Shameful, disgraceful attack on Golriz Gharaman by ‘David Hughes’

Green MP Golriz Gharaman has been the target of frequent attacks in social media. She highlighted this one that combines an attack on her with an attack on Muslims posted on Facebook yesterday:

The whole image (from Facebook):

That’s bad, and it’s sad to see this sort of thing continuing. Members of Parliament (or anyone) should not be targeted with this sort of scurrilous misinformation and abuse.

Ghahraman confronted him on Facebook:

Golriz Ghahraman Given you know I’m not Muslim and my family had to leave Iran due to persecution by a purportedly Islamic regime, this is both a lie and hate speech. Be ashamed.

But he seems far from ashamed. He also posted further accusations, plus this:

As to your moronic charge of “hate speech”, fiddlesticks, you don’t even know what that might be beyond some infantile catch cry for your sycophants.

But I do love that we live in a liberal Democracy where we can have this discussion confident that we have the right to freedom of expression and the exchange of ideas enshrined in some of our most important legislation whilst being very well protected from the excesses that occasionally raise their ugly heads (an example of one such lying excess is attached for your elucidation).

Our laws around freedom of expression are very comprehensive, allowing us to exercise our God given right to freely express our ideas (New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990: Sec 14 reinforced by Sec 5 & 6) whilst protecting people from ugly excesses (Human Rights Act 1993: Sec 61 etc, sec 131, etc and Summary Offences Act1981: sec 3 & 4 etc).

We also have a range of legislation to protect people from defamation and libel as well as a huge body of legal precedents to tell us exactly where the courts have ruled the boundaries are and what crosses them.

So he thinks he is legally justified in posting this sort of thing.

You perhaps need to spend some time reading through the relevant Law Reports. They are truly as fascinating as they are educational.

I will never be ashamed for speaking out against hateful people who would destroy my country and deliver us to our enemies.

And he thinks he is morally justified. I think it is morally repugnant from David Hughes.

This is a shameful and n insidious religious and political attack.

According to some comments it has been reported to Facebook, but as of now it is still up, and getting some support amongst the criticism.

There does seem to be hate in Hughes’ speech, and it is likely to encourage or provoke more intolerance and fear and hate – it has attracted some support.

This David Hughes (if that is his name)  deserves to be shamed.

I think that at times Gharaman has gone to far in what she has promoted, and what she has supported in controlling ‘hate speech’, but with ongoing attacks like this it’s understandable that she might get frustrated and may want something done to stem this sort of dirty politics.


Note: comments on this post should be confined to the Facebook post and what it means for politics, religion and free speech, whether this sort of ‘free speech’ is appropriate, whether it should be limited by law, and what should be done about it.

Please don’t divert into general or historic criticism or commentary on Ghahraman or Muslims.

 

“Stop infantilising us. I personally hate the Rainbow whanau/family nonsense.”

Some sensible words from @aniobrien on the Israel Folau fallout, and some strong words to Green MPs, who are politicising lesbians and gays, on their “Rainbow whanau/family” nonsense.

Just as there are diverse gender and sexuality preferences, there are diverse views within the LABC…XYZ – everyone who is not purely heterosexual (if that exists) – groups, communities and individuals.

I’m not a lesbian or gay but I agree with what Ani says about Israel Folau’s insistence that anyone who doesn’t ‘repent’ follow his beliefs will go to some sort of hell.

Dismissing Folau is entirely the decision of Rugby Australia and it is likely that he breached his contract with them by bringing the sport into disrepute. This is simply Folau reaping the consequences of his actions. This isn’t the first time he has courted controversy.

Folau has rightly been publicly condemned, however I don’t think his speech should be subject to legal measures. It is not illegal to be offensive. It is not illegal to practice religion. Nor should it be.

Just as I have a right to call Folau a religious nutbar with a habit of hypocrisy who is reaping what he has sowed, he has the right to say I am going to hell for being a total homo. Hilarious because hell doesn’t exist!

Hell is a threat rather than a place. It’s been used as the ultimate bogeyman, a place equivalent of Knecht Ruprecht just as heaven is a place equivalent of Saint Nicholas/Santa – age old threat/reward trick.

Ani then lays into politicians who are politicising homosexuality.

There has been a lot of pearl clutching by heterosexual politicians invested in portraying lesbians and gays as fragile and on the precipice of suicide. I really wish they would cut it out. We are one of the most resilient groups of people on the planet.

I have a few messages for NZ politicians who’re politicising me & other lesbians and gays:

  1. Stop with the irresponsible suicide rhetoric. All research shows that this creates a self-fulfilling prophecy and risks contagion. You can support us without invoking dodgy suicide stats.
  2. Stop infantilising us. I personally hate the “Rainbow whanau/family” nonsense. Partly because our “community” has never been so divided & partly because it sounds like a kindergarton play group.
  3. Stop conflating transgenderism with homosexuality. Folau didn’t even mention trans people. We are not synonymous. We are very different & piggy-backing them on to all of our issues is unhelpful.
  4. Stop hyperbolising what hate speech is. 50 people were massacred in Christchurch & when you lump in offensive speech with the hate & violence of the man responsible for the terrorist attack you insult their memory.
  5. Stop undermining free speech principles. When you censor & restrict speech it is those in power who dictate acceptability. This means minority groups & those challenging systems of oppression are the first to be silenced.
  6. Stop virtue-signalling & playing identity politics & for the love of goddess please focus on the policies that acutely affect us – you know like our planet becoming rapidly uninhabitable. I’m looking at you
  7. Start listening to all of your constituents – even those you don’t agree with.
  8. Start basing your policy decisions on science and fact not the ideology of a small minority. Most of us do not want to be governed by the religion or belief systems we don’t subscribe to. We are a secular nation.
  9. Start leading by example. Divisive messaging does not solve anything. Your mates in your (not so) secret Facebook groups might cheer you on, but it is not smart politics or good for NZ.
  10. Start speaking up. I know a great number of you can see the harm that comes from this brand of silencing, divisive identity politics. It’s time to get brave and say something.

Divisive messaging does not solve anything. Can you take that on board Marama Davidson? Golriz Gharaman?

Franks v Ghahraman, free speech v hate speech

Lawyers Golriz Ghahraman and Stephen Franks debated free speech versus hate speech on Newshub Nation yesterday.

Ghahraman wants laws to address hate speech (there are dangers with this if it is poorly defined or speech is restricted too much. She as asked “how do you determine that, when these things are actually often in the eye of the beholder”?

So the definition of hate speech is a little bit like definitions of other limitations of free speech that already apply in our law to protect individuals. Defamation exists for example, and it’s about harm. So you can’t lie about a person to damage their reputation, make them unsafe, make them unemployable for example, those are very real harms that can come from speech and we have legislated against that for individuals.

Those laws haven’t protected Ghahraman from hate tweets, or hateful comments on Facebook, Whale Oil and Kiwiblog.

What we’re saying is the same type of thing should apply to groups. In France they actually define hate speech as very similar to defamation as they do in other parts of Europe.

So it’s about whether a third party would be moved, and this is the standard in New Zealand in terms of our jurisprudence, whether a third party would find this speech to be such that they would become hostile toward that group.

It’s not about how the group feels.

Inciting hostility in a third party.

Franks:

It’s an objective view of how they would feel. It’s putting yourself into their shoes.

The essence of what’s missing is that truth is no defence.

In defamation truth is an absolute defence, and that’s because of the view that we all ought to be able to challenge and be offensive, and call out beliefs and views that are bad.

There’s absolutely no doubt that for many Catholics, exposing priest pederasty has been offensive, under all the tests of hate speech, it’s hate speech, because it makes them feel bad and it ought to make them feel  bad.

He believes that all speech should be allowed, including hate speech which should be combated by ridiculing it (I think there are flaws to this).

The power of bad religion has only been defeated by satire, by ridicule, by exposure.

A major problem though is when all members of a religion are ridiculed due to the bad application of that religion by a small minority.

Seymour, Ghahraman, identity politics, white supremacy

Since the Christchurch attacks there has been a lot of diversions into allegations and debates over white supremacy and identity politics, two quite vague terms.

Twp MPs, Act’s David Seymour and Green Golriz Ghahraman had this exchange on Twitter.

I don’t think these sorts of discussions are very productive but they probably need to be aired.

Golriz Ghahraman speech on the Christchurch terror attacks

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman gave a speech in Parliament yesterday on Christchurch Mosques Terror Attack—Condolence

The truth is, also, that we as politicians bear a little bit of the responsibility. There sit among us those who for years have fanned the flames of division, who have blamed migrants for the housing crisis. There sit among us those who have fanned the hysteria around the United Nations Global Compact for Migration.

Those words were written on the butt of his gun, the gun that killed little Mucad. We have pandered to gratuitous racism by shock jocks to raise our profile.

None of us are directly responsible for what happened on Friday, we are all horrified, but we are also on notice now: we have to change the way we do politics.

I think that all of us should take note of what she said, and I hope that our politicians will change how we do politics.

And that also applies to us, the people, in forums like this. We need to do better in how we discuss politics, and how we treat our politicians.

GOLRIZ GHAHRAMAN (Green): Assalam o alaikum. Our nation’s heart is broken and my heart is broken today. Five days on, as that wound is still so fresh, we find comfort in all the love—all the love—pouring across this beautiful country. I’ve felt the grief as a member of that affected community and as a Kiwi as we gathered at mosques, as we held each other at vigils, as we held our little ones a little tighter when we remembered that little three-year-old Mucad Ibrahim was one of the victims.

The city of Dunedin ran out of flowers on Saturday because they were all at the mosques. That is the New Zealand that welcomed my family and I here when we escaped oppression at the risk of torture. We had lived through a war, and I will never forget being that nine-year-old girl on the escalator at Auckland Airport with my frightened parents. We weren’t turned back. We were welcomed here. So I want to thank every single New Zealander—hundreds of thousands of people—who came out over the last three days, who stood on the right side of history for our values of inclusion and love. It matters to our communities, as we are frightened, and I will never forget that among the victims on Friday was a Syrian family—refugees like my family, who had escaped the harrowing war, the unthinkable. They found freedom here, but they died on Friday in Christchurch, New Zealand.

We owe those victims the truth: this was terrorism. It was terrorism committed by a white supremacist. It was planned at length, and gone unchecked by authorities because white supremacy was not seen as a pressing threat, even as some in the Muslim community were.

Although this man happened to have not been born in New Zealand, we do need to acknowledge the truth that his ideology does exist in pockets here. Our ethnic communities, refugees, and tangata whenua have been telling us this for years; they’ve been reporting this for years. I know it as my daily truth as a politician.

I receive all the barrage of hate online. I receive the threats: the death threats, the rape threats, and the threats of gun violence, online. Every minority in New Zealand knows this as a little bit of our truth. So now we have to pause and listen.

We can’t pretend that this was an aberration from overseas; that would be irresponsible. The truth is that this happened here, and it began with hate speech allowed to grow online. History has taught us that hate speech is a slippery slope to atrocity, and New Zealand must address that now.

The truth is, also, that we as politicians bear a little bit of the responsibility. There sit among us those who for years have fanned the flames of division, who have blamed migrants for the housing crisis. There sit among us those who have fanned the hysteria around the United Nations Global Compact for Migration. Those words were written on the butt of his gun, the gun that killed little Mucad. We have pandered to gratuitous racism by shock jocks to raise our profile. None of us are directly responsible for what happened on Friday, we are all horrified, but we are also on notice now: we have to change the way we do politics.

Our most vulnerable communities are hurt and we are scared. White supremacists want us dead. Those incredible people who poured out into those vigils are watching; they will hold us to account. The world is watching. We have to get this right.

We have to demonstrate to the rest of the world that the values of love and peace and compassion will win over hate and division. We must be brave and have those important and difficult conversations that are long overdue in our country. We must shine a light on the pockets, those shadows of racism that do exist in our country.

We must weave that incredible outpouring of love for our Muslim communities that we’ve seen over the past few days; we have to weave that into an enduring fabric of our society. We owe that to the families who lost loved ones, we owe it to little Mucad.


NOTE:

Golriz has been a controversial MP. I have been critical of her at times, I think especially early in her first term she struggled to work out how to do things – as almost all new MPs do, but her struggles were more on show through social media than most.

But I think what she said here ins important and worth taking notice of.

I don’t want people dredging over what has happened. I want comments to focus on what Golriz says here.

I will have no tolerance for personal or political attacks or general criticisms, name calling, dissing, dragging up past stuff, diversions, religion bashing, sexism, racism, any other ism.

Comments that I deem inappropriate on this thread may be deleted in whole.

 

Ghahraman reveals domestic violence, gets abused

In an interview Green MP Golriz Gahraman has revealed she has been the victim of domestic abuse – ‘I got strangled’ – and has again been the victim of reprehensible abuse on Twitter.

In an interview with Vice, the Green MP discussed the disproportionate amount of threatening messages she receives online – more, she says, than politicians much more powerful than her.

She said she’s had first-hand experience with how verbal abuse can quickly spiral into physical violence because she was once in a deeply unhealthy relationship.

“I’d go out with my friends, there’d always be a massive fight,” she said.

“I couldn’t turn on my phone because every time I’d turn it on I’d just get a barrage of messages that would just be something like, ‘slut-slut-slut-slut-slut,’ or ‘bitch-bitch-bitch-bitch-bitch-bitch’. And I’d just be like, ‘oh well I’ve got to turn my phone off’.”

The relationship got worse and worse, to the point where her partner began hurting her.

“Eventually, it got really physical. It was just like pushing and shaking and whatever. And then it got to a point where a couple of times I got strangled.”

This is awful, but if you follow court news in New Zealand you will know that this sort of abuse and violence is not uncommon (and gets worse than as described here).

Here is the full interview:

Some of the responses:

It wasn’t just on Twitter. SB at Whale Oil: Great News: Social Justice Warrior & virtue signaller extraordinaire may quit

It seems that the Green list MP we love to hate for her mistruths, incompetence, general stupidity and activism has finally seen the writing on the wall. However, given this nobody list MP’s penchant for the limelight I suspect that she has zero intention of actually quitting. 

In the article, the criticism and the facts revealed by critics were dismissed as baseless trolling likely fueled by racism. Golriz is portrayed as a poor widdle immigrant who just wants to be loved. A  fragile figure, who needs protection from the harsh reality of life and who seems astounded that her words and actions have consequences in the real world. Why can’t everyone just be nice?

The article also reveals another reason why we should be sympathetic towards a woman who spent her time as an intern helping defending violent and murderous men. One of her previous relationships was with a violent man and she is a survivor of domestic violence.

Atkins quotes the Vice account of the domestic abuse she has been subjected to and responds:

Her lying by omission and the role the Green party played in the deception is explained.

Given how much ‘lying by omission’ and deception Slater et al have been involved in this is hypocritical, and also sick.

And highly ironic given his recent post playing the victim and seeking sympathy and donations.

In comments, Nige:

She describes anyone who asks her about her past as a right wing troll.

Given Nige’s prominence in supporting and promoting Whale Oil as  self described ‘super-blog’ and still claiming to be ‘the fastest-growing media organisation in New Zealand’ perhaps it’s time to starting asking questions about his past.

There are a number of typically nasty comments, with blog manager Spanish Bride joining in (in reaction to “Is she predicting the Greens will be wiped out at the next election?”):

If she and her fellow Gunts keep up with the economy wreaking and activist behaviour it just might happen ( fingers crossed).

She is deeply involved in an activist blog often intent on political career ‘wreaking’ (sic). There are a few fingers crossed that Whale Oil may be wiped out before the next election (I think it may survive in some form).

The Whale Oil post became a part of the Twitter attack on Ghahraman:

This is a crappy indictment on social media and political blogging in New Zealand, albeit just an extreme portion of it.

I expected some nasty comments on Kiwiblog, but there are no posts and no comments I can see in General Debate – perhaps David Farrar is moderating on this topic. If so, good on him, it should happen more there.

I’ve been critical of Ghahraman as an MP, and I have my doubts she will succeed in politics unless she learns from her mistakes and improves somewhat.

But I think there is no excuse for the levels of abuse (the latest being just more of the same old crap that has been thrown at her) that she has inflicted on her.

Domestic abuse is a huge problem in New Zealand. There are many victims scattered across all demographics. Abusing people who publicly reveal the abuse they have suffered is despicable, and with an MP it is dirty, dirty politics.

It is difficult to stop individual cretins using via social media (confronting and standing up to them is one way that may help).

‘Media organisations’ and blogs that join the fray – and lead the baying bullshit – should also be confronted for their crappy behaviour and their promoting of crappy behaviour.

 

Unreasonable demands of Gahraman and Marvelly

Golriz Gahraman is active on Twitter and attracts a lot of attention, including criticism and personal attacks. Some of her tweets leave her open to valid criticism, but some of the attention is way over the top, and some of it is unwarranted. Like this:

This sort of attack is common. I’ve been criticised for not posting on things I haven’t seen or haven’t had time to deal with. It can get to ridiculous levels – I’ve been criticised for being not ‘balanced’ for not mentioning a whole lot of historical stuff in posts.

Replied to him because he was being a dick. That doesn’t mean they should react to whatever someone else says they should.

@HarrtBStard responded:

I asked about your outrage and was quite right suggesting there was none. Your deflected guilt towards me is outstanding. Noting not once during this brief exchange have I attacked you.

This is pathetic. And wrong.

He (presuming it’s a he) attacked them (with connotations of stalking) for not commenting on one of a huge number of stories in the world. Rather than address the story himself he tried to turn it into a lame attack on people with no responsibility for the story.

Gahraman and Marvelly put themselves out there in social media so should expect criticism, but being criticised for not commenting on something you haven’t seen is just ridiculous – and I think can be seen as a form of harassment.

Q+A: Golriz Ghahraman on increasing refugee numbers

Golriz Ghahraman, Green Party spokesperson on Immigration and Human Rights, was interviewed on Q+A on increasing refugee numbers. Jacinda Ardern announced last week the number was being increased from 1,000 to 1,500 in 2020, but Green policy is to increase it further to 4,000 (over 5 years), something that is unlikely to be agreed on by NZ First.

“There was such an outpouring of support for refugees from community groups and individuals”.

“Countries that take the most refugees are in fact from the Middle East and Africa, they’re the neighbour countries, they take millions, and in Europe we’ve seen you know millions come across and be integrated and housed because there’s been that need and it’s so close for them”.

“I think that New Zealand has always been a country that likes to do our share, you know we like to do our fair share when these things happen around the world.

On Winston Peters saying “I can show you parts of the Hokianga and elsewhere, parts of Northland, where people are living in degradation, we have to fix their lives up before we start taking on new obligations”. On problems we need to deal with here:

“And we do. And who doesn’t feel that. You know we’ve had nine years of being told we’ve got a rock star economy…

That’s a bullshit claim. The last Government took over as New Zealand was heading into a recession and the world economy tanked, and a couple of years later the Christchurch earthquakes struck, so the New Zealand economy was under aa lot of pressure for years, only gradually recovering. One person at one stage mentioned ‘a rock star economy’.

…while people struggle to find homes, they’re sleeping in cars, the congestion on the roads, you know joblessness. So we need to get back to investing in people, and we’ve got enough to do that, we just need to take care of everyone, and we do want to do our fair share when disasters happen, when wars happen.

“We’ve got enough to do that” depends on what and how much is done.

From the Labour-Green confidence and supply agreement:

18. . Review, and adequately fund and support, the family re-unification scheme for refugees.

Ghahraman:

“So that was a Green Party win in our confidence and supply agreement. We’re going to look at the definition of family. At the moment it’s very limited to dependant blood children and spouse, which doesn’t quite fit the situation of where refugees are coming from. That kind of excludes orphaned cousins who have been adopted and now they’re left back in some refugee camp.”

Won’t that increase the number of people coming in?

“Not significantly, but it would certainly help those families to resettle better without the anxiety of having been ripped apart from their families. And we know that if grand parents were allowed to come they would do a lot of the child care for example and both parents could go out and work and contribute and integrate.”

“So we’re having a review of the definition of family, and also the resourcing for family members being reunified.”

It could be a challenge getting Winston Peters to agree. A review is just aa promise to discuss, not to change.

Iraq, Afghanistan ‘peacekeeping’ and the realities of international ‘leadership’

Jacinda Ardern has been promoted (or has promoted herself) as one of a radical new breed of young progressive wanting to lead the world in a new direction. But the realities for a small distant nation is that the leader largely has to follow along with allies, even in war situations.

So despite in Opposition promising to pull the troops out the Government has just announced an extension of New Zealand’s deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Greens remain opposed.

Official announcement: New Zealand to extend NZDF deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and 3 peacekeeping missions

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, and Defence Minister Ron Mark have announced an extension of the New Zealand Defence Force military training deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a renewal of three peacekeeping missions in the Middle East and Africa.

“The decision to deploy defence force personnel overseas is one of the hardest for any government to take, especially when these deployments are to challenging and dangerous environments,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“The Government has weighed a number of factors, including carefully considering the risks to our servicemen and women based on advice from the New Zealand Defence Force. The decisions themselves were taken following careful Cabinet deliberations.”

The Iraq deployment will be extended until June 2019, and the Afghanistan deployment will be extended until September 2019.  This allows New Zealand to fulfil its current commitment to both missions.

In the cases of Iraq and Afghanistan the Government will be using the coming year to consider all options for New Zealand’s future contributions.

The three peacekeeping missions are to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) in the Golan Heights and Lebanon and the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) mission in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt.

“The Government has decided to continue with our current commitments to three peacekeeping missions in the Middle East and Africa, where we have an established presence and proven track record,” Winston Peters said.

A quite length explanation of all the deployments and their histories then followed.

This would normally be seen as a pragmatic decision with New Zealand being seen to contributing to international peacekeeping obligations, which it is. But this is a reversal of Labour’s position. National found themselves in a similar position.

Labour press release (June 2016): Iraq mission extension case not made

The Prime Minister has not made the case for extending the Iraq deployment another 18 months nor the expansion of their mission, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.

“Labour originally opposed the deployment because the Iraqi Army’s track record was poor, even after years of training by the American and other armies. Having visited Camp Taji, my view on this has not changed.

“It was always obvious that the Iraq deployment would not be complete within the two years originally set for the mission, and the Prime Minister has not been open with the public about the demands being made on our troops by Coalition allies.

“Today in his post cabinet briefing Key could not even confirm the troops would be home in 18 months. He has not been straight with New Zealanders, nor has he made the case for mission creep. He owes it New Zealanders to explain why we’re committing our forces to an ongoing volatile theatre of war.

The Government has announced an extension to the two-year deployment, keeping up to 143 personnel in Iraq for an extra 18 months.

John Key admits it’s a change from the initial promise, but said there’s still work to do. He said the other options are to “do nothing”, or do “something that in hindsight may be more dangerous”.

Labour leader Andrew Little…

“We can be a good global citizen by looking after the civilians who are displaced. What we don’t want to be is caught up in a conflict that goes way out of control.”

“The fact that he’s now completely indefinite about how long we might be there – we could be there for a long, long time. The real threat then is of civil war and who knows where that will go.”

Green co-leader James Shaw…

…said we shouldn’t have our military in Iraq at all

“This is mission creep, and it’s extremely dangerous. He’s broken a promise about how long we were going to be there in the first place, it could easily get extended again, both in terms of the length of time we’re over there and also in terms of the scope of the mission.’

“Our good global citizenship role would be much better deployed as part of the humanitarian effort, rather than part of the military effort. We’ve got a lot more skill in humanitarian aid.”

SBS News/Reuters (November 2017 just after Ardern became Prime Minister): NZ could pull out of Iraq deployment

Australia may lose New Zealand as a partner training Iraqi security forces to fight Islamic State militants next year.

Ms Ardern said her government will review NZ’s commitment of just under 150 military personnel in November next year.

“We will look again at the circumstances when that mandate comes up again,” she told reporters at Sydney airport before her departure.

“It’s a complex conflict and things could change dramatically between now and then.”

Former NZ Labour leader Andrew Little, who Ms Ardern replaced, has previously cast doubt on the benefits the country’s role in Iraq and had vowed to bring the troops home.

Incline (February 2018): Groundhog Day for New Zealand’s Iraq Deployment?

National’s decision might have been broadly predictable, but the same cannot be said for Jacinda Ardern’s Labour-led coalition. What the Prime Minister and her Cabinet colleagues choose to do on Iraq presents a series of challenges in the weighing of international and domestic expectations.

For New Zealand First, which holds both the Defence and Foreign Affairs portfolios, the shift in position is a slightly easier one. Ron Mark prides himself on his commitment to a Defence Force that is ready to undertake missions in difficult conflict zones. At a time when his portfolio is not among the government’s top spending priorities, he needs a win for his view of the Defence Force. That Mr. Mark has been in Iraq, and has reported that the New Zealanders are doing “vital tasks” in the national interest, says all we need to know about his position on the issue.

His New Zealand First boss also seems a very likely supporter of extension. As Foreign Minister, Peters will be keenly aware of Australia’s interest in seeing New Zealand commit to a further six months and more.

We can be certain that if Jacinda Ardern announces that New Zealand will extend its mission she will not use the “price of the club” argument which landed John Key in political hot water. Explaining New Zealand’s involvement as a consequence of its five eyes connections would be exactly the message that would fire up opposition from the Greens and the Labour left.

…the Iraq decision is a more difficult test. Unlike the TPP, where significant parts of New Zealand’s business community have been strong supporters, there is no comparable domestic constituency for the Iraq deployment.

This raises an obvious challenge for the government if it does choose to extend. How does it show this choice is consistent with an independent foreign policy? Labour may think it owns that concept by virtue of its nuclear free push in the 1980s. Will Ardern be tempted to repeat the Key-English argument that New Zealand has made its own (i.e. “independent”) choice to work with traditional partners in Iraq? That will hardly convince many of the people who brought her to office.

Newshub (yesterday): Jacinda Ardern’s U-turn on pulling troops out of Iraq

The Labour-led Government is extending New Zealand’s deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan despite promising in Opposition to pull troops out.

The Prime Minister is refusing to comment on whether New Zealand’s elite soldiers, the SAS, will or have joined them.

This is another example of Labour leaning towards NZ First preferences, with Greens opposed. The Green Party doesen’t seem to have put out an official statement, but…

In the context of the ‘War of Terror’ & ‘peace in the Mid East’, one thing we know is more foreign military presence is not working, has never worked, & has made things far worse. Bring on the sustainable, non-military led humanitarian, conservation, restoration focus.

Stop spending Mills$ joining failed military campaigns that only help weapons manufacturing nations/corporates. Instead invest in helping victims access medicine, rebuild schools, roads…And flex our diplomatic muscle to tell everyone we won’t stand for them profiting from war.

She has a point – Iraq and Aghanistan seem to be bottomless pits and graveyards when it comes to military involvement, and perhaps futile: Seventeen years after September 11, al-Qaeda may be stronger than ever

In the days after September 11, 2001, the United States set out to destroy al-Qaeda. US President George W Bush vowed to “starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest.”

Seventeen years later, al-Qaeda may be stronger than ever. Far from vanquishing the extremist group and its associated “franchises,” critics say, US policies in the Middle East appear to have encouraged its spread.

New Zealand is now extending support of US policie.

What US officials didn’t grasp, said Rita Katz, director of the Site Intelligence Group, in a recent phone interview, is that al-Qaeda is more than a group of individuals. “It’s an idea, and an idea cannot be destroyed using sophisticated weapons and killing leaders and bombing training camps,” she said.

The group has amassed the largest fighting force in its existence.

It is a dilemma. Pacifism would also not have contained Al Qaeda nor ISIS. But a seventeen year military approach hasn’t solved Middle East problems either.

Ardern, Peters and their Government are doing their bit, but it’s very debatable whether that is going to help anything other than their standing in the US and it’s military industrial complex.

Nigel Farage’s ‘populist revolt’ not very popular hear

Nigel Farage is in New Zealand. He claims a populist revolt is going to “sweep the entire western world”. Going by the response to his visit there is not much sweeping going on here.

An Entertaining Evening With Nigel Farage | AUCKLAND

Newstalk ZB: Nigel Farage arrives in country, says populist revolt is here to stay

Nigel Farage will be telling New Zealanders tonight that the rise of populist movements won’t be going anywhere fast.

The former British politician, who founded the UKIP group that pushed for the Brexit referendum, is in the country tonight as part of a tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Farage says his speech tonight will cover Brexit, Donald Trump, global politics, and – a global revolution.

He told Larry Williams that since 2016 there’s been a populist revolt throughout the Western World.

“Everyone thinks it was a very short term outpouring of anger, they are in for a big shock, because my view is, you haven’t seen nothing yet. This movement is going to sweep the entire western world.”

In the United Kingdom politics and politicians may not have been less popular. UKIP has improved in polls recently, up to 5-7%, but that is comparable to Greens and NZ First here, hard populist revolt levels of support.

Farage’s visit has prompted inevitable protests.

More garble from Gharaman. The anti-populist revolt is unlikely to get very popular with that sort of confused messaging.

Newstalk ZB:  Protests greet attendees at Nigel Farage show

About 50 protestors jeered and booed at attendees, who had to walk a walk a gauntlet of opposition at the only entrance.

Some of those going inside smiled and waved at the protestors, while others kept their heads down, as people yelled “shame” at them.

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman, who attended the protests, says they’re standing with the communities who are under attack by Nigel Farage.

“It’s really important that we stand here and say: we are against race hate, we are against religious division, and we stand with minorities.”

Ghahraman’s ‘we’ don’t stand with the minority that was interested in what Farage had to say.

What was Farage here to talk about? It’s not easy to find much out about it. I have managed to find his website:

This looks as spicy as a wet Weetbix to me.

LANDMARK AUSTRALIA & NZ TOUR

ABOUT NIGEL FARAGE

Nigel Farage is co-founder and long-serving leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP). He was the face of BREXIT – the successful campaign to take the UK out of the European Union in the 2016 Referendum, positioning the referendum as the start of a global populist wave against the political establishment.

Farage has been a Member of the European Parliament for South East England since 1999 and co-chairs the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group. He has been noted for his sometimes controversial speeches in the European Parliament and his strong criticism of the euro currency.

Farage has been described as ‘the most important British politician of the last decade” and one of the most influential. Farage has become the great “disruptor” of British and European politics and is widely consulted for his views on the changing nature of western politics.

Sounds like a promotional self description rather than an unbiased assessment.

Ticket prices (for Sydney’s Thursday ‘show’, I presume Auckland was similar)”

  • General Admission $89
  • VIP Meet/Greet $295
  • Backstage Pass $495
  • Private Dinner $995

This is similar to the tickets for the Molyneux and Southern shows (their Auckland one was cancelled).

Farage’s Auckland show was at the Auckland Pullman Hotel. The maximum capacity there is 900 in the Princes Ballroom Theater. It’s hard to imagine a huge number of people being interested.

I doubt he will have much success exciting a populist revolt here in New Zealand. Brexit is of interest to some, but most here will have little interest and probably little idea about Farage’s crusades.

These speaking tours seem to be more about making some money than being realistic revolution rousers.