The Daily Blog Watch Wednesday 31 July



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Today’s Daily Blog Watch Round-Up of matters that have attracted the attention, assessments, and articulations of this country’s leading bloggers and on-line satirists…

NZ Left Blogosphere

On Whoar, Phillip Ure presents us with an assessment of Australia’s new “boat people” policy; “..John Pilger:..Australia’s Election Campaign Is Driven By A Barbarism That Dares Not Speak Its Name..” (+ comment:..and john key/this govt. stands alongside australia on this

And also a look at New Zealand Parliament – List of questions for oral answer – Wednesday – 31 July 2013

As the abuse of Parliament’s systems by Paul Henry and the government worsens with each passing day, it is apparent that National is on the ropes, writes The Jackal, who points out,

David Henry has also claimed that he didn’t request such information, although the now disgraced Peter Dunne has refuted this claim. The United Future Leader had to resign from his Ministerial responsibilities because he failed to comply with all the inquiries demands. Strangely the Dunce is still willing to support a government determined to further undermine our hard won right to privacy.

Jackal adds,

It appears that Key’s office did in fact order Parliamentary Services to release Andrea Vance’s records. The Prime Minister has blatantly lied.

Porcupine Farm offers us their latest satirical meme. Check out Spineless Crap and have a giggle at Peter Dunne’s expense! (and don’t forget to share it!)

On other matters satirical, The Civilian reports  Petrol prices different to what they were previously,

TDB Recommends

A petrol company has changed the prices of fuel by 2 cents a litre, which is 2 cents different to what they were before, when prices were reported as being 2 cents different to what they are now. A litre of 91 octane petrol now costs 2 cents different to what it did before, when the media reported it being 2 cents…

On Maori customs and traditions, Morgan Godfery on Maui Street looks at NZ Herald’s Moon and Maori: our complicated relationship. He takes to task some of Paul  Moon’s comments in a recent article – and also poses some very interesting questions. Have a read and perhaps offer your own thoughts. (Unless you’re a racist from Invercargill, in which case don’t bother.)

The Green’s Frogblog looks at a wide variety of issues today,

Steffan Browning suggests that the  FCV exemptions are very fishy,

The exemptions given to tuna fishers and Iwi from the Foreign Chartered Vessel (FCV) legislation currently in front of Parliament are appalling and will undermine this otherwise worthy legislation.

The Green Party does not agree with any exemptions that mean slave ships continue to operate in our waters beyond the already generous time agreed for their demise.

New Zealand registered vessels and fishers are significant fishers already in this market and quite frankly this whole exemption is fishy.

Denise Roche highlights how  E-waste solutions backed by local government – but National is dragging it’s Tory feet on the problem and doing nothing to  promote recycling of electronic equipment.

Gareth Hughes discusses  the need of   An Internet cable connection from Hawaiki? and points out the vulnerability of our sole existing link, the Southern Cross cable.

Jan Logie demands   More urgency needed on sexual abuse funding and sez,

I’m really pleased to see Paula Bennett’s announcement that she will increase funding to the Auckland Sexual Abuse Help Foundation (HELP) by $190,000 per annum.

It was less than a year ago they were being told they would have to cut their 24 hours phone line because of a $200,000 funding shortfall. It is great that finally a Minister has taken responsibility and is starting to recognise the importance of specialist services for the survivors in Auckland.

Gareth Hughes tells us of   Key’s international media FAIL – where the UK Guardian took the Prime Minister to task over our “clean and green” image – whilst at the same time promoting mining, oil drilling, fracking, and fuck knows what else. National’s stuffing up our environment is slowly coming to the attention of the rest of the world – and that will undermine everything that “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” has achieved.

Economic sabotage? You bet!

On a lighter note, Denise Roche blogs on the  Unpackit Awards are back,

I love voting.  Well, I’m a politician – I would.  But I particularly love voting for the annual Unpackit Awards.

This is the annual event run by the Wanaka Wastebusters team to get ordinary New Zealanders to nominate and then vote for the very worst and best examples of product packaging.

Holly Walker asks – Are you one of the 70,000 who just got un-enrolled? Holly reminds us all to check if we’re still enrolled to vote. Next year, the election may be down to the wire – every vote will count!

On Frankly Speaking, Frank asks How deep is Key in this mess? and posits the fate of this government.

Robert Guyton sez You don’t collect then pass over three months worth of phone records by accident. And makes a one-line blogpost that about sums it all up.

Savant on No Right Turn adds,

… Eagleson had no business talking to Parliamentary Services at all. They’re not part of the executive and not subject to his inquiry. And for the same reason, Parliamentary Services should not have given him any information, let alone information on a journalist, without a warrant and clear permission from the Speaker. So we’re not just looking at over-reaching, spying government, but also at a Parliamentary Service which is overly subserviant to it and does not understand its constitutional role.

Savant also reveals more lying from Key here,  The spy bill and metadata,

Today in Question Time John Key gave an assurance that the interception of New Zealanders’ metadata would require an access authorisation. But while its good to hear, its not quite true. Why not? Let’s take a look at the law…

And Danyl on The Dim Post condemns illegal surveillance of Andrea Vance (and others), saying  It’s the worst abuse of government power imaginable – the kind that affects the press gallery. Danyl sez,

“…Personally I’m struck by the very high incidence of illegal activity, lies and cover-ups that seem to have occurred around the work the security services and the government have carried out regarding Andrea Vance and Kim Dotcom, and the fact that we only know about all this incompetence and law-breaking because both Vance and Dotcom are highly privileged individuals.”

The Auckland Transport Blog is a good source of transport-related stories – not necessarily Auckland-focused. John Polkinghorne reminds us to Stay Safe around large moving objects. Especially in the light of several train and bus crashes around the world lately.

Matt L reminds us that Consultation on the new bus network in the South closes on Friday, and presents a well-researched look at bus-routes and rail capacity data.

Matt L also reviews an op-ed piece in the NZ Herald, Congestion Free Network in the Herald. Matt writes,

I think one area of the transport debate we haven’t really covered in much detail (if at all) has been the relationship between public transport and health. There is certainly a strong connection which tends to stem from the fact that most people walk to a station or bus stop at either end rather than just walking to their garage to hop in their car.

Fightback is promoting a Christchurch event: Neoliberalism, resistance and the far right.  This will be a panel discussion “on the rise of the far right, neoliberalism in Aotearoa and globally, and resistance to these forces“. Click on the link to find out more.

Gordon Campbell on the Manning conviction, and Dotcom’s latest round,

So, in a US kangaroo court, the sole presiding judge has found Bradley Manning guilty of espionage, theft and fraud under the US Espionage Act of 1917. So much for the whistle blower defence, and for Manning’s claim that his actions were intended – and resulted – in the American public being far better informed about the lies, subterfuges and illegal activities being carried out by their government in their name. In the court’s opinion, the fact that some of the emails and diplomatic cables that Manning helped to expose would have been read by al Qaeda was reason enough to convict him of espionage – although the court did also rule that this prospect didn’t amount to the even more heinous crime of “aiding the enemy.”

More and more, the USA is adopting the behaviour of it’s old nemesis, the USSR…

On Bowalley Road, Chris Trotter describes The Contagion Of Evil that is New Zealand’s involvement in Afghanistan and a US prison at Bagram Airbase.  Chris  describes how the NZ Defence Force has been corrupted to such a degree that it now spies on – and apparently threatens – New Zealand journalists.

Jon Stephenson has reported the truth about our involvement in Afghanistan – and for his pains has been declared an Enemy of the State.

Read Chris’s full blogpost.

Don’t get frightened.

Get angry.

On the same issue, Pablo on Kiwipolitico gives us the  Long and short of the NZDF spying scandal, and it is a valuable  oversight of what has been happening with various spy scandals. He looks at how the NZDF has been spying on journalist Jon Stephenson; the slander of Stephenson’s reputation by the military; and a secretary manual that labels journalists as “subversives”.

Soviet-era stuff.

Whoda thunk this could ever happen in sleepy little New Zealand, or to Kiwis overseas??

Open Parachute condemns National’s massive re-organisation of AgResearch, wondering  Is this the way to reorganise science? National has a habit of doing this to our science departments and one can only guess at the effects this has on morale and ongoing research programmes. The author writes,

Unfortunately, this sort of upheaval – together with diversion of energy away from research into stress, emotions and cynicism – has been a regular feature of scientific research since the reorganisation of New Zealand science about 20 years ago.

At the beginning, after the initial staff losses there was the intense ideological pressure to think in terms of “profit” instead of science. I remember being jumped on when I tried to point out that no commercially sensible corporation would want to buy our research capability of our science was not good. “Science” became a dirty word.

Josie Pagani on The Pundit calls the Bradley Manning verdict a lesson for our Defence chiefs,

The Bradley Manning verdict sends a clear message to the chiefs at the top of our Defence Service (and Parliamentary Services). They should listen and hang their heads in shame. Investigative journalism is not treacherous.

Josie’s verdict? Now is not the time to be extending the powers of the State to spy on us. She makes valid points on all except this;

I’ve got no time for the conspiracy theorists who compare present day New Zealand with Nazi Germany. If you can shout in a megaphone that New Zealand is a police state, it almost certainly isn’t.

No, Josie. It just means you’ve become a target and will be dealt to later by the Executive, the State, or any one of it’s organs.  The establishment is simply more ‘subtle’ than the goose-stepping Nazi thugs of yesteryear.

Remember how Bennett dealt to Jennifer Johnston and Natasha Fuller?

Otherwise, Josie is spot on in her comments.

Tewhareporahou presents an interview with fellow blogger and one-time GreenParty candidate for the recent Ikaroa-Rāwhiti by-election – Gisborne GCSB protest including Marama Davidson interview.

Sea level rise and the Canterbury coastline,  will be discussed at a public meeting, writes Gareth on Hot Topic, who sez this comes “highly recommended — especially if you live in or near a Canterbury coastal community”. Personally, there ain’t no way I’m living on the coast any time soon. No way, never. And if you do happen to have a beach-front property, I’d sell it to a cashed-up climate-change denier before the waves reach your letter-box. Or front door-step.

Meanwhile, over at The Standard,

Firstly, a guest post, by “Te Reo Putake”;  Diss Loyalty

So, what’s with all the negativity toward the Labour Party? Why so many comments on the Standard rubbishing the leadership, running down the party’s prospects at the next election, putting the boot in to the only party with enough mass support to bring an end to the dismal Key Government?

It Wasn’t the Workers or Unions Misusing their Power that Killed the Pike River Miners – CTU Submission –     writes, 

Tomorrow we will deliver our Submission on the Legislation implementing the recommendations of the Pike River Inquiry. Despite the PM saying all the recommendations would be implemented – the legislation falls well short on the issue of tripartism for the Governance of the new agency WorkSafe.

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Pike and the Governments Independent Taskforce into Workplace Health and Safety both recommended a new stand along specialist health and safety agency be set up to remove the responsibility from MBIE for health and safety based on the successful UK model. Both determined it should be run on a tripartite basis.

The Taskforce said:

Our vision is that tripartism is inculcated throught the workplace health and safety system. … The Royal Commission found that a key reason for the DOL being an ineffective regulatory body was that it has ‘no shared responsiblty at governance level, including the absence of an active tripartite body”

This is Key’s scandal writes,

Key’s loyal retainers are trying to keep him out of the Vance spying scandal…

Final word to Alistair Thompson in his must read piece today:

But the amount of damage that has been done here should not be underestimated and it will not go away quickly. The Press Gallery will remember this.

Coming on top of the months of obfuscation and outright lying and evasiveness over every aspect of this story from the Kim Dotcom raids and who knew about them when, to the illegal GCSB spying, to the appointment of a child-hood friend of the PM’s as GCSB Director and now the Andrea Vance and Peter Dunne affair – we will remember.

Andrea Vance’s phone records were handed to Henry by Parliamentary Services – 

So let’s get this straight.  Henry asked for the phone records, the information was collated and handed to him “inadvertently”, he then returned them without viewing them and he is now saying that he never asked for them, and Carter says that Parliamentary Services didn’t but did hand the information over to Henry.  Talk about Kafkaesque.

Reaction to housing policy writes,

Later in the day Stuff ran a second poll on a related topic (below). Between them such polls suggest that we the public are looking for leadership and action on housing. Labour are supplying it. National are not.

The end of the media honeymoon for John Key – 

Yesterday in parliament I watched question time being used to its best effect.  Russell Norman nailed John Key by asking him a series of questions trying to find out why his chief of staff had demanded metadata about Andrea Vance.  Not only metadata about her movements around Parliament was handed over to the executive but data about her Fairfax paid phone calls was apparently also requested, collated, handed over to the requester but apparently not read and returned.  That sucking noise that Key makes when he is under pressure became more and more prominent as time went by and his answers became less and less convincing.  The overwhelming impression I have is that Key was completely on the defensive.


From the Daily Blog

NZDF, Jon Stephenson and Freedom of the Press – John Minto  writes,

Information is power and those who control the information we receive have great power – total power often – to shape public discussion of important issues. This is especially true of war zones overseas because the flow of accurate news is always very restricted in any case

This is stuff that our government does not want us to know…

Key’s NZ – where Andrea Vance & Jon Stephenson are the ‘enemy’ – Martyn Bradbury  writes,

What confidence can we the people have when journalists like Stephenson and Vance are subject to the very type of mass surveillance we are all so concerned about?

It’s as if C.K. Stead’s Smith’s Dream/Sleeping Dogs has finally come true – albeit four decades late. As Alastair Thompson wrote for Scoop (reviewed below), “we are now dealing with a rogue Government”.

Citizens who have broken no law; committed no crime; and are “guilty” of only doing their jobs are being spied on – and the Prime Minister is neck-deep in this morass.

On top of which, Key is demanding greater spying powers  for the State to spy over all of us???

What is wrong with that picture? And as Martyn writes,

The NZDF are liars and media manipulators

This is the exact same NZDF who co-ordinated a disinformation campaign against Jon Stephenson to discredit him after he published articles highlighting the SAS role in handing civilians over to known torture units. That smear attempt was the subject of Stephenson’s defamation case, sadly for Stephenson and journalism in NZ, the jury returned a hung decision allowing the NZDF to get away with it.

But that isn’t the only example of how the NZDF have lied and manipulated the NZ media over what the NZDF are really doing in Afghanistan.

We have been lied to.

We are still being lied to.

And unless you’re a right wing arse-kisser, we should all be really, really pissed of. Because in the final analysis, it’s our kids who are coming home in coffins.

Documentary’s Key Spy Witness Reveals How SIS Failed New Zealand – Selwyn Manning  writes,

The public was never told why the Government changed its tune, it was never informed on why Zaoui was finally considered to be no threat, and neither the Government (nor the SIS) fronted to explain exactly why the SIS got this case wrong. This documentary explains what the Government refused to reveal.

This has to be one of the most extraordinary things I’ve read in a vert long time. (And I’ve read plenty!) To say that we live in extraordinary times might be a cliche – except that Selwyn proves this to be true.

A blighted future – The price of an apple – Frank Macskasy  writes,

Sometimes, the most innocuous events bring you up hard against the realities of our modern life…

And Frank also sends a message to the spooks,

An Open Message to the GCSB, SIS, NSA, and Uncle Tom Cobbly…

If history has demonstrated anything, it is that State power is fleeting and cannot withstand the will of the people. Whether it is the dismantling of the apartheid regime in South Africa; the fall of repressive dictatorships in Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya; or the collapse of the USSR – state power cannot endure where it does not have the respect of the people. 

TRAINSPOTTING: Transport and housing affordability (are inextricably linked!) –  Julie Anne Genter  writes,

I have to admit, there are some bad local government planning regulations, and they have a negative impact on our economy. But not the way pro-sprawl advocates and the Government insist.

Housing is a social issue – and social issues (child poverty, food in schools, joblessness, etc) are National’s achilles heel.  It was social issues that destroyed the Shipley-led National government in 1999 – and it will be their undoing next year.

That plus their quasi-fascist tendencies to spy on us all and extend the State into all our lives.

Lone Wolf: Jon Stephenson and his Search for the Truth –  Chris Trotter  writes,

Greece. Will he come home? That depends on whether, after going toe-to-toe with the very worst elements of the New Zealand State, he feels that, at its core, the country he grew up in still has a place for a person like him. A person who continues to believe that one’s honour is worth defending; one’s reputation is worth preserving; and that the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, is still worth risking everything to find.
It’s a good question.

Every so often, a society and a generation will give us a heroic figure who is heroic because he or she does the right thing. That’s all. Just does the right thing.

This is what makes Hollywood heroes so appealing – they do the right thing. Almost instinctively (or, at least according to the script).

In real life, heroes also do The Right Thing.

When they do, society often ignores them. It’s only later that we come to realise the sacrifices they made to reveal the truth or right a wrong or stand up to bullying.

Jon Stephenson is that man.

And as for our esteemed  Prime Minister,  Johnokio


… Well, he doesn’t seem to be smiling and waving much these days.


Blogpost of the Day #1

Scott Yorke on Imperator Fish makes one of the most important blogposts this year.  He criticises David Farrar for not condemning the National Government’s assault on our liberties with the current GCSB Bill and related Telco interception Bill – but then He delivers, and how!

Don’t forget to check out the links Scott makes to Farrar’s blogposts. They tell the full story.

Read. Absorb. Consider. Share.

Blogpost of the Day #2

From Alastair Thompson on ScoopThe Privileges Of Parliament & Peter Dunne

It is hard not to conclude – in the wake of more than a year of half answers, miss-truths and outright lies around key aspects of the GCSB debacle – that we are now dealing with a rogue Government.

Now the latest monumental balls-up/gross abuse of power (you pick your description) has dragged the Speaker into the net and that has really opened pandora’s box.

This is about as damning as it gets. In effect, Alstair, has called into question the legitamacy of this government.

Early election perhaps?



Direct Actions

By 16 August

Are you one of the 70,000 who just got un-enrolled?

The Electoral Commission have just had to remove 70,000 New Zealanders from the electoral roll, after the election packs they sent out for the local body elections later in the year were returned, saying ‘gone – no forwarding address’. This was part of the checks to make sure that everyone who’s eligible is correctly enrolled to vote.

This means that there’s 70,000 people out there who have moved house but may not know even realise that they won’t be able to vote at the election.

If you think you might be included in this number, don’t despair! You’ve still got time to re-enrol in time to vote at the local body elections this year. Just head to, freetext your name to 3676, call 0800 36 76 56 or go to any PostShop by August 16th.

Hat-tip: Frogblog

By 22 August


The Commerce Committee has called for submissions on the New Zealand International Convention Centre Bill (AKA the crony convention-centre bill). You can submit directly via the link above, or by sending two copies to

Commerce Committee Secretariat
Parliament Buildings
Submissions are due by Thursday, 22 August 2013. Topics to raise: the unconstitutionality of the bill purporting to bind future Parliaments to compensate SkyCity of there is a change of government (and of policy); the anti-freedom of speech clause in the deal and its incompatibility with the Bill of Rights Act. While the latter isn’t actually in the bill, criticism by the committee could see it removed from the deal, or make a future BORA case against its exercise substantially easier.


Hat-tip: No Right Turn


Thought for the Day

Robert Kennedy


~ Joe Blogger,

“The Daily Blog Watch” Editor, Imbiber of Fine Sugary Drinks,  & moa-whisperer