Friday, August 29, 2008

Peter Williams QC freak show on CloseUp

Williams turns up on Close Up tonight because his client Winston Peters won't. In an extraordinary outburst he tries to smear John Key as the reason Peters has had to stand down. Key's principle complaint has been the shambles surrounding the Glenn affair - which is not the reason Peters is up before the SFO. The SFO are investigating the Vela and Jones matters.

I suspect the SFO won't fall for the old lawyer's brow beating - the fraud is not whether the cheques have gone through the accounts of the Spencer Trust - every one with any knowledge of this has already said that's what happened to them. The fraud is if payments were received and available to the intended recipient - that person may not be beneficiaries of the Spencer Trust.

The SFO have seen enough to suspect serious and complex fraud - Williams QC for all his eminence has only been on the case since lunchtime.
Peters is to step aside

Clark is taking on his portfolios

She clearly doesn't want someone competent like Filk Off to shine.
The plan to smear Glenn is gathering momentum

See The Hive

Return to Kiwiblog

I think we are going to see Clark and Peters tough it out. They will hang together or hang together - as I said earlier. They will try to make Glenn the fall guy. Trouble is Glenn has all the cards. He knows what promises and offers were made to whom and by when. Clark still does not get it - it is Glenn rooting her up the a***, not Judith. She should turn around and look backwards every now and again.
All the Drongos are out and about now

Mike Moore has just wombled onto Jim Mora's Afternoon Program. What a raver - rambling on about anything but the topic - one minute saying this is a watershed moment and Clark will push on to victory - then raving on about Peters and his anti-Asian calls and then back to how much of global citizen he (Moore) is. " I spend half the year overseas now you know Jim" I could feel the cringe by Jim and his panel through the wireless.

What a moron. He was worse than Winston's ramble this morning on Morning Report.

The sooner this generation of anti-vietnam war freaks, anti-springbok tourists, pinkos, feminazis, and socialists in general steps aside for the younger, measured and sensible vision of the Key movement the better.

Update - here is the monologue from Moore - see about 18:46 in.

Storms Glenn and Helen Advance on Winston

Code named Gustav (Glenn) and Hannah (Helen)
Is Clark's Day About to Get a Whole Lot Worse?

News that the prolonged wet weather in Marlborough has undermined the foundations of a pylon critical to South Island power supplies come as the Labour Government watches the week from hell close.

A pylon carrying the inter-island power supply at Port Underwood is at threat of buckling. If the inter-island link is suddenly lost a city the size of Christchurch would black out.

Gee the $220Million spent at the Electricity Commission has been well spent hasn't it - plenty of layers of security in our energy system - Not.
Peters the lawyer is unclear on the Law

Notwithstanding Bob Jones' dissenting opinion, Peters' claims that as each of the Vela brothers and Jones are comfortable with where their funds ended up, so no fraud was entered. This not an accurate portrayal of the law.

A fraud would be committed if the party lawfully expected to receive the funds did not receive them and they instead went to another party. This might be the case with Jones and the Spencer Trust. NZ First, the party and all its members, is the loser if funds destined for it are instead diverted to the Spencer Trust without its express approval. While Jones may have no pecuniary loss - NZ First has suffered damage. Therein is the fraud. This will be where the SFO are heading. It is probably embezzlement - taking money under your control which is not yours to take. The measure is not the gain to the thief but the loss to the true owner.

Ditto the Vela money.
The odds are Clark will not deal with Peters today

All news reports today are Clark and Peters are going about their scheduled appointments today. They are both showing a business as usual - "Nothing to see here, move on" scenario.

Winston Peters was roused from his unavailability this morning by Sir Robert Jones calling him a liar. In a rambling and at times shambolic call to Morning Report Winston confirmed he wasn't resigning any time soon and indicated he would not be sacked after two minutes with the PM explaining things...the interview was hilarious.

There is no urgency with Clark - she's busy opening schools in Auckland. This is classic Clark - go to ground and she what tomorrow brings. Unfortunately forces are afoot, she knows not what nor how to counter.

Rumours that Senior Labour Ministers have been denigrating Owen Glenn for some weeks and Cullen's excoriation of Glenn in the House yesterday give a good lead to where this is heading - discredit and smear Owen Glenn.

This writer is now certain that Clark is at the center of the scandal.

She knew from minute one that Owen Glenn was funding Winston Peters and or NZ First.

The reason she knew is she organised it. That is becoming clear.

I am sure the Gnats know this too. That is why John Key has been so assiduous in linking Glenn to Clark and Peters.

As we have seen in the House this week John Key has carefully extracted admissions from Clark that will later destroy what limited credibility she has. His follow up interviews have been focused on painting Clark with the secret agenda and slippery monikers - these will stick more surely to her than him.

The run of play is something like this.

Clark meets Glenn at a Tourism NZ promotional dinner in Sydney in July 2004. He expresses interest in helping Labour. Clark forgets his name and asks Williams to go through the address list and figure out who Clark met at the dinner. Serendipitously Glenn emails Clark before Williams starts and re confirms his offer to help Labour. From November 2004 - March 2005, Glenn transfers $100,000 to the Labour Party on the nineth of each month - a total of $500,000.

Glenn also funded the new Business School at Auckland University to the tune of $7,500,000. For that ostensibly he receives the OMNZ.

Glenn is a wealthy and professional practitioner of the dark art of buying favourable outcomes for himself and his business interests - he sees it as a cost of business. Clark opens the door.

Once one is immensely wealthy and living in Monaco the only thing missing is invites to the Top Table - a knighthood would help credibility. Only problem Labour axed them in New Zealand - however Williams says he can do OMNZ and the price is $500K. meanwhile

Thinking further and Glenn realises he could do better - guarantee a seat at the Top Table - become New Zealand's Consul in Monaco. He asks Clark.

She hatches a plan - let's bind NZ First to us forever is her plan - we'll get them some additional funding. I'll tell Owen Glenn that it is important to Labour to have solid relations with NZ First and in any event the Foreign Minister, who appoints Consul's, is the leader of NZ First. I'll tell hime the rate for a Consulship is $100,000 - to NZ First.

Glenn grizzles for 'public' consumption but secretly is rapt - the whole thing for $600,000 plus a Business School! Sweet!

The OMNZ turns up as promised but Winston is having trouble delivering the Consulship. Questions are being asked as Winnie has always said none was necessary. Winnie has no suitable solution.

Given Top Table invites are not something one can buy locally Glenn is livid. He goes feral, completely feral.

That's when the shit started to hit the fan and has never stopped.

Clark, Cullen and Peters who have never lived in the real world are now absolutely out of their death - this will drown them all. They do not realise that businessmen like Owen Glenn are playing for keeps as they always do.

They do not understand people like Glenn cannot be blown off like speck of dust. Or, more importantly that Labour, Cullen and Clark have nothing more to offer Owen Glenn. He has taken the hint and is moving on. He not she holds the sword of damocles.

It does not take much of a google search (try "Owen Glenn") to reveal his scrapes with regulatory authorities like the Federal Maritime Comission in the US (for misdeclaration of cargoes and price fixing) and the company collapses engineered in places like the Carribean.

He is truly a trans-national operator.

By contrast John Key has had a very successful life before entering politics - he knows how people like Owen Glenn work. He understands the game.

John Key has been ten yards ahead of Clark and Cullen on this since February 2008.

Every one of the rumours and allegations regarding Owen Glenn have proved ultimately to be correct. I have posted below the very useful chronology from today's Herald. It is an interesting review.

Owen Glenn is behind all the leaks and his carefully worded letters reveal the game he is playing - Labour have not met his terms and he has been seeking retribution since they failed with the Consul gong and the appalling treatment by Mallard and Clark at the opening of the building with his name on it.

From the NZ Herald

February 15:
Expatriate businessman and Labour donor Owen Glenn claims Helen Clark tried to lure him back to New Zealand with the offer of a Cabinet job. Clark denies it.

February 18:
Owen Glenn dismisses his Cabinet comments as a joke but says he is waiting on Foreign Minister Winston Peters' approval to become NZ's Honorary Consul in Monaco.

February 19: Helen Clark confirms Winston Peters has met with Mr Glenn to discuss the honorary consul role and is considering whether is needed in the position.

February 20: New Zealand First MP Dail Jones tells the Herald his party received a mystery donation of between $10,000 and $100,000 "probably closer to $100,000" in December 2006. Owen Glenn strongly hints that he was the donor.

The money is said to be part of the $158,000 donated to and returned by the Starship Foundation, the amount the Auditor General found NZ First had unlawfully spent at the 2005 election. Asked by the Herald via his press secretary whether he knew who the donor was and whether it was Mr Glenn, Winston Peters says "there is no substance to the claims being made". Mr Peters later denies to TVNZ that the party ever received a donation from Mr Glenn.

February 21: Owen Glenn and Helen Clark open Auckland University's Business School.

February 24: Winston Peters appears to deny the mystery donation ever existed, refusing to say where it was from. When asked, Mr Peters said: "There's no question ever that any such a thing ever did happen." Asked if that meant "there was no big anonymous donation", Mr Peters said "precisely".

February 28: Mr Peters calls a media conference to deny Owen Glenn has ever given New Zealand First a donation or loan. Peters brings along a "No" sign to reinforce his message. Mr Peters says the sum mentioned by Dail Jones was a consolidation of a series of payments made to the party.

July 12: The Herald reports a private email from Owen Glenn to his PR representative in New Zealand, Steve Fisher, in which he says he did give New Zealand First a donation.

"Steve - are you saying I should deny giving a donation to NZ First?? When I did?"

Winston Peters says through a spokesman that Mr Glenn had not given the party money - "he did not" - but he refused any other comment.

July 14 Winston Peters addresses reporters at Auckland Airport before leaving for Fiji. He tells them: " Here's the deal, the editor of the New Zealand Herald and the Herald journalist Audrey Young can see New Zealand First's accounts and talk to our independent auditors but when they find nothing, then to apologise to the public and then resign."

National Leader John Key calls for Helen Clark to investigate whether Mr Peters is telling the truth.

July 16: Helen Clark says she has received assurances from Winston Peters that Owen Glenn has not donated to NZ First. She says Mr Glenn's appointment as honorary consul general in Monaco was at best "most unlikely".

July 18: Winston Peters says Owen Glenn donated $100,000 towards a legal action he mounted after the 2005 election, but denies the money was given to his party and says he only just found out about it.

July 19: Peters tells the NZ First convention he did nothing wrong in the Owen Glenn donation row and nothing illegal occurred. He says there is a difference between donating to his legal fund and donating to NZ First.

July 20: Winston Peters' lawyer Brian Henry says he asked Owen Glenn for a donation after another donor did not deliver. Helen Clark says she accepts Mr Peters' statement that he only found out about the donation from his lawyer on July 18. She says the donation to Mr Peters' legal fund did not appear to have broken any rules.

July 21: The Dominion Post reports the Vela family donated $150,000 from six different accounts over four years up to 2003 to New Zealand First but the donations were not declared by the party because they were under $10,000 and did not have to be. ACT leader Rodney Hide lodges a contempt of Parliament complaint with the Speaker over the non-disclosure of the donation.

July 23: Helen Clark says Mr Peters will not be required to pay back the $100,000 he received from Owen Glenn to pay legal expenses

"The Cabinet Office advises me that there would be no reason to require the minister to relinquish it, given the considerable public interest in the court case for which that money was paying."

July 24: Sir Robert Jones tells Radio New Zealand he made a number of donations to New Zealand First for the 2005 election including a $25,000 donation to the Spencer Trust. New Zealand First deputy leader Peter Brown denies any knowledge of the donation, which was not declared to the Electoral Commission. Sir Robert says he has written to NZ First president Dail Jones to confirm where the money went.

A spokesman for Helen Clark says she "received an assurance from Mr Peters that funding has been conducted lawfully".

July 25: Winston Peters angrily denies any wrongdoing in regards to the funding of NZ First. He says media coverage of the party's election funding are "Unsubstantiated rubbish". He says he never asked Sir Robert for money and that he was not in charge of the Spencer Trust, which is managed by his brother. Sir Robert says Mr Peters asked him for money on a night out.

July 26: At a joint media conference with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Mr Peters again refuses to answer questions on the "Bob Jones' story".

July 29: Helen Clark meets with Mr Peters so he can explain the controversy surrounding allegations of covert funding to NZ First. She says she still has cionfidence in him as Minister of Foerign Affairs et al. Mr Peters describes the whole affair as "a shameful episode of dirty politics".

July 30: The Serious Fraud Office says it will begin assessing whether an investigation into donations intended for the New Zealand First Party is warranted, following a complaint from Rodney Hide.

July 31: The Dominion Post reports it has a deposit slip showing $19,998 was deposited in one or more cheques into the party's coffers in December 1999.

Electoral Commission records for 1999 show NZ First did not declare any donations of more than $10,000, the threshold for disclosure.

August 5: The Speaker orders an investigation into allegations Winston Peters failed to declare party donations on the MPs' register of pecuniary interest. She says Parliament's privileges committee should look into the claims. Mr Peters says he welcomes the opportunity to have the matter dealt with as soon as possible.

August 6: Racing and fishing magnate Philip Vela says that he has no concerns about the donation his company had given to New Zealand First a few years ago. The privileges committee inquiry into Owen Glenn's payment of Mr Peters' legal fees begins.

Mr Peters is repeatedly challenged by Act leader Rodney Hide in Parliament to say whether he received donations from Simunovich Fisheries, after speculation of a donation from the company re-emerged in the Dominion Post newspaper.

August 7: Parliament's privileges committee sets its terms of references for its inquiry.

August 17: The privileges committee begins its first hearings in the inquiry into Owen Glenn's donation to NZ First's legal bill. Winston Peter's lawyer Brian Henry tells the committee he does not bill Mr Peters that his legal fees are "either a donation of my time or fundraised." The committee resolves to invite Owen Glenn to give evidence.

August 26:ACT leader Rodney Hide alleges New Zealand First was paid money by Simunovich Fisheries after Winston Peters had made corruption claims against it.

August 27:The privileges committee releases letters from Mr Peters and billionaire Owen Glenn. Mr Glenn says Mr Peters solicited a $100,000 donation from him and then thanked him for it in 2006. Mr Peters denies this, saying he thanked Mr Glenn in July 2008 after being told of the donation by his lawyer.

National Party leader John Key says unless Mr Peters could provide a credible explanation for the discrepancies of evidence, he would be unacceptable in a National Government.

August 28: Prime Minister Helen Clark reveals Mr Glenn had told her his version of events on February 21 but that Mr Peters had assured her that New Zealand First had not received a donation from the businessman.

The Serious Fraud Office announces it has sufficient information to launch an investigation into the fate of donations to New Zealand First.

August 29: Winston Peters describes the allegations against him as "vile, malevolent, evil and wrong". He says he will talk to Helen Clark about the matter later in the day.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

SFO has decided to look further into NZ First's handling of donations

SFO Director Grant Liddell has announced the SFO will take their investigations to the next stage and including whether donations by the Velas and Robert Jones actually ended up where the donors expected them to go.

Seems Liddell took up the challenge. "I have sufficient information that gives me reason to suspect that an investigation may reveal serious and complex fraud."

Mr Liddell said that he was satisfied that the threshold had been met for commencing an investigation using statutory powers under the SFO Act.

Update: Would the fact a party and the party's leader are being investigated by the SFO using its statutory powers be sufficient grounds to at least demand a Minister who was also the party's leader stand down from his portfolios and surrender his warrant?

Peters Killed by Clark

Farrar at Kiwiblog has spotted the non sequitur.

Clark today said she spoke with Winston Peters in South Africa in February 2008 after she had met with Owen Glenn to specifically tell Peters that Owen Glenn had just told her he had paid $100,000 to NZ First to pay Peters's legal bills.

Therefore Peters's cannot claim to have had no knowledge of the payment before Brian Henry told him at his mother's graveside.

Clark has proved the sophistry of Mr Peters and proved beyond doubt her own casuistry.
Question Time - The PM has not Fronted

Cullen handling the flak
Questions for Oral Answer

1. Hon BILL ENGLISH to the Prime Minister: Does she have confidence in the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Racing; if so, why?

8. RODNEY HIDE to the Minister of Broadcasting: Is Television New Zealand involved in any legal action before the courts?

Looks like Broadcasting Minister Mallard will be able to confirm to the Speaker whether questions regarding Television New Zealand really are sub judice...
Key's Strategy and Tactics Looking Shrewder and Shrewder by the Minute

Today's bombshell Clark has known since February 2008 that it was Winston Peters himself who made the approach to Owen Glenn highlights the perfect timing and execution of the Gnats strategy.

There must be more to come - for some reason Clark has panicked and coughed up the admission that Owen Glenn told her in February this year that Peters had approached him for cash and he had paid out. Why has she coughed today?

The implications are huge - Clark completely and publically accepting without reservation Peters's word when she knows herself he has lied. She may be able to dupe many - but even she cannot dupe herself. Clark allowing her simpleton MP's to protect Peters at Parliament's most important committee when she knows the grounds of their protection is a falsehood. Is there a more corrupt action she could have taken? She is trifling with Parliament's central institution - the Privileges Committee.

The longer this goes on the dodgier Clark looks.

Question Time today should be a boiler. I wonder what today's matter of mass distraction will be. Judith Tizard streaking?
Key Has Shown His True Strengths

The extraordinary events of the past few days have been fascinating for political geeks. The titanic struggle in the House between Peters and the Opposition has been fascinating - and I mean Opposition in its widest sense as even the Greens are supportive of what Hide has been trying to expose and the process he has adopted.

As a series of debates these have been extremely interesting days. The Questions by Key of Clark two days ago carefully extracted from Clark her unwavering support for Peters. More on that later.

Hide's Questioning for which he was ultimately shamefully thrown out, provided the media back drop needed to get the MSM absolutely focused on the issue of the mendacity of Peters. It also showed both the horrid partisanship of Speaker Wilson and the shameless method Peters has adopted (for many years on reflection) to avoid questioning in the House (the claim of sub judice). Wilson came across as partisan and ferociously biased in supporting one member's (and a very dodgy member at that) word over another.

Yesterday Deputy Speaker Robertson, with greater respect for his position than the Speaker herself attempted to find a way to let Hide have his say. Hide made great play of the language he was going to use - Peters repeatedly rose to the fly. Hide feigned exasperation and repeatedly assured the Speaker the matter was not sub-judice. Ad nauseam. Then the killer blow - with everyone waiting for the revelation Hide changed step and spoke eloquently of the mendacity of Winston Peters and the plague he has visited on the House, Helen Clark his (Peters's chief supporter) and her Government. The speech was heard in stunned silence. Absolutely brilliant planning, timing and execution.

Returning to Key - his afternoon dumping of Peters as a potential coalition partner opened his hand for all to see - he had brilliantly manoevered Clark over the past two days. The hubristic fool could not see it coming - sitting in the House chortling at her great cleverness...

First she gave regular, apparently unconditional and unwavering support to Peters. Aided by all her attack dogs blindly chasing the bait laid out. Abetted by the witless Madam Speaker. Next (as Key presumably knew would happen and as had been conveniently leaked by Heather Simpson et al) Peters gave her NZ First's support for the ETS. This linked the two - Clark and Peters together inextricably - The leaking was intended to show Clark's mastery of Peters in his predicament. This proved not a demonstration of leadership - it showed she would do anything to get the ETS legislation through - this was more than supping with the devil - no rat was too big to swallow. She was however wounded by it. It was a major miscalculation - hubrism does that.

The coup de grace was delivered in the afternoon. Key cutting Peters loose from a future National Government. Clark was now (not quite mortally) wounded and her electoral plans unravelling fast. She needs coalition partners. At a stroke Key has made it crystal clear that a vote for NZ First is effectively a vote cast for Labour - NZ First no longer have a mandate to hold the balance of power; And a vote for Labour, with the polls where they are at, is a vote for Peters's party because NZ First support will be critical to get a fourth Labour Government home. Masterful. Planning, Timing, Execution - brilliant.

As John Armstrong wrote today - Key has used all his experience as a currency dealer to quietly build and then close out his position from a place of strength.

On reading the blogs today SageNZ has come to a similar view of the preceding days events - his eloquent analogy to a bridge hand is apposite.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Minister for Racing in the Credibility Handicap

Those clever folks at HomePaddock have posted their latest horse race - the Credibility Handicap. The finish is priceless:

And here comes Bauble Boy, he’s turned his back on the principle hurdle, his jockey has lost control and there’ll have to be an inquiry. Hold all bets, the stewards are conferring and this could take some time.
It Just Gets Better - Hansard - Proof of Lying in Peters' Own Words

Those good soldiers at Whaleoil have trawled up more than scampi tonight - Hansard. There in the Parliamentary record is Winston Peters, 14 February 2006, on his feet dominating the House ....chastising Don Brash and the National Party for attending the Karaka Yearling Sales that year for the first time in 20 years. "I saw them at the Karaka saleyards this year." Talk about self incrimination - best own goal ever I say.

Weird isn't it - Peters said his diary had no record he was at the 2006 Sales and therefore could not have met OGG at the Sales, as OGG testified to the Privileges Committee - yet in 2006 Peters told Parliament he was as the Sales and had noticed the National Party there (which National confirmed) and we now have Getty Images with photos dated 31 January 2006, at the scene of the crime - front and centre.
Brilliant - Photos of Peters at the 2006 Karaka Bloodstock Sales

Thanks to WhaleOil and other pictures have surfaced of Winston Peters at the 2006 Karaka Bloodstock Sales. These are the Sales where Owen Glenn said he shared a table for lunch with Peters. Peters said he wasn't there that year, but may have been a year later.... of course a year later doesn't fit the payment schedule Peters would have us believe.

Now today, Peters tore into OGG and said he had not been at the 2006 Sales (which was only a few months after the 2005 election) ..... these pictures from Getty Images (not photoshop!) reveal all. Winnie was there all right.
Clark Conniving on Committee

Despite the open, bright and breezy analysis by TVNZ Therese Arseneau Peters still has plenty of wiggle room with the Privileges Committee - as well Clark knows. Clark saying any evidential facts in dispute will be sorted by the Committee - Clark knows that is not the Committee's brief or bailiwick.

The deliberations of the Committee are narrowed to whether Peters should have declared the $100,000 donation from OGG. Peters has always maintained he did not know about it therefore he couldn't declare it - even if he wanted to... OGG has confirmed the money went to Henry (following Peters's request)

Peters did ask for the money - which Peters has denied doing (and is not the subject of the Committee
the money went to Henry - ie not Peters. And in Peters's view of the world was not a pecuniary interest he (Peters) needed to declare.

Hopefully the Committee can drill into the obvious point that Peters and Henry are one and the same (self described blood brothers) - Peters did receive a $100,000 benefit.

I wonder also whether the testimony of Henry and Peters is on oath - someone is lying...OGG has said Peters made the approach and his dealings with Henry was only to ascertain remittance details from Henry's staff....There was no approach from Henry to OGG, as he testified.

If not on oath and Henry did lie to the Committee it is a major breach of what is expected from him as a litigator to the Supreme Court of New Zealand.

Is The Treatment of Owen G Glenn by the Prime Minister Un-Edifying?

Is it not the worst possible look how Clark treats Owen Glenn; This man she gave a New Year's honour, trousered $500,000 of his money for her party, took a $100,000 interest free loan and so on - then when the chips are down she insults him in the most gratuitous way him by using Trevor Mallard as an attack/guard dog when she presides over the opening of a building he has funded.

Today she takes the word of Winston Peters over Owen G Glenn. The woman has no bounds.

I feel desperately sorry for Mr Glenn. He was only trying to help. In Clark's world he is cannon fodder. She throws him out once she has no further use for him.
Round 2 Today

Question for Oral Answer

to the Prime Minister: Does she have confidence in the Minister of Foreign Affairs; if so, why?
When Will the Electricity Shortage become a Crisis?

The updated reports on lake levels suggest the crisis was not averted - merely delayed.

The only reason the lights have not gone out so far this winter is because the electricity retailers have implored their commercial customers to turn off their machines. What sort of economic system is that? Some would say it is the market at work. Commercial customers are reacting to high spot prices and shedding turning off their machines. The market at work...

That is a overly simplistic. Those high spot prices are not being paid by domestic users who are insulated from the spikes so they are ignorant of the market forces. More importantly the high prices are a result of the addition of the "emergency" Whirinaki diesel generation to the cost curve.

The reason for the sustained high prices is the shortage of supply of electricity, not a sudden excess of demand. The prohibition on new baseload thermal generation by the Labour Government is at the root of this.

The lost productivity by having the commercial sector reduce demand is massive. Tiwai Point smelter is apparently 3,000 tonnes down because they have shut down some lines - prices for their commodity are more than adequate.

I have colleagues who have seen their spot prices double in the past 8 months - yet their demand has lowered! In the period Jan 06 - Jan 08 their spot prices were below contract. They are now 3 times contract. Meridian has been calling every day suggesting they shut down and offering to buy back the contract...

If asking major commercial users to significantly reduce demand is not a crisis what is?

There is plenty of demand at the long run marginal costs of new thermal generation. That the Government will not allow that generation to arise is the crisis.

Feel like you're living in the first world?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I see Clark has driven the Pacific Forum to suspend Fiji if elections are not held by March 2009. I'll bet bananarama is quaking in his boots. Excepting Australia and New Zealand, the GDP of those "countries", (rather than "beneficiary nations") in attendance probably would not cumulatively reach Fiji's - even in Fiji's current parlous state.

The Forum and Clark in particular have been stone faced silent on her's or the Forum's stance on expelling Russia from international institutions - eg the G8, not supporting their application to join the WTO etc.

One could take Clark and her new bro KRudd seriously if they discussed serious matters - like supporting the Americans and more latterly the Brits in containing an obstreperous bear. Don't forget we live in a benign strategic environment

p.s No further news on the A4's? Thought FilkOff had flogged them.

p.p.s Niue more important than being in Tekapo for her best friends funeral?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

There are many signs Clark is moving to election mode.

1. Announcement by Treasury today the economy is in recession. The sign is not the content as blind Freddy can see the economic situation is very bad. The sign is that Treasury have announced it long before the June quarter results are available. They're not due till next month. The reason for the early announcement is to clear the decks for Cullen and Clark - when the actuals are out they'll be in full blown election mode and will be able to say - "Oh, that's old news"

2. News UMR Research are testing voters sensitivity to Clark's leadership over Peters and whether she had shown strong leadership, along with questioning whether voters thought John key was slippery (yawn). Hat tip Farrar's place, Kiwiblog

3. The independent Speaker referring key Labour coalition partner and Minister, Winston Peters to the Privileges Committee to check his disclosures to the House.

4. Trailers written by all gallery hacks in the past week suggesting Clark needs to get through this week and get the Appropriations Bill through with its attendant question of Confidence, before cutting Peters loose.

5. One can only assume Clark and Cullen have advice the economy will be worse than dire and offers no advantage to wait till November. Best to have a crack now...very un-Clark but may be she's no longer in total control.