Sheepgate: Government celebrates finding that McCully is not corrupt

Written By: - Date published: 6:01 pm, November 2nd, 2016 - 58 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, david parker, national, national/act government, Politics, same old national - Tags: , ,

McCully sheep in wolfs clothing

The report is out.  The Government will try and spin it to be a vindication of Mr McCully but if this is a vindication then we are in big trouble.  Because the report highlights a number of problems in the handling of the Saudi Sheep deal.

Murray McCully has got over the first hurdle in that his actions have been determined by the Auditor General to not be corrupt.  But there has to be the prospect of a Privileges inquiry into what he said to Parliament.

From Question time on May 27, 2015 (yes that long ago):

The Hansard for the exchange includes this text:

Hon MURRAY McCULLY: As I indicated in my primary answer, the agreement that was struck between officials and the Al Khalaf group included all of the intellectual property associated with shifting the Awassi sheep breeding operation from New Zealand to a new location in Saudi Arabia. Also in the minds of officials would have been the fact that the Al Khalaf group had taken legal advice and could mount a legal claim against the Government for an amount estimated to be up to $30 million. It is a bit rich for members of the former Government, who exposed New Zealand to the risk of a $30 million claim, to berate members of this Government for resolving the issue for one-third of that amount.

Hon David Parker: Given that his Government renewed the customs export prohibition order on animals for slaughter in 2010, and that it is perfectly legal for New Zealand to have a policy banning live sheep exports, how can he justify paying millions of dollars to settle a hollow legal threat?

Hon MURRAY McCULLY: I agree that the customs export prohibition order was renewed by the current Government. What was different was that we did not mislead the Saudi investors about the consequences of the roll over of that order. We fronted up and told them the truth, when the previous Government had actively misled them over many years and exposed the New Zealand taxpayer to a claim of up to $30 million.

Hon David Parker: Was the real reason the first $4 million was paid to pay off people whose influence in Saudi Arabia was getting in the way of the Gulf free-trade agreement?

Hon MURRAY McCULLY: I made it clear that one of the consequences, sadly, from this whole saga was that the relationship between New Zealand and Saudi Arabia was poisoned, and that poisoned relationship spilled over into the wider Gulf Cooperation Council. But I have also made it clear that the officials negotiating this matter had to consider the fact that there was a looming claim for up to $30 million, resulting from the actions of a Government of which the Hon Mr Parker was a member.

James Shaw: What legal advice did the Government receive as to the likely success of the potential claim by Mr Al Khalaf?

Hon MURRAY McCULLY: As I have made clear, the Government did not wish to proceed down that path, and it entered into talks with the parties to try to avoid such an outcome. I am satisfied that we would never have done so had we not been advised that the claim had some prospect of success. The member may wish to look at the Cabinet paper and see that there is a redaction there, which is a reference that would have been disadvantageous to the interests of the New Zealand taxpayers.

Get that?  McCully claimed that there was some sort of advice given that the Saudi claim had some prospect of success.  And it was all Labour’s fault.

The Auditor General has reached a contrary view.

As to whose fault it was the report says this:

2.35 From March to May 2009, domestic and international animal welfare groups lobbied the Government to ban the trade in live sheep for slaughter, expressing animal welfare concerns and opposing any resumption of shipments. This lobbying included 5750 letters and emails received by the Prime Minister’s office between 2008 and 2009 (and an additional 4551 “campaign” emails and letters).

2.36 The Ministry and MAF considered the competing issues involved in exporting live sheep, including the relationship with Saudi Arabia, animal welfare concerns, and the legality of a ban on the export of livestock for slaughter. In May 2009, the Ministry advised MAF to continue negotiations on the Memorandum of Understanding (and retain the animal welfare and monitoring requirements).

2.37 Negotiations on the Memorandum of Understanding proceeded at a slow pace. In August 2009, Mr Carter made public statements that he did not think Saudi Arabia would be able to meet the standards he would require for the transportation and treatment of sheep exported for slaughter.

2.38 The Al Khalaf Group and the Saudi Arabian Government were surprised and disappointed at what they perceived as a change in the Government’s position on the export of sheep for slaughter. They considered that this change had not been communicated directly to them previously.

2.39 On 17 November 2009, Mr Carter met with the then Saudi Arabian Minister of Agriculture in Rome during a Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations World Summit on Food Security.Mr Carter outlined the conditions about animal welfare in the Memorandum of Understanding for live exports with Saudi Arabia. The then Saudi Arabian Minister of Agriculture responded that Saudi Arabia could not accept those conditions and that, accordingly, there could be no resumption of the live sheep trade. Ministry officials’ records show that the diplomatic relationship between New Zealand and Saudi Arabia deteriorated after this meeting.

2.40 In 2009, Sheikh Hmood and his companies’ representatives also confirmed that they were not amenable to New Zealand’s imposition in the Memorandum of Understanding of what they considered unacceptable extraterritorial requirements.

 

I know we live in a post truth era but this passage is impossible to reconcile with McCully’s statement to the house.

And what about the advice that the claim had some sort of prospect of succeeding?

3.42 The intention behind Mr McCully’s early negotiations with Sheikh Hmood was to find a “commercial solution” to address Sheikh Hmood’s sense of grievance. However, we did not find evidence of officials’ real analysis of other options. We also did not find evidence of Ministers or officials requesting or receiving internal or external legal advice on the extent of the risk of a claim for compensation from the Al Khalaf Group against the Government.

3.44 Mr McCully told us that it was unfair to criticise the Cabinet paper for failing to analyse the consequences of a litigation or a compensation negotiation process that it had expressly ruled out.

If the paper had expressly ruled the risk out then why did McCully tell Parliament repeatedly that there was litigation risk?

Not only are there these issues but McCully’s competence as a Minister has to be questioned.  The Auditor General said this about his cabinet paper:

I found some significant shortcomings in the Cabinet paper, including that it:

  • did not clearly explain that the Al Khalaf Group would own the goods and services costing the New Zealand Government $6 million;
  • did not identify how the $10 million figure was arrived at (a figure that has since risen to $11.5 million);
  • signalled the risk of a claim against the Government based only on the $20-$30 million figure that the Cabinet paper said was suggested by the Al Khalaf Group (there was no assessment by Ministry officials of the substance of that legal risk);
  • did not include any analysis about whether there were any other potential obstacles to the signing or ratification of the free trade agreement, apart from the concerns of the Al Khalaf Group about the export of live sheep or the assertion by the Gulf Cooperation Council that this was the only obstacle to the free trade agreement; and
  • identified that New Zealand exports could double to $3 billion in five years if a free trade agreement was signed with the Gulf Cooperation Council, without including any analysis.

Based on these significant shortcomings, I am concerned at the lack of robust analysis and the quality of information that was provided to Cabinet on this matter.

The Auditor General’s concerns deserve to be repeated.

… I share many New Zealanders’ concerns about the arrangements. I found significant shortcomings in the paper put to Cabinet in support of the decision to enter into the Saudi Arabia Food Security Partnership. The contract’s benefits to New Zealand were unclear in the Cabinet paper, the business case, and its subsequent implementation.

McCully’s days as a Minister should be numbered. At least in a properly functioning democracy.

58 comments on “Sheepgate: Government celebrates finding that McCully is not corrupt”

  1. tory 1

    The Auditor-General reports:

    ‘I found no evidence that the arrangements entered into as part of the Saudi Arabia Food Security Partnership were corrupt. To understand whether there was corruption, we looked at whether there had been an abuse of power for private gain or an offence against the Crimes Act 1961 by a Minister or an official. The payments did not amount to bribery or facilitation payments. Instead, they were made as part of a legally valid contract for services. Public money was spent within the necessary financial approvals’.

    McCully clearly bullshitted the Cabinet and therefore must go, however I am picking he will not stand at the next election. No great loss and I hope Nick Smith will join him. This will be a great result for National as they have been able to rejuvenate their MP’s and not having to rely on the dinosaurs like Labour has to.

    • Richard Rawshark 1.1

      Bullshitted the Cabinet, are you really that gullible and think your wonderful government IS actually that honest.

      Tory, they ALL, including the PM new about it, do not think for 1 millisecond Murray did anything without consulting the brothers and John you idiot.

      He pitched the lone wolf story SOLEY to save anyone else from having to resign if it went pear shaped with the AG, That’s how they fucking roll.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      National are dinosaurs. It’s the basic nature of conservatives.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.3

      McCully knows what a witness looks like. Charity demands that I respect your affected naivety.

  2. Arthur 2

    Once again. We did nothing wrong and it’s all labour’s fault.

  3. Macro 3

    Not corrupt – just incompetent and dishonest.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      It was an attempted bribe and it should have been recognised as that.

      That it wasn’t is disturbing.

    • AB 3.2

      The AG is using a very narrow financial definition of corruption,not a moral definition. That’s all. She’s even at pains to explain that fact.

      • Macro 3.2.1

        Weasel words don’t make his actions any better though.
        If we had a non-corrupt competent and honest government, he would be gone by now.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2.1.1

          If the National Party were anything other than a vehicle for vested interests he wouldn’t have been selected in the first place.

        • mosa 3.2.1.2

          Helen Clark would have had him stood down while waiting for the AG report.
          Once again they have misled parliament, once again a serious offence.

          This whole saga and not only McCully but John Keys judgement must be called into question here…again.

          Key of course cant or wont see what all the fuss is about as he has invested a lot in his relationship with the Saudis and is used to doing the deal and to hell with the consequences.

          The only win here is for the millions of sheep who were destined to weeks of misery before their ultimate death in the desert of a nasty foreign country.

        • AB 3.2.1.3

          Quite – but for the AG to actually describe him as ‘corrupt’ would have required someone to see him walking out of a meeting with the Saudi guy while stuffing an envelope filled with $100 bills into his back pocket.

          Mind you – he’s such a trougher for the good life that comes with such gigs there wouldn’t have been any room.

        • David H 3.2.1.4

          If we had an honest and competent Government, it would have been because of the Snap election called years ago, over the mishandling of… Add your Own I don’t need Writers Cramp.
          But for reference I refer you to Blip, and the Magnificent list that they prepare. At what must be great batterings at their sanity, from verifying everything.

    • Bearded Git 3.3

      @Macro +1000 and still lying that this was Labour’s fault despite the a-g finding no evidence at all to support this. Incredible.

  4. Richard Rawshark 4

    5000 sheep died on a boat that caused the end live sheep exports by NZ.

    an act laid by the Labour government due to the public outcry over this incident.

    What McCully did was circumvent public opinion and try to forge a deal behind our backs with those very people.

    and you say AG there is no corruption, the only solution to our political problem I see is action.

    Sorry.

  5. Wyndham 5

    – – – – and for a completely biased and partly incorrect report, read Audrey Young’s latest effort in the Herald.
    ( Sorry. Can’t supply link at present ).

    • Richard Rawshark 5.1

      Fox news hacks that’s all they are, people you know faithfully week in week out same old bullshit. Labour suck aren’t National just rock stars.

    • Bearded Git 5.2

      @Wyndham agreed…..Young is always biased but she has reached new heights of bias in that Sheepgate article….maybe a nod and a wink came from above.

      Doesn’t she realise she loses credibility as a journalist by ignoring the facts?

      • tc 5.2.1

        Young is no journalist she is a shill for national with zero objective analysis skills.

        The msm is full of them

  6. Mike the Lefty 6

    Not corrupt maybe.
    How about incompetent, spineless and kow-towing.
    No maybe about that.

  7. dukeofurl 7

    “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest ?”

    Is MacCready still alive and kicking and up to a private prosecution

    • mosa 7.1

      I think MacCready has given up, he has been strangely silent for months.

      He is probably on Keys hit list.

  8. One Anonymous Bloke 8

    The absence of evidence of McCully’s evident corruption is totes reassuring.

  9. mosa 9

    I bet this is the last we will hear about the whole sheepgate issue.

    Nothing to see here as McCully has doing nothing corrupt.

    End of story.

  10. pat 10

    technically not corruption ….but corrupt in every other sense

    • Henry Filth 10.1

      “Technically”. Ah yes, “technically”. Lovely word, “technically”.

      I rather think that the corrupt are well practiced at doing corruption in a way which is, on the surface, not corrupt.

      However. It would be either ignorant or disingenuous to assume that the only form of corruption is the equivalent of bunging two hundred and fifty bucks to the person doing your driving test.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1

        I rather think that the corrupt are well practiced at doing corruption in a way which is, on the surface, not corrupt.

        Well, not illegal any way – especially after they’ve written the laws – but everyone knows that it is.

  11. Siobhan 11

    Funnily enough I’m just flicking through a copy of Ross Meurants “The Beat to the Beehive” (as you do on a Thursday morning). Last chapter is a slightly disconcerting recap of the fall of Mussolini and his mistress.
    It concludes
    “Remember Government threats to sue the Auditor General for deformation merely because his findings were critical of Government. (4th Labour Govt at the time?)
    We are all well down the road of abuse of power by the political party in office in our country today. The key to change is in you hands. At Least it still is at present. The alternative? Keep you eye out for a good strong steel girder”

    Followed by a suitably tasteless picture of Mussolini hanging from a girder ‘taken by the authors father.”.

    a) Imagine trying to publish that sort of thing today.
    b) Auditor generals have always been hobbled into towing the line.
    c) Jeezus…Ross Meurant…but you know, if the powers that be, world wide, don’t start growing some sort of moral compass who knows where we will be in a few generations…..

    • Anne 11.1

      I met Ross Meurant once about 20 years ago. It was in a reasonably formal setting. He was dressed as a cowboy… the full works including hat (think he had a hat on), ultra tight jeans and cowboy boots.

      Somewhat fitting I think.

      • Siobhan 11.1.1

        Well there’s a coincidence!. My husband also met him once, in the reasonably formal setting of a police cell. Meurant wasn’t wearing stirrups then either, but he had a nice set of fisty cuffs 😉

        Meurant is also no stranger to bribery allegations.

        http://m.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10541133

        The opening line from Fran O’Sullivan is very much pertinent to this conversation…”If New Zealand had an independent Corruption Commission…”

        • Anne 11.1.1.1

          I dropped the stirrup line because I wasn’t sure if those metally things they wear on the back of their boots are what they call stirrups. He wisely left them behind on that occasion anyway.

          I also saw him in 1981 close to Eden Park on the day of the final Springbok test match. He was walking with his gang of Red Squad thugs towards our group (we were minding our own business at the time too) dressed in red and black riot gear. He likes dressing up. We ran for our lives. Wish someone had caught it on camera. So funny looking back on it.

        • Chuck 11.1.1.2

          Ross Meurant is Winston Peters Achilles heal.

          Now I am no fan of Nicky Hager, but this would be his “Pulitzer Prize” if he was able to navigate the history of those 2 chaps.

  12. Scott 12

    The A_G’s report needed to be more damning if this was to be more than beltway issue. It will be forgotten by those that matter – those that decide elections (if they ever cared about it at all which I doubt).

    I don’t actually have a problem with the way they tried to solve two issues at once. Sure, the threat of litigation was overblown, but it costs you quite a lot to defend such claims even if you think your defense is reasonably solid. Plus in doing so you’d also have the embarrassment / reputation factor over our Government telling them one thing, then doing another, and now giving them the bird.

    The major factor was clearly to try to remove a roadblock in the inter-state relationship. Whether that worked or not I don’t know. While there was no trade deal, that roadblock may now be gone and others still stand. Who knows. I’d be careful about judging that with the benefit of hindsight. I don’t know if we now want better relationships anyway – again hindsight might suggest we don’t.

    • Sacha 12.1

      “the threat of litigation was overblown”

      There was no plausible basis for an action under any law. Zero.

    • framu 12.2

      There was no evidence of any legal threat to start with. (Or docs to back up the amount of $ claimed was needed to “fix” things)

      in short – theres nothing, nada, to back up the govt’s argument beyond they felt it would achieve something

      Since when did the ends justify the means re: govt? – Especially when they dont even have the most basic data to back them selves up?

  13. Draco T Bastard 13

    The was a bribe. Simple as that and thus McCully should be in jail because of it. Why the AG found otherwise should be a serious concern to NZers.

    Also, why are we even wanting to trade with such a despicable regime anyway?
    Are we really so lacking that we even need to contemplate doing so?

    • Scott 13.1

      I agree with the last part Draco. There are serious question to be answered about Saudi Arabia’s links to ISIS, and their shared anti-shia goals. I’m not sure I’d be rushing to pitch our tent with them.

      I’m not so sure if that was as clear back in 2010 when this deal was done, but even then any of the strident Islamic states came with a lot of baggage.

    • ropata 13.2

      Far worse than anything Taito Philip Field ever did. National are well aware their brand is degraded and beginning to stink, after their sorry record of scandals and dirty deals. They would have been desperate to save face on this one and brush it under the carpet

      • Scott 13.2.1

        You must be talking about a different Taito Philip Field to the one that was convicted of 11 counts of bribery and corruption, and 15 charges relating to attempting to pervert the course of justice.

        Sorry. One shady deal done without any apparent personal interest involved and certainly no criminality, it hardly compares to that.

        • Stuart Munro 13.2.1.1

          One shady deal eh. Bribing Shane Jones escape you, or are you just in the longest river in Africa?

          • Chuck 13.2.1.1.1

            “Bribing Shane Jones escape you”

            Was that the lifetime supply of X-rated DVD’s? or the Ambassador for Pacific Economic Development?

            • Stuart Munro 13.2.1.1.1.1

              Muzza’s a shabby little trougher who should be in jail, but I don’t think he was behind Jones’s porn problem.

        • ropata 13.2.1.2

          I stand corrected! 😳

  14. adam 14

    We have in power those committed to selfishness as a political goal. This is but one example of this, with McCully being a fine example of the the selfish ethos.

    It has seen the death of goodness and compassion, and the rise of the individual self absorbed in — I’m so bloody important, you are just weak culture.

    The longer we are on this path, the more insane it will get. And if the last year and a half is anything to go by – it’s going to get bat, and dodo.

  15. Ed 15

    I suspect that to be clear the subject should be that the Government is celebrating that McCully was found to not be corrupt on this occasion.

    I am not clear about the law – presumably it is not a crime or corrupt to make a bribe (which is how some see what McCully did), but is corrupt to receive a bribe to make ministerial decisions. Is it legal to make a bribe? Despite a written “contract”, there does not appear to have been any “service” or “facilitation’ provided for the value of $11.5 million. If a company had made the payment, would it have been tax-deductible?

    We should also celebrate that McCully has not been found guilty of dishonesty, incompetence, misleading Cabinet, or of being a typical National MP – those were of course not investigated.

  16. Henry Filth 16

    Out of interest, how would (or could) this issue been dealt with under the disputes resolution provisions of the TPP?

  17. NZJester 17

    It is amazing how easy it is get to an innocent verdict when you get to pick everyone who sits in judgement of you and knows they will get no more work if they give the wrong verdict.

  18. Richard Rawshark 18

    Finally Mainstream and bloody brilliant analysis from Bryce.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11741557

  19. Richard Rawshark 19

    Perhaps the Sheiks told john if he wanted a quiet term with no..isis issues, a small payment of 30m would take care of it.

    peace for sale, I reckon the Arabs could make a stunning earner on the protection racket if they had a mind too.

    Now , now tinfoil hat, it’s ok, daddies here to guard you from the nasty aliens and their leader John key.

  20. Rob 20

    Must say David Parker’s interview on morning report was priceless
    No raised voice just answering the question and giving the facts of this seedy event
    No National support people on the horizon
    This National Party episode of arse licking is what John Key’s government represents

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    Last month, NZDF's shoddy coverup of what it knew about civilian casualties in Operation Burnham began to fall apart, with the revelation that a report on the matter, which NZDF claimed not to have, had been sitting in an NZDF safe for the past nine years. Yesterday, the man responsible ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • India a major player in Earth observation satellites
    While many imagine that countries like the USA and Europe dominate space activities, in fact India is now a major player on this stage. It launches satellites for its own purposes and also commercially, and has constellations orbiting our planet and returning data of vital importance to that nation in ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    5 days ago
  • The rot at the top (2).
    Thanks to a report from the Acting Inspector General of Intelligence and Security following a complaint by Nicky Hager, we have come to find out that the SIS illegally spied on Mr. Hager on behalf of the NZDF after publication of Hager’s 2011 book, Other People’s Wars. The NZDF justified ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    5 days ago
  • Common misconceptions about “Global Warming”
    COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING MYTH 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate. FACT: The HadCRUT3 surface temperature index, produced by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia, shows warming to 1878, cooling to 1911, ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    6 days ago
  • A climate of tyranny
    For the past week, Extinction Rebellion has been peacefully protesting in London to demand action on climate change. The British government's response? Ban their protests:Police have banned Extinction Rebellion protests from continuing anywhere in London, as they moved in almost without warning to clear protesters who remained at the movement’s ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Collins crushes climate
    An essay by Judith Collins MP reported on Carbon News yesterday seems to show an alarming shift in attitude within the National Party. Collins argues against the Zero Carbon Bill, the Paris Agreement, and downplays the magnitude of climate impacts. The Paris Agreement was adopted in December 2015 and ratified ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    6 days ago
  • More disappointment
    When they were running for election, Labour promised to overhaul the Employment Relations Act and introduce fair pay agreements to set basic pay and conditions on an industry level, preventing bad employers from undercutting good ones. They followed this up by establishing a working group, which reported back in January ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • What do these mother-child studies really say about fluoridation?
    A list of indicators of bad science – many of these are found in articles promoted by anti-fluoride activists. Anti-fluoride activists have been pouring money into a scaremongering campaign warning pregnant women not to drink fluoridated water. They claim fluoride will lower the IQ of their future child. Fluoride ...
    6 days ago
  • Losing Labour’s Mills-Tone.
    Nothing Left To Say: Labour's pollster, Stephen Mills, remains swaddled-up in the comforting myths of the 1980s. As if the experience of Roger Douglas’s genuinely radical post-Muldoon policy agenda was literally a once-in-a-lifetime thing – as much as the party could possibly absorb for at least the next 50 years.MEMO ...
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: Disability and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Royal Commission on abuse in care is very significant for the disability community. For many decades last century, thousands of disabled children, and adults who managed to survive, were locked away from families and communities. This was not for anything they had done, but for the perceived threat their ...
    6 days ago
  • Spain is not a democracy
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • UK Conservatives hate democracy
    With an unfair voting system, uneven electorates and an un-elected upper house, the UK's "democracy" is barely worthy of the name. But now the government wants to make it worse:The government has been accused of suppressing voters’ rights with the potential disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of people after plans ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • What is wrong with our building industry?
    Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the building industry was building leaky homes which should never have been granted consent. Now it turns out they've been building dodgy office blocks as well:New imaging technology has revealed hundreds of major buildings nationwide have defective or missing concrete or reinforcing steel. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Local bodies
    Local body election results were released over the weekend, to joy or despair depending on where you live. In Auckland, Phil Goff trounced John Tamihere, who is muttering darkly about running for Parliament again (but which party would want him?) Wellington is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Weta Workshop, except ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • A future of government
      How could government evolve over the next decades? Reports of democracy’s imminent demise are greatly exaggerated.  However, satisfaction with political systems in many countries is low, so there is much to do for governments of all political stripes to improve relevance and trust. Digital technologies are seen as one ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Catalonia, interrupted
    Two years have now gone by since the Friday afternoon when my university-student son and I headed out of our Barcelona flat to a nearby primary school, designated as a polling station for the vote that was to be held the following Sunday: the referendum on Catalonia’s independence from Spain ...
    1 week ago
  • Sage Decisions Unwisely Over-Ruled.
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    1 week ago
  • Government may ban voting in effort to get more people to do it
    More than double the number of people who will vote in this year’s local body elections have tried marijuana or urinated somewhere they shouldn’t have. As local elections look set for the lowest turnout in decades, with many regions falling well short of 40%, the Government is exploring a number ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Woman: Deleted.
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The Hollowest of Men Ride Again… SURPRISE!
    Musings continue apace about “the experienced businessman!” soon to be taking up a National Party MP position. Or to be more accurate, being parachuted into a seat to shut down their former MP Jamie-Lee Ross, who despite his own shortcomings shed at least some more light on the inner workings ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Barbaric
    The Ugandan government wants to murder gay people:Uganda has announced plans to impose the death penalty on homosexuals. The bill, colloquially known as “Kill the Gays” in Uganda, was nullified five years ago on a technicality, but the government said on Thursday it plans to resurrect it within weeks. The ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Is this study legit? 5 questions to ask when reading news stories of medical research
    Hassan Vally, La Trobe University Who doesn’t want to know if drinking that second or third cup of coffee a day will improve your memory, or if sleeping too much increases your risk of a heart attack? We’re invested in staying healthy and many of us are interested in reading ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Fighting Monsters.
    Freedom Of Speech? The Säuberung (cleansing by fire) was the work of the German Student Union which, on 10 May 1933, under the watchful eye of the Nazi Reichminister for Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, consigned 25,000 books to the flames in a ritual exorcism of “un-German thought”. According to the logic of the ...
    1 week ago
  • The next wave of kaupapa Māori politics: its constitutional, it must be.
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    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Night lights of NZ from orbit
    New Zealand has prided itself for decades with regard to its lack of pollution, and all will be aware that the ‘100% Pure New Zealand‘ meme is under threat through land, water and air pollution of various causes. There is another type of contamination that the country also faces: light ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Reporters deliver uplifting news to fleeing Japanese residents: they won’t miss any rugby
    New Zealand’s media is doing its part in Japan, reassuring those in the path of the storm that they won’t miss any rugby while away from their flooded homes. New Zealand sports reporters stationed in Japan for the Rugby World Cup have had the rare and heartwarming opportunity to inform ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Government in contentious discussions about whether to put surplus on red or black
    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones is the only Cabinet member in favour of putting it all on green. As Finance Minister Grant Robertson finds himself with an enormous $7.5 billion surplus, the Government has begun intense, at times contentious conversations about whether to put the money on red or black at ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Jordanian teachers’ successful strike has lessons for here
    by Susanne Kemp At the start of September close to 100,000 school teachers went on strike in Jordan.  They demanded a 50% pay rise.  A pay rise actually agreed to by the regime back in 2014. In early October, however, in the face of government repression and threats, the teachers’ ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Why some people still think climate change isn’t real
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    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • The SIS unlawfully spied on Nicky Hager
    Back in 2011, journalist Nicky Hager published Other People's Wars, an expose on NZDF's activities over the previous decade of the "war on terror". NZDF didn't like this, and especially didn't like the fact that it was base don leaks from their own. So, they had the SIS investigate him ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • October 2019 – Newsletter
    https://mailchi.mp/7d9133add053/closing-the-gap-october-2019-newsletter ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    2 weeks ago
  • And they wonder why we think they’re environmental vandals…
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Paying the price in California
    Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Let’s Hear It For Up-Close-And-Personal, Hard-Copy Democracy!
    The Best Way: Missing from the on-line voting debate is any reference to the voting system that produces turn-out figures ranging from 77 to 93 percent of registered voters. The voting system used to collect and count the votes cast in our parliamentary elections. The system that involves citizens making ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 10/10: World Day Against the Death Penalty
    Today, October 10, is the world day against the death penalty. Out of 195 UN member states, 84 still permit capital punishment. Today is the day we work to change that. This year's theme is children. Having a parent sentenced to death or executed causes long-term trauma and stigmatization which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Talking Freer Lives: a Marxist gender-critical perspective from Australia
    Among the great new bunch of political friends we have been making recently is the excellent Australian-based Marxist gender-critical site, Freer Lives.  So we asked the comrade who set up that blog to write something for Redline on the blog, himself, his analysis of the rise of gender politics and ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Government spin accepted by union leadership
    by Don Franks  The Auckland City Mission is struggling with a 40 percent increase in demand for food parcels this year. A total of 23,020 were needed by June. Last month Missioner Chris Farrelly told the Herald the “cupboards are bare” and without an emergency food drive, he can’t see ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Forbidden Thoughts
    by The Council of Disobedient Women   Massey Wellington Student Association had a sit-in today. Imagine a sit-in. On a campus. Against a women’s rights meeting. Did the ’60s really happen or did we fucking dream it? They gathered in the student square, an echo chamber. Sitting on soft pillows ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Much love to my loyal Ukrainian readership
    For some reasons, my post about the mystery message from inside the Downing Street bunker seemed to catch people's attention.  Quite a lot of hits from NZ (unsurprisingly) and the USA (a bit more puzzlingly, but hi there, USAians!!) and 76 views from the Ukraine.I've celebrated my Ukrainian readers in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another day of bonkers GNUmours (again, sorry)
    First, almost a score of Labour MPs seem to have sent a letter to the EU basically begging them to accept a deal - any deal - just so Britain can get the Heck on with Brexiting instead of being trapped in limbo:
    To avoid no deal, deliver on the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour vs working class immigrants – again!
    by Phil Duncan In 2016 the National-led government suspended the Parent Visa Category, through which migrants were able to bring their parents into New Zealand.  Since then over 5,700 people have been in immigration limbo, stuck on the visa wait list. Labour is now bringing back the scheme.  Well, sort ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women press statement: on Massey University and Feminism 2020
    The following was released yesterday (Tues, October 8) by the women’s liberation organisation Speak Up for Women. On 23 September Speak Up For Women announced that we would be holding an event at the Massey University Theaterette in Wellington. The event is called Feminism 2020. The intention of the event ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Farmers support dirty rivers
    The government is currently consulting on plans to improve freshwater quality. So naturally, farmers oppose it:South Taranaki farmers are preparing to fight proposed national freshwater changes that some fear will bankrupt them. The Government's proposed National Environment Standard on Freshwater Management, released in September, rated the Waingongoro River as one ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • No-one cares about local government
    Yesterday was the last day for (reliably) posting your vote away in local body elections. Turnouts are mostly much lower than the equivalent time last year (Palmerston North is down 2.3%), and so naturally people are pushing their online-voting snake oil again. Because the online census worked so well, lets ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The political ghosts of eugenics may matter more than the genetic
    This essay, on the political legacy of the eugenics movement, by Kenan Malik was originally published in the Observer on 6 October 2019, under the headline ‘The spirit of eugenics is still with us, as immigrants know to their cost’. Birth control. Intelligence tests. Town planning. Immigration controls. It’s striking how ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • “Surplus” again
    Another year, and the government has announced another enormous government "surplus". And just like last year, its nothing of the sort. When we have people homeless and sick and hungry, when we have schools and hospitals still falling down, when we have underpaid public servants and infrastucture unmaintained or unbuilt, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Inside the Downing Street bunker
    James Forsyth at The Spectator (I know, I know) has tapped one of his contacts inside Number Ten for an insight into the Johnson administration's thinking and strategy.It is fascinating, unsettling and quite, quite mad.  Some key points:Negotiations have stalled and the Johnson administration are keen to blame the EU: ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Taking Control Of The Nation’s Story.
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    2 weeks ago
  • Are GNUs extinct?
    Another round of tactical talks about forming a Government of National Unity have come to nothing with the Liberal Democrats still refusing countenance putting Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street:Opposition talks on Monday made little headway over when to try and vote down Boris Johnson's government and who might succeed him as ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour chickens out again
    When the government was elected, it promised to lead the way on electric vehicles, and specifically to make the government vehicle fleet emissions-free where-practicable by 2025.They lied:There are 15,473 vehicles in the government fleet and only 78 are electric. When the coalition Government came into power in late 2017, the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Transgender extremism, violence at work against feminist meeting at British Labour Party conference
    by Nick Rogers The debate around the meaning of sex and gender made an appearance at this year’s British Labour Party conference in Brighton. Women’s Place UK – an organisation that questions the demand that biological males who self-identify as woman should have access to women’s spaces, to all-women shortlists, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
    Hon Minister Poto Williams Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration   MEDIA STATEMENT       Tuesday 15 October 2019 Feedback sought – Hagley Oval The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal about Hagley Oval. The proposal was developed by Regenerate Christchurch ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
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