Operation 8: Deep in the Forest

Written By: - Date published: 8:46 pm, April 19th, 2011 - 15 comments
Categories: activism, books, film, human rights, law, law and "order", Maori Issues, Media, police, racism, Spying, suppression orders - Tags: ,

I want to write a review of “Operation 8: Deep in the Forest“, but also just some thoughts on some of the criticisms and reviews of the film which relate to issues involved in the case.

Last night walking into the film screening in Auckland I was a bit apprehensive about how it would all be put together. Fortunately my fears were unfounded and the film did justice to the complex issues involved. I was impressed by how clearly the narrative came across with cuts of interviews with people of Tuhoe, other political activists, ex-police officers, and media, law, and security experts. Every little piece of the film was well-placed – it must have been a nightmare of a job to put it all together and edit and cut it into such a beautifully told story. The film made me laugh and cry in various parts.

Some gems of original footage were used, a highlight for me being the footage of a man working for either the police or a private intelligence group challenged after being caught taking photographs of protesters, who instead of responding to questions, pulled out a balaclava, put it on, and walked away. Likewise I laughed when watching footage of one of the defendants, Urs Signer, opening up some property returned by the police. One paper envelope labelled “War Document” was revealed to contain a Wellington Indymedia newsletter.

Well done to Errol Wright and Abi King-Jones for their amazing commitment in seeing this film through to completion. I really hope “Operation 8: Deep in the Forest” makes it into the film festival and is at some point screened on mainstream television.

I’d like to tackle the accusation that the film makers have blurred the line between activism and journalism. The two are not mutually exclusive – look at the Hollow Men or Someone Else’s Country or many other examples of the like that I’m sure you can all think of. Examples of brilliant journalism, but nonetheless carried out by people who have their own political biases and agendas.

Also think about the film makers as they came into this project. Their last film was “The Last Resort”, a documentary about the sell-off of prime New Zealand land to private entities, using the Mahia camp-ground as their central example. The film makers obviously had a left bias, but neither had really been involved with the “activist scene” before. In the journey to make this documentary, they were faced with a stone wall of silence by the police. In interviewing and following the stories of many people, the film makers would have come to know and really feel some of the injustices perpetuated by the New Zealand Police against the people of Tuhoe, and many political activists including the defendants in Operation 8 and other activists interviewed like John Darroch and myself.

Last night at the film screening Errol Wright and Abi King-Jones revealed that they too have discovered they’ve been under surveillance during the making of the film. Abi King-Jones says:

We have just taken the view that we expect there will be surveillance [of us] and we carry on. It’s not a very nice feeling, but it brings you closer to the world of the people you are documenting.

I’m not sure that the biases shown in this film would have been any less apparent if made by any other film makers.

I think the original intention was for this film to come out after the trial and to include footage from it and its outcome, but nearly 4 years on with little prospect of the trial happening any time soon, I think they made the right decision to just finish it now. The trial is set down for May 30th, but it wouldn’t be the first time the trial date has shifted, and before it goes ahead all the appeals on pre-trial issues will have to be finished. The defendants have just sought leave from the Court of Appeal to appeal the decision for the case to be heard by judge alone to the Supreme Court. Another much simpler case I am aware of that was heard in the Supreme Court last October is yet to have a decision.

The suppression orders are a major obstacle in discussing the case. In many of the reviews of the film, issues are raised which could easily be countered by information relating directly to the case, but cannot be discussed without being in breach of those orders. I will stick to only really discussing and expanding a little on the issues raised in the film itself, as the film was vetted by a couple of very experienced lawyers who obviously don’t think anything in the film would constitute a contempt of court.

Russell Brown has some valid criticisms of the film and I agree with most of what he has said, but I feel that some of the criticisms should really be put in a better context.

Several interviews in the film unabashedly invite the audience to suspect a police agent provocateur in the ranks of the activists, or the fabrication of evidence, on the basis of past police actions. But the police, too, will argue propensity when they get their turn in court. Their case, too, will be selective.

I can understand how Russell came to this conclusion – one of the interviews in the film was with an ex-undercover policeman who claims that his job was to lie, fabricate, and plant evidence. He also claims to have contact with many recent undercover policemen, and from those discussions claims to know that nothing much has changed since his time in the force. While things may have been taken a little too far in attempting to relate the issues raised back to the case at hand, other parts of the film are clearer on this point.

Another key interview in the film was with Ross Meurant – ex second in command of the Red Squad during the Springbok Tour, who coins the term “deep in the forest” to explain the mindset of the specialist policing units. I have a copy of Meurant’s book on the Red Squad, and last night it was revealing to see how much his views have changed as he has distanced himself further from his time in the police. Meurant claims that as police officers move through the ranks and into the specialist units such as the Team Policing Unit, the Armed Offenders Squad, and the Special Tactics Group, they find themselves deeper in the forest of intense paranoia, and adopt a very much us v them attitude. This fits very well with my personal experience of senior police officers involved with the Threat Assessment Unit – they didn’t want to believe that our actions in protesting for animal rights were simply that and didn’t really involve any hidden agenda. They seemed determined to believe that there was some hidden terrorist conspiracy. I recently had a chat with one of the detectives involved in raiding my house who has now left those units, and he said a big part of his reason for leaving is that he doesn’t want to be arresting people like myself who he actually likes and respects.

The term “deep in the forest” that Meurant adopts is one I can well understand – it’s a term that I feel is equally applicable to some of the activists I know who also adopt very much an us v them mentality. What I find concerning about this attitude within the police however, is that if you come to be on one side versus another, how do you maintain any semblence of impartiality? How easy is it to keep your actions ethical when you genuinely believe that the terrorists (activists) need to be stopped and find yourself in difficulty trying to do that through the proper means?

The allegations of an agent provocateur in this case are not unfounded. Police informant Robert Gilchrist acted as exactly that in many scenarios, and was also as an informant part of the Operation 8 case. The film shows footage of Gilchrist filming himself doing a “reconnasaince mission” breaking into a mainland poultry farm in the South Island. Gilchrist used that footage to try to incite activists into breaking into that farm. Many a time over the years Gilchrist tried to incite myself and others into reckless and illegal activities. Personally at the time I wasn’t interested but didn’t hold it against him as I presumed it came down to a genuine frustration with the lack of progress on issues we felt very strongly about. Now of course I know there were much more sinister intentions behind his actions.

In Christchurch Gilchrist talked a couple of young activists in the early 2000’s (who had previously only engaged in lawful protest activity) into forming a covert cell to break into factory farms in the dead of night and liberate animals. Those activists could have been charged with offences like burglary with a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.

In 2005/2006 Gilchrist ran direct action training camps near Wellington which were attended by many animal rights and environmental activists. At the camps Gilchrist taught people how to walk silently down a gravel road in the middle of the night, how to use police scanners, how to escape from police dogs, and how to use camoflauge in both an urban and rural setting. Gilchrist was always trying to incite other activists to take part in more reckless and more illegal activities. Fortunately most people didn’t take it all very seriously.

I was also interviewed for the film – and I wasn’t talking about “past police actions”. The day I was interviewed was the day that the story of Rob Gilchrist as an informant was exposed in the Sunday Star Times. The part of my interview that was used in the film was where I talk about how scary it is that informants such as (and quite possibly including) Gilchrist are being used in the Operation 8 case, but that Public Interest Immunity (PII) is used to prevent their identity becoming known, and they are therefore being allowed to give evidence behind a screen without any of the defendants having a clue who they are. What that means of course is that the defense will have no opportunity to challenge the credibility of the evidence. If Gilchrist or someone like him is an informant in the case, no one will be able to raise his history of lying to the police (in writing) about activist activities because they won’t be allowed to know who he is.

I shudder to think what could have happened to me had the camps I attended run by Gilchrist been held in the Ururewas where guns are a part of every day life. If someone had brought out a couple of .303s would I have been locked up for a month under the Terrorism Suppression Act and faced a 4 year long court battle with the whole country believing I was a terrorist? In actual fact, the only activist I have ever known to possess firearms is Gilchrist himself, who claimed to have them because he was ex-military.

Finally, I want to talk a little about “The Day the Raids Came” – a book of oral history interviews conducted by Valerie Morse, one of the defendants in Operation 8. I meant to write a review of it at the time it came out but didn’t get around to it. “The Day the Raids Came” is the powerful stories of many people both right in the middle and on the peripheral of the events on October 15 2007. It doesn’t try to take a position on the charges but simply shows the deep impact of October 15 2007 on the Tuhoe and activist communities. The book is available to purchase or for free download from Rebel Press.

While I’m sure that “Operation 8: Deep in the Forest” and “The Day the Raids Came” will both historically be looked upon as useful accounts of Operation 8, I’m not sure their distribution will reach far enough in the present. I firmly believe that both will stand true regardless of the outcome of the trial – they show the far-reaching consequences of the police actions on innocent parties unrelated to the case – remember over 60 houses were raided and only 18 people charged. Likewise, they show the ongoing punishment of the defendants before they even go to trial – house raids, children being terrified by armed policemen, prison remand, inability to find work, being forced to drop everything and move to Auckland for weeks at a time during court appearances, and much much more.

For those of you who may want to do something to support the defendants in Operation 8 and their families, please visit the October 15 Solidarity Group website and donate some money or find some other way to give your support.

15 comments on “Operation 8: Deep in the Forest ”

  1. George D 1

    There’s not much I can add, other than to say that I agree completely.
    I’ve heard it came down rather hard on the last Government. I certainly hope that in their process of renewal Labour decide that human rights, even those of scruffy people with political opinions they don’t care for, are worth upholding.

    • rocky 1.1

      Yeah the film showed a lot of excerpts from Parliament question time post October 15 – they were all pretty disgusting. I found it quite interesting that only really Annette King and some older lowly ranked MPs were willing to defend the issue. Here’s hoping it’s because the rest were smart enough to know their position wouldn’t be looked upon favourably in history.
      The film was also critical of Labour passing the Terrorism Suppression Act (TSA) and the Terrorism Suppression Amendment Bill post Oct 15, and played a great clip of Rodney Hide giving a speech about how awful it was that the Prime Minister under the TSA would be able to designate anyone a terrorist and seize their assets without even giving a reason. It was pretty funny when the shot of Rodney Hide in parliament widened to show that almost all the seats were empty behind him – clearly MPs thought this was a very important issue!
      Last on the Labour Party front I think was that often used clip of Helen Clark at the Labour Party conference in 2007 making those stupid and massively prejudicial comments about people running around in the Ururewas with guns.

  2. Drakula 2

    Some of my friends from the Green Party were raided; I mean I ask you what is
    so terrorist about the Green Party?

    I would like to see this film.

  3. lprent 3

    Damn. The two screenings on the 18th are only ones listed for Auckland. When is the DVD release?

    • Jim Nald 3.1

      Can some organisations, eg Labour, Greens or human rights group, organise screenings in other centres? With plenty of publicity and notice in advance, this could also be an opportunity for fundraising.
       
      Would like to see more publicity of this for 15 Oct this year but I see that evening at 9pm will be the first of the RWC semi-final games.

    • John Darrochq 3.2

      I’m sure there will be more screenings over the next few months in Auckland and elsewhere before it is released on DVD. I will make sure Rocky posts the details for upcoming screeenings. It really is a must see.

      • lprent 3.2.1

        Sounds like a good idea. I knew it was on the way out, but wasn’t even aware when it was screening.

        • Jim Nald 3.2.1.1

          In addition to details of upcoming screenings posted online, please also circulate an email that people can forward on (not too fancy and not too big an email). Make it go viral!

        • rocky 3.2.1.2

          Sorry Lynn – I presumed you would see details about the screening on my facebook. I’ll post on here when I know when more screenings are – the film makers did promise lots more soon the other night.

          Even I want to see the film again right away. It was so good, both John & I thought we could just sit down and re watch it all the way through without getting bored.

          • lprent 3.2.1.2.1

            There are about 300 people fiended (the correct verb?) on my facebook. I only tend to scan it whenever I’m quite bored and stuck on code so there are routinely 300+ updates whenever I look at it. 😈 

            Squirting through an event  tends to work better. The number of those is small enough that I actually read them all.

            But doco’s really need a better generic publicity system to get the word out because they don’t have long sessions at the theaters. Lyn’s doco had the same issue despite all of the promotion that was done for it in various places (including here).

  4. graeme 4

    Very well written.

    Thanks, that was eye opening.

  5. I’ve written to the film makers to see if we can’t get copies over to Australia for screening. There’s enough expats + people concerned about civil liberties to make it viable, I think, depending on what sort of royalties they may want. I know it’s hard to balance your desire to do endless amounts of pro bono work against your very real need to survive (I do it every day!) but hopefully we can work something out.

    What I find concerning about this attitude within the police however, is that if you come to be on one side versus another, how do you maintain any semblence of impartiality? How easy is it to keep your actions ethical when you genuinely believe that the terrorists (activists) need to be stopped and find yourself in difficulty trying to do that through the proper means?

    I’m probably one of the harsher critics of the police but I’d have to say I think it’s asking the impossible for someone to become involved in intelligence / counter-intelligence and remain impartial.

    That’s not to say the cop who pulls you over for speeding should treat you like a cross between the Medellin cartel and Fred West – as many do – but when, to use Meurant’s phrase, you’re “deep in the forest” you need a very deep-rooted belief in what you’re doing simply to be able to summon the energy required to maintain the deception. Plus you are, by necessity, forming relationships with people that can colour your judgement one way or the other.

    The answer, I feel, lies in proper oversight. NZ needs an Anti Corruption Commission, truly independent, reporting only to a cross-party Parliamentary oversight committee and monitored by a Parliamentary Commissioner (who in turn can investigate complaints against the ACC).

    Such a Commission should have absolute power to turn up at any police station at any time and have complete access to all records.

    A Police Code of Ethics should be promulgated and widely known by officers and public alike. 

    And it goes without saying (or it should) that the Minister should make very plain to the Commissioner that any transgression of the Code ought to be treated very seriously, with significant departures resulting in the departure of the officer concerned from the ranks of Police.

  6. Greetings . . .

    I am the former undercover police officer and agent-provocateur who, as this article puts it, “claims” that his job was to lie, fabricate, and plant evidence.

    Differing shades of meaning can be derived from our nomenclature. The police department, for example, say I have made “allegations” — whereas, in my words, I have confessed to committing these offences.

    Readers may draw their own conclusions:

    Here is my original letter to the Chief Justice confessing perjury; a video and transcript of an interview on Campbell Live admitting evidence tampering; my correspondence with the police department’s “independent” investigator; and a transcript of an evidential interview with police.

    Interestingly, the police department have refused to release their findings following their investigation into my “claims” / “allegations” / “confession”.

    Thank you

    Patrick O’Brien
    X-Constable 3667

  7. Max Simpson 7

    Operation 8: Deep in the forest – A very well written piece of journalism. I have watched this story unfold since the raids in 2007 and it has left me feeling disgusted by the conduct of Police and those responsible within Govt and the various informants who obviously lied in an attempt to undermine and denigrate the Tuhoe Nation and destroy the ‘mana’ of the people.

    The legal wrangling and tactical manoeuvring has already prejudiced a just and fair outcome already. The denial by jury is not only insane but deeply concerning regarding civil liberties and definitely civil rights and I for one believe Tuhoe are indeed the victims of a case riddled with lies, innuendo and gross incompetence.

    The Tuhoe Nation have been stigmatised with the unfair and unjust pain, suffering and not to mention the vast legal costs that have been incurred and imposed on them and my heart is with the people of Tuhoe as is my deepest aroha and respect in support of your hikoi. 

    To the New Zealand Govt and the perpetrators of this deceitful episode – I send this message my father the late Whainoa Te Aurere Simpson spoke at the Waitangi Tribunal: Ngati Awa Raupatu Trials at Wairaka Marae.

    ‘Whakatika hia nga he!!!’ Right the Wrongs!!!

  8. @ Pat.

    Cheers, man. 🙂

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    Waiting In The Wings: For truly, if Trump is America’s un-assassinated Caesar, then J.D. Vance is America’s Octavian, the Republic’s youthful undertaker – and its first Emperor.DONALD TRUMP’S SELECTION of James D. Vance as his running-mate bodes ill for the American republic. A fervent supporter of Viktor Orban, the “illiberal” prime ...
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Friday, July 19

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Friday, July 19, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:The PSA announced the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) had ruled in the PSA’s favour in its case against the Ministry ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to July 19

    TL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers last night features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent talking about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s release of its first Emissions Reduction Plan;University of Otago Foreign Relations Professor and special guest Dr Karin von ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #29 2024

    Open access notables Improving global temperature datasets to better account for non-uniform warming, Calvert, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society: To better account for spatial non-uniform trends in warming, a new GITD [global instrumental temperature dataset] was created that used maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) to combine the land surface ...
    5 days ago
  • We're back again! Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live

    Photo by Gabriel Crismariu on UnsplashWe’re back again after our mid-winter break. We’re still with the ‘new’ day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Gut Reactions.

    Trump Writes His Own Story: Would the “mainstream” media even try to reflect the horrified reaction of the MAGA crowd to the pop-pop-pop of the would-be assassin’s rifle, and Trump going down? Could it even grasp the sheer elation of the rally-goers seeing their champion rise up and punch the air, still alive, ...
    5 days ago
  • Dodging Bullets.

    Fight! Fight! Fight! Had the assassin’s bullet found its mark and killed Donald Trump, America’s descent into widespread and murderous violence – possibly spiralling-down into civil war – would have been immediate and quite possibly irreparable. The American Republic, upon whose survival liberty and democracy continue to depend, is certainly not ...
    5 days ago
  • 'Corruption First' Strikes Again

    There comes a point in all our lives when we must stop to say, “Enough is enough. We know what’s happening. We are not as stupid or as ignorant as you believe us to be. And making policies that kill or harm our people is not acceptable, Ministers.”Plausible deniability has ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:The inside stories of KiwiRail’s iRex debacle, Westport’s perma-delayed flood scheme and Christchurch’s post-quake sewer rebuild, which assumed no population growth, show just how deeply sceptical senior officials in Treasury, the Ministry of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • What's that Jack Black?

    Ah-rah, deeSoo-guh-goo-gee-goo-geeGoo-guh fli-goo gee-gooGuh fli-goo, ga-goo-buh-deeOoh, guh-goo-beeOoh-guh-guh-bee-guh-guh-beeFli-goo gee-gooA-fliguh woo-wa mama Lucifer!I’m about ready to move on, how about you?Not from the shooting, that’s bad and we definitely shouldn’t have that. But the rehabilitation of Donald J Trump? The deification of Saint Donald? As the Great Unifier?Gimme a bucket.https://yellowscene.com/2024/04/07/trump-as-jesus/Just to re-iterate, ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • June 2024: Earth’s 13th-consecutive warmest month on record

    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Jeff Masters and Bob Henson June 2024 was Earth’s warmest June since global record-keeping began in 1850 and was the planet’s 13th consecutive warmest month on record, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, or NCEI, reported July 12. As opposed to being focused in ...
    5 days ago
  • Connecting the dots and filling the gaps in our bike network

    This is a guest post by Shaun Baker on the importance of filling the gaps in our cycling networks. It originally appeared on his blog Multimodal Adventures, and is re-posted here with kind permission. In our towns and cities in Aotearoa New Zealand, there are areas in our cycling networks ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    5 days ago
  • Webworm Down Under Photos!

    Hi,I wanted to share a few thoughts and photos from the Webworm popup and Tickled screening we held in Auckland, New Zealand last weekend.In short — it was a blast. I mean, I had a blast and I hope any of you that came also had a blast.An old friend ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:30 am on Thursday, July 18 are:News: Christchurch's sewer systems block further housing developments RNZ’s Niva ChittockAnalysis: Interislander: Treasury, MoT officials' mistrust of KiwiRail led ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Thursday, July 18, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:Verbatim: Climate Change Minister Simon Watts held a news conference in Auckland to release the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan, including ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • The politics of managed retreat

    Climate change deniers are now challenging the Government over a key climate change adaptation policy. That begs the question of whether New Zealand First will then support Government moves to implement processes to deal with a managed retreat for properties in danger of flooding because of sea level rise and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • Some changes are coming

    Warm welcome again to those who are here. The Mountain Tui substack was officially started on the 2nd of July. I wrote about what led me here on this post. Since then, it’s been a learning to navigate the platform, get to meet those in the community, and basically be ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • About fucking time

    The US Supreme Court has been rogue for years, with openly corrupt judges making the law up as they go to suit themselves, their billionaire buyers, and the Republican Party. But now, in the wake of them granting a licence for tyranny, President Biden is actually going to try and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: False accounting and wishful thinking

    National released their draft 2026-2030 Emissions Reduction Plan today. The plan is required under the Zero Carbon Act, and must set out policies and strategies to meet the relevant emissions budget. Having cancelled all Labour's actually effective climate change policies and crashed the carbon price, National was always going to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The Enemies Of Sunshine And Space.

    Our Houses? The Urban Density debate is a horrible combination of intergenerational avarice and envy, fuelled by the grim certainty that none of the generations coming up after them will ever have it as good as the Boomers. To say that this situation rankles among those born after 1965 is to ...
    6 days ago
  • Still the 5 Eyes Achilles Heel?

    The National Cyber Security Centre (NZSC), a unit in the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) dedicated to cyber-security, has released a Review of its response to the 2021 email hacking of NZ members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC, … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Britain's Devastating Electoral Slip.

    Slip-Sliding Away: Labour may now enjoy a dominant position in Britain’s political landscape, but only by virtue of not being swallowed by it.THE BRITISH LABOUR PARTY’S “landslide victory” is nothing of the sort. As most people understand the term, a landslide election victory is one in which the incumbent government, or ...
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why right wingers think all governments (including their own) are incompetent

    Since open denial of climate change is no longer a viable political option, denial now comes in disguise. The release this week of the coalition government’s ‘draft emissions reductions plan” shows that the Luxon government is refusing to see the need to cut emissions at source. Instead, it proposes to ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy this morning are:Chris Penk is set to roll back building standards for insulation that had only just been put in place, and which had been estimated to save 40% from power costs, after builders ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Open Letter to Pharmac

    All this talk of getting oldIt's getting me down, my loveLike a cat in a bag, waiting to drownThis time I'm coming downAnd I hope you're thinking of meAs you lay down on your sideNow the drugs don't workThey just make you worse but I know I'll see your face ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • A blanket of misinformation

    Two old sayings have been on my mind lately. The first is: “The pen is mightier than the sword”, describing the power of language and communication to help or to harm. The other, which captures the speed with which falsehoods can become ingrained and hard to undo, is: “A lie can ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 7:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 are:Scoop: Government considers rolling back home insulation standards RNZ’s Eloise GibsonNews: Government plans tree-planting frenzy as report shows NZ no longer ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 , the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day were:Simon Watts released the Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP), which included proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • “Shhhh” – National's 3 Waters is loaded with higher costs and lays a path to ...

    This is a long, possibly technical, but very, very important read. I encourage you to take the time and spread your awareness.IntroductionIn 2022, then Labour Party Prime Minister Jacinda Adern expended significant political capital to protect New Zealand’s water assets from privatisation. She lost that battle, and Labour and the ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    7 days ago
  • Plugging a video channel: Dr Gilbz

    Dr. Ella Gilbert is a climate scientist and presenter with a PhD in Antarctic climate change, working at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Her background is in atmospheric sciences and she's especially interested in the physical mechanisms of climate change, clouds, and almost anything polar. She is passionate about communicating climate ...
    7 days ago
  • Some “scrutiny” again

    Back in 2022, in its Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, the government promised to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation. Since then they've run a secret "consultation" on how to do that, with their preferred outcome being that agencies will consult the Ministry of Justice ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Crashing New Zealand's health system is not the way to prosperity, Prime Minister

    Another day, and yet another piece of bad news for New Zealand’s health system. Reports have come out that General Practitioners (GP) may have to close doors, or increase patient fees to survive. The so-called ‘capitation’ funding review, which supports GP practices to survive, is under way, and primary care ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Closer Than You Think: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.

    Redefining Our Terms: “When an angry majority is demanding change, defending the status-quo is an extremist position.”“WHAT’S THIS?”, asked Laurie, eyeing suspiciously the two glasses of red wine deposited in front of him.“A nice drop of red. I thought you’d be keen to celebrate the French Far-Right’s victory with the ...
    1 week ago
  • Come on Darleen.

    Good morning all, time for a return to things domestic. After elections in the UK and France, Luxon gatecrashing Nato, and the attempted shooting of Trump, it’s probably about time we re-focus on local politics.Unless of course you’re Christopher Luxon and you’re so exhausted from all your schmoozing in Washington ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • How the Northwest was lost and may be won

    This is a guest post by Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which we encourage you to check out. It is shared by kind permission. The Northwest has always been Auckland’s public transport Cinderella, rarely invited to the public funding ball. How did ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Tuesday July 16

    Luxon has told a Financial Times’ correspondent he would openly call out China’s spying in future and does not fear economic retaliation from Aotearoa’s largest trading partner.File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Tuesday, ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 16

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 16 are:PM Christopher Luxon has given a very hawkish interview to the Financial Times-$$$ correspondent in Washington, Demetri Sevastopulu, saying ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Tuesday, July 16

    Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 6:00 am are:BNZ released its Performance of Services Index for June, finding that services sector is at its lowest level of activity ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The second crisis; assumption was the mother

    Late on the night of July 16, 1984, while four National Cabinet Ministers were meeting in the Beehive office of Deputy Prime Minister Jim McLay, plotting the ultimate downfall of outgoing Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, another crisis was building up in another part of the capital. The United States ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Can we air condition our way out of extreme heat?

    This is a re-post from The Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler Air conditioning was initially a symbol of comfort and wealth, enjoyed by the wealthy in theaters and upscale homes. Over time, as technology advanced and costs decreased, air conditioning became more accessible to the general public. With global warming, though, ...
    1 week ago
  • Review: The Zimiamvian Trilogy, by E.R. Eddison (1935-1958)

    I have reviewed some fairly obscure stuff on this blog. Nineteenth century New Zealand speculative fiction. Forgotten Tolkien adaptations. George MacDonald and William Morris. Last month I took a look at The Worm Ouroboros (1922), by E.R. Eddison, which while not strictly obscure, is also not overly inviting to many ...
    1 week ago
  • Media Link: AVFA on the Trump assassination attempt.

    In this episode of “A View from Afar” Selwyn Manning and I discuss the attempt on Donald Trump’s life and its implications for the US elections. The political darkness grows. ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago

  • Sir Don to travel to Viet Nam as special envoy

    Sir Don McKinnon will travel to Viet Nam this week as a Special Envoy of the Government, Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced.    “It is important that the Government give due recognition to the significant contributions that General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong made to New Zealand-Viet Nam relations,” Mr ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Grant Illingworth KC appointed as transitional Commissioner to Royal Commission

    Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden says newly appointed Commissioner, Grant Illingworth KC, will help deliver the report for the first phase of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 Lessons, due on 28 November 2024.  “I am pleased to announce that Mr Illingworth will commence his appointment as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • NZ to advance relationships with ASEAN partners

    Foreign Minister Winston Peters travels to Laos this week to participate in a series of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-led Ministerial meetings in Vientiane.    “ASEAN plays an important role in supporting a peaceful, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” Mr Peters says.   “This will be our third visit to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Backing mental health services on the West Coast

    Construction of a new mental health facility at Te Nikau Grey Hospital in Greymouth is today one step closer, Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey says. “This $27 million facility shows this Government is delivering on its promise to boost mental health care and improve front line services,” Mr Doocey says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • NZ support for sustainable Pacific fisheries

    New Zealand is committing nearly $50 million to a package supporting sustainable Pacific fisheries development over the next four years, Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This support consisting of a range of initiatives demonstrates New Zealand’s commitment to assisting our Pacific partners ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Students’ needs at centre of new charter school adjustments

    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says proposed changes to the Education and Training Amendment Bill will ensure charter schools have more flexibility to negotiate employment agreements and are equipped with the right teaching resources. “Cabinet has agreed to progress an amendment which means unions will not be able to initiate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Commissioner replaces Health NZ Board

    In response to serious concerns around oversight, overspend and a significant deterioration in financial outlook, the Board of Health New Zealand will be replaced with a Commissioner, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti announced today.  “The previous government’s botched health reforms have created significant financial challenges at Health NZ that, without ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister to speak at Australian Space Forum

    Minister for Space and Science, Innovation and Technology Judith Collins will travel to Adelaide tomorrow for space and science engagements, including speaking at the Australian Space Forum.  While there she will also have meetings and visits with a focus on space, biotechnology and innovation.  “New Zealand has a thriving space ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Climate Change Minister to attend climate action meeting in China

    Climate Change Minister Simon Watts will travel to China on Saturday to attend the Ministerial on Climate Action meeting held in Wuhan.  “Attending the Ministerial on Climate Action is an opportunity to advocate for New Zealand climate priorities and engage with our key partners on climate action,” Mr Watts says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Oceans and Fisheries Minister to Solomons

    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is travelling to the Solomon Islands tomorrow for meetings with his counterparts from around the Pacific supporting collective management of the region’s fisheries. The 23rd Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee and the 5th Regional Fisheries Ministers’ Meeting in Honiara from 23 to 26 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government launches Military Style Academy Pilot

    The Government today launched the Military Style Academy Pilot at Te Au rere a te Tonga Youth Justice residence in Palmerston North, an important part of the Government’s plan to crackdown on youth crime and getting youth offenders back on track, Minister for Children, Karen Chhour said today. “On the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Nine priority bridge replacements to get underway

    The Government has welcomed news the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has begun work to replace nine priority bridges across the country to ensure our state highway network remains resilient, reliable, and efficient for road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“Increasing productivity and economic growth is a key priority for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Update on global IT outage

    Acting Prime Minister David Seymour has been in contact throughout the evening with senior officials who have coordinated a whole of government response to the global IT outage and can provide an update. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has designated the National Emergency Management Agency as the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand, Japan renew Pacific partnership

    New Zealand and Japan will continue to step up their shared engagement with the Pacific, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “New Zealand and Japan have a strong, shared interest in a free, open and stable Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.    “We are pleased to be finding more ways ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New infrastructure energises BOP forestry towns

    New developments in the heart of North Island forestry country will reinvigorate their communities and boost economic development, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones visited Kaingaroa and Kawerau in Bay of Plenty today to open a landmark community centre in the former and a new connecting road in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • 'Pacific Futures'

    President Adeang, fellow Ministers, honourable Diet Member Horii, Ambassadors, distinguished guests.    Minasama, konnichiwa, and good afternoon, everyone.    Distinguished guests, it’s a pleasure to be here with you today to talk about New Zealand’s foreign policy reset, the reasons for it, the values that underpin it, and how it ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Delivering 24 hour pothole repairs

    Kiwis and freight operators will benefit from the Coalition Government delivering on its commitment to introduce targets that will ensure a greater number of potholes on our state highways are identified and fixed within 24 hours, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Increasing productivity to help rebuild our economy is a key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Peer Support Specialists rolled out in hospitals

    Five hospitals have been selected to trial a new mental health and addiction peer support service in their emergency departments as part of the Government’s commitment to increase access to mental health and addiction support for New Zealanders, says Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Peer Support Specialists in EDs will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Consultation opens for the Emissions Reduction Plan

    The Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows we can stay within the limits of the first two emissions budgets while growing the economy, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “This draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows that with effective climate change policies we can both grow the economy and deliver our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Benefit stats highlight need for welfare reset

    The coalition Government is providing extra support for job seekers to ensure as many Kiwis as possible are in work or preparing for work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “While today’s quarterly data showing a rise in the number of people on Jobseeker benefits has been long ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • School attendance continues to increase

    Provisional school attendance data for Term 2 2024 released today has shown more students are back in class compared to last year, with 53.1 per cent of students regularly attending, compared with 47 per cent in Term 2 2023, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. “The Government has prioritised student ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • $22.7m of West Coast resilience projects underway

    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed news of progress being made by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) on the first of several crucial resilience projects underway on the South Island’s West Coast.“State highways across the West Coast are critical lifelines for communities throughout the region, including for freight and tourism. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Migrant school leavers to get part-time work rights

    The coalition Government is providing migrant school leavers with greater opportunities, by increasing access to part-time work rights for those awaiting the outcome of a family residence application, Immigration Minister Erica Stanford has announced.  “Many young people who are part of a family residence application process are unable to work. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding to support use of NZ Sign Language

    Seven projects have received government funding totalling nearly $250,000 to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Initiatives that received an NZSL Board Community Grants this year include camps that support the use of NZSL through physical and sensory activities, and clubs where Deaf people and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Inflation data shows progress in economic recovery

    Today’s Consumer Price Index data which has inflation at 3.3 per cent for the year to July 2024, shows we are turning our economy around and winning the fight against rampant inflation, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “While today’s data will be welcome news for Kiwis, I know many New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Experts to advise Minister on Oranga Tamariki

    The Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board has been re-established by the Minister for Children, Karen Chhour. “I look forward to working with the new board to continue to ensure Oranga Tamariki and the care and protection system, are entirely child centric,” Minister Chhour says. “The board will provide independent advice ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Expectations set for improved medicines access

    Associate Health Minister David Seymour says he has set clear expectations for Pharmac around delivering the medicines and medical technology that Kiwis need.  “For many New Zealanders, funding for pharmaceuticals is life or death, or the difference between a life of pain and suffering or living freely. New cancer medicines ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Regional Development Minister to host summits

    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will hold a series of nationwide summits to discuss regional priorities, aspirations and opportunities, with the first kicking off in Nelson on August 12. The 15 summits will facilitate conversations about progressing regional economic growth and opportunities to drive productivity, prosperity and resilience through the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government delivers new school for Rolleston

    The Coalition Government is addressing growing demands on Canterbury’s school network, by delivering a new primary school in Rolleston, Education Minister Erica Stanford says. Within Budget 24’s $400 million investment into school property growth, construction will begin on a new primary school (years 1-8) in Selwyn, Canterbury.  Rolleston South Primary ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New speed camera signs to improve safety

    The Government is welcoming the rollout of new speed camera signs for fixed speed cameras to encourage drivers to check their speeds, improving road safety and avoiding costly speeding tickets, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “Providing Kiwis with an opportunity to check their speed and slow down in high crash areas ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ, Korea strengthen relationship

    New Zealand and the Republic of Korea continue to strengthen their relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “New Zealand and Korea have a long history – from New Zealand soldiers fighting in the Korean War, through to our strong cooperation today as partners supporting the international rules-based order.    ...
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    1 week ago
  • Investing for future growth in tourism and hospitality

    The Government is moving forward with recommendations from the Tourism Data Leadership Group, beginning with establishing a Tourism Data Partnership Fund says Tourism and Hospitality Minister Matt Doocey. “The Tourism Data Partnership Fund is funded through the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) and will provide up to $400,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 4000 more job seekers to get case managers

    A new over-the-phone employment case management service will see thousands more job seekers under the age of 25 supported to find work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston has announced. “MSD case managers provide valuable support to help people into work, but less than a third of those receiving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Trade Minister to attend G7 meeting in Italy

    Trade Minister Todd McClay will attend the Group of Seven (G7) Trade Ministers meeting in Reggio Calabria, Italy next week. This is the first time New Zealand has been invited to join the event, which will be attended by some of the world’s largest economies and many of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministers reveal consequences for unruly Kāinga Ora tenants

    Ministers are pleased to see Kāinga Ora taking a stronger approach to managing unruly, threatening or abusive tenants, Housing Minister Chris Bishop and Associate Housing Minister Tama Potaka say.    “For far too long, a small number of Kāinga Ora tenants have ridden roughshod over their neighbours because, under Kāinga ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up US visit in California

    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has finished a successful four-day visit to the United States with meetings in California on his final day focusing on innovation and investment.  “It has been fantastic to be in San Francisco today seeing first-hand the deepening links between New Zealand and California. “New Zealand company, EV Maritime, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Prime Minister leads Indo-Pacific Four at NATO

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