BIG NEWS: 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas


Today is Christmas Day and people are reading this blog? Oh well, have a Merry Christmas anyway..See you next year sometime.
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Saturday, December 22, 2007

tax cuts for the richer


The Government is to cut taxes for the election. It wants to believe that tax cuts will decrease Government income so that people have more in their pockets to spend. I refuse to believe that any tax cut from this Labour Government will mean I am better off.

Thats because tax cuts averaging $18.00 are to be offset by an increase in petrol prices and power bills.The average household spends $31.50 a week on electricity, $3.60 on gas and $42 a week on transport fuels , so a third of the tax cuts will be eaten up by extra cotss. For our family it will be more than two thirds.

Our family spends more on elecricity and petrol, so the price increases will hit us harder - but our tax cut will be less due to our income. So the tax cuts will make us comparatively worse off than the average household. And when I want to register the car it will cost us $50.00 more due to recently increased ACC levies. If my insurance premium increased 24 percent I`d shop elsewhere. But with ACC I`m not allowed to.

So of course we`ll be worse off.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

United Future votes against Electoral Finance Bill


Well, its not often a Minister votes agains a key Government bill and keeps his job.

But well done Peter Dunne - sort of. He has voted against the Electoral Finance Bill, which passed 63-57 wiht support from Greens, Anderton and NZ First.Copeland didn`t vote as he was overseas. His speech is here.I have no idea what the real reason is, given that I have been having an e-mail conversation with him over a while regarding this bill, right up to last week and he has supported it to the hilt, and opposing every amendment that would have made the bill better.

Dunne said after listening carefully to the views and feelings of New Zealanders, "we can no longer support" the Electoral Finance Bill. That is crap. If he took that line he would not have supported the anti-smacking bill.

He was not swayed by the public or his constituents - I am one - he was swayed by his political future.He basically admitted that he should naver have supported the bill up to today because it is a "self-serving attack on the freedom of our electoral process". Yet he was happy to defend it until people like me pointed out the ill logic of his stance on his United Future website and by e-mail right up to last week. Had he been genuine he would have withdrawn his support much earlier. As for Judy Turner, she is just an MP who gives Dunne two votes and may as well be a puppet.

Perhaps Dunne decided that if he supported this bill his party vote will be pretty low at the next election - an election which he wants to say "I did not support the Electoral FInance bill because it was undemocratic." Had the NZ Herald not published those two editorials, informing the wider public of this bill, public opinion would not have turned against the bill to the extent that it did, and I`m sure Dunne and his sidekick Judy Turner would have voted for the bill.

What he should have done was voted on principle against the wording of the bill, not the public perception of it. He should have killed the bill at select committee, of which he was a member. I for one will be reminding him of both until the election - and pointing out to him that if it was good enough to use the "court of public opinion " excuse to vote against the EFB, to be consistant, he should have done so for the anti-smacking bill as well.

At least he has more sense than the Greens or Winston Peters.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Homeless people


This story about a homeless man which the council wants to refer to agencies reminds me of Wellington's Blanketman (Ben Hana). Many people think that homeless people are on the streets because they have nowhere else to go. However agencies who work with thw homeless have a different view.
Like all those the Waikato Times spoke to who work with the homeless, Mr White said many people who live on the streets were there by choice.

Blanketman is one. He`s loaded. He is on the streets by choice revelling in his celebrity status. He gets money thrown at him. He has a healthy bank account. He also has a low budget because he doesnt buy anything except his new i-pod I `m sure I saw him using the other week. And he has a place to live.

And on the subject of homelessness, check out this story of a 70-year-old who lives in a cave just big enough to fit a bed and a toilet… except he doesn’t own a toilet. The cave is about 15 minutes walk from the foreshore car park out the back of Seatoun in Wellington. One wonders why he doesn’t treat himself out to a weekend away, say, at the Taranaki Street Night Shelter. He won’t go there.
You can be sound asleep, somebody tells me there, and someone starts playing around in certain parts and puts their hand up you…. in the dark! I think to myself I’d rather sleep in here and if something does run up my leg, I know it’s only a mouse, and he can’t do much damage.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

TV3 and TV1 Polls shows public don't like Labour's arrogance


According to the latest polls, National has enough support to govern alone, with more than half the vote and 70 seats. Helen Clark is no longer the preferred Prime Minister and her party can't even rely on the Greens to govern.

And the Maori Party has the third most support in terms of seats on the House, and in my view the National Party should be taking them more seriously.

One telling factor is the Electoral Finance Bill. Labour and friends who support this bill should be worried. The Greens, United Future and the Progessives are relying on getting an electoral seat to remain in Parliament. On this poll Labour's friend's 65 seats will be reduced to 48 seats.

Lets look at the minor parties individually.

Labour is on 36 percent, and 35 percent on the TV1 poll, its lowest since 1999. The Greens have polled lower than 5 percent three times in a row. If they do get more than 5 percent at the election, they will most certainly lose some MPs.

Three minor parties are really latch-ons to their leaders, who are all ministers.

NZ First is hovering at 2 percent and its support for the Electoral Finance bill should kill them off.

United Future and the Progressives are relying on their leaders to regain their seats to remain in Parliament. Here's hoping their vote falls drastically.

No wonder Winston Peters and Helen Clark are so angry with the NZ Herald. It's not because of journalism, its because it's editorials on the Electoral Finance Bill exposed the truth and appropriate coverage to ordinary New Zelanders - that those inside the beltway were aware of for some time. And this bill could cost Labour the election and NZ First its place in Parliament.

But why is the poll so bad against Labour. Apart from Trevor Mallard's physical assault on Tau Henare, his verbal assault on Erin Leigh, and the Electoral Finance bill, there are also other issues. Ther appears to be a feeling in the electorate that Labour's intolerance of any criticism of the Government and the public service is unwelcome. But in my view that intolerance extends to Dunne and Anderton whose existence in Parliament is due to the constituent vote - and these MPs dont give two hoots about constituents who oppose the Government line. Like Winston Peters, their motivation for being in parliament is the baubles of office, as opposed to representing constituents. All three are as bad as each other.

There are several models of how elected representatives carry our their functions. When you look at the leaders of the elected minor parties in terms of the Electoral
Finance Bill, (save the Maori Party and Act), they dont pass judgement on behalf of electors when making decisions (the trustee model), they are not being guided by constituents (the delegate model) or pursuing preelection manifestos (the mandate model),their leaders are seeking advice outside their constituency and ignoring constituents views.

And when any MP does this, let alone party leaders, they do not deserve to be constituent MP's. Meaning Anderton and Dunne's parties don't deserve to be in Parliament. Yet it looks like NZ First is more likely to lose representation after the election, with the Greens reducing in numbers all because it wants to suck up to Labour for illogical political reasons that have nothing to do with its support base.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

There goes NZF donation tax rebate of $53K


As most people know, NZ First donated $158,000 to Starship hospital, as a way of paying back money ruled to have been illegally spent on the 2005 election.

Starship Hospital have given it back to NZ First. So the money is still in the NZ First bank account generating interest. Ironically the interest generated to date is approximately the same amount that National had to pay back for its overspending.

Given that NZF has paid Starship it acknowledges that some money has to change hands, and Mr Peters said he remained determined to give the money to a good cause rather than the Parliamentary Service.

Could Winston Peters please get hold of me. I can give him the name of a worthy cause that will not give any donation back. I also hear that the Labour Party is interested in recieving a donation from NZ First.
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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Unemployment figures are not what Dyson claims


Well, Ruth Dyson says the unemployment benefit figures are at a 28 year year low, with just over 20,000 people getting it now

She's right. This post attempts to explain why - and where the other unemployed are on the benefit system.

Much has been made of the transfer of unemployed onto sickness and invalids benefits, and ther are a lot of them. Yet of all the people who transferred from the unemployment benefit to other benefits up to June this year, nearly half of them transferred to training benefits. A training benefit is an unemployement benefit for those that supposed to be training full time while getting the dole.

So while Dyson may say that 20,000 people are on the dole, papers released under the Official Information Act show that more than 20,000 transferred from the dole to training benefits alone in the last year, and more than half of these were under the age of 25. This means that there are many more people on an unemployment benefit-its just that they are not on the dole. Some go on the dole and before the end of the week they are on a training benefit, and that is counted on Dyson's 141,000 figure when she says "Over 141,000 have come off this benefit" since 1999 - when 160,000 were on the unemployment benfit and training benefits didn`t exist as a functioning benefit.

Training benefits are like a waiting list for the waiting list.

They are a key reason why youth unemployment is so low. The Government do not include those who are collecting the dole on training benefits in these figures.

Furthermore, the MSD is attempting to transfer as many people on to training benfits as they can, to cut down the dole figure, and I have that on authority of someone who is specifically employed to ensure case managers do just that. However he smiled when I asked if all trainees in reciept of a benefit were transferred back to the unemployment benefit after training, meaning that some people may well be on training benefits even though their training is finished. But according to my Official Information Act response, the MSD is unable to advise how many people transferred from training benefits to other benefits. The Ombudsmen has followed this up, but the MSD still won't say why they are unable to provide figures.

There are also hundreds of unemployment beneficiaries who are on a suspended benefit or stand-down for various reasons, some dubious, meaning that they are not included in Dyson's 20,000 figure either as they are not "receiving a benefit".

Finally, anyone who has been on a benefit for a few months were entitled to a job plus subsidy up til June 2006. This is a subsidy that is given to employers to employ a job seeker off the benefit. Yet just 9,184 employers got job subsidies - for employing beneficiaries who recieved all manner of benefits - last year.Yet 83,000 unemployment benefits were cancelled last year - because thousands enrol for the benefit for short times in between jobs or study.

So the MSD can't claim that unemployment is low because Work and Income are increasingly getting people jobs, as this 9184 figure is the lowest since 2002 by a long shot.

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Winston First


NZ First's Tauranga Branch has voted that NZ First should kill the Electoral Finance Bill in line with the party's fundamental principles on election reform.
Electoral Reform will be determined by the electors. The Government's duty will be to ensure the fair representation of all views and the holding of appropriate referenda.

In other words, Winston Peters shows disregard for his party's principles. NZ First will be history after the election.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dunne still doesn't know what he's voting for


He has read
He's been advised
He has scanned the EFB
The EFB
Only to be informed
But he still doesn't know what he's voting for
But he still doesn't know what he's voting for

Many people have criticised the Greens and Peter Dunne for their positions on the Electoral Finance Bill.David Farrar has criticised "those great champions of human rights overseas - the Greens, and United Future" for voting against an amendment to allow anonymous advocacy on the Internet.

But UnitedFuture voted against this amendment only because the party caucus has a rule that they do not vote for any amendments - Government or otherwise - which they have not had 24 hours prior notice so that they can consider them - and National, who put up the amendment, did not approach them about any of the amendments. It would be interesting to see if there are any amendments since 2002 that United Future has voted for, but did not have 24 hours notice.

Anyway, this rule was probably the reason UF did not vote for National's amendment to push the start date of the bill to April 1. However what is concerning is that UnitedFuture does not believe that Usenet or YouTube advertising is classed as an electoral advertising and to be doubly sure, Peter Dunne says he is seeking further confirmation from officials.

Regarding third Parties, Dunne has said that the registration process applies only to those third parties who genuinely seek to mount campaigns around the election, not those merely expressing an opinion - like saying, perhaps that Labour has a crazy car policy and its MPs should be told that it is wrong and that we should all e-mail them. Dunne has a disregard for the views of the Electoral Commission. The Electoral Commission is of the view that the IMVDA's Crazy Car advertising back would "clearly" be covered. Dunne thinks that criticism of a policy is not caught, but exhortation to vote a certain way is caught -that is, advertising on an issue in a way which may encourage people to vote for or against parties on that issue is now an election advertisement. That is exactly what the Electoral Commission and the Auditor General said the crazy car advertisments did -but Dunne says they don't.

Dunne also believes the bill is designed to ensure advertising is more transparent through the disclosure requirement. My earlier post stated that the secret seven members of the Exclusive Brethren, for example, can run joint ads for a total of $840,000 as the bill will allow for advertisments to be apportioned between third parties. Whats more, under this bill, anyone will be able to donate $1000 every day anonomously should they so choose and nobody will know where a particular third party got their money from because the disclosure requirement doesn't exist as it doesnt kick in.

Now thats hardly transparency throgh the donations requirement - if Dunne understood the bill he would have done an amendment banning repeated anonymous donations.

In other words Dunne did not have a clue why he was voting and has no idea why his officials - whoever they are - are advising him the way they are. If he doesn't get the advice from officials by Tuesday before he casts his vote for the bill, he is voting in ignorance. If he does get advice and it is different, it would be hypocritical to vote for the bill. It will be too late to do a supplementary order paper.

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Dunne on the Electoral Finance Bill


Peter Dunne on the United Future website comments on the Electoral Finance Bill.
The premise on which the Bill is based is actually that while everyone or group has an absolute right to express their political views, including the Brethren or any other fringe group, the voting public has a right to know who they are, and that those groups in turn cannot conspire with political parties or candidates to thwart the campaign expenditure

He should consider this. Briefly, If someone is motivated to make 20 $1,000 anonymous donations over time, and the party takes the money, the electoral commission won't even learn about the donations, let alone have them count as part of the $240,000 cap. The Electoral Commission and the public will have no who has donated what.

Also, one can can receive not only up to $30,000 over three years [Clause 22A(1)(b)] in undisclosed donations from a donor, plus they can give $36,000 anonymously [Clause 28C(3)] through the Electoral Commission. This is because the law allows for both undisclosed donations and anonymous donations. So United Future is saying that $66,000 can be donated to a party without the identity being known, while stating that the public has a right to know who they are if they are expressing their political dview point via donations.

Thats called double speak. If Dunne was doing his job on the select comittee he could have suggested a different limit on anonymous donations as wel as stating that a person can not make multiple anonymous donations. Dunne didnt want to do that, perhapos because it would upset Labour, who can het these anonymous donations they desperately need.

And, as I have said before, the Exclusive Brethren's "secret seven" can each register as third parties meaning they can collectively spend $840,000 - although they cant conspire. However they can run joint ads for a total of $840,000 - the EFB in Clause 105A(3) allows for ads to be apportioned between third parties.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

in the House


One of my spies advised me today that my name came up in Parliament in the Committee of the Whole stage of the Electoral Finance Bill. Someone from National mentioned and quoted me as I apparently showed up Peter Dunne on the United Future Website discussing the Electoral Finance Bill.

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Helen Clark and the media


I thought this was interesting Helen Clark maintains she is open with the media, but bemoans its objectivity. She did not like the NZ Herald coverage of the Electoral Finance Bill, for example because she didn`t think it was fair and balanced - in other words, it was accurate. However, editorials are about opinion and have different media laws to news articles. Also, you can be balanced without treting both sides equally, in terms of suscessfully defencding a Press Council complaint.

Clark should consider passing fairer legislation on electoral laws rather than bagging the media for being unfair. She does not like accuracy when this accuracy is not conducive to her Government's direction. She also said media also needed to consider blogging by senior political reporters on the websites of major news outlets

Do you know why she thinks that? Because blogging provides more of the truth of what the news actually is and Helen Clark has an aversion to truth. ZIn short, she doesnt want the media discussing the Electoral Finance Bill.

I think it is a shame that the PM is voicing her opinion about the media. She is not as open to the media as she claims. There are some media she shuts out. When was the last time the student media did a profile on Clark, for example. Key did one this year. In profiles it is the subject that has to talk, not the raft of press hacks.

However, if the gay media wanted to do a profile on Clark, she`d accept double-quick.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

The cunning plan to exempt parliamentary spending


This is the sort of analysis that should be in the daily papers.
This post will be a bit difficult to follow, but it is an important one. It will show how the Government’s actions on this bill are those of naked self interest and to legalise their previously illegal actions.

Labour broke the law in two ways in 2005. They over-spent under the Electoral Act, and illegally used taxpayer money on their election campaign. Changing one law without changing the other doesn’t help them much.

But they made one mistake. Instead of writing the law so it explicitly said that anything approved by the Parliamentary Service could not be considered an election expense (which would help get around the case law from the 1988 Wairarapa Electoral Petition), they just made it implicit. They did not want the public odium of stating their intentions quite so blatantly.

But they then struck a problem. The Electoral Commission said that they did not know what these clauses meant, and the credibility of the law was seriously threatened. So Annette King panicked...

Read the rest here at Farrars Place It's one of his best posts of the year.

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Childish tantrums in the House but plight of poor kids ignored


Matt McCarten has been writing a few good columns for the NZ Herald lately. Heres' his latest.

He talks about the fighting in Parliament, the Electoral Finance Bill , Cullen calling Key a "scumbag" and a "rich prick" , Mallard's bullying etc. Then this:
Meanwhile, in the real world, a serious report was published by the Paediatric Society on the health of New Zealand's children which should have got our politicians' attention far more than the Electoral Finance Bill.

In spite of the economic bonanza we have apparently enjoyed over the past decade, this report shows the proportion of children in severe or significant hardship rose from 18 per cent to 26 per cent. Unsurprisingly, poverty remains highest among sole parents, beneficiaries and their children, who number more than 200,000. It reports that 43 per cent of children in sole-parent families and 15 per cent of children in two-parent families live below the poverty line.

Ruth Richardson, when she was Finance Minister in 1991, slashed welfare benefits and these cuts were never restored. Before Rogernomics and Ruthanasia, the core benefit for a sole parent with two children was 92 per cent of the average wage. By 1999, it was 62 per cent and is now 58 per cent. So much for the trickle-down theory espoused by our leaders that the free market will make us all rich.

And what attention did we give this report? Our state-owned television channel invited the authors and officials on to Close Up. But the producers canned the story and replaced it with Nicky Watson's plea for help over her lost dog, Cricket.
Our Government has lost sight of what it means to run the country as it is too worried about losing the electon. Ensuring that Labour loses the election is the voters job - running the country is Government's job. Reporting the news is the medias job - and that does not mean it has to report news that the Government would prefer.
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Stop the killing - ceasefire now


I`ve added another video on vodpod- see sidebar. It is the Mattafix "Living Darfur" video ( lyrics here) that was e-mailed to me last week. It's part of a global awareness campaign regarding the situation in Darfur where violence in the region has forced 2.5 million to flee their villages and around 4 million are now dependant on foreign aid.

Apparently this is the first music video by an international artist to be filmed in a war zone. It's brilliant. Go and look at it now.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Family Party


The website of the Family Party, headed by former United Future MP and fomer Destiny party leader Richard Lewis has gone online today. The Party has announced three candidates, the two leaders and Jerry Filipaina, who is standing in Mangere. The stated mission of the Family Party is to win the seat in Mangere off Labour.

This is the first time a minor political party is targeting an electorate with a candidate other than the leaders to get into Parliament. And if the party is successful, they`ll be the first to be so. If they are, they`ll find it impossible to stick to their principles in Parliament and make progress - particularly in a coalition as the capacity for compromise will almost negate their very reason for existence. The Family Party may say they are culturally diverse, but when it comes to some issues, a Christian Party will be put to the test, and unlike it says on its website, it won't be able to ensure that government protects and respects New Zealand’s traditional family values.

I`d say that the Family Party has as much chance of winning Mangere as they have in getting over the five percent threshold. Nice website, though.

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Minister calls on MP to apologise


Release here. Minister of Health David Cunliffe is calling on Heather Roy to apologise to the clinical staff of Capital and Coast District Health Board. He said Ms Roy has this week maligned the hardworking clinical staff of Capital and Coast.
Ms Roy has made serious allegations and I suggest she either presents information to support her claims that would allow this matter to be investigated thoroughly or apologise immediately.
If I was Heather Roy I`d mention Trevor Mallard in any response.
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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Insolent Prick blasts The Standard bloggers to bits over Electoral Finance Bill

This is pretty good from blogger and commenter "Insolent Prick". A lengthy but good and accurate summary worth reading. From "The Standard" - a blog that reflects Labour Party standards. Yeah, I know...

Electoral law is the bedrock of our constitutional framework. Labour should have set up a royal commission, consulted with the public on the policy framework, sent some MPs overseas for a comparison of electoral financing regimes, got the Law Commission to give its input, put together a committee of experts, made Justice Ministry policy advice available for public comment and consultation, consulted with the Human Rights Commission, and then got onto legislative drafting, before presenting the Bill to the house for introduction and followed the select committee process. Then we would have robust legislation that the public could have faith in.

Instead, Labour and New Zealand First refused a royal commission, consulted only with each other, didn’t investigate international regimes, ignored large tracts of Ministry of Justice advice, refused to release that advice to the public, didn’t commission the Law Commission to do a report, didn’t consult with the public on the policy framework, and introduced a Bill to the House without any public consultation, or, for that matter, any public mandate to so dramatically change the electoral system.

Labour refused to consult with other parties, and rammed through a process in select committee that overwhelmingly ignored the sentiments expressed in this Committee. As a consequence, the Select Committee was so bogged down with the policy issues that what has emerged is a flawed, poorly drafted, ambiguous travesty of legislation.

There has never been any opportunity for the public to be involved in the policy framework. That is a disgrace. Labour didn’t allow public input in the policy-formation process, rejected expert advice in select committee, and now Parliament as a whole, led by Labour, has rejected the Electoral Commission’s expert advice.

The EC’s expert advice to the Select Committee on limits for anonymous donations, and spending limits for third parties, and the disclosure regime for third parties, were all rejected by the Select Committee. Annette King’s SOP does not restore the EC’s recommendations. Chris Finlayson moved amendments this evening, to restore the limits as recommended by the Electoral Commission, and the Labour Party, along with the Greens, New Zealand First, and United Future voted down those amendments.

A select committee is demonstrably not part of the policy formation process. The purpose of a select committee is to take draft legislation from the House, hear submissions, and ensure that the policy objectives as represented in the legislation are transmitted into robust law. It is a legislative drafting process.

The Select Committee was so bogged down with the policy issues–because the public didn’t have any input into the policy formation process–that it overlooked its core responsibility of creating robust legislation. That’s why we need 150 amendments from the Minister in a supplementary order paper. Because the Select Committee didn’t do its job.

Yes, it is Helena Catt’s ( from the electoral Commission) job to interpret the law, and recommend for prosecution parties and individuals that she believes are in breach of the law. But it is the job of Parliament to create robust law that can be interpreted. It is frankly a disgrace for Parliament to create what is knowingly an ambiguous law. Saying: “We don’t want to make the hard calls about what this law means: we’ll let the Courts sort it out”, is downright cowardly.

If you are a taxpayer, and you have a tax question, you can call the IRD and ask them about their interpretation of your tax liabilities. You can challenge the IRD’s position in Court, but you’re not likely to win. Parliament takes a lot of care in formulating tax law–which is as complex as it gets in terms of its scope and interpretation–that can be interpreted by the IRD. The IRD doesn’t say: “We don’t understand this bit of tax law. How about you, as a taxpayer, get your own legal advice on it, then we can prosecute you, and we’ll let a judge decide what the law is.”

It’s the same with electoral law. Parliament should create robust electoral law. It is only because the Government has followed such a thoroughly flawed process that we won’t have it.

What was the point in having a select committee process at all, if you’re going to ignore expert advice, and then do what you were always going to do anyway?

The Government rejected the opportunity to open up the electoral finance and expenditure regime for public consultation during the policy formation process. We didn’t have a Royal Commission, or a citizen’s jury. We didn’t have the Law Commission write a report on the issue. We didn’t have the Ministry of Justice policy consultation process. We didn’t have a committee of expert advisers assess international jurisdictions. We didn’t have any attempt by Labour to generate cross-party consensus for its proposals. We didn’t even have a political party seek public mandate on its proposed reforms at the last election.

Instead, we had a Bill whose policy objectives were stitched up in secret between the Labour, New Zealand First, and United Future parties. We had a deeply flawed Bill referred to a Select Committee, which subsequently rejected the views of the overwhelming majority of submitters. The Select Committee rejected recommendations on some fairly core issues by expert advisers. The Government refused to release the advice it received from officials. All of this prompted both the Law Society, and the Human Rights Commission, to call on the Government to reject the Bill in its entirety, and start again. The Law Commission was so outraged with the process that it refused to provide any expert advice to the Select Committee on the Bill.

All of those steps are downright unprecedented within the normal policy-formation process, let alone a process making constitutional change.

The outcome is a Bill that has emerged from the Select Committee that is so flawed that the Electoral Commission says it doesn’t understand what the law means, and can’t do its job of advising the public on some fundamental aspects of electoral law. In response to this shoddy piece of legislation, which should have been robust emerging from Select Committee, is for the Minister of Justice to propose 150 amendments to the Bill in the Committee stage of the House. None of those amendments address the Electoral Commission’s ability to interpret the law.

The Labour Party made much of changing employment law to introduce “good faith bargaining”. When it comes to the rules around electing MPs, Labour has acted in totally bad faith. It has done no bargaining with the public.

The Prime Minister assured the public that the Select Committee would address all of the public’s concerns with the Bill. The Select Committee has reported back, and yet STILL needed 150 amendments just two hours before the Bill was to be voted on by MPs.

After such a shambolic process, do you really have faith that Labour has finally got it right?

For the first time in New Zealand’s history, the Electoral Commission can’t interpret the electoral act for candidates, because it doesn’t understand the law itself. They have to go and consult a lawyer.

That’s like the IRD not being able to advise taxpayers on their tax obligations.

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United Future supports Electoral Finance Bill


Althought both Peter Dunne and Judy Turner voted with the Government today on the SOP which will mean that most political advocacy over the Internet must have a name and address tagged to it during election year, Peter Dunne effectively told me that the bill does not inhibit the right to free speech. To Dunne, free speech has to be regulated,and participants outed - particularly over the Internet. Dunne's other issue is the spending limits and everything else to him appears irrelevant. In other words he is voting on certain clauses on the bill - and everything else in the bill, including the bits he doesnt appear to understand is irrelevant to him. He has nothing to say to those people who are not going to spend anywhere near the limit in political advocacy apart from " I want to know who you are."

This, today, on the United Future website from Dunne, who was on the select committee.
The premise on which the Bill is based is actually that while everyone or group has an absolute right to express their political views... the voting public has a right to know who they are
In other words, if I publicly hold a political position in election year, United Future, Labour and the Greens thinks the public has a legal right to know who I am and where I live if I publicly promote my political views pretty much in any way other than my blog or through the media. If this blog was a commercial blog I`d have to advise you all my address as well as my surname - as I would also have to do if I was using a useNet site. In fact, if I was holding a placard in a protest Dunne would also think I should have to put my name and address on that, because the select committee which he was part of recommended that. So I am off to buy some invisible ink for next year.

On the other hand I dont even think Judy Turner - the other United Future MP - has even read the bill, let alone the select committee report and probably doesn`t even know what she is voting for. However I have more respect for Dunne than for Chris Carter - he has been asking his staff to send Annette Kings Dominion Post article on the EFB by return e-mail to anyone who writes to his office regarding the EFB.

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Electoral Finance Bill votes


Today we had proof that the Green MPs are hypocritical and unprincipled.Today Parliament considered some of the 150 amendments to the Electoral Finance Bill.

The Greens oppose anonymous donations to political parties and support free speech -like anonymous advocacy.. So when an amendment to permit anonymous advocacy on the Internet under the bill, they voted against it because they believe that anyone who posts a political message - other than on a blog - on the Internet must put their name and address to it each and every time in election year.

Then because the bill actually allows anonymous donations, the Greens, instead of deciding to vote against the bill, put up a Supplementary Order Paper asking for the law to be reviewed in two months. Remember, they are supporting a bill to stop the big money being paid to political parties in election year, and want to review it before most people have even donated - and have the Minister of Justice appoint the panel to review it. Furthermore, they dont even have to report back until after the election.

And as members of the public, we dont have a say in the matter on this law, democratic process or human rights. And as David Farrar says the moral obligation to be a good citizen and not break laws is diminished when you have daft laws like this one.

Or should we use the words of Dear Leader:
.It is important that the Commonwealth does back the principles which it repeatedly says that it stands for; those principles being constitutional law, human rights and democracy
. Except if you are a Labour, Green or United Future MP.

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Wellington DHB Head quits


Margot Mains resigned a few months ago but she announced that she has quit today.

Bet Mains wouldn`t have quit had the Dominion Post not published a series of stories that Capital Coast Health has been trying to hide from the media for the past two years.Perhaps the whole board may now get fired after the report revealed 23 serious or fatal incidents at the hosptal between 2003 and 2005. That's one patient every single month
The Dominion Post first requested copies of the health board's reports, known as serious and sentinel events, in August 2005. Capital and Coast refused to release them. The newspaper made an appeal to the Office of the Ombudsmen, which consulted the Privacy Commissioner.
Ombudsman Beverley Wakem found there was a public interest in maintaining patient privacy and confidentiality in the reporting process, but she found this was outweighed by the public interest in promoting accountability. She ordered Capital and Coast to issue versions of the reports without the names of patients or health staff.

When the reports were made public this year, some contained so many deletions they were unintelligible. The Dominion Post then asked the Ombudsmen to review four cases. In one case, the health board was told to provide more information and summarise the case.
Hers the statement from Mains:
Recent events have led to a deterioration of confidence in the organization, and its quality of care delivery. It is my duty to take accountability. It is inappropriate for me to continue in the role.
Interpretation: The Dominion Post has done what I have been trying so hard for two years to prevent. Now everyone knows what a mess this place is in I may as well go now as to be effectively sacked won`t look good on my CV.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Maori education


The Green Party is concerned that Maori are missing out on formal tertiary education, and will be further restricted by Auckland University's announcement that is restricting entry into undergrad programmes. Meteria Turei says Maori women will be most disdvantaged.
But do you know what proportion of university students are Maori? I`ll give you a clue - it is a single digit figure that has remained the same since 2002.

Maori are already missing out.

They are only missing out on formal tertiary education because they are not achieving during secondary school. Instead they are attending TOPs courses and going back on the benefit or another low paid job. Isn`t it about time the Greens and the Maori party addressed this? Not a great deal return to formal tertiary education after raising families.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Minister in the Dock


What happened today -
Trevor Mallard in the dock charged with assault - pleaded not guilty after admitting guilt everywhere else.

What we should be seeing after all the prima facie cases
The basher, the smasher, the forger and the thrasher.

Hat Tip Whale Oil
UPDATE
Another version sent in by a reader.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Something to go to in two weeks


When I was a little younger and a DJ on Active, I used to buy lots of vinyl. Did a few live gigs as well, mainly hard house. Got to know a few of the retailers, including Tony at the Soul Mine and Colin Morris Records, both of which have since closed. One sales assistant in particular was Steve Hill, who has since travelled around the world as a DJ.

Steve's first hit “Frantic Theme (Get A Life You Drug Addicts)”, went on to sell a staggering 27,000 copies. Since then he’s been responsible for over 125 productions and remixes which have sold in excess of 400,000 singles worldwide and appeared on over 1,000,000 compilation units!

Here is his MySpace site. Steve is currently based in Sydney and is performing in Wellington on December 15 -and also at Base in Christchurch the night before. Not sure where or how much the Welli gig is, so if anyone knows could you leave a note here...

Here's a sample of his stuff here. Take a listen - it's brilliant.
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Sunday, December 02, 2007

AussieSaver


Well we have the Terrorism Suppression Act than nobody can interpret, the Electoral Finance Bill that is being patched up by the week, and now we hear that Aussies who visit here can join KiwiSaver and get the $1000 kickstart subsidy. That's because all Aussies are entitled to be New Zealand residents automatically and therefore qualify when in the country. Even better, they can apply online. That should make a good story in the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Government is to close the loophole - to take effect in about six months. Does that mean that Aussies who enrol for KiwiSaver can also be eligible for the $5000 first home loan?
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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Female equity Ombudsman gets lower pay


Sweden's new Equal Opportunities Ombudsman, who is a woman, is to receive a considerably lower salary than her predecessor, who was a man. One of the ombudsman's main tasks is to actively encourage employers to give equal pay to employees who perform the same tasks, regardless of gender or ethnicity, but she is getting 17 percent less.

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