 20

    Hi Monique 🙂

    The artist taxi driver talks on Chavez:
    “Viva Hugo Chavez: respect his ideals not Western Oil Pigs”
    Have a look at this Monique:

    “Long live the spirit of Hugo Chavez. Anyone that tells the US government to fuck off is alright with me.”

  20. johnm 21

    Another assessment of Chavez. he came to power after:
    “Chavez, who was 58, came to national prominence as the leader of an abortive military coup against the corrupt regime of Venezuelan President Carlos Andrés Pérez, the leader of Accion Democratica, a social democratic bourgeois party. Andrés Pérez was responsible for the bloody repression of the “Caracazo”—a popular uprising against IMF-dictated austerity measures in which up to 3,000 were killed.”

    http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/03/06/hugo-m06.html

    “a popular uprising against IMF-dictated austerity measures” Same stuff that’s impoverishing Greece and Ireland right now.

  21. johnm 22

    On the Legacy of Hugo Chávez by Greg Grandin
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/03/06-2

    “Hugo Chavez was a brilliant man, a good man whose star shone for the poor and dispossessed of this world. That star still shines. RIP

    Exxon, Hugo kicked their scum sucking butts out of his country…

    Imagine the U$ with the Socialist leadership Chavez gave to Venezuela: Nationalized oil/gas; FREE health care; backing students for college; FREE schooling for most in poverty no matter their age; land for the landless; etc. etc.

    Until Greed Capitalism is run out of town, the unfairness, suffering, and depression-that-could-lead-to-violence will continue….”

  22. Te Reo Putake 23

    A list of heads of state and government from around the world who plan to attend Friday’s state funeral for Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and who won’t be networking with NZ PM and top business spruiker John Key over the sandwiches and cups of tea after the ceremony because he can’t get his head around why he should go:

    -Antigua and Barbuda: Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer

    -Aruba: Prime Minister Michiel Godfried Eman

    -Argentina: President Cristina Fernandez

    -Belarus: President Alexander Lukashenko

    -Bolivia: President Evo Morales

    -Brazil: President Dilma Rousseff

    -Chile: President Sebastian Pinera

    -Curacao: Prime Minister Daniel Hodge

    -Dominica: Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit

    -Dominican Republic: President Danilo Medina

    -Ecuador: President Rafael Correa

    -El Salvador: President Mauricio Funes

    -Guyana: President Donald Ramotar

    -Haiti: President Michel Martelly

    -Haiti: Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe

    -Honduras: President Porfirio Lobo

    -Iran: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

    -Jamaica: Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller

    -Mexico: President Enrique Pena Nieto

    -Nicaragua: President Daniel Ortega

    -Panama: President Ricardo Martinelli

    -Peru: President Ollanta Humala

    -St. Kitts and Nevis: Prime Minister Denzil Douglas

    -St. Lucia: Prime Minister Kenny Anthony

    -St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves

    -Suriname: President Desi Bouterse

    -Trinidad and Tobago: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar

    -Uruguay: President Jose Mujica

    • Colonial Viper 23.1

      The US and European power block is avoiding the event like the plague. I would have thought that both Russia and China would have a significant presence.

      • Te Reo Putake 23.1.1

        Obviously, its strongly weighted toward South and Latin American countries, which is why Key should be there, but it also reflects modern imperialism’s desire to not give any credence to a leader who put his people first, ahead of the needs of international capital. I imagine most western countries will send 2nd or 3rd level delegations (ie no higher than Minister of Foreign Affairs and more likely Minister of Trade or just the local Ambassador and the trade consul).

        In terms of networking, we trade with just about every country on the list and have Commonwealth links with most of the rest. Why wouldn’t we want to be there?

    • Populuxe1 23.2

      Ah yes, all countries he liberally courted with petrobucks and with the possible charming exceptions of Iran and Brazil, no major regional powers, but plenty of third world basket cases and banana republics. I notice Russia and China aren’t going either, which sort of demolishes the whole Western boycott myth.

      • Colonial Viper 23.2.1

        Yes I thought similarly, although I believe China will be very well represented due to China’s interests in Venezuela’s energy reserves. And Russia – well their military ties through good times and bad are well documented so I think that’s secure too.

        • Populuxe1 23.2.1.1

          Well I should hope Venezuela and Russia’s ties should be tight, what with Chavez buying all those Russian weapons for FARC and all…

          • Colonial Viper 23.2.1.1.1

            Uh, no. Venezuela is one of Russia’s main military customers, buying armored vehicles, main battle tanks, MiGs as well as light arms and munitions.

            I do note however that Columbia was not on the list of heads of state visiting Venezuela – given that Columbia is heavily pro US that’s not a huge surprise.

            • Populuxe1 23.2.1.1.1.1

              Pity the Australians aren’t going

              “In addition, Chavez apparently provided thousands of Colombians, including many of the guerillas, with Venezuelan papers. Intelligence agencies fear that senior members of FARC have also traveled to Germany using Venezuelan passports — tourists from Chavez’s Venezuela are given more lax treatment when entering the country than Colombians.

              Chavez also apparently helped the FARC rebels obtain weapons by putting them in touch with two Australian arms dealers. His intelligence agents promised FARC that they would get them parts to build surface-to-air missiles. In an e-mail to Reyes on March 1, 2007, FARC commander Timochenko wrote that the Venezuelans would “guarantee travel for one of our men to the Middle East, so that he can take a course in the use of the missiles.” The purchase of complete weapons systems, Timochenko wrote, is “very complicated, because of the existing inspections.”

              http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/the-colombian-connection-how-hugo-chavez-courted-farc-a-557736.html

              • Colonial Viper

                Colombia appears to have deliberately flooded Venezuela with the cocaine trade. Perhaps some push back was in order.

      • Pascal's bookie 23.2.2

        “no major regional powers

        Who were you thinking of?

        Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Peru, who’s missing?

        • Populuxe1 23.2.2.1

          Brazil is the most powerful country in South America, Argentina in second place comes well behind. Regional power is defined by the amount of influence they can exert beyond their borders, which none in your lest bar certain exceptions in the case of Mexico and it’s shared border with the US can be said to have. Aside from the unsurprising absence of the Western Allies, there is no China, Russia, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Japan, South Korea, Ukraine etc.

  23. joe90 24

    As an aside, years ago I read John Gunther’s Inside Latin America, written shortly before the US entered WW2, describing Venezuela fifteen years into the oil boom. Caracas had the highest cost of living in the world with food prices typically 20-30 times higher than in the US due largely to the mismanagement by the ruling classes of the huge cash influx.

    And because of the obstructionism and feudal social systems of the landed classes, the land-owners had refused to modernise production methods, cheap and plentiful labour, when the poor fled the countryside to work in and around the oil-fields, domestic production collapsed.

    When Gunther arrived in 1941 most food along with almost every other sort of goods was imported and heavily taxed with tariffs to support the non-existent local agricultural sector and although oil money had been coming in since the twenties there was no industrial base.

    .So despite what the RWNJ’s say it took nearly sixty years and the election of Chavez to elicit any sort of meaningful change for a majority of Venezuelans.

    .

  24. Interesting division in the comments for this post. The lefties wish to celebrate the good that Chavez did for the poor of his country and this is not denied.

    The righties then launch into attempted character assassinations of him but ignore the good that he achieved.

    This is a bit of smoke screen doncha think?

    • Colonial Viper 25.1

      Hmmmm somehow I don’t think the Righties view Chavez sharing the elite’s rightful wealth with the unwashed heathen as “doing good”.

    • Populuxe1 25.2

      I am not right wing – I don’t give a flying fuck about petty ideological bickering. I have a vision of ideal governance being a liberal democracy with effective welfare, public institutions, free press, independent judiciary, and human rights and liberties to be universal and protected by constitutional law. Anything that diverges from this is only going to get my contempt and scorn, left wing OR right wing, and Hugo Chavez definitely qualifies. No why don’t you sing a rousing chorus of “Don’t Cry For Me, Venezuela” while they embalm his corpse as a tourist attraction.

      • Morrissey 25.2.1

        I am not right wing – I don’t give a flying fuck about petty ideological bickering.

        Oh yes, you go for the really big issues, of course. Like loudly repeating the black propaganda of the British establishment at its most vicious and corrupt.

        I have a vision of ideal governance being a liberal democracy with effective welfare, public institutions, free press,

        That’s even odder than the claim to not “give a flying fuck” about petty bickering; I seem to remember you joining in the British government-led character assassination campaign against Julian Assange. When did you change to supporting a free press as opposed to trying to shut it down and persecute journalists?

        …independent judiciary,…

        Like the outstandingly independent Swedish judiciary perhaps?

        … and human rights and liberties to be universal and protected by constitutional law.

        But not for dissenting journalists, of course. Gotta have limits, don’t we!

        As for your risible comments about Hugo Chavez: I don’t care how mean-spirited and callous you are, but your flagrant lying is something else entirely.

        • McFlock 25.2.1.1

          Intentional derail, or just your derailed thinking?

          Even if – and a big fucking if – you were correct on the Assange issue, disagreement on that single issue does not negate his statement about his own general belief system.

        • McFlock 25.2.1.2

          pop’s own statement about his belief system. Missing that edit function 🙂

        • Populuxe1 25.2.1.3

          Julian Assange is not a journalist – journalists may well avail themselves of Wikileaks in their research, but Assange exhibits very little editorial process or evidence of fact checking in his activities to constitute journalism. Also, as regards my emphasis on constitutional human rights, I happen to believe that if a person accuses someone of a violation of their person, they should have the right to an investigation and a trial. The rest of your frothing is just a rather sad attempt at deflection.

          • Colonial Viper 25.2.1.3.1

            You may not regard Julian Assange as a journalist but he is at a minimum, a publisher.

            I happen to believe that if a person accuses someone of a violation of their person, they should have the right to an investigation and a trial.

            So do I.

            Can someone guarantee that Assange will actually get to that trial, and if convicted of violating another person, gets to serve out his prescribed sentence? (As opposed to being whisked away on completely unrelated matters?)

            • McFlock 25.2.1.3.1.1

              Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it.
              This is a derail.

              If you really want to rehash it, we should go to open mike. But promise me you actually have something new.

            • Populuxe1 25.2.1.3.1.2

              I can’t guarantee that Assange will actually get to trial because he’s doing his darnedest not to get there – in any case this belongs in Open Mike.

            • Colonial Viper 25.2.1.3.1.3

              yeah plus I think this one has been done to death.

              Having said that…its only a minor derail…will the next Venezuelan administration view Assange as favourably???

          • Morrissey 25.2.1.3.2

            Julian Assange is not a journalist – journalists may well avail themselves of Wikileaks in their research, but Assange exhibits very little editorial process or evidence of fact checking in his activities to constitute journalism.

            So does the New York Times. Unlike much of the output of that semi-official state outlet, nothing that Assange has released has been proven to be false. That’s the trouble with Assange of course, and that’s why he must be obliterated. (God damn those Ecuadorian paisanos!!!)

            Also, as regards my emphasis on constitutional human rights, I happen to believe that if a person accuses someone of a violation of their person, they should have the right to an investigation and a trial.

            A couple of young women were manipulated or forced to make a spurious allegation against him. They both retracted the ludicrous allegation, but the Swedish prosecutor ignored that fact.

            The rest of your frothing is just a rather sad attempt at deflection.

            I think anybody who reads this and other conflicts I have engaged in with you can see quite plainly who is lying.

            • McFlock 25.2.1.3.2.1

              trool.

            • Populuxe1 25.2.1.3.2.2

              The New York Times isn’t a semi-official state outlet, it’s a privately owned company.Take it to Open Mike, I’ll kick your arse there.

              • Morrissey

                The New York Times isn’t a semi-official state outlet, it’s a privately owned company.

                It’s privately owned, but it’s the conduit for government propaganda.

                Take it to Open Mike, I’ll kick your arse there.

                Suddenly you’ll become Superman?

          • Murray Olsen 25.2.1.3.3

            The Cuban terrorist Luis Posada Carriles was denied the right to a fair trial in Venezuela after being accused of participating in several terrorist activities. Why? Because the Americans protected him and refused to extradite him to a country where they claimed he ran the risk of torture.

    • Funny how all these comments reinforce the diversionary nature of all of the anti comments in this post.

      The essence is that Key is being a tool in refusing to go to Chavez’s funeral. Whether or not people agree with Chavez’s world view or his actions he was a respected world leader and Key could do really well for our country’s interests to go to the funeral. It is just a couple of days in his life. Not going is so naif.

      • Murray Olsen 25.3.1

        I agree wholeheartedly. Many in Latin America will take this as a deliberate insult. Helen Clark did some good work there in raising our profile, while Key has worn a silly hat, ogled the Mexican first lady, and insulted Venezuela. I find it revealing that so many contributors, some of whom I have never seen before, use the discussion on this to attempt an unneeded assassination of Chavez.

    • geoff 25.4

      Too right, MickyS, I was just thinking that myself. They can’t argue the points so they attack the person.

  25. TheContrarian 26

    “The righties then launch into attempted character assassinations of him but ignore the good that he achieved.”

    Personally I am ambivalent towards Chavez – he did good but also did things not so good. You’re comment could just as easily read:

    “The lefties then launch into attempted character praise of him but ignore the bad that he did.”

    • Colonial Viper 26.1

      He curtailed judicial and press freedoms. Opposition groups and parties were frequently harrassed. Institutions were weakened, and law and order issues and corruption became increasingly disruptive.

      • Populuxe1 26.1.1

        Thanks for being big about it, and yes he did a lot in terms of increasing the standard of living for the poor, but with all the weakening of those other institutions, what kind of a future has Chavez left them?

        • Colonial Viper 26.1.1.1

          It’s a big question. We’re going to see what internal and external pressures emergy on Venezuela over the next several years. As other people have noted, the true Chavez legacy may not be known for another decade.

          • Populuxe1 26.1.1.1.1

            My main problem with it is that by making those revisions to the constitution, should a right wing populist get into power there will be little to check them. My main difficulty with populist politics is it tends to reduce the electorate to a Pavlovian entity to be bribed, rather than equals to be reasoned with.

            • Jim Davis 26.1.1.1.1.1

              He didn’t ‘bribe’ the electorate, he empowered the poor and redistributed the proceeds of the country’s oil wealth to reducing poverty and inequality.

              • Populuxe1

                Um, for improving their lot he charged a fairly hefty price in politicising the electoral college and basically giving himself the constitutional power to be president for life – after all you can’t really vote for an alternative if there is no real alternative. That’s like saying National’s tax cuts or Labour’s tax free student loans weren’t bribes.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Oh bullshit. Venezuela’s last election had an over 80% turn out rate.

                  That leaves NZ’s “democracy” in the dust.

                  • Populuxe1

                    Well, no. And it dropped significantly when compulsory voting was rescinded.
                    http://www.idea.int/vt/countryview.cfm?CountryCode=VE

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hmmm, try the recent 2012 presidential elections.

                      With 90% of the ballots counted Sunday night, Chavez has 54.42% of the vote compared with 44.97% for Capriles, according to Tibisay Lucena, president of the National Electoral Council.

                      Chavez had secured 7.4 million votes and Capriles 6.1 million votes, election officials said.

                      The country saw one of its highest participation rates in decades, with almost 81% of voters going to the polls, Lucena said.

                      In fact, some polls were kept open two hours after their scheduled closing because lines of voters were waiting for ballots.

                      http://edition.cnn.com/2012/10/07/world/americas/venezuela-elections

      • TheContrarian 26.1.2

        Agree (though I wasn’t specifically referring to you CV)

    • geoff 26.2

      No. The lefties attempt to point out the success of Venezuela under Chavez and the righties attempt to smear Chavez.
      I couldn’t give a fuck about Chavez the person, I’m only interested in the undeniable success of his change to socialist policies. If scoailist policies managed to succeed even under the weight of a corrupt, dictator then imagine how successful they would be in a modern western democracy?
      Oh that’s right, we already know how successful they would be, it’s called Scandinavia.

      • Murray Olsen 26.2.1

        Remember that it’s the weight of a “corrupt dictator” plus all the destabilisation efforts of the US and the traitorous elite inside Venezuela. This makes the successes even more notable. In many ways, Venezuela has been going forwards while countries such as our own have been going backwards.

        • Colonial Viper 26.2.1.1

          We criticise Chavez now for highly executive, arbitrary and un-reviewed decision making. But he was a man who knew that things had to change, and not on geologic timescales. And I’m betting you that he relied a whole lot on his cabinet’s creativity and heavy lifting.

          Research shows that between 0 and 5 years of age, the prospects of a new person either brighten or dim considerably, in terms of both educational and social achievement. If Chavez had dicked around with white papers and blue papers and green papers, especially after 2 decades of dramatic declines in living standards for most Venezuelans (I mean, we are talking catastrophic poverty levels in 1998) he wouldn’t have got the results seen today. A 70% decrease in outright severe poverty. I mean, that is amazing.

          This is one thing which fucks me off about Labour. Every year you waste pussyfooting around with half and quarter measures, you are effectively and statistically condemning thousands of young people to poor whole-of-life outcomes.

          As an example, Labour is going to build 100,000 in 10 years. I mean WTF. It seems like a completely arbitrary round number not anchored in any operational detail (and I bet it is a number that someone thought was manageable but wouldn’t depress middle class investment asset prices).

          You’ve got 160,000 unemployed people FFS. Build that shit in 5 or 6 years.

  26. I’m pleased key isn’t going because he would embarrass us all with his fakery and I can’t stand him fawning around trying to be the big man. Key is not my leader and not someone I respect, in fact the sooner he fucks off the better.

    RIP Hugo and thank goodness you won’t have our slippery snake fake crying when your people say goodbye.

  27. Colonial Viper 28

    RT’s “Breaking the Set”.

    Special on Hugo Chavez from 15:00 in. Interesting point that Hugo Chavez opened the doors for indigenous/black heads of state in Latin America. Where before heads of state were almost invariably white.

    Key’s Venezuelan snub

    CEPR report on Venezuela after 10 years of Chavez rule:

    During the current economic expansion, the poverty rate has been cut by more than half, from 54 percent of households in the first half of 2003 to 26 percent at the end of 2008. Extreme poverty has fallen even more, by 72 percent. These poverty rates measure only cash income, and do not take into account increased access to health care or education.

    also

    Over the decade, the government’s total public debt has fallen from 30.7 to 14.3 percent of GDP. The foreign public debt has fallen even more, from 25.6 to 9.8 percent of GDP

    (largely due to Chavez’ nationalisation of oil assets)

    http://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/venezuela-2009-02.pdf

  28. Murray Olsen 29

    Since Yoani Sanchez has been mentioned in relation to Chavez, Cuba, and Brazil, here’s an article about one of the Brazilian politicians who sponsored her trip to Brazil. Sorry that it’s in Portuguese (maybe use a translation tool), but basically he’s telling black militants they should just go back to the zoo.

    http://www.pragmatismopolitico.com.br/2013/03/jair-bolsonaro-agride-militantes-do-movimento-negro-voltem-para-o-zoologico.html

    PS. Everything I have written about Brazil and Chavez in these threads has been approved by and discussed with a Brazilian from Rio Grande do Norte, before posting. These are not just the idle thoughts of some gringo, but a commentary informed by several years working in Rio and São Paulo, in places ranging from the Paulista favela of Paraisópolis to the campus of the Universidade de São Paulo, and by stays of various lengths in places from Florianópolis in the south to Fortaleza in the northeast. If I’m wrong in what I post here, it’s not out of ignorance of the situation.

    • prism 29.1

      Murray Olsen
      Did you spend any time in Curitiba sough of Sao Paolo. I heard a very positive report on the city’s mayor on Radionz from previous Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment in 2002 Morgan Williams.

      • Murray Olsen 29.1.1

        Yep, I spent a little time in Curitiba. It’s one of the most European of Brazilian cities, and the ex Mayor, Jaime Lerner, did a lot for urban development and basic habitation. As governor of the State of Paraná, Lerner and one of his successors, Roberto Requião, did a lot to keep transgenic soy beans out of the state. Even though they were respecting Federal Law by doing this, when they checked all the soy beans being exported through the port of Paranaguá, it caused huge disruption on the roads. Lula’s federal government put huge pressure on them to let the Monsanto rubbish through to the ships.

        On the negative side, I did hear anecdotal stories of the Paraná police turning back migrants from the Northeast of the country at the Curitiba bus stations, but I have never seen this documented. Curitiba has a reputation as the most boring city in Brazil 🙂

        • prism 29.1.1.1

          Murray O
          Boring Curitiba eh, if I was in Syria I would think that was heaven. There is so much pressure on leaders that someone who merely tries to strike a fair course and gets there sometimes is a hero.

          • Murray Olsen 29.1.1.1.1

            I didn’t find it boring, but it didn’t have the lovely chaotic qualities of other Brazilian cities. I have a sneaking suspicion that those who call it boring are a bit jealous.

  29. peterlepaysan 30

    Key is a Wall Street puppet performing as his Wall Street and Washington puppet masters and mistresses want him to.

    Some pull his strings.

    Some use him like a glove puppet.

    No wonder, as NZ tourism minister he spends his holidays in Hawaii.

  30. Roy 31

    I remember reading somewhere that Jim Bolger became personal mates with Bush Senior at the State Funeral of either Andropov or Chernenko. The fact that Bolger and Bush Senior were at the funeral of a leader of the USSR shows that the protocol is that if a head of state dies, you attend the funeral, no matter how much you oppose their ideology. Okay, the USSR was a bigger player on the world stage, but Key was already in South America. Sending someone else would only be excusable if Key was busy in New Zealand (as if he is ever busy anywhere). His failure to attend the funeral was a disgrace. He has shamed our nation.

  31. prism 32

    Trouble is he has strayed too far away from his focus groups who would have made up his mind for him.

  32. Te Reo Putake 33

    In news completely unrelated to Key’s no show at the funeral; this just in: http://en.apa.az/news_venezuela_bans_alcohol_for_period_of_cha_189098.html

  33. xtasy 34

    John Key planned to visit Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Brazil according to this link:

    http://tvnz.co.nz/politics-news/key-visit-south-america-trade-boost-5353218

    He apparently already had to cut short his visit to Chile, heading to meet President Pinera (son of a minister who served under the Pinochet era government!), just to get some photos and say some nice words for the media and protocol. Pinera is heading to the funeral, despite Chile’s rather conservative government not feeling all that warm towards Chavez and his party.

    Indeed almost all of Latin American and Caribbean LEADERS seem to be heading for the funeral:

    http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_22739590/leaders-attending-chavez-funeral-venezuela

    As Brazil is his next destiantion and President Roussef also supposed to travel to Venezuela, is Brazil going to be taken off the list, and will Key head home early then?

    In any case, it looks stupid to have Key make the decision he made. But does anyone really wonder, given his background and actual true agendas and priorities?

    At least he could have sent Nathan Guy off to represent NZ there in Caracas, given he is next highest NZ official there at present (in South America).

    But do not blame Key, at least he honestly shows his coulours and intentions for a change.

    • Murray Olsen 34.1

      Dilma should translate Key into Portuguese and call him Senhor Chave. When Condoleeza Rice said something stupid, they called her Condoleeza Arroz.

  34. geoff 35

    The real shame is that Key is missing out on seeing how a man who championed for the people gets celebrated. It might have had a positive effect on him.

  35. peterlepaysan 36

    Key epitomises Wall Street ethics.

  36. millsy 37

    So anyone know who represented NZ at Chavez’s funeral?

    To be honest, I doubt that the people of Venuzuela would have wanted Key at his funeral. He is completely against what HC stood for.

    Though Labour are no better. There seems to be no acknowledgement of his death on Red Alert or the LP website, given that he was probably more closer to Savage, Fraser, Nash and Kirk than Mallard, Curran and Shearer will ever be.

    Its a pity Helen didnt forge any links with the Bolivarian Republic when she was in power/office. An oil for milk powder deal seems to me to be a win/win, and Chavez would have our historical social security system to use as a template.

    • Murray Olsen 37.1

      Shearer wouldn’t have gone. Helen may have. If she’d proposed a milk for oil deal, I can imagine the righties screaming, but selling it for dollars somehow doesn’t cause a peep.

      Labour should be ashamed of their 1984 past. Why is it that the front bench seem far more ashamed of what they did before then? I can’t wait for the rest of the left to get big enough that they can be ignored. Or for them to change, but I think that’s the less likely option.

  37. Colonial Viper 38

    I can’t wait for the rest of the left to get big enough that they can be ignored.

    Agree with the sentiment, with the distinction that Labour is not a left wing party: it is a centrist political party sympathetic to the ongoing use of free markets and orthodox economic mechanisms and objectives.

    • ordinary_bloke 38.1

      +1

      Key hugely over-rates himself. A small-town boy from a small country living off fables from his Merrill days left the Presidents of Mexico and Chile looking distinctly bored, underwhelmed, and disengaged in his presence.

      They don’t need a NZ’er to tell them about Merrill.

      Key’s lack of empathy and understanding of America Latina was further demonstrated in his gauche response to Chavez’s funeral.

      Apart from reports of sales of LAV’s to Colombia, it is starting to look like a diplomatic disaster.

      Images of Colombian ceremonial guard in Prussian coal-scuttle helmets leads to questions of who exactly it is that we are dealing with over there.

      The trip would otherwise have had the effect of distancing him from the scandal of emails released on the Standard showing that, during the Hobbit “dispute” the Government and others lied to the people of New Zealand to maintain a perception of a crisis.

      This must have been the last thing Key’s PR agencies wanted.

      Has anyone noted the number of beneficiary-bashing advertisements around ?

      There is always Brasil, but don’t hold your breath.

    • Murray Olsen 38.2

      Yeah, that was sloppy of me. However, to the extent that many of the people in Aotearoa in need of left wing solutions still look to Labour, they are still a party of the left. I hope it becomes clearer that this is mainly illusion and wishful thinking, and that parties more deserving of the label become more influential.

  38. Roy 40

    I’m not impressed by a pic in the Dom-Post this morning of Key strolling past a Chilean honour guard and not even wearing a necktie. He is an embarrassment to the office of Prime Minister. They are probably thinking ‘What a slob’.

  39. Sam 41

    [r0b: updated on request of Sam]

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Escape from Manus Island
    Behrouz Boochani is an award winning author and journalist. He is also a refugee, who for the past six years has been detained in Australia's offshore gulag on Manus Island, and in Papua New Guinea. But last night, with the cooperation of the WORD Christchurch festival and Amnesty International, he ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • When World’s Collide.
    Different Strokes: If a multicultural immigration policy imposes no obligation on immigrant communities to acknowledge and ultimately embrace their host nation’s most cherished traditions and values, then how is that nation to prevent itself from being reduced to a collection of inward-looking and self-replicating ethnic and cultural enclaves?THE COALITION GOVERNMENT’S ...
    4 days ago
  • Could There Be Method In Massey University’s Madness?
    Protective Zone: Reading the rules and guidelines released by Massey University, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that its governing body considers the whole concept of free speech a disruptive threat to the orderly imparting of orthodox academic knowledge.IN TRUE ORWELLIAN fashion, Massey University has announced its commitment to ...
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: We need more trees, not less
    Farmers held a hate-march on Parliament today, complete with MAGA hats, gun-nut signs, and gendered insults. While supposedly about a grab-bag of issues - including, weirdly, mental health - it was clear that the protest was about one thing, and one thing only: climate change. And specifically, forestry "destroying" rural ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The IGIS annual report: Dead letters and secret law
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security released their annual report today, and I've been busy reading through it. In amongst the usual review of what they've been doing all year, there's a few interesting bits. For example, a discussion on "agency retention and disposal of information", which points out that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A referendum on bigotry
    The End of Life Choice Bill passed its third reading last night, 69 - 51. Thanks to a compromise with NZ First - which looks to have been necessary on the final numbers - the commencement of the bill will be subject to a referendum. Given the ugliness of the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Political parties and GMOs: we all need to move on
    Recently more than 150 post-graduate students and young scientists presented an open letter to the Green Party via The Spinoff, encouraging them to reconsider their position on genetic modification. Their target is tackling climate change issues.[1] Can any party continue to be dismissive about genetic modification (GM) contributing to ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    5 days ago
  • Class, Identity Politics and Transgender Ideology
    by Deirdre O’Neill Under Thatcher and then Blair and continuing up until our contemporary moment, the working class has seen its culture slowly and progressively destroyed. The change from an industrial society to a service society produced a marked shift in focus from the working class as the backbone of ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Irony
    Since 2013, the Australian government has detained refugees without trial in Pacific gulags, where they are abused, tortured, and driven to suicide. The policy is not just an abuse of human rights and possible crime against humanity; it has also had a corrosive effect on the states Australia uses as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • An age of protest.
    It seems fair to say that we currently live in a problematic political moment in world history. Democracies are in decline and dictatorships are on the rise. Primordial, sectarian and post-modern divisions have re-emerged, are on the rise or have been accentuated by political evolutions of the moment such as ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Another captured agency
    Last month, Greenpeace head Russel Norman surrendered his speaking slot at an EPA conference to student climate activist Sorcha Carr, who told the EPA exactly what she thought of them. It was a bold move, which confronted both regulators and polluters (or, as the EPA calls them, "stakeholders") with the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • NZ First’s dodgy loans
    The core principle supposedly underlying New Zealand's electoral finance regime is transparency: parties can accept large donations from rich people wanting to buy policy, but only if they tell the public they've been bought. Most parties abide by this, so we know that TOP was wholly-owned by Gareth Morgan, and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day: The choice on End of Life Choice
    Today is a Member's Day, probably the second-to-last one of the year, and its a big one, with the Third Reading of David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill. last Member's Day it was reported back from committee, after MPs voted narrowly to make it subject to a (rules TBA) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • How growth in population and consumption drives planetary change
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz The growth of the human population over the last 70 ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • The disappearing Women …
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In her excellent oral submission to the Abortion reform select committee on 31st October on behalf of Otago University’s Department of Public Health, historian and public health researcher Hera Cook stated: “We would ask that the committee not use the term ‘pregnant persons’ and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • “A Passage to India”: enduring art in changing times
    by Don Franks In 1957, E M Forster wrote, of his greatest work: “The India described in ‘A Passage to India’ no longer exists either politically or socially. Change had begun even at the time the book was published ( 1924) and during the following quarter of a century it ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Contemptuous
    The Referendums Framework Bill was due back from select committee today. But there's no report on it. Instead, the bill has been bounced back to the House under Standing order 29593) because the Committee didn't bother to produce one. They probably tried. But given the membership of the committee (which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Zero Carbon: It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law
    Two years into New Zealand’s Labour-led government, the long-delayed Zero Carbon Bill became law on 7 November. Passed essentially unanimously, the lengthy public debates and political manoeuvring faded away until the final passage was even anticlimactic: Flipping through the @nzstuff @DomPost I was starting to wonder if I’d dreamt ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: What happens next?
    Now the Zero Carbon Bill is law, what's next? Obviously, the ETS changes currently before select committee are going to be the next battleground. But we're also going to get a good idea of where we're going, and if the progress the Zero Carbon Act promises is good enough, during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Climate change will fuel bush fires
    Grant Pearce The effects of the current Australian bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland (and also again in California) are devastating and far-reaching. To date, the fires have resulted in several lives being lost and many homes and properties destroyed. Here in New Zealand, the impacts have been only ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Participation rates
    A passing comment in a post the other day about the labour force participation rates of older people prompted me to pull down the fuller data and see what we could see about various participation rates over the decades since the HLFS began in 1986.   As it happens, the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Reddell
    1 week ago
  • Not So Much “OK Boomer” As “OK Ruling Class”.
    Distract And Divert: The rise of what we have come to call “Identity Politics” represents the ideological manifestation of the ruling class’s objective need to destroy class politics, and of the middle-class’s subjective need to justify their participation in the process.THE RELIEF of the ruling class can only be imagined. ...
    1 week ago
  • Asking for it …
    "I saw a newspaper picture,From the political campaignA woman was kissing a child,Who was obviously in pain.She spills with compassion,As that young child'sFace in her hands she gripsCan you imagine all that greed and avariceComing down on that child's lips?" ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand’s Poor Pandemic Preparedness According to the Global Health Security Index
    Dr Matt Boyd, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson The Global Health Security Index which considers pandemic threats has just been published. Unfortunately, NZ scores approximately half marks (54/100), coming in 35th in the world rankings – far behind Australia. This poor result suggests that the NZ Government needs to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Thank Winston
    The Zero Carbon Act is inadequate, with a weak methane target designed to give farmers a free ride. But it turns out it could have been worse: Climate Change Minister James Shaw was so desperate to get National on board, he wanted to gut that target, and leave it in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Illicit markets and Bali Booze
    The Herald reprints an Australian story on a couple of tragic deaths in Bali from drinking cocktails that had methanol in them.  The story argues that methanol is likely the result of home distillation. But what the young tourists were experiencing was far from a hangover. They’d consumed a toxic cocktail ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    1 week ago
  • This is not what armed police are for
    Last month, the police announced a trial of specialist roaming armed units, which would drive round (poor, brown) areas in armoured SUVs, armed to the teeth. When they announced the trial, they told us it was about having armed police "ready to attend major incidents at any time if needed". ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Spain’s failed electoral gamble
    Spain went to the polls today in the second elections this year, after the Socialists (who had come to power in a confidence vote, then gone to the polls in April) rejected the offer of a coalition with the left-wing PoDemos, and instead decided to gamble n a better outcome ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The astroturf party
    National has finally rolled out its "BlueGreen" astroturf party, fronted by an array of former nats and people who were dumped by the Greens for not being Green enough. Its initial pitch is described by Stuff as "very business-friendly", and its priorities are what you'd expect: conservation, predator-free funding, a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How to cheat at university
    A couple of days ago I attended (and spoke at) the University of Waikato’s “LearnFest” event. There were lots of talks and sessions on very diverse aspects of teaching, mostly at tertiary level. One was by Myra Williamson from Te Piringa Faculty of Law here at Waikato, on Contract Cheating ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    1 week ago
  • How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury
    There will be a transit of Mercury – the planet Mercury will pass across the face of the Sun – taking place at sunrise in New Zealand on Tuesday, 12th November. It was by observing such an event 250 years ago that James Cook and his scientist colleagues were able ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Georgina Beyer: We need to be able to talk without being offended
    Since becoming the world’s first openly transexual mayor and member of parliament, Georgina Beyer has been recognised as a trailblazer for trans rights. Daphna Whitmore talks with her about where she sees the current trans movement We start out talking about legislation the government put on hold that would have ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
    If FFNZ really put their faith in “Top Medical Journals” they would now be amending their billboards to recognise new research results. Image from FFNZ but updated to agree with the latest research. ...
    1 week ago
  • Chosen To Rule? What Sort Of Christian Is Chris Luxon?
    National Messiah? Chris Luxon identifies himself as an evangelical Christian. If he is genuine in this self-characterisation, then he will take every opportunity his public office provides to proselytise on behalf of his faith. He will also feel obliged to bear witness against beliefs and practices he believes to be ...
    1 week ago
  • War of the worms
    I'm going to make a Reckless Prediction™ that the Tories have 'topped out' in the 'poll of polls' / Britain Elects multipoll tracker at about 38%, and in the next week we will start to see Labour creep up on them.In fact, we might just be seeing the start of ...
    1 week ago
  • Marvelly shows us how to be a feminist without feminism
    by The Council of Disobedient Women Lizzie Marvelly: “I may have missed this… has @afterellen gone all terf-y? Or am I reading something incorrectly? “ https://twitter.com/LizzieMarvelly/status/1191840059105742849 After Ellen is a lesbian website that is unashamedly pro-lesbian, as you’d expect. So why is Ms Marvelly so bothered about lesbians having their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Out of the past – Tories to revive racist laws from the 16th century
    Did you know there once was a time when it was illegal to be a gypsy (aka Romani) in Britain?That was between 1530, when the Egyptians Act was passed, and 1856, when it was repealed.Amongst other things, the act forbade the entry of 'Egyptians' into England, ordered those already there ...
    1 week ago
  • 1000 of these now
    Some days I sit and think, “what will I write…?” What do you say when you get to 1000 posts? Maybe you just start where you are, diverge to where this all began, then offer a collection of reader’s favourite posts, and a few of your own? (And throw in ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Has Shane Jones Just Saved NZ First?
    Counter-Puncher: The “activists” and “radicals” (his own words) from the Indian community who took such strong exception to Shane Jones’ remarks about Immigration NZ’s treatment of arranged marriages, may end up bitterly regretting their intervention. Jones is not the sort of person who turns the other cheek to his critics.SHANE ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: As predicted
    Yesterday, when National voted for the Zero Carbon Bill, I predicted they'd gut it the moment they regained power, just as they had done to the ETS. And indeed, they have explicitly promised to do exactly that within their first hundred days in office. What would their amendments do? Abandon ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Let this never be forgot
    In the spirit of Remember, remember the fifth of November, let's keep this in mind FOREVER.
    Oh dear. Extraordinary interview on PM with Andrew Bridgen and @EvanHD just now. Bridgen was defending Jacob Rees Mogg’s Grenfell comments. Evan asked him if JRM had meant to say he would have left ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Too Late To Change Capitalism’s Flightpath?
    Collision Course? In conditions of ideological white-out, the international bankers’ “Woop-Woop! Pull Up!” warning may have come too late to save global capitalism.WHAT DOES IT MEAN when international bankers are more willing to embrace radical solutions than our politicians and their electors? At both the International Monetary Fund and the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Whooping cough vaccine works well despite its imperfections
    Pertussis (whooping cough) is a conundrum. It is a disease that was described hundreds of years ago and the bacteria that causes it (Bordetella pertussis) isolated in 1906. We have had vaccines for about 80 years but this disease is defiant in the face of human immunity. I wanted to ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Passed
    The Zero Carbon Bill has just passed its third reading, uanimously. In the end, National supported it - but we all know they'll turn around and gut it the moment they regain power. Meanwhile, I guess ACT's David Seymour didn't even bother to show up. I am on record as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Retailing of vaping products – New NZ Research
    Dr Lindsay Robertson, Dr Jerram Bateman, Professor Janet Hoek Members of the public health community hold divergent views on how access to vaping products or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) products should be arranged. Some believe ENDS should be as widely available as smoked tobacco and argue for liberal ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Justice for Bomber
    When the Police were trying to cover up for the National Party over Dirty Politics, they went all-in with their abuses of power. They illegally search Nicky Hager's house, violating his journalistic privilege and invading his privacy. They unlawfully acquired Hager's bank records. They did the same to left-wing blogger ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Britain’s climate tyranny was unlawful
    Last month, in response to a wave of protests by Extinction Rebellion, the British government purported to ban their protests from the whole of London. It was a significant interference with the freedoms of expression and assembly, and another sign of the country's decline into tyranny. But now, a court ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • More crime from the spies
    Last year, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security reported on significant problems with the intelligence warrant system. While they were unwilling to declare any warrant "irregular" (meaning unlawful) due to the recent law change, they were also not willing to give the system a clean bill of health. Now, they've ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Vaccination, compulsion, and paternalism for the lower orders
    The National Party has come out in support of encouraging greater vaccination uptake. But it sure isn’t the way I’d do it. National’s suggested docking the benefits of those on benefit whose kids aren’t keeping up with their vaccinations. Some in National have suggested extending that to payments under Working ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    2 weeks ago
  • Global Protests Rage On: But Slogans Are Not Plans.
    Feeding The Flames: It is simply not enough to demand an end to “corruption”, or “inequality”, or the overbearing influence of the authorities in Beijing. These are just “lowest common denominator” demands: the sort of slogans that pull people onto the streets. They are not a plan.WHERE’S THE PLAN? Across ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 11,000 employed under Labour
    The labour market statistics have been released, and unemployment has risen to 4.2%. There are 115,000 unemployed - 11,000 fewer than when Labour took office. In that time the minimum wage has gone up by $2 an hour, which shows that the right's fears about increases causing unemployment are simply ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Boycott this democratic fraud
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has called for submissions on Andrew Little's tyrannical Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill. Normally I encourage participation in the democratic process. I am not doing so in this case. Instead, I encourage all of you to boycott this submissions process, and to post ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Why Mars is cold despite an atmosphere of mostly carbon dioxide
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz If tiny concentrations of carbon dioxide can hold enough heat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Ban private jets
    Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and within it, one of the fastest sources is elite travel: billionaires flitting around the world in their private jets, spewing excessive pollution into the atmosphere just so they can avoid mixing with us dirty peasants. But in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Untold Suffering
    That's what we face if we don't stop climate change, according to a warning from 11,000 scientists:The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society, according to a stark warning from more than 11,000 scientists. “We declare clearly and unequivocally ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The left and violent misogyny
    by Phil Duncan Here’s just a few of the kind of threats issued day in and day out against gender-critical women – feminists, marxists, etc – overwhelmingly by MEN (albeit men identifying as women). “Kill all Terfs”. “Shoot a Terf today”. “All terfs deserve to be shot in the head”. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and the iPhone
    This is the third of the synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016). The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Unlike the humble cup of coffee and t-shirt that we looked at in ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

  • New Zealand’s key assets are not for sale: national interest test delivered
    Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries Today the Government announced the delivery of the promise to protect New Zealand interests by applying a new National Interest Test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. This further strengthening of the Overseas Investment Act will ...
    32 mins ago
  • National interest test added to protect New Zealanders’ interests
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high-risk assets to overseas buyers. Under current Overseas Investment Act (OIA) rules, assets such as ports and airports, telecommunications infrastructure, electricity and ...
    1 hour ago
  • Electoral law breach allegations
    Rt Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First Allegations raised this morning by Stuff Limited / Fairfax concern a party matter but I am confident that New Zealand First has operated within electoral laws, now and for the last 27 years. Declarable donations were declared to the Electoral Commission. Our ...
    2 hours ago
  • Wayne Brown hits back at critics: Ports of Auckland has to move
    The chairman of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy (UNISCS) working group, Wayne Brown, has hit back at critics of his group’s recommendations to relocate the Ports of Auckland cargo operations to Whangarei’s deepwater port of Northport. The working group's recommendation to close Auckland waterfront to all but cruise ...
    1 day ago
  • Week That Was: Supporting our schools
    We're setting our young people up for success, investing in education around the country.  ...
    1 day ago
  • Kiwis to have their say on End of Life Choice
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First backs the public to decide on the End of Life Choice Bill via a referendum at the 2020 General Election. The Bill, with New Zealand First’s referendum provision incorporated, passed its final reading in Parliament this evening. New Zealand First Spokesperson for ...
    5 days ago
  • Addressing miscarriages of justice
    Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Justice New Zealand First is proud that a key Coalition Agreement commitment which will provide for a more transparent and effective criminal justice system has been realised. Legislation to establish the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body focused on identifying and responding to possible miscarriages of ...
    6 days ago
  • Week That Was: Historic action on climate change
    "Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy... I hope that means that future generations will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history." - Jacinda Ardern, Third Reading of the Zero Carbon Bill ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tax-free deployments for Kiwi troops
    Darroch Ball, New Zealand First List MP A Member’s bill has been proposed that would provide income tax exemptions for all New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel while on operational deployment overseas. The Income Tax (Exemption for Salary or Wages of NZDF Members on Active Deployment) Amendment Bill proposed by New Zealand First ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A balanced Zero Carbon Bill passed
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader New Zealand First is proud to have brought common sense to the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, which passed its final reading in Parliament today. Party Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters says months of hard work went into negotiating a balanced ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Paramedics’ status to be recognised
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First has listened to calls to recognise paramedics as registered health professionals under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (the Act). Today, the Coalition Government announced plans for paramedics to be registered as health practitioners under the Act, and the establishment of a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: 2,000 teachers in two years
    We began the week by commemorating the New Zealand Wars and celebrating a major increase in the number of teachers. Then, we were busy supporting offenders into work and getting our rail back on track after years of underinvestment. And that's just the start! ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Winning an election one conversation at a time
    In October I was sworn in as the Mayor of Lower Hutt. It’s the privilege of my life to serve Hutt people as their Mayor. There is something really special to be able to serve the community where I was raised, and where I live.   ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Closer cooperation with Korean horse racing industry
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Racing Racing Minister Winston Peters met with Korea Racing Authority Chairperson Nak Soon Kim in Seoul today to discuss closer cooperation between the New Zealand and Korean horse racing industries. As part of the visit to the Seoul Racecourse, Mr Peters witnessed ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Boosting border security with electronic travel authority – now over 500,000 issued
    We’ve improved border security with the NZeTA, New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority, which helps us to screen travellers for border and immigration risks off-shore before they travel to New Zealand. It was launched in August and became mandatory on 1 October 2019. More than 500,000 NZeTAs have been issued since ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    38 mins ago
  • Plan of action to protect seabirds
    A proposed national plan of action to reduce the number of seabirds caught in fisheries is being circulated for public feedback. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage say New Zealand is a global centre of seabird diversity with about 145 species in our waters. It has more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    52 mins ago
  • National interest test added to overseas investment rules
    The Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. Associate Finance Minister David Parker said under current Overseas Investment Act rules, assets such as ports and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • New housing part of support for Kaumātua
    The Government is building special housing to accommodate one of Aotearoa’s greatest taonga- our kaumātua, says the Minister for Māori Development, Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Speaking at a National Kaumātua Service Providers Conference in Rotorua today, the Minister reinforced the importance kaumātua play in maintaining and passing on mātauranga Māori, knowledge, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Forestry helps prisoners into jobs
    Eleven men from a pilot forestry training programme for prisoners in Northland now have full time jobs or job offers upon release, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis and Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced today. The ‘release to work’ programme was a collaboration between Te Uru Rākau and the Department of Corrections, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Reform of public service a step closer
    Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins today introduced into Parliament a Bill that will make it easier for the public service to tackle the biggest challenges facing Governments. The Bill represents the most significant change in the public service in 30 years. The State Sector Act 1988 will be repealed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Donations scheme to relieve pressure on families
    The families of more than 416,000 students will be better off next year as their schools have signed up to the Government’s donations scheme, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. The scheme will see almost $62.5 million in additional Government funding go to schools nationwide next year. “I’m really pleased ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Further support for Samoan measles outbreak
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced further support as the Government of Samoa responds to a serious measles outbreak. “New Zealand will deploy a further 18 vaccination nurses, bringing the total to 30 working in Samoa over the next four weeks,” Mr Peters said. “A New Zealand Medical Assistance ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Speech to the Child Poverty Action Group 2019 Summit
      Fa’atalofa atu, malo e lelei, Kia ora koutou katoa Thank you to the Child Poverty Action Group for asking me to be here today to provide an update on some of the things that have been happening across my the social development portfolio.  Can I firstly acknowledge the vast ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Annual Conference
    ***Please check against delivery*** Good morning everyone. It is a pleasure to be with you this morning to open this year’s New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Conference and AGM. Firstly, thank you Dr Alan Jackson, NZTR Chair for your introduction. And let us acknowledge also: The NZTR Board; Dean McKenzie, Chair ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Fairer rules for tenants and landlords
    The Government has delivered on its promise to the over one million New Zealanders who now rent to make it fairer and more secure, Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Kris Faafoi has announced today. Both renters and landlords will benefit from the suite of practical changes to the Residential ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Two decades of marine protection celebrated at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako in Tairawhiti
    A marine conservation milestone - the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve - is being celebrated today at a community event in Tairāwhiti/East Coast attended by the Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “The creation of this marine reserve in November 1999 was a game ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Food industry asked to step up fight against obesity
         The Government is asking the food industry to step up work to tackle obesity including reducing sugar, fat and salt in their products, better information for consumers, and tighter restrictions on advertising to children. Health Minister David Clark and Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor have responded to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Modern emergency care for Queenstown area
    ew, modern emergency department and outpatient facilities at Queenstown’s Lakes District Hospital mean better emergency care for the growing tourist mecca’s visitors and locals, says Health Minister David Clark. Today Dr Clark officially opened the hospital’s redeveloped Emergency Department and Outpatient facilities. The new facilities include: •    An extended Emergency Department ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Contraception important for New Zealanders
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