The US Five Eyes/Huawei threat

It looks like the US is trying to play hardball on deterring Five Eyes allies from using Huawei technology. Is this foe security or economic reasons? Possibly both.

Who would you prefer to have a back door into your data, China or the US? Huawei denies allowing secret access, but we know US technology companies have helped their secret services.

Newsroom:  US delivers Five Eyes threat over Huawei

The United States has delivered the most explicit threat yet to New Zealand’s role in the Five Eyes alliance if it allows Huawei into the 5G network, saying it will not share information with any country which allows the Chinese company into “critical information systems”.

The remarks from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo call into question claims from Kiwi politicians and officials that outside pressure is not behind a decision to block Huawei equipment from being used by Spark in its 5G network.

The decision, made by the Government Communications Security Bureau late last year, has sparked fears of retaliation from China against New Zealand including a report in the CCP-owned Global Times which suggested Chinese tourists were turning away from the country in protest.

In an interview with Fox Business News, Pompeo said the country had been speaking to other nations to ensure they understood the risk of putting Huawei technology into their infrastructure.

“We can’t forget these systems were designed with the express work alongside the Chinese PLA, their military in China, they are creating real risk for these countries and their systems, the security of their people…

“We’re out sharing this information, the knowledge that America has gained through its vast network and making sure countries understand the risk. That’s important – we think they’ll make good decisions when they understand that risk.”

Asked specifically about the risks posed to Americans’ information through alliances like Five Eyes if partners allowed Huawei into their systems, Pompeo said that would be an obstacle to any future relationships.

“If a country adopts this and puts it in some of their critical information systems, we won’t be able to share information with them, we won’t be able to work alongside them.”

Given New Zealand has remained a part of Five Eyes despite allowing Huawei into its 4G and ultra-fast broadband networks, it is unclear how real the threat is – although intelligence officials have acknowledged that 5G networks provide an added layer of risk.

But the secret services of countries are not the only risk to our privacy.

Be very afraid?

If an antacid advertisement pops up after you burp, or a laxative advertisement pops up after you fart, then it may be too late.

The Government may be able tax us on our measured emissions.

Regional Kiwi slang

I’m familiar with the southern terms there, but not so much bunking in that form – I know that as wagging for avoiding school – but I have heard ‘bunking off’ as a more general term.

When I lived in Auckland for a while (last century) I found that polonies were more common than saveloys. I don’t know if that’;s still the case. I had never heard of polonies before, and haven’t seen any since. But the are still a thing: “There are 11 different categories, ranging from saveloys and polonies…”

How widely known is snarler as an alternative for sausage?

Some more from the twitter thread:

They had a funny word for ice blocks too, what was it…

Quenchers – may have been a brand name? Also, Popsicle.

And I remember one version that had a lolly frozen in it, something like a jelly baby.

What about brown derby’s? Choc top ice creams.

Ah yes, sold at the pictures at half time. But now we go to the movies. . . . . . .

I used to go to the Pictures. I don’t remember (I may not have been there) but have been told the family was too late to get a seat at the Pictures once, but were allowed to sit behind the screen and see a mirror image version of the  film.

Another family story – we had an American and Australian staying with us once (billets on a horse rider visit thing). I told them my mother liked Oddfellows – she quickly told them they were mint lollies.

Luxing is derived from Electrolux.

Vacuum cleaners were known as Hoovers everywhere I grew up (Auckland/Wellington/South Canterbury).

I think that one’s far more to do with Anglophilia than region.

Hoovering is more of a UK term I think but I have heard it here.

Tub vs pottle of yoghurt

All the above plus cheese roll (not a bun with cheese on top) and ‘leg in’ for a right of way section.

‘Leg in’ is common here, as is grass verge rather than berm.

Lollies … sweets … have regional variations

Also punnet of strawberries was a South Island thing, and elsewhere (like Waikato where Mum grew up) it was a chip….

Punnet is still in common use here in the south.

In chch we bunked school, ate Belgium sausage played Barbador (bulrush) and hoovered. We also nuggeted our shoes. And sometimes as a treat, had a TT2.

Bullrush seems to have had many names. I’m fairly sure we called it Black Peter at school (nothing to do with me, I was red).

This reminds me of the old days:

Flagon or Peter … half gallon jar of beer

Flagon = “half G”

They were commonly used for draught beer (weasel piss). We also used flagons for making and talking cordial. For younger readers, a half gallon is just under 2 litres (1.893 litres), equivalent to about a half dozen stubbies.

NZ Herald (2006): Taste for beer in flagons dries up

The good old flagon of beer – otherwise known as the half g or’goon – is in its last throes, kept alive only by the loyalty of “traditional” drinkers. For years the two-litre jug, in glass or plastic, was as synonymous with all things boozy as the curvaceous pub jug, the dimpled pint and a copy of Best Bets wedged in the back pocket.

Now it seems the ‘goon is a goner, doomed to go the same way as the six o’clock swill.

It’s a “generational” thing, says DB Breweries corporate affairs manager Mark Campbell. “Certainly fewer and fewer younger drinkers use it. It is probably a more traditional way that beer was sold in the past. It’s on the way out.”

I have never heard of ‘goon before. Six o’clock swill is distant history – before my (drinking) time, and not such a big deal in the rural south at least where pubs opening ‘after hours’ was very common.

Image result for nz flagon beer

Sorry about ‘Canterbury Draught’ but it was hard to find a picture of flagons as I knew them. I remember those plastic screw on handles too.

You can still fill your own draught beer but they use other sizes and shapes now.

Also before my time but we had older 750ml beer bottles still around at home with longer necks.

Image result for beer bottle nz

1940 ABC bottle (Trade Me)

Remember when the introduction of stubbies was controversial?

Ship lodged on reef off Rennell, Solomon islands

A story that isn’t getting much attention here apart from via RNZ:  Fears mount as ship still lodged on Solomons reef

A ship that’s leaking oil into the sea off Rennell, in Solomon Islands, could be the largest man-made environmental disaster the country’s faced the chair of the country’s disaster office said on Thursday.

The MV Solomon Trader was servicing a bauxite mine when it hit a reef a week ago.

Bad weather since has hampered efforts to get the ship off the reef, while the ship’s owners and the government had squabbled about whether the ship was leaking oil as locals demanded action.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister asked Australia and other partners to be on standby to help, acknowledging the country’s lack of capacity to deal with a major environmental disaster, should one eventuate.

The MV Solomon Trader on the reef

Bulk carriers similar to that are frequent visitors to New Zealand, delivering phosphate for fertiliser, and picking up logs for export mainly to China.

RNZ: Hull of stranded Solomons ship breached

Water has breached the hull of a ship which ran aground off the southern coast of the Solomon Islands.

However, the director of the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), Loti Yates, said the vessel was not listing and there was no oil spill.

The bulk carrier, MV Solomon Trader, hit a reef off Rennell Island two weeks ago.

“The boat is still on the reef and that water is coming into the engine room, which means that the hull of the ship has been breached,” he said.

“But there is no sign of oil spillage which means the tanks have not been breached.”

This is the first time the NDMO has led a salvage operation for a stranded ship, Mr Yates said.

Details from Scott Hamilton @SikotiHamiltonR via twitter:

A ship loaded with bauxite has been wrecked for weeks on the reef of Rennell Island. Rennellese are threatening to blow the vessel up, & create an environmental disaster, if they are not compensated by the Solomon Islands government. How has this crisis come to pass?

Rennell is a huge uplifted coral island, in the remote south of the Solomons. Its people are Polynesians, unlike most Solomon Islanders. They were almost isolated from the world, except for their neighbour-island of Bellona, until 1938, when they converted to Christianity.

Rennell’s soil is poor; it cannot support sheep & cattle. Its high cliffs & narrow fringing reef make fishing difficult. It boasts a large lake, Teguna, which locals rely on for much of their food. Boats call only about 6 times a year, & items like flour & sugar often run out.

At first glance, the threat issued by Rennellese seems bizarre. Why would they contemplate blowing up the stranded ship, & contaminating their coastal waters & beaches with oil & bauxite? But the island’s modern history helps explain the warning Rennellese have given.

Bauxite mining has created pits & drains on the northwestern side of Tegano, the roughly lake that dominates Rennell’s interior. The mining has coincided with the logging of the west’s forests. The southeast of the island, by contrast, is a UNESCO world heritage zone.

East Rennell won UNESCO protected status because of the endemic species in its waters & forests. UNESCO status helps protect the region from miners & loggers. But it has created bitterness amongst the inhabitant’s of East Rennell’s villages.

When UNESCO was considering granting special status to East Rennell in the ’90s, NZ diplomats & advisers encouraged the region’s people to accept such status, telling them that a UNESCO rating would attract ecotourists, & prove as lucrative as logging or mining.

But two decades after East Rennell secured UNESCO world heritage status, the region gets almost no visitors. The very high cost of an air ticket from Honiara & an absence of local infrastructure keep all but the most adventurous foreigners away.

Aid specialist Luke Kidder, who spent time on Rennell, argues that the East Rennellese believed they had made a two-way deal with NZ & with UNESCO in the ’90s. They would abstain from mining & logging; in return, they would receive a flow of well-heeled ecotourists.

The East Rennellese have watched their western neighbours reap royalties from mining & logging. Now, suddenly, a ship loaded with bauxite from the west has been wrecked on their eastern coast. It is not surprising that they are demanding compensation.

When it is seen from their perspective, the threat by East Rennellese to blow up the wrecked ship makes sense. By promising to damage a UNESCO site, they hope to secure some of the wealth they have been denied for two decades.

Rennell’s people have a single language & culture. But since 1938 east & west have been divided by religion. In the west, the South Sea Evangelical Church dominates; most easterners are Seventh Day Adventists. In recent decades economics has added to the divide.

Many Rennellese encounters with the outside world have been violent. In 1910 three missionaries landed & were slain. In ’38 the island converted en masse to Christianity after days mass hysteria & a series of murders. In WW2 both the Japanese & the US made the island a base.

There has been little interest from NZ politicians in the ecological catastrophe that threatens on Rennell, but NZ’s own policies in the Solomons form some of the context for this danger.

Where are the Greens? It’s time to honour promises to the East Rennellese.

There was no response from Marama Davidson to that. I can’t see an response to the risks of MV Solomon Trader leaking oil or breaking up on the reef off Rennell.

US to leave 200 ‘peacekeepers’ in Syria

Donald Trump’s sudden announcement in December that the US troops would withdraw from Syria took the world by surprise, and serious concerns were expressed in the Respected US. Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis resigned immediately.

Trump said in a video released on Twitter:

“We have won against ISIS. We’ve beaten them and we’ve beaten them badly. We’ve taken back the land and now it’s time for our troops to come back home.”

That was questioned and ridiculed as fighting continued against ISIS.

And a  complete US withdrawal would have left Syria, Iran, Turkey and Russia in positions of influence.

The plan has now been adjusted, with 200 peacekeepers to remain.

Reuters:  U.S. to leave 200 American peacekeepers in Syria after pullout

The United States will leave “a small peacekeeping group” of 200 American troops in Syria for a period of time after a U.S. pullout, the White House said on Thursday, as President Donald Trump pulled back from a complete withdrawal.

Trump in December ordered a withdrawal of the 2,000 American troops in Syria, saying they had defeated Islamic State militants there, even as U.S.-backed Syrian forces continued a final push against the group’s last outpost.

But Trump has been under pressure from multiple advisers to adjust his policy to ensure the protection of Kurdish forces, who supported the fight against Islamic State and who might now be threatened by Turkey, and to serve as a bulwark against Iran’s influence.

“A small peacekeeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria for a period of time,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

The decision was announced after Trump spoke by phone to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. A White House statement said the two leaders agreed, regarding Syria, to “continue coordinating on the creation of a potential safe zone.”

Leaving even a small group of U.S. troops in Syria could pave the way for European allies to commit hundreds of troops to help set up and observe a potential safe zone in northeast Syria.

The commander of U.S.-backed Syrian forces has called for 1,000 to 1,500 international troops to remain in the country to help fight Islamic State and expressed hope the United States, in particular, would halt plans for a total pullout.

The decision to retain peacekeepers could help Trump overcome criticism that he had ordered a precipitous withdrawal from Syria that could lead to Islamic State regaining strength.

It would also have left the Kurds, who the US had supported in Syria, in a precarious position with Turkey.

The decision to retain peacekeepers could help Trump overcome criticism that he had ordered a precipitous withdrawal from Syria that could lead to Islamic State regaining strength.

And it would have strengthened Iranian and Russian influence.

US senator Lindsey Graham had been strongly against the announced withdrawal.

Real Clear Politics (20 December 2018) – Sen. Graham: Trump Withdraw From Syria “A Stain On The Honor Of America”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) delivered a fiery speech on the Senate floor Wednesday night blasting President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. Graham called Trump’s declaration that ISIS has been defeated “fake news” and leaving the country would be a “stain” on America.

Graham Statement on Syria (11 January 2019):

“From an American point of view, we have strategic objectives that must be accomplished in northeastern Syria.  The Iranians, Russians and Assad should not be allowed to be the biggest winners of our withdrawal.

“The mission in Syria is not yet complete and we must continue to work with our partners and allies to ensure that ISIS is destroyed and never returns.”

ABC News (17 January 2019):  Graham says Trump’s statements have emboldened ISIS in Syria

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a top ally of President Donald Trump, expressed concerns on Wednesday that Trump’s comments about withdrawing troops from Syria have emboldened terrorist groups like ISIS, and that he hopes Trump thinks “long and hard” about his next moves when it comes to withdrawing troops from the war torn country.

“My concern by the statements made by President Trump is that you have set in motion enthusiasm by the enemy we are fighting. You make people we are trying to help wonder about us.”

Task and Purpose (20 February 2019): Sen. Graham tells Shanahan that leaving Syria is ‘the dumbest f*****g idea I’ve ever heard’

“That’s the dumbest f******g idea I’ve ever heard,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reportedly replied when Shanahan confirmed the Trump administration still plans to complete the Syria withdrawal by April 30.

Later, Graham told Shanahan, “I am now your adversary, not your friend.”

The blow up came during a Feb. 16 meeting in Munich with Shanahan and three dozen lawmakers from both parties, according to Breitbart, the Washington Post, and NBC.

Graham’s spokesman Kevin Bishop did not dispute media reports of Graham’s comments during the meeting, adding the senator declined to comment for this story.

While he rarely criticizes the president, Graham initially called Trump’s decision to pull all U.S. troops from Syria a “huge Obama-like mistake.”

The pressure on Trump to think long and hard – something that seems alien to his personality – seems to have worked.

After the announcement that the US would leave troops in Syria, Graham issued this statement:

“This will ensure ISIS does not return and Iran does not fill the vacuum that would have been left if we completely withdrew. This also ensures Turkey and SDF elements that helped us defeat ISIS will not go into conflict.

“A safe zone in Syria made up of international forces is the best way to achieve our national security objectives of continuing to contain Iran, ensuring the enduring defeat of ISIS, protecting our Turkish allies, and securing the Turkish border with Syria”.

“With this decision, President Trump has decided to follow sound military advice. This decision will ensure that we will not repeat the mistakes of Iraq, in Syria. For a small fraction of the forces we have had in Syria, we can accomplish our national security objectives.

“Well done Mr. President.”

It still won’t be easy keeping all the different forces at bay and counter the influence of Iran, Turkey and Russia, but at least the US will have a base presence to work from.

There is a heck of a lot of sorting out still to do in Syria.

The Syrian civil war started in 2011, with the US getting involved with an international coalition in  2014. It’s been complicated. From Wikipedia:

The Syrian government and Syrian Armed Forces and its international allies, a loose alliance of majorly Sunni opposition rebel groups (including the Free Syrian Army), the majority-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Salafi jihadistgroups (including al-Nusra Front), and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), with a number of countries in the region and beyond being either directly involved or providing support to one or another faction (Iran, Russia, Turkey, the United States, as well as others).

Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah support the Syrian Arab Republic and the Syrian Armed Forces militarily, with Russia conducting military operations since September 2015.

The U.S.-led international coalition, established in 2014 with the declared purpose of countering ISIL, has conducted airstrikes primarily against ISIL as well as some against government and pro-government targets.

Since 2015, the US has also supported the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria and its armed wing, the SDF. Turkey, on the other hand, has become deeply involved against the Syrian government since 2016, actively supporting the Syrian opposition and occupying large swaths of northwestern Syria.

Between 2011 and 2017, fighting from the Syrian Civil War spilled over into Lebanon as opponents and supporters of the Syrian Arab Republic travelled to Lebanon to fight and attack each other on Lebanese soil.

Furthermore, while officially neutral, Israel has conducted airstrikes against Hezbollah and Iranian forces, whose presence in southwestern Syria it views as a threat.

The 200 US troops that will remain in Syria have a few challenges – but will no doubt have a mass of ships and planes and troops not far away in support if needed.

And one of the biggest ongoing battles may be in limiting the damage Trump does with spur of the moment announcements on Twitter that can have serious implications for the Middle East and the world.

I hope Trump has not been given the ability to order nuclear strikes by tweet.

Media watch – Saturday

23 February 2019


Media Watch is a focus on New Zealand media, blogs and social media. You can post any items of interested related to media.

A primary aim here is to hold media to account in the political arena. A credible and questioning media is an essential part of a healthy democracy.

A general guideline – post opinion on or excerpts from and links to blog posts or comments of interest, whether they are praise, criticism, pointing out issues or sharing useful information.

Social chat

“Is there any way we could have a thread for the more lightweight stuff like music and general chat?”

Do it here. Social only, no politics, issues or debate.

Please no personal attacks or bickering. Anything abusive, provocative or inflammatory may be deleted.

Open Forum – Saturday

23 February 2019

This post is open to anyone to comment on any topic that isn’t spam, illegal or offensive. All Your NZ posts are open but this one is for you to raise topics that interest you, or you think may interest others.. 

If providing opinions on or summaries of other information also provide a link to that information. Bloggers are welcome to summarise and link to their posts. Comments worth more exposure may be repeated as posts. Comments from other forums can be repeated here, cut and paste is fine.

Your NZ is a mostly political and social issues blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome. Some ground rules:

  • If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
  • Please don’t post anything illegal, potentially defamatory or abusive.

FIRST TIME COMMENTERS: Due to abuse by a few, first comments under any ID will park in moderation until released (as soon as possible but it can sometimes take a while).

Sometimes comments will go into moderation or spam automatically due to mistyped ID, too many links (>4), or trigger text or other at risk criteria. If they pass muster they will be released as soon as possible (it can sometimes take hours).

World view – Saturday

Friday GMT


For posting on events, news, opinions and anything of interest from around the world.

The right overestimates, the left underestimates people’s responsibility

I’m usually leery of generalisations about the left and right, but…

The left underestimates people’s responsibility for their own condition and their agency for improving it.

The right overestimates it, ignoring systemic disadvantages and circumstances outside people’s control.

The truth falls, as is often the case, somewhere in the middle.

…the third point in particular is close to the mark for a lot of political and social issues


Lime scooters suspended in Auckland and Dunedin


Dean Kimpton, Auckland Council Chief Operating Officer said that he met with Auckland Transport (AT) and Lime representatives to discuss the issues, and had decided on a temporary ban.

“We have been clear with Lime representatives that the equipment used on our transport network must be safe for use.

“The safety of people using e-scooters and those that share the environment with them is our number one priority.”

The suspension will last until Monday, when Lime will have another opportunity to present information to AT and the Auckland Council regarding equipment safety.

Mr Kimpton said there had been 92 reported “irregular braking incidents” in Auckland, which resulted in 19 separate injury claims.

If the suspension is then lifted, AT and Auckland Council say Lime will have to adhere to a new list of operating regulations.

These include Lime providing incident reports every 48 hours and meeting weekly with relevant staff to discuss Lime’s response to any incidents.

Auckland Council will also be appointing an independent reviewer to overlook Lime’s safety management and processes.

Mr Kimpton said Lime agreed to the conditions and once the council is provided with the necessary information, “we will make a further decision on whether Lime’s license suspension will be lifted.”


The decision was confirmed by Dunedin City Council community services general manager Simon Pickford late this afternoon, following a meeting with Lime’s Dunedin representatives earlier today.

Mr Pickford said Lime’s Dunedin representatives had volunteered to follow Auckland’s example and remove the scooters from Dunedin streets.

The scooters would not be able to return to Dunedin streets until issues in Auckland were resolved to the satisfaction of Auckland Council.