BIG NEWS: 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008

How Labour can win the Election

Therese Arseneau notes some reasons why Labour thinks it can win the election this year: And it's not just MMP. Among them are that the left generally get more votes than the right, more New Zealanders identify themselves as supporters of Labour than National, and that under MMP Labour and its allies have generally got more votes than National and its allies under MMP.

But according to figures put into the virtual election calculator Labour can virtually govern on 38% of the vote, provided the good luck goes its way.Labour's dream scenario depends on a mixture of good management and good luck, but Labour needs more luck than good management - and at the moment it doesn't have either.

But the question is - who is the Maori Party an ally of? Because whoever the party aligns themselves to will determine the election result should both the two main parties poll well. If the Maori Party decide to hit the cross benches, Labour can not win unless its vote radically increases.

In order for National to to get in power they need a higher percentage of the vote -around 47% - than Labour does to secure a fourth term. That is because the Left ( Progressives and Greens)are likely to have more seats than the Right (United Future and Act).

But how low that Labour percentage can get to depends on the number of seats National gets, which in turn is dependant on the minor party list vote. For example if National get 60 seats, they are safe, provided that the Maori party list vote is not under 2.5%, and causing a substantial overhang. But even if National gets 59 seats and Labour get just 48 seats, it's likely that whoever gets the Maori Party onside governs. And that could be Labour, even without United Future should the non-parliamentary minor party split be sufficiently high.

That's MMP for you.

In sum, based on current polling Labour will need the Maori Party to govern. In the above figures, both will need the Maori Party. But if National gets 47% of the vote it's home and hosed with United Future and Act, assuming both get into Parliament.

The above assumes New Zealand First gets no seats and takes into account the wasted vote.


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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Do you want this man as a key man in your Government?

hattip: Scoop.
Update in case you were wondering, I meant the man under the mask....
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Durrant: Kids are most likely naughty because they are sick

The experts state that kids who are naught don't need a smack. At least, not in public. If you take your children to the supermarket and they are naughty, it's probably because they are not feeling well. If you see a naughty child and you give that "sort it out" look to the parent, perhaps you are unaware that the child most likely has just been taken to the doctor and the family is just shopping at the supermarket on the way home.

Chief worldwide anti-smacking stirrer Joan Durrant has taken her kids to the supermarket. She's in the country for a conference to discuss the smacking of children.
This has happened to me. People look at you and think 'she is a bad parent' or 'that kid needs a good smack'. But what they don't know is that my child was sick and I took him to the supermarket before he got over his sickness. All I had to do was to take him home
And smack him in private, no doubt.

I bet you there were no children at the conference.


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One big fat voting bribe

National has pledged to keep Working for Families intact to please the rich.

It is not keeping the WFF it should have kept - that is, reducing it for those who earn more than $50,000 and eliminating it for those who earn $100,000. Those people get to keep their tax cuts and WFF because they need their certainty.
Despite concerns we hold about the system, I consider that offering people certainty is much more important in these tough economic times," [Key] said.
These people don't need certainty, they need to learn how to budget.

Furthermore, those who earn over $60,000 and get a pay increase or promotion get to keep around 10% of it if they have kids due to the abatements in WFF, the accommodation supplement and the tax rate. Better to have another child for financial security and less job stress - and you get to take parental leave in the process, often topped up by the employer.

Employer groups should be having a chat to National about this. WFF should be for those who need it, not for those who either can't budget or mortgage themselves to the hilt.

Or both.


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Monday, July 28, 2008

Why vote Act?

Rodney Hide and Roger Douglas have done some calculations on Working for Families and estimates it costs the average worker $100.00 a week in lower wages.

That's a good reason to keep it as National will do. Some get more than $100 a week in WFF. Some get more in WFF than they pay in tax. Until Roger Douglas has a plan to boost wages to the amount of what most families get in WFF, then there's no way any of these people should vote Act.

Meanwhile people are being creative to cut costs. We dont pay any more than $8.00 a kilo for meat. Like some people, I got my hair cut by a trainee hairdresser for $5.00. Betcha Rodney Hide doesn't.


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Saturday, July 26, 2008

On Morning Report yesterday

Yesterday the Reserve Bank lowered interest rates. National Radio asked three families how they were coping with rising prices and the cost of living.

Our family was one of them. You can hear the audio right here.


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Subbing II

I had only glanced at the front page of the Herald online and caught the news on the cancellation of the Cook Strait ferries - and this was the first sentence.
Cook Straight ferries have been cancelled this morning after swells of up to four metres.

Update They've updated the story this afternoon. They've rewritten the offending sentence, but left the offending word in.
This morning, Cook Straight ferries were cancelled after swells of up to four metres.
What's wrong with these journalists?


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Friday, July 25, 2008

back up

Well, after losing my template last night - without a backup - I'm finally back up. Normal posting to resume shortly.
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

NewstalkZB a bit behind the 8-ball on election date

NewstalkZB breathlessly reports that it thinks the election will be on November 8.

I picked November 8 as a date some time back.

Problem for NewstalkZB is that an election date that is not on a holiday weekend cannot possibly be before or after November 8, given that there is no way an election would be held on Labour Weekend - or after November 15 which is Canterbury Anniversary weekend. The ODT has already explained why some time back.


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Dear Helen: Please listen to the parents

So says this media release from the Greens.

And it's not about smacking. After actively encouraging the Government to specifically not listen to parents, it's ironic that the Greens now think parents have something to say that should be taken on board.
Update Bob McCoskrie's read the blog and not surprisingly, Family First concurs
Update2 So does the Family Party. Will the Kiwi Party be next?


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Peters to sue Dominion Post

Winston Peters is going to sue over reports this week that he got money from a wealthy family to pay his legal bills.

I wonder which family will pay this bill - and whether Peters will comply with the Cabinet Manual this time.

Also, the Prime Minister has given her lawyers something else to do.Wonder if she'll go to Crown Law who will tell her what she wants to hear not what she should hear? Clark says says allegations about Mr Peters' handling of political donations do not stop him from performing his ministerial responsibilities - but then Tony Veitch's assault didn't stop him from performing his broadcasting responsibilities either - he was arguably better at his job than Peters is at his - and Helen Clark was pretty happy to see him gone.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Running for office

I've decided to run for political office, Here's the news report of the decision - also below.

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Think Winston Peters is dodgy: Helen Clark says you can complain

Well, after this morning's revelation that New Zealand First got multiple donations from the same family - all under the $10,000 declaration limit - my first thought was if they were from the same people. If so, then NZ First must declare these donations publicly. They didn't.

Luckily, Helen Clark said
if people had concerns they should complain to appropriate authorities; such as the Auditor-General, registrar of pecuniary interests Dame Margaret Bazley, or Inland Revenue.
Now I'm not one for complaining, but as Helen said I could, I thought I'd ring the Auditor General. The Office said they hadn't received a complaint. I said I'd like to lodge an official complaint if that was alright - even if I would be the first.

Problem was, it wasn't alright. The person to complain to wasn't there to receive the complaint and so I asked if I could complain that the person who I was supposed to complain to wasn't there to be complained to. I wasn't even allowed to do that. So I rung the PMs office. I have no idea why I got put through to Maryan Street's partner, but after laughing at my lack of complaining ability she said there was nothing I could do except write in and complain.

No wonder the Auditor General's Office hasn't received any complaints about Winston Peters indiscretions. They're not taking any.

(... half an hour later...) I got a call from a woman from the A/G's office. She said that if they were to take any complaints they won't even investigate them until they have looked into whether they feel they think it is worth investigating. And I was told today they're not even willing to look in to seeing whether it is worth investigating at the moment.

And I wasn't able to complain about that, either. Typical

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There's plenty happening at the moment in the world of NZ First that is not putting NZ first. Like what appears to be some $9995 cheques written to ensure they were not declared, as they were under the $10,000 declaration limit. Cheques that appeared to be banked by someone else. Winston perhaps?

More this afternoon. Had less than five hours sleep last night and I have parenting responsibilities now.


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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Should Winston Peters be sacked?

NB:This post has been updated
Blogger No Right Turn has called for Winston Peters to be sacked due to violating Cabinet guidelines in accepting a $100,000 donation from Owen Glenn. The other question is this: Should Helen Clark be sanctioned for failing to uphold them?

Parliament's Standing Orders require Members of Parliament to disclose to the Registrar of Pecuniary Interests any gifts over $500.00 - although as Members of Parliament, they may accept political party donations. Peters has stated that Owen Glenn did not donate to his party, but to his legal expenses. But the Cabinet Manual also states that Ministers have to relinquish gifts over the prescribed value of $500, unless the Prime Minister says they can keep them. But that same manual states that the Prime Minister has to approve them first. It also states that Ministers should avoid situations in which they or those close to them gain remuneration or other advantage from information acquired only by reason of their office.

In other words, Peters is not allowed to deliberately set things up in a way that he personally does not know of such donations. He has to be made aware.

The gift from Owen Glenn was to Winston Raymond Peters. If he hadn't taken Bob Clarkson to court ( and lost) he would never have got that donation. Helen Clark no doubt believes that the gift was given to a MP in his capacity as a Member of Parliament, not as a Minister, thus bending the rules. Yet, had Peters not been a Foreign Minister, would he have got that gift as a leader of New Zealand First? Probably not, as Owen Glenn was after an honorary consul position, which Peters, as Foreign Minister, has a part in awarding. That appears to be the real reason for the donation.

It's all very messy, and for our spineless PM to do nothing is merely her politics, because she doesn't have many principles. For her to say that National's Nick Smith also got donations for his legal costs, and so there's nothing wrong with Peters' donation is a bit hollow: Smith didn't get these donations because he was a Minister. Furthermore, unlike Peters, he didn't initiate the court action, and also declared them though a trust. If there was proof that Peters got that donation - not for Ministerial tasks, but in the hope that Ministerial tasks would benefit Owen Glenn, who gave him the money - Peters should be sacked. But you can be sure that Helen Clark won't go looking for proof any time soon.

But will some kind journalist like to ask Helen Clark some questions: Like why Peters does not feel the need to declare this donation when everyone else has declared similar donations - and does she condone this?

If not, what she is going to do about her Minister receiving donations for ministerial work disguised as donations for legal costs?

Does she approve that Peters has not paid gift duty as he must given that the donor is overseas?

What is she going to do about Peter's lawyer not getting Prime Ministerial approval for that donation as per section 2.54(b) of the Cabinet Manual?

If nothing, why not.


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Subbing errors

There are far too many subbing errors in the newspapers lately. So many in such major stories - even the Press editorial had one last week. I'm going to run a regular series on sub-editing cockups. I'm not going to have to look very hard. I've only read one story today.

Here's the first one, from Audrey Young's Winston Peters article today:
However there is a distinction between whether someone gives to a party, whether someone gives to a person and whether someone gives to there expenses.


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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pull your pants up or we'll fine you $500

Over here it's tagging that's causing the problems but over there it's sagging, and I don't mean frontal features of women but rear features of males clothing. Anyone with pants below the butt—whether or not they've got boxers underneath—is violating a certain Michigan city's disorderly conduct code, punishable by 93 days to a year in jail and fines of up to $500. All because they merely don't want to wear a belt.
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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Winston Peters says Owen Glenn did donate 100k to NZ First

Winston Peters has revealed that Owen Glenn did donate $100,000 to New Zealand First - but claims it never went through the party coffers. He says the money was paid through his lawyer Brian Henry to cover legal costs incurred during the Tauranga electoral petition at the last election. He claims not to have known about this donation. That does not sound credible.

Peters lost the Tauranga seat to National's Bob Clarkson, and he claimed in the petition that during the campaign Clarkson exceeded election spending limits. He lost his High Court case and and to pay $40,000 in costs. Did any of Glenn's money go towards that?

Peters' mother got such a shock when Peters rang her and told her of the donation before it got out in the media that she dropped dead.

Update No Right Turn notes that Peters may have breached parliamentary privilege for not declaring donations that he knew were funding his legal bills. Fat chance of the Privileges Committee doing anything about it though.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Disgraceful treatment by media

I've just arrived back from holiday and that story won't go away. Tony Veitch, if the Dominion Post is to be believed, is not the first TV personality to break his partner's back. But he is the only one who has been hung out to dry by the media and the public jury based on something he hasn't said.

I think the way that Tony Veitch has been treated by the media and Women's Refuge has been disgraceful. Absolutely disgraceful. If this is a reflection of the state of journalism in this country then its is not just the sub editing that is substandard.

It is clear that the media wanted blood. Veitch has had no natural justice. He has resigned from his jobs, his former partner has laid an assault complaint two years after she was assaulted - not because she was injured, but because her lawyers have reacted to media coverage and suggested she press charges. She should have pressed charges two years ago.

But Veitch is not answerable to the media - he is entitled to his presumptions of innocence until he is investigated and probably charged and convicted. But until now he has had no natural justice. Why should anyone be fair game before a court appearance?

Women's Refuge is weighing in and although chief executive Heather Henare has not met Tony Veitch, she refers to him as "Tony" as if he was to her a friend or someone she knew.
What Tony understands as being the right thing to say and do is still not in touch with complete reality and accepting full and unconditional responsibility
How does she know that he has not taken "full responsibility" - everything she knows is based on hearsay.

Veitch's reported assault sounded bad enough. So did Derek Fox's fist fight with his former partner. And not much was said about Sean Plunket's conviction - reported the same day on the same paper as the breaking Veitch story - after driving at twice the legal limit. Or " Lion Man" Craig Busch, who broke his partners back in an assault , paid her compensation, was convicted and is still on TV. Or the NZ Olympic boxer who was allowed to represent his country after beating his partner. And it's not lost on me that the Minister responsible for TVNZ is Tau-thumper Trevor Mallard, who ended up in court and kept his job. He's been pretty quiet lately.


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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Employers knew of Veitch attack

Sports broadcaster Tony Veitch's employers, The Radio Network and TVNZ, have admitted knowing some details of the assault against his former partner since last year and even offered assistance with counselling and legal advice.
On Saturday, The Radio Network's general manager of talk programming, Bill Francis, said he and another executive were notified of Mr Vetich's (sic) personal conflict following his return from the Rugby World Cup in 2007. Mr Francis said he knew of a "fracas" between Mr Veitch and Ms Dunne-Powell and that the broadcaster had paid compensation to her.
But he only paid compensation as Dunne-Powell's lawyers asked for it. Given the employers' awareness that compensation was paid surely must have raised questions as to how serious this attack was.
Television New Zealand chief executive Rick Ellis said on Saturday that Mr Veitch sought advice from senior executives in December 2007 regarding the incident with Ms Dunne-Powell.
Yet Rick Ellis wasn't made aware of this by his senior executives.So why did it take so long to announce an investigation. Because the media reported it, that's why. Nothing to do with the seriousness of the assault, more to do with saving face. Of course they knew. Therefore Veitch cannot be solely blamed if he is found to bring his employers into disrepute. Either he should have been more honest with his employers about what he actually did, or those at his places of employment - including workmates, not just management - are not disclosing all they knew. Perhaps both.
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Did Owen Glenn donate to New Zealand First?

It appears so, even after proven liar - and Labour Party President - Mike Williams authoritatively said he didn't..This e-mail exchange between Mr Glenn and PR man Steve Fisher, managing director of Baldwin Boyle, occurred in February this year when the Monaco-based businessman was visiting New Zealand to open the Owen G. Glenn building at the Auckland University Business School.At a press conference at the time Mr Peters said "it is a downright lie to claim by innuendo that any money came to New Zealand First from Owen Glenn."
Steve Fisher: Our plan worked well. There is nothing new about you in here Owen. Note that Winston says you have never made a donation to NZ First, so at all costs you must stick to that line. It was definitely the right thing to do to deny the Maori party offer as well.

Owen Glenn: Steve - are you saying I should deny giving a donation to NZ First?? When I did?

Steve Fisher: No, just stick to the line of referring stuff to NZ First. What I'm saying is we don't want to contradict Winston.
NZ First has committed a corrupt practice by declaring a nil donation return if it has received a donation of $10,000 from anyone. Helen Clark will most probably not want to comment on this and say that this blatant lie is either a genuine mistake or it is boring. Why? Because, that's what Labour supporters do.They think that corruption is boring if its supporters are undertaking this corruption and front page news if its opponents are so much as rumoured by childless ministers to be committing legalities they themselves are unable to do - such as not working long hours over the school holidays as they want to spend time with their kids.


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Saturday, July 12, 2008

National releases ECE policy

National has released some more policy.

It wants to extend the early childhood policy to five year olds - presumably those who haven't yet started school as their birthday is mid-term - so they can have 20 hours early childhood education. Except it won`t be free under National either -which is why it is calling it ECE, not 20 hours free ECE. Its a more honest policy but could encourage parents not to send some kids to school for financial reasons until they are six.

That's because although they don't legally have to, most five year olds go to school and many start mid term. But National knows that many people don't send their kids to school when they are five, and therefore they should get 20 hours ECE. Cool, I could send our daughter to school when she turns six, and instead of paying for uniforms and school fees, we could get 20 hours ECE and pay a few bucks a week on top of a child care subsidy until she turns six - and those whose kids are all under six won't have to take any time off work for the school holidays.

The only problem is that she'll miss out one year's education as all she is doing at ECE at the moment is watching DVDs, sleeping, going to the shops and playing with the other kids.

What a shame National weren’t governing last year with this policy, as I could have sent my son off to ECE for the school holidays instead of having him at home.


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Friday, July 11, 2008

Veitch suspended from Radio Sport

Tony Veitch has been suspended from Radio Sport while it investigates the assault on his former partner. They should have done this two years ago.Radio Sport is just pandering to media coverage and is investigating it not because it is serious, but because the media has covered it and they don't want an employee to bring them into disrepute.

How hypocritical. If it was worth investigating, one wonders why Radio Sport didn't investigate it two years ago when it happened. If they've known for longer, it's their own actions, (or more correctly, lack thereof) that has bought them into disrepute. The fact that it is doing an investigation has nothing to do with the seriousness of the assault, it is to look nice and to be seen as not condoning domestic violence.

Women's Refuge has stated that there are two levels of justice - one for the rich who can avoid trouble and one for the poor who get prosecuted.

The other side of the coin is that if Veitch was not a celebrity he most likely would not have been suspended from his job even if he was convicted.

In this case Veitch is not even prosecuted - if he was convicted he no doubt would have had name suppression - and the assault happened two years ago.

Look, get the police to prosecute the man and give him the punishment/sentence he deserves, or leave him alone and stop crucifying him by media. That's not OK either. All Blacks have been prosecuted and convicted for domestic violence and continued playing.

Why are TV celebrities any different?


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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

G8: Hot air won't cut greenhouse gas emissions

Post has been updated

The G8 summit was held in Japan this week. Security cost £280 million -£80 more than Japan gives in aid to poor countries every year. The G8 - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and America, along with Russia - accounts for almost half the world’s economic output, but it is developing countries and emerging economies that account for 70 percent of the economic growth.G8 countries are also responsible for 62 percent of the carbon dioxide accumulated in the Earth's atmosphere.

The G8 discussed climate change, and wants to cut greenhouse gas emissions worldwide by 2050. Its leaders said mid-term goals would be needed to hit the shared target. It further said that it would be up to individual countries to adopt them.

But none of the G8 countries have adopted any mid-term goals.

This promise is just hot air talk from rich leaders. The European Union is on record as wanting an agreement to require developed countries to cut their emissions by 25 to 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2020. The United States, Japan and Canada oppose those targets, so they are hardly gong to set mid-term goals as they believe the target can only be met if the major developing countries who are not part of this agreement play ball - they won't - and that the 50% figure concerns global emissions, not necessarily their own. It's like an out clause. Last year George Bush agreed to seriously consider at least 50 percent cuts in emissions by 2050. But the US policy is still a halt to the growth of greenhouse gases by 2020 and a halt to growth is not a cut.

Oxfam expressed disappointment at the deal. "At this rate, by 2050 the world will be cooked and the G8 leaders will be long-forgotten," said Antonio Hill, a spokesperson for Oxfam. "The G8's endorsement of a tepid '50 by 50' climate goal leaves us with a 50/50 chance of a climate meltdown."

It is remembered that the G8 promised at the Gleneagles summit in 2005 in Scotland to boost aid to Africa by a further $25bn by 2010. So far the G8 has boosted development assistance to Africa by only $3bn, so why should we believe them this time?

update The Independent agrees
There is no detail in the communiqué; no medium-term targets; no commitment to agreeing a legally binding successor to the Kyoto protocol at Copenhagen next year. There is not even agreement on the date from which CO2 cuts will be measured.These leaders can set all the long-term goals they like, but without realistic means of achieving them, any document they produce will simply be a gust of hot air.


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There is a blog called The Standard who state that they are all independent bloggers and value their anonymity. They also attack John Key quite a bit. One of the bloggers, "Steve Pierson", is Clinton Smith, whom I’ve met. Until now the others have remained anonymous but are believed to have been working in on the 9th Floor and at the EPMU. Helen Clark has denied knowledge of The Standard even though ministerial staff actually write it.

Today others were named as Chris Elder, communications staffer ninth floor, Andrew Kirton, communications staffer for Winnie Laban, and Antony Rhodes, who works in Judith Tizard’s office. The others are Neale Jones and Rob Egan, both communications advisors for the EPMU.

Another blog No8wire is run by Rob Salmond . He used to work in the PMs office and is now working at the University of Michigan. He has just written an article called Enforcing Ethical Standards in Election Campaigns for the Michigan Journal of Political Science , yet he supports the Electoral Finance Act. According to WhaleOil, he posts under the name of rOb at The Standard, yet on The Standard he has denied setting up the 08wire blog.
Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with 08wire and I have no idea who they are)
WhaleOil says
ROb = Rob Salmond = former DPMC staffer and credited by his own mouth as the founder of The Standard. He was previously an MFAT officer, posted to the UN in New York, then worked in the PM’s office and is now an assistant professor of political science at the University of Michigan

So, rOb says he is no way associated with 08wire; but Rob Salmond is. Someone is either fibbing or making untrue allegations…
David Farrar says
Rob Salmond has posted a comment admitting he worked last year for the PMs Office and is behind 08wire and that he does not produce all the material himself but receives it from others….what is not denied is that material for all three anonymous sites is produced by parliamentary staffers.
Why should taxpayers fund people to write blogs in work time – including writing posts for overseas blogs. First Labour gets a photo of a family from Washington for their glossy brochures, now they are getting a person in Michigan to campaign via the blogosphere.

I posted a short comment on The Standard regarding the above. They banned my comment - but didn't deny it was true - and replaced it with this
Dave... As someone who purports to be a journalist I'd have thought you would know better than to take Farrar/Whale's 'research' at face value.
I don`t "purport" to be a journalist. And I have done my own checks on this and have had no denials. Sure I have been a journalist in the past, but I am not currently working as one. And when someone sends you an email its not "research", research is information gathering, not checking of e-mails.

UPDATEThe Standard has responded in comments confirming this post is factual.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Why can't work and Income force druggies to get treatment

In the last post, it was noted that WINZ staffers don't legally have to encourage, let alone require, drug and alcohol addicts to get treatment as part of getting a benefit for being addicts.

That is because if it's interpretation of The Health and Disability Code of Consumers Rights which states
Every consumer must be presumed competent to make an informed choice and give informed consent, unless there are reasonable grounds for believing that the consumer is not competent.Where a consumer has diminished competence, that consumer retains the right to make informed choices and give informed consent, to the extent appropriate to his or her level of competence.
Where a consumer is not competent to make an informed choice and give informed consent, and no person entitled to consent on behalf of the consumer is available, the provider may provide services where (a) It is in the best interests of the consumer; and (b) Reasonable steps have been taken to ascertain the views of the consumer.
There is nothing in this code which prevents WINZ staffers making beneficiaries get treatment as part of their benefit if they think it is in the best interest of the incompetent consumer. Furthermore, its about time that we had legislation stating that it is the best interests of all such addicts, and similar people in receipt of a benefit that they are required to get treatment, or lose their benefit. They still have a choice as to whether they should accept treatment, but if they decline treatment, they can kiss goodbye to a benefit in exactly the same way that you can't access financial assistance as a student if if you don't pass half the previous year's papers.

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Pay rises for the sick, who just get sicker

The Dom Post has a story on the blowout in numbers of drug and alcohol addicts recieving sickness and invalids benefits. This has been a problem for years. Those on the sickness and unemployment benefits get $219.25, and if you transfer to the invalids benefit - as many are doing - you get $277.50. That's more than students get.

The problem is that the 5279 on such benefits because of these problems are not required to get treatment. However they can be put on literacy and numeracy programmes but Work and Income isn't bothering to do this, either. Wouldn't it be better puttting the extra $52.25 into drug and alcohol rehab for these people instead?

We have a classic " I am confident" comment from the Minister
However, Social Development Minister Ruth Dyson said she was confident that programmes such as Paths (Providing Access to Health Solutions) ensured alcohol- and drug-affected beneficiaries got the treatment they needed
This is despite giving National MP Judith Collins the miniscule numbers, that majority who are not hard druggies, but have ill health or disabilities, or are stressed or depressed. And in the very next sentence, the report explains that they are not getting the treatment they need.
Ms Reade said case managers could not force beneficiaries into treatment programmes.
That's not the issue. They don't even have to encourage them to get treatment either. PATHS doesn't even assist drug and alcohol abusers unless they are stressed or depressed, and many who exit a benefit after PATHS go back on the benefit. It's more likely to give people gym memberships or physiotherapy.

Until compulsory intervention of drug use is introduced, we taxpayers will continue to divert money which could be used to reduce hospital and Court waiting lists and provide road maintenance, into keeping these people in the manner to which they have become accustomed.

And on a side issue, the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis party has today put out a call for candidates. Perhaps they should put up posters at Work and Income offices.

More here: Why can't WINZ force druggies to get treatment

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

A great image

Currently, this is my favourite Flickr image. Rather haunting.
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How many more files has Corrections left on the street?

Is it possible to get someone to have a couple of words in Corrections chief Barry Matthew's ear about these confidential files being left on the street.

Perhaps something along the words of "You're fired".

The latest document listed personal details of 22 people under night curfews who were required to wear ankle bracelets. Perhaps it's time for Corrections staff to wear ankle bracelets to prevent a street collection of correction files.

It's time Corrections were audited.


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Friday, July 04, 2008

Routes for the truck drivers protest tomorrow

Here are the routes for the truck drivers protest tomorrow in the centres of Auckland and Wellington. Drivers are protesting against a sudden increase in road-user charges on diesel vehicles. This will affect some people more than others and it is likely that other roads will be heavily congested as people try to avoid the protest route. I have been sent a copy of the planned routes and they are detailed below. Each protest has two routes.

Auckland protest route
Operators to gather at nearest motorway on ramp for 7.30 departure and take two routes off the motorway.
Route 1
Operators coming from west take Nelson St Off Ramp, From North Shore take Cook St Off Ramp onto Nelson St
Right onto Victoria,Right onto Queen, head UP Queen St
Top Queen, left onto K Rd, left Symond St
Left Wellesley St, Left Queen

Route 2
Operators coming from south
Off ramp Symonds, right into Upper Queen
Down Queen, left into Wellesley
Left Hobson, left Pitt, left K Rd
Left Queen

9:30 Disperse

Wellington protest
Operators will start at 7 am

Route 1
Assemble at Mckays Crossing
Mckays Crossing down State Highway One through Terrace Tunnel
Turn into Taranaki Street, down Jervois Quay
Left at Whitmore Street, past Parliament Building to Molesworth Street off-ramp

Route 2
Assemble at Seaview
Along Petone Esplanade down State Highway 2 to motorway and through Terrace Tunnel
Turn into Taranaki Street, down Jervois Quay
Left at Whitmore Street, past Parliament Building to Molesworth Street off-ramp

Update: I see the Herald has finally caught up with the news and has added the Christchurch and Dunedin protest routes. I was going to offer the routes to the Dominion Post early this afternoon, but they told me not to bother giving them news tips and hung up on me. The person I spoke to didn't give his name, even when asked, but I know enough to know who that person was and what his name is. You'd think chief reporters who pick up the phone would welcome news - or at least be courteous on the phone.
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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Boring, silly, nanny state speech - from National

I don`t know what advice John Key is getting lately but its not very good if this nanny state speech is anything to go by.

He wants kids to play sport, so they can be healthier, fitter - and less obese and less likely to to be mixed up up in criminal offending. At least he wants to put some money into it to assist schools with equipment, but will that money go on sport? He`ll have to fund schools properly and let us know if the money he puts into school for sport - like sports equipment and gyms - is more than the amount that parents are paying in school donations - the “donation” donations, not the “fee” donations - because if it is less, then parents are practically funding Nationals policy twice out of their own pockets should it be implemented.

What is wrong with a public education campaign to encourage parents to walk at least part of the way to school with their kids, and get older kids to walk or bike to school, to take swimming lessons or other forms of physical activity. At least you`re less likely to get injured and be a drain on the ACC system ( which National wants to privatise). What's wrong with encouraging kids to cut the lawns, have a paper run or utilise the local playgrounds.

Organised sport is not the be all and end all - and it costs more money than walking or cycling to school every day. Better to get councils to cut down the fees for recreation centres, gyms and and swimming pools and subsidise gym membership so the poor, lazy and fat can afford to walk through their doors.

John Key needs to come up with better ideas than this. He is sounding so Labour he'll probably be krumping within a month.


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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

More Fairfax sub-editors to be laid off

Nearly a fifth of sub-editors at Fairfax are about to be made redundant with the rest to be centralised, following the loss of 70 subs at APN last year and the loss of a whole swag of subs when The Evening Post and The Dominion papers merged. APN publishes The New Zealand Herald and Fairfax owns The Dominion Post and The Press.

Have a look at the NZPA story on this, and you'll spot at least three subbing errors. You'd think they'd sub a story on subbing correctly, wouldn't you?


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British kids can use expletives in school exams

You have to wonder WTF is going on in exams these days. British high school students are being awarded marks for writing obscene phrases on their English tests because it shows at least some ability to convey a message.

A chief examiner responsible for training other markers said the phrase "f... off" deserved some marks. The British government's examinations regulator refused to condemn the approach.
We think it's important that candidates are able to use appropriate language in a variety of situations
Yes, very appropriate. What next! Expletives in French language classes - and in text message language, too, I suppose.


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