INDEPENDENT NEWS
Personality politics – Jacinda is great! Jacinda is not so great! – have dominated the coverage of the Labour Party’s fortunes this week...
Still, this is a relatively new and welcome problem for the centre-left. Labour has seemed so bereft of crossover talent for so long that it seems almost embarrassed by this latest development. More>>
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New Zealand Politics
2040 Target And Lower Standards: “Swimmable” Rivers Five Times More Likely To Make You Sick

Forest & Bird has condemned the government’s new water quality standards, warning New Zealanders that they lock in current levels of water pollution and allow for a 5-fold increase in the chance of getting sick from swimming in a river. More>>

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Immigration: Clampdown On Rogue Employers Good First Step

The Human Trafficking Research Coalition is pleased at the new clampdown on rouge employers who exploit migrants announced by Minister Woodhouse this morning, and believes this is a step in the right direction. More>>

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Mayor: 750 New Social And Affordable Homes For Wellington (Over A Decade)

The next stage of Wellington’s Housing Upgrade Programme will see at least 750 new units of social and affordable housing built over the next decade, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>

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Business, Science & Tech
Statistics: Net Annual Migration Passes 71,000

A record 71,300 more migrants arrived in New Zealand than left in the January 2017 year, Statistics New Zealand said today. This surpassed the previous annual record set in December 2016. More>>

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Fossils: Ancient Penguins Lived Alongside Dinosaurs?

Penguins are much older than previously thought and their evolution probably dates back to the days of the dinosaurs, according to research on the fossilised leg bone and toes of a giant ancient penguin found in rocks near Waipara, North Canterbury. More>>

No Voda/Sky: Commission Declines Clearance For Merger

The Commerce Commission has declined to grant clearance for the proposed merger of Sky Network Television and Vodafone New Zealand. More>>

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Comment
Gordon Campbell: On The Looming Conflict Over The Iranian Nuclear Deal

Iran and the Trump administration are on a collision course over Iran’s testing of ballistic missiles, which Iran maintains are a valid part of its domestic defence planning. The US, via Trump’s national security adviser Michael Flynn, has put Iran “on notice” and imposed fresh sanctions. Undaunted, Iran has continued to test more missiles. More>>

John Quiggan: On Australia’s Flirtations With Trumpism

After the cataclysm of Trump’s election, quite a few US-based friends asked me about moving to Australia. I had, as they say, good news and bad news. More>>

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Gordon Campbell: On Journalism’s Future In The Era Of “Alternative Facts.”

Already, the White House has made it clear that the media are the new enemy that the new President’s supporters will be encouraged to unite against. The fantastic phrase “alternative facts” coined by Trump spinmeister Kellyanne Conway captures the media strategy in a nutshell. More>>

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World
Amnesty: Campaign Mass Hangings And Extermination At Syrian Prison

A chilling new report by Amnesty International exposes the Syrian government’s calculated campaign of extrajudicial executions by mass hangings at Saydnaya Prison. Between 2011 and 2015, every week and often twice a week, groups of up to 50 people ... More>>

Russian Hack Job?: White House - Actions In Response To Russian Malicious Cyber Activity & Harassment

President Obama authorized a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election in 2016. More>>

Israel/Palestine: Michael Field - Background To How Israel Nearly Went To War With New Zealand

New Zealand and Senegal managed to get the United Nations Security Council to pass resolution 2334 which said Israel’s settlements in Palestinian territory violate international law and undermine a two-state solution in Israel's conflict with Palestine. More>>

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Lifestyle
Scoop Review Of Books: Excerpt - Ice Bear: The Cultural History Of An Arctic Icon

“During the last decade the image of the polar bear has moved in the public imagination from being an icon of strength, independence and survival in one of the most climatically extreme of world environments, to that of fragility, vulnerability and more generally of a global environmental crisis.” More>>

NZ Opera: Max Rashbrooke Reviews The Mikado

So concerns about the work of the piece have to be addressed; but they are complex, and probably better handled in another post. So what about this production itself? More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: The Typewriter Factory

I finished reading Don’t Dream It’s Over not long after it came out last August. I even started writing a review, which took something of an ‘I’m sorry people, but it’s already over’ approach. I’ve been pretty negative about journalism as it’s practiced in the mainstream (or MSM, or corporate media or liberal media or whatever terminology you prefer) for quite some time (see for example Stop the Press), and I believe the current capitalist media model is destructive and can’t be reformed. More>>
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