Rennie: Key vetoed the shortlist?

Written By: - Date published: 2:58 pm, April 4th, 2013 - 115 comments
Categories: accountability, john key, slippery, spin, Spying - Tags:

The story keeps shifting from hour to hour, as questions are raised (see Eddie’s post on Vance’s questions), and Key’s obfuscation is increasingly commented on. Now State Security Commissioner Iain Rennie, following ex GCSB chief Sir Bruce Ferguson’s interview on Campbell Live (see Bomber’s review), has come out and slightly shifted the story.  He now says that it is quite a normal procedure for the Prime Minister to veto the shortlist:

Rennie said it was “ultimately” Key’s decision to scrap the shortlist of four candidates, but he didn’t believe the applicants were up to managing the shake-up they believed the GCSB needed.

In his qu & a with the press (video at the above link) Rennie dances on a pin, saying ultimately it was Key’s decision to scrap the shortlist, but also defending Key’s role as normal procedure and conducted under advisement.

As Claire Trevett reports,

[Rennie] said all short listed candidates knew there was a chance they might not make the interview process and that the Prime Minister would have some input.

“Those who were shortlisted were told the PM had considered their applications and they were declined at that point.”

Rennie is at pains to explain that all this  was within normal procedures, and resulted in the best person for the job being appointed.

But this raises the questions about whether John Key has misled parliament and the country, in his insistence that he wasn’t involved in the selection process, and that, ultimately, all the decisions were made by Rennie.  Key replied to Grant Robertson’s questions on 27 March 2013, saying:

Grant Robertson: What role, if any, did he play in recommending the appointment of Ian Fletcher as Director of the Government Communications Security Bureau?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: His appointment was made by the State Services Commissioner, but if the member is trying to make some other allegation, then yes, I knew Ian Fletcher. I went to school with his brother. His brother was way brighter than Grant Robertson—

With the speaker’s help, Key avoided directly answering about his involvement.

On 28 March, Brownlee answered further questions on Key’s behalf:

Grant Robertson: Did the Prime Minister accept the first recommendation of the State Services Commissioner for the person to be appointed to the post of Director of the Government Communications Security Bureau, following the process begun in May 2011?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: My understanding is yes.

Grant Robertson: Did the Prime Minister either directly or indirectly intervene in the process for the selection of the Director of the Government Communications Security Bureau?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: The State Services Commissioner has the role of identifying persons who might be suitable for that role, then conducting appropriate discussions with those people, and finally making a recommendation to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister ultimately makes that appointment, and, of course, there were discussions through that process.

In the last sentence Brownlee fudges it somewhat, by making it seem that Key’s role was to rubber stamp Rennie’s decisions.

Also in Rennie’s press conference today (as linked above), he says he was surprised when he learned that Key approached Fletcher about the job.

“I was a little surprised when I had a call from Maarten Wevers.”

Wevers – now Sir Maarten – was then head of the department of prime minister and Cabinet. Key had told Fletcher to ring Wevers if he was interested in the job.

So Key certainly has been giving himself some wriggle room, but he does appear to have been misleading in indicating that he did not intervene in the appointment process.  As Claire Trevett said, in her article this morning:

Key appears to take the same approach to the truth as to the economy: it should be flexible enough to withstand shocks….

Rather, he indulges in the science of obfuscation – a highly technical speciality.

On the Fletcher appointment, has Key employed this strategy in such a way to technically avoid being charged with misleading the House and the country?

115 comments on “Rennie: Key vetoed the shortlist? ”

  1. Colonial Weka 1

    “Rennie said it was “ultimately” Key’s decision to scrap the shortlist of four candidates, but he didn’t believe the applicants were up to managing the shake-up they believed the GCSB needed.”

    Right. In other words, the applicants weren’t likely to do Key’s bidding during a restructure.

    The implication isn’t good for Rennie either.

  2. ianmac 2

    I put this on the “Vance asks…” page. Might be more use here:

    NRT has an interesting post up explaining just how the Appointments are supposed to work under the the State Sector Act. He comments on Mr Rennie’s statement given to the press today. NRT is a very interesting read as usual.

    http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2013/04/not-ok.html

    • karol 2.1

      Thanks. A good post by I/S. Also, the Green Party are now calling for an independent inquiry, saying that key has misled the public, as reported by 3News:

      Co-leader Russel Norman says Mr Key has “misled the public” and will now ask the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) to conduct the investigation.

    • alwyn 2.2

      There is a minor problem with NRT’s interpretation.
      He appears to put a great deal of weight on section 35 of the act when he talks about the way a recommendation is made etc.
      The bit one should take note of is that section 35 is subject to provisions of various other sections, including section 44, which says that section 35 DOES NOT APPLY to a number of positions, including the head of the GCSB.
      It also talks about the Commissioner recommending a candidate. Rennie has stated that he told the PM that he could not recommend ANY of the original candidates.
      Incidentally, even if the procedure did apply can you imagine the screams of outrage if Key had appointed someone who the Commissioner had said was not qualified for the job?

  3. IMO now is the time for some moral outrage about the lying – multiple sustained attacks from the opposition – key will try to smile his way out but the public will see that and bankster-monster will appear which they will like even less – If too much time is wasted he will walk away unscathed and we are back looking at that smug face of his again. He can go down and his weakness is his vanity and hubris combined with a pathological inability to tell the truth. Unleash the bloody hounds – no softly softly and no trying to spin it out for months. WTF is there to lose – the election is going going …

    • TruthSeeker 3.1

      You’re right. Let’s hope the opposition are smart enough to see it.

      • karol 3.1.1

        Yes, but they’ve surely got a mammoth struggle on their hands. Key et al’s fight back surfacing this evening, against Ferguson and Labour, shows how ruthless Key can be. He can’t stand losing or being on the back foot – just the last sort of person to lead a country in the interests of all the people.

      • felix 3.1.2

        Yep indeed marty.

        And TS, I’m sure the opposition are smart enough to see it. My concern is that they’re too gutless to go for the throat. I believe they’ve bought into the bullshit idea that just because Shearer is a nonce who ‘forgot’ his bank account the entire opposition has to play dead.

        I’ve already given them some free advice on how to handle this non-issue here: http://thestandard.org.nz/cronyism-2/#comment-613192

  4. aerobubble 4

    Distorting capitalism took the lead in the cheap credit
    and cheap energy world. Key breathed distortion, rules
    were a bane, or an opportunity for profit when gotten around.

    Been involved with Anarctica for 50 years… ..says Key,
    as he plays the role of leader of our nation, talking
    as our PM about Anarctica and NZ. This is the salesman
    Key out front doing the job, but behind the doors he’s
    see rules as … …well… …a problem, SkyCity,
    the head of the spy agency, due diligence of Solid energy,
    Novapay lack of adequate testing. Shorting process
    as the downside risks are likely to fall to the next
    government (as National are keen to express it was the
    last government mess they are clearing up, and so ergo,
    their mess is the next governments problem).
    No responsibility Key,key to how any second hand car
    salesman deals with their role of selling bangers.

    Whose bright idea was that, a fracking money man as PM,
    distort the fiscal strata and pump in awful spin chemicals.
    When did we grow the idea that being good in a finance business
    would make a good leader of the nation, what a dumb idea.

    • Arfamo 4.1

      We didn’t. He didn’t get voted in. Helen got voted out. After she got dumped there was nobody in Labour that would have got elected in her place.

  5. seeker 5

    Well he certainly misled me Karol, but then I ran out of my telepathy tablets a couple of weeks ago.
    Instead I had to rely on the Herald video clip (April 3 posted at 3.38pm on Adam Bennett’s (of all people) column.)

    And there I was yesterday afternoon tabletless, watching said videoclip and really hoping that that nice mr key was telling the truth for once, so convincing was he – and, what’s more, apparently benificent enough to give that charming, but rather naive hekia p. a key master class in media communication- when 00ps, down he went………..

  6. North 6

    It’s official folks………Afternoons with Bora today…….. “nothing to see here”.

    The Prime Minister is an amnesiac according to panelist Jock Anderson and John Armstrong phoning in, and that’s as far as it goes. And encouragingly Fletcher’s the right man for the job, according to Anderson. How the hell would that easily mistaken for Garth George blowhard know ?

    He’s simply repeating the amnesiac’s assertion. No facts to see there.

    Armstrong dismisses it all as having no legs beyond Wellington. Paraparaumu for example won’t give a stuff.

    Oh well, that’s OK then. Let’s not be tiresome and give Key’s amnesia any more mention than acknowledgment that it’s a regular feature of the man.

    Come in Morrissey.

    • karol 6.1

      Then, after 5pm, Brent Edwards said otherwise: that Rennie had contradicted what Key had said previously.

      • felix 6.1.1

        Yes well 5pm on RNZ is when the children get sent to bed and the grown-ups are allowed to talk again.

    • Blue 6.2

      Yeah, lying is a beltway issue. People in Paraparaumu don’t give a shit about their Prime Minister continually telling them a pack of lies and then insulting their intelligence by claiming he forgot. Again.

  7. freedom 7

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8507250/State-Services-chief-surprised-by-PMs-call

    Now the focus turns to the short list and the circumstances of its demise, which is apparently the candidates lack of suitability for the ‘new direction’ of GCSB. Why are we not seeing some clarity on what exactly that means?

    The reformation processes that the GCSB have reportedly undertaken since the Dotcom revelations have somehow become secondary to discussions on who will oversee their implementation. If you listen carefully you can almost hear the echoes of the strategy huddles ‘We were caught breaking our own rules and now that we’ve had the wet bus ticket on the open palm, we can begin another unwarranted and seriously expensive rewriting of rules and protocols that were working just fine before we ignored them’

    and the beat, as they say, goes on

  8. geoff 8

    Just listened to Mary Wilson try and put Iain Rennie through the wringer. Bit disappointed she didn’t make him cry.

    • Anne 8.1

      Rennie was followed by Bruce Ferguson who is not backing down from his assertion that due process was not followed etc… He also updated his knowledge of the names on the shortlist. He now says he knows three of them and all were top drawer candidates – or words to that effect. I expect he has been contacted by them following his appearance on CL last night.

      It’s obvious Rennie was given detailed instructions from Key as to what sort of background and experience he wanted the new boss to have, and military and intelligence experience was not among them. That’s why Rennie could confidently say the persons on the short list were not right for the job.

      It really does beggar belief.

      • karol 8.1.1

        Yes, I heard them both on Checkpoint. It looks like Rennie has been pushed forward to do some damage control, and take the heat of Key.

        But he raises as many questions as he attempts to gloss over answer.

        • geoff 8.1.1.1

          Now karol, can you help me. How do I get strikethrough? I thought it was using ‘s’ in an html tag but the last times I did that it didn’t work. I’ll try again now:
          John Key is a liar flexible with the truth.

          After googling Ill try using ‘strike’ in the edit

          John Key has no morals difficulty
          with ethical decisions.

          Ah.

      • Ugly Truth 8.1.2

        “due process was not followed”

        Fergusson was talking about the selection process, he did not mention due process.

        The real issue here is why the normal selection process was not followed when the process is clearly laid out in the legislation and the position was both important and politically unsettled.

        • Anne 8.1.2.1

          He spoke of due process on Campbell Live last night… or it may have been Morning Report this morning. You think you’re so bloody clever. You’re not. How old are you? 18?

          Wait until you’re mature enough before you start commenting on grown ups’ sites.

          • Ugly Truth 8.1.2.1.1

            The context was Checkpoint, not Campbell Live or Morning Report.

          • Ugly Truth 8.1.2.1.2

            I listened to Campbell Live and today’s Morning Report and it’s the same audio, Fergusson talks about the selection process and not due process.

            Due process is a feature of common law, is has nothing to do the parliament’s selection process.

            [lprent: Ummm…. Are you really sure that this isn’t simply a diversion from the topic of the post? Nods towards an area designated for a off topic obsessions where I as a moderator do not usually constrain people’s interesting but curious ‘interests’. You’d have to explain more about how this apparent shift of topic is relevant within the current legal and procedural frameworks (especially as so much of it is not a legal issue at all). ]

          • karol 8.1.2.1.3

            Ferguson was talking about the normal process that’s followed. I’m not sure that amounts to the strictly legal criteria of due process. As I understand what Rennie said on Campbell Live tonight, it is the PM’s prerogative to make the final decision. Ferguson said there’s normally a whittling down process until one candidate is finally selected. This process wasn’t followed.

            Rennie on CL said the shortlisted people had started going through the normal process – psych tests etc. Then Key pulled the plug because he wanted someone who would be able to bring major changes to GCSB.

            Apart from the fact that Key had misled us on the role he played, it reminds me a bit of the way the governor general can dismiss a PM but (mostly) doesn’t. People had come to think that a governor general has this right in law, but would never do it in practice (unless there were highly exceptional circumstances) because it is undemocratic by today’s standards….. but then there was Gough Whitlam in Aussie.

            • alwyn 8.1.2.1.3.1

              Karol. As I understand the system the only person who can appoint the head of the GCSB is the PM.
              What he asked Rennie to do was to recommend someone. From the original short list of candidates Rennie said that he did not consider anyone to be qualified, and that he could not recommend anyone. It was only then that consideration of other candidates, including Fletcher, started.
              What would you have said if the Government had simply appointed someone that the SSC did not consider qualified? I’m sure in that case the screaming would have been even louder.
              Incidentally I don’t think one should take to much notice of Fergusson. He is I think more than a little bitter that he wasn’t given another stint in the job. Given the way the department seems to have been organised while he was there that seems like a good thing.

              • karol

                Ah, so you are repeating the government’s line in attacking Ferguson. The PM has the ultimate responsibility for the appointment, and legally he can veto the process. However, why was he so keen to cover up his intervention? And why did he close down the usually fair and democratic process, resulting in the appointment of the crony he shoulder tapped for the job? Why has he not been careful to avoid actions that can be perceived as political interference?

                • alwyn

                  A couple of things. The first is that Key didn’t veto anyone. Rennie has said that he couldn’t recommend any of the original candidates.
                  The other thing, and I commented on this at 2.2 in this discussion is that the so-called “usual process” doesn’t apply to a number of positions, including the head of the GCSB. The head of the GCSB is exclusively a position for the PM to fill.

              • Pascal's bookie

                It’s odd though, is it not, that just last week the PM was quite clear that Rennie had made the decisions and that he himslef was limited to pretty much saying ‘Good choice’?

                And if we are talking about screaming hyptheticals, one can only imagine the uproar if H1 had decided, for reasons undisclosed, that someone from outside the military intelligence field should be shoulder tapped for the role.

                So we’ll just leave that one out of it I think.

                There are other questions though.

                When did the PM and SSC decide that GCSB needed a clean out?

                Before Jerry Mateperae was moved to Govt House perhaps?

                And seeing it was no later than July, why weren’t the directer and the PM paying closer attention to the dysfunctional organisation when it stuffed up the DotCom operation in Sept-Jan?

                • good questions and below I posted where key was talking about fletcher in 2009 hard to see how the vague knowing will stand up now. Plus key wanted him in, anywhere it appears not just the job he got.

    • gobsmacked 8.2

      Mary Wilson did get Rennie to expose the fundamental contradiction here – he was quite explicit that it WAS a political appointment.

      In short –

      Key: “It wasn’t me.” Rennie “It was him, but that’s fine. It happens”

      It’s obviously absurd to have the PM and SSC holding different versions of the NZ constitution. But that’s what we’ve now got.

      BTW, Rennie is on Campbell Live at 7 pm tonight.

      • karol 8.2.1

        Yes, and now the government (as indicated on 3News just now, is coming out with a (defensive) counter attack on Ferguson – saying the upcoming report will show the GCSB in disarray and was so under Ferguson’s watch – hence, according to the senior government leaker, Ferguson is proactively covering his back..

        • Anne 8.2.1.1

          Beat me to it karol. He’s being represented as a bumbling fool who was part of a military culture of bad management that dates back many years. Oh, and Ferguson is bitter and twisted because he wasn’t reappointed for another term. That’s bullshit with a big B!

          I said last night and I say it again… I met the man a few times and he came across to me as someone of honesty and integrity.

          • karol 8.2.1.1.1

            Yes, Anne. My interpretation of Ferguson being ousted, is that Key wanted his own guys to do things his own corporatist, US-toadying, TPPA-supporting, intellectual property-ownership way.

            And Key is still left with his obfuscation, misleading the public about how he intervened in the recruitment process…. and the illegal actions re-Kim Dotcom…. the whole mess.

            And last night you predicted some kind of backlash against ferguson, albeit not in exactly the way you said.

            • Anne 8.2.1.1.1.1

              Yes Karol, I put it in a slightly different way. I wasn’t the only one to predict it either.

              Key also tried to divert attention by labelling Labour as liars (turned away from the the reporters and cameras as he said it of course – the action of a real liar) and brought up Shearer lying about the GCSB video. I’ll bet anyone Shearer was right. That video existed but it never surfaced… Ian Fletcher saw to that? Wonder how he and his ‘greaser’ mates did it? Threats or blackmail?

              • Colonial Viper

                Attacking a former head of the GCSB? That’s just a brilliant tactic. There’s nothing which can go wrong with that.

              • TruthSeeker

                We assume the tape doesn’t exist. But what if it does? Someone, somewhere might have a copy. The question then arises: why hasn’t it surfaced yet? The answer is: motive. The motive to leak the tape didn’t exist in October last year, but that was before the Kitteridge report.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Of course the tape doesn’t exist; it’s a hard drive with a digital video file.

          • xtasy 8.2.1.1.2

            Anne:

            “I said last night and I say it again… I met the man a few times and he came across to me as someone of honesty and integrity.”

            Honesty and integrity are attributes that are not necessarily “useful” when governments with certain “agendas” want to have their foot soldiers front the lines for the dirty work. That most certainly applies to John Key and his Nat gang! Just look at the re-appointments of commissioners and whatever, CEOs of departments, ministries and so forth.

            They hand pick the ones they favour, and let us not forget, that Bennett tried to get that top notch beneficiary off-loading CEO from the UK to work here (her name was Janet Grossman). Only because something went wrong, did she resign unexpectedly within just a year. They paid her money out for leaving early too. There are rumours that she objected to the Welfare or Social Welfare Board “overseeing” her work.

            Look at Dr Des Gorman, former senior advisor to ACC, now ACC Board member, also member or head of Health Work Force NZ, of the National Health Board, formerly head of the School of Medicine at Auckland Uni, and look at the Health and Disability Commissioner now, same as Rebstock for leading ACC, for a senior role in welfare, for this that and much more.

            This is all a close knit network of who knows whom to do the job the top (Key and his close cabinet circles) want done!!!

            Is it so difficult to work this out? No, but the media leaders are also in on this, that is some in the corporate, private media, all on good terms with the business circles Key also is socialising with.

            This is not transparency, independence, accountability and democracy what goes on in NZ!

            • Anne 8.2.1.1.2.1

              Honesty and integrity are attributes that are not necessarily “useful” when governments with certain “agendas” want to have their foot soldiers front the lines for the dirty work.

              You’re on the button there xtasy.

  9. From the article entitled ‘surprised by …” on Stuff

    “Mr Fletcher’s name was certainly one of the names identified and it wasn’t a surprise to me that his name came up, I was very well aware of his background ..”

    ‘Very well aware’ not just aware, I wonder why rennie was ‘very well aware’ – hope they aren’t school chums too.

    • Oh well a bit more of the puzzle coming clear

      Prime Minister John Key was pushing his childhood friend Ian Fletcher as a good candidate for a top-level government job as early as 2009, State Services Commissioner Ian Rennie revealed yesterday.

      While Mr Key last week said he knew Mr Fletcher only “vaguely” since their school days, and couldn’t recall particular occasions when he’d met his old friend in recent years, Mr Rennie confirmed he and Mr Key discussed Mr Fletcher in 2009.

      That was in the context of bringing back expatriate New Zealanders who had performed well in public sectors overseas to fill public sector chief executive roles.

      Mr Key was positive about that and told Mr Rennie about Mr Fletcher, “and he told me about the nature of his knowledge of Mr Fletcher”.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10875494

      That vaguely lie is going to bite key.

  10. xtasy 10

    I just heard Rennie and also Ferguson being interviewed on Checkpoint on RNZ.

    Yes, talk about “shifting” the interpretation and focus, a senior public servant may justify what his boss did, as he may be concerned about his job. Do not bite the hand that feeds you gets another new meaning. While Ferguson (former GCSB boss until 2010) accepted that such decisions about selecting CEOs and managers of core government departments (incl. GCSB) tend to be “political” (I can tell many other stories in that regard), he still challenges the appropriateness of throwing out the other contenders for the job, some of whom he saw qualified and would have interviewed.

    The process remains to be in question, and we are back to Key and a few others bending past actions, comments, words and deeds, trying to justify the indefensible.

    It looks ROTTEN what has been going on.

    NZ is run by a PM who is behaving like a smart alec clown at some times, and as a big schemer and rule-breaker at other times. This is dangerous, what is going on. Some media are realising what has been going on and are starting to ask question, where are the rest?

    NZers, throw the LIARS out of government, wake up, finally, please!!!

  11. Colonial Viper 11

    Key, with all his expertise in intelligence gathering and signals, vetoed the shortlist as none of the candidates considered could do the job of “shaking up” (wtf) the GCSB.

    • ianmac 11.1

      But remember that the appointment was back in 2011 wasn’t it? Long before the “mismanagement” was known and a shakeup needed. Otherwise Mr Key would have kept a very close eye on GCSB for a year or so. Amazing how clever he is in Hindsight???

  12. felix 12

    He’s also lied directly to the whole country in his press stand-up yesterday. When asked if he had a role in the appointment process he definitely said no.

    I mean he made that ‘eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee here comes a massive lie’ noise first, but he definitely said he didn’t take part.

    This isn’t a ‘forgetful’ lie, this is a ‘been doing nothing for three days but working on this scandal and definitely know what really happened and when, and I’m still in with a chance of lying this away’ lie.

  13. Paul 13

    Campbell Live has Iain Rennie on.

  14. BLiP 14

    And another one for the list . . . thank’s John, I’m lovin’ it:

    – We seek a 50% reduction in New Zealand’s carbon-equivalent net emissions, as compared to 1990 levels, by 2050. 50 by 50. We will write the target into law.

    – National Ltd™ will provide a consistent incentive for both biofuel and biodiesel by exempting them
    from excise tax or road user charges

    – I didn’t know about The Bretheren election tactics

    – If they came to us now with that proposal [re trans-Tasman Therapeutic Goods regime], we will sign it

    – 1981

    – Tranzrail shares

    – Lord Ashcroft

    – National Ltd™ would have sent troops into Iraq

    – Standard & Poors credit downgrade

    – I didn’t say I want wages to drop

    – the real figure of inflation is 3.3 percent.

    – the tourism sector has not lost 7,000 jobs

    – I won’t raise GST

    – the purchase of farmland, by overseas buyers will be restricted to ten farms per purchase

    – capping, not cutting the public service,

    – north of $50 a week

    – privatisation won’t significantly help the economy

    – wave goodbye to higher taxes, not your loved ones

    – I never offered Brash a diplomatic job in London

    – Tariana Turia is “totally fine” with the Tuhoe Treaty Claim deal

    – Kiwisaver

    – National Ltd™ is not going to radically reorganise the structure of the public sector

    – tax cuts won’t require additional borrowing

    – New Zealand troops in Afghanistan will only be involved in training, not fighting

    – 14,000 new apprentices will start training over the next five years, over and above the number previously forecast

    – Our amendments to the ETS ensure we will continue to do our fair share internationally

    – we are committed to honouring our Kyoto Protocol obligations

    – any changes to the ETS will be fiscally neutral

    – we [NZ} have grown for eight of the last nine quarters”

    – National Ltd™ will tender out the government banking contract

    – we will be back in surplus by 2014-15

    – Nicky Hager’s book “Other People’s Wars” is a work of fiction

    – unemployment is starting to fall

    – we have created 45,000 jobs

    – we are likely to create 170,000 jobs in the next 4 years

    – I don’t know if I own a vineyard

    – the Isreali spy killed in the Christchurch quake had “only one” passport

    – the Police will not need to make savings by losing jobs

    – GCSB re Kim Dotcom x 3 (that we know about)

    – I voted to keep the drinking age at 20

    – New Zealand is 100% Pure

    – I will resign if found to be lying

    – I’ve been prime minister for four years, and it’s really 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year

    – baseball in New Zealand is attracting more government support

    – the public demanded that we change the labour laws for The Hobbit

    – “The Hobbit” created 3000 new jobs

    – we have delivered 1000 extra doctors in the public service

    – I wasn’t working at Elders when the sham foreign exchange deals took place

    – I was starting School Certificate exams in 1978

    – cutting consent fees and times and opening up land to developers will create affordable housing

    – Labour left the economy in poor shape

    – forecasts show unemployment will fall

    – our [NZ’s] terms of trade remain high

    – the TPP is an example of democracy

    – National Ltd™ will use the proceeds of state asset sales to invest in other public assets, like schools and hospitals

    – New Zealand troops will be out of Afghanistan by September 2014

    – overseas investment in New Zealand adds to what New Zealanders can invest on their own

    – overseas investment in New Zealand creates jobs, boosts incomes, and helps the economy grow

    – National Ltd™ will build 2000 houses over the next two years

    – my officers had no correspondence, no discussion, and no involvement in this [SkyCity] matter

    – SkyCity will only get “a few more” pokie machines at the margins

    – Sky City has approached TVNZ about the purchase/use of government-owned land

    – the Hobbit is going off shore unless we do something

    – David Shearer has signed up for the purchase of shares in Mighty River

    – Solid Energy asked the government for a $1 billion capital investment

    – no front line positions will be lost at DoC

    – I forgot that after I scrapped the shortlist for the top job at GCSB I phoned a childhood friend to tell him to apply for the position

    • freedom 14.1

      “- I will resign if found to be lying”
      anyone got the source for this one?
      It might be useful.

    • Te Reo Putake 14.2

      Thanks, BLiP, that’s the most comprehensive list of Dunnokeyo’s brain fades I’ve seen so far. If I win lotto this weekend, I’m buying a page in the Herald and the Dom and printing the lot.

      It is just staggering to see them listed like that; you wouldn’t put up with this level of flimsy fibbery from a four year old, so why does NZ put up with it from Key? Mind you, it is starting to look like the worm is turning in the MSM. No ‘labour coup’ stories for weeks now, the focus is definitely on Key for the time being. When the likes of Vance and Armstrong feel obliged to point out the PM’s failings, you just know the rot is really setting in.

      So, big question. Who is going to lead National into the next election if Key is seen as damaged goods? Joyce? English? And never forget that Thatcher was a parrticularly unpopular Education Minister before transforming herself into the Iron Lady, so there’s hope for Parata too. Should we start a sweepstake?

  15. pollywog 15

    In the words of Scott Pilgrim when versing the World and in perfect relation to Key in this instance…

    “YOU COCKY COCK !!!”

    • chris73 15.1

      Off topic but damn Scott Pilgrim was such a dick and yet got some awesome hot, cool chicks…

  16. Adrian 16

    Remember when David Shearer got gazumped by the video that mysteriously disappeared, much like all the to the contrary evidence on Iraqi WMDs. At the time Labour members were told quietly that there was a lot more to come on this story and that it was very damaging. Bingo!. Well done DS. Go get the lying bastard.
    By the way where was Ian Fletcher when all those lies and obfuscation were happening in Britian, perchance was that the time he was working for Tony Blair? Is there a pattern here?

    • karol 16.1

      Adrian, I addressed the issue of when Fletcher was working for Blair, in this post.

      On Campbell Live tonight, Campbell raised the issue of the non-existent tape as mentioned by Shearer.

      Rennie did a very slick job of damping down the criticisms of Key – with a “nothing to see here” kind of response throughout the interview.

      • Anne 16.1.1

        It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Dotcom saga played a significant role in the appointment of Ian Fletcher. In my view – and as John Campbell pointed out tonight – it is also significant that there was a one month (and a bit) gap in Dec/Jan of last year when there was no Director of the GCSB. How convenient that was the period when the Dotcom raid was organised and executed at a time when there was no GCSB overview – apart from the Prime Minister of course.

        According to Ian Rennie GCSB staff are right behind Ian Fletcher and yet I heard Sir Bruce Ferguson say last night that GCSB morale levels are at their lowest ever ebb. Funny that. Ferguson must know many of the staff well from his own tenure as GCSB chief, and they are apparently telling him something quite different.

        Yet another brilliant job by John Campbell.

        • karol 16.1.1.1

          Yes, i thought the bit about the gap between heads when the Dotcom raid happened was intriguing.

          And the discrepancy between what Ferguson said about the low morale of GCSB right now, and Rennie saying Fletcher was doing his job well and morale was fine… was glaring.

          Rennie just seemed to be doing the official, boss, smoothing things over,, “nothing to see here” line.

          Campbell did very well, and managed to slip a question about the connection between Fletcher’s background on intellectual property and the way Key wanted to change GCSB – linking it with TPP and the Dotcom case on digital copyright. Rennie’s response was a bland dismissal of the idea – but Campbell had already made the connection.

          • geoff 16.1.1.1.1

            It’s ridiculous, I wish Campbell had raised that question, having interviewed Ferguson. How can a department undergoing significant internal restructuring have high morale and be ‘right behind’ the new leader who is making the sweeping changes?
            All media pieces I have seen of Rennie show him at pains to defend Key’s actions so I assume it’s essentially like having a National MP as the SSC?

        • Anne 16.1.1.2

          Oops… I meant Dec.2011/Jan.2012.

        • Ugly Truth 16.1.1.3

          Dotcom is important because of the US political influence.

        • Treetop 16.1.1.4

          According to Campbell Live Fletcher started at the GCSB on 29 January 2012. So if there was not a Director for several weeks who was in charge of the joint operation with the police?

          Key was more interested in holidaying in Hawaii than having no director at the GCSB or was this part of the plan because Dotcom had to be shut down and the illegal spying could be dealt with later on if it entered the public arena.

          As well on 16 February 2012 there was a debrief between GCSB and the police.

          Do not take your eye off the police (commissioner and OFCANZ) or the minister of police as they are in the loop. The minister of police may have been informed by Marshall and then she could have informed Key along the way or when there was no director at the GCSB (sometime in December 2011 – late January 2012).

          Rennie on CL could not identify a minister who had rang up a person for a political appointment. I think that Key phoned Fletcher to say that the job would be his were he to apply for it.

          Today Rennie said that OIA requests could be made for information re Fletcher’s appointment.

          Would the government release information?

          A forensic chronology needs to be put together.

          • TruthSeeker 16.1.1.4.1

            Wolfensohn was acting director of the GCSB during Dec. 2011/Jan. 2012.

            • Treetop 16.1.1.4.1.1

              Thanks for that, answering who was in charge of the GCSB when there was no director.

              Who was in charge of the joint operation with the police?

              Marshall or acting director Wolfensohn?

              Even though Key is the minister in charge of the GCSB he was not in charge as he did not know who Dotcom was until a day before the raid.

              When Banks was matey with Dotcom, Key does not know who Dotcom is.

              Was this to protect Banks and the Key Government?

              When Key is in charge of the GCSB he does not know who Dotcom is until 19 January 2012.

              16.1.1.4 “… or was this part of the plan because Dotcom had to be shut down and the illegal spying could be dealt with later on if it entered the public arena.”

              The Dotcom affair is being carefully orchestrated because the GCSB (including Key due to being the responsible minister) and OFCANZ were caught out with being involved in spying and now Fletcher and Key want to absolve themself from taking responsibility for NOT doing stuff by the BOOK.

              Me thinks that that perjury is very likely to occur at future Dotcom hearings because past lies will have to be covered. The smart thing for Key to do is to fire Fletcher, (I do not think that Fletcher will spill the beans on Key as this would ruin Fletcher’s future job prospects). Firing Fletcher or Fletcher resigning is the first step required to clean up the GCSB and were I employed at the GCSB I would not respect Fletcher.

              I don’t care what Fletcher’s background is. For seven months he either did not inform Key of the illegal spying or he is covering for Key. I would have no problem with taking carton boxes into Fletcher’s office and filling them up. I would even hoover, dust and polish the office before I left.

          • geoff 16.1.1.4.2

            Whenever the shit goes down JK always makes sure he’s overseas. Like now! “Bye y’all I’m off to China for a week, don’t worry I’ll have Paula or Hekia pull some stunt while I’m away to take the heat off me.”

            What a fucking circus. I’m so naive that I think this shit is going to add up in the punters minds but you live and hope I suppose…

      • Arfamo 16.1.2

        “Rennie did a very slick job of damping down the criticisms of Key – with a “nothing to see here” kind of response throughout the interview.”
        – – – – – –
        Yes, that was a very smooth performance. Rennie only slipped up with his eyes about twice I think.

        • Anne 16.1.2.1

          One of those slip-ups was when Campbell talked about the one month gap between one chief leaving and the next one taking over. A flicker of the eyes and a quick lick of the lip was an instant giveaway.

          • Arfamo 16.1.2.1.1

            He did make a couple of good points I thought, though. One was that this is one of very few appointments actually made by the responsible Minister (always the PM), and the other was that GCSB had shown itself to be in need of a complete overhaul, necessitating a change Manager. (I wish Campbell had asked him why a traditionally-backgrounded candidate couldn’t have been appointed, part of his role to be to recruit a change manager deputy.)

            I find everything JK says these days, and his body language, and the protection of the Speaker, just dodgy. I can’t explain why more people don’t feel the same way. The next round of polls will be interesting.

            • karol 16.1.2.1.1.1

              Well, Rennie does kind of answer Fletcher was the person to fulfill the role required: to “professionalise” the GCSB; “to change the structure and organisation “to meet the needs of the contemporary world”…. in other words… management speak.

              Rennie very cleverly sidesteps issues of what Key was looking for, and focuses on what he (Rennie) thought were the requirements for the job. e.g. Campbell asked about whether Fletcher’s background in intellectual property made him a good person to be dealing with intellectual property issues re-Dotcom and TPP. Rennie replied that was not in his (Rennie’s) mind when he was considering Fletcher for the GCSB job – Rennie thought Fletcher was the ideal person to manage the required changes to GCSB.

              But, that doesn’t mean the intellectual property issue wasn’t forefront in Key’s mind.

            • xtasy 16.1.2.1.1.2

              “I find everything JK says these days, and his body language, and the protection of the Speaker, just dodgy. I can’t explain why more people don’t feel the same way.”

              Maybe they can “identify” themselves as being on a similar wave-length with John Key?

              The harsher economic times, the ruthless and extremely competitive capitalist system now rigorously enforced in NZ society, this may force too many out there to cut corners themselves, to engage in tax dodging and evading, in “shonkey” deals and all sorts of activities, which are on the borderline of being legal, so that so many have so much to hide themselves now.

              In some Key may be viewed as the villain hero, as they have become so cynical, selfish and ruthless themselves, they have no other “role model” that they can sleep in peace with themselves.

              Having such one as PM makes life excusable and bearable for all the small and bigger crooks and rule benders out there. Slowly NZ society is becoming a sick joke, and I see fewer and fewer stand up for ethics, principles, values, community and dignity. The knives are out for many out there, not literally, but in another sense.

              Me first, my family and whanau first, defend the territory and what I have, that is what makes most tick now, a growing number fearing to sink into working poor or even hated welfare dependency.

              • Mary

                That’s right. Sadly New Zealand’s become a place where people value what Key stands for. That’s the problem.

          • karol 16.1.2.1.2

            I’m just re-watching the video. But Campbell started by quoting from the SSC website about Rennie’s role.

            The current office of State Services Commissioner descends directly from that of the Public Service Commission. The Public Service Commission was established in 1912 to employ all public servants, so protecting the Public Service from political interference and enabling the preservation of the political neutrality of the Public Service.

            Campbell then said that Rennie thought Key’s role in the appointment process didn’t amount to political interference.

            Good one, John!

            • Arfamo 16.1.2.1.2.1

              Well, yeah, the neutrality of the public service really disappeared under the Lange/Douglas government. By the end of the Bolger administration it was quite clear governments henceforth regarded them not as public servants but as government servants and that has been SSC’s pragmatic operating philosophy since.

              And Rennie’s contract’s up for renegotiation soon apparently.

              • Yeah, Key initially said that Fletcher was referred to a government minister but Wevers is supposedly as public servant. Understandable that he wouldn’t make a distinction between them.

              • geoff

                The more I hear from the man (Rennie), the more I want to know about his appointment!

                • Arfamo

                  I don’t think there was anything dodgy about Rennie’s appointment. He was a logical successor. It’s just that the SSC’s relationship with the Government is about doing what the Government wants, within the bounds of whatever that can be done will be done, and only whatever can’t, won’t (or shouldn’t). It’s an awkward relationship to manage and one that I guess is based on some tightrope walking. Can you think of any time in public knowledge where the SSC chief refused to do something a Minister or the PM wanted because it would be inappropriate to do so? Generally the desired government outcome is achieved by skilful use of an investigation with recommendations that remove or neutralise senior servants who have become a liability or who they simply want gone.

  17. freedom 17

    and of course tomorrow the PM escapes to China leaving Brownlee to be Johnny on the Spot next Tuesday.

    Mr Key will depart New Zealand at midnight on 5 April. Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully will also travel to the Bo’ao Forum. Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce, Trade Minister Tim Groser and Māori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples will accompany the business mission delegation in China. Mr Key will return to New Zealand by Royal New Zealand Air Force 757 on 13 April.

  18. outofbed 18

    Shearer gets dropped some info on video
    GCSB knows this
    A video showing Key being informed about dotcom dissapears
    Shearer looks like a munter

    But the facts are Key is a liar and capable of anything. If you appoint your best mates brother to run the Spy agency then anything goes
    I think the Greens and Labour should be at least encrypting their emails I know the Greens are technically competent and may already be doing this
    But I very much doubt Labour are tech Savvy if this is any thing to go by
    This sounds a bit conspiracy theory but can you hand on your heart trust the Nats not to do this. After all Key, the proven liar is the only person who provides oversight of the spooks .
    its all a bit fishy

    Maybe that is why morale is low at GCSB

    • chris73 18.1

      Thats pushing it, I mean Labours security was so weak that Whaeleoil decided to helpfully let them know how bad it was (and not a word of thanks) so I don’t think National need to be recruiting the GCSB…some bored 3rd year computer science guy would probably be able to have a look

      • McFlock 18.1.1

        Well, we know nact ministers don’t encrypt the emails they send through personal webmail accounts.

        • chris73 18.1.1.1

          Ezachery, Labour should go for it and see what they can come up with

          • McFlock 18.1.1.1.1

            They’d do much better for the country if they sent their webtechs to the eqc. Or acc. Or whoever this week’s privacy leak comes from. Or has the government managed to go an entire week without sending confidential data to random new zealanders?

            • felix 18.1.1.1.1.1

              With the exception of the MoSD kiosk clusterfuck, I hardly think any of the others could be said to have gone to “random new zealanders”. They’ve all seemed pretty well targeted to me.

              • McFlock

                True that. All been Emailed to people the relevant department has been trying to deny legitimate payments to., if I recall correctly.

                • Colonial Viper

                  People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.

      • felix 18.1.2

        “Labours security was so weak that Whaeleoil decided to helpfully let them know how bad it was”

        I don’t think anyone seriously believes Cameron just stumbled over this and figured it out all by his little not-that-savvy self. It’s far more likely he was tipped off by someone in the NPRU or the PM’s office.

        Which takes us all the way back to square one. And before you say how far fetched it sounds, you’d probably best explain why Key thinks his relationship with the head spy is so dodgy that he’s been lying about it for a week.

        • chris73 18.1.2.1

          How do you know it wasn’t someone in Labour or the Greens?

          • Colonial Viper 18.1.2.1.1

            Nats had more to gain.

            • chris73 18.1.2.1.1.1

              Labours pretty good at taking rivals out

              • McFlock

                But only national would be dumb enough to trust slater with a job. Well, them and PoAL, of course.
                Fuck, that ‘how I did it’ video of his was painful to watch as he followed off-screen instructions he couldn’t really understand.

            • felix 18.1.2.1.1.2

              Of course you’re right chris, it could have been someone from Labour, the Greens, the Mooneys, the International Space Station, the CTU, the United Nations, the Illuminati, the Shire, or just about anywhere else.

              But it probably wasn’t, because Occam’s razor suggests it was probably someone from Nat HQ.

              • McFlock

                That and The Ip addresses, if I recall correctly 🙂

                • felix

                  Haha yes. Of course someone from Labour could’ve disabled the security at the beehive and broken into the PM’s office. I’m pretty sure chris will tell us that’s just as likely.

              • chris73

                I’d say occams razor suggests an inside job because for the Nats to have organised this someone would have had to:

                a. Thought of it
                b. Contracted someone to do it (not really the kind of job you advertise in the SJS)
                c. Made sure whoever did the job didn’t talk
                d. Made sure no one in National who knew about it talked

                or Someone in Labour tipped whaleoil off by telling him the securitys a bit naff

                So by occams logic I’d suggest it was someone in Labour interested enough in the techie side of things (or knows someone who is) and has an axe to grind…

                • felix

                  Ignoring the obvious (that you don’t believe a word of what you’re saying), and ignoring the fact that a couple of comments ago you were saying it was all so simple that a retarded monkey could’ve found it, there’s also that for Labour to have organized this someone would’ve had to:

                  a. Thought of it
                  b. Contracted someone to do it (not really the kind of job you advertise in the SJS)
                  c. Made sure whoever did the job didn’t talk
                  d. Made sure no one in Labour who knew about it talked

                  and after all that, you want us to believe that they then:

                  e: decided to work with Cameron Slater.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    f: For Slater not to yell at the top of his lungs after being approached: “Guess what some backstabbing Labour gimps asked me to do for them!!!”

                    C73: I suggest you get a new razor mate. Yours is dull.

                    • felix

                      Think he’s using Occam’s mallet.

                    • McFlock

                      Occam’s cheese block.

                    • chris73

                      So you don’t think someone in Labour would try to shaft their own party out of spite?

                    • McFlock

                      Based on the electronic evidence and known associates in that particular case, anyone in labour would be much further down the suspect list than anyone in National.

                      But feel free to ignore everything that’s public knowledge about who went trawling around someone else’s computer system and make up your own story.

                • RedBaronCV

                  The GCSB having a trial run?

  19. The Al1en 19

    All this talk of spooks and Richie Mckiwi oo8 number wire secret agents got me thinking.

    Do you think there’s an open file on Key with his ‘interests’ and ‘connections’ in the interest of national security?
    If so, do we have to wait thirty years to see it?

  20. outofbed 20

    Ask yourself the question
    Are the Nats capable of using the spy agency that its leader has sole oversight of, to help in any small way retain power?

    I think the answer is probably yes

    It is therefore of vital importance the the oversight of GHCB is and independent body. And not the brother of the PMs best mate

    Talk about democracy under attack!

    • Anne 20.1

      Are the Nats capable of using the spy agency that its leader has sole oversight of, to help in any small way retain power?

      Well Muldoon did it, and by his own admission Key was one of Muldoon’s most ardent admirers.

  21. Wairua 21

    John Key is damaged goods.

    Would you buy a used car from that guy ?

  22. freedom 22

    here’s a couple of questions

    Why have we heard nothing from the Maori Party about this?
    Are integrity in Government and transparency of process not important to them?

    from the C&S Agreement:

    “It is agreed that relevant spokespeople within the Māori Party will be briefed on significant issues which are likely to be politically sensitive before any public announcements are made.”
    +
    “*Advance notification to the other party of significant announcements by either the National lead Government or the Māori Party”
    +
    “* Briefings by the National led Government on significant issues before any public announcement”

    – so when the PM diligently told the Co-Leader of the Maori Party about the appointment of our top spy, did Mr Sharples ask about the appointment process? If so, why then did the Maori Party stay silent in the House when the PM lied to Parliament?

    – these C&S points are also interesting when considering the Mighty River Power and the Solid Energy fiascoes

    Did Mr Sharples simply roll over for big boy Johnny and wag so as not to be sidelined from the trip to China?

    • xtasy 22.1

      Too busy having their cosy BMWs polished and made ready for the next ride in them (heated seats for cold winter days and nights included).

  23. Colonial Viper 23

    Canadian police crack down on instagram they claim threatened police communications chief.

    Looks like its going to be an ongoing thing globally in western “democracies”.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2013/04/04/montreal-police-graffiti-arrest-instagram.html

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  • ROB MacCULLOCH: Grant Robertson’s new job sends an awful message to students about meritocracy in ...
      The appointment of Grant Robertson as Vice-Chancellor of Otago University has raised hackles – and questions – among academics.  Robertson’s credentials for the job is one issue.  The appointment process is another.  University of Auckland economics professor Rob MacCulloch has posted these three articles in the past few days ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    3 days ago
  • Govt's Budget 'just like a household,' says Willis
    TL;DR: Flying in the face of comments from a ratings agency and a mountain of demand for a new long-term sovereign bond issued yesterday, Finance Minister Nicola Willis has again characterised the Government’s finances as too fragile to borrow in its own right to solve Aotearoa-NZ’s infrastructure deficits. She also ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • How oil sands undermine Canada’s climate goals
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections Now in his ninth year as prime minister, Justin Trudeau has sought to position Canada as a global climate leader, touting one of the world’s highest taxes on carbon pollution, clean fuel regulations, and clean technology tax credits. Yet Canada’s per-person climate pollution remains stubbornly ...
    3 days ago
  • Untold back-stories: the little things media don't tell us but which are nevertheless pertinent
    ..Thanks for reading Frankly Speaking ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.In an article entitled "School donations continue to yield millions of dollars for wealthier schools" on RNZ's website on 19 February, Data journalist Farah Hancock reported on the fees ("donations") that (some) schools were ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Untold back-stories: the little things media don't tell us but which are nevertheless pertinent
    ..Thanks for reading Frankly Speaking ! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.In an article entitled "School donations continue to yield millions of dollars for wealthier schools" on RNZ's website on 19 February, Data journalist Farah Hancock reported on the fees ("donations") that (some) schools were ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    3 days ago
  • Efeso Collins – Gone Too Soon.
    My wife’s breathing was heavy beside me as I woke this morning, still dark. Yesterday, and it’s awful news, came crashing into my head and I lay there quietly crying.Thinking of Efeso’s family and loved ones. Of so many people who knew him and were devastated by the shocking news. ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • Efeso Collins spoke in Parliament only yesterday on bill which will regulate social workers (and vot...
    Buzz from the Beehive Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and other party leaders have been paying tribute to Green MP Fa’anānā Efeso Collins, who collapsed and died during a ChildFund charity run in central Auckland this morning, . The event, near Britomart, was to support local communities in the Pacific. Collins, ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    4 days ago
  • This is corrupt
    Earlier in the month, a panel of "independent" experts in Wellington produced recommendations for the future of housing in the city, and they were a bit shit, opposing intensification and protecting the property values of existing homeowners. Its since emerged that they engaged in some pretty motivated reasoning on the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Efeso Collins
    God, life can be cruel sometimes can’t it?If only everyone was like him. He was so very warm, so very generous, so very considerate, so very decent. Plenty of people have those qualities but I can think of hardly anyone I've met who had them as richly as he did.Let me ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    4 days ago
  • CHRIS TROTTER:  Is applying “tough love” to a “fragile” nation the right answer?
      The Question Christopher Luxon Needs To Ask –  And Answer:  How was it possible for a nation of barely three million citizens to create and maintain an infrastructure that functioned, schools and universities that turned out well-educated and enterprising citizens, a health system that kept its people healthy, and a ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • DON BRASH: Is an independent foreign policy really feasible?
    Don Brash writes – A week or so ago, Helen Clark and I argued that New Zealand would be nuts to abandon the independent foreign policy which has been a characteristic of New Zealand life for most of the last 40 years, a policy which has seen us ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • YVONNE VAN DONGEN: So proud
    Ratepayers might well ask why they are subsidising people who peddle the lie that it is possible to be born in the wrong body and people can change sex. The preponderance of events advertising as ‘queer’ is a gender ideology red flag. Yvonne Van Dongen writes –  It ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • S&P slams new Govt's council finance vacuum
    Wellington Water workers attempt to resolve a burst water main. Councils are facing continuing uncertainty over how to pay to repair and expand infrastructure. The Wellington Regional Council was one of those downgraded. File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has downgraded the outlooks for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Grant Robertson Resigns.
    Yesterday the man that I admire most in NZ politics called time.Around the middle of yesterday news began to filter out. People were posting unconfirmed reports that Grant Robertson was taking a new role as Vice-Chancellor at Otago Uni. Within an hour it became clear that he was indeed retiring ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Auckland’s City Rail Link will fail immediately… in the best possible way
    This post was originally published on Linked In by Nicolas Reid. It is republished here with permission. Here’s the thing: the City Rail Link is almost certainly going to be overcapacity from day one, with crowding on the trains at peak times. In the simple terms of popular transport ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    4 days ago
  • You can’t always get what you want
    Grant Robertson is leaving Parliament for two new careers, having been frustrated and blocked from achieving some of his biggest political ambitions. So, he is returning to Dunedin, and, unusually for a former finance minister, with seemingly no ambitions to enter the business world. Instead, he will become Vice Chancellor ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • At a glance – Was Greenland really green in the past?
    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 ...
    4 days ago
  • Sharp-elbowed and loving it
    It doesn't seem to take a lot to persuade someone who feels they work their guts out that in fact no one is working as hard as me.It doesn't seem to take a lot to persuade someone who knows somebody taking the welfare system for a ride that they’re all ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Sharp-elbowed and loving it
    It doesn't seem to take a lot to persuade someone who feels they work their guts out that in fact no one is working as hard as me.It doesn't seem to take a lot to persuade someone who knows somebody taking the welfare system for a ride that they’re all ...
    More than a fieldingBy David Slack
    5 days ago
  • Then why did she do it?
    Earlier in the month, Cancer Minister Casey Costello was caught lying to the media about whether or not she had requested advice on cutting tobacco excise tax to benefit the cancer industry. She repeated her lies in Parliament. But today, she stood up and pretended to apologise for "causing confusion" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Is Applying “Tough Love” To A “Fragile” Nation The Right Answer?
    The Question Christopher Luxon Needs To Ask –  And Answer: How was it possible for a nation of barely three million citizens to create and maintain an infrastructure that functioned, schools and universities that turned out well-educated and enterprising citizens, a health system that kept its people healthy, and a workforce ...
    5 days ago
  • The limits to realism.
    Realism is a school of thought in the field of international relations (IR). It provides a theoretical framework for analysing the behaviour of States in the world political system. Like other theories (which in the IR literature include idealism, liberalism, … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • UNSOCIAL MEDIA – Following the Trolls
    From TODAY FM archives — Wilhelmina Shrimpton and Simon Morrow take a deep dive into trolling and cyberbullying. From the high profile to the general public, Kiwis across all walks of life are being targeted, and some are paying the ultimate price. So what drives us to troll, who is ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    5 days ago
  • Govt prescribes stiff medicine for some beneficiaries while easing access to drugs containing pseudo...
    Buzz from the Beehive One of two new announcements on the government’s official website  – given plenty of publicity by the mainstream media over the past 24 hours – has been pitched as the first steps in a “reset” of the welfare system.  Stiff medicine for beneficiaries, in effect. The ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    5 days ago
  • We’re not as fragile or as lazy as Luxon says
    Luxon says his government is one that is “prepared to make those hard decisions”. File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has adopted the language of Ruth Richardson before her 1991 ‘Mother of All Budgets’ in arguing for benefit sanctions to bolster the Government finances, which ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Talking over the Silence.
    Please open the doorNothing is different, we've been here beforePacing these hallsTrying to talk over the silenceIf I was to describe what I do, or at least the way it sometimes feels, then talking over the silence wouldn’t be a bad way to do so.Not that there aren’t other voices ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • LINDSAY MITCHELL: National needs to go further
    Lindsay Mitchell writes – In today’s State of the Nation speech Christopher Luxon talked repeatedly about getting young people off welfare. It seems that National has devised a traffic light system which will use increasing levels of sanctions – welfare deductions – when beneficiaries fail to meet their ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    5 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on National spreading panic about the economy
    It is a political strategy as old as time. Scare the public with tales of disaster and stampede them into supporting your ideological agenda because they believe There Is No Alternative. Yet, if the NZ economy truly is as “fragile” as PM Christopher Luxon says it is… Then how come ...
    5 days ago
  • The promise of passive house design
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Sarah Wesseler Imagine a home so efficient that it could be heated with a hair dryer. That’s the promise of a passive house, a design standard that’s becoming increasingly popular in the architecture community for its benefits to occupants and the climate. ...
    5 days ago
  • Deep in the Uncanny Valley of AI
    Hi,Before we get started, some very big fun Webworm news. I am launching a new journalism fund called Big Worm Farm!A really great thing that’s happened with Webworm over the last four years is that it’s grown. That’s great for a few reasons.Firstly — it means the work here gets ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • Introducing: Big Worm Farm
    Hi,I’m excited to tell you about Big Worm Farm.Put simply, the main aim of Big Worm Farm is to support investigative journalists from around the world to be able to devote dedicated time to research and report on a specific story, to be published on Webworm.The stories will capture the ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    5 days ago
  • Why Massey is broke
    The Tertiary Education Commission has named the two universities it says are at high risk financially. They are Massey and Victoria. The Commission appeared before Parliament’s Education Select Committee yesterday and offered a revealing and rare insight into the complex world of university economics. Its Briefing to the Incoming Minister ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    5 days ago
  • You keep Luxin' when you oughta be thruthin'
    Christopher Luxon’s campaign to win last year's election continued yesterday with a speech.Channelling possibly Bruce Willis in Die Hard, he was all, I'm not going to dress it up, I'm going to level with you guys: the state of the nation is fragile.The thing he’s maybe missing is that it ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • The PM spoke of the need for tough choices – and then opted to beat a retreat when gays and Gaza a...
    Buzz from the Beehive The PM’s State of the Nation speech – according to a Newshub headline – was a ‘buffet of buzzwords’ and full of ‘nonsense’. Fair to say, the quoted words were attributed to Opposition politicians, who were unlikely to say the speech was visionary and inspiring: PM ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    6 days ago
  • Keynesian Wisdom.
    When the facts change, I change my mind - what do you do, sir?John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946)This posting is exclusive to Bowalley Road. ...
    6 days ago
  • BRIAN EASTON: Puffing policy
    Public policy towards tobacco consumption remains politically sensitive. Brian Easton writes – In 1983, a young researcher was told by a medium-level Treasury official that Treasury policy was to abandon excise duties on tobacco. The senior Treasury economist that I consulted, famed for his commonsense, snorted ‘we ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    6 days ago
  • Is 2.8% per year population growth too much?
    TL;DR: The Government is reviewing migration settings that produced 2.8% population growth last year and is looking at a longer-term strategy of matching population growth to the ‘absorbtive capacity’ of Aotearoa-NZ’s infrastructure.Our population grew last year at its fastest rate since 1947, when large numbers of troops returning from World ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Tough Choices & Tough Love.
    I've been trying to hurt youI've been holding you tightI've been learning to love youAm I doing it right?How are you still breathingWith my hands all over your heart?How do we start healingIf we can't keep out the dark?Yesterday the Prime Minister delivered his State of the Nation, for no ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • Will the 2024 RLTP be yet another debacle?
    A couple of years ago, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport found themselves in court over the 2021 Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP). A non-profit alliance for transport decarbonisation, All Aboard Aotearoa, argued that among other factors, the RLTP was unlawful because it failed to give effect to the 2021 Government ...
    6 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #07
    A listing of 31 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, Feb 11, 2024 thru Sat, Feb 17, 2024. Story of the week Based on mission alignment, our Story of the Week is certainly Can we be inoculated against climate ...
    6 days ago
  • Immigration Issues.
    Help is comingI heard a whisperWhite caps turningThe breath of summerA distant drummingAnd liar birds callingEscape the anguish of our pastAnd prayOne of the major challenges of the the 21st century will be the mass migration of human beings around our globe.Some seeking economic opportunities, others fleeing repressive regimes, war ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    7 days ago
  • Trust us, we know what we’re doing
    The best trick the National Party ever pulled was to fabricate their reputation as the responsible ones.This would be the National Party that denied us the New Zealand Superannuation Scheme that—Brian Gaynor wrote back in 2007would be worth more than $240 billion today and would have transformed the New Zealand ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • The Left’s Timidity
    It is not just Karl Marx – even the most enthusiastic supporters of the market economy (not least Adam Smith) will concede that its normal operation inevitably leads to a concentration of wealth in relatively few hands. Some, at least, of these enthusiasts will accept that such a concentration is ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • OLIVER HARTWICH: Absurd – NZ courts can now decide on climate change
    Oliver Hartwich writes – The World Justice Project ranks New Zealand 7th out of 142 countries on its ‘Rule of Law Index’, narrowly ahead of Australia’s 13th place. However, Australia still has hope – if only because of a recent decision by the Supreme Court of New Zealand. The ...
    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    1 week ago
  • Still waiting on that turnaround
    Hello! Here comes the Saturday edition of More Than A Feilding, catching you up on the past week’s editions.Friday: Week in review, quiz style2. Shane Jones’ demeanour in mocking and deriding climate activists can be observed in what other realm of human behaviour?a. Gleeful little boys pulling wings off fliesb. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Can we be inoculated against climate misinformation? Yes – if we prebunk rather than debunk
    This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article written by Christian Turney, University of Technology Sydney and Sander van der Linden, University of Cambridge and first published on February 14, 2024. Adrien Demers/Shutterstock Last year, the world experienced the hottest day ...
    1 week ago
  • Mihi Forbes and the great Atlas conspiracy
    Graham Adams writes — Last week, Mihingarangi Forbes made an extraordinary claim while interviewing David Seymour on Mata Reports, a taxpayer-funded current affairs programme which, she says, looks at events through an “indigenous lens”. She asked him about Act’s links to the Atlas Network, which fosters connections between centre-right ...
    Point of OrderBy gadams1000
    1 week ago
  • Puffing Policy
    Public policy towards tobacco consumption remains politically sensitive. In 1983, a young researcher was told by a medium-level Treasury official that Treasury policy was to abandon excise duties on tobacco. The senior Treasury economist that I consulted, famed for his commonsense, snorted ‘we need the money’. He explained that no-excise-duty ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago

  • Northland’s new Kāeo Bridge officially open
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed the official opening of the new State Highway 10 (SH10) Kāeo Bridge, which will improve safety and traffic flow for people heading to and from the Far North. “This is an important piece of infrastructure for the Northland region that will help members of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Dry weather triggers extra support for farmers and growers across the top of the South Island
    The coalition Government is providing support for farmers and growers as dry conditions worsen across the top of the South Island. “Conditions on the ground across the Marlborough, Tasman, and Nelson districts are now extremely dry and likely to get worse in the coming months,” Agriculture Minister Todd McClay said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Trade Minister heads to Abu Dhabi for key WTO negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay travels to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) today, to take up his role as Vice Chair of the negotiations. The Ministerial Conference is the highest decision-making body within the WTO and meets every ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Appointment round for King’s Counsel announced
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced an appointment round for King’s Counsel will take place in 2024. Appointments of King’s Counsel are made by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Attorney-General and with the concurrence of the Chief Justice. The Governor-General retains the discretion to appoint King’s Counsel in recognition ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Retiring Chief of Navy thanked for his service
    Defence Minister Judith Collins has thanked the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor, for his service as he retires from the Royal New Zealand Navy after 37 years. Rear Admiral Proctor will retire on 16 May to take up an employment opportunity in Australia.  “I would like to thank ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Indonesian Vice President to visit New Zealand
    Indonesia’s Vice President Ma’ruf Amin will visit New Zealand next week, the first here by an Indonesian leader since 2018, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has announced. “New Zealand and Indonesia have a strong partnership,” Mr Peters says.  “The Vice President’s visit is an opportunity to discuss how we can strengthen ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government boost to fight against caulerpa
    The battle to contain the fast-spreading exotic caulerpa seaweed has today received a $5 million boost to accelerate the development of removal techniques, says Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The time is now to really lean in and build on the work of Biosecurity New Zealand, mana whenua, communities and local ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister attending Australian data, digital meeting
    Minister for Digitising Government Judith Collins is in Sydney to attend the first Data and Digital Ministers’ Meeting of 2024.  “This is a great opportunity to connect with our Australian counterparts and identify how we can work together on digital transformation,” Ms Collins says.   “Both our nations are looking into ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Appointments to Antarctica New Zealand Board
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has appointed Leon Grice and Heather Simpson to serve on the Antarctica New Zealand board.  “Since taking office, the Coalition Government has become concerned about the direction of the Scott Base Redevelopment Project,” Mr Peters says.  “It is vital that Antarctica New Zealand has the right ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Strengthening the Single Economic Market
    Finance Minister Nicola Willis has met with Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers to discuss the opportunities to lower business costs and increase the ease with which businesses and people can operate across the Tasman.     “I have met with Treasurer Chalmers and shared our new Government’s ambitious economic goals, our plans ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government to address business payment practices
    The Government will repeal the Business Payment Practices Act 2023, Small Business and Manufacturing Minister Andrew Bayly announced today. “There is a major problem with large market players imposing long payment terms and routinely paying invoices late. “However, the Business Payment Practices Act is not an effective solution and would ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Greater focus on work will reduce child poverty
    Worsening child poverty rates support the Coalition Government’s focus on reducing the cost of living and getting people into work, Child Poverty Reduction Minister Louise Upston says. Figures released by Stats NZ today show child poverty rates have increased, with the rising cost of living, driven by inflation, making it ...
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    3 days ago
  • NZ announces new support for Ukraine
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Judith Collins have marked two years since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by announcing further support and sanctions, and extending our military assistance. “Russia launched its illegal, full-scale invasion of Ukraine, in blatant violation of international law, including the UN Charter,” Mr Peters says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Finance Minister to meet Australian Treasurer
    Finance Minister Nicola Willis will travel to Australia today to meet her Australian counterpart, Treasurer Jim Chalmers.    “New Zealand and Australia have an incredibly strong trade and investment relationship. The Closer Economic Relations and Single Economic Market are powerful engines for growth on both sides of the Tasman.     “I will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • PM shocked and saddened at death of Efeso Collins
    “I am truly shocked and saddened at the news of Efeso Collins’ sudden death,” Prime Minister Christopher Luxon says. “Efeso was a good man, always friendly and kind, and a true champion and advocate for his Samoan and South Auckland communities. “Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go to his family, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days 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 ...
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    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
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    7 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
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    1 week 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 ...
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    1 week 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 ...
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    1 week 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 ...
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    1 week 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 ...
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    1 week 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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
    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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. ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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  • Government advances Local Water Done Well
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