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Three minutes to midnight. John Key incoherent.

Written By: - Date published: 7:07 am, October 2nd, 2015 - 90 comments
Categories: Globalisation, International, iraq, john key, Minister for International Embarrassment, Syria, us politics, war - Tags: , , ,

With his patent leather shoes gleaming thanks to John Key’s lovingly- applied spit-polish, Barrack Obama stood upon the world stage and presented the United State’s justification for its neoconservative imperialist war in the Middle East. It was classic US sheer hypocrisy and supercilious mendacity, exactly the same as is rolled out whenever the US has to defend the indefensible.

Obama’s speech framed the Syrian situation within a display of ignorance-based patriotism and a witheringly ironic call for all nations to join together and teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. And then he got to the point . . .

. . . But while military power is necessary, it is not sufficient to resolve the situation in Syria. Lasting stability can only take hold when the people of Syria forge an agreement to live together peacefully. The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict. But we must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the pre-war status quo.

Let’s remember how this started. Assad reacted to peaceful protests by escalating repression and killing that, in turn, created the environment for the current strife. And so Assad and his allies cannot simply pacify the broad majority of a population who have been brutalized by chemical weapons and indiscriminate bombing. Yes, realism dictates that compromise will be required to end the fighting and ultimately stamp out ISIL. But realism also requires a managed transition away from Assad and to a new leader, and an inclusive government that recognizes there must be an end to this chaos so that the Syrian people can begin to rebuild.

Got that? The US has no choice but to be there because of this week’s “Fifth Institutional Filter” is Assad. No, forget about the last 150 years. Especially forget about Iraq . What drone strikes? No, never mind the last 15 years of massively-funded CIA covert political agitation and flooding of Syrian society with the latest and greatest munitions. The US is fighting this war to bring peace. Peace and democracy. All Syrians have to do is a little eeny-weeny bit of compromising. Or get bombed some more. Assad can hang around for a while but, really, it might be best if he scarpered sometime soon. If he wants to live, that is. Meanwhile, once the fighting has stopped,  the obligatory US puppet will be installed   transitioned as head of state. The Syrian people can then sweep up the mess . . .

We know that ISIL — which emerged out of the chaos of Iraq and Syria — depends on perpetual war to survive. But we also know that they gain adherents because of a poisonous ideology. So part of our job, together, is to work to reject such extremism that infects too many of our young people. Part of that effort must be a continued rejection by Muslims of those who distort Islam to preach intolerance and promote violence, and it must also a rejection by non-Muslims of the ignorance that equates Islam with terror. (Applause.)

This work will take time. There are no easy answers to Syria. And there are no simple answers to the changes that are taking place in much of the Middle East and North Africa. But so many families need help right now; they don’t have time. And that’s why the United States is increasing the number of refugees who we welcome within our borders. That’s why we will continue to be the largest donor of assistance to support those refugees. And today we are launching new efforts to ensure that our people and our businesses, our universities and our NGOs can help as well — because in the faces of suffering families, our nation of immigrants sees ourselves . . .

So, because of ISIL, the US will impose its interpretation of Islam and, once that’s done, will stop calling Muslims terrorists. Huh, what’s Wahhabism? Saudi Arabia are allies.  Also, great chunks of the US armed forces will remain in the Middle East for as long as the US wants and, since they’re there, might as well grab a piece of North Africa too. While the US is writing the new constitutions for which ever countries it chooses, its corporations and NGOs will stroll in, seize the resources and impose a neoconservative economy. Oh, and all the children in every “liberated” nation will receive a US-approved education. And this is all being done because, really, the US recognises Syrians as being just like them. We are all one.  Yadda yadda yadda.

Righty-ho, same ole same ole so far. Except this time, the US has a problem. A big problem. Russia.

Since the collapse of the Berlin Wall, NATO has emerged from, ostensibly, a force protecting the West from the oldskool “threat to civilisation”, the Russian Hordes. Its now the much expanded self-appointed protector of the globe’s energy supplies. In response, Russian snatched the Crimea. In return, NATO, pretty much, seduced the Ukraine and moved 30,000 troops in. In August this year, Russia began preparations to move 50,000 troops to the border. And then, today, Russia began air strikes in Syria which, allegedly, have taken out US-funded anti-Assad forces.

Right now, its three minutes to midnight according to the Doomsday Clock, and it may be slow.

With all this going on, our own Prime Minister is also striding the world stage, doing his best for all New Zealanders by stalking Obama and grabbing what moments he can with his bestie golf buddy. With all his access to POTUS sifted through his mighty intellect, John Key, in a surprise move, agreed with everything Obama said to the United Nations. He also generously provided the following interpretation of what it all means . . .

If you listen very carefully to what President Obama said today, he said that there was essentially a sort of multi-staged way of carrying out changes in Syria. And it was very much along the lines that both elements of concern in Syria would need to change over time, but not necessarily as a starting point. That’s really where New Zealand is at.

What a leader. Thanks, John.

Bazza, Bazza, got a moment, its me, John.

“Bazza, Bazza, got a moment Its me, John. John from Nuhzelund”

 

Just as well New Zealand top diplomat and brand new member of the United Nation’s Security Council, Murray McCully had a better grasp of what’s going on. Russia was chairing yesterday’s Security Council session. In order to ease tensions and let New Zealand’s position as an “honest broker” shine through at this difficult time, Muzza gave Russia a good old fashioned public bollocking and then told the rest of the Security Council it was dysfunctional and directly responsible for the death of children.

National Ltd™ – Making us all proud Kiwis.

90 comments on “Three minutes to midnight. John Key incoherent.”

  1. Tracey 1

    A good piece from RNZ this week contrasting Obama and Putin’s views on Syria

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/201772461

    And another persepctive from RT, focusing on this week’s press conference of retired US Navy admiral, John Kirby, spokesperson for US Department of Foreign Affairs., where he said of Assad

    ““He is the reason ISIL, and other terrorist groups, have been allowed to fester and grow and sustain themselves inside Syria,” Kirby said. “Assad regime has allowed groups like ISIL to fester and grow inside the country.”

    https://www.rt.com/usa/315474-kirby-state-department-assad-isis/

    • dukeofurl 1.1

      What rubbish. Assad has always opposed ( and his father before him) any sort of Sunni militancy.

      The ISIS grew out of the remnants of Saddams military in Iraq, and the unrest there and spread across the border

      • The earlier versions of ISIS were funded by the CIA and trained by the British SAS.

        So Putin is correct when he asked , Do you know what you have done, while speaking at the UN last week.

        There have been and still are a bunch of bloody idiots running some counties.
        They are a dangerous lot.

    • BLiP 1.2

      Heh! He ain’t no saint and I’m glad I don’t live in his Russia, but respect to Putin for his occasional “fuck-you” to the US. What makes him particularly effective is that he speaks often speaks uncomfortable and hard to deny truths. The typical response from the West is petulant abuse which only further confirms the veracity.

      And, yeah: looks like Kirby has popped up on cue with his lines into the MSM to bolster the double-think real-speak fact that its all Assad’s fault. The spin merchants know you gotta have someone to blame; makes it nice an easy for the public to swallow. Even better if the “baddy” can be framed as another Saddam. No need to clutter the public’s mind with a reminder or, God forbid, an analysis of events over the last, say, 15 years. Such a narrative would only complicate the roll out of comms-plans and require the use of difficult to spell names best forgotten. Just so long as the heartland can be reassured that matters are in hand, they will keep smiling and waving their flags. Its not like they are really being lied to, the history is available if they want to find it.

      When you think about it, giving the public a “baddy” is a kind thing to do. While it was important to instill deep fear into their hearts to ensure support for this war, by handing them a “baddy” they can all focus their hate on will help deliver a greater sense of community. Properly handled, someone could make a fortune next Halloween with an Assad costume. No point in dragging up all that fuss again about the illegal invasion and on-going occupation of Iraq right next door to Syria. Didn’t make *that* much difference to running a country, surely. Who cares if the bulk of the Iraq army was summarily dismissed and left to roam about the place without jobs or homes or much hope. At least they got to keep their side arms. And as for Saudi Arabia recruiting, funding and arming droves of fervent Wahhabists, that’s neither here not there. They are allies.

      Remember also, the US has just got over having to face up to being a state which employs the use of torture enhanced interrogation. No point in dragging that up again. Just because Assad cooperated with the arbitrary kidnapping, torture and murder of innocents renditions programme, that was way back at the start of the century. Water under the bridge. Doesn’t mean the US owes him anything. Assad was help for a while, so what, big deal. He’s only the head of sovereign state that England created. Who’s he when it comes to the interests of corporate USA?. Fuck him Hang him out. Plenty like him to go around.

      • Tracey 1.2.1

        It’s like the West don’t want people to realise Assad is fighting ISIS! I tried to find the interview on RNZ of the guy who was saying Assad isn’t this big bad chap, but can’t. It was earlier this week. He pointed out that for all his life Assad has been accuse dof being too weak and soft.

        Nobody, imo, is all “right” in this, and that is probably why it is all going so so wrong.

        Putin makes a good comment, namely that the West won’t acknowledge that it has contributed in some way to this state of affairs (noting that Putin has recently conquered Crimea and is working on Ukraine). If you look at the link I posted it has a poll of syrians. Guess how many believe ISIS emergence is down to the USA?

        • Grindlebottom 1.2.1.1

          Bashar al-Assad has been accused of being Too soft?. I don’t think so. He might have been a bit of a quiet lad when younger, and there was hopeful expectation when he succeeded his dictatorial father that he might introduce liberal reforms, but he’s proved himself as ruthless as his old man.

          From what I can see, this apocalyptic mess in Syria is the product of the Arab Spring. I’ve been trying to catch up on who’s fighting who, how many different religious sects & sub-sects & ethnic groups are involved, whose side they’re on, how many different opposition groups there are (I’ve lost count, new ones keep popping up), who they’re actually fighting, how often they’ve splintered & re-splintered into factions, what coalitions they’re part of, how many of them are fighting with previous allies, or have changed sides. It’s an unholy mess (or maybe a holy one might be a better description, there are so many islamist groups as well as druze, christians etc). Even the intelligence agencies must be struggling to keep up with it all.

          ISIL now controls half the land area and various opposition forces are in control of maybe half or more of the rest, Assad’s running out of troops, even his own Alawites in some places are refusing to join his army and some have reportedly joined opposition groups. His regime is on the verge of collapse. That’s the reason Putin’s sending in troops, planes and equipment.

          Even if the Russians and Iranians and hezbollah manage to help Assad retain control over a shrunken rump state he’s finished as national leader of Syria. The religious & ethnic explosion of hatred, killing and territory grabbing this civil war’s released could take decades to resolve.

          The Syrian people, and especially those under ISIL’s heel, are the victims of every power player here, the US, UK, France and their allies, as well as Assad, the Russians, Iranians and Lebanese. They’re all guilty of trying to play ISIL to their own advantage and seriously underestimating who they were dealing with, from what I can see.

          • Tracey 1.2.1.1.1

            ” tried to find the interview on RNZ of the guy who was saying Assad isn’t this big bad chap, but can’t. It was earlier this week. He pointed out that for all his life Assad has been accused of being too weak and soft.” I believe the link to that piece was posted below

  2. Muzza gave Russia a good old fashioned public bollocking and then told the rest of the Security Council it was dysfunctional and directly responsible for the death of children.

    It must be about the first time in his life he’s said something that was reasonably accurate – most likely MFAT wrote it for him.

    • Tracey 2.1

      I thought that too, and that in Muzza’s mind he was talking about Russia.

    • dukeofurl 2.2

      So is Muzza going to give Turkey a public bollocking about its long occupation of part of neighbouring independent country Cyprus ?

      Or, is it when your are a nato member its all too inconvenient ? Not to mention the Gallipoli thing.

      Here we go again , occupying a neighbour is a terrible thing , except when our own ‘friends’ do it.

      Civil war in Ukraine ?. Again its a terrible thing that Russia provides support for rebel groups, but not a problem when ‘friend’ Saudi Arabia intervenes far more openly in neighbour Yemen.

      • tinfoilhat 2.2.1

        “Civil war in Ukraine ?. Again its a terrible thing that Russia provides support for rebel groups, but not a problem when ‘friend’ Saudi Arabia intervenes far more openly in neighbour Yemen.”

        The stench of hypocrisy from both the USA and Russia is no different than it has been for many many decades.

      • Psycho Milt 2.2.2

        So is Muzza going to give Turkey a public bollocking about its long occupation of part of neighbouring independent country Cyprus ?

        Is he going to spend NZ’s time on the UN Security Council dredging up old disputes rather than dealing with the ones that are happening right now? I’m picking “No.”

        Russian forces are supporting Assad by attacking rebels backed by the US. This is as stupid and dangerous a move as it would be for US forces to attack Ukrainian rebels supported by the Russian Federation. Obama refused to go down that path, but Putin is cheerfully setting off down it while giving the rest of us the fingers. MFAT was right to get McCully to give them a bollocking, and hopefully other countries followed suit.

        • dukeofurl 2.2.2.1

          SO US, UK, France, Jordan , Turkey and others should stay while Russia gets out because they will confuse things ?

          All those countries have been active with airstrikes in Syria. None have done so with support of the legal government ( Assad) , while Russia does so.

          Mysterious you think dredging up old disputes should be ignored, its an ongoing occupation, but its inconvenient to you because it would offend ‘our friends’
          Israel/ Palestine occuptaion settled because its ‘even older’ ?

          • Psycho Milt 2.2.2.1.1

            SO US, UK, France, Jordan , Turkey and others should stay while Russia gets out because they will confuse things ?

            Russia should get out because it’s attacking forces backed by a superpower and thereby risking a serious escalation of the conflict. Also: unlike Russia, the other powers carrying out airstrikes are coordinating their activities to avoid friendly fire incidents, and unlike Russia, are actually troubling themselves to confine their attacks to Da’esh rather than anyone the Syrian army wants taken out (disclaimer: description of “other powers” may not apply to Turkey, which never loses an opportunity to take out armed Kurds).

            Mysterious you think dredging up old disputes should be ignored…

            It’s mysterious that I don’t object to the NZ government focusing on the disputes that are actually in front of the security council now, rather than taking the opportunity to raise your pet issue from 40 years ago? I don’t see any mystery there.

          • Bill 2.2.2.1.2

            Never mind Assad’s missing requests for help. The UK government has done it against the wishes of its own parliament.

        • Poission 2.2.2.2

          Russian forces are supporting Assad by attacking rebels backed by the US.

          Russia justify’s the action for some very good reasons.

          Power vacuum in some countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa obviously resulted in the emergence of areas of anarchy, which were quickly filled with extremists and terrorists. The so-called Islamic State has tens of thousands of militants fighting for it, including former Iraqi soldiers who were left on the street after the 2003 invasion. Many recruits come from Libya whose statehood was destroyed as a result of a gross violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1973. And now radical groups are joined by members of the so-called “moderate” Syrian opposition backed by the West. They get weapons and training, and then they defect and join the so-called Islamic State.

          In fact, the Islamic State itself did not come out of nowhere. It was initially developed as a weapon against undesirable secular regimes. Having established control over parts of Syria and Iraq, Islamic State now aggressively expands into other regions. It seeks dominance in the Muslim world and beyond. Their plans go further.

          http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1510/S00002/putin-70th-session-of-the-un-general-assembly.htm

  3. dukeofurl 3

    Good point Blip that you bring up the use of Drone strikes

    The US signed the INF treaty back in Reagan day.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intermediate-Range_Nuclear_Forces_Treaty

    An interesting part of that bans cruise missiles with a range ( total distance traveled) between 500km and 5500km.

    The real interesting part is the definition of cruise missile from the text of the treaty.
    “”The term “cruise missile” means an unmanned, self-propelled vehicle that sustains flight through the use of aerodynamic lift over most of its flight path. The term “ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM)” means a ground-launched cruise missile that is a weapon-delivery vehicle.”
    http://www.state.gov/t/avc/trty/102360.htm

    That definition of cruise missile is exactly what a ‘drone ‘ is, and of course they are weapon delivery vehicles. The range of 500km around 300 miles but for drones that fly there and back, it means 150 miles away .

    So its clear as night and day , US armed drone strikes in places like Pakistan, Yemen and probably Syria are violations of the INF treaty.

    Which them explains another strange situation, the US has never admitted openly that they conduct drone strikes in pakistan and yemen. Its an open secret but officially doesnt happen

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-brenner/drones-and-denial_b_2396612.html

    • BLiP 3.1

      Yep, slaughters by drone are a violation of all sorts of international laws. They are, in effect, extrajudicial executions carried out on the basis of suspicion and “best guess” and zero accountability. Drone strikes are also carried out in the full knowledge that innocent civilians will also be slaughtered. I’m not up with all the treaties and laws and agreements which cover this but, given the complete inability for anyone to do anything about it, they seem worthless. Might as well use them to keep score and see which country breaks the most laws each month. A legal-type explained how the US slaughter of that Kiwi citizen which John Key approved of broke some local laws. Can’t recall the details now but do remember thinking at the time “I should write this down”. D’oh!

      As far as I tell, the US slaughter by drone programme is underway in Pakistan, Somali, Yemen and Afhanistan. It is the UK slaughter by drone programme which is currently operating in Syria. Of course, these details have been released to the public by the murderers themselves so it highly likely they are inaccurate.

      (EDIT: Can’t seem to get that US link to embed. Here is is:
      https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drones/)

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2

      1. For the purposes of this Treaty, existing types of intermediate-range missiles are:

      (a) for the United States of America, missiles of the types designated by the United States of America as the Pershing II and the BGM-109G, which are known to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics by the same designations; and

      (b) for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, missiles of the types designated by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as the RSD-10, the R-12 and the R-14, which are known to the United States of America as the SS-20, the SS-4 and the SS-5, respectively.

      2. For the purposes of this Treaty, existing types of shorter-range missiles are:

      (a) for the United States of America, missiles of the type designated by the United States of America as the Pershing IA, which is known to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics by the same designation; and

      (b) for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, missiles of the types designated by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as the OTR-22 and the OTR-23, which are known to the United States of America as the SS-12 and the SS-23, respectively.

      Might throw a spanner in the works, although the rest of the text is couched in very broad terms.

      Also, only parties to the treaty have inspection rights.

      All that aside, extrajudicial killings are inherently illegal, or else why have they spent so much money on lawyers to define “enemy combatants”?

      • dukeofurl 3.2.1

        Clearly the drones are a new type, not even thought of at the time. Pershings were a type of rocket and not a winged missile.

        But the definition clearly covers future developments, why else sign it if you could come up with a new missile in 2 years

        • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2.1.1

          The point being, quibbling about clever interpretations of a nuclear non-proliferation treaty is redundant considering that the whole extra-judicial murder program is illegal in international law as it stands right now.

    • That definition of cruise missile is exactly what a ‘drone ‘ is, and of course they are weapon delivery vehicles.

      There’s a word in the title of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that reveals why the US’ current drone fleet, as well as its non-nuclear-armed cruise missiles, are not covered by that treaty.

      • dukeofurl 3.3.1

        No it doesnt.

        THIS is the title to the Treaty ( from state.gov website)
        “Treaty Between The United States Of America And The Union Of Soviet Socialist Republics On The Elimination Of Their Intermediate-Range And Shorter-Range Missiles .”

        Short title may be INF- but thats has no effect. No mention of nuclear ‘in the title’ and of course in the wording where the most detail is shown and any legal reasoning would be used.
        And the US Senate ratified that treaty not like others like ‘Law of the sea’ where they didnt. The major reason why nuclear warhead isnt mentioned is thats unverifiable to distinguish between the two.

        At the time , they certainly didnt think of drones, so we have a prima facie situation of US breaking treaty – with Russia.

        • Psycho Milt 3.3.1.1

          Well, you could try bringing a case against the US and Russia for both continuing to produce and use non-nuclear-armed missiles after signing the INT, but I don’t think your case would get past the judge noticing that it’s a nuclear arms limitation treaty.

          • dukeofurl 3.3.1.1.1

            You havent read anything we are talking about. It covers rockets and missiles that have only intermediate range(500-5500km) And they must be ground launched. So excludes naval and air launched.

            Both signatories have eliminated their weapons in that category.

            The US is in breach of its own treaty. End of story.
            Its not up to me to bring a case ????.

            Im publishing the details for others information. Doesnt change the facts which you cant accept. Instead of raising fatuous points why cant you just say it too.
            Im adding the concern by others about the illegal US drone strikes.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 3.3.1.1.1.1

              Whether what you’re adding is of any conceivable use or relevance is debatable: there are far stronger cases to be made against drone murders.

              • dukeofurl

                Us Treatys can be enforceable in US courts

                http://www.yjil.org/print/volume-37-issue-1/international-law-at-home-enforcing-treaties-in-us-courts

                More important is an international result that US hasnt abided by its treaty obligations. Not that things like the illegal war in Iraq stopped them either.

                Just handy for people like you who often claim the moral high ground for US.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  It can be enforced by the Russians, if they so choose. In my estimation this is extremely unlikely.

                  In the meantime, while we wait for the Russians to pursue a red herring, why not address the mass murder issue by pointing out that it’s mass murder?

                  Or would you prefer to impotently lash out at me instead?

      • McFlock 3.3.2

        That word is also in the treaty text:

        The United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, hereinafter referred to as the Parties,

        Conscious that nuclear war would have devastating consequences for all mankind,

        Guided by the objective of strengthening strategic stability,

        Convinced that the measures set forth in this Treaty will help to reduce the risk of outbreak of war and strengthen international peace and security, and

        Mindful of their obligations under Article VI of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,

        Have agreed as follows:

  4. just saying 4

    Well at least it was laugh-out-loud incoherence from our great and glorious leader this time. (For me, anyways)

    I like your stuff Blip. Very much how I feel, but much better expressed than I could manage.

  5. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5

    Are we marching against the Russian aggression? Like we did in 2003 against US aggression? Or is it different, somehow?

    [lprent: You might have, although I’d need photographic proof before I’d believe it. I certainly didn’t.

    I just expressed my complete lack of faith in the US intelligence communities ‘evidence’ about Iraqi complicity in the September 2011 attacks on the twin towers and the pentagon, and their evidence about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It was a completely justified lack of faith. Consequently I expressed my opposition in getting involved in a completely unjustified war in Iraq being waged by a fucking idiot in the US for what appeared to be personal reasons.

    I object to your accusation that I marched against the US. In fact I could get quite upset about it. Finger hovers over the rhetorical idiot button…..

    In other words – don’t be a gormless fool. If I see that kind of phrasing too often placing people indiscriminately in groups for spurious smearing, then I’ll boot you off the site. And don’t follow the hypocritical example of our lying prime minister John Key. Take responsibility for your words. You should now issue an apology to those you have besmirched. ]

    • Tracey 5.1

      I’m still waiting for the US and ourselves to stand up for the Ukraine, afterall a foreign nation stole Crimea and is now inside Ukraine killing people in, something very like combat.

      • tinfoilhat 5.1.1

        As you know Tracey you’ll be waiting a long time, realpolitik on display as usual.

        • Tracey 5.1.1.1

          Makes me wonder if there is a correlation between the end of times when Leaders stood at the front of the battles they want to wage, and the 20th century being the bloodiest in history

          • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5.1.1.1.1

            So, Trace, to be clear: you want the US to invade the Crimea?

          • Phil 5.1.1.1.2

            Even accounting for the brutality of WW1 and WW2, the average probability of any person on earth dying, either as a direct or indirect result of weaponised conflict, has steadily declined for at least the last 500-1000 years.

            So, no. There is no correlation.

            • Tracey 5.1.1.1.2.1

              can you cite your source. unless it is an urban myth i read somewhere a few years ago that the 20th century was the bloodiest/deadliest in the history of thecplanet.

    • What on earth would be the point of that?

      You protest against the actions you think you have some influence over (no matter how slim). Going on to the streets to harangue the ‘official enemy’ is an empty, self-indulgent act or, worse, like the ‘protests’ engineered by dictators to demonstrate against the dictator’s official enemies.

      It’s a pretty basic moral principle that you always attend to the beam in your own eye before complaining about the splinter in someone else’s eye.

      Here’s how that goes in practice: if one of New Zealand’s supposed allies or ‘very, very, very good friends’ does something immoral then, hopefully (if official allegiance has any substance)’ protesting in New Zealand might have some impact on that ally. Therefore it makes sense to protest here.

      If, by contrast, New Zealand (and it’s quite strong allies) are already giving a ‘bollocking’ to something that an official bad guy has done (e.g., Russia) then there is little to be gained by marching in the street. Our government and those of its allies need no encouragement to do what they can to punish such a bad guy.

    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 5.3

      Whatevs.

      [lprent: You weren’t listening. Whatevs, this is a important point. Lets see if we can get that through. Clearly a warning didn’t work. Banned 2 days. ]

  6. Stuart Munro 6

    Crimea is more Russia friendly than most of Ukraine – heavily settled by generations of naval families and thus its secession to Russia made a kind of sense. But the Russian insurgents and of course the shooting of MH17 are pretty unpardonable. I’m not sure that Putin gets to bomb his way back to any kind of political credibility – however dodgy his targets may be.

    Muzza is of course worse than useless like all Gnats.

  7. Lucy 7

    We have always been at war with Eurasia!!!
    I don’t like Putin but he at least has the sense to know that the enemy of your enemy is not your friend. The Russian top brass came out of Afghanistan with a defeat but with an understanding that middle eastern politics is not easy and that democracy and capitalism is not for every nation. If you demand the figure at the top goes you need to make damn sure that the people of the country want whoever you put in! From non US media there are many stories about the rebels changing side when they saw who the US were importing to fight alongside them! ISIL was a US funded and armed organisation until the US realised the end game – just like Al Qaeda. After 100 years the US and the UK still have no understanding of world politics and are both still playing “sideses”

    • Tracey 7.1

      thanks Lucy.

      do we know who is selling weapons to ISIS and Taleban etc?

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      After 100 years the US and the UK still have no understanding of world politics and are both still playing “sideses”

      Both the UK and the US suffer from the belief that they can make things the way they want them to be by simply declaring that they are that way. They then act as if that is the truth and ignore the reality.

      • Tracey 7.2.1

        Putin suffers from this also. I don’t know about China cos they say almost nothing about stuff.

  8. One Anonymous Bloke 9

    ISIL…depends on perpetual war to survive.

    Projecting much, Barack?

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      Yep, the US has an incredibly violent past and it’s mostly them attacking others for their own benefit.

    • Gangnam Style 9.2

      Yeah that stuck out like a sore thumb to me too!

    • Tracey 9.3

      WWI and WWII were long conflicts precisely because the USA fond it could make more money out of perpetuating the war through sale sof military stuff, than it could by joining in. The US Empire existed only because it lef tits friends to die and go bankrupt

  9. Vaughan Little 10

    this has to be the weakest post I’ve read on the standard.

    you might take a care not to identify muslims with wahhabis. wahhabis are an islamic version of liberals: overturning historical hierarchies and their attendant power structures and replacing them with a radical egalitarianism. though of course liberals are a darn sight less violent or egalitarian.

    ok so I’m using your demoniac rage (cf Kierkegaard)-inspired rant to rag on liberals. may as well squeeze some fun out of it.

    plus, how did you manage to spin such a dark cloud out of Obama’s commitment to take more refugees? that’s a pretty special alchemy you’ve got going. reminds me of cv bitching about labour.

    • BLiP 10.1

      . . . you might take a care not to identify muslims with wahhabis. wahhabis are an islamic version of liberals: overturning historical hierarchies and their attendant power structures and replacing them with a radical egalitarianism. though of course liberals are a darn sight less violent or egalitarian . . .

      ORLY – Wahhabism is not an ideology and theology developed by Muhammad ibn Abd-al Wahhab out of Sunni Islam in the 18th and 19th centuries in the tribal areas of the Eastern Arabian Peninsular and hailed today by members of the Saudi ruling class for its staunch opposition to Shiaism and for its Salafi piety? Seems more likely you’re spouting shite. And clutching at straws.

      ok so I’m using your demoniac rage (cf Kierkegaard)-inspired rant to rag on liberals. may as well squeeze some fun out of it.

      So far, I’m the one having fun.

      plus, how did you manage to spin such a dark cloud out of Obama’s commitment to take more refugees? that’s a pretty special alchemy you’ve got going. reminds me of cv bitching about labour.

      Fuck him. If he’s gonna wait this long into the crisis – a crisis the US caused – just so he gets extra coverage when announcing what everyone else has already announced, he’s a poser exploiting the refugee crisis for his own benefit. His statement – not a formal commitment, just his word – complete with the sly qualifier “increasing number”, is the most pathetic response I have seen from any nation responding positively to the refugee crisis. Even National Ltd™ was, finally, forced into making a better job of it for New Zealand than Obama did for the US. We made a real commitment and mentioned numbers.

      • vaughan little 10.1.1

        so you can’t be bothered reading my comment properly but can be bothered replying. i guess that’s why your foreign affairs analysis above is so stodgy – you need to read widely with some sensitivity to be able to produce anything worth reading on it. clearly i know what wahhabism is, if you thought about the similarities between liberalism and wahhabism for a while you’d get that. just because wahhabis use terrorism doesn’t mean you can call muslims terrorists, as you quite possibly suggest.

        responding to your post is a bit like clutching at straws because that’s pretty much all there is to prop up the invective. i mean, right from 911 American leaders were working to publicly distinguish islam from terrorism.

        thanks for stating clearly this time your belief the US caused the crisis in Syria and that the planned US intake of refugees is something that Obama is doing for exploitative reasons. put next to key’s tongue tied (nonetheless accurate) comments, you make him look insightful. obama wasn’t announcing new policy, he was alluding to established policy. and have you paused to consider that one reason why states have been slow to respond is because they’re struggling to cope with the magnitude of the problem?

        i say yay to any country that takes in refugees from this collapsing state. the quicker the better.

        • BLiP 10.1.1.1

          . . . this has to be the weakest post I’ve read on the standard . . . your foreign affairs analysis above is so stodgy . . . responding to your post is a bit like clutching at straws . . . a pretty special alchemy you’ve got going . . . put next to key’s tongue tied (nonetheless accurate) comments, you make him look insightful . . .

          And yet here you are. Do go on, please.

          Its great to see you have learned something, even if you like to pretend that you knew all along. Kinda sweet, really. Now that we agree Wahhabism is a part of Islam, what do you think will be the response among Muslims to Obama’s announcement that the US will be interpreting what is and isn’t an acceptable expression of Islam? Do you think this will help or is it possible that it might hinder relationships with and amongst the Mullahs and their respective followers? It seems a rather old-fashion, colonial approach to me.

  10. Bill 11

    Brilliantly put Blip.

    So hmm, this comment almost works, ie – doesn’t quite work…maybe works better than the original, but whatever, I couldn’t resist – given the glaring temptation…

    But we also know that they gain adherents because of a poisonous ideology. So part of our job, together, is to work to reject such extremism that infects too many of our young people. Part of that effort must be a continued rejection by social democrats of those who distort democracy to preach intolerance and promote violence, and it must also a rejection (…) of the ignorance that equates Islam with terror.

    k time for the coffee.

    • BLiP 11.1

      Heh! Poor ole social democrats. Do you know what you get when you cross a social democrat with a pig? Can’t happen, there are some things a pig won’t do.

      I’m the last one who should talk about typos but I see your snipped carries one that is actually on the original. When I was reading it, it seemed odd that a statement from the President of the United States to the United Nations should have more than I usually do. Felt good.

  11. Tracey 12

    Everyone!!! SHUSH. That great statesman of the world, John Key, has the floor at the UN.

    • Tel 12.1

      I wonder if he’ll declare if he has any conflict of interest… heaven forbid the sordid little man has shares in the US arms industry? Yeah nah, Pandas for everyone and how about a new flig for the UN. haha

    • Rosemary McDonald 12.2

      And here it is….http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/72629197/john-keys-speech-to-the-united-nations

      “But part of the problem is also behavioural.

      The Permanent Members have become used to exercising power and are protective of their privileged position.

      They presume to control the Council’s agenda and to determine its processes.

      Despite this, we are doing what we can to ensure that the elected members have the information and the opportunity to contribute effectively to Council decision-making.

      And, in turn, that it makes effective decisions.

      We want to contribute to a Council that is genuinely focused on finding practical solutions to political problems and not on preserving the status quo.”

      • BLiP 12.2.1

        I love how a man who week after week chased a young, female cafe worker around her place of employment pulling her pony tail feels sufficiently qualified to berate the United Nations Security Council about behavioural problems and the inappropriate exercise of power from a privileged position.

        • Paul 12.2.1.1

          I love how a man who week after week checks with his pollsters before making moral decisions feel he can moralise to the world.
          A man who at first declined to take any extra refugees lectures the world on tracking refugees.

        • b waghorn 12.2.1.2

          You can ad a man who has children dieing of preventable problems in the country he governs using the death of a child to make his point and also going on about the use of veto powers when he uses them himself to this little hypocrisy list

      • Tracey 12.2.2

        Contrast this

        “The Permanent Members have become used to exercising power and are protective of their privileged position.

        They presume to control the Council’s agenda and to determine its processes.”

        With how He and Australia behave at the Pacific Forum.

    • Reddelusion 12.3

      Petty and juvenile, comment says more about writer than target of said comment

  12. AmaKiwi 13

    Follow the money.

    Do any of these leaders believe wars are about anything other than getting more money (i.e. resources or strategic advantages that will get them more power and therefore more money)?

    I don’t.

    • Tel 13.1

      Syria is or perhaps was a lucrative source of income for Russia. 24 Billion dollars over the last decade according to the World Bank, which is likely to be a conservative figure.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.2

      Nope. Our present system requires ever more resources as we use up the ones that we have in our own lands thus we need to invade other lands to get their resources to support our greed.

  13. Pasupial 14

    Campbell made a good point yesterday:

    Russia may not be offering a very palatable plan on Syria, but at least it is a plan. Putin pointed out at the UN that the only forces currently fighting Islamic State on the ground are the Assad regime, and the Kurdish militia…

    Due to this self-imposed immobility by the Americans, all of the diplomatic momentum over Syria is now with Putin. In reality, Russia’s military effort in Syria won’t probably do very much to defeat Islamic State – but in a matter of weeks, he has moved Russia right back to the centre of the US/European stage, after the isolation caused by Russia’s actions in the Ukraine.

    http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2015/10/01/gordon-campbell-on-putins-diplomatic-coup-over-syria/

    There is blame enough to go around to all sides in Ukraine; Russia, EU, NATO, Yanukovych, Poroshenko and others. However, the Syrian situation makes even that clusterfuck look like a minor scuffle. The thing that stands out to me is Erdogan’s Turkish contribution of bombing the PKK – the kurdish militia that has been s one of the bulwarks against IS:

    Turkey’s Nato allies have expressed unease about the operations aimed at the PKK, since the Kurds have been a crucial ally in the fight against Isis both in Syria and in Iraq.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/29/turkey-launches-biggest-attack-kurdish-militants

  14. johnm 15

    Prince of lies,applied violence and domination, duplicity, manipulation and utter revolting bullshit the U$ “Great Satan” lusting for World hegemony at any risk and price has spoken. Shonkey, the Satanic flunky flits about pouring forth meaningless rubbish. Muzza is another total hollow flunky of the same evil power that spends more on arms and the military than the rest of the World put together, why? Certainly resource domination is a major reason and if they spark WW 3? that’s an acceptable risk.

    • johnm 15.1

      The Artist Taxi Driver explains the mass insanity of spending a 100 billion pounds on Trident. He also covers Iraq and Syria.

      Nick Robinson BBC “I believe in a Nuclear Holocaust”

      Trident is the U$K’s entry pass into Great Satan’s club of world domination.

  15. D'Esterre 16

    @Tracy: I think this is the RNZ interview you couldn’t find. It’s in this segment, I’m pretty sure.
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/thepanel/audio/201772572/the-panel-with-sue-wells-and-sue-guthrie-part-1

    A spot of revisionism anent Crimea, folks. It seceded; this was actually reported at the time, though the narrative has since morphed into “Putin-grabbed-Crimea”. Which doesn’t make it true, no matter what Uncle Sam and his poodles say.

    Crimea was traditionally part of Russia, until it was gifted to Ukraine by Krushchev in 1954. Because he could. Since independence in 1991, Crimea has made two previous attempts to decamp; after the coup last year was the third attempt. That time, they made sure it happened.

    • BLiP 16.1

      I think you’ll find that, while there was plenty of support in the Crimea, Russia managed to run foul of international law in the process it employed. Doesn’t appear to be just a technical breach. IANAL.

    • Tracey 16.2

      So Putin took back the gift, by killing people… just a technicality

      On this basis you support the Palestinians, if armed well enough, taking back Israel?

      • D'Esterre 16.2.1

        @ Tracey: “So Putin took back the gift, by killing people… just a technicality”

        This is wrong. Again: Crimea seceded. It unilaterally declared its intention to secede, held a referendum, the turnout for and results of which were unequivocal, and then formally petitioned Russia for annexation. The entire process took place almost without a shot being fired. In this part of the world, we find it difficult to understand how Crimeans feel about having been handed over in that fashion. They got no say in it, of course. But as soon as they got the chance, they set about getting their country back to Russia. Memories are long…

        Pretty much most of what’s been reported in Western media about the Ukraine situation is US/NATO propaganda. Here we are, commenting on a post which takes an articulate and well-deserved swipe at the US and its infantile foreign policy (sorry, might be putting words into mouths there!) and idiotic patriotism. Yet at the same time, commenters here are just unreflectively accepting the US and NATO demonisation of Russia in general and Putin in particular. I’d have thought that the Syria situation would have caused people to re-evaluate what the media has told them about the glorious Ukraine and its dastardly neighbour.

        The end of the Cold War, and the resulting loss of the USSR as an adversary, left the US without a military purpose. As a consequence, it has, through NATO, since done everything possible to force a confrontation with Russia. Fomenting the violent overthrow of the democratically-elected government of the Ukraine was just the most recent attempt. Keep that in mind as you follow events in the Middle East.

        I’m not attempting to defend Putin or Russia; what I think about them is irrelevant. But it’s really important that people see US pronouncements on Russia for the Cold War propaganda that most of it is.

        “On this basis you support the Palestinians, if armed well enough, taking back Israel?”

        So: are you telling me what I think?

        @ BLiP: “I think you’ll find that, while there was plenty of support in the Crimea, Russia managed to run foul of international law in the process it employed.”

        International Court of Justice: unilateral secession is consistent with international law. Crimea unilaterally seceded. It ran the referendum and so on: Russia wasn’t involved. This was reported at the time, as it happens.

        There certainly were Russian troops in Crimea at the time, along with sundry military hardware. But they were there legally, under the terms of the Black Sea Fleet Treaty, which allowed Russia to station up to 25,000 troops and equipment on the peninsula.

        @ Stuart Munro: “…of course the shooting of MH17 are pretty unpardonable..”

        Here’s something on that topic worth a read. Don’t just dismiss it as Russian propaganda: it has links to back up the story. He’s written on the topic previously.

        http://johnhelmer.net/?p=14240

  16. I find it hard to believe that the USA, blames Russia for bombing civilians .
    USA has always been the worst offender for so called friendly fire, in fact the word was invented for the American Armed Forces,

  17. gnomic 18

    Is there something in the water? This is the most confused and confusing thread of all time. Well OK, maybe just a candidate for the title. And the Obama speech extracts must be up there in the race for the most obfuscatory bullshit ever. However I can see why Obomba doesn’t want to get involved; who would? What a mess. I for one hope the human race survives but this war in the Middle East is not helping with that mission. Too many cooks in the kitchen. Midnight approaches.

    By the way I have no idea at all what this sentence means. ‘The US has no choice but to be there because of this week’s “Fifth Institutional Filter” is Assad.’ Can anyone explain?

    Confusion reigns OK? Chris Trotter is confused for example. He thinks that IS must be destroyed. I wonder, is there a Serco for that? Should we ‘destroy’ the women and children as well? Surely a bit simplistic? Maybe a robot exterminator? Let’s hope it doesn’t get out of hand. Perhaps even death cult members have human rights, at least in theory.

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    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

    Prospect Magazine alerted me to this particularly apt quote. It is a much more evocative quote than Hemingway’s “gradually then suddenly” which is also doing ...

    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    1 week ago
  • Maybe axing Clark would be unfair. But what about any of this is fair?
    Yesterday was the day the consequences of the lockdown suddenly got very real for many. Firms have been closing and laying people off since the outset of the quarantine but this has mostly been happening out of the public eye. The mass closure of a number of iconic New Zealand ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Might a ‘Coasean’ social contract mitigate overall societal harm from COVID-19?
    Brian Williamson1, Prof Nick Wilson2 (1Economic consultant, UK; 2University of Otago Wellington) In this blog, we outline how a win-win social contract could be forged to address the major dimensions of response to the COVID-19 pandemic when using a mitigation strategy: the particular need to protect older people from high ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
    Resuming Normal Service: The Republican Party's nominee for in 1920, Warren Harding, promised the American people: “not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration”. If she wishes to remain our prime minister, then Jacinda Ardern will offer New Zealanders the same.HOW EDUCATED AMERICA snickered when the ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
    No Free Society Without A Free And Functioning News Media: If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating Covid-19, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders simply because it improves their bottom line.I’M ...
    1 week ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Lockdown day 8
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    1 week ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    1 week ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    1 week ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    1 week ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing or ...
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago

  • Decisions made on urgent turf maintenance
    The Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson has announced that urgent maintenance of turf and care for plants in non-plantation nurseries will soon be able to go ahead under Level 4 restrictions. “The Government has agreed that urgent upkeep and maintenance of biological assets will be able to go ahead ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Acknowledging an extraordinary te reo champion
    E tangi ana a Taranaki iwi, e tangi ana te ao Māori, otirā e tangi ana te motu. Mōu katoa ngā roimata e riringi whānui ana, mōu katoa ngā mihi.   E te kaikōkiri i te reo Māori, e Te Huirangi, takoto mai. Takoto mai me te mōhio ko ngā ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • Prime Minister’s remarks halfway through Alert Level 4 lockdown
    Today is day 15 of Alert Level 4 lockdown. And at the halfway mark I have no hesitation in saying, that what New Zealanders have done over the last two weeks is huge. In the face of the greatest threat to human health we have seen in over a century, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Licenses, WoFs and regos extended under lockdown
    All driver licences, WoFs, CoFs, and some vehicle certifications, that expired on or after 1 January 2020 will be valid for up to six months from 10 April 2020, Transport Minister Phil Twyford has announced. “People shouldn’t have to worry about getting fined for having an expired document if driving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Inquiry report into EQC released
    The Government has today released the report from the Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission chaired by Dame Silvia Cartwright.  Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission Grant Robertson says the Government wants to learn from people’s experiences following the Canterbury earthquakes and other recent natural disasters. “Dame Silvia’s report documents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • More time for health workers and elderly to get flu vaccine
    The Government has extended by two weeks till April 27 the amount of time priority groups, such as health workers and those aged over 65, have to get their flu vaccine before it is made available to the wider public. This year’s vaccination campaign is a key component of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Communities step up to help New Zealanders stay connected and fed during lockdown
    Communities stepping up to help New Zealanders stay at home to break the transmission of COVID-19 and save lives have received Government support, said Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. “Delivering groceries for the elderly who can’t shop online, providing data packs for low income families to keep them connected, and being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • 120 COVID-19 testing centres now operating
    Across New Zealand 120 sites are taking samples to be tested for COVID-19.   68 community based assessment centres (CBACs) have been established to take samples from people with COVID-19 symptoms. Alongside this, 52 other centres including designated general practices, swabbing centres, and mobile clinics are now testing people for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Covid19: Government moving quickly to roll out learning from home
    The Ministry of Education is working with partners to develop a package of options so that students can learn at home when Term 2 begins on 15 April, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Supports are also being prepared for households with children under five, to help parents and whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Making learning from home accessible to Māori learners and whānau
    Māori Television to begin educational te reo programmes Ki te Ao Mārama – a new online learning space Thousands of hard copy learning packs ready for distribution Helpdesk and advice service for kōhanga, kura and wharekura Television, the internet and hard copy learning packs are some of the ways whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand to provide assistance to Vanuatu following Tropical Cyclone Harold
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced an initial package of support to help the people and the Government of Vanuatu respond to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Harold. “Our Pacific neighbours have been hit by a Category 5 Cyclone at the same time as dealing with the economic impacts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Planning for the future of tourism
    Tourism New Zealand to lead work reimagining the way tourism operates in post-COVID-19 world. Ministers to review International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy investment plan. The Government, industry and business are working together to develop a plan for how tourism will operate in a post-COVID-19 world, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ horticulture sector feeding Kiwis and the world during COVID-19
    More New Zealanders are taking up the chance to work in horticulture as the sector keeps New Zealanders fed and in jobs during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown. “Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Work to repurpose PGF funds begins
    The Provincial Development Unit is working through applications and projects to see where Provincial Growth Fund money can be repurposed for initiatives deemed more critical to fighting the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “We need to be throwing everything we have at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • A million workers supported by Govt wage subsidy
    The Government’s wage subsidy to protect jobs and keep workers and businesses connected during the lockdown has now supported over a million New Zealanders, with $6.6 billion already paid out. “We’re supporting businesses to pay wages, and stay connected with their workers so that we are all in a better ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government helps Pacific communities fight COVID
    The Government is stepping up efforts to help protect New Zealand’s Pacific communities in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet has agreed that $17 million will be allocated to support a COVID-19 Pacific Response Package, which will: Support Pacific health and disability services facing increased demand; Ramp up public health messaging ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark
    “Yesterday evening the Health Minister advised me of his trip to a beach during the lockdown and offered his resignation,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses.  “But right now, my priority is our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Statement from David Clark
    Last night as part of my preparation for the Epidemic Response Committee, I provided the Prime Minister with a complete picture of my activity outside my home during Alert Level 4.  That included the fact that on the first weekend of the Alert Level 4 lockdown I drove my family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • COVID-19 mental health support begins
    A range of support is being rolled out across New Zealand to help people look after their mental health during COVID-19 Health Minister David Clark said this morning. “COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives and many of us will be feeling some level of distress or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government supports air services to offshore islands
    The Government has stepped in to support vital air links to our offshore islands, the Chatham Islands, Great Barrier Island and Motiti Island, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. “As part of our $600 million support package to minimise the impacts of COVID-19 on the aviation sector, the Government has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
    1 week ago