RNZ’s Chinese Spies story doesn’t add up

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, July 2nd, 2021 - 47 comments
Categories: China, chris hipkins, discrimination, Media, Politics, racism, Social issues, spin - Tags: , , , ,

On Monday, RNZ reported that “Chinese Communist Party spies are infiltrating New Zealand universities,”  citing the suspicions of three lecturers in Chinese history and politics.

Auckland University lecturer Dr. Stephen Noakes said that on one occasion, “There was someone I did not recognise in the room and that person was pointing a phone around and taking pictures of the slides.” Two other academics said similar things had happened to them.

Taking photos wasn’t the only evidence behind the lecturers’ suspicions. According to them, many Chinese students repeat nationalist talking points about China’s recent and ancient history, or challenge the lecturers on various points. Some don’t even appear to be students at all.

The allegations came as part of a new podcast that seeks to investigate China’s influence in New Zealand, hosted on the RNZ website.

The problem is that it doesn’t appear that RNZ, or the new podcast, have investigated other explanations for people taking photos in lecture rooms or challenging lecturers, nor assessed whether relatively loose allegations against chinese-looking people sitting at the back of lecture halls might have a negative impact upon international students.

As Security consultant Paul Buchanan put it in the Herald, there are a number of reasons why chinese citizens might be taking photos or starting arguments in university lectures. 

“There is a big difference between spies… and nationalistic mainlanders who feel compelled to sit in and ‘correct’ – in their words – the mistaken opinions of foreigners when it comes to Chinese history,” he said. If any interlopers were there in an official capacity, it’s also strongly possible they were there to “monitor what is said about China. And that gives them an idea of what China looks like to the educated classes abroad.”

At this point it is worth remembering that the only indication the “spies” were anything other than nationalist citizens was one lecturer’s anecdote about how one got off at a bus stop somewhere near the embassy.

But these possibilities weren’t given any thought in the RNZ article or podcast. There is no room for any doubt that any and all suspicious activity by chinese-looking people must be the work of “spies.” This probably has something to do with the ideological outlook of the Red Line podcast, which first featured the allegations.

Red Line retains some pretence of journalistic impartiality while featuring all manner of “China Watcher” foreign policy ghouls relatively uncritically. People featured on the podcast include US General and Trump advisor HR McMaster (sure, it’s Chinese officials interfering in our public discourse), and Anne Marie Brady, probably New Zealand’s foremost Cold Warrior, and one of the academics alleging lecture hall “spying.” 

It’s also deeply strange that according to education minister Chris Hipkins, the academics didn’t report the issue, nor did the RNZ journalist. This would seem a logical course of action for anyone taking the issue seriously, rather than just seeking to cause a stir and plug a podcast.

All that said, it is certainly believable that non-student Chinese citizens, maybe even people acting under embassy direction, are interrupting lectures. I know from my own experience that many governments encourage their foreign citizens, and sometimes students, to challenge critics in public venues. Both Indonesia and Morocco have sent people to interrupt speaking events for West Papua and Western Sahara that I’ve attended, although of course a closed lecture theatre is quite a bit worse. Still, embassies engaging in observation and influencing actions is a pretty normal occurrence, one that only seems to take a sinister form when it comes from one embassy in particular.

My questions are: what is the difference between a “spy,” an “agent,” or a foreign citizen (however misguided) who takes it upon themselves to interrupt a lecture? Are their arguments best countered by accusing them of being a spy, when it is very possible they are either students, or a random nationalist member of the public? Finally, where is the outrage when repressive governments like Indonesia, Morocco, or indeed the United States send their embassy staff to influence New Zealand public opinion? Or is this only an issue when there are anecdotal ties to the Chinese embassy.

On these questions it is worth looking at the broader context of anti-Asian paranoia across the world.

Anti-Asian, and especially anti-Chinese violence is on the rise, something many see as a result of former US president Donald Trump’s efforts to scapegoat China for the poor virus response within the US. Under the new presidency of Joe Biden, things haven’t improved much, with a new wave of previously discredited “lab-leak” theories given newfound legitimacy, despite the warnings of the scientists who originally proposed the possibility. 

Community leaders blamed this rhetoric for the killings of six women in Atlanta, which sparked nationwide “Stop Asian Hate” protests across the US. But this was not an exclusively American phenomenon. In Aoteaora, similar protests followed the lead of US organisers, highlighting anti-Asian hate crimes here, such as a beating in a Rotorua spa last year. Organisers said that Chinese people are used as scapegoats for everything from Coronavirus to the housing market. A Human Rights Commission report found that about one in five Asian people in Aotearoa have experienced increased discrimination since the start of 2020. While criticism of the CPC is certainly different from sinophobia, critics of the Chinese state need to be careful not to whip up a paranoiac frenzy that can spill out onto whole immigrant communities once vague allegations of spying enter the public consciousness. We’ve seen red scares before, and Red Line seems like it’s doing its best to start a new one.

When it comes to foreign interference, a lot of attention is lavished on Chinese perpetrators while other, much less covert influencing operations go on without anyone noticing. If New Zealanders are to avoid becoming the pawns of either side in a new Cold War, this would mean being more consistent when it comes to opposing foreign influences over public opinion. This might involve investigating the impacts of the recent US decision to spend some $300 million on influencing global news media to be more critical of China. While we’re at it, we might consider uprooting the actual spybases on our soil that send their data to the US, or dismantling what is effectively a US military facility on the Mahia peninsula. Foreign influence only seems to sound scary when it isn’t coming from the world’s foremost military hegemon.

For all the talk of nebulous Chinese propaganda efforts across the west, much less time is spent talking about the degree to which anti-Chinese paranoia might be a reflection of an entirely different propaganda campaign. While stories about Chinese spies make for appealing headlines, such accusations are dangerous in universities where international students are already subject to suspicion. This wouldn’t be the first time that unfounded accusations of Chinese spying have lead to widespread racial profiling within an academic community, and we should expect our only publicly-funded news provider to be more conscious of the effects loose and anecdotal allegations of spying can have on immigrant communities.


lprent: The author requested anonymity because of a a known tendency to attack authors of similar pieces. This is explicitly allowed for in our policy. I checked the author out as far as I needed to, to make sure that they were a real person and they had and were expressing their own opinion – as is required on this site. Unusually, I helped with this second draft by savagely rejecting the first on on the basis that they made assumptions and presumptions that were unwarranted.

I’d strongly suggest that attacking the opinions of the author on the basis of anonymity would be unwise. Anonymity for guest posts is explicitly allowed by site rules. Being anonymous behind a handle (including a purported ‘real name’) and attacking someone else for doing the same thing gets treated as the actions of blatant hypocrite.

47 comments on “RNZ’s Chinese Spies story doesn’t add up ”

  1. Byd0nz 1

    The Yellow peril,
    An old line we were fed,
    Then who could forget,
    The Red under the bed.
    The same old bogeyman,
    Still out and about,
    Armed now with high tech,
    To give us a clout.
    But like an old joke,
    It is wearing quite thin,
    Better to direct it.
    To the old rubbish bin.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    lol forgive me if I doubt the credentials of an anonymous poster attacking the partiality of a report on the CCPs influence in NZ.

    [lprent: They requested anonymity and were fairly unaware of the site’s habits. The only ‘credential’ offered in the post is that they have attended some public meetings. They offer an opinion and then argue the basis of that opinion. It appears that you are too lazy to read what they actually wrote. Scared of thinking for yourself before reaching for the convenient flywhisk?

    As far as I am aware the author doesn’t have a handle on the site. I meant to get a handle, but it was 2am when I put the post up. I’ll tag a note on the post now.

    However I checked them back digitally as far as I needed to, and I am a paranoid veteran of the net.

    I rather savagely attacked their first draft because it wasn’t worth putting up for discussion (assertions, misunderstandings about lectures closed nature, etc). This second one is a lot better and does raise interesting questions. I probably disagree with a lot of their opinion.

    Guyon Espiner, in my personal observation spends far too much time reading kiwiblog, and seems ludicrously to believe some of the trash on it. This became obvious to me when I did an interview with him at RNZ where the questions about The Standard sounded like they’d come straight out of the kiwiblog and whaleoil’s set of Standard lies. I lost a lot of respect I had for him about then.

    But I’d suggest that you look at the Espiner article closely and figure out how much is stated as fact, what was said, and what is assumption and innuendo. The facts are very minimal – essentially interlopers in lectures and most of the article is pure innuendo and smear. It isn’t a investigative article – it is just a headline and a mischief making exercise that looks like Farrar wrote it. ie basically bullshit.

    This one is much more solidly based IMHO. ]

    • Brigid 2.1

      Did you not read this?

      "The allegations came as part of a new podcast that seeks to investigate China’s influence in New Zealand, hosted on the RNZ website."

      There's no 'report'

      I expect you don't doubt the partiality of the author of a podcast. Why is that?

      • Sanctuary 2.1.1

        "..On Monday, RNZ reported .."

        But hey, lets all focus on semantics.

        Anyway, to state the bleeding obvious for you I can judge the partiality of Guyon Espiner's reporting or otherwise because, you know, his name is on the byline and I have heard of him in the past.

        I note that a quick check reveals the last five "Guest Posts" on this site named the writer (the only debatable one being a "Labour Westie" in a lovely tribute piece to the late Don Clark, so hardly a piece of controversial writing).

        Therefore it raises my eyebrows at least that suddenly this site is publishing anonymous pieces attacking reports critical of the CCP, especially as the report itself is on how the CCP attempts to intimidate, discredit and bully it's opponents. Irony abounds.

        • RedLogix 2.1.1.1

          The pattern you are referring to is precisely as predicted by one of my contacts – the phrase he used was that Xi Xinping had ordered a switch from 'wolf warrior' attacks to 'white monkey' propaganda.

          Expect more of it – a lot more.

          • Incognito 2.1.1.1.1

            Are you suggesting that the OP is “’white monkey’ propaganda”?

            • RedLogix 2.1.1.1.1.1

              The OP can speak to their own motivations, I'm merely reporting what my Chinese friends here are telling me.

              • Incognito

                Thank you for your answer; a simple “No” would have sufficed.

                Did your Chinese friends read the OP and comment on it?

          • Adrian Thornton 2.1.1.1.2

            Good ol' RedLogix, the guy who doesn't mind who is under his bed doing what, as long as they ain't Red…true to form.

        • ken 2.1.1.2

          With you on this.

      • Populuxe1 2.1.2

        Hmmm, let's see. Guyon Espiner and John Daniell are both established, credible journalists with no obvious history of partisan reporting, and RNZ is probably the most cautious broadcaster in the country, so…

        • lprent 2.1.2.1

          I read Espiners's article myself on Monday and thought what a pile of useless shit..

          No actual facts pointing to the headline and thesis. It was easy to come up with an alternate thesis (as is pointed out here).

          The ONLY relevant 'fact' in the Espiner article was hearsay that someone had gotten off a bus close to an embassy, but was not observed entering the embassy or wearing a security badge.

          That is just simple-minded stupid smearing of the worst possible type.

          It is about as stupid as saying that all union members are communists.

          • Populuxe1 2.1.2.1.1

            And you're perfectly entitled to your opinion.

          • Adrian Thornton 2.1.2.1.2

            Yep, read it as well, and thought exactly the same, RNZ has been sliding down the drain for quite a while now… every time I think they have sunk as low as they are going to go..they move the goal posts even lower, pretty depressing stuff really.

          • Tim Watkin 2.1.2.1.3

            Hi Lynn (and everyone),

            I hope this finds you well. It's been a while. I'm one of the executive producers of the podcast and, so you know, have never had a problem with rigorous interrogation of shows I've produced. But I'm also protective of rigorous journalism and of facts. So I wanted to respond to your guest post.

            The allegations made were not by RNZ, but by three senior academics at three universities. (Not "We report, we don't accuse. the reportage comes in the context of similar reports in Australia, the US, Germany and numerous other countries.

            Much of the comment came in response to a single story. It was one story, complete in itself, but clearly labelled as part of a series that investigated China's influence in New Zealand from a range of angles. Lyn,, I hope you and the guest poster might listen to all four episodes to hear the full investigation.

            The poster highlights Anne-Marie Brady and H.R. McMaster as people spoken to in the series. Contrary to the post's claims, they do not appear "uncritically". McMaster's arguments are weighted against John Key, who is strongly pro-China. The podcast reveals for the first time serious questions about Brady's claims of car tampering, for example. No-one else has made the effort to look into her claims as thoroughly as this podcast.

            The post doesn't mention at all the pro-China people in the series or the fact that we repeatedly asked Chinese government spokespeople for comment but were repeatedly refused. We did however use international news reports of other Chinese government spokespeople to ensure the CCP's position is made clear.

            Your post complains that RNZ did not report the academic's claims of influence and possibly spying in their lectures. It's an odd criticism to have in any commentary, as it's hardly a journalist's role to turn police officer.

            The post asks where is the criticism of the US and other countries when it tries to influence NZ public opinion? The obvious answer is The Service, a podcast made last year by the same team of journalists. (https://www.rnz.co.nz/programmes/the-service). Actually, the question asked is "where is the outrage?". I'd argue there's no outrage in the podcast or story the post refers to, simply considered reporting and story-telling.

            The post, troublingly, then goes on to link this issue to "anti-Asian paranoia across the world". This may be the poster's genuine opinion, but anyone who has listened to more of the series would be aware that this is a talking point taken straight from the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda arm, the United Front Works Department. In episode three I report on a protest where this spin is explicitly used to try to attack Chinese dissidents in New Zealand.

            I'd also add that one of the core. repeated questions of the series is "are we paranoid?". So this issue is part of every episode.

            Because of The Standard's policies on the author's anonymity, we can't judge whether or not this author could be spinning for the United Front. More transparency would help with that. But it's an important point that asking questions about the actions of the CCP and a government is not the same as attacking the citizens of that country. I believe The Standard has published posts in the past criticising Israel's use of that tactic. There is nothing in the series that suggests people should stigmatise Chinese New Zealanders, but conscious of that sensitivity Tze Ming Mok speaks to that exact point in episode four and we were very careful to distinguish between state and citizen. This post is less careful when it throws around claims such as "red scare". Asking questions about a state with China's record on human rights is not fear-mongering.

            Lynn, as for your attacks on the work, I wonder what you would regard as acceptable "facts". Obviously there is no way to prove the motives and identity of the people in those lectures. We never claim fact, but rather clearly rely on the analysis of the people who were there. They are experts, but if you listen to the series their own perspectives are all on display. It's standard journalism to report first-hand experiences. People can decide for themselves how much credence they put in those experiences. The alternative would be to refuse to report claims made by three senior academics, who all volunteered much the same experience. That would be odd self-censorship.

            I hope people reading this post take the opportunity to listen to the whole podcast and keep discussing the issue and deciding for themselves, rather than relying on others.

            • weka 2.1.2.1.3.1

              No mods around this morning to release the comment from the New Commenter filter, sorry.

              Commenting also to bump this up in the Comments list for visibility.

            • Anne 2.1.2.1.3.2

              Thank-you for your contribution Tim Watkin. I will reserve judgement on the series until it is completed.

              However there is one historical aspect which appears to have been overlooked, but it is pertinent to the story of our relationship with China.

              I refer to the former Labour MP and Cabinet Minister, Warren Freer. Freer was the first western politician to visit Communist China in the mid 1950s. His personal brief was to open up trade talks within the Asian region and in particular with China. Upon his return, he was charged by some – including former PM, Walter Nash – with being a Communist and a traitor and was forced to spend several years in 'Coventry' for his dastardly deed.

              In point of fact he was years ahead of his time. It is widely believed that it was because of Freer's previous visits that New Zealand became the first country in the western world to be able to sign a trade agreement with them. I recall Helen Clark acknowledging that Freer had "paved the way" for the FTA agreement which was signed during her tenure as PM.

              I recommend Freer's autobiography "A Lifetime in Politics" which not only provides fascinating insights into the NZ political scene between the 1940s and 1980s but has some very funny anecdotes as well.

            • hd 2.1.2.1.3.3

              Tim,

              Quoting John Key as a 'pro-China' counterweight doesn't remove your responsibility to provide critical reporting of the background of your 'anti-China' sources. Anne-Marie Brady and ASPI in particular have received funding and support from a range of US government agencies and defence industries. ASPI's funding details are available here.

              I personally believe these conflicts of interest make both Anne-Marie Brady and other ASPI representatives unreliable sources. You may not agree, but you should at least give equal weight to presenting valuable context. Otherwise you leave the impression that you have a pre-existing bias and that you are cherry-picking the context to support a pre-ordained outcome.

        • Anne 2.1.2.2

          Guyon Espiner and John Daniell are both established, credible journalists with no obvious history of partisan reporting,…

          Guyon Espiner and John Danielle are ‘Establishment’ journalists whose brief is to follow the Establishment line whether it be right or wrong.

          FIFY

        • Adrian Thornton 2.1.2.3

          "RNZ is probably the most cautious broadcaster in the country"…RNZ is guard dog of the Liberal status quo, which their 'reporting' reflects in a hundred different ways every day.

    • Obtrectator 2.2

      Exactly. Who is this "guest"?

      [Put up before LPrent’s reply had loaded. But it’s still a valid question, even if no answer is going to be forthcoming.]

      [lprent: Not really – read the post. If people want to concentrate on the author, then I will concentrate on moving all such comments to OpenMike or banning persistent offenders.

      From the policy.

      If we are putting up material from a guest poster, then it will go up under “Guest Post” and may or may not have a name or pseudonym attached.

      The Gosman (hypocrisy) ruling. People using a pseudonym to comment who then claim that other people commenting/posting anonymously (or any words construed to mean that) will have their own comments treated as being anonymous. Since this site does not allow anonymous comments, they will receive an immediate long ban.

      Like – who in fuck are you? ]

      • Obtrectator 2.2.1

        Someone who doesn't think they have to justify themselves to anyone using unnecessarily profane language. (So go ahead and ban me – the equivalent of a dictatorial father, realising he's lost the argument and saying to his child "stop trying to be clever". As I've said before, there's lots of other fora whose administrators aren't so unduly sensitive or reliant on cuss-words to get their point across.)

  3. Populuxe1 3

    And spinning perfectly reasonable concern about demonstrable PRC influence and intimidation on NZ university campuses as racism is exactly why faffing around with our hate speech laws terrifies me.

    • lprent 3.1

      I'd argue that

      demonstrable PRC influence and intimidation on NZ university campuses

      hasn't been demonstrated as far as I am concerned.

      As far as I can see the universities (the body that would be most concerned) haven't detected it either. It appears that no-one (at least in public) has complained to police or security services.

      I have just heard people claiming it happens without any substantive evidence. What Espiner wrote about isn't evidence. It is just hearsay and people leaping to a conclusion.

      This country operates on a rule of law. It doesn't operate on hysterical accusations without any particular evidence. That is the way of idiot populists like the late Joe McCarthy or Donald Trump.

      • Populuxe1 3.1.1

        And you're perfectly entitled to your opinion.

        • lprent 3.1.1.1

          Which bit do you think I am entitled to have an opinion on?

          About the rule of law? Or the examination of the probity of evidence? That is the basis of our criminal and civil law systems. Do you have a contrary opinion on the value of those?

          Curiously enough ultimately these are part of having any rational debate about almost anything in our democracy. They define what restrictions we place on actions within our society.

          The value of Donald Trump or Joe McCarthy is an opinion based largely on their inability to confine themselves within the bounds of either.

          ie quoting an meaningless aphorism and avoid to the question is just a rather pitiful abdication from either debate or thinking about a topic.

  4. Subliminal 4

    From the Red Line podcast linked to in the RNZ article it is very refreshing to hear from Haami Piripi and have confirmed by him the ease and respect accorded to him by the Chinese in securing a $6M loan for Maori owned internet infrastructure in the far north. Not to mention the relaxed attitude towards falling behind in the payment schedule. Haami said he felt he was being dealt with in a relationship of equals. So no seizure of assets. Can you imagine any Western money lender with this attitude? China has vast resources and capabilities because they refused to do what NZ did in selling off all our SOEs and banking. There SOEs are huge and generate enormous profits. All money creation banking is owned by the State. This is why they can not only lift huge numbers out of poverty but also be generous in their dealing with the rest of the world. Haami Piripi could not get any traction with NZ institutions because all our money is siphoned off overseas. If we had held on to all our commons that was laid down by our ancestors we could have been as successful as China in caring for our own people. Houses would still be affordable with a robust health system, cheap electricity and free education.

    • hd 4.1

      The Red Line podcast repeats the line that China is engaging in debt trap diplomacy, without being able to cite any actual examples of seizing assets based on the debt they're advancing. A lot of the hand-wringing over Chinese loans being offered comes off as a patronizing towards those accepting the debt, as if they're too unsophisticated or greedy to comprehend what kind of deal they're making.

  5. McFlock 5

    Hmmm.

    Not sure which idea is worse than the other, really: monitoring of overseas academic courses by low-level bureaucrats (you wouldn't waste James Bond on this); or random ultra-nationalists taking it upon themselves to monitor and disrupt courses that don't meet their geopolitical ideals.

  6. Pete 6

    This morning I heard the bit about about "how one got off at a bus stop somewhere near the embassy."

    It's all rather exciting for me. Next time I'm in Wellington I'll hang around Kelburn and take photos of Chinese getting off buses. I'll be able to say I've got photos of Chinese spies. I mean, they'd have to be wouldn't they?

    • Anne 6.1

      I once went to Wellington on a special course to do with my job and someone wove a conspiracy theory around it. The gist of it (as far I can tell) was that I was spying on a sensitive government department for a certain political party and my presence in Wellington was presumably to report my findings. 😯 😯

      Clue: it happened in the late 1980s.

  7. Patricia Bremner 7

    Well it has been proven that the group being threatened is "surveilled" for terrorism in the past. Perhaps we are looking East when we should be examining the other compass points? devil

  8. weston 8

    Guyon Espiner cracks himself up to be an investigative journalist but he,s not much of one i reckon at least not in the same league as say Nickey Hager not even close .I listened for about five minutes to his last big "Exposure "till i noticed the wooooo musac in the background gives me the shits that sort of thing like we the sheeple are supposed to hear woooooo musac while we,re listening and think WOW this must be important but it just makes me think of sensationalized bbc or 60 minutes junk ….click.Theres plenty to be wary of coming from china imo but as others have commented other threats exist also.

  9. Jarimba 9

    Stop Asian Hate in New Zealand was run by an American man from Cornell University with his Vietnamese-New Zealand girlfriend who led the march. Black Lives Matter was run by a man who is also based at the University of Cornell.

    Cornell seems to have become a real centre of radical left politics in New Zealand. Remind me where the turnoff is on State Highway One?

    [Bye bye, troll – Incognito]

  10. barry 10

    The litany of articles recently attacking China does seem like a campaign. Whether it is organised, or just a group of bullies realising that China is fair game I don't know.

    There are real human rights problems in China, but that is not unique to China. It would be hard to get similar articles published about the US. We are sometimes critical of Australia for its treatment of 501s and asylum seekers, but such criticism is only a small part of the discourse about Australia.

    There is no balance any more when it comes to China. This is not healthy for NZ.

  11. Adrian Thornton 11

    Good piece thanks and thanks to The Standard for putting it up..a much needed counterpoint to the current anti Chinese hysteria swirling around unchecked at this moment, well done…btw, RNZ, as I have mentioned time and again, never offer this type of balance..they obviously have no idea what 'fairness and balance in reporting' even is,

    Strange (but not really) that when China suddenly emerges as a serious threat to western corporate hegemony…just as suddenly we are faced with a literal barrage of what can only be described as outlandish anti-Chinese propaganda.

    Now you would think that anyone with even just the slightest operating critical thinking brain rattling around inside their cranium, would see through such an obvious attempt to manipulate their opinions…but no, sadly so many people prove yet again that they are either extremely lazy thinkers or are as stupid as fuck…probably both.

    • Tiger Mountain 11.1

      Well put, you do not have to be some sort of uncritical China fan to sense the disturbance in the force inherent in the current “China Bash” media campaign.

      RNZ’s “Redline” programme I heard today was verging on Macarthyism such was the number of here-say comments and unattributed speakers and quotes. A lecturer said he was concerned that someone he had not seen before took photos and notes in class–well he could always have asked for credentials rather than scaremonger.

      The ultimate resolution is for the Chinese working class to get fully organised and reduce authoritarianism as it applies to them, but in the meantime a jockeying for position is going on between imperialist powers that we do not all have to buy into.

      • Incognito 11.1.1

        Aren’t all lectures recorded and available online nowadays, you know, for the convenience of the poor fee-paying students? Those “spies” sound like a bunch of amateuristic dilettantes to me.

        • Andre 11.1.1.1

          Assuming the incidents happened as described, perhaps the intent was to be deliberately intimidatory, rather than information gathering.

          • Incognito 11.1.1.1.1

            Perhaps or perhaps not.

            It would more ‘intimidating’ if they were taking photos of students in the lecture.

            When making extraordinary claims about ‘spying’ and ‘intimidation’, one should put up at least some robust evidence. At present, it feels more like headline stuff and clickbait.

        • Adrian Thornton 11.1.1.2

          "Those “spies” sound like a bunch of amateuristic dilettantes to me" roger that, and that is being very generous…that Guyon Espiner was allowed by RNZ to just go on to our public news service and throw that stuff around is outrageous and unprofessional…but appealing to the lowest common denominator seems to be the trajectory RNZ is on.

  12. mac1 12

    "the only indication the “spies” were anything other than nationalist citizens was one lecturer’s anecdote about how one got off at a bus stop somewhere near the embassy."

    So, have a look at a map of bus stops near the Chinese Embassy. Take a look at the terrain, the amenities and the housing by that closest bus stop.

    It accesses Bowen Street, the cemetery, the botanic gardens, down along Tinakori Road, various eating houses. Further up the hill is a Chinese meditation centre. With the proximity of the Chinese embassy, the Chinese mediation centre, and a hill side of housing, there just might be another reason for alighting from a bus at that stop.

    I bet I used it to visit the park and gardens.

    The point made by the journalists that sometimes people do go to meetings to promote another point of view is true. I have done it myself and was noticed by the guest speaker, a rather anti-Islamic Anglican cleric from Africa, as being the member of the audience who was openly dubious.

    Afterwards I said to him, copying Lange, "I could smell the gun smoke in the room."

    Another time, members of the British Empire Loyalist League attended a public meeting of South African anti-apartheid campaigner and politician, Helen Suzman. One of them had a rant at question time that ended with a phrase I have never forgotten for its arrogant racist stupidity-"Christendom's purer form of man."

    People do go to meetings to check out what the opposition is saying. To that end I have heard speak Holyoake, Peters, Brash, Muldoon, Harry Lake, Bridges. Nothing more to it than that, but I bet some conspiracy theorist could add more to any of these events……..

  13. Nic 181 13

    Ive not listened to all of the podcasts but I respect the presenters and the presentation. Unknown people in lecture theatres, taking photos and presenting “alternative” facts is alarming. As is a mouthpiece for the CCP producing a Chinese language newspaper here. NZ follows a very delicate path. We need to trade and China is a big market. We also need to be very cautious of any form of coercion, no matter how sugar coated it is.

    NZ must grow its export market EVERYWHERE, not just in China.

  14. RedBaronCV 14

    Even if the articles themselves can be criticised – haven't there been instances of "import delays" on the docks in China when some one has been displeased? And Hong Kong has certainly suffered with the rules that where set up not being respected. IMHO we need to drift away – they look like a problematic trading partner. Does The Standard host more China is great stories that we do about other one party states?

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    There’s been a change in Myers Park. Down the steps from St. Kevin’s Arcade, past the grassy slopes, the children’s playground, the benches and that goat statue, there has been a transformation. The underpass for Mayoral Drive has gone from a barren, grey, concrete tunnel, to a place that thrums ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    7 hours ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 23

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 7:00 am on Tuesday, July 23 are:Deep Dive: Penlink: where tolling rhetoric meets reality BusinessDesk-$$$’s Oliver LewisScoop: Te Pūkenga plans for regional polytechs leak out ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    8 hours ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Tuesday, July 23

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 23, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:Health: Shane Reti announced the Board of Te Whatu Ora- Health New Zealand was being replaced with Commissioner Lester Levy ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    9 hours ago
  • HealthNZ and Luxon at cross purposes over budget blowout

    Health NZ warned the Government at the end of March that it was running over Budget. But the reasons it gave were very different to those offered by the Prime Minister yesterday. Prime Minister Christopher Luxon blamed the “botched merger” of the 20 District Health Boards (DHBs) to create Health ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    10 hours ago
  • 2500-3000 more healthcare staff expected to be fired, as Shane Reti blames Labour for a budget defic...

    Long ReadKey Summary: Although National increased the health budget by $1.4 billion in May, they used an old funding model to project health system costs, and never bothered to update their pre-election numbers. They were told during the Health Select Committees earlier in the year their budget amount was deficient, ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    12 hours ago
  • Might Kamala Harris be about to get a 'stardust' moment like Jacinda Ardern?

    As a momentous, historic weekend in US politics unfolded, analysts and commentators grasped for precedents and comparisons to help explain the significance and power of the choice Joe Biden had made. The 46th president had swept the Democratic party’s primaries but just over 100 days from the election had chosen ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    17 hours ago
  • Solutions Interview: Steven Hail on MMT & ecological economics

    TL;DR: I’m casting around for new ideas and ways of thinking about Aotearoa’s political economy to find a few solutions to our cascading and self-reinforcing housing, poverty and climate crises.Associate Professor runs an online masters degree in the economics of sustainability at Torrens University in Australia and is organising ...
    The KakaBy Steven Hail
    22 hours ago
  • Reported back

    The Finance and Expenditure Committee has reported back on National's Local Government (Water Services Preliminary Arrangements) Bill. The bill sets up water for privatisation, and was introduced under urgency, then rammed through select committee with no time even for local councils to make a proper submission. Naturally, national's select committee ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    24 hours ago
  • Vandrad the Viking, Christopher Coombes, and Literary Archaeology

    Some years ago, I bought a book at Dunedin’s Regent Booksale for $1.50. As one does. Vandrad the Viking (1898), by J. Storer Clouston, is an obscure book these days – I cannot find a proper online review – but soon it was sitting on my shelf, gathering dust alongside ...
    24 hours ago
  • Gordon Campbell On The Biden Withdrawal

    History is not on the side of the centre-left, when Democratic presidents fall behind in the polls and choose not to run for re-election. On both previous occasions in the past 75 years (Harry Truman in 1952, Lyndon Johnson in 1968) the Democrats proceeded to then lose the White House ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    1 day ago
  • Joe Biden's withdrawal puts the spotlight back on Kamala and the USA's complicated relatio...

    This is a free articleCoverageThis morning, US President Joe Biden announced his withdrawal from the Presidential race. And that is genuinely newsworthy. Thanks for your service, President Biden, and all the best to you and yours.However, the media in New Zealand, particularly the 1News nightly bulletin, has been breathlessly covering ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 day ago
  • Why we have to challenge our national fiscal assumptions

    A homeless person’s camp beside a blocked-off slipped damage walkway in Freeman’s Bay: we are chasing our tail on our worsening and inter-related housing, poverty and climate crises. Photo: Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 day ago
  • Existential Crisis and Damaged Brains

    What has happened to it all?Crazy, some'd sayWhere is the life that I recognise?(Gone away)But I won't cry for yesterdayThere's an ordinary worldSomehow I have to findAnd as I try to make my wayTo the ordinary worldYesterday morning began as many others - what to write about today? I began ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 day ago
  • A speed limit is not a target, and yet…

    This is a guest post from longtime supporter Mr Plod, whose previous contributions include a proposal that Hamilton become New Zealand’s capital city, and that we should switch which side of the road we drive on. A recent Newsroom article, “Back to school for the Govt’s new speed limit policy“, ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 day ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Monday, July 22

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 7:00 am on Monday, July 22 are:Today’s Must Read: Father and son live in a tent, and have done for four years, in a million ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 day ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Monday, July 22

    TL;DR: As of 7:00 am on Monday, July 22, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:US President Joe Biden announced via X this morning he would not stand for a second term.Multinational professional services firm ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 day ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #29

    A listing of 32 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, July 14, 2024 thru Sat, July 20, 2024. Story of the week As reflected by preponderance of coverage, our Story of the Week is Project 2025. Until now traveling ...
    2 days ago
  • I'd like to share what I did this weekend

    This weekend, a friend pointed out someone who said they’d like to read my posts, but didn’t want to pay. And my first reaction was sympathy.I’ve already told folks that if they can’t comfortably subscribe, and would like to read, I’d be happy to offer free subscriptions. I don’t want ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    2 days ago
  • For the children – Why mere sentiment can be a misleading force in our lives, and lead to unex...

    National: The Party of ‘Law and Order’ IntroductionThis weekend, the Government formally kicked off one of their flagship policy programs: a military style boot camp that New Zealand has experimented with over the past 50 years. Cartoon credit: Guy BodyIt’s very popular with the National Party’s Law and Order image, ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    2 days ago
  • A friend in uncertain times

    Day one of the solo leg of my long journey home begins with my favourite sound: footfalls in an empty street. 5.00 am and it’s already light and already too warm, almost.If I can make the train that leaves Budapest later this hour I could be in Belgrade by nightfall; ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 days ago
  • The Chaotic World of Male Diet Influencers

    Hi,We’ll get to the horrific world of male diet influencers (AKA Beefy Boys) shortly, but first you will be glad to know that since I sent out the Webworm explaining why the assassination attempt on Donald Trump was not a false flag operation, I’ve heard from a load of people ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    2 days ago
  • It's Starting To Look A Lot Like… Y2K

    Do you remember Y2K, the threat that hung over humanity in the closing days of the twentieth century? Horror scenarios of planes falling from the sky, electronic payments failing and ATMs refusing to dispense cash. As for your VCR following instructions and recording your favourite show - forget about it.All ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • Bernard’s Saturday Soliloquy for the week to July 20

    Climate Change Minister Simon Watts being questioned by The Kākā’s Bernard Hickey.TL;DR: My top six things to note around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the week to July 20 were:1. A strategy that fails Zero Carbon Act & Paris targetsThe National-ACT-NZ First Coalition Government finally unveiled ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
  • Pharmac Director, Climate Change Commissioner, Health NZ Directors – The latest to quit this m...

    Summary:As New Zealand loses at least 12 leaders in the public service space of health, climate, and pharmaceuticals, this month alone, directly in response to the Government’s policies and budget choices, what lies ahead may be darker than it appears. Tui examines some of those departures and draws a long ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    4 days ago
  • Flooding Housing Policy

    The Minister of Housing’s ambition is to reduce markedly the ratio of house prices to household incomes. If his strategy works it would transform the housing market, dramatically changing the prospects of housing as an investment.Leaving aside the Minister’s metaphor of ‘flooding the market’ I do not see how the ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    4 days ago
  • A Voyage Among the Vandals: Accepted (Again!)

    As previously noted, my historical fantasy piece, set in the fifth-century Mediterranean, was accepted for a Pirate Horror anthology, only for the anthology to later fall through. But in a good bit of news, it turned out that the story could indeed be re-marketed as sword and sorcery. As of ...
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Friday, July 19

    An employee of tobacco company Philip Morris International demonstrates a heated tobacco device. Photo: Getty ImagesTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Friday, July 19 are:At a time when the Coalition Government is cutting spending on health, infrastructure, education, housing ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Friday, July 19

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 8:30 am on Friday, July 19 are:Scoop: NZ First Minister Casey Costello orders 50% cut to excise tax on heated tobacco products. The minister has ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 19-July-2024

    Kia ora, it’s time for another Friday roundup, in which we pull together some of the links and stories that caught our eye this week. Feel free to add more in the comments! Our header image this week shows a foggy day in Auckland town, captured by Patrick Reynolds. ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    4 days ago
  • Weekly Climate Wrap: A market-led plan for failure

    TL;DR : Here’s the top six items climate news for Aotearoa this week, as selected by Bernard Hickey and The Kākā’s climate correspondent Cathrine Dyer. A discussion recorded yesterday is in the video above and the audio of that sent onto the podcast feed.The Government released its draft Emissions Reduction ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Tobacco First

    Save some money, get rich and old, bring it back to Tobacco Road.Bring that dynamite and a crane, blow it up, start all over again.Roll up. Roll up. Or tailor made, if you prefer...Whether you’re selling ciggies, digging for gold, catching dolphins in your nets, or encouraging folks to flutter ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Trump’s Adopted Son.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Sir Don to travel to Viet Nam as special envoy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today chaired a meeting of the Indo-Pacific Four (IP4) countries – Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand. The IP4 met in the context of NATO’s Summit in Washington DC hosted by President Biden. “Prosperity is only possible with security,” Mr Luxon says. “We need ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • District Court judges appointed

    Attorney-General Hon Judith Collins today announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges.   The appointees, who will take up their roles in July and August at the Manukau, Rotorua and Invercargill courts, are:   Matthew Nathan Judge Nathan was admitted to bar in New Zealand in 2021, having previously been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Urgent review into Wairoa flood response begins

    Environment Minister, Penny Simmonds today announced the terms of reference for a rapid review into the Wairoa flood response. “The Wairoa community has raised significant concerns about the management of the Wairoa River bar and the impact this had on flooding of properties in the district,” says Ms Simmonds. “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • NZDF’s Red Sea deployment extended

    New Zealand has extended its contribution to the US-led coalition working to uphold maritime security in the Red Sea, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today. “The decision to extend this deployment is reflective of the continued need to partner and act in line with New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago

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