NZ independence? back to the future

Written By: - Date published: 10:50 am, March 4th, 2014 - 150 comments
Categories: colonialism, economy, energy, john key, news, slippery, spin, us politics - Tags:

Looking back at the 1980s from the second decade of the 21st century, NZ’s bold nuclear free stance seems like a bit of an illusion, or at best, a temporary bright spot.

Two news items this week have NZ looking like a client state of both US imperialism, and the UK monarchy.

John Key’s rush to support the US-EU positions on the Ukraine “crisis” seems a little like a repeat of NZ’s rush to support Britain in the first and second world wars.  In those days New Zealand was still considered to be a Dominion of Britain. Yesterday, One News reported a statement from Key that condemns Russia’s actions in the Ukraine.  For him the connection seems to have a lot to do with trade.

These days, most Kiwis tend to see our country as an independent state.  So what has the Ukraine to do with us, and why is our government so quick to take sides?

Today’s NZ Herald editorial provides an explanation in support of John Key’s stance.  However, it is somewhat confusing because it does endeavour to provide something of a historical perspective.  The editorial begins:

All that can be done within reasonable bounds must be done to condemn Russia’s seizure of the Crimean peninsula. The West should get behind John Kerry, the United States Secretary of State, who has talked of boycotting the June G8 summit in Sochi, visa bans, asset freezes and trade and investment penalties against Russia.

The article points partly to the ethnic make-up of people in the Crimea, but only scratches the surface of the significance of changing state boundaries that have cut across ethnic communities.  The editorial goes on:

That outcome will reflect the fact that 60 per cent of the residents identify themselves as ethnic Russians. Crimea was a part of Russia until 1954 when it was presented as a gift to the Ukrainian people by the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev. That backfired when the Soviet system collapsed and Ukraine became independent. But the people of Crimea continued to look to Russia, while Moscow became more concerned about its important naval base at Sevastopol, the home of the Black Sea fleet, which it leased from Ukraine.

The situation is indeed complicated by the fact that the Crimea is a significant location where Russia is concerned to protect its borders.  The Crimean bases act as a kind of buffer to foreign intrusions. On this the Herald argument becomes particularly slanted towards the perspective of western powers.  Even while acknowledging the ethnic alignment with Russia by many in the Ukraine, it continues to characterise the Russian response as that of using the situation to expand its boundaries.

The editorial fails to take into consideration that the US and EU have interfered in the Ukraine rebellion to further their own economic and political aims in the area.  As Bill pointed out in his post, ‘Voices and Power‘, the mainstream media has largely provided coverage that is slanted towards western powers being the good guys.

In one piece, “Ukraine, Revolution or Coup”, we find Richard Greeman offering quite thought provoking and in-depth analyses/arguments and elevating ‘street level’ perspectives and concerns.

This article in Counter Punch points to some of the US and EU maneuvering in relation to the Ukraine rebellion, with the media being sucked into masking the imperialistic ambitions of western nation-states.

By openly supporting insurrection by a militant faction in order to subject the Ukranian government to a level of stress that it, and particularly its apparently incapable pres[s], Yanukovich, were incapable of handling, I think the US crossed something of a Rubicon.  It openly and enthusiastically backed a violent putsch against a democratically-elected government it didn’t happen to like.  Neo-liberal enthusiasts, it should be noted, splashed across this boundary without even getting their feet wet…

Ultimately, it’s largely about money, gas, oil, and having a powerful presence in the region.  The NZ Herald editorial ends by referring to Russia’s failing economy, and the need to draw a Berlin wall-type line across the map:

The Western response must, therefore, include a financial rescue package that will set the scene for an increasingly prosperous Ukraine.

Its eventual wellbeing would surely contrast markedly with that of Crimea, which will experience the full extent of Russia’s economic woes over the next few years.

The Herald editorial fails to clearly identify how the Russian presence in the Crimea threatens the economic well being of Europe and its oil and gas supplies.  That is covered in this Daily Telegraph article. In the Herald editorial, there is no mention of how this is of so much concern to NZ that Key has been quick to align NZ with the US and EU.  It is most likely to be related to the dependence of NZ’s economic interests on that of the US and UK.

The second issue being given a load of media coverage, which seems like another throwback to NZ days as a British Dominion, is the upcoming visit of some royals.  The New Zealand authorities involved with organising the visit say that they don’t know how much NZ taxpayer money will be spent on it.

I’m looking forward to the Taxpayers’ Union doing some in in-depth research on just how much it is costing us. Part of such research should also compare the cost with how much is not being spent to improve the lot of struggling Kiwis.

150 comments on “NZ independence? back to the future ”

  1. Ennui 1

    Karol, your article is exactly what I was driving at on Open Mike today. NZ has reverted to a bit part player, a pawn in someone else’s game, regardless of the ethics and impacts. The heady days of Lange’s anti nuclear stance are well and truly passed.

    The danger of our position is that as a vassal state we are only as strong as our imperial overseers, and have by association no real credibility for independent position or sovereignty. Conversely we also have only the vast and inhospitable waters of the Pacific as a buffer against hostile powers should we defect from our imperial allegiances. Catch 22.

    It would appear that Keys regime lives very much in the present, they have no longer term historic perspective. With Key it is blind faith in the system he knows best, international banking. As head of our state security services he has no independent outlook beyond what the CIA dictate. His regimes stance on the Ukraine scenario blithely ignores recent history such as the “gifting” of Crimea to the Ukraine, plus the EU backing of Ukrainian neo-N*zi “revolutionaries”. Longer term Keys government ignore the geopolitics of that area, as Russian “heartland”.

    Which begs a lot of questions: Keys advisors, are they from the diplomatic corps? If so is their advise of any worth? Has Key or anybody here done the sums with regard to long term consequences? From a professional stance both Key and all involved are setting a very low standard. From an New Zealand perspective I feel we are being sold very short.

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      “NZ has reverted to a bit part player, a pawn in someone else’s game, regardless of the ethics and impacts. The heady days of Lange’s anti nuclear stance are well and truly passed.”

      The question is why anyone ever thought that was anything but an aberration. We’re a small country on the ass on the world. We’re never going to have a big impact on the world stage.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        Time to practice being obsequiesce and timid once more, as the NZ normal then?

        • Lanthanide 1.1.1.1

          More to the point of: there are very few issues of which we can make any practicable stand that the rest of the world would care about.

          No one cares about our position on Ukraine and Russia because we’re irrelevant to that.

          Despite the Green’s hoopla over it, I don’t think NZ getting 100% of it’s electrical energy from renewable sources will really ignite the passions of the rest of the world: we’re already starting from a benchmark of 70% renewables thanks to our low population and good rainfall and rivers, and furthermore electricity makes up less than half of our total energy use anyway. If we could somehow break the laws of physics and invent a cheap, efficient electric car, then maybe the world might care, but that simply won’t happen.

          Nuclear Free New Zealand was a one-off issue, and only important in as much as it pissed off the US. No one’s likely to try and bring conventional nuclear energy to NZ in the next 50 years, and the impasse on US ships docking didn’t do squat to their military preparedness.

          • Sosoo 1.1.1.1.1

            If we’re a small country that doesn’t matter, then nobody should really mind if we go our own way.

            We have no real enemies, and a massive continent in between us and potential “enemies” in South East Asia. We certainly don’t need to grovel and scrape like the lickspittles across the Tasman.

            Any country powerful enough to be able to use significant force against New Zealand would find it cheaper and easier to bribe us, so there’s no real point in being a lap dog.

      • Ennui 1.1.2

        Studied neutrality and good deeds might be our best defense and guarantee of friendship with all.

      • Ennui 1.1.3

        No Lanth, the nuclear free stance was not an aberration. Like children growing up we tested the limits, and stretched them a little. Eventually we might mature, become adults as a country, fly the nest and set out on our own course. I think the issue is that we need to be brave (as was Lange at the time) and true to ourselves. Its either that or remain naughty children forever whipped into shape by the likes of Key for somebody elses benefit..

    • karol 1.2

      Well said, Ennui. I am also concerned that David Shearer has also come out in support of the EU/US (and John Key’s) positions. Where does Cunliffe stand on this?

      • Ennui 1.2.1

        Shearers stance betrays the lack of unity in the Labour Caucus, and their lack of discipline. Cunliffe should sack him, and the Party should demote him from the seat and put him down the list. Harsh? Reminds me of Candide witnessing the shooting of a British Admiral (Bing), “to set an example to the others”.

      • Wayne 1.2.2

        Karol,

        Seriously, are you supporting Russia’s Crimean intervention, because that is what your post seems to be saying. Does this mean you were an old style Soviet apologist? No NZ govt (even Lange) got themselves quite into that space.

        Now, it is obviously inevitable that Russia is going to take over Crimea, and in truth nothing can be done about. But we don’t need to meekly accept that might is right.

        The issue now is what to do. Russia can be “punished”, ie no G8 in Sochi, but these are passing pinpricks. But probably does not justify much more than that. Actually the sooner Crimea votes to be part of Russia (or at least independent of Ukraine) the better. It will give everyone the opportunity to back off. But that is not the same as welcoming what Russia has done

        But any action beyond Crimea will be bloody and dangerous. Putin needs to be persuaded not to do that, and threats of serious economic sanctions, as well as dialogue, will be part of such dissausion.

        • Colonial Viper 1.2.2.1

          Come now Wayne, the Soviet Union has been gone for a long time.

          Would you support a more democratic approach by the Russians instead of the “might is right” paradigm you speak of?

          Surely the Crimeans could hold elections to see if they wished to stay with Kiev, or to go with Moscow. What say you to this democratic approach, letting the people choose instead of letting world powers replay the Great Game?

          • Bill 1.2.2.1.1

            Surely the Crimeans could hold elections to see if they wished…

            Erm…no. Have you seen the threats being thrown around by external actors in the lead up to the independence vote in Scotland due this September? Imagine that, but on steroids, in the case of an independence vote in Crimea.

            The only way to ‘cut the crap’ is to get rid of all these structures and the people who would assume to use them to rule over others. Not much of an appetite for that in a world of wall to wall propaganda subtly and unsubtly telling us we need to be governed by something greater and external to us and our every day lives because, you know, we need to be saved and guarded from ourselves. Lucky for us, as ever, ‘great leaders’ are just around the next corner or just beyond the next election.

        • karol 1.2.2.2

          The main point of my article is, “What has the Crimea/Ukraine got to do with NZ, that has warranted such a quick response from Key?” I argued that the western media and governments have presented a very skewed version of what is happening and that the US and EU as as guilty of self-interested ambitions and actions within the area as Russia. So why has the NZ government been so quick to take sides?

          This does not look like the position of an independent state.

          • Populuxe1 1.2.2.2.1

            Oooh, I know! I know this one! waves hand frantically. Please Ms, is it because we are members of the UN and therefore signatories to a number of charters and agreements regarding the illegality of the unprovoked military invasion and occupation of sovereign states?

            Of course that would lead us to ponder why the last Labour Government wasn’t vocal in condemnation of the US invasion of Iraq…

            • Sosoo 1.2.2.2.1.1

              How can Ukraine be a sovereign state when it doesn’t appear to have a functioning government and the last “legitimate” government was ousted by force?

              The “government” in Kiev would appear legitimate to those in the east of the country, but not to most of those living in the west, who voted for the parties that actually won.

              I honestly don’t see why we have to care. The UN is a joke and geopolitics seems to have reverted to the state it was in before WW1. I don’t particularly care whose “empire” gets Ukraine. Ukrainians care, but they are divided on the issue, so someone’s going to take a loss no matter what.

              • Populuxe1

                It can be a sovereign state by virtue of self determination and international recognisation. No one gives a rat’s arse if you don’t care, but some of us do – not least of all because we have friends over there, or simply because we are not solipsistic navel-gazers

        • Bill 1.2.2.3

          But we don’t need to meekly accept that might is right.

          I quite agree with that statement Wayne. Just wondering though, what was your position on the invasions of Iraq, or the invasion of Afghanistan (which also flouted international law) or Grenada or Panama or even the non-military might being applied to the Ukraine by the EU/US? Are you consistent, or does moral high ground only come into being when ‘official’ enemies are getting up to bad shit?

          • Wayne 1.2.2.3.1

            Afghanistan did not flout international law. In fact it was specifically authorised by several UN resolutions.

            And are you seriously suggesting that the world completely ignore the use of military force in Crimea. And more specifically the risk of wider military action. A strong stance by the EU/US and indeed by Ukraine that dissuades Putin from going further is a good thing. And I do agree that NZ has a role to play here. If Russia has a sense of total condemnation if they go further, and that helps dissuade them, then that is a desirable outcome.

            Incidentially I was surprised that some commenters were attacking David Shearers stance. They will be really furious with Josie Pagani, although I imagine they already are.

            • Bill 1.2.2.3.1.1

              Well no, the US, UK and Australian invasion of Afghanistan was most certainly not authorised by UN resolutions.

              That aside – I haven’t suggested that the world completely ignore the use of military force in Crimea. (You missed the comment where I’ve quite clearly condemn all the ‘institutional’ protagonists?) Rather, I’m seriously suggesting people like you might want to reflect and then display a level of consistency in your utterances instead of routinely cheer-leading the ‘good guys’ when they put on their marching boots and condemning the ‘bad guys’ when they do.

              The hypocrisy only leads to excuse and aid ‘your’ good guy bad fuckers in creating mayhem and causing many, many deaths.

              • lprent

                Well no, the US, UK and Australian invasion of Afghanistan was most certainly not authorised by UN resolutions.

                Correct. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_in_Afghanistan_(2001%E2%80%93present)

                United Nations Security Council Resolution 1378 of 14 November 2001, included “Condemning the Taliban for allowing Afghanistan to be used as a base for the export of terrorism by the al-Qaeda network and other terrorist groups and for providing safe haven to Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda and others associated with them, and in this context supporting the efforts of the Afghan people to replace the Taliban regime”.[149]

                But significantly it did NOT authorize military options by the UN against Afghanistan. That left the UN in the position of supporting only trade sanctions against Afghanistan.

                The UN general assembly chose to recognize the defacto toppling of the Taliban regime a few months after the attacks in October 2001 by the US and other forces and after the Taliban government wasn’t functional as a government (if it ever really was). That was towards the end of December 2001 when it set up the ISAF (which is what (from memory) NZ acted on).

                In international law, it is damn hard to view the attack of the US and its allies as being anything apart from a war of aggression.

                Bearing in mind

                1. The degree of operations that the Taliban had allowed various terrorist groups including al-Qaeda to operate inside Afghanistan unde rthe direct control of the Taliban government, As far as I’m concerned that was clear evidence of the collusion of the Taliban government in terrorist attacks against civilians.
                2. Some pretty significiant intelligence both then and later that Afghanistan was the command and control centre for the September 11 2001 and earlier attacks,

                3. The deadlock in the security council that prevented any useful response to the imminent threat of further terrorist action from that command and control centre.

                Then I personally think it was probably a justified attack. But it certainly wasn’t authorised by UN resolutions.

                • Bill

                  You’re aware that a whole tranche of leaked diplomatic cables demonstrate that the Taliban was trying – rather desperately – to get rid of Bin Laden prior to 2001? They, quite reasonably, pointed out to the US that as he was seen as a hero by many, so they couldn’t exactly just bundle him into a car and drive him over the border. They both alerted the US as to when he was ‘not under their wing’ (to facilitate kidnapping) and also offered to surrender him to Saudi Arabia in the absence of the US recognising the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan?

                  The Taliban even had him under arrest at one point (something to do with promoting anti-Islamic views or some such) and asked the US to forward any evidence for his involvement in bombings of USS Cole and Kenyan embassies. They forwarded a video tape of a CNN ’60 Minutes’ interview. The Taliban (given the paucity of evidence) had no option but to free him.

                  From the cables, it’s absolutely clear that both the US and Saudi Arabia (who did recognise the Taliban as the legitimate government) were as desperate for Bin Laden to stay in Afghanistan as the Taliban were to be rid of him.

                  • lprent

                    I’m aware of all of that. Bit bloody late is my attitude to it. The problem is that the evidence of a Taliban government sanctioned command and control centre in Afghanistan was pretty damn clear from (at the latest) the US african embassy bombings of 1998.

                    They, quite reasonably, pointed out to the US that as he was seen as a hero by many, so they couldn’t exactly just bundle him into a car and drive him over the border.

                    They could have done exactly that, and kicked his entire organisation out of their country. They didn’t. Few of them were citizens by any stretch of the imagination, and governments are responsible to the acts of their residents.

                    I’m afraid that in my book giving sympathy to them for getting caught between their population and an implacable enemy after spending years pumping the terrorist support is completely unwarranted. It was rather too late.

                    They were quite responsible for the consequences of their support. Their actions in 200 and 2001 had the distinct attitude of wasting time and showed absolutely no signs about doing ANYTHING about the network of terrorism in their country. It needed cleaning out. I suspect that the US moved somewhat earlier than what would have happened if the UN had a few more months.

                    Iraq of course was a completely different matter. That war had no justification.

                    I also have little sympathy with the murders that the US is currently waging with drones.

                    • Bill

                      Lynn, there wasn’t any ‘hook-up’ between the Taliban and Al Qaeda in terms of logistical support or finances. (The Taliban were considered as backward hicks by Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Al Qaeda seen as ‘up themselves arses’ by the Taliban) If I’m getting your reasoning, then Eire should have been carpet bombed because IRA operatives lived there and executed operations from there. And Boston should have been bombed because the IRA raised a lot of funds from there.

                      Bottom line is that Bin Laden was from Saudi Arabia, the religious underpinnings of Al Qaeda is (was) Wahhabism – again pointing to Saudi Arabia. And funds probably came from there, through sympathetic Wahhabists, after Bin Laden’s finances were frozen.

                      It’s also very unclear as to whether Bin Laden actually knew about the Twin Towers plan in advance (Robert Fisk’s interview with him from some years back suggested he was isolated in terms of access to modern communications tech and so, kinda, ‘out of the loop’) Anyway, bugger all money and almost no external resources were required to buy some plane tickets, some stanley knives and a hand full of flight lessons.

                      Finally, Al Qaeda was a name given to a conglomeration of people and groups bound by certain ideas or a certain idea – Bin Laden was more a notional figurehead for people to identify with, and yes, gain inspiration from, as opposed to a traditional leader in some type of command and control structure.

            • Bill 1.2.2.3.1.2

              Just to be absolutely clear on the question of the invasion of Afghanistan – the UK and US informed the UN on 7th Oct that they had invoked Article 51, which allows for necessary and proportionate action in the name of self defense.

              There were no UN resolutions authorising any military action by anyone in Afghanistan prior to the US and UK’s pre-emptive and very questionable invocation of Article 51.

              • lprent

                Agreed.

                On the other hand you could easily say that the previous sanctions imposed by the UN on Afghanistan after the african bombings were completely ineffectual. All it did was to allow the terrorists controlled and trained from Taliban controlled Afghanistan move on to larger targets without ANY apparent attempt to constrain them.

                That ineffectual posture by the UN kind of lost its attraction for me and obviously the US after deaths of nearly 3000 mostly civilians.

                I guess that is why they have rapidly been bringing their legalities to organised international terrorism up to scratch. I rather suspect that future events of mass attack against civilians will receive a much faster response from the UN next time.

        • Murray Olsen 1.2.2.4

          Wayne, can you link me to your condemnations of the practice of “might is right” on the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the no fly zone imposed on Libya that saw tanks and troops bombed, maybe to stop them sprouting wings?

          We have no business supporting attacks on Russia via Ukrainian proxy, as some sort of chickenhawk hangover of the Cold War. We should not get involved. Not because Russia is good, but because we can be honourable. It’s quite possible that no one but ourselves would notice. Maybe we can’t change the world, but we can stop letting other nations dictate what happens in our little corner of it.

      • Populuxe1 1.2.3

        I’m not sure condemning Russia’s violation of international law and Ukrainian sovereignty is really coming out in “support of the EU/US (and John Key’s) positions”. I condemn Israeli expansion into Palestinian territory, but that doesn’t mean I want to get into bed with Hezbollah. That sort of binary thinking is niave and plays into the propagandists’ hands.

        • karol 1.2.3.1

          Hmmm…. I’m am being critical of Key and others for slipping into supporting that binary by only condemning Russia and ignoring all the interference from the US and EU.

          Kennedy Graham had a more nuanced and principled response in the debate today.
          * No use of force
          *Territorial integrity – today re-Russia, and illegal attacks on, occupation of Iraq by US led forces.
          *Requires dialogue through UN peace envoy – between Russia and Ukraine, without the EU or US involvement
          *West should butt out.

          • Populuxe1 1.2.3.1.1

            Except that any military destabilisation of Ukraine will impact on Poland and Slovakia, both EU and NATO states, which justifies US involvement. Given that there will be a massive influx of refugees in a westerly direction should things get nasty, the EU has every right to involve itself.
            It’s pointless to argue “no use of force” when their are Russian troops currently occupying civilian positions in sovereign Ukraine territory. The Russians have already used force.
            “Territorial integrity” – Not recognised by the UN as an argument.
            Graham’s diplomacy seems to amount to shutting an impoverished country that hasn’t actually done anything wrong alone in a UN room with a permanent member of the UN Security Council and nuclear superpower in the hopes they come to a fair and equitable agreement. Good luck with that.
            West can’t “butt out” coz NATO, EU member states being next door, and the 1994 Budapest Memorandum.

  2. clifford wright 2

    Karol deserves an “F” for history!!!
    Just look at the residue of the old Soviet Union. From the Tsars to Stalin there was a deliberate policy to spread “ethnic Russians” throughout the Empire.
    Now Tsar Putin wants them all back. Just like Hitler started with the Sudetenland there will be no end if Putin gets away with it. First Ukraine, then Kazakstan, Moldavia , Latvia and all the Baltic republics can be invaded and reabsorbed with the same old excuse “I’m protecting the downtrodden Russian minority”.
    This same “persecuted minority” were those on top doing Moscow’s bidding before the USSR fell.

    Georgia was lucky to get away with all the damage it got and effective loss of territory.
    Russia remains a sort of Libertarian/ Fascist/ neo Marxist state with a single dictator just as it always has been. It whole sad history (at east since the 16th century) has been rule by gangsters.
    As far as I can see it has had about 2 or 3 years of anything approaching democracy in its whole history.
    Pan Slavism was a major factor in starting WW1 and now, just maybe it might trigger WW3.

    • karol 2.1

      I agree that Putin’s aim to hold on to the Crimea (and maybe also Ukraine) is strategic. In my posts I put the ethnic considerations as one part of a complex situation.

      However, clifford, you have totally ignored the interference by the EU and US, and their imperialistic and economic reasons for that – strategic and economic.

      By the way, the whole panslavic move that you talk of, in moving Russians into outlying areas…..

      …how does that differ from the British period of colonisation when the Brit authorities encouraged large sections of the British population to settle in colonised territories?

      And now you have ignored Key’s (and Shearer’s) quickness in supporting the EU and US positions. What significance does the Ukraine have for NZ?

      • Poission 2.1.1

        The Russian response was to the interference in Ukrainian politics during the protests in Kiev.During the protests we saw the insertion of a deputy secretary of state.and representatives of the uk govt,discussing future proposals with right wing protestors.

        What would the UK response to say Lavrov discussing NI independence with the IRA on the Falls road,or during the youth riots, Or indeed a Russian parliamentarian discussing independence with a right wing Militia in Montana? .

      • Populuxe1 2.1.2

        “…how does that differ from the British period of colonisation when the Brit authorities encouraged large sections of the British population to settle in colonised territories?”

        Possibly because two world wars disabused us of the notion it was a good idea. Hence the British Empire is notable by it’s absence and we bothered to set up the flawed UN. Surely you are not suggesting that it would be ok for Britain to invade us just because the population is largely descended from British people? Perhaps you should give up your British citizenship just in case the UK gets ideas.

        • karol 2.1.2.1

          That’s off target, pop.

          My point was about how the NZ government continues to follow the UK line because of the historical history of colonisation.

          And I am not suggesting anything like what you are suggesting.

          • Populuxe1 2.1.2.1.1

            Or more likely that because we are a western-style liberal democracy that values human rights and individual freedoms we tend to side with other states that resemble our own way of thinking. As opposed to Tsar Vlad over in Russia. Just a thought.

    • greywarbler 2.2

      This is not just a Russian ploy. The big countries are always jostling for position, and resources. Little countries have to try to think because they don’t have much money. At the present time we are borrowing to stay afloat and have a government which follows from the lie today, and fudge tomorrow approach to politics and the people’s economy.

      As a vassal state we might not be allowed our sovereignty by either our ally or the supposed opposing side. We used to be afraid of the Russians, the Bolsheviks, the Chinese, the yellow hordes, we went to Europe to fight for the Allies and left our own country exposed to the Axis side. We are compromised. We have to be knowledgable about the world even if we are a pimple on its bottom. We haven’t many options, but we need to utilise all we have so we don’t get dragged into beggaring ourselves by supporting and further other people’s wars.

      But we traded with the Russians with our butter for their Lada cars when NZ people were being presented with ideas that linked Labour to dancing cossacks. We couldn’t trade directly for money or official credits, as we didn’t have common international financial agreements. We were the first to sign a free trade agreement with China’s corporate communists. And are dependent on them, although they are difficult trading partners. We have looked to Australia as an ally and find that our small Economic Union has a varying commodity price in their eyes.

      Understanding the Russian position and the Ukraine one is essential not just sneering at them and adopting hostile, Cold-War memes on them as the mendacious Russkies. They are looking to their economy and future, and so the rules change and are fluid. The USA is the same, two mammoths with large footprints. All countries can be mendacious in these days. We have to look lively and think not just react according to private school Boys Own stories.

      • Populuxe1 2.2.1

        Pretty sure it’s bad irrespective of whether Russia or the US is doing it

    • Ennui 2.3

      Bollocks Clifford, Ks grasp of Russian history vis a vis the Ukraine is much better than a pass mark. Your historic knowledge appears somewhat lacking in context and perspective. For a starter you might wish to trace the origins of the Russian state, in the Ukraine, capital Kiev until the Mongol invasions swept it into “exile” in Muscovy, which is very illustrative of the ebbs and flows of people and power across the steppes. And whilst it is true Russians spread across the “empire” so did every other ethnicity, the whole region has been in a state of movement with overlays of settlers and invaders from east and west for a millenium.

      It would appear to me that you fear a resurgent Russia, maybe the “Cold War” ended but the fall out is yet to be resolved in the manner you would have wished. Maybe what you are watching is the traditionally authoritarian people of the East rebuilding their state their way, facing off the imperial gangsters and banksters of the West. Have a little think about the list of countries that the EU and US have invaded and or undermined (all for the best reasons of course) ….Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan Yugoslavia, Venezuela, Grenada, pretty much all of Latin America…drones flying murder missions in Pakistan..the list goes on.

      Oh, and the people you refer to as F@scists and Neo Marxists…they may wish to come to the help of their own “persecuted minority”…I heard that the first thing the revolutionary government in Kiev (installed by neo N@zi thugs bankrolled by the EU and US) did was to ban the speaking of Russian. Thats “democracy”.

      • Populuxe1 2.3.1

        That was more or less H1tler’s justification for invading the Sudetenland wasn’t it? Coming to the help of ethnic Germans? Why is it odious Putin fanboys seem to be stuck with the impression that the murderous bastard is somehow a hero of the left because he annoys the US? Germany and Japan annoyed the US too. I’m not even going to dredge up the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.
        Meanwhile while you get all misty-eyed about Pootie, he is supressing the Russian media, enabling monstrous acts against LGBT people, bombing Chechens, invading his sovereign neighbours and holding Europe to ransome theough their dependence on Russian gas.

        • Ennui 2.3.1.1

          Who is a Putin fanboy Pop? Certainly not me, he is pretty much the authoritarian KGB man he always was. Having said that he is not the transparently dishonest creature that Obama is and Bush was. I would certainly trust him more than the loathsome Cameron (or Key for that matter).

          PS Hitler might have justified the Sudeten event with the ethnic argument after he fomented trouble in the area, Putin saw the trouble fomented by the US and EU. In reality all he has to do with the Ukraine and Belorus is await their economic collapse and fragmentation and they will come back of their own accord. Cant see a bankrupt EU bailing them out when Italy, Spain and Greece are basket cases they cant help. And the US is in no position to bail themselves out, let alone “some far off European country”.

          • Populuxe1 2.3.1.1.1

            Which doesn’t reall explain Abkhazia and South Ossetia

            • Ennui 2.3.1.1.1.1

              Lets just say the fall out from the collapse of the Soviet Empire was always going to be messy, but it was always going to be “local”. And fraught with cloudy issues and injustices. I dont see it ending short term, Belorus is also a basket case that has always been “Russian”. Conversely how does one regard the storm of indignation from the USA who have a far superior record of invasion, undermining and crippling foreign countries?

              • Populuxe1

                Using euphemistic language still sounds like apologism for naked imperialism to me

  3. Bill 3

    I know that I can’t be the only person who reflects on US military in actions Grenada and Panama when viewing the Russian actions in the Crimea.

    Aside from that (and the obvious difference in msm reporting on those three occasions) I really would like to know more about the people behind this interim government in Kiev. From the little I can glean, there are basically opposing teams of oligarchs vying for power and control. I suspect many unsavoury bastards are wheeling and dealing and not giving a shit for fuck all beyond their own investments and assets.

    I’d like to see a plague descend on all their houses – the powerbrokers in the US, EU, Russia, Kiev and anyone who seeks to ride on the coat tails of any of them.

    As an aside, I got a ‘notifcation’ on my face book yesterday that claimed to be penned by a Russian speaking Ukrainian. (A woman by the name of Maia Kiev) As I read it, I couldn’t help but think how neatly it dovetailed with lines you’d expect to hear coming from ‘official’ western sources, and half my mind reflected on the NSA files and their ‘seeding’ of social networks with phony info…that and the odd case of CNN suddenly giving voice to an allegedly ordinary person when, well, that just doesn’t happen in these situations. Here’s the link. I’m not saying she’s definitely not genuine, just that her take is rather convenient and quietly reflecting on the fact that she only ‘joined’ the iCNN network (whatever that is) on Feb 19. http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1099314

    • karol 3.1

      Yes, there’s very little reported of ordinary people in the Ukraine. It’s all about the big power games.

      Given that there are diverse positions that have been reported to some extent within the Ukraine, it is very manipulative to present just one voice – one that supports the official western lines. I truly independent media would have presented a slection of different voices.

  4. Rich 4

    Countries shouldn’t invade other countries. Kinda simple.

    • karol 4.1

      These days there are more ways to invade a country than with boots on the ground. Borders are beign transgressed all over the place. It’s not really that simple. Did Russia invade? Or did the US start invading earlier in their own, non-transparent ways.

      • tamati 4.1.1

        The last thing the US and the EU wanted was to destabilise Ukraine. Stop swallowing RT Kremlin propaganda and claiming that this was some sort of Western coup in support of fascists.

        The reality is those who brought down the government were sick of living in an impoverished society under the boot of Russia, whilst other former Soviet satellites have prospered in the E.U.

        Obama is crippled at home and congress in as isolationist as it has been in 70 years. The EU couldn’t orchestrate a birthday party, let alone a foreign coup.

        Now the E.U. faces the possibility of a hundreds or thousands of refugees, another bankrupt state to bail out, a gas shortage this winter and a flare up of cold war tensions. If they really did orchestrate the downfall of the Ukrainian government, it was a pretty dumb idea.

        • karol 4.1.1.1

          The reality is those who brought down the government were sick of living in an impoverished society under the boot of Russia, whilst other former Soviet satellites have prospered in the E.U.

          Citations needed – plus some comparison between those that support Russia and those who support the new Ukraine government. There’s also evidence that the EU and US intereferred in the rebellion to get an outcome that is favourable to them.

          • tamam 4.1.1.1.1

            Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic and Poland versus Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Pretty much any comparison you can think of the former rank higher than the latter.

            As I said before, why would the E.U want to destabilize Ukraine? Is it wrong for them to condemn their neighbors for shooting protesting students?

            • Mike S 4.1.1.1.1.1

              “why would the E.U want to destabilize Ukraine?”

              Really?? You mean it’s too much of a leap for you to figure that one out?

              • tamati

                Enlighten me….

                -The E.U are broke why would they want to adopt another bankrupt state.
                -It’s nothing to do with gas, the Europeans bought Russian gas throughout the Cold War, they aren’t going to stop now.

                • Mike S

                  Maybe to expand NATO’s sphere of influence. Put US and NATO military bases in the Ukraine, including Crimea. Expansion of the US Empire. Ultimately I guess the goal would be to break up Russia further down the track.

                  • tamati

                    The Cold War’s over. It’s 2014 not 1984.

                    • Mike S

                      You really think that because the cold war is over, NATO doesn’t want to expand, the EU doesn’t want to expand and the US doesn’t want to rule the world?

                      On a different tack and this is not in relation to your comments Tamati, how about this for quote of the year from John Kerry-

                      ““You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext.”

                      !!!

          • tamati 4.1.1.1.2

            Compare the Baltic States and Poland, with Ukraine and Belarus and you can see a pretty clear picture.

          • Populuxe1 4.1.1.1.3

            They were upset at Russian puppet kleptocrats spending what money the country had left on crap like this
            http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26307745

      • Populuxe1 4.1.2

        …or ALIENS…
        Do you not consider all that Russian money going into the pockets of Yanukovych (private zoo, classic) and his cronies to constitute “non-transparent” ways? The actions of the perfidious US in no way detract from Russia’s blindingly obvious military occupation in violation of international law.

    • Colonial Viper 4.2

      Countries shouldn’t invade other countries. Kinda simple.

      It’s happened about 500 times in the last 3 centuries. NZ has even helped out on occasion. Stop living in a fantasy land.

      • tamati 4.2.1

        That doesn’t make it right does it?

        • Colonial Viper 4.2.1.1

          Depends if you want to live in political reality, or in political fantasy. The US invades more countries than any other nation. Do you approve of invasions when they are carried out by the US?

          • tamati 4.2.1.1.1

            So because George W. Bush invaded Iraq it’s fine Putin to invade Ukraine?

            I see your logic, but surely we’ve moved on from that!

    • greywarbler 4.3

      Rich
      Simple. Yes you are.

    • Paul 4.4

      Or subvert them

  5. Tracey 5

    if key’s prepared to lose money it MUST be important.

  6. Glenn50 6

    Investors fled Russian assets, with stocks in Moscow falling by 10.8 per cent, their biggest daily fall since the 2008 financial crisis.
    The rouble fell nearly 3 per cent to a record low of Rbs36.90 against the dollar
    Russian central bank announced a surprise interest rate hike and spent at least £7bn supporting the rouble

    The near 12 per cent slide in the rouble so far this year has raised fears of inflation in Russia, where people have painful memories of devaluations in 1997-98 and 2008-09.

    It looks like the Russians may pay for their invasion. Unfortunately it won’t be the oligarchs or politicians who suffer just the poor without overseas bank accounts.

    Putin isn’t doing Russia any favours.

    I’m not going to worry too much about the Crimea however when Putin takes the rest of the East of the country I will start to worry. Theres a lot of smaller countries bordering Russia that will be extremely nervous.

    It is beginning to sound like history repeating.

    The German occupation of Czechoslovakia (1938–1945) began with the Nazi annexation of Czechoslovakia’s northern and western border regions, known collectively as the Sudetenland, under terms outlined by the Munich Agreement. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s pretext for this effort was the alleged privations suffered by the ethnic German population living in those regions.

    Following the Anschluss of Nazi Germany and Austria, in March 1938, the conquest of Czechoslovakia became Hitler’s next ambition. The incorporation of the Sudetenland into Nazi Germany left the rest of Czechoslovakia weak and it became powerless to resist subsequent occupation.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Western encroachment into Russia’s historic backyard is being resisted by Putin. The fact that this surprises you, and the fact that you think that Russia is emulating Nazi Germany in any way, marks you as someone who sounds educated, but is yet woefully ignorant of otherwise very predictable Russian attitudes.

    • Paul 6.2

      Not an accurate analogy.

      • Colonial Viper 6.2.1

        Russia resisted encroachment on its western boarders in ww2, it is simply doing so again.

        • tamati 6.2.1.1

          By Russia’s backyard I assume you mean, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Czech Repulic, Slovakia and Hungary?

        • Populuxe1 6.2.1.2

          Hmmm. Israel and Nazi Germany both said something very similar.

    • Ennui 6.3

      Glenn, I have not noticed Putin writing a book about his struggle, predetermining an evil course of action. Do you know something I dont? I did however notice US and EU money and training heading towards neo Nazi “revolutionaries” in the Ukraine….do you think that when the Czechs and Austrians were invaded by Nazis neighbouring countries might have gone quickly to their aid? I think the French and British should have at that moment, don’t you? Should Putin allow neo Nazis free rein next door?

      Also, Russian economic issues…..they may be buffeted by this but it would be very refreshing to see a country tell international finance to stick it, and to display that the cost of sovereignty is understood. The corollary is that should Moscow decide to return sanctions, and cut the gas and oil German industry might go bust. Oil prices might peak highly which would suit oil exporters such as Russia as they would benefit. We would suffer too. Be careful what you wish for.

  7. captain hook 7

    Karol I love your leftism and devotion to the task but in reality no country is independent and the politics of bashing the British Monarchy reeks of unbridled envy. Give thanks for what they have done and just accept them as the cost of creating institutions that however imperfect they may be set the standard for any democracy.
    The devil is in the detail and go after the banal poltroons who want to spy on everyone and not the symbols of democracy.

    • karol 7.1

      ch, I have no envy of UK royals. I worry about the promotion of their visit, on taxpayer money, in an election year, and when our country could better spend the money to benefit Kiwis.

      Monarchies are an inherited institutions and have nothing to do with democracy. It does just the opposite – it legitimises inherited wealth and privilege. It is a British institution that is not relevant to 21st century NZ.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        Thats your call karol, but a solid majority of NZ and UK citizens disagrees with you and find that the Royals give them a sense of symbolism and history that the institutions and concepts of the Left do not.

        Or are you willing to ignore a democratic majority in the name of democracy?

        • Bill 7.1.1.1

          Just as many people get a sense of identity from a godhead or a commercial bastardisation of a godhead or whatever, CV. And, like Royalty, all myths that are irrelevant to 21C political configurations…except for those people who vote for pollies according to their religious bent.

        • karol 7.1.1.2

          Most UK citizens I know (and I am one myself, holding dual nationality), don’t support the monarchy on democracy and egalitarian grounds. Yes the majority of the electorate tend to be influenced by the propaganda and spin about the monarchy in the media. I can see how many Brits would see the royals as symbols of the national identity.

          The situation in NZ is more confused and marginal. During the last Labour government a small majority favoured ditching the monarchy. More recent polls (by Curia and following some good pro royals spin in the media) support the royals.

          But the polls are also influenced by the fact that most Kiwis are uncertain about the kind of republic that would replace the royals, and the role of the Treat of Waitangi.

          Democracy is more than just voting in a poll. And it is also possible for people to vote for something that ultimately undermines the foundation of democracy.

    • greywarbler 7.2

      captain hook
      You make good points.

      And poltroons are people that royalty have had long awareness of.
      Wikipedia – An ignoble or total coward; a dastard; a mean-spirited wretch.  
      1842, Nicholas Michell, The Traduced: An Historical Romance‎, page 266-267
      “To gain life by means of a breach of faith and honour, were indeed to render myself the poltroon, and the villain my accusers believe me.”

      I think George is likely to be a better influence on society than Thatcher, Blair, Cameron, Muldoon, Sir Roger Douglas, Hayek, Rand, Friedman, Lehman, Goldsachs, Shipley, Richardson, Key etc. And he won’t wear the Ring to Rule them All, but be someone to whom we can put high in the hierarchy but not in the milling, grabbing meanstream of wannabes. And someone will always seek that place. So better him than the spawn of the others listed.

      • Populuxe1 7.2.1

        “Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee, is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns.”

        Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    Washington’s Arrogance, Hubris, and Evil Have Set the Stage for War

    Russia has been slow to react to the many years of Washington’s provocations, hoping for some sign of good sense and good will to emerge in the West. Instead, Russia has experienced rising demonization from Washington and European capitals and foaming at the mouth vicious denunciations by the West’s media whores. The bulk of the American and European populations are being brainwashed to see the problem that Washington’s meddling has caused in Ukraine to be Russia’s fault.

    Make no mistake, John Key is just another part of that propaganda.

    • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 8.1

      +1 Draco T Bastard

    • Populuxe1 8.2

      Yes dammit, those Ukranian students who got murdered for protesting weren’t at all responding to a kleptocratic Russian puppet government wantonly stealing the nation’s wealth to squander on private zoos and palaces while the rest of the population lived in relative poverty. Oh no. Russia was forced to invade Crimea because… because… um…

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 8.2.1

        What part do you think this investment (infestment) has played in the issue, Populuxe1?

        ” According to the Wall Street Journal’s former Associate Editor, Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of State Nuland:

        “In an eight minute, 46 second speech at the National Press Club sponsored by the US-Ukraine Foundation, Chevron, and Ukraine-in-Washington Lobby Group, Nuland boasted that Washington has spent $5 billion to foment agitation to bring Ukraine into the EU. Once captured by the EU, Ukraine will be ‘helped’ by the West acting through the IMF. Nuland, of course, presented the IMF as Ukraine’s rescuer, not as the iron hand of the West that will squeeze all life out of Ukraine’s struggling economy.”

        From Chris Trotter’s article on the Daily Blog

        [emphasis added]

        • Populuxe1 8.2.1.1

          Did I at any point say I approved of economic imperialism? No I did not.
          Then again why should I completely ignore elements in Ukraine who are pro-western and do want to be part of the EU? But I would rather such things should be decided by the Ukrainian people in a free referendum

          • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 8.2.1.1.1

            I didn’t accuse you of anything, Populuxe1, – because your comment didn’t appear to acknowledge other factors of this issue arising in the Ukraine – I asked you a straight question.

            How about you answer the question?

            Having billions of dollars infested into a country to create dissent destroys any chance of ‘Ukrainian people choosing for themselves in a free referendum’ – until those interests are revealed to each and every Ukrainian person who has been on the receiving end of the propaganda that such money buys.

            [Same goes for Nz and the utter bullshit we are being fed in the guise of ‘information’.]

            • Populuxe1 8.2.1.1.1.1

              What the US did was very bad – no contest. A military invasion is IMHO worse

              • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                Depends if the ‘military invasion’ is invited or not — and whether action – killing people – actually occurs or whether it is a timely preventative show of strength that ends up motivating real diplomacy to occur.

                Mostly ‘battles’ are being conducted in the minds of people these days – invading peoples’ minds, especially by stealth and via the subconscious i.e uninvited – giving people no freedom of choice – it is very hard to consider this is in any way better* than a show of military strength especially in these particular circumstances when said military action may have been invited by the country concerned and which may end up being a preventative measure of something worse occurring.

                Seems to me that if America has been conducting a psych-ops in Ukraine that the damage has already been well and truly done.

                *Perhaps on a par – uninvited invasion not good – yet psych-ops are causing terrible civil wars through out the world currently and historically – diplomacy is the best way – yet psych-ops destroys true diplomacy.

            • Populuxe1 8.2.1.1.1.2

              “Same goes for Nz and the utter bullshit we are being fed in the guise of ‘information’.”
              RT isn’t much better

              • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                ‘Isn’t much better’

                Lol but clearly better just the same!

                Someone has shown me ‘Worlds Apart’ and ‘Max Keiser’ from RT – these both seem far more informative and supply far more fodder for critical thinking than any of the bubblegum I have viewed on NZ TV recently…

          • Pascal's bookie 8.2.1.1.2

            I think plebiscites will be the best thing to happen. Some are scheduled, and both sides have so far shown discipline in not actually shooting.

            I think the worst thing that could happen would be for the west to bait ptuin to the point that allowing plebiscites would look like weakness, or to insist that Crimea not be allowed it’s own say on whether it wishes to stay in an EU focused Ukraine.

            Nations have interests, and the priorotise them differently. Crimea is very important to both Russia and Ukraine, but whether it important enough to the EU to be worth bloodshed is what the west needs to bear in mind, IMO.

            To that end bear baiting isn’t helpful, and nor is indicating to Ukraine that we would have their backs in a Russian conflict, when in fact we wouldn’t. Such indications lead to the sort of misunderstandings that can get a lot of people killed who otherwise wouldn’t.

      • greywarbler 8.2.2

        Populuxe
        When disagreements get hot people can attack each other and they might die. We have had someone knife someone else in NZ over a fence being graffitied.

        But understanding the reasons behind the disagreements and trying by both parties to come to terms with each other’s needs, that might eventually lead to an outcome that can be lived with. Wallowing in past history and rights and wrongs is great for actors gesturing on a stage. People who want to live together in a peaceable manner haven’t your licence to orate Pop.

        • Populuxe1 8.2.2.1

          No. I will not. I condemned the Iraq War and I condemn this invasion. Putin is not some poor little misjudged man of peace, he is a product of the political system that crushed the Czechs in ’68, invaded Afghanistan in ’71 and squashed solidarity in Poland in ’80-’81. He has demonstrated willingness to continue in this vein by his invasion of Georgia in 2008 and persistant efforts to create a second empire under the rubric of a Eurasian Union. He is up to his armpits in Egypt and Syria. For fuck’s sake, Russians can’t even live together in a peaceable manner in Russia.

  9. xtasy 9

    New Zealand has NEVER been truly independent, and the anti-nuclear movement was actually quite a revolutionary change in foreign and local policy, which to some degree came about by accident, rather than firm intention of the government then in power. It was also more “superficial”, or “trendy”, than robust and deep seated, I fear.

    The economic realities are telling us that New Zealand is NOT at all independent, it is largely still very much part of the global financial and economic “network” that makes up the still rather “Anglo Saxon” economic sphere, dominated by the USA, the UK, Canada and Australia. New Zealand is the smaller “child” in that “family”, and it is largely banks, corporations and other interests from those “allied” economies (also making up the “Five Eyes” spy network), that are the big players and investors here.

    Of course there is cross investment by NZ corporations and companies in those other countries, and it is all intertwined very much, but the traditionally similar legal, social, economic and cultural realities in all these countries put NZ firmly on the map to depend very much on what the bigger players in this group of countries will ever do.

    New Zealand has stuff all defence force, would barely be able to defend its shores for a few days, and is highly reliant on Australian banks (which are again partly owned by US, UK and some Asian banks), for financing much of the local livelihood and lifestyles, including highly mortgaged housing.

    The increased trade with China and other Asian, and some Middle Eastern countries has diversified trade, but that does not necessarily allow for much independence, as it rather has created more diverse dependencies on that front.

    And when looking at the local information and media landscape, hey, how “independent” is NZ culture, which is only marginal, when looking at what is offered. Most music, films, games and information like news comes from the US, Australia and the UK.

    So what Key has been doing is just tow the line again, clinging to the coat tail of one power, that has been setting the tone for decades. It was also only a bit superficial, how the “independence” of NZ was perceived by the public from 1984 on until the Clark government times. Behind the scenes, not all that much had changed, apart from occasional diplomatic, hiccups or “tensions” and the US not sending ships here. But Clark cosied up again, after 9/11, sailing a carefully balanced course, to keep the traditional allies happy, yet deliver the public the impression, we are not tied in too heavily.

    Key is now just bluntly telling the public, this is where we stand, as nothing really has changed. He can do it now, as the public are not as emotional and determined anymore, to insist on certain principles, or rather perceptions of such. People fear economic and other insecurities, and they are these days yet more conditioned by consumerism, commercialism, are thus more divided. So too many just accept, shrug things off, roll over and let things go as where the “leader” takes them. Sad, but that is more like the reality as I see it.

  10. Bill 11

    Key’s response is all the more pathetic when you consider that the EU (rightly or wrongly) is ruling out economic sanctions. But when you’re a White House lap dog, do as your master commands…even all the more enthusiastically when you’re such an insignificant pooch in the pack desperate for a pat.

    I mean, seriously, the desirability or otherwise of free trade agreements aside, what damage will be done to Russia’s economy by NZ not signing an FTA? I don’t think it will register up to the level of a hoarse distant and somewhat squeaky yap from somewhere deep beneath the butt cheeks and soft cushions of a US President…might draw a passing look of slight puzzlement and amusement. But that would be about it.

    • Pascal's bookie 11.1

      It’s a Kabuki play though Bill.

      Everyone is signalling that there are lines, and which side they are on, so far no one is crossing them.

      You’re right that NZ’s response of ‘this is off for the moment’ is weak tea, but weak tea is what our positions is. We don’t approve, and we won’t be do anything about it. We have sided with NATO as afr as that goes, but note that NATO doesn’t have position yet. When and if they need to formulate one, we will reconsider what we’ll do, taking into account the full range of (ahem, China) factors (probably nothing). When it all dies down, we’ll sign the deal.

    • xtasy 11.2

      Maybe the negotiations for the FTA with Russia got so seriously stuck, that there was no real prospect for NZ to achieve much at all, so this is a great opportunity for Key and his “Grosser” servant, to pull the plug now, more as a “face saver”, than anything what they claim it is done for.

      At the same time it is brownie points with Cameron and Co, and Obama and Co as well. Key is a master in doing such “strikes”.

  11. Glenn50 12

    “The biggest danger to Putin comes from himself. He may overreach himself by trying to turn effective control over Crimea into the partition of Ukraine. Occupying the eastern part of the country could turn into Russia’s Iraq. In western Ukraine there are long nationalist traditions nurtured by memories of the bloody independence struggles during both world wars. These could be reactivated now.

    Socialists in the West must of course oppose any military intervention by the US or NATO in Ukraine. But the crisis reminds us that imperialism can’t be reduced to American domination. It is a system of economic and geopolitical competition among the leading capitalist powers.

    Rather than tail any of these powers, we must fight this entire system. This means opposing Russian intervention in Ukraine. Never has the slogan “Neither Washington nor Moscow but international socialism” been more relevant.”

    http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art/37577/Putin+raises+the+stakes+in+imperialist+Crimea+crisis

  12. we are also ‘back to the future’ in other ways..

    ..i googled ‘child poverty in new zealand in 1914’..

    ..and it was/is quite illuminating..

    ..guess what…?..much the same as now..

    ..high numbers of children in poverty..

    ..esp sole-mothers/maori..

    ..uncaring tory govt..

    ..we have advanced s.f.a. in one hundred years..

    ..phillip ure..

    • i find this so fucken depressing..

      ..it really deserves a thread/story of its’ own..

      ..how little we have advanced as a society..

      ..in 100 fucken years..

      ..phillip ure..

  13. joe90 14

    A message from Mustafa Cemilev.:

    Mustafa Cemilev, Leader of Crimean Tatars, member of the Ukrainian National Parliament and human rights activist; is calling on all the democratic forces in the world.

    We the most ancient residents of Crimea, the Crimean Tatars, aim for our future to live in a country based on:

    -Democracy

    -Rule of law

    -Individual freedoms

    -And a clear perspective of membership to the European Union

    This is why we the Crimean Tatars urge the international community to support the Ukraine’s territorial integrity, democracy and to stop the Russian attempts to invade Crimea.

    http://qha.com.ua/message-from-mustafa-cemilev-130688en.html

  14. tricledrown 15

    cry me a river wayne .
    Afganistan is not UN sanctioned what utter BS its Mainly Nato action.

  15. Mike S 16

    The situation in Ukraine has all the hallmarks of a Washington-led regime-change operation. This is very similar to what the US / NATO attempted in Georgia in 2008 and what the US / Israel have been trying to do in Syria.

    John Key is again aligning himself with the most aggressive, war mongering nation on the planet. The US has been at war somewhere on the planet every single year since World War 2.

    • Populuxe1 16.1

      Wasn’t US troups on the borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Isn’t US troups currently occupying Crimea.

      • Colonial Viper 16.1.1

        What a simplistic 2 dimensional view of the world you have.

        Salvador Allende and his government weren’t taken out by US troops pulling the trigger, but the US were responsible nonetheless.

        • Populuxe1 16.1.1.1

          The simplistic 2 dimensional view is that everything evil in the world is the fault of the US and butter wouldn’t melt in Pootie’s mouth. Dick.

    • miravox 16.2

      “John Key is again aligning himself with the most aggressive, war mongering nation on the planet.”

      John Key siding with the US and suspending trade talks an recalling negotiators is on par with NZ declaring war on Germany before Britain did.

      The UK is squirming right now about how to exclude the City of London from EU sanctions. The EU hasn’t even decided what it will do yet, and here’s Key diving on faster than his bestie. Fool.

      • karol 16.2.1

        On Al Jazeera this morning a guest interviewed said that the Western banking and investment system has so much involvement with Russia’s gangsta [my term] economic activities they can’t afford to do sanctions against Russia without self destructing. Western bankstas are basically helping to support the Russian ones.

        • miravox 16.2.1.1

          yes, and Putin knows that in the west money trumps everything. The tough talk is just for local consumption.

          • Populuxe1 16.2.1.1.1

            Probably true but not very useful without knowing who the guest is.
            Um, no – “gangsta” is not appropriate in this case. Russian banking oligarchs are “gangsters” (figuratively and sometimes litterally) – “gangstas” are young African-American men who listen to hiphop and rap and probably have unfortunate attitudes about women.

          • Populuxe1 16.2.1.1.2

            So nothing to do with his large, well trained, well equipped military and nuclear arsenal then

            • miravox 16.2.1.1.2.1

              Putin can send in the troops without the talk, if he wants. The EU/US can only talk.

              The West isn’t going to interfere if it affects doing business. All very cynical, all very impotent.

              I don’t know who I’m more disappointed in – NATO/EU/US for involving themselves way back in December (not forgetting the earlier orange revolution), the Ukranian president whose corruption make toppling a democratically-elected government seem justified (it rarely is), Putin – because he operates as if the cold war hasn’t ended, or the West’s negotiators for money ahead of anything else. I guess I should be grateful to David Cameron for making it so clear that business in the City of London cannot be interrupted for anything.

  16. SPC 17

    karol, it’s because Russian troops have moved into another country on the pretext that wherever Russians live Russia has a right to protect them.

    Ukraine is member state of the UN and our position as a founding member is to promote collective security of member states. Anything less than withdrawing from the trade talks would have left us no credibility as a candidate for the UNSC. We do like to see ourselves as a champion of the smaller states under threat from the interests of the larger states – we call it our advocacy for multilateralism.

  17. Populuxe1 18

    That would refer to the young woman who took a risk to criticise the actions of a regime known to put polonium in your tea for such things – not the shitty propaganda chanel (although given that RT is about is based in reality as Fox, it could be fake too)

    • Bill 18.1

      I take it this is the response to your own senseless mutterings above at comment 8.2.1.1.1.2? You know, where you slag off RT then link to RT as an example of courageous journalism?

      Here’s some additional info for you to digest from the Glen Greenwald piece that Karol originally provided…the one you obliviously didn’t read before commenting… https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/03/04/rt-host-abby-martin-condemns-russian-incursion-crimea-rt/

      “UPDATE: The official RT account on Twitter seems perfectly proud of Martin’s statements, as they re-tweeted my commentary about her monologue condemning Russia’s actions”

      And

      UPDATE II: In response to my question about whether any U.S. television hosts issued denunciations of the attack on Iraq similar to what Martin just did on RT, Washington lawyer Bradley Moss replied: “Phil Donahue (MSNBC) and Peter Arnett (NBC).”

      Leaving aside that Arnett wasn’t a host, this perfectly proves the point I made, since both Donahue and Arnett were fired because of their opposition to the U.S. war. Arnett was fired instantly by NBC after he made critical comments about the war effort on Iraqi television, while a memo from MSNBC executives made clear they were firing Donahue despite his show being the network’s highest-rated program because he would be “a difficult public face for NBC in a time of war”.

      During that same time, MSNBC’s rising star Ashleigh Banfield was demoted and then fired after she delivered a stinging rebuke of misleading pro-war TV coverage by U.S. outlets, while Jessica Yellin, at MSNBC during the time of the war, admitted in 2008 that “the press corps was under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this was a war that was presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation and the president’s high approval ratings” and that executives would change stories to make them more pro-war.

      All of that stands in rather stark contrast to the clear denunciation of the Russian intervention by Martin which RT broadcast and this morning is promoting. We’ll see if she suffers any recriminations, but if she does, U.S. media behavior during the attack on Iraq was hardly any better.

      • Populuxe1 18.1.1

        You’re really not good at this “critical reading” thing, are you? And rather than continuing to whine about the perfidities of the US (this being the Standard, that’s been done to death and therefore not really adding to anything), could we instead focus on the current crisis? I mean, I know that’s hard for some people who can’t focus on more than one thing at once and probably would have kept defending Stalin well past the whole show trials and gulag archipelago thing because they labour under the illusion that Russia at some point might have offered a better option (hint: it didn’t). I know you’re desperate to use this as a stick to beat the US with, but at the moment the people of Ukraine have slightly more pressing concerns.

        And, you know, Putin is just an icon of human rights…

        And yes, the US media is shit, but Fox says sucrrilous lies about Obama all the time and no one shuts them down, stabs them in the leg with a poison umbrella, or puts radioactive isotopes in their tea – so I think that may be a point in favour of the US.

        • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 18.1.1.1

          Populuxe,

          You really are missing the point – people are talking about the current crisis – you appear to be omitting to see that one of the points being made by some of the people on this thread are that the ‘perfidities of the US’ are part of the equation of this current issue.

          Just because you don’t appear to be capable of acknowledging and then addressing that point – doesn’t mean that people aren’t talking about this current issue – it means that you are not talking to people about the things that they see as relevant to this current issue.

          The only argument you appear to be offering in response to this issue of American influence on this current crisis is ‘it doesn’t exist’ – this is a very tenuous point you appear to be attempting to make and I suggest to you that you find something substantial to back that argument up, if that is what you are attempting to assert, because there is substantial evidence that the American power elite meddles in other countries politics – enhance internal divisions in order to gain their own interests (divide and rule) and perform psychological operations (psych-ops) such as capturing the countries media to sway public opinion.

          These and other such activities have been proven historically – there really isn’t any debate on this.

          I suggest you take a look at the list of chapters on this page
          http://williamblum.org/books/killing-hope

          and after viewing such a list, if you still continue to believe that American big money interests no longer play such disgraceful games – please do provide decent evidence of when they ‘saw the light’ and changed their game plan and proclaimed that for all to know because I haven’t seen any evidence that these types’ strategy have changed, yet see plenty of war-hawk types [on informative TV channels such as RT]promoting their unenlightened, paranoid and aggressive views for all who care to observe – they really are that righteous and unashamed of their attitudes they don’t hide them when interviewed by proper journalists.

            • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 18.1.1.1.1.1

              Your article doesn’t exactly prove much at all except that the RT channel may have similar work conditions to NZ media sites and that one Russian citizen doesn’t agree with the invasion – interesting yet hardly overwhelming evidence on the issues being discussed -lol go back to sleep Populuxe

                • Bill

                  Here’s the thing Pop. One journalist spoke, what she believes to be the truth (the one you initially linked to) and, so far, and as far as we know, she still has her job – unlike both Donahue and Arnott who had the temerity to criticise the invasion of Iraq.

                  Another journalist resigned on air and her comments weren’t edited and she wasn’t cut off. She did and said what she did and said.

                  Wanna give me a list of western ‘liberal’ journalists who voluntarily resigned their positions, and who were given space on air to state their case, because of the US invasion of Grenada, Iraq (twice), Panama, Afghanistan…. I can’t think of a single instance.

                  Now. You going to argue (stupidly) that people working for mainstream western financed media outlets aren’t subject to pressures? (Hint: read the fucking comment I left at 18.1 with reference to Jessica Yellin.)

                  And then just fuck off while you work out how to extract your head from your arse. Thanks.

                  • Populuxe1

                    Confirmation bias must be a terrible curse, Bill.

                    Read the second post – she resigned. We have no idea whether she was forced to or not – no doubt she will be bound by a non-disclosure agreement and the threat of a six figure lawsuit. I hope you are not so naive as to assume they threw her a leaving party with cake. In that second post, an interview with her, she explains the conditions she had to work under and the pressures brought to bare on her, the editorial line she was forced to toe and the stories that were cut. I suggest you re-read it before you tell me she was lying.

                    Indeed, I doubt RT, or Al Jazeera for that matter, would be permitted to broadcast in the US at all if that were the case.

                    I don’t think I have ever suggested that the western media was some perfect bastion of freedom, but it does get to offer views contrary to the party line (hence Faux News exists) and Donahue and Arnott didn’t feel that an immediate removal to a foreign country might be advisable for their health (because they didn’t break the law). The editorial preferences of media owners is another issue, and indeed a grave problem for the freedom and independence of western media. Woodward and Bernstein, as far as I’m aware, are still alive and well in the US of A. American journalists are more afraid of being sued than they are of being murdered. (I wonder what would have happened if she had allowed RT to send her to Crimea…)

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_journalists_killed_in_Russia

                    • Bill

                      There is surely no way someone of your inestimable talent and intelligence figured how to remove their head from their arse in that time! Yup. Reading of your comment verifies that. Maybe, come the day when you can engage in debate rather than scatter shooting the horizon with extraneous bullshit, I’ll engage with you. Meantime, you still have a head and arse problem to be getting on with, yes?

                    • Populuxe1

                      Well RT did announce they were going to send her to Crimea so that she would be less ignorant of the task of glorious Mother Russia. She says contrary, which is interesting – but I sure as shit wouldn’t want to be anywhere near that part of the world if I had just very publically embarrassed Pootie. No need for ad hominem 😉

              • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                @ Populuxe1

                Bloody hell the woman who quit isn’t even Russian – she’s American FFS what the hell were you trying to prove by linking to that article???

                • Bill

                  Shhh. Pop’s busy.

                • Populuxe1

                  Merely to draw a direct connection to the difference between working as a journalist in the west and working as a journalist in Russia. I’m not seriously suggesting someone would kill her – obviously she’s not in Russia and therefore relatively safe from persecution and violence. Duh.

                  In any case, why do you suppose it is that a Kremlin propaganda mill can do business in the capital of the Great White Satan, whereas something as innocuous as the British Council in Moscow get’s shut down when the British Government so much as raises an eyebrow at Putin?

                  • Bill

                    Because Putin’s Russia is an out and out dictatorship whereas the manufacturing of consent in ‘the west’ is a far more subtle (and in many ways, effective) affair.

                    You figured out your elbow yet and gotten any further forward on the extraction process due to that latest revelation?

                    • Populuxe1

                      Ah, the Chomskyist twaddle, “the manufacturing of consent”. Chomsky knows so little about the media that he barely even registers that the internet exists. Let’s just ignore that journalists win awards for exposing govenrment and corporate misconduct and scandals. Lets just ignore that the editorials of the two big US conservative reactionary papers, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times have almost NEVER agreed. Let’s ignore that the big media companies may be owned by thousands of shareholders. Let’s just pretend that everybody is really stupid and media led which is why things are the way they are.

        • Bill 18.1.1.2

          Oh Pop, I almost feel sorry for you…almost. You really don’t have a clue, do you? I mean, you call me, of all people, a Stalinist!? You not been reading my comments over time? I basically detest statism in all of its forms and just ain’t very backwards in coming forwards to slam Trots, Leninists, Stalinists or any other authoritarian motherless fucks.

          Can I remind you how you (complete fucking idiot that you are!) posted, as an example of good shit, a link to the very same vid you were so anxious to slag off as bad shit?

          • Populuxe1 18.1.1.2.1

            No, Bill, I did not call you a Stalinist – I merely compared your dogged determination to cling to a fantasy to that of Left Bank intellectuals’ absolute child-like faith in the People’s Revolution despite the evidence that Father Christmas was too busy signing death warrants to deliver.

            Can I remind you how you (complete fucking idiot that you are!) posted, as an example of good shit, a link to the very same vid you were so anxious to slag off as bad shit?

            Um no – I called RT a bunch of Kremlin propaganda and posted a video of one of their reporters at breaking point over the pro-Putin bullshit she had to spin. And even then I noted it could be a set up. Sigh Given that RT is live and based in Washington DC, they were hardly going to shoot her.

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  • Climate Change: Arsonists
    Today, a major fire broke out on the Port Hills in Ōtutahi. Like its 2017 predecessors, it is almost certainly exacerbated by climate change. And it is still burning. The present government did not start the fire. But they piled the tinder high last time they were in power, gutting ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • I don’t know!
    http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/73411 7 examples And who actually makes the decisions? Vladimir Putin: I don’t know. America is a complex country, conservative on the one hand, rapidly changing on the other. It’s not easy for us to sort it all out.   Tucker Carlson: Do you think Zelensky has the freedom to negotiate the settlement to this conflict? Vladimir Putin: I don’t know the details, of course it’s difficult for me to judge, but ...
    6 days ago
  • Fresh thinkers
    Fresh thinking will always give you hope.It might be the kind that makes you smite your brow, exclaiming: Why didn't we think of that! It's obvious!It might be the kind that makes you go: Dude you’re a genius.Sometimes it will simply be Wayne Brown handing Simeon Brown his weasel ass ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • It is not about age, it is about team.
    Much attention has been directed at Joe Biden’s mental lapses and physical frailty. Less attention has been spent on Donald Trump’s cognitive difficulties and physical limitations, with most focus being devoted to his insults and exaggerated claims (as if they … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • ROBERT MacCULLOCH: Fletcher Building – it is time to break up NZ’s most useless company.
    Robert MacCulloch writes –  Gosh, the CEO of Fletcher Building, Ross Taylor, says today’s announcement of a half-year loss of $120 million for the company is “disappointing” and was “heavily impacted” by the Convention Centre losses. He must be crying all the way to the bank (to quote Las ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    6 days ago
  • Mortgage rates seen high for even longer
    Government and borrower hopes for early mortgage cost relief look likely to be thwarted. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Stronger-than-expected US inflation data out overnight is expected to delay the first US Federal Reserve rate cut into the second half of 2024, which in turn would hold mortgage rates ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, the first of the new Parliament. And to start the Parliament off, there's a bunch of first readings. A bunch of other bills have been postponed, so first up is Duncan Webb's District Court (Protecting Judgment Debtors on Main Benefit) Amendment Bill, followed by Katie ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Three Waters go down the legislative gurgler – but what should we make of Local Water Done Well?
    Buzz from the Beehive Local Government Minister Simeon Brown – it seems fair to suppose – was flushed with success after the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation. As he explained, repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing his government’s Local Water Done Well ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on five of Luxon’s Gaza absurdities
    Earlier this week, PM Christopher Luxon met with 48 public service CEOs to make sure they were on board with his plans to cut spending on public services so that National can proceed to give the revenue away to those New Zealanders least in need. This wasn’t the only absurdity ...
    6 days ago
  • Love and the Fairer Sex.
    This morning I woke early with many thoughts in my head of things said, events of the week, things that matter. I’m afraid none of them involved Seymour, Willis, or Luxon so if you’re looking for something political maybe take the day off and come back tomorrow. You won’t find ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • He stood up to Muldoon and Lange and the Fji army
    Gerald Hensley, who died aged 88 on Saturday, was the key official who presided over the tumultuous events that followed the election of the Lange Labour Government in 1984. He was also instrumental in helping a key Fijian official escape the country during one of the 1987 coups. A diplomat ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    7 days ago
  • At a glance – Has Arctic sea ice returned to normal?
    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 ...
    7 days ago
  • Halo dunia!
    Selamt datang di WordPress. Ini adalah pos pertama Anda. Sunting atau hapus, kemudian mulai menulis! ...
    1 week ago
  • The PM wants a turnaround
    As a treat today I have lined up a favourite in the music slot. I love Turnaround, I cannot hear it too often, and I feel in need of a treat when I make myself listen to the Prime Minister the way I did this morning.He too, has favourites that ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • The PM wants a turnaround
    As a treat today I have lined up a favourite in the music slot. I love Turnaround, I cannot hear it too often, and I feel in need of a treat when I make myself listen to the Prime Minister the way I did this morning.He too, has favourites that ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • ELE LUDEMANN: Trusting locals
    Ele Ludemann writes- A government-knows-best and predilection for central control was another unfortunate feature of the 2017-2023 Labour governments. One of the worst polices as a result of that was what started as Three Waters and became several more. The National-led government is much more trusting of locals ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    1 week ago
  • Legislation to flush away Three Waters has become a certainty – but we must wait for details on th...
    Buzz from the Beehive A  three-day information drought was broken, just after Point of Order published yesterday’s Buzz from the Beehive, and two significant ministerial announcements were made. First, the Budget will be delivered on 30 May, telling us which genuine savings have been made by eliminating waste and which ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    1 week ago
  • Rise of the Lobbyists.
    An unpopular opinion, I love Auckland.Not so much the transport or the house prices - those are pretty dire. But there’s a lot to like. We’ve a vibrant, multicultural city in a beautiful location with, mostly, friendly locals. From the native bush of the Waitakeres to the Gulf islands, it’s ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The holes in National’s water reform pipes
    Young renters just have to watch on as pipes keep failing and the Government and councils point fingers at each other, because all the incentives are for ratepayers to block rates increases, water meters, water charges and the creation of new entities. File Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: The National-ACT-NZ First coalition ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • After years of stability, Antarctica is losing ice
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by SueEllen Campbell Until recently, Antarctica’s ice has seemed surprisingly stable. In contrast to the far north, the southern continent’s massive ice sheets, glaciers, ice shelves (ice that floats on the ocean), and seasonal ice appeared to be reliably frozen: Enough snow fell ...
    1 week ago
  • Auckland’s Persistent Rail Issues
    Over the last few weeks in our weekly roundup we’ve commented on the frequent delays and cancellations that have occurred on the rail network this year since the rail network went back into full operation on the 22-Jan – with Kiwirail proclaiming they had ‘successfully delivered summer holiday infrastructure upgrades ...
    1 week ago

  • Greater support for social workers
    The Coalition Government is enhancing the professionalism of the social work sector and supporting the vulnerable people who rely on them, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says.  The Social Workers Registration Legislation Amendment Bill passed its third reading in Parliament today. It amends the Social Workers Registration Legislation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 mins ago
  • Government delivers greater freedom and choice for sick New Zealanders
    The coalition government is delivering on its commitment to making principled decisions by getting rid of red tape that doesn’t make sense and allowing sick New Zealanders greater freedom and choice to purchase effective cold and flu medicines. A bill amending the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 is being introduced, and changes to the Medicines ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Government begins reset of welfare system
    The Coalition Government is taking early action to curb the surge in welfare dependency that occurred under the previous government by setting out its expectations around employment and the use of benefit sanctions, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. In 2017, 60,588 sanctions were applied to beneficiaries who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • State of the Nation
    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora, good morning, talofa, malo e lelei, bula vinaka, da jia hao, namaste, sat sri akal, assalamu alaikum. Thank you for coming to my first State of the Nation as Prime Minister. Thank you for coming to a speech where I don’t just ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • West Coast tourism attractions officially open
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will attend the official opening of two highly anticipated tourism projects on the West Coast today – Pike29 Memorial Track, dedicated to the memory of the Pike River miners, and Pounamu Pathway. “The Pike29 Memorial Track is a way to remember and honour the men ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Independent ferry service advisory group in place
    Appointments to the Ministerial Advisory Group tasked with providing independent advice and assurance on the future of KiwiRail’s inter-island ferry service have been made, State Owned Enterprises Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “It’s important for New Zealand that KiwiRail is focused on ensuring safe, resilient, and reliable ferry services over the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Joint statement from the Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand
    The Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada and New Zealand today issued the following statement on reports of Israel’s planned military operation in Rafah. We are gravely concerned by indications that Israel is planning a ground offensive into Rafah.   A military operation into Rafah would be catastrophic. About 1.5 million Palestinians ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt will deliver on expanded breast screening
    The coalition Government has made the first steps in delivering on its promise to  extend free breast screening to women aged 70-74, Health Minister Shane Reti says. “As part of the 100 day plan, the Government has now met with officials and discussed what is needed in order for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government announces woolshed roadshows in support of sheep farmers
    The Government celebrates National Lamb Day (15 February 24) and congratulates sheep farmers on the high-quality products they continue to produce. Agriculture Minister McClay hosted bipartisan celebrations of National Lamb Day with industry representatives at Parliament this week to mark the anniversary of the first frozen lamb exports that left ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech: Address to the NZ Economics Forum
    It’s great to be back at the New Zealand Economics Forum. I would like to acknowledge everyone here today for your expertise and contribution, especially the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Head of the Waikato Management School, economists, students and experts alike. A year has passed since I was last before you, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government tackling high construction costs
    The Government is focused on reducing sky-high construction costs to make it more affordable to build a home, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says.  Stats NZ data shows the cost of building a house has increased by 41 per cent since 2019, making housing even more unaffordable for Kiwi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Labour’s Three Waters legislation repealed
    The Coalition Government’s legislative plan to address longstanding issues with local water infrastructure and service delivery took an important step today, with the repeal of Labour’s divisive and unpopular Three Waters legislation, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “Repealing this legislation is a necessary first step in implementing our Local ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Cost of living support for beneficiary households
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to ease the cost-of-living by increasing main benefit rates in line with inflation and ensuring the Minimum Family Tax Credit threshold remains aligned with this change, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. The Social Security (Benefits Adjustment) and Income Tax ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government announces agriculture delegations to better support Primary sector
    The coalition Government has announced ministerial delegations to support key areas across the Primary sector to deliver for New Zealand’s food and fibre sector, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay announced today. “I will be supported in my roles as Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Hunting and Fishing, by three Associate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Waikato MoU reinforces Govt’s commitment to increase NZ doctors
    The Government has taken an important step forward in addressing a critical shortage of New Zealand-trained doctors, with today’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a third medical school, Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti has announced.  “Today’s signing by the Ministry of Health and the University of Waikato ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech – Lunar New Year 2024
    Annyeonghaseyo, greetings and welcome all. It is my pleasure as the Minister for Ethnic Communities to welcome you to the first Lunar New Year Event in Parliament. Thank you to our emcees for greeting us in the different languages that represent the many cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More funding to Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti
    Urgent work to clean-up cyclone-affected regions will continue, thanks to a $63 million boost from the Government for sediment and debris removal in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti.                                                                                                   The funding will help local councils continue urgent work removing and disposing of sediment and debris left from Cyclone Gabrielle.   “This additional ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Budget will be delivered on 30 May
    Plans to deliver tax relief to hard-working New Zealanders, rebuild business confidence and restore the Crown’s finances to order will be unveiled on 30 May, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says. The plans will be announced in the Budget which is currently being developed by Ministers.  “The last government’s mismanagement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government advances Local Water Done Well
    The Coalition Government is continuing work to restore council ownership and control of water assets by repealing Three Waters and appointing a Technical Advisory Group to provide expert advice on the implementation of Local Water Done Well, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. “The Government will pass a bill to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today announced five new diplomatic appointments.  "Strong and effective diplomacy to protect and advance our interests in the world is needed now more than ever," Mr Peters says.  “We are delighted to appoint senior diplomats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Committee for Auckland
    It is great to be here today at this event as Minister for Auckland and Minister ofTransport. Let me start by acknowledging each one of you and thanking the Committee forAuckland for hosting this event and inviting me to speak here today. The Committee for Auckland has been a symbol ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting Transport Back on Track in Auckland
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has today confirmed his high-level transport priorities for Auckland, in the lead up to releasing the draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport. “Our economic growth and productivity are underpinned by a transport network that enables people and freight to move around safely and efficiently. At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government to axe Auckland Regional Fuel Tax
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has confirmed that the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax will end on 30 June 2024. “Today, I can confirm that the Government has agreed to remove the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax in line with our coalition commitments, and legislation will be introduced to parliament to repeal the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister Calls for Work to Tackle Kina Barrens
    Changes to fishing rules and a significant science programme are being undertaken to address kina barrens, says Minister for Oceans and Fisheries Shane Jones. “There has been tremendous interest from iwi, communities and recreational fishers who had raised concerns about such kina infestations being a major threat to Northland’s marine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government law and order crackdown begins
    The coalition Government is making good on its promise to restore law and order by removing government funding for Section 27 reports and abolishing the previous Labour Government’s prison reduction target, Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Corrections Minister Mark Mitchell say.  “In recent years, the development of Section 27 reports ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Greater focus on getting people into work
    The coalition government will refocus employment efforts and the welfare system so that supporting people who can work into jobs is the number one priority, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “Of concern in the labour market statistics released by Stats NZ today was the number of youth not ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • One year on, NZ appeals for release of Phillip Mehrtens
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has appealed to those holding New Zealand pilot Phillip Mehrtens in remote Papua, Indonesia, to release him immediately.  Phillip Mehrtens was taken hostage a year ago on 7 February in Paro, Papua, while providing vital air links and supplies to remote communities. “We strongly urge those holding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministers reaffirm Pacific connections this week
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Health Minister and Minister for Pacific Peoples Dr Shane Reti are reaffirming the importance of New Zealand’s connections to the Pacific by visiting Tonga, Cook Islands and Samoa this week.  “New Zealand enjoys strong and long-standing relationships with our Pacific partners - especially in Polynesia, where we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Rt Hon Christopher Luxon – Waitangi speech
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā iwi, rau rangatira ma. Tēnā koutou katoa. He tino mihi ki te mana whenua o tēnei rohe.  Mihi mai, mihi mai, mihi mai. Te whare e tū nei, tēnā koe.                               He-wāhi whakahirahira tēnei mō Aotearoa. Ka huri nga whakaaro, ki nga mate. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government awards primary sector scholarships to students
    Six university students studying agriculture and science have been awarded scholarships as part of the coalition Government’s efforts to boost on-the-ground support for farmers and growers. “The coalition Government is committed to improving support and operating conditions for farmers and growers,” Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says. “We’re backing a range ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996. From 1996 to 1999 he worked as a solicitor in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand provides further humanitarian support to Gaza and the West Bank
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced that New Zealand is providing a further $5 million to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank.  “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling,” Mr Peters says.  “That is why New Zealand has contributed $15 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Government consults on expanding COVID-19 Inquiry terms of reference
    The Government is delivering on its commitment to enable public input into expanding the scope of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 Lessons, says Internal Affairs Minister Brooke van Velden. “As committed to in both the ACT-National and NZ First-National coalition agreements, the public will be given the opportunity ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Tai Tokerau Water Boost
    A further $5 million loan has been advanced to the Tai Tokerau Water Trust for Te Waihekeora Reservoir, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says.  “Water is a precious resource, Kānoa – Regional Development and Investment Unit at the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment have done amazing work in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Fast track consenting in the fast lane
    The Government is progressing changes to resource management laws as part of its 100 Day Action Plan, with the first steps taken to establish a new fast-track consenting one-stop shop regime. “This new regime, which forms part of National’s coalition agreement with New Zealand First, will improve the speed and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • JOINT STATEMENT ON AUSTRALIA-NEW ZEALAND MINISTERIAL CONSULTATIONS (ANZMIN) 2024
    Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence the Hon Richard Marles MP and Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator the Hon Penny Wong hosted New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Rt Hon Winston Peters MP and Minister of Defence Hon Judith Collins KC MP on 1 February ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Minimum wage set for cautious increase
    The adult minimum wage rate will increase by 2 per cent to $23.15 an hour from 1 April 2024, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden announced today. “This Government is committed to striking the right balance between protecting the incomes of our lowest paid workers and maintaining labour ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Increased security improves ED safety over summer
    Increasing the number of security staff in emergency departments (EDs) over the busy Christmas and New Year period improved the safety of both staff and patients, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says. 200 additional security staff (93 FTEs) were provided to 32 EDs in response to concerns raised by ED ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Step Closer for European Union Free Trade Agreement
    New Zealand has moved closer to ratifying the New Zealand – European Union Free Trade Agreement (FTA), with the First Reading of legislation to bring the Agreement into force being held in Parliament today.   “Almost a decade after preparatory talks first began on an FTA with the European Union, I’m pleased to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago

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