All posts tagged New Zealand

Internet Policy in New Zealand, or, Why Kim Dotcom Needs A Figurative Slap To The Face

I unashamedly admit to being a nerd – in fact, of the names I get called on a daily basis, that one is by far the nicest. I’m also a student of politics who has no particular loyalty to any party. It’s because of these two things, Kim, that I feel an overwhelming need to grab you by those mountainous figurative shoulders and figuratively slap some literal sense in to you.

Regardless of any other motives you may have around your extradition, I have absolutely no doubt that you believe what you are doing is best for New Zealand’s internet policy. After all, a lot of the things you believe in would be wonderful for this country — for example, a competitor for the Southern Cross cable. Continue reading →

ADF article

Here is an article Catherine McCullough and I wrote for the Australian Drug Foundation’s magazine. Continue reading →

Are Twitter DMs official information?

A few weeks ago @h_yd_n asked an interesting question on Twitter:

 

The conversation that followed led Di, Hadyn, and I to actually make a request under the Official Information Act.

We asked a pretty straight forward request to see if DMs that were run by Ministers fell under the act in the same way that email does. Our thinking was that Twitter is another communication tool that politicians are increasingly using to communicate and wanted to test (in a non-malicious and not too silly way) whether that was the case.

So here is the response we got today from the Prime Minister’s office. Note that other Ministers are yet to respond.

Twitter DM Official Information Act Request by Jackson James Wood

So what does this tell us?

Di and I think that it confirms DM’s sent by Ministers are OIAable.

In this case because

“Rt Hon John Key does not respond via this account personally, the account is managed on his behalf by staff in this office. The only DMs sent from the account are occasional responses to correspondents suggesting who they should get in touch with regarding their query.”

it does seem fair that there is no public interest in releasing the information and we’re happy to take the PM at his (and his staffs) word.

However, with Ministers like Judith Collins (@JudithCollinsMP) who do personally use their twitter account we might see something interesting.

After all, Twitter is just another way to communicate. It does make sense that “official correspondence” might take place via Twitter, it is pretty cool way to talk to people.

So, in theory, anything that isn’t covered by S9 of the OIA should be released with other ministers when they get back to us.

It will be interesting to see if any official correspondence has taken place via Twitter, this might be a world first if it has!

Our OIA also raises questions about whether Facebook messages and other ‘private’ functions on social media are covered by the act.

We know that there is a grey area between “personal” and “official” correspondence, and we wonder whether the Cabinet Manual should be updated to include rules around social media use and whether the act itself needs to be updated.

We thank the PM and Mr Eagleson for their response and we look forward to the other Ministers replying in kind with the spirit the request was intended.

Update

Will put in all the Ministers responses here.

Fuck you, New Zealand Bill

I was walking along upper Lambton Quay this morning, when a paper plane soared out of the ninth floor of the Beehive and hit me.

 

This goes a long way to explaining a few things that the National Government has done since taking the tiller in 2008. Claire Browning over on Pundit so clearly shows a lot of the tomfoolery that they’ve gotten up to here.

But we’ve also got the following people putting their two cents in as well:

And there are a whole bunch more people whom I have missed out who are politely, and not so politely (I’m looking at you, Keith), pointing out the total and utter contempt that this Government has for the people of New Zealand, our democratic systems, and our environment.

When we look at it like this, the Fuck You, New Zealand Bill is the obvious next step.

Edited: Just added, and will continue to add people putting their two cents in.

DOC boss silences staff

Today is Love DOC Day, a day to celebrate our wonderful Department of Conservation in light of the recent cuts to funding and staff made by DOC’s Director General and the National Government.

A comment on Nicola Toki’s In our Nature blog points towards Senior DOC management not being very happy about this.

GaiaGirl
Thanks Nic, great explanation of what is going on and I love the quote from Don Merton. Thanks to Forest and Bird for all their support.
From a DOC worker.

Grand Canyon
DOC workers have been explicitly told by Al Morrison at Head Office NOT to respond, comment or endorse anything to do with Forest & Bird’s “political campaign” today. Which is why this person called themselves “a DOC worker”. The real political agenda emanates from Al Morrison and his spin doctor cronies who have clearly taken over the asylum.

So has Mr Morrison tried to silence his staff?

Looks like it.

This email was sent out on Monday to L\ALL S&T Terrestrial Ecosystems Managers and forwarded down the chain a few times.

From:
Sent: Monday, 8 April 2013 4:29 p.m.
To: L\All
Subject: FW: Love Doc Day

Please advise your staff that we should not be involved in this event other than to be polite if apprehended. We will know who normally wears a green ribbon or arm band.

That last part sounds rather ominous.

Mr Morrison was in this week’s Listener banging on and on about how conservationists do not understand how DOC and business can work together.

Bullshit. That is a tired old line. Today’s activities highlight how tired and how out of touch Mr Morisson is. Despite business, despite cashing in on our natural resources (which we’re fucking up), despite all that, real New Zealanders LOVE DOC and expect them to be able to do their job because it is bloody important.

Why can DOC staff not be allowed to love the place they work? I thought Mr Morrison would be encouraging that, given that they’re not doing it for the money.

2013-04-11 12.41.26

Cost of Our Convictions

Cost of Our Convictions by Jackson James Wood

Employment Relations (Siestas for Everyone) Amendment Bill

Employment Relations (Siestas for Everyone) Amendment Bill by Jackson James Wood

Wellington: one big shared space

Pohutakawa (Metrosideros excelsa) are in full bloom in Wellington. Continue reading →

The Truth banned in prisons

A little while back I heard that The Truth — “New Zealand news the way you want it – for more than 105 years” — was banned in NZ prisons. I wanted to confirm this and see if any other publications were outright banned in NZ prisons.

According to the letter below from the Department of Corrections, The Truth is the only specifically named publication which is banned by Auckland prisons.

“The Auckland Prison Manger and other staff believed the Truth newspaper contained objectionable material and was compromising the prison safety and security. The Truth ban at Auckland Prison was tested by a complaint to the ombudsman and was not upheld.”

The letter goes on to say that other publications may be banned because they are pornographic, violent, gang-related, or prison staff consider they will interfere with effective management of prison.

So each prison has a long list of items, not just publications, which are banned. The general terms are put on this schedule.

Not sure what to make of this. Is The Truth really that objectionable? It would be interesting to see the list of publications which had been confiscated or stopped from coming into the prison under the discretion of prison staff.

J Wood – 11 Dec 12 – Publications Banned From Prisons

Alcohol Reform Bill sheets

The Alcohol Reform Bill will be coming up in Parliament for it’s final reading after the recess.

Alcohol causes a shit-load of harm in New Zealand. We really need to get the liquor laws right.

The bill, as it stands, is a bit shit. It does not address key areas. My work produced these six nifty little fact sheets for MPs to assist them factually while they’re debating the bill and suggest positive changes that will reduce alcohol-related harm in our communities.
Continue reading →