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The mathematics of surveillance

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, January 22nd, 2015 - 29 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, International, Spying - Tags: , , , , ,

We are told that there is

No alternative to bulk data collection

No existing technology can fully replace collecting data in bulk to obtain electronic intelligence, but some methods could be developed to improve how information is gathered and used, the US National Research Council said in a report on Thursday.

(See The Guardian for much more nuanced coverage of this report: “the panel did not specifically endorse any bulk collection conducted by the NSA on Americans’ phone records and international communications and foreigners’ emails, phone calls and internet searches”.)

Of course there is no alternative to bulk data collection if you define “electronic intelligence” as bulk data. But how useful is this “intelligence”?

However, a blue-ribbon panel set up by Obama following Snowden’s revelations reported it could find no evidence that sweeping collection of the telephone metadata of Americans led to a single major counter-terrorism breakthrough.

So it turns out that this “intelligence” isn’t useful for catching terrorists in practice. The following piece (which appeared in New Scientist following the Paris attacks) explains why:

Mass surveillance not effective for finding terrorists

Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi and Amedy Coulibaly, who murdered 17 people, were known to the French security services and considered a serious threat. France has blanket electronic surveillance. It didn’t avert what happened.

Police, intelligence and security systems are imperfect. They process vast amounts of imperfect intelligence data and do not have the resources to monitor all known suspects 24/7. The French authorities lost track of these extremists long enough for them to carry out their murderous acts. You cannot fix any of this by treating the entire population as suspects and then engaging in suspicionless, blanket collection and processing of personal data.

Mass data collectors can dig deeply into anyone’s digital persona but don’t have the resources to do so with everyone. Surveillance of the entire population, the vast majority of whom are innocent, leads to the diversion of limited intelligence resources in pursuit of huge numbers of false leads. Terrorists are comparatively rare, so finding one is a needle in a haystack problem. You don’t make it easier by throwing more needleless hay on the stack.

It is statistically impossible for total population surveillance to be an effective tool for catching terrorists.

Even if your magic terrorist-catching machine has a false positive rate of 1 in 1000 – and no security technology comes anywhere near this – every time you asked it for suspects in the UK it would flag 60,000 innocent people.

Mass surveillance makes the job of the security services more difficult and the rest of us less secure.

The “statistically impossible” link above takes you to an analysis based on Bayes Theorem. Given any reasonable assumption of base rate (number of terrorists in the population) and misidentification rate (false positives) “domestic monitoring of everyone’s email and phone calls is useless for finding terrorists”. But it would be useful in contexts where the base rate is higher, so it would “very effective for domestic political intelligence”.

The Guardian weighs in:

The Guardian view on mass surveillance: missing the target

The pretext of Paris is being used to reheat the argument for ubiquitous snooping, shorn of the checks and balances that might achieve consent

The Paris gunmen had been on watchlists for years. Building up extra intelligence on all 66 million residents of France would not have helped; keeping an unflinching eye on the few thousands who provoke serious fears might have done. If the question were resources, the spies would deserve a fair hearing. But they seem more interested in the power to add hay to the stack, a perverse way to hunt the needle. For all the claims made for untargeted sifting, the sole “plot” that the US authorities can hold up as having been disrupted by it is a taxi driver’s payment of a few thousand dollars to al-Shabbab. Terrorists, from 9/11 to the Woolwich jihadists and the neo-Nazi Anders Breivik have almost always come to the authorities’ attention before murdering. Society can’t afford too many scruples about the privacy of those who provoke such suspicions.

But snooping on everybody shreds the implicit consent on which all effective government activity – including legitimately secret activity – must rest.

Mass surveillance cannot accomplish its stated goals. It is likely that many within the security / government system understand this full well. But mass surveillance is being pushed on us anyway. This means of course, that it is being used for unstated goals.

Late updates: similar piece here. Short version here.

29 comments on “The mathematics of surveillance”

  1. adam 1

    What unstated goal, FEAR?!?

  2. Colonial Rawshark 2

    Bill Binney and Jacob Appelbaum

    Binney is one of the NSA’s most senior ever whistleblowers. He developed many of the first concepts for surveillance of the internet and the world wide web (to keep up with the volume, velocity and variety of the data going across the web).

    He suggested systems and methods for maintaining the privacy of US citizens and preventing this problem of overwhelming, near-useless mass surveillance. For instance, all captured data would be encrypted and could only be decrypted for individuals one by one, on a court order. His proposals were turned down by the NSA.

    The whole idea is that when you are trying to find a terrorist needle in a haystack, the last thing you want to be doing is adding more irrelevant haystacks.

    Well worth watching.

  3. Lanthanide 3

    “France has blanket electronic surveillance. It didn’t avert what happened.”

    This is a tautology. If it had averted what happened, it wouldn’t have happened, and we wouldn’t have known that it was averted. How many other terrorist plots have been averted? Singling this one out and saying “see, I told you so!” is a stupid argument.

    “Mass surveillance makes the job of the security services more difficult and the rest of us less secure.”

    Where has anyone said that mass surveillance is used as the first piece of evidence for whether someone is a terrorist or not? It makes far more sense that it would be used *after* other evidence has been discovered. Something flags up that person X might be suspicious, so you dig into the records that you’ve been recording of person X for the last 4 years and see what they’ve been up to.

    • tracey 3.1

      and in the example cited above you are proposing “digging” into over 60,000 individuals records… you better hope the ones you find of concern are at the early stages of their planning…

      In any event, that both Sydney and Paris’ murderers were known to the various authorities and they didn’t stop it, or couldn’t, why would being able to “dig into” over 60,000 innocents flagged, have made the difference?

      • Lanthanide 3.1.1

        “and in the example cited above you are proposing “digging” into over 60,000 individuals records… you better hope the ones you find of concern are at the early stages of their planning…”

        No, i’m proposing precisely the opposite of that: you don’t do any “digging” at all until you have a suggestion from some other source that someone might be up to something naughty.

        • tracey 3.1.1.1

          I think you over estimate how much common sense plays a part in our spy services. I suspect that the info, while not great for terrorists may be great for market data mining.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      Where has anyone said that mass surveillance is used as the first piece of evidence for whether someone is a terrorist or not? It makes far more sense that it would be used *after* other evidence has been discovered.

      That would make it targeted surveillance and not mass surveillance, i.e, someone comes to the authorities attention they then put in place surveillance on that person and, from there, others that have connection with that person. Coming to the attention of the authorities comes first. The problem is the mass surveillance that happens without any need or warrant to do so which then becomes the haystack with a needle in it.

      Something flags up that person X might be suspicious, so you dig into the records that you’ve been recording of person X for the last 4 years and see what they’ve been up to.

      There’s no need of that mass surveillance and it actually makes finding the criminals harder as there’s now so much more data to sift through.

    • Ross 3.3

      ” …and we wouldn’t have known that it was averted.”

      Are you serious? The French government would have been broadcasting that result like a spasm. Note the number of cases that the NSA has averted through mass surveillance. ZERO. And we don’t have to “single” out this one. There is the nut job in Sydney, the cop killer in New York and the marathon bombings that just leap to mind as perfect examples of what mass surveillance doesn’t do. ALL of those people had flags all over them. They were known to be deranged and murderous and still it was useless.
      Mass surveillance is never about preventing crime and is always about control.

    • This is a tautology. If it had averted what happened, it wouldn’t have happened, and we wouldn’t have known that it was averted.

      And in the kitchen we use a sieve until it lets a weevil through into the cake mix. That’s how we know the sieve isn’t working, and the number of weevils it stopped beforehand is completely irrelevant.

    • Murray Rawshark 3.5

      I didn’t think the article was that hard to understand.

      We get a fairly good idea of how many terrorist plots have been averted because such a fuss is made whenever an Arab is found with a plastic sword, or the FBI set up a sting on some microencephalic idiot. Given the bullshit they spread, I’d say basically none.

      We get to see their mistakes, and these often turn out to be people they knew about anyway. Mass surveillance is about protecting the wealth because they know the present system is unsustainable and will be shaken by riots and worse if things continue as they have been. They think they can set up a panopticon and keep us all under control. Labour wants to help them.

    • Pete George 3.6

      It’s obvious that all terrorist attacks can’t be prevented. But governments claim that they prevent some. Including the French government.

      French intelligence officials foiled several terrorist attacks in the weeks before the attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine offices, French President Francois Hollande …

      In the past 18 months, French intelligence officials have prevented as many as five terror attacks from taking place in France, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said

      http://mashable.com/2015/01/07/hollande-france-terror-plots-foiled/

      It’s impossible to know how many potential terrorists are deterred by security measures, or whether their actions are limited by security.

      We can’t prevent all attacks: EU anti-terror chief

      The EU’s counter-terrorism chief said Tuesday it is impossible to completely prevent new Islamist attacks like those in Paris, and warned that Europe’s prisons have become a “massive incubator” for radicalisation.

      Gilles de Kerchove told AFP that the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda wanted to launch more attacks on the West…

      De Kerchove warned that the Al-Nusra Front, the Al-Qaeda branch in Syria, is also looking for “clean skins,” Europeans with valid passports and no record of radical activity, to mount attacks in Europe.

      http://www.eubusiness.com/news-eu/france-attacks.zg5

      They can’t have no security. They get severely criticised if their security fails to prevent attacks occasionally. So the pressure is on to prevent attacks, and a range of measures are necessary. Getting the balance between security and privacy right will always be difficult and imperfect.

      No surveillance is hardly an acceptable option. So the argument has to be how much and what type of surveillance is acceptable for a reasonable level of security.

      • Colonial Rawshark 3.6.1

        So you are satisfied with the explanations of how the French intelligence services missed the fact that several people that they had on watch lists pulled this massacre off under their noses?

        Oh that’s right, there have been no actual explanations, not that you actually care for that detail, you’ll give them a pass mark.

        By the way this bullshit line of there needing to be a “balance” between security and privacy stems back to immediately after 9/11 and the Patriot Act. You’ve gotta think we are idiots to keep falling for it again.

        • JRyan 3.6.1.1

          So you say we do not need any surveillance? Security of a country requires a certain amount of information gathering. It is simply naïve to not monitor people that could possibility carry out some warped act of violence. And if one thinks there is no one on our shores that wants to agitate, carry out instructions from afar or simplistic domestic violence then one is disillusioned. Its like saying we do not require a police force. The police are a domestic army.

  4. Treetop 4

    I read today either on stuff.co or the Herald that when it came to Smith’s passport (absconded to Brazil) being issued, facial recognition was used. Even using facial recognition has its failure. Legal name matched the face, so got a passport. Even alias names used were checked.

  5. One Anonymous Bloke 5

    You mean to say the abstract art known as Mathematics has a Liberal bias too!

  6. Truth Will Out 6

    The issue is not mass surveillance.

    The issue is potential misuse of the information for political gain/reasons.

    Through a quirk of fate, I was born in Yemen.

    Even though my parents are both British, and we left there when I was less than 3 months old, it appears on my birth certificate and as my birthplace on my UK & NZ passports.

    This, in itself, is not a problem.

    What IS a problem, however, is that I also happen to have been very outspoken criticising the current government over their handling of one particular issue, and subsequently others.

    In a properly functioning democracy, this would not be a problem.

    But we do not live in a properly functioning democracy.

    What we DO live in now, is a system where a politician like John Key can have me surveilled and even arrested, as well as held indefinitely without charge, on the “suspicion that I might be planning activities” which are not to his government’s liking.

    History has already proven more than once that Key and his goons are more than willing to criminalise dissent at every available opportunity.

    Simply to silence their critics, and intimidate everyone else into conformity and submission.

    And he could do it very, very easily by simply saying “he is from Yemen”.

    And more than half the population will need no further evidence than that to satisfy their minds that I deserve such treatment.

    All they will need is John Key’s word for it, or Chris Finlayson’s,

    People should think about that. They should think about how quickly and easily they dismiss the rights of other people based on accusations and innuendo, because if anything is weakening our democracy and rights, that is.

    It gives power to politicians they should not have, and it places them above the courts, which effectively means we lost World War 2 in reality.

    So, next time you attend an Anzac Dawn Parade, standing there with your hand on your heart, make sure you actually do care about the sacrifices our soldiers made, instead of just pretending to.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      Well said.

    • fisiani 6.2

      Paranoia can be treated. We do live in a totalitarian country. Even a Leftist like you will be treated with respect.

      • Truth Will Out 6.2.1

        @Fisiani

        And so John Key deletes his txt messages because he isn’t paranoid and has nothing to hide?

        He employs teams of people to help him maintain a carefully constructed public image because he just feels like it?

        Your assumptions are laughable.

        I support neither the left nor the right, and I have provided ample evidence on this website to prove it.

        Why do you need to categorise people so much, what are you afraid of?

        You speak with thinly disguised contempt of “respect”, as if it is something I should feel privileged to have conferred upon me by the likes of you.

        Why would I want respect from such an ignorant piece of sh*t like you?

        How would that serve me, when I rate you beneath bacteria in the great scheme of things?

  7. saveNZ 7

    Mass surveillance and all the censorship is making any ‘terrorist’ situation worse in two ways. Firstly by surveilling the masses you are taking away resources from more likely suspects and two you are making any potential terrorists (or nutcase) more careful and less likely to get caught. You want nutcase to speak out on Facebook etc and by using profiling could probably predict more accurately any potential terrorist. You could then surveil them covertly and find out if there is any actual threat. By threatening and over reacting and persecuting innoscent people it is making those people more radicalised, defeating the purpose of containing terrorism – instead it is increasing the risk.

    But let’s face it, mass surveillance is about power and control not terrorism.

    The Illegal war on Iraq on the basis of WMD which was false, and over time seems to have be forgotten that there were no grounds for invasion. Now NZ might be going there to be part of ‘the club’. F@$K these are peoples lives at stake.

    The 911 terrorists were mostly Saudi Arabians. They have terrible human rights record and have just beheaded a woman but But hey, America does nothing to them, but instead concentrating on countries that are not linked to terrorism… that is, until the ‘war on terror’.

    Saudi Arabia publicly beheads woman in holy Mecca as blogger lashings are postponed
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-publicly-beheads-woman-in-holy-mecca-as-blogger-set-to-receive-second-lashing-9982134.html

    It’s perfect capitalism, taxpayers funding the war on terror, and the war industry meeting the market and creating more demand for their services by creating more terrorists.

  8. Pete George 8

    Mass surveillance cannot accomplish its stated goals. It is likely that many within the security / government system understand this full well. But mass surveillance is being pushed on us anyway. This means of course, that it is being used for unstated goals.

    It’s been stated a number of times that we don’t do mass surveillance in New Zealand.

    Prime Minister John Key has released a series of documents ‘setting the record straight’ over claims the GCSB had spied on New Zealanders.

    Mr Key responded quickly to Edward Snowden and Glen Greenwald’s freshest claims – that “if you live in New Zealand, you are being watched” – this afternoon.

    “Claims have been made tonight that are simply wrong and that is because they are based on incomplete information.

    ”There is not, and never has been, a cable access surveillance programme operating in New Zealand.

    “There is not, and never has been, mass surveillance of New Zealanders undertaken by the GCSB.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11325069

    And

    And GCSB spies respond to mass surveillance allegations

    The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) has responded to election week allegations it carries out mass surveillance on New Zealanders, denying its programmes are for anything other than cyber security.

    It’s been likened to scanning of everything on your computer with virus protection but on a country scale. It’s also been said that large companies and organisations have been assisted in cyber protection.

    Early September this year, somewhere in the world unknown computer hackers set their sights on New Zealand. Boffins in charge of security at Telecom, now called Spark, saw a cyber-attack coming in, a big one.

    Its internet and email system went down on the Friday and stayed down for 72 hours.

    The experts are still trying to work out exactly what did happen when foreign hackers took control of 120 home computers.

    Cyber-attacks happen across the world every hour of every day. It’s these sort of attacks the GCSB says it is trying to prevent – shadowy hackers from all over the world, sending out complex viruses to damage big businesses or Government departments, or even getting inside and taking them over.

    My guess is that most people would be happy to have their home computers protected from being taken over.

    There is no direct proof that the GCSB is hovering up the metadata of ordinary New Zealanders, but the cable programme 7148 and the approach to Spark are possible indications that last year it was on the cards and it may be again.

    Mass surveillance/collection of all metadata of New Zealanders by the GCSB is illegal. There are very specific legal processes involved in allowing targeted surveillance.

    Not legal. No proof.

    Mass surveillance is not being pushed on us. What is the unstated goal of implying that it is?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1

      The beige parrot has learned another lie.

      Bzzt.

    • Tracey 8.2

      you didnt actually read the documents he released and compare them to the statements he said they refuted, did you Pete?

      Truly, take the time to actually read the documents the PM declassified to “prove” his point… then go back and read what was said by Snowden

    • Murray Rawshark 8.3

      “My guess is that most people would be happy to have their home computers protected from being taken over.”

      Yeah, you get an antivirus for that, not an all powerful agency full of lying squirrels with allegiance to the Republican caucus of the US and A.

    • Colonial Rawshark 8.4

      Mass surveillance/collection of all metadata of New Zealanders by the GCSB is illegal. There are very specific legal processes involved in allowing targeted surveillance.

      That’s why they get their foreign partners to do it sillybilly.

      You have not been keeping up. Don’t comment on things that you have not been following.

      BTW do you remember when James Clapper National Security Director told a panel of the House that the NSA did not collect the communication information of millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?

      Turns out he was fucking lying through his teeth.

      Given this, and the many other lies the power elite have told us about their systems and activities, what makes you so trusting of the FVEY security apparatus on this side of the Pacific?

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    4 days ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    4 days ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
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    4 days ago
  • A Government System That Works
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    4 days ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
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    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    4 days ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
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    4 days ago
  • Alarming decrease in calves increases fears for endangered Hector’s dolphin
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  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
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    4 days ago
  • Saving lives
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
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    5 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
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    5 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
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    5 days ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
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    5 days ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
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    5 days ago
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    6 days ago
  • The police and public trust
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    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
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    6 days ago
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  • Rāhui day 4
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  • Letter to a friend
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    7 days ago
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  • A test of civil society.
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  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
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  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
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  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
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    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
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    1 week ago
  • The massacre of prisoners in Modelo jail, Bogota, March 21
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    1 week ago
  • We are not America
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • When will we know the lockdown is working?
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    1 week ago
  • Lock Down: Day 1
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    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • A Compelling Recollection.
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  • The Warehouse – where everyone gets a virus
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  • Aggressive action to address climate change could save the world $145 trillion
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  • After the Pandemic
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  • Coronavirus – Cuba shows the way
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  • Using privacy law to prevent the death penalty
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  • It’s Time For Disaster Socialism.
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  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12, 2020
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  • Avoidable hospitalisations: Helping our health system get through COVID-19
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  • Raise the Bar: 10 questions to ask your employer proposing redundancy
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    2 weeks ago

  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
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    1 day ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
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    2 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
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    3 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
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    4 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
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    4 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Deadline for domestic travel extended
    People needing to travel on domestic flights, trains and Cook Strait ferries to get home before the country moves into level 4 lock-down tomorrow night will be able to continue using the passenger services until midnight on Friday, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. Domestic passenger services, particularly ferries, have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Mortgage holiday and business finance support schemes to cushion COVID impacts
    The Government, retail banks and the Reserve Bank are today announcing a major financial support package for home owners and businesses affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. The package will include a six month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and SME customers whose incomes have been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago