Published on 30 Apr 2015
Completely underestimating the Ottoman army at the Dardanelles, the British commanders decide to let the ANZACs take the Gallipoli peninsular as a gateway to the Bosporus and Constantinople. After the landing in ANZAC Cove and on Z Beach one thing comes clear though: Mustafa Kemal and his troops will fight for every inch of this piece of rock.
May 1, 2015
April 26, 2015
In the New Zealand Herald, Kurt Bayer recounts the story of New Zealand’s Maori contribution to the allied forces in World War 1:
The fierce Maori haka has put the fear of God into opposing international rugby teams for decades.
A century ago, however, when the bloodcurdling war cry rang out across the dusty, sloping battlefields of Gallipoli, it was not done in the name of sport: the Maori Contingent were coming to kill the Turkish defenders.
While the doomed World War I escapade needlessly cost tens of thousands of lives, Gallipoli helped forge the early identity of the Maori in fledgling New Zealand.
It secured their reputation as fierce fighters and loyal New Zealanders, and put them on an equal footing with their Pakeha brothers for the first time.
But when New Zealand joined Britain to declare war on Germany on August 5, 1914, the enthusiasm of many Maori to sign up was mixed.
Some opposed fighting for a Crown that had dispossessed them of land in the 19th century.
Other Maori were, like thousands of other young New Zealanders, keen to answer the call for King and Country, as well as the prospect of an adventure and to be “home by Christmas”.
However, Imperial policy initially opposed the idea of native peoples fighting in a war among Europeans.
Historian Matthew Wright wrote in Shattered Glory: The New Zealand Experience at Gallipoli and the Western Front that many Maori believed that contributing to the war effort might improve their position in what was then an effectively segregated society.
“The idea gained ground among iwi [tribes] and was pushed in Parliament during September by Maui Pomare, James Carroll, Apirana Ngata and Te Rangi Hiroa [Peter Buck]. [William] Massey’s Government had not envisaged a Maori contingent but bent to the pressure and – somewhat grudgingly – allowed a small force to be assembled.”
Military historian Dr Christopher Pugsley told the Herald that opposition to a Maori Contingent, as opposed to individual Maori serving in the ranks, came from the British Government and not New Zealand.
Update: Somehow managed to get the newspaper’s name wrong and forgot to hat-tip Roger Henry for the link.
April 11, 2015
I’m 41 years old, which doesn’t feel that old to me (most days), but history is short. With the exception of those trapped behind the Iron Curtain, the world as I have known it has been remarkably free and prosperous, and it is getting more free and more prosperous. But it is also a fact that, within my lifetime, there have been dictatorships in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Poland, India, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, South Korea, and half of Germany — and lots of other places, too, to be sure, but you sort of expect them in Cameroon and Russia. If I were only a few years older, I could add France to that list. (You know how you can tell that Charles de Gaulle was a pretty good dictator? He’s almost never described as a “dictator.”) There have been three attempted coups d’état in Spain during my life. Take the span of my father’s life and you’ll find dictatorships and coups and generalissimos rampant in practically every country, even the nice ones, like Norway.
That democratic self-governance is a historical anomaly is easy to forget for those of us in the Anglosphere — we haven’t really endured a dictator since Oliver Cromwell. The United States came close, first under Woodrow Wilson and then during the very long presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. Both men were surrounded by advisers who admired various aspects of authoritarian models then fashionable in Europe. Rexford Tugwell, a key figure in Roosevelt’s so-called brain trust, was particularly keen on the Italian fascist model, which he described as “the cleanest, most efficiently operating piece of social machinery I’ve ever seen.” And the means by which that social hygiene was maintained? “It makes me envious,” he said. That envy will always be with us, which is one of the reasons why progressives work so diligently to undermine the separation of powers, aggrandize the machinery of the state, and stifle criticism of the state. We’ll always have our Hendrik Hertzbergs — but who could say the words “Canadian dictatorship” without laughing a little? As Tom Wolfe put it, “The dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe.”
September 23, 2014
Anthony Fensom reports on Saturday’s election results in New Zealand:
New Zealand’s “rock star economy” helped center-right Prime Minister John Key achieve a thumping election victory. But with major trading partner China slowing, are financial market celebrations premature?
The New Zealand dollar, government bonds, and stocks gained after Key’s National Party romped to power in Saturday’s poll, securing its third straight term and the nation’s first majority government since proportional representation was introduced in 1996.
Despite “dirty politics” claims and a late attempted campaign ambush by internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, the incumbent National Party won 61 of 121 parliamentary seats and 48.1 percent of the vote, the party’s best result since 1951.
In contrast, the main opposition left-leaning Labour Party, which pledged an expansion of government, secured only 24.7 percent of the vote for its worst performance since 1922. The Greens won 10 percent and New Zealand First 8.9 percent as pre-election predictions of a closer race proved false.
Key pledged to maintain strategic alliances with the Maori, ACT and United Future parties, which won four seats between them, further strengthening his parliamentary majority.
“Like [Australian Prime Minister] Abbott, Key as a new prime minister inherited a budget and an economy in deep trouble…Six years later, the budget is in surplus, unemployment at 5.6 percent is falling and the economy is growing so strongly the New Zealand Reserve Bank became the first among developed countries to raise interest rates to deter inflation,” noted the Australian Financial Review’s Jennifer Hewett.
“Not only did the Key government cut personal and corporate tax rates, it raised the goods and services tax to 15 percent while steadily reducing government spending over years of ‘zero budgets,’” wrote Hewett, who urged Abbott to “learn some sharp lessons” from Key’s electoral successes.
Key’s party has pledged to cut government debt to 20 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), reduce taxes “when there is room to do so” and create more jobs, aiming to undertake further labor and regulatory reforms as well as boosting the supply of housing.
July 17, 2014
I don’t recall a lot of wine references in Rush songs, but perhaps I’m not listening hard enough: Geddy Lee is a huge wine fan and has a recent interview in Terroni Magazine (transcribed by Power Windows).
How long have you been collecting wine?
I was trying to think about that this morning actually, because I knew you’d ask me. I started collecting wine probably in the mid ’80s but not in a serious way. It wasn’t until the late ’80S that I got more serious about it.
I read that you built a modest cellar in your home but your collection quickly outgrew that one so you had to construct a second. Has your collection outgrown your cellar space or is it still hovering at around 5,000 bottles?
I don’t like to talk about how much wine I have [laughing] but I have surpassed that. I also spend a lot of time out of the country so I have wine in those places, too.
Was it love at first sip or was a taste for wine something that you acquired over time?
Well, what happened with me was when I was touring in the late ’70s, we were starting to get a little successful in America and promoters would always ask our manager, “What can I buy the guys and leave in their dressing room?” So Alex, my guitar player/partner, he was always into wine before I was so he would always say, “Great wine. Great Bordeaux.” So we would get these great bottles left for us. He would drink his and I would take all mine home because I wasn’t really fanatical About wine yet and I had a little wine fridge and I kept them safe and sound. At first I acquired a taste for Bordeaux but after many years of trying different wines, I discovered Burgundy and it changed my life, my palate and I completely crossed over to the other side-the pinot side.
I’ve read that you’re an avid traveler. Is sampling locally produced wine, if the country you’re in indeed produces it, import ant to you?
Yes it is. I’ll give you an example: last year my wife and I spent a month in New Zealand. And I’m not a big New World wine fan but seeing as we were going to be there for a month 1 thought, well you know, I should try. So every night I made it a project to try a different pinot noir. I came away from the country with about four or five New Zealand pinots that I absolutely love. It was good for me, helping to lose that French wine snobbishness that I happen to have. New Zealand makes, in my view, the best pinot noir outside of France.
Now bear with me here, but Louis Pasteur once said, “A bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world.” And Rush lyrics are famously philosophical. Any chance that you imbibe in wine to help fuel the writing process?
Absolutely not! [Laughing] I imbibe in wine to forget the writing process! I drink coffee to inspire the writing.
July 16, 2014
And by “breaking new legal ground” I mean “beginning with a presumption of guilt” in all rape cases:
Fundamental pillars of the criminal justice system may be eroded whichever party wins the election this year, as both National’s and Labour’s proposals would look into changing the right to silence or the presumption of innocence in rape cases.
Both major parties claim the current system is not upholding justice for victims, and are looking at changes that would effectively make it easier for prosecutors to obtain convictions.
National wants to explore allowing a judge or jury to see an accused’s refusal to give evidence in a negative light, while Labour wants to shift the burden of proof of consent from the alleged victim to the accused.
Auckland University law professor Warren Brookbanks said both policies challenged two fundamental principles: the right to silence, and the presumption of innocence, which are both protected in the Bill of Rights Act.
New Zealand needs a third political alternative, as both of these parties are proposing to take away fundamental rights in pursuit of a higher conviction rate. Taking away the right to silence is bad, but getting rid of the presumption of innocence is equally bad:
Labour’s justice spokesman Andrew Little did not think the party’s proposal would lead to more innocent people being convicted.
“I don’t see why. You’re assuming that there is a propensity to lay false complaints. There is no evidence pointing to that.”
He said eroding the right to silence went too far, but Justice Minister Judith Collins said the same of Labour’s proposal.
“The presumption of innocence is fundamental to our justice system and our society. Requiring an accused person to prove their innocence would undoubtedly result in many injustices and wrongful convictions.”
A quick Google search for “false accusations in rape cases” turned up 4.3 million hits. Even the Wikipedia page on the subject (and Wikipedia editors tend to be pro-victim rather than pro-police) say that between 2% and 8% of all rape accusations are false. New Zealand’s “initiatives” in this area seem bound to create more injustice for the accused than improved justice for victims.
June 25, 2014
June 21, 2014
At The Diplomat, Ankit Panda reports on the recent Defense Capability Plan (DCP) released by the New Zealand government:
The DCP emphasizes enhancing the NZDF’s “proficiency at joint operations and growing its combat, combat support and combat service support capabilities.” The shortest term goal for the NZDF as explained in the DCF is to achieve Joint Taskforce Capability by 2015. In the medium term, by 2020, the NZDF will focus on enhancing its combat capability. According to the DCP, the NZDF will be charged with:
- defending New Zealand’s sovereignty;
- discharging [New Zealand’s] obligations as an effective ally of Australia;
- contributing to and, where necessary, leading peace and security operations in the South Pacific;
- making a credible contribution in support of peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region;
- protecting New Zealand’s wider interests by contributing to international peace and security, and the international rule of law;
- contributing to whole of Government efforts to monitor the international strategic environment; and
- being prepared to respond to sudden shifts and other disjunctions in the strategic environment.
The DCP sets out some of New Zealand’s longer term procurement concerns. The country will have to replace its aging C-130H and Boeing 757 fleets “in the early 2020s.” Additionally, ANZAC frigates and the highly versatile P-3K2 Orion maritime surveillance aircraft “will also reach the end of their service life in the 2020s.”
The DCP can be read here.
June 16, 2014
June 5, 2014
It’s been a year since the name Edward Snowden became known to the world, and it’s been a bumpy ride since then, as we found out that the tinfoil-hat-wearing anti-government conspiracy theorists were, if anything, under-estimating the actual level of organized, secret government surveillance. At The Register, Duncan Campbell takes us inside the “FIVE-EYED VAMPIRE SQUID of the internet”, the five-way intelligence-sharing partnership of US/UK/Canada/Australia/New Zealand:
One year after The Guardian opened up the trove of top secret American and British documents leaked by former National Security Agency (NSA) sysadmin Edward J Snowden, the world of data security and personal information safety has been turned on its head.
Everything about the safety of the internet as a common communication medium has been shown to be broken. As with the banking disasters of 2008, the crisis and damage created — not by Snowden and his helpers, but by the unregulated and unrestrained conduct the leaked documents have exposed — will last for years if not decades.
Compounding the problem is the covert network of subornment and control that agencies and collaborators working with the NSA are now revealed to have created in communications and computer security organisations and companies around the globe.
The NSA’s explicit objective is to weaken the security of the entire physical fabric of the net. One of its declared goals is to “shape the worldwide commercial cryptography market to make it more tractable to advanced cryptanalytic capabilities being developed by the NSA”, according to top secret documents provided by Snowden.
Profiling the global machinations of merchant bank Goldman Sachs in Rolling Stone in 2009, journalist Matt Taibbi famously characterized them as operating “everywhere … a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money”.
The NSA, with its English-speaking “Five Eyes” partners (the relevant agencies of the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada) and a hitherto unknown secret network of corporate and government partners, has been revealed to be a similar creature. The Snowden documents chart communications funnels, taps, probes, “collection systems” and malware “implants” everywhere, jammed into data networks and tapped into cables or onto satellites.
May 12, 2014
Published on 26 Apr 2014
Part I/IV of a timelapse series through the always changing landscapes of New Zealand. Shot over 4 month, travelling through amazing landscapes, sleeping under the stars, hiking on mountains and exploring remote roads. Locations in this video where at Fjordland NP, Mount Cook NP and Arthurs Pass NP, Mavora Lakes and Lake Ohau.
H/T to Roger Henry who said “A nice bit of promo work for NZ. […] A little bit Arthur Clarkish in a couple of spots.”
March 11, 2014
The current PM’s choice would be the silver fern on a black field, which is the symbol used by the national sports teams, especially the All Blacks:
Mr Key, who on Monday called an election for 20 September, said the vote would be held within three years.
The current flag shows the Southern Cross constellation and includes the Union Jack – the UK’s national flag – in one corner.
Mr Key said the flag represented a period of history from which New Zealand had moved on.
“It’s my belief… that the design of the New Zealand flag symbolises a colonial and post-colonial era whose time has passed,” he said in a speech at Victoria University.
“I am proposing that we take one more step in the evolution of modern New Zealand by acknowledging our independence through a new flag.”
Mr Key said that he liked the silver fern — popularised by national teams including the All Blacks — as an option, saying efforts by New Zealand’s athletes gave “the silver fern on a black background a distinctive and uniquely New Zealand identity”.
January 28, 2014
November 10, 2013
There is a saying that you do not beat New Zealand — you just get more points than them at the final whistle.
Tim Worstall, “About next week’s rugby”, TimWorstall.com, 2013-11-10
August 29, 2013
A major new patent bill, passed in a 117-4 vote by New Zealand’s Parliament after five years of debate, has banned software patents.
The relevant clause of the patent bill actually states that a computer program is “not an invention.” Some have suggested that was a way to get around the wording of the TRIPS intellectual property treaty, which requires patents to be “available for any inventions, whether products or processes, in all fields of technology.”
Processes will still be patentable if the computer program is merely a way of implementing a patentable process. But patent claims that cover computer programs “as such” will not be allowed.
It seems there will be some leeway for computer programs directly tied to improved hardware. The bill includes the example of a better washing machine. Even if the improvements are implemented with a computer program, “the actual contribution is a new and improved way of operating a washing machine that gets clothes cleaner and uses less electricity,” so a patent could be awarded.