The CV of a Spy Boss

Written By: - Date published: 5:14 pm, April 3rd, 2013 - 85 comments
Categories: accountability, capitalism, iraq, john key, slippery, uk politics - Tags: , ,

What was it about the short listed candidates for GCSB boss that was lacking?  And what was it about Ian Fletcher that made him a more suitable candidate?

The cronyist element of Key’s role in his appointment is very concerning, as Eddie shows.  This suggests that Fletcher was someone he knew and felt he could trust. But it is also necessary to look at why Key and Rennie considered Fletcher to be a more suitable person.  Chris Trotter argues that a change under Key award from the low profile grey men, towards more high profile men which began with the appointment of Jerry Mateparae.

Fletcher’s background is also worth looking at.  His profile on the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation’s website says he began his career in the NZ diplomatic service in 1989. Until 1991, he was in the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

He then worked in Trade Policy at the end of the GATT Uruguay Round, and continued this work during a secondment with European Commission, negotiating in the World Trade Organisation on Free Trade Agreements.

Mr. Fletcher returned to the UK in 1998 and, after working in DTI’s HR area, he joined the then Overseas Trade Services organization at the time the Wilson Review of Export Promotion was being finalized and British Trade International was being established, working on finance HR and corporate policy issues. In 2000, Mr. Fletcher undertook a secondment with the UN Administration in Kosovo as Head of the Customs Service and Department of Trade & Industry. He returned later that year to head DTI’s Directorate responsible for electricity and gas policy.

During 2002, he moved to the Cabinet Office as Principal Private Secretary to Sir Andrew Turnbull, the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service.

Since 2004, Ian had been Managing Director, International in UKTI, managing the UK’s foreign commercial service.

Following that,

Mr. Fletcher was appointed as Chief Executive of the UK Office of Intellectual Property in March 2007.

So, he has experience in patents and intellectual property issues as well as free trade.  This is very relevant to the Dotcom case that was becoming particularly significant just before Fletcher was appointed.  This is also strongly connected with the TPP negotiations currently in progress.

This was said about his role when he was appointed chief executive for the UK patents office:

“I am pleased to welcome Ian to the Patent Office at this exciting time. The recent Gowers Review of Intellectual Property redefines the Patent Office’s role both in the UK and abroad, seeing intellectual property rights as vital for British businesses. I look forward to working with him and the Office as it develops in the light of the planned name change to UK Intellectual Property Office on 2 April.”

Ian Fletcher said;

“I am delighted to be joining the Patent Office. It already plays a vital role in the UK’s economic prosperity, its scientific excellence and its innovation system. As the Office moves on to tackle to challenges set out in Andrew Gowers’ review, the Office’s role will become even more central to the UK’s response to the challenges of globalisation.”

It’s interesting to look at what Sir Andrew Turnbull was up to when Fletcher was his private secretary (2002-2004). According to the Wikipedia page on Turnbull, there was the small issue of Turnbull and the Blair government’s role in Iraq:

Turnbull became involved in controversy when on 28 February 2004 he wrote a formal letter admonishing ex-minister Clare Short for making media statements alleging that British intelligence had intercepted communications from (amongst others) Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan. Short made the confidential letter public, and in turn rebuked Turnbull for allegedly allowing the government decision-making machinery to crumble in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war. Short suggested that the government’s legal expert, Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, had been “leant on” to provide advice that war would be legal.[1] She argued that Turnbull had been responsible for what she alleged was inadequate Cabinet scrutiny of the legal advice, of the basis for the decision to go to war and the alternatives:

“He allowed us to rush to war in Iraq without defence and overseas policy meeting, looking at all the military options and the diplomatic options and political options. (He) allowed the Joint Intelligence Committee to meet with Alastair Campbell chairing it.”[2]

 

In March 2005, Lord Turnbull revealed that Lord Goldsmith’s opinion on the legality of the Iraq War was only one page long.

So, not only has Fletcher got an NZ background but he has been involved in overseas operations involving intellectual property, globalisation and business.  He also was working for Turnbull in the period when he mislead the public about the UK’s decisions to go to war in Iraq.  There’s also the issue of intercepting UN communications.

85 comments on “The CV of a Spy Boss”

  1. seeker 1

    Wow! Fantastic investigative work Karol. if only our msm were up to the same standard!.
    What a right couple of little unsavoury so and so s Key’s old school was unwittingly nurturing. Yuk.

  2. xtasy 2

    Karol, great that you picked this up! I read the CV of Fletcher somewhere else before, I am not sure whether it was on the NZ Herald online or idiot Kiwiblog, but yes, some things in it struck me.

    He worked in diplomatic posts, in trade and negotiations on it, he worked for the UN and in other jobs. NONE of his previous jobs would appear to make him qualified to run a “spy agency” or investigating agency.

    One might have looked at a former senior cop, or one from SIS or whatever, to qualify, not someone with Fletcher’s background. It is really odd. And this is where the appointment and selection become unstuck. There is clearly insufficient evidence that Fletcher was the “best suited” person for heading GCSB. And for those saying a foreign person would not be suited, we had top jobs given to UK persons before, and that was due to them having particular qualifications that was asked for.

    So the question arises, very justifiably, why did Fletcher get the job, lacking intelligence and investigation experience, was it not perhaps, because he had mates or friends in high places?

    There is nothing else that shows me, why he would have got the top job in that agency.

    Key has a damned lot to answer to, after inviting him to apply, so to say. This is a huge scandal, if only useless NZ media would realise and accept it. I am waiting for them to do their bloody job now!

    • karol 2.1

      Yes, xtasy. I first saw Fletcher’s previous jobs listed on NZ news sites – articles back when he was appointed. This was before the Dotcom story got big, so it probably didn’t really compute with many of us.

      seeker, the research was easy. I just googled to get more detail on his jobs and the ones I linked to were among the first up.

      • seeker 2.1.1

        It is still great that you bothered karol. Thanks. The way I ‘m feeling at the mo I just would not have got round to it and besides I would probably have had to return this computer to my son just in the middle of links. Am having to borrow his machine when I can, as mine has finally had it. Am hoping that the same can soon be said of mr key.

  3. yeshe 3

    Thanks Karol .. xclnt. Seems as though he might have been a ‘spook’ for quite a while if one reads between the various lines … and I didn’t know he is now “Lord Turnbull’ !! Cronyism of the most egregious kind !

  4. Huginn 4

    Thanks, Karol. That’s a very useful background.

    Andrea Vance has reminded us that:

    ‘Fletcher was appointed in September 2011 and took up the position early in February last year.

    One of his first jobs was to attend a joint police-GCSB briefing about the raid on Kim Dotcom’s rural Auckland mansion.

    At that briefing the bureau learned it may have illegally spied on the internet mogul, who is accused by the US of internet piracy.’

    Which puts Key’s ‘glittering’ civil servant in charge of the GCSB at the time that it was covering up its illegal actions.

    This raises so many ugly questions.

    Source:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8500613/What-did-Key-know-about-spy-boss-appointment

    • The industry position against piracy has its own dark side. In a nutshell companies like CBS and Disney have been involved with distribution of file sharing software for the distribution of their own digital media, and then pushing for legislation to punish file sharing.

      In 2009 the Obama administration had appointed five RIAA lawyers to the US department of justice.
      http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/04/obama-taps-fift/

  5. xtasy 5

    Yes, ok, he is supposed to be an expert on intellectual property, but one would think that to run a spy agency, more is needed, which Fletcher lacks.

    • karol 5.1

      I think, as Trotter points out, the appointment involves a shift to someone who has a public political profile. Key has effectively politicised the role, and recommended someone who is sympathetic to his & US intellectual property policies and free trade policies.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        Exactly what the US corporates and banksters wanted.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1

          Exactly. Reading what Karol has quoted it seems obvious to me that he was chosen because of his political reliability and not because of any ability to do the job.

          • UpandComer 5.1.1.1.1

            Haha! No ability to do the job, why because that very long list of major responsibilities is public sector?!

            • One Tāne Huna 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Baby steps, UpandNohesfallenoveragain, the point being made is that Fletcher has the political skills required, as opposed to the practical or operational. Do I need to use fewer syllables?

              • Colonial Viper

                But good manager leaders can run any kind of outfit. You can move a good manager between a nuclear power plant, MI5, a chocolate biscuit factory, a Formula One team and a Hollywood movie set in turn and they’d good results at everything they touched! No prior industry experience needed.

                Yay for the wealth creators!

                • Colonial Weka

                  So true! Look how well that has worked in health, welfare, ACC etc.

                  • xtasy

                    It is going to work even “better” soon with outsourcing work capability assessments from WINZ, so turnover, profit and gains will set the agenda to get the lazy layabouts in wheel chairs and without sight off their bludged benefits and get real jobs, right?

            • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.1.2

              Where did I say that he had no ability to do the job?

              • xtasy

                He did the job just fine, exactly as the master expected, so he even shot over target, by not listening to stupid Police advice that Dotcom and his Dutch colleague were NZ residents, supposedly not to be spied on by GCSB.

                Doing the job is one thing open to interpreation DtB.

                Whether rules are followed or not, the target and goal may become more important than abiding by small print and the law.

                That would be a job well done, same as Putin would see it in Russia.

      • Huginn 5.1.2

        Trotter also points out that the focus of the GCSB itself has shifted, and that it has been politicised as a result of that shift.

        By the way, if we take Key at his word, and accept that he and Fletcher weren’t close, then we should be asking who recommended Fletcher to Key – who brokered those breakfast meetings? And whether Key still rates that person’s advice because Fletcher truly cocked it up for Key when he green-lighted the GCSB’s cover-up.

        And whether Key has asked Fletcher to resign for the GCSB cover-up.

  6. xtasy 6

    Having watched the news on ONE and 3News, I already see that the ground is laid to let Key off the hook again. It was just brief mention, although amongst the top topics, but they did present it as not to question Key’s words. It was Robertson against Key so to say, and then the public will again think, oooh, John Key is such a nice face, he is smart, he has “business experience”, I’d rather trust him. Forget it, this will again lead to nothing, the screwed up media in NZ NOT doing their jobs again!

  7. ianmac 7

    Campbell Live tonight for his take on the issue.

    I thought that Mr Fletcher had been recently working in Queensland?

    • karol 7.1

      Yes, he was. I left that bit out, but it is in the news articles.

      Fletcher will quit his post as the Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Queensland State’s Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation and take over running the GSCB early next year, for five years.

      • xtasy 7.1.1

        Employment and Trade, yeah those are core areas that offer skills to lead a spy agency, for sure???!

        • handle 7.1.1.1

          Spying is also about corporate interests these days. Fletcher might be a good manager for the job, but why would Key tell porkies about the recruitment process if it was all above-board?

          • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1.1

            Spying is also about corporate interests these days

            It always has been partly about commercial interests. And if you use facilities like gmail and facebook, consider everything you’ve ever entered as open access.

          • Ugly Truth 7.1.1.1.2

            Fletcher spent about three years as comptroller of the UK Intellectual Property Office. Copyright enforcement can be used as a cover for internet espionage.

    • Anne 7.2

      Further to ianmac’s comment:

      Watch Campbell Live tonight! In a brief excerpt I recognised an interviewee, Sir Bruce Ferguson.

      A former Air Force chief who became Chief of the Defence Services during Helen Clark’s era. He went on to become Director of the GCSB and – if my memory serves me correctly – followed that with a short stint as Director of the SIS. I think he retired before his term was complete.

      I knew Ferguson (slightly) when he was in the RNZAF. As a civilian on base, it was part of my job to give weather briefings. He came across to me as a man of honesty and integrity. Since that time nothing has happened to cause me to change my mind. Whatever he has to say it will be straight-forward and well worth listening to…

    • karol 7.3

      So a short list was drawn up. The candidates were notified, then one of them was notified to say not to come to interview because they’d chosen someone.

      Key says Rennie came to him with a shortlist but they weren’t up to scratch. Rennie wouldn’t recommend any of them. I thought if no applicants were suitable, the employers wouldn’t draw up a short list …. ?

      And on CL, when Key said he was totally happy with the process he was slightly shaking his head in contradiction…. some say that is a tell a person is lying.

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    So, not only has Fletcher got an NZ background but he has been involved in overseas operations involving intellectual property, globalisation and business. He also was working for Turnbull in the period when he mislead the public about the UK’s decisions to go to war in Iraq. There’s also the issue of intercepting UN communications.

    It appears that he can see immoral actions and not be bothered by them – the right background for helping to screw over NZ.

    • emergency mike 8.1

      Yep now it becomes clear that Key chose him for the job because of his proven immoral weasel experience.

  9. gobsmacked 9

    Bruce Ferguson’s interview on Campbell Live is one of the most damning indictments of a PM ever seen on NZ television. All the more so for being restrained, authoritative and to the point.

    It’s a must-see, and should lead to resignation(s) forthwith. Should, but I’m guessing, won’t.

    • karol 9.1

      Yes. the fact that Ferguson has come forward is significant. Plus he reports that morale at the GCSB is quite low right now, mainly due to the Dotcom case.

      Key says 4 candidates were short listed but, presumably after the candidates had been notified, Rennie went to Key and said the candidates weren’t up to it. So Ferguson’s contact was then told not to come to interview because a candidate had been chosen…. strange.

      • Pascal's bookie 9.1.1

        It’s all on.

        Let’s not forget that the report into the GCSB was handed to the PM a few days ago, and now we have a former head spilling the beans on the PM in public.

        Frankly, at this point, citizens are fucked if they know what to think. It’s an omnishambles, fucked that it was allowed to get this bad.

        • andy (the other one) 9.1.1.1

          when insiders like Duncan Garner are calling it a major hit on Key’s credibility, it tells us mere mortals that shit has gone seriously sideways.

          I got the impression from the Ferguson interview that the convention of the past of high up old school military types running the GCSB had been shit canned by Key and his shoulder tap of Fletcher, putting NZ spy agency and our collective interests in harms way.

          Also from Ferguson, he looked ashamed and disgusted by the current ‘Omnishambles’..

          Drip, drip, drip…

          • Pascal's bookie 9.1.1.1.1

            Almost forces one to ask questions about why the recently appointed Mateparae was ‘promoted’ over to Government House doesn’t it?

            So soon after the DotCom raids, not that the PM knew anything about that of course, yet.

            All just a big co-inky-dink.

            • andy (the other one) 9.1.1.1.1.1

              promoted to a position where he only answers to the Queen, can’t answer questions because he works for House of Windsor…

              Not the highest court in NZ can make him testify, and Lizzy is least likely to ask questions next to Larry Williams…

              Be interested to know, does the GG become an automatic British citizen with diplomatic status??

              • karol

                This guy reckons that it is the responsibility of the Governor General to appoint the head of GCSB – which would mean Mataparae was the person to appoint Fletcher.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  It’s appointment on recommendation though, like with Ministers etc.

      • Anne 9.1.2

        Plus he reports that morale at the GCSB is quite low right now, mainly due to the Dotcom case.

        He followed that up by saying its the lowest it’s ever been.

        Ferguson chose his words carefully but he was obviously appalled and disgusted at the process that was followed. The whole mess tells me that Rennie was effectively told who to appoint to the position.

        Key thinks he owns this country!

        • Treetop 9.1.2.1

          The GCSB will probably spy on Ferguson to keep one step ahead of being exposed or having Key exposed.

          • karol 9.1.2.1.1

            But that would be illegal – Ferguson is an NZ resident/citizen, isn’t he?

            • Anne 9.1.2.1.1.1

              Ahh yes karol but there’s four other ‘eyes’ in the Echelon spy system – Australia, Britain, USA and Canada. Any one of them can do the spying with relative impunity. I mean I’m sure Warner Bros. will have already been in touch with the FBI, NSA, CIA whoever… 😎

            • Treetop 9.1.2.1.1.2

              Yes I know that spying would be illegal, it would not be the first time.

      • geoff 9.1.3

        mainly due to the Dotcom case.

        Is it just Dotcom or has the GCSB suffered the same cuts that all the other departments have?

        • karol 9.1.3.1

          Ferguson said it was mainly Dotcom but also the Fletcher case a bit too. He didn’t say anything about cuts.

          • geoff 9.1.3.1.1

            So many of the other government departments have had staff and funding cut, I would be suprised if the GCSB has been untouched. Speaking from personal experience, from my time at the MOH a few years ago, I can say that the process of cleaning out a department is, unsuprisingly, very harmful to morale.

            Look what happened to McCully after he tried to muck with MFAT. Those bureaucrats are connected and McCully had to retreat significantly. Perhaps Key will face a similar situation?

            • Arfamo 9.1.3.1.1.1

              The whole thing stinks. Ministers and Senior appointees to government departments have no loyalty to their staff. So staff are proving quite quick to reciprocate. Will be interesting to see if the GCSB winds up in the news a bit more often now.

      • Shane Gallagher 9.1.4

        That does not make sense to me… why would you shortlist people who were not up to the job? You only shortlist people you think are good enough. You would just re-advertise the position and get a bigger candidate pool if no-one was up to the criteria stated…

        • Colonial Weka 9.1.4.1

          The headhunters gave Rennie a list of people they thought were suitable. That’s what is being called teh shortlist. Rennie thought none of the names were suitable, and presumably didn’t want to interview them because of that.

          • karol 9.1.4.1.1

            But already at least one candidate seemed to know they had been shortlisted. Then this candidate was contacted and told they wouldn’t be interviewed, according to Ferguson.

            Key is trying to pass it off as though the process hadn’t got beyond a short list list of names drawn up by the agency. Actually, I think Rennie could have been involved in drawing up the shortlist. His statement from a few days ago says this:

            “The position of GCSB was advertised in May 2011. In addition, a recruitment consultant was appointed to assist me,” Mr Rennie said.

            “Mr Fletcher was interviewed by a selection panel in July 2011, chaired by me. The other members of the panel were Mr Maarten Wevers (now Sir Maarten), the Chief Executive of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; Mr John McKinnon, the Secretary of Defence; and Ms Helene Quilter, a State Services Deputy Commissioner.”

            Why did he omit to mention the recruitment consultant drew up the shortlist list?

            There seems to be some fudging going on.

        • Blue 9.1.4.2

          It seems to be a product of the way Key views government agencies. The shortlist drawn up was no doubt composed of the usual suspects – the people who actually have the military experience that is the worldwide standard prerequisite for this type of role.

          The reason none of these candidates was considered ‘suitable’ (without even bothering to interview them) obviously stems from the fact that Key was looking for a manager, not a spook. (For ‘manager’ substitute ‘cost-cutting bureaucrat’).

          It’s quite an embarrassing spectacle, really, thinking about our ‘top spy boss’ communicating with other spy bosses around the world. They’re probably thinking ‘who the fuck is this guy?’ and wondering why they are dealing with a civilian paper pusher.

          • Yorick 9.1.4.2.1

            +1

            • Anne 9.1.4.2.1.1

              Exactly right Blue.

              Setting aside what we already know about him, there are two things about Key that have been revealed over this Dotcom/spy saga.

              1) His approach is so one eyed and immersed in a wheeler/dealer mindset that he is oblivious to other essential considerations. In this instance he doesn’t really understand the nature of the position and the kind of specialist qualities and experiences that are required for such a high tech/sensitive area. It may well be this Ian Fletcher comes with brilliant CVs and is very competent, but not in the sphere of activity commensurate with a govt. spy agency.

              2) He thinks he’s above the law of the land and doesn’t have to follow due processes, especially if it means he mightn’t get his own way. That these processes have been developed over many decades and are tried and true methods mean nothing to him. The spy agencies belong to him and he’ll do what he likes with them. The last PM who operated like that was Rob Muldoon and in the end it did him no good.

              I don’t know what’s going to happen over this affair, but full credit to Sir Bruce Fergusson for having the courage and tenacity to stand up and be counted.

      • xtasy 9.1.5

        Ferguson will soon be summonsed to answer to the PM, and agencies, I suppose, that is how dictators work, I think.

    • Colonial Weka 10.1

      The reporter Dan Hunter was interesting to watch. I don’t see much TV, is he who TV3 usually use? Loved the smirk.

      • xtasy 10.1.1

        He’s recently been doing more jobs for Campbell Live, and so far, I think much has been useful and good. I just wonder, where does this leave our “publicly owned” state media for independent reporting and asking the harder questions?!

  10. trcaey 11

    Is anyone suggesting that his IP experience was important because of the Dotcom investigation? Remind me of the dates again of his appointment and the timeline of the spying on Dotcom?

  11. Bob Tambling 12

    I would be well fucked off if I was on the short list and just heard the PM saying I wasn’t up to it. I would be even more fucked off that the PM then gets his mate appointed. who clearly isn’t (if the stories about morale are to be believed)
    Be really good to know who the four people were . I bet they regret they didn’t go to school with the right people..
    Be a great job though just think of all those emails and phones you could tap with no oversight
    or maybe a lot of oversight, thinking about it 🙂

    Jeez so many targets for Labour like shooting fish in a barrel, and yet…
    I bet Key goes up in the next round of polls

  12. Major stink 13

    Hello I am one of the persons who was on the shortlist. I believe that I was ‘unshortlisted’ because of a particular question on the application form

    Would I continue managing the spy that had been put in a “very high position ” in the NZ Labour Party. whose principal aim is to prevent Labour from being elected in the foreseeable future?

    I now know that this was a trick question and I should have answered “yes” instead of the no which was obviously the wrong answer.

    I guess to be the top spy you have to be devious and cunning . Thats why I then applied for the job as the race relations commissioner.
    I was obviously not devious enough this time around,as I didn’t get the job because apparently “I really didn’t have the knowledge ,experience and suitable sporting achievements”
    Where to now? Any suggestions?

  13. Major stink 14

    Dear John,
    How I hate to write
    Dear John
    I must let you know tonight
    that my love for you is gone
    so I’m sending you this song
    tonight I’m with another
    you went to school with his brother
    Dear John

  14. xtasy 15

    Just get rid of this democracy rubbish, we need order and obedience, now, right now.

    Judith or John, the agenda is set, for more ORDER.

    Bring in the stiff medicine and resolute hit troops, to “protect” us from disorder. That is most important. Democracy is making us ill, it is not good, same as human rights stuff. And the media better keep it up, they are doing a good job now, so says Hone Key and Judith, the next leader.

  15. Murray Olsen 16

    That CV says to me that Fletcher has been appointed to make sure the TPAA goes through without significant opposition. He has already shown that he has as much loyalty to our country as Key does. The unsuitable people probably believed in something outdated such as sovereignty.

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      yeah this too.

    • Treetop 16.2

      Birds of a feather flock together. Throw in the TV 3 reporter (Hunter) that Cambell uses and those birds just might have their wings clipped.

  16. AmaKiwi 17

    Our top military spy has no investigative, military, or spying experience.

    We ask our soldiers to risk their lives for us. Then the PM gets a blind man guide them through the dark.

    The PM has intentionally put our military personal in danger.

    Main stream media (except TV3). Do any of you give a damn?

  17. joe90 18

    Bloody marvellous post Karol, thanks.

  18. Populuxe1 19

    His expertise is relevant to electronic espionage which is how most of it is carried out these days.

  19. Instauration 20

    Oh dear
    Mr Fletchers judgment has been questioned in April 2011;

    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/sunday-mail/queenslands-buy-local-t-shirts-made-in-bangladesh-and-the-us/story-e6frep2f-1226040191601

    “I considered this to be misleading, and would serve only to compound the gross error of judgment.”

    And then the wrath of the Ombudsman’s report in November 2011;

    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/row-over-claims-in-hendra-judgment/story-e6freoof-1226185213963

    He was probably quite pleased to escape the Sylvanic-Waters of Brisbane

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    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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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
    3 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 ...
    3 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 ...
    4 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 ...
    4 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
    4 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
    4 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 ...
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    4 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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
    5 days 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 ...
    5 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    6 days 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
    6 days 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 ...
    7 days 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The fallacy of the proximity argument.
    Longer term readers may remember my complaining that, as a political scientist, it is burdensome to have non-political scientists wanting to engage me about politics. No layperson would think to approach an astrophysicist and lecture him/her on the finer details of quarks and black holes, but everybody with an opinion ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Where We Stood: Chris Trotter Replies To Stevan Eldred-Grigg.
    Joining The Fight: Stevan Eldred-Grigg's argument for New Zealand staying out of the Second World War fails not only on the hard-headed grounds of preserving the country’s strategic and economic interests; and not just on the soft-hearted grounds of duty and loyalty to the nation that had given New Zealand ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Universities back the climate strike
    On September 27, School Strike 4 Climate will be striking for a future to pressure the government for meaningful climate action. This time, they've asked adults to join them. And now, Lincoln University and Victoria University of Wellington have signed on:Victoria University of Wellington has joined Lincoln University in endorsing ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Another constitutional outrage
    Another day, another constitutional outrage in the UK. This time, the government is saying that if parliament passes a law to stop Brexit before being prorogued, they may just ignore it:A senior cabinet minister has suggested Boris Johnson could defy legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit if it is forced ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ending dairy in Canterbury
    Environment Canterbury has finally proposed nitrogen limits to stop dairy farmers from poisoning Christchurch's water supply. And naturally, farmers are whining about it:A proposed move by Environment Canterbury (ECan) to protect Christchurch's drinking water by setting tough – some would say, draconian – nitrate reductions in the decades ahead and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Is National the party of climate arson?
    The Zero Carbon Bill is currently before select committee. While its targets are weak, its a generally sensible bill that promises to establish a long-term framework to guide emissions reductions. But National hasn't made up its mind on whether it will support it - and according to Andrea Vance in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Experts warn Harold the Giraffe “well past” typical giraffe life expectancy, may not have long
    Dum-de-doo. Children across New Zealand have known him for generations as the lovable giraffe who tells them to exercise, hydrate and not to shove lit cigarettes up their nostrils. But a world renowned giraffe expert says we shouldn’t be getting attached to Life Education’s Harold the Giraffe, as he is ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • August ’19 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: 22 BLOGGERS WITH ADVICE FOR RESEARCHERS AND EVALUATORS, ILLUSTRATED I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bye, bye to the collusion lie
    Sums it up, really. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Opinion: Treat your car by buying extra petrol to snack on while you aren’t driving
    By Mike Hosking. Yesterday morning, I waltzed into work, and as I walked past the drones aggressively typing out news on the computers I’ve repeatedly asked to be moved further away from, I caught a glimpse of the words “climate change”, and noticed that suspiciously they weren’t in condescending quotation ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • US imperialism, Huawei, racism and imperial anxiety
    by Tony Norfield US political opinion against China has two solid bases. The first is the longstanding racist and protectionist sentiment in the white working class; the second is a more recent anxiety about China’s economic prowess in America’s ruling elite. This article notes some historical aspects of anti-Chinese racism ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

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