by David Beatson

The Government’s new plan for freshwater management is about as foggy as the Waikato on a frosty winter morning…  Wonder why?

Mighty River Power – the vanguard of the Government’s drive to pull private investors into its new Mixed Ownership Model for State-dominated enterprises – has been at war with the Waikato Regional Council for almost seven years. It’s a subject that – so far - everyone has skirted round in all the debate over the imminent MRP share float.

The Government can sell 49 percent of its shares in Might River Power – but it’s got another battle to fight before it can guarantee the river flows that spin the turbines and generate value for its power generator  share buyers, consumers, and taxpayers.

Last week, the Supreme Court rejected claims that the Government’s plan to sell shares in Mighty River Power would impair its ability to address Treaty of Waitangi breaches in respect of Maori interests in the Waikato river. The Court’s decision clears the way not only for the Mighty River Power share sale, but also similar sales planned for Meridian Energy and Genesis Energy .

New Zealand Police have no authorization from the Civil Aviation Authority to operate their recently acquired surveillance drone - no procedures manual governing its operation – and the police won’t say what it is or what it can do … Why?

New Zealand Police seem to have jumped into the deep-end with their decision to buy an un-manned aerial vehicle. You’d expect them to try and specify before they buy. But, no. They’ve purchased their UAV drone before deciding what they want to do with it.

John Key opened Pandora’s Box when he revealed that Australia had considered using its navy to shepherd a boatload of asylum seekers to New Zealand, but nobody seems to want to look inside. It isn’t a pretty sight.

It isn’t surprising that the people-smugglers and asylum seekers intercepted by the Australian Navy say they’re really heading for New Zealand. Anywhere other than Australia’s off-shore “processing “ centres on Nauru or Manas Island would be a sound choice.

New Zealand’s switch to digital TV is running smoothly on the home-front – but TV broadcasters are having a rough ride through a jungle of bungles by state agencies.

More than 90 per cent of home viewers are now ready for the final switch to all-digital TV at the end of this year – but many of the country’s free-to-air broadcasters are having a tough time shifting to the new digital world.

“Playstation helps Prince Harry be a better gunner” rates headlines – but “Torture on the rise in Afghan jails” barely rates a mention ... How come?

The answer looks easy: it is all “so yesterday’s war”. Our troops are pulling out of Afghanistan. We’ve heard all that stuff about torture and abuse of detainees before. And if Harry talks about taking a life to save a life, and how video games help him be a better helicopter pilot and gunner - well, that’s just a young man keeping some risky combat experience in perspective. Isn’t it?

Fiji is getting a strong dose of khaki democracy as its de facto military rulers shift from “go slow” to “go fast” on the road to elections they’ve promised next year. It’s a shift that could create big problems forNew Zealand.

This week, Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama is coming home to a stormy political scene in the country he’s ruled for six years after Fiji’s fourth and latest coup. He’s been in New York, for Fiji’s installation in the chair of the G77 group of 119 developing nations plus China– a move that marks his country’s growing international influence as the world moves into the Age of the Pacific.

New Zealand Police aren’t waiting for major aviation safety and personal privacy issues about domestic spy drones to be solved. TV3 reports they’ve already purchased their first unmanned aerial vehicle. So, watch this space …

It’s been known for months that the police have been studying the use of remotely-controlled surveillance drones.

Last September,  Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff was warning that “drones have the potential to be seriously intrusive” and calling for debate about the risks, benefits and the need for regulation “before they become a problem”.

Kim Dotcom’s take on his fight against extradition to the United States makes law enforcement agencies here and there look like the Keystone Cops – but it could become another internet tragedy.

The big man is smarter than the jokey character he assumes for the mainstream media.. He knows exactly what’s happening around the world. The war against internet video piracy and for control of the internet is escalating rapidly to new heights.

The New Zealand-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan has been presented as a model for building security and stability in Afghanistan – but the cracks are showing as insurgents step up the pressure.

Saturday, 4 August 2011, is New Zealand’s blackest day – so far - in the longest war in our history .Two New Zealand soldiers have been killed, six of their unit wounded. Two members of the Afghan police squad they’d been sent to assist were also killed, 11 of their colleagues wounded.