While COVID-19 Level 4 restrictions have put a dampener on the start of Spring I wanted to reach out and let you know my Office teams in Auckland and Wellington are still here to support you, your businesses and your families. Flick my team an email at [email protected] if you need any advice or support.
We are here to help!
As I write this newsletter New Zealand has faced several more significant cyberattacks affecting businesses, trade and Government services around the country. I am utterly shocked that these attacks are still ongoing and have called on the Government to do far more to keep Kiwis safe online.
Below is my latest column talking about the issue in detail:
New Zealand’s largest city is in lockdown with no end in sight. Over a million people are restricted in their movements and the future of their livelihoods due to the latest COVID-19 outbreak that saw the whole nation plunged into restricted freedoms, further economic stress and ongoing crippling damage to our communities.
You would think that in such a time where so much of business, trade and, frankly life in general, has been forced into the digital world, this Government would do everything it could to stop cyber-attacks on the digital borders of New Zealand. Whether being planned by malicious state actors, co-ordinated criminal underworlds or just lucky 419 scammers, the simple reality is where the attacks are from are only one part of the story because as long as we don’t have fit for purpose support for New Zealanders to stay safe online, New Zealand’s economy falters and global confidence in our country diminishes.
For God’s sake, we are meant to be a nation of #8 wire innovation and prowess; our Agri-tech sector is second to none and we have brilliant and inspiring technology start-ups that have blossomed into powerhouse industries globally, from Rocket Lab to Xero. How then can this Government simply sit on its hands, reduce Government Digital Services Budgeting by millions of dollars in Budget 2021 and fail to provide the people of New Zealand with a clear and comprehensive plan for the future of New Zealand’s cyber security?
Is Cabinet even discussing these issues that are hitting New Zealand? As far as I can tell from his answers to me, David Clark didn’t even take any Papers to Cabinet on cybersecurity this year. We’ve dropped from Cabinet rank to the backbenches in global Cybersecurity rankings, we now sit alongside Tanzania and Nigeria instead of the UK and France, but of course, based on this reply when I asked, the Minister doesn’t think the rankings matter.
During this outbreak and after some reluctance, Labour Members agreed we could call David Clark, wearing his Commerce & Consumer Affairs and Digital Economy and Consumer Affairs hats, to be grilled by the Economic Development, Science and Innovation Committee (we weren’t allowed Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash though due to some bizarre reason I’ve yet to get a proper explanation for). While the hearing had a strong focus on how the lockdown had been affecting shop owners and on the arbitrary decisions to shutdown butchers and bakers in level 4, I turned the conversation to issues of our cyber border; mind you, this is two weeks ago now, before the Vocus incident on Friday or yesterday’s DDoS attacks on multiple New Zealand industries (and as I write this, it seems another bank has been impacted this morning). At the hearing the Minister himself admitted New Zealand has a ‘laid back’ attitude to cybersecurity and I have to say it feels like that was a self-justifying statement if there ever was one. He says we don’t want a laid back attitude but it’s a pretty funny way of showing it by failing to boost our cyber resourcing.
Two weeks on from that meeting Auckland is still at Level 4 and two serious attacks have hurt our cyber borders just as the rest of New Zealand was trying to restore its economy; both incidents stopped people paying for groceries, both stopped stores being able to trade and both showed how threatened our nation is by the global growth of digital crime.
The Government has not made a serious commitment to the people of New Zealand to stop cyberattacks, and it shows how much actual kindness they have for you when they haven’t tackled the problems the digital frontier raises head-on.
I’ve challenged the Minister multiple times to uplift capacity, to provide proactive leadership, something concrete. We can’t let this Government allow our country to get overrun, with malware and data extortionists from the darknet infiltrating our digital daily lives. The challenge is being addressed urgently by our neighbours over the ditch with a huge uplift in the defence of their own digital frontier. I just don’t understand why we can’t do the same as this Government undertakes one of the greatest borrowing exercises the New Zealand taxpayer has ever seen, which future generations will be paying back for decades.
I’ve written on the topic of cybersecurity now several times across different Press Releases and platforms, and each time the situation is getting worse. Our digital borders are being invaded. The attackers are looking for the holes in the fence and are finding them. It seems inevitable they’ll strike again, just as they did at Waikato DHB; it’s just a matter of when, not if.
Cyberwarfare has descended on New Zealand and our Government has failed so far to strike back. What will it take for them to intervene – Should we be calling the UN?
- Originally published via The BFD
If you, your business or a loved one need help accessing cybersecurity support or education please contact me.
National Party Caucus Committee Visit to Canterbury (Pre-Level 4!)
Just before the snap lockdown forced us all to remain at home the National Party Social Services, Housing and Committee Caucus Committee undertook an incredibly insightful visit to a number of community service providers across Mid and South Canterbury.
From Timaru to Ashburton meeting with amazing groups such as Multicultural Aoraki and St Johns it was a great day of policy discussions and idea formation being joined by Caucus colleagues Louise Upston (Spokesperson for Social Services), Maureen Pugh (Spokesperson for Community and Voluntary Sector) and Penny Simmonds (Spokesperson for Disabilities).
Look forward to getting back down there again soon!
Each sitting week I sit down with a fellow Member of the National Party Caucus to discuss the stories of the day and what's been going on in the House in my Conversation Vlog series.
We cover everything from Free Speech to Immigration, COVID-19 and the Budget so make sure to tune in!
While COVID-19 prevents me and many MPs from being in Parliament right now you can listen to past episodes through the link below!
Office contact details & COVID-19 Support
My new Office phone number is 09 520 0538 - if you dial the old one it will re-route either to this one or my Wellington Office.
The new Postal Address for the Auckland Office is PO Box 74271 Greenlane Auckland 1546.
As usual you can always send postage free any information to my Wellington Office in Parliament at: Office of Melissa Lee MP, Freepost, Parliament Buildings, Private Bag 18888, Wellington 6160.
Please note: When New Zealand remains at COVID-19 Alert Levels 3 & 4 my Auckland office is unable to open or collect mail and that there will be delays also in my Wellington office recieving hard copy correspondence; if you have an urgent query please email or phone for immediate support.
My email address at [email protected] remains the same and is regularly monitored by my team working remotely during lockdown.
Below is a helpful list of contact numbers to help you during the Delta COVID-19 outbreak.
National List MP based in Auckland
Authorised by Melissa Lee Parliament Buildings, Wellington
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