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NZ mosque massacre, New Caledonia referendum and Fiji elections top PJR

Politics Asia Pacific Report

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk New Zealand’s unprecedented “internet-native mass shooting” attack on two mosques, the New Caledonia independence referendum, Fiji’s general election and news media responses are featured in the latest Pacific
'Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk New Zealand’s unprecedented “internet-native mass shooting” attack on two mosques, the New Caledonia independence referendum, Fiji’s general election and news media responses are featured in the latest Pacific Journalism Review being published next week. Analysis articles in the “democracy and terrorism edition” include award-winning New Zealand Herald cartoonist Rod Emmerson and RNZ Mediawatch presenter Colin Peacock who says New Zealand will be learning to live with its “loss of innocence” for many months ahead. Melbourne-based journalist, broadcaster and academic Nasya Bahfen also contrasts how multicultural Australia is “in real life” and “in broadcasting” with a breakdown of Census data. READ MORE: Pacific Journalism Review on Tuwhera The latest Pacific Journalism Review … now in its 25th year. “Including reflections in the wake of Christchurch, she shows how lack of media representation feeds into hateful stereotypes,” says PJR . The research journal critiques the united stand taken by New Zealand’s mainstream news media over a set of agreed protocols for coverage of the trial of the accused perpetrator over the killings of 51 people – including one victim who died later – on 15 March 2019. PJR notes in an editorial that “although many commentators view the protocol and coordinated policy around coverage as a considered and responsible approach to the atrocity and maintaining the principles of ‘open justice’, there has also been some criticism, especially internationally”. The journal includes strong criticism of social media responses such as by Facebook and highlights the research on representations of Islam in New Zealand by PJR assistant editor Khairiah A. Rahman and Azadeh Emadi of Glasgow University published in the October edition, which was given widespread international coverage. Fiji’s ‘coup culture’ Last November, Fiji held its second general election in 12 years – and the second since the 2006 military coup – and Sri Krishnamurthi of AUT’s Pacific Media Centre returned to his homeland to cover it. He was determined to come to grips with the legacy of the “coup culture” and PJR publishes his analysis while Jope Tarai of the University of the South Pacific examines the impact of social media. November also was the controversial referendum in New Caledonia when both Kanak and Caldoche (settler) citizens voted on whether the island territory should become independent from France. Although the predicted “non” vote happened, it was far less decisive than expected, opening the door to two more referenda on independence and ongoing political fallout. David Robie, who covered the New Caledonian uprising as a journalist three decades ago and wrote the 1989 book Blood on their Banner about the conflict, files a special report on the referendum and Lee Duffield, who also visited New Caledonia, analyses the future options. This double edition of PJR also includes articles about the China Global Television Network’s news values relating to the 2015 Tianjin port explosions that killed 173 people, climate change in Bangladesh , the political economy of iwi and te reo radio broadcasting , the 2018 Malaysian general election and an anti-free speech law , communication narratives of Latin American women in New Zealand and many other topics. A compelling colour photo essay, “Gangsters in Paradise”, by Todd Henry , linked to a project by Vice Zealandia is one of the edition’s highlights. The journal, published by the Auckland University of Technology and now in its 25th year, is edited by David Robie and Philip Cass, assisted by Khairiah A. Rahman and Nicole Gooch. As well as the hard copy edition, Pacific Journalism Review publishes on the open access indigenous Tuwhera digital platform at AUT and on several global databases: The PJR journal edition launch Call for papers for the next edition'

Cheat sheet: Compulsory te reo Māori in schools

Politics The Spinoff

Our government and leaders are (still) divided on the question of compulsory te reo Māori. Who’s for it, who’s against it, and who’s flip flopping around in the middle?Under article two of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the government pledges to protect
'Our government and leaders are (still) divided on the question of compulsory te reo Māori. Who’s for it, who’s against it, and who’s flip flopping around in the middle? Under article two of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the government pledges to protect “taonga katoa” (all treasured things), amongst which sits te reo Māori, one of three official languages of New Zealand. It’s acknowledged across the board that New Zealand simply does not have the teachers or the resources to make te reo Māori a core subject in schools right now. But goals are made to be worked towards and some are prepared to do the mahi to get there while others are putting it in the too-hard-basket or simply don’t want to. For The Green Party The Greens want to make te reo Māori compulsory, although there was nothing about it in their confidence and supply agreement with Labour. Their policy aims to make it a core curriculum subject in all public primary and secondary schools from Year 1 to Year 10 by 2030, as well as providing additional resource for kaupapa Māori education. Nanaia Mahuta One Labour MP refusing to toe the party line, the Māori Development Minister has been firm in her aspiration for making te reo Māori a core subject. She also made the point this month that more people are learning it in order to “engage with the Māori economy”, a counterpoint to the irrelevant but popular argument that te reo Māori isn’t useful. Willie Jackson Mahuta’s fellow Labour Māori caucus member Willie Jackson has also made no secret of his support for compulsory te reo.  In 2016, the former broadcaster wrote in an opinion piece for RadioLive: “the strangest point about this compulsion debate is how come it’s okay for all Kiwi kids to compulsorily learn English at school but Maori is seen as one step too far?” The Māori Party Well duh. Prior to the 2017 election, Māori Party leader Marama Fox called Labour’s te reo policy a “waste of space… Have an aspiration or get out of the seat.” The Māori Party’s 2017 election promises went as far as offering to fund two years’ full time te reo Māori study for one person in every non-reo speaking family. Te Taura Whiri Māori Language Commission Chief executive Ngahiwi Apanui said a 2017 report commissioned by Te Taura Whiri recommended that te reo Māori be made a core compulsory subject over 17 years, starting in 2020. He has challenged all political parties to commit to the target. The Opportunities Party At the last election TOP advocated for compulsary te reo Māori up to year 8. Then-party leader Gareth Morgan told the Otago Daily Times he wanted New Zealanders to better understand the role of the Treaty of Waitangi and for it to play a greater role in New Zealand’s democracy. For-ish Labour Party The government have spoken of ‘integrating’ and ‘normalising’ te reo Māori and have pledged 1 million speakers of te reo by 2040 (a goal they nicked from the Māori Party), but have avoided the term ‘compulsory’. Labour’s Te Ahu o te Reo policy aims to “grow and strengthen an education workforce that can integrate te reo Māori into the learning of all ākonga and students in Aotearoa New Zealand” and “support the government’s vision that te reo Māori will be a part of all ākonga and students’ education by 2025.” Kelvin Davis It was reported on Monday that the minister for Māori Crown Relations had broken ranks and come out in favour of making it a core subject, after he answered “as soon as possible” when asked when he would like to see it become a core subject. Davis contests that his answer meant that he is in favour of making te reo Māori a core subject. In earlier comments he described Te Ahu o te Reo  as normalising te reo and “not doing it in a threatening way.” “If we try and force something down people’s throats and they’re not ready for it, then that could have negative consequences.” I was bemused to read Newshub's claim I'd \'gone rogue\' by saying Te Reo should be compulsory. Te Ahu o te Reo is about supporting the normalisation & integration of Te Reo into classrooms. Here's the transcript. Newshub: Undermining a Māori initiative by stirring up the rednecks. pic.twitter.com/2sfzAVQgBa — Kelvin Davis (@NgatiBird) July 17, 2019 Read more: Why does the idea of te reo Māori as a core subject make so many people flip out? Against Act Party-of-one Act are officially against making te reo Māori a core subject, with party leader David Seymour calling it “social engineering” (no word if systematic attempts to undermine and dismantle the language in first place also count as social engineering). He also argued that too many children are leaving school without literacy skills to then force another language on them. When you consider that many of those students are Māori, and full immersion kura kaupapa around the country regularly achieve NCEA pass rates over 90%, you could argue learning te reo Māori increases literacy, just not the ‘right kind’ of literacy apparently. Pushing compulsory Māori in schools shows Labour is deeply committed to social engineering. Too many children leave school without having acquired basic literacy skills. The idea that we would force kids who already struggle to learn another language seems like a cruel joke. https://t.co/C6JsCYb36C — David Seymour (@dbseymour) July 16, 2019 NZ First Not only is NZ First leader Winston Peters against compulsory te reo Māori in schools, he has been critical of Labour MPs that have to dared to go against the government’s official policy of ‘integration’ and ‘universal availability’. NZ First have committed however to training more te reo Māori teachers to meet demand for making the subject universally available. National Party At the last election National advocated for increasing funding for te reo Māori education, however the party’s first ever Māori leader, Simon Bridges has said, “I don’t support compulsory, never will.” Hekia Parata Although no longer in parliament, a most surprising entry on the ‘against’ list is former education minister Hekia Parata, herself a native te reo Māori speaker. She wrote for Salient in 2016: “I’m for a bilingual nation. Others are strongly of the view, te reo Māori mo Māori anake [the Māori langauge for Māori only]. “Of all the drivers for successful language acquisition, motivation is essential. Compulsion is the antithesis of motivation.” Richard Prosser If you think the former NZ First list member’s name sounds like rhyming slang for something, there are plenty of examples to back that up, including the following comments: “I don’t like part-Maori hypocrites demanding compensation for injustices that weren’t done to them . . . They’re wanting me to compulsorily learn to speak Maori. Why? What for? So I can communicate with people in other Maori-speaking countries?” Spanish would be a superb choice for a second language for New Zealand. Right next door to South America, second most widely distributed language in the world, actually useful as a language. Everything Māori isn’t. Just saying. — Richard Prosser (@Richard_Prosser) December 26, 2017 Hobson’s Pledge Consistent with their core philosophy that te reo Māori me ona tikanga has no value whatsoever for any New Zealander living or dead, the anti-Treaty group have come out in opposition of compulsory te reo, claiming: “Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.”'

The trouble with NZ’s role at the biggest US bombing base in the Middle East

Politics The Spinoff

A recent issue of Air Force News revealed that a senior NZDF officer served a six-month posting at the Qatar base, placing New Zealanders at the heart of the main targeting and bombing centre in that region, writes Darius ShahtahmasebiLast month the
'A recent issue of Air Force News revealed that a senior NZDF officer served a six-month posting at the Qatar base, placing New Zealanders at the heart of the main targeting and bombing centre in that region, writes Darius Shahtahmasebi Last month the coalition government declared the end of New Zealand Defence Force deployments in Iraq. The announcement was silent, however, about the future of another deployment of New Zealand personnel, to a US military base in the Middle East that has attracted controversy thanks to its role at the centre of a large proportion of US bombing missions in the region. The base is called the Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) and it is located at the Al-Udeid airbase in the small Persian Gulf nation of Qatar. Bombing missions that have been controlled from the base – where aircraft take off and land every 10 minutes, 24 hours a day – are implicated in large numbers of civilian casualties. A recent issue of Air Force News revealed that a senior air force officer, Group Captain Shaun Sexton, served a six-month posting at the Qatar base; placing New Zealanders at the heart of the main targeting and bombing centre in that region. The presence of New Zealand staff at the base has been kept largely quiet by the New Zealand military before now. Last month, the New Zealand government delivered its decision to withdraw NZDF personnel from Iraq by next year. But what of Qatar? A spokesperson for NZDF told the Spinoff that “NZDF personnel based in the Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) operate under a separate mandate to the NZDF personnel in Iraq. This mandate has been approved until 2020.” Whether they intend to maintain the postings to the Qatar base after 2020 remains unclear. According to information released by NZDF in response to an Official Information Act request, there are five New Zealand personnel currently serving at the Al-Udeid Airbase. Two of the troops coordinate air tasking in support of the Combined Maritime Forces, Operation Inherent Resolve (Iraq and Syria) and the Resolute Support (Afghanistan) mission. New Zealand also has three personnel supporting intelligence functions within the US Central Command Forward Headquarters at the base. NZDF confirmed that New Zealand personnel at the COAC work across all regional operations, including those in Syria, where the legality of US-led operations has been thoroughly questioned (although the NZDF states that its troops are not involved in combat operations). NZDF said that because the way the CAOC operates, it is not practical to delineate participation on a country-by-country basis. The base was responsible for 8,713 air strikes (or weapons released) in 2018, 39,577 strikes in 2017 and 30,743 in 2016 (including both manned and unmanned aircraft). Group Captain Shaun Sexton told Air Force magazine that “serving in the CAOC gives an amazing perspective of what is happening in the Middle East”. He added: “You truly get a birds-eye view, allowing fascinating insight into the politics and tensions in a key region of the world and into the employment of military effects, especially air power.” In March 2015, a former chief of the operations division at the base, Lt Col David Haworth, told the Associated Press that “what we are doing today would [not] be even remotely possible without the coalition partners.” This included intelligence gathering. According to Sexton, “most of the people serving in the CAOC are from the United States Air Force. However, the other 15 nations in the coalition have a huge role to play.” He continued: “The contribution they make to the fight in terms of people and hardware is significant.” A Stuff Circuit report last year suggested that NZDF personnel had been secretly operating at the CAOC at Al-Udeid since at least 2016. Reports indicate that coalition aircraft flying out of the CAOC have been responsible for anywhere between 10% to 20% of sorties flown in Iraq and Syria during Operation Inherent Resolve. In addition, the airbase is the “nerve centre” of US-led air campaigns across the region, managing and directing air operations in not only Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, but in 18 other countries. Approximately 40% of all strikes in Iraq and Syria have been delivered by the B1 Bomber, an aircraft which has only been departing from the airbase at Al-Udeid. The CAOC was pivotal in the US-led battle to retake Mosul from ISIS militants. During the early stages of the offensive, US-led airstrikes pounded Mosul every eight minutes. However, an AP report found an appalling rate of civilian casualties during the operation. It reported that some 9,000 to 11,000 civilians had died, nearly ten times what had been previously reported in the media. This number did not take into account dead still buried underneath the rubble. The Qatar airbase also has undertaken a crucial role in the Syrian war. The fight to retake ISIS’s de-facto Syrian capital city of Raqqa saw the US military raze approximately 80% of the city to the ground. A Raqqan resident told Reuters that corpses were rotting on the street, with cats eating their bodies. This offensive was further mired by a special BBC report which found that the US military had made a secret arrangement to allow hundreds of ISIS commanders and fighters to escape Raqqa unscathed. Reuters subsequently reported that the number of escaped ISIS fighters numbered in the thousands. The base also played a part in US President Donald Trump’s April 2018 bombing of Syrian government assets in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack, another controversial use of force. The NZDF spokesperson said the organisation is confident its personnel on all operations are conducting themselves in accordance with both domestic and international legal obligations. Darius Shahtahmasebi is a New Zealand-based legal and political analyst who focuses on US foreign policy in the Middle East, Asia and Pacific region. He is fully qualified as a lawyer in two international jurisdictions.'