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Net Neutrality and New Zealand

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, November 26th, 2017 - 42 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, discrimination, internet - Tags: ,

The US internet has been mourning recently the announcement by that-guy-who-everyone-hates-at-the-office-but-thinks-he’s-the-cool-boss, Ajit Pai, of the forthcoming death of Net Neutrality regulations in the USA, and I thought it would be timely to write a little about what that means for New Zealand, what the state of the net is here, and broadly what Net Neutrality is and what it aims to prevent.

Most of you who aren’t tech geeks will only be familiar with Net Neutrality through a certain comedy show run by John Oliver, soon to be known as Chiwetel Ejiofor‘s parrot in the forthcoming Lion King live action reboot. If you haven’t watched all of his Obama-era and Trump-era commentary on the issue, it’s both informative and an interesting study in how differently Democrats and Republicans in the US respond to public outcry over their policies, too. I’ve collected them into a playlist for your viewing pleasure, favouring the ones from the official channel where possible:

So for those of you not enjoying three quarters of an hour of entertaining rants containing accusations of committee chairmen being dingo babysitters and comically oversized mugs, let’s have a look at what Net Neutrality actually means.

Broadly, it’s the principle that ISPs shouldn’t discriminate their speed of delivery or artificially block services or charge extra based on what type of traffic is going through their internet service, (eg. a packet of data for an email is treated the same as a video is treated the same as a BitTorrent download) and that ISPs also shouldn’t discriminate by which internet site that traffic originates from, at least so long as the website isn’t involved in an illegal activity.

In the worst case, the USA’s repeal could lead to ISPs overseas trying to route around US providers, if they’re seen as treating international traffic unfairly, but it’s also possible it won’t have any effect on those of us overseas. Only time will tell on that issue, but it’s sorta like consciously deciding to go out without sunscreen from now on: maybe nothing will happen, maybe you’ll develop a cancerous growth that your body has to work around. Only time will tell.

This issue, for those actually informed on it, is a rare confluence of agreement from the Left and Right of the political sphere- right-wing voters like Net Neutrality as a solution because it enforces a broadly libertarian market model on the internet, where once-small businesses like eBay can grow up into giant corporate monsters based purely on the success of their approach, and left-wing voters like it because it’s the government regulating to say that corporate ISPs can’t do the regulating of the internet on the sly without us voting for it.

Wait, I hear some of you saying, ISPs are regulating the internet? Oh yes, the featured image is from a Chilean mobile internet provider, who have no net neutrality regulations, offering “selective rating” for sites, that is, offering you cheap broadband data so long as you use it on a particular set of sites, such as Youtube. This is effectively discounting you for visiting preferred sites- probably not due to kickbacks from those sites, but rather because the routing is simple for them and it will help them manage traffic on their network more cheaply if people are re-using content they’ve been able to cache locally.

There are several practices advocates of Net Neutrality want the government to set strict regulations on when they are allowed or not, to prevent this kind of de-facto traffic steering. The US regulations about to be repealed prevented three of these activities:

  • Blocking: Lawful content must be accessible.
  • Throttling: Lawful content cannot be deliberately slowed down. (but may be delivered slowly incidentally due to overall network congestion)
  • Paid prioritisation: No specific content may be prioritized in exchange for any sort of consideration. (ie. you can’t bribe ISPs to speed up your website, even if your bribe is in favours rather than cash)

So, do we do any of those things in New Zealand? Yes and no, but mostly, yes. We don’t have any Net Neutrality regulations at all in New Zealand, but blocking at least is restricted to illegal content in New Zealand, and that mostly means really illegal, like child pornography. We have thus-far avoided calls for an internet filter like in Australia. And unlike in the USA, there’s no obvious examples of ISPs blackmailing other businesses to get favourable deals like there is with Comcast and Netflix, but that’s more because our audience numbers are generally too small to make such threats credible even to large sites, so at least we don’t have to worry about that kind of shake-down.

But throttling users, instead of websites, is absolutely a norm in New Zealand, mostly by type of traffic. Spark famously throttled (slowed down) connections to customers who are observed using BitTorrent protocols to download files. Their argument is that torrenters are frequently heavy downloaders, which is sometimes true, and that these people stress their infrastructure out of proportion to how much they pay for their service. But you might be a torrenter without even realizing- several popular internet-based games like World of Warcraft default to using torrents to deliver frequent large patches, whose download size is normally measured in gigabytes.

But if that gamer is compared with a heavy user of YouTube, who deliver high-quality video, they might actually be a less heavy user if all they do is play games after work- just an average of ten minutes of 720p video a day on YouTube will make up for torrenting a single World of Warcraft patch every month, and someone watching an hour or two of YouTube videos a day at high resolutions like that is going to be using a comparable amount of bandwidth to any gamer- this argument that you can’t tell even a heavy user by type of traffic is one of Net Neutrality’s key points, and honestly, why not just throttle heavy users, or incentivize them towards more expensive plans that help you expand your infrastructure? It’s a lazy business model, and discriminates against customers purely for their choice of data protocol.

Crucially, advocates don’t argue that you can’t charge by data usage- metred plans like in New Zealand are explicitly permitted, although they would have bones to pick with a common practice among many New Zealand plans, called zero-rating. If you’ve ever been on a bandwidth-limited plan, zero-rating refers to those plans where there are certain sites or categories of sites (such as “those hosted in New Zealand”) that you can visit without it counting towards your metred bandwidth. This is a more insidious type of violation of Net Neutrality, where they get you to think you’re getting a special deal to buy into it: they’re not charging you for favourable access to YouTube, or Steam, or Facebook, they’re giving you “free” bandwidth to those sites. This is absolutely discrimination between sites, and a form of traffic-shaping that would be illegal under well-considered Open Internet regulations.

Critics of Net Neutrality claim that it stifles investment in internet infrastructure, but there’s no real evidence they’re right. Infrastructure investment trends generally continue as before when Open Internet rules are implemented or repealed, and most large pushes in internet infrastructure are led by governments now, not private business. If anything, we should be levying ISPs that don’t fund their own infrastructure to pay for projects like rural broadband.

With a new government, you might expect a new approach on this, but both Amy Adams, Simon Bridges, and Clare Curran have had rather mixed records on this issue, with the National ministers saying positive things but being incredibly hands-off for the industry. Clare Curran, while she lobbied for a debate on this issue in late 2014, has also shown she doesn’t understand or is willing to compromise on its principles with a leaked Digital Content Levy proposal earlier in that year, essentially wanting to charge internet users to pay subsidies for private news companies selected by the government, rather than simply extending public media creation instead. One of the big points of Net Neutrality is that neither the government nor ISPs are supposed to pick winners, and we should all hope Minister Curran has changed her tune since 2014, and sees the virtue of finding solutions to funding news other than simple subsidies of private outlets.

If we should take anything from a rank authoritarian like Trump and his henchman Ajit Pai repealing similar policies in the US, it’s that we should strongly consider a local version of the Open Internet rules in New Zealand if we want to be the small-l liberal democracy that our proclaimed values would suggest we want.

42 comments on “Net Neutrality and New Zealand”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Thanks for this Matthew. You just answered all the questions I was wondering about 🙂

    • Carolyn_Nth 1.1

      yep. Very clear an informative.

      ISPs should be neutral providers of a service, like water or electricity.

      I do not like the move to have IPs also linked to online content providers – eg netflix, sky TV, or whatever.

      • Which means that ISPs and other essential services like water and electricity should be government provided services.

        • Matthew Whitehead 1.1.1.1

          Or at least that they should face reasonable government regulations. And all Open Internet regulations do is essentially say “corporations can’t make up their own regulations,” which is the most light-touch regulation possible.

          • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1.1

            Or at least that they should face reasonable government regulations.

            That’s the most inefficient way to do it as it requires more regulation and bureaucrats to enforce those regulations.

            It really is much easier and thus cheaper to simply have the government do it through a government department.

            That will have the private sector whinging that they’re not making a profit from it which is how we got privatisation in the first place.

            • Matthew Whitehead 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Oh, I agree, I’m just saying starting with Open Internet rules gives us a base that even National should agree with, so we get at least that much next time National gets in power even if we can’t convince them to keep government ownership of internet infrastructure.

        • CLEANGREEN 1.1.1.2

          Yep Draco,

          Alll our “essential services must be owned and operated exclussively by our Government.”

          Reason; “for the people, – by the people” as used to be everywhere a stable country and society operates and lives.

          leaving our life sustaining services to private companies is so fucking dumb it is so suicidal.

  2. RC 2

    Facebook, Youtube, Netflicks and Google don’t deserve a free lunch at the consumers expense.

    • joe90 2.1

      It’s a present to the telecos who will get to profit from both ends, content providers like Facebook, Youtube, Netflicks and Google will pay them to carry their wares and consumers will pay them more for services they’re already providing.

    • Matthew Whitehead 2.2

      And they don’t get one. Sites pay for hosting the same way consumers pay for ISPs. (even if you build your own servers, you still have to pay an ISP for the access to upload the relevant information to visitors) There is no free lunch there, they pay for their access to the information superhighway, and even without Net Neutrality in New Zealand, because our ISPs are small and don’t act like Mafiosi, none of them have proposed charging large sites in order not to throttle them, or in order to get them zero-rated. Fortunately.

      Have you ever even made your own website? I have, and I paid for hosting when I did it.

      • piper 2.2.1

        Capitalism free market,what a social care.

        • piper 2.2.1.1

          Possible,who should own the countries telecommunication lines,corporation profit exploiters,or state held social intrest.

          • Matthew Whitehead 2.2.1.1.1

            I think it’s absolutely legitimate for the government to own telecommunications infrastructure under an SoE that has a primarily pro-social purpose, and only generates profit as a secondary concern, but it would require strong public support during National administrations to avoid it being privatized.

  3. Good post I learned a lot thanks. i feel I undéstand the main points now. These are the apparent new battlelines – not between left or right but the corporations or the people. I miss the bad old days sometimes.

    • Matthew Whitehead 3.1

      The key thing to remember on Net Neutrality is that the corporations are already shaping local traffic with practices like zero-rating, so it’s not a choice of if the internet is regulated, like corporate stooges claim, it’s a choice of whether we let corporations do the regulating like they are now, or ask the government to do it. I think the choice is obvious that it’s better to have the government ban them from regulating the internet on their own, but to keep their own regulations relatively light-touch beyond that. Road builders shouldn’t be the ones playing traffic cop, to coin a metaphor.

      The Right won’t always get onside if we don’t message it in their terms- see Trump for an example, he’s fallen for completely false talking points from large telcos in the US who are outright lying about the impacts of Net Neutrality. But this issue is basically built for messaging well to right-wing voters: We want a libertarian internet where your individual freedom not to be manipulated is preserved no matter what ISP you choose to buy your services from, so that you can freely choose based on quality and speed. This is the sort of stuff they love.

  4. RedBaronCV 4

    Interesting post Matthew . Thank you.
    Now is it possible , since I believe that most of out offshore content comes down a limited number of cables, for us to impose net neutrality as it on shores by slowing down the fast downloads and amping up the slow ones so that we here consume everything at the same speed?? (dead slow??)

    • If we put in place good Net Neutrality laws and upped the number of connections to the rest of the world (The one cable we have isn’t anywhere near overloaded BTW) we might actually get a large number of those content providers looking for hosting here (well, at least the ones that aren’t dependent upon low ping).

      • Matthew Whitehead 4.1.1

        Yeah, Draco’s right on the facts here. Strong Open Internet protections and mild heat in New Zealand would make us an excellent choice for datacentre hosting, and migrating local sites to local datacentres would not only speed up load times for local audiences, it would likely balance out the load on our and Australia’s cable to America a lot better.

        I actually submitted on JK’s plan for “fibre to the doorway,” pointing out that actually running fibre to the street level and then spending the savings on not running it to your home on subsidizing local datacentres and migrating our websites to them would be a much cheaper way of reducing local load times, but alas, it wasn’t seriously considered.

  5. Critics of Net Neutrality claim that it stifles investment in internet infrastructure, but there’s no real evidence they’re right.

    The one thing I have seen stifle telecommunications infrastructure is privatisation. Telecom, once privatised, massively reduced investment in the network and started pulling out huge amounts of profit instead.

    I’m pretty sure that the same reasoning will apply to the removal of Net Neutrality in the US. The ISPs will use it to maximise profits rather than invest in the infrastructure. Infrastructure is expensive, inventing new charging plans is relatively cheap.

    …and most large pushes in internet infrastructure are led by governments now, not private business.

    As we found out here in NZ when the government had to step in to pay for the necessary network upgrades. So, we paid for the new owners massive profits and then we paid them even more to get the infrastructure that we needed.

    Telecom is a great example of how privatisation does the exact opposite of what the neo-loberal’s told us would happen.

    • Matthew Whitehead 5.1

      Yeah, I didn’t want to get into infrastructure investment in detail because there’s literally no evidence backing up their case on that, so I figured a short acknowledgement of their position and that it’s objectively wrong was enough, given it’s already a long post.

  6. Ad 6

    At its base the Federal Communications Commission is seeking to redefine the internet providers as delivering “information services,” as opposed to “telecommunications services”.

    The resulting definition of broadband as enabling users to generate, store, transform, and process their data is absurd. It is like saying your phone is a pizzeria because you can use it to order a pizza. It is like saying that because you build a road, you are also building all the businesses along that road.

    It is edge providers like Wikipedia, Dropbox, and even simple websites like TechCrunch that provide the services users request; it is ISPs that carry that data, with no change in form, between users and those edge providers. The FCC rejects this fundamental idea and substitutes a convenient fiction that upholds its current ambition to reclassify broadband. There is a semblance of plausibility to all this, but only because of precedents set in times when the internet looked very different.

    I don’t really care about what Clare Curran thinks because the US ISP providers will simply continue to dominate New Zealand services, as will by proxy the FCC.

    https://www.eff.org/document/internet-engineers-commentsfcc-nn

    I would like to hear from LPrent however on how this change might affect The Standard in future.

    • Matthew Whitehead 6.1

      The US ISPs can only guarantee an effect on our access to content hosted in the US, so any effect of the NN repeal in the US is likely to be restricted to US content. This is bad news because even kiwis are likely accessing US servers for most of our content, unless you stay off social media, YouTube, or restrict your online gaming to Path of the Exile. 😉

      As for how they’re classified in the USA- yes, the redefinition away from Title II is absurd, but of course, this is because the ISPs hate Title II protections. Which is ironic, because the FCC only considered doing them because Comcast sued to remove the Obama administration’s earlier Open Internet rules!

      The US ISPs could try to shake down international traffic in a world where they’re not regulated by any protections. But they’d essentially be risking international ISPs routing around them, which is the “giving the internet cancer” scenario I was talking about earlier. It only works so well because theoretically everyone is connected to everyone else, so my hope is that they’ll stick to shaking down local content until Trump is de-elected in 2020. (which, from early backlash in state elections in the USA, looks relatively likely)

      • Ad 6.1.1

        I am resoundingly pessimistic that a change in US President would reverse this deregulation.

        Those ISPs dominate much of the world’s traffic, and are so powerful as Democrat donors, that they will find a way around any proposal (either through to bring it back to neutral.

        I remember reading Habermas back in the day thinking that the internet was going to revolutionize citizenship and the public sphere. (Sigh).

        Whereas what we have left after this FCC move, in just a short time, is a few islands of state funded and regulated broadcasting, with the rest being five companies across the world delivering puppies, porn, sport, and shopping.

        • Matthew Whitehead 6.1.1.1

          You’re certainly right that it’s not an automatic win. It depends who we’d get instead, and whether they’d been bribed on the issue of telecommuncations. If the democratic nominee is Kamala Harris, who seems to be set up to be the next Hillary Clinton in terms of a democrat bought and paid for by big business, then I’m probably with you.

          If we get Elizabeth Warren or even another Bernie Sanders run, then new Open Internet rules or a reinstatement of the old ones are totally on the table.

          I wouldn’t rule out other countries continuing to provide access to diverse content through an open internet even if the US no longer can. What we would lose is access to is small businesses run through the internet that are situated in the US, or innovative solo artists funded through avenues like Patreon, as their access to platforms inevitably dries up as ISPs try to set up encrusted digital platforms like we have in, say, the Television space.

          This is the other possibility is that the US’ repeal also causes a counter-reaction accross the world and most of the other siginificant countries commit or re-commit to an open internet, meaning that we write off the US’ content as gone, and route around them if their ISPs try any… “creative rules” in our access to other countries. This isn’t ideal, but it’s probably the best we’ll get if the US never reinstates open internet rules.

  7. eco maori 7

    Yes I think that the gargantuan multi nation net companys should help pay for the hard ware that they make billions off. The farm has no broadband Internet why’s that because these companies service providers and content providers only concern is $$$$$$$$$$ and not to provide a cost-effective service to all. I think that if we don’t get fiber Internet services that there provider companies should provide cheaper wireless service to the rural people.
    My moko school has school work programmes delivered by the Internet and because the price to get Internet is to dear my mokos miss out as many rural moko will miss out on a very important part of there education!!!!!!! Ka pai

    • Matthew Whitehead 7.1

      They actually already do pay to serve us content, the difficulty is that because the internet is global, they’re only paying companies in whatever countries they choose to host their website in. This means that the US ISPs get no slice of the money if consumers want to access sites hosted overseas, and likewise for NZ ISPs. They just get the money from us, the consumers, if we choose never to visit any local content.

      If we want to encourage better local internet infrastructure, our best bet is probably to implement a Minimum Investment Levy, where ISPs that are spending under a certain percentage of their revenue on infrastructure investment have to pay a levy per connection to the government, to be used for internet infrastructure only. (although because the term “internet infrastructure” is purpose-agnostic, you could equally use it to set up local hosting for local websites or even big multi-national websites like Facebook or Twitter, instead of just on laying cable or deploying wireless internet towers, moving our content to be local to us wherever possible. IMO this is absolutely a good use of money, especially as it in-sources jobs to New Zealand)

      We do similar things with RUCs and petrol taxes, so the main difference would be that the companies can get exempted if they’re already doing their own private investment at a reasonable rate, which seems perfectly fair. It would probably result in the cost being passed on to the consumer, but once the first projects were completed, it’d probably be worthwhile because it would likely measurably increase the speed and quality of our browsing experience, especially in rural areas where ISPs are highly unlikely to invest on their own.

  8. savenz 8

    Excellent post MATTHEW WHITEHEAD. Agree with it 100%

    • CLEANGREEN 8.1

      Thanks Matthew 100% informative there.

      Well done President Donald Trump.

      These web bandits want our last dollar, our blood, the evil buggers they are.

      • Matthew Whitehead 8.1.1

        Huh? In case I wasn’t clear, I think it’s obvious from this repeal that Trump is supporting the “web bandits,” Cleangreen, but I think he’s doing this because he has brought the spin of large cable company ISPs that Net Neutrality is some sort of conspiracy to help liberal media. Thankfully Net Neutrality isn’t considered a partisan issue yet in New Zealand, and I hope it never will be- ideally we should have a political consensus that even includes New Zealand First that keeping anyone from interfering with the democratic and open nature of the Internet is a good idea.

        • cleangreen 8.1.1.1

          Sorry Matthew I missed adding sarc’ there next to the Trump bit.

          What was the position of dem’s on Net Neutality?

          Seems they didn’t want it stopped either?

          We all want the internet kept open free unihindered as you say.

  9. Tracey 9

    GREAT post and comments. Learned heaps. Thanks

  10. Gareth 10

    You say that we have avoided calls for an internet filter like Australias, but we do have an internet filter in NZ. It’s run by DIA and has been up and running since 2010 and most ISPs are signed up to it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_New_Zealand

    • Matthew Whitehead 10.1

      As I think I mentioned in the post, we don’t have a filter for legal content, Gareth. (Did I forget to qualify that I was talking about legal content in a subsequent mention, or something? If so, my bad, it can be difficult to keep track of a whole post and make it as clear as I like, but I try my best to be thorough) We block child pornography, but I to some extent agree with the FCC’s rules that blocking criminal content is reasonable. (At least, for serious crimes where blocking content is an effective or necessary step to stop commission of those crimes- such as blocking child pornography to prevent paedophilia. No need to block sites with videos of jaywalking or something) While technically that may be a censorship regime, it’s one that’s pretty clear-cut and is absolutely justifiable from a policy perspective. My understanding is that Australia’s regime goes a lot further than just blocking child pornography- or am I wrong?

      • Gareth 10.1.1

        We don’t know if we have a filter for legal content. The DIA does not disclose it’s rules for blocking websites. It does not disclose a list of blocked websites. The only way you can find out if the New Zealand Internet Filter is blocking a website is to try to access it and see if you get the DIA message. If you find a website that is blocked which you think is incorrectly blocked, there is no formal channel to challenge the decision to block it.

        The public justification for it is illegal content and child pornography is the most commonly raised example.

        FWIW I agree that child pornography should be blocked, but I don’t like that there are no checks, no remedys, just a secret list of websites that you’re not allowed to know about. I would like to see some sort of oversight and a system for getting incorrectly blocked sites unblocked.

        Australia’s system has had more public or leaked examples given of blocked sites that you wouldn’t normally expect to be blocked. New Zealand’s system has been very quiet and no-one talks about it except to say “oh, it’s about stopping child porn”. Other than that, I can’t find much difference since you can’t get any official details about either system.

  11. Paul Campbell 11

    I think the best way to think of it is that like we’ve long done with the telephone company(s) we the public make a bargain – “you’re a ‘common carrier’, you promise to not tamper with the content that is communicated over you hardware, and we promise to not hold you responsible for content that may break the law”.

    So we let ISPs choose – be a common carrier and treat every packet identically, or choose to mess with just one of them and be responsible for all the the content that passes through your pipes, be it child porn, lawsuits by customers being harassed (or customers harassing), lawsuits from people hurt by terrorists downloading bomb making instructions, etc etc

    It’s like when Fox buys your local paper they can either print just the facts, or they can editorialise. But if they editorialise they are responsible for the behaviour of all the gun nut crazies they whip in to a frenzy. If they just print the facts they can say in court “we just print the facts ma’am”, it’s all true

    • Matthew Whitehead 11.1

      I think it wouldn’t be a problem to allow some ISPs to tinker with connections IF and ONLY IF:
      * They had to advertise any practices they engage in that violate Net Neutrality, and the fact that it is not an Open Internet practice, and they need to do so without hiding it in their terms and conditions where people will just ignore it.
      * There was at least one ISP that stuck to the net neutrality rules in all or almost all locations, or some sort of state-sponsored competitor SoE to ensure there was an open internet option.

      However, I honestly don’t think that the New Zealand market is large enough to make that a viable option in terms of making sure people all around the country have access to an ISP that doesn’t interfere with their traffic. It’s already the case that the ones with the best coverage are the worst violators of Net Neutrality.

  12. infused 12

    It’s already here with Vodafone.

    • joe90 12.1

      How is Vodafone’s option to purchase unlimited mobile data different to my broadband data options?.

      • Matthew Whitehead 12.1.1

        I believe Infused is referring to Vodafone being a practitioner of zero-rating (I cover in the post how this violates net neutrality, it’s basically traffic shaping through giveaways instead of traffic shaping through extra fees or slow service) on its limited bandwidth plans, as I used to be a customer of theirs before they offered unlimited broadband. (this was back when they were still TelstraClear, although they had already started being a bad ISP by that stage)

        I didn’t explicitly include that in the post because I hadn’t recently confirmed that they still did it, and didn’t want to call out any ISPs about practices they might have stopped. (I figured it was still likely that they did, and that commenters would be keen to bring up anything I missed, so thanks to Infused.)

        • wizz 12.1.1.1

          If I understand correctly, it looks to me like Vodafone does still practice zero-rating by offering their new mobile Pass plans which allow connection to some social, streaming and music media applications/sites without it impacting your overall data plan usage: https://www.vodafone.co.nz/pass/

  13. Sparky 13

    This is one I have been following for a long long time and before anyone claims its “all Trump” this started long before he came to office. I’d also ask where the “left” is in US politics? As one astute commentator put it the Dems have taken the place of the Republicans who in turn have moved even further to the right.

    In any case the only reason we still have net neutrality is the collective outrage of ordinary people who have been pushing back.Its got sweet FA to do with politicians manning the barricades.

    That said I’d say its inevitable that big business will as per usual get their way. I think Kim Dotcoms idea of a new alternative to the current internet controlled by end users is a good one because the current internet is become an over regulated commercial monstrosity with corporate heavies on every digital corner trying to dictate every aspect of what we see, how we see it and of course, at what price.

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    2 weeks ago
  • Darroch Ball MP: “Violence against first responders is a problem on the rise”
    New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball says that a paramedic being kicked unconscious last night in an attempted burglary in Warkworth, north of Auckland, is a symptom of a larger problem. "Incidents like this are becoming more and more frequent...and it’s getting worse," Mr Ball said. The MP is pushing for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister Ron Mark asks NZDF to conduct fire risk assessment from defence point of view
    Defence Minister Ron Mark said there was nothing to prevent similar large-scale bushfires seen in Australia from also happening in New Zealand, and has asked the New Zealand Defence Force to conduct a nfire risk assessment from a defence point of view. The defence assessment would help prevent a disaster ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Defence Minister Mark expresses “absolute confidence” in NZDF forces stationed in Iraq
    While feeling worried about increased Middle East tensions, Defence Minister Ron Mark said he had "absolute confidence" in New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) leadership. His statements come as the fate of Kiwi troops stationed in Iraq comes under intense scrutiny. Forty-five Defence Force personnel were thought to be in the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • ‘No Body, No Parole’ Bill is pointless dog-whistling
    Darroch Ball MP, Spokesperson for Law and Order National MP Tim Macindoe Member’s Bill, Concealment of Location of Victim Remains Bill does not do what he claims. The Bill specifies a requirement for the Parole Board to only “consider” denying parole if an offender refuses to disclose the location of the body. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Defence Force sends support to Australia
    Hon. Ron Mark, Minister of Defence Minister of Defence Ron Mark today announced New Zealand is sending three Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopters and crew, and two NZ Army Combat Engineer Sections as well as a command element to support the Australian Defence Force efforts in tackling the Australian ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Defence Minister Ron Mark: “NZDF focused on protecting troops in Iraq from retaliation”
    As tensions in the Middle East continue to grow after the assassination of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, the New Zealand Defence Force is focusing on the protection of Kiwi troops deployed in Iraq. Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says that "recent attacks on coalition bases and embassies constitute unacceptable ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Health staff to meet flights from China as precautionary measure
    Public health staff will begin meeting flights from China from tomorrow, to actively look for signs of the novel coronavirus and provide advice, information and reassurance to passengers. Health Minister Dr David Clark says the additional measures are being taken following the arrival of the disease in Australia, via flights ...
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    14 hours ago
  • National Yearling Sales 2020
    National Yearling Sales at Karaka   26 January 2020    [CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY] Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here on opening day of the 2020 National Yearling Sales Series. Let us all acknowledge Sir Peter Vela and the Vela family for their outstanding contribution to the New ...
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    15 hours ago
  • Government and construction industry to build big, lift productivity with Transformation Plan
    Delivering the workforce and productivity gains required to build the houses, schools, roads, rail and hospitals New Zealand needs will become easier with the Government-industry Construction Sector Transformation Plan launched today, Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa says. “The action plan launched today delivers on the Government’s Construction Sector ...
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    19 hours ago
  • Log trains to begin on Wairoa-Napier line
    Log trains are about to start running between Wairoa and Napier following Provincial Growth Fund investment to reopen the rail line, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The Government invested $6.2 million to reopen the mothballed rail line which was closed after significant storm damage in 2012. “With PGF ...
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    2 days ago
  • Minister of Defence concludes successful visit with his US counterpart
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark met with United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper today. “This was an excellent opportunity to meet with one of our closest security partners,” Ron Mark said. “The main focus of the meeting was to discuss challenges that New Zealand and the United States share ...
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    2 days ago
  • New Zealand acknowledges ICJ decision on Myanmar
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today acknowledged the ruling of the International Court of Justice in relation to the Rohingya people in Myanmar. The ruling ordered the Government of Myanmar to take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of acts of genocide in relation to members of the ...
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    2 days ago
  • NZ’s trade aims advanced at Davos meetings
    A proposal to cut “trade and production-distorting subsidies” in the agricultural sector by 2030 has set out important measures to ensure a fair agricultural trading system.  Speaking after attending meetings of trade ministers in Davos, Switzerland, Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker welcomed the joint proposal from the ...
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    3 days ago
  • Great news for New Zealanders with cystic fibrosis
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says he is delighted that PHARMAC has struck a provisional deal to fund Kalydeco – a medicine which is set to improve the quality of life for about 30 New Zealand children and adults with cystic fibrosis. “While rare, cystic fibrosis is an awful inherited ...
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    3 days ago
  • New Zealand least corrupt country in the world
    New Zealand has regained its position as the least corrupt country in the world for the second time under this Coalition Government, says Justice Minister Andrew Little. “New Zealanders can be proud that our reputation as one of the least corrupt countries in the world has been restored,” says Andrew ...
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    3 days ago
  • Boost for Rēkohu/Wharekauri/Chatham Islands Community Conservation
    Community conservation in Rēkohu/Wharekauri/the Chatham Islands is receiving a boost, with grants to support local projects announced today by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. “Rēkohu/Wharekauri/ the Chatham Islands are home to 20 per cent of New Zealand’s threatened bird species and 11 per cent of New Zealand’s threatened plant species. ...
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    4 days ago
  • Rātana Pā goes high-tech with UFB
    Iwi, hapu and visitors to Rātana Pā near Whanganui now have access to ultra-fast broadband following its connection, completed in time for annual Rātana celebrations, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The connection and associated hardware were funded from the Provincial Growth Fund’s $21 million Marae Digital Connectivity programme, ...
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    4 days ago
  • Govt’s strong financial management acknowledged
    The Government’s strong financial management and plan to future proof the economy with new infrastructure investment has gained further recognition from an international ratings agency. Credit rating agency Fitch has upgraded one of its main metrics assessing the Government’s books, lifting its foreign currency AA rating outlook to ‘positive’ from ...
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    4 days ago
  • Boost in Whānau Ora funding to keep changing lives
    Whānau throughout New Zealand are set to benefit from an extra three million dollars that will go directly to Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies, the Minister for Whānau Ora Peeni Henare announced today.  Including previous funding boosts, the Agencies will now receive $87 million this year between them.  In Budget 2019 ...
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    4 days ago
  • More people getting into work
    The December quarter benefit numbers released today show the Government’s plan to get people off the benefit and into work is starting to pay off,” Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said.   “Nearly 19,000 people cancelled their benefit and went into work in the last few months of the year – ...
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    4 days ago
  • Wairoa gets up to $6.1m to rebuild heart of CBD
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing up to $6.1 million to revitalise business and tourism opportunities in Wairoa, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. The PGF is funding: Up to $4.8 million for the Wairoa Integrated Business and Tourism Facility Up to $960,000 for the ...
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    5 days ago
  • Major Events support for creative and cultural events
    Creative and cultural events that highlight New Zealand’s diverse culture and build national pride are set to get a funding boost through the Major Events Fund, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford said today. The new Creative and Cultural Events Incubator, which is funded through the Major Events Fund, will open ...
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    5 days ago
  • Classroom internet in hundreds of schools to get a boost
    The Government has begun a massive IT upgrade to provide more seamless internet access to 200 schools around the country. Te Mana Tūhono – Technology in Schools work programme will launch with a pilot of 10 smaller state schools early this year. IT equipment that gives students access to the ...
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    5 days ago
  • Construction workforce, apprenticeships hit record highs
    Working with industry and committing to rebuild New Zealand’s infrastructure has produced a record high number of Kiwis working in the construction industry and learning trades, says Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa. New figures available today from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Tertiary Education ...
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    5 days ago
  • NZ concludes digital economy trade talks with Singapore and Chile
    A new trade agreement concluded today helps New Zealand exporters and consumers take advantage of opportunities from digital trade.    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker together with Chile’s Vice Minister of Trade Rodrigo Yañez and Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, have announced conclusion of ...
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    5 days ago
  • Provincial Growth Fund to fund Waipukurau cultural development and tourism
    The Ngā Ara Tipuna -  Waipukurau Pā Site Interpretation project will receive $2.798 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to create an authentic cultural tourism experience, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today “The project will inform visitors about the history of six pā sites in Waipukurau with a combination ...
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    6 days ago
  • 21 new judges boost diversity, improve access to justice
    Twenty-one new District Court judges have been appointed in a move that will improve access to justice and boost diversity on the bench. The new judges include replacements for retirements and 10 new positions. Attorney-General David Parker today announced the 14 judges who can immediately be named, with the remainder ...
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    6 days ago
  • Puhinui to Auckland Airport in 10 minutes
    Aucklanders are another step closer to getting rapid transit to the airport, with the start of construction to upgrade State Highway 20B to the airport, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. SH20B will be upgraded with additional lanes in each direction, dedicated to bus and high-occupancy vehicles between Pukaki Creek ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Advancing New Zealand’s trade agenda focus of Europe meetings
    World Trade Organisation reform, agricultural trade and a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom will be the focus of Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker’s visit to Europe this week. David Parker leaves on Tuesday for a series of meetings in the UK and Switzerland that aim ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Minister of Defence to visit counterparts in US and Canada
    The Minister of Defence, Ron Mark, departed today for the United States and Canada where he will meet with his counterparts.  While in Canada Minister Mark will meet with his counterpart, Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan.  “New Zealand and Canada are close friends, and share an instinctive like-mindedness on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government to deliver family carers $2000 pay rise, expand scheme to spouses this year
    The Coalition Government is delivering this year the changes to Funded Family Care the disability sector has long-asked for, says Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa. “Today we are announcing the details of our big changes to Funded Family Care, including an annual average pay boost of $2,246.40 for funded ...
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    1 week ago
  • Ko te reo kua mū: Piri Sciascia
    Minister for Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta joins te ao Māori in their sorrow as they learn of the loss of one of the great orators and spokespersons of a generation – Piri Sciascia.  “The son of Pōrangahau was a staunch advocate for Māori development and served his people for over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Minister opens new ecosanctuary at Cape Farewell
    A new ecosanctuary with a predator proof fence on Golden Bay’s Cape Farewell, which will restore a safe home for sea birds, rare native plants, giant snails, and geckos, was officially opened today by the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. “There has been a fantastic community effort supported by the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific partners work together to provide additional support to Australia
    The NZDF continues to support the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as it battles fires in Victoria and New South Wales, including by transporting Republic of Fiji Military engineers from Nadi to Australia, announced Defence Minister Ron Mark. On Saturday morning a NZDF Boeing 757 will depart New Zealand to uplift ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Kaikōura $10.88 million boost in tourism & business
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10.88 million to boost business and tourism opportunities in Kaikōura, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. As part of the Kaikōura Marina Development Programme, the following two projects will receive PGF funding: A $9.88 million investment to begin the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt accounts in surplus, debt remains low
    The Government’s books are in good shape with the accounts in surplus and expenses close to forecast, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown accounts for the five months to November. The operating balance before gains and losses (OBEGAL) was above forecast by $0.7 billion resulting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Auckland focus for first Police graduation of 2020
    The number of Police on the Auckland frontline is increasing with the graduation today of a special locally-trained wing of new constables. Police Minister Stuart Nash says the graduation of eighteen officers from Recruit Wing 333-5 means that more than 1900 new Police have been deployed since the Coalition Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Wairarapa gets $7.11m PGF water boost
    The Provincial Growth Fund is putting $7.11 million into creating a sustainable water supply for Wairarapa, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. The following two projects will receive Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) funding: A $7 million investment in Wairarapa Water Limited for the pre-construction development of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Progress with new Police station in Mahia
    Community safety and crime prevention in the East Coast community of Mahia has moved forward with the opening of a new Police station to serve the growing coastal settlement. Police Minister Stuart Nash has officially opened the new station, which was relocated almost 20 kilometres along the coast from the nearby ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Plans to protect the future of whitebaiting announced
    With several native whitebait species in decline the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage has today released proposals to standardise and improve management of whitebait across New Zealand. “The need for action for a healthy whitebait fishery has never been greater,” Eugenie Sage said.  “Four of the six whitebait species are ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New resource for schools to increase awareness and understanding of climate change
    A new Ministry of Education resource available for schools in 2020 will increase awareness and understanding of climate change, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The resource, Climate Change – prepare today, live well tomorrow, will help students understand the effects of climate change at a local, national and global ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting more out of our most productive firms
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has approved the terms of reference for an Inquiry into the economic contribution of New Zealand's frontier firms. Frontier firms are the most productive firms in the domestic economy within their own industry. “These firms are important as they diffuse new technologies and business practices into ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • NZDF sends more support to Australia
    The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is sending an Environmental Health Team, a Primary Health Care Team and a Chaplain to Australia, boosting New Zealand support for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as it battles bush fires in Victoria and New South Wales, Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand joins partners in calling for full investigation into air crash in Iran
    Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt Hon Winston Peters says that developments suggesting a surface-to-air missile is responsible for the downing of the Ukrainian International Airlines flight in Iran is disastrous news. “New Zealand offers its deepest sympathies to the families of the 176 victims. It is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Staying connected to Australian agriculture
    Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor, says the Ministry for Primary Industries is continuing to stay connected to federal authorities in Australia as devastating fires affect the country.  “The Ministry is using an existing trans-Tasman forum for discussions on the agricultural impact of the fires and the future recovery phase,” says Damien ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Investment in schools – a commitment to communities
    Thousands of school-age children, their teachers and wider communities are benefiting from the Government’s multi-million dollar investment upgrading and renewing schools, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “We want New Zealand to be the best place to be a child and that means learning in warm, comfortable and modern classrooms,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago