Tag: World – Middle East

Gordon Campbell on our refugee response, and a TPP rewrite

Column – Gordon Campbell T he miserly nature of New Zealands response to the global refugee crisis continues apace. Yesterdays announcement of an increase in our intake of UNHCR refugees from 750 to 1,000 refugees will only kick in from 2018, after the recent special … Gordon Campbell on our paltry refugee response and a brazen US rewrite of the TPP First published at werewolf.co.nz The miserly nature of New Zealand’s response to the global refugee crisis continues apace. Yesterday’s announcement of an increase in our intake of UNHCR refugees from 750 to 1,000 refugees will only kick in from 2018, after the recent special intake of 650 Syrian refugees over two years have been cleared. So, do the math. The “ increase” really means that the intake of 1,000 after 2018 will be pretty much the same number of refugees as we admitted this year, once you’ve added 2016’s share of the Syrian special intake to the current 750 UNHCR numbers. In other words, this is a triumph of spin: an ‘increase’ in the refugee intake that is virtually the same as the status quo, but counted differently. Moreover, since New Zealand requires that 50% of our UNHCR intake is from the Asia/Pacific region, we will actually be taking in fewer refugees from the Syrian/Iraq war zone than we have done of late. For many advocates of a...

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Post Cabinet Conference: Dr Zarif and the Security Review

Article – Robert Kelly Todays post-cabinet press conference was dominated by discussion of the security agencies review and the visit last weekend of the Iranian Foreign Minister Dr Zarif. Key also addressed concerns about the Clutha Southland electorate and the effect …Today’s post-cabinet press conference was dominated by discussion of the security agencies review and the visit last weekend of the Iranian Foreign Minister Dr Zarif. Key also addressed concerns about the Clutha Southland electorate and the effect of the American primaries on the likelihood of the TPP being ratified. Prime Minister John Key said that the first visit from an Iranian Foreign Minister in ten years had gone well. His conversations with Dr Zarif had centred on regional issues for Iran in relation to New Zealand’s role on the United Nations Security Council. Mr Key said that he not raised the treatment of minorities in Iran with Dr Zarif but said a relationship is being built with Iran where a wider discussion about domestic and foreign policy could be had. He emphasised the possibilities of trade with Iran as sanctions against it begin to ease. The Prime Minister fielded many questions about the Independent Review of Intelligence and Security and its effect on policy but answered very few. He would not put a date on further announcements or on conversations with Labour members of the Security and Intelligence...

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Post Cabinet Press Conference: Australia and Auckland

Article – Robert Kelly The Prime Minister began todays press conference by saying that Christchurch and its people were in his thoughts. He said that while the quakes on the 14th on February were clearly unsettling, residents can take comfort in how well Christchurch … Post Cabinet Press Conference: Australia and Auckland Robert Kelly The Prime Minister began today’s press conference by saying that Christchurch and its people were in his thoughts. He said that while the quakes on the 14th on February were clearly unsettling, “residents can take comfort” in how well Christchurch is being rebuilt. Key answered many questions about his upcoming talks with Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull. He stated that while the New Zealand offer to take 150 refugees from Australian camps within the 750 quota still stood, Australia had not yet said yes to that. Key said that he considered it the “sensible and compassionate thing to do” but that the ball was in Australia’s court. He said it was likely discussions would take place with Turnbull about the progress in Camp Taji in Iraq. Key said it is not his intention to send the New Zealand SAS into Iraq. On Auckland Housing the Prime Minister was reluctant to discuss specifics of the debate around intensification. He stressed that the Unitary Plan was the Auckland Council’s rather than the National Party’s. Key dodged a...

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Gordon Campbell on bribing the Saudis and Oscar racism

Column – Gordon Campbell Does this sound familiar? In the mid 2000s, New Zealand wanted to pursue a humanitarian policy, on live sheep exports. This happened to offend a Saudi foreign investor, who eventually threatened legal action against it. The Key government chose to buy … Gordon Campbell on bribing the Saudis and Oscar racism Does this sound familiar? In the mid 2000s, New Zealand wanted to pursue a humanitarian policy, on live sheep exports. This happened to offend a Saudi foreign investor, who eventually threatened legal action against it. The Key government chose to buy him off with (a) millions in cash (b) a sheep farm in the desert that resulted in the death of all the pregnant sheep that we donated to him and now (c) a free multimillion dollar abattoir that we are in the process of gifting to Saudi Arabia on the understanding that it will be “leased” back to the miffed investor. In sum, we have here a perfect example of how the actions of a supposedly sovereign New Zealand government can expose us to extortionate demands by foreign investors. Did the Key government defy the threats of legal action? No, it caved in and used taxpayer money to pay a massive multi-million ransom. After all this… how on earth can the government claim that the investor-state dispute mechanisms contained in the Trans Pacific...

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2016: Climate, China and Conflict

Article – Valerie Morse The New Year is a time for reflection and an opportunity to predict what lies ahead. The interesting thing about predicting the future is that it isnt really as much guesswork as one might think. Of course, thingsthe contingentwill arise that … 2016: Climate, China and Conflict Valerie Morse The New Year is a time for reflection and an opportunity to predict what lies ahead. The interesting thing about predicting the future is that it isn’t really as much guesswork as one might think. Of course, things—the contingent—will arise that we had not anticipated or planned for, but if we remove our rose-coloured glasses and look carefully, we can see clearly the challenges that will continue to command attention for the next 12 months: climate change, the economic slowdown in China and escalating political conflict in the Middle East. 1. The CLIMATE From my vantage point, 2016 looks like the year when climate change becomes undeniably real. As I write, major parts of the US, the UK and South America are underwater from massive flooding, and fires rage across large areas of Indonesia and Australia. Drought is sweeping across Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and India threatening the lives of millions of people, while here in Aotearoa, many farmers who have not recovered from last year’s drought are facing extremely tough conditions again. Some of...

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