BIG NEWS: 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Entire abortion committee resigns

The Abortion Supervisory Committee has advised that the Abortion Standards Committee has resigned.

The Standards Committee consisted of experts in the fields of obstetrics and gynaecology, women’s health, primary care, nursing and counselling, and was set up under section 15 of the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977 to develop standards for the provision of abortion services. The committee was appointed by the Abortion Supervisory Committee, but its membership was never made public. It could well have been some of these people.

Justice Miller in the High Court in Wellington on 9 June
stated that
“there is reason to doubt the lawfulness of many abortions authorised by certifying consultants, we have abortion on request.”

Justice Miller confirmed that the Committee does in fact have the power to hold certifying consultants accountable for the lawfulness of abortions they authorise and to question them why they are using mental health grounds to authorise 98 percent of abortions.

In light of the court case, the Standards Committee would have a difficult job developing standards within the law without changing current practices, given that most abortions are done unlawfully. Given that this committee was directed by the Abortion Supervisory Committee, one wondered why it existed in the first place.

Meanwhile Justice Miller will again be hearing the ongoing case between Right To Life and the Abortion Supervisory Committee on 20 July. Right to Life wants to have Justice Miller issue clear declarations to the Abortion Supervisory Committee setting out its statutory powers and duties.

In the past financial year fees amounting to $5,048,096 – excluding GST – were paid to people to kill unborn children.


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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Metiria Turei is the Greens co-leader

Congratulations to Metiria Turei, who has been elected as the Green Party's new co-leader at the party's annual conference today.

Will the Greens now have a campaign song about living in a Metiria world?

Sue Bradford was smacked out of contention. Some say she was never really in contention.

Jeanette Fitzsimons is staying on as a backbencher.


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Metiria Turei

Good to hear that Metiria Turei will probably be the new Greens co-leader this weekend.


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CPAG: Action group for the poor or cheerleaders for the left?

Child Poverty Action Group released a list of nine things it wanted to see the Government do to "reduce the effect of the recession of New Zealand's children". CPAG researcher Donna Wynd says poverty is damaging and urged action in light of the recession.

After the 2008 budget, the CPAG congratulated Labour and applauded the Greens for its home insulation progress in Budget08. There was no nine point plan criticising the Labour budget. This year, the CPAG criticised the budget for not doing anything for Maori. There was notably no CPAG release after Budget09 congratulating National on the home insulation programme announced as a result of the Greens memorandum of understanding. It's a much better deal than the Greens would ever get out of Labour. But CPAG are primarily Labour supporters, and Donna Wynd was a candidate for the Greens at the last election hoping for a Labour government. Is that why CPAG can't be seen to be too complimentary of National?

On the latest wish list was this:
Tax capital gain from residential property in a fair way, for example by using the risk-free rate of return method.
Like that's going to do anything abut child poverty. Why on earth can't the CPAG be a proper action group on poverty and at least promote things that WINZ already provides? Things that most poor families don't apply for because they don't know they can. Like up to $1100 of free food grants a year, and advances for those who can't pay power bills? That is more than a third of the amount of an In Work Payment that the group considers beneficiary families should be entitled to - and taking advantage of entitlements will reduce the effects of a recession.

The Child Poverty Action Group had a post-budget breakfast yesterday morning. Russel Norman was there - paying for his cab, of course. Wonder if he congratulated his former candidate about her suggestion of taxing the rich to pay for things like ending child poverty? Naa - he probably had a chuckle at Roger Douglas' expense, given Douglas had to vote for the removal of National's tax increases and vote for the Green's home insulation fund.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tax cuts canned

Finance Minister Bill English has confirmed that tax cuts planned for next year and 2011 have been canned as the Government wrestles with deficits projected to blow out to more than $9 billion in the next two years.Auto payments to the Super Fund will be suspended for 10yrs while the country is in deficit as Govt reins in a debt track that would have seen every Kiwi owe $45k by 2023.

Be sure to check out Keith Ng explain one or two important things - and why superannuation could be a big deal in the next election - except he doesn't say that . It`ll be a big deal alright. As contributions to the super fund are cut, less money will be going into it in future. But the cost of paying super is expected to rise.

Bill English says that contributions don't affect NZS entitlements, as future governments will pay for it. So English is committing to a fund - with a payout of 66% of the average wage - he can't afford to fund, and possibly committing to payments he may not be able to pay. Meaning smaller payments. But future governments can sort that matter out later if they want current payments to be maintained, even though the fund was set up precisely - as Ng reminds us - because future government wouldn't be able to afford the payments.

Next year's budget is going to be interesting.


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Maori Party says it did well in the budget

The Maori Party said it has secured $120.3 million over the next four years specifically for Maori initiatives in today’s Budget. It didn't say it has gained no new money for Maori Affairs.

The party has identified that real benefits and opportunities will exist for iwi and Maori groups in another $10.9 billion that has been allocated to various areas within the Budget over the next four years.
In addition the Party has secured:
An extra $22.2 million spent on reducing the time it takes to
settle Treaty claims.

An extra $19.9 million being allocated over the next four years to address underachievement by mainstream secondary schools in educating Maori.

$15.9 million over the next two years to settle outstanding Treaty settlements over aquaculture.

$12 million of new money being allocated over the next two years for housing in rural areas where there are significant numbers of Maori.

$4.5 million to help Maori families access te reo Maori and an extra $1.2 million to help iwi radio.

It's reallocation.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Shock horror!! Childhood smacking led to attempted suicide

Is this for real? Or is the person who wrote this a woman named Anthea who used to work for the Families Commission? Maybe she still does.

"When I was about three years of age, I was molested. As a result, when I was smacked by my parents, the pain simulated me sexually. As time progressed, the continued childhood discipline smacking with the pain and humiliation associated with it caused me to become sexually attractive to the pain. I began to self-harm. The resulting intense shame, secrecy and anxiety surrounding this addictive behaviour became very long-term. Later in life it led to two suicide attempts.

I now put the shame where it appropriately belongs – at the feet of those who sexually molested and smacked me in my childhood and at the feet of individuals who still believe it is OK to smack children.

I am able to inflict high levels of pain on myself as ‘sexual stimulation’ resulting from childhood conditioning caused by being smacked. This conditioning is now managed by ongoing medical support to prevent actual self-harm.

I suffer from life-long debilitating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder resulting from the treatment I received as a child.

I disclose my real life story because smacking children as was legal under [the old] Section 59 is still considered ‘harmless’. This mindset has the real potential to put many children at risk - as it did to me. My life has been irreparably damaged by the smacking culture in my childhood.

I have witnessed many other sufferers deal with the psychological impact resulting from childhood smacking during many group psychotherapy sessions over the years."

Robert[not his real name]"

I bet it's not his real name.Who'd be silly enough to put a real name to a story like that?


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Monday, May 25, 2009

Nth Korea conducts a nuclear test

We have successfully conducted another nuclear test on May 25 as part of the republic's measures to strengthen its nuclear deterrent," the North's official KCNA news agency said.


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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Jimmy Mason: The count, the punch, and the “ear flick”

The "ear flick" dad - as the media loves to call him - Jimmy Mason, appeared on the Sunday programme tonight to air his views on his court case. Last week he faced charges of assaulting his child in Christchurch. Earlier in the month I was asked whether I thought Mason would be convicted. I said he has to be convicted of something.

And he was. Although I understand that the conviction has not yet been entered.

One of the charges Mason faced was for punching his son in the face and pulling – Mason called it "flicking" - his ear while he was riding his bike with his brother. A teacher and an off duty policewoman witnessed the assault, the cop reported it to the police, six police turned up to speak to the witnesses. Then Mason was rung up and let off with a warning two days later because police considered the assault was inconsequential under the anti-smacking legislation.

Mason then blabbed to the media saying that he was disciplining his kids and complained about the warning for an “ear flick”, hoping media coverage would provide public outrage and pressure to remove the warning. So the witness read this story, then she contacted the mediaand went back to the police, who then charged Mason with assault. Apparently, he intends to appeal.

I wonder if this teacher was a supporter of Sue Bradford's anti-smacking legislation? Russell Brown, of Public Address is. He clearly stated as fact, that a jury has found Mason guilty of punching his four year-old son in the face, then criticises those who question that. And the extent of his criticism surprised me because he’s normally a pretty reasonable sort. But The Christchurch Court News did not say he was found guilty for a punch, assuming that’s where Brown got his info from. Just that the punch was part of the count he was guilty of. Even Mason said he didn’t know what part/s of the count he was guilty of.

Granted, the evidence apparently was that Masondid punch his son, but the court was told there was no evidence of injury to the face. The count Mason was found guilty of was a punch as well as the " ear flick" as it is been so widely reported in the media. We don't know for certain whether he was found guilty for the punch, as Russell Brown authoritatively claims, the ear pull, as Family First's Bob McCoskrie would like to hope - or both, as appears possible given that they were both part of the same count.

Brown says:
So why on earth is the Herald's story this morning headlined "Ear-flick' father guilty of assault". Wouldn't 'Father who punched son in the face found guilty of assault' be a more appropriate headline?
Perhaps it would be if the Herald knew if that was what he was found guilty of. One thing everybody should agree on now: THe case was not a test of the anti-smacking law. Even the courts said that.

However, that didn't stop Deborah Morris-Travis of The Yes Vote claim, after hearing that the boy had been punched in the face by his dad that the [anti-smacking] law has passed a very important test" with the Mason case. Even the judge had cautioned against this stance. Yet most people with half a brain would have acknowledged that the law had nothing to do with this case. Unfortunately this comment was not included in the summing of the interview's key points.

Brown goes on to attack his critics – and for some time has described them as enablers of abuse - using his his consistently inaccurate use of the word “pro-beating” to cover anything from a light tap with the hand to a vicious beating with a length of hose, which has rendered that term completely useless in any debate. But I’m starting to suspect may have been the intention all along.

Of McCoskrie and the Sensible Sentencing Trust’s Garth McVicar, who apparently get the ear of the media, Brown states:
They're on speed-dial precisely because they will always instantly give a quote, even when they have no idea what they're taking about.
But guess who said this on speed dial when heard about the "ear flick":
If an adult whacked another adult around the ear, they would be "marched down to the slammer." [but] Police have used their discretion by choosing not to prosecute the man and believes a warning is the right punishment for incident.
And this:
The most common cause of death by child abuse in this country is from injuries to the head. This should never be taken lightly.
Like, an "ear flick" was the same as a whack in the head that can cause death!!! I’m sure you can guess. At the time these people – Sue Bradford and Cindy Kiro - had no idea what they were talking about. They and their ilk are inconsistent. They want adults to be treated the same as kids under the law, ( well, they`ll pick and choose which laws), while saying it is fine to "march [adults] down to the slammer" if they flick the ear of another adult, but say it's fine to let let them off if they do it to a kid as part of parenting. In other words it's fine to break the law as long as the police think it's ok. They are inconsistent when it suits. Russell Brown shares that inconsistent perspective. He needs a good cup of herbal tea and a wee lie down.


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HoS journalist goes after another celebrity and doesn't quite pull it off

After the Christine Rankin and toffee pop stories Carolyne Meng-Yee wrote last week, I was wondering which celebrity she'd go after this week. This week's one is Mike King.
Mike King’s manager sought thousands of dollars from the Pork Board after the comedian was dropped from its television campaign - and after King had been alerted to pig-farming concerns.

King says he knows nothing about his manager's request for compensation. But the Pork Board is now going on the front foot against its former frontman, claiming that it had previously discussed pig-farming issues with him.King denies this.

Former Pork Board chief executive Angus Davidson - the man in charge when King was hired - believed publicity about pig-farming was "unavoidable" over the past few years. He believed he had discussed the subject with King.
Meng-Yee was probably hoping like hell he could prove he had done so, then she could go in with the kill with a story headed "Dumped King sought thousands from Pork Board". The report provided no criticism of the Pork Board, of course.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

The results are in on the Wanganui v Whanganui referendum

And here they are.


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Friday, May 22, 2009

NZ Herald continues the draconian lapsing of standards - does it get "supplied" pictures through Google?

The photo in the NZ Herald’s story Green MP: Super City agency has ‘draconian powers' today is captioned “Green Party MP Sue Kedgley / Photo supplied”.

Ha! Supplied? Perhaps they mean flogged - from the Green Party website.

It's now pulled. Perhaps that is because it is Helen Kedgley, Sue's sister.

This wouldn't be the same New Zealand Herald that got a "supplied" picture of Margo McAuley - Christine Rankins husbands ex-wife - from the Internet as well - given its published pic was the same pic that appeared on McAuleys online Tribute site? Surely not.

Then there's this!
If you really want to know, I would like to ring his [Leo's] blinkin' neck," she said.
Ring? Or wring.

Hat tip Frogblog.


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Government tells the United Nations to get stuffed

The United Nations has recently issued a report on New Zealand, saying how wonderful it is that the anti smacking legislation was passed but how terrible it is that we are using Taser stun guns, because they are a form of torture, a bit like smacking is.

So the Government says it will speed up the rollout of Taser stun guns and next week's budget will deliver the money for these torturous devices.

Good job. Better to use a stun gun than a shotgun and kill someone. The UN didn't think of that. So it must be better to smack a kid than to beat one up and kill 'em. So let's reintroduce legal smacking to avoid child abuse, and raise our glasses middle fingers to the UN.

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Who's on the board, Miss Ford?

It has just been announced that Mark Ford is to chair the Auckland Regional Transport Authority

Like that was a surprise.
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Uh-oh - that's no way to announce an election

Labour's chief whip in the UK is Nick Brown. Austin Mitchell is a Labour MP and a former whip. They are discussing the UK election, which apparently may be in a few weeks after a new speaker is appointed. The current speaker was forced out earlier this week. Brown's Twitter has been deleted, after earlier being restricted. That's what you get when the whip tells MPs - via Twitter - when the election may be.

Gordon Brown didn't use Twitter to clarify things.
hattipvia Kester Brewin

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Former student president gets kicked out of university

Joel Cosgrove really is an idiot. He has been disenrolled from Victoria University where he has been studying for the last... well few years actually. He has been thrown out - along with Alastair Reith - for staging an anti war protest at Victoria where they were filmed burning a NZ flag.The group say they were attempting to highlight New Zealand's involvement in wars of aggression from the Boer War, the World Wars, Vietnam and Afghanistan.

The students are rejecting the university's actions, saying they will continue to attend all their classes.

update It appears that they won't be able to sit mid-year exams but will be able to re-enrol for the second trimester in July.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jimmy Mason would have been convicted even if he had not punched his son in the face, and was charged under the old law

Today , the media reported that Jimmy Mason was convicted of assault for hitting his four year old son, in a case viewed as a test case on the anti-smacking legislation.

It is nothing of the sort.

The court report is here and the case has drawn some debate over at Public Address.

One of the charges Mason faced was for punching his son in the face and "flicking" his ear. Most people seem to think that Mason should have been found guilty for punching his son the face whatever the law - therefore the anti-smacking legislation is irrelevant to this case.

But what about the "flick on the ear". Well, just as the Timaru lady's horse whip was a riding crop, this flick was actually a pull- a good yank. Mason admitted that offence, saying that he was correcting - he calls it discipline - his child. He blew the only two defences he had.

You can't get off an assault charge if you admit you did it, or make a plea on the grounds of corrective discipline. Mason did both. If the charge was just the ear pull, the police would not have have pressed charges if they deemed it to be inconsequential correction. However, had they deemed it to be non-corrective assault, they may well have and Mason would have been convicted.

So I have to take issue with Deborah Morris-Travers of The Yes Vote who, in the context of this case, assumes the new child discipline legislation makes it clearer for judges and juries. First, the law is hardly new. It's been around for a while now. Secondly this case has nothing to do with the anti-smacking legislation, so it can't be part of the test of that assumption, purely because child discipline legislation is as irrelevant as the 1955 Eden Park Trust Act in in this case - even under the previous Section 59 of the Crimes Act.

updateBut I do think it is relevant that a woman cop was walking past at the time, and spoke to Mason. According to the media report of the court case, Mason told her at the scene that he punched his older son. If it was good enough for her to relay that conversation in court (as I believe she did), surely it was good enough for her to tell cop who gave Mason the initial warning what Mason told her. Then charges could have been pressed at that point before Mason blabbed to the media.

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And the dad is…

Well the DNA tests are out and a guy called Tyler Barker, 14, is the father of teen slut Chantelle Stedman’s daughter Maisie. He lives at the same housing estate as Stedman.

It was revealed in March that the dad was not Alfie Patten after the boy took a DNA test. Five other boys claimed to have slept with the girl.

Barker's dad said Stedman seduced his son while he was drunk — and told how Tyler wept when he realised he could have fathered the tot.

Initially the courts ruled that the children's rights superseded the rights of the media to report the story.

But earlier this month a further judgment by Mrs Justice Eleanor King made it possible to report certain facts, including that DNA testing had established Tyler to be the baby's father.

The judge condemned the 'gross error of judgment' by Alfie's father, Denis Patten, and Chantelle's mother in thrusting their ' vulnerable children' into the media spotlight in the first place.

Regardless of who is the baby’s biological father, she was born after a bunch of kids thought they could play at adults — but seem to have been given no sense of real values and responsibility.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Will the NZ Herald apologise for repeating urban myths without checking facts?

The NZ Herald should really stop getting its editorial content from the Sunday News.

"One simple phone call would have revealed that what the NZ Herald said this morning about Christine Rankin dancing with her future husband at Sky City on Election night is an urban myth. It is false, it is wrong, it is a lie that is perpetuated by those who hate Christine Rankin, including the Herald. Is the Herald going to apologise for the lie that has been exploited against Ms Rankin?

Christine Rankin did not dance with her future husband on election night. Nor was she filmed dancing with her husband to be on election night. She did not dance on election night. My understanding was that Kim McIntyre was not even at the function - he was in Wellington."

Listen to Leighton Smith here: (H/T WhaleOil.)


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A question for National

If John Key wants Christine Rankin to only speak about her role in the Families Commission, would it be a good idea if he told his MPs to desist from speaking publicly about the appointment, and instead advised them to stick to speaking about their own portfolios?


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Budget lockup lockout

Treasury is demanding bloggers (including me) and reporters of the student media pay $108 to attend the pre-budget lockup next Thursday. Traditional media get in free, because, apparently it believes bloggers don't have a legitimate reason for attending, unlike newspapers, tv and radio.

They all got in for free last year. Is this new policy to assist MSM reporting that is getting weaker by the week?

Perhaps it's time for a blogger's budget blackout to oppose the budget lockup lockout. (Try saying that quickly).

Hattip Qantas media award winner Bernard Hickey.

Update Gee that was quick! Treasury have just called Hickey to waive the budget lockup entry fee for Here's hoping they do it for all bloggers.


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Monday, May 18, 2009

Sixty percent of British voters will not vote for mainstream parties

Sounds like the main parties in the UK have taking a poundingafter revelations about the expenses claims of the nation's MPs. If an election was held now, 17 percent will vote one of the minor parties - thats bigger than Labour's support - and 23 percent will not vote at all. But more than half black voters will not vote.

There's going to be a pretty low turnout at the next election. All it needs is a swing to the Liberal Democrats of the Greens and one ofthese two could be the second biggest party in parliament behind the Tories. Labour may end up being one of the minor parties. It's that bad.

Also, the Speaker is on the brink of becoming the first in more than 300 years to be forced out of office after the leader of the Liberal Democrats defied political convention and called on him to step down over his handling of the expenses. The speaker's former media advisor, John Stonborough says on his blog "It gives me no great pleasure to say “I told you so, Mr Speaker"

Ian Dale, as usual, writes well about this sorry mess. I rekon Speaker Michael Martin will stick it out until the election. But for now bloggers and the media are calling for an unprecedented boycott of the main political parties. Imagine what would happen here if there was widespread disapproval of both National and Labour in New Zealand- the left and right factions of the blogosphere would have a field day.


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Jimmy Mason

Who thinks Jimmy Mason should be found guilty of assault?


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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Families Commission is silent

Anybody know why the Families Commission has put out no media releases since 16 December 2008?

Update apparently the commission has put out some releases. Try and find them on the media release page. The website doesn't migrate them, and the ones from January to April are not here either.

It's not just the mix of commissioners that need an overhaul - the website does too.


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Christine Rankin releases a statement

This statement was released by Christine Rankin tonight.

Over the past week there has been a media storm over my appointment as a families commissioner and most recently the awful circumstances relating to the death of Margo McAuley.

It is a situation that is almost beyond dealing with. Margo was for a long time, a friend. A complex friend, at times a difficult friend, but a friend.

Emotionally, her marriage to Kim was over a very long time ago, and last year Kim decided to leave Margo.

Many think there was an affair. There was not. Read the full statement here. and watch the TVNZ interview here.


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Someone likes Christine Rankin. Very much

I for one, like Christine Rankin. I like her very much. I know she is unusual but I know her to be honest and committed to what she believes in. I met her first when I went to Wellington years ago to interview her about the allegations of extravagance with the hiring of the aircraft and the WINZ conference.

It's from Paul Holmes. Posted tonight. Can't disagree with him. Too much.


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New Zealand to sign indigenous declaration

At the Maori and Parliament conference, we were told that the Government is on the way to endorsing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

This follows Australia's lead in accepting the guidelines for dealing with indigenous populations.

A week later Waatea News reports it.
Mr Key says New Zealand could follow the Rudd Government in Australia in belatedly accepting the guidelines for dealing with indigenous populations.

“Australia's sort of caveated its position. If New Zealand was to move, there would certainly be some caveats there. We’re working our way through it, and if we can get to a position where we can sign it I think that would be a good thing. It’s another step forward. It’s on the world stage. We’d be viewed in a slightly better way event though the ridiculous thing is we should be viewed a lot better than many of the countries who have signed it because we are actually walking the walk in this country when it comes to the rights of indigenous people.

Only New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States voted against the declaration in 2007.

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Nice name, pity about the content

Have many noticed the irony that the Local Government (Auckland Reorganisation) Bill - now passed - is now called the Local Government (Tamaki Makaurau Reorganisation) Bill - but allows for no Maori representatives or say by Maori. Perhaps they could change the name of the Local Government (Auckland Council) Bill, which sets out the detail of the new council. It is before a select committee now. No doubt lots of Labour and Green supporters will be making submissions.


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The Herald on Sunday needs a butt-kicking over Rankin report

post updated this afternoon
I used to be a journalist and I know shoddy journalism when I see it. I saw it today and it was the lead story in the paper that won the newspaper of the year award in the Qantas awards. The story, written by the paper's assistant editor, was all about Christine Rankin's fourth marriage, a quarter of it being editorial comment and quotes from an anonymous close friend - possibly a workmate - of Rankin's husband's former partner who committed suicide.

The Herald states Rankin's "insensitive" marriage is drawing "fury". Rankin married Kim McIntyre less than six months after his wife, successful real estate agent Margo McAuley took her own life. I was aware for some time that McAuley had committed suicide but I think it is the first time I have read it in the MSM - and I really didn't need to read it in the context of Rankin becoming a Families Commissioner - and then have a quote from McAuley's former boss Tommy Heptinstall, only for the HOS to spell his name incorrectly.

People are allowed to marry when they want to, it doesn't mean the media has to tell everyone about it. Where was the media when some of the current and former lefty MPs were cheating on their wives and why was it all of a sudden there when Don Brash was? Where was the media when Steve Maharey allegedly swore at Rankin at meetings - he's now the Massey University chancellor. Why didn't the media question whether State Services Commissioner Michael Wintringham was fit to do his job when he offered to visit Rankin in Australia if a job could be organised for her there, but added that any such encounter would be platonic, because he was celibate?

But Wintringham wouldn't say that to Carolyne Meng-Yee, who wrote the story. She's not exactly as slim or as attractive as Rankin, and doesn't wear short skirts - for obvious reasons - but that has nothing to do with anything either. She does, however have a penchant for writing stories about well known people outing problems their family members have, such as Millie Holmes drug offending, Anna Paquin's sister's cancer, and stories surrounding Tony Veitch's partners - as well as the silly Veitch glass of water assault story. Like, that was important! Meng-Yee is an ex TVNZ producer who also asked Peter Davis if he showered with his wife and also asked Davis, "do you like sex"? Her first HOS piece was a page three story which investigated a prominent doctor (who) cat-napped a neighbour's cat (Max) and released it across the harbour bridge. Then there's this, also in today's paper:
By day, advertising executive Reece Shadbolt worked hard to convince New Zealand women that Toffee Pops were all they needed for a satisfied sex life.
But by night, the man behind the Carlos Spencer chocolate biscuit ads demanded far more to satisfy his own sexual appetite.
Oh Puhleeeease! The guy was stabbed to death, and they angle it on his toffee-pop ad!

But thank God New Zealand finally has a Govt that is prepared to appoint individuals who are willing to step outside the PC safe zone and act in accordance with what the majority actually want.

UpdateAnd guess which well known journalist wrote tonight that he likes Christine Rankin. Very much. Also Rankin's statement and TVNZ interview are both online now. Oh, and this, from Ali Ikram is worth reading.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Super city will cost ratepayers about $750 each

Frustrated by the Government's refusal to say how much it would cost to implement and run the proposed Auckland super council, the Labour Party commissioned an economist to do the work.But it wasn't an independent economist, it was a person who lost the Labour nomination for Mt Albert to David Shearer. Labour commissioned Rhema Vaithianathan, notorious for writing a journal article on the economics of female genital cutting, who said each of Auckland's estimated 5004 ratepayers would have to pay $750 in implementation costs and as many as 817 people would lose their jobs.
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It's all her fault

The only reason we know anything about all those claims for light bulbs and moat cleaning is that campaigning journalist Heather Brooke has spent the last five years fighting tooth and nail for British MPs to come clean about their expenses .

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How is your Wednesday shaping up?

Labour amendments to the Local Government (Auckland Reorganisation) Bill included changing the council's name to the Funsized Council, the Sons and Daughters of Maui, the Sisters and Brothers of Maui and the Cousins and Aunts and Uncles of Maui. Yes really. And your taxes are paying for such childishness.
Why didn't they raise an amendment calling the it the civil union partner of Maui, did George Hawkins run out of ideas? They`re even dong the amendments in Maori as a delaying tactic - so why not sign language as well, after all, thats one of our official languages. Its a pity MPs don't know sign language.

It's still Wednesday in Parliament, where Labour MPs are moaning on Twitter.Outside, it's Saturday, where Melissa Lee has better things to do. Like Saturday morning sports with the kids.

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Murderer and murdered were distantly related

It turns out that the tipuna of cop Len Snee and gunman Jan Molenaar were related and were both from Ngati Kahungunu .

Ngata Kanungunu chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana told Waatea News that his iwi had buried one son in Mr Snee, and another in Molenaar. I wonder how many went to both funerals.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pay equity - what pay equity?

National has decided to abolish the Department of Labour’s Pay and Employment Equity Unit.

Well whoop-de-do.What did it achieve apart from keeping a few people in work?

Well, in the public sector.

Women's pay is still way behind, much of it in the private sector. Now had the unit, under Labour, stopped writing reports, desisted on evaluations of policy that didn't actually do anything substantive, disbanded irrelevant committees and cancelled conferences and gossip-fests - which of course did not lead to substantive pay equity progress, we may have got somewhere. Had they actually did something about pay equity.

Well, in the public sector.

May I add that pay equity is not closing a 14 percent gap between males and females wages to a smaller gap. Yet had that gap reduced to say six percent, those concerned would have no doubt got a fat tax-payer funded pay bonus for delivering on, um, pay equity.

At least those who get made redundant will have pay equity of sorts - as the benefit for both males and females is the same. So you could say that the Government is starting to deliver on pay equity by making a lot of people unemployed.

Well, those who work in the public sector.


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Bye Druis Barrett

Druis Barrett is a past national president of the Maori Women’s Welfare League, and along with Barnardo's CE Murray Edridge and Plunket boss Paul Baigent, is among the MSD's Pathways to Partnership Steering Group. She also works with the Families Commission as a member of its Whanau Reference Group.

Until today, when she announced she will resign because Christine Rankin was appointed as a Families Commissioner. Yet she cited Rankin's reported views on Maori, saying Rankin was " damn well close" to being racist.

Pity the news report didn't say Barrett is part of the anti-smacking lobby. Could that be a factor in the resignation? If she can't work with people don't share all of her views, she has a problem.
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The Budget

Finance Minister Michael Cullen will deliver the 2009 budget on May 28. Well according to TVNZ, anyway.


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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More crap research on smacking attitudes

An interesting article from the Social Policy Journal was placed on the MSD website recently. It was called Just who do we Think Children are? New Zealanders' Attitudes about Children, Childhood and Parenting: An Analysis of Submissions on the Bill To Repeal Section 59 of the Crimes Act 1961.

The project - funded by a well-known anti smacking organisation that gets 40% of its income from the taxpayer - looked at the submissions to the select committee on the Section 59 legislation. Researchers examined two particular contrasting social viewpoints of children - children as "human beings" and as "human becomings" - and whether these two viewpoints were implicated in people's views on the use of physical punishment.

It boded the hypothesis that people who advocate the use of physical punishment are likely to conceptualise childhood as a phase of development, where the child is on his/her way to becoming an adult; in other words, children are "human becomings". These people are also likely to support the use of physical punishment. The researchers also hypothesised that people who see childhood as a complete state in its own right - "human beings" - are more likely to reject physical punishment. The hypotheses were supported. That doesn't mean it was proved, just supported.

There was no mention of the fact that children are becoming adults - as opposed to "human becomings", whatever that is - and are at varying stages of development.

But they ditched nearly half the sample because they did not fit in with the framework to address the hypotheses.

How can you, with validity, support, prove or disprove a hypothesis based on a sample from a population of fixed views on the wider topic where you disregard nearly half the sample in making a decision on that hypothesis AND make a reliable research-based conclusion attributable to the wider population that had nothing do to with the hypotheses. Because that's exactly what these researchers did.

Namely, if children continue to be viewed as in a state of becoming, they may be more vulnerable to abuse.

Given that the process oversampled some groups and undersampled others, if we then were to extrapolate from these populations using this sample to make claims about the pattern of support for the legislation nationwide, it would be problematical.

Anyway, I asked one of them how the research finding directly relate to the hypothesis raised.

"It doesn't", she said. Before I was able to ask why the hypotheses were raised and the findings were reported the way they were she said, "I have to go now".

And she did. Just who do researchers think they are? It looked like the "conclusions" to the report were written before the hypotheses. Perhaps that is why the hypotheses weren't even tested in a way that provides reliability and validity throughout the wider population.


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Sue Bradford is shocked

Find out why[thanks Twitter]. And find out what Annette King finds unbelievable, and why Family First thinks it's just great.

Update Bradford has finally smacked out a media release, concentrating on Rankin's views on Section 59 of the Crime's Act.
I accept Ms Rankin's right to hold her misguided beliefs in opposing reform and her support for a misleading petition, but I don't think it's right that someone who has played such a high-profile part in supporting the right of parents to hit children should be entrusted with this vital role.
Update Ha,it gets better. Even Peter Dunne is annoyed. He has called for her to reject the position, saying National has made a mistake. Anybody would think all the Families Commission does is comment on corrective discipline. And the Chief Commissioner has also weighed in. Guess what she discusses.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Win a Mystery weekend

Family First have a free mid-week update it sends by email. You can subscribe to this midweek update, by clicking here and put "Big News" in the space "Who referred you to this website" and Family First will put both you and me into a draw for an Air New Zealand 'MYSTERY WEEKEND'!

The midweek update is very useful to have an idea of what is happening in the area of law and policy affecting families. Also, I could really do with a break and there are at least some things Family First are doing that most will agree with - so sign up.


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Electoral reform

I’ve finally had a chance to have a decent read of this article I mentioned on the blog last week. It discusses whether a referendum on MMP is likely to lead to electoral reform.

The Government has promised a binding referendum no later than 2011 on whether voters want to consider alternative electoral systems to MMP. If voters don’t want MMP, National is to put forward suggestions to replace it. But it could just as easily replace it with any system it wants to provided it has a simple majority in the House.

We don’t need to get rid of MMP – we need to have a wider range of representation of smaller parties in Parliament by reducing the 5% threshold, changing the mix of electorate and list seats, and basing the formula of the Maori seats on the entire electorate, not just the South Island. We also need to change the rules surrounding list MPs: Current MPs who stand as candidates should not get back in on the list should they be unsuccessful. They should be dropped from the list until the next general election so they don’t get in on by-elections and resignations, either.

National prefers the Supplementary Member (SM) system, where constituent MPs are elected and the balance of the MPs – the list – is supplementary and proportional. If a party does not get any constituent MPs, its representation is likely to reduce compared to MMP, but increase compared to FPP. One advantage of SM is that those who are not on the Maori roll and want to list vote the Maori Party, or on either roll and vote for a small minor party, are less likely to have their vote wasted. Yet under a lower MMP threshold the Maori Party will most likely get the same number of seats as SM.

Dropping the MMP threshold and allocating list seats proportionately under a lower threshold is more proportionate than SM as it assists lower parties. With a 3% - or 0.8% - MMP threshold, or one electorate seat, NZ First would be in Parliament. The Maori Party would gain a list seat.

However, under SM, NZ First would be out (National would get most of the seats), Act and the Maori Party will have the same as a 3% MMP threshold. That’s because a SM list seat only kicks in if the party get enough of the party vote. The Greens would have three seats instead of eight.

But if the threshold was dropped to that 0.8% or one electorate seat, things only really change if a party gets between 0.8% and 3%. That’s why dropping the MMP threshold and allocating list seats proportionately under a lower threshold is a more proportionate system than SM itself.

So, rather than changing from MMP, the debate should be how low the threshold should be dropped. A party that gets 2.9% and no seats is out under SM, out under a 3% MMP threshold, but in – with two seats - under a 0.8% MMP threshold.

But even with 0.8% we should still keep the Maori seats. Not to do so would mean there would be no constituency Maori MPs in Parliament dedicated to Maori interests.

Rather than asking if we should get rid of MMP, we should be asking questions about how an electoral system can be more proportional – and therefore enhance democracy - without letting in wacko parties who may get 0.2% of the vote and no elected seats.

But nobody in the Beehive appears to want to do that.


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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Space through an asteroid

It's NZ Music month this month. Here's one of my all time favourite NZ Music songs.

And here's one of my favourite NZ Music videos.

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Shakin' that ass

Now this is the cutest ass I've ever seen.


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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Kapiti Coast District Council bans nudity on the beach

I find it a bit of a laugh that the Kapiti Coast District Council has banned nudity on the beach. The beach bylaw states, thanks to Councillor Tony Jack, that “no person shall remain upon any part of the beach in deliberate view of others in such a state of undress as to cause offence.”

Right. But they can do it anywhere else, at the railway station, at the shopping mall and on the street - even in the water at the beach. Apparently the bylaw has now been passed. But the statement does not specify any point of action and therefore can not be upheld as the concept of offence is subjective and the interpretation of that may not be known to the offender. But if I see an obese man walking along a Kapiti beach in speedos, with his stomach hanging out, I'll be calling the cops.


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Loan sharks and lawmaking at a snails pace

Yesterday, Labour's numpty list MP Charles Chauvel put out a request for people who are affected by loan sharks to email him at his Johnsonville electorate address saying he was "intending to put a members bill into the ballot that would regulate loan sharks in this country".

It's been a rather long intention as it was announced last year that Chauvel had drawn up the bill to regulate loan sharks.Labour didn't want to adopt the bill as a government bill.

But why did it take Chauvel eight months after the bill was drafted to finally put out the request for stories from people affected by loan sharks? And why ask for emails to his electorate address when it is not a local issue? He hasn't even put the bill in the ballot. Thank God he's not a constituent MP. At this rate the bill will be put in the ballot about 2011.

But really, the biggest problem is the Labour Govt was the biggest loan shark over the past few years. Labour bribed tens of thousands of vulnerable young students with so called interest free loans which of course have now come back to bite former students who are now crippled with debt. It has taken Chauvel since October last year to ask for stories about loan sharks for a long since drafted bill that he hasn't even put in the ballot.

There's plenty of former students in Young Labour who he could call on to give him some stories about "loan sharks".


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Friday, May 08, 2009

Editing blogs

Some may know that blogger James Coe was threatened with legal action over pinching the NZ Herald masthead for his blog Editing The Herald, a blog dedicated to"getting angry at things printed in each day's New Zealand Herald".

Now another blog has popped up. It is Editing The Standard, by a guy called Burt, who can't spell. The Standard is a Labour- aligned blog.

But the Editing The Standard blog needs editing. Today's post was "Is Hide on his way to the Priveleges Committee". The title is very similar to a post at The Standard, apart from an extra word and the obvious error.

Yesterday's one was "Oh dear - Hyde the costs". It has at least five subbing errors in the post. It was the same title as a similar post at The Standard. But Burt, at Editing The Standard, didn't actually "edit" The Standard to spell Hide's name correctly, either.

If someone is to set up a blog specifically to be a critic of the editorial content of another blog, you think the first thing that person would do is to spell words correctly, especially the post titles, and put full stops at the end of sentences.


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Thursday, May 07, 2009

MMP and Electoral reform

One of No Right Turn's readers has pointed out an article by Mei Chen: Is the MMP referendum likely to result in Electoral reform? I have linked to it for the record, given that I agree with her, in that voters would not want to change our electoral system. They'd rather keep it and tweak it. For example the five percent threshold could be reduced or abolished with a simple majority of Parliament to avoid the current scenario of Act getting into Parliament and NZ First missing out, even though the latter got more of the vote.

Anyway I'm off to the Maori and Parliament conference tomorrow and Saturday at Parliament, so won't be blogging much in the next two days - but could well be writing something on it on my return.

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Economic goals, poverty, and hard facts

Murray McCully has a column in today’s Herald on overseas aid, where he defends his view that economic growth leads to poverty reduction and thus should be the focus of our Aid dollars through NZ AID. He says that the NGO's who disagree with him are self interested and disinterested in "hard facts" - but he refuses to meet with them. Lifting people out of poverty depends directly on increasing economic growth and strengthening trade, McCully says, and no country in the world has achieved one without the other.

Sounds good, but it's how economic growth is increased that is the sticking point.

Economic growth is one of many instruments in development, it is not a development goal in its own right.Hard fact number one. Therefore constraints on development - not constraints on growth, should underlie effective strategies in decisions on how to allocate taxpayer aid money. And a part of the development community must contribute to that analysis.

But in New Zealand, the Government has shut down dissenting views - like the views of Caritas, TEAR Fund and other aid agencies who were refused the opportunity to discuss their views with the Minister, who instead, has effectively told them to get stuffed.

Now to hard fact number two. In order for McCully's plan to work three things must happen: Policies have to generate growth, that growth has to lead to development - to reduce poverty - and that development has to be greater than if the focus was on poverty reduction.But the reality is that when economic growth is prioritised over development and poverty reduction, the actual development progress that results is less than it world be had development been the priority. It would be different if McCully could determine the desired level of growth, but he can't. Hard fact number three. Furthermore, countries that pursued growth without changes in sustainable development can't sustain either. WHich doesn't do much for poverty reduction. Hard fact number four. Therefore countries that focus on development are more likely to see development sustained and poverty reduced. Hard fact number five.

But while McCully bangs on that economic growth is a goal to poverty reduction, our aid dollars are likely to be corrupted as they will be less likely to be as efficient in assisting the poor.

That's probably a fact, too.


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Can't sleep

Well I couldn't sleep much tonight and so I got up. No point staying in bed. I read the news. One of the first things I saw was on sleep. Apparently we get about 8.5 hours sleep a night each, on average. Only the French, Spanish and Americans sleep longer. I find it hard to believe that the average Kiwi sleeps 8.5 hours a night.
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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Classic quote

National's Pansy Wong had this to say about Labour's front bench.
The front bench of the Labour Party is like a political rest home where members go to see out their twilight years
Hattip Keeping Stock.


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Young Labour is ignorant of Maori issues

Oh dear, Young Labour puts out a really bad press release on Labour's bill to entrench the Maori seats.

In it they say: "Young Labour supports the announcement today of Labour MP Mita Ririnui's private member’s bill to entrench the Maori seats in parliament and ensure that Maori representation can not be removed by a simple majority of the House."

I wonder if Young Labour are aware of the significance of the Maori Electoral Option, and whether they are aware if that option is also entrenched in the bill.

"We believe that a truly mana enhancing parliament is one that recognises that Maori have a unique role in Aotearoa as tangata whenua.”

Sounds nice. Pity they don't appear to know what "mana-enhancing" is. They should have a chat to the Maori Party.

"If the Government is to live up to its treaty obligations, and truly have a mana enhancing relationship with Maori, they will support this bill.”

This implies that the seats are a Treaty right, and not to have the seats not only breaches the Treaty but the mana-enhancement is also linked to the Treaty, primarily through the seats. Young Labour may think that but Young Labour is wrong.

"This is a signal that Labour is committed to moving beyond divisive issues, and moving towards a more constructive relationship with Maori."

Ha. It's actually a sign that Labour wants to use the Maori Seats to promote wedge politics. That is divisive, and hardly constructive.

These kids in Young Labour are an embarrassment to their party.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

McDonalds hope to feed the increasing unemployed

McDonalds is to create 6000 jobs by adding 30 new outlets. Before you ask why each McDonalds needs 200 staff members, it looks like some of the current outlets are to be upgraded as well.

I hope we don't get another one in our town, we already have three two in the same street. No doubt WINZ will be asked to fill most of these jobs.

This means that some people who are made redundant can work for McDonalds and the rest can spend their benefit money on Thursdays by going to, ummm, McDonalds.

Next they'll be having "happy hours" between 12-2pm on benefit days.

If the unemployed had any sense they'd avoid McDonalds and learn how to grow vegetables and to cook with them.

update just been informed by a reader who works at one of the local McDonalds that we are going to get another one. Wonder if it will be near the WINZ office?


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Standing for by-elections while sitting in Parliament

Colin Espiner raises some interesting points in The Press. He doesn't particularly like list MPs standing for seats in a by-election, as if successful the new MP would be a list MP from anywhere in the country - or in the Green's case, from Mt Albert!

In fact the new MP for Mt Albert will be David Shearer or a current list MP. Had Judith Tizard not been next on the Labour list the new MP for Mt Albert would already be a parliamentarian and the by-election would just transfer the status of that MP and add another party person in Parliament. So Mt Albert voters would in effect be deciding on the party that gets that extra MP in parliament without being told on the voting papers who that person is.

If Green MP Russell Norman is successful, the new Green list MP, David Clendon, will be one that lives in Mt Albert but will not be the constituent MP. Norman, who does not live in Mt Albert, will be the constituent MP.


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Monday, May 04, 2009

The battle after the selection battle: Shearer and Mt Albert

The campaign for Mt Albert is heating up. David Shearer is the Labour candidate, but apparently is not the electorate committee's favourite option. Tane from The Standard says:
Shearer’s selection was unanimous among the six delegates on the selection panel (half head office, half local party) and he won the floor vote by a clear majority. About 200 party members took part in the floor vote.
Phil Goff also said Shearer won the floor vote on BFM today.
Goff: I went to the selection committee with eight really superb candidates.... David Shearer, aah won the unanimous support of the panel, locals , and err, the NZ Council
Presenter: How many were on the panel
Goff: ..and he won the vote on the floor
Presenter: How many were on the panel
Goff: Aah there's six on the panel plus the floor vote which that counts for one, but he won the floor vote.
But a comment on The Standard blog said the following
No way did shearer win the floor vote. You have been misinformed.There were a lot of angry people leaving that hall yesterday. Might as well have been the National party for all the democracy of the selection.
Earlier, Green candidate Russel Norman, did an interview with Matthew Hooten, where he says Hooten officially endorsed Shearer as the most right candidate. Labour's Jordan Carter, discussing National's candidate says National's options is to rubbish local candidate's efforts, orparachute someone with no connection to Mt Albert.

Like Labour did, perhaps.

Carter attacked Norman, asking., "What is Russel Norman trying to achieve with his constant smears of Labour?" Chris Elder (remember him?) joined in, and consequently attacked Russel Norman on Twitter, saying,
"So, you're attacking Shearer by parroting messaging lines from Hooten, Slater & Farrar? Quite the campaign team you've got.
Anybody would think that Goff heavied his man in, despite opposition from the Mt Albert Labour members.

And anyone would also think that Chris Elder knows Tane from The Standard.

Oh, and half an hour ago Melissa Lee was announced as National's candidate for Mt Albert. But not by National.

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Sunday, May 03, 2009

David Shearer has a CV

David Shearer is the Labour candidate for Mt Albert. Here's his CV.


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Church rules on swine flu II

I mentioned a few days ago that the Catholic Church has changed some of its practices due to the swine flu disease.

I was advised by a reliable source that parishoners did not take the communion wine today. But the priest did. There was no "sign of peace" apart from the "smile" of peace. There was no touching of holy water.

But my source did witness a couple of old ladies kissing each other after one of the services.

But it does beg the question:If holy water really is holy, and the wine is transubstantiated, as per Catholic teaching, surely the teaching of the church would conclude that Gods holiness is more powerful than swine flu - or any illness, and such a stance is not warranted?

Obviously not. Could it be that perhaps God is powerful but holy water and communion wine is just like any other wine that is not blessed. Like the glass of water I`ll be having with lunch today.

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