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Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Sunday News Roast

On the Sunday News Roast tonight at 7pm, Sky Digital 65, Alt Tvs News and weekend newspaper critique show that is Unfair & Unbalanced, THE SPIN STARTS HERE with the best political news team on television with your host, Bomber - head of Current Affairs at Alt Tv, Blogger Tim Selwyn - the last man to be convicted of sedition in NZ and Ben Thomas the Political Editor of the NBR.

Tim – The virtual cut off on Waitangi Treaty settlements by Labour – claim to have ‘dealt’ with it in time for the election? Judge Harvey attempting to gag the internet community from revealing the two names in a murder case but not TV, Print or Radio.

Ben Thomas – What a week in NZ politics?

News that caught the eye this week
News Junkie heaven this week…
1: The person happiest by this news junkie week is Maurice Williamson who accidentally informed the country of his intent to toll NZ roads which led to some serious questions of the Nats plans with ppps with critics pointing out that Government could build these things cheaper than going with private business. In 2006, Treasury concluded that funding roads by tolls was less efficient than simply building them from taxes and Clive Matthew-Wilson points out that one of National’s advisors is former party leader Jim McLay, who is executive chairman of Macquarie New Zealand, a branch of a major Australian builder of toll roads. Any moral high ground Labour may have had on Williamson’s blunder was evaporated by revelations that Labour will probably end up with $2 Tolls. The question is how could Maurice Williamson not have known his own policy?

2: Winstongate: The 5 part trilogy.
So many angles barely an hour to cover them all.
First the knee capping of Winston, someone is feeding the Dom Post paper work that has been held onto for years to incriminate Winston while the issue of secret money and anonymous donors is one which Winston’s accusers, ACT and National are much more guilty in the millions of dollars. That is no defense for the righteous indignation many NZers feel towards Winston who has railed against corporate influence in politics and his Chinese wall world hardly looks as neatly pressed as his suits, but the irony of ACT and National complaining about anonymous donations is a bit too rich to ignore.

In another stunning announcement Helen admits just before National release it that Glenn told her he had given Winston money in February before Winston admits he was told by his lawyer in July. Helen’s defense was that she had to be fair and took Winston at his word. Key jumped upon this in a move that might have won him the election this week by arguing why would Helen not take Owen Glenn at his word over Winston’s? This was the strongest line John Key had against her this week until Deborah Coddington of all people in todays Herald on Sunday put together a very compelling defence of Winston and argues that Owen Glenn hadn’t done much to make Helen think she should believe him, he gave a million dollars to Labour saying it was to even the score of the Exclusive Brethren even though he made the donation well before the 2005 election, he claimed Clark offered him a Cabinet post, then he told Radio NZ that he was in the line to be the consul general of Monaco, and then he offered Howard Morrison $1million to stand for Parliament. This blunts the blame game at Helen and gives Labour supporters a thread of reason to counter Keys argument.

The SFO, about to be written out of existence in an exercise to give Police more powers by using da gangs as a smokescreen suddenly get a chance to attack Peters one last time and perhaps postpone the legislative calendor long enough to keep them alive. Questions Chris Trotter puts up in the Sunday Star Times, why didn’t the SFO dispatch its investigators to examine the books of the Spencer Trust? Or interview Peters? Or even let Winston know that it was launching an inquiry? And questions raised by Peter Williams QC are if the paper work is really there that shows the donated money ended up where it needed to go and that it will take the SFO 5 minutes to clear up, why hasn’t it been brought forward sooner?

John Key:
Looked decisive by ruling Winston out from an election – has he left enough ‘wriggle room’.

That Ron Mark will run in Rimutaka, get enough votes for NZ First to come back, the SFO won’t have enough to go on with an investigation and the Privileges will end with a majority and minority ruling, the Majority saying Winston should have known better, the minority claiming corruption. In the mean time expect a nuclear launch of dirt against ACT and National now that the gloves are off and Winston wants revenge, expect a shit fight the likes of which we’ve never seen. The Election is still November 8th

3: Tasers, cops want ‘em. This process has been a farce, it was not as Amnesty International points out, a rigorous, independent or impartial inquiry into tasers and it didn’t take into account the 300 deaths following Taser use in North America since their 2001 introduction and Annette King claims Tasers will be used to "subdue a person under the influence of drugs, mentally disordered or in a frenzied psychological state", which are the exact conditions most consistently seen in deaths following Taser use. King says that only trained front line staff will use the Taser, but again as is pointed out in the Police Association’s June 2008 report there is a “disturbing trend” for more sworn officers to be exempt from mandatory training and it highlights “a lack of agreement as to what constitutes frontline” So a murky world already exists as to who will be trained and what constitutes frontline Police, so King’s assurances mean jack shit. These weapons will be very open to misuse, a Police report found that the majority of the Public see the misuse of tasers by police and the potential for harm as the major problems with Tasers where as an amazing 39% of Police (the ones who will be tasering you) could see no risks or disadvantages to using Tasers.

4: The Obama Democratic nomination for the Presdient of the United States of America, didn’t Billary do their jobs well? .

In the Weekend Newspapers
STORY 1 – Harawira: Labour's finished - sst
FRESH SIGNS have emerged that Labour's prospects of forming a new government after the coming election are narrowing, with a blunt attack from a crucial coalition player. Maori Party MP Hone Harawira told the Star-Times that the Labour-led government was "stale" and arrogant and it was time for a change of government. "They're suffering from the arrogance of being in power too long. At the moment they're a coalition corpse. They're gone, and anybody who is associated too closely with them is likely to be gone as well."
Will the Maori Party go with National?

STORY 2 – Palin a risky pick for McCain
In just two short years, Sarah Palin moved from small-town mayor to vice-presidential contender. The 44-year-old Republican, Alaska's first female Governor, arrived at the Capitol in 2006 on an ethics reform platform after defeating two former Governors in the primary and general elections.
She’s anti-abortion, pro-death penalty and a gun-lover, her story is so compelling and is as much of the myth making American’s create for themselves that anyone can grow up to be President, does the anti-intellectual streak run deep enough to allow someone with zero experience handle the nuclear button?

STORY 3 – Schools demand contract for gay students - HOS
Gay students at four schools in Auckland have been stopped from taking same-sex partners to school balls until they sign contracts declaring that they are homosexual.
How petty can School get?

Story 4 - Man drought is fact of dating life - HOS
Young, gorgeous, successful - and single. For Christine Kitching, 24, Auckland's "man drought," is not a vague concept, but a reality. The high-flying Air New Zealand Fashion Week administrator told the Herald on Sunday single men were hard to find in the City of Sails - "they're either gay or married." Unfortunately, the remaining bachelor pool presented what Kitching denounced as a "very limited selection". Successful and ambitious Kiwi women looking for a love match were hard-pressed to find "manly men" said Kitching. "It's a running joke among my single friends, the man-drought." One of the main problems with available men she'd met was that they were easily "intimidated" by strong, career-driven women. "I don't put up with crap," she said. "But the men in Auckland are too soft. They are all so 'emo'.
Men are all so emo, I can’t imagine she is having a problem finding a date, she sounds like a treat. She ends the story saying she may have to marry a Farmer. I say we get more of these girls out of the city to marry Farmers.

FINAL WORD – We have coming up a Let’s be Frank special with Journalist Robert Fisk.

Season two of Let’s be Frank is up an running, 8.30pm tonight, Oliver on solo mothers and why stereotypes don’t help write policy and on Tuesday he talks to Dr Russell Norman, co-leader of the greens,

Coming up next the Madman Film Festival this week the third film of a 7 part movie series by Martin Scorcese on the blues .

Stay classy Alt-eroa

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Iniquity: Government covers up "historical" abuse

Cullen boasts of his government's iniquity in his own press statement:

Dr Cullen congratulated Tūranga Manu Whiriwhiri on the constructive and collaborative approach to negotiations. He said that, by working together, Tūranganui-a-Kiwa members had been able to agree on a more significant settlement package than might have been possible had each negotiated separately.

Well imagine what Maori could achieve - following Cullen's logic - if all Maori negotiated together. But to quote Doug Graham on the settlement process:

Land claims cannot be treated as a claim by all Maori people acting as one.
The resolution process must be consistent and equitable between claimant groups.

Cullen implies this isn't true now (if it ever was). This Gisborne settlement negotiation is just one of many deals the government has signed up to in the last few months. Why? It's not just so Labour can have some runs on the board in the marginal Maori electorates, it's not just because Cullen has to spend his surplus before Key uses it for tax cuts, it's because on Monday a law passed by Labour comes into effect meaning the Waitangi Tribunal can no longer hear any claims of Crown injustice dating back before 21 September 1992. Claims already in the system will be heard, but nothing lodged after tomorrow will count. These settlement agreements coming thick and fast from Cullen are a diversion from Monday's deadline.

Why 21 September 1992? The Crown, like some gangster Burlesconi, has given itself immunity from the Waitangi Tribunal for what it sees as "historical" crimes. If the matter hasn't had a case filed with them by tomorrow, then essentially it cannot be considered by the Tribunal. Their statute of limitations is less than 20 years - Why that date?

From the National government's 1995 Crown Proposals, Doug Graham explains:

The Crown has many demands to meet and has to carefully assess how much can be put aside to settle claims. The Crown has accordingly decided to set aside a settlement sum of $1 billion to be available over a period of about 10 years. This has become known as the 'Fiscal Envelope' or the 'Settlement Envelope' and confirms the Crown's commitment to settle claims. This Settlement Envelope covers all 'historical' claims, which the Crown has defined as claims where the act or omission by the Crown occurred before 21 September 1992. It is not for claims about acts or omissions of the Crown which occur after that date. The costs of settlements that have been put into effect since 21 September 1992, including the Sealord fisheries settlement, are to be charged against the Settlement Envelope.

This billion dollar quantum was soundly rejected at hui everywhere and there were demonstrations against it. Because of the outrage it was publicly dropped at the time, but it is the policy the Crown has acted on ever since. Every settlement offer and signing has conformed closely to the fiscal envelope. The fact the government has now set their immunity from liability at the date they began their allocation process for the $1 billion envelope is evidence that it remains the guiding policy of the Crown to this day - and beyond.

The latest one will fit into the Office of Treaty Settlements random scale of arbitrary cash/value amounts:

The Agreement in Principle broadly outlines a settlement package agreed between the parties. It includes financial and commercial redress of $59 million, and cultural redress including a cultural revitalisation plan and vesting of specific sites of cultural significance.

Sealords, Tainui and Ngai Tahu were each $170m each. Funny that. Like it was divided beforehand. Like maybe there is no point in "negotiating" if the amount you will receive at the end of the process is going to be exactly the same as the Crown's initial allocation which itself is designed to slot into their pre-determined, capped aggregate amount. That is how Crown justice works for against Maori. If Maori reject that offer (and why wouldn't they seeing as how it is all pre-judged) they get nothing, they move to the back of the queue while the iwi who do settle move ahead. Helen Clark has boasted on TV that the Crown are "tough negotiators" - not reasonable ones, not fair ones, tough ones. Tough negotiators in a negotiation system designed by them to advance Crown policies with no actual judicial accountability or neutrality of arbitration whatsoever.

What Maori are left to "negotiate" with the Crown is protecting the remnants of their land that the Crown currently holds. Land that the Crown has seized and then sold or given to Pakeha remains land which Maori have been legally barred from ever having returned by successive governments. Quite often these deals do not even amount to the Crown reversing the title back to its rightful owners - it remains in Crown hands with co-management or consultation agreements over its use. That's often sweet FA for considerable losses.

The money the iwi groups accept is the price to extinguish their title over the things that were seized by the Crown. The Crown has set the total money cost to itself to repay the damage to Maori communities and to extinguish native title over all land that has gone through the Crown system at $1 billion. That's peanuts. If you turn it the other way around and ask how much would be allocated in a fiscal envelope to end all claims against the Crown if the government had seized Pakeha land the way they seized Maori land the bill would be considerably more than $1 billion, wouldn't it. Wouldn't it.

It the government stole your section in 1991 and said they would offer a pre-set amount regardless of the actual value of the land that worked out to 0.5-2% of its current value and it's a one-time offer, no judicial remedy, would you be upset? Maori are expected to accept this state of affairs. It is a form of duress and it is unacceptable and unjust.

The List of Treaty Settlements [W] total $900m. There's only a fraction of that available for everyone yet to settle.

Claims of Crown injustice against Maori that occured before 21 September 1992 under the Treaty of Waitangi terminate on Monday. Labour passed a law to do this. The two big Pakeha parties and the government administration are determined to enforce the Crown terms of occupation. These are not just deals to acknowledge the Crown broke the terms of the peace Treaty, but deals to legitimise the Crown gains made while in breach of that Treaty.

Would the world welcome a policy from the Israelis that said all its land confiscation and all its action before 1992 and the start of the Oslo accords will be locked in and that they can only discuss with the Palestinians injustices and incursions after 1992? That would be absurd. For Maori this sort of treatment is a reality.

Maori are a compliant and colonised people adopting ad hoc non-violent protest action against the Crown after military defeat. Maori are and will always be (as long as governments continue to have an immigration policy running at 50,000+ per year) a minority in their own country. Maori have chosen to talk instead of fight and have acheived less - and in a longer time - than other colonised nations. Most New Zealanders think their governments have been the beacon of human rights for the world to follow. "Best race relations in the world" is a mantra as strong today as it was when the government first promulgated it to cover-up their abuses.

I've listened to Pakeha talk passionately about Palestinian rights, about Israel's occupation and confiscation of Palestinian land, and they will say that the illegal settlements should be removed etc. - and I often wonder if they realise that if we strip it down, we face the same basic issue right here, right now.

This bullshit deadline is supposed to end the grievances - it just created another one.

McCain picks Sarah Palin as running mate

McCain picks female running mate
US Republican presidential hopeful John McCain has picked Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, as his surprise running mate. At 44, she is three years younger than Barack Obama and is credited with reforms during her first term, but she is relatively unknown in US politics. Mr McCain appeared with her on stage at a lively rally in Dayton, Ohio. Analysts say Mrs Palin was chosen to rejuvenate the campaign of Mr McCain, who is celebrating his 72nd birthday. The announcement ended weeks of speculation about his potential choice, in which Mrs Palin was mentioned only as a long shot.

After the incredible speech and setting that Obama created with his historic acceptance of the Democratic Party's nomination for President of the United States of America, which for some will stick as a generational marker for many people in their life, the maverick McCain picks a female running mate and becomes just as historic, how amazing has this race just become?

Friday, August 29, 2008


Winston stood down - rabbit hole now limbo-land
RNZ reporting now that Winston has offered to the PM to stand down while the SFO proceeds with its investigation. A meeting between the SFO and Winston's peeps are scheduled tomorrow morning according to RNZ.

What about appointing Ron Mark as the fill-in for Winston's portfolios? Winston: bad - NZ First: good?

It won't happen of course. If the slush funds have proved anything it is that Winston is the party.

NZ Herald now reporting:

Winston Peters has offered to stand down from his portfolios as Foreign and Racing Minister pending the Serious Fraud Office's investigation into donations to NZ First.
Helen Clark will take over Mr Peters' portfolios at Mr Peters request.
The first meeting between the SFO and Mr Peters will take place tomorrow morning, Helen Clark said in a statement released minutes ago.

Winston ebbing

Winston's discursive rebuttal on RNZ this morning was tragic. His answer to Sir Bob Jones' earlier interview where Jones said that he had received only two communications with NZ First about which rabbit hole his $25k NZ First donation went - and both were completely unsatisfactory to him - was for Winston to claim (as he has previously) that an upstanding guy that they both know has seen the books and has vouched for it - and that Jones had been assured by this character that it's all above board. Listen to the linked audio - Jones is adamant the only thing he has been told about it was unsatisfactory: they "dodged the issue". Jones did say he had a telephone conversation with him a week or so ago, but:
"it was more to rant about the scampi thing"

According to Winston, Bob Jones is wrong and a liar, Owen Glenn is wrong and a liar, and everyone else - at this rate - who are trying to get to the bottom of his slush funds are wrong, liars and have secret agendas. He said he'd clear it up with the SFO "in five minutes". The question is: can he clear it up with the PM in five minutes? Everyone reckons he'll be forced to resign today. That, however, has never been Winston's style. He likes a blaze of glory. How can he engineer it?

He sounded rather tired in that interview.


OK, Obama will be making his speech to the convention now. It's hard to compete with Winston, but this will pip him for theatre.

Winston has gone.....


Come on, what other explanation can there be for this extraordinary outburst from Winston this morning...

D-day as Peters refuses to stand down
In an unplanned call to Radio New Zealand's Morning Report today Winston Peters said he had evidence to show allegations against him were a lie. "I will talk to the Prime Minister about this matter later today with the concrete evidence that she will know that these allegations are vile, malevolent, malicious and wrong," Peters told Radio NZ. He said unnamed groups were organising a plot against him and that the SFO was part of it. He said if the SFO had talked to him he would have convinced them in five minutes that he was not breaking the law. Challenged on his claims that the SFO was plotting against him, Peters shot back saying what other explanation could there be. "Why would they never ever come and talk to me if they had an intention of coming to talk to me?" He said The Dominion Post was part of the "malevolent planning strategy" and he would not stand down in the face of a "kangaroo court of public opinion, organised by the media in this country and others."
"The public has been most vilely misinformed," he said. Mr Peters said a person both he and Sir Robert Jones respected had looked at where a $25,000 cheque from Sir Robert had gone and advised him he had nothing to worry about. The cheque, intended for NZ First and paid to the mysterious Spencer Trust, has never been declared and is one of the issues the SFO will look into. But Sir Robert today said Mr Peters and NZ First had failed to clear the matter up with him and he still did not know what had happened to his money. A claim by Mr Peters in Parliament that the matter had been cleared up with him was false, he told Radio New Zealand.

This is crazy talk, Winston has proof? Really? The why is Bob Jones saying that the matters are not cleared up?

John Key on Breakfast

I think John Key might have just won the election.

Just watching John Key on Breakfast with Alison Mau he was devastatingly savage on highlighting Clarks omission and played up Owen Glenns significance to Labour as counters to Clarks need to be fair to her Minister. If Helen is unable to pull something out of the bag today, this will stick.

If I were Helen I'd go to the public today saying that the ETS was vital legislation, so vital that you will take the issue of sustainability to the electorate when you announce the election rather than rely on NZ First support which when considering the full revelations of late would undermine the credibility of this Parliament. If she doesn't pull something really good out, I think Winston's demise could well infect Helen. Phil Goff just got two steps closer to being the leader of Labour in 2009.

Winston gone by Lunchtime!

Winston Peters - Going, going ...
The Serious Fraud Office probe into New Zealand First's finances announced late yesterday makes Winston Peters' suspension as a minister unavoidable. Mr Peters was defiant last night in the face of the announcement of an investigation into the fate of donations to his party, calling the inquiry "ridiculous in the extreme". However, the serious nature of the probe makes it impossible for him to hold a Government role as crucial as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

You can’t make this stuff up, the Serious Fraud Office, about to be voted out of existence next week in Parliament in a dissolution that has been criticized as being a move by the Police to adopt further powers under the guise of ‘Da gangs’, rather than any legitimate way to police organized crime seizes a moment to investigate Peters and possibly disrupt the legislative calendar before the election thus putting their execution off. The fact that it is the SFO at Peters throat is an irony so rich and creamy it could only be thickened by taxpayer gravy money. He is gone, he is so gone, he is gone burger, he is gone burger with fries. His goose is cooked, he’s fucked, so fucked.

What will Helen do?

She will sack him, they don’t have any more confidence and supply issues and she can string him up the second the ETS is passed, so it will still be November 8th election. Much has been made by the right of her ‘lying via omission’ but that’s weak, a Prime Minister knows a lot of things in confidence, she had his word against a claim and no further evidence, being aware of a conflict doesn’t make her responsible for it. Another claim is that Owen Glenns lawyer will drop some more bombshells that Helen wouldn’t want out and so she will dissolve Parliament, this is very far fetched. Glenn was fucked off with Winston lying, he’s dating Labour and just paid off Labour’s ugly flat mate, he’s got no love for the ugly flat mate, but is still going out with Labour. His aim is at Winston, not Clark.

Her reaction to this will be a critical factor in the publics perception, if she shows leadership and publicly executes him, it could show her as decisive, if she slaps him with a bit of wet celery Key wins the moment. FASCINATING just fascinating! For political junkies this really is heaven.

Fried Pork

Some posts on Tasers
oh well, then lets have the police carrying sidearms permanently then! For f*cks-sake a taser is a much better option then a bullet.


- Gunshot to the torso
- Baton to the head
- Having your groin ravaged by a police attack dog
- Being tased.

Mates, I get what you are saying, you are trying to suggest that this is the best option in a bunch of bad options right? And that sure while the Taser isn't perfect it's better than being shot, batoned, pepper sprayed or dog set upon. What I'm saying is that point misses the much large issues at stake here.

1: The process was appalling, it wasn't as Amnesty International has pointed out, "rigorous, independent or impartial", you can't implement policy that has the potential to change the very nature of Policing that we have had in NZ since our formation as a country without the process being above total scrutiny? Why are you so keen to give Police more power without the proper over sight? Why is there such a rush to erode our civil liberties? Let's hold a rigorous and independent inquest into the issue before we agree to it.

2: Tasers have the ability to dramatically change the tactics police have to apply when negotiating a conflict situation, ill trained police who only do 19 weeks training are put on the street with something they believe is 'non-lethal' and you get a culture of over use of the taser and instead of negotiating with the public, they get a mentality too readily seen in cops overseas of an arrogant tone and presence of mind that demands immediate acceptance of their authority. That potent cocktail of superiority mixed with the lowered physical requirements to be a Police Officer these days has the potential of a fleet of Napoleon complex cops with a streak bordering on the cruel. I can foresee Tasers being used is Inappropriately as pepper spray has been, I can see people being tasered while in handcuffs, and that makes me feel ill.

3: The complaints process, why would we hand over more power to the Police when we have a complaints authority that is still 70% handled by other cops, so that it is still cops investigating cops – why not wait until the complaints process is 100% independent and completely transparent, why give the Police a weapon that is open to abuse by them when we don’t yet have a 100% transparent, uncensored and independent police complaints process?

I’m not against the Police having the equipment that makes their job safer and gives them the tools necessary to do their job, but I am against self interested processes that are focused on implementation rather than examination that can lead to predictable consequences in the way the Police can treat the Public when we don’t have an independent police complaints check and balance.

Tasers bad for mental health patients - MHF
People experiencing mental illness will suffer more from the introduction of Taser stun guns into frontline policing, says the Mental Health Foundation.

It says the Taser was fired in 50 per cent of cases involving mental health emergencies, but only 11 per cent of criminal cases in its year-long trial, according to an analysis by the New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses.

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Judi Clements said the vast majority of people with mental illness were no more likely than anyone else to commit a violent crime.

"In fact, as these figures indicate, they are more likely to be victims of violence," she said.

Taser 'a form of torture', says UN
The United Nations Convention Against Torture has linked the taser stun-gun to torture, one month before a report on the weapon is due out from the New Zealand Police.

"The use of these weapons causes acute pain, constituting a form of torture," the UN committee concluded.

The committee said studies have been carried out overseas showing the taser was dangerous and can cause death.

The comments are included in the committee's thirty-ninth report and come two weeks after unarmed Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski died in a taser related incident.

In a graphic YouTube video, Mr Dziekanski was shown to be shot by police using stun guns at an airport in Canada.

His death has sparked a review of the weapon's use in Canada.

Odds yet to move

The political situation has become quite fluid in the last few days. The overlapping blankets of gentlemen's agreements that have obscured the true nature of Winston's slush funds are being peeled back. His obstinate behaviour, inability to humble himself and his accusations that his donors are liars have incured the natural reaction of disaffected confidantes. The latest defecting confidant is none other than the Prime Minister herself - Winston's boss. It's all unravelling. Winston will be voting to abolish the Serious Fraud Office soon - the organisation that has announced he's under investigation. It's all getting very third world at this point. Winston's ministerial warrants and the Labour government he props up are becoming publicly unpalatable and politically untenable.

As at midnight Centrebet still has the date of the election at 8 November and their other dates unchanged:

This could jump later today after Peters meets with the PM to get their stories straight. I would tighten up the odds on an earlier date now. $5 for 18 October isn't looking too bad, considering.

As for the PM stakes, they have remained static for some time now with Key miles ahead:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

News frenzy: Peters v. PM

So much on at the moment:

  • Obama announced Democratic nominee by Clinton

  • Russia conflict with Georgia draws in Western powers

  • Tasers introduced by Police Commissioner
    Cynical - to divert attention - he pretty much confessed it to Katherine Ryan this morning on National Radio. The Commissioner wanted to consult MPs because he cares so much what they think? - but his own Policing Act he had drafted ensures he is responsible to the PM and not to parliament. The Police Minister used the sham to get Winston down the agenda. It was pathetic. The Greens and the Maori party came out heavily against it, and yet, this morning - less than 24 hours after parliamentary consultation he makes his decision to arm police with tasers. No one believes this was timed as anything but a diversion. The police get their electric guns through while everyone is busy. If they have tasers now, does that mean they will relinquish their firearms? Never.

  • Winston Peters corruption scandal
    Brilliant, isn't it. Winston's slush fund diagram is changing by the hour now. Should have it updated tonight. The PM is under huge pressure to move on this after Key successfully unercut her by "ruling him out". Her opportunity to get wrestle this one back was lost yesterday. If the Privilieges Committee comes out against him (and after he'd help Labour pass the Emissions scheme) it will be too late. If she fires him then it would lack all credibility.

    TV3 just has news now:

    Clark says Glenn told her about NZ first donation in February
    Thu, 28 Aug 2008 12:08p.m.

    Prime Minister Helen Clark has said Owen Glenn told her earlier this year that he had given $100,000 to New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, but Mr Peters had told her the expatriate billionaire was wrong.

    Miss Clark told reporters that Mr Glenn had told her about the donation at a meeting in February.

    Miss Clark said that when she had run this by Mr Peters, he had told her that Mr Glenn was mistaken.

    These conversations all took place before Mr Peters held a press conference at which he strenuously denied receiving any money from Mr Glenn.


    This looks like a bomb-shell. Or some sort of explosive device. It means Peters has lied to the public and to the PM and that she knew about it?... or was she - as she still is - seeking clarification. Is the PM manoeuvring to get him out now?

    But I'm more concerned with:
  • Last chance to lodge a Waitangi Tribunal claim about Maori getting screwed over by the Crown - if that screwing over occured before September 1992 - is 1 Sept. (effectively tomorrow). That is Crown justice for you. ANd it will be totally lost in a blizzard of ephemeral political shitstorming.

  • The West's moral and political inconsistency

    The Guardian's main piece on Georgia failed to mention Kosovo even once, and yet ran the British foreign minister's line:

    Miliband stated: "Yesterday's unilateral attempt to redraw the map marks a moment of real significance. It is not just the end of the post-cold war period of growing geopolitical calm in and around Europe. It is also the moment when countries are required to set out where they stand on the significant issues of nationhood and international law ... Russia is not yet reconciled to the new map of this region."

    Well the EU and the US did pretty much what Russia has done - diplomatically - when they recognised the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo. That redrew Serbia's borders. Nothing from the Guardian about that. How did they think Russia would react? Now the Russian's do the same sort of thing and all of a sudden their are howls of outrage from the West. The big Western media channels are politically aligned to the views of their governments and don't seem to take any account of any other perspective.

    The article does mention the potential new flashpoints:
    the mainly ethnic Russian peninsula, the Crimea, and its naval base at Sevastopol, which is leased from Ukraine by the Russian Black Sea fleet.
    Ukraine and Moldova, which also has a pro-Russian breakaway region, Transnistria, could become the next targets of a newly assertive Russia.

    These are the places to watch now. It was in a region near (or in) Moldova that triggered the Crimean War.

    The Russians still have units in Georgia (outside of the two "independent" regions) - as long as those military positions are beyond the borders Russia ought to face criticism - and will be met with US support for Georgia. But to present an explanation of why this occured and to leave out Kosovo is negligent.

    The BBC is just as bad: Did not the recognition of Kosovo by those Western countries violate the integrity and sovereignty of Serbia? Who cares!? - that's what they thought then when they did it - they are the one's who tore up the international rule book to aid their cause - and screw Russia and screw Serbia. Well now the boot's on the other foot and suddenly Georgia is the new Belgium (in a WWI sense).

    Al Jazeera:The US Coast Guard. Georgia's coast is now the US coast?

    Greg O’Conner on Breakfast this morning.

    Why is Dominic Bowden interviewing Greg O’Conner and getting screwed for 5 long minutes on the issue of Tasers? It was the most unchallenged piece of police state propaganda with Bowden, who forgive me but wasn’t he the host of NZ Pop Idle? I never watched it, but isn’t that what he does, he’s the game show host who is now suddenly a Journalist? Great. So the ex host of NZ Pop Idle is interviewing the country’s Police Cheerleader, Greg O’Conner on the sudden move by the Police Commissioner to hand Police Tasers after an inquiry that Amnesty International described as not rigorous, independent or impartial. Dominic did his best, and I must admit that he’s been a lot less annoying than the other defects who tried co-hosting Breakfast during Paul Henry’s tour of capitalism (who would have thought such a small man could hide such a dearth of talent?) but he was so far out of his depth I almost dialed 111 for emergency services. Greg O’Conner is a terrifying prospect for everyone from hairdressers to paper delivery boys, he has the kind of self belief that made the Spanish Inquisition such a focused exercise in broken windows social policy, I imagine Greg has two of the most disciplined rottweilers known to man. He barely broke a sweat swatting Dominic aside and pulled a nasty face as if Dominic had just farted green mould when Dom had the temerity to ask if the Tasers were controversial. He didn’t discuss the 300 deaths in North America since the Tasers were introduced in 2001, he didn’t discuss the inquiry process and why Amnesty International was calling on a rigorous, independent or impartial inquiry into Tasers rather than simply the opinion of the Police, or why we should give Police Tasers when they can’t use pepper spray within their own procedures or that we still have a complaints process that is still 70% Police investigating Police? Um, no, Dom didn’t really get around to asking any of these questions. Pity. Great to see he got a gig after NZ Pop Idle though eh. Good for him. Neat. Tops. Gosh imagine if an actual Journalist had asked Greg actual questions and pushed right past the pulled faces and actually held him accountable to those very valid and serious concerns. But good for Dom.

    Who will rid me of this troublesome Foreign Affairs Minister?

    Peters hanging on by a thread
    Prime Minister Helen Clark faces mounting pressure to head to the polls early as Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters' political survival hangs by a thread. Miss Clark resisted calls yesterday to sack Mr Peters after seeking his word during a phone conversation that he had not misled her, after claims emerged that he solicited a $100,000 donation from billionaire Owen Glenn. But her hand could yet be forced by further revelations from Mr Glenn, who seems likely to be asked by Parliament's privileges committee to give further evidence next week, after Mr Peters made it clear that it came down to his word against Mr Glenn's. The last hurdle to an earlier election fell yesterday, when NZ First pledged its support for the Government's emissions trading scheme, meaning the legislation could be passed as early as next week. Miss Clark appeared determined to stand by Mr Peters yesterday, saying she would await the outcome of the privileges hearing before making her next move. But she looked increasingly isolated last night after National leader John Key cut Mr Peters loose and all but ruled out the NZ First leader from any future National cabinet. Mr Key said he would demand more credible answers than those given by Mr Peters so far, and questioned his integrity. He said Miss Clark should stand Mr Peters down. Mr Peters dismissed the threat as an empty one and said Mr Key had given himself "wriggle room". But Mr Key said Mr Glenn had "absolutely no motivation to lie". National's move followed an explosive written statement to the committee yesterday, in which Mr Glenn challenged accounts by Mr Peters and his lawyer, Brian Henry, of how his $100,000 donation came about. He said he was approached by Mr Peters personally in Sydney and agreed to help "in the belief that this step would also assist the Labour Party in its relationship with Mr Peters". "Mr Peters subsequently met me socially at the Karaka yearling sales, I believe in early 2006. He thanked me for my assistance." The privileges committee has been inquiring into what Mr Peters knew about the donation, after the NZ First leader repeatedly denied any knowledge of the money being paid into his legal fund till July 18, nearly three years later, after being informed of it by Mr Henry. In a rare move, the committee met behind closed doors and agreed to publish Mr Glenn's statement after he requested that it not be treated as secret. Mr Henry told the privileges committee last week that he made the request to Mr Glenn for money in a telephone call. But Mr Glenn's statement said he did not know Mr Henry and did not recall having any discussion or communication with him "other than to receive remittance details".

    I just can’t see Peters surviving this, all he’s got is ‘trust me, not Owen Glenn’, well why would Owen Glenn lie, he has clearly contradicted Winston and Winston’s lawyer, Mr Henry. If Helen holds on till next week when he votes for the ETS and then dumps him it makes the principled stand against Peters corruption null and void, but inaction makes her look like she’s holding on while the criticism would mount to crescendo levels, then again she doesn’t want to look panicked as well. Key’s move to rule Winston out is genius, he is showing real political nous and it’s now up to Helen to be able to steer her out of this. Winston has signed his own execution warrant, how Helen deals with that will determine her own survival.

    Arctic ice at second-lowest level ever

    Arctic ice at second-lowest level ever
    New satellite measurements show that crucial sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has plummeted to its second-lowest level on record. The National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, announced Wednesday that the extent of sea ice in the Arctic is down to 2.03 million square miles. The lowest point on record is 1.65 million square miles set last September. With about three weeks left in the melt season, the record may fall, scientists say. Arctic ice always melts in summer and refreezes in winter. But over the years, more and more of the ice is lost to the sea and not recovered in winter. That's important because the Arctic acts as a refrigerator for the globe.

    The next 3 weeks will be crucial.

    The drugs don't work

    Waiting lists send addicts back to life of crime
    Hard-drug addicts are lapsing into lives of crime and prostitution while waiting up to eight months to access "poorly resourced and overburdened" treatment programmes, experts say. A report from the National Addiction Centre, obtained exclusively by The Press, estimates that crime by opiate addicts awaiting treatment costs the country $286 million a year.
    A 12-month course of addiction treatment with methadone costs about $5000. The report estimates that almost 10,000 New Zealanders, including 1429 in Christchurch, are daily dependent on opiates such as heroin, morphine, homebake and opium from poppies. About 4600 addicts are receiving methadone through opioid substitution treatment (OST) programmes, but demand far outweighs the resources available. Waiting lists were a "significant problem" and addicts had "considerable ambivalence" about seeking treatment. Addicts were waiting an average of 90.3 days between their first presentation and their first dose of methadone at New Zealand's 18 treatment centres. In Christchurch, non-priority addicts were waiting 94 days, with a 260-day wait in Otago (with interim methadone prescribing) and no service available on the West Coast because of a lack of resources. Ministry of Health guidelines recommend a four-week wait.

    This is jaw droppingly stupid, it only costs $5000 for a years dose of methadone, yet almost half of addicts in NZ are not yet able to get on a programme and are turning to crime at a cost of $286 million a year! If we are serious about making sick people well rather than just sensible sentencing punishment then this situation can’t be defended, and making addicts wait up to 260 days when the recomendation is 4 weeks suggests a system that has no interest in being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, they've become a digger and are only making the drop deeper.

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    Cops get Tasers

    Police Association applauds Taser plan
    LATEST: The Police Association has welcomed the decision to proceed with Taser use, but says the decision highlights police being used as political pawns. Association president Greg O'Connor said the Taser decision reflected the "politicisation of police" and was a "cynical and calculated attempt to divert police and public attention from the Government's u-turn on the democratic rights of police officers". He was referring to the Government's decision not to support the rights of police officers to stand for local councils.

    Incredible, Greg still manages to find time to attack the Government even after they hand him his blessed tasers! This process has been a farce, it was not as Amnesty International points out, a rigorous, independent or impartial inquiry into tasers and it didn’t take into account the 300 deaths following Taser use in North America since their 2001 introduction and Annette King claims Tasers will be used to "subdue a person under the influence of drugs, mentally disordered or in a frenzied psychological state", which are the exact conditions most consistently seen in deaths following Taser use. King says that only trained front line staff will use the Taser, but again as is pointed out in the Police Association’s June 2008 report there is a “disturbing trend” for more sworn officers to be exempt from mandatory training and it highlights “a lack of agreement as to what constitutes frontline” So a murky world already exists as to who will be trained and what constitutes frontline Police, so King’s assurances mean jack shit.

    ASBO's, MMP and brothers, let's remember who you should be attacking

    Great work on no right turn by Idiot Savant regarding the dreaded ASBO's and why on earth we would ever want them here...

    ASBOs = children in jail
    Since 1999, the British government has embarked on an unprecedented criminalisation of youth, issuing Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) backed by jail sentences in an effort to cut down on "anti-social behaviour" such as wearing only one glove, playing football, feeding the poor, being poor, or suffering from Asperger's or Tourette's syndrome (there's a fairly horrifying list from Napo, the UK trade union for family court and probation staff, here). The victims of these orders are almost always young, and frequently mentally ill; the conditions they impose frequently cannot be complied with. The result, inevitably, is jail. According to today's Independent, after eight years and more than 12,000 orders, more than 1,000 children have been jailed for breaching ASBOs:

    Penal reformers and children's groups warned last night that the heavy-handed use of Asbos against youngsters risked turning them into criminals in adult life. And new figures showed that 986 children aged 10 to 17 were jailed for breaking Asbos between 2000, when they were launched, and the end of 2006. Another 300 to 400 youngsters are thought to have joined the total in 2007 and 2008.

    Half of those jailed serve more than four months, and the mean is 6.4 months - compared with the 4.9 months for adults (pedophobia in action!). And remember, all of this is without any semblance of a fair trial, and for doing things that are frequently entirely legal.

    ...and some very interesting defences of MMP from the symposium last night...

    Dr Ryan Malone (Law Commission) spoke on the effect of MMP on the Parliamentary process. Under FPP, Parliament was effectively in the grip of an executive dictatorship, with majority government and Cabinet collective responsibility combining to allow small cliques to utterly control the policy and legislative process by leveraging dominance of Cabinet to control caucus, and then the House. MMP has decisively undermined this. Proportional allocation of select committee memberships has meant that most committees are now far more independent than they used to be, while the need to build legislative majorities around each issue has meant that the government has much less control of its own legislation. On some occasions, legislation has been delayed while a committee subjects it to further scrutiny; on others, opposition parties have effectively built majorities of their own to force amendments to government bills at the committee stage. Hostility to urgency has meant the government can no longer rush things through. The upshot is fewer bills, passed with much more care and negotiation than before.

    ...and finally I need to touch upon the war that has broken out between Chris Trotter and Idiot Savant. I respect both bloggers immensely and believe both are amazingly talented individuals, but gentlemen, the enemy is over on Kiwiblog, not against each other, so please turn your guns on David Farrar, he's looking far too pleased with himself while you two rip shreds off each other.

    Russia's play: Kosovo x2

    Be very afraid. Pravda's headlines:
    "Russia recognizes South Ossetia and Abkhazia to save people’s lives"
    "Bush, Cheney and Rice; Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels"
    "Russia’s financial crisis of 1998 plotted by IMF"
    "Should People in Democratic Glass Houses Throw Stones?"
    "Anti-Russian US Senator McCain may take Bush's position in 2008"
    "Georgia declares war on South Ossetia"
    "Ukraine humbly shows its military might"
    and my favourite:

    Therefore it comes as no surprise to see George W. Bush flouting the international law one minute, by recognising the Serbian province of Kosovo as an independent state and then lecturing Russia on how to handle two cases which do have a claim to statehood, namely Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Take about double standards, talk about one two-faced confused son of his mother.

    How much longer does Washington have to humiliate itself with this sort of charade? How can anyone in Washington be taken seriously if its President can look the camera in the eye and say with apparent conviction that Kosovo can be independent and Abkhazia and South Ossetia cannot?

    The rhetoric is terse and abusive, but unfortunately for the West the logic of the Kosovan scenario is compelling. That's what I've been banging on about since last year's prediction about where this year will go:

    On the world stage: If Kosovo declares independence the EU could recognise it while no-one else does and that could make Russia very angry - towards everyone, so I hope that doesn't happen.

    Well that hope sounded a little desparate - and so it has turned out to be. The Kosovo independence recognition move by the US and EU countries was antagonistic and a bad precedent. Add the NATO membership and missile basings going on in Poland and Russia's other neighbours and the result is Russian hostility.

    I've been thinking of Georgia
    I've been thinking of NATO ships in the Black sea
    Now think Dnestrian republic
    Now think back to the last serious confrontation with Russia in that area - the Crimean War.

    I can't see it getting there completely, but things are seriously heading in all the wrong directions right now.

    Winston Peters: The hustler

    Winston Peters is a dishonourable, lying, manipulating, corrupt bullshit artist. That's what the evdience points to (working on adding the Suminovich hush-money allegations into the diagram).

    His magic tricks end once we get to see behind the curtain. The deal only works so long as nothing is on paper to link Winston's initial solicitation of the donor to the donor's payment to his lawyer. Winston's fingerprints can't be anywhere near it. He's given us numerous assurances that he knows nothing about who the donors are. Since he hussles at social functions and it's amongst chums he's fine. Bob Jones broke that rule because he was so insensed with Winston's behaviour, but backed off co-operating with the authorities. Owen Glenn on the other hand is far away from any consequences (in Monaco) and he didn't get the bauble love he thought he paid for (honorary diplomatic post in Monaco) and so he writes this letter to the Privileges Committee - critically:

    I am happy to cooperate with you about the $100,000 payment that I instructed to be made on or about 20 December 2005, which I believe was to the practice account of Mr BP Henry, an Auckland barrister, detailed below.
    The payment was made by me to assist funding the legal costs incurred personally by Rt Hon Winston Peters MP concerning his election petition dispute, at his request. Mr Peters sought help from me for this purpose in a personal conversation, some time after I had first met him in Sydney.

    Winston says in response: "at his request" is not factual and does not coincide with my recollections. I believe that I met Mr Glenn many years ago and on the weekend of 13 August, well before the 2005 election, in Sydney, Bledisloe Cup weekend which is the only time I met him in Australia.

    Glenn: I agreed to help in the belief that this step would also assist the Labour Party, in its relationship with Mr Peters. I supported the Labour Party.
    I have never made any donation to the New Zealand First Party. I declined an earlier request to do so.

    Winston: I have no knowledge of where and by whom any donation to New Zealand First was requested. I note Mr Glenn does not say I made it, or any donation was made, which is the substance of the New Zealand Herald 12 July allegation. Reported email in the New Zealand Herald, in fact contradicts his comment in his letter before you about donating to New Zealand First.

    Glenn: I understand that Mr Henry is Mr Peters' lawyer. I do not know Mr Henry. I do not believe that we have met. I do not recall that I, or my assistants, had any discussion or communication with Mr Henry other than to receive remittance details.

    Mr Peters subsequently met me socially at the Karaka yearling sales, I believe in early 2006. He thanked me for my assistance.

    Peters: relating to the Karaka Sales 2006 appears to be a year out. I recall that in 2007 (and my diary confirms this) Mr Glenn and two others joined the table in which I and a friend shared a sit down lunch with about 8 leading names in the horse racing fraternity.
    In my evidence to the committee and in my press statement of 18 July I did not thank him until my lawyer advised me on 18 July 2008.

    See what he's saying: ..."I did not thank him until"... He's not saying he didn't know about it. As for the other things Glenn says, Winston answers it in the method of a rebuttal, but the actual substance of Glenn's points do not seem to be effectively contradicted beyond that stuff "does not coincide with my recollections", ie. trust me.

    Winston may be skirting along the technical boundaries of honesty with the Privileges Committee, but has he deceived the Prime Minister on these matters? On the face of it - if Glenn's letter, Bob Jones' previous public testimony of Winston asking him directly for donations, and the Simonovich hush-money allegations is anything to go by - yes he has. There seems little room for manoeuvre. The outcome of the committee will depend on Labour's MPs, but it is not looking too good right now for the hustler.

    A strong and decisive Prime Minister would dismiss Winston Peters from his ministerial positions - such a Prime Minister would receive a lot of cross-party and public kudos. This would cause him to claim a set-up with her mate, Owen Glenn. This would mean he will vote against them in a confidence motion. This would force the Prime Minister to announce the election date.

    Riding on that bold move would be a strong way to start a campaign and potentially eliminate NZ First completely from the parliamentary scene; or force a tainted Winston to support a National government that would in turn be tainted by him and perhaps facilitate an early election or at least a difficult term.

    The odds on an early election have just shortened this morning.

    Parliament begins at 2pm this afternoon.

    Winston corrupt?

    Hush money claims over Peters
    ACT leader Rodney Hide has told Parliament the Serious Fraud Office is considering a complaint that NZ First leader Winston Peters asked a fishing industry boss for $50,000 to keep quiet about corruption allegations. The claim came amid angry exchanges which saw Mr Hide expelled from the House after a stand-up row with Speaker Margaret Wilson, who said he was breaking Parliament's rules by raising matters before the courts. Mr Peters said Mr Hide was making baseless allegations that were part of a defamation case he has taken against Television New Zealand, Radio New Zealand and others. Speaking under parliamentary privilege, Mr Hide claimed the Serious Fraud Office was assessing a complaint from a former business associate of Peter Simunovich that Mr Peters had gone to Mr Simunovich with evidence of corruption. Mr Hide said the businessman claimed Mr Peters told Mr Simunovich that through a payment of $50,000, the evidence could be slowly got rid of. Mr Hide also claimed a businessman had told Dominion Post reporter Phil Kitchin that he was given $9999.95 to pass to NZ First in exchange for Mr Peters "shutting up about his allegations of wrong-doing against Simunovich Fisheries".
    Mr Hide said the man's statement and details were provided to the fraud office last week and the man was concerned for his personal safety.

    The claims are extraordinary, that Winston blackmailed Simunovich Fisheries for $50 000, I just think that Winston would have made it for a lot more than $50 000, why was he aiming so low? Rodney is smart, smart enough to make sure his claims are rock solid and they better be or he’ll find himself crucified but the damage may well have been done, Winston taking money from corporates after raging against them for his entire life is hypercritical, but blackmailing a corporate to hush up evidence is a claim that spells political suicide. The theatre continues today with the extra pressure of the privileges committee and Owen Glenn’s statement on any money he gave Peters, while the cliché is you should never write off Peters, this time I think his fate may well be sealed.

    Mr Farmer man wins again

    Labour wins crucial vote on emissions trading plan
    Labour is still waiting for New Zealand First to confirm its support for its flagship emissions trading scheme, but yesterday it won the crucial votes of the Greens. Winston Peters' party is expected to follow suit shortly. The Greens agonised over whether to back the major climate change policy at yesterday's caucus meeting and after a frank exchange of views the party's six MPs agreed to say "yes" to Labour. The outcome was expected, although the Greens feel it is unfair that the agriculture sector isn't going to be included in the scheme for several years.

    And its does piss many Green supporters off that the Agricultural sector has once again managed to get away with polluting NZ for free, but the Farmers have such a strangle hold on the Labour Party’s balls it was a dead rat the vegetarian Greens were forced to swallow, however once Helen gets NZ Firsts vote she may well decide to cut him lose but that would make the election look rushed unless she makes it look like a massive decision of ‘conscience’, that would mean back stabbing Winston, but Labour have shown they are very good at back stabbing anyone and everyone, Winston can’t just be worried by his enemies, he should be very wary of his friends as well.

    Anything National can do Labour can do better?

    Toll looks likely on Waterview link
    A toll looks likely to be slapped on drivers who use the new $1.9 billion Waterview connection, regardless of which party leads the Government that makes the final decision. The Waterview connection is set to be completed by 2015 as the country's first big public-private partnership roading project. The Labour-led Government will make a final call on whether a toll will be charged on the major new route in late October or early November - but Finance Minister Michael Cullen yesterday openly talked of the potential for a $2 fee. Asked how much the toll would be, Dr Cullen said, "Oh, quite small." He then referred to Prime Minister Helen Clark and Transport Minister Annette King having talked about a $2 toll as being an acceptable amount. "We've said things need to be kept at an affordable level, and you need to have alternative routes," Dr Cullen said.

    Yesterday Labour were crucifying National for suggesting Tolls, today Labour are quietly admitting they may have one of their own! Outrageous, now while their version is toll lite (the amount is low and there are alternative routes that are free) compared to National’s full strength tolls (high tolls and NO alternative free routes) the differences are still both focused on tolls and NOT public transport focused. Why we are committing billions of dollars for roads when an Australian Scientific body predicted that petrol would be $10 liter within a decade, meaning most NZers wouldn’t be able to drive on these roads anyway. It’s short sighted bullshit once again from both sides of the house.

    Dawn raids on hold

    Islanders 'drain on economy' report out-of-date - de Bres
    An academic report describing Pacific Islanders as a drain on the economy relied on out-of-date data and was misleading, according to a review by Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres. The report, Growing Pains: Evaluations and the Cost of Human Capital , was headed by economist Greg Clydesdale, of Massey University's management and international business department, and was released in May. The report said Pacific Island immigrants were less productive and less likely to contribute to economic growth. They had the highest unemployment in every age group, were less likely to start businesses, had lower rates of self-employment and were over-represented in crime statistics. In his review Mr de Bres said Dr Clydesdale's report contained "only a few paragraphs about Pacific peoples and relied on out-of-date data that gave a misleading impression of the situation". Peer reviews were critical of the report's academic standard and The Dominion Post, which originally carried the story, accepted a complaint about the accuracy of its headline and subsequently published a thorough feature on the issue, Mr de Bres said. "No evidence was provided to support the statement that they (Pacific people) were an underclass or a drain on the economy. They suffered disproportionately from the economic and social policies of the 80s and 90s. "Although they do continue to experience social and economic disadvantage their situation is generally improving and their economic, social and cultural contribution is significant," Mr de Bres said.

    This research comes out from Massey University’s cash cow Northern branch, the large Columbian Drug Lord cocaine mansion look alike built in the very beige North Shore where the campus mascot is a large burning cross, so Massey proper were more bemused by the report than concerned when it first came out, but now that it is challenging their academic rigor the fun and games and well gelled Aryan haircut of the very crisp Dr Clydesdale are no longer a laughing matter. Garden variety bigotry is fine, but Massey needs to grow their overseas student numbers and these types of things never look good on the prospectus, I imagine Dr Clydesdale and his whining that he is the victim of Political Correctness will get shriller and shriller as he finds Massey slowly moves him further and further away. Perhaps a new campus on Stewart Island?

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008

    160 new bloggers expected

    News quality cut-backs announced by Fairfax:

    New Zealand chief executive Joan Withers told NZPA 160 of those jobs are on this side of the Tasman, but some have already gone through "attrition" or through rationalisation already under way in centralising some sub-editing at newspapers.

    "Editorial cuts are mostly in the sub-editing area," he said.
    "In terms of the front-end journalist area there might be some, but main thrust is in the sub-editing."
    Fairfax publishes nine New Zealand daily newspapers, including the Dominion-Post in Wellington and The Press in Christchurch, and in July announced sub-editors at Wellington and Christchurch would produce some sections of the other papers at a centralised "hub".

    And note there is no EPMU reaction - the journalists' union - in this story. Mr Little is probably busy tarring and feathering one of their own class traitor defectors to focus on this one. Their press release makes a few good points:

    The 160 redundancies were announced today and follow the Australian media giant registering a profit of AU$387 million - a 47% increase on the previous return.
    Further reducing newsrooms will only mean more of their already overworked journalists will struggle to give properly researched treatment to their stories and as a result their readers will not get the information they need to make informed decisions in their day to day lives."

    The "hub" - sounds like some sort of alien colony.

    Back in the USSR

    Reports that Russia is not exiting Georgia under the terms of a French negotiated ceasefire signal a frosty return to a tense and trying time of stand-offs and confrontation between the West and Russia:

    Both houses of Russia's parliament, controlled by Kremlin loyalists, endorsed non-binding resolutions urging President Dmitry Medvedev to recognise the pro-Moscow breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
    Parliament's resolutions may signal Medvedev himself intends to grant recognition, or simply be a Kremlin bargaining chip.

    It's a beautiful bargaining chip for the Russians. This is Russia's Kosovo.

    Kosovo had an ethnically separate minority under attack from it's central government wishing to be independent and protected by the West - the West declared war, bombed them into submission, sent in troops and then held a referendum, they voted for independence and most of the West recognised the following declaration of independence. This was all done against Russia's will.

    Now all this is reversed, but the logic is just the same for the two "break-away" regions of Georgia. South Ossetia has already had a referendum and now it has had a war and the final step - using the Kosovo example - is independence (under the security and economic guarantee of Russia). So this should be viewed as blatant hypocrisy:

    US President George W Bush said he was deeply concerned by the parliamentary votes. He called on Russia's leaders to respect Georgian territorial integrity and not recognize the regions, which broke with Tbilisi after the collapse of the Soviet Union, as independent.

    But you recognised the independence of Kosovo in about 2 seconds? Opportunism is working both ways now and the Americans facilitated it via the Kosovan scenario.

    I've put up a news bulletin in tubemeke (sidebar) from the Russian official TV mouthpiece of the Kremlin. The general is warning against the NATO naval presence in the Black sea and is making excuses about the troop withdrawal. This bodes poorly for a restitution of the status quo ante.

    Maurice accidentally reveals agenda and gets a smack for being excited

    Nats do fast u-turn over road-tolls gaffe
    National is reversing away from an embarrassing blunder by one of its most senior MPs, Maurice Williamson, who now says he was wrong to suggest drivers might pay road tolls of $50 a week if his party becomes the government. National swung into full damage-control mode yesterday to limit fallout from Mr Williamson's weekend comments, which leader John Key has disowned and political opponents have seized upon. Mr Williamson said on Sunday that he didn't know anyone who wouldn't pay a $3 to $5 toll for a new road if they were going to save 40 minutes of commuting time - an equation that potentially added up to $50 a week. He also named five major projects that could be tolled, including the next harbour crossing in Auckland and the Waterview tunnel. But yesterday, Mr Williamson issued a statement to "clarify" that National would not be imposing $50 a week of road tolls on motorists as he had freely discussed in interviews. "I am passionate about roading projects and unfortunately let my enthusiasm go unchecked," he said. "In the National Party we are in the business of reducing people's costs, not increasing them." The gaffe is the latest in a string of mistakes in major policy areas that National MPs have had to correct or clarify in recent months. From KiwiSaver employer contributions to the sale of state-owned Kiwibank, National leader John Key has had to publicly say his MPs got it wrong three times since late May. Yesterday, he said Mr Williamson had got "overexcited" and his comments were not National's policy.

    Ouch, Key spat out Maurice ‘got excited’ about 4 times in his interview as he publicly spanked Maurice for releasing policy on Agenda. How come we have to always wait 24 hours for National to clarify their position away from what they’ve just revealed. See why 50% of NZers polled last week don’t believe National, everytime we see some of their user pays agenda Key quickly smothers it, 3 times now since May. So what is it National, $50 a week for tolls on motorways built with our taxes which we will have to borrow for and pay interest on or not? How could Maurice get it wrong, he’s a front bencher and possible Infrastructure Minister so how did he get the entire policy completely wrong, or is it the real policy but Key doesn’t want it out yet? How do we really know what National are actually standing for when they don’t seem to know what they are standing for?

    You can’t make this stuff up.

    Is this what the West is fighting for in Afghanistan is it?

    Afghan President pardons three found guilty of gang-rape
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai has pardoned three men found guilty of gang-raping a woman in the northern province of Samangan. The woman, Sara, and her family found out about the pardon only when they saw the rapists back in their village. "Everyone was shocked," said Sara's husband, Dilawar, who, like many Afghans, uses only one name. "These were men who had been sentenced by the Supreme Court, walking around freely." Sara's case highlights concerns about the close relationship between the Afghan President and men accused of war crimes and human rights abuses. The men were freed discreetly but the rape was public and brutal. It took place in September 2005, in the run-up to Afghanistan's first democratic parliamentary elections.

    Some of my ‘friends’ here criticized my less than enthusiastic embrace of the murder of civilians in Afghanistan and my lack of faith in America to win the war, I argued that there isn’t a military solution to this, but my ‘friends’ here decried that as anti-amerikkkanism and we should rally around and ignore the murdered civilians because we need to win. So here we have an example of what exactly the West is fighting for, corrupt warlords and a President who is letting pack rapists walk free, I only thought we had to put up with that in our own country with our own Police force, but apparently the West needs to put up with it from regimes we prop up in countries we invade now as well, and here was me believing the hype that the war in Afghanistan was all about feminism and giving women rights. There is no military victory here, none. We will lose this war, just like every country who has invaded Afghanistan has lost this war, why did we think we were so fucking special?

    Remind me again why the West is in Afghanistan killing civillians? Hunting Osama Bin Laden? Women's rights? Pick one and make up a justification.

    Monday, August 25, 2008

    Names of accused in John Hapeta murder case

    Judge Harvey's internet suppression order lacks credibility and probably lacks empirical evidence too. The suspect's names will be mentioned repeatedly on news radio and talkback, where people will talk about them. If Harvey wanted to stop jurors searching for information on the suspects via the internet then surely he knows that -
    a. they will anyway, and
    b. internet publication is now inevitable - a form of media has been treated differently and unfairly. That media is vocal and anarchistic and now it has a legitimate injustice issue to right.

    Harvey further assumes a judge's direction to the jury is weaker than a judge's direction to the internet community. Why else would he have made the order? We all know he has it the wrong way round.

    People will now go out of their way to snub their nose at his Honour's unique order. This is his pet thing and he's probably doing it as a grand exercise in guaranteeing a second edition of his internet law textbook.

    The mainstream press and broadcasters also offer extensive websites that are now being compromised. Their lawyers are standing by. NZ Herald:
    Judge Harvey teaches the Law and Information Technology course at the University of Auckland. The course looks at the way technology impacts on evidence, jurisdiction and freedom of information.
    Judge Harvey has also written a textbook on the internet and law called internet.law.nz.

    Judge Harvey reportedly said that he was "concerned about someone Googling someone's name and being able to access it later". He was also "concerned about the viral effect of digital publication".
    Law Commission President Sir Geoffrey Palmer said today that the order would affect a commission study into name suppression.
    "It will have to be taken into account ... this is a very interesting development from the point of view of our project."
    He had never heard of such an order before, but suspected it was to do with the huge rise of "googling", which jurors could potentially do at home on nights of the trial.

    Perhaps this is Judge Harvey's curious way of drawing the internet's attention to a tragedy that has become almost unremarkable - the seemingly senseless death of a 14 year old in South Auckland. All we can legally report, apparently, about the alleged killers are they are male and aged 23 and 21.

    What is it about these guys the judge doesn't want us to know or discuss? His actions beg that question. I am sure many will answer it - out of outrage. I mean I can sit here and see it on teletext on one screen and I can listen to it on radio but I can't just type the names in. This seems rather foolish.