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Keith Locke: Parliament’s watchdog committee has no teeth

Parliament's intelligence and security committee was in the news recently when Labour's Andrew Little nominated Winston Peters for membership. Little also proposed expanding the committee to include a Green member by amending the Intelligence and Security Bill currently before Parliament. In practice, the intelligence and security committee is a toothless watchdog...

Why NZ should withdraw its troops from Iraq

Prior to the last election Labour, NZ First and the Greens all opposed the current deployment of New Zealand troops to Iraq. Labour specifically promised to withdraw them, but nothing has happened yet. Now Australia is leaning on our government to extend the deployment beyond its current end date in November. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop made that plain during her visit here last week.

Answers to some common myths about New Zealand’s intelligence services, the Five Eyes and the Waihopai spy station

Presented as introductory comments at a workshop hosted by the Anti-Bases Campaign in Blenheim, 28 Jan 2017, and updated to reflect changes made to intelligence legislation in the Intelligence and Security Act 2017. By Keith Locke Were the SIS and GSB set up to detect terrorists? The Security Intelligence Service (SIS), and...

Jim Anderton played a critical role in changing our electoral system

Jim Anderton made a great and irreplaceable contribution to our society and democracy. Without his leadership of NewLabour and the Alliance – and his support of MMP – we might still be stuck with a narrow, two-party, first-past-the-post political system – like Britain, Australia, Canada and the United States. We owe Jim a lot.

$639 million upgrade poses question of whether we need frigates

The frigates Te Mana and Te Kaha are a huge drain on the taxpayer. They cost hundreds of millions of dollars a year in running costs and regular upgrades. The current electronics upgrade is now priced at a whopping $639 million.

Kiwi prominent in ICAN, this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner

New Zealand has a long history of active anti-nuclear NGOs, several of whom are involved in ICAN via their international parent bodies. These include the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and Pax Christi – all of whom are represented on the ICAN international steering committee.

Golriz Ghahraman has answered her critics well

In summary, Golriz has never hidden her defence role in the Rwanda and former Yugoslavia Tribunals. She has spoken about those experiences many times, and put them on her LinkedIn CV. It has been good to see the legal experts such as Andrew Geddes and so many progressive people coming to her defence.

Pitfalls for the Greens and NZ First in coalition discussions

One thing the Greens and NZ First won’t want to repeat is the Alliance experience in coalition with Labour from 1999 to 2002. With Ministers inside the Cabinet, committed to Cabinet solidarity, they had difficulty differentiating from Labour. This frustrated the party’s support base.

Let’s make sure the Greens get well over the threshold

The Greens hold the key to this election. If the Greens don’t get 5% and leave Parliament its unlikely Labour will be in government. If the Greens get 5% (or 6%, 7%, 8% or 9%) a Labour/Green government is likely.