BIG NEWS: 10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

More on the busy busy cult of Brian

Garth George did really have one big scoop. But TV3 were also on the case on the cult of Brian. Cultwatch has upgraded Destiny's rating from caution to danger. Destiny was featured on Campbell Live last night [you can see that online here].Campbell Live had a plant in last weekend's Destiny conference, but, despite Destiny's claims that they have an open door policy, they wouldn't let TV3 reporter David Farrier in.

[ Update:This has now been confirmed by TV3 news boss Mark Jennings]

Now Destiny is claiming the story was grossly inaccurate without specifying what parts are inaccurate, even when asked. I spoke to Destiny's Janine Cardno today and asked her for just one inaccuracy. She said she was too busy to do that - but said she had a "whole list" So, at her request I have asked for that list. Also Destiny hasn't even given one thought as to whether to take the programme to the Broadcasting Standards Authority - Cardno said they were too busy to do that, too.

I suggest you also check out MacDoctor's excellent post on the cult of Brian. He says it well and fairly.
It is obvious from what we see of the contents of this covenant, that members are not encouraged to do anything except accept the words of Tamaki. I suspect that, if God calls a Destiny church member to do something great for Him outside of Tamaki’s ambit, He is going to have to speak very loudly indeed. This covenant is probably the most restrictive, crushing thing I have ever seen.

What Brian Tamaki has created here is not a church, but a personality cult centered around him. Check out the Close Up interview of him here and count how many times he mentions himself and his achievements. How many times does he mention Jesus Christ? Once.
Well done. Here's Living Colour.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

God is not happy with Brian Tamaki

I had a chat to God today and he told me that he is not happy with Brian Tamaki. Not happy at all. God told me that Tamaki is an arrogant prick, who leads a cult, not a church.

And God is, as usual, right.

Tamaki, you see, is the "spiritual father " of the Destiny Church, and about 700 male members of the church are his "spiritual sons".All swore a "covenant oath" of loyalty and obedience, pledging their allegiance to Tamaki and were given a "covenant ring" to wear on their right hands and have to follow instructions in a document called Protocols and Requirements Between Spiritual Father & His Spiritual Sons. These men in all conversation always have to speak of Mr Tamaki in a favourable and positive light; and in formal and/or public occasions, they will always address him and his wife, Hannah, first in acknowledgments and addresses at meetings "as a sign of respect to the father of the movement". At meetings, they are told to bring Bible, pen, paper or laptop to note down Mr Tamaki's sermons which "shows how highly you value the Word of God from Bishop's mouth".

I think the fact that it comes out of Bishop's mouth is more important to his followers than whether it is the "word of God" or not. And yes, they call him Bishop, not "the Bishop". Furthermore
any "son" is honoured either by the church or secularly, he is to mention his "mentors and role models" - Mr and Mrs Tamaki - "because Bishop is one of God's best-known representatives in our country"
No he's not. He is not God's representative. He is merely the best known cult leader in our country.
Under "Conduct Towards Bishop", the "sons" are told that "Bishop is the tangible expression of God", so they need to understand how to properly approach their man of God "to protect the anointing and not transgress this special relationship". They are always to be respectful and honourable in Mr Tamaki's presence. "Even though he is very sociable and open - remember who he is!" They must never be "in his face" and must protect him from outsiders who attempt to do that.
Tamaki is putting himself above God. Now even if you don't believe in God I'm sure - if you are not one of the brainwashed Tamaki followers - you can see that this is arrogant prickery.

Destiny Church is no longer a church - it is officially a cult, and it is about time other church leaders spoke out against this cult. The NZ Cult List may do well to upgrade Destiny's rating from "caution" to "danger".

Read more about this topic here.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Social Report is out

I'm a bit pissed off that the Social Report, which is finally out, is only available on the web, now. It means I`ll have to be near a computer to read it and I wont get my hard copy like in previous years. The media people from the MSD are a bit miffed about it too. It means that you can't get it out of any libraries, and if you don't have access to a computer you simply cant read it.

That is a real shame - the excuse is the standard one: cost-cutting.

But look at this. The economic standard of living is declining.
In the year to June 2008, 14 per cent of the population was living below the 60 per cent threshold. This was similar to the 13 per cent in the previous survey year to June 2007. The proportion of the population with low incomes rose sharply from 1990, reached a peak in the mid-1990s and has generally declined since then. However, in 2008, the proportion was still above what it had been in the 1980s as housing costs for low-income households have risen significantly as a proportion of their household incomes. Currently, 39% of families in the lowest quintile are spending more than 30% of their income on housing. That's twice what it was in the 1980's.

Time for an increase to the accommodation supplement.

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More "chilling" than the Electoral Finance Act

Sweeping powers to spy, bug conversations and hack into private computers could be given to a web of state agencies as diverse as Inland Revenue and the Meat Board

The Human Rights Commission yesterday warned Parliament of the "chilling" implications of a proposed law that would see the intrusive powers usually only available to the police extended to all agencies with enforcement responsibilities.It said that under the law, council dog control officers would be able to enter homes to install a surveillance device and the Commerce Commission would be able to detain people.
Righto. What's going on, here? Someone give me one good reason why the Inland Revenue, Meat Board, local councils, Overseas Investment Office, Accident Compensation Corporation, Environment Risk Management Authority, the COmmerce Commission, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and the Pork Industry Board should either get enforcement powers, be able to install surveillance devices in your home, and detain people without a warrant.

If the Pork Industry Board comes anywhere near my house I`ll be ringing the pigs.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Labour's cool website

Why has Labour got two MPs in Mt Albert: This one, and this one.
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

ACC: I was right

Well, that didn't take long. Earlier this week I predicted that the ACC workers account will be open to competition.

The Government has just announced that the ACC workers account is to be opened to competition.

ACT media release is here. Hopefully this sort of thing will be minimised.

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Act leader confirms he will speak about his ministerial role for $45 a head

Rodney Hide has admitted charging $45 a head to hear him speak on local government is fine, but also admitted that ACT was also wrong to prominately advertise him as local government minister, particularly as local government officials were invited as they were interested in hearing what the minister had to say, not what "Act is up to".

Hide has now revealed why he is to talk about local government:
"They've asked me to speak about local government," he said. "That's what I do".
Hide is correct. It is what he does - but he does it as minister of local government, not as ACT party leader. As ACT party spokesperson on local government, he is just that: a spokesperson.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

ACT party leader wants to charge money to talk about his ministerial role

post updated
Labour is up in arms about Rodney Hide's fundraiser for his party. ACT has advertised a meeting [PDF]where Rodney Hide is going to present his views on a certain topic. The meeting was organised by the local ACT fundraising co-ordinator and the charge is $45 per head.Nothing wrong with that, parties need money.

Yet the topic is local government - and Hide is the Minister of local government. Those attending will want hear what the Minister says, not what the ACT party leader says. Particularly the local government representatives, who have complained to the minister about local government matters, and whose local authority is being investigated by the minister. These representatives have been specifically invited to the meeting by ACT because ACT knows that they want to hear what the Minister has to say. So why did Hide tell reporters this:
I'm not charging as a minister, I'm actually going along to speak as party leader.
So why target, with invitations, those with an interest in Hide's role as a minister? In our democracy, advice and discussion with government ministers are free of charge. So is the $45 charge ethical? Or is it fine for a minister to travel to the meeting as a minster to purportedly speak as a party leader about his ministeral portfolio - provided those attending pay a fee to his political party for the privilege?

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

MMP referendum to be held at the 2011 election

Stuff reports: that the first referendum on the MMP voting system will be held with the 2011 general election. The timeline is here.Although the proposed plan is pretty much the way I said it should be done,in terms of process, there is no mention of any attempts to address gripes within MMP , such as looking at the 5 percent threshold or mix of general or list seats within MMP before the first referendum.
"The first referendum will ask two questions: The first will ask voters if they wish to change the voting system from MMP. The second will ask what alternative voting system they would prefer, from a list of options.
And what if they wish to retain MMP with a lower threshold,a different mix of list and electorate MPs, and a change to the one seat threshold? Do we get to have a say on that? As Mai Chen says, the stability of recent MMP governments suggests that while voters may want to contemplate significant tweaking of the MMP system, they are less likely to clamour for fundamental change involving a switch to another electoral system.

But that is what they are being asked to do even though they dont want to.
Mr Power said Cabinet would make further decisions over the next few months, including drafting the questions, alternate electoral systems and how that referendum will be conducted.

"If a majority of voters opt for a change from MMP, there will be a second referendum at the 2014 general election. This will be a contest between MMP and the alternative voting system that receives the most votes in the first referendum. It will be binding.
So, it's promoted as a change from MMP. How reactionary! I'd prefer to choose an electoral system I want, not to choose between the lesser of two options that aren't as good as a revamped MMP system.
Previous Cabinet consideration** Cabinet decision on MMP process

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Kicking the tyres on ACC - secret plans to charge all claimants $100 excess

National is planning to reduce costs on ACC, but some of the suggestions are those that even insurance companies would never do. Like charging all claimants an excess with no option for recovery.ACC calls such moves " kicking the tyres".

Just isolating motor vehicle accidents where pedestrians were injured, stats show that most drivers were not at fault. An excess should only be charged when the system is an at fault scheme, and one has a choice of paying premiums. ACC does not look at who is at fault in an accident. The reason this is important is because if a person has, say, a motor vehicle accident, is not at fault, and makes an insurance claim, he can attempt to recover his excess through the other party's insurance company, or directly through the disputes tribunal or courts, often with the assistance of his insurance company.

Now, I have spent 13 years working for ACC and settling claims for various insurance companies so I know a little how they work. To ACC,as fault is irrelevant, recovering an excess for the injured is also irrelevant. But ACC also has used to have a system called experience rating, with employers rated based on their employees' work injuries - the more injuries in a certain industry, the higher premiums that industry bore. Back then, if an employer disputes that an ACC injury happened at their workplace, it can challenge their premium increase as well as the experience rating through an ACC review panel. It's a good system if administered properly.

So if a person was driving a company car while working, got hit by an identified third party who admitted fault, his company would be able to recover his car insurance excess, thus maintaining premium level. But, under this proposal, if he got injured and needed ACC treatment, he'd have to pay an excess and he will also have to pay extra premiums due to aggregate actions from similar drivers. And the more he earns the more he pays. He has no choice. His employer will have increased ACC premiums even though the accident was not his employee's fault.

That's why I am amazed an excess was even suggested, because it won't happen, and neither should it unless ACC reintroduces experience rating( which Nick Smith is supportive of,BTW), but with an at-fault component. I see an opening up of the Work Account to competition again.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dumpster diving

Heh, this looks like fun. I know a bunch of people who get their food by dumpster diving twice a week. At least they used to, they may well still do so. It's when you grab a torch, go to the supermarket, look in the bins, and take some perfectly good food without paying for it because the supermarket has chucked it out. It's amazing what you can find - veges, alcohol, lasagne, potatoes, grapes, salads, bread and more. Look at them doing it on this video and look at the stuff they get.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

National knew about the Rugby World Cup Maori TV bid in June

post has been updated again
Derek Fox, former media manager of the Maori Party - he resigned a month or so ago for reasons not specifically related to the Rugby World Cup bid and is yet to be replaced - has revealed that Bill English knew about the Maori TV bid for the Rugby World Cup back in June. On June 23, English and Sports Minister Murray McCully were told about the bid. So it sounds a little rich to criticise Pita Sharples for not telling ministers about the bid when two ministers already knew and could find out more themselves.

But they didn't want to find out more - they wanted to stop it. Since then McCully has been "donkey deep" in attempts to spike MTS's bid to the exclusive free-to-air rights. Photocopies of the Maori Television Service bid were personally delivered to the offices of Finance Minister Bill English and Associate Rugby World Cup Minister Gerry Brownlee on September 24.

So the letter English received on September 7 2 from Georgina te Heuheu (the Minister responsible for Maori broadcasting) was not the first time he knew about the bid -but it was the first time English (the shareholding minister for Maori Television) was advised of the $3m amount - although he was aware of the liklihood of Te Puni Kokiri funding.The bid had gone in three days earlier.

That's when it all blew up. The problem was the TPK funding was going to ensure a tax-payer funded bid, perhaps successful if TVNZ earlier rejected bids weren't bumped up. Failing that, only 80 percent of the country would see the game unless MTV sub-licenced the rights.

National had three months warning about the bid. It did nothing apart from supporting a TVNZ counter-bid once tne $3m was confirmed, and then spat the dummy.

It has now sucked the dummy back in and allowed Maori Television Service to process unchallenged with its bid. TVNZ has withdrawn its bid and will have to accept a sub-licensing arrangement. Ka Pai!

update And I see a good night was had at the Green Parrot celebrating this achievement.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Maori Television and the Rugby World Cup


Pita Sharples is angry that the government has effectively scuppered the $3m bid to screen the Rugby World Cup on Maori TV.

I was quite prepared to have to listen to a refreshing commentary.
Jerry Collins has gone down in a rutu mahunga. It's a piro whiu. Aw c'mon ref, he would have scored for sure. No, he's ordered a five-metre kirimiti. Unbelievable! Thirty seconds remaining. All Blacks to put in. Carter is standing deep. Cowan has the ball. He passes it off to the taitapa who charges upfield. Oh no! Taka whakamua!. France restarts - Carter intercepts, passes it to Cowan who quickly offloads it to Cory Jane - who executes a whana whakapiro right on full time! NZ 10 France 9. The All Blacks are into the whakamutunga! Te pai ke! Ka pai, wouldn't you agree, Murray Mexted?
I do think that the political implications of the Te Puni Kokiri proposal have not been thought through particularly well. Sharples approved funding via Maori development so any proposal had to have a convincing development approach.

There has been suggestions that TVNZ and Maori TV should offer a joint proposal. If they were to do so, the implications of a fusion of TVNZ aims with a Maori development approach will need to be considered. Instead, the latest state of play is that the $3m bid as outlined by Te Puni Kokiri has pushed up the price in the TVNZ/TV3/MTV bidding war - with the winner no doubt to be funded by the taxpayer and approved by cabinet.

Update Maori Television responds by claiming things are unfair, criticising government ministers, but says it will not drop its bid.

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Clayton Weatherston is going to appeal his conviction

What do you think of that?
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Friday, October 09, 2009

The value of representative democracy

Back in August, Richard Ekins, law lecturer at Auckland University, delivered a superb lecture for the Maxim Institute: “ A Government for the People: The value of representative democracy” looking at the value of representative democracy as opposed to direct democracy in light of the anti-smacking referendum. You can listen to that lecture here. The paper has been made available today and you can read that here.

Ekins argues that, despite direct democracy aiming to circumvent political representatives, representative democracy is not second best democracy. Securing the will of the people is of more value than executing the will of the people. Read the whole speech, because whatever I write won’t do it justice. I may try and do a summary later.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Going into bat for Graham Capill

The media is reporting that former Christian Heritage leader and sex offender Graham Capill has been denied parole again because his victims - and the Parole Board - believed he would pose an undue risk to others in the community. He has four years and nine months to go to complete his sentence.

I have received a copy of the decision of the Parole Board (Update: it is here [PDF])

While I'm no fan of Capill, I have known for some time that he has been trying for some time now to get into a programme for sex offenders. He has not been able to do so, which was why he was denied parole each time. Yet, according to the decision of the Parole Board, he may not get the treatment until 2011 - in which case a parole hearing next year will be a pointless exercise and a fait accompli.

But what the media does not report is that there has been a bit of a disagreement about which sex offender programme Capill should be on. He wants to go on one- the STOP programme - a community-based programme, but his psychologists want him to go on the Kia Marama one, in prison. He is waiting to be treated on the latter programme. Yet Capill may not even get accepted onto that programme until 2011, because the 60-bed unit is always full, and he is down the waiting list behind those who have been behind bars for longer.

What that means that Capill has had no treatment at all, partly because of a scrap about treatment providers, partly because the two treatment providers have no available beds in their 60-bed units. Irrespective of what you think of criminal offending, after four years in prison, it that is not good enough. Prisoners should get treatment before reaching two-thirds of their sentence - otherwise why have parole after one-third for these people?

If the Government wants to put more people in prison, it should build more treatment units to treat them - otherwise prisoners will be denied parole because they have had no rehabilitation or treatment - only for many to be released without treatment at the end of their sentence, angry, and just as likely to reoffend.

update Since writing this post I have been advised that the reason Capill preferred the STOP programme to the Kia Marama one was because the former one aligned more to Christian principles. I pointed out that Capill is a sex offender, so his "Christian principles" probably don't count for much.

update2 The Press has a story this morning( Wednesday) covering some of the above points. It also says:
The Corrections Department said yesterday that Kia Marama was prioritised for prisoners near the end of their sentences.

"The programmes are designed to assist offenders live an offence-free life in the community," it said. "For this reason, they are best attended close to the point at which the offender will be released.

"We aim to schedule eligible offenders about one year prior to their parole date. For example, a prisoner on a nine-year sentence who needs to attend the Kia Marama programme will be at the end of his fifth year in prison.

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Monday, October 05, 2009

Student association membership

With reference to ACT's bill on student membership some students who are supporting voluntary student union membership (VSM ) are annoyed that they have to join a student association and have to pay more than $100 in student association fees for a group they object to be made to join - but will happily utilise their services such as reading student newspapers like Salient and Chaff.

I went to a debate about this last week run by the Victoria University Debating society. Two things were clear. Supporters of VSM are not actually supporters of VSM at all - they are actually opponents of compulsory membership of student associations (CSM). Furthermore the thing they most object to is the fee - which at Massey University is up to $172 depending on courses - with a recreation and building levy n top of that amount.

If CSM opponents are really serious about their right to join associations voluntary, they'd do well to frame it in matters other than the fee they have to pay - and explain how students will be able to freely join if they have to pay this fee up front out of their own pockets, rather than through a student loan initially paid for by the state. As they won't do that, they must be concerned about the fee. If they opt out of student membership they wont have to pay the fee.

All supporters of VSM should have sent applications to opt out of membership.As far as I know, none have tried to opt out. But they will cite mismanagement of student associations as an excuse not to pay the fee, which is of course a different argument to freedom of association.

I have a solution. Why not study at an institution that cuts the fee dramatically. Study extramurally at Massey. You only pay $40 to the student union. It's a pity that some of the VSMers are not as focused on some of discrepancies surrounding fees structures- for example, the student services levy is $104 at Massey this year, but next year Victoria students will be paying $510 - which, unlike student association membership under VSM, will always be able to be paid through a student loan.

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