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Friday, April 30, 2010

Bennett: who pays?

Paula Bennett is a ghastly, patronising bully. Anyone reading her cry-baby press statement issued this morning would have been left agog:Agog at her hypocrisy:Bennett breaches someone's privacy in a malicious and deliberate piece of politics and now she's claiming that a TV3 story saying she sought a hush-money deal with the complainant "has generated a significant amount of comment and contact to her office from upset members of the public."

Now some information on her has been leaked it's upsetting her. She is simply awful. She used the media to persecute two people and now the guns are pointing in the other direction the hypocrite says she will "considering her legal options" and is demanding apologies! Hypocrite. We are supposed to believe her!? We are supposed to believe that a payment to resolve the dispute has not been discussed? We are supposed to believe that a payment solution to the most controversial privacy breach of last year - and one that has gone on now for seven months - has not been discussed? Bennett's assertions lack any credibility.

In all of this however it seems I'm still the only one asking the question: who pays?From that post:
The problem is for Bennett that if you look through these rules she appears to have broken them, and has quite probably opened herself up for legal action. And if this eventuated, or even "threatened" (as the manual says at 4.39), then it becomes a headache for the whole Cabinet - one they must make a call on. Either they back her or they don't. If they get her to sign some sort of a waiver beforehand saying that she will take full personal financial responsibility for any potential court case coming out of this it may be a way of heading it off, but even that would indicate they are backing away from her position. In any case they must reaffirm the status quo ante that at all personal confidential information is safe, because at the moment with Bennett, it is not.

How messy could this get?

She did what she did in bad faith - that's the crux and is why she will lose the case. She has admitted on TV and in the House that she was "playing political football" and the only reasonable understanding of why she did what she did in releasing the personal information the way she did was because she knew she would never get any sort of consent for it from the individuals concerned.

The effects of her action may also meet the grounds for seeking damages: it held the individuals up for public scorn and derision, it was done deliberately, and yes, it was done maliciously, or using her terminology to teach them "a lesson." It was designed to humiliate the individuals concerned. That's malice. It has had an impact on the victims - a heavily negative one - as it was designed to. And because the reason and motivation for the disclosure was wrong she has also, therefore, misused her staff in both gaining the information and in getting advice on it (she changed her original stance to admit that she sought and received advice, which now makes things worse not better for her). She's gone on the public record to confirm all the central facts that together ought to be enough to get her red carded. If the Nats had any operational radar they would opt for a self-administered yellow card before that point, but they aren't thinking straight. Do they need to have their minds focussed?

In addition to this it was also discriminatory in nature because this rule supposedly "implicitly"(?) applies only to one class of personal information - that of beneficiaries. The courts would love to get their teeth into this. Anyone who listened to the Chief Justice tear strips off the the Solicitor-General in the Zaoui case a few years back will appreciate how an issue of abuse of power might go down on appeal. The Nats could be only a pro bono QC away from getting a direct kick to their collective Cabinet balls.

Is Dame Paula Bennett really that much of an asset to be protected? She's broken every rule in the book, patronisingly bragged about being a Cabinet Minister as if that were a justification in itself for her actions - and now she risks tainting the whole Cabinet if this thing goes to court. She's putting the PM and her more sensible senior colleagues on the spot. She's putting her associate, Tariana Turia - and by extension also the Maori Party deal - under huge pressure. That makes her a liability.

All of those things I said about the situation in August last year are coming to a head. So I ask again: what is Cabinet's position on her actions? Will they pay - or will she?

Corruption or Incompetence in Kahui Case?

Kahui police rebuked over inquiry errors
Police investigating the murder of the Kahui twins showed "errors of judgment" and did not properly record evidence to the standard expected in such a significant and high-profile case, a police watchdog says. An Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) report into the police investigation, released last night, said lawyers for the babies' father, Chris Kahui, were placed under "unreasonable pressure" because they weren't properly informed about a witness statement potentially implicating the boys' mother.

So the IPCA find the Police as incompetent rather than corrupt. How optimistic of them. The fact the cops are the reason the Kahui twins have not found justice shouldn't be lost in any of this, especially when it seems a line call between incompetence and corruption.

The Police held back Tuari's quotes from the Crown Prosecution till 6 weeks before the trial, surely a witness who is claiming that Macsyna told him she had killed the twins was important???
And the date of a call from the cellphone Macsyna was using was left off a document showing that she was with the kids when she claimed she was in Henderson!

The fact it took the Jury only 1 minute should shame the Police for denying those two babies any justice.

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Why we celebrate ANZAC Day

The War on News 2010 – NZ News Satire on Stratos Sky 89 10pm Tuesday & simulcast on Freeview 21. Replayed on Triangle TV 9.45pm Wednesday and posted online at Scoop.co.nz as their Weekend Watch.

It’s just like 7 days on TV3 but with fewer dick jokes.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010


No you didn't PAULA? NO YOU DIDN'T! This allegation by tv3 News is just extraordinary!

Bennett accused of paying off privacy complainant
The Social Welfare Minister, Paula Bennett, has been discovered having an intriguing “off the radar” meeting.

In 2009 Ms Bennett made a point of going public with two single mothers’ personal income details during a fight last year.

One of the women, Natasha Fuller, claims Ms Bennett had breached her privacy and complained to the Privacy Commissioner.

3 News believes the decision on that complaint is imminent.

However there are reports Ms Bennett made an offer to try make the complaint go away. This week the issue has resurfaced, but her dealings are being done in secret.

3 News has obtained confidential documents which say a secret meeting took place yesterday between Ms Bennett and Ms Fuller.

A monetary settlement was discussed and the idea of Ms Fuller dropping the complaint was floated.

When 3 News confronted the minister today, she wasn’t ruling the suggestions out.

The mere suggestion that Bennett has offered to pay a solo mother to drop the compliant is an outrageous allegation if untrue, instant dismissal if it is true.

It is disgusting that Paula is still in her position as Minster of Social Development. Bennett’s outrageous misuse of power to publish the personal details of two beneficiaries who complained about cost cutting of a benefit Paula herself used when she was a solo mum at uni is so utterly wrong it is difficult to see how she’s still in her role.

The irony is that these women wanted to train to get off the bloody benefit, yet the Minister is crucifying them as bludgers by giving them the bash for daring to question National’s slash and burn policy.

Bennett said in the House on the 28th July last year that she had sort her advice to release the private details of the solo mothers on ‘implied consent’ off the Privacy website. As my co-blogger clearly pointed out, there is nothing on the Privacy Website that says anything about ‘implied consent’.

Bennett hasn't truthful about where she claimed she had the authority to release personal details and any suggestion that she is trying to buy off the solo mother who complained about Bennett releasing personal details means Paul has to step down until the entire allegation is investigated.

Kevin Rudd is a climate wimp

Media blast Rudd's retreat
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's decision to jam his proposed greenhouse emissions trading scheme into the back of the darkest cupboard he could find has unleashed his worst demons. The media that had once admired his resolve and energy have turned on him with a vengeance, attacking him as a weakling lacking the courage of his convictions and scrambling back in panic from the attacks of Opposition leader Tony Abbott. Not the kind of picture you want painted of you as you count down the months to this year's election, throwing overboard inconvenient or uncomfortably hard policies as you go and watching the polls narrow.

Who cares that the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme is falling over, I'm glad it is, as the Greens themselves point out, it's just locking in failure, the Australians, just like our Emission Trading Scam will be subsidizing big polluters to continue polluting rather than forcing them get with the sustainable programme. In NZ, the deal the Nats and the Maori Party signed (so much for a spiritual connection with the land) will be paying polluters for 55% of their pollution until 2050, the North Pole is expected to be ICE FREE by 2050 and we'll still be subsidizing polluters to the tune of 55%.

On a wider issue, Rudd backing down is a victory to the climate deniers and a real kick in the arse for the Greens and Greenpeace. Instead of the signing on campaign, they should be tearing strips out of the climate denial brigade. It's the lies they have been able to spin over the climategate emails that have gone unchallenged that has allowed the politicians to move away from urgent climate legislation because the goal from big oil funded climate skeptics has been to question the science in the same tactic the tobacco industry used when claiming there was no scientific link between cancer and smoking.

March Mining

Care about the environment? See you this Saturday for the anti-mining march, the $15 minimum wage march AND Jday. It will be a long day, thankfully 4.20 is at the end of the day.

Don't undermine NZ

Working Paula Bennett and her bigotry over in the debating chamber

WONDERFUL to see Paula Bennett getting worked over in Parliament today for appointing an Islamophobic fiction writer and corporate welfare proponent Peter Sunders to the working group on welfare reform.

As the ever brilliant Gordon Campbell points out, Peter Saunders, the former Director at the Centre for Independent Studies think tank in Sydney has been appointed as one of the experts the working group on welfare reform can call upon...

Saunders, if I can put this succinctly, is a nut job. He writes fiction as well as right wing opinion pieces for the press in Australia and Britain, even though it can be hard to tell the difference. Lets start with the opinion columns. In 1994, in his review of Charles Murray’s notorious book The Bell Curve on the alleged links between race and intelligence, Saunders concluded that social class, not race, was the real determinant of IQ

..so he claims poor people are just born dumb and blames social welfare for allowing more dumb/poor people to breed and in his downtime he writes hardcore Islamophobic fiction.

Oh he's a gem isn't he?

But it get's worse. Gordon also points out that National have also appointed members to this board who simply don't have any objectivity...

The welfare review panel, as has been widely noted, also includes Catherine Isaac (Judd) the former Act Party president. What also seems extraordinary is that some members of the working group – eg Adrian Roberts and Enid Ratahi Pryor – are also current contractors with Social Welfare. As such, they are involved in business relationships with the same state welfare system whose rules they are being asked to evaluate, with a view to change. How can they help to devise solutions to welfare dependency without being seen to be generating more business for their own enterprises? Answer: they can’t.

...so people with a vested interest in the privatization of welfare are the ones who will be advising the Government about the privatization of welfare, researched and supported by a Welfare hating, Islmaphobic fiction writer.

How will beneficiaries feel knowing Peter is making decisions on their future when he believes poor people are actually more stupid than rich people?

This isn't moderate, its hard right economic policy as social policy.

Nothing like watching rich white men squirm

Hello, I'm from Goldman Sachs. I would like to sell you a 'financial product' that whilst unbeknown to you, I'll be betting will fail in the derivatives market. Pay me my huge offensive bonus now please.

Greece stands on brink of financial abyss
ATHENS - Greece was yesterday pushed to the brink of a financial abyss and started dragging another eurozone country - Portugal - down with it, fuelling fears of a continent-wide debt meltdown. Global stocks tanked after ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded Greek bonds to junk status and downgraded Portuguese bonds two notches, showing investors Greece's financial contagion is spreading.

Wasn't it wonderful watching corporate maggots like Goldman Sachs getting roasted on Capital Hill yesterday? There's nothing like rich white men squirming as Goldman Sachs get caught out turning Sovereign Funds into the new sub-prime mortgages. Their financial weapons of mass destruction have caused a crises in capitalism, without much more heavy regulation of derivatives and stopping these types of maggots causing economic damage that hurt us all.

Grilled squid
A ghastly day on Capitol Hill for Goldman Sachs’s top brass
“ONE of the worst days of my professional life” was Lloyd Blankfein’s characterisation of April 16th, when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed civil fraud charges against Goldman Sachs. The bank and an employee were accused of failing to disclose that a hedge fund that had influenced the composition of a complex mortgage-debt transaction was also shorting it. April 27th was surely not much better, either for the Wall Street firm’s boss or any of the six other current and former Goldman investment bankers who testified before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The roasting, which lasted more than ten hours, was as dramatic as any hearing focused largely on synthetic collateralised-debt obligations (CDOs) could be.

NZ copy the US 'Operation Pipe Dreams' fiasco

So what the Police are saying by misusing new asset seizure powers sold to the public as aimed at the gangs, is that personal users of marijuana have to go buy it from the gangs rather than grow their own? What brilliant idiots our Police force are, someone should really out cops who smoke the herb and who require clean urine services to side step drug testing to show how deep this hypocrisy runs.

Marijuana use is not even in the same ball park of social damage that tobacco or booze cause yet two years and tens of millions per year are wasted in NZ's war on drugs.

It's nice to see NZ cops are copying idiotic American measures like the infamous 'Operation Pipe Dreams'.

Operation Pipe Dreams was the code-name for a U.S. nationwide investigation in 2003 targeting businesses selling drug paraphernalia, mostly marijuana pipes and bongs, under a little-used statute (Title 21, Chapter 13, Subchapter 1, Part D, Section 863(a)[1]) of the U.S. Code. Due to the reluctance of state law-enforcement agencies to waste resources on the operation, most cases were filed in Iowa and Pennsylvania, taking advantage of the statutes prohibition on the use of "the mails or any other facility of interstate commerce to transport drug paraphernalia."[2]

Hundreds of businesses and homes were raided as a result of Operation Pipe Dreams. Fifty five people were named in indictments and charged with trafficking of illegal drug paraphernalia. While 54 of the 55 individuals charged were sentenced to fines and home detentions, actor Tommy Chong was sentenced September 11, 2003, to 9 months in a federal prison, a fine of $20,000, forfeiture of $103,000, and a year of probation. Chong was charged for his part in financing and promoting Chong Glass Works/Nice Dreams, California based companies started by his son Paris.[3] In a Plea bargain, Chong agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute drug paraphernalia in exchange for non-prosecution of his wife, Shelby, and his son, Paris. Federal Prosecution admitted to being harsher on Chong in retaliation, citing Chong's movies as trivializing "law enforcement efforts to combat drug trafficking and use."[4]

The estimated cost of Operation Pipe Dreams was over $12 Million and included the resources of 2,000 law enforcement officers

This bust is about revenue gathering for the cops now they have these asset seizing powers, if it was about public health they would be shutting down all the KFC in NZ.

GST off water

There has been a lot of criticism of the Maori Party's attempt, by way of a private members bill, to get "healthy food" exempted from GST. There is - unfortunately - just as much merit in the criticism of the complexity and perverse outcomes the bill would produce as there is merit for the central idea behind it that healthy food should be cheaper than overly processed unhealthy food. For this reason I have suggested that water alone (not even in the bill!) should be exempted. As we can see by the exhaustive Australian list of exemptions - from milk, tea and coffee to penile clamps and everything in between in this part of the list - the system gets very complicated and confusing. The one item that stands out as being very clear however is water:
And I note another code for it here: It appears that bottled water is also exempt:But this must be under another code because there is a tax ruling on water at the ATO which gives more detail, but I suspect this is for reticulated supply issues (it also includes sewerage) and mentions a 100 litre limit:I dare say it can work in this country too - but for reticulated or bulk supplies only to keep it simple and to align it with similar human necessities that are not taxed in NZ, viz: rent.

The next similar class of charge to have removed from the ambit of GST are the Council rates - but that's an Act job.

[UPDATE: A commenter has said that it was United Future - whose sole MP is (always) the Revenue Minister - that had a policy of removing GST from rates in a previous election: "No tax on a tax". I have found nothing on their site to confirm that this is still their policy however, they seem to be silent on it. But it definitely seems to have been a policy. A private members bill from his own caucus member was put up on this exact issue. And this question from another UF MP in 2004:Where's the love now? What's the point of being the Revenue Minister if you can't even implement your own party's commonsense policies that specifically relate to Revenue? What is the point of Peter Dunne? --]

The Crown's budget is delivered on the 20th of May. If GST does go up to 15% there must be some trade-offs for the support parties that are bound to vote for it.

Extraordinary Urgency for ciggies, nothing for the booze

$17 a packet: Parliament socks smokers
A huge increase in the price of cigarettes and tobacco was bulldozed through Parliament last night by Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia in a move designed to cut the 5000 smoking-related deaths each year. All MPs except four of the five Act members supported the surprise move under extraordinary urgency. It was announced just before 5pm and passed all its stages 118 votes to 4.

So tobacco tax can be rammed through under urgency, alcohol tax however is shut down before the ink has even dried on that proposal.

My guess is the Government will rise drinking to 20, won't increase tax, will have 4am shut down, won't decrease booze from dairys or supermarkets. It's like they will do all the stuff that will please conservatives but not the things that will actually go a long way towards decreasing the harm alcohol causes.

Rather than challenging the liberalization of access to booze and it's cheap pricing, they will have a go at youth drinkers by raising the age and late night venues, it's at the fringes stuff rather than the really big changes like price and supermarket/Dairy access.

I support harsher regulation of ciggies and booze and broadly agree with the policy direction but what a huge leap backwards on marijuana with the bullshit raids on Switched on Gardner which are abusing the powers given Police to seize resources through a much lowered evidential threshold from beyond reasonable doubt to balance of probabilities.

These unbelievable powers sold to the public as going after 'da gangs, da gangs' were not decried by anyone as they didn't seem to understand what was happening, Christ I watched one TVNZ journalist excitedly exclaim on the news that the Police had 'shifted the goal posts' (she even went to the rugby field to use the metaphor and kicked a ball at the goal posts). The right wing who are usually such whiney little bitches when it comes to property rights didn't murmur at all when the Police lowered the evidential threshold to seize your assets, so conned were they that the law would only be used against da gangs, well it hasn't, it's been twisted into having a go at SOG and given a ridiculously broad brief to arrest anyone who bought or sold anything at SOG in order to seize their assets.

Marijuana needs heavy handed Government regulation, not bullshit prohibition. If this is the game the Police want to play, how about a campaign outing Police Officers who are smokers to show how hypercritical they really are.

The Police killed our Blair Peach

Blair Peach 'killed by police', say reports
New Zealander Blair Peach was almost certainly killed by police at a demonstration in London in 1979, previously secret police reports revealed today. Metropolitan police had resisted releasing the documents for decades, but put them up on their website tonight, saying there will be no further investigation into Peach's death. Peach, a 33-year-old teacher and peace campaigner, died from a blow to the head while marching against the National Front movement in Southall, west London. His partner, Celia Stubbs, and members of his family in New Zealand, have campaigned for the release of the police inquiries into his death for nearly 30 years. The reports, written in 1979 and 1980 by Commander John Cass, who led the probe into Peach's death, said it could "reasonably be concluded that a police officer struck the fatal blow". A police van carrying six officers was identified as having been at the scene when the fatal blow was struck.

So it really was the cops who killed him all those years ago, but the kicker is that without a confession from the actual cop who swung the baton that cracked his skull open they will never be dragged to justice. It has been over 30 years, but for the Peach family and friends who always claimed that a cop had killed Blair and who argued and campaigned for the truth for so very long I hope that the lies the British Police have used to cover their murder give the Peach family a sense of vindication for all those lonely years.

Rest in peace Blair, the truth did come out.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Beware of the Greek obligor

The obligor - it does sound a bit like a mythical Greek monster.
One credit rating agency changes its opinion and all of a sudden... the world markets are on the slide.
The recession has weakened institutions and weakened confidence in those institutions to such an extent that - in this interconnected and enmeshed system - one small post wobbling in the barn is enough to frighten the horses into a stampede.

Business Week: from the S&P statement -With Germany refusing to issue blank cheques to the Greeks in order to preserve the discipline of the Euro zone they now look forward to this bleak scenario:

Damaged Collateral

“Eventually the Greek banks could run out of additional collateral acceptable to the ECB/Eurosystem,” Buiter said. “Their funding needs are likely to be exacerbated by a withdrawal of deposits that could become a run.”

If Greece’s lenders run out of collateral and suffer an outflow of deposits, the ECB would have “to reduce the minimum quality threshold on securities acceptable as collateral, currently BBB- or the equivalent, or refuse to lend to the Greek banks,” Buiter said. That would spark “a funding crisis and possible bank failures,” the Citigroup economist said.


Radio NZ 4pm today

I'm on the Panel on Radio NZ this afternoon at 4pm

Personal use of marijuana shut down by Police

It's Cannabis & Co - cops
A national indoor gardening chain would not have turned a profit if it hadn't been knowingly supplying equipment and advice to cannabis growers, police say. Directors, managers and staff from the 16 Switched On Gardener stores - which are advertised on national television - around the country have been arrested and charged as part of Operation Lime which targeted businesses responsible for the commercial sale of equipment used to grow cannabis. Police yesterday raided indoor gardening stores, including Switched on Gardener branches in Auckland and Tauranga and GreenDay Hydroponics in Mt Maunganui. They swooped on 35 businesses and at least 100 homes throughout New Zealand. More than 250 suspects were arrested, and 750 charges are likely to be laid. Police said Operation Lime would "break the cornerstone of the illicit cannabis cultivation industry".

One of the great lies about weed is that Police don't target personal use, well many personal users grow their own from equipment they buy at these shops, this is a massive waste of time and resource to pursue a prohibition agenda that is as morally and ethically defunct as it is pointless.

Marijuana is not even in the same ball park of social damage booze, ciggies or even fast food for that matter inflict upon society and the continued waste of precious tax payer dollar resources ($100 million per year to Police weed) could be spent much more effectively in other parts of the community.

This isn't a victory in the war on drugs, it's just more collateral damage. What a pointless waste of time and energy, weed isn't the problem, it never has been and all the Police do is provide more reasons for smokers to distrust and disrespect them.

When the law is an ass it is our responsibility as adults to ignore and belittle it.

Oh and watch the NZ Police use those new powers that were sold to you as aimed at 'dem gangs, dem gangs' to steal all the money now they've lowered the evidential threshold. That's a business about to be robbed of all their money by powers you were conned into believing would be aimed at 'da gangs, da gangs'.

You are so easily led NZ.


"New Zealand" trending in the Twitter top 10.Please let it not be for anything embarrassing.
Nothing really as we go down the list, and then: Bieber - that's trending at number 3...
I'm guessing that tweet alone is the reason NZ is in the top 10. FFS. Before yesterday I did not even know this young girl guy existed - today her his tweenage fanatics are giving NZ more of a boost in the international consciousness than the Prime Minister ever could on a hundred appearances on American late night TV shows.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Questions, answers.

Today's ministerial questions.

After Goff's position speech on Auckland yesterday he gets to put it straight to the PM across the House. Key is not a happy chappy, he turns sideways to avoid having to look at Goff.

Key has to defend the undemocratic and unaccountable set-up that forces beyond his control have prepared for Auckland local government. It is uncomfortable because it is indefensible. The only way to defend oneself in this predicament is to attack - attack and attempt to ridicule the person asking the question. It's all Key is left with and it was a weak display.

Goff is comfortable in this parliamentary mode - arguably where he performs best - and he is in the sweet spot when Auckland becomes a more salient issue. This will start later this week when the anti-Uber Stadt campaign begins. Goff is waiting to ride at the crest of a populist wave of resentment about Auckland's forced marriage. At this stage it doesn't look like the government has any answers, just legislative momentum enough to get the paperwork out of the way... in time for a collective backlash from voters wanting to punish anyone connected with Rodney Hide.


Bomber's Blog - The War on News TONIGHT, sky 89, 10.10pm

The War on News 2010 – NZ News Satire on Stratos Sky 89 10.10pm Tuesday & simulcast on Freeview 21. Replayed on Triangle TV 9.45pm Wednesday and posted online at Scoop.co.nz as their Weekend Watch.

It’s just like 7 days on TV3 but with fewer dick jokes.

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National manufacture crises to justify ACC privatization

Minister considering ACC 'privatisation' report
ACC Minister Nick Smith isn't confirming or denying a report that the Government is likely to open up workplace insurance to private competition. A taskforce set up to examine accident insurance, the ACC Stocktake Steering Group, has delivered an interim report to Dr Smith and Radio New Zealand reported today it outlined introducing competition in the workplace account. The Government has previously indicated it might do this, depending on the recommendations that come from the group.

Well, well, well - here we are then. Remember all the denial that National intended to privatize ACC? Remember Nick Smith turning up at ACC meetings to gag officials from speaking to political parties about how badly Nick was claiming ACC was doing?

National intend to privatize ACC even though Pricewaterhouse Coopers report CLEARLY shows the privatization of ACC would only benefit the very same Australian Insurance companies who were holding seminars last year explaining how to make the most out of National’s plan. Merrill Lynch were tipping Australia’s insurance industry off regarding National’s policy on ACC by effectively pointing out that the Aussies could make a $200 million killing if National went ahead with plans to privatize ACC which would be great for them, crap for us.

Gosh that change is feeling great isn't it NZ? Watching John Key sell your ACC off to the Aussie Insurance industry makes one wonder what all that fuss about power saving lightbulbs and water saving shower heads was all about now doesn't it?

Oh and while we are talking about ACC, isn't it wonderful that this Government's cruelty to force sex victims to prove they are mental before they can access counselling has already borne such fruit as a persons life...

Denied help for sexual abuse, dead days later
A review of new rules for sexual abuse counselling has come too late to save a South Auckland mother who died four days after her claim for ACC-funded counselling was rejected. Counselling Services Centre manager Emma Castle said the mother-of-three's claim for counselling for sexual abuse she had suffered as a child was rejected by ACC two months ago on the grounds that she had not suffered "a significant mental injury".

...good on ya National, what a compassionate policy.

Monday, April 26, 2010

At the parish pump

The Head Cheerleader tonight is crowing about barely keeping Banks' head above water:
But isn't that...?
Curia Research, isn't that...?


The same David Farrar... who concluded his post of this afternoon by saying of Phil Goff's Auckland policy speech:

What is most surprising about the speech, is what Phil did not mention. Why did Phil not mention the Maori seats? Labour’s policy is to legislate for reserved seats for Maori on the Auckland Council? Has he forgotten that policy? Why on earth would he not even mention their policy in a speech about the changes he would make to the Auckland Council?

That's Farrar at 1:37pm. Then there's Rodney Hide...
who concluded his post this afternoon by saying of Phil Goff's Auckland policy speech:

"I am also surprised that Phil Goff makes no mention of his party's commitment to ensure Maori seats on the Auckland Council. Presumably Labour now agrees with the government on this - that it's a matter best left for the people of Auckland to decide for themselves," he said."

Just one whacky coincidence after another.

I was at Phil Goff's Auckland policy speech today coincidentally, but not in a whacky way, and I can confirm that the speech as written - and that the VRWC folk from the right would have seen and commented on - made no reference to Maori representation but for this:

John Key dropped the Royal Commission’s recommendation of Maori seats after Rodney Hide threatened to resign – preempting the select committee which was in the process of public submissions on the issue.

But Goff did take questions afterwards and was asked specifically about Maori representation and replied that he agreed with the concept of Tangata Whenua seats on the Council. It's not a secret - I'm sure David Shearer said he was in favour of Maori representation during the by-election. I think it is understood that some form of direct Maori representation is to be made on the Council should Labour become the government. But the fact Labour's official vision for Auckland laid little emphasis upon it is probably a sop to conservatism and to caution. A sop especially to Chris Trotter's nagging, but ascendant, Rhodesianesque cultural/racial insecurity zeitgeist amongst the Pakeha baby-boomer generation.

The vibe that Labour strategists think will swing the middle voters back isn't progressive and it isn't liberal and consequently it means they're not going to talk up anything Maori. They don't think they have anything to gain from it now that the Maori Party have have taken a majority of the Maori seats. They have pitched the last two campaigns to voters low enough so they can get through the racist flack - by saying nothing that will trigger anyone in the smoko room from making a negative comment about Labour. But what Goff is in danger of doing, by flying under the radar of the donka room bigot who would be set off by any talk of "giving" Maori "reserved" seats - is the danger he won't appear on any radar, at all, ever.He has to make an impact - and despite the polling - he's the only one on the team who can.

Goff is a better speaker in person than he ever will be on TV. And it's not as if the media want to do him any favours either: One News had a very brief item on this as the very last piece of news (before the finance news) and it was entirely constructed in terms of Rodney Hide dismissing his ideas as something they won't do. The point was that the next Labour government will, but this was lost.

Amongst the major points for me were a commitment by a future Labour government to give the community-level boards more responsibility and a review of the ward system. Although Labour - and if you read Farrar, also the right - want a form of FPP single member constituencies. This suits the big parties as it is easier to manage and the system as a whole is more likely to sustain a stable, binary situation where they can take turns at power. It is precisely because it is jacked-up in that fashion that it is unsatisfactory. It is going to be as unfair as the FPP parliamentary electorates are.

However a lot of positive things were mooted including the Mayor sitting on Cabinet Committees concerning Auckland. Given that Auckland will only have one mayor and given that a lot of local legislation does need to go through and that policies of central government and Auckland will overlap - or conflict - then it is a practical suggestion. And other Mayors too, he said. Fine.

He said that a 35 year contract - for private-public partnerships - is too long and akin to privatisation. Great, I tend to agree that a whole generation is one hell of a contract; but how long is too long? He said the CCO council organisations would have to be reformed as their powers to make bylaws and consume rates without accountability was fundamentally undemocratic. But the most interesting commitment he made was to rail. A second harbour crossing that could take rail to the North Shore, put the lines underground, and complete a link to the airport. Solid stuff. Not costed, but it doesn't have to be to be a popular idea - Phil's learning to be aspirational.

As for the third - and final - Auckland Bill progressing through parliament its select committee report is now delayed to the 24th of May.


The Second Dip of W in a time of class struggle and financial cholera

Fascinating times, the crises of capitalism hits it's next speed wobble as the second dip in the W aligns itself and Phil's taking it to the barricades...

Labour's tax rise
A Labour government was likely to put the top tax rate back up if it is reduced in next month's Budget, Leader Phil Goff indicated yesterday. "If there's going to be tax cuts they should go to the middle and lower income earners, not simply the privileged elite," he said.

...great maybe Phil can help show Sam where a Tax office is...

No tax for Trade Me millionaire
Wellington-based Trade Me founder and philanthropist Sam Morgan says he doesn't pay tax. "I pay basically no tax," said the entrepreneur, who founded Trade Me in 1999 and sold it in 2006 to Australian publisher Fairfax for more than $700 million.

...and the banks have their knives out...

Trend for banks to pull plug on ailing small businesses
The trend by banks in Australia to wind up small businesses that have fallen behind is likely to take off in New Zealand, a business turnaround specialist says.

...the full impact of the 1929 stockmarket crash wasn't felt until 1934 with 20% unemployment in the US. Our crash was 2008.

What better symbolic scalp for the corporate financial elite than the birth place of democracy?

Greece's budget deficit worse than first thought
Greece had a far larger budget deficit than expected last year and the figures may yet get worse, according to the European Union's statistics office.

And the financial corporate pirates who have turned sovereign funds into the new sub prime mortgage market are running out of places to hide...

Goldman Sachs accused of fraud by US regulator SEC
Goldman Sachs' chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein, is being sued by shareholders. He and other company officials have been named in two new lawsuits filed on Thursday. The cases are related to fraud allegations brought last week by the US federal government.

And all the while, the so called regulators were too busy jerking off to regulate. Oh the hilarity.

Finance watchdogs busted for cruising porn sites
Senior staffers at the US Securities and Exchange Commission spent hours surfing pornographic websites on government-issued computers while they were being paid to police the financial system, a report shows.

Tick, tick, tick

Cops investigated over assault
Three police officers have been stood down after being reported by their colleagues for an alleged assault on a prisoner in a cellblock. A sergeant and two constables from West Auckland are off work while the incident is investigated. The Herald on Sunday understands members of the sergeant's section approached Waitakere police managers after the recent incident at the Henderson station. They were apparently concerned about the actions of the sergeant. As a result of investigations, two constables were also stood down.

I wonder how many former private security service staff have joined the Police force since returning from Iraq?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fox News caught out lying about Climategate and ACORN

The right wing NZ blogosphere love Fox News, yet I haven't read any of them mentioning this nice little exposure of Fox news on climategate and ACORN.

I wonder if the right wing blogosphere are nervous that each climate gate review doesn't live up to their breathless claims that human pollution causing climate change is a hoax?

Scientists cleared of malpractice in UEA's hacked emails inquiry
The report concluded: “We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it. Rather we found a small group of dedicated if slightly disorganised researchers who were ill-prepared for being the focus of public attention. As with many small research groups their internal procedures were rather informal.”

Where is the back down from No Minister? Where is the back down from Kiwblogh? Where is the back down from UnPC? Cactus Kate? Whaleoil? For all your screams claiming that man made pollution causing the planet to warm is a hoax with climategate as your smoking gun, nothing has come out of these reviews that support No Minister, Kiwiblogh, UnPC, Cactus Kate or Whaleoil's assertion that man made pollution causing the planet to heat is a hoax.

Do not let the State have these new powers!

Nationwide protests against surveillance bill
Protesters took to the streets this afternoon to protest against the Search and Surveillance Bill. Student Cameron Walker, who organised the Auckland rally, said the bill overturned many important liberties which were an essential part of a free and democratic society. "There's the Pork Board and WINZ and 70 other government agencies. It seems rather bizarre to give all those other agencies the same powers as the police," he told One News. The Search and Surveillance Bill, based on a 2007 Law Commission report, is currently before Parliament. It would extend search and surveillance powers currently held by the police to another 70 state agencies with law enforcement responsibilities, including the Fisheries Ministry, Work and Income and the Pork Board. The bill would also give police the power to get a "production order" and possibly compel someone to give evidence against their will. Opponents say it overturns important aspects of civil liberties. The Human Rights Commission, trade unions and several lawyers have already raised concerns about the bill. Auckland Civil Liberties president Barry Wilson fears a Select Committee will simply wave the bill through. "I'd be amazed if the bill underwent radical surgery despite opposition from state agencies such as Human Rights commission and a whole range of non-government bodies." He told One News: "Tomorrow is Anzac Day and there'll be a tremendous outpouring of sentiment remembering the people who died for basic freedoms in two world wars. What this bill does goes a long way to undermining those basic freedoms." Mr Wilson said submitters to the Select Committee only had ten minutes to put their views across. Demonstrations took place at Cathedral Square in Christchurch, Cuba St in Wellington and the Auckland Town Hall.

It was so good to see so many people turn up in Auckland yesterday at the protest and well done to the rest of the country. I honestly believe that as more NZers actually see what is in this Bill they will recoil in horror at the vastness of these new powers, it is the single largest erosion of civil liberties this country has EVER faced.

Brothers, sisters - FOLKS - Do not give the State these surveillance powers, it doesn't matter if you are left wing or right wing or in the middle. It doesn't matter if you are straight, Gay, Bi or Transgendered, it doesn't matter if your are white, brown, yellow, green, male or female - EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US as NZers should be against this expansion of state power into our lives.

Now while Chester Burrows (who is normally a good man and whom is smarter than this and whom rejects any criticism of the Bill by claiming that it is not the Bill's intent to expand power.


Well whoopy doo Mr Burrows, it may not be the Bill's 'intent' to expand vast new surveillance powers, but it sure as hell is the product! 70 State Departments gaining the power to arrest you, strip search you and spy on you with the barest of Judicial oversight is what this Bill cements into place, now it may not be your intent to expand power but it sure as hell is the consequence of this ill thought out draconian attack on our civil liberties.

We must stop this, the Bill is going through in October.

Q+A and The Nation

The Nation
Sweet Jesus a week is a long time in political panel shows isn't it? The Nation finally spluttered into life this weekend with a show that was one of their best to date.

Chris Trotter and Barry Soaper were the panelists, and they were the saving grace. The problem with The Nation has been an appallingly stale choice of bland conservative commentators, now The Nation can be biased (Parker is Brownlee's former press secretary and Duncan Garner seems to have a crush on John Key), and you can have right wing commentators but to date the right wing commentators they've had on are so dull it has been cringe worthy. Good Panelists and their good questions take the pressure off Stephen as the host and it works brilliantly when you have talent as good as Trotter and Soaper.

For some reason the makers of The Nation seem to have forgotten that you need talent, this weekends episode should make them sign Trotter up weekly.

Phil was passionate in the interview with Garner. I think as times get harder people will want to look to someone they feel will fight their corner, Goff's trying to build that level of emotional trust with the recession wounded voter with impassioned statements of vision.

I want to see an angry Phil Goff.

Discussion about the Fabian think tank (can I just suggest ideas for Fabian while I have Labour Party attention - no GST on fresh fruit and veges and how about chatting with Pacific Island Nations who are sinking beneath the waves to renegotiate the UN law of the seas so that their exclusive economic zones are not wiped out once their islands sink beneath the seas, allow those Islanders to move to NZ as citizens and get a cut from their exclusive economic zones while building up our Navy to patrol those new zones - what do ya think?)

Soaper and Trotter asked brilliant questions of Goff, but the real surprise was how good Parker was at interviewing Rodney Hide who was sweating out his criticism of the Government signing the UN declaration. Parker's question 'Was it a chance to rebrand ACT' had Rodney suddenly realize he wasn't on a friendly News set any longer.

Trotter's brilliantly timed and pitched question of whether Rodney would've resigned if he had known about Pita Sharples secret journey to sign the declaration perfectly demolished all of Rodney's bluster.

Trotter's follow up question about National jettisoning ACT in favour of the Maori Party in the future was a realization Rodney obviously hadn't even considered and Soaper followed up on Rodney's unease at the suggestion.

The other segment of the Nation is their pre-recorded news stories which as far as I'm concerned rank amongst the week's best actual journalism on TV, this week it was our military funding with the conclusion being we need more maritime patrols (which is great as it works with my 'NZ-granting-citizenship-for-sinking-Pacific-Islands-while-chaning-UN-exclusive-economic-zone-laws-for-a-percentage-of-the-resources-from-their-exclusive-economic-zones).

The idea seems to be to allow privatization of the military. So after the Guantanamo Bay detainment corporation tries to operate private prisons in NZ, we'll also have Haliburton wanting to contract out to our armed forces?

Great piece on art and science at the downstage theatre. Interesting to hear a scientist say he feels they have put out the evidence that man made pollution is changing the climate yet many don't seem to get the message so he thinks Art can help get that information out.

The Panel section has been The Nation's weakest point, this weeks focus on talent who can add to the information being discussed made the show 10 000 times better. Who ever is booking the panelists should take note or get the sack, (who the hell was responsible for last weeks yawn fest?).

ANZAC Day and it is an adult discussion, not flag blinded Nationalistic tripe, well done q+a.

Paul's monologue is becoming the sharpest satire on TVNZ, (but being TVNZ, that isn't too difficult at the moment with TV3 cornering the Political Comedy market with 7 Days).

BREAKING NEWS - No way, a military Helicopter crashed killing 3.

Panel time on Q+A - it's Loathsome Creech, Sandra Lee and Theresa. Theresa makes an interesting point about class politics, that Maori don't care about class they care about ethnicity and this spells bad news for Labour. Wyatt Creech defended his spitting on democracy by ripping away democratic use of water allocation by E.can and Sandra Lee laughs long and hard about the Governments U-turn on legalizing whaling.

Pretty standard interview with the top NZ General Mateparea re ANZAC Day, he's a nice bloke - its from Gallipoli via satellite - conversation gets interesting re Afghanistan and are we actually 'winning' yet. The qualified and very sober response suggests we are as close to 'victory' in Afghanistan as we were at Gallipoli and Holmes brilliantly compares the two wars. Mateparea side steps the comparison by claiming Gallipoli was a great war between great powers and here we are fighting a small group, Holmes asks why we are propping up a corrupt regime, all the General has is some vague assertion that 'we know it's the right thing to do' and that we have to go where our mates tell us because we are part of the team (which is what got us into Gallipoli in the first place).

Mateparea is a smart bugger and he's being diplomatic, he knows how screwed Afghanistan is, but like our boys pinned down on the beaches at Gallipoli all those years ago, he's doing the best he can of a shit sandwich he didn't make.

Lest we forgot

In our desperate fumbling for a national identity we have scrambled to blindly celebrate our war dead. For me, ANZAC day is a chance to remember all those amazing NZ lives that we pointlessly feed to the human mincer of conflict in various locations around the planet.

Morally I think World War Two was the only justifiable war, the rest if not questionable, were down right unethical. The sheer slaughter we committed to in World War One can never be justified, to hear wide eyed children tell TV cameras at dawn services that the soldiers ‘died for our freedom’ seems to miss the point all together, surely we gather to promise our young people that we will never ever again throw away their precious lives on unethical wars the way we have done so delightfully in our past.

Haven't we grown up as a Nation and will no longer feed the dogs of war with the lives of our brightest and youngest? When we do go to war it should only ever be for the right reasons and never simply to please an overseas power, aren't these the lessons we are supposed to have learned when we walk around our War Museums staring at the cringe worthy posters calling on men to fight for 'King and Country' as we pass name after name after name after name of the 'glorious' dead'?

Isn't that what we should be solemnly promising the dead at dawn? That they have not died in vain and that we have learned to avoid conflict without flag blinded nationalism that pointlessly slaughters so many? The worst irony is that this Government have not learned one thing from history and on this ANZAC Day we betray that solemn promise to the dead by once again sending NZ soldiers into an unjust war in Afghanistan that we have no hope of ever winning.

A poem for John Key on ANZAC Day

The Gunner's Lament

A Maori gunner lay dying
In a paddyfield north of Saigon,
And he said to his pakeha cobber,
"I reckon I've had it, man!

'And if I could fly like a bird
To my old granny's whare
A truck and a winch would never drag
Me back to the Army.

'A coat and a cap and a well-paid job
Looked better than shovelling metal,
And they told me that Te Rauparaha
Would have fought in the Vietnam battle.

'On my last leave the town swung round
Like a bucket full of eels.
The girls liked the uniform
And I liked the girls.

'Like a bullock to the abattoirs
In the name of liberty
They flew me with a hangover
Across the Tasman Sea,

'And what I found in Vietnam
Was mud and blood and fire,
With the Yanks and the Reds taking turns
At murdering the poor.

'And I saw the reason for it
In a Viet Cong's blazing eyes -
We fought for the crops of kumara
And they are fighting for the rice.

'So go tell my sweetheart
To get another boy
Who'll cuddle her and marry her
And laugh when the bugles blow,

'And tell my youngest brother
He can have my shotgun
To fire at the ducks on the big lagoon,
But not to aim it at a man,

'And tell my granny to wear black
And carry a willow leaf,
Because the kid she kept from the cold
Has eaten a dead man's loaf.

'And go and tell Keith Holyoake
Sitting in Wellington,
However long he scrubs his hands
He'll never get them clean.'

James K Baxter

On this ANZAC Day we should be forced to remember that there is no military solution in Afghanistan, there never was. Afghanistan was always an excuse to invade Iraq, our soldiers deserve better than being dragged into a pointless occupation by the demands of the United States of America.

The cold stares from the dead demand more from us.

Lest we forgot.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Year in pictures