Systemic privacy breaches

Written By: - Date published: 9:35 am, April 10th, 2013 - 62 comments
Categories: accountability, public services - Tags: , ,

This government is leaking data and documents at a truly unbelievable rate.

There were three cases yesterday alone:

• The leak of the Kitteridge report to Farifax Media (who had copies? who leaked it and why?).

• Yet another Novopay stuff-up, 1600 schools are sent private details of teachers at other schools. 3400 teachers are affected, 40 particularly so.

• Labour’s Clare Curran revealed that 63000 Ministry of Justice documents were left in plain view on a website – data that include passwords in plain text. Curran writes: “I have been told that these are basic security flaws not requiring a lot of computer programming knowledge”.

But wait – there’s more:

• the Ministry of Justice case is of course very similar to the massive amateur hour WINZ security breach revealed by Public Address blogger Keith Ng last year

• the ACC breach in 2011 where details of 6000 clients were sent to Bronwyn Pullar (the resulting fuss resulted in the resignations of ACC minister Nick Smith, ACC chair John Judge, two directors and chief executive Ralph Stewart)

• let’s not forget Paula Bennet’s vindictive release of the private details of two welfare beneficiaries that she took a dislike to

• the EQC emailing confidential details of 98000 claims to a blogger / advocate

• the EQC leak of 22000 names and $23 Million worth of financial information (an incident which resulted in a bizarre complete shutdown of EQC’s email systems for days)

• any number of incidents at WINZ,

• an incident involving the Ministry of Health

• and the Ministry of Education

• and Immigration New Zealand

• and the Ministry for the Environment

• and so on and so on – who knows how many I have missed – add them in comments.

When pressed on this last month John Key tried to downplay the incidents:

Key: Email gaffes not systemic

Mr Key yesterday said he didn’t believe the latest breach suggested any systemic private data handling issues across the public sector.

But the breaches have kept coming, and systemic is now clearly what they are. In fact, yesterday Bill English had this to say:

Govt cannot guarantee public information is protected – English

The Government cannot guarantee all information it holds about members of the public is safe, Finance Minister Bill English has admitted. English revealed the worrying state of Government department databases in the wake of new security breach allegations.

Perhaps more public sector job cuts will fix the problems.

62 comments on “Systemic privacy breaches”

  1. Colonial Viper 2

    Get rid of that back office staff and eliminate procedures, processes and regulations, what do they do anyways.

  2. Private Baldrick 3

    The solution is obvious – ban all computers and only communicate via turnip.

  3. BM 4

    Just highlights how incompetent the public service is.
    Get rid of the lot of them, useless.

    I’m surprised you’re so keen to put the boot in and point out their incompetence.
    Are you an Act member?

    • Pascal's bookie 4.1

      I strongly suggest you campaign on such a policy.

    • Arfamo 4.2

      Yeah, right. Bring in people like the directors of all the failed finance companies and mainzeal. They’ll fix it. Cuts to the public service and moronic internal ructions caused by inept, clueless government-friendly CEOs with directions from above that have disastrous effects are the cause of these problems. The dumbing down of the public service seems to be deliberate Natsy policy. These are all the hallmarks of departments in chaos.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.3

      Just highlights how incompetent the public service is.

      Wrong, it shows how incompetent the private sector is as these systems were probably put in place by the private sector.

      I’m surprised you’re so keen to put the boot in and point out their incompetence.

      Pointing out that things are going wrong is a duty we all share. The problem really comes down to the solution proposed. We’ve tried cutting government budgets and using the private sector to put in place the needed government services and what we now have is failing government service.

      This government and idiots like you think that we should keep cutting the budgets and getting the private sector to do the governments job. Following this advice what we’ll get is an ever more failing government service and it will continuously cost us more and more.

      The actual solution is a full government IT department charged with supplying all government departments with the software that they need as well as covering system security. This will bring about savings through economies of scale as well as having the professionalism and institutional knowledge base available to ensure that security systems are properly implemented.

      • Arfamo 4.3.1

        +1 @ DTB. The private recruitment agencies so many government departments use nowadays are another source of incompetent appointments to the public service. Management has no idea of what skills are really needed in their own departments. The chaotic state of public sector IT systems and security reflects this disconnect.

      • infused 4.3.2

        Time and time again it’s been proven it’s not the system at fault. It’s the user. This would lead to training/management issue.

        Not checking your To: field is fucking retarded.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 4.3.2.1

          Bullshit.: to err is human

        • Draco T Bastard 4.3.2.2

          PEBKAC applies, no doubt about it but that can usually be minimised by training but as budgets are being cut how is the department supposed to be able to afford the training?

          Then there’s the point that the people asking for the systems should have been adequately advised in both what the system could do, what training needed and what the system should not be able to do. What we’re seeing is, IMO, a haphazard approach as different government departments go to different suppliers to get their IT needs seen to (and they probably shift suppliers between upgrades as well) with the result that no-one truly knows WTF is happening. When it comes to the need to share the data across departments the systems don’t talk to each other and so emailing individual files becomes the norm and we end up with the security breaches that we’re seeing.

      • ropata 4.3.3

        DTB,
        Contractors are insulated from the (dysfunctional) culture and politics of a workplace, they will do whatever is their mandate, can’t be bullied so easily, and it’s in their interests to be honest in their final reports. Usually they are confident, capable people with a good track record.

        Nothing wrong with having a good internal IT capability of course. But some projects need extra skills and resources that aren’t so common in an IT shop, eg. performance or security architecture.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.3.3.1

          Contractors are insulated from the (dysfunctional) culture and politics of a workplace, they will do whatever is their mandate, can’t be bullied so easily, and it’s in their interests to be honest in their final reports. Usually they are confident, capable people with a good track record.

          Yeah, we keep hearing BS like that and then we get things like Novopay.

          Nothing wrong with having a good internal IT capability of course. But some projects need extra skills and resources that aren’t so common in an IT shop, eg. performance or security architecture.

          The government is big enough to employ such skills permanently.

    • Northshoreguynz 4.4

      When you cut the public service, the pressure comes on those doing more work, and finally the shit hits the IT fan.

  4. Coronial Typer 5

    So the Opposition should develop this as a theme, along the lines of:
    “You just can’t trust them”
    “This is my life and my information”

    It will never be enough to bring a government t down by itself, but its acidic.

    • McFlock 5.1

      Once or twice can happen to any government.

      Over a dozen serious leaks in 4 1/2 years? Yep, that’s systemic. And as a systemic issue, it goes straight to the top.

      • BM 5.1.1

        I’d blame Labour party fanatics purposely throwing spanners in the works.
        The public service is completely compromised, the only cure in my eyes is fire.

        • Arfamo 5.1.1.1

          You are saying that staff who blunder into emailing out private information they shouldn’t have to people who will then report them to the media and opposition parties for privacy breaches and place them at high risk of being immediately identified and possibly dismissed are doing it deliberately because they are Labour party fanatics? Seriously? Don’t be daft.

          • BM 5.1.1.1.1

            What around the recent incident with Claire Curren.
            Why did that employee pass information onto to labour instead of reporting it to someone in charge?
            Obviously scoring points against National is much more important than working for the good of the public service.
            How many more have the same fanatical mindset as that individual?, in all honesty I can’t see how National can have any faith in the public service.

            • Arfamo 5.1.1.1.1.1

              I think that was probably the fastest way to get the problem fixed. Collins tried to deny there was even a problem. In all honesty I don’t see how any public servant can have any faith in National doing anything except covering up the messes they’ve created. In any case, I don’t recall it being established that it was a public service employee who discovered the problem.

              • BM

                If a public servant doesn’t understand the concept of neutrality then the public service is the last place they should be working.
                Bloody Clark filling the government departments with all her lackeys, she’s completely fucked the public service.
                A scorched earth approach is the only way to fix it.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Bloody Clark filling the government departments with all her lackeys, she’s completely fucked the public service.

                  Hmmm funny thing is, its John Key doing the shoulder tapping of his mates.

                  A scorched earth approach is the only way to fix it.

                  Sure, Fletcher must be the first to go.

                • Arfamo

                  Where is your link to anything showing this problem in the DoJ website was whistleblown by a public servant? It’s news to me. Are you just off on another shit-slinging rant at perceived reds under the bed everywhere or have you got something more substantive to point to?

                  And forgive me, but four years of a scorched earth approach by the Natsys seems to have left the public service in the state you’re complaining about. Which was predictable. And possibly intentional.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    It is intentional. In the eventuality of a Labour win, it disables a first term Labour Govt for 18 months as they scramble to hire good people and rebuild morale in a shattered public sector. In other words, it helps run the clock down on Labours first term.

                    Mind you, shit loads of Wellington public servants voted National so, they get what they wanted.

                • Arfamo

                  If a public servant doesn’t understand the concept of neutrality then the public service is the last place they should be working.

                  The public service is not neutral. It is is required to be completely loyal to the Minister. It has been 2 or even 3 decades since the reverse applied, and this government has mounted the most sustained campaign of denigration of public servants (who cannot defend themselves) of any administration I’ve known.

                  • Coronial Typer

                    Well said. From all the current and past public servants reading this site.

                    It’s a mistake however for Grant Robertson to personalise it to the Prime Minister. A campaign about the government handling data should be about how citizens feel, how our rights are being taken away, how we personally are hurt, and from that how we feel about the current government generally. It’s too big to be about the PM, and it should corrode the whole of government not just thenofficeholders if it is to work.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  If a public servant doesn’t understand the concept of neutrality then the public service is the last place they should be working.

                  There’s a difference between being neutral and doing your job. In the public service if things are going from bad to worse then their job is to actually inform people who will do something about it. The opposition being someone who will do something.

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.2

          The public service is completely compromised, the only cure in my eyes is fire.

          I really hope that National tries your suggestion.

  5. ghostrider888 6

    felix was prophetic; it was the MOJ next. (avoid traveling incognito to that tropical paradise, cos ya won’t be).

  6. Poission 7

    One of the causative mechanisms of the privacy breaches is that it is the result of sharing data.

    The minister for money laundering,tax avoidance and buffoonery wants to extend the risk to the IRD.

    http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/tax-info-sharing-may-help-fight-crime

    Dunne Collins and Tolley should be arrested for crimes of stupidity.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      One of the causative mechanisms of the privacy breaches is that it is the result of sharing data.

      No, it’s the result of using individual files and email to do the sharing rather than a secure database.

      • Colonial Weka 7.1.1

        Govt depts have been data sharing for a long time, so why the problems now?

        • Arfamo 7.1.1.1

          Downsizing & top management thinking that someone competent somewhere in the organisation must surely be looking after their information systems. But sometimes, they aren’t. Information management and retrieval has not truly been seen as a priority in many depts it seems.

        • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.2

          Well, partly from cutting staff, partly from the new staff that have come in not being properly trained and budget cuts.

          But there’s still the fact that no one within such an organisation should be able to attach a spreadsheet containing thousands of peoples names and data to an email. It’s not that it shouldn’t happen it should be bloody impossible in the first place.

          • Arfamo 7.1.1.2.1

            True. But in some cases I suspect we are simply seeing the final collapse of information management systems & operating procedures that have been getting progressively pummelled and muddied after multiple restructures for well over two decades. New managers produce new systems and procedural guidelines for “renewed” organisations, but these sometimes conflict with the previous organisation’s guidelines whose status is now assumed by new staff to be “obsolete”. High staff turnover, high workloads, and cuts only exacerbate these problems. Often the “backroom” and admin support staff they got rid of were the only ones who understood & sometimes held the various fractionated systems together. DH’s post of 3.24 pm below is very apposite.

    • Rogue Trooper 7.2

      crimes of fashion, unlike Rachel who was Hot in orange, Paula, not so much, Patrick, well, tepid springs to find.

  7. DH 8

    This has all been pretty predictable and it’s more than a ‘government’ problem, would be happening just as much under Labour too since they’re all a bunch of luddites as well. There’s insufficiently defined processes for email security in Govt departments, likely because there appears to be no-one in overall charge with adequate knowledge & experience in network security.

    The experienced network administrator knows that all users are put on this world to make the admin’s life a misery. Users have no other purpose in life except to drive systems & networks people to the room with rubber walls and the admins job is to keep them on their leashes.

    When designing the network security policies you work with the certain knowledge that users will fail to follow the procedures you establish to ensure no security breaches occur. They can’t help themselves. Giving users a PC is like wiring up a metal button to an electric fence generator and placing it on their desk with a big “Don’t Touch” sign on it. You know they’ll push the button.

    So you design security in depth. You do it in layers. You figure out every devious trick the users will play on you and you set up traps to catch them. Experienced network admins are worth their weight in gold because they learnt all the machiavellan tricks that users get up to and still somehow retained their sanity.

    The problem looks to be that either they don’t have good enough network admins or the admins are not being allowed complete control of their network. I’d bet heavily on the latter, bad admins usually end up gibbering idiots (or consultants) before they get that far up the ladder. I’d say they’ve got users in charge of the asylum, you can smell it.

    FWIW one method of preventing most of these types of leaks is to install an app like Mail Marshall as the email gateway and set up policies on attachments, file formats & naming conventions, CCs, user rights etc etc. It’s not as if email was only invented yesterday.

    • Rogue Trooper 8.1

      more informative and constructive than the Daily Herald.

    • infused 8.2

      Not network admins, Windows admins and Exchange admins. They already have Symantec Brightmail in place doing the SSL encryption. It has all this functionality in it – yet I bet they are not using it.

      • NickS 8.2.1

        This.

        The tools and methods are already there but no-ones bothering to fucking use them it seems and the justice department website issue are absolute amateur hour stuff.

      • DH 8.2.2

        Aye, there’s plenty of options for securing email. But the planning & decision to deploy them has to come from the top, can’t have ad-hoc implementations halfway down the WAN. These are large & important networks that need to be fully documented and tightly controlled with a clear chain of command right to the top..

        There’s gotta be someone in overall charge of the network, with the right background, who knows exactly what’s going on with the network. I get the impression there isn’t anyone… if there was they would have known they needed better security.

    • NickS 8.3

      Lawl, and heavens forbid you give them unlocked down windows PCs

      The experienced network administrator knows that all users are put on this world to make the admin’s life a misery. Users have no other purpose in life except to drive systems & networks people to the room with rubber walls and the admins job is to keep them on their leashes.

      Frankly I’m all for ICT being armed with modified nerf guns with which to mass shoot offenders, no matter how high they are up the management ladder.

      Along with cementing shut all USB, firewire, and esata ports + locking the ethernet cable in and disabling wireless connections (they be weaksauce encryption wise at present) just to be sure.

  8. Huginn 9

    Keeping the government’s data and information processes secure is core GCSB work.

    http://www.gcsb.govt.nz/our-work/ia.html

    This is a systemic failure.

  9. vto 10

    Systemic failure coming to a hospital near you.

    Is the weird government actually going to have food for people in hospitals trucked in from giant sandwich making machines hundreds of kilometres away?

    I mean, when the next earthquake strikes and the roads are taken out, or there is some other failure, how will the people be fed? Is this not why hospitals have generators in case electricity is lost? Is food not in the same category when it comes to self-sufficiency and life saving?

    This is the most strange decision I have ever seen and Ryall now reveals himself as a fully blown q c.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      wait until one of those meal production centres is taken out and half the hospitals on an Island starve.

      Massive centralisation and scale like this increases fragiity and decreases robustness. It’s short term financial smarts for long term operational stupid.

      • vto 10.1.1

        They put lives at risk for it?

        Tony Ryall puts peoples lives at risk so there is money for others? At the same time his government gives millions to rich business interests such as farming?

        • Walter 10.1.1.1

          Farming is not a rich business, its alot of hard work for low returns

          • felix 10.1.1.1.1

            Yeah that’s why hardly anyone does it.

            Walter, you’re a fucking child.

          • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.1.2

            And yet this government wants us to do more of it despite it having fuck all returns and is destroying our environment.

            Besides, I think you’ll find that a lot of farmers are very well off.

          • Akldnut 10.1.1.1.3

            So get out and find another job if you aren’t happy with the return from the one you have – opps that’s right there ain’t any falling out of the woodwork for bludgers living off govt handouts.
            And because they’re farmers they’re in a different category, they’re hardworking bludgers living off Govt handouts.

            Are they going to be drug tested to receive their handouts?
            Will the amount they receive drop per extra child they have?
            Will they have to attend job scheme or business Management courses to receive that money?
            How many farmers will get handouts that will help pay off their mortgages and employees wages?
            Will the amount they receive depend on the amount of shares they may have?

            If the builder, tow truck driver, mechanic or other such small business down the road is going belly-up – they don’t get a handout.

            Let them stand alone and struggle like the rest of us, give them a hand up (To use Nationals words) when they are like the rest of us – almost destitute.
            Different rules for them.

          • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1.4

            Farming is not a rich business, its alot of hard work for low returns

            For the farm workers and shed hands paid a pittance, you are right.

        • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.2

          It’s National – putting lives at risk so that their rich mates can make a profit on the taxpayers dime is perfectly normal for them.

  10. BLiP 11

    Nice work, Mr R0bins.

    As far as I’m concerned all leaks are good leaks so, I guess, one has to praise National Ltd™ for its openess, however accidental. The privacy issues are of concern, though, especially Basher Bennett’s malicious use of details to quash dissent. I tend to go along with the suggestion above – that this increase in clumsy administration is due to the gutting of the public service and appointment of under-paid, under-trained, under-resourced, over-worked and, these days thanks to National Ltd™, maligned civil servants. Deliberate? Yeah, probably.

  11. Akldnut 12

    Good point blip, they promised transparency, so now we have it to an extent through these leaks.
    This was part of their election pledge and to get it thru all they had to do was under-train, underpay, overwork, and attack the employment and conditions of public servants.
    What are we all complaining about!

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Candidate Survey: Western Bay of Plenty – Local Body Elections 2019
    We surveyed candidates on their attitudes to issues facing the Western Bay Region, find out what they think: “Closing the Gap” Tauranga, one of the area groups of Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc., has surveyed all candidates in the three local body elections to discover attitudes to some basic issues ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    19 mins ago
  • Project Nettie calls on scientists to defend biology
    Please spread widely, and sign, to support science and rationalism over the new irrationalism sweeping universities and institutions.  PROJECT NETTIE Sexual reproduction, the generation of offspring by fusion of genetic material from two different individuals, evolved over 1 billion years ago. It is the reproductive strategy of all higher animals ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 hour ago
  • I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland
    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 hours ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 hours ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 hours ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    7 hours ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    24 hours ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 day ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    1 day ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    1 day ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    2 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    2 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    3 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    4 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    5 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    5 days ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    6 days ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    6 days ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    6 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    7 days ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    7 days ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago

No feed items found.