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The SAS, the media, and Key

Written By: - Date published: 11:53 am, January 24th, 2010 - 50 comments
Categories: afghanistan, john key, Media - Tags:

I don’t think the SAS should be in Afghanistan. That said, there are good reasons why the activities of the SAS on deployment are meant to be kept secret. Both the media and John Key have behaved incredibly irresponsibly.

Do the publishing of pictures and the name of Willi Apiata after he apparently took part in combat alongside Afghan special forces in Kabul place him and the other SAS soldiers in greater danger? Well, the experts all seem to think so and I have no reason to doubt them. Certainly, I would think that Apiata would be a high value target for the Taliban. It’s hard to see how the deployment of the SAS to Afghanistan would remain politically tenable if Apiata were killed and the Taliban would know that. The experts are saying this will affect the SAS’s operations due to the greater danger they face.

When the picture was first published online by the Herald, it didn’t include Apiata’s name. Apparently, the media thought it was him and asked Key if would confirm it. Which he did. Key says “At the end of the day, I’m not going to stand up and lie to the New Zealand media. If it’s Willie Apiata, it’s Willie Apiata. It was pretty clear to anyone who knows the man that that’s who it was.”

You’re the PM, John. Act like it. If there’s something you can’t tell the media for security reasons say so and don’t tell them. That’s what Clark would have done. You should have said ‘guys, if you publish these pictures and claim one of those people is a national hero you make the SAS a greater target. I’m asking that you will act responsibly’. I doubt the media would have run the pictures in their paper edition or Apiata’s name.

The problem has been that, right from the start, Key has kept on giving the media titbits of information that ought to be kept secret. He gave little hints about what the SAS is up to. He went so far as to say that the SAS would be training a special Afghan commando force but not participating in combat actions with them. It appears that was another lie and it only served to make the media even more interested in signs that the SAS was involved in combat. Again, Key should simply have refused to give any information on what the SAS was doing and refused to confirm any reports from elsewhere. That’s been the practice for decades and for good reason. Key should have shown some responsibility.

So should the media. John Roughan’s attitude – “When you’re on patrol in Kabul we don’t think he’s preserved from being photographed.” – is frankly incredible. I’m glad this plonker wasn’t around during World War 2: ‘when you’re all getting on boats to head to Normandy we don’t think you’re preserved from being photographed’. Informing the public is important but not if it means putting people’s lives in greater danger.

But that’s the media for you. They don’t know the meaning of the word responsibility. This is why Key needed to display some leadership and strength from the start. He ought to have refused to give any information of SAS activities and requested that the media not reveal any. Sometimes being a leader means telling people they can’t have what they want. But Key isn’t that kind of Prime Minister. Not that kind of man. I think he still doesn’t understand the import of his words as Prime Minister and the duty of care that comes with that. He’s too desperate to be liked and keep everyone happy.

50 comments on “The SAS, the media, and Key”

  1. illuminatedtiger 1

    Have a look at this http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/3257154/Key-broke-pledge-on-Kiwis-in-battle – Key mightn’t think so but he has still lied to the NZ public.

  2. Lew 2

    I can’t get concerned about this. Operational security is not so fragile in Afghanistan that it trumps the need for political transparency over what our military is up to. In some cases it would, but this isn’t one of them, in my view. Appeals to Normandy (which was) obscure this distinction.

    I agree with the general critique of Key’s relationship with the media and important official information, though.

    L

  3. Pascal's bookie 3

    “But that’s the media for you.”

    Sho nuff.

    I know that the NZ media can’t afford to send someone over to actually report, and that it’s a complicated and difficult story that they haven’t covered in any real way, meaning that an established simplistic narrative is what they have to base any stories on, but really.

    That this little dust up is about all we have heard about Afghanistan is appalling. We’ve just had 6 weeks of summer fluff in the media. Our political journo’s have had nothing to write about and have been freed from the more intensive news cycle that exists at other times in the year.

    It would have been nice if some of them had used the time to do some in depth researched reporting on various stories that need it. Like strategic developments in the places we have deployed our military.

    Some interesting stuff on the US State Depts latest efforts here , details from a leaked document here , Pakistan no longer playing ball here , and so on and so forth

    • bill 3.1

      I don’t quite see why ‘being freed from the more intensive news cycle’ is a necessary prerequisite for putting news into reporting.

      It’s not as though they put news into reporting during the ‘intensive news cycle’ when they are reporting on topics they are familiar and comfortable with.

      And it’s not as though people like you or me are not capable of becoming quite knowledgeable about so called difficult and complicated stories even although we hold down full time, time consuming jobs or whatever.

      Journalists have no excuse and should be given none.

      Even if their employer would not print substantive news pieces, why are these people not using their investigative know how, contacts and word craft to put substantive commentary on blogs ( either their own or on the likes of the standard)?

      Is it because they lack all the necessary skill set that would set a journalist apart from a lackey?

      • Pascal's bookie 3.1.1

        Yeah, didn’t mean to imply that we don’t need better, or that there is an excuse. I don’t know, they are what they do I guess.

        One more link for those interested. real long, with attached papers on where and how the hearts and minds strategy is going; a proposal and a dissent. the blog post itself is pretty damning, the strategy itself is potentially related to what we have signed our SAS up for.

        Yet another blog worth bookmarking, both for the commentary that is there, and for the linked articles and documents:

        Petraeus and McChrystal Drink Major Gant’s Snake Oil</a

      • BLiP 3.1.2

        Is it because they lack all the necessary skill set that would set a journalist apart from a lackey?

        Yes. And the reason for that is the training has been taken over by the industry itself. The last thing the industry wants are people who think for themselves and hold true to the ideals of the Fourth Estate.

  4. felix 4

    Either Bill summed it up pretty well here or I’m just too cynical for this kind of thing.

  5. These jackasses did it, to sell papers.

  6. Gooner 6

    You’re the PM, John. Act like it. If there’s something you can’t tell the media for security reasons say so and don’t tell them. That’s what Clark would have done.

    Except when you tell lies to the media to get the police commissioner removed from his job.

    http://sirhumphreys.blogspot.com/2005/09/clark-leaked-lies-to-sst-after-shed.html

    • Pascal's bookie 6.1

      Hey! Look! Over there! Aiiiieeeee!!

    • RedLogix 6.2

      Actually Gooner has a point in an assbackwards sort of way.

      I recall an interview with HC on NatRad some years ago when she admitted that she regretted her actions over the Peter Doone affair. As she explained it, she had spent many years in Opposition working hard to court media attention, and the habit of being openly available to journalists at all times. Of course the Peter Doone affair arose literally within the first few weeks of her taking office as PM, and in hindsight she realised that she had failed to change her handling of the media… that she openly answered questions that were being put to her, as if she was still the Leader of the Opposition, rather than taking into account the new realities of being PM. It was a mistake HC learned from.

      It’s not unrealistic to suggest that Key has made a similar sort of mistake here… only the consequences could well be far more severe… and after 14 months on the job as PM, I would have thought this an unforced error he should not have made.

  7. Blue 7

    The Herald published a photo of two SAS guys. It didn’t name them or give any specific information about where they were or what they were doing. Stuff published the photo on their site later, but again, no names or details.

    Then Key stuck his big oar in, and named one of them as Willie Apiata. And every media outlet in the country could now name Apiata and publish the photo because the PM himself basically gave them carte blanche to do so.

    He should have just shut it and said he couldn’t comment on security matters. If he had done that, no media outlet would have named him, because they couldn’t be sure about his identity.

    If the VC now has a target on his back, it’s thanks to Key, not the media.

  8. BLiP 8

    Ooops. Having just slagged off journalists for not doing their job, it would seem Kerry Williamson at the DomPost has made it quite clear that John Key lied through his teeth when he said; “I’m not going to lie to the media”. Hat tip, Tumeke.

    Before the election it must be remembered that John Key also said:

    I’ll be New Zealand’s first Jewish Prime Minister . . . . . . we apply Christian principles in our household . . . . . . actually, I’m a bit of an agnostic”

    As was pointed out yesterday, John Key will say whatever he thinks we want to hear. Coward.

  9. Anne 9

    I think Blue has summed it up neatly.

    It’s yet another example of Key’s inability to think appropriately when the occasion demands it.

  10. Blue 10

    It really gets my goat that this has been let slide. Everyone has got stuck into the media over this, which, while admittedly an enjoyable pastime, is completely missing the point.

    This is a huge blunder from Key. His first really big stuff up on national security. And no one is picking up on it.

    We have a loose-lipped PM who can’t be trusted to keep his mouth shut with sensitive information.

    Shouldn’t someone be paying more attention to that?

  11. TB 11

    On a lighter note. Those are two serious looking dudes in that photo….The Herald editor must have balls of steel….. or be extremely stupid… to risk pissing those guys off.

  12. todd 12

    Either Im a fucking genious or Eddie,you are bloody blind.who the hell did you think the pic was?.

    • Eddie 12.1

      It’s irrelevant whether it was obviously Apiata or not. Key shouldn’t have confirmed. Or denied, for that matter.

  13. todd 13

    Oh wait a minute,I didnt think, its Chris Carter in disguise.

  14. Horse 14

    Wasn’t the original photo picked up because it was published in the NY Times? With the soldiers identified as being from NZ? I’m not sure if the photo was available on the web at the Times, but whining at the NZ media over this seems so…… pre-internet.

  15. Rich 15

    A cynic would think that Apiata is being set up to be killed in Afghanistan and provide a casus belli for further NZ involvement (avenging dead heroes).

    I don’t think that in a democracy one can suppress such photos. Even if the NZ media didn’t run it, it’s such a good photo that the agencies would pick it up as a file pic. What else could they do – shoot the photographer?

    • Lew 15.1

      Substitute ‘cynic’ for ‘raving paranoiac conspiracy nut’ and you might have an argument.

      Agree completely regarding the photo, though.

      L

  16. reddy 16

    Surely the war in Afghanistan is now being set up as publicity for the government?

    This changes the narrative of the war. It is now being used as a publicity stunt. Kiwi elite commando hero kicks arse!

    All other questions about whether we should be there, if the SAS should be there not our reconstruction team that was successful, or if the war is proving a hard sell in the U.S….

    to go out on a limb it is war porn. We see the soldier and the gun with a determined look on his face. We don’t see carnage.

    Would we glamourise the armed offenders squad in this way?

  17. Jenny 17

    Is Corporal Willie Apiata New Zealand’s, real life version, of Colonel Miles Quarich?

  18. regardless of them both being kiwi or it being Willie Apiata, it’s a stunning photo and you can tell he posed for it cos he’s staring right down the barrell.

  19. First of all,

    John Key doesn’t lie to the press? Lord Ashcroft, shares scandal, Bankers trust, Krieger anyone?

    Second,

    Do you guys read the newspapers at all? Apiata was given $ 35.000,- worth of press training paid for by defence. The guy is a bought and paid for propaganda tool. He was taught how to slomo towards any camera pointed at him whenever and give them a Rambo stare while shaking his carefully coiffed warrior manes.

    Deuh!

    I wonder how many Maori kids will want to be just like him. That should get rid of some of the unemployed young males who might get angry in the near future when they see more of their Iwi’s land get grabbed what with all the mining being planned as we speak.

    Captcha: MISUNDERSTANDING. Yeah, right.

    • Bill 19.1

      $35 000?

      Makes you wonder just how slow the guy might be on the uptake, dunnit?.

      You think they should do a NZ Next Top War Porn Model comp and recoup that training outlay through the advertising revenue? Maybe Colgate would be interested in sponsoring….”Kinder Killer Smiles” or “Death Smiles Whiter With Colgate” or whatever….

      Maybe Ron Mark could be on the jury? John too, seeing as how he has that gushing school boy enthusiasm thing going…should resonate well with the target audience.

      • travellerev 19.1.1

        That or he gets paid a ton to star as the NZ Rambo. I mean what an ad for the NZ army, eh?

        Excellent idea and while we’re at it we might as well do a who’s the cutest army babe as in those women who go for soldiers and military types. LOL.

    • Tony 19.2

      @ traevllerev: I doubt the army spent as much as you claim on media training for Apiata, that was probably the total cost for “media training” as you put it for a number of people, of which Apiata was but one. Organisations often have their staff undertake media training, for a variety of reasons, none of which are sinister. However it is true that Apiata was given media training, as any good employer would, and should have, given the situation. It is important to note that Apiata didn’t ask to be awarded the VC and I strongly doubt he could have refused the VC. The decision to award the VC is made by the Prime Minister. That Apiata deserved the VC is beyond doubt.

      The mana and dignity of Apiata’s and my people, demanded he be given the recognition and respect that he was given. Describing Apiata dismissively as “Rambo” is offensive to him and our people. Being the liberal white racist that you are this is probably something beyond your understanding. Oh and before you ask “Yessir I is one stroppy nigger”

      BTW – Are you really so stupid that you think that 9/11 was an inside job?

      Catchpa: STUPID WHITE PEOPLE!

      • travellerev 19.2.1

        Tony,

        The amount described was a quote from a New Zealand mainstream media. In fact I link to that Newspaper.

        By the way if you are really so stupid to believe that 19 Saudi young men can hijack four air planes with box cutters, fly around for a couple of hours without any intervention from the biggest most well equipped air force in the world, crash into two towers and collapse three towers of that complex into a pyroclastic flow in freefall speed (Never happened before and never happened after) and all because a madman in a cave in Afghanistan told them too I got a real nice piece of rainforest in the Sahara for sale.

        • travellerev 19.2.1.1

          Added to that:

          If you link to my blog you will find that I have no disrespect for Willy Apiata’s courage and achievements.

          But if you think I’m going to shut up about the whole (white man’s) use of the man as a propaganda tool because that might be construed as racist you’re sadly mistaken.

          I’m not a man by the way in my case the captcha should have been stupid white woman but seeing as it comes from a Maori naive enough to believe the white man’s trash and lies I will not take that to serious.

          Have a nice day

          • Tony 19.2.1.1.1

            “…. a Maori naive enough…” Wow you really are racist aren’t you? No doubt you think that us brown fellas should just sit in the corner and be quiet, let the liberal white “woman” (I was going to say person but you’ve made the point that your’e a woman) who knows better do the talkin for us. It must grate to have a “brown fella” talkin back to ya.

            What you wrote earlier about Apiata was an intended insult by you towards him and our people and therefore racist. You trample on our mana like we are dirt. BTW the head of the army is Maori, is he just another brown fella doin the white mans work? Consider yourself lucky, if you insulted us 170 years ago we would have hit you over the head and put you in the hungi, haha only joking… the old people said that silly white women didn’t taste very nice.

            At least with right-wing white people (men & woman) they call a spade a spade. Liberal white “women” like you are just as racist but you don’t have the guts to say it to our face.

            As for “Arab Men” not being able to mastermind and carry out the 9/11 attacks, are you are saying that non white people are incapable are incapable of such a thing? you nothing of Arab history. As for how the buildings collapsed its simple – after the planes flew into the buildings gravity and the nature of the construction took care of the rest. My friends watched the planes hit the buildings from across the river.

            BTW – you describe the teleban as freedom fighters! They would rape & mutilate you in the blink of an eye.

            • felix 19.2.1.1.1.1

              I don’t even believe that you are maori.

              If you were, you’d be the first I’ve come across with your level of written language who can’t spell “hangi”.

              I call shenanigans on “Tony”.

              (captcha: “failed” Ha!)

              • Tony

                Sorry….my level of written language is too good to be maori? Who are you decide on who is and who isn’t maori? And you’re commenting on a spelling mistake… as my daughter would say “like OMG….get a life”.

              • felix

                No, your level of written language is too good to not be able to spell “hangi” unless you had no connection whatsoever with maori culture.

                You’ve been rolled. Now fuck off.

            • travellerev 19.2.1.1.1.2

              Jeez, hungi. LOL

      • pollywog 19.2.2

        Rambo was the man and being likened to him hardly constitutes an insult !!!

        i cant get over the power of that picture though , even more so when you consider who it is.

        so basically, Willie and his mate have just flushed out the enemy, dealt with them and are now returning to base. meanwhile a french photographer happens to be there so Willie walks straight towards him staring down the camera.

        legendary stuff

        • quenchino 19.2.2.1

          You have to get the fact that he is likely to have just killed a bunch of people.

          As with almost all the casualties of war; most were just the brothers and sons of very ordinary folk, living very ordinary lives…. now scarred by yet more deprivation and grief.

          • pollywog 19.2.2.1.1

            You have to get the fact that he is likely to have just killed a bunch of people.

            yeah i get that and thats what contributes to the power and intrigue of the picture, cos you have no idea what Willie’s thinking, only that this is how he looks when he does his job.

            its for others to determine the morality of his actions and propagandize it how they see fit. he’s cool with it, it’s an occupational hazard he takes on.

            to live by the sword, and you can tell he’s fully prepared to die by it too, with absolutely no fear.

            mean maori mean:)

            • Bill 19.2.2.1.1.1

              Porn…….wanker…….

            • felix 19.2.2.1.1.2

              cos you have no idea what Willie’s thinking

              Uh huh.

              to live by the sword, and you can tell he’s fully prepared to die by it too, with absolutely no fear.

              So now you can tell. Goodo.

              Ditto bill.

            • Bill 19.2.2.1.1.3

              @polywog

              In your eyes the guy is a hero….a ‘mans man’…and all the rest of that hero stuff.

              Ok. Fine.

              But you still going to idolise the soldiers who will return traumatised and incapable of readjusting to what for us passes as ‘normality’ if and when the strange little party in their head blows?

              Or are you going to turn on them at that point, your cheap vicarious little thrill long forgotten, and demand max sentences as you decry them for not being man enough to hack it?

              Just wondering.

              • pollywog

                But you still going to idolise the soldiers who will return traumatised and incapable of readjusting to what for us passes as ‘normality’ if and when the strange little party in their head blows?

                been watching Rambo again huh Bill? You know thats just a movie eh not a documentary ?

                we already know Willie has no fear and accepts death because of his past actions. you dont get a VC for talking tuff on teh interwebz. you get it for being heroic !!!

  20. tc 20

    I feel for any responsible servant of the crown who have to bring this kind of sensitive information to the PM knowing what a PR driven individual he is.

    Much like the an incompetant manager who has to be kept in the loop, yet lacks the intellect to handle the info correctly and undermines/jepordises the potential outcomes.

    Corporate style gov’t brings corp style behaviour…….man at top not there on merit just pleasing to the various factions who have a say.

  21. ben 21

    If this web site ever gave Key credit for anything, then your advice might have meant something. But we all know had he said what you suggest, he’d have been accused of something else, double speak or treating the people like idiots, or something.

    Key simply said what was obvious. Don’t try to pretend the cat was not out of the bag.

    • You are absolutely right,

      John Key would have lied if he had had the chance. he always does and only comes clean when the cat is already out of the bag.

      Here he just followed what was in his diary and here he lies about his tranzrail shares just to mention a few.

      As he said in the end of the day he doesn’t lie to the press but only if they do their job and catch him out.

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    Recently more than 150 post-graduate students and young scientists presented an open letter to the Green Party via The Spinoff, encouraging them to reconsider their position on genetic modification. Their target is tackling climate change issues.[1] Can any party continue to be dismissive about genetic modification (GM) contributing to ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    5 days ago
  • Class, Identity Politics and Transgender Ideology
    by Deirdre O’Neill Under Thatcher and then Blair and continuing up until our contemporary moment, the working class has seen its culture slowly and progressively destroyed. The change from an industrial society to a service society produced a marked shift in focus from the working class as the backbone of ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Irony
    Since 2013, the Australian government has detained refugees without trial in Pacific gulags, where they are abused, tortured, and driven to suicide. The policy is not just an abuse of human rights and possible crime against humanity; it has also had a corrosive effect on the states Australia uses as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • An age of protest.
    It seems fair to say that we currently live in a problematic political moment in world history. Democracies are in decline and dictatorships are on the rise. Primordial, sectarian and post-modern divisions have re-emerged, are on the rise or have been accentuated by political evolutions of the moment such as ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Another captured agency
    Last month, Greenpeace head Russel Norman surrendered his speaking slot at an EPA conference to student climate activist Sorcha Carr, who told the EPA exactly what she thought of them. It was a bold move, which confronted both regulators and polluters (or, as the EPA calls them, "stakeholders") with the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • NZ First’s dodgy loans
    The core principle supposedly underlying New Zealand's electoral finance regime is transparency: parties can accept large donations from rich people wanting to buy policy, but only if they tell the public they've been bought. Most parties abide by this, so we know that TOP was wholly-owned by Gareth Morgan, and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Member’s Day: The choice on End of Life Choice
    Today is a Member's Day, probably the second-to-last one of the year, and its a big one, with the Third Reading of David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill. last Member's Day it was reported back from committee, after MPs voted narrowly to make it subject to a (rules TBA) ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • How growth in population and consumption drives planetary change
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz The growth of the human population over the last 70 ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • The disappearing Women …
    by The Council of Disobedient Women In her excellent oral submission to the Abortion reform select committee on 31st October on behalf of Otago University’s Department of Public Health, historian and public health researcher Hera Cook stated: “We would ask that the committee not use the term ‘pregnant persons’ and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • “A Passage to India”: enduring art in changing times
    by Don Franks In 1957, E M Forster wrote, of his greatest work: “The India described in ‘A Passage to India’ no longer exists either politically or socially. Change had begun even at the time the book was published ( 1924) and during the following quarter of a century it ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Contemptuous
    The Referendums Framework Bill was due back from select committee today. But there's no report on it. Instead, the bill has been bounced back to the House under Standing order 29593) because the Committee didn't bother to produce one. They probably tried. But given the membership of the committee (which ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Zero Carbon: It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law
    Two years into New Zealand’s Labour-led government, the long-delayed Zero Carbon Bill became law on 7 November. Passed essentially unanimously, the lengthy public debates and political manoeuvring faded away until the final passage was even anticlimactic: Flipping through the @nzstuff @DomPost I was starting to wonder if I’d dreamt ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: What happens next?
    Now the Zero Carbon Bill is law, what's next? Obviously, the ETS changes currently before select committee are going to be the next battleground. But we're also going to get a good idea of where we're going, and if the progress the Zero Carbon Act promises is good enough, during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Climate change will fuel bush fires
    Grant Pearce The effects of the current Australian bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland (and also again in California) are devastating and far-reaching. To date, the fires have resulted in several lives being lost and many homes and properties destroyed. Here in New Zealand, the impacts have been only ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Participation rates
    A passing comment in a post the other day about the labour force participation rates of older people prompted me to pull down the fuller data and see what we could see about various participation rates over the decades since the HLFS began in 1986.   As it happens, the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Reddell
    1 week ago
  • Not So Much “OK Boomer” As “OK Ruling Class”.
    Distract And Divert: The rise of what we have come to call “Identity Politics” represents the ideological manifestation of the ruling class’s objective need to destroy class politics, and of the middle-class’s subjective need to justify their participation in the process.THE RELIEF of the ruling class can only be imagined. ...
    1 week ago
  • Asking for it …
    "I saw a newspaper picture,From the political campaignA woman was kissing a child,Who was obviously in pain.She spills with compassion,As that young child'sFace in her hands she gripsCan you imagine all that greed and avariceComing down on that child's lips?" ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand’s Poor Pandemic Preparedness According to the Global Health Security Index
    Dr Matt Boyd, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson The Global Health Security Index which considers pandemic threats has just been published. Unfortunately, NZ scores approximately half marks (54/100), coming in 35th in the world rankings – far behind Australia. This poor result suggests that the NZ Government needs to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Thank Winston
    The Zero Carbon Act is inadequate, with a weak methane target designed to give farmers a free ride. But it turns out it could have been worse: Climate Change Minister James Shaw was so desperate to get National on board, he wanted to gut that target, and leave it in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Illicit markets and Bali Booze
    The Herald reprints an Australian story on a couple of tragic deaths in Bali from drinking cocktails that had methanol in them.  The story argues that methanol is likely the result of home distillation. But what the young tourists were experiencing was far from a hangover. They’d consumed a toxic cocktail ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    1 week ago
  • This is not what armed police are for
    Last month, the police announced a trial of specialist roaming armed units, which would drive round (poor, brown) areas in armoured SUVs, armed to the teeth. When they announced the trial, they told us it was about having armed police "ready to attend major incidents at any time if needed". ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Spain’s failed electoral gamble
    Spain went to the polls today in the second elections this year, after the Socialists (who had come to power in a confidence vote, then gone to the polls in April) rejected the offer of a coalition with the left-wing PoDemos, and instead decided to gamble n a better outcome ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The astroturf party
    National has finally rolled out its "BlueGreen" astroturf party, fronted by an array of former nats and people who were dumped by the Greens for not being Green enough. Its initial pitch is described by Stuff as "very business-friendly", and its priorities are what you'd expect: conservation, predator-free funding, a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How to cheat at university
    A couple of days ago I attended (and spoke at) the University of Waikato’s “LearnFest” event. There were lots of talks and sessions on very diverse aspects of teaching, mostly at tertiary level. One was by Myra Williamson from Te Piringa Faculty of Law here at Waikato, on Contract Cheating ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    1 week ago
  • How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury
    There will be a transit of Mercury – the planet Mercury will pass across the face of the Sun – taking place at sunrise in New Zealand on Tuesday, 12th November. It was by observing such an event 250 years ago that James Cook and his scientist colleagues were able ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Georgina Beyer: We need to be able to talk without being offended
    Since becoming the world’s first openly transexual mayor and member of parliament, Georgina Beyer has been recognised as a trailblazer for trans rights. Daphna Whitmore talks with her about where she sees the current trans movement We start out talking about legislation the government put on hold that would have ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
    If FFNZ really put their faith in “Top Medical Journals” they would now be amending their billboards to recognise new research results. Image from FFNZ but updated to agree with the latest research. ...
    1 week ago
  • Chosen To Rule? What Sort Of Christian Is Chris Luxon?
    National Messiah? Chris Luxon identifies himself as an evangelical Christian. If he is genuine in this self-characterisation, then he will take every opportunity his public office provides to proselytise on behalf of his faith. He will also feel obliged to bear witness against beliefs and practices he believes to be ...
    1 week ago
  • War of the worms
    I'm going to make a Reckless Prediction™ that the Tories have 'topped out' in the 'poll of polls' / Britain Elects multipoll tracker at about 38%, and in the next week we will start to see Labour creep up on them.In fact, we might just be seeing the start of ...
    1 week ago
  • Marvelly shows us how to be a feminist without feminism
    by The Council of Disobedient Women Lizzie Marvelly: “I may have missed this… has @afterellen gone all terf-y? Or am I reading something incorrectly? “ https://twitter.com/LizzieMarvelly/status/1191840059105742849 After Ellen is a lesbian website that is unashamedly pro-lesbian, as you’d expect. So why is Ms Marvelly so bothered about lesbians having their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Out of the past – Tories to revive racist laws from the 16th century
    Did you know there once was a time when it was illegal to be a gypsy (aka Romani) in Britain?That was between 1530, when the Egyptians Act was passed, and 1856, when it was repealed.Amongst other things, the act forbade the entry of 'Egyptians' into England, ordered those already there ...
    1 week ago
  • 1000 of these now
    Some days I sit and think, “what will I write…?” What do you say when you get to 1000 posts? Maybe you just start where you are, diverge to where this all began, then offer a collection of reader’s favourite posts, and a few of your own? (And throw in ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Has Shane Jones Just Saved NZ First?
    Counter-Puncher: The “activists” and “radicals” (his own words) from the Indian community who took such strong exception to Shane Jones’ remarks about Immigration NZ’s treatment of arranged marriages, may end up bitterly regretting their intervention. Jones is not the sort of person who turns the other cheek to his critics.SHANE ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: As predicted
    Yesterday, when National voted for the Zero Carbon Bill, I predicted they'd gut it the moment they regained power, just as they had done to the ETS. And indeed, they have explicitly promised to do exactly that within their first hundred days in office. What would their amendments do? Abandon ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Let this never be forgot
    In the spirit of Remember, remember the fifth of November, let's keep this in mind FOREVER.
    Oh dear. Extraordinary interview on PM with Andrew Bridgen and @EvanHD just now. Bridgen was defending Jacob Rees Mogg’s Grenfell comments. Evan asked him if JRM had meant to say he would have left ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Too Late To Change Capitalism’s Flightpath?
    Collision Course? In conditions of ideological white-out, the international bankers’ “Woop-Woop! Pull Up!” warning may have come too late to save global capitalism.WHAT DOES IT MEAN when international bankers are more willing to embrace radical solutions than our politicians and their electors? At both the International Monetary Fund and the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Whooping cough vaccine works well despite its imperfections
    Pertussis (whooping cough) is a conundrum. It is a disease that was described hundreds of years ago and the bacteria that causes it (Bordetella pertussis) isolated in 1906. We have had vaccines for about 80 years but this disease is defiant in the face of human immunity. I wanted to ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Passed
    The Zero Carbon Bill has just passed its third reading, uanimously. In the end, National supported it - but we all know they'll turn around and gut it the moment they regain power. Meanwhile, I guess ACT's David Seymour didn't even bother to show up. I am on record as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Retailing of vaping products – New NZ Research
    Dr Lindsay Robertson, Dr Jerram Bateman, Professor Janet Hoek Members of the public health community hold divergent views on how access to vaping products or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) products should be arranged. Some believe ENDS should be as widely available as smoked tobacco and argue for liberal ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Justice for Bomber
    When the Police were trying to cover up for the National Party over Dirty Politics, they went all-in with their abuses of power. They illegally search Nicky Hager's house, violating his journalistic privilege and invading his privacy. They unlawfully acquired Hager's bank records. They did the same to left-wing blogger ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Britain’s climate tyranny was unlawful
    Last month, in response to a wave of protests by Extinction Rebellion, the British government purported to ban their protests from the whole of London. It was a significant interference with the freedoms of expression and assembly, and another sign of the country's decline into tyranny. But now, a court ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • More crime from the spies
    Last year, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security reported on significant problems with the intelligence warrant system. While they were unwilling to declare any warrant "irregular" (meaning unlawful) due to the recent law change, they were also not willing to give the system a clean bill of health. Now, they've ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Vaccination, compulsion, and paternalism for the lower orders
    The National Party has come out in support of encouraging greater vaccination uptake. But it sure isn’t the way I’d do it. National’s suggested docking the benefits of those on benefit whose kids aren’t keeping up with their vaccinations. Some in National have suggested extending that to payments under Working ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    2 weeks ago
  • Global Protests Rage On: But Slogans Are Not Plans.
    Feeding The Flames: It is simply not enough to demand an end to “corruption”, or “inequality”, or the overbearing influence of the authorities in Beijing. These are just “lowest common denominator” demands: the sort of slogans that pull people onto the streets. They are not a plan.WHERE’S THE PLAN? Across ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 11,000 employed under Labour
    The labour market statistics have been released, and unemployment has risen to 4.2%. There are 115,000 unemployed - 11,000 fewer than when Labour took office. In that time the minimum wage has gone up by $2 an hour, which shows that the right's fears about increases causing unemployment are simply ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Boycott this democratic fraud
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has called for submissions on Andrew Little's tyrannical Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill. Normally I encourage participation in the democratic process. I am not doing so in this case. Instead, I encourage all of you to boycott this submissions process, and to post ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Why Mars is cold despite an atmosphere of mostly carbon dioxide
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz If tiny concentrations of carbon dioxide can hold enough heat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Ban private jets
    Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and within it, one of the fastest sources is elite travel: billionaires flitting around the world in their private jets, spewing excessive pollution into the atmosphere just so they can avoid mixing with us dirty peasants. But in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Untold Suffering
    That's what we face if we don't stop climate change, according to a warning from 11,000 scientists:The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society, according to a stark warning from more than 11,000 scientists. “We declare clearly and unequivocally ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The left and violent misogyny
    by Phil Duncan Here’s just a few of the kind of threats issued day in and day out against gender-critical women – feminists, marxists, etc – overwhelmingly by MEN (albeit men identifying as women). “Kill all Terfs”. “Shoot a Terf today”. “All terfs deserve to be shot in the head”. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and the iPhone
    This is the third of the 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. Unlike the humble cup of coffee and t-shirt that we looked at in ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The freshwater mussel housing crisis: eviction by invasive weeds?
    Tom Moore Traditionally a food source and cutting tool, freshwater mussels/kākahi are now widely valued as water filters that help clean our waterbodies and maintain ecosystem health throughout Aotearoa. The improvement they provide in water quality can make it easier for other animals to live in streams and rivers, as ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago

  • Wayne Brown hits back at critics: Ports of Auckland has to move
    The chairman of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy (UNISCS) working group, Wayne Brown, has hit back at critics of his group’s recommendations to relocate the Ports of Auckland cargo operations to Whangarei’s deepwater port of Northport. The working group's recommendation to close Auckland waterfront to all but cruise ...
    21 hours ago
  • Week That Was: Supporting our schools
    We're setting our young people up for success, investing in education around the country.  ...
    1 day ago
  • Kiwis to have their say on End of Life Choice
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First backs the public to decide on the End of Life Choice Bill via a referendum at the 2020 General Election. The Bill, with New Zealand First’s referendum provision incorporated, passed its final reading in Parliament this evening. New Zealand First Spokesperson for ...
    5 days ago
  • Addressing miscarriages of justice
    Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Justice New Zealand First is proud that a key Coalition Agreement commitment which will provide for a more transparent and effective criminal justice system has been realised. Legislation to establish the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body focused on identifying and responding to possible miscarriages of ...
    6 days ago
  • Week That Was: Historic action on climate change
    "Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy... I hope that means that future generations will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history." - Jacinda Ardern, Third Reading of the Zero Carbon Bill ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tax-free deployments for Kiwi troops
    Darroch Ball, New Zealand First List MP A Member’s bill has been proposed that would provide income tax exemptions for all New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel while on operational deployment overseas. The Income Tax (Exemption for Salary or Wages of NZDF Members on Active Deployment) Amendment Bill proposed by New Zealand First ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A balanced Zero Carbon Bill passed
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader New Zealand First is proud to have brought common sense to the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, which passed its final reading in Parliament today. Party Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters says months of hard work went into negotiating a balanced ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Paramedics’ status to be recognised
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First has listened to calls to recognise paramedics as registered health professionals under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (the Act). Today, the Coalition Government announced plans for paramedics to be registered as health practitioners under the Act, and the establishment of a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: 2,000 teachers in two years
    We began the week by commemorating the New Zealand Wars and celebrating a major increase in the number of teachers. Then, we were busy supporting offenders into work and getting our rail back on track after years of underinvestment. And that's just the start! ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Winning an election one conversation at a time
    In October I was sworn in as the Mayor of Lower Hutt. It’s the privilege of my life to serve Hutt people as their Mayor. There is something really special to be able to serve the community where I was raised, and where I live.   ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Closer cooperation with Korean horse racing industry
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Racing Racing Minister Winston Peters met with Korea Racing Authority Chairperson Nak Soon Kim in Seoul today to discuss closer cooperation between the New Zealand and Korean horse racing industries. As part of the visit to the Seoul Racecourse, Mr Peters witnessed ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Otago to lead digital creativity
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10 million to establish Otago as the centre of New Zealand’s creative digital industry over the next ten years, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “The initiative will bring us closer to the vision of ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Young Otago students encouraged to take on forestry careers
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)’s skills and employment programme will help young Otago people into long-term forestry careers, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Te Ara Mahi will invest $63,000 in the 2020 school year to support eight 17 and 18 ...
    3 weeks ago
  • PGF backing Dunedin’s waterfront ambitions
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will support local plans to revitalise and stimulate economic development opportunities in Otago, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The four Regional Economic Development Ministers have approved an in-principle investment of $19.9 million towards the region’s ...
    3 weeks ago

  • New housing part of support for Kaumātua
    The Government is building special housing to accommodate one of Aotearoa’s greatest taonga- our kaumātua, says the Minister for Māori Development, Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Speaking at a National Kaumātua Service Providers Conference in Rotorua today, the Minister reinforced the importance kaumātua play in maintaining and passing on mātauranga Māori, knowledge, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 hours ago
  • Forestry helps prisoners into jobs
    Eleven men from a pilot forestry training programme for prisoners in Northland now have full time jobs or job offers upon release, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis and Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced today. The ‘release to work’ programme was a collaboration between Te Uru Rākau and the Department of Corrections, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Reform of public service a step closer
    Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins today introduced into Parliament a Bill that will make it easier for the public service to tackle the biggest challenges facing Governments. The Bill represents the most significant change in the public service in 30 years. The State Sector Act 1988 will be repealed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Donations scheme to relieve pressure on families
    The families of more than 416,000 students will be better off next year as their schools have signed up to the Government’s donations scheme, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. The scheme will see almost $62.5 million in additional Government funding go to schools nationwide next year. “I’m really pleased ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Further support for Samoan measles outbreak
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced further support as the Government of Samoa responds to a serious measles outbreak. “New Zealand will deploy a further 18 vaccination nurses, bringing the total to 30 working in Samoa over the next four weeks,” Mr Peters said. “A New Zealand Medical Assistance ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Speech to the Child Poverty Action Group 2019 Summit
      Fa’atalofa atu, malo e lelei, Kia ora koutou katoa Thank you to the Child Poverty Action Group for asking me to be here today to provide an update on some of the things that have been happening across my the social development portfolio.  Can I firstly acknowledge the vast ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Annual Conference
    ***Please check against delivery*** Good morning everyone. It is a pleasure to be with you this morning to open this year’s New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Conference and AGM. Firstly, thank you Dr Alan Jackson, NZTR Chair for your introduction. And let us acknowledge also: The NZTR Board; Dean McKenzie, Chair ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Fairer rules for tenants and landlords
    The Government has delivered on its promise to the over one million New Zealanders who now rent to make it fairer and more secure, Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Kris Faafoi has announced today. Both renters and landlords will benefit from the suite of practical changes to the Residential ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Two decades of marine protection celebrated at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako in Tairawhiti
    A marine conservation milestone - the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve - is being celebrated today at a community event in Tairāwhiti/East Coast attended by the Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “The creation of this marine reserve in November 1999 was a game ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Food industry asked to step up fight against obesity
         The Government is asking the food industry to step up work to tackle obesity including reducing sugar, fat and salt in their products, better information for consumers, and tighter restrictions on advertising to children. Health Minister David Clark and Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor have responded to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Modern emergency care for Queenstown area
    ew, modern emergency department and outpatient facilities at Queenstown’s Lakes District Hospital mean better emergency care for the growing tourist mecca’s visitors and locals, says Health Minister David Clark. Today Dr Clark officially opened the hospital’s redeveloped Emergency Department and Outpatient facilities. The new facilities include: •    An extended Emergency Department ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Contraception important for New Zealanders
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter says today’s release of sexual and reproductive health data reinforces the significance of the Government’s commitment to providing free or very low-cost contraception. The Ministry of Health today published statistics from the Ministry of Health’s 2014/15 Health Survey. “It is important people can make ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ medical staff and measles vaccines going to Samoa
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced that at the request of the Samoan Government, New Zealand will be providing further support to Samoa as it faces a worsening measles outbreak. “In response to a request from the people of Samoa, New Zealand is providing 3000 measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Disability Action Plan 2019 – 2023
    “The new Disability Action Plan 2019–2023 moves us towards the inclusive and accessible New Zealand that this government has committed to,” Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni announced today.  “The Action Plan was designed by disabled people, their family and supporters, the disability sector and government agencies. It will ensure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Joint Statement – Third Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting
    Third Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting 14 November 2019 Joint Statement 1. Defence Ministers Ron Mark and Dr Ng Eng Hen today conducted their third annual Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Singapore. 2. Building on the Enhanced Partnership signed between both countries in May this year, this annual meeting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Sexual Violence Legislation Bill has its first reading
    A Bill to improve the court system’s response to sexual violence has passed its first reading in Parliament today. Justice Minister Andrew Little says the Sexual Violence Legislation Bill will reduce the trauma sexual violence complainants experience in court, while maintaining defendants’ fundamental rights and making sure the trial process ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Streamlined business invoicing a step closer
    Streamlined payment practices are a step closer for Kiwi businesses with the formal launch of New Zealand’s e-Invoicing framework. Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says the government has now established the structure to enable automated and direct data exchange between the accounting systems of buyers and sellers. “The move to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More frontline biosecurity officers protecting NZ
    Another 51 quarantine officers and four new biosecurity detector dog teams will help protect New Zealand from invasive pests and diseases this summer, says Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor. “The Government is delivering on its commitment to strengthen New Zealand’s biosecurity system and support our valuable primary sector “New Zealand’s flora, fauna ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ space economy worth $1.69 billion
    A new report has found New Zealand’s space sector contributed $1.69 billion to the economy in the last financial year and employs 12,000 people, Minister for Economic Development Phil Twyford announced today. The report by Deloitte was commissioned by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and shows New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
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  • New Chair for Royal Commission into Abuse
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