BIG NEWS: 11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

So did we need to remove Section 59?

A woman who assaulted her three children over a 21 month period with weapons that included a jug cord, tent pole, belt and wooden spoon during various incidents in Napier, Gisborne and Invercargill has been jailed for 3 and a half years. One of the people hit was a one-year-old boy.

So cases like this is why why section 59 of the Crimes Act, removing the defence of reasonable force for correction, had to go from the statute books, right?


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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nobody wants to be Labour's leader

Phil Goff' support has halved in the latest ONE News Colmar-Brunton poll. Only 5% like Goff, and that was before the awful speech last week. Shane Jones doesn't want to be Labour's leader yet. National is on 53%, Labour slips back to 31%, the Greens bounce back to 7%, the Maori Party's on 3% and ACT on 2%.

If Goff's support drops any further, it will be within the margin of error. When did that last happen to any National or Labour leader? Perhaps its time for Charles Chauvel to run a Facebook campaign for a leader. I hear Chauvel is quite good on Facebook.


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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Disabled for life for wetting his bed

This story highlights either why some people are not able to be parents, don't deserve to be parents, or should not have so many kids. Or all three. And when "faith healers" tell abusers like this woman to get an ambulance, they are obviously not faith healers.

Abuse like this is sickening. And its got nothing to do with section 59 of the Crimes Act, either.As far as I know, no Samoans have used or succeeded in using the defence when brought before the courts because such people don't discipline their kids, they abuse them.
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Friday, November 27, 2009

Goff’s Nationhood speech

Rather than do an immediate post on Goff’s Nationhood speech, I thought I’d wait rather than attack Goff for a racist speech that Shane Jones vetted before delivery.

What Goff appeared to want to do is open up a split within the Māori Party at the same time as divide a wedge between the Māori Party and National. He wanted to play the race card, but in a non-racist way. His speech was not racist like Brash’s 2004 Nationhood speech, but Goff pulls on the same strings, articulating a latent belief that Māori were getting special treatment at the expense of other New Zealanders.

Goff may be correct in calling the emissions trading scheme a “shabby “political deal, (twice), but it is a bit rich saying that it will harm New Zealanders for generations to come when he has said that Labour will repeal the ETS when in power, thus minimising that harm.

Goff attacked John Keys leadership, saying it would lead to a country with "one New Zealander turned against another, Maori against Pakeha". Yet Labour has led the way on this. In addition, it has now withdrawn an offer to create enduring consensus over the Foreshore and Seabed legislation.

Perhaps Goff wants to see the Māori Party destroyed - hence the hope of engineering that destruction - as he sees it as the only way Labour can form a government in 2011. Like Helen Clark before him, he could well be willing to reopen wounds in race relations to gain power, and use the race card to expose any rifts between National the Māori Party as they appear, in the hope that NZ First will come back in 2011. And that is a real pity.

Sure, the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process should not be used as a basis for privileged treatment of certain iwi, thus causing disagreement among Māori - but Goff’s speech was not exactly about kotahitanga either. His unsubstantiated implication was that Key’s lack of criticism of Harawira’s mofo comments was because he wanted to get this “shabby political deal” enacted.

Goff’s comments that the Foreshore and Seabed legislation that deprived Māori to go to court was ‘working well’ is contrary to Labour’s submission to the Foreshore and Seabed Ministerial review. It’s a U-turn in Labour policy. Warning that repeal would make ‘wounds fester’ was a politically irresponsible statement to make, given that it was Labour who did the wounding that initiated the formation of the Māori Party.

Labour still sees the Māori Party as the last cab off the rank. Now that the party is bleeding supporters who are looking for another cab; will they go to a party that is happy to exercise wedge politics to open up a boiling pot in race relations, ask questions and demand change in Māori Party leadership, or be politically apathetic.

Goff, in trying to articulate concerns about emerging problems seems unable to offer practical solutions to problems in race relations and unfair treatment.

But that’s what is needed now. Extending a narrative to touch a nerve for short –term exposure is not going to do much. Labour needs a new leader - and quickly.

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hone Harawira is an "utter irrelevance"

Would be interested to see what others think of Gerry Brownlee's views on Hone Harawira:
Hone Harawira is an utter irrelevance.... a lowly backbencher of no account whatsoever.
Is Harawira an effective MP or is he an irrelevance?

Also, what was Phil Goff trying to do here? There will be a lot of comment around the blogs and talkback on this speech. What a mistake.


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Labour will repeal National's ETS: Goff

Phil Goff has confirmed that a future Labour government will repeal Nationals Emissions Trading Scheme - just like National confirmed, before the election, that it would repeal Labours Electoral Finance Act. Goff says the deal is at the expense of taxpayers.
“If you are only looking at the narrow pork barrel politics of your own business and not the overall well being of the community, Maori and Pakeha, you’re not worried about the taxpayer who’s paying for it and you’re not worried about the legal opinions that are ignored to suit a dirty political deal, you might say that.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Democracy or demoCoskrie?

There’s been a few rumours running around about the March for Democracy held during the weekend. A little one was there was only 1000 at the march. The biggest one was that $450,000 was spent on it. As David Farrar notes, spending an average of $100 a head to get 5000 or so marchers is not an encouraging turnout when $450,000 was spent.

Except $450,000 was not spent.

I was told by Family First's Bob McCoskrie, one of the march organisers, that the amount was around $200,000; so it was closer to $40-$50 a head for the march. The aim of the march was to protest against the government’s lack of responsiveness to certain referenda that got a high percentage of support for change.

March funder Colin Craig, who also supports Act MP John Boscawen's members bill aiming to alter smacking laws, was asked by a a TVNZ reporter what he hoped to achieve:
"What is your main agenda here? What do you want to see changed?"

"What I want to see changed is I want to see the government of New Zealand listen to large votes from the people of this country."

"Does that mean you want to see citizens initiated referendums become binding?"

"I don't have that agenda."
Craig may publicly deny he has that agenda, but he certainly supports that opinion: he wants to see citizens initiated referenda become binding. All the people in the organising committee for the March for Democracy are united in that view. Perhaps Craig's response was an understanding that binding citizens initiated referenda are unpopular with decision -makers, and he didn’t want to admit that the march was framed as one promoting democracy to purposely avoid the less palatable framing of binding referenda. Furthermore if a significant majority of votes - lets say two-thirds - support a certain position, many, if not all march organisers consider that the wishes of the people should trump representative democracy, even if the aggregate wishes of the people are in conflict with what parliament determines to be the voters’ best wishes.

In other words, in these situations, unlike Auckland Law School lecturer Richard Ekins, they believe that Parliament should be told how to legislate. Furthermore they believe that Parliament should be accountable for these laws, even when passing laws based on biding referenda that they don’t agree are in the best interests of those whom they are representing.

Although McCoskrie told me that a referendum with two-third’s majority support should be translated to legislation irrespective of the size of the turnout, he was less clear, when prompted, as to what he expected the Government to do if 28 percent of voters participated in a referendum and of those, a higher percentage wanted a law change. That is not a mandate for change. Perhaps that is why the March for Democracy focused on referenda that both had larger turnouts and achieved more than 80% of the vote. It looks a bit silly promoting binding referenda when fewer than one in three voters participate.

Despite what some have said, McCoskrie has not turned his back on proportional representation. He doesn’t want to go back to First Past the Post: neither does he support MMP as it currently stands. His electoral system preference is STV. This is perhaps because, as he admits, he hasn't yet thought through the changes that can occur to make MMP work to his liking, and STV is more likely to eliminate vote wastage. His bugbear is that too many representatives are getting whipped for conscience votes. He clearly sees a distinction between getting whipped by party leaders and getting whipped by referenda voters, but considers that a good whipping by voters is more democratic than one by a party whip.

That’s because he believes citizen self-interest trumps the self-interest of governing representatives. But as Robert Dahl would say, who governs?


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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Interesting interview with Shane Jones on the ETS

Update And a fantastic speech as well. When is Shane Jones going to be the leader of the Labour Party?

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Name suppression: Now Key knows, everyone wants to know

Now that John Key knows the name of the entertainer whose name is suppressed, heaps of people who don’t yet know want to find out. They are using the Internet to do so.

John Key has made a mockery of our suppression laws by telling the country he knows who this man is. Meaning he has aroused the nations curiousity. No doubt he's relaxed about that. If he knows, why shouldn't everyone else? Why doesn’t he just put a law through (under urgency) stating that if people publicly name such people, it will not be in the public interest to proceed with a prosecution.

He’s done it before.


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How to announce new funding without providing new funding

Ann Tolley makes an announcement: $8 million boost for high-performing polytechnics
Tertiary Education Minister Anne Tolley has announced that 12 polytechnics and institutes of technology are to provide up to 700 new student places following an $8 million funding boost."This additional funding for 2010, part of the Government's Youth Opportunities package, will help these institutions cope with forecast enrolment growth"
Looks like the government is announcing new funding. But it is not new funding. Tolley made a similar announcement in August
An $8 million funding boost will help high-performing polytechnics and institutes of technology collectively provide up to 700 new places to help cope with forecast enrolment growth next year, Tertiary Education Minister Anne Tolley announced today.

"This one-off funding will be available to deal with expected increases in student enrolments in 2010 resulting from the impact of the economic downturn on youth employment opportunities," Mrs Tolley says.
It wouldn't have taken very long to write today's media release I`m sure. Just change "one-off funding" to "additional funding", to make it look like a one-off announcement of additional funding for polytechs that are not as high performing as they were initally made out to be - but still have caps on student numbers.

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Hone Harawira to stay with Maori Party

The Maori Party has announced that Hone Harawira is to stay with the Maori Party but be suspended from caucus for a while. I wonder if they`ll use his vote for the ETS legislation.

What we have is an MP who wants to stay with a party that passes legislation he doesn't agree with run by leadership aligned to a political party he doesn't like.

This is pure self-interest. Harawira doesn't listen to his party in terms of discipline, he doesn't listen to his constituents - whom he says he is answerable solely to - in terms of how he votes. So when he votes against his constituents wishes what do they do?

Nothing. What a bugger's muddle.

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The Māori Party and ETS

updatedIt is well known that the Māori Party has decided to vote for( as opposed to support) the emissions trading scheme, despite Rahui Katene and Hone Harawira being publically opposed to the scheme, as are many of those in the five iwi who this deal is proported to support. Harawira has said he only answers to his constituents.

Did his constituents support the ETS? This deal could be the make or break of the Māori Party. The party does not support the legislation. It is really the two leaders who are ministers telling the rest of the caucus how they must vote - and doing a really bad job justifying the rationale behind that stance.

Here's the Māori Party release. Here is the National Party release. Notice the macron over the "a" in Māori in the National Party release - but not in the Māori Party release. National is now not only dotting i's and crossing t's, it is even trying to macronise one or two media releases. But you'd think they`d do it consistently.

On 19 November Nick Smith signed his letter to Māori leaders Yours sincerely. On the same day he wrote anothe letter to the Iwi Leadership Group, peppered with Maori salutations, greetings and macrons. Four days later a letter started off "tena koe Tariana and Pita, (instead of tena korua)and concluded heio ano(that is all), whereas naku noa would have been perhaps more appropriate.

If Nick Smith is going to use a bit of Māori, perhaps he should do a crash course on the basics so he can get it correct. I wonder when he will be demoted?[ update particularly after this - how embarrassing.]

I’d like to recommend that all bloggers who support Nātional, particularly David Fārrar and WhāleOil, put a macron over the appropriate letter in the word 'Māori' in all blog posts ;-0.

Then they can work on other phrases such as 'Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu'.


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Of course John Key was curious over high profile entertainer

John Key was curious. He wanted to know the name of a high profile entertainer that got name suppression. [ If you dont know who he is here's a clue. Key said he asked somebody he knew. Most likely it was a staff member in his office the name is so publicly known. Now he knows who this entertainer is, he is no doubt more relaxed about it.

Name suppression has go to the point when if I named him, I`d most likely be given a warning at most. The Law Commission has said that well-known people should still be able to argue for secrecy if publication of their name would cause "extreme hardship".

Given that half the country appears to know who this guy is, I very much doubt that publication of his name would cause him any additional hardship.


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Monday, November 23, 2009

We want democracy

On Saturday, several thousand people marched in Auckland, many chanting "we want democracy".

This implies we don't have democracy. I`ll be posting on this sometime this week. But for now, consider this:

What is the democracy that the marchers wanted? What is democracy?
Update Heaps of pix here. The $450,000 reportedly spent on the march is more than the amount that the Kiwi Party, the Libertarianz, the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and the Family Party spent on the 2008 general election combined.


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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Maori seats and ETS

Could someone explain how the Maori seats are seen by National as special treatment, whereas horsetrading over the Emissions Trading Scheme with the holders of most of the Maori seats in a willingness to disproportionately benefit the Maori elite (and earlier the not-so-elite Maori) is not special treatment?

Another thing: Who does the Maori Party represent? Is it Maori, those who voted for the party, or some Maori,such as those involved with certain iwi groups, many of whose members voted for a party other than the Maori Party.

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Are blogs "journalism"?

As a former journalist, I think I know what journalism is. I have reported on candidates over three elections. I don't consider this blog to be journalism due to the fact that I don't often interview people and report on what they say. Neither does political journalist Audrey Young on her blog.

So why No Right Turn feels the need to claim that political journalism has hit a new low because Young blogs something that he sees irrelevant is beyond me. Perhaps the writer at No Right Turn expects political blogs run by bloggers who are associated with newspapers to be reporting on news gathering, and be held to the same standards and be of similar content as the content on the paper's front page.

Why should he?


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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Submitting to Wellington City Council's district plan: The rubbishy treatment ratepayers get

As many know, I live in the Wellington region and the Wellington City Council is making changes to the District Plan, and have been asking for submissions. They are due on Friday week. I thought I`d do a blog post to outline how difficult it is for ratepayers to get any relevant information from the Wellington City Council to make an informed submission to a District Plan.

About three weeks ago we rang the council to get some information about the District Plan as it relates to our area.We got about 300 pages of information for just one simple request. I didn't have time to read them all, and even if I did, I had no idea whether I would find what I wanted to.

So I rang the council to see if they had any information on the council's web site. The contact person was unavailable , so I got through to someone and was told to look on a certain web page. That page had about 60 PDFs files, each having many pages. When I advised that I didn't have time to go through 60 PDF's I asked which PDF/s I should be referring to. They didn't know. So I asked them to send some material in the mail that would directly address what I wanted to submit to.

In the interim I thought I'd call the contact person on the page with all the PDF's . Perhaps that was the unavailable person who would know a bit more.I later found out indeed he is the main contact person. His name is Jeremy Blake. He wasn't just unavailable -he was on annual leave until near the date that submissions are due. Marvellous. Some "contact" person.

Anyway, I never got the material, so I rang the Mayors office. They said they`d get someone to ring me. Someone rang me back fairly promptly but that person had no idea what to tell me.

As it happens, today I received my copy of The Wellingtonian. There was an article on the "arcane" plan change process. Some residents associations have been complaining about the plan. The Councils response: Stop complaining and get on with making a submission.

Well, I had tried for 10 days and many phone calls to get some information to do so. As it stands, the Council have been useless.There has been just six submissions to the plan change that I would like to submit to, and three of those arrived in this mornings mail, according to the Council.

The District Plan affects thousands of residents. If this is the treatment the Council dish out to ratepayers after asking them to submit to the District Plan, no wonder they don't get many submissions when they call for them.

Update: I later had a call from the Council after I rang the Mayors office. It was then I was told that the very information I requested was not sent, and most of what was earlier sent had nothing to do with what was asked for. So,glad I didn't read it then. Lets see if it arrives this time.

Update 2 It arrived, by email. It was a document which was buried in one of the manuals I had been sent but the Council couldn't tell me earlier where that document was among the 300 or so pages they sent, even when asked the first few times.I can now make a submission. I have also had a chat to Cr Andy Foster, who is the councillor clued up on such matters. He was actually most helpful with navigation around the Draft Plan.I asked him to extend the deadline for submissions. Unfortunately he didn't know all the rules around the extension process.


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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A veto request to be ignored

The Legislation Advisory Committee has advised Mary Harris, the Clerk of the House to veto Larry Baldock's petition question which aims to bind citizens initiated referenda, because it would contradict the fundamental purpose of the Citizens Initiated Referenda Act 1993, which provided for non-binding referendums.

On 29 October, Larry Baldock wrote to the Clerk [DOC] responding to an October 23 letter to the Clerk from legislation advisory committee chair Sir Geoffrey Palmer, in which he said:
The Committee’s view is that the wording of the proposed referendum is defective. Indeed that Committee does not think that these defects are capable of being remedied.... The question that is proposed, in all its ambiguities and circularity, is not in our view compatible with the legislation under which it is proposed to be conducted.

[T]he framers of the [1993] Act considered the questions and decided that indicative referenda could not be and should not be binding. So the question is outside the scope of the Act.
The Herald noted that the Clerk of the House must approve or reject the final wording for the vote. Slight problem: She can't reject the wording, as a petition question - irredeemably defective or otherwise - cannot be vetoed unless the question either relates to a similar referendum held within the previous five years, or an electoral petition.

But the question can be amended. So by December 9, Larry Baldock's question, Should Citizens Initiated Referenda seeking to repeal or amend a law be binding? or a form of it, preferably with " on Parliament" tagged on the end of the question, will be approved by the Clerk.

Baldock thinks the question can have its intent clarified through public debate and the petition process. But if he is not going to clarify his intent and how he wants Parliament to respond, before the first signature is sought, it is unlikely he will get the required signatures to force a referendum.

Binding referendums would bypass the legislative and select committee process.With binding referendums, we would have to vote on specific and detailed pieces of legislation, like they do in California to amend legislation, for example, such as aiming to bypass the legislature in attempts to abolish divorce laws.Yes, really. We could end up bypassing the legislative process to change the Marriage Act 1955 to allow for same sex marriage with enough public support.

Baldock would hate that.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beenie Man apologises for.. well, nothing really

Beenie Man is not happy for being withdrawn from the Big Day Out. He has issued this statement:
I sincerely made a promise to renounce violence towards others and went ahead to sign the Reggae Compassionate Act back in 2007. I have made numerous announcements regarding violence against gays most recently in Spain. We live in a diverse society, the haves, have-nots, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Atheists, light and dark skinned, homosexuals and heterosexuals. At times we wrongly ridicule each other for beliefs. One thing we have in common, we are all human beings and should strive for peace, equality and love. I want my music to bring people together and for them to dance, feel good and enjoy it. People sometimes may misunderstand my lyrics because of slang, metaphors, jargons and dialect; it is not intended to be harmful. In the past I offended others with offensive lyrics, I apologized then and now, I never took back my word. Our world is an interesting place filled with variety and we all have to respect others no matter what race, choices, culture or lifestyle. I am not a supporter of hatred and never was. The press sometimes exaggerate.
You can read the entire statement here.


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Sunday, November 15, 2009

I can see Capetown now Bahrain has gone

Well, wasn't that a fantastic match last night. I was able to watch it live on the Internet. The last time we qualified for the World Cup, goal-scorer Rory Fallon was not even born and his dad was the assistant coach of the All Whites.Leo Bertos, who kicked the corner that led to the goal, was actually born on the very day of the 1981 game against Saudi Arabia that got New Zealand on the road to Spain in 1982.

Not only did we qualify for the World Cup for the second time ever, #AllWhites was the top trending topic on Twitter. That is some feat to get a New Zealand topic trending on Twitter but it confused the American tweeters somewhat, as they thought we were a little racist. When told that the All Whites were actually a football team, and the All Blacks were the country's rugby team they started to understand a bit, although they sniggered when told the national badminton team was called the Black Cocks.

The All Whites are going to be household names. New Zealand will be soccer mad next year and I think some people under 25 are going to be shocked at the extent of this football frenzy. It's going to be a boon for the soccer clubs, especially for the juniors. It was in 1982 when we were "on our way to Spain", and now we're on our way to South Africa. Bahrain coach Milan Macala has now been in charge of six national teams that did not make it to the World Cup.

Oh, and the All Blacks played last night.


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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Biker did not make it home after protesting ACC levy increase

Ha, this is funny. Bikers were protesting how it is so unfair that their ACC levies are going up. Guess what one did on the way home?

He hit a car, fell off his bike, and got a suspected broken leg.

He will get ACC. Perhaps he should have taken his car, rather than being a good advertisement for why bikers should get higher ACC levies.


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Free speech, gay MP's and and Beenie Man

I'd never heard of Beenie Man until this week. Beenie Man is a Jamaican singer who has been invited to the Big Day Out.He is notorious for his lyrics and other statements promoting the killing of gay men and lesbians. Labour's Charles Chauvel has called for him to be banned from entering the country, deeming him to be a threat to security or public order because his lyrics will incite hostility.

Except, Chauvel is wrong. His lyrics will not incite hostility. The Big Day Out had already advised that Beenie Man will not be performing the offending songs, therefore his lyrics will not be an issue.I suspect Chauvel was fully aware of this, but would rather incite some hostility of his own.

For Chauvel, freedom of speech is less about the offensiveness under the law than it is about his own prejudices. I much prefer Green MP Kevin Hague's approach to this distasteful musician: He correctly calls the invitation shameful and is calling for the Big Day Out to withdraw its invitation. That approach is much more sensible than what looks like a bigoted approach from Chauvel.

Update The Big Day Out has cancelled Beenie Man for all the BDO's in Australasia.

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TIME looks back over 50 years

In 1959, TIME magazine published its first edition for Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. The magazine looks back and lists the most influential people that shaped the region. The New Zealanders mentioned are: Peter Snell, David Lange, Peter Jackson and Helen Clark, Matiu Rata, Rob Muldoon, and Russell Crowe, Jane Campion and Peter Blake. You can read what they wrote by clicking the above links.

There's lists about a range of things, even the top 10 Sesame Street moments!


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Friday, November 13, 2009

Split in the Maori Party


WIth reference to this, Maori Party bosses decided several days ago to ask Hone Harawira to leave the Maori Party.This is not just about one trip or the occasional swear word. He will be expelled from the Maori Party unless something changes drastically. He may well resign before he is pushed, and it will be interesting if a decision is made before Parliament resumes on Tuesday, if he resigns from Parliament - and most importantly, how the grass-roots will react.

Roll on the by-election?

Yet the chair of the Maori Party's Te Tai Tokerau electorate committee Rahui Kapa has said she believes Hone Harawira has done nothing wrong. She is on record as saying she thinks it was fine for Harawira to play hookie and go to Paris, because he " did the job". She is alone in the Maori Party leadership on this. When asked on Morning Report if she was " happy that Harawira lied to the party leader and went sightseeing in Paris...when he was paid to do something else", she said "I'm not unhappy". When specifically asked about the lie to Turia in pulling a sickie to go to Paris, she said that Harawira did not lie; instead saying that Turia was "misinformed".

She later said her loyalty was to the Maori Party, adding she did not know if she would follow Harawira if he was to become an independent. There is to be a series of meetings to discuss the proposal for Harawira to stand as an independent MP.

But saying your leader is misinformed is hardly the way to show loyalty to your party. There's kaupapa and tikanga to uphold, here, and Harawira's electorate committee, in supporting Harawira's actions and attitude, is in contrast to the national leadership, who oppose his actions. You can't run a political party effectively when a sizeable proportion has a public stance against party leadership, while defending and denying wrongdoing of their own MP.

The Human Rights Commission has received 721 complaints about Harawira, the most about any issue ever, and nearly twice as many as all complaints recieved last year.


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Don't blame the anti smacking law

Still to read the report. on the anti-smacking law that MSD chief executive Peter Hughes wrote. He said his department was doing really well and he can find no evidence that parents were subject to "unnecessary state intervention" for occasionally lightly smacking their children, although he said he couldn't discount that there was some evidence.

Just three reports of smacking were passed to police in the past three months. Between 2006-2008 substantiated cases of abuse were up from 2274 to 2285, but the ministry was at a loss to know why the rise had happened.

But the smacking legislation was aimed at 'Making better provision for children to live in a safe and secure environment free from violence by abolishing the use of parental force for the purpose of correction',

Has it achieved its aim?


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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Harawira set to leave the Maori Party?

Maori Party president Whatarangi Winiata has proposed embattled Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira leave the Maori Party and become an independent MP..

This proposal was made at todays hui. Mainstream media outlets were barred from the hui.TVNZ's Te Karere and Maori TV's Te Kaea were granted entry, but only because it was felt they would cover proceedings with a positive slant and the Maori Party had reservations about the coverage they would get from the major news organisations.

Harawira's response: "It's the silliest idea I've heard. He wants to stay. They should kick him out now. It is a decision that was needed, not a proposal.

"Hone has said a number of times that he does not give a toss what anyone thinks except the people of Te Taitokerau, and his behaviour over the past couple of weeks has underlined that position," said Party President Professor Whatarangi Winiata.

"If Hone believes he is not accountable to the Maori Party or its leadership, or the Party caucus in Parliament, then clearly he has placed himself outside the party," said Professor Winiata.

"We require our MPs to work as a team, and Hone clearly has difficulty with this, given his words and deeds, which have had a devastating effect on his colleagues and the party as a whole.

"This situation will cause upset and anxiety for Maori Party supporters in Te Tai Tokerau, who may feel their loyalties to the party and their MP are now conflicted. We assure them that the Party will maintain a presence in the electorate,and we will be in contact in due course.

There was heated discussion at the hui, which wants to wait two weeks before deciding Harawira's fate. They should kick him out now, not wait two weeks. They've had the hui. Harawira will never be known for his achievements, but his foul language and his distaste for rules. But although it is looking likely that Harawira will stay with the party unless he is removed, it can well do without him.

The Human Rights Commission has now received 675 complaints and expressions of concern about Hone Harawira.

Pita Sharples has said he can't see how the caucus can work together with Harawira. What to do?

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MMP preferred to any other electoral system

Good news for MMP today, with a UMR poll out today finding 48 percent are in favour of retaining MMP, with 40 percent in favour of changing the system to... well, they weren't sure.

The poll also revealed that people do not like unnecessary referenda. When they were told the upcoming referendum on MMP was going to cost $20 million, 60 percent didn't want one and 32 percent did. That means some people want to ditch MMP - but not through a referendum at more than three times the cost of the anti-smacking referendum. The survey results and graphs are here.

Also, most felt they knew a "fair bit" about MMP in 2000, that dropped to 45% now.That's because 13% knew " a lot" about MMP. increasing to 19% today. So, for those who don't know much, they need to be educated so they can make an informed assessment on how our current electoral system works.


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Maori Party leader disagrees with Race Relations Commissioner over Harawira e-mails

During the week Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres was careful to avoid saying that Hone Harawira's expletive-ridden email was abusive, because to do so would be an admission that Harawira had breached the Human Rights Act, which says
It shall be unlawful for any person to publish or distribute written matter which is threatening, abusive, or insulting
However, Tariana Turia disagrees with him, describing the e-mail as abusive.
I think that what was in the email was particularly distressing. There's no doubt that number one - nobody likes to be spoken to in that manner. No one likes abusive emails, least of all myself. So I have found that incredibly distressing.
So Turia thinks the email was abusive. Why doesn't Joris de Bres? For that matter whys doesn't Harawira's local electorate committee?
Ngahuia Kapa, the Te Tai Tokerau committee chairwoman, said the electorate supported Mr Harawira, but wanted to lay down three "conditions" to make sure a similar episode did not happen again.
Perhaps one of these conditions will be directed at the Maori Party leadership. There is a crack appearing between Harawira's electorate committee and the Maori Party leadership. The Maori Party leadership will not be at the hui today.

Update Pita Sharples unexpectedly attended the hui, turning up with president Whata Winiata. That's interesting, given that Turia said he wouldn't be attending.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tariana Turia breaks her silence over Harawira

Maori Party leader Tariana Turia has finally broken her silence describing Hone Harawira's expletive filled e-mail as "unfortunate" "very distressing". But she has described his behaviour "unacceptable", and it is his behaviour that has done considerable damage to the Maori Party.

Tariana Turia usually chooses her words well. Unacceptable is a stronger word than distressing. This means that Harawira's filthy language around Parliament and outside of it is not unacceptable to the Maori Party, only very distressing if the public becomes aware of it.

updateThe Maori Party has received emails over the Harawira kerfuffle. Turia has described them, not as "unfortunate" or "distressing" but as "offensive" and "racist". Strange how Turia thinks Harawira's comments are not offensive or racist, just distressing and unfortunate.

It's high time the Maori Party formed a view that Harawira's filthy language is as unacceptable as his behaviour, whether the party considers he is provoked or not. Would it be appropriate to call Harawira a tero heihei, or will a little tutae be more apt?


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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Rise of the Maori Party?

Marae has published the results of a poll done by Digipoll between 18 October and 3 November 2009. It is of 1,002 voters of Maori descent – 700 on the Maori roll, and 302 on the General roll. It is an endorsement of the Maori Party arrangement with National, although Maori voters would have preferred Cabinet posts for Maori Party ministers.

The poll reveals some pretty interesting stuff. I asked for and received a breakdown of the roll split,as this was not published, although I haven't got an electorate split in the Maori electorates. I was sure there would be an increase in support for the Maori Party in the Maori electorate at the expense of Labour. I was right; 62% of those on the Maori roll would vote the Maori Party, up from 27.4% at the election. That's a huge increase.

Furthermore, of Maori in the general electorates, 10.8% will vote National, up from 7.6% at the election - but take that with a grain of salt as there are only 23 votes in it, due to the 302 sample.

But look at Labour - it is way behind on 23.3%. On election night Labour got more than 50% of the vote in the Maori electorates. Labour's vote in the Maori electorates has reduced by more than half since the election. That's a staggering drop. For the first time in living memory Labour is not topping one question in a poll in the Maori electorates.

On election night nearly 55,980 voted the Maori Party, nearly 33,000 of those were in the Maori electorate. Now it looks more like 74,500 in the Maori electorate support the Maori Party. It is possible that the Maori Party could get more than 85,000 votes in an election - but they`ll still only have 5 MPs in Parliament, as all it will do is wipe the overhang by lowering the number of Labour MPs, while giving at least one extra list seat to National.

But while the deck chairs would not have changed in the Maori Party, this poll is also encouraging for the Maori Party. Why would National ditch the Maori seats on these figures?

In the general electorate, 42% of Maori indicated they'd vote National; just 33% would vote Labour, with 15% voting the Maori Party. Low numbers were polled, but it certainly shows a trend.

No wonder Hone Harawira's constituents want him to be within the Maori Party as a current MP.

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Racism is a lawful freedom of expression

post has been updated

According to the Human Rights Commission [pdf], racism is a lawful freedom of expression under some circumstances, and Hone Harawira was within his rights to be racially offensive, because his comments were not insulting, abusive, or likely to bring contempt to any group.

This is despite quite a few people considering that Harawira's comments have brought contempt for a group called the Maori Party. Harawira implied that non-Maori have been raping the country and ripping Maori off for centuries, starting from colonisalism. Race Relations Commissioner Joris De Bres is known for comparing New Zealand's colonial history to cultural vandalism by the Taleban, for which the Human Rights Commission turned down complaints.Harawira's comments are no worse.

However, de Bres he thought the "cheeky darky" comments, earlier made about Kofi Annan by Paul Holmes were insulting and belittling. . He was very careful to say that the comments made by Hone Harawira were not insulting, abusive, or belittling - merely offensive. According to the Human Rights Commission guidelines, being offensive is not unlawful, When a public figure (such as a politician) or people in power that make comments that are racially offensive, there are other options, even though the statements may not be unlawful. These options do not extend to actions undertaken by the Human Rights Commission.

So it is fine to be offensive, but not insulting. It is within your freedom of expression to make offensive racist comments, and do so lawfully. Glad that's cleared up, then.

Dr Ranginui Walker on Breakfast this morning was adamant that Harawira's comments were not racist. But when asked if the same comments were to be directed at Maori, if that would be racist, he gave a big breath and said, "I'm not sure". Appalling.

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Maori Party release statement on Harawira

The Maori Party has released a statement today, making it clear that it wants this business with Harawira cleared up, with him continuing as a Maori Party MP. A meeting will be held on Thursday and there`ll be no further comment until then.
These recent incidents are inconsistent with the standards of behaviour, the kaupapa and tikanga that our party is based on. We have asked Mr Harawira to consider a number of actions which we hope will address the offence that has been caused. Our intention is to resolve the current controversies concerning Mr Harawira, a creative, talented, intelligent and energetic person who has the potential to be a very effective politician for the Māori people and for the Nation.
Meanwhile Rodney Hide has released this unprecedented apology over his recent actions. Will Harawira do likewise? Only if he is told to, perhaps. He will be told to. Furthermore, as the electorate is the group that has the final say on whether Harawira remains an MP, the Maori Party will go to the electorate recommeding his retention and an apology. He will not be punished, just told to apologise, even though he is not sorry.

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Another pointless name suppression

The identity of a top Kiwi entertainer who laughed after trying to force a teenager to perform a sex act will remain secret to protect his career, according to the Dominion Post.

It is not a very good secret. The Dominion Post gave it away by revealing where and on what date the offence occurred, as well as his age range and the fact that he was not from the city where the gig was. I would have too, had I been the journo. But calling it "medium to low level" offending - hmmm, probably not the best choice of words.

Journalists do not like suppression orders of this kind and they`ll do anything they can to drop subtle identifying hints without being seen to identify the offender, given that it was already reported that the man played a gig the night before.

If the courts are going to insist on name suppression and acquit someone of an offence because he is well-known, the least they can do is insist on suppression of details that would lead to identification. Or preferably, name him to prevent people dropping not so subtle hints all over the Internet, and altering a certain wikipedia site (which has six times the number of usual visits so far today) telling the world he is a sex offender, the edits of which are still visible.

If all people who read this blog already know who this man is, I could name him. I will not be breaching suppression by naming him, as the naming him will not lead to his identity. As I am unsure how many readers of this blog know who this guy is, I`ll refrain from naming him.


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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Harawira could quit

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira said that he might quit at the next election.

However he said he'd like to quit, not over his intemperate language and behaviour, but because National is too close to the Maori Party. Yet he can't stand Labour either. If he doesn't want to be in a party that seeks to be in power with either party, perhaps he should question why he desired to be an MP in the first place. Likewise, if Pita Sharples thinks that it is fine for Harawira to break rules like he does, he should think again.He said:
New Zealand has to weigh up the value of his intellect and his perception of issues as opposed to his odd rule breaking and that’s how it is.
I was told by someone in the Maori Party last night that had Harawira been a list MP, it is a strong possibility he would be gone ,as it would have been much easier to remove him. Harawira is not sorry for his language, he is only sorry if his e-mail "might have harmed the party". If harm is caused to the party, that is a breach of the constitution. Harawira is well aware of the Maori Party constitution - he is the co-author.

The Dominion Post reported that several supporters in his Te Tai Tokerau electorate are unhappy with the Maori Party's relationship with National. Yet last night Harawira's mother and other supporters said they were adamant that they wanted Harawira in parliament, and as a Maori Party MP. They just want the whole episode to go away and pretend it never happened.

Harawira is the Maori Party equivalent of former Green MP Sue Bradford - he disagrees with the direction of the party but as an electorate MP it is a different matter resigning from the Maori Party to stand as an independant as he will not be replaced. The government will have a majority of one. If Harawira resigns from Parliament, that will force a by-election, which could possibly go to Labour. But he won't.

If Harawira wants to utilise his talents he could always do something like this. He'd be good at it, too.

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Human Rights legislation on racial disharmony

Racial disharmony
61(1) It shall be unlawful for any person—
(a) To publish or distribute written matter which is threatening, abusive, or insulting, or to broadcast by means of radio or television words which are threatening, abusive, or insulting; or being matter or words likely to excite hostility against or bring into contempt any group of persons in ..New Zealand on the ground of the colour, race, or ethnic or national origins of that group of persons.
In light of the above, our Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres appears to think it is in accordance with human rights to state, "White mother******* have been raping our lands and ripping us off for centuries, and all of a sudden you want me to play along with their puritanical bullshit", as it is not in breach of the Human Rights Act, on the grounds of freedom of expression. Marvellous. Now, on with jokes on coons,Somalians, cheeky darkies and Dutch anti-apartheid campaigners.
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Friday, November 06, 2009

Harawira's e-mail

With reference to this post, this is the e-mail Hone Harawira sent to former Waitangi Tribunal director Buddy Mikaere.
From: Hone Harawira
Sent: Tuesday, 3 November 2009 10:38 p.m.
Subject: FW: Ae Marika - 03 November 2009 - Hone Harawira MP Te Tai Tokerau

Gee Buddy, do you believe that white man bullshit too do you?

White mother******* have been raping our lands and ripping us off for centuries, and all of a sudden you want me to play along with their puritanical bullshit.

I don't often respond to comments like this, but I will to you.

I put in shit loads of hours and bucketloads of energy in my commitment to advancing Maori, and I am happy to put my body, my freedom, and my personal credibility on the line for that cause.

And I don't do it because of the salary, or the political position I hold, or for any other reason than that I believe in fighting for Maori rights and I love doing what I do.

As far as my wife is concerned - I don't know what your relationship is with whomever, but my wife is my partner, my adviser, my critic, and my best friend, and she has marched with me, fought alongside me, suffered the hard times with me and stood by me for more than 35 years, so if I get the chance to take her with me as part of my role as an MP I will.

And quite frankly I don't give a shit what you or anyone else thinks about it.



PS and if you want to take this to the press, go right ahead. I answer to my people, not to them or to anybody else.

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Maori Party about to kick Hone's butt

The Maori Party is very concerned that Hone Harawira's behaviour in Europe, and a subsequent email that he sent,are serious breaches of the kaupapa and tikanga of the party.Harawira skipped an important meeting in Brussels so he and his wife Hilda could spend a day in Paris.But he lied to Tariana Turia, telling her he didn't attend meetings because he was sick - all to get a day of fun in Paris. He paid for the extra travel himself.
Former Waitangi Tribunal director Buddy Mikaere emailed Harawira complaining about his actions.

"Gotta ask the question eh? Who's paying for [wife] Hilda? You're no better than that wanker Rodney Hide and the white mofos you complain about," Mikaere wrote, referring to Hide's actions in taking his partner on an overseas ministerial trip despite the Prime Minister John Key's direction against the practice. And get off your moral high horse while you're at it -- nobody forced you to be an MP."

Harawira wrote back starting his email; "Gee Buddy, do you believe that white man bullshit too do you? White motherf...ers have been raping our lands and ripping us off for centuries and all of a sudden you want me to play along with their puritanical bullshit."

Harawira then went on to say how much time and energy he put into fighting for Maori and what a big role his wife Hilda played in that."And quite frankly I don't give a shit what you or anyone else thinks about it. OK?

Party president Whata Winiata has emphasised high standards of integrity, and expects its members to be role models. He is concerned that Hone Harawira's language and behaviour fell short of "of expressing the party's kaupapa". But Hone's language and behaviour often falls short of expressing the party's kaupapa.

In an email I received from him some time ago, I was told "piss off arsehole". I forwarded the e-mail to party leaders who did nothing. For Hone this language is normal and is accepted by the Maori Party. So is his behaviour. That has to change. He is a disgrace to the Maori Party.

Also, his spending was easily double that of virtually every other MP, but says he could not care less about what people about that. He says his constituents are the only people he is answerable to.

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Indigeneity and the Foreshore and Seabed

One thing I, perhaps like Lew at Kiwipolitico, realised when reading bits of the the ministerial review of the Foreshore and Seabed legislation, was that the review was conducted within principles of indigeneity with an explicit Treaty-based approach. Indigeneity is not exactly the hot topic within the National Party, but course having Maori academics as panelists on the ministerial review would have certainly pleased the Māori Party, as a panel that operates under the politics of indigeneity would recommend repeal of the legislation.

Indigeneity is greater than a bicultural partnership or a minority status: Indigenous rights predate citizenship and are often articulated by Māori to enhance a greater control over their lives and resources, including in the case of the foreshore and seabed. Māori don’t desire exclusive access to the beaches, but they do desire to have the same property rights as everyone else. This doesn’t mean the desire better ones, but you certainly wouldn’t blame them if they complain when they get lesser ones, particularly when a government enacts these lesser rights.

So, should the Māori Land Court have jurisdiction to consider title to the Foreshore and Seabed? And if it does, should customary (or even freehold) title be granted? That depends on whether you think "one law for all" means that all have the same rights. It depends whether you think the Treaty of Waitangi is a "legal nullity" or part of our unwritten constitution. To some extent, it depends on whether you think customary rights are inherent because of Māori first occupancy, rights that were not explicitly extinguished. And it’s clear what the report writers thought. In just 20 or so words into the report they said:
We consider the whole coastal marine area is subject to customary interests unless expressly extinguished by some specific act.
But customary interests were not extinguished by some specific act. As the Foreshore and Seabed Act legislates Māori as lesser citizens, it is to be repealed. At least that should be the reason for repeal. But according to this media report, some National Cabinet members want a clear explanation of Maori customary rights, or title, and how that might be interpreted by the courts.

They could start by reading something Doug Graham wrote a few years ago, or even the the Ministerial review, starting at page 151. And if they have read the review, then this "clear explanation" that is sought is either a good out to do nothing any time soon, they are seeking a solution that is not in the ministerial review, they don’t think the report is clear enough, or they want to avoid making a decision on customary title. No doubt John Key is "relaxed" about it all.

The ministerial review's first recommendation is to immediately repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act. The second is to form a policy based on premise that the whole of the coastal marine area (the foreshore and the seabed) is subject to customary title unless it can be clearly shown that such title was not wrongfully extinguished. The third is to draft interim legislation recognising customary title. The rest flow on from that. National wants to please everyone. It remains to be seen how it will recognise iwi and hapu customary rights and do so. In other words, how it would promote equal rights for all.

Policies and legislation recognising indigenous rights do not have a habit of pleasing everyone.Perhaps this is why Attorney General Margaret Wilson said in parliament that although the Foreshore and Seabed legislation breached the Bill of Rights, due to it being blatantly discriminatory, this was "demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society".

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Monday, November 02, 2009

The Governor and his weird coincidence

The New York Times reports that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently issued a veto statement that contained a message — and not a nice message — that some interpret as a put-down of Representative Tom Ammiano, the author of a recent bill. The message can be seen only by a careful reading of the printed version of the veto statement. By taking the first letter of each line, beginning with the third line, two words emerge: The first is obscene; the second is “you.”

Schwarznegger's spokesperson said it was a "weird co-incidence".The chances of it being a coincidence is one in 8 billion.
Hattip Kiwiblog
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Brash admits Foreshore and Seabed law was a mistake

The man who brought you the " one law for all" and the Nationhood speech [PDF] that sparked a great deal of anger has has said that he believed National got it wrong when it opposed iwi being able to test their claim to ownership of the foreshore and seabed in court.

That inability for Maori to go to court was the injustice in the Foreshore and Seabed Act. Contrary to some opinions, Maori did not have ownership rights extinguished under the Act.

The 2004 Nationhood speech led to what Shane Jones describes as "inflammatory, divisive and extremely hurtful" debate around race relations and the foreshore and seabed legislation. The Foreshore and Seabed Act was written in response to a Court of Appeal case that suggested iwi able to prove continuous customary use of the foreshore and seabed might have a claim to freehold title.The act stopped Maori seeking title through the courts. even National screamed Maori Gain Control of the Beaches.

Now, it appears the Act will be scrapped.

Brash rejected the Treaty. Therefore, any person who rejects an important part of our constitution is never fit to be a leader of a major political party in New Zealand in this day and age, as they may end up leading the country.

It was a real mistake placing Don Brash fifth on the 2002 National party list to secure his entry into parliament.
So what next for the Foreshore and Seabed? Read Tim Watkin from Pundit. He has some good thoughts on this.

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Destiny Church,MoMENtum and The Cult

TVNZ must have a sense of humour.The other day I spotted the irony that that TV2 programme The Cult, was advertised alongside a well written piece on the Destiny Church [see below], written in the wake of the MoMENtum meeting, the meeting where 700 followers pledged their allegiance to God Brian Tamaki.

As it happens, Momentum is the name of a cult - in fact it is the name of the cult in the TV show The Cult. "Momentum, in an effort to avoid problems, forms a 'council' of longest serving members." Not sure if they have 700 or not.

Ha, there's even a person in New Zealand chapter of The Cult called Hannah, the same name as Brian Tamaki's wife. She's in love with the cult leader, who is charming, articulate but ultimately delusional.According the website:
Hannah is in love with Edward, who genuinely believes in what he preaches...He has already started to reinterpret the Momentum belief systems to suit his own ends...He truly believes he is special.

Is this where Destiny Church got the the idea of MoMENtum from?

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