Spies and lies – can anyone trust Key?

Written By: - Date published: 6:52 am, June 13th, 2013 - 46 comments
Categories: accountability, human rights, International, national, Spying - Tags: , ,

The angles and implications of the GCSB / PRISM / Palantir story are multiplying at a frightening rate, and only a mug would trust anything coming out from the government about it. How’s this for starers:

Report on GCSB changed from ‘sensitive’ to ‘sanitised’

The senior lawyer appointed by the Prime Minister to investigate the GCSB wrote a report which was more detailed and highly classified than the one released.

The existence of the highly classified version of the report was revealed by Air Marshal Sir Bruce Ferguson, who was a former director of the GCSB and consulted on a draft of the report. He said the report released was “a sanitised version”.

Right, so – where is the full version of the report, who has seen it, what does it say, and why is it being hidden?

Are New Zealand spy agencies feeding into the American / NSA data mining technologies such as PRISM? The Greens make a good case:

Greens sure Palantir working for Govt

The Prime Minister has done his best to shut down questions about whether his spy agencies are outsourcing confidential data to American software company Palantir. The Greens say there’s no doubt Palantir’s working with the Government, suggesting it may even be replicating the controversial US PRISM system.

Palantir mines data for some of the world’s most powerful spy agencies. Staff call its California headquarters “The Shire”, and the company’s named after a seeing stone from the Lord of the Rings. That’s not the only New Zealand connection. Palantir has an office in Wellington. Its goal is to “bring Silicon Valley to New Zealand”.

“I want to know if John Key is creating a New Zealand version of PRISM to spy on us,” Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says.

Unlike PRISM, the Palantir software that US spies use apparently doesn’t collect data; it sifts through it. It matches everything from phone records, internet activity, credit card use and GPS locations to find patterns.

Dr Norman wants answers from the Prime Minister. “Is his government using Palantir to replicate the US PRISM spy system?” But Mr Key won’t divulge any information.

Here’s the (start of the) relevant exchange from Question time yesterday:

2. Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader—Green) to the Prime Minister: What intelligence agencies that he is responsible for, have contracts with Palantir; if so, what is the nature of those contracts?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): It is not my practice to discuss the operational capabilities or contracts of the New Zealand intelligence agencies. I do not believe it is in the public interest to do so.

Dr Russel Norman: Does intelligence data-mining company Palantir have any contracts with other New Zealand Government agencies or departments, such as the Police or Defence Force?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: In terms of the intelligence agencies, it is not my practice to talk about who they have contracts with and who they do not. In terms of the Police or others, I am not in a position to answer that question.

Dr Russel Norman: Will he allow Palantir to embed one of its analysts in his Government, given that the company is advertising just such an embedded position?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: What takes place in terms of the operational matters of intelligence agencies and any company they may contract with is a matter for them, and they would not reference that to me.

Dr Russel Norman: I seek leave to table the job advert from Palantir for an embedded analyst in Government New Zealand—

Mr SPEAKER: What is the source of the document, please?

Dr Russel Norman: It is a job advertisement from a company called Palantir—

Mr SPEAKER: Yes, but where has the member sourced the advert from?

Dr Russel Norman: The document is from May 2013, and it was printed off the Palantir careers website.

Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that document. Is there any objection? There is.

Dr Russel Norman: Given that it is obvious his Government is using Palantir, will he cut Government ties with the company if it is proven to be involved in violating the privacy of New Zealanders through the PRISM spy system?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: As I have said on numerous occasions, it is not my policy—nor has it been any other Prime Minister’s policy—to talk about the operational matters of the Government Communications Security Bureau or SIS. What I can reconfirm for the member, though, is the same point I made yesterday: I am confident, on the legal advice that I have received from my agencies, that they act within the law at all times, and there have not been any occasions where the Government Communications Security Bureau has advised me that it has sought to circumvent the law.

Dr Russel Norman: Is his Government using Palantir to replicate the US PRISM spy system so that it can more intensely spy into every aspect of New Zealanders’ online activity?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The member is basing his question on a hypothetical assumption. As I said, I am not in a position to comment about what capability our intelligence agencies have or do not have. But what I can say, though, is that the Government Communications Security Bureau and the SIS have very clear rules under which circumstances they can gather information about New Zealanders. Those rules require, not least of all, me, as the Minister in charge, to sign the warrant. That warrant has to be recommended and supported by the Commissioner of Security Warrants. It is a very detailed and significant process. The member knows that, and the reason he shakes his head in answer to those questions is that he is trying to delude members of the public. He sits on the Intelligence and Security Committee, he knows what goes on, and if he wants to carry on the act, he is free to do so, but I do not think he will convince very many New Zealanders.

Key repeatedly evades and refuses to answer the question. But the evidence all points to strong “cooperation” between NZ and US spy agencies – or in other words to NZ giving America whatever it asks for (case in point the bungled Kim Dotcom raids).

Just in passing note this little gem from Key’s last quoted answer:

But what I can say, though, is that the Government Communications Security Bureau and the SIS have very clear rules under which circumstances they can gather information about New Zealanders.

These “very clear rules” are exactly the same rules that are so unclear that new legislation has to be rushed through Parliament to “clarify” them, extend the GCSB’s powers, and retrospectively “validate” previously illegal spying. Key’s open self-contradiction on this point is farcical.

The next government should have a massive clean out of our entire security apparatus and agreements with foreign governments. Put together a Commission to decide what the powers of our security organisations should be, and what data (if any) should be shared outside of NZ. Implement the recommendations with publicly open checks and balances to make sure that they are followed. Enough of the current cloak and dagger nonsense.

46 comments on “Spies and lies – can anyone trust Key? ”

  1. One Anonymous Knucklehead 1

    Norman makes a good case, but your last paragraph holds true whether or not he has it right on this occasion.

    Green policy is pretty sparse – it’s more about what our spooks shouldn’t be doing. I suspect there is a bit of denial going on, but Tsun Tzu’s four-thousand year old observations still apply:

    Hostile armies may face each other for years, striving for the victory which is decided in a single day. This being so, to remain in ignorance of the enemy’s condition simply because one grudges the outlay of a hundred ounces of silver in honours and emoluments, is the height of inhumanity.

  2. While answering Norman’s questions Key kept making that hissing sucking in of breath that he does when under pressure. The opposition need to keep the pressure up.

    • Paul 2.1

      Yeah it was quite notable.
      Good on Norman…he’s getting to the RWNJs.

      • freedom 2.1.1

        On Tuesday it sounded like he was using a handyvac every time he spoke 🙂

    • Anne 2.2

      So far, the opposition parties are doing a grand job. Grant Robertson in particular for Labour, Russell Norman for the Greens and of course the wily old Winnie whom I nevertheless still don’t trust for one minute.

      One thing that should be remembered: these proposed changes to current intelligence gathering laws seem to be driven by John Key and a secretive band of associates both in NZ and almost certainly elsewhere. I doubt it is coming from the rank and file of the intelligence agencies themselves. Indeed, I would go so far as to say some at least will be finding the proposed changes as worrying as the rest of us.

      Perhaps I’m being a bit naive but even so… all opposition should be directed at the govt. and John Key rather than the agencies. They’re the ones pushing for the draconian measures and we know Key’s motivation is not in the interest of NZ and NZers.

      • RobertM 2.2.1

        It should all be taken with a grain of salt. Grant Robertson and Russel Norman can grandstand from opposition, but there comments are really only valid in terms of the general position that increasingly in NZ as everywhere else people are suffering too much surveillance and in some ways the surveillance cameras and electronic spying are too comprehensive. Any nations government can change to a regime with a much more restrictive view on all sorts of lifestyle choices and interests. In the USA and NZ most people seem to think their better off with universal surveillance. However my view is that social and night life, was always better in Wellington partly because of the lack of police and security cameras in the CBD, although it was also doubtless the cause of some serious assaults.
        Any sort of new or innovative political party or movement, often only has a chance to develop its ideas, policy and techniques, if it is not spied on. Jefferson always understood and the experience of being in Paris during the years before the French Revolution convinced him the middle class and political leadership, has to able to plot in private- and this may also may be true of individuals who are writers and political theorist. So my position is that the police and spies should not be allowed on university campus and that generally the middle class and intelligent should not be subject to surveillance because I don’t believe people are equal and neither did Thomas Jefferson, the declaration of US Independence was always a political statement,, which offered the highest rights in theory- but really only the right to joy and for the ordinary man to hunt and shoot game and fish, but in reality had a highly restrictive view of how the constitution and the structure state and legal system would operate- much like Leninist communism and the British concept of law, which is really built on the concept of structures and veils on the basic assumption that there are two classes of people the intelligent and ordinary and therefore the workings of elite, business, the rich and the military must be subject to restricted scrutiny.
        Having said that, universal surveillance is not in the greater human interest and current global developments have to be checked and will be once it is realised people are not equal.
        In terms of the Norman and Robertson comments on surveillance and satellite systems, computer programmes and intelligence gathering, my view is they lack the experience and expertise for any useful analysis and synthesis of this sort of material and claims.
        All information on significant defence and intelligence matters by US, UK, NZ, Aus authorities, military or experts or academics can only be usefully understood if you have the knowledge, experience and contacts to have a high speed shit detectors – because in all such information and statements by air marshalls and GCSB bosses past and present there is likely to be a significant amount of inaccuracy, lies , degrees of deception etc as well as some or lot of truth.
        This applies to just about anything you could ever find or real about any intelligence or matter which has still relevant operational significance.

  3. vto 3

    .
    “can anyone trust Key?”

    That should be the big issue for the general election.

  4. Tautoko Viper 4

    ‘But what I can say, though, is that the Government Communications Security Bureau and the SIS have very clear rules under which circumstances they can gather information about New Zealanders. Those rules require, not least of all, me, as the Minister in charge, to sign the warrant. That warrant has to be recommended and supported by the Commissioner of Security Warrants. It is a very detailed and significant process. ‘ John Key

    Does this mean that John Key signed the warrant for spying on Dotcom??

    • Pascal's bookie 4.1

      Fuck knows what he meant, or whether he was talking about the old rules which were being broken or the new rules which aren’t in force yet, or if he meant residents or citizens.

      It was a useless answer in terms of actrual info, as per pfsssst.

    • rob 4.2

      He must have
      Such a pity he didn’t know anything about him for so many months afterwards.

  5. tracey 5

    Remember 2008? Labours motto was correct but the nats made suck a mockery of labour the message failed.

    norman should have asked the pm if he relying on the same legal advice that said gcsb cld spy on a nz resident?

  6. Sanctuary 6

    The levels of secrecy our government adopts when security is mentioned is childish. A quick look at the Palantir website reveals a career opportunity for an ‘Embedded Analyst, Government: New Zealand’ – http://www.palantir.com/careers/OpenPosDetail?id=a0m80000003mUYHAA2 and the position is clearly aimed at sub-contracting data analysis from NZ state security services.

    Key must think we are all stupid, and that no one can make simply deductions based on the bleeding obvious.

    P.S. It seems Palintir are one of the Scientology-lite Silicon valley companies that, amongst other things, has dispensed with the boring old social club in favour of – wait for it – “The Group Therapy Club” – http://www.palantir.com/life-at-palantir/

  7. Pasupial 7

    Hah!..

    “I am confident, on the legal advice that I have received from my agencies, that they act within the law at all times, and there have not been any occasions where the Government Communications Security Bureau has advised me that it has sought to circumvent the law.”

    Kitteridge report? What Kitteridge report??

    Or maybe:

    “I am confident, on the legal advice that I have received from Sky City, that they act within the law at all times, and there have not been any occasions where Sky City has advised me that it has sought to circumvent the law.”

  8. Jackal 8

    ANTHONY R0BINS

    The next government should have a massive clean out of our entire security apparatus and agreements with foreign governments.

    Easier said than done… The GCSB and SIS receives more than $100 million in funding per year and have a combined staff of 526. There’s another 13 government funded spying agencies in New Zealand, one of which is rumored to have over 500 employees.

    The spooks are likely to make up a large chunk of the current 298,384 state sector employees, and at an estimate I would say that these agencies receive well over a billion dollars of public money per year (unfortunately the true extent of funding for the spies is kept off government books).

    These agencies appear to have unlimited access to information and will strongly resist any attempts to limit their extensive and questionable powers. They will likely try to undermine any political party that looks set to move against their corrupt practices.

    Given the size of and funding for these agencies, anybody would think New Zealand was at war… Unfortunately that war appears to be focused on undermining our civil liberties.

    • gnomic 8.1

      “anybody would think New Zealand was at war”

      Could it be that they are preparing for the civil war after the shit finally hits the fan? When the global fiscal collapse finally eventuates in full? That could never happen of course. No no, the future is brighter.

  9. BLiP 9

    John Key lie? No, surely not . . . oh, hang on . . .

    – Iain Rennie came to me and recommended Fletcher for the GCSB job

    – I told Cabinet that I knew Ian Fletcher

    – I forgot that after I scrapped the shortlist for GCSB job I phoned a life-long friend to tell him to apply for the position

    – I told Iain Rennie I would contact Fletcher

    – for 30 years, or three decades, I didn’t have any dinners or lunches or breakfasts with Ian Fletcher

    – I did not mislead the House (9)

    – it was always the intent of the GCSB Act to be able to spy on New Zealanders on behalf of the SIS and police

  10. erentz 10

    I’m a Green voter, but I’m concerned Norman is stepping out a bit far on this with unfounded accusations he can’t back up. I hope it doesn’t backfire. There’s no evidence of bulk spying such as what is being talked about with the NSA occurring in New Zealand. Many reasons to think its not (yet). He should tread carefully and not step into technical realms that can easily be refuted.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Caution is advisable, indeed. He should be asking for an assurances from the PM that NZ has not participated in these broad information collection systems.

      Many reasons to think its not (yet).

      What are these reasons?

  11. Anne 11

    Timely comment erentz. But at the same time we know that under the proposed legislation it will only be a matter of time before bulk spying becomes the norm in NZ as well. What the fallout from such a scenario might ultimately be we can only guess at… but it is likely to result in a frightened and subservient population with many individuals being hounded and harassed for no justifiable reason. You know… like that place in Europe in the 1930s.

    Why won’t Key and co. agree to a Commission of Inquiry so that NZers can be assured all necessary measures are – or will be put – in place preventing new technology being used against ordinary NZers at some time in the future? Why? That’s a question the Opposition should be asking of him on an almost a daily basis.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Well for starters, journalists and their sources are going to be screwed in this future system. The Obama administration has already been found out tracing phone calls made to Associated Press journalists.

      Going forwards, who needs the likes of Peter Dunne and Andrea Vance to agree to release their emails. Just click on their email inboxes yourself and see everything there is to see.

  12. Poission 12

    What gets overlooked is there is a very powerful piece of entrenched legislation that prohibits arbitrary interference in an individuals correspondence.

    The universal declaration of human rights article 12 states that.

    No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

    This in essence prohibits broad-based fishing excursions,and would allow for remedies in an international tribunal with unlimited liabilities ( a risk that has been overlooked).

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      Snowden has suggested that documented rules and policies aren’t going to stop the capabilities of these systems from being designed used, and indeed, it has not stopped these systems from being designed and used.

  13. Shaz 13

    Its interesting that our PM’s reassurance is that GCSB is “doing nothing illegal” with data sourced from the NSA and that someone who will shortly be effectively be a political refugee is “not welcome” here.

    In contrast and at the same time this issue is bringing about the most serious bipartisanship the American Senate that has been seen for years as both sides are recoiling at what the Patriot Act has brought about. Many more Americans are regarding the leaking of the information as patriotic than treasonable, the US internet freedom organisations are furious after what they have regarded as years of cautious reigning in of the intrusive power of social media and the elected heads of Europe are calling on the US to ensure their citizens’ rights are not impacted by the NSA.

    (All sourced – from the Guardian and RadioNZ)

    Our PM has instinctively jumped in line with those who would limit freedom. I hope the contrast between this response and those of other leaders overseas becomes clearer as the impacts and responses unfold. His response shines a strong light on his view of citizenship and its not a flattering one.

  14. Yes 14

    I trust Keys.

    Doesnt all political data mine..how do scandals occur in all parties.

    • Mcflock 14.1

      “Yes”, that isn’t even a coherent statement. Are you drunk already?

    • fender 14.2

      Yeah I trust Keys too, but I definitely do NOT trust Key.

      Key is PM yes no maybe.

    • ropata 14.3

      “Yes”, here is a warning to you from the greatest sermon ever spoken:

      15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.

      16 By their fruits ye shall know them. Do [men] gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

      17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

      18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

      19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

      20 Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

      Is selling off assets, spying on citizens, and doing deals with SkyCity a good thing for NZ?

  15. aerobubble 15

    Its pretty simple, NZ is pathetic on National Security. The reason we need oversight is clear, should the head of the spies convert to Islam, having a problem with western policies regards the middle east; would anyone be watching who become aware would have to convince the PM who personal shoulder tapped the man, and so had no political cover to change matters.

    The Pm shoulder tapping anyone should suggest a huge gross ignorance of that PM in the nature of politics and how people will always disappoint at the most inappropriate moments.

    Key is dumb, parliament is dumber, and its a damn disgrace.

  16. Draco T Bastard 16

    The next government should have a massive clean out of our entire security apparatus and agreements with foreign governments.

    QFT

    A government should not spy on it’s people and it should not help another government spy on its people.

  17. Yes 17

    Let’s talk about trust. Labour has three MPs and a leader doing deals with sky city already. What deal were they doing at the rugby?
    Was the deal…if you give us a party donation we won’t repel the act? I mean let’s be very clear here. Labour said they will kill the convention centre.

    I trust John Key

    • Nordy 17.1

      Evidence? Citation?

      Is the desparation from the 9th floor of the Beehive getting to you as well? Keep it up – you might even convince yourself…..eventually.

      So ‘sad’ that you trust a politician who has proved he is not worth of yours or anybody elses trust. You do realise that trust has to be earned and continue to be earned?

      You may well have hope or even faith in Key, based on something not in evidence to any thinking person.

      Meanwhile here in the real world, people are really just laughing at you.

    • ropata 17.2

      I guess “Yes” has demonstrated that we can trust John Key… to rip off NZ for his bankster pals

  18. gnomic 18

    Trust John Key? Isn’t that an oxymoron? How can a weasel be trustworthy? It’s probably too late to seek help from a medical professional if you trust Key. Devious and misleading come to mind.

    • ropata 18.1

      Hi “Yes”,
      I have a fantastic investment opportunity, guaranteed* double your money in 1 year, I wear a shiny suit and talk monetarist gobbledygook, just like “Keys”.

      You can trust me too, NZ investment companies are safe as houses**

      Show me the money!

      * or not
      ** in christchurch red zone

  19. Poneke 19

    Heh .. you speak with a forked Ropata, .. but I enjoy the parody.

    We need more truth-speakers.

    Can I sell you a small Antipodean country so I can retire tax-free to Monaco ?

    You might have a small problem with tangata whenua ..

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    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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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 ...
    3 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
    3 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 ...
    3 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
    3 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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 ...
    4 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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 ...
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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, ...
    5 days 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 ...
    5 days 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
    5 days ago
  • Law & Order: National Party 1, Police 0, Public -1

    What happened?Media is reporting that police have lost in their pay dispute with the Coalition Government.Some of you might remember that the police rejected Labour’s previous offer in September, 2023, possibly looking forward to be taken care of by the self-touted ‘Party of Law and Order’ - National.If you look ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on the Trump shooting and a potential hike in fees for visiting the doctor

    Having watched Donald Trump systematically exploit social grievances, urge people not to accept his election loss and incite his followers to violent insurrection… it is a bit hard to swallow the media descriptions over the past 24 hours of Trump being a “victim” of violence. More like a case of ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Monday July 15

    The exploitation of workers on the national fibre broadband rollout highlights once again the dark underbelly of our ‘churn and burn’ economy. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:An extraordinary Steve Kilgallon investigation into ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Monday, July 15

    Photo by Jessica Loaiza on UnsplashTL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last three days to 9:00 am on Monday, July 15 are:Investigation: Immigration NZ refused to prosecute an alleged exploiter despite a mountain of evidence - ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • City Centre Rebuild: How Soon Is Now?

    Patrick Reynolds is deputy chair of the City Centre Advisory Panel and a director of Greater Auckland There is ongoing angst about construction disruption in the city centre. And fair enough: it’s very tough, CRL and other construction has been going on for a very long time. Like the pandemic, ...
    Greater AucklandBy Patrick Reynolds
    6 days ago
  • Peril, dismay, resolution

    This afternoon we rolled into Budapest to bring to a close our ride across Europe. We did 144 km yesterday, severe heat messages coming in from the weather app as we bounced along unformed Hungarian back roads and a road strip strewn with fallen trees from an overnight tornado. Somewhere ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    6 days ago
  • Bullet the Blue Sky

    In the locust windComes a rattle and humJacob wrestled the angelAnd the angel was overcomeYou plant a demon seedYou raise a flower of fireWe see them burnin' crossesSee the flames, higher and higherBullet the blue skyBullet the blue skyThe indelible images, the soundtrack of America. Guns, assassinations, where-were-you-when moments attached ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Monday, July 15

    TL;DR: The top six announcements, rulings, reports, surveys, statistics and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the three days to 6:00 am on Monday, July 23 are:University of Auckland researcher Ryan Greenaway-McGrevy published an analysis of the impact of Auckland's 2016 zoning reforms.BNZ's latest Performance ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s diary for the week to July 23 and beyond

    TL;DR: The six key events to watch in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy in the week to July 23 include:PM Christopher Luxon has returned from a trip to the United States and may hold a post-Cabinet news conference at 4:00 pm today.The BusinessNZ-BNZ PSI survey results for June will be released this ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Was The Assassination Attempt Fake?

    Hi,It’s in incredible photo, and we’re going to be talking about it for a long time:Trump, triumphantly raising his hand in the air after being shot. Photo credit: Evan VucciYou can watch what happened on YouTube in real time, as a 20-year-old from Pennsylvania lets off a series of gunshots ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • 40 years ago, inside the crisis that made modern NZ

    It had rained all day in Auckland, and the Metro Theatre in Mangere was steamed up inside as more and more people arrived to celebrate what had once seemed impossible. Sir Robert Muldoon had lost the 1984 election. “Piggy” Muldoon was no more. Such was the desire to get rid ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #28

    A listing of 34 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, July 7, 2024 thru Sat, July 13, 2024. Story of the week It's still early summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The season comes as our first year of 1.5°C warming ...
    6 days ago
  • Unsurprising, but Trump shooting creates opportunity for a surprising response

    I can’t say I’m shocked. As the US news networks offer rolling coverage dissecting the detail of today’s shooting at a Donald Trump rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, and we hear eye-witnesses trying to make sense of their trauma, the most common word being used is shock. And shocking it is. ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • Escalation in the States as Trump is shot and his allies capitalize on the moment

    Snapshot summary of the shooting in the States belowAnd a time to remember what Abraham Lincoln once said of the United States of America:We find ourselves in the peaceful possession of the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate. We ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • Bernie Sanders: Joe Biden for President

    I will do all that I can to see that President Biden is re-elected. Why? Despite my disagreements with him on particular issues, he has been the most effective president in the modern history of our country and is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump — a demagogue and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    7 days ago
  • Questions from God

    Have you invited God into your online life? Do you have answers for his questions? Did I just assume God’s pronouns?Before this goes any further, or gets too blasphemous, a word of explanation. When I say “God”, I don’t meant your god(s), if you have one/them. The God I speak ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    7 days ago
  • The politics of money and influence

    Did you know: Four days ago, the CEO of Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), David Zaslav, opined that he didn’t really care who won the US Presidential election, so long as they were M&A and business friendly. Please share my Substack so I can continue my work. Thank you and happy ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    7 days ago
  • Auckland & Transport Minister Simeon Brown's insanity

    Excuse me, but I just don’t feel like being polite today. What is going on with Simeon Brown? I mean, really? After spending valuable Ministerial time, focus, and government resources to overturn tailored speed limits in school and high fatality zones that *checks notes* reduces the risk of deaths and ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Were scientists caught falsifying data in the hacked emails incident dubbed 'climategate'?

    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by John Mason in collaboration with members from the Gigafact team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Were scientists caught falsifying data in the ...
    1 week ago
  • What Happened to David D'Amato's Millions?

    Today’s podcast episode is for paying Webworm members — and is a conversation seven years in the making. Let me explain.Hi,As I hit “send” on this newsletter, I’m about to play my 2016 documentary Tickled to a theatre full of about 400 Webworm readers in Auckland, New Zealand.And with Tickled ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Voting as a multi-order process of choice.

    Recent elections around the world got me to thinking about voting. At a broad level, voting involves processes and choices. Embedded in both are the logics that go into “sincere” versus “tactical” voting. “Sincere” voting is usually a matter of preferred … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Women in Space.

    Count downThree twoI wonderIf I'll ever see you againI'm 'bout to take offI'm leaving youBut maybeI'll see you around somewhere some placeI just need some spaceA brief reminder that if you’re a Gold Card holder you can subscribe to Nick’s Kōrero for 20% off. You’re also welcome to use this ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Bernard’s Saturday Soliloquy for the week to July 13

    Auckland waterfront, July. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My top six things to note around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the week to July 13 are:The National-ACT-NZ First Coalition Government watered down vehicle emissions standards this week, compounding the climate emissions damage from an increasingly ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week 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
    10 hours ago
  • Government launches Military Style Academy Pilot

    The Government today launched the Military Style Academy Pilot at Te Au rere a te Tonga Youth Justice residence in Palmerston North, an important part of the Government’s plan to crackdown on youth crime and getting youth offenders back on track, Minister for Children, Karen Chhour said today. “On the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours 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
    16 hours 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
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand, Japan renew Pacific partnership

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

    New developments in the heart of North Island forestry country will reinvigorate their communities and boost economic development, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones visited Kaingaroa and Kawerau in Bay of Plenty today to open a landmark community centre in the former and a new connecting road in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day 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
    1 day 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
    2 days ago
  • Peer Support Specialists rolled out in hospitals

    Five hospitals have been selected to trial a new mental health and addiction peer support service in their emergency departments as part of the Government’s commitment to increase access to mental health and addiction support for New Zealanders, says Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Peer Support Specialists in EDs will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 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
    3 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
    3 days ago
  • School attendance continues to increase

    Provisional school attendance data for Term 2 2024 released today has shown more students are back in class compared to last year, with 53.1 per cent of students regularly attending, compared with 47 per cent in Term 2 2023, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. “The Government has prioritised student ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 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
    3 days ago
  • Migrant school leavers to get part-time work rights

    The coalition Government is providing migrant school leavers with greater opportunities, by increasing access to part-time work rights for those awaiting the outcome of a family residence application, Immigration Minister Erica Stanford has announced.  “Many young people who are part of a family residence application process are unable to work. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 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
    4 days ago
  • Inflation data shows progress in economic recovery

    Today’s Consumer Price Index data which has inflation at 3.3 per cent for the year to July 2024, shows we are turning our economy around and winning the fight against rampant inflation, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “While today’s data will be welcome news for Kiwis, I know many New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 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
    4 days ago
  • Expectations set for improved medicines access

    Associate Health Minister David Seymour says he has set clear expectations for Pharmac around delivering the medicines and medical technology that Kiwis need.  “For many New Zealanders, funding for pharmaceuticals is life or death, or the difference between a life of pain and suffering or living freely. New cancer medicines ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 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
    5 days ago
  • Government delivers new school for Rolleston

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

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