GCSB, protesting and the internetz.

I realise that many readers of this blog will think that I am merely an artsy, stroppy feminist with too many opinions traversing policy areas across the spectrum. This is a deliberate strategy that I have undertaken for this stream of publication.

So to ‘break the fourth wall’, I am now going to give you a little of my IRL specifics, in order that what I say about the GCSB Bill now before the House in New Zealand, has a little more validity.

I have been around the IT industry in our country since my early university days. Yep, I failed Comp 101, because it bored me rigid, rather than not understanding how to write binary code. I didn’t want to end up working with those kinda people, doing that kinda work. My sister is of a different personality type, and she loved it, and has had a twenty-five-year career (and counting) in IT, as has my ex-husband. It was during my marriage that I learned most of what I know about the internet, due to contracts my then-husband was working on for his employer, a major MNC which operates in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. 

Don’t kid yourselves that there is anything ‘private’ about what you do on the net.

Don’t buy into the idea that you are ‘a consumer’, the internet is ‘a product’, nor that it is there to entertain you.

What we now call the internet began as Arpanet and DArpanet, projects of the USA Department of Defense, in collaboration with research projects at hand-picked Universities in the USA. It was originally an IT research program to create a secure way of transmitting and collecting data for the DOD. These days, we’d call that an intranet, similar to the kind of WAN that operates inside most corporations for administrative purposes.

The Bill going through our Parliament at the moment is a stage of DOD ‘taking back’ the internet from public use. Surveillance and transmission of surveilled data was always the primary purpose of the net; the Patriot Act in 2001, followed by Terrorism Suppression legislation in most global jurisdictions, was a first attempt to ‘plug the holes’. Creating crimes of knowledge, of dissemination of information, was the beginning of a global campaign by DOD to regain domination of the medium of internet traffic.

It is obvious in the trial of Bradley Manning, the attempts to smear and discredit Julian Assange of Wikileaks, the hunting down of Edward Snowden (still on-going), that the DOD is very serious about extending its’ capacities to control activities outside the borders of the USA.

This is a breach of the sovereignty of every other nation on earth, and most people are just going to sit by and watch as it happens, not making the connections to totalitarian control of their own lives.

So, on these grounds, I urge every thinking citizen of Aotearoa/New Zealand to join in the protests against the GCSB Bill that is before the House. There is a nationwide protest organised for Saturday 27th July 2013, all events beginning at 2pm.
Because this is only the thin end of a wedge that will see a totalitarian surveillance society established in every nation in the world, if we, the people, do not stop it. It’s too late to make submissions, but this is something anyone can do.
Events in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, Napier are listed on FB and there is also a general group for discussion. (outlinks)

Our MP’s have spoken out against this Bill – here on frogblog and here and here on the main Greens website.

If you want to access the submissions that went to the Select Committee hearings, they can be found here (pdf to download).

If you want to view the submissions made during the hearings, video has been uploaded to You-tube. (outlinks)
Submitters Thomas Beagle, from Tech Liberty, Susan Chalmers and Jordan Carter from Internet NZ, Micheal Koziarski, Vikram Kumar, Simon Terry, all made submissions as working professionals contracting in the IT industry.
Keith Locke and Kate Dewes and Robert Green (nuclear disarmament activists) made submissions on the political aspects of the Bill.

Going for Green: Businesswoman and Mother Viv Kerr

Viv Kerr is a dentist with her own practice. As you might expect, she’s a gentle, thorough, practical and thoughtful person. What is unexpected is her passionate and informed concern for her children’s future. That is what fuels her many informed and persuasive letters to the paper and to politicians, to making submissions on environmental issues, and, recently, to joining the Green party.

“It was the climate change issue that actually got me motivated. In the run-up to the Copenhagen talks they were talking about a 2050 vision, and my son was seven at the time. I was 47. That made it matter to me. They were talking about his future, at my age. My serious worries crystallised and I realised I had to actually do something.”

Having a scientific background, Viv started reading and learning all she could. “My training as a dentist gave me a good grasp of evidence-based research, and of course to first ‘do no harm’. I started reading and listening to James Hansen and David Suzuki and George Monbiot – and always looking at their background research.”

What she learned made the political highly personal. “I would hate to sit there at the end of my life and see things really start to disintegrate. Now at least I know I did try to do something, and whether I have any effect or not I will go down fighting. Not that we will go down!

“I have also learned that a small group of people can have a big effect. Take the Dunedin Sound, which is internationally known, yet it was only a small group of people.”

Viv’s activism is best known ( so far) in Dunedin for her letters to the paper. She began these when the Otago Daily Times covered climate change projections for the city and oil drilling off the coast on the same front page. “There have been lots of reactions to the letters – some quite surprising, and almost all entirely positive. It surprises me so few do write letters, when so many of us are concerned.”

She also now uses her education and skills to make submissions on environmental issues, such as on mining in national parks. “It was the first time I’d ever put in a written submission on anything, so I treated it like a research project.”

Viv joined the Greens because “I think that’s the only sensible option. The things that they say make sense to me. What appeals most is their focus on environment. Although social justice is important to me, the environment is the main thing because without it nothing else will happen. Recognising the Treaty also matters because I’ve married into the iwi.

“And the Greens’ decision-making is transparent. I was a really new member when they developed a new policy on the Christchurch earthquake, and I thought it was cool that they asked for feedback from members on that. The Greens walk the walk.”

Going for Green: Christina Gibb

Nicky Chapman was privileged to speak to some of the Greens’ older supporters recently, and shares some of their insights.

Christina Gibb now has a great-grandchild on the way, but says her children were not the primary motive for her environmental values. “I’ve always been green”.  She grew up in Malta and England and “my mother was very keen on all kinds of natural history, so we always looked for the birds and plants and tried to identify – that’s been part of me since I was very small.”

Again, like Pat Scott and Elizabeth Duke, Christina went to university in England, came to New Zealand with small children, and her spiritual values drive her social and environmental ones. “I’ve been a Quaker since 1984. Quaker values and Green values go together quite well – being non-hierarchical and having the belief in equality and the worth of every person. It’s about caring – for the planet and for people”.

Christina has worked for a variety of organisations such as Rape Crisis, the Howard League for Penal Reform, and the Just Housing group.  She’s lived in Ravensbourne for 30 years, and has been restoring her patch of bush with a QE2 covenant and her neighbours as part of the Ravensbourne Environment Trust.

Her involvement with the Greens started about ten years ago. “I hadn’t even joined a political party before but I was so angry with one of the mainstream parties I thought right I must join the Greens – the only one that stands for the things I stand for. It’s the whole social justice thing, the commitment to the Treaty and to Maori rights, and to creating a green economy and green jobs.”

Authorised by Jon Field, 2/17 Garrett Street, Wellington

Going for Green: Eli Kerin

Nicky Chapman was privileged to speak to some of the Greens’ older supporters recently, and shares some of their insights.

Eli Kerin grew up on a small mixed farm in Australia and spent a lot of time observing nature.

It was a harsh climate with extremes of flood and drought. “I noticed the native plants and animals could cope but the introduced species needed more help to survive. Also I noticed the reduction of bird life after we started using DDT and other sprays in our orchard. This particularly reduced the number of small birds that ate insects hence we had to spray more.

I did not have a religious upbringing so I developed my own spiritual views/beliefs which are centred on respect for our environment and the view that humanity needs to stay in a symbiotic relationship with its environment rather than attempting to control and dominate.”

As a young adult, Eli turned his close observational skills to consumerism. “As an apprentice tradesman I thought a lot about how the standard of work we did determined the longevity of our products. I naively thought things should be made to last and then we would not have to work as long to have our needs met. As I got older I realised this is not how our economy worked but I could not imagine this approach being sustainable in the long term.”

While still in his twenties, he “became more aware of the unfairness and negative consequences of the way wealth is distributed and became a supporter of socialist views.”

Eli now supports the Green Party because it “respects our respects our environment and aims to protect it; does not believe we can have continual growth in wasteful consumerism without destroying our environment; and believes in social justice and democracy – and  practises those values in the way it is organised”.

Authorised by Jon Field, 2/17 Garrett Street, Wellington

Going for Green: Elizabeth Thompson

Going for Green: why older citizens also vote Green

Nicky Chapman was privileged to speak to some of the Greens’ older supporters recently, and shares some of their insights.

Elizabeth Thompson was born and grew up in New Zealand. “Both my parents had strong beliefs in honesty. My father was a public servant and we were not allowed to take public service pencils to school! My mother was Unitarian, and he was a pacifist, and we spent a lot of time tramping so the environment was important to me, and linked with my spirituality.” Like her partner, Elizabeth Duke, she is now a Quaker, and for her Green and Quaker values align. “Both respect equality and value the environment. My pacifism comes from recognising God in everyone – you can’t shoot anyone if God’s there.”

Elizabeth worked all around world in hospital dietetics but became disillusioned in the early 80s “by power games being put ahead of patient care”. She did women’s studies at university, linking her interests in feminism and Quakers – “the first wave of feminists in US were Quakers”.

From her studies she moved onto counselling and working at the Wellington Women’s Health Collective. The political became personal when she developed chronic fatigue syndrome, and herself experienced the difficulties of being a beneficiary. “The benefit system is disempowering and getting worse.”

In the early 80s she considered joining Labour, but “I was grateful that I hadn’t when I saw what they did. This made me apprehensive about joining the Greens, but I was very impressed with Jeanette Fitzsimons with her high intelligence and graciousness, and seeing this filter through the Green Party being true to its principles.”

What particularly upsets her is social inequality. “It is wicked that NZ kids are dying at 3rd world rates –I grew up with this idea of expectation of equality. It is to the detriment to all of our society when blessed with so much good climate, a small population and a beautiful country. We are giving it away to overseas money at the cost of our kids.”

Climate change is another huge issue. “So much of what is happening is avoidable, and the Greens can see that. They are trying to limit it, and to increase our awareness of climate change issues.”

Authorised by Jon Field, 2/17 Garrett Street, Wellington

Going for Green: Elizabeth Duke

Nicky Chapman was privileged to speak to some of the Greens’ older supporters recently, and shares some of their insights.

Gratitude is not something we commonly associate with the politically passionate. Yet it’s my main emotion after talking to some of the older Greens living in Dunedin. They talk of gratitude for what they’ve received – and I feel grateful that their values and work have made all our lives richer.

Elizabeth Duke , like Pat, grew up in England during the post-war years and also benefited from free education, including a scholarship to Oxford. In 1976 she came to Otago University to lecture in Classics. Her parents only gave her two bits of advice: “Don’t go caving, and don’t join a political party”!  The political advice, she thinks, was about not compromising her values. It took her a long time to join any party because of those values, but “what got me committed to the Greens was the balance between care for the planet and the social justice”. She cites Sue Bradford as someone who shows how extremely important it is that both aspects are addressed in politics.

Her university career gave way to more direct involvement with social issues. “I started getting involved with the Quakers, who became my extended family as I was a sole parent with two primary school daughters.” This led to further theological, and Maori, studies. “Race relations here were one reason why I wanted to come here”. Finding that all was not as good as she had believed, Maori studies therefore “became a matter of justice for me’ – and she followed study with action by becoming an urban marae secretary.

In 1997 she worked for the international Quaker movement, “trying to make sure people could make their voices heard, especially those without technology”. It was only on her return to New Zealand in 2004 that she brought her skills to work for the Greens during her “retirement” (as treasurer, campaign finance manager, office volunteer…)

Elizabeth knows that “The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment” (Gaylord Nelson, US politician and Earth Day founder). For her, “the whole values of care and respect and valuing others seem to me to be indivisible. Humans can’t have a healthy life unless they are living in a healthy environment. My primary concern is for human equality. Having come to New Zealand because it valued a much greater sense of social equality, I am now horrified by how unequal we’re becoming, as is seen in our levels of child poverty.

“In a religious sense I feel we are part of the whole created universe. It doesn’t seem enough to not use chemical fertilisers and trying to live simply. The personal is political, but in order to make these things possible for other people then we need to be political.”

My two grandchildren are also a strong personal motivation for wanting a better future for all!”

Authorised by Jon Field, 2/17 Garrett Street, Wellington

Going for Green: Pat Scott

Going for Green: why older citizens also vote Green

Nicky Chapman was privileged to speak to some of the Greens’ older supporters recently, and shares some of their insights.

Gratitude is not something we commonly associate with the politically passionate. Yet it’s my main emotion after talking to some of the older Greens living in Dunedin. They talk of gratitude for what they’ve received – and I feel grateful that their values and work have made all our lives richer.

Pat Scott grew up in the High Peak district of Derbyshire, England, during and after the war. “We didn’t have a car so walked everywhere. Being outside in a beautiful environment was the key to my growing up and mapped the direction of my life, along with a very good biology teacher.” She was the first of her family to go to university, thanks to the 1944 Education Act reforms.

Another cause of gratitude and delight in her life was the local Anglican church. She explained that the life of the church, her small town and school were interwoven into the natural rhythm of the year. “There was a ‘sing the song of harvest’ attitude of gratitude for everything we could produce.”

When she emigrated to New Zealand with her husband and a small baby, she immersed herself into community life, and learned the value of “working collectively with a group of like-minded people”. Education remained a priority, both in her work as a parent and as a teacher. She especially loved running school biology trips and helping to set up the Otago Youth Adventure Trust at Tautuku Lodge. Over the years she was also involved with recycling on the Taieri, and took part in major campaigns such as Save Manapouri, stopping the Aramoana smelter and protesting against the Springbok Tour. “I’ve always been an activist wanting to go out there and make a statement.”

In 1992 she met Sukhi Turner (New Zealand’s first Green mayor) and Leah McBey when they were going to a Green conference. “They joined me up to the party at Dunedin airport!”

For Pat, “joining the Greens brought together the love of the environment, strong commitment to social justice through the church, the value I saw in community action and community consultation. The Green party embodied all of those and made total sense to me.”

When asked what the Greens have brought to Parliament, Pat replied, “I think the Green Party does more than bring social and environmental policy to Parliament, it brings respect. Green MPs don’t shout out rude things, and respect the parliamentary process.

“Also, I think what Jeanette Fitzsimons achieved was making the environment central to everyday New Zealand thinking, not a hobby or something academic. She helped people to understand why it was so important. The Greens’ work on energy conservation has been of critical importance and has become very mainstream – for example people see the housing insulation scheme brings economic and social benefits along with environmental ones.”

It all comes back to community. “Faith to me has to have community dimension. The crises that the world is facing – economic and environmental – are at heart a spiritual issue. I have a sense of belonging to a universe community which includes all living creatures.”

Authorised by Jon Field, 2/17 Garrett Street, Wellington

Solidarity gig in Wellington

Gig poster

Gig poster

Tomorrow is the fourth anniversary of the raids in Ruatoki and other places, so there’s a few events to mark the passage of this time.

14th October – Solidarity gig in Wellington

An amazing line-up of musicians including Riki Gooch, Imon Starr, Mara TK, and Bennie Tones will play a free gig at the Southern Cross on Friday, October 14th to celebrate the solidarity and support given to the many people involved in the Urewera case over the past four years.

FREE Gig to commemorate the four-year anniversary of the State Terror Raids on communities throughout Aotearoa, and to celebrate the on-going solidarity and support for the defendants.

Featuring Riki Gooch, Mara TK, Imon Starr, Vanessa Stacey, DJ Hammondhead, Mikki D, Sheeq n La, and Benny Tones.

Venue: Southern Cross, Abel Smith Street, Wellington
Date: 14th October 2011
Time: from 9pm

Operation 8: Deep in the forest

There are opportunities around the country to see the ‘Operation 8’ documentary. The film is now also available on DVD. Have a look in your local DVD store for a copy. For more information see

Waiheke – Waiheke Cinema
Friday, 14 Oct, 8pm

Devenport – Victoria Picture Palace
Thursday, 13 Oct, 3pm
Friday, 14 Oct, 3pm
Saturday, 15 Oct, 3pm
Sunday, 16 Oct, 3pm
Monday, 17 Oct, 3pm
Tuesday, 18 Oct, 3pm
Wednesday, 19 Oct, 3pm

Auckland – Academy Cinema
Thursday, 13 Oct, 12.30pm
Friday, 14 Oct, 12.30pm
Saturday, 15 Oct, 3.45pm
Sunday, 16 Oct, 3.45pm
Monday, 17 Oct, 12.30pm
Tuesday, 18 Oct, 12.30pm
Wednesday, 19 Oct, 12.30pm

Raglan – The Old School
Friday, 14 Oct, 7.30pm

Whakatane – Cinema 5
15 Oct – time tbc

New Plymouth – Arthouse Cinema
17 Oct – time tbc

Wellington – The Paramount
Saturday, 15 Oct, 11.45am
Saturday, 15 Oct, 6.15pm

Dunedin – Metro Cinema
Screenings start 15 Oct

Vacancy: Lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies, Otago

I’m passing this around, in case any greenies are so inclined & qualified.

Lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies (Confirmation Path)
National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies

Applicants should possess a PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies or a cognate discipline, and have an established or emerging track record of systematic research and publication. They should also have teaching experience at the tertiary level. Given that Peace and Conflict Studies is a new programme, candidates should be able to demonstrate skills in academic curriculum development as well.

The successful candidate:

* Will have a research background in peace and conflict studies with a significant number of peer reviewed publications. Some preference will be given to those with advanced knowledge in conflict analysis and resolution.

* Will contribute to the research environment by developing/contributing to local and international research groups, by attracting postgraduate students, and by competing successfully for research funding.

* Will be expected to teach two postgraduate courses per year in the area of Peace and Conflict Studies and to supervise 400-level Honours, Masters and PhD students.

* Will contribute to the administration and development of the Centre in particular, and the Division of Humanities and the University of Otago in general.

The position is available from 1 June 2010 and it is hoped that the successful applicant can commence duties as soon as possible around that time.

Specific enquiries may be directed to Professor Kevin P Clements, Director, National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies,
Tel 03 479 4546, Fax 03 479 8084,
Email kevin.clements@otago.ac.nz

Applications quoting reference number A09/163 close on Friday 22 January 2010.

Job Description: You can download the Lecturer in Peace and Conflict
Studies (Confirmation Path) job description (12 KB in PDF format) at

Application Forms: Download the Application Form in PDF format at

or MS Word format at

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO): Download the EEO Form in PDF
format at

or Rich Text Format (RTF) at

Prior to applying for any academic staff vacancy, applicants should also read:

* Application Information for Academic Staff at

* Information for Applicants for Academic Posts and Conditions of Appointment at