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Thursday, September 30, 2010

GST rise protest

This Friday 1st October sees the National led government impose a new GST tax rate of 15%. Taxes that hit low paid workers hardest are going up, but for the last three years, JB workers have had no pay increases whatsoever.

Delegates representing several JB stores throughout Auckland will be striking from 1pm on Friday, and picketing HQ at St Lukes at 2pm.

It's time for a living wage, not tax increases-
$15ph not 15% GST!

Invite all your friends, and support low paid workers.

Comrades - to the mall!

Banks South Auckland slur against Brown

Brown not fit for top role, says Banks
If John Banks wins the Super City mayoralty, he won't give opponent Len Brown a leadership role because "he's not up to the job". The Auckland City Mayor was asked on TVNZ's Close Up last night what position, if any, he would offer the Mayor of Manukau, his main rival, if he won the October 9 election. "He's a good bloke and got a lot of talent but he's not up to the job," Mr Banks said during an at-times heated debate. "He can't deliver consistent, decisive, stable leadership on tough decisions from day one."

Banks came across as an arrogant arsehole, so no surprises there, but his slur against South Auckland was priceless..

"don't want South Auckland replicated across the rest of Auckland. His city is a social disaster."

...no one does dirty red neck talkback dog whistle slurs like Banksy, and last nights slur against South Auckland on Close Up was as nasty as it gets. The fine balancing act is not to anger South Aucklanders so much that they come out in force against Banks, but just terrify the white voters of the North Shore enough to motivate them. Browns counterpunch however was brilliant, by pointing out the divisive nature of Banks, Brown reiterated the inclusive nature of his style in the face of a Supercity structure that has been forced upon the people of Auckland by Rodney Hide and the National Party.

With exit Polls favouring Brown, but with only 20% voter turn out so far the game is certainly afoot, but what was interesting was that despite the 75cent a text message Close Up revenue gathering scam masquerading as public opinion, Brown won.

I'd love to know what Michelle Boag's and Bill Ralston's cell phone bill looked like this morning.

Chris 'Sauron' Finlayson promotes strike breaking Scabbits

Union criticises Nats over battling for Jackson
LATEST: The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU) says it is furious at Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Chris Finlayson for "taking sides" in the debate over The Hobbit.

Mr Finlayson said yesterday that the Government had sought legal advice from the Crown Law Office confirming that The Hobbit producers had the law on their side in refusing to enter into a union-negotiated agreement with performers who were independent contractors.

CTU president Helen Kelly said that advice was biased towards Jackson and as a lawyer, Mr Finlayson would know that.

There’s trouble at Shire with Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Chris 'Sauron' Finlayson putting the boot into working Orcs by claiming Unions had no right to force Peter Jackson to enter into union-negotiated agreements. Strike breaking Hobbits should now be called Scabbitts, all dwarves should consider wild cat strikes and the Eye of Mordor should only work to rule.

Jackson’s claim that the only reason Hollywood are spending money here is because it is cheap is ludicrous because if all Hollywood want from us is cheap labour, then all 3 lord of the rings movies and Peter Jacksons entire career has been a vast waste of time because if he can simply move production to Eastern Europe where naturally hairy residents will save him on Hobbit feet make up, then NZs talent and quality mean nothing as we will always be trumped for cost elsewhere. Seeing as this franchise has already made billions for the company involved, Jackson is coming off like an angry Smaug the Dragon after finding out Bilbo Baggins has been in the treasure room removing a tiny trinket.

Peter, we all know what happened to the angry dragon, check yourself before you wreck yourself and give working class hobbits a fair deal.

Election close up

UPDATE | 10PM: Here is the video from the debate:--UPDATE ENDS]
NZ Herald report on the Close Up debate last night. Banks lost, Brown won... so what? The council is going to be a bit of a mess anyway no matter who is the Mayor. It will be very close between the two mayoral candidates, but the City Vision/C&R blocs will be minorities when the independents are added to the mix.

Banks' main campaign failure has been in agreeing to debates with just Len Brown. His tactic should have been to designate a third candidate to spar with from the left - a challenger to Brown. He hasn't done this and so now all the anti-Banks vote will be going to Brown. Banks looked desperate and his attack lines weren't working.

Brown's failure has been to let his exuberance and penchant for the theatrical interfere with his message. Last night's performance was par for the course: he interrupted the host (Sainsbury) and tried to talk over him to make a point a few times; but in these time-sensitive TV situations he will always lose because the chairman must keep order and the interjector cannot over-rule the chairman in these circumstances. He just looked like a hectoring dick for having tried it. When he tries to be serious and meek he over-does it and when he tries to be strong and forceful he over does it.

As for the substantive policy differences - there are far too many overlaps to draw clean distinctions, especially with both promising to borrow and increase debt in order to keep rates rises to a minimum. I can't stand Banks - and that sentiment will be shared by a majority of Aucklanders - but whether they vote or not is another thing, so I'm picking a very close election result.

As for my local ward, the choices are unsatisfactory. The local Left ticket couldn't even get their shit together to run a candidate for councillor FFS. That is beyond pathetic. They have gifted the councillor position to the Tory. They've stood a full slate, however, for the board - along with C&R. I've read through the candidates' 200 word blurbs in the booklet accompanying the ballot form and they are mostly a gawdawful vacuum of nothingness.

Most of them don't even mention policy. At all. It's all "listening to the community" and lists of committees they've served on rather than an indication of what they are concerned with. I don't want to know every detail of their mundane CV's - I want to know what they care about and what they will do about it. For me it is a process of elimination.

There are 22 standing for 7 places on the board, of which 9 have no policies whatsoever, and 3 have pseudo policies too vague to call actual policies - so I can't vote for any of them because I don't know what they stand for. That leaves 10 - and most of their policies are waffly and vague "economic drivers" and "equitable rates," employment etc. that are barely above pseudo-policy level. If they have managed to identify issues many have picked ones the local board will have no ability to influence. The ones that seem to have a grip on what the job will really involve, what the ground-level issues are and what needs to be done are some (but certainly not all) of the incumbent old white guys. They say we need more diversity in local government - and I agree we would be better served by a range of people from different backgrounds - but I'm not going to vote for non old white guys just because they are non old white guys, that's not enough to get my vote. They have to at least sound as though they know what they're doing.

So overall the calibre of candidate is woeful and their 200 words wasted egotistical waffle.


Citizen A - 7pm tonight

Citizen A - 7pm tonight Triangle TV, replayed 8pm Sunday Sky 89 & Freeview 21

Tune in to join Bomber and his revolving panel of bloggers and Auckland opinion shapers as they offer an up-to-date half hour review of the political media issues of the current week from a very Auckland perspective.

THIS WEEK: Editor of Scoop, Selwyn Manning & Blogger Cam Slater

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

No biggie

6.4 Earthquake in Bay of Plenty.

A reply from an email I sent to someone on the Eastern Bay of Plenty coast: I guess it was too deep to cause any major concerns, but it looks rather impressive on the seismograph though doesn't it:Large earthquakes give no warnings - at least none that anyone has yet worked out. There is no build up of activity beforehand, neither is there a period of inactivity - it just happens. I suspect there must be some indicator and when it is found it will save thousands of lives and save billions of dollars in preventable losses. But if the Americans. Japanese, Chinese, Indians, Italians etc. haven't found it yet, I don't know if this country, with our modest resources, will beat them to it.

It was recorded all over the country:

UPDATE | Thursday 5PM: From RNZ: GNS drilling proposal:

King Gerry and the Christchurch Quake Powers

He's King Gerry the 8th he is he is...

Legal experts: Quake law change a worrying precedent
We write as a group of concerned citizens with academic expertise in the area of constitutional law and politics.

We share New Zealand's deep concern about the physical damage to Canterbury and the personal trauma this has caused the region's residents. All levels of government have an obligation to help the people of Canterbury rebuild their homes, businesses and lives as quickly as possible.

However, while we are united in wishing to help Canterbury recover, there is a risk that the desire to do "everything we can" in the short term will blind us to the long-term harms of our actions.

In particular, abandoning established constitutional values and principles in order to remove any inconvenient legal roadblock is a dangerous and misguided step.

Thank Christ the NZ mainstream media are starting to take this seriously. National have been allowed to misuse urgency and ram so much legislation through without the normal democratic checks and balances because the mainstream media tend to view these important issues as boring, but the extraordinary powers given King Gerry to rebuild Christchurch were so extreme and jaw dropping that every member of Parliament should be deeply concerned and a little embarrassed that they all allowed it to happen.

This isn't a right wing or left wing issue - ALL NZers should be deeply concerned by what happened and there should be a reversal over this legislation immediately. After the 1931 Napier earthquake, the Government appointed just two commissioners to oversee reconstruction, this Government has given King Gerry powers that over ride the Judiciary and none of his decisions can be challenged in Court.

Now seeing as National spent their first year in power misusing urgency 35% of the time with the most widespread dismantling of the democratic process we’ve seen since Roger Douglas legislated his Milton Friedman love sonnets into law in the 1980s, I’m not sure allowing King Gerry to suspend every law we have to rebuild Christchurch is the safest of ideas especially when you take into account this Government stealing of Christchurch’s entire water supply.

But even if we put aside the fears of what National COULD do, John Key should be worried about what they can't do. Deeply worried. Now King Gerry has the power of God, ANY delays in making the lives of quake survivors better won't be accepted, it isn't so much a fear of what King Gerry will do with his power, it will be his short comings while having all that power that will get people angry, and that could become very politically damaging.

The quake was a dreadful event, to compound it by literally throwing out the entire law book is not the way we should cope with it.


And now we have King Murray...

Labour is concerned a bill to facilitate Rugby World Cup activities will give Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully too much power.
The Government Administration Committee has reported back to Parliament on the Rugby World Cup 2011 Empowering Bill. The bill establishes the Rugby World Cup Authority as an agency for approval of related activities and facilities such as liquor licenses and accommodation. Labour's Rugby World Cup spokesperson, Trevor Mallard, says the party is generally happy with the bill but is concerned it enables Mr McCully to override decisions made by the authority.

Bernard Hickey renounces his faith in the Free Market

Finally brother Hickey has renounced his faith in the neoliberal free market that has wrecked the global economy...

Bernard Hickey - The free market god doesn't exist
I feel like a priest who has been wrestling with his belief in god and has now decided god does not exist.

It's time for me to recant and to say what I've been thinking for months: the economic god of completely free markets and capital flows is not worth believing in anymore and we must look for other things to believe in and do.

I think New Zealand needs to have a debate about capital controls, about foreign ownership of assets, about measures to control our currency and about being openly nationalistic rather than internationalistic about our economic policy.

I think the Global Financial Crisis and the preceding decade of debt-driven instability in global capital markets and trade flows have demonstrated the failure of the economic model most New Zealand policymakers have adhered to for nearly 3 decades.

I think we need to rethink the way we run monetary policy, the way we allow foreign ownership of assets, the way we encourage savings, the way our financial institutions are regulated and change the things we are aiming for.


Last week the 3rd quarter GDP figures came in, the Reserve Bank had predicted .7% growth, we actually grew by only .2%. This is all happening right when Paula Bennett launches her fucking great big stick and bugger all carrot Social Welfare Policy which will see Solo Mothers, the sick, the crippled and the mentally unwell forced back into work in a 6.8% unemployment environment.

I particularly love how Paula Bennett has sent letters to beneficiaries telling them they can no longer home school their children and must be forced to work instead.

Whanau, I don’t wish to be skeptical about claims that the recovery is here, but aren’t we facing a crises of capitalism caused by corporate merchant banker greed enabled by neoliberal Milton Friedman deregulation, low tax, free market dogma which will see a double dip depression?

The IMF see it, they see the threat

O-r-r-r-r we could all pretend fairies live at the bottom of our collective gardens and that we will fund tax cuts from the pot of gold under John Key’s GST tax rise rainbow.

To have Brother Hickey renounce his faith in the Free Market will make National Party supporters shiver and throw the right wing blogosphere into confusion. The reality is their beliefs and bullshit low tax, deregulation, free market dogma doesn't work.

This is 1932 and Keynesian managed capitalism once again is our only way out.

Where Labour can get the money to afford GST off fresh fruit and vegetables

National scorns Labour's power and GST free fresh produce policies
Efforts by the Labour Party to promise lower power bills have been labelled "cheap, populist rubbish" by Finance Minister Bill English because of Labour's track record on electricity prices.

Now we all know that when you lower the price of fruit and vegetables, people buy more of it, thus increasing the health of the nation...

Professors Tony Blakely of the University of Otago, and Cliona Ni Mhuchu of the University of Auckland, gave the proposal cautious support as a move to improve health and reduce inequalities.

"Earlier this year we published research showing an 11 percent increase in purchasing of fruit and vegetables when 12.5% was taken off the price," Professor Ni Mhurchu said.

The finding was from a large randomised trial of 1,100 New Zealand shoppers, and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

...so let's dump the pretense that the idea has no merit, so where do we fund this greatv idea? Simple. We lower the blood alcohol level which save 30 lives, prevent 660 injuries AND save us $238million.

It's incredible isn't it? According to National, taking GST off fresh fruit and vegetables is too expensive, where as waiting two years to lower the blood alcohol level which will kill 60 NZers, cause 1320 injuries and cost $476 million dollars is perfectly fine.

Gutting the Supercity

The speed with which Rodney Hide and Steven 'Hollow Brain' Joyce annexed Auckland, ramming the changes through under a misuse of urgency and appointing CCO's without the consultation promised so that the mass privatization of Auckland's assets can begin was never going to be fun, but who could have predicted that it would cost as both arms and legs while gutting 1200 staff in a 6.8% unemployment market...

$40 million in super city redundancy payouts, says Labour
The Auckland Transition Agency estimates redundancy payouts resulting from the Auckland super city merger to cost up to $20 million but Labour estimates it could cost $40m.

What will happen if the National Party candidate John Banks wins is anyones guess, but if Aucklanders can rise up and reject the manner in which the right wing have carved up our beloved city, the track to fighting 2011 and winning back the essential left wing support in Auckland that simply didn't vote in 2008 making it one of the lowest turn outs on record will be back on track.

Vote now.

Supercity elections - post your vote now

With only a week or so to return submissions for the biggest election that Auckland has had in decades, voter confusion is beginning to kick in highlighting some major inadequacies in the Electoral Commission's planning for the local body elections. As Deborah Hill Cone highlights in the Herald, we have serious problems when we have low voter confidence in the election of a mayor for a supercity that will affect more than one third of the population of New Zealand. I disagree with Cone when she says we haven't had any divisive issues that propel people to vote in this election: they are there, they have just been swept under the carpet. Whoever gets the post as mayor of the supercity is going to have to be able to perform under extreme pressure from various lobby groups and will be responsible for negotiating transportation, around $5 billion worth of water assets, tourism and so on.

The issues are there, they have just not been covered well by journalists or the candidates themselves. Clicking on candidates' websites, for example, it appears that nearly everyone has opted for the advertising mantra of simplicity and an appeal to emotions rather than actually stating policy. The chain of Herald readers complaining in the 'Your Views' section that they do not actually have enough information to vote on is of serious concern. Veteran activist Matt McCarten has responded to the vacuum of information with the posting of a list of his supercity picks, although reading through these the notion of picking a candidate on what a friend of a friend thinks is woefully inadequate and brings to mind the extraordinarily large number of people in the US 2008 elections who voted on gossip emails (McCain on holiday, Palin's daughter's baby was actually her own, and Obama is the anti-Christ were popular forms of this genre).

While one could easily state that the candidates have not been helpful in their general behaviour, particularly those running for mayor, there has been little pressure in media coverage for focus on actual policies. In other words, if you are time pressured and cannot make it to the local meetings, you are completely devoid of any information on who to vote for.

But make no mistake that within this vacuum of information there is not a serious power battle going on over the shear amount of resources the Supercity mayor and councillors will be in charge of. Rodney Hide's appointment as the Minister of Local Government saw him pushing through an amendment to the Local Government Act 2002 that allowed the amount spent on Supercity mayoral candidacy to rise to $580,000 in the last three months, effectively excluding anyone who does not have a spare half a million lying around. Michelle Boag being caught out sniffing around for support for the Banks team just a week ago also signals that within the National Party, Banks is preferred candidate.

None of the above should come as a surprise to the Electoral Commission. While nearly 80% vote for the General Elections, the Auckland Local Government election turnout has been less than 40% for the last few elections. One would think that the Commission would plan for this and have initiatives to increase voter participation, such as including all candidates' information on a central website hub, which would involve moving with the times and incorporating new technology. Following this election, there is an urgent need for an inquiry into whether the Electoral Commission can improve the way voters receive information.

I cannot urge you enough to get out there and post your vote before October 6 2010 as what you decide will affect Auckland. If you take a photo of yourself doing it (which I'm sure is illegal but hey) Media7 reporter Simon Pound is putting on a gig at the King's Arms featuring The Mots, The Situations and The Earlybirds, which is free for those who can prove they voted. There is also free pizza for those who arrive before seven.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

GST: Water torture

UPDATE | Thursday 5PM: A few local body candidates around the country are championing the cause of taking GST off rates:Quoting Waitakere Mayor, Bob Harvey:

"Rates are a tax for goods and services delivered by local government", he said. "That's fair enough. But for the Government to charge GST on top of that is just not on."

Harvey has called on councils to band together to defy the government and stop collecting GST on rates. If councils don't collect it, then the government can't have it.

If it's good enough for New Zealand's most distinguished mayor, then it's good enough for us. Hutt residents deserve councillors with the backbone to say, "a tax on a tax is robbery".
Groups representing people on fixed incomes, like Grey Power, and organisations advocating for social justice such as the National Council of Women have been unwavering in their demand that GST should not be charged on rates.

The Auckland bus fare increases from Sunday:
I note that many magazines for their latest issue have dual prices of pre and post GST rises. Metro goes from $9.50 to $9.75 (although the Whitcoulls at Lynn Mall was having a bob each way - as it were - and splitting the difference with their own price label of $9.60! The TV guide is going up from $2.10 to $2.20. The Listener is static - in so many ways - on $4.00 (but last time I saw it a few months ago it was $3.80). No news on whether the NZ Herald will go to $2. --UPDATE ENDS]

The GST rise - imposed in the middle of a depression - is coming at the worst time. The unavoidable costs for the low income earners (the public transport fares are going up in Auckland on Friday Sunday) will be heavier than predicted and there will be no nett gain for them after inflation spikes to 5% and erodes the miserly tax adjustments down at the bottom rung of the economic ladder. And no doubt the little luxuries like a cup of coffee, an iceblock and so on will also be hiked to a price point in advance of the extra 2.5% we will all be paying come Friday 1 October. The NZ Herald herself will probably go from the outrageous $1.90 to a preposterous $2. NZ Herald on National's response to Labour's fresh fruit and vege exemption policy. It's a flaky side-show that Labour is running and if you spot Mallard's double irony below when mocking the Maori Party's bill you get a sense that it is all bullshit. To use that wonderful line that the Tories kept taunting Labour with (supposedly from Steve Maharey) "It's just something you say when you're in opposition."

Apparently taking the GST off water - as modest as that may seem - has occurred to no-one. Taking the GST off council rates is not on anyone's radar either. I despair.

I know they are all too obsessed with political gimmicks to recognise the simple and achievable possibilities, I know they are all too thick and selfish to organise a bill to implement them, and I know that fundamentally, deep down, they all just don't give a fuck; so for those very few readers of this blog out there who do have a few minutes on hand and care about a practical GST exemption policy I'll humour you with some extracts from past posts on the subject:

Hide's budget ultimatum: no GST on Council rates from 1 November - 15/03/2010:

As for that headline - if it ever came about - the home owners and the landlords would like it, but I doubt any of it would flow through to the tenant. As a sweetener to the ratepayers it would make a little more palatable the rates alignments occurring across Auckland after the Councils are merged - especially since Aucklanders are picking up the tab for transition costs. It would be a good idea for Hide to pursue - or at least be seen to be pursuing - doing his bit to knock the edges off Bill English raising the sales tax by 20%. We expect nothing less from the leader of the association of consumers and taxpayers. If he says he is the minister for ratepayers then here is an opportunity to demonstrate it.

Wiping out the double-taxation - a central government tax on a local government tax - would give back some cred to the singed and scratched Act brand. Doing something like that might reassure the volk that an ACT minister is behaving like one and not like any old Tory, that maybe there is actually supposed to be a difference between the two and it is actually worthwhile for people in Epsom to keep voting him in on that basis. What's the point in being inside government - if you are a right-wing, quasi-libertarian party leader - and not take some initiative to reduce some taxes other than just income tax. Rodney is going to have to vote for GST to go up if English puts it in the budget because that's part of his deal to stay in government. If he's backing ACT principles and backing his portfolio - not the Councils, but the ratepayers - he's going to have to come out of the ignominy of having raised the sales tax with some form of victory. Anything he can. Getting the GST taken off the rates bill might be enough; it would be quite a substantial win.

Maori Party budget ultimatum: no GST on water from 1 November - 16/03/2010:

These positions go to the core values of each party: for the Maori Party it makes the basic necessity of survival a bit cheaper - and giving water the same tax-free status that gold enjoys indicates the unique status of this natural resource; for Act a deal to exempt rates would be the end to an unfair tax on a tax.

I do hope that the two support parties are using their leverage here and are putting up some firm options to ameliorate a 12.5% to 15% rise in GST. The Nats can't get their budget through without at least one of these parties backing them and they have every right to gain at least one concession each on something that is unlikely to be reversed (despite what Labour's "Axe the Tax" campaign might lead people to believe).

GST rise fait accompli - where are the gains? - 23/04/2010:

Mallard rebukes the Maori Party's healthy food exemptions and their support of the budget (because of their coalition agreement).
Well what about water? It doesn't get more necessary or healthy than water. Water should be exempted from GST. That is something that can be done for reticulated water and other supplies of water. It will make it less of a commodity at a time when it is becoming more so every day - witness the Canterbury Regional Council junta the government installed yesterday specifically in order to allocate water to the financial benefit of the farmers.

Once they start putting sales tax up then some alleviation is in order where possible. Charging tax on the water itself is going too far and unlike other products that Trevor Mallard can mock water is something that can be defined clearly.

GST off water - 29/04/2010:

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.

Pre-budget vibe - 19/05/2010:

Both the Act and the Maori Parties have their own legislation already before the House that can work in a water exemption and a rates exemption into the GST Act so that, basically, your local authority rates bill will have no GST. The United Future MP who is Revenue Minister had a party policy and a bill to do exactly that. This is the time to do it.

It can be done and should be done as a permanent trade-off for putting the rate up to 15% (as they will surely do in the Budget - probably to take effect in the last quarter of 2010: 1 October.)


Trouble at Shire

Peter Jackson is facing trouble at Shire with Union busting Hobbits officially referred to as Scabbits. Poor Peter Jackson is being forced to consider one actors contract to rule them all, one actors contract to find them. One actors contract enforced by Trans-Tasman Unions and in the darkness bind them. The Union bosses at the Shire have forced the Orcs to work to rule and all 9 members of the Nazgeal are considering wild cat strikes.

In response, Peter Jackson has threatened to outsource the eye of Mordor to Eastern Europe where naturally hairy residents will save him on Hobbit feet make up.

Bomber's Blog - The War on News - TONIGHT 10.30pm Sky 89 & Freeview 21

The War on News 2010 – NZ News Satire on Stratos Sky 89 10.30pm 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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Monday, September 27, 2010

Revenue gathering fuels Police chase culture - 16 dead this year

Judge pressures police over car-chase deaths
The country's top policemen were summoned to a meeting with the judge heading the Independent Police Conduct Authority following the latest police pursuit fatalities last weekend. Authority chairwoman Justice Lowell Goddard, QC, pressed Police Commissioner Howard Broad and his deputy, Viv Rickard, to continue to review police pursuit policy. The meeting was held on Monday at the IPCA, three days after two teenagers died following a police pursuit sparked by a minor offence. Their deaths brought the total this year to 16, from 11 fatal pursuits - the worst on record.

Well, well, well - what do we have here? Police apologists go into a spin whenever the death rates from Police chases are brought up, so it must be a bitter pill for them to swallow seeing the toothless IPCA demand more answers to revenue gathering chase policies which have now seen 16 dead this year.

I say toothless because the IPCA has been criticizing the revenue gathering chase policies for some time and yet are still not forcing the Police to change (with former SIS boss Richard Woods now allowed on the IPCA, I'm not surprised it is toothless). The IPCA has demanded 4 reviews in 6 years and still the Police continue to do what they like.

The politicians are no help. Crusher Collins couldn't get TV cameras down to a car crushing car yard fast enough when she got into power, increasing the bullshit boy racer crap that Labour started, Crusher has done more than anyone else to put the fear of God into young people and we see that hardline approach bear a bitter harvest. Why minor offenses need to end in death is ignored in the scramble by Police apologists to scream that the Police must chase everyone - must they? Other countries have adapted their chase policies so that only serious crime is the starting point rather than revenue gathering, as the Candor Trust pointed out on Tumeke...

The Goddard report identified that in the last 5 years almost all chase deaths started with minor infringements that would almost certainly have not ended in death with no chase. 1 in 4 chases ends with a bang. We're not talking axe murderers here - we're talking letting aome people get away with being 10k over the limit as the cops allowed before the quota software was bought in. Chase deaths happen inevitably in the first few minutes of chases as people are paniced. A 50% rise in police highway hours (funded by the revenue approach) took highway crash costs from 1.61billion to 1.6 billion - it overrode the safety savings made by a lot of safety engineering. Minister Hawkins signed off use of the quota software in 2003 explained to him by Rob Robinson as "a large increase in tickets" (meeting 30 National Road Safety Committee). The software is a prototype invented in NZ by Dr Guria and others at MoT (it sets district police quotas for drink drive busts and speed tickets) and is likely for roll out in the 2nd world under the tutelage of the new Wellington based agency Roadpol (global police under UN) which Rob Robinson heads up. 3 early reviews in 2005 found that the quota software - a formula created as part of the MOT RAM project "to develop and refine a resource allocation model for road safety" - had reverse to intended effects. It increases crash trauma as the dose of quotas rises.

...why we allow the Police to continue to use revenue gathering models to perpetrate a chase culture that is killing more and more NZers, and why the msm is silent on the issue bewilders me.

John Key's secret plans to dump MMP

Leaked minutes show PM backs electoral reform
THE PRIME Minister's chief of staff told anti-MMP campaigner Peter Shirtcliffe last year that John Key supported moving to a Supplementary Member system, and that there were no "impediments to progress" in caucus, minutes leaked to the Sunday Star-Times show.

So after blaming ACT on MMP (note it wasn't John Key's fault he cut a deal with the far right Party of hypocrites whom he has allowed to dictate policy - oh no, it was all MMP's fault), it now turns out that John Key has on the quiet been trying to dump MMP for a system that will lock the elites back into power the way First Past the Post allowed.

There was no referendum promised on MMP, that was an urban myth created by those who hated the idea of all those women, Asians, Maori, Gays, Muslims, Transgendered and marijuana smoking Rastafarians having a say in policy. Under First Past the Post, Parliament was made up of rich, white, straight, old men, (the rump of the National Party voting block) and they decided what was good for the rest of us. MMP has allowed a wider, greater representation to occur making our democracy actually reflect the make up of our population.

National wish to gerrymander this representation so that it goes back to the good old days where white, straight, rich old men get to run the country minus all those annoying 'others'. This is made most ironic by the fact that ACT and National are currently the ones abusing MMP with Rodney holding Epsom and rorting the system.

The question is will NZers get conned into changing the system to make NZ less democratic and allow those rich, straight, old white men take over again. No wonder Rodney and John are laughing.

Why IRD will continue to punish fathers over child support

IRD rejects call to review child support payments
A top Government adviser says child support payments should be paid directly to sole-parent beneficiaries, not kept by Inland Revenue to offset the costs of the benefits. Carl Davidson, who was named the new head of the Families Commission in July, said the move would encourage more absent parents to pay, and reduce child poverty in sole-parent families. But the idea, which would cost $185 million a year, was discussed and rejected in an Inland Revenue discussion paper on reforming child support this month.

The reason IRD will continue to punish solo fathers with their sexist, draconian, 10% penalty rates is because child support is revenue gathering for IRD. Of the $1.8 billion in outstanding Child Support only $560 million is actually owing, the rest, a staggering $1.2 billion is in bloody late fees! This is revenue gathering and the fury so many fathers feel in being forced to pay money to IRD, money that NEVER goes to the child if the Mother is on welfare is real and well summed up by Gordon Campbell...

What such situations reveal is the highly charged social climate in which child support operates – and the lack of consideration to these issues when the child support mechanisms were rammed into place 18 years ago, mainly as a way of cutting the cost of welfare. (One of the complaints commonly made about the system is that non-custodial parents are not paying child support to their children – they are paying the IRD to offset the cost of the DPB.)

Watching 18% of their income sucked away to the Government without one cent going to the child being supported is the main reason many solo Fathers simply don't comply and is the reason IRD will point blank refuse to lose a billion dollar revenue gathering scam.

As Carl Davidson points out, allowing solo Fathers to pay the money directly to the Mother rather than to IRD would make the situation fairer and more likely to comply with and reduce the problem Campbell points out with solo Fathers moving on with their lives to create a new family...

given the extent of marital breakdown, a more common reality is that the non-custodial parent can be rendered financially unable to start a new life, because of the level of payments required to be paid to the previous family. In such cases, a two tier system of first and second class children can be created – where the children of the first relationship have prior call on any resources, and the children of the subsequent relationship must make do with what is left over.

...it is clear that the current child support system simply creates resentment by those solo Fathers forced to comply with revenue gathering by IRD while causing tensions within the separated family units, allowing IRD to simply deny any possible changes means their incentive to revenue gather won't be blunted.

Why question latest TVNZ opinion Poll showing 54% support for National

YAWN - 54% of NZ support National do they? Really?

I note once again that these Polls are pointless brainfarts that serve only to create the impression of support rather than measure actual support. We don't know what the call back ratio is, we don't know if only landlines were used, were cell phones used (in a recession where the poor are avoiding debt collectors and can't afford land lines their opinions are simply not registered) and MOST importantly we are never shown the weighting. What is weighting? Each poll has to equate to the percentage make up of the population, so let's say there are 10% Maori, the Poll has to have 10% Maori, problem is that most of the time the Pollsters never get 10% Maori opinion, so what they do is they weight whatever opinions they do get from Maori to fill up the necessary 10%, now if you are only getting conservative opinion when you call during dinner time, then that is the opinion that will get magnified, the danger is these brainfarts become self fulfilling prophecy. The only polls worth real examination are deliberative polls, but because they cost so much money to run we get these cheap brainfart polls.

What will be interesting about the Super City election if Brown wins is that it will show up the massive deficits in public opinion polls as all the Polls put out so far have shown Brown and Banks neck and neck and I would claim that is because the current polls in this economic environment are missing huge chunks of the population. The results from voters who have already voted and sent their postal ballots back show an overwhelming support towards Len Brown, if that plays out and Len wins by a landslide, the current public opinion poll models claiming National are leading by over 50% can be challenged.

The reality of the GST rise

This GST rise to fund a tax cut, (the benefits of which will see 2 thirds of the tax cut go to the wealthiest 1 third of the population) is being spun by the Government as 'neutral' in that the GST rise will be offset by the paltry crumbs being offered to the majority. Well the reality is that the GST rise is being seen by price setters as a chance to ramp up those prices...

Power bills could rise 'by 5pc'
Average household power bills could rise up to 5 per cent if monopoly watchdog the Commerce Commission gives in to electricity lines companies, according to big power users.

Cry of gouging as fares go up
Auckland public transport rides will cost at least 10c more from the end of next week, and fares on Fullers' unsubsidised Waiheke Island ferry service will be boosted by an average of 4.7 per cent.

The claim by Bill English on Q+A when being challenged on price increases was that 'the market' would sort it out, but if these prices are going up on necessities which people can't limit their demand for, the 'market' is going to do bugger all to help.

The Government have sold these tax cuts and GST rise to fund those tax cuts to NZers as making them better off, the reality is that come October 1st NZers will feel the extra pain every week evaporating the vacant aspiration Key oozes and it was very interesting to note that on Q+A, Bill English started claiming that this 'better off' will mean long term, not immediate.

Tracy Watkins quotes Phil Goff perfectly in todays Dom Post...

"I can spin or Mr Key can spin as much as we like; in the end it's what people experience when they go through the checkout at the supermarket that will tell them whether or not this so-called tax switch is a good thing."

...and that is where NZers will make their mind up about Key's claim they would be better off and why Labour's plans to take GST off fresh fruit and vegetables will become increasingly popular.

Citizen A - ONLINE NOW!

THIS WEEK: Political commentator and blogger Chris Trotter and C&R candidate Claudette Hauiti

John Key blames ACT on MMP

Who will win the Auckland Super City race - Labour or National? Has Government spin on GST and legal drink driving worked?

Citizen A plays on screen 7pm Thursday on Triangle and 8pm Sunday Sky 89 & Freeview 21
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Cops can never be murderers... rapists, sure, but never murderers.

NZ Herald on Ian Wishart's latest exposé. A cop may have been the killer of the Crewes. It makes sense. The coppers are all in a tizzy. "I've never heard anything like it," the copper says. Why? Because they only plant false evidence to stitch someone up? Because they only torture and rape? I think you will find they can do murder too - it's not much of a stretch. How does that old song go again:Well it seems too much of a coincidence with Rickards, Schollum and Shipton to be legit - that would just be too spooky.

But I have read of a case in the 1940s in Northland where a cop called Barrett (I think it was - not sure of the spelling) tried to kill a man he had lured out into the gumfields. But he only wounded him with a shot from his revolver and he managed to escape and ran off. The cop then went to his house and rang up the likely place he would be running to, making up some story and telling them that the man was a killer on the loose and not to listen to him. Fortunately (from what I recall) he was already there and the story didn't add up and the cop was later charged. If anyone knows more please put it in the comments section because I can't find it online - it was in a local history publication. There was also a case listed in the "100 years ago today" column in the NZ Herald a few years ago about a cop in Queen Street who kicked a man to death. I'm sure there will be many incidents of killings if people care to examine the unofficial records. The cops don't have a wall for all their victims they have killed, just a wall for all their fallen heros.

Cops don't think cops are capable of committing any crime. It's a ludicrous position, but that's the police for you. If they can beat, torture, rape and so on they can obviously kill. Whether any of them have ever been caught and successfully prosecuted for it - in a system where the police don't believe police can commit murder - is another matter.

UPDATE | 5PM: A commenter has alerted us to the case of David Charles McSweeney who stabbed his wife to death in 2006. Although he was not a serving policeman at the time it is worth noting if only because of the familiar scenario of a glossed over veneer of normality covering up a dysfunctional relationship and a psychopathic personality:

"He was a good bloke, Sue was a nice person. It was totally out of character," says Eddie Law.

Mr Law knew David and Suzanne McSweeney for at least 10 years. He and McSweeney and their wives went fishing together, socialised together, ate together.

He struggles to comprehend how the former cop and "average Kiwi bloke" could, in what prosecutors described as a frenzied attack, knife Suzanne up to 30 times.
There were "incidents of violence" in the relationship, apparently, but Mr Law doesn't know anything about them.

"I only saw the nice sides of him. If there was [violence] it is either hearsay or parts that I missed."

The question still remains: has there ever been a serving police officer charged with murder in this country? I am reminded of Constable Keith Abbott who killed Steven Wallace in Waitara. Abbott was never charged with murder by the police - they did everything possible to get him off. It was the family in the end who brought a private prosecution and it took the intervention of the Chief Justice to get it in front of a jury. Unfortunately in that case the sheep let the wolf go. So, to rephrase: have the police ever charged a serving police officer with murder in NZ?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The impact of bloggers on the NZ mainstream media

Fascinating piece on Radio NZ's mediawatch this morning on the impact of bloggers on the mainstream NZ media.

This weeks Citizen A replays tonight at 8pm Sky 89 & Freeview 21

THIS WEEK: Political commentator and blogger Chris Trotter and C&R candidate Claudette Hauiti

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Let's be clear - Paula Bennett should pay personally, not the taxpayer

We have a crazy situation here where Bennett has been allowed to proceed with a complaint against TV3 outside the normal parameters thanks to the new politically appointed National Party flunkies Peter Radich and Mary Shanahan on the BSA.

Bennett complaint to go ahead
A complaint by Social Welfare Minister Paula Bennett over a TV3 news item in April which claimed she offered money to a solo mum and beneficiary in exchange for dropping a privacy complaint is to go ahead, after the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) ruled her initial letter to TV3 counted as a formal complaint. The decision split the BSA, with one member, Leigh Pearson, disagreeing with the chairman, Peter Radich, and other members

Now the joke here is that TV3 may get spanked for reporting Paula may have offered Tarsha Fuller cash for her illegal breach of privacy aimed at Tarsha for daring to criticize a cut in a benefits that Paula her self hypocritically used, YET the complaint against Paula has substance and will be heard in front of the Human Rights Review Tribunal...

Ms Fuller's complaint has since been referred to the Director of the Office of Human Rights Proceedings, part of the Human Rights Commission, after Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff was unable to resolve it. She said the complaint had "substance".

Spokesman for the Office of Human Rights Proceedings Gilbert Wong said the director Robert Hesketh was currently awaiting submissions from lawyers for both Ms Fuller and Ms Bennett, expected in the next fortnight.

The director may then either direct them to further mediation, or else refer it to the Human Rights Review Tribunal, a legal body which had the power to make rulings and order compensation or other penalties.

...and here is where it gets real nasty because unnotived by most in the msm, National appointed a raft of flunkies onto the Human Rights Review Tribunal including homophone Brian Neeson and let's not forget the process Simon Power used to appoint these flunkies to the Human Rights Review Tribunal was corrupt...

Power Has To Answer For Human Rights Appointments
"As Justice Minister, Simon Power agreed to a process where candidates for appointment to the Tribunal were interviewed. This happened for a number of candidates, but it is clear from the papers that have been released that Brian Neeson, Ken Shirley, Ravi Musuku, Wendy Gilchrist and Gavin Cook were suggested as members by Ministers late in the process, and did not go through the same process as others who had been nominated," Grant Robertson said. "It is not unusual for Ministers to suggest nominees, but in this case it goes directly against the advice of the Chair of the Tribunal Royden Hindle. The papers note his view that "without interviews by an appropriately selected interview panel the process will not provide an opportunity to properly assess the candidates suitability and thus will fail to provide sufficient security that conflicts of interest and any other potentially adverse issues are identified."

...so we may have the BSA National Party flunkies spanking TV3 for reporting Bennett had offered hush money for her illegal breach of Privacy and we might have the Human Rights Review Tribunal National Party appointed flunkies turn down a complaint of substance against Bennett.

NZ truly is becoming a Kumera Republic, but in the hope that our watchdog bodies don't become lap dogs let's all agree that Paula Bennett must pay whatever damages against Tarsha Fuller out of her own pocket and NOT the taxpayers pocket.

Brown win would suggest Auckland swing away from National

Auckland changing from blue to Brown
A POLITICAL expert is warning the National Party that a Len Brown mayoralty win in Auckland could signal a possible change in government.

In the race for the super city job, the Labour-aligned Manukau mayor is leading Auckland mayor and former National cabinet minister John Banks, according to a Horizon Research poll.

Wellington political commentator Jon Johansson said that if the figures reflected the result, Prime Minister John Key should be worried, because an Auckland swing away from National could have implications for next year's general election.

Auckland voters deserted Labour in droves in 2008, a decisive factor in Key's win that year.

I'm happy to see my favourite attack lines are being pushed in the msm, National won in 2008 because a vast chunk of the Labour Party urban liberal vote in Auckland didn't bother voting making 2008 one of the lowest turns outs on record which helped boost National's percentage as high as it was.

If Brown wins it will mark a return of Auckland to Labour, this is something we discuss on the Citizen A replay tonight - 8pm Sky 89 and Freeview 21.

For Labour to maximize this possible reversal of fortune they need to reach out to the tens of thousands of Auckland Labour Party voters who didn't vote at all in 2008 with policies that promote the liberal left; they need to reach out to those voters who voted Labour in 2005 but voted for 'change under Key in 2008 without knowing what that 'change' actually meant and they need to reach out to the first time voters who went with Key without knowing what life under a National Government would look like. I don't think they voted for 'change' that would have seen conservation land mined or ACC rape counselling denied, 90 day right to sack or National Standards that fail their children for the benefit of the private education industry (and all the other things National have done which I will gleefully point out before the 2011 election).

Suddenly power saving lightbulbs and water saving showerheads don't seem so big an issue do they?

It is no wonder National Party Svengali Michelle Boag is working so hard to elect Banks and it is no wonder her consultancy company (the one that got fantasist Wilce a job)is appointing so many people in the Super City, combine that with the fact National and ACT have stacked the CCO's with their corporate mates, the Super City win for National is essential for their 2011 privatization drive, let's hope the people of Auckland see through this bullshit.

National let ACT destroy student unions despite 90% opposition

Opt-out bill for student unions labelled a threat to vital services
University and polytech sports services and cultural events could be in jeopardy, say opponents of a bill that would allow individual students to choose if they want to join a student association. The education and science select committee yesterday endorsed the Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill, even though more than 90 per cent of submissions were against it.

This despicable party of hypocrites who are given so much power over legislation so that they are the tail that wags the dog is being given this ability to destroy the Student Unions as an intellectual patsy to Roger Douglas in the hope that he will shut up about flat tax (which is pointless as we all know Roger Douglas will never shut up about flat tax).

As I said at the select committee...

If as the bullied Heather Roy claims, Whitireia is a reason to abolish student unions then Taito Phillip Field & Roger McClay are reasons to disband Parliament.

This is disgusting legislation that has ignored 90% of the submissions and is further proof of students getting screwed once again by the National ACT party.

The Nation and Q+A review

Wow, look at them q+a up to 195 640 - that's the highest they have been EVER and look at the Nation and the impact of Sean is clear 88 150. More people watching current affairs than ever before.

The Nation
It was the debate between Len Brown and John Banks. If you don't know who you are voting for now, you shouldn't be voting. Banks weird robotic performance matched his interview with ALT TV in 2008...

Postal ballots are with you now for the Auckland Super City elections and now is the time to fill them in and post them back. Whanau, I’m not going to tell you who to vote for, one of the few real freedoms you have in a democracy is to tick whomever you want to represent your political views, but I will tell you why I am going to vote.

I’m not going to vote because I believe in the system, the manner in which Auckland has been annexed with ACT and National’s mates appointed to run 75% of Aucklands assets means the entire process is a farce and we will not see any real democracy under the Super City, I am voting because dependent on who wins, the new Mayor and Super City council can put a brake on the mass privatization process about to start. That’s all Aucklanders can hope for until a new Government can be elected to review the Super City set up.

That said, good luck Len Brown and City Vision and remember whanau, you aren’t a real Aucklander until you’ve destroyed a C&R billboard.

Guyon is attacking Bill English with my favourite critique of the Government - their ridiculous claim that NZers will be better off after the tax cuts for the rich being funded by the rise in GST. The Government will be panicking, John Key told NZers that they would be better off, I note the change in English's tone, he is now saying it will be 'long term' gains - that is NOT how the electorate will read it when they are feeling the pain in their pockets EVERY WEEK.

John Key TOLD NZers they would be better off, they won't be, justifying the crumbs the majority of people will be left with while the Merchant Bankers of NZ do very well out of the tax cut will be a source of anger that will bake slowly until the election.

English is trying to wipe off the 3rd quarter drop in GDP from .7 to .2, and is claiming things will get better in the 4th quarter - HOW? Look at the Christchurch earthquake and the massive loss in lambing the storm caused, those factors will destroy any GDP growth, alongside the October 1st impact of the GST rise on retailing - how English can pretend things are going to get better is extraordinary, could we in fact see GDP go backwards in the last quarter?

Guyon is now chatting with David Cunliffe, he points out that 2 thirds of the tax cut goes to the top 1 third, it is a fact that will make those on the bottom angrier as the full impact is felt. Guyon is having David on about Labour's GST pamphlets, any point against the pamphlets gets lost in the ocean of concerns against the GST rises. Labour are going to remove GST off fresh fruit and vegetables - ABOUT TIME! Great idea that many NZers can see the wisdom in.

The Panel (the healthy looking people's hero Matt McCarten, the brilliant Fran O'Sullivan and Q+A's resident political expert Jennifer) all put the boot into English's claim that unemployment will go down or that NZers will be better off under the tax cuts, National Party Research unit spin Dr's will be sweating this response. They rightfully kick Cunliffe over the pamphlets and how unnecessary their spin is when the reality will be damning enough, but its English's claims that really show up the Emperor has run out of clothes. National told the nation they would be better off after the tax cuts, the reality is looming they won't, to try and change the narrative as English is now that these 'good times' will be long term won't wash the weekly pain away.

This Government has run out of answers, all they have is tax cuts for the rich and bitter cuts to Public Services, no manner of smiling and waving will cover that fact up.

Interesting to see the viewers responses, and it was all about anger over the GST rise. NZers are starting to wake up to the reality of October 1st and the National Party Research Unit will need to be posting a lot more anonymous posts to try and turn the rising reality of Government Policy.

John Key said NZers would be better off, they won't be and that will be the first time they can directly trace a lie from his lips to their pockets - National will be eyeing up an early election next year to minimize the erosion in support.