Scoop Election 08: edited by Gordon Campbell

Gordon Campbell on our IS counter measures, Forbes’ hostility to the TPP, and CNBC’s idiocy

November 6th, 2014

There are two dimensions to the security measures announced yesterday: (a) the deployment of New Zealand forces in ‘training” roles inside Iraq, and (b) the expansion of SIS powers to monitor and intercept any budding jihadis here at home. It seems unlikely that any Islamic State fighters will be quaking in their boots at the added threat New Zealand will now pose to their actions on the battlefront, or to their recruitment activities on the Internet. Given that the overall aim of these measures is the one announced weeks ago by President Barack Obama – to contain and eventually destroy the Islamic State – it’s doubtful that a handful of Kiwi trainers will make any noticeable difference to the outcome in Iraq, even while it creates a more tangible risk to New Zealand, now that we’ve signed up to the coalition of the willing. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on Greens MP James Shaw, and the prospects for ecumenical politics

November 4th, 2014

Every now and then Parliament gets an MP who is regarded kindly by those in the opposing ranks as being a basically good sort who, if only given the proper life chances, could well have ended up on their side of the House. You could have called it the Katherine Rich Syndrome, circa 2005 at least. Theologically speaking, it is what the Catholic Church call the Baptism of Desire, whereby lifelong good intentions can qualify one for de facto membership of the club of the saved: “An heathen, believing, even though in a confused way, in a God whose will should be done and desiring to do that will whatever it may be, probably has Baptism of desire.” Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on the links between bad labour laws and poor safety practices

October 30th, 2014

By co-incidence, one of the prime dangers of the government’s new employment relations law has been underlined by the release of the death and injury statistics among workers at New Zealand ports. These are highly profitable enterprises for the port owners. The Port of Tauranga for instance, is expecting its current full-year profit to be between $78 million and $83 million and other ports are enjoying similar boom times – but they are also highly dangerous places for the people who work on or around the port premises. At the Port of Tauranga, there have been 26 serious accidents since 2011, and two deaths. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on the TPP finishing line, and Amazon’s woes

October 28th, 2014

If the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal wasn’t such a serious matter, this would be pretty funny. Here’s Trade Minister Tim Groser on RNZ this morning:

The finish line for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement is in sight after talks in Australia over the weekend, Trade Minister Tim Groser says.

And here’s the Japanese media report on the very same TPP meeting in Sydney:

After meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman on Monday morning on the margin of the plenary session, TPP minister Akira Amari said the finish line for their bilateral talks is not yet in sight…

Clearly, if these guys can’t even get their clichés in order, no wonder they’re having trouble around the negotiating table. Oh, and that old standby ‘significant progress’ was made on the weekend at the Sydney talks, says Groser. A while ago, I summarised the number of times that ‘significant progress’ has been made, even though – like Zeno’s arrow – things never quite reach the target. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on the tokenism of New Zealand‘s role against Islamic State

October 23rd, 2014

Was John Key born lucky or what? Political performance tends to be judged on three things – the unemployment rate, the petrol price at the pump, and the market value of your house. This year, Key was lucky enough to hit a peak in the business cycle just as the country went to the polls. Since then, the long awaited drop in the value of the NZ dollar versus the greenback has begun – a slide that will ultimately push import prices up, including petrol prices. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on Pharmac, Gough Whitlam and Sleater-Kinney

October 22nd, 2014

Ridiculous reported comments on RNZ this morning by Trade Minister Tim Groser, as he sought to dampen down concerns about yesterday’s leaked draft of the IP chapter of ther Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations. According to Groser, ‘extreme’ positions are common at the outset of negotiations, and these get whittled down over the course of negotiations. Fine. Except that we’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on the latest TPP leaks

October 21st, 2014

The release by Julian Assange on Wikileaks of the draft Trands Pacific Partnership chapter on intellectual property – including drug patents – contains some pretty disturbing evidence about what’s still on the table. The leaked drafts pertain to the May 2014 negotiating positions and enable comparisons with the August 2013 positions that Wikileaks released last November. Wikileaks overview of the new data is available here. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on New Zealand getting involved (again) in other peoples wars

October 16th, 2014

Apparently, the Key government is still pondering how New Zealand will contribute to the fight against Islamic State. Long may it ponder, given the lack of consensus among our allies as to how to fight IS, where to fight it (Syria, Iraq, or both ?) and with whose ground troops, pray tell. Not to mention the fact that no-one involved seems to have the foggiest idea of what would constitute victory, or what an exit strategy would look like. Face it: open-ended commitments to poorly defined campaigns rarely turn out well. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on child poverty, and David Shearer’s latest outburst

October 15th, 2014

The politicisation of (a) the public service and (b) the operations of the Official Information Act have been highlighted by the policy advice package on child poverty that RNZ’s resolute political editor Brent Edwards has finally prised out of the Ministry of Social Development. Not only was the MSD advice on how to alleviate child poverty tailored to fit the political needs and desires of the government, but the release of it to RNZ – which had been seeking the information since May 2013 – was held back until after the election. Read the rest of this entry »

Gordon Campbell on the government’s review of security laws

October 14th, 2014

So the Key government is about to launch a four week review of the ability of our existing legislation to deal with “suspected and returning foreign terrorist fighters, and other violent extremists.” According to its terms of reference, the review will consider whether the SIS, GCSB and Police are sufficiently able right now to (a) investigate and monitor suspected and returning foreign terrorist fighters ‘and other violent extremists’ (b) restrict and disrupt their ability to travel to conflict zones and (c) whether specific criminal offences should be created to address their behaviour. Read the rest of this entry »