Friday, 30 September 2011

The Week That Was...

Key takes over Radioworks.
The week that was:

The PM’s radio Show was a great success, he introduced his recipe for State House scones and he swore that replacing milk with water would help the family budget. He also passed on a few helpful hints about how to avoid paying tax by declaring one self bankrupt and only paying ten cents in the dollar on ones powerbill. The PM’s love of
Coronation Street
went down a treat and two listeners phoned in and said they supported his view that the riots in London had nothing to do with changing the viewing hours of
Coro Street
Response to his first show was overwhelming according to Steven Joyce: Over 80% said that the saving by replacing milk with water would save around ten dollars per week and that they would invest that saving into shares in Mediaworks. On the downside, the new CEO of Fonterra contacted the station and warned that using less milk would see at least ten farmers go bankrupt and could lead to a further down grade of the NZ dollar.
Cabinet met and agreed to pass under urgency a bill banning the use of water in State House scones and that covert video cameras will be placed in all kitchens of those earning less than 50 thousand dollars, to ensure compliance. Police and SIS will be given special powers to enforce the new law…

While questions are being asked about the death of yet another SAS soldier while mentoring our friends in Afghanistan, the man who gave them that task to please our very good American buddies, who are withdrawing their troops, talks on radio about Coronation Street and how he is going to talk to some one VERY important about the viewing time for the programme. Its bloody amazing really, that the top man in NZ is in denial over what our troops are up to and we receive a credit rating chop, while he sounding like aunt Daisy on the radio talks about Coronation Street crap. Gosh he makes Paul Henry and Michael Laws appear intelligent and that is no easy task.

On the local scene, it was good to see that Nat’s PN candidate Leonie Hapeta is taking the advice of her mentor / manager Michael Feyen and speaking out on the dirty river episode. This is much more progressive than simply re-cycling National Party head office fill in the gaps draft press releases. Perhaps she may now comment on issues like, credit down grading, deaths in Afghanistan, youth unemployment, rising food costs, police law breaking and other matters of local and national importance…but hey you need a sense of community to do that. So don’t hold your breath…

Thursday, 29 September 2011

NZ's own Tea Party gang spends up large...

Steven Joyce Nationals chief spinner and ex radio station owner

Pay back for a soft loan: Mediaworks has organised for John Key to be broadcast on their failing radio stations, no doubt they will use their women’s reporter, Paul Henry or Michael Laws to do soft interviews and or have others ring in with guided questions. It is amazing what fools money can buy.
This is the crowd that was once owned by Steven Joyce and who out of the blue and against advice received a very soft loan of around 42 million dollars from tax payers [you and I] when they were on the very edge of going broke. And we should never forget that brave phone tapping expert Robert Murdock owns a large hunk of them. Now it would seem that they are repaying the favour in kind…Fox News and the Republican Tea Party have arrived in our fair land, invited in by our own PM.

A Hero departs

Keith Locke MP 
Keith Locke…Hero

After twelve years Keith Locke a list member of Parliament for the Greens is stepping down. He gave his valedictory speech last Wednesday.
Heroes come in various shapes and sizes, some are well known while others are not known at all. Some perform heroic deeds that make the headlines while others are actually very gentle and rarely noted.
Keith Locke is a mixture of both and his heroics have stretched across a long period of time. Some of these very brave acts were performed in the public eye at many protests such as the Springboks tour and anti war protests. While others were much more sedate protests against the might of multi-national corporations, urgency use in Parliament by sneaky ruling parties and attacks on civil liberties.
Keith Locke has stood tall even while the SIS was collecting information for one of their many secret files on those considered dangerous citizens. The question was and still is dangerous to whom. Certainly not everyday New Zealanders… that’s for sure.  

His has been a consistent voice for peace and human rights, for tolerance, honesty and justice. Not for him the hypocrisy of pretending our troops are in Afghanistan as mentors when we all know that John Key sent our troops in to the front line to buy his entry into a US free trade deal using them as bait.

Compared to John Key Keith Locke stands heads and shoulders higher in the graph of honesty, trustworthiness and political achievement. Keith comes from a family embedded in the desire to protect those most in need. His parents set high standards and has maintained those standards. I wish him well.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Local Social Housing loss? Stinky river clean-up.

Housing or profit
There is a strong rumour around town that the council plans to sell off our council owned social housing stock and then lease it back or manage it on behalf of the new owners. If this is true, and it may or may not be, this is economics gone mad.
This is as crazy as a walking Christmas Parade around the Square; I suppose all the toddlers will have to be on a leash so as to stop them biting the ankles of the adults, if not on a leash at least muzzled. Seriously folks why create problems were none exist…selling off our social housing and inventing a Christmas Parade without floats for the kids to cheer indicates a council looking for problems where none exists. Or is there another reason? Is it money and the lack of, well without sponsors like ‘Downtown’, ‘Red Cross’ and Robinson Ford its going to cost a whole lot more. Still I suppose the Mayor will say one of his suitable prayers for all and throw the switch to light up our hundred thousand dollar Christmas tree and all our woes will disappear…yeah, yeah…make a good Tui Ad would that.

I understand that the Regional Council will be reviewing the evidence surrounding the City Council’s breaches of its discharge consents and making a decision about what action will be taken at a public meeting on 11 October to be held at Horizons Regional Council offices
11 Victoria Avenue
. It is the Strategy and Policy Committee meeting which commences at 10am and the Agenda will be on the Horizons’ website on either 5 or 6 October.
The first question I think that needs to be asked is whether the report previously withdrawn at the request of the City’s Mayor has been altered or watered down in any way!
We know that the City Council has been breaching its discharge consents for years and nothing of significance has been done about them.
I would encourage all those who have marched or attended rallies in support of cleaning up the river over the years to attend the public meeting or picket outside to let the Regional Councillors especially, but also the City Councillors and the Mayor, know that this situation has to be dealt with seriously and that the causes have to be sorted and that no excuses or extenuating circumstances will be acceptable. Yours Ian Ritchie

Friday, 23 September 2011

Shameful unbecoming cowardly behaviour

Pigs can get out of the Manawatu River. 

I've already posted an item on the gutless behaviour of the Manawatu Regional Council regarding its handling of river pollution of our river by the Palmerston North City Council. The lack of courage by the MRC in failing to uphold the rules it has been entrusted with by its citizens, is both shameful and cowardly and is unbecoming. Ian Ritchie a community activist wrote the following;

River Pollution
It is now obvious that the Regional Council politicians are the block to that Council carrying out its statutory functions and cleaning the Manawatu River. They are obviously amenable to political pressure and this takes precedence over statutory requirements.
The City Mayor’s earlier denial of knowledge of the discharge breaches, smells very like ….! For him to then ask for the latest report exposing the situation is duplicitous and demonstrates shame and guilt and to use his political influence to block the implementation of steps to achieve the Accord he has endorsed, makes a public mockery of that Accord and his own ability to make meaningful commitments.
For an ex-mayor Regional Councillor to close down discussion of the issue appears to also demonstrate a conflict of interest.
No wonder our river has its appalling international reputation, but now we at least know where the guilt lies.
Perhaps the Councillors should be replaced by commissioners in the same way the Canterbury Council was replaced – people committed to doing the job the Act requires!
Here’s hoping the ex planning and regulatory group manager finds a job where there is commitment to doing what is required by statute and he is supported in carrying out his job rather than being undermined"


Thursday, 22 September 2011

A new Messiah from Argentina

I'm watching you
After the news That Jesus was to arrive in NZ wearing an All Black outfit, the mainstream media went into a top spin. [This was better and bigger than “Happy Feet”] The Herald rushed David Farrar and John Armstrong into the fray hoping that they as the Heralds top spin reporters would be able to prove that Jesus was just visiting because he wanted to bless John Key after John’s stint as NZ top model, they thought that Jesus most likely thought that John K was an actual All Black in drag since David and John started this bit of PR spin in one of their Nats [free] columns in the Auckland Herald.
Alas poor David was only half way through a conversation with John Key and propaganda expert Steven Joyce about strategy when a local reporter from the Manawatu Standard discovered the newly arrived Jesus here in Palmerston North.

Yes its true Jesus had arrived and he was located talking to and blessing a local beggar on Broadway Ave. Jesus was staying at the old Sheppard’s Rest boarding house rather than with the Nats local candidate hotel owner…When asked why he was staying at the Sheppard’s Rest he answered, “Because its closer to real people and it reminds me of my birth place a couple of thousand years ago”… When the shocked Manawatu Standard reporter found his voice he asked the jean and T shirt clad long haired young man who had just blessed one of our city beggars, “Who are you?
The young man answered, “I’m a rugby fan and I’m here to support Argentina”,
“Really, and is your name Jesus” said the reporter.
“Your not a Pharisee are you”, asked Jesus gently.
“Oh no, but I did play a part in our local production of Jesus Christ Superstar”, said the reporter proudly.
“That’s nice”, replied Jesus, the show was a bit over the top, but it had some good moments”, he added. Now as to my name, yes it is Jesus”.
The reporter was stunned but not lost for words…”So is this, the second coming”, he uttered.
“No, said the young Jesus, but if Argentina wins the RWC it’ll be the next best thing”.
“So who are you really”, asked the reporter showing better self control.
“Well as I said my name is Jesus C. Constantine and my present abode is in Argentina”, he said as turned back to the beggar and said, “Now that that is settled what say you and I go over the road and break some bread at the Subway CafĂ©”

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Camp Cringe questions...

Miss Key wins fashion parade
I’m a bit of a rugby buff, I played the game from aged eight until about thirty something and I refereed the game for a half a dozen years after that. But since the game became professional I’ve lost my deep regard for the game as such.
Before it was sport now its work, before it was character building now its income earning. Like so many activities these days its value is based on money.
Of course a Rugby World Cup is a handy event to have during an election because it takes peoples minds off the main game which is the state of the nation. Maybe we should ask ourselves some questions so that we get some balance in regard to importance.
Which is more important?

·         The All Blacks defeating France in pool A or two hundred plus thousand children living in poverty?
·         Or maybe we should compare the All Blacks beating England in the semi finals as against having people not being able to afford milk or cheese or having the largest prison population outside of the USA.
·         We could even consider the differences between beating South Africa in the final with lets say reducing the gap between the haves and the others.

While shouting for joy as each game is won or lost we should never forget the reality of life as it actually exists…the cost of attending the rugby world cup final [for one person] is around four to six months worth of power bills…

In Palmerston North we’ve spent more on the RWC hype than we have to help clean up our river…and we got only two minor pool games.

The Catholic church is now suggesting that if Jesus was to return he would appear in the shape of an All Black...wrong...if Jesus was to return he would return as a member of the unemployed class, he would be possibly a solo dad and his mom be a solo mum. Jesus was no pal of the wealthy, politicans and their kind... 

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The life of a Policeman...or SIS operative.

Video Justice Rules 2011
The Law and its enforcers

It must be really hard these days to be a policeman or woman. Firstly you must obey the law, be an upright citizen, pay your taxes, and keep to the speed limit and so on.
You can’t as a policeman join the local Black Power gang or be on the board of financial failures like South Canterbury Finance or even belong to groups like Green Peace. You are restricted in voicing your own opinions over matters like abortions and witch craft in Christchurch kindergartens. You even have to get permission to trespass and photograph private individuals who you think are breaking the laws of the land. You may even have to answer questions about your fellow policemen that have been accused of raping or having sexual connections with others. All this is unfair after all you are a policeman or police officer. You watch the imitation police on television in shows like LA Law shoot the bad guys and yet you are not even allowed to carry a weapon on your daily rounds, how unfair is that. You watch politicians and business people take kick backs, you watch as financial companies rip off citizens and you are supposedly prevented from doing just that, how fair is that you ask. The public wants you to get tough on crime, the politicians cry for tougher penalties each election year…it’s tough being a policeman or woman. So why do you do it?
So why do others do what they do?
Why are Doctors doing what they do, to save life, help the sick, cure the ill. Why do Teachers do what they do, to educate those needing to learn, to impart knowledge to the uneducated.
The police are there to uphold the law and they do that by enforcing the rules by which we govern ourselves.
When doctors fail to uphold their oath to save life they are struck off, when teachers fail to educate their authority to teach is removed, but when police break the laws they swore to uphold…the laws are changed so that they can’t be prosecuted…surely that’s not fair. This from Gordon Campbell of Scoop. 
“It would be easier to respect the law if – repeatedly – the Police and SIS didn’t seem so willing to break it whenever it suits them, while relying on the politicians to come along and clean up the mess they leave behind.
Ordinary citizens don’t have that luxury. They have to respect the law that exists. Yet that isn’t the sort of thing that seems to bother Mr Plod unduly, or our Spy vs. Spy operatives. Perhaps they have more important things in mind”…Gordon Campbell.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Taking Control back

Three years of passing laws that suit the few at the expense of the many is the legacy of this National led mixture of strange bed fellows. The Hobbits episode, where labour laws were changed to suit almost bankrupt Warner Brother’s demands for compliant workers and a bigger subsidy was but one example. This almost criminal behaviour rushed in under urgency in the dead of the night typifies the arrogance of the Nats and their coalition of the willing, Act and the Maori Party and side swapping expert Peter Dunne.
Back in 2001 Andrew Greeley wrote:

·         “It should be no surprise that when rich men take control of the government, they pass laws that are favorable to themselves. The surprise is that those who are not rich vote for such people, even though they should know from bitter experience that the rich will continue to rip off the rest of us”.

This strange mixture of Act Party nutters, Maori Party bed mates and political prostitute Peter Dunne have made some weird choices and passed some laws that prove the validity of the quotation of Greeley. The increase of GST favoured the few, The massive downward tax changes for the rich favoured the few, the massive bale out of South Canterbury finance favoured the few, the massive increase in roading spending at the expense of public transport favoured the few, the gifting of 42 million to Mediaworks by Steven Joyce favoured the few and the latest effort of subsidizing our biggest polluters favoured the few.
While all this rewarding of the haves was taking place, unemployment has boomed and wages restrained all in the name of the world melt down which was caused by the very people passing these one sided laws.
Why do we put up with this? Is it because we want to be like America where crooks are rewarded…may be we should open our eyes and look at what the USA is really like. This is the latest info on poverty in the USA:

·         “The new Census data reveals that a stunning 46.2 million Americans, 15.1% of the population, lived in poverty in 2010. This is an increase of 2.6 million people since 2009. While these are staggering statistics that represent the highest number of American people to ever live in poverty, and a dramatic year-over-year increase, it significantly undercounts the total. The Census Bureau poverty rate is a highly flawed measurement that uses outdated methodology…. We can estimate that at least 56 million Americans, roughly 18.5% of the population, lived in poverty in 2010 according to NAS methodology, approximately 10 million more than the Census Bureau is reporting.”

Copying the Americans is like committing suicide…and believing in the tooth fairy.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Police stuff up...who are the terrorists?

Police / SIS raid

After four years the Supreme Court judgment in the case of the Urewera 18 has now been unsuppressed and, contrary to the police and main stream media spin, the searches used to gather evidence were both unlawful and known to be so by police. The police trespassed on privately-owned land without warrants, and conducted video surveillance with no statutory authority to do so. The Chief Justice really gave them a hammering and was contemptuous of the police's behavior. It was both unauthorised and was known to be so by the powers that be. She wrote;

·         I regard it as a significantly exacerbating factor that the film surveillance was undertaken deliberately without legal authority, in the knowledge that there was no lawful investigatory technique available to be used... In circumstances where the police officer in charge of the inquiry knew that there was no authority to be obtained for such filmed surveillance, the deliberate unlawfulness of the police conduct in the covert filming, maintained over many entries and over a period of some 10 months, is destructive of an effective and credible system of justice”.

·         The breaches of s 21 were not merely technical or inconsequential procedural errors but "flagrant violation of right", deliberately undertaken. The breach of human rights entailed the covert filming of individuals who did not appreciate that they were observed and who were not displaying their behaviour for public observation. Because I take the view that the police filming was unlawful, I consider that rule of law considerations are also engaged.

And she's not the only one. Here's Justice Tipping:

·         I do not consider there is any escape from the view that the police deliberately breached the appellants’ rights. Detective Sergeant Pascoe acknowledged that he knew there was no legislative authority to install surveillance cameras. This, no doubt, is why he did not seek a warrant to do so. The Detective Sergeant did not profess to have authority from any other source. He repeatedly insisted that he had sought judicial oversight for the installation of the surveillance cameras. This claim comes from his having included statements in his affidavits, when seeking the warrants, setting out that this is what the police intended to do. It is not clear what purpose the police had in informing the issuing Judge of what they intended to do other than being able to say that they had candidly told a judge of their intentions. But that, frankly, gets them nowhere if it was an attempt to treat the Judge as having, by default, implicitly authorised or approved their conduct.

·         If the breach was not deliberate it was undoubtedly reckless because, at best, the position in law was decidedly unclear and, in the very difficult and unusual circumstances facing them, the police, extraordinary as it may seem, did not obtain any legal advice. It is difficult to resist the inference that formal legal advice was not sought because the police knew or strongly suspected what the advice would be and that it would make it more difficult for them to proceed as they intended.

·         In view of the conclusion I have reached, it is not necessary to determine whether this state of affairs amounted to bad faith. It is enough to say that I find it impossible to hold that the police honestly believed that the video surveillance was lawfully undertaken.

After reading just these few findings from the court, it proves that the police, no doubt backed by the SIS knowingly broke the law, not once but many times. Are the NZ police able to ignore the law, and act like a bunch of thugs? If you or I acted in this manner we’d find ourselves in front of a court in double quick time, but not the police. In fact they haven’t even answered a police behaviour complaint after two or three bloody years.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Horizons PNCC PR Grap

Past Councillor and PN Mayoral candidate Michael Feyen has sent this to the Manawatu Standard and I agree with every word. This is simply proof of the public relations grap pumped out by those who preach honesty but fail to live up to their claims. When found out they simply move into 'Blame mode' is what Michael wrote... 
Hello Editor,
PNCC are rightly being blamed for high levels of river pollution by Horizons.  This outcome has occurred as the direct result of continual pressure on Horizons by many determined people and groups to better look after our waterways. As every sewer rat will do when cornered, Horizons have turned on whom ever else they can to put the blame onto. Make no mistake, Horizons are at fault as they have overall responsibility for guardianship of our waterways. PNCC Management also has a case to answer. I absolutely agree with Councilor Teo Sherrell's assertion that PNCC councilors (past councilor in my case) were misled or at best mis-guided by PNCC Management during the numerous times we tried to question them in relation to the various discharges into the river.  For Council Management to claim ignorance of consent breaches is plainly untrue. If we knew and they were doing their job, they must have known.  Mayor Naylor constantly stymied management being questioned on these matters and my guess is will now claim to be in shock that he had no knowledge of the city's effect on our river. All this from the leaders of our River Accord. Baloney. 
Michael Feyen

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Wheelers Corner feedback

Kia ora Peter
How are you...just reading No; 37 (you have written about youth issues, which is my pet favourite)
Re youth and being part of the council:  Yes, agree and I kind of wonder whether having a youth council separate from the PNCC, is like tokenism, which the council seem best at.  Why are they scared of youth?  I think it’s more that they don’t like to let anyone in and keep themselves very separate, look at their fear of the Maori ward. I wonder why that is, and generally my only conclusion when this happens is that it centres on power and control, which shouldn’t occur with democratically elected position holders.  But alas, it does in all arenas!  This needs addressing.
Suicide; absolutely suicide is a lot to do with social condition and the society youth live in.  I don’t have any hard data, but my awareness of youth mental health, is that largely youth are unsupported and this initially and sadly is within their own whanau and then extending out.  Youth is also generally pathologised as is the adolescent period seen through a deficit model.  Yet youth (or young adults) as I prefer to call them, have the same milestones to struggle through as always, and every generation has its new challenges, different from the last.  I don’t buy into that it is harder for youth these days, because of the times we live in.  In fact, think about it, it is in fact easier.  The times we live in have always evolved and always will.  Thank god.  That is called progress.  We should be empowering our youth to believe that they are the experts in their lives, they know their environment, technology, peers, struggles and successes better than us old folks and they have more opportunity to do more than past generations did.  We should let them bask in that knowledge – despite, who we think we are, what we have studied or even how cool we are, we will never fully understand the youth culture of today.  All youths are fantastic, I think the problem generally lies with the adults in their lives who have missed offering them positive opportunities to their right of passage to adulthood and often these adults lack the skills to know how to listen to their issues, when there have been concerns. 
Youths are still prescribed remedies for their behaviour and are addressed from a top down model of superiority that comes from us being deemed as “adults” which is quite amusing, because some of those adults who do that, really have no idea what they are talking about.  The other thing that occurs with youths is that they can be “scripted” as being unwell or disruptive or even “just a teenager” and therefore they play this script outIf you are told often enough, that you are an issue, then that is the role you are given and the stage is set, and the script is given to you from adults, so you play the role.  However if you empowered youth and encouraged them, and spoke of their possibilities and their capabilities, then that too is the role they play. I do this with my teenagers; proof is in the pudding they say. 
People generally need to remember that young adults are going through the bridge of adolescence, and along the way they are trying to form their identity.  The adult’s role is to give them safe rights of passage, as the passage will be taken safely or unsafely in any case. 

Another passion of mine: Maori. Your thoughts on Jerry Mateparae, as our new GG are Interesting; and I agree, the defence personnel are trained to follow orders (I lived with a defence person for 5 years, which didn’t work out, as I encouraged self governance and he had no idea how to do this!!!) Anyway the PM selects our GG in order for that person to follow orders.  Let’s hope though that having a Maori GG gives a voice to Maoridom, will it mean any changes?  Possibly not!  Will he be able to make any new initiatives?  Possibly not!  However he is in a powerful position of influence.  Also being Maori it shows Mana for Maori to have someone like Jerry as GG.  I grasp for straws sometimes for Maori, but I am always hopeful.  As my 8 year old boy said to me last night when he was reading to me;  “Mum, my teacher asked us the other day when we were discussing this book...what would happen if we didn’t have hope”.  And he said he replied to her “possibly, our world would be full of misery!” Ka pai Adam...

Love reading your newsletters Peter, keep on keeping on.  Promise I won’t reply such lengthy feedback in future, but sometimes things provoke thoughts… D.T

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Nicky Hager part 2

This from No Right Turn:

The first cracks

The government's strategy in responding to Nicky Hager's Other People's Wars has been clear: slander the author and call it fiction, usually while admitting to not having read it. But now the first cracks are appearing. Last night, Media7 [video] interviewed Hager and former Defence chief Bruce Ferguson about the book. And he got a surprising admission from the latter that criticism from below about US treatment of prisoners may have been covered up. The full quote is on Public Address here:
It's probably a combination of both [a breach of duty and democracy in action]. My first, my gut reaction is very disappointed that people whisteblow with respect to the military. I do take Nicky's point though, there will be people who are concerned. In every war, again, soldiers will see things or be ordered to do things about which they are not happy. It takes a very gutsy soldier, sailor or airman to go to the commanding officer and say "I don't want to do this". Now, until probably about 20 or 30 years ago it would probably end up with them being put in the slammer.
But if they get no traction from that and they still firmly believe in their views, I can understand, while not sympathising with them, I can understand why they may go further.
I would not ask Nicky for his sources because I know damn well he wouldn't give them to me. And actually it doesn't worry me anyway, because I'm retired.
I would always continue to be disappointed that people felt so strongly about it they couldn't go to their commanding officers. But they may well have done, and I would not have known that. They may well have gone to their commanding officers and the commanding officers, to use their words, covered it up. I would not see that.
Of course, Fergusson points the finger lower down, at unit commanders, but this can be only part of the problem. Because what we've also seen is a high-level coverup of the military's actions, spinning (to put it charitably; I would call it "outright deceit") the way it is fighting this war in order to retain public support. And that is something the Chief of Defence Force would be expected to know about. If they didn't, they're clearly not doing their job properly. There's a difference between operational security to protect lives, and bullshitting the public (and apparently Ministers) to maintain political support. One might be acceptable in a democracy. The other clearly is not. The problem with our military is that is has begun to conflate the two. In the process, they have weakened oversight, accountability, and ultimately democratic control. The defence culture which has allowed this to happen is a dangerous one, and it needs to be eliminated if we are to protect our democracy.

This from me: Part 3 will possibly be when the SIS / Police raid Nicky Hager's home/office/work place using a couply of hundred troops...and charge him with terrorism...of course I may be wrong because he is white not brown...your guess is as good as mine.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Hearing the truth

Pulling the Wool
Nicky Hager on Sir Bruce Ferguson on
Media 7 - 8 Sept 2011
Investigative author Nicky Hager is one of New Zealand's most internationally acclaimed writers. His 1996 book, "Secret Power", which probed global intelligence systems, was described as a masterpiece of investigative reporting. It won a US journalism award and led to a year-long European Parliamentary inquiry.
Hager's 1999 book, "Secrets and Lies" exposed unscrupulous PR campaigns. In 2002, "Seeds of Distrust" caused a political furore with its revelations of the political management of the genetic engineering issue. His fourth book, "The Hollow Men" which exposed the internal workings of the NZ National Party, prompted the resignation of the Parliamentary Leader Don Brash on the day that the book was released.

All these books were best sellers and John Pilger has described Hager as, "quite simply one of the world's best investigative journalists".
But when Nicky Hager's latest work, "Other People's Wars" was released late last week, the former Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force, Sir Bruce Ferguson was heard to remark on National Radio that he "wondered what Nicky Hager had been smoking". The Prime Minister John Key and Labour Leader Phil Goff were equally dismissive. None of these gentlemen had read the book but they were anxious to dismiss its account of New Zealand's role in Afghanistan, Iraq and the War on Terror as a load of fanciful rubbish wrapped up in a conspiracy theory.
The theme was taken up by several high-profile journalists who have been taken on the carefully managed, PR tiki-tours of the NZDF Provincial Reconstruction Team. They all lined up to rubbish Hager before they even had the chance of a cursory read of the book.
It appears that Nicky Hager fills the biblical description, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household."
"Other People's Wars" is a dense 439 page investigation which is cross-referenced by more than 1400 footnotes. It contains allegations and proof of a systematic attempt by a political, military and foreign affairs elite to pull the wool over the eyes of the NZ media and the public.
This week on Media7 Russell Brown (who has read the book) will be interviewing Nicky Hager, Jon Stephenson and David Beatson who have been chasing down the same topic.
It seems no coincidence that he and Jon Stephenson have both met with the same official hostility and derision from the military hierarchy and the politicians of both Governments who were charged with running New Zealand's longest war.
Media7 has also invited Air Marshal Sir Bruce Ferguson (Retd.) who was Chief of the Defence Force in the when NZ forces were committed to the War on Terror and managed the deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan until his retirement.
Media7 is recorded in front of a live audience in the TVNZ Auckland Television Centre and is first broadcast at 9.05pm on Thursdays on TVNZ 7.
The show is replayed several times during the week. (Friday 9.05 am and 1.05 pm, Sunday 11.05 pm and Monday 10.05 am and 2.05 pm)
Media7 is broadcast both on FreeView and on Sky Channel 77. It is also available on demand from TVNZ's website , can be downloaded as a podcast and is available on YouTube .
There is also a Media7 FaceBook page for viewers to place their feedback and to learn more about the show and follow us on twitter @media7nz.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Palmerston North Issues

Breaking News: Mighty River Power receives knock-out blow!!!
MRP's eleventh-hour bid to have 12 extra wind turbines reinstated to its Turitea wind farm project has been declined. The small, 60-turbine development falls short of the 104-turbine project Mighty River Power wanted to build. The Board of Inquiry decision released today holds firm to the scale indicated in its draft decision in February. The power company's request for 12 turbines to be reinstated was declined. The board, chaired by
Environment Court
Judge Shonagh Kenderdine, said it was not surprising that MRP wanted to maximise the size of the farm given the windy site, and its proximity to the national grid and centres of electricity demand. But it did not accept MRP's argument that its decision should be influenced by the issue of economic viability. "Changes in the economics of the project are a matter properly for MRP, not the board.''
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act: "George Orwell”:
The full council has now met and has confirmed that STV will be with us for at least the next two local body elections, the vote was 10 to five, so it was good to see that the council can sometimes make progressive decisions on some issues at least. Alas on the downside their rejection of a progressive move toward developing a Maori Ward proves yet again their timidity in taking a chance to develop new and better ways of advancing local government participation and real interaction for our citizens is still lacking, but where there is life there is hope. Some of the structures built by the council seem to be just window dressing, take for example the youth council…Why do we have a Youth Council, if not to encourage participation by youth? But the council fails to give or share any real decision making power. Why are they scared of youth? The same applies to wards. The reappearance of the ‘Residents Association’ is a direct response to the total collapse of formal Ward Committees and their replacement by so-called ward forums run by councillors for councillors which has led to the obvious lack of connection between residents and the so-called Ward Councillors.
Last weeks shocking councillor attendance figures prove beyond doubt that some councillors [Barnett, Dennison, Kelly, to name but three] simply don’t represent the residents who they purport to represent. People deserve better bangs for their bucks.

It has been reported that the suicide rate in the Palmerston North area is the highest in NZ, one per week, this is shocking and sad and leads to some fundamental questions, but will they ever be asked? So long as the Mayor fails to allow our Youth Council or our Council to meaningfully discuss this issue progress will be slow.
Suicide is as much about social conditions and the society as it is about mental health. This subject is one which is constantly swept under the carpet as are questions of a racial nature which tend to automatically touch a nerve within leaders psychological defenses. But these are debates worthy of our attention and participation. So why do we fail to discuss these issues? Are we too frightened to acknowledge our failures, or do we lack the self or collective determination to face up to the factual reality that our social services are failing each and every day. These are powerful questions that need honest and transparent debate. While the government seeks to hide the truth, these defects will continue to exist.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

A Lost War

Nicky Hager’s [pictured] new book, “Other People’s War” has just hit the stands Gordon Campbell on Scoop wrote the following: “It was most ironic that after less than a week in office our new Governor General Jerry Mateparae is now in the hot seat and will no doubt be asked to answer some difficult questions. Here is one from me, ‘Who were the British civilians that our SAS were attempting to rescue? Were they mercenaries or security persons hired by British or American private security companies… who are making millions of dollars each month by profiting from death and destruction? So far our main stream media is silent and it certainly lacks the investigative skills of Nicky Hager to give us answers. Maybe some one should ask our new military GG that question.
If there are fantasies involved here, they are not on Hager’s side of the equation. The real and willful fantasy is that the defence bureaucracy always passively enacts the defence policies of the government of the day... Every New Zealander should read this book. It shows us the workings in current Third World hot spots of the pattern of subservience to Canberra and Washington that the current government is busily resurrecting”…

John Key and Afghanistan:
BY 2009, with Bush gone and Obama as president, it was suddenly all right to voice an uncomfortable idea that until then had lingered only on the fringes: US politicians and military figures began to ask if the United States was losing the war. Many western commentators also simultaneously noticed that the Karzai government was deeply corrupt.
It was at this inauspicious moment that the new National government conducted a review of its future Afghanistan policies. But the government refused to release this advice under the Official Information Act, claiming that would threaten New Zealand’s “security, defence or international relations”.
These are the words they deleted: “The situation in Afghanistan is fragile, probably more so than any time since 2001. Security has been steadily deteriorating. There are almost daily bombings, kidnappings and assassinations in Kabul and, in some provinces such as Wardak (which neighbours Bamiyan), the Taliban openly patrol the streets. Opinion varies as to the prevalence of the Taliban presence and the feasibility of its defeat by foreign forces.” The war had reached the capital.
Two months later, in August 2009, the National government agreed to a US request to send the SAS back to Afghanistan. The 70-person contingent flew to Afghanistan the following month. Guess where it was going.
The government refused to say, but only a few weeks later the news got out: the New Zealanders were in Kabul. The location had been published in a newspaper in Norway, quoting a Norwegian military chief whose Kabul-based special forces had been replaced by the SAS. They were in a very different role from the earlier deployments, helping to train a fledgling Afghan government anti-terrorist unit called the Crisis Response Unit. Prime Minister John Key had assured journalists that the SAS would not be fighting with any Afghan forces they were training because that was “particularly dangerous”.
Three months later, it emerged that the SAS was not just training and mentoring the Afghan unit, but accompanying it on dangerous missions. SAS soldiers, including Willie Apiata, were photographed in January 2010 leaving a bloody battle in downtown Kabul. John Key promised greater openness over future SAS operations. He said they would work “alongside” the Crisis Response Unit and CDF Lieutenant-General Jerry Mateparae gave a new assurance: “In essence, there must be an Afghan face to activities, which means Afghanistan security force participation in all NZSAS operations.”
ON Christmas Eve, 2010, an SAS team raided a building in Kabul that intelligence said contained two car bombs destined for an attack on the US embassy. The intelligence was wrong. The location they raided was a company called Tiger International that hired vehicles to the US-led forces. The SAS soldiers, believing they had been shot at, killed two local security guards with shots to the head and just missed another. The SAS had led the raid and, according to witnesses, they stormed the building on their own. Only later did Afghan National Security Directorate staff arrive. It was about an hour before the SAS soldiers were informed of their mistake. Neither the New Zealand military nor the US forces have offered any compensation or support to the families of the people killed or for the wounded.
It turned out that the National government had provided the SAS for one of the bloodiest and most dangerous military roles in Afghanistan: frontline operations against suicide bombers and other attackers in the deepening insurgency. Some SAS soldiers were not at all happy about being used in the new roles.
John Key was using them, essentially, as a signal of its pro-American loyalties: the more dangerous the role, as other countries began withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, the more appreciation it could expect from the US. But the soldiers risked paying the price. In February 2011, Key extended their deployment for another 12 months and in August 2011, the first Afghanistan-deployed SAS member, Corporal Doug Grant, died during a battle with insurgents in Kabul.

Friday, 2 September 2011

So we now have another ex-military Governor General, the last military officer [Sir Bernard Fergusson] was appointed by the Queen. After that appointment we removed the right for the Queen to appoint our Governors’ General, and we swore we would never again have a military appointment. John Key broke that rule…we should never forget that the GG is appointed by the PM only, and does what the PM says, if he doesn’t he gets the sack and the PM appoints someone who will carry out his instructions. The GG is not elected and has no mandate as such. Can you imagine the GG refusing to sign some law passed under urgency in the dead of the night that the majority of the population opposes, military men are normally used to carrying out orders not opposing them? Still I wish the new GG all the best I’m sure he is honest and I sincerely hope that he is different to the last GG appointed by the Queen. Sir Bernard Fergusson whose history as a British commander during the 2nd WW was highly respected but his background in the British Military during the occupation of Palestine was somewhat suspect.   

There are various schemes being undertaken to assist young people, this is one of those is worth careful consideration, because I believe it is a clear way forward...
‘E mohiotia ana a waho kei roto he aha’ ‘One can not know from the outside what is contained within’ with those words I’d like to introduce you to group that is working hard to assist Maori male youth [Toiohi]. It seeks and matches volunteer Maori Male men with Maori Youth. It offers these men training and assistance so as to be able to connect with young Maori males. The purpose is simply, to offer both a model for the future and a listening point. They don’t supply answers but they do supply the means to reach answers by the youth themselves. It is classic mentoring…
The project is known as ‘Project Tuakana’ and operates via the “Whaioro Trust” it’s a pilot programme. Its project coordinator is Dale Anderson. She simply bubbles with energy as she tackles the future. Her goal is simple but the task huge: the match of men to youth and youth to men and to set the process of change in motion. The outcomes may be unpredictable at the beginning but the emotional rewards are colossal for all parties. This is community enterprise at its very best. If you feel you can help why not contact Dale and have a chat. Dale can be contacted on 06 354-0670 or mobile 027-244 6106 or by email