Jacinda Ardern, equity and equality

Equity and Equality

I found myself a little miffed yesterday as I continued to read glowing reports on New Zealand’s new Prime Minister. Mostly about how she is a woman. The problem is that I don’t care if she is a woman. The Prime Minister is the Prime Minister. I expect them to do the best job they can whatever genitalia they have.

I even found myself explaining this to someone on the phone last night. They too agreed that it should not matter what sex the Prime Minister was. The media hadn’t waxed lyrical over Bill English, the new male Prime Minister, why should they about Jacinda Ardern.

It wasn’t until this morning that my ‘third thoughts‘ kicked in. I may not care if the PM is male or female but there are a lot of people who do. She is, after all, only New Zealand’s third female Prime Minister. It was then that I realised I had fallen into my usual equity and equality trap.

Equity and Equality

Equality in this case is not caring if the head of the country is female or male. This is what we are aiming for. It shouldn’t make any difference at all what sex people are. The problem is it does.

So in order to get equality we end up having to deal with equity. Or, more to the point, inequity. And in this case the inequity is that New Zealand has had twenty seven Prime Ministers. This means that only eleven percent of our leaders have been woman and all of those in the last thirty years. That is total inequity.

If it was a social condition such as woman only earning eleven percent of the amount men do then it would be fixed by law. That’s a little hard in the case of someone who is voted into power.

The next best thing is normalisation and promotion. That is exactly what the media has been doing. Males get used to having a female leader and woman get shown that there are female leaders.

Eventually, hopefully, we will end up in a world where nobody cares about the sex of the candidates. That isn’t the case at the moment. Maybe in another thirty years.

In the mean time I’ll just grin and bear it. If this is the way to get to equality then a bunch of annoying headlines is a small price to pay. And if they don’t work then we will just have to legislate.

Internet Party New Zealand – Where to from here?

Internet Party - Where to from here?

The 2017 election is over and if you look at the results it has been a dismal election for Internet Party New Zealand with only 499 votes.

The causes of this are manifold. But they can basically be boiled down to,

  • Not enough time for the new leadership.
  • Lack of money.
  • No media coverage.

The last two could almost be considered the same thing in New Zealand elections.

On the brighter side of things some of their policies were adopted by other parties. A couple of examples are,


So, where to from here?

There are a number of things that didn’t happen in time for the last election. Having time to complete them should serve the Party well in the run up to the next election.

Internet Party - Where to from here?


Party leadership appears to have stabilised with Suzie Dawson at the helm. Ms Dawson has been advocating  and explaining the Parties policy positions on the Internet with a series of live interviews with activists called the #AntiSpyBill events. These are expected to continue over the coming years.

She has also been promoting the Internet Party overseas. This has caused a number of fledgling Internet Party’s to have sprung up with IPNZ’s help.

An alliance has been formed with Pirate Parties International. This should  give the Internet Party access to this political organisations experience and support.

Most importantly, a core team has been formed around which the Party can be expanded and rebuilt.


Technology has been at the heart of the Party. Now long time member Jo Booth has picked up the reins as Technology Director.

From managing servers to live production he has bought his skills to bear, sometimes having to learn on the job, but always looking at problems from a hackers angle.

Over the next three years Jo can be expected to keep coming up with technological solutions and building his team.


Finally policy has a stable leader with Daymond Goulder-Horobin. If you look at the Party’s policies there are quite a few ‘Coming soon’. This is due to Daymond having a very high standard before release.

Party policy is raised and ratified by the membership before being released in it’s full form. Unfortunately, this meant not all the member ratified policy could be finalised before the last election. This will now be able to happen.


The Party now has candidates to stand for and advocate for it. Some of whom have never been involved in the political sphere before. It is expected they will gain experience over the next few years and stand for the Party in the 2020 election.

2020 Election

A lot can happen in three years but if anything the causes that the Internet Party stands for will become more important as time goes on and the public become more informed as to the dangers of mass surveillance and the purposes it is being used for.

I expect the Party will stand again in the 2020 election and I think we can safely say they will get more than 499 votes when they do.

So where do they go from here? They carry on informing, explaining and improving.



Changing to navigation by category in single.php

Twenty Seventeen header

The default for WordPress is to have the next/previous navigation links go through time not category. You can change this instead to navigation by category in single.php, the file that controls how a post is displayed.

For instance, if you do five different posts in a row

  1. Garlic
  2. Computers
  3. Avacado
  4. Linux
  5. Tomatoes

And you have two categories such as food and computing. When you are on the page about Avacado your next and previous links are to Computers and Linux which doesn’t make much sense if you came to the site in order to look at food.

What would make more sense is to have the next/previous links on the Avacado to be Garlic and Tomatoes.

(Also see how to change where the links are in a post using single.php here)

How to change to navigation by category in single.php

The first step in changing to After changing to navigation by category in single.php is to create a child theme and place a copy of your themes single.php file inside it. I use Twenty Seventeen as my theme so I will be using that code. It is also a good idea to make one change and then test your site so you can easily revert if something goes wrong.

The relevant code begins with the_post_navigation( array( and continues though prev_text and its options and next_text and it’s options until closing with a ) );. I have highlighted that below.

Before changing to navigation by category in single.php

All you have to do is add a 'in_same_term' => 'true', statement before the closing  ) );. I have highlighted that  below. That’s it.

After changing to navigation by category in single.php

Now when you look at the Avacado post the next and previous posts should be through time and category instead of just time.

Changing where the navigation is placed in Twenty Seventeen

Twenty Seventeen header

I has annoyed me for a while now that the Twenty Seventeen theme places the next/previous links at the bottom of the page under the comments. This stops people being able to easily see the next and previous articles, especially if there are comments.

Twenty Seventeen - Navigation2

Changing where the navigation is placed in Twenty Seventeen

Luckily it turns out they are quite simple to move. There is a file in the Twenty Seventeen theme called single.php that directs where things are on your post page. In that file there is this block of code.

Twenty Seventeen navigation code


Which looks terribly confusing but all it really says is run the next and previous post links and format them with a post title and an arrow. It looks pretty good and you don’t have to change the code at all. Just copy and paste it into a different part of the file.

(You should only do this in a child theme. If you don’t know what one is go here!)

So, having created your single.php file in your child theme, open it in a text editor and paste in the code from your parent theme. Identify the navigation block ( as you are better to copy and paste from your own theme in case there are problems with the code block above ) and copy it and paste it in a different place. Put a comment in to show what you have done above where you have pasted it. Comments start with //.

I left mine at the base of the comments and then placed a copy of the code under get_template_part( 'template-parts/post/content', get_post_format() ); which means there will be another previous/next link showing at the end of my post above the comments.

Twenty Seventeen - Navigation

KDE neon Google Drive setup

Google Drive

Setting up Google Drive access in KDE neon is very simple.

Installing Google Drive

Open Konsole and type,

sudo apt-get install kio-gdrive

Then, once it has installed,  open your menu and go to System Settings. You should find a new feature under Personalisation called Online Accounts. Clicking the plus sign in this will allow you to enter your Google credentials and password and authorise KDE to access your Google Drive.

After setup a window should open showing your files. I bookmarked it by highlighting and dragging the address left into my Places. If you forget to do that you can always access it by typing,

gdrive:/<insert your email address here>/

into the address bar of Dolphin.

If you are unable to find your photos on the Drive you will need to adjust some settings in the Drive so that it backs up your photos.  If you are unable to see photos you have uploaded to the Drive then you need to activate it in Google Photos.

Te Araroa 2016/2017 Blog and Video roundup

Te Araroa - Richmond Ranges

One of the things I did when investigating doing Te Araroa 2016/2017 was go through the old blogs and videos that people had made. Many of the blogs can be found on the website but the videos were a little harder to find. Hopefully having many of them in one place will make it easier for others. It will be nice to look back on as well.

Where helpful I have tried to link to the start of blogs instead of just peoples home page. If anyone runs across ones they think should be added then send me a message in the comments.

Te Araroa 2016/2017


Alex Mason

Alexa Wolf & Andrew Hubbard

Amiththan Sebarajah

Andrea Hidalgo

Anthony Page


Belinda & Tony

Bettina Grotschel

Blair Telford

Brittney & Jacob

Cailean Mac Gillebhrath

Caitlyn Peesker

Camino Te Araroa

Daisy Milton

Dan Lee

Denis Houdek

Erin Saver

Frances Boyson

Gail and Neil Marshall

Hauke & Jule

Henek Tomson

Jasper Jarecki, Sam Bartusek, Will Shepard and Jack Durham

Jasper van der Meij

Joel Henton

Jonathan Moake

Julia Wilmanns and Hauke Gerdes

Karma Forester

Ken Durham (Coach)

Kevin Murphy

Laura Creswell

Creswell Adventures on the Te Araroa from Laura Creswell on Vimeo.

Lindsay Moore

Luna, the Te Araroa hiking unicorn

Lyra Kane

Mark Kerr

Martin Zirkle

Michael Deckebach

Michelle Campbell and Jack Faulkner

Naresh Kumar

Nigel Christmas

Ollie Crudge

Quinn Workun

Quent Zerpo


Red Walks Te Araroa

Rob Wisnouckas

Robin and Chloe


Sandro Koster

Sara Salvaged

Shelley Butt

Stefan Marwick

Tane Harre

Terrestrial Nomad Podcast

Tom Oakley and Luke Abendroth

Warwick Ross

Zachary Jabin


Te Araroa 2016/2017

KDE neon – Post installation review

KDE neon default desktop

KDE neon is not so much a distribution as a rapidly updated version of Ubuntu 16.04 with KDE as the desktop and it isn’t bad at all. I haven’t had much luck with KDE for a while, Kubuntu annoyed me and I just couldn’t seem to get my first distribution openSUSE to work properly. So far it is going very well though so I thought I would give a run through of my basic post installation to help others.

I say post installation as I clicked;

  • Download updates while installing neon
  • Install third-party software for graphics and Wi-Fi hardware, Flash, MP3 and other media

during install which made things a lot easier.

There are a couple of things I have found annoying. The KDE software installer, Discover,  isn’t the greatest. It doesn’t recognise some things on search and you have to swap back to command line install sometimes but that isn’t much of a chore really. You only have to install once after all.

KDE neon – Post installation


The first thing to do is update just to make sure you have everything. KDE’s terminal is called Konsole and the easiest way to find it is to click on the menu of the bottom left and type konsole. It is generally a good idea to right click on the icon and choose add to favourites as well. This makes it quicker to find.

sudo apt update

KDE neon update

sudo apt upgrade

KDE neon upgrade


While that is updating I usually arrange my widgets on the desktop. Widgets are handy little programs that can be placed on the Plasma Desktop.

In a default install the KDE neons Plasma Desktop you can choose them by placing your mouse in the top left corner of the screen, clicking once for the dropdown and then again on add widgets.

Click on and drag any widget you want onto the desktop. I like the Folder View, Trash and Network Monitor widgets. There are many others though.

After choosing and arranging your widgets to your liking click on the dropdown again and choose lock widgets to lock them in place.


KDE neon comes with few applications installed, which I really like. A lot of desktops are too cluttered with everything you might want instead of everything you actually needed.

I installed; Amarok, Backintime, Calligra, Chrome, Digikam, GIMP, Kontact, Krita and Netbeans which fulfilled my needs.

Of these only Chrome and GIMP aren’t KDE applications. And GIMP I only installed as I am used to it. Krita probably would have worked fine. It doesn’t actually matter if you mix and match KDE and Gnome (etc) but I was trying for a KDE desktop.

Most of them I installed on Discover, the KDE software manager, but some of them wouldn’t turn upon it so had to install them via Konsole using,

sudo apt install <insert software here>

Discover still needs some work I think……


KDE neon is great for setting up filesharing. The only hold up was again Discover. In the end I used Konsole again.

sudo apt-get install samba kdenetwork-filesharing

After installing you can right click on a folder and choose “Properties” and there will be a “Sharing” tab to set up sharing that folder.


Although all the codecs I need were installed by selecting “Install third-party software for graphics and Wi-Fi hardware, Flash, MP3 and other media” I installed msttcorefonts with Konsole in order to get fonts like Arial.

sudo apt install msttcorefonts

Accept the licenses.

KDE neon review

I have been using it as my Desktop for four days now and it is fantastic. I had forgotten who easy and configurable KDE is. There have been no crashes. Everything is fairly rock solid. I recommend it.

$20 Billion investment in the New Zealand Defence Force

New Zealand

In July of 2016 the Minister of Defence Gerry Brownlee released a defence white paper outlining future spending. Part of this spending was a $20 Billion investment over 10 years in the New Zealand Defence Force. How bizarre.

We live in a country where the chances of being attacked are negligible. To quote the same white paper,

“New Zealanders can remain confident that the country does not face a direct military threat in the foreseeable future.”

To give you an idea of how bizarre this is, the current deaths of New Zealanders due to military action over the last 10 years is 10. That includes us in countries as far away as Afghanistan.

Military Budget vs Suicide

The deaths of New Zealanders over the last ten years, due to suicide, is over 5000. That makes the percentage of suicide deaths to military deaths to be 0.002%.

In 2017 the government budgeted an extra $100 million for metal health services. There was no mention of suicide in the budget speech, yet there was $576 million for Defence Force upgrades.

This seems strange to me. There were 35 New Zealand soldiers killed during the Vietnam War. If we extrapolate that to 10 years instead of 8 that would be 44 soldiers killed. If we look at all the military casualties since World War Two there are 149. That is 0.0298% of our suicide rate over the last ten years.

To extrapolate again, you have only a slightly lower chance of being killed in New Zealand by your own hand than you have of dying serving in another country in our armed forces (0.0011% vs 0.0015%).

What is wrong with our governance?

I say governance here because it isn’t a single party issue. Both Labour and National have failed to deal with the problem of suicide over multiple years and multiple governments.

Both have repeatedly failed to deal with suicide in New Zealand.

I know that we will never get suicide down to 0. Well, I certainly don’t see how. It should, however, be our constant aim.

Imagine if we could spend $4,000,000 on each of these people. What a difference that would make. Well, that is the choice our government made when it decided to invest $20 Billion  over the next 10 years in the Defence Force instead of investing in New Zealanders.

New Zealand suicide rate vs OECD

The High Court judgement and the Kitteridge Report

High Court

News came out today that the surveillance on Kim Dotcom has been ruled illegal by the High Court. There are a couple of points of interest in this.

One is that the decision was made in December of 2016 and has been delayed until now. This is sparking speculation that the decision was the cause of John Key’s resignation on December the 5th of 2016.

Another is that the GCSB has said that,

“….it has not proved possible to to please to the allegations the plaintiffs have made without revealing information which would jeopardise the national security of New Zealand.”

This, in my view, would point to the methods of intercepting the information involving another country and its surveillance systems. Last month the Herald reported,The GCSB documents do contain an admission of NSA involvement, although it was not made outright. which would seem to agree with that viewpoint.

A third point of interest is that in the High Court judgement the GCSB seems to contradict the outcomes of the Kitteridge report of 2013.

That report was the result of an investigation into the legal compliance of the GCSB between 2003 and 2012. The report states that during that period the GCSB was confused as to the illegality of spying because of the multiple laws it was operating under.

“The fact that the issue had not been identified during the preceding ten years (except for the question raised by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security in May 2012) reinforces the point that the interplay between the two Acts is not straightforward.”

This was the get out of jail free card for the intelligence services. In response to Russel Normans request for a criminal investigation over illegally spying on Kim Dotcom and Ban Van der Kolk the police responded with,

“As for the issue of criminal intent, it cannot be established that any GCSB staff had the necessary criminal intent to illegally intercept private communications in this case and the GCSB staff cannot be criminally liable”

Or in other words, they believed they spied legally on Kim Dotcom and Ban Van der Kolk. Thus there was no intent.

But there were 85 other cases identified in the Kitteridge report.

“During that period GCSB provided 55 instances of assistance to NZSIS, which potentially involved 85 New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.”

And the High Court decision released today clearly shows that there was widespread knowledge amongst GCSB staff that they were not allowed to spy on New Zealanders. In the words of the judgement, in 2011,

“Foreigners were highlighted in green, indicating they could be tasked. Those who might be New Zealanders (and other protected persons), were highlighted in red, indicating the could not be tasked.”

This means that in the 85 cases of New Zealand citizens or permanent residents, GCSB staff did have criminal intent and should be prosecuted by the New Zealand Police.

Public Holidays and the Separation of Church and State

Public Holidays

In 2017 there are 11 public holidays, 4 of which could be considered religious holidays. These are,

  • Friday 14 April — Good Friday
  • Monday 17 April — Easter Monday
  • Monday 25 December — Christmas Day
  • Tuesday 26 December — Boxing Day

This has always struck me as rather strange and unfair. I have always considered Church and State to have been separated in New Zealand. But, if I look a little deeper, it really isn’t. Public holidays are just one example. Watching the Speaker of the House pray to God at the start of a parliamentary session is a better one.

To nail the point home completely, our Queen is also the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

What has this got to do with Public Holidays?

Well, we are supposed to be a religiously diverse society. The State designating only Christian based holidays is at odds with that. In fact, if I was religious, I would find it downright annoying. Why do I have to take days off for somebody else’s religious festival?

Over 40% of people in New Zealand identify with no religion at all. Why do they have to change their lives, close their business, and follow the Christian calendar. Perhaps they would prefer to go to Bathurst every year. Or schedule an extended family meetup. Maybe Maori would like to follow Iwi gatherings?

Instead of sticking solely to the Christian calendar. Why don’t we give people a choice? At the start of each year you specify what days your holidays will be on. You can’t change them once you have chosen as they are statutory holidays. But you can place them where ever you want in the year.

This would seem to be a much fairer way than what we have now.


Because New Zealand has lived under the Christian calendar for so long, there would be some problems.

What would happen when the owner of a business was one religion and the workers another? Could workers take holidays so as to maximise advantage in the workplace? All these things, and more, would have to be worked out.

In the end, we should remember that religious and ethical beliefs are not grounds for discrimination under the Human Rights Act (there are some exemptions for employers). The government forcing religious holidays on you and not recognising your own would seem to me to be discrimination.