web analytics

Turing – so much more …

Written By: - Date published: 4:26 pm, July 23rd, 2013 - 51 comments
Categories: accountability, capitalism, internet, Spying, telecommunications - Tags:

A pardon for the gross abuse of Alan Turing is long overdue.  He made a major contribution to computer science.  However, it’s also interesting to see some of the headlines about the UK government is prepared to support a backbench Bill  aimed at pardoning Turing.  It focuses on his role in breaking the Enigma Code during World War II, but he was so much more:

Friday’s headline in the UK Guardian is “Enigma code breaker Alan Turing to be given posthumous pardon”. [h/t joe90]

Alan Turing, the Enigma codebreaker who took his own life after being convicted of gross indecency under anti-homosexuality legislation, is to be given a posthumous pardon.

[…]

The announcement marks a change of heart by the government, which declined last year to grant pardons to the 49,000 gay men, now dead, who were convicted under the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act. They include Oscar Wilde.

[…]

Turing broke German ciphers using the bombe method, which allowed the code-breakers to crack the German Enigma code. His colleague Tommy Flowers built the Colossus computer. Ahmad described Turing as “one of the fathers, if not the father, of computer science”.

The legacy of his maths and computing are still with us, and he should at least be as equally remembered for that as for breaking the Enigma Code.  There’s been a website (by biographer Andrew Hodges) and a musical dedicated to him and his life.  The Guardian article on the musical says this:

Turing’s story has already been told in Hugh Whitemore’s Breaking the Code, but this musical version is much more than a coda as it pits Turing’s idea of machines that can think against the question: what does it mean to be human?

About the first thing I heard about Turing was the Turing Test, aimed at assessing if a computer was able to “think”.

Turing addressed the problem of artificial intelligence, and proposed an experiment which became known as the Turing test, an attempt to define a standard for a machine to be called “intelligent”. The idea was that a computer could be said to “think” if a human interrogator could not tell it apart, through conversation, from a human being.[79] In the paper, Turing suggested that rather than building a program to simulate the adult mind, it would be better rather to produce a simpler one to simulate a child’s mind and then to subject it to a course of education. A reversed form of the Turing test is widely used on the Internet; the CAPTCHA test is intended to determine whether the user is a human or a computer.

It sometimes seems like some TS “trolls” would not be able to pass a Turing Test.  Exchanges with them seem like talking to Eliza.

Given that Turing’s private life was treated in such an inhumane way, I wonder what Turing would have thought about state agencies’ involvement in intrusive digital surveillance in the 21st century?

Curiously there are apparently no US or UK government surveillance files on Turing.  Others have written that, once his sexuality was known, Turing was under constant police surveillance, and was considered to be a security risk.  Attracted by stories of gay male dances in Scandinavia, Turing traveled there and met a Norwegian man, Kjell,

after whom he would name one of his final computer programs.

Kjell arrived in Newcastle, England, when,

 … since his conviction of Gross Indecency in 1952 (see Part One) Turing had been under police surveillance, with officers posted outside his home. In this context, the arrival of a foreign visitor was viewed as a potential security leak, and officers were deployed all over the North of England to intercept Kjell.[8] At this point in his life, Turing’s accomplishments had become more of a burden than an asset, as his knowledge of the British nuclear program made him a high security risk. As such his movements and activities were closely monitored, and his relationship with the police (“the poor sweeties,” as he called them) were increasingly frayed. Yet despite being deprived further access to government resources, and despite increasing surveillance and police suspicion, Turing seems to have continued working on a set of experimental ideas that, apart from a few allusions in letters to Gandy and others, are entirely lost.[9]

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear?

Computing technologies contribute much that is good to the modern world, but it is their potential to support, not undermine, democracy that we should always try to remember and celebrate.

Turing’s life story provides much to celebrate, as well as a cautionary tale:

No to John Key’s GCSB and related surveillance Bills – a charter for abuse of privacy and democracy!

51 comments on “Turing – so much more …”

  1. Bill 1

    Never been altogether comfortable with the assertion that the internet somehow promotes democracy; not saying it doesn’t or can’t; just that I don’t see how it does.

    True, that more information and perspectives are avaliable than was the case in the days before the internet and that some of it is valuable. But how does that lead on into greater democracy? So much information and so many distractions might simply lead to a situation where with so much going on, nobody really knows what is going on.

    True also, that the internet means that (at least sometimes) information can be spread to more people quicker. But how exactly does that, in and of itself, support, promote or encourage democracy? Sure, it might mean that people can converge in one place quickly in support of some greivence/idea. And that’s valuable from one perspective of organising (numbers) But if those gathered are then subjected to the same old top down decision making processes…or even brought together as a result of the same processes, then the obvious counter argument applies – that the internet encourages the basis for authoritarianism.

    Then there is the fact, mentioned often enough here at ‘ts’, that too many people treat their keyboard entries as a substitute for activism – ie, feet on the streets, bodies at face to face meetings/gatherings and networking/socialising/organising.

    At present I’m inclined to view the internet as a somewhat useful tool with definate limitations and a fair few obvious downsides. But maybe I’m missing something really obvious. If I am, I’m more than happy to have it pointed out to me.

    • weka 1.1

      The question then becomes, why has the internet not been more successfully used to promote democracy in the West? I’m tempted to say there is great untapped potential, but I suspect the reasons we aren’t taking better advantage of the useful bits of the internet have less to do with the internet and more to do with the humans.

    • Huginn 1.2

      The internet supports democracy by making politicians more immediately available to their constituents.

      Technologically astute politicians can build broad, engaged and immediately responsive support base eg through twitter. They can ask their support bases to micro-fund them, which reduces the influence of vested interests.

      • Bill 1.2.1

        That’s the ”obvious counter argument” I mentioned in my comment, right there.

      • Colonial Viper 1.2.2

        They can ask their support bases to micro-fund them, which reduces the influence of vested interests.

        Oh yes, look how Obama was successful at that.

    • karol 1.3

      Well, Bill, I didn’t think I was claiming that the Internet or other digital technologies were inherently democratic. If I did think that, why would I be concerned about the way such technologies can be used to suppress democracy?

      I tend to see it as having both democratic and anti-democratic possibilities. I was asking how it could be used more to promote the former.

      I agree – technology is neutral – it’s how people use it.

      Many proclaimed the advent of the printing press as a democratising technology because it would bring knowledge and information to all. Obviously it has been used both democratically and un/anti-democratically.

      • Colonial Viper 1.3.1

        I agree – technology is neutral – it’s how people use it.

        this statement is not true and is reminiscent of the “guns don’t kill people” line of thinking.

        • RJL 1.3.1.1

          I agree, CV.

          Some technology is neutral. Some is just bad.

          Once, I thought that the internet was a good tool for democracy. And a secure, decentralised, accessible method of global communication would perhaps be good tool for democracy.

          Unfortunately, the internet is actually none of these things.

          • McFlock 1.3.1.1.1

            I don’t belive that there is any bad technology.

            Just technology (like guns and chemical warfare factories) that shold be restricted from personal or even state use, because some people are morons and others are dicks, and some are a glorious combination of the two. But advanced rifle manufacturing might be useful for something good one day. Mortars are used to create controlled avalanches, for example.

            • RJL 1.3.1.1.1.1

              Triggering avalanches with explosives may be good, but that doesn’t make mortars netural.

              Chemical weapons manufacturing is never good, despite the fact that chemical manufacturing might be in some instances.

              A “good” “civilian” technology does not excuse/justify a parallel/similar “bad” “military” technology.

            • Colonial Viper 1.3.1.1.1.2

              There isn’t any “bad” technology, just technology which needs to be banned from use.

              OK. I can live with that. How about banned from being developed in the first place? Like weaponisation of pathogens, or design of fuel air bombs?

        • karol 1.3.1.2

          Hmmm… CV & RJL make good points. I’ll change my earlier statement – maybe it’s better to say there’s positive and negative impacts/potentials from most technologies.

          • Colonial Viper 1.3.1.2.1

            Yep, and that would allow a method to weigh up and assess technologies and their use/development.

      • Bill 1.3.2

        I didn’t think for a moment you suggested the ‘net’ was inherently democratic. Was just picking up on what you say is a potential and extrapolating from that to a generally held and widespread ‘article of faith’ on the democratising effect of the internet…

        All my comment is getting at is that I don’t quite ‘get it’. That and curious as to whether I’m just not seeing something that others do.

        • karol 1.3.2.1

          Well. Then I agree with you. I think maybe that idea that the Net is a democratising platform comes from some of the right wing, entrepreneurial, libertarians?

      • Huginn 1.3.3

        I don’t believe that the technology of the web is neutral. I thinks that it is philosophically invested with the ideas of the people who made it – John Von Neumann in particular. IT embodies an agenda and we need to understand that agenda in order to avoid nasty surprises like the Global Financial Crisis.

        That’s why it’s a good idea to examine the histories that lie at its core

        • karol 1.3.3.1

          I don’t know a lot about Von Neumann. If you do, why aren’t you saying. What do you think that agenda is?

    • Rosetinted 1.4

      Bill
      At least one can put a point of view on the internet such as TS. I have been to meetings where some seasoned time-wasting bigot gets up and natters on, not orating, just repeating his own opinion and calling on some authority to make it seem that his opinion is reliable. He may be known to the person ‘running’ the meeting or that person is sympathetic and there is attempt at proper time control. No-one else has a chance to put up an idea for discussion. Any time left over is spent is discussing points that the long-winded emphasised as important.

      An appearance on the street is important, but so is a chance to discuss things in an ordered way that encourages people to bring forward their own concerns and suggestions, which are then noted for action or further discussion, not just disregarded by the organisers of the meeting if they don’t match their chosen topics or line of reasoning.

      • Bill 1.4.1

        That’s one thing I think the net is good for…the presentation and debating of ideas (depending on the format). But that’s not necessarily got anything to do with democracy…

        • Colonial Viper 1.4.1.1

          And it is a method for undemocratic forces to track and trace both ideas and people. Lessons from the oraganisers of the Arab Spring in various countries: NEVER use Facebook, Twitter etc.

  2. Huginn 2

    It is inconceivable that there are no UK or US government surveillance files on Turing.

    Turing worked at Bletchly Park, the home of the organisation that now calls itself the GCHQ.
    He may have been a lovely old Quean, but have no illusions, Turing was at the core of GCHQ’s project, and by extension that of the GCSB in NZ.

    About 10 years ago when files of that time were automatically declassified, a lot of them were recalled and/or redacted because institutional historians like Philip Mirowski started poking about in them and asking uncomfortable questions.

    http://www.gchq.gov.uk/History/Pages/Bletchley-Park-Post-War.aspx

    • karol 2.1

      He may have been a lovely old Quean, but have no illusions, Turing was at the core of GCHQ’s project, and by extension that of the GCSB in NZ.

      Yes, but both Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden were in the belly of the beast before they perceived it’s dangers and turned on it.

      I was stepping into a hypothetical, wondering how Turing would view today’s debates on surveillance technologies, given his bad experiences on the receiving end of (non-digital) surveillance.

      • Huginn 2.1.1

        Turing not so much in the belly of the beast as in it’s womb, flailing about at the moment of conception.

        Good idea to look at the core histories, though.

        Ask yourself ‘what would have happened if Turing had accepted John Von Neumann’s offer and gone to the US?’

        Or, ‘what was Friedrich Hayek doing at the time and what would he have to say to John Key about the GCSB in particular and about the state’s use of computational methodologies in general?’.

        • karol 2.1.1.1

          But you could also ask why Turing turned down Von Neumann’s invitation? Not comfortable with the culture?

          And if Turing had got involved int he Manhattan project? And had experienced McCarthyism? Oppenheimer didn’t fare too well during that period. The authorities also weren’t that welcoming of gay people.

          What has Hayek got to do with it?

          • RJL 2.1.1.1.1

            I’m not sure why Turing would have been involved in the Manhattan Project?

            Anyway, that got to its outcome without his involvement; how would it have better/worse with Turing involved in it?

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Brilliant mathematicians always useful in nuclear research projects…but I am guessing he was a loyal member of the british empire…much good that did him.

            • lprent 2.1.1.1.1.2

              There is quite a lot of maths involved in making a A-bomb

            • karol 2.1.1.1.1.3

              The Manhattan Project pulled in experts from a wide range of fields. That was part of the reason for its success in achieving the set goals. It enabled extensive cross-fertilisation between people with differing expertise, leading to innovation – pushing people to think “outside the box”.

              It Von Neumann was involved, why not Turing?

              • RJL

                Yes, the Manhattan project had a theoretical division and there were numerous mathematical problems to solve. But those problems were solved (at least well enough) and the bombs were built. There were plenty of geniuses already involved.

                Perhaps Turing would have helped solve the theoretical problems quicker or differently, but I’m not really sure what difference that would have made.

                Different solutions to some of the theoretical problems may have resulted in a more efficient use of the fissionable material during detonation, but a few kilotonnes here or there makes little practical difference.

                Quicker solutions to some theoretical problems, would still mean that the refining of U235 and the breeding of Pu239 would be the bottlenecks in the construction of the three bombs. It is not apparrent that another genius mathematician would have made much difference to the speed of bomb manufacture. Doubling the 150,000 strong workforce might have made a difference there.

            • karol 2.1.1.1.1.4

              I was thinking more about how Turing would have felt about those sorts of involvement – following Huginn’s suggestions that Turing’s life would have been different if he’d taken up von Neumann’s invitation to the US.

          • Huginn 2.1.1.1.2

            The Manhattan Project was only one of many that Von Neumann was invloved with. I was thinking more of spin-offs from the Eniac Project where he separated ‘data’ from ‘program’, thus inventing ‘software’ as we know it today.
            Or Turing could have hung out with Kurt Gödel at Yale’s Institute for Advanced Study.
            Most of all, I’d like to think that he would have ended his days in California, maybe sitting by a swimming pool waiting for David Hockney to come round.

            I mentioned Hayek because he was also part of the core history of this technology. Hayek was so disturbed by the kind of work that was coming out of Bletchly Park towards the end of the war that he and Michael Polanyi lobbied the post war UK government to end its involvement with Operations Research (another Von Neumann project), and related technologies. Philip Mirowski has suggested that their success in this led to the UK lagging behind the US in the development of the computer which Mirowski believes is closely related to the development of OR.

            Hayek wrote extensively about the state’s use of computational methodologies which he believed to be a very bad thing. It’s one of his issues with Keynes. He’s worth reading now about it because it’s becoming clear that he was right about it.

  3. Santi 3

    He was a genius and true giant of mathematics.. Sexual orientation does not matter and Turing should get the pardon and recognition he deserves.

  4. Rosetinted 4

    It’s all just an excuse to go witch-hunting. Run scary scenarios, rumours to frighten the populace, get them alarmed, as we are already about terrorist threats from religious extremists who have genuine national grievances fuelling thjem.

    The McCarthy scare in the USA after WW2 was one. People were scared and were played on by aspirational politicians appealing to uncertainty about the Soviets and communism and some spies who had leaked information. Those in powerful Rebpublican positions made a Hollywood blacklist ending up with people like Charlie Chaplin having to leave and go to Britain. This was also the reign of the malign Edgar Hoover.

    And the McCarthy thing was a beat-up to raise his political profile and had to be ended by action from the President when McCarthy started to question the defence forces reliability.
    http://www.authentichistory.com/1946-1960/4-cwhomefront/1-mccarthyism/
    On February 9, 1950, at the Republican Women’s Club of Wheeling, West Virginia, Senator Joe McCarthy gave his Lincoln Day speech. “I have here in my hand a list of 205–a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.” Communists in the State Department represented a potential threat to national security. But McCarthy had no such list. His source was a four-year-old letter, already published in the Congressional Record, from then Secretary of State James Byrnes to a U.S. Congressman.

    On McCarthy dodgy political maneouvring –
    erroneous accusations against his opponent, Robert La Follette, to promote his own campaign. Damaging La Follete’s reputation by claiming he hadn’t enlisted in the military during the war, McCarthy won the election and became Senator.

    http://www.coldwar.org/articles/50s/senatorjosephmccarthy.asp

    As re-election began to loom closer, McCarthy, whose first term was unimpressive, searched for ways to ensure his political success, resorting even to corruption. Edmund Walsh, a close fellow Roman Catholic and anti-communist suggested a crusade against so-called communist subversives. McCarthy enthusiastically agreed and took advantage of the nation’s wave of fanatic terror against communism, and emerged on February 9, 1950, claiming he had a list of 205 people in the State Department who were known members of the American Communist Party. The American public went crazy with the thought of seditious communists living within the United States, and roared for the investigation of the underground agitators. These people on the list were in fact not all communists; some had proven merely to be alcoholics or sexual deviants

    Drew Pearson, a critic who discredited McCarthy’s accusations regularly through columns and radio broadcasts. McCarthy made seven speeches to the Senate on Pearson, which resulted in the loss of sponsors to Pearson’s show. Also, money was then raised to help numerous men sue Pearson, all charges of which he was found innocent and not liable.,,in December of 1954, a censure motion, which is a formal reprimand from a powerful body, was issued condemning his conduct with the vote count at 67 to 22. The media subsequently became disinterested in his communist allegations and McCarthy was virtually stripped of his power. He died in May of 1957 after being diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver due to heavy drinking

    Wikipedia reports –

    There were also more subtle forces encouraging the rise of McCarthyism. It had long been a practice of more conservative politicians to refer to progressive reforms such as child labor laws and women’s suffrage as “Communist” or “Red plots.”[7] This tendency increased in the 1930s in reaction to the New Deal policies of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

    Sound familiar?

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      McCarthy was funded by Republican oil money out of Texas. Connect the dots.

    • Rosetinted 4.2

      I branched off into McCarthy because I was thinking how people can be singled out and scapegoated for being different than the mainstream, ie homosexual. Which was by extension of fearful attitudes seen as subversive I think. And with a little creep right wing power player like McCarthy (McCarthy was also a lawyer, and I am sorry to see how many of these are getting into politics here) the value of being able to point the finger of scorn and shock etc. is a useful tool for a tool.

      And CV says he was funded out of Texas.. Ronald Reagan was keen to finger people as anti-communist in the Hollywood ‘trials’. Bush, and shrub, I suppose both came from that great state so one can see this unattractive trend in USA politics. It can only keep sliding downwards, that’s the trend.

      • Colonial Viper 4.2.1

        McCarthy was seen in Texas so often that he got the nickname “the third Senator from Texas”. (he was actually senator for Wisconsin).

        • yeshe 4.2.1.1

          like Cheney ? Wisconsin folks can’t be pleased .. oh, and they’re not as Cheney’s daughter as we write is trying to overthrow the existing Repug senator in that very same state … and with Jeb Bush in Florida .. ugh.

          And I believe Turing deserves so much more than a pardon. He virtually won the war.

  5. Binders full of women 5

    Sadly Turing almost survived the deadly homophobia…. didn’t he make a flippant remark to a couple of bobbies who were investigating a minor matter and they got suspicious and started the lewd ball rolling?

  6. Murray Olsen 6

    Turing’s impact and memory will outlast the morons who drove him to his death. It was a total obscenity that someone who had save so many of their lives was driven to his death. Unless he said or wrote something, we’ll never know what he thought of the surveillance society. In a very real sense, it’s what we think of it and how we stop it that are more important.

    • karol 6.1

      Although, Turing was interested in “artificial intelligence” and it is technologies with a reasonable amount of “intelligence” that enable the wide spread surveillance of meta-data that are now an issue.

      I’d be interested to know more about what Turing thought of AI.

  7. Sosoo 7

    While I agree with these pardons in principle, I’d be pretty wary of making Turing the poster boy for them, as I remember reading that he allegedly engaged in what we would now label paedophilia at least a couple of times in his life.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      If that is factually accurate, its odd (hypocritical?) why PM Cameron would OK a pardon for Turing while simultaneously banning child porn on the internet.

    • karol 7.2

      Yes, he seems to have had a bit of a tendency to hit on (at least) one or two underage teenage boys (under 15yrs).

  8. Sable 8

    Why “pardon” a man who did nothing wrong. Perhaps they would do better to apologise to his family.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • New Zealand joins global search for COVID-19 vaccine
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Megan Woods, Minister of Research, Science and Innovation Hon Dr David Clark, Minister of Health Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods,  and Health Minister David Clark today announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, ...
    17 hours ago
  • Budget 2020: Five things to know
    Budget 2020 is about rebuilding together, supporting jobs, getting business moving and the books back into the black. It’s an integral part of our COVID-19 economic response, and our plan to grow our economy and get New Zealand moving again. Here’s a quick look at the five top things you ...
    2 days ago
  • Coalition Government approves essential upgrades on Ōhakea Air Base
    The Coalition Government has approved $206 million in essential upgrades at Ōhakea Air Base.  Defence Minister Ron Mark said the money would be spent on improving old infrastructure. He said safety issues would be addressed, as well as upgrades to taxiways, accommodation and fresh, storm and waste water systems. "This ...
    5 days ago
  • Attributable to the Rt Hon Winston Peters
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First “I am not persisting with this case just for myself, but for all people who have had their privacy breached. Privacy of information is a cornerstone of our country’s democracy. Without it our society truly faces a bleak future. We now ...
    1 week ago
  • Forestry Minister Shane Jones moves to protect sawmills
    Forestry Minister Shane Jones has introduced a Bill to Parliament that he says will "force more transparency, integrity and respect" for the domestic wood-processing sector through the registration of log traders and practice standards. The Forests (Regulation of Log Traders and Forestry Advisers) Amendment Bill had its first reading in ...
    1 week ago
  • Green MP joins international call to cancel developing countries’ debt
    Green MP Golriz Ghahraman is joining over 300 lawmakers from around the world in calling on the big banks and the IMF to forgive the debt of developing countries, in the wake of the COVID crisis. ...
    1 week ago
  • Forestry Minister Shane Jones swipes back at billion trees critics
    Forestry Minister Shane Jones says concerns that carbon foresters are planting pine trees that will never be harvested are the result of "misinformation". "The billion tree strategy is an excellent idea, unfortunately from time to time it's tainted by misinformation spread by the National Party or their grandees, hiding in scattered ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Budget boost for refugee families a win for compassion
    The Green Party welcomes funding in the budget to reunite more refugees with their families, ensuring they have the best chance at a new life in Aotearoa New Zealand. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • How Budget 2020 is supporting jobs
    This year’s Budget is about rebuilding New Zealand together in the face of COVID-19. Jobs are central to how we’re going to do that.There’s a lot of targeted investment for employment in this year’s Budget, with announcements on creating new jobs, training people for the jobs we have, and supporting ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters says China didn’t want NZ to go into lockdown
    Speaking to Stuff's Coronavirus NZ podcast, Foreign Minister Winston Peters revealed China tried to dissuade New Zealand from going into lockdown. “Without speaking out of turn, they wanted a discussion as to why we were doing it, because they thought it was an overreaction,” Mr Peters told Stuff’s Coronavirus NZ podcast. He also ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Changes made to Overseas Investment Act to protect New Zealand assets
    The Coalition Government is making changes to the Overseas Investment Act to ensure New Zealand assets don't fall into the hands of foreign ownership in the economic aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Associate Minister of Finance David Parker announced the Act will be amended to bring forward a national interest ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters: Trans-Tasman bubble to help tourism industry make swift recovery
    A quick start to a trans-Tasman bubble could see the tourism industry make a swift recovery, according to Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters. "I believe tourism will turn around dramatically faster than people think," Mr Peters told reporters after Thursday's Budget. "Why? Because I think the Tasman bubble is [going ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rt. Hon Winston Peters: Budget Speech
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First   Please check against delivery https://vimeo.com/418303651 Budget 2020: Jobs, Business and Balance   Introduction Acknowledgements to all Cabinet colleagues, and party ministers Tracey Martin, Shane Jones and Ron Mark, Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau and to caucus colleagues. Thank you for your support, your ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Jacinda Ardern’s 2020 Budget Speech
    Read Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's Budget 2020 Speech. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Budget 2020: Next steps to end family and sexual violence
    The 2020 Budget includes significant support to stabilise New Zealand’s family violence services, whose work has been shown to be so essential throughout the COVID-19 lockdown. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Investment in housing gives more people access to the home they deserve
    The Green Party says huge new investment in public and transitional housing will get thousands more families into the warm, safe homes they deserve.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Budget 2020: Huge investment in green nature based jobs jump starts sustainable COVID recovery
    The Green Party says the $1.1 billion environmental investment in this year’s budget to create thousands of green jobs will help jump start a sustainable recovery from the COVID crisis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Grant Robertson’s 2020 Budget Speech
    Read Minister of Finance Grant Robertson's Budget 2020 Speech. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters tells struggling migrant workers ‘you should probably go home’
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said today the Coalition Government told foreigners at the start of the Covid-19 crisis that if their circumstances had changed dramatically, they should go home. "And 50,000 did," Mr Peters said. Official advice to Cabinet revealed there is potentially 380,000 foreigners and migrant workers in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First welcomes today’s Alert Level 2 announcement
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand First welcomes the decision today to go to Alert Level 2 from midnight Wednesday, says Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. Alert Level 2 will mean a return to work for the vast majority of New Zealand’s businesses. A return ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nurses to be protected after amendment to First Responders Bill
    Nurses now look set to get more protection from violence at work, under a proposed new law. This after NZ First MP Darroch Ball's "Protection for First Responders Bill", which introduces a six-month minimum sentence for assaults on first responders, will now also cover emergency department healthcare workers. The ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nurses to get more protection, added to ‘First Responders’ legislation
    Darroch Ball MP, New Zealand First Law and Order Spokesperson An amendment to the ‘Protection of First Responders Bill’ is being tabled which will see emergency department healthcare workers included in the legislation. “During this COVID-19 crisis we have seen reports of violence and specifically increased incidents of spitting towards ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Shane Jones: Northland port could be economic haven
    Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones is breathing new life into the proposal to move Auckland's port to Whangārei to help in the economic recovery post Covid-19 pandemic. If New Zealand First was returned in the September general election, Minister Jones said a priority would be development of an "economic haven" at Northport, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF grant for Ventnor memorial
    The plan to build a memorial to the SS Ventnor, and those who were lost when it sank off the Hokianga coast in 1902, has been granted $100,000 from the Provincial Growth Fund. Originally planned for a site near Rāwene cemetery, the memorial will now be built at the new Manea ...
    3 weeks ago
  • 75th anniversary of V.E Day
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader Leader of New Zealand First, Rt Hon Winston Peters said: “Today is the 75th anniversary of VE Day – marking the end of World War II in Europe." Millions died in the six years of war, and families were torn apart. 75 years ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: Getting the job done
    From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Government has committed to providing calm, clear, and consistent communication, including regular press conference updates from the Prime Minister. While New Zealand is at Alert Level 3, we're making sure that New Zealanders are kept informed and up-to-date with all the latest ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters responds to Simon Bridges’ ‘my sweetheart’ comment
    New Zealand First leader Winston Peters spoke to The Country's Jamie Mackay. A day earlier, National Party leader Simon Bridges was on the radio show and referred to the Deputy Prime Minister as, "my sweetheart Winston". Mr Peters swiftly dismissed the question of whether Bridges had changed his mind about ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Parliament returns to a safe normal
    The special Epidemic Response Committee (ERC) has successfully concluded its role, Leader of the House Chris Hipkins said today. The committee was set up on 25 March by the agreement of Parliament to scrutinise the Government and its actions while keeping people safe during levels 4 and 3 of lockdown. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Foreign Minister makes four diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced four diplomatic appointments: New Zealand’s Ambassador to Belgium, High Commissioners to Nauru and Niue, and Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism. “As the world seeks to manage and then recover from COVID-19, our diplomatic and trade networks are more important than ever,” Mr Peters said. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Mycoplasma bovis eradication reaches two year milestone in good shape
    New Zealand’s world-first plan to eradicate the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis is on track the latest technical data shows, says Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor. “Two years ago the Government, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand and industry partners made a bold decision to go hard and commit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • New payment to support Kiwis through COVID
    Further support for New Zealanders affected by 1-in-100 year global economic shock 12-week payment will support people searching for new work or retraining Work programme on employment insurance to support workers and businesses The Government today announced a new temporary payment to support New Zealanders who lose their jobs due ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • PGF reset helps regional economies
    The Provincial Growth Fund will play a vital role in New Zealand’s post-COVID-19 recovery by creating jobs in shorter timeframes through at least $600 million being refocused on projects with more immediate economic benefits, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The funding is comprised of repurposed Provincial Growth ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government exempts some home improvements from costly consents
    Government exempts some home improvements from costly consents Homeowners, builders and DIYers will soon have an easier time making basic home improvements as the Government scraps the need for consents for low-risk building work such as sleep-outs, sheds and carports – allowing the construction sector to fire back up quicker ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Concern at introduction of national security legislation for Hong Kong
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says the New Zealand Government has reacted with concern at the introduction of legislation in China’s National People’s Congress relating to national security in Hong Kong.  “We have a strong interest in seeing confidence maintained in the ‘one country, two systems’ principle under which Hong ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Samoa Language Week theme is perfect for the post-COVID-19 journey
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, says the theme for the 2020 Samoa Language Week is a perfect fit for helping our Pacific communities cope with the unfolding COVID-19 crisis, and to prepare now for the journey ahead as New Zealand focuses on recovery plans and rebuilding New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Adult kakī/black stilt numbers soar
    A nearly 40-year programme to protect one of New Zealand’s most critically endangered birds is paying off, with a record number of adult kakī/black stilt recently recorded living in the wild, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. “Thanks to the team effort involved in the Department of Conservation’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Waikato-Tainui settlement story launched on 25th anniversary of Treaty signing
    The story of the Waikato-Tainui Treaty process and its enduring impact on the community is being told with a five-part web story launched today on the 25th anniversary of settlement, announced Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “I am grateful to Waikato-Tainui for allowing us to help capture ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Taita College to benefit from $32 million school redevelopment
    Taita College in the Hutt Valley will be redeveloped to upgrade its ageing classrooms and leaky roofs, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. “The work is long overdue and will make a lasting difference to the school for generations to come,” Chris Hipkins said. “Too many of our schools are ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Redeployment for workers in hard-hit regions
    The Government is allocating $36.72 million to projects in regions hard hit economically by COVID-19 to keep people working, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Projects in Hawke’s Bay, Northland, Rotorua and Queenstown will be funded from the Government’s $100 million worker ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • $35m to build financial resilience for New Zealanders
    A $35m boost to financial capability service providers funded by MSD will help New Zealanders manage their money better both day to day and through periods of financial difficulty, announced Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “It’s always been our position to increase support to key groups experiencing or at risk ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New District Court Judge appointed
    Dunedin barrister Melinda Broek has been appointed as a District Court Judge with Family Court jurisdiction to be based in Rotorua, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Ms Broek has iwi affiliations to Ngai Tai. She commenced her employment in 1996 with Scholefield Cockroft Lloyd in Invercargill specialising in family and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • $206 million investment in upgrades at Ohakea Air Force Base
    The Coalition Government has approved a business case for $206 million in upgrades to critical infrastructure at Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Ohakea, with the first phase starting later this year, Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. The investment will be made in three phases over five years, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Review of CAA organisational culture released
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today released the Ministry of Transport’s review of the organisational culture at the Civil Aviation Authority. Phil Twyford says all employees are entitled to a safe work environment. “I commissioned this independent review due to the concerns I had about the culture within the CAA, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Board appointed at Stats NZ
    Ensuring that Stats NZ’s direction and strategy best supports government policy decisions will be a key focus for a new Governance Advisory Board announced today by the Minister for Statistics, James Shaw. The new Governance Advisory Board will provide strategic advice to Stats NZ to ensure it is meeting New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Principal Environment Judge
    Environment Judge David Kirkpatrick of Auckland has been appointed as the Principal Environment Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  Judge Kirkpatrick was appointed an Environment Judge in February 2014. From December 2013 to July 2016 he was Chair of the Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel. Prior to appointment he ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Digital connectivity boost for urban marae
    A programme to connect marae around the country to the internet has received $1.4 million to expand to include urban marae in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Kris Faafoi and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. The funding for the Marae Connectivity Programme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Govt increases assistance to drought-stricken Hawke’s Bay farmers
    The Government will provide $500,000 to the Hawke’s Bay Mayoral Drought Relief Fund to help farmers facing one of the worst droughts in living memory, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “Yesterday afternoon I received a letter from Hawke's Bay's five local Government leaders asking me to contribute to the Fund. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Investment in New Zealand’s history
    Budget 2020 provides a major investment in New Zealand’s documentary heritage sector, with a commitment to leasing a new Archives Wellington facility and an increase in funding for Archives and National Library work. “Last year I released plans for a new Archives Wellington building – a purpose-built facility physically connected ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Driving prompt payments to small businesses
    Government Ministers are asking significant private enterprises to adopt prompt payment practices in line with the state sector, as a way to improve cashflow for small businesses. The Ministers of Finance, Small Business, Commerce and Consumer Affairs have written to more than 40 significant enterprises and banking industry representatives to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Rotorua tourist icon to be safeguarded
    Maori Arts and Crafts will continue to underpin the heart of the tourism sector says Minister for Maori Development Nanaia Mahuta.  “That’s why we are making a core investment of $7.6 million to Te Puia New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, over two years, as part of the Government’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $14.7m for jobs training and education
    The Government is funding more pathways to jobs through training and education programmes in regional New Zealand to support the provinces’ recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson have announced. “New Zealand’s economic recovery will be largely driven by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Is it time to further recognise those who serve in our military?
     Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has announced the launch of a national conversation that aims to find out whether New Zealanders think there should be a formal agreement between service people, the Government, and the people of New Zealand. “This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Paving the way for a fully qualified early learning workforce
    The Government’s drive to improve the quality of early childhood education (ECE) is taking another step forward with the reintroduction of a higher funding rate for services that employ fully qualified and registered teachers, Education Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. “Research shows that high-quality ECE can improve young people’s learning ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Sport Recovery Package announced
    The Sport and Recreation sector will receive a multi-million dollar boost as part of the COVID-19 response funded at Budget 2020.  Grant Robertson says the Sport and Recreation Sector contributes about $5 billion a year to New Zealand’s GDP and employs more than 53,000 people. “Sport plays a significant role ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Major boost in support for caregivers and children
    A major increase in funding and availability of support will improve the incomes and reduce the pressure on 14,000 caregivers looking after more than 22,000 children. Children’s Minister Tracey Martin says that caregivers – all those looking after someone else’s children both in and outside the state care system – ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Great Walks recovery on track for summer
    Vital conservation and visitor infrastructure destroyed by a severe flood event in Fiordland earlier this year is being rebuilt through a $13.7 million Budget 2020 investment, announced Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage.   “This investment will mean iconic Great Walks such as the Routeburn track and the full length of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Māori – Government partnership gives whānau a new housing deal
    The Government is investing  $40 million in a partnership with Māori to get more whānau into warm, dry and secure accommodation, Associate Minister for Housing (Māori Housing) Hon Nanaia Mahuta says.. “We are partnering with Māori and iwi to respond to the growing housing crisis in the wake of COVID-19. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders Safe In The Water
    Keeping New Zealanders safe in the water Our lifeguards and coastguards who keep New Zealanders safe in the water have been given a funding boost thanks to the 2020 Budget, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector Poto Williams has announced. The water safety sector will receive $63 million over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Legal framework for COVID-19 Alert Level referred to select committee
    The COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020, which set a sound legal framework ahead of the move to Alert level 2, has been referred to a parliamentary select committee for review.  Attorney-General David Parker said the review of the operation of the COVID-19 specific law would be reported back to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand condemns shocking attacks on hospital and funeral in Afghanistan
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand condemns the targeting of civilians in two terrorist attacks in Afghanistan earlier this week. “The terrorist attacks on a hospital in Kabul and a funeral in Nangarhar province are deeply shocking. The attacks were deliberate and heinous acts of extreme violence targeting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government to close tobacco tax loophole
    The Government will close a loophole that allowed some people to import cigarettes and loose leaf tobacco for manufacturing cigarettes and ‘roll your owns’ for sale on the black market without excise tax being paid, says Minister of Customs Jenny Salesa. The legislation, which doesn’t affect duty free allowances for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • $62 million package to support families through the Family Court
    The Coalition Government has made a significant $62 million investment from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to start the reform of the Family Court and enable it to respond effectively to the increased backlog caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Today Justice Minister Andrew Little introduced the Family Court (Supporting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Tailored help supports new type of job seeker – report
    The Government’s expanded services to support people into jobs will help an emerging cohort of New Zealanders impacted by COVID-19. The impacted group are relatively younger, have a proportionately low benefit history and have comparatively higher incomes than most who seek support, as captured in a report published today from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • A modern approach to night classes
    New funding to boost Government-funded Adult and Community Education (ACE) will give more than 11,000 New Zealanders more opportunities to learn, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This includes a modern approach to rebuilding night classes, which were slashed in the middle of our last economic crisis in 2010,” Chris Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Christchurch Call makes significant progress
    Significant progress has been delivered in the year since the Christchurch Call to Action brought governments and tech companies together in Paris with a single goal to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardent says. On its first anniversary, Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Christchurch Call: One year Anniversary
    Joint statement: the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern Prime Minister of New Zealand and His Excellency Emmanuel Macron President of the French Republic. One year since we launched, in Paris, the Christchurch Call to Action, New Zealand and France stand proud of the progress we have made toward our goal to eliminate terrorist ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Budget 2020: Jobs and opportunities for the primary sector
    $19.3 million to help attract and train recently unemployed New Zealanders and grow the primary sector workforce by 10,000 people. $128 million for wilding pine and wallaby control, providing hundreds of jobs. $45.3m over four years to help horticulture seize opportunities for future growth. $14.9 million to reduce food waste ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago