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Welcome to the 2019 New Zealand Political Studies Association Annual Conference

"Security, Community, Humanity"

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Thursday, November 28 • 3:30pm - 4:45pm
New Zealand Security

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Robert G Patman, Austin Gee
New Zealand’s Intelligence Reforms, the Five Eyes Alliance, and the Huawei Controversy

Although it has a long history, New Zealand’s membership of the Five Eyes intelligence network only came to wider public attention on a sustained basis after the revelations made by Edward Snowden in 2013. Revelations about the extraordinary surveillance capabilities of the US National Security Agency intersected with growing public concern about the activities of New Zealand’s intelligence agencies at home. On the one hand, legislation was passed to extend the powers of the Government Communications Security Bureau, the country’s external intelligence organisation, to include internal surveillance. On the other hand, the new post of Deputy Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security was instituted in 2014 to monitor the various intelligence agencies, and an independent inquiry was conducted into their activities. This led in 2016 to further legislative reforms, which more clearly defined the responsibilities of the agencies and enhanced their accountability. This presentation looks at the results of these changes with regard to New Zealand’s role as a member of the Five Eyes. It then focuses on Chinese influence in New Zealand and the South Pacific in the past decade, and in particular the example of the recent controversy over the alleged links between the technology company Huawei and the Chinese intelligence services.

Justin Phillips
White Supremacy, New Zealand, and Big Data: A Demonstration of YouTube Comment Analysis and User Behaviour

Two common arguments have emerged in both academic and public debate surrounding online white supremacist behaviour, particularly in the aftermath of the tragic events of March 15, 2019. First, observers argue that white supremacist discourse is becoming more prevalent on social media. Second, content creators that traffic in such views on social media (e.g. Alex Jones’ Infowars) indoctrinate and radicalize their mass audiences, further magnifying the presence of such hate speech online. This paper demonstrates how researchers can test these assumptions via big data analysis and natural language processing. In a case study of roughly 40,000 YouTube comments on New Zealand media sources (e.g. Newshub, One News), both concerns are shown to be well justified. Since 2011 there has been a significant increase in such hate speech on these New Zealand based channels, and the users which engage in this language congregate around (i.e. subscribe to) many of the same alt-right YouTube channels. Further investigation demonstrates the process of an individual’s radicalization over time, showing the alteration of views in some cases over nearly a decade of media consumption.

Suzanne Loughlin
New Zealand security policy: the securitisation of Afghanistan and the politicisation of Iraq

In 2001 New Zealand represented itself as a member of the international community of Western liberal democracies existentially threatened by the international terrorism thereby necessitating support for the US-led invasion of Afghanistan. Subsequent to the overthrow of the Taliban and, ostensibly, the end of the armed conflict, the United States turned its attention to the existential threat of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Rather than engage in the process of securitising weapons of mass destruction, which would again entail the resort to force, Government insisted that only a multilateral process and upholding international law would afford legitimacy to any disarmament process. This paper compares the processes by which New Zealand constituted itself in relation to other/s and the policies each entailed to illustrate the constructed, and hence political, nature of security threats.


Scott Walker

United Arab Emirates University


Suzanne Loughlin

University of Auckland

Robert Patman

University of Otago

Justin Phillips

The University of Waikato

Thursday November 28, 2019 3:30pm - 4:45pm NZDT
Eng Core 119, Meeting Rm 3 Engineering Core