BIG NEWS: 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Having a say


In a democracy, everyone should be allowed to have their say. National and Labour have colluded to prevent minor parties being present in their political debates on TV3, and TV3 caved in to their demands. Some parties have protested at their exclusion, saying that they have been gagged.

Now, nobody is to have their say as TV3 has pulled the plug and there will be no leaders debate. And its a good decision. If Clark and Key don't like it they shouldn't have been arrogant sods to start with.

TVNZ is a little more mature about things and will screen a leaders debate of the minor parties - after all it is the minor parties who will decide who gets to be the Government. TVNZ is a little more inventive too, linking up with YouTube for a leaders debate. The questions will be asked by voters and if you want to have your say you can post a video of your question right here.

What's more you can even view some of the the videos others have sent and rate them. Now that's a superb idea. Well done.

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S59: lets have a whackers charter


The Green Party thinks the proponents of a referendum on smacking intend to create a 'whackers' charter', legally describing how parents can assault their children.

Sue Bradford made the comments after Simon Collin's one man travelling road show found that 86 percent of those surveyed opposed the smacking legislation. Additionally, most people didn't understand how the law worked, and supported the referendum question "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?.
It's contradictory," says Bluff cameraman Stuart McCormick, 35, and many others. "How can you not use the other things [such as preventing harm] for correction?"

But Bradford will harp on about now is to claim that "no offence of smacking was created" and so the referendum question is irrelevant.
Smacking has never been a criminal offence, and still isn't......no offence of smacking or spanking was created, and I believe the proponents of the referendum have deliberately confused the issue.

So why, then, are people being investigated for smacking if it is not a criminal offence? And if it is not a criminal offence, as Bradford claims, she's right, we don't need a referendum to change the law because its legally okay to smack your kids.

In fact if light smacking was a criminal offence we wouldn't have passed legislation to change the law, would we.Duh!

The woman is mad. If this is the best she can come up with no wonder the public don't understand the law. But it was always Bradford's intention that the public did not understand the law.

We already have a whackers charter. It's called CYFS caregiving.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Chris Trotter needs to be informed before writing tripe on the Maori Party


Chris Trotter should stop writing about the Maori Party. It's obvious he sees the party as a threat to his beloved Labour Party, and wants to portray the party as dangerous coalition partner because he is finally aware that it prefers National.

Yet he has no idea what the Maori Party wants, if his Sunday Star Times column today is anything to go by. In his column, entitled "What is Maori Party up to?" Trotter breathlessly revealed that the Maori Party does not want a coalition partner, but a "treaty partner" - but that's old news as Pita Sharples said that three weeks ago. Trotter obviously missed that, but he still doesn't know what kind of a "treaty partner" the Maori Party wants.

Trotter also opined that the National Party is "firmly convinced" they will be able to secure a coalition with "Tariana Turia's party" after the election. Trotter's wrong there too. He maintains that if numbers are tight, National will promise to revisit the Foreshore and Seabed Act. He's wrong there, too, as the Act is getting lower in the list of priorities - it is certainly not in the top four. Actually "guaranteed an ongoing participation by Maori within the parliamentary system at the table, not just an advisor , but at the table", is the top priority according to Harawira. Trotter said that a seat at the cabinet table is not guaranteed as voters determine that.

He's wrong there too. The Prime Minister determines who "sits at the table". Actually, what Trotter doesn't like is that the Maori Party may well determine who warms the seats in the cabinet room if it is in a position to chose whether Labour or National gain power and Trotter is worried it will be National. The Maori Party knows a cabinet post is not guaranteed and Trotter is naive to interpret Harawira's comment in this way, when clearly, it is the participation that is guaranteed.

Finally, Trotter comments that Maori Party president Whatarangi Winiata said that the Maori Party form the "tikanga Maori House" in Parliament. Winiata said on National Radio this means that the "partners respect each other and the decisions they come to are not determined by a head count"[ audio here]. Trotter interprets that as the Maori Party intending to exercise a form of veto over the Government based on the veto that the Anglican's "Tikanga Maori House" has over the Churches General Synod. In other words, acting undemocratically.

Trotter's wrong there, too. As Professor Winiata says here, a Tikanga Maori House is nothing of the sort. It is merely a group of Maori MPs represented by the Maori caucus. His comments can be interpreted as decision by consensus, not majority.

So back to the heading 'What is the Maori Party up to"? Trotter didn't answer that because he clearly does not have a clue. Perhaps it would be good for him to understand the distinction between tino rangitiratanga and mana motuhake.

That would be a good start.

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National releases policy


National released its Maori Affairs, Electoral Law and Treaty Policy. Will be commenting on it and replacing this post once I`ve finished work.

Update May have to be tomorrow - but read this in the meantime.
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Greens new billboard



The kids looks like he's been to McDonalds a few too many times. I wonder if he eats his greens. I wonder if Andy Moore will put it on his Don't vote Greens site. Almost as good as the new Labour burns billboard.

Hattip Lindsay Mitchell

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It's a fine day


It is a beautiful day today in Wellington. And here's a beautiful song about it. Here's Opus III. Enjoy.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Arrogant and unacceptable


While it is true that either the leader of National or Labour will lead the next government, it is arrogant for both Helen Clark and John Key to refuse to debate on TV with the minor party leaders. Twenty per cent of the population voted for the minor parties in 2005. In 2002, more voted for the minor parties than voted National. I was one of them both times. I will be one of them this year, too as I won't be making a choice between National and Labour. In order for us to have a say we need to be informed and that includes hearing from minor parties.

Sure, those of us who are political journalists or bloggers are more informed than most, but in a democracy, we have the right to have an informed choice and it is arrogant and unacceptable for the two main party leaders to conspire to prevent minor parties having their chance to have a say in promoting why we should vote for them. Even Winston Peters deserves to have an opportunity to promote his party's policies. However it would be futile suggesting to TVNZ and TV3 to scrap the leaders debates on principle unless they demand that the two leaders debate with minor party leaders. TV networks also put money before democracy. Rather than seeing Key and Clark fight as to why they are the best leaders, I would rather hear about their policies, and for that reason I`d rather watch this.

In any case it is the Maori Party who is going to decide who the Prime Minister is after the election.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

There's not one thing...that this government has done for all Maori: Harawira


Everyone wants to interview the Maori Party. Here's Gordon Campbell's interview of Hone Harawira.

Like all Campbell's interviews, it's good.

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NZPA writes yesterday's news - today


This has been recently published on Stuff.
Police are investigating a complaint laid against Solicitor-General David Collins.A Police National Headquarters spokeswoman confirmed the complaint had been received and an investigation had been launched but would give no further details.

The inquiry was being run by a senior officer and Dr Collins was aware of the matter, she said.

This is not news. Well, its old news. The Prime Minister has known about it all month, and police confirmed they were investigating Collins back in in August.We know the Prime Minister knew about it. The story was then followed up by Ian Wishart on September 19.

I thought I had seen the news somewhere.
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This election is about trust – and the Maori Party doesn’t trust Helen Clark


Finally, the Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples has come out and said pretty much that this election is about trust, and Helen Clark is the last cab off the trust rank, assuming Peters won't be anywhere near the rank after the election.
Pita Sharples said he was no longer sure if he trusted Prime Minister Helen Clark, and said she was nearing the end of her time.

"She has been a great leader; she has done great things for the country," Dr Sharples said in an interview recorded yesterday for TVNZ 7. "But maybe she is nearing the end of her time."

Recent events in Parliament showed Miss Clark was clinging to power, he said.

"She is appearing quite desperate ... she is behaving like someone who is really, really desperate to get back into Parliament at any cost."
Maori will side with National – as I’ve been saying for the past..oh… 18 months, and it won’t be at the expense of the Maori seats. The Foreshore and Seabed legislation is not on the top of the priorities ,and the Maori seats won't be debated.

What is more important to Maori Party is Maori development and that’s where the Maori Party would like to see some gains. That’s why Maori do not want to go into coalition government but will seek - and get - a cabinet post.

(Note to Michael Cullen: keep up those treaty settlements, but just be aware it won't necessarily get you kudos from Maori. Maori want money, not just in principle agreements and you've left it all too late. As for passing treaty legislation under urgency, why didn't you do it earlier - not three years after the deed of settlement? You have diddled Maori out of a lot of lost interest and have consciously delayed Maori economic development for political gain.)

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Labour's new campaign website


It's here. It's not bad.

Actually it's quite good. If you look at the site make sure you check out Labour's policies - it is the best policy page of any of the party websites. By a long shot.

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Helen Clark controls the cops


Helen Clark controls the police. She won't be happy after that police file gets urgently audited. Neither will a certain cabinet minister when the file gets reopened and his alleged criminal behaviour is reinvestigated.
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Man gets charged with assault for farting loudly


A man who police said farted and fanned it toward a police officer has been charged with assaulting a police officer.

Police said he was was was pulled over for driving without headlights. He smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and failed three breath tests before he was handcuffed and taken to a police station for another test.
As Patrolman T.E. Parsons prepared the machine, Cruz scooted his chair toward Parsons, lifted his leg and "passed gas loudly," the complaint said.Cruz, according to complaint, then fanned the gas toward the officer."The gas was very odorous and created contact of an insulting or provoking nature with Patrolman Parsons," the complaint alleged.
The charge sheet and description from police is here.

Poor Patrolman Parsons.
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Labour burns





Classic! Two ticks for hell. Auntie Hell(en). It's even the right colour. All it is missing is the horns and the pitchfork.
HT wishart.
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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Corrupt Labour tries to pervert the course of justice


Maori Party co-leader Pita Shaples has revealed that a senior Labour Minister - possibly Parekura Horomia, - threatened the Maori Party over its vote on the Winston Peters privileges committee circus. Are you surprised?
Dr Sharples said he was "disappointed" over attempts to influence his party.
"I personally had two separate phone calls from a senior minister urging me to vote in favour of Winston, and suggesting that there would be unpleasant repercussions from Maori people if I didn't," he said in a statement.
"Both (fellow co-leader) Tariana Turia and myself were disgusted with this kind of activity, aimed at perverting the course of justice and fair play.
Given that Helen Clark has said that most on the committee had made up its mind on Peters, one would wonder why Labour was trying to influence the vote.

Well done Pita Sharples for speaking out on this. He has integrity. Meanwhile,Shane Jones is extremely pissed off that Maori is turning its back on Labour and that he has to defend Clark outwardly to preserve caucus unity when the cracks are widening.

I tried to get hold of Horomia's media people -specifically Deborah Mahuta - today but they are a long meeting at the moment.

Wonder why? Media release coming to confirm Horomia was that Minister, but he did nothing wrong?

update It appears so, after speaking to Mahuta.
update2 Media release as follows:
Minister of Maori Affairs, Parekura Horomia, today said he was extremely disappointed that one of his many conversations with Maori Party MP, Pita Sharples has been misrepresented.

“As the Minister of Maori Affairs I consult with Maori members from all political parties. I am in frequent contact with Pita Sharples over issues of mutual concern.
“During two of these conversations, we moved on to talk Winston Peters.

“Pita Sharples asked me to clarify what it meant for Winston to be censured. I declared my support for Winston, and asked how the Maori party was planning to vote. That is all that was discussed.

“At no point did I put any pressure on the Maori Party to support Winston Peters, neither did I issue any threats. I am deeply disappointed that my conversations with the Maori Party have been misrepresented in this way.” Mr Horomia said.

Remember, Big News had it first...

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A daft bylaw


I have made a submission to the Kapiti Coast District Council on the bylaw that will allow nudity on Kapiti beaches. I have nothing against nude sunbathers provided they do it quietly and out of public view. But this bylaw lets men and women of all shapes sizes and ages wander willy-nilly on packed sunny beaches.You can go nude, as long as you`re not lewd - but foreskins and sand are not all that compatible.

Lucyna at NZ Conservative recons the bylaw has something to do with the sexuality of the Mayor, Jenny Rowan, who is a lesbian. Both Rowan and her partner Jools Joslin were involved in a failed bid to take on the Crown in the High Court over their inability to marry, in the failed 1996 Quilter case. They subsequently got married in Canada and the case initiated the Civil Union Act.

The rationale for the bylaw was a court case Ceramalus v Police (High Court Auckland AP No.76/91), where a naked man was walking down a beach well known for naked sunbathing, and was seen by a group of teachers and children. One of the teachers told the principal who complained to the police. It went to court, the man, Nobilangelo Ceramalus was convicted and discharged but successfully appealed the conviction.

Ceramalus is currently a Waiheke Island community board member, and he blogs here.

The Judge said that most people would regard his conduct as inappropriate, unnecessary, and in bad taste, but not arouse feelings of anger, disgust, or outrage, and should not therefore have a criminal record because of it. Given that it was a nudist beach, many would see that as fair. So, merely being naked on a beach does not render a person liable to causing offence.

On a nudist beach, anyway.

But does that mean that a District Council should amend its bylaws to allow all and sundry to walk willy-nilly on beaches frequented by kids with their families? I would have thought that just because a person is not liable to cause offence by walking naked along a beach where it was not uncommon to see nude sunbathers, this does not follow that a bylaw needs to be amended so that it is entirely permissable that both men and women can be seen starkers in deliberate view of others at a sunny packed Kapiti Beach.

One of the things territorial authorities make bylaws for is to minimise the potential for offensive behaviour in a public place. This bylaw has the potential to do the opposite.

You can read the beach bylaw here, and make a submission by e-mail here. Submissions close 24 October.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Folole Muliaga was one of New Zealand's most obese women


A Coroner has found that the disconnection of power to south Auckland woman Folole Muliaga's home contributed to her death. The Coroners report is here.

It found she died of natural causes due to her morbid obesity. This isn't just someone who is fat, it's not someone who is obese, it is seriously overweight. Morbid obesity is defined as being 100 lbs. or more over ideal body weight or having a Body Mass Index of 40 or higher. (update Muilaga's BMI was 60.)

Less then two percent of men and four percent of women are that obese. People that obese need bariatric surgery.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The privileges committee report


Yes, I've read the privileges committee's report on the Winston Peters circus and can't be bothered commenting on it unless I find anything of interest. They have recommended Peters be censured by the House because he lied to and misled all and sundry. They'll vote on it tomorrow and tell Winston Peters that he's a naughty boy.

But I will state that Peters received a number of donations amounting to $40,000 that he used to pay off a loan that was used to pay Brian Henry. Peters has to relinquish that gift unless Helen Clark decides that Peters can keeps it.

You can read more about that n Farrar's good quick analysis but beware of the quality of comments.

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Fairies


Helen Clark says that believing in polls that put National at more than 50 percent support is like believing in fairies.

Had the Serious Fraud Office had been advised by the Crown Law Office before approaching the privileges committee over the Winston Peters affair, would that have been like getting advice from fairies given it has difficulty in deciding whether a balloon advertising a political party during an election period is an election advertisement?

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Tainted love from a two faced prick


Helen Clark has said that the process of investigation into Winston Peters donations saga has been tainted from the outset, and MPs on the privileges committee have already made up their minds as to whether Winston Peters s guilty or not. She said the Privileges Committee will provide nothing to justify Peter's reinstatement.
Helen Clark says the privileges committee process has been totally unsatisfactory in terms of any natural justice. She says for that reason she is unlikely to be forced into a decision over Winston Peters this week.
What utter crap. She is purposely misleading, as she later states she "very much doubts" that the committee process would do anything to reinstate Peters to his ministerial portifolios.

Well, duh, of course the committee process won't have any influence on whether Peters is reinstated or not. He was stood down because of a SFO investigation, and so a decision on reinstatement won't be made until this process has taken its course, if the Clark standard of Ministerial responsibility and dictatorship continues.

So while criticising MPs for predetermining the privileges committee outcome she has decided to publicly state - before the privileges committee report is out - that she will not sack Peters, as if the "natural justice" - or lack of it, had a significant bearing on her decision.

Helen Clark is a two faced prick. She also acts above the law.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

The Maori Party and Maori aspirations post election


Matthew Hooton writes ( in the Sunday Star Times today ) what I consider to be the most "on the button" column on the Maori Party in the MSM to date. Yet that's not saying much.

Here's my own column length post.

Hooton believes the Maori Party could hold the balance of power and if it sits on the cross benches that is veiled support of the governing party. That governing party, likely to be National, has a better view of whanau and a closer voting record than Labour on Maori aspirations, including self determination, Treaty settlements and devolution. Hooton writes that if the Maori Party rejects National and it governs alone, that would be the end of the Maori Party when National abolishes the Maori seats.

Yet Maori Party aspirations in Government is not about the Treaty, it is not even about National or Labour. It is about Maori development and Maori aspirations of which the Treaty is part. I believe the Maori Party view a ministerial warrant an essential part of this in terms of its role post November 8. However, which party they go with or the form of any agreement - coalition, cooperation - is less important than the function in terms of the value to Maori developmental aspirations. These aspirations are broader than how they fit into Government - they relate to governance, autonomy, mana motuhake, tino rangitiratanga, and self-determination, and I really wish the mainstream media understood this..

What Hooton didn't say was that there is no way that the Maori Party will go with Labour unless it is forced to do so to achieve Maori aspirations. And it won't be forced to do so. That is why National will govern. But will the party go as far as to entrench the Maori seats to get Maori support? Hooton thinks it is possible.

And there is the Ratana support of the Maori seats. November 8, as Whale Oil seems to have recently discovered, is the most important date in the Ratana Church. This year is the 90th anniversary of the date that Ratana sought to have the Treaty of Waitangi made part of the constitution. Yet Whale Oil considers that Helen Clark chose the election date was chosen because so many Ratana will be busy and she thinks they won't vote.

I disagree totally. I don't think she chose November 8 for that reason as I think she knows that Ratana will vote - and in force.

Ratana will be out in force as it wants the Treaty entrenched - and note that this does not necessarily mean that the Maori seats will be entrenched, as the Maori seats are not Treaty based. However, for the first time, a party in this election who has a real chance of gaining power has a policy to entrench the Treaty - as well as the Maori seats. Ratana was founded on the need to make the Treaty as part of the constitution. A petition to that effect was presented to King George V by Ratana, and Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia is proud of the fact that her grandfather accompanied Ratana to London to present it.

I believe that Labour sees the Maori Party as a threat. They should. I believe Hone Hariwira is has joined the "don't vote Labour" brigade, and is telling iwi and hapu to vote either Maori Party or National with the party vote. Yet National does not see the Maori Party as a threat, and with Maori Party kingmaking pressure, could be swayed to commit to supporting a bill to entrench the Treaty or to progress Maori development aspirations in an autonomous way and Hariwira, Turia and Pita Sharples know this.

( update BTW, Hariwira was on Agenda yesterday and the transcript is here.)

Given that Turia has turned her back on Labour, I think she will tell iwi, backed up with the reasons I have stated, that she will be more happy talking to National than Labour post November 8 - and that her first preference is not a formal coalition agreement. She needs iwi and hapu support.

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Family First lobby to register as a Third Party


The Family First lobby is to register with the Electoral Commission as a Third Party, thanks to the Electoral Finance Act.

Too risky not to, with the amount spent so far.

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Ex-minister link man between Peters and doners


So Winston Peters has got support from the doner kebab industry now?

...Ahhhh, subbing.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Something for Whaleoil to do


YouTube is running a web video journalism competition this month.

The aim is to tell the stories which are not normally covered by the media. You focus on a person you know and make a three minute movie about their world. All videos must be in English, up to three minutes with 100 percent original content. Details here. Ten days to go.
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We get the Ranfurly Shield for the season


Excellent, the Ranfurly Shield is finally coming back to Wellington after 26 years. Score was 27-0. And we have one defence against Tasman - at home. It`ll be a disaster if we lose that game. If we win we`ll be unbeaten for the season as well.
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This election is about trust


Do you trust Phil Goff to roll Helen Clark?
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Rating family friendliness


Family First has done what more lobby groups should be doing. It has ranked the party leaders and all politicians and parliamentary parties based on what it considers to be their "family friendliness". I've been looking at it in the past few days and doing my own analysis. This post is not analysis, it is merely comments.

Family First lists 13 issues that it believes are not family friendly. They are : prostitution reform, civil unions, relationships bill, parental notification for abortions for under 16s, Euthanasia, Care of Children, Marriage Amendment, Easter Trading, Sunday Easter Trading Sunday, Drinking Age, Street Prostitution in Manakau and the Electoral Finance Act.

Winston Peters is the most family friendly, with 77 percent, voting for Euthanasia and Sunday Trading, with Helen Clark being the most unfamily friendly leader with 8 percent, voting against Good Friday and Easter Sunday Trading.

The most family friendly MPs are ones that are unlikely to be in Parliament after the election : Gordon Copeland, Judy Turner and Taito Philip Field.They were followed by Phil Heatley and Nick Smith. The most family unfriendly are Pete Hodson and Steve Chadwick, followed by David Benson-Pope, Mark Burton, Clark, Goff and Maharey - all ministers during most of the period - then most of the Greens. The most consistent in their voting were the Maori Party and the Greens, as you'd expect, as parties with ethnic and postmaterialist cleavages more likely to vote the same as their colleagues on such issues than Left/Right parties.

However it is important to note that list MPs are usually more" family unfriendly" than electorate MPs despite most of the votes being conscience votes. Additionally, MPs change their votes during the legislative process. Two bills didn't get past the first reading, so it is a little unfair to state that an MP who were merely happy for a euthanasia bill to progress past the first reading to allow debate, but intend to oppose it later - is family unfriendly if most of his colleagues voted otherwise, but state that another MP is family friendly if he changes his vote at the third reading to what Family First think he should have done all along, ( example: Peter Dunne with the Electoral Finance Bill).

What is a little puzzling is why the Electoral Finance Bill is included and the ETS was not. The ETS is arguably more family unfriendly than the EFA.

update I emailed Family First and asked them. They said that the reason the Electoral Finance laws were added was because Family First claims that it stops them speaking out on family function and family form, and that families have as much right to be heard as those wanting to be voted for. But it's not just families, so do students, gays, satanists and everyone one else in between. It appears they didn't consider including the ETS because they maintain it doesn't affect the form or function of families. I disagree. It`ll affect the function of our family budget. Perhaps they should add it in.

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

NZ Defence Force feels threatened by the media


In this months issue of Air Force News [PDF} we read the threat to the NZDF assets and information comes from a variety of sources; foreign intelligence, terrorists – and the media
Despite New Zealand’s remote geographical location, the threat to NZDF assets and information is real and comes from a variety of sources. They include: certain elements of the media some of whom are known to have used deception in their pursuit of the next ‘big scoop. The best thing you can do is to stay vigilant and report suspicious activity no matter how insignificant it might seem.
So the NZDF’s Counter Intelligence and Security Operations Manager Peter Jackson is suspicious of the media. Perhaps he is more concerned with the threat to the NZDF’s reputation, which is sinking by the month.

It didn’t help that its Annual report stated that the Air Force had "insufficient personnel" to meet crew levels and was only "partially prepared" for complex maritime air operations. In the Navy, few of the ships managed to get out to.

Land forces were "partially" prepared for low level conflicts, it was not equipped to meet higher threat situations. There are deficiencies in command and control, firepower, and compatible protection and mobility for combat service support elements impair effectiveness in military and peace support operations.

If the NZDF doesn't want negative press, it's simple - don't generate it. It has more to be concerned about than media reports. Like flying, sailing and fighting - and recruiting people to fly, sail and fight when it is eventually in a position to give new recruits something to do.

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Charles Chauvel's vote winning strategy


Charles Chauvel put a billboard up around the corner from our house. His website is down because it breaches the Electoral Finance Act but another new website details his achievements - like his proud contribution towards free healthcare for those under six. Trouble is that the main medical centre in his electorate charges at least $15 per visit for under sixes.

How can Chauvel say that he is proud of his achievements in his electorate in his area as a Labour MP when the policy was a NZ First policy as part of its 2005 coalition agreement with Labour,and the local medical centre doesn't provide free care to under sixes?

Chauvel wasn't even in Parliament back then because he didn't get elected, he got in off the list mid-term because Helen Clark wanted him in.

Perhaps he doesn't know what goes on his electorate. He should, if he wants people to vote for him. He should also be honest in what he has contributed to his electorate as an MP.

His contribution to date has been advertising revenue for local newspapers for his clinics to promote himself.

But we paid for that through our taxes.

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signwriters on drugs


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Friday, September 19, 2008

The people who ru(i)n our country


Michael Cullen has refused to say he has confidence in the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), after its head, Grant Liddell, was before the Privileges Committee today.

As you know, the SFO is investigating the country's Foreign Affairs Minister for fraud. Winston Peters is still the Foreign Affairs Minister but has had his portfolios stripped pending the investigation. The problem is that Michael Cullen is also the Attorney General, - chief law officer and primary legal advisor of the New Zealand government - despite having no legal qualifications whatsoever. Liddell reports to the Attorney General.

He did so again today.

Liddell addressed his boss, the Attorney General with no legal training - but only because said boss is not only the country's Deputy Prime Minister, he is a member of the said Privileges Committee that is discussing possible fraudulent behaviour of a former Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer who does have law degree and is now the Foreign Affairs Minister. The investigation is over a donation the Foreign Affairs Minster received in his role as a political party leader in 2005 but failed to declare it as required by law. The person who had donated the money had earlier funded the Attorney General's political party to the extent that it won the last election and became the Government - which is why the said Attorney General is still the Deputy Prime Minister.

But after Grant Liddell has addressed the Privileges Committee, his own boss, the Attorney General, refused to say whether he had confidence in the Serious Fraud Office, while earlier refusing to advise his own boss that the fraudulent Foreign Affairs Minister should be sacked.

This boss so happens to be the Prime Minister who is also the boss of the said Foreign Minister. But she has not only got the fraudulent Foreign Affairs Minister's portfolios, she is trying to get his party supporters to vote for her party at the next election because that Foreign Affairs Minister's donor won't give her party any more money, and musician Chris Knox won't sing "It's a bitter way with Labour, way bitter" any more.

But that hasn't worked very well as a political poll just out had the said Foreign Minister's political party doubling in support, and Labour falling.

So there you have it.

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Helen Clark does not believe she has broken the Cabinet Manual over Peters


The Cabinet Manual states at all times Ministers are expected to behave in a way that upholds and is seen to uphold the highest ethical standards. Helen Clark has said that one of the very highest ethical standards that any Prime Minister should seek to uphold is the rule of law. That means going through proper process.

Therefore, Clark believes that she has not broken the rules of the Cabinet Manual in her dealings with Winston Peters, because Peters is going through a legal process which must be upheld.

But do you think it is acting in the highest ethical standard if you, on purpose, set up three different inquiries to prolong and draw out this process, publicly state you refuse to take part in that process, but instead hide behind it, instead of making an honourable decision?

Because that's what Helen Clark has done - and she says she is upholding the highest ethical standards after hiding what she knows from the public all year?

Remember this election is about trust.

(actually, with reference to the blog post heading, if the Cabinet Manual was a very thick book with brick covers perhaps I'd be quite happy for Clark to break it over Peters).

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A quote for today


Who said this, and when?
We have a country with the most amazing liberty and I will defend that to my last breathing moment.
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Trust me: these are my real teeth




This election is about trust. On the left is the Prime Minister. On the right is the person who Labour says is the leader of the Labour Party.

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Clark will "let the process continue"


Helen Clark says she will hold off firing Winston Peters until the Serious Fraud Office and the police has completed their investigations into the Winston Peter's saga.

Because Michael Cullen told her to.

Which is precisely what I have been saying all month and on Monday said
Despite whatever the privileges committee says, Peters will still keep his ministerial warrants because the SFO and police will not have completed their investigations before the election. Due process extends as far as the Prime Minster wants it to, which is why she's happy to use the SFO and police as political pawns to extend that process. Nothing is a firing offence in this government unless it is politically expedient to do so.
The reason Cullen advised the Prime Minister so was because he wants people to think that Helen Clark still can't make up her mind which version of events is true.

Peter Dunne, who is on the committee, appeared annoyed that Henry cannot recall much. He put the proposition to Henry that he was not recalling things because to do so would create further embarrassment for Peters. Of course Cullen won't be asking to have the truth clarified.

The PM is deciding nothing. It is Cullen that is making the decisions and the PM is merely agreeing with him. Clark won't make any decision before the SFO report comes out.

updateThat decision not to make a decision is the only decision Clark has made in this saga since she suspended Peters.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Michael Cullen exposed as a real dick after "toll tax"


All week Cullen has been attacking Key, saying he is unfit to be Prime Minister based on his employment at Merryl Lynch more than six years ago. He said Key had a short-term profit maximising mentality that brought Merrill Lynch to its knees.
"Do you want someone like that running the economy when we are going to be going through a difficult period. Mr Key has put forward his Merrill Lynch credentials as part an important part of his narrative. That doesn't look such a good qualification any longer for running New Zealand's economy.

That's a bit like saying Helen Clark is responsible for Labour's heavy loss in the 1990 election and is therefore unfit to be Prime Minister.

But the very same day we found out that Cullen got screwed $570 million for his train set.

What a dick! So much for financial management.

In late 2006 officials valued the New Zealand’s rail system at $120 million. That's $570 million less than the government paid for the business in July this year. In December ONTRACK made an offer of $350m - but this was bumped up to $690m.

And you paid for it.

To put it into perspective, $570 million equals the amount paid in the two biggest treaty settlements - the Treelords and Sealords deals. And $570 million is three and a half times more than Cullen budgeted in the last budget to boost elective surgery and reduce waiting lists.

It is $70 million more than the amount spent in the growth of the core bureaucracy over the past three years ; it equals the total amount the Crown put into KiwiSaver to date. It is the the amount Transit invested in developing and improving state highways last year. It's $70 million more than income splitting for tax purposes would cost each year, and it's equal to the Crown’s Kyoto liability over a five-year period (assuming a price of $15 per tonne). And it is more than the Government paid to bail out Air New Zealand in 2001.

Cullen said yesterday that the Government paid a reasonable and fair price for his train set.

I bet Toll thought so. I bet those missing out on elective surgery didn't. Neither would those who have to take their kids from their 20 hours "paid for" childcare and to take them to the doctor only to find out that doctors visits aren't as free as the Government makes out.

All Treasury documents were posted here today .

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Henry has told the truth


Updated midday
This is big news. Brian Henry lied to the privileges committee when he denied that it was Winston Peters who was his "client" in an email to Owen Glenn on 14 December 2005.

Henry and Peters have changed their stories and Henry has conceded the "client" was Winston Peters.

He made the admission in an appearance before Parliament's privileges committee via video-link today.

Last week, Owen Glenn produced phone records showing he talked to Peters on December 14, 2005. Soon after Henry sent Glenn an email with his bank details.

Glenn produced that e-mail to the select committee, and it showed Henry referred to the phone conversation with "my client" at the precise time of the phone call.

Mr Henry has previously denied the "client" was Mr Peters but today he said the pair's recollection of events was poor and their earlier story did not now seem correct.

In other words, they have been caught out lying and Winston Peters has instructed his lawyer not to lie anymore because the lies cannot be seen as credible anymore. Is this the end of Henry's career or is perjury allowed if you work for "free"?

I wonder what the party's Kaikoura electorate chairman thinks of this.

But Clark won't sack Peters, unless she considers this news meets the test of "devastating". She should, but probably won't.

Well done Rodney Hide.

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the Maori Party will take its time after the election


The Donm Post report that the Maori Party will refuse to be rushed if it holds the balance of power on election night and may take a week to decide what they should do.

That's also what they told me when I asked them yesterday - and it won't be consulting Maori until after the election result. Pita Sharples said that the party would decide after the election whether to remain in opposition, enter a formal coalition or agree to a confidence and supply arrangement.

But he told the Family First conference last week that the party was not chasing a coalition agreement. Will that change after the election? Whatever, there will be a lot of journalists parked outside hui after the election.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Clark says her management of the Peters' saga is " based on principle"


Helen Clark is a principled woman. At least, she says she believes she is. She says she has not been to soft on Peters
"Perhaps it tells you that I have been managing it in a way which is based on principle; which is that a man is going through a process, he's been stood aside from his job as happens in many employment situations of this kind, and we await the outcome.
So if she is awaiting the outcome of the privileges committee, why did she say Peters can keep his his ministerial warrants while the Serious Fraud Office, police and privileges committee conducted investigations, unless there was a "devastating reason" to immediately sack him?

Because she knows that despite whatever the privileges committee says, Peters will still keep his ministerial warrants because the SFO and police will not have completed their investigations before the election. Due process extends as far as the Prime Minster wants it to, which is why she's happy to use the SFO and police as political pawns to extend that process.

Nothing is a firing offence in this government unless it is politically expedient to do so.

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Breaching the cabinet manual is not a firing offence


post has been updated
Ian Wishart has been advised that Winston Peters has breached the Cabinet Manual again for not getting approval for a trip to Las Vegas to see a boxing match. The Hive and Hooton say this is a sackable offence.

I disagree. It is not a firing offence unless the Prime Minister says it is. If it was, Winston Peters would already be fired. The Cabinet Manual - like the Cabinet itself, has no basis in legislation. The former is a guideline and the latter a constitutional convention. In the forward to the Cabinet Manual, Helen Clark says:
The Cabinet Manual guides Cabinet's procedure. The Cabinet Manual is an authoritative guide to central government decision making for Ministers, their offices, and those working within government. It is also a primary source of information on New Zealand's constitutional arrangements, as seen through the lens of the executive branch of government. Successive governments have endorsed the Cabinet Manual as a sound, transparent, and proven basis on which to operate.I urge all those working in government to use the new Cabinet Manual and follow the guidance it contains.
It also says that ministers are accountable to the Prime Minister for their behaviour and must behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold the highest ethical standards.

So, low ethical standards and a complete disregard for the Cabinet Manual is not a firing offence. If it was, Helen Clark would be hypocritical in remaining as Prime Minister if she sacked Winston Peters because of a breach of the manual.

update Wishart was also told that the PM didn't know about Peters' detour until two weeks ago, but was that because that information was withheld from her by officials, or did she actually know and the PMs press secretary didn't bother to check with the PM before responding to Wishart?

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Who said this?


"At the last election they had a picture of Don Brash on one half, and Helen on the other half, and on Don Brash it’s got ‘KIWI’, Helen Clark ‘IWI’. You know Labour’s as fuckin supportive of Iwi as nobody."

It's not too hard to guess, is it.
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Monday, September 15, 2008

Guess whose house is on the market?



Does Winston Peters have to find another place to cook his scampi? Does Catcus Kate think Jan Trotman is giving him the short shrift? Has trotting become more important than Trotman to Peters? Is Winston Peters really List MP with no fixed abode?

Or don't they actually need four bedrooms and four carparks.

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Backbenches


Backbenches is a lot of fun. Four MPs are questioned at the Backbenches pub on a few pre-arranged issues every Wednesday evening and it is broadcast live on TVNZ7. I went to this one a couple of weeks ago - yes you can spot me in the audience - and Peter Dunne was one of the MPs.

I just happened to see Dunne over the weekend, and he told me he will be there again this week. Is this to make up for the lack of National MPs in recent weeks? Appearing twice in three weeks is fairly regular, perhaps Dunne thought the time went rather quickly and is going back for more?

Will a National MP turn up this week?
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This blog is the blog of the week


Apparently this blog is the blog of the week in the Herald on Sunday today, according to some texts I received. I wonder if that makes me the blogger of the week?

People are certainly reading the blog,I know that.

Thank you for reading Big News.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

This election is all about trust(s)


By now you'll know that Helen Clark has said this election is about trust.


hat tip Whale Oil

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It's not what it is, its what you call it that counts for Labour


Remember 20 hours free childcare? It is not free, but its called 20 hours free. But it can't be free when you have to pay for it. Think of a reverse situation - the poor people on the sickness benefit. Many of them are not sick, they are unemployed on the wrong benefit,but they are not called unemployed. We have had laws that ban smacking because people say that smacking is child abuse - its not child abuse, but it's called child abuse. We have people in the highest levels in the Labour party who lie, execpt what they say is not called a lie, its called a " misspoke".

Helen Clark's relationship with Peter Davis is called a marriage - but is it really?

Remember police quotas? Police have denied they are have quotas for issuing tickets. They have quotas all right, but they are not called quotas., they're called "minimum expectations", according to a recent leaked email.
Waitemata road policing manager Superintendent John Kelly sets out ticket targets for his district's highway patrol officers in five "fatal" offence categories.The categories are speeding, alcohol, restraints (e.g. seatbelts and child carseats), dangerous/careless driving and high-risk driving.Each fulltime-equivalent officer is expected to issue 1420 tickets a year, including 560 for speeding, the email says.

With 225 traffic officers on New Zealand roads, that means 875 tickets should be dished out to motorists throughout the country every day. And the email points out in bold type that the figures are "the minimum expectation".
If a minimum expectation is not a quota, what is it?

Perhaps we can safely say, also, that we have a Government. But does it govern - or is it just called a Government?

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

It's all go: Election on November 8


Well I was right.Again.

Just found out we have a November 8 election. So, 57 more sleeps to go.

I am very pleased to predict the election date for the second election in succession, well ahead of the announcement. I even predicted that it would be called this week.

Helen Clark has said the election is about who can be trusted to take the nation ahead. In other words Labour sees this as a FPP contest between Helen Clark and John Key. Perhaps this is because Labour has fewer friends than National. More likely it its because Labour needs NZ First if it is to be in Government, but most people mistrust NZ First due to the Owen Glenn scandal - and now the media has turned against NZ First. Helen Clark wants the metropolitan newspapers to stop writing about NZ First.

What Labour does not want anyone to hear is that a vote for Labour is a vote for NZ First, and Winston Peters in Government. Remember, Helen Clark said this election is about trust.

The Spencer Trust.

Greens co-leader Russel Norman said he hoped the election would be fought on policy rather than personal attacks.

So do we all. Labour has only released four policies, and three of those were Nationals.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Reasons to dump Winston Peters


Garth George has outlined eignt more reasons to dump Clark.
However Matthew Hooton has a reason to dump Peters and its better than George's eight reasons to dump Clark combined. It has nothing to do with the Privileges Committee hearing, and everything to do with Winston Peters' behaviour - although the hearing does reflect Peters' past behaviour.
The Cabinet Office Manual is quite clear that “Ministers are accountable to the Prime Minister for their behaviour“. People are Ministers because the Prime Minister has confidence in them, and for no other reason. It is the sole basis of them being Ministers.

It is the Prime Minister’s job, again according to the Cabinet Office Manual, to ensure her Ministers ”behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards“. It is not possible that Clark believes Peters has met this standard. At the very least, he cannot possibly any longer be
seen to have upheld the highest ethical standards. It is therefore not possible that a Prime Minister doing their job would continue to have confidence in him.

It is Helen Clark’s job as Prime Minister to act on her own judgement. It is not about “natural justice” or “due process”. If she no longer wants the responsibility that comes with that job, she should act on another section of the Cabinet Office Manual, and advise the Governor-General to dissolve Parliament and hold a general election on the soonest possible date.
But the Cabinet Manual is irrelevant, as if you break these rules there are no consequences. Helen Clark only obeys laws when there are consequences for not doing so. That's her standard.

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Winston Peters will keep the country honest


New Zealanders need New Zealand First to keep the country honest, somebody said today.

See who it was that said that.
My position hasn't changed and won't change. If Winston says he didn't ask for money then he didn't. I think in the end it will straighten out. New Zealand First policies were set in stone, rather than being designed to "vote catch", he said.

"How would you feel about John Key selling New Zealand to the Chinese? That's what this is about ... New Zealanders need New Zealand First there to keep New Zealand honest.He believed the party would not suffer from the donations controversy.

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What happened on December 14, 2005?


NB: BBC story on Winston Peters here

The Greens got its ETS bill passed under urgency, not because the Government wanted other bills passed before recess, but in case Winston Peters gets sacked today. He may. He should. He provided no evidence to the privileges committee last night that convincingly rebutted Owen Glenn's statements.

I think the whole thing comes down to one date. December 14, 2005. On that date Owen Glenn called Winston Peters. Owen Glenn says he talked money, Winston Peters said he didn't talk money, but about Glenn wanting "a roving ambassadorship with emphasis on trade... similar to Mike Moore".

Do you believe that?

Shortly after, Peters' lawyer Brian Henry's bank account was sent to Owen Glenn, on "behalf of my client". If Brian Henry can't name that client as someone other than Winston Peters, Helen Clark has no reason not to sack Winston Peters. But because Henry hasn't provided those details, despite being asked, and neither has Peters, we'll have to wait until Tuesday when Henry gets called before the committee again.

But Henry won't state that information as nobody can prove it either way. But this mess has caused so much damage to the Government that Michael Cullen - who is on the privileges committee - should not wait til Tuesday but recommend that Helen Clark should really sack Winston Peters today.

But she won't sack him today. Or tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the day after, etc.

Update I've just seen this on Stuff. Key issues remain unresolved. Hence no sacking. Helen Clark is using due process to avoid sacking Winston Peters -which is, I suspect, was the only reason Margaret Wilson decided that he should go the the privileges committee to start with - and Wilson delayed that decision so that due process would last beyond the ETS legislation.

Update 2 Here's the PMs Press statement. The refusal to sack Winston Peters has been reported as far away as France and Thailand as well as Austria.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Todays oral questions and answers in Parliament


Are here[PDF]

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Why self serving Helen Clark is corrupt


It is quite clear that Helen Clark is keeping Winston Peters on so she can pass her ETS bill tonight. The bill is at the top of the order paper - at least the draft version (thanks Keeping Stock for saving me some time). I predict the self-serving Clark wants to sack Peters shortly after the bill is passed, which looks likely to be while Peters is giving evidence to the Privileges Committee tonight.

National should delay the final vote as munch as they can by filibustering. If it doesn’t I’ll interpret that to mean that it is voting against a bill it supports.

Whatever, we don’t have representative democracy anymore. We have a president of the main Government party and a Foreign Minister who are proven liars, and a PM who thinks it is unfortunate that someone like Owen Glenn is telling the truth. Clark doesn't mind people who lie as long as they are not found out. She'll probably sack Winston Peters tonight because he got found out. Not because he lied.

Hiding the truth is not a sackable offence, neither is lying. You dont even get told off for lying. Not in New Zealand's government. Being found out for hiding the truth is not sackable offence either, neither is being caught lying. But being caught out lying in a court or a privileges committee - both of which can send people to jail - is the only sackable offence, as it is deemed worse than being cought lying outside the system.

But it is only sackable if you don't need the guilty person to pass legislation.

The above is the reason why Mike Williams did not appear before the privileges committee. Williams would be sacked.

Helen Clark's principles are screwed.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The PM knew Peters was lying


Winston Peters claims he never knew about any $100,000 donation from Owen Glenn until July last year. But today, Owen Glenn produced a phone log at a Privileges Committee hearing, showing he rang Mr Peters at 11:26am on December 14, 2005 and talked for six minutes and 41 seconds. Then Brian Henry sent Owen Glenn the details of his bank account to pay the hundred grand.

Whale Oil has the affidavits online here..

Peters lied to the PM and must be sacked.

Helen Clark didn't want to tell you that she knew that Peters was lying. She also didn't want you to know that she rang Mike Williams four times in one day in June this year he was on Owen Glenn's yacht trying to screw him for more money.

Owen Glenn said that Mike Williams rang him and told him in December 2005 that [video] the Labour party didn't object to Glenn giving $100,000 to NZ First. Helen Clark must have known that there was no "innocent explanation". If she knew about the donation back in December 2005 as Mike Williams told her about it, Clark, too, has lied to the country by saying she only found out about the donation earlier this year when Owen Glenn told her.

Matthew Hooten says there now seems little doubt that the Owen Glenn donations to New Zealand First were orchestrated by the highest level of the Labour Party.

That much can be said after Owen Glenn's appearance before the committee today.

This is from The Herald

Owen Glenn said Peters called and left a message on his telephone service on December 5, 2005. Glenn said he returned the call and Peters asked for financial assistance.He then checked with Labour Party president Mike Williams whether it would assist Labour, as that was his only intention.He had thought Williams would have told his colleagues.Williams took some time to get back him and Glenn assumed that this was to make sure Labour did not object.

Michael Cullen asked whether the person talked like Mr Peters usually did.Mr Glenn repeated that he was very sure. "I knew it wasn't you Dr Cullen...you already had your $500,000."

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Owen Glenn testifies against Winston Peters



This summarises the ODT report .

Glenn was emailed by former National MP Roger McClay on August 3 2005 to set up a meeting. The following day Glenn emailed Williams and Sir Howard Morrison asking their views on Mr Peters. A meeting went ahead and Glenn then wrote to Mr Williams on August 13. He said he had a "very informative hour with the charismatic Winstone (sic) Peters."On ugust 22, Glenn wrote to McClay again,saying it was a pleasure meeting Mr Peters and regretted he could not assist "at this time".

On December 5, a Glenn staffer emailed Williams about a message Peters left on Glenn's answer machine. An email December 12 email then talked about what day Glenn and Williams could meet.A Telstra phone bill showed a call to Peters' cellphone lasting 6min 41sec from Glenn at 11.26am on December 14.

The next emails - the same day - are between Glenn and Peters' lawyer Brian Henry about the account into which the money was to be banked. One comment from Henry clearly referred to the phone call between Peters and Glenn: "further to your discussion with my client at 1.30 NZT..."

On December 20, Glenn says he had instructed the bank and the money would be there within three to four days.Other evidence was about which year Mr Peters and Mr Glenn met at the Karaka sales. Glenn always maintained it was 2006 and Mr Peters has since said he is unsure. In an email on January 31, 2006, Mr Glenn wrote to two men talking about his upcoming lunch with Peters at Karaka.An affidavit from Paul Moroney, a bloodstock consultant and racehorse trainer, said he was at the lunch and witnessed Peters thanking Glenn for his help to him.

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Dunne does not want the Families Commission to be history


post has been updated
Yesterday I noted that John Key said the Families Commission may not be safe under National . Peter Dunne later found out and and said he is surprised and disappointed.

I'm not.

I was at the Family First forum yesterday. Key didn't "veer away from his speech" as the ODT, who wasn't there, reported. He was asked a question, in written form, from one of the delegates as to National's view on the Families Commission after he had finished his speech. Two commissioners were present. John Key said a ton of money was spent on the Commission with no real benefit, and money from some of these commissions - even the Children's Commission - should go into frontline services, including NGOs.

And another round of wankery from the Government who gets all its facts from the media. It didn't even turn up to the Family First forum and didn't notice that it was Judith Collins who led the applause to Key's speech, not the delegates. Dyson's media release said
Straying from a prepared speech, John Key has told one audience the he would abolish the Families Commission and when caught out today, changed his tune said Ruth Dyson,
Key did not stray from his speech, nor did he say that he'll abolish the commission but appeared to say it wont get as much funding as it does now. I spoke to Dyson's media officer today and he told me that he got all his information from the media.

I asked him what was the point of telling the media something if you get your information from that media, without even verifying its accuracy?

He went quiet.

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Clark to call Nov 8 election this week


Prime Minister Helen Clark will call a November 8 election later this week, she said today.

Sources advised that the election date may not be officially advised until the Emissions Trading Scheme was passed so that the PM can sew up an important position at the United Nations.

"National and Labour are polls apart, the PM's spokesperson said "but we don't want everyone to know of the election date just yet."

"Like everything, the PM will officially tell you when she wants you to know," the spokesperson said. "She needs to speak to Winston Peters first, there's a sacking to be done and a bit more (National) policy to release."

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Maori Party is not looking for formal coalition agreement post election

The Maori Party has given its closest indication yet as to what it wants to do after the election, even should it hold the balance of power in November, and it has nothing to do with a formal coalition agreement.

Maori co leader Pita Sharples gave a speech this morning at a Forum on the Family , which was hosted by the Family First lobby today. After the speech he said that the Maori Party is not looking to go into coalition with anyone after the election - at this stage.

"We're looking for a Treaty partner, not a coalition partner".

It is not inconceivable that the Maori Party, should it hold the balance of power, could decide that it would be more effective in furthering its agenda during the Government formation process, influencing a minority Government's policy programme outside of a formal coalition agreement. It could do this by one of its members becoming part of the Government - like Peter Dunne currently is - or outside of Government completely.

The Maori Party could negotiate a co-operation agreement, enter into a confidence and supply agreement, or negotiate an agreement that is a combination of the two, with the main governing party. To do so has several advantages over a formal coalition: the Maori Party will not be bound by collective responsibility or have to support all government bills while being constrained by a larger coalition partner who do not have the aspirations of Maori or Te Ao Maori at heart. In addition, it can influence the agenda and government policy before the house sits, for example, by securing government support for a Private Members bill and ensuring that it is highly prioritised in the Governments legislative agenda. Additionally it could prevent a Government from passing specific legislation, for example amending the1993 Electoral Act to abolish the Maori seats, or pass legislation to have the seats entrenched,as the general seats are, until Maori are happy to have them removed.

But if the Maori Party does agree to this type of support arrangement and Pita Sharples was to be come a minister outside cabinet with responsibility for his portfolio area only, one would wonder if your name has to be Peter, (or a variant like Peters or Pita) to be a minister while leading a non-Government party.

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United Future releases family policy


United Future released its family policy today. As well as its previously announced tax policies, Peter Dunne announced more support for Relationship Services and marriage preparation courses, and improved access to parenting education programmes. Other features are:

* family service centres for parents and children;

* character education programmes in schools;

* more support for children with disabilities through a Caregivers Allowance;

* shared care for children of separated families, DNA paternity testing where necessary; and

* a review of the Family Court and the Child Support system.

And earlier, John Key, at Family First's Forum on the Family today, emphasised his earlier policy that 20 hours free is going to be extended to playcentres and Kohanga Reo, hinted that current funding for the Families Commission is not safe under National and that the funding should go to the NGOs in the front line who are dealing with families.

He specifically committed to funding groups like Parents Inc, should National win the election. Parents Inc get absolutely no Government funding whatsoever, because the Government is ideologically opposed to their Christian views and that is a disgrace when the Families Commission get so much for so little result. Incidentally, at least two of their commissioners are Christians.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

National to be busy after election


National is going to be busy after the election changing the RMA, repealing the EFA, and amending the ETS. It is also going to abolish the Electoral Law panel appointed by the Greens and Labour only yesterday. It's a decisive move after National was not approached in discussions for a panel that should not be decided based on partisan self serving politicians who only want state funding of political parties because they're broke.

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Kissing the girls make Family Party cry


Oh dear. The Family Party doesn't like girls kissing because it can lead to increased abortion rates and alcohol and drug abuse as it is promiscuous behaviour. The Edge FM radio station encouraged girls to publicly kiss for about 20 seconds, with one girl/girl couple winning a trip to Melbourne to see Katy Perry, singer of the hit song "I kissed a girl and I liked it."

The party said the station is putting their agenda before those who are "innocently and unwillingly exposed" to such filth.

Given that the girls willingly took part, with males willingly watching, they are not unwillingly exposed any more than to say it is true that girls get abortions from kissing other girls. It would have been better for the Family Party to say that it was discriminatory in that males were not allowed to enter.

Boys kiss girls too. In fact it is boys kissing girls that is a factor in abortion rates going up (provided said kissing is not restricted to 20 seconds), something that appeared to be lost on the Family Party.

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Vote for me



The Greens have started its campaign with advertising. They want your vote.
The is time the aim is to make an emotional, heartfelt connection with voters to appeal to them to think about the bigger picture and the solutions the Green Party stands for on Election Day,” says Dr Russel Norman, Green Party Co-Leader.
So, the Greens want you to vote for them but they're not telling you why. An appeal to emotional heartfelt connections don't make anyone think about solutions, especially when they are not offered.

I'd vote Green if they'd give me a reason to. I thought a campaign was about providing that reason, not by issuing billboards that look like postage stamps.

Update It appears I'm not alone in thinking that too.

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

More lies from NZ First revealed


On Wednesday I asked this, regarding the NZ First donations
I wonder how much money that should have been declared to Electoral Authorities was part of the repayment of $158,000 that was sitting in a NZ First bank account generating interest for a year before being distributed to undisclosed charities?
We got some of that answer in today's papers.The donation that spurred Winston Peters' infamous "no" press conference was $80,000, was paid last December, and went towards the $158,000 for wrongful spending at the last election. Is that what the Velas paid money to NZ First for? If so, do they have the right to ask which charities it went to? Did it actually go to charities, despite Margaret Wilson saying that she has received the names of the charities - or was that list a lie too, and Peters has misled the speaker as well?. Maybe the list of charities is a list that Peters didn't give to?

So although the $80,000 wasn't sitting in the NZ First bank account for a year, this undeclared donation has generated several thousand dollars worth of interest. Now it is generating interest of another kind, not just because it wasn't declared but because nobody seems to know who has got it now. And I believe Helen Clark knows a lot more about what went on than she has revealed to date, which is why she doesn't want to appear before the privileges committee or honestly answer these two questions.

Have you been told what charities received a total of $158,000, and do you know if they received the money?
Have you been made aware if Mike Williams approached Owen Glenn or Brian Henry with relation to financially supporting Winston Peters' petition against Bob Clarkson. If so, when, and to whom was that approach made?.

And I agree with No Minister in that Labour president Mike Williams needs to go before the privileges committee. He needs to explain Labour's involvement in getting Owen Glenn's support for Winston Peters' petition against Bob Clarkson in 2005, because Glenn gave the money to NZ First as he was a Labour supporter. He should be asked if -and when - he gave Brian Henry Owen Glenn's phone number and whether he suggested to Glenn that he give money to NZ First's petition. And Winston should be asked when he got that phone number from Brian Henry.

Honest answers will give the Serious Fraud Office something more to do and reveal systemic corruption once the ducks - Mike, Helen and Winston ( and ducklings Brian Henry and Margaret Wilson) - are in a row and the dots are joined.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Roy Morgan Poll


The Roy Morgan Poll is out and The Standard is saying the left is ahead of the right, and has the graph to prove it.


So why does The Standard say the left is ahead? Easy really. They include the Maori Party as part of the left even though its not a left party, allocate it four seats even thought it will get at least six.

Roy Morgan's polling noted that the LPG block has 46 percent; with 58 seats, as Anderton's seat is an overhang seat - and the National/Act/UF block has 47 percent, also getting 58 seats.

But that's irrelevant as the Maori Party hold the balance of power. In fact the Maori Party and National are polling higher than the LPG. So at this stage of the campaign it doesn't matter if the trend is a rising left, because if the right get the Maori party onside means that it's game over for LPG, even if they get more than the right on polling day.

NZPA sums up
The results indicate that although National still holds the lead, Labour and the Greens could outflank it unless one of the minor parties decided to support National.
Really. Stunning analysis. In terms of determining an outcome that's as stunning as saying the results also indicate that although Labour and the Greens are ahead of National, National can outflank it without the Maori Party. And it can. But that's equally irrelevant.

If this poll translates to seats in the house, and the Maori Party abstains on confidence and supply, its a hung parliament.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Electoral Finance Act has "chilling effect" on democratic participation in political activity


Well, I finally got the notes of a speech given by Electoral Commission chief Helena Catt at yesterday's $900 per person Nexis Lexus electoral finance law forum . Catt said the Electoral Finance Act has a "chilling effect" on the extent and type of participation in political and campaign activity - and it hasn't helped that "the meanings of significant sections of the legislation are obscure".

Catt said that a lot of early complaints of illegal activity originated from political factions within the blogosphere, and related to interpretation of the election advertising exemption for expression of personal political views online.

She also appeared frustrated that the Commission can't make timely decisions on this shonky law.
We have been unable to be as fast or definitive in our actions or guidance as would be desirable. We are also (and have been), rightly, open to challenge. The commission is not confident that it will be able to reach informed positions on the interpretation of some provisions within the election period,and notes that the situation is exacerbated by the legal reality that it cannot finally determine questions of whether, for instance, an item is an election advertisement
.A lack of broad political consensus through the passage of the bill and since has resulted in difficult law delivered into a litigious environment, Catt said. All this means that the Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission has acknowledged that the Commission cannot satisfactorily implement the law it is entrusted with implementing. It cannot promise consistent, timely and accurate application of the law , nor can it resolve basic interpretive questions - like what is the meaning of an election advertisement - because the Electoral Finance Act is such bad law.

And the Emissions Trading Scheme law looks like it will be worse. Just ask any Maori hapu or iwi who are aware of such issues.

More on that later.

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Is it a big deal if you break the law if you are an amateur and have Ministerial connections?

note: post retitled to reflect post content
Helen Clark has has accepted NZ First’s word that NZ First made a mistake in not declaring the $50,000 to the Electoral authorities - but it is no big deal because NZ First is an amateur organisation
Miss Clark said she was taking NZ First’s explanation at face value: “They’re a small party with a rather amateur organisation, these things can happen.
I’m a small individual with a rather amateur car. If I make a mistake and go a bit too fast and get caught speeding, can I say it was a mistake if I have to go to court to pay a fine? And like NZ First redeclaring its illegal 2005 Election return, could I reverse really fast on the same area of road to undo the lawbreaking?

Or if I get caught smacking my kids - as it is against the law - and get hauled before the courts, could I say "I'm an amateur parent, with a rather small family, these things can happen."

Or would I only get off lawbreaking if I was associated with a Minister of the Crown, like David Cunliffe did when he smacked his kids.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A mistake - yeah right


I very much doubt that the non declaration of the $50,000 donation to NZ First as mentioned in a previous post was an administative mistake.. Perhaps being found out was the mistake. Anyone who had looked at the Spencer Trust account would know about this money going to NZ First - including Winston Peters as soon as he became " aware" of the Trust. The fact that NZ First has claimed to have only a couple of donations over $10,000 over the past 10 or so years does not sound convincing as the bank statement from the Spencer Trust shows three in as many weeks.

Now that we know that there is a donation that was not declared, will Helen Clark comment on this illegal behavior, or is illegality only deemed to be wrong if one is able to be prosecuted? I wonder how much money that should have been declared to Electoral Authorities was part of the repayment of $158,000 that was sitting in a NZ First bank account generating interest fora year before being distributed to undisclosed charities?

I'd be willing to bet that there have been no donations under $10,000 that went to the Spencer Trust as this trust appears to be set up for the purpose of subverting electoral laws.That is not a mistake - but I wonder how many other administrative mistakes were made.

Update Helen Clark and Winston Peters are refusing to comment on Winston Peters' lies to the public and to the PM - leaving other NZ First MPs to do the talking. Clark knew Peters lied from early days - she certainly knows now that he lied - but she doesn't want to seek the "innocent explanation" she claims is the answer to solving this, because she knows there is no innocent explanation.

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Front fell off


This is the funniest YouTube video I've seen for a while. It's a video that you won't watch just once, but over and over again. Actually, its probably the funniest Aussie YouTube video I've ever seen - not the best, that was the free hugs video that has had more than 30 million views.

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The Standard stuffs up again


The Standard is a Labour-funded blog well known for banning right wing bloggers from commenting - especially if they fact check them or tell the truth about certain things. I am not a right wing blogger - more centre left - but am not averse to consistently pointing out errors in their blog posts.

One blogger, Chris Elder, communications staffer for the Prime Minister, who blogs in work time, posted a picture of a plane in Wellington that was taken by a correspondent. He said it was Lord Ashcroft's plane, and the chumps at the Standard believed him. Lord Ashcroft visited John Key last week. Here's the pic.


But this is not Lord Aschcroft's plane, as I pointed out.In fact Lord Ashcroft's plane looks different. Much different. Different tail number, different number of windows. Different plane, as you can see.

So I let them know and asked if they would check their facts on their 9th floor computers before posting. They didn't like that so they banned me for a while.

And apparently, that's standard practice and behaviour in the 9th Floor, as other bloggers will attest.No free speech allowed. Disagree, challenge and point out errors, associate bloggers at The Standard with their employment at the EPMU or the 9th Floor and they'll either control you, ridicule you or ban you - in itself a form of control.It's not just the NZ First party that does that now.

But The Standard, in Clarkesque style, continue to use smear tactics on others in their very next post ( update and write baseless allegations and offensive language in my blog comments, repeating these comments on their blog and giving me no opportunity to state the truth on their blog because they have banned me from commenting on theirs).

True Labour values. I have offered The Standard the opportunity to back up their allegations in comments, and would be pleased if they were to do so.

Thank you for reading Big News.

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NZ First donations


The SFO has got the Spencer Trust accounts now. We hope they have them all. The Spencer Trust - which Winston Peters said he had never heard of, even though his brother was running it on behalf of his party - was formed in August 2005 and the $25,000 from Bob Jones was paid into the Spencer Trust on 19 August and then paid to NZ First a week later as part of a $50,000 payment from multiple donors.
The reference is D/C meaning it was paid by direct credit. But Jones wrote a cheque! Where was that cheque banked into? Does anyone know whether the "or bearer" was crossed out on the cheque? If not, the cheque was either doctored or NZ First has two Spencer Trust accounts. Who paid the blacked out money? Was this account set up to get the Bob Jones and others money and hide it from electoral authorities, given that Jones' money was the first entry in the account.

It's a fair bet that Helen Clark knew that Peters had broken the law before the privileges committee announced its inquiry.

This year, NZF filed a late donation return and used the ‘reasonable’ excuse for its lateness that they had to wait for Winston to return from overseas before they could file it. Is it false?

But what did Winston have to do with it?

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

How weird is this?


No Right Turn points out that, according to the graphic for the latest Herald digipoll, [story here], the Christian Heritage Party - which disbanded in 2006 after leader Graham Capill's rape conviction- is polling 0.4%, ahead of both the Alliance and United Future. So, a party that doesn't exist is polling higher than a party headed by a Minister.

But it gets better.

The CHP's vote has doubled since April - and it is the only party to achieve that feat as well. [ Update: Not true, Act also did]. The CHP is currently the biggest polling party outside parliament - but its support will dramatically drop on election night!

I had a chat to Audrey Young to get a further breakdown of this month's poll. The combined support for the the Alliance, United Future, Jim Anderton's Progressives, and the Baldock/Copeland Kiwi Party is lower than the Christian Heritage party vote. Add to this the El Jefe's Pacific Party, and the Family Party (Destiny in drag) who didn't poll.

Collectively these six parties are polling lower than the CHP. They have three Ministers, one former Minister, an additional current MP and a former MP, whereas the CHP has never had an elected MP and doesn't even exist.

And, still, people want to vote for them. Now that's really weird. Even Audrey Young is baffled why, month after month, people indicate a CHP vote when asked "which party will you cast your party vote for if an election was held today?"

Update watch the Kiwi, Family, and United Future vote jump at the next big poll or the one after. If the former two get their act together and let everyone know who they are. Most people - even Christians - don't know the difference between Kiwi and Family parties.

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