BIG NEWS: 09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dunedin North is another Ohariu

With ACTs David Garrett resigning from Parliament, Hilary Calvert enters Parliament. She contested Dunedin North at the last election, which means that four candidates who contested Dunedin North at the last election will be sitting in Parliament after recess: Pete Hodgson, Michael Woodhouse, Metiria Tuei and Calvert.

The only other electorate like this is Ohariu. Four current MPs also contested Ohariu in 2008: Peter Dunne, Charles Chauvel, Gareth Hughes and Katrina Shanks. It would have been five had Heather Roy not shifted to contest Wellington Central.

Labour Party members get two votes out of seven to select a candidate for Dunedin North. And today they did so. As expected David Clark won and will be the new MP for Dunedin North after the election. His brother Ben is likely to be Labour's North Shore candidate.

As with Kris Fa’afoi, the candidate that Goffice, unions, and the local MP wanted prevailed. But unlike Fa'afoi, at least Clark appeared to have a history of involvement in the electorate.

I’m wondering why local party members in various electorates that are not associated with unions don’t have more of a say as to who their candidate is.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Past grades could affect future government assistance to students

The other day I was advised by letter of changes to student loans and allowances. Grades are going to affect eligibility to loans and allowances. But I was particularly surprised to see that grades from 2009 will count towards eligibility. Doesn’t affect me, of course, I passed everything well.

Had I failed half my courses in 2009, I could get a student loan or allowance in 2010. But perhaps not in 2011. And according to Tertiary Education minister Steven Joyce, this new policy of passing more than half of your papers could affect 9000 students – at least the ones that can be enrolled.

If you are being slack and partying hard, and fail because of that, fair enough. But what happens when a student who studied in 2009 because he couldn’t get a job, mid year got a dream job and dropped out of studying. He passed his three semester one papers –getting straight As - but as he has not passed any of his five semester two papers, he will get no government assistance if he wants to continue his degree – even if he wants to study extramurally and do just two papers while working. What if he gets made redundant and wants to go back studying? Will he have to pay everything himself?

Also, a first year student who gets to grips with studying passes three out of eight papers in 2009 because he’s sick, has family and part time work commitments. Perhaps he took on more than he could chew and withdrew from one mid-year. Perhaps he is an extramural student who took a third year paper in his first year (as I did). While a pretty poor performance, it is a little different to a student who skylarks and doesn’t make the effort to pass his papers. But he is treated like one.

So, he takes fewer papers the following year. He doesn’t get a student allowance so he gets a job and takes four papers, passing three with A grades, and withdrawing late from one. Because he did not pass more than half his papers in his first year he may not be entitled to a student loan. His sin was not academic underachievement or slackness – probably more like overcommitment.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Brian Tamaki's spiritual father may be rather dodgy?

Atlanta Bishop and Preacher Eddie Long is Brian Tamaki's spiritual father. Tamaki is well known as Bishop of Destiny Church. Long believes that God can "deliver" homosexuals and teaches on prosperity,a belief that God provides material prosperity for those he favors.

In 2008, Destiny Church had a conference and Eddie Long was there. He took a guy from his church to Auckland with him for his 18th birthday and attended the conference. Robinson, in a lawsuit, [PDF] has alleged that Long used his imfluence and church money to engage in sexual misconduct with him while in New Zealand , and another has claimed similar activity in the US. Long is now facing two lawsuits.
The pastor took one plaintiff, Anthony Flagg, 21, on overnight trips to a half-dozen American cities in recent years, Flagg's lawsuit [PDF] alleges.

"Long shared a bedroom and engaged in intimate sexual contact with plaintiff Flagg including kissing, massaging, masturbating of plaintiff Flagg by defendant Long and oral sexual contact," the suit says.

Long took the other plaintiff, Maurice Murray Robinson, 20, to Auckland, New Zealand, in October 2008 for his 19th birthday and engaged in oral sex with him, Robinson's suit alleges.

"Following the New Zealand Trip, Defendant Long regularly engaged in sexual touching, and other sexual acts with Plaintiff Robinson," Robinson's suit alleges.
At this stage it is a lawsuit, and he is innocent until proven guilty, but it is also not a good look, and his church has not denied it to the media despite repeatedly being asked to in the past two weeks.

Eddie Long is now a trending topic on Twitter. That didn't take long. His church website is here, but it is unavailable to view. He tweets here.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Key wonders if people will blame MMP for ACTs problems

John Key speaks on ACT’s problems.
I'm wondering whether the public might say 'look, very small parties are consuming quite a lot of time' and maybe they will take the view that MMP fundamentally isn't working so well.
Of course Key didn’t mention MMP when List MP Richard Worth blew up in his face, so one can only assume he is trying to deflate blame and cover for Rodney Hide. If there was ever a reason to vote MMP in the referendum next year this is it, because MMP will then be reviewed. Perhaps they`ll decide not to let MPs in off the list who failed to win their seats – MPs like Richard Worth. Perhaps they`ll look at the one MP rule so that multiple MPs – or fewer of them – can’t get into parliament on the back of an MP. Perhaps they`ll look at changing the five percent threshold, or ensure list MPs resign from parliament after resigning from their party they got elected to, even if they want to form a new party as did former Alliance MP Alamein Kopu .

Justice Minister Simon Power has said that voters will be well informed about the options of how MMP can be modified, before a referendum is held on the electoral system at next year’s election.

The alternative to MMP is white males in suits running the country like Muldoon did.

It’s weird that Key implies that MMP isn’t working well – but the anti-smacking legislation is working perfectly well, because it was designed not to work at all. MMP works well – if Garrett leaves Parliament, we won’t need an expensive election. But if fewer MPs were let in off the back of an elected representative, or if list MPs were made to resign from parliament after quitting their party, he wouldn’t have had the option of leaving.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Oh dear

The Law and Order Select Committee has reported on Paul Quinn’s bill, which aimed to prevent prisoners from voting. Currently prisoners can vote provided they have been sentenced to a term less than three years. Quinn writes on his Facebook page.
My Private Members Bill was reported back from the Select Committee on Friday with a recommendation supporting the removal of the right to vote from all persons serving a custodial sentence. Looking forward to next steps in the process
The next step in the process will no doubt be a supplementary order paper to undo the previous step in the process because the Law and Order Select Committee, while actually recommending the bill be passed so that all prisoners will be disqualified as registering as electors, amended the bill to do the opposite, as Andrew Geddis helpfully points out.

It actually proposed a change to the law to allow all current prisoners to enrol to vote and therefore cast a vote at the next election – including Clayton Weatherston and Graeme Burton.

The committee - which Geddis describes as "dumb" - suggests completely repealing the current disqualification provision in the Electoral Act 1993, s.80 (1) d and replacing it with this provision:
“a person who is detained in a prison pursuant to a sentence of imprisonment imposed after the commencement of the Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced 15 Prisoners) Amendment Act 2010:”
This means that, as Geddis points out,there would be nothing in law to stop anyone imprisoned at the time the bill is enacted from applying to be registered to vote, and consequently casting a vote at the 2011 election – the very opposite of what Quinn intended.

Section 80(1)d of the Electoral Act 1993 should be etched in the memory of the members of this select committee for a very long time. Perhaps this should have gone to the select committee that looks at electoral laws.



Sunday, September 19, 2010

Labour Party members confirm Fa'afoi stitch up

A commenter on Kiwiblog left this message.
As a local party member I have seen some stitch ups in my time but this was a disgrace and once again the Mana Labour party is lumbered with an out of town drop in candidate.

We should be used to it by now I guess, but it really gets my goat. Almost the entire leaders office staff including the chief of staff and leaders secretary were there today, you had a group of staff including other press secretaries and advisors counting to floor votes and “checking” membership details. They even tried to stop one longtime member in her 70s from voting – she still has Michael Joseph Savage on her kitchen wall and these upstarts tried to say she wasnt Labour!

These Goff staffers brought with them affiliated union members to stack the votes in favour of Faafoi.

The whole thing was a set up and it was a race based selection. Well, Phil Goff has got the man he wanted but he has lost my support and the support of many others in the process.

This confirms what I wrote yesterday. Now I have spoken to someone who was at the meeting yesterday. Labour's Local Electorate Committee is controlled by Winnie Laban. She wanted Fa'afoi, so her committee voted for Fa'afoi, even though some may have not supported him. Goff's office wanted Fa'afoi, and his three votes got him. The other vote was decided by the community. That vote was made up of 52 locals and 60 unionists. The locals wanted Pagani. The unionists wanted Fa'afoi. NoneAlthough apparently some of the unionists were locals, there were more unionists than other community members, so they had sway, and they were roped in as union members to represent Goffice and vote Fa'afoi, not to reflect the electorate's Labour membership.

This meant that the community vote was stacked with unionists to make sure Fa'afoi got the nod, meaning that the Local Electorate Committee actually voted against the wishes of the local voters, and stacked the floor so that the community vote also went against the wishes of the community.

No honest person is denying privately that this was a stitch up.Every union vote went to Fa'afoi and about twice as many voting locals wanted Pagani than Fa'afoi.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fa'afoi chosen for Labour in Mana because he has a brown face and favoured by Goff

Everyone is expecting Kris Fa'afoi to be the MP for Mana. If he is, he won't measure up to either National candidate Hekia Parata or former MP Winnie Laban. Fa'afoi is chairperson of the Pacific branch in Rongotai, and has just recently joined the Labour Party. In fact there are rumours that while he was a political reporter he applied to become press secretary for a National Party Minister. He is currently Goff's chief media advisor, and has said he would campaign on employment, health, education and local issues like the expressway.

Labour obviously wanted a brown face - preferably a Pacific brown face. Fa'afoi is Tokelean.The selection process was a stitch-up right from the start and many are sick of Labour parachuting in head office appointees to win selection in one of the safest Labour seats in the country. Mana community leaders are sick of having their MP imposed upon them. Many in the electorate would vote Labour, even if a cat was the Labour candidate.

Were the local Labour electorate committee to disagree with Goff's appointee they would have been told where to go. In any case they only get three out of the seven votes so even if they all disagreed they have no say if the other four take a contrary opinion. Porirua Deputy Mayor Litea Ah Hoi is on record saying that she feels she wants to see a Pacific Islander as Mana MP. What she really means is that she doesn't want to see a Maori who so happens to have an office in the electorate and wears blue representing Mana. Its obvious that Ah Hoi and Parata cant stand each other, but Ah Hoi tends to get more media exposure than Parata and Laban, meaning the public get more chances to see what she thinks.

Don't be surprised if Ah Hoi - who is running for Porirua Mayor - and Fa'afoi campaign in a tag team. Expect to hear a bit about affluent Whitby and state -housed Cannons Creek. And who knows, if Josie Pagani was not Palagi, she may have got the nod as she may have got Head Office and Winnie Laban backing - after all she is a local and Mana deserves a person as their MP who has a strong connection to the electorate - like Hekia Parata does. Kris Faafoi has less of a connection to the electorate than Josie Pagani does.

Wonder if Josie Pagani's husband John will be Labour's campaign manager, as he was at the Mt Albert by-election, the last time Goff flew in an appointee.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Garrett should resign from Parliament

I am pleased David Garrett has left ACT, because it was the right thing to do. What he should now do is resign from Parliament, and not just because his political career is over. But while Rodney Hide told Garrett that he has no future in ACT, he doesn’t want him to leave Parliament. That’s because ACT will get Hilary Calvert who is next on the list. With Roy and Douglas, they`ll roll Hide as I mentioned yesterday.

Hide may well be wanting to do his best for Epsom. I don’t think Hide will be calling on Garrett to resign from Parliament. He’s not that principled.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Musical chairs at ACT

Well, what an extraordinary few days it has been for ACT.

ACT Whip David Garrett has his second strike in a week after outing his misdemeanors in Parliament yesterday, thus causing the media to breach permanent name suppression by reporting his entire speech. His media secretary used to work for Heather Roy but now works for John Boscawen because Boscawen's secretary now works for Rodney Hide. That's because Hide apparently fired had his press secretary walk out of his job, and is probably "pursuing other interests". His new one started yesterday - and actually wrote a media release - but still works for Roger Douglas.

Douglas is probably wondering where she is these days.

There is a rumour going round that Heather Roy had something to do with publicising the David Garrett misdemeanors. Not sure what discussions Garrett's press secretary has had with Roy's press secretary. Probably none as they appear to be one and the same person - the one who now works for John Boscawen. At least I think that's right. Probably too busy to talk to himself. Too busy with David Garrett.

John Key now has twice the number of press secretaries that ACT has. The only ACT chair that needs to be filled is that of David Garrett. He really needs to be replaced by Hilary Calvert, who is next on the ACT list. Initially, some thought Calvert would replace Heather Roy when she was demoted after her Ministerial Advisor, and close family friend, leaked a caucus document and was fired. But Calvert likes Roy and didn't want to replace her. Hide doesn't like Roy so much, and may have wanted her replaced - but not with Calvert. Its the Judith Tizard factor. So Hide would want to keep Garrett on so he can still be leader because if Calvert became an MP, Calvert, Douglas and Roy would vote him out.

But John Boscawen would make a good leader of ACT - he'd even get his old press secretary back, assuming she stays with the leader's office. Wonder who would be deputy, perhaps, um, Heather Roy? She`d get her old job and her old press secretary back. The one that referred to her as a f***in' insensitive ignorant bitch. Instead of being spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Veteran’s Affairs, she'd be minister of Consumer Affairs. And ACT will be the only parliamentary party to have an elected MP along with a leader and deputy who are both list MPs.

Why didn't they just replace Hide with Boscawen? Then ACT wouldn't have had to fire anyone, and they'd have an extra press secretary. And Boscawen could stand for Epsom again in 2011, and if he wins Hide could be in off the list.



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Proof: Wellington council wardens are ticketing against Council policy

I went into Wellington today and decided to park my car in Bowen Street. There is a clearway up until 9:30am so at about 9:27am I parked my car so that I could get a park at 9:30am to get to my appointment on time. Immediately after I parked a whole lot of cars lined up behind me. There were several cars already parked.

Then precisely at 9:28am out popped a parking warden from behind the bushes. The car in front of me shot off. I got out of my car and asked the warden if there was a problem, as I could see him looking at my car and scribbling something down. I was told I could not park before 9:30am and was told to leave or else I’d get a ticket. I did so and found another park at 9:30am – two minutes later up the road.

I thought that was a bit heavy handed so as it happened, I was going to the Council anyway. I took the time to speak to the manager who coordinates the parking warden contract and was advised that there is a six minute grace period – ie. that nobody should be ticketing after 9:24am on the basis of parking contrary to signs on a 9:30am clearway.

This means that although you are not really supposed to park before 9:30am, parking wardens are not supposed to issue or threaten to issue tickets after 9:24am in this area, either. Furthermore I was assured that this was certainly not happening, and that this parking warden should not be threatening to ticket within this period. They agreed that this parking warden was heavy handed and that it was perhaps a training issue for a new staff member.

However, what I did not know that up the road there were a few other wardens trying to get a scalp. And at least one did and I have the proof. My camera was busted but here’s a pic off the phone.

If you click to get a larger image, you`ll see that this ticket – not the only one - was issued at 9:25am, on Bowen Street for "parked contrary to signs indicating a 7:30am to 9:30am clearway". This is despite that I was pretty sure that there were no cars lined up at that time – perhaps it was ticketed at 9:26am, and he fudged the time by a minute. However what the parking warden appeared to do was to wait until the driver got out of his car and soon as he started walking off, that warden appeared behind his hiding place and pinged him for $60.00 – directly contravening council policy. Then by 9:35am all parking wardens had taken off to the next clearway to see how many others they could get. I noticed many drivers who parked ahead of and behind me didn't get out of their cars until after 9:30am in case they too got ticketed.

This is not a training issue, it is systemic money grabbing against council policy. And it is happening every single morning Monday- Friday. The Council claimed not to know anything about it. Do you believe them?



Sunday, September 12, 2010

Come on journalists!

What is it about former PMs? So what if a murder has been near a former PM's home. So what if former PM Norman Kirk's former home survived the earthquake.

This isn't news, any more than a murder victim being buried in the same cemetery as Michael Joseph Savage. However did you know that there is a person who lives just down the road from where former PM Rob Muldoon used to live who hasn't filed his tax return. Someone tell the Herald.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Parata confirmed as Mana candidate

National list MP Hekia Parata, as expected, has been selected as National's candidate for the Mana by-election. Labour's candidate has been selected too, but they haven't announced it yet, because the official selection -process hasn't been completed, and nominations don't close until tomorrow.



Sunday, September 05, 2010

Massey students to be stung with 10% hike in costs to study next year

Students at Massey University will be hit hard with the maximum possible tuition fee increase in 2011, as well as increased student services levies, a new scholarship levy, and increased enrolment fees.

update listen to more on Checkpoint here.

Massey recently approved a 4 percent increase in tuition fees for graduate and undergraduate students. It also approved a 47.5 percent average increase in the student services levy; this follows the 100 percent increase in 2010. The announced increases, including the October GST increase, mean that on average full-time students will pay 10 percent extra to study at Massey next year.

Student services levies for full time internal students will range from $150.00 to a maximum of $325.00 as the per-paper levy will be $25.00 on top of a $150 base rate. Extramural students will face up to a 300 percent increase in the levy, as the base fee will be the current $60.00 levy plus $15.00 per paper taken. This adjustment is to pay for more projects around supporting students, as funding is now linked to success and completion.

The scholarship levy, at $2.50 per 15 credit paper, will also have students involved in the way the funds are distributed. This levy will amount to about $350,000 annually.

Enrolment fees will nearly double - from $40.00 to $75.00 and will be non-refundable. These increases will hit students hard. These increases appear to be due to government policies allowing universities to use student levies as a way of increasing fees beyond the fees course costs maxima.

Finally, a new withdrawal fee of $75.00 has been introduced for domestic students who withdraw from all papers following confirmation of enrolment but prior to completing 10 per cent of the first paper in which they enrolled. Previously a non-refundable enrolment fee was charged.

Canterbury University is also increasing fees as high as it can, after a 627% increase in the student service levy this year.



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