Thursday, December 15, 2005
Helen Clark herself has had the finger pointed at her for leaking Judy Bailey's $800,000 salary.
In extraordinary testimony to the Select Committee looking at the shambles we call the TVNZ (politically appointed) Board the outgoing CEO has anchored the leaks to Helen Clark and Heather Simpson.
Director Dame Ann Hercus has resigned (and this time managed to get it to stick) and the heat is now on a relatively new Board member John Goulter, who Ian Fraser alleges is at the centre of the latest leaks on managerial competence. Goulter has the pedigree - when CEO at Auckland Airport he had one bit of paper on his desk - the names of all VIP's due to fly through "his" airport that day. I understand he unfailing met Helen Clark when she was travelling through - nice personal touch!
Of course we know the PM has form as well - who leaked to the SST unhelpful (to the victim) allegations on Peter Doone? A Policeman Clark wanted rid of? Clark has bestrode this road well and frequently.
The strategy worked last time - methinks she may have kicked the tar-baby once too often. This hearing is going to get messier. The mess will be ugly.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Aaron B today outlines the situation with the enquiry by Noel Ingram QC. Basically Ingram QC cannot complete his enquiry - witnesses have clammed up. This suggests they are 'pleading the 5th'. Not a good look for Clark's Government.
As Aaron states - rather than spend any more time on this the facts (as known) should be handed straight to the Police or the SFO. Those bodies have stronger powers than the QC who is contrained by a H1 terms of reference designed to bury matters deep...
Another suggestion - Select Committee enquiry - not perfect but could be interesting.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Just as we thought NZQA had a handle on standards and what parents and employers expect from NCEA, comes disturbing information students are choosing to do only the minimum amount of work to "pass" the NCEA....
Now I thought there was no "pass". The NCEA was to be a a record of what the student has learned and the standard they learned it to or could apply their learnings. It was a part of "life-long learning".
It would appear that there is a "Pass" and surprise surprise students do whatever it takes to jump the hurdle. Nothing more. This fact is not news. The result of students setting new lows of performance, alarming Heads and Principals across the country, is that many students are inadequately prepared for University. The reason for the comprehensive NCEA qualification is to prepare these people for further education and life in general. Seems all they do is cherry pick the easy stuff.
University is where you actually have to cover ALL the course work to pass. The Universities are struggling as they assume minimum standards for incoming students. Universities are having to take additional time and resource to educate these students before they can train them.
NZQA seems to have failed our students again.
Clark is accused of fradulently signing a painting - her electorate secretary destroys the evidence. Spin and denial from the 9th floor. The secretary is offered up to take the bullet.
Clark is accused of speeding through south Canterbury to get to a rugby match. Spin and denials from the 9th floor. Never happened, Hide is dreaming, whatever happened was not unsafe. etc etc. Ultimately heat is too much and Police investigate. Clark's DPS and civilian drivers take the bullet in a criminal court. Clark still denying any culpability.
Benson-Pope lies in the House to accusations he bullied students in his care. Strong denials, never happened, Hide is wrong etc etc. Students come out on the record. BePop - protected by Clark and her hand maiden Wilson from proper scrutiny.
Police investigate BePop and find prima facie case.
I can't remember what happened...
Spin, denials, and another public servant (Press Secretary) takes the bullet for the Minister.
This is a corrupt regime we have in New Zealand. If corruption stands for saying or doing whatever it takes to remain in power.
The MSM have woken from their 6 year slumber and are now openly critical of Clark and her reportoire of dissembling tricks. SST's Helen Bain has a good description of how H1 and H2 run the spin machine.
Friday, December 09, 2005
Today's DomPost has summarised the complete situation with David Benson-Pope in an excoriating editorial, regarding his and Clark's actions following the Police Report into the allegations that years ago he brutalised students in his care and that he has mislead Parliment.
The DomPost tears shreds off both Miss Clark and Mr Benson-Pope. The article tests the police case against the known facts. Clark and Benson-Pope have hit the bottom. There will be no bounce. The fisking is delightful for a rightie to read. Finally getting some objectivity from the MSM.
Maybe they (MSM) will even feel brave enough (now they have set the context) to revisit the Paintergate files well summarised by Sir Humphrey's during the election - SH was given OIA access to key (and incriminating) files.
The best line in the DomPost regarding Clark saying she was setting new standards...
"She may be right, but these are not new standards. They are old standards that the public is all too familiar with – scapegoating, obfuscation and patch protection."
As you have read here before Clark is a mistress at scapegoating, obsfuscation and job protection. As we has seen before Officials are then lined up to take the shot - BePops Press Secretary is being disciplined...it will be great when he says he was acting under instructions - Be-Pops or better still H1 or H2 (more likely)
There will shortly be a shortage of candidates to work for these sanctimonious, self-serving Ministries and Ministers - the thinking ones will look for safer past-times.
The Clark Regime is rotten
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Tonight on One News - Benson-Pope says the selective leaking of the positive sections of the Police Report that revealed his bullying and criminal behaviour while a school teacher is now a personnel matter!!!!. That snivelling, shirker now has the gall to suggest the leaks are the unauthorised work of his Press Secretary...puhlease. That man has to go. He is destroying all around him. His arrogance and conceit is breathtaking.
The man has gone completely to ground in recent days. Avoiding all contact with the media. The HoS released a faintly hagiographic piece praising the crim and he now claims he had no knowledge or authorisation of it? This was the singleminded initiative of the Press Secretary? - talk about stick out like dogs balls. Or should I say a tennis ball in a mouth.
He is a disgrace - to teaching, the Labour party and the honour of being a Cabinet Minister.
In a remarkable turnaround the Herald's coverage of BePop and his guileless denials, hamfisted attempts at media manipulation (his actions are beyond the bounds of political spin) and blatant lying in the House may indicate a tipping point. Finally we are getting some objectivity in New Zealand's largest Daily...No longer do they feel they have to go with Helen Clark's spin. Perhaps the stench of a rotten and out-of-date regime has become too much.
ps Neither BePop nor his leaderette had the guts to turn up on Radio Left Wing this morning. BePop sent his QC - and he is also a tricky piece of work.
Isn't is great when we have a Government that 'fronts up'
As Rodney Hide said this morning on RLW - Clark is setting new standards in Government - Indeed!
p.s. John Armstrong stings BePop- long may it continue
The PPTA have criticised Allan Peachey for the inappropriate comments he made in an email. Comments Peachey has accepted were inappropriate AND he has apologised unreservedly. Remember this was an exchange between two adults
Contrast that with Benson-Pope - absolute and deafening silence from the PPTA regarding the inappropriate behaviour by a teacher. The PPTA have made no comment. We can take from the silence the PPTA accepts bullying and thuggery (of children in his care), lying and cheating as behaviours acceptable - but the PPTA don't accept a post script on an email between clear (and adult) adversaries.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Stuff has the facts from the now released report. It is obvious B-P's contrived and selective releases over the weekend were an attempt to camouflage the issues or create a smoke screen. He has not succeeded and is now dog tucker. He continues to break the first law of holes (with thanks to Canary in the Mine).
How lame is it to claim that while 9 people in the class independently corroborated he stuffed the tennis balls in Weaver's mouth and taped his hands to the desk, it was not a majority of the class and he is therefore, somehow, exonerated...huh?
Remember the first law of evidence is that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Whaleoil has the report links - and highlights a section where 50-60% of the class confirmed B-P's tennis ball in the mouth fetish. B-P effectively agrees it happened by seeking an indication of how long it went on for - Suspicious Minds as Elvis sang. We can't Go On....is the next line - take it away BePop.
Last week we understood Benson-Pope was seeking to have 'personal details' removed from the Police file that found a prima facie case of assault against the bullying teacher.
This morning after denials and U-turns Benson-Pope's office admit he (yes, Benson-Pope himself) leaked sections of the file to selected media - long before the file itself was released.
This is disgraceful conduct by a Cabinet Minister. He should go. In a British Cabinet he would not make lunch time.
The plan was to hope no-one read the whole thing. No chance now. He is a lame duck and the dogs are circling. Clark is showing extremely poor judgment by continuing to support him. The spin this weekend was run out of her office.
We now know why Benson-Pope and Clark sought to hold the file the back - they wanted to control absolutely, the roll-out of a Police file. They really do think there is one law for Labour Ministers and one for the rest of us. Speeding, painting, bullying, assault - whatever.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
has a good post on the (non)deal Winston First has with Labour for an extra 1000, frontline cops. Aaron points out that the deal is not complete and the Police Ministry has said that there is no agreement on the roles or rank of the extra Police. In fact that is a matter for next year's budget.
What is not said in Aaron's post is this. If the frontline increases by 1000 there will need to be probably an extra 300-400 police in the heirarchy to manage that increase. eg Training, additional supervisors, Sergeants, administration, IT support, cars etc.
There is no way Cullen will agree to that. There is no way the Police unions will agree to the additional 1000 staff without commensurate increases in operational and administrational overhead. Culen knows there is a long tail with a personnel increase like this - that is why he has run the force down by underfunding it.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
In a sudden change of heart or mind the Syrian regime has caved in to the UN and agreed investigators can interview several senior regime heads implicated in the murder of the former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri.
The UN's investigator's - Mehlis - preliminary report included the discovery that the car used for the bomb that killed Mr Hariri was stolen in Japan, shipped to Syria then driven over the border by a Syrian army officer.
Another kick where it hurts for a despotic regime - Iraq, done; Iran under pressure to behave; Syria under huge pressure to avoid UN sanctions.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
In an encouraging start to Opposition National are already ahead. It will just get worse for Labour and their sad coalition. Surprisingly TV describe the result as bitter sweet for National because there is a challenger of the horizon in the form of John Key. Bitter sweet? I reckon it is fantastic. National look ready to Govern for a long time.
Key will keep taking it to Liar Cullen. I am sure Don is pleased to see John getting on the radar.
The Daily Telegraph's Paul Ackford says England took the moral victory in the weekend's game at Twickenham.
Huh? Did he see the same game I did?
Ackford says the All Blacks may have natural talent but have yet to develop that inner strength or core. Well mate you better hope they don't...if you reckon they don't yet have it,
I saw their much vaunted Andrew Sheridan (and doesn't he look like an escapee from Sesame Street) subbed off - Hayman did him.
I saw a pack of 7 hold the poms 8 scrum after scrum. I saw constant off the ball play by English backs - obstructing and holding jersey's. The ref had a shocker. Corry's try came after Thompson advanced from offside.
In hind sight I am now surprised the poms didn't do a victory lap as they did at Old Trafford in 1998 when I was there - having just lost to Sean Fitzpatrick's All Blacks.
That's how they celebrate victory (well near victory).
Finally - gret occasion to use the new haka - rammed it right up the whingers. Don't tell us we can't have the haka - try this for size.
Poms welcome to do a Morris Dance at resumption of play after half time.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Rather than positive news out of APEC for our shiny (new) Minister it just gets worse - the spin itself is now being revealed in all its (in)glory. Goff and to a lesser extent Peters have shat on the media to such an extent that the media is now left having to protect their own position and line.
Aaron B and David Farrar have covered the issues well from their perspectives.
To Peters' threat to Fran O'Sullivan that "you better have that on tape" - she confirmed - "The Herald has" - ouch.
We are now seeing the Spin Doctors hard at work and it is not a pretty sight. The Herald described Peters' ministerial lapdogs following Condy Rice's photographer asking for any photo ops shots they might have of Condy with Winston and being told "here's the film see if your guy is in it" is not a story about a man on the move or someone who has made an impression at APEC -another ouch.
Goff, Clark and Cullen - all three stooges rubbishing Peter's attempts to re-open dialogue with the US.
Not one of the participants in the debacle has come away with any glory whatsoever. For the three stooges they look like pricks. Peter's will be angry, very angry.
Watch now for Clark to change tack completely and focus on the Rugby World Cup. Already the great book reader is noting the reason for the success was the 'partnership between the Rugby Union and the NZ Government'.
This is fantastic news. Seems surprising that good sense or is that 'rugbyness' has at at last infected the IRB and allowed NZ to overcome the immense resources of the other grand finalist, Japan. A great day for the NewZild race - a huge day for rugby.
Well done to Jock and the team - tremendous effort.
This will give the AB's a huge filip - I can see them putting 50 on the Poms on Saturday if they go as well as the past two games. If it really clicks, look out!
Thursday, November 17, 2005
It didn't take long - Goff has shafted Peters on several fronts
- Leaking the Australian government's incredulity that Peters in a very senior Ministerial role was not in Cabinet (diplomatic speak was "made to look a fool after his predecessor Phil Goff revealed the Australian Government had issued a "please explain" over his role.") Fran O'Sullivan described it as "Mr Goffs open sledging"
- Goff threw further fat on the fire with comments suggesting Mr Peters did not want to jeopardise his third go as a minister.
- Goff revealed the extent of the shackles Peters is under and clearly making Winston a Labour clone - "Mr Goff said he had explained to Mr Downer that "policy from Winston will be not policies spun off the top of anybody's head but the policy of the Labour-led Government".
- Goff finished his destruction of the Foreign Minister by assuring the Australian Foreign Minister he would be keeping a "close eye on my former portfolio".
Key Impressive on Radio Left Wing - Cullen Lied
John Key very impressive on RLW this morning following the dissembling, mendacious sophistrist Michael Cullen. As Key said, Cullen is sounding more and more like Muldoon - I am right and Treasury are wrong sort of stuff.
Cullen wants us to accept that $1 of Government spending is non-inflationary and Me spending $1 of my on money is infalationary. Cullen ignored completely the extremely high marginal rates his WFF package creates for income earners who are just below the threshold of the AVERAGE wage...
Best line of Key's - "Dr Cullen is now proving he is out of his depth - it was embarrassing to listen to him"Nice one John - keep at it - it is starting to stick.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
In a remarkable report which Minister of Finance Cullen tried to (bury) release at a dead news time Treasury confirmed its recommendations to the incoming government were:
- Reduce top tax rates for individuals and companies as the high marginal rates were a "disincentive to individuals making the most of their talents and opportunities"
- Reduce company tax rates as high rates were a disincentive for companies to invest
- Reduce Government spending
- Reducing tax will have the most impact on increasing growth
Cullen angrily attacked Treasury for making policy on ideological grounds. At least Treasury have an ideology and want a better New Zealand. All Labia want is to remain in power.
Watch for more attacks on the Treasury.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
The MSM's coverage of the apparent targeting of the Lucas Heights reactor has been abysmal. One News last night featured the supposed casing of the plant by muslims since arrested in the terror raids with the only commentary being a comment from some person described as an "Opponent". Her single reported comment was that an explosion would spread radioactive debris from whatanurra to thereanurra. Absolutely no analysis of the level of vulnerability of the plant to an explosive and certainly not to the explosives potentially manufactured with the chemicals and equipment captured ....pathetic and poor reporting.
This morning the NZ Herald had a similar piece - prattling on that the plant was the likely target and it was also subject to a threat by NZ based Muslims during the Sydney Olympics.
Again absolutely no analysis as to the vulnerability of the plant to home made explosive. What security is in place at the plant; levels of alerts? overflights by the RAAF etc.
In 2001 the Operators of the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney increased security following the attacks in the US.
The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), said the move follows government advice. ANSTO says a report on what would happen if a plane flew into the reactor was compiled in 1997, when a second Sydney airport was being proposed.
The report concluded that the radiation doses to people beyond the buffer zone would be low, but emergency plans are in place.
Would a half decent article have traversed these issues? Apparently the new plant being built at Lucas Heights is designed to withstand a direct hit by an (aimed) Cessa Citation jet. That'll be more energy than the suicide bombers EH Holden car bomb.
As I said poor journalism by a paper that wants to be respected. TV One has no respect anyway.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
With an uneasy climate for Republicans in Washington Sen John McCain looks to have launched a tilt at the Presidency. As President Bush must retire at the end of this Presidency and with VP Dick Cheney probably too old and anyway now "injured" with the Scooter Libby affair, McCain's timing is interesting. He cannot be accused of being disloyal.
Aiming his attack on failings in Iraq by the Pentagon the decorated airman (incarcerated in North Vietnam as a PoW) has made a strong start. Sen McCain is urging the Pentagon to up the ante in the war - introduce more soldiers and not rotate Generals so quickly. He is saying they need additional resources and committment to do the job properly.
McCain is using a book launch for a nationwide marketing platform - the book he has just co-written "Character is Destiny" - provides the platform for McCain to market himself.
As the Bush Administration is mired in declining support for the war in Iraq, another potential candidate Condy Rice will struggle (as a Bush and Administration insider) to get her own campaign underway.
McCain knows this and has learnt from his 2000 campaign where he was the outsider. With a good reputation among Republicans as "fiscal and foreign policy hawk" he will be hoping to garner the support of the Republican Party.
I think this is not a good development for the Democrats. McCain will have wide appeal. Not least being that he has been there and done that as regards being a 'fighting man'. In contrast to Bush who has always struggled with his record.
A WSJ Poll has McCain narrowly defeating Hillary Clinton 44% to 42% and demolishing John Kerry 53% 35% if the 2008 Presidential elelction was held last Friday.
AP and UPI reported today that the French government announced that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide." The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender". The raise was precipitated by a recent fire which destroyed France's white flag factory, thereby disabling its military.
Hat-tip: Boortz (C)
Friday, November 11, 2005
Heather Roy has published a quickie list of Golden Handshakes under Clark's Prime Ministership. This makes intriguing reading. Hat-Tip: David Farrar
Heather's story resonates rather well with Clark's florid (and later found to be without foundation) utterances in opposition:
"I've had a gutful. I don't intend, if I'm Prime Minister, to have to sit there and suffer one humiliation after another because of a culture of extravagance, which has been allowed to grow in the public sector. Whatever is in there and hidden, we want out."
Just confirms she doesn't walk the talk - ever.
The recent revelations, of extreme secrecy and manipulation by Labour's Ministries, confirmed by the independent Ombudsman, with OIA requests makes her comments about transparency even more mendacious.
Minister King's difficulty counting simple contracts let without tender to two former MOH staffers is a case in point.
The stench that we smelt in Clark's last Government has not subsided. There will be no honeymoon.
Sir Humphrey's has a good summary of the Auditor-General's lengthy deliberations into strange goings on at the Min of Health. Seems an extraordinary number of contracts (57/60) have been let without following a tender process to 2 former staff members. This may well be legit, but as they say the best disinfectant is sunlight. The (former) Minister has sat on the draft report but word is now leaking out.
Investigators may care also to look at the influence (or potential for) of Ms King's husband who is the COO at Hawkes Bay DHB, just to make sure there is nothing untoward! Of course it's for your own protection and for the sake of clarity and transparency, mind!
Winnie is nowhere to be seen - his reign as a Knave of the Court of Helen is proving very dark (and dim).
Today he has been gazzumped by his Queen who was quick out of the blocks denouncing the Jordan atrocities. No comment from the Foreign Minister.
As DPF points out Peters has been surrounded by the Labour stagers - Goff has killed any chance of rapprochement with the US.
The best (and only) from Winnie has been a squeek saying the Iranian nuclear ambitions were "unhelpful". We are left to assume that "unhelpful" is diplomatic speak for we are really p'eed off and will shortly invade your country.
A Boeing 777-200LR has set a new world record - 12,000 miles non-stop - flying between Hong Kong and London-Heathrow, East-about. I think the record is for a twin engined aircraft. A fantastic feat and really takes the battle to Airbus. Someone has it right - either Boeing smaller more frequent and nimble or Airbus with their A380 megatruck. I'll back the Americans.
The twin engined aircraft will be able to fly non-stop London-Sydney or New York-Sydney. However it would have been a dry flight - the proving flight was for PIA (Pakistan International Airways) last time I looked, they served non-alcoholic drinks only in deference to their muslim tradition.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Has anyone heard a peep out of Ahmed in the aftermath of the Australian arrests? I thought today's cartoon in the Herald was most apt - offering custody to the terrorists in a friary.
Seems I have upset an Alex Davidson a Zaoui supporter who has commented today on my blogs. Seems to be rather a confused man - on one comment Zaoui is a Politician "Firstly, Ahmed Zaoui is a politician. " and in another comment made 9 minutes later on another post of mine"..."First," he says, "I am not a politician. I am a political refugee who needs protection and my case is very fragile."... "
So what is Zaoui - Politician or not. In any event we don't want him running his political campaigns in New Zealand for Algeria. The french have enough problems with Algerian "refugees".
David has blogged with a reference to a site that (re)publishes the NZ Herald premium content. The new site is probably a breach of copyright.
Notwithstanding the copyright issues identified I have been thinking about blogging on the Herald's premium subscription plan from the market perspective. In short I think it is doomed to failure and will be up there with more illustrious Dailies - choosing the same folly.
If I am left having to find local source, I actively seek to link with scoop or stuff rather than NZ Herald articles following the Herald's decision. My little protest. I always attribute so cannot see why the beef - it will not be a revenue spinner for the Herald. Note - use the inFocus links if you have to as they will last longer...
I think I have seen a greater use of Stuff among fellow bloggers since the Herald's decision.
Back to my point on failure along with other Dailies - Go look at Spartacus where the blogger predicts the failure of the NY Times' premium subscription program within six months. He has a "Death Watch" banner running counting the days. His comments are apposite and resonate nicely with those made on David Farrar's post. Namely who will pay $49.95 to read OpEd pieces they can read for free elsewhere.
I think there is a similar consensus with the Herald columnists (witness their palace revolt elsewhere in the blogosphere - forming a collective sugested Bwown) - and the rest of us are thinking I'll read the hard copy at home or in the cafe.
My bet is that there are relatively few folks who want to pay this sort of money for the type of opinion they can read for free elsewhere. I suspect that this move will prove to be very unpopular among the columnists themselves, as their readership (and therefore influence) declines, at least among the blogosphere.
I give it six months before they throw in the towel.
Finally - $49.95 in the US does not fit well with $99 here - NZ Herald have pitched it too high. A dollar is a dollar where ever you are.
Dr Cullen this morning on Radio Left Wing completely avoided answering questions about Labour's student loan bribe. He ducked, weaved and bobbed but did not answer the question that enactment of his bribe would require a $2Billion writedown in the nation's net worth. Cullen has had to reveal the extent of the writedown now. he is trying to slip it past. Key is onto him
Vintage Cullen - the sophistrist, at his dissembling best, tried lamely to say that whatever the cost was it was less than National's tax cuts. Oh God, give me strength - still fighting September's battles are we? Cullen also tried to say that the estimated cost of the loans was in the public arena in late August - well may be - those are the figures he at that time said were pure fantasy...he is a lier and I think this time the electorate will have a memory. What a load of garbage. The writedown is only the first element of this - next up will be a blowout in the accounts as students "Feast" on Cullen's largesse. Remember 'till now 45% of eligible students have not taken up loans. Now they all will - a no cost loan, beauty!
In any event National's tax cuts would have put cash in the hands of producers ie productive units - that's what tax payers are - that would add to productive growth. Instead Cullen's bribe will reward a small sector of the economy.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Cullen seeks assistance on policy settings to slow down the economy and avoid a hard landing. Apparently Bollard has said not much can be done.
In an extraordinary statement Cullen admits his mega-bribes to students and families are contributing to the problem.
In the near term, I don't think Dr Bollard would be too chuffed if on top of what we are doing on student loans and Working for Families, we also announced we were bringing forward the threshold changes."I've got some ideas.
Reduce the Government sector and open up the economy to more competition:
Start with an orderly selldown of the Crown's vast interests in energy. Partial floats of Meridian Energy and Mighty River Power would free cash, put investment into private hands and potentially start a new generation of capitalists in the lower middle class. Use golden shares to regulate the sell down to other large energy players if necessary.
The need for the Crown to own (nearly) all the generation capacity and most of the retail distribution and the bulk carrier in order to "protect supply" is specious. This structure actually contributes to uncertainty if for now other reason than the gaming to maximise returns knowing full well no new capacity will arise without consultation...with each company.
Order a solution to very high local call termination rates with Vodafone and Telecom Mobile.
Unbundle the local loop asap.
Mandate higher minimum broadband speeds for Telecom to accelerate online activity.
Re-open the borders to migrants who have a contribution to make.
Reduce the Governance sector for DHB's - encourage mergers. Three DHB's in Auckland?
Immediately tender health procedures to all comers - eg tender x hip replacements in Auckland.
Tenderers to meet quality standards - lowest bidders successful.
Immediate sinking lid on all public sector job numbers. Leave departments to shuffle the numbers as they see fit.
Contract out routine Police stuff - static guards, manning speed cameras, etc. Armaguard will do those roles for at least $10 per hour cheaper than a Policeman.
Encourage a third operator in:
Finally implement tax cuts urgently:
Tax cuts do more than boost take-home pay packets. Tax cuts boost growth. That’s because tax cuts boost the return to working, to entrepreneurship and to investment. Taxes are the price you must pay to work, to invest, to be in business. Cut that price and you boost business, productivity and the economy.Hat-tip: Kiwi Pundit
The Treasury have said ACT’s tax policy would boost economic growth by one to one-and-a-half percent a year.
Reports today of the arrest of a group in Australia planning large scale terrorist activities should underscore the Australian PM's warning last week. Though ridiculed by all on the left as Deputy Dawg to GWB, John Howard has been as straight as a die on this one.
One of those arrested is a prominent Muslim cleric Abu Bakr, who has publicly supported Osama Bin Laden.
Maybe now the scales can be lifted from the eyes of the Left. Muslim fundamentalism is a clear and present danger.
Australian intelligence officials confirmed Australia has local terrorist cells, many trained offshore.
What confidence have we in New Zealand that we don't have our own mini-version of the pestilence that is muslim fundamentalism. Are we as Helen Clark was wont to say, "living in a benign environment and time"?
Because they wanted to embarrass Clark. It was their only option.
The Board and Management of TVNZ were left in an invidious position by Helen Clark when she viciously rounded on them in the aftermath of the Holmes departure and the Bailey $800,000 mother of the nation payment. David Farrar captures the issues well here.
The Government, toadying up to their CTU mates in 2000 over-rode Court of Appeal judgments (and more on the foolish lines Labour treads when it overrides the Court of Appeal later) and through new legislation made it very difficult for employees to have fixed term contracts. Remember this was payback to the Unions for helping Clark get elected.
Meanwhile TVNZ is castigated by Clark for its "culture of excess" and the Board is monstered into agreeing to cut down the "Star Culture" and with it the salaries of the celebrity newsreading talent.
The Board knew it cannot be done - the commercial imperative at TVNZ requires Stars and the costs that go with them. Rock and a hard place. Rightly or wrongly they make judgements as to what is the price to pay their talent. Generally I think they got it wrong, very wrong. But that's commercial life.
However, fast-forward to now. How to get out from under the catch-22 with Clark? I know, create a situation that is "resolved" by the Courts.
This is what the Board set out to do. Why else would they entertain the Wood saga going to the (very) public Employment Authority?
However they did not bank on Fraser chucking his toys out of the cot and the saga's in their entirety being played out at a 'slow news' time. Plus the shining vulgarity of Wood's evidence to the rank and file of talk-back land ensured this would make very good copy.
As David Farrar rightly points out, this issue (and TVNZ generally) can be sheeted home to Clark and Cullen. They have single handedly destroyed billions of value in shareholder wealth with the way they have dealt with TVNZ. Whether you wanted to sell it 0or not the property is now unsaleable. I look forward to the writedowns in Cullen's next budget (ha ha!)
Readers of this bliog will recall I posted similarly on Air New Zealand and how Clark and Cullen's ideology destroyed wealth similarly when their zenophobia denied Air New Zealand the chance to sell a significant minority stake in the airline to Singapore Airlines - all on zenophobic grounds. 18 Months later taxpayers bailed it out to the tune of $885Million - that investment is now underwater.
TVNZ is now in its death throes - no balance sheet to speak of, talent contests going awry, declining audience share in its key markets, a shareholder sucking it dry of surplus funds and the same shareholder demanding it produce unwatchable drivel for niche audiences - using taxpayer provided grants.
Monday, November 07, 2005
The Employment Relations Authority (who the hell are they anyway) has decided that Susan Woods' 12 month fixed term contract cannot be terminated by the contracting party (TVNZ) without cause.
On the issue of Wood's employment status, the authority ruled that she was entitled to treat the fixed-term provision of her employment agreement with TVNZ as "ineffective". This meant her employment was indefinite and could only be terminated for "good cause".
Extraordinarily the Authority said
"...her present salary of $450,000 will expire on December 31 and a new salary must be renegotiated between the parties."
So how does that work? Wasn't an inability to agree a new salary the root of the problem?
So what does this ruling mean for employers? All employees no longer what the term are employed indefinitely? All I can think is here is another Government agency interfering in normal commercial relations. This will do nothing to make it easier to employ people. Rather the opposite.
I'll bet Judy Bailey is dusting off her fixed term contract and contacting Wild Bill Ralston to say she's staying - in case he hadn't caught up with recent matters TVNZ was not able to simply not offer her a new contract as they tried recently...
I'm waiting for dear old Philip Sherry and Craig Little to present themselves for duty as well. maybe Dougal Stephenson can get a rerun as well.
Good news Bill, your announcing talent pool just got larger!
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Libya's head, Muammar Gaddafi has called French President Jacques Chirac to offer assistance as France faced a 10th straight night of rioting.
With offers (friends like) from Gaddafi who needs enemies?
Chirac apparently thanked Gaddafi for his interest and assured Col Gaddafi the situation was under control.
Some control Chirac has:
Last night rioting has reached 20 Paris suburbs
900 cars torched
schools and gymnasiums razed to the ground.
A disabled person was doused in petrol and set alight
Riots in other large french cities
Rioting is now confirmed in
Saturday, November 05, 2005
Great set of blogs over at Sir Humphrey's on the Paris rioting. You may care to care to scroll down mine as well.
Self righteous French have taken on more than they can chew this time. Pied dans la Bouche.
I see the bearded criminal being paraded with the chardonnay socialists in the social pages of About Town and Metro (what will Allah think of his chosen one associating with women déshabille, alcohol and song?).
It has all gone a little quiet ("I don't like , it is too quiet" John Wayne used to say just prior to the Apaches' attack) on the Zaoui front. Optimistic me thinks the interregnum is Foreign Sec Winnie lining up Ahmed's next home, off shore with his family. Wish.
As I have blogged before here and here, Algeria is now safe, following elections - amnesty declared and all those terrorists who left are welcome back. Go Ahmed Go. We know you are true democrat, make the most of it mate.
I think the racial tension in France is big news. And big because it has the potential to spread like wildfire across Europe, fanned by muslim fanatics stoking the fires of jealousy, envy and theo-purity with a very large bunch of grumpy me-toos who have been ignored by successive governments, hoping there'll be a solution sometime.
You have to blog your way to the front. The MSM is pathetic and self serving of their Leftie and aChristian ideals. If it was not for the blogospehere these riots would not get the coverage of a teenage post party bust-up on the North Shore with the Police.
Looking at blogs commenting on the Race Riots in Paris I came across this blog reporting on an article reported in The Times.
Hat tip: Buckhorn Road.
Looking further Chefen carried it as well - highlighting a different piece.
According to one report (in The Times) , a disabled woman was doused in petrol and set alight when she was unable to escape a bus under attack in the northern suburb of Sevran. She was rescued by the driver and is being treated for severe burns.
These thugs doused a disabled woman in petrol and set her on fire! That should lead every news item for a day. Instead I hear nothing from the audible media.
Imagine the front page kerfuffle in the New Zealand MSM if this happened in the US?
Remember the lies published unqualified in the aftermath of Katrina - babies raped in the toilets at the Superdome for example. All found later to be unproven.
And while I am on the front page. Is the Aramoana murders 15 years ago the major news of the day, today? Well done Chiquita - but this is not the key issue for the Nation.
Further to my blog here are new reports from France are that rioting has spread from Paris to other towns including Dijon and Marseilles.
The perpetrators are second and third-generation immigrant youths feeling cheated France has done nothing to provide liberté, equalité and fraternité.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Dom De Villepin the PM has called for a stop to the rioting and 'a plan for the suburbs'. His call for (yet another) "umpteenth" plan has been decried by hamstrung Mayors who at at their wits end.
The schadenfreude is almost palpable and certainly exquisite. Race Riots across France on the watch of (presided over?) the US's would be tormenters De Villepin and Chirac. Makes New Orléans' so called race troubles a mere bagatelle.
More troubling for me and the french is the suggestion that 40 years of inaction by Chirac, Mitterand, d'Estaing, Pompidou, de Gaulle - the trumpeters of La Cinquième République Française - has meant three generations of migrant children feel so disenfranchised and not part of the state they will destroy its materiel.
Perhaps the worst of it all is that the response from the Politicians is to turn the whole catastrophe into a right vs left tilt at the next Presidency - where it is likely the Right will align with Sarkozy (the interior minister) and the left with De Villepin.
p.s. An interesting point in writing this blog how many french roots in words I used - even when not trying.
p.p.s A closing thought - mandating reduced working hours hasn't created the jobs eh.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
As rioting in poor Paris suburbs goes into a sixth day the three stooges at the top, Curly, Larry and Moe are squabbling over the solutions and the blame. Curly (Jacques) wants a firm but delicate hand, Larry (Sarkozy, Deputy PM and Interior Minister and Jacques pretender) talks of scum being water blasted off the streets, (aü Karcher!) while Moe, (Dominique De Villepin, the other Jacques pretender and PM) attacked his deputy for his strong language condemning the criminals.
It is all going to end in tears. Decades of failed integration of North African migrants and "the sons of" is now boiling over as these people realise La Républic will not grant them the recognition they deserve or the jobs they need.
I suspect it will be "on the road Jacques and Dom". The public are fed up.
Makes the French sniffing last month about race relations in a previous french colony (in Louisiana) look faintly hypocritical.
A Motueka Service Station cocks up their pricing counter on the pump by moving it too many decimal places to the right. Price is 14.9 cents per litre. Pretty soon word spreads and customers queue, apparently several times for many, as they load up with cheap fuel.
The cops are after the "culprits". Victim? crime?
Allegation is either theft or using a document for pecuniary advantage. An EFTPOS receipt - give me strength...I rarely look at the receipt or screen anyway - just push the PIN.
How often have Service Stations had promotional pricing? $1 fills, sponsored by radio stations etc.
I can see many inventive (and good) defences here. The cops and the Service Station are making themselves a laughing stock. If the oil company had any sense they would grin and bear it. Turn it into a joke and an early christmas present for the lucky. Meanwhile improving their systems to avoid a repeat.
Have the cops not got anything better to do?
Here is what they could be doing; a reprise of Auckland's issues:
How many unanswered crimes have we in Auckland - 600 unallocated files? 1 in 5 investigations not completed.
Crimes solved by PI's once Police have the victims turned away
* A man had his car stolen but when he reported it to police he was told it was a civil matter. After a private investigation and three trips to the police station, the complaint was finally taken. The offender was located in Wellington and was charged and convicted.
* A fraudulent dealer on the TradeMe website set up accounts in different names, traded in small items to get her ratings up, then sold cameras and telephones that did not arrive. Police failed to take the complaint, saying it was a civil case.
* A woman gave evidence on oath before a tribunal that was later proved to be false. A complaint was made to police in writing and police wrote back to say it was not perjury and they would not investigate.
* A woman defrauded her boss by stealing $60,000 of goods but police would not investigate. The company employed Mrs Haden to prove the matter. The completed investigation was passed to police and the offender is before the court.
Isn't it this simple?
Fraser had a long term employment contract and has 6 months to run. Fraser takes his chances once his contract terminates on bargaining with another employer, if he wants..
Wood has a fixed term employment contract which is at an end. Wood takes her chances on renewal/terms with TVNZ or some other employer as best she can bargain?
The real scandal is Labour's toady's giving Fraser a golden parachute via generous notice terms. A cunning stunt to avoid allegations of golden handshakes. As a cunning stunt, Maharey is going wear this one.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Former Home Secretary David Blunkett has taken a leaf right out of the Helen Clark book on constitutional convention. Faced with five separate breaches of what we call the Cabinet Manual Blunkett is unrepentant. He says he has done nothing wrong while Blair accepts Blunkett "..has made mistakes", but will not be calling for his resignation.
In a situation remarkably resonant with Clark's Ministry all is revealed:
"...When Mr Blair became Prime Minister in 1997 he attacked the "sleaze" of the Tory years. He promised that his government would uphold the highest standards in public life and ensure ministers were "purer than pure".
In a foreword to the code of conduct for his ministers, he said he would expect them "to work within the spirit and the letter of the code" and uphold the "highest standards of propriety"...
We could add R Dyson, Benson-Pope, T P Field and D Samuels for starters to the (dis)honour roll. All proper Lefties.
Seems these new Labour types do talk at their Socialist in Action World Games or whatever H1 does on her scandanavian visits.
In a brave and eminently sensible move the South Australian Senator, Ian Campbell noted at the G8 environmental summit that to stand in the way of new nuclear power on ideological grounds was tantamount to "environmental vandalism".
"If it can create energy with zero emissions it has to be on the table," he said.Regular readers of this blog will recall I have made similar comments.
Nuclear is the only large scale (and relatively cheap) technology with zero carboniferous emissions. The waste is an issue - let's use technology to solve that. The consensus is around deep geological burial.
The amount of radioactive wastes is very small relative to wastes produced by fossil fuel electricity generation.
Safe methods for the final disposal of high-level waste are technically proven; the international consensus is that this should be deep geological disposal (http://www.uic.com.au/nip09.htm)
Looked at another way - China is killing 6,000 miners per year mining thermal coal.
The nuclear power industry under normal operating conditions is clean and less damaging to the environment than coal fired plants. (http://tesla.jcu.edu.au/Schools/Earth/EA1004/Energy/nuclear_energy.html)
I look forward to similar honesty here in New Zealand.
I listened to Radio Left Wing this evening (that awful interviewer Mary Wilson) discussing with Rakaia MP Brian Connell his low ranking. What a dork. Isn't he the guy who boasted about throwing the family cat into the (empty) fireplace?
The sadder part of this sad interview was Wilson desperately trying to get Connell to agree that his suggestion "significant" numbers of Nat MPs sympathetic to his plight equalled half or may be three quarters of the National MP's. Connell was having none of that and also was not stupid enough to get caught but he should have terminated the interview early. Connell said he had been demoted for 'speaking out'. He did himself no credit - in fact he reinforced Brash's decision.
He commented that his beef was Brash had warned caucus members against speaking out of turn...and yet he (Brash) showed no leadership by not reining in McCully; for speaking out of turn/place. The irony of Connell's comments was lost on Connell and not picked up by the slow Wilson. ie Connell's demotion was for speaking out, inanely. ie he was off topic and not constructive.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
The PM cannot have it both ways. Yesterday she said the resignation of Ian Fraser was because of a breakdown in communication between Fraser and the Board.
As Fraser's resignation was unilateral and apparently sudden, how could she know? Craig Boyce the Chairman was still to brief to Minister Maharey and had not finished with Fraser at that stage.
The Charter contains no requirement for the Minister of Broadcasting to be briefed on employment matters. If the PM is sure of her statement then her hand is casting a shadow over the Board's independence to govern.
Smarmy One has gone to ground. He can smell the stench of "Problem" from his eyrie in Wellington.
Clark's expedient deal with NZ First and United Future is not a coalition deal - as she is quickly finding out. With the Green's seriously pissed with her and Labour, it won't take much for the numbers to swing a wide-ranging select committee inquiry as Brash has stated.
Watch for more spin from the PM as she hides from the news Fraser will receive an additional $300,000 for six months (non) work. Unhelpfully for Clark the Chairman of TVNZ, Craig Boyce, announced yesterday that the network would immediately replace him - if temporarily. Personally I could not care - Fraser must work out his contract - albeit on gardening leave.
What is of interest is Clark in opposition made several meals of golden handshakes and a culture of excess at TVNZ. Pot, Kettle, Black.
If we in the VRWC have this much "scandal" dished up before the ink is dry on the electoral writs, I look forward to the coming months with enthusiasm.
Monday, October 31, 2005
Clark's appointment of Jim Anderton to the Agriculture Ministry has been noted by commentators as a master stroke. An energetic minister with a reputation for getting things done, is among the comments I have read.
I think she has a far more sinister agenda. Resurrection of the Right to Roam legislation that caused Sutton to be given the Order of the Boot' last election.
Who better to face the slings and arrows than an urban Minister - where there is little understanding of the issue in the Latte circles. Won't get biffed out by irate farmers next election.
Anderton has wasted little time in expounding a view that the issue of access to'íconic' waterways needs to be revisited. I understand the United Future policy is no legislated access...wonder if they are aware of Anderton's expostulations?
Anderton said "Most farmers are reasonable, but what if someone is unreasonable? Could that catch on and more people get unreasonable?"....
What, pray tell is "unreasonable" about a land owner deciding absolutely who or what can enter their property.
Be afraid, I say, be very afraid.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
In an extra-ordinary turn up for the books Ian Fraser has quit as TVNZ CEO stating his reason was "he has lost confidence in his Board". Stories about interference in day to day running are now leaking out.
This is a spectacular own goal by the Government. The Board is littered with Labour appointees - Labour tinkered with the last Board and made it untenable for the then Chairman to stay; creating conditions for Clark to put her own team in. Ian Fraser is probably included in that group. Now he has had enough.
The Government will try to hide behind the Board - it won't wash. This is a Labour plaything and slowly but surely they are destroying it. It was once worth billions - now it is probably unsaleable and in any event does not have the cash to sustain itself in any sort of prolonged war. The big aussies will continue to toy with it. They have the balance sheet to continue the TVNZ death dance for some time. TVNZ has been raped by its shareholder for dividends. Now it is in a cul-de-sac and the torches are going out one by one.
Remember the same Board felt compelled a year ago to pay Judy Bailey $800,000 pa - now she is unable to agree terms and being let go...
At that time the Board, chastened following a scolding from the Prime Minister offered to resign. She demurred - they heaved a sigh of relief and repaired to lunch. They shoulda gone then. The Board is here. The Labour Lovey's are obvious - Notably Hercus, Gould and Fenwick. This organisation needs heavy weight commercial (media) nous if it is to have any chance of survival against the likes of Packer and Murdoch. It is not obvious where that leadership is going to come from.
This is another avenue for revenue that Cullen should strike off his list. They need all the cash they can generate. Cullen's idealogical and dogmatic views on privatisation mean he also lost any chance of flogging it to those same aussie gentlemen. TVNZ is in no mans land.
In a victory for the "fed up with PC" sentiment of the electorate Georgina Beyer has apparently been told by Clark and Cullen that her private member's bill normalising transgender will not be revived in this parliament.
As I blogged earlier - the execresence of egregious lawmaking for Labour's lovey's is best dealt with by shadow ministers and the Opposition generally taking the attack, issue by issue to Labour, NOT through the Mapp appointment.
In a not obvious nod that this sad bill was quasi Labour policy last term but not now Beyer has said nothing about promoting the issue again as a private member's bill. If she had the cojones(!) and the courage of her convictions she would be forthright about continuing the (apparently deeply held) fight. I think it is bye bye Georgina.
Barely a month into the new Government Labour have wilted before a shot is fired.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Blair was today very tough on the Iranian President's direct threat that Israel should be "wiped from the map". An angry Tony Blair left the audience in no doubt that if Iran continued down this path - military action would follow. "If they continue down this path, people are going to believe that they are a real threat to our world security and stability."
Peters managed to say the comments of the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were "unhelpful". What planet is he on? - we really are isolationist and so far off the pace we even make irrelevant comments.
If the call went out to support the removal for all time (put beyond use is the IRA euphemism) of so obvious a malignacy as the Iranian nuclear weapons programme, New Zealand could offer...nothing. This is when we will be shown for all the world the frauds we are. Spongers.
Who better to lead the charge than the greatest sponger of all, Winnie.
People, generally from the Left, who believe Blair to be Dubya's poodle need to think again. He is showing great leadership on this matter. The world will coalesce behind him. New Zealand will not be there. Afraid of upsetting our recently signed FTA with Iran.
1. Dr Bollard has moved too little too late. His timidity a year ago has cost us all big time. The changes to the OCR will only increase the exchange rate for now and hold it high(er) for longer. The housing market is very resilient - killing that will not help export business in the short and medium term cope with a tough exchange rate.
2. Dr Cullen said "Vote Labour" as a vote for National's Tax Cuts will lead to increased interest rates.... Well Dr Cullen, the ink is barely dry on the writs and we have increased interest rates on your watch. I would have preferred the tax cut - at least I would have something to pay the increased interest with...
3. The big contributors to inflation are Government and local Government charges and the state operating monopolies - energy companies. I run a SME and price increases are impossible to gain. We cannot even pass on fuel related costs.
Insolent Prick has brilliantly blogged how the opposition should take it to the Ministers in Clark's third Government. His analysis is sage and a sober description of the talent on each side. The openings for National will be there - Brash seems to have positioned his people where they can be an effective opposition not necessarily a Government in Waiting. I think that is important. It is a now issue.
The Opposition finished the last parliament on a high with the Labour ranks (particularly Ministers) in disarray and the Ministers in general looking tired and tawdry. They start at that point this time - no honeymoon.
National should quickly drop the Mapp role. It is stupid and poorly thought through. It (the role) has succeeded in becoming the news, rather than the issue itself. That is not helpful.
Sean Plunket on Radio Left Wing skewered Mapp within one minute of his appointment interview by carefully leading Mapp by the nose through the obviously egregious politically correct past, to a point where Mapp noted the ascendency of Maori spirits in road making over the dropping of Grace before State Dinners - Mapp further noting that a secular society Government-wise had no view on religion....ie "nothing" includes not recognising Maori spirits. Then came the Plunket kinghit - "on that basis you would drop the Lord's Parayer at the opening of Parliament each day, Dr Mapp?" After palpable vacillation Mapp stammered "No because it is part of our tradition"...."whose tradition thundered Plunket..." It was ugly for a Righty to listen to such and an early and obvious own goal.
I see the Mapp/Hutchinson doctor duo then scored a brace (of own goals) yesterday.
Drop it before it kills you is my suggestion. Lie in wait for Labour and Peters, don't fall into your own mantrap. There will be plenty of woolly mamoths to kill - patience boys, patience.
Rodney Hide has noted the nuttiness here and here.
Eliminating Egregious Political Correctness should be the role of every shadow spokesman (sorry spokesperson) - it will be a ready source of ammo. Leave it at that.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
News today in the Daily Telegraph that George Galloway's wife was paid approx NZ$256,000 from the oil-for-food programme by Iraqi agents. To make matters worse Galloway's spokesman received NZ$45,000 the same day as Mrs Galloway from the same bank in Amman to his bank account in Scotland.
Blog readers will recall I raised the subject of the UN and Senate investigations into misuse of the UN's oil-for food programme here. Galloway is another major scalp for the Senate investigations. They must be cock-o-hoop. This is the same Galloway who challenged the Senate to come up with evidence of wrongdoing by either his wife or himself.
Galloway has had a successful libel action against the Daily Telegraph in relation to allegations Galloway received funds from Saddam. That case is now subject to appeal. He may now rue the day he laid his original action.
On the subject of perjury, tellingly Senator Coleman the Chairman of the (bipartisan) Investigating Committee said, "We will forward matters relating to Mr Galloway's false and misleading testimony to the authorities here and in Great Britain."
p.s Mrs Galloway filed for divorce earlier this year. Grist for the Senate mill?
Monday, October 24, 2005
Counties-Manukau Detective Schwalger admitted on One News that the force was stretched beyond its capacity with youth gang related crime. Sadly we have never heard from the outgoing Police Minister and local MP on the subject.
Ms Schwalger confirmed NZ Herald the brawl was gang-related, and said this and a number of other recent incidents highlighted the increasing problems of youth gangs in the Counties-Manukau area.
Disturbingly this case has overtones of the weekend's Birmingham riots I blogged on earlier, here. Similarly, the south Auckland gangs are drawing their inspiration from South Central Los Angeles gangs. The Police need to get their staffing in South Auckland up to strength asap.
Using the BBC for information on the riots in Birmingham you would be hard pressed to establish the reasons behind the riots were racially based. Here the BBC notes that the problems are 'community tension' based on a 'rumour'.
People have been stabbed, armed gangs are roaming the streets, and a policeman has been shot in the leg. The reason - stories a 14 year old Afro-Caribbean girl had been raped by a group of Asians (Pakistanis) circulated.
Why didn't the BBC just give the facts? Why are they using euphemisms?
What has happened is that parts of Birmingham are now under siege from gangs of afro-caribbean and Pakistani youths - a la Central Los Angeles. The Police have lost not only the initiative but also control. There are no go areas for Police. Until sections of the news media get real and honest this will get worse.
I note disturbing parallels here in New Zealand - may blog later.
While the hurricane had been reduced to Cat 2. while overland the Yucatan peninsula; it is now drifting north, regaining strength from the warm waters of the gulf and now (re)classed at Cat 3.
There are some really cool sites to follow this and other storms. Google maps is a pearler...try here.
In a silence as deafening as that in the eye of the storm itself there is a surly silence from the MSM in the wake of Wilma. Quick to condemn and accept outrageous headlines from Katrina, the MSM is this time around silent. Katrina gave the MSM a platform to pillory the Bush Administration - not letting the facts get in the way of a great story.
Objectivity is lost.
One interesting realisations during the election was that the overlaps between the Maori Party and National and indeed Act were greater than as between the Maori Party and Labour - the supposed natural partner of the Maori Party.
Since the election the tie up between National and the Maori Party was deemed expedient and unlikely. I think not. Listen to the language out of the Maori Party and look at the policy they floated. Tax cuts, respect for property rights (including repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed Act) are all covered. The aspirations are self determination (self actualisation for individuals) and a break out from the hegemony and (pa)maternalism of Labour.
Sharples and Turia are completely aware that with Labour they will only get what Clark deems is necessary to keep their vote.
The Maori seats are an obvious issue - however there is a consensus there is not the numbers to initiate change. Therefore it is a dead issue.
I think we will see more on this - Maori is better off with National
Shane Jones was wooed by both National and Labour for candidacy. He went with Clark out of loyalty for the fisheries jobs she gave him. That loyalty has been repaid. He is now free.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
The NZ Herald has published a snap poll with a narrow majority in favour of Clark's Government with NZ First and United Future - 50% said yes and 40.2% unhappy.
More interestingly 47% of those polled said MMP had not worked well this election and 56% believe the economy will suffer as a result of the Government having to make good on election promises.
The Honeymoon is over guys - before it even started.
Parliment this time around will be fantastic - National, almost level pegging Labour on numbers (and hence resources) with vim and vigour through renewal and new growth up against the tired and worn out Labour machine with equally uninspiring and deadwood in NZ First and United Future. The Greens will be irrelevant - they so want to be in Government with Helen and will not fit or foot the role of loyal opposition well. In any event Helen has bought them off with speaker-lite roles - poodled.
Bring it on.
The Police Commissioner is reported as being ticketed for exceeding the speed limit - 97km/h in a 70 km/h zone. Ha friggin ha. Caught by his own trap.
Commissioner Robinson said he didn't see the sign and stayed with cruise control at 100 km/h. Sounds like he targetted 100km/h.
He was even part of a campaign - Speed Limit not a Target - Drive to the Conditions.
Presumably he was driving to the conditions and not operating unsafely for either himself or other drivers/cars. He would be a good judge of that. A little more sympathy through his reign for the rest of us nabbed similarly and he may have found more support for his battered force.
p.s. I'll bet he was faster than 97 km/h. Cruise controls are very accurate - in fact I set mine to 109 and to stay within Robinson's 10km (over)limit. The difference between being nabbed at 100(97) vs 101 km/h for Robbie is 5 less demerit points 35/40 points. I cannot find a link with the difference in fine - My guess it is $230 vs $400 +
Friday, October 21, 2005
An astonishing 1.5 tonne great white shark was landed in a net near Raglan. With guys like this out there it will be interesting to see how many International surfing stars wipe out in the current world surfing events being held at Raglan.
Picture / Amos Chapple
When will NZ First realise that they and their leader are fast becoming a joke. The latest charade is to state they should sit on the Opposition benches as they are not part of the Coalition Government. (there was a time not so long ago when Peters said they would sit on the cross benches) - make up your mind Winnie. Winstone Peters is definitely part of the Government - he is a member of the Executive (in cabinet or out, he is a member). His party has agreed to vote for confidence and supply - It follows therefore there is no question NZ First can be regarded as Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
I seem to be Cathy Odgers' PR - it's easy she writes great copy. Today her post is on Posh and Becks and the apparent ill advised case to sue the NoTW for libel. See her post here and a report on the case here. Cathy's argument is the "marriage" is maintained by the couple purely for vast personal gain.
The alleged motive reminds me of speculation during the election about a sham marriage in New Zealand. Perhaps we need the News of the World...
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Cathy has reprinted an email from a Peters encounteree (fan I think) marvelling at his prowess as a swordsman. Perhaps the man has talents that will carry him far.
Talking of swordsmen, I fear that he is more Don Juan than Don Quixote - though he is looking Quixotic already - witness the foolish old man setting out from home because he believes the world is the ideal place which "romancers" have described...
Peters this morning on Morning Report sounded like a little boy from Northland. "I've been abroad (who uses that term in New Zealand?) was uttered on several occasions. As if we needed confirmation this was a big wide world he was facing...? He was desperate to get the conversation onto Racing and Golden Oldies and every time he answered a foreign affairs question with a racing or oldies issue Geoff Robinson steered him back to FA's. All sounded rather pathetic.
Brash followed shortly after - the memorable comment he made was that whenever he has seen Peters at a function for a major political guest (from abroad!) Peters has looked very ill at ease.
The one advantage of having Peters at MFAT is that Goff isn't. Peters is unlikely to cuddle up to Palestinian terrorists or crap on the Israelis as a form of sport. I suspect he is likely to see the merit of rapprochement with the Americans.
May he live in interesting times!
Monday, October 17, 2005
A 'Buy NZ Made Campaign', more money for public transport and more money for students are the 'policy wins' Donald is burbling on about. No much is it for guaranteeing supply and confidence.
Today's Herald reports Winston Peters will be Foreign Minister outside Cabinet in a Labour led Government. This is most curious if it comes to pass.
In the UK the Foreign Office is one of the Great Vessels of State - along with the Chancellorship of the Exchequer, and the Home Office. People crawl over broken glass to be Foreign Secretary - there is no question it is a Cabinet level role.
Here we appear to have the extra-ordinary position of the role being downgraded to one outside Cabinet and perhaps amusingly inhabited by a politician who has variously pilloried and shaken migrants from countries apparently New Zealand (under Labour) wants to have some influence - Muslim migrants and migrants from China.
How will Peters reconcile his position at either the Minsiterial level or perhaps more importantly among NZFirst's constituents. I see this as a significant leg rope. Rather oxymoronic to be a Foreign Secretary reaching out (from) under the moniker NZ first. That's the sort of thing we expected from imperial Britain or neo-Imperial US.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Reports tonight that coalition negotiations are in chaos do not augur well for Helen Clark and her Government. While the devil is always in the detail, it has been my experience a good deal is always a natural deal and one that can bear some transparency. Anything less than that and someone is getting shafted. One sage often said, sunlight is the best disinfectant.
Gman's blog covers his view on what Winnie might be thinking - key points are the media will be 99% wrong and unless you have Winnie on tape believe nothing of what is attributed to him.
I stand by my earlier blog, here, that Winnie may fancy his chances with a re-election shortly; and hence will hasten slowly to engage with anyone. The more strident and ridiculous Clark becomes with her assurances a Government will be formed shortly the greater he can distance himself from her. He did signal before the election he would abstain on confidence and supply. He can maintain that position.
Not before time, Rob Robinson has reported he will step down from his post at the head of the NZ Police. In a reign that history is unlikely to treat favourably Robinson has failed to reform the Police to either meet the expectations of the population or provide standards of service expected of a modern police force. It would appear he has never stood up to either his Minister or to the Finance Minister and told them he cannot meet the expectations of the population or his staff with the resources he is being provided with.
Racked with many scandals, from failing to recommend fraud charges on the PM for Paintergate, prosecuting Shane Ardern for a minor infringement at Parliament, the Iraena Asher disaster, the police porn probe, an apparent focus on traffic revenue over criminal prosecution, his tenure has often been found wanting.
Robinson came to the job after having the opportunity to knife his boss following Clark's direct intervention through the media with the then Commissioner (Peter Doone) in what became known as Doonegate - well covered at Sir Humphrey's.
Robinson's retirement is a fantastic opportunity to begin the fundamental restructuring of the Police and how they operate. What is needed is a civilian CEO to head the organisation - the conflict between operational needs, funding and the agreeing and delivering the organisation's mission cannot be solved by having a uniformed long serving officer at the head. It is time for renewal.
By way of example and as an aside Robinson was posted to Rotorua/Murupara during the time of the alleged rapes with the Nicholson woman. Whether he knew what was going on is immaterial - and of course the presumption is he had no knowledge - New Zealand is too small a place for there to be any doubt that everything is above board as regards the Police.
Anyone achieving the Commissioner rank in New Zealand from within the force knows 'where all the bodies are'- that is not healthy. Too much opportunity for compromise.
Friday, October 14, 2005
The SFO fails all standards expected of a Government Agency.
It is failing at its mandated role, identifying and successfully prosecuting serious fraud.
It is competing with the Police for small fry - why were the Huata's SFO cases. The action was for $82,000 I think. The total was less than $1million. Is it because the PM has a greater oversight of its cases than the Police?
At the time (The White Report - December 2004) it seemed the 'clearance' of John Tamihere of serious accusations was fortunate. Is there a political element to the offices workings.
The SFO is proving to be incompetent, venal and mean-spirited - perhaps the more serious accusations one can lay at the foot of a Government agency. Corruption would be the worse accusation and thankfully there is no evidence of that yet.
There has to be complete and full accountability demonstrated for the clearly ill advised prosecution of the Helicopter Trust people. By all accounts the case had no legs. This prosecution appears to be mean-spirited in the extreme.
How could they have spent so long bringing the case and spent so much for it to end so quickly and so ignominously following final arguments. This is rank incompetence and a squandering of taxpayer funding. The accused were not rich men able to spin and drag out proceedings - they were ordinary New Zealander's trying eke out a living - particularly those two on the charity side who faced no accusations of personal gain. Having just about fucked the resuce helicopter service in Auckland the SFO minions and head would not want to find themselves needy of the service's services
Winnie's long and short term prospects may be best served by going back to the electorate now. Without a complicit NZF, Clark will struggle to convince the GG she has the confidence of the House. Winnie will be obliterated in 2008 if a coalition with Labour doesn't travel well. He is out of the electorate business. He may fancy chances better to go back to the electorate now with an agreement with Labour not to stand in Tauranga.
Winnie may decide to let Clark's government building fall flat, avoid any fallout by staying loose and taking his chances at the resultant election...
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
In what must be a gross embarrassment to the highest levels of french polity senior magistrates are investigating France's former Ambassador to the UN for receiving 11 million barrels of oil from the Saddam regime.
This could go right to the heart of the French Government. De Villepin the French Prime Minister was the chief protaganist against the US at the Security Council Iraqi war hearings in his then role as Foreign Minister. He must have known? Watch this space...
A (US) Senate inquiry found that Benon Sevan, the UN head of the programme, should face criminal charges.
I fancy this scandal now has legs and the smirking holier than thou frogs are in for a caning (delivered by those nice people from the new world!).
I think Kofi is on the way out - and they want to run the internet....
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Roger Kerr has identified why the Greens charm offensive failed. Simply, they fail to consider or seek alternative opinions and are rooted in dogma.
During the election I blogged, here, on the hard wired links between the Greens and the Baader-Meinhof Gang. This is incontrovertible. What a heritage.
The Greens do not understand business at all and are pathologically opposed to market solutions (except of course peak oil, where in a remarkable foot trip, Jeanette Fizsimons during the election suggested that the price of fuel had gone too high too quickly and the GST or excise tax should be suspended??? - what was that going to do for consumption?, but I digress)
The Greens in New Zealand are caught in a 1970's Value's Party mindset - complete with a nirvana style attitude to so-called recreational drugs. While the world has got greener in attitude and approach, NZ's Greens are looking ever more like victims of the ozone hole - redder and redder.
Elsewhere thinking Greens are looking to adopt nuclear power and halt the ideological opposition - with zero carbonifereous and sulphurous emissions and an almost unlimited fuel supply, the single technological issue to solve is what to do with the waste. (and lb for GWH there is buggerall). Now that is a nice place to be - especially when you tell that to the 6,000 chinese miners widows made this year. Surely a thinking Green would bend their mind to solving the waste issue than trying to harness the wind on a calm day. Or do I give them too much credit - this afterall is the cold war we are (still) fighting...
Monday, October 10, 2005
Aaron B has blogged that Clark is set to announce a minority Government. That much I understand. What I don't understand is that apparently five parties have given her sufficient comfort (presumably in return for policy) to enable her to plan a full term.
As I blogged earlier, these various agreements cannot be a congruent with each party's own mission and ambit of its members on a joint and several basis.
Government in the Westminster tradition is about Treasury and Loyal Opposition. Opposing sides, testing each other out. There is nothing in it for a small party to support Clark (Anderton's Wigram Labour party excluded). Using a teenage analogy - all they will get is blue balls.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
The folks over at Sir Humphrey's have launched TopSpin. This is intended to be a monitor of politics and politicians in New Zealand. As the intention is for it to be non-exclusive and cover the complete spectrum of NZ politics it is a welcome addition and I look forward to watching it develop; and contributing as I am able.
The really interesting thing is by making it agnostic the Right and Left cannot marginalise it by accusing it of bias. The facts as they say will speak for themselves.
The creators describe it thus:
TopSpin is a wiki created to document and monitor New Zealand politics and politicians. We intend to document all parties and all mainstream media outlets. If you're looking for opinion, you won't find it here. We do have links to a number of political blogs - where you'll find all the opinion you need!