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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 long-term health burden of COVID-19: further justification for NZ’s elimination strategy
    Prof John D. Potter* This blog briefly surveys the emerging scientific evidence on the longer-term burden of symptoms and disease in survivors of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these symptoms point to damage in the brain and heart. These long-term harms add to the wide range of other reasons for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • Going High, Going Low: An Assessment Of The First Leaders’ Debate.
    Uncrushed: Jacinda Ardern knew exactly what was expected of her in the first Leaders' Debate. Labour’s dominant position, three weeks out from the general election, is constructed out of the admiration and gratitude of hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who, more often than not, vote National.  Nothing she said ...
    5 days ago
  • The smokefree policies of political parties: Do they care about people who smoke?
    George Thomson*, Nick Wilson, Janet Hoek, Andrew Waa, Richard Edwards In this time of Covid-19, helping people who smoke to quit their addiction has an even greater importance. Smokers are more vulnerable to many harmful health effects, including severe effects from the virus. Policies that support people who smoke to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    5 days ago
  • The Fog Of Economic Policy Is Starting To Clear…
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    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #38, 2020
    Highlighted article: Carbon pricing and planetary boundaries  Engström et al take what might be called a systems approach to evaluating carbon pricing, taking into a account various economic sectors affected by and affecting paying for emissions. The conclusions are overall a rare pleasant surprise— a feature predicated on cooperation.  Abstract: ...
    5 days ago
  • Humans ignite almost every wildfire that threatens homes
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: China steps up
    China has increased its climate change ambition, and set a target to be carbon-neutral by 2060: China will reach carbon neutrality before 2060 and ensure its greenhouse gas emissions peak in the next decade, Xi Jinping has told the UN general assembly. “China will scale up its intended nationally ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Humans have dealt with plenty of climate variability
    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 How much climate variability have humans dealt with since we ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    5 days ago
  • Indigenous perspectives on unrestricted access to genomic data
    By Genomics Aotearoa researcher Maui Hudson, University of Waikato It is vital that genomics research respects genomic data and genetic heritage from indigenous communities. Genomics research is a rapidly growing field of study, and there is a strong push to make the huge amount of data being produced open ...
    SciBlogsBy Genomics Aotearoa
    6 days ago
  • Terrible luck: lockdowns on learning and youth job prospects
    What is bad luck? Bad luck is spilling spaghetti sauce down your shirt right before an important meeting. When the person in front of you gets the last seat on the bus, that’s bad luck. Bad luck is when it’s sunny outside, so you leave the house without a coat, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • Ian Powell: Does private healthcare threaten public healthcare in New Zealand?
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    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    6 days ago
  • A rabbit-hole election debate: So do you want more avocado orchards?
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    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • LIVE: Jacinda Ardern vs. Judith Collins, First Debate
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    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • Hundreds of Aucklanders arrested after illegal mass gathering on Harbour Bridge
    An enormous drive-in party, shown here, was held this morning on Auckland’s Harbour Bridge, where police were forced to intervene. Hundreds of Aucklanders were arrested this morning on public health grounds, after an apparent illegal mass gathering on the city’s Harbour Bridge. Police say hundreds of Aucklanders gathered in their ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • The Looming Fight.
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    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Moving faster
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The Australian courts have had enough of refugee detention
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Friction and the Anti-lock Braking System
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    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    7 days ago
  • The Inside Word: New Zealand Quarantine
    There are a fair few misconceptions about conditions within New Zealand’s Quarantine Hotels. Madeline Grant’s misplaced accusations being one prominent example, though she is not alone. Today, I thought I’d share the inside word, so to speak. A friend of mine has recently returned to New Zealand from overseas, and ...
    7 days ago
  • Hard News: ASA: Let’s not talk about this
    Last week, major newspapers carried a full-page ad as part of the campaign for a "No" vote to the referendum question about supporting the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill. The ad was authorised by the SAM NZ Coalition, which takes its name from a controversial American anti-cannabis group and includes ...
    7 days ago
  • This is not kind
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Wokies are the establishment
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • How to strengthen the post-isolation Covid rules
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    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • Neuralink and You: A Human-AI Symbiosis
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Liam Hehir: Our obsession with American politics
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    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • COVID: Back to Level 1
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    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Climate injustice
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Good riddance
    The border closure and resulting lack of foreign slave-workers is driving the fishing industry out of business: One fishing company is effectively out of business while others are bracing for large financial hits as the deepwater New Zealand industry, unable to get skilled foreign workers into the country, have ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #38
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    1 week ago
  • Anyone for Collins?
    In the absence of national public opinion polls, we have had to make do in recent weeks with other guides to voter intentions. Those guides, such as the Auckland Central poll, the incidence of google enquiries and the responses to Vote Compass questions, have suggested, not unexpectedly, that Labour is ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Crusher’s fiscal malfunction
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    1 week ago
  • Much of the commentariat’s reporting of the most recent GDP figure was misleading and unhelpful. The prize for the stupidest remark about the GDP figure for second quarter 2020 (2020Q2) released on Thursday (17 Sept) goes to Judith Collins, whose response to Grant Robertson’s comments indicated she did not ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Love and Hate as Complementary Revolutionary Acts
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    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #38
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Sep 13, 2020 through Sat, Sep 19, 2020 Editor's Choice Get to Net-Zero by Mid-Century? Even Some Global Oil and Gas Giants Think it Can Be Done A report by a ...
    1 week ago
  • Tax cuts for all!!! (except you, you, and you)
    With the National Party this week announcing a new policy of tax cuts to spice up the election campagin. MyThinks went along to the launch and afterwards we spoke to the party’s finance spokesperson Paul “Golden Touch” Goldsmith. MT: Thanks for speaking to us Mr Goldsmith. PG: No. Thank you. ...
    My ThinksBy boonman
    1 week ago
  • Great Waves Washing Over New Zealand
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    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand has role to play in resolving crisis on ‘geopolitical fault line’, Helen Clark says
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    1 week ago
  • Euthanasia referendum: How to cut through the emotions
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Why we need cameras on boats
    In case anyone needed further convincing, there's another example today of why we need cameras on fishing boats: reported seabird bycatch doubled during a camera trial: Commercial fishers operating off Auckland's coast around vulnerable seabirds are twice as likely to report accidentally capturing them when cameras are on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Graham Adams: The religious right’s campaign to spike the euthanasia referendum
    In the leadup to the euthanasia referendum, an array of conservative Christian political organisations is running an expensive campaign to sow doubt about the safety of assisted dying. Graham Adams argues that these religious forces know that Christian arguments aren’t convincing the public, but that it is in the public ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    2 weeks ago
  • Opportunistic looting
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Uncomfortable Choices.
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    2 weeks ago
  • Tony Burton: Covid and benefit payments
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    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    2 weeks ago
  • Talking tax: How to win support for taxing wealth
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    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting Tough.
    Not Mucking Around: With upwards of 800 dead from the virus’s resurgence in the Australian state of Victoria, leniency is not on Premier Daniel Andrews’ agenda. The Victorian Police are cracking down hard on the protesters the Australian press has labelled "Covidiots".IMAGES OF POLICE, some in riot gear, others on ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Media Link: Nuclear strategy, then and now.
    Although I had the fortune of being a graduate student of some of the foremost US nuclear strategists of the day (1970s) and later rubbed shoulders with Air Force and Naval officers who were entrusted with parts of the US nuclear arsenal, I seldom get to write or speak about ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago

  • Job numbers up in August
    New data from Stats NZ today shows a rise of more than 9,000 filled jobs from July – driven mostly by the education and training sector, Grant Robertson says. Filled jobs were up 9,147 to 2.2 million in August 2020 compared with July – with 7,409 of those in education ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Māori development receives funding
    Māori development projects across the country will receive a total of $18.8 million from the Provincial Growth Fund that will create infrastructure and permanent jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “These projects will support economic development in Northland, Bay of Plenty, Tairawhiti, Manawatū-Whanganui, Waikato and Southland to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Hand-up for owners of earthquake-prone units
    From today, owner-occupiers of unit and apartments living in earthquake-prone buildings can apply for financial support to fix their homes, Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa says. The Residential Earthquake-Prone Building Financial Assistance Scheme will help unit owners facing financial hardship over earthquake strengthening costs. “We understand how complicated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • PGF backing successful Māori enterprise
    Whanganui will benefit from a Provincial Growth Fund investment in a local food-processing company which will help the company increase production and create jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. Kii Tahi Ltd, which is owned by South Taranaki iwi Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi, will receive a Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Hokitika Landmark earmarked for $22m restoration
    Seddon House in Hokitika, once a hub for government on the West Coast, has been earmarked for government use once again. “Today we’re announcing a $22 million investment from the Government’s $3 billion infrastructure fund for shovel ready projects for the purchase and restoration of Seddon House in the heart of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Town halls and war memorials in PGF renovation programme
    Town halls, war memorials and other community landmarks across the country will be renovated thanks to grants totalling just under $12.4 million from the Provincial Growth Fund. Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says more than 1000 jobs are expected to be created during the renovation programme. “Town halls, other ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes two diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced two new diplomatic appointments: •         Michael Appleton as New Zealand’s first resident High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. •        Tredene Dobson as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Viet Nam.  Sri Lanka “New Zealand is opening a post in Colombo in 2021 because we are ready ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ’s most prestigious conservation award – Loder Cup presented to Graeme Atkins
    The Minister of Conservation Minister, Eugenie Sage, today presented Aotearoa New Zealand’s most prestigious conservation award, the Loder Cup, to the 2020 winner Graeme Atkins while in Gisborne/Tūranga-nui-a-Kiwa. “Graeme Atkins of Ngāti Porou is a Department of Conservation ranger whose contribution to conservation goes well above and beyond his employment,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Early help for whānau who need extra support
    The Government is investing in a new, whānau-centred early intervention prototype designed to strengthen families and improve the safety and wellbeing of children. The new programme, Ngā Tini Whetū, is a collaboration between Oranga Tamariki, Te Puni Kōkiri, ACC and the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency (WOCA) and was announced today ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Parliament to install solar and cut carbon
    Parliament is leading by example by taking action to cut its carbon footprint by installing solar and improving energy efficiency, the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw said today. The Minister confirmed that Parliamentary Services will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to install solar PV and LED ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Tuvalu Language Week theme promotes community resilience in the face of COVID-19
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says the 2020 Tuvalu Language Week theme of “Fakatili Te Kiloga Fou” which means “Navigating the changing environment” is a call on all Pacific peoples to be strong and resilient in the face of COVID-19. “This theme is a reminder to us ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • International sport back up and running in New Zealand
    The Government is welcoming today’s announcement that the West Indies and Pakistan cricket teams will tour New Zealand this summer.  “A lot of hard work has been undertaken by sports officials including New Zealand Cricket, Netball New Zealand and government officials to ensure that international sport can return safely to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • 1BT funds for Northland forest taonga
    Northland’s indigenous tree canopy is set to grow for the benefit of mana whenua and the wider community thanks to nearly $2 million in One Billion Trees funding, Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced today. Te Komanga Marae Trust has received more than $1.54 million to restore and enhance the native ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Better health care for West Coasters as Te Nikau Hospital officially opened
    The Government has delivered a new hospital for Greymouth and is starting work on a much needed new health centre in Westport, ensuring local communities will benefit from better access to high quality integrated health services. Today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare officially open Te ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government backing local with PGF loan
    A West Coast distillery will benefit from a Provincial Growth Fund investment that will enable it to expand its operations and create jobs in the town of Reefton, Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. The Reefton Distilling Co will receive a $928,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Primary sector exports and jobs up again
    Primary sector exports and jobs are up again, demonstrating the sector’s underlying strength amid the COVID-19 global pandemic and US-China trade war, and supporting New Zealand’s economic recovery. Stats NZ today reported New Zealand’s merchandise exports in August were up 8.6% on a year ago, driven by an increase in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Clean energy future for more schools
    Schools across Aotearoa New Zealand will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. The Minister has allocated $50 million from the Clean Powered Public Service Fund to replace, or convert, coal boilers in schools with clean ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Building business strength with digital tools
    New training and tools for digital commerce will give small businesses, especially in the tourism sector, the support they need to adapt and innovate in a COVID world. Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash have announced details of how $20 million digital capability funding set aside ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New pest lures to protect nature
    The Department of Conservation (DOC) is investing $1.4 million to develop new predator lures that would be game-changers for trapping and surveillance towards a predator-free Aotearoa, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage, announced in Christchurch today. The proposal is to develop long-life lures attractive to a range of predators—rats, mustelids ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Support for innovative Pacific education responses to COVID-19 needs
    Supporting new and creative Pacific education practices as part of our COVID-19 response and recovery is the focus of a new $28.5 million Pacific Education Innovation Fund announced today by Associate Minister of Education Jenny Salesa.  “There is already an incredible amount of innovative and creative work going on in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Eligibility expanded for COVID-19 leave support
    The expanded scheme will cover: People who have COVID-19 like symptoms and meet the Ministry of Health’s criteria, and need to self-isolate while awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test. People who are directed to self-isolate by a Medical Officer of Health or their delegate or on advice of their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Seasonal work visa available to more people
    The Government is putting in place a range of immigration policy changes to help fill labour shortages in key industries while ensuring New Zealanders, who have lost jobs due to COVID-19, have the chance to find new employment. “Two key sectors we are moving to help are horticulture and wine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • More border exceptions for critical roles
    The Government has established class exceptions for border entry for a limited number of veterinarians, deep sea fishing crew, as well as agricultural and horticultural machinery operators. “Tight border restrictions remain the backbone of the Government’s border strategy to protect New Zealand against COVID-19 and ensure New Zealand citizens and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Crown will not appeal Dodds v Southern Response decision
    The Crown will not appeal the Court of Appeal decision in the Dodds v Southern Response case, Grant Robertson announced today. “Southern Response will be paying the damages awarded by the Court to Mr and Mrs Dodds shortly. The Crown was already meeting their legal costs for this appeal. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Crucial PGF investments for Northland
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing nearly $30 million in a diverse range of projects that will create immediate and long-term jobs and lift economic and social outcomes for Northland and its people. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones made the announcement today in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • $27million investment in global vaccine facility
    The Coalition Government has committed to invest $27 million in COVID-19 vaccine development through the global COVAX Facility, Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The COVAX Facility is a key part of our COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy to obtain safe and effective vaccines. It allows us to invest in a high-quality, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government backing Māori landowners
    The Government will provide up to $1.69 million through the One Billion Trees programme to Māori landowners to make their whenua more productive through the planting of forests, both native and exotic, and improve economic and environmental outcomes, Forestry Minister Shane Jones has announced. “Around 1.5 million ha of land ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New tools to make nature more accessible
    People planning to head outdoors now have a resource that lets them know how accessible an area is for people with varying levels of mobility, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. The Halberg Foundation, Sensibel, and the Department of Conservation (DOC) have launched Accessibel, a new tool which helps ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • PGF makes Māori history more accessible
    One of the most significant battle sites of the 1860s Land Wars will receive $2.96 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to improve the site and help tell the New Zealand story to visitors, Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. Nanaia Mahuta ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Making it official: The journey of te reo Māori | Kia whakapūmautia: Ngā piki me ngā heke o te r...
    The journey towards recognising Māori as an official language and taonga has been captured as a web series and launched today during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, announced Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “Te reo Māori is a living language, and understanding its significance, and pathways to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Better-than-forecast GDP reflects decision to protect New Zealand
    Today’s better-than-forecast GDP figures show the expected impact of the decision to act quickly to protect New Zealanders from the global COVID-19 pandemic. GDP fell 12.2% in the June quarter from March, reflecting decisions to close New Zealand’s borders and enter Alert Level 4. “This result was better than the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Boost for COVID-19 related Pacific education needs
    The Government is investing $39.7 Million over four years to support the educational needs of Pacific learners and families in the regions hardest hit by COVID-19, with Auckland getting an immediate boost, Associate Minister of Education Jenny Salesa says.   “Like all New Zealanders Pacific families want learners to do well ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • More resources for kiwi conservation
    New Zealand’s goal of 100,000 kiwi by 2030 is being helped by an extra $19.7 million in funding to accelerate iwi and community efforts to protect kiwi, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced. “$19.7 million of Jobs for Nature funding is being invested in kiwi conservation activities including increased predator ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Improving access to affordable electricity
    Ensuring New Zealanders can get the best deal on their electricity takes a step in the right direction today with the South Island launch of the EnergyMate pilot run by the Electricity Retailers’ Association, says Minister of Energy and Resources, Dr Megan Woods. EnergyMate is an industry-led programme providing coaching ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government achieves 50 percent women on state boards
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter announced today that the Government has reached its target of 50 percent on women on state sector board and committees – setting a new record level of women on state sector boards. “This Government is committed to having more women in leadership roles - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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