web analytics

Review into Thompson and Clark finds widespread breaches of Citizens’ rights of privacy

Written By: - Date published: 7:43 am, December 19th, 2018 - 129 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, activism, democracy under attack, Politics, Spying - Tags:

This Government gets criticised by the opposition for having so many inquiries, too many inquiries according to National. Why is it spending so much money?

Well given the findings of one of the findings, the investigation into the actions of Security Firm Thompson and Clark (“TCIL”), they should be investigating more.  Because the findings are utterly damning. They bring back strong memories of the Dirty Politics era. And all those involved ought to hang their heads in shame.

From the SSC press release:

A State Services Commission investigation into the use of external security consultants by government agencies has uncovered failings across the public service, including breaches of the code of conduct.

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes said the system was not operating in a way New Zealanders would expect and has introduced new standards that will strengthen transparency and consistency across all government agencies.

However, the inquiry found no evidence of widespread inappropriate surveillance by external security consultants on behalf of government agencies.

An underlying theme of the inquiry was the balance between a citizen’s right to privacy and the public interest.

“Any decision to use surveillance requires careful judgement,” said the Commissioner.

“It must be lawful, it must be proportionate, and it must be ethical.

“It is never acceptable for an agency to undertake targeted surveillance of a person just because they are lawfully exercising their democratic rights – including their right to freedom of expression, association and right to protest. That is an affront to democracy.”

The inquiry, led by Mr Doug Martin and Mr Simon Mount QC, looked at the use of external security consultants, including but not limited to Thompson & Clark Investigations Limited (TCIL). The inquiry covered 131 State sector agencies, including all public service departments. It looked at whether public servants or contractors may have breached the State Services Standards of Integrity and Conduct (code of conduct).

The inquiry focused on the last 10 years but also looked at events going further back.

Some of the specific findings are highlighted in this article by Andrea Vance.  From the article:

– that a Thompson & Clark employee recorded several closed meetings of Southern Response insurance claimants in Christchurch between 2014-2016. The contractor was not a licensed private investigator, which is potentially unlawful. The activity is the subject of Hughes’ complaint to police.

– Two Ministry of Primary Industries staff were also working for Thompson & Clark, and accessed New Zealand Transport Agency information on behalf of the security firm. They are now being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office.

– MPI hired the firm to monitor animal rights activists, and spy on them at conferences in 2005 and 2006.

– Crown Law hired investigators from another firm to dig up information to cross examine witnesses in a court case alleging abuse in state care – known as the “White case”. The investigators may have used “low level surveillance”.

– inappropriate email contact between a Security Intelligence Service staff and one of the firm’s directors, which risked harming the reputation of the government spy agency.

– unprofessional interactions between the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Thompson & Clark investigators, working for the oil and gas industry, that “created at least a perception of conflict of interest”.

– Thompson & Clark reported to government agencies on the activities of the Green and Mana parties, Taranaki and Northland iwi groups and Greenpeace, described as “an affront to democracy”.”

The last allegation is particularly concerning.  How can any Government Department think that spying on the Green Party can have been justified.

Heads should roll.  The first, that of Southern Response chair Ross Butler, has been delivered.  But there should be more.

The basic problem is to allow private entities to engage in activities that the State authorities should be engaged in allows them to neatly sidestep oversight and legal restrictions.

And the role of the last Government should be subject to further scrutiny.  After all it was under their watch that this has occurred.

129 comments on “Review into Thompson and Clark finds widespread breaches of Citizens’ rights of privacy ”

  1. patricia bremner 1

    Well this is just a proven case. I’m sure there have been other cases.
    Paula Bennett’s attitude to people’s privacy was a window on National’s view of Privacy rights. We had no rights as far as they were concerned.
    No one from National would front Morning Report to discuss how this happened under their watch. Surprise surprise.

    • Rosemary McDonald 1.1

      Whoa there, Patricia! Some of the nastier breaches happened under Labour’s watch.

      Open mike 18/12/2018

      Glass houses and thrown stones and all that.

      That particular section of the report deserves a close read in the light of the upcoming Inquiry into abuse in state ‘care’.

      • mickysavage 1.1.1

        Crown law. Not subject to political direction of any sort.

      • mickysavage 1.1.2

        And yes there were breaches but Labour dealt to them when it discovered them.

        From Nicky Hager:

        “PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS working for the state-owned coal company Solid Energy have defied a direct government instruction and again tried to infiltrate an environment group that opposes Solid Energy’s coal mining plans.

        In meetings over the last two months, private investigator Gavin Clark offered to pay a Christchurch man, Rob Gilchrist, to report on the Save Happy Valley group’s activities and to provide passwords for access to the group’s communications.

        A year ago the Sunday Star-Times revealed that Clark’s firm, Thompson and Clark Investigations (TCIL), had hired a Christchurch student, Ryan Paterson- Rouse, to join the Save Happy Valley core group and regularly pass the group’s internal communications and other information to Gavin Clark.

        Prime Minister Helen Clark said at the time that the spying was “unacceptable behaviour from a state-owned enterprise” and should stop. SOE Minister Trevor Mallard gave formal instructions to Solid Energy’s board that the practice must cease. But TCIL has been caught out trying to do the same sort of spying on Save Happy Valley again.

        Mallard said on Friday that if this was the case, either the private investigators’ contracts should be terminated or the jobs of the Solid Energy staff involved should be in question.”

        https://www.nickyhager.info/coal-mine-spies-return-despite-govt-ban/

        • Rosemary McDonald 1.1.2.1

          A pity Labour didn’t find out about the ‘low level surveillance’ of the man claiming abuse in state care and his supporting witnesses.

          “Crown Law Office/Child,Youth and Family / Ministry of Social Development

          In 2007, Crown Law, on behalf of MSD, instructed private investigators to assist with a civil case alleging abuse in state care(the White case). Crown Law’s instructions were broad, including seeking any information that could be used to cross-examine a group of similar fact witnesses to be called by the claimants.

          Crown Law did not rule out low-level surveillance in the lead up to the trial. There were indications in the file that the investigators did use techniques involving low-level surveillance, or something close to it, together with a covert approach for at least one person of interest. The Inquiry found the broad nature of the instructions to the private investigators, without explicit controls to protect privacy interests, breached the Code of Conduct requirement to respect individual privacy and avoid activities that might harm the reputation of the State Services.

          The Ministry of Social Development was aware of the potential use of low-level
          surveillance and a covert approachin the White case.
          The Inquiry did not see any evidence that MSD queried this or sought any assurance that individual privacy would be properly weighed and protected. Accordingly, the Inquiry found that MSD was in breach of the Code of Conduct, although at a lower level than Crown Law.”

          3.54
          From approximately 2000 Crown Law acted on behalf of the Department of Child,Youth and Family to defend a civil claim brought by two brothers who alleged they were abused in state care (the ‘White’ case).

          The litigation was treated as a test case, in part to address
          questions of limitation, financial loss and damages, which would be of broader application in future claims. ”

          Now take a close look at that last bit mickysavage…in the light of the upcoming inquiry into abuse in state care…and ask yourself if its any wonder those affected are not exactly brimming over with confidence and wallowing in the bath of lovingkindness knowing that Labour are again in charge when these issues are being investigated.

          Yes…it might very well be the case that this shit is all in the past and there’s a new Labour, committed to putting right the wrongs of the past. First though, they have to admit the wrongdoing.

          • Rosemary McDonald 1.1.2.1.1

            And if you don’t remember the White case….https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/07/02/137652/an-ironic-case-of-foxes-and-henhouses#

            Oh, the irony.

            “Hughes was the boss at MSD when the Crown defended the White case in 2007. The civil case was about many things but it was essentially a test case about the Crown’s liability for abuse of children in state welfare institutions. Crown Law and MSD chucked millions of dollars at defending it because they knew if they lost there were thousands of other victims they’d be paying out substantial damages to.

            The Crown won on statute of limitations, although the judge accepted the allegations of sexual abuse by one of the main plaintiffs. This judgment set the precedent the Crown wanted and allowed the state to pay negligible amounts to claimants on terms that suited the Crown’s budget. If victims don’t like what they are offered, their only option is to go through the invasive interrogation of a QC acting for the Crown in a court, with little to no chance of winning. Despite a Royal Commission of Inquiry that’s still their only option.”

            How’s the kindness????

          • mickysavage 1.1.2.1.2

            Can you point out where it is shown the Minister knew what was happening. This was a prosecution. There is no Ministerial oversight.

            The one example I have found (Solid Energy) where the Minister did find out what happened there was an immediate and decisive response.

            • Rosemary McDonald 1.1.2.1.2.1

              mickysavage.

              Read the article by Aaron Smale.

              Understandable if you are not familiar with the case…as…

              “The case received no media coverage, probably because of heavy suppression orders.”

              This was a concerted effort to block claims from those who were abused in state care.

              I know a little about this having been myself blocked from making a claim of discrimination, and also many of those abused in state care were children with disabilities.

              With all due respect mickysavage, you’d have to have an enviable naivety if you truly believe MSD and CL were not acting under instructions from Higher Up.

              • Rosemary McDonald

                More from Aaron Smale….

                “1999 was when Helen Clark’s government started developing a litigation strategy, which included the White case, that was focused on the needs of the state not the victims. The current staff of Crown Law, MSD and the current Labour government for that matter don’t want the actions of the Clark government, and the bureaucrats who served it, exposed to the scrutiny of a Royal Commission.”

                Although flexible application of the Terms of Reference might allow some scrutiny of this shameful episode.

                http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2018/0223/latest/LMS118772.html

                “The strutting roosters aren’t the problem, although they are foul. It’s the foxes watching over the henhouse who are now trying to distract from their own behaviour by saying, with apparent earnestness, ‘Hey, look over there’.”

              • lprent

                Rosemary, there are two years in your quoted material.

                2000 when the legal maneuvering “white” test case was started in the courts, and 2007 when the crown law started to use private investigators.

                Now this is a civil case, not a criminal one where the police would have been used. Crown law would routinely use investigators on civil cases to dig up information.

                That would have been as mundane as using records to confirm dates of care, if witnesses could have been able to observe what they say they saw, etc etc. Mostly the dot the I and cross the tee As far as I am aware crown law offices seldom have in-house investigators. They will have to use PIs if it goes beyond the resources of their office – just the same as any other civil lawyer or criminal defense lawyer would do when they need to investigate something in depth.

                What I am saying is that the use of investigators to look at facts in a case is not a prima facie reason to say that the behaviour on the case violated ethics or law.

                Aaron Smale in another article you linked to appears to be daft enough that he hasn’t figured that out. A lawyer could and frequently does a lot of this legwork themselves – but they are trained in law, not in how to investigate, and are too bloody expensive to waste in doing that kind of time wasting investigation.

                So what I am left with with both your quote and with the dumbarse artie by Aaron Smale is questions of timeline. Specifically when exactly were did the breaches of privacy take place?

                The White case dragged on forever. Well after 2007. After that change of government in 2008. I think it only came to a decision in the courts in recent years.

                And when did the relevant minister hear about it or when was a privacy complaint laid and dealt with.

                Asserting that the Labour government acted the same as National did with inappropriate use of PIs simply isn’t backed by anything you have presented. My instinct based on the way that assertion was made, tends categorize it as being in the same level as something that Cameron Skater would make up. Half digested and largely irrelevant facts taken out of context to support a predetermined point of view and designed to fool readers rather than to inform them.

                Note I haven’t said that what you are suggesting isn’t the case. I suggest that you try harder in how you present. At present it reads to me as like deliberately formulated faux news and classed as clickbait spam.

          • greywarshark 1.1.2.1.3

            Gee Rosemary you certainly know how to throw brickbats at Labour with apparently poor aim. You criticise government roundly for not doing anything but you have a chance of improvement under a Labour government. So don’t be too quick to ‘eave half a brick at just anyone, make sure your trebuchet is lined up properly.

            • Rosemary McDonald 1.1.2.1.3.1

              Gee greywarshark I have the benefit of having no political affiliations whatsoever so I am not obliged to sing from a particular song sheet.

              It could very well be the case that the Previous Labour government knew nothing about the White case and therefore gave not a jot as to the outcome.

              But, I do know that it was the case that the Previous Labour government knew about this Human Rights case (https://www.hrc.co.nz/enquiries-and-complaints/faqs/caring-disabled-adult-family-members/) and chose not to fix the problem but to allow it to go to the Tribunal.

              And shed what was accurately described as crocodile tears by the Natz when those bastards rushed through the Part 4 amendment to the Public Health and Disability Act.

              As some of us listened in tears to the 3 readings of that little legislative pile of crap in the House that day it was with the knowledge that some those Labour MPs who spoke out against the Bill had been in the position a few years earlier to prevent that outrage.

              Had they have had the guts, sorry, puku (a nod to the one honest MP who had the right to sputter indignantly that day) to stand up to the gone- rogue bureaucrats at the Ministry who ‘advised’ them all.

              Easy for me to imagine that a Minister might have an inkling the White case was progressing and could have long term impacts and trusted the Ministry and Crown Law to handle it as they saw fit.

              Even if the handling verged on harassment of the complainants.

              • Jum

                Rosemary, I remember you thinking Roger Douglas was the ‘bees’ knees’?
                Or do I have the wrong person?

                Therein lies your particular loyalty to a cuckoo’d outcome.

                • Rosemary McDonald

                  Jum. I don’t know you. I have no idea where on earth you got the idea that I thought Roger Douglas was the ‘bees’ knees. But you are wrong.

                  Can you prove I have ever espoused such sentiments?

                  I thought not.

                  And I guess its quite ok for commenters on TS to spout bullshit about others without properly referencing.

              • Win

                Thanks Rosemary. The poor little twinkles on this site can’t stand having sand thrown in their faces. The people who need their support are obviously not going to get it if the Labour government is in power.

          • Win 1.1.2.1.4

            Wasn’t Peter Hughes in charge of MSD at that time? Wasn’t he also going on about bullying in the public service? Ho, ho, ho. What a joke!

            Labour was/is into it big time. Have we not forgotten the Tuhoe raids? If the government didn’t know this was going to happen then what does that say about the public service and wagging dogs’ tails? Don’t tell me Labour didn’t know and don’t condone this sort of thing.

            • Jum 1.1.2.1.4.1

              To Rosemary and Win,

              You seem to have forgotten sentence two. ‘Or do I have the wrong person?’

              I asked if you were not the person.

              The fact that you both then went on to attack me is not a good look. It screeches 2 try-hards.

              Do calm down dears.

    • Mr Marshy 1.2

      Ridiculous comment. You do know this was also happening under labour? Forget that bit did you?

      • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1

        No, it was an absolutely accurate comment. You just don’t like it because it shows National as the scum that they are.

        They did it too is not a viable excuse especially when the ones you’re saying did it too took steps to stop it.

    • NZJester 1.3

      The Nats seemed to have had people spy on every party they were not on friendly terms with. They likely didn’t need to pay to spy on the other parties they were supposedly friends with as they had those patties already full of there own people to manipulate them and report back so already knew everything going on in them.
      Remember also their excuse for one of their own spying on Labour in collusion with a slippery cetacean blogger by accessing a Labour party server. “The Back Door was Left Open”.

  2. Cinny 2

    The Herald dosen’t seem to want to talk about it, either that or they are burying an extremely important story.

    Newsroom is covering it..

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/12/18/368880/behind-southern-responses-smokescreen-of-security

    • Ed 2.1

      Id imagine a quick look at who the owners, donors and advertisers are would explain the Herald’s cowardly behaviour.

      • Cinny 2.1.1

        You know it Ed.

        Remember “The Moment of Truth”…… when Snowden etc told us we were being spied on by the government, and johnkey was like.. that’s not true.

        Meanwhile under dodgy key the government as such didn’t spy, rather they contracted it out.

        The nat’s were obviously extremely paranoid about the Green Party. If anyone thinks that the Greens will go with the nat’s next election, after this news, they are delusional.

        • Mr Marshy 2.1.1.1

          The delusional one here is you, do you actually know how these departments work? Nothing to do with Key. Go find a conspiracy elsewhere. Like Sroubek for example, now there’s a cover up by our ‘honest’ PM

          • Cinny 2.1.1.1.1

            Hi there Mr Marshy, trolling again?

            No helpful links for me to understand how ‘these departments actually work’.

            Instead an attempt to ‘change the narrative’ good luck with that.

            Do you think the spying was just fine?

          • Michelle 2.1.1.1.2

            don’t know why you are sticking up for key marshy he oversaw huge inequalities something his party is very familiar with having done it last time they were in power and we all know key is johnny rotten and we are seeing the rot he left behind. But yes labour are guilty of rot too look at the Urewera mess
            and the foreshore and seabed and they better pull their finger out for maori or else we will put our vote somewhere else.

          • Gabby 2.1.1.1.3

            Who’s been reading the Hardcore Kickpuncher’s texts Messes Marsh?

        • Ed 2.1.1.2

          And the media chose to ignore Snowden’s message and made it all about Kim Dotcom.
          I wonder if we’ll ever find if there’s a connection between our secret services and the media – like the British have just discovered.

          https://www.mintpressnews.com/the-integrity-initiative-and-the-uks-scandalous-information-war/253014/

          • Kaya3 2.1.1.2.1

            Our media are the most controlled on the planet, and I include Russia and North Korea in that comment. Farcical, clickbait echo chambers.

            • Win 2.1.1.2.1.1

              Ah Russia is bad again. That’s the trouble with the West. They believe all lies spewed out by the so called Western papers of record, which is then regurgitated by our puppet news media. And you think Russia and North Korea are comparable with us the ‘news’ reports we are fed from our big brothers and sisters. Watch a Russian current events show. They are very robust.

          • Chris T 2.1.1.2.2

            No

            Kim Dotcon made it all about KimDotcon

      • mary_a 2.1.2

        Too true Ed (2.1) …

        Keep the great unwashed masses in total ignorance. That way, what they don’t know won’t give them reason to ask awkward embarrassing questions, which will require some straight up answers!

        So much for the media being the proxy of the people!

      • Kaya3 2.1.3

        The Whoreald ceased to be a newspaper many years ago. One of the first examples of clickbait and advertorial “journalism” to surface in NZ. It has now spread to all media outlets. There are NO journalists in NZ. They can’t be journalists, their jobs depend on not being journalists.
        RNZ is the finest echo chamber on world news to be seen anywhere on the planet.

        “What’s happening in Yemen/Syria/Saudi Arabia/Ukraine/Kosovo these days RNZ?”

        “Hold on, we’ll just ask the BBC……….”

        “Cool……..that was interesting”

      • patricia bremner 2.1.4

        Yes +++

    • Michelle 2.2

      nah the herald would rather put the boot into Haumaha and be hypocrites like national are being at the moment

  3. Ad 3

    Looking forward to Federated Farmers and National going under taxpayer funded surveillance.

    • SaveNZ 3.1

      Yep they can find all the pollution breaches, slave labour and over use of water rights from businesses while they are about it

  4. Ed1 4

    If it is not acceptable for the public service to use recordings where the other participant was not aware of the recording, should that apply to Members of Parliament? If they did offend, what should happen? (thinking of Mark Mitchell’s release of a recording involving a prisoner and his wife; where it is not clear that both agreed to the public disclosure)

    • Ed 4.1

      Prison sentences need to be handed out.
      Long ones.
      As a deterrent and a message to others.

    • mary_a 4.2

      @ Ed1 (4) … ah, Mark “the mercenary” Mitchell, Natz cracking knuckle dragging thug.

      Natz to go to heavy when the going gets tough for HM NZ Opposition!

  5. Anne 5

    If anyone thinks this kind of conduct is relatively new for the Public Service then think again. It goes back thirty years!

    In those days there was no comeback for innocent victims. Nobody would assist them for fear of retribution against themselves. Everything was swept under large carpets and the perpetrators were never brought to justice.

    I concede this inquiry is better late than never, but it sticks in my craw that it did not go back far enough to enable me to come forward with my experiences – or indeed other individuals who were likely subjected to similar behaviour.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      If anyone thinks this kind of conduct is relatively new for the Public Service then think again. It goes back thirty years!

      Actually, it goes back centuries. There are recorded instances of spying on citizens from at least 1000 years ago. Hierarchies always work to protect themselves.

      In those days there was no comeback for innocent victims. Nobody would assist them for fear of retribution against themselves.

      And that’s the difference. We’re finally getting to the point that we just won’t put this type of action by governments.

  6. OnceWasTim 6

    The thing that amazes me, and others is why it’s taken so bloody long for all this to come to a head.

    As Kevin Hague put it this morning (on RNZ MR) ‘the public service has lost its way”, but it’s been clear for a long time that is was losing its way with all the f***ups that have occurred, and a lot of what’s mentioned above was known.
    And then we have Paul Buchanan’s concerns – the very concerns quite a few retired public servants have been banging on about for ages. He says you could drive a truck through the Code of Conduct. In my own experience, even that Code of Conduct was something people had a brief read of, and then never ever worried about afterwards.

    The Public Service has become toxic – i.e. toxic to the public it serves and that’s predominantly at a senior management level across a range of departments.
    What the hell made them think some of the stuff that’s in the report was OK?

    There’s been a fair bit of incrementalism to it all too as its descended into what it has become today. (e.g. collecting air points for personal use whilst on PS travel becomes normailsed … I may as well delve into one or two databases for personal benefit …. I’ll just share a bit of data or knowledge with my mates in xxxx.Ltd )

    Part of it is down to ‘The Market! The Market’ culture that’s now all pervasive – even our approach to immigration policy on the one hand and the belated concern for worker exploitation on the other.

    Now time for a few heads to roll to get the message across that a lot of this shit is NOT OK

    • SaveNZ 6.1

      + 1 OnceWasTim

    • Anne 6.2

      Part of it is down to ‘The Market!

      All of it is down ‘The Market”. It began 30 years ago when certain senior public servants saw it as a way to create fiefdoms for themselves. The notion they were there to serve the public flew out the window and anyone who dared to question the wisdom of the new market orientation was booted out of the Service.

      • OnceWasTim 6.2.1

        /agree actually
        I mean – here’s another example. Procurement of goods and services – a bloody fool in a hurry could have seen that establishing ‘preferred suppliers’ might need a bit of proper oversight so that it didn’t allow certain “opportunities” and cosy relationships to develop

        • SARAH 6.2.1.1

          That was one of my bugbears working in Education, and once the relationship is established the supplier can charge whatever they like and it always got paid, despite being able to save many $’s elsewhere. This came from HO so nothing someone working in the regions could do about it, despite trying. That special relationship probably had all sorts of freebies attached for the ones setting it up.

        • RedLogix 6.2.1.2

          Yes and no. The alternative which is to have every contract get let out to the lowest bidder, results in another kind of chaos. A different product or service every time, a legacy of unsupported systems, and suppliers with no long term commitment or ability to maintain anything.

          Yes there does need to be good oversight and strict rules around govt purchasing, but there is nothing inherently wrong with a ‘preferred supplier’ status if it’s managed correctly.

          The US based companies I’ve worked for were especially rigorous around Government Business. The ethical and procedural rules were strongly communicated and strictly audited. Every six months, even as an employee who would never deal with the US govt, I had to pass a non-trivial online exam on business ethics and get a 100% pass rate. Fail three times and you were goneburger.

          • OnceWasTim 6.2.1.2.1

            Edit: Hopefully you’d agree the lack of ‘proper oversight’ has been sadly lacking.
            I agree with much of what you say, however I could also tell you about a number of cosy little relationships with preferred suppliers that come with big screen TV’s and all the shit – usually for the benefit of the masters of the universe running their little fiefdom

            • RedLogix 6.2.1.2.1.1

              Agreed. In my world that sort of thing would almost guarantee a fairly short career.

      • Marcus Morris 6.2.2

        So right Anne – think Tomorrows Schools” and all the little fiefdoms that were set up as a result – advisory services as well as financial services- all creaming the Education budget money that would otherwise have gone into real education. And I presume that Roger Douglas is still getting the benefit of all those perks that retired MPs are entitled to.

    • Ad 6.3

      Lot of truth in that Tim

      • OnceWasTim 6.3.1

        Now what we need is to ensure all this isn’t just filed to gather dust, and that there is some accountability with a few “not to be re-employed in a PS role” put on files.

    • Ed 6.4

      More than heads rolling.
      Prison time to send a message.

      Martin Bradbury nails it on this issue.

      https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2018/12/19/public-service-spying-scum-are-the-biggest-threat-to-the-people-of-nz/

    • Draco T Bastard 6.5

      The Public Service has become toxic – i.e. toxic to the public it serves and that’s predominantly at a senior management level across a range of departments.
      What the hell made them think some of the stuff that’s in the report was OK?

      https://www.pundit.co.nz/content/is-there-public-service-in-our-public-service

      Thus it was with the 1988 State Services Act. Scholars will report a serious discussion over the years preceding the act, but many of the act’s central ideas popped up only just before. They were based on untested assumptions without any supporting evidence. Basic principles which had evolved over 70-odd years were swept aside to be replaced by ideology – as was common in those days.

      The state sector has since limped along. Attempts to patch up the worst have left a system looking like a Heath Robinson contraption. You have six weeks to propose some new patches.

      https://www.pundit.co.nz/content/the-unprepared

      The problem seems to be that increasingly the top echelons of departments are being filled by generic managers who have little knowledge of, or interest in, the particularities of the departments they manage. Their ambition is to move on to a more senior (i.e. better paid) jobs in another department which will have different particularities.

      Apparently, the specialist expertise and a knowledge of the department are a threat to their management style so those with these attributes need to be kept far away from the senior leadership team, especially as they could show up the generic managers’ ignorance.

      Basically, over the last thirty years governments have governed by the ideology of neo-liberalism and it has fucked things up.

      How to fix it would be to start governing using science and research for the benefit of the nation as a whole and not just for bludging rich people.

      But, apparently, that’s too extreme.

      • Anne 6.5.1

        Thank-you for those quotes DTB. Will read links later today.

        Exactly what I was saying… the latest examples began 30 years ago. There will be a lot of people who are cheering that at last it looks like the chickens are finally coming home to roost.

      • RedLogix 6.5.2

        By complete contrast on the large scale engineering projects I’ve been working for, if a senior manager doesn’t understand the project to a reasonable degree of competence (no-one can be a specialist in everything) … they get very quickly exposed and moved on.

        The big difference seems to be this; engineering demands, mandates and is essentially focussed on one thing … “does it work?”. Sure lots of other politics and side agendas will try to get in the way, but innately they’re all secondary to delivering a result. The project must perform, there is no hiding from this.

        The public service however seems to have been more tilted towards ideological capture, more turned towards a purity of process than an effectiveness of outcome. It’s a subtle difference, but one that has big implications.

        • Ad 6.5.2.1

          Plenty of bullies, swindlers and pricks on major engineering projects Red.

          • RedLogix 6.5.2.1.1

            Dear God yes … but fortunately it’s usually just a matter of keeping your nose clean and outlasting them. 🙂

            Odd you should say this; right now in real time I’m reading a work email thread that has a very demanding, almost bullying participant at one end. The guy at our end is handling it perfectly … logical, firm and assertive.

        • Draco T Bastard 6.5.2.2

          By complete contrast on the large scale engineering projects I’ve been working for, if a senior manager doesn’t understand the project to a reasonable degree of competence (no-one can be a specialist in everything) … they get very quickly exposed and moved on.

          Didn’t happen in Telecom over the last thirty years and yet I’m sure that a nations telecommunications would be defined as a ‘large scale engineering project.’ Which, of course, is why the government had to step in which has then resulted in this ballsup:

          A number of individuals – migrant and non-migrant – have contacted Newsroom to report alleged labour law violations, health and safety problems and issues with unsuitable workers.

          One subcontractor even went as far as emailing a breakdown of expenses associated with a fibre installation job. According to the subcontractor’s figures, the “cut” taken by the four big infrastructure companies directly contracted by Chorus, left little to no amount for subcontractors and those who carried out the actual field work.

          I’d expect a CEO to at least have some understanding making contracts as well.

          The public service however seems to have been more tilted towards ideological capture, more turned towards a purity of process than an effectiveness of outcome. It’s a subtle difference, but one that has big implications.

          I’m not sure if it’s that subtle but it certainly has a big effect upon outcomes.

    • Tamati Tautuhi 6.6

      Time to Drain the Swamp and get rid of the grubby Old Neoliberal’s that have infested the Public Service here in New Zealand IMHO

  7. Ed 7

    If you ever need proof the Herald can’t be relied on to follow important news, remember this day.
    Look to their headlines.
    The Daily Fail of New Zealand.

  8. ianmac 8

    Chris Eichbaum with Katherine tells how it works in Public Service.
    https://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player?audio_id=2018676258

  9. Rosemary McDonald 9

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018676258/spying-on-citizens-has-the-public-service-lost-its-way

    Good interview.

    Don’t listen if the very hint of a mention that it may not all be the fault of the Natz and their mates had maybe best avoid.

    Reality might hit a little hard.

  10. ianmac 10

    Note that Simon Bridges was the Minister in three of the Ministries lately under scrutiny. Coincidence?

  11. cleangreen 11

    We need all decisions over the last nine years re-examined to see whether this rouge agency MBIE and their spies have corrupted the decisions made by those “advisers – and their (so called experts)” the John Key Government have relied on to make there decisions upon.

    This scandal may eventually dwarf the ‘deep lengthy congress run ‘Mc Carthy Inquisition’ of many public over the ‘communist infiltration inquiry.’

    MBIE now must be under a deep held inquiry and must be broken up into fully separate entities again as it was under the Helen Clark Government, as it was safer than the ‘mega agency Steven Joyce constructed to ram his toxic policies through.

    Anything that Steven Joyce did during the last decade now must be placed under deep scurrility in the inquiry into this Thompson /Clark scandal.

    Steven Joyce tried to make Ministry of transport defunct and put then road controlling authority (NZTA soley as the principal ‘transport agency to push through all his roads of National significance, as Ministry of transport was them actual “Principal agency advising Government and were pushing for more rail rather than his roads so he tried to destroy MoT and make NZTA a only transport agency so he could control them.

    NZTA do not manage rail freight in this country so we may now save our rail system.

  12. Dennis Frank 12

    It’s good that the SSC has produced these findings. Whoever decided to launch the investigation deserves credit, but it does rather raise the question why it took so long, eh? Makes our public service culture seem extremely suspect. Why have a code of conduct if there’s no accountability enforced for breaching it??

    Just another example of left/right collusion in wrongdoing continuing for so long that it became an historical institutionalised corruption. But how many rotten apples spoiled the barrel? And who are they? Accountability requires that each manager who authorised wrongdoing by staff be punished. Public trust in the public service will be at a low ebb until this happens. Sad for the good people in the public service who have been guided by their conscience into doing their job properly.

    So next we must see if the bad apples get sorted from the good. Traditional sweep the wrongdoing under the carpet responses from the decision-makers are to be expected. We must nip those in the bud! And nothing less than a total transformation and regeneration of public service culture and governance is required to eliminate the rot.

    • OnceWasTim 12.1

      Geeez Denis! You used the term ‘institutionalised corruption’ in there, Surely Not! Not in little ‘ole Nu Zulln that punches above its weight. We’re 100% pure surely!
      Yea/Nah, I now realise you’re not being serious

      (/sarc)

      • Dennis Frank 12.1.1

        Oh, I suppose I ought to make an explicit technical correction: not corruption in the sense of money-driven behaviour producing warped decision-making, but moral corruption, which is an element of culture inadmissable in court due to being unproveable. You can sense it in an institution, like a smell.

        When I was emerging into adulthood the strictness of punishment integral to the patriarchy was still prevalent. So doing the right thing was (relatively) normal – not just due to conscience but also the threat of public shaming etc. Both left & right lost the plot, starting during the seventies…

        • RedLogix 12.1.1.1

          When I was emerging into adulthood the strictness of punishment integral to the patriarchy was still prevalent.

          In a word; trustworthiness. The foundation of everything.

          • Dennis Frank 12.1.1.1.1

            Yes, not so much in particular colleagues but the system itself. Integrity thereof. I have residual faith that ours hasn’t degenerated too far, but far enough for countervailing action to be essential for recovery. Can’t reboot it like a computer, but the equivalent of that.

  13. Liminal 13

    Why have the two beastly ministers largely responsible for the agencies/ministries concerned, Brownlee & Joyce, not been put under the spotlight of the investigation here? Surely major “initiatives” such as these would have received ministerial consent, if not actual instigation?

    • OnceWasTim 13.2

      Err, maybe because Chris Finlayson has given them the thumbs up? And he’s such a reasonable and likable kinda guy after all.
      I’m more familiar with the out-of-favour Cat’s Grammar, Christ’s and Te Aute College ‘types’ so I had to ask a friend who is more “in-tune” with the Catholic Mafioso about Krus (going forward).
      The veneer of the modest, knowledgeable, nice guy. My impressions are that although he might be all that, he’s not exactly riddled with humility.
      Gerry Browlee FFS!; John Key FFS!.
      But I ‘spose he does attend the occasional Sympathy Orchestra concert, so he can’t be all bad

      (Muppetry and ego often invites /sarc and it’s a damn shame there’s no longer a venue for plitikal ridicule going forward – eh NuZulln on Ear?)

  14. lprent 14

    I always remember my shock when my niece Rochelle (occasional author here https://thestandard.org.nz/author/rocky/ ) turned up with a tracking device that they’d found planted on the under side of their car.

    She left a statement on scoop in 2010.

    I am confident that that tracking device found on April 22nd was placed by TCIL on behalf of the New Zealand Pork Industry Board. We know the Pork Industry Board has in the past used the services of TCIL, and are currently desperate to avoid further PR damage caused by activists exposing the conditions on NZ pig farms.

    Just last week I was confronted by two men who turned up at my community board meeting to deliver a trespass notice for the Roto-o-Rangi pig farm. The men refused to say who they were or who they were working for. Two other activists were confronted at their places of work for the same thing. While I have no issue being trespassed from private property, this is clearly an attempt by the Pork Industry Board to intimidate us and prevent us exposing the practices on their farms.

    It is pretty clear in retrospective that the only likely candidates were The NZ Pork using Thompson Clark to doing quite illegal surveillance.

    But consider just how unethical this is.

    At the time (and still to today) various animal rights groups had gotten tired of groups like NZ Pork and Ministry of Primary Industry or MAF were failing to do the task that that they were required to do by legislation or regulation. At the time they definitely weren’t monitoring the quality of the living conditions of some animal farming and they were definitely ignoring some of the proven worst repeat offenders. I suspect that they still aren’t doing their job.

    So various voluntary animal welfare groups around the country started to identify the worst offenders for them – usually with video cameras. The almost universal response of the organisations that were meant to do those jobs wasn’t do their damn job. Instead there was some pretty clear and systematic targeting of those highlighting the problems. Sure they were using illegal entries to identify those who were violating the animal welfare legislation – because this meant that they could do the unannounced inspections required to actually reveal the problem.

    Personally I think that most of the regulatory bodies responsible for animal welfare now need to be carefully audited for the performance of their duties both now and in the last decade. The process should identify individuals who haven’t done those duties and charge them with the various criminal offenses that are in place for dereliction of duty.

    I also think that Thompson and Clark should have their PI licenses completely removed wholesale, and charges should be laid against the directors of that company for their obvious use of criminal acts.

    Now just to clarify exactly why I think that this needs to happen. I’m not exactly a vegan nor anti farming. I spent much of my teens on my parent’s weekend 88 acre farm. Did a year working as a farm worker on a dairy farm and on a sheep station before deciding that I really needed to go to Uni. And I was a hearty eater of fresh meat.

    After the police seized Rochelle’s and other activist’s computers and held them for more than a year, I wound up seeing far too much raw footage of the state of intensive farming of chickens and pigs in New Zealand. She processed then on my systems. The worst cases can only be described as horrifying. The clips played on media really don’t even give more than a taste of how appalling some of those farms were.

    These days I’m really picky about what meat I’ll eat. The only chicken, eggs and pork that I will eat is done by reputable firms that have a policy of full freedom farming. And my intake of those has dropped considerably. With the increasing use of feedlots here, I’ve recently been applying that same type of criteria to beef as well. Partly this is simply health issues. I simply can’t see how factory farmed meat could be be good for my health with everything that they’d have to do to the animals to attempt to keep them healthy under the conditions I saw in the well-run farms.

    And I think that the regulators of our farming industry need to do more than make fatuous and meaningless PR blurbs like the NZ Pork favors. They need to actually do what they paid lip-service to rather than using criminal organisations like Thompson and Clark as their intimidation shock troops against valid criticism and attempts to get them to do what they are required to do.

    I also think that the police need get more interested in actually enforcing the laws of this country without their extremely selective focus that doesn’t look much at protecting the wider population. A lot of the time it seems more intent on picking on the easiest to convict – like young activist citizens pickling up on derelictions of duty..

  15. Ed 15

    Remember he did not resign until he was caught.
    He thought what he was doing was ok till then.

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/378591/southern-response-chair-resigns-following-spying-revelations

  16. McFlock 16

    So the question that comes to my mind is (and I’ve no idea how even an official inquiry could answer it) was T&C deliberately formed for this very purpose?

    Did the founders merely spot a need and leverage their public service networks from the private sector, or were they simply asked to form a front operation from which the reactionary elements of the public service could plausibly deny commissioning activities that they always knew would be unacceptable?

    Did the tracking and bugging sort of snowball unexpectedly from some basic investigative work (maybe originally hoping to get ACC/W&I fraud detection work), or was that always the plan and a private-sector corporation was merely a cut-out for the NZSIS?

    • Dennis Frank 16.1

      I suspect your suspicions are valid, but I’d go for both/and. The need for such a flexible operation would have become apparent over many years. Public servants have their hands tied and one can readily sympathise with those who see smart individuals rorting the govt system as tempting targets. But two wrongs don’t make a right.

      From a public policy perspective, the ideal solution could be to retain such a private intelligence-gathering option, but constrain it to operate in accord with the public service ethos via both law & contract. That would give govt the efficiency the right prefers, while retaining the accountability the left prefers.

  17. mosa 17

    I would’t rely on Newsroom doing any serious work on this.
    The editor is one Mr Murphy ex editor of the New Zealand Herald and has made no secret of his anti left views.
    He would have wholeheartedly supported the last governments approach of using Thompson and Clark’s methods here as long as it stayed under the radar and there could be no evidence that it was initiated by Key and his cronies.

    • Ed 17.1

      All of New Zealand’s media’s owners and editors are puppets, propagandists or compromised.

    • RedLogix 17.2

      Without attempting a defense of Tim Murphy specifically; the one thing many right-leaning people have in common is they place a very high value on rules, boundaries and trust.

      Often they’ll play the rules right up to the very limits, know all the loopholes and dodges … but fundamentally knowledge of the rule book in detail is often very important to them.

      Know your opposition, what they value, what they don’t. That way you get to successfully negotiate with them.

      • Dennis Frank 17.2.1

        I agree with this, with the caveat that it only applies to a large minority of the right. Finlayson is typical. In this sub-tribe, the rule of law plays the role of anchor & foundation, so money comes second. Reminds us that money-makers were once incidental to the status hierarchy that the law was designed to protect. Functionally, money was a useful lubricant that endowed the system with flexibility to provided a measure of resilience to the otherwise-rigid structure.

        Trump is from a different sub-tribe: those to whom the law is a matter of (in)convenience, and a matter of opinion – you can amuse yourself in conversation with any lawyer or judge by observing their ready agreement to the latter, outraged rejection of the former, and total inability to grasp their inconsistency. This group of rightists are slippery enough to be infinitely adaptable to circumstances, and long ago learnt that rules, laws & systems can be manipulated with ease much of the time. And, as Stalin demonstrated, they have their counterparts on the left too.

        A third sub-tribe of rightists are big on morality, but tend to define it in terms of their social niche of origin when capable, or reference it to prevalent social norms when not (just like leftists). When/if they mature sufficiently, they can provide appropriate moral guidance, particularly if they have spent years immersed in foreign cultures. Same for leftists & centrists of course. The fourth sub-tribe on the right is the largest (arselickers).

        Incidentally, the view that trust functions as the glue in social groups was usefully clarified in relation to neoliberalism in ’95 by Fukuyama in his book Trust. Here’s part of an online review that suggests ongoing relevance: (https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/francis-fukuyama/trust/)

        “Fukuyama probes the impact of culture (broadly speaking, any society’s inherited ethical habits) on economic life. Focusing on such factors as trust (a community’s shared expectation of honest, cooperative behavior outside the family) and social capital (the values created by tradition, religion, or other means), the author examines the ability of various peoples to organize effectively for commercial purposes without relying on blood ties or government intervention. Fukuyama surveys emergent as well as established industrial powers (the US, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, et al.) to determine which might have superior reserves of social capital. These reserves are important, he points out, because market-oriented societies in which there is a high degree of moral consensus and cooperation have lower transaction costs and hence greater competitiveness. The author puts paid to any idea that the US is a nation of rugged individualists; indeed, Americans are joiners without peer.”

        The competitive side of that coin has become over-exposed, so now we must all explore the collaborative side to develop a balanced overview. The integrity of the system derives more from that under-stated collaboration. Stakeholder design derives from it!

        • RedLogix 17.2.1.1

          That’s a brilliant response Dennis. Detailed and thoughtful, I whole-heartedly agree with it.

          It aligns with another theme I’ve been trying to put together some thoughts on; how do the moderate left and right go about winning back each other’s mutual trust?

          We don’t have to agree, indeed it’s best we don’t, but we do need to be able to negotiate stable agreements.

          • Dennis Frank 17.2.1.1.1

            Thanks, RL. The current govt may indicate a model for a basis for mutual trust. I’m aware that some here are averse to centrism as a label of convenience, but I’ll stay with it unless something more suitable emerges.

            In regard to your question, the moderate right will have to display initiative. This political space occupied by the current govt has been created by pragmatic centrists (the swing-voters who produced the election result), we can think of it as a chess-board, and the Nats in opposition are floundering in their play, reluctant to do anything other than advance a pawn every now & then. Mutual trust in this analogy derives from entertainment value. If they figure out how to be clever and enterprising in their moves, the game will get interesting.

            To deepen the analogy, consider the role played by mutual respect between players. That derives from acknowledgement of validity. Not from denial. Reminds me what Dylan sang in Talkin’ WWIII Blues (1963) “I’ll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours”. In politics, this attitude became known as peaceful coexistence. Parliamentary democracy, adversarial by design, trains participants in denial of this necessity.

            Would be good if intellectual endeavour emerges, shared across the political spectrum, that fosters non-partisan collaboration instead. I’ve been advocating such a paradigm shift almost 30 years, and anticipating it almost half a century. I have faith that it’ll happen when the time is right. We’re like surfers waiting for the wave…

            • RedLogix 17.2.1.1.1.1

              Parliamentary democracy, adversarial by design, trains participants in denial of this necessity.

              In this sense the CCCP model does have a superficial attraction; yet in the West we remain rightly suspicious of such monolithic ‘President for Life’ arrangements. Yet they might rightly look at the West right now and consider our adversarial model a Trumpian failure.

              My sense is that the left has been quite negligent at setting boundaries; it’s not something we’re typically good at because we’re naturally drawn to exploring new ideas. And because of this we’ve been irresponsibly reluctant to disavow the monumental failures of the 20th century.

              We’re like surfers waiting for the wave…

              Well let’s damn well ride it 🙂

      • OnceWasTim 17.2.2

        A bit like pushing the boundaries between tax avoidance and tax evasion as far as they possibly can. Avoidance is almost seen as a duty. Often though their sense of entitlement makes them come unstuck.

      • KJT 17.2.3

        You mean. They place a high value on not getting caught!

  18. mpledger 18

    There seem to be a lot of new names appearing under this post that I don’t recognise. It seems to me that it could be the same person writing under different names to make it appear there is more of a groundswell to a particular opinion then there really is.

    Would it be possible to have after a name how many times they have posted. If there suddenly appears all these people with 0 previous posts then it gives some guidance about how much trust we should put in their posts.

  19. marty mars 19

    A State Services Commission report has found the private security firm Thompson & Clark had an inappropriately close relationship with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment unit which manages the country’s mineral and petroleum resources.

    It also found that the firm, which was hired by some government agencies, treated so-called “issue motivated groups”, including Greenpeace, the Green Party and iwi as security threats.

    Ngati Ruanui has been actively opposed to a proposal to mine ironsand from the seabed off the South Taranaki coast.

    Leader Debbie Ngarewa Packer says the report reflects the iwi’s experience that government agencies were biased against it.

    “While we are outraged we’re also not surprised because this was exactly what we were complaining about and experiencing firsthand that the MBIE Petroleum and Minerals section had an absolute bias.

    “They’ve abused their powers and used delegations way beyond what’s expected ethically and I think legally as well.”

    Ms Ngarewa Packer said serious questions needed to be asked of the MBIE unit.

    “What it highlights to us as Ngati Ruanui is that there needs to be a full scale review of the New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals. They can’t be trusted.

    “And certainly in absorbing the shock, we’ll be assessing the possibility for official complaint to the appropriate services.”

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/te-manu-korihi/378648/review-of-new-zealand-petroleum-and-minerals-called-for-after-state-services-report

    Serious questions DO need to be asked because this is shocking really.

  20. ScottGN 20

    Megan Woods v Gerry Brownlee. I know who I’m going to back in that stoush.

  21. Jum 21

    Do you have to keep displaying the keycreature from the black lagoon. It curdles my milk!

  22. SPC 22

    As to the use of external agents by government, one Edward Snowden was employed by an outside contractor, not the US government. Yet he was involved in industrial level spying on Americans, not legal under US law, as organised by the said US government.

    Their Congress on a number of occasions responded to exposure of illegal activity by making the spying legal after the fact (and never considered impeachment of the those invovled in this government conspiracy against the US people) – which was in effect tacit consent for continued illegal spying (beyond the newly expanded legal borders) – to the extent we must regard Obama’s assurances of an end to the illegal spying as a lie.

    The situation reported on here covers mere surveillance for government departments (and corporates), not the full kit of psychological warfare and active harrassment of targeted individuals that external agents operate, in not just the USA, but according to many reports, around the wider western democratic world.

    The complicity of the SIS, and police (and possibly GCSB) indicates the level of corruption necessary for this other activity to also be occuring in New Zealand.

  23. Gerald Davidson 23

    When is the $177,000 illegal payment to Thompson & Clark to be recovered Southern Response.

  24. Philj 25

    ” found no evidence of widespread inappropriate surveillance by external security consultants ”
    No evidence of widespread corruption. What a relief, only evidence of individual corruption over many government agencies? That’s reassuring. Lol. How does one re-establish public trust in the government after this betrayal?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Two people in serious condition after incident involving NZ First bus
    Police say the two victims were found lodged “firmly underneath” the bus. Two people are in a serious condition this evening after an incident apparently involving the New Zealand First campaign bus. They are presently unable to be identified. Authorities say two people were found underneath the bus shortly after ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    9 hours ago
  • This doesn’t sound like exoneration
    The SFO has finally reported back on NZ First's dodgy foundation, and charged two people with "obtaining by deception". They're at pains to say that neither of the people charged (who have name suppression, but we can all guess who they are, even if we cannot say publicly) is a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    13 hours ago
  • Elections in NZ: some Redline articles
    For a campaign of positive abstention in the 2017 elections 9/4/17 by Phil Duncan In 2014, most of us at Redline favoured not voting in the New Zealand general election.  There was simply no party that represented the interests of workers, much less that attempted to politicise and organise workers to ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    13 hours ago
  • The transport policy we need
    Transport was responsible for 21% of our greenhouse gas emissions in 2017. Its our second-biggest source of pollution after agriculture. And the Greens have just announced a serious policy to tackle it: The Green Party wants to make public transport free for under-18s, ban petrol car imports from 2030, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    16 hours ago
  • Dunedin as Spring Snowglobe
    Dunedin has had a succession of mild winters – our last genuinely cold one was in 2015. 2020 was no exception. But that still leaves spring… and having lived through the week-long spring blizzard of 2011, I am not unaware that September snows are a thing. Such was this morning, ...
    16 hours ago
  • Spain is (still) not a democracy
    The list of Spanish abuses of Catalonia's democracy is long. When Catalans voted for independence, Spanish riot police seized ballot boxes and beat them in the streets. When they elected leaders to represent their views, Spain refused to allow them to take their seats, or jailed them for "sedition". And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    17 hours ago
  • Crusher threatens Nicky Hager
    Crusher Collins - National Party LeaderEverybody should know by now that Judith (Crusher) Collins is a very malicious person. She is perhaps the most vindictive MP ever to disgrace our halls of power.Some of her unprecedented nastiness over the decades has been well documented in the book Dirty Politics: How ...
    18 hours ago
  • The Confident Traveller Led Astray – A Poem For Winston Peters.
    Quo Vadis, Winston?Where are you going, Winston, Son of the winterless north? We have lost count of the summers Since first you ventured forth. This track on which we find you, Unmarked on any map, Leads travellers to strange places. Do you not fear mishap? Countless roads I’ve travelled, Oh ye ...
    22 hours ago
  • Racism loses in Switzerland
    Over in Switzerland, the racist "People's Party" tried to have a Brexit-style referendum on ending freedom of movement with the EU, so they could stop the "flood" of foreigners. But the Swiss people said No: Swiss voters have resoundingly rejected an attempt to tear up the country’s agreement with ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • International Right To Know Day
    Today, 28 September, is International Right To Know Day (or, as the UN puts it, the "International Day for Universal Access to Information"). The Ombudsman is celebrating with a poll showing that while most people don't know about their freedom of information rights, those that use them mostly get what ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • One way or another, we’re paying for this
    Back in July, when foreign polluters (and archaeological criminals) Rio Tinto announced they planned to close Tiwai Point, I was dancing on its grave. Why? Because the carbon subsidies alone were more than enough to fund alternative jobs - or even just to pay everyone dependent on it a reasonable ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • End of life – it isn’t so easy
    In a few weeks, New Zealanders will make a choice whether we implement into law the End of Life Choice Act 2019.  My scientific expertise includes developing and validating methods to predict future events of ill people including death. There is one section of the Act that concerns me deeply. Section ...
    SciBlogsBy John Pickering
    2 days ago
  • Democracy Under Threat
    My wife and I are at an age when we have begun to think (and worry) about the kind of world we will leave behind for our children and, particularly, our grandchildren. We have experienced during our own lives, like others of our generation, our fair share of hard times ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 days ago
  • Liam Hehir: Why it’s important to be open to relationships with people who vote differently
      There are few things written more deeply on the human heart than religion. Differences between us on the purpose and ultimate destiny of human existence have sometimes inspired great intolerance and even wars. But what would we make today of a Catholic who refused to countenance a meaningful relationship ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    2 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #39
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... The Warming Climates of the Arctic and the Tropics Squeeze the Mid-latitudes, Where Most People Live Melting Arctic ice sends ...
    2 days ago
  • Where in the world will the next epidemic start?
    Naomi Forrester-Soto, Keele University Viruses jumping from animals to humans have been the starting point of numerous outbreaks, from Ebola to Zika. Given the similarity of SARS-CoV-2 to coronaviruses found in bats, this probably marked the beginning of COVID-19 too. We know that viruses have passed from animals to humans ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 days ago
  • Fiscal Maths with Paul “Goldie” Goldsmith
    Mr Thinks has asked me to come onto the blog today to outline a few concepts in fiscal mathematics. ...
    My ThinksBy boonman
    3 days ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Sep 20, 2020 through Sat, Sep 26, 2020 Editor's Choice Climate Disruption Is Now Locked In. The Next Moves Will Be Crucial A crack on the Amery Ice Shelf in ...
    3 days ago
  • National behind the times
    When Todd Muller resigned as leader of the National Party and allowed for Judith Collins to assume command, you could tell the blue “team” was desperate and in search of past glories. After all, Crusher is towards the end of her political career and from a bygone era where dirty ...
    4 days ago
  • Coronavirus: the road to vaccine roll-out is always bumpy, as 20th-century pandemics show
    Samantha Vanderslott, University of Oxford If you have been following the media coverage of the new vaccines in development for COVID-19, it will be clear that the stakes are high. Very few vaccine trials in history have attracted so much attention, perhaps since polio in the mid-20th century. A now ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    4 days ago
  • PREFU: The State of Government Accounts
    The Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update’ (PREFU) tells us something about the future of the Public Sector but it requires careful analysis to assess how it is going. The 2020 PREFU is the most important economic statement during any election campaign. Unfortunately the commentariat tends to treat it briefly ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    5 days ago
  • Predatory delay
    Farmers are whining again about being expected to clean up their act: Canterbury farmers want politicians to stop painting them as climate change villains, listen to their needs and allow them more time to boost environmental standards. [...] “The targets are necessary for the environment, but do we ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Flight to nowhere sends the wrong message in climate crisis
    Qantas Airlines’ 7-hour “flight to nowhere”, that sold out in 10 minutes with prices from A$787 to A$3787, seemed like a sick joke to climate advocates. Apart from the waste of fuel and the pointless emissions, passengers would be able to see first-hand, from a plane just like those that ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    5 days ago
  • Speaker: The cannabis referendum – a doctor’s perspective
    Cannabis is part of our culture: 80% of adults have tried it sometime. Intuition tells us that legalising cannabis will increase use – science suggests that is not likely. Our Dunedin and Christchurch studies show that cannabis use peaks in our 20s. Older people are less frequent users whether it ...
    5 days ago
  • First steps: Jerry DeSilva on the evolution of bipedalism
    Yesterday morning I got up (at the rather early and unaccustomed hour of 3.30am) to listen to a webinar by paleoanthropologist Dr Jeremy DeSilva¹. Titled “First Steps”, his presentation was about the origins of bipedalism in the human lineage. It was a fascinating session & I thought I’d turn my ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    5 days ago
  • True Believers In A False God.
    Down The Rabbit Hole: "Social psychologists have found that when fearful people contemplate potential misfortunes, they tend to feel helpless and pessimistic, but when angry people contemplate the same, they feel a sense of optimism and control. And one simple way to transmute fear into anger is to perceive an evil ...
    5 days ago
  • Majority Rule Requires Majorities That Are Real.
    Fifty Percent Plus One: New Zealand’s genuine-majority-delivering two-party system endured for five elections only (1938, 1943, 1946, 1949, 1951) a period of just 16 years. Very few New Zealanders alive today can boast of participating in an election which delivered a true majority to either Labour or National. Someone who ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour super exploitation
    This is the second in the lecture series by Andy Higginbottom on superexploitation. Here he looks at Marini’s theory of labour super-exploitation and Capital ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Small asteroid to make near-miss of Earth in NZ skies tonight
    Sorry for the late notice on this one, but I only just heard myself, in common with most of the human race. A small asteroid, somewhere between the size of a truck and the size of a house in dimensions, will hurtle past the Earth tonight, dipping closer to ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    6 days ago
  • This is not what accountability looks like
    When someone commits trespass, assault with a weapon, and kidnapping, you'd expect them to be prosecuted, right? But apparently the rules are different if you wear a blue uniform: A police investigation has found officers in Northland trespassed on a man's property, then unlawfully pepper sprayed him and arrested ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Cycling: head injuries ignored because of entrenched macho culture
    Howard Hurst, University of Central Lancashire and Jack Hardwicke, University of Winchester Competitive road cycling is a demanding and unique sport. One where crashing is inevitable – especially at the professional level. While the risk of head injury is relatively low in cycling – approximately 5-13% – compared to contact ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • The coming US shitshow
    Today President Trump once again refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the US election. Coincidentally, The Atlantic has a long article on exactly what that means, from voter suppression by armed thugs in the name of "ballot security", to refusing to allow the vote ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A moral void
    That's the only way to describe the SIS, who - like their British counterparts - decided to look the other way on child abuse: The SIS knew a young woman was being sexually abused by her father but failed to lodge a complaint with the police, effectively allowing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • When will Goldsmith resign?
    The National Party’s campaign has gone from bad to worse with a further two large miscalculations being uncovered in their alternative fiscal plan. Firstly, National’s economic spokesperson and list MP, Paul Goldsmith, used May's Budget figures instead of last week's PREFU numbers, and came up with a whopping $4.3 billion ...
    6 days ago
  • The Adventures of Annalax: Part IX
    The initial session was a struggle. Annalax and Magni tried sorting out the details with the Isaac twins (the people pursuing the mountain trip). Annalax happened to mention his devotion to Lolth… whom the Isaacs, being ...
    6 days ago
  • This is bullshit
    On March 13, three plainclothes police officers kicked in Breonna Taylor's door under a no-knock warrant targeting another person. When a person inside reasonably assumed they were home invaders and (this being America) started shooting, they shot up the place and everyone around them - killing Taylor. Today, one of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Arctic sea ice is being increasingly melted from below by warming Atlantic water
    Tom Rippeth, Bangor University Arctic sea ice today (white) is covering a much smaller area than in 1980-2010 (orange line). National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, Boulder, CC BY-SA Each September, scientists like me look out for the point when the Arctic’s meagre summer fizzles out and ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • The long-term health burden of COVID-19: further justification for NZ’s elimination strategy
    Prof John D. Potter* This blog briefly surveys the emerging scientific evidence on the longer-term burden of symptoms and disease in survivors of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these symptoms point to damage in the brain and heart. These long-term harms add to the wide range of other reasons for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • Going High, Going Low: An Assessment Of The First Leaders’ Debate.
    Uncrushed: Jacinda Ardern knew exactly what was expected of her in the first Leaders' Debate. Labour’s dominant position, three weeks out from the general election, is constructed out of the admiration and gratitude of hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who, more often than not, vote National.  Nothing she said ...
    6 days ago
  • The smokefree policies of political parties: Do they care about people who smoke?
    George Thomson*, Nick Wilson, Janet Hoek, Andrew Waa, Richard Edwards In this time of Covid-19, helping people who smoke to quit their addiction has an even greater importance. Smokers are more vulnerable to many harmful health effects, including severe effects from the virus. Policies that support people who smoke to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • The Fog Of Economic Policy Is Starting To Clear…
    Bryan Bruce, https://www.facebook.com/www.redsky.tv, 19 September 2020 National’s economic policy of temporary tax cuts yesterday proved, if proof be needed, that they are unapologetic neoliberals. While their claim that with more money in their pockets people will spend more might sound attractive, the reality is that tax cuts always benefit the ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    6 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #38, 2020
    Highlighted article: Carbon pricing and planetary boundaries  Engström et al take what might be called a systems approach to evaluating carbon pricing, taking into a account various economic sectors affected by and affecting paying for emissions. The conclusions are overall a rare pleasant surprise— a feature predicated on cooperation.  Abstract: ...
    6 days ago
  • Humans ignite almost every wildfire that threatens homes
    Nathan Mietkiewicz, National Ecological Observatory Network and Jennifer Balch, University of Colorado Boulder CC BY-ND Summer and fall are wildfire season across the western U.S. In recent years, wildfires have destroyed thousands of homes, forced hundreds of thousands of people to evacuate and exposed tens of millions to harmful ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: China steps up
    China has increased its climate change ambition, and set a target to be carbon-neutral by 2060: China will reach carbon neutrality before 2060 and ensure its greenhouse gas emissions peak in the next decade, Xi Jinping has told the UN general assembly. “China will scale up its intended nationally ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Humans have dealt with plenty of climate variability
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz How much climate variability have humans dealt with since we ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • Indigenous perspectives on unrestricted access to genomic data
    By Genomics Aotearoa researcher Maui Hudson, University of Waikato It is vital that genomics research respects genomic data and genetic heritage from indigenous communities. Genomics research is a rapidly growing field of study, and there is a strong push to make the huge amount of data being produced open ...
    SciBlogsBy Genomics Aotearoa
    7 days ago
  • Terrible luck: lockdowns on learning and youth job prospects
    What is bad luck? Bad luck is spilling spaghetti sauce down your shirt right before an important meeting. When the person in front of you gets the last seat on the bus, that’s bad luck. Bad luck is when it’s sunny outside, so you leave the house without a coat, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    7 days ago
  • Ian Powell: Does private healthcare threaten public healthcare in New Zealand?
    Is the private health system impacting negatively on the public health system? Health commentator Ian Powell evaluates a recent NZ Herald article by Natalie Akoorie (“Public v private healthcare: Moonlighting, skimming, duplication – should NZ do better”), and looks at how the dual system works, and concludes that the answer ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    7 days ago
  • A rabbit-hole election debate: So do you want more avocado orchards?
    We live in strange and unusual times. It’s been a century since we’ve endured a global pandemic like this, more than half a century since we’ve had economic woes like this. So maybe we got an opening election debate for the times - because that was a strange and unusual ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • LIVE: Jacinda Ardern vs. Judith Collins, First Debate
    Tonight, The Civilian will be live-blogging the first of too many debates between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and National Party leader Judith Collins, and also the last fifteen minutes of the news. Be sure to tune in from 6:45pm for regular updates, which can be accessed by refreshing this page ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Hundreds of Aucklanders arrested after illegal mass gathering on Harbour Bridge
    An enormous drive-in party, shown here, was held this morning on Auckland’s Harbour Bridge, where police were forced to intervene. Hundreds of Aucklanders were arrested this morning on public health grounds, after an apparent illegal mass gathering on the city’s Harbour Bridge. Police say hundreds of Aucklanders gathered in their ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The Looming Fight.
    Social Distancing Be Damned - It's Jacinda! Shortly after ascending to Labour’s leadership, Jacinda described herself as a “pragmatic idealist”. It was an inspired oxymoron – packing into just two words the essence of the social-democrat’s dilemma. It was good to know that she knew what lay ahead of her. ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Moving faster
    Back in 2017, the UK announced that it would ban the sale of new fossil fuel vehicles by 2040. Its a basic climate change measure, aimed at reducing emissions by shifting the vehicle fleet to cleaner technologies. Now, in the wake of the pandemic, they're planning to bring it forward ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The Australian courts have had enough of refugee detention
    For the past decade, Australia has had a racist, anti-refugee policy. Those claiming refugee status are imprisoned without trial and left to rot in the hope they would "voluntarily" return to be tortured and murdered. When the courts have granted them visas, the government has immediately revoked them on racial ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Friction and the Anti-lock Braking System
    Yesterday afternoon I had to call on my car’s anti-lock braking system (ABS). For reasons best known to its driver, a car pulled out of a side road right in front of me while I was driving home after work, and I needed to stop in a hurry. I rather ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    1 week ago
  • The Inside Word: New Zealand Quarantine
    There are a fair few misconceptions about conditions within New Zealand’s Quarantine Hotels. Madeline Grant’s misplaced accusations being one prominent example, though she is not alone. Today, I thought I’d share the inside word, so to speak. A friend of mine has recently returned to New Zealand from overseas, and ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: ASA: Let’s not talk about this
    Last week, major newspapers carried a full-page ad as part of the campaign for a "No" vote to the referendum question about supporting the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill. The ad was authorised by the SAM NZ Coalition, which takes its name from a controversial American anti-cannabis group and includes ...
    1 week ago
  • This is not kind
    New Zealand has a serious homelessness problem, due to skyrocketing rents and a lack of state houses. One of the ways we stick a band-aid on it is to put people up in motels. Previously, they were charged full commercial rates, saddled with odious debt due to the government's failure ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Wokies are the establishment
    by Ani O’Brien In the absence of a better word with which to refer to the rabid activists who claim progressivism while demanding adherence to an increasingly prescriptive set of political beliefs, I call them “woke”. With its roots in Black American slang, the term originally denoted a person or ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • How to strengthen the post-isolation Covid rules
    Over the weekend, the Ministry of Health reported a case of Covid-19 in Auckland that is not related to the current Auckland cluster. Before we start to panic, here’s how I think the case happened and how we can strengthen our current border controls. The new Covid-19 case is someone ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • Neuralink and You: A Human-AI Symbiosis
    Becky Casale Elon Musk reckons his Neuralink brain implant is much more than a medical device–that one day it will drive a symbiosis between humans and artificial intelligence. “Good morning! I’m Dr Benedict Egg and I’ll be supervising your Neuralink insertion today. Do you have any questions?” “Yes, Doc. ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Liam Hehir: Our obsession with American politics
    Many New Zealanders take a strong interest in US politics, with the death of Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg being the latest example. Liam Hehir wonders if it very wise for New Zealanders to get so worked about it.   Many politically engaged New Zealanders are now furiously ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    1 week ago
  • COVID: Back to Level 1
    After stamping the Coronavirus out via strict lockdown between March and May, New Zealand went through a good three months without any community cases. Then a local outbreak in Auckland rather buggered things up last month. Auckland’s been in level 3 and level 2.5 for the past six weeks. ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Climate injustice
    Who's causing our skyrocketing emissions? As with most of our other problems, It's the rich: The wealthiest 1% of the world’s population were responsible for the emission of more than twice as much carbon dioxide as the poorer half of the world from 1990 to 2015, according to new ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Good riddance
    The border closure and resulting lack of foreign slave-workers is driving the fishing industry out of business: One fishing company is effectively out of business while others are bracing for large financial hits as the deepwater New Zealand industry, unable to get skilled foreign workers into the country, have ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #38
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... The tipping points at the heart of the climate crisis Many parts of the Earth’s climate system have been destabilised by ...
    1 week ago
  • Anyone for Collins?
    In the absence of national public opinion polls, we have had to make do in recent weeks with other guides to voter intentions. Those guides, such as the Auckland Central poll, the incidence of google enquiries and the responses to Vote Compass questions, have suggested, not unexpectedly, that Labour is ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Crusher’s fiscal malfunction
    Crusher Collins - National Party leaderWe all know that the National Party is desperate to gain some traction during this election campaign and have been throwing pretty much everything at the Labour Party in order to try and undermine Jacinda Ardern and what the Coalition Government has achieved. But unfortunately ...
    1 week ago
  • Much of the commentariat’s reporting of the most recent GDP figure was misleading and unhelpful. The prize for the stupidest remark about the GDP figure for second quarter 2020 (2020Q2) released on Thursday (17 Sept) goes to Judith Collins, whose response to Grant Robertson’s comments indicated she did not ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Love and Hate as Complementary Revolutionary Acts
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh goloing@gmail.com (19/09/2020) Che Guevara said that a true revolutionary is motivated by love i.e. love of the oppressed, the poor, the children dying from preventable illnesses. This phrase of his is true but has been used by reformists and their more hippy wing have taken advantage ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #38
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week: Sun, Sep 13, 2020 through Sat, Sep 19, 2020 Editor's Choice Get to Net-Zero by Mid-Century? Even Some Global Oil and Gas Giants Think it Can Be Done A report by a ...
    1 week ago
  • Tax cuts for all!!! (except you, you, and you)
    With the National Party this week announcing a new policy of tax cuts to spice up the election campagin. MyThinks went along to the launch and afterwards we spoke to the party’s finance spokesperson Paul “Golden Touch” Goldsmith. MT: Thanks for speaking to us Mr Goldsmith. PG: No. Thank you. ...
    My ThinksBy boonman
    2 weeks ago
  • Great Waves Washing Over New Zealand
    Always to islanders danger Is what comes over the seas ‘Landfall in Unknown Seas’ (Allen Curnow)Six economic issues external to New Zealand, which will greatly impact upon us. 1.         The Diminishing Global Dominance of the US. Since 1941 America has dominated the world economically and politically. Probably it could ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand has role to play in resolving crisis on ‘geopolitical fault line’, Helen Clark says
    By Geoffrey Miller New Zealand should continue to champion human rights in Belarus amidst an ongoing crackdown on protests by the country’s regime, former Prime Minister Helen Clark says. Protests in the country often referred to as ‘Europe’s last dictatorship’ erupted after the country’s disputed presidential elections on August 9 ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    2 weeks ago
  • Euthanasia referendum: How to cut through the emotions
    Jacqui Maguire, registered clinical psychologist This podcast episode highlights how difficult it is to have effective conversations about euthanasia due to how polarised people’s views are. I’m a clinical psychologist, with a passion for science communication. In early 2020 I founded the podcast Mind Brew, with an aim to make psychological ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago

  • Pasifika churches gain from PGF funding
    Pasifika churches around the country will receive a total of nearly $10 million in government funding for renovations and improvements which will improve facilities for the communities they serve and create jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio have announced. The funding will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Job numbers up in August
    New data from Stats NZ today shows a rise of more than 9,000 filled jobs from July – driven mostly by the education and training sector, Grant Robertson says. Filled jobs were up 9,147 to 2.2 million in August 2020 compared with July – with 7,409 of those in education ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Māori development receives funding
    Māori development projects across the country will receive a total of $18.8 million from the Provincial Growth Fund that will create infrastructure and permanent jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “These projects will support economic development in Northland, Bay of Plenty, Tairawhiti, Manawatū-Whanganui, Waikato and Southland to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Hand-up for owners of earthquake-prone units
    From today, owner-occupiers of unit and apartments living in earthquake-prone buildings can apply for financial support to fix their homes, Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa says. The Residential Earthquake-Prone Building Financial Assistance Scheme will help unit owners facing financial hardship over earthquake strengthening costs. “We understand how complicated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • PGF backing successful Māori enterprise
    Whanganui will benefit from a Provincial Growth Fund investment in a local food-processing company which will help the company increase production and create jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. Kii Tahi Ltd, which is owned by South Taranaki iwi Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi, will receive a Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Hokitika Landmark earmarked for $22m restoration
    Seddon House in Hokitika, once a hub for government on the West Coast, has been earmarked for government use once again. “Today we’re announcing a $22 million investment from the Government’s $3 billion infrastructure fund for shovel ready projects for the purchase and restoration of Seddon House in the heart of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Town halls and war memorials in PGF renovation programme
    Town halls, war memorials and other community landmarks across the country will be renovated thanks to grants totalling just under $12.4 million from the Provincial Growth Fund. Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says more than 1000 jobs are expected to be created during the renovation programme. “Town halls, other ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes two diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced two new diplomatic appointments: •         Michael Appleton as New Zealand’s first resident High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. •        Tredene Dobson as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Viet Nam.  Sri Lanka “New Zealand is opening a post in Colombo in 2021 because we are ready ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ’s most prestigious conservation award – Loder Cup presented to Graeme Atkins
    The Minister of Conservation Minister, Eugenie Sage, today presented Aotearoa New Zealand’s most prestigious conservation award, the Loder Cup, to the 2020 winner Graeme Atkins while in Gisborne/Tūranga-nui-a-Kiwa. “Graeme Atkins of Ngāti Porou is a Department of Conservation ranger whose contribution to conservation goes well above and beyond his employment,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Early help for whānau who need extra support
    The Government is investing in a new, whānau-centred early intervention prototype designed to strengthen families and improve the safety and wellbeing of children. The new programme, Ngā Tini Whetū, is a collaboration between Oranga Tamariki, Te Puni Kōkiri, ACC and the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency (WOCA) and was announced today ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Parliament to install solar and cut carbon
    Parliament is leading by example by taking action to cut its carbon footprint by installing solar and improving energy efficiency, the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw said today. The Minister confirmed that Parliamentary Services will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to install solar PV and LED ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Tuvalu Language Week theme promotes community resilience in the face of COVID-19
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says the 2020 Tuvalu Language Week theme of “Fakatili Te Kiloga Fou” which means “Navigating the changing environment” is a call on all Pacific peoples to be strong and resilient in the face of COVID-19. “This theme is a reminder to us ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • International sport back up and running in New Zealand
    The Government is welcoming today’s announcement that the West Indies and Pakistan cricket teams will tour New Zealand this summer.  “A lot of hard work has been undertaken by sports officials including New Zealand Cricket, Netball New Zealand and government officials to ensure that international sport can return safely to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • 1BT funds for Northland forest taonga
    Northland’s indigenous tree canopy is set to grow for the benefit of mana whenua and the wider community thanks to nearly $2 million in One Billion Trees funding, Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced today. Te Komanga Marae Trust has received more than $1.54 million to restore and enhance the native ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Better health care for West Coasters as Te Nikau Hospital officially opened
    The Government has delivered a new hospital for Greymouth and is starting work on a much needed new health centre in Westport, ensuring local communities will benefit from better access to high quality integrated health services. Today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare officially open Te ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government backing local with PGF loan
    A West Coast distillery will benefit from a Provincial Growth Fund investment that will enable it to expand its operations and create jobs in the town of Reefton, Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. The Reefton Distilling Co will receive a $928,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Primary sector exports and jobs up again
    Primary sector exports and jobs are up again, demonstrating the sector’s underlying strength amid the COVID-19 global pandemic and US-China trade war, and supporting New Zealand’s economic recovery. Stats NZ today reported New Zealand’s merchandise exports in August were up 8.6% on a year ago, driven by an increase in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Clean energy future for more schools
    Schools across Aotearoa New Zealand will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. The Minister has allocated $50 million from the Clean Powered Public Service Fund to replace, or convert, coal boilers in schools with clean ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Building business strength with digital tools
    New training and tools for digital commerce will give small businesses, especially in the tourism sector, the support they need to adapt and innovate in a COVID world. Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash have announced details of how $20 million digital capability funding set aside ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New pest lures to protect nature
    The Department of Conservation (DOC) is investing $1.4 million to develop new predator lures that would be game-changers for trapping and surveillance towards a predator-free Aotearoa, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage, announced in Christchurch today. The proposal is to develop long-life lures attractive to a range of predators—rats, mustelids ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Support for innovative Pacific education responses to COVID-19 needs
    Supporting new and creative Pacific education practices as part of our COVID-19 response and recovery is the focus of a new $28.5 million Pacific Education Innovation Fund announced today by Associate Minister of Education Jenny Salesa.  “There is already an incredible amount of innovative and creative work going on in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Eligibility expanded for COVID-19 leave support
    The expanded scheme will cover: People who have COVID-19 like symptoms and meet the Ministry of Health’s criteria, and need to self-isolate while awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test. People who are directed to self-isolate by a Medical Officer of Health or their delegate or on advice of their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Seasonal work visa available to more people
    The Government is putting in place a range of immigration policy changes to help fill labour shortages in key industries while ensuring New Zealanders, who have lost jobs due to COVID-19, have the chance to find new employment. “Two key sectors we are moving to help are horticulture and wine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More border exceptions for critical roles
    The Government has established class exceptions for border entry for a limited number of veterinarians, deep sea fishing crew, as well as agricultural and horticultural machinery operators. “Tight border restrictions remain the backbone of the Government’s border strategy to protect New Zealand against COVID-19 and ensure New Zealand citizens and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Crown will not appeal Dodds v Southern Response decision
    The Crown will not appeal the Court of Appeal decision in the Dodds v Southern Response case, Grant Robertson announced today. “Southern Response will be paying the damages awarded by the Court to Mr and Mrs Dodds shortly. The Crown was already meeting their legal costs for this appeal. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Crucial PGF investments for Northland
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing nearly $30 million in a diverse range of projects that will create immediate and long-term jobs and lift economic and social outcomes for Northland and its people. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones made the announcement today in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $27million investment in global vaccine facility
    The Coalition Government has committed to invest $27 million in COVID-19 vaccine development through the global COVAX Facility, Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The COVAX Facility is a key part of our COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy to obtain safe and effective vaccines. It allows us to invest in a high-quality, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government backing Māori landowners
    The Government will provide up to $1.69 million through the One Billion Trees programme to Māori landowners to make their whenua more productive through the planting of forests, both native and exotic, and improve economic and environmental outcomes, Forestry Minister Shane Jones has announced. “Around 1.5 million ha of land ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New tools to make nature more accessible
    People planning to head outdoors now have a resource that lets them know how accessible an area is for people with varying levels of mobility, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. The Halberg Foundation, Sensibel, and the Department of Conservation (DOC) have launched Accessibel, a new tool which helps ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF makes Māori history more accessible
    One of the most significant battle sites of the 1860s Land Wars will receive $2.96 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to improve the site and help tell the New Zealand story to visitors, Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. Nanaia Mahuta ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Making it official: The journey of te reo Māori | Kia whakapūmautia: Ngā piki me ngā heke o te r...
    The journey towards recognising Māori as an official language and taonga has been captured as a web series and launched today during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, announced Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “Te reo Māori is a living language, and understanding its significance, and pathways to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Better-than-forecast GDP reflects decision to protect New Zealand
    Today’s better-than-forecast GDP figures show the expected impact of the decision to act quickly to protect New Zealanders from the global COVID-19 pandemic. GDP fell 12.2% in the June quarter from March, reflecting decisions to close New Zealand’s borders and enter Alert Level 4. “This result was better than the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Boost for COVID-19 related Pacific education needs
    The Government is investing $39.7 Million over four years to support the educational needs of Pacific learners and families in the regions hardest hit by COVID-19, with Auckland getting an immediate boost, Associate Minister of Education Jenny Salesa says.   “Like all New Zealanders Pacific families want learners to do well ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • More resources for kiwi conservation
    New Zealand’s goal of 100,000 kiwi by 2030 is being helped by an extra $19.7 million in funding to accelerate iwi and community efforts to protect kiwi, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced. “$19.7 million of Jobs for Nature funding is being invested in kiwi conservation activities including increased predator ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Improving access to affordable electricity
    Ensuring New Zealanders can get the best deal on their electricity takes a step in the right direction today with the South Island launch of the EnergyMate pilot run by the Electricity Retailers’ Association, says Minister of Energy and Resources, Dr Megan Woods. EnergyMate is an industry-led programme providing coaching ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government achieves 50 percent women on state boards
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter announced today that the Government has reached its target of 50 percent on women on state sector board and committees – setting a new record level of women on state sector boards. “This Government is committed to having more women in leadership roles - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Record transport investment to help economic recovery and save lives
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford released today the final Government Policy Statement on land transport (GPS) 2021 which outlines the planned $48 billion investment in services and infrastructure over the next decade. “The final GPS supports our Government’s five-point plan for economic recovery by confirming our record investments in transport infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Advancing clean energy technology
    Three ambitious and cutting-edge research programmes that will lift New Zealand’s advanced energy technology research capability over seven years, have been supported by Government today, says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods. The projects will each receive a share of $40.7 million investment from the Strategic Science Investment Fund. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Major milestone reached in Pike River Re-entry
    The critical area for forensic examination known as Pit Bottom in Stone has been reached in what is a major milestone for the Pike River re-entry project, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little announced. “The infrastructure located in Pit Bottom in Stone is of very significant interest in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Economic recovery guides Govt response to retirement income policy review
    The Government is working on how New Zealand’s retirement income policies and settings can best support Kiwis in light of the COVID-19 economic recovery, with the help of the Retirement Commissioner’s latest review, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said. “The Retirement Commissioner’s three-yearly review into New Zealand’s retirement ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago