Katie Hopkins (and others) ridiculous attacks on Ardern

There were ridiculous criticisms of and attacks on Jacinda Ardern after the Christchurch mosque attacks, for what she said and what she wore in sympathy, support and solidarity with New Zealand Muslims. She (and the media) were attacked for not giving equal condemnation to an earlier attack inn a long running civil war situation in Nigeria.

This has risen to new levels of absurdity after the suicide bomb attack on hotels and Christian churches in Sri Lanka in the weekend.

One of those leading the over-reaction alt right brigade attacks is Katie Hopkins, from the UK.

There are a number of ridiculous things about that stupidity, particularly considering an unprecedented attack in your own country is quite different for a Prime Minister than an attack somewhere else in the world where there is a history of terrorism.

Ardern did quickly send condolences to Sri Lanka – Prime Minister sends condolences to Sri Lanka:

“New Zealand condemns all acts of terrorism, and our resolve has only been strengthened by the attack on our soil on the 15th of March. To see an attack in Sri Lanka while people were in churches and at hotels is devastating.

“New Zealand rejects all forms of extremism and stands for freedom of religion and the right to worship safely. Collectively we must find the will and the answers to end such violence.’’

She expressed similar sympathy and condemnation in person, this was widely reported by New Zealand media.

NZ Herald reported on Hopkins’ attack: Outspoken British columnist Katie Hopkins tries to roast Jacinda Ardern over Sri Lanka attacks

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is ignoring a swipe by a British columnist over yesterday’s attacks in Sri Lanka which have left hundreds dead.

Katie Hopkins, a columnist and former contestant in the 2007 The Apprentice TV show, has hit out at Ardern, saying she now expects her to be “dressed as the pope, ringing church bells across #NZ and praying in Latin in Parliament by noon”.

But many Kiwis have come to her defence with one replying, “whatever the Prime Minister does will be immeasurably more welcome and useful than anything you have ever said,” while another tweeted “if this dreadful event had happened in NZ … then our PM would be leading the nation through its grieving and empathising with the victims’ families.”

Hopkins sprayed her bile around the UK too.

Is Hopkins trying to dictate what Prime Ministers should say in reaction to international atrocities? I doubt that’s her intention, it looks more like she is trying to drive up intolerance and hate of Muslims, by playing a ‘poor me’ Christian card.

Hopkins hasn’t been alone in this sort of stupidity. from comments on a Kiwiblog post Christians slaughtered in Sri Lanka yesterday:

sooty:

Cindy will be covering her ears and singing,
LA, LA, LA LAA!

Engelbert Humperdink:

So, Cindy’s gonna wear a big cross to show solidarity, and post armed guards on the churches in NZ? Yeah, right.

All the world’s majority Muslim country leaders gonna speak out against this attack on Christians? Yeah, right.

Will there be indifference shown to the deceased and injured – even though they are people of color – by leftists because, after all, it’s ‘just something some people did’ and ‘it’s part and parcel of living in a big city’? Yes, there will be, as per Ilhan Omar and Sadiq Khan.

Ultima:

Obviously Christianity is the cause of of this terrorist act, Cindy should urge the Sri Lankan govt to ban Christianity and semi-Christianity.

Commenters at Kiwiblog and Whale Oil childishly call Ardern Cindy because (I think) she said she didn’t like being called that.

Luke Piewalker:

Of course we will see a tearful handwringing Ardern holding a cross … nah didn’t think so

vand:

Will this be said?
The Sri Lankan Prime Minister told Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern the best help she could provide in the wake of the Sri lanka attacks would be sympathy and love for Christian communities.

burt:

Christian prayers on national radio it will be then with the platitudes of ‘They are us’.

I posted Ardern’s statement to show that she had condemned the attacks, and that was downticked by 22 people (as of now).

Rachael Memberry responded:

i don’t agree, we have had CHCH shoved in our face for the last month, since Jacinda has so much political capital, especially now that she hasn’t expended any for the CGT she, as the leader that we are told that she is, should be contacting members of the Muslim community to decry terrorist attacks, not just when they are the victims of them but when they are the perpetrators also.

The Muslim community in New Zealand are not the perpetrators.

Engelbert Humperdink:

As a globalist shouldn’t she be expecting the practice of what she preaches locally to take place everywhere? Shouldn’t she now be calling for the suppression of a group of brown supremacists, and the banning of their manifesto, their Koran? if you think that’s absurd, I agree with you it’s a reach, but is not absurd. Absurd is what she did; absurd is where she set the bar. Of course all of her apologists don’t expected to be judged by the standards she set. That’s why she has to keep getting tongue-bathed by the New Zealand media (one example: recent social media resurrections, which I suppose is fitting for Easter time) to kKeep her popularity high enough / stay in office.

burt:

Are there different degrees of concern with regard to mass murder?

Obviously there are differences depending on what occurred and where it occurred. I’m fairly sure that burt and and others at Kiwiblog don’t show equal concern for all attacks around the world – they tend to ignore other attacks on Muslims.

It was worse at Whale Oil, with Hopkins tweet put up as a post (by the gutlessly anonymous ‘Whaleoil staff’) – Tweet of the day. This fed some predictable responses.

ibdkiwi:

But wait…hold the presses, this is breaking news: someone just told me the Prime Minister is donating $300M to Sri-Lanka to buy-back all the bombs, well; not all of them, just the assault-bombs, ‘so this sort of thing can never happen again’. Can anyone confirm if this story is true?

Smoke & Mirrors:

Has she mentioned ‘Christians’ yet?

BlokeinAuckland:

Nope. Or that it was muslims as perpetrators.

If Only:

Excellent comment but Katie forgets its still an Easter Holiday in NZ and our PM never works during the holidays – she is a member of a union after all. Perhaps we shall see her play dress up and ring bells tomorrow.

Nutta:

To be fair, JA put out comment condemning the terrorist act yesterday, not long after the event. No, I’m not even remotely a cheerleader.

Dave:

Not really, more likely her office put out a Press Release yesterday

I saw Ardern personally condemning the attacks on TV news. A lot of this is petty uninformed dissing. And it went on.

At least ‘SB’ put her pseudonym initials to another post feeding a string of more nonsense – Facebook comment of the day. The most recent comment:

Surprisingly, Jacinda hasn’t offered to pay for all the funeral expenses!

Sadly this is the stupid level of much of the discussion on terrorist atrocities, deliberately stoked by Katie Hopkins.

No sign of Zero Carbon Bill yet

A Zero Carbon act was supposed to be in force this month, but a draft bill hasn’t even been presented to Parliament yet.

This was the number one item in the Labour-Green confidence and supply agreement:

Sustainable Economy

  1. Adopt and make progress towards the goal of a Net Zero Emissions Economy by 2050,
    with a particular focus on policy development and initiatives in transport and urban form,
    energy and primary industries in accordance with milestones to be set by an independent
    Climate Commission and with a focus on establishing Just Transitions for exposed regions
    and industries.

a.   Introduce a Zero Carbon Act and establish an independent Climate Commission
b.   All new legislation will have a climate impact assessment analysis.
c.   A comprehensive set of environmental, social and economic sustainability indicators will be developed.
d.   A new cross-agency climate change board of public sector CEOs will be established.

So an April introduction of the bill is now ‘mid-2019’.

There has been speculation that the Zero Carbon Bill may be progressed as a quid pro quo for NZ First stopping any CGT. James Shaw has denied this – see James Shaw on “do we deserve to be re-elected if we don’t?” – but as Shaw seems to have been shut out of discussions over the CGT he may not know what Ardern and Peters may have agreed on.

 

The left lambasts Labour’s CGT capitulation

Labour didn’t just limit what the Tax Working group could include in any Capital Gains Tax, they didn’t just water down the subsequent TWG recommendations, they didn’t just drop any changes to capital gains taxing, Jacinda Ardern ruled out doing any CGT while she remains leader of the Government.

It wasn’t just a capitulation to Winston Peters. Ardern back down from a policy she said she supported. She ruled out going to the next election with any sort of CGT proposal as she had previously promised, presuming she is still leader then.

And the left, who wanted so much to have a ‘fairer’ tax system, and who wanted the Government to live up to it’s own labelling as transformative, are pissed off.

From Political Roundup: Progressives despair over the CGT decision

Danyl Mclauchlan argues that the CGT programme was one of four key policies agendas for this Government – the others being KiwiBuild, the Carbon Zero Act, and the Wellbeing Budget – and there are clear problems now in delivering them – see his column, Four months in, Labour’s ‘year of delivery’ is a disaster.

He despairs that Labour axed the tax after first initiating “one of the most bafflingly disastrous public policy debates imaginable, making John Key’s flag-change campaign look like the Normandy landings”.

He says any strategic wins from ditching the tax, will come “at a cost of one of Labour’s most important, long-term policies, and it was their failure to control their coalition partner or even attempt to make the argument for taxation reform that forced them to pay such a bitterly high price.”

Mclauchlan argues that Ardern could have won the debate and got a mandate for the changes, but simply didn’t bother.

That’s how it appears. She appeared to do nothing to fight for the CGT she proposed. It also appears she left James Shaw and the Greens out in the cold. Shaw has tried to paper over the cracks but sounds unconvincing (see James Shaw on “do we deserve to be re-elected if we don’t?”)

No Right Turn…

…is now calling for a leftwing boycott of the Labour Party: “If you want change, don’t vote Labour, don’t donate to Labour, don’t volunteer for Labour. Give your vote, your money, your time and effort to another party, any other party that promises change, than the one who betrayed you. Because if you don’t, Labour will continue to treat you like a fool, and continue to promise change while delivering none” – see: Don’t get fooled again.

They also argue the decision means the Government won’t have the money to afford many of their future policy goals: “Effective policy costs money, and this government has just robbed itself of that vital tool. Remember this next time they plead “poverty” as an excuse for not doing something: they chose to be poor. They chose to have a government which could not afford things. They chose to not be able to do the things they promised” – see: The cost of cowardice.

Inequality researcher Max Rashbrooke…

…argues that many other Government priorities will now be hamstrung by the lack of future revenue: “building more state homes, eliminating introduced predators, and repairing mental health services, among others – also require significant funds, again well above what will be generated under existing tax settings” – see: Capital gains tax shutdown threatens govt’s other plans.

In particular, “Consider the Prime Minister’s pledge to halve child poverty within a decade, possibly the political priority closest to her heart. It is very difficult to see how that can be achieved without the $3.4 billion a year that the capital gains tax was, according to the most recent estimate, going to raise.”

Some loyal Labourites had tried to put some spin on the backdown, like at The Standard (currently down so can’t link).

And former Labour Party President Mike Williams…

…suggests that although there are “elements of, particularly the unions and the extreme left of the Labour Party, which would be annoyed”, he “did not think the wider Labour Party base would be too worried about the CGT rejection”.

But Newshub’s Anna Bracewell-Worrall reports that…

…”Labour is facing a massive backlash from its base for ditching any hope of a capital gains tax (CGT) – even Young Labour and the ever-loyal unions are fuming” – see: Young Labour furious at capital gains tax backdown, leak reveals.

“Newshub’s been leaked a discussion from a secret Young Labour Facebook group revealing they’re frustrated with the decision. The Labour Party faithful say they’re ‘mighty disappointed’ and ‘exponentially angry at New Zealand First’s role’, and complaining of ‘unfulfilled promises’.”

And media are asking questions too.

Thomas Coughlan asked the very pointed question of Ardern: “Are you worried you now lead the party of capital, rather than labour?” And now he’s followed this up with an article suggesting that rather than Ardern and her Government implementing transformation, it’s actually them who are transforming – into a cautious and weak government not willing to make the hard and necessary decisions – see: Capital gains tax: Let’s not do this.

The Dominion Post asked if the decision came out of “cowardice or pragmatism”, but suggested the two are indistinguishable anyway. The editorial suggested more debate and leadership had been required for the CGT proposals to get off the ground: “Labour voters were evenly split on the pros and cons of a capital gains tax. It is a situation where brave political leadership and persuasion were required but for whatever reasons, a deep and thorough debate about fair and unfair tax failed to eventuate” – see: Capital gains tax: Political capital but for what gain?.

The newspaper says that Ardern had a “a failure of nerve”, and laments that an opportunity has been missed: “If there was ever a moment when significant change to the tax system could have happened, as the fairness and transformation her Government promised, that moment was now.” And there’s the question of “if the Tax Working Group was merely an expensive waste of time with a predetermined outcome.”

Likewise, according to the New Zealand Herald, “The decision has the hallmarks of pragmatism rather than strong leadership”, leaving “little evidence so far that Ardern will make tough but unpopular decisions to deliver on her convictions” – see: Capital Gains Tax surprise raises doubts on coalition.

It is going to be a challenge for Ardern and Labour to recover from this. They may survive in Government, but they have lost a lot of credibility from the left.

Ardern’s ‘pragmatic realism’ doesn’t sit well with political activists and idealists who thought that with Labour and Greens in  Government there would be substantial changes.

Fortune: World’s Greatest Leaders

Fortune Magazine’s World’s Greatest Leaders

 

  1. Bill and Melinda Gates
    For evidence of what happens when an unstoppable force — Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates — meets a profoundly movable human being, the empathetic Melinda Gates, one has simply to measure the impact of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
  2. Jacinda Ardern
    Jacinda Ardern had already broken new ground as a pregnant woman—and then a new mother—leading a nation. And this year, the 38-year-old Prime Minister showed the world her fullness as a leader as she deftly, empathetically, and humbly navigated New Zealand through the worst terror attack in its history, after 50 were killed at two mosques in Christchurch in March.
  3. Robert Mueller
    Few people on either side of the partisan divide seem satisfied with the outcome of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. But that very dissatisfaction speaks to the nobly impartial example the former FBI director set as he led an arduous, sensitive investigation. He and his team didn’t uncover the smoking guns that President Trump’s critics craved, nor did they grant the President the exoneration he demanded. Instead, sticking to the evidence and tuning out the hype, they exposed serious wrongdoing and shed light on systemic flaws that the nation is now more likely to address.
  4. Pony Ma
    Compared with others in China’s boisterous tech scene, Ma keeps a low profile. But his influence has gone global thanks to WeChat, Tencent’s billion-member instant messaging service. WeChat is the epitome of the super-app model, a single interface through which users can pay bills, order food, book tickets, play games, and more.
  5. Satya Nadella
    Under Nadella, Microsoft has generated incredible growth from new businesses like its Azure cloud platform. And Nadella recently showed that he could put principles first while navigating employee unrest, as he stood by a contract to supply the U.S. Army with augmented reality headsets. He argued that Microsoft shouldn’t withhold technology from institutions that protect our democracy.
  6. Greta Thunberg
    Greta Thunberg isn’t here to inspire you; she’s here to give you anxiety. “I don’t want your hope,” the 16-year-old climate activist said in a speech at the World Economic Forum this year. “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.”
  7. Margaret Vestager
    At a time when U.S. lawmakers are divided over reining in Big Tech, Vestager has shown how it can be done. She “Apple-converted-space” fined Google a total of $9 billion for alleged anticompetitive behavior, sought $15 billion in back taxes from Apple (both moves are being appealed), and is investigating Facebook. Dismissive of industry excuses, Vestager says: “If it’s your algorithm, it’s your responsibility.”
  8. Anna Nimiriano
    South Sudan has lost five years and an estimated 383,000 souls to civil war, and the challenges of speaking truth to power at Nimiriano’s newspaper range from gas shortages to death threats. When security forces hauled a colleague to jail and told her to shut down the paper, she persuaded them to release him and let her publish.
  9. José Andrés
    In March, chef José Andrés descended on Manhattan to prepare for the launch of a fresh addition to his restaurant empire—a 35,000-square-foot Spanish food hall in the sparkling new Hudson Yards complex. Here, alongside other A-list chefs such as the French Laundry’s Thomas Keller and Momofuku’s David Chang, Andrés’s New York City culinary concept would ply patrons with cured meats and cheese, tapas and paella, and a selection of a dozen sherries.
  10. Doug McMillon and Lisa Woods
    Health care costs in the U.S. have reached astronomical levels—spending hit $3.7 trillion in 2018—and they continue to climb, weighing on patients and the employers who help foot the bill. As America’s largest employer, Walmart is all too familiar with these trend lines—which have led McMillon and Woods to innovate to do health care better. For the company’s 1.1 million U.S. employees and their families, Woods launched the Centers of Excellence (COE) program in 2013, enabling workers to travel to top hospitals Walmart contracts with for select procedures.
  11. Aliko Dangote
    Dangote is Africa’s richest person—worth $16.4 billion, according to Bloomberg—and the four publicly traded companies under the umbrella of his Dangote Industries now account for about a third of the value of the Nigerian stock exchange. He’s now converting his wealth into impactful philanthropy: Dangote’s foundation, the largest in Africa, has helped establish a top-tier business school at Nigeria’s Bayero University; it’s also teaming up with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to fight chronic malnutrition in Nigeria.
  12. Masayoshi Son
    Son has become a tech kingmaker. He upended venture capitalism in 2016 by launching the $100 billion Vision Fund, and his backing often proves ­pivotal in battles between rival startups. Son personally vets CEOs of potential portfolio companies and spurs them to scale up dramatically, even if profit is elusive. Ride sharing as we know it might not exist without his avid backing of Uber, Grab, and Didi Chuxing.

There are 50 leaders on the list. Ardern stands out as a politician – there are few of any others.

 

More international accolades for Ardern

While Jacinda Ardern continues to struggle with domestic policies and problems (apart from her recent response to the Christchurch mosque massacres) , she continues to earn praise internationally. In the last few days both Time and Fortune have added to her accolades.

Time100: Most influential people 2019

Ardern features on the page graphics, and is also included in the top 100 influencers.

JACINDA ARDERN

By Sadiq Khan

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

Londoners were heartbroken to wake up to news of the horrific terror attack in Christchurch, shocked by the callous targeting of innocent civilians for no reason other than their faith.

Jacinda Ardern’s leadership since the attack has been an inspiration to us all. Not only is she delivering such swift action on gun control, she has sent a powerful message around the world about our shared values—that those who seek to divide us will never succeed, and that New Zealand will always protect and celebrate the diversity and openness that make our countries so great.

Londoners stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Christchurch. We will never forget that when terror sent ripples of fear through communities around the world, New Zealand’s Prime Minister proudly stood up for hope, unity and inclusiveness in the face of fear, division and hatred.

Khan is the mayor of London

Fortune: World’s Greatest Leaders

2. Jacinda Aardern

Jacinda Ardern had already broken new ground as a pregnant woman—and then a new mother—leading a nation. And this year, the 38-year-old Prime Minister showed the world her fullness as a leader as she deftly, empathetically, and humbly navigated New Zealand through the worst terror attack in its history, after 50 were killed at two mosques in Christchurch in March.

Rallying people behind the theme “We are one,” she channeled the country’s—and Muslim community’s—grief as she opened speeches with Arabic greetings and quietly wore a head scarf. She set a standard for dignity in the face of violence by refusing to speak the attacker’s name. And she won near-unanimous support for a ban on semiautomatic weapons of the kind used in the attack. Future leaders can look to Ardern for a master class in how to guide a country through a crisis

It’s quite different appearing on the international stage occasionally compared to the continuous grind of domestic politics.

It’s good to see Ardern recognised around the world, but she has a lot to do here to earn respect as an ongoing leader aas opposed to impressing on occasions.

NZ First on the Capital Gains Tax capitulation

NZ First have prevented the Government from proceeding with any changes to capital gains taxes, despite a CGT being a core policy of Labour, backed by Jacinda Ardern, and despite it being something Greens have wanted for a long time (and James Shaw stated earlier this year that the Government didn’t deserve to be elected if they didn’t introduce a CGT).

New Zealand First Leader media release:

Tax Working Group Report

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters has welcomed Cabinet’s decision not to implement an extension of capital gains taxation, following the Prime Minister’s statement in response to the Tax Working Group Report.

“This decision provides certainty to taxpayers and businesses. We in New Zealand First wanted first and foremost for New Zealanders to have time to discuss and debate the contents of the report,” stated Mr Peters.

“During that time we have listened very carefully to the public.

“There is already an effective capital gains tax through the Bright Line test brought in by the last National Government and New Zealand First’s view is that there is neither a compelling rationale nor mandate to institute a comprehensive capital gains tax regime,” said Mr Peters.

“We also welcome the announcement that the coalition government will be urgently exploring options with the Inland Revenue Commissioner, in concert with central and local government, for taxing vacant land held by land bankers and reviewing the current rules for taxing land speculators. Tightening these rules was a priority for New Zealand First.

“Current tax policy, rigorously enforced by an Inland Revenue Department properly resourced will by itself 1) improve the administration of existing tax policy, and 2) target those multi-nationals not paying their fair share of tax,” Mr Peters said.

There was nothing about a CGT in the Labour-NZ First coalition agreement. This was the only reference to tax:

  • Increase penalties for corporate fraud and tax evasion.

Peters via Twitter yesterday:

Despite the claimed hearing and listening, Peters has done what he has said he would do for a long time.

During the 2017 election campaign (Politik): Peters ready to throw spanner in Labour’s capital gains tax plans

Peters says he is not ready to support any moves labour might want to make to extend capital gains taxes.

Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson has arrived at a neat compromise. Labour would set up a Taxation review once it got into Government.

Phil Twyford (on The Nation): “In the first three years we’re going to do a taax working group that will redesign the entire tax system”.

Robertson (on NZ Q&A): “We will have a working group that will have a look at getting a better balance into our tax system between how we tax assets and how we tax income”.

Peters though is adamant.

“I am not for an extension of the capital gains tax” he told POLITIK.

Peters is critical of the review and Labour’s plan to provide details on it’s water levy policy after the election.

“How many times can you get away with this sort of nonsense” he said.

So why did Labour insist on going ahead with the Tax Working Group that had an aim of recommending a capital gains tax?

It seems to have been a wasted exercise, unless the intention was to provide Peters with an opportunity to say NO CAPITAL GAINS TAX.

National terrorism threat level reduced to ‘medium’

Immediately after the Christchurch mosque massacres, the national terrorism threat level was raised from low to high. This seemed to be a bit late, after the act, but I presume there were fears of it triggering other attacks, either planned, copycat or some sort of reprisal attack.

Nothing happened that suggested the risk was any worse than it had been – there had always been a small risk of someone doing something terrible. It had already happened in Aramoana (I drive through there a bit and still think about what happened there), but that wasn’t terrorism, it didn’t seem particularly planned or deliberate but it was probably a terrible crime waiting to happen, otherwise the mass murder wouldn’t have been armed as he was.

Yesterday, just over a month after the Christchurch attacks, the threat level has been reduced to ‘medium’. I think that’s more like medium level worries rather than actual chances of something else bad like that happening again.  But the authorities have to be careful to reduce the chances of a terrorist or terrible act catching them unaware.

The reality is that the chances of a repeat of something like what happened in Christchurch are low. There are very few people in out population who would even consider doing something as bad as that.

We are at far greater risk of violent death on our roads. There is on average one road death per day in New Zealand, and may more injuries.

We have a far bigger problem with death by suicide than terrorism or even murder. We should be more concerned about the reasons and risks for that.

Of course there are risks that a terrorist could strike here again, and eventually it’s likely, but it is likely to be years if not decades before this sort of thing happens again here. We are best to carry on with our normal lives without being paranoid or fearful.

Government media release:


National terrorism threat level moves to medium

New Zealand’s National Terrorism Threat Level has moved from high to medium following review by the Combined Threat Assessment Group (CTAG) Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.

CTAG is an independent multi-agency group with the primary task of continually assessing New Zealand’s threat environment. Their assessment undergoes rigorous peer review before a final decision is made to maintain or change the threat level. 

Medium is defined as a terrorist attack is assessed as feasible and could well occurThe new level remains higher than it was before the 15 March terrorist attack when the threat level was low. 

“New Zealanders’ safety is the highest priority for the Government. Following review and peer review of the current threat environment CTAG have concluded this change accurately reflects our current status,” Jacinda Ardern said.  

“While the threat level has been revised to medium, and there is no current specific threat agencies are responding to, people will continue to notice a clear Police presence at public events, including on ANZAC Day.  

“Government organisations, including Police, are required to assess their own security settings and ensure they are appropriate when there’s a change to the National Terrorism Threat Level and they will make operational decisions accordingly.  

“Behind the scene there remains an extensive cross-agency response to counter any potential threats. A number of agencies, including the Police and NZSIS, continue to work hard to understand, mitigate and manage threats and I am receiving regular briefings on that work.  

“New Zealanders should go about their daily lives as normal, but remain vigilant. If you see something suspicious or behaviour that concerns you, then speak up and call the Police. 

“I’m very heartened that people have been doing this since the Christchurch attack, while also continuing to show their support and solidarity with the Muslim community across the country.” 

The following agencies contribute to CTAG:

  • New Zealand Security Intelligence Service
  • Government Communications Security Bureau
  • New Zealand Defence Force
  • Civil Aviation Authority/Aviation Security Service
  • New Zealand Police
  • Department of Corrections
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

How CTAG sets NZ’s National Terrorism Threat Level:

  • The national terrorism threat level is under continual review.
  • CTAG uses a wide range of intelligence and information to analyse the intent and capability of potential terrorist actors
  • The result is a probabilistic statement of likelihood of a terrorist attack, using New Zealand’s national threat level framework
  • Similar groups in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom are responsible for setting their respective national terrorism threat levels; their threat language and frameworks differ.

Government – Construction Sector Accord

Announced by the Government on conjunction with the construction industry today, to try to deal with problems in building and construction:


Government and industry sign Construction Sector Accord

Government commitments
• Better procurement practices and improved pipeline management
• Improved building regulatory systems and consenting processes
Industry commitments
• Enhanced industry leadership, collaboration and organisation
• Better business performance
• Improved culture and reputation
Shared by Government and Industry
• Grow workforce capability and capacity
• Better risk management and fairer risk allocation
• Improved health and safety at work
• More houses and better durability

Government and construction industry leaders have today signalled a shared commitment to transform New Zealand’s construction sector.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the Construction Sector Accord is a new way for Government and industry to work together to create lasting, positive change in the sector.

“The wellbeing of New Zealanders is intrinsically linked to safe, durable and affordable homes, buildings and infrastructure. To meet the future needs of New Zealand, both Government and industry recognise that we need to work differently,” says Jacinda Ardern.

Jenny Salesa says, “The Construction Sector Accord sets out an agreed vision, the outcomes we want to achieve and the priority work areas we will be focusing on to address many of the challenges the sector is facing.”

Jointly developed by Ministers, Government agencies and industry leaders from across the construction sector, the Accord offers up a unique opportunity for industry and Government to partner on a range of commitments and initiatives to transform the sector. It also includes a pledge to hold each other accountable to the Construction Sector Accord.

“Together we have identified the priority areas we need to work on. The Government will lead where it can have maximum impact such as better procurement practices, improved Government construction pipeline management, and stronger building regulations. Government agencies already have a significant programme of work underway to support these aims,” says Jacinda Ardern.

“Industry representatives have identified the need for enhanced leadership and collaboration within the sector. Better alignment will support the other industry-led priority work areas of improving businesses performance and promoting a culture of trust between all parties in the construction eco-system,” says Jenny Salesa.

“Industry and Government will work together on a further four priorities which are to expand workforce capability and capacity, rebalance risk, improve health and safety and boost the supply of affordable and durable housing.

“Strengthening the partnership between industry and Government will help us make that step change towards a more productive, innovative and resilient construction sector,” says Jenny Salesa.

In the next stage of the Accord process, industry will work with Government to develop a more detailed plan for commitments to transformation.

Details of the Construction Sector Accord here: www.constructionaccord.nz

Arms Amendment Bill passes third reading

The Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines and Parts) Amendment Bill  passed it’s third and final reading tonight in Parliament, with all MPs apart from David Seymour voting in favour.

Jacinda Ardern’s third reading speech began:

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN (Prime Minister) on behalf of the Minister of Police: I move, That the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill be now read a third time.

We are here just 26 days after the most devastating of terrorist attacks created the darkest of days in New Zealand’s history and we are here as an almost entirely united Parliament. There have been very few occasions, in my history, when I have seen Parliament come together in this way and I cannot imagine circumstances where that is more necessary than it is now.

I want to acknowledge therefore, as I begin my contribution here in this third reading debate, those parliamentarians who have worked so constructively in this discussion and debate. Of course, that goes for our coalition and confidence and supply partners as members of this Government—I acknowledge you—but I also pay particular tribute to the Opposition, who, from the moment this issue around the use of these particular weapons in this terror attack arose, I have found to be nothing but constructive. I acknowledge you sincerely for that.

Chris Bishop responded:

CHRIS BISHOP (National—Hutt South): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I rise on behalf of the National Party to lend our support to the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill, and, in the start of my contribution, I want to, on behalf of the party, acknowledge the Prime Minister for her remarks in opening this third reading debate, and also acknowledge her leadership in the hours and days and weeks following the shooting. I have received many comments in the last few weeks around your leadership, Prime Minister, and I think all of New Zealand has been impressed by your steadfastness at a time of great trial for our country.

I also want to acknowledge the Minister Stuart Nash, who’s worked quite collaboratively with those of us in the Opposition on this regime that we’re about to pass into law, and I want to acknowledge Michael Wood, who chaired the committee, I think, in a very good fashion—a quick fashion, but a very good fashion.

Hansard transcript.

The Governor general will give it final approval tomorrow (Thursday).

RNZ:  Firearms Amendment Bill passes final reading in Parliament

The law change had near uanimous support, with ACT the only party to oppose it. The bill now only needs to be signed off by the Governor General before becoming law.

The move follows the announcement today of the finer details of the government’s proposed buyback scheme for firearms.

Independent advisors will come up with a price list for the buyback scheme and a separate expert panel will be set up to determine fair compensation for high-value firearms.

The government is also planning another phase of firearms reform, exploring possible restrictions and changes to the vetting process, a firearms register and more.

The prime minister said yesterday this second tranche would likely be this year, before a the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the attack – and whether more could have been done to prevent it – reports back.

Also announced by the Government today:  Legal framework for gun buyback scheme announced

Police Minister Stuart Nash has announced a legal framework for the gun buyback will be established as a first step towards determining the level of compensation. It will include compensation for high capacity magazines and parts.

Mr Nash has outlined changes to the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines and Parts) Amendment Bill which will be debated during the committee stages of the legislation.

The Supplementary Order Paper reflects changes arising from the Select Committee process. It sets out the framework for dealing with the legal ownership of weapons, magazines and parts and the broad approach for determining payments.

“The regulations will create a framework to set compensation based on make, model and condition of the items. They will provide for rights of review and appeal,” Mr Nash says.

“Independent advisors will develop the price list for approval by Cabinet. A separate expert panel of advisors will be established to determine fair compensation for high value firearms.

“Police have also consulted extensively with Australian officials to familiarise themselves with the pitfalls and legal risks encountered there. Australia has had almost thirty amnesties and buyback schemes since the 1990s.

“The new measures make it clear that surrendered firearms will be the property of the Crown. Owners will be compensated for them, if the guns were lawfully obtained and the person had the appropriate firearms licence. Price lists will be set out in regulations which are now being drafted.

“This framework provides certainty for all participants in this process and sets out a clear appeal process if the compensation is disputed.

“A number of transitional measures are also being put in place to handle one-off questions.  This includes weapons which were in transit from overseas when the ban took effect. Customs officials may deliver them to Police as part of the amnesty and buyback arrangement.

“Police are already collecting bank account details from people who are taking part in the gun amnesty. They are well placed to begin paying compensation once the scheme is confirmed. I can reassure firearms owners there will be plenty of time for them to hand over their weapons as part of the amnesty and to have their compensation processed under the buyback as well.

“The government has listened closely to official advice about the need to provide statutory authority for decisions and payments under the buyback scheme,” Mr Nash said.

The regulations are expected to be considered by Cabinet in May. If necessary, the amnesty can be extended by a month or so to run alongside the buyback.

The SoP is published here: http://legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2019/0125/latest/versions.aspx

Justice Committee undecided on End of Life Choice Bill – report

The Justice Committee report on the End of Life Choice Bill (the euthanasia bill) has been tabled in Parliament, with the committee undecided on whether the bill should be passed.

RNZ:  Euthanasia bill report tabled in Parliament

After 16 months’ worth of submissions, a report on euthanasia legislation has been tabled in the House and sponsor David Seymour says he’s quite confident he’ll have the numbers to pass it.

Parliament’s justice committee reported its findings this afternoon after nearly 39,000 submissions were heard by MPs on the bill that would allow assisted dying for those terminally ill, likely to die within six months and experiencing “unbearable suffering”.

The report said that 90 percent of the 36,700 written submissions opposed the bill.

“We note that the majority of written submissions discussed only whether assisted dying should be allowed in principle.”

The vote is one of conscience, so individual MPs can cast their vote according to their personal views.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will be voting in favour.

“I understand those deeply held convictions that means they’ll be opposed to it, my view is the best way that I can allow people to make their own decisions is actually giving them access to that choice,” she said.

Probably more important than Ardern’s influence will be which way NZ First MPs decided to go, and more so how national MPs will decided. Simon Bridges, and Maggie Barry and Nick Smith who were on the committee, are all strongly opposed to the bill, but as it’s a conscience vote all MPs are free to support or oppose as they choose.

It is still not clear whether the bill will have enough support once it returns to Parliament.

National MP Maggie Barry sat on the committee and said she thought political opposition to the bill may have hardened after the lengthy, and often harrowing, consultation period.

Mr Seymour will put amendments forward in the House – probably in June – which will include restricting the bill to those who have a terminal prognosis only and introducing a referendum.

“There’s some [MPs] still to work on to get it across the line,” he said.

The first reading passed with a 76-44 margin and Mr Seymour said that gave him confidence that MPs would line up with the majority of New Zealanders and support the bill.

Asked whether Ms Barry was the right person to deputy chair the select committee given her active campaign against euthanasia, Mr Seymour said: “I’m the tinder paper to Maggie Barry’s inner volcano so I’m probably not a natural observer on her.”

Full report on the End of Life Choice Bill

Recommendation

The Justice Committee has examined the End of Life Choice Bill and the Report of the Attorney-General under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 on the End of Life Choice Bill. We recommend that the amendments set out below be passed.

We were unable to agree that the bill be passed.

Conscience vote

This bill is expected to result in conscience votes by members in the House. In previous situations where a bill was expected to result in conscience votes, committees have recommended amendments that left the policy content of the bill largely intact, while trying to ensure that the bill was a coherent and workable piece of legislation— particularly regarding consequential amendments and amendments to related legislation.

The eight members of this committee hold diverse views. We decided to report the bill back with minor, technical, and consequential amendments only. We leave it to the full membership of the House to resolve the broader policy matters

The End of Life Choice Bill (as it currently stands)