Mr Key’s real concerns

Written By: - Date published: 12:49 pm, July 1st, 2008 - 37 comments
Categories: john key, same old national - Tags: , , , ,

While more questions will no doubt be asked about Mr Key’s choice of hiring infamous Aussie spin-stars, Crosby/Textor, (no doubt some more of them will feature here) I thought this point raised by Barry Soper yesterday was a good one:

There’s clearly a concern how this information is yet again leaking from the National Party office. I mean, clearly there’s somebody there that’s putting the information out into the public arena. That’s how he got a lot of his information on the Hollow Men.

Certainly this must be a real worry for John Key and the National party. The Police ruled out a hacker during the Brash investigation but were unable to identify the internal leaker of what they thought to be printed emails. Mr Key must find out who is behind these latest leaks if he is to have any sense of security as we head closer to the campaign period proper.

And what would be the motivation for someone to leak now, when National is so far ahead in the polls? To me it indicates another agenda at work. Colin Espiner notes:

National yesterday called an urgent meeting with the Parliamentary Service to discuss the security of its email servers. Sources said that while there was no suggestion of an email leak, the party wanted to be sure after the Brash email saga. Officially, the party is refusing to confirm it is using Crosby/Textor, even though staff admit it privately. Key did not return phone messages yesterday.

While National is predictably dismissing Hager’s latest story as a beat-up it will nonetheless be extremely concerned details of private meetings have again found their way into his hands.

37 comments on “Mr Key’s real concerns ”

  1. Lew 1

    As anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of email knows, it is an inherently insecure communication mechanism. If Alice sends an email to Bob, sitting in the next cubicle, that message passes in cleartext through any number (three is a reasonable starting number, but it could be many more) of computers outside your knowledge or control, and potentially being read or stored on disk at any one of them. In addition, it is impossible upon cursory examination to be know whether the email Bob received is the same as the email Alice sent, or in fact that the message Bob received is even from Alice. Ask me to send you a message from George W Bush or John Key or the Pope John Paul II some time.

    There is one solution for this: public-key cryptography, applied to email as the OpenPGP standard, with most people using one of two main implementations: GPG or PGP. Wikipedia has good articles for them, and they are available as bolt-in security measures for all decent mail clients. Not only do the prevent Alice’s message from being read or modified in transit, they provide certainty to Bob that he received the message unmolested from Alice (and only Alice).

    Of course, no amount of mathematics can prevent emails from being leaked by those with the proper credentials to read them, and none can prevent them being leaked in printed form by anyone who gets them in their hot little hands, so National’s meeting with Parliamentary Services, while laudable (all major organisations must take strong precautions to secure their data) is pure security theatre: doing something in order to be seen to be doing something about a security problem.

    National could obviate the entire issue by implementing such measures as these, by securing its chain of custody for any important documentation, and by finding and firing its internal moles (if, as seems likely, they are the source of the leaks). The only reasons to not do so are cost (which should be borne by the Parliamentary Service), and the rhetorical advantage which accrues to National by being able to point finger at shadowy others who are nefariously stealing their previous data (but not, we must note, their bodily fluids).

    L

  2. Lew. I once went out with a girl who refused to drink fluoridated water. She told me that on our first date and I said ‘yes, we must protect our precious bodily fluids’. Unfortunately, she hadn’t seen the movie.

  3. BeShakey 3

    “And what would be the motivation for someone to leak now, when National is so far ahead in the polls?”

    I suspect the motivation is that National is so far ahead in the polls. Those who favour English rolling Key post-election wouldn’t want the Nats to win in a landslide. That’d make Key pretty much unassailable. They are playing a pretty dangerous game, but trying to ensure that National wins well, but not too well, will be critical if English is going to roll Key.

  4. Who cares 4

    Better be careful boys, or you will never manage to get the carpets clean under your chairs at the beehive. Or are you trying to brake the record of hyperventilating wank-fest posting that followed the JK dvd release?

  5. NX 5

    Surely even the Standard can recognise the threat to our democracy when the main opposition party can not correspond in confidence.

    So instead of laughing into your sleeves why don’t the Standard take a principled stand and condemn this sort of skulduggery.

  6. NX. it’s an internal leak, that’s National’s problem, not a problem with the system.

  7. Pascal's bookie 7

    I heartily condemn the internal rifts and skullduggery within the National Party that sap the confidence of Key to hire ratf*cking agents without it becoming public knowledge. I loudly bemoan the serious threat to our precious democracy, and it’s attendant bodily fluids, that such treachery within the National Party ranks entails.

  8. NX 8

    NX. it’s an internal leak, that’s National’s problem, not a problem with the system.

    Well if I took my boss’s papers and gave them to a competitor, that would be wrong even though it would be an internal leak. In fact it would be illegal because I would be in breach of my contract.

    You can dress it up anyway you want Steve it’s still wrong. Just as it would be wrong if this was happening to Labour.

    [The info is being given to the public not National’s ‘competitors’. Leaks perform a vital democratising role in politics, they let the public see info that would otherwise be kept from them to protect the public image of politicians. The same occurs in the private sector, that’s why there’s whistleblower legisation in many jurisdictions to protect people who bring information to the public eye that the public has a right to know. SP]

  9. To be honest, having read the SST article several times, I’m convinced that he needed no or very little inside information (outside of what he already had) to produce the article.

    Which of the claims he made in the article would require insider tip-offs?

  10. andy 10

    NX

    Yes its wrong, but is seems only National can fix it!

    NX are you the leaker?

    Or was it me, I have managed to hack parliamentary services with my Sinclair ZX81 in the past to see where and when Bob Clarkson would scratch his left nut!

  11. George. umm, the dates of the meetings, their costs, the fact that Key had had his visit to Aussie altered speicifcally to visit Crosby/Textor in person, the dissatisfaction from National staffers (you have been butted out of the way by C/T , remember) … none of that info is public.. it’s all leak.

  12. T-rex 12

    In followup to Lews comment above – FireGPG is an effective and simple implementation compatible with GMail through firefox, as is freenigma.

    Re: Leaks – Surprises me that no one has pointed out this is probably why most of the National ministers responsible don’t even know party policy for their areas. The front bench know they have a leak, and don’t know where, so they’re not telling anyone anything.

    How the hell are you supposed to run a govt like that?!?

  13. Pascal's bookie 13

    T-Rex, Ask Dick Cheney?

  14. Dancer 14

    NX the trouble for National is that it isn’t happening within Labour. In fact I can’t recall the last time it did. What the current situation is telling me is that, despite the strong polls, there are some within National who are not happy with Mr Key, and that they are choosing to share information that they think will be of interest.

  15. Lew 15

    SP: First and last, I guess?

    NX: While I can’t top PB’s effort, I do condemn theft of National’s private correspondence, if indeed any theft has occurred. My only point is that it behoves anyone who suspects their correspondence to be vulnerable to theft to protect it. At present National may well be – but if they’ve been making hay out of the `stolen emails’ issue since Hager’s original article, and if they consider their email to still be unprotected now, they have none but themselves to blame since they’ve had almost three years to implement protection. Sure, perhaps they shouldn’t have to. I think we shouldn’t have to lock our doors at night, but that doesn’t stop it being prudent to do so.

    L

  16. Matthew Pilott 16

    What interests me th most about this whole affair is teh content of information being leaked. Nothing about policy, no shadowy meetings with secret backers, no hidden post-election agenda – all we know about thus far is Key’s relationship with CT.

    What does this tell us? If it’s a hacker, they either have some very juicy stuff for later, or haven’t got a clue what teh real dynamite looks like. Or that hiring CT is as dirty as the nats get (hah!).

    Methinks a hacker isn’t likely – but that doesn’t answer why this specific material? A leak does provide a satisfactory solution – someone in National being unhappy with their use of CT, or someone in National determined to do some damage, but not deliver a fatal head shot – I’m sure there are plenty of reasons out there for this…

    NX, Watergate wouldn’t have been exposed without leakers so they do serve a useful purpose; I don’t think it’s realistic to expect people to rail against any leak in political circles.

  17. r0b 17

    Dancer – exactly. And good for them too – public spirited whistle-blowers have an important role to play in democracy. If a party is so divided that some of its own people leak, then something is seriously wrong, and the public needs to know that.

  18. NX 18

    The info is being given to the public not National’s ‘competitors’. Leaks perform a vital democratising role in politics, they let the public see info that would otherwise be kept from them to protect the public image of politicians.

    lol.. now tell me with a straight face that Hager is job average public; he’s a political activist from the far left.

    400+ emails is no leak, it’s a serious breach! If you think a serious breach of this magnitude is part of the democratic process then I guess you wouldn’t mind 400+ emails between Heather Simpson and Helen Clark to come into the public domain? Answer the question carefully.

    Watergate wouldn’t have been exposed without leakers so they do serve a useful purpose.

    Here’s my other point… what did the stolen emails exposed that the media hadn’t already aired? At least with Watergrate need info. came to light. The media are doing their job.

  19. Lew 19

    NX: “400+ emails is no leak, it’s a serious breach! If you think a serious breach of this magnitude is part of the democratic process then I guess you wouldn’t mind 400+ emails between Heather Simpson and Helen Clark to come into the public domain?”

    Two issues: 1. It’s not a case of whether people would `mind’ – of course people would mind, and we’re not suggesting National shouldn’t mind. The question is whether they should accept it, and in the light of a police enquiry finding no external hackery, it seems they should. If it occurred as a leak by an insider authorised to possess the emails (as seems to be the case here) then yes, it would be equally legitimate. 2. Clark is the Prime Minister, and her emails likely contain information of rather more national importance than her election campaigns, so the parallel isn’t exact – potentially much more significant consequences could flow from the release of such emails than Clark’s embarrassment. If Key (or Brash) were Prime Minister this would be equally true.

    L

  20. Matthew Pilott 20

    NX, if it was a leak of 400+ emails from Miss Clark, then I’d ask “What’s going on within the Labour Party that means a trusted and senior member is giving damaging information to someone who knows how to use it“?

    Have you done the same for National?

    You ask if someone would mind if such a leak were to occur. If it were a premature policy leak, or insider information that can be grossly taken out of context and distorted then it would be the work of a leak trying to damage the party. I would be less than impressed. If the information highlighted activities of, say, an undemocratic nature, I’d realise the link has an element of conscience about it. That is a huge difference in my mind.

    I don’t understand your response about my watergate comment at all, sorry. Suffice to say I don’t think the two are a direct comparison by any stretch of the imagination, merely an illustration that it’s not reasonable to expect everyone to be up in arms about a leak.

  21. NX, I couldn’t put it any better than Matt has. But, don’t you worry, we’ll do a post later on about who the leaker(s) might be, which might assist you lot in tracking them down and kicking them out but, once you’ve got ’em, God knows who will win Clutha-Southland for you.

  22. T-rex 22

    I think the sad part is that Bill might not have been too bad a PM before he got all bitter and twisted.

    Actually scratch that, there’s me falling for the “he seems like the kind of guy you could have a beer with” trap.

    I want a PM who’s sufficiently smart that if I have a beer with them I end up in vague awe. Probably a little much to ask, but would be nice…

  23. NX 23

    “What’s going on within the Labour Party that means a trusted and senior member is giving damaging information to someone who knows how to use it”?

    Matt et al.

    So your justification for why this breach isn’t wrong is based solely on the perceived moral judgment of the person who stole the information i.e. some sought of vigilante, defender of the faith, heroin who has to ‘help’ the party through hurting it.

    ^Oh please. You’re on ice so thin it has already melted, turned into clouds that are now raining on you.

    Why should our democracy rest on the opinion of an anonymous individual(s), who betrays their own employer, & who’s morals we can’t even question..? Hell, is that even democracy!

    All for what… to find out who’s National consultants are? To find out when National meet with the Exclusive Brethren (which the media unearthed anyway).

    This isn’t a debate about ideology . This is debate about right and wrong and this is clearly wrong.

  24. NX. Cut the crap, if this was a Labour leak you would be praising the leaker as a hero. And I wouldn’t be saying the leak was wrong, I wou’d be saying what’s wrong with Labour that senior people are leaking damaging info.

  25. Draco TB 25

    lol.. now tell me with a straight face that Hager is job average public; he’s a political activist from the far left.

    And this has any bearing on the discussion how? Should I discount everything you say because you’re obviously a RWNJ?
    By all accounts N Hager is an investigative reporter and a damned good one (He thoroughly checks his sources). That is all that matters about him when discussing what he has written.

    400+ emails is no leak, it’s a serious breach! If you think a serious breach of this magnitude is part of the democratic process then I guess you wouldn’t mind 400+ emails between Heather Simpson and Helen Clark to come into the public domain?

    The number of emails leaked only shows that there were several people within Nationals upper echelon who’s conscience didn’t gel with what National were doing and they thought the public needed to know. If emails were leaked showing that Helen Clark was was being as dishonest as the National Party was (National was actively deceiving the public and doing their utmost to bypass the electoral laws) in her dealings with the public then I would have no issues with them being leaked. If they just showed legitimate day to day business then I would have a problem.

  26. NX 26

    NX. Cut the crap, if this was a Labour leak you would be praising the leaker as a hero. And I wouldn?t be saying the leak was wrong, I wou?d be saying what?s wrong with Labour that senior people are leaking damaging info.

    Nah, I’m not hardcore National enough to praise anyone who betrays Labour. Sure I might snigger a bit because I’m not a fan of the current Labour party leadership, but a spades a spade. I think the damage this does to our democracy comes before politics.

    And Steve, the Labour Party is a democracy too. If other MPs don’t like how things are being run from the top then they can vote for change. Why let a disgruntled employee or two bypass all of that. If they’re really concerned then they should run for parliament.

  27. Lew 27

    NX has a fair point here. Tolerance for whistleblowing and leaks has historically been reserved for matters of substantial importance, and an important question is whether the revelations in The Hollow Men constitute such an issue. I think Hager’s revelations were such an issue, but I don’t think all issues would be.

    SP and Matt, do you think that all leaks and whistle-blowings should be protected and applauded?

    L

  28. NX 28

    And this has any bearing on the discussion how?

    I was responding to Steve’s point ……

    The number of emails leaked only shows that there were several people within Nationals upper echelon who’s conscience didn’t gel with what National were doing

    On really.. several people huh. I heard it was like a hundred people.

  29. BeShakey 29

    NX – maybe that is the crux of the issue. What damage exactly has this done to the successful functioning of our democracy? It doesn’t seem there is any. It certainly may have made it harder for National, but that isn’t the same as a threat to democracy, given some of what they were doing quite the opposite (for example telling various lies to the public). Having read the comments it doesn’t sound as if people are supporting all and every leak, but that doesn’t mean some leaks aren’t OK.

  30. Matthew Pilott 30

    Matt, do you think that all leaks and whistle-blowings should be protected and applauded?

    A fair question Lew, to which I had already commented upon above – I don’t think a leak is undemocratic and the war on democracy that NX protrays. He’s oversimplifying it to paint a simplistic black and white scenario. There are aspects of political parties that are secret, of this there is no doubt. If an individual who is party to such secrecy finds the goings-on objectionable, what are their options? They can fight from within, and if they lose then they’re on the outside – and whatever was going on will still be happening.

    Or they can leak, to stop the behaviour. So where do I draw the line? As stated above – if a leak illustrates a breach of the democratic process, or something that is clearly morally wrong, then there is probably good cause, if there’s no other option.

    What everyone seems to be forgetting is that by definition we don’t have all the information, a leak isn’t a leak if you know all the facts of the matter. So if you are determined to make a value judgement, as NX is, then you need to ask why the leak is happening – what was the result?

    If a leak is purely to damage a party, then that is circumventing the democratic process to an extent. If that’s the result, though, of poor behaviour from the party in question then they have scant cause to complain.

    NX, have you always thought the secrecy of the internal workings of political parties is the foundation upon which all democracy rests, or is this a newly adopted position for which you seem to be arguing?

    Lew – care to have a bat at elucidating a threshold for leak toleration?

  31. NX 31

    but that doesn?t mean some leaks aren?t OK.

    Agreed – keeps politicians on their toes.

    400+ emails is pretty serious. And if you start to find that expectable then you’re on a slippery slope (no pun on the word slippery ;)).

  32. NX 32

    If an individual who is party to such secrecy finds the goings-on objectionable, what are their options?

    Resign and stand for parliament. How can you carry on working for a party you betray? What happens the next time something doesn’t quite gel with your moral judgement?

    have you always thought the secrecy of the internal workings of political parties is the foundation upon which all democracy rests, or is this a newly adopted position for which you seem to be arguing?

    John Key (and Don Brash) have to report to their caucus, the people who elect the leader, and who are democratically elected themselves. Also, I believe the Labour Party and the media are pretty good at holding National to account.

  33. Lew 33

    Matt: Good response, thanks.

    “care to have a bat at elucidating a threshold for leak toleration?”

    Ah, well, here’s the rub. A part of me (the same part which thinks National are right to use C/T) think leaks are always justifiable except inasmuch as they are found illegal. However, taken to its logical extreme, this could result in nefarious tactics which could undermine confidence in democracy, which I wouldn’t want to see.

    I (like you and SP) tend to consider leakage within an organisation a matter of governance within that organisation. Presuming sufficiently strong vetting procedures to weed out false-flag moles, an organisation’s membership should broadly agree with and approve of its leadership’s direction, and even in cases where some faction of the membership doesn’t agree, they should feel as if their concerns are taken seriously enough that they can have those concerns recognised or implemented by legitimate means within the organisation. Leaks occur when insiders don’t feel they have any other recourse to change, and this becomes a feedback loop – if the organisation’s leadership becomes less accountable to its membership, members are more prone to leak due to a dearth of options, which will lend to a greater degree of secrecy among the leadership in order to restrict leaks, and so on. This process frames what I consider would be acceptable, and what not.

    So I would call a public leak legitimate when it releases information with significant implications beyond the leaker’s own intra-party agenda, while an illegitimate leak for me would be one which is purely self-serving to the leaker or their faction; and furthermore, that the leak regard something illegal, unethical or otherwise unreasonable – the sort of issue which members would have been expected to raise with their leaders, who refused to act on the members’ concerns. This is basically what you and SP have argued, above.

    L

    Captcha: `Roman investigation’. Nobody expects the … huh?

  34. Matthew Pilott 34

    NX – I guess it becomes dfficult when you’re 100% behind a party’s policy, but not their methods for its implementation! But cheers for raising the issue in the first place, I will admit I hadn’t really thought about it.

    Lew, I think that pretty much hits the nail on the head – if a leak isn’t self-serving… (just to muddy the waters, I wonder how often a leak exposing a bad practice has resulted in benefits to the leaker – I would guess more that a few times.)

  35. NX 35

    Thx Matthew – pleased my contribution was useful.

    I’m not 100% behind party policy… because like you I dunno what half of it is;) Lets just say I support the opposition – if one can make such a distinction.

    My view on the stolen emails is firm; the right to private correspondence is a cornerstone of our society. 400+ emails is not a leak, but a Machiavellian force trying to manipulate the outcome of an election(s!).

    The Standard should commend such actions out of principle.

  36. Lew 36

    NX: “The Standard should commend such actions out of principle.”

    Do you mean `condemn’?

    L

  37. NX 37

    ^Yes opps…

    I’ve just come back from the Movies. I saw ‘The Happening’. My friends weren’t that impressed, but I really liked it. The film was directed by M. Night Shyamalan & I pretty much like all his stuff.

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    One occasionally runs into the question of what J.R.R. Tolkien would have thought of George R.R. Martin. For years, I had a go-to online answer: we could use a stand-in. Tolkien’s thoughts on E.R. Eddison – that he appreciated the invented world, but thought the invented names were silly, and ...
    3 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24
    A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 9, 2024 thru Sat, June 15, 2024. Story of the week A glance at this week's inventory of what experts tell us is extreme weather mayhem juiced by ...
    3 days ago
  • Sunday Morning Chat
    After a busy week it’s a good day to relax. Clear blues skies here in Tamaki Makaurau, very peaceful but for my dogs sleeping heavily. In the absence of a full newsletter I thought I’d send out a brief update and share a couple of posts that popped up in ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • The Book of Henry
    Now in the land of Angus beef and the mighty ABsWhere the steaks were juicy and the rivers did run foulIt would often be said,This meal is terrible,andNo, for real this is legit the worst thing I've ever eatenBut this was an thing said only to others at the table,not ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • Fact Brief – Is ocean acidification from human activities enough to impact marine ecosystems?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from the Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is ocean acidification from human ...
    4 days ago
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
    She's not a girl who misses muchDo do do do do do, oh yeahShe's well-acquainted with the touch of the velvet handLike a lizard on a window paneI wouldn’t associate ACT with warmth, other than a certain fabled, notoriously hot, destination where surely they’re heading and many would like them ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • Still doing a good 20
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past somewhat interrupted week. Still on the move!Share Read more ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Coalition of the Unwilling?
    What does Budget 2024 tell us about the current government? Muddle on?Coalition governments are not new. About 50 percent of the time since the first MMP election, there has been a minority government, usually with allied parties holding ministerial portfolios outside cabinets. For 10 percent of the time there was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    5 days ago
  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
    Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based ...
    5 days ago
  • All good, still
    1. On what subject is Paul Henry even remotely worth giving the time of day?a. The state of our nationb. The state of the ACT partyc. How to freak out potential buyers of your gin palace by baking the remains of your deceased parent into its fittings2. Now that New ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • The looting is the point
    Last time National was in power, they looted the state, privatising public assets and signing hugely wasteful public-private partnership (PPP) contracts which saw foreign consortiums provide substandard infrastructure while gouging us for profits. You only have to look at the ongoing fiasco of Transmission Gully to see how it was ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • The Illusion of Power: How Local Government Bureaucrats Overawe Democratically-Elected Councillors..
    The Democratic Façade Of Local Government: Our district and city councillors are democratically elected to govern their communities on one very strict condition – that they never, ever, under any circumstances, attempt to do so.A DISINTEGRATION OF LOYALTIES on the Wellington City Council has left Mayor Tory Whanau without a ...
    6 days ago
  • Lowlights & Bright Spots
    I can feel the lowlights coming over meI can feel the lowlights, from the state I’m inI can see the light now even thought it’s dimA little glow on the horizonAnother week of lowlights from our government, with the odd bright spot and a glow on the horizon. The light ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 14-June-2024
    Another week, another roundup of things that caught our eye on our favourite topics of transport, housing and how to make cities a little bit greater. This Week in Greater Auckland On Monday, Connor wrote about Kāinga Ora’s role as an urban development agency Tuesday’s guest post by ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    6 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 14
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s moves this week to take farming out of the ETS and encourage more mining and oil and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Climate policy axed in broad daylight, while taxpayer liabilities grow in the dark
    In 2019, Shane Jones addressed the “50 Shades of Green” protest at Parliament: Now he is part of a government giving those farmers a pass on becoming part of the ETS, as well as threatening to lock in offshore oil exploration and mining for decades. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Here’s the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Rage Bait!
    Hi,Today’s newsletter is all about how easy it is to get sucked into “rage bait” online, and how easy it is to get played.But first I wanted to share something that elicited the exact opposite of rage in me — something that made me feel incredibly proud, whilst also making ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Friday, June 14
    Seymour said lower speed limits “drained the joy from life as people were forced to follow rules they knew made no sense.” File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Friday, June 14 were:The National/ACT/NZ First ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Friendly but frank talks with China Premier
    It sounded like the best word to describe yesterday’s talks between Chinese Premier Li Qiang and his heavyweight delegation of Ministers and officials and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and New Zealand Ministers and officials was “frank.” But it was the kind of frankness that friends can indulge in. It ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #24 2024
    Open access notables Wildfire smoke impacts lake ecosystems, Farruggia et al., Global Change Biology: We introduce the concept of the lake smoke-day, or the number of days any given lake is exposed to smoke in any given fire season, and quantify the total lake smoke-day exposure in North America from 2019 ...
    6 days ago
  • Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Mathias Elle on UnsplashIt’s that new day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for our chat about the week’s news with special guests:5.00 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: China’s message to New Zealand – don’t put it all at risk
    Don’t put it all at risk. That’s likely to be the take-home message for New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in his meetings with Li Qiang, the Chinese Premier. Li’s visit to Wellington this week is the highest-ranking visit by a Chinese official since 2017. The trip down under – ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    6 days ago
  • The Real Thing
    I know the feelingIt is the real thingThe essence of the soulThe perfect momentThat golden momentI know you feel it tooI know the feelingIt is the real thingYou can't refuse the embraceNo?Sometimes we face the things we most dislike. A phobia or fear that must be confronted so it doesn’t ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    7 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on how moderates empower the political right
    Struth, what a week. Having made sure the rural sector won’t have to pay any time soon for its pollution, PM Christopher Luxon yesterday chose Fieldays 2024 to launch a parliamentary inquiry into rural banking services, to see how the banks have been treating farmers faced with high interest rates. ...
    7 days ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Thursday, June 13
    In April, 17,656 people left Aotearoa-NZ to live overseas, averaging 588 a day, with just over half of those likely to have gone to Australia. Photo: Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Thursday, June 13 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • Our guide to having your say on the draft RLTP 2024
    Auckland’s draft Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP) 2024 is open for feedback – and you only have until Monday 17 June to submit. Do it! Join the thousands of Aucklanders who are speaking up for wise strategic investment that will dig us out of traffic and give us easy and ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    7 days ago
  • The China puzzle
    Chinese Premier Li Qiang arrives in Wellington today for a three-day visit to the country. The visit will take place amid uncertainty about the future of the New Zealand-China relationship. Li hosted a formal welcome and then lunch for then-Prime Minister Chris Hipkins in Beijing a year ago. The pair ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    7 days ago
  • Fossil fuels are shredding our democracy
    This is a re-post of an article from the Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler published on June 3, 2024. I have an oped in the New York Times (gift link) about this. For a long time, a common refrain about the energy transition was that renewable energy needed to become ...
    1 week ago
  • Life at 20 kilometres an hour
    We are still in France, getting from A to B.Possibly for only another week, though; Switzerland and Germany are looming now. On we pedal, towards Budapest, at about 20 km per hour.What are are mostly doing is inhaling a country, loving its ways and its food. Rolling, talking, quietly thinking. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Hipkins is still useless
    The big problem with the last Labour government was that they were chickenshits who did nothing with the absolute majority we had given them. They governed as if they were scared of their own shadows, afraid of making decisions lest it upset someone - usually someone who would never have ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Exercising with the IDF.
    This morning I did something I seldom do, I looked at the Twitter newsfeed. Normally I take the approach of something that I’m not sure is an American urban legend, or genuinely something kids do over there. The infamous bag of dog poo on the front porch, set it on ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Helm Hammerhand Anime: First Pictures and an Old English ‘Hera’
    We have some news on the upcoming War of the Rohirrim anime. It will apparently be two and a half hours in length, with Peter Jackson as Executive Producer, and Helm’s daughter Hera will be the main character. Also, pictures: The bloke in the middle picture is Freca’s ...
    1 week ago
  • Farmers get free pass on climate AND get subsidies
    The cows will keep burping and farting and climate change will keep accelerating - but farmers can stop worrying about being included in the ETS. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Wednesday, June 12 were:The ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Six ideas to secure Te Huia’s Future
    This is a guest post by our friend Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which features “musings about public transport and other cool stuff in Aotearoa/ New Zealand and around the globe.” With Te Huia now having funding secure through to 2026, now is ...
    Greater AucklandBy Darren Davis
    1 week ago
  • The methane waka sinks
    In some ways, there may be less than meets the eye to the Government announcement yesterday that the He Waka Eke Noa proposal for farmers to pay for greenhouse gas emissions has been scrapped. The spectre of farmers still having to pay at some point in the future remains. That, ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • At a glance – Does positive feedback necessarily mean runaway warming?
    On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Farmers get what they wanted – for now
    Since entering office, National has unravelled practically every climate policy, leaving us with no effective way of reducing emissions or meeting our emissions budgets beyond magical thinking around the ETS. And today they've announced another step: removing agriculture entirely. At present, following the complete failure of he waka eka noa, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Presumed Innocent?
    The blue billionaireDistraction no interactionOr movement outside these glazed over eyesThe new great divideFew fight the tide to be glorifiedBut will he be satisfied?Can we accept this without zoom?The elephant in the roomNot much happens in politics on a Monday. Bugger all in fact. Although yesterday Christopher Luxon found he ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on our doomed love affair with oil and gas
    What if New Zealand threw a fossil fuel party, and nobody came? On the weekend, Resources Minister Shane Jones sent out the invitations and strung up the balloons, but will anyone really want to invest big time in resuming oil and gas exploration in our corner of the planet? Yes, ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    1 week ago
  • Building better housing insights
    This is a guest post by Meredith Dale, senior urban designer and strategist at The Urban Advisory. There’s a saying that goes something like: ‘what you measure is what you value’. An RNZ article last week claimed that Auckland was ‘hurting’ because of a more affordable supply of homes, particularly townhouses ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • Putin would be proud of them
    A Prime Minister directs his public service to inquire into the actions of the opposition political party which is his harshest critic. Something from Orban's Hungary, or Putin's Russia? No, its happening right here in Aotearoa: Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced the Public Service Commission will launch an ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths
    This is a repost from a Yale Climate Connections article by SueEllen Campbell published on June 3, 2024. The articles listed can help you tell fact from fiction when it comes to solar and wind energy. Some statements you hear about solar and wind energy are just plain false. ...
    1 week ago
  • Juggernaut
    Politics were going on all around us yesterday, and we barely noticed, rolling along canal paths, eating baguettes. It wasn’t until my mate got to the headlines last night that we learned there had been a dismayingly strong far right result in the EU elections and Macron had called a ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Numbers Game.
    Respect Existence, Or Expect Resistance? There may well have been 50,000 pairs of feet “Marching For Nature” down Auckland’s Queen Street on Saturday afternoon, but the figure that impresses the Coalition Government is the 1,450,000 pairs of Auckland feet that were somewhere else.IN THE ERA OF DRONES and Artificial Intelligence, ...
    1 week ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on post-colonial blowback.
    Selwyn Manning and I discuss varieties of post colonial blowback and the implications its has for the rise of the Global South. Counties discussed include Palestine/Israel, France/New Caledonia, England/India, apartheid/post-apartheid South Africa and post-colonial New Zealand. It is a bit … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Policy by panic
    Back in March, Ombudsman Peter Boshier resigned when he hit the statutory retirement age of 72, leaving the country in the awkward (and legally questionable) position of having him continue as a temporay appointee. It apparently took the entire political system by surprise - as evinced by Labour's dick move ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • PSA: NZ's Richest Company, Zuru, Sucks
    Hi,Today the New Zealand press is breathlessly reporting that the owners of toy company Zuru are officially New Zealand’s wealthiest people: Mat and Nick Mowbray worth an estimated $20 billion between them.While the New Zealand press loses its shit celebrating this Kiwi success story, this is a Webworm reminder that ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 10
    TL;DR: The six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty in the past day to 8:36 pm on Monday, June 10 were:20,000 protested against the Fast-track approval bill on Saturday in Auckland, but PM Christopher Luxon says ‘sorry, but not sorry’ about the need for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • In Defence of Kāinga Ora
    Given the headlines around the recent findings of the ‘independent’ review of Kāinga Ora by Bill English, you might assume this post will be about social housing, Kāinga Ora’s most prominent role. While that is indeed something that requires defending, I want to talk about the other core purpose of ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    1 week ago
  • Baby You're A Rich Man
    “How does it feel to beOne of the beautiful peopleNow that you know who you areWhat do you want to beAnd have you traveled very far?Far as the eye can see”Yesterday the ACT party faithful were regaled with craven boasts, sneers, and demands for even more at their annual rally.That ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Stopping a future Labour government from shutting down gas exploration
    A defiant Resources Minister Shane Jones has responded to Saturday’s environmental protests by ending Labour’s offshore oil exploration ban and calling for long-term contracts with any successful explorers. The purpose would be to prevent a future Labour Government from reversing any licence the explorers might hold. Jones sees a precedent ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #23
    A listing of 32 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 2, 2024 thru Sat, June 8, 2024. Story of the week Our Story of the Week is Yale Climate Connection's Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths, by ...
    1 week ago
  • Fission by the river
    This is where we ate our lunch last Wednesday. Never mind your châteaux and castles and whatnot, we like to enjoy a baguette in the shadow of a nuclear power plant; a station that puts out more than twice as much as Manapouri using nothing more than tiny atoms to bring ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 weeks ago

  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has just finished a successful three-day visit to Japan, where he strengthened political relationships and boosted business links. Mr Luxon’s visit culminated in a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio followed by a state dinner. “It was important for me to meet Prime Minister Kishida in person ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
    The Department of Internal Affairs [Department] is making a significant upgrade to their Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “The Department will incorporate the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
    A vaccine to prevent an infectious disease that costs New Zealand cattle farmers more than $190 million each year could radically improve the health of our cows and boost on-farm productivity, Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard says. The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project that aims to develop ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Government House in Wellington today.  “I was pleased to welcome Premier Li to Wellington for his first official visit, which marks 10 years since New Zealand and China established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Luxon says. “The Premier and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government and business tackling gender pay gap
    The coalition Government is taking action to reduce the gender pay gap in New Zealand through the development of a voluntary calculation tool. “Gender pay gaps have impacted women for decades, which is why we need to continue to drive change in New Zealand,” Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
    The coalition Government is boosting funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide more help to farmers and growers under pressure, Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson announced today. “A strong and thriving agricultural sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy and one of the ways to support it is to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Latest data shows size of public service decreasing
    Spending on contractors and consultants continues to fall and the size of the Public Service workforce has started to decrease after years of growth, according to the latest data released today by the Public Service Commission. Workforce data for the quarter from 31 December 23 to 31 March 24 shows ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Speech to the Law Association
    Thank you to the Law Association for inviting me to speak this morning. As a former president under its previous name — the Auckland District Law Society — I take particular satisfaction in seeing this organisation, and its members, in such good heart. As Attorney-General, I am grateful for these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • 25 years on, NZ reaffirms enduring friendship with Timor Leste
    New Zealand is committed to working closely with Timor-Leste to support its prosperity and resilience, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “This year is the 25th anniversary of New Zealand sending peacekeepers to Timor-Leste, who contributed to the country’s stabilisation and ultimately its independence,” Mr Peters says.    “A quarter ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Inquiry requested into rural banking
    Promoting robust competition in the banking sector is vital to rebuilding the economy, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “New Zealanders deserve a banking sector that is as competitive as possible. Banking services play an important role in our communities and in the economy. Kiwis rely on access to lending when ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Ministry for Regulation targets red tape to keep farmers and growers competitive
    Regulation Minister David Seymour, Environment Minister Penny Simmonds, and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard have today announced a regulatory sector review on the approval process for new agricultural and horticultural products.    “Red tape stops farmers and growers from getting access to products that have been approved by other OECD countries. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Government to reverse blanket speed limit reductions
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