Nelson electorate deal denials

Mixed messages over Labour-Green electorate deals or no deals continue, with denials from both Labour and the Greens that there there will be no deal in Nelson.

In the original 1 News report Exclusive: The backroom deals that Labour and the Greens are working on ahead of 2017 election Andrea Vance said:

In Nelson the Greens fell like they can pick up a lot of votes and so they’re in talks with Labour at the moment to stand a Labour candidate aside so that the Greens can have a clear run in that seat in Nelson.

The reason the greens have chosen Nelson is because it’s a classically Green seat. Now they’ll campaign hard in that seat because they’ve been given a chunk of money by an anonymous donor who has specified it must be used in the campaign in Nelson and the West Coast only.

And so Labour found it easy to stand aside because the candidate there would go up against Nick Smith for the electorate vote who’s been there for years and years and years and there’s a strong incumbent.

There is some very specific information there. Someone must have given this to Vance. Metiria Turei and her plans to stand in Te Tai Tonga also featured in that item.

Little responded on 1 News’ Breakfast programme: “This is news to me, we have no agreement on any seat”.

A follow up from 1 News: ‘Bugger that!’ – Labour members leave party over proposed deal with Green Party in Nelson

Eight Labour members have quit the party in protest over a proposed electorate deal with the Greens in Nelson.

One of those who quit said the members had emailed in their resignations – and the reasons – to the party.

“They were eight core people and they’ve walked away. They expected us to help the Greens… we’re not going to work for the Greens, bugger that.”

The ex-member said supporters were unhappy about how they learned about the proposed deal.

“It leaked out at the [annual] conference. One of the candidates was told by Andrew Little… people here are really angry.

But Labour continues to deny any deal in Nelson. Stuff: Labour denies giving Green light for Nelson:

The Labour Party has denied suggestions it is standing aside in Nelson, despite media reports that it is engaging in strategic deals with the Greens ahead of next year’s general election.

Labour general secretary Andrew Kirton said despite an agreement between Labour and the Greens to work together to change the Government there was no such plan for Nelson.

“We have a very strong party in Nelson and that won’t change. I’ve been impressed by how our members have remained committed to winning government next year,” he said.

“This is about how to work together under MMP to change the Government and get the economy working for all New Zealanders.”

A “no such plan for Nelson” denial followed by general poliwaffle.

Greens are also now denying a deal has been done.

Greens co-leader James Shaw said no decisions had been made about any electorate seats, including Nelson. He also said was wrong to suggest that there was any connection between this donation and its candidate selection process in Nelson.

“That is patently incorrect … no decision has been made about the Nelson electorate seat, or any others, and no donation, regardless of its size, will have any bearing on our decision-making process.”

The original report didn’t say a deal had been done, just that Greens were ‘in talks with Labour’, albeit implying it looked likely to happen.

And of particular note is that Shaw is doing the backtracking, not Metiria Turei.

This is a real muddle and doesn’t help Labour and Greens look like a cohesive government-in-waiting.

Labour lay complaint over coverage of policy costings

In the weekend Labour released policy on a youth work scheme.

Labour will:

  • give unemployed young people a job for six months doing work of public value, so they can gain work experience and avoid long-term unemployment.

With an estimated 10,000 participants per year, Ready for Work will cost $60m a year.

The cost was questioned by David Farrar yesterday afternoon, and again on 1 News last night in Labour proposing to offer unemployed young Kiwis paid volunteer work for six months.

This gave fairly wide coverage of Andrew Little’s speech but criticised them for not getting their numbers right, or not being specific about what they covered (4 months on average, not 6 months).

This morning on Twitter Phil Twyford, who is heading Labours election campaign in Auckland, must have got out of the wrong side of the bed, or had a sleepless night chewing over the coverage.

. Appalled by your biased story on last night. You were fully briefed on numbers but you chose to run Nat attack line.

rubbish. We weren’t told $60m was based on avg 4 months & nowhere did it say ‘up to’ 6 months. U fudged it.

Nor were the rest of us “fully briefed”.

If you wanted detail on cost assumptions you only needed to ask. Andrea’s piece a lapse of professnl stds.

Nor were the rest of us fully briefed till we asked after Andrea’s story.

Not so. Andrea was briefed personally on modelling and assumptions. There was no mistake.Numbers do add up.


and we did ask in the standup and nobody said it was based on 4 months

I stand by the story.

Public deserves better than bias and hatchet jobs as we enter election year. Sound assumptions on costs were explained to you.

And it looks like Twyford and Labour are not letting go of this.

Labour has lodged formal complaint with TVNZ over its coverage of their youth work scheme

Donald Trump has nearly managed to pull of a great election heist by attacking the media, but I think Twyford and the New Zealand media will be quite different.

Vance lances Little’s Labour

Andrea Vance lances Andrew Little and Labour, and broadswords them and then thrusts a dagger – in Little doing a poor job of telling Labour’s story.

Vance is not usually seen as a left unfriendly screaming righty. And that’s not how she comes across in this opinion piece at One News. She adds to what are fairly widely talked perceptions of Labour under Little.

Why – when they started the week with a bump in the polls – is the party yet again facing whispers and recriminations about disunity?

It’s because Andrew Little waxes desperate with imagination.

I’m not sure about the imagination.

In an astonishing and undignified episode, he tongue-lashed Wellington mayoral candidate Nick Leggett and left-wing commentator Phil Quin, and humiliated his Napier MP Stuart Nash.

Little forced Nash to pull out of a speaking engagement and branded former Labour party member Leggett “right wing”.

It’s probably not uncommon for leaders to though their weight around within their party, but not as publicly as Little lashed out at what he seems to see as traitors of the left.

Little over-reacted and in doing so has ripped opened the debate about where he is taking the party.

Labour’s broad church is closing in on itself and a centrist or faction to the right no longer looks viable, with the exit of Phil Goff, Clayton Cosgrove and potentially David Shearer.

What’s worse is that Little and his office look intent on forcefully shutting down any internal debate or discussion.

In assuming the leadership, Little stopped the party tearing itself apart.

But now it’s time to relax the discipline, because it’s poisoning the well of fresh ideas that Labour badly need.

Many might claim that the well of fresh ideas has been poisoned at least since Helen Clark left nearly eight years ago.

It also makes Little and his office look thin-skinned, weak and paranoid. (His team has also been overly aggressive in spats with John Shewan and Earl Hagaman, which hints at a toxic culture.)

Attempts to look tough have looked overly tetchy, and as responses from Shewan and Hagaman especially have shown, Little has attracted some messy looking publicity.

Little is no Jeremy Corbyn: his leadership is safe until the election.

But he’s doing a poor job of telling Labour’s story, particularly to those floating centre voters.

Is he trying to tell Labour’s story? It looks more like Matt McCarten and Little have chosen a heavy handed old style union approach.

They are at risk of prompting voters to go on strike and lock them out of the government benches.

A bolshie looking narrow left is going to struggle to appeal widely.

Panama papers investigation – “NZ a tax haven”

Nicky Hager says “What the Panama Papers show without any doubt at all, absolutely conclusively, is that New Zealand is functioning as a tax haven.”

That in itself may or may not be a serious issue for New Zealand. Any country can potentially be used in some way by someone as a tax haven.

It could be argued that Inland Revenue enables tax evasion because some people in New Zealand evade tax. Should we clamp down on the grey economy?

The key issue is whether New Zealand allows trusts that are out of the ordinary and what trusts are used for here can’t be used elsewhere.

Does New Zealand need to clamp down on trusts? Or are we just one option for rich people wanting to hide income and if we weren’t available they would simply do it somewhere else?

If the latter then it is an international issue and the motives for singling out New Zealand should be examined.

Nicky Hager has a reputation for politically loaded revelations so this will require substantial balanced analysis.

One News: Panama Papers investigation: ‘NZ absolutely, conclusively is a tax haven’

Tens of thousands of Panama Papers documents reveal how New Zealand, Niue, The Cook Islands and Samoa have become prime destinations for the rich to hide their financial secrets.

 The documents have been subject of an investigation by ONE News, in partnership with RNZ News and investigative journalist Nicky Hager.

Hager says: “What the Panama Papers show without any doubt at all, absolutely conclusively, is that New Zealand is functioning as a tax haven.”

It can be revealed that at the centre of the New Zealand operation is Roger Thompson, a former Inland Revenue worker.

His accountancy firm – Bentleys, in the heart of Auckland’s business district – is the New Zealand agent for Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Mr Hager describes it as “an ordinary office in the middle of Queen Street where nobody would look and where it’s only inside the computer files and the filing cabinet that you would realise that that is the centre of all kinds of tax haven activity in our country”.

For $4000 this New Zealand agent creates trusts for wealthy foreigners who use New Zealand’s limited disclosure rules to stay anonymous, even to tax authorities.

An admin fee of almost $3000 a year will see Bentleys send a one-page form to Inland Revenue. It confirms foreign trust clients don’t need to pay any tax under New Zealand law.

Mr Hager says: “IRD never knows who the real people are who are behind these trusts. They never get to see the accounts. They never get to see what business they’re doing.”

The point has just been made on Breakfast that what is happening in New Zealand isn’t illegal.

Andrea Vance has fronted the One News investigation – working closely with Nicky Hager – and she made the point that it raised important moral questions that needed to be considered.

The investigation into the Panama Papers New Zealand is a journalistic collaboration by reporters from ONE News, RNZ News and investigative journalist Nicky Hager.

It may be difficult separating political activism from legitimate legal and financial issues.

So it needs to be properly thrashed out whether New Zealand should allow this legal activity (legal on the New Zealand trust side of things at least).


Radio NZ:

Labour ‘officially’ opposing TPPA

One News last night said that Labour finally confirms it’s opposed to controversial TPPA.

Labour’s leader says it’s now opposing the TPP. But the Trade Minister said Andrew Little should be very careful about trying to renegotiate.

Andrea Vance: Ambivalent until now, Labour has finally confirmed it is opposed to the controversial Trans Pacific trade deal.

Andrew Little: I don’t support it. We don’t support it.

Andrea Vance: Labour’s convinced the trade-off tramples over Parliament’s sovereign right to make laws.

Andrew Little: Very difficult as it is for us as a party that for eighty years has supported for, championed and advanced the cause of free trade, we see an agreement that cuts right across the rights of New Zealand citizens…

Andrea Vance: Plus Andrew points to US University analysis which predicts the deal will lead to between five thousand and six thousand jobs lost in New Zealand by 2025. The report also estimates GDP growth of less than 0.8%, again by 2025.

Andrew Little: They’re saying that the New Zealand economy as a result of the TPPA will have grown by 47% as opposed to 46% without the TPPA so they’re saying not much here…

Andrea Vance: So what’s it mean for the TPP if Labour gets in to Government?

Andrew Little: I’ll go to the other parties and say ‘right, this isn’t good enough for New Zealand, and New Zealand has said that, and we want to renegotiate these things.

Andrea Vance: The Government says these threats put Labour on shaky grounds.

Todd McClay (Trade Minister): I think they need to be very careful about the signals that they are sending.

Andrea Vance: At least Labour seems to have stopped serving up mixed signals.

That was Little last night. This morning: Labour split on TPPA

Andrew Little: from euphoria to reality

Andrew Little will probably have been greatly encouraged by the euphoric response to his Labour Conference speech in the weekend. But beyond the party faithful and hopeful, reality has set in with some brutal assessments.

I thought Little’s speech showed some hope and promise. It contrasted with his unimpressive interviews in The Nation and Q & A. But one speech does not a leader make.

It was an important speech for the party. but going by media reaction it will have done little to lift Little’s credibility as a potential Prime Minister, or lift Labour’s credibility as a Government in waiting.

Audrey Young gave a positive report in Little smashed it – literally.

Andrew Little smashed it.

He has two years to win over the public before the next election.

His speech to the Labour conference this year needed to win over the members, who afterall, did not support him in the leadership contest a year ago.

Job done, as they say.

It was one of the best speeches by a Labour leader in recent years, in both content, delivery and production.

It succeeded in showing a fuller picture of Andrew Little the person and give a clearer idea of what sort of Prime Minister he would be.

Andrea Vance had a mixed report in Dreams are free – but the electorate knows ambitious policies aren’t:

Little’s first duty was to announce the grounds on which Labour will oppose the TPP.

The deal is a touch-paper for the left and Little is walking a tightrope between the pro-free trade and the anti-corporate elements in his party.

His position is confused – and he’s probably going to spend the next week defending it.

And the reality:

The past year clearly hasn’t been wasted. Little’s team have been learning from past mistakes. But one factor remains a constant – for Labour to win they must persuade the electorate they won’t be profligate.

Little’s asking for patience over spending plans and won’t say if he’ll raise taxes. Dreams are free – but the electorate knows ambitious policies aren’t.

That’s a future challenge for Little. Labour’s conference talked about health, education and jobs, jobs, jobs, to be created by a Labour Government. It’s easy to take spending, spending, spending out of that with little sign of hiow that will be paid for.

But Little’s Sunday euphoria has been crashed to reality in today’s Dominion editorial – Andrew Little is not the man to lead Labour out of the wilderness.

Little had moved long before last weekend’s annual party conference to kill off the remnants of the Leftish policy Labour touted last year.

Little now stands on a bare platform with no significant policy. The fact that nobody much cared when he threw out the old policies might be taken as a sign of a newly unified Labour Party. Or it might be a sign that Labour is a corpse. It doesn’t have the strength to fight or even to disagree with itself. So the attempt to hide everything behind closed doors wasn’t even needed.

Having no policy to sell, Little tried to sell himself. His “impassioned” speech was in fact awkward and unconvincing.

Bellowing about the Kiwi dream and promising “Jobs. Jobs. Jobs” is empty posturing and oddly out of kilter with the national mood. So is the pledge to “turn the page” on the last seven years.

We’ve yet to see whether the country (or polls refeklecting the mood of the country) sees it like this – or even say anything of Little’s speech.

Little will claim that it’s too early in the electoral cycle for policy details, and he’s right. But it’s never too early to create a buzz or the impression that the old party is coming back to life.

Labour can’t even take the step of injecting new blood into its leadership with the fresh face of Jacinda Ardern.

Her qualities are modest, but she is a sign of life. Labour has few other such signs.

‘Same old’ Labour without any policies is going to be a hard perception top turn around.

Neither as a union politician nor as a parliamentarian has Little been a bold or lively reformer. He has little charisma and a lack of new ideas.

It’s hard to believe he will lead Labour out of the wilderness.

That’s harsh.

But it’s a dose of reality. Little should get some confidence from the party reception of his speech but he needs to appear strong and positive regularly, without the double speak he has resorted to over the flag change and the TPPA.

The Otago Daily Times editorial today is also on Little and Labour – Little needs voter momentum.

By all accounts, Labour Party leader Andrew Little made a strong showing at the party’s annual conference held in Palmerston North at the weekend.

Snippets of his speech shown on television news reports, and comment pieces published in this newspaper, indicated Mr Little has managed to crack through the veneer surrounding him since his narrow election as leader.

Reading through the speech at leisure, there are hints of a man with deeper thoughts than previously indicated.

Mr Little gives a sense of direction, something lacking in Labour since the defeat of the Helen Clark-led government which brought in former financial trader John Key as prime minister.

National have managed to win three elections with sparse policy platforms, but they have had John Key who was immediately popular when he took over leadershiop of National and he remains popular.

Labour have lost three elections and turned over four leaders. They have been busy u-turning on a number of policies so now have very little.

Mr Little is seen as humourless, dour and part of the fun police of the Labour Party while Mr Key is shown schmoozing with All Blacks, royalty and crowds of his supporters.

What Mr Little needs to do now is get out into the electorates in which Labour lost the party vote and start securing voter support.

It will not be an easy task.

Many voters have been turned off by Labour’s list of recent leadership changes and a lack of change in MPs.

Even now, there is an ongoing back-of-the-mind thought Mr Little will not lead Labour into the next election.

What is disappointing is Labour feeling the need to hold all but a few high-profile speeches at its conference behind closed doors.

It will not be easy for Mr Little to convince even the party faithful in places such as Dunedin he is the one to take Labour back into power.

He languishes in the polls, gaining little traction with voters.

And, despite a front bench reshuffle, Labour MPs are still seen as too far out of touch with real New Zealand.

Little has failed to excite the polls.

National-lite with a charisma deficit and limited and aged line-up is going to be a hard sell, especially when Labour are also going to need Greens and probably NZ First.

Little lifted his game in his conference speech. But he will need to lift his and Labour’s game consistently and substantially to build on that.

Rodney Hide on MP time limits and career MPs

In an NBR column Rodney Hide has suggested MPs should be limited to four terms in Parliament – that’s twelve years – and criticised ‘professionals politicians’.

Time limits will serve public not politicians

Reports of Phil Goff running for mayor of Auckland remind me of the desperate need for term limits.

That’s behind a pay wall so unless you subscribe you won’t see the column. I don’t subscribe but Bryce Edwards tweeted a few of the details.

Rodney Hide: “Time limits will serve public not politicians” – fantastic column on pro politicians

On professional MPs: “There’s no leadership, no principles, no underpinning philosophy or view of life”

“Goff has never made a do-or-die stand and, indeed, has travelled the entire political spectrum and back again”

There does seem to be a growing problem with too many career MPs but that’s a choice of the parties that select them for winnable electorates and put them on winnable positions on their lists.

Hide argues we need a “simple rule that an MP can only serve a maximum of four terms. That one change would transform politics.”

“One quarter of the Parliament would be retired every election. There would be a proper churn”, bringing greater MP diversity

That’s if there’s enough capable people aspiring to MPs that would replace them.

This limiting of MP’s choice to stand or not mustn’t be very Liberal.


For and against Chris Brown

There have been a number of arguments for and against allowing musician Chris Brown to come to New Zealand for a concert due to his history of violence, including a brutal attack on then partner Rihanna in 2009.

A number of Maori dames have supported Brown’s tour. Radio NZ:

Dame Tariana Turia gets behind Chris Brown’s NZ tour

Dame Tariana Turia says Chris Brown has a lot to offer to offer New Zealand and she was supporting his visit to this country.

She said she was sure he had learned from his mistakes.

It doesn’t say how she is sure.

Dame Tariana said she would write to the Immigration Minister in support of the performer’s visit.

“He would like to come here; he’s prepared to give a particular message to our young people. Our young people listen to people like Chris Brown. They don’t listen to me.

“I mean, I was involved in family violence [prevention] probably for a good 12 years of my time in Parliament. All the programmes that we put out there, nothing changes.”

Promoting people like Brown may suggest attitudes on change haven’t been optimal.

But Te Taitokerau MP Kelvin Davis said Brown’s presence in New Zealand would do nothing to reduce this country’s rate of domestic violence.

“Do we really want our young people to be entertained by someone who has committed domestic violence?”

Mr Davis said domestic violence was a massive issue in New Zealand, and domestic violence crime statistics continued to rise.

Brown has already been banned from the United Kingdom and Canada.

An editorial in the Wanganui Chronicle (Mark Dawson) supports Brown:

Time to forgive hip-hop artist

I am sure Brown is still far from the perfect gentleman but if he seeks rehabilitation and redemption, let’s give him that chance in New Zealand.

One of the big questions is does he genuinely seek rehabilitation and redemption or is he saying what he thinks he needs to so his tour can go ahead.

After all, our political masters put out the welcome mat for foreign leaders with far bigger criminal pasts – it is just they haven’t actually been convicted.

That’s one of the silliest arguments I’ve seen on this.

Brown should be rehabilitating and redeeming in his own country.

If Brown had a record of genuinely speaking out against violence and proposed to come to New Zealand just to speak out against violence it would be different. But he wants to perform here.

Andrea Vance doesn’t think Brown should come -from Let’s not bend the rules for ‘breezy’ Chris Brown:

Rape culture is everywhere. It’s in Chris Brown’s misogynist lyrics and overly sexualised videos.

It’s reflected in the vulgar tweets he fired off to US comedian Jenny Johnson, calling her a bushpig, worthless bitch; he threated to defecate in her mouth and eyes, following it up with the charming offer to “suck my d***, YOU HOE.”

To bargain his case, Brown offered to “raise awareness” of domestic violence if he’s allowed into the country. Supporters claim his words carry weight with his younger fans.

But Brown’s message is one of insincerity. It’s a bargaining chip – and one that cannot be taken seriously while he continues to refer to women as bitches and hoes.

The gesture is cancelled out by his attitude, lack of genuine remorse and – frankly rapey – lyrics like: “I want your body/Let me get it from the back/girl, I’m about to attack.” Or “She’s more than a mistress/enough to handle my business/now put that girl in my kitchen.”

And a harsh cartoon in NZ Herald:

Vance fans Hughes’ leadership chances

Kevin Hague is a clear favourite in the Green leadership contest (in May, nominations don’t close until mid April). James Shaw is a newbie MP who will interest some, but may struggle to get support from party faithful.

Vernon Tova is prepared top argue outside the Green square – this may appeal to the wider voter base Greens desperately want but is unlikely to win him Green backing.

Gareth Hughes is as party faithful as you can get. He knows how to pander to the Green-wow crowd.

All four current leadership contenders were in a panel interview on The Nationa.

And Hughes has a Fairfax journalist fan, Andrea Vance. She praised his chances on The Nation panel in the weekend, although inadvertently highlighted a significant anomaly.

You’ve got Kevin and James who are considered the front runners. I was actually very impressed by Gareth Hughes because, as you say he lacked gravitas, but he actually has probably the best message to win over new voters.

I thought Hughes would appeal more to the party faithful than new voters, being one of the party faithful himself. But Vance echoed Hughes’ introduction.

Hughes: I want to be part of the most progressive government this country has seen in generations.

That doesn’t sound like winning over middle New Zealand voters.

Hughes: The Greens under my helm would be larger. My mission is to excite and inspire, to reach out and represent a new generation of voters. We’d be making sure we’re seeing action on climate change. What I want to see is a bigger, more powerful, more influential Green Party, because the issues we work on, they’re more important than ever.

Do you have the gravitas, the credibility to be a co-leader?

Hughes: This is my opportunity over the next two months to stand up and show the members of my party what I know I have inside, which is I know who I am, I know what I stand for, I know where I want to go. This is my opportunity, and the members have a fantastic choice. I’m standing as someone who’s been a campaigner for 15 years. I’ve got the experience, I’ve got the wins under my belt, and I want to lead our party to a bigger Green Party.

He may have a job to convince that he can lead.

We’re something new, we’re something different, and we’re something better.

I’m a Green because I support our new, different, independent party.

And he has to think up some convincing slogans. He repeated the ‘new’ theme – Greens have been around since last century.

Hughes showed a number of times how entrenched in Green procedure he is.

I stand by our party’s decision.

I’m stuck on the green.

I support what the members want. They make the decision, not the leader.

Our members look at what’s the level of agreement…

Well, I support what my party’s policy is.

Well, Lisa, in my party the leader and the caucus do not decide the policy. It’s our members.

Give me your opinion.

Hughes: I would have a discussion with our members…

Bit of philosophical discussion, but I think what voters and our members want to see from us is pragmatic solutions.

Greens have an admirable system of party wide decision making. But most people look to politicians to lead, and especially to leaders to lead, not just follow the crowd.

The Hughes approach will please many Green members, but it is unlikely to enthuse more voters. But Vance wasn’t enthused by Hughes’ lack of knowledge.

Now, coming to you, Gareth, what about the rate of inflation?

Hughes: It’s less than 2 percent.

Would you like another crack at that?

Hughes: Well, it’s around 2 percent recently.

0.8 percent.


I mean it’s basic 101, you do your prep if you’re going on the telly to give your first national pitch.

An MP knowing the current inflation rate should require any prep, it’s something they should know.

You know you’ve gotta know what the inflation rate is, that was just appalling.

And on party renewal:

I think that also Green members have gotta look for someone who’s gonna be a little bit ruthless in terms of cleaning out the Greens. There’s definitely, in the way National has,  and Labour might well start to. There needs to be renewal  in the Green party for them to move forward.

It’s hard to see Hughes being ruthless. He seems very committed to discussions and listening to party members. The party members have a lot of say on the green list, and therefore on renewal. There was little sign of this in their last election list.

But despite these obvious drawbacks to his leadership ambitions Vance closed with more praise of Hughes.

I think that Gareth Hughes, and perhaps it didn’t come through quite as well today…

As well as what?

…but I think he has got quite an appealing message to middle New Zealand. He’s talking about people in the suburbs, he’s talking about people with young families that are you know sort of struggling day to day.

You know he’s pitching to that. He’s not talking about macro economics and sustainability, he’s actually talking about back pocket issues. And I think that would actually have a lot of appeal.

It’s just that Gareth sort of needs to work on his image a little bit I think.

So she twice singled out Hughes above the others for praise, despite several shortcomings. I’m not sure how well in tune with middle new Zealand Vance is.

I’m fairly sure Hughes will appeal more to Green Party faithful far more than wider voters.

And even they may prefer someone with some sign of leadership.

Hughes can’t always ‘Hey party/Clint’ at a leadership level.

Sunday Star Times – next installments of Hager/Snowden

It’s the Sunday Star Times turn to publish Nicky Hagers selection of material from the Edward Snowden files.

Snowden files: NZ’s spying on the family

In the Cook Islands they hold New Zealand passports, are eligible for New Zealand social services and New Zealand is responsible for their foreign affairs. The same in Niue.

Leaked Edward Snowden documents, published for the first time today, reveal New Zealand is spying on them anyway – despite residents being New Zealanders.

Snowden files: Inside Waihopai’s domes

The Waihopai intelligence base looks oddly alien and out of place: huge white “golf ball” radomes like a moon station and silent buildings within two fences of razor wire, all dropped in the midst of vineyards and dry hills in New Zealand’s Marlborough landscape.

Documents about the Waihopai station leaked by US National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden show that the facility is as alien as is seems.

Everything inside the top secret station except the staff is foreign.

The electronic eavesdropping systems, the computer programmes that automatically index and search the captured communications, and the databases where details of a whole region’s communications are stored: they are all standardised parts of the global surveillance system run by the NSA.

Snowden files: which satellites are targeted by Waihopai?

Visitors to the Waihopai Valley can see several large satellite antenna dotted around the Waihopai operations building.

They tune in to legitimate communications satellites sitting in space above the Asia-Pacific region and intercept the huge volume of communications being relayed between the region’s countries.

This includes phone calls, data transfers by companies and banks, and all the types of private and government communications that flow across the Internet.

The GCSB has refused to say anything about which satellites and countries are being intercepted.

Secret Waihopai reports in April 2010 and March 2012, provided by Snowden, answer this question.

Andrea Vance also gives her two bobs worth in Silence on surveillance not healthy.

Nicky Hager must wonder why he bothers.

The journalist brought the Snowden documents to New Zealand in the last week, to be met with a collective shrug of shoulders. Maybe you are unmoved at the Government Communications Security Bureau spying on Pacific neighbours. Perhaps you don’t care if your emails, texts and Facebook messages are hoovered up and stored in a US data bank. Or that the GCSB is little more than an outpost of the US National Security Agency. But, with a pending significant review and a likely increase in their electronic reach, there are still a few reasons to take the leaked papers seriously.

This latest release is likely to also be met in the main a with collective shrug of shoulders.

Spies spy. Satellite tracking stations track satellites. Nicky Hager promotes controversies that most people don’t care much about. New Zealand play Afghanistan in the Cricket World Cup today and Lydia Ko is two shots off the lead going into the final round of the Singapore Open.

Here is Stuff’s current ‘Most Popular’ news.

That may change today – Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop may not hold it’s position – as New Zealand wakes up to the next instalments of the Snowden spy scandal but reading endless articles about spying is about as boring to most people as listening in to the world’s phone calls.

The simple fact is that most people would prefer not to be spied on but can’t see why anyone would bother to spy on them anyway.

That’s Nicky Hager’s problem.

UPDATE (midday Sunday): Stuff’s most popular now:

One of the Snowden stories makes it to number 10 position.

UPDATE 2 (7 pm): And as expected lightweight news and cricket took over (it looks like  Ko won’t win but too son to cover that yet anyway).