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Let them go to war

Written By: - Date published: 12:06 am, October 19th, 2014 - 35 comments
Categories: David Farrar, iraq, john key, Media, Syria, war - Tags: , , ,

Back when I was a teenager, a mate of mine decided that he was going to give up on school and would get in some combat. He was a bit of bigot and not exactly the brightest of people. So he went to Rhodesia and eventually worked his way into the Rhodesian Light Infantry. A few years later I heard that he’d been killed in action.

There seems to be a thing about young males and wanting action and excitement that has been around for quite a while.The obvious analogies in NZ history are the mass volunteers for the NZ civil wars of the 1860s and 1870s, the Boer war, and two world wars.

These were the people from my grandparents and great grandparents generations. Many of them volunteered out of an urge for action and duty, went to war, came back and then never ever talked about it except at the RSA – or after I’d done some basic training. They were the most solid citizens I ever ran across and had a rather strong aversion to any form of excitement.

My mate wasn’t the only one with an urge for action in my generation. A number of other kids I knew went off and joined up with various silly causes or joined our armed forces. At the time I heard about his death, I had been in the NZ territorials for several years. Fortunately I never wound up having to use the training I received.

John Key with his dumb and irrelevant attempts to prevent young hoons going off to get themselves some combat training and experience probably doesn’t get it. His version of the young mens risk appears to have just been to play around with other peoples money.

Probably the best explanation of this effect comes irreverently from the War Nerd*. Back in March he wrote about one of the foreign Jihardists being blocked from leaving the US. This young and stupid pillock below… Reading about him so reminded me of my mate from 40 years ago.

Nicholas Teausant

 

Last week the feds pulled a guy named Nicholas Teausant, who looks sort of like Napoleon Dynamite would if he was getting chemotherapy, off a bus going to Canada and charged him with planning to join the jihadist group I.S.I.S. in Syria. Nicholas (pictured above) had pretty much made their case for them by writing online comments like…

“I despise america and want its down fall but yeah haha. Lol I been part of the army for two years now and I would love to Allah’s army but I don’t even know how to start” and adding modestly that he planned to become a “commander…in front of every single newspaper in the country.”

Lol pretty much sums it up.

Stories like this show up every few weeks, allowing thousands of Homeland Security people to justify their paychecks, and helping the terminally timid to remain frightened, which is their preferred state. But nobody bothers to ask the obvious questions about this alleged “homegrown jihadi” threat – questions like, “How many of these guys are there, actually?” and “What’s their real combat value?”

The answers to those two questions are simple: “Remarkably few, actually” and “Nil, as long as they’re fighting in a conventional war like Syria.”

The last few paragraphs essentially give the real state of the security world when it comes to these kinds of security ‘threats’. We have a security apparatus even in NZ who really have no particular use in normal times. However unlike our armed forces who spend a lot of time training for events like the Christchurch earthquake or public order like Timor (and the odd war), they seem to be averse to being regarded as an trained insurance policy. Instead they invent strange threats like the ridiculous and farcical Operation 8.

They trade on the fears of the timid (as measured by National’s pollster David Farrar), the fantasies of armchair generals (Cameron Slater being a prime example), and the need for our rather inadequate media searching for their next headline. So we wind up with the type of stupid law about passports that John Key is planning to put before parliament as he mindlessly follows the example of Tony Abbott over in Aussie who appears to mindlessly follow the strange protocols of US Homeland security.

Is it going to make people any safer here? Ah no. If restrained in NZ, these testosterone driven pillocks will just buy a fast car and will proceed to inflict car accidents on other motorists instead.

As the War Nerd points out talking about the profile of jihardists coming from other countries.

But once you get past the testosterone tilt of jihadi stats, you find that country by country, region by region, there are huge variations.

In Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, jihadis are mostly from successful families.

In Australia, though, studies have shown that those who join jihadist groups are generally poorer and less-educated than the norm.

And in the US, where jihad is not just eccentric but reviled, recruits are very scarce, with the few who do appear falling into two groups: A few are serious young men with a family connection to jihad, and the remainder, those who have no family or ethnic link to jihad, are, to put it bluntly, scraped off the bottom of the barrel.

And that is it in a nutshell. How in the hell do you tell the difference between a kid of immigrants going off to see his family wherever or on the Hajj, against someone going off to joining an old family tradition. I’m pretty damn sure that the morons in the police’s operation 8 team who thought that “catapulting a bus on to George Bush’s head” was a viable threat to NZ security wouldn’t have a shit show of figuring that out.

The drips like Nicholas above? Let them go. If they survive then it will probably be the making of them.

If there’s anything unusual about Nicholas the Wannabe Warrior, it’s that he’s a poor specimen. He needed to look all the way to Syria to find some way to make a “snowflake” of himself. Most find a sanity-saving fiction nearer home—but then most didn’t have to live in a trailer in Acampo. That’s where Nicholas was living when he came up with the idea of making his name with I.S.I.S in Syria, and if you know anything about the boondocks of California, “Acampo” tells you a lot. Remember the Creedence song, “Stuck in Lodi Again”? Well, Acampo is on the outskirts of Lodi. People in Acampo would give anything to be stuck in Lodi; it’s like downtown Tokyo compared to Acampo. It’s not easy to be Nicholas Teausant of Acampo. Fight Club again: “We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives.”

Like the War Nerd, I’m not surprised that we get a few kids going off for a life-defining experience. I’m just surprised that there are so damn few of them leaking out of the desperate places of the first world.

Once again—and I know I keep repeating this, but it’s something standard media rules make it almost impossible to acknowledge—once again, it’s not why Nicholas took to jihad (or tried to, the poor fool); what’s amazing, what’s odd, is that there are so few Nicholases signing up. What gravitational field keeps them in Acampo? There are ten thousand towns like Acampo in America, and hundreds of thousands across the Muslim world that make Acampo look like Palm Springs—but they’re not delivering a flood of jihadis.

It’s true there are some real jihadis going to Syria, fighting and dying there, but the numbers are very small—probably between 5,000 and 10,000 on the Sunni side, and fewer than that fighting with Hezbollah for the Alawites.

The scare headlines you see about the increase in their numbers comes from one of the oldest tricks in the statistician’s book: If the raw numbers are tiny, any increase is going to sound huge if expressed as a percentage. If I have one lousy jihadi fighting for me, and he talks his unmarriageable cousin into joining him, I can claim a 100% increase in jihadi support. Of course there’s another way of inflating your numbers, beloved of military propagandists everywhere: Just plain lie, claim to have a lot more men than you really do. That’s another standby in Syria, where every faction has its video team and PR flack, lovingly filming every dead enemy and tweeting ridiculous claims about your casualties (what casualties?) and theirs (thousands, nay, millions).

The other question war reporters should be asking about jihadis is, “So what?” Or, to amplify, “What is the real military value of a few hundred foreign amateurs in a conventional war like Syria?”

My answer would be, “Their net value is a negative integer, a large one.” Foreign troops aren’t easy to like, especially when they think they know how you should live. And foreigners who’ve only taken up arms for ideological reasons, with no particular skill in using them, are not much a help. Anyone with two arms can fire an AK, but that doesn’t make him a useful soldier—and most of the jihadis who end up in Syria are not ex-military but ordinary urban young men (again, their ordinariness is their key trait), with no special skills to contribute. So their inevitable alienation of Syrian civilians most likely outweighs their very marginal military value.

And..

What is the military value of four amateurs in ski masks? The Sunni in Syria don’t need more men with AKs, they need a unified command and a little goddamn discipline, and these goofy foreigners are about the last people to provide any of that. What they’ll do is whine about the food and the toilet facilities like first-worlders always do, then get impatient, shoot some civilian for not praying loudly enough—and in general, make Assad’s job a whole lot easier. Their military value is negative you-name-it.

As for the fabled white-convert jihadis, those unicorns of jihad, their value is even less than that of these second- or third-generation Pakistani-British volunteers. So why do we keep hearing about them? Because they’re white, for starters. And because they’re so unlikely. The media love anything unlikely and white and potentially scary, no matter how lame the scare is.

If you’re Nicholas Teausant, sitting in your trailer in Acampo, that sort of attention is the biggest incentive of all to Google “jihad” and pretend to be the next Osama. Losers have a long tradition of joining up with whatever scares the rubes most. For Lee Harvey Oswald, it was the commies, or the Russians, or both; he didn’t really know, any more than Nicholas Teausant knows anything about Islam.

Sure our security people may want to keep an eye on them. But stop them – you’re kidding me! We can all only benefit from them going off to war

The probability is that they will learn something about themselves that they didn’t know – how good their potential life is if they work at it. If they come back (and most do), then people coming from combat zones are in my experience very unlikely to want much more excitement.

The ones that actually worry me aren’t the ones going off to combat zones. It is the ones who go off to be taught mind-bending philosophies or how to lower cars who are dangerous. Often both. But in both cases they are usually pretty useless at most things practical as our WOF inspections regularly prove. As has been proven time and time again, most bomb makers and terrorists are terrible technically.  You have a much higher probability of getting killed by a fool with poorly mounted brakes than someone with a Sarin gas attack or a fertilizer bomb.

The ones that could worry me because they are competent are the people who did significant amounts of science and engineering education. I did the former and usually work with the latter. We really know of a lot of ways to be very dangerous. However we tend not to be particularly susceptible to the siren calls of ideology or bigotry or their variants of religion, and far more interested in what we are doing than why the world is unfair to others. I know – I am a very strange exception.

What really worries me is that the paranoid and bigoted idiots who seem to wind up in our security services. They appear to be incapable of distinguishing between activities designed to enhance our democracy and society and those that are not. Because of the way that they interfere with the processes that blow off steam for our society and allow it to change.

Our best and brightest competent tech-heads don’t get particularly interested in politics until they or their friends and family start getting treated as social enemies by the chattering classes and their security pinheads. You see this in every country that has had real security problems, it isn’t until you get the techs interested that things start getting seriously dangerous. A few lo-techs going off to war aren’t going affect that.

Long after John Key has finished lying about the purpose of this legislation (just as John Key did over the metadata aspects GCSB bill last year – does anyone actually believe his denials? ) and had his photo-op with whoever it was designed to impress, we will find the security idiots interfering with legitimate activities like disagreeing with trade policy or wanting something done about climate change. Their use of poorly written and fundamentally dangerous laws to drag people through the courts as examples is the type of dumbarse thing that eventually causes effective “terrorism”.

 


 


 

* If you haven’t read The War Nerd, then I suggest you rectify your ignorance – at pando and exiledonline. I particularly recommend the topical “Here’s everything you need to know about “too extreme for Al Qaeda” I.S.I.S.” on the foolish over hyping of ISIS.

35 comments on “Let them go to war”

  1. Clemgeopin 1

    A good and thought provoking article.

    On a related matter, as far as our country itself is concerned, in my opinion, we should never go into other peoples’ wars unless that is voted in by the UN.

    Here is a question: Why didn’t USA and its friends, including New Zealand, go to war against China to help Dalai Lama’s Tibet when China annexed it?

    • George Hendry 1.1

      A good question.

      Long ago when the Readers’ Digest (by DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace) always included an anticommunist article in every issue, there was one (from memory 1962 but unsure) titled The Rape of Tibet. But I guess it was only sabre rattling.

      As our ‘news’ has relentlessly portrayed Syria’s Assad in a negative light ; as I read somewhere earlier this year that the ‘Syrian freedom fighters’ were a US plot to overthrow Syria ; and as I’m rather more familiar with the US track record as a rogue state than much at all about Syria I’ve taken the liberty of assuming prima facie that Syria is engaged in legitimate self-defence.

      Any comments and citations would be welcome.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 1.2

      What about Rwanda or Darfur. But then west only likes to involve itself in civil wars if their is large amounts of oil involved

    • Chooky 1.3

      +100 Clemgeopin

      ..” we should never go into other peoples’ wars unless that is voted in by the UN”.

      ….”Why didn’t USA and its friends, including New Zealand, go to war against China to help Dalai Lama’s Tibet when China annexed it?”

      • SPC 1.3.1

        1. The Russian veto would have stopped any UN effort (the UN only went into Korea because Russia was absent from the UNSC at the time of that vote).

        2. In Korea they found it hard to defeat the Chinese.

        3. To fight China over Tibet they would have had to have gone through Korea – broken the cease-fire.

        4 See 1.

  2. Murray Rawshark 2

    Of course, there are a higher number who wander off to Israel and join the Infant Destruction Force, or who join the Aussie armed forces, or even the Americans, or private mercenaries such as the ones Shearer thinks should be paid by the UN. Neither Key nor the squirrels seem worried about any of them.

    • Morrissey 2.2

      Those who go to “fight” for the IDF against unarmed women and children in the Occupied Territories are pretty much identical to those who went to Rhodesia in the 1960s and 70s to defend Ian Smith’s regime.

    • Chooky 2.3

      +100 Murray Rawshark ….”a higher number who wander off to Israel”…are these to be banned also?

      …how and who defines a terrorist organisation?

  3. Ad 3

    There are plenty of stupid groups who won. In fact most of them were so extreme an ill- informed that stupidity is part of their definition. problem is the successful ones turn into tyrants.

    But proposing to let young men go to the ultimate boot camp as NZ’s own joyous eugenics programme goes too far. Iraq isn’t the Spanish Civil War. And Syria aint World of Warcraft. There’s no stable moral ground to evaluate anywhere there. Another moron without another gun stopped from generating another terrified village is worth stopping at our border.

    Occasionally, Customs and the SIS have a use. This is one of them.

    • lprent 3.1

      Well there is that humanitarian aspect. Somehow, I don’t think that is the argument in use.

      Of course it does mean that we have them here revving up badly tuned cars with inadequete mufflers on Friday night. And often those villages will produce a previously unsuspected cache of old AK47s to induce politeness.

      • Ad 3.1.1

        If I ruled New Zealand those young bucks’d all have Compulsory Rural Service.
        Up at 4.30 for milking
        Or 8 hours of fencing
        Or 8 hours of vine pruning
        Or 8 hours of dry stock herding

  4. les 4

    The U.S is in a constant state of war.The budget,the global bases and the military/industrial complex demand it.I guess controlling resources is a historical reality of empire.Trying to stop the few who want to travel to fight is a PR exercise in reality.Look at the usual double standard of paid merceneries deployed around the world.Same thing…just depends on whos ‘side’ you’re on.

  5. b waghorn 5

    It would be interesting to leap forward 10 years and see were foolish Nicholas ends up like a lot of foolish young boy s he may turn out to be a good contributing man . A lot of young men need protecting from them selves.

    • wekarawshark 5.1

      aka a lot of young men need a society that gives a shit about them becoming men instead of leaving them to fend for themselves in a US ghetto.

      • b waghorn 5.1.1

        Bang on it seem’s middle class white boys are meant to be successful with no help at all

  6. Lindsey 6

    We have always had a bunch of young fellows whose cranial capacity is vastly exceeded by their testicular capacity. We bred them like that for centuaries where we needed them as cannon fodder.

    I don’t have any problem with these testosterone laden lunkheads going off to fight somewhere else. Particularly as they have a 50/50 chance of collecting on those 200 virgins promised to those who die in this capacity.

    Howevr, I am a bit unsure about allowing the survivors to return.

  7. You see this in every country that has had real security problems, it isn’t until you get the techs interested that things start getting seriously dangerous.

    Cuba would seem an exception. Fidel was a lawyer, and Guevara was a doctor.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 7.1

      Most of the ‘revolutions’ since the 1950s were led by what could be called ‘technical professionals’, as those were the main tertiary courses available. Fidel being a law student would be an exception, but his father was a wealthy farmer.

    • lprent 7.2

      You misunderstand. The techs often aren’t the leaders of uprisings. The leaders are usually ineffectual without the techs. The Cuban revolution succeeded because they could keep trucks running, ammo arriving, mortars and artillery maintained, communications between groups maintained, and a multitude of other things happening that required technical skills.

      A state that hasn’t failed has those skills because they can pay for them. Insurrections require that techheads contribute them. They are notoriously slow to do so on the basis of some chattering fools philosophies. They do it when they see friends and family being harassed because they are proceeding down the path of peaceful change.

  8. war is an effective way for the plutocracy to weed out surplus labour, for the military-industrial complex to line their pockets, and for right wing governments to scare the people into giving up their freedoms.

    war is a fucking disaster for economies, human rights, and the environment.

  9. grumpyrawshark 9

    I’ll say it again, most folk have no idea that most wars are manufactured in the media.

  10. KJT 10

    Is it Eastasia or Westasia this week?

    I have forgotten………….

    • Oceania has always been at war with, i dunno, Antarctica?

      It’s really a #WarOnTerra

    • Murray Rawshark 10.2

      It has always been Eastasia. Westasia is our eternal ally. Thank you for volunteering for readjustment therapy at the Ministry of Love, run by Blubber Boy and Commandant Odgers, as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside.

  11. Huginn 11

    ‘We can all only benefit from them going off to war

    The probability is that they will learn something about themselves that they didn’t know – how good their potential life is if they work at it.’

    lprent – what are you thinking?????!!!!!!!!!!

    Daesh are slavers. They are openly selling captured women to foreign jihadis as ‘concubines’.

    Going to war in a far off, exotic land where the usual rules don’t count; where you get to wear black fantasy pirate pants; you blow things up; drive a tank; collect and use an assortment of firearms + sword; get to be a self-righteous arsehole to cowed locals who get their heads chopped off if they disrespect you; and of course – buy your very own devil-worshipping sex slave, (maybe even more than one because they’ll be really cheap . . .).

    I’m pretty sure that would exercise the imaginations of quite a few young men – & apparently even the odd 14 year old girl – but it isn’t going to war in anything like the sense of going to Rhodesia in the 1970’s or Spain in the ’30’s.

    It’s more like going to Cambodia to hang out with Pol Pot & commit crimes against humanity.

    Here is the October edition of the Daesh English language magazine Dabiq in which they give a gleeful account and justification of their enslavement of captive women:
    WARNING – the images are violent and offensive.
    http://t.co/3NFjMC8fRY

  12. Scott1 12

    I suspect that even going to Cambodia to hang out with pol pot and commit crimes against humanity would in practice not be nearly as much ‘fun’ as it sounds despite his very convincing advertising…

    Daesh are lots of bad things – but the suggestion made here is that it makes no practical difference whether we restrict our unbalanced youth from going there or not. In fact, it may well weaken them, thus indirectly serving the ends.

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    The other big story concerning Leeds Hospital is Boris Johnson's bizzare behaviour at Leeds Hospital, where he was confronted by a journalist and challenged about a four year old boy with suspected pneumonia who was left sleeping on the floor, rather than getting  abed like a sick kid would in ...
    4 days ago
  • LabourActivistPunchedMattHancock’sSPADGate
    So, for a brief period of history, it was alleged that a protester had punched Matt Hancock's SPAD (not a euphemism; special adviser) when Hancock visited Leeds Hospital.This was reported by the likes of Robert Peston and Laura Keunssberg, as well as the less credible Guido Fawkes.  It also quickly ...
    4 days ago
  • France’s anti-Zionism is anti-liberté
    by Daphna Whitmore Last week France passed a law that equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. It is based on a definition of anti-Semitism that includes criticism of Israel such as: “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Another bus lockout
    Over the past year we've seen major bus problems in Hamilton and Wellington, as drivers have sought better wages and an end to the bullshit of split shifts, which basicly see them "married to the job". And now its Auckland's turn. When NZBus's drivers planned low-level strike action of not ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Showing us how its done
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. But those targets are insufficient. Meanwhile, Denmark is showing us how its done:Denmark’s parliament adopted a new climate law on Friday, committing to reach 70% below its 1990 emissions in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Public sector dysfunction should not be allowed to undermine freedom of information
    Another day, another piece of legislation with a secrecy clause. This time its the innocuous-seeming Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill, which (after establishing a new body and making it subject to the OIA in three different ways) includes the rapidly-becoming-standard clauses enabling it to request information from other public ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • “This is England, this knife of Sheffield steel…”
    The state of the United Kingdom is fractured, torn up, shredded. The Empire is gone, it died a long time ago. And yet, the country is still tracking with a lead in favour of the ones who play to the ingrained, class-bound division for political gain. It is a disgrace ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    6 days ago
  • CORSIA, coming soon to an airport near you
    On 27 September, Greta Thunberg addressed a crowd of 500,000 at the School Strike for Climate in Montreal, saying: “You are a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And Sweden is also a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And in both cases, it means absolutely nothing. Because ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    6 days ago
  • Cloaking hate speech and fake news in the right to free expression.
    It should be obvious by now but let’s be clear: The same folk who regularly traffic in disinformation, misinformation and “fake news” are also those who most strongly claim that their freedom of expression rights are being violated when moves are made to curb hate speech (as opposed to protected ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    7 days ago
  • The Physics (and Economics, and Politics) of Wheelchairs on Planes
    Michael Schulson When Shane Burcaw flies on an airplane, he brings along a customized gel cushion, a car seat, and about 10 pieces of memory foam. The whole arsenal costs around $1,000, but for Burcaw it’s a necessity. The 27-year-old author and speaker — who, alongside his fiancée, Hannah ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • To Advance Civil Rights, Oppose Transgender Extremism
    We are very pleased to publish this submission is from Lucinda Stoan. She is a social justice activist, mother, and educator, based in Washington State in the  US.   This detailed and comprehensive source-linked overview of trans issues and what is at stake will be useful for many people, especially in ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Faafoi should be fired
    Newshub last night reported that Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi had apparently promised to help out a mate with an immigration issue. While its normal for people to approach MPs for assistance in this area, when you're a Minister, the rules are different: as the Cabinet Manual says, Ministers must "at ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Adrian Orr – The Reserve Bank’s Revolutionary Governor?
    New Zealand's Underarm Banker: It bears recalling that the “independence” of the Reserve Bank Governor was for decades held up by neoliberal capitalists as the most compelling justification for passing the Reserve Bank Act. Interesting, is it not, how the ruling class’s support for the Bank’s independence lasted no longer than ...
    1 week ago
  • Driving Us Up The Poll.
    Rubbish In, Rubbish Out: Put all this together, and it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that anyone who responds positively to a pollster’s request to “answer a few questions” is just ever-so-slightly weird. Desperately lonely? Some sort of psephological train-spotter? Political party member primed to skew the poll for or against ...
    1 week ago
  • Jordan Williams, Colin Craig podcast series announced
    “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last.” ― Martin Luther King Jr. A long and bitter court feud between former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig and Jordan Williams has been settled, with an apology and compensation from Williams. On Tuesday, Craig sent out ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    1 week ago
  • How plant-based meat is stretching New Zealand’s cultural and legal boundaries
    Samuel Becher, Victoria University of Wellington and Jessica C Lai, Victoria University of Wellington Earlier this year, the New Zealand-based pizza chain Hell Pizza offered a limited-edition “Burger Pizza”. Its customers weren’t told that the “meat” was plant-based. Some customers complained to the Commerce Commission, which enforces consumer law in ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Scientific integrity requires critical investigation – not blind acceptance
    Some people seem to want to close down any critical discussion of the current research into the relationship between water fluoride and child IQ. They appear to argue that claims made by researchers should not be open to critical review and that the claims be accepted without proper consideration ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The shameful reality
    The government has been congratulating itself over the passage of the Zero Carbon Act, which sets out long-term emissions targets. Meanwhile, Climate Action Tracker has the shameful reality: those targets are insufficient:While New Zealand is showing leadership by having passed the world’s second-ever Zero Carbon Act in November 2019, under ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • More secrecy
    The government introduced a Racing Industry Bill today. As an urban who horse racing as pointless-to-cruel, and gambling as a tax on stupidity and/or hope, this isn't normally a bill which would interest me in the slightest, beyond grumpiness at more government money for a dying industry. But there is ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Unlikely online bully, Liam Hehir
    Check. Check. One, two, three, four. Is this thing ON? Hello readers, I logged in last night (yeah, it’s been a while) to mark THE END of the landmark legal case, Jordan Williams v Colin Craig, which (gulp) reached The Supreme Court, in which New Zealand’s most-defamed man was suing the politician he ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    1 week ago
  • The Birth Of Israel: Wrong At The Right Time.
    Before The Birth: Israel’s most fervent supporters set their clocks ticking in Biblical times. They cite the kingdoms of David and Solomon as proof that, in the words of the Exodus movie’s theme-song: “This land is mine.” The majority of Israel’s backers, however, start their clocks in 1933 – the year Adolf ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Public Address Word of the Year 2019: Korero phase
    In an unreliable, strange and confusing world, Public Address is proud to present a measure of comfort and stability by annually asking everyone what words or phrases sum up the year that's been – and then giving some of them consumer goods as prizes for being clever or simply lucky.Well, ...
    1 week ago
  • Generalist to specialist
    Both my parents are pretty handy – and they seem to have the right tools for most jobs in the garage and they know how to fix practically anything. A similar story could be told about their generation’s experience in the workforce – being a generalist was not unusual and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • A “coincidence”
    When it was revealed that NZ First had tried to enrich itself from public office via the Provoncial Growth Fund, the Prime Minister assured us that everything was OK as Shane Jones, the Minister responsible for the fund, had recused himself. Except it seems that that recusal came very late ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, and probably the last one of the year. After the marathon of the End of Life Choice Act, most of the bills up for debate today are uncontentious. First up is the second reading of Chlöe Swarbrick's Election Access Fund Bill. This will be followed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Worse than I thought
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has reported back on the government's odious and tyrannical control orders bill. As expected, the fraudulent select committee process has made no significant changes (partly because they couldn't agree, but mostly because it was a stitch-up from the start, with no intention of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The cannabis bill and the referendum
    Yesterday, the government released its draft Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which will be put to a non-binding referendum at the next election. I'm not a drug policy expert, but Russell Brown is, and he thinks its pretty good. And pretty obviously, it will be a massive improvement on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far
    As you're probably aware, the draft bill outlining the proposed legal cannabis regime to be put to a referendum late next year was published yesterday, and has already attracted a flurry of comment. It's notable that a good deal of the comment is about proposals that aren't actually new.A minimum ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Alignment
    One of the big problems in New Zealand climate change policy is the government working at cross-purposes with itself. It wants to reduce fossil fuel use, but encourages oil and gas exploration. It wants to reduce transport emissions, but then builds enormous new roads. The problem could be avoided if ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How climate change will affect food production and security
    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 According to the United Nations, food shortages are a threat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • More bad faith
    Last year, the government announced it was ending offshore oil exploration by no longer issuing new permits. The idea was that the industry would then die off as permits expired. Except almost immediately the government revealed its bad faith, by saying they would extend permits and alter conditions to keep ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Banning foreign money from our elections
    The government has said it will ban foreign donations to political parties and candidates, and will be introducing legislation to be passed under all-stages urgency this afternoon. While I agree with the goal, I don't see a particular case for urgency, unless the government is concerned about a flood of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Reforming the Education Acts
    The government introduced the Education and Training Bill to Parliament yesterday. Its a massive bill, which replaces both existing Education Acts, as well as various other bits of legislation (including some which are still proceeding through the House). I'll leave the serious analysis to teachers and people who actually know ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Bite-sized learning
    Amelia SharmanThere’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to micro-credentials, those bits of bite-sized learning that can help workers stay on top of technological change.  What’s a micro-credential? While definitions vary, micro-credentials can be understood as short courses that allow people to learn new skills or have an existing competency recognised. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • “Not The Labour Party We Once Knew.”
    All Smiles Now: Claire Szabo is taking up her presidential role after serving as the CEO of Habitat For Humanity. Which is absolutely perfect! After KiwiBuild was so comprehensively mismanaged by Phil Twyford, the party has not only elected a new president from a thoroughly respectable not-for-profit, but one who ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Marxist versus liberal methodology on transgender ideology/identity politics
    While much of the NZ left has transitioned to postmodern and identity politics in relation to transgender ideology, there are some very good articles about that deploy Marxist methodology in relation to this subject.  The one below is from the British marxist group Counterfire and appeared on their site here ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Book review: The Farm by Joanne Ramos
    by Daphna Whitmore At Golden Oaks, a luxurious country retreat in the Hudson Valley, pregnant women have the best care money can buy. From the organic food, personalised exercise programmes, private yoga instruction and daily massages Golden Oaks looks like a country lodge for the upper class. Set some time ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Loosening the purse strings
    When Labour was running for election in 2017, it felt it needed to demonstrate "fiscal responsibility" and signed itself up to masochistic "budget responsibility rules". It was a fool's errand: the sorts of voters who demand fiscal responsibility are also the sorts of voters who believe that labour can never ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: How to get there
    Writing in Stuff, Joel MacManus looks at what we need to do to meet the Zero Carbon Act's targets. The core of it:1. Convert 85 per cent of vehicles on the road to electric. 2. Eliminate fossil fuels from all industrial heating up to 300 degrees Celsius. 3. Double our ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • anti-vaxxers in a measles epidemic: so many ways to be untruthful
    “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa over the past twenty-four hours. “Anti-vaxers are a pro-death movement,” those comments from Dr Helen Petousis-Harris speaking about six more Measles related deaths in Samoa ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    2 weeks ago
  • Is Youth Vaping a Problem in New Zealand?
    Professors Janet Hoek and Richard Edwards, Emeritus Professor Phil Gendall, Jude Ball, Dr Judith McCool, Anaru Waa, Dr Becky Freeman Recent media reports have presented conflicting evidence on youth vaping in NZ. While some NZ school principals report concerns about increasing vaping on school grounds and confiscating vapes, ASH Year ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • In pursuit of “Freedom and Democracy”: Forever Wars in “America’s backyard”.
    “America the Beautiful!”, staunch defender of democracy, freedom and… a whole lot of despotic tyrants that play nice with what is called “the Washington Consensus.” America is indeed capable of immense good, but like any Nation, and most assuredly any aspirant to the mantle of Empire, great, immense evil. All ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • November ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: The beginner’s guide to blogging I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Whodunnit? Finding the mystery 1080 testing lab
    1080 is used to control pests in NZ. Its use is contested by a noisy few. A new report claims high levels of 1080 in rats washed up on a beach. Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa (F&F) won’t name the laboratory that did their testing. It has sparked a hunt ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    2 weeks ago
  • Authoritarian Friends, Democratic Enemies.
    What Kind Of Empire? The thing for Kiwis to decide is what kind of empire they want to belong to. The kind that, while offering its own citizens democratic rights, demands absolute obedience from its “friends”? Or, the kind that, while authoritarian at home, takes a relaxed attitude to the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Boris Johnson Goes Down
    It hasn't been a good week for the Conservatives, pollwise.  All major recent polls are showing their lead shrinking.Comparing each pollster's current (between 29/11 and 22/11) and previous most recent poll.Com Res - Conservative lead down 3 points.You Gov - Conservative lead down 1 point.Kantar - Conservative lead down 4 ...
    2 weeks ago

  • PM congratulates Boris Johnson on election victory
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his election victory.  “New Zealand and the United Kingdom are close friends and despite our distance we are strongly connected by our history and people,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “I look forward to continuing to work with Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Building a platform for the future of rail
    The Government has released its long term vision for a sustainable 21st Century rail network that gets our cities moving, connects our regions and gets more freight off the roads.   Deputy Prime Minister and State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters said the Government is committed to rebuilding New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Prime Minister statement Whakaari White Island recovery operation
    I want to start by acknowledging the families who have experienced such grief and such loss since the extraordinary tragedy on Monday. Today was all about reuniting them with their loved ones. We've just come from the airport where many of them were gathered and in amongst what you can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • New Zealand medical specialists to provide further support to Samoa
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced further support for Samoa’s longer term needs as it continues to respond to a devastating measles epidemic. “Samoa’s health system has experienced massive strain in the wake of the measles epidemic. The volume of patients needing care during this outbreak, and the number of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Discounted electric-bikes offered to public sector workers
    Discounted electric bikes will be offered up to public sector staff across the country as part of the Government’s work to reduce transport emissions and support healthier transport options.  Associate Minister of Transport Julie Anne Genter officially launched the new initiative at Wellington Hospital today.  “The Government has negotiated bulk-purchase ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Australia and New Zealand confirm joint bid for FIFA Women’s World Cup
    The Australian and New Zealand Governments today launch an historic joint bid to bring the FIFA Women’s World Cup to the Southern Hemisphere for the first time. Australian Minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck and New Zealand Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson will announce the bold campaign, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Blackwater gold mine gets PGF boost
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has approved a $15 million loan to help re-establish a gold mining operation at Blackwater Gold Mine, near Reefton, Rural Communities Minister and local MP Damien O’Connor announced at an event on the West Coast today. “This is great news for the Coast that could ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being
    Papakāinga model inspires whānau well-being A housing project by Kohupātiki whānau in Hastings is an outstanding example of a Māori-led housing initiative that can reduce financial pressure and reconnect whānau to their whakapapa says the Minister for Māori Development Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Minister Mahuta officially opened the Aroha Te Rangi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Government provides more funding for major community wetland restoration project
    Restoration efforts for a significant wetland in the Hawke’s Bay are getting more support announced Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage. “Wetlands are vital to healthy landscapes and ecosystems. They function as nature’s ‘kidneys’, filtering and protecting water quality, acting as nature’s sponges after rain and are home to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Housing First to help Nelson Tasman homeless
    Nelson has today seen the launch of Housing First Nelson Tasman. Today’s launch marks the expansion of the Government’s homelessness programme, Housing First, to the top of the South Island. “Housing First is a proven programme that puts people who are experiencing homelessness and multiple, high and complex needs into ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • New funding to support Environment Centres working for sustainable local solutions
    New Government funding announced today will help communities make a difference in tackling environmental issues Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage announced in Hawkes Bay today. The Ministry for the Environment’s Community Environment Fund is dedicating $243,101 to growing the capacity and capability of the Environment Hubs Aotearoa’s (EHA) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Government takes bite out of loan sharks
    The days of vulnerable consumers falling victim to loan sharks, truck shops and other predatory lenders are numbered, following the Credit Contracts Legislation Amendment Bill passing its third reading tonight. “Too many Kiwis are being given loans that are unaffordable and unsuitable, trapping them in debt and leaving their families ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand safer as Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders Bill) becomes law
    A Bill that prevents terrorism and supports the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas has passed its third reading, Justice Minister Andrew Little says. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill is a carefully targeted response to manage the risk posed by a small number of New Zealanders who have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Foreign Minister and Pacific Peoples Minister to visit Samoa
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio will travel to Samoa on Friday, where New Zealand medical teams are helping Samoa respond to an outbreak of measles. “New Zealand has been working closely with the Government of Samoa and offering our assistance from the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Pastoral Care Code will support tertiary students in 2020
    The Government has changed the law to improve student safety and welfare in university halls of residence and other student accommodation. The Education (Pastoral Care) Amendment Bill passed its third reading this afternoon and details of an interim Code of Practice setting out the Government’s expectations of tertiary providers have also been released. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New infrastructure funding tool to build housing developments faster
    A new tool to help councils fund and finance infrastructure could mean some housing developments happen a decade earlier than currently planned, Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said today. “This new tool, developed by the Government in partnership with industry and high-growth councils, will allow councils to access private debt ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Vision to unite the primary sector launched today
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has welcomed the release of a bold new vision for the country’s vital food and fibre sector. “I’m delighted that New Zealand’s major farmer and grower organisations are today supporting the Primary Sector Council’s vision – Fit for a Better World,” he said. “The international consumers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ congratulates PNG and Autonomous Bougainville Government on referendum
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has congratulated the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government for completing a well-conducted referendum on the future political status of Bougainville. “New Zealand supported the referendum process by providing technical advice through the New Zealand Electoral Commission and leading a Regional Police ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Next steps for Upper North Island logistics
    In light of Cabinet’s position that freight operations on prime land in downtown Auckland are no longer viable, the Government will now embark on a short work programme to enable decision-making in the first half of next year, Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones says. Minister Jones is today releasing the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Surgical mesh restorative justice report received
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter has received the report back from a surgical mesh restorative justice process undertaken by Victoria University. The process heard stories, either in person or online submission, from more than 600 people affected by surgical mesh. “The report made for heart-breaking and confronting reading,” says ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai a milestone for drinking water safety
    The Water Services Regulator Bill – Taumata Arowai , introduced to Parliament today, is a milestone for drinking water safety in New Zealand and will help improve environmental outcomes for urban waterways, rivers and lakes.  “This is a breakthrough for New Zealanders in terms of providing safe drinking water throughout ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to new direction for criminal justice reform announcement
    Kia ora koutouE ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā matā wakaTēnā koutou katoaHaere ngā, moe maiKoutou ma ngā Rangatira Ko Anaru ahauKo au te Minita mo ngā TureHe Honore tino nui kei roto I ahau No reira tena koutou katoa Today, we are releasing two reports that are the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New direction for criminal justice reform
    The Government is looking to turn around the long-term challenges of criminal justice by taking a new approach to break the cycle of offending to ensure there are fewer victims of crime. Justice Minister Andrew Little released two reports today, Turuki! Turuki! from Te Uepū Hāpai I te Ora, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New law sets up $300m Venture Capital Fund
    New Zealand firms expanding beyond the start-up phase are set for more support after today’s passage of the Venture Capital Fund Bill, Associate Finance Minister David Parker said. The Bill, which establishes a $300 million Venture Capital Fund, puts in place a key initiative of the Wellbeing Budget’s economic package. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand’s National Statement to COP25
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, e ngā rau rangatira mā. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Señora Presidenta, Excellencies, Delegates. International action A common thread that runs through the Paris Agreement is the commitment we have made to each other to do what we can to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • $12 billion in extra infrastructure investment
    The Government is lifting capital investment to the highest level in more than 20 years as it takes the next step to future-proof New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced $12 billion of new investment, with $8 billion for specific capital projects and $4 billion to be added to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Strong economy, careful spending gives $12bn of surpluses
    The Government is forecast to run $12 billion worth of surpluses across the four years to 2023/24 as the economy continues to grow. The surpluses will help fund day-to-day capital requirements each year. These include fixing leaky hospitals, building new classrooms to cover population growth and take pressure off class ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Priorities for 2020 Wellbeing Budget outlined
    Budget 2020 will continue the Coalition Government’s focus on tackling the long-term challenges facing New Zealand while also investing to future-proof the economy. When the Government took office in 2017 it was left with crumbling infrastructure, severe underinvestment in public services, degraded rivers and lakes, a housing crisis and rising ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Minister welcomes data-rich coastline mapping tool
    The Minister responsible for the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 (te Takutai Moana Act 2011), Andrew Little has welcomed the launch of an online geospatial tool that provides data-rich, dynamic coastline maps that will significantly boost research and evidence-gathering under the Act. Te Kete Kōrero a Te ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Chief Victims Advisor reappointed for a further two years
    The Chief Victims Advisor to Government Dr Kim McGregor, QSO, has been reappointed in her role for a further two years. Dr McGregor has held the role since it was established in November 2015. She provides independent advice to government on how to improve the criminal justice system for victims. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealand tsunami monitoring and detection system to be established
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare have today announced the deployment of a network of DART (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami) buoys. “New Zealand and the Pacific region are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. It is vital we have adequate warning systems in place,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • DART Buoys Announcement
    DART Buoys Announcement Aotea Wharf, 9.30am 11 December 2019   Acknowledgements Acknowledgements to Minister for Civil Defence Hon Peeni Henare also here today. White Island It is with regret that this event shadows the tragic natural disaster two days ago. The volcanic eruptions on White Island have claimed 5 lives, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Final steps for racing industry reform
    Racing Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the first reading of the Racing Industry Bill in parliament today. This is the second of two Bills that have been introduced this year to revitalise New Zealand’s racing industry. “Our domestic racing industry has been in serious decline.  The Government is committed to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Funding to promote New Zealand Sign Language initiatives
    Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni, is pleased to announce that $291,321 is to be awarded to national and local community initiatives to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). “New Zealand is one of the few countries  in the world where Sign Language is an ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • How New Zealand defines and recognises veterans
    Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has announced today the Coalition Government’s initial response to work completed by the independent statutory body, the Veterans’ Advisory Board. “When Professor Ron Paterson completed his review of the Veterans’ Support Act in 2018, he made a number of recommendations, including one which I referred ...
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